Tag Archives: imperfection

Brace(let) yourself–here comes Project 31

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At long last, here’s the knotted bracelet I made at the Supernatural fans gathering, which I mentioned last week. We were supplied with a length of hemp cord, a DIY charm made from a decorated washer, and a gun charm to represent the demon-killing gun made by Samuel Colt in the show’s lore. There was a collection of other charms we could use, so I added 3 to make a nice, even number. A wing to represent the angels storyline, a key to represent secrets (or just Papa Winchester’s self-storage locker) and … well, beats me what the big honkin’ bird represents. I just liked it.

Not sure if this is before or after I trimmed the adjustable ends a bit.

The other side of the washer-charm:

This side of the washer has the Solomon's Seal aka the devil's trap

My captions have disappeared, for some reason. This side of the washer has the Seal of Solomon, aka the devil’s trap.

I was going to link to the sites listed on the instruction sheet, but I can’t find where I put my little swag bag from the con. I found some hemp bracelet video tutorials on eHow (and I don’t know about you, but I find I’m much better watching someone make a knot than looking at a diagram of how one’s done), and this is a similar knot to the main part of the bracelet: http://www.ehow.com/video_4433735_making-square-knot-hemp-bracelet.html

The separate piece that the two long strands slide through to adjust the fit is the part I’m not sure where to find. I had a tough time getting that right (and think I screwed up at one point). And now there are a couple of long strings hanging out of that clasp knot, and I’m afraid to snip them because they might be key to the whole thing.

But hey, it works and it is a neat little piece and blah blah blah spirituality of imperfection.

Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

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Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

I’m still deep in the middle of a writing project I thought would be done by now.

But here’s pictures of my gradient painted chest — it’s got some imperfections (NATURALLY) but I. Love. It.

I now want to get some other stuff painted before it gets too cold. So here goes….

The pink version that was Just Not Me.

Front view.

But I really liked those colors played off the glossy grays and black.

Still some pink, but much more me.

The sides of the drawers show off a bit more of the imperfections of the finished piece. The top drawer is much lighter because I forgot my plan to paint the sides all with the unblended burgundy, then I painted it over with another coat of burgundy. Since it’s not going to be on display in its opened state, really no one’s going to see it who doesn’t already know. And let’s just say I am rather disinclined to mess with paintbrushes again when spray paint is so much fun.

Not-quite project post

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Is there anything more tragic than realizing 80% of the way through a DIY project that you really want it to go in a completely different direction?

Absolutely correct! The answer is “about a million things.”

But it is a large pain in the ass.

I bought this 3-drawer chest for $15 at St. Vinny’s, planning to use it for a night stand. It’s old and beat up, but real wood and the whole deal.

It’s going to be AWESOME!!

My bedspread is burgundy and I’ve got some burgundy accents around, so I decided after obsessing over various ideas at Pinterest that I would do the ombre paint thing that looks so cool here (http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/2012/06/love-is-like-apricot.html), starting with burgundy. I further decided that, instead of buying 4 different shades of paint, I would get a quart of white and blend the tints myself so I’d know they would work together.

Tints of burgundy are pink, yo. I am not so much a pink girl anymore.

And I realized early on that my medium pink was coming out a putrid shade that reminded me of my grandmother’s habit of getting humongous rocks when she and my grandfather would travel in the southwest, then bringing them home and painting them an obnoxious pink, then in gold paint label them with where she’d found them. Urgh.

But I couldn’t think of what else to do or what other color would go with the room, so I kept going. Yesterday I painted the drawers, and today I started on the frame early enough that I could get the second coat of everything in today, but halfway through the frame it occurred to me that I really really wanted to do a black and gray ombre thing. Which made me very sad.

But the idea of starting the whole project over with several coats of paint made me even sadder, because I am profoundly lazy and this project is already stretching the boundaries of my tolerance for painting stuff. So I kept going.

Painting, however, is a very meditative activity — thus the big epiphany about what I wished I were doing instead, and several smaller epiphanies like I suck at wielding a paintbrush and always have visible brushstrokes. I played with various ideas on what to do to improve the chest, like decoupage Victorian crap on it (gag! Plus I am creeped out by a great many bits of Victorian ephemera), or seashells (blah).

See what I mean about, well, everything?

When I was almost at the end of the second coat on the drawers, it occurred to me that I could repaint the fronts of the drawers and the whole frame in the ombre thing, but leave the sides and interiors as they are, for what the magazines call (far too damn often) a pop of color.

The knowledge that I can fix this with little effort, and not have Mexico-rock pink in a visible spot in my bedroom, has cheered me up substantially. So I’m done for the day. I may even get spray paint to finish the job, because boy does my brushwork suck.

Even my helper Harriet got paint in her hair.

Preview: random commentary to come

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Third attempt here; WordPress apparently does not approve this post.

I keep opening the Add Post on my browser window, and then freezing up. Not good. I do have stuff to say, but I haven’t gotten any crafting done. I was considering myself ahead of things last weekend, and I had a guest for the weekend. Though the week I’ve had some intermittent vertigo (Monday was all day, other days more come-and-go), which led to me missing art group night. That’s a bummer, since we don’t have group on the last Wednesday of the month, and I’ll be out of town the next Wednesday. I do have a project I plan to finish up and post today, and I need to plot out what’s next.

And also, I got a tattoo yesterday that’s going to complicate my usual routines for a couple of weeks, which I didn’t really think too much ahead about. It’s on the inner part of my right wrist, and I’m not supposed to touch it or submerge it in water, which is making me rethink a lot of movements I never think about. But I’ve been having some ominous twinges in my right shoulder and wondering how I’ll cope if I eventually have to have surgery (something I experience on my left shoulder), so maybe this is just good practice.

But right now I’d like to write about epic disasters, disappointments and the like. Because just about everyone has seen the story about the elderly church lady who “fixed” the fresco in her church that had seen some damage over the years. Most of the accounts I’ve seen so far have few details, and being a story-brained person, I want to know allllllll the answers. I was planning to write this now, but I just ran across a bunch of delightful comments about it via a friend’s Facebook, so I want to get permission to quote them. Have messaged, am waiting.

Maybe I’ll do some crafting now.

Life’s a bleach and then you dye; project 24

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Life’s a bleach and then you dye; project 24

I was feeling a bit rocky physically over the weekend (and still am), so my belated craft is a fairly simple one. I’ve been seeing some Pinterest pins on tie-“dyeing” with bleach, so I thought that would be a good choice for yet another shirt that had been rack-wrecked with an ill-placed drip of salad dressing. I’d been putting off doing this shirt, because it was pretty much brand new, and I love the color so much, and I didn’t want to do something that would render it completely unwearable.

I loved the way using rubber bands and little glass whats-its made such intricate medallion-like patterns on the silk scarves I dyed a while back, so I placed 5 around the V-neck in the front of the shirt. Following the gathers that made, I pinched the fabric in folds all the way down the front of the shirt, from the center on out. I had a couple of binder clips at hand, so I fastened them that way, just in a couple of spots.

I thought it would be cool to leave the back unbleached, so I put some bubble-wrap between the front and the back. (When I’m painting or using a bleach pen, I usually use a cereal box, but I was afraid some of the color would leach from the box onto the shirt with this one, so I went with the bubble wrap).

Here it is ready to dip into the bleach solution:

I really need to clear an actual crafting surface to work on. Really.

The bleaching directions I got from this DIY project (found via Pinterest): http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-bleach-tie-dye/ (And boy, do I want to do a shirt like the one done here!)

And my advice if you use this method to do a shirt, pay attention to her suggestions about working outdoors and gloves. I was Miss Half-Ass-It, and it wasn’t that pleasant. And the fumes could be seriously not good — I used the exhaust fan in my bathroom as I worked, but it still was headachy.

The two things I think I’d do differently (besides working outdoors and wearing gloves): use a bigger vessel for the solution and clip the pleats all the way along their length. As for the first, I used the bathroom sink, a smallish oval, so I had to keep moving the shirt back and forth to be sure everything got in the bleach. When I checked for color, the back hem got into the bleach too, so I didn’t end up with the full unbleached effect on the back. This shirt was dip-and-check-dip-and-check, rather than the 30-minute resting period of the bleach pen. I couldn’t say exactly how long it was in the bleach solution, but barely over a minute or two. I rinsed it, pulled out the clips and glass bits, then ran it through the wash.

Here’s the front, once dried:

Bleach tie-dye

I’m a little disappointed by the medallions, which are just kind of quavery little rounded boxes. They may need some sort of embellishment. The resist effect only was clear where I had the clips in. I’d do it all the way down another time, but I still think this came out okay.

Jury’s still out on whether I feel there should be more embellishment of some kind on the front.

And here’s the back:

Looks cool, especially close up, but someone walking behind me down the hall at work yesterday thought I’d fallen into a puddle or something.

I learned a few things from this, and got a wearable shirt out of the deal, so it’s pretty much a success.

Don’t worry, it’s only a nip

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Don’t worry, it’s only a nip

Wednesday night I made another “bleach-paint” tee on another shirt with an unfortunate rack/grease spot OTP, this time using a stencil, and I really like the design I ended up with. It will surprise no one who’s been reading along so far that it didn’t come out perfectly. I was very careful to peel off the stencil carefully, but I still got some marks on the shirt, which don’t look it in the pictures, but came out looking kind of gray.

A little bit of bleed, so this is probably as fiddly a design as I’d be able to do with a bleach pen, but I like it and don’t mind the bleed. There are the grayish streaks, too, so next time I’d probably scrape off the bleach before removing the stencil.

The stencil, by the way, was made with two smaller stencils I got in a pack at Walmart, with lots of fleur-de-lis variations and other swirly bits, plus simpler shapes like the circle. I traced them onto white removable Contact Paper, then flopped the swirly design on the other side of the circle.

Like so.

I don’t have pictures of every step, since I did the Contact Paper bits at my art group gathering Wednesday night. Like I said, the design was a little fiddly, tough to cut out perfectly, but I don’t think it really made a difference with the bleach bleed anyway. But here it is with the bleach on.

Slightly different color results from the previous brown shirt I did, but that could be the smidge of spandex content in this tee.

Love it, totally planned to wear it to work the next day, but when I put it on … well, the combination of the circles, the placement, and the flesh* color (*flesh color according to the adhesive strip bandage industry, at any rate) made it seem just a little … nipply.

See? Or is it just me?

I decided making it not flesh* color in some way would probably decrease that effect, or my neurosis about it anyway. I considered a tie-dye look craft I’d seen done with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol, but the attempt I made on a test piece (I KNOW!! For once I used a TEST PIECE!) wasn’t awesome, so I decided not to go for that.

TEST PIECE! Who would have thought?

So I decided on the lace-spraypaint technique and just plowed ahead with it. I think that solves the prob, or maybe I’ve just stopped being neurotic about it. I thought I’d do something to mask the gray spots, so I moved the lace piece to different spots along the front and spray painted here and there. I ended up with some spots that were spray paint blobs, but I decided (once again) that I really don’t mind that. I have a printed tee I got at Maurice that looks like I rolled around on the floor of a wine bar or something, so it’s not a deal-breaker.

So here’s the final result!

I’m very pleased, all in all.

And a close-up.

Can’t wait to wear it!

Raclette, meet rack

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Raclette, meet rack

Last winter I discovered raclette, the absolute perfect food. Potatoes, melted butter, melted cheese. What’s not to love?

Ah, that. The pure liquid fat dripping off the fork and right onto my chest. And the plain t-shirt I was wearing for the first time. Raclette, just like salad dressing, likes big busts and it cannot lie.

Solid color tees, so great because they go with everything, are always the most endangered item in my closet. If they make it past a third wearing without being consigned to the pile of formerly wearable at work clothing, it’s a minor (and temporary) miracle.

My Pinterest board titled “T-shirt Renovations” is chock full of ideas for t-shirt fixes, so I thought I would share some of my attempts to rescue splattered tees.

The first one I did quite a while ago, shortly after the Raclette Incident. I found a perfect stencil in a pack I had bought, using my oil paint Shiva Sticks. The bigger circle in the center is right where the raclette spot was. It filled in nicely (though the iridescent charcoal and silver paints came out looking pretty matte black and grey on the cotton jersey).

Hit me with your Shiva stick, hit me, hit me!

Until it went through the wash. Then the paint over the grease spot faded out. I started drawing it in with a Sharpie in a moment of boredom, but I figured that might not end well. I have had some thoughts on how to deal with that center bit, but it involves a little something I have lost track of and I didn’t want to go buy another (and the hardware stores are closed on Sunday anyway). It’ll make a return engagement when I find the missing piece and get the project done.

Just recently I saw a P.S. — I made this! post about spraypainting a top through a yard or so of lace. So happens I bought 2 lace curtains at a Goodwill recently for under $5 total, so I cut one of the panels and spraypainted copper fabric paint onto this brown tee. The result is so subtle in person that the lace effect is pretty lost, but it looks like the stain was taken care of.

Um, well.

Neither thing appears to be true in this photo. Haven’t decided if it needs something further, or if I should just wear it as is. Since it’ll be 97 degrees F tomorrow and this has long sleeves, I have some time to think.

I also have a big piece of painted lace to use on some project.

I have some thoughts on that, too.

This last picture is the t-shirt rescue I like best. I’ve seen this one on Pinterest too. You make a design with the Chlorox pen on a colored shirt, let it rest 30 minutes, then wash. I freehanded the design, based on one of my favorite ZenTangle designs, the henna drum. I simplified it way down because the fine point of the double sided bleach pen is still pretty wide — it’s for stain treatment and not drawing, after all. There’s bleed, but I still love how it came out.

Life’s a bleach and then you dye.

I’m really looking forward to wearing this one.

East meets vest; Project 17

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East meets vest; Project 17

This embellished denim vest is a project that I’ve been working on for a couple of months on and off. Both the vest and the fabric came from thrift shops in Austin. The print fabric came from a silk tunic of the type Indian women wear, which had some ripping at the sleeves.

It’s certainly proof that my hand stitching doesn’t get any better with practice, though in my defense the vest is a thick and unwieldy piece to sew. And it’s definitely proof that I need to get over myself and start using the sewing machine. This would have been done in a day if I’d done so, and the stitching would have been better, and I wouldn’t have found myself with a big fold of off-kilter fabric as I neared the end, as it would have been easier to pin properly. I took it back and forth to various places to work on, and hand it folded or rolled much of the time, with just a pair of pins to keep things in place right where I was working. I worked on it at art class, once during lunch break at work and carried it around at Wiscon but never pulled it out once.

Not the ideal way of working, but I still think the result is cute and wearable, and I don’t think the flaws will be that visible unless people are up close looking for them.

But yeah. Next big project like this (and I have one), I’m going to get that sewing machine figured out. The only reason I’m being so chicken about it is that I haven’t touched a sewing machine in decades.

Anyway, the result:

Not bad for someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing. But seriously. This took MONTHS. So using the sewing machine next time.

I am wicked tired and almost went to bed after posting just the one photo, but I’m sure the mistakes are what you come for, yes?

Sometimes freehanding not so awesome.

I wanted the gold trim to line up with the bottom of the vest (as much as a straight piece would line up with a curved vest), so I had to come up with something to get rid of the excess material, so I just folded it into a little dart and hand sewed it. Not the greatest solution, but it worked, and the colors and the print hide a multitude of sins.

Yeah, that little tuck.

Okay, I’m thoroughly knackered, so that’s it for tonight.

Oh, and I also sewed a little piece on the front, too. It may need something more, but I’m considering it done for all intents and purposes.

A little freeform circle on the front pocket. Needs salt.

Look! I made a mopey post!

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Your danger-facing crafter is Miss Crabbypants today. I did some work on a DIY project, but some aspects of it look kind of crappy, and I don’t think it’s going to suit the purpose I meant it for as well as I’d hoped. I’m not ready to call it complete, though, so pictures will come later.

I had way too high hopes for this weekend, and all I’d get done, and just blah. And the realization that the project was going to be a disappointment came right at the time when it was too late to make it to the movie I’d decided to skip so I could get stuff done. I will regroup, though, and it will be okay. The project will work in some respect, just not the one I was counting on.

So now I’m trying to figure out how to step up with an actual project for this week. I’m in the midst of a couple of sewing projects, but I don’t want to toil away over either of them like I’m in a sweatshop to get them completely finished. I would much rather spend the bulk of the evening watching the S5 Doctor Who disks I got before vacation. So…something that’s hella fast, or something I started work on a while ago and isn’t too far from finished….

Oh, and I forgot to make note of another reason I’m crabby. I spent about half the day being a grown-up, doing the checkbook and budget thing and writing checks for a TON of bills, and then taking a carload of stuff to the indoor flea market and redoing my space. (Okay, the flea market part is fairly fun, but I would have picked a different day for it, but I can only go on weekends.)

Must make a decision and get going.

I am glad I didn’t go to the movie, because now it is raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock. (TM my dad)

Happy little bats

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So. The last 9 days, I was in Austin, Texas. Which was a completely kickass vacation, I’m pleased to say. The past year has been a bit rough in several ways, but this was a trip that made stress melt away. I got to have quiet mornings on the deck with a glass of iced coffee, got to meet up with online friends to do fun stuff, got to experience the special weirdness that Austin excels at, and meet amazingly friendly people. And eat fabulous food.

I got a couple different DCFG projects of mine fangirled, which was delightful — the painted/decoupaged shoes got several compliments, and the TARDIS kindle cozy could have gotten me a niche in a great little Austin store if not for the fact that I’m not from Texas.

And yes, even while racing around hearing music and shopping and thrift shopping, I did not forget my duty to create my weekly project. This time I had company while doing so. While looking through the do512.com site (if you’re ever going to Austin, it’s essential), I stumbled on the Austin franchise of Painting with a Twist. It’s a business that offers space and supplies to make a painting in one night, as a local artist guides you through the process.

Aprons and finished works.

You all work on the same painting, with different paintings offered on different days. The do512 listing showed thumbnails of each day’s painting, so I decided on mine at the beginning of the trip, figuring it would be a terrific souvenir: Starry Austin Night, which compressed the Austin skyline with Van Gogh swoops and swirls of stars behind it.

One paper plate held the colors we needed for the evening's work, and the other provided a palette for blending.

Oh, and I forgot the Twist part of Painting with a Twist. Each person can bring their own snacks and beer, wine or whatever, so it’s a party with a painting. (Our instructor told us his first group with that painting — we were the second — brought hard liquor and were stinking drunk and rowdy. Would love to see their works! Ours was pretty mellow.)

When we walked in our easels and paper-plate palettes were set up, and we got our 16″ x 24″ canvas when we paid. David, our instructor, led us through the process, giving us general guidelines for blending shades and spacing elements by finger-widths and stuff. There was a finished painting to reference, plus David painted a new one as he walked us through the process, and for some of the finer details, he used a white board to give us a closer look at what we should be doing.

I couldn’t help but think of the Happy Little Trees guy, and in fact, the comparison was acknowledged. Wish I’d taken a picture of it: there was a sketch of HLTG by David’s easel, with HIS NAME above and BOB ROSS below.

Despite the fact that we were working on the same image, there was a range of different looks to the students’ works, whether or not they wanted it. Periodically you’d hear little noises of frustration when a brushstroke didn’t go the way a painter wanted, and there was a lot of “I like yours, but mine…” I suspect, though, that the longer people lived with their own paintings, the better they liked them. Mine has grown on me. I originally planned to go back over a few spots but I’ve decided, to quote Anne Lamott, to leave it lay where Jesus flang it.

Smished skyline of Austin welcomes you!