Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer's Sunday Selections- Fantastic Lights!

After you’ve organized all of your stuff, you still need to be able to find it, and that might require some great lighting.   A couple lighting pieces really caught my eye this week, and I wanted to share them with you.  Fun, funky and functional lighting can generate inspiration as well as help you find things in your newly organized spaces.  And now, on to the selections!

A Japanese Shoji (rice paper) lamp.  I love the classic asian stylings!

Pink Blooming Tree Table Lamp

Sometimes you need to find your stuff at night too.  This
Eams Era Tea  Cup Night Light can help.

Upcycled Globe Lamp... Love it!

This shop has tons of lamps made from wine bottles, how cool is that?

This lamp is just too neat!  Its a Custom Rice Paper Lamp.

Matte White Origami Hanging Latern

And lastly, something a little more retro.  This is a Mid Century
 Eyeball Expandable Underwriters Lam
And that’s it for today’s selections!  There will be more next week.

As a side note… I was mildly amused by all of the listings that had misspelled lightening as lighting.  I can’t be too amused though, I’m sure I make those kind mistakes all the time.  

*Update from last week's Sunday Selections*
Last week, I mentioned a cube shelf that I really wanted to replace my ugly wire rack as a crafting storage unit.  Well, my husband totally surprised me with it on Friday!   He was out at the school, doing teachery things, and he even called me and texted what he was doing along the way home, (I had asked him to pick up a couple of things at a different store) just to throw me off.  I was so excited when he brought it through the door, that I built the whole thing by myself in about 20 minutes.  I don't have any pictures yet, since I still need to "build" the baskets for it.  It looks kind of messy right now. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Idea for A Fun, Simple, and Inexpensive Placemat

I'll admit it, this idea came to me when I bored at my desk the other day.  I was eating my lunch and surfing the nets when I looked down and saw the scratches and wear spots under my soup bowl.  I know my desk is no piece of artwork (its cheap and functional), but the signs of my habit of eating in front of the computer  were just so obvious.  So, I starting thinking... I need a placemat!  A regular one wouldn't work though, I needed a smaller one, to fit in front of my keyboard.

While moving over to my sewing table, I remembered the massive amounts of craft felt I had stored away in the closet.  I decided I wanted to use it since the idea was already brewing.  I was imagining a light grey cloud appliqued on to a layer of dark grey.  I didn't want the applique to show on the back, so it would probably need another layer of dark grey.  

So, I dragged the felt out of the back corner of the closet and started free-handing (or free-scissoring, as it were) a cloud out of the light grey.  I then cut out 2 10in x 7in rectangles from the dark grey.  I zigzag stitched the cloud to the first piece of dark grey felt.  I used the largest zig zag stitch my machine has, and left the stitches spaced out since I like the look of the obvious threads.  After I did that I decided that my little cloud had an expression that I needed to bring out, so I got out a fabric marker and some thread and stitched a chibi little face on him.  It has a multipurpose expression... Maybe he's hot from the toasty food, or maybe he's getting ready to blow on it, or maybe he has cloud-stipation.  Thats up to the viewer!

Then, for the finishing touches, I got out the serger  to overlock the edges of the two pieces of dark grey felt together.  Like with the zigzagging of the cloud, I wanted the threads to be obvious, so I used a wide 4-thread overlock stitch and white thread.  Zip, zip, zip, zip, and Cloudy McPlacemat was born!

Cloudy McPlacemat, minutes after birth.
I think this would be a great general idea for anyone looking to make inexpensive (craft felt is cheap... regular price is something like $4-5 per yard of 70 inch wide felt) and cute placemats.  Of course the size can be changed for regular table-eaters placemats, or left small for us desk-eaters, or children.  You could cut out any kind of character you want for top.  And you can easily finish them without a serger, since felt doesn't ravel.  You would just need to stitch around the outside with whatever stitch you like the look of, be that a regular straight stitch or something more fancy.
Cloudy's first big job, yesterday's dinner.
I think he wanted to eat my dinner tonight... I don't blame him, it was tasty!
I'm considering making some to sell, what do you guys think?  Would you buy/use placemats like this?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Vacation, From LA to San Francisco Part Two

San Francisco Day Three: Golden Gate Park
Day three was spent at Golden Gate Park, home of the California Academy of Sciences (pictured here), the Japanese Tea Garden, and the San Francisco Art Museum, among other things.  The Academy of Sciences was our first stop.

It has a giant glass dome with a rainforest inside!  If you look close, you can see some butterflies flying around.

They had lots of animals in the rainforest exhibit.  I liked the colors on this snake.

This guy was just huge.  He's getting ready to shed his skin.  You can tell because his eye is grey, that means the scales are coming loose (they have scales over there eyes in lue of eye lids).
I'm pretty sure this is the biggest toad I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, his scale is hard to tell from the photo.
I liked the look of this little gecko's eyes.  Those guys can stick to anything!
The brown gecko's friend, who was much brighter. 
After we toured the rainforest, we went down to the aquarium part.  Since it was quite dark, I wasn't able to get many good pictures.  But here's one of me and a coral reef!
These jellies were completely clear, so they had colored lights shining on them.  It was so cool!
More jellies!

This is a cowfish.  His scales are completely fused into a box so that only his mouth, eyes and fins can move.

I never could get this one into focus, but it was so colorful I just had to add him in here.  The chubby purple guy is a sea slug.
Just a couple of electric eels, ya know, hanging out.  

This is the roof of the Science Academy!  It's a 'green roof'.  They say that it saves them a lot on heating/cooling costs, and it looks pretty neat.  This was last of the decent/interesting pictures from the Science Academy.

Next, we headed over to the Japanese Tea Gardens.  They were so amazing, I took almost 100 pictures in there.  This is the entrance gate.  Most of these pictures are just gorgeous, so I'll let them do the talking.

This has to be the coolest bridge I've ever walked on.

We ended our trip to the Tea Garden by actually getting some sencha tea and dango with sweet soy sauce.  It was amazingly delicious.   The rest of the day was spent trying to decide where to go for dinner, and then hitting the hay early for the 6.5 hour drive back to LA.

Our last picture in San Francisco... We drove down the curvy part of Lombard Street!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Vacation, From LA to San Francisco Part One

Photos, photos photos!  Thats what this post is all about.  I'll let the photos and their captions tell the story of our vacation.  A little bit of background first... We live in Yuma, Arizona.  Which I like to think of as the butt of the country, for many reasons.  Least of which is the geographic location.  Also, its hot.  Really hot.  So, that lead us to the decision to make a trek up to San Francisco, where it is not hot.  My hubby's parents live north of Los Angeles, making it a great setting off point.  Now on to the pictures!

Can you believe I've been around LA for 3 years and this is the first time
I've been to City Walk?  The Chinese Theater was so cool, and also crowded.

Yep, I'm a trekkie nerd... I just had to get a picture of the cast of TOS Star Trek's
 square.  Too bad there were too many people around to get a good, full shot of it.
Pismo Beach
The next stop after LA was at Pismo Beach.  This is me standing at the end of the Pier.   Pismo was pretty uneventful, although I did have some tasty buffalo style fried clams.  (And yes, I made that fab bag, I loved it so much I had to keep it for myself)

I thought this was a lovely scenery shot of the beach from the end of the pier.  The only other thing of note from Pismo is that I got an awesome comfy dress for $20 at the outlet mall there.

San Francisco Day One:
The first thing we did after finding our hotel and nabbing a parking spot was walk to Ghirardelli Square.  This fountain is right in the middle and it is so picturesque!   
Then we found Cellar 360, a wine bar right at the back of the square.  I decided to try my first ever wine tasting.  It was awesome!  I learned a little bit, and enjoyed some great wines over a full spectrum, from a sweet white, to a blush, to a "hardcore" red.  The cheese was necessary for the reds.  I don't think I could have drank them without it.  But it was a taste I think I could acquire, given the chance.  I got to keep the cheese board too!  Oh, and our wine pourer was super nice.  I highly recommend checking this place out, if you're ever in the area.

I know its a huge attraction, but this is about as close to Alcatraz as we got.  Would you believe this picture is taken from the Cellar 360 window?

This is the San Francisco skyline, as viewed from a Rocketboat.  This was probably the most exciting part of the whole trip.  The boat was basically a huge speed boat, going up to about 45 knots.  We did twists and turns in the water and our hair got all messed up.  It was awesome.
A funny store front from Pier 39.  We ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, and then headed back to the hotel for bed.
San Francisco Day 2:
Day 2 was Asian Stuff Day.  We went to the Asian Art museum, which was amazing.  We even managed to get up and navigate the buses to be there right as it opened.
This was really cool buddha statue from the museum, I loved how the colors were so bright.  We weren't allowed to take very many pictures, and a lot of the ones we did take didn't turn out very well.
This wall of jade was so cool!  They had a whole room devoted to jade objects.  When we were done looking around, we had lunch in the cafe of the museum.  Unfortunately, it wasn't very good, but we made up for it in Chinatown...
The south Chinatown Gate.  I didn't get many pictures in Chinatown because we were too busy shopping and then getting lost on the way to a restaurant I had scoped out online that offered Sze Chuan style hot pot.  I did pick up quite a haul of Japanese gummy candies and Hello Panda cookies.
Me and my hot pot.  This must be the most delicious style of food known to man.  I was even able to get a soup base that had real Szechuan peppercorns in it.   It wasn't quiet the same style of hot pot that I was used to from my favorite restaurant in the Chi-town Chinatown, but it was good.
After Chinatown, we also went to Ripley's Believe It or Not and the Boudin Bakery (for some real San Fran Sourdough!) but we forgot the camera at the hotel.  I'm going to end this post here, since day 3 was a nonstop photo-op, and I have tons of pictures to share!