28 June 2012

Some women have a thing for shoes; I have a thing for bracelets.

I love wearing them. I love looking at them. I love the sound they make as they jostle around on the wrist. Wearing them all the time is impractical for me because I work with my hands so often, but when I do, I like to wear them five or ten at a time, like Madonna circa 1987.

Problem: I have huge wrists. 

Not freakishly huge enough to warrant a TV special on TLC or anything, just big enough that 50% of the bracelets I try on won’t fit. The other 50% will go on but they don’t jangle about and make delicate clattering noises as they do on people with small wrists. 

Darn you tiny wristed people with your delicate clattering noises!

So what do I do? I make my own bracelets. Lucky for me, the Jamaican Beauty Supply Shop (btw, I should really do a tour post of this amazing place) carries an entire wall of cheapo bracelets priced below $2.00, including some sets of metallic bangles big enough to fit a pachyderm.

Even skinny wristed JJ from "Good Times" approves of these bangles!

Credit where credit is due: I did not come up with this idea, I’m just demonstrating a variation on the project. There are several great tutorials out there already, including this one from Mark Montano that uses zip ties as the base for the bracelet – something I (and my unusually sized wrists) greatly appreciate.

  • Bracelet Base (or zip ties), $2.00
  • Mardi Gras Beads or Bead Garland, Freeish**
  • Thin Ribbon or Single Ply Seam Binding, 2' for each bracelet $2.00*
  • Hot Glue, meh
  • Seed or Smallish Beads (optional)
  • Needle and Thread (optional)
  • Clear Nail Polish (optional)

27 June 2012


Nora Ephron died yesterday. 

She will be remembered an accomplished author, filmmaker, mother, feminist, activist, and as someone who lead the sort of kickass life we all dream about.

And while her legacy is grand by any standards, I will always remember her as the lady who once told me I had “a great laugh”-- a compliment delivered the day I waited on her table. When she saw another customer being rude to me, she pulled me aside and suggested I pour salt in his coffee; “If you are concerned about getting in trouble, don’t worry, I’ll do it for you.

As I read her obituary this morning, I could not help but chuckle to myself when I reading this passage:

I haven’t waited tables in ten years but now I feel like applying for the job just so I can pour salt in some asshole's coffee.

Ms. Ephron, you will be missed. 

What did I come across duct taped to a tree on my walk home yesterday?

A flier* for a missing unicorn named Yolanda. Apparently she is a sassy thing with a love of room-temperature pigs in a blanket.

Guys, it isn't everyday that a community loses a unicorn; let us unite together in this time of crisis. 

If you see Yolanda, call the number above!

* I could not make this up if I tried.

26 June 2012

Patriotic Luminarias

My mosquito situation is unreal. I'm one of those people they describe as having sweet blood (which is just a fancy way of saying bug magnet) and as the result of this, citronella candles and I are best buds. Even better; citronella candles in super cute patriotic outfits.  


25 June 2012

Badass Embroidery

What ever happened to the days when women were praised for possessing things like wide hips and a wicked embroidery sampler?

Ladies, we need to unite and bring these virtues back in vogue!

Who is with me?

Who is too lazy to learn embroidery and is fine with buying badass samplers online?
     Double yesss!

Let's see what is new in  the world embroidery:

 Kayne West Tweet | Sarah Palin | Sam the Eagle |  I'll see you in Hell | Laser Cats Greeting Card

Don't you just love it when old trends come full circle?

22 June 2012

Tummy Dance

gif maker

Miss Lolabelle is doing her tummy dance all day long -- a sure sign of hot weather. Poor thing spends the winter clinging to warm spots, then summer comes and she struggles to let go of her heat under all that fur. Golly, it must be hard to be that beautiful.

Lola isn't the only one of the floor this weekend. I'm going to be down on my knees scraping the paint off the back porch. Wish me luck!

Happy weekend :)

21 June 2012

Welcome to the Jungle

Once in a while I'll get an email from someone asking where I put all the stuff I use to make the craft projects that appear on this blog. And since I openly admit to being a slob with some serious hoarding tendencies, I can’t blame folks for being curious to see what things look like off camera. Perhaps they suspect I am secretly collecting newspapers in the bathtub or stacking jars of expired pickle products along the stairs.

My friends, let me assure you; the pickle situation is under control. And there are no newspapers in the bathtub. There is massive collection of cardboard tubes under the bathroom sink, but that’s different. (You'll see why in a second).

No doubt I am a serious pack rat, but when it comes to collecting things that others consider garbage, I limit it to a single cupboard in the kitchen. Talk about self-discipline!

Kiki calls it my junk yard. I call it The Jungle.

Kiki says I am crazy for keeping all of this crap, but then I reply by itemizing all the cool stuff I will do with each item. I always expect her to understand, but instead, her eyes roll back in her head like I’m trying to sell her magic beans.

Pffff. Beans. Ha!

Well the cupboard was getting full last weekend, and since I have restricted myself to just this space, I thought I would pull it all out, separate the wheat from the chaff, and identify exactly what I intend on doing with this stuff.


1. & 2.  Shallow Boxes and Lids: I use them to coral supplies and contain messy projects. They make it easy to move a project to another space while it dries or I do something else. Not very interesting, but it’s a good tip!
6. #6 Clear Styrene boxes: home made shrinky dinks
7. Metal Jars: bicycle headlamp, lamp shade
8. Green Plastic Strawberry Baskets: excellent base for a chandelier light
9.  Plastic Cookie trays: These make the best paint pallets – the little dividers keep everything separate and easy to wash or toss when you are done
11. Mini Soda Cans:  candle votives
12. Deli Containers: candy lights, and I’m thinking about using them as shadow boxes (stay tuned)
13. Expired Wheat Pasta: faux rococo frames, jewelry
15: Cardboard Tubes (PS there are 100 more under the sink): pincushions, Chinese lantern style flowers, snowflakes, nini wreath, big wreath or wall hanging,
16: Narrow Food Wrap Box: Perfect for giving away small batches of holiday baked goods.
17. Lightweight Cardboard Boxes: polyhedron decorations, notebooks,  a stampede

Now what do we have here....

Looks to me like someone has room for growth. Woot!

Quick, give me more ideas on stuff to make. Or better yet, stuff to collect.

19 June 2012

I like to paint. 

You wouldn’t know it by the things I post on this blog, but I do. A lot. I like to paint big sloppy slabs of color layered onto canvases thick as peanut butter. It’s cathartic. 

The only downer is they take forever to dry. Sometimes weeks. And regardless of where I put the thing, Lola will want to walk over it and before you know it the whole house is paw printed in Rembrandt Burnt Umber #27. 


I have been looking at artist’s drying racks for year, but the starting price usually runs over $100, which, to my mind, seems excessive for an item that serves no purpose other than circulating air. So I made do with what I had; I turned a $12 Ikea dresser frame into a drying rack by substituting the wire basket drawers for simple sheets of corrugated plastic. (Click here for earlier post on where/how to obtain free corrugated plastic from old political signs).
I am pleased as punch.

I think I might set up a couple more of these in the basement – one to store some framed art (I can’t hang it all!), and the other I’ll swap the corrugated plastic and use those sheets of window screen—should be good for all those sweaters and such that need to dry flat. Am the only one who avoids buying hand-wash clothes because it’s too hard to find a place to let them dry? Oh wow I'm lazy.

Unrelated: As long as I am showing y’all a peek at my project room, I may as well show you where most of the stuff that I make on this blog gets it start, aka; The Wall o’ Crap. There are more of those Ikea drawers on the opposite wall as well.  This is where crafts are born. Aww, sweet.


18 June 2012

Mrs. Roper Called

Mrs. Roper just called. She wants her puka shell plant hanger back.
Sorry Mrs. Roper: Finders keepers, losers weepers.

This weekend, while Mrs. Roper was getting busy with Mr. Roper, Jack, Janet and Chrissy down at the Regale Beagle, I was rummaging through a roadside junk shop and discovering all manners of treasure, including this bad boy. Big as a fourth grader. I was hesitant at first, but now that it's home I'm confident it is the best $30 I have spent in a long time.

OK, yes, I realize that puka shell plant hangers have not been considered "on trend" since the Carter administration (as demonstrated over on my Facebook page over the weekend), but how could I say no? I mean seriously, where else are you going to buy ten berjillion puka shells for $30? Not that I would ever have the heart to take it apart. I mean, just think of the man hours to string a necklace, much less a GIANT PLANT HANGER. It would have haunted me if I had not brought it home. I just couldn't say no. I love late 1970's kitsch like a fat kid loves cake. Now all I need is to find a place. My ceilings are fairly tall, but the scale on this could be challenging. I'll either convert it to a bed side chandelier or give it back to Mrs. Roper before she starts calling about my caftans.

17 June 2012

Today is Father's Day.  This means a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, it means spending part of my day reading letters. A giant tub of my father's letters.

Without fail, my father wrote me a letter every day from when I was age thirteen to the time he died when I was twenty. If I break that down month by month, day by day, it comes out to somewhere close to 3,500 pieces of mail. Most of which are gone now. All but 67 pounds.

15 June 2012

I was eating corn chips for breakfast on the back porch this morning (don’t judge me) when a little boy and his mother walked by on their way to the main road. As he ran his pudgy hands along the ragged tips of the bottle flowers on the fence, he belted out, “MOM. MOM. MOM. THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE MUST DRINK MORE POOPING JUICE THAN GRANDPA. DON’T YOU THINK, MOM? MOM?” to which his mother replied, without a hint of sarcasm, "Gee hun, I'll bet you are right."


I was hoping the new neighbors would designate this the flower house or the recycling house ...now it’s the pooping juice house. And, as if that were not bad enough, we are in competition with a Grandpa.


Actually, one of my very first blog posts was about making flowers from plastic bottles to cover the bars on the windows of my old apartment. It was pretty neat. The flowers, that is. Not the bars. But I used spray paint for that project which is something I am trying to avoid these days. Random: Do you know that it is illegal to buy or sell spray paint within Chicago city limits? Word.  So I'm doing this with regular craft paint. This not only makes the project kid friendly, it makes it easy to layer up and get some nifty results. I have a trick for making the craft paint last in the great outdoors...read on!

13 June 2012

Bucket List Item #45

Bucket List Item #45: Own a carousel horse.

Not the whole carousel, mind you, just the one horse. My place isn't big enough for a whole carousel, and even if it was, I wouldn't want one because then people would come over and expect free rides.

Look, I'm nice, but not that nice.

Anyway, like I said, just one horse would do the job. Preferably a metallic teal horse with a forked tongue like this gnarly dude riding the wave outside the Smithsonian in Washington DC. I'm pretty sure he is a Chinese water dragon. I could be wrong on that, though. When I google "Chinese water dragon" I get pictures of big lizards and not carousel horses, which is a shame, because, if there is one sort of carousel horse I do NOT want it would be the giant lizard variety. I don't mean to sound discriminatory against lizards of any size, of course, but if this is making my bucket list I have a right to be choosy. No?

I think I'll call him Larry. He will hang above my kitchen sink (he'll want to be near the water front, naturally) and I'll look at him every time I go to do the dishes or wash my hands or run lemon rinds down the garbage disposal to keep it from smelling like old cat food. He will just hang there and be cool all day and remind me that, "Sometimes life runs in circles, but it's the joy is not in the destination, the joy is in the doing."

And I'll be all "Whoa dude, I didn't even know you could talk with that forked tongue."

12 June 2012

I have the trendiest pantry in town.
Ubiquitous Trends for Spring/Summer 2012:
Mint Green
Geometric Patterns
Neon Finger Nails

I don't consider myself a very trendy person, but if I hit two out the three big ones with something I already own, it's coming out of the closet before the season is over. When I found this vintage Vera  Neuman scarf at the thrift store ten years ago (I collect them -- and this one was less than $2.00 as I recall)... I remember thinking, Wow, could there ever be a time a time when hospital green was in fashion?

...errr, yes, actually.  No time like the present.

Unfortunately, this scarf has a major snag along one of the hems. Eventually I would like to repair it, but in the meantime I'm putting it to good use. Thanks to a $2.00 bag of curtain clips and a tension rod, I have a chic new curtain in my pantry. Woot!
* Note: If you do this at home, avoid using a silk scarf in an ultra bright window or the colors will fade. Then again, sun bleaching might be next summer's big trend and you could be ahead of the curve :)

08 June 2012

Real Flowers Hate Me

When people ask me why I make so many paper flowers, I tell them the truth.

“Because real flowers hate me.”

No, really. Whatever I plant refuses to grow. Believe me, I have tried. 

The people who used to live here planted some gorgeous flowers, including some a bush of luscious pink peonies.  I felt very proud thinking this would be the first time in my life I could harvest a whole bouquet of home grown flowers. Which I did. And they were great. FOR TWENTY MINUTES. 

They started like this...

…but the wilting set in within an hour and advanced overnight. I put them in the fridge for a while thinking they needed a pick me up, but no such luck. They lost the will to live.

I told you: real flowers hate me. 

06 June 2012

Easy DIY Paper Sorter

I was over on Pinterest the other day, and somewhere between the Nutter Butter brownies and the hipster Granny wearing lip glasses, I found this crazy useful idea for creating a mini bookshelf for storing paper goods. 

I like this method because it keeps paper easy to access—no riffling through filing cabinets or messing around with portfolios on a shelf— it’s all right there in easy reach.  This is important to me because the easier something is to access, the more likely I will keep it in order. And when you store as much paper as I do, you take all the help you can get :)

All it requires is a handful of zip-ties and one of those wire cube cubby things. They sell them at Target, but I always see the laying around thrift stores for $5.00. Mine was free— it was already in the basement being used to hold mittens and whatnot. Seeing as I own exactly three mittens (not three pairs, just three), you can tell it saw a lot of action. Cubby is now much happier with his second life as a paper sorter.
*** Other nifty paper storage tricks I found on Pinterest
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