Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Everyone is in a New Moon Swoon

The Twilight Saga New Moon shattered box office records on its opening weekend leaving detractors no room to deny its mass appeal.  Though it is a franchise that appeals mainly to females of the teenage persuassion, no movie could make this large of an impact without having some adults (and maybe even a few males) partaking in the madness.  Confession.....I went to see it myself on Saturday.  Yes, I have embraced my inner 15 year old!  And she is loving the angst driven, highly emotional fantasy that brings vampires, werewolves and vulnerable humans together in the American Northwest of all places.

My mom has been heavy into jewelry making lately, and it's rubbed off a bit.  Drawing on some inspiration from the focus of New Moon's leading man, Jacob Black, I made a tribal necklace that anyone with dramatic flair, Twihard or no, can enjoy.  Jacob is a member of the Quileute Tribe which is an important part of his identity.  The silver feathers are of course an homage to Native American roots while also being one of the fashion world's favorite accessory.  The latest development in Jacob's world is his new werewolf status, so there was no question of having a howling wolf charm to adorn this necklace.  The perfect backdrop for these items had to be a textured disc that vaguely suggests both the moon and the wolfpack tatoo.  I wanted the references to be subtle, so that anyone could appreciate the piece. But the inspiration needed to shine through at the same time.

It is listed on my Etsy page as of now.  http://www.etsy.com/shop/ExpressiveElliotts  However, I am liking the look of it so much, that I won't be too upset if it does not sell.  I might want to keep this one for myself!!   

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DIY Bubble Wrap Insulation

All the cold rain we have been having lately got me thinking about how to stay warm this winter without taking a major hit in the pocketbook.  Since it is also Green Week, I've been considering how to reduce my environmental impact as well.  After some research online, it turns out bubble wrap is the perfect solution to all these concerns.  Popular in actual green houses as well as homes just trying to be a little greener, applying bubble wrap to windows is an easy way to insulate and keep those heating bills under control.  That not only keeps me warm and toasty when it's cold outside for less money, it reduces my energy consumption.  That is what they call a win/win.

The cost of bubble wrap is minimal, but I had some just laying around.  It also happened to be a pretty lavender color, which was a plus from a decorative standpoint.  The greatest thing about this project was the simplicity.  All that's needed is an exacto knife and water.  Seriously.  Spray down the window panels with water, apply the bubble wrap (bubble side down), and cut to fit.  Done. 

I am really pleased with the results so far. The afternoon sun comes in through the kitchen door, and I crave any natural light I can get.  I worried that the bubble wrap would interfere with that.  In fact, it actually solved a problem.  I can keep my blinds up at all times because the bubble wrap distorts the view giving me privacy.  That is a huge benefit when it comes to apartment living!! 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Menu Holder

You know that drawer in the kitchen that collects all the "stuff" that just doesn't have anywhere else to go?  Well, I don't have one because my apartment is stingy with its cabinets and drawers.  But that does not mean I don't have the "stuff".  For example, take out menus.  There are days when cooking dinner feels like it would drain the last drop of energy right out of my body.  That's when it's time for some General Tso's...or pizza...or an eggplant parm sub.  So many options, and so many menus.  I got tired of looking at those menus piled on my fridge.  The solution came in the form of Starry Night.  The gift bag of Van Gogh's classic work was sitting in my gift wrapping box just begging to be displayed in some way.  I stuck a push pin in my kitchen wall, hung the bag from it, and in went the menus.  Voila!  A cute way to keep my take out menus handy.  And when I get tired of Van Gogh, I can easily switch out the bag.  But I don't see that happening anytime soon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

S is for Sesame Street

It would be remiss of me to ignore the 40th anniversary of the remarkable children's program Sesame Street.  Though it is a staple for those under the age of 10, this 20 something cannot deny the sheer joy of watching some of the classic videos on youtube today.  The songs were as familiar to me now as they ever were...Ernie singing about his rubber duckie, Cookie Monster singing about the virtues of healthy food, The Count singing Batty Bats.  Good times! 

When I try to pinpoint what it is about this show that makes such an indelible impression on young kids, I can't quite come up with a succinct answer.  But I think it has something to do with merging possibility and reality, imagination and facts, laughter and learning.  What I do know for sure is that it was an enjoyable part of my childhood and has as much merit now as it did in its first season.   So to the most popular street in America I say....

Happy Birthday!  And thanks for all the inspiration!

(This posting brought to you by the letter S)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Baby Season

A few years ago there was an explosion of weddings with my close girlfriends.  This might come as a shock, but now there is suddenly an explosion of pregnancies.  I know.  Who could have foreseen this?!  I am so excited about all the bundles of joy expected to arrive next year.  I had the first of what will be many baby showers this morning, and of course, I had to be different and deviate from the registry a little in order to be craftabulous.  Being on a shoestring budget, I opted to make some of the gifts for the little guy.  The following are some of the gifts I included in my "gift cooler".

A few weeks ago, I got a picture from my friend from her newly painted and baby-ready nursery.  The theme of the room was sailboats.  That was all the inspiration I needed.  I went to the craft store and found some blue sailboat appliques.  Not being a sewer, the iron-on pieces were right up my alley.  Bougt a pack of plain white onesies and....BAM....one personalized gift done with very little cost and virtually no time consumed.  I was able to iron on during World Series commercial breaks!

I bought a white wall hanging letter P that they could put up in the nursery.  I was most nervous about this project.  I knew I wanted to decorate it with a design, but it is so easy to mess something up when it comes  paint.  I put this off until yesterday.  Looking through my collection of stuff I was able to find a sailboat stencil.  With the intention of keeping it simple I used a green paint pen and stenciled the bottom of the letter and used baby blue (aka Carolina blue) stickers everywhere else.  For just a little more contrast I made little dots with my brown paint pen.  It turned out very well, and mom-to-be seemed impressed with it.  

Okay, I had all the gifts together and only a medium sized baby gift bag available to use.  Not going to work.  The options were now: go buy a larger bag OR use something on hand in a creative way.  There was a small styrofoam cooler collecting dust in my closet, so that's what I used.  I had bought some small wooden sailboat cutouts and painted them, but I never found a way to utilize them.  They were clearly meant to adorn the cooler!  Going to the trusty ribbon bag, I picked out ribbon that would resemble ocean water.  There was not a ton of it, so that led to the need for a shore.  I used the glue gun to attach everything and also raided my scrapbooking supplies for some little extras for the shore scene.  With some red crepe paper inside and coming over the sides to hide the ugly styrofoam, the project was complete.

I did buy some other gifts to put in the cooler, but I am glad that little baby boy will be getting some things from me that required care and thought.  Can't wait to meet him!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Wonder That is Ribbon!

Recently I was at Hancock Fabrics and noticed the bags of Christmas ribbon they had on sale. With a price tag of 77 cents, I had to pick up a couple. The thing about this “Christmas” ribbon was that it was in no way limited to Christmas colors. Still not sure why it was even labeled the way it was, but it worked to my advantage. Initially, I fully intended to put it to use for gift wrapping. Then, I ran across this article by Diana Durkes about using ribbon to upholster old and worn furniture and bring it back to vibrant life. http://www.homeworkshop.com/2009/07/21/diy-ribbon-upholstered-chair/  I absolutely loved the effect of the multi-colored ribbon as a stand in for fabric. I had plenty of ribbon, but no chair in need of a facelift. I did have a stool that was doubling as a bedside catchall that was not too cute though.

I layered the ribbons vertically and horizontally in no particular pattern; just making sure none of the seat was visible. I could have done a basket weave or any other number of patterns, but I kept it simple. I improvised my own method of simply double knotting the ribbon underneath to secure it in place. Not as put together and clean in its aesthetic, but I like the whimsy of glimpsing the ribbon underneath. The good news is….this project cost me less than $1 and I have plenty of ribbon left!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I get so much inspiration from the many talented and creative people posting their ideas on the web that I thought it might be fun to join their numbers! Money is tight these days, and resourcefulness is more important than ever. Whether it’s money saving tips or inventive uses for items already on hand, it all adds up. But sometimes the financial aspect of things are completely irrelevant. Sometimes it’s all about making yourself or someone else happy. And that’s worth more than all the money the U.S. Treasury can print! So, I look forward to sharing the things that have inspired me, and in turn would love to do some inspiring myself. Here goes…