Monday, September 10, 2012

Feeling a Little Indie

Back in fall of 2010, when I lived on the northern side of Berkeley campus and made the occasional stroll over to Philz Coffee for a delicious Iced Mint Mojito coffee (yeah, you read that correctly), I picked up a glossy postcard-sized flyer advertising something called the Indie Mart. At the time, I honestly didn't care about the flyer's advertisement so much as the gorgeous design of the flyer itself--very bohemian/tribal with its bright orange tones, plethora of triangles, and skinny, compressed font-face. Everything about it just screamed, "Take me and put me on your wall NOW!"
So I did. And on my wall it has remained, though the wall and house changes from time to time. 
On Monday, during one of my many procrastination sessions, I happened to glance up at my wall, see the flyer, and proceed to look up the Indie Mart online. 
I was ecstatic to learn that the Indie Mart was indeed still an ongoing thing and was going to be held in the Mission District on Sunday (today!).
 Occupying a few blocks in the Mission, the Indie Mart features dozens of vendors selling gorgeous handmade jewelry, clothing, vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories, handmade stationary and greeting cards, plants, and artwork. The mart even features DIY tables where you pay to partake in a fun DIY craft (today's craft was terrarium-making). Not leaving you to fend for food after all that shopping and walking, food trucks provide delicious eats, while various bands keep the crowds entertained and energetic.  
 Seeing the mart for the first time was something out of a movie--getting off the bus, watching it pull away to reveal the glorious splendor of people and items dazzling behind it in all its glory. We didn't really know where to start...
 Walking from booth to booth, the four of us were constantly pointing out something fun and creative for the rest to see. These bottle lamps were no exception.
The mart was absolutely fit-to-bursting with jewelry. I was absolutely torn between these pyramid studs and a pair of coral rose earrings (coral, as usual, won as shown below). 
 As is to be expected, due to their handmade quality, many of the items were pricey. I loved these silk headbands from Bachman's Sparrow, which you can find here, going for $24.00.  But in my honest opinion, I recommend spending a little bit more and buying handmade. It supports local artists and promotes a small business mentality. Moreover, you end up with a one-of-a-kind, quality-made item like these scarves! (I'm pretty sure I'll be making this purchase sometime soon.)
 As many of you have probably already seen, painted/color-blocked wooded bangles are all the rage on Pinterest right now. I almost bought the set of three on the bottom right, but I think I may try to DIY them sometime in the future (so keep an eye out!).
 And then, of course, each vendor's presentation of their items was just as cute as the items themselves! Loved this cowboy boot-as-planter idea!
With it's barely-there entrance fee of $3.00, the Indie Mart was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I loved my experience, my purchases, and the company with whom I enjoyed it!
(I recommend joining the mailing list--you will get updates much faster.)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summer Neckties

I love repurposing/revamping old things. It's becoming a hobby. I just moved back to Berkeley to begin the school year. As is custom, I brought back LOTS of new goodies to fill up my already exploding Ikea closet. To make room, I got rid of a few things. This linen shirt was in the donate pile before I had a change of heart. 
I bought this shirt used, seeing some really great layering potential for the winter months. But I didn't wear it at all last winter. 
So I decided to stop waiting and wear it now!
 To give the shirt a more summery air, I cut off the sleeves. I have been wanting a shirt with neckties for ages. So I used the sleeve material to make a little necktie by cutting two strips and tying them in a knot.
 I then picked some embroidery thread (coral and pink) to enhance and brighten the olive green material of the shirt. I stitched little x's and ='s to the corners of the collar and changed the button thread color of the top-most button.
To clean up the overall look of the shirt, I stitched the edges of the necktie using a light pink thread before pinning it to the underside of the collar.
And it's ready to wear! What do you think?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

For Those Lacking in Frosting Talents

I have been so excited to make lemon blackberry cupcakes. Unfortunately, I came to the really sad realization that I do not know how to frost cupcakes to save my life, so I improvised and decided to play with some powdered sugar to spruce up their aesthetic appeal (and taste!). I think I made it up, but who really invents anything anymore with Pinterest and memories of everything seen online?  I just got a piece of cardstock, cut a heart in the center, placed it over the frosted cupcake and sprinkled powder sugar over the heart.
They came out really good! The tart, lemony goodness of the cupcake perfectly balanced the sweet homemade, blackberry frosting. The cupcakes have pretty much disappeared from our countertop here at home, so I would consider the recipe a success. 
Just a note: I only used 3 cups of confectioner's sugar for the icing (half of what it asks for) and the icing was still a bit too sweet for my personal liking.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Feeling Crafted...and Employed

 I am so excited to say that I am now happily employed at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation's LARGEST permanent marketplace! But before that, I had such a great time yesterday exploring the various stalls of artisan goods. I really liked MerieBabie's wooden floral necklaces and leather fold-clutches. But Anony-Mouse stole the cake. Their wedding invites, save the dates, and wedding programs were just irresistible! If you cannot make it out to Crafted, which I HIGHLY encourage, check out his work here! The artisans, the goods, the food, and the music were great! The next time I go, I plan to try the woodfired pizza for the red double-decker food bus (yeah, you read that correctly). But an hour just isn't enough time to wander through all the stalls, so plan accordingly... <3

Food truck tacos, always my favorite!

Monday, July 2, 2012

They Still Do Get Usage...

 For one of my final art projects, I decided to portray the loneliness of payphones and contradict the New York Times statement above that payphones do in fact still get usage. In a time in which cell phones are permanently glued to our hands and ears, how useful are payphones? Of course, I cannot knock them in times of emergency, but I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose the payphone with the convenience and frequent use of the cellphone. I thus photographed unused payphones, placed in the foreground of the photo to capture its lone solitude and make it the ironic focus of the photo, as people walked by on their own phones and in their own worlds, completely oblivious to the payphone's presence.
[And, one a side note, it was just fun being a creeper with a camera for one afternoon]

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Watermelon Craze

I have been craving watermelon agua fresca for days! And the heat has not eased my craving at all. To satiate my desire, I have been frequenting my favorite haunt almost daily (I lived on their agua fresca all during dead week and finals week), but sadly they have not had it.

SO...I decided to make my own, but only after my best friend assured me that making my own was not only possible but easy peasy! 
{Thanks, lovely!}

Watermelon Aqua Fresca
Makes One Tall Glass

1/4 Cantaloupe-Sized Seedless Watermelon, cubed and refrigerated 
1/4 cup of water

And, are you ready for this, all you have to do is blend these two ingredients until chunky!
Serve Immediately! 

I know I will enjoy my delicious drink while reading my new book, Chanel!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Childhood Dress Put Away Indefinitely

For my Practice of Art class, my teacher assigned the seemingly easy task of creating a story using only 6 words, based on Hemingway's own six word story: "For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Used."
It was a really fun task.
For my story I decided to play with the issues of memory and time. I envisioned a white lace dress being packed away into a box and put into storage, a symbol of childhood, as we also pack away memories as daily challenges occupy the forefront of our minds.
 My next task was to recreate this concept visually. I sketched out several ideas before settling on the creation of a paper Polaroid camera. In my exhibition, I crafted a Polaroid camera with a developing Polaroid picture still resting in its slot, a picture frame showing the developed picture, and a storage box packing away the frame. In this sequence, I hoped to capture the passage of time as is relative to the creation, possession, and storage of memory. Moreover, I made all of these items from paper to show how these items all possess the ability to decompose, to break down into nothing and lose their value over time. With time, the mind and memory share this very outcome. 
As a child, I parted with many items that I found incredibly sentimental. And each time this happened, I was told that the item would live on in my memory. The item is remembered, as it is captured in my exhibition, at its finest, the way we choose to remember it. But despite the fine quality we snapshot in our memory, the item does not live forever. With the element of time, nothing can last forever, not the actual item, not the paper-imitation item, and not even the memory itself. 
The Back is Not Yet Made, But It is Coming Along!
 The Polaroid represents that particular moment when the memory is created, as the photo has not yet developed. My choice to make everything out of cardstock paper allows for the capture of this particular moment (I wish I could, but I do not know how to do this chemically). 
 The framing of the Polaroid indicates the larger increment of time in which the love for the item (in this case the dress), and the possession of its memory still resides in the mind, as the  concept of framing so indicates. 
Finally, the box signifies the moment in which the item is taken from the shelf and put away, separated from the everyday life, separated from the mind's preoccupations and stored away somewhere where it now possesses the ability to be forgotten, as the placement below the top shelf portrays. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy 75th to the Golden Gate Bridge

This Memorial Day weekend in celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th Anniversary, Birthday what-have-you, San Francisco was alive (or should I say more alive?) with festivities, tourists, and activity every way you turned--if you could physically turn at all. 
In a pretty festive mood ourselves, two friends and I jumped onto the BART (which was the most crowded I'd ever seen) and headed to the Mission. Originally, we headed over to see the Brazilian Festival which was definitely underway when we got there. The air was filled with the delicious smells of elotes, grilled bacon-covered hot dogs, and barbeque, and almost everyone was carrying either watermelon or mango on a stick. People were dressed in elaborate, colorful costumes and everyone was dancing. It was so festive! 
We wandered through and learning that the parade was over decided to explore the Mission.
I'd never been to the Mission before, at least this particular part of it, and I must say, "It has character." Funny thing, this statement now possesses much more meaning. Sophie and I laughed at this accurate title. Previously, we have only used it to describe things that are just downright terrible, unpleasant, not to our know, I'm sure you've used this before. But the Mission really DOES have character, the kind that leaves you wanting to explore its odd mixture of rough patches and lovely oases. It was absolutely fascinating to see the quality of the neighborhood change from impoverished and down-trodden to chic and gentrified (one of my new favorite words, and one that was used several times during the day) all within the trek of one or two blocks.
An example of such a transition: we walked past several liquor stores and then hit a really chic boutique that was having a sample sale... 
 The sale was absolutely invigorating. Upon my first, casual glance at the sales tags, my initial reaction was to duck out of the store unnoticed. But then, looking up, I noticed the color-coded sales chart with prices between $15-$35, a much improved price range from the $150.00-a-shirt tags that had me hyperventilating. In the end, the three of us all walked out with lovely brown paper bags filled with out even lovelier dresses and other items. I found an amazing black maxi dress that I am struggling not to wear t this very second. 
After the sale, we continued our walk down the Mission through the more chic apothecaries, ice cream shops, and iconic San Francisco townhouses before we decided to head over to Ghirardelli Square to eat and set up camp to watch the fireworks. 
Even though it is more tourist-y and the restaurants are overpriced, we decided on Lou's Fish Shack. We passed it, but we were drawn to the live music and the chatter from inside. We stuffed ourselves with calamari, clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls and crab salad sandwiches before heading over to the Buena Vista, a small tavern-like bar famous for their Irish Coffee.
 Apparently, the FIRST Irish Coffee to be made in America was made right here! (I really am becoming a sucker for history...) And it did not disappoint. It was incredibly creamy and smooth and had great flavor. BUT even better! We met three really awesome girls, two from UCSD (one of which is graduating in three weeks!) and one from France who is leaving the States in three days. It was really nice just to mingle with new people and hear their stories. 
Courtney, Sophie, and I with out new friend Nicole in tow, then headed to the grassy park next to Buena Vista (it had a perfect view of the bridge) and sat to enjoy the fireworks. It was a spectacular show, and I honestly don't know how they will compete with it in 25 years. In fact, the evening was so great, I don't know how the rest of summer will compete, but I guess I'll soon find out!
Here's to Summer and Exceeding Expectations!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Twinkle Toes

Oh my...I haven't posted in quite some time! Now that it is summer, I envision myself blogging several times a week with some fun DIY project that I do to keep myself from dying of boredom, especially now that I don't have studying and reading to preoccupy all my waking moments. 

First Project of Summer: Revamping What At First Glance Already Appears to be Vamped Flats 

On Wednesday, I took some old clothes to Buffalo Exchange, a really awesome vintage thrift/consignment store. While I love doing this, I first have to muster up the courage to march in, take a number and watch the staff rifle through my items to pick what is Buffalo-worthy merchandise. There is seriously nothing like this experience that makes me feel like a person with a bag lady sense of fashion. Of an entire luggage full of clothes, only two items were tagged. These particular flats were praised, but deemed too worn.

But in the end, it worked out. I have been searching for plain, unadorned black flats for months. Bringing these back home I realized that I could redesign the flats using a little creativity and hot glue. 

 My first step was to cut off the center adorned piece (including the little loop connecting the center to the ankle strap). I left the center strip alone but cut off the two smaller side strips, so as to make use of it for ankle strap support.
 I then cut the center strip so that the length corresponded with the length of the heel of the flat, and hot glued it to the center of the heel.
Taking my beloved crop-o-dile, I punched six holes along the arc of the toe to add a little flair.
 And VOILA! New Mary-Jane style flats that have just a subtle hint of pop on the heel!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jar of Hearts

This is such an easy and sweet way to cheer up someone's day, celebrate a birthday, or just say hi. AND it's inexpensive! Even sweeter!
All you need is red velvet cake mix, cream cheese frosting, a chocolate bar, and an empty jar with a lid (feel free to change flavors). I found this style of jar at a local shop called Daiso (everything is $1.50!) and decorated it to my hearts content. I love Pinterest and I have been dying to make the folded-heart paper flowers. 
For this project, I cut out six small hearts from solid cardstock and folded them in half. I then glued one side of each folded heart to the jar's lid to create a flower. Just make sure to glue down the same side of the heart so that every other flower petal stands up. Add a ribbon with a tag or whatever accent suits your style.
Note: I found that two cupcakes stacked and held together with frosting filled the jar in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. I topped them the two with more frosting and chocolate shreds. :)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

We Know How to Do Fridays

Summer is officially in the air, and what perfect timing, as it seems to reflect my sunny disposition, a result of my excitement for Cal Day, my mom and sister's arrival, and Mom's Tea this Sunday. 
Friday's weather (dear Lord, I'm about to talk about the weather) was absolutely perfect adventure-weather. I am so proud to say that in just this one day I crossed many things off of my bucket list.
 To begin what ended as an amazing day, a few good friends and I went THRIFTING. By 1pm, all those bargains aroused in each of us a hunger that could only be satiated by fried chicken sandwiches from Bakesale Bette's (accompanied by lemon ices of course). We even skipped the mainstream method of eating our meal at a table and enjoyed our food in the cool shade of a tree. 
After enjoying our savory snack, we journeyed into Scream, an amazing neighboring sorbet shop whose White Guava ice cream is a flavor to rival Ici's entire uniquely-crafted menu. Scream had some very intriguing flavors, but since I tried the White Guava first, I didn't really feel the need to venture out and try all of them. Those that I did try just couldn't compete with the lingering light and fruity sweetness of the former.  
 I was extremely sad to learn that this flavor is to be discontinued sometime in the next few weeks. 
 After our dessert, we meandered down the nearby street to a used craft store. Once our food had settled and our purchases made, we dropped off our friend Mel and headed to the Gourmet Ghetto of Berkeley to indulge in some chocolate tasting. The tasting featured a little history course on the chocolate we were eating, but in all honesty, I just wanted to eat!
Oh boy, did we eat! I guess I make this claim with the thought of quality and not quantity in mind since we didn't really eat that much. I really enjoyed the 73 1/2 dark chocolate with nibs. The cacao/sugar ratio was perfect and the slight crunch of each bite was a pleasant surprise. 
As if we needed any more sugar, we then headed to Masse's Pastries and treated ourselves to some delectable macarons. I tried the cassis and the yuzu. I personally think the yuzu tasted like sugar-coated grass, but the fact that I associated it with grass at all mystifies me more than the flavor. (I don't eat grass, I promise.)
Finally leaving the ever-tempting gourmet ghetto behind, we rejoined Mel and headed to Berkeley Marina to enjoy the sunshine and the scenery. It was so beautiful.  
I especially loved seeing the sailboats drifting along in the wind. But the wind got to be too much and we decided to pack up our glitter nail polish and red curtain (we used it as a makeshift blanket, see?) and headed to Vik's Chaat for some more food and good conversation, the perfect way to wind down from a busy but fun afternoon. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ribbon-Bound Journals

The end of the semester is steadily approaching, and I would be lying if I said that I was for once not dreading its arrival! While the end means, papers turned in and finals done and also summer (well actually summer school), it also means I have to endure a few all-nighters, many late night cram sessions, and stress! ARGH! I am NOT ready!
At this time, I have already said goodbye to my Jane Austen decal class as our last day was this past Tuesday. It was such a chill class and I am sad to have said goodbye. I have become quite the Janeite. I am even contemplating joining the Jane Austen Society of North America, how devout is that?
I know, there is no need to answer!
Well for our last day everyone submitted a final creative project. Now, for Christmas my mom bought me a book on bookbinding (this reads so funny!) called Adventures in Bookbinding and I have been itching to implement my newfound knowledge. I did tweak the method a bit as I do own the more intricate tools of the trade. 
Our teachers were pretty flexible from the beginning, telling our class that we could pretty much do anything that involved the readings. I knew I wanted to make something, and when I decided to create a journal, I thought it would be fun to write this journal with the voice of 15 year old Jane. Practicing a little creative writing, something I have not done since my early teenage years when I was obsessed with writing horror stories (there really should be a genre entitled "spaghetti horrors" because these stories definitely fit into that category), I based the premise of my journal around what would have been Jane's 15th birthday--December 16, 1790. From here, I embodied what I felt to be the 15 year old intellectual/satirical voice of Jane Austen. The journal recounts fictionalized excerpts of her everyday encounters, encounters that are based loosely on the story and themes surrounding Pride and Prejudice, so as to suggest that her inspiration for the novel came from her own life experience, Elizabeth's relationship with Mr. Darcy included. 

 Making the Ribbon Bound Journal

Since I was attempting to create a journal from the 1790s, I tried to stay with muted, natural colors and a simple design. 
Using two cardboard rectangles 9" x 5 3/4" that I cut from an old box and wrapped in brown parchment paper, two pieces of burgundy ribbon 1 1/2" thick, burgundy embroidery thread, and several sheets of fine unlined paper folded and placed within one another, I created a simple, eco-friendly journal. 

1. Place all sheets together and make sure edges are even. Place a piece of ribbon on top of the creased edge, making sure the ribbon rests evenly divided. 
2. Thread embroidery through ribbon and pages and loop back, pulling thread back through to ribbon-side. 
3. Tie in knot and then tie in decorative bow. Repeat for top or bottom. Feel free to get creative and use thinner ribbon to make three of four bindings. 
4. Place parchment paper-wrapped cardboard on top of now bound journal pages (Make sure taped edge of wrapping is inside as it will be covered by inner page. Place ribbon binding on top of cover. Adhere ribbon to cover using glue dots or hot glue gun. Make sure to adhere ribbon right along the edge as well or the cover will flop away from binding when opened. Repeat. 

5. Inside, adhere first page of journal to inside cover. I placed my glue on inside cover and closed journal to see where the page naturally rested when closed.
Note: To decorate my cover, I used a dandelion stamp paired with a clear ink. After stamping my clear design (it shows up on the brown paper just as a watermark would), I sprinkled white embossing powder over my stamped work. After dusting off the excess powder, I heated the design using an electric heat tool (it dries the powder giving the design a three-dimensional, glossy finish).

Enjoy Your Lovely Little Works of Art and Happy Journaling!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Oh Sew Sweet Messages

Just in time for the Easter holidays! While I do love myself an Easter basket chock full of chocolates and plastic eggs filled with fun things, I love a heartfelt message even more. And what better way to remember the true meaning of Easter than with a sweet message and a bible verse--and all tied up in twine (my absolute favorite way to give a gift). 
Here is a sweet and unique way to let someone know that you are thinking about them.
 I recently asked my mom for old spools of thread and she sent me several bags filled with these gorgeous wooden spools (I really like the one on the far left). I untied the string and cut strips of colorful cardstock paper to fit in the groove of the spool. I adhered one end to the spool with a glue dot, the textured side away from the spool. I then wrote my message on the inner side of the paper and wrapped it around the spool, tying it in place with a small piece of twine.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Magical Snail Mail

One of my other fun craft ideas, a result of my Utrecht explorations. I actually found this idea online but the concept of the shoe is entirely my own. My best friend and I have a big-time consumer crush on Christian Louboutin heels. But then who can resist these beauties? Funny story, this past January we both went to Vegas, though on separate trips (a few days apart), and we each asked our respective travel-buddy to photograph us in front of Christian Louboutin stores. Best friends do think alike!

The concept of this project is simple. Using multiple blank postcards arranged into a canvas format, draw, paint, charcoal, etc. an image, design, or message. Once finished and completely dry, scramble up the postcrds and send one postcard every few days to one friend (or other penpal). They must save each postcard and arrange the postcards to see the final image, design, message. 

My first step was to actually draft my design in light pencil and then go over the design with watercolors.
 Be patient and be prepared to spend some time on this project. It's worth it!
Mail the postcards every few day with an encouraging note, funny anecdote, new recipe, etc. and exercise great strength not to send them all at once!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An Instagram Sushi Date

My Favorite Sushi Place in Berkeley
 My Favorite Person to Pass the Afternoon with
Happy as a CLAM
California Rolls and Avo-Cu Rolls
You Make Me the Happiest Person in the World!

I have been obsessing over Instagram for the past few weeks. I don't have a smart phone or an iPod touch, but Mike does, so I like to think that I do by association, at least when he is here. I have been bugging him to let me play with his camera and (yippeeee) he finally gave in! First he teased me and downloaded the Instagram App only to tell me I couldn't use it, but he eventually had pity on me (the sushi softened him up) and he let me play with his iPod to my heart's content! 
But besides this, I had such a great time hanging out with him and stuffing my face full of delicious California rolls (8 of them!) and Avo-Cu rolls <3
Love you, Bub! And love you too, Tako Sushi!