Art Walk Central

We took some time this weekend to walk around and look at some of the art happening and on display for Art Walk Central 2014. There is some NEAT stuff to be experienced.

Let’s start with the Art Walk Central competition. There are a whole bunch of pieces of all different kinds of art on display around town. Most of them are inside businesses on Broadway and Main Streets, but there are also some in the art gallery on campus and in the university library, and a few outdoor pieces downtown as well. Anyone can sign up to vote online or via smartphone!

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

This piece, untitled by Velvet Underwood, is a raw edge fabric collage (on display at Art Reach).

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

I love the detail in the tone-on-tone fabric she used.

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

I would 100% love to hang this piece, untitled by Laura Coffee (also at Art Reach), in our home. Who doesn’t want to see a giant robot stalking downtown Mount Pleasant?

Emiko Screams by Corby Blem

This collage, Emiko Screams by Corby Blem (on display at the University Art Gallery), caught my eye right away, and THEN I realized that (EVEN BETTER!) it’s inspired by the scene of a woman seeing Godzilla for the first time.

August 6, 1945 Revisited (Hiroshima) by Sally Rose

One of my favorite pieces is this one, August 6, 1945 Revisited (Hiroshima) by Sally Rose (also at the UAG). After looking at it for a few moments, I realized that I took a weaving class from this artist my sophomore year in college. I loved that class! I would love to take another class or a workshop from her sometime.

Summer Reading: A Study in Greens by Ann Kowaleski

I was delighted to see a piece by one of my favorite local artists, Ann Kowaleski. Entitled Summer Reading: A Study in Greens, this piece is also at the CMU art gallery. The vibrant colors are so striking, and of course I’m also drawn to the subject matter.

Filed by Kim Kleinhardt

Finally, this is Filed by Kim Kleinhardt (also at UAG). Each section is a file folder, collaged and containing papers from each of her thirty years as an art teacher. You can open each folder (there’s a note encouraging this) to see the contents and read about that year of her life as an art instructor. SO NEAT.

Members of the community were also out and about downtown painting the crosswalks at the intersection of Broadway and Main.

painting the intersection crosswalks

You can see the Mondrian-inspired design in the middle of the intersection, which was completed earlier this month. This weekend, they were painting the crosswalks. The one above will look like a piano keyboard, I think!

There were also artists creating chalk paintings on the sidewalks on Saturday.

chalk art on Broadway

So fun! I feel so lucky to be in a community that places a high value on art – and even more, on art that anyone can participate in. I hope to enter an art quilt in the competition next year.


FO Friday: DFTBA yarnbomb in full awesomeness

The yarnbombs went up in downtown Mount Pleasant last week and they look amazing!

DFTBA (my yarn bomb)

Here I am, being super proud of my reminder to everyone to DFTBA. I got really prime placement, too! It’s right on the corner of Main and Broadway, the intersection at the heart of downtown!

2014 Art Walk Central yarnbombs photo 2014artwalkcentralyarnbombs_zps4cfba3f6.jpg

Of course all of the projects look terrific and they really add a neat feel to the area. It’s also neat to see those made by friends of mine, some of which I saw in progress during knitting meetups.

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Even before I had heard that the yarnbombs were up, someone from the Middle Michigan Development Corporation did and tweeted about it! Such a neat way to learn that they were up!

Chalk graffiti piano for Art Walk Central 2014

Art Walk Central is a big deal, though, and includes a lot more than just the yarnbombs. There are a couple of chalk graffiti pianos on downtown streets, and every time I’ve been downtown recently someone has been drawing on and/or playing them. It’s so nice to hear a little music in the air. There’s also a big art competition going on, which I’ll post about more soon when I’ve had a chance to see more of it. If you’re local and haven’t registered to vote yet, do it now!

DFTBA (my yarn bomb)

Meanwhile, Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!

let’s hear it for the sisterhood

Last weekend, I went with some lady friends to a cabin up north for some rest, relaxation, and grrl time.

Shade Monger

We went to the beach one morning, which I actually enjoyed, thanks to lots of shade, a good book to read, and great company. (While we were up north I finished the final book in the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series, which I heartily enjoyed. They are the coziest of mysteries, featuring a fictionalized imagining of Beatrix Potter’s life in the Land Between the Lakes, where she in real life purchased and maintained a couple of farms. I’m a little sad to be done with them.) As you can see, I am under a beach umbrella, under a canopied chair, and wearing a large sun hat. Plus lots of SPF, of course, should any stray piece of myself have managed to encounter the sun.

@shinyinfo 's Zen garden

I watched Kristin create a mini zen garden on the beach and enjoyed people-watching as well. There was a BT far down the shore, and someone was paddle-boarding with a boxer/mix! It was lovely.

Cool moth

There was lots of my type of communing with nature (meaning, for short periods of time and without a lot of direct contact) and this moth hung out on the screen for almost the entire weekend. I thought it was quite pretty. Anyone know what kind it is? (We took a group promise to not look things up on our phones for the weekend – we’re all librarians and tend to be the one who seeks out the answer to any question posed, so it was nice to give that a rest for a few days.)

Being outdoorsy, tried and enjoyed a smore #personalgrowth

I also attempted some personal growth in the form of being outside around the campfire each night and expanding my taste to include enjoying a s’more. I’ve been averse to marshmallows for years, but I decided I’d try one since it’d been decades since I last did. Turns out, it was alright! Not a taste I’ll probably pursue on the reg, but when in Rome, I can hack it.

The best part of the weekend was just getting to spend time with some of my closest female friends. We don’t get together often enough! We danced, we sang, we imbibed, we talked about body hair and the patriarchy – what more could a woman ask for?

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Thanks, ladies! I can’t wait to do it again!

Happy Scrabble-versary!

My lovely sister and her husband recently celebrated their wedding anniversary. My lovely husband and I had an idea for a neat gift for them, which turned out even better than we anticipated.

Anniversary Scrabble gift

Both of them are big fans of Scrabble and are among the most aggressive/skilled Scrabble players you’re likely to meet, so we felt that a Scrabble themed gift would be perfect! I acquired a basic Scrabble game online and picked up a shadowbox frame at Joann. A little E-6000 and drying time later, it was done! K gets the credit for doing almost all the work on this project. He’s just so good at precise layout projects like this one.

Anniversary Scrabble gift

I’m so pleased with it! I think it will be a lovely thing to be displayed in their home and will hopefully bring good thoughts and memories with it. Happy Anniversary, Susan and David!

FO Friday: Yarnbomb Mount Pleasant

I was pretty excited when ArtReach announced a yarnbomb project to take place in downtown Mount Pleasant this summer. (Did this have anything to do with the fact that a yarnbomb was an idea I proposed at the For the Love of Mount Pleasant workshop last fall?)

Regardless, I was happy to participate. I signed up to create one 24×27″ piece that will be wrapped around a light pole downtown. I felt super lucky that my pal Sam very generously volunteered to share her sizable stash of acrylic yarn, too! I picked out some bold colors somewhat at random and started plotting what I wanted to do.

Plotting my project for Yarn Bomb Mount Pleasant 2014 #dftba

There are some projects for which I prefer to use paper and pencil rather than plotting online – this sort of thing is definitely one of them. I grabbed the good old-fashioned graph paper and got to work! I looked at a bunch of free knitting font alphabets online but in the end none of them suited me so I just made it up myself. I wanted the letters to be a little stylized and I knew that the way that knitting stitches aren’t square would work in my favor. I graphed the letters out so I knew they’d end up looking the way I wanted after being knit up.

Doing a gauge swatch like a good person

I even made a gauge swatch, something I am usually far too lazy and impatient to do. I was really glad I did, though, as my initial gauge wasn’t exactly what the yarn suggested it might be, so I was able to adjust my plans for the whole so that it would come out at the needed dimensions.

For the center column, I wanted to spell out DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome, for anyone unfamiliar) and then have some bright colors on the sides to grab attention. For those sides I just went with the colors I had grabbed from Sam and added in a sixth color (white) from my own stash so that I would have easy color-carrying on the stripes. My idea with the stripes is that one side is roughly Hufflepuff (not really, but it’s close-ish) and the other Slytherin, in honor of my love for Harry Potter.

Yarnbomb Mount Pleasant: DFTBA

I am pretty pleased with how it turned out! It’s a lot bigger than I pictured at first, but it is the correct dimensions according to the brief we were given – I just hadn’t really looked at the measurements to see how large it would be. I dropped it off at ArtReach earlier this week and they will be installing them at the end of the month. I’m really looking forward to seeing my piece and all the others decorating our downtown!

movin’ on down

We have officially moved! AGAIN! This time was slightly less painful because we decided that, after three moves last year which we did ourselves, this time we were hiring pros. It was spendy but absolutely worth it. We are so over moving! Hopefully there will be just one more move in our near future, next year or the year after, whenever we are ready to buy our next home. (I know, we said this last time. And the time before that. Hopefully this time it will actually be true!)

The process of moving went surprisingly smoothly and the movers we used were very speedy. Aside from the brief panic I felt when they showed up an hour early (cue mad dash to find and put on pants), they packed and moved everything in record time.

Move in progress

They packed pretty much everything at Castle Greystone, with the exception of a few fragile things that K had packed and taken over to the new place earlier in the week.

Continued progress

I think it would have taken me a week to pack what they did in less than three hours. Granted, there were four of them, but still, I was pleasantly surprised at how little time it took.


The truck was gigundous! Watching them back it into the not-huge parking lot at The Box Top made me very glad that I didn’t have to figure out how to maneuver it.

Box Top FloorPlanner photo Floorplanner_zps980cc0c3.png

K did an excellent job with planning for the new place. Thanks to a site called FloorPlanner and his careful measuring, he was able to lay out our furniture in advance so that we could tell the movers exactly where to put things so we had as little moving-around to do after they were gone. The site even had green chairs that look pretty much exactly like our vintage pair!

Things are starting to come together at the Box Top.

The space in the new place is pretty similar to that of the old place, so that made things easy. We also streamlined a little bit and decided to store a few more pieces of furniture that aren’t needed in the new space (mega thanks to Susan and her hub for being our storage until we buy our next home!).


Despite the easy arrangement of the furniture, of course, there was the matter of the 50+ boxes of crap we own. MUST GET RID OF MORE STUFF.


UGH. If we had moved all of this ourselves I am not sure I would have been up to facing the unpacking so quickly.


As it was, though, we got all the boxes unpacked (with the exception of those that are pretty much in stay-packed mode right now, such as those holding holiday decorations) by the following day around lunch time.


This photo does not do justice to just how much packing paper this is. I did not even attempt to count it.


Somewhat unpacked! I did not use any sort of organization while unpacking things like books and media. K started out being super careful but I felt that it was taking too long so I just unloaded boxes and threw things up on the shelves in whatever order I found them. We’re in the process of divesting ourselves of a lot of our books and media so I knew we’d be going through it again anyway. Getting rid of all the boxes that were in the middle of everything was a much higher priority for me.


Feeling pretty decent about getting things unpacked so quickly! We also felt great about the fact that some friends were able to pick up the boxes and packing paper for an upcoming move so those were gone on Sunday morning. That freed up a significant amount of space, too!


We’ve made even more progress that I haven’t yet taken photos of. Since we got unpacked on Saturday, we spent the rest of that day organizing things. We have a little less kitchen cupboard space than we did before, so that’s a slight challenge, but we’re making it work. Then on Sunday we started hanging photos and artwork and ran internet cable before having a lovely lunch with Susan and her hub and my folks (and then filling their vehicle with our extra stuff to be stored at their place). All in all, a very successful weekend!

latest late quilt update

Despite my blog silence, I’ve still been working on my latest art quilt project, tentatively titled Modern Venus. Last I checked in, I had put together a rough outline of my general plan and was picking out fabrics.

Modern Venus art quilt in progress

I chose blue fabrics for the sky and used an hourglass quilt block. I tried to stick with soft true blues for the sky, since I will also have greenish blues in the water and I want them to stand out from each other.

Modern Venus art quilt in progress

I also divided up the sky into three rough sections of lightness. I want it to get darker toward the moon, though in a very subtle way. You can see here that I use (beloved office supply) graph paper to figure out how many quilt blocks I’ll need in each area.

Modern Venus art quilt in progress

And the same goes for the moon itself. I took a photo of the moon and determined which parts were lightest and darkest, so that I could create a lot of contrast in this section. The colors will range from white to black, with grey in between.

Modern Venus art quilt in progress

For this section, I’m using a simple two-color diagonal quilt block. I like the look of this relatively basic design and I think it works well with the variations in color I’m using. Here I’ve assembled the individual quilt blocks and arranged them in the shape of the moon. The three columns on the left have been pinned together to create strips, while the rest of them are awaiting that preparation.

Modern Venus art quilt in progress

Modern Venus art quilt in progress

And here they are all sewn into strips and waiting to be arranged together with the sky pieces. I’m really making this up as I go and I’m not sure how a professional would do it. This technique of organization works for me, though, and until I read about a better one, it’ll do.


Specs on keyboard

Things have been super overwhelming lately. I have a lot going on in pretty much every aspect of my life and it all gets a bit HOLY CRAP HOW MUCH MORE CAN I HANDLE at times. Even making time for blogging has been challenging, even though it’s a thing I love to do and actively want to spend more time on.

This week, a big thing I’ve been devoting a ton of time to at work got resolved, so that is a huge load of stress that I can hopefully wrap up and move on from. We’re still getting everything worked out for our upcoming move, though, which means a ton of things to plan and figure out (not that K isn’t doing the lion’s share of the actual work on this – he totally is – I just can’t let go of a big project like that enough to avoid the stress/anxiety that necessarily comes with a move).

And then yesterday’s hugely disappointing SCOTUS news – it’s enough to make one despair for more than a moment!

HOWEVER, I am doing my best to remember the importance of breathing and taking a moment to put things in perspective. I found this post about mood regulation to be insightful and a helpful reminder, too. It’s so easy for me to get into a low mood (usually exacerbated by low blood sugar) and then lean right the eff into it. Consciously reminding myself that I *am* capable of letting it go and not getting sucked in is something I need to do more often.

I’ve also been trying to create more treat yo’self time.

Scully, Wampty's newest resident

Which means that I created a second character in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Here’s Scully! She is mostly bug farming on the island right now, in the pursuit of building up her house so she can house additional furniture collections that don’t fit in my first character’s house. Small pleasures, people.

CMU: New Acquisitions art show

My goodness! So much has been going on lately that I have a bunch of stuff to post that has just been waiting for me to make time to sit down long enough.

We found out (through a careful reading of our new lease documents, NOT through the direct questions we asked the office staff, mind you) that the new owners of our apartment complex decided to raise the rent AND give us the bill for a number of things that were previously covered in the rent (water, trash, etc.), which has effectively priced us out of living here. In addition, our current non-smoking community will no longer be such, and that is a big issue for me (remember when we had to move to a new building here, only a month after moving in the first time, because our neighbors inside the first building were smoking a lot and it was invading/permeating our unit? I am NOT doing that again). So, we’re going to have to move AGAIN before our next, hopefully final for the foreseeable future, move when we buy our next home. We are, as you can imagine, not thrilled about this, but we are trying to see the bright side (even after paying movers, we will still likely save money in the long run due to paying a much lower monthly rent at the new place) (*fingers crossed* that we get the place we’re looking at). We also have to go through all the hassles of moving, having our mail forwarded, and so on – it’s just a huge time- and energy-suck that we were not anticipating.

ANYWAY! On the bright side, I recently went to see an exhibit of new art on CMU’s campus, in the beautiful Baber Room at Park Library.

CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

Paint by Number (ceramic) by Amy Dziesenski (2014)

I love the juxtaposition of something ephemeral, generally considered to be “low art” with a fine art like ceramics. This piece is really fun (note: all my photos from this show are TERRIBLE and should not be considered to be accurate representations of the artworks).

CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

The Spirit: Graham, Dickenson, O’Keefe (multi-media quilt) by Ann Kowaleski

I was really excited to see that CMU acquired one of Ann Kowaleski‘s art quilts from her show earlier this year. I am a fan and admirer of her work.


CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

Batman (ceramic) by Brett Sauve (2013)

This piece was an unexpected delight. It’s Batman, of course, but it’s also a lot more than just that. I really like the artist’s interpretation of the character. I feel like this piece highlights the humanity of the character (rather than focusing on the brutality or sex appeal, as the movies so often do). For me, the eyes especially convey the haunted, lonely life that led Bruce Wayne to take on the Batman mantle. The ears are almost dog-esque (this may just be me – given my love for bat-eared dogs) and their waver-iness gives a feeling of vulnerability. The way his cape is tied reminds me of how a child would tie on a cape, which also leads to that feeling. At any rate, this piece is also just really cool.

This show will be up through July 18 and I highly recommend checking it out.

FO Friday: softies

I recently went on a kick of knitting some softies, AKA stuffed animals. I have some unassigned acrylic aran weight yarn in my stash, and that’s prime fodder for this type of project.

All-in-one Bear

This one is the All-in-One Bear by Kate Turton. This guy is knit, as you might guess from the pattern name, all in one piece. It’s a pretty easy pattern to follow and knit up really quickly. It’s got an old-school feel and I like the proportions of the limbs to body and so forth. If I make it again, I might do the ears slightly differently so that they’re less triangle-y, but overall I’m quite pleased with this bear.

Grey Teddy

Here we have a Grey Teddy Bear, pattern by Lucy Sinkler and Chrissy Gardiner. This guy is a little larger than the first bear, and he has more shaping in his arms and legs. In theory, this is a good thing, but in practice I feel like the limbs just ended up looking a little lumpy. I do, however, like the ears on this bear.

Little Lion

And, finally, the Little Lion, pattern by Lion Brand. I think that this little guy turned out very well. I happened to have the right yarn colors on hand (look familiar?) and he knit up quite quickly. The pattern called for sewing on felt eyes and nose, but I prefer the look of yarn, so I just did it my way.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how these all turned out. All of these are from free patterns I found on Rav, but I have a few books of softies patterns on hold at the library, so I’m hoping to make a few more. This is part of a renewed de-stashing effort as well as an attempt to knit different types of projects that I haven’t done much before. The lion will be a gift, but I’m looking for homes for the two bears. Any takers?