Sunday, August 29, 2010

Snakker du Norsk?

I've returned!

I'm back from the fantastic, 61 degree lushness of Norway, right into sweltering, dirty old Brooklyn.


Mountain Climbing Adventure

Outdoor activity-plan-ruining constant rain. Starvation as result of staunch vegetarianism whilst in Scandinavia.

Just a few photos:

They've been building with grass roofs for thousands of years over there, and we're only just starting to think it's a cool 'sustainable trend' ...

Here are some pics of an historical town, Flekkefjord, where I met up with some extended family members. Most of the homes are from the 1700s, made of wood and painted white. Traditionally, white paint was the most expensive - the red color of the barns was originally actually made from a mixture of oil and fish blood, and obviously was the cheapest 'paint.' The habit remains; most houses in the town were white, a sort of historical habit of showing off.
Preikestolen, a precipice near Stavanger ...

A beautiful 5 hour steep hike up and down - if you even mention to a Norwegian that you climbed Preikestolen (Preek-ehh-stO-ln), they will look at you with surprise and respect.

The typical pathway is rocks on top of rocks. Often with water running over them. And then more rocks.

I'm looking forward to posting a bit about the real non-touristy stuff: like good graffiti and funny traffic signs ... :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Norway Foray

Two years ago I took a trip to Norway to do some amazing sight-seeing.

This year I get to go again, this time with the focus on meeting up with my Norwegian family.

So I'll be away from the 18th - 29th!

In my place, I leave a collection of some images from the last vacay ...

A sampling of cool Scandinavian design ...

This kids' playground was really awesome; the best part, though, was this station, where there's a free book-sharing system in place!

A bar ... made out of ice ... :)

Some cool graffiti in Bergen ...

And something only I find interesting; the different designs for manhole covers in every city!


I'll be sure to take zillions more pics on this trip (with possibly less emphasis on the surface beneath my feet).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Plunderin' Books!

As I've mentioned, I have a new obsession with upcycling books -- and I've been ravaging my shelves for fresh victims.

On the carving block (literally) recently was a lovely blue hardcover I knew I'd never read again.
I decided to make my own story ... about sailing on the high seas.

And I used my sharpest knife to tell the tale.

I grabbed small sections of paper at a time, sketched the idea on their back, and carved away...

I liked the sculpted effect, but it still wasn't popping. So I figured it needed a bit of color.

I'm pleased with the blue, but it's still not finished ...

The next questions are: How on Earth am I gonna make a clean cut through that cover? And stick the pages together?

And possibly the hardest part: What the heck am I gonna do with this thing, anyway??

PS: If anyone out there in internet-land takes on this sort of thing, I'd recommend orienting it with the pages down, not up like I did ... then they'd hang down obediently, and I wouldn't be faced with the prospect of glueing (or stapling?) them up individually!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Home Sweet Home Depot

I adore hardware stores. They're like giant museums dedicated to possibilities.

So once upon a summer afternoon, I thought to myself:
"Gee, I'm rather unemployed."

Annnnnnd:"Ooooh, I would even consider donning orange, if it meant I got both money and time in WonderFixItLand!"

And then later on:"Golly, I'd take just about any job!"

And so I decided to apply to the Home Depot of Brooklyn, NY.

I was snotty. I figured my college education and year of actual construction work would make me the most perfect little candidate. I felt a little more snotty (and rather out of place) when I began to answer the application questions ...

These are actual questions from the application:

Except for minor office supplies, what is the total value of goods and merchandise not belonging to you that you have taken from all of your employers in the last 5 years?
up to $5
up to $10
$11 or more
I don't remember

The total value of items you have taken from a store without paying for it, in the last five years?
up to $5
up to $10
$11 or more
I don't remember

The total amount of cash not belonging to you that you have taken from all of your employers in the past 5 years is?

up to $5
up to $10
$11 or more
I don't remember

How often do you currently use cocaine, crack or other illegal drugs (LSD, speed, amphetamines, ice, etc.) while at work or just before?


How often have you ignored safety rules in order to get the job done in the past three years?

1 or 2 times
3 or 4 times
5 or more times
One to four times per week
One to four times per month
Tried once or twice

Have you ever committed a theft, shoplifting or other crime where you took something that didn’t belong to you?

Don't they seem to be sort of assuming that the answers will be affirmative?

Since I didn't get the job, perhaps we can assume if one answers "No/Never" to most of the questions, one is just not a right fit for a Brooklyn NY Home Depot.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Art From the Future

The institution at which I am a graduate student happens to be home to a
Super Spizzy Neutromatic Space-Age Machine From the Future!

Aka a LASER cutter!
(Link here for a video example!)

Basically, you draw something out on the computer, and then the machine cuts or scores your drawing onto all kinds of stuff; paper, plastic, wood ...

For us school kids, it's meant for making architectural models.

But I'm obsessed with it, and I sneak in and cut allllll kinds of wondrous things ...
(I've even got a mini Etsy page to prove it!)

But recently I was feeling more artsy.

I decided to draw a Chinese painting inspired design and just burn it onto some lovely bass wood I had lying around:

Then I gave 'er a bit of color ...

I really like the way it's looking, and I've already got zillions of ideas for other designs I'd like to do.

Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to hang/frame it yet!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


My poor computer has caught a virus ...

Wish me luck ...

Oh, and wish Tech Support luck, too.

I'm feeling pretty Take No Prisoners.

(Modern-style pinup courtesy of Fuchsiart at

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wish I'd Thought of That!

My internet trolling has led me to some cool finds recently - here's a collection of cool ideas and finely crafted projects that other design geniuses have thought of first ....

How's your refrigerator looking? Bland? Hey, mine too. But it turns out we don't have to live in such misery ...

An italian company called 'Coolors' offers fridges in a variety of graphics, like American & British flags, sunflowers, Audrey Hepburn ...
NYC ...

and my favorite, a London telephone booth! (That's a fridge! Really!)
These have got me wondering how hard it would be to spruce up my own fridge. The condensation factor is a big deterrent, but I wonder whether some vinyl wall decals would adhere? Hmmm ...

Here's a gorgeous new way to look at a mirror, from River Mirrors:
I like the blend of sculpture and mirror here.

These computer makeovers are especially creative, and handmade by a real person - you can check out his craft process on his site, at Steampunk Workshop:
Not so easily accomplished for the rest of us, but really cool.

I also discovered an Etsy shop, Cantastiks, that makes awesome light fixtures out of recycled tin cans; very Arabian Nights:

Another Etsy shop, Xenasdad, offers coffee and side tables featuring glass tops and a myriad of little spaces - reused 'printer's type boxes,' (whatever those are) - in which to showcase the mini collection of your heart's desire:
Wish I'd thought of it, but my mind still reels at the possibilities of displaying stuff ... shards of colorful glass? mini Victorian diaramas? Lego people?! :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Compounding My Problems

Fun fact:
My current apartment came equipped with numerous gaping, drafty holes in the walls, ceilings, and floors.

The biggest plague on my mind was a tricky one: the scary space where a pipe runs through my ceiling.

It was gross, stuffed with steel wool by the previous tenants (which worries me), and cobwebby.

For its repair, I wasn't too thrilled with the nice hardware guy's suggestion of a decorative metal ring to stick on it.

Instead, I grabbed myself a cute little bucket of joint compound, a plastic spackle knife, and some tape.

(Ladies, try convincing a hardware guy that you honestly want drywall tape sometime ... preferably while wearing pigtails ...
"You mean duct tape, miss? ... Ohhh, masking tape?"
"No. Drywall tape ... see? I'm buying joint compound. I'm not joking."

I approached the issue of curving the tape around the pipe as though it were a Thanksgiving turkey leg decoration.


Then I smacked it on. The first stage was reeeally fun, until I had the horrid realization that I may not ever be able to make this area look, erm, ... perfectly polished ...

(This is just a "Process" Shot!)
Standing on a collapsible chair on my tippy toes, using a knife that was too big to fit behind the pipe, I decided to go with the 'more is more' approach and worry about smoothing it out later.

Then I roamed the apartment, in search of new gaps to gob.
A door frame that was firmly nailed in place -- with a 1/2" space between it and the wall, which someone once tried to caulk -- got a head start ...

The majority of my apartment's drywalled or plastered surface area is gooped up and resting comfortably, now, awaiting round two: Smoooooothing.