Summer 2015: Art Round-Up

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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This is just a giant post full of works in progress. Seriously, it doesn't feel like I finished anything this summer. I need to just gather everything together and do art for a whole day... Anyways, here's what I've drawn! Let me know if there is anything you like!

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Happenings: Drawing and Destiny

Saturday, September 26, 2015

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You know how some weeks you feel off your game? Like you're just not doing what you need to do, and you don't know how to fix it? And then some weeks you are totally killing it, getting everything done and then some?
Yeah, two weeks ago was the first scenario (I kinda hit on that in my health post). I just wasn't feeling very motivated, and was really busy doing boring things (like getting the house clean). But I finsihed cleaning on Saturday, had a good amount of chill time on Sunday, and by Monday I was ready to get things done.
When I say killing it, I mean epically. I've been waking up on time, getting what I need to get done in the morning done, watching what I've been eating. I even got a few long-term goals done on World of Warcraft and Destiny, and have been working on my Spanish with Duolingo. Honestly the only downside to this week is that I've had the new Justin Bieber song stuck in my head constantly.

What I've been into:

The instagram feed of feralcreature, especially this photo. That hair is too perfect.

This zip up jacket from Threads 4 Thought.

These headphones.

I've been learning Red Stars by The Birthday Massacre on guitar.

Right now I'm reading Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. I've been on a fantasy/historical YA kick, and this book is just what I needed.
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621 Before and After: The Living/Dining Room

Thursday, September 24, 2015

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I love before and after home posts. It's so great to see how people can take a dirty shell of a house and transform it into something that shows who they are in an instant. It's funny, because on TV shows it always looks like a magical journey, and once it's done everything is just right. In real life, rooms never look finished to me. But we've owned my house for about three-ish years now, and I've been living here for two, so I think it's time that I showed you a few before and after shots of our greatest accomplishment in 621: the living and dining room.

This is the living and dining the day we bought it. Scary flooring, paneling, horrible wallpaper and all. I forget how dark, dirty, and just plain unfinished it all looked. 

Progress photos! So much wall paper remover....
The wall in the last two photos was the project that just kept happening. At first it was just "let's see whats under the panel," but removing the paneling revealed more door frames and wall paper, which pealed away to reveal more wallpaper...we just kept stripping down layers until we got to the bottom of it. One step became two, then three, then many, and it often felt like we'd never finish. Eventually we got to the bottom and we started building back up again. We decided that it would add some charm to have french doors going into the room that wouldn't be used as a bedroom (it has the stairs to the upstairs in the far corner, so it would always have to be a sort of hallway). Drywall was put up, and moulding was re-installed, doors were sanded and painted, walls were sanded and painted... and eventually we were finished.

Of course by we I mean my AWESOME family who really pushed this whole project along. Offering their help and support and blood and sweat and tears to make this house lovely. Without them I'd be living in a house with four different colors on each wall and a floor that carpet had loved a little too much.

So... enough suspense... how does the room look now!? The answer is: wonderful. Light, cheery, full of the things Adam and I love. This is my chill space, and I love being in it. It's not perfect, but then again, I almost hope that it never will be. I always want to be able to change and re-arrange as my life does, and this room is no exception.

Blue was my obvious choice for the walls, because it's hands down my favorite color. I fretted over picking the right shade forever, and I'm really happy with my choice. It's bright and cheery without being overwhelming. The trim was another color we fretted over. The door, strangely, wasn't a hard decision at all. I love the idea of a bold door, and I think it adds a lot of personality to the house.

Video games are a huge part of both Adam and I's life, so we have quite a collection (mostly his). You can also see a little bit of Doctor Who art, and one of my own pieces that I have displayed. 

I love all the beautiful small details of this house, like the window and door knob above. There's something about details that really take it from a house to a home. I'm also really into that air plant, mainly because it's kinda hard to kill.

Another game collection, but this time its board games (mostly mine)! Also, I've got some of my favorite prints hanging up. Starting from the left, it's Carla Wyzgala, Nati, my sister, and the Linkin Park poster I talked about in this post.

The Fisher Price record player is Adams. We've got a tiny collection of vinyl right now, but we're always looking at thrift stores for things to add.

We have a window seat, which is much loved by both my cats and myself. All of the curtains in this room are just handkerchiefs that I've attached together and hung on tension rods. I knew before I moved in that this was an idea I wanted  to try, so I collected handkerchiefs and scarves at thrift stores for quite a while. Even now I can't resist buying a new one when I find a great pattern.

The pictures in the frame are from the photobooth at our wedding. The absinthe bottles are another one of Adam's collections, while all of the skull bar stuff is mine. The "It Comes in Pints?" shadowbox was a diy I made last year and is a nod to Lord of the Rings.

So that's our living room! One of the reasons I love doing posts like these is because it forces me to stop and appreciate how far we've come. While looking through these photos I've realized that my home really is a reflection of my husband and I.

The room isn't done yet, we still have a new to us table to put together, we need to get better chairs, look into armchairs, rearrange the dvds, the list goes on and on. But the room is changing and evolving, like I said earlier. And to me, that is perfect.

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Inspire Me: Blakely Little

Monday, September 21, 2015

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I first saw Blakely Little when she was interviewed by Glitter Guide, and I was instantly drawn to her outstanding use of color. Pinks, neons, chartreuse all collide in a messy sort of representational abstraction... resulting in paintings that are are everything I never knew I wanted. No, needed.

It's two month's later, and Blakely's art is still inspiring me in a big way. I just can't get over how it has the overall feel of Monet without feeling like it's too stuffy to be hung on my wall. Her style is intuitive and playful, getting across the idea of what's happening without hitting you in the face with it. Her love for the subject matter truly comes through with every brushstroke. I can't wait to see what she does in the future!

Blakely Little's Links:

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My (new) Healthy Lifestyle: Weeks Three and Four

Saturday, September 19, 2015

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Week three and four of this whole adventure were not pretty. I didn't feel well the first weekend, and the second the stress got the best of me. I didn't work out as much as I would have liked, and I might have eaten a whole batch of cookies by myself. 
Not a good start to two weeks out, but I think that mental health is just as important as physical, so I refuse to guilt myself just because I didn't follow my rules perfectly. There will always be bad days, and I will always make mistakes. So instead of focusing on that, I'll just let you know that I did a lot of other really cool things, like pulling out my guitar again and learning a few new songs, or starting a few really cool projects, or cleaning my house (whew- that's a workout by itself!), or hanging out with friends I haven't seen in a while. See, I feel better already!

I went on another walk at the beginning of the two weeks, trying to ease myself back into activity after a week and a half of nothing. Other than that, I've been having a hard time pushing myself out the door (maybe I need to set out some cute workout clothes before bed or something) so I looked up a few cardio videos on youtube and did them instead. We have a chromecast, and I use it to stream the videos onto my tv. It's really simple to use, and it sure beats trying to use my phone. Also, I get the joy of watching Odin freak out and try to catch the waving hands.

I did this 40 Minute Full Body Workout from Popsugar Fitness. It was great because the workout was broken into 10 minute segments that included cardio, strength, and stretches. I kinda wish there had been a little more cardio, but I will tell you that I was feelin it later that day. The instructors upbeat-ness was catching, and by the end of it all I was smiling. I definitely will be using this one again.

I also did POP Pilates for Beginners from blogilates (pictured above). This one was great because it showed the basic moves and pushed me to work out, but it was really easy to follow along with and totally felt do-able, which is sometimes a problem I get from these videos. I don't think I'll be using this particular video again, but it's more of because I feel like I've completed the challenge than I didn't like the video.  I love Cassey Ho (the woman behind blogilates) and have been following her stuff for a while, so I'm ready to move onto to the next challenge!

Remember how I said I ate a whole thing of cookies? So you can see that I don't have a lot of banner moments to share with you from this week. What I do have, though, is some tea that I've used to placate that sweet tooth of mine. 

This is Birthday Cake from DavidsTea. Yes, those are sprinkles in that tea. Yes, you can taste them. Yes, it is amazing. It's sweet and smells wonderful. I don't have much of it because it's a little pricey, so that makes each time I drink it even more special.

So that's been my last two weeks! Right after I finish this post  I'm going to write out my rules on a post it and sticking it next to my computer. I've got a few other tricks up my sleeve and hope to make the next two weeks something to be proud of. So, let's raise a water bottle to feeling good about little accomplishments, even if they weren't what you expected,  and to a healthy next couple of weeks!

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Wallpapers: Neon Paint Series

Thursday, September 17, 2015

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Every once in a while I need a break from my usual art. A few months ago I really just needed to paint a lot of neon stripes. I don't know... it was a phase. So now I've got a giant bright painting that I'm slowly turning into notebooks. Before I started cutting the painting into pieces, though, I took some pictures with the intention of turning them into wallpapers. I finally sat down and pieced some together, and of course I had to share!

I made a lot, way more than the ones pictured. It's kinda addictive! So be sure to check out all of them so you can pick your favorites.

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Happenings: Carnivals and Cake

Monday, September 14, 2015

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Hello hello!

First things first! My sister has survived the journey to England with only a few minor hiccups and embarrassing stories. It's been weird having to snapchat her only certain times of the day, but beyond that our family has adjusted to the change pretty well. Adam and I got our plan tickets last week, so I'm looking forward to seeing her and England next month!

As far as life on this side of the pond goes, I've been keeping pretty busy. I've been working on some commissions, getting settled into the school year routine at the library, teaching art lessons, and getting some projects done for the house. I've also dusted off my embarrassingly cheap electric guitar and have been trying to learn some songs in my down time. I promise I have bought a real capo, and don't plan to use a pencil for the rest of my life.

This past weekend was the highlight of our small town's fall - the Oktoberfest. It's basically a mini reunion for the town. They shut down the main streets for three days and put up huge event tents. There is brats and beer and carnival rides, and it's always a good time.

Also, last night we got out this bad boy, and you know what that means! (Does a happy little one year anniversary dance). I can't believe I've been married for a year. Like, I know its a super cliche thing to say, but sometimes it feels like it's only been a few months, other times it feels like it's been 10 years. In a good way, I promise.

And here's some of my favorite things right now:

I love the look of these necklaces from DYLANLEX paired with a old band tee. It might be a little over the top, but I think it's amazing.

It's time for me to buy a new purse, so I've been looking around a bit. Right now I'm into this one from Stash Co, this one from Madewell, and this one from Nine West. None of those are the perfect choice, though, so I'm going to keep looking.

This Han Solo Pop-Tart is one of the coolest toys I've ever seen. It's such a shame that it was a limited batch.

World of Warcraft: Legion is basically my video game dreams come true. I had been joking the day before the announcement that I hoped they would bring my very favorite (and very dead) bad guy back, and they totally are.

I've been trying to strum my way through Cold Blooded by the Pretty Reckless and Angel by Theory of a Deadman. It's been... well it probably sounds horrible, because I don't have a capo and my guitar is out of tune, but I think I'm getting the fingering correct, and that's what matters... right?

So that's whats up with me! How are you doin?

Have a great week!
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

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Remember that crazy time last year when I convinced everyone at my library that it would be a fun idea to host our own Comic Con? Well they must have forgotten just how crazy it was, because I managed to persuade them to do it again this year. But this time it was WAY bigger. Like new location bigger. And it was way better. Like, full schedule all day and a cosplay contest better!

Yeah, I wasn't kidding about the full schedule. We had decided last year that we wanted to make sure to have activities running constantly, so a person could potentially come at the beginning and have something to do all day. Panels seemed like a fun and sneakily educational way to fill some time, so I tried to pull in some people with experience to talk. Then, during one of our teen board meetings, the suggestion of a fandom meet-up was given a huge thumbs up, so we ended up using both ideas.

On top of the scheduled events we also had vendors set up upstairs, a place to get freebies (such as comics), an "active" area set up with 4-square and other various games, board games available for check out, a photo booth, and a room with movies running all day. We really wanted to make sure that no one was ever bored.

The panel room was led by one of our college kids. I had lined up the panelists beforehand, trying to make sure we had a big variety. One of our speakers had a family emergency come up the day before the con, so I had to think on my feet and ended up replacing him with our drama club's costuming genius (aka my mom, who has all the knowledge she needs for a cosplay panel). We had a few other speakers as well, including a photographer, a librarian (duh), and an amazing artist. We also had "superhero training" which basically consisted of an obstacle course and a huge game of ninja.
My sister took care of the fandom room. We had a prize set aside for each meet-up, and she also planned out a little game for every fandom (I totally wanted to play the Harry Potter one). This room was a huge hit, and so easy to put together. I think the kids just like a place to hang out with people who are into the same things as them. Wouldn't you? The biggest problem we had was that people wanted to be in two places at once! If we do it again we are going to try to alternate panels and meet-ups, keeping them at about thirty to forty-five minutes each. 
We tried to have a lot of vendors this year, which basically meant a lot of networking for me. I went to a few local cons and asked people from out of town to come and set up booths. Two people showed up (including a professional artist named Jeremiah Lambert), and I am forever grateful for the variety they added to the event. 
I asked people from in town to set up tables as well. We had a few local artists (some of the students from last year) and a few crafters (you can see their accessories in the picture above). The high school dance squad set up a bake sale, which was awesome when it came time for lunch.
We finished up our day with a cosplay contest. Just like last year, the amount of awesome cosplay we had blew my mind. How adorable is that Harley Quinn (first one, red skirt)? And that Annabeth Chase (from the Percy Jackson series, orange t-shirt) made me squeal out loud.  The winner of the contest was Grell from Black Butler (the one with the vest and the red hair). Her costume was so close to the reference, and you could tell she loved the character.

Final thoughts:

-Air conditioning is your best friend. Especially if you're hosting the event on August 1st. Even if it's nice outside, you'll be roasting inside. And that's not fun when you're dressed up in cosplay, which usually includes multiple layers. 

-You WILL dedicate hours to an event this massive. You will be at the venue the night before for hours, and be cleaning up for hours after the event is over. It's just how these things work.

-While normal PR is great (we sent out a PR packet to all the surrounding libraries, and got many excited responses), nothing beats word of mouth. I teach art lessons in a neighboring town, and I got multiple groups to come because I was able to explain in person just how awesome this event was going to be. If I were to do it again I'd love to take the time to go to the other libraries and hand deliver posters, just for the opportunity to talk up the event.

-Put a staff member in charge of every room. I did this, and let them know very early on what their responsibilities would be. For the actual day of the con I prepared a crate for each staff member including the materials they would need (signs, prizes, dvds, ect.), and gave them a letter at the beginning of the day that outlined their responsibilities and thanked them for being such seriously amazing people. Delegating like this took a lot of pressure off me, insuring that I could run around and make sure everything was running smoothly instead of being stuck in one room for extended periods of time.
Also, I had one person on staff that didn't have any set job. She would sub in for people so they could go eat lunch, speak at panels, or just enjoy the con in general.

-Have self-running activities. All we had to do for the board games or the active games was set out the supplies. They could figure it out from there. It was great for the down time. We also had a few places downstairs where people could create their own comics, or color their own cards (like Magic the Gathering). More than once I walked in the room to find a parent coloring while they waited for their child.

-And of course all of the tips from last year still apply. If this seems like too big of an event for you to take on, check out last year's post. Our event was much smaller, but just as fun!

So... in the end, was it worth it? 
YES. Definitely. 100% would do again.

If you have any questions about the event, or you were there and think I missed something really important, leave me a comment! I'd love to hear from you!

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Monday, September 7, 2015

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My (new) Healthy Lifestyle: Weeks One and Two

Friday, September 4, 2015

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the WHYs and the HOWs

My health story is the same as thousands of other people. Body positivity has been an issue of mine since junior high, and it’s never really gone away. I've always felt uncomfortable in my skin, I've just never done anything to improve it. My end goal of this adventure isn’t to look like a model. It’s to feel better about myself, and hopefully be able to complete some fitness goals, like running for more than 5 minutes at a time. (For outrunning the zombies, obviously.) I’ve started and stopped a bunch of times before, but all of my attempts have seemed half-baked. I do the workout part, but eat taco bell every night. Or I do the eating right part, but I’m not any more active than normal.  (Have you been through this, too?) I know in my gut that it isn’t right, but my self control is lacking, and that Volcano Burrito looks AMAZING. 

I’ve been following Bri’s fitness journey on DESIGNLOVEFEST, and her method of making a weekly post of what she’s done seems like something I would like to try. It feels weird because its so far out of my blogging comfort range, but I think checking in will be a good thing. It gives me motivation to think about what kind of workouts I can find and share, or how good that pretty picture I took on my walk would look on my blog. Plus it gives me a place where I have to own up to my mistakes, and hopefully that will help me think twice before breaking my rules.

The How’s: Rules (they’re more of guidelines, really…)
-Cook a healthy meal at home at least once a week. - I’m horrible at this. I’ve lived in this house for  two years now, and I think I’ve cook like… 5 full on healthy meals.
-Workout for 30 minutes every day. -This includes dancing, walking, running, yoga, or whatever else I feel like. But it has to be intentional. And sometimes (most of the time) it will mean waking up early. (blah…)
-Count calories. - I don’t mean it like I’m going to count my calories, and if I go over a certain number I’ll freak out and stop eating. I’ve just found that when I’m counting calories I’m more aware of what I’m putting into my stomach.
-Tea and Water are my best friends. - That’s pretty much self explanatory, but it goes hand in hand with my next rule which is…
-I can only have soda on special occasions. - If you know me personally, you know that energy drinks are my vice. (sometimes I feel like a very cliche gamer, haha) I know they’re bad for you, but it helps me focus, and it tastes really good (excuses, yeah?). I’m not going to cut them out completely, because I would be very grumpy about that, but I’m going to try to pick occasions a couple of weeks apart where I’m allowed to have them. Until then I’m going to be sucking down tea like it’ll save my life.

So that’s it. Five rules. Let's get started with week one!

You know... running is the worst. And the best. At the same time. Like, while it's happening you're pretty sure your legs are going to find a way to kill you in your sleep (if your lungs don't get there first), but you're also thinking about how you should do this every day because how great it would be to be able to run 15 minutes straight (one day...). I'd been trying to walk/run (lets be honest, at this point there is way more walking) every other day for pretty much all of August. It's nice, because around here we are surrounded by parks and preserves, so there's a whole bunch of nature and fun trails to enjoy. I alternate runalking (sweet word, right? no?) with yoga. Yoga is perfect for stretching out my calves of steel (well that's how they feel at least) and it has the add bonus of a little bit of strength training.
Then last Friday I came down with the flu. I had been pushing through some other stuff to get my workouts done (like minor wrist pain), but I took this as my body sayin "Dude... you need to let me repair a little bit." So I did. I took a break from workouts til I was sure I could at least breathe, then I eased back in with some awesome 10 minute yoga workouts. I'm still coughing and snotty as all get out, but at least I can do a downward dog pose!

Dang is eating healthy hard. Week one was a crap shoot. I'd eat well for lunch, have a great salad, then eat way too much at dinner. One day I drank a gallon of water. The next I drank none. And the soda rule? Out the window. I had soda every. Single. Day.
Week two I got better about the soda thing, but I also got sick, so I just tried to keep my body as nourished as possible.

I considered not posting this week, after the sickness and such, but I realized that I was waiting for a "perfect" set of weeks to start posting it was never going to happen. So here I am, showing of my first two imperfect weeks on my healthy journey. And you know what? I'm proud of myself. For getting out of my seat, for trying at all. It's 100% more than I was trying before, haha.

My challenge to myself is to keep updating for 6 weeks starting now (that's 3 more posts), and then we'll see where we go from there. Would you like to join me? How would you challenge yourself? Let me know, or share some links! I'd love to hear how your journey is going!
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etsy shop update

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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The most exciting things (I think) that I've added to my etsy shop recently are these vinyl stickers! They are all my favorite wild things, and are about 4-5 inches in length, so a pretty good size. They are laminated, so they are hopefully waterproof, but I haven't tested them yet (maybe I should?).

I've also added a ton more cards, including these "friendship" cards, and a listing for a package of five random hand-painted flower cards.

And I've added some original art, like this painting!

There's a lot more listed that I haven't featured here, so be sure to check it out if you're curious!

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