Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Hobbit: DIY Hobbit Hole Jar

With the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies coming to theaters soon, I decided what more perfect birthday gift to make for my Tolkien-obsessed friend than a hobbit hole in a jar? This artificial terrarium specifically features Bag End, the home of Bilbo Baggins.

Okay, so I will admit, I am not the biggest Hobbit/Lord of the Ring fan. I have read the first and second LOTR books, watched the first movie, and watched the first two Hobbit movies, but that is the extent of my knowledge. However, this is my friend's favorite series and so I knew this would be a meaningful gift.

So here below I have posted a few pictures of the finished product. Unfortunately I don't have pictures for the steps, but if you would like written instructions, I can provide them.
Front view of Bag End. Photo credit: Allison Gens
Close-up view of the front of Bag End. Photo Credit: Allison Gens
So I am a little bit crazy and decided to take this craft to another level: Making the inside of Bag End. Here are a few images of the inside of the house.
Back view of Bag End. Photo credit: Allison Gens
Close-up view of the inside. Photo Credit: Allison Gens
I took this jar a step further, and with the help of my dad, we installed a solar-powered (that works in indoor light too) into the jar lid so that it would illuminate the front at night!

Lit-up jar. Photo Credit: Nick Burch
And here's a look at the lid that I made to put on the jar in case he decides not to light it up anymore. I based it off the original cover of The Hobbit. Since I do not have Photoshop, I had to make this entire image on Powerpoint using basic shapes and editing the points, which took an excessive amount of hours, but was entirely worth it.

The jar lid. Photo Credit: Nick Burch
So there is my Hobbit Hole in a Jar.

--The Informed Artist

Monday, March 10, 2014

Quote of the Week: March 9-15

"Dream big and dare to fail" -Norman Vaughan

Here is a good motivational quote for this week. It reminds me to not give up on my dreams, and that failure is not a setback, but something to overcome.

What does this quote mean to you? How will you live by its message?"

--The Informed Artist

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Coffee Shop Thought: Coming Soon!

Happy Thursday everyone! I am getting ready to begin posting Coffee Shop Thought Thursdays. I will post bi-weekly thoughts to reflect on and respond to. My goal is that you will participate with comments and share what you think.

Now for an update on the progress of my blog:
Starting a new blog is a challenge, but I am so ecstatic that I have reached over 500 viewers in my startup month. You are the reason why I want to keep delivering great content, and I am slowly getting my blog on track. It has been difficult with my busy schedule, but I am dedicated to get my blog content up and running.

Right now, I am working on designing logos to make my content identifiable. I will then begin the process of web design to make my blog seem less like a template. My last step will be reaching social media. I plan to create an Instagram and Twitter account for The Informed Artist. You can already find me on Pinterest by clicking here or at the "Follow Me" box in the right-hand column.

--The Informed Artist

Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekly Quote: March 2-8

image: Allison Gens
"I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward"
- Charlotte Brontë

I am starting my very first Weekly Quote with a quote by Charlotte Brontë and one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken (I even submitted it to National Geographic for the Your Shot contest, see that here).

This quote is a really good quote to live by. Looking upward can mean following God, or it could mean keeping your head up, or it could mean living in the moment that you are in now. It truly has an interpretation to whoever reads it.

What does this quote mean to you? Comment below if you want to share!

--The Informed Artist

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Month in a Photo: February 2014

Image: Allison Gens
Here is a view of the Hocking River for my February photo. This was taken toward the end of the month when there was a big heat wave! I took this with my iPhone while I was out biking on the bike path.

I may share some of my photos from my photography class on here soon, I was going to use one of them for this post, but I unfortunately left my external hard drive at school when I left for spring break. So come back later for a post of some of my other February photographs.

--The Informed Artist

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sochi 2014: Closing Ceremony

So the Sochi Winter Olympics have come to a close. The Closing Ceremony was an incredible event. It was graceful, sentimental, and beautiful. It truly contrasted to the London Closing Ceremony, which was more vibrant instead of traditional.

Seeing the torch go out was a very emotional moment. It marked the end of a remarkable two weeks when the the mascot polar bear blew out the torch, and then shed a tear.

I wish the Olympics will continue, but before we get to Rio 2016, it is time that I take my blog back to its originally planned schedule.

Beginning next week, I will be following the weekly schedule of quotes, thoughts, crafts, news stories, and photos. It will start with my February photo of the month.

Stay tuned for one of my favorite crafts: a Hobbit Hole in a Jar! I am going to post it closer to the release date of the DVD, which is April 8 (tentatively). I am excited about sharing this post with you!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

DIY: Long-distance Valentine

Valentine's Day was Friday, so I am going to share with you what I did for my boyfriend. You may not know (but you do now), that I am in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend of almost three years. The past few weeks have been tough on us, so I decided to make this simple DIY for my boyfriend for Valentine's Day (I did not post this sooner because I did not want him to see what it was before it arrived).

Feel free to use my idea for any time when you are gone from your significant other, whether it be for Valentine's Day, the military, an extended trip, or a long-distance relationship. It will give your love something to remind him/her of you every day until the day you can be together again.

Also, in case you just want to skim over this project, I put the key ideas in bold so you can find and make this project on your own.

The first thing I did was gather everything I needed to make the project:
  • 1 box of fold and close sandwich bags (the number of bags you need depended on the number of days in the countdown, I used 16)
  • 1 bag of Hershey's Kisses (I was able to use a smaller bag for this project, see below)
  • Paper (you can use scrapbook paper if you want, I used printer paper because that's what I had available in my dorm room)
  • 1 box to ship the gift to your loved one
  • Ideas for what you want to put in the bags

After figuring out my supplies, I had to devise a way to divide my Hershey's Kisses. I bought a 5.3oz bag at my campus market because it said it would contain over thirty Kisses, which would be more than plenty. 

Because I decided that I wanted to use as many as them as possible for each day, I decided that there would be two for each day, even though the project is called "A Kiss A Day." (Who wants only one Hershey's Kiss anyways?)

The exceptions would be for Valentine's Day and the day that I would see my boyfriend. I decided to give him four Kisses on Valentine's Day and included a little poem about how he gets more kisses since it is Valentine's Day. I gave the one left over for the day I was home because it would not be a full day until he saw me.

After dividing the Kisses, I made the banners to top the bags. This way I could keep track of each bag as I filled them with the little notes that accompanied the kisses. 


I do not have a template for these because I just folded some paper and cut it into rectangles, and then cut the triangles off the ends.

I wrote the date on the bag in black and the countdown in red. This would help my boyfriend know which one to open on each day, and also remind him that the days are getting less and less.

After all the Kisses and banners were done, I began the notes to go in the bags.

In each bag, I included:
A note
My notes included five themes. The themes included a love note, a message about why I love him, poem stanzas, and things I cannot wait to do with him when I get home (and in the future)

A quote
Your quotes that you include could be about anything. You could take quotes from your song, favorite movie together, or off the internet. I chose to use quotes that dealt with long-distance relationships. I got my quotes from Loving From a Distance. It is a website that provides insight and support for long-distance couples, and I found some great quotes on there.

A memory
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Just include any memories that you think are important to your relationship.

You could include whatever you want in the bags, such as small gifts or pictures, but I was working with limited time and under a college budget!

My final step before arranging everything in the box was to assemble the bags. I tried my best to relate the memories to the notes or the quotes. It was difficult, and not all of them match up, but I wanted to be as consistent as possible.

Here's a picture of what some of the finished bags looked like (I hid the writing because I want the content to be special between myself and my boyfriend):
Some of the finished bags

Finally, I put all the bags in the box. I folded them so that my boyfriend could not peek at the days ahead and so that they would lay nicely in the box (also, I did end up turning them so that the days went left to right instead of right to left as seen in the picture).

To finish off the project, I made this print-out to cover the bags so that my boyfriend would know the cute little title I came up with: "A Kiss a Day Makes the Time Go Away."

I will also include the print-out in case you want to use my title as well. You can also download the "KISS" font here to make your own label.

Before I sealed up the box, I wrote my boyfriend a letter to explain my little gift, which is an optional step if you do not want to include that.

So that concludes my DIY for today! Leave any comments, questions, or suggestions below!
--The Informed Artist

P.S. Here is a Pinterest-friendly picture for you to pin!

Sochi 2014: The Winter Olympics


Hello everyone! I am finally back on! I have been so behind on posts because of school work and activities. I should not have committed to posting every day, so i do apologize for that. I should also say that I do not have much time to post today, either, but I know I should not skip out for another day!

So onto today's post! The Olympics are underway in Sochi and many talented athletes are bringing home the gold, silver, or bronze for their country. The Netherlands is in the lead with five gold, five silver, and seven bronze. Russia trails in second with four gold, seven silver, and five bronze. The United States follows behind in third with four gold, four silver, and eight bronze (NBC Olympics).

I know there has been a lot of news over the United States not performing as well as expected, but I do not think that is something worth dwelling over. I think the athletes are all trying their best, even if that does not mean a spot on the podium. I congratulate each and every one of the Olympians for their dedication to even make it to the Games, and that is an accomplishment in itself.

I will keep updates of the Games coming as I can!
--The Informed Artist

Friday, February 7, 2014

Countdown to Sochi 2014: Opening Ceremony


I am writing this post as the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics comes to a close (as in the replay on NBC, I could not watch it live because I had class). I am really enjoying the beauty and grace of it. I love the use of ballet to tell the story (and that might just be because I was a ballet dancer for a few years).

I will continue to post my reaction to the Opening Ceremony, but I am going to watch the entire thing first. Stay tuned for my "Sochi 2014: Opening Ceremony Reaction" post coming tomorrow.

I would like to apologize for not posting my final countdown day yesterday. I ended up being incredibility busy with club meetings and homework (which also means I did not get to watch the events that took place). I will have to postpone my planned post until a later time, but it will come!
--The Informed Artist

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Countdown to Sochi 2014: Wednesday


It's another late night for posting! All of this studying makes blogging difficult! However, I am here now, and must get this done before I should be writing "Countdown to Sochi 2014: Thursday." Tonight, I am going to give a little information about the early-start games that take place tomorrow, before the Games officially begin.

But first things first, here's a look at my Olympic countdown now:
app: Countdown
The Winter Olympic Games begin in less than two days now! I am getting really excited and am already planning my weekend around it!

So, back to my task: the events taking place tomorrow (Thursday).*
*This information is coming from NBC, so if it does not match your listings, just check out your Olympic television provider.

Beginning at 1:00 a.m. E.T., Men's qualifying Snowboard Slopestyle will take place.
According to an article on NBC OlympicTalk by reporter Nick Zaccardi, Shaun White has dropped out of this first event because of injury risk. White is also hoping for a win on Tuesday on the half pipe, so it is best for him to avoid the risk of injury so early in the Games.
At 4:00 a.m. E.T., the women will take to the slopes in their qualifying Snowboard Slopestyle.

Women's moguls (qualifiying) begin at 9:00 a.m. E.T.
Moguls are also known as the freestyle skiing event! This one will be fun to watch and to keep an eye out for which women you want to follow through the games.

You don't want to miss the event at 10:30 a.m. E.T. (and sadly, I will because I have class). It is the debut of the Figure Skating Team event! At this time, it will be men's and short program. This is exciting for any Olympics fan because a new event is something to follow and talk about!

I will have a complete profile of this event and all of the new events at a different time during my olympic coverage.

Come back tomorrow to see my next update to the Countdown to Sochi 2014! I will be bringing you a look at the medals and the special look of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
--The Informed Artist

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Countdown to Sochi 2014: Tuesday

Its the Tuesday before the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics! It is almost here and I am all set to tune in! Here is my countdown from the time when I was writing this post:
app: Countdown
I cannot wait! The Olympics will be here in about four days! I have been starting my app collection to stay updated on the games, and that will come at a later post, so stay tuned.

Today, I am going to share the weather in Sochi (since I am now following that too). I figured the weather would be appropriate for today because I weather anchored for my campus news station and I have a geography test (so why not continue the theme?).

I added Sochi to my "favorites" on my Weather Channel app, so now I have access to the Olympic weather at a tap and swipe of my finger. Here's what it looks like tonight:
app: The Weather Channel
In case you were wondering where Sochi is actually located, look at the map below:

Sochi is located on the Black Sea right near the border of Georgia (the country, that is). I did not realize where it was until today, so that is cool to learn! 

A little geography tidbit: Sochi is located at 43.5853° N, 39.7203° E (latitude and longitude)

Here is a prettier version of Russia: It takes the patchwork-quilt design used in the Games' identity and places it over Russia! I think the design is stunning in itself, but I love how it plays to make a "quilt" to join all of Russia together for the Olympic Games.
So that is all for today, I now have to go back to studying, but stay tuned for even more Olympic-related posts to come!
--The Informed Artist

Monday, February 3, 2014

Countdown to Sochi 2014: Monday


The Olympics are my favorite televised event every two years (there is a two-year gap between the summer and winter Olympics). I am very excited to watch the Winter Olympics on Thursday, but even more thrilled for the Opening Ceremony on Friday. I will be blogging all about the Winter Olympics here on the Informed Artist.
app: Countdown

I have been counting down to the Sochi Winter Olympics since November, so I am obviously a little (okay, maybe a lot) obsessed. Here is a screenshot from my iPhone of my countdown that I check daily. I also have a countdown on my dry erase board by my desk (but that started when the countdown got to ten days). In case you were wondering, I set the countdown to the air time of the Opening Ceremony, not the early-start events on Thursday.

Now, I do have to admit that I like the Summer Olympics more (coming from a competitive swimming/water polo/synchronized swimming background), but I think the Olympics are just great! I love how they bring the world together in such a unique way. To me, the Olympics are a celebration of diversity as well as of great athletes!

Stay tuned to my blog this week for the continuation of my countdown and for my Winter Olympic-related posts to come!
--The Informed Artist

My Month in a Photo: January 2014

Wow has the beginning of February already been busy! I have had my first installation of "My Month in a Photo" ready to go, but I didn't get it posted on the last day of the month because I was at a synchronized swimming competition until late yesterday. However, it is here now! I call this one "Feeling the Chill."
Feeling the Chill
I think this picture most accurately represents January, I mean with the Polar Vortex, and all. Also because of the freezing cold temperatures down here on campus. I have heard that it has not been this cold here in 20 years! Because they have not experienced this cold in a while, the buildings have not been equipped with the best heating systems. I am not talking about the classrooms though, I'm talking about the dorms! We had no heat in my room when temperatures were dropping well below 0. So basically, I was freezing.
This picture is a perfect way to represent the chill that I felt all January long, with the frost clinging to the window, and I hope that it does not continue into February.
--The Informed Artist