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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Travelin' Rabbit

In my fervent quest to create my own animals, I have produced another lovely creature - Travelin' Rabbit.

Actually, it's so simple right now that it could be a rabbit or kangaroo (missing its pouch) or rat or any number of things.
Be on the look out for additional members of this wild kingdom. :)

PS. Isn't the vintage-inspired color combination gorgeous?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Masterpiece Rabbit

You know how you spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you're good at and what you could potentially make a living from? Or, at least, some pocket money, if not a real living. I've been trying out different artistic mediums all my life, more so in the last 2-3 years than in my 22 years of existence... but you know the story... artist since very young age.

I've always been one with many interests. I could no sooner choose one medium to stick to and make it my career than I could with food, politics, lifestyle, and all those important life details. Then I discovered -- stumbled upon more like -- Stephanie Congdon Barnes and... well... the rest is a temporal history. (At least until the next medium comes a-knockin'.)

I don't know if you've seen Stephanie Congdon Barnes's work but her animals and other items are gorgeous. Down to every detail she is brilliant beyond brilliant. If I could, I would purchase each and every one of her masterful creations and put it on display. Her work -- the attention to details, the intricacy, and her talent for hiding finished seam work -- is deserving of gallery/museum attention!

I'm just saying. The gal knows what she's doing and has been for a while. Nothing that great gets conjured up in minutes or hours.

And... if you're anything like myself, when you cannot afford something but really, really, really want it, you think to yourself: I'm not a shabby seamstress/artist, I've got a sewing machine, I know how to hand-sew, I've got the materials, I'm gonna make it myself!

Several hours later... The finished creation. I've sewed rabbits before (a total of two) and even attempted a teddy bear, but I must say, a person's skill can evolve so drastically. It certainly took me by surprise. A welcomed surprise.

The pattern-making took a good hour to figure out. Lots of sketching and tweaking and enlarging. Then the actual sewing took another 8 hours or so. I really surprised myself with this rabbit. My previous stuffed toy attempts were no where near in quality, craftsmanship and dedication.

It's amazing what you learn about yourself and your capabilities when you're forced to make something yourself.

Now I'm dreaming up animals galore! LINEN animals galore! I can't wait to get started with my own menagerie of sculpted/tailored animals.

Hostess Gifts For A Friend

Earlier last month I stayed with a friend while visiting Madrid. I had planned on having some hostess gifts prepared before visiting, but, as has been the trend lately, I didn't get myself organized. So... it was only until a little more than a month after returning to the states that I've gotten around to making a few things to say "Thanks". Call me timely.

I didn't know what she needed or would use, so I made some things that most anyone would enjoy. Practical. Pretty. Simple to make.

For my friend, I made a set of coasters using gorgeous scraps of oilcloth (easy to clean and fairly durable... I mean, what damage could a cup do to it?).
I also made up a set of mismatched (though the colors kind of match, right?) cocktail napkins from leftover scraps of fabric in my fabric stash.

AND, I sewed up a tea towel/dish rag using an extra piece of this toile fabric I bought from etsy.

All in all, I think it's a pretty nice gift. The colors and patterns make for a bright and cheerful gift! Great for Spain!

Many apologies for the blurry photographs!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Layout

What do you think? I had forgotten a lot of basic html and css coding (what little I knew to begin with, that is) until recently. Upon witnessing the mess of a blog this was becoming, I knew Shiri Me! needed a cosmetic face lift. It still needs some work; must do some more research on coding to get it right. I'm loving the color scheme. Was inspired by Cosa Verde's website.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Am back for Fall

Have returned from my third and final summer trip - Spain! - and will now attempt to sort out my life. Doing a bit of "spring cleaning" this fall, searching for a part time job as well as establishing some volunteer/intern positions for "professional development", AND, most importantly, get cranking on the crafting. I hope to have some things to show you soon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance?

I don't know how many of you watch this U.S. reality dance program, but I've recently fell in love with it again. (And you should check it out if you haven't already done so!)

(One of my favorite dance routines this season)

The dancers this season were quite good (though I'm no dance expert) and while I really would have loved to see the Top 8 all win, that is just not possible. I was quite saddened to see Janette go. Really, quite possibly, she was one of the best dancers I've seen on reality dance shows like this one (and I've seen my fair share). But, then again, she'll probably end up having a wonderful career anyhow. My art teacher always said, those who never won anything for their work usually come out at the top in the end (in response to my jealousy over my younger sister's initial luck with awards for her artwork). I like to think the same will happen for Janette.

Meanwhile, my heart is now with Jeanine, as she is also my favorite. I simply cannot believe that she is only 18 and so accomplished; you can just see it in the passion she displays, her grace (well, sometimes), her happy smiles, and overall technique. I hope she wins and, if not, I definitely hope she has a successful career in the arts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Back from China and Macau! What a trip! Will post pictures soon... soon as I locate the cords for the camera... Can't wait!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Want some comfort for the soles of your feet?

If you're wondering why I've been writing lately, I've decided that just because I do not have anything art-related (my art, that is) to talk about, doesn't mean I should let this blog die completely. I've been sick lately so it's definitely delayed my art-making. I've finally found my digicam and recharged my battery, so I hope to get to snapping some photos of things I've been making lately. My aunt also gave me several yards of light blue linen so I'll be able to make lots of cushion samples. Yay!

But... back to the topic. Have you ever heard of Cydwoq (pronounced Sidewalk)? They make the best shoes ever! Lots of people have said so online but I didn't trust them until I forked down the large sum of money to purchase a pair. Initially it felt uncomfortable, but by the second wear I wore it down enough to make it oh so comfy. It's definitely a shoe meant to be walked in. The above picture is the one I bought. You can find it here.

It's been bitterly cold in San Francisco as of late, but I've been finding myself trying to get out so I can wear them!

A tip to keep them lasting for years and years, have a shoe repair person make some rubber soles on your sandal soles and get it replaced every year or two. Resoling would cost you a lot more and the leather soles would wear down after much use. I haven't gotten mine rubbered up yet, but I plan to soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't ruffle my feathers...

Or something like that...

I've been in ruffle and pleat heaven as of late. I'm currently working on creating a few prototypes of linen cushions featuring ruffles, pleats, and other "architectural" details. I'm really excited and hope to share with you soon.

Until then, I'm lusting over this gorgeous dress on etsy, from lisarietz

It looks like something I would totally wear on a sunny day out or to the office... if or when I find a job that requires I be in an office... I'm perfectly content with just wearing it whenever, just 'cause..

(Unfortunately, it's out of my price range. If only someone would guarantee me a job by the time I return from my summer trips in August... hinthint... winkwink.) :)

Anyway, if you're looking for a little break from work or whatever, go check out her etsy shop! If anything, there's a lot of beautiful photography of her clothing, worthy of a magazine spread.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Travels in my head

I have a long vacation coming up. Two, actually. First China, then the east coast (Providence, Boston, New York and Connecticut). Next year, I would like to expand my east coast trip to include such places as Pennsylvania, Maine, Washington DC, and who knows what else? I really cannot wait. It will be a long overdue vacation. From the studies of my life.

No one can spend almost two decades in school without ever taking a break. And the summer breaks enforced by the public school system is just simply not enough! :)

But, in the back of my mind, I'm already planning additional trips. Long sojourns really. Two, three month types. I'm not sure which boss will allow an employee to be gone for such a long time... but I reckon I'll need to find a job that will let me accumulate my vacation days or will simply let me go and just not get paid. That, or I find a temporary job or wait until I'm between jobs. We'll see.

Where to, you ask? All over Europe. ALL OVER.

A former housemate -- from my college days not long ago -- just returned from a semester abroad in Copenhagan. Then, she spent three months afterwards traveling Eastern Europe. On her own, I might add. No real planning and just staying with strangers for free. Sounds like an exhilarating adventure!

I, myself, am a self-proclaimed stubborn planner. Can't go anywhere without some kind of plan, however vague or complicated. Need one. And maps. Whether it's a general map in my head or the real kind that you hold out. Or even the scratchy kind I drew. Need some kind of picture. To guide me, y'know. Not that I would ever dare get lost. Maybe for a minute.

So. In my mind, I'll be traveling everywhere. I've always been fascinated with Italy and sometimes France (no snootiness, please) and Spain (sometimes, not always). And England would be easy because they speak English too! Though different and with an accent. And lately I've been mesmerized with Scandinavia -- Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, did I miss anything? But mostly Denmark and Sweden. We had a foreign exchange student from Sweden who lived with us! So I'll have a contact there. (Actually, we also had a foreign exchange student from England... but that was a while back). Though the movies have turned me scared to the idea of traveling to Eastern Europe, I'm now resolved to at least try and visit some parts. Especially now that my friend has arrived safe and sound and had little to worry about, though she, a young pretty woman, traveled on her own.

I'd also like to visit Austria and maybe Switzerland. Is that part of Eastern Europe? Oh! And I can't forget about Greece.

So maybe I won't be able to visit all of these places at the same time. I'll definitely find my way there. Somehow. Sometime. I will. Perhaps I'll spend two weeks here during one year and two weeks there on another year. I'll get there one way or another. And on a steep budget! :)

I have a growing collection of travel books and language guides.

*Sigh* In my mind, I am traveling all the time.

Where do you like to travel in your head?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kindness gives me the Giggles

I don't know what was in the air today but it made my heart swell with happiness, giddiness, and genuine kindness. You'd think with the weather cooling quite a bit today, a far departure from the past couple of days, that my kindness would've taken place yesterday instead. But, nope, the gusts of winds did not do anything to hamper my day. I rather enjoyed it!

I started out with a startled jolt at 7:30am and then, while laying on my bed for a few minutes, wondered why on earth I was awake so early when I had another hour of scheduled sleeping. I finally got out of bed at 9:00am and rushed to get ready for babysitting this morning. I must say, it's been such a pleasant work day today. And in such a long time!

I really love the two girls I babysit on Wednesdays but sometimes -- well, most times -- they can be quite a handful. If one isn't a sourpuss then the other one is! And, let's face it, I haven't had that much experience monitoring two young children. So it is always an educational day at this household. But today, of all days, turned out to be such a pleasant and relaxing day. Rather than dragging me to-and-fro from game to game, we spent half the time just sitting on the elder girl's bed reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie". (I must admit, I've never read the book before! But have heard much about it, mostly from my former art teacher Sarah.)

After babysitting I decided it was too nice a day to waste by going back home right away. So... with my leisure time I decided to hop around from thrift store to thrift store in the hunt for some good apparel treasures. And boy did I return home with some!

Before I get to that, I did want to share the strange swell of kindness I experienced today. So many pleasant experiences in one day! First off, I was still reeling from the high I experienced after finally getting a customer representative from Southwest Airlines to reinstate my "expired" points so that I could get my free plane ticket. It was such a distressing experience that the good feelings I received from solving that problem was able to last me for quite a few days. And I'm still grinning.

Drawing upon that happiness and sense of content, while I was on the 43 bus on my way to the first thrift store -- the Crossroads on Irving Street -- an older gentleman in a wheelchair talked to me. He didn't look particularly clean and his clothes seemed rather raggedy, not that it bothered me. He tried to talk to a girl who sat near me reading a comic book; she never bothered to look up or respond to his inquiry about what she was reading. He talked to me instead after a long pause and I felt comfortable enough responding. It was so spontaneous. I'm usually quite apprehensive about speaking to strangers on the bus. I can easily strike up a conversation with a sales associate while shopping, or feeling the comraderie with fellow lost tourists staring up at a map, but on buses and trains, I like to keep to myself.

Anyway, it was mostly small talk and the bus engine was so loud I couldn't hear half of what he said. I remember that he was taking two classes at City College -- Cultural Anthropologie and Mandarin Chinese. Apparently he had just completed a midterm for his cult. anthro. class and he felt pretty confident about it, which seemed to be a surprise for him. He mentioned the difficulties of nailing down the tones for Mandarin; it took him one and a half years. It was very general talk but it made me so proud of myself for responding to him and just being my pleasant self (which, actually, isn't all too natural for me). I don't know. It just made me happy to know I didn't ignore this fellow who only wanted to converse with someone on the bus. I only mentioned his appearance because usually that's the first thing we notice and it usually determines whether or not we respond to a particular person. His disability and his gruff looks were not in his favor, except today.

I finally arrived at my first store and found a nice purple purse to purchase. I was browsing through a rack of skirts -- my sister wanted to purchase one for a baby red egg party -- when a kind old woman (grandmother) asked me if I thought the pair of shoes she was holding up was worth the purchase. She turned the shoes upside-down so I could see the price sticker. $27.xx for a pair of gently used Nike's. Now, we all know Nike isn't well known for their particularly admirable business practices. Mostly because they don't have any admirable business practices. BUT - they do know how to make quality athletic shoes. So, I told the woman that was a good deal. OH! - the fun part is we spoke in Chinese. At some point we moved from Cantonese to Toisanese. I'm more comfortable in Toisanese and as soon as I realized she also spoke it I switched my language, or, er, dialect.

She asked if there would be a discount and I said no, but that I had a birthday discount I hadn't used and she could have it. So we went up to the counter and I gave her my discount. I had saved it for a month in case I found something to purchase (which later I did, at another store), but I just felt like giving and sharing today. (I know! What am I breathing in today?! Happy dust?!?) She was very grateful and kept thanking me. I'm not very good at accepting kindness so I just shrugged it off and told her it was no problem. We talked for another five minutes outside the door. I hadn't realized that she waited for me while I made my purchase. That was nice of her. She talked about her children and grandchildren and how none of them really spoke Chinese and how my Chinese was very good. She also asked if I was married but I exclaimed, "Married?! I'm only 22! Only 22! Why would I be married already?" She just said, "Why not? It's just the right age." Maybe in her time I thought. Maybe in her time.

It was just a pleasant and lovely and unexpected encounter. It's been a while since I've assisted any Chinese old ladies, but it's always such a joy when I do. I also love it when they compliment on my Chinese speaking abilities. I have major issues with Mandarin and Cantonese, but when it comes to Toisanese, I can kill. For an American-born Chinese person at least.

We finally departed and I kept looking back to see where she went. She said she was going to take the N-Judah across the street. I had to catch the 43 up the block. But I kept turning back to see if I could still see her. But I couldn't find her. Oh well. It's a shame I'll probably never see her again. Or recognize her for that matter. 3 out 4 of my grandparents are still alive but I don't generally get to enjoy this type of small talk anymore. It was nice to speak to a grandmotherly person. Maybe that's why I was so ready and willing to share my discount. She felt like family I guess. I don't know. Something was in the air for sure.

I went to my second thrift store of the day and found a nice blousy-cardigan. My stay in the Haight/Ashbury area was short. Didn't feel like wandering through the street. Plus, it got cold all of a sudden.

I decided to catch the 71 bus all the way downtown and enjoyed my stay there. I'm always downtown so it does get old sometimes. But there are so many stores there that I still have much to discover. I didn't find anything discounted enough to suit my at-the-moment feelings, so I decided to try and catch the 38L to a third thrift store. On the way to the bus stop an African-American woman, who was using her cell phone, dropped what looked to be a dollar-bill on the ground and I picked it up and gave it back to her. I tried to call her first but despite being only one feet away she didn't hear me. Or maybe she didn't know I was speaking to her. I had to tap on her shoulders, which I hate to do, and I gave her a slight startle. She thanked me and I returned with "no problem" and went on my way. It was just a dollar, I could've kept it and probably wouldn't feel too guilty and yet I was so quick to give it back to her. I really don't know what was going on today.

Was I just nice to the first guy because of my indoctrination to the plight of the disabled? Was I only friendly with the grandmother because she reminded me of what I missed of my own grandmothers? And was I so quick to return a dropped dollar bill because it wasn't a bigger bill? Is the altruism I felt today completely genuine or is it slightly affected by the fact that I am socialized to sympathize with someone in a wheelchair or the elderly? I can't say yes or no, but I have to admit, it was a grand day and I wouldn't trade it for a million bucks.

But back to my apparel finds... I bought a lovely small crocheted purple satchel purse for $10. It looks clean for something that is used and old. I also bought a blousy-cardigan from Splendid in a raspberry-magenta color for $22 (I received 10% off today for not taking a plastic bag to celebrate earth day, though I do that all the time anyway). I was on the hunt for clothing from Splendid, Michael Stars, C&C California, Rebecca Beeson, etc. It didn't prove super fruitful but I did see a few nice things in several thrift stores. Just wasn't enough to convince me to buy 'em all. I like these brands because they're made in the US of A (though that doesn't mean it's entirely sweatshop-free) and generally all-cotton. Good quality cotton too. I'm talking Pima Cotton and Supima Cotton. Wished there were clothing made from Egyptian cotton. And I wouldn't mind more clothing made from Bamboo. Anyhow, have been on the look out for cotton dresses especially because of the expected hot, hot, HOT weather in China this June-July and need the breathability that comes with cotton fibers. My greatest find was a pair of gold metallic cutout flats from Corso Como (made in brazil) at the Goodwill store on Fillmore Street. They only cost me $4.49 when they retail for almost $200! I have the exact same pair in a green and that still cost me somewhere in the ball park of $30-$50 after discounts. So... that was a steal. Clearly, somebody there didn't know their shoe brands because I saw shoes in worse condition with a lower brand name priced at $14.99. Mm-hmm. Goodwill could really use my brand-savvy recognition skills. Haha. Words from a true shopaholic. :/

To end the day, do something nice for someone else just because. You never know what it might bring to another person's day and at the very least your own kindness will bring you all sorts of surprises about yourself. Maybe even the giggles.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Taking A Break

Am in the process of turning in my fellowship application. Has been an anxious time. Just want it over with.

Meanwhile, I am thinking I need an overhaul of the site and will be back shortly to change things up! BTW, I have no computer graphic skill so don't expect fancy webpages. haha. But I will indeed be working on changing the look a teeny tiny smidgen. I'm not quite satisfied with it yet. And then regular posts to appear and regular items in the shop.

Will be working on getting this done in the coming days and weeks. Will be a long process but a necessary one.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Work In Progress

Happy New Year folks! I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday and I hope the rest of this year will be a good one. My one and only resolution this year is to post more often. And with more photos! To be more specific, I hope to post at least once per week. That's mighty ambitious for me!

This is currently a work-in-progress. A very preliminary sketch of what I hope will be a wonderful cut out. I have some other projects in progress and will post more when the time comes.