Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Did you know that pirates live in elevator buildings?

Well, they do.

They also pose menacingly

They wear pink boots and race through elaborate maize mazes created by the staff of their apartment complexes.

They have mothers who say "Argh!"

They carry pumpkin purses and drive tractors

And they're really scary.

Happy Halloween! (Obviously, I didn't make a costume this year. But you already know my feelings about costume-making, and I've been a little busy with other activities anyway. Details of Quilt Market to come!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Adventures, all sorts

The travelers have returned with many tales of adventure and intrigue. I'll fill you in later, but they had a great time and have many photos (mostly taken by Tsia: Pay-toe as seen from the short set) to show.

Meanwhile, here's a little adventure in which you can participate, if you like: if you've made a backpack tote from my pattern, I'm looking for a testimonial or two. Email me a few sentences telling me what you liked about the pattern and the instructions, and I'll include your quote in the press kit we'll be distributing to buyers and the media. What fun! Here's my address: liesl_gibson at hotmail dot com

I leave on Thursday, and there's still much to be done. Oh, my.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Wouldn't you know it but this morning was the first chance to sleep late that I've had in more than a year and here I am, up earlier than usual. Todd and Dr. S (as we've taken to calling her) have gone to Paris (or, as she says, "Pay-toe") for the week, and I'm home working on the final details of preparing for Quilt Market. (Details like actually making the samples for the booth and making the curtains themselves for the booth walls; maybe I shouldn't be calling them details, come to think of it.)

Their upcoming trip gave me a good excuse to lay aside all the crucial deadlines and make S a small Paris-themed backpack for the occasion.

Of course she wasn't willing to model it for me. She was too busy reassuring me, "I be back soon, Mommy," when I told her I would miss her.

We packed it with all the necessities: a sketchbook, stickers, pencils and crayons, her new silverware/chopstick mess kit, and a few other key items for the trip.

And I got a big scolding from the MTA employees for snapping this shot as they entered the subway en route to the airport. I know photos aren't allowed, but it was worth it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Upper and lowercase

If I had my own way I would have become a graphic artist. Unfortunately, the college I attended did not view the applied arts as a valid art form, and when I graduated with a cobbled-together major in graphic arts I was essentially unequipped to enter the competitive New York design world. My self-taught PageMaker skills were no match for the fast-paced Quark requirements of most employers, and the discussion of a portfolio had never quite entered my educational curriculum.

Financially, I didn't have the luxury of continued education or training once college was over. We were freshly married, new to the city, and Todd was headed to graduate school: I needed a job immediately, and since publishing and book design were high on my list of interests, I found a job as an editor for a scientific publisher. That led to a position as an acquisitions editor with a new scientific imprint which somehow led to a job as an analyst on Wall Street which, well, never mind.

The point is, I love good graphic design, and I especially love typefaces and fonts. So now I read about them.

Right now I'm loving Thinking with Type, which is probably overdue at the library but I won't be giving it up soon. I'm fascinated by its exploration of the metamorphosis of fonts from the age of illuminated manuscripts through today's post-modern computer-generated fonts. It explains the classification of various typefaces and what those letterforms imply within the history of fonts. When selecting a font, graphic artists need to consider the history of a typeface as well as the formal qualities of that font. Frankly, I'm amazed that anyone can keep it all straight; there is so much information contained in each typeface.

Did you know that we refer to letters as upper case and lower case because of their location in the traditional typesetting drawers? (Oops, just lost some other crucial bit of memory with the gaining of this factoid. Ah well, it was worth it.)

I immediately thought of those uppercase and lowercase letters the other day when I found these old typesetting gridded drawers in our basement; apparently they held someone's knicknacks, since they were already wired to be hung when I retrieved them. They were immediately transferred to my new studio (ah yes, it's true. Photos to come!), where they now hold all my thread spools and bobbins.

I love the spectrum of colors above my sewing machine. The antique drawers aren't hanging on the wall yet, but I'm thrilled that the spools fit so nicely into the separate compartments, and I like to think of them as my own little typesetting drawers. Where my type never quite became the letters I anticipated in college, it instead transitioned into textiles somewhere along the twisty path my career has taken.

When I look at these photos I wonder if my uppercase letters are the neutral threads and my lowercase letters are the bright colors? Just a thought. Or maybe it's actually the reverse.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Catch up: random, random, random

For years now I've been convinced that my brain has a (very) limited volume and that for every item that goes in, another leaves. That theory was reinforced this week when I learned how to calculate electric volts using amps and watts but entirely forgot where I placed the memory card for our camera (it was someplace safe, of course). I'm still looking but about to give up now that the new flash has arrived and I'm eager to try it out.

Wow, what a productive week! We've been out walking the city most days, buying lighting for the booth (thus the amps and such), selecting envelopes for press kits and looking for the perfect booth decorations. My feet are tired. But when we weren't out pounding the streets I was busy on the phone or on email, pulling together all the other details. It's so exciting and nerve-wracking to be launching this crazy scheme!

Anyway, SewNancy tagged me a long time ago, and I'm only just getting around the responding. Truth is, I think I've run out of things to tell you about myself. You already know a lot about me, and I'm having trouble thinking up more trivia to add to the pot. Here's what I've got (only five):

1. I love working with yeast and flour: bread, pizza dough, etc. Pie crusts I tolerate. Cakes and cookies, not so much. So I can't say I love baking; I only love certain kinds of baking.

2. I've always wanted to collect souvenir buildings and recently purchased my first few from the local kitch shops in midtown. Mine aren't old like the ones I admire, but they are the heavy pewter type and I love them. Can't even begin to explain why; I just do.

3. I was all excited the other day because I thought Blogger had suddenly made it easier to reply to your comments. But I was wrong. It still involves researching each individual's blog for an email address, etc. So if you've registered with Blogger and leave a comment, Blogger may or may not let me reply directly. When will they improve this feature? I would love to reply to every single comment you leave!

4. Someday I'd like to learn shoe making. But not right now.

5. I've thought up a terrific Halloween costume and probably won't have time to make it. Not that I was going anywhere on Halloween anyway.

Not really being the tagging sort, I think I'll leave my tags open. If you read this and feel compelled to post about yourself, drop me a line and I'll put a link to your post here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Special request, Houston residents?

update: Thank you, Laura! We're all set!

Hello, Houston! Does anyone living there happen to have a corner of your garage I can borrow? I need to ship some boxes in advance of my arrival for Market and need someplace for them to go. There will be three or four separate deliveries, none of them very large (between 1 and 4 medium-sized boxes each). If you're willing to receive and store the boxes until I arrive on October 25 would you drop me a line? I'd really appreciate it, and it would save me a bundle of money, since the convention center charges gobs for each individual shipment they receive. Thanks!

Monday, October 01, 2007


This was the inside of our bathroom cabinet as I found it on Friday morning. I'm not sure why I felt it deserved a photo (could be the lack of sleep), but it seemed interesting that not a single label or brand could be seen, despite the rows of bottles and containers stacked inside. Is that the normal state of the cabinet and I've never noticed it before? Don't know, but I do know that I don't have any trouble identifying the cleansers from the moisturizes without referring to the label itself.

And that's the case with my favorite community garden, as well. Among the stepping stones, one of the garders has planted glass bottles upside down so that only the bases are visible.

The resulting patterns make a lovely backdrop for the plants and flowers that surround the walkways (or is it the walkways that circle the flowerbeds? In this case, I'm not sure which takes precedence.), and they stand on their own as a decorative element as well.

I'm intrigued with these glass stepping stones because although I can identify the former contents quite easily (beer and liquor fifths, mostly), the bottles have nearly lost their identity with their new habitat and have become luminous and shining jewels in the ground. I'm fascinated by the various shapes and colors, and by the way they've been arranged to form patterns and places in which to pause among the greenery.

And, come to think of it, they're rather green themselves, aren't they? I like the aesthetics of this recycling style.

Miss S and I have been stopping in to see the bottle garden more frequently lately (I'll tell you why later), and we always make a point of visiting the goldfish pond near the center of the garden during our visits, as well. (I'd call them Koi, but I think Koi are usually larger, aren't they?)

Some of the corners and edges of this garden are heavily shaded and have difficulty supporting much plant life, so the gardeners have created little nooks and crannies in those shady spots where tables and chairs nestle for quiet lunches and tete a tetes. Anyone is welcome to visit when the gate is open, but only active participants have a key.

Apparently bottles and plants grown in opposite directions. These ones still have a little ways to go before they've grown themselves into the ground, I guess. Or perhaps one of the gardeners was afraid that they would run out of bottles next year and has planted a few extras, just in case.