Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The One with Zelda

As you may know, I'm kind of in love with the Zelda franchise. I grew up playing the Ocarina of Time, and have played just about every Zelda game in existence. I mean, come on, it's pretty awesome. I mentioned recently how I had stumbled upon an old Zelda shirt design I had sketched out. Given my luck with my dr who shirt, I figured that I should just go for it.Who can say no to a free, custom Zelda shirt?

I had an old grey shirt hidden away in the back of my closet, and some old acrylic paint left. I also had just enough freezer paper left from my last shirt project to use. I love it when I have all these materials just laying around-- it's nice not having to go out and buy materials. Even if the acrylic paint is probably over ten years old and is kind of sketchy. It's free. That's all that matters.

 Freezer paper! I had just enough to cover my design. Which is good as I didn't want to go out and buy like 100 ft of it at the store.

 My design! Well, Nintendo's design. It's called the Hyrule Crest, and is a big symbol of the Zelda games. You can't really see the triforce that is in the center of the design.

All of my materials! I've had that grey shirt for years, and don't wear it anymore. So I decided it needed a facelift. Also, if it all went horribly wrong, I could just throw the shirt away.

I placed the freezer paper over my design and pinned it down. I'm not the most patient person, but I did my best painstakingly cutting out the design with my x-acto knife.

 Pin cushion!

The cut out design.

 And done! After I cut out the design, I carefully picked up the freezer paper and put it on my shirt.

 I used my iron to adhere the freezer paper to the shirt. Funny story-- always make sure that the shiny part of the freezer paper, aka the waxy part, is facing down onto the shirt. You want to adhere the paper to the shirt, not the iron. Which is kind of what I did. I was trying to adhere the little triangle in the middle of the triforce and I didn't check to see what side was facing down. Which meant that as soon as it hit the iron it stuck there. Frantically I scraped it off, not wanting to mess up my parent's iron.

So yeah, if you're making a shirt, definitely check that.

I mixed the paint and the fabric medium and applied a thick coat to my shirt. I hoped that it would not bleed, as it my dr who shirt kind of had. Even if it did bleed, it would simply added to the...rustic flair of a homemade shirt. ;)
Et, volia! The finished product. :D I loved the crisp, clean lines of the design. It definitely turned out better than my Dr. Who shirt did. To help speed the final stages of drying, I pulled out a hair dryer. It helped to dry the paint, and didn't seem to have any adverse side effect. 

I love it. Cheap, easy, and a nod to my favorite video game!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

HDR Love

Recently I downloaded a free trial of an HDR software. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it refers to a photo (or photos) that attempts to expose for both the shadows and the highlights.

There are several ways to create an HDR photo. One way is to take multiple photos, each exposed for a different element--shadows, highlights,ect. Then, you use a software to merge these multiple photos together.

You see, that requires planning. And I'm not the best on planning. ;) I was just sitting here, messing around with some old photos that I thought would benefit from HDR treatment.

So what I did was take the original photo, decently exposed to catch the colors of the sunset, and make two copies of it, one for the shadows, and one for the highlights.

 This was edited to bring out the dark areas (at the expense of the brights, but that's alright, as I am merging several photos together):
This is the original photo:

Here I slightly edited the photo to bring out the sky:


I threw these three photos into my trial program, Photomatix Pro. I have seen some other photographers use this program, to amazing results. Photoshop does have a HDR function, however I've never had any luck with it.

The final result!

Since it is a trial version, I have all the full functions of the program, but with the limitations of those watermarks. If I really wanted to, I could remove the watermarks in Photoshop, but that just seems, well, rather immoral. If I'm cheap enough to use the trial version, then I'll just have to deal with the watermarks ;)

Another picture! This one didn't turn out as well, but still, I like the result. HDR photos can look over processed, but there are definitely some perks. Here, you still get the color of the grass, and trees, even with the great contrast and color of the sunset.

:) Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Into the Woods pt 2

Nothing to do with the wonderful musical, Into the Woods. Everything to do with a wonderfully cloudy day!

People tend to write off cloudy days as 'awful' and wait for the sun to come out to take pictures. Which just might be the biggest mistake. I love cloudy days. I love the dark, rich colors that aren't burned away by the sun. I love the mellow tones-- a far cry from the contrast ridden landscape of a sunny day.

Click on me!
I was really feeling black and white this morning. I love the contrast of the fern leaves and the metal railing. I am so in love with that plant! Apparently it's some sort of tree that the squirrels bury in our yard and my mother wants nothing more than to yank every little sprout out of her flower bed. However, I must say I'm entranced by the little fern-like leaves. I can't take enough pictures of it-- though I'm sure you've seen enough of it! ;)

More black and white love! I use Camera Raw, a function of Photoshop, to convert my photos to black and white. It really gives you a good range of editing specific colors. That's what allowed me to make the normally yellow flowers pop against the darker green background.

These are the prettiest flowers, when they are in bloom. Still, I like the decaying blossom. You can almost see a glimpse of its former beauty.

I was absently wandering around my yard, my eyes scanning the ground. I wasn't sure what to photograph next. It was still cloudy, and my eyes jumped from subject to subject. There was a burst of color lying against the dark grass, a premature yellow leaf, a hint of autumn. Then, my eyes fell onto something I didn't expect.

Nestled in the long strands of grass was a small down feather. It clung bravely to the grass, tugged by the wind. Quickly I knelt down, snapping a picture. I didn't expect it to turn out-- I was worried that my shutter speed was too slow to capture this delicate beauty.

I couldn't help but grin as I glanced at the picture on the back of my camera.

I loved it. This is why I take pictures. I love the detail of the whimsical feather, caught in the midst of motion, almost hovering over the dark grass. I literally spent fifteen minutes, taking picture after picture of this feather.

I won't put them all here, I'm sure that you'll tire of looking at the same feather, over and over. ;)

I, however, didn't feel that way. ;)

I could have spent the entire day, snapping away at that feather. Eventually I made myself move on. There is only so many different ways you can photograph one thing.

Last one, I promise!

I stumbled upon this leaf, perfectly cupped as to catch the scant amount of rain that we received. My eyes immediately went to the reflection in the middle of the water. 

I love reflections and I loved this one because it was so unexpected, hidden in this leaf.

Today I've been more patient, uploading the pictures. That's because while they have been loading, I've been watching the Olympics! Now, obviously I've been alive for many Olympics, but this is the first one that I've really taken an interest in. I watched the Opening Ceremony last night-- it was amazing! Seriously, I almost teared up once or twice.

I do believe that I will be in front of the TV for the rest of the Olympics. Though now I really want to learn gymnastics. And fencing. Because fencing is cool.

I've been trying to learn a front handspring for like ten years now. I might actually succeed soon. Or break something. Which ever comes first.

This is my only two part post since the epic 'why I love Hendrix'! Thanks again for reading!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Into the Woods

Sometimes I write a post not because I have something to say, but because I feel like I should post. Yesterday was a day like that. I've tried to post every other day to follow some sort of schedule. However, then I end up with posts like yesterday's when I feel like I didn't really have much to say. And the last thing I want to do is waste your time, my dear reader. So I wanted to post today because I actually had a reason, some pictures that I'm kind of proud of ;)

 The reason why I decided to post today started with a little seedling. It stormed last night-- a huge, loud, power-going-out storm. And it kind of sprinkled. You know. Crazy Arkansas, we have a storm but no rain.

This morning I was looking outside at the barely damp yard. There was a little seedling by the window, braving pushing up through the dark mulch. The contrast of the bright green and the almost black mulch caught my eye.

At first I tried a basic, straight down shot. I really wanted to emphasize how the seedling was a burst of color in the scene.
Next I moved the camera down so it was almost on the same level as the seedling. I like how it gives dimension to the little sprout.

I loved this angle because the seedling suddenly looked like a tree, you could really see the height of plant.

Next I started to experiment with staging bright leaves on the dark canvas of mulch. I like how it turned out! When I had staged all the leaves I could. I looked around for a new subject to shoot. Then I realized I was wearing my new favorite necklace-- one that I had been planning on photographing sometime. 

Here it is! This beauty was five bucks at Heifer International-- it was fair trade. It's always so nice to buy something knowing that the person who made it was paid fairly.

Fly away!
I have found a new love of staging things. I took like fifty photos of this necklace, trying to find just the perfect background. 

I kept mixing and matching, trying to find the best way to show off the necklace. 

This was my favorite. Or at least one of them. ;) I love the little fern like leaves, and how they compliment the metal bird. I just love it! 

I used the metal railing to stage over subjects as well. ;) I loved the bronze color of this leaf, and how that was brought out by the dark grey. 

Wow, I do believe this is the most photos I've ever had in one blog post! I'm just so proud of them, though. And I have like fifty more I want to post but I don't know if I can stand waiting for them to load-- it takes foreevverr to upload my photos. 

Stayed tuned for part two of my backyard adventure! It involves feathers and reflections! 

Yeah, be excited. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Recently, instead of crafting, I have been spending my time volunteering. I volunteered at my local Humane Society yesterday.

I asked them what needed to be done, and they put me in the cat room and told me to play with the kittens. 

 Ah, what I do for public service.

Look at that adorable face! They were all cuties-- except for that demon kitty that launched itself furry little body at my face. Oh well, the scratches are pretty much healed now.

Adopt a pet today!
 All the pets I've had have been from the Humane Society....or found in various locations. Foster was found as a baby under our Foster Hollies (yeah, we felt a little clever); Gracie was adopted from the Humane Society.

Last night I helped out at my church, and I spent this afternoon volunteering at my local food pantry-- it was crazyyyy busy. I felt like I was running for two hours. Except for those odd times when all the sudden no one comes in and I scour the magazine rack to see if anyone donated a bridal magazine again. One really slow week I spent like an hour reading all the bridal magazines.What, I like looking at pretty dresses....

I really watch too much of Say Yes To The Dress. I mean, first I have to get a boyfriend. Unfortunately I can't just skip to the wedding part. Though that would be sweet.

Anyway! Whenever I don't have any new photos to post, I rummage through my photos to see if there are any good photos that I just forgot about.

I took this one like a week or so ago. The blossom I had wasn't the most photogenic, but I liked the colors. 

I secretly want to be a landscape photographer. True story. However, I just can't take a landscape photo that I like. I don't know how to make them 'pop', you know? When I took this photo it had just rained (so I took this photo a lonnnnggggg time ago) and I loved how the soaked wood complimented the dark greens. It was getting close to sunset, and the warm rays broke through the clouds to skip along the scene.

This was a recent craft attempt. It involved making flowers out of paper. The results were iffy-- the ones on tutorial looked a lot better than mine did ;)

I've also been reading some Sherlock Holmes! I love the movies and the BBC tv series, so I finally got around to reading a two-book volume my friend plucked out of the free pile for me :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fun With Cartoons

Remember those two dollar shoes I bought at a consignment shop recently?

Well yesterday I decided to put them to good use. I had been thinking of covering shoes with cartoons for a while, I had just been waiting to get the right materials.

Totally random, but check out my new water bottle! Pretty nifty-- it completely collapses when it doesn't have anything in it.

Okay! Back to the shoes. It was just like the other shoes I made. I used my trusty bottle of mod podge, and  equipped with a couple pages of cartoons from the Sunday newspaper I headed outside.

The cast of characters! The only thing that worried me was the top of the shoes-- I wasn't sure how the paper would adhere to the rippled fabric. Still, I figured it was worth a try. After all, all I had to lose was a two dollar pair of shoes that I didn't really need anyway. This is why I love doing crafty things with cheap stuff. If it doesn't work out, I don't lose much ;) On a side note, I recently stumbled upon a Zelda-inspired shirt design I came up with last semester. I have an old grey shirt in the back of my closet and a couple sheets of freezer paper left...stay tuned to see what happens!

I'm almost out of mod podge, but I had enough to create my shoes. I didn't really have a plan, except to cut and paste to my heart's content.

As I cut out the Peanuts cartoon strip, I realized that they were about the height of my shoes. This meant that I could cover my shoes in almost a legible strip of cartoons. With my book shoes, I just pasted the passages on at random, covering some, angling over others. For these shoes, I liked how cohesive the squares became as I pasted them onto the shoes.

For the tops of my other shoes, I used large, title words. The header for my Sunday comics has this beautiful 'Sunday Comics' graphic. As though to enforce the implied theme, I cut out the 'comic' part to paste onto the top of the shoe.

After the first coat of mod podge was done I stuck the shoes out in the over-100-degrees sunlight. They dried in like thirty seconds; it was wonderful.

A couple more coats of mod podge later, and I was done! 

The shoes are just so colorful! I love the way they turned out.

And they are actually comfortable, unlike my other shoes, and won't give me blisters. ;) I may have to add more layers of mod podge to them. The newspaper is really thin and I'm worried that it'll just disintegrate.

Et, volia! My cartoon shoes. While I'm not a fan of modern cartoons, like on Disney, I'm a sucker for the good ole Tom and Jerry, and newspaper cartoons. :)

As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Recently my family traveled to Hot Springs.

With an emphasis on HOT. Like, really hot. Like melting asphalt hot (okay so I didn't exactly see this, but come on. It was definitely hot enough for that to happen).

While we were in Hot Springs I bought a $2 pair of canvas shoes from a consignment shop. I'm planning on pasting them with cartoons-- similar to the other shoes I created. I'll post some pictures when I get around to doing that :)

Another purchase I made while in Hot Springs was some film! As in, camera film. As in I finally got film for my oldddddd kodak camera! I've been thinking about this all summer, and there was a camera store in Hot Springs that sold film. Now my camera-- a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, if anyone is interested-- was meant to take 620 film, a film that is reallly hard to find nowadays.

However, it is relatively easy to find 120 film-- which apparently is enough like 620-- to use on my camera. I read horror stories online about how you have to clip the film, or do weird stuff to make it fit, but luckily for me, the film just snapped right into the camera.

Here's my baby! Not to be confused with my SLR, which I also refer to as my baby, or my car, which I am also prone to calling my baby. Skipping over what that may say about myself, the film was only slightly difficult to load. I may spray that thing down with WD-40 next time; there was something that didn't want to turn. I really have to yank at the wheel to advance the film.

I purchased the black and white film. Not only was it cheaper, it reflected the retro vibe that I was trying to achieve with my old camera. I want imperfections. I want dirty lenses, darkroom mishaps. What I don't want is perfection. I get crystal clear quality with my SLR; with my Brownie I want to feel as though the pictures were taken years ago. 

I accidentally skipped over my first exposure. The numbers are on their side, so the 'one' simply looked like a dashed line. I kept advancing the film until I stumbled upon a two, also on its side and I realized my mistake. D:

Still, this is my first time working with film! I mean sure, when I was younger, I had a disposable camera or two for field trips or church camps. Still, I was pretty far removed from its inner workings. I'm excited to see how my pictures will turn out. It's going to be difficult to work with the camera. It has a set shutter speed (1/25 I think), a set ISO(400), and a set aperture(f/22 I think).

This severely limits the types of pictures I can make. I may take my SLR along to meter whatever scene I want to photograph. Yeah, yeah, it is kind of like cheating. But, hopefully, if I can figure out what lighting my camera is meant for, I can get better results.

While the heat was pretty miserable, the clouds were gorgeous. I didn't have my SLR on me, so I snapped away with my iPhone. Not the best camera, but a pretty good one-- and a pretty convenient one.

On our way back home my family and I drove through Little Rock. We visited the Heifer International Headquarters-- a pretty impressive building, and an amazing organization. If I wasn't set on becoming an Astrophysicist, I would love to work for a non-for-profit organization like Heifer International. On our way out, we asked a volunteer working there where was the best place to get lunch. He recommended The Root Cafe. It's a little hippie restaurant that serves locally grown food. There was a map of Arkansas by the door, with pushpins locating all the organic farms that they bought food from. They had reusable glasses (mason jars! love those things) and an eclectic group of cloth napkins. Overall they strove to be environmentally friendly, and served amazing food! I love eating food that has been grown locally, especially when it was as tasty as it was. I'll have to go back sometime :)

Haha my first plug! Too bad I don't get paid for it. ;) Oh well, it's the cutest little restaurant with amazing food so I had to mention them.