follow that thar link to see all my goodies.

Below are just a FEW of the fabrics I have designed and available for either veiwing or purchasing on Spoonflower.com— They’ll all be available for sale soon but I have to check them first to see if they came out ok.

Anyway, These ones look pretty great- though I’m actually more excited about the ones I have yet to receive in the mail. Squee!!!!

two of three of my "Haeckel" fabrics

One of the Julia sets fabrics- I think it came out very nicely- it's quite detailed IRL

Another one of the Julia Sets fabric- this one was printed on their organic cotton knit, which is a lucious texture.

Savage Rabbits. The only one of the fabrics I actually drew the basic designs of. I entered it into Spoonflower's "Woodland Creatures" contest, which will be in couple weeks

Advertisements

I turned 30 yesterday. Yep, 30.

It’s a bit daunting. I’m not freaked out or anything, but I always associated 30 as being a real “grownup”.

In no way am I a young person any more. I’m just a person now. That is all well and good, it’s just a little… weird.

I don’t know that I’m ready for the weight of being an adult, I think to myself- and then Paris points out to me that I have a house with a mortgage, a decent job, a stable, loving relationship, a car, and a baby. So yeah, I guess I sort of got there without realizing it. I’ll be damned.

Over the past week I’ve gotten some amazing presents from my friends and family. My dear friend Christine got me trading cards with etchings of genetic mutations and oddities on them, Paris baked me an amazing cake, my dad gave me the antique Egyptian pharoh bookends I’ve been wheetling at him for since I was about ten plus a bunch of cool books, my uncle and his wife gave me the gold standard present (money!) plus a series of books by one of my favorite authors (Tim Powers), My grandmother gave me some money also, as well as some homemade dehydrated watermelon (!!)… Hunter gave me a wonderful drawing he did of Wesley, plus a really squishy love note  that I’m going to keep forever and ever as well as Fable 3, and I bought myself a bottle of raspberry wine, and a bottle of loganberry wine. All in all a great birthday.

Going clockwise starting at 1:00, the text reads: "Scar caused by excessive love bashing of mommy", "Constant twitching & grunting: A sign that you have a viciously healthy cave troll", "Binky: Mommy's most vital tool in taming cave troll", "fiendish drool caused by dreams of giant pulsating milk bags", "ear partially nibbled off by mommy during snuggle attack"- ..........and at the bottom righthand corner the text reads: "WARNING: Harboring of Cave Trolls may result in implosion of cuteness!"

So I’m a grownup now, but I don’t have to be a grownup. It took me a long time to realize that being an adult doesn’t have to mean giving up all the things that you love- it’s just that most people seem to do just that, and I always kind of thought that it (not having any fun) was a prequisite for being responsible. Which is bs, of course. I remember asking my mother why she gave up oil painting when I was born, and she claimed it was becasue she was concerned that the lead based white paint would be bad for me. Well, that may have been true, but it was an excessive and unnecesarry sacrifice, and I think she was just making excuses for not having any inspiration, or for being depressed, or losing interest, or whatever. I felt kind of guilty about her not painting any longer for several years, until I realized that she could have started up again at any time, but didn’t. Which was her choice.

 Anyway, I don’t feel any less inspired to do things that I find fun. I certainly don’t have as much time to do them- but I can make time for projects that I feel are really important, or I feel a really strong urge to do.

I also don’t feel the need to stop swearing and being offensive, or weird and geekey and artsy.

I don’t need to cover the world with foam pads and disinfectant. I see people doing this when they become parents quite often- and it irritates the hell out of me, becasue it’s so ingenuine. These are the type of people who have fun filled youths that give them up in favor of helicoptering over their kids with the kind of overprotective excess that leads to intense neurosis and a total inability to cope on their own for the child later in life.

It seems really important to me that one maintain one’s interests and weirdness quotient as one ages, to preserve mental health if nothing else. If one doesn’t have any outlets for frustration or rage or inspiration— well I think that’s where soccer moms come from.

Watering down the world, as it were- making everything blander and more harmless with the intention of protecting one’s child, but in the long run, destroying their development and capacity for coping with real life. Also, if you’re not doing things to keep your own brain stimulated, but rather just taking  hyperinterest in your children, you will damage them, and possibly incite their resentment.

Anyway, Being a grownup and being a parent doesn’t have to mean putting aweay childish things, which I have zero intention of doing, ever. I will be engaging in highly childish things for the rest of my life I expect.

Related to this topic and my obviously opinionated stance on parenthood, here are two awesome blogs I love:

STFU Parents and Free Range Kids

Also, Wesley’s been getting some more awesome presents, including a Ralph Lauren body-suit (!!HAHAHA!) and a handmade quilt (that has a POCKET sewn into it !!) from My aunt-in-law Donna. They were delivered by my uncle Eggy and my Grandma Rosemary when they came to visit and hang out with the little man for the first time this last Saturday. It was a delightful time, and Rosie seemd so nervous about holding the little fella, like she might break him at any moment. Eric modified The Police song “Walking on the Moon” to “Walking on My Mom” on the guitar, which Wesley seemed to fnd acceptible (I can’t tell yet if he actually LIKES anything, but you can sure as hell tell if he doesn’t, so I figure anything that doesn’t make him cry is at least ok with him, the exception to this is that he has just begun smiling back at me if I smile at him, which is AWESOME.)

So things are good, all in all.

Happy 30th birthday to me!

The Cave Troll Hungers for MILK! URGH!

I can’t believe it’s been 45 long days since little Wesley got pulled out of my guts! How awesome.

Of course he is an absolute delight. He wails, coos, makes little animal grunts, poops, pees, occasionally spits up, stares vacantly into space, drags himself like an inchworm & groans mournfully when put on his belly, flails his limbs wildly on occasion for no apparent reason, and tries to latch onto your nose when you kiss him.

Pretty much he’s a the epitome of adorable fabulous baby.

I’m back at work now and trying to get into the swing of a schedule that involves getting up three times a night to tend to a little creature that can’t control it’s bodily functions or feed itself. It sounds way worse than it actually is, to be honest. Getting up in the middle of the night IS painful, but it’s also totally balanced out by the awesomeness of having such a neet little science experiment living in my house.

His dramatic entrance into the world was pretty awesome too. I did end up having him via C-section, but despite many people seeming to hate the experience of surgical birth, I thought it was pretty awesome, and I really had a great time. Plus the drugs were AMAZING. And my insurance covered SO much of it- I’m not nearly as indebted to the hospital as I was afraid of. I was treated like a queen by the staff, and the people there were knowledgeable, no-pressure, and all around awesome. I think it’s a little unusual to say, but I had FUN having him. 13 hours of labor, 6 of unmedicated- then I finally broke down and got an epidural, then after another 7 my contractions just stopped- then I opted for a c-section, whcih I got to be concious for (weird and awesome), and which Hunter got to be there for. He even got to cut the umbillical cord!

I was terrified that I would be able to feel them cutting open my abdomen, but it just felt like tugging and shifting- there was no pain at all. Thank GOD for modern painkillers. Hunter got to hold him right away, and after they sewed me up I got wheeled into a temporary post surgery room and I got to meet my little creature. All in all the surgery lasted maybe 25 minutes- and I got to hold my baby RIGHT away after they were done with me- which was awesome. He was really alert and attentive- and had Apgar scores of 9/9- which is great. As soon as I was in the recovery room I got given a nice dose of Diloted, which left me empathizing with junkies. It was pretty much the best thing ever.

After that they took me to a private recovery room that I spent the next three days in. It had its own bathroom, HGTV, decent food, an adjustable bed, I was pretty constantly high, and I got waited on hand and foot, so I was a truly happy camper.

Wes had to spend two days in the nursery because of low blood sugar, but I got to visit him whenever I wanted to- and even he had his own room there, so we had plenty of privacy when we visited him. I probably could have slept there but I took advantage of the last two full nights of sleep I’d be getting in forever.

Hunter was AMAZING throughout. He was absolutely the best support I could imagine, and treated me like a goddess. I’ve come to expect that now, and I wasn’t at all surprised, just really intensely grateful and filled with squishy love and a feeling of incredible good fortune, and knowledge that he was going to be the best dad ever.

on an interesting side note, I got my bill and…

Price of 4 days in the hospital- 13 hours in a labor room followed by major abdominal surgery, followed by 3+ days in a private recovery room, two days in 24 hour care nursery for Wesley, a battery of tests, my pertussis vaccine, lactation consultants, visits from multiple doctors, nurses, and lactation consultants, and a ton of drugs…. FIFTY EIGHT GRAND

Price after insurance: TWO grand

I cannot even imagine not having insurance. WOW. That’s fucking INSANE. I’m SO glad I have the coverage that I do.

 America’s healthcare pricing system is totally nuts.

In totally unrelated news, I FINALLY published my novel, The Golden Empress.

Friday, Hunter and I went to the OB for more than just a normal prenatal exam. I can’t determine if it’s been stubborn resistance, or more likely simply being stuck- but Wesley has been breech for some time. I distinctly recall sitting on the porch with Hunter one evening, and feeling a massive shift- he had been very active around that time- but it was clearly becoming more and more cramped in his, uh, apartment. That was the last time he flipped, and I believe that he was growing at such a rate that he became lodged in that position- though it is possible that he just liked it there. He would be closer to my voice as well as others, my heartbeat, etc. It was probably more interesting to be upright, if perhaps not as comfortable. 

Anyway, for whatever reason he remained there, and became so large that he certainly could no longer move out of that spot even if he’d wanted to. I was thinking that perhaps i would have to welcome him into this world with major surgery, which of course has its plusses and minuses. Really though- I’d rather not have to deal with recovering from a C-Section when I should be 100% focused on bonding with my offspring. The hope was to have what’s known as an “external cephalic version”, which is a fancy way of saying that a doctor or midwife pushes as hard as they can on your stomach (and I mean as HARD AS THEY CAN) and then twist the baby into the “correct” position for birth. 

Most of the time, the success rate for this procedure is about 60%. There are certain factors that increase the likelihood of success: 

1) If the baby is on the small side (Of course Wesley is in the 60-70th percentile of size, so that’s a big no) 

2) If they do it early, say 36 or 37 weeks (And again, nope. Mine was to be performed at 39 weeks… oops) 

3) If the mother has an exceptional quantity of amniotic fluid (Noooope) 

4) If the child is not the mother’s first (well, crap) 

5) If the baby is transverse (One guess…… nope!) 

6) A conveniently placed placenta  (sadly, and predictably, no!) 

Given these circumstances, the doctors gave me an “optimistic” 30% chance of the procedure working. I did have a *few* things going for me. He had not entirely dropped, though he did have a leg wedged in my pelvis. He was not a multiple (twin, triplet), I did have a “fair” amount of amniotic fluid, and I didn’t have any severe risk factors that would cause conceivable issues (gestational diabetes, etc). 

After an initial exam and quick ultrasound to make sure he was still head-up in the normal OBGYN, they shipped me over to labor and delivery where a nurse ultrasounded me again, asked me a ton of questions, and hooked me up to an IV in my hand (which was new for me). After a while, the doctor came in and poked around, scanned me again to see his exact angle, took Wesley’s heart rate, etc etc. Then they gave me a drug which was apparently used at one time for asthmatics. It relaxes the smooth muscle of your body, which makes it ideal for preventing contractions as well as staving off an asthma attack. The one severe side effect it has is causing one to feel as though they’ve had about 16 shots of espresso in the space of about 30 seconds. They warned me about this, though I’d already read about it beforehand- and indeed, afer about half a minute (and mid-sentance) I suddenly trailed off and “whoa”d because I was indeed suddenly and overwhelmingly overcome with a rocket-powered heart rate. It felt like my vision tunneled a bit, I got a HUGE adrenaline rush, and my scalp started sweating all *BAM* at once. it was pretty intense. Fascinating, too. 

Illustrations always make this kind of stuff look so damned easy

The doctor got to work pretty fast and started bearing down on my stomach right underneath Wesley so he could lift him *up* towards my ribcage, then invert him. He used what Hunter described as Karate hands- I couldn’t see what he was doing but I could sure as hell feel it. After hefting him up, the doctor spun him a few degrees so that his head was at about 11 O’ Clock. He paused to comment that he was moving far better than he had hoped, and then resumed. The more he pushed the more uncomfortable it became.  

When I think of the word “pain” I think of a sharp stabbing sort of feeling- so I initially couldn’t decide whether to call this “pain”. It was monstrously unpleasant, that’s for sure. The doctor (according to Hunter) was putting all his strength into this, and was sweating and shaking from the effort. He was pushing down on my abdomen SO hard that I thought he might punch through to my spine. For real. 

But I could feel him turning, so I knew something was happening, and so I just tried my best to breathe. The Dr. stopped again and I think he took a quick scan- I was kind of out of it at that point- but I do remember him saying “Am I good or what?” to his nurse. Ha! Good indeed! They hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor and made me hang out for about an hour, and then sent me on my way. My stomach feels like one big bruise, but it’s totally worth it. The nurse seemed very impressed with my tolerance for discomfort, which made me feel pretty badass. 

So it worked- Wesley has now been officially turned head down and I will NOT have to get a C-Section (barring unforseen disaster) – and I am absolutely delighted about that. I can feel his little cramped “kicks” (more like nudges now) in the places that they “should” be, and it’s totally comforting. I’ve been told my stomach even looks different, though I still just feel like a land monster. 

Additionally, with all those ultrasounds they were doing, I cannoodled them into getting me a couple more printed pictures. I’ve never seen ultrasounds of a “full term” baby, and he looks REALLY weird- but that’s what you get when you take a photo with sound waves. 

So I’m back at work and just twiddling my thumbs here. I’m really anticipating going into labor and I just can’t wait to be back to my old self again- only with a new person living in the house! Woo! 

This is Wesley looking directly at us. His head dominates the upper righthand of the scan. That dark patch is an eye socket, and the bright nub is his nose. Yep, he looks like an alien with dimples, to be sure.

This one is a little more obvious. Basically, it's his profile- and it looked like he was chewing or sucking- I think maybe he was trying to eat his hand.

I am just going to start posting the amazing websites I find here unabashedly, this stuff needs to be seen.

I find so much that’s worth sharing, so many blogs and sites that blow my mind, and I don’t cross post any of them. As of this moment, that’s going to change.

Cats and Mice, arming themselves for battle

This amazing artist has created an entire armory for the Toms and Jerrys of the world. I can’t even imagine how many hours of labor were put into these custom costumes, and I certainly can’t speculate on the motivations that drove the artist to undertake such a project, but whatever their reason, the end result is both bizarre and exquisite.

I can’t think of a single cat who would tolerate wearing this, but nevertheless, it’s amazing.

Bizarre and exquisite happen to be the qualifying factors for me to fall in love with a piece of art. I espcailly love that the mice have been given tiny lances. It sort of evens the score.

Here’s the thing about me. I’m just not satisfied with one particular kind of artistic medium. This is probably why I never learned to play an instrument… it just takes too damn long to learn. I did manage to figure out how to play a singing saw, and I can even make it through the first few notes of the original Star Trek theme, but I get bored with things fairly quickly. 

Actually, that’s a fallacy. I don’t get bored with them, I find something even MORE interesting and get distracted. I sculpt with clay, paint with oil, acryllic, watercolor, tried etching boards… I make a miniature murder scene, draw comics, write a nonfiction book, write a fiction book, make a statue out of glass bottles, make a windchime out of forks, tried my hand at silkscreening, had a darkroom for years, made polaroid image & emulsion transfers, sketch with charcoal, oil pastels, pencils, pens, make collages with all kinds of shit, make weird ass shadow boxes out of found art, biological who knows what, and junk, and on and on and on. I’m like a goddamned fickle teenager when it comes to self expression. Except I love every single form of it that I’ve tried, and want to keep trying everything that looks interesting. 

My dad once told me that as a young boy, Charles Darwin would find a fascinating insect and grab it in his hand. Shortly thereafter he would come upon an even better insect, but being unwilling to part with the first one, he would grab it up with his other hand. 

Inevitably, he would come upon some third bug who was even better than the first two, but, still being unwilling to part with either of his other discoveries, he would pop one of the other ones carefully into his mouth for safekeeping, so he could scoop up the third. 

This is very much a sort of behavior I can see in myself. A frenetic sort of interest in everything. It means I have a basement filled with large, ungainly sculptures and paintings and tools for making them and absolutely not one square inch left in my house to put them.  

Thankfully, at least the “singing” saw is multipurpose, and I have used it both to play, and to cut back the holly tree. Most of the other stuff though… I’m not known for functionality in art, sadly. I’ve always loved and respected functional craft (knitting, sewing, woodworking, cooking) but tend more towards the abstract myself. I have recently decided to amend this behavior so that things I make will not be relegated to some dusty corner, to sit sadly neglected forever more.  

It was this desire to be – uh- more utilitarian in my crafting that led me to the idea of making a cigar box guitar. I think it was boingboing.com where I saw a photo of a fellow who had just written a book on hand making practical things (An invisible bookshelf too! Oh, I want to try that one!) and he was proudly holding a simple, 3 string CBG. I was struck with the idea of making a musical instrument. I read a little outline of how it was done and realized almost immediately that it was completely within my skill set to do- if I didn’t know how to do any one particular thing, they were all pretty easy to pick up on, and required no intricate electrical or construction related knowledge. I needed very simple tools and materials to do this project, so of course I dove right in.  

I found the wood for the neck in my basement. Upon reflection it is terrifically ill-suited as a medium because it’s very very soft, but this is my very first attempt, and I hope it will be serviceable.

It had damn well better be seeing as how much work I’ve put into it.

Anyway, it is possibly as old as the house itself…  I found the it (the 2×4 plank) propped up against the wall covered in spider webs and grime, and I cut a 2×2 inch x 3 foot hunk and hoped for the best.  

The cigar box I bought at Riche’s Tobacco for 4 or 5 bucks- I bought three because I just couldn’t pick one they’re all really neet- but let me tell you, a visibly pregnant lady gets a lot of funny looks in a cigar store, and additionally, gets ogled  when she’s seen carrying around a bag that proclaims “I ❤ Pipes” in big red letters.  

Anyway, the last three weekends I’ve been working on the bloody thing. I thought initially that it would be fairly simple, but of course it has become elaborate and complex beyond all conception.

For my first mistake, I cut the holes in the cigar box too large for the neck, which simply will not do because of course that would affect the sound- so I had to cut and sand little wood pieces to cover the fuck-ups.  

Then of course I realized I had neglected to cut a “divet” in the length of the neck for the cigar box to sit in, so that the body of the guitar was HIGHER that the neck- which completely screws everything up.  

If you imagine the strings coming down the neck of  a normal guitar, you can picture in your minds eye that the body of the guitar is, in fact *lower* than the neck- if it was higher, one realizes— upon visualizing it— that the strings would of course, press against the body of the guitar itself- making it, essentially, unplayable.

For reference- As you can see the neck/ fretboard is higher than the guitar body. DUUUUUH. Mine was not.

My solution for this was to lay another slab of wood on TOP of the neck- like a fret board is sometimes a separate piece on top of the neck of some electric guitars. This seemed to work but took hours and hours and HOURS of sanding to make fit properly. blarg.  

I installed a set of pegs that I got for cheap (they’re half a set of mandolin tuning pegs- what they had, and I got two in a box, so if I broke one I could just try again) Of course I managed to SPLIT the head of the guitar trying to install them, so now there’s about half a bottle of carpenters glue filling in the split. *le sigh* It’s not pretty but it appears to be holding.  

I sanded the ugly cigar box finish off, and I WAS going to apply this beautiful mahogany stain/ varnish I had left from doing the floors of a dollhouse (another project now in the basement) only to discover the can was totally dried up. Humbug!

Also, yesterday, I half-finished a bridge and nut for the guitar and strung ONE string on it for the first time. It was SO satisfying to hear that it makes sounds. And not just any sounds, it makes WONDERFUL sounds. I played slide on my one string with a tube of chapstick. haha!

The bridge is still too high and has no divets cut in it, and the nut is a horrible mess because I’m an idiot and used the same wood as the neck- knowing it would be too soft but unable to think of what else I could use that I had lying around. I will surely have to re-make something but I still don’t know what I can use that I have already on hand. My grandmother gave me some awesome super hard African nuts but my dremel just carves, it doesn’t CUT, so I have to get something that is already kinda shaped.   

I called Art media today and spoke with a nice fellow there who suggested that I use a particular variety of chemical which will allow me to stain with oil paint- OOH! Great idea. If I want to stain it blue, now I can stain it blue. Rad! I have a huge collection of rarely used oil paints and now I can pick one to make into a stain. Fabulous. I also got a nice varnish and some armature wire to make frets with. Whew.  

I even picked up some cool DAS air-drying clay that I think I can use to patch other small holes- it claims to be very sturdy and will accept sanding, nails, and painting. At the very least so far it’s a super fun new toy. I tested it out and made a teeny tiny little angry old man face sculpture which I gave to a coworker. It is delightful to play with.  

Here’s a page I started on “Cigar Box Nation” to track my progress! There are a bunch of photos and descriptions and whatnot.  

I am having an absolute blast but obviously I’m running into difficulties. Coming up with creative solutions has so far been both rewarding and successful, and I’m really hoping I’m able to complete the project this next “weekend” (wed-sat) I’m pretty limited by the tools and materials I have, and there is some stuff that I really wish I would maybe have done differently, but that’s what the other set of tuning pegs and the other two cigar boxes are for, right?? I’m definitely going to make another one eventually, though since I’m only technically 3 weeks away from giving birth, it may be longer than I’d like!  

One String Strung. The most recent photo of the not-done CBG. Still have a looong way to go, but heck, I got it to make sounds so I'm happy.

Uh, so I have a sort of embarassing habit.

 I love Avon stuff. I know, I know.

 Give me all the crap you want, but it’s inexpensive and the 50% of their products that don’t smell like old ladies are awesome.

Anyway, the point of this admission is that recently I ordered some stuff from them. UPS fucked up and didn’t send me anything, so I contacted customer service at Avon. They were super nice and (since I’ve been having oodles of “issues” with their shipping recently) they reshipped it to me with grave apologies right away.

So normally they ship UPS ground but this time, to prove that they’re awesome, they shipped it via UPS Air, which I was delighted by. Anyway, when I got the box- I discovered that apparently, Avon is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Or, uh, UPS Air seems to think it is, anyway.

the FOUR seperate documents they sent along with my stuff. There were MULTIPLE COPIES of many of these, including FOUR of the little mostly blank ones, and two each of the big ones. Srsrly.

So what did I get that was so dangerous? Well, there was some peach antibacterial hand soap, peach body spray, peach body scrub, berry cranberry shower gel, palm desert rose body scrub, and palm desert rose hair oil, some oil absorbing sheets, and a complimentary thingy or foundation that’s about 12 shades too dark for me. Nice thought though. Oh, they also sent me a free sample of their lotus shield anti-frizz hair goo. aaaaaaannnnndddd…… nope, there does not appear to be any nitro glycerine, gunpowder, or even a tiny bit of high explosive, but I guess antibacterial soap is OMGZ DANGEROUS.

Yeah.

FEAR EVERYTHING LIQUID Americans! Avon is a terrorist threat!!!!!

Like, danger and stuff y'all!