Friday, October 26, 2012

Art projects involving karate belts

Emily- You know the secret to getting me to write- you told me you've been reading my blog and asked what I've been making lately. This post is for you.

First off, the martial arts school that I train at gave me a giant bag of belts.  After washing them, I turned one into a scarf.  I got the idea from The Red Threads Blog.  

This beautiful black scarf was knit by the artist from The Red Threads Blog. 

Using that for inspiration I sewed karate belts together and lined the scarf with fur. 

Then I took this old, handmade frame that I had hanging in the bathroom and started quilling (click for examples of amazing quilled art) the white Akido belts. I am still experimenting with this idea, but I am going for a cross between Fernando and Humberto Campagna's chairs and Nnenna Okore's recycled newspaper sculpture called Flora III.

 Quilled chairs by Fernando and Humberto Campagna. 

Recycled newspaper by Nenna Okore. 

My work in progress of quilling karate belts. 

There are more belt projects in the works, but I'll show you when they are further along. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Best ways to lockup your bicycle

Since how I just replaced my stolen bicycle bike security is a big concern of mine.

After looking into various lock-down methods this is what I installed:

I replaced the quick-release on both axles and the regular allen wrench collar on the seat post for locking skewers and a lock for the seat. They are made by Pinhead Locks. It takes a custom key to get them off. I just registered the key on their site, in case I ever need a replacement.

As for the frame, I upgraded to one of the nicest, most heavy duty ubolt locks out there. The brand is Abus and they're German. The nice thing is that they are not super popular in the States, so thieves haven't had a lot of practice on them. To my surprise the lock is super light and easy to put on- no key jiggling required and the bolt can go on either way into the locking portion. This also came with a custom key code, in case my keys ever get stolen. I also went with the smallest lock possible that works on my bike, so that there is the least amount of room for a jack or some other prying device.

Then I asked the folks at the bike shop the best way to lock up the bike. They recommended going through the back spokes and catching the horizontal part of the frame and then bolting it to a metal post (not a tree or to a cable). For a week I tried the spoke method and it takes way too much time. I figured my lock is so heavy duty that by using it anywhere on the bike it will be fine. 

For a final precaution I registered my bike on the National Bike Registry. First I looked at their list of cities that use this registry to make sure my city and the ones near by actually use the site. For $10 my bike is registered for 10 years. I typed in my info and the bike's specs including the model number which is on a sticker on the frame.

When picking out out a bike, I kept color in mind. I intentionally looked for a subdued color for the frame. My old bike was yellow and it's no longer mine. Enough said. Even though this bike is new and it's in good shape, being black will draw less attention.

What's left to steal off my bike?

You could use an allen wrench to snag the rack. I could use a cable to secure the rack to the underside of the seat, (this would mostly as a deterrent, because it would only take wire cutters to steal it). Or I could carry a second ubolt lock and run the lock through the rack to the rear wheel.

Or again, an allen wrench is all that it would take to steal the fork. I could of bought a Pinhead Lock for the fork, but I opted out. Fork stealing isn't huge and I don't lock my bike up outside overnight or for hours on end. 

Or by just using wire cutters you could liberate the blue monkey from the spokes.

I read that most bikes are stolen from people's homes, where they are often unlocked. That is exactly what happened to my old bike. I was at work and  my bike was in the same room as me. It was unlocked, like it always was, because I figured no one would even consider stealing a bike under those conditions. I was completely wrong. Also whenever possible I bring my bike inside.

I've invested in locking down my bike, because I absolutely love her and I'd like to keep her for as long as possible. She is 12 days old and already we've logged 101 miles together. 

Books I've been devouring...

I've been on a reading rampage.

Books on eating raw.

Books on preparing everyday Japanese cuisine.

A journal by a wilderness fire watch.

Motorcycle maintenance.

2012 Book list.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One of my obsessions...shhh...

As a kid I loved to sort legos by color.

I still sort things by color.

By the 1,000s.

For work, I get to sort plastic bottle caps.

I'm happy as a clam sorting away, discovering odd ball caps along with random objects.

Kangog? Dogroo? Kangadoo?

Store bought dog tail hook on one side of the wall...

...and a kangaroo checking you out while you pee!

Hand sculpted Kangaroo by me. He was a birthday present for my friend Andrew.  

Look carefully for the dog tail on the left and the kangaroo front half on the right.

Check out my wheels!

I spent more time with this bike than I did with my friends.
My yellow, Specialized Stumpjumper was too flashy for her own good. Every time I came back to unlock my bike, I was so thankful that I got another day with her. "Aura" went walkabout on July 7th. Over the last year and half, I'd ridden in crazy rain storms, wind, and lovely sunny days, logging 2,700 miles. 

After three weeks of hating the world, and being jealous of every cyclist that I passed because they   still owned their prized possession, I got over myself. The exciting part about having my bike stolen was that I got to buy a new bike! I've never had a new bike before!

Since how I don't own a car, I put in due diligence in shopping around and found this beauty! She's a hybrid, making her lighter than Aura. She's zippy. Oh so sleek. I splurged and bought a waterproof pannier to replace my seven year old back pack.

Before staying at Tassajara, the Zen monastery in the Los Padres National Forest down by Big Sur, I never intentionally enjoyed wearing black. Now it's a comfort color. My new bike is also black. Her name is Tassajara, or Tassa for short.

The first week we spent together we logged 76 miles trecking around Angel Island, Japantown and North Beach in San Francisco, to and from the dojo, out on errands and commuting to work.

I'm completely infatuated. Don't tell my old bike, but this hybrid is a better fit

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My past boy friends...

Talking with my 16-year-old cousin, she was shocked that I remembered the name of my first boyfriend.

My first though was, "How old do you think I am? I'm only 28."

Then my mind skipped to a less cynical channel and I replied, "You don't forget those kinds of things."

I was 16 myself, a senior in high school, secretly dating a potential fire fighter named Kyle. He had the body and charm, but not the focus of a fire fighter. After three months he broke up with me. At first he paid me a compliment that I was his longest lasting girl friend. He said I lived too far away, so we had to break up since how I didn't have a license. Or maybe there was another reason. I dunno. Perhaps it was because I didn't mention to my folks that I was dating him, because they only believed in courting. 

I learned my lesson with boyfriend # 2. He had a sit down with my parents who grilled him about his intentions. I can only imagine how nerve wrecking that was for him. I wasn't allowed to be there. He told them he wanted to marry the 17-year-old me. I think he was 20. I did enjoy dating him and we lasted a year. I dumped him when he dropped the ball for my birthday and he didn't do anything to make me feel special.  

So what did I do next? I dated our co-worker. Not intentionally to be mean. The cowboy had caught my eye for some time. He was the youngest certified pastry chef in Colorado. He was a little older than boyfriend #2 and he was a wild card. Casey lived for getting reactions out of people. He had a mohawk that he didn't spike, but instead put up into crazy pigtails. His favorite drink was from a 1/2 empty can of mountain dew half full of parrot bay.

He was my first love, which figures that he cheated on me and even proposed to the girl while we were still dating. I found out when I called and offered to help her move across town. She bit my head off and she wanted to know why I was calling because she was going to marry my boyfriend just one month later. I guess he hadn't told her that we were still together. I hung up and started sobbing. She called back. My mom chewed her out. Thank you mom. 

Next I dated a very sweet guy, who drove the truck that I wanted, a green Ford F350. Instead of getting myself a truck I bought a '93 Subaru Legacy that I couldn't drive because it was a manual. After reading an article in the encyclopedia on how the clutch works, Everett and I would take turns practicing driving my car behind Safeway. A month later my car died. I abandoned it on the side of the road. That's when I decided to move to California for art school.

Fast forward to freshman year at college #2, where I dated a guy who I chronically forget his last name. (At least I know his first name.) That's how serious we were. I remember his roommate's full name. So needless to say that didn't last. 

Then I was blessed with dating a guy who treated me great and I loved him. Win-win. Ian and I were together all through college and post college, totaling seven years. He helped me to not take life so seriously and to start recycling. His dad diagnosed my food allergies. I'm so lucky to have met Ian and his family. 

Now I'm in a 1 1/2 year drought (as some may call it), being boyfriend-less. Honestly, I've been too preoccupied to focus on someone else. In that time I've moved out on my own and learned how to support myself. I'm blessed with wonderful friends. I enjoy my jobs. I'm blessed. I'm excited to see where life takes me next. I'm ready to love someone. Bring it.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Books to read next

I've only skimmed the book and already I am open to listening to it even though it sounds a little out there. According to Dr. D'Adamo, Type A blood types, (like myself) have a hard time digesting wheat, dairy and meats. I have food allergies to the first two and I rarely crave meat so I don't prepare it very often. I look forward to reading about the science behind this, testing this out and looking at the suggested types of exercise that helps Type A reduce stress. 

Ever since I was a kid, my mom has talked about this book- now it's time to read it! There are five love languages: gift giving, special time, physical touch, words of affirmation and acts of service.

It would be helpful for me know why I feel loved or irritated when friends do nice things for me. And I'd like to be aware of these ways of communicating affection, so I can be a better friend.

Take this quiz to help identify your love languages.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Redneck wine glasses

This is my artistic en devour for the month- a Redneck wine glass. 

I'd like to thank Hallmark for the idea. Goodwill hooked me up with $1 candle stick holders. Thank you mom for the canning jars and glue. 

I thought it was fitting to drink carrot juice from my fancy goblet.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Drill Tile

After scrounging around for how-tos on drilling holes into glass, I appreciate a well written, easy to follow tutorial on drilling holes. I learned several things from this article, like using a plastic template to keep the drill bit from traveling.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January H.I.T.S.

On the first of every month, I post the Happening in the Studio (H.I.T.S.).
I share my trials, triumphs, and behind the scenes of working as a visual artist.

I was commissioned by a law firm to give a makeover to the above filing cabinet. Originally it was beige with patches of primer from the previous owner. I gave it new life by introducing color and texture! 

This month was very full, but that's it for making art. I'll see you on the first of the next month for another post on Happening In The Studio (H.I.T.S.).

Monday, January 30, 2012


Rest in peace my most beloved pet.

Chip Buff-Dog Wright-Symington

March 12, 1992-January 29, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Book List

August 2012

13. The Perfect Vehicle: What it is about Motorcycles by Melissa Holbrook

(just started reading)

When I was googling the title of the book, the above green vehicle popped up when I typed in "the perfect vehicle." It made me smile. It reminds me of Yoshi from Mario Brothers.

As for the book, I just picked it up and I've only read the first chapter. It's reminding me that there's lots of positive things to look forward to when I have my M license. I have a motorcycle training safety course coming up and I'm pretty nervous. So I'm reading up on how bikes work and how to ride them.

15. The Everything Motorcycle Book by A.J. Drew

(currently reading)

I have my gear. Now I'm getting educated on types of bikes and how they work. :-)

July 2012

14. Japanese women don't get old or fat by Naomi Moriyama

(finished reading- and LOVED)

Check out my review here over on the food blog, Surprisingly Thankful. 

13. Fire Season by Philip Connors

(finished reading)

I could easily spend 5 months of the year in the wilderness, looking for fires and not get bored. No internet. No cell phone. No keys. That's my kind of heaven.

Lots of nature. Plenty of time for practicing martial arts. Playing guitar. Writing. Camping. Day and night hikes. Learning about local flora and fauna. Being apart of something important.

I'm resisting the urge to pack up asap and apply to be a fire watch. Perhaps next summer. We shall see.

June 2012

12. The RAW Truth by Jordan Rubin

(finished reading)

My cells sing when I eat organic, superfoods. I also get a high from eating raw foods. I've read raw cookbooks (for lack of a better word) but now it's time to delve deeper and make this a life style. I'm leaning towards being a raw omnivore, but we'll see. I wouldn't put it past me to become vegan.  

My review of this book along with the recipes that I tried are over here, on my food blog called Surprisingly Thankful. 

11. Fire Monks by Coleen Morton Busch

(finished reading and I LOVED it!)

In 2008, five monks stayed behind after the third evacuation of their home in the wilderness west of Big Sur to fend off the incoming wildfire. 

The book covers fire fighting politics/logistics, how zen helped prepare these monks for the unknown, and about the history of Tassajara, the monastery. 

10. Tell me something about Buddhism by Zenju Earthlyn Manual


Introduction to Buddhism with beautiful poetry. The title says it all.

8 & 9 
various DVDs from the library on how to play the acoustic guitar

May 2012

7. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall


Pumped up on the idea of communal living, eating whole foods (and eating less in general if I just focus on nutrition dense foods), running!, traveling and meeting people.

This is a MUST READ! Check out the library and get it now!

February 2012

6. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

(read the first 1/3 and called it good)

I read this series as a kid. Now I am rereading them instead of mindlessly surfing the web.

5. Operations Manual for Machine Tool Technology by Clifford Oliver

(textbook for class)

Another one of my textbooks for the precision machining class that I taking. I still can't believe that I get to learn about metal and tools for homework. Celeste you would love this class! I keep thinking about you.

4. Print Reading for Industry by Walter and Ryan Brown

(textbook for class)

So far I've learned what the alphabet of lines and I'm loving it! Reading blueprints is like decoding a message. I learned to read Braille for the same reason- I just want to know what it says!


3. A wise man's fear by Patrick Rothfuss

(finished reading)

This is the second book of his trilogy (the third is being written as we speak). It is epic like Lord of the Rings. I love the characters and the plot twists. I look forward to the third book to be written.

2. The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel, Ph.D

(currently enjoying)

For a Christmas present friend from a fellow artist, Celeste gave me this book on weekly activities to encourage me to be a creative in everything that I do. I really am going to take the year to enjoy the processes instead of seeing how quickly I can master this skill.

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

(finished reading)

After reading The name of the Wind, it reminded me how much I love reading for fun, instead of obsessing over being "productive" every minute of the day, this includes reading "helpful" and "applicable" books. I have fond memories reading this series as a kid, so I'm revisiting those times.