Category Archives: Artsy Fartsy Things
Originally posted on findingLA.wordpress.com
When I turned 11, my sister gave me a journal. It had Tigger on it, and blue paper. She liked to journal, and thought that I might enjoy it too.
Fast forward 27 years and 40 some odd blank books later, and I’ve discovered that I love to write.
Writing is something that’s just stuck with me. Journals, stories, one completed slightly true to life story of my freshman year of college, letters, blogs, poetry, anything that involves writing words down involves me.
So, you can imagine the annoying feeling of incompletion that I face anytime I have writer’s block. I’ll be staring down at a blank page, trying to think of something – anything– to write that isn’t trivial. And I’ll have nothing. Thanks for the Blank Space, T.Swift, but I’ve got nothing more than a name to fill you.
I’ve tried a few tricks over the years. I’ve used the scrapbooking technique, I’ve tried writers’ prompts, I’ve even attempted to type when I’m feeling incredibly blocked. But that comes with the dreaded delete button, where you might be able to take away everything you think is wrong but at the same time, you could be deleting something that could be really
Again, with the puns.
Yesterday, I was in the middle of a coloring day with the Boo. He had a doodle book, I had an adult coloring book – all the rage right now. And in the midst of this coloring, I felt a strange calmness come over me. Coloring within these lines was practically therapeutic. All you had to worry about was filling in the blanks and that was all she wrote. Er, drew.
So with that, I busted out my old school Gelly Rolls. Back in the day, I had a few dozen of these in every color and texture. Um, lightning ink? SIGN ME THE EFF UP.
Something about the color on the page made me feel better instantly. It wasn’t just this terrible white page I had to fill, and it seemed suddenly more do-able. I doodled on a few pages, not filling the whole page, but giving myself blanks to fill, and things to remember, and goals to reach.
It made me feel more like I wanted to write, and less like I would cramp up within 30 seconds of cursive (Left handers, for the win). I even started busting out my collection of stamps and washi tape, to make things more interesting. And then, when I was done with that, I sat. And I wrote.
What are your cures for writer’s block? Let me know in the comments!
So, I live in this city called Grand Rapids, MI. It’s a nice city.
There comes a time in Grand Rapids, MI where we are a little more widely known. People come from all over to see the great display of Art Prize.
Art Prize is a giant explosion of stuff in downtown Grand Rapids. The whole downtown area is like a giant canvas for artists. People cram into downtown like sardines and get to vote on what their favorite piece is. Yay, public opinion!
There is an excellent part about Artprize – the constant debate on what defines art. As far as I know, anyone can enter Art Prize. Last year, a tapestry won. Another year, Jesus won. The variety of art spans from musical performances to musicals, to sculptures and paintings, and to this furry box located in front of the hockey arena with eggs inside. There was a year when a giant pig was art. And another year that a penny made of pennies was art.
And this year, Boo decided to define art as only a six year old can.
Boo: Mom, look! It’s more art!
Me: Boo, that’s not art.
Boo: It’s in artprize!
Me: Boo, it’s a garbage chute.
Boo: Oh, I thought it was art because it was so tall.
Me: Nope, just garbage.
Boo: Now why would anyone put garbage into artprize??!
Vote on, Grand Rapids.
This guy I knew once, way back when, offered to pay for my first tattoo. Every once in awhile, I debate texting him, seeing if his number is still the same, and asking if he’ll still pay for that tattoo.
I’m not exactly subtle about how terrible I am with pain. Once, I put my hand through a window and had to get five stitches. The nurse laughed at me because he had to use three times the normal amount of anesthetic to stop the pain. And I totally lied to him when he asked if I could still feel it. I still felt the needle and that shit hurt.
I had another offer today for a free tattoo. For some reason, when I say that I really don’t think I can do it, this says to people that they should try harder to convince me. They want to be my tattoo spirit guide, and tell me the places it will hurt the most and at what point the vibrating needle becomes more of a nuisance than a pain.
People just seem to want to know if it’ll make me cry.
Him: You don’t want a tattoo?
Me: No. It’s not that at all. I know what I would get if I were to get a tattoo. I just can’t get one.
Him: WHY NOT?
Me: L.A. DOES NOT DO PAIN.
Him: But that’s the thing. Everything is going to hurt you.
Me: This isn’t helping your argument, Bob Marley.
Him: Tattoos are different. They mean something to you.
Me: Not having needles poke me lots of times means something to me.
Him: But you choose this pain.
Me: BUT WHY ON EARTH WOULD I CHOOSE THE PAIN?!
A few new blogs that I’ve been reading have done this post where they take the contents of their purse, and artfully display what’s in it, and it’s actually very fascinating to me.
I’m like…wow. They’re so organized. Their purses are so cute. They carry around very little. Meanwhile, I’m walking around with so much stuff that I could get kidnapped and be fine for the next few days by the amount of stuff I carry around.
Their blogs are aptly titled: What’s in my bag: Vacation/School/Uni/Etc Edition.
So, after some hemming and hawing I decided to do my own post of this.
Mine will be aptly titled:
What’s in my bag: I’m a hoarder Edition
Or maybe: What’s in my bag: Why I have back problems edition.
This is what is in my purse in no particular order.
- Matching wallet — I’m particular. I like my bra to match my underwear. I like my wallet to match my purse.
- Random receipts — because a trash can is always too far away.
- #LettersFromLA — if I’m out shopping, or not shopping, or doing something that’s not shopping while I’m actually really shopping and see something kitschy that I want to mail to a pen pal, I’ll throw it in my purse to remind me to mail it. And then probably forget about it.
- Guitar picks — because the guitar just didn’t fit in the bag.
- Ticket Stubs — I always say that I’ll scrapbook things like this so I save them. Plus, they’re fun to mail off sometimes.
- Make up — when I say make up, I mean “lots of chapstick because I forget I already had one in my bag.”
- Sunglasses — Multiple pairs. See make up.
- Cameras — Multiple cameras, multiple medias.
- Hockey laces — just because.
- ALSO: snacks, a blue power ranger, my missing set of spare keys, mittens, my kid’s hat, passport pictures, and A DOLLAR, GUYS. I FOUND A DOLLAR.
I’d like to re-title this post. L.A. CLEANS OUT HER PURSE. MISSING PERSON FOUND AT THE BOTTOM.
*Yes, my uterus also applies, as I have had a small child basically growing** in my uterus.
**Full-on growing. Not basically growing. Growing babies is hard.
Last weekend, I was perusing the interwebs when I saw them:I found the site, http://www.coalnterryvintage.com, through the magic of instagram (You can follow me on instagram @LA_thegirl), and then discovered the shorts while searching for new summer clothes.
Somehow every year, I end up giving away my warm clothes during summer and my summer clothes during winter. When it comes to the time that I need them, I basically have the choice of shopping or dancing naked in the streets. And my mom doesn’t approve of public nudity. She probably doesn’t approve of private nudity either, but I’ve never asked.
So, it was off to shop. I wanted these shorts because I hate when I end up dressing like everyone else. It’s much more fun when people ask you, “Hey, where did you get your various pieces of clothing?” And then I respond with “well, they are from this, that, or the other fabulous place. Go buy them! They are awesome!”
However, in the case of these shorts, I would not respond with that. I’d respond with, “I made them, bitches. I cannot be replicated.”
Seriously. If you look at the prices of these shorts, you’ll notice that they are $90. Even if I were able to, I don’t think I could bring myself to spend that kind of money on a pair of shorts, when I have such a great clothes reputation of losing them by the time the season was over.
Thus, I corralled GoldDust and we set off on a crafty afternoon.
Step One: Supplies
We hit K-Mart first. We wanted some cheap shorts, so in case they didn’t turn out the way we wanted, we wouldn’t really lose any money. We didn’t find any shorts we liked, so we picked up some bleach and randomly bought matching fake Sperry’s on a whim. That has nothing to do with these homemade shorts. They were just cute.
We bought the K-Mart brand of Bleach, since it all works the same. We also made sure to pick a kind with a scent so we wouldn’t have to deal with the nasty bleach smell. The picture is of the lemon scent, but I picked linen fresh. Nothing says arts and crafts like fresh linen.
Cost so far: $1.79 for Bleach.
The next stop we made was Old Navy. Old Navy is notorious for a crazy cheap clearance rack, and shopping this time was no exception. GoldDust found a pair of white shorts for $6 bucks (she’ll write about her craft time later) while I found a pair of jeans for $5.02. I bought jeans because that way, I could decide on the length of my shorts, and would have enough denim to make them cuffed or do cutoffs.
Cost so far: $6.81
Step Two: Prepping
First things first, I got my supplies together.
- Large bucket. I used one of those plastic tubs you can get for really cheap from target. Everyone should have something like that roaming around.
- Rubber gloves. I was messing with bleach, and those chemicals really can mess with your skin.
- Scissors. For cutting the jeans, obviously.
Next, I mixed up a bleach and water mix. I wanted to lighten the jeans first because they were a really dark color — a little too dark for my liking. I mixed one part bleach and three parts water so it wouldn’t lighten them too much. I made sure to have enough of the mixture in the tub to completely submerge my jeans.
After that, I tried the jeans on and cut them just above the knees — bermuda length. That gave me a lot of fabric to work with after they were dyed.
Step Three: Dye, Dye, my Darling! (Two points for anyone who gets that reference)
I dunked the shorts completely into my bleach mixture. They were completely submerged, but I still stirred and rearranged the denim every few minutes to make sure that the bleach got into all the nooks and crannies. After about ten minutes, I took them out, dumped the bleach, and rinsed the shorts out a few times until the dye stopped running. I wanted to get all the bleach out because it will continue working as long as it’s in the fabric.
Step Four: Roll ‘Em Up.
I just rolled one side of the fabric up and kept it out of the bleach to get the half and half effect. I also used a different mixture of bleach and water — a much stronger concentration, because I was scared of it not working well enough. One thing you should remember about bleach: it will keep working after it’s submerged. Air and sun help it react faster, so you won’t necessarily see the results until later.
Step Five: Rinse, repeat.
After you’ve bleached to your heart’s desire, rinse out the denim again. You want to rinse them out as completely as possible. I rinsed mine a few times, then left them to dry in the sun. After that, I put them through a rinse cycle on my washer to make sure all the bleach was out. The way I rolled the denim to bleach the side actually ended up leaving a pretty sweet design.
Step Six: Cuff ’em.
The nice thing about the extra fabric was being able to decide exactly where I wanted the length, and getting to decide how large the cuffs were. I wanted to do studs like the ones we saw, but neither Michaels nor JoAnn’s fabric had them, and I didn’t have the patience to order them online. So I went without. I might add studs in the future. We’ll see.
ALL IN ALL.
I love arts and crafts days. Plus, I managed to make a sweet pair of shorts that I found for $90….for $6.81. Not bad. I definitely recommend making these instead of buying them. They’re easy to make, and cheap. Win/win. Or, if you’re lazy. Shoot me a tweet. I’ll offer you a fair price for my efforts.