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I made these cards a while back for my cousin and a family friend, who both graduated from high school this year.  They’re summer-themed and made out of 12″ X 12″ cardstock, folded over into uneven thirds so that the waves overlap the beach scene and give a 3-D effect:

DIY graduation card

I used mostly scrapbooking materials for these cards, drawing inspiration from the materials at hand.  A yellow polka-dotted paper became the sand; a fun stripey paper reminded me of a beach towel.  The umbrella and the graduation cap get a subtle 3-D effect from adhesive foam dots, adding visual interest to the scene (you can’t really tell from the photographs).

DIY handmade graduation card

For a fun, youthful touch, I decided to cut the congratulatory message out of paper and glue it on, rather than stamping it.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Halfway through, however, I found myself deploring their respective parents’ lack of foresight in naming their children “Brendan” and “Avallon” over shorter names with simply-shaped letters more suitable for card-making.  I have never been such a fan of the letter “O” before.

Note to future parents: The letters “I”, “L”, and “O” are wonderful things.  If you name your daughter LILO, I’ll probably make her a graduation card.  Otherwise, she might be out of luck.


It’s summer vacation, and that means it’s time to enjoy a bunch of things I didn’t have time for last semester.

Summer To Do Mosaic

From left to right, beginning with the top row:

1. Read my first graphic novel, Watchmen.  I’ve just finished reading it for the first time, and it surpassed all my expectations.  I need to read it again, then read Dash’s thesis on it and see the movie.

2. Watch the entirety of Firefly.

3. Go camping.

4. Make various DIY crafts.  I have in mind an earring organizer and a wallet woven from paint samples.

5. Learn how to decorate cupcakes using marzipan.

6. Play my first game of D&D.  See what all the fuss is about.

7. Attend BFD 2009, with The Offspring and MC Lars.

8. Pick up guitar again.  I’m not very good, but Davin is super patient.  Perhaps this summer I will vanquish my foe, the bar chord.

9. Keep running and swimming so that I don’t lapse back out of shape before I resume swim class in the fall.

What else should I do?  And what’s on your list?

Free poster + printer + craft supplies = Sweet poster mod for my room.

"for life's not a paragraph/And death i think is no parenthesis"

I got this giant black-and-white poster of a lone bird from a recent trip to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  I wanted to spice the poster up a bit without ruining the poignancy of the shot, so I went at it with a minimalist design and some basic craft supplies.

The words I chose for the poster are the final lines from a gorgeous e e cummings poem that reminds me how love is often more emotional than logical:

since feeling is first

who pays any attention

to the syntax of things

will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool

while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,

and kisses are a far better fate

than wisdom

lady i swear by all flowers.  Don’t cry

–the best gesture of my brain is less than your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for eachother: then

laugh, leaning back in my arms

for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

e e cummings, “since feeling is first”

Apartment art doesn’t have to be expensive; the total cost of this project was just $0.11 for the yellow paper.  On an adjacent wall, I’ve hung an iconic image of actress Audrey Hepburn from her 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.  It’s actually a cardboard box that used to hold a canvas of an identical image; I found the empty box at Goodwill and convinced them to give it to me at no charge.  It too was a triumphant moment in my career as a thrifty college student.

If you liked “since feeling is first”, or if you’re just not a big fan of capital letters, read a small collection of other e e cummings poems here.

When I was touring college campuses, trying to decide which school to go to, no school was more hospitable than USC.  The hosts were gracious, the food was excellent, and the Marshall School of Business especially spared no expense on recruiting, giving every prospective business student a pretty classy book bag with their logo emblazoned on it.

No, this is not my new book bag.  Gross.

No, this is not my new book bag. Gross.

I ultimately decided not to become a Trojan, but I wasn’t about to chuck the bag.  It sort of kicked around in the back my closet for a year or two until a few weeks ago, when I transformed it via a fast and easy DIY project: patches.

Some of my friends and I were meandering along Telegraph browsing the street vendors’ wares, when we came upon Patch’s stand.  Patch, I am fairly certain, uses the patches as a front for secretly selling weed.  He keeps it under wraps, though, making only very subtle references to marijuana, such as a large Kermit the Frog hand puppet perched atop his stand with a blunt in its mouth.

Anyway, Ellie and I were only interested in the patches.  We purchased several of our favorite bands’; I took mine home and safety-pinned them over “USC Marshall School Of Business” to create what I would just like to say is now a very kickass book bag.

My new book bag kicking ass

My new book bag kicking ass

...and taking names.

...and taking names.