Monday, March 8, 2010

Seriously Photo Obsessed!

I am seriously loving Picasa and all the photo editing available. Download it and play with it! It really has endless possibilities for editing and you can kill a whole afternoon just manipulating your photos.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Marin and San Francisco Photos

Yes I've been obsessed lately with taking photos. Here are some I took today, around the neighborhood and at the Headlands.

The Best This American Life Episode Ever

So I just finished listening to the rebroadcast of The House on Loon Lake from This American Life. Not only is it a compelling story, but really makes you think about the importance of estate planning and reasons to avoid Probate...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Photos from the SF Legion of Honor

On a foggy day in February, my boyfriend's mom and I went to swoon and drool over the Cartier exhibit and imagine ourselves dripping with diamonds. That day happened to be very foggy and I captured a few photos before we met up. Enjoy!
Burned at the stake....pretty dramatic way to go out....I think I'm going to put that in my will...

Joan's horse is going to trample me....ahhhhh!
Strong, gorgeous, powerful....facing whatever the fog has to offer.
The moss aging the straps of the angel's frock...I like it...Tim Gunn would say "make it work!"
The foggy trees through the foggy grounds...looks like a black and white but its actually color!
I'm obsessed with the interior ceiling of arch this to the SF War Memorial Opera lobby pics I took last month....
The grounds...I walked in lots of mud in sandals to get this photo....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Crazy Rain Photos!

I was screwing around with my camera tonight and came upon and amazing setting that lets you do that skewed lighting trick in the rain. This is what the deck normally looks like at night--yes those are watering can lights and yes it is raining!
Here's what I came up with--try it!:

How to Make a Fake Headboard

So I've always liked the idea of headboards or some huge piece of art behind the bed where I sleep. Unfortunately I can't afford a real bed with a headboard, and am totally paranoid that during an earthquake, a painting would fall and kill me while I slept. So this is my middle ground: making my own fabric colored wall panels with foam board.
Find some fabric that you love. I used two different kinds that go with all of our linens which are white, brown, and blue...the perfect colors to hide dog hair. Pick any size foam board you want. Cut your fabric to fit with about and extra two inches to secure with a glue gun on the other side. Stick want mounting (about a pack of 20) on each panel and press against the wall. What's great is that you can make as many panels as you want in any shapes you want. Also, if you get tired of your color scheme you can move the panels to another room, or just recover what you already have.
(Above: Ralph pensively looking out the window as he settles down in HIS unmade bed....he just LETS his humans sleep there.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Save your rain water and make some grocery bags!

We have a tiny deck but we still get a lot of rain on it. I'm slowly stock piling rain water for the summer to make a small dent in alleviating the drought in CA. I gather the water in empty flower pots and then scoop the water out into a funnel I make with tin foil and into an old water bottle. I use water bottles because they have lids and there won't be a mosquito issue that way. I store the bottles under my deck furniture. It's an easy step for helping the environment!
Yes that's some brown water! But it's just watering your're not drinking it!

I also made my own grocery bag the other day. I find that the ones at the store aren't high enough, or can't hold enough stuff so I end up having to bring 5 or more bags to the store. I made a HUGE bag that can fit almost everything from one grocery trip. I used upholstery fabric I found on sale for $2 a yard and can make about 3 bags with. I reinforced the straps and sides with multiple levels of triple stitching to prevent the bag from splitting. With the leftover scraps, I made some I-Pod cases! Here's my bag! It would be a nice present for someone's bday if you made a little collection of bags!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spring time Wreath

It is raining today, but I am defying the weather and bringing in some color to my door and garden. I planted a ton of flowers today and weeded out the dead plants I've been ignoring for the last two months.

Here is what my door looks like:
I bought orangey-red spray roses and cut the stems about 4 inches longs and stuck them in the wreath form I use for all my other wreaths. I had a ton of little roses left over because I bought two bunches and places them all around the house in baby food jars (washed and used without the cap). They look like baby tea roses and would make really cute arrangements for weddings or baby showers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Victims

Please donate if you can to the Red Cross or to Doctors Without Borders to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Help honor those who have passed and give the living a chance to survive.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cutest Dog Collar!

It may be the little bit of Chi Omega that is left in me but I can't pass up buying anything with an owl on it! Check out Bella Bean Couture for this SUPER CUTE owl collar! They have a ton of cute stuff for your pooch!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Brushetta Chicken Recipe

Fillet chicken breasts and place in a pan. Chop two Roma tomatoes and place on top of chicken. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Add as much fresh garlic as you want. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I would have added basil and onions but I didn't have any in the refrigerator or the garden!

Flower chain scarf and the disaster that has become our apartment

I saw this in Martha Stewart living a few months back and couldn't help but try it! This is a flower bloom scarf chain that takes no knowledge of crocheting or knitting to put together...just a $2.99 loom! I don't know if I like it...and now I have about 30 of those flower things around my house waiting to be attached. Alas, my patience is as long as my beagle's so this may end up in the pile of unfinished projects that has taken over my office, living room, and kitchen table.

I used to think that the reason I was a messy person was not because I was lazy, but merely the fact that I had so little square footage and closet space. Clearly, this was bullshit. My stuff looks like it exploded all over every room I touch. So, time to fire the maid (me)! If only I could teach Ralph to clean...

I embarked on an ambitious journey last that out of impulse led me to IKEA and lifting 500 lbs of furniture into my car. (Thank you wonderful man who helped me lift those boxes!) Of course I thought this would be easy to do on my own. The boxes looked innocent enough:
And yes, I loaded them onto the cart all by myself... When I got home, I realized that I didn't have a dolly to push the ridiculously heavy boxes into my house. I knew I couldn't carry them that far and the bf wasn't coming home for a few more hours. So, I opened the boxes and carried the pieces into my home individually. This took a mere hour and a half. Overwhelmed and sweaty I tackled the Ikea Kullen wardrobe.

Four hours into that, and two gin and tonics later, I discovered that I had put one of the pieces together wrong at the beginning so now none of the subsequent pieces were fitting. A myriad of curses later, I detached the work I had done and propped the pieces up against the wall. It's been a week now and every day I look at them, wondering if today will be the day to tackle this wardrobe...which has now become a symbol for all my failures in life and a predictor of future success or dismal lack of accomplishment.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

SF War Memorial Opera Pictures

The bf and I went to see a live taping of A Prairie Home Companion at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera house. It was absolutely beautiful inside the building. I haven't been there since the building was restored a few years ago. I was inspired by all the gold and velvet roping and draping. I'm going to make a gold silk and satin ball gown with breading and velvet trim...should be fun! It will probably look like a 4 year old made it but the image in my head is beautiful!

The entrance hall ceiling:
Chandelier in the main opera hall:
Inside the opera hall, the stage with curtains down:

The sides of the balconies:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pic from Lady Gaga concert!

My bf and I took my parents to see Lady Gaga when she was in SF in December. What an amazing show! She not only SINGS LIVE, but dances her ass off, AND plays the piano and says inspirational things to the crowd. I highly recommend it if you have the time and the money to see her. She is truly a phenomenal, one of a kind artist. You will at the very least, leave that concert with a renewed feeling of self-worth and destiny seeking beyond the 9 to 5. Here is a picture from some screens during a costume change. Oh yes, that is someone vomiting blue liquid onto Gaga....and that is one of the more normal scenes from the evening. SO WORTH SEEING LIVE!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New neck cozy!

My new neck cozy...I think I'm going to make one for myself! Check it out at my etsy site:

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Make a Two-Tone Taffeta Dress for Any Size (Part 1)

This is part one of a two part series on making this dress. Taffeta is a dressy fabric you can find in most craft stores. This particular fabric you will need is two-toned taffeta. You will be able to tell it apart from other taffeta fabric because one side will be one color and the other side of the fabric will be a totally different contrasting color. For this tutorial I chose a black and pink combination. The technique in this tutorial is called "smocking" or "shirring." And it's a very useful sewing technique to add to your repertoire! Here we go!

How much fabric do I need? I usually buy 2 and a half yards of fabric to make a dress. I have a 38D bust and I probably only end up using about 2 yards in length. I buy a yard and a quarter to make dresses for my nieces (aged 4 to 7). It's never bad to have extra fabric so I would err on the side of caution. Select the two tone taffeta you like and get your yardage cut!

What materials will I need? Scissors (regular cutting and scalloped), elastic thread (Buy STRETCH RITE and not Dritz...the Dritz elastic thread is terrible for smocking on a machine), sewing machine, thread, empty bobbin, pins, safety pins, measuring tape, and seam ripper.

1. PIN THE BUST HEM: Pin the bust of the hem by folding your accent color (the inside of your garment) over your dominant color. Here, my dominant color is black and my accent color is pink. You want to make sure that any raw edges are tucked in.

2. SEW A STRAIGHT SEAM ACROSS THE BUST: Sew a straight seam across the bust where you just pinned. This doesn't have to be particularly straight. I'm an impatient person so mine is rarely straight...which is why I love smocking because detail doesn't matter!!!!

3. HAND WIND BOBBIN WITH ELASTIC THREAD: Hand wind your bobbin with the elastic thread. You don't need to pull on it or stretch it out when you wind. I have a Bernina machine and a bobbin filled with elastic thread will last me about 5 rows for 2 and 1/2 yards of fabric and about 10 rows for 1 and 1/4 yards. You need to be able to gauge this before you begin sewing (or check as you go) because it is a PAIN to run out of elastic thread in the middle of a row (which is where you would need a seam ripper).

4. CHANGE THE STITCH SIZE ON YOUR MACHINE: Normal stitches are usually between 2 and 4 in setting depending on what kind of sewing you're doing. For smocking, you will need to increase your stitch width to at least 5. It depends on the machine but I've talked to other people who use an 8 setting. Play with a piece of fabric before you actually begin this garment to figure out what stitch size works best on your machine.

5. BEGIN SEWING ON THE DOMINANT COLOR SIDE: Your top thread will be regular thread, and now your hand wound bobbin should be your bottom thread. Make sure you secure the elastic thread by going forward and reversing over the first few stitches at least three times. My dominant color is black so my top thread will be regular black thread, and my bottom thread will be the elastic bobbin thread. You want to start your first elastic thread stitches about 1/4 to 1/2 inches below the top stitch you made for the bust. When you get to the end of the row, secure your stitches by reversing. This is what the accent side with the elastic thread looks like:

6. CONTINUE SEWING FOLLOWING ROWS: You can adjust the space between stitches to accommodate your bust. Some dresses I like to make the smocking rows farther away from each other, and others I like to make the rows smaller. It just depends on what you want your dress to look like. You will continue to smock the rows until they cover your bust area.
I might do one or two more rows, but this is probably how the bust will look:

Stay tuned for Part 2!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Plant a tree for the New Year!

I grew up with an avocado tree in the yard outside of my bedroom. I didn't fully appreciate the awesomeness of the avocado until I went to college and discovered all kinds of Mexican food fabulousness in San Diego.

We use avocados all the time in our house. If they don't get scored with the knife when we are cutting them, I save the pits and soak them in water until I plant them. This one soaked for about a week in water and is starting to sprout:
I finally planted this one today in a 6 inch by 6 inch pot about an inch down in the soil. The plants don't need much tending to once they are planted. Occasional watering and pot transplant when the plant begins to outgrow the one it's in.

If you're lucky enough to have a yard and not a balcony, you can plant it straight into the ground.

Here's the avocado I planted for my birthday in August:
And one day...when we have a house with a yard, we'll be able to plant our avocado tree in something bigger than a pot. Things to look forward to! Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Inexpensive Healthy Mexican Dinner for Three!

This is an easy and inexpensive recipe for three for dinner. Try it! Add more or less of your favorite things in the recipe to customize it. Here's how to get started:

1 can of black beans
1 can of yellow corn
1 ripe avocado
1 red onion
5 Tablespoons of your favorite salsa
Cilantro (chopped)
lemon juice
pinch of salt

Add ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, chopped cilantro and a pinch of salt (as much as needed depending on preferred taste.) Add your favorite tortillas, or place over a bed of lettuce. The mixture can be heated or served chilled depending on how you want it. This serves three adults for dinner for under $8 total. Feel free to add cheese if it's in your budget or your diet plan!