Sunday, June 29, 2008

MiT book, the text blocks

I was going to upload some images of the text blocks (all stacked together but not sewn), but blogger doesn't seem to want my photos. In either case, after taking down the 23 Sandy show tomorrow, I'll be home sewing all afternoon, I hope. It might take a couple of days of sewing.

Abandoned Nest?

After sitting in the nest pretty much full time for a couple of days, mama bird went AWOL today. I saw her in the morning as I came in and out, but didn't see her all afternoon. By 5:30pm, I couldn't stand it any longer and peeked inside the nest and found...NOTHING!

There were no eggs, no bird, no nothing. Just an empty nest. So was this all just a sham? Or maybe the male bird didn't quite live up to his end of the bargain (I never saw him over the last 2 days) so she flew the coop?

I kept on checking throughout the evening, but she never came home.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

MiT book, marathon gocco day

Phew! I spent about 6 hours printing today, another hour for clean up, and probably another hour folding the paper so I could print.

So here are some of the pages I printed today. I'm essentially finished with printing my Rock Star senior's book, except for the cover. I won't do the cover until after I have the text blocks all sewn together and her prints inserted, then I can see how thick it's going to be, then I can figure the size, cut, fold, and then print. The end is in sight!

These pages in the next two images are the opening pages, 1 of the closing pages plus colophon, printed on Nepal Heavyweight. I think this may be my new favorite gocco printing paper! Although I think for smaller text, the Rives Lightweight will still be better, but this paper printed the larger type really beautifully. I think it will print images really well too.

This is Nepal Lightweight, and I don't find it quite as lovely for gocco as the Heavyweight. I think it can be really nice for Chine-colle though.

Friday, June 27, 2008

MiT, 4th senior day 5

Again, we had a productive session and she made 4 prints. At first, we wrapped up after 3 prints (all photographs), but as I was packing up, I found the one copy I made from her mahjongg tiles; I made that copy during our first session but we never printed it. I had been carrying it around ever since, hoping that we'd get to print it. But each time, there were so many other things to choose from that we never printed the tile image.

Anyhow, I suggested that we print that today, and it was a big hit! It was the only print senior #4 and her daughter had made that had multiple colors all on the same screen, and they loved it.

I finally finished trimming all the paper for my Rock Star senior's book. Now I need to print and fold, and sew next week!

The Incubation!

Mama bird sat in her nest all day (except for when anyone went in and out of the house). And tonight, when I came back from my walk at 9:30pm, I noticed that she stayed put and didn't fly off. Not sure if she was sound asleep, or if she had decided that we weren't a threat. Probably the former.

The Bugs!

They hatched! I found this image that most resembled what the little bugs looked like. They did look like little beetles.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 19; Gocco Quickie class

Nothing different to report on my watercolor session with senior #1. Still fussing with the 2nd watercolor. With the 1st watercolor, she had no expectations and she created something she continues to love. But now she has expectations and it's a different story.

Continued to trim papers for my Rock Star senior's book. I'm determined to finish printing it all this weekend, except for maybe the cover. Then next week, I sew!

Tonight was my first attempt at the Gocco Quickie class, an one hour gocco class. Well, I couldn't quite do it in an hour; it was an hour and half before we finished. So now I know.

The Birds

The female is hanging around the nest a lot more today, but I don't think she's laid any eggs yet, since she flew off around 7:30pm and I haven't seen her since. Or maybe she's laying eggs but won't sit on them until she's done laying. So this is what says about their nesting habits:

House Finches are monogamous, and pairs tend to form while the birds are in their winter flocks. Some pairs may stay together year round. They choose a wide variety of nesting sites, and will nest in man-made objects such as window ledges and holes in buildings. Ivy growing on buildings or trees creates many nesting sites. Nests may also be located in conifer trees, hanging planters, and old nests of other birds. The first requirement is a solid base with some overhanging material. The female builds most of the nest, which is an open cup of grass, weeds, twigs, leaves, and rootlets, lined with feathers and other fine material. The female incubates 4 to 5 eggs for 13 to 14 days while the male brings her food. The female broods the young for the first few days after they hatch, and the male continues to bring food. The female then joins the male in bringing food to the young. The young leave the nest after 12 to 15 days and may be fed by the male for about two more weeks, while the female starts a second clutch. Pairs may raise three or more broods each season.

And says the eggs are blue and lavender! Here's a picture from wikipedia:

If she lays that many eggs, I wonder if the tumbleweed will hold? Those weedy branches aren't that strong, although I guess there's a mass of them.

I read somewhere else that the female lays 1 egg a day over several days, and may start incubating from day 1, or may delay incubating until she's done. There was something about how she can control/select the size/sex of the chicks. But now I can't find the article again and can't remember exactly what it said.

And about making those omelets, here's an article about finches eating their own eggs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MiT book, the last words

I finally have all the text more or less finished and laid out for my Rock Star senior's book. At least one of the pages will be tricky—one line of text will be split on 2 different ends of the sheet, and will have to line up after folding. I also started trimming the end sheets. I'll sleep on the words before I start printing them, which probably won't be until Saturday at this point. Just as well, gives me a couple of days to think them over a bit more.

The Bird Brains Saga

First of all, it seems that there's a 2nd male hanging around the happy couple. An usurper? Maybe.

Activities have kicked up. They were busy all afternoon today, unlike yesterday, when they had a siesta during the hot afternoon. Or at least I didn't see them at all. More soft downy stuff arrived today, with both the male and the female checking out the nest.

Here's the expectant father on the right, and the mommy-to-be in the nest, with her butt up in the air:

And a close up of the female; she seems to be taking it on a test drive, sitting it at various postions:

I've been rather torn on the subject of these birds. On the one hand, I think it's pretty cool to be able to see them—they are right outside the window; also, my nieces are coming for a visit, and I think they would really enjoy them. On the other hand, people are talking about the mess and the aggressive behavior. After talking it over with the Good Prince, we've decided to let nature take its course—they put the nest there, and there it shall stay.

White Flowers

Lest you think that my garden is all garish pink and magenta (which from previous pictures, it would appear that way), I have some white flowers to show today. Spring Dawn, a nice climber; it usually has a nice scent, but I don't seem to be able to smell it this year:

Pyracantha. Looks like there will be plenty of berries this winter! I keep hoping it will attract cedar waxwings, but I haven't seen them yet in all these years.

Ahhh, the mock orange! For some reason, it blooms just on one side of the bush (it's always been this way), but fortunately, it's the side I stand when I water my veggies.'s a lovely smell.

Alright, I have to throw this in. It's a great iris, with the deep purple and golden orange. It didn't bloom for a couple of years after I moved them, so I'm glad to have them back this year.

MiT book, purple foxglove

My Rock Star senior loves this shade of magenta purple, so with the foxgloves blooming now, I had to do one with the purple foxglove:

And this was from yesterday. I tried stitching the envelope pages to the accordion spine, and it was too thick. So I tried cutting a pattern with the accordion, thinking that if there was less paper there, it might lie flat. This was a simple pattern that I luck.

In the Bug Brains section

Not to be outdone by the Bird Brains, some bug laid a clutch of eggs on our metal front door. Like the babies are going to get a lot to eat when they hatch out there.

The Bird Brains

I didn't see the birds much yesterday, so I thought maybe they had moved on. But nope, this morning, they were coming back to the nest with soft and fuzzy stuff. I guess that's the last stage of the nest building.

The Dead Mouse

Now this is firmly in the One Thing Leads to Another Dept — I had this idea of reorganizing my gocco room by using a couple of old circuit board storage cubes I had scrounged back at IMS (now Credence, soon to be Credence+LTX). Manufacturing was getting rid of these, and I was first on the scene to scavenge. As I was checking them out, the VP walked by and asked me what I was going to do with them. "They'd make fine end tables," I said. He got this funny look on his face.

"You just can't live like a college student anymore now, can you?" I said.

He got an even funnier look on his face and said, "well, I probably can, but my wife won't let me." Ah, the old Blame the Wife trick.

But I digress. Those circuit board storage cubes. They are tall enough that I can use them to store matted prints, and with a board on top, I can put my SP-275 gocco flasher on it. However, they are currently being used to store bubble wrap, butcher paper, etc., and I started to clean them out, and I found these huge clear plastic bags!

The last time I went to the UPS store, I noticed that they accepted used packing peanuts in clear plastic bags. OK, there I was, in the basement, with some huge clear plastic bags and boxes and boxes of packing peanuts just a few feet away.

I started bagging the peanuts. And I bagged peanuts. And I bagged peanuts. And I started to breakdown the now empty cartons. Then I noticed a gray lump of something on the floor, underneath one of the cartons. And it had a tail.

Well, it must've died a long time ago, cause it's all bones and fur now (and lots of poop, it was lying on top of a big pile of poop).

To make a long story not quite as long, the basement is now cleaner, but the gocco room did not get very far. I still have the mouse, of course. It would make a fine companion to the other mouse; I just have to clean it, somehow.

The Random Movie

You Don't Mess with the Zohan. What can I say, I thought it was hilarious. It's the first Adam Sandler movie I've ever seen. None of the others had seemed all that appealing, but for some reason, this one appealed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

MiT book, another change of plans

Back in my original mockup of my Rock Star senior's book , I had planned a hidden print in the spine.

Since then, I've modified the envelope design to eliminate all the clumsy flaps but to still look like an envelope, and that means my envelopes are now at least twice as thick at the spine (four times as thick where two of the folds meet up). So today, when I tried sewing the envelopes to the accordion spine, I ended up with a super thick spine that didn't want to lie down flat.

This is bad.

So. I'm going without the accordion and hidden print in the spine. The envelopes will now be sewn together, each envelope treated like a signature. I might leave the spine exposed, or not, I haven't decided on that yet.

On other fronts, the Portland Open Studios web site went live this morning at 12am. I'm still making small changes as edits come in though.

A couple of bird brains

The last few days, I've noticed a couple of finches hanging around by the front door. I figured they were getting good nesting materials from this tumbleweed that I brought back from Eastern Oregon last fall:

Today, I noticed that they were building the nest right in the tumbleweed:

It's really not a very good location at all. Every time we go in and out of the house, they get disturbed. How do they expect to raise a family this way?

I thought about a Nest Relocation Program, moving the entire Tumbleweed Development to the other side of the deck. They can still see it easily, but they wouldn't be right by the front door. But I'm not sure that they'll be able to find it.

Then I thought, hmm, if they can't figure out how to locate a nest, maybe they shouldn't be passing on their genes anyhow! My neighbors thought that was perhaps a bit judgmental on my part.

In the mean time, I remembered to get some photos of the garden. These are the Blueberry Hill and Coronation (in back) roses. What you can't see is the Lawrence of Arabia, which is a deep burgundy red and in between these two. The poor plant has been moved 3 times and spent the entire spring under a supposedly miniature something-or-other that grew to be 6 feet wide. (You can see the offending plant at the foot of the Coronation, having just been hacked back to 3 feet, it's "maximum" size.)

So here's a part of the yard that has been neglected for a couple of years. This pine has really grown, the lower branches long and droopy. There is/was a path in front of this pine, to the left of the picture frame, but it fell out of use because the pine branches hung so low, and also a 3-feet tall carpet of rose campions had pretty much taken over.

So here, the droopy branches had been pruned. And this evening, I removed most of the rose campions. You can almost see the path again!

The peony! I haven't had a lot of luck with my peonies. Mostly they set bud but never bloom. But this year, they're cooperating. At least 2 of the 3 peonies are. The white one is blooming too. The pink one, no luck.

I just like the geums behind my little homemade Japanese lantern.

A mullein! They're pretty dramatic volunteers. They do much better in Eastern Oregon, but I get one occasionally, and this one landed in a particularly sunny spot.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dotting the i's and crossing the t's

OK, pending the proof reader's results (thanks Margaret!), the Portland Open Studios web site is all revamped, updated, completed. We'll go live on Sunday night. And now I'm off to get some well deserved reading time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 18

What can I say, my first senior was still herself today — very sweet, but bouncing back and forth in terms of what she would like to do with her watercolor. And actually, it seemed quite extreme today, even by her standards. One moment it needs to be darker, and literally 5 seconds later, it needs to be lighter. So we put paint on, then we scrub it off; then we put it on again.

I noticed today that she was not remembering things at all. She would say, "I would like to [do this]." But by the time she loaded the brush up with paint and looked back at the painting, she would have to ask me what she was about to do. (This would be about 3 seconds later.) And it happened many times. This was the first time that she couldn't remember within that short a time frame.

She was so proud of the 1st one she finished that I'm really hoping she'll finish this 2nd one so that the first one doesn't feel like an 'accident' to her, which is how she feels now. But now I'm not so sure that we'll be able to finish it. We got to a point where she thought it looked good, and was looking forward to showing it to her son. Then as we sat and chatted, she suddenly said, "the top of the painting is just annoying me to no end." (Or something very similar; it was a strong definite sentiment.)

The rest of the day was the Portland Open Studios board minutes. Got to get back to finish the web site too, it's gonna go live this Sunday night!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MiT book, lovely and amazing

It's probably impossible to see, but the scrabble tiles spell out 3 words, 'lovely', 'and', & 'amazing,' words that I'd use to describe my Rock Star senior.

When folded up, it should read 'lovely and' recto and 'amazing' verso. I hope.

Unlike the other pages, I decided to not have the front and back sides overlap. That would make the words too hard to read. With the other pages the designs showing through to the other side worked for the design. In this case, it wouldn't, which is why there's the big blank space in the middle there.

Also started working on the texts for the pages that would just have text — the opening, the colophon, and perhaps some of the interior pages too. I can't believe it's practically the end of June and I still don't have her book finished.

Put up the announcement for the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. It seems like they must've used a Portland Open Studios tour guide to pick their artists! There are so many participating.

I'm slowly making some progress in the yard. I've been getting out there after dinner almost everyday. I can work for a little over an hour before it gets dark, and it's a bit too early in the year for bugs yet. It's a perfect time to get some gardening done. I can't over do it, and I don't need to put on sunscreen. It's perfect.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

MiT, 4th senior day 4

It's hard to believe that this was only my 4th session with my senior #4, we've made so many prints! With the four we printed today, we up to 13. I think we're not going to use one of the earlier prints, but that still makes 12.

Unlike my Rock Star senior (senior #2), who made drawings and wrote little verses, senior #4 and her daughter are going through tons of family photographs and mostly printing those. Which is fine...we'll have quite a variety of different books as a result.

I may have hit another speed bump on this project with my senior #5 (the centenarian!). I saw her today, and she thinks that her son does not want her to do it, but wants to talk to her son again. So we'll see how it goes. The activities coordinator has another person that she thinks will be absolutely lovely to work with; I've met her and agree with the coordinator's assessment, but I want to make sure that we don't prematurely cut off my centenarian either.

When I started this project, I didn't foresee some of these little speed bumps along the way. Of course I only imagined smooth sailing...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back in business with Photoshop...again

I finally got the upgrade to Photoshop CS3. I would call it a splurge, except that it was quite necessary since Photoshop 7 did not run on Leopard. I coasted on the trial version for a month, but that expired right before I left for San Francisco. So after some delay, I've now ponied up my $199 and am back in business.

With PS up and running, I started laying out the next page for my Rock Star senior's book. She loves scrabble, so naturally, I have to do a scrabble page. And it's a natural opportunity to mix pattern with text. It will be a couple of days before I'm finished with it, probably.

In the mean time, we have pictures from the past few days. This is the LO chronicles piece, The Four Seasons of Nansen Summit, framed up. It's one of the largest pieces I've done; framed, it's definitely the largest. The other ones I framed without a mat.

The Drum Bridge at the Japanese Garden in San Francisco. It's hard to tell in this photo, but you definitely have to hang on to the rails. I can't imagine doing this in a kimono and those wooden platform shoes!

I think the Portland Japanese Garden is quite a bit larger; I don't know for certain, but it definitely feels that way. The SF garden is more varied architecturally where as the Portland garden has more of a Zen focus.

And The Thinker contemplates Chihuly. Boy, one hail storm, and the Chihuly is toast!

And there was a Random Movie last night — Kung Fu Panda. Talking critters? I'm there! It is cute, although not clever on the scale of Ratatouille.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I left my heart... San Francisco. Only sort of.

I'm back from a week-long trip to Old Gold Mountain. Although really only 5 days in the city, with 1 day there and 1 day back. And that was five days of museums and galleries, and nothing else. And I only hit the galleries downtown, none in the other neighborhoods.

So let's see, here's the list — SFMoMA (the Frida Kahlo show opened the day I left), de Young (the Chihuly show opened the day I left), the Asian Art Museum (the big Power & Glory of the Ming exhibit won't open until June 27). So I've missed all the big summer blockbusters! None the less, the exhibits were all wonderful. Now that I'm looking at the Asian Art Museum's web site again, I see an exhibit in October that I'd love to see — Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul.

Of the galleries, I probably hit 35 or more of them. Just in the downtown area. Some of these buildings house 5 floors of galleries, with 3-5 galleries per floor. I was pretty organized — I got a gallery guide, visited their web sites and chose the ones I wanted to see. But I would get there and discover that, right in the same building, there are 12 other galleries. Well, heck, I might as well see those too. And there were quite a few that were not in the guide that I was happy to have visited. I ended up buying a print; and there's another one that I'm still thinking about. Both are pigment inkjet reproductions, so not original prints.

There are lots more that I could write about, but now that I'm back, I'm caught up in the everyday things again. There's yard work to do, housework, and yikes, an appt with the personal trainer tomorrow (and of course, I've done nothing for the last 10 days). Besides my studio work, that is. After our very wet May and June (so far), the weeds have completely taken over. I wish I can blame that on my week long absence, but it was already very bad before I left.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


I actually have some artwork to show today, but my Photoshop CS3 trial has just expired, and I don't quite have time to deal with buying the upgrade just right now. So I'm skipping the photo. But it's the Lake Oswego Chronicles piece, back from the framers. It's huge! (But it looks good.)

But on other fronts: about a month ago—hey, it was exactly a month ago, because I was complaining about Photoshop breaking with moving to leopard, which was what prompted me getting the Photoshop CS3 trial to start out with—in this post, I mentioned that I was trying to spend less time on the computer, turning off the monitors and sleeping the computers when they're not in use, and also switching the most commonly used lights to fluorescents. Well, I just checked our May electricity usage against May a year ago, and it's down 20%! It's also down against April this year, although not by as much because we started our efforts sometime in the 2nd half of April already. I'm amazed that it's made that much of a difference. In actual numbers, it's 19.7 kWh per day, down from 24.7 kWh per day. Not sure if those numbers are good in absolute terms, but down 20% is pretty significant anyways.

Friday, June 06, 2008

23 Sandy exhibit opening night

And I forgot to take pictures, again. It was a good crowd, but I didn't know many of the people who came. I think most came to see the photography show in the front room, but hey, I was happy to have any spill-over traffic.

At one point, this guy I did recognize walked in, and I thought, "hmmm, he looks familiar...why, it's Ewan McGregor! OMG, Wow! Ewan McGregor is here!" I was star struck & speechless. I held out my hand to shake his, and he leaned into me and said "Harrison."

Oh right, that's why he looks familiar; I know him, and his name is Harrison. I never noticed that he looked just like Ewan McGregor before. And just to prove that I'm not crazy, I pointed this out to a few people later, and yeah, hey, they thought so too.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 17

Met with my 1st senior yesterday. She wasn't quite ready, and I'm not sure that she was really quite in the mood for her watercolors either. Took me about an hour to get her ready and out of her apartment, and she painted for half an hour before she petered out. And actually, I was pretty much done for too, having taken so long to just get her going.

And I still had plenty to do to get ready for my exhibit at 23 Sandy — finish packing, making the inventory sheet, preparing labels. And one thing leads to another, I had to get the class descriptions done so I could send out the exhibit and class announcements all in one. Finally got that done shortly after midnight last night.

Today was a whirlwind of activities too — hanging the show, and going out for a rare 1st Thursday outing. Both Rachel and Anne are having their openings today (and we all got our grants at the same time!), so I made the effort. Ran into lots of folks that I haven't seen in a long time. I guess that's what happens when you don't do 1st Thursdays, you just don't see people. (A plug for Anne's show — at Powells on Burnside, 3rd floor gallery; and Rachel's Cycle Seen, all over town.)

Not sure if it's just 1st Thursday, or if it's a combination of that and the Rose Festival, but there were sure a lot of drunks out in Portland tonight. I know this because there were a lot of men who smiled and said hi to me. Now that! is worth writing down.

And since this is Rose Festival time, there are plenty of sailors out and about. One man walking around said very loudly, "what are these soldiers doing here, I thought the war was in I-RAN."

So I have to report this: how often have you enjoyed one half of a cell phone conversation that you overhear?

Coming home tonight, I was sitting in front of some guy talking on the phone. Didn't sound like it was a romantic thing (yet), but he was talking to a woman. He was talking about his aspirations, why he chooses to do what he does, and how he would like to travel around the country with the job. He was trying to motivate her too, about work, and encouraging her to spend time with family, asking after her nieces and nephews. He just sounded like a really nice guy. And that put a smile on my face.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

MiT, 4th senior day 3, 5th senior meet & greet

Things continue to go well with my 4th senior, with her daughter being so supportive. She (the daughter) found another old photo and the two of them really enjoyed sharing the photo together, and also with me. It's of my senior's parents, on their 50th anniversary celebration.

My 4th senior is very quiet (my Quiet Senior?) and hasn't been very expressive; her daughter says this is a very recent development and is really worried about it. But when she sees the old photos her daughter has been bringing in for the project, her eyes just light up and she smiles!

When I finished working with my Rock Star Senior, I was afraid that that was going to be the best part and nothing else would come close for the rest of the project. Well, this part is just as good, although for really different reasons. My Rock Star senior is still pretty with it, very lively and vivacious but with a few memory lapses here and there. Her joy was infectious. My Quiet senior is decidedly further along with her dementia, but when she lights up like that, it makes me feel great!

I met my 5th senior, a Centenarian! Unfortunately, I won't be able to start with her for another 2 weeks or so. Although she's still pretty sharp, I'm anxious that she'll remember me until then.

And then there's the recent Gocco news — Gocco going the way of dinosaurs? From May 30 news release:

Tokyo, May 30, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Riso Kagaku Corp. <6413> said Friday that it will discontinue shipments of its Print Gocco home-use greeting card printer in June because increasing use of personal computers has shrunk its demand sharply.

Cumulative sales of the Print Gocco topped 10 million units since its launch in September 1977. Sales of the product and related supplies reached 15.2 billion yen in the year to March 1994.

But sales sank to less than one pct of the company's group sales of 92.6 billion yen in the year to March 2008, as home-use PCs and ink-jet printers have been popular since the late 1990s.

Riso Kagaku said it will continue sales of related supplies, such as inks, for the time being.

The company mainly sells digital printers to schools and public institutions and high-speed ink-jet printers to companies.

Now the Quandary — while this is not a surprise, it's been vague enough that people have just been happily gocco'ing away. I'd been planning to set up a class for end of June, but now I'm needing to rework the class content to address this. And I really need to be sending out the class announcement already, if I'm really going to do the class for the end of the month.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

MiT book, smell the roses

I seem to have decided on patterns + words for my pages. And today I printed a pattern of scattered roses + the phrase "stop and smell the roses," which is definitely what my Rock Star Senior does. It's been a long day, I'm pretty tired, AND I still have more work to do, getting ready to meet with 2 seniors tomorrow. So no picture tonight.