Some Awkward Crafts

Good Day to you, my friends. Did everyone have a most excellent Presidents Day? I did indeed! Who is your favorite president? Mine is Grant! Not Ulysses, Fitzgerald. Who dat?

Oh just the fictional POTUS on the ABC television masterpiece Scandal. What you thought I’d pick a real person? Do you even know me? To be fair, Fitzy G seems like a pretty terrible president and generally awful person BUT he also has copious amounts of intercourse in and around the Oval Office and has a secret dark side and looks great in a navy blue suit. So 4 More Years Fitgzerald Grant!

Whatever. I'm just not a political gal. Know what else I'm not? Asian. Also: crafty.

Crafts are a realllll thing these days, especially in the blog world. Everyone's got a Pinterest board and knows how to screenprint and makes wreaths and table runners and hand stamped lunch boxes and just generally DIY's the hell out of life.  Me? I'm more D-I-Y-Do-It-Yourself-When-You-Can-Buy-Something-Better.

Ba dum bum, ping!

I mean, I want to be crafty. But  I also want blunt bangs. Some things just are not meant to be.

My pal Jamie is a crafty gal AND a crafty blogger, you can check out her scene over at 128 John St, where she shares lots of yummy recipes and DIY projects and general adorableness. What I think sets Jamie apart from other craft/cooking bloggers (aside from her clearly excellent taste in friends) is that she never ever takes herself too seriously or acts like she's Ms. Perfect and it's just the easypeasiest to whip up a homemade batch of pumpkin cheesecake on a Tuesday night. She makes giant messes and admits when something she tries turns into a disaster and I love her for it. But she's also actually talented, don't go thinking her blog is just a huge hot mess. Like, say, mine.

Jamie sweetly invited a group of girlfriends over a few Saturdays ago for a Valentines Themed Crafting Brunch complete with all sorts of cutesy stuff that I would normally scoff at (because I'm totes jeal) but in this instance, I approved:

vday sammiesYes, those are heart shaped chocolate and banana sandwiches on homemade pound cake. I ate about 37 million.

 approached the day with great enthusiasm (it might even have been my idea?) but quickly learned I was not cut out for this world. The night before brunch I met Jamie and our other equally craftastic friend Kathleen at Michael's Crafts to get some supplies. The two of them ran around the store like they were on goddamn Supermarket Sweep scooping up all the latest and greatest in crafting supplies and I just sort of followed Kathleen around and bought whatever she did and became increasingly despondent that I was in over my head, have no creative vision and will never have the DIY hipster wedding I dream of.  Finally we settled on our purchases and headed home, but not before I made a quick pit stop at the Whole Foods wine store which sells 365 Brand wine for $3.

This has nothing to do with the rest of this story, I just felt like I needed to pass on that information.

Ok, so! Crafterday! It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Brooklyn. The first project Kathleen decided to do was to spraypaint old tins to use for storage. Here she is getting started, isn't she pretty?

20130126_143559I decided to copy her and make tins for my tea since I keep pretending to give up coffee, maybe I'll stick to it if I have some cute tea tins. We set ourselves up on Jamie's balcony and I immediately ran into trouble. I was trying to open a can of spray paint and somehow managed to shoot the lid right off of the balcony and into the neighbor's backyard. Um, sorry, neighbors. I then quickly learned that I had a faulty can of spray paint - the only way it would spray was to press it down hard with both thumbs until my hands were numb from the pressure. Instead of smooth, easy painting, my tins were clumpy and streaky and blotchy and you can still sort of see the original paint underneath. They also continued to smell like spray paint for dayssss afterwards, so my tea is probably quite poisoned.

I did come up with the genius idea to apply some pretty stickers to label the tins:

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eeeeeh? I'll give them a 6 out of 10.

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But if you look from far away, they are actually pretty charming, no? Two for tea and one for "stuff" whatever that means. It would be the perfect size to hide my drugs, but sadly I'm a real DARE kind of gal. Maybe I'll just use it for bobby pins or pennies or something.

The tins were 99 cents each, the stickers $4 for a few sheets and the spray paint was $12, bringing this project to a total of $17.98. Could I have just purchased much more attractive, less toxic tins for a smaller sum? Probably. But it was fun! Ish. It was fun ish. I would not really recommend this project, in the end, I think it turned out to be pretty dumb.

So! After I finished up this mess I turned to my next project which was making little clothespin magnets. I bought teensy clothes pins and some magnets with self-stick on them and applied the magnets to one side of the pins, then painted them with paint I borrowed from Jamie.

Here's me looking super artistic with my painters palette which I initially bought as a joke, because I think I am just hilarious but actually turned out to be a helpful tool for paint storage. 20130126_154054Once I was done painting, I washed the brushes and palette in the kitchen sink and proceeded to get paint all over a bunch of dishes, whoops. I can only imagine that this is not great for health and now, in addition to poisoining my own tea, I'm pretty sure I've also poisoned Jamie and all of her roommates.

Sorry, guys.

So, how'd these turn out? Not bad!

20130126_174712I am actually pretty proud of these puppies - I made one for each of my roommates and a gross one for Brian that says "L <3 B", and I'm particularly proud of that one with the lil red hearts.

I'll give this one a 8 out of 10. The clothespins were $5, magnets were $3, palette was $1.50 and paint was borrowed, so all told this came to under $10. I WOULD recommend this project for novice crafters and for children. It was easy and fun and if I could handle it without f-ing up, I'm pretty sure the average five year old could do a real bang up job.

Basically all of the projects I took on that day were kindergarten levels of difficulty while my more technically able friends were going to town with more complex projects.

Here is Jamie hand painting glassware:

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And here is Kathleen delicately painting cursive lettering onto a tote bag:

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But don't worry, guys, I can totally cursive too. Here's my last and probably best project, a hand made valentine for my mom:

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That's just some cardstock, sparkly stickers and the most awkward handwriting on the planet. Does this not look like it was made by a third grader with one hand? Be honest, I can handle it. This looks like the kind of nonsense you'd bring home from the elementary school Valentines Day party and your mom would hang on the fridge in a really dark spot where no one could see it before "accidentally losing it" a few days later.

But no, this is the home made card created by a 28-year-old lady with two perfectly working hands. WHY don't I have my own Etsy shop yet?

I did manage to salvage some scraps of this project and pulled together four pretty decent V-tines, one each for my mom, sister, brother and Briguy:

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I'm sure you can guess which one is for Brian, hah. The one with just the heart in the center is for my bro. I wanted to make him a more manly valentine but I only had glittery heart stickers so I made him that and the message inside said "Have a very sparkly Valentines Day!"

So manly.

A few pieces of card stock cost me about $2.50, the stickers were $3.99 for a sheet of 12 and I used markers & envelopes that Jamie had laying around, bringing this project to about $6.50. Even if you had to purchase markers & envelopes you could do this on the cheap and I know my valentines really appreciated the handmade effort so, despite the shaky start, I would give this craft a 10 out of 10 and recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone! Adults, children, animals, everyone.

And that is the story of my craft day! Aren't you impressed with me? You should be.

The best parts of the day were tangentially craft related. The first being when I split my pants in half before going out to dinner and drinks (remember that?!) and the second being when I arrived at said drinks and a bouncer asked to search inside my bag. You see, when creating my plan to go from day crafting to night partying, I forgot to take into account that I'd have to lug my supplies and finished products around with me for the full evening. I also did not take into account that I might be wandering around town with an exposed hoo-haa. Instead of all these dumb tins and magnets I should have been crocheting a crotch patch - like an eyepatch for your crotch! You could carry it around with you in case of any pants ripping emergencies and then would tie it around your waist to cover any exposed bottom bits. So basically an apron. But still, copyright me, this moment, you can't steal it.  Anyway, I arrived at the bar with a huge totebag full of idiotic stuff. Each of the painted tins was wrapped in a plastic shopping back, lest they get any of that toxic, still slightly wet paint on my tote bag, and the bouncer asked me what was inside.

"uh...craft supplies?" I responded, unconvincingly. He made me hold up the line showing him everything I was lugging around. Oddly enough he did not get down on his knees right then and there and BEG me to make him hand made valentines for his friends and loved ones. Your loss, bouncer man. I am a creative genius.

And that, my fine friends, is my adventure into the Wide World of Crafting. I just need an outfit post, a few recipes and a baby and I can be a real blogger!

Love Awkwardly

valentine-romance Hugs and kisses, everyone! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Oh what’s that you’re saying? You hate Valentine’s Day? Love is a sham? This holiday was just invented by Hallmark to sell greeting cards? I don’t need anyone telling me when to show my love, I do it just fine myself!

Well, well, weellll, aren’t you just a ray of sunshine.

Here’s the thing: I like Valentine’s Day! I think it is cute and I like candy and I like wearing red and I like love.

Is it an invented, overly commercialized holiday? Sure. But honestly: what’s not? I mean, Christmas was invented by the Christians to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and then hijacked by department stores. St. Patrick’s Day was invented by Irish Americans so they had an excuse to barf in public at least once a year. And Halloween?I mean, WHAT is even going on there? All holidays are weird and made up. You can be a grouchasaurus or you can put on your big kid panties and have a good time.

I feel like every holiday I encounter at least one person who refuses to celebrate. “New Years Eve is such pressure, I’m staying home.” “Oh, I don’t do Halloween.” Lame!

I “do” everything. Why not?! I understand that there is a lot of external, cultural pressure to make holidays into a big ol’ thang – dinner reservations and money spent and gifts exchanged and general high expectations abounding – but the way I see it, holidays are, at their very base level, a chance to turn an ordinary ho-hum day into something slightly more entertaining, whether you go all out or just add some themed candy to your daily diet. And Valentine’s Day, despite its current reputation of being the dumbest, lamest, worstest holiday in all of the land is no exception.

Would I be singing a different tune, were I not in a committed relash? No, I would not. Yes, I now am lucky enough to spend my days with a fella who happens to have the best face and butt in the Greater New York City Region and that certainly adds to my enjoyment of V-Day 2013, but I have always had fun on Valentine’s Day, even in years when I did not have a special love buddy.

[A disclaimer: I truly hate when coupled up folks reminisce all, “Oh, well, back when I was single...”, I find it very smug and self satisfied and frankly insulting, like “look at me, my life is better than yours now,” and I certainly don’t want to come across in that manner. I only bring this up to acknowledge that yes, sure, I am in a state of romantic bliss at this time, but my enjoyment of El Dia de los Valentinos is not contingent on checking off that particular box on my Liz Stats profile. I’m also so uncomfortable talking about honest emotions in public that I just called my committed adult boyfriend my “special love buddy,” sooo yeah...]

For me, Valentine’s Day is a chance to take one day out of the gross, dismal month that is February to celebrate everything and everyone you love. Your mom, your cat, your friends, your kid, everyone! Most of my favorite VD memories and by VD I mean Valentine’s Day, not Venereal Disease, have nothing to do with romantic love. Like the year I came into the office to find that a sweet colleague had stuck homemade heart-shaped valentines to everyone’s computer monitor. I kept mine hung up for years, until I had to move offices. Or every year wearing a brand new pair heart patterned socks, a gift from my mama who makes sure to send the package a few days early, so I’ll have socks to wear on the day itself. (She sends us care packages for every single holiday even though we’re pushing 700 years old, because she is the cutest.) Or the year my best friend came to town on VDay weekend. We went ice skating in a snowy central park before meeting up with another pal and getting rip-roaringly drunk over pub cheeseburgers.

 

None of these things were particularly romantic, nor were they that much above and beyond what I might encounter on my day-to-day life, but just knowing that it was a holiday made socks and cards and pints (and pints and pints and pints) of beer seem all the more special.

Or how bout this: I remember one year in college, we must have been sophomores. I was living with seven other girls in a campus apartment and we were thick as thieves. And all of us as single as...single cell organisms. Or something else that starts with “S” and is traditionally found alone. But we weren’t alone! We had each other and Carrie Bradshaw as it sounds, that was more than enough. We all dressed in our finest reds and pinks and went to dinner at our favorite local spot (shout-out Paper Moon Diner, Baltimore, MD!) and shared fries and breakfast for dinner and probably also a few milkshakes and slices of cheese cake and it was a true delight. A delight, I say! It was a popular trend at the time, mostly on AOL Instant Messenger, our fave, to write out “143” as a sign of cutesy endearment for your boyfriend or your family or your best gurlz: I Love You.

I = one letter LOVE = four YOU = three

143.

That Valentine’s Night at Paper Moon our total dinner bill came to...you guessed it...one hundred and forty-three dollars. $143.

Coincidence? Almost certainly. Adorable story proving that Valentine’s Day is a lovers delight whether or not your lovers = a group of awkward Disney Channel fans chowing down on western omelets or, you know, bow-chicka-bow-wow lovers? Aaaaaabsolutely!

These are things that I love: Socks. My mom. Sweet friends. Booze. Breakfast for dinner. And, yes, my special love buddy. While I don’t need Hallmark or TV or whoever to remind me to celebrate them just once a year, celebrate them I will. This Thursday I’ll wear pink or red and my new socks and maybe even some spicy underpinnings and hand out candy…and eat candy…and wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day, whether you are married or single or polyamorous or a crabbapple who insists you just don't do Valentine's Day. Especially you! For try as you might to resist it, as the great Hugh Grant once reminded us, Love Actually IS All Around Us.

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Happy Valentines Day, Haters!