Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Adventure Zone Embroidery / Coloring Patterns

I am a big fan of the podcast The Adventure Zone in addition to all the fine McElroy content in the world. I've been exploring textile arts such as dyeing and embroidery, and I wanted to share my embroidery patterns with other fans. They are also fun for "adult coloring books" if you'd rather just color. You can download and print the images here.

It includes Stephen Q. Fletcher, the Voidfish, and Susan Crushbone, our favorite Orc Sex Princess.

These designs are my own, but the character ideas belong to the McElroys, so please don't sell them or use them in commercial works. If you like what you see here, please consider donating to Maximum Fun and supporting these wonderful podcasts.

Now go create something awesome :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hollywood Regency / Mythical Beasts Bedroom

Although I did this project over 6 months ago, I've finally gotten around to updating my blog. Last summer brought a lot of changes in my life: I was newly single, recently laid off, and moving into a new house. 

Interior design was very healing. My first inspiration was a deep blue green, like the color of Tourmaline and Fluorite. I finally settled on the color Valspar Stained Glass.

Another source of inspiration was the Hollywood Regency style, a favorite of mine. I love the bold patterns and opulence, and finally had the time and resources to make this style my own. The room accidentally has a second theme: mythical beasts. I noticed that many of the pieces I collected referenced fantastical animals: winged whales, griffins, snakes, dragons, and feathers. 

I modeled up the space in Sketchup, using an existing IKEA chest of drawers and adding a few nightstands. It's a great tool for understanding the layout.

I spruced up my IKEA furniture using O'verlays. I used a small sample size of Valspar as a bole coat, and then applied imitation gold leaf. Here's my inspiration.

Greek Key Overlays on an IKEA shelf

I found a wonderful canopy bed by Benicia Ironworks on Craigslist for $400. I added a Japanese Floral Doona Cover by Florence Broadhurst (my favorite pattern designer), 8 yards of decorative fabric from Jo-Ann's, and a dragon pillow from Dwell Studio. The Griffin lamps are from Horchow, and the curtains are from West Elm. (Shoutout to the helpful people at West Elm who provided complimentary design services).

I really wanted to hide the pedestal sink and separate the bedroom from the bathroom, so I bought a tension rod and put up these sheer curtains.

These woodblock prints are from Katrina Perano from Akaroa, New Zealand.

I'm not a minimalist :)
The snake silk screen is by Don Carney.

The feather hooks are from Etsy seller PerFecteauDecor

The painting of Durga is from India and was purchased for $10 at the Santa Fe Folk Art Festival.

The whole project was very healing for me. It was a challenging time in my life, but I just sank into my work to keep me going. There's nothing like working with my hands to bring satisfaction. I love the end result and feel totally at home in this space.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Mexican Vegetarian Christmas Enchiladas

My friends got together for the Breaking Bad premier, and I made New Mexican food to go along with the blue rock candy on the menu.  Around August or September, we get a fresh crop of Hatch green chiles at the grocery stores. They roast them in big drums and I usually stash a few bags in the freezer to last year around. If you don't live in the southwest, you can also find the chiles canned.

1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 lb. white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup roasted hatch green chiles, seeds removed, & pureed
flour tortillas
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
2 15 oz. cans Hatch red enchilada sauce
Iceberg lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 


Sauté onions until clear over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until beginning to wilt. Then add garlic, 2/3 of cilantro, and green chiles, and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.

Set aside 1/3 of the cheese for the topping. Fill tortillas with filling and and cheese, then roll them up and lay them in a casserole pan. Pour red chile sauce over top, then add remaining cheese and cilantro. Bake for 1 hour. Serve with iceberg lettuce.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

365 Days of Pattern

Hi there,

Just wanted to let you know I've started a new blog called 365 Days of Pattern. I will still update this blog here and there, but my new blog will be a daily project so there should be lots of fun posts. Please check it out :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mega Allsorts Halloween Costume

This year I got some Kiwi inspiration for my Halloween costume.  On my second day visiting New Zealand, I discovered a colorful candy:

And so the idea began.  I found a fabric store and bought 2m (We're going metric now!) of interfacing (a stiff fabric for structural support), and 1m each of pink, white, and yellow cotton.  Fabric (and most material goods) are quite expensive here, as everything must be shipped to the end of the earth.  I have no patterns and no sewing machine.  I buy needles, thread, pins, and a measuring tape.  The dull kitchen shears will have to do as nice sewing scissors are almost $50 NZ.  My plan is just to do the best I can with the time and materials I can.  I started by cutting panels of interfacing for the sides and top of the costume:
I then arrange the fabric sections over the interface panels and pin everything in place.

I also cut out a top panel and set it aside.

I start to join the fabric to the panels by sewing zig-zags, which will demarcate the colored sections.  Eventually these stitches will be covered with black ribbon for the liquorice stripes.
Lining up the pieces to check my work:

I sew three rows of zig-zags and then trim the fabric scraps.  Now it's time for liquorice stripes: 
Yay, they have tacky glue at this fabric store.  It works well for crafts and dries clear.  I fold the ribbon over itself for the zig-zags: 
It's starting to come together.  I leave long trails of ribbon so I can extend them to the neighboring panel.  Ideally it will look like one continuous band.
The best way to sew things is to sew inside-out, so you hide the stitches.  I laid the adjacent side panels face to face, then pinned them together.  Then, I hand-sewed them together about 1/2 cm in.  (Sorry I forgot to photograph this step).  Here is the finished result when unfolded:
I continued sewing all four panels into a rectangular prism.  This part was very tedious, so I watched a lot of television and completely forgot to take photographs.  Sorry.  The key point is to make sure all your stitches are hidden on the inside -- this is why you work inside-out.  I sewed the top on, then flipped the whole thing.  The final step was to cut holes for my head and arms. 

Another bit of Kiwi inspiration came from all the fascinators seen at department stores for Cup Week fashion.  And thank you tacky glue for adhering to allsorts without dissolving them.

And here's the finished piece, with yellow leggings and some faint purple hair coloring.
 It's even flexible enough to work in, which I'm sure my boss appreciates.
Fun facts: Construction time: 11 hours
Approximate cost: $72 NZ for fabric and materials + $13 NZ for yellow-green leggings + $19 NZ for glittery yellow Revlon nail polish (I'm not kidding, they shipped it through Australia to bring it here) + $25 NZ for hair dye = $129 NZ ~ $105 US

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nyan Cat Cake

For my 28th birthday I made a cake inspired by the notorious Nyan Cat.  My inspiration for this project came from Lydia Bakes.  The cake is the orange chiffon cake from Tartine.  It's easy recipe and forms a very level cake.  I used raspberry jam and the Quick White Icing I from Joy Of Cooking, using Cointreau for flavor.  Then, for a complete 180 from the Tartine aesthetic, I used colorful fondant for my 8-bit cat.  Wilton makes nice packs of multiple colors, and I did a little color-mixing to get the greys.      (For those of you in Austin, Make It Sweet is a nice local business that sells baking supplies.) Instead of cutting out each piece for the rainbow trail, I rolled out individual colors into snakes, lined them up, then rolled them flat into a rainbow.  I dampened the surface and applied edible glitter.  The final touch was french dragees for the stars.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Archetypes of Female Martial Artists

This semester, I took a class called "Everyone was Kung-Fu Fighting: East Asian Martial Arts Films."  Yes, I'm getting college credit for this.  I thought I'd share my group's final project -- a short video investigating the roles of women in martial arts films.  Enjoy!