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Thursday, May 31, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Lightbox

I spent yesterday afternoon building my own lightbox!  I've gotten so tired of laying white towels or pillowcases down on the floor for a clean background, so I finally gave in and went materials shopping.  :)  I thought there might be someone out there in my position as well, so I created this tutorial for you!

Here's what you'll need:
1. //  A few large pieces of foamcore.  I bought two from Staples and used a few other scrap pieces lying around my garage.
2. //  Three (two, at the very least) clamp lamps.  I got these two from my local hardware shop; clamp lamps are ideal because you can attach them to any side of your lightbox.  I used my desk lamp as light #3.
3. //  Bulbs.  I used CFL's, because they're known to put off more of a white light than regular bulbs, which are often yellowish.  Not to mention they save so much electricity!
4. //  A boxcutter.
5. //  White masking tape.
6. //  A ruler and/or measuring tape.
7. //  A pencil of course!

Cut your foamcore pieces to your desired size.  I cut the back piece into a 2' x 2' square, and the sides into 2' x 2.5' rectangles.  For the top I lay a piece of white poster board over the three sides, and lay my second piece of foamcore underneath, as the bottom.  Lastly, tape a few pieces of printer paper against the back piece, to create a background with no hard edges or shadows.  You can see what I mean in the pictures.  I also included some of my favorite shots from my Etsy product shoot last night.  Hope you enjoyed this!  xx

P.S.  If you're interested in buying one of the coffee cozies pictured, you can find them here!

currently listening to.... Law & Order: SVU

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crazy for Daisies

As we are slowly (but surely) making our way into the summer months, I've started cutting back on the warmth knitting, and been focusing more on accessories.  Coffee cozies have been in the back of my head for a few days, and now I'm currently in the mass-production phase of this new knitting development.  I've already had a few people ask if I'm selling them - they will be in the shop in a few days!

I'm having a lot of fun with these.  Not only are they a quick knit (the first one only took two hours!), but I'm making use of the really bright scraps of yarn I have.  :)  I also learned the daisy stitch for this, and totally love it!  But, I'm a detail person.  ;)  This is just a quick post - I have party to lifeguard for in a bit, and only have a few minutes before I have to take off.  Gotta love extra cash!  At $25 / hour, my bills are pretty much covered for the next few weeks.  Now I have some spare cash for that gorgeous maroon sundress I mentioned in my Wish List post the other day!  :D  Enjoy your Tuesday evening!  xx

currently listening to.... This Love - The Script

Monday, May 28, 2012

Three O's and Fireworks

Today's post is super exciting!  Albeit... it was supposed to be yesterday's, but I got home at midnight, and after being awake for 17 hours (did you know, being awake for about that long, or longer, is the same thing as being legally intoxicated?) all I could think about was crashing.  And I spent most of today editing the hundreds (upwards of 500) of pictures I took yesterday, which is why this post is so late.
Exciting event #1:  I met my dog's puppies yesterday!  She had three in this litter (from left to right): Omaha (who we'll be raising for Guide Dogs), Ohio, and Oregon.  They're about seven weeks now, and huge!  They were the size of two-week-old puppies when they were born, since there was only three of them.  I'm so excited for when we can take Omaha home!  We just have a few more puppy training classes to get through first.  Aren't they the cutest things on earth though?!

Exciting event #2:  The Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 75th anniversary yesterday, and the day was filled with events in celebration of it, culminating with a truly stunning firework display at 9:30.  Trust me, you'll want to see these pictures!  It was the first time fireworks were set off from the bridge and its towers, so it was extra special.  Do I have any readers in the Bay Area that came to see them?  xx

currently listening to.... Slide - The Goo Goo Dolls

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wind in My Wings

Wow, today was busy!  Bright and early this morning, my mom and I went to a puppy training class - step #1 to raising one of my dog's puppies for Guide Dogs.  We have to complete three classes before we can be deemed "fit" (at least I believe that's why) to raise a puppy; in terms of knowledge of techniques, and just having an overall ability and capacity to raise a puppy on Guide Dogs' terms.  I've never been to any kind of training class from GD, and I had a lot of fun!  Even though Heloise is 2 1/2 and very well-trained already, it was really fun to do the exercises with her, and to do it with nine other puppies.  There was even an 11 week puppy there - sso cute!

After grabbing a bite to eat, and a stop at the gym, I came home to take pictures of my sister, Sarah, before she went off to her senior prom.  After creating a "lookbook" (essentially) of the best pictures I took, I realized that I really should be in the portrait photography field.  I'm not trying to toot my own horn, per say (I'm the girl that is NEVER able to accept a compliment), but I have to acknowledge that I am in fact really good at directing others into poses and photographing them.  The first time I realized this was last May, when I had my first "real" shoot, of my ex's sister and her husband a week before their son was due.  Until today, I thought that it had simply been beginner's luck.  But now... I honestly don't know why I cast out the idea of going into photography as a career.  

To illustrate the story I just told, I included my favorite shot from that shoot.  As well as my favorite prom picture from when I went two years ago.  Just in case you were curious as to the dress I wore (two years ago!).  ;)  And no, that wasn't my boyfriend - just a friend who I invited to be my date.  The last picture is of our neighbor, and his daughter.  My sister babysits for him and his wife all the time, and we're all good friends, so they came over to check out my sister's 'transformation,' as it were.  ;)  Sorry for all the text!  Anyway, I hope you're enjoying the remaining hours of your evening.  :)   xx

currently listening to.... Fire and Rain - Matt Kearney

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Wish List - Mad About Maroon

Knitting //  These may be the cutest things I've ever seen.  Even though they're ornaments, and it's not quite Christmas time... how can I resist wanting to make my own??

Food //  This really doesn't need an explanation.  Right?  My mouth is watering just staring at this picture.

Art //  I have a secret obsession with abstract art.  There's something so appealing about seeing something different in a piece every time you look at it!

Style //  I am drooling over this dress.  The bands of lace.. delicate applique collar... chocolate belt.... Goodness.  I have a feeling this dress will soon be making its way into my closet.  :)

How's your Friday going?  Doing anything fun?  xx

currently listening to.... Better Days - The Goo Goo Dolls

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knitting for Confidence #5

I have returned!  From the formidable land of finals, stress, and time-stealing.  ;)  Today was officially the first day of (dare I say it?) summer, and I had it all to myself!  I had to keep reminding myself that no, I was not procrastinating for anything, and that neither did I have anything pressing on my to-do list.  Unlike ususal!  It was quite nice.  I must admit though... I'm already stressed just thinking about the crazy semester I'm going to have this fall...  I swear, the vicious cycle of school will never end!  {I included a fun Instagram picture from today's to-do list - follow me at megancooper13!}

I'm making my first post after hiatus about the bag I recently finished - it's a knitting for confidence post because 1) I've never knit a real tote before, and 2) it required patterns and stitches I'd never used before.  Although, I wish I had made the body of the bag shorter, and the straps longer.  Because of that, I'm thinking about selling this one and making another one for me..  ;)  How's the end of your school year/semester going?  Any exciting summer plans?  xx
currently listening to.... The Man Who Can't Be Moved - Straight No Chaser

Monday, May 21, 2012

Solar Eclipse

I'm soo sorry it's been so long since I posted!  My days are still literally jam-packed.  Between classes, work, and the gym, literally the only free time I have is after 10 PM.  And you can't really take blog pictures that late!  :(  But, to make up for it, today's post is about the solar eclipse that happened yesterday!  I drove up north for a few hours to see the annular eclipse (when the moon covers 95% of the sun, leaving a "ring of fire" around it), but didn't quite get far enough to see the ring, but it was pretty close!  Quite worth the drive.  Especially since the next annular eclipse that will be visible from the US won't happen until 2023!  If you're wondering, the last one was in 1994.

It was so eerie though!  At the maximum point of the eclipse at 6:30 PM, the lighting everywhere was almost like twilight.  You know how you can adjust the contrast and brightness of a photo in Photoshop together?  It was just like someone had turned down the brightness on the world.  So. strange.  Anyway, these are some of my favorite pictures from the trip!  And if you're confused by the eclipse picture:  the reason the sky is black is because that picture was taken from behind solar eclipse glasses, which block out 99.99% of all light.  Without them, the sun looked normal, like in the last picture.  That one was taken only moments after the maximum eclipse.

So that's it for now - I promise I will be back after Wednesday (my last final!).  Until then..!  xx

currently listening to.... Over You - Daughtry

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photo an Hour #2

As promised, here is my photo an hour post!  I spent the day in Sonoma with my family celebrating my grandmother's 88th birthday {which was yesterday}.  She got a pretty amazing birthday present too:  her second great-grandchild was born yesterday, and my cousin and his wife named her Audrey Blair!  I can't wait to meet her.  And the reason these photos begin so late is because I was up till 2:30 AM last night writing my last paper for the semester, so I slept in this morning!

12 pm //  Wrapping my mom's Mother's Day present: a pair of fingerless gloves she asked me to make months ago but which have sat half-finished for a while.  Whoops! 

1 pm //  My good friends Noah and Peet along for the ride to Sonoma.

2 pm //  Lounging poolside with some knitting.

3 pm //  Spending some quality time with the sun in the pool.  I'm trying to get rid of my pasty skin ASAP!

4 pm //  Making some progress on this project; a little leisure 1,000 piece puzzle time; prepping for dinner with the most adorable blender I've ever seen.

5 pm //  Things get interesting here.

6 pm //  Food.  'Nuff said.

7 pm //  Amusing ourselves with soda droplets rolling around on the tablecloth.  And isn't this picture awesome?  I'll give you the answer at the end of the post - see if you can guess what made it like this before that!

8 pm //  Rainbow flame candles (apparently they're a real thing!) and the most delicious cake I've ever had, courtesy of my cousin Leslie.

9 pm //  Ending the night with a few hours of stargazing.  You can see Venus in this picture.

So that was my night!  Well, day, really.  Sunburns, cold soda, and good company.  Summer is close enough to taste.  So what made that really awesome picture so awesome-looking was a fingerprint smudge on my camera lens!  I bet you were trying to figure out what iPhone app I have that lets me take double exposures, huh.  ;)  I hope you had as wonderful a day as I did!  xx

currently listening to.... Eyes Untainted - Florez