Wednesday, March 26, 2008

on being nice... (karma in the form of free)

so, it's spring. there are daffodils popping up everywhere and i've been thinking about "nice" a lot lately. i have very clear memories of being in 3rd grade and my teacher having a list of "trash words" written on pieces of crumpled up paper and falling into a cardboard cut-out drawing of a trash can, stapled to the wall of our classroom. her most hated "trash word" was nice. ok, so maybe "nice" isn't the most attractive looking word, but mrs. wexner's (hi mrs. wexner!) reason for putting nice on the list was that nicedidn't say much. it wasn't descriptive enough; it wasn't specific enough in feeling or meaning. it was just nice

at the time i just took note of the word and reminded myself to never use it. instead say things like: kind, giving, sweet, warm, loving, generous, affectionate, friendly... just not nice. but what's wrong with that, really? don't we have plenty of descriptive words for generic unpleasant feelings? on a daily basis i run into: ugh, blech, blarg, hmph! and grrr... i'm desperate for nice.

i spent years in art school learning how to talk about artwork, how to critique and most important, how not to say nice. apparently, a piece of art can be: moving, quiet, comforting, gentle, light, airy, open & welcoming, but never nice.

well, sometimes i look at a painting and all the elements click together and i feel like i'm looking at a picture of home, and it smells good and it's just the right temperature, and nothing is threatening and its just nice.

i've had the wonderful fortune of raising a puppy (as you all have no doubt gathered from all my obsessive "mason eating, mason sleeping, mason with his paw up, mason almost sleeping, mason eating again, mason in any-number-of-sweaters" posts) these last couple of months since shiloh passed, and one thing i have felt more and more in tune to is the idea of "nice". when you're crate training, you have to be nice to your neighbors; it's niceto sleep in (when puppy sleeps in!), it's so NICE
to have a friend to go running in the park with again; and for a toddler and an infant pup, estelle and mason really do play so nicelytogether. and look how NICE he looks!

i've been putting nice out more and more, and as i do, i find myself pulling in more and more nice. it's not hard to be nice. estelle, who's only just turned 2, says "please" & "thank you" (unsolicited and with out reminder, and accurately, EVERY TIME) as well as "bless you" whenever she hears a sneeze... and if you don't respond, she'll walk right up to your face and say "bless you" again. a few months ago, i was driving downtown (leaving whole foods, harbor east, and turning onto president street,for you visual learner locals) and got stopped at a red light just before a blind turn. up ahead there was a MASSIVE "puddle" (i think tiny lake is more accurate) in my lane just beyond the turn (which i couldn't see from there), and the man in the car next to me, to my left, beeped his horn and flailed his arms and did everything he could to get my attention, (which as a woman in the city, i've learned to ignore), and when i finally acknowledged him and rolled my window down, he shouted "to you want to pull in front of me when the light changes, so you don't have to drive through that water?!"

who does that!?

even more recently, i was in the mood for peanut butter and jelly... i mean, serious PB&J cravings. i only had enough jelly left for one sandwich, but that was all i needed. i had bread, in the freezer, not usually an issue, but there was a chance it would be freezer burned (oh, because my freezer and cabinets are like "non-perishable goods" graveyards... seriously, if there's ever an earthquake or whatever, just come over, i got you covered). i made the sandwich anyway and was SO looking forward to it... but the first bite proved my freezer burn theory to be correct and i swallowed it and then pouted, turning to AJ (who was looking on with hope) and said "it tastes like freezer". wouldn't you know that sweet boy o'mine left the room and came back with 2 slices of his own bread and then painstakingly scraped the PB & J off the freezer bread with a butter knife and spread it onto the new bread, as carefully as possible, while i sat there, staring at him, in amazement.


well, i'm gonna do for nice, what J.T. (that's justin timberlake y'all) did for "sexy" (that's "bring it back" for those of you who wisely do not listen to top 40 radio). i've decided that i am going to reward those of you nicefolks, who regularly read this blog (though maybe don't comment) and those of you i've met online, at shows and in other random ways, who regularly support me, encourage me and are generally NICE to me!

these are brand new items to the greenstarstudio line... tooth fairy pillows (or "small versions of knitimals with mini pockets on their backs for whatever purpose you see fit" pillows!). each one is about 5-6" tall and has a little pocket sewn on back-- perfect for collecting teeth (if you know me you're probably wondering how i brought myself to even type that, as normally the crushing weight of my mouth-phobia would have caused me to have an anxiety attack... i'm thinking about nicer things, that's how). they retail for $40 and come with a penny in the pocket (because it's bad luck to give someone an empty pocket... and if teeth might be involved, you'll want all the luck you can get". they are, like the Knitimals they are based on, hand knit without patterns, so they are 100% unique.

I will be giving away TWO of these little guys to two lucky readers who do two things:
1.) post a comment below about something NICE!!! (it can't hurt to have so many positive thoughts in one place, right?) and
2.) add your name to my mailing list (there's a handy button along the side now--- if you're already on the mailing list, do it again please! i am trying to consolidate and clean up the 7 different places i gather info from!).
*make sure i can tell by your comment who you are, so i can contact you if you win one of these little guys.
** if you don't "win" (and really, aren't we all winners?) one, there will be some for sale on Etsy starting this coming Friday.
You'll have until noon, NEXT Friday (April 4th). I'll put all the names in a hat and draw 2 winners.
Best of luck! xoxo, danamarie


check out this interview the needle talks to greenstarstudio

butt uglee!

so, you know how picky i am right? i mean, when it comes to art and especially when it comes to art for kids and MOST especially when it comes to birds? well, i'd like to introduce you to my newest obsession... butt uglee!

a couple weeks ago i get an email from a woman i can only assume is my long lost twin... trust me, if you read the email you'd agree. and she tells me she's been stalking my work (oh, we use the term "stalking" to mean: "loving on from afar", totally cool, totally legal); i, naturally, go to her etsy shop and over the next few hours, there's a mutual stalk-fest and before any soft sculpture knows what hit it, off goes a box of knitimals to colorado and a box-o-uglee coming to baltimore. well... now the knitimals are a gracious bunch, so they are making their new friend right at home (they look comfy, no?)

just LOOK at it! how cute and wonderful is this bluebird?! little not-yet-here baby of mine is going to have the best birdified room ever. since you can't touch this bluebird yourself, i'll tell you it is SO well made, great detail, hilarious face and i love love love his little wire legs. how great are they!? you need one, right?

and the tag? its so wonderful. everything has this great vintage feel to it (but weird. good WEIRD vintage). there's such humor in jennifer's work... i love it. but it makes sense... there's great humor in HER.

you have to read her blog. it's a hoot! (i can't believe i wrote "hoot", but i like it; it's bird themed). butt uglee blog

so, thanks jennifer, for my new friend (can you even find him in this picture? yes... that IS my studio. yes, i DO get work done in there. NO, i don't know where the charger is for my external hard drive... can you find it? never mind that, it's not your problem)

****and if you want to see the Knitimals now living with jennifer, go here

Monday, March 24, 2008

What's the big secret up there?

Hello two-legged friends! Somethings-a-brewin' up there on couch, but I'm too short to catch a clear glimpse. Mommy's been hard at work all day and she said its for YOU! I'll keep you posted... Check back on Wednesday, friends! Xoxo, mason
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