Monday, September 24, 2007

PinkBird's Travel Pointers (Volume 1):


Aloha fellow explorers! This is the 50th PinkBird's Nest Blog here on Blogger! WooHoo!

So, in what I hope will become a somewhat regular blog feature here in The Nest, I have decided to start a little column for Travel Tips. “PinkBird’s Pointers” if you will. I think I will list between 5 and 10 at a time. So, here begins just a few travel and packing suggestions. Please do contact me with any special tips you have, and perhaps I can add them to the list!

1. Save those little bottles of hotel shampoo, I usually prefer to bring my own shower supplies (and not all places will even have them waiting for you, like hostels or foreign hotels) but if the hotel does have complementary shampoos, my husband will use it, and if I’ve got room in my bag I’ll keep the bottle to refill with my own shampoo to bring along on our next trip.

2. I love zipper seal baggies! I pack them everywhere I go. Extra zip lock baggies are perfect for cosmetics or toiletries that may have leaked, or the rocks and shells you find along the way, or even if your watch breaks, you have someplace to put all the pieces until you can get it home.

3. Begin packing early (but not too early)...maybe at least the weekend before you plan to leave, gather everything you plan to pack in a laundry basket and leave it. The next day go through this pile and take out anything that you probably won’t wear (if you have a “maybe” pile, make it a “no” pile) or anything that’s not interchangeable/coordinated to at least 2 other things in your pile. Take out anything that would leave you heart broken if it were to be “lost” in the void of lost luggage or stained while traveling. Now, leave this newly thinned down pile until days before the trip (or the day before/day of, as I usually do). As you’re packing this stuff into your bag you can keep thinning it out. I believe you should never have to repack a bag before you leave home because you’re bringing too much stuff. (Arriving back home with too much stuff is another story).

4. I love my Chaco sandals for traveling...they slip on and off easily, but are built well enough to do real walking/hiking. They are also “strappy” and mine are solid black so they can pull off looking “nice” or even sort of dressy if need be. They also take up much less room in my pack than sneakers.

5. You can buy or make a special Travel Journal (see my previous blog on how to make your own journal HERE) or just pack a small notepad along to write down special moments, names of places, ideas or images that you don’t want to forget. It can help too to write down details about photos that you take—I tend to come home with hundreds of digital pictures and there are always a few that I wonder about. Writing specifics down can really help when you get home.

And, of course, don't forget to back your sense of humor and your listening ears. Across the world people generally need and want similar things. The differences are in the details. And, it is in those details that traveling really becomes worthwhile. Happy trails!

PinkBird's Picture: Shipwreck Beach, Lanai, Hawaii


While driving a Jeep across the tiny island of Lanai, Hawaii, Phill and I headed to “Shipwreck Beach.” We drove off-road along the beach for a few miles, and then hiked along the shoreline collecting shells, beach glass, and other trinkets that had washed ashore. Here in this photo, between the driftwood is the hull of the 1940s Liberty Ship that was run-aground. We had the beautiful rocky beach all to ourselves. We felt like cast-aways, all alone here and could only see this shipwrecked boat and neighboring Maui on the horizon. We were child-like explorers all alone on a deserted island. We were sea captains and mermaids. We were pirates hunting treasure. We were natives gathering food. The deteriorating, rusted out ship abandoned here in the Kaiolohia Bay gave the beach its beautifully isolated surreal sense of awe and youthful yet antique wonder.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

STS9 in B'more:

We saw a super hot Sound Tribe Sector 9 show last night at Baltimore's Sonar club. And, when I say "hot" I mean sweat was everywhere...and there were more than a couple of sweaty shirtless guys just splashing it around. Yum. Aside from that, it rocked. (Need proof? See the set list below!) I danced like crazy, even with my injured foot (that's another story with a few nasty details).

Here are a few pictures from the show: (The first one was taken with my actual camera, and the others were with my cell phone camera).






Set list, (as best as I can figure): (from thelowdown.org)
Set I: The Rabble, Inspire Strikes Back, Trinoc>Vibyl, F. Word, Abcees, Ramone & Emiglio
Set II: Twilight, Tooth, Aimlessly, Re-emergence, GLOgli, From Now On, Moon Socket, Instantly
Encore: Roygbiv, This Us

Now, on a totally random note, I'd never been to Sonar before, but they have the best bathropom signs/lights I've ever seen....(this picture also taken with my cell phone, so it's hard to make out): Basically, it's one of those paper lantern lights with what seem like stencils of the traditional male/female restroom sign people on them. Since the lights hang from the ceiling, you can spot the bathroom from across the room. So classy!



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cupcakes!?!

My latest art/design class assignment was to take a shape--any shape--and repeat it all over a big piece of paper. Basically we could use pen and ink to make the shape different by changing the pattern, value, and size, etc. Rather than pick a plain old geometric shape, I picked a cupcake shape. The critique is tomorrow, so you get a sneak preview....(again, sorry about the bad pictures, but you get the idea--it's so much better in person though).




Did that make you hungry? For more mouth watering creations, stop by PinkBird Creations for some tasty wearable treats.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I love archive.org

How about discovering some (free) new music this weekend? I can't make it down to Austin City Limits Music Festival (have fun, Sylvie!), so instead I headed over to archive.org to download some fresh music to listen to while I do my art homework. If you don't know about archive.org now you do. Though, if you know me, I'm probably not telling you anything new. I love Archive....last weekend I got STS9's recent "RE:Generation" show....it's so hot that I cannot stop listening to it. (Which is making me even more excited to Sound Tribe Sector 9 next weekend in Baltimore!)

Archive.org is an internet archive site, which, at first glance seems super boring (and maybe even nerdy!). Internet Archive is basically a huge digi-library of web sites and other fun, interesting stuff. Along with this, it has heaps and heaps of live music you can download for FREE from bands that allow taping rights, like the Grateful Dead, Sound Tribe Sector 9, String Cheese Incident, Ben Kweller, O.A.R., Keller Williams, Jack Johnson, My Morning Jacket, 311, Umphrey’s McGee...the list goes on and on. See for yourself right HERE.

Happy listening, until next time, take it light!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Travel Art "(or 'Art School Geek Out'):

Wow....it has been a very busy week. And, as much as I am not a winter-weather person (take that Chicago!) Fall is in the air and it's making my skin tingle with excitement. I must admit Autumn is beautiful here on the East Coast.

The Art School Freak Out I had 2 weeks ago has diminished (but not disappeared). The critique went very, very well. I was both surprised and proud of myself. I know these assignments are typical "Art 101" things, but I like to share anyway.

Last week's assignment was much more fun....we were challenged to create an 8 page accordion book using line and the properties of line to convey a specific emotion (no representational drawings, either!) So....I combined 2 of my favorite things....I made art about travel!

Here it is:


You can look at the book 2 ways, either page by page, or open it completely and look at it as a whole...it's very linear (well, of course, it's a bunch of lines) and has a lot of movement and flow. Maybe the next Art class I take should be photography, as these pictures do not do my book any justice!


The first page is "just" Life. Just being. Everyday. Fairly simple....yet, floating; always ready to just get up and go.






Then, BAM! A trip...it's in the works, tickets have been purchased, friends have been called. I need to pack, I need to find things (like my passport, and those little travel toiletries and bottles I seem to collect), I throw everything into my backpack. A few days later, I take it all out to unpack what I really won't need. Then, usually the day before or day of I do my final packing and leave behind anything I can't wear with at least 2 other things in the bag. It's so exciting....it's a rush.


Then, after all the running around, plant watering, and remembering to put the mail on hold, we're on the plane, or train, or in the car....just cruising. It can be boring. It can be nerve-wrecking. When we finally arrive, at an airport, let's say....whoa! Waiting in customs and immigration lines, finding the luggage (since our backpacks are (sometimes) just a bit to big for new carry on rules), trying to find a bathroom, and then trying to figure out public transportation...Before leaving the airport I like to pause and just breathe in the air of a new land. It can be chaotic and crazy, but so amazingly fun.

These next two pages are about actually being at the place I have traveled to....whether it's a place I've dreamed of since childhood, or a random unexpected journey. It's exciting, new, and fresh. We can wander around a new city just bumping into new people and new experiences. After the initial excitement begins to fade, a new feeling emerges. This is the feeling that, "I could live here." Yes, let's move to London, Sydney, Tokyo, Maui, Austin, or Marrakesh. It almost never fails. I reach a peace within a new place that draws me in. Each city and place I've traveled to is unique and for each of these places there are a million unique reasons I could stay there forever.

But, of course I must go home, where ever that happens to be at the time. And, when I get there I surprise myself because I have brought home with me the peace and curiosity induced by traveling. This intentional wandering centers me. I am glad to be home. Though, even in that moment I am planning my next journey.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Make a Skirt from a Pair of Jeans (a Tutorial):

If you’re like me you probably have a ton of jeans in your closet that don’t fit right but that you can’t bear to part with...what to do? How about turn them into a skirt? I know skirts of this style have been around for ages now (heck, I made my first one almost 10 years ago...well, maybe not that long, but probably in 1999!) This is also one of the easiest sewing projects to do, especially because you don’t need a pattern and you don’t need to know how to sew in zippers....so, here goes:
You will need:
-old jeans (that still fit around the waist/hips)
-scissors that will cut denim
-sewing machine with denim/heavy needle
-thread
-pins
First, grab your denim jeans and determine how long you’d like the skirt to be. (You can do this by trying them on, by using another skirt you have as a guide, or just guessing...guessing doesn’t always work too well for me).
Next, cut the legs at the right point, straight across as if you were making jean shorts (or capris). I like to leave my finished skirt a bit frayed but if you’d like a hem (or even to add a ribbon) be sure to leave extra fabric as a seam allowance (1”-2”). It also helps to be sure (by measuring) that what’s left of the jeans leg will be enough fabric to finish the skirt (to fill in the “triangle” in the center—more on that later).
Then, take your fabric scissors and cut along the inner leg seam. (You may find it easier to turn your jeans inside-out to do this. You could also use a seam ripper, but I find cutting with some sturdy sharp scissors works well.
Once you have the jeans cut all the way along the inner seam from leg to leg, you can make a slight slit up the seam where the zipper is. (See picture). This just makes the denim lay flat and makes sewing easier.

Now, set this “skirt” part of your jeans aside and grab the rest of the denim leg. Once again, cut along the inner seam to create a flat piece of denim.
Cut this piece in half (or down to size that will fit inside the “triangle” now formed below the zipper of the soon-to-be skirt.

Pin these pieces of denim together so that they lay flat. Your pins will be along what is left of the original inner seam of the jeans, around the triangle that had formed between the legs of the jeans.

Turn the skirt over and do the same to the back of the skirt. Please note that since the inner seam is already cut, all you will need to do on the back is make a slight slit up the middle toward the yolk of the jeans so that the fabric will lay flat. Then, insert and pin the denim remnant and pin it into the triangle.


Here comes the real fun (I only say that because I have made skirts like this before and didn’t use denim weight needles, and, lets just say that’s very dangerous. When moving needles break, they can really fly)! So, following the pins you have along the “triangle” you are ready to sew up the seams. You can use what is left from the jeans’ inner seam as a guide. I usually double (or even triple) stitch this, just o safe.
Once you have sewn up the front and back, you may want to turn your new skirt inside out and trim the excess fabric from inside.
And, there you go, the easiest skirt you can ever make! Now you can add ribbon or lace, or use a razor to fray it up nicely! You can see in one of the skirts I made, I used a white-on-white floral fabric for the center and white lace because I wanted it too have a layered look, as if a slip was showing.
Have fun with this, there are a million possibilities!



Sunday, September 09, 2007

PinkBird's Picture: Costa Rican Rainforest


After a hike through the rainforest of the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio near Quepos, Costa Rica, we were ecstatic to find relief from the jungle’s heat and humidity. As the trail widened, the dim tangle of large tropical vines and trees gave way to a vast open beach. We rushed through the soft white sand, threw down our daypacks, tore off our hiking clothes, and dove into the crystal waters on the Pacific Ocean. It was perfect....after a relaxing dip, some splashing, playing, and floating, we decided to head ashore to lie on the beach. Walking toward our packs, we spied a group of White-throated Capuchin monkeys in the trees where the rainforest met the beach. We quietly approached the monkeys and observed them as they climbed about in the trees. Beautiful and amazing!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

San Fransisco Craft Mafia - Mafia Made

....I really like San Fransisco....one of my dear friends from college lives there...and, OK, so, maybe I've never been there. I did spend the night at some swanky hotel there paid for by American Airlines (after my plane was late for a connection out of San Jose and they paid for me to take a cab to San Fransisco and put me up in a black-tie affair hotel so I could get the soonest flight out of California the next day, but that's another story).

Anyway, I just dropped some PinkBird Creations promo items in the mail headed for good old SF. These goodies are for Swag Bags for the San Fransisco Craft Mafia's, "Mafia Made Winter Trunk Show" being held October 21, 2007 at the Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building) in Golden Gate Park, 9th & Irving, SF, CA from 12pm to 5pm. WooHoo!

I was really excited and flattered that they asked me to donate items for their Swag Bags...The pictures you see here are only just a sampling of the goods you will find there!

I always like to support indie ventures like this one. I think it's really important both for vendors and consumers. I love the comradery and entrepreneurship at indie craft/art fairs. I love getting to know the person who made the thing that I'm buying. Even if you don't know that person it's nice to at least know their name or glimpse their world, even if it's just though MySpace or a blog. Handmade crafty stuff (art with a function) is so very personal; just the idea that a person created something with love and attention and you love it so much you want to own it, what could be better than knowing more about the person who made it? (Can you say that about what your wearing right now?). It's a wonderful feeling to know the name of the person who created the pants your wearing or the lip balm you use....So, if you are in the San Fransisco, CA area why not get some early holiday shopping done and meet some fantastic artists at the Mafia Made Trunk Show? You may even get some free PinkBird treats too!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Art School Freak Out

Well, if you're keeping up with me, I started my very first "real" Art class last week. (So, I guess I'm officially not an "outsider artist" anymore). I was so excited that I got all giggly and smiley just going over the syllabus!

Of course, once I got home and attempted to complete my first homework assignment--a series painting with the theme, "Design is about Relationships" the smiles were all gone. I spent a good 2 hours drawing/sketching and measuring and trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the project...all of which had to fit neatly inside the rubric that the teacher gave us.

The "rules" for the project stated what 3 colors we could chose to use (and, no, we couldn't mix them together to make new colors--I asked), what shape we had to begin with, etc. Following those rules was/is very frustrating, especially as someone who has been sort of doing art my own way for awhile. I kept thinking to myself, "You have to know the rules in order to break them." I repeated to myself things about how the limits of the assignment were to draw out all my creativity. To really bring out anything I could think of. To use my imagination to stretch beyond the limits while still staying inside the lines. But that didn't help.

Then, competition set in. I know, like yoga, Art Class should not be/is not about what your fellow classmates are doing....but with Art, well, I'm just so curious about what other people are creating that it's hard for me not to compare my work. While we were working on our projects I couldn't help but look over at what others were creating and wonder if what I was doing was "right." I know I shouldn't. (I've taken pottery and stained glass classes where this wasn't the case though and I don't know why). Maybe the fact that I'm being graded is "holding me back." Maybe it's that we have a class critique and god only knows what people will say about my work...ah!

So, welcome to my first Art School Freak Out. I knew I wanted to do something that (honestly) wouldn't take me forever (as it is the first assignment) but also something that was sleek, simple, (empty almost, something about those components gave me this vision of some kind of Japanese design) floating, and a bit 70s retro. After hours of sketching and measuring and double-measuring and practice painting, I went to work on my final canvas.

Then it happened....I smeared the paint. Red paint. Wow. That sucks. I took a break and went back to it, and this time I accidentally put my hand in the paint. Then that paint-y hand onto the paper. That sucks too. Then I realized that perhaps my design was not for Bekki the novice painter. I tossed that idea (figuratively) and over the next few hours began working on a new design.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. The class. The painting. The rules. But, I'm putting it out there. Here. I'm releasing it to the strangers (friends I haven't met yet) of the Universe before I have to be critiqued by the strangers in my art class. Art can make you vulnerable. I am vulnerable. And, I'm OK with all of this. I'm usually like, "whatever!!" or "C'est La Vie" about most things. So, why not this too? Am I trying to prove myself? And, to who? This is not the art project that will break me. Maybe this (art) is so personal that it's not personal. It's homework.