The Crafting English Prof…

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Super Crafty Fun Weekend!!!! 13 September 2010

Yup, I had a super-crafty-fun-weekend! and it was grrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaat!!!!! (insert Tony-the-Tiger voice here…)

Okay, so, first, I decoupaged a box that that I’m using as a jewelry box for the pieces I want to sell (you know, rather than the cardboard box I had them in).  I even put a little handle on it and mirror inside it! It’s really cute.  Here it is:


All finished!

Now, of course, getting to this point, what with the Mod Podge and the cutting and the mess (you should see my sweat pants–covered in modgy fingerprints.  Oh yeah–and I used paint, too!) was quite a bit of chaotic fun!

I started with all my shtuff…

Like how I laid it all out so nicely for a pic? 🙂

And then, of course, about half-way through, I realized I needed more shtuff. No pics of that, though… So then I got to painting the inside.  Also, no pics.  There was far too much mess going on to pick up the camera. I’m gonna wait a few more months before I get paint on it.

And then I had to measure.  Well, sort of.  I did measure the sides so I wouldn’t waste too much paper, cause it was all pretty and stuff! But of course, I only measured the one time, and so my measurements aren’t all spot on. My father would be so disappointed (he’s a pro at the measuring thing…) But in the end, I did find a use for most of those left-over paper bits I did end up with (more on that in another post. Tomorrow, maybe…)  So, after all the measuring and the cutting and the modgin’ and the podgin’ was done, I ended up with this:

kinda cool, if I do say so myself....

So then, for the finishing touches.  I really wanted a handle on it, and I had visions of a suitcase like handle, but I have no spare suitcases, so I had to improvise something else.  I also wanted it to have a bit more interest goin’ on up top there, and I have these large chip-board butterflies.  I have no clue where they came from, but they’ve been in my stash for awhile. So I took some of that paper and ‘podged it up, and painted the ugly cardboard sides.  While I was at it, I took a length of pink ribbon and raided my bead stash for some large hole beads.  I found some great wooden ones, and strung those on the ribbon.  Then, to the toolbox I wandered!  With the help of my trusty staple gun, I attached the ribbon, and then used my E-6000 epoxy to attach the butterfly on top.  And wah-lah! A handle and some interest!!!

gotta love E-6000!!!!!!!

As the glue dried, I was pondering the inside.  Okay, truth be told, the glue wasn’t so much dried as still very glue-y when I thought “Hey, a mirror would be cool!”  And it just so happens, I had a perfect mirror to use!  Back to the E-6000, slapped some dollops on the back of the mirror, press it into the inside top, prop it open, and then a few minutes later, discover that the glue from the butterfly is now dripping onto the coffee table.  Oops!!!  So I flipped the whole mess upside-down! Eventually, it dried.  well, the butterfly bit did.  I discovered the next day, after I closed the  lid for a few minutes, that the mirror bit was still oozing.  So, back open it went!  Finally, that all dried.

Then, I realized, there’s no easy way to see yourself in the mirror if you’re playing with jewelry, since it just flipped all the way open… so, I had to add some catcher-thingies… I’m sure they have an actual name, but I know not what it is.  Anyway, I used more ribbon, E-6000, and eyelets.  And let me say, I need a punch that will punch a hole in ribbon… that was not fun… and in retrospect, this part should get done BEFORE the mirror goes in… But I made it work:

Just hammer those eyelets in there! And use the E-6000 to make sure they stay!

And that was it!  Here’s some more close up shots, after the fact:

And finally, filled with stuff!

You know, I’m really tempted to make another one to use as a purse. It’s too cute!! And more on the rest of my crafty weekend soon!

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

 

Pricing myself… 29 April 2010

Filed under: jewelry,Ponderings — Rana Wilson @ 10:55 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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

 

wowzers… I feel… lacking… 23 April 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rana Wilson @ 5:05 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Okay, not really, but wow… See, I consider myself very creative, very crafty, and something of an artist.  But, I can’t draw. To save my life… I cannot draw. Wait, I take that back.  I’m really REALLY good at stick figures.  You want a stick figure? I’m your girl… I’m an artist when it comes to working with paper, or beads.  and occasionally embroidery (well, cross stitch, but really, there I’m just following the pattern…) I always wished I could draw, though.  I wanted to be a great painter when I was a kid.

So, you may be wondering, why do I feel lacking now? What happened?  Well, I just watched this video, over at The Beader’s Muse That’s Cynthia Thornton, designer at Green Girl Studios, talking about inspiration and her book Enchanted Adornments. I love that she shows us her sketchbooks, because so often, those are a very private thing for a lot of creative people.  Here’s the problem for me: I WANNA DRAW LIKE THAT!!!!!!!!! whine!!!!!!!!!  Okay, sorry, done whining… But wowzers!  Okay, I a craft ideas, in which I “sketch.” But my sketching is to Thornton’s sketching what hot dogs are to Kobe beef (don’t get me wrong, I like hot dogs…) Thornton, besides being an accomplished jewelry designer, is a totally kick-ass artist.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I would probably buy her sketchbooks if she published them.  They’re beautiful. In fact, I just spent a bit of time playing on her website–beautiful work!

So yeah, I feel lacking… But hey! At least I feel lacking with someone who’s a very talented artist! So I got that going for me! LOL!

RLW

 

 
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