Category Archives: Just for Fun

Postdated: Easter Crafts

I don’t normally get into holiday crafts, but I saw Alisa Burke’s post about her lovely canvas wrapped easter eggs, and wanted to try my own. Over my students’ spring break, I needed a craft, and as the canvas might have been a little much (just for materials and time, if nothing else) so I improvised. I did the same project with two 4th grade students, and they each made a handful of great looking eggs. The two I finished were done alongside my students, and the last one I ran out of time to decorate. I may do more eggs later, holiday or not!

Three Eggs

This one is my favorite:

Green Egg

How did I make them? Pretty simple.

1. Take a plastic egg, and decoupage with tissue paper and white glue.

2. When sufficiently covered, decoupage other colors if needed.

3. Glue decorations such as rhinestones, buttons, sequins, flowers, etc.

4. Let dry.

Tada! Pretty Easter egg!

Advertisements

February in Summation

Here a whole month has nearly passed without a single post from me. For shame! In my defense, it was most definitely NOT because I was neglecting my art. On the contrary, there was a MASSIVE amount of creative work going on this past month. It’s just that… it never made it up here. Oops.

Mario Party: The biggest portion of that can be attributed to the fact that my best friend’s birthday was on Valentines, and this year, she wanted to do a Mario Party themed party. How awesome is that? Months back, I promised I’d help with the planning and decoration. I don’t think either of us truly knew what that would entail.  Short explanation: a lot. However, the result was amazing. My photos turned out mildly horrific, however, so I need to borrow from others and/or fix mine.  I’ll do a full post later when I can attach pretty things.

While I worked on all that, the extra paint went into my journal. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with some of those pages. I just slapped it on, and some of those colors are not my usual favorites. Oh well. It’s a start. If nothing else, I can completely cover them.

Knitting: Aside from that truly monolithic project, I also have worked on a simple knitting project. I had to start over, however, because I cut my ends too short. Oh well! It was more for theraputic value/visiting with fellow knitting friends than anything. It will still be nice whenever I finish.

Blogs: I have also been devouring art blogs. I have a list nearly as monolithic as the party planning that I’ve earmarked for myself to “go through later.” Good heavens, it’s going to take a lifetime. Much of that I attribute to Twitter. I recently started an account and I’ve been following other artists. They are fairly prolific when it comes to sharing links.

Reading: Ok, not art, but still worthwhile. Stimulates the brain, you know? Amidst all this, work, church, a zoo day, a few visits with my Koby, and a few other social obligations (which were in fact quite wonderful, even if my energy was waning) I have just completed the Belgariad series by David Eddings (loaned to me by a friend because I was considering purchasing the fancy new version) and I am now about a third into Graceling by Kristin Cashore. David Eddings’ use of language is beautiful, and there are some truly compelling characters in there. Thus far, Graceling is quirky and cute. A good fantasy fluff read, which is always welcome.

Also… the Olympics have been EATING my evenings. For the first time in my life, I wish I had DVR.

However…

I have enrolled in Samantha Kira’s Wish Journal Workshop, and have just begun! More on that tomorrow! I promise to be a good artist and keep posting!


Tom Kha Gai

Okay, so I KNOW this is an art blog. And I KNOW my resolution was to do three projects each week– implication that they’d be ART projects, but… I think this counts. Because… it does. And because I was having such a low week and couldn’t get started. And because it was definitely a project.

For the last month or two, I’ve been craving Tom Kha Gai– Thai Coconut Chicken Soup– off and on. A week back, I had the opportunity to get thai food with a friend who is back from London for a few weeks. (I’ll have to tell you about the present he got me later.) I got a whole pot of Tom Kha Gai in the awesome special flaming soup pot they have– one day I want my own flaming soup pot. I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially with my throat roughed up as it was.  I enjoyed the left overs too. And then… I still wanted more. Apparently the craving was not appeased.

I looked up a few recipes, and though I was initially a bit daunted, I at first thought I’d do it with friends, then got impatient. So… I purchased the ingredients and made the first batch last night. Many ingredients I had to find at the local seafood market– lemongrass, galangal, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves, good quality coconut milk, etc. The fish sauce I had previously, and the mushrooms and chicken stock could be found in any grocery store.

I planned to get cooking as soon as I got home from work, as tuesday we usually just have left overs or fix our own food.  It was the perfect day. Except– I got home and my mother had brought home chicken. Nonetheless, I went at it at midnight (being that I am a night owl anyhow).

Rather than use just one recipe, I cobbled together three to get it as close to the restaurant type as I could. What I ended up with was this (or thereabouts):

  • 2 cans coconut milk (chaokoh brand this time…)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, sliced and ground (retain upper stalk for extra flavor)
  • 1 oz (as best I could estimate) galangal, grated (or finely chopped if you are surprised to find you don’t have a grater after all)
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half.
  • 2-3 thai chilies, chopped (or 4 if you think it’s not spicy enough because it takes a minute for the kick to catch up. Unless you REALLY like spicy, I don’t suggest adding the fourth chili. Thankfully, I do.)
  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb port0bello mushrooms, chopped (I think I want different mushrooms next time, but oh well)
  • 1 or 2 lumps palm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (I’d suggest less)
  • 2 teaspoons red curry (mainly for color, but… didn’t hurt flavor-wise)
  • a large sprinkle of saffron (for color)

Basically, toss lemongrass and stalk, galangal, chilies, lime leaves, and palm sugar into a pot with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil(and if you’re smart, you’ll allow it to boil longer than I did so the lemongrass will soften a bit). Add coconut milk, fish sauce, curry, and saffron. Reduce heat and stir. Add mushrooms and chicken. Cook until chicken is fully cooked.

Observations:

  • Lemongrass smells AMAZING. Like lemondrops. I want to cook more things with lemongrass just for the smell, and I don’t even like lemons much. It’s a bit woody in texture though.
  • Kaffir lime leaves smell like limes.
  • Galangal is HARD to chop. Even more difficult to chop up tiny. Hence the purchase of a grater as my family apparently lacks one at the moment. Smells like a radishy ginger.
  • Coconut milk soup as I made it was not nearly as orangey-colored as it was at the restaurant. Not sure. Maybe the tamarind stuff in one of the recipes?
  • Fresh Thai basil might have been good.
  • Thai Chilies take a bit to catch up with you. At first taste, they aren’t that spicy, but about 30 seconds later, its much stronger. Keep that in mind before adding extra chilies.
  • I may add bamboo or snowpeas in the future.

Projects for this week down: 1 out 3

Time left: 1 day (I may have to fudge this).


ATC: Field Guide to Fairy Eggs

This is just a silly idea I had about a year back, about making fingerprint eggs, and labeling them as sundry fantasy creatures. Nothing highly polished (in fact, rather smudgy) but it was fun. I submitted this at the last moment for Created by Hand’s Easter Egg challenge, even though their next challenge has been posted.

atc-fairy-eggs-aged

See my other ATCs.


I Now Possess Personal Space! Calloo Callay! (This also means I have an almost-studio)

During my college years, my family found it necessary to move to a different house. This different house had nearly the same square footage, but one less bedroom. Since I was in college, this didn’t much matter, other than stashing my boxes (like my brother has use for a closet anyhow…) However, over the summer, it was quite difficult. And now, I’m home for an indeterminate amount of time (say… until the economy looks up?) Sleeping on the couch was getting a bit old, and as mentioned, I was doing my art in the middle of the night on the kitchen table. Not exactly condusive for creativity (except perhaps with timing…). Well, no more!

My cousins were living with us for a time (long and painful story there. Oh, the agony!!) but they aren’t any longer. I helped my sister repair the damage to her room, cleaning up the trash and whatnot left behind, even vacuuming and shampooing and then… I moved in! So I’ve spend the last week rearranging the furniture and whatnot (helping my brother too– there was carnage in his room too) and then moving my things in. The result: I now have a bed (oh, the luxury!) and my big big desk for an art space. Soooo happy.

Here is my wonderful, so-much-comfier-and-more-private-than-the-couch bed. I grew up sleeping on the top bunk, but in the last few years I’ve found I like the bottom bunk. Its my own little sheltered nook.

bed-1

And here is my desk/studio and bookcases. Yes, there are a lot of books. Funny thing is I still have four more boxes of books in the garage right now. I like books. A lot.

desk

Some of my Desk Drawers

stamp-drawer2 My stamp drawer, nicely organized into stamp pads, clear stamps, and wooden stamps. I made sure this drawer was on top, on the right hand side. I like my stamps!
marker-paint-drawer-2 Home to my prismacolor markers (they are in marker cases, so you can’t see them, but I have lots) my other art pens, my paints, and my paintbrushes.
ephemera-drawer-2 My collected ephemera, bookpages, postage stamps, tea wrappers, fortunes, paint chips, and whatever else looks good for collage drawer. There are also some books I sodomize for pages in the back too.

Craft Caddy Thingy

plastic-drawers pastels-and-pencils-drawer1
Above, you can see the more interesting top drawer where I keep my oil pastels, chalks, and my giant box of prismacolor pencils. The sad thing is that I never use these anymore. I need to find a reason to, if for no other reason, because I own these supplies, and should use them.


Other Highlights

books scrapbooking-extras
My favorite art and writing books (only my favorites, mind you…) Some of my scrapbooking letters, punch outs, and extras.
scrapbook-paper paper-pads
My collection of scrapbooking paper. I’ve yet to actually use it though… All my art paper pads, and a few larger books for altering that wouldn’t fit in the drawer.

Needless to say, expect to see some more art. All my supplies have a place, I have a space to work on, and I even have an empty drawer where works in progress can hide from the cats overnight, if needed. I have slightly less time now (I have a second job!) but more space in which to exercise my creativity. I think space wins. Let the art begin!


My new palette knife (also known as a college ID card)

Just for fun, I thought I’d show you my “palette knife” that I used to make the backgrounds in the last post. Yes, it is my college ID. But don’t worry, its ok, for two reasons.

  • A. I’m done with college anyways.
  • B. Our school redid the ID cards and sent a new one (or in my case, a new two) to every current student, so this one was invalid anyhow.

gesso-id1

Notice the bit of newspaper (or maybe magazine?) stuck to the back. I’m not even sure when that got on there, haha. And I like that the picture is painted over now. They took the ID pictures in this tent, except the sun was shining in… brightly, so I had quite a pained grimace in the picture. Very attractive. And yes, for any that stumble on here that didn’t already know, I went to Pepperdine. Ah, the good ol’ days.


Fridge Poetry for those of us without our own fridge!

I recently purchased a few Magnetic Poetry sets on sale at Barnes and Noble. I already had the Green set (my favorite color. How could I resist?) and when I saw many of the games, including the magnetic poetry sets, were 50% off, I picked up the Book Lover set and the Artist set. Those are probably the two I wanted most. No doubt, there are a few I wouldn’t mind having, but I am quite satisfied with the variety I have now.

However… I am living with my family for the time being, and thus, I don’t have my own refrigerator. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, but I suspect the magnets would get knocked down and kicked around, and I just don’t trust the kids.  Things tend to get mysteriously destroyed (not that its ever anyone’s fault. We have ghosts…) I do have a magnetic whiteboard I use, but it is fairly small. So… my play is limited. Someday, I shall have my own refrigerator, and my own home too.

The other night while I was playing with them, it occurred to me that a good way to prompt abstract thought and stir up poetry is to try to connect unrelated, concrete words (which is part of why magnetic poetry is so entertaining). I thought it would be really helpful to find a program in which you can input a list of words and then click a button to receive a random handful of words from your list. Apparently… no one with programming knowledge seemed to think it quite as cool as I did, because I could find no such thing. Bummer.

Here’s where the good news comes in. I found something better! I came across a program that acts like magnetic poetry.  Various websites  (including http://www.magneticpoetry.com/magnet/) have online versions, which are fun, but this little program has some extra features. (Not to mention, it doesn’t require a refrigerator!)

You can drag and rearrange words, and choose from multiple lists in a sidebar. You can even add words as needed (eliminating the frustration of missing just one word!) or move the entire poem over to make room for an extra line. And its really easy to make word lists– just open the “words” file, create a new text file (this can be done through textpad or simply by opening an existing file and clicking new). Type a word, hit enter, and repeat to your heart’s content. Save, and voila! New custom word list!

And remember my initial purpose? Well, there’s a button that adds a random word. Click that a few times, and I have a small assortment of entirely random words to exercise those synapses. I am sooooo excited.

Download Here: Ipoetry1.exe

For quick, temporary gratification, try these online sites