12.23.2011

freaky friday vlog!

why does vimeo always pick the worst still shot?!

12.21.2011

gifting

tonight my daughter madhavi, who is almost ten, received a gift from a friend. when she opened it she expressed some disappointment. she said, "well, it's not that I don't like it. I just thought it would be something else." when I looked back at her, I noticed that the friend had included the gift receipt. naturally I suggested that she could take it back and get something else if she didn't like the gift. her response was so logical and human that I felt like I had to share it. she said, "but it doesn't feel right to take it back. I feel like if I take it back then getting the gift is all about me. it's all about what I want, and not that [my friend] wanted to give me something she thought I would like. it feels kind of rude to take it back." such an interesting meditation during this season of "giving". it's about the giving, right? not the receiving. how often do we forget that sentiment when we open up something we don't really like/want - and then worse yet regift. ok, ok, I don't mean to sound like a snob who has never regifted - but I guess when I really think about it, it's kind of... weird? not in the spirit of the season? I don't know. I guess it's just some food for thought.

madhavi performing at her school winter solstice showcase

12.18.2011

uncrafting: unicorn taxidermy

I came across plush taxidermy a while ago and thought it was superduper cute. search "crochet taxidermy" or "plus taxidermy" on etsy and you'll get a few dozen listings. I was really smitten by cherrybox studios' plush taxidermy art when I saw their work at the art star booth at the art star craft bazaar last month.

the plushkill forest unicorn by cherrybox studios

I really, really wanted to pick up one of these beauties at the bazaar, but they carry a hefty price tag. I'm not saying they're not worth it - I totally appreciate their artistic quality - but I didn't have $50-$100 to lay out for the novelty of it. so I thought to myself... hmm, couldn't I do something similar??

ok, disclaimer - I'm not under any illusion that my version is anywhere near as awesome or artsy as cherrybox studios work. truly.

so I thought to myself how fun it would be to make my own unicorn taxidermy for my classroom. I often tell my students to find the unicorns in their hearts (you know, on a grumpy monday). it was just a matter of finding the right plush. withouth further ado... meet lola and stardust.

lola
stardust

you know I don't do tutorials - but if you want to make your own cheesy plush taxidermy, it's quite easy. all you need is a plush, a wooden plaque, hot glue, and paint (optional, that's if you want to paint your plaque). just cut that cute little stuffed animal's head off and glue it on the plaque! seriously, it's that easy. I can't wait to hang up these little cuties on my classroom wall.

12.13.2011

doin'-it-myself from pinterest and the art of uncrafting

I spend a disgusting amount of time on pinterest. I could sit for hours (ok, not 'could', but 'do'!) just scrolling through the 'everything' page. and while I lol to myself at all the witty little quote pins, the ones that catch my eye are the diy pins. I repin bunches of projects and sometimes feel like just by repinning them I've somehow completed them. haha! but really, I repin them with every intention of some day actually doin'-them-myself! so I'm so excited that I've done not only one, but two diy projects found through pinterest.

first up is this little nail-art beauty...


the original pin comes from a french nail loving site. the french tutorial can be found here. but basically the directions go something like this: 1. put on nail polish and let dry. 2. dip fingernail in alcohol-basically any will do, vodka is suggested. 3. press a strip of newspaper big enough to cover the whole nail on to your alcohol soaked nail. 4. pull off slowly and be really impressed with yourself. 5. paint top coat if desired.


I've been wanting to try this forever. my husband even bought me a tiny mini-bar size bottle of vodka like months ago because I had mentioned it. so I finally got around to it today. I have to say - it really works! instead of using just a regular newspaper, I used pages from this teen poetry journal called teen ink. that just makes it extra hip. I have to admit, though, my impatience was detrimental to the process. when it says to let your nails dry - they have to be dry. like wait several hours dry. I waited like twenty minutes. yea, not really dry. so when I put the newsprint on some of the paper stuck. fooey. but then I painted a little bit of glittery grey over the tips and now they look kinda dirty-newsprint-deconstructed. very boho. but next time I'll wait and do it right.






the second project I did was a super cute felt tree ornament. the original tutorial can be found on julia crossland's blog. this is what julia's version looked like...




when I saw this I thought, hmm, how hard could this be? it's just circles!! uh, yea. have I ever mentioned how uncrafty I am?! okok, mine didn't come out that bad - but still, even cutting circles can be a challenge for me. I followed the suggestion to use a ramekin to make the initial template, and then for each layer just cut it down a little bit. but yea, mine doesn't look like hers. 




I'm actually making three of these - one for me and two as gifts. I even considered just buying one - since target made one with a similar concept...


I didn't buy it though - this one is on my friend traci's tree


but I sucked it up and decided to make it myself. and as I was cutting and forming a blister on my thumb from a my very uncomfortable sewing scissors, I was thinking to myself about whether or not crafting is a skill that gets better with practice, or either you're good at it or not. I think I'm good and not being good at it. I don't really craft. I uncraft. so raise your hands if you're like me - you suck so bad at crafting that you're good at being bad! and welcome to the uncrafting movement. I don't know exactly what that means. but it sounds like a good idea. haha!

12.12.2011

the holiday decor

I spent all day yesterday rearranging my living room and getting all of my holiday decorations up and out. as much as I hate putting them up and despise (even more so!) putting them away, once they're out it feels kind of nice. I was happy that our tree is the perfect size this year - not too big, not too small. though I only used half of my ornaments - honestly, this year, the simpler the better feels good! here's a peak into my holiday decorations.




ginger bread house made with madhavi. my friend stacia is the master behind the vegan gingerbread.





oh tennenbaum! some of my favorite ornaments - sugar skulls and felties!

a very strange mexican m&m's painting jd made in high school

matryoshka cookies my friend lynn made last year - yes, I saved them!


how could I have a hipster christmas without a little vintage?

12.07.2011

aftermath



aftermath

I imagine it would go something like this:
one of the two finds the treasure first -
(which one is of no consequence)
with a casual click
pandora's box is open,
spilling forth the fodder.
she breaks out
the tin-can and string -
and with disbelief
they pour over
each detail
one
by
one.
I imagine one of the two
(which one is of no consequence)
say to the other,
'what goes around
comes around
after all.'

12.06.2011

"l'enfer, c'est les autres."

hi guys. sorry I haven't been around in a little while. it's partially being busy, being tired, and just needing a break. I love writing and blogging, but sometimes I need a second to step back. it's kind of easy, I think, to get caught up in what can become a "fakeness" in blogging-land. like everything is sweet and rosey and look how cute my thrifted outfit is! wheeeee! I mean, it's entertaining for a little while, but then sometimes I just want reality.

reality for me lately has been less than butterflies and unicorns. I want to write/talk about something... someone... but the human in me is holding me back. and I've been trying to write poems about the hurt that surrounds the situation, but I'm blocked. I have some good lines, but in general it's just coming out like crap. and it's really bothering me.

maybe I should just make a list of thoughts...? hmph. ok.

- when you told me you were a taurus rising, I wasn't surprised. in fact, it made total sense. and not because you are stubborn, but because you are self-absorbed.
- I translate "I'm busy" to "our friendship means nothing to me and I can't make time for you the way you made time for me for five years while I was bitching about my life and not giving a shit about yours."
- I'm pretty sure you're not too busy to talk to your other "friend".
- I spend way too much time trying to figure out where I went wrong - like for some reason you dumping me is my fault. I realized that I probably think about you way more than you think about me. because if you thought about me YOU WOULD PICK UP A PHONE!
- sometimes in my mind I try to make up excuses for you - like, you're not a selfish jerk, we just "grew apart". but even I'm not dumb enough to buy that.
- you lie about stupid stuff. why wouldn't you lie about important stuff too?
- I think you don't call me because you think I'm mad at you about something. you don't like conflict. but really, I think you don't want to face the truth. and I think you know what the truth is.

ok, now you see why I can't get that stuff into a poem, right? I'm probably crossing some lines and saying stuff I shouldn't. "you" used to read my blog. "you" might still. I don't know. but really, f' it. what do I have to lose? actions speak louder than words - and "you" obviously doesn't care!

'l'enfer, c'est les autres.' - translated: "hell is other people" - jean-paul sartre, from huis clos (no exit) - best.play.ever!

11.29.2011

on sylvia plath and cultural sensitivity


tonight we discussed sylvia plath at length in the college class I teach. we discussed 'daddy', 'lady lazarus', and 'morning song'. if you know anything about sylvia plath, then you probably know that she often used the holocaust in her poems - for comparisons, metaphors, etc. I have often had students misinterpret plath's intention and message. actually, one student once told me that her anti-semitism disgusted him, and he couldn't even talk about her (this was in reaction to 'the thin people', I believe). for the most part I feel really comfortable discussing plath's work. she's so fascinating... and if you don't know anything about her, she's not anti-semetic at all. I mean, there's just something about lines like: "Dying /Is an art, like everything else./I do it exceptionally well." dying... is an art... like everything else. !!! anyway, I digress. I don't mean to get all poetry-nerdy on you.
so, back to where I was going - this semester I have an orthodox jewish woman in my class. this is the second class of mine she has been in. I love her. she's a fantastic and bright student. I've had a few orthodox women in the past, too - the town I teach/live in is right on the border of another town that has a huge orthodox community. but this is the first time I've had an orthodox student in an english II class - the class where we talk about sylvia plath. I went into the class with hesitation - knowing that there was a possibility that she might misinterpret plath - or something worse. so we listened to plath reading 'daddy' - and every time she said the word 'jew', I shuddered a little, really hoping that my student wouldn't be offended. long story short, she wasn't - or at least didn't seem to be. she was amazed, after our discussion, to learn that plath's father wasn't a nazi. but she seemed unphased by everything else.

so, what't my point, I bet you're wondering... I was thinking to myself about this hesitation that I had. and I've felt it before - like when we read flannery o'connor and she uses the 'n' word. or when I talk to my students about the civil rights movement. there is something strangely uncomfortable there for me. like I'm afraid I'm going to say something to offend a jewish or african american, or any other minority student. or worse yet, I might say something wrong and they will think I'm racist.

I feel like I work hard to be non-judgmental, to be equal and fair in my mind to all people - regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, etc. I don't want to offend anyone, especially not out of ignorance (haha, like, if I'm going to offend you, I want it to be with all of my intelligence!). but I think my biggest realization (after all of that babbling) is that I worry more about what others will think of me. is my cultural sensitivity really in the best interest of others, or myself? it's kind of like that old saying: 'it's not what I think, or what you think, but what I think you think.' hmm, but I have a hard time swallowing this. if I was really that self-centered I wouldn't care if the other person was offended. and I do care. really, I do. and I don't think it's out of some superficial political-correctness, either. I think, deep down, I truly believe in the 'do unto others' mentality.

I know, this all just seems like blibbity blabbity. but this is where I'm at - in this moment.

11.28.2011

happy birthday to my snookums

today is my husband's birthday. we celebrated yesterday by dropping the little ladies off at the grandparents and going out for our first alone date in a year and a half. it was so nice to spend time together!!

so happy birthday to my honey - the best father and husband evvvvvvver. xoxoxo!!


11.26.2011

saturday in pictures

I finally came into this decade and downloaded the instagram app. I've been playing around with it for the past two days and decided to do the s/i/p using it. the filters are fun, and I like the idea of the stream. feel free to follow me @kmalagutierrez.