Thursday, December 30, 2010

blogger meetups!

So it's fun to have those friends on blogs that you can always rely on to comment on your posts, but it gets REALLY exciting when you get a chance to meet-up with a long-time virtual friend :)

Katrina, the girl behind The Demure Muse, has been on my radar for years now, as a fellow blogger, tweeter & etsian. We're not only mutual fans of each others work (check out Anirtak jewelry!), we also found out over time that we have a ton in common!

- We tweet, blog & sell our handmade stuff on etsy
- We're both nerdy girls who went to university for engineering (I dropped out, she's graduating this year)
- We have found that we have some mutual friends
- & We both have our septums pierced but we have them hidden (!!!)

She happened to be the lucky winner of our second L&B giveaway with this adorable picture getting an amazing 163 votes!

Katrina won a skull cut-out tee from us & suggested that instead of shipping it to her that we should meet up downtown! Our plan was basically to walk the typical strip along the route of the Eaton Centre & Queen Street and do a bit of Chinatown & Kensington Market. We managed to trek all over town chit-chatting so much as we went that we both forgot why our bags were so heavy. We were both carrying (and not using) our heavy-ass Canon Rebel DSLRS. such nerds. We did take just a couple of shots though-- although the one thing I wish that we had captured was when our waitress at the Pho restaurant served another table by lying across ours. I was too shocked to react. hahahah

syl & kat! (at this point, my hair had been biebered by the wind. oh god no.)
this is the only photographic proof of our meeting! eeek!

the view of the CN from spadina

our 'outfit' shots. (aka layers & layers of black and grey clothing)
notable items: my new pewter doc martens from matt & katrina's yeti mittens from her sis!

our trek around town was focused in the major shopping areas of town... but really the only thing we bought was lunch & then these waffle things. mmmmm.

ANYHOW, today was so fun & meeting Katrina was amazing. HI KATRINA!
I just gave her the skull cut-out tee in grey & a L&B recycled fabric tote bag & I really didn't expect her to bring me something.

But being such a sweetheart, I should have expected a little gift from her! Katrina had of course done a little bit of creeping on my Etsy Favourites & found that I had liked her Secret Love Letter Necklace so she brought one for me! :) ... the only thing I'm wondering is-- why didn't mine come with a sexy love note Kat?! HUH?! lol

here are a couple pics of me sporting it tonight! I'll treasure it forever :)

Don't forget to check out Katrina at The Demure Muse & Anirtak jewelry


Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Prep

Sam & I have been on a bit of a computer hiatus (which is UBER-RARE!) because we've been busy all week with Christmas prep at home. Baking, cleaning, gift-wrapping, decorating & the occasional trip to the mall have been the only things on our daily schedule.

It's been hard to get into a holiday mood this year... I'm not sure whether it's the weather but I guess the older you get, the more you need to create the festive-ness around you? Well, we've been trying. I've been snapping pictures all week of our yule adventures, so enjoy!

a couple weeks ago, my cousins sent over a big gift box filled with goodies!

they had already baked TONS of goodies by mid-december & we hadn't even thought about what recipes we wanted to try yet!

caitlyn & a rumball

in my attempt to get in the christmas spirit-- my christmas sweater nails.

& our house has been filling up with crazy christmas decorations:

bahahahah. this brooch.

&my best friend got a sweet little puppy, who I visited about a week before Christmas!

Hi Roxie! She's a golden doodle!

We've been baking up a storm; I think we totaled 8 or 9 different recipes?

mocha tea cookies iced with snowflakes

orange pekoe. that's my jaaaaaam.

kahlua truffles dipped in chocolate

chocolate & peppermint stripe things

not pictured: oatmeal shortbread cookies, spice cookies, walnut thimbles, rosemary-swiss shortbread (they're savoury appetizer cookies! mmmm!)

& my adventure with macarons!
the first batch was disastrous & the second batch was equally as bad (both times, the batter was too runny). So my improvising with the second batch was to just make tiny bite sized macarons instead of 2" ones, as the recipe had called for. They are obscenely small but actually worked out instead of being completely wasted like the first batch of batter! It was soooo difficult & I was near tears so many times, but I would say it was worth it & would definitely try again!

parfait, non?

aaaaaand of course there are a large number of them that are mis-shapen, have cracks, don't have les pieds and are oddly sized. ah well, just as delicious as the pretty ones!

Hope everyone isn't too beat-down & stressed-out by the busiest shopping day of the year & is starting to actually feel the more positive spirit of Christmas :) I can't wait for all the Christmas feasts & I loooooove giving gifts-- so I can't wait for that either! (& I hate getting gifts cause it always makes me cry... and usually in front of the family camcorder. lol)

ANYWAYS, have an amazing, safe holiday season & a happy new year (if I don't get a chance to blog before then!)


Friday, December 10, 2010

tutorial - Bandaged Leggings

So I lovelovelove leggings (and I wear them as pants, so sue me) and am especially obsessed with unique leggings. Anything destroyed, with slashes, cut outs, bows, cool graphics etc. Bandage leggings are some of my favourites right now, they look amazing layered over pantyhose & are amazing attention-getters. So I've thrown together a really quick tutorial of how I made my own pair from some old leggings!

here's what you'll need:
- a pair of leggings (i'm using a super worn out pair of metallic black ones that have lost their shine in places :( )
- chalk
- measuring tape
- fabric scissors
- pins
- a serger or sewing machine

Flip your leggings inside out & lay them out flat. Then decide how high up your leg you want the cut-outs to start. This is important cause it determines the level of skankiness-- i'm going for high. lol.

From there, measure out where you will be cutting the "strips". I decided to make each strip 2 inches wide and made sure that there would be an EVEN number of strips to criss-cross (I made 12 strips, so 24 inches in total).

Then cut across the top line & the bottom line you've drawn (along the front layer of the leggings only). And cut the entire inside seam from the top to bottom slits so that your leggings open like the photo shown above.

cut the other leg in the same way! (measure carefully so that both are cut evenly)

Now fold the leggings in half with the "flaps" still open. Your chalk marks from the beginning should still be there on one leg ;)

Both layers should be matched up precisely so that you can cut both layers at the same time (why do the same thing twice, right?!). Grab your scissors and cut each of the 2 inch strips, being careful to cut them perfectly parallel.

Now take each of the strips & cross them over each other. You can keep them in pairs like I did or you can choose to randomize them a bit.

Pin all of the strips in place & sew or serge along the entire inseam to keep them in place! & you're all done!

After completing them with the strips in pairs, I decided that this look was a bit too 'orderly' for me. I wanted to go for a more bandage-wrapped effect & that failed because of how uniform these x's were. So I took another stab at it & alternated the strips differently and came up with this:

hooray! my new favourite leggings :)

these will be permanently on my legs for the next little while.
& they look fab layered over dark pantyhose, bright leggings or even patterned ones :)

that wasn't too hard right?
now do it yourself fool.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Photography Tutorial - Heart Shaped Bokeh

Have you ever seen those cool photos where the blurred lights in the background were actually shaped like hearts? kinda like this:

I'm not the greatest photographer, but I'm interested in experimental & diy projects since getting my canon DSLR. I was recently at a party with friends and I was surprised at how many of them wanted to know HOW the bokeh really worked... well, I'm friends with a LOT of engineers, but still. There are lots of tutorials out there, so I just wanted to throw together one of my own to show you how easy it can be :)

I'll try to explain what "bokeh" is & how it works for my fellow nerds. Disclaimer: I'm not that snazzy at photography terms so I hope no pros come here & yell at me for being a dummy. But if you don't care about the science of it all, skip this section & go to the photos below to read about the quick & dirty way to DIY a cover for your lens.
BOKEH is defined as the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. However, bokeh is not limited to highlights, as blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image. on wikipedia

As I take it, regular bokeh is created by the aperture arms or 'blades' that swing open & shut when your shutter releases. For lenses with more rounded or a greater number of blades, the regular bokeh created by lights in the background will be round, whereas, for lenses with fewer or straighter blades, you many get polygonal shapes. Yeah, read about it more on wiki.

Anyways, since we are making a new aperture for your lens, it has to be smaller than the one in your lens already. That's why this works best with larger aperture lenses & in this case, I am using the Canon 50mm F1.8 lens (aka the nifty fifty!). According to another online tutorial, "In a prime lens of 50mm with an aperture setting of f/2 the aperture will be 25mm, so your cutout shape must be less than 25mm in diameter to get the effect." For more sizes of cutouts for lenses, check out the tutorial. My explanation is getting a bit lazy, but hopefully you get the gist of it!


Using a few small pieces of cardstock, create a small cylindrical "cover" for your lens. make sure it fits your lens snugly! (pretty sure I don't have to explain how to make a cylinder from paper & tape haha)

I chose to make a small rectangle opening at the side so that I could have access to the switch for Manual/Auto focus.

Your basic cover just needs a cut-out of a heart (or whatever shape you choose) but I also decided to make slots at the front so that the shape would be interchangeable. "In a prime lens of 50mm with an aperture setting of f/2 the aperture will be 25mm, so your cutout shape must be less than 25mm in diameter to get the effect." For cut out sizes for different lenses, check out this tutorial

I have small paper punches, so i just made a few interchangeable discs with those.
(clearly the very '90s foot shape is very useful. LOL)

now just slip it on your camera, set your aperture to the lowest possible aperture value & pick your shape & start shooting!
(obviously, attach your lens to your camera too. haha)

Below are samples taken with my bokeh effect covers:

regular bokeh (canon 50mm F1.8 lens)

the hearts

the snowflakes

Sorry guys, no sexy foot bokeh. ahahah.

I've been having to fiddle a lot with the settings to get the effects that I want, but it's been fun & Christmas lights seem to be the best opportunity to test it all out. Hopefully I'll have more photos to share soon :) Try it out & show me how your experiments turn out!!


ps, While we're on the topic of photography, I just wanted to show off my new camera bag! Ever since I got my camera, I've had trouble with carrying it around-- I usually carry a small purse & carrying a separate totebag and slinging it around wasn't very safe. I wanted to invest in an actual camera bag but most are super manly or super... velcro-y. ew. Also, a friend of mine brought up the fact that she hates thinking that strangers can just see her carrying around a $1000+ piece of equipment so obviously, which is so true.
I asked my boyfriend to buy me a camera purse on ebay & it turns out that it's an awesome combo of style & functionality!

It looks pretty decent, like a standard leather purse on the outside, while the inside has a padded liner & a padded divider that can be moved anywhere, so you can choose the size of your compartments to suit your equipment. I'm able to fit my DSLR with the lens attached on one side & the other can fit my extra lens, extra flash and i can still throw in my wallet & keep my keys & lipgloss in the extra front pocket! woohoo! go check out the purses on ebay! Thanks to my bf for this awesomely useful bag ♥
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