For the Love of Tulle

I kind of have a new obsession. Tulle.  Primarily, tulle wreaths.  It started just before Christmas when I was having a hard time deciding whether or not to decorate for the holidays this year.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  But then I thought I could at least put up a wreath to make it appear festive to people coming by to visit and passersby.  And quite frankly it was time to take down the fall wreath.  But I found that I was also completely over the Christmas wreath I’d made and been using for the past couple of years.  So I went looking for a new idea.  And I found it in the mock-up of a Santa face with a white tulle beard complete with his hat.  Santa WreathI found the instructions here. It was such an easy project that I finished it in less than two hours.  The most time-consuming part is tying all those pieces of tulle onto the foam frame.

I loved coming home to this every day and it actually helped to lift my holiday spirits a bit.  So, when the holidays were over I wondered what I might put in its place.  The weather was cold and dank and I needed something to perk up that entry way.  So I headed to the tulle isle in the craft store and found a super sparkly silver tulle and put it together with black and white tulle to make a new year’s wreath.  Using the same technique, I alternated the colors.  When it was finished, I kinda thought it looked like a sparkly funeral wreath, so I found a disco ball ornament, hung it in the center and posted that sparkling wreath up on the door.  NY WreathWarning, if you use the glittered tulle, you’ll be carrying it around on you, your furniture, your pets, and everything else for at least a month or more.

But don’t worry about that, because for February you can just add more sparkle to your home by using fuscia glitter tulle and pink and white tulle to create a sparkly kisses and hugs door hanging.

The inspiration for this one came from here.  I loved the X and O but couldn’t get excited about the fake berry wreaths.  So I decided to try it in tulle.  I had to cut the X form out of a flat square of styrofoam.  Other than that, it’s the same process as the other two wreaths of tying the tulle around until it’s as full as you want it.  Since I only had 10 yards of the dark fuscia glitter tulle, I placed that evenly first and then filled in the rest with alternating groupings of white and pink as seen below. photo 2 I did the same thing with the X.  Then I tied them together using the fun polk-a-dot ribbon.

photo 3I love how each of these projects turned out.  I might be done with tulle for awhile…and perhaps not, green tulle with spring flowers would be so cute, right???  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Oh and I’ve basically just learned to live with everything in my home having just a little sparkle from the errant glitter that won’t go up in the vacuum no matter how many times I try.

“She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten.”

Framed

Venus of Willendorf

I’ve always liked when you go places and see odds and ends of framed images, objects, etc, in unusual places throughout a home, restaurant or store.  As much as I don’t really like clutter or a lot of nonsensical nicknacks about the house, I do love the thought of having walls covered in artwork–both mine and others.  Artwork with meaning and purpose.  I have a friend who has images from his homeland that have distinct meaning to him, covering the walls of his small studio apartment.  I really like how it feels to be surrounded by something so powerful and meaningful to him each time I enter.  And I love the surprise of coming upon something like this in a small corner or above a kitchen appliance or where ever in someones home.  It says something about the person who lives there and even more if its something put together by that person.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about ways to add this little unexpected in my own home without too much of a tchotchke feel.  And so I was in Jo-Ann’s the other day with the ingenious Sarah (www.notblueatall.com), when she led us down their isle of super cheap ($1ish) items.

I Am ...

You never know what you might find in these bins, but sometimes you find some winners and this time we happened upon these small frames (3×5 external dimensions) that I immediately knew would work for what I had in mind.  They also happened to be having a 50% sale on scrap booking items and a new line of vintage style $1 papers, stickers, tags.  And thus, in some recent down time, I put together these four little framed projects that are now hanging quirkily (or not so) in my apartment.

Be True to You

 

A Weekend with an Art Journal

So for months now I’ve been thinking and talking about starting an art journal.  I know that art journals have reached trending popularity in the last year or so, which normally would turn me off of them.  However, I’ve always been a prolific journaler and I frequently doodle, add doodads and keepsakes to them. So in effect, I’ve been art journaling for years, just not officially.  One day in February, I spent my lunch hour at Michael’s perusing their supplies and picking up some things to kick-start my art journaling adventures.  I spent about a week prepping the pages of a sketch book with white and black gesso so that they would stand up to various techniques and additions of things over time.

Making Space for Creativity

A couple of weeks later, I gathered together all the supplies I thought I might need, purchased a rolling cart with drawers and organized the shit out of it all.

And then my creative energy fell flat.

Well on Thursday, I was “bit” by a creativity bug.  I was sitting at my desk wondering what I was going to do for the next few days, knowing that my usual Friday shenanigans were going to be off due to a friend’s illness and no dancing in sight as I was still recovering from my own recent medical anomaly.  Bored at work, I started searching online for art journaling supplies — maybe it was a shopping bug!  I came across a page that included a video for making a fabric art journal, watched it in all of its four parts, and I was bit (bitten?). Regardless, I watched it once and wanted to make it.  So I wrote a list of supplies, made the executive decision to leave work early (shh…don’t tell the boss or “admin cam”), stopped by the fabric store and headed home with my creative spirits high!

Materials to Get Started

Like I said, I watched the video once.  That’s how simple this project is.  Though since I already had a spiral bound journal ready to go, I did need to figure out on my own how to sew it into the cover.  Easy Caprese!

Thanks to my friend Sarah, who is keeping her sewing machine at my house, I was able to quickly sew together the squares I would use to create the “quilted” cover of my art journal.  I am not a sewer, but these were so quick to just do a running stitch around, stuff and then close up.  You don’t even turn them inside out because you use the raw edge as part of their charm.  I had a lot of fun deciding which fabrics I would use for each pillow and the colors of the border, etc.  What’s great about it is that when you run out of one color thread, you can start with another and it works fine.  Its meant to be rough and haphazard.

I started the project late Thursday afternoon and by Friday mid-day, I had it mostly together and was ready to embellish.

Fabric Art Journal

What was so great about this project, is that the creative energy sparked an entire weekend of journaling and doodling and creativity.  At one point, I was kinda afraid to leave the house and interact with other people in fear that it might zap the energy.  But alas, on Sunday morning when I learned I was out of milk and creamers for my coffee, I had to abandon ship and make a Starbucks run.  But no fear!!! Once I returned and spent some time cleaning up the apartment, I was able to tap right back in and pick up where I left off.  In fact, I’m excited to get home from work today to do some more.

I took lots of pictures and have put together a little picture montage (with music) of the process and some of the inside pages.  I hope that you’ll enjoy and perhaps it will inspire you to take on a creative project of your own.

 

Feeling Crafty

Last Saturday morning about 4 am, I was wide awake laying in bed wondering how I might better organize my jewelry. I don’t wear much, but in the past year I’ve become slightly obsessed with cocktail rings. They were starting to pile up on my dresser and they are so bold and beautiful that I really was doing them a disservice. So I opened up the web browser on my smart phone and searched for “ring organizers.” There were lots of options, but none that really caught my fancy. And then it came to me. Why not make something that would display and organize most of the jewelry I wear regularly. And I came up with a plan.

 

 

Modified from a padded bulletin board concept, I put together a framed organizer using fabric, batting, high density foam, foam core board, and a frame I’d picked up at SCRAP for $5. I used the design of a dresser top ring organizer and created padded “slots” with the high density foam for the rings to slide in to. I chose a fun and bold fabric that matched the colors of my bedroom decor and sewed on buttons to hold necklaces. I’ve used quilting pins to hang the tiaras above the rings. I’m pretty pleased with the result. I like quick craft projects. And this one would have taken an afternoon, if I hadn’t been derailed by other life stuff. So I finished it up over the course of about 2 days, all told.  I didn’t have a pattern or a plan, that’s pretty much how I work.  But if you are looking for basic directions to get you started that you can modify to your needs, I would start here.

Day 315: Fav Animal

Remember this?  I wrote about it way back last year in July and acknowledged even then that it may take me more than 30 days: “its likely that this 30 day challenge could turn into a 43.5 day challenge plus/minus a few days.”

Well, welcome to Day 315, otherwise known as Day 2.  

30 Day Drawing Challenge Day 2: Fav Animal

Initially, when I saw that day 2 was an animal, my mind went straight to my little chi, Leila.  Don’t tell Henry and Ophelia (the cats), but she has over the past couple years squirmed her way in to the favorite spot amongst domesticated animals.  Acknowledging that many of you have already heard of my adoration for her and/or witnessed her quirky and adorable musings on her own Facebook page (friend her here), I decided to step outside the box and go with my favorite wild animal.  While lately I’ve been obsessed with the honey badger (“honey badger don’t care“), my favorite wild animal is actually the giraffe.  Giraffes are amazing creatures.  Awkward, yet graceful, with their knobby knees and long neck.  I think it’s their awkwardness that makes them most beautiful.  Giraffes are the tallest of all land animals and their fur serves basically as a traveling pharmacy of chemical defense with 11 aromatics serving as antibiotics and parasite repellents.  Of course, this doesn’t make them all that pleasant to hang out with on a hot summer day.

And so there you have it, Day 2/315 of the 30 Day Drawing Challenge complete.  I can’t say for sure when Day 3, 4, and so on will roll out.  As I shared in my last blog, this summer has brought me some unexpected changes/challenges and I’m slowly but surely embracing them.  Challenging myself to read 53 books in 11 weeks, continue the drawing challenge, work 3 part-time jobs and still allow life to happen as it will.  I’m committed to these challenges, taking them day by day and seeing what they and life will bring me tomorrow.

Adventures in Reading

Friends often ask me what I’m reading now. So I thought this year I would keep a running list of what I’ve been reading (to the best of my ability).  I’ve just updated it to catch up with my summer reading.
Besides these books, I also consistently read The New York Times Online, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Entertainment Weekly (guilty pleasure), and Writer’s Chronicle.

I hope this list will help inspire your own reading adventures.  I’d love to know what’s been on your reading list this year.

  • The Distant Land of My Father (Caldwell)
  • A Weekend to Change Your Life: Find Your Authentic Self After a Lifetime of Being All Things to All People (Anderson)
  • Out of Our Past: The Forces That Shaped Modern America (Degler)
  • The Holy Book of the Beard (Brenna)
  • Rock Paper Tiger (Brackmann)
  • Eat, Pray, Love (Gilbert)
  • White Asparagus (Belz)
  • Super Sad True Love Story (Shteyngart
  • The Sweet By and BY (Johnson)
  • The Disappearing Spoon (Kean)
  • A Walk on the Beach: Tales of Wisdom From an Unconventional Woman (Anderson)
  • Father of the Rain (King)
  • Sanctificum (Abani)
  • Medium Raw (Bourdain)
  • You Lost Me There (Schwarzbaum)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Smith)
  • Water for Elephants (Gruen)
  • Summer of Firefly Memories (Gable)
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (McCullers)
  • The Help (Stockett)
  • Olive Kitteridge (Strout)
  • The Hole We’re In (Zevin)
  • Where the Money Went (Cantry)
  • Revolutionary Road (Yates)
  • The Passage (Cronin)
  • The Rum Diary (Thompson)
  • The Taste of Civilization (Flammang)
  • Rough Country (Sandford)
  • The Ginger Man (Donleavy)
  • The People’s Act of Love (Meek)
  • Being Real (Scott)
  • Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl’s Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? (Lancaster)
  • Fat! So? (Wann)
  • The Fat Studies Reader (Rothblum/Solovay/Wann)
  • If You Have To Cry Go Outside (Cutrone) – I want to give it to every teenage girl I know. Cutrone is fearless about honesty and living one’s truth.
  • Drood (Simmons)