Eyeball (in progress)

I’m working on the cover illustration for a journal, which is good because it is forcing me to whip out the old pencil and paper. This is the preliminary sketch, not super high quality (but not bad for a phone photo). The plan is to colour it later today so we can get the issue out this week. I haven’t decided if I’m going to colour it on the computer or, heaven forbid, watercolour. Only time will tell.
Eyeball sketch

Stretched “canvas”

For almost as long as I’ve had the scanning electron micrograph (SEM) images, I’ve wanted to get one printed on canvas really big to show off in my house. This dream was somewhat squashed by the reality of just how much it costs to get an image printed on canvas and stretched onto a frame (upwards of 200$ for the size I wanted). And so, for a year and a half, I went micrograph-less. It was a hard time. With only my periodic shower curtain and rhinovirus soap dispenser to show off my true geekiness to all who visited me.

Not surprisingly, it was science that presented me with an alternative. While attending a poster session at a conference a couple weeks ago, Mike and I noticed that one of the posters was printed on vinyl and not paper. Turns out that Kinkos had a promotion on that made printing on vinyl only 6$/square foot. Slowly, the gears in my head started churning. Surely vinyl could be stretched over a frame much the same way canvas is, and was I not currently in possession of staple gun? I then decided that I would get one of my micrographs printed on vinyl and then stretch it myself.

So I took my image, enlarged it to 48″x30″ (4 feet by 2/5 feet) and took it to Kinkos to get printed. I then went to the local art supply store and bought the pieces for a frame in 44 and 26 inch pieces. It was about 70$ for the print (taxes in) and 15$ for the frame. I then brought it home and with a handy dandy tutorial, began to assemble the whole thing. Besides the fact that I had to use the mechanical staple gun again and ran out of staple halfway through, it wasn’t too bad. Turns out stapling pine is a lot easier than MDF with a thick layer of foam, but it still hurt my hands.

It turned out great and you can’t even tell that it is printed on vinyl and not canvas when you look at it. And now I get to sleep with an image of a retina above my head (you can even see the rods and cones).

Stretched vinyl micrograph


Making a headboard has been on the to do list since about the time I moved in. I inherited a box spring and fram from my family, but being just a frame, it was really plain. I’d seen lots of cool ones online and figured “it can’t be that hard.” I even borrowed a staple gun from my parents (this was about 4 months ago). So finalllllly I got around to getting the rest of the supplies this weekend and Mike and I set about the creation of our masterpiece. It’s made out of MDF, with thick polyester upholstery foam and dark brown vinyl covering it. The buttons I bought and covered myself. For the project we also bought a drill and I must say, I’ve taken quite the liking to the drill. I can see how men people get very attached to their power tools. Though the mechanical staple gun was not easy to use. In fact, I was unable to use it, so it’s a good thing I had Mike around, because I obviously seem to be lacking the upper body strength to use such a tool.

Unlike most of the instructions I found on the interweb, we didn’t attach it to the wall because the metal frame had holes in it to attach a headboard. So we just drilled corresponding holes and then bolted it together. It’s crazy how much of a difference it makes in the room.

HeadboardHeadboard + Brenda modelling on the bed

Faucet adventure

I’m always in a constant search for a project, so when I noticed that a ultra-cool kitchen faucet was on sale, I thought, “ooooo, I could use a fancier faucet.” A little frivolous, but wow, does it make a difference. It was also quite the experience switching faucets. Mike is becoming quite the handyman though (I helped, but he was the brave soul who got under the sink and did the wrenching).

I really can’t believe what a difference it makes!

Before and after:

Faucet before and after

We also got rid of the Moo (cat) on the counter

We’re eventually hoping to change the countertop and move to a single sink. I know, single sinks are the devil, but when you have the roughly 2 square feet of counterspace that we have, that extra foot makes a big difference.

Fancy pizza

Mike and I decided to fashion a fancy pizza yesterday night. It turned out pretty darned good, though the crust was much more focaccia-like than regular pizza crust. We determined that that just made it more gourmet.

Fancy pizza

It was pesto with cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and goat cheese. Can’t go wrong there.

Squeezing in some illustration work

Schooooool’s out for the sum-MAH!

Schooooool’s out for ev-AH!

(ok, it isn’t at all, I start again at the end of August, not to mention I’m working around the university this summer, but to say otherwise wouldn’t have fit with the song)

Illustrations for a math assessment

Since I writing the exam on Friday and starting work tomorrow, I did manage to squeeze in one small illustration job. It’s just supposed to be a couple people to refer to for a math question about rations. Ex: What is the ratio of people with glasses to no glasses?

Because I was feeling cute, two of the kids are Mike and I.
Hint: I’m not blond
Other hint: Mike wears glasses

There’s nothing tastier than a sperm cake

So it turns out that it’s quite obvious when an exam is drawing near since the frequency of my posting shoots up dramatically (I’m an efficient procrastinator). I figure this sort of kind of counts as studying though, since it does involve what I’m supposed to be studying: genetics, embryology, and reproduction.


Except it’s in cake form, which makes it so, so much better.

(Yes, I do love Cake Wrecks, I think it is one of my favourite blogs out there)

Science tattoos

I’ve always had a guilty pleasure for tattoos (at least ones that are well done) and when I came across the Science Tattoo Emporium I was like a little kid in a candy shop. There’s just something inherently awesome about people getting their research passions (or otherwise) tattooed on themselves! I especially like the couple I’ve seen that are representations of Cajal’s* drawings of neurons.


*Cajal is one of my all time heros since he was both an amazing artist and a renowned scientist. Not to mention that he studied neurons, which I am particularly found of.

My little tattoo does have a speck of science in it though, a little Fibonacci spiral in the middle of it. Maybe I’ll post a photo later.

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