Saturday, December 31, 2011

Brief Musical Interlude: Rufus Wainwright

For you, dear friends. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

design love

Just in time for the New Year, the ladies and gents at Love vs. Design have bestowed upon us a swell gift in the form of a free downloadable calendar. And it's not just any calendar, it's a sharp, vibrant, cool calendar. So if you received a "nuns behaving badly" or "lighthouses of Maine" calendar for Christmas, you can now consider yourself upgraded.

So pretty! And Love vs. Design sure wasn't stingy with the color options: there are five palettes to choose from. I think I like the khaki and yellow one about you? Mosey on over here to adore, covet, and then download.

But wait. What's this? 

Surprise! Love vs. Design offers a free weekly download as part of their Printable Templates Tuesday series. For other stellar printables, like these uber-sweet library cards, go here. And make sure to keep checking in with the good folks at Love vs. Design, at least every Tuesday, people. Like clockwork.

images by Love vs. Design

Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes made of ticky-tacky...

So every now and then we are all guilty of gleaning ideas and inspiration. Well, here is my confession of such a replication. The picture below is a shop in East LA; I was walking by it one afternoon and noticed their window decorations. It was clear to me as soon as I saw them what must be done. Consider them the victim of gleaning. 


 I was going to actually construct the edifices out of cardboard but then I found these little house boxes at
 Michael's Craft store, on the cheap.

 I removed the chimney off the smaller one because I liked the look without it.

 I used a 'bleached titanium' colored acrylic paint, the coverage was thick enough I only needed one
coat and then a few touch ups here and there.

 I painted all the sides white, that I wanted white I guess.

 The roof and the chimney top would be black.

Once the paint dried, I used a grey marker and a folded paper (for a straight edge) to outline my designs.

The black completely covered any marker remnants--it was hard to make the line perfect.
But I kind of liked those imperfections in the end.

Finished product. I should have taken more pictures. Oh well, I do plan on making more of these and will have to add some more pictures. But they are fun to make and you can go crazy with the patterns. Also, they would be a really cute house warming party decoration...if you did actually make some lighter ones and hang them. Anyone moving soon?

embroidered book covers

I've seen the Penguin Threads book covers floating around on various sites, but I never knew the extent of their awesome-ness until I bought them. I picked up all three in the series and you wouldn't believe what I saw when I opened the books up...the embroidery pattern is also on the back side of the front and back cover!!!!

I know, it's awesome-sauce.

Front covers.

Inside of front covers.

This just made my heart go pitter-patter.
I highly recommend you pick these up.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

bows that sparkle

Somebody stop me. Seriously. Someone please pry these sparkle pipe cleaners from my hands, before it's too late. Well, it might already be too late because I made a sparkle bow barrette from a pipe cleaner and a bobby pin. 

Can I just say that it is incredibly difficult to take pictures of the side of your head?

But I do believe my ear looks lovely. Uh-oh, that's ear hubris. Now my ear will probably get burned off in a fire. 

P.S. Glitter pipe cleaners can easily be fashioned into kitten halos.

Even for bad kittens. 

sparkle & fade

The silver and gold pipe cleaners will not be denied. Let's make some sparkly table decorations!

Supplies: small glass jar or candleholder, tealights, matches, pipe cleaners*

Graft the pipe cleaners together. 

Make sure they're tight, like best friends.

Tape the end of your pipe cleaner chain to the bottom edge of the jar.
(Whoops! Forgot to mention tape.) Don't worry, it'll get covered up.

Start wrapping around the jar, making sure to keep the pipe cleaners tight. 

If they get loose, this happens:

So keep things in order. 

Wrap and wrap and wrap until you come to the end. 

While keeping the coils tight, push down the upper rings and tape the end of the pipe cleaner to the jar.
At this point, it should be safe to release the coils. Arrange the rings so they cover the taped end
and are evenly spaced. Just be sure to leave some gaps to let the light through.

Happy crafting!

*The number of pipe cleaners will depend on the size of your jar or candleholder. For my 2.5'' x 3.5'' jar (in gold), I used nine pipe cleaners. The 2.5'' x 2.5'' candle holder (in silver) took four pipe cleaners, but the silver pipe cleaners are about twice as wide.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Recently, I happened upon some gold and silver pipe cleaners at the craft store and snatched, snatched, snatched them up! My immediate plan was for initial package toppers. Like so:

After I made that dream a reality, I wondered what the future might hold for these little gems.
And I decided that pipe cleaner initials would make lovely badges for a New Year's Eve party.

So I made more. 

And more.

Um, and more. 

Yes, even though I have no plans to throw a New Year's Eve bash, I'm making little party accouterments. What can I say? I like festiveness. And maybe you are throwing a party and would like to greet your guests with a wee bit of SPARKLE. 

So curl those pipe cleaners around your fingers, make sweet swirls and giddy loops,
and then pin them to collars and lapels and let the sparkle speak for itself!  

P.S. While you're at it, why not make a bit of sparkle for your hair...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

super-nerd, from the sea

It's no secret that the Nicolai sisters are enraptured by all things oceanic, seaside-al, and tide-rific. A couple of those words are made up, as I'm sure you noticed. My friends Mike and Manda (who are soon to be wed!) sent me a little Christmas package with a couple treasures inspired by the sea.

A narwhal finger puppet. I'm more than a little obsessed with narwhals. 

And this octopus, which has a secret power.
Or maybe not so secret, as you may have already surmised.

That's right: crazy eyes. 
Yes, there's nothing better than squeezing cephalopods to make your Christmas merry and bright!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Amateur oils.

What's this...?

Good question.

Definitely an eye.

A possible signature.

Obvious sea creature.


Christine loves cuttlefish, so I painted her one for Christmas. I didn't name it, but she probably should.
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