Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Years

Two years ago today I started my little craft blog. And it's been really fun. If nothing else, this blog has encouraged me to keep doing creative things every day, even if I don't post about them all, or even post regularly.
It's really gratifying to know that friends scattered around the country can keep up with my creative endeavors. I've pondered going pro as of late, and it's something that still might pan out, but whatever my crafting future holds, it's nice to have a record of the last two years of my crafting life.

And because birthdays cause one to ponder and reflect, I'm going to share some of the crafting things that I think everyone should own in order to be able to whip up creative projects in a jiffy:

1) Happy Tape. This is from Japan and it's brightly colored masking tape. How does this help your life? I'll tell you. A million ways. If you wrap a package in newspaper, happy tape makes it look like you put forth effort beyond just wrapping a package with garbage. On an envelope, it looks so fun to just slap a few pieces of tape along the seal. It's like stickers for grown ups. If you bring someone some cookies in a paper towel, it looks like you really went the extra mile with fancy pants tape. I love this stuff.
2) Fishing line. It's invisible, it's uses are infinite and if you buy one roll for less than five bucks, you will do twentyfivethousand projects and you will still feel like you haven't made a dent in the spool. I use it to string garlands, hang wreaths, tie plants to supporting sticks...
3) A standard-sized stack of paper that you think is pretty. I have a stack of 6x6" paper squares from all kinds of places. Some was originally sold as decorative paper, some came from magazines or catalogs, some is used wrapping paper and others are just scraps I've collected along the way. And the reason I think it is important for you to keep the size standard is easy -- it can be stored best this way. If you just keep stacks of randomly sized papers, the stack becomes a mess so quickly, you'll just throw it away. With the standard sizes, you can find a perfect box for them or just some corner where you can let the stack grow. For a quick homemade greeting card, a set of homemade place cards, unique gift wrap for small packages, etc., I just go to my stack and I always find something fun. When I get a catalog in the mail, or am handed a magazine that I know I don't want to keep, I scan the pages quickly for tear out sheets and then slice and dice the pages into squares.
4) Razors. I use these constantly! I have a couple of good holders for straight-edge razors (a comfort grip and a mini-blade holder that I use in tight spaces). You know, if you are dealing with a mess, you can often use a blade to clean it up. Because the blades are disposable, you can add some oil or grease to them to take the remaining parts of a sticker/label/price tag off a piece of glass or plastic. I've even been known to use a razor blade to get a tough stain off a dish if I'm in a rush! And what's better for cleanly taking candle wax drips off wherever they've dropped themselves? Learn how to use a razor and you are on your way to accomplishing your crafting tasks with such greater time efficiency. Also, the manual dexterity you'll learn from wielding your razor well will help with other creative tasks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And One For All You Mack Brown Fans

Hey, a gal can have more than one loyalty. At least my loyalties are split between a pro baseball team and a college football team. Right? So the two teams are based quite far apart. I think the premise of the movie "Road Trip" was about some duffuses who confuse "Boston" with "Austin" and drive across the state of Kentucky (as well as many other, less entertaining states) for no reason at all. Why am I explaining my different tastes in sports teams to you anyway? I'm pretty sure you don't care. Of course I have to have some content here.

And hey, look at those Longhorns and their precious Colt McCoy winningist quarterback ever! And champs of the Big 12 and headed to Pasadena for a little Rosebowl championship ! Having never attended the University of Texas, I feel a little like a poser saying things like "Hook 'em!" ... but I will always find the voice to sing,

The eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the live long day.
The eyes of Texas are upon you,
You cannot get away.

Do not think you can escape them,
Rise so early in the morn.

The eyes of Texas are upon you,
Til Gabriel blows his horn...

Texas Fight! Texas Fight!
And it's goodbye to A&M!
Texas Fight, Texas Fight!
And we'll pull over one more win!

Texas Fight, Texas Fight,
For it's Texas that we love best!
Give 'em hell! Give 'em hell! Go horns go!
And it's goodbye to all the rest.

Yay orange! Yay white! Yay Longhorns!
Fight! Fight! Fight!

Well, there's more of that one, but I'm kinda tired of typing. Now if I could just divide the Camp Mystic dining hall into two parts, one side yells, "Texas" and the other "Fight" and we're going all afternoon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Could Be More Hilary?

Seriously? What could be more Hilary? There's glitter! There's Christmas! There's baseball! It's made of cheap, biodegradable materials! It's just the best craft ever. And if you play your cards right (aka, you ask me for one), I'll make one for you. And, because I'm the always benevolent crafter, I'll even make an ornament for a team you support, assuming it's made of colors I own and isn't brain surgery difficult to render (Good example: the Ole Miss Rebel, he's too detailed for me to make a glitter ornament of, but the big Ole Miss "M" I can handle. And cringe-worthy second example, I can't do the patriotic hat on a baseball bat Yanks logo, but if you begged me and I was feeling particularly nice, I could make you that evil NY symbol).

But to get away as soon as possible from all things New York Yankees, let's focus on my little lovely pair of, what Sox ownership calls "dangling Sox." I'm so proud! I reinterpreted a Martha Stewart craft suggestion (she had me making birds before I thought of something I'd like better) and came up with my own template to cut the Red Sox logo out of the cinnamon/apple sauce/white glue dough, I baked it, let it dry out completely and then decorated it with the glitter. Let me tell you, that's a thin line of white glitter there my friends...

All things considered, I'm in love with my little Sox logo Christmas ornament. Wistfully, I sign off on my first Christmas post of the year... it seems like just yesterday I was working on Christmas 2008 (probably because I drag these things out; I recall writing about Christmas at least through February). Below check out the red lights on my very first ever living tree.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wild, Succulent Woman

No, this post isn't about the weirdest art lady on Earth, Sark (but call her phone number seriously if you want an inspirational message 415.546.3742), this post is about my amazing ability to keep a succulent alive. I know, I know, that's like beating a five year old in a "basic arithmetic" test. I'm good at keeping alive something that is advertised as being hard to kill. Congrats to me. The reason I'm posting this is that, for one, I have a long history of killing succulents and all plants for that matter. And yet, with my new dirt recipe (throwing in sand helped), I've managed to not only keep these guys alive, but they are thriving. Some have grown by leaps and bounds. They are almost too comfortable in my home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Screen Saver

Lately I've been finding more and more reasons to exercise the old sewing machine. I'm not going to lie, back in September when my coworker when my coworker said my hems looked like they'd been done by Helen Keller, I was inspired to get better at sewing.
Don't get me wrong, I love this little flat screen monitor that serves as my substitute TV. It's the bestest way to watch movies and baseball games and the occasional TV show from (Why is Parks and Recreation so amazingly hilarious? The whole cast is awesome.) However, I didn't like the way the screen looked, so sleek and gadgety just sitting out on my tabletop.

And when I saw this fabric at the fabric warehouse on Harry Hines for, like, fifty cents a yard, I couldn't pass it up. It's perfect. Trust me, if you are a regular blog follower, you'll see this fabric being used in all kinds of ways (at $0.50 a yard, I bought enough to do many many crafts!). This project must be the easiest ever though. I measured the size of the screen, cut the fabric, hemmed the bottom edge (no Helen Keller here thanks) and sewed the two sides together. Easy breezy beautiful cover girl.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gobble Gobble Jewlery

My coworker Mattdawg (that's what I call her, her real name is Mattie) has the most amazing collection of holiday themed earrings. She has a dozen Halloween ones and enough Christmas earrings to last from Thanksgiving to New Year's without repeating a pair.

Last year it bothered me that she had no Thanksgiving gems. So I promised her a pair. Perhaps some cornucopias or a pilgrim and Indian combo. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't find anything Thanksgiving last year. This year, however, I found these turkey buttons. I chopped off the button part and drilled holes and attached earring hooks.

And bless her heart, Mattdawg wore them all November long! Gobble Gobble Gobble! (and if you click on that link, sorry for the bad language and then the German version, I really just love when she's on the phone with her sister.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Where Have I Been All Your Life?

Since October 12, I've been away from ye olde crafting blog. Not because I don't love yous guys, but more like a little well-deserved break from the crazy craft blitz I was on in August and September (I'm the boss around here, so I determine when breaks are well-deserved). So I paused, reflected, cleaned up, put my thinking cap on, schemed some new plans, and renewed my little creative spirit. I think there's good things on the horizon.

And while I rested from my crafting labors, I had some time to enjoy the best season in Texas -- autumn. It's cool and crisp, the humidity takes a much needed rest, every day is a good hair day, the sun feels great shining down on your back. And of course, autumn in Dallas means the State Fair comes to town, and that's the greatest place on Earth. I don't usually go all Chamber of Commerce re: Dallas, but I wanted to share with you three of my favorite pictures from this year's State Fair. Above are the awards handed out to the vendors who win for the best fried food of the year. I love it! I had to jostle some truly impatient fried goober gobblers out of the way to take this picture. For those who don't know, that head is the head of Big Tex, the official mascot of the State Fair. I tried a fried snickers bar this year. It was good. Better than last year's fried cookie dough. Or at least that's what I think I tried. Whatever it was, it had been battered and deep fried and was still hot and greasy when I ate it. I pause to wonder whether I should really say, "yum."

And I love the signs at the State Fair. The fonts, the scroll, it's just a great piece of work. The vintage look and feel of all the stands, and they aren't vintage because they are going for a currently popular trend of interest in all things old. No way Jose. These signs look vintage because they are old. Why tinker with perfection? Oh and, I'm obsessed with Tiny Tim. Really, the obsession began years ago when it was a different smallest horse on Earth named Tiny Tina (it's amazing how many smallest horse on Earth's there are since that phrase is supposedly reserved for just one miniature animal, right?). I don't know why I love this exhibit so much -- it's a total rip off because it's clearly a dog with a horse tail glued on. It's so sad! But somehow listening to the tape they play on a 30-second repeat "This is the smallest horse in the world! He eats just one cup of oats a day!" just reminds me of what a silly experience the whole fair can be. But it is the kind of experience that everyone should just submit to, because life is silly.

This year they had swan boats on the pond by the science center. I thought they were pretty beautiful. It's not Boston or anything, and the pond is really quite a small area, but all in all, I felt good knowing I was getting a bit of a workout in my paddling, especially on a day that's so stuffed with fried fry.

Well, now you've seen my highlights from the State Fair. Get ready to see some crafts! Yay!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Out of Town Crafting

Do you remember me writing about how busy I was because I had this fair, and all these things to do to get ready for the fair and that a trip to Chicago was thrown in for good measure? Well, perhaps you don't remember me being stressed out about lots and lots of to-do's on the to-do list or the fact that I made a trip to the Windy City, but I did. And, being of the craft minded, I couldn't resist volunteering (perhaps commandeering is a better verb choice for the situation) to do a craft for a friend, the lovely Jo, for a VIP event. And yes, I call the sweatpants and fanny pack pub crawl a VIP event. After all, it takes a lot of class to look as good as we did for hours upon hours of ridiculousness. I believe I'm digressing here, but I wanted to set the scene well. Jo wanted to go "Jon of Jon and Kate Plus Eight" level of classy by wearing an Ed Hardy shirt and Juicy Couture sweatpants. Of course, why buy when you can make?

Luckily, Emily, Joanna and Steph (my adorable hosts for the weekend) live just down the street from a hardware store (the kind of mom and pop place that advertises mace in a comic sans sign out front). So in Jo and I went to buy some electrical tape for this improvised project. One rerun episode of Sex & the City and it was done. Just one roll of electrical tape and a pair of scissors... voila!

I decided not to show you the Juicy Couture pants because, well, I got the sizing off a bit. Actually, a lot off. From the back, it just said UIC, which, by the by, is a university in chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago. There are actually people out there with UIC on their butts on purpose. Jo is not one of them. It was supposed to say JUICY, but the J and Y were on her hips.

Not to brag on myself, but I was a little sad that not everyone could tell that it was homemade. Some people thought it was a legit shirt. You kinda had to look up close to see that it was in fact electrical tape. My favorite letter was the "E" of Ed. The "a" and "r" proved really tricky for no reason that I can determine.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sale = Good Times

Here are three pictures of my oddly shaped booth at the craft fair on Saturday (yep, I had some hallway space that was 18 feet by 3', nice and awkward). Oh and thank you so much to friends and family who came out to support this crafter. And thanks also for buying my goodies. I'm pretty excited about how things went and, most importantly, I had lots of fun.
It's neat to look at this picture and see some necklaces that are no longer in my care! I sold plenty of them and I'm scheming some new ways to keep up the dream.

Here's one of my three bulletin boards of necklaces.

Table One, complete with succulent glass bottle planters and some Arkansas felt creatures (that sold out!!).

And table two is weird lighting picture -- sorry about that. I was so excited about the fair that I didn't take many pictures.

Thanks again for all the love!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Three buttons merged into one necklace. Tiger print. What more could you want to know about this? The fact that you could own it, because you can.

On Target

Same theme, different arrangement. After getting the hang of making trios of buttons, I thought I'd try my hand at strings of buttons. And here's one I came up with. The white ones remind me of a St. John's suit, minus the thousand-dollar price tag. I'm not saying this necklace is worthy of wear beside a St. John's suit. I'm just sayin'. And you know, everyone's just sayin' something.

Stuck Like Glue

And again with another button trio. This one's a bit bigger than some of the others I've shown. It's a nice little centerpiece necklace for a V-neck sweater or an open shirt. It would also go well with a strapless dress. It's got a wee bit of bling epoxied on to one of the buttons. At the time of this adhering, I learned for the first time how to epoxy. Smelly, smelly stuff. It's like burning rubber and dead fish combined -- and my apartment reeked for two days. That's how much I love you readers, shoppers, crafters. I was willing to live with that wretched smell for the glory of it all. And I've actually always wanted to learn how to epoxy, so it's cool. And now another type of adhesive to have laying around. I don't like to write advice columns or anything like that, but I tell you what, I sure have a lot of ways of affixing one thing to another and I've learned a lot about which products go with which types of glue. I'd go ahead and say that if you're trying to build a glue wardrobe, add some epoxy to it. The bond is very intense. I would liken it to the bond between Angelina and Brad, but I've heard that bond is now searching for his own apartment in Paris. That's straight from the tabloids, waited a few days, and then passed on to you here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Czech It Out

Another one of my favs. I'm not completely sure that there is another soul out there who can love and care for this necklace as well as I can, so I'm not sure if I can really part with it. We shall see. The point is though, this pink piece is a combination of buttons and a charm from the Czech Republic. I bought it from a man with a glass eye. Ask my cousin Mary, she was there. She too bought some loot from the one-eyed Czech. You could kinda tell he had some wild stories to tell, but there was that whole GIGANTIC language barrier. Cousin Mary and I went on a whirlwind tour of the C.R. by visiting Prague, Brno and Olomouc (which is pronounced more like O-lo-moutz). We searched high and low for antiques and wonders the likes of which we'd only seen in catalogs and movie sets. We found Heaven when we found the one eyed man's shop in Olomouc. We loved it so much, we came back and shopped there again. And somehow because of the crazy conversion rate, we each thought we were buying way out of our price range amounts of stuff. But later we realized that we'd each spent somewhere around $20 for arm fulls of former Soviet stuff. That's just a little travel story to bulk up this post. You see I'm finding it harder and harder to come up with new ways of describing these necklaces. I love them all, I made them all, but eventually one's proverbial well runs dry. And thus you hear about the one eyed man.

I don't know why I like this picture so much, but I think the quality is really good. Note the texture of the button! Wee!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I couldn't pick a more timely day to post this one. I mean, the Sox just clenched the Wild Card through losing five games straight! How's that for go-get-em spirit? And while I am kinda celebrating this event, I'm kinda nervous. I mean, we're not going to win the World Series by losing five straight. You can't back yourself into a World Series ring. But if your name is Hilary and you make jewelry, you can back yourself into this baseball necklace. I made it out of vintage style baseball cards. I love wearing it because it involves some of my favorites -- baseball, crafts, vintage items... I mean, it's kinda like me rolled up in a necklace. And sorry folks, it's a keeper. Not for sale.

Go Sox! Beat LA!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Do I Spy A Wren?

I've never tried my hand at bird watching, so I really don't know. What is that bird? Some kind of wren or sparrow? It's too colorful to be a finch, or so I think and I think its head is too big. Like I said, I don't know what kind of bird this is, but I do know that I like this one a lot. Our dear feathered friend is applied to an old wooden nickel, sealed and on a chain. And for added flair, I attached a piece of old jewelry from my bag of tricks. I'm not sure where I picked up that little cloisonne collection, but it has been given a new life here.

Mexicali Blues

A few of you know that I have a Grateful Dead bear on the back of my little Volkswagen. And a few of you may know I'm a Dead fan, on some "I hate the smell of pot and the look of grizzledy old hippies but this music is groovy" kind of level. But that bear is on my car because my favorite family in the Constitution State put that sticker on my car. It meant I was one of them. And I have always thought that the Angiolillos are my second family. A favorite memory ever was when the whole Angiolillo gang (John Jack included) took me to Playland in Rye, New York (where the amazing Zoltar from Big was filmed). Or the time I asked Mr. Angiolillo to take his speed boat into Manhattan and up the East River. So they remind me of that sticker and it reminds me of the Dead song "Mexicali Blues."
And that reminds me of these necklaces. They are, you see, of Mexican inspiration. Do you know how Mexicans play bingo? Because it's not with numbers and letters but rather with little pictures of objects. Instead of "B12" or "O64," it's "the lamp" or "the well-dressed woman." And I love me some Mexican bingo tiles. They are awesomely kitschy and so technicolored.
A set of Mexican bingo cards I recently bought in Austin was sacrificed to make a few necklaces out of the tiles. They are really bright and shiny. I kinda won't mind if I don't sell them because I really love them a lot, for me. And I kept enough of the pieces from the game set to have a bingo party for 12 amigos.

A close up, with the watermelon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Super Green Garden

I'm rather proud of this artsy kind of shot. It's from above and it shows a collection of glass bottles, chopped off and finished with a crusty rim of gold paint. Together with some glass marbles and stones, potting soil and a plant, it's a little garden. The glass echoes terrarium but it's also like a planter. I spend time and anxiety worrying about the variety of glass colors, heights, thicknesses just to make sure that the bottles are all slightly different; that each brings its own piece to the overall puzzle. I'm liking how this collection is going. (I have my own little garden of bottles on my window sill.)

And here's me holding the smallest of jars. It's tiny. I'm hard-pressed finding a plant that will fit inside this little guy, but I'm working on it! And in the background you can see the plastic container of marbles, stones, and sea glass pieces that I've collected to be the water-draining portion of the planter. Oh and you can see the mixing bowl that has been repurposed to house plants as they await their final planting in a jar. And, for kicks, you can see that this whole operation is currently going down atop my stove. Like I said a week ago, there are little projects everywhere! As long as I stay sane, I'm happy to let the crafts take over. It's not like I could put the plants under a cabinet or anything anyway.

Finally, the plants in all their glory, with some glitteratti frogs chillin' in the open space. I don't know exactly why I decided that I needed to glitterize a set of plastic frogs, but I enjoy them living among the plants.

Postcards from Switzerland

If I had to classify myself as one type of crafter, I'd call myself a jack of all trades. I mean, I like to paint, sew, draw, write, cut, build, embroider, color, glue and string. And those are just the verbs I thought of off the top of my head.

And so when I thought of the merchandise I'd want to sell if it was all handmade and home designed, I thought it needed to represent my jack-of-all-trades-ness. So in addition to the necklaces, I have a couple of other ventures on display (i.e., for sale). A while back I bought a set of vintage printed linen place mats with scenes from Zurich, Switzerland. They reminded me of many a fantasy European cityscape (echoes of Paris in there, right?) and I loved the color scheme. Plus the mid-century sketches capture so many details from their era, the cars, the fashion. When I got home with these place mats, I realized that they are a bit small to actually use for meals. And then the poor cloths got shelved because I didn't know what to do with them. I finally decided on pillows and I'm excited to use them in my own home if I don't sell them.

They were easy as can be to pin and sew. Actually, snaps for my Marmadoo (mom) for pinning them for me. She's helping where she can. I think actually that she's more excited about the craft fair than I am, as we have always dreamed of running a mother/daughter store called, and I coined this name when I was in the fourth grade, "Ye Olde Cute Shoppe." So whenever we have any opportunity to work together and hawk we call it a chance to "Ye Olde Cute." That term can also be applied to items that we agree should be sold in our dream venue. But getting back to the original sentence of this paragraph, the sewing was super easy, but I discovered that pillow stuffing is its own separate ball of wax. If you don't treat the stuffing just right, you'll end up with sad, lumpy looking pillows, like mashed potatoes that need several more mashings. It's a frightening affair. I think I got them kneaded properly at this point and I'm ready to send them as merchandise to "Ye Olde Cute."

Today you'll see a couple of my "non jewelry" items because I'd hate for you to think that I'm a one-trick pony.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Secondary Colors, Interesting Shapes

And yet another glamor shot of my neck. I have a really hard time envisioning a piece of clothing that would actually involve any of these three modern buttons. I mean, who would wear a shirt? coat? skirt? dress? with that huge purple and gold thing on it? No one! I suspect that's why I was able to track down that button and purchase it for use in a craft project. It looks pretty cool in its current arrangement.
What I dig about this one is the secondary colors and the shapes. It all reminds me of preschool art class when you learn that red and yellow together make orange and there are cartoon posters on the wall with the shapes telling you "triangle" and "square."

Green Re-Do: Chandelier to Jewelry

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Go green. Think about the Earth. Use a tote instead of plastic. Shop locally. Unplug appliances when you aren't using them. Carpool. Use mass transit. Ride a bike.

So those are green suggestions that you've no doubt heard a million billion times by now. If not, please tell me what rock you are living under and if there's room for another person down there. But here's a creative solution to going green -- tons of my jewelry are made from "found objects" meaning that I'm giving a new life to something that was otherwise considered junk or potentially bound for a landfill. You're looking at a great example of this. This was a piece from a chandelier, but it's life in lighting fixtures came to a close and I've retooled it as neckware. And I am in love. The red, the elegance, the contrast between the chain and the the gems... it's just awesome. And what's cool about this necklace is that I have a few copies of it. And three copies feature a goldish brown color instead of bright red.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Continuing With The Dime Store Theme

I don't remember where in my life I first heard the term "two-a-days" because I never played a sport seriously enough that it necessitated me to train more than once a week, much less twice a day. I suspect it was somewhere during the four years I spent in a sorority full of athletes. Or maybe it comes from an ardent following of baseball, including Spring Training. I don't know, but that's sort of my story around the blog here these days. I have too too many projects to debut before the October Market on October 3. So I'm doing them "two-a-days" style.

I absolutely admit that this is a completely strange necklace. It's just that I kinda liked the idea of pinkish purple goose as a necklace. I bought this goose at a trippy toy store a few blocks off the drag in Austin, so really, don't hate. I was down there pretending I'm still 21, and if I can pretend I'm still 21, I can pretend I'm 12 and that I need lots of necklaces with toys on them.

At least it's a genuinely attractive goose. Also, for note, there's matching pig and chicken necklaces. Just think about the statement you're making: goose, pig or chicken. Oh and the donkey. I'm pretty sure that all of us boil down to one of those animals. Frankly, I'm wishing I was "goose" but I probably need "pig."

Like Some Old Western Movie

Yeah so this three dime store plastic figurines on a copper chain. What are you going to do about it? Buy it (pretty please). I think its whimsical and childish, colorful and fun, a wee bit ironic and generally just a cool thing to own. I think it would be super cheeky to wear it with a white button down and a wool skirt, you know, to show the world that you're a fun person with a spunky sense of fashion trapped in a boring working world. I dig the deluge of primary colors. If this was some old western movie, long tall Gary Cooper or John Wayne would be the blue one in the middle, the sheriff standing straight with his Winchester. He better watch out buddy -- there's an Indian with a bow and arrow on one side and a tomahawk on the other. I'm not a betting kind of gal, but my money's on the scalpers and not the scalpee. Of course, that's the thrill of the western movie, Gary Cooper is always so wise and lucky, he just might make it, provided he survives some lengthy horse chase scene.

And the whole thing reminds me (for no truly obvious reason) of Jerry Jeff Walker's Desperado's Waiting for a Train. Google it, jam to it... it's such a great piece of Texas Country Music. And yes, I know, the original version was by Guy Clark. I just like Jerry Jeff better.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's Black And White and Red All Over?

This necklace.
It's a button collage! On a chain! And I made it all by myself.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!

Here's where the fun begins folks. Presenting the finished projects, the stuff that's for sale. What I've been working on all summer long. The deal with these two (well three because I'm keeping one for myself) necklaces is that I've already sold them. I guess that means I can now say I'm a professional jewelry maker -- because, hey, I've been paid for my creations. I made these necklaces and sold them to my coworkers out of vintage buttons. I don't have too terribly much to say about all these necklaces I've been making. And if I did write a full profile of each, I'd have a lot of writing to do. You're going to see a lot. Like a lot a lot.

P.S. Muchas gracias to my neck models (a.k.a., the purchasers). All the rest of the necks (unless otherwise noted) are, well, my own neck. You'll get used to freckles soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Little Stacks Everywhere

All around my apartment are little arrangements. Preparing for this craft show or, more accurately, my booth at a shopping market, has turned my little crafting life upsidedown. And I'm not kidding when I say there are little collections of projects sitting out everywhere. Above you see a collection of Mexican bingo tiles with fresh coats of a kind of plastic lacquer that will make them hard enough to stand alone on necklaces. More details on that to come.

And here are some vintage/random buttons gathered together. Also awaiting their turn at the chopping block, or so to speak, when they'll be turned into projects. All of them have polished, flat backsides so they are ready for use. Sanding a hundred buttons is like a dream come true. (I've never gotten into sanding; if it could be skipped, it would be.)

And, yep, some more future projects. It's amazing to think that I've made any progress at all, since looking at these pictures reminds me that all I've done is set up more work for myself to do later. Yikes. Two weeks and a trip to Chicago thrown in... I better get busy!

And finally, here's a completed project. Woohoo! But like all the others, perhaps a bit difficult to explain. I'm just happy that there's one thing that I'm done with. I guess I do still have to worry about the packaging... I doubt this post has shed much light on my current bevy of projects, but it should let you know ... colorful, found objects...

Friday, September 18, 2009


Here is said father holding said father's day gift.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Waaaay Old, But It's New To You

I tell you what, this one was hard to photograph. That's why you get half the project above and a super faded out pic below. I apologize my dears. I'm prepared to blame a lot of it on my summer's worth of computer issues.
This was my Father's Day gift this year. Yep, another thing I did in June and am posting about in September. Like I said, there's lots of baseball games to watch. I suppose you're lucky to be reading about this before November.
I've always thought of myself as the baby bear of our Goldy Locks family. I've got a Papa Bear and a Mama Bear and I'm the baby, the onliest one. So when in McKinney I spied this torn out page from a children's story book, I knew that I needed to buy it and craft it into something for my bear-obsessed father. He had a bear experience once in Estes Park, Colorado and has been inspired for life to devote time and energy to bears. And not in the Stephen Colbert blame all the evils of the world on bears vein. More like, love them, respect them, realize how fascinating they are.
And I wanted the frame to be extra special. And for the better part of a decade, my dad has dutifully kept the caps to his beers (when they aren't bent beyond possible use) and gave them to me whenever he remembered to so that I could use them for craft purposes. It all sprang from a project I did in college... I wonder whatever happened to that beer-cap table top? Oh well. So I've got a vase of beer caps and I thought that this would go together well for my father's sort of mountain lodge themed man cave. (Note that most Sam Adams' caps come from Red Sox watching experiences. You gotta go with the Boston lager if you're going to watch the BoSox!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh and one more desk item...

Last but not least in this desk upgrade: the ink blotter. My friends, there comes a time when something that you love, something that you find very pretty and perfectly appropriate, something that someone you love gave you must go. It is old, it is dirty, it looks tired, it is worn out.
That's the story of this ink blotter. Stained from years of both use and storage -- poor thing was even used as a makeup tray (ultimate death to all white-fabric-based products) at one point and endured moving trucks, storage units and one accidental Modge Podge spill.

You see, the trouble is, I still wanted an ink blotter. I still liked the overall size and dimensions of ye olde ink blotter and, well, I'm cheap. So I decided to upgrade. I have a small stash of fabric (Have you ever heard the slogan, "She who dies with the most fabric wins?" because I try to avoid that) and I dug around for the right pieces to help me. I found the pink quickly and decided that was a great frame piece but i wanted something extra special for the center panel. At one point in my mother's industrious career as a fabric collector -- she is going for a hoarding title -- she worked at one of Dallas' high-end furniture and interior decorating stores. And she asked the designers if she could have the outdated, unused or leftover fabric sample books. They are a treasure-trove of fabulous pieces of fabric. The trick is finding projects that can accommodate upholstery-thick fabric that is less than two square feet.

My friends I'd been eyeballing this sample for years before this project came about and I finally had a chance to use these whimsical frogs and Lilly-pad fabric for something.

The assembly was super easy. I painted the old blotter with white primer a few times, For the flat parts, I stretched the fabric and used duck tape to secure it in place. I cut a few small pieces of bunting for the padded part, wrapped that in fabric and glued the whole thing together with hot glue. It's not a piece that can withstand being used as a Frisbee or anything like that, but in its place, it's just fine.