May 30, 2012

Fishing in Manhattan

            This past weekend, the Recent Paterfamilias took a fly fishing tutorial in front of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. 

Standing there next to the big marble lions which flank the entrance, in the shade of London Plane Trees (which, I believe, in London, are simply called Plane Trees), while tourists from Denmark, Korea, the American Southeast, and sundry other earthly locales snapped away with their digital cameras on their digital phones as a dozen of us seemingly ordinary, eccentric locals stood there with eight foot fly rods, casting thirty feet of line forward and backward and forward and backward and forward, over and over and over again, all the while attempting to lay our fly line out on the paving stones in practice casts, it must be assumed that these uninitiates to our local weirdness were almost certainly saying to themselves, “Only in New York City,” that age old cliché going through their minds as they stood there on a Saturday afternoon when they’d expected to see merely the Public Library, Bryant Park, Saks Fifth Avenue, and maybe even one or two drag queen hookers. 

            Admittedly, we must have looked at least a little odd, casting for fish with no water to be seen, but this odd looking Paterfamilias was so excited to learn that he hadn’t forgotten everything he’d ever known about fly fishing during his decade long hiatus from the pastime, that he hardly noticed those people gawking and pointing and capturing our strange urban moment for future anecdotal conversation fodder. 

            I somehow remembered how to cast.  I somehow remembered how to hold a rod.  I somehow remembered how to lay down the line and stay out of the trees and feel really good about my fishing ability.  It was only the knots that gave me some trouble, and even with those, my sluggish memory managed to kick start itself after a half dozen attempts.  (But knots are hard and you can’t be too tough on yourself at first.) 

            There’s a reason the Recent Paterfamilias has decided to rekindle his fly fishing enthusiasm.  In fact, there are a couple of reasons.  Firstly, he likes it.  Secondly, the R.P. needs a hobby (although, truth be told, fishing isn’t largely viewed, amongst the fishing community, as a hobby, but, instead, as a passion).  Perhaps this behavior on the part of the Recent Paterfamilias is exhibiting some sort of stay-at-home-dad-like-mid-life-crisis, though I doubt that’s the case.  (Buying a little red corvette and bedding buxom blonde model-types is a far stretch from the likes of fly fishing alone on a river somewhere.  Or on a lake.  Or a saltwater bay.  Or a pond in Central Park.) 

            And that’s right.  There’s fishing to be had in Central Park.  They (They being some sort of state or federally funded fish conservation agency) even stock the ponds in Central Park with fish, actual live fish, fish that just swim around, fish that are eating and swimming and just waiting to be caught.  (Naturally, per Their regulations, there is a catch-and-release policy.) 

            Plus, if I ever move to Brooklyn, They (the conservationist overlords) also stock the lake in Prospect Park, too. 

            With fishing so close to home, it’s almost a sin for the R.P. not to take advantage of it. 

            So, it should be noted, in the future, the R.P. should be considered not only as the Recent Paterfamilias, but also as the No So Recent But Recently Invigorated Fly Fisherman Paterfamilias, and, believe him, he will be sure to relate to his loyal readers how his inaugural urban fly fishing adventure transpires when he hits the water at the pond around West 104th Street this coming weekend.  (And there is no doubt in the R.P.’s mind that this Recently Enthused Fly Fisherman—or R.E.F.F.—will be heckled mercilessly from the shore—but sometimes you have to do what you have to do when it comes to hooking some poor fish in the lip and dragging him out of his natural habitat). 

May 29, 2012

Orla Kiely Bedding Decisions

It's here.  It's finally here.  Orla Kiely for Bed Bath and Beyond.  So  now what?

The plan is to get a new bed.  And once we get a new bed -- upgrading to a larger size -- we will need all new bedding.  But how do I decide?  
I love the Orla Kiely stem pattern at Bed Bath and Beyond (the one on the left) but hate the fact that it's an all in one poly cotton comforter.  I like my down duvets in the winter.

So maybe I just go for the simple and subtle coverlet for the summer months.  But can I do all white?  I love the idea of it, but how long does white stay white? Then maybe I would do an accent "Breakfast Pillow" -- Whatever that is?  because with an all white bed set there will most certainly be no breakfast in bed allowed.  

In the meantime, while I'm deciding I might just order these books for inspiration:

May 28, 2012

I'm heading to San Francisco

It's official.  I'm IN!

Heading to do my 2nd show EVER.  This time it's in San Francisco (a little closer to home base than the last show in Toronto).  1 month to get ready minus the next week I will be spending working in Utah!
If you live in the area put it on your calendar now.  It's a great show and like the name says, full of Unique crafts.

Ready... Set...Must Start Printing product to show at the show!

May 25, 2012

Finding the "Hidden Mickeys" at Disneyland

Another job for Disney had me back at Disneyland this week.  With call times at the hour of 4am every day they were kind enough to put us up in a hotel for the duration of the job so we didn't have to get up even earlier to maker the 45 minute drive in from L.A.

I love staying at Disney Hotels! Not just because everyone who works there seems to always be sipping happy juice, but because I love to explore all the details that go into the theme of the resort.

This time we stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel.  The theme being very classic American Craftsman architecture.  At first glance this hotel is not very "Disney Themed".  The Grand Californian has a very sophisticated style that involves a lot of beautifully carved wood and a warm color palette.  But I know better --- because I know about the Hidden Mickeys.

What are the Hidden Mickeys you ask?

Well, they are exactly that.  Mickeys that are hidden all over Disney properties that you wouldn't notice at first glance, or even maybe second glance.  Most people may not notice them at all, but once you know to look, you will find them everywhere.

When I got to my room at the Grand Californian I knew there had to be a hidden Mickey somewhere but I searched everywhere - the wallpaper, the curtains, the molding, the tiling in the bathroom and I couldn't see one anywhere.  By night two I had all but given up when I bent down to tie my shoe laces and there it was.  Staring at me.

Do you see it?

May 23, 2012

Birthday Party Postmortem

            The Recent Paterfamilias is proud to announce that his baby’s first birthday party went off seamlessly.  The food looked great.  The food tasted great.  The older kids found our choice of playground locale to be great.  The weather was great (the weather was perfect, actually).  Even the plates, the napkins, and the ice were great.  Everything was just, well, great. 

            But it very easily might have been not so great. 

            Our original intended location, the widely reputed idyllic but little known Central Park, as well as New York City’s avenues between our apartment and the Park, were reportedly somewhat congested this past Sunday, the day of the event. 

            The Aids Walk (noble cause it may be) traveled down the west of the Upper West Side and crossed over to enter and meander through the western regions of the Park.  On Central Park West, which spans the entire west side of the Park (much the same as its across town counterpart, Fifth Avenue), the Ecuadorian Day Parade was proudly marching south.  On Columbus Avenue, there was a street fair running for a solid mile-and-a-half, and on Amsterdam Avenue, there was some sort of local neighborhood festival, the nature of which even now I don’t fully understand.  Broadway was pretty much unobstructed, but that’s only if you don’t count the six lanes of north/south-bound traffic which incessantly flies by at a modest 70 miles an hour.  West End Avenue was also pretty much wide open, but as West End was in the opposite direction of where we would’ve been headed, it was kind of a non-issue. 

            So…how might it have gone had we chosen to hold our party in Central Park, on the so-called Frisbee Lawn, for which we’d gained a permit?  I had to make four trips up to the apartment to get everything as it was, and the playground we used is next door to our apartment building, but to get all that food (great though it was), the twelve minute walk over Broadway, Amsterdam, Columbus, and Central Park West, and then the seven minutes more through the Park to the so-called Frisbee Lawn, across the historically busy weekend Central Park Drive, past the long bathroom lines outside of Le Pain Quotidien, skirting along the edge of Sheep Meadow, through the gate in the Frisbee Lawn fence, and then fight for a prime real estate shady spot on level ground under one of the London Plane Trees (which in London, I believe, are simply called Plane Trees)?  And then to do all of this without a wagon train or a flatbed truck or a camel caravan to carry all the food and drinks and other sundry accoutrements?  Impossible!  Impossible, I say!  Frankly, it had been downright idiotic to even consider attempting the venture in the first place!  Impossible, I say!  Again, I say impossible! 

            It was difficult enough just to get all of that stuff next door.  Bagels are heavy.  Folding accordion tables are heavy.  Cupcakes are heavy (especially when there’s about seventy of them—see: photo).  But no matter what was heavy and what was great, it, the party, was worth it; it was worth it because the whole shindig came off so well; it was worth it because it made the baby of the Recent Paterfamilias so pleased; and it was worth it because it caused the R.P. himself to come off looking so fantastic (because, after all, that’s really half the battle, ain’t it?—see: photo—though, it must be admitted that we might’ve gotten a couple too many cupcakes for seventeen people). 

May 21, 2012

Super Cute Baby Shower Invitation

I'm helping out on another baby shower and I'm proud to say that I had a hand in putting together these awesome invitation designed by the talented Angela Kohler.  Party theme: Teddy Bear Picnic.

Now we just have to pull the party together to live up to the expectations that these fabulous invites conjure. 

May 16, 2012

First Birthday Party = $$$

            In New York, seemingly unlike the rest of the more-logical leaning country, there are a couple different theories on baby’s first birthday parties.

            One theory is:  Why bother?  It’s not like little miss what’s-her-name is going to remember any of this anyway, so what’s the point?

            This, it must be admitted, is a valid argument. 

            Another theory is:  It’s monumental!  It’s epic!  It’s baby’s first birthday party!  Go all out!  Spend some money!  Invite everyone you’ve ever met!  Rent a private room in a private restaurant!  You know what?!  It’s baby’s first birthday!  Don’t rent out the restaurant’s private room!  Rent out the entire restaurant!  Spend some money!  Spend more money!  No expense spared!  It will be worth it!  Think of the memories!  In the end, little miss what’s-her-name will thank you for it! 

            In planning their baby’s upcoming first birthday party, the Recent Paterfamilias and his wife were hoping to strike a balance somewhere between these two extremes. 

            Looking through the receipts for little miss what’s-her-name’s birthday that’s happening this upcoming Sunday, I’m not sure we succeeded. 

            (It should be noted here at the beginning that our guest list of family members living within the tri-state area consists of the enormous amount of seventeen people.) 

            We ordered the last of the food today.  Due to certain guest eating restrictions (which are not important), we were forced to buy food from a couple of different places:  from the first place, it was $70; from the other, just under $400.  And this does not count for the birthday cupcakes, procured from a third location, which ran just over $130 (apparently, the price of red velvets drive up the cost exponentially).  Party favors for the other babies and children present…well, as it turns out, I’ve lost those particular receipts, so let’s move on.  Six Mylar balloons were $130 plus a $20 delivery fee, although we chose not to use that distributor and found someone else much more reasonable ($115.35).  As has been mentioned previously in these, the Notes of a Recent Paterfamilias, we also bought a collapsible table and folding stools for guests’ comfort on the day (items which can certainly be used in the future, so the purchase of these items should actually be seen as an investment).  And there were plates and cups (of course), smaller desert plates and disposable coffee cups (of course), a tablecloth and tablecloth holder-in-place clamps (of course), amongst other refreshments, bags of ice, a collapsible cooler, and a party dress for little miss what’s-her-name ($54.99). 

            It is beginning to seem that the wife and I might be inching away from doing less than nothing into the realm of renting out a private room in a private restaurant for a birthday party for a baby who won’t even remember any of it. 

            But I will remember it.  And that is what’s important.  And that is why the money (ie. the investment) was spent.  And that is why it’s worth it to spend the money and go all out and throw our fancy little shindig for little miss what’s-her-name. 

            So we’ll see how it goes on Sunday. 

            (And, oh crap!  I just remembered:  I still haven’t gotten her a birthday present.) 

May 15, 2012

Unique LA Art Show

I went to the Unique LA Show this past weekend and got completely inspired! Not just by the great artists exhibiting, but, by the whole idea of doing another show.   I came home, harnessed that feeling and this morning I sent in my application for Unique SF happening at the end of June.  GULP!

Now we wait until May 23rd to see if I get accepted to be an exhibitor.  In the meanwhile I can share with you a few of my favorites from the LA show.  (for some reason I was so enamored by the goods I forgot to take any pics at the show -- so you just get images I've pulled from their respective sites)

1. The Birds and The Beasts had these really fun posters (and LOVE how they have styled them online).  They handed out cards with a 10% off coupon code which I will share with you, because at $15.00 for a poster  less 10% by using the code AWWYEAH you should just really go to their online shop now and buy one!

2. Gregg Visintainer Pen and Ink Art had these beautiful prints on paper and on canvas of intricate pen drawings.  The longer you look at them the more you see in them. I don't think online photos will do them justice.  I kind of wanted to buy one but couldn't decide which to choose from.  Maybe I'll see him in SF?

3. Upper Metal Class - The one thing I did buy (other than food items!) was a pair of earrings for myself. 
It was one of the first booths I saw and the earrings just kind of called out to me.  I walked around to all the other booths and in the end I somehow found my way back to actually make a purchase.  

A fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon - a really great show, that I can hopefully be a part of in the future!   

May 10, 2012

A Woman's Right To Shoes

A fun little print I designed a little while ago.  I sold it as a card at the One of a Kind Show.  It's now available for a limited time on paper in my Etsy Shop.  It features 42 different shoes.  I challenge you to name them all.  But I guarantee you CAN name 5! (In fact, I KNOW you have at least three in your own closet right now!!!)

May 09, 2012

The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

            The R.P. is torn as to what he should write about this week.  The Recent Paterfamilias has a new personal art collection acquisition.  But the R.P. also wants to vent his concerns about his quest for the perfect Mother’s Day present. 

            Well, as it turns out, today the R.P. found (or rather, put together) what he suspects is the perfect Mother’s Day gift for the mother of his offspring, but he is afraid, should he write about such gift (the conception, the hunt, and the entire experience), that the wife of the Recent Paterfamilias might very well read about all of it on this very same blog column, which might very likely ruin any and all surprise on a certain mother’s first Mother’s Day. 

            So, I suppose that leaves me little option except penning a missive concerning my new acquisition (see: inset photo). 

            It’s art.  It’s pop art.  It’s folk art.  It’s modern art.  It’s provocative and interpretive and even somewhat inquisitive. 

            But what I’m most curious about are the interpretive aspects of aforementioned artwork (see: inset photo). 

            The artist, to whom I spoke upon purchase, a certain Andrew Cotton, who is part of an artist collective called “Art Moves” (they pedal their goods from a fashioned bread truck—they have Jay-Z screen prints on plywood which are pretty effing awesome), told me what he thought his work might mean.  The piece had been treated with copper so that eventually the copper would spread and the work would change as it aged.  The artist said it was kind of a statement on how the empire was deteriorating.  

            Naturally, this is all valid (see: inset photo).  

            But, naturally, this Recent Paterfamilias sees it differently. 

            This Recent Paterfamilias thinks the piece looks like a battered Revolutionary War flag (with a few more stars, of course).  This R.P. thinks it sort of represents a country that’s not perfect, but that’s still standing.  And this Recent Paterfamilias really likes how this work mirrors pop art and folk art and, more vaguely, the work of Jasper Johns. 

            Also, the Recent Paterfamilias thinks his new flag looks rather nice across the room from his American folk art convex Federalist mirror.  Sort of an exact but equal sort of thing. 

            So, all things considered, this R.P. is rather more than pleased with his recent acquisition. 

            (It should also be noted that the other piece of artwork featured—a sketch of a Wire Hair Fox Terrier named Oscar—is by the artist Greg Voth.) 

May 08, 2012

Learning to Use Power Tools

It got tiresome  asking the husband every time I needed a hole cut into the back of a frame so finally I just asked him if he could teach me how to do it.  Of course I couldn't use his MANLY tools, so he got me my own plunge router but lent me HIS safely goggles and ear protection.

Look at me, I'm using power tools!!!

These are my first holes --- YAY!!!
(I had a little technical difficulty on the first one - but the second and all the rest since have been perfect!)

May 03, 2012

Phases of the Fender

For those of you that don't know much about screen printing - Each color on the final image is applied using a separate screen.  Here is a simple way to see the result of that.

May 02, 2012

Haunted Dolls and Creepy Toys

            The Recent Paterfamilias wants to know:  Do you believe in ghosts?  In spirits?  In hauntings? In certain indescribable paranormal activities? 

            Well…do you, dear friend?  Do you?

            More specifically, dear friend:  Do you believe in haunted toys?

            There have been no shortage of bad Hollywood movies about toys under the influence of the supernatural.  But this, the following, is a related tale of alleged ghostliness and general creepiness (if you, dear friend, happen to believe in that sort of thing).

            But please, allow me to explain.

            Recently, there was a particular talking, light-em-up, singing, interactive child’s toy shaped like a dog.  She was a girl dog.  This toy girl dog was a hot item last year ‘round Xmas time (but we got ours before all the rush and the hullabaloo).  This toy dog does and says things that one might expect such dogs to do and say:  she sings “Itsy bitsy spider,” the alphabet, “This little piggy,” amongst others; she says “I love you!”, “Peek-a-boo.  I see you,” “You got my toes!” and et cetera; her red heart lights up, she says you grabbed her ear when you grab her ear, she giggles when you press a finger into her labeled “Tummy,” and on she goes like that, for as long as you’d like to play. 

            Well…a film-crew-friend of the wife the R.P. got this same dog (before the rush) for his own daughter, the younger of his two kids. 

            This same toy did and said the same things, just as she was supposed to. 

            This same toy sat on her place on the shelf, just as she was supposed to. 

And this same toy, when this same loyal father stuck his head in at night, to check on his younger daughter, would start spouting, without prompting, “Peek-a-boo.  I see you.” 

            And, “You’re my friend!”

            And, “Soooo big!”

            And, “I love you!”

            All when she should have been seated in her own stupid spot on her own stupid shelf with her own stupid mouth shut. 

            This same father’s other daughter has since made him get rid of the damn toy dog (the elder daughter had had similar “conversations” of her own). 

            So…all this begs the question:  Should the Recent Paterfamilias keep his own chipper yet creepy dog around the apartment, all the while waiting for the aforesaid inanimate object to self-animate herself?  Or should he, the R.P., run out and get a heavy burlap sack and some clothesline and a bag of quick drying cement and take my own creepily quiet toy dog and sink her in the Hudson River?

            I am truly curious as to what I should…Wait…That’s strange…It’s almost as if—

            “You got my toes!”

            "Hey!  You're fun!" 

            “Peek-a-boo.  I see you.” 

            Aww damnit.