Saturday, October 31, 2009

dare to design contest

Shabby Apple is running a dress design contest. My friend Whitney, approached me about helping her create her drawings for the contest and encouraged me to enter as well. You know how I love creative projects and collaborations so I agreed. It was exciting to watch vague ideas turn into finish concept drawings. (I wanted to do more, but this month has been busy x10 and my creative brain is still preoccupied exploring my domestic painting series and designing my custom couches I ordered this week and hasn't been able to fully devote itself to this task.)

I designed dresses I would like to wear. I am 5ft 10" and what flatters me most are simple clean lines that are classic. I don't go for lots of frills and embellishements.

So here is my dress design for Shabby Apple dresses or well a few designs...

"Black on Black" is my favorite. This versatile day to evening dress has a wide scooped neck, cap sleeves, back zipper, bust darts, true waist, and bias cut gentle a-line skirt. The slightly irregular circles are appliques in a nubby textured black fabric to create interest, detailed with contrasting white top-stitching (double rows). The dress fabric has a touch of spandex for nice fit and gentle give. I also posted it's b-side variation sketch with a higher wider neckiline, slim below the knee trim pencil skirt and ultra narrow sash front tie for a more pillar like sillouhette.

"Atomic Energy"-This retro inspired dress came out of the domestic series of paintings I am working. The series is intended to make a social statement on the generational shifts and devaluation of domestic work by juxtaposing contemporary images with period pieces. I would love to have this dress to wear for one of my painting studies (like the one with pink cake- p.s. 4 more giant paintings are in the works!). It is an atomic era minty green, with a wide fold-over citron/celery colored contrasting shawl collar. Side zippered with seams fitting through the bust a true waist bias cut skirting for gentle A-line hitting just below the knee.

"Lavender Fields"- This dress came out of my love for light cotton summer dresses for everyday wear and my love of light lavender. It is lightweight cotton with a stand up straight collar with button front. with pin tuck detailing, an easy tie back sash and the skirt has gentle tucks for a nice ease out for comfortable fit.
"Tint and Shade"- Maybe it's the artist in me but I love contrast. I love any combination of the crisp essentials, black, white, and gray. This dress has a crisp white stretch shirting top with princess seams, a long generous, fold down shirt collar and cuffed sleeves with keyhole and button detailing. A black slimming wide waistband and 4 panel fitted charcoal gray skirt. Back zippered. Cotton/spandex blend.

"Navy Nicely" This summer dress hits at the base of the knee. It is navy with clean white contrast detailing. It has a back zipper, true circle neckline and opposing arc high waistband in white contrast. The skirt is 5 panel construction pencil style with back slit. It has short sleeves with contrast band and a keyhole and button detailing. Cotton/spandex blend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

domestic series continues

Well here are art and artist shots of the next two pieces in my domestic series both are 30x40" and I have 3 more in the works. I'd really love to do a series of 10-15. The red one is titled Full Plate and the pink one is titled A Piece of Cake. I am enjoying painting them and the challenge painting in a different style brings. As a someone who used to teach family studies at the college level it's fun to create art that relates to my academic loves of the study of family life and roles. So on to dish-washing and laundry I go (both in paintings and real life).
I love piece of cake piece because doing the preliminary photo involved actually making this amazing triple layer pound cake (known as best birthday cake) which made my whole family excited. So I guess this also qualifies it as a certian form of performance art or an event. The cake let me use my favorite late 1950's cake tender which I bought on my first ever trip to maine and looks so cool with my fav breakfast nook mcm mirror (the one my husband cracked while hanging). My friend Jenny can take credit for the muffins under the cake tender, which we made in a day of mass cooking, and the tea cart joined our household after we were married 10+ years ago, we got it from my Uncle Alan's mother Rose, after her death. And yes might correctly recognize those as the FLOR carpet tiles in my dining room. Both aprons were made by my great grandmother (although slightly modified in the paintings). So the really fun thing is the paintings are loaded with sentimentality and connection.
On another note I am quickly becoming aware of my lack of heels and yes my husband will be picking up a great mid century bench this weekend from a craigslist score- look for it coming soon to a painting near you.
1.a baby who is talking all the time 2. supportive friends 3.70 degrees in october- a New england rarity

Sunday, October 18, 2009

and this is why you should keep pleather in your attic

So the other day I asked my boys what they wanted to be for Halloween. My oldest decided a Jedi and my second decided he'd like to be an ewok. We realized we could actually get some good mileage out of an old elaborate monkey costume (for the ewok body) by simply removing the some elements and adding others.

Mom to do list:
make jedi tunic and robes
sew a wicket the ewok orange hood
alter monkey costume

Thursday night, I decided there is no time like the present, may as well get this halloween costume sewing party started. I used my notebook during the town building meeting for the new high school that night to calculate fabric yardages and make mental patterns. This while weighing out the architects A,B, C, and D plans (D is the only really good plan at a tidy 68 million).

So friday morning, after the preschool drop off we made our way to Jo-Anns.To add to the day I had my oldest tagging along because he had been sick the night before.

Here is where I stop to say a few words about bathrooms and Jo-Ann's - while no mom likes to take her kids ot the fabric store, many moms must. And in fact the reason I am patronizing the store is because of my child and my maternal love (in the form of homemade halloween costume), and when my child urgently needs a bathroom, I am told they don't have one- well actually they have 2 but they don't work- I sort of hoped he'd get sick or someone's potty-training child would have a problem right there on the floor to show them what an unwise thing this no bathroom thing was. No I am not vengeful- simply a realist and believe in the necessity of bathrooms (I don't think thats too much to ask in our modern world) and well if you can't provide a bathroom at least give me a some woods --I an dig my own latrine...

But I digress, we headed home and had 1 1/2 hrs remaining of preschool time. During this time I managed to craft the ewok hood, cut the jedi robes and tunic. We then drove back to preschool to reclaim son #2. Drove home and while #3 was catching 20 winks int he car I completed the entire jedi robe and tunic. At this point my son asked where the boots were he wore he previous year. I thought they were in my closet but alas they must have made the cut in a recent goodwill sort and were gone. Panic began to setin - no self respecting Jedi would be found wearing sketchers with his robes. Well have no fear-smart mama and her attic full o'supplies is here. I pulled down the attic ladder, climbed up and returned in 30 seconds descended with black pleather. So yes without a pattern or previous experience, I manage to craft knee high faux boot shoe covers and have them all sewn in under 5 minutes before my baby woke up from his nap.

The jedi costume looks exceptional if I do say so myself. So good that he wanted to wear it around and had to be a fashion show for the neighbor and the Ewok, well all I can say is in perusing pictures on the internet- it's the best ewok going. I even managed to find leather string and long cream colored beads (left over from a neckalce #1 son made during a tipi visit with native american dan at school 2 years ago. Which I disassembled and recreated to be that hood embellishment worn by wicket the ewok.

If they were giving medals that day for minorly important mothering tasks, I totally would have been in that middle spot on the podium. I am sure there was divine intervention in the accomplishment of homemade costumes in sewn in 2 hours or less. Too often the decision to make your child's halloween costumes often changes your title from mom to sucker... but this year I get to keep my mom title. That's "super costume sew-er mom" to you, boys.

1. costumes made 2. attic with pleather 3. when the stars align and you get stuff done!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

VBF conference

I spent last weekend in Newport Beach at the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation Conference. I first presented at their conference 4 years ago, soon after my second son was born with a port wine stain and have been associated with them ever since. I have loved the opportunitity to use my professional skills in a way that can help others.

I am on the VBF expert panel as a developmental specialist. This year at the conference I facilitated an adolescent support group, presented during the scientific symposium on the psychosocial implications of vascular birthmarks, and did 5 hours of family support groups. If you're not familiar with what vascular birthmarks are I'd encourage you to click on the link to the VBF and see the images. The conference is always a powerful experience. I appreciate hearing the stories of parents and individuals who talk about their experience of living with a visible difference. It is always excellent evidence that beauty is in who we are. It's moving to see the pioneering work of doctors developing treatment for things that were previously considered untreatable. It's really refreshing to connect with and support families as they try to balance risks and unknowns of treatment with the best outcomes for their children. I love the association with incredible doctors, board members, and staff that I have established over the years. My friend Linda, founded the organization after her daughter was born with a hemangioma. Since then the VBF has helped more than 50,000 patients network into treatment. A great reminder that one person can make a difference and dramatically change the lives of many and when life gives you something unexpected it's just an opportunity to help others.