Today, armed with a pencil, a piece of paper, and an x-acto knife, I made my first papercut, inspired by a song I’ve loved since I was far too young to understand it, “Wild World,” by Cat Stevens.
I’m not sure what exactly to call my latest creation, but it could be used to hold any of a number of things—photos, notes, keepsakes, jewelry, irrelevant but pretty found things, whatever. I plan on using it for a spice rack when I go back to school—I’m so excited about having a kitchen in my apartment this year and being able to make my own food with ease, instead of being condemned to caf food (which usually ends up being me eating fruit and salad and ice cream for every meal—not so balanced). Naturally, I’ll need somewhere to keep my spices, so I plan on putting them in little rectangular baggies and hanging them from the clothespins on my creation here. By the way, for anybody out there in a similar situation, I’d suggest going to Whole Foods and buying your spices in the bulk isle there—jarred spices anywhere are absurdly expensive.
For my spice-rack-thing, I used the same technique for carving and finished found sticks that I used for my mobile, and then bought two yards of a pretty lace from the fabric store. I sewed the lace around the finished sticks, which was simple as pie. Then I cut my leftover lace into small pieces and used mod podge to apply the lace to my ten wooden clothes pins, before hanging them from the sticks with white thread (for this project, thread seemed more appropriate than the more modern-looking clear cord I used for my mobile). In theory, you could make one of these with as many sticks as you wanted, to hold whatever you please.
I’ve finally finished my nature specimen mobile! You may remember it from one of my posts awhile back. At that point, I had filled the glass vials mostly with specimens I had collected and dried myself, and a few with ones I bought. I had also whittled corks down to fit the tiny vials. The big holdup after that was how to put it all together. I eventually had the idea to take sewing pins (the plain silver kinds) and push them through the corks, from the bottom up, using needle nose pliers to bend the pointy ends that came out through the tops into loops to be hung. I had been planning on hanging them from a dowel, but that didn’t seem to be quite special enough, so a took a dead branch from my yard (it wouldn’t have worked had the branch still been green) instead. It totally wrecked my hands, but over the past few days I used a pocketknife to carve the bark and outer layer of wood from the branch. I then applied three coats of Miniwax Polycrylic Protective Finish to the branch, sanding in between coats. Before I applied the third coat, I measured where I wanted the strings to hang from on the branch, and used the saw attachment on the switchblade to carve out notches on the top of the branch, in order to keep the strings from sliding and skewing the balance.
Once the protective finish was all dry, I measured and cut the clear strings for the twenty-seven vials, and secured them around the branch using crimping beads. I also used crimping beads to secure the vials to the strings. I then figured out where I could place the fulcrum in order for the mobile to balance how I wanted it, carved a notch on the bottom for the hanging string, and used crimping beads to attach it. Voila! After many weeks of incubation and work on this project, it’s done, and I couldn’t be happier with it. :)
*By the way, I’d suggest clicking on the photos to see the whole images—tumblr cut them off a bit in the display here.
This week I made a pair of hollow book safes—hollow books are great for hiding small things when you stick them between a few other books. For these ones I used a gardening encyclopedia and a complete Shakespeare. I decided to use old books for the project, because I love the cloth binding and the charming look. This is a project I’ve wanted to attempt for awhile, and it seems to have turned out well. I’m thinking about using one as a unique spin on a jewelry box when I get back to school. If you want to give it a try yourself, here is the tutorial I used!
I love menswear. I feel like there is so much potential out there for guys to look totally bangin’ all of the time, but many men do not take advantage of their options for using a little creativity in their wardrobe. One area of menswear that seems to be generally lacking is that of the necktie. Is there some secret rule that an affordable or at least semi-affordable tie has to be tacky as hell? Ties look simple (as they should), but they aren’t really––they’re built of subtleties. A little extra width on your tie, and you look straight out of the eighties or nineties. God, and the patterns…so awful, most of the time.
All of those bad ties out there have inspired me to learn how to make ties myself. There are some great fabrics that I think could make fantastic, clean, and modern ties, so it’s something I’d like to explore. I found this tutorial for making your own ties online—it looks like a pretty good tutorial, but I think the ties it makes are a little bit shorter than they maybe should be…so for now, I’m still in the researching stage, trying to find the perfect pattern.
I know I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been away from home, in Asheville (and still am), staying with my good friend/significant other. However, I’ve still been browsing lots of options for upcoming crafty projects. This is one that caught my eye today—a traditional way of dying easter eggs using discarded onion skins. It’s lovely how the shell looks almost like wood. If I were to do this project, however, I think that I would experiment with draining the eggs first (by putting holes in both ends and slowly blowing out the insides of the egg), so that they could be kept and put on display or hung or something like that.
I finally made my first jar terrarium! So easy and cute. The Atlas jar was purchased at a magnificent antique/thrift/random used junk store called “Everything but Grannies’ Panties.” If you’re ever in Durham, North Carolina, I’d really suggest going there––you can find some real hidden gems, if you look close enough.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Put a layer of small rocks in the bottom of the jar. I found mine in my backyard, but you can use store-bought gravel, too.
2. On top of the layer of rocks, make a thinner layer of activated charcoal. This can usually be purchased at pet stores and gardening stores.
3. On top of the charcoal, spoon in some potting soil—enough for whatever little plant you’re putting in there.
4. Make a small hole in the soil and plant a tiny plant (if you choose to). I found a little clover plant in my yard.
5. Cover the soil’s surface with preserved moss. I bought mine at a craft store. This will hold moisture for your little plant.
6. Spray the moss/plant a couple times with a small spray bottle.
If you want to, you can put little decorative things or other natural elements in your terrarium—I used a small rock in mine. I’ve also seen some with small plastic figurines or tiny houses or things like that; you can be creative with it!
I’ve been doing a good deal of collage lately. Not sure if I’m ready to post the things I’ve been working on for the past few days, but here’s a piece I made last summer, titled “America the Beautiful.”
I made another necklace-and-earrings set. This one is made from dyed howlite (a stone commonly used as a substitute for turquoise, since turquoise is pretty pricey these days and not as accessible) and dyed bamboo cut to imitate coral (the coral was reasonably priced, but I wasn’t sure if it was ethically harvested, so I decided not to take the chance).
I’ve started a collage diary, using a paperback moleskine. I think it’ll be a good way to exercise my creativity, trying to find ways other than the usual verbal recollection type deal to express my thoughts and experiences. The pictures above are the cover and first page of the diary—on the first page, I’ve blurred out my phone number, so that may look a little weird.