Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mail Art to Argentina

This card went off to Buenos Aires this afternoon. I go with it, hearing in my head the rhythms of tango (actually, I'm hearing the Gotan Project CD La Revancha del Tango) I wish that I'd known Spanish when we visited there, but the little Italian I had at the time was helpful.  I want to return in person, now that I've been studying Espanol.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I've gotten back to sewing, in preparation for participation in Bizarre Market for the month of December. I sew up my Pockets and Purses for Change, on the sewing machine, only hand sewing the buttons for closure. However, I was asked to donate a one of a kind little item for a fundraising auction to proceed the market. I decided to make a small wristlet, based on my Purses for Change pattern. I used some really nice velvet-y fabric (high end upholstery sample) for the outside and a nice sateen cotton for the inside (high end upholstery sample) and then for pizzazz tried my hand at some handsewing. I was inspired by my friend Bridget, who hand makes beaded buttons that are extraordinary. Wish I'd taken photos of them while visiting her. Next visit, I promise!
It was so time consuming to do the beading. I had no idea since the last time I played with beads was on my old beading loom, a long long time ago.  The wristlet is about 5" x 5" (12.7 cm x 12.7cm)

My older sister sent me some cool old packets of needles and pins a few weeks ago. I couldn't carry them back with me on the plane since I was doing carry on luggage only. Even though I'd seen them in L.A., I was delighted when they arrived. The needles are nice and sharp and the packaging is terrific.  You can see my other sewing projects here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mail Art, recently sent out into the world~

 Here is a series of cards that I made for different people in various parts of the United States. Note: in some cases the music is upside down and will be very tricky to play, should one be a musician and want to play it, BUT that'll be the challenge!
 How did this happen? Well, let's just say that I decided late one night that I hadn't made any Mail Art all day and I needed to make something before I went to sleep.
Should have slept on that idea, right?
 Also, notice how tiny these last two images are. Hmmm, what change did I make in resolution? Ah, well, I have a record of them in any case.

I love using music for the background. Don't worry, it's old and well used, and a duplicate of what I already have to play from.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010 is here! WATER!

This image is an entry that I sent to a Mail Art call entitled "World Without Water."  Who can even think about a world like that?
        And yet, there are parts of the world where clean water, safe for drinking, is unavailable or difficult to come by, so it's as if there was no water in the world. I am among those fortunate enough to have clean water come out of faucets in my home. 
     I've become sensitized to wasting water so I don't run water while brushing my teeth and have a toilet that uses less water, but oh my, in the big picture, this is like nothing!
Here are some facts -   African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink.
- Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions.

While the developing world faces challenges like the above, the industrialized countries consume loads of water.
Check out these facts -
- It takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion liters of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe.
- That cotton t-shirt you might be wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters.
AND this fact which really disturbs me:
- The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled.

So what can one person do? It seems crazy to think that I can do anything about this. However, if we each vow to cut down on wasting water, not buy bottled water (I got this really nice metal bottle to refill from my tap,) figure out for yourself how to conserve water (more here)in your own life, and maybe even write a bit about this in your own blog, or share with your family and friends, we can as a multitude, make a difference.
Here's something that I didn't know about until I signed on to blog about water:
 Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war?
Did you know this? Pretty amazing and horrifying.

Please do something in your own life, and take action. Besides conserving water, you can take action by signing the petition via the link to the right, or do some of your own research to find another group through which you can take action. Spread the word. This is our world and it's hard to image it without water. 

Check out what's happening on other blogs here. You'll be amazed at who's participating.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trip to Washington DC

view from Kennedy Center
On Tuesday afternoon, we car-pooled up to Washington, DC, to see Shanbehzadeh Ensemble perform at the Kennedy Center. We felt like crazy fans, groupies following our band around. How fun! We weren't allowed to take photos of their performance but you can see it here:   The performance was 15 minutes longer than those at the Richmond Folk Festival. Wow, what energy. We were sad when it was over and they packed up all of their instruments into their friend's vehicle for the next leg of their tour. They will be in New York City on Saturday the 16th and then on to the west coast, followed by Canada, before they return home to Paris. We had an intense week of bonding! We miss them already.
K Street by the Potomac River
Afterwards, we went down to K Street for some food. We sat near the Potomac, eating on a patio, amazed by our experience, before heading back down the pike to Richmond.

Monday, October 11, 2010


What a spread
impromptu jam session
We have been very lucky in our life to have unexpected experiences. This weekend, we had a big diversion from our feelings about the loss of our sweet pup. It was the Richmond Folk Festival event. Three days of music! For us, the event actually started the previous weekend. Because of an e-mail I received through an organization  to which I belong (RPEC) I was able to connect the Iranian music group, Shanbehzadeh Ensemble, to a host family. They were coming a week earlier and needed a place to stay until their festival lodgings became available. We had a small dinner for them at our house a week ago Sunday. We invited our Persian friends to join us and everyone brought wonderful food to share.

We didn't think they'd play music while at our house, but Habib spotted my husband's kunga drums and tuned them up. Then Naveed, our son's friend started to improvise on the piano and Naghib joined him. There was clapping and dancing and even some joke telling by Saeid. We had so much fun that we became instant groupies.

At the Folk Festival,  first night
This weekend, we went to three of the performances given by Shanbehzadeh Ensemble. The audiences loved them. They'll be playing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC tomorrow and we may just follow them up there. Groupies!

On Saturday evening we went to hear La Exelencia, a salsa dura group. It was sooo hot but we danced anyway. What energy. On Sunday, the festival closed at 6 p.m. so we got there early to hear more. We heard Otrov, a band that played Croatian music on tambouritza. They were really good and the crowd loved them. In the near distance a young woman was dancing with a hula hoop, looking very much like she was doing belly dancing to the music of the group.
the audience

New Yellow Hat
The James River
After Otrov, we moved over to the stage to hear Shanbehzadeh again. It was sooo sunny and hot at that point that I went in search of a hat (having forgotten to bring one from home) and found a bright yellow one for only $10.  We found a shady spot along the river behind the stage where we could still hear the music. A nice peaceful view.
listening to rockabilly
We then made our way to the next stage area to hear a Rockabilly band, Deke Dickerson & The Ecco-tonics with Daryl Davis. They rocked it. People would explode with applause. We found a couple of seats in the shade where we could hear, though not see, the band.

La Exelencia

Golden sunset
La Exelencia played in this same tent, the dance pavilion, so when one group ended we just moved inside to dance salsa. The floor was not as crowded as it was on Saturday night so we had room to move around but it was still very hot. We had met up with some friends, which made it even more fun. We all danced!

A tall friend of ours kindly held up my camera to capture this photo of the band. What fun. What a terrific diversion. We headed home as the sun was setting, a golden sunset, the end of a really wonderful weekend.

I think this is the longest post I've ever done. I hope you enjoyed the Richmond Folk Festival! If Shanbehzadeh comes to your city, try to see them. You won't be sorry you did.   Today,  my calves hurt from dancing salsa in clogs (not recommended) and I'm still feeling the loss of our pup, but happy that we heard lively music and made some new friends.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Feeling blue.

Taking a rest, recently
This afternoon, we said goodbye to Smitty. He came into our lives, from the city pound, 15 years ago (this past July) and was a great little dog. He was, as we say, house trained from the start, and didn't bark until he'd been with us for months. We thought he had no voice! He wasn't afraid of being hit, if we picked up a broom or newspaper, but didn't like big boots. He didn't shed, which we thought was a big plus though we didn't realize that until much later.  We weren't planning on keeping him, I was just getting him out of the pound to rescue him from certain death, but within three days, he charmed us with his bouncy fun personality and cute face. He wasn't sure about being picked up or held on a lap. He'd keep his legs out stiff. Gradually, he realized he was with his pack, and truly became our dog.
Studio Portrait 1995
I'm feeling sad but it was time. We had to make sure. We didn't want it to be about us, the constant cleaning up the kitchen floor from accidents, or the inconvenience of not being about to take a trip, but rather about his quality of life.
On the porch, snoozing
Our veterinary doctor was wonderful. She was so sweet to him and to us. We're sad, but it's okay.
Taking a stroll

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Mail Art sent!

Sent to Greece
 Hopefully these make the deadlines for their respective exhibits.
Sent to Poland

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Luke arrived today!

Luke arrived today! I found out about him and other Neurons on Dude Craft the other day. I really liked the story behind the Neurons and couldn't resist having one live with me. It was hard to make a choice because they are all so appealing. Read their story here, at Neuron Rebellion. He's just so cute! And he arrived in his own brown bag traveling case cleverly closed with a twig (actually this was also in a box to protect it during shipping.) Read all about it and tell me if you think I picked the cutest one?