What an exciting time it's been to continue to settle in at home, and make it [for the most part] everything I ever imagined while incorporating my own personal style. During this time, I've also had the chance to step away from social media and better manage my intake of everything going on in the world. It was a much needed break, and allowed me great amounts of time to slow down, refocus, and plan for the future. DIY projects are an awesome way to relax and get creative.
This door decor project was one of my favorite to do during my social media break. Though I am a fan of wreaths, which are commonly hung on doors... the beautiful arrangements whose ring or circular shape is meant to represent eternity are also laid on graves and often seen as related to death. Growing up, I would always hear my Mom say she (or Liberian people in general) didn't use wreaths for decoration on their doors/at home because of this. I was looking for a design that would be just as gorgeous as a wreath, but way different than what you'd typically see hanging on a door or at a funeral.
Within a few minutes of online searching, I found a design that I liked and looked easy enough to replicate. I skimmed through my craft supplies, frames, and outdoor spaces and scavenged for all of the materials I needed (needle, thread, small branches and twigs, faux flowers, pine cone, plexi-glass, frame, ruler wood burner/stencil cutter, chalk markers, sealant, 3M hanging strip, scissors, spray paint, water, a rag and hot glue gun)! After some short, sporadic sessions of putting everything together, I hung up the sign on my front door... for $FREE.99! To seal and weather-proof the piece on the door, I sprayed the chalk ink lettered design with fixative, but that left it with a foggy residue I was not happy with. I ended up testing which spray of the ones I had on-hand were the best on sections of the first piece. Then I redid the lettering on a new cut of the plexi-glass. Of the four sprays that were tested, Krylon's Crystal Clear had the best results. Pictures in the gallery below show a little of this project's behind-the-scenes process. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed and/or feel inspired to create one of your own! Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments section if you have any!
What a jammed-packed Labor Day Weekend (LDW) with friends and family - FRAMILY! My cousin, Shadlyn, spent her vacation paying me a visit, so I tried to make sure we had a good balance of things to do. It was a great time hosting and showing her pieces of my life while also venturing out to enjoy other parts of North Carolina. This post will be a complete recap of our weekend, starting with Sunday (the day before she headed back to Baltimore).
We slept in and did not make it to our scheduled morning church service or community yoga session, but the sleep was very needed. When we finally rolled out of bed, we fixed breakfast and watched 21 Jump Street (I'll only say "I've seen better"). A little after noon, I pulled out a blouse that urgently needed to be stitched, so I did that quickly and we got ready and were off to the Durham Civil Rights History Mural (DCRHM) Project wall. Shadlyn had expressed to me prior that she was upset I signed her up to paint, but I found it necessary that we put in a few volunteer hours in our schedule. In the end, she said that she had a great time helping out on a mural for the first time. Below, find some flicks in the slideshow of the site's progress!
We headed straight to my sister's house to visit her family afterwards. They had fried rice, peppered cajun seafood, and drinks waiting for us. SCORE! While there, my brother in law ran out to buy some fruit that I agreed to help him carve into a "wagon". More visitors came and we had a great time bonding with each other. It wasn't until close to midnight when we headed back home to get some rest. We all had a splendid time and I'm glad we convinced Shadlyn not to hit the road until early Monday morning. It's a blessing to be people rich.
On July 8th and 9th, 2014 the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards of the US Environmental Protection Agency at Research Triangle Park, NC held a two-day Air Quality Workshop for Educators. Being a newly enrolled participant of the NC Environmental Education Certification Program (NCEECP), I registered and attended this event, which was a great experience.
This was my first time on the EPA's RTP Campus, so I was very excited being there. I met many teachers that traveled from near and far, as well as got the chance to network with fellow NCEECP members. We had the pleasure of eating in the Lakeside Cafe for lunch, riding the shuttle between sites, touring the LEED-NC Silver National Computer Center and several other areas of the sustainable campus. Throughout the workshop, we were given many resources to assist with teaching our various audiences about Air Quality and overall environmental issues. As if that isn't exciting enough, we also calculated our individual and household carbon footprints, participated in many hands-on activities, and even built DIY Sensors with the same kits used in the Village Green Program! Building those sensors was my favorite activity and I look forward to incorporating similar devices in an art project in the near future.
Continuing the LEED Certified Building theme, I also visited the LEED Gold Courthouse in downtown Durham. Well, my visit was mostly forced since I received a summons in the mail for jury service, but that did not stop me from marveling at the building's "Green Facts" posted all around, sustainable designs, including green roofing and views of town from several stories up. My first jury duty experience wasn't as dreadful as people make it seem and I give a lot of credit to being able to explore such a beautifully designed building. As always, thanks for visiting and please find some photos of the courthouse in the gallery below! Au revoir!
Yesterday afternoon, I made it out of the house and trudged through the heavy rains to Raleigh. Members of the Triangle Sketch Crawl gathered for the afternoon at the NC Museum of Natural Science to practice drawing from the variety of objects found at this new location. I remember coming to the museum previously during a conference I attended, but this was my first time actually exploring the many levels and exhibits. It's a very beautiful space with a lot to see. I spent half of my time snapping pictures (gallery below) and walking around before I found a couple of spots (by the turtles) that I enjoyed sketching in.
The coolest thing I learned about mushrooms is that some of them have teeth! I'm not much of a 'shroom eater and with it being my first time hunting for them, I joined the hike hosted by ECWA along with a group of Mycologists and students just for the sake of experiencing nature again. Our hike leaders were experts, and gave excellent direction on where to find them; "go for the mounds where you see pine needles poking out," I was told.
While scattering through piles of leaf litter and rolling over fallen logs, my hiking partner, Melody, and I found a variety of fungi, adding to the huge selection the group collectively gathered. Our collection included puff balls, Amanitas, Turkey tails (false or smooth, gilled, and porous) and other bracket shaped fungi. Someone even found an animal skull.
We learned how to ID mushrooms by looking at their caps, stems, what they are growing on and whether they had pores, gills, or spines (also called teeth). Also, we were informed about the different types of fruiting bodies, and the mechanisms they use to spread their spores. I was excited to find out that some of the mushrooms I found were edible (pictured above, Hedgehog or Sweet Tooth Mushroom; Hydnum repandum). I happily let Melody have them so she could cook them for dinner.
Overall, this hike was a very educational experience and I used it again as inspiration to create new art with a street graffiti, cartoon-like style (see gallery of inspiration and the design's progress slideshow below).
My newest illustration has allowed me to practice my line work and watercolor painting techniques. After exploring a new part of town this past weekend while hiking with a group of fellow naturalists and stewards, I felt inspired to start drawing (see progress pictures below). Hosted by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, there are many activities on their calendar year-round. Take this Saturday as an example, which is their Community Stewardship Day at Glennstone Nature Preserve where volunteers will come to help with trail maintenance, removing invasive plants, and cleaning up trash around the detention pond. With it being my first experience on any of ECWA's preserves, I found it to be delighting. I learned all about North Carolina's habitats, tasted the [surprisingly] citrisy taste of pine, and flat out enjoyed Mother Nature. For more information about ECWA, visit http://www.ellerbecreek.org
April is awesome! This month has been filled with more Triangle explorations and some inspiration. As it wraps up, I'll just take this time to share some cool things happening.
I found out about a three-day conference hosted by NCSU's chapter of AIAS, a student-run organization dedicated to all things architecture. While there, I met a number of students, the Chief Planning & Development Officer and Planning Director for Raleigh ( Mr. Mitchell Silver), toured many firms/campus sites, and listened to interesting lectures. The [SWAG] goodie bags we received at registration had silicone USB drive bracelets, restaurant certificates, a tee shirt and a bunch of information about the conference/Raleigh/NCSU/etc; I KNOW - HOW COOL! It was a great conference and it helped me realize that I enjoy being in educational settings. Some pictures are in the gallery below, but find more here.
That same week, I attended Durm-based rap artist The Real Laww's (TRL) concert in Raleigh at Tir Na Nog. It felt good to be in a new environment and I had a lot of fun. The dance that goes to his newest song was the inspiration for completing my first animated project in Adobe Flash CS6. Check it below (click gif to enlarge)!
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