how did it get to be april?

seriously. wasn’t it just february?

so, updates:

last friday evening, the new orleans craft mafia offered a free recycling workshop at noma in the sculpture garden during their weekly where y’art? event. we taught folks how to fold paper flowers and make paper beads out of surplus brochures, posters and other paper items from noma. we didn’t get a huge crowd but we had a steady trickle throughout the evening and we all had a lot of fun. we’ll be back again for where y’art? on april 22nd to help celebrate earth day with another recycling workshop, so join us!

saturday’s picayune street fair did not go as swimmingly as i’d hoped. in fact, i sold nothing. not a thing. (but didn’t our booth look awesome?) i did have a lovely time hanging out with mallory aka miss malaprop, though, and we took in quite a few rather astonishing sights in downtown picayune, mississippi. i’m sad i did not get a picture of the confederate flag dreamcatcher, or many of the stunning fashion statements of the day. i did however take many photos of amazing fair food and other interesting things:

god i love a funnel cake!

the chainsaw artist was super cool!

i loved this recycled tire folk artist!

this vintage el camino at the antique car show that was part of the fair rocked my world!

lastly, i’d like to mention that i got yet another shout out in the times-picayune today… this time from my pal dj soulsister, who was featured in the living section.

i can’t seem to zoom out to get a good screenshot of the whole page, but this is the relevant part! dj soulsister, aka melissa weber, commissioned me a super long time ago to make her a “soul power” clock with the raised fist graphic on it. after katrina happened, she made sure to tell me that it had survived! (she is so sweet.) and then a few years later, she bought the above turntable clock. she has always been a supporter of my work, and i have always been one of her biggest fans, both of her radio show on wwoz and her hustle parties at mimi’s. i’m so giddy happy for her, seeing her career continue to flourish, and honored and grateful to have been mentioned in this article. so thanks, melissa!

and here’s what’s coming up on my calendar for april:

crawfest at tulane, on the 16th  – always one of the highlights of my spring market calendar. what’s not to love about thousands of pounds of boiled crawfish (all you can eat for $10) and tons of great new orleans music (rockin’ dopsie, rebirth brass band, roots of music & more!) on the quad all day at tulane in glorious spring weather? me and several of the new orleans craft mafia will all be there, peddling our wares and eating our weight in crawfish that day. come see us! (but bring your own beer cuz they don’t sell it at crawfest, fyi.)

the following week, i’m doing a bunch of volunteer work out at the sign department barn at the fairgrounds for jazz fest. i’ve never volunteered in that area before (worked in the kids area for forever, but it’s been a few years now) but i thought it could be fun and maybe even educational. i’m doing a total of four days over two weeks, pre-fest, so i’ll let you know how it goes! hopefully i’ll somehow earn some free tickets to get to go to jazz fest… cuz i sure can’t afford to buy tickets.

and then on friday the 22nd, it’s the opening for my friend jen’s funky lil art show she hosts every year during jazz fest in her home. i don’t think there’s anything for me to link to in order to give you more info, but the opening is from 5:30 – 8:30pm and if you need her address just shoot me an email. if you miss the opening, you can stop by any jazz fest evening, after fest finishes. jen and her partner mary ann host an open house every single evening after fest, so the gallery is open from 6-9pm those days. there is always a party going on over there during jazz fest, and even if you aren’t going to jazz fest itself, it’s a fun place to hang out and people watch and partake of some of the festive spirit. i know i’ll be there just about every day.

and that’s all i got for april, art-wise. but i have a lot of stuff up in my etsy shop and i’ve been doing a bunch of sign commissions lately, so don’t be shy if there’s a sign you need in your life! just get in touch!

happy april!

yes, i’m still alive…

just really, really busy. it’s been a crazy week so far.

the first weekend of jazz fest feels like it was a million years ago to me now. my last post was on saturday afternoon, so to recap the rest of my weekend:

i did hang out at porchfest 2010 on saturday night. we lucked into an easy parking spot and camped out for the afternoon/evening on the porch with the other non-festing and then later, festing, revelers. the weather was pretty great and the band was awesome and there was a sizeable crowd. we were pooped by 9:30 or so though, so it wasn’t a late night.

sunday, though i wasn’t feeling all that well, we ended up heading out to the fairgrounds for our one day at jazz fest. the weather couldn’t have been better, and we again lucked into a perfect parking spot at jen and mary ann’s with no hassle. i wasn’t very set on hearing any specific music – though we did catch a lovely few songs at the beginning of theresa andersson’s set at the fais do do stage – so our day was mostly spent wandering around eating. let’s see if i can remember what i ate: i had the fried eggplant with crawfish sauce as my first appetizer, and fae shared her boudain balls with me. next i had some jama jama (sauteed spinach) and fried plantains from benechin over in the congo area (i skipped the chicken on a stick this time). we shared a strawberry lemonade and later an iced tea. there was some glorious downtime in the gospel tent, enjoying the shade and the breeze and the electrifying crownseekers (their lead singer had the most amazing falsetto voice – wow did he hit some high notes!) with deuce and puma. we visited with karen and debra in karen’s booth in the louisiana folk life/marketplace area. at some point i had a snoball (strawberry) from plum street. oh, and fae ate a cochon de lait poboy that she generously shared with me. she also picked up some cracklins for later snackage. as i was finishing my snoball, i couldn’t resist the white chocolate bread pudding, while fae had some strawberry shortcake. and then she grabbed some crawfish monica to walk out with for mary ann (which she had requested), and i decided at the last minute to get some spicy crawfish rolls from ninja to walk out with, which i later enjoyed on the porch back on ponce de leon street.

so that was our day of feasting. i think we did a pretty good job, knowing it was probably going to be our only day out at the fest since we had free tickets. (of course, if anyone has any free tickets they are trying to get rid of for this weekend, please do let me know! there were a few things i wanted to eat that i did not make it around to!) we also worked our way around contemporary crafts to see all the wares for sale, as well as congo and the louisiana marketplace. but we really didn’t listen to all that much music. and by about 5:30-6pm, we were done. with our last food choices in hand, we sauntered back over to ponce where we plopped down on the porch and remained for the rest of the evening, chilling out.

sadly, due to the chaos of jazzfest, our treme viewing party was postponed til monday. and even more sadly, on monday, when we went over to deuce and puma’s house to watch it, we all collectively learned that hbo on demand does not show the current episode of treme until 24 hours AFTER the show is over, which means, 10pm. not 9pm, which is when we showed up. and by 10, we were too tired to stay to watch it, knowing that folks had to get up early the next morning for work. so i did not get to see the 3rd episode and now will not get to see the 4th episode until next tuesday (again due to jazz fest). sad. (but yes, i’ll live.)

speaking of work, on tuesday, fae and i then started our training with the u.s. government’s census bureau. it’s been long days of mostly having a training manual read to us aloud verbatim, which is pretty dull for the most part, but we really love our crew leader and he at least does his best to make the training entertaining. there are 15 people in our training class – we had 5 no-shows the first day. but so far, no one else had dropped out. today was the last day of the verbatim training, and tomorrow we will take our final test and then go out into the field for “live” training – which of course means, we start knocking on doors tomorrow. i will probably take saturday and sunday off so i can enjoy porch fest this weekend, but then monday i will begin full time door-knockin, hopefully in my own neighborhood. i can’t wait for that first paycheck.

so that’s what i’ve been up to. things will calm down a little after jazz fest i guess, but for the next two months i think it’s going to be all-census-all-the-time. i’m basically being forced to take a little break from the crafty life due to that, but don’t worry, i’ll get back to it when the census gig ends in late june. i think it will actually be good for me to take a little break from making and selling stuff, plus i still have my music column to write and there’s that pesky film festival that i need to finish programming and write up for michfest. so i got a lot going on for the next little while.

all of which is to say, i guess i might not be blogging all that much. but i’ll try to pop in every now and then.

earth day recap + jazz fest!

last thursday, the new orleans craft mafia had a fun day of teaching folks how to recycle their old t-shirts into reusable shopping tote bags. whole foods uptown was our host, and our workshop was part of their day-long earth day festivities. so mallory, rebekah and i set up our handmade and eco-friendly/recycled wares under a tent on their patio.

my stuff on the left, miss malaprop on the right

rebekah and her booth

we then we created a cutting and sewing assembly line for the demo. whole foods, rebekah and some others donated a bunch of t-shirts, and we had three tables in row: one for the shirts and a cutting station, and a sewing machine on each of the others. at first, we had slow business, with only a few folks coming through the line – though those that did were really excited and amazed at the simplicity of the project. but around 1pm, we had an entire classroom full of school kids who had walked over from the audubon park area show up, t-shirts in hand. so for the next hour or so, we took them 2-3 at a time, showing them how to cut off the sleeves and around the neck, and then trim the bottom of their shirts, turn them inside out, and then mallory and rebekah sewed up the bottom with their sewing machines. flip them back rightside out and voila – your shopping tote is done!

mallory showing the kids how to cut and sew their shirts into bags

the kids loved it, and even got really creative with all the t-shirt scraps. cut off sleeves became headbands and visors; the trimmed bottom edge became sashes and necklaces. they were hilarious. once one kid decided to do it, they all wanted to. but they loved their bags, too.

adults came through too!

the rest of the afternoon was not quite as hectic but that was ok with us, as 30-something kids in an hour was kind of a lot! but we had many happy recyclers throughout the day, and it felt good teaching people a usable skill for recycling something we all have too many of: t-shirts.

and now it’s jazz fest. i lucked out and scored a free pair of tickets (thanks again, rachelle!) which i think fae and i are going to use tomorrow (sunday). yesterday, we went about our days as usual, fae trying to finish up as much of her end-of-semester stuff and me piddling around the house. but at around 6pm, we headed over to jen and mary ann’s house for the first night of porchfest 2010, which is how we affectionately refer to our annual porch hangout tradition.

jen and mary ann live a few blocks from the fairgrounds, and on one of the heavier trafficked corners for folks exiting the fest, so we’ve made it a tradition, hanging out on their porch as fest lets out, watching all the people go by. (this is the same location as the jazz fest art show i mentioned in previous posts, which, by the way, is still up through the end of the second weekend of jazz fest.) it’s not quite as much fun as being out at fest and hearing all the music and eating all the food, but it’s pretty entertaining, and a good substitute for those of us who can’t afford or just don’t like to deal with jazz fest every day. and with all the folks jen and mary ann know, along with all their neighbors, it can get to be a pretty big gathering. in fact, tonight there will even be a band playing next door, the all-girl blues band 30×90 (which features my friend sticky t, formerly of blues sister).

my stuff at jen's jazz fest art show

so yeah. it was pretty mellow last night, being the first night of fest. but it was still nice to get out of the house and see folks. we’ll be heading over there in just a little while for tonight’s festivities. and then tomorrow, assuming fae gets all her work done and i’m feeling up to it (not been feeling so great today), we’ll use those free tickets to partake in a bit of jazz fest ourselves. of course, porchfest will still be in effect afterwards, until it’s time to go watch treme of course. tomorrow will be a marathon!

but that’s jazz fest. i can’t believe i used to go every single day, all day, from 11am – 7pm and then do porchfest and even sometimes go out afterwards! wow, i used to have a lot of energy! but no more. now i have to pace myself and take it easy, or i pay for it. but i still love jazz fest time in the city. everyone is happy, there’s music everywhere you turn, locals are all having parties at their houses, and almost everyone has houseguests from elsewhere. (somehow we ended up with none this year.)

not sure if we’ll get to do some of the fest next weekend or not, but i hope so. we’ll see how the week goes. but for now, happy jazz fest!

almost april!

well, last weekend was a busy one, between the friday night show at one eyed jack’s (toshi rocked the house, of course, with a surprise appearance by ani difranco!), the elysian fleas market on saturday (slow sales but a gorgeous day), and the road food fest on sunday. yes, fae and i decided to be tourists in our own town and ride the streetcar down to the quarter to partake in the road food fest, walk around a little, visit with our friend s’aint n.o. lady at her cute jewelry boutique filthy rich, and enjoy yet another picture-perfect spring day in new orleans.

road food festival

we ate and drank ourselves silly: hand-cut seasoned fries from que crawl (aka the purple truck), a meat pie, the most delicately-battered fried catfish and crawfish rice from dunbar’s, and a pulled pork w/purple cabbage po-boy from que crawl again. oh and a delightful turtle to top it all off. fae got a yummy daiquiri and i enjoyed a few tasty local beers. it was a good day.

pulled pork po-boy

this week, for me, has been all about listening to cds for my upcoming music column. i think i have it narrowed down to a handful, including new ones by sia, pieta brown, a greatest-hits collection from k.d. lang, and a few others. i’ve still got a ways to go, though, on the stack of discs on my desk. fae’s been on spring break, which is nice for her. usually we travel to louisville to see friends and family on her breaks from school, but we just didn’t have it in us this time; that 12-hour drive is intense and with fae having been so sick over the first part of the semester, we just decided it would be best for us to stay home, to allow her to rest, relax and get caught up on school. so far, i’d say it was a good choice. the weather has been perfect, we’ve done some spring cleaning, she’s done some gardening, and i’m hopefully going to turn my music column in relatively on time. yay!

and now it’s almost april, which will be a crazy-busy month. i’ve got tons of markets/festivals scheduled, and of course jazz fest is almost here – my favorite time of year. here’s a brief overview of my schedule, for future reference:

this coming saturday, the 3rd, i will be vending at the freret market, my regular monthly appearance. it’s my favorite regularly-occuring local market, with a good mix of flea, art, craft, and food vendors plus community organizations, free live music, kids activities, good beer (abita!) and just a great general vibe. lots of the new orleans craft mafia gals will be there, so come by and say hello if you are out and about.

the following weekend is french quarter fest and i’m thinking about picking up a day vending at elysian fleas again, as it is well-situated close to the quarter.

the third weekend in april is both the alternative media expo and crawfest at tulane; sadly, i had to make a choice about which one to vend at this year since they are both on the same day, but there was no way i could turn down the opportunity to be at crawfest. i had such a successful day there last year and it was a blast, so that’s where i will be. the craft mafia will, however, be well-represented at the alternative media expo: we are co-sponsors again this year and will be giving out the free swag bags loaded with goodies to the first 100 paid attendees (so get there early!), and several of our members will be there vending. if i could figure out a way to be in both places at the same time, i would.

that friday night, the 16th, is also the opening party for my friend jen biniek’s annual jazz fest art show. this is the fifth year she’s opened up her living room to all her artist friends’ “funky lil art,” as she calls it – small-sized, affordable, eclectic folk art, photography, jewelry, crafts and all other kinds of stuff. i’ll post more details about the opening in a separate blog entry, but pencil it in on your calendar now or at least make a point of stopping by during the two weeks of jazz fest, because it’s quite a sight to behold.

then on the 22nd, which happens to be earth day, the new orleans craft mafia is cooking up a fun event at whole foods on magazine street. we’re still ironing out the details, but it will be both a vending situation as well as a recycling demo, teaching folks how to turn old t-shirts into new funky reusable grocery bags. again, more details coming once everything is worked out.

and then it’s jazz fest and hopefully i get to relax for a bit. i won’t be doing any markets during the two weekends of jazz fest (though my stuff will be up at jen’s) and freret market’s may market has been pushed back to the 8th, the weekend after jazz fest, so as not to conflict. so hopefully i will have made enough $ at all the april markets to be able to partake a bit in jazz fest revelry, if not inside the fairgrounds at least on jen and mary ann’s porch.

i have, however, applied for a job with the census. i go to take the entrance test tomorrow and then find out more details. not sure if it will be a good fit for me or not, particularly since i have so much going on april on the weekends, but i guess i’ll see how it goes and if i can work it out schedule-wise. because goodness knows i could use the money.(i’m all ears for other job tips and offers if you know of anything.)

so that’s what’s going on for me. i’m sure there will be intermittent updates throughout the month, but if you don’t hear quite as much from me, you’ll know why. i’m just busy, hustlin.