Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wedding This & That

For the past month or so, I've been doing a lot of research and brain storming about ways I can design a beautiful and personal wedding and stay within our quite limited budget. Determined to save a pretty penny, I've thought about all of the things I and my friends and family could possibly do ourselves, and I'm feeling quite confident in my (our) DIY abilities. In fact its kind of hard waiting a little over 8 months until the wedding, because there are so many projects I'm eager to start on! However I did recently (as in, last night) design our wedding announcement, and to tell you the truth, I sat and just stared at it for a while. I guess part of me was a tad proud of myself, and the other part was just so giddy that its more concrete evidence that this in fact isn't a dream, but that I'm actually going to marry the greatest guy in the world.

In my eager fashion, Joey and I went to Charlottesville this last saturday to do our gift registry at Bed Bath & Beyond. But there is a reason for my hastiness--you see, now that school has started, Joey is going to be quite busy at VMI with parades, football games, and various duties with the many, many clubs and staffs he is a part of. So basically, if there's a free weekend to get something done, we're gonna take it!

Joey and I had a great time picking out things for our future home. It was a little strange at first--I felt like I was a kid pretending to be an adult, and then I was like, 'who are we kidding, no one's going to buy us this stuff!' But as the consultant pointed out, its our wish list, so wish for what you want! Plus, the registry lasts for two years after the wedding, so people can still get us gifts for birthdays and holidays from our list, and we can buy things we weren't gifted at a discounted price. Sounds like a good deal to me!

THE scan gun (though slightly disappointed that its not really a scan gun).

I think I'm going to have a bit of a love hate relationship with wedding planning. I'm not fond of the stress of making everything work and worrying about fitting in a tight budget, but I love doing things with Joey like registering and looking at venues, and my creative self is simply spinning with all of the DIY and art making opportunities!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vanilla Cherry Muffins

Alright people, here comes my first recipe post!

This summer I have discovered that muffins are the perfect way to use up fruit that might be a little over ripe, rather than just throwing it away.

So this time, I had a bunch of cherries that were a little too ripe, after I forgot to take them with me when I went to Ohio last week (where I also bought my wedding gown, by the way!). Since groceries in general are ridiculously expensive lately, I couldn't stand to throw them away, especially since I knew they weren't rotten and could still be used for something.

And then it hit me: Muffins.

I looked up a few recipes and eventually came up with my own that I think turned out quite nicely.

Vanilla Cherry Muffins
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 3 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Milk (plus a splash if batter is too dry)
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract (I always eyeball, so it might have been a tad more--I just really like vanilla)
  • 2 cups Pitted and chopped cherries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease muffin pan.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk, vanilla, and oil, stirring only enough to dampen the flour (batter should not be smooth). Add the chopped cherries and fold in lightly. Spoon batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camera Trap Study

As an artist and a bit of a tree hugger, I LOVED this study done by Conservation International.

Basically, researchers placed camouflaged cameras in seven areas around the world to document in particular, mammals, and see how things like habitat loss are threatening species population and diversity. The cameras didn't have flashes (rule #1 for awesome photographs) and were heat sensitive, so they snapped a shot when something warm was nearby.

"The first global camera trap mammal study, announced today by a group of international scientists, has documented 105 species in nearly 52,000 images, from seven protected areas across the Americas, Africa and Asia. The photographs reveal an amazing variety of animals in their most candid moments — from a minute mouse to the enormous African elephant, plus gorillas, cougars, giant anteaters and — surprisingly — even tourists and poachers."

42 of the 52,000 photographs collected are posted here, and they are simply stunning. The photos of the elephants are my favorite, but there are so many amazing shots--like a monkey staring right into the camera (curious about the object he spotted, no doubt), endangered Tapirs, and even the poachers (a little ironic I suppose, considering they are contributing to the very concern--dwindling populations--that the scientists are researching).

"Analysis of the photographic data has helped scientists confirm a key conclusion that until now, was understood through uncoordinated local study: habitat loss and smaller reserves have a direct and detrimental impact on the diversity and survival of mammal populations. Impacts are seen in the form of less diversity of species and less variety of body sizes and diets (smaller animals and insectivores are the first to disappear), among others. This information replicated over time and space is crucial to understand the effects of global and regional threats on forest mammals and anticipate extinctions before it is too late."

To read the full article on the study, click here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flutter in Pinhole

I found this several months ago, and my love for it hasn't faded. I love that its a step away from the digital and technological, and speaks to the sincerity and genuine quality of old fashioned postcards with hand written messages.

Flutter In Pinhole is a zero-fuss cardboard pinhole camera. It works like a Polaroid camera e.g. instant pictures. The idea behind the project is radically different from its kitsch appeal. It’s aimed at the traveler who’d like to stay in touch via postcards. The photographs are captured into a pre-drawn frame, which you can then add a message to and post.

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