Friday, January 30, 2009
Isn't it great when you have a list of to-do's and get to take your pen and put a big fat checkmark next to it? Ahhhhh. I just love that!
I'm half-way through the first book on my reading list for the year - books I want to read, not books loaned to me and I feel obligated to read (not that all the loaned books were bad!).
Nicholas Nickleby, by the way, is fantastic. Charles Dickens had a great sense of humor. There's a whole bit at the beginning about the "United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company" that just had me rolling!
The book is a fair-size larger than I anticipated when I added it to my list and I don't get to spend a lot of time reading - shockingly crafting and reading don't work at the same time! - but I think I've made some good progress.
I also opened up my etsy shop! Woowoo! After months of procrastination it just seemed silly to put it off any longer. I don't have a ton in there just yet, but it's nice to have something there and check it off my list. And of course there's a link to it over there on the right...
I also was able to complete some commissioned jewelry that I've been working on for weeks as well as finish a couple of Christmas gifts - you heard me right - that I haven't been able to give yet.
And since I've been on such a roll I decided to try my hand at do-goodery.
Yesterday I wrote an e-mail to the local paper and asked one of the reporters to please write something about the CPSIA law that will be having such a deleterious effect on so many. I live in a small town and the local paper isn't much, but if it gets the community involved in fighting for an ammendment then I'll have accomplished something!
Recently one of my former students sent an e-mail to check out her Relay For Life page - she's joined the committee as luminaria chair and the youth recruitment sub-chair and has the school's Key Club involved. She's a go-getter! Unfortunately with my freelance bum status I am unable to donate money to support her efforts. Instead, I am making beaded bracelets and selling them, giving her 100% of the proceeds. I'd like to be able to donate at least $100 dollars but more would be fantastic! If you are interested drop me an e-mail at mollythepirate(at)yahoo(dot)com. I'll be posting more on the subject later.
All that and I have my blog posts all planned for the next two weeks - how's that for organized?
Yep, I'm making checkmarks like a fiend and enjoying every minute of it.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I don't have a bunch of the fancy tools that hardcore cardmakers and scrapbookers have so I had to make it up as I went along.
Inspired by Karen's insane cupcake book (her description, not mine) I decided that would be a perfect thing to put on the front of the card.
I knew right away I wanted the frosting to sparkle because ever since I was a kid I've loved things that sparkle. Don't card cupcakes seem like something that should be sparkling?
I freehand cut the "frosting" and coated it in glitter. I also freehand cut the "cake" and "wrapper" part of the cupcake. I tried - on a sample piece of paper! very important! - to see what drawing on the ridges would look like. Uh. Yeah. Not good. Now what? Heehee! You'll never guess! I stole a tube crimper out of the shop (not the craft area, the fixing cars area) - mechanics, etc. use them to squeeze all the stuff out of tubes and each side of the rollers happen to have a crinkle cut. I stuck my cupcake bottom in there and turned the knob - out came perfectly crinkled cupcake!
With the bottom having actual texture to it, my frosting wouldn't fit so I glued a piece of foamy stuff on the bottom so it sticks up a bit and gives it some dimension.
I still think the candle looks like a lighthouse but hey, I learned stuff.Once you've gone to all this trouble to make things and make them pretty, you don't want to be sticking them in just any old gift bag or box. So to make it interesting, and to also make do with what I had - which was a Christmas clothing box with snowflakes and tapemarks all over it - I covered the box with brown paper and stamped a pattern all over it. I really recommend stamping the paper before you put it on the box (ancora imparo, right?). Then I grabbed some ribbon scraps and attached them to the box as well. For an extra embellishment I made a pom pom, thanks to Martha's instructions, and attached it to the top. I completed the look with a freehand cut, layered leaf-shaped tag. Now it's personal!
For the second box I just made a pom pom and attached it with a tag with funky cut edges and another piece of scrap ribbon to a pre-made Chinese take-out gift box. I love the red and silver.
Monday, January 26, 2009
If you have a craft blog or website I thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting your ideas out there!
Thankfully, I already had one big item in the works since October - a blanket knitted with a variegated lavender bouclé. Knowing I just don't have the attention span/ability to yet make an item that large with a complicated pattern, I used plain knit. And with only two mishaps of children yanking half my stitches off the needle I did finish in time! I hope she gets lots of snuggling out of it.
My first big knitted blanket- check!
Karen also loves black and red combinations and Asian-inspired home decor. She and her husband have a new house and she's hoping to do her living room with that in mind. So I got myself over to Folding Trees and tackled the kusudama tutorial.
I am totally new to origami but their tutorial was perfectly simple to follow. My only problem? Not enough pretty paper in the colors I needed. Not to be set back by something so simple as having no supplies (haha) - I grabbed a stack of printer paper and stamped half the amount I needed with red and half with black. Problem solved! The kusudama went together great and I have it dangling from a black satin cord.
My first kusudama - check!
Recently Karen told me about having fond memories of lilac perfume and wondering where she could get some today. I stored that away and pulled it out for the occasion! I took a lovely, intricately patterned, pewter perfume bottle I already had and decided to make my own perfume for it. I already have quite a stash of essential oils bought from a local man, and as luck would have it I had a lilac one in there!
Using several online sources (which I apparently didn't bookmark *sheepish face*) they all said that vodka was the perfect vehicle for home made perfume. They usually suggested a percentage of essential oil to alcohol but I have to admit I winged it and just kept mad-scientist mixing until it smelled right to me. If, like myself, you aren't a drinker, liquor stores have tiny little bottles for around a dollar.
My first home made perfume - check!
I also included a hand-beaded bracelet as well as a glass snowflake ornament - the only purchased item of the bunch! Now for the wrapping... which will be in Wednesday's post!
Friday, January 23, 2009
I don't know what you are wishful for in this life, but you set down of a night and you pray to God that he'll let you walk alone across a mountain meadow when the wild flowers are blooming.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I've been recently motivated to clean and organize by some posts at maya*made - and things are looking much better! Problem is, I find myself wanting things I don't have available to me. *shakes finger at self*
Like when I took a look at my cat food storage.
Well actually, no it doesn't!
Now I have motivation from maya*made and inspiration from The Steampunk Home (where they bring innovation and Victoriana into the 21st century) - how to apply that to modern plastic?...
I have tons of acrylic craft paint at my disposal as well as tons of wrinkled and crinkled tissue paper left over from Christmas, so I gathered those items and set to changing my storage from sterile to steampunk.
Using decoupage glue I tore the super-wrinkled tissue paper into workable pieces and glued them haphazardly onto the container in layers. Overlap? Who cares! Bubbles and wrinkles? Who cares! It will look better with those "flaws" in the long run.
While I waited for that to dry I took the lid outside and masked off the handle and side flaps which lock the lid in place. Then I painted the lid with my little can of gold spraypaint which amazingle still had some left after...two, three? projects I've already used it on recently. Once that was dry I dug out some bronze metallic craft paint and sponged it over the gold to add a patina. Once both layers were dry I applied a clear coat sealant making sure all the while that none of this paint gets onto the inside of the container (it is going to be food storage after all).
With the bottom half dry I mixed Burnt Umber and the metallic bronze acrylic paint and sponged onto the lid using a wet sponge. The wet sponge will allow a little more movement to the paint and a lot less thickness. If it doesn't come out as dark as you like (like mine did at first) simply apply another coat!
I also applied a layer of clear sealant to the bottom - it is just paper after all.
The finished product blends in nicely with the existing decor and is still just as functional as it was previously.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The recipe I linked actually calls for lemon peel, but I have to say the orange peel was good! I made sure to scrub the outer skin well and scrape away the pith before I chopped it up.
Whatever peel I didn't want to get so involved with was sliced or cut into squares using kitchen scissors and left on trays to dry. The dried portions will go into potpourri or sachets and the stuff I took more time with will make my recipes yummy!
Now I not only satisfy my cravings but get to enjoy the fruits of a little more labor.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
I thought so!
The thing is, signs are a great way to express sentiments or reminders of encouragement for ourselves and all who visit. They are like little plaques saying, "This is who I am."
In some cases they are used as labels for not just the contents of our heart and mind but the contents of our home. What kind of things do you love and surround yourself with? That in mind I created this for my friend's mom, Judy as a birthday gift. (she's my friend too, not just "my friend's mom"!)
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
- Becoming Elizabeth Darcy - Mary Lydon Simonsen
- Pride & Platypus - Vera Nazarian
- Against the Tide - Elizabeth Camden
- Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons - Vera Nazarian
- Song of the Highlands - Sharon Gillenwater
- Fly Me to the Moon - Alyson Noel
- Anna Finch and the Hired Gun - Kathleen Y'Barbo
- Impossible - Nancy Werlin
- Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
- Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
- Cinder - Marissa Meyer
- Ekaterina - Susan K. Downs
- Love in Disguise - Carol Cox
- Scarlet - A.C. Gaughen
- False Pretenses - Kathy Herman
- Submerged - Dani Pettrey (review)
- Kerplunk! - Patrick F. McManus
- Lunatics - Dave Barry & Alan Zweibel
- Miss Delacourt Has Her Day - Heidi Ashworth
- Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind - Heidi Ashworth
- Explosive Eighteen - Janet Evanovich
- A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson
- The Dante Club - Matthew Pearl
- Smokin' Seventeen - Janet Evanovich
- David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
- Sizzling Sixteen - Janet Evanovich
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation - Lauren Willig
- One for the Money - Janet Evanovich (second read)
- Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
- Darker Still - Leanna Renee Heiber
- Trail to Tomorrow - Carrol Haushalter
- Beauty : A Retelling of the story of Beauty & The Beast - Robin McKinley
- The Map of Time - Felix J Palma
31. Though Waters Roar - Lynn Austin
30. Emma - Jane Austen
29. That Certain Spark - Cathy Marie Hake
28. The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
27. Faery Rebels - R.J. Anderson
26. Pirate Hunter - Tom Morrisey
25. Clockwork Heart - Dru Pagliasotti
24. The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett
23. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
22. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy
21. Scarlet - Stephen Lawhead
20. My Bonny Light Horseman - L.A. Meyer
19. Fearless Fourteen - Janet Evanovich
18. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
17. Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich
16. Twelve Sharp - Janet Evanovich
15. Eleven on Top - Janet Evanovich
14. Ten Big Ones - Janet Evanovich
13. To The Nines - Janet Evanovich
12. A Claim of Her Own - Stephanie Grace Whitson
11. Hard Eight - Janet Evanovich
10. Seven Up - Janet Evanovich
9. Hot Six - Janet Evanovich
8. High Five - Janet Evanovich
7. Four To Score - Janet Evanovich
6. Hood - Stephen Lawhead
5. Three to Get Deadly - Janet Evanovich
4. Two for the Dough - Janet Evanovich
3. One for the Money - Janet Evanovich
2. Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens
1. The True Darcy Spirit - Elizabeth Aston