Saturday, March 26, 2011

Show and Tell

I just wanted to take a moment to share some of my class work from this semester so far. I figure since I haven't been able to add to my Etsy shop, I might as well show what I have  been doing! Needless to say I am learning some fun techniques and I enjoy playing around with the software as well as solving these design "problems".

 First up here is my ducky. This assignment is designed to teach us how to use the pen tool in Illustrator. Using the tool, I drew each shape of the image above. Every color is a different shape. I did cheat and use the circle tool to create the background bubbles though!

 Next up is my Metro Salon Logo. The challenge here was to create a logo for a local business. The second image is my rough marker comp, which I then drew in the same process as the ducky.

 This is my typographic self portrait. The challenge here was to use letterforms to create a self portrait. It is a lot harder than you think! I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, and yes, those are all letters. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vintage Recipe-Best Chocolate Cake

With a name like best chocolate cake, how could I resist this recipe? Actually, I was just craving some cupcakes and I wanted them fast! So I gave this recipe a try, cut some corners, and my cupcakes stuck to my silcone cupcake liners. So I used the rest of the batter in one of my mini bundt pans, and perfection! So don't be like me, grease and flour your pan! I guess I figured it wouldn't stick to the silicone because I never grease them and I've never had an issue, so maybe this isn't a cake recipe that converts to cupcakes well...

Best Chocolate Cake
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tea baking soda
1/2 tea salt
1/4 tea baking powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tb water
1/4 cup plus 2 tb buttermilk
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 tea vanilla
2 oz melted unsweetened chocolate (cooled)

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour pan. Beat all ingredients in a large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping occasionally, 3 minutes. Pour into pan.
Bake until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes; cool. Frost.

We frosted ours with whipped cream mixed with some powdered sugar and a splash of maraschino cherry juice. Delish!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back From a Blogging Hiatus...

I started out the week of my spring break break thinking I would do all sorts of blogging and even finish a new painting for my Etsy shop. But all fell by the wayside when my six year old commented "Your always on the computer mom". To be fair, I am a graphic design student, so while I do spend a great deal of time on the computer, it is working on school work mostly. In fact, I was really looking forward to putting more time into my blog and my poor poor neglected Etsy shop. Instead, I put down the computer for the whole week of spring break. *gasp* I did FB and Tweet from my phone on occasion, as well as check my email. But no blog writing or reading, no etsy browsing or treasurey making. No vintage recipe post or little things post.
And we did have fun. We received a bonus at work, and I have a new tattoo scheduled for this Friday that will probably be a good chunk of it. I've wanted to get a couple new tattoos for awhile but I'm always so broke. We also went out for some sushi and I took Celeste bowling for her first time ever. It was nice to do things "normal" people can do. It's just sad that it takes a once a year bonus to be able to afford it.
And since I wasn't in class, I was able to go to a couple of Celeste's school functions last week. On Tuesday she had a music show. It was themed dreamland, so all the kiddos wore their pj's. It is so cute to see her little face scan the crowd and when she sees you are there her eyes light up and she grins from ear to ear. And on Thursday she was awarded the silver honor roll award for being an exceptional student. Yay! This is her second one, she also made silver honor roll last year. And on Saturday we got dressed up and headed out for some shopping. We stopped and shared a bubble tea first though! And last night we had my little brother and his girlfriend over for a homemade manicotti dinner and a game of Parcheesi.

Time for Project Monday!
This Monday the photo prompt is look up:

Monday, March 14, 2011

4 Days in a Row...

Man, I really dropped the ball on this one. I didn't check out Bubblegum Life's photo prompt until Sunday, so I don't have a "Four Days in a Row" post compiled of photos over this weekend. I did take photos over the weekend, but I've already shared them! So these are from March 2-5...

On March 2nd I wore a pretty scarf I picked up at the Salvation Army. Purple is my favorite color, and the lovely greens are delightfully spring.
On the third we started to demolish a wall in our bathroom. Fun stuff. Remodeling your only bathroom with a shower is always awesome.
This one I took on the fourth. I was going to do an outfit post because I haven't done one in forever, but I didn't like how my pictures turned out. Oh well, her it is!

And the fifth was my birthday, yummy Baskin Robbins ice cream cake!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

little things that make me happy

 I really love to go to thrift stores, antiques shops, and when the weather is warm, flea markets. Garage sales are cool too sometimes, but here in Reno they can be mostly lame. I might try Estate sales soon though, seems that a lot of people in the blogosphere have tremendous luck there.
It is a kind of peaceful thing for me. I love to wander the aisles and bins of items cast aside, seeking out my own personal treasures. It is also wonderfully fulfilling when you rescue an item, or return it to it's former glory. The cost is quite alluring as well. I am by no means a wealthy person, I work a retail job and am a mother and college student. So I am always looking for a good buy. And anyone who knows me personally knows I am inherently cheap. I know what I am willing to pay for some things, and little sways me. There will always be another opportunity later.
That being said, this post is inspired by an antique couch I recently found at the thrift store. These are almost always in need of a good reupholstery, and often cushion replacement and a good sand and stain of the legs. And they usually are upwards of $200 in our area. Here in Reno we peddle junk at high prices. For the most part. Like you can never find a vintage typewriter for less than $50. What! People back east get 'em for $5.
Thrifting is one of my favorite activities, so I thought I'd share a couple of my recent "saves"....
The Bird art above is painted on glass with a colored piece of cardboard behind it. I got it for $1. The frame was beat up, and I forgot to take a before picture, so I included this one of its backside below. I gave it a sanding and I painted it blue. It accents the artwork beautifully, and will be a wonderful contrast in my living room, which is tones of orange, yellow and brown.

This Borg scale is quite a find. It's older than my house! Awesome. I started to tear off the contact paper someone put over the top before taking my before picture, but you get the idea. This bad boy was $6, and i cleaned it up and put it in my bathroom. Now I can become weight obsessed on this piece of 1950's beauty. It's totally accurate.

This 1950's TV tray has been moving around my house, I haven't quite found it's permanent home, but at $1 I wasn't passing it up.
Crocheted afghans are something I always look for, they make any room cozy and homey. This one's bright fun colors are a great contrast to my living rooms mostly earthy tones, and it was only $4.
Framed artwork is one of my favorite things to look for in the thrift stores, with the exception of my "I heart Parfaits" painting (in a thrifted frame) all of these pieces were less than $3. That excludes the mirror, which was a gift.
I am well one my way to putting together a cozy warm home full of vintage and second hand treasures. But the journey to this is such fun, and a bit addicting. I'm actually trying to calm myself, because even though it's cheap, I need to start putting my money towards bigger repairs. Bath remodel and a new roof are in my near future!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recently Thrifted

I love old books. I guess it goes along with a passion for reading that I've had since I was young. My daughter loves to read too, and that makes me happy. There is so much knowledge to be gained, so many wonderful things have resulted from the printed word. The other day Celeste told me how she went to the library at school and discovered a new (to her) book by Eric Carle called A House for Hermit Crab. She says "I want that book next mom, okay? I love Eric Carle's books, he's a good illustrator."
Too cute, I love it! Old books are one of the things I love to look for at thrift stores, and I've begun a small collection. I'm not just amassing them because they look cool, I actually only buy them if I know I enjoy the topics and will read them one day. When I'm not super duper busy with everything else I do!

 I've picked up a couple neat old books recently. The first one is called "Classic Myths in English Literature" by Charles Mills Gayley  ©1893. The binding has been replaced, but the illustrations are amazing! I have always been fascinated by mythology and have a couple modern books on the topic, so I was over the moon to find such an old text on the subject. 

The second book I picked up recently is call "My Bookhouse in the Nursery" from 1920. It is a fantastic collection of childhood stories, with amazing color illustration. I am so happy to be adding these gorgeous treasures to my collection. What do you like to collect?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vintage Recipe- Crisp Waffles

Celeste wanted to make waffles for my birthday breakfast this past saturday. I've never made waffles from scratch before, so I figured I'd have a little fun and give it a try. They were delicious, and just as easy as making them from a box! Since it was my birthday we put some sprinkles in the batter, as well as a dash of vanilla extract for extra flavor. I think the sprinkles disintegrated in the batter, so next time I will just sprinkle on top of the batter while on the waffle iron.
We finished by topping with super sweet agave nectar and homemade whipped cream, enjoy ;)

Crisp Waffles
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
 1/2 cup butter
2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

heat waffle iron. beat eggs with hand beater until fluffy. beat in remaining ingredients. pour batter onto hot iron, bake until steaming stops, remove waffle. Top and serve!


Monday, March 7, 2011

project monday- silhouette

This weeks project Monday photo prompt is silhouette. Silhouettes are so lovely and understated. The lack of definition of the subject makes them so intriguing, lending an air of emotional depth to a photograph almost accidentally. The top photo is my kitten, last year after we first brought him home. I just love his cute little shape in the big bright window. For me, this photo evokes the feeling of  excitement and discovery new pets feel when first brought home.

This is my sister and her baby last year. It's really such a sweet picture that to me captures those first moments of falling totally and completely in love.

An absolutely wonderful capture of Celeste's profile.

This one was just playing around.

Celeste reading a book in bed with a flashlight.

And another profile picture of Celeste.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I am so excited to announce that I am accepting my second stylish blogger award. *gasp* I feel so loved! I know I have been neglecting my blog of late due to my scholastic studies, but I'm doing it stylishly, (is that a word?). This award was graciously bestowed upon me by Marlene over at My Spot of Sunshine.
Pay her a visit, she is so creative, I love all her wonderful scrapbook pages and mini albums. Truly an inspiration!
To accept this award I need to pass the award onto another 8 Stylish blogs and list 8 things about myself! Here are eight other stylish bloggers who I find inspiring in a variety of ways. Please be sure to check them out!

The Littlest Polly

April Two Eighty

Bouffe e Bambini

I Just Might Explode

Much Love Illy

Creativity Unmasked

Delightfully Tacky

Sunshine and Carousels

And eight things about me....

1. I like red wine.
2. I love to bake.
3. I love to shop at thrift stores.
4. I collect vintage books.
5. My house is 50 years old, full of old house troubles, but I dream of someday owning an older one.
6. I want to learn how to tile so I can do my kitchen and bathroom.
7. I hide messes, usually in closets, until I get an organizational burst of energy and sort through it all.
8. I think of all sorts of things to say, blog, wear or create, but when it comes time to actually do it, I draw a blank. So, I'm a list maker.

little things that make me happy

I've been spending a lot of time sketching and drawing lately. It's all for my class assignments, nothing will be going up in the shop anytime soon, I'm too overwhelmed. But all the drawing really makes me think about how much I love this. It is my favorite thing in the world to draw or paint or otherwise create something beautiful. So this weeks picks are inspired by my love of drawing.
Lighting is a must. I love my clip on desk lamp. It's adjustable so I can point it down on my work, up at the ceiling for some bounce lighting, or sideways to illuminate my easel. I picked mine up at Ikea a couple years ago for $5 and it clamps to the side of my desk similar to the one I've picked out here.
Since doing the sketchbook project I have really fallen in love with having a sketch book of my own to keep handy where ever I go. You really never know when you will be inspired, so it's best to be prepared! I also love having a variety of pencils, to create different depths of colors, to accentuate different shading techniques.
I have an artist's box similar to this one. It was once my Nana's, then her daughters (my aunt) and now it is mine. It is one of my favorite heirlooms and I use it to this day. It was given to me about fifteen years ago, and it has always held art supplies for me.
Some day I dream of having an awesome drafting table. Until then I make do with the large worktop my 1960's school teacher desk affords me.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vintage Recipe- One-Step Tamale Pie

I found this recipe in the "Meals in Minutes" cookbook ca.1968. The idea of a quick meal in the late sixties was far different from our own. I was looking for a quick dinner one night, and as is often the case with me, didn't read all the way through to realize the 45 minute bake time! Definitely not quick in my book. I'm an overly scheduled working mother/ college student. Quick for me is like twenty minutes. Oh yeah, I can throw down some dinner in twenty minutes. In spite of the deceiving title, I tried it. And it is yummy. And it is easy to prepare. And I love that I don't have to stand in the kitchen for awhile. I can throw it in the oven and work on something else. Love that.

Tamale Pie

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 8 oz cans seasoned tomato sauce
1 cup milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 12 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup sliced olives
few dashes hot pepper sauce
3/4 cup corn meal
2-2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic till meat is browned and onions are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Place in a 12x7 1/2x 2 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until knife in center comes out clean. Cut and serve!

I only had whole olives on hand and was in too much of a pinch to slice. I also garnished by melting cheese on top and a little dollop of sour cream. It was pretty easy dinner that I didn't have to put a lot of effort into, and some nights that's just what you need!



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