Sunday, January 29, 2012

Maybe you can learn from my mistakes

I admit that I sometimes get ahead of myself. I'm the kinda gal who thinks every new lover is THE one, every new job is the best job I ever had, every new teapot is my favorite (yeah, the teapot issue is another post entirely).

Being overzealous has its good points and its bad points. On the bright side, I can be fearless; I'm more than willing to go careening down a snow-covered hill in an inner tube not knowing what obstacles may be awaiting me below, and I'll be nothing but exhilarated by the whole experience.

On the other hand, that overzealous fearlessness can cause me to jump into projects without doing all my homework. The old adage “measure twice, cut one” was totally invented for people like me. And I try really hard to follow that advice. Still, not everything works out as I'd like.

Take for instance this idea that we can spray paint over lace to create decorative items. I saw some of these on Pinterest and elsewhere and they looked really lovely.

I have used lace to imprint onto clay in ceramic class. Surely I could find a project for it in my house somewhere and heaven knows I have my share of spray paint in the basement.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I never thought I would own a dog, let alone dress her up

I resisted getting a pet for years because I always claimed that I needed to be able to leave town on a dime and not worry about what to do with an animal left behind. But my better judgment got the best of me and I adopted a schnoodle almost two years ago.

She is about 20 pounds of stubborn terrier. She's half miniature schnauzer and half miniature poodle . . . schnoodle! Her name is Daisy and she and I have been doing battle ever since I adopted her from an older woman who couldn't afford to lose her arm because of how strong this dog is. Daisy is 8 years old but can still jump as high as my shoulder. Schnauzers were bred by the Germans to be ratters around the barn and house. They were not bred to be companions. I wasn't either, so that makes us a good match.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do you think I act like a child?

My 10-year-old niece gave me the best compliment I think I've ever received yesterday. She had spent the night with me and we did a couple crafts the next morning together, as we often do. In between crafting I was gettin' all excited cause I had just started this blog and we were counting the number of page views through the day. I was jumping up and down telling her I felt like the girl in “Legally Blonde,” Reese Witherspoon's sorority sister who is trying on wedding dresses, jumping up and down and screaming about how she's getting married and then she trips and falls on the floor.

Anyway, I was taking my niece back to her mother's for her b-ball game in the afternoon and she said, “Of all the people in your family, you are the most like a kid.” By far the best compliment I have ever received in my life.

Here's what we made yesterday morning. For Christmas I bought my niece this small bead and wire set from Joann's. And I bought her a boatload of safety pins and some elastic cording. I think the bead and wire set might have cost me 6 or 8 bucks, I can't remember. So it might have been a total of $12 at the most for the supplies, which is gonna go a long way toward some more crafts down the road.

I had seen a safety pin bracelet at Joann's and figured a 10-year-old could easily do that herself even if I had to help by tying off the ends of the elastic.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I want levels, nothing but levels

Today's project: Put down the book I'm reading, The Thyroid Diet by Mary Shomon, which is basically making me feel like my life is over. Instead, get off my butt and make something. That always makes me feel better.

I've been seeing this project in the antique malls lately (not that I frequent them ;-'). Someone takes an odd china plate and attaches it to a glass base to create a unique cake stand. You might be saying to yourself, when do I have time to bake a cake? But I use cake stands for all kinds of things, for cheese and crackers, for cookies, for cupcakes, for a Sunday quiche, even for side dishes. It's a way of creating more space when you have lots of stuff out on the table, and a way to create visual interest by using vertical space. Thus, the levels.

The ones I've seen in the antique malls usually use a cut glass candlestick as the base. However, being the engineer's daughter that I am, I saw one major flaw in this design. Candlesticks do not have a wide base. They are designed to hold and balance nothing more than a thin long stick of wax. Once you attach a large round plate to that candlestick, it suddenly becomes very top heavy. I almost knocked a couple of them over in the antique mall.

So I knew if I was gonna try this craft, I would have to re-engineer it.

What this is about . . .

This is about how you might make something from nothing. How can I take an old sweater and make it into something instead of throwing it away? How can I buy a $2 item at a thrift store and turn it into something that is the centerpiece in my mother's living room? How can I take a $15 ceramic class at the local city rec center and turn it into a money-making venture when I'm out of work?

Let me start by saying that I am not an artist. I am not calling myself a “crafter” only after years of art history and drawing lessons and failed attempts at being the next great American painter.

I am also not rich. It's just little 'ole me in this house and nobody else is funding a high-end craft habit for me. (On the other hand, if you'd like to make an offer, I would not be opposed to having a high-end craft habit funded by some kind and generous stranger . . . make that a kind, generous, and sexy stranger).

So now you know the down and dirty truth. I am a working class “jo” who has played around at making crafts most of my life just to keep myself busy. Many times the crafting springs out of necessity: I need a nice gift but can't afford to buy one; I need to wrap a gift but can't afford to buy wrapping paper; I need new window treatments but can't afford . . . you get the idea.

So, “Crazy” because it's always good to act a little crazy; it keeps friends and family guessing. “Thrifty” because I've never had a ton of money and had to learn to be a bargain hunter. “Crafts” because, after all, a girl needs a hobby. 

And don't worry, I'll tell you when I try something that turns out stupid or ugly or something that fails entirely.

Oh yeah, how do you like my new glasses?