Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer's End

Well, the plan to update once a week went out the window when I started my second job. Oh well, I guess better late than never right?

July is coming to a close (already!?) and I figured that meant it was time to fill you all in on what I have been up to. Oddly enough, it's actually quite a bit considering how busy I've been with my jobs. But it's also been a month since my last post, and a lot can happen in a month.

Remember the shoes I dyed in my last post? I finally got around to doodling on them, and what better design to add then knit stitches? After all, they frequently get worn with hand knit socks, so it just seems fitting.


I also finally finished my Blue Diamonds Tee. It wasn't a hard knit by any means, but it was a slow one. Not really being able to try it on as I went was a bit insane also, but the end result is still something I love. It's very over sized, which is nice because it flatters me well.  And I had just enough yarn to finish it up (phew...I was a bit worried!). The yarn is Tahki Yarns Prism (a ribbony cotton) and I really enjoyed knitting with it. 


With my tee done, I jumped right in and started another project. My boss at the Salina Art Center is expecting a baby boy in about six weeks. I knew I wanted to knit her a gift at the end of the summer, and although I originally planned on doing my "Bags n' Bread", I decided a baby gift was more fitting. I've had Elijah in my library for awhile now, and knew he'd be the perfect present.  Why people think he's so hard is a mystery, because I finished this little guy in a week (and that's WITH two jobs!) and had no problems at all (besides the awkwardness of my dpns - anyone else think the world needs flexible DPNS? ). He's so cute, I almost hate to give him up - even my dad likes him, and that's hard to do. 


A few weeks ago I was feeling really down because I was so busy and had no time to sit down and make "real art". I knew I needed a change, so I invested in a few good india ink pens and a pad of paper and got busy. The end result was the below drawings - zoomed in ink stitch studies.  I am absolutely in love with these and the process and have been working on them pretty much every night before bed. It's a really zen process that helps clear my head and also allows me to examine the details of the stitches in a way I can't in my paintings. 


Want to see more? Check out my website! or Facebook page (and "like" it while you are there)

Weekly Inspirations:

Knitting: I think my next project is going to be a simple pair of socks for my mom in some pretty yellow yarn.  Oddly enough, there really isn't anything significant on my needles right now. I have a couple of hibernating projects, but nothing major. And so socks it is!
Art:  This summer I've had the pleasure of working with some amazing artists/teachers at the Salina Art Center. Some are actually professional artists even! Such as Shin-hee Chin (who gave me some amazing advice), Allison Langston (and very good illustrator) and then there's Jordan, who makes drawing You-tube videos....
Cooking: My two most favorite things to make right now are homemade burritos - whole wheat tortilla, re-fried black beans, cheddar cheese, tomato and spinach - and pesta pasta/veggies - homemade pesto, various sauteed veggies and tri-color pasta. Both are super delish. 
Life: Well, none of my job applications have been successful yet, no one seems to be in a hurry. But I think my plan is to move on to Kansas City in about a month or so. One of my good friends even wants to come along. That'd make life easier, for sure!
I hope that you are all enjoying the end of your summer and are having a wonderful weekend. Don't forget to stop by and say hi! I love hearing from everyone. :) 

~Lisa

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Passing Time

Well, here we are. The beginning of July. Where has this summer disappeared to? I was so hoping for a nice, inspiring summer and yet I feel like I've just been too busy to really soak in any type of artsy bliss. Has anyone else felt this way lately?

I think part of the reason I've been so deprived (is that even a good word for it? I'm not sure...) is because this past week I started working two jobs: My job at the Salina Art Center, and now the Deli at my local Dillons grocery store at night.  Add that to my working out in the mornings and that doesn't leave a lot of time for myself. Weekends are a little better, but not much.

Enough complaining though, why not talk about something optimistic? Like the little knitting I AM getting done.  Blue Diamonds is slowly coming along. I am about half way down the body, which despite looking easy on paper, actually takes forever to get through a single row.  When this finally comes off the needles I will breath a sigh of relief and then wear it all day, every day - it really is a fun, beautiful knit!

The photo does no justice to the crazy diamond pattern


I am managing to get a little bit of other crafty/artsy-ness in, but not that much. For instance, this painting has been in the works for three weeks now, and it's not even that big. I need more motivation I guess. 

Definitely needs something....

And lets not forget that I am living at home with my parents, and my dad is a bit of a creative black hole.  If it involves any type of mess, it's pretty much a no-go. So I have to wait until he's at work (and I'm actually home!) to do anything messy. Lucky for me I was able to get a few hours before Dillons this past Saturday, just enough to do a little fabric dying experiment with a pair of cheap tennis shoes. 

Still needs some art on them!
Want to make your own? Check out my friend's post HERE to learn how!

So all in all, I feel like time is passing very fast and yet I am just watching it go. But I know that at the end of the summer when I have built up my savings I will not regret a moment of it.  After all, I need to get out of here, and if working my butt off is the key, than so be it.

Weekly inspirations:
Art:  A couple weeks ago a new show opened at the Salina Art Center with an installation by Joshua Short.  The theme of his show is sights and sounds he heard on his midwest trek to his residency with us.  I was lucky enough to get a chance to have a couple of very deep discussions with him during his time in Salina and I took a lot from it. Oh, and I actually like his abstract installation.
Knitting:  My next project is a toss up. I want to do some more selfish knitting, but I don't know what that would be. My mom got really lucky and found a full ball of Lion Brand sock yarn at Goodwill, so maybe I'll just knit her some socks to kill time.
Food:  My personal trainer has me counting calories and watching my diet. It's been a rough two weeks, but I am finally getting it down. One of the big culprits is of course SUGAR, and with that, ice cream. I am trying to find solutions, and I found one yummy recipe: Chocolate Greek Yogurt!
Life:  With mid summer approaching, it's that time to start looking for "big girl jobs". I already applied for one position at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, and I am also waiting to hear back from a residency program in Texas. I guess if nothing else pans out I can transfer to a Kroger company in Colorado from my Dillons here. 

I hope that the summer is treating everyone well - in the end it is me as well. See you all again very soon!

~Lisa


Monday, June 16, 2014

Staying Fresh

It's been two weeks since my last post. But I guess I didn't have that much to report last week, so I just decided to leave it for a week. I hope everyone out there in blogland has had a great last couple of weeks!

You may remember from a few weeks ago that I was working on an experiment in sock lengthening. I am very happy to report that the socks had a successful operation and are fully recovered! See for yourself - you can barely notice the extra little stripe and even then, that will usually be covered by shoes.


The socks are still a little loose, something I will have to remember on my next pair of vanillas. I guess everyone's feet are different after all!

The last few posts I have mentioned wanting to knit Creme Brule very badly. I even went as far as to download the pattern.  As I prepared to cast on, I pulled out the yarn and realized that Ravelry's numbers were greatly off - I had half as much yarn as I thought! And I have no way of aquiring more. So both the yarn () and the pattern are going back into my stash until a later date.

Luckily for me, I had a backup plan, and pulled out my Tahki Ripple yarn. I have mentioned the Diamond Tee before also, and it made a good back-up plan.  I pulled out the yarn (which I had enough of...phew!) and needles and promptly cast on.  As I have been knitting, I have discovered that this pattern is so weirdly knit - you start flat with the back shoulders than add on the front shoulders THEN connect them all and finish the body. I am done with all the shoulder panels and ready to connect - but still a little confused. I think in the end it will be worth the extra brain power though.

Blue Diamonds in Tahki Ripple

In the world of art (not that knitting isn't art, and I will fight anyone to the death who says otherwise), I finished up my first summer gouache painting yesterday. This one has gone through many transformations to get to this point, but I am finally happy with it. Let me just say that back lighting is so hard. I still don't think I have it down here, but I vow to continue practicing. I do really like the colors I chose for this one though!


Weekly inspirations:
Knitting: MySister'sKnitter has yet another amazing KAL starting up. This one is for sock weight yarn (but doesn't have to involve knitting socks). I will probably join in, I just really want to finish my Diamonds first. But if you are interested, you should pop in and say Hi! It's such a fun group of knitters.
Art: The Smoky Hill River Festival was this past weekend. I didn't take many photos or I would share more. But I did manage to purchase some amazing art! I had a bit of extra money and decided it was my time to invest in actual art. I purchased an amazing KS Sunset print from Justin Marable and a 3 panel abstract set from Shawn Wolter
Food: This past week I was trying to find yummy lunch items that filled me up. I decided to make deli sandwiches which involved Farmer's Market tomatoes, organic lettuce, natural turkey breast, veggie blend cheese, and  hummus on homemade wheat-seed bread. Let's just say that I just about died when I took my first bite. I'm doing it again this week!
Life: I have been meeting with a personal trainer at my YMCA the last 2 weeks. She's got me doing circuits and it's definitely killing me but I am seeing an improvement.  This week she also asked me to start counting my calories...Wish me luck on that one. 

I hope that everyone has an amazing week! I have a feeling mine is going to be a whirlwind of busyness, but those are the best kind! 

~Lisa




Monday, June 2, 2014

Sockupied

Happy Monday all! This post is a day late, but no worries, I was just busy all day yesterday.

If you read my last post, you'll know that I was in the process of moving back home. Well the good news is that I am officially back home and all unpacked.  The bad news is that I am officially back home. Living under my parents is a bit stressful after living alone so long.

Luckily, I've been keeping my self occupied lately, or should I say Sockupied? I got quite a bit done on the knitting front and it's all about socks :)


First up is my "Road Trip Socks", started on my way to Colorado last month.  Between two trips to Manhattan for moving and a couple movies this week, I was able to finish these up at last.  But go figure, I made the foot too long (anybody have any secrets to the perfect food length? I always get them too long or too short). But it was easy fix, involving folding the toes in and sewing them. And you can't even tell.




The yarn used was Berroco comfort sock, and gradated, sorta striping yarn.  It's 50% acrylic, 50% nylon and is very squishy.  But it also seems static-y and I have a feeling that it's going to fuzz up a bit as time goes on. I will keep you posted on my thoughts. This is the first time I've made socks without any wool in them.


Remember these cuties? They were my favorite pair of socks ever, what with the colors and stripes and squishyness. However, after wearing a couple of times I realized that the foot was too short (see above comments about foot length). I haven't worn them since and have been just letting them hang out in my project bag. After finishing my road trip socks, I decided I needed to do something to make these wearable that didn't involve ripping out a whole sock. Thus the above solution was born! 

I decided to separate the toe from the foot very carefully.  And then even more carefully, I put all the toe stitches on needles (I didn't lose ANY!) and added about 1/2 in (1 stripe). I then grafted the toe back onto the foot and tah dah! Longer sock! I don't have a photo yet to show you and I only have one done, but rest assured, it worked like a miracle and was definitely worth not ripping out the whole sock. 

Weekly Inspirations:
Art: Being back in Salina is exposing me to the (although somewhat lethargic) art scene here. One local artist I think is spectacular is Debbie Wagner. She is the founder of the KS figure group (which I may join, we'll see) and also an amazing pastel artist. I saw some of her figure work last night and it was stunning. 
Knitting: What's my next project? Well I am pretty sure I need a new summer top, and Creme Brule is screaming my name. Especially if I use my lovely turquoise yarn. 
Cooking: Last night we needed a side dish for our salmon, and these garlic parm potatoes fit the bill. I minched fresh garlic for the first time to use in these and it definitely made the difference (compared to that stuff in the jar that I usually use). They were loved by all, even my ever picky sister.
Life: Last night The Indigo Girls performed at our local theater and I was able to get two tickets for under $50. What a night! I have only been listening to them as of recently, but I really was able to enjoy myself. Such a relaxing, entertaining show. If you haven't heard of these gals, they are a folk/country duo that is simply amazing. 



Power of Two, by the Indigo Girls



And one last shout-out to my baby brother, who is TWENTY ONE today! WOOO!
~Lisa 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beginnings and Endings

Maybe I'm alone in saying this, but I am so glad this week is coming to a close. So many different things ended and begun this week. And so much stress and frustration has occurred. And yet I somehow survived it all to share with you today.

As I have mentioned in the last couple of posts, the biggest thing that has been happening in my life is my preparation to move back home for the summer. Well all the boxes have been packed and the apartment is clean. We made our way down to Manhattan today with the truck to load up all the big stuff, and yet still did not get done. Tomorrow we will head back for one more load. And then there's the unpacking and sorting this week, which I don't even want to go into.  But I do know one thing for certain: if I wasn't an artist or a knitter I would have had at least half as much stuff to bring back.  Oh the life...

The preschool came to an end this week also.  I know that I for one could not wait for that to happen, just so I could move on to bigger and better things.  But at the same time, I am still very sad to be leaving.  The kiddos I worked with this year will forever hold a place in my heart, and my co-workers were spectacular as well. And to top it off, they all loved their going away gifts. College Hill Preschool will forever be in my heart!

Bag n' Bread - my new go-to gift !

On the knitting front, yet another project has come off the needles. Which is crazy to even think about considering how busy I have been. But it was an easy one and also more than half done before this week. So it's no surprise it really only took about an hour to finish on Friday. This is the 507 Scarf for this month's project in the Knitting Monthly. The original calls for knitted flower embellishments, but I decided to just use 2 colors instead. I think I actually like the back better than the front because of the way the yarns blend. 


And I also have had a bit of free time to work on my road trip socks as well. The first one has come off the needles and the second has come on. Talk about beginnings and endings!


Last but not least my art is once again on display! This time it's at a local apartment complex in their "nano gallery" (aka display case in the lobby). But hey, a show's a show right?? And I love the way it ended up looking!

Weekly inspirations:
Art: I watched Frozen for the 3rd time this week. I liked it much better this time than the first two. As I watched, I found myself visualizing new compositions for paintings. Here's hoping it results in some great ideas !!
Knitting: I have a new idea for all my scrap yarn! Bows! I need to have more bow clips to pull back my bangs and what better way to use up scrap yarn.
Food: This past Friday I made orange crockpot chicken for my family's dinner. Along with it I tried Roasted Mushroom Quinoa, which turned out to be really tasty! YUMMM
Life: I'm kinda drawing a blank on this right now. I mean this whole post sums this one up.

Happy Sunday all!

~Lisa


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Priorities...

Does it feel like that's been a title for my post(s) before? I feel like it's the title for my life, that's for sure! I am sure you all know what I mean.

Last January, I told myself that come May 1st, my number one priority would be prepping to move back home at the end of the month.  And now that May is here, I have yet to really prep anything. Instead I have been keeping myself busy with work, knitting and art.

For example, I found out that the Wichita Center for the Arts was hosting a "National Small Oil Paintings" show and the deadline to submit was this past Friday.  I don't currently have any small oil paintings and I found out about it two weeks ago. So what did I decide to do? Make one! And I finished it in time (two days before to be honest), but then by the time I got my stuff together and actually read the prospectus I realized that I had to send in the payment by mail and it had to be postmarked that day. I found this out Friday night when I went to enter after a long day of work. And so that opportunity was lost. But I still love this painting and enjoyed working small for once.

"Sad Sun Ice", 20 x 10 inches

I also just finished up a swap over at the stitch marker swap group. I really wanted to send some nice stuff this time around, and decided to go with lots of handmade goodies. I always enjoy participating in these kind of things, it's such a great way to get to know someone!

Nordic pattern inspired knitting bag, markers, spindle art and orange cookies!
Photo (C) the recipient

I guess karma is a good thing, as I received some amazing goodies as well. My partner really is such a sweetheart!


Project bag, yummy chocolate, markers, yarn, and a cute sticky note tablet

And speaking of gifts, my last week at the preschool is the week and all of us teachers in the Apple Room will not be working there next year.  What better way to thank my co-workers for a great year than with a little gift? After much deliberation I decided on market bags with homemade bread. Luckily it's not going to cost me anything to do it, because I have all the bread supplies in my kitchen already and I had the yarn in my stash (Prism Yarn Fantasy Cotton/Linen). Don't those colors just scream farmer's market?


2 down, 2 to go, 3 days.

On a final note, I switched up my lonely Etsy shop again. Now I am selling prints of my gouache paintings. So if you have been really liking my art and would like to own a bit of it, here's your chance :)

Weekly Inspirations:
Art: One of my good knitting/art friends recently had her BFA show and it was beautiful. She is very interested in natural materials and it definitely showed in her works.If you want to see more of what she is up to, check out her blog: The Studio of Something Else. Way to go Stacy, I can't wait to see what's next :)
Knitting: We had knit club last weekend and this month's project is a scarf with floral accents.  I decided to omit the flowers and just knit the scarf with two colors of yarn, to get a nice black/silver scarf. It's going pretty fast, but the bags have me held up right now.
Food: We also had a studio warming for Kennita at knit club, and I decided to try this recipe for Mango Salsa. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I ended up falling in love. It's so simple and so yummy. I ended up making more for myself after (which, sadly is not getting eaten fast enough...).
Life: Did I mention I should be packing? 'nuff said.

I hope you all have a lovely week. If all goes well, my next post will be from Salina!

~Lisa 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Imagination is more important than knowledge


I would like to agree with the above quote.  Imagination really is the key to a better future.  The past few years I have felt this with all my heart, as my imagination has begun to flourish. 

I spent this past weekend in Greeley, Colorado.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I had submitted a few works to the National Greeley Art Exhibition, and one of them (Green Rain Tears) got accepted.  While the shipping was far beyond my budget, I believe that participating in this show was well worth it. One, it gave me a chance to exhibit outside of good old Manhattan, KS.  Two, I learned just what it takes to prepare, pack and ship work to a show.  And three, it gave me an reason to leave town for the weekend. 


Me with my painting at the show. ( I had a better photo, but I accidentally deleted it)

Me and my good friend Rachel decided to travel up to Greeley for the opening of the show this past weekend.  Let me just say it wasn't quite was I expected. I had hoped to get the chance to meet other artists and do some networking.  I had hoped (but didn't expect) that my painting may get an award, or even sell. To be completely honest, it was a little unorganized.  Set up at a local bank, all the works were either on easels (like mine above) or hanging from wire dividers.  Most of the works in the show were landscapes, animals or city scapes.  In fact, mine was one of only a few abstract works that I saw. It was also lots of older people, and lots of locals.  I am not even sure if anyone there knew I was an artist (they didn't give artists name tags or anything).  So by the end of that night, I was a bit down. I had hoped something would come from the reception/show and nothing really had.  The show runs until Friday, May 9 (Yes, it's a very short show), so who knows. Something amazing could happen. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, me and Rachel set out to explore Greeley. Their downtown area is a very artsy, cultured place - much better than most places I've been.  As frustrating as the previous night was, Saturday made the trip well worth it. We started the morning at a local comic book shop for Free Comic Book Day. I came out unscathed, but Rachel had other ideas. Let's just say she's a comic nerd.  We found this very cool statue and just needed photos!

I <3 nbsp="" p="" spiderman.="">

Lunch came in the form of the cutest little crepe shop, Cafe Panache.  One step inside and I knew that I could spend every day here eating crepes and knitting.  It's so full of character, with local art lining the walls and vintage decor and furniture.  And to make the experience even better, we started talking to the owners, which led to showing them my work, which led to them inquiring about me displaying there.  It is almost 7 hours away from home, so I don't know if it will ever work out, but I am going to contact them in the next couple of weeks to follow up. 

Doesn't it just scream "Knit here!"

The rest of the afternoon we kept on exploring, which included more local galleries and shops.  I can tell you one thing - our feet were very tired by the time we decided to go home. But as I have said before, it was well worth it.  After relaxing for a bit, we decided to grab dinner at Santaremo's, a local Italian place with homemade pasta. It was so yummy. And because the night was still young, we explored the park also, which was a treat.  The lights started to come on and it go so beautiful with all it's sculptures and greenery. As I wondered around a learned about my camera, Rachel enjoyed a nice bench to binge on her comics. 

SUGAR!

Me experimenting with my camera while Rachel enjoys her comic. 

We ended the night at a local bar, which was so much different than the bars I am used to here in Manhattan - even though it was busy, it was so calm and relaxing.  And the drinks were pretty good too! ;) 

Sunday meant time to head home, but not before breakfast at another local eatery.  The Kitchen was a quaint little spot we found the day before.  I am so glad we did, it was probably the best restaurant breakfast I have ever eaten. And the sign doesn't lie - they really do serve homemade bread. It was so good, we each bought a loaf to bring home. 

And more street art too!

The weekend has since come to a close and I am back in reality. I guess the fun can't last forever.  If I learned one thing from my trip, it's that I am destined for bigger and better things outside of Kansas.  I saw amazing art, met amazing people, explored an amazing city and ate some amazing food. The Greeley/Ft. Collins area is definitely on my maybe list for my move this fall.

And because I can't go a post without talking about knitting, I will show you my socks.  I started these on the way up, during Rachel's turn to drive.  Although I planned on just doing vanilla, I decided to instead do the "Dead Simple Lace" pattern from my toe up book.  They're pretty much vanilla.  By the time we got back Sunday, I was at the heel. 


Weekly Inspirations: 

Art:  While in Greeley, we went into Madison and Main Gallery.  There I was able to talk to the artist who was volunteering at the time - Dan Augenstein - who happened to be the artist of my favorite painting in the gallery.  We talked about art and I showed him my works. He loved them and started telling me how to display at their gallery. I am not sure if I will take him up on this offer - it's more of a local gallery and I don't live that close, but I am going to try to keep in touch. 
Knitting:  Well, you saw my socks started above.  Not much else is happening. I am feeling kind of wacky inspired lately - I just finished a white tree and a white mushroom for future painting still lifes.
Food: I had a can of chickpeas in the cabinet I wanted to use, so I googled recipes and found one for lemon pasta and chickpeas. I made it last night and literally wanted to finish the whole pan in one sitting. It was so delicious and so easy (I omitted the breadcrumbs for convience)

Life:  I should be packing to move in a few weeks, I really should. But instead I am working on other things. I wish I could get my priorities straight. My apartment is such a mess right now and it's driving me crazy. 

~Lisa