Thursday, January 29, 2015

painting large

I really miss school, particularly, getting assignments. Therefore when someone comes to me and wants something special, it's like being right back in the classroom and I love every bit of it. I recently had the opportunity to paint a large piece for someone, they wanted big (it was five feet wide!) and 'maybe nature-y' so I picked up some paint ( and some larger brushes!) and paced a bit in front of the blank canvas's and finally just started painting. And this is what I ended up with.
I actually made a little gif of the whole process because I made a point of taking pictures of each step because it was interesting how much things changed or didn't change so I will see if I can get that up here as well. Overall it was a wonderful experience. I've been working with tiny pens and tiny brushes exclusively for a while and it was wonderful to just get really messy and throw some paint around and make big expressive shapes. I even got to wear my coveralls (because I am not even remotely tidy when I paint) which is always a fun time. I was particularly into the edges (it's always fun to have an image wrap around). Anyway, before the painting took off to it's new home I removed it from the plastic drop cloth covered work space and took a few pictures. Very satisfying, if a little sad to see it go. Now I just need to come up with more reasons to paint this big!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

january cocktail

Well I know I had mentioned a special cocktail to go with the 'party' and favors from last week, however due to a minor snafu on my party, that didn't go up last week as it should how. So without further delay, here's what I came up with.
2-3 sprigs rosemary
3 oz grapefruit juice
1.5 oz vodka
.75 oz orange liquor 
2 dashes bitters

serve in coupe with sugared rim and garnish with rosemary and grapefruit peel

(the grapefruit and rosemary be muddled together for stronger flavor or the rosemary could be left out entirely and you'd be left with a simpler but still tasty grapefruit drink.)

Monday, January 26, 2015


I got a cordless drill for Christmas. 
It was pretty much the best present ever and I've already used it several times, with a bunch more projects lined up. Other than basic things like hanging shelves (so much easier with a drill vs a screwdriver) this was the first thing I thought of making when I opened it up. I've seen things like these before (I might even have one on a Pinterest board somewhere) though I believe they were being used as a holder for pencils not brushes, but I liked the idea of having some way to have my brushes organized and out on my desk, as opposed to jumbled together in a jar or drawer. This was as easy as drilling a few different size holes into a block of wood and filling it with brushes. I've been using it for a few weeks and it's perfect, I even have space to add to my brush collection!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I wanted to make some sort of favors for my experimental party, so I kept an open mind at the dollar store. As soon as I saw these tiny acrylic boxes I knew that whatever I filled them with would be super cute, and then in the next aisle I found chocolate covered sunflower seeds in blue and green. Super quick and simple to make, but I think it adds a little something special to have something to give to guests when they head home. Of course now I'm thinking of all the other things that I could put in these boxes....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

a party experiment

I was talking with some people when I was home last month for the holidays, about Pinterest, and about how beautiful things look that that might see there, but how they are unattainable they feel due to time and expense and the like. So I thought about it for a while, and fell down a bit of a Pinterest wormhole in the name of research, and when I crawled back out again I decided to see if I could do it myself.
Of course I had to set myself a few guidelines so I didn't have a party-splosion on my hands, therefore I decided to do a 'dinner party' set for four people and to use only things that I already had, plus a budget of 20 dollars for supplies, and one afternoon for execution, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand this is what I came up with.

After all of my research, and then putting little scene together, I had a few conclusions. First, color makes everything look more festive, and in fact sticking with a single color or even a color family can become it's own 'theme.' Second, things like backdrops, party favors, place cards, even a special cocktail, can be pretty simple to create, but make it all feel a little more special. And thirdly, twinkle lights are never a bad idea.

So, as to how this all came together, I started by looking through my cast off fabric box and grabbing this teal crushed velvet for a tablecloth  then went to the kitchen and looked at my dishes. Clearly there was a green thing going on so with that in my mind, I took off to pick up additional supplies. I stopped at both my favorite dollar store (excellent party source) and an arts and craft store, and picked up a big fake plant, mini acrylic boxes and treats for favors (I'll try to have pictures of those tomorrow) twinkle lights, and a big pack of green construction paper. And on my way back to the apartment I foraged a few pieces of greenery off of a willow tree around the corner.
The construction paper became the leafy backdrop as well as some super simple place cards, I cut the leaves off of the plant ( they looked less offensively fake to me once they were taken out of their plastic dirt filled pot ) and layered them along the middle of the table with some of the willow. Finally I stung up the twinkle lights for some softer light and a bit of an outdoor patio feel ( I think bistro/globe lights might be even better, however these were at the dollar store and I was trying to keep the shopping as simple as possible ) Overall setting the table itself was super quick, the only thing that was very time consuming was the backdrop and it wasn't that bad. I think it would be neat with oversize leaves as well which would be much quicker.

As to the budget, it shook down a bit like this:
fake plant...................$3
favor boxes................$3
twinkle lights.............$5
construction paper.....$4
This doesn't include glue/scissors/ribbon as I already had some things on hand. Most people probably have lights from the holidays that could be appropriated, and real plants could have totally been subbed in for the fake leaves. All of this is flexible, which I guess was the idea of this whole thing. As to time, it was about three hours, including shopping (and I was actually watching Downton Abbey while I made the background so it may have gone a little bit faster otherwise).
So...... overall it was a super fun experiment, one I think I might need to continue doing (maybe a series?)
I'll post the rest of the photos tomorrow, the favors and cocktail specifically, and maybe a tutorial for the backdrop as well. Hope everyone had an excellent long weekend, and here's to a nice short week!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

spice shelf

So I had this leftover shelf above the stove from when I moved all my dishes over to the other side of the kitchen and I sort of didn't know what to do with it. Should it have past and olive oil and that sort of stuff? should it have dishes? Should I just take it down. Then during my wild fit of cleaning after new years (hey it happens) I realized that it would be awesome to have spices up there so I didn't have to rummage around in a drawer for them every day. This of course prompted me to clean and organize my spices and add new labels and even build a little riser for the shelf so that I could have two rows of jars visible while I'm cooking. So far I've been using this system for two weeks and it's worked great, I've even been more bold with my spice choices (maybe it's encouragement from the big 'yes' sign) though I've still got a few jars that need to be filled so, any suggestions?

Monday, January 12, 2015

craft problem solving

This is just a really quick project I did to fill a practical need. It was quick and simply but very effective.

I live in an old quirky apartment and my bedroom has big french doors that open up onto the living room ( I think my room was actually the dining room originally?) and I normally leave them open during the day. However, one of the doors swings shut slowly if it isn't blocked by something. For over a year I would shove a pile of books in front of it every day to keep it from swinging but eventually I tired of that and began looking for a proper doorstop, something pretty that would also, in fact, stop the door. Turns out that's not very easy. So one day in a fit of frustration I grabbed a cheap utility doorstop at the hardware store and took it home to see if I could do something with it.

Turns out that meant adding an elephant and spray painting the whole thing gold. The best part is it totally works, cost me all of three bucks and it makes me smile. Now if only all projects were that simple.....

Monday, January 5, 2015

a good walk

So I've had this idea to walk all the way through the part to the beach for a while now, but then something always comes up or I forget or put it off, so this Friday, in honor of  my desire in 2015 to accomplish and do and finish the things I plan to do, I took off from my house with water and an apple (and perhaps not the brightest choice of shoes) and walked to the ocean. And it was wonderful. It's really not that bad of a walk (a little over three miles) and it was clear and perfect weather (alright a little cold--- perhaps should have worn gloves?) and I swear I didn't edit these photos at all because the sky was really just that blue. So anyway,  I was thinking of doing the walk again next month, and then I was thinking of trying to do it each month for the whole year, and see how the scenery changes, and also just use it as a good opportunity to get some air and do some daydreaming.... though next month I swear I will wear better shoes~