Monday, May 30, 2011

See the Light

It's Memorial Day Weekend, the official home improvement weekend!  Our big project right now is improving the house's curb appeal.  We bought new house numbers this weekend to that end.  But, since that is an on-going project, I'll post later on the finished product.

For now, we have a small project to share with you.  In an earlier post, I wondered about what would look good as a replacement to our bedroom sconce.  It's a sort of strange light fixture because there is only one sconce, and it is right next to the light switch in the entrance.

So, on the day we went to Home Depot in search of new house numbers, we figured we would check out the light fixtures they had.  We found one we liked and had a nice, little project to do.  First we had to take down the old fixture and do some painting around the edges.
Ah, the old paneling rises again
After that, I called in our handy maintenance man (aka my fiance, John) to hit the circuit breaker and hook up the wiring.
Handsome AND handy!
And, presto!  We have our new wall sconce!

It works, too


What do you think?  An improvement, no?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Page

Duck Goes to Paris!  And on his trip, he goes to the Louvre.

This was a tricky one to draw - very detailed!  What do you think?  After Duck gets done waiting in line, he'll get to see the Mona Lisa and Winged Victory.

I had thought about including Venus de Milo, but that didn't seem very . . . kid friendly.  Does anyone have any other Louvre favorites that he should see? 

(Also, this does not mean that Duck isn't also going to London... he might even get there first!  I just happened to draw the Louvre first)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wedding Jewelry

In case you all were dying for a wedding update, I'm figuring out what jewelry to wear for the wedding.  I have my grandma's wedding jewelry that I'm planning to wear with a purple dress for the rehearsal:

Isn't it great??  I would take a page from the Man Repeller and do an edition of "Who Wore It Best?" but my grandma would win, hands down.

But this still leaves to be decided what jewelry I'll wear for the wedding.  I have a fairly simple dress (with straps) and a pair of simple, small, cubic zirconia drop earrings, so I'm thinking of doing something a little over the top for a necklace.  Now, "over the top" for me is still pretty conservative.  With that in mind this is what I've found so far:

On Etsy

From Kohl's

What do you think??  I also have a very simple aquamarine necklace (from John at Christmas) that I could wear, but it's much smaller than these choices.
Per Lynn's request :)

What do you like best?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Art of the Cookie

Among my other hobbies, I also enjoy baking.  At a recent bridal shower, I was given The Art of the Cookie.  It has the most fabulous pictures inside of what your cookies could look like if only you follow their simple directions.  My heart said "fabulous!" but my mind said "yeah.... right."

Despite my doubts of success, I decided to put my baking skills to the test this weekend by attempting an ambitiously pretty batch of cookies out of my new book.  After paging through it, I settled on Polka Dot decorated lemon-buttermilk cookies.  (Truth be told, this page had the fewest directions which *may* have colored my decision)  But before I could decorate, I had to make the cookies.  My supplies:
Yes, my supplies included a butter pecan scone and an almond puff pastry from A Baker's Wife.  It's a little know fact that you bake better if you are eating baked goods while you work. :) 

After the cookies were baked, I made a batch of royal icing.  This was a bit of an adventure because the recipe called for meringue powder which I could not find.  So, I decided to make meringue myself which meant I needed to pasteurize some eggs...
...and then whip the whites into a frenzy with lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Finally, it was time to decorate!  Unfortunately, I didn't buy the right food coloring.  I was looking for gel food coloring but accidentally bought gel icing instead.  Whoops.  I tried to add the colored icing to the royal icing, but I ended up with pale pastel polka dots instead of the bright, vibrant ones I wanted.

When I realized that they weren't going to turn out as planned, I was one sad cookie.
But then I figured I could just ice the cookies however I wanted to - great idea, right?

In the end, the cookies tasted great.  Next time, though, I'll read the labels in the baking isle a bit more closely.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Getting the Impression

I have been reading about and inspired by impressionist paintings lately - Monet, especially.  Something about the spring time and the finally emerging colors (spring is a slow arrival in Minnesota) makes impressionism especially appealing to me right now.  Impressionists were known for using bright colors and in particular eschewing the use of traditional neutrals for shading.  Instead, they used bright colors to portray where the light hit rather than white, dark colors instead of black for shadows.

Landscapes were common subjects of impressionist paintings.  Most people are familiar with Monet's various Water Lillies.  Like these paintings, many of the paintings in this era used a lot of blues and greens (partly because new synthetic pigments had been developed to broaden the blue-green spectrum), but my very most favorites make heavy or notable use of warmer colors. 

I decided to do my own quasi-impressionist painting:

Sorry for the glare...

It's a little different take on impressionism.  I like to think that there is a little bit of Van Gogh in the street and a little bit of Degas in the dresses . . . but I was also inspired by my recent readings of Emma by Jane Austen.  I imagine Emma and Harriet getting caught in the rain in Highbury.  Anyway, it's not full of cute little ducks, but I hope you like it!  It's now hanging in the dining room :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Calling All Bloggers!

Just a quick little post to get some ideas from fellow bloggers or blog aficionados. 

I like to follow my friends' blogs, but I also have a few fashion blogs that I follow as well (you can see them all on my list to the right!).  But here is where I could use some help.  I would really like to find a great interior design blog or two to follow.  As John and I work on putting together the house, it would be great to get some outside inspiration.  I'm also looking for a landscaping/gardener's blog that you like.  We're fixing up the outside of the house as well, so finding some fun ideas on that front would be great too.

Of course, I will always follow more fashion blogs, so if you know a few good ones...

Feel free to post a comment or shoot me an email: if you have some suggestions.  The more the merrier!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Me and My Green Thumb

This past week or two, John and I have been working over time on our yard.  The flower beds had been over taken by grass the last three years, so we've worked on getting it out of the beds (it's been a LONG process).

My dad also removed a completely overgrown bush from the front lawn and we replaced it with three smaller bushes, a bunch of begonias, and some creeping phlox.  (Here is where I smack my forehead for not taking before and after pictures)
Yes, I know, I need to water- but it really has only been one day!

And during the long (LONG!) winter, the corner in the back yard became a resting place for all sorts of items: an old doormat, several shovels, a rake (really?), sidewalk salt containers . . . and the list goes on.  Again, I wish I had taken before and after photos.

I also put some potted plants on the steps in the front of the house.  So happy it's finally spring!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Digital Art

In a previous post, I had wondered about my desire (ability) to ink in all of my illustrations by hand.  It's permanent and I could seriously mess up an otherwise lovely image with one bad move.  So, for a graduation gift John got me a Bamboo pen and tablet.  It is the coolest thing ever.  I get to use a pen instead of a mouse to draw on the computer, so I can have all the effects of a hand drawing without the permanence of ink.  Here's some examples of what I've done with it so far:



Pretty cool, right?  (As always, you can click on the image for a larger view)  You can check out the
for yourself if you want to.  As predicted, I needed a lot of "oops" room, especially on the Eiffel Tower.  I wasn't quite sure what to do in a few spots, so I did and redid (and redid) a few different attempts.  Had it been a real pen and not my digital one I would have been stuck with the first, unfortunate attempt.

The Bamboo does take a bit of getting used to, though.  One thing that is especially hard for my brain to communicate to my hand is that the tablet writing space is basically a shrunken computer screen.  So in order to draw, I either have to draw much small than I think I should or I have to enlarge the image I'm drawing over.  But with practice, it has gotten a lot easier!

Thanks, John, for an awesome (and useful!) gift!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The End

The end of law school, that is.  Although I can't believe it, three long years have come and gone.  The actual graduation ceremony is May 14th, but I am officially done with all of my work, papers, and finals for law school.  There have been plenty of highs and lows throughout the years and I'd like to share a few (mostly highs, I promise not to be too depressing) while I'm feeling reflective.

The first semester of law school was rough, to say the least, and I seriously considered dropping out during the first semester.  But, later that same school year came one of the highest points of law school for me: 1L year T.O.R.T.  For those of you who don't know, T.O.R.T. stands for theater of the relatively talentless and is a musical put on and written entirely by law students every year.  Being a part of this group gave me some of my favorite memories of law school.  A small group of T.O.R.T. graduates (self included) will even be singing at graduation!

In addition to T.O.R.T., there were some other pretty enjoyable things about law school.  Women's Law Student Association (I designed the logo!), studying abroad in Ireland (well documented on this blog), and meeting John were all great things to come out of law school for me.  But, classes weren't that bad either (some of them anyway).  A few memorable class quotes:

"The defendant was driving a truck,
who turned going west and was struck,
by the plaintiff who sued,
Claiming negligence proved,
even without an attempt to slow up." (Torts)

"We have doctors for a reason - so people like Nurse Jackie can tell them what to do." (JTY)

Student: "Can I say something?"  JTY: "No."

"I like to cite Queen Latifah as often as possible." (Hasday)

Dr. George Jackson to completely confused student: "Where the **** have you been all semester???"

While I will miss the funny quotes and the chances to perform at the Pantages Theatre, I certainly won't miss the stress and anxiety that law school brings.  I am ready to walk across that stage and graduate!  Now if only I had a job... :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Variations on a Theme

Just a little something I've been working on:

After my initial sketch of Duck, I decided to see if I could draw this little guy in a few different poses.  The redundant rain boots (wellies!) were Stella's idea for London and I think very darling.

And to end this post with another dose of cuteness: my friend from college, Dani, makes goodies to sell on and she recently posted some adorable lady bugs that she made out of felted wool.  Aren't they cute?

You can check out her shop, too!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I See London, I See France

I'm still trying to decide which setting to send Duck and Ladybug to first (character names still pending as well).  But, I have been working on a few pictures.

I'm pretty happy with how they've turned out, but I still need to do the inking.  While this is all by hand so far, I've been thinking that I might not want to do all the inking by hand.  It's a pretty permanent thing.  Watercolor can be softened, blended, or covered and pencil can be erased, but you're stuck with the inking when the pen hits the paper.  So, I'm toying with the idea of a computer program so I can do the ink work that way instead.  It would still be by hand, but I would have a little more "oops" room.

Also, while the scanner and some adjustments to brightness in have helped to make the colors pretty true to the in-person paintings, I'm wondering about using a camera instead- taking a picture of the art and then transferring the photo to the computer.  Does anyone have experience with this?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eating Our Way Down the Aisle

John and I had a day chock full of yummy food.  We started the good eats at Maria's on Franklin, where we met with Judge Reilly, our wedding officiant, for lunch.  They serve breakfast all day and it was delicious!  Judge Reilly was great to chat with and gave us a copy of what will be a lovely ceremony.

Later in the evening, we went to our venue and had a tasting.  We tried eight different appetizers while we were there.  The top ranking ones were the chicken marsala friand (not pictured- we had already gobbled it up) and the bacon wrapped apricots.  Other samples included bacon wrapped scallops, chicken cordon bleu (served cold, very strange), zucchini boats, roast beef crostini, and shrimp skewers. 

Much to our surprise, the tasting also became a wedding planning session.  Our coordinator was there and wanted to hash out a LOT of details: how many guests we expected, table layout, wedding day time line, acoustics, decorations...  I know that these are all important things, but it was a little unexpected and made the evening not quite as relaxing as we had hoped.  In fact, it actually became pretty stressful (and Holly + food + stress = no fun).

Stay tuned for more wedding plans and for updates on my project!

Monday, May 2, 2011

We've Moved!

No, John and I haven't moved again, but my website has!  So change your bookmarks because instead of, my new web address is  Hooray!

I decided that it was about time for me to buy my own domain name, but the address isn't the only thing that's changed.  Also changed are the comments.  Now, anyone can give their feedback on the blog!  Another perk of the new location is that readers can send me emails if they'd like:

Just in case anyone forgets and tries to visit my old site location, no worries - you should be redirected to the new site automatically.
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