Monday, July 31, 2006

As The Spinner Turns...

Despite preparation for Uncommon Threads and my myriad personal projects, I still find the time to collaborate with my fellow art chickadees on our game round robin. For those of you not up to speed on my foray into collaboration let me give you the Cliff Notes version...

Ten of my best buddies from grad school and beyond gather together each month to eat, drink and make much merriment while simultaneously engaged in a collaborative art project worked in round robin fashion, which results in a series of pieces that by the end of the project will have been touched or modified in some way by each chickadee participating in said project. Whew!
Anyway, this group (or some form of it thereof) has been making work together for about two and a half years. We began by creating a series of dolls and now we are throwing the dice onto the board, so to speak, by attempting to conjure a series of games. Yes, games. Not an easy task I might add, especially when trying to adhere to the most important rule of our current working paradigm that states all games must be playable.

Currently the group is early to mid-game. Meaning, each game has gone through at least two rounds and some have gone three to four rounds. Disparate round calculations can be attributed to the fact that some our current participants joined later than the others. However, by the end of this process everyone will have worked on every game, of this you can be sure.

Now onto the game evolutions for this month!

Let's start with moi. Why? Well, why not?

Anyway, I made the INSANE decision to double up on game-age last month. I know. What was I thinking???

Anyhoo, one of the games that I saddled meself with was our resident game of prophecy, which thus far consists of a teal velvet "board"...

a Gom Jabbar...

...and a few glass runes (don't have a pic).

Upon inspection, I decided to sew a few of my extra crocheted eyeballs to the board...

The gold eye shall henceforth be known as The Eye of Wisdom and the cat's eye-esque doohicky shall be considered The Eye of Prophecy.

Thank the lord-y I had extra crocheted eyeballs lying about! Betcha you haven't seen that statement written on many other blogs.

Moving right along...

The second game that accompanied me to my domicile last month sliced its game pieces right off the cow's belly!

Okay not really, but do those pieces not look like udders???

Before migrating to my pad, the udders got paint jobs. So, I used both their shapes and colors as my inspiration for the creation of starting places from felt. No board, just place markers for which to begin.

Stow yer judgments. I had TWO games to work on and these projects are hard! *whining ceased*

Now, let's take a look at a few other befores and afters!

The Vegetable Liberation Army Clue-esque type o' game (yeah, this is my "game starter") got nemesis cards...

The exquisite corpse type o' storytelling game received several new painted story elements...

Scavenger hunt teams now have arm bands...

Scavenger hunt before bands...

Memory game received a new duo of boxes...

Astro-turf game now has a variety of peeps for pieces...

Risk-esque adventure received board tattoos...

Mix and match extravaganza replete with parasitic bugs gained a friend in June Cleaver...

And finally a die for the multi-level brain-teaser...

With that, this concludes our current episode of As The Spinner Turns, but have no fear for there is definitely more to come.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


At Arturo Sandoval's Bowl appearance a few weeks ago, he informed the crowd, that his newest CD, Live at the Blue Note, is currently available for purchase. The hubster and I looked to one another with glee for we happened to be at that very recording at The Blue Note in Manhattan celebrating the onset of our marital bliss. Needless to say, I ordered the CD from Amazon the very next day.

Upon arrival, I extricated the slender case from it's plastic sheath and turned it over to read the verbiage on back where I was met with a disturbing sight...the newly wedded Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez pictured front and center upon the backside of the CD's slim shell (see inside red sphere)!

I didn't inform my husband of my finding when I handed him the CD for his playing pleasure. I just offered it to him in silence. From that gesture, he made his way to the closest piece of audio equipment available, dropped in the disc o' musical magic and planted his rear in a nearby chair. Before long he was up, cackling and waving the case above his head.

"Hey, did you see who's on back of the cover?"


"Baby, we don't need television roles [Do actor's think of anything else?], we made an album cover!"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fear Factor

T-minus two weeks and counting…

My hands hurt. My current level of concentration could be described as fleeting at best. There is also a bounty of butterflies feverishly bouncing about walls of my stomach, which succeed in heightening my present trepidation, causing me to be acutely aware of the fear that resides within the recesses of my Linoleum soul.

Yes, preparing for my part on Uncommon Threads is making me uncommonly uneasy.

Not since my teaching days of standing before a classroom of 40 or so unfamiliar college students on the first day of the semester have I felt quite this way. And no, I’m not suffering from stage fright for I am abnormally comfortable in rooms filled to the rafters with people that I don’t know. In short, I’m not shy and the art of dialog has never been an event that I’ve steered clear of whether the beings with whom I am sharing verbiage are known quantities or completely foreign. Therefore, the butterfly bonanza bouncing about the walls of my stomach cannot be attributed to any performance anxiety.

So, if not stage fright, then what could possibly be bothering your Lady of the Linoleum, you inquire?

Well, if we revisit my inaugural day before a classroom of bright and shiny freshman collegiates, then we may be able to determine the source of my stomach’s butterfly-tis.

Picture this...

LadyLinoleum, a mere 28 years old, tote loaded for bear with art historical tomes painfully tearing humerus away from scapula, two carousels o’slides replete with artworks galore nudged up beneath the armpits, syllabus in tow, 40 or so kissers turned to face young art chick recently liberated from schoolius gradius, waiting for the magic or quite possibly the mishap to spill forth from said art chick’s lips during premiere lecturus maximus.

Now fast-forward a bit…

LadyLinoleum stands before collegiates flipping happily thru abbreviated history of western art while simultaneously spewing forth art speak to beat the band when suddenly she notices that said students are taking notes.


They couldn’t possibly be taking notes from my spoken word, could they? Um, well, it’s college and uh, note taking is sort of a classroom ritual in these parts...




I hope that I am not saying anything that could be, perhaps, in any way, WRONG.

There it is folks, the source of my fear rearing its ugly head. The act of positing myself as an expert when in reality, I’m a hack. Yessiree peeps, you heard it here first. I’m a hack. A creative hack. A gregarious hack. But a hack nonetheless. And I’m okay with inhabiting my hackdom when I’m just exhibiting my creations on this here bloggy, blog, blog or my website (yes, I know I haven’t updated it in a while), but hel-lo! I’m taking my show on the yellow brick road! In living color! Leaving Dorothy in the dust in Munchkinland, while the Wicked Witch of the West tails my crocheted meaty rear all the way to Oz atop her supercharged hook, I mean, broom, cackling at the spectacle of this here art chick trying to inspire the masses to take up hook and yarn and create…the “right way”! The “educated way”! The “CGOA way”! Whatever that is.

Hey I’m a hack, remember?

I can see it now, DIY aficionados and crochet experts alike, having seen my needlework nuttery on the show, later label me as a crochet cretin. A doily dumbass. A simpleton with a steel hook. That is my fear. And that, my friends, is contributing heavily to my butterfly-tis.

Now, I’ve heard it said that the difference between leaders and followers is simply how fear is handled. Leaders, I am told, do not let fear obstruct them from attaining their goals no matter the circumstances surrounding the situation. These people just proceed forward, all the while thumbing their noses at fear’s frown. Followers, I hear, are more likely to let fear prohibit them from taking that shaky first step out onto the plank of the unknown, suspended precariously over the abyss, outcome uncertain.

Despite my sometimes debilitating fear, this is why I push forward. Not that I believe myself to be the leader of crocheters everywhere. Not in the least. However, I am a risk-taker. And we who take risks are similar to leaders in the sense that fear will not be our undoing. So, hack or no, I will follow the yellow brick road all the way to the studios of Screen Door Entertainment located in midtown Oz, hook and thread at the ready, giving the virtual Wick Witch of the West and the culture of fear she propagates a good nose-thumbing. And I will survive. I may even prevail.

Sore hands be damned and butterflies beware for in the inveterate words of ye olde green one, "I’ll get you my pretties…"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bat Wings

This shawl can be directly attributed to my teenage Goth roots. However, now that I am significantly older, though not necessarily wiser, I was able to avoid my former crutch-like, rampant use of black on these beasties!

My Gothbaby is knit from a modified version of this shawl in Cherry Tree Hill Oceania (a huge hank of merino, dk weight, boucle) in their Silver Streak colorway. I used the same basic shape sans pattern rows working the shawl beyond the 300 stitches the original pattern called for to a whopping 400 stitches, which weighed heavily upon my 40" circs, I might add. Elongation is the word that best describes the method of my madness. Only when I reached the 400 stitches did I attempt the modified fishtail points, working decreases on the sides as opposed to down the center. Finally, I finished the whole bat wing system off with crocheted i-cord-esque piping for the veins and around entire edge in Sapphire Lion Brand Glitterspun (which I hated to the point of tears when I began, but I am liking it now).

And no, I did not sew the cord on after crocheting it! Mon dieu! I crocheted it onto the piece itself by picking up stitches at the increase points on the body of the shawl and around the edge of the wings. I know, I'm anal...But ain't they purty?

Fortunately my spokesmodel who occupies a cube a floor below me was available for yet another Monster Crochet haphazard photo shoot! Thanks Bri for lending your blue-emblazoned bod!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Experience Blueberrience

What do three city girls with newly acquired paychecks (well, two of us are old enough to earn paychecks) do for a rip roaring good time on a wickedly hot Saturday morn in sunny So Cal? Hop in an air-conditioned vehicle and mosey our way north of LA over the Ventura County line for climes less molten, and more importantly, bouts of blueberry picking! Or as my husband characterized our efforts, "So you’re going to pay to play migrant farm worker for a day?" Yes, we were about to embark on a seemingly bourgeois exercise, but so what!

Anyhow, last Saturday was all about that bulbous berry with the purplish bluish exterior and what a Saturday it was. We circled the wagons at Chez Linoleum, loaded for bear with commuter mugs o’ coffee, a chilled cooler ready to accept the bounty of fruit we were sure to procure, a full tank of petrol and super-sized jugs of sunscreen, ready to pay tribute to the traffic gods in order to ensure safe journey northward. Tributes complete signaled an engine at the ready and we were off, traversing the golden landscape adjacent the 101 to seek out a veritable blueberry bonanza at Underwood Family Farms in Somis.

Reminder to self, next time map the directions online before leaving confines of ChezLinoleum…

Um, yeah, the city girls cum farm dames three drove around aimlessly for a while like a car full of directionally challenged, yet sure their direct descendants of homing pigeons, dudes. And fortunately, like many a male who has driven around for hours without the help of a car equipped with a nav system or that of a friendly local gas station attendant, we made it to our destination eventually, in only about an hour door to, um, dirt. Not bad and none too worse for the wear.

Hopping out of our vehicle we were immediately blessed plentiful harvest by the property’s goat overlord…

Now, needless to say, I lack a green thumb. A fuzzy, yarn-encrusted thumb I got. But green? Ahhhh, no. However, I have my moments when the opportunity for harvesting fruit from the bush is seemingly more appealing than spending the day sitting in mi casa, drapery drawn, A/C at max, boo-tay planted in chair beneath heaps of wool, sweaty digits grappling with hooks and needles. Oh yeah, when the thermometer is clocking in at 100 plus, the whole fruit plucking thang in regions frore (okay, not exactly frore, but definitely below 90 degrees Fahrenheit) sounds pretty darn sweet!

The offspring was chomping at the bit to get her hands dirty…

And dirty they became as we ferreted about the shallow bushes in search of budding blue bulbs of sweet joy. Take a look-see at the commemorative montage of the experience…

Montage Legend

Top left to right:
- Transportation out to the fields.
- A day at a real farm definitely beats a day at the Cube Farm. Hands down!

Middle left to right:
- The flower that begets berries blue.
- Before the extraction.

Bottom left to right:
- 3 lbs. of beauteous blueberries!
- Three dirty purple mits.

Dirty digits, slightly disheveled and none too much damage done to wallets we left the farm loaded down with the fruits of our labor to finish off our Saturday with a bit of antiquing (wallets were emptied during this portion of the program), ice tea sipping and burger munching in old town Ventura. What a fabulous way to spend a Saturday! Heaps o’ thanks go out to this chickadee, the mastermind behind Experience Blueberrience.

Thank you Bri for showing Lena and me the way of the berry…

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bowl or Bust

Thanks everyone for your supportive comments on my last post. You know, I hate to air my dirty non-crafty laundry to the masses, but I was just a tad miffed. Thanks for smoothing out my wrinkled sheets...I mean sorrows!

Onto our regularly scheduled post...and my yearly camera phone generated photo of the Hollywood Bowl!

I heart Arturo Sandoval. I also *big* heart the Hollywood Bowl. (Feel free to revisit last summer’s Bowl-Love-Fest post, which details the depth and breadth of my amorous feelings for this venue.) Combine the two together and my left and right ventricles are overflowing with love potion number, um, err, pick a number between one and ten…

Ahhh yes, nothing like kicking off what will be one of several summer ’06 pilgrimages to my family’s most beloved Angeleno institution with none other than Latin jazz great and quatro-time Grammy Award winner Arturo Sandoval! Then add in a dash of Cachao and sprinkle of La India and you’ve got yourself a musica-filled evening that will provoke even the most staid individual’s feet a tappin’ and hips a swayin’. I like to refer to latin jazz as “happy music” because, well, it’s difficult to shed tears when your jiggling your boo-tay to the rhythm of a conga drum.


I’ll tell you, this was just the kind of mood elevator I needed after weeks of ceaseless toiling at the Cube Farm and working my post-office hours to the crocheted bone (literally, just you wait and see) while preparing for my stint at Tube Crochet. Oh, and the hubster and I haven’t exactly had a whole lot of together-time sans offspring, family and friends as of late either. So, this was a much-needed respite from the stuff of life to be sure.

As the clock struck six, I was met at the entrance to my cube, or as I like to refer to it, my cell, by my handsome husband with picnic dinner in hand and car engine idling gently in the parking lot (this is a bit of embellishment as we don’t waste our black gold readily, nosiree) so that we may embark upon the longest 7.2 mile drive ev-er to the Bowl. Seriously folks, getting from West Los Angeles (the dot on the map that encompasses my home and workplace) to about Middish/Northish Los Angeles (the dot on the map that encompasses the Bowl) is unbelievably difficult.

Can you say 90 minutes from start to finish? That’s roughly 13 minutes per mile! However, sitting in the car for what seemed an eternity (who am I kidding, it was an eternity!) ambling in slow-motion across and up the exhaust-choked, scorched streets I came to notice a disturbing trend among many of our residences in the Hancock Park adjacent/Hollywood hoods…

Wrong wremodels.

Yes, former beautiful residences that harken back to an era in Hollywood when lips were stained blue red, cascades of curls tapered around slender necks and champagne shoulders, hats were a must when leaving the confines of one’s domicile and a dry martini was a blissful way to bid the work day good eve, all maimed and discombobulated by homeowners who probably knew no better or perhaps, didn’t care. Just take a look at these examples located on Avenue Awry:

The architect found inspiration at Box City…

None of these items should ever be used in the same sentence: sky blue ionic columns; oak door with leaded glass insert; and shoebox-inspired exterior…

If we paint it all gray, it’ll work…

Thank the lord-y the owners left these be…

Tired from sitting in the car, eyes watering from staring at myriad done-damage-to-domiciles, we finally wound our way around the Highland meets Franklin bend and parked our car with the rest of the metal sardines into the stacked lot across from the white dome in the canyon. I actually heard the Seraphim sing as I extricated my rear from the seat of the vehicle. Yes, I, did.

Bag o’ gastronomic goodies in tow, hubby holding my hand, we made our way through the crowds and up to our seats for an evening of fresh air, sizzling sounds and exalted yet not-so-sober crowds!

In a word, splendiferous! Yes, I know that I've taken yet more liberties with the English language...

I cannot believe I’m writing this, but the show was worth every minute we spent in the car.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Cheerleader

After having left a comment on virtual pal’s blog the other day where I openly shared my admiration for my offspring’s creative endeavors as a response to her lovely post detailing her own offspring’s visionary invention, I was met with a nefarious comment from one of pal’s readers on this here bloggy regarding (i) the frightening appearance of my latest crocheted meat product, and (ii) the inappropriateness of my overzealous parental boasting which, in her opinion, resulted in "upstaging" pal’s daughter’s accomplishments on pal’s blog. I didn’t know how to respond at the time (not that I could respond, because there was no return email address), but I do now...

I’ve been called a lot of things during my stay on the planet. Some of those things haven’t always been pleasant. Oh, and reviews of my artwork? Well, those haven’t always been filled with stars, happy faces and A-plus-pluses either. Some of those less-than-rave reviews were in print too. Needless to say, I’m a veteran recipient of bad cheer and I believe I can respond to this commenter’s indictments thusly…

Crocheted bacon scary?

Sure, I’ll give you that.

Proud mom?


Prideful mom who feels the need to prop up my child at the expense of another’s child?

Absolutely not!

…For I love children and their insatiable conjuring of thaumaturgic masterpieces more than I love to crochet and knit meat products, and that’s sayin’ something…Hel-lo? Former art professor here, who shepherded more individuals, large and small, through personal creative discoveries than I can shake a stick at, for lack of a better metaphor. In other words, looking for an artsy craftsy cheerleader? I’m your Lady.

I’m also a Lady who comes from a long line of artsy craftsy cheerleaders. Well, maybe not a long line, but definitely a trapezoidal bunch of artsy craftsy harbingers of the holler. My father, the kingpin of the bunch, pencils at the ready, reams of paper stocked to the ceiling, instilling his creative mindset unto his progeny and proud as any father could have been of the rudimentary creations his preschool-aged daughters maniacally churned out, was an overflowing font of positive reinforcement, always gently prodding his children and well, pretty much everyone else around him, to dance precariously along the edge of the envelope. My maternal grandmother, while not the kingpin of the squad, was certainly the process pusher of the crew, making sewing machine, fabrics, thread, hooks, needles, an abundance yarn-y goodness as well as her generous guidance ever available. My maternal grandfather, the reluctant proponent on Team Ingenuity’s cheer squadron, constantly dismayed by his granddaughter’s flagrant use of his "man tools" would always, always exclaim with delight when finished product was paraded about made as a result of this girl using that guy’s "man tools"…and properly I might add. Finally, there is my mother, my biggest supporter and a helluva lot louder than I have ever been when it comes to acknowledging her children’s and grandchild’s accomplishments. I mean, the woman is starry-eyed when it comes to her offspring and her offspring’s offspring’s works of whimsy. It’s heredity, I tell you!

So yeah, I’m proud and I’m a loud and I’m sometimes misunderstood, but I live life richly and deeply, with a passion to create. I am also always, always supportive of creative exploits, whoever the progenitor happens to be.

Oh, and my pal? Not offended in the least.

Rant concluded.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bacon Wrap

Because everything tastes better wrapped in bacon...even people!

Modeled by my lovely offspring:

This 60" piece of pork strippage was designed and painstakingly single crocheted by moi using Manos del Uruguay and Rio de la Plata wool, an I hook and a very looonnnggg intarsia chart made with this free online program.

Just in case you're wondering, the red and redder portions of the piece were not made with a variegated yarn. Oh no! That would be too easy! Remember, I love a challenge. Instead, I opted to produce the gradations by actually changing colors. At one point I had 10 bobbins hanging off the back of this piece o' woolen pork. For real. It was gnarly, to say the least. It was also very slow going, but I prevailed.

Why crochet this bee-you-ti-ful bacon-y wonder as opposed to knit it? Well, you can hide color changes on the backside of crochet intarsia. It's virtually impossible to do this with knitting.

Actually, I really like the way this big porky thang turned out. I believe there is a whole pack of large strips of woolen bacon in my future. Can't ya just see it?

All I need is drop or two of hickory smoked perfume and the look will be complete...

Here's to another meaty episode of Project Wrongway!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tube Crochet

Drew, this one's for you mi amor...

Last Friday, began as any other Friday on the Cube Farm Spread. Oh well, except for the hours of glamatization I endured before driving my rear over there...

Why oh why did I endure umpteen hours of glamming it up for and average day at the Cube Farm you inquire?

Well, this lovely and talented chickadee and I had a date with the peeps at Screen Door Entertainment, creators of such cable craftavision as Knitty Gritty, Stylelicious and Uncommon Threads, during the late (and HOT) afternoon hours of the day preceding our long holiday weekend. I think you know where this is going, but I will dish the dirt nonetheless...

Oh yes, Screen Door put out the virtual call for talent and (I'm sure that...) I was one of many who answered, sending the producer of the second season of Uncommon Threads not one, not two, but three proposals, all of which she sliced and diced into the two episodes we're set to begin taping in August. Pretty cool eh?

Oh I know that I've been verwy, verwy quiet about this factoid, but I wanted to be certain of the outcome of this little journey before shouting from the virtual rooftops that YES, Briana and I will be crocheting on television!

Can you blame me??? I mean, come on, I'm used to looking like a weirdo on the internet because I crochet and knit meat, guerrilla veggies and well, other sordid errata, but I will not misrepresent myself with delusions of grandeur. I'm more into verifiable grandiosity...

Okay, so beaming back to last Friday...Briana and I glamatized, nervous and excited, donning bags filled with Monster Crochet creations and a wad of collaborative designs blew the Cube Farm for much hotter pastures (i.e., the San Fernando Valley) to meet and greet a table full of cable television mavens.

Now, one thing about Bri and me, we may be nervous leading up to meeting such as the one that took place on Friday, but once we've entered the venue, deep breaths are taken...Lights! Camera! Action! We're on! No. Holds. Barred. Actually, in situations such as this, we're kind of scary in a, um, err, dazzling, gregarious, amazing crocheted meat sort of way.

You get the point.

Although, the 60" piece of crocheted bacon I showed the producers four did leave them a bit speechless...

Another piece of trivia that seems to startle inquiring minds as Briana and I take our newfound collaboration about town is the fact that we've only really known each other since last December. Oh sure, prior to our current meeting of evil creative minds, we'd encounter one another in the Cube Farm elevator and do the usual hi-how-are-you's, but didn't really venture a full conversation until holiday season '05 while wrapping a gazillion presents for our firm's charity fandango. The rest we shall say is history, for we both now believe that we were destined to meld creative forces. However, to the unknowing it seems as if we've been a creative team for decades even though the reality is that we just began designing together for this show, among other myriad future venues. Oooohs and aaaaahs usually ensue upon public disclosure of this factoid.

So yeah, needless to say the meeting went well. A spirited discussion was had by all seated 'round the table, which culminated with my favorite phrase as of late being bestowed upon us, "You guys are great!"

So, no floppage. And well, not flopping is a good thing!

I know you are probably most curious as to the episode content of our guest appearances on the show. First and foremost, we will be tackling a Halloween themed diddy. I know, big surprise there. The other is an episode titled "A Day at the Races". I'll let your minds ponder the possibilities about that one...

Definitely more to come on these and more exciting multimedia Monster Crochet and Idea Du Jour collaborative developments so stay tuned!

Oh, and this being Independence Day and all, I wish everyone a safe and happy 4th! Don't forget to wear your best crocheted and knitted meat selections!