045 Chatty Kid Takeover

I think creativity is incredibly important right now. You can feel really stifled if your voice isn’t heard and if you’re kind of stuck in an endless summer that doesn’t feel any different than the last 3 months. I think that it’s important to find your voice and a way to spend your time to express your self because, you know, you can go stir crazy and watch TV for endless hours a day or you can feel like you’re using your time in a valuable way.

(teaser to episode)

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That’s me, Angelica Norton. For this episode, my chatty daughters, Eloise and Ansley, took over my hosting duties to ask me some of the questions I normally pose to my guests and to give crafting advice. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be creative so we don’t feel stir-crazy in the midst of a pandemic, and in order to find ways to express our tumultuous feelings during social unrest. Let’s all shift perspective and ask questions to see what we can learn from each other – and like Eloise says, “actually listen.”

We actually recorded a month ago, just as the Black Lives Matter marches started, so I put this one on hold recorded another episode to amplify an artist of color (shown in Episode 44 Inner City Dreamer: Kendall Angelle).

Eloise, Ansley, and I talked about kids on YouTube shows, sewing as therapy vs sewing for profit, the endless summer because of Covid, White Privilege, storytelling and appreciating grandparents, overcoming being bullied as a child through creative, supportive friends (shown in Episode 43: Handbag Poetry Night), the positives and negatives of the pandemic, and tips on staying creative.

How to make a t-shirt bandeau mask

I posted on my instagram a few weeks ago about making a bandeau mask out of jersey knit and how much I loved being able to breathe in it. PLUS it rests easily around my neck in the in between time.  If you don’t have a bolt of jersey knit lying around, you can use an old t-shirt to make one.  I didn’t make a pattern or write the steps down when I made the ones for me and my daughters, but when my husband asked for one for Father’s Day, I just couldn’t quite remember how I made it – hence this blog post.  So this is partly for myself as a reference for when I make them again, but hopefully this is a helpful reference for you as well!

It’s a quick sew and can be done on a standard sewing machine, or a serger, which I prefer since it’s a stretchy material and it does the cutting for you.

Steps:

  1. Cut the t-shirt horizontally under the armpitsstep 1
  2. Flip inside out
  3. Cut the sides of the shirt
  4. Serge (or sew) the top and the bottom of the shirtstep 2
  5. Flip right side outstep 5
  6. Surge (or sew) the front edge of one side to the edge of the other side. Don’t sew all 4 edges together! You’re making a tube that you will flip inside out.step 6
  7. Rotate as you sew, then leave a small opening to flip it inside out.  I left from the edge of the needle to my finger in the photo below.step 7step 8
  8. Flip fabric through holestep 9
  9. Topstitch or blind stitch to close up the openingstep 10

That’s it!  It’s pretty good for with wearing glasses, and you don’t need to make bias tape ties or elastics to go around the ears.  The size is forgiving because it’s stretchy.  I like to have several options of masks around because I can’t keep up with one, so I keep them in my car, a purse if I’m carrying one, and the rest of the family masks tucked away in a bin in my closet.  Let’s keep wearing those masks, friends!

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Plus as a bonus, my kid now has a crop top to wear, because FASHION.

044 Inner City Dreamer: Kendall Angelle

It can be both.  Most artists do it for selfish reasons.  But when you’re putting it out there for people to, you know, experience  – some judge – but mostly just a general experience.  It adds an aspect that’s not selfish anymore.  It’s just the nature of art.  You can’t help it.  I don’t care how money-driven a creative is, at the end of the day, it still lends itself to the people because you’re putting it out there for people to interpret to appreciate.

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That’s Kendall Angelle.  As a Black creative with his finger on the pulse of art, music, fashion, and culture, he curates and shares incredible artists and ideas on his website, Fresh Aesthetic.  We were good friends in high school back in Houston and the early years of when we both moved to Austin after graduation.  In support of Black Lives Matter and protests against police violence, I wanted to use my platform to elevate voices of color, so I reached out to my old pal.  And it seems especially appropriate to support someone who is going out of his way to support other creatives.

Links from our convo:

The Neil deGrasse Tyson essay Kendall mentioned: Reflections on the Color of My Skin

The Business of Hype is the podcast by clothing designer, Jeff Staple

Refashionista is the website on thrift store finds I mentioned that are tailored, dyed, and reworked to reduce clothing waste

Shameless Plugs:

Kendall’s website: ¡Fresh Aesthetic!™: freshaesthetic23.com.  Find him on Twitter @freshaesthetic, Facebook @freshaesthetic23, and Instagram @freshaesthetic23.  I’ll update when his Culture Fresh podcast is back up.

043 Handbag Poetry Night

But I think I stopped writing poetry as much just because when I would come back to it, I was like, what was I even trying to say?  It was just too vague.  It was too vague to get the meaning later.

Well hopefully it’s like protecting itself from getting burned.  If it weren’t so vague, you wouldn’t be able to stand it, maybe, you know?  That’s why I wrote that way, why I still write that way.

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This week on a special Handbag Hangout Poetry night, I’ve rounded up Amber, Diana, Sara, Maria, and Genevieve to read poetry with me.  Our friendship was cultivated while writing poetry and furiously journaling in high school in the late 90’s, which bound us tightly as very close friends over the past 20 years.  Since becoming adults, we have made a point to meet monthly (to reinforce and celebrate our identities before we became partners, spouses, mothers, or professional people), which came to be known as Handbag Hangouts as a dirty joke over beers.  Since COVID-19, we’ve upped our Handbags to a weekly Zoom meeting to dish out our love and support for each other.  (Please do forgive the quality of the recording since we weren’t able to meet in person.)

Order of poems:

Angelica: Title redacted a poem about restlessness found in an old journal (Feb 8, 2001)

Genevieve: “What is Never Lost” by Cynthia MacDonald from I Can’t Remember (1997)

Maria: “A Callarse/Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda.  English translation and in the original Spanish (1958)

We mentioned “the great pause” and referenced the incredible article, “Prepare For the Ultimate Gaslighting,” by Julio Vincent Gambuto.

Amber: “Sensation” by Arthur Rimbaud. French and English (March 1890)

Diana: “I’m Nobody, Who are You?” by Emily Dickenson from Poems, Series 2 (1891).

Sara: A saying probably by Lao Tzu (?) from Zen Garden Book of Meditations

Angelica: “As Far as Masks Go,” a poem about COVID-19 (April 20, 2020)

Amber: Rhyming Poem, a poem about haircuts or a hangover maybe (2001)

Sara: “We shape clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want” from Zen Garden Book of Meditations

Genevieve: “If” a poem about being a therapist, in a series she wrote called Termination Poems (December 2019)

Diana: Two nature poems from a journal while being a summer camp counselor at Camp  Arrowhead (June 14, 2003)

Angelica: “Friendliness is Not the Car Ride it Once Was” in my portfolio used to apply for landscape architecture grad school (April 3, 2000)

Angelica: “Song of 3 Days Sad” A poem repeating the phrase Techno Glazes/Inspiration (July 14, 2000)

042: The Collager in Quarantine: Matt Norton

So it’s not just total freedom on the machine’s part.  You’re kind of giving it stipulations to work with it.  And that like gets my brain buzzing.

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That’s Matt Norton.  My sweet husband sat down with me again for a quarantine special to explain modular synthesizers to me.  We want to de-mystify modular synths to inspire our friends out there to use this time at home to get creative.  We also want to look at the positive sides of being in quarantine, because it’s incredibly overwhelming otherwise.  We hope you guys are staying healthy and safe, or are resting if you need to recover from being sick.  We love you.

We talked about synthesizers like Minimoog, Mellotron, Arp Odyessy, and Op-1 by Teenage Engineering.  We also mentioned the loving and supportive Sobriety and Synthesizers Facebook Group.

We also brought up Wonderful, which is a podcast by Griffin and Rachel McElroy (also in Austin, TX), one of my favorites, found on Max Fun.

The song used in the intro and outro of this episode is by Matt Norton as Berm and Swale.  He’s on Facebook and Instagram.  The song he was working on at the time of the episode, “Packing West,” can be found here:

041 Bark Eater: Neal Stilley

I mean I consider myself an experimental archeologist and a Master Naturalist. For the East Texas chapter of the Master Naturalists, I teach the archeology portion of their program, and it includes a lot of the stuff I showed you today – I show them.  Just to give them an idea what, you know, people, did as the real naturalists – I mean, the original naturalists, I should say.

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That’s Neal Stilley.  Friction-fire starter, atlatl thrower, tool-maker, Vietnam vet, and student of nature – Neal loves to share his incredibly extensive knowledge of primitive technologies to bring a connective tissue to how people lived in a simpler time.  He brought his collection of hand-made tools and scat display boxes over to my house to bring life to his stories, which he uses in his outreach classes.  If you catch him at any of his east Texas courses this spring, kick off your shoes and get ready to touch some bones.

The primitive tools he brought by are atlatls, rabbit stick, starting friction fires.  We listened to soundscapes he captured of frogs, toads, and crickets from the 80s and 90s as self-made white noise.  He’s really excited to share the Shumla Notch Friction Fire boards, which he rediscovered from research of the Lower Pecos People.  It’s a fire board with a notch on the side, instead of on the bottom.  Volunteer Archeological Steward for the Texas Historical Commission and their outreach educational Programs.

Click for more on the Archeolympics; look up Texas Beyond History for more on prehistoric info, lesson plans, and Dr. Dirt.

Neal will have classes at Primitive Awakening Wilderness School and Caddo Mounds Historical Site coming up soon, so check back on both websites for dates.

040 Ambassador of String: Gretchen Du Prè

Angelica, it is why I do what I do.  I love this city.  I love Austin, and that’s honestly my career goal, is to make Austin beautiful, though public art, through landscape design, through public projects if I can be involved.

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That’s Gretchen Du Prè.  Fiber artist, landscape designer, musician slash singer, mother, and beautifier.  Gretchen’s own string theory is: if there’s a way to knit it, play it, draw it, or sew it, she wants to get her hands on it.  If you see her around town and compliment something she made – watch out, you might be wearing it home.

Public Art:

She and Austin Outdoor Design had a entry in the recent Fortlandia, called Hamaca de los Flores, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

She also had a project in Creek Show, a temporary light installation over Waller Creek in Austin.

Music:

Singer and musician for the band, Honey Punch, for 10 years, a daytime fun band.  The intro was “Anarchy in the UK” ; the mid-episode sample was “Being Mir Best Du Schon”, and the outro was “Fallen for You.”  Follow them on Instagram and check out their website for shows and delights!

 

 

 

039 Word Alchemist: Ryan Dilbert

I started thinking about why I like it so much.  And then I thought, you know, it’s storytelling; I love stories.  Especially strange stories.  And pro wrestling is just a series of strange stories that are acted out in the moment…and some things are improvised and there’s a little bit of chaos because someone broke their nose.  Like, go with it. So it’s just a very weird world; it’s very easy to write about.

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That’s Ryan Dilbert.  As a creative writing teacher of 4th graders, he lovingly shapes young writers by utilizing all the other facets of his life: as a father of two young girls, husband to Julie, published author, pro wrestling journalist for Bleacher Report, stand-up comedian and performer, and tattoo artist and illustrator.  In his summers off, he’s hungry to do more, like developing screenplays, writing another novel, and trying his hand at graphic novel.

Ryan grew up in Cayman (we used the local inflection – in the States it’s often referred to as the Cayman Islands) before moving to Houston for high school.  We met in sophomore year and became student directors of a performance poetry group, Playwrights and Players, for our senior year.  Because our friendship included writing and editing together in this formative time, Ryan helped shape my own creative expression.  His biracial identity is something he has struggled to explore in his writing, and feels more comfortable creating his own worlds where he can confirm the validity of the character’s experiences.

You can find more of Ryan’s work at www.ryandilbert.com and his Twitter @ryandilbert.  This includes his novel, Time Crumbling like a Wet Cracker (No Record Press) which was published in 2011; the cover and visuals were illustrated by Shawn Callahan.  His website has links to his pro wrestling columns at Bleacher Report as well as to literary journals of his flash/nano fiction and prose.  He mentioned an article where he took his daughter, Lucy, to WWE Raw after sharing tweets of her experience.  And he participated in Austin’s Funniest Person Contest in 2008.

Ryan’s daughter, Lucy, age 6, sat down for a short interview at the end of the episode.

Shameless plug: His upcoming chapbook with a collection of flash fiction about pro wrestling, called Mat Burns, is set to come out in Spring 2020.

We mentioned Ira Glass’s concept of The Gap – when our taste develop more quickly than our craft.  Here’s a delightful video with his quote.

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.

Hey Crafties!  What is the term for a juicy quote that is pulled from an interview?  Like the kind of quote that I pull for the intro teaser, or that he uses to shape his wrestling columns.  Ryan and I both use this and calling it a “money shot” feels wrong)!

038 Heart and Handmaker: Jen Grudza

I think it’s a reminder to spend time with myself and do something that makes me happy and gives me joy.  It’s like my separate space where I don’t have talk to anybody, I don’t have to be on like I am at my job.  Because it’s the guest room; my dog hangs out on the bed, and the sun is very beautiful comes through my room. I think it’s just my check out space where I just dive in.  My hands have to be busy; I can’t not be busy…

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That’s Jen Grudza.  Project Coordinator for Moontower, quilter, bag-maker, dog parent to Mr. Winston, and wife.  She is my new crafty inspiration and muse.  I’m drawn to her because I relate to her need to make soft or yummy things to give away, like hugs.  Recently she has been exploring a functional style with durable materials like canvas, leather, and cork, and upcycling old jeans.  Her beautiful handmade items involve slicing intricate patterns and following complicated directions – that I’m anxious to get a lesson on now that I bought my first paper-piecing quilt pattern.

Names mentioned in the episode:

Niku Arabai taught a quilt class at Stitch Lab

Jen made Denyse Schmidt’s Single Girl Quilt Pattern and took it to Gina Pina at Canopy to quilt it.

Chawnie Kimber teaches math in the NE; Jen took her class through the Quilt Guild and is inspired by her tiny mathematical pieces

Flash tattoo at Quiltcon by Stacy Martin Smith in Austin.

Some links of things mentioned in the episode:

Helm boot for outer wax, Tandy leather + photo of waxed canvas bag

Paper piecing – there are two kinds: english and foundation; The example she brought in is of a tattoo quilt pattern

Labels for handmade works by Wunderlabel

Carolyn Friedlander fabric with architecture and botanical designs – I already made my Christmas wish list of her re-released lines

Quiltcon is coming to Austin Feb 20 – 23, 2020

Hawthorne Threads – environmentally friendly fabric printing

**Note: Gunner was mentioned in the episode and as passed away just before the episode posted.  My heart goes out to his family and friends.**

037 Manic Maker at Testify: Angelica Norton

And what I learned was: anytime my hands were busy, I could think the thoughts I needed to think instead of having my smartphone dictate what I should think and feel.

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For my birthday today, I recorded a quick episode of the story I performed on the stage at Spiderhouse Ballroom on Thursday, October 24th for Testify (a monthly storytelling group in Austin) for October’s theme, Craft.  My story I recorded tonight (which is better audio than I captured on my camera) is about this podcast, so if you want a 16 minute sampler of what Chatty Crafties is all about, have a listen.

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