Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pillow and Basket Case


Come. Have a seat. I saved this tiny little portion of my couch where you can rest one butt cheek.

I have put all of my throw pillows on this one little couch to dramatize my utter disdain for throw pillows. Why do I have so many? How can I get them away from me? When did Pottery Barn throw up all over my sofa? And these are pillows that are somewhat meaningful. One of them we carried home from Nepal. Two others are made from Syrian silk that we got in the Arab market in Jerusalem. Another was handmade by a Bedouin woman. But I still want them gone. You see we are in the process of selling our futon to make room for the MURPHY (yah baby) bed in our office/guest room/studio which is part of a larger project to make the studio more efficient and more inspirational. Currently it is neither of those things. It is covered in throw pillows. Ones that used to be on the floor in the living room as a kind of pull up a pillow and smoke a hooka corner. That corner now has toys in it. So the pillows are in here on the futon. Other pillows have migrated to the attic. Still more pillows are currently on the living room couch. I am done with pillows.

And you know what else I'm done with? Baskets. Sick and tired of crap in baskets. I'd just as soon throw out the crap and the baskets along with it. At first it was a nice way to hide the crap. But then you have a house full of baskets you even need a basket to hold all of your extra baskets. But I need places to keep toys and supplies and chingaderas. And I can't afford furniture that might hold all of that stuff. But it can't just be out in the world. Free. Loose. Multiplying. I shudder.

Anything in your house driving you bananas? Do tell...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kid-colored lenses


My son loves to play in our car. When I allow it, which is to say when I have time to keep an eye on him from the kitchen or garage, he's happy to play in there for long stretches. When he's done invariably I have to put everything back to its off position - wipers, seat heaters, indicators, hazards - but it's a small price to pay so I indulge this simple pleasure. I wish I could take that much pleasure out of being in my car. Maybe if it wasn't so filthy. Or if I was five.

So recently I've been trying to see the world through kid-colored lenses. Last weekend we took the kids to fly kites. As we were setting up the string and trying to get these things up with little wind, it occurred to me that I had never flown a kite. Or at least I don't remember ever flying a kite. And I found it to be completely exhilarating. At one point I was actually running with my kite (no wind can be a problem) and I'm sure I had one of those golden retriever with his head hanging out a car window kind of grins. Just running with my arms up in the sky waving my kite.

And this weekend I took the kids up to San Francisco for the day to give my husband time to build our murphy bed (more on that later). My son bugs me constantly to take trains. He loves trains. He is enchanted by transportation. So we got on a 10:15 train to San Francisco and he talked the entire seventy-five minutes it took to get there. The color of the tracks. The naughty boy who was skateboarding at the station. The back hoe loader that was next to the tracks. The south going train. The man who collected tickets. He enjoyed every part of the trip especially getting to the final station where there were dozens of trains. But it gets better. I took them on the Muni - the light rail system in San Francisco or the "electric train" as he calls it. So now that we've taken Muni I figure all I need to do is get a trampoline and I can hang up my hat until he goes to college, basking in my "greatest mom on earth" title. Right? We took it five or six stops to the Ferry Building and got off to get some kettle corn at the farmer's market.

We sat at the wharf and ate kettle corn and strawberries and watched the seagulls and the boats and the zillion people buzzing about. I wish I'd had my camera. There was even a guy who writes poems for you on his old school typewriter while you wait. You just give him the topic (and a few bucks is my guess). I wanted to catch the 3:15 train back home (by this point I was back to wearing my mommy-colored lenses) so we didn't stop for a poem on the fly. But the next time we have transportation day I will absolutely take a moment to ask for a poem about taking a moment to enjoy life's simple pleasures.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yes, I'm the artist


The day before the show on Tuesday I read my friend Laamie's blog post on art shows that set the tone for my preparations. Which were minimal.

I did not print a ridiculous amount of inventory.
I did not bring all kinds of crazy useless shit.
I did not lug more than a big box and two grids.
I did not MacGuyver anything.
I did not spend a ton of money on a display.

Here's what I did do.

I saved up orders for about a week and brought those prints with me to sell so that if I didn't sell them, I could just mail them the next day. And then I brought a bunch of smaller things I had on hand anyway. I also bought those little mini-easels from IKEA that are so useful for display and cost $2 each. Nice. I borrowed my friend Melissa's grids and they were easy and sturdy and perfect. You could see my display from across the room.

Mainly I didn't kill myself preparing for this thing. So when I sold a few items I was thrilled. And when I gave out all my cards (~50) I was overjoyed. I was talking to people the whole time. Never a slow period. Lots of connections. And the lady next to me, who I incidentally met at my hair stylist the week before, bought me a giant falafel. Most importantly, I felt great. Especially when asked, are you the artist?  I felt like I could do these little gigs in the community without a lot of stress and get my name and work out there. And did I mention that the whole thing was in Hebrew? Hundreds of Israelis showed up to celebrate and I charmed every one of them with my accented misuse of their mother tongue.

Tiny Dancer

Leotard BW

My daughter went to sleep in her leotard last night. Yesterday was the first time she ever wore one. That morning she started whining that she didn't want to go to her ballet and tap class and after I shelled out the $25 for her shoes, uh, she was going. This is why I have a problem with required footwear. But she kept whining and that's when I pulled out my trump card. I remembered that my sister-in-law had given us a few old leotards that belonged to my niece so I found them and offered them to her majesty who just about peed her pants in excitement. Which is a not a figure of speech in this instance. We had to rush to the potty. But dance class was on! I picked her up after school and she was beaming in her leotard. No jacket, no tights. Fifty degrees out and raining here and she's in her pink sparkly leotard and her black Vans slip-ons with the skulls and monsters on them looking like a tot Madonna. It was only this morning that she agreed to take it off. I'm willing to wager it will be the first thing she puts on when she comes home. Who can blame her. A sparkly pink leotard is a portal to the imagination.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Suburban Monster at Midnight

Suburban Monster at Midnight

She was no detective, but she had a sneaking suspicion that there was something not quite right about this particular tree.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Nest Blessing

I'm getting ready to do a teeny tiny show at our JCC for Israeli Independence Day which is Tuesday. I'm not even really sure what it will be exactly but my guess is that there will be some food and some kids stuff and a bunch of artist booths. So I signed up. It was $35 and I figured, what the heck. I mean, it's four hours, low key, in my town, my husband is babysitting. And I'm borrowing a few giant grid panels from my friend Melissa which makes it so much easier. So I've been printing some inventory and gathering up what all goes into a show. Even a tiny one. It's kind of like camping I guess. You might as well go for a week since it requires the same amount of crap as one night.

And the thing is that I know better. I've done a few tiny shows. And they've all sucked. All of them. One was for the Junior League. Horrible. One was for some synagogue thingy. Four people came. Maybe five. And one was at this chi-chi kids boutique where I got two parking tickets and sold three things and my babysitter ended up making more money than I did. By a lot.

But, I'm kind of new to the school and I figure this requires little effort and I think it might be a good market for me. Plus, the last bunch of events I attended there were full of people. So I turned my Nest ketubah into a home blessing for the occasion and printed a few. This version is different than the blessing I currently have in the shop. It says:

May this home be a place
of happiness and health,
of contentment,
generosity and hope.
A home of creativity
and kindness.
May those who visit
and those who live here
know only blessing and peace.

Make mine a double right?

Another noteworthy development - you can purchase gift certificates to Mishmish Market on ETSY. There's a button with an apricot over there on the right that links you to Paypal. Hopefully it works.

And last, thanks to those of you who got your hackles up for me to kick some mommy ass at preschool. I think I just had an idea for a new kind of violent video game rated M for mature where moms have gnarly catfights at the school yard. Or at a fundraising meeting. The kind where you pick your weapon. Mine would be hot latte to the face. Or french-manicured dagger nails. I'm calling Electronic Arts STAT.

p.s. I finished another suburban monster. stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fred and Ginger

Tap Shoes

I'm not one of those moms that does a lot of activities. My kids were in preschool all day until not long ago so I felt that was plenty of stimulation. Plus I was scarred from several attempts when my son was younger. When he was about a year and half I took him to one of those Music Together classes. It was a tryout session. He was a disaster. He was THAT kid. The one who doesn't participate in the conventional way. He was switching the lights on and off (who puts light switches low enough for a toddler to reach?) He was under the piano pressing the pedals. He was shrieking and pointing to the door. Home? Home? And then six months later we tried again. When we turned right to go to the church where it was held instead of left to go home, he started sobbing. Gymboree was out too. He couldn't even stand going there for birthday parties. Neither could I frankly. And then we tried soccer when he was four and it was torture for all involved. Even for his sister, who was desperate to play, but wasn't old enough. The only reason we did swim lessons last summer is that I don't want him to drown and if there was any other way for me to prevent that without him having to learn to swim, short of moving to the Gobi Desert, I would certainly have taken a different route.

But this year has been different. He's the tiniest bit more adaptable. So I put him in gymnastics for an hour after school on Wednesdays. And he loved it. It's right at his school. He met some new friends. Learned some tricks. My daughter and I went to the pool during that hour or the supermarket. It was great. So when I asked him if he wanted to do it again for the next session he said he wanted to do a different class. Tap and ballet. Great. Another activity that requires footwear.

And I knew exactly why he wanted to do tap and ballet. Because he wanted shiny black shoes with heels. He had spotted a pair at Target a few months ago and ever since he's been begging me to take tap and ballet so he can have shoes like that. So I signed him up and now that my daughter's old enough I signed her up too. And I bought him tap shoes. Lucky for me boys tap shoes are just black leather lace ups but they still have a sizable heel and make plenty of noise. So he was happy. And I bought my daughter taps and slippers too (They were having a BOGO at Payless). And both my kids are in heaven. They get home from school and immediately put on their taps. My daughter took her nap wearing her tap shoes yesterday. Today she was naughty and I took away her tap and ballet shoes and she had a tantrum the likes of which I haven't seen since this one.

As far as my son is concerned, it's hard to say at this point if dance will be his thing. How I wish he would have a thing, since until now his thing has been spending quality time with mommy. But one thing is for sure. He marches and taps to the beat of his own drummer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Houston - we have a problem


Sometimes I wish I had a kind of control panel like this one from the Aviation Museum where I could just turn a dial and dinner would be done. And press a button for laundry. And another for grocery shopping. And one for paying property taxes. And I'd have a dial to know the current disposition of my children and husband. And if someone was going to blow a gasket it would be right there on the dial. So I'd flip the happy switch and we could change course. And I could switch on auto pilot in bed every night, you know, so the mr. could get some action on a more regular basis. And I would definitely want an eject button.

This would have been especially handy yesterday when we got home from a long weekend in Tahoe (skiing) and our belongings were spread out all over my studio (read: triage) but before I could clean it up I had to help my son make his "friend of the week" poster which put my disposition dial in the danger zone because while I was trying to figure out why my printer was printing his hair purple he would not stop talking. Mommy, my hair's not really purple so I can't put that on my friend of the week poster because then my friends wouldn't know it's me. Maybe it's printing it like that because the black ink isn't working and we could take it out and put in a different ink that's really dark black so that my hair comes out right and then we could restart the computer and the printer so that it works better and then print all the pictures..I would definitely want a button for his mouth. Or maybe just the volume.

So we added construction paper, markers and photos to the mess (did I mention that I ironically don't enjoy doing this kind of crafty school stuff? Need a course redirection for that one too). And then we noticed the ants. The ones that show up whenever it rains. Which it is. Now. Raining.

I could have used my control panel to clean the place up, make the poster, do the laundry, exterminate the visitors. A million other things. It could be awesome. A girl can dream.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Corner View - Vending Machine (Holy Smokes)


Well I didn't have time this week to snap any local vending machines but this morning I remembered a picture that I took a few years ago on a previous trip to Israel. It's in Jaffa, the old sea port south of Tel Aviv. There's a lot going on in this pic. But basically it's kind of a game type vending machine. Except instead of grabbing a stuffed bunny of choice or a plastic car, you're aiming for your favorite brand of cigarettes. Huh? And the thing is decorated in little animal illustrations like it was for kids. I swear.

For other convenient snacks and additcions, hop over to Spain.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Old. New. Borrowed. Blue.

Rejoice in Jerusalem, all who love her.  - Isaiah

This is a piece that I painted as an anniversary gift to my future in-laws when I was living in Israel. It's from 1998. I had been dating their son for about a year maybe. It would be another three years before we got engaged and another year and a half after that before we were married. Boy was I patient once upon a time. So this piece is old. But new to you! And new to my shop. Because I borrowed it from them. Well, they actually brought it with them on this last visit so I could scan it and offer it in my Spirit and Verse collection. And the blue. Well there's blue in the painting. Every shade I think. And we're every shade of blue to see my mother-in-law go. She was a major help this week while my kids were off of school. They brought along another painting that I'd given my sister-in-law in 1999. I'll post that one too. From the "toppling Jerusalem buildings" period.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Getting to Real Simple


Last week I was in spring cleaning mode mostly in an effort to forge my way through our tiny workshop to get to my paper cutter. We don't have a garage because we converted it into two thirds spare room and studio and one third teeny workshop with table saw. Anyway, it ends up where we also hang our wet bathing suits, store our camping gear, throw boxes that need to be recycled and put muddy shoes. It's also where I cut paper, when I can get to the paper cutter, which is seldom. Because of the stuff.

But I became fed up, as does happen every few months, and I cleaned up the whole place. Recycled what I could, tossed what I couldn't and put away the rest. And it felt so great that I started working on other clutter hubs in my house and made a snap decision to recycle my collection of Real Simple magazines. You know, the magazine where they spend 200 pages explaining ways to simplify your life by buying a zillion new things. I subscribe. And I also keep the magazines. I have seven years worth now.  That's a crap load of magazines. I went through the first few and grabbed some marinade recipes that I will likely never use and then decided that I don't need anything else - not lettering for any future collages since I don't even do collage. Not the recipes. Not the tips. I don't need ideas about how to redecorate a room for less than a hundred dollars since I can't be bothered. And I sure as hell don't need them in my house anymore. So I recycled the lot. And if any of you editors are reading this and you need some editorial for your next edition, I suggest a tip, something to the effect of recycle this magazine immediately after use. Real simple.