Final Fantasy X Inspired Home Decor

This simple DIY project was inspired by Final Fantasy X’s Yuna Braska and her cool looking staff.

yunastaff

Figure. Yuna’s default staff in FFX.

When I posted the project on Facebook, I mentioned that I wanted something FF inspired without being too obvious for the entrance of my apartment (don’t want to scare away visitors too quickly).

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Figure. Key before paint job.

I found this cool, but plain key piece at my local Michael’s craft store on sale for about $10 (marked down from $35). Originally, I wanted to paint it like a keyblade from Kingdom Hearts. However, the top piece of the key reminded me of the sigils and temple symbols from Final Fantasy X.

I used acrylic paints, both basic and metallic colors, to mimic the design and color scheme of Yuna’s staff. I think it was quite successful and was finished in just one night. It was sealed with my new favorite craft savior: mod podge.

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Figure. Key after paint job!

I unintentionally have a slight travel theme going on in my living room (ironic because I haven’t traveled to many places compared to other people I know).  So, I was thinking of completing this entrance wall with a quote from “The Hobbit” along side this beautiful Middle Earth map poster that Naomi got for me. I’ll update later if I ever get around to doing that.

I hope you have enjoyed this and hope it provides some inspiration for more subtle video game home decors out there 🙂

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Spellbound Dance Troupe

As I may have mentioned before, I am currently taking Jazz Technique I as an elective. One of the requirements is to attend a dance performance and write a review on it. I was going to go into the mechanics of dance and balance, but I figure I might as well write mention the review here first.

Intro

On Friday, November 16, Naomi and I attended the evening show at the Annenberg Center on UPenn’s campus. As part Center’s Dance Celebration, this weekend an Italian dance troupe, “Spellbound” came to perform at the theater. As a first time viewer of a live, professional contemporary dance troupe performance, I really had no idea what to expect. The venue was larger than I expected; very grand looking with a dramatic curtain and a big, open stage. The troupe performed 3 dance pieces in the following order: Lost for Words Part I, Downshifting, and Lost for Words Part II.

http://www.spellboundance.com

The performance as a whole is very abstract and deep, not exactly a happy or light-hearted performance. After trying to keep an open mind, I surprisingly loved it nonetheless! Here is a clip of one of my favorite segments, though I highly recommend seeing it live to really get the full experience.

 

Review of Performance

The scenery and costumes were minimalistic, which really emphasized how athletically capable these dancers are. The lighting created shadows that emphasized the musculature of the dancers and the incredible amount of control they had over their bodies. The atmosphere of the stage changes between each piece, transitioning from dark confusion to complex, eclectic harmony, and finally resolution at the end.

The audience is guided through a series of emotions through the reaction to the dancers. In the beginning, the quick, intense, and raw movements of the dancers were jarring, abrupt, and distorted though blended with movements that showed such great flexibility, adding tension and drama to the stage. In contrast, the second segment had a different energy to it; although the dancers moved in different ways but all at the same time, it seemed almost harmonious. It was like watching cogs spin inside a clock: very complex, many components, but all necessary for the dance.

My most favorite part was at the very end of the performance in Lost for Word Part II, when one woman acts like an interpreter to the rest of the troupe who are acting like puppets. She guides them in how to move/communicate and although they all have their own ways of showing what they feel, they all come to the same conclusion without realizing it, ending the performance in a positive, tension-relieved atmosphere.

Audience Reaction

I know that a small section of the audience (namely people behind me talking) felt disgusted and creeped out by the performance. However, I think that the majority of the audience felt amazed and in awe of the complexity and uniqueness of the dances we were watching, as evident by the strong applause and yelling at the end of each segment.

Overall Experience

I was so impressed with the dancers, however! With nothing but their bodies and faces, they were able to instill feelings in me without having an obvious linear story or painting a theme for me. Instead, their movements inspired me to create my own feelings and reactions, which made me feel like I was participating during the performance. Overall, a very wonderful experience that makes me want to attend more performances like this.

Naomi and I even stayed after to listen to the Q&A with the dancers and the director because we were so intrigued. It was also nice to see the performers break character and smile and laugh like normal people. Though their ages range from 17-32, they are all gorgeous, talented, and amazing at what they do. Such a steal considering it was only $10 with student ID for front row tickets!

DIY: Screen Print on Tee Shirt

One of my closest college friends, John, is a graduating film major. As a Senior, he has the option to plan, direct, and edit his very own film. While I wasn’t helping him on set as I have done in past projects, I signed up to help him with costume design. His original film idea was changed to one that takes place in a college setting where costumes weren’t really needed. However, he wanted some custom made tee-shirts that represented each character’s situation or personality. Of course I have never made tee shirt prints before, but I have been wanting to and I really wanted to help one of my dearest friends.

I used this great Threadbanger tutorial to accomplish this feat. Only difference is that I used fabric paint since I was printing light ink on dark fabrics and wanted a very contrasting effect. Also, I used old nude tights I had as the material to make the screen on the hoop. Below is a picture of my starting materials.

In a nutshell, here are the steps:

  1. Print out the image outline you desire.
  2. Pull a thin fabric over an embroidery hoop.
  3. Trace the outline onto the thin fabric.
  4. Paint Modge Podge onto the the areas you do not want the ink/paint to stain.
  5. Let the stencil dry.

     

  6. Place a piece of cardboard inside the tee-shirt to prevent bleeding of the ink/paint.
  7. Place stencil onto tee-shirt. Cover with ink/paint.
  8. Carefully stencil away from tee-shirt.
  9. Let image dry.
  10. Place a piece of paper onto the dried image. Iron over for about 5 minutes to set the image onto the fabric.

Here are the results I got 🙂 The first shirt is a light bulb, the second is a pink elephant, and the last is a jersey inspired hoodie. The letters for text were from pre-made stencils I bought and the number “4” was from a stencil I made from cardboard.

Hope you give it a shot. It’s super easy, fun, and cheap. Happy stenciling!

Sakura Sunday – A Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival

I’m so behind on my blogging! But it’s nice that I have a huge surplus of topics to write about lately.This past Sunday, my dear friend and former roomie (but now current apartment mate) Megan had volunteered at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia as a Crafts Assistant.
It’s actually been running from March 4 to April 15. However two of their main events, the 5K Run and Sakura Sunday occurred on April 9-10. The event is hosted at the Horicultural Center, a 20-25 minute bus ride away from University City. Just $10 for entrance and your transportation fare.

http://jasgp.org/cherryblossomfestival/

Quite honestly when Megs asked me and John to arrive in the morning at the opening at 10:30 am, we were skeptical. What were we going to do for almost 6 hours in a small outdoor area?

The answer was a pleasant surprise.

First of all, just looking at all the different varieties of cherry blossoms took up a huge chuck of time & was ever so enjoyable. Some science behind the beautiful flower bearing trees:  The ones referred to as “sakura” trees are from the genus Prunus. According to the site there were over 10 different species of cherry blossoms there.

Besides gazing & photo taking fun, there were a ton of vendors selling Asian and Japanese merchandise or themed items. I came out with a slightly aching wallet, but a lot of loot. I’ve posted a few below, and the rest you will see in a month or so after a certain someone’s birthday  ;D

John got a plant and a practice sword we couldn’t stop playing with haha.

Also, there were many donation sites for Relief in Japan from the earthquakes. In one of charity booths, there was a really cool display of giant origami.

John was also able to participate in his very own origami as well. Meet Dilbert aka Dilly the crane.

Of course we went over to visit the crafting goddess, Megan. She was at the calligraphy table. Me and John tried our hand at the ancient art of brush strokes.

John’s says Samurai, Hope, & Japan I think. My paper says Samurai & Ninja. Hopefully our blotchy characters don’t translate to something offensive.

My favorite craft of all was the fish paper kites we got do. Hosted by the Philadelphia Art Museum, their booth was a huge hit. I waited like a creep til the last minute to do a fishy because A) I was slightly embarassed and more importantly B) I wanted as many kids to make theirs before supplies ran out. Lucky for the three of us, there were plenty of templates left!

Meet my darling Tuna Can, who I revamped after the Sakura Sunday to look like an Olympics mascot (by accident). And here is Megan’s swirly Miss Salmon! Finally, John & Bob, the flower-filled eye hole fish!

There were also a lot of events I couldn’t take photos of because I was too short and it was crowded: like drums & dance presentations, martial art expositions, a Harujuku inspired fashion show I sadly missed. I was able to see some cosplayers and  a few really well dressed sweet lolitas, however. I sadly didn’t catch my favorite group on  film because I didn’t want to disturb their lunch time XD

But the main event was one from home!

Megan’s homemade bentos! Not only did this girl go and give her time to volunteer on a Sunday morning, but she woke up at 6am to cook these up.

Absolutely delicious, made from love, and tots free! I’ll let the beautiful pics do the talking! Fruits, veggies, onigiri, shrimp, egg and sweet egg (tamago) and dinosaur shaped chicken and a rabbit shaped apple!

A wonderful display that was great to consume & look at. Love this girl.

So all in all, a superb Sakura Sunday!