Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dinner and the Studio Project

I know I had a beautiful kitchen at my parents' house, but when there's already a nutritious hot dinner waiting for you when you get home, it just seemed pointless to spend an hour cooking. Now that we're on our own, and accustomed to good suppers, we're making an effort to actually eat dinner, and not just subway or takeout.

Last night I made Phat Thai from Chez Pim's recipe. I bought all the ingredients in Columbia at the Asian grocery store, and coaxed Jason into eating adventurously. It was pretty good, too, although I'd like to try the basic cooking method with simple stir-fry ingredients, like soy sauce and chili. I heart rooster sauce. I used my big ole saucepan that my cousin Kim gave me for the first time--and it is AWESOME!! I could have cooked 4 servings of Phat Thai in that thing. Amazing. It's totally worth all the space it takes in my pot cabinet.

And here is the current state of the studio. I'm working on it! It's actually a lot closer than it looks to being workable. I did end up painting over the turquoise walls. A nice off-white color. you can see that light is at a premium. I'm not sure how I'm going to work on that, but I will perservere!

I bought a rainbow print for the studio--I love rainbow colored things!! It came from Present and Correct.

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:25 AM :: (1) comments

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

FInally we've moved!

Cake paintings by the awesome Meredith Steele.

After 5 days of moving, we're finally at a settle point. Yes, I still have boxes everywhere. That's what we're using the 2 spare bedrooms for, right?

It's really hard not to go around hanging stuff on the walls, but I want to meditate on where things go first. The studio is still a mess, but it's getting there.

Jason took 2 hours to put together our new grill. We haven't eaten a meal that wasn't out on the deck yet. Yay! I love to eat outside. Our first meal was grilled hot dogs and other summery fare.

I'm pretty thrilled with the paint colors and our new Crate and Barrel couch. Can you tell I'm exhausted? I just don't have the energy for flowery discussion.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:49 AM :: (4) comments

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fun with Fotoshop

Warning: geekiness ahead.
Before and After

One of my favorite pics from our honeymoon. I'm reenacting the last scene of Gladiotor, with our farmhouse/agritourism in the background.

I have been playing with some fun trick in Photoshop.

First, this sharp focus on the central figure (Moi) is one from tilt+shift. (More info on what it ist here) I think they're just using the gaussian blur and making a mask over the parts that should be sharp. So I did this by hand in Photoshop.
1) Make 2 new layers
2) On the top most layer, make it very blurry
3) On the middle layer make it somewhat blurry (technical, eh?)
4) On the top layer, click on the mask button at the bottom of the layer palette, use the gradient tool on "reflect" and make the middle area of the mask black (this is the part that will be sharp. On this layer, you want the black area on the mask to take up about half of the page, right in the middle.
5) On the middle layer, make another mask with the gradient tool, and make it very narrow.
That's it! I know that probably wasn't a great tutorial if you're a photoshop newbie, but it's a start.

Second, I used the warm up action from Pioneer Woman. Have you guys seen her website? Holy crap! It's beautiful, simple, has food, recipes, and humor. And she gets like THOUSANDS of comments on posts. Why haven't I seen her stuff come up on any of the craft blogs I read?

p.s. I apologize for the title of this blog. It's one of my hugest pet peeves to make any two phonetically similar words be spelled with the same first letter. i.e. Karol's Krazy Kutz. HATE THAT.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:57 PM :: (2) comments

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Hardwood floors are done!

I have said it so many times now, but they just look FANTASTIC! The short planks and mix of red and white oak really make it look like a designer floor. There are still a couple of dark spots from the previous owner's pet. I'm thinking pets and carpets don't mix well.

Check out the pic on the left--the master bedroom is going to have carpet, so we didn't have it refinished. You can see the previous orangey, dull finish, compared with the spare bedroom on the right.

It all makes the gray walls look so much better also. We're getting a couch this week, and hopefully carpet.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:22 AM :: (5) comments

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mail Art

I don't think my friend Julia reads this blog, so I'm probably safe in showing you this before it's put in the mail.

So I might be in the middle of an upheaval with all my life/art/sewing supplies, but I can still find time to make a little something.

I had so much fun just going over the top with this. Sometimes it just feels good to let your mind what happens if I add another element? I guess I'll just use a plain envelope...oh wait, I don't know where those are....I'll have to make one....This stamp is going to get lost on the envelope....I could make a little label for it....and on and on. I used a page out of a magazine for the envelope.

I probably spent an hour on this, and it was the happiest thing I've done all week.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:03 AM :: (1) comments

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kansas City 2009

We met our dear friend Chris in Kansas City for the weekend. We saw the Kenny Chesney concert which is a tradition for Chris and I (I don't want to hear it, I know it's cheesy, but it's a really good time, and you shouldn't knock it till you try it), and we did tons of shopping and touristy stuff. We stayed with my friend Julia who lives in a lovely neighborhood of craftsman homes really close to downtown. We spent a lot of time sitting on the porch and walking around in the 70 degree weather.

I kept thinking Nashville and Kansas City are supposed to be the same size, but KC has a lot more going on for it--at least a lot less country music stuff. The farmer's market was PACKED. They also have a real live art museum, the Art Institute of KC, a Paper-Source store, and the best BBQ you could ask for in a gas station. Oh, and Crate and Barrel, where we bought ourselves a SUPER new couch.

We ate brunch at Succotash in the City Market. I couldn't believe how busy the farmer's market was. Crazy!

We ate so much that we had to get to-go boxes, but Jason was hell-bent on getting a Polish sausage as well. He's crazy like that.

And you know I had to squeeze in some art. We went to Hammerpress and I asked a ton of questions. Hammerpress is a major letterpress studio, based in Kansas City. They had so many presses! And nothing on drying racks! I guess that's what the difference is between my little press which just "kisses" the paper, and those big mamas that really put an impression in.

Here is Jason at the art museum.

I miss my friends and the big city already! I didn't realize how starved for city life I was! I'll have to go back and see Julia sometime soon. Maybe I can actually eat sushi somewhere.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:07 AM :: (6) comments

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Printing is still happening!

I am so tired that I took a 2 hour nap today. I worked my butt off (and so did my parents, and Jason, and my sister, and my friend Carrie) at the house yesterday, and I have a hangover from it today! So took a "break" and spent a few hours in the printing lab.

Along with about 300 recipe cards I have to feed that beast! The success has been a blessing and a curse--great because it's helping us afford things like furniture and carpet, bad because of timing. Don't get me wrong--I'm THRILLED that I've sold over 40 boxes. Awesome!

And I couldn't resist printing some of my new plates fresh back from the plate-maker:

I plan to make a series out of these--incorporating my newly found drawing chops and my beloved calligraphy pen and writing.

Wouldn't it be cool to have all 50 states? I'm not sure if I am ready to commit to doing all 50, but it's a possibility. After we're done moving. And after Carrie and I work on our 2010 calendar!

Soon to be posted in my Etsy shop! Let me know if you have a specific state request, and any ideas on what the wording could be. If I use your idea as inspiration, I'll send you one for free!


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:51 PM :: (7) comments

Friday, May 01, 2009

Reason #287 to live with my parents:

My mom's garden! Without me having to do anything at all!

You're welcome.

Mother Nature just doesn't get much better, does she? I only put the shade on the edges, otherwise, this is unphotoshopped.

We're off and running on another house-painting remodelling weekend marathon. I just worked my last full week until the end of May at my job. I've got lots of long weekends ahead to work, move, and visit some friends in Kansas City. So excited. Go out and enjoy the Spring while it's still here!!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:35 PM :: (0) comments