Category Archives: Uncategorized

You Still Bowl Me Over

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ImageLast week I celebrated my fifteenth anniversary and I wanted to give my husband an “award” for so many years of marriage.  I had been thinking about refurbishing a broken trophy we picked up at Scrap DC! for a while and then noticed a couple of great stories in the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors on whimsical trophies and medals.   My trophy, which had a marble base with an inverted megaphone column and a bowler on top, seemed like a great candidate for collage.ImageThe main column combines a lot of fun things–real valentines and a definition of marriage from the dictionary, a vintage DC postcard, and other scraps that have significance for us.  I coated it with several layers of mod podge, added a resin gem I picked up at a flea market, and put a tiny 15 on the gem, cut from an old Monopoly “Chance” card.

ImageImageThe words at the bottom of the trophy are cut from old books–I had found all of them, only to put too much gunk and glitter on top–obliterating the words and requiring me to piece them together from other words.   Still the overall effect was fun and gives a nice, shabby chic feel.

And the words are true–he still bowls me over after all this time!

When You Must Make A Costume for the Next Day, Try the Lantern Corps

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When You Must Make A Costume for the Next Day, Try the Lantern Corps

We’ve
all heard it it, “Mom/Dad, I need a superhero costume for spirit day tomorrow.”  In a house filled with craft supplies, dress up clothes and a fashion conscious twelve year old, that really isn’t as panic inducing as it would have been a few years back.  We are big Green Lantern fans (well, my husband is and it rubs off over time), so I vaguely knew that there were other lanterns out there, guardians of the emotional spectrum.  Rebecca decided to be a “Blue Lantern,” created after the Guardians kicked out two unique individuals who couldn’t toe the line.  These guys chose “hope” as their motto, so my daughter thought they would be an inspiring selection.   How do you make a super hero costume for 93 degree weather and no spandex in sight?  Read on.

Raid the closet and reinvent yourself as a super hero

1.  Start with her closet.   Short  black leggings make a great start for a summer super hero.  Rebecca layered a super short black skirt over them and added a bright blue top, a brand new hand me down from older cousin Hannah (a hannah-me down?).  She dug around in the soccer drawer till she found bright blue socks (nice and long) and added a pair of black boots.  We may already be in an overheating zone, but at least she can dump the leggings, socks and boots later in the day and still be a super hero if necessary.

2.   Make a medallion.  Superheroes are nothing without their medallion but we didn’t want to mess up her new shirt and we needed something to keep the blue/black theme going.   A piece of  heavy craft paper with Blue Lantern’s symbol drawn on with Sharpie was quick.  Snip a slit on each side and slide a length of black fabric through and you have a medallion and belt in one.

3.  Add a personal touch. In this case, we made blue lantern earrings to give  the costume some extra pizzaz.  I have lots of jewelry supplies, so whipping up earrings isn’t a problem , but you could put mini paper medallions over existing earrings.  If you happen to have funky plastic Christmas discs (as do I), draw that medallion symbol again.  Rebecca added “hope” to each one.  A nice touch, huh?

christmas ornaments become earrings with the help of a sharpie and earwires

The best part about this costume?  It was a labor of love for Rebecca and me; we did it together, bounced ideas off of each other and had a lot of fun making something from nothing.   I’m telling you, when all else fails, you really can call on Green Lantern, or Blue Lantern, or even Indigo Lantern.  And if you must know, there are bad guys in this rainbow, too, so all your bases are covered.

Blue Lantern and Green Lantern together

In praise of Sidewalk Chalk

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In praise of Sidewalk Chalk

For many years we handed out sidewalk chalk as the party favor at Rebecca’s birthday celebrations.  You could get sixteen big sticks of color (in a convenient plastic carrying case) for $1.  It was big, it was colorful, it was useful and it was cheap.  That’s an ideal party favor for little kids. (AC Moore has a 20 pack for under $5–bet it was on sale early in the summer). If you find a good deal, stockpile it for your next party.  You aren’t just being thrifty, you are nurturing talent.   Perhaps the best reason for giving out sidewalk chalk (home associations be damned) was , and is, that it is a gift of creativity.  It’s hard to resist a sidewalk canvas, and it is an excellent way for parents and kids to play together on a summer evening.  People in my neighborhood clearly agree.  Here’s a few shots of the summertime art, gone with the next rain, that makes sidewalk chalk such a priceless toy.

composition one

mystical beast?

apparently, not!

Three Hours in Nashville?

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Three Hours in Nashville?
The walls at Hatch Show Print are covered with history and art

I had three hours in Nashville all to myself recently and tried to make the most of it.  If you are short on time, but want to see more than the honky tonk bars or stars’ homes, here’s what I did.  Noon:  the taxi drops me off in front of Hatch Show Print,  which is best known for its iconic block print lettering that was used on posters advertising all the concerts and appearances of Nashville’s greatest stars.  Part of the Country Music Hall of Fame, it is still a working printing business.  If you are lucky, someone will be using one of the presses and give you a little talk about what they are doing.  The walls are filled with fabulous artwork and they continue to make lots of great posters for sale.  Best buy?  $1 postcards cut from test posters.  They reuse the test posters a number of times, so the resulting found art is quirky and beautiful.   Right next door was a great candy and ice cream soda fountain that sells the popular Tennessee chocolates Olive and Sinclair.  I picked up some smoked cocoa nib  bark for my husband and a chocolate shake to fortify me.   12:45–a bit of walking and poking around on Broadway, enjoying the flashing neon, the sound of country music blaring from busy bars and the sudden hush as you turn the corner and see the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, which looks more like a church than a performance hall.  See the funky windows? 1:15  Caught a cab to an up and coming neighborhood–12th Avenue South.  Lots of funky shops in bungalows converted to stores and a super place for lunch Burger Up, with locally sourced meat and produce and astonishing sweet potato fries.  Right next door, Las Paletas, a tiny shop that sells beautiful Mexican popsicles.  Chili and cucumber, strawberry and blueberry, pineapple and more.  And you can even have your treat dipped in Olive and Sinclair chocolate.  Alas, I didn’t get to explore the vintage stores and other fun places because the hotel shuttle was coming down the street.  And the driver, a former tour guide, told me where the stars homes were, to boot!

Melt in your mouth sweet potato fries

Come on in and check out the posters! As one poster says, “Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms.”

Specials of the Day at Burger Up. I went for the white cheddar, homemade sauce and bacon burger

The church of the grand ole opry!

Vintage type at Hatch Show Print

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boots for sale on the strip! Buy 1, get 2 free

Do You Measure Up?

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Every long weekend I imagine that I will actually complete an art project.  Most weekends, I fail.  Memorial Day was no exception, as long delayed cleaning chores consumed most of my time (well,OK, so did hanging out with family and friends!  But I was determined to complete SOMETHING, so I took a project that was almost done–a soldered ruler pendant–and finished it by adding a glass bead component to one side, jump rings and a really nice length of chain I found at a yard sale.  Voila!  a finished project.   Of course, this actually took a long time.  The rule is a great old folding ruler that I cut into pieces with “cut anything” scissors.  A few flying wood splinters later I had a pile of ruler chunks, which I then wrapped with copper foil tape and soldered .  I had originally planned to make single pieces (and have plenty still to finish), but the juxtaposition of the different lengths made a nice bib necklace with a bit more soldering to link the pieces together.   Anyway, I may not have time, but I sure have inches!

Clover chains on Memorial day

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It feels like summer here in DC. The hydrangeas and peonies are starting to bloom, there’s a strong warm breeze blowing and clover has overtaken our yard.  Remember when you used to make necklaces from clover, or eat the tangy bud of a sweet pickle weed?  Remember when you rushed home from school just to play–homework forgotten?  Well, someone in my neighborhood remembers.  It was a great surprise to walk down the street and be greeted by this joyous banner of summer, swinging in the breeze!  What will you discover this weekend?  Let me know!

The Joy of Curbside Shopping

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The other day, driving my daughter to school, I caught sight of an object on the side of the road.  My heart raced.  What would it be?  Trash or treasure?  The next great find? or something best left for the junkyard?  In this case, I passed, because as I drew closer I saw that that beautiful object obscured by shining sun was just an old TV stand.  But I don’t give up because sometimes you find something truly beautiful, such as these funky Adirondack chairs.  Even though it took me twenty minutes to get them in the car, it was well worth it!

 

Somebody’s turning 12

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Today is my daughter’s birthday.  She’s throwing a slumber party with a dramatic theme –a four act play complete with costumes (duct tape tiaras and fabric store remnants turned into togas).  Her enthusiasm and creativity is boundless.  I had written a lovely post about birthday party tips, but lost it somehow, so will share with you later.  For now, remember that birthdays are a blessing and the joy is in the celebration, not what it costs or how fancy the presents are.

Blossom Time

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What will you do with cherry blossoms this year?

I love this picture from last year’s beginning of cherry blossom season.  So warm here that the blossoms are bursting forth already.  I love the way people try to preserve the mystery of cherry blossom season in DC.  I’ve seen blossom soap and  blossom pencils, blossom tees and blossom jewelry and so many pictures of blossoms.  We have a tree in our front yard and this morning I looked out my window and the world was pink with buds.  Makes me want to sit down and create something delicate and yet…the blossoms are so lovely because they are so fleeting.  Maybe I should just write haiku!

Hello world!

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See what you find by looking at the ground? A spilled box of candy becomes a valentine!

It started with a green bottle. We’d be driving along and my mother would suddenly order my dad to pull over to the side of the road so she could pick up a discarded bottle.  We were and are a family in which treasures are often found in other people’s cast-offs.  I love estate sales, ancient books and magazines, the debris at construction sites–and I love what those bits and pieces can turn into.  It’s not just old stuff, however.  I’m a lawyer by training, and I love well-crafted arguments, but few people see the beauty that can be found therein.  I like juxtaposing words and ideas, repurposing them and turning them into collage that tells a new story.  So, who knows where I will go with this blog.  it will mostly be about trying to make art on the side–combining the need to create with the need to make my living, raise a family, and be a productive member of society.  Join me and let’s see how the journey unfolds.