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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!***

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Point #33- Emo is Lame-o

15 Sep

I have done a lot of tutorial-y type entries lately and I like that I have turned in that direction overall on my blog. But I do occasionally plan to get back to my rambling bloggy roots, and lucky, lucky lucky you, this is one of those entries.

It was completely by accident that this particular entry ended up being #33, which is my adult lucky number (as opposed to 21, my number of choice through child- and young adulthood); it just turned out that way.

I have been crafting like a mad fiend lately, and it is good for me. I have some times where I get very low, and when I don’t think my life is going terribly right, and making things helps with that. I think that is true of anyone. Doing things you love makes you happy. Stop the damn presses and alert Deepak Chopra; what a flipping novel concept. But while it may be evident, it isn’t always easy.

I have recently realised that there are some folks in my life, along with me, that find it hard to be happy at times, no matter what is happening in their lives. I call it “waiting for life to begin” syndrome. I am guilty as hell of it (wow, just remembered my wedding song is going to be “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” by Colin Hay…meta much?) Heed the words of John Lennon: life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

So I am immersing myself in craft. It’s awesome. What a lame phrase to encompass such a strong feeling. But it is true. It is awesome, in the most literal and original sense of the word…awe inspiring, huge, majestic, and just. It makes sense that what we create should inspire feelings of awe. Part of my whole “Points for Creativity” philosophy is the concept of expressing spirituality through creation; most religions have a creation story-even several. Even humanists and many atheists believe in the power of human intelligence to manifest something greater than itself.

I was not planning for this to be serious. I was expecting that I would do more of a “tooting a clown horn every thirty seconds” type post like I have in the past, but it ended up taking a more introspective turn. I’ll leave you with this, and then tomorrow I will toot a clown horn and post something pretty again, I promise. These are five things that have made me ridiculously happy in the past few weeks that I realised are the type of thing that is the whole point of living. Not suggestions for you to do, necessarily, but goofy things that *I* did that made me realise “I need no other plans, this IS my life, there is no need to make it begin.”

1. Bought a cheap VCR (yes, I said VCR, for seven dollars, why not?) and stacks of cheap, sometimes out of print, fluffy, did I mention cheap Disney movies. I had a ton and don’t feel like necessarily rebuying them all on DVD or BluRay and have since picked up a buttload more at thrift stores.

2. Have made it a habit to wander the toy aisles at any store I go to. There is something about playing with action figures, bouncy balls, and foam swords that makes it impossible to be unhappy. You may not be incredibly popular with the WalMart staff but hell, where else can you do this:

3. Paint something. Anything. A picture, a piece of furniture, a wall. Whether painting is your craft of choice or if you even do crafts at all, paint stuff. It’s soothing. It’s fun. And you can almost paint it over if you mess up.

4. Make art of toilet paper rolls. More on that soon, but trust me, it’s fun.

5. Hanging out with my niece. There is something amazing about spending time with a little version of you (she has my nose) that you can boss around, listen to, be farted on by, mildly torture in public, and ultimately give back. Being an aunt is wonderful.

That’s all. I will return with more wacky hijinks soon, but for now, here’s tooting in an introverted and emo-y way at you. Imagine My Chemical Romance playing if you’d like.

Point #32-Always Look Past a Bad Paint Job

12 Sep

Oh man, is there a lot of crap out there. I, like many fellow crafty types, like to troll the thrift stores to find treasures just waiting to have their potential unlocked. I found one such diamond in the rough at my local Goodwill: a tabletop cabinet that revealed itself upon getting it home and untaping the taped-shut doors to have a tiny set of drawers inside. Not even that tiny; they easily hold my makeup and other small items. But I digress…in very un-me fashion, I will leave off the thick wall of bloggy text and let my pictures and commentary do the talking on my latest project.

This is what I started with. I saw its awesome bones right away. The dreadful country nightmare of a paint job will HAVE to go, though.

When I bought it, it was taped shut and so I wasn’t sure if the inside was shelves or what, so I was really excited to get it home and find a tiny set of drawers inside. This would be a cool way to hide away makeup and other small items on my bureau. The horrific festival of suck continues on the inside paint job, however.

I assault your eyes with a view of both the inside and outside at once. You are welcome. And ack! with acking…the paint carnage wraps around both sides, too.

Oh my dear sweet Jesus…this thing does NOT want to take paint. Yes, I know sanding helps. No, I do not want to. It will take eight trillion coats to cover the grim jollity of the world’s tackiest cheer fest. I think dozens of My Little Ponies died painting this thing. I don’t know how, I just sense they did.

In spite of the fact that the original paint is still leering like an undead spector at me, I can already see improvement. My plans for the doors mean I can ease up on the frantic painting on those sections at least. This helps alleviate the “The hills, THE HILLS! The flowery, bloody, evil hills” that I keep muttering as I feverishly splash red paint about with terrified abandon.

Ok…the bad paint job has almost entirely gone away now. I am breathing more easily and the South Park episode “Christmas Critters” has ALMOST stopped flittering through my brain.

Drawer is painted copper, the sides are fully coated, and I know the door will soon be covered so thoroughly the scary romping cheermongers of doom will never escape that damn meadow. The door knobs are copper, too, and wanting a little extra detail up top (where formerly was seen a painted pink bow….a frightening, frightening bow) I stuck on a clear plastic self adhesive scrapbook detail and than splattered some copper paint on it.

Ha! Take that, frolicking hordes! I have covered the sylvan terror with sheet music (The Coronation Mass, same as the mirror I recently did) that has been aged with coffee and walnut ink. I decoupage it on the doors and the tiny piping voices of evil woodland creatures finally cease.

The little bun feet painted copper. A word about a couple of details: as horrible as the original paint job was, a couple of original bits were allowed to show through. The inside of the doors, for instance, went from a stark, uneven black and white stripe to a softer, more festive looking stripe reminiscent of a turn of the last century carnival or Moulin Rouge look. Very 19th century. It reminds me of carnival bunting or a lady’s walking costume, all striped silk and elegance. The round feet had a swirled design with that same feel, and I didn’t cover them quite as thickly to let that show through the copper.

The paper has been decoupaged on and a dry brushing of gold paint to make it shine more. It catches the light and adds to the luxe look I was going for. Suck it, flowery hills. The sides have also been dry brushed with a bit of gold/copper paint to help mask the last remnants of the first paint job, and the upper edges has likewise been kissed just a bit with the metallic paint.

Little drawers to hold my treasures.

And there we go. I realise that that super cute country look has its place. But sometimes it is time to step away from the Donna Dewberry “Peaceful Meadow” collection and let the developers take over.

Point #28-Sometimes You Just Have to Let Your Geek Flag Fly

24 Aug

I think the main telling point of a crafty or creative person is an utter inability to let well enough alone. This is why places like IKEA are so popular to crafty types. You can buy a cheap pine box of some kind or a table made of sheet metal and do amazing things to it, making it a one of kind piece. Easy peasy. I was able to hit my local IKEA for the first time in awhile and purchased, among other only semi-necessary things, a long mirror, because I am tired of trying to see my whole self in the various windows and bits of mirror I have hanging about. Lying in bed yesterday evening, I was staring at the mirror, looking at its plain piney plain-ness (it’s still hanging crooked, dammit) and thinking “Oi, I have got to do something with that mirror, considering the increasing kickassery of the rest of my room.” (I will not apologise for my internal wordiness, either, and yes, that is how I talk to myself. 🙂 )

As I lay there, ideas swirling about, I got a visit from a very special muse. This is the same angel that whispers the very best character stats she can into the ears of eager little gamers sitting in a basement somewhere, the muse that tells that cosplayer exactly what leather bustier will make her bosoms the very perkiest. I was visited by the Dork Muse.

Here’s how it all went down, and you be the judge. Nerdiest project ever?

Started with my IKEA mirror:

Added some detail in the form of moulding corners on the bottom and washers of different sizes and textures for an old little carved, steam-punk, really-don’t-want-it-plain-and-lame look:



Painted the whole frame, including over the details, to give it first a base of bronze, and then two different shades of gold, to look sorta like old, gilded wood:

Here’s where it gets geeky. Harry Potter fans will see where this is going right away. (Those that do not, here is what I was going for. Not the same thing at all, but my own version: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Mirror_of_Erised):

The word is made from some large cardboard letters, used primarily for scrapbooking and paper crafts. (A close look at the second “E” will reveal that, only having a singular E, I had to improvise with an F and a part of an L ruthlessly removed with a craft blade.) I glued them down onto a random board I had lying about-a lesson NEVER to throw out scrap wood! Next I needed to make the letters blend seamlessly with the board backing, almost carved or sculpted. You all know by now, I am a) pretty cheap and b) (say it with me, kids) lazy. I wanted something easy to spread, manipulate, and shape. Most would suggest a gel medium, but I had already gone to Home Depot for the moulding and washers and my feet hurt. I wasn’t going to the craft store for gel medium when I had perfectly good plaster of paris at home. The kiddie craft supplies, as stated in an earlier post, are often the best. Smearing that one was fun. I just brushed it over and around the letters, shaping a little beveled edge with my paintbrush, and added a scrollwork topper:

The plaque was painted in the same base shade and gold glazes, the letters first being drybrushed (generously) in black to make them stand out:

The topper piece was wood glued to the mirror and the whole shebang stuck on the wall:

So that was my nerdiest project to date. The &*%$ thing still isn’t hanging straight.

Point #26-Kids Have the Best Craft Supplies or Ode to the Humble Crayon

14 Aug

Man, do I love crayons.

I went to Walmart the other night, and like any of the big box stores, they are having their annual “ZOMG! It’s Back to School and You Need All New Stuffaganza YAY!!!!”. I love school supplies. I remember well the first few days of a new school year, when the promise of newfound popularity, friends, and endless frolic was as shiny and hopeful as the brand new em-puppied Trapper Keeper and Lisa Frank folders stashed in your spanky new Jansport backpack. It usually took, on average, three to fourteen days for my new supplies, bit by bit, to disintegrate into tattered bits of plastic and paper scarcely held together by the equally shattered dreams of new social acceptance. Also, all my crayons were broken.

I think this is why, to this day, of all the school supplies one can admire and drool over in the pursuit of a vicarious thrill, crayons are the hardest for me to resist. Walmart, sensing and seeking to exploit the weakness, has 24 packs of Crayola crayons (GOTTA be Crayola…Rose Art can SUCK IT!) for a whopping 25 cents a box. Holy shit. That’s a penny a crayon! So I did what any sensible adult would do and bought eight boxes. What?! That’s two HUNDRED crayons for two hundred pennies; tell me you could have resisted. Besides, as part of my wacky, artsy, colourful, and let’s be frank, utterly childish wedding, I am going to provide colouring pages and crayons to the guests to play with during the ceremony. As a result, I have a real, legitimate reason to acquire large numbers of these little gems.

Crayons and I go way back. To this day, I get more pleasure out of the ownership in many ways than the use of them. I love getting new 96 packs and immediately putting all the colours in rainbow order, marching like flamboyant soldiers across the cardboard interior of that green and yellow box. Even now, I keep even the broken or worn out crayons that been retired in favour of a new box in a large tins for whatever cool project I can think of. There are so many things you can do with crayons. Aside the obvious, colouring books and the like, you can use them as an alternative collage medium, adding tint to homemade candles, melting into fabric or canvases to make a waxy Jackson Pollack type masterpiece…any number of awesome ideas. But when it comes down to it, part of me that is still ten years old will always be fulfilled by sitting down and carefully lining up those perfect little sticks of colour, like little gems in my own brilliant jewelbox.


(I did not do this. I am not nearly this awesome.)

Point#18-In which I wish I was a Muppet

15 Dec

I have been obsessed with all things Muppetty of late. I have no clue why. It started as most of my cyclical obsessions do, with a casual mention that I follow up on and thus fall into a gaping chasm of fandom from which the only escape is me being distracted from it by a random article hit on Wikipedia. In this case it was rabies, which led to Cujo, which led to The Dead Zone, which naturally led to Martin Sheen and you get the picture…

The original obsession du jour began with a brief arc on the webcomic Something Positive in which the main character is determined to make his friend cry at the mere playing of a song, which works. It also backfires when the song proves too sad even for him. Armed only with the name of the song, I hit YouTube, knowing my schmoop gland was probably going to get a severe workout.

Do not, under any circumstances, listen to the song, “A Boy and his Frog” unless you hate your heart. You know, cuz of all the breaking.

Man, this song was carefully handcrafted from fine Corinthian tears and bathed gently in the light of baby seal eyes for an extended period of time. It was then handwashed in some cancer of the puppy and presented on a bed of Nicholas Sparks novels. I wept, I sobbed. I had to go lie down for awhile. And then, because I apparently hate myself, I proceeded to watch all the coverage of Jim Henson’s funeral that I could find on YouTube. Yes, I watched Big Bird sing “Bein’ Green”. Yup, everyone singing “Just One Person”, too. As my own personal holiday experience every year is watching Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, I was happy to see Jerry Nelson and Louise Gold’s rendition of “River Meets the Sea” performed. The sea in this scenario was the wave of saline sorrow that my childhood washed away in. I was comforted (because these things comfort me) that I have found the song I want sung at my funeral.

I am a sappy woman. I am prone to the shedding of tears to the extent that Publix grocery store commercials can cause my tear ducts to go into the sort of overdrive usually reserved for one’s own parents or Princess Diana. The schmoop-n-sap is strong in this one and I am unapologetic. I have been accused of being nigh on a crybaby, usually by people, not effected by this curse, that do not realise that easy tears, like laughter, friendship, and the need to snack, are not voluntarily. They are a reflex for which some people are overqualified.

What does this have to do with my Muppetty aspirations? Other than obvious-perfect hair, can’t gain weight, loved by all, if I die, someone else can voice me and I live on forever-is quite simply: no damn tear ducts so I can finally shut my whiny ass up.

Point #16-Ya Gotta Love a Parade

6 Dec

The Santa Parade in my town marched for the 82nd time this past Saturday and I just couldn’t be more damn giddy. Our little home town offering is a blend of symmetry, precision, kitchen table crafts with the kids, local royalty, and a dash of good ol’ fashion crazy. It was my darling boyfriend’s first live parade ever, a grievous childhood oversight. Having grown up in Miami, where they have “real” parades, he has more of a New Yorker’s point of view-that it’s easier to see on t.v. anyway and less people to smell. The idea of getting up and traipsing downtown to watch a bunch of people wearing shorts and Santa hats jingling bells and trying to look officially parade-like was rather silly. But he was game, and so off we went.

After a three mile walk from a friend’s house to avoid downtown parking, we found a nice little spot at the end of the parade route. I’ve never really felt shorted by this location and this year was no exception. The smiles are as big, folks are at the end of the need to ration their bead and candy stash, and the fact that the end is in sight gives every performance a certain extra something. Highlights included a creepy Santa muppet thingie being waved out a window, the ALWAYS wonderful Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps, whose members are indeed as fabulous as their name would imply (for “fabulous” read “gay gay gay!”, and they rock) and the St. Pete Pride group, responsible for the local Gay Pride parade, who handed out candy cane stapled to, wait for it, Macy’s coupons. Never, EVER send a straight man to do a gay man’s job. They just do it so much better. My homemade reindeer antlers were a big hit, and I highly recommend them for any parade goer, young or old. Start with super cheap ($1) antler headbands from any dollar store or other (I got mine at Target in the dollar bins) and go insane with puffy paint. I firmly believe these got me more beads than boobs would have at Mardi Gras. I got a pic with the ROTC boys and all and all, a great time was had by the both of us. Santa was too skinny, but I think he might have eating my bulimic gingerbread men.