Archive | November, 2009

Point #14-Christmas is Interesting

28 Nov

45 cool points to whomever gets the reference in the title.

I have a tree. I put this tree up several days before Thanksgiving and am quite happy with dragging out the winter holidays super early, thank you very much. When I expressed this sentiment in the the form of, “I put up my tree. Shut up.” on my Facebook page, a friend responded that it sounded like K-Tel was putting out a new holiday collection entitled, “Shut Up, It’s Christmas”. I not only found this wildly hilarious, but had to concede that that is pretty much what any Christmas album I could ever release would be called.

So the tree is up, and I couldn’t be more pleased. As all my stuff continues languishing in a storage facility, and I have little extra cash or inclination to purchase lavish new decorations, this holiday is being done shamelessly on the cheap and mostly handmade. The tree itself, including lights, tinsel, and basic ornaments were purchased at a Goodwill store with the remainder being made when I feel like it and stuck on the tree over time. I should finish decorating sometime around December 27th, I reckon.

The ornaments so far are…well, interesting. I have taken ideas I have found from various sources and “added my own touches”, or “cocked them up” quite nicely. I made little candy type hearts with cardboard backed felt and puffy paint, which look pretty cute if you didn’t see the much nicer inspiration pieces made of polyfill stuffed felt and fabric flowers. I also made some gingerbread men out of the same materials, however, I didn’t make them terribly plump. In fact, they are downright scrawny. When my exbesthusbandfriend remarked upon it, I tried to front and say they were just supermodel gingerbread men, but the truth is, these little guys clearly don’t feel ok with themselves. They have gingerbulimia.

I have also made cards, which was a whole new experience for me. I barely keep and fulfill a Christmas list, let alone handcraft cards to send to it. There’s just a mental block against it. Maybe it was using cookie cutter cards and this is the solution. I like the people I know. I know they live out there somewhere. I know they like cards. I like cards. It just always seems so…worklike to send cards out. When I am independently wealthy (aaaany day now) I will keep a card sending wench of some kind on retainer. I will make her answer to Becky like the scullery maid in A Little Princess and pay her in small amounts of money appropriate to buying crusts of bread and Fresca, giving the whole venture a Dickensian feel. You know, for the Christmassiness.

As the month goes on, no doubt all measure of mad things will be going up on the tree in the form of can tops, and bits of magazines and twine and such. It will be glorious. I just hope the gingerbulimics don’t persuade the can top snowmen to go emo and start cutting.

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Point #13-Creating space is hard

14 Nov

When one prepares to venture into the frozen north (of Florida) and brave the wooded expanses (of Florida) and sell stuff of a luminous nature (presumably to Floridians) it is right and meet that one be ready to face all challenges. Specifically one should test the screen tent first. Lest you end up looking like Lord of the Tardmos in front of a slew of amused SCAdians (members of the SCA and I am oh-so-sure that’s gonna be its own post tomorrow), it is very important to know which pole goes where and, in fact, that you have all the poles to start with.

To this end, the Incomparable April the Motivatress and I sallyed forth upon her lawn to test run the screen tent. It had been several years since she had used it, and the directions were long since blown to the four winds, so it seemed a good idea to make sure the damn thing would go, and stay, up.

We are two highly intelligent, creative, vibrant, and dare I say, beautiful, ladies. We know How Things Work. We are Down With Technology. We, I venture to say, Have the 411 On All That is Jiggy.

We were stymied by the stupid tent.

The Internet yielded no help as the company had gone out of business. We wandered in and out of the house, carrying the tent bag, checking online to see if we could find other poor schlubs in our predicament. We separated out the various poles, proud that we could sort out such complicated concepts as “1”, “2”…all the way up to “6”, and then, most amazingly of all, “3A” and “3B”. We stared down at the poles, and I can’t speak for April, but I was hoping they would magically form into a tent shape all by themselves solely through the power of my wishbeams. This didn’t happen.

The outcome of the story, of course, is, we did figure out roughly how the poles go, accompanied by much giggling and inappropriate innuendo, because putting up a tent is the most entendre-laced activity since drilling for oil. “We’re pitchin’ a tent…har har har” “This one goes in this hole here…har har har.” At one point, I toyed with a pole (har har har) and muttered, “You know this will be a new blog entry, right?” I can’t wait for tomorrow. If the damn thing doesn’t fall on us, bursting into flame in the process, I will be firmly convinced of a higher power.

After the near fiasco with the tent, we went to the diner for dinner and I put sugar on my fries instead of salt, which I see as proof that I am getting dumber by the hour.

Point # 12-Read slooowwwer

13 Nov

I post a fair amount of projects over at Craftster. The stuff I have posted is fairly basic stuff, nothing too amazing or different, but I get decent view and comment numbers. I should read those comments more slowly. I should revel in my knowledge of, you know, language. It tends to lead to less of this lookin’ like a jackass thing.

I posted a set of pictures of my awesome lampshade. This is a floor lamp with attached little round table that my sister tells me is from the forties. Vintage or not, it’s a pretty lamp. The shade needed work (read: “was ugly as goat fuck”) and so one night with just a bottle of glue, some fabric scraps, and a dream, I got this:

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Later I added fringe to create this:

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Trust me, much improved upon the original porridge-like “greige” of before.

Someone responded to the pictures by asking if I was going to post a picture “of it on”. Eh? I was puzzled. On what? On my head? I literally had no clue what she was saying. The plain, clear, straighforward English, which last I checked was my first, last, and tragically only, language was before me, and my brain shut down like large wafts of meth had just hit it. I swear for a minute or two I saw only colours. I could actually taste fuschia. Then the brain cloud cleared and I realised she of course meant “with the LAMP on.” You know, performing that function the gods created all the good little lamps to do. I am not even kidding, I am a believer in giving the people what they want; I was mentally halfway to putting the bloody thing on my head and clicking away. I was saved by the resumption of the firing of the synapses of my stupid, stupid brain and eventually posted the pictures. Honestly though, I think I may post some with the lampshade on my head. Every village idiot needs a cunning headdress.

Point #11-Cooking is Crafty

10 Nov

I am making spaghetti sauce. It is sauce I will put spaghetti in…or more accurately bowtie pasta. I have taken the awesome and, for me, bizarre, step of making it almost entirely from scratch. I say almost because I did not start with fresh tomatoes because that would be foolhardy. I would have skin and peel and acidic grossness. I have started with peeled whole canned tomatoes and I am truly just fine with that.

I should start out by saying that I really am not a cook-I just goof around with ingredients much the same way I goof around with paint, which is to say smear stuff around till I get something good. That said, cooking from scratch is, well, kinda stupid. It’s the wedding dress all over again. It takes a long time, and really, jar sauce is just as good and some nice machine somewhere went to all the trouble of making it for me. Thanks, Saucemaster 5000!

I guess the draw is the same as it is with so many other things made by hand. It’s the texture, and the colours, and the sensory experience of stirring and tasting and smelling. And there the “ta-DA!” factor in serving something to your family, or guests, that you didn’t take a shortcut on. The whole house smells wonderful all day long, though I must confess I achieve this same “smellin’ yummy” effect with cookies by chucking in those break and bake prefab cookie dough chunks, because baking is…I’m just gonna say it-the Devil. You have to actually measure things and if ONE LITTLE THING in the whole process goes wrong, you have a hockey puck, or batter soup, or your oven explodes, or any number of pastry related disasters. Give me a nice big pot of some delicious mess of something I can dump whatever is left in my fridge into. Yes, that includes cat food. Come on over.

Point #10-See the World Through Dork Coloured Glasses

7 Nov

It seems like the more art/craft/makin’ stuff I do, the more I see new patterns and colours and that sort of thing all around me. The word “craft” jumps out at me from books and websites; I notice shapes and designs on commercial packaging; I wonder at colour combinations on billboards. I start to see the beauty and splendour of beaded sushi.

Beaded sushi is something no sane person would create. It’s purely decorative; it’s glass beads so you can’t actually eat it. It’s not like wax or beaded fruit that looks like a normal sort of older lady table decoration. You see beaded sushi sitting on someone’s table and you start to wonder if they have a woman suit made of human skin hiding somewhere in the house as well. I see beaded sushi periodically in bead magazines or web articles about beaded plants and flowers, which, while not alive, at least make more sense as a decorative item. Inevitably, the creator of these weird, but admittedly beautiful, objects cop to the fact that they made them because they were inspired by the original sushi’s colours, shapes, and patterns. And I get that.

I went through a period of time that the kindest term to apply to it would be “craft hiatus” and the worst would be “miserably unimaginative life-wide snooze fest”. I am gratified to know that when one slides back into a life that devotes itself to making that one can develop an artistic eye again. I was truly afraid that that wouldn’t happen to me…that I had lost it for good. Then the beaded sushi started making sense and I could stare enthralled at the design on a label for Method cleaner without the aid of Substances (meaningful wink) so I knew I was back in the game. I begin to see why an artistic eye and Substances (meaningful wink) can result in great art being made, because just the eye part makes you see batshit things anyway. (Here again, beaded sushi, I look at you…you just make me hungry, you know…and I can’t eat you.) I’ve been grateful for a lot of things lately, but the Eye coming back has been a big one. The next step is trying to figure out how a giant beaded turkey may have a useful place in society.

Point #9-Breaking Up IS Hard to Do

2 Nov

I had my first “real” craft show this past Saturday with the Incomparable April at my side. I have vended at Pagan festivals before, but this was my first real outing with an intention to make this a business. We sat in despair…ok, ok…we sat gabbing about everything under the sun with a cursory glance and an almost completely sincere sounding “Good Morning!!!” as we watched with blandly pleasant smiles until they went away, at which point we began gabbing again (We have our retail faces down!)…as the day wore on and nothing sold. In the last hour or so, a bunch of stuff went and the day was modestly successful, enough to “buy the table” and make a little bit for some supplies.

The biggest lesson I have come away from the first outing with, however, is that I am an emotionally involved chick. I sold two necklaces, one that I had finished just that morning, giving me the vague sensation that I had sold fresh wine, or pre-beer “wort” rather than something nicely cured and aged. Because I am a big dork. The other piece, though, was one that had been among my “to sell” stock for a few months now, and it was really much harder to let it go than I though it would be! Seriously, I was almost teary I slid the necklace into a plastic bag for her to take away. I honestly thought for a second that I would begin asking her to promise she would feed it everyday, take it for walks…send it to the best schools. “I’ll never forget you!!” my big dumb sap n’ schmoop gland cried out as my pink and green glass bead masterpiece walked out of my life forever. I told the very nice lady who bought it that it was one of the first pieces of jewelry I had made solely for selling purposes and that it was hard to let it go, because guilt creates repeat customers. 🙂 She has my email address and name, ostensibly to re-order should she wish to, but really I know it’s because I hope she will send me pictures of the big, beautiful, rabbit-infested farm I just KNOW she took my necklace to. ::sniffle::