Friday, October 31, 2008

le Carotte in his bandit costume

le Carotte in his bandit costume

le Carotte just had to show you his new bandit costume... Trick or Treat!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flashback Friday: Happy Halloween!


Here's a picture from my family album that I've always loved - I think that's my oldest brother on the far left - you can just see his cute smile behind his mask. Hope your day is spooky (but in the most fun way possible!) :)

Three Things Thursday: Coziness

1. green-apple, 2. bun-bun, 3. Living room

Each of these three photos bring me a feeling of happy coziness. I love October, as it is the very beginning of the cold, when the world is changing, the leaves are falling, and being warm in your coat brings a perfect feeling of coziness. The change in weather brings a rare desire to cook for me - tonight I made a chocolate rum cake and oodles of cupcakes. I'm never big on eating them - I just give them all away. My favorite part is the warm smell of the cake while it's cooking and licking the bowl, of course. :)

Wishing you coziness and happiness on this night before Halloween... and the next to last day of my blogging every day schedule! I've liked the schedule a whole lot more than I thought... it's really helped to focus my many thoughts. Thanks to everyone who has left encouraging comments, what a month it's been!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wardrobe Wednesday: Coats


I was trying to take a good photo of my new favorite coat and this happened instead. I believe in happy accidents. :)

Speaking of coats, I saw Penelope yesterday and thought it was so charming - but especially the set design and her wardrobe. At one point, she was wearing a purple coat with buttons of different sizes and colors all the way down, and I absolutely loved it. And I coveted her mary jane heels and tights. I also loved the beautiful interiors of her room, filled with old books, bugs, plants, and thread bobbins. I love films like this that create a fanciful, colorful, mysterious world my brain can live in for an hour.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tutorials Tuesday: Make a Color Image Black and White

before and after

I get this question A LOT by email, at Vintage Transfer Finds, and at Hoop Love, and I'm glad I finally found an easy, free way anyone can do this on Flickr.

Let's say you have a color scan or color photo of a vintage transfer and you want to make it black and white. Do you have to scan it all over again? Do you need Photoshop and a bunch of fancy image editing applications? Absolutely not! Instead, take advantage of the free editing options built into Flickr (using Picnik). For my example I used a color image I found in Hoop Love (thank you Lori, for adding it to the pool!)

How to Make a Color Scan or Color Photo Black and White
  1. In Flickr, click "Edit Photo" just above your photo (on the right hand side).

  2. When Picnik loads, click "Colors".

  3. Drag the Saturation bar as far left as possible (-100). Voila! Your picture should look like a grayscale image now.

  4. Now, to make your image black and white, Click "Exposure".

  5. Drag the Exposure and Contrast bars to the right until your image is a nice sharp black and white.

  6. Optional: Add Text! Click the Create tab, then click "Text" to add your name and any message you'd like to leave.

  7. Click Save (you can either save a new image or replace the old image in your Flickr stream). Here's the finished image: not bad for a free editor, eh?

I hope this quick tutorial was helpful! Later I may do a longer tutorial on how I scan my vintage transfers - it'll be more time-intensive since I use Photoshop for a lot of the steps.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mosaic Monday: Ghosts

1. Ghost*World, 2. Jenny S, 3. Halloween embroidery

Thank you so much for your movie suggestions! I love The Orphanage (so creepy!), The Devil's Backbone, Asian horror, and all Hitchcock. I haven't seen the Charlie Brown special in a long time... I'll have to look for that this week on TV. :) I love hearing about your Halloween traditions - keep them coming! I hope to watch the village Halloween parade (preferably on TV), a few scary films, and stay inside with some sweet treats and Mexican hot chocolate...

One of my favorite things to do as a child was listen to scary stories. I'm not sure if Hispanic culture was bigger on ghost stories than others, but we had TONS of stories / urban legends we'd whisper to each other at sleep overs. There was la Llorona, el Cucui, the goat man that haunted the bridge, the haunted train tracks, and midget mansion. What about you? Do all of you love ghost stories too? And, just because I'm curious, do any of you believe in ghosts? :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stitchy Saturday: Ghosts and Gouls

ghosts and ghouls

Stitched from free patterns by Annie Oakleaves. Am I the only one that craves a good, scary movie this time of year? Does anyone have any good suggestions? Hint: I am not big on gory films, but I am very hard to scare... :)

Oh, and here's a frequent problem I have with French knots, which at least ended up looking like a creepy hanging eyeball (perfect on a ghost):
unintentionally hanging eyeball

I'm so excited about Halloween this year! Are any of you going to any fun parties or events? Do any of you have any fun yearly Halloween rituals? Please let me know so I can live vicariously! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday: Tricycles

Me and my big brother, on our tricycles. I particularly love our unintentionally matching outfits... :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three Things Thursday: Indigo and Purples

1. A Child's Garden of Verses, 2. ~maive~, 3. little-yellow-hen

Lately I've been pulling out my hair putting together a site design. One of the most challenging things for me (aside from predicting how a site is going to look on 5,000 different screens and browsers) is color. So I've been creating little color chips in Photoshop of sites that inspire me, using the color picker to pick out little bits of loveliness. Using the same method I picked out colors from the 3 photos above...

3 palettes

And lastly, 3 things I saw that delighted me:

  1. A young man reading Pablo Neruda on the subway, near enough for me to eavesdrop and read snatches of beauty over his shoulder...
  2. A guy in a puffy parka just behind him, composing a rap out loud and saying to his friend, "I need pen and paper, I gotta write this s*** down!"
  3. Fat, fluffy sparrows hopping in the underbrush.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tips and Tutorials Tuesday: Lenses & Cameras

This great tutorial on Photojojo shows you how to fit manual lenses on digital SLR cameras.

I'm a total photography novice, but spending time on Flickr and playing with my point and shoot camera have really helped me improve. I've had 3 small point and shoots over the past 4 years, and have loved them all:

1. my first camera, 2. my boyfriend's camera (borrowed when I broke mine :), 3. my current camera

I've been thinking it might be time to finally upgrade to a DSLR, but I'm too cheap to shell out the big money for fancy lenses. Maybe that Photojojo tutorial will be just the push I need to get me going... :)

If you're on the hunt for a new digital camera, I recommend checking:

  • Steve's Digicams: They do really thorough reviews of digital cameras, with side-by-side comparisons of actual photos, and a detailed walkthrough of all the camera features.

  • CNET: I find their reviews to be a little less thorough, but still good, and sometimes they have a video overview of all the camera's features.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mosaic Monday: Turquoise-ish

1. blue-cow, 2. button 1, 3. Curtis, 4. Red Riding Hood Papercut :)

Lately I really have a thing for this turquoise-ish shade...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sketchy Sunday: Afloat

in a boat

A small idea for a painting I'm planning...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stitchy Saturday: Goldilocks and Stanley


So, thanks in no small part to your encouragement, I actually finished this little girl. There's a name underneath (which I blurred out) so it will still be a surprise for the person receiving it. One small embroidery down, 3 more to go! (Not counting the kajillion other projects I have on the back burner... :)

Speaking of the back burner, this flat fellow was finally finished today:
flat Stanley

I happily crafted him for 4 hours today, surrounded by mountains of felt, embroidery floss, fabric, color pencils, scissors and a hot iron.

I like his little face, which I've been brainstorming for weeks now...
his little face

His t-shirt is made of actual white t-shirt material (recycled), he's wearing real jeans and a turquoise felt scarf. I painstakingly embroidered the tiny black "I" and "NY", and sewed on a tiny red felt heart:

He's even sporting gray felt sneakers:

Whew! I'm just happy I can finally take him sightseeing! Hope you're all having a great weekend. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback Friday: Asleep

I'm the chubby baby and the beautiful woman is my mom. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Three Things Thursday: Red

Three red things courtesy of:
  1. ashley anna brown
  2. kittytown
  3. PS pics

A wonderful person I used to work with in Texas was killed on Monday. We had recently re-connected on Facebook and I looked forward to his daily status updates.

  1. I think of his family, his wife, and his friends.
  2. I think of the silly conversations we used to have at work.
  3. I think of the warm, genuine, caring person he was.

I know death is a part of life. I know violence is a part of life. But to see the two make an appearance in the life of those you know, those you care for... I apologize for this personal post, but this is so much on my mind. I will miss him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wardrobe Wednesday: Favorite Black Dress


One of the sad things about summer ending is having to put away my favorite black dress. There's something about the length and the shape which feels very doll-like, and I am absolutely in love with the pockets.

My favorite shoes to wear with this dress are white mary jane heels:

And my tweed flats:

What about you? What are you going to miss wearing most as the seasons change?

Since we're on the topic of wardrobe, check out this amazing set of photos: Thirteen Eighty-Five. She has a blog I've been following religiously, called The Snail and the Cyclops. All those amazing dresses will be in her Ebay or Etsy store (which I am absolutely not allowed to go near). But if you have self-control around vintage clothes, you should pay her a visit. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tips and Tutorials Tuesday: Threadbanger

Have you guys ever heard of Threadbanger? Ok, I was probably the last person to hear about these crafty peeps, but just in case you don't know about them, they're fun, they're awesome, their web segments crack me up and they make things look so easy.

Here's an Applique and Iron-On Transfer episode I found super-helpful:

Now granted, I haven't actually tried it yet, (it's yet another one of my 5,000 projects to complete) but I did buy fusible web right away and it's waiting patiently in my closet. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mosaic Monday: Sublime Newness

I had zero songs on the brain today, so I decided to do a mosaic instead of a mixtape. I definitely have the new Sublime Stitching patterns on the brain, but I have strictly told myself not to purchase new patterns until I make a few projects from the kajillions of Sublime patterns I already own. But looking at these patterns does make me want to cave...

1. Zombies 'n Monsters Embroidery Transfers, 2. Cute Little Heads Embroidery Transfers, 3. Michael Sieben Embroidery Transfers, 4. Handmade Nation Embroidery Transfers

By the way, those amazing zombie and monster heads? Stitched by my stitchy friend Amy, who is officially a stitching machine. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sketchy Sunday: 3 Sketches and Some Sketchiness

Ideas for a flat little individual I'll be taking sightseeing tomorrow:
flat Stanley ideas

Little thumbnails revealing my ambivalence on wearing cloaks: (I love them, they just don't look good on me)

Last, a sketch from church last Sunday:
church sketch

Speaking of church, I was a little amused to exit church this morning and just footsteps away, be stopped by 2 individuals intent on converting me to their religion. :) I was very curious about the doctrines the 2 young people were presenting. But not surprisingly, their talk was all about how their one way of looking at the world is right, and everyone else is wrong and hellbound. I'm always amazed at how people try to hard-sell God, and wonder, with a little amusement, what God would think of that...

Thanks to all of you who commented on my stitchy post yesterday! Thank you for your tips (Megan - you're gold!), and by the way, in answer to your questions, the girl is from a vintage Goldilocks pattern, and she's putting away a bowl of porridge. :) As for the hoops - I've had zero luck finding them online, but my local Michael's store has plenty. And yep, Rach and Gina, the fake woodgrain hoops don't keep the fabric extra-taut, but I like a little "give" while I'm stitching. Gina, I'm with you - the only time I seem to finish projects is when they are gifts on a deadline. Also Megan, I'm like you - I get bored when I'm almost done and tend to abandon my projects. :( And Claudia, Jess, and Rach, finding time is a real challenge for me, too. But I'm loving the daily schedule much more than I thought, thanks again for all of your words of encouragement!

Here's hoping nobody told you that you're hellbound today. :) And if you have a holiday tomorrow, I hope it's a wonderful one! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stitchy Saturday: In Progress and an Idea

in progress

Lately I've become fascinated with projects in hoops - I really like these fake wood-grain plastic hoops because they're so bendy, a bit kitschy, and easy to use. I have a kajillion little embroidery projects in progress - it's ridiculous. This is a bit of a secret project, but I thought I'd show the beginning here, since the person I'm sending it to will be surprised and not be expecting it anyway... I love being able to use my favorite colors on this one, but I'm not sure about the brown chair...

I also had a small monkey idea which I may or may not get going:

What about you? How do you guys stay inspired to finish your projects? I have so many ideas on the brain lately it's hard for me to finish!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flashback Friday: My blonde doll

my blonde doll

This pic should be familiar to you by now, but maybe you've never seen the whole thing? It's definitely a tribute to my mom that, as a 3 year old (?), she had me in such a pristine, combed, and neatly dressed state on Christmas morning with no doubt, a turkey in the oven, 6 children to feed, a house to clean and decorate, and presents to wrap.

When I first posted this pic a few years ago, I remembered how odd it was to grow up with dark hair and dark eyes and be surrounded by baby dolls with blonde hair and blue eyes. I remembered actually thinking something was wrong with my face as a pre-teen and teenager because, in looking through the fashion magazines and watching television, I never saw someone who looked like me. I'm so glad that our role models come in every color and ethnicity now.

Happy Friday to you all!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Three Things Thursday: Yellow Serendipity

These three photos were all sitting next to each other in my Flickr Contacts feed: I thoroughly believe in serendipity. Pics courtesy of my Flickr friends, lol-ita, kittytown, and shelly, respectively.

Wardrobe Wednesday: Time for Tweeds

The winter grays do give me the blahs, but somehow I'm attracted to grays of all kinds in my wardrobe. In particular, I've been eyeing a pair of gray shoes I want to buy... But what I love about fall and winter in New York are all the extra clothes I can wear - layering sweaters, tights, and lots of tweeds. Yes, those are even tweed shoes. :) I like to perk up the fuddy-duddy tweeds with an occasional crazy-colored bag, tights, or shoe.

What colors and patterns are you drawn to in your wardrobe? Also, what's your favorite season for your wardrobe - summer barely-there clothes or winter layers?

Tips and Tutorials Tuesday: Typography

Nifty typography collage of my delicious tags created by Wordle

That's right, I managed to fit 4 T's in the title of this post! Typography is a passion for me - having taken a Typography class and several graphic design classes, it's a continuing fascination. Just like when I look at crafts and amazing photos, I get this funny, tingly feeling of delight whenever I look at beautiful typography. I've even bought books just because I loved the typeface, and I have a creeping suspicion that I love books more when I love their typesetting....

In any case, creating beautiful Typography is challenging enough in print, but on the web it's a constant challenge. Don't believe me? Just try looking at your favorite sites in more than one browser (IE, Firefox, Safari, etc.) Or, if you're a PC user, look at that favorite site on a Mac (or vice versa). This beautiful site lets you browse blocks of text in different fonts (and tells you which are PC, Vista, and Mac compatible) and download the CSS code:

I love the new trend in web design that just lets the type speak for itself, and relies less on shiny gradients, tabs, and buttons. In keeping with that new trend, here are a few beautiful designer portfolio sites with amazing typography:

These were all found via the equally beautiful and inspiring Web Designer Wall. Also, if you love Typography, be sure to check out this blog, (fittingly named) I Love Typography. Do any of you love typography and/or know of any good type-ophile sites? And thanks to all of you giving me props on my October blogging resolution! :)

I know I am crazy, but I will blog every day nevertheless

like fire
A sunset I saw recently...

I must have inherited this trait from my sister - whenever I am most stressed, most taxed, and most at my wit's end in terms of getting things done, I find myself making illogical and elaborate plans for new projects. Are any of you like this?!

So, I've decided to try to blog every day for the remainder of the month of October. I know I'm crazy, but I have my reasons... Reason #1 is - I've always looked longingly at the blogs where people actually do daily posts, and wanted to try it. Reason #2 is - I've been feeling kind of down and uninspired lately - rather, I am inspired to begin things, I'm just having such a hard time finishing. Reason #3 is- you guys are all the best, and I'm hoping your comments will encourage me to move forward.

I'm giving my October posts a schedule, to make myself less crazy:
  • Mixtape Monday
  • Tips & Tutorials Tuesday
  • Wardrobe Wednesday
  • Three Things Thursday
  • Flashback Friday
  • Stitchy Saturday
  • Sketchy Sunday

Feel free to jump on board with me and do this challenge right along with me... I need all the encouragement I can get! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

le Carotte visits Montreal

Recently, le Carotte pointed out that I neglected to document a quick weekend trip he took to Montreal last month. And as you can see, there was a lot of silliness that went down in the park:

Yes, we really are that immature, and no, those people didn't really smell.

All goofiness aside, it was a fascinating place, I loved the mysterious underground world, the beautiful green landscape, the old buildings, the French signs. Everyone was very friendly, and had this charming way of speaking perfect French to you, then switching to English when you give them an open-mouthed look of confusion, never allowing that to change the pleasant smile on their face. I saw so many beautiful things that the challenge was, in such a short period of time - what to photograph, what signs to read, what places to visit...

I have a fascination with cathedrals, and I don't regret for one second that we paid 5 dollars to walk inside this one, Notre-Dame:
Notre-Dame Basilica

Yes, I did think it was odd that they charged admission, but it didn't at all stem the tide of tourists as there were hundreds of people inside, milling about and taking photographs.

Nevertheless there were still quiet spots in there:

I'm sure there are millions of photos of votive candles in the blogosphere, but somehow they never cease to fascinate:

There are so many cathedrals in Montreal! Seriously, as we drove back to the airport I counted no less than 20 elaborate steeples rising above the building tops, and we saw dozens on our walks. This amazing cathedral was the view from our window:

And here is a glimpse inside:

I'm always awe-struck when I see works like these - taking so much dedication, planning, and reflecting the will of an entire community...
looking up

That's about it for Montreal. I'm wondering if I should attempt the Blogtoberfest challenge (a post every day in October) as I know I will definitely fall off the wagon a few times. If, however, I do decide to do it, what would you like to see here? Stitching? New York pics? More about me? Let me know, as I'm in need of ideas! :)