Monday, January 25, 2010

living longer

there is a website out there called that offers lectures on many different topics. i recently watched this one and was going to email it to my dad and stepmom, knowing they would appreciate it, but instead have decided to share it with all of you. i hope you all live long healthy lives. hugs from tahoe.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


i already follow a few blogs and consider them my mentors...or better yet, as models of how id like to see myself in the future. a few of them are true self motivators and go-getters in life and their careers. they are succeeding in life and especially their careers. some have taken a different approach to get to where they are, yet others started down a similar path as me. all have made it work. so my intentions are to watch and learn from them and their approach. maybe someday i can let them know how much they influence me and my decisions. here are a few i have already considered mentors/models and have been watching...

Elsie Flannigan... oh she's probably my favorite. i love reading her blog. she is so inspiring. that girl has accomplished so much because she is so self motivated. always setting goals (and yes she accomplishes them). if you want to know more about her, here's a link to some info about her (located on her store's website) and here is her awesome blog.

Rachel actually a friend of Elsie's and that's how i found her. she is also a contributor to the Red Velvet Store. we have similar interests....anything vintage, sewing, crafts, thrifting, repurposing, decorating, etc... plus she has (as much as i can tell) a loving husband and 2 children (the youngest was just born about a month ago). watching her juggle work and taking care of her 2 little ones is a reminder of the freedom and advantage i should have (not having kids). here's her blog

rachel on the left and elsie on the right (photo source)

i have actually been reading and watching these first two for a few years now.

i have recently been stalking a new girl (ok well just her blog and website). her name is...
Promise Tangeman. she is not only a crafty girl who sells her stuff on, but she is also a photographer and graphic designer. i love her website. i am currently learning flash and hope to build a site as fabulous as her's. you might also enjoy checking out her blog here.

promise (photo source)

Betsy Walton...i became aware of her probably a couple years ago too, but havent consistently stayed on top of what she was doing. she does have a website/blog if you want to check it out. she doesnt post on her blog as often as the girls, but i love her work. and i didnt remember reading this before, but just recently i read (maybe reread) her profile....and come to find out, she is from kansas and now lives in portland after leaving her "full time job in October, 2006 to become a painter and illustrator." wow! the parallel is weird. maybe we'll meet in portland =)

betsy walton (photo source)

the last couple of days, i have been looking for other's i might admire ... and found this talented lady!... Jessica Hische is an illustrator and typographer. she does have design on her site too and a fun blog, but i love her illustrations the most. i just found her a couple hours ago and really love how her voice comes across. casual ... real

jessica hische (photo source)

...others im considering right now are:
Dolan Geiman
Lisa Congdon
basically i think i need another painter in the mix. i have a few crafty girls, a designer, an illustrator, and one painter (and although i love her work, she doesnt keep me engaged with blog posts).

so ive done a lot of searching for cool individuals that are making a living in the creative world. design ... handmade crafts ... photography ... painting ... etc. i will keep an eye on these and still browse others, at a less intense state then i have the last couple days. if i come across someone else im loving or watching, ill be sure to share the love with you.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

30 things before 31

ok this is super late, but i debated whether or not i was going to share this with everyone or not. plus i didnt finish making it until recently. i got this idea from a girl's blog that i stock. here are the 30 things im going to try to accomplish before im 31. btw my bday is in september and i have counted 34 weeks left to accomplish this list. wish me luck! and if you think of a idea that might help me accomplish any of these goals, id love to hear it. so here it goes.

30 things before I'm 31

1. design/launch my website
2. redesign blog and make it public
3. start selling on
4. sell a painting to a stranger
5. write and illustrate a children's book
6. be in a craft/handmade (ie Renegade Handmade)/art show
7. sew a dress via a pattern
8. grandma's cookbook
9. learn to snowboard
10. get dreads
11. visit 3 new places/states
12. get a stamp in my passport/visit Niecey
13. handmade Christmas (& probably bdays)
14. collect cool glasses and vintage fabric
15. make new friends
16. make an ear or neck warmer or a big hat to fit over my dreads :)
17. fill all the frames and canvases that left Asheville with me
18. visit Sarah G.
19. reach day 30 of snowboarding
20. me on video -----^
21. learn to sew a button hole
22. eat something new
23. find 5-10 mentors and keep up with what they are doing/accomplishing
24. learn flash
25. make some promotional clothing
26. decorate my snowboard &/or jacket
27. a fun photoshoot
28. write up my business plan
29. make a reusable grocery bag
30. volunteer to design/paint, etc.

there are a few other things on my to do list, but ill be stoked if i can accomplish all of these. some of these things have been accomplished or are in the process. ill share my progress with you as i mark each one off. here is the status of each one now.

1. design/launch my website <---- in progress
2. redesign blog and make it public
3. start selling on
4. sell a painting to a stranger
5. write and illustrate a children's book
6. be in a craft/handmade (ie Renegade Handmade)/art show
7. sew a dress via a pattern
8. grandma's cookbook
9. learn to snowboard <---- in progress
10. get dreads <---- finally ordered the kit!! so soooon!!!!
11. visit 3 new places/states <---- 2 down since i made the list (NM and AZ), but many more than that since sept., but i should be getting 3 more atleast

on the road

12. get a stamp in my passport/visit Niecey <---- march hopefully
13. handmade Christmas (& probably bdays) <---- christmas check!!
14. collect cool glasses and vintage fabric <---- some found, but always looking for more.
15. make new friends <---- in progress :) i hope
16. make an ear or neck warme
17. fill all the frames and canvases that left Asheville with me <---- in progress. long way to go
18. visit Sarah G.
19. reach day 30 of snowboarding <---- in progress... finished day 6 today!

20. me on video -----^ <---- 1 done but i want a better one... a better me that is :)
21. learn to sew a button hole
22. eat something new <---- not sure what that something is yet. i love trying new foods. maybe it'll turn in to cooking something new instead
23. find 5-10 mentors and keep up with what they are doing/accomplishing <---- in progress. maybe ill share them with you
24. learn flash <---- in progress. i have owned it for years and just finally started learning it. just reading the e-manual and working through the tutorials (that's what im working on after this)
25. make some promotional clothing
26. decorate my snowboard &/or jacket
27. a fun photoshoot
28. write up my business plan
29. make a grocery bag
30. volunteer to design/paint, etc.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Snowboarding video

this video is a little boring, but i still want to share it with you all. yesterday was day 5 of snowboarding for me. Usually I just go down the slope a couple times and that's a day for me, unlike some people who spend the whole day practicing. Nick has been encouraging and talked me into going up higher yesterday. the snow on the lowest slope was awful sticky and therefore harder to go unless you just balm it. at this time, im super scared of speed. if you know anything about snowboarding, i do the falling leaf pretty good. in the video, im going fairly straight but slowly. i really need to practice going backwards (which means your facing up the mountain and going down on your toes). im more comfortable on my heels.

so here's the first snowboarding video, taken yesterday on the Nevada Trail (i believe) at Heavenly. i'll hopefully share more exciting ones as i progress. oh, i also finally got a snowboarding jacket so i should be wearing GREEN in future videos.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finished Painting

Yesterday, I finished a painting that I started back in Asheville. About the time that I posted my last art critique, I started this painting in order to keep busy while allowing enough time for feedback. I have also worked on the art critique "dragon" painting (as its been referenced to me) since then, but finished this one first. So the "dragon" painting is on my work table now and I am committing myself to finish it next.

But today is the debut of another painting (not the dragon painting). I hadn't thought too much about the title until a few minutes ago. Unless I decide to change it later, I am naming it (*correction to title*) Row in Central Park. This painting evolved from a moment I witnessed in Central Park in New York. I did take a lousy photo of it, but my imagination saw something quite different. I knew I was going to paint this scene as I stood there watching them.

Row in Central Park
20in x 20in


Thursday, January 14, 2010

DIY garden train tunnel

My Christmas gift to my nephews was a tunnel for their garden train. Here are the steps I took.

1. measure the train to allow the right amount of clearance through the openings. i added about 2 inches to both measurements and that became the size of my openings which were 6 x 10ins. I then decided to make the 2 faces 14 x14 which gives me 4 ins on the top and either side of the opening. the opening is cut starting on the bottom edge as shown in the sketches and finished product below.

2. sketch out your design. i searched for images of real tunnels in order to get ideas. i got lucky and was given some tiny tiles left over from a bathroom remodel that was going on at the same time i was creating this. they worked perfect! i factored them into my design and figured i'd find some rocks some where to finish off the faces.

3. collecting supplies. you might have enough supplies lying around home to complete this project. the wood i had was not quite the right size and instead of spending more time and money piecing together smaller odd shaped pieces to get the size i wanted, i just bought a new piece of wood 5/8in thick and had most of the pieces cut down to size at home depot. (3 pieces 14in x 3ft.) the hardware was the most expensive part. i wanted to make sure the sides were sufficiently supported since this tunnel would some day have a pile of dirt on top of it to simulate a tunnel through a mountain. i bought a dozen wide L brackets (and a 50 pack of screws) and used 4 brackets to connect each face to the sides, 4 to connect the faces to the top, and 4 to connect the top to the sides.. i had some silicone and outdoor paint already. as i mentioned before, there was a bathroom remodel going on in the house where we were staying at the time, so i also got my hands on some of the mastic (its the glue that is used behind the tiles that holds them to the wall. it looks like cement). and for the last supply needed...the rocks...nick and i got up super early one december morning and went down to the arkansas river to collect rocks. we ended up with soooo many that i could do half a dozen more.

4. cut the openings. i used the tools that were available to me. i only own a circular saw so i used that to finish cutting the pieces i needed to make the tunnel. 2 14in x14in pieces for the faces. i also ended up shorting the 2 side pieces so that the faces sat under the top and in front of the sides. i took the width of the wood (5/8in) times 2 and then cut that amount off each of the side pieces. i then drew a 6x10in rectangle on each face then free-handed an arched top. but, i ended up making a template of half of the arch and then mirroring it on the other side so it was more uniform. i started the arch about half an inch from the top of the rectangle and the top of the arch was probably about half to 3/4in above the original rectangle. i cut the straight part with my circular saw and borrowed a jig saw for the arches.

5. assemble. i laid the top (bottom side up) on the ground and attached one of the faces first then the 2 sides and finally the last face.

6. decorate the faces. this is the part that makes your tunnel unique. set the box on one face so that the other face is level (like the top of a table). i applied the mastic around the arch first and set in the tiny tiles. i traced the face and opening on a piece of paper and spent some time arranging the rocks in a variety of sizes and colors. then i applied the mastic to the rest of the face and transfered the rocks one-by-one over to its place on the face. (someone a little more daring might just apply the mastic and start pulling rocks from a pile and applying them freely on the face. but im not that daring.) let the mastic fulling dry. if you have time, id say 24 hrs. if you dont have time (which i didnt), 12 hrs should be ok. flip the box over and do the same for the other face.

7. paint the box. this could also have been done before decorating the face. you could seal the would in another way i suppose but painting it is a quick way to do so. i used outdoor paint and gave it 2-3coats. make sure to get the bottom edges that would be sitting on the ground because they are the most likely to soak up the moisture from the ground.

7. seal the joints. i used silicone on the inside joints to keep the moisture out and add a little more stability. for some reason, the silicone i had was bad. it was super running and caused the caulk to pool in the corners. make sure to allow enough time for it to dry. depending on the caulk, it could take 48-72hrs to dry fully.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DIY wind chime

It was a handmade Christmas this year and I want to share a couple of them with you.

My mom wanted a wind chime "made out of any interesting items". I was first going to raid the items I already had, such as a huge stash of beaters, but I was still in North Carolina and the beaters were in Wichita. I also didnt know how they would sound clanging together. I got on to check out the handmade wind chimes others are making. There are a ton of eating utensil wind chimes but I didnt think they looked very appealing and plus its over done. I like unique :) or less discovered. So I went thrifting and started banging things together to see how they sounded. I decided to go with candle holders (all of them brass I believe). They sound like bells (probably because they are shaped like bells at the bottom). I didnt actually buy the candle holders until I was back in Wichita. So I went through a whole other episode of banging them together in the store. I had to make sure that the ones I chose would sound good together. I chose a variety of sizes and shapes. All of them were unique. I also chose another brace object -- a butterfly trivet -- that I planned to put in the center of them all. I decided later that it made more sense to hang the candle holders from it.

so i guess if i was to put the process in step-by-step instructions, they would be as follows...

1. go thirfting. play around with found objects, making sure they sound good when clanging together
2. arrange them. I chose a circle but you could put them in a straight line. a circle gives them better odds of clanging together. Also need to consider their height arrangement too. I tried out different spots on the candle holders to find their "g" spots and arranged them accordingly.

3. mark the "g" spots with a black crayon and number them on the bottom so putting them back in order is made easier. i wrote the number in the same spot so i knew which was the back and which was the front. you could mark them differently if another method makes more sense to you.

4. drill holes in the candle holders. i used a sharpie to mark 2 dots on the outside top lips of each candle holder. i placed the first dot and then did my best to place the second one on the exact opposite side. one method you could use is ... place a piece of blue masking tape across the top of the candle holder, dividing the circle in half. flip it upside done and mark it on each side. to drill the holes, i placed the first candle holder upside down on a piece of wood. use a drill bit just slightly larger than the rope/strip you will thread through it. with the drill in one hand and with your free hand, use your palm to press down firmly on the bottom side of the candle holder so it doesnt slip. (note, my trumpet was made out of thinner metal pipe so it got a little bent from me pressing done. i really didnt need to probably press down so hard but the other pieces were not affected. i tried to bend the trumpet back to its original shape. i think im the only one who knows the difference.) when drilling, go slowly not to jam or break the bit. if it seems to not want to move, ease it out and dust off the shavings. remember your working with metal shavings so use protection such as goggles and gloves.

5. decorate. I asked my mom if she'd rather have classy or fun/colorful. she chose fun and colorful so I went with that. I bought some enamel paint and also used 1 spray can of red paint. I did not prime because i didnt want the primer to show when the paint got nicked away. i was betting that the paint would chip away no matter what, but i still tried to prolong that from happening. i did at least 3 coats of paint (more on the spray paint) and 3 coats of varnish. on the spray paint, i masked off the small areas that i wanted red. it used up a good chunk of blue tape but turned out nicely.

***note: after decorating the butterfly and seeing how cute he was, i really wanted him to be visible. i originally debated whether the painted side was going to face up or down. since it was probably going to be hung high, i leaned toward painted side down. my boyfriend suggested to just buy a metal ring to hang the candle holders off of and then place the butterfly about that. well that's what i did. i did however need a metal ring then and one that was the right size and hopefully color. i ended up thrifting a christmas angel that sat on a metal ring. i used my dremel to cut her off of the ring and then smooth out those spots so they would be sharp.

6. string them up. i used some nylon braided twine, size #18. my eagle scout of a boyfriend actually took over this portion of the project once i helped him get the right heights. he tied all the knots. bowline knots around the candle holders and then clove hitch knots around the ring. then the bottom two knots on the butterfly were clove hitch and bowline around his neck leading to the top. the top knot where it would be hung from a hook or a tree branch, is not visible in the photos but it looks like a noose. a figure 8 on a bight was used. different kinds of knots are totally foreign to me so i added links to show you how to make them. if you'd rather just use knots that you know how to tie and they stay, that works too. the knots tended to slip out due to the material of the rope, so he used super glue to secure them and then used a lighter to fuse the ends. if you have the equipment to do so (a heat gun with temparture control such as the Quakko 850), you could also melt the nylon together for a very strong and permanent bond, and then no glue is needed.
7. remove the crayon marks. it should scrap off easily with your fingernail or you could use a little goo gone.

**you do have to be careful about packing them if you dont want them to get digged up too badly before the recipient sees it. i weaved bubble wrap through and around it. the strings will shift so after its hung, adjust the string so that the candle holders hang straight and are spaced evenly around the ring in order for the ring to be level. as you can see, neither of these were done in the above picture. the blue candle holder is the most obvious. the triangular string right above it, can slide back and forth through the 2 holes in the lip so you can adjust it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

traveling videos

a couple videos from our trip out to nevada.

i was trying to capture our shadow. you can sort of see the bike rack and trailer. also, the full moon was out already. you can sort of see it in the top right during some of it.

this other one is from our second to last day on the road. the sign reads 31 miles to Needles, CA. it was a really pretty sunset. i was driving so nick took this video.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Greetings from Lake Tahoe

taken in Pratt, KS

So we left Wichita, KS on Monday Dec 28th at about 3 or 4pm. Nick had the whole week off so we were just going to take our time. We made it all the way to Cimarron, NM and spent our first night on the road at the famous St James Hotel. The link tells some fun facts about it.

It's bar still has bullet holes in the ceiling from many years ago.

We had a nice breakfast buffet included in the stay and ate it in front of a warm fireplace.

After nosing around the place we headed out to the Philmont Scout Ranch there in Cimarron. Nick had ventured there many times as a young scout. It was a very beautiful place. (I'm thinking that I might be a Den mother some day.)

We then headed off to Angel Fire (ski resort in NM) to try and snowboard, but shopping for gear was taking too much time that we refocused on getting some more miles under our feet. We stopped at a gallery in Taos, NM...checked out the San Francisco de Asis Church,

ate at an amazing restaurant called the Trading Post,

and then stopped at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge on our way out of town. We started heading up to the 4 corners, but a snow storm caused us to turn around and head south to Hwy 40. The hwy wasn't too bad for a few hours, but it started to snow and eventually got bad enough that we had to pull off and check into a hotel. The first 2 hotels we checked were completely booked. Now remember, this was a Tuesday night in Gallup, NM (I'd never heard of it and I can't imagine ever staying there again). Everyone traveling on the hwy must have felt it necessary to pull off. We ended up with a smoking room in the Sleep Inn. It wasn't ideal but the smell actually did become unnoticeable after a short time in the room, plus the bed was really nice and it was a good price.
On to Wednesday. We headed out after breakfast, down Hwy 40 again. We ended up taking Hwy 40 almost the entire rest of the trip.

We traveled across the rest of New Mexico, all of Arizona, into California where we got checked for produce (I had an apple and orange, but I got to keep them), ate dinner in Needles, CA, and made it to Hwy 395. My cousin Janna and I were IMing and she was telling us to STOP and Sleep because the drive up 395 is so pretty that we needed to see it during the day. So we pulled over somewhere and set up camp. It was so cold. I "slept" fully clothed (coat, scarf, hat and all) inside a mummy bag with feet warmers and was still cold. I was so ready to get out of there that I got up about 5 something with only about 5 hours sleep and headed out.

We arrived in Stateline, NV about 2pm on New Years Eve and managed to tour a couple apartments right away. We stayed with friends the first few days we were here while we were finding the right place for us. Those cool friends let us make ourselves at home while they both had to work New Years Eve. We treated ourselves to a dip in their hot tub (I was wearing my stocking hat and swimsuit :) ) and then a nap before meeting up with other friends downtown. We were in the streets with probably 1000 plus people at midnight.

New Years Day was my very first try at snowboarding. Nick has proven himself patient as my instructor. And YAY! it was fun.

We hit the slopes the following day, and I was actually making some progress. That slope was quite different from the first day. It was super long and took quite awhile to make our way down. At the bottom, it leveled out quite a bit. So in anticipation of running out of speed on the level part and having to "skate" (skating in snowboard lingo means you take off 1 binding, leaving the other foot still attached, using the free foot to move you along like you would on a skateboard. awful tiring and slow for a beginner) the rest the way to the bottom, it was decided that I/we would have to just go for it and go straight down without slowing myself too much and trying not to fall down. It's hard to describe exactly what this means to those who have never snowboarded. Let me just say that I still feel very out of control on the board and the front way down picks up a lot of speed. Speed... the faster I go, the more out of control I feel. Needless to say, I fell half way down. The worst fall as of yet. Right. Smack. On. My TailBone. OUCHY!!!!!!!!! Was basically ice because the snow was so hard and packed down. I was really done for the day. I didnt want to risk falling on it again. I could hardly sit down. Actually it hurt to even bend over or do other motions that I didnt think would be effected. The first 24 hrs was pretty bad. It was taking forever to get in and out of the car. And just walking. I did actually try to do a very small ride after quite a while of waiting for Nick, but I did awful. I was so focused on not wanting to fall, that I completely forgot everything I had learned. And I did keep falling. So........ I've been taking it easy ever since. My tailbone is getting better everyday so I believe I didnt break it. It is still sore and I'm super scared to hurt it again. I have soooooo much to learn.

Let's see, Sunday we moved into our new apartment. It use to be part of a time share so the place is fully furnished... furniture, dishes, paper towels, and all. Since we already had some furniture we had them take out the couch and chairs to use our own. But I'm so happy to have an actual bed to sleep in. And we have a kitchen table and washer and dryer. We still do not have internet yet. Hopefully it will be connected in the next couple days. (I am currently sitting in Firkin & Fox in Carson City listening to a band of Bagpipes (a surprise to us).) Oh yeah, we also have free cable tv. ha ha. I have HGTV on almost the entire time I'm home. :) I love it so. But I have been pretty productive. Monday, I unpacked and organized almost the entire apartment. I hung a few things today, but the rest will probably wait because I'm waiting for management to come take down their pictures. Its like a hotel in some ways. The pictures have to be taken down with a special tool to prevent them from being stolen. I doubt that would happen :).

the view off our balcony

sunrise through the front door window

Well, that seems to be about it. The weather is actually pretty nice here. Its been in the 40s this week. Hope everyone is doing well. kisses from tahoe!

ps. i have 2 videos from our trip that ill post another time.