Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mix and match-chose your perfect body!

Ta-da-! I finally finished my book today!  I still need to put in the end papers, but it's very exciting to see it in this state considering this what I've envisioned for months and now I finally have the product- just as I had imagined it :)
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Finished print

I was able to finish the print from the sketch last night. It has been a successful birthday indeed!
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bit of a different post...

So first and foremost, Happy (belated) Easter and along those lines, happy birthday to me.  Alas, I am one year older.  Officially.

That being said, this day (this week, this month) is not the time for birthdays.  In fact, having a birthday party is extremely inconvenient and I'd really rather skip it for about 2 weeks.

I am currently in the last week of classes (read: finals) and have my final review for the semester on Friday.  Tomorrow morning, at 9am however, I am starting to take my real estate classes to get my real estate license.  After the class I will start a new print for my portfolio/independent study.  Here are the sketches:

I plan on building up translucent/transparent colors on top of each other and probably won't use outlines.

Just one more more week and I can focus on my internship, tea, real estate class and work...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book progress...

So I have finally started cutting out the pages for my book with each figure being a separate page. I still need to cut each figure into 3 segments but we're making progress...

I also (12+ hours later) came back to my morning tea.  While I think I was too harsh on the leaves this morning, I have had better luck this evening in getting a proper taste.  Very sweet aftertaste!
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Roasted Golden Buddha Hand

Morning, 7:30 am.  It appears sunny outside and is apparently in the 50's.

I remembered to warm the cup and do the rinse (I sometimes forget to do one or the other at my makeshift tea station at home)

1st steep: near boiling water around 10 sec.

Oops, steeped it too long...very bitter in flavor.

2nd steep: 4-5 sec.

Tea is nicely scented.  Flavor still unbalanced.  Now it may be my inability to steep tea properly for the time being, but I'm wondering if this is really the Roasted Golden Buddha Hand...the first scent of the dry leaves seemed slightly off and while it is extremely bitter (due to my errors), it does taste slightly different overall..but then again, I may just be overly paranoid that Tim is trying to trick me with giving me the wrong information.  I'm also wondering if maybe the fact that a lot of the (for lack of a better term) dregs were in this cup, it's affecting the flavor.  A lot of the broken pieces that had been at the bottom of the bag, when poured into my bag to carry home, ended up on top, and into this first cup.  I'm thinking that it is having a greater effect on my tea than I had anticipated.

3rd steep: 1-2 sec.  Water is cooling down.  I've decided to leave the lid off the gaiwan to prevent the tea from cooking more.

4th steep: I waited before steeping this one (went and cooked some eggs and came back, so the water has cooled significantly).  I steeped it for only a second or two with the cooled water.  The tea seems to be getting closer to the right point but certainly isn't there yet.

5th steep: since the water has cooled even further, I tried steeping for 4-5 seconds.  Better, I think.

Anyway, time to rush to get my lunch together before heading to class!  I didn't listen to the leaves as much this morning because of being slightly rushed and I think I've seen the effect of it in the tea...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Updated Works and CSA!

Along with posting updated works, I wanted to mention happily that I joined a local CSA (Central Brooklyn CSA).  While I have only purchased a veggies half share, I look forward to getting later getting a fruit and egg share for the summer.  I had been meaning to join one for a while now so I look forward to picking up my farm fresh veggies weekly this summer!

At last, I am finally finished with the piece!! least for this year, anyway...maybe I'll come back to it after I haven't looked at it for a year or so.

While this isn't finished, it is "finished" enough for now...

Golden Buddha Hand

I've been meaning to post about this for a while but being the last 2 weeks of classes, times have been very busy.  I was asked to record a more "scientific" (as I define it) description of what I do when I pour tea.  This should be good since I am doubtlessly making endless mistakes when I pour tea for myself at home...all starting with the heat of the water and length of steeping time.

Something I am concerned about is burning, or bruising the teas.  I worry about using water that is too hot that will negatively affect the leaves, but more specifically, I am worried that I won't be able to tell the difference....alas, I suppose it is something that, like with anything, takes time to learn.

Golden Buddha Hand Notes:

Morning, 8am.  Sunny outside-upper 40's, low 50's (I forget the specific day, but I believe this was on Tuesday, April 12th)

Warmed gaiwan and cup with near boiling water.

Warmed dry leaves: fresh, very green and young

Rinse: waited a bit before rinsing but only let the water sit for a few seconds

1st steep:
             - 10 sec (water very hot)
             - leaves already opening
             - flavor weak but young, eggy

2nd steep:
             - cooler water
             - 15-20 sec
             - stronger flavor- eggier, astringent
             - flavor affects upper palate

3rd steep:
             - still cooler water- longer steep

4th steep:
             - reboiled water
             - steeped for 10 sec

Appears to be more flavor with cooler water and longer steep.  This would make sense however, since this is a younger leaf, and thus, is more gentle...

Since then, I have been steeping the leaves overnight and drinking the cool tea in the morning.  Refreshing!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Work

I finished silkscreening the pages for my new book today. Each body is going to be a different page and each is going to be cut into 3 segments (chest, belly, legs) so the viewer can flip to different parts.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Painting for a Rainy Day

I am, sadly, not a fan of doing landscapes or city scenes however I have an assignment due tomorrow requiring that I make one.  And so, this is what I see out of my back window (after we get Charlie out of the way).  It's done with acrylic and watercolor pencils.  I have a picture that I took further into it, but for whatever reason I can't get it to upload at this point in time. (I did like this picture though)

In other news, I've been craving tea all day.  Yes, I had some of Michael's TiKwanYin Classic Roast this morning but all day I kept imagining scents and tastes (and finishes) of certain teas...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eagles Live!

This morning with my tea and oatmeal, I watched a live video feed from an Eagle's nest.  While enjoying the sounds and ambiance of a wooded environment, I was able to watch a mommy eagle feed her babies and adjust her nest!

To watch as well, go here:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tea, Clams and Other Such Things

Today I sampled the classic roast.  Not being a coffee drinker, I would say it has a strong coffee flavor.  It is also nicely spiced- sometimes chocolate, sometimes cinnamon.  I've never been one to particularly be affected by caffeine, but this tea makes me jittery in a way so I can't help but wonder if it's caffeine...

In other news, this weekend was another delicious clams weekend.  Today I sauteed them and then added them to a tomato basil sauce.  Before adding them to the sauce, I used this recipe:

Finally,  Here's an update of my work:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Eggplant for Breakfast!

This morning, to cut down on carbs but still get a healthy, filling breakfast I decided to make a recipe that I was given from a friend a few weeks ago. It's called Eggplant French Toast.

Eggplant French Toast

1 small eggplant
2 eggs (I used egg whites)
1 T cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/16 t Stevia

I cut the eggplant into 1/4-1/2 in disks (since it was just for myself however, I only cut 3 pieces). Combine the eggs (again, I only used egg whites), cinnamon, nutmeg and stevia into a large dish and soak the eggplant on both sides for a few minutes. Then throw them into a pan at medium heat and flip until golden brown on each side.

For a topping, I used a tablespoon of pure agave nectar and on tablespoon of natural peanut butter.

I highly recommend trying this- it's a healthier, fun take on a traditional breakfast and it tastes great!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I decided to begin comparing the more roasted Golden Buddha Hand with the "original" Golden Buddha Hand.  Because I sadly only have one gaiwan (I'm hoping to get another on Friday, which I desperately need) I can only sample one tea at a time, so I returned to the "original".

It's interesting to see how my taste  appears to be changing.  Several weeks ago I probably would have preferred the original and disliked the "bitterness" (as I like to call it) of the roasted tea.  Now however, I miss the added nuances and subtleties as well as the robustness of the roasted tea.

Anyway, back to getting ready for class...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sadly, I was wrong.

Sadly I was wrong in my tea guess.  While it was at least an Anxi varietal, it was actually a roasted Golden Buddha Hand.

Continuing on the Anxi road however, this week I was given a TiKwanYin Classic to sample.  Hopefully I shall have notes and observations to give soon... 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mystery Tea!

Last week I received an unlabeled "mystery tea" from Tim and Dae (from The Mandarin Tea Room and The Tea Gallery, respectively) to sample and "play with".  Sadly, it's been a very busy week and as I am going to The Tea Gallery tomorrow, I am forced to finally sample it now, last minute.

As soon as I opened it, I was very excited.  The leaves are wonderfully rolled and slightly browned (bruising?).  Upon sniffing the warmed, dry leaves I knew immediately that I had tasted it before.  It is particularly pungent with a nutty, roasted smell but also a certain unidentified floral scent.

The tea itself yields a beautifully deep rustic orange color.  The flavor is a strong whirlwind of flavors but bitter (and not in a bad way).  Slightly citric?

It leaves a sweet impression on the tip of my tongue.

And finally, my guess is that it is an Anxi tea, specifically the High Fired TikwanYin.

(Lastly, I took a picture of my dismal, tea tasting area of the table to show what sort of an environment I was working in and realized that the picture was just too embarrassingly bad to show.  I must attempt to reclaim the apartment...again)