Welcome to my world! I always thought it would be fun to be the ruler of my own place, and now I can be! I see it as an island within a big city full of life, culture and lots of laughter. Consider yourself a citizen.

Monday, April 28, 2008


My dear and immensely talentd friend Alison left for London yesterday. With a hugely heavy heart, I saw her off on her amazing journey to London to hit the London stage in the next chapter of her life and career!

She will only be gone for 6 months, that is what I tell myself! Hopefully they will see her for all the talents she has and she will have to stay longer and be their latest discovery in the theatre world. Even if you do not know her, wish her well if for no other reason because she is and has been one of my best freinds!

Love you!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dermestid beetles

Yesterday, I brought my students to the Field museum to visit their in-house designers and learn what they do in-house environment versus a design studio. Jean Cattel, their design manager was a gracious host and showed all that they do as the Field Museums in-house design group, from ads, to exhibits to print maps and all things visual in the museum.

Then we had a brief tour of their replication/model shop where they create many of the actual exhibits and items used in the exhibits.

Finally, we were treated to a truly behind the scenes adventure at the museum. . .the specimen room. This is where they prepare animals for display either in skeletal form or as a fully stuffed/modeled animal. We were greeted by a man holding a gray owl up by its next and stripping its feathers, this was to be used as a skeleton. But how does one get all the flesh and tissue off the bones?

Welcome to the Dermestid Beetle Room. A rather odiforous room full of aquarium tanks and dermestid beetles feasting on pieces of skeleton. Here is what dermestid beetles are and do.

Dermestid beetles are members of the insect family Dermestidae, commonly called carpet beetles, hide beetles, and larder beetles among other names. The particular species you have received is Dermestes maculatus. D. maculatus lives on dead, dry-moist animal matter which makes them the bane of taxidermists and museum curators. Fortunately, this feeding characteristic is great for cleaning bones. At each stage of the beetles life they eat different materials. When they are small/just hatched they get inside the smallest of bird bones and clean out the marrow. As they grow they clean other areas.

The adult prefers to lay eggs on slightly moist material whereas the larvae thrive on dry flesh and connective tissue. Eggs hatch in 3-4 days and the larvae go through an average of 7 molts or instars, reaching pupa stage in about 45 days. The pupal stage is contained within the last larval skin. Adults have a fertile period of around 2 months and live up to 5 months.

As with all insects, the life cycle is temperature dependent. Dermestids are sluggish below 70 degrees and adults cannot fly below 80-85 degrees which is good if you open their container at room temperature  – they won’t fly away. I use a reptile thermostat-controlled heat emitter and maintain a robust colony at 90 degrees.

In the end the one thing the students took away from the Field trip? The speciment room and the beetles!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Inspiration, Imitation and Plagiarism

I just participated in Monica Ross' thesis project. The thesis topic is "Inspiration imitation and plagiarism in communication design."

I was sent a postcard designed by someone, and then was asked to design my own based on what I saw. Then my card was passed along to the next person. I was given a card designed by Patrick Bussey of Arlington, TX. Willie Baronet from Dallas, TX was the recipient and to be influenced by mine!

I have seen more of the chain and it is interesting where this all started and how it has evolved!

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Monday, April 21, 2008


Finally! Some Spring-like weather has settled in!

These pussywillow buds, in my garden, are just reaching for the blue shy and the warm sun.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Passover!

At least to all my Jewish friends!

I made the pictured treat above to bring to dinner tomorrow. What do you think it is? A hint: It is a dessert, but what do you think it is made of?

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Throwing Clay: Some results #4 - Glazing

I am slowly getting the hang of the glazing! Here are my two most recent pieces fresh from the kiln!

Left: Double open vase: 7" tall 3.5" diameter; Matte brown, bobby green and gloss white glazes.
Right: Cloud vase: 6.5" tall 5" diameter; Gloss blue and gloss brown glazes

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Accidental Art

Yesterday, I, along with Tamara, took a Flat Stanley from Aaron, her nephew from Jersey, on a tour of Chicago!

While illegally parked on Washington, Tamara ran off with my camera to get a picture of Stanley with The Bean! The top picture was clearly an accident as far as she was concerned, but I like it. . . kind of a lot for its abstactness and different view of Chicago.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

X31 5103

I was having some anxiety, just a little, over receiving my license plates. I know it is completely ridiculous, but I feared one of two things: they would be something hard to remember, or there would be letters that someone could make mean something bad, like BFJ 8610 (Big Fat Jerk).

Come on! We have all played the license plate game.

The good news is I have only one letter, X, and a cool letter at that! X-Men, X-Ray, Xcellent! And the number is relatively easy to remember and even rolls of the tongue!


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dutch design

In Amsterdam's Schipholl Airport they have installed new urinals. The beauty of these new urinals is that they eliminate 80% of overshooting, a decided improvement for the cleaning staff. This success was accomplished thru the simple device of etching a lifelike/lifesize fly inside the bowl.

The amazing reality is that most males will direct their stream of consciousness to the fly. Whether this is the joy of accuracy, skills, a sense of cleanliness, or straight out sadism is not known. They're just happy with the results.

Thanks Jan!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Type AND pop-ups

These are just two of my favorite things!

A review from Amazon:
Prepare to be amazed. From the lenticular cover that changes with the angle of your hands all the way to the Z, ABC3D is as much a work of art as it is a pop-up book. Each of the 26 three-dimensional letters move and change before your eyes. C turns into D with a snap. M stands at attention. X becomes Y with a flick of the wrist. And then there's U...Boldly conceived and brilliantly executed with a striking black, red, and white palette, this is a book that readers and art lovers of all ages will treasure for years to come.

"One of the most delightful and innovative pop-up books I have ever seen."--Robert Sabuda

THAT coming from one of the best paper engineers I have seen is big praise!

Thanks to a post by Nicole over at type3kcad for the huge heads up!

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Throwing Clay: Some results #3

As promised, here are the latest pieces, fresh from the kiln, which include my prized orchid pot!

Top Left: Orchid Pot: 3.5" tall 6.5" diameter, bobby green and temoku glazes
Top Right: Vase:4.25" tall, 4" diameter, glazes from top are brick red, glossy brown and glossy white
Bottom: Front and back of Pressed vase: 4" tall 5.5" wide, honey mustard and gloss brown glazes (the back is nicer than the front!)


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Bonus: Seeing Things Differently

I noticed that when the sun is directly behind my car, it casts a shadow that looks like Shrek!

It coulod just be me!


Friday, April 04, 2008

The kiln

I can't stand waiting! That is what stands between me and showing you all my next round of pottery, which, if all goes well, should be pretty cool! A high temperature oven!

My orchid pot and two rather nice vases are deep inside the kiln now being fired! They should be coming out tomorrow! Or at least that is what I have been told! Hopefully they will make their blog debut on Monday.


Thursday, April 03, 2008


Alison sends me the word a day.

They are not always so interesting but this week's have peaked my interest! They are words that have evolved into other words.

Here are this week's words thus far!

Monday: Druthers (DRUTH-uhrz) noun; One's own way; preference, contraction of "'d rather", as in "I/he/etc. would rather ..."

Tuesday: Prithee (PRITH-ee) interjection; Please (used to express a request); contraction of (I) pray thee.

Wednesday: Willy-nilly (WIL-ee NIL-ee) adverb, adjective; 1. Whether willing or not. 2. Haphazardly; contraction of "will ye/he/I nill ye/he/I", from will (to be willing) and nill (to be unwilling).

Today: Blimey (BLY-mee) interjection; An expression of surprise, dismay, etc.; contraction of "blind me" or "blame me", from "God blind/blame me"; sometimes heard in the form gorblimey or corblimey.

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