Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 will be epic.

That's my prediction for the new year. I'm not one for resolutions. I tend to set a goal on January 1st and by January 3rd, my goal is already set aside because of my lack of interest and motivation. I fully expect it to be the same this year, so I'm not going to make any resolutions to exercise more, eat right, give up Dr. Pepper, go to bed and wake up early, blah, blah, blah. I'm just going to know that if I want 2010 to be awesome, I'm going to be responsible for that. I feel as if this idea is one I can hang onto all year.

This past year has been a really great year for me. Jared and I finally found a house after a seemingly never ending search of every foreclosure from Woodstock to Blueridge. It was a long process, but in the end, we found the house for us. More importantly than the physical blessings is the emotional support I have and will continue to have. I spent 2009 surrounded by people that I love like my family, my loving (and long-suffering) fiance, and my amazing friends. I'm thankful everyday for the people the Lord has placed in my life because he has blessed me more than I can comprehend. I have peace in the storm and grace in the wilderness. I expect that 2010 will be no different on this front.

There are somethings that I have neglected over 2009 and I would like to remind myself to take more serious in the new year in no particular order:

1. Music. It's an obviously important thing in my life to those who know me. I spend a great deal of time on the road crammed like a sardine in the motor home with my weirdo family playing music. I neglected my pursuit to better myself as a musician, and I know I could be infinitely better than I am now.
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This is the kind of stuff that happens when we're on the road. I get poked in the eye by Katie Weeks.

2. My writing. This could go hand in hand with the music thing. I used to write songs on a regular basis. I had lines to songs floating around in my head that wouldn't quit until I put pen to paper and pick to strings. I have let that part of me go for a while, and I fear I've lost the ability to write a song that's worth anything. I'm going to remedy that. I still journal like a mad woman and still have my magazine internship, but I don't work on my fiction stuff like I've wanted too. My fiction class I took last semester taught me a great deal and I'm continuing that in Advanced Creative Writing this semester. I am not great at fiction writing (or any writing for that matter), but I enjoy it and strive to improve.

3. WEDDING PLANS! Oh man, people! Jared and I are getting married on March 19, 2011 (hopefully the date will stick) and there is a lot to get done before then. I kinda need to focus on that. I am so FREAKING EXCITED!

4. School. I got out of last semester with 5 As, so that's good, but it took over my life. Frankly, there is more to learning than a education. There is more to be learned from people outside of a classroom. I want to do well in school, but not at the expense of my sanity and those around me. I get a little cranky when school's stressing me out.

5. Jesus. He's pretty cool, and I've neglected him for sure. I realize I could never do anything to deserve the blessings I've been given, but I would like to be a better Jesus-lover. I can't explain how much I want to be a better person in this area, so I'm going to quit trying.

6. Crafts. I love crafts. I find it incredibly creatively stimulating hanging out with cool people and making stuff. I think I need to do more of it this year. I could combine number 3 and make WEDDING CRAFTS. oh man!

There are so many things that I hope for in 2010, but mostly, I hope that my family and friends stay safe and happy. I'm always around if any of you need me.

Also, I think there should be more fishing in 2010. I enjoy it.
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I realize I've accidentally set goals for myself. Oh well. Happy New Year, friends!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful.

This is a non crafty entry. Just me thinking about life and such. I've got so much to be thankful for: God, family, friends, love, happiness, salvation, etc. I have more than I ever will deserve. I'm truly blessed. I've got a future husband who is incredible, a Mama and Daddy that no one will ever compare to, a sister who is my heart and friends that are too awesome for words. I'm blessed beyond all reason and measure. The Lord is good.

I'm thankful for this:
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that's my world in a photo.


Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bottle crafts, oh how I love thee.

I love crafts. Obviously. I also love my friends. One in particular is made of awesome: Jess Wal. She is the amazing woman who came up with Crafty Thursday over the summer.

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The beautiful Jess with her cool boyfriend Jared.


This project is straight from her genius mind! It's a bottle chandelier!!! This is one of my favorite crafts!

First off, we found a grill grate. (Actually, we had to ask Daddy if we could have one of his. He said we could have ONE.) I took the giant bolt cutters that I used for the bottle tree project, and while Jess risked her fingers, I cut up the middle, keeping the circle intact. We pulled out all the spikes we created and arranged (and rearranged) bottles on the spikes several times until we liked the configuration. We then attached some chain to the chandelier base with four C-hooks. Then we wove some white Christmas lights throughout the bottles and hung it up in a tree in my garden.
and VOILA!

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Pure awesome.

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It's kind of blurry, but I like it. 

The 100 light string of Christmas lights really shines nicely all throughout the garden. I ran an extension cord up in the tree so the plug is hidden and used the power source I already had in the garden for the bathtub fountain. It is awesome. And it's even more amazing because I made it with a really cool girl!

P.S. Please pray for my dearest Puck. She somehow broke her tail. (I didn't know that could really happen, but turns out, it's possible.) She's pretty funny on her pain meds, but she's not up to her usual shenanigans, so it's kinda depressing at the same time.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some spirits are in those bottles!

My first post on this blog explained how craftiness nearly made me a felon. Well, it turns out, I come by it naturally. Daddy, who is probably the best daddy anyone could ever hope for, is also a potential felon... or at least a potential misdemeanor-er. I don't think that taking the flower stands at a grave yard would count as a felony. (Don't worry. These were in the pile at the edge of the graveyard where all the gross flowers and such were. They were going to be thrown away, anyway.) 
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He's both crazy and awesome.

Anyway, he brought home some of those flower stands and I decided to cut them up and use a piece of  rebar to make a bottle tree!

A little background: Bottle trees were brought over from Africa with slaves. The legend goes, that if a person hangs bottles in a tree, evil spirits would be attracted to the light passing through them and get trapped in the bottle. Then, once the spirit is trapped, the bottle is corked and thrown away or in a river. BYE BYE EVIL SPIRITS! It's pretty much a fail proof plan.

Here's the process:

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The "stolen" flower stands.

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Look at the giant bolt cutters!

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They are so huge, I have to stand on them to use them!

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Getting started! Oh man!

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Almost done!

My bottle tree
Ta-DA!!!!!!!

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If you were a spirit, wouldn't you want to investigate the bottle?

This was my first attempt at a bottle tree and I would love to make more. This one turned out woefully boring compared to some online... Seriously. Mine is put to shame by beauties like this one:
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I didn't make this, but I wish I did... I found this picture at: http://www.dallasartsrevue.com/ArtSpaces/Tours/wrlast06/wrlast1-06.shtml

One day, I will have a bottle tree forest. And it will be magical.

Friday, November 6, 2009

No I don't smoke! I do, however, like to feed birds.

As has probably become obvious over the past posts, I like to be outside. I like to play in my garden and I like to make junk to put in my garden and to make my neighbors look at me weird when I go get the mail. Jared, my long suffering fiance, knows this about me and has embraced it. (He actually asked me if I would make a metal man to hold our mailbox! I am so excited about working on that!) I came home over the summer with a thrift store ashtray. This is slightly odd because neither one of us smoke. I told him I was thinking I could use it to make a birdfeeder and he gave me the look. Anyone with a significant other can recognize the look. You know. It's the look that says, "I really don't understand where you're going with this and I'm going to humor you until I can figure it out."
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That's pretty much the look he gives me all the time.

Anyway, I found that ashtray and bought it without knowing exactly how I was going to make it into a bird feeder. I found a pretty yellow glass bowl and bought it without knowing what I was going to do with it. I found four ceramic bowls and a cobalt blue cup without knowing what in the world I was going to do with them... Sensing a pattern? I generally have no idea what's I'm going to do with all the stuff I collect, and then one day, it hits me and ridiculous stuff gets made.

I glued each piece together and prayed it would stay balanced long enough for the glass glue to set. This is the result:

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A close up of the ashtray part (which was my favorite!)
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I can just see the little birdies sitting on the grooves where a cigarette would go!

On a different note, Jared is all moved into the new house and so has the dog Puck. She is a beast! She's so ugly she's cute, and she provides near constant laughter because she's crazy. So, because she makes me happy, here's a parting picture of our dearest Puck:
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm a welding BEAST!

Sorry for the blog silence. I've been recovering from the overwhelming response to my last post. (please note, dear readers, the fact that there are ZERO comments on the last blog post.) There won't be many book reviews in the future! haha

This latest project is a metal face made out of old bike wheels, a shovel head, a rake, and a bike chain. I cut a bicycle apart with a hack saw since it was old and rusty and I couldn't work the wheels off otherwise.
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Ignore the crap in the background, please.

The shovel and rake were donated to me by Jared's lovely mother and grandmother. The "eyebrow" is the back part of the rake that attaches to the handle. (That was my sister Kate's idea!)
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I am such a beast!

I spot welded everything together and decided to use the bike chain as a hanger. I needed brief assistance holding it still.

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Daddy is so brave!

Finally, the finished product!


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For some reason, I think this face looks wise. or like groucho marx... one or the other!

And finally, a picture of my sister. I asked her to take pictures of the process for me. This is what happens when Kate has the camera:
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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Scavengers' Manifesto

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I read this book over the summer, and it really applies to my life. It's full name is The Scavengers Manifesto: A Guide to Freeing Yourself from the Endless Cycle of Buying More and More New (Though not Necessarily Improved) Stuff, and Discovering how Salvaging, Swapping, Repurposing, Reusing and Recycling can Save the Earth, your Money, and Your Soul by Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawsom. That's a mouthful, right? The title gets a little weird with the saving your soul part, but I wanted to try it. I've always liked being thrifty since I've been nearly broke my entire life and I thought this book would be amazing. I was right. It's all about the economics behind thriftiness and the varying ways to be frugal with your money.

There are a myriad of types of scavengers: retail scavengers (people who shop yard sales, discount stores, thrift stores and such); Urban Scavengers (dumpster divers and "Finders"); Social Scavengers (Freecyclers, clothing swappers, free-sample forager, no-cost gardeners); and Professional Scavengers (Archeologists, Prospectors, Found Object Artists, Beachcombers, and Treasure Hunters).

I discovered through this book that I am a mixture of all four. I've always shopped at thrift stores and bargain hunted and I'm a member of freecycle, but for the purposes of this blog, the two most important are Finder and Found Object Artist.

I'm a finder. Things seem to cross my path. Here's a quote that describes me perfectly.

" Finders do not seek. Not consciously. Not pointedly. Finders find. They have a gift.(..) Finders are primal because what they find, while usually welcome, is always unsought and unexpected. For the Finder, finding is a way of getting stuff but also an ongoing game."


This happens to me all the time. I'm a big fan of gardening, and I had noticed in one of the windows in the English building a hyacinth plant someone was growing in a pot. I noticed it everyday for a week until it was gone. I saw where that professor had dumped it outside, the foliage dead. A hyacinth is a bulb that returns every year, so I picked it up and wrapped it in newspaper. I looked like a freak carrying around a dirty bulb in newspaper, but the flower looks nice in my garden in spring. This is also an example of no-cost gardening!

I'm a finder, but also a found object artist. I find total crap and because I like to make things, I figure out ways to make something out of it. Like my mailbox that I found and told y'all about in the first post. Not only that, people give me things because word has got out about my weirdness. I'll run into people I haven't seen for six months and they'll have something they've been saving for me to make something out of. It's both weird and nice.

The bottom line of the book (besides the strange religious connotations associated with the title) is that people don't have to spend money to have the things they want. There are ways of having the things you want that don't involve spending money. The problem is we're programmed to think we have to spend money and create waste to have stuff. Here's a quote that is basically the idea of the book: "The best way to save for your future and stay financially healthy is to not spend money. But consumer culture won't tell you that, because consumer culture has stuff to sell you. Right. Now."

I recommend this book to everyone who wants to save money and be awesome at the same time!

On a completely different note (I'm so excited that I have to share!), I've posted pictures of the new house on my Facebook page, so feel free to check them out!

Before pictures:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2201173&id=23213800&l=60ab716952

"After" Pictures: (Bear in mind, that the after pictures are actually "in progress" pictures!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2211416&id=23213800&l=e7f79c3d6c

Happy Scavenging!

*edit* In spite of using the link option at the top of my page, for some reason, I cannot make it look link-like. Just copy and paste if you'd like to check them out!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crafty Space + Awesome=Steampunk earrings!

As I've stated before, Jared and I just bought a house and because the house is pretty big for the two of us, there is plenty of room for incredible things like this:

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That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I am hereby dubbing as Crafty Space. And it is awesome. Contrary to what is shown on my storage shelves, I am not an alcoholic. Those are bottles I've collected for various craftiness. The table that my toolboxes and such are sitting on is a five dollar investment that my dearest Jared bought so I could craft on it. He's such a handsome enabler! That stack of books next to the storage shelves are only a small portion of my craft/garden books. I have serious issues. So, as you can see, I have basically the perfect set up going now! Now that I have this amazing space to work in, I plan on decorating it up with craftiness, so I'll keep y'all posted on that as progress is made!

Anyway, I hosted a small gathering of crafters (me, my sister, and my friends Melissa and Kim) and told Kim about my plan to make some earrings out of some lock washers that I may or may not have taken out of Jared's garage area...He's aware of the fact that they are now missing. Regardless, Kim was pretty pumped about that idea because she's going to DragonCon next year with her sister and they are going in steampunk costumes.

For those who aren't aware, Steampunk is the idea of the future in the past. Confusing, right? Imagine today's technology in victorian days. That's steampunk. Mechanical parts are a must, which makes these earrings perfect for their costumes!


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Basically, I used regular earring pieces that can be found at a craft store and bits of chain I had in my storage stash. The lock washers were, as previously stated, borrowed from Jared, and just connected to the chain with jump hoops.

They're pretty cool looking I think!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is that a bathtub in her yard?

The answer to that unusual question would be in fact, "Yes." I'm officially that weird neighbor that if the neighborhood had a homeowners association, they would put not so nice letters on her mailbox asking her to clean up her yard or leave town. Luckily, my neighborhood isn't that fancy and most of my neighbors are family.

Anyway, I found a picture of a fountain someone had made out of a cast iron claw foot tub and I knew I wanted to make one. The trouble was (and generally is) that I am mostly poor and I don't like spending money on big items. So I did what most people would do: I immediately began calling around harassing everyone I knew to see if anyone had a bathtub lying around. Turns out that my uncle had been hauling off scrap metal and just so happened to remember a bathtub being in the pile of stuff to go to the scrap yard.

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I immediately roped Jared into helping me drag it out of the woods and into my daddy's truck. (A brief pause here to appreciate how awesome Jared is. He gets roped into a lot of my projects and barely complains. Commence reading my story.) We also found a cast iron sink that weighed more than my lightweight modern tub!

In the picture, the fountain looked very elegant with copper piping and regal looking shower paraphernalia surrounding it. My tub I dragged out of the woods was less inspiring. It was kind of rusty in spots and there was no copper piping to be found, so once I figured out where I wanted it, I went on a search for something to use as piping. My answer came in the form of a broken swing set that I started sawing into with a hacksaw. It was a ridiculously funny sight since I am trying to saw through metal with a hacksaw that is 20 years old. Plus, it's steel, which is not known for it's softness.

Once I managed to cut it (hours later.), I welded it onto the bathtub. It was not a very pretty weld since I was new to welding at the time and it took forever because, it turns out, steel doesn't weld very well. Then I needed to find something like a shower head, so I went to a very reliable (and confidential) source: someone who worked at the dump. I told him what I was looking for and he took me to a garbage can FULL of brand new plumbing fixtures that Home Depot had taken to the dump. It was awesome. I picked out what I wanted and then went home to figure out all the pump parts I would need.

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It's at this point that I must tell you that I really had no idea what I was doing. I took my plumbing fixture with me to Home Depot and told them what I was planning. They were useless. Based on their expression, they must have thought I was the weirdest kid ever. I left there and went to Morgan's Hardware in town and, while they seemed to think I was crazy, they managed to find the proper fittings. I bought a pump because I had no way to make one, but did manage to rig a pretty effective filter using a small Rubbermaid box and blue air conditioning filters and assembled everything.

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Look at the fishies!!

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I hope you like it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Introductions and a brief history of how craftiness almost made me a felon

It has come to my attention recently that I am a creature of great mystery and weirdness. I have a problem: I am a junk addict. Seriously. If I see something that could potentially become something else, I cannot throw it away. Thus, the basis of this blog.

There had to be a way for me to use all the stuff that was cluttering up my parents' house. They were getting cantankerous after tripping over huge quantities of metal parts that I was planning on doing something with "some day". I always enjoyed being crafty and making things and on occasion I would build something but not on a regular basis and not in enough volume to make a difference in the massive amounts of junk. That is until Crafty Thursday began.

Crafty Thursday is the brainchild of my dear friend Jess Wal who, aside from being made of awesome, was previously an art major at Valdosta State University. We met nearly every Thursday of the summer and made weird and odd artsy type things out of everyday junk. My plan with this blog is to continue in the spirit of Crafty Thursday (which was sadly canceled until next summer due to school. sadness.) and update weekly a different project made from up-cycled materials. This will range from simple projects to more complicated endeavors. I hope, dear readers, that y'all will feel inspired to make something new out of something old. I'll probably mix in some easy home improvement ideas like upcycling an old chandelier and things such as that because my fiance Jared (also made of awesome) and I have recently purchased a house and there are a ton of ugly fixtures there!

Beware, though. If you do feel inclined to try these projects, please don't blame me when you start acting a little weird. For example --not that this has ever happened to me or anything, but hypothetically, of course-- you might see a mailbox on the side of the interstate and think, "I've been needing something to keep my garden tools in!" and then force your fiance to make an illegal u-turn and drive back to find it. And then, maybe, a couple of weeks later, there's a reward in the Blueridge paper for a mailbox that was taken... Don't judge me! It was just laying there! it was probably already stolen and someone threw it out!

Anyway, the moral of my blog post is this: Being crafty can make you do strange things, but it is a ton of fun. and don't call me to bail you out when you get in trouble for your craftiness.