Friday, July 13, 2018

Painted Shirt: How To

Blank shirts are okay, but a shirt with a picture has much more personality! One easy way to add pizzazz to an ordinary shirt is by painting on a picture! Here is what you need:

  •  Plain shirt
  • Acrylic paint
  • Pallet
  • Paint brush
  • A design
  • A marking pen (or some sort of marker with ink that will erase in the washer)
  • Fabric paint medium

Step One: Create your design. If you have amazing art skills, you can paint the Mona Lisa on a shirt but if you are not the next Da Vinci, even a simple heart or basic animal shape will look great! I chose a moth because I am a fan of moths.

Step Two: Use the marking pen to draw your design onto your shirt.

Step Three: Prepare your paints. You will need to mix the fabric paint medium with the acrylic paints you are using. Fabric paint medium transforms ordinary acrylic paint into paint that can last on a shirt and through whirls in the washing machine. Along with mixing the fabric paint medium into your acrylic, mix the colors so you have the colors you want.

Step Four: Time to paint! Paint your design onto the shirt.

Step Five: Let the design sit over night.

Step Six: Iron the design to heat set.

Step Seven: Sport your new shirt!

Look HERE for another way to transform your ordinary shirt into something a little more interesting! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kelsey Creek Farm Part Two: Goofy Goats

I love goats because they are such goofy and clever creatures. The goats at Kelsey Creek Farm were just as charming as your average goat...which is to say they were each oozing with charm. 

There were two different areas with goats. The first area I saw had a mama goat and her two playful kids. 

One of the kid goats was extremely friendly. He came right over to investigate me and see what was going on.

In a seperate pasture there were two goats. Both of them were very hungry and eager to eat the leaves from the tree in their pasture. The goat in the purple collar was particularly talented at standing on his hind legs. I can imagine him learning to walk like a human while wearing a bow tie.

Due to the aforementioned goat charm inherent in each one of these bearded, bleating creatures, I am surprised that there are not more goats that have made it in Hollywood. There are many roles for famous dogs: Benji, Lassie, Tin Tin, Beethoven. And there is the famous bear actor Bart the Bear. But there are fewer goats strutting around Hollywood sets. Someone needs to make a movie all about goats! The only goat movie I can think of is 'Heidi.' However, given that animals aren't always treated properly on the sets of movies, it may be for the best that there are no goat movies.

Sometimes when people are irritated by something, they say 'Oh, that really got my goat!' about the subject that is aggravating them. It is as if we all have our own personnel goat that follows us around, and as long as we can maintain a calm demeanor and inner serenity, the goat will remain with us. But if something bothers us, the goat is stolen away! I looked more into this saying and really hearkens back to when goats were used for their mystical calming abilities. Goats have traditionally used their calming power to ease the frayed nerves of race horses. Being a race horse cannot be a relaxing way of life. There is so much pressure, movement and high expectations hefted upon you if you are a race horse. In order to calm nervous Nelly racehorses, goats were put into their paddocks with them. The race horse had their own goat as a personnel wellness assistant. Goats are like therapists for the horses. Sometimes their would be smarmy ruffians who would have their eye to disrupt the chances of certain race horses to win the race. So, they would steal away the horses friendly goat...which led to  flustering the horse or enraging the horse hence, getting the goat.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Ordinary Bob and the Extraordinary Creature

Here's an illustration I did recently of a cruising creature encountering a human and a dog. 

Ordinary Bob, it's what they called him his whole life. He had an ordinary family, but even within his own family he was the most ordinary of them all. He had an ordinary profession- a banker. He had an ordinary hobby-tennis. He had a dog, which many ordinary people have, but his dog wasn't ordinary because there is no such thing- every dog is pretty extraordinary. But, beyond his little dog Pip, everything was pretty ordinary for Ordinary Bob.

That is, until his encounter. He was walking with Pip when together they saw it- a magnificent creature. It was colorful with a pensive expression upon it's face. It's whole body oscillated like a wave as it rambled down the pathway. Ordinary Bob was frozen in place. Pip was wagging his tail. The creature passed them by and disappeared into the distance.

The experience profoundly altered Bob. He started to think about things he never thought about before- the fragility of existence, the strangeness of reality, what truly constitutes good and evil in our world, how mysterious truths have the power to alter our lives.... his mind was just whirling with thoughts and ideas. He had an urge to learn, so he was always reading. Many of the books he read were about strange or unknown creatures. He had an urge to create, so he built great sculptures of make believe monster creatures. He had an urge to travel, so he traveled to rarely visited corners of the earth in search of legendary beasts. Suddenly, Bob wasn't ordinary anymore.

But, he still went by Ordinary Bob. He was still thrived in his profession as a banker and he still loved tennis and the joy of slamming his net against a plummeting ball and he still enjoyed time with his ordinary family. Bob started wondering if he was never really ordinary in the first place. To the acrobat, who every day does flips in the air, being an acrobat feels pretty ordinary. To the sky diving enthusiast, whose taken countless plunges from the tip top of the sky, falling toward the ground attached to a parachute can start seeming pretty ho-hum. And anything as a familiar as a family might start to feel ordinary, but every family is familiar. So Ordinary Bob had always been Extraordinary Bob and Extraordinary Bob would always be Ordinary Bob. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

When I was little, someone told me a story about a person they knew who went to a psychic and found out the day of their death. It haunted them their whole life. I think in the story, they ended up dying on that day, but it was partially a self fulfilled prophecy, the worried themselves to death. After hearing that story, I always knew I would never want to know the day of my death. Reading 'The Immortalists' just confirmed this conviction!

The story is about four siblings who as young children visit a psychic. The psychic sees each one of them alone and tells them the day they will die and they are told not to tell each other.

From there, the story follows the four siblings in their grown up life as they grapple with their possible fate. Simon is a young gay man born in a time where homophobia was the norm and gay men had to struggle to belong in the world. He moves to San Francisco where he finally gets to embrace his identity and thrive in a world he fits into.

Klara is a young woman antsy when surrounded by the ordinary. Most of her life she has been transfixed by the idea of magic, whether the magic the sinister psychic had, or the magic of stage magicians. She works hard to master the techniques of magicianship and creates her own magic show with help from her husband Raj. Despite her ever growing success as a magician, she is haunted by doubt and dread and tries to ease her anxiety with self destructive behavior.

Daniel is a man who strives to find his place in the world within the structure of the military. He becomes a military doctor but the stress of sending men to war and the pressure of strict military rules create a fissure in Daniel that continues to rupture his life even when on leave from his job.

The oldest daughter Varya because a scientist, obsessed with finding a cure to aging, a way to increase longevity.

All of the characters lives become something different than they would have been if they had never gone to the psychic. The siblings spend their life dealing with existential dread that haunts them in a way that wouldn't have if they hadn't had those dates of death told to them. Even though none of the siblings completely believe, they all at least believe the prophecies to a certain degree. And this belief is a curse to them.

Overall, 'The Immortalists' was a very interesting book that forced the reader to grapple with similar feelings of dread about death and knowing that all the characters were constantly dealing with. Even though the readers don't know the dates of our death, we all know death is inevitable and there is a dread linked to the inevitability that mirrors that of the siblings.

Besides mortality, the novel also is about the complexity of sibling relationships. As an only child, I find this subject endlessly interesting.

Most of us read for fun, and while pondering death and fate isn't always a bag of candy, the book really was an enjoyable read that had it's lighter moments in the happiness the characters found by following their hearts and pursuits, and in the end, the book reminds us of the reason we feel dread in dying, because there is joy in living.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Kelsey Creek Farm Part One: The Sheep

I visited a wonderful place! Kelsey Creek Farm in Bellevue! Based on Kelsey Creek Farm's website, I wasn't sure I'd be able to see animals. Something on the website made it seem like the actual animals are closed to the public unless you make reservations and pay money. But much to my delight, the animals were all there for me to see! The sheep were the first animals I spotted, grazing merrily in the glow of cloud covered sun. 

They are semi-curious. Curious enough to lift their fuzzy heads up from grazing to look at me. But then they like to go right back to their mission which is to keep the grass shorn short.

This little guy was my favorite. He let me pat the top of his head.

These sheep have a good life. They have the sun, the grass and each other. I did feel sorry for them when a group of naughty children ran up to them and started yowling 'Baaa Baaa' at them. But hopefully, incidents like that are few and far between. The sheep took the insulting mockery of their language with aplomb and kept eating grass with sheepy dignity.

When I was younger and couldn't fall asleep, I would try the age old activity of 'counting sheep.' I would imagine a sheep, fluffy with wool like a spring cloud in the sky, dashing and leaping over a fence. Then, the next one, then the next. Behind the sheep, the sky would be a murky blackish blue with stars glowing and glittering. It never worked. But how did this practice even start?

I tried to solve this query via internet research but found only a few flimsy theories mainly tied to the thought that the practice of counting sheep is monotonous, thus leading to the practitioner of sheep counting to feel drowsy.

One theory delves a little deeper. Medieval Britain, shepherds had shared grazing land, so they had to make sure to count their sheep as they entered and exited the pastures. Maybe people found a lot of sleeping shepherds back in the day.

My theory was there was a young shepherd man who was a narcoleptic. People would find him sleeping all over the place: in pastures, on the top of hay stacks, on the top of wandering sheep, in stranger's cottages...everywhere! He got a reputation all throughout the land as being a hardy and talented sleeper. People thought that his propensity to sleep must be linked to his profession with sheep. All of those white fluffy creatures, slowly moving across green pastures like lazy clouds drifting in the sky. The gentleness of their eyes lolling any onlooker into a stoic calm. The way they bellowed reassuring 'baaaaa's' as they went about their day. The rhythmical twirl of their mouth and crunch and clank of their dull teeth as they gnawed upon grass. If any creature is going to help you sleep, it is a sheep. Insomniacs must have admired this sleepy shepherd. They must have thought, it is all that counting of sheep that does it. He counts all those sheep and falls right to sleep. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ocean Outerspace

Here is a miniature story illustration I made:

When they were stranded at sea, they watched all the glowing ocean animals floating in the murk beneath their boat. The creatures gleamed and glistened like funny little stars. When she finally fell overboard, she did not fall into the sea but instead was shot into outerspace whee she drifted with the stars. Finally she landed on a planet. For a thousand years, she lived there alone until finally, the other people from the boat came her way. They plummeted from the sky and landed right back in a sea. The waves carried them to shore where she was patiently waiting from them. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Georgetown Part Six: The Trailer Park Mall

On the weekends, Georgetown has a really neat market open called 'Georgetown Trailer Park Mall.' It is full of pizzazz and character! A little section of Georgetown has a bunch of trailers, and all of them are small stores selling either handmade goods or vintage finds. When I went, it was still the rainy season. Now that it is summer I bet it is even cooler! The shops in the actual trailers are permanent, but according to their website, they have tables for people who don't want to commit to a permanent shop, so probably during the summers there are more shops to peruse. 

The Georgetown Trailer Park Mall felt like the setting of a movie. It was such a interesting place and all the people wandering around were also interesting. There was a story around every corner, from the expression on a persons face to the trinkets they were selling.