Sunday, July 21, 2013

felt keychains

Hello everyone!  Sorry about the little break between posts.  I've been busy making prototypes for a new little project for my re-opened etsy shop Noraneko Alley.  (This is the same shop that I used to run before with a group of friends, but this time both my current shop Ura Michi and Noraneko Alley will be run by myself only)

I started making felt donuts like I used to, which you can see by backtracking this blog.  You can see the work-in-progress ones in the photo with all the brown felt pieces.  The brightly colored ones are key chains for screen-cleaning.  One side is felt, while the other side is a lint-free cleaning cloth.  A hint for the decorative appliques is in the middle!

Hopefully it wont take long for me to finish these up and have them uploaded to the shop.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Back Home for the Time Being

I got the opportunity to head back to my parents' place for the weekend, so I'm taking advantage of it to spend some time with the furry family again. 

Not much other exciting news going on currently.  I'm finally working on more cat pebbles ever since I sold out of them some months before on my Etsy shop.  About time, right?  I'll have a handful of new cat-shaped worry stones in varying color patterns soon.  They are already made and sitting out to dry so I can paint different fur colors onto them later. 

I may go back to making some super bright-colored felt and fleece goods to have at artist alleys in future cons as well.  Let's see how smoothly that goes.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

pork chops plus alpha - ポークチャップの トマトとワイン煮

Just a quick update on cooking for tonight.  The goal was to get rid of a few random ingredients sitting in the fridge for too long. (that and the cooking wine that's been in the pantry for however long)  I guess this is a problem when you share a kitchen with three other people and you're not quite sure of what supplies belong to whom.

メニューはポークチャップの トマトとワイン煮。サイドはケールとレンティルのサラダとポテト。

So I wanted to finish some random pork shoulder and bits of vegetables, but I'm honestly very paranoid about cooking pork without having any pink left over.  Not that I don't mind rare meat, but I don't really trust pork very much.  My answer was making pork chops simmered in a little extra sauce to bump up the amount of veggies versus meat on the plate.  I simply cooked some pork chops medium rare (make sure to have all sides of the meat well-grilled, this keeps the juices and flavor of the meat from seeping away too much into the sauce) and simmered them in a tomato and red wine "sauce" for about 10 minutes on low heat.

The so-called sauce was actually similar to a stew; just sauteed onions, carrots, and broccoli with olive oil, salt and garlic.  Then add diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and plenty of red wine, black pepper, basil, and oregano all simmered for a good 10 to 20 minutes on low to medium heat.  It's actually good on it's own, but a few heaping spoonfuls added per serving of pork chops makes it so much better without getting rid of the grilled flavor.

肉は豚肩ロースを前もって赤ワインとコショウに付けておいたもの。両面をしっかり焼いてから別の鍋で作ったトマト煮を加えて 10分ほど中火でコトコト煮詰めるだけ。



Off to the sides of the plate are a simple kale and lentil salad with vinaigrette and some roasted potatoes.

And for dessert?  Homemade banana bread with wine-soaked prunes, cinnamon, and walnuts.

Whoever said college students can't cook? :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Owls and... more owls.

So the owl-shaped phone cases I was making out of upholstery fabric samples (from my previous post) are finally done and up on Etsy!  They were very fun to make, but like most upholstery fabric, they were also very difficult to hand-sew.  Then again, there were at least 4 layers of fabric sewn together at once on each of these.

In other news, there seems to be a bad thunderstorm coming soon here.  It seems hard to believe with the extremely hot and sunny sky I can see out my window right now, but I guess all of us in the Midwestern U.S.  area should keep an eye out anyways.  As long as the rain doesn't stick around till the farmers' market I guess I don't mind.  The fridge is running out of vegetables fast thanks to my roommates...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Guess Who?

 Maybe the title should have been Guess 'Hoot' instead.

Starting on new projects based on some old ideas is more refreshing than you would expect.

It's been a while since I went back to making my patchwork owl phone cases, or at least that's what I think.  The last time I made them was all the way back in March. (I should really stop abandoning past designs.)

But giving it some time does have its benefits in the way you have a bit more knowledge and skill by the time you come back to the project, to really achieve your original idea.  Looking at the work for a while also makes your eyes glaze over any imperfections, so it's good to let your eyes refresh and come back to it later.  By the way, this is also a good method for a lot of other work like writing essays.  I promise you will notice typos much quicker if you take a break and come back to it later.

Does anyone else have similar ways of procrastinating working as well? 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Away From Home

Wow, May went by quickly.

I'm finally back from my short visit to my parents' place for the summer.  I've just unpacked and gotten settled down in my apartment again, and I'm already missing my little furry family back home.  (the human family doesn't count since I can call them anytime I want)


The ever attentive Annie (gray) and Petey (orange) watching the neighbors' kids outside.

 Panther being his usual lazy self.

 and... Pickles.  If you can tell where she is on that couch.

I assume this look means "I'll get you for waking me up later, human."

I'm still dreaming of the day I can afford a place that allows pets, so I can bring at least Annie and Petey with me...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Coming back...?

Now this is embarrassing.  I haven't posted very often, have I?  Hopefully this will be changed with the craft-filled summer that is about to begin.

For those unaware, I was mostly busy with working on my senior thesis and BFA exhibition... as well as graduation!  Now, not that I'm trying to confuse you, but I technically haven't graduated yet even though I've walked.  I will be student teaching in the fall, and THEN I get my degrees.  Yeah, confusing right?

Here's just a few images from the projects I've been working on for my Bachelors in Fine Arts degree...
 As part of an experiment I participated at the Hatch Art Festival in Champaign, IL and sold these owl phone cases made with upcycled upholstery fabric samples.

 More birds!  Most of my exhibition consisted of these art dolls interacting with found vintage objects.

...and to top it all off, a giant centipede plush.  I still consider it an art doll though.

This summer will consist of updating my Etsy shop, and possibly re-opening my older account filled with super brightly colored pop accessories.  I may also update with costume making for Anime Central next year.  (I'm making maybe 5 costumes for various people) Let's see how this will work out!  Wish me luck!