03 April 2014

Lately: Around Town

Recently I tried out one new and two new to me places around town. 

On one of the only warmish and dry days we've had this spring I met up with some friends at Dacha Beer Garden in Shaw. Its not much more than some picnic tables on a corner lot, but there was a line when I arrived. They serve a variety of German and Craft beer in a variety of glasses, including das boot. Even though it was crowded it was a friendly crowd and the line for beer and porta potties wasn't too bad. They don't serve food, but allow you to bring it in if you want. All in all its a nice place to enjoy a beer outdoors.

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mural at Dacha.
Not too far from my apartment, but tucked away on a side street is TCB aka The Coffee Bar. I went with a friend on a Sunday morning. They have limited food, which included an everything bagel and cream cheese. Along with my bagel I got a latte. I was impressed with the latte art and thought the ingenuity of writing my order on the porcelain cup deserved a photo. It was a busy shop, but there were several seating options and we had no trouble finding a space to enjoy our morning. 

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When you bring up pizza in DC (which I do a lot) someone always mentions 2Amy's. And until this week I always had to sadly admit I had never been. Its in Cleveland Park about a mile from the closest metro, so not the most convenient spot, but I took a bus and was there within a half hour. We went early expecting a wait and not wanting to miss the movie we had planned for later, but after getting there super early and getting a drink elsewhere we ended up not putting our name down till 5:20. By 5:20 they had a half hour wait. So just remember to plan wisely. 

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when you walk in you are immediately greeted with pizza
For some variety my friend and I swapped half a pie. We got a certified Neapolitan style Margherita and a house specialty meat and peppers pie. The Margherita was amazing. The cheese was just amazingly flavorful. The other pizza was good too, but not crazy good. 

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Hey, its pizza!

02 April 2014

Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon 2014

I wasn't planning on running the Rock n' Roll USA Half Marathon again this year, but I got an email from them stating the finish line band would be The Head and the Heart. I didn't know much about them, but I knew that several of my friends were huge fans. So after sending an email alerting them of the news they were all on board. They added a 5K option this year so four of my friends signed up for that, but two friends wanted to do the half so I knew that is what I would be signing up for.

My training was less than ideal. The weather this winter in DC, like much of the country, has been miserable. I'm not one to run outside when its below freezing or when there is tons of snow or ice on the ground, which meant I was running on the treadmill a lot, which meant I was running shorter distances. I got two 10.5 mile runs in so I knew I'd be able to finish and that was good enough for me.

Race morning was cool, but was the best weather day in a week and two days later we got the most snow of the winter. So race day weather was perfect. I woke up in plenty of time, but fooled around like normal and headed down with just enough time to bag check and get in to the corrals. Too bad I also wanted to stop at the porta potties along with thousands of my other runner friends. After waiting a bit and running to some further away and then running back, I made it to my corral #6 after it had already left. Luckily I was able to walk to the front and slip in with #7, which was probably a better spot for me given my poor training.  

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race morning sunrises are the best
My watch was off the entire race, which just confused me. It ended up a mile off! Luckily I had it displaying total time elapsed the entire time, so I could do my own math with the mile markers, which mostly confused me more, but helped me push the last three miles.

The course was the same as last year (other than a slightly different finish), which I actually liked. I knew what was coming up and could look forward to hills (up and down), bands (love the drums by Howard), and my friend Hannah! She took this lovely photo while doing some amazing woo whooing.

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my gloves make a great thigh growth
While not my fastest, I finished in 1:56 and never felt like dying. In fact I enjoyed myself enough to sign up for the Nike Half in April.

After the race I met up with all my runner friends to watch The Head and the Heart. They put on a great high energy show for 10 in the morning. They performed for over an hour. I was joking that it was the best concert ever because everyone was polite runners and there weren't any drunks bumping in to me. But really it was also pretty good music.

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After the show we headed out to brunch. Races are always better with friends.

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Jenn and I after our races

31 March 2014

Call Me Crafty: Screenprinting

It has been a long time since I challenged myself with an art class. So for the past year I'd been eyeing the continuing education classes offered at the Corcoran. They aren't cheap but I loved all the interesting options they had and I was able to take the audit option. So I narrowed down some options and decided to take the screen printing class. 

After being 45 minutes late to the first class (cross town during rush hour on a bus is the worst) I've gotten a pretty good hang of the process.

We have four projects this semester each one using a different technique of making our design, but the shooting and printing part remains essentially the same. We've just started our third project, so I'm a bit behind on updating you.

The first project was to take construction paper shapes to create a print with three layers of three different colors.

Most of the other students are "art" students either full time or are art teachers learning a new technique. So in the actual design of the projects I find I am much simpler. But when it comes to the actual printing, where being type A is beneficial I am having far fewer problems than the other students. 

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This is a printing screen. When its clean it is the yellow color. We put the green emulsion on it and let it dry in a dark box. Then you lay your design in a light box and put the screen on top. Depending on your design you turn the light box on for a 45 seconds up to a few minutes. Then quickly take it from the box to the dark washing room to wash the emulsion that wasn't exposed to the light out. That area becomes your design. In the above photo I covered the areas I wasn't printing with tape and freezer paper.

So for my first project I did my cow.

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The green was printed first, then the purple and finally the pink. I was just trying to use pretty colors, but my teacher has proclaimed it a Zombie Cow.

For the second project we used india ink to make abstract designs. I'm not so great at abstract. I started slowly and finally drew a few designs I liked. I printed each of them a little different. I used the same three colors in the same order, but printed the designs in different orders and used five different designs. 

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This was one of my favorites. At first I didn't like the project, but I ended up with several that I liked and a few that I hated. I printed on small pieces of paper and was able to do three each pull so these went really quickly.

The third project involves india ink pens and tracing and text! I'm excited to see how mine turns out.

27 March 2014

Call Me Crafty: Mason Jar Planter

If you follow me on Instagram you saw this project a while back. I took tons of pictures during the process then completely forgot to blog about it. So finally here you are! 

My friend Catherine discovered this idea on Pinterest and we decided along with our other friend Jenn to have a craft day to make some of our own.

We met up and headed to Home Depot where we picked up the hardware and wood. We had Home Depot cut the boards to size (which is a fantastic service!) and headed back to Catherine's to get to work.

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Supplies we purchased per planter:
  1. Three Mason jars
  2. Three adjustable plumbing rings
  3. Wall hanger and nails
  4. Three screws
  5. Wood- we took the jars to the store and measured the sizing on the go
  6. Three plants
  7. Cactus/succulent dirt
Supplies Catherine had on hand:
  1. Drill
  2. Hammer
  3. Stain
  4. Paint brush
  5. Rag
  6. Sand paper


We started by sanding our board a little and applying a layer of stain. After letting it dry a little bit we wiped down our board with the rag and then allowed it to dry some more.

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While our boards were drying we planted our succulents in the jars. The jars have no drainage. After planting I wondered if we should of put a layer of rock on the bottom like you would in a terrarium, but not enough to go back and replant. However I think using the special soil for cactus and succulents works well. My plants are thriving so far. I just water them fully when I water them, which is about every week and a half, and then let the soil dry completely  before watering again.

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After our boards were dry we attached the hangers.

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Then proceeded to screw the rings to the boards. It wasn't as easy as we hoped. The slots in the rings were a little bit smaller than our screws. On my first attempt I completely stripped the screw. After that we tried prying the slots open a little wider and got the screw going a little before using the power drill and it worked ok. We were using wood screws, maybe a stronger screw would of just plowed through the ring, but I'm not sure.

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I started in the middle

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measuring was hard
After they were attached to the board I tightened the rings a bit before slipping the jars inside and finished tightening the screws.

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Finished project!

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Once I got home I immediately hung it up on the wall because I wasn't sure where else to put it. I hung it by my bedroom window because while by living room is over run with plants I didn't have any in my bedroom!

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As I mentioned earlier, all my plants are doing well. But learned the hard way that the orange flower on the cactus was glued on! I know! The way the cactus was growing was moving the flower to the front so I pulled it off. I managed to get all of the flower off, but the glue is a bit more challenging especially with all the pokies.  Oh and the plant on the right is doing much better and not leaning so much.

17 February 2014

Call me Crafty: Book Clutch

I got a sewing machine for Christmas so I immediately went to the internets to find sewing projects. I wanted to start small and ended up being inspired by a project that didn't require a ton of sewing, a book clutch by See Kate Sew

I picked out some hard cover books for $2 a piece at the local thrift/antique store, Miss Pixies. It was fun picking out titles that I never heard of but were fun nonetheless. I cut the pages out. Don't worry I kept them to read…. or do some other craft with later.

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Then it was time to prep the zipper.

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And sew the zipper.

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Iron the zipper.

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Glue the zipper to the book.

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Then glue liner fabric.

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Tada! Mine is a bit bulkier than Kate's. I guess I didn't glue the zipper far enough in on the book. I still think it is fun. I also didn't glue fabric on the outside of the book. I liked the way the red and black cover was already.

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31 January 2014

Call me Crafty: My magnet is growing

I think I missed one Handi-hour last year. It turned out to be the gardening one. They had little terra cotta pots to decorate and plant some small plants in and then they also had corks to make into tiny air plant vase magnets. Lucky for me I have good friends and was gifted a plant magnet that I've proudly displayed at work. Sometime over the holidays it decided to die, but I had several months of joy with that guy.

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Inspired I decided to make a few of my own for Christmas gifts. Only when I went back to Ace Hardware their summer/fall supply of air plants was dry and dead. Defeated. I had purchased an air plant earlier in the year though just because I'm a sucker for succulents. It had just been chilling in a vase so I decided to give him a new home.

I used a cork from a beer bottle someone had recently enjoyed at my apartment and glued on a spare magnet with super glue. I made a hole in the top with a knife and stuck him inside. A month later, so far so good.

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17 January 2014

Call me Crafty: Placemats

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My friend Catherine and I made these placemats. We bought 3 yards of burlap from Joann's Fabric. I used a plate, remote, beer bottle, and scissors to determine the proper size (very professional and precise). I used her stencils and a giant paint pen to write EAT on them. I made sure to have newspaper underneath for bleed through and ended up doing more of a dab method than a draw method. Catherine ended up with 8 placemats and wrote "Eat" in different languages on each one, very cute.