Friday, July 31, 2009

My Latest Creation

I have been wanting to come up with a good design for a harness style necklace for a while now. After much sketching and procrastinating, I came up with this, the Maeve Harness Necklace:

Looks amazing on a white shirt:

Available in my Etsy store, Girl Tuesday Jewelry.

Tutorial Friday--How To Make Silhouette Portraits

Ever open a home decorating magazine and see a great collection of silhouette portraits? Wouldn't you love to make your own? Well, here's your chance! Click HERE for step by step instructions on how to do so using a digital camera and Photoshop. Brought to you by

Made Me Laugh

I happened upon this amazing feat of repurposing while trolling the Etsy Developer's blog.
I had to take a detour when I saw it. Behold:

Aptly titled, Hooktastic—Dolly Lovely Limbs this rack is made from a rescued doll and vintage mahogany tray. Go see the creator's other stuff at her Etsy store, Luxford St.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Creative Recycling

YAVA Glass gives bottles a new lease on life turning them into drinking glasses, coasters, spoon rests and candleholders. What a great housewarming gift these would be:

Reclaimed bicycle chain bracelet made by Beck Tesch and sold by SparrowCollective

This is a good karma twofer--recycled and humane! A trophy buck head fabricated from recycled cardboard. Visit Cardboard Safari's store for lots of other great cardboard masterpieces!

Did you know that soda bottles can be recycled into felt? Well Alexandra Ferguson does and she creates great pillows using this recycled material. Here's one of my favorites:

Throwing away your cereal box after the contents are gone is SO unfashionable! Playing With Fiber turns the boxes into notebooks:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

20 Questions with Amy Palanjian

1. Name and location.
Amy Palanjian, Des Moines, IA
2. Please describe yourself.
I’m a 29 year old single woman who grew up in New Jersey (where I spent a lot of time canoeing and building sand castles), went to college in Los Angeles (where I learned that I love the scent of jasmine and hiking), spent a year as an AmeriCorps Member building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Durham, North Carolina (where I found my top-notch hammering skills), then eventually moved to NYC to work in magazines. I just moved to Des Moines in May (wondering why? see below!)
3. What is your current occupation?
I am the Deputy Editor of ReadyMade magazine. It rocks.
4. Describe a typical day for you.
On a typical weekday, let’s say a Wednesday, I do an hour or so of yoga (Dave Farmar podcasts are pretty stellar) in my living room, then breakfast and off to work, on my bike when it’s nice. Work, work, work, sometimes with a lunch break in the gardens outside my office, then more work, meetings,ichatting and tweeting with my cohorts, then around 7 I head home. Wednesdays are one of my favorite days of the week because some of my new friends hold “Cake Night”. They, Karen and Arin of Ephemera Stationary Studio have resolved to bake a cake each week and share it with their friends. My kind of girls!
Saturdays start with a trip to the farmers market where I inevitably buy too much produce, then a long bike ride and miscellaneous crafting, cooking, and socializing.
Sundays look pretty much the same as Saturdays except swap in the Sunday NYTimes for the farmers market.
5. What inspires you?
Other creative people, the forest (I love trees!), pink flowers, bright blue skies and thoughtful food.
6. What items do you possess that you can't live without?
My cell phone, whatever quilting project I’m currently working on, and lately my bike.
7. Favorite music
Neko Case
Erotica Trio
Indigo Girls
Bon Iver
Band of Horses
I’m notoriously bad with knowing names of musicians I like, so this is by no means a comprehensive list.
8. Favorite books
Time Travelers Wife
A Homemade Life
Dive from Claussens Pier
Huck Finn
Atlas Shrugged
Prodigal Summer
Three Cups of Tea
The Color Purple
Mountains Beyond Mountains

The Red Tent
On Beauty

How to Cook Everything

The Moosewood Cookbook

Super Natural Cooking
9. Favorite websites
Smitten Kitchen

My Google Reader with all of my favorite blogs:
Sprouted Kitchen
Design Sponge
Apartment Therapy
In Good Taste
Anna Maria Horner’s blog
10. Favorite word
Confusement. I made it up one night playing trivial pursuit with friends. I tend to, as they say, “lose my words” when I’m overly tired, but I think this one is a keeper. It’s more of a state of being bewildered than what confusion speaks to. As in “I’m suffering from a total state of confusement.” See, I told you it’s a keeper!
11. Biggest turnoff
Intolerance, impatience, and lack of curiosity.
12. If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
A cheeseburger with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a lot of ketchup, with a wheat beer (like 312 Urban Wheat) and a well-dressed salad. Plus not-too-sweet apple or peach pie, depending on the time of year, with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
13. If you were a superhero, what superpower(s) would you possess?
Unlimited energy, with the ability to also sleep soundly. Oh also to fly back and forth from Des Moines to NYC or NJ without passing through airport security or dealing with flight delays.
14. If you could "try on" another occupation or job for a day, what would it be?
A vegetable farmer or the owner of a quilting shop, like Purl Patchwork.
15. What is your idea of fun?
A long bike ride or hike in a somewhat remote area, followed by a long shower and dinner outside with friends.
16. Please share a milestone or turning point moment from your life.
Last summer I climbed 14,000+ foot Mt. Shasta. It was part of a fundraiser for
Summit for Someone, an organization that funds backpacking trips for inner city youth. It was the biggest physical goal that I have ever set for myself and as it was my first time mountain climbing—using an ice ax, starting a climb at 2 am in the dark by the light of my headlamp, glissading down most of the mountain on my butt—I didn’t know what to expect. It could not have been more amazing. The day was about 13 hours long and I learned a lot about perseverance, working through discomfort and just how much you can achieve if you give yourself the chance. It was all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
During the hike back out towards civilization, I realized that I was so much happier in the woods, so I decided that I needed a two year plan to get myself out of NYC. At the time, I wasn’t sure how to live outside of Manhattan and continue to work in publishing. But I wrote myself a business plan and set some real goals. Some I met, some I didn’t, but it made me push myself harder to make things in my life start to change. I may not have wound up in the mountains, but less than a year later, I moved to Iowa for a job I am thrilled about and I have so much more access to nature on a daily basis. It’s been a pretty awe-inspiring year.
17. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
I have a horrible memory when it comes to books and movies and I tend to be difficult to cook with—it’d be nice if I could figure out a way to let someone else help me chop!
18. What hobbies or other interests do you pursue?
I’ve been quilting for about 7 years and I mostly do it all by hand. Which means that each one takes about a year (or more) to finish. Some might say that sounds tedious but I really enjoy that I get to see the results of my efforts in a very real way as I go. Plus, nothing beats the immense sense of accomplishment when I finally do finish.
19. Do you employ any self help/improvement practices in your daily life?
For me, spirituality is tied into who I am. My mom used to be upset that I don’t go to church anymore (I was raised Catholic) but I truly feel that my connection to something greater comes through the way I choose to live my life. Whether that be through yoga, through the way I try to nurture my friendships, my wonder at nature and my need for quiet time, to me, it all counts. I am a very optimistic person by nature but I if I had a mantra, it’d either be “How I do anything is how I do everything”, which helps me remember that it’s all important.
20. What's next for you?
I’m going to continue to explore my new home state, including checking out the State Fair in August (butter sculptures!) and finding some good tree-filled spots. Work will be super busy from now through mid-December as we work on refining the magazine and we hope, the website, which is completely exciting. I’m trying to get a bit back to basics in the kitchen, so I’m going to see what I can do about making more of my weekly staples, like bread, crackers and granola bars both to save some money and to have more control over what I’m eating. I just need to find a better recipe for crackers (the ones I make always turn out a little chewy and stick to the baking sheet, though they are salty which I like) and granola bars. I’m experimenting with variations of whole grain bread and figure the more I bake, the better it will be! I’d love suggestions if anyone has a favorite recipe for any of those three things!


Check out Amy's blog: The Things We Make

Like reading interviews of interesting people? 20 Questions will be a regular fixture on this blog. A new interview will be posted every Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tire Reincarnation

The Kangaroo Tire Swing is handcrafted from recycled tires

Bicycle Tire Belt from JulienJaborska

The Adela Purse is made from recycled tire tubes

Betsabeé Romero carves tires into works of art

Table made from recycled tires by Kitsch-U-Like

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Favorites-5 Picks from The Vast World of Etsy

How could you not smile when you look at this cute squirrel from BerkleyIllustration

How about this funky ring from AdornJewelry?

This is such a good idea--the Nightmare Snatcher Journal from Spiderbite

This is an amazing work of art done in needlefelt from Deebs

I love this winged coffee cup ceramic pendant from Surly

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Consider This

I tend to see the world through a straw. I obsess about dumb stuff and occasionally magnify minor things into major tragedies.
I find this photo from the Hubble Telescope humbling. I'm just a grain of sand in a vast universe. Who cares what my shirt looks like?

Star-Birth Clouds in M16: Stellar "Eggs" Emerge from Molecular Cloud
"This structure, resembling an imaginary sea serpent's head, is a column of cool molecular hydrogen gas (two atoms of hydrogen in each molecule) and dust that is an incubator for new stars. The stars are embedded inside finger-like protrusions extending from the top of the nebula. Each "fingertip" is somewhat larger than our own solar system.

The pillar is slowly eroding away by the ultraviolet light from nearby hot stars, a process called "photoevaporation". As it does, small globules of especially dense gas buried within the cloud is uncovered. These globules have been dubbed "EGGs" — an acronym for "Evaporating Gaseous Globules". The shadows of the EGGs protect gas behind them, resulting in the finger-like structures at the top of the cloud.

Forming inside at least some of the EGGs are embryonic stars — stars that abruptly stop growing when the EGGs are uncovered and they are separated from the larger reservoir of gas from which they were drawing mass. Eventually the stars emerge, as the EGGs themselves succumb to photoevaporation.

The stellar EGGS are found, appropriately enough, in the "Eagle Nebula" (also called M16 — the 16th object in Charles Messier's 18th century catalog of "fuzzy" permanent objects in the sky), a nearby star-forming region 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Serpens.

The picture was taken on April 1, 1995 with the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The color image is constructed from three separate images taken in the light of emission from different types of atoms. Red shows emission from singly-ionized sulfur atoms. Green shows emission from hydrogen. Blue shows light emitted by doubly- ionized oxygen atoms."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tutorial Friday--Stamping Letters on Metal Jewelry

I love a good tutorial, don't you? I periodically search for new techniques and ideas and I have a burgeoning bookmark list to prove it. Every Friday I plan on sharing a link from my list of favorites or writing a tutorial of my own.

Here is a great lesson on how to stamp letters onto metal jewelry. Taught by Lisa Niven Kelly, I found this tutorial to be clearly explained, well filmed, and very detailed. My "impression" (What fun, a pun!) was that I would have no problem creating stamped metal jewelry after watching these videos. No parts of the process were left out.
I give it my benediction as a great resource.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fix This

This is great. I go from not posting anything for nearly two months to posting 3 times in one day. To allay my guilt (Please refer to St. Patrick's Day post for origins of my ancestral guilt) I will bestow upon my readership a link to what I think is one of the most helpful websites around for fixing pretty much anything, especially electronic devices.
The website is
and it has gotten me out of many a bind. Hopefully it will help you, too.

Laff It Up with the Fug Girls

Two things that I really enjoy are fashion faux pas and good, witty writing. Both of these qualities can be found on the ever so entertaining website, Go Fug Yourself.

Make sure you read the posts tagged "Lagerfeld and Friends."
Click here to read one of my favorites.

What's In a Name

So it's been a while since I posted last. I'm embarrassed. I actually thought about starting an altogether new blog instead of carrying on with this one, but I am quite attached to the name, Eye Spy The Universe.
Speaking of spying on the universe, I'll be the first to admit that I am doing a real shite job of covering my own progress let alone diverse topics.
So enough with the guilt (see St. Patrick's Day post about origins of said guilt.)

Here is the news in my world as of today July 21st:
  • Sales for Girl Tuesday Jewelry are increasing
  • Girl Tuesday has a more cohesive look with better photos, new avatar and banner
  • Girl Tuesday is slowly bending in a "rock n' roll" direction
  • Cecere Designs store is stalled on the side of the road
  • I think about adding more prints to Cecere Designs, but I am just not that interested in painting right now
These are the latest additions to my store:

Meteor Necklace

Meteor Earrings

I'm crazy for pyrite and I love the way these nuggets look like rubble from outer space.