Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Works in progress

Can't stay. I'm working on this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mask Update (and perfectionism)

I have been working on these masks for a long, long time. (See previous post about them)

Yeah. That's a long time. I do them in a sort of "assembly-line" fashion, so once they get to the finishing point, I'll have about 20 all at once.

The reason they haven't gotten to that point yet? I'm a perfectionist at every step of the way. Currently I'm stumped by this guy, because there is still evidence that human hands have touched his face. (He's nowhere near completion, btw, but if more sanding and shaping needs to be done on the lower half of his face, it needs to be done before doing anything else)

Here's part of the problem: I've tried to compare them to similar masks out there. Most of these that I've been able to handle, however, are mass-produced. They are perfectly symmetrical. Mine start life as an actual human face. I cast a mold from that face, make a positive from that mold, then sculpt a clay shape OVER the face positive. After that, I make a negative, then paper-mache into the negative, remove it, trim it, sand it, cut the eyeholes, gesso, and then... you get to where I am now, where at this point I've spent so much time on them, I can see every single imperfection, no matter how tiny. I've completely lost perspective.

And I can't tell if I am being OCD, or simply professional. Are the little imperfections charming, or amateurish? Keep in mind that I intend to sell these in the range of $50-$150. This guy here would probably start at around $75. I can't justify asking that unless I'm convinced that it's worth it. But I also can't spend hundreds of hours on each mask if I'm selling them for around a hundred bucks. It's not logical. (Not that I've ever been accused of being logical...)

So, comment away. And if you don't want to comment, I've added a poll on the right sidebar over there. Just vote! Early and often.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Too Pretty to Eat

I love the fall. Not only are there gorgeous and delicious squashes everywhere, but it's finally cooled off enough that the idea of baking something for an hour is no longer unbearable.

So when I went to Henry's the other day and saw these opulent eggplant on sale, I immediately knew I wanted to make eggplant lasagna. Never mind that I've never actually cooked with eggplant before, or that I've never made lasagna before. As we've seen from previous posts, I have a propensity to forge blindly ahead in these situations.

I found this recipe on Hmm. I have ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, but I don't have feta. I don't have pesto, but I have fresh basil. I don't have a pumpkin, but I have some canned pumpkin leftover from pumpkin pecan scones... it'll work!

Despite being a total nazi about measurements when I'm baking scones or bread, when I'm cooking, I seem to just throw everything together. So while I'm cooking the noodles, I put about 3/4 of a cup of ricotta, 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese, maybe a quarter cup of parmesan, some pepper, the chopped fresh basil, and the leftover pumpkin in a bowl and mix it up.

Then I slice the eggplant (I felt a little like Dexter while doing this.) and put it under the broiler, along with a sliced sweet onion and beefsteak tomato.

Then I pop out a jar of Classico roma tomato and olive oil tomato sauce. (Those of you who know me well are shocked that I admit to using sauce in a jar. I'm trying this new thing called time management. I'll let you know how it goes.)

Now, even after over ten years on my own, I still cook like I'm cooking for a family of 10. I decide that this time, I'll outsmart myself and bake in a smaller pan than what the recipe calls for.

This probably would have worked if I'd also reduced the amount of ingredients that I put in the smaller pan, or if I'd measured any of said ingredients and had the foggiest idea of how much I actually had.

As it was, I set the timer for the 40 minutes that the recipe called for, not realizing that it was twice as thick as it should have been. Forty minutes later, we cut into some delicious smelling, slightly raw lasagna.

It was good anyway.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The H.R.G. Files, and fear of failure

If I didn't already love Jack Coleman, I would after reading his blog. This in particular caught my eye:

"It's simple really: fear of failure is crippling. You see it in all aspects of life. The great ones go for it and let the chips fall where they may. The perfectionist can be throttled by the voice in his head that considers the consequences of failing. "

My life mission is to let go of that perfectionist streak, the parts of it that grip me so hard that I don't even try. I want to be GREAT. I want my greatness to be talked about. I want to be profiled in Entertainment Design Magazine, right next to Mona May and Debra McGuire.

Over and over again, I practice my acceptance speech for my Indie Spirit Award for a little darling of a movie, one that I maybe even got paid for. I fantasize about being interviewed by the LA Times or Threads or Etsy or hell, even Rhubarb Marmalade (just kidding, Sara!).

I was watching a basketball game, right after Candace Parker dunked in a game for the second time. I wish I could remember who was commentating, it may have been Carolyn Peck, but I'm really not sure. She was talking about how many women dunk in practice, but don't do it during games, and theorizing that it's because women are afraid of looking foolish if they miss, whereas men don't care.

I bristled at this for several reasons. One, I started wondering why women would be "afraid" of looking foolish. But it's not too hard to surmise. For one thing, female ballers already get their share of crap about not playing as well as men, or not trying to play like men, or trying too hard to play like men, or not being as interesting or worthy or blah blah blah as men. Case in point, this idiotic article by Melissa Rohlin about why she doesn't watch women's basketball. (And for a well-reasoned, impassioned response, read what Diana Taurasi has to say.)

And for every mistake a woman makes on the court, there are dozens of people eager to collect them and post them on YouTube, along with some sarcastic remark about "women playing as well as men." (Sure, the men have their blooper reels, but no one uses them as a reason NOT to watch the NBA.)

Now you may be wondering, "Why this digression into womens basketball, Kelly Marie?"

One word: FEARLESSNESS. Watch Diana Taurasi, Candice Wiggins, or Katie Smith play. There's no second-guessing that layup. No beating yourself up after missing a shot. (well maybe a little.) No trash talk for anyone but the other team. It's just PLAY. Play hard. Train hard. Practice hard.

So back to the perfectionist thing, and fear of failure, and basketball metaphors. You don't make the WNBA First Team by being afraid to shoot the ball. You don't get the Sixth Woman of the Year Award by whinging about not starting.

So the challenge for me is, to use the phrase popularized by Nike: "Just do it." Or, to put it more elegantly, (if overused as well) "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

Um. Right?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Knitting Frenzy

Lately I've been knitting like a marathon runner training for the Olympics, and not doing much else. I blame Ravelry.

It all started, though, when I decided to knit the Mason-Dixon Baby Kimono Sweater. It knit up so quickly and I was so pleased with the (as-yet-unfinished) results, that I immediately went searching for more baby sweaters. I have an endless supply of babies, after all (thanks, sibs!) and baby sweaters are so sweet, knit up so quickly, and use so little yarn, they're irresistible.

This is where Ravelry comes in. I have not been using Ravelry to it's full potential. This week I discovered that you can search for a pattern that you are looking at and see what other people have done with it. Then I discovered that you can search for a yarn you are looking at and see what other people have done with it. THEN I discovered that you can ADD PATTERNS that you want to knit to your own personal project queue. It's been downhill ever since.

Of course, since I'm on a strict yarn diet, don't knit a gauge swatch nearly as often as I ought, think nothing of using a bulky yarn when worsted is called for without altering the pattern in any way, then combining it with a worsted AND a mystery yarn, and have yet to figure out how to count rows when I'm not knitting strictly stockinette or garter, I've already frogged this twice:

When I'm not addicted to Ravelry, I've been sorting and photographing my own stash, visiting my LYS to lust after gorgeous yarns I can't afford, (LYS report to follow) and knitting in line at the DMV, the smog station, and the waiting room at PepBoys while getting an oil change.

It was while I was knitting at PepBoys that a woman approached me and asked what I was knitting (it was a french press cozy that I have since frogged.) We started talking and I found out that she RAISES SHEEP about ten miles from my house, and sells the yarn at the farmer's market. Thanks, Donna. Like I need more yarn lust.

Work? Yes! I work! (Crap. That's what I should be doing right now.)