Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February Challenge- A Necklace a Day

[Champagne cupcakes from Some Kitchen Stories]

Happy February! In my family, February is a month of celebrations because of the many family members with birthdays. My sister just escaped being a February baby by one day and was born on March 1- of a leap year! My brother and I still lament not being able to constantly tease her about being four years old on her sixteenth birthday.

This February I won't get to celebrate with any family members in person, but we'll be celebrating everyday on the blog with a new necklace every day! I'll share a bit of a story of the necklace and it will be up on Etsy for puchase. Making, blogging about and listing on Etsy is a big task to undertake daily but I'm excited to both spend more time on my craft AND more time sharing it with you!

Plus, all Necklace a Day necklaces will be 20% for the month of February with the code (what else?) FEBRUARY. 

To make this even more exciting, I'm joined in this challenge by a fellow East Bay Arts Collective member, Gwen of Gwen Harlow Design who will be crafting and blogging as well. If you'd like to join the challenge, email me at kat.mceachern (at) gmail dot com. See you tomorrow with the first Necklace a Day jewels.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

tumblights 1/29

It was a scary week. Little Gracie got into some raisins, which are toxic for puppies, and spent the last two days in the pet hospital being observed. I'm happy to say they treated her quickly, and she was never in pain. We picked her up last night and are so glad to have her home, safe and sound. She's curently snoozing away next to an also-sleeping Partner-in-Crime.

Here's this week's tumblights:

Test tube chandelier can be a hanging garden, rainbow via Design*Sponge

‘Billboard House’, a residential prototype that combines the concept of outdoor media with housing via designboom

Andy Goldsworthy’s newest installation in the Presidio via inhabitat

Noemie Goudal’s site-specific sculptural installation photography via designboom

Pep Ventosa takes hundred of photographs of one subject then re-constructs them into one image via  Honestly WTF

Enjoy these? Find more daily at percentblog.tumblr.com. And even more stunning images on my pintrest

Thursday, January 26, 2012

how to: spray painting leather

Sometimes I have pieces on my closet that I love, but over time I come to love more out of sentiment than the style itself. A purse I bought on a trip in early high school to El Salvador is one of those favored items. I love (most) the memories of the trip, but haven't actually carried the bag in many years. On the style and DIY blogs I read, I've been seeing lots of neon and spray paint and a jolt of color is just what this bag needs to wake it up. So thanks to Geneva of A Pair and a Spare for the many neon inspirations, including a market bag, and to Kristen of Glitter and Glue for helping me be brave enough to spray paint a leather purse. 

I mentioned on twitter that I painted another bag that didn't turn out so well. It was a canvas tote with writing so be sure to use primer if you need to cover up a design first. If you can find the color you want, I'd definitely recommend using fabric paint on canvas instead of spray paint. Additionally, make sure you have that tape down securely at the edges!

This how-to is for spray painting leather though, so follow the simple steps below!

[The purse originally]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

recipe: lemon squares

I'm posting this with a disclaimer: making this recipe may ruin all other lemon squares for you. Ever. You know a recipe is going to be great when it comes from a Junior League cookbook. Okay, another disclaimer: this does not apply to anything molded out of jello that contains fruit or cottage cheese.  However, lemon squares? Those ladies have it perfected.

I grew up eating these lemon bars on special occasions. They are not overly time consuming but do require three steps and a long time chilling, so you cannot whip them up right before your luncheon. Luncheons being what I assume they originated for. The ladies of the Junior League of Cincinnati are still hawking cookbooks, but neither on sale is the one to originally contain these so I will share it with you. In fact, when I google searched "junior league of cincinnati cookbook lemon squares" they were sharing a recipe with no cream cheese icing! Cue pearl clutching. Enjoy the icing loaded version here.

 Frosted Lemon Squares
2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar

4 whole eggs
Juice of two lemons
4 Tablespoons flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the flour, butter and powdered sugar, either with a mixer or food processor. It will be quite crumbly. Press into ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes until a light golden color.

Beat the eggs. Add juice of two lemons, flour, sugar and salt. Mix together. Pour over baked crust. Bake for 22-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely before icing, 2+ hours or overnight.

For the icing, cream together the butter and sugar in mixer or food processor. Add whipping cream and vanilla and mix. Add the cream cheese in pieces into this mixture. Spread icing on cooled lemon layer. Chill and then cut into small squares. Store in the refrigerator. Freezes well.

If nice presentation is desired, partially freeze before cutting as icing remains soft at room temperature. But if the Junior League ladies thought they looked fine, they look fine. And I can promise you, they taste great.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the magic of twitter

A few weeks ago, you may have seen me post something on twitter that looked like this:

If you were confused, it was in response to this:

Which resulted in this:

Yes. Those are my fingers. No. I have not become a hand model (the current burn from the oven on my right hand should prevent that.) Instead, I have started an internship for Anne Sage, a wonderful blogger, stylist, and Executive Editor of Rue Magazine. Last Friday we had a wonderful time shooting the Valentine's Survival Guide that is featured on pages 34-36 of the just released issue of Rue Magazine. Our photographer, Molly DeCoudreaux, was a trooper, making our shoot super fun even while she felt under the weather. Check out the rest of the shoot!

Monday, January 16, 2012

what the world needs is people who have come alive

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr Day. A day named for a specific great leader, but one who worked with countless other leaders, some who we have heard of and some whose names are not transcribed in history books. Today I want to share a poster I created, because it was inspired by the words of another civil rights leader, Dr. Howard Thurman. A friend from high school had posted the following quote as her Facebook status and I immediately was struck by it. Learning more about Dr. Thurman I was even more inspired.

The quote attributed to Dr. Thurman in whole reads: Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. 

I am learning to balance what I feel the world needs with asking myself what makes me come alive. Do you know what makes you come alive?

You can download the posters as pdfs here, posters are 11x17 prints. I'm sharing them freely, so feel free to use them in any non-commercial use.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

tumblights 1/15/12

Sunday again and a holiday tomorrow. Partner-in-Crime is taking off work which makes up for me working both days this weekend. Tonight we're having a cozy night in with pizza and beer. Here's a bit of design goodness for you to cozy up to. Exciting news coming early this week.

Fuck design, let’s set the world on fire via The Fox Is Black 

Fighting Global Injustices and Poverty…With Crafts: Meet the Craftivists via TreeHugger

elisa strozyk’s wooden textiles via Design For Mankind

Marianne Breslauer's photography via Miss Moss  

Knitted yarn filling potholes along Paris roads via alec shao

Enjoy these? Find more daily at percentblog.tumblr.com. And even more stunning images on my pintrest

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

architectural history and preservation

I just read on The Fox is Black that one of architect Richard Nuetra's buildings is currently empty and possibly to be demolished. I spent a semester analyzing every aspect of Nuetra's VDL House, even exchanging emails with Nuetra's son and architect in his own right, Dion, but hadn't learned of the Cyclorama. In fact, this style of building is one I missed completely despite History of the Interior and the many lessons on architecture I had in school. According to the Alex from The Fox is Black, "Built to display 360-degree paintings, Cycloramas were popular in the 19th century when hundreds of looped paintings traveled through dozens of cycloramas across the States."

Because the building is adjacent to Gettysburg, and even blocks the view of the battlefield, its fate is uncertain. The park service would like the Cyclorama removed to restore the view, architecture lovers want to preserve Nuetra's work. I lean toward preserving the building, either by allowing it to stand where it is or by moving it, if necessary. I am a architecture lover, but also a history lover and I think Alex put it well when he wrote:

Cycloramas do not carry the same historical weight as the Civil War, nor does any single architect. But we aren’t going to forget the Civil War anytime soon. Cycloramas and legacies of modern architects are much more fragile; when they intertwine with such a historical behemoth, it’s strange to think that agencies interested in historical preservation would fight for their erasure. History might be inconveniently located, but it’s history nonetheless.

Perhaps by keeping the building where it was intended will serve the original purpose of a building built to hold a 365 painting of Gettysburg- to teach history lovers a little something about architecture, and to remind architecture lovers that our history is what allows us to create today.

Images from The Fox is Black.

Friday, January 6, 2012

harry potter love

One reason I shared few Christmas projects is that projects I did make this season were very personal and I didn't want to spoil the surprise. For my younger sister, I made a set of Harry Potter quote posters. We are both big fans of the books (and lesser fans of the movies, though one of these quotes is actually from the movie. It's a good quote, though.)

I used the same font as the books and left the posters in black and white, to look most similiar to the books.  It's been a while since I've played around on illustrator or any Adobe CS products, but since making these I've done a few more projects that I'll be slowly sharing.

You can download the posters as pdfs here, posters are 11x17 prints. I'm sharing them freely, so feel free to use them in any non-commercial use.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year! 

This year was a big one, involving many big changes including leaving my job and moving across the country. There have been setbacks and challenges but I have been moving forward and have big goals for 2012, especially for my design work and this blog. I'm excited to continue exploring what community based design means to me and how design can make a difference. There will be more learning sf posts as I explore my adopted home, more recipes, more tumblights and, I truly hope, more conversations.

Looking forward to sharing 2012.