Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Cards, The Grey Series

As you may remember from my holiday card post last year, I like to make handmade cards. Its extremely hard to get them together at this time of year...I should plan ahead and make them in October next year!  I'm almost done with this year's set, and wanted to share a few.  Grey, silver, and white emerged as prominent themes, evoking a winter's solitude feel. They aren't at all as bright as last year's, or these, but I think they are kind of nice. What do you think?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nutcracker X 4

Have I told you yet that I'm an usher for the San Francisco Ballet and Opera?  Its a pretty good gig: you get to see any show you work! One (down)side of ushering, though, comes with the required 4 performances one must work during Nutcracker.With some 32 performances, I understand that they'd run out of help pretty fast! This weekend was my Nutcracker marathon...

I was pretty grumbly about spending 9+ hours each day as an usher, but it actually turned out to be a pretty fun experience.  Here's why:
1. Amazing Dancing & Awesome Sets: expected, and confirmed.
2. Variety: In addition to seeing different dancers perform the key roles, I was in a different spot for each performance.  Balcony (tip of the top, need binoculars), dress circle (below balcony), standing room on Orchestra level, and 2nd row on the side. It was great to see things from different places.
3. Perks: when I worked in the box seats, we got free cider, champagne, and cookies after a private VIP event.
4. Magic: I had the chance to figure out how most of Drosselmeyer's magic works.  Except the moment with the Nutracker pops out from a box...that one is still getting me (seriously, it sounds obvious but if you saw the show you'll know what I mean).
5. Nostalgia: I loved the Nutcracker when growing up. It was so fun to see all the little girls in their holiday dresses with huge bows on their heads, prancing around the halls before and after the show!

Monday, December 13, 2010

All That and Gravy Too

I just realized that in my crazed weeks finishing up my portfolio class, I didn't post about my lovely Thanksgiving weekend! I was lucky to have two friends willing to drive the 8 hours north with me to Eugene, where my brother lives. We made a great turkey dinner, ate it on his ping pong (dining room) table, and then had a tournament! After that came pie and darts.  So great!  Wish you had been there...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Heart = WARMED

While reading some of my favorite blogs yesterday, I found this great video of a youth choir performing "Lisztomania" by Pheonix.  The intensity of these little performers is amazing! And they have some nice harmonizing skills I had never heard of when I was their age!  Oh, this makes me want to be in a choir again...
If you need a quick cheer-up, this should do the trick!

Here's another :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Santa Cruzin

Very punny title, eh?  Its pretty dreary and rainy out today, but I just found this warm weather photo that my friend took when we were in Santa Cruz a few months ago, hiding out in a corner on my cluttered computer desktop. Thought I would share; it might warm you up a bit even during a cold holiday season! The photo is better bigger, so click to see a full size...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our Holiday Cheer

Everyone in my house is traveling later this month, so we decided not to get a tree this year.  But we did find this lovely (and pre-lit!) garland at a thrift store for $7, so we decked out our mantle and had a roaring fire last night. Just what I needed to get me in the holiday spirit! Do you have any decorations up?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gutter Magazine

I was looking at ads in the London Review of Books today, because I need to create another one for work and I want it to fit in (see my previous ad here!). Most of the ads are for academic publishers, featuring book covers and abstracts. Then there's this ad for Scotland's Gutter magazine. Isn't it hip and fabulous?  I love this crazy mash of images coming out of this guy's head. I am now brainstorming a project that just needs a look similar to this!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Portfolio is Finished!

I presented my final portfolio in class the other night (finally! This is the reason for the lack of posting), and I can't wait to share it with you! I'm working on the best way to share it (hopefully a website), so expect that in about a week.  For now, I wanted to share the cover!  Fun and colorful.  Plus, if you haven't noticed, I kinda like collage. :)  You can clik on the image to see it larger.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gift Stress. Relieved!

The holidays are fast approaching. Do you feel it?  It is creeping up on me...the panic of choosing the perfect gifts!  Every family has those members who a) seem to have everything, b) already buy whatever they want for themselves, leaving any great idea you had in the lurch or c) don’t want to acquire more junk. 

Never Fear!  Wishpot is here!  

 Last year my friend Amber introduced me to this website, where you can “register” for things you want, rating their priority (“I neeeeeeed it” or “I wouldn’t mind having it” are a few options).  Users can anonymously “reserve” items from your “ wishlist,” indicating to others that this item has already been purchased.  

I do believe that the quality time spent during the holidays is worth more than any stocking stuffer I could get, but it is fun to give gifts that are useful and desired.  What I don’t love about this site is the consumerism encouraged here (with easy links to online shopping, for instance).  However, you can create custom items, so why not request a sewing tutorial or a back rub? Now I just need to get all my family members to fill out lists...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm Listening To

Today on repeat is Cloud Cult's "You'll be Bright."  Here's what NPR had to say about this song ( I figure why try to write my own description when this one's so good?):

"All the things you'll love / All the things that may hurt you / All the things you shouldn't do / All the things you'll want to," singer Craig Minowa sings, adding a plea to "travel safely." From first kisses to crises, he lists off blessings and possibilities, with the song getting more urgent and hopeful as it builds to a blessing — "And you'll be bright / You'll be bright" — that soars to tremendous heights. A non-denominational call for fulfillment, "You'll Be Bright" acknowledges humanity's limits even as it calls for us to exceed them. The song was conceived as an invocation for Minowa's infant child, but its message is potent enough to work on anyone.
Take a listen!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Illustration

Look at this amazing image that came on a brochure that was mailed to our office today. We get a lot of brochures/posters with the academic/old world/map feel, but this one is a little more unique than many I see.  I love the color and texture of the water, and the whales!!! I will have to come up with a project that needs an image like this soon...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Paint Creatures

I was exploring the Communication Arts website the other day and found this amazing ad campaign for a paint company in the Philippines.  How amazing are these paint splash creatures!  Now they may have some photoshop love goin on here, but I still adore them.  Check out the full post here.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Portfolio: Teaser

My class this semester is all about refining/expanding your existing work and creating a portfolio. So this month I've been busy not only revising old work, but also working on how to present my designs visually.  Photographing books and brochures has been a new challenge, but I think I'm getting the hang of it!

Here's one item that will be featured in my portfolio, a proposed redesign for Gardening with Herbs for Flavor and Fragrance, the latest edition of which was published in 1970.  Stay tuned for my full portfolio, available in a little over a month!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photo Work, revisited

 Remember my post about taking photos for a local non-profit a few weeks ago?  I just saw that they posted some of my photos on their site, so I wanted to share.  I always get a little joy from seeing something I've worked on "out in the real world." Click here and you can view the photos.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Boutique Girl

I'm from a family of creators. From my father working on oil paintings in the garden, my brother bending old wires into sculptures, my step-mother teaching me to cross-stitch, and my mother sewing my prom dresses, each of us has our own artistic outlet. My sister has turned her creativities into a fabulous business. We recently worked together to re-style her branding, and I'm so excited to reveal the results!!


First, we updated the business card.  This funky flower echoes the kinds of fun fabrics she uses. The dashed line suggests that most of the items are sewn, and the tagline in a scripty font adds a handmade charm.


Next we expanded the design to her Etsy shop! Check it out here to see the banner and avatar I made (and the totally affordable bibs, blankets, aprons, etc. that she made!)

Here's a shot of the new design on product tags.  

Not only was this a project that updated her look and gave me material for my portfolio, it was a fun way for she and I to connect and keep in touch even though we live so far away from each other!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Photo Work

I recently took photos at an event for a local non-profit organization, at Yoshi's sushi bar & jazz club.  Here are a few of the shots! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Posters

I've finally gotten around to posting some of the recent posters I made at work.  I especially had fun with this yellow graphic one-- it was a fun challenge to not use any photos. What do you think? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Today, I celebrate my 100th post! I'm thinking back to what has come of blogging for about a year.  Its been fun!  More than one person has mentioned in conversation that  blogs can be very self-serving, navel-gazing endeavors.  I see their point, but still, I have enjoyed this experiment and would like to keep going. I don't believe that thousands of people should follow this blog, or that I offer something unique and amazing to add to the world through this medium.  I do, however, enjoy keeping a bit of a public journal, one I can review for myself and share with my friends and family.  Another reason is accountability:  Being committed to this blog, to posting about fun things I do, music I find, and things I make, keeps me doing all these and celebrating life! 
In addition, I so love reading the blogs of other people I know.  Here are two you may want to check out!

Boutique Girl Gifts : My sister blogging about her etsy business (amazing handmade items, check it out!), her thrifty finds (can you tell we are related?) and her life in general (I'm on the current post!)

Let Us Go Then, You and I : My friend Amber's blog.  When she was my housemate last year, we still found out things from one another's blogs that we didn't talk about in daily interaction.  Now that she has moved across the country (wah!) this has become an important way for me to keep up with her!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

S. Carey

I am LOVE LOVE LOVING S. Carey's album, "All We Grow." If you like Bon Iver, you may like this--he's their drummer!  Here are some tracks I recommend.  The first is very calming and the 2nd just sounds plain cool. Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

When Two Became One. Or, Tragedy to Triumph!

Within the last year I lost quite a few earrings.  Most of you ladies will understand how sad this can be--you are left with the lone remainder of the pair, which brings bitterness to your heart whenever you see it sitting uselessly in your jewelry box, unwearable.  This long weekend I finally had the chance to reinvent the earrings I had left from what used to be two of may favorite pairs. I bought a chain at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, and got out my jewelry pliers.  So, here's introducing my newest accessory, lone earrings transfigured!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Emiliana Torrini: Heartstopper

Here's a little ditty for Friday! Happy long weekend :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Měiwèi (Delicious!)

Recently some Chinese friends helped me reminisce about the year I spent teaching English in China by teaching me how to cook some of my favorite Chinese dishes!  These aren't what you'll find at the local Chinese restaurant in America, and I love that I now know how to make some authentic Chinese food!
Chungming taught me to make Di San Chen (Three Fresh Vegetables).  This is Green Pepper, Potato, and Eggplant.

So delicious, but though it might seem healthy know that you have to try each piece of vegetable in oil!
Next we made Gong Bao Ji Din, which is chicken with peanuts, green onion, and cucumber.  Its a little spicy.

Then Bing taught me how to make Tomato & Egg (Don't know the pinyin for this one!).  It basically scrambled egg with tomatoes and a little sugar. 

What a feast!  We had a fun time talking about Shijiazhuang--which happens to be both the city I lived in and the city where they grew up!  I am reminded again and again that it is so valuable to have friends all over the world.

Monday, August 23, 2010

London Review of Books

Today I got to see my ad design in the London Review of Books!  Yay!  We've already advertised The Townsend Papers in the NY Review of Books, which was also cool, but when I opened up the package sent from across the pond and looked at our copy, I got a little chill when I saw something I had made printed inside.  Its not a review of the book I thought I was going to write back when I was a child, but it is still pretty fun to see. :)

Cover above, and the ad below, page 8!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chew on This

One of my latest assignments in design class was a fun one-- designing gum packaging!  This was a group project, and after lots of hard work I am happy to say that I love our final product!
Our conceptual inspiration was based on the fresh, minty flavors of the gum (pepperment, spearmint, icy mint).  From there, our visual inspiration came from the plants themselves and then the water and earth that support them, which led to a desire to produce an environmentally aware package. We chose a tin, with a design that was pretty enough to catch a consumer's eye and hopefully make the box something they want to keep and reuse!

Inside, you get a pretty sticker that has a similar design but less branding/package-y text.  Consumers can stick this over the original label, making the box something they treasure! If this was for real, we may have embossed the tin itself, but this was our substitute. 
The inside wrapper around the gum lists ideas for reusing the tin. 

It was fun to see our finished product, and would have been even more fun if these were actually going to show up on the shelves at Target, as was the hypothetical assignment.  Maybe someday...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Van Scoy Kids Retreat

For the last few years my siblings and I have made a point to get together for some quality time, usually near where one of us lives. This year we met up on the Oregon coast!  We stayed in a lovely house near the beach, played cards, explored, and caught up on life.  So much fun. Now I'm in the airport getting geared up for sad the weekend of fun is over!  
Self-timer on the beach!

What views!!
I didn't take too many more photos, because much of the rest of the time was spent cooking in our wonderful house, playing phase ten, calling Grandma, and other fun things.  We DID visit the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory, but we'll have to wait for sister to share her photos before I can show you that wonder!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rejoice! Free Music & The Weekend is Here (almost)

You know I love discovering new music, especially when it's free music!  So when my friend Lisa forwarded me this free download of the Outside Lands Sampler I was overjoyed!  I've never coughed up the money to go to this festival, but they always have such an amazing line-up, and an amazing poster too. While I'm sad I'm not going this year, I'm very excited to enjoy a getaway in Oregon with my siblings!  No matter what you're plans are this weekend, check out these tunes so you can jam out while you're doing it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New work

I've been designing like crazy at work.  Here are a few new pieces; first a postcard for our film series, and 2nd a flier for the Course Threads Program for undergrads at UC Berkeley. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Google Fights

I know some people who work as editors who may think this is horrible, but sometimes when I'm trying to decide whether to use nation-state or nation state, 5th Century or fifth-century, in writing and I just can't find that old Chicago Manual of Style, I do an internet search to figure out what it used more, and thus what might be more correct.  Now I know there are many fallacies associated with this, but still, I have to share the newest tool I found for such comparisons...GOOGLE FIGHT!!  

At this fun little spot you put in two things and let the internet dual it out, polling google results to see what appears more! There are little fighting guys while your results are calculating.  Here are some fun fights they have:

God vs. Satan
Mac Donalds vs. Burger King
Headache vs. Aspirin

Lately, I've been swamped with my design class assignments, so I looked in to the magic crystal ball and made a fight between me and Homework.  Phew!  Looks like I'm going to make it...