Saturday, April 28, 2012

foto finish - james

{say something -  Instagram}

hello there! i'm back today with a recap of the james show Hoss and i went to last thursday.  james is my most favorite band in the world and has been for about 17 years or so.  they hail from Manchester, England, and have been around since the mid-80's.  they don't have a big following over here in the US but the fans they do have are huge supporters.  

{larry gott - guitar -  and mark hunter - keyboards}

Hoss and i made the trip down to San Diego to see them at the house of blues.  back when he ordered the tickets, Hoss surprised me by getting the VIP tickets for the sound check.  the larger photos in this post are from the warm up.  guests were encouraged to bring their cameras and take as many photos as they wanted--no video, though--so we did.  i was lucky to see this show when i did as i also had a photography assignment of environmental portraiture due and these pictures counted toward that.  we took over 200 photos during the sound check. 
{larry talking to the fellas}

{tim booth}

it was so cool to see them in this way--a more laid back environment than the frenzied excitement during the actual live performance. they were really receptive to the 75 or so (my estimate) fans who were there and answered a lot of questions.  
{andy diagram - trumpet}
{andy looks bored}

this is my favorite photo of the night.  during the warm up, Andy {sitting} looked so bored!  granted, he doesn't play on every song; he left the band sometime around '92 and didn't return to play on a studio album until 2008 so he missed a bunch of albums in between.  he's got a real Mr. Bean-ish look about him and later that evening during the show, he was dancing around and shaking his trumpet and behaving much differently than during the sound check when he kept yawning.  in particularly, he was cracking up Hoss the whole night.

with our VIP status, we were able to get into the show before anyone else and while most people head to the very front row to stand in front of the stage, Hoss and i like to head up to the balcony (most house of blues's have one, i think?) and stand in the center of that.  you still get a great, unobstructed view and because we're old, we like to avoid the pushing and shoving that goes on down below.

{"sometimes" crowd sing-along - Instagram}
we had to take the big camera back to the car after the sound check as the HOB has their own policies regarding them, but we both had our iPhones and took some pictures with them.  the photos aren't wonderful, but with the help of Instagram, it makes it look like we intended to get blurry, grainy shots!
{last encore - "laid" - with lucky audience members dancing onstage with the band - Instagram} 
it was a great show and i hope they come back again soon.  they remain my most favorite band of all time. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

mother's day card

hello and tgif! popping in tonight with a quick post of a card i made for the two peas in a bucket saturday sketch challenge.  i'm getting this in just under the wire, as per usual.  i don't get tons of time anymore to create things and given that i share my studio space with a one year old, i usually average an hour a day in there.  i'm really loving Crate Paper right now and all of their recent collections so that's what i've been using to make cards.  

with mother's day coming up, i thought i'd try and whip up some cards i could use for the mothers in my life, namely my own sweet mom and my incredibly helpful mother-in-law.

i'm loving yellow, white, and gray as of late and Crate Paper has lots of that to spare in their Paper Heart line.  i layered a couple patterns on top of each other and did a bit of hand stitching on the edges.

a mini white paper bag holds a white tag on which i typed a sweet quote about mothers. three mini white tags, white string, and seam binding finish off the card.  the sentiments are stamps from Papertrey Ink.  the photo below is the inside. 

that's it for me.  hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


hi and happy wednesday!  i'm going to try and do the james show wrap up as my Foto Finish weekend post since i still have a bunch of photos from that evening to go through and edit.  (it was a great show but i'll tell you more about it on friday.)

today i wanted to share some little confetti notes i made last week and i have a mini tutorial to go with them.  little bags of confetti are super-hot right now in the crafting world and i wanted to try my hand at making them.

to make mine, i put tinsel glitter, different shapes and colors of sequins, and some tiny beads all together in a little glassine envelope and sewed it closed.  i folded it over so that the flap was pointed up and would leave a little pocket for a small tag.  i think you can see what i mean in the photos. 
above is the tutorial i put together to show you how i did it.  i apologize for the quality of the pictures.  i took them with my iPhone as i went along and my studio light is pretty terrible.  i used Instagram to add a little visual appeal to them.  you get the idea, anyway.
here is the finished product, a little 2.75" x 4.25" card decorated with some Crate Paper products and featuring the little confetti bag front and center.  i used papers from the Random and Paper Heart collections.  the yellow border sticker at the top and the yellow tab sticker used to secure the confetti bag flap pocket are both from Paper Heart.  the paper lace doily can be purchased from my etsy shop here.   
i actually made the note set to play along with the april Crate Paper color challenge but naturally i missed the deadline!  oh, well, it was fun anyway.  have a great wednesday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

thrifty thursday: thurston post sale!

well, i came up with an idea for this week's Thrifty Thursday post after all.  it may be just a little self-serving, but since my little etsy shop doesn't get too much exposure, i'm all right with it!  i have a few items--and more to come--that are on sale and i decided to showcase them as this week's deal.
{shabby chic friend card - $4.00}

the card above is a sweet one featuring pinks, creams, and greens.  i hand-stitched around the edge and used some different trims like lace, vineyard twine, and specialty green ribbon.  the bath soap image is a vintage sticker by Melissa Frances.
{u inspire me - $3.00}

for this card i rubber stamped and heat embossed the cameo silhouette and frame and then hand-cut it out.  i added glitter letters, thick black satin ribbon, and a little bling as finishing touches.
{you make my life a beautiful thing - $2.75}

the last card is a trifold card that opens to reveal a nice sentiment and some pretty floral patterned paper. it's a great card for a sweet friend and at $2.75, it's also a sweet price!  

well, that's going to do it for today--short and sweet.  tonight Hoss and I are driving down to san diego to watch my most favorite band in the world perform--james.  i am so in love with them and they always put on a fantastic show.  we were unable to see them the last time they toured the US because the night they were here was Mr. Bagubian's due date.  of course, he came 5 days later so we could have gone!  i hope to have some photos to share with you from the show. Hoss surprised me with VIP pre-show tickets so we get to watch the band do their soundcheck and have a brief q&a session with them (and the rest of the VIP's).  it's sure to be an amazing night!  i hope yours is, too!   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

famous blue raincoat

ok, so i definitely didn't mean to be absent for so long.  i got bogged down in school work (yuck!) and in family things and unfortunately, those are just two areas that I can't ignore in order to blog.  i still have more photos from the landscape project that i want to write about, but i will save them for this weekend.  and i haven't found a deal worth mentioning for "Thrifty Thursday" yet since i have been doing school work and not shopping!  

today i thought i would just do a quick post and show you something designed for my 2D Animation and Color Theory class last semester.  it was definitely one of my most favorite classes because there weren't many constraints on the designing.  it was pretty much anything goes as long as you followed the rules in terms of elements and principles of design and choosing color palettes.  for one of our projects we had to base our designs on certain descriptive words like "sad", "blissful", and "shy".  the instructor gave us several options and we had to choose 10.  then we had to use Kuler, which is Adobe's awesome color program, and find color combinations that went with those words, but you also had to stick to color schemes like complimentary, analogous, triadic, etc.  i will say more about Kuler in a bit...

the design i was most proud of was my design for "sad" which was inspired my one of my most favorite songs of all time, "Famous Blue Raincoat" by Leonard Cohen.  i love this design because i actually drew something with the brush tool in Illustrator.  mostly, because i am not an illustrator, i just use geometric shapes or lines to create my pieces.  but for this i actually drew the raincoat and raindrops and used some effects and textures to enhance the drawing.  this is probably nothing for artists who are very good or even just okay at drawing, but since i am terrible at drawing, i was really proud of the way this turned out.

this was my piece for "shy".  again here, i drew the flowers using the brush tool.  the awful thing is that I don't remember what color schemes either of these pieces used!  the raincoat may have been monochromatic with the addition of a gray background and this flower illustration could be something like a split complimentary or a triadic.  

Kuler is a free color choosing website from Adobe where you can create your own color combinations based on color properties like analogous, monochromatic, etc, or upload a photo and it will pick out color values from that photo.  it's all customizable and if you create an account (it's free) you can download different schemes and import them into Photoshop and Illustrator to use in your designs.  you can check out my Kuler page here.

this last design i will show you was based on the word "blissful" and i believe that scheme is analogous.  i think my instructor liked this piece the best out of all 10 of my designs.

thanks for being patient with me as i work my blog posts around the rest of my schedule.  i'll try to do better by you and post more frequently!  have a great wednesday!       

Friday, April 6, 2012

foto finish

happy weekend!  is anyone else as happy as i am that it's the weekend?  weekends around here are family time since it gets a little crazy during the week with my school schedule and my husband's work schedule.  but when the weekend rolls around, our little family usually gets a good amount of time together.  this saturday is an early dinner with good friends. We're going at 4:30, or senior hour, which is our most favorite time of the day to go out to restaurants--how sad!  as my friend put it, senior hour = baby hour (their little girl is 5 months older than Mr. Bagubian) and she's so right.  sunday is Easter and i think we just get to take it easy that day with a little egg hunt for the Goob, and a good meal with my in-laws.  the only downside is that i do have some serious school work to accomplish.

{low horizon sunburst clouds}
i thought it would be a nice end to each week here in blog world if i posted some photos.  we recently had a landscape assignment in my photography class and were allowed to use some creative effects to adjust our pictures.  we also had to shoot some panoramas and HDR photos.  i'm a little proud of my results, though by no means do i consider myself a pro.

this probably turned out to be my favorite photo in the set.  it's a vertical panorama of a power line tower.  i like it because of the vintage look it ended up with after i fussed about with it in Photoshop.  that old-time, antiqued look is all the rage right now, thanks in part to Instagram, but i like this one because i achieved it myself by playing around with the color balance and saturation levels.  i also like that it's vertical and not horizontal like most panoramas.

everything about this next photo is abstract and it's got a completely different feel to it than the panorama.  it's actually a blend of 2 photos that i took around 6:30 on a rainy morning.  because it was still a bit dark out, i had a long shutter opening and i just moved the camera back and forth while i was waiting for the camera to capture the images.  the result in each photo was that the street lights left trails and those are the white lines you see.  i merged the two photos and then i think (i can't remember the exact technique) i used a photo filter in PS  to get the very unnatural raspberry color.

this is one of my HDR pictures.  HDR stands for high dynamic range and to get it you must take at least 3 different photos of the same thing within seconds of each other.  you want 1 normal exposure and then 1 exposure below that and 1 exposure above it.  this is called bracketing.  it's very important that nothing be moving in the photo and you want to keep all of your camera settings--save for the exposures--exactly the same.  you also don't want to accidentally jiggle the camera so using a tripod and remote is highly recommended.  some cameras will do the work for you and shoot each picture in rapid sequence.  my camera--i used a Nikon D40--doesn't have that feature so i had to do it manually but that wasn't a big deal.  i merged the 3 photos in PS to capture the surreal effect of the extreme exposure range and then played around with some presets in LightRoom to get this look.  again, very unnatural, (and some people loathe HDR photos for that very reason) but i love that aqua skyline! 

once more with the pink in this photo although i really wasn't trying to make all my pictures pink.  or maybe i was, since i was trying to achieve an antiqued-pastel kind of look for a lot of them.  this was taken at dusk after we had had some rain showers and there was that fog over the mountains that i was trying to capture.  i did have the intention in most of the pictures to leave a lot of negative space and not fill up the entire frame with "stuff".  again here i played with the color balance in PS and added a warming photo filter.  

are these amazing photographs?  no, probably not, but for as clumsy as i feel with my camera and in Photoshop most of the time, i'm pretty happy with the results.  i will post more next week-end but if you seriously can't wait that long and you'd like to see the entire set, you can visit them here

{disclaimer:  you should know that altogether i shot about 500 photos for this project and ended up with about 20 i liked!   these didn't just happen.}       

Thursday, April 5, 2012

thrifty thursday

ideally, i'd like to say that every thursday i will feature a sweet deal i found.  in all likelihood, it won't happen every thursday because things come up, blog posts get delayed, and who knows if i will even find a deal every week.  but i'd really like to try!
{washi tape; photo from}
paper tape is a hot item right now in paper crafting and exquisite gift wrapping, most notably washi tape which is made from japanese rice paper. i'm kind of addicted to it but with so many designs to choose from, and single rolls typically priced between $3-$4, the obsession gets out of hand quickly.
  while shopping at target a couple weeks ago, i came across these rolls of paper tape.  they are color coordinated like in the red/pink photo on the left, and come in sets of 4.  the best part?  they are only $4 for the set! that's $1 per roll and although there are no measurements of the actual yardage, when i compared them to my washi tape rolls, they looked about the same, maybe just slightly less.  these are not real washi tapes, but they definitely get the job done if you want to wrap up a little package real quick (see example below).

washi tapes are great because they peel off surfaces, even paper, nicely so they can be used again.  the target tape might not be as reusable, but i can deal with that at $1/roll.
you can find these tapes in the office supply aisle near the binder clips and push pins.  and if you're hardcore, you can get the binder clips and push pins that match your tapes!

{i am NOT affiliated with target; i just thought this was a great deal you'd like, too.}

Monday, April 2, 2012

i love to boogie

our assignment last month in my motion graphics class was based on typography.  using some preset animations and naturally keeping in mind the basic design principles, we had to create an alphabet.  you could choose a theme if you wanted to--like different animals or places for each letter of the alphabet.  

i decided to go with my love of music and chose a band or singer/songwriter for each letter.  in some cases it was difficult to choose--for D i had to narrow it down from Doves, Daniel Lanois, and DeVotchka (they won out) and for E i went with Ed Harcourt over eels, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Echoboy.  in other cases it was difficult to find anyone that i liked that began with that letter, like Q and Z.  for the integrity of my musical taste i could not go with Quiet Riot or Queen just to have a Q band so instead i went with sQueeze, whom i adore.  again for Z, with the obvious band being ZZ Top, i opted for maZZy star since i am not a fan of ZZ Top and wasn't going to pretend to be.  luckily my instructor is also a great fan of music and we like similar artists so i don't think he dinged me for those choices (we haven't gotten our grades yet).

the song you hear in my little video is "I Love to Boogie" by Marc Bolan and T. Rex because, well, i do love to boogie!    

Sunday, April 1, 2012

etsy fanatics

it's a lazy day here and to be quite frank, it's exactly what we all needed.  i, for one, had an excruciating week of schoolwork (work that was not supposed to have taken as much time as it actually did).  then friday was Hoss's birthday so Mr. Bagubian and i were out most of the day looking for fun stuff for him.  today Hoss is on call for work so it's a good excuse not to go anywhere or do anything too strenuous.  right now we're in the playroom and Mr. Bagubian is entertaining us with his killer dance moves.
{out for a walk with Hoss & Mr. Bagubian}
if anyone's keeping track, i have yet to make a sale on Etsy in the 2.5 weeks that i've been open.  however, i've been invited to a couple of teams and one of them, Etsy Fanatics, is featuring Thurston Post as it's shop of the week.  i was thoroughly surprised but incredibly appreciative as this gave my little shop some much needed exposure.  when i checked my "stats" yesterday morning (i check them entirely too often--a watched pot never boils, of course), i noticed i had gone from being "hearted" 12 times to 35 times overnight.  i thought it must have been a mistake...or that my sweet mom, bless her heart, had gone to my shop and favorited every single item!  but what had actually happened was that Andrea {Miss Crackelberry}, the captain and driving force behind EF had spotlighted Thurston Post and that's where most of the traffic was coming from.
i posted some pictures of items from other team members that i saw and fell in love with.  if you have some time, check out the shops of the other Etsy Fanatics team members.  i haven't had a chance to check out everyone yet but the ones i've seen are amazing and make me wish i had lots of money!  if people would just start buying my stuff... 

{love & marriage 4 card set}
the card above is part of a four card set celebrating love and marriage. {if you click on the caption, it will take you to the Etsy page.}  the other three cards in the set feature the same colors and a few of the same kinds of embellishments, namely die cuts and doilies.  they come in a clear plastic box and i will put the set in lunch bag packaging and wrap it up nicely as in the photo below.  i hope to set Thurston Post apart from the pack a little bit by featuring pleasant wrappings no matter what you buy.  and due to the type of embellishments on each package, you can reuse them or repurpose them.  i want my customers to feel like they're getting a gift themselves when they buy a card for someone else.

{special packaging for card sets over $10}
well, that's it for now.  i hope to be back in a day or two with some photos from my landscape project in Photography and a post about a really fun deal i found that you might be interested in, too.  until then...