Monday, February 29, 2016

Back to Work: A New WIP

It's Monday, and that means I'm back to work! Here's the third drawing that I'll be working on for the set I've been making. I'm very excited to show the work-in-progress images of this one, too. It's fun to share as the drawing develops.

As always, if you'd like to follow along, you can follow my Instagram (@Jonezee85). I'll also post an image of all three together once they're finished!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Spinster Screening: Neerja


The cheap movie theater I like to go to uses a portion of their screens for Bollywood movies. I'd always heard Bollywood movies were super long, so I'd been putting off the experience of seeing one for a while. Recently, though, my friend Sara has been really into Bollywood, and so I decided this was my time!

The movie Sara and I decided to see last night was not, I don't think, strictly Bollywood. There was only one dance number, and there was no comic relief. In fact, it was a biopic about one Neerja Bhanot, a flight attendant who helped save many passengers on a hijacked plane where she was working in 1986. If you don't know the story already, and you want the movie to be as suspenseful as possible, don't click the link there. Going in, I didn't know the story, and I think it enhanced my experience.

Other than a few editing choices (still frames in the middle of the movie that did not indicate the end), this movie far exceeded my expectations. It was dramatic, but this was a story that called for serious drama. Plus, I found the main character, her parents, her family, and her love interest exceedingly charming.

So, if there's a place for you to see a movie from India while it's out, I highly recommend Neerja. The original story is crazy, and the movie itself is great. Two spinsterly thumbs up!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Spinstergram: A Bouquet of Freshly Sharpened Prismacolors

Anyone who uses Prismacolor pencils knows the deal. You buy a box of assorted colors, and the first ones to go are the black and white pencils, then the flesh tones (in my case), and of course Indigo Blue. The rest of the box dwindles at varying rates, and some never get sharpened at all. I've actually had my same box of Prismacolors since high school, and they have served me well. I feel like buying a whole new tin now (they came in cardboard boxes in my day) would almost be like cheating.

Thankfully, Prismacolor is and - to my knowledge - has always been aware of the different rates at which their pencils are used. As such, art supply stores have a little display where you can buy each individual replacement pencil you might need. The only problem is that I always seem to arrive at the art store right after someone has replenished their stock of black pencils.

Since I've been working on some black and white drawings this week, I knew I was going to be needing some more pencils. But why should I break up my work day to go to a store that only has two black Prismacolor pencils in stock? I shouldn't. Then, I realized this was the perfect time for Amazon Prime.

On Amazon, you can purchase a dozen Prismacolor pencils in the same color, and they come to you in a neat little box and are already sharpened. Mine were delivered right to my door, saving me the distraction of a complete, mouth-watering tour of the art supply store...because those are dangerous sometimes. Besides that, though, there was just the magnificent feeling of opening a box of freshly sharpened pencils.

So, if you're in need of a treat today (or, well, if you can wait two days for a treat), then I highly suggest purchasing yourself a box of monochromatic pencils. They'll boost your endorphins and last longer than roses. Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spinster Screening: How To Be Single

dakota-johnson-how-to-be-single, i-love-dakota-johnson

When I saw that there was a movie coming out called How To Be Single, I knew I was going to see it. I was curious about whether it would be prescriptive or crass or if everyone in the end would end up not, in fact, single. Well, not to spoil anything ( I don't consider this a spoiler), but it simultaneously all of those things and none of them. I liked it.

The trailers for How To Be Single featured a lot of Rebel Wilson, and I like her. However, so far, I haven't seen her in any role where she'd actually carry a whole movie without playing herself out. So, when I realized that this was more of an ensemble cast situation, I was a little relieved. The character who gets the most play is Dakota Johnson, and I quite like her. Plus she is really cute in a way that makes me think a woman was in charge of the wardrobe department - sexy but in a comfortable, appropriate way (re: don't expect any Herve Leger or hooker heels). Think Meg Ryan or Diane Keaton.

As always, I don't want to give any spoilers here, but this movie turns out to be what is becoming a millennial classic - a "you do you" movie. Out of four main female characters, there's a range of end games from wanting to stay single forever to wanting to get married ASAP to wanting to have a baby. Somewhere in the middle is Dakota Johnson's Alice in all her early-twenties glory.

Of course as a single woman there's a lot in this movie for me to unpack. There's the fact that they didn't really speak to the woman who genuinely wants to let her career be her child. There's the question of how safely Rebel Wilson's character is living her life (did we need a shot of her getting tested at the doctor's office? Because there wasn't one..). On the whole, though, I do think they covered a sufficient amount of bases for a comedy.

One of the shortfalls for this movie was a little gimmick they put in place where they used certain scenes as an actual "how-to" manual. Some of these are cute or clever - like when Rebel Wilson's character shows Alice how to stay out all night and then show up to work looking and feeling good. Some other parts, though, are played out. The one in particular I'm thinking about has to do with the statistics of finding a mate and has been appropriated by several media outlets that always seem to claim it as their own. I first heard the calculation in February 2013 on This American Life, where David Kestenbaum related it as a story that had happened to him. Since then, though, it's appeared in several other places - including a Buzzfeed video. Ugh.

Anyway, I think if you and your spinster friends want to go to the movies this week, this might be a good option. I like Dakota Johnson, and if you like Meg Ryan, Alison Brie's character has what I think is a very Meg Ryan-of-the-late-90s moment in a bookstore. So, I say yes. Go.


Now, for something completely different. I got an email today from Zazzle saying that all custom tees are 50% off. So, I am working on a couple for myself, but just as a little something quick, I added this to the Spinster Store! It's one of the watercolors I did back in November but on a cute tank. Check it out!

Ok, enjoy! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#WIP Wednesday: Drawings

How did it get to be Wednesday already? In honor of this day, I'm posting my most recent work in progress shot of the pencil drawing I'm working on. This is number two in a series of three. I hope to post more photos today  while I work!

To follow along while I work, you can check out my Instagram: @Jonezee85! More to come!

Happy #WIPWednesday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#WIP Update: Three Dogs

So, since I kept posting work-in-progress photos of these guys, I thought I'd post a shot of the finished product. These dogs have arrived at their new home!

These three puppies, one of whom is an Instagram Celebrity (@MaryToddLincolnCoffman) will soon have their likenesses hanging above their parents' sofa. least that's what I think.

For more work-in-progress shots of what I'm working on now, you can follow me at @Jonezee85 on Instagram. For more info on having a portrait painted of your dog or loved- one, you can visit!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Spinster Jams: New Playlist


So, ever since Grooveshark shut down, I haven't been making too many online playlists. This week, though, I finished Couch to 5K for the umpteenth time (we'll see if it actually sticks this go round), and so I find myself in need of a new running playlist. I needed one that would be around 45 minutes to start. Perhaps I'll need more later, but for now, this will do.

I made the playlist in iTunes just thinking of whatever came to my mind that made me want to dance. Because...running is kind of like boring dancing, right? Maybe not. In any case, I wanted to listen to something fun since I don't really enjoy working out.

So, today I present to you my new playlist. I put this one together with YouTube so you can listen to it for yourself. I make no claims to good taste in music. Judge me if you will. I really don't care.

In case you'd like to listen to the playlist blindly, I'm embedding it below. If you'd like to just read what's on it, I'm listing after the videos.

 1. "Stitches" - Shawn Mendes

2. "Classic" - MKTO

3. "Toxic" - Britney Spears

4. "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" - Lady Gaga

5. "Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson Ft. Bruno Mars

6. "We R Who We R" - Ke$ha

7. "Confident" - Demi Lovato

8. "Flawless Remix" - Beyonce ft. Nicki Minaj

9. "Cake by the Ocean" - DNCE

10. "Hands Up" - The Black Eyed Peas

11. "Lean On" - Major Lazer & DJ Snake

12. "Work" - Rhianna ft. Drake

13. "Hands To Myself" - Selena Gomez

Enjoy! Happy Monday!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Spinster Food: Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

On Thursday Nights, a few people from my church meet at my friend Karen's house for bible study. For the first couple of meeting, Karen bore the burden of cooking for everyone, but then I started nosing my way in and asking if I could help. Last night's theme was "breakfast for dinner," so I volunteered to make a breakfast casserole. 

Now, I think if you've been reading this blog for long enough, you know I'm a lazy cook. So, I took to Pinterest to look for some easy breakfast casserole recipes. They were not in short supply, and they all looked pretty easy. Since one of the items Karen had suggested was biscuits and gravy, I thought the biscuits and gravy casserole pin I saw was a perfect idea. 

So, I made this recipe using Jimmy Dean sausage, Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits, and Pioneer pepper gravy.  The casserole turned out great if I do say so myself, but I feel like I must give credit where credit's due and link you to Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom, where the recipe was originally posted. 

Add this one to your breakfast party repertoire. I give it two thumbs up. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

#WIP: Sam

If you've been following my Instagram, you know I'm still working away at the triptych of precious pets I was posting about last week. Today I wanted to share a photo and a vide of one of the three.

This adorable dog is named Sam, and I think he could very well be related to my Miranda. His ears are just like hers, but he's just a different color. Possibly distant cousins? One can only hope...especially if he's as sweet a dog as she is.

Last night, I posted a video of myself working on the painting of Sam. Unfortunately it's pretty dark, but I never thought about doing such a thing, so maybe today I'll make one of myself working on the portrait of his sister, Mary Todd Lincoln.

Check out the video embedded below!

And, here's what Sam's painting looks like so far. Don't worry, I'll keep you updated as things progress!
A video posted by jonezee85 (@jonezee85) on

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Spinster Food: Brussels Sprouts and Spaghetti Squash

Lately, I've been trying to eat a little healthier. However, there's only so much broccoli and chicken a spinster can eat before she starts to feel like she might actually be a piece of chicken or broccoli. So, last night I decided to make something a little different but still not quite terrible for me. I'd been seeing spaghetti squashes in the grocery store, and I always love brussels sprouts, so those were the two items I wanted to use.

The first dish I made was the spaghetti squash. I used this really easy recipe for the crock pot, but I didn't really follow it, exactly. The recipe calls for one spaghetti squash, one jar (or can, in my case) of sauce, and 3 cups frozen meatballs. Well, when I put my spaghetti squash in the crock pot, it barely fit, so I made the executive decision to add more sauce. I don't think I was wrong. So, I ended up using two of the big cans of Hunt's spaghetti sauce and 12 frozen meatballs. I chose the 4-hours-on-high option since I only started this affair around 2, and it was ready by 6pm.

The brussels sprouts were sort of a hodgepodge of recipes I read online. These days I always have a few bags of Kroger brand steam-in-the-bag brussels sprouts in my freezer. What I didn't know, though, was that you can steam the brussels sprouts in the bag, and then you can sort of bake them in the oven. So, I steamed them, drained them, then turned the oven to 400, drizzled them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic salt, and I cooked them for maybe 15 or 20 minutes. The black parts were the tastiest.

I don't know how healthy my spinster mean actually ended up being, but I think it tasted pretty good. If you're trying to be a little lower in carbs but you crave spaghetti, I think that the spaghetti squash recipe was pretty good. I will be tasting what the leftovers are like later today, so hopefully they're still good. As for the brussels sprouts, I give them two thumbs up. Of course fresh brussels sprouts are preferable, but the ones at Kroger weren't looking too great, so my frozen ones did just fine.

Curious about what other recipes I've been pinning? Check out my recipes Pinterest board. There's a lot of good stuff there for lazy cooks. Well, I mean, at least the ones I've tried have been good.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#WIP: One Down, Two To Go!

pet-portrait, pet-portraits, purple-and-black

So, I recently took a few days off to be lazy and to paint. In that time, I played with two precious dogs, ate a heart shaped pizza, and did some fashion doodling. You can find all of that on my Instagram (@Jonezee85) since you're dying to know, I'm sure.

Yesterday I finished one of the three pet portraits I've been working on, so for fun, I thought I'd share the work-in-progress photos. Above, of course, is the finished product. Below, you can see how it progressed!

Stay tuned on my Instagram for the progress on the two sweet dogs who will flank this guy above one lucky sofa! Happy Tuesday!

Friday, February 12, 2016

#WIP: Pet Portrait Triptych

So, It's been a little while since I posted a work-in-progress shot, but I have been working away like a busy bee. Today I decided to share a couple photos of my latest pet portrait project. I've been commissioned to do a set of three portraits, and the cool thing about these is that they all have different color backgrounds. I think the colors look really nice together, O here's a photo below of the scheme:

Stay tuned to my Instagram (@Jonezee85) for more progress photos and other curiosities! Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Atlanta Spinstering: Daniel Lismore

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing the new Daniel Lismore exhibition at the SCAD FASH Museum. Vogue calls him "England's most eccentric dresser," and the show definitely lives up to the description.

The configuration of the show reminded me a little of the Terracotta Army, with rows of tall mannequins facing the same direction, all outfitted in layers upon layers of texture. Of course, there are differences as well. For one, there are about one thousand percent more rhinestones in this exhibition.

So, let's talk about the mannequins themselves. The SCAD sculpture department made a cast of Lismore's face, and each mannequin in the show is disguised with one such mask, making them all models of Lismore himself. After the masks were made, Lismore, I'm told, painted all the makeup on them and added false eyelashes, piercings, lipstick, or whatever else he thought necessary to complete a look. The effect is really gripping, like an army of fabulous fashion clones.

The looks (re: outfits) in the show were almost beyond description. Each one is a confection of layers upon layers of fabric, constructed garments, trims, found objects, and jewelry. I felt like I could stand in front of each for hours and still not see every element on its own. There were combinations of high and low fashion (think Alexander McQueen mixed with H&M), non-clothing items (an actual lampshade hat), and high-end garments repurposed to look like something else (a pleated, perforated leather skirt worn around the neck as a collar).

I could go on forever trying to describe these things, but instead I'll share a few of the photos I took.

I liked the use of the rhinestone necklace as a beard. 
Closeup o the bodice of the above look. Open in a new window for a closer look. 

Silk fabric with Embroidered and 3-dimensional flowers

My favorite look in the show. Ostrich Feathers, Rhinestones, Seed Beads, Pleats, and spray painted armor, just to name a few elements. 

A Closer picture of the above look. 

Complex beaded fabric

An almost bridal look with frothy ruffles, clear icicle beads, a rhinestone necklace beard, and multiple tiaras. 

If you're interested in seeing more of Lismore's work as a designer, you should check out the line Sorapol, for which Lismore is the head designer and brand director. It's much more wearable than the above looks while still maintaining a sense of assemblage and creative draping and pattern making. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Audible Spinstering: Going Clear

You may have noticed that I've been on a bit of a Scientology kick lately. I started with Leah Remini's Troublemaker, followed by Jenna Miscavige Hill's Beyond Belief, and most recently I finished Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.  Each book had it's upsides, but for the unincorporated lay person, I think Going Clear might be the most comprehensive look at Scientology of the three.

Today's Illustration is of filmmaker Paul Haggis. While Haggis did not write the book, the story of his experience with Scientology is prominently wrote throughout the pages. But, don't be fooled, there's a lot more to this book than just one celebrity's escape. The book offers an abridged history of Scientology and the life of L. Ron Hubbard, including footnotes where the story of an outsider differs from the official story given out by the Church of Scientology.

Now, I'm not going to give you any spoilers form this book because I think you should read it. It's crazy. The things L. Ron Hubbard did in his life and was able to get away with are astounding. And I'm not just talking about creating a religion. He did all sorts of things and made up all sorts of lies, making lots of money in the process. One that comes to mind is that he actually wrote a book entitled All About Radiation, though he was not particularly any sort of authority on the subject. But then, I suppose anyone can write a book if they're willing to publish it themselves.

Now, having a vague knowledge of Scientology, you might think, "how could anyone fall into this?" Well, I had the same questions, and that's why I read the books. I think there are several reasons, but one of them is that in the beginning the religion presents itself as a series of self-help classes. Who doesn't need a little self-help? Judging by the initial success of Dianetics, at least some of the techniques in Scientology might actually work.

Of course, when you get deeper into the religion, there are some elements that are a little more, shall we say, far fetched than just self-help. One such practice which I think keeps people in the church is what they call "auditing." An auditing session is basically Scientology's version of Catholic confession, but there's the addition of a rudimentary lie detector, or "e-meter," as they call it. In auditing sessions, all admissions and confessions made are recorded in a person's "ethics file," or permanent record. If a person does not achieve the desired reaction from an e-meter in any given session, they might be asked to think of other things - perhaps even from past lives - to confess. In this way, a person's ethics file might contain all sorts of damning admissions that may or may not be true. So, leaving the church might endanger a person's reputation or even freedom.

Most shocking of all - in all three books I read - were the accounts of working in the Sea Org. The Sea Org is a cloistered church-service organization that houses its members and essentially controls their lives. The church dictates everything from their meals and housing to marital status and reproductive rights.

Though you may think I have summarized the entire book here in this post, there is so much more in Going Clear. If you like learning about this sort of thing, I highly recommend checking this one out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Spinstergram: Valentines

I love making valentines. Each year I make all my valentines by hand, using whatever technique and media strike my fancy. For the past few years I've used some combination of watercolor and glitter, and this year I did the same. I also used come colored pens to add some contrast.

Last year, like a Christmas card, I sent a photo of my family - Miranda and me - inside the card. this year, I thought I'd spare everyone. Well, not everyone...a couple people (most of whom are relatives) did receive a photo, but that was the exception and not the rule. So, if you're receiving a valentine from me this year, then you don't have to try to figure out what to do with a photo of me and my dog. You're welcome. Even though I know you have a special album full of photos just of me. It's ok. We'll both pretend I don't know.

So, in case you're still looking to make a few valentines this year, I thought I'd share this image of a few of mine in case you need some ideas! If you're a little creatively challenged, don't worry. I have printables from past years. Just click that link.

Also, don't forget to get some Valentine's Day candy for your desk. It's just...really important. Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Don't Forget To Mail!

Today's post is just a public service announcement for all you snail-mailing spinsters. I've mailed the first half of my valentines today, and I suggest you do the same. You may want to mail the rest tomorrow and Monday to make sure they get there on time! In the photo above you can see the special heart forever stamps I got at the post office. I bought forty, so I may mail forty valentines. We shall see!

I hope your Saturday is excellent! Make sure to send that mail!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Atlanta Spinstering: SCAD aTV Fest

While I was at SCAD giving the Illustrator workshop, I heard about SCAD Presents a TV Fest. I didn't even know it was going on, so I asked my host what it was. She explained that it was a series of presentations to do with the TV industry and that she did, in fact, have an extra ticket to hear "Miss J," (AKA J. Alexander) speak on Thursday. Of course I said yes!

So, if you're thinking "Miss J" sounds familiar, that's probably because you have, at some point, watched America's Next Top Model. Miss J. is the show's most outrageously dressed judge and advisor.

The presentation was in the form of an interview with J. Alexander and Sarah Collins, SCAD's Associate Chair of the Fashion Department. However, Miss J could basically have done standup if he'd wanted to.

The personality Miss J exhibits on America's Top Model is entertaining, but not nearly as entertaining and engaging as his personality in real life. He feeds off an audience like any good performer, and he is full of energy and hilarious stories. He even does accents and faces - the story about his meeting with Imelda Marcos was particularly funny.

While J. Alexander (real name Alexander Jenkins) had plenty of amazing advice for aspiring Fashion designers, stylists, and reality TV stars, I think I could have listened to him talk about anything. In fact, if he ever decides to do standup, I will try to get a ticket in the front row.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Atlanta Spinstering: Illustrator Workshop

Monday and Tuesday of this week I visited SCAD Atlanta to give a workshop on Flat Sketching in Adobe Illustrator. Anyone who's ever worked with me knows I love to sketch flats. That may seem unbelievable to a lot of fashion designers (some consider this grunt work), but I find flat sketching to be almost meditative.

The image above is of my light table and croqui I use to draw flats by hand. That was a small portion of the workshop as well, but since Adobe Illustrator flats are most common now, we spent most of our time on those.

Over the two days, I showed the students some shortcuts and special techniques I thought they'd find helpful. These included but were not limited to: adding distress texture to graphics, creating lace brushes, creating knit stitch fills, adding shading to your flats, and creating heather swatches.

Why am I telling you about this? I'm not really sure. It was fun for me, so I thought I'd share. However, over the two day stint, I put no less than three students to sleep. So maybe it's just me. Sorry, students!

Now, because I'm afraid you're falling asleep, I think I should end this post and make something more interesting for tomorrow. Until then, eat some valentine candy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Spinster Food: Reese's Hearts

November through February is an excellent time for candy. November starts with a all the Halloween candy on sale, then it moves quickly into Christmas candy, then immediately comes the Valentine's Day Candy. If you ever buy candy - especially chocolate candy - you know why this is. It's the holiday candy. You may think holiday-themed candy is a gimmick, and of course it is, but it's so much more than that. It's special.

Not every company makes their candy different for holidays - other than color and wrapping. M&Ms, Hershey's Kisses, and Kit Kats are, of course, some of the sweets that don't change. However, treats like Reese's, Snickers, and York Peppermint Patties change their shapes. While the recipe may be the same, the shape offers a different ingredient ratio that, in almost all cases, is better than the everyday variety. Let's discuss.

Not all grocery stores carry the special holiday snickers - A toy soldier or tree at Christmas, a heart at Valentine's Day, or an egg at Easter. Some shops (in fact, I find most grocery stores) just carry the bags of seasonally wrapped mini snickers. This is sad because the special shapes actually taste better than the original. I think there's more caramel, and the chocolate is meltier.

The Reese's peanut butter bells at  Christmas and Hearts at Valentine's Day are much easier to find. While Reese's does offer a variety of Valentine's Day themed options (including a gigantic Heart and mini peanut butter cups that are somehow printed with seasonal messages), the Reese's Hearts are the best. While I'm sure the peanut butter filling recipe is the same, it seems somehow creamier, and the chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio is quite to my liking. The only complaint I have here is that there aren't all that many in the bag.

My sister says she thinks one of the reasons that holiday-themed candy is better is because it's fresher, and I don't disagree. You can't leave Valentine's Day Candy sitting around for six months because it would be obvious. Everyday candy, though, could be as old as the last general packaging update.

If you haven't tried the seasonal version of your favorite candy, I think your spinster mission today is to get yourself to a grocery or drugstore and get some treats for your desk drawer. Enjoy!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Obsession Confession: Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier

Sometimes before I get out of bed in the morning, I have a little scroll through the videos on Facebook. That's where I discovered Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier. Oh my goodness. I think Miranda needs to learn all these tricks. 

Without further ado, I just want to share these videos with you because they're adorable, and I think they'll brighten up your Monday!