So my friend Don has these totally amazing Doctor Who demitoss cups. After I admired them on Facebook, she sent me this picture.
Maybe it was the six or seven separate and discrete times I looked at this picture, but suddenly, my kitchen seemed pointless and devoid of all meaning.
Hey, I thought. I know. I will crochet myself a Doctor Who potholder! If I may quote Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde, “What, like it’s hard?”
Yeah, that’s the part I always forget. It IS hard. Portraiture in yarn is hard. Witness the transformation from start to finish – and that’s assuming I’m finished. That’s not a safe assumption.
After this, I will swear off potholders and charts for at least a month. But as time passes, as I forget all of these pains, I am almost assuredly going to wind up making more Doctor Who villains.
What, like it’s hard?
So first of all, this. At Goodwill. For five bucks.
I have this thing with Walt Whitman. It’s not that kind of thing, because A of all, one of us is deceased, and Number B, he’s just not that into me. Even so, it’s a legit thing, a connection that I’ve had to his poetry since adolescence. I am not usually the sort of girl who wants to lounge bare-legged in the grass communing with Mother Earth, either, and Whitman speaks to me in spite of that, because he’s almost like a secular Jesus. Abhor riches. Stand up for the little guy. Hate tyrants. Serve others. All of that resonates so deeply with me that I practically have cartoon hearts shooting out of my eyes.
Of course, these words are really nice (as are cartoon hearts), but what does it mean to hang these words on the wall? Doesn’t that action make one feel a little glib, a trifle self-satisfied that one has done one’s duty to one’s philosophy, in some way allowing the art to stand in for the deeds? Shouldn’t one have an active, dynamic, complex relationship with one’s views on life?
And shouldn’t one stop referring to oneself as one already?
These are the things I think about when I try to decide what to paint on top of Walt Whitman art that I find at Goodwill. Sure, I could have painted a glowing, feel-good Earth mother, loving animals and the earth and the sun. But I think that makes it even simpler to have a facile relationship with the words, instead of a complicated one.
So! Here’s my complicated woman, having a complicated relationship with Walt Whitman and the earth and the sun. And life. And death. And being blue.
It’s not finished, but it will be next week. Until then, down with tyrants; up with little guys!
Well HELLO there! Long time no see!
I’m swooping in to do a guest post on Living With Art because I’m currently in the midst of a huge room remodel, and the entire room is pretty Living-With-Art-centric. Here we are, flaunting child labor laws and constructing new walls:
My daughter, as you can tell by her swanky pants, is SUPER into pink. Because of this, we agreed to paint her walls pink. I used some bubblegum pink paint, some red paint, and some white paint to get a color I’m affectionately terming “raspberry beret” because it looks like raspberry sorbet. The kind you’d find in a second-hand store. Plus naming the walls of a 7-year-old’s room after a song written by a notorious sex machine is amusing to me. I can’t help it.
I have some super subtle clouds on one of the walls of my living room, and Druzie absolutely LOVES them, so I gave her clouds.
Here, have some closeups!
This is the wall by one of the doors (there are two… turning a house with two apartments into a single-family residence comes with its own trials and tribulations):
I made those clouds by swooping with a sea sponge. Easy-peasy!! This is the door that’s next to that wall – it will eventually have a happy little guy on it:
This little nook will hold her princess bed (it has curtains and everything – we actually bought it for her a couple of years ago for Christmas and dumped her in it in the middle of the night so that she woke up confused and overjoyed):
That big black rectangle is actually chalkboard paint, and it will eventually be framed out with moulding:
All of her walls aren’t pink-fluffy-cloudy – we left the opposite side of the room white so that she can hang art and posters. I’m also planning on hanging clusters of Chinese lanterns and crocheted flowers from the corners. There will also be a crocheted flowery valance over her window. I’m teaching her to crochet right now, so maybe I’ll put her to work:
The floor obviously isn’t complete yet (it will be covered with that snap together fake wood laminate stuff), so I painted her name in her bed-nook, which probably made her happier than anything else so far. Ahh, kids.
My plans for the next few weeks include:
- Finishing the floor
- Finishing the painting on the door
- Finding a hot pink shag rug
- Crocheting poufs for the floor
- Moving her back in
The poor girl has been living in a room that’s not a room for the last six months or so, ever since Yellowjackets ate through her ceiling (seriously. It was horrifying). The plan is to get this finished in the next few weeks so that she can move back in and we can start remodeling my art area, which needs to be done DESPERATELY. I’ll share more pictures along the way (and give Ann a Friday break in the process!!)
As fans of The Princess Bride already know, Rodents of Unusual Size DO exist – and now we can prove it by crocheting them to life!
Okay, my friends! This is the week! The birdcage rescue is now complete! *Cue masterly villainous laughter, if any*
*In absence of masterly villainous laughter, cue awkward chuckle*
*Or some pictures*
Last week, as you may recall, we left our heroine tied to the train tracks, where she was removing paint from a thrift store birdcage to pass the time until the next train arrived. This week, our heroine had thought to finish the birdcage, but she did not, because assemblage ALWAYS takes more time than she thinks it will. Why is she talking about herself in the third person? Heaven only knows. She did stay up all night, so this is some highly delirious prose.
I was on the phone with Sarah this week – you know, Sarah, my co-conspirator here at wonderstrange – when I happened to wander out into the garage, right past this sad, paint-slopped little birdcage that I found at Goodwill three years ago. I said, “I think I just figured out my next Living with Art project.”
Under normal circumstances, I would have simply painted over an object liked this and moved forward with my Evil Sculpting Plans. Alas, this was not anything I could paint over. After all my attempts at sanding failed, I turned to the internet for a cheap, eco-friendly way to strip away that purple paint. What I found was a recipe involving “washing soda,” flour, and water. What is washing soda, you ask? Great question! Short answer: It’s in Aisle 12.
I mixed up the washing soda, flour, and water (but NOT the wine) to make this goo. I’m thinking, in retrospect, that it probably makes a big difference that I didn’t mix it up exactly like the recipe suggested. I treated it more like cooking than baking. If you try this at home, don’t do that. Follow the recipe, which is linked at the end of this post.
The instructions for this stuff say that you should leave it on for at least 30 minutes but up to several days, making sure all the while that it doesn’t dry out. My version, however, dried out in less than five minutes.
Next came the truly awkward part: Getting the dried goo OFF of the birdcage. I tried four different cleaning brushes and lots more spritzing, at which point, my patience exploded in a fireworks display of mighty oaths, and I stormed off to the bathtub.
NOW this little birdcage is ready for the real transformation, which I’ll show you next week. Meanwhile, if you want the recipe for the goo, go here. Just remember: Bake, don’t cook.
Shortly before Christmas, my pal Cindy of The Slumbering Herd sent me an amazing 6×6 piece of sideshow art as a gift.
To display this amazing beauty, I decided to build a frame – and show you how to build one, too, because it’s WAY easier than you think. I made mine in about 25 minutes, and once you have the tools, so can you. Wipe that look off your face. I wouldn’t lie to you about something as important as art!
The absolutely non-negotiable must-have tool for this project is a mitre box and saw. This is not a big purchase. You can get the exact one I have on Amazon for about $15.
The next thing you need is some sort of wood from which to make your frame. I used one of the old advertising yardsticks you can find in any antique mall for about $3. You could use rulers, paint sticks, craft wood, or molding. You might also think of other things, because you are clever.
To get started, simply place your wood in your box. You want to cut the wood at 45 degree angles. If your wood has writing on it that you want to preserve, position the writing so that it falls on the proper side of your 45-degree line.
To cut, you need to HOLD THE WOOD down with your non-dominant hand. Holding the saw as level as you can, simply move it back and forth over the wood while applying pressure. You don’t need to go all Incredible Hulk. Just, you know, apply some pressure.
Once you’ve finished the cut, measure along the bottom, which is to say, from lower corner to lower corner.
Now put the wood back in the box. Line up your pen mark with the line, and cut.
In short order, you will have the four pieces of your frame. SAND THE EDGES. Arrange the pieces as you want them, then flip each piece over so that you can work from the back.
To join them, I suggest a good epoxy. I used JB Quik Weld. After gluing the angles together, I also added two corner braces that I cut from scraps of the same wood, placing them on opposing corners.
Butter the triangle with epoxy just like stinky toast and press it firmly in place over the corner. I like to hold it for many seconds, which is a holdover from my Super Glue days. Hey, it makes me happy.
Now you’ll brace the other two corners with a support piece that will extend from one corner to the other. What is the purpose of this piece? You want to brace the corners AND your art at the same time. I used a paint stick.
Once the epoxy has set, you can flip your frame over. Do not freak out when you see epoxy peeking through at the corners.
You can now cover the corner seams however you like: With pennies, buttons, snaps, gears, whatever. You might also think of other things, because you are clever.
Once you’re done embellishing your frame, you can add magnets to the back and place it on a refrigerator. You can add Velcro dots and put it in your cube at work You can glue a bracket to the back and hang it on a wall. You can also place it in an easel, as I did. If you want a layer of something that mimics glass, slip in some acetate.
If the frame will be in the sun, I do recommend spraying the artwork with a UV-resistant spray and/or covering the acetate with clear UV blocking film. (Acetate alone won’t black UV rays.)
To see more of Cindy’s work, visit her blog! If you make this project, show us! We are total voyeurs, and we want to see!
If you read “Living with Art” with any regularity, you know that I believe in creating art on pretty much any and every available space in the house. If the object I’m painting is also functional, well, for some reason that makes me extra happy with double pepperoni. In the name of joy – which the world needs a whole lot of, by the way – I decided to tackle the set of bowling-themed shakers I picked up two or three years ago at a flea market that no longer exists.
From the moment I found these, I knew that they needed to become characters from The Big Lebowski, and so they have.
These are available in my shop, and I do have plans to make more.