Friday, February 24, 2012

Hello, sparklies!

Long time no see, jewelry!

My approach to jewelry is a lot like my approach to baked goods: DIY. I don't always wear jewelry, but when I do, I tend to just make it myself.*

But unlike the DIY baked goods, I mostly don't bother with jewelry now because my interest in making it has waned to an all time low.

And lo, I discovered that Pinterest is perfect for finding inspiration in creative areas that one has been neglecting! And it gets bonus points for allowing me to do so without having to comb through magazine pages, or editorial comments, etc., etc.

So when I saw some cool looking earrings, I was inspired to make my own and, bam! Here they are.

That's how I came to make myself my first pair of earrings since, like, I made my wedding earrings (on the night before my wedding, BTW). Yeah. That was almost two and a half years ago.

Sooo....This is good! Inspiration is good! New ideas are good! Thanks, Pinterest!

But it is also bad, because I would like to credit the original designer, but they have been lost in the Pinterest black hole. Boo! : (

(whispers) However, knowing how much of the mass market fashion world operates, it's entirely possible they stole the idea from someone else themselves. Yes, I said it. But, you know, maybe that's not the case? I hope...

*Ok, so I also will buy it from independent jewelry artists and designers who make it themselves... Or I'll wear something vintage... Or secondhand... Pin It

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hoppy Presidents' Day!

Somewhere along the line, I got into the habit of drawing rabbits as presidents. I don't remember how it started, or why, but it's something I've been doing for over a decade now.

What's important though is that I remembered to share a couple of them with you today in celebration of Presidents' Day (Presidents Day? President's Day? I'm going to go with plural possessive, as it makes the most sense to me).

Above is an ink and watercolor Abrahare Lincoln (accompanied by President James K. Polk). I think little Abrahare is pretty cute.

But not as cute as this guy.

I do remember that I made this President Rabbit painting back in college. I'm pretty fond of him. I think it's his wig and his crazed rabbit stare.

I also just like how he's painted. He reminds me that I really need to start painting again.

And then there's this guy, who is not a rabbit, but who fits in with the theme of presidents. He happens to have a funny little story, too.

I picked him up at the Syracuse flea market long ago only to discover, years later, whilst putting him on display in our little kitchen curio shelf, that my husband had the exact same Polk figurine as a child.

Except in my husband's case, he received his figurine at school, but he no longer had it...

Because and he took his little James K. Polk home to commit figurine torture (as many grade school boys are likely to do when presented with a boring figurine of a not-very-well-known president), and pocket-sized Polk was consequently destroyed.

The lesson is this: Don't ruin your cheap, little, obscure, presidential figurine, because some day you might just be able to sell it to someone else at a flea market for as much as a dime.

Learn your presidents, kids! Pin It

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

You get my blood orange pumpin', Valentine!

Get it? Huh?

This Valentine's Day, I'm having fun with food. Above you see shaped blood orange slices and pastries from San Francisco Bakery for breakfast.

And for tonight's dessert, my first ever cheesecake! Which was very easy up until my flourish of the frustrating raspberry sauce heart that decided to make a non-healing big crack in the topping...

..and I made my first ever chocolate dipped strawberries! At least my very first successful ones, considering the last attempt involved a makeshift double boiler and hot water-scalded chocolate all over the place.

And I did get one more little sweet for my sweet... a bacon chocolate bar.

Because you can never have too many sweets on Valentine's Day.

That goes for the musical varieties as well.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sweets Ahead! Community Cupcake Picks Tutorial

It's Thursday. And so far this year, Thursday means my husband and I get to be all bummed about missing our favorite show, Community.

That's why I recently decided to cheer him up with some Community decorated cupcakes for his birthday (I guess making him pop culture birthday cupcakes has kinda become a thing now?).

Now I'm sharing the Community love with you all. A tutorial! A download! Everything!

For those not familiar with Community, I am not going to try to describe or summarize the show and all things that make it great. I don't feel like I can do so accurately with typed words alone.

All you need to know is that it centers around the 7 characters pictured on the cupcakes, and that despite a cult following, it was put on hiatus after December. Boo! I assume to make more room in the NBC lineup for things like Are You There Chelsea. Which, for me is just...barf.

I guess the last thing you should know about Community (if you want to understand the punny title of this blog post, at least) is that it's most definitely streets ahead.

But seriously, if you're going, "What the hell is she talking about? Community!?!? Who are those people on those cupcakes?" whilst reading this, do yourself a favor and just go watch it. It's tops.


This year for my sweetie's birthday, I decided to start off with one of my new year's resolutions and say, "No!" to baking up all the cupcakes myself (on top on drawing 7 cartoon portraits, making the picks, prepping for a party, etc.). So I did what I never do and I bought some.

I ordered cupcakes from Sugar Mama's Bakeshop here in Austin, with a different flavor for each member of the study group. If I am not going to bake it myself, I will buy it from Sugar Mama's.

Clockwise from top left: Shirley - Strawberry Love, Annie - Pink Champagne, "Sour Face" Britta - Jack's Lemon, Troy - Peanut Butter Cup(cake), Jeff - The Hemingway , Abed - Peppermint Patty, and Pierce - Carrot Cake... because old people like carrot cake. Also, I like to think that carrot + Pierce = penis joke.

But I will make the cupcake PICKS myself.

Here's how I did it:

Here's what you'll need: a glue stick, scissors, toothpicks, 1" circle paper punch (or use scissors), 1" (or slightly larger) flower or some other shape paper punch, lined notebook paper, and a print out of my artwork (I printed mine out on a light cardstock), which you can download over here.

First, cut out your little portrait circles so that they are manageable for use with the paper punch. Alternatively, carefully cut them out with scissors.

I have included an 1/8th on an inch all around color bleed (1/4" total), around the image so keep that in mind if you are hand trimming them (there's a note about it on the download itself).

If you are using the punch, I like to do so upside down, so I that I may see where my image is falling within its borders. So, line it up, and punch!

Here you can see that the punched out and finished portrait circles should be tighter and closer in than the initial printout.

This next part is optional -- you don't have to have a portrait surround if you don't want (you can just go with the plain picks).

If you DO like it, punch some out of a sheet of notebook paper (a nod to the whole 'school' aspect of Community).

I like to try to make sure to get a snippet of red margin in on all my notebook paper pieces.

Use the glue stick to glue your portrait circles onto the notebook paper portrait surround piece. Make sure you align the portraits on either side in the same manner, so that the images on either side of the cupcake pick will both be right side up once glued together.

For example, I like to align the chin of each face with the bottom center notch of the notebook paper.

Once you've done that, liberally apply glue stick to the back of one side of your cupcake pick, and then center and stick down your toothpick.

Then align the other piece on top on the toothpick so that the shapes are pretty much aligned, and firmly press down.

Your toothpick will cause a ridge in the characters face, but that's all right, because I like to use that as the back side of the pick anyway.

Taa-daa! And that's it. Let it dry and then it's cupcake stabbing time.

Hope you enjoyed the tute (that's what the kids call tutorials). I'm sure whatever y'all make with it -- cupcake picks, magnets, button badges, jewelry, whatevs -- will be streets ahead.

And remember, three seasons and a movie! Pin It

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winter, Schminter -- I Say It's Gardening Time

Although it's still technically winter, and I've been fighting off the last rattling coughs of my cold, I just had to spend the last few days in the yard prepping the garden for springtime.

The weather is sooooo mild and pleasant, and I have simply had it up to my eyeballs with being indoors. Also, I admit, I am very excited about having a yard of my very own now.

Garden, garden, garden, plants, plants, compost, rocks, drought tolerance, drainage, garden design, plants. That is just a taste of what my thoughts have been of late.

The above art consists of a one ink and watercolor piece I did back in December (when the spring planting ruminations started getting strong), and the other is a mindless paint doodle of generically Alician plants that came out during lunch. Just flowed right on out, it did.

Today is my day off from garden things (other than this blog post), but I've been finding it difficult to want to do anything else. It's just so very satisfying, gardening is. I think it's something about getting dirty and the smell of soil.

Or finding really cool little treasures, like the world's saddest, tiniest, lost butterfly wing (found hiding amongst the sage bush debris). Or the tiny joy of bumping into butterflies whilst picking up some supplies at the nursery (here on Gregg's Mistflower). That's encouraging, right?

I'm crossing my fingers that it will continue to be satisfying, and that we won't have any freak snowstorms before winter is gone (very possible -- see last year), and that spring and summer bring some more rain with it (drought is also very, very possible -- also see last year).

As for now, I shall keep my hands dirty, and keep my butt off the couch. Pin It

Friday, February 3, 2012

Being Sick

I've been sick this week.

Hence this doodle of what much of my world has been this week. Yep. That's pretty much it. Bleh!

Except real life has laryngitis. And an iPad.
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