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New State. New Me?

January 1, 2011

Our move to Mass has left me with a big gaping hole of time while I determine what to do with my pet sitting business and look for a “real” job – aka one that gives me health insurance. Man, has it been a LONG time since I’ve had health insurance.

While decorating our new adorable house, I walked into a Michael’s. I had been in one a few times before, but this time, it was as though a screaming siren of joy pierced the air welcoming me to its lair. It’s not the layout or the employees or the clutter that called to me (those were telling me to exit quickly), it was all the ideas yelling at me from their shelves. I walked in a complete newbie and out an expert. While my craftiness has manifested itself thus far in taking photos of costumed eggs, taking photos in general and making some jewelry, this store and A.C. Moore have released a maniac in me. I have finally started to get over my “I am the worst artist on earth” dogma and accept that while no, I’ll never be able to draw a picture of a human face or even something that most third graders master, that these hands were definitely made for making stuff.

I gravitated first to the scrapbooking materials, paper and punches in particular, but I soon moved on to the pre-fab bird houses and acrylic paint. As the scrapbooking is patiently waiting its turn (and it will get it, oh yes it will) I started tackling the houses first. I’ve discovered that broad brush strokes are a wonderful form of relaxation for me. I can happily paint over the same spot multiple times and not worry that I’m ruining it. It’s not all a breeze though, as there are corners and tight spots to handle. I can get so nervous right before the paintbrush hits these areas that I lose control of my dexterity. It’s a great exercise in trying not to be a perfectionist all the time. Splotches might need covering later or might live there forever (what??), but I persevere.

The idea that kept sticking in my head was to make an argyle house, as I have somewhere around 40 or 50 pairs of argyle socks from ankle to past the knee, plus sweaters. I like argyle just a bit. I had the perfect house for it too: a small log cabin. Combined with the argyle, it’s the anti-log cabin! Ignoring my lack of talent, I taped the daylights out of it for the patterns, calmed my hand, and gave into the imperfections. And Voila!

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Once I did a handful of birdhouses, I branched out with the woodwork starting with this little bureau that I’ve made into a cute little jewelry holder. After coming up with the color scheme, (purple, of course), I remembered that I’d bought some very cool glittery black and white patterned stock paper. This is the part where I add that in addition to not being a great hands-on artist, I am a TERRIBLE mathematician.  I often have problems adding two simple numbers, so tackling the measurements and a paper cutter was daunting. There were moments where the frustration marched me right out of the room but I just knew that I’d be so happy with it once it was done. I worked well into the night with my ruler taunting me along the way, but I did it. And I even lined up the argyle pattern so that it connects at the right place! So proud of this little one.

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Look at those drawers!!

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Since Christmas was just around the corner, both stores had holiday craft ideas on every end-cap. I decided I wanted a matching stocking set after seeing the cutest little pink and green stockings that I could glitter paint the cats’ names on. I found cheap velvety big stockings at Kohl’s and cut out green and pink felt circles and the name plates and decorated everything with glitter paint. 2010 welcomed a cohesive set of super cute stockings for the whole family.

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Another potential activity I spotted in the aisles were clear glass ornaments for decorating. One of the thousands of emails from Michael’s contained tips on ornament decorating and seeing them piqued my interest. A Google search or two later, led me to info on decorating the inside with glitter.

Just so we’re clear, I love glitter. I love glitter more than I love argyle socks and purple combined. I would wear a sheen of glitter that you could see a mile away every day if I could. It was only natural that I’d use glitter in my ornament decorating as well.

Using the glitter on the inside as opposed to decorating the outside contains it better, keeping its sparkly goodness inside forever! Debates on glues were waded through. And then, fifty or so ornaments later, I can definitively say that I am very happy with my purchase of Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish. I went through what seemed like pounds of glitter in this project and I mastered the art of spreading the varnish evenly, letting it drain for just the right amount of time, and adding and rolling the glitter. I even started mixing glitters for optimal color and iridescence. Making these was so hypnotic, I couldn’t stop. And I had the added bonus of being entirely covered in glitter by the end of it all. It just doesn’t get better than that.

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I made so many that with all of the other ornaments I have for the tree (I LOVE ornaments, so I have tons), I ran out of space for these guys and got crafty with glittery gold present boxes that I bought at Pier 1 last year.

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Next up: Crafty Christmas Presents!

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 1:21 am

    This post made my day. It makes me happy on so many levels, but the best is you giving into your enjoyment of it~ that is what being an artist to me is all about. I can draw faces if I practice, but I am so much happier working with a medium that I can glue or paint over if it isn't going the way I want. Lili would love all that glitter. She just got a new bedroom (loft) and when I asked her what it should look like she said "glittery!" and I was like…ummmmmmmmm hmmmmmm… too bad you're not here! Hope you had a merry Christmas!xoxo

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