Sunday in the City

Monday, February 21, 2011

Had a lovely time in New York yesterday. Started off with a visit to the PrattStore -- the Pratt Institute's art supply shop -- in Brooklyn. (There are some supplies that only certain stores carry, so it's always fun to go to a new one and poke around.) That entailed a ride on the crosstown G from Long Island City, so while I waited for the train to start up, I sketched a fellow passenger:

Man on the G train, New York, NY

The PrattStore does have some brands that I don't see in local CT stores, but what I was really interested in is their art supply buy-back program. The person who runs it wasn't there yesterday, but I might go back and sell off some stretcher strips and paints that I'm not using anymore.

I was also hoping that they just might carry the Noodler's flex-nib pen that Nina Johansson has been blogging about, but no such luck.

After a quick browse, I headed off to a friend's knitting get-together. Unfortunately I'd forgotten my knitting, so I spent the afternoon chatting, enjoying treats and sketching her two cats.

MR's cats

More of MR's cats

Ended the day meeting M. for a fabulous Portuguese-style dinner at Hotel Griffou -- no sketches, but yum! Definitely will be back there another evening to draw at the bar!

Sketching Neat

Friday, February 18, 2011

A rare day of lovely weather today! Drove up to Weir Farm in Wilton on a whim, but unfortunately the ground was still quite muddy and covered in messy snow -- not ideal for exploring. Turned back and went to Espresso Neat in Darien instead. I'm not a coffee person but love the atmosphere -- and their delicious iced herbal tea.

Barista at Espresso Neat, Darien, CT

Super Quick Sketches to Fill Space

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eh ... I'm not loving my tiny 10 x 15 cm Dessin "Fort" sketchbook for watercolor work. I just want to fill the pages and get it over with. Although it's promoted for more ("Papier dessin, encre, gouache"), I'm guessing most people buy this particular size as a souvenir, to boast of having visited the Sennelier store in Paris. It's small with a thick backing board, so I thought it could take the place of my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook for a while. Mm, not so much.

Sketched the first while waiting to meet a friend for drinks in the city; the second is a quick study of musicians from the Stamford Symphony playing a kids' concert at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center.

At the bar, Centro Vinoteca, New York, NY

Musicians at Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford, CT

Studio in the Sky, Part Two

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Okay, so here's the other side of the upstairs studio -- the art/painting area. It's not as tidy as the sewing space, but paints are messy things, after all. The table is a large piece of butcher block countertop from the As-Is section in IKEA, with legs attached. Above it are two mail organizers from Acorn, modified slightly and hung right next to each other, holding ink bottles and other small items. Under the table is a set of Elfa drawers from the Container Store, for various art supplies.

Here's a close-up of the mail organizers:

On the desk is a pen/pencil caddy custom-made by M., with holes of varying depths (like stadium seating for pens!) in a wooden block:

This is what the whole space looks like, with my easel:

M. said the right half of the following shot looks a bit like a Levenger catalog cover -- I agree!

Studio in the Sky, Part One

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm so excited about my new and improved upstairs studio space! It's divided into two -- one area is for all of my art/painting materials, and the other is for sewing and yarn and such.

Here's a little tour. First, the sewing space:

 The table is made from a solid-core Jeld-Wen interior door from Home Depot, carefully sanded and varnished by M. on the top. The legs are from IKEA. It's a huge surface, providing ample space for laying out and cutting patterns. Antique printers' trays on the back wall hold spools of thread, both vintage and new. I bought the dress form (currently sporting a few embroidery hoops on its neck) at an indoor flea market in New Milford, CT, and the wooden chair was salvaged from someone's cast-offs in the neighborhood.

Since pattern pieces can fly off in a breeze if the window's open, I use a vintage shoe-stretcher as a paperweight.

Yarn is corralled in an old pickle jar, picked up on a trip to the Brimfield Antique/Flea Market. Looks yummy, no? Hope to find another like it sometime.

My sewing machine is nothing fancy -- just a Kenmore Mini-Ultra I've had for nearly 10 years. The polygonal wooden thing behind it is a Pottery Barn Kids desk carousel, for scissors, notions and random vintage patterns.

My first project post-studio-reno was the little seat cushion for the chair, with brown velvet ties. I'm hoping to make a matching sewing machine cover (was inspired by this project from blogger Six One Seven) from the remaining fabric.

Just next to the little sewing alcove is a television (I do love some Cooking Channel), which sits on this vintage thread cabinet. At least that's what I think it is -- anyone know for sure? From a quick Internet search, I think it appears to be promoting Clark's "Our New Thread" Fast Black and probably dates from the late 1800s or early 1900s. Anyway, not sure of the exact provenance of this piece, but I can tell you we got it from a yard sale at the home of none other than the now-governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy.

In the next post, I'll show you the art/painting half of the space, directly opposite.

Valentine Crafternoon at the New York Public Library

Monday, February 07, 2011

The drizzly, messy weather didn't stop loads of people (including me) from attending The New York Public Library's Handmade Crafternoon, co-hosted by Crafternoon author Maura Madden, on Saturday. It's held regularly -- wish I'd known about this before! Martha Stewart Living featured the event in its February issue, so several MSL staffers were on hand to share the Valentine love and raffle off crafty goodness. We were seated at tables in a large room and given various materials including origami paper, tissue paper, hole punches, and doilies. As inspiration, co-host and librarian Jessica Pigza had pulled some books from the NYPL's collection featuring vintage valentines. I enjoyed meeting the other crafters at my table -- and we all agreed that we'd be back for more Crafternoon fun in the future.