Saturday, May 22, 2010

See Change Conference

So, this post has been a long time coming. Too much info to cover, too little time.

I spent May 20-22 at the first annual See Change conference that was held at the University of Minnesota. It was an amazing array of speakers- very inspiring. My notes (now two months old) of course seem a little more abstract than when I took them, but I'll include my favorite quotes amongst the reviews.

After a tasty dinner of pasta cakes (what are pasta cakes?! I'm not sure what they are, but I'm telling you, delisch) and grilled veggies, Nigel Holmes kicked off the conference as the keynote speaker. I should have known that I would love this guy after he was introduced as looking a lot like Harry Potter (it's true- and all in the glasses). Not only did he walk through the fountain in McNamara Alumni Center, dress up as a Cave Person and spit mud all over (all crazy antics to prove various points) but he was a fantastic speaker.

Friday started off with some dance. Yes, dance. James Sewell, longtime respected dancer and choreographer went through several exercises with the crowd (ahh, now I know why they put this guy first- to wake us up!) My favorite were what he called body puzzles- along the lines of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time (which I excel at, btw).

For example (try this at your desk, your office neighbors will think you're crazy, but you'll see how difficult these moves are): take your left hand and make circles through the air in front of you (like a mime). Now, take your right hand and make a square in the air in front of you. Take a look at your left hand- is it still making circles? Mine sure wasn't. All of the sudden my left hand was doing more of stop sign motion.... After this exercise we were treated with a beautiful performance from James, where he not only mastered the above motion (and more!), but made it look effortless.... show off.

From there we danced right on to learning all about Alphabeasties. Sharon Werner, of Werner Design Werks, discussed the "accidental childrens book.''''

Kwaku Alston
There's nothing crazier than going to a conference and realizing that you already know the work of the speaker- it's a great feeling for everyone involved.

Its seemed as though lots of these speakers had worked together, but I know as much as everyone, it's all who you know.

In an attempt to move along and keep blogging current news (now two months later), I'm going to cut myself off (perhaps to elaborate at another time), but be sure to check out the other speakers we were graced with. Truly amazing people.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Travel Inspiration : Hawaii : Alphabet

Last week I posed a question as to how many letters there are in the Hawaiian alphabet- did anyone know the answer? If you said 12, (and I know you did) than you are correct!

The alphabet contains 12 letters: 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and 7 consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w).

Another fun thing is to look up what your Hawaiian name is. Mine is Kamanaka (like I needed another "a" in my name), what's yours?

Monday, May 17, 2010

I blame Bill Cosby

I can still picture it. I was about 9 years old, standing in the dollar store watching as my dad rummaged through the clearance bin (no deal was to be left unfound, even at a store where the spendiest item was a dollar), when he fished out two Bill Cosby cassettes. The cases were cracked and they had that weird cheap plastic smell to them, but as soon I slid them into my boom box and smushed down the play button, I immediately fell in love with stand up comedy.

Being the daughter of a librarian, I was well aware of books on tape at this point. I think I had worn out the library's copy of Emily's Runaway Imagination (by Beverly Cleary), and I vividly remember listening to The Secret Garden (by Frances Hodgson Burnett) while working on my miniature seed bead loom for hours on end (it was 12 two-sided cassettes). But I had never encountered anything quite like the humorous tales Bill told of his youth. Who knew someone's life could be so interesting. I was disappointed that my white bread youth in the suburbs would never compare to the crazy antics of Bill and his brother growing up in the projects of NYC.

Not long after buying the tapes I started putting them on to fall asleep to. By the time I was 11 I had saved enough cash to buy a boom box that had auto-reverse (and a CD player, but I only had 1 CD at the time, another glorious discount find of Patti Labelle), so I would literally listen to the tapes all night on repeat. There came a point when my brother and I would quote these stories to anyone who would listen, most of whom had no idea what the hell we were talking about (and I'm sure wondered why we were talking about the paper thin walls of the bedroom we shared in our apartment, when in reality we lived in a three bedroom house).

To this day I can't fall asleep to silence. I love putting in a movie I've seen a hundred times, or playing an old comedy routine off my iPod (I still have the tapes, but have upgraded along the way). I still re-tell jokes joyously as people wonder what insane asylum I've escaped from and if it's safe to make any sudden movements. Not to mention, and I wish some friends didn't know this about me, I will do anything that makes for a good story later on. And for that, Bill, I blame you.

Picture via

PS: BILL COSBY IS COMING TO MN! That's right, he's coming in August- do I smell a road trip?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Birthday Buddies

That's right, it's my birthday. My favorite day of the whole year. In the past my birthdays have been pretty hit or miss. It almost always falls on fishing opener so kids often missed my party as a child. In college I spent an entire birthday alone in my dorm room, as it was the day after everyone else moved out and I was staying for May-term and had no car (and lets be honest, no friends left up there).

But since then I've had some whoppers. My 21st birthday was the first day of studying in Hawaii (helllooooo fun times). My 23rd birthday was when I was with Katie visiting her brother in Germany. We had just gotten back from an Austrian spa and her brother's bday was the next day so he had a shindig at his house. Not too shabby.

Best of all, I found out that I have a birthday buddy on the Twins! Yes, that's right, first baseman Justin Morneau was also born on this glorious day. So here's to the Twins kicking the Yankee's butts tonight in honor of the big day.

Picture via Sports Illustrated

Friday, May 14, 2010

Travel Inspiration : Hawaii : Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Last night on my way home I drove directly towards a rainbow. For those of you not in the Twin Cities area, let me just tell you: it has been raining for DAYS. Needless to say, the rainbow was a welcome sight as the sun made an attempt to peek out from behind the clouds before night fell.

Ever since I was in Hawaii, rainbows remind me of when we literally drove over one. Seriously. We were on the way to the Honolulu airport to take a puddle jumper to the Big Island when this was spotted. It's was kind of like Oahu was bidding us aduei.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Travel Inspiration : Hawaii : Cliff Jumping

Cliff what!? That's right, cliff jumping. On the big island of Hawaii, at the southern most tip, strangely enough called "South Point," (which is also the most southern point of the United States) there is a cliff. It's 44 feet high (or so we're told by the locals), the most gorgeous blue you've ever seen and yes, perfect to jump off of.

One of the first jumpers, photo courtesy of Angie.

Since it's hard to take a picture straight down a cliff, here's a view to the side that shows some similar ledges to the one we were leaping off. Photo courtesy of Angie.

The top of the ladder you had to use to climb out. You had to grab that rope to pull yourself toward the rock and then it was one rickty ladder lashed on to the next. The jump was nothing compare to climbing back out. Photo courtesy of Angie.

I'm in the middle, 5th from the left, I swear it's me. Photo courtesy of Angie.

A short walk away from the cliff is this freshwater sinkhole. Yup, some of us jumped in that too. Hey, why not. The 10-15 feet was nothing and there was no scary ladder to climb out on.

Several days later, the bruises that had appeared. This is what happens when you don't have your legs completely straight and your shins hit the surface of the water. (Aren't my legs strangely pale for being in Hawaii? I am just not meant to be tan.)

Even if you're not inspired by the landscape, although you should be, take this as your cue to do things that scare you. Trust me, you won' t regret it. It's the things you don't do you end up regretting.

Travel Inspiration : Hawaii : Flora

You really can't talk about Hawaii without mentioning the glorious flowers that cover the landscape.

Bird of Paradise, one of the many pictures taken before dawn on our first morning there (aka my birthday!!). Jet lag was definitely our best friend, as we went to bed just past midnight and were wide awake by 4:30 in the morning. Energized by our new surroundings we went on a long walk through the neighborhood in Kaneohe. We learned a valuable lesson that morning: it rains, everyday, in the morning. Needless to say, we were a little damp upon return.

I have no idea what this is called, it was in someone's front garden bed, Kaneohe.

Pine trees? In Hawaii? I had to snap a pic as we whizzed past on the Kamehameha highway.

Hibiscus! I love that you can see a star in the middle of this one. This was along the road in Pahala, just down from the Paniolo cabin.

Bamboo in the heart of the rainforest near Akaka Falls on the Big Island. I immediately bought a bamboo upon return and it sits by my desk to this day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Twins Territory : Another Rainy Game

I'm just not meant to enjoy a sunny day at the new field. I think it's Mother Nature's way of shunning me for loving the Dome so much.

Tonight's seats were AMAAAAZING, courtesy of a *friend's corporate tickets. It rained and we lost, but my night was made when Matt Tolbert took the field (to pinch run for Thome who had pinch hit for Harris) in the 9th. That kid has amazing nostrils. Seriously, they're huge. And I love him for 'em.

Ah well, at least I got to see a couple that were in my section get engaged and then Morneau immediately hit a home run- I think that's a good omen for their future.

*friend being super cool fellow designer and now an avid reader of my blog

Travel Inspiration : Hawaii : Buddhist Temple

Just outside the small town of Pahala, on the Big Island, we visited this Buddhist temple. I was taken immediately by the colors and painted detailing throughout the structure. There was even a peacock roaming about. I must say, though, my favorite part was the outdoor area covered in prayer flags.

The view as you walk up. Makes me want to cop a squat on the grass and sketch.

The alter. Incense, flowers, a rad tiger rug and of course, a Buddha.

Stained glass. I think this would make a good quilt square some day (when I finally tackle making circles, that is).

Cool cut paper effect on this light fixture.

Peace pole stating: May Peace Prevail on Earth. Trivia: How many letters are in the Hawaiian alphabet? Answer to come later in the week...

Prayer flags! And looks like the monks there enjoy a good lawn chair (yes, there were monks).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Travel Inspiration : Hawaii : Bishop Museum

It was about this time 4 years ago that I was busy packing my bags and heading off to study in Hawaii. It was incredible to be able to experience the islands not as a tourist, but alongside locals who welcomed us into their communities. I also met two of my now best friends along the way.

So, heck, lets make it Hawaii week! Inspirational island pictures all week!

These are all things in the Bishop Museum on Oahu. I love, love, LOVE the quilts... maybe that should be my next quilt challenge to myself...

Anyone who has ever seen my portfolio should recognize the quilt above. The end papers and cover have a pattern I created based on this motif.

Friday, May 7, 2010

TV Addiction at Its Best

I'm not sure who this EXERGIAN guy (or girl) is, but their work is genius. What really caught my attention are these posters depicting popular TV shows. He/she manages to deduce an entire series to a single image. Love it! A few of my favorite below, more can be seen on his website or blog. I look a bit more into the artist's background and let you know what I come up with.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Twins Territory: Invaded

Pardon the cell phone quality pictures (we're not talking iPhone here people), but here's a little proof of my Target Field excursion.

I admit it, the field is gorgeous. Even a hardcore Dome fan like myself could see this has potential. However, the night we went- it rained. Score one for the Dome and it's lovely Teflon roof keeping baseball fans nice and dry.

It's okay, Target Field, you'll have your day in the sun... hopefully.

Oh yeah, and we won. 10-4! Perhaps I'm good luck?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blogs I Stalk: Ink and Spindle

In an effort to keep my blogging momentum going, I thought I'd drop a quick post about one of my own favorite blogs to follow, Ink and Spindle. These ladies are based out of Melbourne, Australia and having been there a few years back myself, following this blogs holds a special place in my heart. If only I had known about them when I was there... ah, well.

They design and screenprint fantastic fabrics, (truly beautiful stuff) and their posts are always very lighthearted- which I thoroughly appreciate. The sewer in me is mega jealous of their ability to combine a graphic design skill set with textiles. So cool.

One of my favorite quotes off their website, it carries such a spirit I think many professional artists can relate to: "It's such a relief to be able to 'make' again..."

Be sure to check out their shop where you can even order yardage of their fabrics!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Twins Territory

That's right folks, it's baseball time. Yes, I realize that the season has already started (and yes, I've been watching), but tonight is my first trip to Target Field.

I'm rather excited, and although I am a lover of the Metrodome (don't hate), if this new stadium is as beautiful as everyone says, I'm sure I'll be a convert in no time.

Now if only we can find the crazed Nick Punto fan, my night will be made complete...