Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some Fun with Markers

When I was a kid I first got into art in the form of drawing. I loved drawing and still do. Many times my sister and I would receive brand new sketch books, colored pencils, markers, or something of the like from our parents for Christmas. This year was no different. When I opened a Christmas package my parents had sent me, my mom had picked out a fabulous set of markers with almost every color I'd possibly want. The markers were perfect timing to add to a set of Sharpies that I had recently purchased in attempt to try something new.

I'm not really one to stick with the same design style all of the time. In time that I have started my business, I've offered paper cut cards, digital designs of all sorts, combinations of digital design and paper cut, and digitally hand drawn images through my tablet. What I really wanted to offer were my own drawings as they are. So I've been working on some new Valentine's Day cards that will be made from my own free hand drawings with marker.

Here's a glimpse of the process so far.

I started with a small piece of drawing paper and began my design. As you can see, the last three are the finished master drawings. What do you think so far? I'll be posting the final cards once the rest of the process is finished!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Music Exchange

When my cousin is in town, the visit turns into a music exchange. For the holidays, she flew into Dulles to visit my aunt and uncle for about a week. And we were headed down to their house for Christmas and a fondue feast a few days later. So it was a given that music would be a subject thrown onto the table. Between my immediate family and theirs, this is always a topic that comes about. Both my cousin and I grew up with parents that placed music in the forefront-- music always on the stereo, actually listening to and talking about it rather than being something that is played in the background.

Before we headed down toward DC for our Christmas meal, my cousin requested I bring some music. I felt it fitting to grab the stack of albums that has been sitting on top of our stereo-- the albums that have gotten the most airtime over the last year. And thinking about these albums, it also seems fitting to share some of them with you.

As this year closes, a look back on some of our favorite albums that we've listened to this year (whether they be new or old releases).

The Black Keys - Brothers
Umphrey's McGee - Death by Stereo
Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator
J Roddy Walston & the Business - J Roddy Walston & the Business
Foster the People - Torches

And a few worth noting that were also taken from the stack for the music exchange pre-photo op.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals - Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
Ra Ra Riot - The Orchard
Delta Spirit - History from Below
Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers - Levitate
The Bridge - National Bohemian

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

While our plan is to have a lazy morning with coffee, cinnamon rolls, and presents followed by an afternoon with family, I hope you to have a very Merry Christmas! Here are some of our own festivities we've added to our house (and lazy animals too).

We found a nest in our Christmas tree! A year of good luck!

Finn just couldn't help but play with the ornaments!

Cat streeeeeetch.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Sigh of Relief

I'm not going to lie. I've definitely fallen off the radar for a few weeks here. And it's been a rough few weeks too. I had the busiest month ever in my Etsy shop and reached my goal of 200 sales by the end of the year. And that all happened while still teaching full time during one of the most stressful times of the year. Plus, you have to add a few other things in there as well like Christmas shopping, decorating the house, baking cookies, and other such festivities that are obligatory for this season.

So on this first day of my winter break, I finally give a sigh of relief. Time to completely unwind for the next eleven days and enjoy pure laziness. And hopefully you'll see me back in the cyber world a bit more frequently again!

Just Little Things

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Music Typography and Art

In our basement we have a music area of sorts. Last year for Christmas, Andrew gave me three wall mounts to hang my guitars out of their cases and on the wall. As we slowly tackle the decorating scheme in each room, the basement has been pushed aside and to the bottom of the list. I have a few concert posters that I hope to frame and add to the "music area," but I was hoping to find a few more simple yet stylish pieces to include. These are some of my favorites that I found.

via The Medium Control
via handz
via LuciusArt
via LoversRockShop
via At A Glance Graphics
via forever500francs
via yumalum
I'm having a hard time deciding which I like best, though I'm leaning toward the Spanish Bombs poster. But then again maybe it's because I've had the song in my head since I spotted the poster the other day.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tree Lighting Baltimore Style

In Baltimore we don't light trees, we light monuments. The original Washington Monument is located in Mount Vernon park, the same place where the summer concert series First Thursday takes place. And so each year, on the first Thursday of December, the monument is lit with Christmas lights and we enjoy a display of fireworks accompanied by holiday music. Food vendors from local restaurants set up on the outskirts of the square, and various musicians from the city provide us with a pre-lighting holiday concert.

This year's event was the 40th lighting.


And and added bonus of lasers was part of this lighting. I have such a hard time getting into the holiday spirit in Baltimore, perhaps because cold weather and snow doesn't usually find its way here until January. But usually the monument lighting does the trick. Do you have any particular holiday traditions in your city?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright

I have a bit of a thing for Frank Lloyd Wright. Not the man himself (he was quite a crazy man and beyond egotistical, but then again aren't most architects?), but his architecture. I blame my father for this, not that it's a bad thing, because he too loves Frank Lloyd Wright.

In fact, in the 20 years that I lived in my childhood home, my dad rehabbed nearly the entire house from top to bottom with an arts and crafts flavored style-- simple designs and lines, wood built-ins, stained glass light fixtures in the arts and crafts style. And when my parents moved, I was crushed. Not only because it was my childhood home, but because the house was beautiful and I worried that the next person to buy it would change it all. So what did my dad do with their new house? Began the process over again, naturally.

Maybe it's cliche to say that Frank Lloyd Wright is your favorite architect, but I'm ok with that. And just as it happens, Andrew (who is an architect himself) claims Wright as his favorite as well. In fact, in the process of redoing small parts of our row house in Baltimore, we've toyed with adding little Wright-esque features here and there. The most recent being our staircase. The stairs have been completed, but our banister remains unfinished with an architectural debate at hand. We'd love to take it out and install something like this:
But wouldn't that stray from the more traditional style that these Baltimore row houses are supposed to maintain? Maybe it's a deliberation of a nerdy architect sort, but at the same time shouldn't a house be stylistically the same throughout, rather than a bit of this and that throughout? Such a tough decision.

Needless to say, during our time in Indiana this past Thanksgiving weekend, we spent a morning in Oak Park, outside of Chicago, at Frank's home and studio. While we weren't able to take photos inside, I got some shots of his home and studio exterior as well as some of the other homes he designed in the neighborhood.

While I love most of what Wright designed, I must say that my favorite are the Usonian homes with the cantilevered roof lines and balconies, similar to the characteristics seen in Fallingwater.

Do you see a trend here? We tend to include architectural visits in our travels. Maybe one days if I get rich, I can buy a Frank Lloyd Wright home, but somehow I'd guess that I'm more likely to own a home designed by Andrew. At $875,000 a pop, buying a Wright home is no small investment!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let's Play Catch Up

It's been a whirlwind week or so here and I've had little time to blog during it all. Last Wednesday afternoon, we packed up our bags and headed to Cleveland to stay an overnight with Andrew's parents on a long haul back to Indiana. Thursday morning, we made the rest of our trek to my hometown to enjoy a long weekend with my parents.

While at my parents house we were able to enjoy woodfired pizza and roasted veggies from their own backyard oven (they loved the one at my mom's bakery so much my dad decided to build a second one in their yard).

I got to visit with my childhood cats, Mick and Gabby.

On Saturday we spent the morning in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, checking out a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright including his home and studio (more photos to come from that!).

And in the afternoon we drove into downtown Chicago to do some of my favorite things I used to always do in Chicago like get caramel popcorn at Garrett's, eat dinner at Bandera, check out the Art Institute (this time the new modern wing), stroll through Millennium Park and see the Cloud Gate.

Oh, and in case I forgot to tell you, we also got engaged in the Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park that same afternoon! No big deal or anything! :)
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