Monday, June 6, 2016

Project Music is Life

Hey guys!

      I'm baaaaack! This post is one that I promised not too long ago when I told you about Juliek's postponement: the repurposing of Juliek's canvas.

      Here's the story: I have this really cool friend who's really into music, and her birthday's coming up. I've  known her about two years now, but up until her birthday I hadn't spent that much time with her. That created an issue, because I didn't exactly know what she likes in music and stuff. I was told she likes a couple bands in particular, so I redid the cover of the Beatle's Abbey Road album cover for her cake (it was legit, but I can't find a photo, so awkward...). But when it comes more specifically to what to give her, I was too much of an artist to give her money or a gift card.

      I came up with this idea to make a 3-D suplture heart with earbuds growing out of it into this tree-like shape. I'd been saving some dead earbuds of mine for a few years with the intent of using them for art, so I figured this would be a perfect idea. So then, I started working through the particulars: what medium to make the heart sculpture from (not too heavy and out of a material that can be attached to the canvas without falling off, but still detailed and pretty), what shaped canvas to use (it had to be one of the 9ish I already own), what to paint the background of the canvas, and what glue to use to put it all together.

      I decided that with the materials I had on hand, the heart could not be made out of paper maché (I don't have much experience with it, and I wanted this to turn out nice, not as an experiment). Likewise, I couldn't use Plaster of Paris, like I did on my last project for English class (far too heavy and messsy-looking, even with a newspaper base to lighten it). Hot glue sculpture would not work for the same reasons as Plaster of Paris, not to mention all attempts to use it as a sculpture medium have thus far failed miserably. That meant I was running out of sculpture options, fast. That is, until I remembered back to my sophomore year sculputre class, when we made cardboard sculptures.
      Cardboard is ideal for this project because: (1) it is an extremely cheap, lightweight material that is easily glued onto an acrylic-covered canvas, (2) it is easily manipulated and fairly exact, (3) it is easily colored with cheap acrylic paint, and lastly, (4) it is visually simple and appealing to the eye when done correctly. Not to mention I have previous experience with this material.

      Next for some of the other details. First, the main reason that the Juliek project has been put on hold is because I decided that a matte black background would be striking and perfect for this project, since most of the dead earbuds I will be using are mosly white. I went ahead and put on a whole fresh coat of paint on the Julied canvas, since I had sketched and partially painted the violin on the canvas already, and there were a few smudges and stains on it from heaven knows what. Next, I went through my adhesives to see what would work the best. When in doubt, E6000 industrial-strenght craft adhesive will save the day, but it has possiblycarcinogenic fumes and must be used outside, not to mention it takes forever to dry, so I passed over him. Hot glue was an option, but I've had some bad experiences trying to get hot glue to stick to certain materials, and I didn't want to chance that acrylic-painted canvas and plastic-coated earbuds were some of those. Wood glue, glue sticks, and Elmer's were clearly inappropriate for the task in my view, so that left me with the magical Aleene's Tacky Glue, and it worked like a charm.

           My next post will go more into the creation of the heart and the use of the earbuds. Stay tuned!

Juliek Postponed and.... Cosplay?

       Hello all, and welcome to the blog I usually don't write in! Well, to be fair, I haven't blogged in general for some time... so yeah, sorry about that! Life's been busy, ya know?
       Well, first things first, Juliek is postponed. Possibly indefinitely. I know, I am just as upset about it as you. Well, you probably don't care, actually. But here's the deal: I did not have the expertise to be painting that, and I had a better use for the canvas. To explain part 1: the thing about painting is that you have to have a decent amount of experience with that subject for it to turn out decently. The fact of the matter is that I'm just not that experienced with painting, and especially with painting light and reflective surfaces. As this was going to be an essential part, it didn't seem wise to cover at the moment. Thus, when it came time for this awesome friend of mine's birthday and I needed a unique, special gift ASAP, the canvas fell to reuse.
        So, in conclusion, Juliek is a really awesome project that is still close to my heart after all this time, but as for now I am simply not practiced enough. Given some intense study and experience,
 which I will hopefully get around to sometime, I may be able to come back to it. And as for the repurposing of the canvas, I will definitely be blogging about that soon! A bit of a diy half-tutorial, more for ideas and inspiration than copying, but be on the lookout! Hopefully it will not take years!
       And moving on.... Cosplay! Cos who, you say? Cosplay!
       Sorry, cheesy joke.
       For those of you who know what cosplay is, feel free to skip this paragraph. So cosplay is a kind of informal compound word that has become common vernacular amongst big fans of books, video games, and tv shows everywhere. Cosplay is essentially when people dress up as their favorite characters from their source of choice (hence "cos") and then "play" around in them to take pictures, go to comic-cons and other conferences, for parties, or really just when there's an excuse. And sometimes, there isn't even an excuse, but I digress. These costume are usually pretty elaborate, and pride as a cosplayer comes from three things generally: the awesomeness and seriousness of your costume, its accuracy to the original character, and handmade vs. commercial-grade. Mind you, it's just for fun anyway, but from what I've seen, the most epic cosplayers are the ones who made these grand, intricate, crazy accurate costumes and props, and they made by the cosplayer themselves or fellow cosplayers. If you are still a little confused, try googling it, and taking a look at google images for examples.
        So anyway, as I am a huge nerd when it comes to things like tv and books, I have been interested in cosplay for quite some time. I've got a little experience with making some things, but so far haven't really had the time or dedication. Mostly the time. See the thing about cosplay is that you either diy or buy. Buying is crazy expensive and unpredicatable because the thing you want might not even be available, and diy-ing is crazy time-consuming. Seeing as how I am poor, you can guess which route I take.
         My one successful full cosplay thus far was one I used for halloween. I was going to cosplay as Black Canary from the tv show Arrow, who of course is from the Green Arrow comic books. I bought     a basic black superhero mask to cover the eyes, which looked approximately like hers, as well as a blonde wig, which totaled to about $8 since I bought the super-cheap stuff. However, I would note that the wig I bought was terrible, so considering spending a bit more if it will get you a nicer one than the ones offered at Five Below at halloween time. I have a plain black v-neck t-shirt I was also going to wear, and then was torn between using my (very) dark blue jeans or my black sweatpants to complete the look simply on the body. I then made this giant silver rod-thing she used during what was probably season two or three or something out of newspaper, crepe paper, glue, and silver paint.
         You might have noticed by this time, though, that I said I was 'going to'. By the time I got her stick finished (which I am not even going to share because it turned out poorly...), my friends had decided that we were going to be cosplaying as Shrek characters as a group. Thanks, guys, for the advanced warning. I wasn't planning anything already.
         Anyway, I didn't want to be the odd man out, so I scrambled and threw a costume together, with some help from my grandma. That is also probably a post for another time. Be on the lookout for Puss in Boots costime inspiration and fake fencing sword tutorial!
          But the problem with both the Black Canary costume, the Puss in Boots costume, and a new costume I am half-considering is that I don't have leather boots. It's not as simple as going out and finding a pair at the store, either. The problem with me is that I have extremely bad feet, and I need to wear sneakers with my orthotic inserts constantly. Wearing snow boots in the winter already kinda kills me, and wearing any sort of heel for just about any amount of time is death. Unfortunately, New Balance doesnt't exactly carry leather boots. For the Puss in Boots costume, my grandma found these cheesy little shoe-cover fake boots, which probably looked pretty good when you are about 9, which is who they were meant for. On me, they did not really look like boots, but they were the best I could do, so I did not complain. But I am kinda getting tired of the limitation, so I am going to try to make some shoe  covers of my own for sneakers. It also looks like this is not something that has really been attempted before, or if it has, it isn't particularly easy to find on Pinterest or anywhere else. I'll be working on the planning phases of it for a while, but plan to put out a tutorial on it to help others in need, because I can't be the only one with this issue.
          So, signing off for now! Hopefully will be back soon!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Big Fight... Or Is It?

    Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to tonight's epic showdown! In this corner, we have the heavyweight champion of the last few centuries, Science! And competing, in the other corner, we have tonight, another great of society, or at least it once was, Christianity!

    Wait, what?
    Let's rewind for a second. Science and Christianity duking it out for the place of reverence in society?

    That's what many people think. That Christianity is a religion of fuddy-duddies and the mentally impaired, and that Science is its polar opposite. Or within the Christian community, that science is the weapon they use to tear us apart, against which we have little defense.  They cannot coexist and never will. But why? Is it really true?

    Shoot me if you will, but I say that we've got it wrong.

    Look. Here's the thing. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And in the next few days, He also created a heck of a lot of other stuff. He created us and all the other critters. And that's usually where we stop thinking about it. But His creation of the heavens and the earth must, inevitably include EVERYTHING. So, He created us and the critters, yeah, but He also created all the bacteria, all the plants, all the in-between stuff, He created magnetism, gravity, and all the rest of physics that are required for us and all us critters to be around, and this is stuff that we don't understand completely today using our precious science (oh yeah, and I mentioned He did it in, like, less than a week, right?). He orchestrated finely-tuned ecosystems and the microscopic mechanisms behind the bacterial flagella. He made chemicals which exist in base units called atoms, which make up everything to the double helix of DNA which is you to the carbon in diamonds and the mix we breathe with every breath.

    So, if He created it all, how could it possibly oppose Him? Science is by very nature a pursuit of understanding the natural world, so again, how could the creation possibly "disprove" the Creator? Especially when it doesn't even fully understand the world around us?

    I think what has happened is that we have forgotten the true nature of science, and who is REALLY opposing God here. You see, to "oppose" something, it would seem to me as though something would have to have a will, a desire to oppose. And science has no feelings. People do.

    Science is, at the end of the day, a tool. A tool to be used by humans, and humans have a certain nature to them. They are stubborn, willful, and disobedient. And they like to think that if they can explain away God, pretend like He doesn't exist, then they aren't beholden to Him. That, if they weren't created, they are beholden to no Creator. And some people have gotten it into their head that the tool of science can be used to accomplish this goal. But as I said before, how in the world does that work? God made the world, so how are you going to disprove His existence by studying it?

    But for so long, Christianity has let itself slip. We have been called to be ready to defend and provide answer to our faith. Heck, we have been called to do a lot of things, and the church is more and more lacking. Some groups have realized this deviance, this gaping hole in our education, but not enough. And because of the prevalence of the world's use of science as a weapon against us, we have collectively hidden from it.

    We have forgotten that science is a tool exclusive to none. Any can use it, not just the world. The same goes for words and ideas: tools, to be used by any and all who want to.

    We have not been given a spirit of fear. We have no need to hide, and we never did. All it does is doom our own chances, and the chances of our children.

     And I love my school. Really I do. And I really do understand that the mission is to create the up- and-coming generation of Church leaders. Great goal. Don't want to knock it. But I, for one, don't see much of a career in being a pastor (I think the Bible has some pretty clear words on that, since I'm female). And, sure I could be a missionary, teacher, secretary, or some Church leader's wife. But I have legit physical issues which will, realistically, hinder me from doing on-your-feet-all-day work. I physically just can't. Furthermore, I hate office work, I hate feeling useless for extended periods of time, and really suck at talking with people, especially strangers. And while I am not opposed to possibly marrying a pastor someday, I'd prefer not to have that as my defining characteristic.

     Basically, long story short, I don't have much potential working for a Church full-time, much as I'd love to know I'm full-time devoting my life to helping Jesus' sheep. Instead, I have other gifts, like a gifted brain, and a fairly decent ability for slapping words together (though I can ramble some, as you know... working on it....). I love to learn, and I have a strong work ethic. I also have some limited skills as an artist, but most especially, I have a passion for helping people and taking care of the world God's given to us.

    And I want to become a scientist. Which is slightly frustrating at a school whose main goal is to create Church leadership. I mean, individually, there are lots of teachers who are super supportive, but when I tell people what I want to do, the first reaction I get is usually surprise. They are used to hearing that people either don't know what to do with their life, or the want to be pastors, therapists, doctors, nurses, engineers, business owners, missionaries, soldiers, lawyers, and the list goes on. Science is radical for Christians. It's dangerous ground, either hostile or uncharted territory.

    To me, though, it's one of the most important. Science really is one of those fields that Christians are usually on the defense from, not trying to enter. And that makes it in desperate need of "missionaries," kind of like how some of these communist and Islamic states are hostile to missionaries, and yet we keep on trying, except there's no customs agents or other government officers trying to kick Christians out, and no borders proclaiming us "safe" or "unsafe". Because the truth is that Christianity is already under attack, so what exactly does our hiding solve?

    Also, science needs more people on the inside saying, "look, it's possible for Christianity and science to coexist, and in fact, they work really well together. It's not a cop-out or an excuse to do lousy science, it just a different perspective, and the drive to understand what exist is by no means diminished by the fact that we (Christians) know how it came to be." It needs more people on the inside saying to the Christian community, "look, we can use science too! And it's okay to be a Christian whose career is in science." Because from the perspective of a teenage girl whose trying to find her way into the world, there isn't much of that. And it's not just my school, really it's not. And yes, I know I can't walk into the field of science unprepared. Got it. But I would really love for people to stop looking at me with the, "are you sure?" look or the, "oh you poor thing. don't know what you're getting into" look when I say I want to be a scientist. Because I'm sure, this is what I want to do, what God wants me to do. And, yes, I know I will be opposed. But from what I understand in the Bible, that means I'm probably doing something right. And I want to make a difference for God in the world, too, but just because I'm not devoting my life to supporting orphans in some third-world country, or helping people through divorce, or saving people by becoming a heart surgeon doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong. I'm just going to do it differently.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dress time!

     Okay, so to all ten of you who read this, I am soo excited! So, I have been itching to sew lately! I don't usually get along with the sewing machine, but I realllly want to make my own gala (prom, for those of you who don't go to my private school) dress, and i have very little experience with sewing dresses.
   In comes excitement! So, my English teacher, Ms.Griffin, has us reading The Great Gatsby. Weird, frustrating book, you should read it if you haven't already. So she had this idea to throw a Gatsby party when we come back to school, since we have spirit week and have a little more freedom than our uniform. If we all dress up, we can get extra credit. I was like yeah, sure, extra credit, let's go. But I don't have any dresses that would remotely work.
   So I went looking on google image (girl's bff right there) and found that my wardrobe for the Roaring Twenties is worse than I thought. I have nothing that works. So next, switching to normal google web search, I go looking for patterns. And... Ding!
    I found a blog (please go visit it, it is possibly my new favorite place on the web), And it had a pattern for free that you can print out!!!! So yesterday's joy was taping that together, only to realize, crap, this woman's a size small. I'm not. So then I had to modify the pattern from its 34" bust and 29" waist to my 39" bust and 33" waist. Actually less hard than I thought, since the pattern shrunk slightly during printing, so I just had to add an inch to all of the seam edges.

    Next issue, what fabric? I went exploring in my grandma's basement, but no fabric was quite noble enough. Or rather, none appealed to my taste with this dress. But, never fear, Joann Fabrics had the solution! 3 yards and 23 dollars later, I have a gorgeous blue knitted fabric interwoven with silver threads. And it's sooooo soft!!! The three or four people who helped me at the store all made over how gorgeous and how soft it is, and this was genuine, "Wow, this is awesome!" not just "Oh, wow. Can I get paid now?" I know in the picture it might not look all that great, but trust me, in real life it is mind-blowing!

     So I can't wait! I have homework to do this weekend, so it will probably start to happen next week, but I just can't get over how great this is going to be! And don't forget to check out my new favorite blogger!

Monday, July 21, 2014

I am

    Most of my life has revolved around my feelings. Once, someone I look up to told me I was extreme, just based off of one conversation we were having and my polar feelings on the matter. He was more right than he knew. Unfortunately most of that feeling has been extreme sadness. I have been so focused on who I am not that I didn't take the time to see who I am, and who I can be. I am not skinny, I am not liked, I am not good enough, I am not right in the head, I am not able to maintain a social life, I am not, I am not. And it has taken me this long to say that I am loved by many, I am made in God's image, I am sweetly broken, I am an important influence, I am saved by grace, and I am a crazy teenager who has the potential to one day rock the world at its foundations. I am, and not being is not acceptable. Not being extraordinary with myself is not acceptable, because average is for those who do not care, and I am extreme. I don't know exactly where I'm going, or how I'm going to get there, but I have faith God will get me there in the end. God bless you all.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


    Ohmigosh, complete fangirling moment right here! It is ON! I have discovered the wonderfully dark and antiquated mechanical world of Steampunk! *sigh* Ok... I think I'm done. NOT!
    Ok, for the millions of you poor people out there who are in the dark to what the wonderful world of steampunk is, I shall attempt to describe it to you. It centers around what I (possibly inaccurately) call Victorian London. Mostly it revolves around teen novels centered during this time period, but there's a twist- and a big one. The world is almost always focused on steam power. Electricity is benched to create an alternate history- one focused on steam-powered mechanics and technology, lots of gears, lots of leather, lots of chain and metal, and generally some very spunky heroines. Throw in automatons, steam-powered weaponry and transportation, and occasionally some twisted DNA, and you get one very dirty steam-filled world in the chaos of industrial revolution and Victorian values from a modern viewpoint. The whole thing started out there as an idea, and has morphed into a who genre of books, clothing, and accessories. One that sadly few know of. Oh well, I DO! XD
    I just finished a book entitled The Girl in the Steel Corset, which I loved. Perhaps a little historically inaccurate, but most of these are in one way or another. I just usually grumble and move on past it into the glorious plot. And glorious this plot is. It was based around a girl named Finley, an average commoner who has basically a split personality. You find out later in the book her father was a scientist which literary history calls Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde (for those of you not familiar with the particulars of that book, a scientist separates his goodness and his evil into effectively split personalities, but the evil is a monster that eventually destroys his goodness). So poor Finley has a darker side that comes out when she feels threatened and it causes all sorts of problems for her. She end up hanging out with this Duke named Griffin and his friends who also are abnormal in one way or another, and because of the same little bacteria-like buggers called Organites, which their parents messed about with. This insane man named the Machinist, an old friend of everyone's parents (who he killed, btw), then tries to kill them all, but not before we get an American cowboy involved, a love story happily situated, and the reader (well, me at least) just about screaming at Griffin and Finley, who obviously have feelings for each other but refuse to admit it because they're being stupid combined with the fact that she's a commoner and he's the next step down from prince... argh frustration. Book two, here I come.
    Another great Steampunk series is the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. Much more historically accurate than the Steel Corset book, it is a very interesting read I highly recommend to anyone. It basically creates a world divided between those who accept steam-powered machines and those that have eschewed dirty steam for animals specially "fabricated" from "life threads" (DNA cough cough). These beast are combinations of several other animals and are used for all sorts of things from cleaning and mail service to air transportation. Throw in a girl disguised as a boy so she can get into the Royal Service and fly, and the kind-of illegitimate son of an Austrian Archduke, and you've got a plot that is impossible to ignore. Oh, did I mention that WWII begins shortly into book 1? *sigh*
    Ugh, I have basically written a novel for you and haven't even begun to discuss clothes. Well, if you stuck with me this far, I recommend you go google steampunk clothing immediately. Its all just so fantastic!!! I hardly know what to do with myself. I found this really cool instruction vid for how to make goggles from foam. His instructions are a little much for me, personally. Epoxy? no thanks... Latex? Ugh... what a mess. However, I do have the basic craft foam, and a little hot glue and Aleen's should be able to fix all the overly-fancy gluing problems I may face. I am biting at the bit to get started, but I dont have a spare set of sunglasses lying around for the lenses. I am gonna have to improvise anyway, because you need to pay $5 to get the template. I'm just gonna freehand it and roll, which will be more fun anyway, but is gonna take longer, and I'm gonna need to get my sunglass lenses ahead of time so I can work with them. The price I pay for improv DIY... oh well! Still super excited!

Darkness and Light

      For many years of my life I struggled with the idea of darkness. Growing up in my Christian School setting, I developed this idea that my inner human nature of sin was something I needed to separate from my "light", from God and all that I considered good of myself. From this, I mistakenly developed this idea that somehow self confidence = pride, which = sin, which = darkness. You can see why I was miserable there for a while. Thinking that any self confidence is something you need to get rid of immediately can get you to a dismal place. Mind you, too much confidence is bad, and a healthy fear of God is really nice to have. But, that is mostly just a rabbit trail. Back to the prize stag.
       I am prone to kind of these dark, gloomy brooding sessions. They are more prone to happen in the winter and leave me an emotional wreck at the end- so as nice as the wisdom that I find while in my deep blue funks are, sometimes I wonder if they are worth it and if they could please, at their earliest convenience, bugger off, if they would be so kind. But, seeing as how this has been a lifetime thing so far, buggering off does not seem to be something likely to occur soon. ANYWAYS. So, many times my brooding funks have taken me to evaluating light and darkness. Fun topics, I know. Real happy and fluffy. Kittens and all that. I don't know, but light and darkness are nice deep topics that my brooding side enjoys.
       After much of this brooding, and a great deal of thought on the matter while not in my brooding moods, I have concluded that my initial idea of separate light and darkness within me is, in fact, false. I mean, everybody knows that light and darkness are opposites, right? That means they can't mix? Well, you should probably contact a legit philosopher on this if you want more than my ramblings. However, I think humanity is more complicated than simple good and bad, light and dark. We were created as beings of purity and light, but we desecrated it in the pursuit of knowledge (ironic much, that?). So, now, we are inherently beings of the dark, but we all seem to have some light within us, at least at some point in our lives. But this does not mean that we have two sides, either. I tried that too, basically almost splitting my personality to light and dark, and ignoring what I considered dark. Well, that's what I told myself I was doing.
       When it comes down to it though, I think that human nature is more complicated than good and bad sides. The older I get and the more time I spend in the world, the more I am assured of this observation. Perhaps a better description would be a dual nature. We were given knowledge of good and evil in the Fall, and we say that Jesus had a dual nature of deity and humanity, so why couldn't this be the case? Perhaps we are at all times inherently good and evil, and our actions are dictated by situation and personality. This is not to say that God is not involved in this. He ultimately has the power to change situations to His will, and if He has saved us, then He has influence on our personality. So anyways, I figured out that once I got over the whole "banish the inner dark part of your soul" and moved on to "hey, I'm a mess, so let's work on fixing it" side of perspective, life has been a lot nicer for me to deal with. No more blame, etc. I am me, no blaming the devil or demons or "the dark side" (and, no, they don't have cookies), just flawed little me.
         Maybe I am just being silly once again. For what is darkness but absence of light? Maybe it is not possible for one to have light and not have it at the same time, or maybe my convoluted outlook is right for once.
         Maybe I need some color..... this black and white business is awfully bland
        And maybe I should just leave philosophy to those who think professionally.....