crafty Archive

JacketGate Part II: The Chills of Consumerism

December 28th, 2009

JacketGate continues today as I do one last day of preparation for my three week stint at the MacDowell Colony. I am still unsatisfied with the situation of being warm enough when I’m out there.

It rained yesterday in San Francisco and my friend Wei-Ming and I wandered the Stonestown Galleria, the Goodwill in West Portal, the Big 5 at Lakeshore Plaza and the Sports Authority at Serramonte Center in search of an ugly jacket and other forms of warmth that will allow me to survive an East Coast winter.

Going shopping yesterday was a horrific experience for me as I’m trying to purge my belongings in half. I borrowed my family’s Prius and the parking lots were a clusterf*ck of drivers, all who felt entitled to the same slot of parking space. Under the din of bargain hunting immigrant families, teen mothers with babies in tow, and people I probably went to school with who have room in their homes for more crap they don’t need… we did frenzied laps around Macy’s, started asking the mannequins for directions, and emerged with a decently warm, below the knee jacket. It wasn’t the LL Bean or North Face Michelin Man uglyness I’d hoped for, but it was the closest thing I could find. Perhaps it is the warmest jacket for sale in the city.

The damage was $147. Mind you, I’ve never spent that kind of money on a coat ever before. So it’s kind of a dramatic purchase for me.

Then came similar nauseating choreography around the aisles of Ross and Big 5. Trying snow shows on at Sports Authority. Starting at the ones that were $39, but soon, I find myself putting on $49 shoes, then $79 shoes… and suddenly…. $100 shoes– because anything less than $100 was too narrow or tight.

At each purchase, I presented my card over the sales counter, mostly in denial. Trying not to look.

I spent $100 on snow shoes. Another $45 on snow pants. I just bought a bomber hat on ebay for $15. It’s getting mailed straight to me in New Hampshire.

Of course, after I got home from the puke-tastic day of feeding the economy to acquire things that I swear I could have borrowed from someone somewhere, I get an email from a woman on Craigslist responding to my ad post to barter my obscene amounts of yarn for a winter coat and snow shoes. She had exactly what I wanted. Serel brand snow shoes and an LL Bean Jacket.

I screamed. If only she had written earlier….

I guess I can always return all these purchases. Stay true to my martrydom of buying nothing and enjoy the thrills of old time “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” bartering. There are issues with bartering with her though… The coat is one size too large (L) and we’re not sure if the shoes will fit. She also lives in San Jose but has agreed to meet me tonight in Redwood City to do this exchange.

I also leave in the morning, so if after I find her items work out, my folks will have to return all this crap I just bought on my behalf for a refund. Not to mention, the pressure of wanting to make this barter exchange work after having driven all the way to Redwood City. And my father now wants to come with me in case this lady turns out to be a killer. My folks are very funny this way. I’ve been living in LA alone all this time, but when I’m here, they insist on driving me to places I could walk to, and coming with me as my personal security detail for benign Craigslist transactions.

The great irony of all this is that when I land at MacDowell there will probably be a store next door to the colony called “Really Warm Ugly Jackets, Only $5.”

Anyway, looking forward to my journey ahead. To being able to go for walks in my warm/not warm coat. And soak in the luxury of time and space. I’m actually making a commitment to keep the imbibement of hot toddies to a minimum… as it seems to be the trap of an artist residency… lots of time to unwind… perhaps too much. But before the joys of MacDowell, can I ask that this city stop bilking me of money so I can sit in a cabin in the woods and RELAX already?!?

I’m telling you folks. Life should not be this complicated. This is JacketGate.

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Category: buy nothing year, crafty

Regrets, I had a few….

November 2nd, 2009

I have a new favorite website……. They basically take the most tasteless craft offerings on Etsy and rip them a new buttonhole. I laughed out loud at the above item they found for sale. I’m afraid my sadass yoga bag from a pair of pants will hit their list should I ever try to sell it.

I also appreciated their commentary on this plastic bag holder that looks eerily like a Wilt Chamberlain flaccid penis. Not that I know…

It was a half-assed Halloween. I was a doctor for Halloween (or as I like to say, “My family’s wet dream”). Seeing as that I am a living breathing year-round Halloween, I was so out of ideas on what costume to take on to the point that I contemplated doing what most adult women acting out on their unaddressed daddy issues do….stripping down to my underwear and saying it’s a costume. But even that seemed too exhausting.

It was suggested to me: “Why don’t you wear that crazy cop costume from Cuckoo’s Nest”?

(I almost puked at the thought of having to wear a costume from a show.)

It was also suggested to me: “Put a fake penis in your pants and tell people you are Kristina Wong!”

(Bleh… That’s so obvious…)

So I put on some scrubs and a lab coat. I don’t know why I own such things, but I do.

I am in super turbo mode trying to crank out massive amounts of content in a very short amount of time. I basically am getting my ass handed to me from Nov 10-15 when I’m to crank out 4 different shows in like five days in two cities. I’m still riding the adrenaline from doing five original shows in New York across five days. I feel like I can still output at that level. As exhausted as I am.

Somewhere between all of this I caught this interview with porn starlet Jesse Jane (it was feminist research… I swear…) who describes how she has branded herself and creates a demand through “exclusive” appearances.

I got it all wrong it seems. Unlike Jesse Jane, I don’t do just 6 or 7 contract films a year and then pick 6 or 7 clubs to exclusively appear at to make thousands of thousands of dollars. I’m like running around to every small and large theater across town, dropping my art pants for whoever will show up. And don’t get me started on how insane my gigs are during API Heritage Month… that’s like me trying to set some kind of gang bang record.

Nope. I’ve not been too good at the whole “aura of exclusivity” thing. It’s like, I’m an amateur porn star who makes movies with a crap home camera, then uploads them for free on xtube.

Oh Jesse Jane, the art world has so much to learn from you.

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Category: artist life., crafty, crazy, crochet, crochet diy, losing my mind in los angeles, uck you, vacation?

Making Out with Kristina Wong #1: Turning an old Pair of Pants into a Yoga Bag

August 2nd, 2009

I’ve been re-reading a couple years worth of old blog entries where all I seem to do is pine about work, how I’m trying to get more work, or how I’m recovering from work… and I’ve decided I need more creative stuff to share on the blog.

Now that I have a sewing machine, it’s time to start a new series of blog entries where I make new things from old things! I’m calling it “Making out with Kristina Wong” but if you have a better suggestion for a title, I’m open to change.

Today! Turning an old pair of pants into a Yoga Bag! (Or tripod bag or cue stick bag…)

From this:

To this!

After what I thought was my brilliant idea alone, I discovered there are quite a few tutorials for making yoga bags from old pants online. But my yoga bag uses the existing leg, belt loops and back pocket of your pants to cut down the sewing time and is a very easy project for beginning sewers!

One pair of old pants (I used old cordoroys. You can use any pants with belt loops and a backpocket. Even pants with no loops and a pocket can by used but you will have to make modifications.)
Straight needles
Sewing machine (you can handsew this project but it takes a lot longer)
Needle and thread
Good scissors
Chalk or marker

Time: Less than 2 hours (with food and bathroom breaks)

Step 1: Select a pair of pants to transform. Make sure your yoga mat can comfortably slide from the top of the waist through the entire leg of the pants.

These pants have been with me since high school! I think they were actually pants that belonged to my aunt. I loved these old cords, so much so that I wore a big hole in the ass that even my patching and pinning efforts could not save. I’d been holding onto them for years trying to figure out how I could save them.

You can always make the legs more narrow, but you can’t make them more wide, so if your pants are too narrow, you will want to find a wider pair.

Check and see how easy it is to slide the mat in. Some material is “too sticky.” Wool pants may get stuck to your mat. Also, check for holes in the fabric of your pants. A hole along the buttcrack is ok (hey now!), but a knee hole will need to be repaired before you do this project.

Step 2: Cut the pants in half so there are two separate legs. Cut a generous seam allowance on the leg you will use for sewing purposes.

It doesn’t matter which half of the leg you use. I chose the side that was less worn out. I chose to cut the zipper part into the half I will use for the yoga bag to give me a generous seam allowance. But will trim it off later.

Save the other leg, you’ll use that fabric for creating the strap and drawstring for your yoga bag.

Step 3: Put the yoga bag in the pants (in the waist down) and trim the leg from the bottom. Pinch the top of the tube to get an idea of how much you will need for it to close. Cut the bag about 3″ past the mat.

Save the leg that you cut off to make the bottom of the bag. If it’s too short to make the bottom of the bag, but you should have enough fabric on the other leg to make a bottom.

Step 4: Sew a giant tube that will accommodate the yoga mat.

Turn your leg inside out. Use pins and mark off a straight line from the top of the waist that meets the inside seam of the pants. Sew from the top of your pants to meet the existing leg tube. Save the fabric you cut off to create the bottom of the yoga bag.

Because of the way pants are cut, the fabric may have a curve to it, or will not match the other side evenly. So you will have to pin and sew your tube so it will have a few ripples in it. These ripples are very unnoticeable once your bag is done.

After you have created the tube, trim off the excess fabric and turn the tube inside out.

Step 5: Create the strap for the yoga bag by using the other pant leg and cut a long rectangle about 4″ wide and as long as your pants length.

This will need to be a long strip, so I recommend cutting along the backside of the pants, not the seam. You will end up with part of the back pocket of the pants.

Step 6: Fold over the fabric, ugly side out, and sew along one side, then turn it inside out, save it for later.

Step 7: Create the drawstring for the yoga bag by cutting a 3″ wide and approx 25″ long rectangle, fold along one side, sew it, then flip it inside out. Save it for later.

Because this narrow tube is going to be tricky to turn inside out, I recommend using part of the pants that are not seamed. The fabric in the front of your pants before the pockets is ideal.

Step 8: Cut the bottom of your bag.

I used a plate that had a slightly larger circumference than the hole at the bottom to draw a perfect circle.

(In hindsight, I realized I should have used a square shape since circles are difficult to sew for beginning sewers like me)

Step 9: Pin the circle into the opening. Also pin the back strap in (it should be inside the tube) since you will sew this in also. Sew your bottom and strap in.

Remember, the back pocket of the pants will actually be used in the front of the yoga bag, so you need to align the strap so that it covers the front pocket of the pants. Also align it so that you will not later sew the top of the strap over a belt loop.

Trim the excess fabric and turn your tube inside out!

Step 10: Hand sew the top of the strap to the waistline to become another belt loop.

Some sewing machines can handle a lot of layers of fabric, but mine couldn’t. So if you are able to get your machine to sew this, all the better. I sewed where my pins lay.

Step 11: Sew front pocket closed.

I used little asterisk stitches to keep the front pocket closed. Sewing the front pocket closed prevents the strap and weight of the mat from constantly pulling the pocket open.

Step 12: Weave your drawstring through the belt loops. Tie it closed! You have a yoga mat bag! Namaste!

Now let your mat and new mat bag collect dust while you avoid yoga class for several years like I have!


Category: buy nothing year, clothing reconstruction, crafty, sex is unnecessary when you have yarn.

Zen and the Art of surfing panic?

March 23rd, 2009

I’ve decided to do the only thing that one can do when everything seems to be slipping out from under you– surf the chaos. Can’t fight it, can’t submit your fear to it. Just surf it, flow through it. And it’s working.

Reading the paper and all its agonizing news has actually become quite normal. And now, comes the task of having fun despite all circumstances.

Look at all the senior citizen things I am doing in this economy to stay busy and happy.

After my 3 hour sushi class at Santa Monica College (which is an excellent thing to do if you have the money or time, btw), I’ve been making sushi at home. And now, just as the teacher says, am never in the mood to go out to eat sushi. It’s not bad when I make them. Though it would probably help if I had a knife that cost more than 99cents because my rolls aren’t very elegant. My friend Bangbay came by this weekend and we rolled up tons of sushi (using raw salmon and tuna!) and ate it all, then wandered around the promenade in a food coma.

You can’t tell there is a recession. Because there is still a line of people buying crap at Anthropologie. I wanted to scream out to the people stocking up on $8 tea towels: “Have none of you heard of the 99 cents store?!”

Next week I’m doing an excerpt of my show in Las Vegas. The pay is absolutely terrible, but I need to get out of town and my friend Greg is coming and will also perform. Bangbay is coming too. We’re looking at it as a workcation. Our hotel room was only $21.80 a night(which includes the tax). I’m feeling generous and will be splurging for the room for the three of us (even if it may be missing a wall or has a chalk outline of a body on the floor).

Greg does this piece called “Spit” where he talks about men who have spit on him during sex and has people spit into a cup and drink it. It’s so gross.

I can’t think of a better travelling partner.

In other news, my friend Candi taught me how to use my sewing machine. And now I’m going to spit out felt dolls like nobody’s business.

By the way, that volcano in Alaska finally erupted. We were scared it would blow when we were there.

Yay! Old lady hobbies!


Category: america makes me numb, balance, cat lady, crafty, magic powers, vacation?

Bai Bai Show!

October 10th, 2008

Bai Ling, fashion misfit and famous actress (but don’t ask me to name what movies she’s been in because I can only think of a few… “Wild Wild West” and… “Beautiful Country” and hmmm….) came to my show on Friday! She said to me after the show, “You’re crazy! You should end the show nude!” I asked her, “Can I call you ‘Bai Ling’?” and she was like, “Call me ‘Bai anything’!”

Wow, it’s Thursday and I’m finally getting back to work. I’ve been cracked out the last few days just sitting in my own filth, pretending to unpack (my set is still all over the living room), sewing my felt dolls, and slowly facing the reality of two months ahead in LA and no real work. No tour dates, no big shows… just… DOWNTIME (?)

And no real income!! Oh boy! Hit the panic button!!!!!

But wait…

Luckily, I’ve learned that I need to keep myself scheduled. There are a couple grant deadlines this week and a whole host of stuff ahead. So maybe the post partum depression that inevitably hits after a big show will pass right straight by this time around. I do have my BECAUSE IV workshop to float me through the end of the year. That will be fun. And a few little speaking gigs here and there. So it’s a welcome respite and a nice surprise to be home for EIGHT STRAIGHT WEEKS?

What other things can I do to occupy my time? Well, VH1 starts the second season of the “Pick Up Artist.” Plus some other crackalicious shows like “Rock of Love’s Charm School,” and “Real Chance at Love” starring reality show rejects Real and Chance, who were rejected by New York who was rejected by Flavor Flav (twice), who was rejected by Brigette Nielsen. So meta.

What will I do with all this time? I’ve been sewing, watched Season 4 of the office, called a bunch of people who won’t return my calls, pretended to clean, watched theater. Gotten a massage.

I guess I actually have some downtime to create some new art work. IMAGINE THAT! Art time!

I’ve also set a goal to come up with $5000 to put in a “nest egg” account by the end of the year. I am not sure how I will come up with this money though. But it starts with the thought.

Maybe I will sell crap in my apartment. Or hit up amateur night.

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Category: artist life., crafty, hollywood wong, marriage grown up crap, the secret

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