Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cincinnati Museum, The Dead Sea Scrools

We started with a temporary exhibit that my parents were really excited about, The Dead Sea Scrolls.
I would say that I am a spiritual person but despite my parents up bringing and persistence to be I am not very religious. I don't got to church unless I am being polite or curious. Not because I don't like church but just because its never been something I feel compelled to do. I am glad they are compelled and enjoy it but its not for me and I"ll admit I kind of expected this exhibit to be some what like going to church. It was however brilliantly engaging.

The exhibit was divided into 4 sections that wind about sort of like a tight lazy snake. You entered from a very utilitarian hallway into the first room which was in stark contrast with its sandy floors and large screens projecting images of the dead sea. This was going to be way more interesting than just looking at dusty objects behind hermetically sealed glass.

A theatrical sort of man introduces you to the middle east its climate and the climate of the times and casual circumstances that lead to the survival and discovery of the dead sea scrolls. All our interest is piqued and we are shuffled into the first hall to the past a time line resting at your feet as you trudge past small artifacts from each era.

After this hall is another set in exact contrast to this one with large open displays for you to walk around peek in and gaze past. 

The last of the halls with all its ancient nick-nakkery opened up into a large room with a giant circular display which held parts of the dead sea scrolls. This room under its heavy surveillance didn't allow any photography but did let you touch massive bricks from the temple and held in each of its corners videos about the people of the day or the unusual timing between the finding of the the scrolls and the founding of modern day Israel. 
In the end though I always find that as cool and awe inspiring seeing the genuine article is I always come back to some smaller more personal item that I related to in these exhibits the most. My favorites from this exhibit were:

These beauty items and these weights and balances. 

Cincinnati Museum

 My parents have always been about museums and since even before I can remember, pictures exist to prove it, they've taken me and then my brothers around to anything that might be interesting or fun. Even once my brothers and I hit that dreaded age of all parents when we no longer wanted to be any where near them they persisted in carting us around to museums, cultural sights, national parks etc. Begrudgingly we would always go in only to find happily as we left that we all had a really great time.... well if we allowed ourselves to anyways. The tradition has continued and I hope it forever will.

Main entrance of the station 

The people in Cincinnati have turned their old train station into a huge home for several museums. Its very similar to the Smithsonian in how you can get way more information than you could ever hope to process in a day in one place. The Cincinnati Museum Place is home to several museums and an Omnimax theater( it's like the Imax's big brother). My parents decided since I hadn't been there yet that it was a MUST on this trip and I happily agreed since I would get me out of the house. My parents don't actually live in Cincinnati so we packed ourselves up, convinced my brothers to leave their computers and studies and headed out.

interior of the dome, the largest in the usa

Its not the cheapest museum experience but its worth every penny. Just stepping inside the colossal building is like a step back into an era of news reels, train travel, jazz and the beginning of so many big dreams and ideas for the country. The deco style is every where. Its an architectural dream of the past. If that or the dinosaurs don't win you over immediately then the ice cream is sure to. That and small children kept racing around going on about the cave and the forest. I mean I might be almost 30 but I felt I had to find out what that was all about.

Their salted caramel ice cream is delicious

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Reading Vaction

 I had intended to try and bring some projects on this vacation to get ahead on them for work. But I just couldn't bring myself to pack any of it. I justified this by saying I needed to make sure I had enough room for bringing back all the wonderful things I would be receiving for Christmas. Yay! Presents

So when I got to my parents and came to the same startling re-realization I always have that they live in the country and have terrible cell service. I began to wish I hadn't be so quick it not bring my projects with me. I mean when else would I find such a large chunk of down time again and what was I going to do now? The answer ended up being right in front of me. I would catch up on reading. A past time I'd recently picked back up and was always sad to never seem to have enough time to do as much of as I wanted to.

I started by finishing the book I had started on the flight home. My boyfriend, Matt, had just finished it and as we both love this author I was excited to get the chance to read it. Which I did seemingly all in on breath. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk was a delight. I enoyed it immensely. I did find the scene with the giantess demon a bit unnecessary but respected the authors correlating it to an adventure Gulliver has in his travels. In fact all the correlations to other stories and movies made the book a lot more fun in a strangely nostalgic way that I don't think I'd be able to explain. So I won't. If you enjoy his works or are looking for something different I recommend this as a fun, fast read with an ability to make you think a little bit more about your own mortality and what that entails.  More about the author and his works can be found by clicking here.

They say things come in their own time and I would say that has proven itself evident with the timing of this book. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I picked it up after my brother told me he was interested in it after showing me this video clip. Surprisingly it piqued my interest for a couple of reasons. I was already thinking a lot about resolutions with the end of the year so nearly upon us and I am always looking for soft ways to try and quietly help my mother, who suffers from depression, to see the happier side of herself.  So while we we out at a books store I picked it up. I loved it. It was a delightful read full of personal insight that was relate-able and comforting. Rubin made me feel it was acceptable to be myself; whether or not that was person she (or anyone else for the matter) would actually care to be friends with. It made me happy to be me and it inspired me to try to find more ways to be happy and to share that happiness. More about the project and the author here.

I am now on my way into rediscovering a tale from my youth, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. Granted it was told to me through an animated movie and I never really thought about it as a book until I was much older it has still been on my reading list for shamefully longer than I would care to admit. I look forward to seeing how the film and the book compare. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

For Calvin

Once upon a time there was a great comic. So EPIC in its greatness it helped me get partial credit on test questions I didn't know the answers to from 4th grade on up until I graduated college.. both times. I related to the main character being brilliant but commonly misunderstood. This made me want to be like more like his snaky, witty, imaginative self who had a smart response for every reprimand, an imaginative escape for every boring situation and a best friend at his side, albeit an imaginary one. I wanted to be Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.

 To be truthful I still do. So on snowy days, which are rare for me since I live in Tennessee which is bi-polar in its weather patterns and doesn't keep the rarest of its weather gifts, snow, any longer than approx. 24 hours if you're lucky, I like to pay tribute to Calvin and Hobbes snow art genius. Since I am in Ohio for the holidays visiting my parents and snow is prefect abundance I was able to do such a tribute.  
Thanks for all the memories and help on getting partial credit Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes. Your legacy continues on as legend in the hearts of all who read it. 

Ode to Calvin and Hobbes Snow Genius:
The Swimmer and the sharks

Ode to Calvin and Hobbes Snow Genius:
The Bad Diver

Since I am going to be in Ohio for a few more days and there is still plenty of snow I hope to make a few more of these snowmen inspirations. Until then I would love to see any crazy snow creations that you guys may have come up with whether Calvin/Hobbes inspired or not. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Holiday Cop Out

The holidays. Wish I had something brilliant to say but since I don't and I am needed upstairs to help polish off those delicious Christmas leftovers and cookies before my brothers make them all disappear I leave you with Zefranks brilliance. <3 an="an" awesome="awesome" christmas="christmas" had="had" hope="hope" p="p" you="you">

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

DIY Scratch Off Holiday Cards

Inspired by a Dainty Squid post I decided to make Matt and I's Christmas card this year. The image is a painting he did of us about a month ago. LOVE IT! I just scanned it on to the computer and made a matching text side. Over all the process was pretty easy and I will be using it again and again I am sure for all manner of things. 

Though I think in the future I will probably leave more time to send the printing out to get it professionally done on a thicker stock paper. I printed on standard card stock at UPS, who are always awesome but do have more limited paper selection. Another good reason to outsource the printing besides more paper options include a higher quality print and they can do a lot of the pre-shaping (cutting/folding) of your card for you :) Always a bonus! There are many options out there from Flyer Club to Vista Print and many many more. 

                        To make your own scratch off cards you'll need:

*Your Printed Design
I would recommend getting your design printed on a card stock weight paper.
You could do the scratch card on a standard computer paper in a pinch but it  really doesn't hold up as well and visually the weight of the paper looks off in relation to the scratch off paint. I promise you'll be happiest using a good sturdy card stock paper. 

*Dish Soap 
Any liquid soap will do. I used Palmolive

*Acrylic Paint 
Any brand and color will work. I used a metallic silver

*A paint brush or sponge brush
They both do the same job one just leaves less visible streaks.

*Packing Tape or Contact Paper
I used packing tape. It is cheaper and my design meant I was just working with straight lines. 
If you are doing a shaped area for your scratch out I would recommend going with the contact paper so you can trace and cut out your designs with out the head ache of having no backing. 

*Painters Tape
This will help stream line the whole painting process if you're working with straight edges. 
You just want to be careful that you press it down well so no paint leaks under it and that you are careful pulling it up depending on the quality of the paper/ stock you're using it can want to tear at the paper a little. 

*Something to Work On
(i.e. scrap paper, cardboard, plastic table cloth)
This is to protect your home and often times your work. 
 A sturdy large piece of cardboard from an old box side worked great for me. I could tape down and work on a large quantity of the cards but if I got interrupted it was simple enough to put away and pull out again later. Plus I could work on it while sitting on the couch watching movies rather than being forced to the kitchen table. ;)

                                                          Pep Talk

If there is anything life has proven to me it is that the easy or simple things are easy to get frustrated by because they can be simple to mess up. Thats why I recommend doing a test run or two on your cards to get familiar with the process and work out any kinks you might encounter along the way. Be patient and your reward will be the most awesome cards your customers, friends and family have ever seen. You will become legend because YOU did it yourself. Which means thats right you're awesome! Now lets get to work. :)

                                            Here We Go! A Step by Step:

1* Make the Paint
Mix two parts paint to every one part of dish soap. Be gentle but thorough in mixing. You want it try and keep bubbles down to a minimum. 

2* Tape the Area You Want to Paint
With the contact paper or Packing tape cover the area you want the scratch off to be. Make sure that the whole area is covered. 

3* Tape down and Mask Area w/ Painters Tape
Using your painters tape mask off what you don't want painted over to get nice crispy edges. I like to gently rub the tape down to guarantee that its really secure and won't leech paint underneath of its edges. You can mask your cards down to your scrap surface as well if you're trying to keep the project as mobile/mess free as possible. 

4* Painting Time
With either your paintbrush or sponge brush apply THIN, EVEN layers. Don't worry if you can still see the design through the first coat. The paint dries quickly. It usually takes about 2 or 3 layers. 

5* Let it Dry
This is in my opinion the most crucial step. I always want to rush drying things. Laundry, paintings, etc... It never turns out well. I either end up wearing damp jeans all day or ruin the project I was working on. So take my advice and let it dry. This paint doesn't take long to dry completely so let it be. ...Or use a hair dryer.... I mean I'm just saying. Time is precious. 

6* Remove the Bindings
Once your cards are completely dry you can remove the painters tape. Be very gentle with it. Peel slowly and kind of at a diagonal and you should notice a minimum of effort. If it starts to pull at the paper of the card or the paint STOP IMMEDIATELY and start a counter attack from the opposite side. This works most of the time. Once all your masking tape is removed your cards are ready to go. 

7* Victory Dance
Now do a little dance and enjoy your amazing scratch off cards. 


Monday, December 03, 2012

It's here in the blinkin' papers! Pictures and all!

I have always loved Cruella De Vil's style. Even a a kid knowing that she was through and though evil with a capital D I still had to give her props on her personal style. I just wished she'd see the light and do it without having to kill puppies. One of the main style points of Cruella's that I lusted after was her two tone hair but being fair and freckled I just wrote off never looking right with it. Surprising considering I was purple haired not even 6 months ago. My awesome beard face below is evidence of that. 

Then I saw Mini Penny's blog on my random internet walk about. It was like a flash of lightning! Epiphany!  The answer to several of my hair desires. 
1) I could get the Cruella look with out it frying half my hair while making the other look to garish next to my complexion. 
2) I could keep my hair its natural color for the most part which would help restore its natural health and make my mom super happy. 
Hi MOM! 
 Following my dilemma of not wanting to totally gank the lovely style of Chapplin from Mini Penny lead to what you see before you.  I hope sincerely hope she doesn't mind being my hair-spiration helping me finally achieve a manageable Cruella look. I am really in love with it. If you haven't checked out her blog you totally should because its pretty awesome. Until next time Darlings, Here is some of Disney's Cruella, Cruella De Vil.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm Back!!!

I'm back from outer space. It has been quite some time since I last posted and a lot has happened.

* I graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a BFA in Art Education. Which means I can teach K-12 art
* Accepted and Completed a tattoo apprenticeship at No Egrets Tattoo Studio in Clarksville, TN
* Started dating fellow tattoo artist Matt Monroe. We've been together for a year and a month and are happily going strong.
* Adopted an kitten whom we've named Bakanekko and call Baka for short.

Its funny how making bullets of the big events in your life makes it seem like you've done a lot less than you have. :) Take my word for it all of that was a lot and it was the reason I let this blog slip for a few years. But now I am back and I have lots of crafting and projects to get started on. Hope you all didn't feel to neglected.

Also feel free to check out my tattoo blog,