Feb 27, 2013

Go Ahead! Draw Something!

Electronic games are really hard on my self esteem. The Wii Fit regularly tells me that my "Wii Fit Age" is 10 years older than I already am. That's really hard to take, especially on a day the grocery store cashier gives me a "senior citizen discount" -- and I'm not even close to being a senior! The Wii Fit also tells me that every game I play is "not my thing" and gives me a hard time when I gain weight (hey, its winter for crying out loud)! If I play a video game that involves getting killed I just die before I get to play. If its a maze like situation I just go around in circles. 
I've been playing the "Draw Something" game on the iPad.  Real people can be a lot kinder and more patient than electronic games (if you're lucky). The friend I play with (who is very good at drawing) frequently says encouraging things about my drawings. The Wii Fit would be saying "drawing just isn't your thing". 
I enjoy the challenge of communicating simply and clearly in a visual way. That's my criteria for a good drawing. My Draw Something name is Retromac if you want to play along. I promise to be a lot nicer than the Wii Fit. 

Recycled Plastic Shrinky Dink Necklace

I was inspired by the "Sheer & Clear Friday Challenge" on the new DIY site Kollabora. I used a #6 recycled plastic container as my "Shrinky Dink" material, a few jump rings and some chain to make this octopus necklace. Here's how I decided on this particular project:
1) My friend's octopus theme wedding invitation was surprisingly cool.  2) I've been researching Chihuly style art lessons on Pinterest. 1) I have an honorary degree in Shrinky Dinks. It was bestowed upon me by the kids I teach.  
You can find my step by step photos and instructions here.

Feb 19, 2013

Embracing Melancholia

Talking about all the problems in the world puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face. Talking about what's on TV or anything to do with celebrities makes me really, really sad. And sometimes I have to force myself not to run from the room when the the celebrity talk starts. I'd rather hear someone rant about chemtrails than about Princess Kate's pregnancy. When someone starts talking about Beyonce I have to force myself not to gossip about my favorite celebrity Pvt. Bradley Manning

I really like this take on Negative Nancy and can see myself in this skit, cursing out everything that happens from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed. Being a Debbie Downer is clearly not on trend these days, but I think I'm part of a grand tradition of melancholia

Durer portrays melancholia as "the state of waiting for inspiration to strike, and not necessarily as a depressive affliction".  How many great songs have been written about happy things? Where would modern art be without embracing alienation and purposelessness? And where would this world be without us Negative Nancys & Debbie Downers yelling as loud as we can about all the issues that aren't covered by mainstream media? 

I made and photographed this funny sad face with the plastic debris washed up on the beach.

Feb 18, 2013

Cosmic Upcycled Cashmere

Cashmere can easily last a lifetime (in dog or cat years) if you care for it lovingly. I have sweaters that I've inherited from my mom over 20 years ago. And they were second hand when she got them. Small moth holes can be inconspicuously mended. Bring your sweater to a store that sells thread to match the color. Use a single thread and practice weaving around the area until you've gotten it right. Then steam the area lightly with your iron to flatten & blend it in.  Large moth holes can be very conspicuously and colorfully mended. I was inspired by current events for this mending job. Asteriods, meteors, oh my! I used cashmere scraps I'd gotten on Etsy as patches and wool crewel yarn for the embroidery. Sachets of Lavender, mint or cedar chips will help keep the moths away in the first place.

If you've already shrunk your cashmere sweater in the washer/dryer you should check out Sweater Surgery for lots of inspiring ideas. One of my friends attempted to make cashmere bloomers. The bottom line is that good cashmere should never die. You can always wear a less than perfect cashmere sweater as lounge wear.

If you've found some thrifted cashmere you might as well care for it in an equally thrifty way.  I always use Eucalan to hand wash cashmere with outstanding results. Use cold water then roll in a towel to get out as much water as possible. They lay out to dry on another towel. You may have no where to eat or sit for a few days while you are cleaning your sweaters but think of all the money you'll be saving (and the stuff about avoiding those toxic dry cleaning chemicals too). Does the Magik Fuzz Buster work? Yes!  Say goodbye to all that "pilly stuff" under your arms.

Recycled Diet Coke Bracelet

I have a shameful addiction. No, I don't eat laundry detergent or cat hair. I drink Diet Coke. Yes, I know its disgusting. Yes, I know its bad for me. But a fresh bottle of Diet Coke is like an instantly available Zen moment. Just looking at the bottle makes me feel instantly more relaxed. I simply can't stop!!! As an homage to my shameful addiction I've started making recycled bracelets from the bottles. First I used a utility knife to cut out the shape of the bracelet. Then I decoupage magazine pages on the outside and tissue paper on the inside using Modge Podge. This one was inspired by the fact that I have friends in tropical places (and I'm so not in a tropical place). I used a National Geographic and cut out pictures photos of rainforest foliage and undersea life. I've also done this project with kids. Middle school girls totally heart Modge Podge and accessories so its lots of fun. 

Above, the object of my affection. While I was getting my camera I had the Coke in my hand so I opened it & absentmindedly drank some before I even took the photo. That's why its not full & bubbly. The part I used for the bracelets is just below the label.