Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Photo Fun

Complicated Boy and I tried out two photo tricks the other day using my iphone.  The first is the very popular "I am levitating" pose.  This was accomplished by pouring a small amount of water on the driveway and standing next to it.  This one was kind of a fail because his shadow appeared off to the side and I had to use a bit of the ole photo shoppe --but go have a couple of cocktails and come back to the screen to look at it again, ok? 

More successful was the "Darth Vader death grip" photo. This is accomplished by holding your hand out and having the subject jump. It took many attempts but I think the results are pretty good. I plan to make copies and write passive aggressive notes on them for my household-- first one is going on that empty toilet paper roll nobody else seems capable of changing.


And finally, because I have no life and am easily entertained- much as I hope you are also my friends, I attempted to capture LiLi doing her signature two and half turns and a double back flip:

Like many amazing things in life--it happened off camera.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Normal Kid, His Kid, MY Kid- Take Your Kid To Work Day 2013

Yesterday was sleep in a little and skip math Take Your Child To Work day. I take educating my chilluns for their future employment very very very seriously: they have known how to put ketchup on a hamburger bun since birth. Yesterday, I attempted to teach my son, Complicatedboy age 12, and my daughter, Banana age 9, along with a very nice neighborhor child, George age 12, how to be a designer like me. The lesson included everything from creating concepts for products, to pitching them to the Marketing Team, to working with the Graphic Arts Department. (I left out some of the other aspects of my job such as being yelled at by a superior and waiting on hold for half an hour for a meeting in which nothing important is discussed--because really, I don't want them to know How Much Fun I have on a daily basis.) I told them how giftware can solve all the world's problems keeping the recipient and the occasion in mind was the key to successful gift ware design. Here now...their designs.

First up- NORMAL KID. George does Disney.
This uber stylized modern mug is both playful and stylish- with bold pops of color and the iconic mickey symbol front an center. An added bonus is a "hidden mickey" in the bottom of the cup for those Disney fans who seek them out. Fantastic, fun and functional. Perhaps George will grow up and design giftware for theme parks or make movie merchandise.

Next up is HIS KID--meaning Sexyhusbandomine's offspring. Because clearly, when Complicatedboy set out to make a mug for teachers in America he was calling upon the shared experiences he and his father have had:

Complicatedboy does get extra points for the back design, which includes BRANDING. And the fact that the mug is for TEA and not coffee. OK, maybe he is my kid too.

Wait a second...where did he ever get the idea that when an adult says "Right after I finish this cup of tea" it means that it is NEVER GONNA HAPPEN?

So Moving Right Along... there is The Banana. Who was informed by Marketing that Pet Lovers are a lucrative segment. And relating cats to kids---genius!

But the true proof that she has my DNA?--the fact that she PUNNED on the back! She punned, and I just couldn't be prouder.

Oh wait- Yes I could. Because after we finished the design exercise The Banana asked if she could make something that SHE could really use. "Because I don't drink coffee," She explained. So I pointed her to the wall of plain white pottery forms--where she could make a bank, a heart shaped jewelry box, a figurine of a princess. And she made.....

That's my girl.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY Costume Jewelry Embellished Ring Holders

One of the treasures I am lucky to find out here in the suburbian wilderness is lots of costume jewelry. I can get a large handful of bling like the items above sometimes for less than a dollar at tag sales and rummage sales. Oh, it's so hard to be a rhinestone in a diamond world...but enough about me- onto today's DIY project.   I started buying a few pieces that interested me but they sat in a box for six months because I could not figure out what to do with them, other than look at them sparkle in the sunlight and croon to them "My Precious....."

You can purchase even the pins or earrings that have missing stones: as those are usually the ones that are SOOOOOPER CHEAP.   For this project, you can fill in the missing stones with glitter glue of a similar color, or cut off parts of the item as I did to a few. I had some plain white ring holders that have also been collecting dust in my studio waiting for inspiration to strike. You can purchase a ring holder like this here, or visit your local paint your own pottery studio and make a few solid colored ones.   These would make great DIY bridesmaid gifts.   Look for a ring holder that has a flatter edge to make both drawing the design and attaching the jewelry a bit easier.

I asked Sexyhusbandomine for help finding a tool that I could use to remove pin backs, or in many cases clip on or screw on earring backs. He gave me this great pair of smaller sized wire clippers. Please wear eye protection while removing the metal parts from the backs of the items you find- you will be surprised at how far the tiny pieces of metal can fly!

Next I took a Porcelaine 150 pen- also known as a Pebeo pen. You can purchase them here. They work just like a magic marker--mistakes can be wiped away with water--but once they are heat set in your oven the ink is really permanent and will not come off. I used a fine point pebeo, but a bolder tip is also available.  I suppose you could also do this with either a sharpie or a paint pen- but the ceramicist in me wanted the most permanent material possible- so I am a big fan of Pebeo because of its durability.   LET'S GET STARTED.  Deciding to create a lace edged border, I first drew scalloped edges around the rim of the ring holder.

Then inside each scallop I added 3 little loops. If you would like to be more meticulous or realistic with making lace you could have some examples nearby. I worked from memory- just trying to capture the lace "vibe."

Then I added some loops on top of the scallops.

On this one I kept going to get more lace- adding more loops and dots.

Using the Pebeo pen, this process really does not take long. I finished these two in about fifteen minutes. (The directions on Pebeo say to then let the ink dry for 24 hours but I skip that step as we will not be eating off of these ring holders, and my experience is that cooking them immediately does not effect the durability) I set them aside for another 15 minutes, then popped them into a cool oven. I preheated the oven, with the ring holders in them, to 300. Once I was sure the oven was at that temperature, I set a timer for 30 minutes. When the buzzer rang, I turned the oven off and let the ceramics cool in my oven til I could remove them safely.

I used E6000 which is a clear super strong glue to attach my piece of jewelry to the edge of the ringholder. E6000 does not set up immediately, so place a few pieces of scotch tape over the embellishment and allow it to dry overnight: otherwise you could come back an hour later and find that your jewel has traveled an inch or more. It's a lot of fun to choose which item will go with each ring holder-- every piece of jewelry will change the look of the ring holder.

I experimented  with adding some color to the ring holder itself and liked the way this one came out

Lots of fun ways to bling up the place you keep your rings!

Friday, April 19, 2013

How to refurbish concrete statuary

I LOVE a good tag sale! There's nothing I like more than going "treasure hunting" at garage sales on the weekend. Recently, Sexyhusbandomine and I found a pair of concrete and rebar deer statues at a sale for a whole TEN DOLLARS. We purchased them and one of the hardest parts of the whole thing was getting them into the car! They were vintage statuary, with a lot of enamel paint damage.

Bringing them back to life was fairly easy. I started by using a power sander to remove the flaking enamel paint. Make sure to use eye protection, gloves and a respirator while getting off the flaking bits. This process did not take too long-- I left paint that was still securely attached to places on the deer intact. In other words, I did not try to return the statues to their original surfaces--I just got the worst of the flaking paint bits off. Then I gave them a good wash and scrub with a wire brush. Then it was time to apply a paint formulated for concrete. I used a large brush and broad sweeping strokes
I used a Rustoleum concrete paint and a small quart was all I needed to do both statues. I applied one and a half coats.

I waited a day for my concrete paint to dry all the way. The paint surface did not look very stone-like, so I weathered the surface using black acrylic paint that I watered down. I applied it with a big brush, then wiped the surface with a rag until I got the desired contrast in the texture on top of the statue. This process distresses the finish a bit and makes it look more like concrete or stone.

I did this more than once, until I got to slightly darker version than I ultimately wanted. I knew with time the contrast areas would lighten up.

Sunday afternoon we moved them into the yard and there they stand. A later GOOGLE search showed that the average price for a pair of statues like this was $400--so we feel we did a good job of saving a buck...and a doe.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One Sentence Book Review- The Omega Effect By P.J. Elsner

 One Senetence Book Review:

Walking Dead meets World War Z and the results are a novel that provides great individual stories with "meaty" character development against a backdrop of hopelessness, chaos and violence that will have you up late turning the pages and cursing at your kindle that you can't flip to the back page to see who lives and also sleeping with all the lights up because your husband was out of town.

Two thumbs up. Quickly. So they don't get bitten off.  Thumbs make a great zombie appetizer.  Ok, just like zombies can't stop at one bite- I can't stop at one sentence. 

The zombies in this book are rather ninja.  They are fairly stealth despite the groaning, and pretty quick, and that makes this a realistically scary read.    After finishing the book I complained to Sexyhusbandomine that perhaps Walking Dead  on A & E  is  doing the general public a great dis-service by downplaying the zombie threat.  "The show makes it look like it's a manageable crisis" I complained before launching into a sermon on the responsibility of television to educate  people.  Sexyhusbandomine looked at for me a moment and rolling his eyes just said: "IT'S FICTION FOR CRIPES SAKE."

Yeah, well, one day he'll thank me for having stocked up on the canned goods.  Just sayin. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't Drink and Draw

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Drinking To Game of Thrones

Some days you just have to say: "Step aside caffeine--this is a job for alcohol."  I mean: I NEED my 23 cups of tea per day, but I DESERVE my wine- amiright?  I am currently enjoying Sancerre wine as the weather changes and these ceramic goblets actually help to keep it chilled longer than a glass goblet.  (It's why people drank their mead out of pottery back in the time of Game of Thrones people. Seriously. I did not just write that to move up in Google's search engine. Probably not.)

Ceramic goblets are totally cool.  "We can learn so much about this civilization from this piece of clear glass" said No Archeologist, Ever.

And BTW: it's not really drinking alone if your children are home.