Thursday, August 9, 2012

every new beginning is some other beginning's end

oh, HEY THERE.
it's been awhile. a lot has happened since a month ago. 

i've been doing some traveling (i'm currently in the lovely ann arbor, michigan).
i got an impulse haircut (got sick of my hair and barged desperately into a random salon).
i have left my job and am now among the ranks of the gainfully funemployed!
i packed up my house in minneapolis in preparation for my move to ...NEW YORK CITY! this move will end two years of long distance relationshipping with the BF! we will finally be in the same city again!
and all because: i'm going back to school!!
yes! i have weaseled my way back into school, to get my MBA. columbia very graciously (and probably very reluctantly) let me in to start this fall.
i'm a little bit excited and a lottle bit terrified. i'm hoping the emotion ratio flips at some point, but until then, i will continue to do irrational things in the name of stress relief. ie eating until comatose and shopping at outlet malls for days at a time.
oh wait no, that's about par for the course. 

my brother will also be going back to school for his MBA. he is the reason i'm hanging out in ann arbor! these recent events have come as big news to my parents. they say that they are proud, but we both know what it really is. 
it is relief. 
my brother and i will no longer be the only children in the family without graduate degrees. finally, they sigh gratefully to each other. finally, we won't have to sit around idly while everyone brags about how many diplomas their kids have. 

having finally brought honor to our family, my brother and i are now both preparing to regress into the impoverished lifestyle of being full-time students again. my brother's apartment is actually pretty nice, if you overlook the vacuum cleaner box he uses as a nightstand. or the fact that he set up his bed in his living room because he refuses to spend money on a couch. and this way, he explains, he doesn't have to furnish the actual bedroom. BRILLIANCE.

anyway. ultimately, what this means is that i will be abandoning this blogspace. it's been two and a half years of randomness, and i've loved it, but after lots of deliberating, i've realized that i will be unable to dedicate the kind of time i'll need to keep this thing updated.

trust me: it's not you. it's me.

this is not to say that i will give up crafting altogether forever and ever amen. i will probably go through withdrawal and still post occasionally. 
but i do want to thank you guys for reading all my ridiculousness over the past two years. it's been fantastic "meeting" blogging and crafting friends through this blog, and i love getting emails from those of you trying the projects posted here. thanks to everyone who has ever commented on, emailed about, tweeted, pinterested or created any of my projects. you guys are the best. =)

thanks so much.
=)
alena

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ROUNDUP: carnation projects

howdy!
so, after making last (last) week's cupcake flower, i realized that carnations seem to be the pigeons of the flower world. they are plentiful and everywhere, low maintenance and poop on statues.

or whatever.

anyway, since scarcity breeds value, it seems like carnations seem to get the short end of the stick in the flower world. because it's so common, people don't get that excited about them.

let this be a life lesson: do not make yourself too widely available lest you devalue yourself, and quit crapping on statues.

as a homage to the humble carnation, i decided to do a round-up of carnation projects. there are so many things you can do with these things!


carnation collage 

1. carnation puppy bouquets: I KNOW, RIGHT?? these things are SO CUTE.
2 and 3. hello kitty bouquets: this one is kind of cheating, since i've posted about them before (my attempt is here) but does that make them any less awesome? no. no, it does not.
3. carnation heart: i don't know why cutting off people's heads in engagement pictures makes it more artistic, but it totally does. plus, when you have such an epic carnation heart to focus on, who wants to look at distracting faces? besides, the people you are giving these pictures to already know what you look like anyway.
4. carnation initial: so classy. much classier than making an initial out of pigeons.
5. ombre carnation backdrop: so simple yet SO COOL.

tomorrow is july 4th!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA! you don't look a day over 25!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TUTORIAL: cupcake liner carnations

if you want to really disappoint your roommates, pull out some cupcake liners, watch their eyes light up, and then announce that you're going to make paper flowers out of them.

works every time.

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so, just know that this tutorial was made from the shattered dreams of my cupcake-hopeful roommates.
let's begin!

materials:
cupcake liners (each carnation uses between 8-10 liners)
fake stamens (fairly optional. you and you alone have the power to bestow fake reproductive powers upon your fake flowers.)
some sort of stem-like object (i used some bamboo bbq skewers that i found in our silverware drawer. less than ideal, but times are hard, alright? lay off me.)
florist tape

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1. flatten out the cupcake liners and punch a hole in the center of each one.
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somehow, i lost a red cupcake liner from the materials photo.


2. using florist tape, attach your fake stamens to the end of your stem/skewer. if you are choosing to make sterile flowers, you can tape a tiny wad of tissue paper at the end of the stem.
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this step ensures that your cupcake liners won't come flailing off the end of the stem during construction.

3. next, slide your flattened liners onto the stem and start artistically scrunching.
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4. once you have scrunched enough liners on your stem, use florist tape to secure the last liner to the stem.
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ok, i used a little bit of glue here, too.
I AM ONLY HUMAN OK?

5. admire. maybe stick them in a mini vase and take pictures of them.
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ta-daaaaaaaaaa
FIN.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

painted pebbles


crazy week, you guys.
so in crazy times, the logical thing to do

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is to paint rocks.
duh.
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the inspiration: this anthro plate.
even though i love it so much, i'd be afraid that food would get lost on that plate, never to be found again.

i can't decide whether to set these guys free around the lake, or make them into magnets.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

paper circle garland and grilled pizza

oh heyyyyyy
so, before we get into the masterpiece garland that was created at the house this past week, let's talk about something everyone should try.
GRILLED PIZZA.
the roommates and i decided to make grilled pizza the other night and had some people over. we provided the pizza dough, the sauce, cheese and grill. attendees were responsible for bringing their own toppings.
none of us had made grilled pizza before, so it seemed logical to invite a bunch of people over to figure it out. because what's better than culinary cluelessness than culinary cluelessness en masse? we eventually prevailed and were rewarded with grilly pizza-y deliciousness.

IMG_4885 the toppings table.

we killed it in the toppings department. anything that had ever perched on a pizza was loaded onto this table. we had pepperoni (2 types), eight bajillion pounds of cheese, tomato sauce, bbq sauce, arugala, kale, chicken, olive oil, garlic (roasted and minced! this is big time, people.), red onion, bell peppers, cilantro, basil...i don't even know what else. it was bonkers.

some of the masterpieces:

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this is the single best reason you should throw a grilled pizza party:
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the half and half grilled pizza
half bbq sauce, half tomato sauce

ok now the garland!

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a friend got engaged a few months ago, so we've been hosting crafternoons to help her prep for the big day. my main job has been stringing together garlands, so i busted out the sewing machine. cue the cursing.

i thought sewing together circles of paper would be fairly straightforward, but the string between each circle insisted on twisting up and knotting, jacking up the sewing machine and unthreading the needle. nothing i tried worked. i tried sweet talking my machine, cajoling it, giving it wildly flattering compliments and then threatening it with very specific violent threats. the sewing machine was infuriatingly indifferent to it all. i had resorted to pouting with my face smashed into the table when i realized that backing the garland with paper might be the key.
the paper had to be thin enough to easily tear away from the finished garland, but strong enough to withstand the sewing machine. it also needed to be long enough to support the entire banner.

so, i used toilet paper.

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and it worked!

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VICTORY.

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we also made hundreds of colorful chopstick covers:
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this wedding is gonna make martha stewart look like a straight up AMATUER.

one last shout out: the BF completed his first TRIATHLON this weekend! it was exhausting.
seriously, do you know how early i had to get up to watch him? i'm completely spent.

have a great week!

Friday, June 1, 2012

festival shenanigans in the 612

oh, minneapolis. you are so amazing.
(in the summer.)

i love it. the weather is bonkers awesome, and the weekends are packed with festivals galore. a few weeks ago, i went on a festival frenzy.

first: minnesota center for book arts harukaze festival
paper + festival? yes, please. we ran around the MCBA and learned japanese stab binding by making mini books, ogled the exhibitions that were set up around the studio, watched a girl make wood cut prints, and made our own suminagashi (japanese paper marbling) cards.

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a book of paper cranes. this book is literally crawling with cranes. a crane infestation.
a cranepocolypse. of amazingness.

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a stunning, enormous, gargantuan papercut. i want this in my house.

my favorite part! making our own suminagashi cards!


first, you drop dots of oil based paint into a tray of water.
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then swirl. swirl like you've never swirled before.
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because the oil based paints and water don't mix, the colors skate around the top of the water, like aquatic clouds. on skates.
yeah, you know. those things.

 
then lay a piece of cardstock on top of the water. the card will pick up the oil paint from the surface of the water.
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it's like MAGIC.
or SCIENCE.
SAME THING.

when it was my turn, i went to town like a psychotic carebear. after piling every single color into the tray of water, i swirled like a boss and ended up with this:

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yeah buddy. i am super great.

second: art-a-whirl
every year, northeast minneapolis hosts the nation's largest open studio tour. i had no idea what that meant, so i set out to explore it. i showed up, was given a map, and commenced wandering.

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i had not realized that batman lived in northeast minneapolis.

one of the buildings had a huge atrium set up with all sorts of random things.

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a paper maze:
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a...dirt maze?
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YO LADY!
QUIT WALKING THROUGH THE ART!

i'm in love with these watercolors.

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the best part about the whole thing was walking through northeast. it reminded me of philly.

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this guy was totally real life steampunk.

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wall paintings


uptown is minneapolis' hipster central, and they did not disappoint. massive amounts of hipsters and random booths made for some interesting sight seeing.
including these poodles.

painted poodles 
yes. they are real. they looked pretty upset.
perhaps PETA had decided to punish them for wearing fur.



oh, minneapolis. you are so awesome.
(in the summer.)

hope everyone is enjoying summer as much as i am!
sidenote: HOW IS IT ALREADY JUNE.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Nate Bihlmaier

normally, i don't talk a lot about what goes on in the day to day of my life because, frankly, everyone has better things to do than to read about that. but events this week have struck me so deeply that i'm finding it hard to recover. and it is impossible to share this week's happiness without addressing this week's tragedy.

yesterday, the BF graduated from harvard business school, and i'm so unspeakably proud of him. but an event that should be full of elation and excitement will instead be celebrated with a deep undercurrent of grief. one of the BF's section mates and friends, Nate Bihlmaier, drowned in portland, maine this past weekend. divers recovered his body on tuesday morning. to make things even worse, Nate's beautiful wife, Nancy, is expecting their first child.

this week has been a blur of shock, uncertainty, and then devastation. it's such a senseless tragedy that it's hard to come to terms with it. the entire class is heartbroken. the ceremony yesterday honored nate and presented his diploma to his parents and wife.

it's a stark reminder of how quickly life can change.

harvard's business school classes are one of the largest, at 900 students. the class is divided into sections of 90 students each, and first year classes are taken as a section. as a result, the sections become very close-knit. it's been amazing to see how the BF and the rest of Nate's section mates have rallied around Nate's family, and drawn strength from one another. the shared grief has been palpable throughout this week, but so has the love and support for each other.

congratulations, HBS class of 2012.
we miss you so much, Nate.
harvard-birds-eye
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