I don’t always eat your food out of stress, but when I do…

It’s true, I’m not that great of a blogger. I get easily distracted, I tend to start something and not finish it, I find something more exciting, or I’ll just get a fantastic idea, then it’ll will just totally die on me like a dried up earthworm on your sidewalk in the middle of the summer.

Image stolen from here: http://www.itlookslikeitsopen.com/2011/07/catch-worm-man.html

The Horror!

However, today, I’m looking forward to things. For one, it is the Gregorian calendar’s official first day of spring. Granted, in Pittsburgh, it’s still in the 30s and will probably snow later, but the SUN IS OUT! There is a blue sky! It’s nice to look at from the inside of your warmer home… Anyways, with spring in mind, I’m looking forward to many things this year, such as:

1) Farmer’s Markets

2) Attempts of small gardening (I’m talking little cups on the windowsill)

3) Bike riding (Haven’t done this in over 10 years)

4) Zoo (Haven’t been to the zoo since I was in high school!)

5) Arts Festivals (technically the big one in Pittsburgh isn’t until June, but I’m still excited!

6) BEING OUTSIDE WITH NO WINTER COAT, SCARF, AND GLOVES

Isn’t this exciting?! April better start picking up the pace here and giving us some temperatures above the 50/60 degree mark, along with some flowers and bright colors to look at. Nobody wants this winter weather nonsense anymore, yeah?

(I was going to post a “winter blues” picture, but most of the searches led to odd, anime-styled fanart and babies. My point wasn’t going to get across.)

In other news, I shall be going to Boston for the first time in my life this weekend. Am I totally stoked? Yes. Granted, I do have to spend one day at the PAX convention (the manfriend’s biggest excitement: This is what I’m talking about). I’m not super knowledgeable about video games (I tried playing a demo of Dead Space 3, and the manfriend had to hold the controller with me in my hands and push the right buttons for me; I got so stressed out, I started eating his pizza.)

Image stolen from here: http://gifatron.com/tag/crying-while-eating/

Tears. Food. Swings. This is usually how I react.

The other days can be spent sight seeing, but I’m pretty sure everything we do will be pretty awesome. It’s gonna get weird.

Image borrowed from here: http://www.braco.net/boston-massachusetts

Look at the strikingly beautiful city.

As for the actual PAX, who knows. It’ll be nerdy and creepy, I’m sure. There will be a lot of loud noises, flashy lights, excellent & terrible cosplay, hot girls that never touched a controller in her life, and probably these guys:

Image

This guy knows what he’s doing

I’m feeling pretty good about life this year though. Even if everything doesn’t work out completely, I’m confident that things WILL come together in the end. There’s something else happening today, but I’m not going to talk about it until I get a result out of it. I try not to be all superstitious, but I’m always afraid I’ll jinx myself. Either way, I’m staying confident and keeping my head up.

‘Til the next time, kids!

The Space

I’ve been working on the same easy project for months because either one, I didn’t have enough time to finish it in one go, or two, I was just simply never home. I live in a duplex with another friend and since my bedroom is entirely too small for me to do anything in it, I decided to make use of the basement by transforming it into a craft work station. Since it’s an older home with very little upkeep, there isn’t a whole lot I can do to begin with without having to spend money on things I obviously wouldn’t get to keep (since I’m renting), I decided to just work with what I had on hand.

When I first encountered this to do business

When I first encountered this to do business

P.S. All pictures are pretty awful. I have an iPhone with a slight mark in the camera lens, bear with me.

There are a set of poorly done shelves against the wall, which aren’t really fixable unless I take the whole thing apart and rebuild it, which in reality, if I hopefully only stay in this place for one more year, it’s not really worth the trouble. It does hold my crafts supplies and other materials well enough though, since I don’t have anything particularly heavy. I did start repainting the shelves with the paint that was already there, just to make it bearable to look at. There is an additional cupboard in the back-end of the section, which I will also repaint when it’s not negative degrees down there (C’mon spring!)

This is the up close, painted versus awful

This is the up close, painted versus awful

On top of all that, I got some free rugs from the boy, who had them leftover, and I got a sturdy small desk for $5 at the Construction Junction warehouse! All in all, working with what I had on hand has been going pretty smoothly for an amateur work station and definitely gives me better ideas for future spaces when I move. The best and worst part of what I ended up doing the desk made me ridiculously happy, and other people weren’t impressed. I came across some Hard Cover Mod Podge that is used for furniture, and decided ‘Why not just redo the surface of the desk with book pages and color pictures of inspirational things?’ I got some super cheap old books for a couple bucks at the PGH Creative Reuse Center and begun my project by tearing out pages after pages of things I liked.

Rip, rip, glue, rip

Rip, rip, glue, rip

This part took the longest because to apply the Mod Podge, it was recommended to do at least 5 layers with a 15-20 min break between each, wiped, sandpaper with super fine grit, wipe again, steel wool down, and wipe again. I finally did all of this last night, and it did take me a few hours to finish it up (as well as finishing BBC’s The Office Xmas special so I could move on with my life past Tim and Dawn). I’m pretty satisfied with the end results, especially for my first real desk I was able to play around with. Obviously in the future, I will look into getting a better looking one that has drawers, but I foresee this desk having a special place in my heart for quite some time.

Vintage finished Up close

 

I look forward to seeing what creations come out of this.

Aside

How to make a Watermelon Serving Bowl

Baaaahhh, summer is here and I want to eat this!! Nom!! (Apologies for the lack of posting, it’s move in week for me!)

Strawberry Pepper

Summer’s coming! Well for those of us living in the non-temperate Northern Hemisphere it is anyway. And with summer comes the bountiful fresh fruit and frequent summer barbecues. Usually when I go to a barbeque I’ll like to bring some sort of dish with substance, to show off the homemade veggie burgers and quiches, but sometimes, you just gotta be lazy. Let someone else do that work for you.

When that happens my go-to dish is often a fruit salad. Because they’re delicious and healthy and there’s almost nothing better than fresh fruit! And it’s really something you can’t have too much of.

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Requirements: Zero Thinking

The majority of my friends are technologically/media-inclined, which I’m obviously okay with, but that gives me a severe lack of people who would want to be crafty with me. I’m typically the ‘art-sy’ one; I like to write, I like to draw, I like to create stuff, I like to read stuff for ideas, I like to stand outside and admire trees (well… not really… I mean, I’ve looked at trees, but I’m not admiring, really…). It’s not that other people I spent my time with didn’t, it’s the level of interest that was different.

Insert sad face.

I’m sort of in this transition phase where I’m essentially rebelling against watching television; however, it’s not out of spite or some sort of offensive imagery I may have come across (I mean, I have seen some… but I saw more through the INTERWEBS LULZ), it’s just simply to get me to do other things. It’s a ‘What do I do if my television broke or it was stolen?‘ sort of game I enforce on myself every day. It did help me discover a little more of the blog world and the increasingly popular DIY projects trend I see coming along (and love, love! I want to make so much of the stuff I see almost every day), so I’m hoping that the ideas I come across will both motivate and inspire me to do more with my life.

I did have one night of art fun though, which made me super happy and hope to do it again soon. Myself and a couple of friends got together and decided to do a Round Robin version of painting a canvas. Basically, we played some dance/techno music in the background and when the song ended, we switched canvases and continued painting. The starting point and the end results were pretty drastic, but they actually turned out pretty awesome! It’s definitely a fun indoor (although there’s no reason why you can’t do it outside too!) activity for any age.

Gather your items…

We used basic painting supplies: An array of brushes, a multitude of acrylic paint in many shades, a bucket of water, and many paper towels.  The purpose of this is to just start painting with no real clear idea or thought in mind. Just put that brush on the board and let your hands move wherever.

Drinks optional… what kind is also optional…

I will mention that Shiner is one of my favorite beers to drink.

Music starts… and go!

The first painting I did was actually the one with the multi-colored swirls before passing it over. Round shapes are easier for me to etch out than straight edges… I couldn’t tell you why though.

Second song! Quick, switch!

This painting in the front looks nothing like its end result. However, that’s the awesome beauty (ugliness?) of Round Robin. You just really don’t know what to expect.

Next song! AHH!

Technically this picture is from Instagram (username: shaylross :)). As you can see, I was actually doing different photo edits for all these pictures through Picasa (except the Instagram one) because I’m not very good with Photoshop and general picture-taking. Forgive me for my lack of photographic artistic abilities.

One participant chose to observe instead

If we weren’t concerned about the mess and the overall toxicity of the paint, one of us thought about dipping the kitten’s paws in paint and printing them on to the canvas. However, we decided against it because we like cats and somewhat clean apartments.

What number song is this? I lost track, too much paint… ugghh…

See how the left painting has weird prints? I accidentally dropped a pretzel I was trying to munch onto a blob of paint and it was a sudden genius idea to make pretzels stamps on the canvas. Accidents create beauty… or just paint marks shaped like pretzels. Ha!

Step back and admire/cringe at the masterpieces/work of destruction.

The end results are not what you expect. You’re not allowed to tell others what to keep on the canvas nor do you have to follow any sort of pattern on the canvas in front of you. I’m so happy to get back into art again.

Do you guys have any fun art projects or stories to share? Thanks for stopping by!

Epic Struggles of Choosing a Book

New post update from the other blog! 🙂 Please read and share your thoughts if you would like. Thanks!

Scenes from a Book Nerd's Happenings

Upon finishing one of the biggest books in the past year, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I know, I’m way behind on the times here) and now finally picking up The Hunger Games (double fail on the upkeep) to give it a try, I realized how poorly I have been doing with my reading list. According to my horribly incomplete Goodreads account (I honestly tried to think of every single book I’ve read in my life, but it’s impossible to find them all), I have about 70 books under the To-Read shelf. However, that’s just a starting point because I just rediscovered my account on there recently, so I’ve been in an ongoing, non-stop process of updating it. Add that with my job in the library… if I remember to keep up with it, it’s going to get blown to pieces with all the books I come across.

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Father Time Is Here to Beat You.

Time.

Time is something that I realize will continue weighing heavily on my mind for the rest of my life, starting after I graduated from college two years ago. I always seem to find myself speaking with the starting phrase, ‘Back when I was… (insert place, age, reflective memory, etc)’ in response to another person’s story. Honestly, I don’t even think about it when I’m saying it either.

For example, with my part-time (the other job), there’s a younger girl there who was talking about how excited she was to start college this coming fall. I immediately got excited because college was such a fun experience with so many happy memories for me; I started my response (again, without really thinking about) as, “Oh, I remember back to my first semester at college!” and carried on with some of my personal advice on how to keep your head afloat and don’t do dumb stuff, but you probably should accomplish some dumb stuff so you’re aware that it’s dumb.

Drinking 3 beers with 10+% alcohol content is sometimes dumb. Especially alone. While your companion drinks one beer that’s 5%. Jerk.

In the midst of my reflective ramble, I suddenly realized that I was speaking of an event (leaving for college) that happened almost six years ago. To some people, I understand this may not seem like a long time, but someone like myself… it’s a little rough, haha. As I steadily cruise through my 20s, I understand that I’m in a crucial period of making it or breaking it. Of course, anyone can make any changes they want at any point of time in their lives, but let’s face it: You run through elementary and high school like it’s nothing major, jump in the college boat for a couple of years to grab a degree in something, and then once you get off the boat into a ‘New World’… suddenly, you’re actually truly, positively on your own.

Dinner will be waffles! With nutella! And strawberries and bananas! This is what adults eat, right? RIGHT?!

In the past couple years, I learned how to not only take on all mandatory and extra forms of responsibilities, but also how to create myself into the type of person I really would like to be as I continue to age. This is your chance to be the person you want to be, you just have to do what it takes to get it. Everything worth having usually takes some effort on both sides to make it work. I wanted to work in a library real bad but had zero experience, so I decided to volunteer while working two jobs and finally score a job in the midst of that, allowing myself to replace one of the jobs. Just recently, I was upgraded into a better position at a separate branch with much more responsibilities and as well as room to continue learning more. This ordeal took about a year, which might seem fast for some, but it definitely took a lot of effort and networking on my part to get where I am right now.

I also grew my hair long, drastically updated my wardrobe (still a continued process), lost some of that good ol’ college beer gut, switched into a healthy, slight organic vegetarian diet, and finally got myself to read, blog, and draw! I feel much more like myself and who I have wanted to be now than I have in a very long time.

Love, happiness, and Battleship

However, back to the time and age issue. The reason this cropped up into my mind today was because of a certain website called Buzzfeed. If you are not familiar with this media website, it’s essentially a social content website with various posts on… well, anything! Like, Dogs that Look like Pandas, Animal Photobombers or Things that Don’t Make Sense, to name a few.

The one… THE ONE that got to me was this: 48 Things That Will Make You Feel Old. Now, about this particular post, it might be specifically applied to those who fall under the ’90s kids’ generation A.K.A. primarily those in their 20s right now (such as myself). However, the concept of it can be applicable to all ages; so if you were to compile a bunch of items and events that occurred in the 1980s and showed them to all those in their late 20s and 30s, it would more or less have the same effect.

One example in the Buzzfeed post, The Spice Girls’ album, Spice, was released 15 years ago in the U.S. during early 1997 when I was 8 years old. I specifically remember how much of an effect  the Girls had on me though in ’97 and ’98, as they were the powerhouse for ‘girl power’ with myself and other girls at the time, which is why saying this occurred 15 years ago suddenly seems like a punch in the gut. This memory that seems so strong and unforgettable happened that long ago?

N*SYNC went on ‘hiatus’ 10 years ago. This was a band that cruised through and took over pop music (alongside Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Boyz2Men, and other groups) since their formation in 1995 up until their hiatus in 2002. For myself, the late 90s and early 2000s were my teeny-bopper, preteen, and start of teenage years so you can guess that I was madly-stupid-crazy into boy bands (and Spice Girls) at the time. They were good-looking! They could sing and dance! Sometimes they were similar outfits! They were good-looking! I still remember their videos and appearances on MTV’s TRL afternoon line-up… you know, back when MTV still played music?!

I hope you just got whiplash from all these flashbacks I’m throwing past you.

Too intense… confusion and distraught! MADNESS!

Times carries on and things change, music change, clothes change, attitude change, people change. I’ve always accepted this, certainly, but I couldn’t hide the fact that I was experiencing some serious nostalgia for my dear, sweet, innocent childhood days of questionable pop music. Rihanna is a nice singer and all, but I understand too clearly what she’s looking for… anybody can get it.

This is my advice to those struggling with the flow of time and gaining a year: Just grow with it. As you age, you continuously have the ability to make the changes you desire and carve yourself into a better person. You might be getting a little older, but is that going to stop you from accomplishing what you want? NO! I used to spend all of my teenage years drawing, painting, crafting all sorts of things. I took every single art class, in additional to community art classes, all through high school and one additional one in the first semester of college, where I feel I completed some of my best work.

Piece of a metamorphosis project. Only a fond memory now…

After that, I stopped. Why? I got too caught up with the college lifestyle, with the stress of major classes, with the excitement of moving to the main campus (it’s huge!) with all my friends in year three, with my social life and the ability to do anything I wanted. After I graduated, I moved to the big city and realized that I needed to work, and work hard to make money to pay for everything. After some initial struggle, I ended up with two jobs I didn’t like (nothing to do with my major, of course) and volunteer work (that I loved). As I explained earlier in this post, in the past year turned into what I have going on now (one job that I love and one that is kind of eh).

My Beautiful Other Home

So what happened to my passion for art? Well, I’m bringing it back! I have all of my supplies from high school in a big box for me to use, I’m going to my city’s big Arts Festivals (there will be a post for this, I’m sure) in the next month, I bought a pair of coupons to do a painting class with a friend at a bar (clever, methinks), and finally, I signed up for a kind-of-pricey drawing lab class for July and August. It’s going to be a little rough to get back into, but I’m not letting time remind me of that. I fully intend on grabbing back my original passion for it and bringing it together full force.

Halfway session of a Round Robin Canvas Pass-a-long

I will also say that this blogging adventure I’ve been trying to pursue has also helped with bringing back my creativity in all forms: art, writing, and reading. I’ve read so many blogs and posts of such inspiring thoughts and ideas and I continue to crave more. 🙂 These are some of my favorites so far (forgive me, I’m still looking for so many more to read!):

A Beautiful Mess (Crafty, cute, fun!)

Books and Bowel Movements (The love for reading… ahh, I love it!)

into mind (Fashion and thoughts)

love library and Lupine Librarian (Librarians! My dream!)

bornattwentyfive (Inspiring about life and happiness! So sweet!)

The Shy Comedian (Oh my goodness, I can’t tell if this girl’s humor strives from unfortunate events or what, but she is so clever and witty with her views… so funny)

Photoblog by Jay J. Manalo (A cute photoblog, something I wish I was better at… I’ll keep trying!)

What About This? (Just things in life and having fun, but I love the Friday’s Fresh Five posts, she lists so many great things!)

My only real goal with blogging to eventually come to a point where I will be able to share something that will inspire another. I understand that this blog is super young, unformed, unorganized, and needs a lot of legwork to make it something readable, but I’m willing to make it happen.

I support you in your turnip-y dreams

Will time let me achieve that? Of course, because I’m not going to let it drag me down. 🙂 Thanks for reading and many thanks for each one of you for being inspiring individuals.

Please, if you would like, share with me your thoughts in the comments below on time, flashbacks, and what inspires you to achieve what you want, no matter what age you are. What are some things you may have forgotten, but have been wanting to bring back?

Beautiful! I love the first and fourth one!

,

Andre Jordan’s work is both adorable and witty. His array of artistic illustrations and written words are simple and touching all at once. And sometimes downright hilarious.

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