Star and Stars

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with stars. I have a neglected Pinterest board of star projects. (I have an absolute love-dislike-hate relationship with Pinterest. A post for another day). It all started with this star hair clip from the Fall 2012 Rodarte Fashion show. Beautiful, that hair clip was. I haven’t gotten around to making one but there have been a ton of DIY’s about it. In addition to wanting to make that star clip, I have two boxes full of star Christmas ornaments. I have tons of star stickers and strands of festive star garlands. I have some acrylic star buttons and a star cookie cutter for the cookies my son refuses to eat. And a set of star sheets for our bed, as well as some cheap-o star lights I bought on clearance at Ikea. I think I have some star stamps, too. What can I say, my eyes are full of stars. (Wait, is that a quote?  Can I make a poster of that?)

Anywho, the star clip got me to thinking about a quote I saw on a greeting card. It said, “We are made of stars. -Hungarian proverb”

  1. First off, I thought I bought it to save and display. Can’t find it anywhere.
  2. If you try to Google, “we are made of stars”, two things come up. That song by Moby and a quote from Carl Sagan. Not quite what I was looking for.
  3. No way, shape or form was that Hungarian. I tried all sorts of variations and nothing even remotely matched.

I’ve been looking for the source of that damn card for years now off and on, whenever I’m bored and I remember to look. Finally, last month or so, I found it! It’s actually part of a longer Serbian proverb. It’s actually a lovely sentiment.

Here’s the poster I did with the proverb:

Click photo. Right click to save or drag to desktop. Use and enjoy.

I tried to use a stock photo from NASA’s public domain of their universe photos but I couldn’t get the visuals and text to work in a way that I liked. This is not quite what I had in mind but it comes close. I might redo it in the future, haven’t decided yet. I still like it though.

Please use and enjoy! Have a spectacular weekend!



French Motivation

Continuing with my word posters…My mom worked at a bank when I was growing up. They were throwing out a bunch of those corporate motivation posters. Ick. My mother brought some of them home so that we could decorate our rooms and I choose one with this desolate-looking tree. I mean, it looked like it was straight from a nuclear blast site.  I can still see it in my mind, all barren except for the sad tree. Above the tree was this quote,

* “In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” 

Now, I was only like eleven or twelve, and I had no flipping clue what that could mean. I had so many stupid questions about that poster that kept me up at night: Was it saying that summer was gonna be awesome, that I was gonna be awesome, that I was only gonna be awesome in the summer? What does invincible mean? Why is the tree dead? Why do I have a dead tree on a poster on my wall? And who is this Albert Cay-mus person? And so on, and so on. I stared at the poster for years and now I intensely regret that I threw it out for whatever boy band poster I replaced it with. (See, I can’t even remember what boy band! Oh, the folly of youth.)

Fast forward to a few years ago when I read The Stranger and a bunch of other essays from Albert Camus for a French literature class. That quote is staring at me in French! All those memories came flooding back. Suddenly, that quote isn’t so foreign anymore. It’s quite profound. I’ve used that quote as an email signature for years now and every time I see it reminds me of so much hopefulness that is within us and within the world.

When I made this poster, I initially wanted to recreate that poster from my childhood but the image that came to mind was more, well, it was more the lack thereof of images. I kept seeing the words on a colored background. Not too much work to make this but feel free to download it and be inspired.

Click photo. Then right click and save or drag to desktop. Use and enjoy.


*  (P.S. Holy shit! You’ve got to love the internet! I found a picture of the poster! I had to re-edit bits of this post because of the discovery. It wasn’t quite as I remembered.)

Words and more

Since starting my new job, I’ve had the opportunity to use the latest version of InDesign and Photoshop and it brought to mind some ideas that I’ve been mulling over. One of them involves something that The Boy said that made me teary-eyed. I’m not gonna share that with you until I perfect it. If I can pull this one off, I want to have it printed as a poster. But the other projects, I don’t mind sharing. They involve taking words and phrases or pictures and turning them into posters.

As you can tell, word phrase posters are all the rage right now. Everybody and their cat have done a take on the “Keep Calm” posters. I don’t necessarily want to create that exact poster with my own witticism but I am drawn to those posters. I think it all goes back to being in a bookstore in Switzerland ten years ago.  I bought something, not sure what, but the bag that they put my purchase in was a this tiny, little plastic bag, with about thirty, forty French verbs, arranged in a mute colored, justified rectangle. Some words were green, some red, some yellow. All the verbs were emotional, like, to love (aimer), to read (lire), to enjoy (s’amuser), to dream (rêver), etc. I loved the look of that bag!! I kept it for many years until it was lost in a move. I’ve put together many advertising pieces for work based on that bag. Now it’s time to make something for me.

Here’s the first one.

Click photo, then right click to save or drag to desktop. Use and enjoy.

I wanted to share some photos of our trip to Cannon Beach but quite frankly only a few came out as anything you’d want to look at. Like this one above. I ran across this word and after looking up the definition, I kept thinking about the ocean. The waves, the calm and peacefulness, how you can be on a crowded beach and the only noise you hear is the waves. (Have I mentioned how much I love the ocean?). I had already made this poster using a stock photo of water that I found in Word but when I saw that my own picture of the ocean looked better, I went with that instead.

Anyway, I hope you like it. And if you like, you’re more than welcome to download it to use it as a desktop photo. This is my first time putting up something that (I hope) can be downloaded.  I’ll be testing this, but please let me know if it came out alright or if you have other suggestions. I’m gonna go ahead and put up the other two that I have.


Orange Painted Shoes

Back to the painted shoes….

Sorry, I took this picture in low light.

I had another pair of shoes I bought at the Goodwill. Old Navy shoes, brand new and soft grey, covered in yellow dots. I wasn’t fond of the ankle straps but that was a minor issue. I wore them once and surprisingly, well to me, they just didn’t work. They just weren’t flattering.

I decided that they must be painted. Since  the shoes were not leather maybe canvas? synthetic?, I needed something to cover the yellow dots that shone thru the area that I test painted. I used gesso, the painter’s primer. I covered both shoes with the gesso, waited a full week (man, I’m lazy!) and then painted the shoe a vermilion red/orange color. I thought I sealed it with the matte version of Mod Podge. I thought.  The surface looks great but I’m a hard heel striker when I walk. The color around the heel has started to chip. I plan on redoing it with another few coats.

So much better looking!

I have some other shoe projects that I’ll be posting soon. Have a splendid weekend!

Red Painted Shoes

Why am I obsessed with painting my shoes? It’s like I see a pair of shoes and then will decide that I don’t like the color and then I’ll have to tweak them.

It all started with a pair of shoes from Target. Little ballet flats, so cheap that they looked completely worn down after one wearing. I bought three pairs before knowing that they were such poor quality. One of the pair was supposed to be a really nice shade of grey. They turned out to be so shiny and patent leather-like that I couldn’t conceive of wearing them in that state. I painted them black, using the paint I had on hand: 3-D paint by tulip and some shitty acrylic craft paint. It worked out some sort of way because the 3-D paint gave the craft paint a nice gloss while dulling the patent leather look and the craft paint made the the 3-D paint last longer and it helped extend the  life of the shoes. The surface hardly showed any wear and tear. I only tossed them when I  finally wore the soles down to nothing. They still looked good.

Since then, I’ve painted other shoes. Red, blue, black, orange (how I did the orange ones, coming soon) and I came close to falling into the glitter shoe fad but I abstained.

Aren’t we so cute and perfect?

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when we were in a Gap’s outlet store. I see the perfect pair of high heeled espadrille sandals on a mannequin. Even though they were a lot higher than I normally wear (I normally never wear anything with a raised heel. Flats forever, yo!), I looked all over the whole store for them. I wanted them bad and I couldn’t find a single pair like the one on display. Resigned, I went to the register to pay out and the salesperson asked if I found everything ok. I said no, I wanted the mannequin’s shoes and didn’t see a pair. To make a long story short, the pair on the mannequin were the last in the store and they were my size and they sold them to me for only 11 bucks! Hells yeah!

The only thing…they were white. Now listen, I’m not saying everyone with big feet looks ridiculous wearing white shoes but I’m saying that I look ridiculous wearing white shoes. I’m short with big feet. I look like an escapee from Ringling Bros when I wear white shoes and/or sneakers. Just stick a red nose on me and call it a day.

Wear us and ye shall suffer! Suffer!

So the white shoes…I decided to paint them red with a bottle of fabric paint. Turned out so cute! I boldly wore them to work. For nine hours. All day I felt so tall and pretty! I could look above my cubicle wall without trying! It was so great. And then for the next five days, my back hurt so much I could barely sit, lie down or bend at the waist. They’re like torture shoes. But at least I looked cute, right!

Jewelry making is hard

Lord, lord, lord I don’t know why I thought working with copper was going to be not as hard as I thought. Now, I’m not saying I thought it was easy. Quite the contrary. I knew it was gonna be hard, just not this hard.

So I got it in my head I was gonna make this really cool necklace. Y’all saw the post I did for it right? Let’s just say it looked nothing like what I wanted. So then I took some smaller gauged wire and tried to make a ring, something similar to this: While it looked okay for someone playing around, it still looked terrible. No where near as cute as the rings that I saw. Getting the copper to bend in the way that I want it and then cutting the wire and crimping it while using my giant man hands is just something I was not made to do.

Second attempt: I then took some wire and wrapped it around a bottle stopper because it was the closest to my ring size and I don’t have a ring mandrel.  I’m not a serious jewelry maker. I don’t want to invest good money on something like a ring mandrel that I’m only gonna use once in a while.Working with what I got.

I curled the ends into a little spiral to close out the ends and to make it cute. I’ve worn it a few times and I kind of like it. If this works out, everyone in my immediate family is getting copper jewelry for Christmas.

Feminism and the Craft

I ran across this article this morning and it really made me consider the reasons I do crafty things. I’ve always been fascinated by art and art-like things. I remember as a kid, sewing my own Barbie clothes and molding candle wax into tiny sculptures (horribly ugly). In my teens and twenties, I had more time but less interest. Now that I am older, I have more of an interest in doing crafty things but less time. It’s such a vicious circle.

When we moved to Portland, I worked with this horrible woman. I can’t remember the name that we called her behind her back, but I think it was something similar to She-beast. She was loud, abrasive, rude, racist and homophobic. She was utterly unapologetic about her attitude because she was from New York City. She was a New Yorker! That’s how it’s done in New York! That’s how we act in New York!  (Yeah, I’m sure every New Yorker loves to be represented by a walking stereotype like her.)

But another woman in the office had a birthday and as a token of appreciation for her coming out to train me, I knitted up a little scarf for her in her favorite color. It was a simple lace scarf that took me a couple of hours.  Nothing major. She-beast takes one look at the scarf and condescendingly and dripping with disdain says, “How very domestic of you. Aren’t you the perfect little wifey!” It offended her sensibility that I would dare knit something for someone. I was a traitor to modern women for daring to do something that she consider old-fashioned and it was a strike to the plight of feminism. Why I didn’t punch her in the face is beyond me but it really gnawed at me.  Over the coming weeks, she told me how you can’t be a good employee or have a career if you have children, that women make the worst bosses, yadda cubed. And that was the least offensive stuff she said. Again, why I didn’t punch this woman or take it as a premonition that this job would suck…

Anywho, where was I going with the story…Yeah, that article. It’s a fascinating read. I thought about that horrible woman and my own motives for crafting. Is the current DIY movement/culture due to a lack of fulfillment of career or because of the desire to reclaim traditional engendered role in the household due to nostalgia of a past that we didn’t live because life seemed so simple? For me, it is a creative outlet. I see something and I have to make it. I don’t like to make things just because I can or things that don’t serve a purpose. And I try to take on creative projects that I can actually finish–Husband, please ignore the bags of fabric and unspun wool, the loom in the basement, the spinning wheel in the crawlspace and the other crafty crap I have that gotten around to messing with. I’m getting there!

I don’t see my arts and crafts as an escape to domesticity or a slight to feminism. Yes, there is always a desire to make shit and sell it in an Etsy shop but I tend to err on the side realism. It’s extremely hard to make a living off of handmade goods and I don’t want to turn the things I love doing in my spare time into a soul-sucking career that may or may not be sustainable. And before you say, “it doesn’t have to be that way!” Trust me, I know myself. I get bored doing the same thing for an extended amount of time. So for now, I’ll keep having fun and blogging about janky crafts. But read the article, it’s a very interesting read!