Saturday, December 1, 2012

.___.

Derp.

So I know I said I was going to start a sew-a-long like, a month ago or something.  It's coming, I promise.  I'm still trying to find some fabric to use--I have a lot of woven fabrics and chiffons and such in my stash, but only one piece of jersey that's way too small to make a dress with.  My local Joann Fabric's is being silly.  I found the blue fabric for the last dress in the clearance section, but have since been unable to find something with a similar weight and drape.  Weird.  So there's that, anyways.
I've been super busy applying to colleges this fall.  The most stressful thing has been trying to put together portfolios for each school, but I think I'm finally almost finished!  'Tis excite.  Maybe soon I'll have some time to go fabric hunting.  In the mean time, here are some paintings.




Please don't look at the grapes.  I hate those grapes.


Some pears and stuff on the floor.



Some wax paper, an egg, a cup, and a tiny goose.
As you can see, I've discovered I like square canvases



D'as mah big sister and I in the photograph.
 That was a long time ago though, we're a little taller now.



Some broken glass.  The bottle was suspiciously hard to break.
I found the blue glass outside next to the road, and the marble is just a marble.

Oops, not a painting.
This is my staircase, it's red in real life.



See you later. :)


Friday, October 26, 2012

Surprise, and a project!

Hi everyone,

So have any of you guys heard of Modcloth's stylish surprise sale?  For $15, customers select their size and get a super-secret-exciting mystery item, be it a skirt, top, dress or coat.  Items can be of retail value anywhere from $30-ish to $250-ish.  The sale apparently happens a few times a year (but sells out fast), but I just found out about it a few days ago and was super excited.  I just got an email with my shipping notification, so I'll have another post up about that when my package gets here. :D

On another note:  I don't know if anyone here is an avid sewer or frequents BurdaStyle, but I've posted a up a few of my projects, including this dress from last summer.  Recently I've gotten a few requests for instructions on how to make it, so I decided that I'm going to post a sew-along!  It's not a difficult dress to sew, and I've been planning to remake it now that I've gotten a little better at sewing.  I would have changed a few things when making the dress the first time, so I'm going to be making the new one a little differently than I did before (mostly small changes).  I'm busy this semester and will be sewing in increments, so every week or so I'll have a new post up moving a little further along in the process.  I won't be able to start until I actually have some fabric to sew with, so today I'll start with a supply list.

You will need:
- an old t-shirt that fits you well (you'll be cutting this up to make a pattern)
- about 3 yards (more or less depending on your size) of knit fabric.  I used a single knit jersey, but anything stretchy will work.
- about 1/2 yard contrasting fabric for the collar and pockets.  I used some scraps of cotton quilting fabric, but anything woven will do.
- matching thread
- one small button of your choice
-OPTIONAL: scrap of contrasting fabric, if you would like to make your own belt.




The fun thing about this dress is that it's easy to alter, since you won't really be using a pattern.  You can very easily shorten it into a top, change the sleeves, neckline yoke or collar.  Jersey is a pretty forgiving fabric, so pretty much anything goes.
If you decide to make a dress and have questions or input (like better ideas or techniques!), feel free to post them in the comments. :)
Happy gathering, see you soon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Long Time No See!

Hi!

How are you?  It's been a while.  I'm doing well.  Really, really, really well.  I have had a pretty amazing year.  I'm applying to colleges in the fall and have been working on my art portfolio all summer, so I'm a little tired, but I am fantastically happy with the state of things right now.  Everything is great.
Happy 2012!  I don't think I've actually posted anything since like December or something.  I got distracted with other things and decided to put the blog on the back burner, but now I miss it.  Right now I'm painting a still life I've set up with some broken glass and a marble and watching 28 Days Later on my computer while I type this.  You know, I really do like zombie movies.  Zombie anything, I guess.  For the most part I'm not a big horror/gore person, but for whatever reason zombie/post apocalypse is one of my favorite genres.  I watched an interesting indie short film (can't remember what it's called, sorry) the other day about this very young couple trying to escape their city in the midst of a zombie outbreak.  I liked it because it didn't focus as much on the graphic elements that may be expected in a zombie flick (less blood and guts), and something about the lack of dialogue and the way it was shot made it seem so tragically romantic.  I wish I could find it again.
It's kind of nice to write without direction, isn't it?
Oh my goodness, I am so happy right now.  Lovin' life.  I've got a few friends coming over today and I think I hear them in the driveway, so I'd better go.  I'll be back in a little bit, see you all soon. :)

<3

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Modcloth Make the Cut Competition!

Hi people!  Exciting news!

How many of you have heard about the Make the Cut Contest that Modcloth is hosting in cooperation with Velvet Brigade?  For those of you who are unfamiliar (like me two weeks ago), Velvet Brigade routinely hosts contests where independent and upcoming designers can submit their sketches, which are then voted on by the public.  The winning designs are produced by Velvet Brigade, and the respective designer receives 5% of the profits from the marketed designs, and their own copy of the garment.  Recently, Velvet Brigade has joined Modcloth to bring us the Make the Cut Contest.  You can read about all the details here!  I saw this page about a week before the deadline, took a look at my notebook full of fashion doodles and thought "hey, why not?"  So anyways, a trash can full of crumpled papers and many cups of paint-y water later, guess what!  I'm a finalist!!  These are the three sketches I submitted:








#1 and #3 are the ones that were chosen.  You might recognize the first dress, because I've already made it for myself...  
I had a really, really fun time with these, partly because the whole Modcloth aesthetic is pretty much the same as mine.  Fashion design isn't really something I have much experience with, so I think it was good for me to try something fun and different for a change.  
I really wish that I actually had the technical sewing prowess to make the yellow dress, though.  But hey, maybe (maybe!) if I win, and they end up making a mess of them to sell, I'll snag one up for myself.  I think I might just whip me up that romper, though.
You'll see the finalists' designs on Modcloth's facebook fanpage at noon on December 12th!  Be sure to check it out and vote for your favorites!  I'm really looking forward to seeing all the other designs, it's like an episode of Project Runway (yes, I admit it, I watch that...)!  Even if I don't win, this was SUCH a fun opportunity!  I love all the community based activities that Modcloth does, and I hope that they continue to host things like this!  

Anyways, check it out on facebook, vote, have fun!
See you all soon. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm hungry.

Speaking of a slice of something delicious, here's my favorite cheesecake recipe.  I've been tweaking this recipe here and there for a while, and now it's pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself.  And it's really easy!  This is just a base recipe, a blank canvas to which you can add anything your heart desires.  Seriously, the possibilities are endless.  My favorite addition is 3 8-oz cans of drained, crushed pineapple.  Yum.


~INGREDIENTS~
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla

for the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup of sugar

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Combine cracker crumbs, butter and 1/4 of sugar in the bottom of a springform pan, and stir thoroughly with a fork until the crumbs look moist, buttery and delicious.  Press the crumb mixture evenly around the bottom of the pan, slide into the oven, and bake for 7-10 minutes or until mixture has browned just slightly.  Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat your cream cheese until it looks...well, creamy.  If you need to, you can microwave it for a few seconds at a time to make it easier to beat.  Once your cheese is sufficiently creamed, mix in the vanilla and sugar.  Then add your eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  (NOTE:  If you beat the filling too much, it will bake up all fluffy and whipped-tasting.  I tend to like really dense cheesecakes, so I only mix it until you can't see egg-parts anymore.  If you like fluffy cheesecake, feel free to beat that sucker like there's no tomorrow.)
Add any desired yummies (fruit, nuts, chocolate, cookies, extracts, etc...) to your batter, and then pour carefully onto your cooled crust.  This batter is thick, so it's best to tap it on the counter a few times to level out the top and get rid of any air bubbles hiding in the creamy goodness.

Now, it's ready for baking.  First, slide the cheesecake into your 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes only.  Then (this part is really important), turn your oven temperature down to 200 degrees and bake for another 65 minutes or so, or until the center of the cheesecake is almost set.  Reducing the temperature prevents the cheesecake from cracking on the top, a problem I ran into a lot before discovering this trick.  Another crack-prevention strategy is to leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door open for a few minutes before taking it out (oven should be off at this point).  This will help the cheesecake cool down enough so that it won't go into "shock" from the temperature change.
ANOTHER NOTE:  This cheesecake doesn't brown much at all, so don't panic if it looks like a vampire.

After the cheesecake is cooled, refrigerate it overnight.  I know, you want to eat it NOW (believe me, I KNOW), but trust me, it's better this way.  Done?  Good.  Now you can carefully run a knife around the edge of the springform pan, and then separate it from the cheesecake.  Garnish with whatever you like (might I suggest a dollop of lemon curd?), cut yourself a decadent slice, and enjoy.

See you guys later. :)

Take Courage

Yes, Andrew Bird again.  I can't help it, okay??  He's just too awesome.
I've been listening to this song almost non-stop for the last two weeks.  Listening to this out of a pair of nice headphones with killer bass while taking a walk at that specific time of the afternoon when the sun is about to set and the light is all yellow and gold = the most epic thing you will ever experience.  Give it a try when you get the chance, it's pretty fun.  In the meantime just enjoy, on your couch with a slice of something delicious.

Take Courage

Gosh, Andrew Bird is so amazing.  I know I ranted about this in my last post, so I'll refrain from doing so here, but really--GOSH.  My favorite part is the odd little clunky-whistle-y riff thing from about 2:52 to 3:06.  I can't get enough of this song lately.  It feels very easy-going to me, in a way that makes you forget about bad things.  Take courage, 'cause you're not alone!

That is all for now.  Lovelove, see you soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

ANDREW BIIIRRRRRRD

So I'm in this weird, euphoric state of shock right now, and I've got like a billion of the most beautiful songs stuck in my head all at once.
This Saturday (the 22nd) I had the most AMAZING opportunity to go see the absolutely marvelous and ridiculously talented Andrew Bird live at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware.  There are SO many things I want to say about it, but the the thing that sums is up best is:

WOW.

Words can't even express how brilliant and just perfect that show was.  First of all, the venue was just gorgeous.  The concert was held in The Grand Opera House, which has all these amazing rainbow lights illuminating the front of the building.



Imagine this except with more colors (I guess it isn't lit like that all the time).  The theatre inside was huge with lots of ornate gold things and Sistine Chapel-esque paintings on the ceilings and walls.
I live in Maryland, so it was a bit of a drive to get to Wilmington, but it was so worth it.

The Bird-ster

AAH!  I don't even know where to begin.  The whole thing was very surreal, like that small period of time when you're between being awake and asleep except with the most BEAUTIFUL music you have ever heard in your entire life.  I didn't even think it was possible for me to appreciate Andrew Bird's music any more, but then I got to see him play.  I mean, gosh, I knew he was talented, but watching him put together all these songs with a loop pedal and a few instruments was just incredible.  My mind has been blown.  His violin was gorgeous, the vocals were penetrating, and the whistling was just unbelievable as always. One time I decided that I was going to learn to whistle like Andrew Bird, but that was before I found out I can only whistle like two notes.  -__-

The Dosh-ster
The opening artist was Martin Dosh, who played some very cool, atmospheric, instrumental music.  He also used a loop pedal, as well as a drum set, keyboard, other small noise-making gadgets, and what looked like a mixer.  Martin came back about halfway through Andrew's set so they could play together.  It really boggles the mind to watch a whole song being built from just two people playing layers and layers of sound over each other.
One of the best parts of the show was watching (or rather hearing) the crowd's reaction whenever he started playing one of his more popular songs, like Effigy, The Naming of Things, Why?, and A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left.  I practically jumped out of my seat when he played Plasticities and Tables and Chairs, which are my two favorite songs of his.  His instrumental song "Carrion Suite" (from Useless Creatures) also made an appearance.  I hadn't heard it before, but it was fricken heartbreaking.  I got the album as soon as I came home.  He also played a lot of new songs that are going to be on his upcoming album, which gets released (I think) early next year.  CAN'T WAIT.

There was a big billboard thingy outside the Opera House with this picture on it.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee.  I'm sorry if I keep jumping from topic to topic and if this doesn't really make any sense, I'm just excited.  BUT LIKE OH MY GOD.  It's such a treat to see him live.  Like, really, "treat" isn't even a strong enough word.  One of the things I love is that he doesn't play his songs exactly as they are on his albums.  I don't know whether it's improv or if he practices different versions of the same song, but either way it's brilliant.  I'm so curious what his thought process is, and how he comes up with the things he does.  Even when he performs, it's like he's off in his own world, but he executes everything so perfectly and artistically.
One thing I'm really upset about is that I didn't bring a camera.  I left mine at home because I wasn't sure if I would be able to bring it in, but then the announcer said that pictures were absolutely allowed, and then I died a little inside.  So that's why I don't have pictures for you, I'm sorry!  Thank goodness for google images.

So yeah, I had an awesome time.  I got home early Sunday morning after spending the night at my friend's house and promptly put on the vinyl copy of The Mysterious Production Of Eggs that I bought at the merch table, which has been playing over and over since I got home.  O.o
I'm waiting to see if the concert pops up on youtube somewhere, perhaps someone filmed it.  If I find it, I'll post up the links.  It was an AMAZING concert, if you're a fellow Bird fan but haven't had the opportunity to see him live, I suggest you get to it right away.
Also I have to thank my friends who bought my ticket and gave me a ride to the show as a birthday present, so guys, if you're reading this, I LOVE YOU.  Like seriously, I can't thank you enough.  I had an awesome time, and I'm sure it wouldn't have been even half the same without you two there with me. <3

Darn it, I feel like I have so much more to say, but I can't even put it into words.  That's how awesome it was.  Anyways, I'll just leave it at that since, if I write more, you'll just end up sitting here for hours reading this long, boring senseless babble about how ridiculously cool Andrew Bird is (seriously, he is).
For now, go check him out on youtube.

Have fun. :)




P.S.  I hate to be one of those sorry-I-don't-post-more bloggers, but really, sorry. :P  I took a little break from posting when school started, but now that I'm back on my feet, I really miss it.  Hope to see you back soon!