Monday, February 28, 2011

You Win Some you Dim Sum

I don't normally ever talk about food on here since I'm not really a good type but I gotta tell you Dim Sum is one of my favorite ways to eat!  It is also surprisingly inspirational to me in the shapes and colors that all these delectable foods come in.   It happened to be the week of Chinese Lunar new year when my friends and I went.  If you live under a rock and had no idea this is the year of the Rabbit.
Of course there was a Lion Dance going on during the more annoying time ever.  Leave it to poor planning and gloomy outside weather to make everyone uncomfortable for about 20 mins as a completely non-asian troupe performed a traditional dance to the best of their abilities.  You gotta give them a gold star for effort. The Lion Costume is always a great inspiration with the vivid colors, the comical shapes of the eyes and mouth and the ingenuity to fit so many people and coordinate them together.

 One of these dishes is my favorite thanks to fond childhood memories of reading Ranma 1/2.  It's not the Chicken feet! But the color on those toes is really an amazing orange.  From left to right clockwise we have BBQ pork buns, Chicken Feet, Spare ribs and Tripe.  My favorite is BBQ Pork buns because I remember all those fights Ranma and Ryoga had over them at the school cafeteria which is why Ryoga set out to follow Ranma for revenge and ultimately became cursed as P-chan the adorable baby black pig.  Yup I'm a nerd and it's ok check out the Wiki for Ranma 1/2 here.

Back to the food, check out the trip in the lower left corner, that creamy palette with the sprigs of green onion and you can see a little of the spiky looking bits reminds me of a sea urchin.  The knobby looking spare rib to the lower right reminds me of bobble stitches in knitting.

This Egg Custard was not only super delicious and buttery but the color and shape make me want a ring bejeweled with little yellow lacquer pools clustered together.

This was towards the end.  You can see we did a pretty thorough job eating the vast majority of it.  By the time we left there was nothing left on a single plate.  The friend Taro root at the back far right is another favorite of mine.  It has a super delicate shell on the outside that looks like some masterful lace work that just crumbles as you eat it.  I imagine I am eating a masterpiece every time I eat one of those.

Typically after Dim Sum it is followed by an extended food coma on the couch where I brainstorm and sometimes sketch ideas.  Perfect mind and belly feed to get the creative juices flowing.
If you are wondering where in the world this is, it is simply Sunflower on North Sawmill Road.  They even have the wonderful cart service that I love!  In Chicago my favorite Dim Sum restaurant is Phoenix in China town close to the new section.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pecha Kucha

It's nothing new but it's fun and you might have it in your area too!

It started in Japan according to the all knowing Wikipedia, it means to "chit-chat"
To put it shortly you have several presenter's allowed 20secs for 20 slides to talk about almost anything.  Typical topics are inspirations, what their business is and how it helps the community and life changing moments to share with the world.  For locals you can see all the going on here.  If you don't live in Columbus, Ohio no worries, there is probably a spot close to you as well which you can look up on their main website, Pecha Kucha.

This particular one I went to several weeks ago was at the Columbus Museum of Art.  It was packed, I am short, thus I had to review half of the night through the glass ceiling reflection. you can see how crazy full it was.  Thankfully people shifted and after the intermission my friend Claire and I were able to sneak to the front and see some of the presentations we were waiting for.

Here is the Video from that night! I Enjoyed them all but my favorites were Amy Turn Sharp (Little Alouette) and the Lesbian Mother Julia Applegate.  I was very happy to hear the Idea Foundry and Open Heart Art Studio because those are things I had long been wondering about.  Hearing them talk about their concepts and goals made it so much more clear to me as what they are and what they are doing in Columbus with the arts.


Thursday, February 24, 2011


Happy Thursday friends!  It's a weird day for me because typically I would be teaching tonight happily at CCAD and then celebrate my tomorrow being Friday.  Not that there is nothing to celebrate about Friday anymore but I teach my class on Wednesday nights this semester so it has thrown me a little off.  So this morning I came into work happy and relieved thinking it was Friday only to realize it is only Thursday.  But that doesn't make today any less special.

This week I am loving a myriad of randomness.

1. Twitter , yah yah nothing new but new friends all the time and conversations, banter, potential opportunities that would not of been made possible without this wonderful wonderful world wide chat room (at least that's how I like to think of it).  I am surprised and blessed by how many opportunities have come my way through this simplistic mind fart of site.  Follow me if you dare because I am all over the place from knitting, sewing, teaching, library antics and just my general piece of mind.

2. Capri Sun Juice Boxes - I think I am the only adult I know that still drinks these on a regular basis.  It is just the perfect amount of juice for me and the satisfaction from squeezing out the last sips is just a little ray of sunshine in my day. 

3. Photography stores that are not pretentious and easy to guide through.  I discovered Photojojo and I'd heard of them but never explored them till recently.  I love that they have lo-tech and high-tech items for serious and playful photographers.  The gifts for Photographers that they offer are really excellent and inventive.  A new neck strap for a camera doesn't seem like a big deal but to the shutterbug it is a well appreciated and thoughtful present.

4. I'm getting married so of course my mind is all over wedding blogs but the newly released BHLDN site by the Urban/Anthropologie family is a wondrous jewel in the sea of fluff, bad construction and unoriginal wedding dresses.  If I weren't making my own dress I would instantly snatch up one of their lovelies.  Just looking at the website has inspired me to all new adventures in crafting and wedding decorations as well. 

 5. Old Magazine Advertisements.  They simply amaze me how culture and what is "PC" have changed over the years.  I am fortunate enough to be able to touch and look through magazines that are twice my age everyday if I want.  If you are ever curious and want to gander at the fantastic collection yourself visit me at the State Library of Ohio, and these aren't even from the rare book room that we have also!  You can also check out some of my selections on Flickr.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Myth of Socks and Heels -Part Deux

Soooo remember a while ago I promised you a little experiment with the knee high socks and open toe shoe look right here?

On a not so wintry and icy day I took out a pair of perfect fitting simple black open toe platforms and paired them with some wonderfully warm and slightly thicker pair of knee high silver socks.  It was a mess. An annoying sock yanking mess.  Thank goodness my day job is easy and low stress or I might of had a fit. After only an hour in workplace my over the knee practically thigh-high (because I am so short) socks were already below my knees and making their way lower. ~ultra sad face~

If the mess of pulling up my socks constantly wasn't enough there was also the slipping, sliding and pinching of my feet.  I don't know how these people pretend that it's comfortable to walk around like this.  Perhaps it's all just impractical photo magic where they only wear it for the photo then immediately change into their more comfy and practical Adidas or Onitsuka Tiger's.
Here is very plain evidence why my day was a total pain.  The socks made the insole slippery and so my feet kept jamming my toes up and out of the open toe in a painful way.  I was afraid that it was going to actually stretch out the open toe portion and distort it so after only half a day I changed into some much more sensible flat knee black boots.  The slipping also made it uncomfortable on my arches since it was causing me to slip a good half inch forward.

This all only concludes further that even though it may look cute, it is completely impractical to wear socks of any kind with open toe shoes.  Knee high socks that constantly fall down on top of open toed shoes is like a swift kick to your gut of comfort when you were already down for the count.

If you are curious those socks are from Banana Republic and the Shoes are from H&M

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Adventures with a Coin Purse Frame

During one of my recent and naughty spending trips to Sew to Speak I saw they had these cute Japanese Coin Purse frames on sale that I had been eying for a bit.  I went ahead a picked up two.  Also recently I had lost my precious pencil case that I keep in my purse with my favorite Frixion pens and Delful knock mechanical pencil (total sad face).  I thought I would take the opportunity to make myself a new pencil case and get creative with the coin purse Frame.  Now I will take you on a pictorial journey of my adventure (and yes it was a grand adventure) of me and this Japanese coin purse Frame.

As soon as I opened the package I cut out the pattern without even a second thought that I had no idea why there were only two pieces that looked totally different.  I recognized the larger piece as the main pattern but this smaller one was a mystery.  I idled away the time by scratching my head and snapping the frame open and close trying to pretend I could read Japanese. 

Then it dawned on me that there was a tutorial on The Purl Bee somewhere.  After several failed word searches I finally came across it, but low... their pattern was different as well.  The one good and similar thing was that the mystery pattern piece was explained.  It was a facing that you make out of thicker craft paper and glue into the lining, at first you think why not use regular iron in facing.  These Japanese folks are smart.... I'll get to that later.

Next was cutting out my exterior fabric and lining.  I nearly made the same mistake as the Purl Bee tutorial in that I picked out two heavy weight fabrics for the exterior and lining.  Being the smart person I am I read ahead and quickly switched out my lining fabric to something much lighter weight before cutting.  Since it started with a little coin purse, I measured out and left an extra inch longer then my standard pen/pencil.  I then split the pattern to elongate it and BLAM-O pencil case it was.

 Ok and here is the part that seemed funny but turns out the Japanese are really smart.  For the facing it is telling you to use a brown craft paper (or a paper grocery bag works) to cut out these small pieces.  Then you Glue them to the lining fabric.  It seems odd but when you have to stuff that fabric into the frame it makes it worlds easier.  I like to use fabri-tac, it reminds me of hot glue but without the burning when I touch it by accident and I can still wipe and peel it off all the same.  It does a really good job at adhering to fabric also.

Here is my little baggie sewn together (honestly the sewing is probably the easiest part.  I stuffed the lining into the outer fabric and dropped a few small weights and shook it around to make sure the lining fabric was completely spread out.  Then basted the two pieces together all along the top.  I intentionally made my basting go outside the parameters of the frame because I didn't want to add extra bulk when shoving and I wanted to be able to tear them out after wards.

An inside view and you can see how I pinned the excess fabric so that I can more easily (assumingly) slide the fabric into the frame.

This is right before I spread the glue into the first half of the frame and attempted my sliding technique.  In reality there was no sliding just stuffing and cursing and getting glue all over myself, followed by more glue when I had to stuff in the paper cord. Around then more cursing to finish it off.

This is how it looked after the first stuffing and before I cut off my excess paper cord.
The steps were
1. put glue into the frame
2. Slide/Stuff the fabric into the frame
3. Curse a bunch and potentially wipe glue on passer by's such as kitties and fiancee's
4. Add more glue while trying not to pull out the fabric you just shoved in there
5. Curse more and try to keep stuffing it in
6. Stuff the paper cord in while continuing to curse and get glue all over yourself.

Now they tell you you can stuff it all in with an awl or tracer (another pointy metal device).  I used a small flat head screwdriver and by gosh I'm happy I did.  Using a flat head gave me a much faster result at getting all that junk in the trunk aka fabric to frame.  My other trick is while stuffing the first side I pinned back the half that I wasn't using to keep it out of the line of fire.

In these two pictures above and below you can see some closeup of why I was cursing, from stabbing myself with my pins to getting glue generally all over the frame and me.

After all is said and done you need to clamp it down!  This is the tricky part.  You need to use pliers and wrap the frame with scrap fabric so that while you clamp you don't put teeth marks in your frame.  You need to clamp is HARD since there is a lot of bulk you just put into that tiny space and glue.  This is where it is tricky, you need to be mindful while clamping it not to totally bend the frame and also if your pliers have a cutting edge not to cut your frame (I didn't cut all the way through but it sure did leave a mark).  I also used a combination of my rubber mallet when I found that I did mess up the shape and that it would clasp itself closed.

 This is my happy awkwardly shaped product.  I thought I would get really making these.  Not so much.  I will have to make one more just because I bought two frames.  But you know what? it does the job and it looks cute.  Plenty of lessons learned.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Double Duty

Today's Out fit of the day is combining two lesser ones that I was thrilled with on a whole but in pieces I liked them.  Also I have a surprising amount of blog's backed up to post which I never thought would happen in my blogging repertoire!  You can look forward to my takes on the New York Fashion Week that is coming to a close, a tutorial on making a pencil case from a Japanese coin purse frame, and review of a lovely Dimsum restaurant!  I'd also very much like to jump back into my craft and sewing book reviews.

Nothing beats the cold like a Huge Over-sized Infinity Scarf.
A lot of people ask me if I made it myself but in truth I did not.  It was cheaper to buy the scarf then it would of been for the materials to make it.  It does have a very simple ribbing stitch to follow so perhaps in years from now when it is work down I will re-make it for myself. 

Oversized Grey Infinity Scary - UO
Black Wool Bomber Jacket - Express (last year)
High-waisted khaki suspender Shorts - Tiger Tree
Dark Brown Capri Leggings - Express
Over the Knee Brown leather boots - Miss Sixty for Victoria's Secret Catalog

For my Second OTD I didn't like my full body photos at all so I am just keeping to the details.
Boot's are knee high from Nike that I got randomly at DSW by Polaris last winter. I like that they have little pom pom's at the end of the string, and I am sporting them with some super warm and un-sexy thermal leggings.

This is a detail shot of the print on my skirt.  I'm always amazed by how the little things come together to make a much bigger and more interesting pattern.  They are just such quirky little figures that I'd like to draw them up to scale someday and perhaps embroider them onto something else.

A very Alice necklace that was a present from one of my favorite friends in NYC, Juyon.  She's like a sister I never had and she has always spoiled me whenever I see her.  but this silly necklace was from Top Shop New York City.  Interestingly on etsy recently I found a vendor that is selling that exact same rabbit!

My baby G Pink Square watch that I wear nearly every day.
Yup...... that's about all for this time.  It is really hard to take photos of yourself everyday unless you really love yourself and I'm just not really there anymore.  It's a weird visual struggle for me being so short and having over the past 3 years gained a lot of weight for unexplained reasons except possibly aging metabolism and ticking time bomb of baby making.  I guess the biggest thing is not being a crazy narcissistic but being fearless in taking the pictures and then fearless in posting them as well.  Also someday you think you have a great outfit and then you look again in the mirror when you get back from work and thing "what the F*** was I thinking, did I get dressed in the dark?"

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's begun

My biggest and most stressful project has officially started to take some shape.  This project that I speak of is a dress for my wedding, not necessarily my wedding dress but it might be.  We'll see where it goes from here.

The Inspiration for this I am taking from a traditional Korean hanbok but modernizing it.

I like the modern and muted color pallet of Hanbok Lynn so I would like to go with that for the Ceremony if the dress turns out like I hope it will.  Otherwise it might just end up being an underskirt for the reception.

Here is what I have started thus far.  I don't think I will keep the bow at the top but who knows ones I get them into the right fabrics.  This right now is my mock up for size, pleating and measurements.

The one nice thing while I am working is the Kitty's are really interested in all of it so I get company in that cold cold basement. The materials for the final will be either a silk charmeuse lining or a light weight cotton/linen blend.  I know they are vastly different, it just depends how the weight of each one goes with the out skirts.  The final exterior will be all silk organza.

NYFW - just a taste

A small line up of things that I adored while catching up on shows I missed this weekend.  I honestly feel like I have seen more and been able to pay better attention to what is going on with the shows not being there then if I was there.  Watching all the twitter, Facebook and live streaming I can bounce around easily, unlike if I was there I would be making a mad dash from cab to venue almost every single time.  Also thankfully no show starts on time so I don't feel like I am wasting my time.  While all of them in New York are bustling around and sitting in those hard seats waiting for something that will take less then the time they waited, I can continue to work on my blog eat my lunch and be at leisure.

Now onto my unsolicited opinions of some select pieces.  Keep in mind I'm only showing you what I like because there was just far too much "meh" that I didn't want to re-post not to mention I try to keep on the positive side of blogging and not tear people down.

Let's start with Zang Toi.  The Styling was wonderful,  I like that they kept the hair up and not in a traditional boring way.  It was funky yet appropriate and still classy to suit the style.  This first look I think is the perfect fall silhouette, slim with movement from a long jacket and well fitting tweed pants.

This is a great High-waist skirt look and you can't see from this picture but it looks like it has some extra fabric drape to the back to make almost a cape to the skirt itself.

Next is Y-3
I like the way this jacket is long but buttons up short in the front creating these folds.

This simple outfit looks both comfy and the with a zest of color that isn't annoying at all.  Usually I'm against a red and blue pattern but the vibrant red against this muted slate blue give a good vibe.  I also really like the idea of partial pants coming back with a short skirt.  Reminds me of a little Japanese street style.

The offset geometric shapes in this dress are what caught my eye, I'm sure it is a pain of a pattern which is why I really dig this.  I've been very drawn to dress with large cowl collars in fabric for some reason.

Here are a few from Jason Wu
How could you not love the airy lace that they used in the styling in this show?  The distressed lace ruffle for the collar is nothing new but it does fit nicely with this halter dress.

This clean look is something I hope to see more and more of around because I adore wearing ties and I'm going to start adding bow-ties into my repertoire.  I like how this look has the selective floral pattern on it to give it a slightly girly feel but not to break up the seriousness of the top.  This is something I would wear when I meant to be professional with a flair.  Most likely I would wear some killer peach patent pumps to help pull the colors of the skirt flowers.

This is Jad Gandour
Give me a puffy mutton sleeve any day.  I know it's so tiring to really be in love with one type of sleeve but look how fun it is to see it in different variations and different fabrics and different well you get the point. I love it so I'm happy to see it anywhere and everywhere.

This dress had so many good things about it.  It looks like a combination of silk organza and silk chiffon which I of course can get behind.  Simple black palette and almost conservative top fitted with a mini-mini skirt that looks like it has some layered volumes.  The sleeves on this piece are something I've been eyeballing on a few dresses on Modcloth just the other day

To end this post we have Custo Barcelona
At first I really hated this and then for some odd reason it has grown on me.  I think it has just the right weird and quirk to keep me interested.  Maybe it's because I'm pattern obsessed and I can see that this is at  least 16 pieces depending if there is a center back seam or not.  If this were an monochrome dress in a black or navy I would probably want to own it for the shape alone.

This was a just a cute styling idea that I've taken a fancy to which is wearing non-winter appropriate clothes over tight body suits with mock turtle necks fully covering the skin with warmth.  This drapey little Grecian number would be a cute addition to a general wardrobe.  I like how uneven it is with one side slightly lower then the other side of the drape.

Lastly who can't love adding on a skirted belt accessory onto everything to make a little flirty and girly.  I've had something similar to this forever and sell it on my etsy shop

You can expect many more posts such as this coming up in the next week or two as I catch up on it all.  I don't usually like to do a lot of fashion posts but I feel like this year it's something I need to do. I'm also going to do my best to follow the upcoming London Fashion Week which is my real cup of tea!