Archive | January, 2011

Point #43-Grindhouse

17 Jan

I don’t know if it is a sickness or a sign of sheer Optimus Woot-itude (when my dreams of becoming a super hero come to fruition, my name shall be Optimus Woot) that I can scarcely look at a piece of plastic without picturing what I might be able to do with it. Whenever I buy a new pepper grinder, the grinder part is covered with a plastic cap. These little incidental pieces off of every day food packaging fall under two categories in my head: very disposable and too substantial to be accidental, usually as a result of their shape and the material out of which it is made. It isn’t to say the the very disposable isn’t useful; anyone tying up a tomater plant with a stray twist tie or occupying a kitty cat with a milk jug ring can attest to that. But some of these little treasures just scream to be used for something. This pepper grinder cap is just such a substantial piece and I am sure that my endless staring at it in lieu of doing the dishes would have been amusing to any onlookers. Of course, I will do just about anything in lieu of doing the dishes, including self dentistry. Stare stare stare stare. What can I use this thingie for? As it has a nice little shallow rim and a convenient little tab sticking out of one side, it does sort of cry out “I am pendant waiting to happen!” I want to think of something truly awesome for it, though.

Which has me thinking. I really suck at crafts. I do. I am not a master sewer, knitter, crocheter, or painter. I do not excel at cross stitch, watercolour, bead weaving, or collage. I do not make dolls, use pastels, or sculpt. My rubber stamping looks like something monkeys would do. What I do is take a lot of crap that any rational sane person would take one look at and toss into the trash with a carefree flourish and try to figure out what I can do to make it useful or pretty. The more lowly any item is to start, the prouder and more satisfied I am with the outcome. I almost feel like I am cheating to start with actual raw craft supplies.

Monocle!!!! That’s what I should make out of it! I will be so awesomely steampunk with my pepper grinder monocle! Ok, maybe I need to stop drinking coffee.

Point #42- You Can Learn a Lot of Things From the Flowers

16 Jan

These flowers sing, yo.

This is one of the few “wedding crafts” I actually have completed and I thought I would share. Things are coming together pretty piecemeal, which is good considering we have no official date set for the shindig yet. But when the mood strikes me, I do whatever I feel like doing, much like life in general, and so here, view with amazement and wonder my musically themed roses.

Music is very important to me, and to my fiance’, and when I determined that I do not want the hassle of fresh flowers, nor the potential mess of dried/preserved ones, I chose to eschew the silk route and go with something a bit different. I have seen lovely tutorials for sheet music roses before, and as I often do, I gave it my own touch and created a very simple bouquet that is utterly and completely me. The only thing that would be more apropos would be if I could toot the damn thing like a clown horn and frankly there is still time.

Here is the basic rose tutorial. I just added a touch of paint to mine, lightly so as not to lose the obvious sheet music awesomeness of the roses. I used coral and light copper paints on three of them, and a darker copper wash on two, with a soft gold shimmer over all. First I painted them the desired colours, and then went outside and sprayed them down with a clear coat of spray paint. Then I swore blue buckets as the wind whipped the spray paint merrily into my eyes. Then I went inside and got annoyed with Josh for proposing to me and thus causing me to make roses and thus spray myself in the eyes. Whipped some floral tape around the scrawny little copper stems on which the roses are wrapped, wrapped all five stems together and piccolo! a bouquet! I wrapped the resulting single stem with a very pretty sage green satin ribbon and secured it with tiny sequin pins. A few more purple and green ribbons tied around the top of the stem and I have no more stupid bouquet to worry about. Well played, me.

See?

And…OOOOHH:

Pow!

These things would kick the crap outta Alice. I got ninja flowers.

***This post is part of The CraftyChica’s Valentine’s Day linky party!***

Point #41- Death Be Not Proud…nor remotely reverent.

11 Jan

It has been a month since my fiance lost his father, since the call that after a certain age, I think we are biologically programmed to know we will receive, but end up never being fully prepared for. It came without warning, on the heels of the good news that I was employed once more. Our phone was out at the time, and we had to travel the short drive to my sister’s home to call the cousin that had emailed Josh, telling him to call her…it was urgent.

We’ve all lost someone; there is no need to rehash the details of something that everyone has or will one day share. What struck me then, and continues to strike me weeks later, are the reactions of the people around me, including my own and Josh’s. Little things that I take out of my memory and look at like a morbid little mini scrapbook, with pictures of love and smartassery on the pages. The gentlemen involved got all manfully annoyed at me for making a big deal of it, but when our good friend Demko arrived at a graduation party we attended the next night, he put his arm around Josh and Josh hugged him back, and for a moment Josh laid his head, just for a second or two, on Demko’s shoulder, in a way that men never do when things are fine and good and fart jokes are more appropriate. I squeed aloud and made a joke about hetero man love and the boys got all hurrumphy and told me to stop making a big deal of it, but it was one of the most touching things I had seen in a long time.

My family are extremely irreverent about sickness, death, and dying. Through three grandparents deaths from stroke, cancer, and just plain antiquity, we have made every inappropriate joke you can think of. My mother’s diabetes has offered up reams of humourous material, including my calling her “Helen Keller” when, in addition to being blind as a mole, she was having trouble hearing me one day. During a stint in the ICU a few years aback, the nurses looked on, aghast, as my fascinated sister and I made my mother laugh because it “made the monitors jump like she was coding”. Hilarious!

When Josh and his cousins started talking about the plan to send his dad’s ashes down here, the inevitable coffee can jokes began. He wished to be spread in a canyon in California (real convenient, Mike!) and I immediately mock worried that we would inadvertently recreate the scene towards the end of The Big Lebowski where the ashes fly at Jeff Bridges’ face. “Don’t accidentally make coffee out of him”, I also joked to Josh. And Josh got it, and ran with it, and there was some back and forth along the lines of the best part of waking up was not Dad in your cup, or some such. Totally not acceptable, but it worked for us.

The most recent episode of How I Met Your Mother featured the death of one of the lead character’s dads, the emotions of disbelief and horror excruciatingly and realistically rendered by the actors. I saw the rather twist-y ending coming not three seconds before Josh did, and I lunged to turn off the tv before the scene played out. Josh stopped me and insisted he was fine. I think I cried more then then I did at any other point after he got the news. I won’t try to analyse why. Josh’s dad and I didn’t always get along well, but he gave me Josh, and Josh loved him dearly, and when his remains arrive on our doorstep, I am going to hug that coffee can to me and tell him I that I think, in his own slightly bumbling way, that he was good to the very last drop.

Point #40- That’s Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man

6 Jan

Ah, New Year’s Eve. The chance to tie one on and look like an utter ass with little to no consequences, provided you steer clear of making out with your boss’ wife or urinating on anyone. The festive night usually finds my fiance’ and me at the home of some dear friends who hold this party every year. This year held a twist. After dressing as The Dude for Halloween, Shelley was inspired to hold a Big Lebowski themed party complete with costumes, with a prize to the best one. Which is how I ended up on the mean streets of Tampa Bay on New Year’s Eve, dressed as a rug.

For Josh, it was easy, he knew he wanted to dress as Marty the weirdo dancing landlord. He had a very brief thought towards the standards: Walter, the Dude-but he kept coming back to a costume that no matter what, was going to require me to wrap him in leaves. I found it more difficult, having only seen the film once and remembering very little about its female characters, the vapid and little seen Bunnie and the marginally more interesting, but not remotely like me Maude. Just to be a smart ass, I said, “Heh, I will go as the rug.” Note to Me: never say smartassed things in front of my fiance’, for he will happily run with said idea like a switched mustang. I was all for this idea, but had no idea how to really make it happen.

I should probably let the pictures do the talking. I haven’t done a whole lot of pictures of myself here, but I will make an exception for this, I think.

First Josh:

With the bottle of Kahlua he, spoiler alert, won for best costume. He even did the interpretive dance.

And then there was me:

I particularly like the Death Ray Eye Cat in the background readying his lasorz.

My costume consisted of interpreting broadly the concept of an Oriental rug. I wore a Chinese style cut dress, with my hair up and tied with some fringe (like a rug, natch) and then a bathmat cut into two pieces that I then wore like some fuzzy pink horrible loincloth. Jessie Fuzzbutt of the Martha Stewart At Home tribe, just call me. I guess I looked like a rug personified. Or I just looked like a terribly non-politically correct mess, especially given my quasi-Geisha girl makeup. In any case, it was well received, particularly the final touch, in order to, as the rug did in the film, “tie the room together”, I carried a roll of bondage tape.

Heh heh…f***in’ A.

Point #39- Why Living with Me Sucks.

3 Jan

The events about which you are about to read happened one random morning, but are representative of any given morning in my household. I had the sudden, urgent need to share them here.

I have awoken. My fiance, Josh, is still lightly sleeping next to me. I am bored.

Me: ::flops teddy bear arm over Josh’s face::
Josh: ::sleeps::
Me: ::places arm more firmly over nose::
Josh: ::opens one eye, visible over furry bear arm::
Me: Heehee.
Josh: Stop that. ::mildly, for he is used to this::
Me: Hello. ::moves bear arm firmly over mouth and nose::
Josh: ::moving arm:: Stop smothering me.

A small tussle ensues wherein Josh moves bear arm, and I replace it, only to have Josh tuck bear arm tightly under his head with a slight “Ah HA!” flourish. After a moment or two, I simply flip entire bear onto his face.

Josh: ::giggling a little:: STOP IT! You’re smothering me.
Me: ::exerts more pressure::
Josh: Your sense of humour manifests itself weirdly.
Me: How is that?
Josh: You’re trying to kill me.
Me: Don’t be silly, I would stop before you die.

Bear is removed and there is peace for a few moments. I cannot have this. And so I start poking my finger into the edge of Josh’s nose. He groans irritatedly and flops over onto his side, little spoon fashion, upon which I start fluttering my fingers at his ear. He squirms and says, “Stooooop iiiiitt!” I take pity on him for a short while. Then I get over that.

Me: ::hugging him tightly:: My lil spoon.
Josh: ::suspicious, but enjoying hug::

Under the covers, I very lightly tickle his tummy, where he goes berserk and starts squirming madly. I have, in the past, managed to squirm him off the bed with this.

Josh: Stop TICKLING ME!!!
Me: Don’t be silly. This is simply an early morning ritual of advanced yoga moves for the hands.
Josh: You’re full of shit.
Me: No, dude, there’s a book, called Yoga for the Hands.
Josh: I believe that. I don’t believe that is what you are doing.

A pause. I have stopped tickling him and have my fingers up by his ear again. I flutter my fingers at his ear once more.

Me: This one is Fluttering Moths.
Josh: AHHHHH! Stop!
Me: ::stops:: ::long pause:: ::places finger directly into ear::
Me: Piercing Arrow.
Josh: :;appears dangerously close to forcibly locking me in closet for the rest of day::

I subside. But I will return with my Fluttering Moths of Doom and Piercing Arrow of Annoyance.

Point #38-No Place Like Gnome

2 Jan

I am going to go out on a bold and daring limb here.

Buy gnomes.

You know…garden gnomes. I think gnomes are going to be big this year, mostly because I have become mildly enamoured of them and am willing them into popularity with the power of my brain darts. They are fun, easy to personalise, and can be found for a song at yard sales and thrift stores. I found several at a yard sale recently and went to town making them a bit weird for the enjoyment and “WTF?”-ery of others. For my West Indian father, I painted a gnome as a tourist visiting our home island of St. Vincent, complete with tropical printed overalls and a gnome hat painted with the Vincy flag. The end result was a certain something that art critics the world over have dubbed “tacky” and “odd”. I take great delight in this being in my dad’s yard. He and his girlfriend seemed to enjoy the off-putting charm of it, though, and that is all that matters. Another gnome has gotten the Steelers treatment, complete with eye blacking and wielding a large hoe. Haha! That must be a Ben Roethisberger gnome, amirite? *fist bump left hanging*

I think that there is a lot of scope for imagination with gnomes, as well as other plaster critters and folk. My niece found a little ceramic bunny at a thrift store once that, well, it could only be described as “possessed by demon lords from the depths of Hell”. It appeared to have been painted for a young child’s room. I am assuming Rosemary’s Baby. My niece (thirteen years old and charmingly morbid) decided this little gem was just terrifying enough to make…more terrifying. On Thanksgiving, a holiday, of course, traditionally marked by the giving and receiving of horrifying statuettes, she bestowed upon me her completed efforts: a vampire bunny in full bloody rage, blood on teeth and paws and with bits of brain and stitching scattered on his Gothically ruined body. *sniffle* The psychotic little nippers grow up so fast, don’t they?

Thus, I recommend that you wander the aisles of your local thrift store for whatever strange little creature you can and see what you can make of it. It fact, just now, I have decided I want see them. How’s that for spontaneous? Let’s get an informal little linky party going here. Link back in the comments to your best thrift store creature redux. Scary or sweet, silly or artistic, I want to see what you can do with that creepy ceramic cat. Post your creation by January 16th and I will select a winner. The prize will be awesome. It will look stunning in your garden.

Point #37- A Boot Up My Rear

2 Jan

Which is what it will most likely take in order for me to me productive again.

Hello.

Long time no see.

After several months of some pretty difficult experiences that have kept me away from anything remotely creative, I have some solid goals for the New Year, including starting a podcast, committing to a new post each week, and getting in some guest authors to the blog.

Oh, yeah, and I am going to make stuff.