Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stenciled Terracotta Pot with Tutorial

Here's a quick and simple project I did today. It took mere minutes, so I thought I'd share. My scanner is broken or I'd share my stencil image too. I used a fox because I'm a bit of a one trick pony these days, but this could look great with any shape. A Victorian style profile silhouette of a family member would make a nice Mother's Day gift. Just a thought. If you don't feel like sketching your own - consult the oracle, and by that I mean Google Images.

You'll need: Contact paper, x-acto knife or scissors, craft paint, a clay pot and a silhouette image.1) Trace any silhouette image onto clear contact paper using a sharpie or tape your design down to the contact paper (if you do this you'll be cutting through both layers - the contact paper and the paper with your design on it.) Make sure to trace or tape onto the contact paper side, not the backing side or your image will be reversed.

2) Cut it out. I prefer my x-acto, but since this is a negative image, scissors are fine. Remember not to cut off any legs, the shape inside the outline is what we're working with here.3) Peel the backing off your contact paper and adhere to your pot. Make sure all the corners and points are firmly tacked down.4) Apply the paint. I use the cheap-o craft paint available in any craft store (It's not archival and maybe not most waterproof, so if this is precious and intended for the great outdoors, do your paint research!). I like to use a fairly rough, dry brush to get a sort of distressed effect. I also like to keep the strokes parallel to the edges of the pot because I like the way it looks, but this is all personal preference.5) Let the paint dry for about 20 minutes. Then use your fingernail or the tip of your x-acto blade to pick up the edge of the stencil. Peel back carefully, if the paint is sticking to your stencil around the edges, getly run your x-acto or the blade of your scissors around the outline before peeling further. 6) You're Done! Fill your pot with plants or household items, gift wrap it or otherwise put it to work.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Legitimate Garden Post

As promised. I know it's not much to look at as of now. I'm having a really hard time identifying the weeds from the seedlings in this green jumble, but it's mine and it makes me happy. A great woe will descend upon the Brewer household if my expanding girth ever prohibits me from squeezing through the kitchen window.
I love my new chairs too. They're just cheesy resin, but they're so comfortable and bring some much needed color to the blacktop roof. Pretty cute chair accessory too.
B's berry patch. It's very well tended, and usually has Matchbox bulldozers and front loaders doing the weeding. The first bloom on a cistus I got for my birthday. Alyssum with some larkspur and sweet peas in the background.English daisies and one of Beckett's many hidden gnome friends.

This year, most of my babies are from the many excellent online lists of honey bee-friendly plants. Cosmos, California poppies, Toadflax and some native wildflower mixes, to name a few not pictured. I was stunned to get bees to our hot, barren industrial roof last summer. So this year I did a little more to make it worth their while. I also planted Morning Glories, my favorite. I just have a thing for vine plants. Last year I was too chicken, afraid they'd roast by July. But this year I went for it, and have been treating the tiny spindly sprouts with exceeding care. I hope I hope I hope they bloom.

Over the next few weeks and months everything will be rearranged. Right now the wagons are circled to minimize the roughness of the Spring wind that whips off the bay. Soon I'll have to move containers and create artificial shade to minimize the blistering relentless Summer sun. Honestly, it's pretty hostile. I think it's just my dumb stubbornness that makes anything grow out there at all. It's certainly not skill or expertise.And with a view like this, I can handle a little hostility.

Where Did April Go?

Hello all. I just can't believe how this spring is flying by. Unless peanut butter sandwiches have suddenly become blog-worthy, I haven't made much of note lately and I have no snazzy photos to show you. But I did check a few things off the old to-do list, so hopefully now I can get back to the fun stuff.

I pushed it a little this weekend, and had to spend the last 36 hours with my feet up, but I'm feeling pretty good now. I worked in my garden like crazy, even got us some new deck chairs to enjoy it. I'll get my tomatoes going next month, but other than that the planting is done. Now it's just watering and weeding.

I also did something so ridiculously luxurious. I went to a movie all by myself. Amazing. I haven't done that in years. I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at our local indie movie house, which boasts legitimate matinee pricing and wretched seats. The film was gritty and rough and oh-so-Scandinavian and I loved it. It followed the book very well, and most of the tweaks made for a cleaner film narrative. I have to say, it's one of the better screen adaptations I've seen. I was worried that the violence would become gratuitous in the word-to-image translation, but, though not as poignant, is came off as a powerful indictment of violence against women. It turned my stomach, as brutality should.

In other news, I'm working on adding tutorials to some of my older posts. Putting my scatterbrained process into simple steps is proving tricky, but we'll get there. I'll let you know when they're up and running.

That's the update. I'll post a legitimate garden post this evening, tomorrow at the latest, with pictures and everything. I'd do it now, but I'm kinda snobby about having light in my photos, and I can't get the earth to spin on my schedule. What's that about?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

Oh Being Human, why do I love thee? With a basic plot stolen from the sharpied journal of a goth adolescent (3 attractive 20-something roommates, who happen to be a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost) and throwback makeup effects reminiscent of a low budget An American Werewolf in London, I should have never fallen for this BBC Three effort. That having been said I'm currently devouring the second season (er... series to you Brits.)

It's like by embracing the ridiculousness, they've made more room for character development. And by forgoing computer animation and other modern attempts at forcing suspension of disbelief, I find I suspend it willingly just to see what happens next. I love it. But I'm a nerd, so there's always that to consider.

As is often the sad, sad case, this show is currently being imported. The American version will be on the Syfy network, and is scheduled to air this summer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a The Office style import, rather than a Life on Mars scale disaster. A girl can dream.

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Friends for Old Helen

Oh Helen, she does so much yet asks so little, and still I repay her with months of a barren windowsill. Yesterday, while B and I were exploring our local nurseries for roof-hardy plants, we kept her in mind and picked up a few indoor plants to liven up her corner.
Bringing these plants home made the whole bedroom look so much better. It's made me want to rearrange the whole house. You know, with all the extra time I have.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag... or... Crazy Like a Fox Part 2: The Daddus Edition

There are few things in the domestic formula that I do with any grace, particularly in the kitchen, but fixing my husband's lunch in the morning has become an art form in its own right. I take great pride in it, don't ask why. So imagine my dismay each day, when he heads out the door with my thoughtfully packed goodies in a plastic Fred Meyer bag. Shameful. So, I made him this.Ok, I bought this and added the fox, but you knew what I meant. And now his mid-day delicacies have a proper transport. I kept it minimal, by that I mean masculine, and had to seriously curb my polka dots and bias tape enthusiasm. I'm very happy with this stencil, and I'm having visions of fox silhouettes on all manner of things. Maybe our plain white bedding? Hmm... that's definitely worth further thought.

The Help

It's not that I've had some sewing breakthrough, or that sewing has pulled ahead as my favorite pastime. Here's the real reason I've been doing so much sewing lately, and not so much (to my great dismay) drawing, painting, cutting etc.B pushes the sewing machine pedal, and he's actually pretty good at it. He's also a great dish rinser. So that's what I do, I sew and do dishes. Everything else just sits in piles, and I stare at it longingly.Mr. Fox helps too, of course.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Wrap Thingy

We've been sick this week, and I don't mean "we" in the royal sense. I mean all 3 of us were stricken with a slow moving crud. Leading to a pretty uneventful week. But by the weekend we were rallying, and this is what I have to show for it.I made the basic shape in a crazy whirlwind on Friday afternoon, and then stared at it, scratching my head for days. But a trip with friends to the fabric store (and a stop at Trader Joe's for mochi - chocolate this time) gave me just the right boost to add the details and get it done.
It's heavier than the others I've made, more like a lightweight sweatshirt, and super comfy. The print is from an old shirt, so it was a limited resource. It's awesome to have pulled something out of the "project pile", but I definitely could have used a few more inches for the hood (my first hood ever! What!?!) One might call it "loungewear" and it'll make a stellar swim cover-up, but that won't stop me from wearing it anywhere and everywhere.