Wednesday, March 31, 2010

She's Coming Here!!!

So Katie and I are pretty excited right now.  We just found out that Pioneer Woman is coming to Charlotte on May 7th!  Back before we were bloggers, we did something crazy, abandoned our husbands and homes and made the drive to Atlanta Georgia to see Ree Drummond in person and have her sign our cookbooks.  Now, normally this wouldn't be crazy, it's a road trip, but the thing was the timing:

3:00 pm - I pick up Katie at her house and we leave Charlotte
7:00 pm - We arrived in Atlanta only to find out the signing started an hour early
7:00 - 10:30 pm - Stood in line with some awesome and equally obsessed people waiting to have our cookbooks signed
11:00 pm - left Atlanta for our 4 hour drive home
3:00 am - Arrive back at Katie's house safely to drop her off
4:00 am - In bed, ready to sleep

All for this.
Pretty much anyone I tell this story to thinks I'm crazy, unless they're fellow food blog lovers.  I'm not usually a book signing type person.  I love books, but I'm happy enough having the words or information of the author, I don't need a personal message and autograph to go along with it.  But after reading The Pioneer Woman's blog and realizing our common interests, I was really excited about going to meet her.

My first hook was the food blogging.  She takes the most beautiful photos of what she cooks, and goes step by step, usually with no less than 25 photos to a recipe, start to finish.  She also took all of her own photographs for her cookbook, which is just beautiful.

But in further reading, I also love her photography section, and have learned a lot about photography and post processing in photoshop.  The home and garden section is great too, since I'm an interior designer, and love gardening, and pretty much all things home and garden.  Her Confessions section, while I can't relate, since my suburban home is nothing like a cattle ranch, is hysterical.  And, I don't have kids, so the Homeschooling section is entertaining at best, but not very useful for me personally.  Four out of five is pretty good though.

Overall, it was a great adventure, and now Ree's cookbook has found a place of honor on the most important bookshelf in my home -

More important than that autograph, it was a great adventure with Katie doing something we never expected to do!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Original Gift Idea?

I've been invited to a baby shower this weekend, and that has prompted me to be on the lookout for good baby gifts this week. I love my traditional duckie gift card to Target, but being a crafter that likes to torture myself with terrible deadlines, I'm feeling prompted to handmake a custom gift for this particular friend. In my perusing of tutorials and handmade gifts for baby showers, I feel like I come across the same things over and over again, and they're starting to feel over done. In the South, embroidered and/or monogrammed gifts seem to be a favorite, but this baby boy's name is to remain a secret for a couple months more, so that idea is out. Being an obsessive compulsive designer/daughter of a contractor, I love things that are pretty, and they're 100% better if they're functional, so I'm pretty excited about this idea I found today.

This is a tutorial for a portable fabric high chair that will strap a child to almost any kitchen or dining room chair, yet folds up small enough to fit in a diaper bag. Now after watching Katie with her beasties, I can imagine that any one less giant thing to carry would be a huge relief for any parent, and being able to divest of that giant plastic booster seat would probably be as exciting as no longer needing to carry a diaper bag


Or This?

So, to add to my list of gifts I shouldn't try to sew four days before a baby shower, The Portable Fabric High Chair from This Mama Makes Stuff.

So there's no telling if I'll actually attempt this before Sunday or not, but at some point, I WILL make one for a gift because it's so clever, and not over done. When I do, expect frustrated posts, and pictures of course!

Monday, March 22, 2010

HaPpY bIrThDaY tO mE!!!!!

So I'm approaching the big 32- a number that's much more daunting then 31- but I'm ok with that. For my birthday I was lusting after an embroidery program for my beloved machine and my wonderful hubby delivered! He let me pick it up a little early (my b-day is on the 29th, I got the program last week.) I've been having fun playing with it and I'm so excited that I'm finally able to do what I've always wanted to do- combine fonts, play with embroidery designs, design appliques...I'm a nerd, but I'm ok with that. I've made a few things so far with my new gift and I have tons planned- I just need a surface to embroider it on! My husband and I joked that I was going to take all of his work pants and embroider "juicy" across the bottom. Quite a visual, I know. Anyway- I'll post my creations as soon as I take pictures of them. They include appliqued shirts for the girlies, monogrammed bookmarks for 3 of my good friends, and an appliqued ballet leotard that got a stain on the front (I needed to cover it somehow!) On my list of things to create include a monogrammed yoga bag, appliqued shirts for my friends little girls, cup liners for sippy cups, among anything else I can get my hands on. It's a sickness, I tell you. But I'm ok with that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Instant Gratification

I think one of the reasons I love photography, is because of the instant gratification of creating a piece of art. I also paint, draw, and have worked with clay before, but those can be painfully slow for me. I have a tendency to get frustrated knowing that with my schedule, a painting very well could take a month or more, and at the end of it I might not even be happy with the result.

I got my first film SLR camera when I was 15, and promptly enrolled in a summer photography class at the Cleveland Institue of Art. Class was for 4 hours a day on weekdays for a month, and I LOVED it. We would spend an hour or two first thing going out and shooting, and then would head back to the classroom to develop our film in the dark rooms. The following day, we would take our dry, developed film and head back into the dark room to develop our photographs, playing with chemicals and dodging and burning to get just the right exposure onto our final product. It was a huge eye-opener when I discovered how quickly I could get from seeing something I wanted to capture, to having a finished product that could go in a frame.

Now with Digital Photography, that process is even faster. I do miss the dark rooms and developing my film to see what was coming out of my camera, and the delicacy of developing a photo without an undo button (and that Ilford paper isn't cheap), but I love my Photoshop, and the endless possibilities of what I can do with my pictures, all for the cost of my time. One of my most recent experiments is almost like a giclee, but I used colored pencils to overlay a photograph instead of oils or acrylics.

I was able to take this photograph from my trip to Naples, FL

and turn it into this.

I almost don't want to admit how easy this was. First, I brought my photograph into Photoshop, then reduced the opacity to about 50%, and then printed it. With the opacity turned down halfway, the color wasn't as strong and saturated on the print, and made it easy for me to go over it with colored pencil, color matching as I went.
I won't lie, I do have almost 150 colored pencils, so this probably wouldn't be a job for the trusty 12 pack of Crayolas, but it was immensly easier than looking at the photo, sketching it and trying to color it in. After a semi-decent sunset photograph and 3 or 4 hours with my colored pencils, I have a finished product that looks more like artwork than photography!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Putting it out there

Ok- so I'm putting this out there- I want to learn how to quilt. Everything about me and the type of crafter I am screams "non-quilter!!" I don't like to measure things...I'm an "eyeball it" kinda girl. Nothing about me says precision. I don't "do" patterns either...I hate them with a passion...I bought one a few months back and I opened it and proceeded to toss it behind me. I like tutorials online (hence by deep, burning love for So back to quilting- I look at it as being kinda like Romeo and Juliet- we admire eachother from afar but know we can never be together. Ok- so a little dramatic, but that's how I roll. Anywho- I'm putting it out there- I want to make a quilt...a pretty one...a big one (a doll sized one doesn't count...) Ok- now I'm scared...

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