29 November 2011

Painting, pt. I

This is Tara. Isn't she lovely?

Over the weekend, Tara & I worked on our panels for the new Mural Mosaic going up in St. Albert. Our little squares, when finished, will help to make up one large mural that will hang on the back of a brick building somewhere in the city. It's been exhilarating and strange and nerve-racking, all at once.

Neither of us had seriously worked with paint before, so it was stressful trying to mix colours, blend, pick the right brushes, texture the paint, etc, at first. However, once we actually got started, the stress lifted a little. We worked mostly in silence -- Jack White, the boiling tea-kettle, and the slippery sound of paint-brushes were the loudest of the room as we worked.

After two days, Tara has nearly finished hers. I still have a ways to go yet.

24 November 2011

iPod + scarf

This is my new iPod (she doesn't yet have a name) nestled comfortably atop Lana's scarf. The latter is getting consistently longer and comfier and I'm very pleased with the results. I think that my sister will find it an excellent Christmas gift --it's certainly the best thing I've ever knitted, though I haven't knitted much. Many elaborate thank-yous to Lizzy for helping me hone my knitting skills and for showing me how to purl. You truly are the bomb, my friend!

Also, I wrote a satirical story about the hijinks-riddled purchase of my iPod from the Apple Store, and I will post it as soon as I think it worthy of public inspection. Look for it, coming soon!

20 November 2011

an arrival

It came with the snow. My uncle brought it back from the Saskatchewan home of my recently deceased Great Grandmother, since her well-kept old sewing machine was promised me during her will distribution. It's mine! It has a pedal to make it work; no electricity is required. [My mother said this would be quite helpful if we needed to make clothes during a worldwide power shortage or nuclear apocalypse. I suppose she's right.] Everything is made of heavy iron and real wood. It came with all sorts of interesting extras, including an ancient-looking button-hole-maker (I have yet to figure out how that works). It's old and neat and in great condition.

I like it a lot. I'm very excited to try it out!

16 November 2011


The sun is out despite the snow

as the city prepares itself for winter -

for Christmas.

I walk

and breath in the pine of the shivering spruce trees.

The air is visible

as the city throbs,

"Hello winter!

You're welcome here."

14 November 2011


It snowed like the dickens today. The first fall of the year. It heaps the November ground like so much cotton. It reminds me, like every snowfall, that I am Canadian and unafraid of the cold and the ice. I wore an interesting scarf.

I wanted to tell you how my plans for this month have been holding up. So far, mostly within the first snow-less weeks of November, I have been surprisingly productive.

I have,
- read four graphic novels (Hellboy Vol. 1, Beowulf, Batman: Year One, and V for Vendetta)
- gotten straight A's in social studies
- researched several universities
- made origami dragons, stars, cranes, a dog, a rooster, and a snail
- started knitting/pearling a pomegranite scarf (for Lana)
- begun cleaning my room (which has so far involved the ridding of a sizable bag of useless junk)
- got halfway through the tiresome Moby Dick, via audiobook
- drank half a box of Zen tea

I have yet to,
- start the patchwork pillows
- start Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
- start my panel for the mural mosaic
- purchase a silver iPod Classic
- spray paint two mannequin heads (for my masks)
- finish The Stand (King) and I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream (Ellison)
- bake ginger bread cookies

11 November 2011


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McRae, 1915

books, tea, licorice, dragons

I did it!

At long last, I creased and twisted and folded paper until it took the shape of a tiny dragon that will stand up on its own --an event which had been a long-term goal of mine. It was thrilling to watch my little square of paper finally take this lizard-y shape, which had only crumpled and slipped into unrecognizable messes for me before. This small but satisfying achievement makes me feel like I am actually capable of folding more difficult things, which is my rather bold motivation to try an even harder pattern: the stand-alone eagle. Wish me luck!

origami atmosphere: The Black Keys, green tea, Capricorn black licorice

08 November 2011


The documentary-style, fantasy-comedy Zelig is, in my opinion, one of Woody Allen's best-ever films. Woody's writing is dry, intellectual, and witty as usual, but the 1920's setting and interesting premise of Zelig make it perhaps more charming than his films usually are. The film-making itself is also very well done, as many of the scenes involve the film characters mingling in old footage of famous people (such as Hitler and Fanny Brice) which is a feat requiring very careful editing. The above photograph from the film is an example of this masterful editing. Thanks for your consistent excellence, Woody, you never disappoint!

I watched this movie the other day when I realized that I hadn't seen a Woody Allen film since Midnight in Paris came to theaters in June [if you didn't see it, it is simply a modern example of Woody Allen's classy, iconic film-making] and I was not disappointed in my choice. It may even beat Annie Hall, folks.

05 November 2011

Guy Fawkes Day (and origami stars)

"Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason, and plot. I can think of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."
Ah, Guy Fawkes Day. Time to read Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, put on my Guy Fawkes mask, and carry on the usual night rituals. What fun!
Also, I had been meaning to make a string of origami stars to hang from my ceiling, so yesterday I decided to finally fold them up. I used real origami paper with floral patterns, and I plan to attach them with copper-colored thread, eventually.

03 November 2011

flapping cranes

Today I folded paper cranes. If you gently pull them apart and back again several times, the wings flap. Now they sit on the openings to my air-plant jars, on top of my bookshelf.

origami atmosphere: lemon ginger tea, Arctic Monkeys, natural light

02 November 2011


November has 30 days. From what I've seen on a couple blogs I frequent, November is a special month. Therefore, I plan to make every one of these 30 days count for something (I have been looking for an excuse to be more productive and interesting, so this is as good a reason as any!)

So far, two November days have been used up on being sick, finishing one social studies course and starting another, finishing the first season of 24, knitting practice, reluctantly going to work, listening to Caribou, and eating a lot of fruit.

But for the rest of the days in this wintry, not-quite-Christmas month, I plan to:

-  fold an origami figure a day (or, if the pattern is difficult, every second/third day)
-  paint my square of a mural mosaic
-  make four patchwork pillowcases for the couch in my room
-  knit/pearl a scarf
-  read Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, H. G. Wells, and Octavia E. Butler
-  completely scour my room, getting rid of everything I don't need
-  make Christmas cards

This is my November.

goals for paper folding

origami Atlas Beetle, from Brian Chan's website

I have always been a huge origami nut. Though of late I haven't had as much time to create things as I would like, I still find myself thinking about paper stars and cranes and dragons...

When I was quite young, I received an origami book that was a little too advanced for my skill level at the time. Upon looking through it and finding myself awed by the difficult contents, I vowed to one day succeed in folding every figure in the book. Now, a decade later, I am quite close to accomplishing this seemingly insurmountable feat.

But just as I was beginning to feel like a skilled origami artist, I discovered the wonders of Brian Chan.

Brian Chan is a Japanese bloke with incredible skills. These include metalwork, drawing, origami... he's been appropriately called "the maker of anything." I agree. Just looking at what he's created out of paper gives me shivers!

So I have a new goal. Once I've mastered the origami book and accomplished my childhood dream, I will conquer Brian Chan creations -- the dream of an adult, indeed.