I spent the early hours of the morning awestruck by lighting and thunder.

I aimed my iPhone up at the sky to see if I could capture anything and ended up with a few video clips of the dark dawn sky that burst into light about every thirty seconds with a brilliant rod of lightning, followed a few seconds after with a cracking boom of thunder, all while the song “Familiar” by Agnes Obel played in the background; this still is from one of my videos.

Lightning is beautiful; it’s simply breathtaking the power that’s stored in the clouds.

Epic LA

My dad was in LA Sunday morning and took these awesome shots with his new iPhone 7. The quality of the photos is pretty amazing it definitely rivals what some traditional cameras are capable of. The original files are much larger, naturally. 😉

For those of you not familiar with LA, the first image shows City Hall (once the tallest building in the city), the next is the Walt Disney Concert Hall (designed by Frank Gehry), and the third shows the remnants of the Sixth Street Bridge (also known as the Sixth Street Viaduct) that has been quite popular in pop culture. Thankfully this isn’t the end of the bridge; it will be rebuilt in a pretty cool way and should be opened again in 2019. Let the countdown begin!

Thanks dad for letting me share these. 🙂


Granted these shots are pretty awesome as they are, but I like black and white photos a lot too so I edited them and came up with the versions below. The first shot looks to me like something that could be from a film adaptation of Ayn Rand‘s Anthem or some other dystopian tale (maybe something like 1984?). The one of the Disney Hall reminds me of a series of black and white photos by Ansel Adams that we had in the student center at my university. The third shot though— with the tangled steel in the foreground, the broken bridge supports and digger in the middle, and the clouds streaking the sky in the distance— looks almost apocalyptic, almost like something out of Terminator.

Cushion Commission


A friend of mine asked me if I’d be able to make new cushion covers for her outdoor furniture so I’m currently in the midst of this project. I had to special order two of the three fabrics I’ll be using (which hasn’t run as smoothly as I’d liked…) and the one I show here we had to order online from JoAnns.

It took a while to find which fabric we wanted to use. My considerations were manifold: it needed to be dirt/stain resistant since it’ll be outside, it should be a happy color, and it shouldn’t fade too easily/badly. A multicolored fabric hits all those points: any stains could be masked by the pattern, it’ll be lively, and it won’t look splotchy if it fades. As I said before, we chose three fabrics in the end (we found too many that we liked): one is a more solid green/blue color (this is for the cushions to sit on; Solarium Outdoor Fabric in Lagoon), the one pictured here (used for some of hte back cushions; called Solarium Outdoor Fabric in Sail Away Sailor), and the third I’m still waiting on (also for back cushions; Solarium Outdoor Fabric in Cabana Huts). In the finished design the solid color unifies all the pieces while the sailboat and cabana hut patterns help add variety while still staying true to the theme.

I’m quite proud with how the first two cushions came out so I wanted to share the work I did (the inside is as neat as the outside :)). I started at 7:50am yesterday and worked nonstop until 3:15pm to finish these. In fact I was so engrossed in my work that I didn’t even stop to eat. The pattern on the fabric made it a little more challenging to work with since I needed to figure out how to cut the fabric to make the two cushions identical. It was pretty easy in the end (time consuming and a bit tedious with measurements and such, but not too difficult). Anyways, here is how I did it!


Outdoor Cushion Process

1. Cut the fabric. For these cushions I needed my pieces to be 29x32in. Below you see the two sides of one cushion (the duplicates for the second cover are below). The 29in across does not include the white strip of the edge, but I left that on for a step later on.



2. Cut the corners to make it easier to shape the cushions. I took out a 3×3 square on the top of the fabric (top of the cushion) and a 3x5in piece on the bottom. I won’t be adding a zipper or buttons to close the covers so I wanted the bottom flaps to overlap enough so they keep the cushion inside while still allowing for the option to take the cover off for washing. Keep it practical! It’s important then to have enough fabric to have the two sides overlap and also to sew the edge over to have a clean edge so it looks professional.


3. Handle the edges. I don’t have a serger but using a zigzag stitch along the edges does the trick too; this is done to keep the fabric from fraying. All cut edges should be sewn over. It takes a while, granted, but it ensures a quality end product.


4. Create a clean edge. Before sewing the appropriate pieces together, make sure the edges of the bottom parts of the fabrics (the 5in wings) are folded over so that the overlapping flaps are neat.



5. Sew the sides. I took the two pieces of the cushions (right sides together) and sewed the top edge and the two sides together, making sure that the corners I cut out were still open. Since these seams will need to withstand some tension I added an additional reinforcing zig-zag stitch on the inside of the straight stitch. I mentioned in step 1 that I kept the excess white stripe on the sides; I folded this over the inside seam allowance to reinforce the binding stitch. Note the corner is still open.



6. Form the corners. Fold the fabric pieces so that the corner forms; do this by bringing the centers of the seams on either side of the corner together and pinning it. The corner of the square that’s formed by the cut out piece should be the end of the line formed by bringing the sides together. As you can see I curved the stitch line a bit to give a rounded edge to the cushion. Reinforce the straight stitch with a zigzag on the inside of the seam (not seen on the photo below).



7. Close the bottom. Fold one of the longer bottom wings at a time like you did with the other two corners. Make sure to pin both sides the same way– pin one side of the flap and then the other to avoid accidentally sewing opposite sides of the flaps on either side. Mark the line you’ll stitch and sew. Do this carefully and reinforce the pressure points (where the flaps end for instance). Again I curved the corners a little to alter the look of the finished cushion.



8. Finished! After reinforcing all the seams on the inside and trimming any excess threads, turn the cushions around and admire! (The patterns on the cushions are identical, here I chose to show either side).



Detail shots!

From left to right: the top corner, the overlapping flaps at the bottom where the cushion will be inserted, and what the bottom corner looks like. As you can see, in the middle image, the edge extends past the center seam along the sides (unlike the top corner where everything meets neatly). If I’d used a zipper it would run across the middle, but my method leaves enough fabric overlapping to properly cover and hold the cushion.


Five Fantastic Beasts


My friend and I went to the global fan event yesterday for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” They screened the first ten minutes of the film at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood after a worldwide question and answer session with the cast. Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, and Dan Fogler were in London with the director David Yates and the producer David Heyman joined at the end by J.K. Rowling, while Colin Farrell and Jon Voight were in LA with us.

I wasn’t one of the fans that dressed up and went to midnight premiers when the Harry Potter films first came out so I’d never really been involved with the fandom, but I have to say it is amazing how dedicated the fans are and how much they love the Potter universe. My friend and I dressed up yesterday (she was Newt Scamander and I threw together a modernized Queenie) because there was a costume contest and we thought it would be fun; she won third place! I can only imagine how satisfying it must be for J.K. Rowling and all those involved with the subsequent films to know how many people’s lives have been touched and how much joy has been created. As an aspiring writer I can only hope that someday I too will have readers that will be affected on some level by my work.

I’ve mentioned before how much I respect Eddie Redmayne, and you all know that I made my friend a Newt Scamander coat and vest for ComicCon, so I therefore have a vested (no pun intended) interest in “Fantastic Beasts.” Seeing the fans worldwide was phenomenal and we all found out some exciting news (along with the actors it seems). J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay for “Fantastic Beasts,” her first time writing a screenplay, and she and the producers had planned on probably doing a trilogy of films. Turns out that they’ve decided that there will be five films. Five films! Exciting news for us fans and perhaps a bit overwhelming news for the stars, but I’m sure it’s a welcome surprise for them as they all seem genuinely happy to be a part of this.

I have to say that the ten minute clip we got to see made me even more excited than I was before– I’m definitely looking forward to when the film opens in theaters November 18!

P.S. They had some of the costumes on site and Newt’s coat is dark blue not teal… No matter, I’m still proud of the one I made🙂


(October 6, 2016)
Live with me in this space of ours
A bubble apart from the world
Hover with me above the ground
Our feet evermore dancing on clouds
Share the warmth coming from my skin
Feel it radiate outward from my heart
Gaze deep into my eyes as I gaze into yours
So we become trapped
Somewhere between sea and land
Somewhere between cool blue and melted caramel
Exist in this moment
For the rest of time
Knowing only this
Only us
Until time ceases
And the universe is extinguished
Never forget the feeling you got
When you first laid eyes on me
Just as I’ll never forget the electricity
That ran through my spine at your first touch.

Greens, Greens, Nothing but Greens


As promised in my last post, a continuation of color: a carryover of green.

These photos are also from my trip to Germany and France. One of the big differences when flying into Germany versus flying into LA, for instance, is the color. True, most of the time you need to dive through a layer of clouds first, but once you’re through it’s green as far as you can see. It’s a very pleasant color🙂

As you can see from the title of this post, I can’t help but think of the Witch’s Rap from the Prologue to Into the Woods when I think of the color green. Thankfully it’s a pleasant song and fun to sing.


Colors and Patterns


I tried to have a camera handy at all times last May while my friends and I were in Germany and Paris. Most of the time I didn’t have specific things in mind that I wanted to capture (except the sights of Paris that most people want to see) and, since you never know what you might come across, my mindset was better safe than sorry. Of course I made sure to actually experience being in Europe while I was there as well, I didn’t just try to capture it for later🙂

Some of the things that caught my attention were the patterns and colors all around. It seems to be a human trait to detect patterns and ascribe meaning to them (when applicable) and the photos here show some of the patterns that I found interesting.

I don’t know how many stairs my friends and I climbed during our vacation, but all I can say is that it was good exercise! There were so many spiral staircases and countless steps in Notre Dame alone– it seemed never-ending going up the towers and then again coming down– but it was good fun and surprisingly it didn’t leave me sore. I am pretty athletic but I have to admit that my legs were shaking by the time we got to the bottom of the stairs that led down from the Turmberg, somehow long, straight stretches of stairs are more intense than spiral ones it seems.

I loved the amount of walking we did during our trip, whether it was through nearby garden plots and forests in Germany, through Disneyland Paris, or the cities and villages we visited. Our trip to Heidelberg was lovely as well; the wooden staircase below is from the Castle there. Fun fact: the people of Heidelberg used to pay taxes in wine so there is a huge wooden barrel in the castle where the wine was kept and it actually has a wooden dance floor on top of it. Not only that, but because so much wine was consumed by the nobility and royals at the Schloss during their functions and the servants had to continuously run downstairs to get more and more wine– leave it to German engineering– they eventually developed a pump system that allowed the wine to simply be pumped upstairs. Nifty, huh? If you ever make it to Heidelberg, be sure to visit the Castle and do the guided tour– there’s so much cool information and the grounds are breathtaking as well.

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got to share for now. I’ve got another post queued up that flows nicely from this one (another photo sequence) so keep an eye out for that. Until then, happy travels and creativity!