Friday, July 23, 2010

Thankful Friday

Thankful for...

-Great guest speakers for my class, Spencer Nikosey and Kevin Ou, who are doing incredibly fantastic things. We had a great time listening to Spencer and Kevin's stories and all my students got involved, asking questions. It's one thing for them to understand it's important to network and to not be afraid to ask for advice, but it's another thing for them to be excited about their own ideas and actually bounce them off guests and each other. The class was bubbling with excitement; lots of chatter even after class ended at 10pm.

– Taking a class, myself. I got to take Jane LaFazio's Quiltlet class at the Long Beach quilt show. Jane and I met at a sketchcrawl and I've been following her adventures ever since. She does fantastic work with the kids at Mundo Lindo, too. Do you see all that she does?! Jane's my hero. She also wins big points for referring to my guy as 'Hunky Jan', of course. We got to catch up over lunch; it was so good to see you, Jane! xox!

Jane LaFazio

– starting and finishing a quiltlet (a small quilt):

Wendee's quiltlet

It's so good to be able to start and finish things. Me and my ever-decreasing attention span. [sigh]
This was painted then quilted and embellished, about 5-1/2" square on uncoated artist canvas.

- Learning new, dangerous things. Jane goes, "Wendee! Have you seen Spoonflower fabric?!" and I'm thinking, "OMG! Yes! I know of it. I think it would be dangerous for me to actually see real samples... Noooo, don't pull out yours! Aaaaaack!".

I tried to hide my eyes, but Jane, she was just too fast.

Did I really need to know you can control the scale and repeat pattern of your own custom-printed fabric? Noooo. Did I really need to see Jane's fabulously cute apron with fabric printed with her own watercolor brush painting? I think not.

Dangerous, dangerous ideas that threaten the whole "Use it Up" campaign.

- Speaking of UIUtGIA, finding out that some of the UIUtGIA artwork has arrived where it was going.

This one went to my quilting buddy, Donna.

– One of my former students brought me stuff! You'd think that in an industry of people who design and manufacture stuff, that eventually someone would bring by stuff that they'd designed that was finally being sold, in real life, huh? I mean, I'd be excited to see my stuff in the stores ...

So I harrassed erm, relayed my dismay about this, in particular to the students who interned at Vans, because the shoe companies make loads of samples, and, heck, who wouldn't like a spiffy pair of new Vans shoes?

So after teaching for 4 years, one of my students delivered! Cool new shoes! Woot!


[I'm having issues with embedding Flickr images. Bear with me, people]

What a fun week. Have a great weekend all! :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why, yes, it *is* rocket science

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, in what seems a prior life, I worked on this, the RS-68 engine.

The last few times we've driven by the
Discovery Science Center (the one with the cube) in Santa Ana on the way down to Balboa Island, I'd see the banner for the Boeing Rocket Lab and think, "Oooooooooo". 

Note: I'm not a rocket geek. I can't recite rocket history and power rating numbers. Nope, sorry. I don't play with Estes rockets. I do, however, have a great sense of affection for my old rocket pals, support the idea of manned spaceflight, and really like all that fire and steam.

J had to go on a field trip and decided to check out the Discover Science Center. We dutifully checked out the exhibits on Grossology (The Impolite Science of the Human Body), the geology and earthquake exhibits (timely, as there had been one a few days before), the science of hockey, the TinkerToys, the dinosaurs.

"Gah!", I thought, as I got jostled by another little kid running around, "When are we going to get to the rocket engine part?!?"

There, in the cube ...
So, what's the deal with the cube? I had no idea. They didn't explain what the deal was with the cubeness of the cube, even, right there at the Science Center. You'd think they'd make a bigger deal of explaining about the cube, considering that it's SO BIG and it's what you see as you're zipping by on the freeway. And everybody identifies that science center as the one in Santa Ana with the cube. Or maybe I completely missed that placard. I finally checked online and uncovered that the cube is a solar Cube and produces energy for the Science Center.

Me: "Ohhhh".

From the Discovery Science Center website:
"There are three perfect 3D geometric shapes in nature: the sphere, the pyramid and the cube. [Me: and I've had to teach students to draw and shade them all]

Architecturally, the sphere has been built at Disneyworld and the pyramid has been built at the Louvre, the Luxor in Las Vegas and the California State University, Long Beach basketball arena.

The Cube has not been built before.

[I got to this point and thought, "Ever?! What about, oh, the Borg?! That's right, the Borg! Oh, that's in the future. Okay, never mind."]

Thus, Discovery Science Center architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica thought that The Cube would be the perfect icon for Orange County’s science center. The Board of Directors concurred and it was incorporated into the center’s plans."

We got to the cube and noticed it was leaking. They had caution cones around it: Mind your step. J says, "I wonder if it always leaks".

I peered through the perforated metal and went, "OOoooh, the rocket stuff is inside the cube". Hence the leakage.

The water-pressure propelled mini rocket display was cool and all, but it pales in comparison to the real thing as well as memories of real life-size Space Shuttle Main Engine tests.

Did you know the Space Shuttle program is coming to a close soon? Only two more Shuttle
launches, and then, what's next for U.S. manned spaceflight? What's next for all those rocket people?
:( When I was at Boeing, I remember them saying that the Shuttle program would end around 2010, and it seemed like a long ways off. Sort of how the year 2000 seemed like a long way off when I was in first grade. I could barely do the math; that was like 30 years away. Who could imagine? And yet, it happened. All of it happened, and here we are.

What's next up for U.S. manned spaceflight? If I were a real rocket geek, I'd know, huh? Thank goodness for the internet. J responded to my visible concern (he takes these things in stride - that I'd know about the end of the Shuttle program and was so concerned about manned spaceflight): "The U.S. would never stand for the idea of other countries launching astronauts while we weren't".

You think?

So there it was, that big ol' RS-68 engine. Wow. So cool.
J asks, "So, what kind of power do they get out of that?"

And all I could say was, "Gazillions, baby. Ga-zillions."

= = = Happy weekend, all! = = =

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another thing

20100714_MoneyTree Click to see this photo's flickr page
... that made it's way home with me based on its clear potential as an interesting and challenging drawing subject.

I was told by this plant's previous owner, a former student of mine, that it's a Money Plant. So, naturally, we remain hopeful that it's a bit of a good luck charm. I discovered that there's more to this little guy than one would expect.

That's photo and a story for another day ...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Twisty thoughts

20100707_BreadTab Click to see this photo's flickr page
I was toasting my toast, uh, bread the other morning, squinting at the bread bag tab. As with many things in life, I thought, "Ooh, I should save this and draw it".

Yes, this explains the many random things collected around here.

I figured I'd be drawing a nice, small, flat squarish tab: easy peasy. And then, squinting even more, I went, "Hey! What's with all these contortions?! All these extra little teeth! What?!".

When was the last time you looked at a bread bag tab, up close? When did closing up and securing a bag of bread become so serious and complex a task?

I've discovered that in matters of bread bag closing, when we get down to the last 4 or so pieces of bread, the tag disappears. Either it breaks, I'm guessing, or it flies off and disappears into the gap between the stove and the countertop, or someone else [ahem] is too impatient to twist the bag tightly enough to fit the bag through the hole of the tab. It's quite an art, holding the bag at its end with one hand, then giving the bread a good healthy twirl and watching the bag spin itself tightly enough so that you can wedge it all back into the little plastic tab. There are small flourishes in every day life, and for me, watching that bread bag twirling is one of them. 

So, after having to correct my drawing so that it more accurately reflects what I'm seeing and pondering it all, I'm guessing the tabs on the outsides are part of some continuous manufacturing. They seem like the little nubs left and right would fit and lock into place, side by side. I can imagine these being stamped out or being injection molded, by the gazillions. Ka-chung, ka-chung, ka-chung.

But those extra teeth in the actual cinching hole?

Life really has gotten to be quite a challenge, hasn't it, that we need just a little bit more tooth, to keep everything tied together, to protect what we have when there's just a little bit of ourselves left that we're trying to keep tidy, to keep things from falling out or drying up...

It's serious business, this little bread bag tab, and this life.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


20100626_Zentangle Click to see this photo's flickr page

When I saw my buddy Karen Blados's zentangle , I was instantly curious *and* inspired! After a quick internet search, this is what I discovered:

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at

From the website:

"What is Zentangle?

Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity. Zentangle provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well being. Zentangle is enjoyed by a wide range of skills and ages and is used in many fields of interest.

We believe that life is an art form and that Zentangle is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life. Explore our web site and learn how you can use this wonderful and uplifting discovery."

There are lovely examples on their blog as well

I have to admit that I haven't taken a course or gone through the workbook and am just winging it after looking through the website. I love the idea of meditative doodling and it's been a very nice way to start the day. I'm a wee bit tempted to become a Certified Zentangle teacher or attend a Zentangle Master Class. [sigh]
See a few more that I've done at my Zentangle set .

After making it up as I went along, I found a Squidoo lens that explains how to make your own zentangle. Why don't you give it a try? ;-)