Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Orchid Paintings

World of Australia Long-term/On-going/Very Big Quest
OIL PAINTING - Enough for a Cafe Show/ Fair Booth

Orchid Painting -Medium size - DING!

I've actually had some pretty good traction on this quest, so I figured I would share. I'm taking progress shots after each painting session, and it is very satisfying to see how it changes as I get the colours onto the canvas.

First I wanted to have the silhouettes down.

The start of the flowers, and deciding on the colours.

Almost finished. This is the stage when I'm nearly done and decide I hate it. It took me a few weeks to go back in, redefine my whites, muck about with the darks and sign it.

Finished. Rather enjoy it now.
Of course, photography of oil paintings is notoriously unreliable, and I am still of the school of point and click and maybe fiddle with the flash, so this is more of a gesture towards what the painting looks like, but still, a pleasant start.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hair experiements

My hair is much longer than usual. This is probably because I have yet to call and schedule a hair appointment here in Australia (New Quest! Get Hair Cut). I figure I'm still in mourning for my wonderful hair stylist at Sublime Hair Studio, but I am also beginning to have difficulty seeing through my increasingly emo bangs. Anyway, this means I have enough hair to muck about with, and after a discussion about potential hair steampunk hair styles with a friend, it got me thinking.

Her hair goes down to her waist and there are a number of interesting vintage and regency do's available to play with, although admittedly sometimes her hair is actually TOO long for the look. Mine is  right under my ears, so most of the things we looked at won't really work. (For those of you with longer locks, Torrin Paige has lovely long hair tutorials on youtube. Plus, she is not annoying to watch on video, which turns out to be the exception not the rule for youtube hair tutorials)

I wandered over to Steam Ingenious which was talking about steampunk hair, but I'm not really anxious to go for wigs yet. I like my hair. Up to now, I've just thrown some hair gunk in (the good stuff. Like Thrill or Gooch), scrunched it around a bit and gone. Sometimes I've even used hair spray. I don't own a curling iron or hair blower, and I'd rather keep it that way, but with the extra length I find myself wanting to do things with a bit more drama. And if you want to try new things, ten minutes before you walk out the door is probably not the best time selection.

So now... now we experiment!

Experiment 1: BRAIDS

Wavy hair from putting my hair in braids (lots of them) when it is wet and leaving it until it is dry/I get impatient. I pinned them up using leftover bobby pins from when I was in ballet (yes, from when I was EIGHT). 

Tada! Wavy poofier hair. Add some hair gunk to make it stay, and this could be a fun base for hairstyle. I was worried about having too many kinks, but my hair is super fine and short, and also I suck at braids,  so I think I could get away with leaving it in braids for much longer.

Next time... The Gibson Girl? Or really, I may just try more braids. Also, blog photography takes effort. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Baking Bread

So, I like to bake bread. My father always made bread and it is something I am actually good at (unlike say, cookies. I have a tragic cookie failure to tell you about later).

The bread I usually make is just the normal white bread recipe from my ancient Joy of Cooking, modified as I see fit, because it is a dough that I understand (except for that time I used all wheat flour and ran out on it while it was rising and maybe ended up with bricks. But whatevs! Usually it goes well. Unlike the cookies.).

But Australia, as you may have gathered, is hot. Not super hot, because evidently this is the Worst Summer Ever (hah! It is to laugh.), but warm to the point that they don't have furnaces (I know, my head exploded too. My mom was all "Would you like the quest CLEAN THE VENTS as an add-on to your vacuuming skill" and I realized that I did not have the pre-requisite item vents. It was odd. As is the way vacuuming is spelt. Better not type it again, it will just get weirder.) So I am waiting to break out the All Day Bake That Bread Event, but I do get very testy when I am recipe surfing and all the meal plans involve weird ingredients and kitchen implements I don't own and probably some type of eldritch knowledge because it shouldn't turn out wobbly, but the bread recipes have things like "Easy! Quick! No kneading!" What the hell internet? This is the one thing I would like to take at the Advanced Level. Or at least Intermediate (because yes, usually it is just me and the white bread hanging out. Why get fancy when it is so good and warm and yummy?) But I LIKE kneading bread.

ANYWAY, I figured I'd do a couple of lower level BREAD QUESTS to keep from going stale (hah! I am so funny.) and I came across a recipe for Beer Bread that involves Self-rising flour, which was the only flour in the house at the time (also I had no yeast. Setting up a kitchen = hard).

It turned out AWESOME.

RECIPE: Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 beer

Mix. Put it in a loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

If you don't have self-rising flour (because seriously, who has that? Why do we have that? Being in a couple is weird) you can do it the way Farmgirl Fare does it:

3 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon salt

Personally, I like it with the little extra sugar. The best part? Trying it with different beers. I think my favourite so far is Corona with feta and rosemary, but the Guiness beer was interesting (and tragically popular with the ants, damn their eyes! Eye stalks? Visual Sensors!)