Monday, May 31, 2010

CSN Stores: A Review Preview

Well, it's officially summer here in the desert, triple digit temperatures pretty much put the kibosh on my strip mall, bag on wheels, budget-blowing junkets. I'm resigned to the treadmill and online shopping-that is of course when I want to avoid the discouraging grimace of the spouse.

Recently, due to my amazing blogging prowess and wonderful readership- Winks and guns- I was invited to write a review on any product of my choosing from Admittedly, until this opportunity I'd never heard of them. Wouldn't you know they have over 200+ stores and stock everything from Staedtler pencils (I'm a writing utensils snob.) to the sleeper sofa?! Pretty fantastic, eh?

Well, I'll be placing my order sometime this week and will fill you all in on my experience from e-cart to door front and beyond. In the meantime, feel free to browse their amazing selection of goods here.

Peace and the power of purse strings

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Easy Like Sunday Evening


Sunday evening,

supermarket sushi and Stella.



Sunday evening;



Friday, May 28, 2010

This Feral Mind o' Mine

Okay, it's official I am an intellectual forager and I am struggling with the "spoon-feeding" facet of my education. Argh! This type of learning-which I have not done in a long time-is now foreign to me, I am untamed; feral.

I'm doing well, actually very well, the most concrete terms I can conjure, the process is akin to creating a great work of art with my left -(not dominant)- hand.

Yesterday I took a test-a test. Grimaces. And, there were multiple choice questions on it. Now for some this means, "Yay!" But, not for me, nope. I spent a ridiculous- so ridiculous it timed out and I had to take the test again- amount of time on two questions. Why? Well, because the choices were so similar. The voices in my head were debating instances when some if not ALL of those answers could and would be applicable. Alas, there was no person with which to debate. I spent far too much time meeting with professors the first time around when I was younger and things were perkier and they were far more inclined to humor me. Winks.

So, what did I do? I reticently chose the answer I would not have chosen had I been able to discuss my lesson notes-complete with highlighted points and bubbles where I had thoughts which warranted discussion; it was right. However, in my rampant haste to "just get the damn thing done already" I skipped the first question (of which I was certain of the answer) altogether! Grade: 96%, blood pressure: significantly higher, conclusion: This endeavor is going to be far more interesting than I'd anticipated. The brain-training, if you will, has proven far more labor-intensive than the subject matter itself.

Peace and perseverance

Monday, May 24, 2010

Schoolery and Jewelry

I can't believe it's been 4 days since my last post, certainly not for lack of things to say, I guess I've just been busy with schoolery, jewelry and the requisite spatterings of foolery.

School is going well; my feet are firmly planted and I've caught my stride. In truth, that first "A" helped to loosen the cogs. Writing on command, well...pretty much anything on command doesn't exactly appeal to my inner renegade. That, and remembering not to go off on italicized digressions-I love me some side babble-is an undertaking.

I'm still designing daily, and feel a renewed sense of creativity. My latest designs and ideas are feeding off of each other; each piece, I feel, speaks more about the current source(s) of inspiration than the last. The lack of a target audience has been a healthy move for me creatively, I'm tapping into and chartering new territory. Now, if I can just get the supplies to flow in as expediently as the ideas. [see photo on left.]

I hope all is going well for my favorite friends in the blogosphere, I'll be making rounds again shortly.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Social Notworking I

I was chomping most ferociously on the above chips and salsa when it occurred to me that I had fairly recently -sometimes I lag on the uptake- been more like mildly miffed- by something recently said and/or implied by TWO different people on Facebook; this makes for good blog fodder. Here, have a chip.

"Foolish Human #1" sends a friend request, and I do my usual: I read their profile, followed by, hmm, let me see if this person's pictures are private or not. It's a good thing when I can satisfy my curiosity without satisfying theirs; my pictures are private. Eh, not too bad, they're married, got a couple of attractive kids, a lot of faithbookery going on on the wall, but otherwise no red flags. Wrong. I accept the request and the first message reads:

GOD is good. Look at your beautiful family. Noone would believe me if I told them how you turned out after the way you were in [insert name of grammar school]. You were always hella smart, but honey you were WILDDDDD. lol. I still remember when you fought [name] and her cousin [name]. Do you remember that? Girl, GOD is TOO GOOD all the time.

Blank stare, hits remove from friends.

"Foolish Human #2" sends a friend request, I repeat steps 1 and 2 and accept because...oh I don't know why. Now, I have certainly reconnected with some wonderful old acquaintances, but the truth is if I haven't looked you up since our third grade school play, chances are, I don't like you. First message:

Hey Tam -already unacceptable- Nice family. I read your profile, "fundamental fortune cookie [-ist]"...somehow I knew you'd turn out like that. LOL, You look good, though. God bless you (anyway). Signed, [insert name].

Raises left brow, (I can't raise my right one, can you alternate?) types up snarky reply, recalls interaction with Foolish Human #1, ugh transference-thinks better of it, deletes unsent snark, removes from friends and retreats to blog.

Um, can the people say, "What the hell?" Faith schmaith, the bible babble is the least of my worries, but do people really define others based on childhood experiences? Reflecting on both of these people along the same vein, I'd expect one of 'em to have served time for chocolate milk and Tater Tots extortion, and the other a member of the "high-waters-wearing-ringworm-having- booger-eater-ati" among many other grammar school faux pas.

It's become amusing now- well of course after typing that last part- but I couldn't help-if just for a moment, feel the familiar sting of social injustice which led me to whoop the two aforementioned girls' asses in the first place. Smugly smiles.

Peace and progress people

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Design 3/40: "Elle"

"One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” -Oscar Wilde

"Elle"-T.Allen-Mercado, Summer 2010

Day 3; design 3 of 40, am I allowed to have a favorite yet? This design came to me in a dream, well not exactly this design but a rudimentary version: all white, enamel over base metal, I presume. Which-now that I think of it-doesn't sound half bad. I digress. "Elle" in her former life was a white bolo tie worn by a strikingly beautiful woman. She sat silently in wear-worn jeans and a fitted baby tee, sans bra. We shared a half-smile on the imaginary bus stop bench of my subconscious, and then I woke. The end.

Well, not really...see, then I tripped over a cat in the dark whilst trying to get to my notepad which was buried under all of the other desktop necessities, only to find someone had moved my damn pens again. I served up an angry "whisper shout" combo of my two most favoritest swear words, took a halitosis-laden swig of the last inch or so of very flat Diet Coke straight from the bottle- whatever, it's mine, shut-up- and, stomped back into my room. I thrust myself onto the bed dramatically, hoping -intensely, I might add- Joe would wake up and ask me what was wrong; I wanted to share the maddening details of my emotionally charged 5 minutes. Alas, he didn't budge, and a mug of coffee and a few hours later, "Elle" was born. That, my friends, is the end.

Peace and beauty

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back to School

Tree-free banana leaf (abaca) notebook and used texts-I'm a green learning machine.

I am a student again. Yep, I am taking classes at a local institution of higher learning which will remain unnamed lest I limit my ability to rant if/as necessary. Although thus far, it's been an enjoyable three-week run.

I bet you're wondering what I'm taking. Well, I'm taking cultural anthropology...and as your face begins to contort with befuddlement, the answer is simply this-I don't know enough- Even less than I thought I knew, I've quickly found. -about the conditions which shape "the human condition". Will I disappear into the jungle and become a modern day cannibal once Yael Rose leaves the nest? Perhaps, I'm sure by then there will be a preponderance of fine lager, decent pizza and Diet Coke in the jungle. Sad, but likely. However, in truth I have no worldly plans at this juncture of my academic career; I just want to continue learning, growing and being.

Structured, formal education is one of those areas in which even I'm not exactly sure where I stand; this is evidenced in my un/homeschooling. That being said, it is far more practical (and cost-efficient) of me to take mixed-media online college courses than to pack the family up and head to the rain forest. Will I glean the same level of knowledge sans the experience? Of course not, but I'll know more than I did three weeks ago which is far less than I thought I knew already. Look at that, it's working.

So, what's new with you?
Peace and education

Sunday, May 16, 2010

40 Day Lemonade Design Challenge

If you drink Sweet Tea with me over at Moms of Hue you're aware that I'm in a sour spot business-wise. It isn't the worst of times, it's just the kind of thing that happens when you're busy making plans. Ne'ertheless, I'm going to use the extra time and inventory-also known as lemons- to make 40 days of NEW! designs- lemonade; all culminating in the grand re-opening of Pretty in Peace this July.

"Gembalaya 0516" Design: 1/40-all designs will be catalogued [here]

"If you're not making money with your art, you have to say it's art.

If you are, you have to say it's something else".-Andy Warhol

I recently returned to the world of academia (more on that later) and interestingly enough, atop the page in my art textbook, was the quote above; perfect timing. I'm looking forward to returning to making art for the sake of least for the next 40 days.

Peace and lemonade

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Music: Courtney Marie Andrews

Stinging still was the signing of SB1070 when I was invited to display my work alongside several local Phoenix area artists. Entering Frances Vintage, for the fist time I turned a blind eye to my favorite "Love Phoenix of Leave Phoenix" tee shirts and bumper stickers. While silent, my heart roared against the signing of SB1070, at its constituents and I felt a sense of discord and disconnect from this place I came to call home nearly 6.5 years ago today.

And, then she walked in with her guitar, decidedly understated in what we artist types like to call disinterested contemplation. She seemed to disappear within the room and smiled shyly as she made her way to the space allotted her. In minutes, she began to fill the heartspace of those within earshot with ethereal vocals and beautifully human lyricism, Phoenix began to feel like home again.

There's novelty in the Phoenix art scene that is unmatched and bursting with untapped talent. It is the place to be if you are progressive and creatively ingenious, we'll get through this political shit one brilliant voice at a time. In short there is so much opportunity to "shine, shine shine", and shine, folk singer, songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews does. "Painter's Hands and a Seventh Son" is available for preview and purchase on iTunes. I especially recommend the single "Darling Boy".

Peace and brilliant voices

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Paper, oh how I love thee...

A brief return to my first love, cut paper collage.

I never-repeat NEVER- pass up a fine piece of paper. This bud vase was created with collaged vintage and contemporary paper scraps and acrylic paints. I've lightly sanded the edges for a hint of wear and tear, and sealed it with a waterproof matte sealant for posterity. I especially love how the girls appear to play Hide and Seek amongst the maze of maize blossoms. Fun, fine, functional: paper.

Peace and paper

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Random Thought Thursday

I bought these from Frances Vintage Boutique $10.95 each

Sometimes- well often-I wonder what will become of this generation's history. iPod, Kindle, digital cameras and phones that do everything but birth babies, have pretty much replaced the most telling of tangible artifacts: books, music and photographs.

I've recently returned to the land of academia where I am studying among other things, cultural anthropology. As I sift through texts, recordings and photos of people, places and articles of old, I can't help but wonder what all of these memory cards, chips and other landfill stock will say about us.

I scored the above books whilst browsing the endless supply of fun stuffs at Frances Vintage Boutique. I think they're a great way to tangibly catalog the history of my ever-evolving eclectic selection of indie film and music discoveries. What, if anything do you do to tangibly preserve the seemingly intangible relics of the present generation?

Peace and posterity

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This Art-filled Life IV: Trunks & Crates

Inside Frances Vintage Boutique's 4th anniversary & Trunk Show
Yael Rose, singer/songwriter/musician, Courtney Marie Andrews & Friends-
(I'll review Courtney's CD later this week), me shopping while Yael took over.

The event was a success, and Pretty in Peace supporters are superstars. The Orb in Verdigris necklace and earrings went to a sassy older woman with a shopping "problem" and a boyfriend who insists she deserves "only the best". How flattering is that? One lucky little girl was soon to receive Bronte pins along with many other fun items in her birthday booty; her dad got the scoop and a giggle-filled tutorial on how to wear 'em from Yael Rose. A lucky graduate will receive the Frida necklace and Fuego posts along with her diploma this upcoming weekend, and my "Winged Frida in Blue" 2009 collage print-featured on my business cards- got quite a bit of attention. Hmm, magnets? calendars? pendants? The possibilities are endless.

Frances Vintage Boutique has...dare I say, a cult following. It's at once, amazing and largely inspiring. There were many familiar faces from December's Crafeteria, and some new ones who were equally as charming and engaging. It feels much like coming home, sans the weird. Good times abound at my first trunk show, and thanks to all of you for your encouraging words and support. Huh? What did I buy? More on that in the next few days...

Later that evening...
Favorite Guy and I headed back downtown for our label's 5th anniversary party
next dimension music turns 5:
Solstice at Bar Smith

I'm sure I've told you all how much I absolutely love my House music people, yes? There are no words to describe the amount of love and energy palpable at House events. Here we are, this subculture made up of a sprinkling of the rest of the world, yet the only requirement is that you came to get down, together, "under one house". It's all very overwhelming when you think about all of the walls that separate us on a daily basis, and it's what makes our work at next dimension music so special.

In five years, Joseph and I have grown a collective of artists, fans and supporters spanning 6 continents. next dimension music was born amid some pretty rough times in our personal lives and yet it strengthened us. We invited these artists, fans and supporters into our lives, into our dreams and into our House. It's an amazing journey, and 'twas an amazing evening ; many, many thanks.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with House Music-listen [here]. I provided the wiki link, but this is the inside scoop. Winks.
Peace and Love

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