As a lover of all things DIY, I've had an interest in taking some screen printing classes for a few years now. Now that I have an indefinite window of down time and am generally just trying to figure out what to do with life (#almostthirty), I decided to sign up for some beginning classes at Lillstreet here in Chicago. Since I was in LA last week, I missed one week of class and instead spent Sunday messing around with some materials on my own.
No, I certainly wasn't that kid in school who asked for more homework. What do you take me for!?!?
During our fist class our teacher, Erin, mentioned Genesis Art Supply as one of her favorite art stores in town. I hadn't ever been and figured I should take a pro's word for it, so I stopped by to pick up some basics. Good news! Erin was right. Genesis is a small, family owned joint. They know their regular customers by name, prices are decent and they were super helpful. I even got an encouraging, "Good luck with your project!" after completing my transaction.
After I stocked up on some ink, screens and basics, I headed home (Guys, it was SO hot on Sunday) with a whirl-wind of ideas brewing in my head. Since I don't have a fancy UV light at home, I decided I'd do some experimenting with stencil screen printing. I was hoping to have a completed project by the end of Sunday. Alas, it turns out that I'm a bit more of a beginner than I anticipated.
My initial plan was to stencil the phrase, "BITCH, PLEASE" onto some fabric and turn it into a throw pillow. I've made a version of this pillow for my Etsy shop before, but was hoping to fine tune it a bit. Unfortunately, I forgot to pin down my fabric and also didn't put enough pressure on my squeegee so, my efforts were a botched. Although I didn't have a end product to show for my work on Sunday, I certainly walked away learning (and remembering) a few things. For example: DO NOT forget to pin down your fabric. Duh!
Above all else, I was reminded that becoming a expert at new things takes time. This sounds obvious, but I'm a child of the MTV Generation so get off my back, bro! More often than not, I find myself wanting instant results, instead of allowing a learning process to take place. It's easy to be disappointed in yourself if things don't go exactly how you imagined. It seems like the important part of learning how to do something new is to take a step back when you make mistakes, asses the damages, determine why they happened and then try a different angle next time to avoid the same mistake. Sure! This is all much easier said than done, and I'm (obviously) no expert, but that doesn't stop me from trying.
I have two more classes left at Lillstreet and am looking forward to giving some solo screen printing a whirl in a few more weeks. Hopefully I'll have something more cosmetically appealing to show for my efforts!
Every now and then my day job affords me the opportunity to take a business trip to a city that is on my very official Must Visit Bucket List (i.e. on a post it in my wallet). Being an avid fan of travel and exploring new turf, this is definitely a 9 to 5 perk I am thankful for! This past week I visited L.A. for a convention and some business-ey meetings. Since this was one of the longer business trips I've had to take, Dan decided to join me. What a mensch! A number of our college friends have relocated to LA over the years, so we thought this would be a awesome opportunity to catch up with old pals.
Dan and I are toying with the idea of moving in the next year or two. We love Chicago and it will always hold a special place in our hearts, but I think we're both ready to mix things up a little bit.
With that being said, we approached our visit to LA unlike tourists and more with the lens of seeing what the true day to day is for folks who live there. We avoided the usual tourist attractions (well, mostly avoided them) and focused more on trying to get a grasp of the city. We're still trying to figure out exactly what LA is all about. It's so huge and there are so many people (and cars!) that we found it tricky to figure out what the pulse of the city is. While we had an awesome time visiting, neither one of us could visualize ourselves living there in the near future, so we'll scratch it off of our possible homes, for now. Never say never, right!?
In the meantime, here are our top favorite memories of our whirl-wind week.
It's not LA without palm trees! This is a shot of the outdoor eating are of our hotel. We stayed at The Standard Downtown, which was the perfect mix of kitch and glamour. They have a great roof top bar and pool area and a beirgarten. What's not to love!?
Dan's not mad, he's trying to channel his inner Don Draper. How do you think he did? This shot was taken at Davey Wayne's which is a speakeasy-type bar and lounge in Hollywood. I total must see, especially if you're a midcentury furniture lover, like moi!
We had a work meeting in Culver City, which isn't too far from Venice Beach. Not to mention the fact that we couldn't leave LA without seeing the ocean. Dan went all the way in and just dunked my toes in. It was picture perfect. How cute is that life guard station?
Apparently LA is huge on donuts! There were small, hole in the wall donut shops on every street corner. Our sweet tooth started crying so we made a pit stop at Magee's on 6th and Valencia in downtown to try these wondrous creations for ourselves and we were not disappointed in the least. Easily the best apple fritter on the planet!
My friend, Carlos, is getting ready to launch a necklace line inspired by his Guatemalan heritage. He gave me a few of his mock-ups and asked if I could wear them out and about while I was in LA. I wore this awesome necklace to a pool date. I love the bold colors and versatility of his designs.
That's our LA adventure in a nut shell. I'm sure we'll be back again at some point in our tiny, little lives and I look forward to the new shenanigans we'll get ourselves into.