Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Flower Painting

So I'm very proud of myself, first for how awesome my painting looks (I'll show you in a minute), but mostly because I managed to not blog about it for an ENTIRE MONTH because it was supposed to be a surprise.

My brother called me back in March and reminded me that his wife's birthday was coming up (more than a month in advance if you can believe it!) He said that what she asked for was some art to help decorate their apartment, and he didn't feel very... up to it. I asked if he had any idea what sort of art, and he said he thought I should do something like the pink flower (which you see to the left here) that I did back in high school.  Easy Peasy.

Looks awesome doesn't it? Okay, but seriously this is the easiest thing ever to do, so I thought I would explain it so you could go try for yourself should you get the urge.

First you just find a picture of a flower and a canvas.

I like to drop my picture in Adobe Illustrator and live trace it so what you end up with are patches of color. If you don't have illustrator, just print it out and then just pick 6 different colors in the picture and outline groups that are nearest to each color. From there you've basically created your own paint by number picture. 

To get it on the canvas I like to use the grid method. Just draw a grid on your picture, and then a matching one on your canvas. Use the grid to help you sketch the outline of the picture. Before I actually start painting, I like to go over my sketch with a light layer of gesso (or white paint) so that I can still see the faint sketch, but the marks don't show through lighter colors (like yellow).

Like I said, at this point, it's just paint by number. For added dimension, I like to pick a color to do with little tiny dots instead of just filling it all in. It takes about an extra twelve years, but looks cool (so it's worth it).

Tuh duh! I'm going to have to go make myself a new one now, because I kind of miss this one after having it all month.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Roadtrip Near Fail

A few months ago Cam decided that he wanted to go down to BYU's graduation to support/hang out with his BFF and former roommate Dusty. It just so happens that graduation fell during Cam's last week of classes, so he talked to his professors about missing class Friday, but he couldn't get out of Thursday. The gameplan was: Cam flies down Thursday night, and drives back with his brother Saturday morning. 

Hopefully by now you can see the glaring error in this gameplan: I'm not in it. And you know how I love adventures.

So when I discovered that my family was driving down Wed-Thurs and would have an extra seat one way (picking up my sister) I jumped right in. New gameplan: Kim drives down with fam on Wed-Thurs, Cam flies in on Thurs night, both drive back with Chad. 

We left as scheduled Wednesday afternoon. Dad, as painful as it probably was for him, stopped at a rest stop after only 2.5 hours for his daughter who is now 7 months pregnant. We were making great time until we hit the mountains, at which point this happened:
The car overheated. So we pulled over and waited for it to cool down, then Dad noticed the coolant was low, so we used our two water bottles to help us get the next 30 miles to La Grande to get some coolant. No such luck. Only 4 miles and the car overheated again. The car was so hot the water pretty much evaporated instantly. Luckily that extra 4 miles put us back in cell phone reception, so Mom called her handy AT&T roadside assistance.

It turns out that AT&T roadside assistance actually can't do anything helpful like bring coolant. The only thing they can do is call a tow-truck or the police (we could have done either without them now that we had phone service). A tow truck wouldn't work because it could only take 2 people and the rest of us would be left on the side of the road in the rain, so we decided on the police option. Mom asked if she could let them know that we really just need coolant, but apparently AT&T is only allowed to say where we are and that we need assistance. 

The officer showed up and asked what the problem was and what the plan is. Dad's plan was that if we could make it 5 more miles to the rest stop for more water, we could probably get the last 20 miles to La Grande for coolant. The officer agreed that was a good plan, contributed the contents of his 1-quart nalgene bottle to the cause, and promptly drove off. 

The officer's water got us about another 4 miles, so from there we coasted to the rest stop. Dad opened the hood and started to unscrew the cap which allowed all the steam and boiling hot water to come pouring out to the astonishment of travelers in nearby cars.
I know this is a long story but hopefully by now you're at least somewhat invested in my dilemma. I promise the best part is still ahead of you, so don't give up!

We gave the poor car a break, filled up with water, and carried on our merry way... until 1 mile short of La Grande the car stopped again. Out of gas. You see, my dad had done his calculations, and in a perfect world we would have made it with at least 3 miles to spare. However, our less than perfect drive had used more gas than anticipated. Fortunately, this scenario is nothing new to my family. Dad began the walk to La Grande, some kind soul picked him up, waited for him to buy a gas can and gas, and drove him back. 

All together this time, we drove into La Grande... only 2.5 hours behind schedule. We grabbed dinner, gas, and topped off the coolant in record time, then hopped back on the road. 7 miles this time before the car overheats and Dad discovers that we're leaking coolant. At this point we have no choice but to turn around. 4 miles, a stop, and finally we slide back into the station. 

Dad got ahold of the bishop there in La Grande, who directed us to the Cadillac dealership which was closed for the night, but conveniently next door to the Royal Motor Inn. We called it a night.

In the morning, we discovered the car was going to take a while to fix, but unwilling to miss their son's graduation they rented the only car available. So we traded the unhappy caddy in for this baby:
Which, made the remaining 9 hours considerably more enjoyable (and less eventful).

When I picked up Cam from the Salt Lake airport at 9 that night, he happily shared the story of the best flight he's ever had: great conversation, no turbulence, and it even arrived 20 minutes early.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Garden - and some new vegetables

When cam and I did our week planning on Monday, we discovered that since he had to work this morning and we both had to be a few other places this evening that it would necessary for me to drive into work with him, and then hang out for a few hours until he was done.

I was fully expecting to have a boring morning, except that yesterday I heard something on the radio about a cooking demonstration that was going on at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland.

Flash to this morning: 
So I showed up at the school for the cooking demonstration, which was about sustainable "farm to table" practices, which requires using vegetables as they are in season. So they were showing us how to cook with vegetables that happen to be in season, in Oregon, in April. Can you name any? No, I couldn't either. That's where the new vegetables come in. The vegetables that they had were:
  • French carrots in orange, purple, and white varieties
  • Ramp - I had never heard of it, but I guess it's like a green onion with a garlic-y spicy flavor. Their sample was grilled and it was quite tasty.
  • Rainbow Chard - very pretty
  • Jerusalem artichoke - another one I hadn't heard of. It looked a lot like a ginger root but tastes kind of artichoke like. They fried it and made very tasty chips. 
So I was thrilled about my new veggie findings, and I was ready to just leave and go share them with Cam... but then, as a surprise at the end of the demonstration, they had little egg cartons filled with dirt, and some seeds that we could pick to plant in them. I doubted that I could get tomatoes to grow very well in an egg carton, so I picked the blue corn.

And I thought that I wasn't going to get to have a garden this year because our 2nd story apartment is north facing. Isn't is cute!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Victory Morning

This morning has been full of small victories:
  • I managed to sleep in until 7:30
  • I got to have fruity pebbles for breakfast
  • Cam left for school, so I had another bowl of fruity pebbles
And then, I moseyed over to my friend’s new craft blog and discovered that I won their giveaway – score!  I am now the proud owner of an awesome faux-shadowbox scrapbooking kit. 

If you're into crafts and artsy stuff, you should check out their blog: www.waywardgirlscrafts.com. I know what you're thinking... craft blogs are for people who like decorating their mantle for each holiday and making tutus for their darling girls (I haven't been able to get into those craft blogs... mostly because I have no mantle and Cam says no tutus in public). But they do much cooler stuff, like last week's post on making natural egg dye. You can head over there and look around, but if you win the vintage fabric giveaway we will have words. 

Now back to me. It's only 9:00 and I'm already a winner today! With karma going this well I should probably enter an iPad drawing somewhere. I'm also hitting up the going-out-of-business sale at craft warehouse today, where I plan to pick up as much spray paint as I can carry (I need to be prepared for finals week when Cam might be at school long enough that I can take on his new bookshelf). 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Trip to the Zoo

I have a special guest blogger today! It's my little brother, Nathan. He wants to tell you about our trip to the zoo yesterday. Nathan wants to be a zookeeper or a veterinarian when he grows up. He wanted to make sure that I blogged about all the cool stuff that we did at the zoo, so here he is telling it himself:

We had a very great time. We saw a lot of animals, as you probably would. The cheetahs weren't there, I think they were getting a vet checkup or something. But other than that, my favorite was the bats. 
We also went to the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit. The coolest part was the mongooses because they were really fast, and their best friend was a bird. There was a tunnel that lead to a bubble in the habitat. Here I am inside the bubble wearing a red jacket. 
 I really like the lorikeets because you get to feed them apple juice, and sometimes they land on you. The lorikeets were a lot of different colors, I don't know why, because not all species of animals do that.

We also saw a zucchini attached to a rock at the bottom of a tank in the flooded forest section. I think that they were probably trying to trick the animals to think it's food. It is, but maybe not for fish.
We saw the penguins in the polar bears exhibit! They were cleaning the penguins' exhibit, so the penguins were in the polar bear area. It's really silly to do that because polar bears never meet penguins in the arctic, because penguins live in the antarctic. But the polar bear was playing with a ball (a big non-rubber ball, it's really tough plastic) in the water. She was putting on quite a show. The male polar bear was pacing in front of the glass. 

After all our zoo animal excitement, we went to the gift shop. I got a zoo dinosaur patch for my red jacket that I was wearing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shameless Plug - Invitations

Normally we're all about fun and games here on our blog, but as an advertiser I am certainly not above the occasional shameless plug-especially in such a desperate situation:

It's April already, and not one person has asked me to do a wedding invitation or graduation announcement. Not one. This is no fun.

Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that I moved away from Provo (aka the wedding capital) or the fact that all my friends out here in the grove are married graduate students. So here is my plea for your help:

If you know someone graduating or getting married, tell them you know a girl who's pretty decently good at invitations and can get them done for you ultra-cheep (that's because I do it out of love... and I always feel bad because I know how much weddings cost, so I have yet to get much more than a ton of fun out of this!)

Anyway, since my website is still in progress (aka not quite started) I will even post some examples* of stuff I did last year so that you know where you can send your friends so that they can see how awesome their invite will be.

*Disclaimer: Names and addresses have been changed. Pictures used by permission of model unless they were a family member that loves me (I didn't take most of them, them but if you are in Provo and like the images on the black invite, check out the fantastic artist who did them: Lizzy). Some invitations that appear here may not have been a final version that was actually produced in print, but I thought they would have been awesome and should be shown off anyway.