Monday, November 29, 2010

People

There are people who make it known that they're sick. They openly ask to be helped, because they know there are always helpers to help them.
When the helpers become sick, they only help themselves. They know how to make themselves better. There is no need to make it known that you're sick, let alone ask for help.
Yet, only their heart is left hurting; and who could fix that?


It's been interesting (and stressful) living with my aunt and cousin. Being in the loft, I hear every conversation. The above is a rough translation of my own understanding of what I heard from my aunt today. It was in reference to my cousin being under the weather. Their way of thinking has been heavily influenced by the Chinese culture. In the above paragraph, replace the words "people" with "men" and "helpers" with "women," and you can gain some insight. 


My aunt and cousin first moved in about five months ago, and since then I have noticed that they seem to think men have more authority over women. At first I thought my cousin was spoiled, but as the months went by, I still think he's spoiled, but it also became more apparent that he was just acting as if he were the boss. You see, his dad (my uncle), is basically the boss of not only his company, but also his family. So my cousin only knows how to be the boss. It also doesn't help that his main example of a woman is his mom. Any direction he gives to his mom, "Mom, do this. Mom, you can't do this. Mom, be useful," she complies to. Any direction she gives to him turns into an argument complete with flying objects from the former, and is ultimately carried out by his defeated mom.


Whether they think their actions can really justified by their gender is beyond me. This is just my opinion based on observation and many readings of Amy Tan novels.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Project Cho Chang: Self

Cho Chang first appeared in the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry first meets her while playing their team in Quidditch. Cho becomes Harry's first love interest. Weird. Personally I don't really like her character, J.K. Rowling made her too weak and depressed all the time, constantly pining over her ex-boyfriend turned vampire (I know, different franchises). I do like her house, Ravenclaw, however, and the fact that she's the only Chinese person in the book; therefore, no matter which character I attempted to dress up as, I would automatically be stereotyped as Cho Chang.



To get her look together, I striped a tie, made a wand, found a white, collared shirt, black cardigan, altered a black skirt, black tights, black flats, and cut my bangs.


In the bathroom, lame, I know. Time to fix that.


After some meticulous Paint work (no Photoshop), final look (sans wand).


HAHA, close.

Cho Chang is not in part one of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but I'm hoping they'll bring her back for part two. She is suppose to make a cameo during the Hogwarts fight scene (in the book, anyways). Part one, however, was amazing. I was left there wishing they would continue the movie into part two, it's cruel they're making us wait another seven months.

I watched the movie twice, first at midnight the day of the premiere, to which my brother said, "I watched it 12 hours later, and it was the same." -____-

The second time, a few days later, we took pictures.




Sigh, the closest we'll ever be to meeting them.

My favourite moments in the movie:
  • Opening scenes of Hermione, Ron, and Harry that show the intensity of the situation.
  • Ron embracing Harry when they reunite at the Dursley's.
  • The seven Harrys polyjuice scene. Bravo Daniel Radcliffe.
  • Ron helping the others raise the tent. Whew.
  • Hermione and Ron's cute moments.
  • Harry and Ron arguing. Good acting. 
  • Hermione getting tortured. Not because she's getting hurt! But, because of Emma's acting, she needs an award.

Things I wished they included:
  • Harry and the Dursley's having a proper goodbye. I was looking forward to Dudley saying," I don't think you're a waste of space."
  • Was Mundungus even on Mad-eye Moody's broom??
  • The invisibility cloak
  • More polyjuice potion use
  • Emphasis on the "Voldemort" taboo
  • Lily's letter!
  • More Dumbledore family history

The ending of the movie was a bit abrupt. What a lot of reviews from other fans have been saying, and I can agree, was that they should have had Harry realize what the hallows were, and that his mission was to destroy the horcruxes, not to collect the hallows, all while they show Voldemort unearthing the elder wand. But why they probably didn't go that far was because they're saving that story for part two. Part one went through ~25 chapters, leaving ~10 chapters for part two, so they'll be needing that split missions story. Part one was just to show how dangerous the situation was, how alone the three were, and how the only instruction left by Dumbledore to destroy the horcruxes was affecting the three. Part two is about to be an epic finish. 

My emotions are up and down. I CAN'T WAIT, but then again I can, because once part two comes out it'll mean it's over. BITTERSWEET. In the mean time, I'll just be reading the books over and over again :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Project Cho Chang: Wand

Instead of shelling out ~$30 per wand, I decided to make my own. I searched online, because I knew someone had to have tried making their own wand. This was the best tutorial: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-an-awesome-Harry-Potter-wand-from-a-sheet-of-/ 

First start off with a sheet of paper, and curl from the bottom right hand corner.


 Just keep rolling, just keep rolling, just keep rolling.



After rolling about half of sheet, you can start to loosen the top of the wand. You want it to look like a really thin cone, kinda like those cones you use to spin cotton candy with.




Tah-Dah. Now where's my cotton candy..




To add stability, since the wand is currently hollow, I stuff small bits of paper through the wider end by using a stick and a pencil. Again, the urban outfitter's catalog has proven to be very useful to me. Our wands now possess the essence of looking fashionably cheap, but expensive.



I keep stuffing until the entire wand is filled, then close the bigger end by folding down the edges and wrapping paper around it.



Next, I make the "handle" of the wand. It was too hard to recreate the wands they had in the movies, so I just made up my own.

My tools: tape and twine. (If you say that fast, it kind of sounds like "turpentine" with a funny accent. ha ha?) 



First add glue to the handle, and spread around the area where you want your handle to be.



Then wrap the twine around the handle area, and add tape at the two ends to hold the twine in place until the glue dries. 

There could've been more pictures of the process, but I needed two hands for this part.


Now, time to start painting.


Paint the entire wand.


To add some color and to make it look more "magical," I take gold and silver nail polish and paint the handle.


Then I finish it by taking some clear top coat nail polish to add some shine to the handle.

This is Alane's wand.


My wand is the on the right, it was the guinea pig of this process. Whatever I wanted to test out, I would test on my wand first. That's why it's a bit tacky looking. Ah, if only they were real. haha, the things I could do.. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Project Cho Chang: Skirt

Time to get my costume together. Here is my trusty sewing guide. I got it at the library like four or five years ago. It's one of those books people donate, and the library sells for.. well, as you can see, $1.00. Also, if you can't tell, this book is from the late '70s. So the styles in there are all high waisted pants, ruffled blouses, ascots, and elastic waistbands. Cute.


I first work on the skirt. I've had this one long skirt that my grandma made a long time ago. Well I cut about four inches off. I don't have a picture of the original, because I actually started this project maybe two years ago. I picked it up again recently for the purpose of Harry Potter :)

After cutting the skirt to the length I wanted, I had to hem the raw edges. First step is tacking by basting. I folded the raw edge up about three quarters of an inch and used a general stitching method (basting) and sewed about an eighth of an inch from the bottom to secure it temporarily (tacking). I used pink thread, because it's easy to see.


Next step was to begin the hem. To hide the raw edge, I fold it down about an eighth of an inch, and did a backstitch.


To secure this hem, I sew it to the skirt by using a slipstitch.



After sewing all around the skirt, I remove the pink thread.



Skirt? Check.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Project Cho Chang: Tie

For the Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Pt. 1 premiere, Alane and I are going to dress up as Hermione and Cho!

The tie was the first of a few components to my costume to be completed. Cho Chang is in Ravenclaw, and this is the tie I needed. I couldn't find it online for a reasonable (well, reasonable to me) price, so of course I would take it into my own hands to make my own.


I found a five dollar tie from Wal-Mart.


And start my DIY striping.

I first put down two strips of tape, as if I were painting stripes on a wall.


Then paint a base coat using some old nail polish. This ensures a smoother second coat.


Outline the area with a silver gel pen, to ensure all the edges are covered.



Then apply the top coat using another old nail polish I had lying around. At this point I was really wishing I was working under a fumehood, because these fumes were making me nauseous. 



My favorite part of the process, removing the tape once the nail polish has dried.



Perfect.



Repeat process to make the second stripe right above the first.



Slowly, but surely.


By looking at my reference picture, I determined the measurements.

15mm between the thick and thin stripes.



Each of the thick stripes were 5mm wide.


And were 4mm apart.



The final result after a few days of working. I only striped half the tie, since you only see the front half (saving me a lot of work).


Tah-dah :D

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Charlie Brown Christmas 2009

For nearly an entire year, I forgot to take pictures of what I made for Shaina's birthday/Christmas last year. Well, since we're not in Davis anymore, I had Shaina send me pictures she took with her camera. She loves Snoopy. It was perfect that I was able to find a Christmas Snoopy. There are little Christmas lights that light up while it dances to music when you press his foot. Look at him go.


No birthday is complete without a cake :) Well I tried to make her a Snoopy on top of his cake house. Didn't work like I had wanted it to. Red is a hard color to get when you're using white frosting. I remember using up my red bottle of food coloring and some of Cristina's. The Snoopy was made by melting white chocolate, and the cupcakes were decorated by Cristina.


To add to this Snoopy overload, I burned her a copy of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" CD. I had to add my own touch to it, so I drew a little Christmasy picture of Snoopy and Woodstock.


Wait, there's still more. I made my own CD sleeve inspired by the new Norah Jones CD, "The Fall," I had gotten around that time.


Complete with a song list, including a bonus song that was Shaina's favorite from the movie "The Polar Express." I made this by using some cardboard from some cereal box (I think). The CD is inserted on the right side. And no, I didn't trace. I don't believe in tracing.


I've been in a very Christmasy mood :)
Happy birthday again, Shaina!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Breeves


Cabreeve and I were finally able to meet up for what worked out to be a good amount of time :) We exchanged more gifts. Before I get to what she decided to give me from her side of the room, here is a little something I put together before we left Davis. I hadn't had the time to put onto a CD until a few days ago.

As a going away gift, I made videos/slideshows for Cat and Alane. I can't show clips from it, because it would just be a bunch of pictures, but here is Cat's CD.

Of course I wanted to personalize it. I just took some sharpies, and started drawing.. an hour before I met up with Cat.

First I sketched with a pencil.


It's always very French with us. 
The title is a play off the phrase "Paris, je t'aime." 
There's also a song, I've been liking called "Paris, Je T'aime": 
So it made "Catherine, Je T'aime" all the more appropriate.


Here is the CD cover.


As Cat's parting gift from her side of the room for me, she decided to give me a part of her giant "What is Life?" poster she had hanging over her bed. That poster is filled with a bunch of inspirational life quotes. She told me she wanted to give me something I saw every morning when I woke up. Her poster was usually the first thing I'd see every morning, and also the last thing I saw every night before I slept. So it was really nice she actually cut out a quote that reminded her of me. Now every time she looks at her poster, and her eyes wander over the missing quote, she'll think of me :)


I bet you thought it was a frame. I never knew they made trays where you can insert pictures!


Her quote for me:

"Life is pure adventure
and the sooner we realize that,
the quicker we will be able
to treat life as art."

It's how we do. Can't wait for our next tea party <3