a rhodes by any other name.

To honor the inspiration for this week’s craft, I went ahead and made this person into the craft itself. Let’s give a round of applause to Garrett Rhodes, a long time friend, current resident of South Africa so-we-never-hang-out, and accomplice in many adventures during the years 2003-2008.


"We're going to go caving tonight. It's illegal to enter because it's so dangerous. Wear your Brahma boots."

Other important accomplices in some of my poorer life decisions include:


"You're telling me there's a strip club near here with no indoor plumbing? Well what are we doing? Let's go."


"Do you think we've had this bad luck because Amy Grant specifically told us not to do this? I bet she cursed us. Well, either her or that Native American bartender."


"Hey guys, it's 6 am. You guys wanna get breakfast and then go to Jacks for a morning beer? They open at 7."

Anyway. Garrett and I met pretty much the first day of freshman year in college. Eventually, we dated for a while, broke up and somehow have remained pretty good friends ever since. The best thing about Garrett was that he was always good for an adventure and introduced me to all kinds of awesome stuff that I otherwise would never have given a second thought. In addition to taking me into one of the scariest caves I’ve ever experienced, one time he took me to a shack in the woods to watch bears eat food he put out for them. He neglected to tell me in advance that said shack had recently been rebuilt after THE BEARS TORE IT TO PIECES MONTHS BEFORE TO GET AT THE FOOD STORED INSIDE.

These days, he’s working as a volunteer for the Peace Corps in South Africa. It’s his second tour and I haven’t seen him in almost 3 years. You can read his blog about his frustrations and successes here. It seems like a lonely thing to do, but he’s found some cool stuff to pass his time. Stuff like the internet and, apparently, crafts.

We were chatting about my blog recently and he sent me a little tutorial on how to create a stenciled, bleached out t-shirt design. He sent me his example and it looked pretty good! It’s a photo of Madiba (or, as we call him everywhere else in the world: Nelson Mandela).

Not going to lie... I was pretty confused by the "Madiba" thing. I argued with Trent that it was definitely not Nelson Mandela. Clearly it is.

Pretty sweet, eh? I was pretty excited by this project and thought I had the perfect idea for what to put on my t-shirt. Garrett’s own face. Fantastic. In fact, it was so fantastic that I wanted to make two, so I could send him one. This, of course, involved me figuring out how to make a picture of his face into a stencil-type image that would work well on a shirt. I could have asked any number of my Photoshop savvy friends to do it for me, but no, that would be too easy. I had to learn for myself on a free rip-off of the Photoshop software called GIMP. I got the whole “adjust the threshold” idea, but I just couldn’t quite get the eyes to look right and I couldn’t get the stencil to connect. Several gin and tonics later:

I laughed way harder than I should have at the time. Also, right now.

Not even close.

I had to put it down. It was late, I was drunk and Trent was annoyed. I returned to it a day or so later, after I did a little more reading and finally ended up with a pretty passable stencil. I’m gonna skip all the cutting it out photos (it took me forever) and get right to the stencils mounted to the shirts. They looked SWEET.

Long story short, I got around to spraying these with a 1:1 bleach water solution last night. This is where the craft fail comes in. I did this in my scary basement with poor lighting but that’s really hardly an excuse for the mess that I made of this project. The blue shirt is made of super soft, thin cotton so the bleach seeped right under the sticky plastic stencil. I was left with this:

But there was still hope for the second shirt, right? RIGHT?! Come on Laura, learn from your mistakes, you’ve got this. One under your belt, the other one should be perfect.

LOOK AT HOW AWESOME THAT FACE LOOKS! I mean, the rest is shitty but the face is perfect! It ended up all square and weird because I only had one small table to work on in the basement. It was the perfect size for my girly shirt, so I didn’t think twice about it for this shirt. When I saw what was going on, I quickly tried to move it to a better space and managed to lay it down in droplets of bleach that were on the other table. It’s absolutely a mess on the back. I don’t know how salvageable this shirt is, but I’ll still save it for a project down the road.

So I don’t have much to show for this week’s craft. I’ll probably actually wear the shirt that I made for myself, as it’s kind of indistinct and looks like a ghost or something. I had it on earlier with a cardigan and it looked cool enough. At some point I’ll probably try this again so I can actually send one across the seas, but I feel like there’s some sort of unwritten rule about how many shirts a girl can make with her ex-boyfriend’s face on them before she starts to look a little crazy. I’ll give it a week.

1 Comment

Filed under craft fail, crafts

One response to “a rhodes by any other name.

  1. Now you just have to make a t-shirt of Stalin. I would buy that. And then wear the shit out of it.

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