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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cords were always cluttering my desk. I could never find a place to put anything down.
cords!

No more!
I designed the cor(d)set to cinch the cables together. One sweep can clear everything away!
cor(d)set

I used Grace’s Garden print, by Sweetwater for Moda, for a little whimsy and the LEDs for a little excitement.

Graces Garden
Cor(d)set is made from small squares (from one fat quarter of a Moda Precuts bundle) quilted together with batting in-between. Being my first time quilting, I think it came out pretty well. I learned a lot from wonderful tutorials online. My tiny Continental Electric pulled through for me.
blink blink

It was also my first eTextile project! It was surprisingly easy. I found the Aniomagic Sparkle to be a great first microcontroller for eTextiles. There are others like Lilypad and Flower, but those are more involved. Building the LED circuit was super fun. A little work for a lot of pizzazz!

cor(d)set!

See it in action:

*The credit for the name goes to a very awesome friend, Stephie.

I came across Asian ball-jointed dolls, BJDs, on the internet a few years ago. Their stunning Anime eyes and detailed features enthralled me. They were hauntingly beautiful.
BJD
I wanted a BJD. Even though I was past the age of dressing up dolls, I wanted to replicate the gorgeous photos I’ve seen of them. Sadly, I couldn’t afford the cost, and gave up the dream.
No Monies
A year later, I discovered Shapeways, a custom 3D printing company.
Eureka! I could 3D print my BJD!
lightbulb moment
I worked continuously and obsessively for a few days, and atlas, Jace was born!
Jace 3D model
I rushed to get it printed, and a week later, it arrived!

Jace's here!

The beautiful BJD head had a soft expression that begged to be painted. I took some spray paint and chalk and gave it a rudimentary faceup, makeup for BJDs.

Jace!

Jace 2

Jace 3
Unfortunately, project Jace has been on a semipermanent hiatus. At the time, it wasn’t cost effective to 3D print the rest of Jace. Also, a lot of personal issues came up, and I couldn’t motivate myself to spend time on Jace.

Nowadays, the cost of 3D printing has gone down. Maybe one day, I’ll return to finishing this little fella.
someday

*Edit: Updated Here!

I’ve been working on a couple of projects so I haven’t had much chance to update. I’ll post the results as soon as I finish.

Meanwhile, let’s talk sewing machine.
Since all of my work-in-progress projects require sewing, I have a handy little Continental Electric.
sewing machine
I picked up this gem at a garage sale. It’s about the size of two stacked loaves of sliced bread, only half as long. I was cruising the streets on my way home and spotted it among art decor and electronic refuse. The $8 price tag made this a steal.
tag
At the time, I didn’t know how to sew. I spent long hours deciphering the manual and Youtube instruction videos. Eventually I learned the basics, like how a sewing machine interlocks two threads to sew, one from the top of the sewing machine, and one from the bobbin below.

I really pushed myself to master this device. I carted it around in my backpack to and fro when I was taking a creative fabrics workshop. Eventually, from this tiny beast, the Dandyweeds Dress was formed.
Dandyweeds Dress
I highly recommend this sewing machine, as one novice to another. It’s super portable! Just plug it in and sew! It’s incredibly sturdy and has held up well to my abuse.

I do have a few complaints. The sewing machine only sews straight stitches, which makes it difficult to work with knit fabrics (knit fabrics are stretchy and straight stitches do not allow fabrics to stretch much). It’s really light, so when I’m applying a lot of force, the sewing machine may shift a little on the table. I usually put a large jar candle behind it to give it more support.

There’s also no back tack. Back tack is when you sew forward, back, and forward again over the same spot. This allows for the thread to be locked in the fabric, similar to knotting it at the end to prevent unraveling. Unfortunately, on the Continental Electric, I have to manually rotate the fabric, to get the back tack effect.

I’ve recently spotted it for $17.99 on Amazon. That’s still an excellent buy. It will enable you to dip your toe into the world of DIY fashion. Think custom shirts, custom dresses, custom everything! With a few practices, you’re only limited by your imagination!

You could even make a seriously cool kimono jacket designed by Alexander McQueen!
McQueen kimono jacket
I’m definitely going to attempt the McQueen jacket. For now, I’m midway through two projects.
Here’s a teaser:

Project 1:
starry sky
Edit: click here for Project 1

Project 2:
dances with daffodils
Edit: click here for Project 2

I participated in Switch Witch for the first time last fall. Switch Witch is like Secret Santa, where participants receive gifts from their “witch” and give gifts to their “witchee”. It’s a wonderful tradition in the BPAL community.

I had been lusting after LUSH for a while, and my amazing witch, Usagi, surprised me a Golden Wonder Bath Bomb!
Golden Wonder
That very night, I took a bath, first time since I was seven. I plopped the bath bomb under the streaming faucet.

Golden stars shimmered as blue fizzy swirls kissed the warm bath water.
Pops of purples, oranges, and green drifted like gas giants in the milky way.
It was an unforgettable scene.
magic
I’ve since then tried many more LUSH bath bombs. Golden Wonder is still my favorite. Nothing can beat the magic of floating among the twinkling stars and evening sky.

I went skiing yesterday!
It was epic!

I’m a beginner skier, by skill level not by time spent skiing.
My progress has been unfortunately slow.
some people are just gifted
This trip, I ended the day on skiing down some blue squares, so I was super proud of myself.
conquered the blues
I remember my very first time skiing three years ago. I went up the tiniest hill at Nashoba Valley and made the famous “pizza” to go down. However, my skies, instead of pizza shaped, were two parallel french fries! I zoomed down, out of control at a heart attack inducing speed. I couldn’t even scream. I saw my life flash before my eyes.
AHHHHH
I eventually fell. It was the biggest relief.

I went back to Nashoba Valley a couple of times and tried to descend down their blue square hills. I  skied tiny S-curves, going at snail pace. People lapping me would call out “you can do it red pants girl!”
red pants!
Red pants girl was my monicker. From the first day, I wore super bright Cevas red ski pants given to me from a friend. Its color set me apart from everyone else.

I went skiing two weeks ago at Loon Mountain. Loon is Mount Everest compared to the tiny hills of Nashoba Valley. At the time, I haven’t skied in three years. I boldly chose to tackle a blue square on my first try. Right off the ski lift, first turn on the trail landed me among the bushes. Super shaken, I slowly walked down the hill in my skies. After a few confidence-instilling rounds on the green circle hills, I decided to go all the way up the mountain. Up at the top of the mountain, I was paralyzed with fear. There was no way I could ski down. I once again began my slow walk down. I joined up with another girl who was also walking. Eventually, the ski patrol spotted us and decided it was too dangerous for us to walk. They called the taxi.
taxi
The taxi was a toboggan that transported injured people. Both of us strapped onto the taxi and a snow patrol member dragged us down the mountain. Even with snow blasting in my face, it was a super fun ride, going faster down the mountain than I’ve ever been. However, I vowed not to repeat this incident.
ride!
Yesterday, at Mount Sunapee, there were no incidents. I tackled some greens and blues , inspired by my first-time-skiing friend, who seemed as seasoned as my veteran friends. There were a few tumbles, but nothing too terrifying. I did ski past some double black diamond drop offs. They looked like cliffs! I was super impressed with the little children that dove of the edge.
O_O
Out of the resorts I’ve skied at, for beginners, I’d rank Sunapee first, then Loon, then Nashoba Valley. Sunapee had nice, wide trails even on some blue squares. Loon had a beginner area that was interesting enough to curb boredom. Nashoba Valley had super easy trails compared to Sunapee and Loon, but they were short. For me, longer trails provided more chances to practice the maneuvers.

I’m definitely getting better at skiing. Next time, red pants might even be spotted a black diamond trail!

I made yogurt this past weekend. It was surprisingly easy and super delicious!

Delicious!

Recipe
Yogurt!

Materials and Ingredients

1 slow cooker
1 half gallon of milk
1 cup of store bought yogurt (with live cultures)
1 pack of unsweetened gelatin (optional)
1 bowl
1 towel

Directions

Cook milk in slow cooker on low setting for 2 hours.

After cooking, turn off slow cooker and let milk rest in slow cooker for 2 hours.

Take a small bowl, and fill it with 4 cups of rested milk, and gently stir in the cup of store bought yogurt. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.

Pour the yogurt milk mixture back into the slow cooker. At this point, unsweetened gelatin can be added for thicker texture.

Wrap the slow cooker with a towel and let the inoculated milk sit for 8 hours (or overnight).

spoonfull of yogurt

Serve with fresh bananas and honey.

Notes

Yogurt is very forgiving. This recipe is based off of the recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking. As you can see, my cooking times differ quite a bit.

There are lots of online resources for homemade yogurt, such as: Homemade Yogurt FAQs

Making yogurt is an excellent way to use up expiring milk. I used milk that was two days past expiration date. To check if the milk was still good, I took a quarter cup of milk and microwaved it for 2 minutes. If green gunk starts forming in the milk (indicating bacterial growth), then the milk is bad.

I’m picky about scents. I like ones that invoke a memory or a feeling. Here are my favorites from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL).

Most Loved
Boo

Boo
Lab says:
Eerie billows of spun sugar, fluttering white cotton, and sheets of cream
I say:
cream cheese frosting, such as on red velvet cupcakes

 

Sea Foams Milk

Sea Foams Milk
Lab says:
Milk cresting on an ocean wave
I say:
gentle waters with wafting sweetness, a less salty version of Sea of Glass

 

 
October

October
Lab says:
Dry, cold autumn wind. A rustle of red leaves, a touch of smoke and sap in the air.
I say:
a dewy morning among barren trees and fallen leaves

Honorable Mentions:

Schrodinger's Cat

Schrodinger’s Cat
Lab says:
A paradoxical scent experiment! – tangerine, sugared lime, pink grapefruit, oakmoss, lavender, zdravetz, and chocolate peppermint.
I say:
Ramune candy!

Sea of Glass

Sea of Glass
Lab says:
Upon the Sea of Glass, glowing with the perfection of spiritual union and the radiance of true wisdom, rests the throne of God. A scent of inimitable purity, crystalline grace, and limitless light.
I say:
Method sea minerals hand wash!

Phoenix in the Spring

Phoenix in the Spring
Lab says:
Newborn, with flecks of myrrh still dusting its wings, the Phoenix emerges: dandelion florets, cherry blossom, spring wildflowers, and myrrh.
I say:
Cherry blossoms and green moss

 

Hunter

Hunter
Lab says:
Leonine amber, tanned hides, clove, and clary sage
I say:
Sexy man

 

I must confess, for me, BPAL is a one-hit wonder. Out of the 160+ perfume oils I’d tried, I only like less than 10. The low success rate is enough to deter me from placing future orders. However, I highly recommend trying BPAL once. It’s very different from the department store perfume experience. One whiff and you’ll know if it was meant to be.