Category Archives: crafts

not-yo-gramma’s mini skirt.

Based on the ever democratic process of polling my friends on the internets, I threw together this little H&M-inspired mini skirt last week. I’ll be posting a tutorial on this INCREDIBLY simple throw-it-together-in-two-episodes-of-Ancient-Aliens-or-less piece sometime in the next couple of days.

I haven’t blogged about it yet because I’m trying desperately to have a life that doesn’t involve sitting at a computer all day. Which means that, in addition to the skirt, I have made a metric shit ton of other things in the last couple of weeks and just haven’t tossed them up on here yet. I’m actually finishing Christmas presents already while knitting at my desk at work. Yeah, I totally just blew the surprise, but whatever.

I’m back in the vinyl bag business in a big way. Here’s some recent stuff:

This one was a special project for Sloppy Jodes.

 

Look at that dramatic lighting!

I can’t post a couple of the things I’ve done just yet because they’re for birthday gifts or are waiting on the final touches. I’ll get them up here soon though. Well, I make no promises really. I’m bringing my motorcycle to the city this weekend, so I might never be indoors again. Four wheels is just two too many. LIIIIIVE TO RIIIIIIIIIIIDE!

In addition to not computing outside of the office, I’ve been doing the “tourist in my own city” thing for the last couple of days. I took an absolutely incredible walking tour of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, following Lawrence A. Glasco and Christopher Rawson’s book August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in his Life and Plays. If you’re from Pittsburgh or intend to visit sometime and care about important things, you should find a copy (try the Carnegie Library Branch in the Hill District, where you can see the stool from Eddie’s Restaurant where August used to hang out) and take the tour. Here’s a great shot from the top of the Hill, with the remains of a funicular (the Penn Avenue Incline) that was removed during a period of not-so-subtle racism.

The incline, removed in 1953, ran to 17th and Penn Ave in the Strip District. Shortly after it’s removal, construction began on the Civic Arena, drawing a distinct line between the Hill and downtown Pittsburgh, further alienating this neighborhood from the rest of the city.

Other miscellany: TORI SPELLING IS STARTING A CRAFTING REALITY SHOW. yesssssssss. How do I get on this?! She’s faboo!

 

 

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Filed under crafts, generally awesome, off week, pittsburgh, sewing

baby mama drama.

It occurred to me recently that I’m at the age now where my friends are actually choosing to have children. Cute kids with expensive strollers and BabyGap clothes and adorable photos in sepia tone. But, you know, that doesn’t mean everyone has their shit together.

ANYWAY. This week’s craft was supposed to be finished two months ago, on or around the time that my nephew and his ex-girlfriend were having a baby. I’m happy to report that we’ve successfully removed ourselves from that situation as the baby proved not to be my nephew’s after all (thanks, science!).

Still, I had come to terms with the fact that I was probably going to be a great-aunt and thought I would do something cute for my great-nephew, Frankie. I bought a trio of coordinating Onesies with the intention of doing a little dinosaur appliqué on each.  Then, as it got closer to the date, I started dragging my feet. Was I really going to put my heart into this, take all this time and then give it to that trashy family where they wouldn’t actually care about my efforts? A derailing, craft-induced ego trip, I know, but still. I was angry about the frustrations these people were causing my family.

I almost gave the Onesies to Goodwill but I decided they were too cute. I’d find a baby to put them on! I finally got around to putting them together this weekend.

First, I found cute dinosaur images on the internet. I’d give credit but that information is on my home computer and I’m work-blogging. I traced them and made dinosaur stencils to work from. I cut out the images from felt using an Exacto knife and my self-healing mat.

As is the case with all crafty undertakings, there was a set-back during this process. That set-back being that I didn't think to check under my felt for stray dinosaurs or stencils and beheaded both the T. rex stencil and felt cut out while detailing that stegosaurus. Dammit.

I pinned the felt dinosaurs onto the Onesies and used the blanket stitch the whole way around the dinos.

Brain-pin.

And voila!

Look at his little french-knot eye! I've done my first french knots, I'm like a real craft-lady.

A trio!

Now, someone make a baby for me to clothe.

Seriously though, having kids? #WTF. No offense to all the parents out there, many (MANY!) of the parents I know are amazing people.  It’s just that I think this animal-like urge to produce another human clouds judgment so much so that people actually start to act against their own best interests, i.e: Snooki. That woman is genetically a couple strands away from being a cat in heat. She just writhed around and moaned and ruined shit until something impregnated her. If you watch the video from the link below, I’m pretty sure you can hear Snooki in the background yelling “Somebody fuck me or I’m pissing on everything!”

zoo-creatures.jhtml#id=1629734

So yeah.

Next week’s project will be wrapping up a knit project I’ve been working on for the last two weeks, which I will totally finish on the MegaBus on my way to visit Rae in Philadelphia! I need this trip. Hard.

 

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Filed under crafts, generally awesome, sewing

pinteresting.

Decided to take up a challenge posted by one of my favorite (and hopefully very soon, relevant) blogs: Young House Love. The young lady running that show and some of her friends decided that we should not just pin in vain, but craft again! That’s my new motto.

 

SO. I’m going to jump into the Pinterest challenge myself, by working on the Needlepoint Clutch that I’ve been a bit obsessed with since finding it on PurlBee. Click on the title for the tutorial.

Needlepoint Clutch, via Purlbee.com

This means that I need to figure out where all my needlepoint stuff is right now and probably make a trip out to JoAnn’s this weekend.I’m thinking of doing neutral with neon accents, as that seems to be the vogue. I love working with needlepoint btw, and haven’t really done a project since the altogether too-detailed Golden Girls picture. Too bad I never took any photos before I gave it away.

This also means that, while digging out my gear, I’ll probably do a little spring cleaning of my craft supplies. I might be giving away some of my extra crap, I’ll keep you all posted.

 

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Filed under crafts, inspiration

i have a dream(catcher).

“I have a dream that one day, down in Shadyside, with its conveniently located gay bars, with its rich kid college students who double park with no concern about paying the resulting parking tickets or the inconvenience they cause visitors — one day right there in Shadyside, a group of women will join crafting supplies, metaphorically syncing menstruation as crafting sisters. I have a dream today!”

This passage is often omitted from Dr. King’s famous speech, as it has absolutely no relevance to the Civil Rights Movement whatsoever and everyone likes the other parts better. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect he didn’t even write it. Whatever the case, I’m glad we were able to make that dream come true for him (or you know, whoever) this past Monday in honor of his birthday.

Our third craft night was a great success! Kait and Karen were fabulous hostesses, we ate so much delicious food. Baked ricotta, hot wings, salad, fruit and cheese, it was a huge spread. Jodi made some very chocolate chip cookie dip and Hilary trekked out in the rain after class to help rep PPT. We even had a new friend named Heather join us! Stephanie was supposed to come but somebody just had to get emergency back surgery a few days before… According to her, the pain meds made her “too tired” to hang out, I think she’d have made the best dream catcher of them all. It would be catching them as she was making it.

So it turned out that even though some of us have been to summer camp (not me, for sure) none of us actually knew how to make a dream catcher. We found a tutorial here and watched this video several times.

By “watched the video several times” I mean that we would turn it on, make jokes about the crappy music, try to watch it for another couple of seconds, notice something else funny about the video, decide we were ready for more snacks and totally forget what we were supposed to be doing. Then we’d all get stuck and repeat. Then someone new would arrive and we’d set up their supplies and then we’d watch it again. We probably saw the first 2.4 minutes of this thing 15 times total.

It's all fun and games until somebody starts the crafting.

Naturally, given my crafting talents and ambitious nature, I was finished first. It really turned out beautifully:

This is totally the dream catcher that I made, not the one that Jodi made. Cause look how nice it is, definitely mine and not Jodi's.

Poor Jodi’s dream catcher just wasn’t the best I’ve seen. She even used the wrong letters for her name! Chin up, buckaroo.

I know that not everyone can live up to the "Laura R. Greenawalt" standards of crafting, so more than anything, I feel bad for Jodi's failure, not angry at her.

Also, the red splotch on the right there indicates that this string is now a lady. (Or that red dye broke open in my craft box and otherwise there wasn’t enough string to go around.)

Hilary wanted to prove that she's not just good at being pretty but also at tying knots.

Kait's is stupidly perfect. Still needs the tassels, but it looks cool.

This is Heather. She has killed a boar with her bare hands. Somehow this is important training for archaeologists. Her dream catcher is nice, but seriously, a fucking boar.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of Karen’s dream catcher. I’ll have to update another time with that one.

Once we finished up our dream catchers, since we had all the supplies handy, we made a bunch of friendship bracelets. You know, cause we’re 13. We also froze Kait’s bra and stuck Hilary’s hand in warm water so she’d pee her pants. Good times.

I gave my friendship bracelet to Trent cause we're buds.

In life events, I find myself now two weeks into the new job. It’s totally fine. A bit boring, in fact. I have a lot of free time until we start performances. I plan on using it to make this space more personal, more interesting, more hilarious. (I could do an entire post about how utterly inappropriate our conversations are but I fear it would put our department at risk.  Rest assured all references to cats become immediately unrepeatable.) It’s my first weekend at home alone while Trent works and it’s actually a little lonely. I guess I’ll start being one of those people who goes to brunch with friends every weekend. First I have to get friends.

In the meantime, I’ve watched so many movies. I’m currently watching “A Piece of Work,” the Joan Rivers documentary. I’ve been pretty obsessed with her since the episode of Louie with the pity sex. If you aren’t watching Louie, you’re wrong. Check this clip for evidence.

All irreverence aside, this was the first time I’ve ever done something to commemorate MLK day and I’m glad I did. Thanks ladies!

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Filed under craft night!, crafts

getting felt up for the holidays.

So I’m enjoying one of the last days of my normal schedule and life. I start a whole new job on Monday (It pays more! I get to get an MBA for free! I no longer have to manage a million people!)  and it’s like a real job where I have to show up during the day time. What’s that about?

I woke  up and played Zelda for 3 hours, because I still can. Then I did very productive things, like returning lost keys and buying groceries and windshield wiper blades.

Anyway, now I’m at home, having a very home-y night, waiting to hear back about a home that we made an offer on, just in case it might be our new home soon. 2012 could be bonkers. I’m wearing a home-made cowl and drinking a white russian made with home-made coffee liqueur, both courtesy of my fantastic god parents. I’m going to spend the rest of my night finishing a home-made gift for my best friend, as I won’t get to see him for a couple more weeks and I didn’t have to struggle to get it done before Christmas.

Onto the felt. So, I’ve got this super crafty and fun friend named Kait. I can depend on her to indulge whatever bullshit crafty thing I want to do, so we’re trying to make a monthly-ish crafting night together. We carved pumpkins at Halloween and watched Gnomeo and Juliet. (F’real. Romeo and Juliet with gnomes.) For Christmas, we made our friends Jodi and Stephanie pretend that they liked doing crafts and everyone came to my place for fondue, spiked hot cocoa and to make felt ornaments. For January, we’re thinking about making Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream(catchers).”

I found this waaaayyyyyy cute tutorial and had to do it: Vintage Felt Baubles by Bugs and Fishes. If you think we’re going to make it another calendar year to next Christmas, I suggest starting these suckers now. I mean, if you’re anything like me, that is. I had to finally limit the number of people that were receiving them as gifts because I just couldn’t enough done.

I’m not going to lie. I put way more effort into throwing a fondue and craft party than I did the crafts themselves. When I went to Kait’s for pumpkins, she had gone the whole nine yards… hot apple cider, rich vegetarian chili with all the fixin’s, a platter laid out with various tools for carving the pumpkin. It was way nicer than anything I’d have done. So for my night to host, I had to put in a little extra effort.

First, I asked Kait if she had a fondue pot. Of course she did. 3-4 in fact. I settled on a seafood fondue recipe from this vintage Christmas craft book:

Christmas 1979: Jello, candied fruits and puffy-sleeved night gowns were IN.

I served it was crusty toasted bread and veggies. I totally forgot Kait has a gluten intolerance and panicked about 95% of the way through our feast:

Kait:

Something, something. Gluten.

Me:

Wait!!! THAT’S REAL BREAD!

Kait:

Yeah, I know.

Me:

I’m such an asshole.

Kait:

I didn’t eat it. 

Kait eventually made chocolate fondue, we were all enjoying boxed wine and whipped cream vodka and it was looking like crafting would be limited. At some point, we made the commitment to move from the kitchen to the craft supplies buffet:

Jodi requested a craft buffet. I did my best to oblige.

This is about the point where I realized that I shouldn’t drink and craft. Clear thread is like really, really clear and hard to see when your vision is blurry. Kait had it together and started making crazy cute stuff with no pattern. Kait is to crafting what our friend Hilary is to pretty: too fucking good at it. All in all though, everyone’s stuff came out totally great.

Aren't they cuuuuuuute?

Jodi’s little banana-eating monster was funny and Stephanie made a festive bauble bouquet with gold stitching (which reminded me that straying from a pattern is totally acceptable in the name of aesthetics). Also, did I mention that she had never sewn before? My drunk tutorial went something like this: “Well, you put the thread in the little eye and then… you sew… Like, put it through the fabric. Um… You just sew. I don’t know.”

The night ended pretty much when Jodi (the only one who doesn’t drink!) dumped a box of teeny tiny beads all over my floor and we were in hysterics. When Jodi comes over, we inevitably do something that I’m sure is going to piss Trent off. (See: the ring-in-my-couch incident.)

Besides the felt baubles, I’ve been kind of a felt nut. I made yards and yards of garland to give out as gifts as well. Mostly it’s going out to my two best friends, as we’ll probably all be in new living situations next year by the holidays and we can all have matching decorations! Felt is mad fun. I got the pattern for the garland here: The Purl Bee.

So here are all of my finished baubles, all four of them. I found one more while organizing some craft stuff last night and I’ll probably finish it and keep it for myself since I gave the others away.

Also, here’s my super cute home-made wrapping paper and all of my presents ready for their recipients.

Alright. We’re almost caught up with Christmas crafts now. I’ve got a pile of other projects ready to start this week, so I can finally move past the holiday stuff. Here’s to 2012!

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Filed under craft night!, crafts, sewing, vintage looks

it’s electra. (boogie-woogie-woogie)

Rainy Monday in Pittsburgh. It’s the perfect kind of day to sleep until 1, drink too much coffee, fret about life and do some crafts. I even wore my “craft lady outfit” as Trent described it.

Yes, that is a Pittsburgh Public Theater denim shirt, you're not dreaming.

It’s teetering on a fine line between “Michael’s Craft Store Glam” and “Mad About You Casual”

I like to think it's leaning on the side of 'Mad About You' casual, only because I didn't have a clean turtleneck and time to trim my mullet.

So the vinyl bags are getting a bit out of hand. I always have pending orders for them it seems and, while I love making stuff, they are taking up a lot of time. The awesome thing is once I get paid for some bags sold on consignment, I’ll be well on my way to purchasing a new (probably used) industrial machine.  I’ve actually been approached by another local non-profit about manufacturing the bags for them as well, so it’ll be good to get something more appropriate and give my current machines a chance to relax. An industrial (or at least commercial grade) machine should help me get through them a little more quickly as I won’t be fighting the machine so frequently.

Anyway, this week has actually been about a couple of different crafts but I’ve started on Christmas presents that I can’t talk about on here . You know, as my followers are pretty much just my close friends and family, there’s a good chance that you, dear reader, are getting some crappy thing I spent too much time on and I don’t want to give away the surprise too early! I’ve also started the process of fixing up an old Finesse sewing machine from the 70s, but I can’t do much else until I learn how to fix the tension. The one craft I can tell you about is another vinyl bag in a new style:

Finished Electra envelope clutch

Back of the clutch.

This bag was made on commission for another actress from our recent production of Sophocles’ Electra. Now in addition to the wristlet and tote bags I had been making, I have a pattern (modified from this pattern) for an envelope style clutch that I absolutely adore. Honestly, I was feeling pretty guilty about not giving this actress one of the totes that I made, as they had already been requested and paid for by other folks, so I was thrilled that this turned out so well and I can get it in the mail to her soon.

In addition to all my crafts and projects this week, and events at work almost every day, I got my very first dental crown on Thursday. This does not, as I previously thought, make me in any way royalty, though at the moment I have a temporary crown while my permanent is being crafted in porcelain. Fancy shit. Anyway, I drained my savings for one fake tooth and it currently looks like it has Down syndrome. I hope the fancy permanent one I’m getting in two weeks will be based vaguely on what my tooth actually looked like. In the mean time, this thing kind of hurts. Lame.

With Thanksgiving on Thursday and the release of the new Zelda game (it’ll arrive tomorrow!), I’m probably not going to get any crafts done in the coming week.  It’s a hard choice between crafts and video games, but I know what I must do.

I hope you all (those that I don’t get to see, at least) have a great Thanksgiving. If you don’t, you let me know, we’ll fix it.

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Filed under crafts, sewing, upcycled, vintage looks

success in the clutch.

This week was one of my favorite projects so far in my 10 weeks (holy crap!) of weekly crafting. I think it comes in second to the pattern chop: top post. Turns out, I really like sewing a lot. I should do more of it. Admittedly, I’ve actually been done with this project since Sunday night and haven’t written about it yet. I was totally tuckered out on Sunday, so I went to bed after I finished. Yesterday, however, my good friend Colleen took me on a whirlwind trip to the Fairmont Hotel for…Wait for it…

A goddamn champagne tasting. It was baller. I drank this and this and endured being talked at by the sales guys. Truly a small price to pay for free champagne for two hours in the early evening. The night quickly escalated and the next thing you know, I’m in a bar eating fried raviolis shortly before falling asleep on the couch.

So for this weeks project, I started with a bag of scraps from PPT’s costume and clothing sale last month. I really tried to avoid bringing home more fabric and craft stuff I don’t have a plan for, but I couldn’t stop myself when I found a couple of awesome scraps. Out of this bag, there were two scraps that I really fell in love with: a hunk of thick, yellow corduroy and a long, narrow piece of patterned silk with pinks and golds and yellows. I didn’t know what to do with them just yet, but the juxtaposition of the two was great.

Then I spotted, on the cover of Making Vintage Accessories, this adorable envelope-style clutch. This was perfect. I had, a few days prior, nearly purchased a pattern for an envelope clutch, ultimately deciding that I didn’t want to pay for it. It was there in this book, I just had to enlarge the pages! So anyway, yadda yadda yadda, I made a purse. Here’s photographic evidence:

Do you know how hard it is to enlarge things using a photocopier? I'll tell you. Hard.

 

All the pieces cut out.

Shit. It's very obvious on the screen that the front isn't perfectly symmetrical. I didn't notice this until now. It's too late to fix it but it's going to drive me crazy.

I painstakingly made that little fringey band by carefully cutting it out and pulling a certain number of vertical threads. I'm proud, it's a good touch.

Anyway, that’s my craft for this week. I think next week will be the start of my Christmas crafts, presents or whatnot. I’m trying to get real serious about Christmas this year. The tree, dinners, planned and thoughtful presents that I bought more than a few days before the holiday. You know, the whole nine yards.

Oh, the week after that, I might have to take a “sick week” cause I pre-ordered the new Zelda game for the Wii and it’s bundled with a gold Wiimote and I’m thrilled. Look at this. Listen to its songs. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under crafts, sewing, upcycled, vintage looks

knit or treat.

Halloween, a holiday that seemingly closes the window of fall comfort and opens the gaping barn door of winter and it’s never-ending holidays, has never been one of my favorite times of year. Trick-or-treating in my town sucked. My costumes sucked. It snowed (like a lot!) the one year that I really got dressed up and went to a bigger town for trick-or-treating. I gave up on that holiday at a pretty young age.

Then I got to college and was introduced to college Halloween. Slutty costumes? Movie characters that weren’t animated? Doing more than gathering skirts, scarves and bangly jewelry into a new iteration of a gypsy woman/witch? (regular gypsy, dead gypsy, regular witch, dead witch got me through at least 4 years). Then we don’t even trick-or-treat, we just drink? That last part was pretty much the only part that I could get my head around. I didn’t know people liked it so much. Anyway, adult Halloween was a whole different ball game that I still had no idea how to play.  Freshman year I had braces, so everything about my life was weird anyway. I just went to a John Mayer concert with a top hat on or something. Sophomore year, I opted out entirely, indulging in maybe one terrible PSU area haunted house. Junior year, my boyfriend at the time was all about Halloween and having corresponding costumes, so I went all out and made him a Han Solo costume while I went as Princess Leia. Although, I totally forgot about the sexy thing and went as this Leia by accident and not the slave one:

I mean, I made it, I didn't buy this crappy one. But still... I cringe thinking about the awesomeness of a home made slave Leia costume and how I failed.

Then the same ex-boyfriend refused to go as Peter Pan the following year so I could be a sexy Tinkerbell. As I mentioned in my previous post, he ended up going as Tinkerbell and I looked like this:

Seriously, the girl on the left isn't even anything in particular, she's just wearing leopard print. Why didn't I think of that?

I was Peter Pan. Decidedly not sexy. Then I did some terrible old Power Rangers costumes, then I skipped it for a few more years. Then I hit a new low and went as… (it’s only funny if you know the suburbs of Pittsburgh) Upper Saint Clair — I wore a halo and a wrap on top —  and Trent was Lower Burrel(lap) — he wore a regular shirt with burlap wrapped around his legs. After all these terrible experiences, I was finally ready to say I was done half-assing it and give up on Halloween altogether.

Then Trent wanted to have funny costumes this year. I told him to think of them and I would do whatever. Then he didn’t think of anything. I felt like a bad girlfriend, since he’s said how much he loves Halloween and costumes and all that, so I tried to encourage him to think of something. We had a brainstorming session. Nothing. Everything was either a) impossible or b) not very good. After a couple of these discussions, we hit upon the fact that there’s craft shit strewn all over the apartment and thus, a Halloween costume was born.

I would be a sexy ball of yarn and Trent would go as Knit of the Living Dead. 

Pretty good right? I love yarn, Trent loves puns. I’m not going to bore you with all the details. It’s not that great of a project. I’ll just show you the final product:

Trent’s wearing numerous knit pieces refashioned into some kind of knit zombie. He was pretty pumped about the latex stuff for his face and his head wounds oozing yarn. That and his scary-ass knitting needle claws. They made me uncomfortable.

On me, I knit the headband at work one night, it’s pretty sweet and will see further use. The top is just a sweater sewn onto an old bra. The ball-of-yarn skirt is also pretty cool, but we couldn’t get a good shot of it, sorry for the shaking:

So that was pretty much it. We went to a roller skating party called Down and Derby and had some drinks with our friends, but we didn’t skate at all cause Trent’s hands were dangerous.

Anwyay, this year I got into the Halloween spirit full tilt. All in the week leading up to Halloween, I watched Beatlejuice and Hocus Pocus, made our costumes, went to Scarehouse (which was awesome), drank spiked cider and carved this pumpkin in the likeness of my boss, Ted Pappas:

It's not bad, but it's not good either. The stencil is far more accurate.

So that’s all for my Halloween spirit 2011. It was a good year for festivities. This week, I’m getting busy and making some pants. Or maybe getting a jump on Christmas presents. I should pick, like, tonight.

Oh, and one more thing. Thanks to my girl Emily over at Dinner Is Served! I went down a dark Courtney Stodden rabbit hole again today. For Halloween, she and her creepy 50 something husband BOTH WENT AS HER. Only, to make matters worse, SHE WENT AS A “CHILD” VERSION OF HER 17 YEAR OLD SELF, according to her completely bizarre alliterative twitter feed.

Girl knows how to hold a lollypop.

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Filed under crafts, knit, sewing

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.

GARRETT RHODES

"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:

 NIC BRUNGO

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

RAE DREW

"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."

ZACH MOORE

"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.

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a day late and um… well… i made logo tags.

So I’m officially running behind schedule. I think I can catch up from this, though. It was the first week of performances at the theater and was all too easy to spend my evenings drinking and not crafting. While in the past I’ve tried to do both at the same time, it’s never gone smoothly. This week the socializing took preference and I think that’s ok.

Anyway, since this isn’t much of a fun post, I’m going to just overload you with photos. If you get the whole way to the bottom, there’s a special video treat!

This week’s craft was making logo tags to go on my vinyl tote bags and clutches. They’re for sale right now at the Pittsburgh Public Theater gift shop ($15 of every bag goes to the theater)!

Oh look, it's Socs. Everyone's favorite 20 pound lap cat.

 

Those little letters eventually make your brain and fingertips ache.

 

 

This is the smaller model of cat that we own.

So all the above photos and work was done on the first night, Thursday. I thought I had this all under control. Then the weekend happened and yesterday I had to go to my parents’ house for weird, important family discussions. Then I didn’t make it back to the city until 1 am and was totally beat so I had to decompress and finish this deal today. But not until after I slept for 10 hours, did an hour of “Yoga for Your Health (Depression)” that I found on Netflix and watched some Ancient Aliens. Netflix thinks I’m absolutely bonkers, by the way.

I made a logo stamp out of some foam sheets, cut out and glued to the back of a partially full Altoids tin. I say partially full and not almost empty on account of the yoga Zoloft.

Care instructions. It just makes it feel more official.

The final product, with my logo as designed by Trent!

I really like how they turned out. I had a few bad ones in the bunch, mis-stamps and such, but I made 50 of them so it didn’t make much of a difference. These were easy and shouldn’t have taken me days to finish, but ah well, there’s always next week. Which I’m already in. Shit.

ANYWAY. Here’s that ridiculous reward I promised you. See if you can identify the point in the video where her coke drip hits the back of her tongue. Also, she’s only 16 years old but looks 30. That’s a damn shame.

I know this is unrelated to crafting, but this story was too crazy to ignore. Don’t put it on her. F’reals.

Coming up later this week, I’m making bleached out t-shirts with awesome designs. I hope. We’ll see how it goes and how much clothing I manage to ruin.

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