Simple Earrings + Hair Barrettes

I just love these simple earring studs by Kathleen Whitaker!  They're just so great!

And how about these awesome Native American beaded hair barrettes?  Love them!

A Serene Scene in my Backyard this Morning

As much as I don't love winter, I do love a freshly fallen snow.  The dampened sound, the way the light gets spread so evenly all around, the inner-child urge to forget all adult demands and hit the park for an all day sledding adventure!  Unfortunately my husband has to make the trek into the city to work today... I have a little hope he can come home early to enjoy some sledding time.

This is what we woke up to this morning.  Nearly twenty inches of fresh snow.

Winter Happiness

Normally I avoid any outdoor activities during the winter because it's simply too miserable.  The extra clothes, freezing skin, black slush everywhere, lots of unintentional "ice skating", it's just really not all worth the payoff of a little outdoor fun.

But this weekend, we ventured out for a wonderful walk through the park.  And it was great!  The entire park was blissfully quiet from the snow's dampening effect (we still have several inches), lots of sledding and snow-football activities, many converging tracks from cross-country skiers, explorers, and even from sleds, and an overall beautiful glow from the sun.

What a great winter refresher.

Anchor Space Pale Ale : Bottling Day

Great news from Anchor Space homebrew.... we just bottled our first batch this weekend! After sanitizing all of our bottling equipment, bottles, and caps, we successfully filled almost 8 six-packs of our Anchor Space Pale Ale.  Now we wait again for more fermentation.  After a few weeks, we will test them out!

Don't worry, custom labels are on the way!
Sanitized bottles.
Sanitized bottle caps.
Anchor Space partner, Josh.

Siphoning into the bottling bucket.
First bottled brew!

Inspiring Artist : Danna Ray

Here are a few great paintings by Danna Ray to inspire you for the weekend :

Anchor Space Pale Ale : Homebrew-Style

Last weekend, Josh and I experimented with our joint Christmas present to each other : a starter homebrew kit from Brooklyn Homebrew.

As intimidating as we thought homebrewing would be, the process was rather simple and straightforward.  Quite enjoyable, actually.  It felt like we were the guides of our own science experiment, and were very excited when our brew began to foam indicating that we successfully began fermenting!

Here's a little overview of how we brewed our first batch of Anchor Space Pale Ale :

With a ton of unknown equipment spread out across the office floor, we explored "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" book to familiarize ourselves with what we had and what we were supposed to do with it.  It's important to note that we followed an ingredient kit prepared by Brooklyn Homebrew to make our first round easy... we're really glad we did! After a half-hour introduction, we sanitized all of our equipment, and got a pot of water on the stove.  

We seeped our grain mixture in some water to infuse the water with all of its flavors.  We added some more water, brought it to a boil, added three different hop variations at different increments, and finally added the pre-made malt liquid to the boiling water.  This combined mixture is called wort.  Once the wort boiled for the proper amount of time, we used a copper tubing coil to chill the wort quickly.  Once chilled, we transfered the wort to our fermenting carboy, filled the carboy with more water to equal 5 gallons, and added the yeast.  

The next morning when we woke up, the yeast was doing it's job fermenting.  Success! Our brew will remain in the fermentation carboy for 7 - 14 days at which point we will add sugar, bottle the brew, and let it ferment once more in the bottle before enjoying the fruits of our labor.  All in all, we will have spent 8 hours brewing beer, 2 months allowing it to ferment properly, and will result in almost 9 six-packs of our own Anchor Space Pale Ale creation to enjoy.  Pretty good deal if you ask me!  

We're looking forward to making our next round of Anchor Space Brew in the near future.

Drinking brew while brewing
Here are a few photos of our process : 
Sanitized Equipment
Hops and malt

Rapid-cooling the wort
Adding the malt
Into the glass fermentation carboy

First day of fermentation : success!

Revolutionary Resolutions 2011

Twenty-eleven... have you said it out loud several times?  It still doesn't roll off my tongue easily.

I need to be accountable about my resolutions this year, so here's my 2011 resolution list (split into three categories) :

- keep in touch with friends more
- read more books
- watch less TV
- travel more internationally
- take more photos of the beautiful small daily details
- be more organized around the home
- pay off student loan

- practice balanced eating and dieting
- learn how to cook more healthy food varieties
- work out more frequently
- run a 10K in 2011
- stop biting nails
- stop popping knuckles

- create more
- keep a copy of artwork that inspires me, and use it to create something
- print more prints on my sign press, just for fun
- be more organized and punctual

I hope to continue to post my 2011 resolution progress throughout the year!  So far, I've definitely been more creative and motivated... looking forward to many great results!

New Things on the Horizon

Sorry I haven't posted anything lately.  I've really been busy working on some 2011 goals. I'll be sure to update with lots of new thing very soon!

Hope your weekend is going as well as mine.


Photographer Alexey Titarenko

I came across this wonderful set of photos from photographer Alexey Titarenko called "City of Shadows". The series was photographed between 1992 - 1994 and "paints a bitter picture of Russia (seen through the lens of St. Petersburg), where people live in a world of unrealized hopes and where time seems to have stopped.

They are just so beautiful.

You can visit more of his work on his website, but here are a few of my favorites :

Guaranteed to Impress the Science or Math Geek

Wow.  I stumbled upon this awesome list of cheap gifts "guaranteed to impress the science geek" and while I'm not necessarily into all of these items, there were a few that I'd really love to see in person!  Here are three of my favorites (links included in image captions.)

To begin, who doesn't love a terrarium?  Here's one with a little twist - inside each EcoSphere are active micro-organisms, small shrimp, algae, and bacteria all acting as a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Or how about Gallium Metal.  This silvery metal with a melting point of 85 degrees - so it literally melts in your hand!  Let it melt in your hand, then pour it into a dish or tray and it freezes back into a solid. Crazy!

If something more practical suits you, check out this Klein Bottle - perfect for any mathematician.  A real Klein bottle is an open object with no inside and no outside (which can only exist in four dimensions) but this glass bottle in the third dimension can hold liquid... Interested?  Read about the math here.
Klein Bottle

Illustration Inspiration

One of my 2011 goals is to create more, no matter what - print, photography, sketching, illustrating : good, bad, and in-between.

Here are a few inspirational images to get the creative juices flowing.

Yelena Bryksenkova :

Anna Emilia :

Mirrors for the Home

I've never really understood the use of mirrors as decoration in a home, but I can't pass by these mirrors without looking twice.  I love the design of these three mirrors, so sophisticated yet simple.
Antiqued Peacock Mirror from Wisteria

Peacock Mirror from Weytlandts

Honeycomb Mirror from Pier1

Otis Redding..... Musical Love

Man, I sure do love me some Otis Redding.  His music soothes my soul, makes me joyous, and undoubtedly compels me dance.  While in Knoxville last week, I was sure to check out Yee Haw Industries for the latest and greatest print work.  I found this gem, but didn't purchase it.  Maybe next time!

Ahhhhhh, Otis.

On an inspiration note - maybe I should work on a little project featuring another favorite musician Ray LaMontagne???

Party Snow!

Well, we made it back to Brooklyn to see a glimpse of what remains of New York's Snowmageddon.  While most of the streets and sidewalks are completely clear, there are still huge piles of snow from the plows remaining in some areas.

While running some errands yesterday afternoon, I came across what I've deemed as "party snow" and wanted to share!  Looks like someone had an awesome New Year's party (and proof of the remaining huge snow piles) :

Hello 2011!

Happy 2011 everyone!  I'm finally back from lots of family visiting in both Tulsa and Knoxville.  The trip couldn't have been better.

I'm another year older, and have a feeling that 26 will treat me well.

A few of my trip highlights include :
- Giving out my carefully selected holiday gifts to loved ones
- Visiting both my family in Knoxville and Josh's in Tulsa
- A tour of the fantastic Biltmore Mansion and estate in Ashville, NC
- Attending a University of Tennessee basketball game - and yes, they won!
- Taking it back a few years by playing video games at The Max in Tulsa
- Learning a little Tulsa history about the 1920's Race Riots, and visiting the location where it all began
- Making Keith's legendary homemade pizza
- Celebrating Christmas, my birthday, and New Year's with my wonderful husband - our first year as a married couple

Man, it was great!  Hope yours was too.