1–10 of 13 entries from the month of: December 2013

Bits of Christmas Joy

December 31st

Christmas 2013

Hand sewn pillow cases, brought from a friend in west Africa. The stitching was perfect; I am so envious of this gift!

Christmas 2013

Nativities — this one made of olive wood from Israel.

Christmas 2013

Christmas guacamole and carnitas, because we could.

IMG_8866

Home sweet home, how I miss you!

IMG_8851

Tree trimming by my brother’s girlfriend;  it was gorgeous, albeit dislexic in this photo.

IMG_8849

Christmas dinner, including the best sweet potatoes we’d ever eaten.

And I’d love to include a family photo here — but every single one I took resulted in one of the monkeys making a ridiculous face. Like this:

IMG_8846

Or this:

Christmas 2013

My family is tired of my incessant photography, which is really too bad. They are a good looking group — and we had a ton of fun being together.

~K

 

Posted in
Celebrate!, Colorado
Comments (3)

Spinning Gold

December 30th

My friend Juliann borrowed an old sewing machine a few years ago. She returned it recently when cleaning out her house for a move; along with my old trusty Singer, she gave me a box of sewing items she was no longer interested in. The basket had fabric and patterns and thread and I was delighted to take it off her hands and put it all to use.

I used her material to make my Christmas gifts this year — namely pot holders and embellished flour sack tea towels (my favorite kind.)

Christmas sewing

Christmas sewing

Christmas sewing

After making ten sets of these, I am still really, really bad at bias tape. You would think that kind of practice would produce at least one pot holder without wonky edging, and you would be wrong.

Easier, I made a  few drawstring travel lingerie bags for girlfriends regularly on the road:

Christmas sewing

Christmas sewing

My intentions for handmade Christmas are always so consistently grander than what I am able to actually produce. Maybe just maybe one of these years I will start my grandiose plans in, say, January. Or — just buy gifts like a normal person.

Oh to find that balance between gifting t homemade and not overestimating abilities and budget.

~K

Posted in
Celebrate!, handmade
Comments (6)

Holiday Wiggles

December 21st

Visit with the Walsh Family

I have a serious case of the holiday wiggles. My butt does not want to stay in my seat. I want to be in the car, listening to audio books, staring through my camera cross hairs at the wild western landscape, with a sleepy dog in the backseat and a caffeinated boyfriend behind the wheel.

As such, these last few hours at work, in that dang seat, are the hardest. It doesn’t help that nearly everyone else has already left for the week. Don’t get me wrong: I have plenty of work. I’m just lacking in the motivation department.

I’ve sewn and baked and cooked and wrapped and sealed and signed and delivered. Everything is done and ready to go for the holiday.

Visit with the Walsh Family

Things I want to discuss at a later date:

  • How lovely the Sunday New York Times is for wrapping gifts. Thick, glorious paper that works so much better than wrapping paper and looks great with simple red gift tags.
  • Martha Stewart labels 
  • Homemade granola
  • California succulent plant sales
  • Framing vintage maps

Things I do not want to discuss later:

  • My sewing machine being broken. Again.
  • Bias tape
  • International mailing forms being kept behind the counter at the post
  • Drivers who drive slower than the speed limit, on the highway, during the holiday season. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Christmas sewing

I am off soon for a bit with friends and family. I hope to read, and knit, and plot some ridiculous 2014 resolutions. I promise to return renewed and ready to share every detail.

 

Until then, a very Merry Christmas and New Year!

With love,

Kelli

Posted in
Celebrate!
Comments (8)

Whirly Birds

December 19th

If you have ever driven across southern California, you’ve likely seen these behemoths in the distance. There is something about the sheer size of these wind turbines, against the stark, desolate desert, that makes them seem like soldiers in a massive piece of public art.

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Also, can we briefly talk about how annoying it is to have people follow your exact steps to take photos behind you? This dude — a stranger — followed me around while I was out wandering around, staying just a few yards behind me and literally standing in my footprints to take the same shots.

Visit with the Walsh Family

Creativity, Mystery Dude, is not found via imitation.

~K

Posted in
Photography, Travel
Comments (8)

Escape

December 18th

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

 

A few photos from a walk through a southern California neighborhood, including a lending library found in a front yard.

December 2013

~K

Posted in
Community, Photography, Travel
Comments (1)

Frida!

December 16th

Frida Kahlo exihibit

I first heard about this Frida Kahlo exhibit in southern California like we gather so much of our news these days: Facebook. Someone listed the link on my page. “The world’s largest collection of Frida Kahlo’s works – never before seen together.”

Was I going to see it?

WAS I GOING TO SEE IT?

Of course I was. Fast forward several months and the exhibit is coming to a close in a matter of weeks and I still hadn’t made the time or effort to drive 300 miles west to see my favorite artist. Holidays, budgets, blah blah blah add boring adult stuff here. Enter Sue, who made a generous offer: if I was interested, I could stay at her house with her family for a weekend, and she’d buy the ticket.

WAS I INTERESTED?

Frida Kahlo exihibit

I’m a bit of a Frida weirdo. It started years ago, before Salma’s movie but after I lived in Mexico. I have dressed up like my beloved favorite artist more than once, and own most books discussing her life. I have, for as long as I can remember, felt a deep tug when looking at her art. It gives me goosebumps and sometimes a sick stomach.

For Frida, it was a dark, turbulent life. Her love affair with fellow Mexican artist Diego Rivera was rocky at best. (What do you say about a man who sleeps with your sister?) A trolley accident at age 18 would leave her forever in pain, and eventually lead to her death after a series of complicated, miserable surgeries. She had countless miscarriages, and in turn, countless pets who instead received her love. She loved the ancient Mexican culture, and her brute husband, and sometimes other men. And women. She was also rather fond of communism and her German father, a photographer.

Frida Kahlo exihibit

Let’s just say it was complicated. Her art is a great reflection of her messy life – the joy, sorrow, pets, lovers, and physical pain. Many of her paintings are small because they were done while in bed, painted overhead.

As Sue and I entered the exhibit within a converted Navy barrack, boats bobbed within sight in the Pacific, and glasses clinked at an adjoining brewery. I took a deep breath.

For the next two hours, we wound our way through more than 200 pieces of Frida’s art, replicas of her clothing and jewelry, and pieces of furniture constructed like those of the Blue House in Coyoacan.

Frida Kahlo exihibit

There was so much to see, and my senses were at full throddle. With a handful of other people, we walked from painting to painting, taking in the story that led to their creation. My two favorite paintings were in the front room, and I couldn’t hold back tears. To be in the presence of this art that I had studied only in books for more than a decade was magnificent. The colors. The patterns. The history. I stared at Frida’s portraits, one after another, feeling a link to her I cannot explain.

Thank you Sue, for making this happen. I still want to visit Detroit to see Diego’s murals, and Mexico City to visit Frida’s house too. Thanks to my friend Teresa, I am pouring over a new book about Frida’s wardrobe this week as well. And thanks to Sarah, I can even cook Frida’s favorite foods.

Que Viva la Frida!

~K

 

Posted in
Journal
Comments (14)

What kind of tree is this? *updated*

December 12th

Arizona State Capitol

Arizona State Capitol

Arizona State Capitol

This random — and what I would guess is tropical — tree is planted on the Arizona state capitol lawn. Anyone know what kind of tree this is? The barbed bark and bright flowers are such a contrast to the pine and palms otherwise planted in the same area.

~K

 

*Come to find out, thanks to Mark and Kamilah, that this tree could be the Chorisia speciosoa, or the Ceiba speciosa (Silk floss tree).  Both look like winners to me; either way — I have a feeling this tree (and another clump of them right around the corner) have a story. Could they be from a Phoenix sister city? I’m still on the case…*

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna
Comments (0)

12 Days of Christmas

December 10th

I am celebrating Christmas with Dutch by giving one small gift each of the 12 days.

December crafting

I used this tutorial to sew the bags, and stamped the numbers before appliqueing them to each bag. And I opted for things he loves (read: orange Tic Tacs) in lieu of say, a partridge in a pear tree.

December crafting

December crafting

I gave him the basket this weekend — all the little drawstring bags lined up.* Each day includes a Bible verse about Christmas, and some small treat.

Mission accomplished: I get to give gifts (one of my favorite things) and spoil him (also one of my favorite things.) And he gets to feel loved during his first Arizona Christmas.

~K

*The original plan was to pin each one of these to a piece of thick gross grain ribbon across a mantle for Christmas garland. Alas, we do not have a mantle, or another place where I could figure out how to make this work. Next year, perhaps!

Posted in
Celebrate!, handmade
Comments (8)

Upcycled Garment Bag

December 9th

December crafting

December crafting

December crafting

December crafting

December crafting

I love vintage linens — especially pillow cases. The older cotton pillow cases were made of such a higher quality than the typical ones you’d find today. And, you can usually find a stack of these at any thrift store for less than $1.

Washed, with a small incision and addition of bias tape and voila — a garment bag to cover summer dresses during the winter, and coats during the summer. (Less dust, plus the pillow cases all lined up in the closet look rather pretty.)

~K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Handmade goods, Happy Hippie, June Cleaver
Comments (5)

One Community: December

December 5th

One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art.

Each month, one of the hosts picks four words for us to interpret through photographs of what we see around us in our daily lives.

The Rules:  Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up.  Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them.

This month’s words, selected by Eduarda, are: needle, chair, pillow and speech.

One Community: 12-13

I work in downtown Phoenix; this bus can be regularly found at a parking lot nearby. Within it, you’d find a team of 4-5 phlebotomists, four benches that recline, two privacy rooms and stacks of salty snacks at one end.

Within this small space — magic happens. Folks line up to donate a pint of blood, which takes 30 minutes or so for the entire process. In return, our health care system, both researchers and actual individuals, have blood when they need it. Theoretically. The most annoying aspect of the entire process is the lengthy questions you have to answer about your sexual history, and if you’ve ever had Mad Cow disease, or lived in a country where you could have been exposed. (If you are in Arizona, you can now do this online before donating. And if you don’t want your blood to be used for research, most hospitals have blood banks that could use your help for their patients.)  The most gratifying aspect is knowing that within 30 minutes, you may have just helped to save someone’s life.

The physical pain of donating is about the equivalent of a minor pinch. I have done squats that hurt more.

If you aren’t a regular donor, and you qualify, I can’t encourage you enough to give back to your community in this simple way. Plus, the cookies at the end are usually pretty good, and your glass of wine at dinner the night of donating hits the spot.

Needle, chair, pillow and speech all in one photo, unless you want a gross shot of me actually donating. You’re welcome.

~K

Join the link up to One Community here:

 

Posted in
Community, Photography
Comments (3)