The Crafting English Prof…

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Mini Patchworked Table 9 September 2010

OMG! I had so much fun with this!!!!!  Okay, a few days ago, I saw this dresser over at Mod Podge Rocks! blog. And, once I saw it, there was nothing for it but to spruce up the dull little table that holds my desk spill overs… Here’s the original:

poor, old, tired table...

Poor thing.  All beaten and battered. My mom found it years ago at a garage sale, so it has been truly used and abused. It really did deserve a make-over, don’t you think?

So, first order of business, find all the supplies!  So up the stairs I went to the craft room, and armed myself with a mostly full jar of Mod Podge, some brushes (and the one lone sponge brush I could find) the FolkArt beige paint, the Dollar Tree Scrapbook paper (I love Dollar Tree Scrapbook paper… it’s pretty good quality, and you get a little pack of coordinating sheets for a buck!  awesome!!!!!), and my paper cutter.  Cuz, you know, gotta have straight lines here…. Back down the stairs I traipsed, and got ready to ‘podge!!!!

But, first I had to paint… not my favoritest thing, but I did have fun.  Although, I think I may have needed a bigger spongy-brush:

hmmm... an awful lot of area still to cover there....

But I eventually got it all covered, and covered well!

okay, yeah, still have to do that bottom section here....

So once the painting was done, it had to dry.  What to do when the paint is drying… Why not read a post over at Brave Girls blog? So I did:

Yeah, totally got the idea to document what I was doing while paint dried from the Brave Girl blog post I was reading while the paint dried... and watching some Netflix... 🙂

Finally, the paint dried.  Now to have fun with paper!!!  I love cutting up paper.  Well, I should, I make cards, and LOVE IT!!!!!! For the top of the table I just cut random-sized squares; I think the biggest was a 6-inch square, while the smallest was a 1-inch square. I think I also tossed in a couple of rectangles just to mix it up a bit.  Then, I arranged them in a pleasing manner, grabbed the ‘podge, and went to town!  Man, did I make a mess.  But it was fun!  And in the end, very pretty (and can I just say, again, I soooooo need a brayer… bubbly bits all over the place!!!!) So here’s the top:

not quite dry yet... oh, boy, more waiting!!!

Once I had that done, I turned my attention to the drawer:

stripeys!!!

And then I had to ponder the sides:

left

back

right (and oops on using the same pattern as the front...)

And the bottom shelf!  Basically, that was a repeat of the top, but with smaller pieces of paper:

and again, not quite dry! I'm an impatient photographer...

And then finally, it was dry and ready for a coat or two or acrylic sealer (okay, yeah, maybe I should do more, but the can is empty now.  AND!!!!! I’m down to half a jar of Mod Podge!!! yikes!!!!)

So here it is, all done and pretty:

The distance view

The drawer and knob

Pretty!!

So yeah, I am just totally tickled with myself!  I had fun!!!

RLW

 

iPhone Case, Take 2 (or, fixing ‘when decoupage goes wrong…”) 8 September 2010

So, a few weeks ago, as ya’ll know, I decided to decoupage my iPhone cover.  Quite frankly, it didn’t turn out so well (very cute, but not terribly functional, and I had to have my boyfriend of the crazy-strong-hands to get it off the phone… oops…) Here’s a pic:

oopsy...

So, over the weekend, after crazy-strong-hand-boy took it apart, I had great fun ripping off the multiple layers of tissue paper and Mod Podge… really, it was almost more fun than putting it on the first time!

Anyway, here’s the original case: You can see why I wanted to play with it… I mean, look at it… it’s just so, so, dull…. so… not fun!!!!

So, anywho, over the weekend, I got all the stuff pulled off, and pondered what I wanted to do next… I’m a huge fan of Stampin’ up!, and have this stamp set:

The Cat's Meow Stamp set

Isn’t she freakin’ cute!?!  I love her (I actually used her in a Christmas card a few years ago…) She’s just so regal and catty… She’s awesome… (unfortunately, I don’t think she’s offered anymore.  very sad…)

Okay, back to the project.  I painted the case a rather bland shade of beige (it’s a FolkArt paint from Plaid that I, for some reason, have a very large bottle of. I never buy the large bottle! But thank goodness I did that time, as I’ve been using it nonstop this week!) Once I had the case covered fairly well (2 coats, I think) I experiment on a sheet of printer paper for the best way to stamp Ms. Kitty up there.  After some trial and error (and discovering that my black stamp pad–also from Stampin’ Up!–is now purple… odd… Of course, I think I’ve had it for about 6 years…) I decided the best way to do this would be with paint.  So then I had to practice with the paint and the stamp (can I just say, I sooooooo need a brayer…) I finally got it all worked out, got the stamp all painted up, and very carefully pressed the phone case onto the stamp.  See, I figured the best way to not smear it would be to just leave the stamp stationary, especially since I was going to have to press, and the phone case is, without the phone, essentially hollow… and it worked! (yeah, I was all ready to repaint the whole mess… but I didn’t have to! woot!!!)

So, after I had Ms. Kitty there, I just felt it needed something more. A few years ago I bought a gold Martha Stewart stamp pad, so I used that and some small stamps (including the flowers in the cat’s meow set) to accent the cover.

The rough draft... (pre-podging...)

I tried to be all fancy on the cat, too.  Didn’t work out so well in the end.  So, yeah, note to self, Martha Stewart Stamp pads, while cool, do not stand up well to sealer! (I added some gold paint to kind of antique the whole thing.)  So, you know, oops! I also added some gold paint for the collar, with little sparkling pink bits (I mixed red and silver paint) on that and the crown (there’s a heart cut-out on the crown, so I painted it in.) After the Mod Podge coat, I sprayed the whole mess with acrylic sealer and let it hang out for 2 days.  Here’s the finished project:

on my newly 'podged table! LOL! (more on that soon)

And another pic: And some detail from the front:

The detail of the front edge--I painted it an antique gold...

Now, unfortunately, I think this one is now stuck on the phone, too.  But at least I like it better!  And so far, no weird crackly-but-not bits!

Oh, and here’s the real Ms. Kitty (aka, Buttercup…)

Da Buttah-bee....

She’s not been pleased with Mama lately–I keep locking her out of the craft room while I ‘podge. The last thing I need is cat hair in the mix!  (oddly, her brother doesn’t seem to care much… go figure…)

Thanks for reading!

RLW

 

When decoupage goes wrong… 30 August 2010

Filed under: Ponderings — Rana Wilson @ 1:54 am
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Okay, so I’ve found a new hobby that I kinda love (like I needed another one of those…) and of course, up until last week, I was out of school and going a little stir crazy. So I decided it might be fun to decorate my iPhone’s case (I had a very boring gunmetal gray Incase slide cover thingy.  Good for protection, not really my style…) Now, me being me, I don’t really like to measure and be exact and stuff.  I’m much more an “eyeball it” kinda gal (also, this is how I bake! LOL!) So of course, god forbid I should actually measure anything to cover this case, what with all it’s very annoying curvinesses and whatnot. After 2 or 3 attempts, it was apparent to me that using scrapbook paper or anything remotely stiff like that would not work for me at all.  So I had to let it lie for a few days while I pondered some more.

As I pondered, I remember that I have a largish stash of tissue paper.  So, I found me some bright pink tissue paper, pulled the case off the phone, and went to town.  After about 5 layers of tissue paper, lots of Mod Podge, an hour or two of painstaking whittling (essentially) with an exacto knife (yeah I know, I won’t measure but I’ll use an exacto knife with great glee after the fact!) I had a nifty looking pink case.  It’s weird, you can actually still see some of the gray through the layers of paper, and it took on a kind of weird fabric-y look.

And then, to put the finishing touches on it, I used some iridescent-y butterfly stickers I had (I think I picked them up at Dollar Tree… I love the Dollar Tree…) And of course, then I needed to add a few more layers of Mod Podge to protect the whole mess.  And because Mod Podge stays a bit sticky, I sprayed the whole thing with an acrylic lacquer to protect it.  Here it is, in all its finished glory (and with a bit of Tim thrown in…)

Where’s the problem you ask?  Well, first, I can’t seem to get the case off the phone since I put it all back together.  Not that I need to, but still… and second, it still doesn’t seem to have totally set, if you will.  It has some odd creases and crack-like things (not actual cracks, but crack-like), and some bits are perfectly smooth while others seem to have picked up a bit of a pattern from somewhere.

So, I’m pondering ripping the whole mess apart and starting over. But we’ll see.  After all, I can’t get the case off the phone.  This could be a problem…

RLW

Visit thecsiproject.com

 

The Crafting season has begun!! 28 July 2010

Filed under: Ponderings — Rana Wilson @ 2:01 am
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Well, for me, at least. My crafting season is the month between classes. I’m making earrings, working on a peyote stitch necklace (should be fun!  You can see the inspiration for this necklace here), I may cross-stitch a bit, I’m making some cards, and I’m wondering how to pay all the bills. But I’ll figure it out!  I always do. I’m going to enjoy this month off, and maybe next week, I’ll do some work to get ready for Fall Session. Or maybe not.  Maybe I’ll take 2 weeks off… and decoupage!

So I’m watching Heroes for the 1st time.  I’m on Episode 5 or 6.  Can I just say, thank god for Netflix!?!?!  See, this is one of those shows where they, very meanly, leave you HANGING at the end of each episode!  UGH!!!!!

Okay, I’m over that now… Overall, pretty good show.  Lots of cuties…and a pretty good story.

Ah, vacation.  There’s something to be said for a vacation.  Now if only I could go somewhere… Maybe next August.  Maybe this Christmas!

Have a great day!

RLW

 

Pricing myself… 29 April 2010

Filed under: jewelry,Ponderings — Rana Wilson @ 10:55 am
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Yeah, yeah, I know what some of you are thinking… that’s NOT what I’m talking about… What I AM talking about is pricing my work. Whether it’s my work as a resume writer, my work as an employee and professor, or my work as an artisan, I have trouble pricing myself.

For example: It took me, quite literally, years to figure out what I should charge for my resume services.  I knew what the company I used to work for charged (thousands….) and I knew I was good at my work, but what to charge?  And more importantly, what will people pay? I finally hammered out a price list that I feel comfortable with, and I have it in writing on my resume business cards. Unfortunately, I still have trouble sticking to it.

Another “pricing” issue I have when it comes to myself is when I’m looking for a job… you know, that part in the interview where they ask the dreaded, “well, how much are you looking to be paid” question? I hate that part. I suck at that part.  Thankfully, in academia, that’s a moot point, as it pretty much depends on what level of education you hold.

And finally, the problem I’m having most often lately, is deciding how much to charge for a certain piece.  For example, earrings.  I love to make earrings, because for the most part, it’s an immediate gratification kind of a craft. Unlike bead weaving, where the piece takes shape over several days sometimes, I can make a nice pair of earrings in about 15 minutes to an hour, usually.  And I think I make some pretty kick-ass earrings.  But what to charge for something that is, to me, an easy craft? Yes, there are the purely logical concerns–how much did I pay for the supplies, etc., but that doesn’t reflect the skill required to put the piece together, or to imagine how this bead will look with that chain and that focal and toss it all together in the melting pot of my brain. That’s where I begin to have issues.  After I figure out the purely logical stuff–you know, in order to make a profit, I have to charge at least x amount of dollars to cover the cost of the piece, what do I then charge for my time and skill? That’s my concern…

Consider, I don’t want to overprice a piece, because then it will never sell, and no one will ever see the work, and I would ultimately rob myself of any other sales.  But at the same time, I don’t want to underprice a piece, making it seem, in the eyes of the consumer, to be “cheap.” How does one hit on the happy medium? Well, so far, I’ve relied on my best friend and her husband, basically asking questions like “How much would you pay for this?” For earrings, I’ve settled on a fairly simple stratagem of starting with a base of $10, and then, depending on how complicated and involved a piece is, going up from there.  But what about necklaces?  And bracelets other than the elastic variety? Those pieces are more time-consuming to make, and to plan.  And bead-weaving?

I have a bracelet I recently made for the charity beading contest Art with Heart over at the Beads-n-Blessings blog… it’s a rather fussy and involved affair of woven Toho’s and delicas (I think I love delicas) with bugles and fringe and a cab and filigree focal (pics later, still need John at Paparazzi Entertainment to take ’em for me…).  It’s a beautiful bracelet (although Amy did say it was over-the-top 80s but awesome) and I don’t think I’ll sell it, simple because I don’t really want to part with it just now.  Several weeks worth of work and planning went into it’s creation.  And although I’m not planning to sell that piece, several people have asked “how much?” Which is really what brought me to finally writing this article.  I created the piece mainly to see if I could, and because I enjoyed it. How do I put a price on that enjoyment?

So, as I continue to struggle with this whole concept of pricing, while I also devoutly wish someone would just come do it for me, I’m trying to keep track of the things I can control easily–like the cost of supplies (got all my receipts in a file folder. whoo-hoo! LOL) In the meantime, I’m just going to continue enjoying beading and learning new techniques, and worry about the rest of it later.

RLW

 

The random thoughts of a random professor… 19 April 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rana Wilson @ 6:42 pm
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Hello all!  So, I’ve finally done it.  I started a blog.  We’ll see how I do, I guess.  So, if you know me, you’ll know all this stuff I’m about to tell you; if not, then hey, I think you should know all this stuff I’m about to tell you.  Just sayin… 😀   I teach, I read, I craft, I love my friends and family, I torture college students with Shakespeare, I drive a way old Ford Explorer, I have 2 monster kitties that keep me on my toes, I have one beautiful niece and 5 gorgeous nephews, and I love my life.  Mostly.

So why a blog?  Well, I teach English, I write constantly, and thought it was about time to try getting some of those thoughts that keep jumbling about in my head on “paper” in a coherent form.  I’m trying to start an online jewelry business, and as I learn more, I’m finding I want to discuss those techniques, and what I’m finding to work well, and where I’m finding I need more assistance.

That’s enough to be going on with, I think.  I’ll post more later, on the many varied interests I have… Enjoy!

 

 
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