Crafting Fix #8 – Mixed Media Madness

My shining moment as a painter occurred seven years ago in my high school art class.  While training our fingers the dexterity required to execute an acrylic painting (remember, this was before text messaging – at one time this skill needed to be developed) we were given the assignment of taking an actual landscape and using its elements to create a different world.  By some work of creative cavalcade I turned our school parking lot into an ice skating rink.  That brief moment of painting glory has yet to be relived in my adult life, but I decided to bust out the paintbrushes and exercise my acrylic blending skillz to create a new masterpiece.

Lately I’ve been inspired by mixed medium art.  I love how crafty and kitschy it is.  At our latest LA art walk I saw this piece that really got my juices flowing:

Can you see the map on the main circle?!?

I <3 maps!  My initials spell out MAP.  Therefore, ergo, crafting that involves maps make me beyond happy.  So, I decided to take a crack at it tonight and here’s what I came up with.  Certainly not art walk worthy, but I’m sure it will find its way onto some wall in my new apartment…

I Call it “Through the Smog”

The LA Church of Brunch

Brunching on Sunday morning is not just an activity in Los Angeles, it’s a religion

Waiting in line at the Original Pantry Cafe

The weekend of birthday feasting continued this morning, much to my cholesterol level’s dismay.  My friend and I decided to take it back to where we first met – downtown LA and hit up one of it’s most tried and true dining establishments, The Original Pantry Cafe.  We used to frequent this joint back in the day when we lived around the corner from it, but it had been a good four years since I had visited it.

The Original Pantry Cafe is designated by the city of Los Angeles as a cultural and historical monument.  I know you probably see these signs all over the city, and it basically means that establishment is protected as a historical monument by the city.  The Cafe has been open since 1924 and it has remained opened 365 days a year, 24 hours a day since then.  Because of this they have the slogan “Always open and never without a customer.”

The Pantry is deemed to be a Cultural Heritage Monument

The place is no frills, and according to legend, mostly ex-cons man the kitchen.  There is always a line, but it is always worth the wait.  The breakfast, lunch and dinner menus can be found on the walls which can easily be viewed from any position in the place.  As soon as the line permits you to enter the gastronomic gateway, an overwhelming scent of fried delicousness envelops your nostrils as the clanking of plates and and chit chattering of patrons fills your ears.  The pancakes are a MUST try, we believe that they are sprinkled with crack and flipped with love.  The menu is good ol’ fashioned American food, no doubt about that.

mmmmmmmmmmm yeah!

Yet another delicious way to spend a Sunday with an amazing friend :)

Sweeter 16


CHEERS! I'm old!

Wednesday was my sweet 16th birthday (plus 8 years, sweet Jesus plus 8 years).  Of course I celebrated in style with my roommate, coworkers, family and friends throughout the day.  I got up as per usual at 6:45AM and finally opened up a bday package that had been sitting in my room unopened for several days.  After discovering the delightfully thoughtful wonders that were inside said box, I showered, and discovered that my bathroom was covered in confetti and the kitchen was decked out in it’s birthday best.  On top of the awesomely festive decorations I had one of my favorite breakfasts – bagel and lox mmmmm ready to grab and go on my way into the office.  Upon arriving at my place of employment I was ominously stalled in the kitchen by my oddly nervous coworkers.  Something was up.  I’m no fool, well actually I’m quite gullible which they took full advantage of later, but when I was finally granted access to my desk I found this:

Office Bday Offering

The extent of the decorations and goodies goes well beyond the above photo, but let’s just say that it made this girl feel like a million and a half bucks (half more than I usually feel :-p).  Later in the day I was paged to the front desk where an extravagant vase of sunflowers, roses, and a few other floral delights was waiting for me.  As I carried the flowers fit for a funeral to my desk I ran into a coworker to whom I said, “They’re probably from my parents, unless I have a secret admirer that I don’t know about.”  Much to my surprise the card was inscribed with the following:

“Roses are red, violets are blue, you don’t know me but I know you. xoxoxo Your Undiscovered Better Half.”

All day long I was wondering who the hell did I not know but who knew me and where I worked….and apparently most of my coworkers as they seemed in on the deal….Nothing really seemed to get done.  Emails went unanswered, meetings transpired and comments piled up on my desk to be processed, all the while this unknown lover of mine floated through my brain.  My frustration built as the day went on and after several fits my coworker let me know that Mr. Unknown was actually a conglomeration of several people in my department.  Because I spend so much time at work not only are they my second family, but apparently my love interests as well.  They got me, and good, and for that I just laughed instead of yelled because it was a great prank at the end of the day.

After finally getting the hell outta dodge at 7PM I headed home to get ready for the evenings events.  I had organized a small get-together of awesomeness to celebrate my awesomeness at Tiki-Ti.  This place deserves its own post, so stay tuned for my review.  Seriously, one of the coolest places in LA and definitely the least pretentious bar in Silverlake.

I was lucky enough to score the last two days of the week off from work (wooo floating holidays!) and head down to Carlsbad with my parents who were in town for my dad’s business trip.  Carlsbad feels like the other end of the planet compared to LA – it’s clean, quiet, filled with free parking, and filled with “normal” housing developments and things of that nature.  It was a much needed break from the city, however I don’t think I would enjoy living there for another few years when I am truly burnt out from Urban living.  The setting was very serene, and after meeting up with some family friends it was very welcoming and familiar.

Carlsbad Sunset

I was able to do a little shopping, and by a little I mean I could have bought a little country for what I spent….but it was some definitely needed retail therapy.  While I was in the BCBG outlet store I found this display:

Pattern pieces and pattern cards on the wall @ BCBG

I LOVED it, but realized I was probably the only person in the store who really knew what it all meant and the difference between a sleeve and a bodice panel…that lesson is for another day :)

All in all I had a wonderful birthday celebration, made sweeter not only by cake but by my family and friends.  I’m hoping 24 will be filled with crafty goodness – for both you and me dear reader!  Stay tuned as my adventures unfold!

Stay Crafty My Friends,

Black Mamaba

Craftacular California Craftsman

Crafting in the happiest place on Earth

Who knew that my most recent trip to Disneyland would grant me the opportunity to geek-out with some craft goodness.  We stayed at the Disneyland Grand Californian Resort – the newest and largest resort in the land of the Mouse.  After we checked in, I was scanning the plethora of reading materials that were provided by the overly joyful hotel staff and found that there was a “Arts and Crafts Tour” that was being held the following day — JACKPOT.

Yes, Disney is a big corporate giant and all the jazz, but they really did try to incorporate a homage to the California Craft movement.

We learned that every little piece of Disney goodness is developed by the Imagineers.  They practice a project development process called “Blue Sky”, where they are given a title of a project and are given the green light to expound upon every aspect of a concept in order to ascertain a story for a that concept.  Whether or not the end viewer, the Guest, is aware of all these little details is another thing…. but just know that every single itty bitty detail of a new Disney development is thought through by a group of people before it hits your eyes.

The Grand Californian Resort is no different, and I’m glad I went on the tour or else I would have never picked up on the immense detail that was put into the design and decor of the hotel.  The California Arts and Crafts movement stemmed out of the Gold Rush and Manifest Destiny.  Thousands of people crossed the country in search of a better life, and once they arrived they used the beauty around them as inspiration and the plentiful access to natural resources to build their new lives from the ground up.

“Nature is the Source of All Artistic Expression”

The hotel architecture draws inspiration from key California styles, most notably California Craftsman.  Smaller design elements are drawn from the state as well including the California state flower – the poppy – finds itself intertwined into a gigantic floor tapestry.

~Atrium of the hotel~

I really identify with the Arts and Crafts movement.  Because I work for a company that specializes in pumping out merchandise for the mass market, I find solace in the fact that I truly get fulfillment from creating new things from what is around me.  We live in a world of sameness, it is more difficult than ever to be unique today than it ever has been before.  How do you set yourself apart in a culture derived from the likes of Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Costco?  My answer is to create and innovate.  Even if things end up looking a little jankety jank, or even if I don’t finish the project I’m working on (which seems to be something that happens quite often…), I am still making something new.  And I love that.  Creating things makes me feel alive.

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men.  No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

What inspires you to craft?  Leave your answer in the comments below!