April 17, 2012

Art for Children

I don’t think that I have established this before, but I am studying Early Childhood Education. It is what it sounds like, a major that focuses and the specific development and learning patterns of infants and young children.

One of the things that I enjoy is that I am often encouraged to use art for a number of projects. While this isn’t always something I enjoy the moment (because who really wants to do a big project for school), in retrospect, I’d rather be drawing than researching.

With the semester drawing to a close, I thought I’d show off some of my work this semester.

1) Hickory, Dickory, Dock: Needed to create a video aimed at literacy. I drew up some little pictures using oil pastels and put them together with some narration.

© Hillary Steckler

Check out the video!

2) Golem: Assignment, to read 25 Caldecott winning books, choose one and write and report and produce an original image to reflect the style and content of the book.

© Hillary Steckler

I chose the book Golem, for which all of the illustrations are created from cut and torn paper. I was sick during this assignment, so I had to work with what I had at home…7 colors of paper, and 1 size of scissor.

3) Children’s Song Picture Book: This huge project was for music methods in teaching. We were to choose a song from our text, illustrate and bind it into a book. I chose “Bobby Shaftoe.”

© Hillary Steckler

For the illustrations I used rough, recycled sketch paper and chalk pastels.

© Hillary Steckler

After the illustrations were completed, I scanned the images in at 1600 dpi. I took forever, but printed at full bleed on brochure paper, it was worth the wait.

© Hillary Steckler

Because the images were such large files, the text and music could not be imposed over the top. Instead, I waited for the ink to dry and then ran each page through again to receive the text. That means, each page went through the printer 4 times, as the pages were double sided. I was nervous that I would mess up on the last run through, but it came out beautifully.

© Hillary Steckler

April 16, 2012

10 Points to the Stecklers

A while ago I posted about my free sample obsession, and I suppose that this goes hand in hand with it, but I have also started using rewards sites. I had never been too impressed with the reward options, but figured I’d open a few accounts and give them a go…and today I am very happy with my decision.

Firstly, if you are a Disney fan, join Disney Movie Rewards. Do…it. I have only been a member for about 5 months, and I am not someone who sees or buys unused movies very often, and I have already accumulated enough points to get my first reward. I was able to order “The Other Side of Heaven” for free, with free shipping. I was so excited when I ordered it, but now I am even happier that (1) it actually came, and (2) it wasn’t a cheap “free” version. It came in a legit case, with special features and even a code for 75 more rewards points. I was sure it would just be in some kind of cardboard packaging, but no. Disney means business, and I should have never thought so low of them.

I’m already excited for my next point redemption. I am not 100% sure what I’ll get next, but I am sure I will stick with movies and they have several that I’m interested in.

Oh, as a side note, if you do decide to join, or already have joined Disney Movie Rewards, check out My Free Product Samples.com. Cher, the woman who runs the blog, keeps a post updated with all of the free Disney point codes. They are usually 5 or 10 points, but they add up fast if you stay on top of them.

January 27, 2012

The Cake Is A Lie

Okay, so I love Pinterest, but one thing about it drives me crazy. The number of ridiculously simple workouts posted with photoshopped images of trim women is getting a little too absurd to laugh at anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-photoshop, but seriously, take this popular pin:


Even assuming that this image wasn’t photoshopped, that short, unvaried workout would never equal this body, unless you already naturally had it. This one has the same problem:


Still a small workout being paired up with an model in an advertisement. Yet it’s being pinned and repinned with promises by pinners that they will start working out harder with this as their inspiration.

Essentially, Pinterest has mainstreamed the “thinspo.” A pop culture contraction of the words thin and inspiration, used to label pictures of thin women used by anorexic and bulimic people to inspire them in their quest for physical beauty.

So what’s the alternative? A “fitspo” may be more appropriate, but to what end? Fitness models are fixed before their pictures flood the web, and they all too often receive plastic surgery for areas that a clean diet and exercise would otherwise disrupt. Take these fitspo pins for example:



Women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat, primarily because it is stored in the chest. As a person loses weight and firms up, the chest is usually the first area to shrink, because it is the least essential. Because of this, many women in the fitness industry receive augmentation of some kind. This makes them about as bad for fitspos and models are for thinspos.

Luckily there are accurate representations of fitness on pinterest. This pin is very inspiring (though it was likely touched up for advertising purposes, at least she has her correct proportions, assuming it’s even the same person):


All in all, if people would just do exercises rather than create boards full of pictures of thin, busty women advertising bizarre eating habits and oversimplified work out plans, they would be a little healthier.

Also, check out this video that I found while I was looking around for pictures for this post. It’s about a professional fitness trainer who gets the full photoshop treatment.