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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

easter beach day

My family has a tradition of going to the beach for the day on Easter. This started back when I was little and my mom would get me all dressed up in a frilly Easter dress and hat and we would go down the shore to my grandparents' condo. Now just the four of us go for the day and we walk around, stop in the stores that are open, pick up some candy at the Fudge Kitchen, and take a walk on the beach.

In recent years, we have been among the few brave survivors because the weather has been frigid on Easter. We'd be bundled up from head to toe, trying to enjoy it but secretly dying to get back in the car. This year was the total opposite. It was a really late Easter this year and the weather has been amazing lately. It was in the 70's at the beach! Amazing! That also meant a lot more people were there than usual but it was still fun. ;)

First we walked around the shops at Cape May and the headed to Wildwood to walk on the beach and boardwalk. Since all them city folk ;) just want to traipse around the boardwalk, we took to the beach which was pretty much vacated and I snapped some photos. So in another image heavy post, enjoy the warmest Easter at the beach in a long, long time.

Dune grass.

Roller coasters in the distance.

Vacant coast.

Little black shell.

Hotels lining the beach.

Army of lifeguard stands ready to go.

Walking along the jetty.


Sitting on the rocks.

Wintery legs at the beach.

One last peak at the waves until summertime.

I wanted to post these yesterday but I was beat. I took the Praxis I at 8am yesterday. That's one of two tests that certify you to become a teacher. I got an awful sleep the night before because I was so stressed out about it. Isn't it funny that when you get the least amount of sleep, you can still manage to have the most vivid and disturbing dreams? Nice, right? Anyway, the test was about four hours on math, reading, and writing. Basically to make sure you know what's what before they stick you in charge of educating people. Anyway, I didn't realize this but when you take it on the computer, it scores the math and reading section for you on the spot. And I passed those. YAY! I have to wait for the essay to be graded to find out if I passed the whole thing overall but I am stoked that I passed math. Math and I have a hate/hate relationship. He hates me and I hate him. But this year, we are finally starting to get along. There is hope for us yet. So after that I was pretty much exhausted and just wanted to lay like a lump until my math class last night. Oh yes, math and I were together a lot yesterday.

I have a few finals this week and next and then I should be back to normal I hope. How was your weekend? Do anything fun for Easter/Passover/super nice weekend?

Friday, April 22, 2011

fun finds: easter

I've been finding a lot of fun Easter and Spring related things that I wanted to share with you. Here are my favorite projects from around the interwebs!

These eggs are real eggs shells filled with chocolate! The tutorial I'm linking to from Not Martha is pretty fun because it shows you how to just coat the insides of the eggs with chocolate and then stuff them full of Easter goodness. I made these before but we filled them with different colored white chocolate so that when we cracked the shells open, rainbow colored solid chocolate eggs popped out!


Here's another fun thing to do with empty eggshells. When you crack eggs for your Easter baking, don't discard the shells. Put them back in the carton. When the carton is full of shells, start a little herb garden!


Here's a little spin on classic dyed Easter eggs. Southern Living has a tutorial that uses some paint and a toothbrush to make some rustic speckled eggs.


Switching over to bunnies, The Purl Bee has an awesome pattern and tutorial for these cute little buns. Grab your favorite patterned fabric and get sewing!


Another cute bunny pattern. This one is from mmmcrafts. These little baby buns kill me! Too much cuteness. Sew one of these up for a special little someone's Easter basket. It even has it's own baby blanket!


This last one you can keep up all Spring. I love cherry blossoms and this is a cute little tutorial that shows you how to make your own out of paper so they'll never wilt. This would make a really cute centerpiece. :)

I hope some of these have gotten your springy craft juices flowing. Click the source link to get to any of the tutorials. These projects would make perfect gifts or decorations!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

bunny stamp

I decided to take a creative break between papers. There's only so long you can stare at a Word document before going crazy. So I decided to make another stamp! This one is Easter themed. I made my first one back in December for Christmas. I'm starting to get a nice woodland collection here. :) Maybe I'll do an owl for Halloween.

I made big bunny with a little one next to it.

I inked it up to see how it would print..

then cleaned it up a little bit after seeing things that printed that I didn't want to print.

I've got a little more work to do but it's coming along. I don't really hate the lines in the negative space. It kind of gives it that true hand carved feel. I just don't want too many because it's a small piece so I don't want the small image to be overwhelmed. This was a fun distraction though! I'm cooking dinner later which will also be a calming break for me and then it's back to papers.

I kind of forgot what it's like to do finals for normal classes instead of design classes. This time last year I would probably be on my second day without sleep and living in the main studio off of espresso drinks and whatever food was quick and portable. When I remembered to eat, that is. Oh art school, how I sometimes really don't miss you. I do miss your wonderful facilities though.

I can't believe it's Thursday. I didn't even realize I missed two days of posting! Eep! It happens. Hope your week is finishing up well!

Monday, April 18, 2011

dixon photography shirts

I've finally got shots of a few of the shirts. There's a bunch of images so I'll leave out the talking again and just let you browse through them. The fronts of all the shirts say "Dixon Photography est. 1995". The backs have three different sayings. The one all the crew members have says "I'm part of the empire." There's two other shirts for clients and giveaways that say "It's not terrible..." and "Sprinkling magic all day everyday". (Studio inside jokes.) So here they are, in all their distressed glory..

Freshly printed, coming off the board.

Rack of completed shirts.

Close up!



Different colors..

Different backs..

Dixon Photography

Click the link above to check out the site. There's also a blog with updates of shoots and such. I had a lot of fun doing this and now I think I've got all the kinks worked out if I ever need to do shirts again. It's way different than working on paper or even printing a pattern on a large piece of fabric. I think these were the hardest yet. I'm really happy with how they came out though. Hopefully everyone else is! ;)

I've got a lot of things coming up in the next couple weeks but I'm going to try to stick to regular writing. I've got a (second) math midterm tonight, I'm (finally) taking the Praxis next Monday, and the week after that I have all of my finals. Why is there a second midterm a week before the final? I ask myself this everyday. So if I go missing here and there, that's why.

Hope everyone's week started off well!

Friday, April 15, 2011

my abc's

Shirts are almost done! Man, heat setting is some tedious work. I was at the ironing board for hours. We'll be shooting them later today. In the meantime, here are my abc's! I saw this over on Scenic Glory and thought it looked like fun. Random facts are always interesting. :) You should do it too! Make your own post and then click on the link above and link up.

Here we go..

Age: 23
Bed Size: Full
Chore you hate: Vacuuming!
Dogs: I want a black pug when I move. I already have the name picked out! :)
Essential start of your day: A good morning from my dude. :)
Favorite Color: I haven't had a favorite in a long time but right now I love aqua, mustard, and chartreuse.
Gold or silver: Depends! My real jewelry is silver/white gold.. Costume jewelry is gold.
Height: 5'10 meh
Instruments I play (or have played): I'm not a instrument gal. I taught myself a few songs on the piano but that's about it.
Job Title: Right now.. graphic designer. In less than two years.. graphic designer, teacher, and indie business owner!
Kids: 4 fuzzy guinea pigs :)
Live: Philadelphia, PA
Mom's Name: Noreen
Nickname: Jess and a few special ones that my guy calls me :)
Overnight hospital stays: hmm none actually. I've had a decent amount of e.r. visits though :|
Pet Peeve: Slow walkers, no turn signals, people with no self awareness.. the list goes on
Quote from a movie: "Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." -Dead Poets Society
Right or left handed: Right
Siblings: One younger brother
Time you wake up: Sometime between 7 and 9am. That'll be changing soon.
Underwear: Uhh from Victoria's Secret.. I worked there for a spell so I have a lot of it.
Vegetables you dislike: Spinach. Only spinach. I don't know why.
What makes you run late: Not planning an outfit the night before.
X-rays you've had done: Oh boy.. multiple wrists, my hand, ankles.. I was a pretty active child and broke/sprained a lot of stuff.
Yummy food you make: I'm getting pretty good at pasta dishes and breads!
Zoo animal: Bats.

I hope you enjoyed the randomness. If you do it too, post a link in the comments so I can check it out! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

advanced ankle biters

I'm going to have to show the t shirts from this weekend later, probably tomorrow, because we haven't heat set them yet. We were going to do that Monday night, which got pushed to Tuesday night, which, due to a leaky iron, got pushed to tonight. It doesn't affect the way it looks or anything but I was going to shoot them after they were heat set so that has yet to happen.

Yesterday I observed a kindergarten class and I was beat afterward. It was actually pretty cool because it wasn't just any kindergarten.. I observed the awesome teacher who taught me kindergarten. Just in time too because she retires after this year. It was crazy how many things in that room were exactly the same and how many were incredibly different. The room felt so much smaller now that everything is about knee level to me.

The weirdest part was how advanced kindergarten is now. They were doing things that I wasn't doing until first or second grade! When I left kindergarten, I could read okay, but I think that was mostly due to the fact that I read a ton at home. I could basically write my letters and numbers and maybe some three letter words. These kids had a science lesson on frogs in the morning and in the afternoon they were writing a three sentence story about what they learned! Crazy! Some needed a lot of help with spelling but others were pretty independent. And they were all obsessed with reading. The teacher told one girl who was probably the best reader to show me how well she read so she grabbed her favorite Curious George book and read it flawlessly. Before I knew it there was a whole line of kids behind her waiting for their turn to show me how they could read. They all have such confidence at that age! It's pretty amazing.

So now I've seen kindergarten and 4th grade. I'll be certified to teach K-6 when I'm done. I'm still not sure which end of the age spectrum I'd prefer but I'm getting a good feel for the different capabilities and up/down sides of different ages. As I've been told by many teachers, K-4 is a little harder to engage and keep their attention but they still have that love of learning and like their teachers. 5th and up is easier to manage and get things done with, but they're starting to get a little too cool for school (literally) and with that comes a 'tude and loss of interest in doing work.

I still have much observation ahead of me so I have time to figure it out but at least I don't dread any of it so far. Ideally I want to be okay with the idea of any grade so that I have more job opportunities. I've seen people who only love one grade and then they either struggle with finding an opening or are miserable when they get moved to another grade because of changes in the school.

Hope everyone is having a good week so far! I can't believe it's Wednesday again. I only have a week until finals! Eek! I can't believe my first semester of grad school is almost over. It seems like just yesterday I was having a meltdown over a possible career change. ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

screen print weekend

I spent this weekend screen printing t shirts at the studio where Charlie works. His boss wanted shirts for their whole crew that works there and some extra ones to give away. Here's a little bit of the process. I'll show you the shirts we made tomorrow! (Image heavy)

Positives all ready to go!

Ink mixing station.

Exposed screen, front of the shirts.

Exposed screen, back of crew shirts.

Setting up exposed screen to dry.

Getting the screen aligned.

Setting up for registration.

Getting a shirt boarded for printing.

Registering a shirt with acetate.

Pulling a print!

It was tiring but I think they came out pretty good. :)

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 8, 2011

kites and apple trees

I've been wanting to try etching glass for a while now and finally picked up a little kit the last time I went to the craft store! I grabbed a glass jar I had with smooth sides and sketched out an image I wanted to put on it.

I didn't take any process photos because I was really just winging it but I just measured out the area I had for a design and sketched an illustration on some paper. Then I drew it on clear contact paper, peeled it, and wrapped it around the jar. I grabbed an xacto and started cutting out the shapes that I wanted to be etched. This was a little difficult and some pieces didn't come out exactly how I wanted but it was good enough for a first try. Then I just followed the directions on the package and painted on the etching cream over the images. One minute later, just wash it off and peel off the contact paper. There's your image!

Thinking about April, I drew a girl flying a kite. The kite wraps around to the other side of the jar.

Here's the little kite string with bows on it.

Here's the kite with a little bunny staring up at it. :)

And an apple tree on the other side.

This was crazy hard to take photos of. There was either not enough light or too many reflections or too bright/complicated of a background to see the images. The inside is also a little murky because I put a candle in it last night to see how it would look and then did a bang up job trying to get it out. I need to find one of those sponge on a stick things you clean glasses with or something. Oh well. It cast some pretty cool shadows though..

Like I said before, not perfect, but a good first try I think! Definitely learned some things I'd do differently next time. I have a bunch of the etching cream left so I'll probably try it again soon.

Have any of you been tackling new projects lately? How's it been going for you?

Happy Friday!!

p.s. Thanks for all the crate training support and puppy love. It's hard training puppies!! At least I'm getting experience for when I get my own when I move. I won't be caught completely off guard now. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I've felt like such a terrible blogger as of late. I keep promising to show this and do that yet nothing seems to get done and then I feel even worse. So I'm going to blame these two fur babies (new favorite phrase courtesy of Lynn) though it's only partially their fault. I figure soft fluffy puppies usually make everything all better. :)

Meet Bill and Ted. Yes, as in "Excellent Adventure".

Bill is black and Ted is tan. Easy enough right? Here they are taking naps in their crates. Ted sleeps in the craziest positions. I think he's part cat. They wear each other out quickly. They're always playing tug of war with toys or just trying to pin each other with some sweet wrestling moves. Such boys. :)

Where did they come from you ask? Well Charlie's parents were feeling a little too big of a hole left by Molly so they got these two pups to give their love to. Since my schedule is pretty flexible right now, I volunteered for pup duty a couple days a week so they don't have to work from home everyday. I'm here to keep them on their schedule and fed and entertained and to be a ref and clean up after any mishaps. They're being crate trained, which I know some people don't agree with but Molly was crate trained as well and she was such a happy pup and lived well beyond her years. To each his own. It's funny that when one has had enough of the other (usually when Bill has had enough of Ted) they'll go into their respective crates and chill out with a bone or a toy.

I can't completely blame these guys for my slackerness though. It also has to do with classes coming to an end and having to figure out my class schedule for the summer and fall and figure out when I can get down to the city to take the Praxis and then formally apply to the education program. There's just a lot going on right now and I'm trying to devote enough time to, ya know, passing my classes as well as keeping up with my blog because it's something I love doing. I'm making such amazing friends here and I don't want to alienate anybody so I'm trying to keep up!

Anyway, enough of all my reasoning. I tried etching glass yesterday for the first time so I think tomorrow when I'm off pup duty I'll show that off. It's nowhere near perfect but I think it's pretty fun for a first try! Also, yes that giveaway. One of those things I keep mentioning and keep putting off. Not because I don't want to do it, but because I want to find an adequate prize for such awesome readers. I'll figure it out before my next hundred posts go by. ;)

Hope everyone's having a good week!
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