Mike, my fiance, is a huge fan of Conan O'Brien. Not only was he crushed when Jay Leno reclaimed The Tonight Show, steeling the coveted late night spot right out of Conan's hands, Mike denounced Leno's name for months whenever the slightest opportunity arose. So in an effort to help Mike support his comedic hero, I decided to finally try my hand at a skill that had been patiently waiting on my To-Do List: screen-printing.

My designs were largely based off of shirts designed by other Conan fans but were completely inspired by Mike's undying support of everything O'Brien had to say. During his very last episode hosting The Tonight Show, Conan made a heartfelt and honest speech that was summed up fairly well by one of his final lines "Work hard and be kind." Mike took these words to heart and I decided that, on top of making a simple but iconic "Team Coco" shirt, I would find a way to incorporate O'Brien's positive message. And surely enough, I actually found a design online that had those very words written across the chest, beneath a silhouette of O'Brien's infamous hair-do. And alas I came up with two perfect shirt ideas.

Screen-printing is a technique that can be completed through a wide variety of methods, ranging from quite simple, clean, and inexpensive to complex, costly and messy. I opted for a simpler route and still come out with an impressive final product that would look just as professional as a real silk-screened T-shirt.

All that you really need to complete this simple screen-printing project at home are:
  • A design
  • An exacto knife
  • Freezer paper
  • An iron
  • A clean T-shirt (or other fabric surface you would like to print on)
  • Cardboard or newspaper
  • Paint brushes
  • Fabric paint
First, finalize your design. Your design needs to have two clear and distinct areas: the cut-away spaces where the paint will and the areas that will stay the color of the fabric. A strictly black and white image works, however a grey-scale design would not.

Then you need to trace the outlines of your design onto freezer paper. To do this, simply put your design underneath the semi-transparent freezer paper and trace the areas to be cut away. Get your knife out and cut out the design on the freezer paper but be sure to think about the whole entire process before putting knife to paper! The areas that you cut out are the ones where the paint will go, so be sure to consider this when making all your cuts. And don't forget to save the inner portions of your letters that shouldn't be cut away but aren't attached to the rest of the freezer paper; a, b, d, e, o, etc. all have isolated portions that must be cut out and then ironed on separately, so don't throw the triangles in your "A" away!

Now that you have a fully prepared freezer paper design, use the highest dry setting on your iron to affix the freezer paper to your fabric. Lay the design down where you would like it to be and firmly press down with the iron. Make sure to give particular attention to the edges where you will be painting to ensure that you will have sharp lines and that no paint will spread underneath the edges of the paper.

Once the design is ironed-on and cooled down, it's time to paint. Be sure to place cardboard or a few sheets of newspaper inside the T-shirt to prevent paint from seeping through to the opposite side of the shirt. Then apply a thin, even coat of paint in the cut-away areas of your design. Apply a second coat if needed. Once the paint is completely dry, peel away the freezer-paper and wear your new shirt with pride!

Fault Lines by Nancy Huston

Nancy Huston's Fault Lines was a book I came across at random while browsing for something new and unusual in the library. This novel, a Prix Femina prize winner, is a family saga, told in reverse. We first see the world through the eyes of Sol, a six-year-old Californian boy in the year 2004. Secrets are beginning to reveal themselves when Sol's modern-day family travels to Germany, just in time for the narration to jump back twenty years to when Sol's father, Randall, was a young boy.

The change of narrator takes us progressively further and further back into this family's history. It is only once we see the world from each successively earlier generation's point of view that we begin to more fully understand the complexity of Sol's family background and the truth of their history during WWII.

Huston's anachronistic narrative is structured like a true mystery; the further back she takes us in time, the more we uncover, piece by piece, until finally the parts fit together to reveal the whole story. Additionally, we are introduced to the adult embodiment of each character before their childhood selves, making for an unusual but extremely effective style of character development. The unconventional narrative time line is not only refreshing but extremely well-done and leaves little doubt as to why this is such a winning novel.



I love collages. Taking items, patterns, images, and colors that inspire me and piecing them together in new ways to create an entirely new work of art is one of my favorite pastimes. Most of the time when I create things, however, I need for them to be functional or serve some purpose, so I generally make my collages into cards. Here are a few of my favorites that I've made over the years.

A Thank You card featuring artwork from a Long Blondes album and an ad for Lost Highway Records.

This card was the product of various advertisements for I don't even remember what. I do remember having great difficulty finding something to put beneath the candles in the trees as there were elephants beneath them in the original ad. I must say, I quite like the way it ultimately turned out.

When I was in college, a local antique store was going out of business and I purchased a bunch of vintage photographs for an absurdly low price. This was before my collaging-phase and it was a few years later when I finally figured out what to do with all these one-of-a-kind images. Most of them feature the woman on this card, some socialite I imagine as she's always draped in furs, wearing lots of jewelry, and is photographed in front of a hole host of large mansions and interesting sights. I find the mystery behind the photograph to be much of the charm of this card.

I've always loved the quote "Live every day from the crack of dawn until you can't keep your eyes open any longer" and wanted to feature it on a card. I found an ad for something or other with these perfectly placed sheep and something about counting sheep and no longer being able to open your eyes made sense in my head and led to this quirky card.

All of these cards can be purchased at my Etsy shop and, if something is out of stock, don't hesitate to message me and request a copy!

Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal Crunch

Being on a low budget requires creativity when it comes to meals, especially for someone like me who craves fruits and vegetables at all meals and in between. Peanut butter has been a major staple in my breakfast routine lately and, along with my last Granny Smith apple, I created an interesting and delicious flavored oatmeal.

First I followed the directions to prepare plain oatmeal, being sure to add a dash of salt and a hint of cinnamon for flavoring. As soon as the oatmeal was done cooking, I added a tablespoon peanut butter and mixed it in. A little bit of honey (about 2 tsp) and half of a Granny Smith apple, chopped, was all I needed to sweeten out the dish. Just a small handful of store-bought granola made for a perfect crunchy topping.

A little bit of sweet, a touch of sour, and a variety of textures make this innovative breakfast irresistible. And for an even healthier alternative, wheat germ, milled flax seed, or a similar additive can easily be mixed into the oatmeal with the peanut butter for an extra nutritional kick.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig is an iconic story chronicling a father-son American West motorcycle journey, peppered with philosophical musings and observations on American culture. This was a (530 page) book which I truly could not put down. Though Pirsig touches on everything from small-town USA to the definition of quality, from the structure of a cycle to the teachings of Plato, his book retains a coherence that draws you in and keeps you absorbed the whole way through. It’s pretty obvious why this book, based on events from Pirsig’s own life, has gotten so much hype.

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