Monday, July 30, 2012

Superhero Hair

Three of the best things in the world, sculpted out of hair. Tell me I'm not a genius. Not to mention master hairstylist. 
superman

batman

avengers


Anastasia

My friend Rose and I seem to be going on a Disney spree. In the past few weeks, we've watched Sleeping Beauty, Tarzan (for the first time), Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Hercules (also for the first time), and now Anastasia.

On the Anastasia DVD special features are four drawing tutorials. I did 3 out of the four:
Anastasia
Dimitri
Bartok
Well. My favorite, needless to say, is Bartok, who is going insane over a lollipop. Anastasia looked like a monkey until the next to last step (she still does look a little simian). And Dimitri... well, he's not too, too bad. The artist was really into using angular lines to make him look rough and muscular, and his crooked nose apparently keeps him from being overly handsome. In my drawing, it's more his overall appearance that keeps him from being handsome at all. His, as Rose calls it, Leonardo DiCaprio hair needs a little work.

There was also a tutorial for Rasputin, but it looked nothing like Rasputin. More like a drunk goblin with a hand bigger than his face. 

Thank heavens I wasn't on the drawing crew for that movie! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Romeo and Juliet - Together (and Alive!) At Last

I would say that the main good thing about this book by Avi is it's funniness. Some parts of it were so amusing that I was unable to speak for several minutes, even though somebody was trying to ask me a question. 

The two names Romeo and Juliet cry out romance from a mile away. They also cry out Shakespeare, but mostly romance. 

So you can imagine quite easily that Romeo and Juliet- Together (and Alive!) At Last is a romance novel. About middle schoolers putting on a play (that takes place mostly in Italian but also in a few other places, as they say in the book) to bring together two of their classmates who are too shy to look at each other. 

It's short- only about 150 pages or less, and easy to read. I was done with it in two days, reading it only at night. I'd give it three out of five stars– three stars for hilarity. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Breakfast

Another short film- not stop motion this time. Live action. I call it: Breakfast
video
Kinda wonky, but it was just practice. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wood Burned Cookies

My mother has a wood burning clay oven in our back yard. It is in this oven that she bakes her amazing sourdough bread and, whenever she fires it up, cooks a roast or some chicken for dinner. Also, her daughters have taken to baking chocolate chip cookies in the oven.
Generally, it's my sister Rebecca who bakes the cookies. They always turn out perfectly, taste better than any other chocolate chip cookie under the sun, and only take a couple of minutes to cook due to the extreme heat of the oven. 

This time, I made the cookies. I wasn't so lucky as to have perfect cookies. Exploded cookies is closer to the truth.
But hey, they still taste good. I think the picture enhances their appearance as well. 

Next time, I will succeed. Or rather, next time I'll let Rebecca take control of The Bakery

The Bakery

Last week or so, at dinner, two of my three sisters suggested a remodeling of our 'Garden Room.' The Garden Room, I suppose, used to be a place of gardening and plants. But for as long as I can remember, it's been the place where my mom bakes bread.
This is how the more redone side of the room looks now. I unfortunately neglected to take a picture of how the room looked before. Imagine an off-white wall with none of the shelving. 

The first day, we painted the walls. We painted one wall red, and the other three and a half (I'm allowing room for doorways and stuff) the same creamy white they were before. 

Before we got to work on the red wall, we gave it a little decoration. 






Just to show our fandom. By the way, we redid this room before DKR came out. 

After the first layer of paint, you could still see traces of Batman
It's a good thing we still had another can and a half of paint. 

I took the initiative to bake a snack. What other than our favorite, chocolate chip cookies? 

I somehow managed to make one of the cookies without any chocolate chips, so our dog Homer got that one. He loved it. His very first whole cookie. He did have some trouble getting it off the ground...


On day 2, my two sisters installed the shelves. I think. I might be getting my dates a little mixed up. But I think it was day two. I didn't help with this at all. 

On day 3: Ikea. We obviously had to buy new jars and containers for all of our baking supplies. 

I loved Ikea. Best place in the world. My new life goal is to get a 24 hour job there. The dozens of bedrooms and kitchens put of display on the second floor made me feel like I was in heaven. Who would have though pulling out every drawer in a model kitchen could be so much fun? I also took advantage of the beds in the mock bedrooms. Very comfortable. I really could live there. They even have a restaurant! 

That evening, we put everything in the room, and voila, we have the newly renamed Bakery! 
Oh, the beauty of it! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Bat of Yarn

Crochet is definitely getting more love from me these days. Having never designed a crochet pattern that's more complicated than straight right to left rows, I decided I wanted to crochet the Batman logo. How hard could it be, after all? It's just a bat. 
vs

I'd say I did an awesome job. Obviously (Well, I hope obviously) it's the newer Batman logo, which I find much neater and more aesthetically pleasing than the original. My sister Rebecca certainly thought so. ("Oh my gosh, did you see what Anna made? Without even using a pattern?")

I'll post the pattern when I get it on paper in a way that makes sense, and once I  I'm not much of a crocheter, so bear with me if the pattern makes no sense and is impossible to follow...


Sunday, July 22, 2012

curls!

My hair is very straight. My hair is also beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, thick, and the envy of many, as my sisters tell me multiple times daily. I try not to be vain.

But I have now discovered a hairstyle that, when taken out, leaves my hair in gorgeous curls that last more than the usual five minutes granted by the curling iron.
Okay, so it's not that curly, but it you know me (or rather, my hair) you know that that is more curly than my hair has ever been. Except when I put it in those tiny braids for a night and it comes out super frizzy and awful in the morning, even though I don't brush it. Those little braids are very deceiving. 

The trick is a french braid with the end rolled into a bun. I had it in for only an hour or two today, and when I took it out, voila! Then I put the braid back in and left it till tonight, and was rewarded again. Who knows how long my hair will remain curly; half an hour at best.

As I said, my hair is very straight. 





Friday, July 20, 2012

Poster Revamp

Earlier today my dog Homer starred in the poster of the Dark Knight Rises. With the help of my friend Rose and her PC (the only flaw in Macs is that they don't have Paint) I have given the poster some new flair:
Batman! 

Crochet Hooks

The prototype for this had only one weakness: it's tendency to fall over whenever I put something heavier than a single crochet hook in it. 

This version is just a crocheted cover for a glass jar to hold my crochet hooks. Much better. 

I did about half of it in single crochet, and then did a couple of rounds in double crochet, and finished it off with those little rounds that you put on crochet flowers. I added the hot pink bow on a whim, and even though it looks kind of weird with the burgundy yarn, it fits in my room. 

Finally, a successful improv crochet project!

The Dark Knight Rose

This is the Batman's darkest hour. He'll rise higher than ever before and then fall so much further. 

Actually a quote from Doctor Who, with a bit of manipulation (the Batman instead of the Doctor). I think it fits the movie almost perfectly.
Batman (Homer)
Last night at 9:45, my siblings Rebecca, Thomas and Mary Margaret and I went to see the Dark Knight Rises. At 12:00, we saw the Dark Knight Rises. 

It was amazing. Few movies warrant no complaints, but this was one of them. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman was perfect; no connection to the high-pitched princess in Princess Diaries I and II. Bane, too, was awe worthy–– my brother Thomas said a mix of Voldemort's wit and Darth Vader's voice. 

On Tuesday, I watched Batman Begins for the third time. On Wednesday, I watched the Dark Knight for the first time. I loved the Dark Knight–– and still can't decide whether I like the Dark Knight or Batman Begins more. Naturally, DKR trumps all...




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian

No more Artemis Fowl. Perhaps that's why I cried for half an hour when I finished The Last Guardian at two o'clock in the morning a few days ago. But I think it was more the shocking twists and spectacular save made by Eoin Colfer that made Book Number 8 the most, in my case, stressful and emotional.

But the stressful part might have been my friend Rose pretty much flat out saying, "You're gonna hate the ending," before I even started the book. I have to repeat her with added contempt on my part, as that ruined the experience of at least half the book for me, and was not in any way true. I love the ending more every time I think about it.

The plot was fantastic, despite the very nerve inducing hints every once in a while. First we have the Berserkers, ancient long-dead fairy warriors from the Battle of Taillte who more or less gave up their souls so that they may one day return and destroy the humans.

Then we have Opal Koboi, making her traditional appearance as villain in every even numbered book, who is now prepared to wipe out every last human on Earth, and probably wouldn't lose any sleep over the act of genocide.

When those two collide, well, let's just say The Last Guardian had very few lags.

In the last book, Artemis was a victim of the Atlantis Complex, a fairy disease whose symptoms were amusing for one book but would have been aggravating if continued in the next. But thankfully, Colfer chose to cure Artemis through Doctor J. Argon shortly before the book began, so no more 4s and MPD.

The book was funny, better than the last couple have been, and ended with enough hanging that you can imagine the future in multiple ways but simultaneously know enough that it's not a cliff hanger. Of course, ending the last book in a series with a cliff hanger (perhaps Percy Jackson should hear this bit) is pointless and stupid. I think The Last Guardian is my favorite of the Artemis Fowl series, even if the cover art is a bit misleading. As far as I can remember, Artemis never wears blue goggles in the book. But that is, of course, irrelevant. Perhaps the artist simply didn't wish to draw Artemis's eyes. I'm sure that Joanie can sympathize.

There were a few unimportant scenes that contradicted the previous books, but I'll look past that and give the book five stars.

Out of a hundred. Just kidding. ★★★★

Monday, July 16, 2012

Norwegian Mouse

For a few months now, I've had my eye on a lovely pattern for a fair isle mouse on Yellow, Pink and Sparkly, a wonderful blog I've been following (since I found the fair isle mouse pattern, as it happens). I finally got around to knitting one. I started last night around eleven, which was stupid of me because it being Saturday night I had to get up early for Mass the next day (which was today. This is getting confusing), and had to get to bed relatively early. But I still got to bed before midnight. I finished the mouse this morning. Mostly.
You can't see much of the color work from this angle, but it's still a cute picture of the mouse.
I started with five handspun yarns. You're supposed to have five contrasts, but I only used four, and it worked out fine. I also didn't have small enough needles. And the smallest needles I had were already in use. I compromised.
Well, I can tell you, knitting two projects on the same pair of needles isn't as difficult as it sounds. As long as the projects are relatively small, in any case. Since the mouse was going to be finished in a day, I was like, well I'm not working on this scarf in the next twenty four hours anyway, so it won't be (much) of a problem. 
                                      
As I said earlier, I finished this morning. At least, I thought I had. Even though this picture is extra terrible, you can still tell something is missing. It took me all day to find out what.

Eyes and ears.

But I fixed that this evening.

This bird's eye view shows his bald spot, where my handspun yarn got a bit thin. My excuse can be that he's an elderly mouse and I did it on purpose. 
I love his face. I also seem to have a problem with making mice's ears too big, but it looks good on this chap.

Thank you, Janet at Yellow, Pink and Sparkly, for this spectacular pattern!

Now, I have a headache and am exhausted. It's still Sunday night for me, even if it is after midnight. But that's the way my evenings often run.




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Loki. On an apple.

I give my friend Rose all the credit for this idea. She did it before me. But I did it too, and I took a picture, so I'm giving myself credit for the photo.

(Technically, I should give the camera credit for the photo, because I'm a terrible photographer and the quality of the picture is entirely due to the camera)

The face is mine and Rose's all-time (no. not all time. About two weeks, though) Universal (so what if only we know about it. We are the most important people in the Universe, so...) sign for Loki. An evil face and a nice smile. My smile isn't very good, because the knife wasn't particularly easy to work with.

(:<

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paper Bouquet

A couple of weeks ago, I found the origami pattern for a lotus flower. Unfortunately, when I tried to make it, the origami paper tended to tear when it came to folding up the petals. 

Then, a day or so ago, I found the pattern again, and it suggested that you use tissue paper, as that is less liable to tear. A short while later:
 This was the first one I made. I didn't like it because it only had two layers of petals, and it was too big. So...
If you look closely at the blurry picture, you can just see that there are more petals. 
I made a white one. It was out of a little bit stiffer tissue paper, a.ka. more expensive tissue paper, so it was a little harder. The moral of the story is that it's better to use cheap tissue paper when you make origami lotuses. 
 I made a pink one...

And an orange one. And I stuck white pipe cleaners in the middle (they poked right through the thin paper, very neat indeed) And stuck them in the lovely vase I appropriated from Elizabeth.

Pink, yellow, orange and white is my favorite color combination.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

365 Days of Spinning

Uno year of advanced fiber arts. I say uno instead of one because if I use Espanol I'll sound like I'm bilingual, even though my Spanish vocabulary extends to the number three and stops suddenly.

As you may have guessed from the purely English title of the post, my topic of today is not my slightly nonexistent abilities in multiple languages, but spinning. Yet again. 

Exactly a year ago (though, not down to the minutes and seconds, I grant you) I learned to spin. Not the twirl around sort of dancing that every two year old can do with ease. Spinning yarn. 

My first yarn was actually very nice looking, in an interesting sort of way. 
The colors, you must admit, are beautiful. Hand dyed, thank you very much. However, I'm not so sure about the non-uniformity of the yarn. Let's just say that I've gotten better. Let's see just how much better by the yarn I finished a couple of days ago:

My beautiful blue roving, all finished up. A total of almost 480 yards, double ply sport weight yarn. Not perfectly even, but I think that when compared with the yarn of a year ago, you'd have to be pretty insane to say I haven't improved. 

I knitted up two swatches in stockinette, just for fun. 
It almost hurts to see the uneven bulk and messiness of yarn no 1 compared with the elegance of yarn no 2. 

I can't wait to turn the 480 yards of gorgeousness into something... I see a lace shawl... I like lace. 







Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tell Me My Hero

Origami fortune tellers. The wonder of it. Generally, you draw the little numbers or colors on the front flaps, but I decided to do it in more detail. I'm also a pretty terrible artist, and seeing as each little drawing is only two inches tall...

Loki is my favorite. I probably spent the most time on him, in any case. Batman was originally Nick Fury, but Mary Margaret refused to participate unless she could choose Batman, so...

Instead of fortunes on the inside, you are told which superhero–– or, if you're lucky, super villain–– you are. Which is totally awesome. So I suppose it's not so much a fortune teller as a hero teller. I'm so proud of myself for thinking this up! 






Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth Feast

The four Lowery sisters celebrating at a park on July 4th. We all know that the number four sounds very like the Chinese word for death, but I don't think any of us were thinking thoughts of death today.

We started out at EatZi's, a miniature Central Market. Picnic food galore. We got a huge ham and avocado and something sandwich, a fajita, and three desserts.

At the park, we passed a guy selling grilled cheese sandwiches from his truck, Texas's best grilled cheese or something, and ordered one. And we sat down in the grass, unfolded our blanket, and set the table, figuratively speaking.
grilled cheese

ham

fajita
See Elizabeth's engagement ring in that last picture?

Talk about a good lunch. I was declared a chef for recognizing the strange taste in the ham sandwich as ginger. The grilled cheese sandwich was amazing. Actually, everything was amazing. 

After we ate the savory part of the meal, we had some fun playing badminton without a net and playing frisbee. With a frisbee. 

And taking pictures:


Elizabeth, looking pretty on candid camera. 

The three younger sisters, Becca, Mary Margaret, and me, frolicking with the gnomes. 

A triangle; the Holy Trinity

A hexagonal peace sign

Uh... slugs, maybe? Or perhaps they're worshipping someone?

And then chatting amiably from either side of the bridge.

All I know about this one is Mary Margaret looks like a philosopher, questioning the meaning of fingers, while Becca and Elizabeth are being very happy.


And at last, a heart.

Then we took some single shots across the road. Rebecca's, above and below...

Lovely Mary Margaret...

Elizabeth...

Er... Mary Margaret again, with Becca and Elizabeth. 

Becca, me, and MM...
Elizabeth, me, and MM...

Me...
Becca, me, and MM
Again...
Elizabeth...

Three youngest sisters...
And again...
And here we are at the giant teddy bears! This one is very clearly protesting to having Becca sit on him.

Becca. Giving the big bear a kiss.

Becca and Elizabeth posing for a picture

And Mary Margaret jumping into the photo. She just can't get enough attention.

And I took Elizabeth's place
This little one is very interested in a little bird.
So are me and Izzy, it seems

Becca and Mary Margaret, dipping their feet in the water. Don't ask why MM is still wearing her shoes.

Dessert  time. You see below red velvet (Elizabeth's new favorite), chocolate cream something cake, and brownie mousse deliciousness.


Rich and delicious. Mmm....



Then we all took a nap. I was laughing because I opened my eyes and saw that Izzy was taking a picture. I don't remember why I found that so hilarious...

We played some more frisbee, and went home around three thirty. Four hours of sisterly fun.