Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tree Saving Tree Wrap

I think I told you last week that I was planning to reuse the scrolls from my office Halloween. You remember, the ones that said, "Once upon a time" and "And they all lived happily ever after. The end." Added together, the scrolls measured 16' long, which will wrap plenty-o-Christmas presents. So I took my kitchen sponge, drew a tree on it, cut out the tree, and stamped little trees all over the scrolls in various greens and silver craft paint. What's great is that I was reusing the paper and I bought the paint when I was a sophomore in high school for a project for Mr. Jensen's English class. It was something artsy that had to do with A Tale Of Two Cities. And here I am a decade later using the same jars of paint for a Christmas project. A little ridiculous. But I'm giving myself a "Conservationist Queen" award for reusing and recycling and being environmentally conscious. Oh and you can't beat a project price of nil. And as long as I'm being super smug. Three cheers for me thinking about Christmas wrap before Christmas is hitting me over the head and is less than a week away. This year I've been getting so far behind in craft projects, I'm proud that I'm done with something Christmasy in November. I've even purchased three presents. Join me in praising myself on so many accounts... Haha. I took a picture of the supplies I needed to do the project. I think its pretty obvious that they are household supplies. Nothing fancy. I loved mixing the green colors across the sponge to produce trippy little striped trees. And they mixed in with the plain jane trees to make quite the forest. I can't wait to wrap presents with it! I love doing projects that require a lot of time, thought, planning, smarts, know how, expensive supplies and all that, but let me just tell you, it is truly liberating to do something as simple as sponge painting. This project required the motor skills of a third grader. Every once in a while, I do a project and think, you know, I could do this again and again. Sponge painting fits that bill. If you are ever in a crafty mood but don't want to have to work very hard to do something satisfying, try something like this. I already have plans for another type of wrapping paper for Christmas. I'm thinking that the next needs to be red and gold to counterbalance this green and silver one. Right?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Neverland, the Last Office Halloween Post I Swear

The pictures of this craft don't look so hot. I'm the first to admit this fact. It was too awkward of an angle to get a good shot. Plus, I'm not so hot with the digi cam. My apologies. Here's the idea behind the craft though. So my office area was dressed as the characters of Peter Pan for Halloween. We needed a distinct Neverland theme. And tossing aside any obscure Michael Jackson references, we turned Wikipedia to remember the tale of Peter and his pals. And you know how you get to Neverland? Well, you fly through the window and take the second star to the right and fly on til morning. Please note that's from memory and I'm not sure if that's the exact celestial direction, but that's not important here. What is important is that I took a bed sheet, painted a window, used packing tape to make the frame of the window and scissors to cut the panes out. And we had ourselves a window. And when our visitors came by we covered the floor with white balloons to simulate the clouds with a pirate ship attached to the window. It was pretty cool. The entire department's efforts to transform into a fairy tale land won us $75 worth of breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana. So there's that. For the crafting details, I used craft paint with poster paint. What's great is that I diluted it pretty well with water and it took just a few ounces of paint to cover the entire twin size sheet.

Oh and as far as the pictures go, you get the overall view, which, granted, is cropped pretty funkily. And then you get some shots of me as Peter Pan and my coworkers as Tinkerbell and Captain Hook, respectively. I thought our costumes really sold us. What's great is that Mariya owned that dress already and it is perfectly Tinkerbell colored!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vignette, How's That For Diction?

The Halloween Vignette.
I'll go months without decorating for holidays. The apartment will look exactly the same for months at a time and then suddenly I'll get this urge to really do up something bizarre for a holiday. And the night before Halloween, I just decided that I couldn't live without creating a Halloween vignette on top of my microwave. Of all places. And so I scoured my apartment for creepy things or typical Halloween colored things that could be added to some creepy elements and become part of the vignette. Have you noticed how much I love the word vignette? It's one of my favorite words ever. It's French and I'm a francophile. Plus, like those amazing donut-y pastries from New Orleans, it has that "nay" sound where it looks like "net." Clearly I've moved past the point of the post and I sincerely hope you'll forgive me. I'm a little hopped up on caffeine while I type. Thanks a lot Buzz Brews (By the way, as long as I've mentioned that I'm at a coffee shop while I'm writing this post, I'm going to tell you that the girl who is trying to be all seductive with this guy sitting at the table next to mine just told him that she'd never heard of CCR. Who are these people? How can you live without knowing of Creedence Clearwater Revival? And is that really going to impress anyone? She's all, I'm not into popular music, but not knowing CCR? That's like not knowing who Abraham Lincoln is because you aren't a history buff. She also claims to hate how many Internet cafes have recently sprung up in Cambodia and that when she goes to Cambodia, it's to relax, not to check email. Eavesdropping never loses its appeal). So back to the vignette... Halloween things have to involve candles, right? So I used two little votives, one placed on top of the microwave and approximately 5 inches below the wooden cabinet, which incidentally, is my crafting cabinet, and every intelligent being knows that votive candles don't belong within a few inches of a wooden cabinet. So I lit the candles, turned off the lights and took this picture. Then I had to blow out that little votive. But I think it turned out cutesy eerie. I would never be going for straight-up eerie because that kind of thing just isn't my bag, man. However, I'll take my best stab at cutesyfying any holiday, from Kwanzaa to Arbor Day. And below is a picture of the vignette with the lights on so you can see my efforts in full daylight glory, even if I'm expecting you to appreciate my Halloween efforts though we've nearly reached Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fairy Tale, Part One

Yep, that's my boss dressed as the Pied Piper, with rats on strings attached to his belt loops. He clutches a South American flute of some variety, which of course is a trademark of the Pied Piper, as you can hardly call yourself a "piper" if you don't come complete with a pipe. And though his costume is daring for the workplace and shows quite a bit of creativity... that's not the point of this post my friends and devoted readers. Instead, I draw you attention to the "scene setting" (yes Katie, those are some useless quotes) scrolls of paper that are hanging on the front door, above, and bottom door, below.

And so begins the crafts for the office Halloween party. And no, you don't need to tell me that my office is a bit like The Office. I already know. I work there after all and I'm pretty high up on the Party Planning Committee. And I stayed up half the night making this and a few other assorted crafts that you are soon to see on this blog for our one-day-long celebration of Halloween. Thank goodness we came in second place (it was a tie for second but who really is counting) for our decorations. We tied with the IT department who turned their computer fixing area into, of all things, a dead cowboy train station, a theme which I believe is a little too out there. They just wanted an excuse to be half ghost half train robbers. And we transformed our lovely 15th floor office into a Fairy Tale Wonderland of sorts, complete with a whole host of delightful fairy tale characters.

I thought that these signs would make a good visual impact on our visitors, setting the tone for the theme. I used one of my favorite types of handwriting--that is my Tim-Burton's-Nightmare-Before-Christmas kind of handwriting so that the font would come off as slightly eery, fairly cheerful, youthful and full of whimsy. Michaels sold a 16' roll of paper, which I used as a table runner down the length of my dining table for a week or two before I had to make the craft and I'll be using again in another creative venture that you'll be reading about in a few days, well, if you want to. Each scroll piece is 8' long and features a few rolls on top and bottom of the writing, to give the storybook look. I sketched out the words in pencil (my least favorite writing utensil) before I wrote the words out with a Marks A Lot marker (or three).

I know that this post has made you anxious to see some more about my office Halloween festivities...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Carved From Stone, Then Painted On

So my friends, this is a t-shirt with an Easter Island head painted on it in glittery silver paint. So that doesn't need an explanation, right? Pretty simple?

Well, it goes something like this. My coworker was in quite a tizzy. It seems schools these days won't just let their kiddos dress in costumes for Halloween. (Yes, this is the first of several extremely belated Halloween posts. Sorry about that folks, I got a little teensy weensy bit behind.) Her middle school daughter had to dress in a costume that reflected her geography research project, which happened to be the mystery of the Easter Island heads. And as my coworker had neither the budget (hey, she blew the costume money assembling a kick-booty Hermoine Grainger outfit for Halloween night) nor the time to find a true Easter Island head costume, she decided to go for a different tack -- she decided to play up the fact one silly explanation for the statues is that aliens from outer space came down in their shiny silver UFOs and built the statues and lined them up facing the East. So she made a lovely foil headpiece and got up extra early to paint her daughter's face silver. All she needed was a t-shirt to tie the alien bit to the Easter Island thing.

And that's where I come in. She was lamenting this ridiculous story to me and asked if I had any iron-on transfers so she could print something off the Internet. I volunteered to undertake the project because its just the kind of ridiculousness that makes me love public schools in America. Off to target went my coworker for a cheap t-shirt -- got this one off the clearance rack -- and I brainstormed to make the Easter Island thing as alien-y as possible. Silver paint and some extraterrestrial stars do the trick as far as I'm concerned.

I sketched the guy on paper until he looked just right, put the paper beneath the t, used a sharpie to outline the design on the shirt and then filled in the rest with a home-mixed paint that used silver craft paint with some high-end pigment dust from Azel Art Supply. I used real silver flakes to up the luster and voila!

Little Miss Julia looked awesome, so I'm told, and she was really excited about her shirt. Too bad the silver flakes can't weather the washing machine. It's kind of a one time use only project. It was fun. Let me know next time you need something this ridiculous.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Plug #2 Art Show

In many ways, it is quite fitting that my first ever art show should take place at Inwood Village. It's a shopping center that is so tied to my childhood. I had my first job there -- at Smoothie Zone (I can't even remember if that was it's real name!) down where the TCBY used to be, near the old Black Eyed Pea. I made smoothies and served up fro-yo back when I was old enough to work, but not old enough to drive so my mom had to pick me up and drop me off every work day. I had my second job in Inwood Village. I worked at the Zuka Juice that became a Jamba Juice that is now a high-end candle store. So many fond memories of working at the trio of smoothie joints that tried to make a go of things in Inwood Village.

It's amazing that I can get so nostalgic for a simple shopping village, but I love that place. It's anchored by the ever-bizarre Inwood Theater, where, a few weeks ago, my mom and I were walking past the box office as a ticket seller sat in the booth serenading the empty parking lot with his guitar cover songs. I believe he had turned on the box office microphone and was belting out John Denver's classic "Country Roads." It has shops that rival Highland Park Village, Preston Center and Snieder Plaza, yet it is outside the Bubble, and therefore more casual and serves a broader, more diverse community.

In my childhood we took family walks to Inwood Village, accompanied of course by our most beloved dog, Montie. We'd walk to that Starbucks and the cashier would bring out a cup of water for Montie and she'd make a big mess. Now days, there's a permanent doggie water bowl outside the Inwood Village Starbucks, but back then you'd have to tap on the glass, point at your dog and hope that the employees were feeling generous.

The countless hours of time I've spent there eating and shopping, bumping into friends--I really feel like its my home base. I remember my cousin Emily's surprise birthday party at the pizza joint that eventually became Lover's Egg Roll, only to recently become the crepe hot spot, Rise. Emily thought that no one loved her because we'd all done such a great job forgetting her birthday that she ran away from home and missed the first hour or so of her surprise party. And when that pizza place closed, I thought it was the end of the world. And again, when Lover's Egg Roll met its demise (that's the original location, you know), I thought that the place would never be the same. But Rise fits in as well as any place before it. But now I see that it is in those cobblestone paved streets that things are always changing. A smoothie store can become a candle store. And Children's Collection can become Chico's. And Mario Accardi's parents' costume supply store above the floral shop can become Tyler's Dallas. And, finally, the girl who's mom dropped her off to make smoothies $8 an hour can show her art at Starbucks at age 26, 11 years after her first debut in the Inwood Village community.

So, at the top is my invitation to my art show. Which really isn't much of a show because it's just four paintings on the wall between the bakery counter and the bathroom (pretty glamorous, huh?) but it is a start.

And sorry if I get a little too verbose on the subject. I haven't written much lately so I'm feeling a bit wordy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Plug for the Other Blog

Hello my dears --
I'm sure you're all too busy voting today (an activity which takes like forever -- I spent at least 10 minutes in line this morning. Geez! This country thinks I've got 10 minutes to spare every four years, how ridiculous) to check on my poor old blog, but I wanted to give a plug to my other blog, my artsy-fartsy borders-on-the-bizarre PDF'ed. I haven't had time to post lots of my bevy of craft projects to this blog, but with Halloween last week around the office, I kinda went nuts on the other blog. In fact, I have a post scheduled for every day this week and three days of next week. So if you like what you see of my pseudo-artistic endeavors using the copy machine at work, check back frequently.

Other coolkidscrafting items of interest include... Yours truly is busy designing the tree-topper for the Dallas Theta Christmas Tree Auction to be held this weekend at the Dallas Country Club. Never ever in my wildest imagination did I dream that one of my craft projects would end up prominently displayed at DCC, right there on Beverly Drive! It's gotta be really awesome, so naturally with T minus four days to go I haven't drawn up a plan, bought any supplies or started working on it! Yay for being a crafter and procrastinator. Oh and in case you were wondering, some of the Christmas trees to be auctioned off are designed by professionals with every craft and design supply at their fingertips and a limitless budget. Yowza! I just hope my tree topper isn't sad and Homer-Simpson-designs-Lisa's-costumesque when compared to the others.