Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

More to come, but for now -- Boo!

McKenna was a pumpkin (again).

I had to do it to continue the tradition. Here's Sage 5 years ago:

In 2003 we had a Henson Family Halloween:

I was Janice, Erik was Floyd Pepper and Sage was Oscar the Grouch.

In 2004 Sage was corn:

I asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween and he said "corn" but I think he was just asking for dinner.

In 2005 He wanted to be a skeleton. I went the lame route and just let him wear this glow-in-the-dark sweat suit and a mask.

I made up for it the next year though and made him this robot costume:

But this year we went the storebought route again and he was a pirate. I told him to do something piratey for this picture so he said,

"Arrrrr, I'm gonna steal this pumpkin."

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Made by Monday - Fun with Pumpkins

Did you know that when you post a blog entry the timestamp is from when you started writing, not when you post it? Lucky for me, because I have one minute until it's Tuesday.

No sewing project pics because my studio is all in disarray (what's new?) . Instead, here's some VanHorn family fun with pumpkins:

Squishy pumpkin guts.

He's soaking in it.

Here's my pumpkin with gourds for eyes and a warty gourdy Gonzo nose and a flashing skull inside. Here it is again with Erik and Sage's pumkin, a dragon (from a template Sage found).

And this is what I made with the leftovers:

Yes, I, KB VanHorn, baked a pie. A ginger, clove, and cinnamon pumpkin pie. Mmmmm.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Miss West Virginia

No, I'm not Miss West Virginia. I miss West Virginia. When fall comes around I miss it even more, but I always miss the mountains. Sure southern California has mountains, but they're big and brown and prickly and thirsty looking. And prone to catching on fire. I miss lush green Appalacian mountains

and the crazy colors they turn in the fall.

Sage gathered up all the leaves (that fell from our neighbor's tree) in our backyard and raked them into a pile. He was so excited to jump in it and make "leaf angels"

but these were dusty little leaves with prickly parts and it wasn't as much fun as he dreamed it would be. We were picking pricklies out of him for hours. I miss big bright leaves like these:

Those were some of my students when we went trick-or-treating for Unicef. We don't see trees like those around here.

We try to enjoy the nature and landscape around us as much as we can though. Remember when I blogged about visiting the pumpkin patch in Saugus a few weeks ago? Half of it burned down. So sad.

Today we took Kali to Runyon Canyon, or as Sage calls it, Dog Mountain.

Yeah, it's all beautiful in it's own way, but I still miss West Virginia.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Self Portrait Saturday

Not the most flattering picture of me, but McKenna sure is cute.

Plus, the studio! It's finished!

It has walls! and windows! and lights! and a ceiling fan! and a skylight! and a doggie door! And it locks! So don't try to rob us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Artsy Friday - All our studios

The old epicenter was where I met Erik. It was an old garage that a few of our friends set up studios in and started group painting projects. After a few months the building got sold and torn down and turned into a mini-mall. The new epicenter was on Route 45 just past Sheetz outside of Shepherdstown.
Part of an "Amnesia Box" of Shepherdstown pictures our friend Jen made for us when we moved to Savannah.

We fixed up this guy's old hay barn and he let us have art shows and concerts there. It was a pretty good deal for him seeing as how he got his junk-filled barn cleared out and had insulation, walls, a ceiling, track lighting and a hardwood floor installed for free, plus the grass got mowed and we planted sunflowers. We had over 20 people working on the place in some capacity or another and we put together group and solo art shows, poetry readings, bonfires, life drawing sessions, and silkscreening nights. Everything was great until the damn Zoning Commission got involved. We were getting press and a pro bono lawyer was helping us out but in the end it succumbed to the Man. Looking back I can't believe were so driven to do it all in the first place, but these were the days before the internet (and cell phones) and also before many of us got 9-5 jobby jobs and had houses of our own to fix up and a bunch of kids running around. We were so green and naive back then. I bet if we had the space to do it again we could do it legit this time. But where's the fun in that?

Us inside the epicenter. We look so young. and dirty.
Also taken by Jen.

Erik and I have always had to make room for our art stuffs. The trick is to amass so much stuff that you can't NOT carve out space for a studio, even if it's crammed into a corner of the dining room, tucked up in a loft, in a garage, on a back porch, etc. (these are all places our stuff has inhabited). We've also learned that we're not very good at sharing a workspace. I don't like stepping around his gigantic paintings and he doesn't like pulling pins out of the soles of his feet. I often think about how much room we would have if we didn't have such cumbersome hobbies, but then I have no idea how else we would fill those spaces.

Backyard in Bedington (snowing). The studio is the long building further back.

Our first house (that we owned) in Bedington came with an old stable. We spent the entire time we lived there slowly fixing it up ourselves - installing insulation, walls, a floor, a ceiling, track lighting (deja vu) and having painting sessions and dartboard championships out there. It was right after we had Sage and couldn't go out and party anymore. It's pretty good for marital bonding too.

Not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter. I mean, balancing sheet rock above your head while standing on ladders and screwing it into the ceiling together, then standing back and looking at your new and improved space makes for a sense of accomplishment. We barely even got to use the studio we built because we moved out to California soon after. I hope whoever bought our house appreciates it.

We're too busy to undertake such time consuming endeavors like that now. We've got two kids and I've got kokoleo orders to fill and Erik's got a real job and Ballad of Sinister to work on. So this time, we hired professionals to build us a studio. Lest you think we're rich and can throw our money around the house all willy-nilly - we're not. We refinanced our mortgage and locked in a new lower rate and the bank gave us a bunch of money for home improvements. I don't know how exactly it works, but it's awesome. Too bad almost half of it got eaten up by our recent deluge of unexpected bills. But! We're still going through with the addition, even if it means we'll be broke for a while.

Here was the screened-in back porch before:

And then they did this to it:

and this

and now it looks like this.

They're coming back Sunday to finish it. I hope. I trust them and it looks like they're doing a good job. They're fast! And it's strong too. And it has electricity. And soon it will have windows and doors. I can't wait to move in.

Thrift Thursday

No thrifting this week. No spending any money whatsoever for the next few weeks until we can pay off all these huge bills we've been seeing lately. Big truck repair bills and hot water tank exploded bills and you just had a baby bills and you're building a studio on the back of your house bills. Oh and then there's property taxes and car insurance. Sheesh! Pretty soon it'll be Merry Christmas time when everything gets crazy.

post now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

wwW.ednesday - Wildfires

You've probably been hearing about all the wildfires burning around here. Our immediate mountains have been spared but they're burning to the north, east, and south of us in places we love to visit - Malibu, Saugus, Big Bear, and all around San Diego.
from Google Images

A thick brown blanket of smoke is hanging in the sky above us, raining down little bits of ash. The schools are keeping the kids inside because the air is unhealthy to breathe. All the local channels have been doing non-stop wildfire coverage and they're reporting that tens of thousands of acres have burned and hundreds of houses have been destroyed.

I've been looking around my house wondering what I would take with me if I was told I had to evacuate immediately - Erik and the kids, the dog, our computers, some clothes and quilts. I'd want to take some fabric and sewing stuff, but we wouldn't have room so I'd let it go. Same goes for the art on our walls. When it comes down to it, the only really important thing is that the people and animals you love are safe.

My heart goes out to the people who can't be in their homes right now. I've made a donation from my kokoleo funds to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. If you've made a kokoleo purchase in the last few months, a portion of that money went to help others today. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. This sucks.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monsterlina by Monday

My friend Rachel asked me to make a Monsterlina for her daughter Avenelle. That was way back in the middle of the summer. But! She said she didn't need it until Christmas so I could take my time. So I did. But! Here she is, and that's one thing I can check off my to do list.

I don't have much else to show this week. I have a bunch of personalized piece in progress, but none completed. I did have fun making my Raggedy Ann costume this weekend. I hadn't made a skirt in a while. Skirts are easy! I should make skirts all the time. That's just what I need. Another thing to make. I also like the apron thingy I made and I just might modify it and make some little girl apron tops. So many ideas, so little time.

And sometimes, the best thing I can make is time for the kids. We went to Disneyland yesterday, just for a few hours (since we get in free). We were there long enough to see the parade, ride the new Nemo Submarine (awesome!), go through the Haunted Mansion, and see the park all decked out for Halloween.

I want this job:

Sage liked this Day of the Dead exhibit:

and McKenna just thinks we're all so strange.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Confessional - I'm a reject

I didn't get in to the Felt Club holiday show this year. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that my heart broke a bit when I found out. My first craft rejection! And from Felt Club, no less. I think there's only two or three Felt Club shows that I haven't been a part of. Maybe that's why I didn't get in. Everyone and their mother is applying now and they need to bring in fresh blood. At least, this is what I tell myself. Another part of me wonders if my stuff just sucks and someone finally told me. Whatever it is, it was a wake-up call that I need to freshen up my wares, expand my craft show horizons, and start doing new things with kokoleo. There's nothing like a good dose of rejection to inspire a person to embrace change.

Don't get me wrong, I still heart Felt Club. I'm even looking forward to being able to leisurely walk around and shop this time. Besides, I have enough on my plate this holiday season. I applied to a bunch of other holiday shows in the area and to my surprise, got into them all. Yay! But also, Crap! November and December are going to be busy months. There's the Foundations School Community Harvest Festival on November 17th, Handmade for the Holidays on November 23rd and 24th, The Little Monster Market December 1st in Studio City, Craftmas Bizarre at the FAKE gallery on December 9th, and the "Welcome to Dollywood" plush show at Monkeyhouse Toys sometime in December.

Eek! I need to start making more things to sell and also start figuring out new display contraptions. I'm hoping to make enough money to A. put toward the studio addition and B. buy myself a new camera (Nikon D40, I covet thee) because our crappy little automatic is on it's last legs (lens?) and also, we spilled beer on it last night. Oh, and C. give my kids some nice things for Christmas.

If you live in the area, please come out to these shows! I'll no doubt be blabbering more about them as they approach.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Self Portrait Saturday

Raggedy Ann, after the party.

We went to our friends John and Audry's annual Halloween party. They live two streets over from us so we walked over. Looking like this:

Sage took that. Here's a closeup:

We were Raggedy Ann and Andy Warhol. He discovered me, see, because before, I was just Ann Brand from Detroit. Then he made me a superstar as Raggedy Ann. Then he deserted me and left me broke and strung out. Damn, Andy.

Sage, on the other hand, was a pirate.

Argh. A dead pirate to be exact. Erik bought him this costume at the Disney store. I know I should be making his costumes and all, but he wanted to be a pirate and this costume is better than I could have done. See?

It's all ripped up and the skeleton glows in the dark.

McKenna was a pumpkin:

It's the same costume Sage wore when he was her age. Storebought, but still cute. I promise to make them really cool costumes in the years to come.

Here's John and Audry.
They were from Jaws. Erik guessed John was Che Gueverra.

More costumes:
That's Snow White Trash.


Senator Larry Craig.

I could have gone with this guy:

Andy Kauffman.

Sage played with his friend Paige.

That's Sage and Paige in a cage.

Happy Halloween!


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