Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fabric Covered Bulletin Board

This is so easy and has been done so many times, I feel kind of silly posting about it.

But what the hell…here is an easy way to make a cork board look ridiculously cute.

What you'll need:

Cork board ($3 dollars a thrift store)
Frame you like (only $1 dollar at thrift store)
Spray paint (I bought the cheep can for less then $2 dollars)
Fabric (only $2.50 a yard)
Spray Glue

Directions:

1. I picked up this framed puzzle picture at the thrift store because I liked the frame (plus it was only a buck), but as you can see it is a little smaller then my cork board.

So the first step was to cut the cork down to size.



I used the board the puzzle was glued to as a guide for where to cut. A few passes with a utility knife, and I was good to go.



2. At this point you're gonna want to spray paint the frame you've chosen. I painted mine red, but obviously any color will work.

3. Once your board is the correct size, apply a thin layer of spray glue to the cork and lay down your fabric.



I used a few strips of duct tape on the back to hold the fabric in place, but you can use a staple gun or a glue gun if you like.

5. Put the fabric covered cork into the frame, and you're good to go.



Isn't it adorable?

The color choices are endless so don't be afraid to make some bold choices. You can always change it out if you don't like it or want something new.

Little Tip: I think that picture frames are one of the best items to get from thrift stores. I always scope out the section and pick up one or two frames while I'm there. Even if they don't match perfectly, with a coat of black spray paint (or any color) they will all look cohesive.

I've saved tons of money this way.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Altered Boots

If you're anything like me, you have at least a few purchases that make you wonder at just what the hell were you thinking. These boots are a perfect example. I had gotten them a few years ago, but they ended up just sitting in the back of my closet destined never to be worn. When they finally surfaced again, I realized that they had gotten a little beat up and decided to do something about.

IMG_9694


I will walk you through what I did, but I must admit that the main hero here is hot glue and this isn't the most professional looking alteration in the world.

It works for me though and that's all the matters in my book.

So let's get started...



The first thing I did was cut the boot so it looked more like an ankle boot (there was a seam placed there so it seemed like a natural place to cut).



Then, instead of trying to sew through so many layers, I stapled the inner and outer layers together (the staples were gonna be covered so I didn't see a problem with it).



I used the extra material to cut out strips.



I then hot glued the strips around the top.



I simply folded it over and glued it on the inside as well. This gave the look of a finished edge without all the work.



Unfortunately these boots don't have enough give for me to just slide my foot in. Therefore, I had to cut a line so the zipper could work as usual. (I drew a pink line to show where I cut.)

I then decided to make two bows (using the cuff of one boot) based on a pair of boots I can't afford from Irregular Design.



All I did was separate the cuff, make the bows, and hot glue them on. I then reinforced them with a needle and thread (which was a pain in the ass).



And there you have it.

It wasn't easy to take a picture while wearing them, but you get the general idea.



All this cost was a few sticks of hot glue and a little of my time.

Proof that all things can be fixed with a pair of scissors and hot glue.

So cut something up. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Corambis

I just finished Corambis by Sarah Monette and all I can say is, wow.

From Amazon :
The spellbinding conclusion to the brilliant fantasy series by the author of The Mirador and Mélusine.

Exiled from Mélusine for the crime of heresy, the once powerful Cabaline wizard Felix Harrowgate and his half-brother Mildmay, former cat-burglar and assassin, journey to Corambis to face judgment from a ruling body of wizards. Corambis, however, is a land plagued by civil strife. Kay Brightmore, the Margrave of Rothmarlin, is part of an insurrection to restore the monarchy in the southern half of the country. In desperation, Kay and his rebels seek out the engine of Summerdown, an ancient magical device rumored to have terrible powers. Once the engine is awakened, only a powerful wizard can stop its awesome potential for destruction. Felix and Mildmay arrive just in time for their greatest challenge—and ultimate destiny…

Stand Alone/ Series: This is the fourth, and final, installment in the Doctrine of Labyrinth series.

Why did I read the book: I've been a fan of Sarah Monette since I picked up Melusine. I flew through each book in less then a day and then waited anxously for Corambis to be release.

Review/ Thoughts: This book is just plain great.

In the previous books, Sarah Monette really took the time to flesh out these characters, the only problem seeming to be Felix.

While Mildmay continued to grow and change, Felix became even more irritable, selfish, and just plain mean.

So this book is very much about Felix coming to terms with his own behavior.

Even though this book had less action, the character growth was phenomenal and extremely satisfying.

When Mildmay became sick and was no longer able to take care of everything, Felix took control of things and really came to the rescue (in his self loathing way of course).

I’m not gonna say much about the overall plot because it relies too much on the previous books, but I definitely recommend this series to everyone.

Verdict: Even though I didn’t really care too much for how much time the author gave to the new character Kay, I thought this book was the perfect ending to a great series.

It wasn’t overly cheesy or have the “Happily Ever After” ending some authors feel the need to write, but it was very satisfying none the less.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

David Sedaris

I just started reading my first book by David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and it's just plain brilliant.

I had heard so many good things about Sedaris, but he didn’t really catch my interest until I read a piece he wrote for The New Yorker.

The way he sums up the undecided voter is exceptional:
Then you’ll see this man or woman— someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. “Well, Charlie,” they say, “I’ve gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind!” Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?

...

I wonder if, in the end, the undecideds aren’t the biggest pessimists of all. Here they could order the airline chicken, but, then again, hmm. “Isn’t that adding an extra step?” they ask themselves. “If it’s all going to be chewed up and swallowed, why not cut to the chase, and go with the platter of shit?”

Ah, though, that’s where the broken glass comes in.

He also says that the first time he voted he didn't want to go with Carter because, as an art major, he considered himself a maverick. So he decided to write in the name of Jerry Brown because he was rumored to smoke pot.

He says it taught him a valuable lesson: calling yourself a maverick is a sure sign that you’re not one.

Love it.

Sedaris has this way of being funny without really trying (or at least not appearing to). He can look at a situation and see humor where most people wouldn't.

I also like his thoughts about relationships.

I'm only about two hundred pages in (little over half), but my favorite story so far is "Keeping Up."

It's about how his boyfriend Hugh has a habit of walking too fast and about twenty steps in front of him.

This particular time it was at a zoo in Australia. As he turns to say something to Hugh, he realizes he isn't there.
A zoo is a good place to make a spectacle of yourself, as the people around you have creepier, more photogenic things to look at. A gorilla pleasures himself while eating a head of iceberg lettuce, and it’s much more entertaining than the forty-something-year-old man who dashes around talking to himself. For me it’s always the same, a rehearsal of my farewell speech: “…because this time, buddy, it’s over. I mean it.” I imagine myself packing a suitcase, throwing stuff in without bothering to fold it. “If you find yourself missing me, you might want to get a dog, an old, fat one that can run catch up and make that distant panting sound you’ve grown so accustomed to. Me, though, I’m finished.”

I will walk out of the door and never look back, never return his calls, never open his letters. The pots and pans, all the things that we acquired together, he can have them, that’s how unfeeling I will be. “Clean start,” that’s my motto, so what do I need with a shoe box full of photographs, or the tan-colored belt he gave me for my thirty-third birthday, back when we first met and he did not yet understand that a belt is something you get from your aunt, and not your boyfriend, I don’t care who made it. After that, though, he got pretty good in the gift-giving department: a lifelike mechanical hog covered in real pig skin, a professional microscope offered at my height of my arachnology phrase, and, best of all, a seventh-century painting of a Dutch peasant changing a dirty diaper. Those things I would keep – and why not? I’d also take the desk he gave me, and the fireplace mantel, and, just on principle, the drafting table, which he clearly bought for himself and tried to pass off as a Christmas present.

Now it seemed that I would be leaving in a van rather than on foot, but, still, I was going to do it, so help me. I pictured myself pulling away from the front of our building, and then I remembered that I don’t drive. Hugh would have to do it for me, and well he should after everything he’d put me through. Another problem was where this van might go. An apartment, obviously, but how would I get it? It’s all I can do to open my mouth at the post office, so how am I going to talk to a real estate agent? The language aspect has nothing to do with it, as I’m no more likely to house-hunt in New York that I am in Paris. When discussing sums over sixty dollars, I tend to sweat. Not just on my forehead, but all over. Five minutes at the bank, and my shirt is transparent. Ten minutes, and I’m stuck to my seat. I lost twelve pounds getting the last apartment, and all I had to do was sign my name. Hugh handled the rest of it.

On the bright side, I have money, though I’m not exactly sure how to get my hands on it. Bank statements arrive regularly, but I don’t open anything that’s not personally addressed or looks like a free sample. Hugh takes care of all that, opening the icky mail and actually reading it. He knows when our insurance payments are due, when it’s time to renew our visas, when the warranty on the washer is about to expire. “I don’t think we need to extend this,” he’ll say, knowing that if the machine stops working he’ll fix it himself, the way he fixes everything. But not me. If I lived alone and something broke, I’d just work around it: use a paint bucket instead of a toilet, buy an ice chest and turn the dead refrigerator into an armoire. Call a repairman? Never. Do it myself? That’ll be the day.

I’ve been around for nearly half a century, yet still I’m afraid of everything and everyone. A child sits beside me on a plane and I make conversation, thinking how stupid I must sound. The downstairs neighbors invite me to a party and, after claiming that I have a previous engagement, I spend the entire evening confined to my bed, afraid to walk around because they might hear my footsteps. I do not know how to turn up the heat, send and e-mail, call the answering machine for my messages, or do anything remotely creative with a chicken. Hugh takes of all that, and when he’s out of town I eat like a wild animal, the meat still pink, with hair or feathers clinging to it. So is it any wonder that he runs from me? No matter how angry I get, it always comes down to this: I’m going to leave and then what? Move in with my dad? Thirty minutes of pure rage, and when I finally spot him I realize I’ve never been so happy to see anyone in my life.

“There you are,” I say. And when he asks where I have been, I answer honestly and tell him I was lost.

I just love him.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Frosted Mirror Silhouette DIY

I’ve been meaning to post this project for the last few days, but I’ve been really sick and barely posting on my other blog.

Seeing as I'm starting to feel better, I decided to get caught up. :)

The pictures pretty much tell you all you need to know, but here are some directions anyways.

What you'll need:

Mirrors
Contact paper
Frosted spray paint
Xacto knife
Frames (if your mirrors didn’t come with any)

Click on any image to make it larger.

1. The first thing to do is take a picture for the silhouette.



2. Print it out. I changed mine to black and white so I didn't waste ink. (My printer rocks, but the ink cartridges are damn expensive.)



3. Tape it to the contact paper and start cutting out the stencil. (You are going to want to use a new blade for this. It's very important. Otherwise you run the risk of tearing your stencil.)



I found it easiest to take out the center first. (Originally I left part of the collar, but it turned out to be a pain in the ass so I took it out.)



I had bought these mirror tiles for another project so I used these.

I would recommend buying mirrors that already come framed and ready to hang to save your self some stress.



4. Lay down your stencil.



I got this spray frosting from Lowe’s for about $4 dollars (Wal-Mart and the craft store didn't carry it).



5. Spray away. (It's very easy to see how many coats to paint. I probably did about 5 or 6 passes over it. Just keep spraying till it looks right.)



6. Peel off the stencil and make any corrections with your xacto blade.



There you have it.



The tiles are 12" by 12" so the only frames that worked were these LP frames I got at the craft store for $4.99 each (50% off).



There was a small band showing around each mirror so I just put down some left over fabric from my bookcases. I used foam squares to keep the mirror from shifting.



I originally made four silhouettes (two for each side of the window), but I later changed my mind as you can see.



Either way, they turned out great. Ryan and I don't look too nice from the side, but it adds a nice touch to the house.

I might later switch them out for famous composers or philosophers (which would work great for anyone who doesn't like their side profile or don't have enough family members for the amount wanted.)

Heads up:

Don't be surprised if your mirror looks something like this when you pull up your stencil:



All you have to do is scrape off the sticky stuff and over spray with the side of your xacto knife. A little Windex and its perfect (the Windex won't hurt the frosting so you don't have to worry about that).