Author Archives: Dangerous Crafts for Girls

Apparently I lied

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Yeah, remember when I said I’d be posting again soon? Two months ago? Um.

I also may have said I was high class, but that was just a lie.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk that I keep thinking is going to waft away like the smell when you drive past the water treatment plant, and it hasn’t quite gone away. Maybe I need to be detailed.

I’m especially disgusted with myself this weekend, since I really need to get started on an art project that has an actual deadline. I got juried into the Habitat for Humanity ReStore art show, and I’m planning to work on a piece that I’ve had in my head for at least a year. (Oh by the way, this blog marked its 1-year anniversary last month. Apparently without me.) Some procrastination was actually helpful, as I’d been about to start with the basic piece my collage/assemblage will be made from, and thought I was going to have to use a plan B piece. But a friend turned up with what I wanted all along, which is a window of the size that falls within the guidelines of the show. So yay. But it’s way past time I got started, and there will be some weekends I can’t work on it, so I’ve just painted myself into a corner where I’ll have to be working on it before and/or after work.

And dammit, I don’t know where my box of ephemera has gotten to. How very ephemeral.

And as a side effect of getting Plan A materials, I thought of something really cool to do with the plan B piece, a pallet.

So that’s where I am at the moment. I will keep track of the progress of this piece and eventually show it here. I’ve got a month, so it won’t be terribly long.

Oh! Yeah! I got into the show using photos I snagged from this very blog. Wooooo!

Happy new year—and more dangerous crafts to come!

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Nope, not dead yet.

I have been organizing my kitchen, a heroic endeavor, which is not only taking place at the expense of my crafting, but the entire rest of my house. Sigh. Organizing really does suck the creative life out of me. Or maybe it is a creative pursuit, but a whole different type. I’ve had to do a lot of thinking about where things should go in a way that makes sense with what kitchen things I need where. It’s incredibly slow, and has involved spending a lot of time with my kitchen looking absolutely horrible while everything was pulled out. So that’s why the radio silence.

However, I have a project in mind that dovetails with making a nice little room for a new cat I’m hoping to adopt. We’re having a trial weekend coming up this weekend (if the weather stays good), so I need to be ready to keep him separate from my cat. So I’ll need to keep them from spotting one another through the French doors that lead to the room. I have what I hope is a clever idea, so stay tuned….

And soon I hope to get back to my stash of craft goodies and make something awesome. I have some new materials and some ideas (including something that goes with that kitchen reorganization), I just need to get the time (or to have some energy when I have the time, which has been an issue).

So, in short, I’m behind but I’m not through by any means.

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I think I’ve done this once before, when I posted a recipe that has more substitutions than original ingredients. Here’s one that is a fantastic winter recipe–hearty, crunchy, yummy, and highly adaptable.

Baked Oatmeal

I’m a fairly recent convert to oatmeal. It wasn’t something we ate in my family, and any attraction I might have had for hot cereal abruptly ended when I was in the hospital at the age of four and a nurse force-fed me Cream of Wheat. But I’ve had a few good bowls of oatmeal in my adulthood, generally at restaurants where they added in a whole lot of stuff that added up to hot-cereal-creme-brulée-with-crunch. And last fall when I was at a fan con and wandered over to a nearby restaurant with my roomie, I had baked oatmeal for the first time. It comes in a square, and they bring it with cream (or milk) and brown sugar. Had it, enjoyed it, wanted to make it.

Anyone who’s looked up a recipe online knows what a confusing time-suck that can be. A kajillion versions, some of which could be exactly what you want, some of which are a world of no. Sometime it’s obvious which is which, and sometimes it’s not. To add to the time-suck factor, it’s one of the rare internet places where you want to read the comments. Because that’s where you see what creative cooks are doing, and/or those who are trying to avoid tons of sugar, fat or salt. Where I get into my happy zone is where I start combining reader variations and/or my own into the ultimate (to my taste) version of a dish.

So the recipe I found was on the Taste of Home site, here:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Baked-Oatmeal?cpi=1&sort=2

I’ve been tinkering with this almost perpetually, and have a vegan version thought out as well as some non-vegan options. Here goes with my version and various notes:

Baked Oatmeal (veganized and otherwise improved)

Ingredients
2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup quick-cooking oats [recently I used mixed grain hot cereal oat-like things, and it was pretty crunchy. Anyone who hates food with textures should probably stick to the original recipe.]
<1/4 cup packed splenda blend brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder [seems fine without it, so I stopped using it]
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon [var: Penzey's baking spices]
1/2 c or more trail mix or nuts/fruit combo

1 mashed banana [original: 2 eggs]
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup [butter or] Earth Balance, melted [or oil]
1 teaspoon vanilla

Additional almond milk

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and trail mix. In another bowl, whisk the banana, milk and butter. Stir into oat mixture until blended.
Spoon into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until set. Serve warm with milk. Yield: 9 servings. [Well, I get 8. Also, I make it in a 7 x 11-in pan.]

About that “1 Year” thing…

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Started writing this on Sunday, but life went a little funky and I stalled before I got pictures uploaded/posted:

Yeah, I think I’m going to be extending the deadline on this “year” of crafting thing. (Actually I’ll probably keep this up as long as I have crafts I want to write about.)

So today I had a relatively large list of stuff I need/want to do. But things went a little sideways when I got a robocall from the pharmacy at FIVE THIRTY ON A SUNDAY MORNING. ::seethes:: I got up about an hour later, but still kept feeling very sleepy, so at noon I finally gave in and went to take a nap. It was more cat-cuddling than napping, but still very nice, but the moment I sat up my head just whirled. So I’ve got a headache and vertigo, so nothing that needs to be done while standing upright is going to happen today.

So. I guess this is the perfect time to show off one of the things I did during my last massive spray paint extravaganza. (Ironically, there was going to be a massive acrylic coating spray event today, but that ain’t happening now.)

A few weeks ago I found a sinktop shelf at the thrift store for $6. It has MDF shelves and metal pedestals with curlicues and metal tomatoes and eggplants on them. It was one of those with a high central shelf that’s supposed to accommodate a kitchen faucet with the big inverted U-bend. I tried it out and it was wobbly because part of the base sat on the sink edge, and part sat on the counter. And it limited the movement of my faucet. Turns out, though, that it just fits the leaning desk I got for my craft room, so I put it there instead. (I’d been wondering if one of those would work for that purpose anyhow.) But before I put it there, I spray-painted the shelves with hammered bronze-effect spray paint and the metal pedestals with that shiny-penny copper paint, which as I’ve said before I’m totally in love with.

So here’s the project:

sink shelf

So there’s a faux oak finish and the supports are painted hunter green with (hard to see here) purple eggplants and red tomatoes. I don’t know why I dislike hunter green so much, but I do. Plus EVERYTHING is improved instantly with a shiny copper coat!

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And a process pic here.

sink shelf painted

See what I mean about shiny penny colored paint?! See?!

desk shelf

And now here it is in place at my crafts desk, though not entirely set up the way it’ll eventually be when I get time and my brain back. And, by the way, if it had been just that little bit too long to rest on the desk, I was going to hoist it on a pair of glass bricks I got at ReStore a while back, but those now are waiting for another opportunity to become a thing.

Dead and berried

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Dead and berried

Things have been a bit hectic this week — well, they are hectic all the time, honestly. But I did want to post some of the spraypaint extravaganza and decided to focus on one item and some similar things I’ve worked with in the past.

This weekend I got the most awesome spraypaint. It’s this shiny shiny coppery color, just like the newest new penny. So while under the urge to play with it, I grabbed the paper maché berry box I had kept because it didn’t have any berry stains or anything. Such an iconic shape–I seem to remember there’s a ceramics artist who did ceramic versions of paper plates and such, and I think I saw a berry box replica, too.

So I spraypainted the crap out of this, and check it out!

Ooh, shiny!

And the inside:

Isn’t this color just awesome?

I love the humbleness of the item combined with the shiny metallic, and the texture along with the shiny.

I love making things with paper maché packing materials, too. The kind that’s molded to fit around an item, much like a styrofoam piece around a small appliance. A friend from my art group brought in these long pieces that she salvaged from a business, and I started painting it turquoise. It became clear I was running out of paint long before I was finished, and there was no more turquoise in the store room, so we watered down what we had, with the results that the ends got lighter and lighter. I decided I liked the look of it that way, so never went back at it with more paint. Another friend who shares my love for Mexican tin objects gave me a box full of tin pieces, so I glued some of them to the piece.

I like the weathered effect that running out of paint gave the piece.

And here it is in context on my wall:

Speaking of the little tin thingies. And some art I bought on the street (the Statue of Liberty) and in a bar (David Cone), both in NYC. I love buying art on the street.

It’s nice when the shape speaks to me in some fashion. The square piece below (which I think was packed around a yogurt maker) just seemed to have a mechanical feel to it, so I wanted to paint it a rust color. I added all kinds of bits and bobs from the “found objects” stash at art group, wanting it also to have a petroglyphic kind of feel. It would make a bitchen clock, too, if not for the pieces that the hands would keep getting hung up on. I have its mate, and I may yet make a clock of it.

Steampunk petroglyphs?

I thought it went well with a few pieces I’d collected in Mexico, plus a painting by my friend Tom Kramer. This is on the wall opposite the blue piece, a little ways down. This assemblage is across from the open doorway to the living room, so I consider it part of the living room décor. It goes very beautifully in colors and feel.

I really need to do something with that doorbell, I think…

So that’s that for tonight.

Dear brain: don’t leave in a huff

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Sometimes, dear reader, your faithful correspondent is a stupid lazy-ass. Like when she decides to SPRAYPAINT ALL THE THINGS! without great ventilation or any filter mask. Not that I have just keeled over or gotten higher than King Kong’s kite or anything, just that I know that was immensely dumb.

The reason I got into this wild frenzy to do a million spray paint projects in one day is that we’re supposed to have a high of 62 degrees today and 36 tomorrow. So I think it’s pretty much time for the spray paint studio to close up shop so I can start putting my car back in the garage. I have a ton of other things to move around too, like the 4 tires they took off my car when I had snowtires put on and various boxes that need to be knocked down and random crap that I mean to turn into projects one day. There’s also a couple of planter boxes with high trellises that are still in boxes but meant to be part of the big porch project that fizzled out after early summer.

I don’t know why my Big Project Brain is all whirling again — scratch that, no, it’s undoubtedly GISHWHES-inspired. You get in a frenzy to glue Skittles everywhere, and it’s hard to shed. I’ve just traded Skittles-gluing for spraypainting everything that doesn’t move. If my cat were in the garage, he’d be in danger of gaining a hammered bronze coat, too.

So I’m inside for a while breathing respectable air.

I’m sure I’ll have something to post as a project before the day is through. Unless I do keel over.

Whoa, thunder!

Don’t pay the ransom, I escaped!!!

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Don’t pay the ransom, I escaped!!!

GISHWHES had me for a week, but I finally escaped its clutches. I’ve been fighting off a bug for the last few days (and even was during my one precious weekend during GISHWHES), but I’m emerging victorious (I hope, because my birthday is on Monday and I’ll be really cheesed off if I’m sick).

So, GISHWHES. For anyone who hasn’t heard of this, it’s the brainchild of actor Misha Collins, who plays with his fans like we’re action figures (dolls, dudes. They are dolls) for charity and also for general glee. It’s a scavenger hunt that involves not just finding things, but making things happen, or making things. A great deal of absurdity is involved, and items you think are impossible to fill, but when you are on a team with 14 mad geniuses, somehow very often someone finds a way to fill them. It’s fun, it’s exhausting, it’s record-shattering. (I have a Guinness World Record certificate to prove it.) I had amazing team members this year, and we’re still awaiting results on the winners, but whatever, we made a lot of awesome.

Someone needs to tell me what the hell I’m going to do with a 2′ x 2′ portrait of Jensen Ackles done in Skittles.

a la Warhol

::waves hello::

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I’m posting from the thick of GISHWHES, plotting, reporting, emailing people, sourcing, etc. etc. etc. This weekend many creative things will be made, but I may not be able to post them immediately.

Just letting y’all know I’m still here but barely have a moment to catch my breath.

The silence of the lamps — Project 32

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The silence of the lamps — Project 32

Just as I’ve hit the point where I want to Spray Paint ALL THE THINGS!! it’s also getting to the point where it’s often a bit too cold to leave the car out. But I’ve pretty much turned the entire garage into the painting station and I have at least one more piece I’m dying to paint (though 2, really).

Anyway, I have this lamp that I bought when I did a very girly remake of my NYC bedroom sometime in the 90s, with some leaves and petals worked into the shade. I’m well over that now, so I decided spray paint was the thing.

I didn’t think to take a picture of the whole lamp before I went at it, but here are the components:

All your base are belong to us.

Only one shade, and it’s not grey

Decided to use the flat black paint on the base, with an effect somewhat like that Led Zeppelin cover with all the people fondling the weird black artifact. And spray paint through lace on the shade, the way I’ve done with fabric paint on t-shirts.

Wrapped in lace.

And here’s the result, in place on my nightstand:

Made in the shade.