Monday, November 28, 2011

what to do with so much leftover pie?

This week:
1. Leftover PIE! A lot of it!
2. Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. With predicted snow on Wednesday.
3. Final crits!

Wish me luck on conquering all of the above...especially all of the leftover pie! Many exciting things will be popping up here once the final crits are over, I promise (probably should be more concerned about that than the pie, actually)!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

coffee coffee coffee

Depressed that my short but sweet Thanksgiving break is now coming to an end, I'm finding that I'm going to be in need of a lot more coffee over the next two weeks as I get ready for final critiques!

"You know what? Three coffees would be great...what do I owe you?"

I say, "Coffee, coffee, coffee!" all the time. I kind of stole it from Gilmore Girls (my favorite show ever). I've recently converted Corey into a coffee drinker...I'd been trying to do so basically since we started dating. I'm still not sure that he loves coffee as much as I do, though...but then again, that's a big coffee mug to fill.

Are you a student? How do you (or did you, if you no longer are) get through the stress of finals weeks?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

holiday cards & indecision

Sometimes I am really indecisive! I like to sit on decisions for awhile. I wish I didn't...but I do. I wish that I always knew exactly what I wanted...but I don't.

So forgive me for promising that my Christmas card design would be available in the One Lonely Apricot shop and not even finalizing my design until today...And considering most people start sending their cards out as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are eaten, I'm a little too far behind to offer them for sale this year. I did want to share with you the design I finally settled on, though, because it changed so much from the first one!

I'm happy with how these turned out, and will be sending them as postcards...I'll post a photo once they are printed.

Next year there will be One Lonely Apricot holiday cards. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

guest post at desirous of everything today!

Read my guest post at Desirous of Everything here. Thanks to Sarah for the opportunity.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

my thanksgiving in pictures (and a fun holiday tradition)

I baked my first pecan pie. I used my grandmother's recipe but subbed tapioca starch and flax for the eggs (you couldn't tell a difference!).

Homemade bread and my teeny olive tray.

Mashed potatoes by Corey.

Cashew gravy by me (MAKE THIS!).

Lots of pecan pie photos before cutting into it!

And an apple pie for Corey because he doesn't like pecans. I used this apple tart recipe, but simply added a crust on top as well.

Corey carving the Tofurky.

Homemade bread via my go-to recipe (plus I added herbs to it--delicious!). I'm in need of a good wheat bread recipe...suggestions? Looking for something light and fluffy, not super dense.

It's my tradition with my brother to take a picture of our plate at every holiday meal, then label what's on it. My archive goes back at least five years as of now. Since we weren't together on Thanksgiving this year, I asked him to send me a picture of his plate. Here's mine:

And his:

I find both the similarities and differences (when we're together AND when we're apart, actually!) amusing. He had more dishes to sample--the perk of a lot of people being at your Thanksgiving feast (mine was just me and Corey)! We both had Tofurky (my parents are also vegetarian) but he had ham too (funny that they are touching each other). And let's not forget about the olive trays...a tradition in my family that I dutifully observe even when I'm away...I'm not sure if having a serving dish solely devoted to olives is normal for holiday meals (?), so if you are wondering about that, it might just be a family thing!

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?

My other one is that I always watch the Gilmore Girls episode "A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving" (season 3, episode 9)! It is my favorite Gilmore Girls episode. Watch this clip if you haven't seen have no idea what you're missing!

Tomorrow I'll be guest posting about decorating for the holidays over at Desirous of Everything! Pencil it in to your Black Friday schedule so you can be sure to read it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

thrift store finds: new cameras

On Friday I scored these two cameras from my favorite thrift store while looking for Christmas decorations! Other photographers who are reading: do you find that you simply have to look at the cameras for sale at any secondhand shop you set foot in!? Sometimes I find this to be a curse, but I love old cameras!

But, I don't buy every camera I find (that would be a lot), only the ones that stick out to me for one reason another (after aquiring three Instamatics last year I made myself get more choosy!). If the film type is still readily available, then that's a definite plus. Unfortunately, it's not for these two cameras, but in this case, their stylish looks and amazing prices got me.

The tiny one (probably the cutest camera I have ever seen) is a Kodak Brownie Chiquita! It was sold in Brazil from 1957 to 1964, and takes 127 film (45mm--available but for a hefty price). The writing on the front is in Portuguese! It's in mint condition and cost me $1.91.

The larger one is an Argus Seventy-five, made in 1949! It is in really good condition as well, came in the original case, and was $2.92. It's a twin lens camera with a waist level viewfinder, which I've had lots of fun playing around with since my Bronica's viewfinder isn't waist level. It's not as sophisticated as my Bronica though, since it has a fixed focus and only one aperture and shutter speed. It takes 620 film, which is about the same size as 120 but is on different sized spools. So I'm planning to rig up a roll of 120 film as soon as I can get a second 620 spool, and see what kind of pictures it can make.

If I'm able to make any photos with these, I'll do another post! Do you make pictures with any vintage toy cameras? What are your favorites?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

my daily coffee

My friend Jessica is doing a project about coffee and requested that I send her a photo of my daily cup of joe. I ended up with these two.

In the first picture, I set my cup on the windowsill because I wanted to show off how beautiful it is. I have a small collection of coffee mugs. Some were given to me by other people and some I purchased for myself, usually secondhand. I love collecting strawberry things for my kitchen so when I found this one last year I knew I had to have it.

In the second picture, I am working on yesterday's dishes. I don't have a dishwasher and I have found the best way to stay on top of dishes is to do them first thing when I wake up in the morning. It sometimes feels meditative even. I love starting the day off with a clean kitchen!

Do you have a morning coffee (or tea? or something else?) ritual? What elements are essential for you?

Friday, November 18, 2011

meet my bronica

This is my Bronica SQ, manufactured in 1980. I bought it in February. It is completely manual and uses 120 medium format film which, if you are not familiar, produces negatives which are 2 1/4 inches tall, and in this case, also 2 1/4 inches wide, since this camera makes square images. Here are a few I took several weeks ago:

These are scans of the film, but I am in the process of c-printing all of the good ones. That means enlarging them in a color darkroom! It is THE most fun photographic process I have ever learned. I love it.

I also developed this film myself! Developing color film is different than b&w and I've just recently learned.

Do you still shoot film? What's your film camera of choice?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

expanding one lonely apricot: part 1

One thing we do not discuss often while studying to be artists is....dun dun dun....I am just going to say it...making a living once we graduate! It's kind of a taboo subject.

We all want to keep our reputations up by putting off this attitude of, "Well, I'm going to make a living off of my art, of course!" And many (most) of us are interested in teaching at the college level. Don't look at the statistics if you want to keep on hoping these are viable options for those who have just recently graduated with their MFAs! But rather than drown in a pool of self-pity while I wait for a tenure-track job to magically fall in my lap, I am simply putting my efforts into planning for the inevitable period of transition that I'll be entering come June of next year. Are you in a similar boat? Well, let me share my thoughts with you.

I teach one photography class per quarter as part of my MFA program. I love being a teacher! I always thought that I would, and I'm happy that I was right. Every quarter, I have around 25-30 students in my class, which is a lot! Facing the challenges that come with teaching have given me more confidence as an artist and just in general. Of course, I would love to be a full time college art teacher in the near future, but I understand that normally takes a few years of part time adjunct work followed by lots and lots and lots of applying to find.

So I have been asking myself, "What else can I do?" in the meantime. If I find myself teaching one class next fall, I will count myself lucky--but I can't live off of that. So, what else can I do? A few thoughts have entered my mind on this subject. Retail is always at the back of my mind, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat to make ends meet...but is that really what I want? Short answer: no. There are probably other part-time jobs available here that did not exist in my college town because this is a bigger city and has more of an art scene. I'd be okay with that. But lately I've been thinking about the bigger picture and instead of asking myself, "What else can I do?" I have rephrased that question as, "What else do I want to do?"

Working for myself has entered my mind more than a few times. I've been doing lots of research, reading, planning, and thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that if I start pushing for it right now, expanding One Lonely Apricot is a perfectly reasonable goal, and really not very far-fetched. Planning for expansion has made me realize that my already-established shop has way more potential than I've been tapping into. I've set a few reasonable goals for the next few months and I have big dreams of taking it to the next level by summer 2012.

Here are my first three steps, which I would like to complete by January:

- Develop a few more products at varying price points since my shop is now almost entirely custom illustrative work. I already know what I want to add and I just need to get to work making it! I am most excited about this. I think being excited to make the products is my first good sign. I bet you are wondering what the new items are going to be....for now it's a secret!

- Increase exposure to my blog and shop. I am making every effort to make this happen!

- Launch couple of months ago I purchased this domain and all the webspace I need! What am I waiting for!? I don't know. I have just been procrastinating.

More is in the works. I am excited to turn this part-time-project into something bigger. Do you have similar goals for your creative projects or online shop? Share them! Maybe we can work on this together.

new work & creating creative cycles

This is one of my new photographs. I haven't been posting many of them here, sorry! I have plans of sharing more...

Lately I have been achieving this perfect balance of making new work and being inspired to make more new work. I don't always magically feel this way, and in fact, when I don't, I often beat myself up about it. After so many years of studying art making, you would think that staying in a cycle of creating things all the time would be easy...right? Maybe it is for some people, but I think for most of us it takes a little conscious effort to keep it up.

What do you do to keep up your momentum and find inspiration? Here's what I have been doing lately:

- I write down EVERY single idea I have that could potentially relate to my art. The ideas I later find unworthy still usually manage to evolve into something else that I can use. I have a composition book and a sketchbook and I try to keep at least one of them with me at all times. Ideas often come to me suddenly, and I dare say many of them would leave just as suddenly if I didn't write them down!

- I look at other art, but not too much. I look at just enough, until I feel this impulse to create, but not so much that I feel an impulse to imitate. Leave room for your own ideas to develop! But don't try to create in a vacuum where you never ever look at the work of others. I also try to look at a mix of emerging and established artists. It can be daunting to only look at well-known people in your creative field.

- I make something every day (it can be something really small, like a half hour drawing, or documentary photographs of my garden) and I make something towards my serious body of work every week*--even if I don't know where it's going, or I have a million excuses, or I think it's going to turn out badly. It can be tempting to keep on planning, or make just one more trip to the store to get supplies, or do more research, but the bottom line is that you just need to get in there and create something! Making small things every day even on days when I am not shooting my serious work helps me keep up the motion of creating. It is also a good exercise that helps me remember how fun making art is. I would recommend that no one limit themselves only to serious work. You also never know what will become of your side projects.

*I'm always envious of my artist friends who have processes that allow them to be in their studios every day creating work piece by piece! As a photographer, I feel my process is a little different. I do assemble my photographs piece by piece but personally I don't feel I have "created" anything until I press the shutter release button! Others may feel differently, but with this sentence what I meant was actually getting to that final point of shooting a photograph.

How do you keep your cycle of creativity going? Does it come naturally for you or do you find it to be a bit of work?

Next time I will share what things I find distract me from my work and how I am aiming to limit those!

Monday, November 14, 2011

thrift store finds

A few more thrift store finds from this weekend...A recipe card box that says "dinner is served" on it, so adorable ($.50)! I have actually been looking for a recipe card box. Right now my favorite recipes are scribbled on random sheets of paper and stuck to my fridge with weak magnets (they fall off a lot...). I am planning to put some magnets on the back of this recipe card box, write the recipes out on smaller, more organized pieces of paper, and stick the whole box to the fridge. Voila, storage solutions for the girl with too few kitchen cabinets.

And three new milk glass could I resist buying all three at $.90 apiece! I have some cuttings that will be ready to plant soon so these are perfect.

That's all for now...have you found anything good lately?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

holiday decorations in the works

This month I am a sponsor for one of my favorite blogs, Desirous of Everything! If you are not familiar, check it out now...what are you waiting for! Being a sponsor comes with the privilege of writing a guest post. I've been piecing one together on decorating your mantle (or a similar area) for the holidays on a small budget (I'm aiming for $5 or less)! In my mind, "small budget" signals "creative challenge," which I am always up for. I have an idea that it might be kind of boring if I could simply go to any store and choose whatever I wanted. Instead I am looking for adorable secondhand treasures and making some things. My post will be up sometime after Thanksgiving...I'll let you know when! Until then, I'll leave you with this picture of my inspiration...this vintage, musical Santa Claus. I found him at my favorite thrift store today for $.90. He turns at an adorably slow pace and chimes Christmas carols when you wind him up.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

apartment therapy 20/20 cure update 2

Well, I think I may just keep writing about this 20/20 home cure for all my posts this week. Is anyone else getting inspired? I am! I feel that my apartment has a lot of energy now...something the cure promised! I'll show you some in-progress photos...I'll begin with a finished nightstand:

I had a pile of books a mile high on top of that notebook, and a few other items. I got some beautiful miniature carnations for my vase (and they are spread throughout the apartment too!) and purchased a cute vintage alarm clock ($.90) to go here because usually I just check my phone to see what time it is. However, I realized that the previous owner of this clock got rid of it because of the awful ticking noise it makes every single second. So for now it is just decoration...that's probably not supposed to be part of the cure, ha! But I just think it's so adorable. I hung two prints on the wall (bottom print by Matt Cipov, top print from a classmate, Anne, in a print exchange last school year) one on top of the other (sorry, couldn't get a good picture with both in there). I love vintage office supplies and school-related items so the clipboard seemed like a fun way to hang this print (for now--I realize it's not archival).

I moved my desk from a cramped corner in another room to here. So far I like it a lot better! I still have to move and arrange the rest of the things that need to be on/near it, so this is really in progress.

These are my floors that I was talking about. They are in every room of the apartment except the bathroom and kitchen, which have oh-so-lovely vinyl "tile." This floor that you see here...why did I not clean it for the photo, you ask? That IS clean! Those little specks are just part of it. So my floor looks perpetually dirty, which really gets on my nerves. It also might be the worst shade of brown ever.

Another little work in progress. This is where a lot of things I want to rearrange have ended up. I might hang that chalkboard above my you like it? I actually won it in a giveaway recently! I kind of love it. You can check those out here at Revived Vintage if you want one for yourself.

Finally, I will end with my plants. haha. This is almost the rest of my plant collection (I might be nearing plant lady status, huh?). All of these are "clearance plant" rescues. I bought them on clearance and nursed them back to health by this super sunny window. Most of them are at least a year old and have grown a lot! The one in the yellow planter was my very first houseplant, a devil's ivy. I bought it on clearance in that cute planter for $2.50 and it had only four leaves. I am so proud of how far it's come and I have gotten three cuttings out of it too.

That's it for today...if you are feeling inspired, I challenge you to:
- Get some fresh flowers for your home! You will love having them, I promise.
- Rearrange a few pieces of art/objects.
- Clear the clutter from one surface.

If you're like me, once you do this much, there will be nothing stopping you!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

apartment therapy 20/20 cure update

Since starting Apartment Therapy's 20/20 Cure, I have gotten so much work done on my home! I don't know that most of it was even through following the cure steps directly, but was simply the result of getting inspired by the 20/20 Cure to do some serious cleaning/changing.

What you see in the above picture is my dining room window. Those are about half of my houseplants, many of them recently brought indoors when the frost came. I keep a grow light on them for several hours a day because only two windows in my apartment let in enough light for plants during non-summer seasons here. Since starting the 20/20 Cure, I bought a rod for and hung those cafe curtains, a thrift-store find from earlier this year ($3 and they appear to be handmade!). I rearranged these plants and cleaned the surfaces they are on.

I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen from top to bottom, reorganized the cabinet under the kitchen sink, did a bunch of laundry, dusted every surface in the apartment, caulked a bunch of drafty gaps around door and window moldings, and put away little piles of clutter here and there. I've also done other things that I just can't think of off the top of my head. But the apartment is looking so good! I surface clean weekly, but you know there are always those detailed things that you want to do but put off. It feels good to get around to them. I have also been rearranging little items here and there, which makes things feel fresh. In some areas I even removed items without adding anything back, something the cure recommends. I agree that negative space is good!

One part of the 20/20 Cure I have not done yet but would like to do, is to buy some fresh flowers for my apartment. I am about to have a cup of coffee, and then I might just go do that!

Friday, November 04, 2011

apartment therapy: mine could use some, how about yours?

Do any of you ever read Apartment Therapy? I love it. I never knew the story behind it, however, until I starting reading some excerpts from its founder's book The Eight-Step Home Cure. To go along with the book, the Apartment Therapy website is having its second annual 20/20 Cure, which promises to make your home a better place to live by spending just 20 minutes a day on this for 20 days.

I have decided to do this challenge because, as winter sets in, I find myself spending more and more time in my apartment, which makes everything that could be improved stand out even more to me. Let me tell you about my place, what I like and dislike about it.

As far as living spaces go, I love arranging them, decorating with little bits and pieces of things I buy, make, or find second-hand. I love experimenting with colors and patterns, adding plants by windows, and framing art by myself or friends to add a personal touch.

Of course there are always things you have to work with. As a grad student, the two that hold me back the most are: low budget, and the consideration of how soon I might move again. These two things keep me from affording an apartment that is awesome at its core before I put any of my stuff in it, and from getting "real" furniture, for the most part (most of my furniture is particle board, save for a couple of pieces--and I even still have a futon as a couch, probably my least favorite piece of home decor at the moment).

My apartment is old and has a lot of..."character." The worst part is probably the, definitely the floors. They are old wooden floors that have been painted over in the shade of chocolate brown. Some of the molding and doors are painted this color too. The color is too dark (and shows dust like crazy)...but the worst part? The paint chips away easily. I got some touch up paint and sometimes go around and paint over the spots, but the paint store couldn't match the color or finish exactly for some reason (I took in a chipped away piece and had them match it). Other things I dislike are uneven walls in some areas, lots of cracks around moldings and such, lack of storage space, and it is not well-insulated (costly in winter). I chose the apartment online before moving here, and even though I don't love it, decided to extend my lease for my last year of grad school because moving--even just across town or a few streets over--is so expensive and time-consuming.

As for things I like about it, it gets plenty of natural light, having big windows in every room. The living room is the only room that is too dark, because the window goes out onto the shady front porch. I think the living room could benefit from more lamps. If I ignore all of the unevenness, cracks, and imperfections, I really do like the style of the place, and the kind of charm that it has as an old building. I like that I have a small backyard for keeping a garden. Aside from the structure of the apartment itself, I like my decorations for the most part, aside from some of the furniture, although besides the futon, I can live with the particle board stuff, I just find it kind of boring. I think my style comes through in the way I decorate, and to me that's a good thing.

Through this project, the things I would like to accomplish are: organize areas that have gotten a little messy and rethink certain storage solutions, re-evaluate my art-making/working spaces and figure out how they can serve me better, rearrange some of the art and other decor that has been in the same place since I moved in, fill in cracks near windows and otherwise make things more insulated for winter, and obtain curtains/rugs for a few areas that I have been neglecting since moving in.

I am currently on day 3 of the 20/20 cure! Today's task was to look for images of inspiration. I happen to keep a folder titled "inspiration" on my computer where I save things I find online, including interior design, illustrations, art, etc. I went through all 800 images in my folder and pulled out the ones that I related to most in regards to my own apartment and how I want it to look. Here they are...unfortunately I don't save sources most of the time for interior design images (many are from tumblr and other sites that make sourcing difficult) if you see one and know where it's from, let me know and I will give proper credit.

I love the couch...wouldn't this be an amazing replacement for my futon!? In my dreams, I know...

I like the way this looks organized without being too clinical. I have a white desk that looks similar.

Plants, plants, plants. Plants, white walls, and beautiful wooden furniture. I'm missing the last part.

I love using bunting to decorate, and I really love this quilt. I have been wanting to make a quilt for quite some time.

I like the inclusion of pattern...and the idea that a bookshelf doesn't have to be full.

I like the color of the walls. I'd really like to paint a few rooms in my apartment different colors. The bedroom is white, living room and kitchen are taupe, dining room is butter yellow, and the bathroom is off-white. I'd most like to paint the bathroom and taupe rooms. I like that chevron rug too...really wanting one.

I like the use of pattern and patches of bright color next to white.

White plus color is a really good mix I think...

I love hanging tiny prints and postcards on string with clothespins, and I also have two globes...if only I had some amazing flat files like this.

from Darling Dexter. Neutrals + color + light. Perfect.

from Thompson Family Life. I love collecting vintage things. That pattern is fabulous...this also makes me want to paint the rest of my non-functioning fireplace white. It looks nothing like this one, however.

I'd like a workspace like this. I've been wanting to incorporate the use of pegboard for awhile now.

What inspires your home? Any tips for me?