Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Just to let you know

In case you get worried, if I'm not posting for a few days, nor replaying to emails, I'm either:

a. Upgrading my computer to Tiger (OS X 10.4)
b. Installing every single piece of software I ever used on my computer
c. Re-organizing my folders and backups
d. Re-organizing my many-many-many bookmarks
e. Drinking heavily
f. Hyper ventilating
g. Passed out because of a.-f.

Well, if you ever owned a Mac, you know I'm mostly kidding (Did you ever open a G5 to see the instructions about dusting the fans? Yes, I'm serious. They do exist. Ask my dad.). Still, it's a pain in the a**, hence it was overly procrastinated.

Wish me luck...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another hand carved stamp

I really needed a hedgehog. That was fun! I think I might just be getting better at this.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Some inspiration! At last...

I keep saying this, but it is true - what I love the most about blogland (mainly, its crafty sections), is how one blogger's work inspires another. Many of you guys are helping my post-film-portfolio-and-graduation slump, i can't even begin to tell you how much.
The latest round of inspiration has to do with Moki's stamped recipe card swap. I think I said before how deprived of ideas I was. I was very sure I was going to have to give it up, until I saw some of Tricia's attempts at it. Click went my brain. Phew! Since I saw that a day before the deadline, I spent a day (literally) making the stamp and the cards. Cheerful? You bet.
Than, this weekend, I saw this amazing coloring book. Another idea rolling inside my head. Is that the light at the end of the tunnel? Cross your fingers for me, please! I sure hope it is.

I'll leave you with the progress shots on the recipe cards. I hope whoever get them likes them!

The sketch and printed front

Copied to the carving block

The outside lines are cut

Test stamping

The final product

Friday, June 23, 2006

SF: Family

And the subject this week - family. I have a bunch of stuff to do today (like take the cat to the vet, go to the gym, cook, clean and spend some time with my love), so here's something old I drew, that's somewhat of a family story:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Catching up #6 - and it's the last

So... This time it's about MY life, ah? The person, not the arts/crafts and other partners. What am I doing with myself these days?
Well, I'm still sort of getting used to the idea that there is no school anymore, that I have my own place, that we have more bills to pay. I'm trying to get a new deferment set on my student loans, which required applying for unemployment benefits (sigh...). Fun bureaucracy. I'm good at those things, which is just fine, but it's also annoying. Tell you what, at least I have things planned out so that I'll be paying less interest on those loans. which is very very important.
We joined the local gym, which is a bit of a fancy one by comparison to our last one, but has many more services, including a shower that doesn't suck and free classes. Frankly, when you take into account that usually a class at the gym is an extra payment, the difference in price between this and our old one disappears if we take only one class a week. I'm planning on taking two. And we're going to get two free training sessions for counceling, which I intend on spending on stretching and to learn proper bio-mechanics so that I'll stop screwing with my ill calves.
On the entertainment from, I'm now sewing too, and am planning on learning to crochet soon too. A bit busy on that front, but that's a good thing. We have our high speed internet, which makes my reading of all your great blogs much faster and more fun. And since we added the $5 to get HBO on our tv, we also get ALL OF THEIR ON DEMAND STUFF FOR FREE. Which means - we don't need to wait until The Sopranos is released on DVD. YEEEEEEEEEESSS! Except for that, I got re-hooked on Animal Planet, and Ant is catching up on the new Doctor Who. Excellent.
Job-wise... still looking. I'm going to begin the real hunt this week, while working on a new portfolio, a new website, an art blog and some new art. On that regard I can tell you that I've been bored stiff with what I've been doing for the past two years, style and subject matter-wise. I need a change.
What I have to say, and I've said it before, is that as hard as the past few weeks have been, it was a great comfort to know you guys are around, and talking to many of you. It's not like I'm spilling my heart out here, but reading you guys' own writing, and seeing your inspiring work has been a great comfort and help. It's good to have friends.

And on a cheerful note, we have a family of cats outside out window, with a baby girl who's about Suki's age. It's a cheerful sight, let me tell you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Catching up #5

I've recently discovered sewing. Oh, mama. Have I discovered sewing... In case you haven't seen my clumsy little doggy - it was the first. Thanks for all the compliments!
Once I figured out how to work my lovely little machine (it's a Singer 8280, in case you're interested), and once I got over the truma of f**king things up a couple of times, I decided to jump in the water once again. This time, it was for a Hooray for Headbands!TM headband, by Heather Bailey. The first one is the polka dot one. It took me a while.
It took long to copy, cut (I'm not used to the rotary at all), pin together and sew (multiple times, slowly, and ripping every second attempt). But I was patient. Once everything was put together, it was clear why this pattern is so darn successful: the headband is cute, comfortable and stylish. And it's the perfect accessory to my everyday do. Perfect. So the next day, I've sewn three more.
It was much easier this time around.

And look, even Suki approves.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Catching up #4

And we have a guest star this post - Suki! You must remember her, she joined our little family two weeks ago and she's been our pride and joy ever since. She's had some tough time in the beginning. We don't know much about the first six weeks of her life, but it wasn't fun. She was taken away from her mom too early and she and her sisters caught some nasty parasites and spent a week at the animal hospital. After that, she spent two weeks in a small cage at the shelter with two other kittens until we spotted her and were allowed to take her home.

She had a bit of a tough time adjusting to the bedroom, where she spent most of her first two weeks. It was too big for her, and she was very scared. But she soon learned that we love her to bits and quickly became the frisky kitty she is now.
That is, very frisky. She very quickly learned that people are there to make her (not themselves) delicious veggy food and tea, pet her and speak to her in three languages (English, Hebrew and Gibberish. Sis knows what I'm talking about). She's also learned the word for 'No!' in all three and how to ignore it best. We're also much more entertaining when trying to sleep, especially when we wear short thin PJs under the blanket. Max was another discovery, but she's still scared of him. And so she should be. He's a ferocious vegetarian. She also learned that thing that are on the table make much more sense when they're on the floor. And when's the best time to steal our spot on the chair. And that we're most ready to pet her while we're watching "The Sopranos". And that coffee is goooooooooooooooood.
Oh, we love her. Wouldn't you?

The only sad part of this story is that I didn't realize the first photos of her from Ant's camera are really big and in 300 dpi resolution, so I chewed up this months allowance of my free Flickr account, hence no new photos there until July. Arrg...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Catching up #3

A knitting update! A real knitting update! I kid you not! Let's start from old to new:

Remember these old chaps? Made from my first (and last) Koigu buy? I can't remember if I wrote about them (I think I did), but they're a simple stockinette socks in brown and blue yarn. So first of all - it's easy to see I ran out of the brown... No biggie. It was also a pair that flew off the needles pretty well. It was excellent for those long critical studies classes. The major disappointment was the yarn. I had much higher expectations from Koigu, after hearing about it for so long. I don't know why, I may be getting tons of angry comments about this, but the texture and the feeling while knitting wasn't amazing. And yes, weaving in the edges was a nightmare, but that was self inflicted.

This lovely sock is about the billionth attempt I've made at the jaywalker. For a change, all went well. until I figured I really knit too much leg. Grrrr! and that's after finally figuring out the Dutch Flat heel?! Sigh... I'll frog it up to the picot edge (because I'm NOT starting that from scratch too!), knit the other's picot edge, and do them together on two circs. Because it's much faster this way. Fast knitting is good knitting.

This is what I'm working on right now: These are Elfine, round two. Round one was again, a single sock on DPNs, as usual. Then I made the mistake of knitting while under the influence of 40 hours without sleep (post job fair) and waiting for ant o finish an interview and go to sleep. It was a small mistake, but until I figured out there was a mistake and while trying to fix it, I ruined the socke completemant. Damn. But as I was frogging (and cursing) I figured I really wanted to try and knit on two circs, and that I might as well try and knit two together on the two circs. And why not try with this one?
Talking about an A-HA! moment... More like a lightening to the face. It took a bit to figure out, but once I did that - voila! The socks are flying off the needles. And can I say how in love I am with knitting patterned lacy socks? I can't wait to finish those so I can start the next pair. I also love the Opal yarn, although I keep twisting it so I have to unwind it every few rounds. I'm probably doing something really wrong. I'm also relieved that working on US1 needles didn't kill my hands all that much. Not yet, anyway.

Next? pomatomus, hedera and branching out from the incredible yarn I got from my colorific-swaporama pal. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Catching up #2

Welcome to another episode of our new series "Catching Up" with M. Wright. Tonight, we have ourselves a really bad girl. Me.
I really sucked on this last swap I participated in. I admit. I really really did. It was colorific-swaporama for April. I was looking forward to joining it, I really did! Alas, I overestimated my abilities to create much in a short period of time, yet again. My package went out late, I don't think it had as much fun stuff as I usually pack, and in general - I felt sucky about it. To my defense, you can say that I usually don't suck at swapping, and that my pal never gave me a clue of what she might be interested in. But the bottom line is that it was my fault. And I apologiesed many a time to all of the involved.
But just as bad as I was, that's how good MY pal was, and I'm SO overdue thanking her in public:

My amazing benefactor was Tanya, and boy - was I pampered! I got some fabric, this incredible lemony lace yarn, a cute pack of tissue in a sewn tissue holder, delicious soap and body lotions, candy, buttons, exercise books and blush. And the piece de resistance - this incredible made-just-for-me bag! See, not only did she put my initials on it, she used a Dr. Seuss fabric - my favorite! Snif-sob-hand on heart. So amazing. No cynicism at all.
She actually went into my blog, read it and thought to herself "hmm... that should make Michal happy!" May each and every one of us have such a pal in every single swap. Thank you so-so-so much, Tanya!

Friday, June 16, 2006


Making an SF comback, am I? Yes indeed! Welcome back, me! I don't have much of a studio anymore, as I am sharing the dining room converted into work room with my beloved, but still - I can try, right?

I worked on this poor little guy this past weekend, and it had some major A-HA! moments in stock for me. It's the first thing I've sewn on a machine EVER, which is quite amazing (if you remember, I got this machine for my birthday). It was meant to be this doggie on the left from my beloved Japanese book. Well... it doesn't quite look like it, does it?
The first A-HA! moment came as I was setting up my machine for the first time. I'm used to feeling like an idiot for not getting very simple things - but this was one of the best of them. The whole upper/lower threading completely baffled me. three hours and many curses later, I had that first A-HA! Thank goodness.
Many small a-ha!s came at this point, as in "a-ha! So if I lower the foot onto the fabric the thread won't get all caught up and mangled!" "a-ha! The pedal controls the speed!" "a-ha! I didn't drive in three years, hence the lack of ability to control aid pedal!" "a-ha! Patterns sure can be complicated!" "a-ha! Pins are small but damn sharp!" etc.
The second A-HA! moment came later, as I was struggling to figure out how to combine the round lines on some of the pieces with the straight ones, and how on earth do you menouver those tiny pieces of fabric. The A-Ha moment started creeping up on me as I was working the body, and in the end, I just had to admit - it was meant to be hand sewn, wasn't it?
The last A-HA! moment was when I finished this guy, and was more of a A-HA?! as in - "was it meant to be this crooked?!" Well, to my defense, it was my first real sewing project, and the first one on a sewing machine. In context, I think I did a fine job. Ant quickly adopted him. And even Suki has been known to show interest.
The next project went much better.

Catching up #1

So this is a series of catching up posts. Again. I have so many stories from the past month+ and I've never had enough time to tell them. I need to stop feeling guilty about my blogging UFOs...

So the First update, I'd like to show you my latest Little Toyko buys (from three weeks ago, with Sis). I'm not showing you the mochi and cute candy and food, or the adorable new tote (in blue) and pouch (in pink) from the Hikosen-Cara store (they have amazing things for kids, you've got to see that). I will, however, show you the sewing books. Because. They. Are. Awesome.
And sorry for the poor image quality. It's kind of gray today.

So book numero une is my bags book (ISBN 4-277-43057-0):
I love:

And if you think you saw a paw in there, you're right. Suki has become a very inquisitive little girl.

On to numero deux - my toys book (ISBN 4-8347-2244-9):
I love:

This one makes me wish my other cousin was having a girl. But they're having a boy instead. Sigh.

And last, but not the least - my skirts book (ISBN4-309-28002-1):
I really really love:

Must. Have. This. Skirt.

Fun times, ah?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New and improved

I've been plotting to change the look of my blog for a while now. I don't know. I guess that after seeing so many of your amazing on-line creations, I started feeling like the basic Blogger template is restricting my creativity. It actually made me stop blogging, almost. I just couldn't look at it anymore.
So as a part of the upgrade of my online presence - welcome to the new Yarn and Coffee, ladies and gents! I hope you like it. I can't promise it'll be the last incarnations of the coffee pot, but it's a start.
I'm all about brown + pink/blue these days. And I don't really like them separately...

Per your request:
The "cross stitch" font is from here (one of my favorite fonts sites). It's called "Ecolier" and when you download it you'll get the "pointilist" version of it. I took it and used force-bold in photoshop to get the thick "stitchy" look. Ask away if you want any help, I'd be more than happy to help.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This is a public service announcment #2

I think I might have shot myself in the foot with this change of email address. If mwright AT michalwright DOT com bounces whn you try to write/comment - please don't take it personally, and use mwright AT calarts DOT edu again. I'm working on fixing the problem. And I thought technology was meant to make things better. Right...

Suki also thinks this is b*** sh**.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

LA life

I think I'm finally beginning to grasp the gianormous size of LA. Not that I'm a small town girl. Hell no! I've been known to run around the hippest parts of Tel Aviv before knowing my alphabet. Problem is, Tel Aviv, Israel big bustling city, is maybe the size of Santa Monica. That is, in population. I'm not talking about the grounds it covers.
Yep, in Tel Aviv you can walk it one side to the other in just a few hours in a light stroll. LA... Yeah, right. Even London rat Ant is confused sometimes (although as our official driver, he does better than me). Let's put it this way, "right around the corner" has a very different meaning in Tel Aviv than in LA.
Since we don't really know LA very well, we get to look for everything we need online. Yellow Pages, Mapquest etc. What seems like a ten minutes ride is usually fifteen to twenty. Saying something like "hey, it's on Jefferson! I know where that is!" will usually lead to disaster. That Jefferson Street is very long. Very very. It still makes me laugh, which is a good thing. The moment I start screaming and tearing up things, you'll know you're in trouble.
I'm just amused at how standards change so quickly. I used to snob around the suburban hell I was living in, saying my cosmopolitan needs were not met, that the hot-shot city girl me was bored and unimpressed. I now feel a little like a country girl dropped off in the middle of downtown Somewhere Busy. A bit disoriented, confused and embarrassed. And that's when I'm not even driving.
I guess it's good we've moved to little Westchester and not Santa Monica Blvd., ah? ; )

Friday, June 09, 2006

This is a public service announcment

It looks like my old mwright AT calarts DOT edu address is acting up, again. Well, I've had it with you, CalArts' network services! No more! From now on, please use my new personal account - mwright AT michalwright DOT com (website will soon be up, promise.

If I didn't replay to your message in more than three days or seem to have neglected you/didn't replay to comments, answers and how-do-you-do's - I probably lost your email. Please do get back in touch. I'd hate to think you think I'm a heartless b*tch just because I'm still using my college email address...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Welcome to our family!

The W&W family has expanded. Welcome Suki!
Yes, yesterday's photo was a Kitty Pi, knitted and hand felted (yes, don't ask) by me. If you guessed... well, you're probably an knitter and must have been following my blog for a bit. If you're the latter, you know I just couldn't shut up about getting a kitty for the past, hmmm... 6 months (at least)?! She's an adorable 7 weeks old siamese mix baby, with the prettiest set of eyes I've ever seen on a cat. Shes still a bit shy and hiding under our bed, but she's already purred at us and played quite a lot.
I just sacrificed my "Random Acts of Cuteness" Flickr set for a new set for her. Come and look!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Let's see if you know what that means...

Let's see if you can guess what the following item is, and why I spent the past two days in a knitting marathon over it?
Answers - tomorrow.

Some more domestic bliss

Look at those cute cookie cutters we got at Sur La Table in Santa Monica yesterday! We have a Stegosaurus, a Scotty, a kangaroo, a heart and a hippo. Cute, ah? Next week these will make some vegan cookies. Yum!
While I washed those after breakfast, I realized I still don't have a clue what to do for Moki's new stamped recipe card swap. I got all the materials, but I'm a bit stuck. Maybe I shouldn't think about the whole design of the card, and just have fun with it... I make stuff so overly complicated all the time...


Oh! And did I tell you how much I love my new 'hood? Imagine that - I have a scrapbooking store, a yarn store AND a sewing supplies store with sewing classes WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE!!! I mean, HELLO!! And that's not really usual in LA most of the time. If you've never been here, it is r-e-a-l-l-y s-p-r-e-a-d o-u-t. But I have all of my earthly needs within walking distance (to top the Trader Joe's and Panera Bread two streets down from us we've already discovered. Utter bliss, I tell you...