Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pretty Big Update

A lot has happened since I last blogged, or at least it feels like a lot happened. I've been killing myself over a digital painting for my portfolio, and while it's nearing completion, it still needs some work. Here's the painting as it stands now.

Value Study

Color Study

I'm pretty happy with out it turn out except nothing has any texture, since I still haven't figured out how to have texture and smooth gradations.

Moving on to less stressful and much more delicious subjects... I made the first pumpkin pie of the season a couple of weeks ago.

Delicious and from a can

Breakfast of champions

A few days later of friend of mine came over and had the sudden complusion to make butter since we had whipping cream in the house.

Mmm... butter

It's pretty simple and there are directions all over the internet on how to make home made butter. Pretty much put some whipping cream in a jar with a marble or two, seal the jar and shake the crap out of it. It took us about 20 minutes of shaking. The whipping cream separtes into buttermilk and butter. You drain the buttermilk off (we made pancakes with it the next morning), and squeeze all of the buttermilk out of the butter by pressing the butter to the sides of the bowl and rinsing the butter until there is no buttermilk left in the butter (left over buttermilk will turn sour and ruin the butter).  I wish I knew where she had found the instructions but I know that instructions are easy to find on the internet.

We decided to add some blackberry syrup from Copper Creek in to make our own blackberry butter

This stuff is heaven on toast and warm bread

Moving on from baking to things that arrive in the mail... I got my books from Canada! A couple of weeks ago I ordered a whole mess of books from the Labyrinth Store in Toronto. They had the rare art of Lilo and Stitch book that I've been dreaming of for almost a year. It's not available in the States for anything less than about $50 and the Labyrinth Store had it for nearly list price (about $26). Plus I was able to get a few of Chris Sanders' sketchbooks and an Art of Jack Cole book that appears to not have been released in the States accoring to Amazon.

The lovely loot

The wonderful Lilo and Stitch book

Other things that arrive in the mail recently? My new Intuos 4 Wacom tablet came just a few days ago (now I'm just bagging), and more fun dog costumes.

Caddie (Cadbury Cream, as in the Easter candy eggs) as a ketchupy hot dog

Picture of Caddie sans creepy glowing eyes

My mom found super cheap ($6 each) hot dog costumes on the Amazon. We got ketchup for Caddie and mustard for Bailey. I tried the costume on Bailey but didn't get a picture of her. I have this one instead!

Bailey (Bailey's Irish Cream; yes, all our dogs are named after food) in her little Snoopy/watermelon kimono I got for her in Japan

I'm looking forward to my birthday tomorrow and because this became so long, that's all for now!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rainbow Cupcakes

I was inspired by Erica's version of Rainbow Cupcakes over at Sweets and Hearts and on Friday night did some for myself. They turned out so cute and REALLY delicious. I didn't really use a recipe, just a box of Pillsbury Funfetti® Cake mix. It was the only white cake mix in the house, I didn't want to make something from scratch and I thought little blobs of color in rainbow cupcakes would be fun. I mixed the cake mix pretty much like normal; the only difference was that I undermixed it a little bit in the mixer because I would be stirring it more to add the coloring. After that I just divided the cake mix more or less evenly among more or less equally sized bowls and added in the food coloring. I think I'm also going to make the batter a little thinner next time so the layers spread out more evenly.

Red through Purple

The purple didn't turn out great and I think next time I'll just omitt it.

You can see the Funfetti® speckles really well in this picture


Blurry, but a good look at the colors

I frosted them with canned vanilla frosting and added some Rainbow sprinkles on top.

I don't know why but these tasted AMAZING! Maybe it was because I hadn't had white cake in so long.

It's officially declared to be the time of the year for pumpkin pie, so once there's room in the refridgerator, that's what I'll be baking up next; I already found a recipe I like in Better Homes and Gardens' New Cookbook. I also found a recipe for apple dumplings so that's next after pie and after I figure out a way to core apples with out an apple corer. If you've never had an apple dumpling I highly recommend them. I had some at Folk Life and they were amazing! Big apple wrapped up in pastry baked with sugar and served with ice cream? YUM!

Friday, September 18, 2009


The studio is finally finished enough that I can really get to work. There's still no plumbing and the bathroom isn't really anywhere near finished, but I've moved in a bunch of my stuff and got started on portfolio things.

We started the whole project at the beginning of the summer, but had to stop construction for a couple of family vacations (and dog emergencies). Here are some highlights from construction.

Future bathroom

That one wall for the bathroom was the only wall that we constructed the traditional way. Everything else was toenailed in.

I look like a serial murderer hiding bodies in the insulation.

Desk/watercolor area

Making changes to old painting

The solitary chair will soon be replaced by a futon

Seriously, bathroom, soon

The irony is that with all this finished, I've been working on a drawing in our house in the family room for the past few days.

I also I love my cute little dogs!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band

So I've been playing The Beatles Rock Band with my little brother all day and I have to say it's pretty awesome. There's not nearly as many songs as other Rock Bands or Guitar Heroes and you can actually "finish" the game in a few hours. And by finish, I mean play through all of the songs and get at least three stars. After that, though, there are still other goals to attain, such as getting 5 stars on all the songs, unlocking videos and photos and playing through each location's song as a continuous set. I also loved that "Star Power" is called "Beatles Mania". There's actually a setting too where you can set the audience to sound freaked out and scream realistically. The band members even "age" as you progress through the albums. Playing through the game to the end made me sad though, because the end of the game means they broke up.

The cut scenes from the game are my favorite aspect of the game. When you finish all the songs from one level and ascend to the next, there's a fun music video-type cut scene featuring a song from the next level. The intro and the outro movies are probably the two best (and longest).

Here's the link to the Intro at YouTube

I played the drums most of the day and got in touch with "my inner Ringo". At one point when my mom asked us to sign off to help paint the deck and I called back "You're breaking up the band, Yoko!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lava Cakes

I made chocolate lava cakes tonight for dinner/dessert, using this recipe. It looked pretty easy and straightforward and I liked that it used semi-sweet chocolate chips (which we still have an abundance of from the days of cookies-from-scratch). The only dry ingredients includes lots a sugar, some flour and a pinch of salt. It took about 30-40 minutes for prep and cooking time. If I knew the recipe better, it probably would have taken less time. I also realized in the process of cooking the cakes that my death-by-fat food of choice would have to be butter rolled in chocolate chips...


Unfortunately, I cooked them a little too long (14 minutes total, as opposed to the recommended 10-11) in my paranoid-ness. They had doughy not gooey centers, but still tasted delicious and still looked good. I ate two and beached myself on the couch to watch TV afterward.

The Studio space above the garage is finally in a mostly finished state, so I can get to work! Tomorrow is my day to really get started. I was thinking about making chocolate cupcakes from scratch, but it'll depend on how much I get done in the day. I'll post pictures of the space once I get the new futon in there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big Update!

A bunch of stuff happened since I last posted. I returned from Japan. It was amazing, fun and very different. Now that I'm home, I find myself missing some of the food, konbinis, and vending machines. The highlight of the trip was probably going to Disneyland and DisneySea (I've now been to 4 out of the 5 Disney parks in the world; Hong Kong, you will be mine). Within my visit to the Disney Parks the best part was probably seeing Mermaid Lagoon. It was everything I dreamed of as a child come to life.

I was brimming with excitement...

After coming back stateside, I acquired another orchid from Costco. $16 for a giant orchid including the pot? Yes, please...

I know that it is a phalaenopsis but so far, I haven't been able to figure out what variety.

The art studio above the garage is almost finished and as soon as it is, I'll be able to get in and get moving on working on my portfolio. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some stuff done soon and post it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mystery Project

I've been cleaning my room and organizing my stash of yarn the past few days and found a mysterious bag from Joanns filled with fabric and notations I remember purchasing but I don't remember for what project.

The contents suggest to me that the fabric might have been lining material or accent fabrics for a pencil/supplies case (and possibly a purse) that I wanted to make with some fabric that I purchased in Hawaii, but the color choices don't make sense to me. I also don't know why I got piping.

Finding forgotten project supplies is not as fun as finding forgotten money...

Anyways... I leave to go to Japan tomorrow for a week. My mom got a tiny netbook recently so I can hopefully use it to e-mail, do the facebook thing, and maybe post something here, chronicling my travels as they happen. I'm really excited for the trip, minus the 14 hours of travel time there and back. I also wish I had spent more time brushing up on my Japanese.

It's late for how early I have to get in the morning so BEDTIME!