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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Do I have Egg on my Face?



Egg-blowing is the new Pilates. You heard it here first.

It’s Easter season and I decided to decorate a few eggs. So I poked holes in the ends of five eggs and started blowing the contents out. Have you tried this? It’s an alternative to using hard-boiled eggs. This way, you empty the egg shell so that you can decorate the eggs and keep them displayed without having to refrigerate them overnight.

It’s been a year or two since I blew out the insides of eggs and I’d forgotten that it takes quite a bit of force to get the goo out. By the time the fifth egg was empty, my exhausted cheek muscles felt like they’d been pinched by a hundred grandmothers. And my abs felt like they’d done a million crunches. I realized I’d conquered new levels of multitasking: working out my core and prepping for Easter. And that’s why I’m promoting the newest exercise trend: egg blowing for fitness and home d├ęcor.

Mid-way through the egg blowing I thought, “I’d better take a photo of this.” It seemed like a good idea, since I sensed a blog post in the works. But maybe it was the lightheadedness speaking. Because I’ll tell you: I did take two photos, and they are possibly the least flattering photos I have ever taken in my life. So I’ll spare you the horror and I will assure you that a close up of me, forcing air into the egg clutched between my tired lips is bad enough to picture in your head. You don’t need the visual. But the effort was worth it. My body may be tired but the eggs are empty. This is what we artists call suffering for our art.

I need a nap.

Anyway, I now have five empty eggs and I want to decorate them with supplies I haven’t used before on Easter eggs. One year I tried a silk transfer method. The pattern from your silk fabric transfers onto the eggshell for beautiful, colorful results. Other times we have used the PAAS egg decorating kits, which are fun. But please—I have a studio (crammed) full of delightful (and random) supplies and I thought it would be fun to decorate eggs using some of my craft stash.


 
 
 
I ended up decorating the eggs with decoupage. I used a clear product I already had to stick paper to my eggs, but you could use glue if you had some at home. Once I had my adhesive on part of the egg, I pressed small pieces of tissue paper onto the surface until the tissue was flattened against the egg. Then I secured it with more glue. This is so easy and because tissue paper is translucent, you get cool layers of color. On a few eggs I added a little bit of ribbon, pieces of paper doily or tiny silk flowers. I also gave makeovers to a few eggs I’d saved from previous years—adding tissue paper to the color already on the eggs. Keeping previous years’ hollow eggs in a Tupperware box in the garage is a good way to protect them from year to year, and to add to your collection. In related findings, keeping previous years’ eggs in a Tupperware box in the garage (alongside tons of other decorations and many bikes and boxes of random stuff) is not a good way to deal with the garage clutter. But hey, I’m only human. And egg decorating is much more fun than garage mess sorting.








Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover or simply the magic of spring…Whether your eggs are plastic or dyed or bedazzled or scrambled…

Happy Spring!



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wacky Wednesday #87—Oranges



Spring is here and it’s making me want to dress in as much color as possible.

(Well, actually, I always want to wear a lot of cheery color. It’s not exclusively a spring thing for me…)

Today I’m wearing oranges. A lot of oranges. More than a year ago I did a WW themed around lemons, but I think the citrus family is varied enough to warrant a separate outfit celebrating oranges, don’t you?


 


I decided to refashion a WW costume from the past—my Orange is the New Black dress. The dress was a good base for today’s costume, and I added oranges slices onto a necklace to fit my new theme. The orange slices are made from foam, felt, paint and a plastic orange construction vest I bought at a yard sale years ago and cut up. I cut circles from the plastic to make earrings, and I think they may be my favorite part of this outfit. While I was out today I noticed that while my shadow was dark, the shadows cast by my earrings were orange. (I loved this.)




The plastic is translucent, and orange slices are, too. Have you ever held up a slice of orange to the sun. You haven’t? You should! If you do, you’ll notice that sunlight shines through the orange. I took a photo of the earrings in our orange tree so you could see how the sun shines through them.




Oranges: they taste good, and are cheerfully bright, and are good for you. And when I wear fruit symbols, it automatically gives an outfit a playful feel.

Want to know a few facts about oranges? Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the World. They originated in Southeast Asia in approximately 4000 B.C. Oranges are actually modified hesperidia berries.

Anybody craving vitamin C yet?



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ray and the Coif of Many Colors

On their birthdays most grandpas don’t ask for exotic hair colors.
But my friend Ray Park wanted a birthday present he’d never had before: hair in shades you’d find in a Crayola crayons box.
Ask and you shall receive.
A week ago Ray’s wonderful wife Debby asked me if I would be interested in experimenting on Ray’s hair. Are Wednesdays wacky? Of course! I said, “Yes—I’ve been feeling an itch to dye someone’s hair!” This project brings to mind a twist on the 1963 song by Leslie Gore. “It’s my party and I’ll dye if I want to, dye if I want to, dye if I want to. You would dye too if you liked red and blue…”
My own hair is taking a break from the exotic hair colors because while delightfully fun, they take their toll on my hair’s health and Dried Straw wasn’t the look I wanted. Ray’s birthday wish scratches my itch to experiment and his quest for color. Win-win. This funny grandpa of two with the quick smile and twinkly eyes was about to change his look.
Ray in his natural state.

Raynbow in the early stages of coloring...

But let’s back up a few weeks. Ray had seen an eye-catching hair style on a musician and was intrigued by the colors in the man’s hair. Ray began to ponder trying something different with his own salt and pepper hair. But why leave out his beard? Ray’s beard is more salt than pepper (an excellent foundation for dye). As we discussed ideas, Ray’s eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. He envisioned rainbows, stripes and variety. When I asked Ray how he sees himself, he said he’s “evolving.” Although his work life was in science, his hobbies, including poetry and gardening, are on the creative side. His wife describes him as spontaneous, fun-loving and goofy. His personality is as colorful as the nickname he’s had for years: Raynbow.    

Perhaps Ray’s interest in a new look shouldn’t be a surprise. Ray has explored his creative side with watercolor painting classes, landscape design courses, and stained glass making classes, among others.  He and his wife sing with the La Jolla Symphony Chorale. So for a creative guy like Ray, a desire for expressive hair should not come as a true surprise. The only surprising part is that he hadn’t done it before. But perhaps the timing is perfect. Ray was inspired by the musician’s hair, Ray’s birthday was approaching, and Debby and I were chatting about hair color last week. The pieces came together. As I’ve said before, hair can be a canvas, and I happen to have a brush or two in my tool belt.

When the dye first goes on it's very bright. Once it's rinsed out it becomes a lot more subtle.

 

This photo shows Ray's look after the first batch of color was applied. We ended up adding more blue to the sideburns.

And so…to the colors. A few days ago I emailed Ray about whether he preferred temporary or permanent dye. Short-term options included using Kool Aid colors. Yes, the drink powder. It makes for bright, temporary hair color and has the added benefit of being very affordable. Plus, if you have leftover powder you can make drinks in less than a minute. But Ray preferred to jump in with true gusto and go for permanent color. We met yesterday to discuss ideas and today Ray and I collaborated on his new look. He opted not to bleach his hair white first, which would make the colors to pop more. “Semi-subtle” was his goal.
 
 
 
This week I didn’t do a Wacky Wednesday costume and yet I was given the opportunity to do a creative experiment nonetheless. Ray, thank you for asking to be my guinea pig. I’m flattered that you entrusted your hair to me and tickled that your family associates me with the kind of crazy fun you craved. When I’m a grandparent if I’m as fun-loving as you are, I’ll be satisfied. Happy birthday and happy hair play!





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wacky Wednesday #86—Spring!



It is officially spring where I live. Flowers have burst into bloom overnight and every day when I walk through my neighborhood I notice new leaves and more flowers. Here in San Diego we hardly have a brutal winter. You might assume that we barely notice the difference between winter and spring here—but we do. Spring has sprung and today I’m wearing my enthusiasm for this happy season.


(Update: I started writing this blog post a few days ago when it was sunny in San Diego. Today it is cloudy, somewhat windy and has rained, off and on. Is Mother Nature trying to complicate my WW? She can’t stop me. I busted out my umbrella and I’ve decided that these showers are going to bring even more spring flowers.) 

As always, I like the challenge of making things from unexpected objects. For example, some of the flowers I’m wearing are made from pull tabs from cans, and from plastic tabs that hold bread bags closed. I found these wonderful supplies a few days ago amongst several big containers of found objects I’ve saved for years. (Remember: it is not hoarding. It is CAP--Collecting for Art Projects.) I actually made a few more of these found object flowers but once I was decorating with them, I realized that they are heavy. So the rest of my flowers are made from fabric and rice paper, which is a little easier on my neck.





 


I made my necklace from fabric and buttons I had already, and some earrings add to the spring effect. (My friend Sam is responsible for some of these buttons—she has a mind-boggling collection of wonderful things!)




 
 


A word about my faux-hawk. Having a true mohawk would require shaving the left and right sides of my head, and there’s a small part of me that is tempted. But most of me is not planning to that anytime soon. Still, I do love rocking a mohawk from time to time. My mohawk has nothing to do with the fact that Mr. T is on Dancing with the Stars right now. Although I do dig his style. He’s so funny and fierce and original. I think mohawks rock. And I think Mr. T would agree with me when I say, “Yo, I PITY the fool who doesn’t love spring!!!!”



 


Even if spring hasn’t quite made it to your corner of the world yet, hang in there. It’s coming. May this time of growth and warmth and new life give you the boost it’s giving me!



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wacky Wednesday #85—Cards



Costumes are fun, but for me, the story behind the costume is often as much fun as what I’m wearing. Who doesn’t like a good story? Credit for today’s costume goes in large part to someone I’ve known more than thirty years. My dear friend Maia gave me these playing cards a couple of months ago. She took the trouble to package them, write a note about their Wacky Wednesday potential and mail them from her home, a nine hour drive away, to mine. But she’s like that. She always has gone the extra mile for her friends. The cards are smaller than standard. I didn’t ask Maia if they were airplane entertainment during one of her overseas trips, but they struck me as a travel sized deck of cards. (Maia, are they?)

Funny—cards could be the subject of a long blog post, independent from this costume. (But I’ll try to be brief. Ish.) Just off the top of my head, it seems to me that cards have many uses, meanings and histories. They are a device for connecting people. Or if you’re alone, you can entertain yourself by playing Solitaire. I associate cards with my dad, who taught me to play Gin Rummy when I was about nine or ten. He loves cards. A lot of people do. Card games were important to my 82-year-old neighbor, who recently passed. After her husband died she began playing cards twice a week with her girlfriends. The social connection over playing cards is probably a big part of why she lived a long and happy life. For some, card games are a way to relax. Hubby and his friends bond over poker games. Some people make a living off of playing cards in Vegas. Whether for work or fun, cards are played all over the world.

Even in a time when technology has made so many changes to how we spend our free time, people still love playing cards. Sure, online card games exist, but it seems meaningful that the paper cards are still used and loved. Besides, meeting in person over a real deck of cards just brings a certain something that an online card game does not.

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh right: unusual hats.

When Maia sent these cards I immediately knew they would become a house of cards hat. Even the box holding the cards had potential. I cut the pictures of cards out of the box and glued them to my sunglasses. Add some earrings and a necklace and you’re either ready for Wednesday or ready for Las Vegas—or both.






You know I love the shadows my wacky hats make…



And on a related note, is it just me or do many card games have far too many rules? I want my recreation time to be simpler than my real life. I have enough trouble remembering three kids’ schedules and class assignments and all kinds of real life things like insurance and medical appointments—and this is important stuff that must be remembered. Why would I want my play time to involve a million things to remember and to be even more complicated than my real life? I guess Go Fish is my speed.

What’s your favorite card game?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wacky Wednesday #84—Grapes




What do you think of when you hear the word “grapes?”

Sour grapes?

Wine?

PB and grape jelly?

You probably don’t think, “Hmm. Wearing grapes is a good idea.” But I do.

This story started ages ago—three days ago, to be precise. I was in a thrift store searching for ceramics to smash for an upcoming mosaic project. I decided to do a lap around the store because thrift stores (with their quirky mix of stuff) are excellent for jump-starting Wacky Wednesday ideas. Mixed in among this and that was a silicone mold of bunches of grapes. Was it intended as an art supply? Or for soap making? Candy making? Ice cubes? Who knew? Of course, its original purpose has nothing to do with its potential. (This is a wonderful philosophy for people, too: who we’ve been or what we’ve done in the past shouldn’t prevent us from trying something new, just because!)




In any case, the grapes mold came home with me and the grape harvesting began. I didn’t end up using all the parts of the mold, but there are two of the shapes in my necklace. For the rest of my grapes, I used felt and t-shirt fabric with pillow stuffing inside.




Here’s a breakdown of my costs:

Grape mold, thrifted                      $1.70 (Tax included)

Purple t shirt, thrifted                    $1.10 (Tax included)

Felt                                                    $1.76 (Tax included)

Purple skirt                                      $      0 (Already had it)

____________________________________________

Total                                                  $4.56


And so today I am wearing grapes. Just for fun. This outfit is not a reference to Dionysus, the Greek god of grape harvesting and wine making. Or Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. You choose your favorite. I’m staying out of it. This costume is Just About Grapes.






And let’s say “Cheers” to grapes not only for their flavor but also for the fact that they are good for us, full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and vitamins. Personally, I don’t like wine, but I like grapes and raisins. But grapes with seeds? Having to spit out a seed takes away from my experience. Seeds make grapes feel like work—the equivalent of bringing homework on a vacation. I choose seedless.



Now it’s time for me to sign off with a quote from a famously silly French royal, Marie-Antoinette. What was it she said? Oh, yes. Let them eat…grapes!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wacky Wednesday #83—Peacock


I’m bucking tradition and dressing as a male peacock. Female peafowl are much less colorful—and child, please—do you think I want to dress as the less colorful half? No.





My intention with today’s outfit was not to replicate every feather in a peacock’s train. That would require 200 feathers, which would be some serious work. No, instead I am suggesting a peacock using a few feathers I created, a few real feathers I bought at a thrift store years ago, and a few decorations (also thrifted) that gave a peacock vibe.


Last year at the Goodwill store I found some decorations (approximately 100 of them) that grabbed my eye. The shape reminded me of peacock feathers and at $1.99, the price was right. 



My peacock outfit simmered in the back of my mind for quite a while, but recently everything came together. I liked the idea of a poncho that I could wear not only today but on other winter days—one that had personality and color and was unlike any I’d ever seen. Clearly, I’d have to make one. So I grabbed this navy blue fleece while it was on sale at the fabric store and planned to embroider some feathers onto. Welllllll, embroidering a peacock feather is easier said than done. I’m sure it can be done but my first attempt at it wasn’t quite how I wanted it to be. It looked like a bunch of confused pine needles. So I opted instead to make feathers from fabric and to stitch them onto the poncho. I ended up using some beautiful fabric that my fashion designer friend Frana gave me a few years ago. It’s copper and gold mesh with sequins here and there, and although I hadn’t planned on it for this project, I’m delighted with the shimmery results. I’ve abstracted the feather shape but I think it still reads as a peacock feather. 







Today’s statement necklace incorporates some of the same feather decorations I thrifted, along with some fringe, real peacock feathers and rhinestone. My two head pieces use the small feather decorations, a few real peacock feathers and rhinestones. It was breezy today but my headdresses (mostly) stayed put. One woman I saw today said my outfit had a Mardi Gras feel, and although that wasn’t my intention, I agree. And she’s from New Orleans, so she’d know. 



These gorgeous birds really put on a show when all their feathers are on display. Did you know that after mating season, they shed their train? The feathers are gathered and new ones grow back. If only I shed peacock feathers instead of tumbleweeds of brown hair—the bathtub drain would look much more glamorous.

But hey, you can’t have everything.