Sunday, October 29, 2006


Last night after going to a cool play with my Dad and Marco, Marco and I then went to the 30th birthday party of my friend Nick.

I don't feel too worried about myself turning 30, which will be next year. I figure age, like anything, can be an adventure. But it's strange and striking to see my childhood friends turn 30. I guess because in my head a part of my image of them is always an image of youth - of sitting in algebra class together and playing tricks on the teacher, or going to summer camp or jumping in rivers, or even riding the mighty yellow schoolbus. I didn't see most of my friends from home, like Nick and Lauren and Emily and Josh, for nearly ten years as I roamed around the world. And now that I'm back and (so happily!) spending lots of time with them I guess that my image of them still retains this aura of 15 years ago. So how can they be turning 30? They were just 15 yesterday weren't they?? Funny isn't it?

How can we be turning 30? We've always been kids.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

We're driving an electric car

Marco just joined a thing called HourCar. We don't own our own car and we are trying to go car-less. Marco and I walk most places and take the bus sometimes. This works ok.

So we are trying this HourCar to fill in the times when we really DO need a car. The concept is that cars are distributed all over the city. You just pick up the one nearest to you and drop it off when you're done and only pay for the time you drove the car around.

One is very close to home, and another is very close to my studio (in the parking at Twin Cities Public Television, actually, where my Dad works). So it's pretty convenient for us.

So last night we tried it for the first time. The nifty thing is that all the cars are electric hybrid Priuses. I didn't think this would be so cool, but it IS! The car is absolutely silent when you start driving. It has a dashboard screen that shows when the battery is powering the car or the engine, and shows when the battery is being recharged by the tires and the engine. It's sleek and aerodynamic and gets 100 miles per gallon!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Back from New York

Marco and I flew back in from New York on tuesday. We were there to see two friends, Zoe and Mitesh. Zoe is Korean-American from Long Island and one thing I like a lot about her is her sense of design. She always wears the most trendy creative clothes, and has great home decor. Her home by the way is an apartment on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River that looks directly upon the Manhattan skyline, right in the axis of the Empire State building. Amazing at night! The skyline sparkles and moves all night long. It is true - the city never sleeps.

Mitesh came in on Sunday. He's from India. He's starting a business there right now. He's trying to create door-to-door polling devices using cellphone that can enable non-profit organizations to do better data gathering in hard-to-reach rural areas. Previously he's worked for educational development organizations in Vietnam and Afghanistan. Both Zoe and Mitesh are super cool.

Zoe knew all the best cheap restaurants in Manhattan. My vote for best place was a quirky Japanese beer bar with 1950's pin-ups of Japanese movie stars on the walls and shaggy long-haired young Japanese hipster dudes serving the tables with an air of detached coolness. Everybody around was young and mostly Asian and getting sauced and hip and cool. There were Japanese nudie photos on the walls of young ladies dressed (or undressed) like sumo wrestlers and Pachinko machines from the 50's along one wall. At the end they gave you a little cup of pink powder, and when you walked out you put it in a cotton candy machine by the door and left with your own puffy ball of cotton candy.

Another highlight of the trip was a group of black teenagers that did a crazy good breakdance routine on the subway. They were doing flips and a sort of jumprope with the youngest kid (about 10) and dance moves. They were incredible! They put out a hat for money at the end but they seemed to be doing it more for fun and to show off their stylin' moves. How cool! I wish I could do that.

I fought off a cold the whole time. It never really got me but I did have some sniffles. I'm in a mood lately to ditch conventional medicine, so I tried something that the lady at the natural foods store recommended to me - a tea of elderberries. You just go to a co-op or natural foods store and go to the bulk spice jars. There should be one called elderberry. It looks like small black peppercorns but it's a dried berry. You heat us some water and make a tea with it. You can also add mint and/or ginger. The flavor reminds me of plums a bit - very pleasant. It warms you and soothes your sore throat and runny nose. But it's much more gentle and rounded feeling than a crappy over-the-counter cold product. Remeber the name: ELDERBERRY. I highly recommend it. (and by the way it's cheap).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Recovering from the Art Crawl

Last weekend was the Art Crawl in St. Paul. My studio is in a part of town with a lot of other art and design studios and twice a year everyone opens their doors to the public.

It was a big deal because it was my first contact with the mass public and it was also my official launch of the studio. I spent the preceeding two weeks getting stuff ready like mad, but I didn't have everything I wanted to finish done by the art crawl.

The weekend itself was a madhouse - so busy! I consider this good. I could barely find a moment of silence in three days. Tons of people came through the studio. I talked my voice raw about how I'm trying to revive stained glass with fresh new designs and I studied in Europe blah Blah BLAH dee blah blah..... but it was good. Lots of people were interested. There were many oohs and ahs and compliments to warm my soul. I said at the start of the weekend that I would be happy if I sold one item, and in the end I sold 7 or 8 and made $175! Sweet!!! I posted my first dollar on my wall. I also have one commission lined up and a couple more possible commissions in the pipeline. All good.

My friend Emily, who's doing jewelry, also showed her work in my studio and kept me company throughout the weekend (thanks Emily for the fun and the help and the apple cider!!). She sold tons of her jewelry and was also content. I think we can make a pretty good artistic alliance and sell stuff together elsewhere. Finally also on Saturday night I had my official studio launch party and had friends over for food and drinks. The food and drinks were a bit shoddy because honestly I had no time to dedicate to them. But it was great to make myself official and do it with some company.

I was SO exhausted after. Now, four days later I'm getting a cold which I attribute to the ultra hectic days of this art crawl. But I don't usually get colds and I think it will pass before tomorrow. Hopefully it will, because tomorrow Marco and I board a plane to New York to visit our friends Zoe and Mitesh! Yay!

I also found a really cool new website that sells nothing but handmade goods. It's called Etsy. It is very design-y and I like it a lot. I've put four of my works on there to sell. My "store" is at (Just cut and paste this link, because, as always, my blog fails to create links that work.) I'm going to put tons more stuff up after I get back from New York. There are so many neat things on this site too that I would want to buy like fingerless gloves and inexpensive creative dishware. No matter what you should take a look. You can find stuff that's way cooler than what's in stores for very reasonable prices AND you support independant artists and designers. I am 100% pro-Etsy.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Preparing for the Art Crawl

It's evening and as I write there's loud singing coming from somewhere outside my window. At first I thought that tipsy female students were coming down the street from a party. They were singing "I Will Survive". But the singing didn't pass by or fade away. It's been going for over an hour, getting louder in fact. I looked out the window and it seems to come from the YWCA across the street. Our daytime view of this building is an odd spectacle of joggers on treadmills and stairmasters in the YWCA workout room. But now the curtains are drawn and there's a faint light inside and many voices are belting out "Celebrate Good Times, Come On!" and "R-E-S-P-E-C-T". It's a non-stop hit list of vastly overused wedding dance tunes, but the singers are enthusiastic as island castaways hearing recorded music for the first time in 20 years. They're REALLY into it. I don't mind it really. Whoever is in there seems to be having fun. It's just one interesting thing to wonder about.

I had a picnic with my family earlier this evening on another warm and beautiful summer evening, even though we are nearing mid-October. The lemon yellow leaves fell from the trees in the soft warm wind. Strange but likeable weather. But only a fool would forget the #1 rule of Minnesota -- it might always snow tomorrow.

Now I'm working on stuff for the Art Crawl, which will happen next weekend. My glass studio is in a section of the city filled with many artists' studios, and twice a year they all open to the public. This event is called the Art Crawl. People can roam through the studios and even purchase stuff, though I don't think a lot of art buying actually happens. I went to the last Art Crawl in Spring, before I opened my own studio. There was a lot of bad art - paintings of purple naked bodies coming out of flowers or lumpy ceramics. Every now and then there's some decent art. At least I can say for myself that there is nobody doing anything similar to me. After that I'll have to let the public make up their mind about which category I fall in.

I'm using the occasion to finally throw a party for the official opening of my studio. Never mind that I've been there almost four months. I had to do it before I was confronted with having to throw a simultaneous opening party with my 1-year anniversary party. Saturday night I'll serve mojitos and food. Mom even found some plastic plates and serving trays in "Green Lantern" green, or as it says on the label, "kiwi".

The past week I've spent heaps of time designing and building little things like nightlights for the Art Crawl that are relatively inexpensive to inspire people to buy on impulse (and hence pay my rent). When I started my classes in traditional stained glass windowmaking I did not expect to ever do nightlights. But Gallery 360, which is now showing my work, asked for nightlights because they sell well at Christmas and I obliged. And better yet, I've had a good time with them. Turns out it's pretty fun and adventurous, like taking on a dare from a friend, to think about how to turn a very kitchy, outdated product (typified by glass angels or illuminated moo-cows) into something that is fresh and clever. I worked on this a lot this week and I like what I made. I'm playing on frilly Victorian opulence combined with the bucolic whimsy of forest animals. I'll try to get some pictures up.

Tomorrow Marco is home from France. Yay! I've missed him. I can't wait to hear about everyone there. I have so much to tell him.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Warm Days

It's around 10pm and I'm at home alone in a very pleasant mood. It's been unseasonably warm for October. October in Minnesota is usually crisp cold air and the return to scarves and warm jackets. It's bizarre really, when I think about it. I was wearing a t-shirt and pants today and I was HOT! When I walked up the hill and went to the grocery store I was so thirsty. I ran into my friends Lauren (girl Lauren, not guy Lauren)and Mike. They told me about a blueberry-pomegranate juice blend that the store sells and I got some and went home and drank it up.

Now I've made myself a dinner of pork chops (organic grass-fed, so tasty!), farafalle pasta and a mustard cream sauce with cracked black pepper and finished it with chamomile tea and a couple squares of good chocolate. Simple dinner (I think Marco learned it in college from Pyves!), but nice.

I'm content because I also got part two of a trilogy of books that my friend Emily introduced to me. I checked it out from the library today. I'm ready to curl up and read before bed.

Outside there's a storm. It's just like a summer storm. Theres a soft rumble of thunder and the patters of a light rain on the sidewalk. It's still so warm at 10pm! I've got the windows open and the ceiling fans turning and I changed from pants and shoes to shorts and bare feet to cool off. I love that. I like the feel of the cool wood floor under my feet.

It's not that often that I have quiet evenings of reading like this, all by myself. Marco's in France for a week and a half. He gets back Sunday. I hope the trees are still bright yellow and flaming red when he gets back. That's how they are right now. This storm might shake the fall leaves off the trees though.