First day I have to myself, and I clean my cabinets, then scarf.

I love summer and I am lucky to be able to be around when my kids are off,  but by mid August…  Anyone that stays at home with their children and attempts to have any semblance of a career can relate that it starts to suck.  In addition to my home duties I am starting a non-profit and I actually have things to do that require total concentration.  Apparently this idea is a bit too abstract for my spawn. I get a lot of “oh ya, that… ” from The Teenager whereas  The Associate simply wants to know if I am the boss.  When I answer “yes?” she wants to know if I can fire people.  Besides bringing the The Donald to mind and sending a nasty shiver down my spine I try to explain the concept of collaboration, and she quickly loses interest. *Sigh*

Purgatory is over and school is back in session. I can answer all my emails, complete those important phone calls, write a blog and get back to business.

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The Associate on her first day of 3rd Grade.

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This is the only image I was allowed to take of The Teenager.

As I poured myself a second cup of coffee in my blissfully empty home a cabinet door crashed to the ground.  By the time I rounded up a new hinge, screws, drill bit and successfully charged up the drill, I had gone crazy cleaning out my cupboards in the mudroom and kitchen.  I forced myself to finish the chore I unwittingly started and attempted not to lament my dream of a peaceful morning.

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However! I did find something to play with while digging through the mudroom.  Even though it is too hot outside yet to wear scarves I don’t let myself hesitate.  I have had this idea for a couple years and every year I end up stuffing them back into a bin because I miss the boat.  I guess it can be argued that I have little control over my day, even when no smaller people are bugging me.

Momentarily I am distracted by the most wonderful package EVER!!!

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Seriously does this woman know me or what??? *Thanks Julia!*

The project is simple.  I have somehow accumulated 9 plaid scarves from various thrift shop adventures.  They are all different and all too short.

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After washing them and matching them up  I debate sewing them with a machine.  I give this a shot but feel like it looks lame.  I am trying to create lush and vibrant neck wear and the small stitching looks silly.  I trim off that mistake and decide try my absolutely favorite glue in the entire world!

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Some off the scarves are wider than others, but I really like the way the patterns and colors hang together.  I use the trim from the middle scarf to cover the overlap, and let dry.  The bond is very secure and in my past experience will hold up in the wash.  I discard ideas of decorative stitching in contrasting colors (mostly because I am terrible at it.)

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I then attempt to take pictures of my creations, but recall my model just started 10th grade.   This is the best I could do after discovering them in pile on her floor still un-selfied.

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Now I will put them away until the temperature goes down.  Maybe I’ll go answer some emails, answer phone calls. Oh wait, The Associate is home sick.

 

 

 

jewelry converts #7,8,9 (ongoing DIY series)

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Life is pretty busy.  I am working on a huge project called ARTFUL and my days quickly get filled up with meetings and such.  In an effort to stay creative without the benefit of time I am continuing this series.  These are meant to inspire you to fix something instead of throw it away and to develop your eye for finding the parts, among the trash.

So first we add some items to our arsenal.  I love this glue, it works on most surfaces and is durable and flexible.  It is expensive so make sure you close it up tight and you use a coupon.  The second item, ring blanks can be found at many craft stores and come in several finishes.  The last item (not pictured) is a soft toothbrush,  which comes in handy when gentle cleaning of caked on ick is necessary.

#7 I have been looking for a good case for my round business cards forever, and I finally found it. It was right under my nose in a box in my studio, but timing is everything.   All this project needed was a good cleaning with that toothbrush and some dish soap, and we were all good.

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Perfect fit.

#8 This next project I have been meaning to do for a while.  The original concept is so great that all I needed to do was clean it out (toothbrush again), refill with shea butter and add a chain. It still smells like the original lipstick, but oh well.

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I am waiting to see if the shea butter melts in the heat before I fill it all the way up.

#9 This pretty pin was in a bag of stuff a friend gave me to play with.  it was broken, so I decided to turn it into a ring.  Using my pliers I carefully removed the other half of the broken latch and simply glued it on the ring blank.

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It is still drying, but I plan to wear it asap.

now back to life, have fun!

 

 

Jewelry Converts #3,4,5 (ongoing diy)

While flipping my closet out for summer attire I realized that my wardrobe has lost its flavor.  I used to be prone to outrageous combos, and was a real fan of double-knit.  Maybe now that I am “older” I am shying away from my more whimsical ensembles, and the last thing feel like doing is shopping for new clothes. They are expensive and made to fade these days,  so I’ll tone it down a bit but that means it is time to accessorize!   This was the first bunch I encountered when I closed my eyes and dunked my hand into the FREE miscellaneous bin in the church basement.

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After thoroughly cleaning off the layer of caked on 80’s foundation, they didn’t look half bad.  Using wire cutters I snipped the metal holding the posts to the drop, It is that rigid, close to the ear thing that makes them really look bad.

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then I simply slipped on regular earring wires.  (When apple comes up with a phone that makes me look gorgeous in selfies, I’ll take a pic.)

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the final pair was pretty chunky and ugly but I wouldn’t give up. So I clipped them onto my high heels for a dash of 80’s glam.

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The most important thing is to have fun and try to find little morsels of coolness. Unless you want to look like everybody else 🙂

 

jewelry converts #1 and #2 (ongoing DIY)

There are many cool earrings out there in the wild masquerading as clip-ons.  I have tried to wear them but, no thanks, it is less painful to change them quickly and cheaply.  I own an abundance of tools, but if you can’t make it over to my house to use them you should probably stock up on a few.

First of all don’t go anywhere near a craft store until you have a coupon from the paper, mail or online, if you forget yours you can google and it can be scanned right from your smart phone.  You can also get your pliers from a hardware store, but the prices are pretty similar when you use a coupon.

We won’t use all in each project, but I will add the most useful as I think of them

1. Round Pliers (I am sure there is a more technical name but it is escaping me at the moment) are good for making rings and curving metal wire.

2. Standard pliers (these come in all shapes, colors and sizes, just make sure they feel good in your hand)

3. Wire cutters (mine double as standard pliers so they are multipurpose, you can get snub nose cutters and two pairs of pliers,  whatever your preference you will most likely need two pairs of pliers at your disposal for proper jump ring action)

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4. Assortment of headpins

5. Assortment of jump rings (I like to have lots of colors and shapes around)

6. Ear wires  (These are the basic ugly ones that I adapt, or you can purchase prettier ones at the store or make your own if you are really ambitious)

 

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7. You must have interesting tidbits that you have found.  There are a ton of cool components at thrift stores, garage sales, or your mom’s dresser.  Try not to think about it as a whole but as pieces that can be broken up, and be sure to inspect them carefully and make sure the cool parts aren’t broken or chipped.

#1 These earrings would be discarded because they are clip-ons. NO!  Simply remove the clip-ons with your pliers and replace with regular ear wires. I takes mere minutes to bring these beauties back in style.

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#2 requires little skill but a few more supplies.

When I am out and about, well not anymore because I have enough for a lifetime. I buy necklaces that have a lot of bang for the buck.  They have a lot of dangly things or a lot of chain that can be reused. Like this one.

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Ugly to the untrained eye, but very useful to me.  Just one section released from what looks like Skeletor’s head makes a lovely pair of earrings, with a few additional goodies.

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After freeing these cute diamonds, I simply wrapped the chain around once and toggled it on the jump ring.

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These are my new favorites.  Light and long with an unexpected black accent.

Don’t forget to find a toolbox and some containers to keep your new crap organized.

Hey! Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

three generations of awesome.

I have mentioned her before, my friend’s 90 year young grandmother, Lois and the publication of her first novel.

https://electricbelle.com/2013/11/23/i-only-hope-i-…e-when-i-am-90/

Lois Jeavons, also has a wonderful daughter, Judy who happened to give birth to one of my favorite people, Brady.  Brady did a write up for our community paper about her grandma’s book, and another friend Hillary came up with the brilliant idea of framing them for all three generations.

This is a very easy project and subject to many variations depending on what you have laying about.

Materials:

1. frame (s) plain shadow box

2. acid free glue stick and plain white glue (I used Elmers)

3. Xacto knife

4. scraps of foam board

5. full size pieces of contrasting colors of paper (look to bring out colors in the article picture)

6. several copies of the article in case of mistakes

I chose this small frame from Micheals craft store for several reasons. They came in a pack of three and I needed three, the price was reasonable, and it was small.  I didn’t want to create something large that would take up a lot of room, but small enough to be hung discreetly and still look nice.  Look around carefully because there are many options that are clearly marketed for other purposes then yours, but will work for you.

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1. cut out all parts of the article carefully with Xacto knife (newspaper tears easily) Including name of publication on front page.

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2. play around with the pieces to get a composition that reads well and is balanced.

3. when you are satisfied, glue each piece onto a colored strip of paper that is at least 1/4 inch larger.  I used the glue stick for this because it doesn’t buckle the thin paper (balance out the color so that it is spread throughout the collage.)

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Each piece is now outlined in color and you need to decide what parts you want to pop. In this case I chose the title of the article and the picture.

4. cut thin strips and or chunks of foam core and glue to the back side of your pop pieces (glue stick). You don’t want to see the foam, so you only need a slice.  place something on top of them to make sure they dry flat and let dry. I just happened to have a paint by number horse on my table so I used it.

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5. when you are dried and ready, carefully arrange your collage and glue down everything. I used the white glue for the foam core to base, and glue stick for everything else.

6. Once everything is glued on let completely dry and insert into frame.

TaDA

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dollars to donuts.

The race to consume commences. I make a conscious effort during capitalist crunch time to spend our money on gifts made locally or handmade anywhere. The husband’s gadget fix must be met, and China is most likely involved but you can’t win them all.

I force The Teenager and The Associate into the car in an effort to teach by example and hopefully allow them to knock out their lists.  The Teenager keeps mumbling about donuts, and The Associate piles on.

The Cleveland Flea has been happening here for over a year now and has quickly become a go to event.  I love venturing into unassuming and unappreciated Cleveland neighborhoods to see what local dish there is to eat, although 9 out of 10 times I inhale homemade pierogies.

The Teenager got her wish sooner than we had hoped as we popped a tire at 79th and Carnegie. We had many offers from friendly folks and our neighbor Angelo even happened by, but The Husband came to our rescue and put on a spare tire or as we call them “donut”.  She however did not find this amusing as I laughed somewhat manically at my own wit. Crabbypants.

Not to be detoured we continued on, per usual the Flea is efficiently run and jam-packed. We are slightly overwhelmed and The Associate is not cooperating at all!!!! We lost The Teenager only to find her outside at The Donut Lab with a smile on her face. Finally.

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All in all it was a slow start, next up Cleveland Bazaar, Terra Vista, Zygote press and Art Craft, and most definitely more donuts (hopefully the yummy kind.)

 

micro studio makeover.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, I am almost 42 years old and I am finally at peace with my brain funktion (no spell check that is spelled correctly)  It is time to work this out, and the first place is my studio, the smallest room in the house, and now it will be mine! (maniacal laugh)

It is really difficult to redecorate a room when there is a bunch of stuff that has nowhere else to go in it while you are redoing it.  I deftly moved everything into the middle and patched a million holes, primed and did some seriously acrobatic painting while simultaneously painting all of the furniture the same color in the same room.

It is also really difficult to organize a tiny room around a brain that funktions in spurts and sputters, highs and lows, and is always in creative problem solving mode.  Needless to say I have focus issues so I tried to create organized areas for specific purpose.

Here is the before.

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chaotic and haphazard and now that I think about it, hazardous to my safety and to my mental stability.

I moved my desk and arranged my magnetic trays above so that I could organize my thoughts in a visual way.  Each tray will represent a project I am working out in my head or a page of my website.  Please excuse The Associate she was enjoying her last moments of being allowed in my room.

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To the right of my desk on my beautifully refreshed garbage picked bookcase I have all of my businessy housey stuff. I put them as far away as I could from the fun areas because nothing can kill a creative buzz like PTA newsletters and bills.

One of the thought morsels banging around my head all the time is how to re-purpose stuff that nobody wants.  Like these oven trays from the GW that I spent a whole dollar on. I soaked, scrubbed and then hung them on the wall to keep my jewelry sorted by what needs to be photographed, and what is up for sale.

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wow these pictures are bad, sorry.

The next area I needed to resolve is my collage wall/ scrap booking table.  I no longer wanted to pierce the images that I was working with and splurged on three 2′ by 2′ metals sheets,  once again destroying my meticulous patch job with holes big enough for metal toggle bolts. I organized all of my scrap booking supplies and subsequent paper in the file cabinet and boxes below so they are easy to access.

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As far as the large work table is concerned I oriented it differently so I could work on three sides and still easily reach all of the supplies on the shelves above.  I kept all containers the same so my eyes do not jump all over the room when I enter which will likely make me turn right around and leave.

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I made new curtains with fabric that makes me happy to replace the ugly ones that were there 12 years ago when we moved in, and hung my currently favorite works on the wall to inspire me.

The cuporama I made a while back is still doing a good job of  keeping small things I use often in sight, providing a good place for seed pod storage and jewelry in progress can be dumped in a cup if I need to clear off my work space.

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I streamlined all of my sewing supplies, giving up a lot of items I won’t ever use and made them readily accessible on this caddy.

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I am VERY excited to get started using this space, so excited that the tables are already covered with projects and I am about to make a sign that forbids any mess makers entry.  (The Associate and The Teenager)

I would love to hear what you think.

 

 

belt banger.

In an effort to remain hip to the The Teenagers lingo I listen carefully, although stating it like that makes me decidedly unhip. Many of the phrases, music, and movies are coming back around and I hear my own mother’s voice echo in my head.  “I used to have that same dress” says the voice, or “I used to listen to that music”  shake head vigorously. I listen closely because I want to pick up the secret teenage code and be aware without embarrassing The Teenager.  For instance if a young girl within earshot says “I had surgery and those pills they gave me were awesome.” Her name automatically gets added to a list in my head, and that list is called “I have my eye on you little girl.”

A word that the kids are using these days is “banger” I know!!!!! right!!!! It is a word that can summon a number of images to ones head, especially a mother of a beautiful teenaged daughter. Fortunately, The Teenager thinks this is a ridiculous word for party and promises she will never attend a “banger.”

I have been encouraging The Teenager to have friends over so I can quietly get to know these walking masses of hormones.  She had a few friends over yesterday and I set about working on a chair.

This just happened in real-time as I write this.

The Associate- Can you glue his hair back on?

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Me- Maybe grampa went bald. Maybe it is a toupee.

The Associate- Maybe, can I have an Ice cream cone?

Me- You need to have a sandwich first.

The Associate- Ok.

Then I went down to grab some more coffee and she was just finishing up an ice cream sandwich. sigh.

Back to the chair. I was sitting at the kitchen table because there was “a nice breeze” (bringing their voices in the window)  I learned quite a bit in that time.  First of all and most importantly they actually wanted The Associate to hang with them.  WOW. I think I could like these kids. A few wandered through on the way the bathroom and I cataloged the ones who or whom (*sorry Mickey and Nicky) said hello and or thank you. I am pleased to say not a single name made it on the list today, and the chatter was nice background to actually finish my chair.

So…. this chair came to me one day on a walk through the neighborhood.  I brought her home and I cleaned and shined her up.

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Some glue and a chair clamp settled her back together.

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A whole bunch of belts, a hammer and some upholstery nails, and I had myself a banger.

 

*I apologize to Mickey and Nicky for my grammatical incompetence.  I am sure you both wince when you read my blog, but I will never be as eloquent as either of you so I am gonna call it poetic license. xo

 

 

 

 

Film? what’s that?

The high school that The Teenager is attending in the fall is about to undergo a huge renovation.  I am not sure if a “real darkroom” will be in the new facility or if she will be able to take photography.  Photo I is an important part of high school in my opinion, especially slowly it all down in the darkroom, so I have taken it upon myself to teach her myself considering this is what I majored in at NYU.  I ordered a mixture of 120 and 35mm black and white film and started to get excited.  I do like Ilford products, but I have to admit I went with the cheapest on this occasion, because when a person is used to taking a million of digital pictures they can run through a roll of film damn quick.

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Yes. you can learn too.

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Our first lesson.

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This is how we used to take selfies.  We used to have to precariously balance our camera on something if no tripod was available, adjust the aperture and shutter speed (blank faces) and then push up the self button, run around and get into the shot before the shutter is released.  Shutter? Yea. you know the noise your iphone makes when you have the sound on is a replication of an actual shutter that opens and closes when you push the button. (blank face and open mouth) COOL!

Second lesson.

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The different kinds of formats, lenses and films. I confess I got a little excited about this and actually forgot to pick up The Associate from school for the first time ever. She did get home ok walking as she has been begging me to do for a while now, so I despite being a little worried, she was also empowered.

The Teenager asked me as I scurried panicked out the door to get The Associate. “Why would someone go through all that trouble?” Slightly irritated I said “It’s an ARTFORM!, I’ll drop my knowledge on someone else if you don’t want it.” she replied “Mom please drop your knowledge on me.”

This just might work!

Now if the rain ever stops we’ll go take some pictures and get busy in the darkroom. update soon!

wicker wonder.

These were actually made.

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Sometime in the seventies some genius made a mold and made these plastic atrocities. I thought it must be Kismet that I found six of them in the same day while combing the thrift stores for treasure.  I like a challenge after all.  While waiting for the weather to break so I could go outside at all let alone spray paint something, I tried to decide on color and filler.  Normally I would just go with whatever color I have on hand, but these needed to be red.  We had some 60 degree weather the other day and I stumbled out blinded by the sun to get started.

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Sooo much better. I wanted to make them mirrors, but I was pretty sure I would never find them to fit. I spent a grand total of 8 bux already so custom mirrors were out of the question. Then I found these. (sorry for blurry pic)

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It is plastic mirror that can be cut to any shape you can imagine!

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Using the old insert as a template I cut the mirror. I used tin snips so as not to dull any of my scissors that I am already batting out The Associates hands while screaming “FABRIC”  or “PAPER.”  Scissors are expensive. I then oh so carefully removed the plastic protective coating and worked the mirror back under the little snaps. Not perfect, but they are too small to really use as mirrors, just to reflect light.  I connected them together using thin wire so I only had to make a few holes in the wall, because knowing me it will be somewhere else soon.

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