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Refashionista-Inspired Post

One of my favorite blogs to follow is The Refashionista. Jillian Owens scours thrift stores and consignment shops and somehow turns the ugliest, most hopeless articles of clothing into haute-couture creations. It’s fantastic, and Jillian comes up with some inspired looks.

Recently, she has mentioned reader submissions, so I thought I’d try my hand at it.

I found this “dress” at the Nearly-New shop. This plus 3 other items cost me a whopping total of $2.

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You can’t tell me this isn’t a nightshirt

When I saw this, my first thought was “Mr Darling from ‘Peter Pan.'” It was in the women’s dress section, but it is reminiscent of a nightshirt in my opinion.

I started by bleaching the hell out of it. I wanted to get rid of, or at least lighten, the blue pinstripes, but no luck. I worked with what I had. I pulled out a box of dye and got to work.

50... er, I mean, 1 shade of grey

50… er, I mean, 1 shade of grey

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Next, I needed to cut this down. The sleeves and the length were all wrong.

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I hemmed the bottom up.

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I wanted to do button tie-ups like on a camp shirt and got the idea to use the original cuffs from the sleeves.

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I folded and ironed the new sleeve cuffs. Then I sewed the original cuff on the inside of the sleeves.

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I sewed the original cuff botton on the outside of the sleeve, buttoned it and done!

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Top it off with a belt and sandals. Voila! Ready for springtime in FL!

I'm the only one I trust with my camera, so sue me

I’m the only one I trust with my camera, so sue me

I think this is going to become a major part of my spring wardrobe. I already have a few trousers and skirts I can pair it with. Very versatile look. Unfortunately, unlike Jillian, I do not have any images of me out and about in my new outfit. Maybe I’ll wear it to work tomorrow and show off my creation.

Sock Monkey Birthday

Colt turned 1 on Dec. 30 and his birthday was Sock Monkey Themed. I wanted to share the layout of everything. Many thanks go out to Heather at Confidence Photography for the wonderful shots and Pamela at Partyperfectdesigns for the printables (invitations, labels, cupcake toppers, etc)


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Happy Birthday, Monkey!

Canvas Photo Collage

It’s hard to believe that Colt’s first Birthday is just around the corner… Well, end of December, but you catch my drift. Before Pinterest, I probably would’ve made a cake, made some onion dip and had that be the extent of the party.

AFTER Pinterest, I now know that your child’s Birthday must have a Theme. And a Tablescape. And have glass apothecary jars. And be Friggin’ Cool as Shit because you’re not a good mom if it’s not. 

Pinterest or it didn’t happen, Bitches!

I kid, I kid, but only partially. Seriously, do a Pinterest search for “First Birthday Party” and prepare to facepalm. The reasonable side of my brain says “Don’t buy into this bullshit. He won’t remember any of this anyway and, as long as he gets cake, it will be awesome”, but the less-reasonable/more-manic side of my brain is going to scream until I do this. I’m drinking the Kool-aid folks. It’s stupid, It’s fucked up and you don’t have to tell me so (please save your comments on this matter).

For my centerpiece, I wanted some sort of photo-thing. I’ve seen those mass photo-collage type things that are “A year in your child’s life” and thought that would be perfect. I have also seen sites where people will design them for you. For $250.  That’s just the design. You need to purchase your own canvas after that.

What. The. Fuck.

I am all for having an Etsy shop. I am completely supportive of making money off of your digital art talents. But $250?! Seriously?! I’m sure sure that your time is veeerrrrrrrry valuable, but I (nor the vast majority of people I know) have the money for that shit.
I have a philosophy that about human nature: The mother of all invention is laziness. Every great idea started with someone going “Fuck this! There has to be an easier way.” I want to add to this though that the father of invention is frugality. There will always be someone who sees an invention and will ask “How can I save money on this?”

With that in mind, and knowing that there are many people like myself who have a working knowledge of Photoshop, I set out to recreate this for myself. For way cheaper. And now I’m passing the savings on to you.

Note: It helps if you have “auto select” on while you do this project

Step One: I have made you a template.

Collage (I couldn’t figure out how to make it a direct download, but you can get the PSD for free from the link)

The template was created in Photoshop CS5. It is true to size 16″x20″. I’ve seen mnay canvas dealers online sell canvases at discount price in this size. I purchased mine from allphotos.com after I purchase a Google Offer for a $35 canvas. I left the resolution at 72 since we won’t be blowing up the image at all. Plus, it would keep the file to a manageable size for sending and downloading.

When you open the image, you will see 45 black rectangles. These are listed in order, left to right, top to bottom. The middle one is “Layer 2”

3. Insert your media

Drag it into the PSD

3. Place the image over the rectangle you want it to replace. Make sure both the image and the layer have the image on top of the rectangle. For this example, we are using “1”. I have labeled the image photo, but when I did this on my own, I didn’t really bother with that.


4. Now we are going to fit the image into the rectangle template by creating a clipping mask. Select photo and then hit “Command + G” (or on PC: Ctrl+Alt+G). Boom! Clipping Mask. Notice the little arrow on the left side of the photo layer denoting that the mask is in effect. You can still see the borders of the original image, and can squeeze and move the image as normal while keeping it within the template of the mask.

5. If you want, you can adjust the image. I made every other photo in the collage monochrome. To do that, select the photo and hit Command+J (PC: Ctrl+J) to copy the layer. As you can see, the layer-copy is outside of the mask.

6. Drag the copy-layer beneath the original to put it into the mask.

7. Select the original Photo-layer. Now you can play with the image without losing to integrity of the original. To monochrome a layer, go to Image>Adjustments>Channel Mixer and select “monochrome” in the bottom left-hand corner. Then, play with the sliders until you get a look you like.

8. Now, repeat that… 44 times.

The whole process is a bit time consuming. It took me about 4 hours, including making the template (I had a few false-starts), but to me that was definitely worth saving $250. Please note, that this is a “Quick and Dirty” method. It’s not the most professional, but it works. As I said, I got a canvas for $35, including shipping. I constantly see Groupon or Living Social with deals for 16″x 20″ canvases for $30-$40.

Here was my final product

I think this will be an awesome centerpiece!

Miniature Redneck Wine Glasses

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. All has been pretty quiet on the craft front. I’ve had a few Etsy orders that I needed to finish (this, this, and these) which has put a serious dent in my hobby crafting. Until now.

Every Christmas at my office, everyone gives small gifts to all their co-workers. It’s usually something small: ornaments, candy, cocoa, etc. Last year I made these for everyone.

They were a huge hit and even now I still see them on people’s key rings. However, this means that I have high expectations to fulfill this year. I have been racking my brain since July as to what to make, and last week an idea hit me:

Miniature Redneck Wine Glasses

Before moving to the south, I had no idea what a Redneck Wineglass was. The first time I saw one was at my cousin’s wedding shower last March. For all my fellow Yankees, it is literally a mason jar epoxy-glued onto a dollar-store candlestick

Tada! It doesn’t get much more redneck than that.

The miniature aspect came to me when I noticed the collection of baby food jars I had accumulated in the last several months. While my husband and I mostly used the plastic-wrapped food, we did buy a couple dozen glass jars of baby food , which I carefully cleaned and saved thinking “These will definitely come in handy for… something.”

I started by cleaning all the jars. Getting the baby food out is the easy part

I mustache you a question…

Getting the label off is a bit trickier. I was doing it the “hard way”, as my husband said (my fingernails). He had found a better way (BTW, those are my husband’s hairy arms, not mine):

Just squirt

rub

and wash

We used a silicone-based lubricant spray, but WD-40 could work as well. Isn’t WD-40 always the answer?

Just soak the jars in hot, soapy water for about 10 minutes, squirt a little bit of grease onto the jar and rub the glue off. Make sure to clean the jar very well afterward so there is no more grease residue. I washed my jars in the sink and then ran them through the dish washer.

For normal-sized Redneck Wineglasses, they use 4″ tall glass taper candle holders. Obviously, for miniature, I needed something smaller. To the Internet!

I found these on amazon and I love them for 2 reasons: They are cheap ($6.99 for a dozen, not including shipping) and they are lightweight. Since I am using these as Christmas ornaments, the less weight hanging on the tree the better. True, they are not as high quality as glass ones, but from even medium-close up, they still look pretty good.

I also had some taller baby food jars from the level 3 food. I found some 3″ skinny candlesticks from Target for those. I call them Redneck Champagne Flutes.

Hi-Flutein’

I wiped down the bottom of each jar with rubbing alcohol just to get any errant oils off of it. I then applied a thin layer of E-6000 to the rim of the candle holder. Be careful, because the acrylic candle holders I used were open on both ends.

I pressed it down and centered the holder while the glue was still wet. An now we play the waiting game…

E-6000 recommends letting the glue set for 24-72 hours. I think because you won’t be running these through the dish washer, 24 might be enough.

Next, the lids. Believe it or not, the lid is a very important part of the Redneck Wineglass. I decided to make mine into ornaments and use the lids as part of the method to hang them.

We used a 1/8 in drill bit to make the holes in the center of the lid. First, the center was marked with a sharpie

Then, we scored the black dot so that the drill bit wouldn’t slip out of center as we were drilling

and drill

Had I been doing this on my own, I would’ve just drilled the holes and been like “Done!” But since husband was controlling the drill and he’s a perfectionist, he insisted on removing all of the metal burrs.

1/4 inch file. The noise it made was worse than the cries of 1000 orphans

He was thorough. In the end, the holes were completely flush and professional looking. Now they won’t snag on the ribbon. Good Job, Husband!

Next, was priming and painting. I primed the lids twice and did one coat of silver.

I threaded about 12 in. of ribbon, folded in half, through the holes of each lid

Double knot the ends together

Next, I glued the lid to the wineglass. With normal Redneck Wineglasses, of course, you wouldn’t do this, but since I had no plans to have anyone drink out of these and I wanted to ensure they wouldn’t fall off of someone’s Christmas tree, I knew glue was necessary. I used the same  glue that I had used for the candlestick and the jar.

Note: It is very important that you only put a thin line of glue on the lids. I used a bit too much glue on some of the lids and it began running down the insides of the jars. I didn’t even catch it until it was too late.

The final touch was the tag. I used a scrapbook punch to punch a tag out of a piece of recycled card stock. I then wrote “Merry Christmas, Y’all”  on the card and secured it to the glass with a matching piece of ribbon, longer than the first one.

I love the way the finished project looks. These are just so adorable and surprisingly light. I cannot wait to give these to my co-workers!

In the Inbetween

It’s been a long time since I’ve been around here, but I have a good excuse for that

1. Vacation kept me away from a decent laptop and, although I can type on the ipad, I can’t do it very well

2. Work was extremely hectic once I arrived back. The less said about that the better.

3. I have a 5 (count ’em 5) Etsy orders to fill as well as 2 baby gifts in addition to the normal swell of craft projects I had going before/during vacation. Incidentally, I have completed quite a few personal projects:
Zombie Doll (sold!!)
Weeping Angel Doll (Sold As Well!!)

Dalek Dress (not for sale, but definitely for Halloween)

I also finished my Sherlock/John Watson set which, if you are at all interested, are still listed on Etsy.

4. Most importantly, Mike made rank and my life has been completely turned upside down for at least the next 5 weeks. They have told him not to expect to be home before midnight ANY night. I am thrilled beyond thrilled with him moving up, but I really wish that this hadn’t occurred when we had an infant. Due to the fact that I’ve already got my hands full, my mom has come down to help for a bit because what I really need to a second pair of hands when dealing with Colt.

In other news, Colt is crawling (sorta). He’s finally figured out how to army crawl toward things he really wants and, actually, he is progressing quite fast. Very proud of my little dude.

Why yes, my son DID come in my husband’s Sea Bag

I apologize for the slow posting. When I finish the Etsy orders, I will have to post details about them. I think they are going to be really cool.

Craft pause

I’m on vacation right now. Mike and I packed the car full and made a 16 hour trip to IL . I was really looking forward to this if only for some uninterrupted craft time. I made a list of dolls I want to make, not dolls that have been commissioned. Right before I left, I was pushing to finish a second wookie the chew set, and I really haven’t haven’t had any time to create for myself. I was so excited by the ideas I had ( some of which, I have had for months), but sadly, between the baby and the hectic schedule, there has not been much crocheting. In fact, I should probably be working right now (or sleeping) instead of what I am currently doing (writing a blog I know for a fact nobody reads), but I’m out of the yarn color I need.
I know. Convenient, right?

My Spin on “Midsummer”

When I was in high school, our theater department did a production on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was a freshman and played the part of Helena. The Director, Tim, did what most directors of Shakespeare do  and set the play in modern times. Rather than Athens Greece, the play took play in Athens, GA. Our Theseus looked like Col. Sanders, instead of the King’s Court we had a country club, the fairies were the spice girls (um… this was 1999, so bear that in mind) and the entire score was Swedish and Czech Techno Music. This song in particular was the entrance of the fairies:

Where Tim found this music I will never know, but I fucking loved it.

Since that point, I have always had a soft spot for Midsummer above almost all of Shakespeare (save for Hamlet, which rocks on so many levels). I’ve seen several movie versions of Midsummer, however there has been idea lurking in the back of my mind for the past 13 years on how I would translate the play into a movie.

The biggest change I would make is getting rid of the iambic pentameter entirely (except for one character, but I’ll get to that in a minute). All characters would talk in normal, modern speech but the scenes will play out exactly as they are written

I always loved the update idea but I would take it a step farther. Instead of a country club, we set it in corperate America, similar to the Ethan Hawke version of Hamlet. Theseus, CEO and Preisdent of Athens Corp., would be in the middle of a merger with Hippolyta’s company, Amazon.com, (I know it’s an actual website, but I can’t resist) as well as trying to seduce her.

The “lovers” subplot would be pretty much the same. Egeus would head a division of Theseus’ corporation and Demetrius would be his second in command. Demetrius would be eager to marry the boss’ daughter, Hermia, however she is sleeping with a poor artist, Lysander. Meanwhile, Demetrius is still screwing around with his secretary/assistant Helena. This dynamic would explain explain Helena’s doting/obsessive personality rather than turn her into a stalker and would make it seem like Demetrius feels he’s too good for her.

The Players would be a band, “Mechanical Animal” ,  rather than an acting troupe. They are trying to book a gig as the band for the gala following the corporate merger. During the course of their practice, Bottom gets increasingly drunk and begins acting like an Asshole. His friends put him in the back of their van to sleep it off.

Now the Fairies…

The Fairies are ravers/club kids. I want the audience to be unsure of whether they are magical beings or not the whole time (spoiler: they are totally magical!). Aside from clothing and dress, the biggest change to the fairies would be transforming Titania into a Drag Queen. The “Indian boy” who caused the initial rift between the couple would be a 19-year-old Indian guy. But my favorite part is Puck.
Puck would be a DJ. In fact, Puck would be Skrillex.

However you feel about Dubstep or Techno music, isn’t this just Perfect? Doesn’t this guy just scream “Puck”? Hell, he has an EP titled “Scary Monsters and Friendly Sprites.” This guy is Puck. If I couldn’t get Skrillex, I’d at least make the actor I get look exactly like this.

Puck is the only character who would speak in Iambic Pentameter. So all conversations with him would have to hit his rhythms

Random Other Details
-Magic Flower= Magic Fairy Drugs.
-End of the show would be the one wedding (Theseus and Hippolyta) instead of 3.
– I would use the same Czech techno (Czechno?) music as I inserted above
-All Fairies would be a mix of male and female