About Me

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Lapsed anthropologist-turned-burlesque performer and post-modern punk housewife/homesteader living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a hunky husband, gorgeous daughter, adorable corgi, fluffy rabbit, and three clucking fabulous chickens.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cheating on my Camera

 Mr. Bear and I have incredibly generous friends and family in our lives, and received everything on our honeymoon registry, except a new camera. Which is fine, I'm totally not complaining about that. We have all the camping equipment we wanted, and then some, and we have awesome hotels booked(and a yurt!) and money for great restaurants and souvenirs. It's going to be the most amazing three-part honeymoon ever, and we are incredibly excited for it.

It's just that my poor little Kodak EasyShare that I've had for three years has been all over the world with me and it's taken some knocks. It's also now quite eclipsed by newer cameras. I'm saving up for the NEX-5n, but I've been feeling rather down about not having a nicer camera to take on the honeymoon to capture all of our awesome moments with. Mr. Bear, wonderful man that he is, borrowed a Nikon D40x for me to use on the honeymoon, and brought it home so I could learn it before we leave next week. I adore my new husband.

I'm already in love with this camera, it takes such better pictures than my old one. I've only been shooting around the homestead, but I plan on taking it out this week and seeing what it can do.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rainbow Bling

One of the side-effects of being in a burlesque troupe is having buckets and buckets of rhinestones laying about. I had wanted to have this necklace finished in time to give to Jewels before the Pride Parade, but sadly life got in the way and I'm only finishing it now. As you can see in my inspiration picture above, the necklace that inspired this one is also rainbow-themed, but I wanted to take it in an over-the-top direction more suited to Jewels' style.

[Edited 6/23 to add] Of course, if you'd prefer to just buy a pretty necklace like the inspiration necklace, you can find them at SparkleBeastDesigns on Etsy!(thanks to the Offbeat Home community for locating the source of the inspiration necklace!)

For this project, you will need:

Sheer fabric(I used .77/yard tulle from Hobby Lobby)
Rhinestones(also from Hobby Lobby)
Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

I also used a quilting hoop to stretch the tulle out on, but this isn't strictly necessary.
First, lay out your design. I began with the outline in large clear stones, and then filled it in with rainbow gems.

I began gluing my design by beginning with the center-line. I glued the bottom center jewels first, and worked my way up.

Then I began branching out on the upper edge.

If you accidentally glue something in the wrong spot, don't freak out! Just hold the hot tip of the glue gun against the back. This will reheat the glue and the jewel can be lifted and repositioned.

I completed the outline by adding the lower edge and the drop jewels on the bottom.

I then took my large rainbow jewels and placed them first, trying to space them more or less evenly.

I began filling in the smaller rainbow jewels. It's okay if they don't fit exactly like they did when you planned it out, just fill in where ever you can.

Add any accent jewels you like. Voila! Our design is now backed by sheer fabric.

Carefully cut the design out, giving it a wide margin on the fabric. Here you can just barely make out the outline of the tulle, like a halo around the rhinestones.

Go back and carefully trim close to the edge of the upper outline, leaving a tab of tulle on each corner, but just skim the bottom edge of the lower accent jewels since they're sort of floating.

Here is what the back of the piece looks like. You might think that looks awfully scratchy to wear. You'd be right. So we're going to cut out some small bits of felt to glue to the backs of the larger jewels.

Here's what it'll look like backed with felt. I have sensitive skin and found it to still be somewhat itchy. Next time I would use a sheer organza instead of tulle and back it with soft flannel instead of felt. But if you don't have sensitive skin, this may not be an issue for you.

The last step is to cut your ribbon and sew it to the ends of your necklace, where we left those tulle "tabs" when we were trimming.

It is now ready to wear. When worn on the skin, the tulle disappears into the background, making the necklace appear as though it is hovering on your skin, like an "illusion" necklace without the wire.

It can also be worn lower, as a decorative neckline on a tank or blouse, though light tulle will show up against darker fabric.

Some other things you can do with your new accessory:
Be the world's most bedazzled stage-coach robber!

Attend a costume party as a blingin' garden gnome!

Have the shiniest headscarf ever!

Give your pooch a Lady Gaga cape!

This "Ice Cream" is Bananas!!!

Can you spell "ice cream"?
In today's Pinterest Challenge, I took on the banana "ice cream" recipe. Mr. Bear's favorite treat is ice cream, and since he recently developed lactose intolerance we've been looking for a substitute. Both Tofutti Cuties and Rice Dream have met with disapproval, so I thought I'd give this a shot.

The recipe I used as my inspiration is the Ultimage Vegan Ice Cream from (never home)maker.

For my version, you will need:

A blender
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs chocolate syrup
3 Tbs peanut butter.

Really, you can add anything to taste, these are just estimates.

First, slice the bananas into thin rounds, then toss in a freezer bag and freeze several hours or overnight(I did overnight). Then, add your frozen bananas to the blender and process. I first used the "crushed ice" option until I felt it was fine enough to use the puree option. The blender is slower than a food processor, so be patient. I repeatedly had to stop and squish my frozen banana down with a spatula. It looked about like this(please excuse the poor pictures, I used my 1st generation iPhone):

...and was the consistency of frozen yogurt. At this point I added my peanut butter, vanilla, and chocolate syrup. After a few more minutes of pureeing and squishing back down, it finally became soft enough for the blades of the blender to pull the mixture down itself, which you can see in the lovely pinwheel pattern here:

Since I felt it was mixed and smooth enough for me and Mr. Bear, I ceased processing and transferred the mixture to a 3-cup Gladware container:

As you can see, it only filled about three-quarters of the container, so if you were aiming to make a lot of banana ice cream, you'd need quite a few more bananas. Now, if you prefer the soft-serve consistency, the ice cream is ready to eat now. However, I put the container in the freezer to set up to a more traditional ice cream consistency. After about 4-5 hours, it was ready! I scooped it all into a bowl and shared it with Mr. Bear, who loved it!

Success! Next time I will add crushed Oreos and see if I can replicate his favorite cookies n' cream ice cream.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Shilling on the blog...

Quinn over at Reformation Acres turned me on to Swagbucks. Basically, instead of using Google to search, you search through their engine, and you can answer surveys and stuff, and earn "swagbucks" which can then be redeemed for things like Amazon giftcards, or even cash through PayPal. Quinn used hers to get a pair of really pretty galoshes for the farm:

...and more recently a new camera lens.

I was pretty skeptical, but I actually have enough Swagbucks now for a $10 Amazon gift card after about a week of surveys in my spare time and regular internet browsing. I'm saving up for the $50(or in my wildest of dreams, the $100) Amazon gift card or PayPal deposit to put toward my and Mr. Bear's Honeymoon fund. Honestly, if you spend any amount of time on the internet, just installing the Swagbucks toolbar to do your normal searching is worth it. Even if you never look at their surveys or anything, you get 1 swagbuck per day just for opening your browser window, and after a year, that's $20 for free. What with the economy and job market, twenty bucks is twenty bucks.

So why am I talking about this on the blog? Because if you join Swagbucks through this page, I earn more. Yes, it's a stupid referral scheme and I'm embarrassed for even asking, but money is tight, and I'm not above crowdfunding like this. If you earn swagbucks, I earn swagbucks, so help a blogger out?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: DIY Circus Marquee Letters

For our wedding, Mr. Bear and I decided on a vintage circus/carnival feel. I set to gathering inspiration on Pinterest, and stumbled across this tutorial on Ruffled:

We used much of the same materials: 2 sheets of foam board, 2 sheets of poster board, metallic spray paint(ours was gold), red spray paint, hot glue, and string lights.

Here's how ours came out:

The font I chose was Big Top. The extra flourishes made it a bit more challenging to cut out, but since the letters have walls, you can't really tell where any of the rough spots are.

We used round string lights from Target($13 per string of 25), and spray painted the inside of the walls metallic gold to really reflect the warm light of the bulbs.And here's how it looked on the big day:

They are now gracing the walls of our home, which is becoming more and more circus/carnivale-y awesome by the moment! Hurrah!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Today, on a Very Special Bird Hearts Bear

"Getting weddinged" is a term I've heard used to describe having a wedding after you've already been legally married, which is what we're doing. Today is the big day and already a million things are going wrong, so I am trying to adopt a fairly laid-back attitude to it, though I think it's coming off more as indifference born of frustration. However, the closer we get to Wedding Time the more I find myself able to let go of things I was stressing about 24 hours ago.
My friends have been beyond amazing, crafting for hours on end. My family have been beyond amazing, running all the errands and taking care of anything I couldn't take care of myself(or shouldn't, for my sanity). This wedding is going to be amazing and awesome and fun, there will be soooooo many pictures, and they will all be incredible. It's okay that I didn't have time to make my Twister quilt. It's okay that my cakes are drastically different than what I set out to create. It's okay there are no cupcakes. It's okay we couldn't get a pretty rental car. I wrote my vows, I have a ceremony planned, and there will be confetti cannons, silly photobooth pictures, sparklers, volcanoes, and hula hoops. People will dance and drink and laugh and cry, and so will we.

Mr. Bear, I love you.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


So here's a brief roundup of our DIY activities over the past month(though mostly in the past week):

Our adorable cake topper(she's standing on a suitcase, 'cause he's so tall!) that I custom-painted.
Red/aqua heels, pink crinoline, and dotted tights. And darker hair for us both.

My fascinator. Two curled goosefeather pads from Etsy taken apart and reassembled, and a brooch.

My "I-Spy" list of things for people to take pictures of with digital cameras, phones, or the provided disposables.

My coffee-filter rose, brooch, and ostrich plume bouquet. Also, lights.


Wedding-themed mad libs!!!

Our marquee letters. In true Bird Hearts Bear fashion, I designed and Mr. Bear built, with the help of some of our fabulous friends.

This is what will print out at our photobooth. Mr. Bear actually wrote the photobooth program for the laptop himself, because he is genius. I designed the layout. We are an awesome team.

Today I blow off some steam by attending The Farm Chick's antique show with one of my bridesmaids, after which a couple more of my fabulous friends will be by to finish sewing the lace overlay for my dress(which is utterly GORGEOUS!!!) and I will finish assembling my bouquet. Everything is falling into place!!!
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