Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, 18 days early.

I was browsing through my local thrift store the other day looking for fun things, when a light broke through the january clouds upon the front table by the window. And sitting there in that beam of light was the Singer 404. It's from 1958. It is a beauty. I asked the ladies behind the counter about how well it worked and where it came from. Aside from needing a good wipe down, the thing sparkles. However, it's sticker price and my budget for the week weren't jiving, so I walked out of the store and tempted fate that it would be there upon my return. The next day I was on the phone with my lovely mother who said, "you know, that would make someone a GREAT valentine's day present." I just laughed. In the growing up process, I really hate it when people spend money on me. I feel like I need to buy the things I want. But who can say no to their mother. A week went by without her saying another word. But this morning, she called and asked me if I was dressed, it was time to go to the thrift store. My reply? "I can put a hat on."
And so, here she is. Sitting beautifully on my living room desk. I spent most of the afternoon pre-work just learning it's buttons and levers. The fact that the bobbin winds by a lever that's attached to a rubber wheel, so that when you press the foot, the wheel winds the thread. HOW IMPRESSIVE! I'm in love.

I think Hank the cat is in love with it too! Or maybe just waiting for new fabric scraps to hit the floor. Either way, expect many great new projects from my new machine! What a great day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pretty dots and a history lesson.

For christmas, I made my mom this set of plates and a pitcher. My mom has collected dishes for as long as I can remember. Nothing ever too fancy, mostly just the stuff that we saw at a sale or picked up at a flea market. Her newest find was a wonderful set of wheat dishes that you could actually collect stamps for in the 1950's at grocery stores and retailers all across the country. You would then redeem those stamps for a slew of household products. S&H green stamps was a huge company from the thirties into the early eighties. In fact, the S&H green stamps catalog was the most published catalog in the United States and the company sold THREE TIMES as many stamps as the US Postal Service. In my great grandmothers estate is a entire place setting of these wheat dishes, and when my mother inherits them, I will inherit her flea market find. Something inside me is giddy at the prospect of owning a piece of history that was S&H green stamps. So.
I made my mother dishes using Porcelaine 150, which is a food safe porcelain paint. When it is properly cured in your oven, it is even dishwasher safe! It was a pretty meticulous, time consuming project. But, I LOVE IT! So much so, that I decided to make my co-workers personalized mugs for their christmas presents. They were a big hit! The paint for this project is a little pricey, I suggest buying just the basic colors and mixing them to get your desired shades. Aside from the paint, which is water clean-up thank heavens, this project is pretty inexpensive. You can find cheap dishes at thrift stores or on clearance racks and dot paint away! You can get all the instructions from Martha here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Little accomplishments.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of meeting this wonderful photographer who changed my outlook on creative people. Most of the creative people I had ever met were eccentrics. But here was this normal guy. A guy's guy. Obsessed with sports and racing, over the moon about trains and learning everything he could about them. He spoke different languages and had a cool charm about him that made him instantly likable. He was just so interesting to talk to. But aside from his obsessions and likes and his ability to read and retain every book on his heaving shelves, was a talent that blew me away. He can look through a lens, find the light and pull feelings out of you that you didn't know you had. I swear to god, I'm not blowing smoke up your ass. His pictures epitomize all that is good about photography. The light and the shadows. The recording of a moment that made sense in his head. The sitting still and seeing, not just looking.

I've been spending time trying to pull my shit together. If you are a creative person, you know how hard this can be. Add that to the fact that I've never been the stable one. I'm the overly emotional, highs and lows, thinks too much one. But I have this vision in my head of what I can do. If I just find a way to sit and do it. There's this calendar on my wall these days. The kind you would make your for pre-teen to learn time management. And on it, every morning, is written breakfast. Because most days, I even skip the simple and easy parts. It's starting to help. For three weeks now, I've had something to eat within the first few hours of being awake. It's a tiny accomplishment that makes me proud of myself. (However small it may be.)

It seems a stretch to say that meeting this amazing photographer inspired me to eat breakfast. But it's true. I'm finding out its about tiny moments. The smell of the linoleum as you carve a block. The sweet sensation of sore fingertips because you've been working so hard. Finishing (finally finishing!) a project and gazing at it proudly. The feeling of inspiration because you know you can do something. I mean, c'mon, you tackled the daily task of eating breakfast. So here's to the people who inspire you. The people in your life who teach to you to be still and see the moment.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

TUTORIAL: Wooden Disc Pendants

This past fall, a friend of mine got married. For her reception place cards, I lovingly stood at my band saw and cut tiny discs of fallen branches to make holders for the cards. It was a lot of fun to use such a handy resource in such a way. However, it left me with a surplus of half dollar sized wooden discs. I decided to use some of them to make fun decoupaged pendants.

I first started with sanding the wood a bit to smooth any splinter of wood there may have been. I picked out my paper and cut a circle to go in the middle. Then using a little mod podge, I glued all the pieces to my design on. I made a sun using a newspaper my sister brought me from Japan and some other color bits of paper I had laying in my supply closet. (you can use any design you can come up with and cut out of paper.) I gave the pendant a finishing coat of glossy mod podge to seal everything in and left it to dry.

I like to give my decoupage goo a good drying time so that I can make sure it is good and hardened. I then used a small drill bit to make a hole for my jump ring and then attached it to a length of silver chain. And voila! A pretty wooden pendant to wear around my neck.

I made three other pendants while I was at it. One using a cut out leaf from a scrap piece of colorful paper and the other using a button sticker from Martha Stewart Crafts. I like how the wood grain matched the wood pendant. I even wrapped its center with some yellow thread.


Related Posts with Thumbnails