Posts Tagged ‘home’

because I can

If I’ve been remiss in blogging, it’s only because I’ve been blogging.  I’ve been helping Mark with Irreverent Vegan a lot lately.  There’s so much food-related stuff to do this time of year, what with putting the gardens to bed, buying up boatloads of tomatoes at the farmer’s market for canning, making pesto from end-of-season basil, etc.  Mark made swoon-worthy pesto and tomato pasta and baked green tomatoes last night.  Check out our action on that blog and let us know what you think.

So, some stuff has been happening on the art front as well.  Mark and I stretched this monster last week:

a big 'un

Though sadly it was a rainy day when we stretched it and the humidity affected it.  It was tight as a drum when I left the studio last Thursday.  When I returned to the studio, it was as wrinkly and saggy as all get-out.  Great sadness ensued.  For me.  Then after about ten minutes of moping, (and since I have a painting due for a show in December) I got my stuff together and started painting on a different canvas.  I altered my Photoshop mock-up to be suited for a vertical rather than a horizontal format and shazam! I’m back in business.  This painting involves big circles, for which I fashioned a very high-tech compass out of a brooch, some string and a sponge brush.  Macgyver,  eat your heart out.

I also co-curated an exhibition at EMU called Contemporary Painting, which I’m really happy with.  More on that later.

And, because our cats have been so dang photogenic lately, a bunch of cat photos.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

a handsome man


kitty unity

cat in a bag

complements please

peace out

With the hectic beginning of the school year, I am finding that I need certain elements in my life to keep me sane.  These are constants, but somehow I always forget about them in the chaos of life and keep discovering them when I need them most.  I need quiet time, space to think, space to make, and to remember that there’s a big beautiful world out there beyond the little ruts I dig in the ground on my daily routine.

Today, we had the pleasure of hosting good friends for brunch (tofu Mark-muffins, potato pancakes with cashew creme and apple sauce and peaches), then headed out to some hiking trails with them.  This time of year is blissful.  Before the hike, we found a strange and amazing house out in the middle of nowhere that happened to be for sale.  We walked around the grounds and checked out the old musty outbuilding:

old chair

We hiked at Cherry Hill Nature Preserve that Mark and Chad found on a recent bike ride.

Lauren, Chad and Mark on the trail


autumnal hike

Queen Anne

Studio time, reading, hot baths, tea and yoga have all been very restorative to me lately.  During the summer months, we can use the three-season room as a yoga studio.  It’s nice because it has tall ceilings, a skylight that looks up into our black locust tree and the cats like to be out there with us.

summer yoga studio

summer yoga studio

black locust skylight

But with the coming of the Michigan Winter (which deserves to be capitalized), I recently reclaimed the guest room as a space for us.  After all, guests are only here 3% of the time, so why have a room that is completely dedicated to people who don’t live here?  I have been  inspired for awhile by the yoga room created by the author of the blog Beauty That Moves:

So I decided to fold up the old futon (only to be unfolded when guests visit) and make the space into the winter yoga studio.  yoga 1

Yoga 2

yoga 3

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I am really drawn to sleek, white household items and natural accents.  So, the new studio reflects that.  There are plenty of candles, an old laptop that doesn’t work for much, but still plays music and videos, blankets, room for yoga books, dvds and blocks.  And it turns out that the folded up futon is actually a great place to relax with a book or take a nap.  I just need a lampshade and it will be complete!


I haven’t been able to write in awhile because of all of the end-of-summer activity going on right now.  I wanted to post about my weekend trip to Quincy, Illinois.  Why yes, that is the famous site of the Lincoln/Douglas Debate.  Glad you mentioned it.  I went because I wanted to see two dear friends from grad school who are seldom in the same place when I have time to travel to them. This time the stars aligned to make it so, such that Thursday I found myself aboard my first ever U.S. passenger train headed toward Quincy via Chicago.  It was a wonderful weekend of art, friends, good food, catching up, and a  lot of laughter.  I stayed at the impeccable 1914 bungalow of friends Jen and Todd and got to hang out with their kiddos Trevor and Joel.

Jen and Todd's home

Of course I was inspired by the people I was with, but since I am always mesmerized by other peoples’ spaces (thus my infatuation with sites like The Selby, Apartment Therapy and magazines like Dwell), I thought I would post about it.  Jen and Todd (and even her parents) worked hard to make their basement into a space where Jen would want to have a studio and where the boys can play year-round.  They sealed the walls, cleaned up a lot and spray painted the heck out of the ceiling.  The result is a clean, crisp space with painted walls, floors, beams and trim that coordinates with the rest of the house.

Jen's studio with completed and in-progress paintings

Jen's studio with completed and in-progress paintings

Jen's latest painting

Jen's latest painting

To see more images of her work, visit her website.

The boys' "studio"- I love the colorful art lining the walls!

The boys' "studio"- I love the colorful art lining the walls!

The occasion for my visit was our friend Kelly‘s exhibition at the college where Jen teaches and runs the gallery.  I got there too late to attend the opening, but did get there in time to: attend (even help out with)  Kelly’s mural painting workshop, go to the farmer’s market, do some thrifting ($25 pair of Lane end tables- score!), enjoy several delicious meals, play soccer with a pair of squirts, partake in raspberry AND lemon sorbet at a sci-fi/horror themed ice cream parlor (Eye-Scream anyone?).

farmer's market flowers

farmer's market flowers

Indian corn

Indian corn

Saturday night we were awestruck by a breathtaking sunset.

sunset in the Q

sunset in the Q

Here’s my attempt at one of the photos that inspires Jen’s paintings:

sunset bridge

Even with 18 hours on a train, it was a very complete and restoring weekend.


I was fortunate to guest blog about none other than… rings (of course!) on my friend Lauren’s blog Dear Golden.  She also has a top notch etsy shop by the same name through which she proffers vintage wares, and I am guilty of taking home a lot of the bounty.  I suppose I could have composed the same post for this blog, but I haven’t really written about fashion much here, and since her blog is geared toward it, specifically vintage fashion from all eras, we thought the guest blog would be a fun idea.

Lauren and I like a lot of the same kinds of vintage clothing, though her scope is much larger than mine.  Her tastes never fail to inspire me.

We have been thrifting buddies for awhile now.  I think the reason I like thifting so much is getting so much for so little.  Thifting allows one to find seemingly unique items, often in very good or excellent condition, for a low price.  I really like purchasing previously owned pieces that have a history, and in doing so, I am not encouraging the manufacture of new goods, or so I tell myself.  I know I am not alone in this practice (which, if you’re not careful can border on obsession).  And it’s not just clothing that I find in this way, but also house stuff.  We have a thoroughly thrifted house.  What isn’t thrifted is often from craigslist, garage sales, or antique stores.

Of course, buying from Dear Golden means that I am buying thrifted items, but it’s even better because I am getting hand-selected, often carefully mended clothing, about which Lauren knows the historical context.  And I’m supporting a friend too.  I model for her from time-to-time and am happy when she sends me home with “payment” in an especially cool skirt I modeled that day, or a pair of shoes.

two outta three ain’t bad

Sorry to get a Meatloaf song stuck in your head.  But today I acquired some new stuff and it’s somehow all art related, so I thought I would share my successes and sorrows.  First here’s the stinker.  I ordered this paper from Canson in “indigo”

to make more island drawings and it’s not the right damn stuff.  It’s the wrong size and slightly the wrong color and there is a sticker annoyingly adhered to all 50 sheets.  But the kicker is that I can’t find the right paper anywhere online.  I guess that’s what happens when you pick up some single sheets of colored paper on a whim in Budapest–it’s ne’er to be found again–at least on this side of the Atlantic…or in cyberspace, for that matter, which I hear is a pretty big place.

But now for some good purchases.  I got this big blingy book that I had been drooling over for awhile and wanting since seeing the wonderful grotesque paintings in Italy:

Ornament and the Grotesque: Fantastical Decoration from Antiquity to Art Nouveau by Alessandra Zamperini.  Just flipping through it is exciting, as it’s full of huge color images.

And finally, a ride that can get me to the studio and school that is more casual and practical than my road bike plus it can carry stuff!  Meet Sackpak, my new Påké bicycle.  She’s my trusty steed and I don’t even have to sit side-saddle when I wear a skirt because she’s all girl-stylin.

Tomorrow is her maiden voyage.  I think the horse and ship metaphors mean that I had too much coffee today.

The best part is that I had a fantastic purchasing experience at Ypsilanti Cycles, who ordered the bike and had it delivered and assembled in a flash.  Shopping local is the best!

Vegan Brunch

Sunday we hosted a vegan brunch at our house.  Our friends Ryan and Val brought tons of good eats too.  Mark has already posted about it over at Irreverent Vegan.  Ryan and Val did a great write-up on it (from which I nabbed this photo) on their blog i’m just doing this thing.  Their about page is pretty funny, so check that out too!

brunching it up!  for photos of food- visit those other two blogs pronto!

brunching it up! for photos of food- visit those other two blogs pronto!

it’s a matter of…


P1020151and death…



In a way it makes me a little sad to throw flowers on the compost pile.  It seems somehow funereal.  But since they will eventually feed future flowers and vegetables, it is all part of the cycle.

summer eats

Summer is giving Mark and I time to enjoy cooking together and though we both love it, he especially excels.  He just started a vegan blog as the Irreverent Vegan.  He composes the pithy recipes and I help out with the cooking, ideas, photography and…man, is it hard but someone has to do it…the eating!  We’re hosting a vegan brunch at our house this Sunday morning following the wonderful Ypsilanti-based Shadow Art Fair at the Corner Brewery.

I am fortunate that a typical meal at our house looks like this:

Chick Patties and Smashed Potatoes

chick(pea) patties and smashed potatoes

chick(pea) patties and smashed potatoes with mushroom gravy

The lettuce on the burgers and the green beans on the potatoes come from our garden.  Deck and lanterns compliments of our friend Blue at Blue Sky Carpentry.

back to life, back to reality

Within hours I went from hanging out in wonderful, wacky Budapest in clubs like Szimpla Kert:3394269



(…this is where Michael and I spent our last night in Budapest and had to say goodbye to some fantastic new friends, who we’re sure to meet again.  There’s a Halloween trip to NYC afoot!…)

…to my peaceful, breezy life in Michigan.  Here are some scenes from my domestic eden:


gladiolas from my welcome back party hosted by Mark

Juni asleep

Juni asleep. Chandelier pillow compliments of Mary Elise Bolam.

laundry time

laundry time

the beast! (aka Wobbly Bob)

the beast! (aka Wobbly Bob)

the kitchen window box

the kitchen window box

And since too much peace in my life is unsettling, I decided that my home studio isn’t arranged quite right, so now I am grappling with this mess:



But thanks to my amazing fellow, there’s a fridge stocked full of my favorite things to fuel me.  I also made sun tea.  Thankfully right now, wherever I am, there is glorious summer!