Monday, October 26, 2009

Early Halloween

We had a little Halloween get-together last night ~ So much fun! I just could not get motivated this year, though, so I skipped out on themed food and creating decorations. We hung up a few things from last year and made brats and cheese fondue. Mmmm...

We also threw together some costumes at the last minute. I was able to find a black & purple wig for about $5, so I tossed on a purple cape (that I have from an after-Halloween sales years ago) over a black dress and played around with make-up. Not sure what I was supposed to 'be', but we added a few purple & black spiders from last year in my hair and I think I became a 'Spider Queen'.

Halloween 09 - me

I never got a good shot of Justin, but he was going for something like 'Redneck Slob'. He had these horrible fake teeth and wiped BBQ sauce and mustard all over an undershirt. I think I might have thrown up on him if he tried to give me a hug wearing that! I drew on a mustache and he finished off the look with jeans, work-boots, a leather-work belt, and a Dodge hat with camo on the front, mesh on the back, and a turkey & turkey prints thrown in for good measure.

Halloween 09 - Justin

We can't convince most of our friends to dress up, but these two don't mind at all. This pose is so awesome ~

Halloween 09 - Wes & Candace

Here is most of the non-costume crew. Three of them were party-poopers this year, leaving at 6:30! (We started at 2) Granted, most of the reasons were good ones, but we had no idea half of the guests would be leaving so early. Suddenly we had an insane amount of food, without even making the two desserts we'd planned for later, but I suppose Justin and I don't mind having leftovers. ;)

Halloween 09 - Jay, Justin, John

Indy often leaves for another room when big groups are around, but he was quite social this time. He sprawled himself across two of the three remaining laps for some belly rubs.

Halloween 09 - Indy

Next weekend the Halloween festivities continue, along with Justin's dad's birthday, at his parents' house. I can't wait!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Owl Parliament in Cherry

The red and black inks have arrived, and printing is going well!

Owl Parliament in Cherry - close

I remembered a few more printing techniques since the dark brown attempts, and the test prints with the red came out nicely. At that point I realized any of the flubs left were actually problems on the screen, and so I sat with a pin in hand, finding the faults in the printed pattern and pricking out the mistakes on the screen. Possibly for hours. But better to fix it on the screen than do touch-ups with a brush on the fabric every single time I print!

Owl Parliament in Cherry - folds

That was not the first time I pricked out a mistakes from this screen, and will probably not be the last. I realized that the screen printing shop is not going to be a perfectionist when creating my screen, which is some what understandable, but I expect a little more for $50. And I'd probably end up spending as much time burning my own screen, and making sure every detail is perfectly washed out to begin with, as I do fixing all of these little mistakes. I'm tempted to get some more emulsion.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ambigram Drop

"Silvan" & "Vasilda" Ambigram

"Silvan" & "Vasilda" Ambigram

"Nolan" & "Hudson" Ambigram

"Nolan" & "Hudson" Ambigram

"Ruby" Ambigram

"Ruby" Ambigram

"Ruby" Ambigram

"Ruby" Ambigram

"Kieran" Ambigram

"Kieran" Ambigram

"Zach" Ambigram

"Zach" Ambigram

"Rhian", "Jordyn", & "Jaxon"
Diamond Ambigram

"Rhian", "Jordyn", & "Jaxon" Diamond Ambigram

"Elaine" & "Jerry" Ambigram

"Elaine" & "Jerry" Ambigram

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Scrumptious Shrimp Shumai

We tried out this Shrimp Shumai recipe from Martha, and I have to say, I think this was probably the best shumai I have ever eaten! Normally I like a little soy sauce for dipping, but in this case it just covered up that delicious flavor.

Shrimp Shumai - filling

I did leave out the peanut oil, because that's not something we really keep on hand, and I think they were just perfect (and plenty moist). Why not cut out a few calories?

Shrimp Shumai - steamed

The shumai flatted out, as you can see, so I'll have to figure out how to make them stand a little taller next time. The recipe made 22 shumai, which would be perfect for appetizers for a group, but we added a little rice and miso soup and just made a meal out of it! Mmmmm.....

Shrimp Shumai - served

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mail Call!

I've been getting all sorts of goodies in the mail lately!

First, I picked out a free magazine subscription from the Coke website. I wanted something with recipes and chose Bon Appetit. I waited a bit... and then three issues arrived all at once! I've only found a few recipes that I'm interested in trying, but that's the case with any cookbook or magazine, isn't it?

Bon Appetit magazines

Then I received this Cute Yummy Time book from a blog give-away on While She Naps! I'm always so surprised to win these things. I always seem to win when I actually wanted to leave a comment more than I wanted to enter. But it is a very cute book, and I'll be sure to use some of the ideas in the future.

Cute Yummy Time

"While She Naps" is one of the first crafting blogs I started reading outside of Live Journal, and I've been keeping up with it for a few years now. Abby is so sweet and also included a few postcards with images of her beautiful bird sculptures and a cute drawing on the envelope.

Mail from While She Naps

I also got a copy of Harry Potter in Japanese (eBay), which I have been drooling over for a while now. I had been translating my way through Death Note (an awesome series, if you haven't read it), and I actually got to the point where I could understand what was going on pretty well without having to look anything up because words are repeated *so* frequently in them. But, I wanted a 'real' book...

Harry Potter in Japanese

I definitely wouldn't mind an actual Japanese book, but I believe this was a good choice to start with. It's a story I've read before, but long ago enough that I don't remember all of the details, and it is a book I own in English. Also, I won't have to worry about confusing the Japanese names with each other, or with other words ("Why can't I find this in the dictionary?!?"). And let's face it, it's just fun to own as well!

Harry Potter in Japanese - inside

Another recent arrive, which I don't have a photo of, was the MySims Agents game. I loved MySims and MySims Kingdom, which are almost like lego versions of the normal Sims games, minus all of that daily-life-chore stuff. I was so excited to see a new game coming out, and this time with a crime-solving, puzzle twist. It was an enjoyable game, but very, *very* short (15 hrs for a $50 game?!?), so I've already sold that one and put the money towards screen printing ink.

And I've already got a growing list of DS and Wii games for my birthday/Christmas list. One more month! Any fun games I need to know about? What are you playing? Or have you gotten something fun through the mail too?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Owls are Back!

I haven't mentioned screen printing in a while, but I have been working on it...

After one failed attempt after another at burning the large screens myself, Justin suggested burning a smaller size again. I was eager to see a screen turn out again, it had been so long! When that one also turned out terrible, I was guessing the emulsion was to blame. But I'd also had *enough*. (For now, at least)

I started looking into having a local screen printing shop burn the screen for me. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than I had expected. This is not a thing that shops normally do, which I knew. Aparently, even though they are capable, they weren't willing to do it. I did fine one shop, though, that said "yes".

The price quote was low, but they didn't have a scoop coater big enough to put the emulsion on the large screen, so she said to bring it in with the emulsion already applied. Not trusting my emulsion, I bought a new scoop coater to bring with the screen! All of this added at least a month to the wait ~ making all of the phone calls, waiting to have money to buy the coater, waiting for the coater in the mail, and waiting for the screen to be burned. But the wait is over!

Owl Parliament in Dark Chocolate - close

Having the shop apply the emulsion and create the trasparency bumped the price waaayyy up, but it was still do-able. And so much nicer than trying to do it myself, and having to keep up with all of those supplies as well.

I tested the screen out this weekend, but my ink supply was a little low. I had to do a lot of touch ups on the prints, and cut off some of the print where the ink did not cover well enough. Unfortunately you have to have a *lot* more ink on the screen than you are going to use, so even a half-full bottle was not enough for something this large. Perhaps I can scrape a little more out of the bottle and try again...

owl_dbrown_onwhite_Owl Parliament in Dark Chocolate - folds

I've also got some larger bottles of ink in red and black on their way to me now, so I hope the future prints will turn out better and I can start cranking these things out again! That giant squeegee is a little unwieldy, but I'll hopefully get used to it. And expect to see more colors and more designs in the future.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Frisbee Dogs

Last weekend Cartersville held its annual US Disc Dog championship and we finally got a chance to go. The signs boasted that it was an international competition, and we did indeed see tents from different states and even one from Japan! (Though it seemed like too small of an event for anyone to fly across the globe for, I'm not sure what the story was.)

We only got to stay for about an hour before it started raining. In one field they were judging long throws, and there was some event coming up called 'duck herding', which we were sad to miss out on. We spent most of our time watching the free-style routines, which were awesome.

Frisbee Dogs - 1

The tents along the back are all for the competing teams. The crowd sat on bleachers on the opposite side.

Frisbee Dogs - 2

Here is one of the Japanese competitors ~

Frisbee Dogs - 3

Frisbee Dogs - 4

And another Japanese lady with her pup ~

Frisbee Dogs - 5

Definitely going back next year!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Roofing Rubbish

They've been replacing the roofs at our apartments the last few weeks. Our area is mostly cleaned up now, but for a while shingles were raining down all around my workroom.

Roofing - 1

My desk is between the window and the air conditioner here ~

Roofing - 2

I wonder if they will think to clean the black marks off of the brick?

And here you can see the awesome view from our living room window... 3 satellite dishes! Luckily they are mostly hidden by the curtains.

Roofing - 3

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Field Trip

Friday we went with the high schoolers on a little after-school field trip to the symphony. It didn't start until 8, so we first stopped off for dinner and a quick trip to the Dunkin Donuts next door.

The kids were enthralled by the assembly line. They cheered whenever two doughnuts accidentally got stacked on top of one another, and rooted for them to make it all the way through the glazer without separating. Ahh, high school...

Symphony Trip - Dunkin Donuts

Walking back to the van, I saw this odd post-it stuck on an empty metal planter. Justin made me go back for a photo, and I think he made the right call.

Symphony Trip - Post-it

And then the symphony! A lovely evening indeed.

Symphony Trip

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ambigram Drop

"Love" Ambigram

"Love" Ambigram

"Trust" Ambigram

"Trust" Ambigram

"Merch" Ambigram

"Merch" Ambigram

"Live Strong" Ambigram

"Live Strong" Ambigram - embellished

"Sisters" & "Believe" Ambigram

"Sisters" & "Believe" Ambigram

"Antti" & "Oliver" Ambigram

"Antti" & "Oliver" Ambigram

"Chris" & "Leon" Ambigram

"Chris" & "Leon" Ambigram

"Joseph", "Jane", & "Jeremy" Diamond Ambigram

"Joseph", "Jane", & "Jeremy" Diamond Ambigram