February 27, 2010

Reframing the Scene

Hello, again! I've missed you, and I'm sure the five of you who read my blog have really missed me. :)

I've been a little lax with my posts lately because I was away on vacation last week in... the Galapagos! But this little jaunt was a great place to get some new fodder for the blog. I embarked on a project that has been bugging me for a while.

You see, I am not a good photographer. I get jealous of some of my friends' pictures that feature fantastic scenery or portraits that seem to capture spontaneous moments. My hallmark is a posed picture. Where everyone is standing dead center. Like this:

Exciting, no?

It's not like I don't have practice taking pictures. When I was younger,  my dad was already toting around some camera or another. He had a big fancy Nikon SLR, and there were always a few point-and-shoots hanging around his neck or wrist.

When I was in grade school, I was given my very own 110mm camera with a big red button that made a hearty "click!" when you took a picture and that you had to wind forward with every shot.
For my seventh grade trip to the UK, my dad let me use his 35MM Kodak S-Series with automatic winding and an awesome sliding lens cover feature. Sometime in high school, I upgraded to a nice automatic camera with a flip lens cover and flash built in. AND, it had a zoom! In 2002, Chris and I upgraded to digital, and we've had a nice series of Sony and Canon cameras ever since.

Finally, life came full circle when I bought Chris a Nikon digital SLR (the D90) particularly so he could use it on this trip to the Galapagos.

I wanted to challenge myself to put together more creative images in my photography. I love the way some photos allow to me to experience something I've never seen before or show a totally different view of something familiar. I don't get to use the awesome SLR when Chris and I on vacation together since it's ultimately his camera, so I'm doing the best I can with a little digital camera. Luckily, digital photography has made life easier with on-computer editing.

Here are the results of my endeavor. I took hundreds of pictures - most of them mediocre to bad - and these are the ones that rose to the top. I've edited every single one of them to hopefully capture a mood, feeling, or funny moment. They don't exactly capture the experience, but hopefully you get a flavor for what I was feeling when I took them.

Do these pictures make me look like I had a good time? Because other than the crazy vertigo that lasted for 5 days after I disembarked from the ship, I had a great time.

Finally, a few guest shots. The first is from Chris, who captured a fantastic sunset on our last day on the islands:

Finally, one shot from a fellow vacationer that simply captures the magic of the sea lions in the Galapagos:

Materials used for this project:
  • Canon PowerShot SD800
  • MacBook Pro and iPhoto
  • The Galapagos

February 11, 2010

Remnants to Romantic

I've been wanting to buy a lot of jewelry lately. I think I have inherited my obsession with shiny things from my mother. Her jewelry collection is impressive, to say the least, but her collection is mostly in precious metals and gemstones. I have been the lucky beneficiary of her generosity - she buys new stuff for me, and also has bequeathed several things to me that she thinks she's too old to wear.

When I was little, and even now when I visit on vacation, we used to sit and she would tell me about the stories behind all her acquisitions. Some are mundane (QVC!) and some are incredibly meaningful (one of the only pieces my grandmother didn't sell off for cash before she moved from Taiwan).

And so, I think I may have developed a similar attachment to my own jewelry, even some of the cheapie pieces. I have been indulging in a few purchases lately to add to the repertoire. And when I say "indulge," I really mean that I have been spending $7.99 on cheap stuff at Forever 21. Then I suddenly realized that I already have quite a few items that would work in producing my own creation. Wouldn't that be an even better story to attach to a piece?

I'm a total romantic at heart, so this whole ribbons and bows trend in jewelry is completely irresistable to me. It's a good thing that those happen to be the materials I have at hand.

I had a bunch of beads left over from party decorations (from 2005!) that have just been sitting in my craft drawer...

...some black satiny ribbon that I intended to use in my latest holiday card...

...and a little inspiration from the blog psimadethis.com and this necklace from Ann Taylor:

At first I thought that I would just copy the Ann Taylor design, but I realized with such small beads, you would only see the ribbon, not the beads. So, I decided to alternating sections of 4 single beads with a little knot of ribbon in between each interspersed with 3 clusters of 3 beads each. I made it symmetrical, so there are 5 single bead sections and 4 cluster bead sections.

I was initially going to use the length of ribbon just to create a tie in the back, but I decided I needed a little heft to this necklace, so I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft to pick up a metal chain and clasp. In order to keep it the necklace from being too hard-edged, I wove about 4 inches of the remaining ribbon at the ends through the chain and tied a knot to secure it. Then, using pliers, I got the chain to the length I wanted (leaving a little room at the end of the ring end so I can adjust the length).

What do you think? Does this look like I made it for less than $5? I wore it to work yesterday (Thursday) and didn't receive a reaction either way, potentially meaning that it looks super cheap...

Materials used for this project:
  • Plastic beads that look like crystal
  • 1/4" black satiny ribbon
  • Packing tape
  • Metal chain
  • Clasp
P.S. Definitely check out this week's psimadethis.com. Talk about a romantic creation!

    February 2, 2010

    Mid-week Creative Droplet - Shopping Bag

    Well, my husband's birthday was on Sunday (for those in Chicago, Katsu was deliciously authentic - try the egg custard with unagi), and the whole weekend turned into a rather lazy one. Hence, my blog entry isn't quite complete yet.

    However, here's a little mid-week artwork to keep the posting coming. In my art class last week, we started working on objects with a little more dimension - shading and the such.I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the fact that this think looks like it has dimension and creases. My favorite part? Check out the left front edge of the bag and how it goes from being defined by a white highlight at the top to a dark line at the bottom. Such a triumph! Yes, these are the things that excite me these days...