Friday, February 20, 2009

Yay! Wine Crates!

Ok, it was typical Hilary hyperbole when I said I started this project a year ago. I checked the archives here at All the Cool Kids Love to Craft to find out that I started this project in April 2008. However, my inspiration from the DIY blog of Design*Sponge was posted in October 2007. And thus, my enthusiasm that this project has finally been completed isn't ridiculous. Fifteen months of living in an apartment with wine crates lurking in empty corners is a long time. A couple of weeks in one of my crazed all night crafting sprees, I finished wall papering the crates and reassembled them. (The original Design*Sponge post doesn't advocate taking the crate apart to paper it, but that's what I'd advise doing so that there aren't rough spots at the corners. The paper is of a thickness, perhaps unlike cheaper wrapping paper, that is lumpy when folded over. I took each crate apart into three portions, the lid, the four sides and the bottom. I gave the bottom piece to my dad for use in the chiminea pot in my parent's backyard , papered the remaining two portions and reassembled them to create the finished product.) I nailed a pair of picture hangers to the back of each crate. And despite my protests last week about using math to hang things in an orderly fashion, I had to use the old measuring tape, calculator and level to get these crates to line up and fit in a pretty small space. It turns out for these to fit without the bottom one being awkwardly crammed into the TV, I had to hang the top one 3" from the ceiling and 4" from the corner. Wow. That hanging experience was pretty painful. And required more than one try. Whoops. Fitting a power drill that close to the juncture of three walls and that high off the ground forced me to stand one leg on the top rung of the ladder, one leg on the top sill of a window -- safety clearly was abandoned at the wayside for this installation. But after hanging that top one, the rest was smooth sailing. And I think it is mathematically correct. Yay!

I realize that I didn't bother to load up the crates in an artful way before snapping this picture. Honestly, I just wanted the satisfaction (15 months after the dream of this project began) of saying... I'm done. Plus now that these are there, I really don't know what I'm going to do to stock these crates. My mom stopped by to drop off an umbrella (best drop by reason ever) while I was lamenting the emptiness of the crates and she uttered a great Martha pun, "You should just be crateful that you finished them."

And folks, on that note, I'm outta here. Don't forget to vote at the bottom of the page. I'll catch you next time I'm feeling crafty!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This May Look A Little Odd

This looks odd. For one thing, it's not a craft that photographs well. For another thing, well, it's not that great to start out with. But this is a dream of mine and this is my first crack at that dream and I'm pretty excited about it. So what you are looking at is a wine bottle that has been sawed in half and has two little holes drilled in it to thread wire through, then filled with little rocks, sand, and a pot with seeds in it. I'm going to hang the whole contraption in front of my window so that the little seeds will grow and plants will live in an old wine bottle. I'm going to make a series of these and hang them in my window. It's going to be some kind of recycled hanging gardens. Yeah, that sounds about right. Who wouldn't want a hanging wine bottle garden? Right now I've only got a small cache of empties to saw through. But I've got a bunch of full bottles. From now on, my place is always on tap! And I'm going to start bugging you about not throwing away your empties so I can get better at this glass cutting business. Do you see the roughness of those edges? It's pretty rudimentary. Let's not even mention the pair of cracks in the glass near the wire holes. Yikes. Hope the whole thing doesn't bust. Fingers crossed.

More details -- this is my first Drimmel project. My Nana gave me the Drimmel for Christmas. And it took me a while to locate the perfect bit -- I needed a round diamond tip. I visited a few hardware stores before the man at Elliots had just what I needed (which, of course, reminds me that I shouldn't ever try to find hardware somewhere before I have hit up Elliots). However, using a rotating diamond wheel on a piece of glass kinda terrified me. I had to pull out the old safety goggles from chemistry class (sometimes its good to be a partial packrat) and wear some dish gloves before I'd try this out. I practically had 911 on speed dial before I first placed the whirling, buzzing, Drimmel bit against the wine bottle. I was sure it would split into sharp splinters, flying at high speeds at my face, neck, arms, hands, priceless porcelain figurines, antique dishware, you name it (Ok, those last two don't exist, but still, a flying shard of glass is a pain where ever it goes). Of course, nothing of the sort took place. It did create a very grating sound -- like a million pieces of chalk squeaking on a chalk board -- and a cloud of fine powder filled the air. Holding the Drimmel steady is kinda tough and that's why the lines on my first try weren't very good. That plus I was too scared of getting hurt to do a good job. I think most of my fears were unfounded but I'm going to keep up the caution around the Drimmel. It's a little more risky than say, paper and glue (the subject of tomorrow's post). Anyways, I'm going to find that happy medium -- the Taoist wu wei -- between caution and precision, chaos and order for my next cut bottles. It shouldn't take me too many cases of Riesling to get one that is chiseled properly.

And finally, about the letter "e". There's no relevance. It can stand for anything under the sun -- eggplants, Ethiopia, energy... I bought a bunch of letters at Curiosities (on Abrams) and I thought it would be neat to attach one letter to each wine bottle/plant. Perhaps I'll spell out something when I'm all said and done. Starting with "e" is a good idea, since it's in like, every word.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two More Loves

Here are two more of the thoroughly freeing and completely enjoyable Valentines that I made from available (household) materials. These two feature some snippets from a recent Anthropolgie catalogue. I guess there's not too much artistic merit to these other than the fact that I really enjoyed just making things, third grade style. In fact, I've always been a huge fan of the collage. I usually try to come up with really elaborate plots and fancy materials, but just sitting down with a box of markers, a pad of paper, a few catalogues and some glitter -- ultimate crafting enjoyment!
The one at the top was pretty abstract. It involved finger painting and buttons! And glitter and hearts that I made by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting out a heart, just like elementary school students do! In keeping with yesterday's theme of using cliche love sentiments, this one's inside said, "Valentine, you're as cute as a button."
And the bottom one, that's for my mom. When I was a little girl, she used to sing me a song with those lyrics. I thought it was fitting for the heart with a little heart missing.
Oh and sorry that the pictures were fuzzy. I'm starting to think that I might need a new camera...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Funny Valentine

Well, a holiday can't breeze past this crafter. You know I have to do something to mark these occasions. And this year I wanted to make Valentines completely out of things I already owned. No spending! Not one dime, which reminds me I've added a new label to my label arsenal "Recession? Not Bad For Crafters" because these tight times can be a boon for the creative types. Now if only "homemade" had sounded less shoddy during the era of excess. Skinny wallets mean creative stretching must go on and I'm such a fan! Not to jump atop a fav soap box, but I've always said more credit should go to the creative spender than to the overspender...
And since I used my own paper, glitter and googley eyes, I wasn't going to spoil the "no shopping" spree by purchasing some custom-sized envelopes. I had to make my own out of packing tape and pottery barn catalogues. I even owned the stamps I used to mail these puppies. I'm really proud of this one. It's a joke. And here's the punchline, on the inside it says, "Valentine, you're one hot mama."
Where, you must be asking, did I find such a cartoon character? Well, that's easy. You know those annoying weekly inserts that you get in the mail? Well, I'm zoned with some Mexican meat market whose mascot is that dude. Every week his jocular smile beckons me to buy pound after pound of meats with which I am not familiar. The pictures of cow brains and pigs feet are usually the first postal item to get File 13'ed. Well, not last week. Last week SeƱior Sausage was cold-cut right out of his advertisement and used as the star of my star Valentine.
Also, if any of my readers are in need of their own Mexican meat merchant men, drop me a line. I can collect one a week from the circular. I'll even throw in a pair of googley eyes... Aww, I'm so sweet.

Monday, February 16, 2009


At the bottom of my blog, I have installed a little quiz for you readers. You'll have to do some scrolling. I hope it doesn't wear out your mouse... Anyways, above you see "the wall" in its real form, as opposed to my doodled versions. And now you see what we are working with here folks. Pardon the oddly shaped shadowy thing in the middle of the picture. I don't know what was going on with the camera; every picture I took looked funky.

Get Out Of Craft Jail Free

Spray paint, a power drill, safety goggles, a Phillips head screw driver, a level, a diamond-blade rotattor drimmel bit, rubber gloves, three types of scrubber brushes, chisels -- and a wedding! This was a very busy weekend for me, with lots of crafting tucked in to the free parts. And as you can see from this outdoors shot, I had some choice weather to work in. I'm working on a couple of little projects for a baby shower that takes place next weekend. Can you tell it's for a boy?
I'm really excited about a lot of the projects that I completed this weekend. I stress the word "completed," because I'm pretty often starting things without finishing them. I'll have to take a look back at the ATCKLTC archives, but I think that completed a project over the weekend that I started this time last year. Seriously. That's procrastination.
And that's why I titled the post the way I did. I feel a sense of freedom in completing these projects, even if I worry that my to-do list is dwindling to pretty low levels. Plus I love to use a Monopoly reference whenever I can.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sorry Kid, You Really Do Use Math In Life

The title says it all here, but upon the rarest of occasions, I have to use math to be creative. Yuck! You know I was the president of the math club in high school (mom said it would look good on the transcript for college applications and I was the only one who showed up on Mu Alpha Theta election day). And then you know I got a D- in calculus freshman year of college and retook the class to get to B-. Oh Paul Bourdon! That class was all but impossible (to me, lots of other people seemed to ace it, overachievers). Not that my personal relationship with mathematics is particularly exciting (Does it count that a lot of my favorite people in college were math majors -- Dj Jazzy, LDA & Molly McGint?), I just wanted you to know that it is only on the solemnest occasions that I will get out the tape measurer, graph paper and draw something to scale. You do know that "to scale" means solving some math equations, right? So being a regular Archimedes, I decided that I wanted to make a wall of art. And I couldn't decide on the right arrangement for these prints and paintings. So I took measurements of the wall, the height of my comfy reading chair and then measured each little work of art. Above you see the results. I'm actually planning to show you a collection of arrangements I come up with and letting my general readership vote on the final selection. We'll see if that works. I fully expect no votes at all, but who knows.

Also, it has always bothered me that people of UK-ish origin (Aussies, Kiwis included) call it "maths" instead of "math" with the idea being that its a shortened version of a plural word: mathematics. I've never bugged a Canuck about that particular English misnomer, but I ought to. I'd like to think we have Canada on our side of this crucial linguistic debate. And today, I've really strayed away from the usual topic. Err, sorry.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Found Sketch

Hey there. I was rooting around for something or other the other day and I came across an old sketchbook that I used to lug around when I lived in Maine. I was always finding something that needed to be rendered in charcoal. And I thought I was particularly clever because in addition to toting my sketchbook and charcoals, I brought these little colored pencils so I could add just the tiniest bit of color.

And much to my surprise and amid a zillion landscapes (seascapes to be more precise) and some particularly random character sketches, I drew a generic picture of a baseball player. I can very vividly recall the occasion that inspired me to draw this little guy. A bunch of the guys I worked with at the paper in Maine played ball and I went to one of their games, armed with a beach towel, jug of lemonade and my sketching supplies. This is a pitcher, on the mound, at about the time when he's reading the catcher's signs, before he enters the wind (or the stretch, depending on the circumstances). Well, and Spring Training is just around the corner, so I thought I'd post this tribute to Spring and, well, the greatest game on Earth.

And, hey now, I wanted to show off my sketching skills, too. I never considered myself to be that good at drawing.