Saturday, September 29, 2007

Autumn Gothic Arch

Here's a litle break to show you some art I made last weekend! It's a fun trend called a Gothic Arch. This card just started out as one mishap after another, but I kind of like the final effect, LOL!

Background is stamped with Versamark Inkadinkado leaves and brayered over with some inks that were horribly bright and 80's looking--not the beautiful fall colors I thought they would be. So then I swiped over the whole thing with my pumpkin ink pad to tone it down so I could like the colors better! it took away the brightness of the magenta and teal and softened the leaves. Then I stamped with gold brilliance swirls (Aud Designs) but they didn't show up as well as I liked so I outlined them with a sepia glaze pen. I thought it needed an edge so I trimmed and mounted on some metallic yellow-gold CS. Gold vellum leaf and gold CS ornaments are punched out and embellished with the same glaze pen for contrast. The photo is of my grandfather in the 20's--I sanded it and used paper glaze to add some dimension (and ended up with a strange halo around my GP!)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

California Vacation - Day 7 - Monday - South Coast Plaza

Ah--the last day of my three-day weekend! We decided to have lunch at Daphne's, a fast-food Greek restaurant in town. Their food is pretty darn tasty, so if you haven't tried it, you should go! Then we went shopping at another Japanese market nearby; Marukai. They are a little different from Mitsuwa, and we managed to find some more supplies and snacks for Manami.

The best part about Marukai is the new place in the food-court: Beard Papa's. If you ever go to Tokyo, you will find their delectable cream puffs in the train stations. We got addicted to them there, but had no idea they were coming to America! But it was our lucky day--Beard Papa's had just opened that week and we were the lucky people who got to have some! Yummy yum! They fill the cream puffs right when you order, so they are not soggy or stale. They use fresh, excelent-quality ingredients so they are oh-so-good!

After our snack, we headed to South Coast Plaza, the big side this time. Above is a picture of Manami posing as she walks into the door of Nordstrom's for the first time! South Coast Plaza was one of the main destinations that she wanted to see on her trip. The mall is so famous that many Japanese Salarymen sign up for a special tour to the US to see it. They spend 5 days in the states and see San Francisco, South Coast Plaza and Vegas. SCP is a full day of their trip and we often see buses full of tourists carrying their many purchases from the expensive stores that we don't even walk into because they're so pricey!
Manami mainly wanted to go to Abercrombie & Fitch. She wanted to buy clothes for herself, her sister and her brother-in-law. The guys left us there and came back after an hour and a half and we were still in the store! Manami tried on many things until she found exactly what she wanted and made sure it was perfect. Once the guys made it to the store we spent at least another 45 minutes picking out the perfect shirt for her brother-in-law. I didn't mind because I knew it's what she wanted to do the very most!

Have you ever been to A&F? Well, it's filled with young, perfect sales clerks who won't even give someone like me a second glance. They carry small sizes--even Manami got an "M-Size" for some of her things and she's tiny! There is nothing there that would fit me, though I can find something my size at most nicer stores. Their products are very high-priced for the torn/distressed look you are buying in my opinon. Their clothes are a little too skimpy for my old-fashioned taste, so I'm not too unhappy that they don't carry my size. The store is very dim and to me a little depressing! They play very loud dance-club music, so if you're ok with techno then it helps. I like the music and Matt and I especially liked it when Johnny got bored and started "nerd-techno" dancing! That made it fun to be there laughing and carrying on while Manami shopped. I'm sure the sales clerks didn't appreciate having us "old farts" in thier store, but hey--she bought enough to justify all of our presence!
I'm glad Manami got to go to her dream store (the first of many trips, ha ha) but spending my afternoon here made me happy to go back to work on Monday!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Brand New Car!

Oh, I'm so excited about my brand new car! It's a Mazda CX-7, a crossover vehicle that we got last Saturday. It's really like a large station wagon, but that's just not a popular term nowadays, ha ha, so we say "crossover"! It's a little higher and wider than a regular sedan or station wagon and not as large as an SUV. It's just perfect for me! Here's some things I love about my new vehicle.

1. The color is Black Cherry. Not quite black or brown or purple or burgandy. It depends on the lighting and it looks different every time you look. I love the metallic sparkle it has. We're getting it clear-coated as I type so hopefully it will stay shiny and beautiful a long time!

2. The interior is a stone grey with black stripes and trim. I wanted black leather, but when I saw the 2-tone leather I fell in love!

3. The seats have a lumbar support and are so comfy. They will really help my back on long trips to see my mom. Hopefully I can go visit her more now and I won't have to spend a day recovering from the drive! The seats are also heated--ahhh--comfort!

4. Finally I have a moonroof again. I love to drive and see outside and open the window!

5. No stick-shift. I love driving a stick, but it's a little hard on my feet and back, especially since I drive through traffic all week to work. The fun thing about the Mazda is the Tiptronic-like manual shift that I can use without a clutch when I want to. A little more fun and control from your regluar automatic vehicle!

So this is the car I will drive during the week and when we go somewhere on weekends Matt will drive it for us. It's comfy to doze in the passenger seat--I already tested that out! Hopefully, this will give Matt's car a break so it will last longer.

So bye-bye Beetle, I'll miss you but I have a new love!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007