Transparency Art!

BHG Do It Yourself magazine* featured an art project using transparencies and a printer.  Which gave me an idea for a large scale art project for my house.  But first! I had to test it...
Here's what I used:

Regular Gel Matte Gel Medium
inkjet printable transparencies (amazon!)
spoon (for burnishing)
canvas (I used an 8x10 simply because it's photo-sized)

I found a photo with enough color, but not too many details that I thought could work for this project.  I adjusted the color, making it really saturated with a high contrast. That helped keep the colors from blending together.
Then I printed it on a transparency sheet using the "highest quality" and "photo on matte photo paper" selections.  This helps get a lot of ink on the transparency. (If you have words on your photo, you'll need to reverse print it. I did this simply because I know the photo and don't want to view it backwards forever).

Once the photo has printed, spread some gel medium on the canvas where you want the photo to stick. I covered the entire surface, but it might be neat to leave brushed edges or change the shape. Use a thin, even layer. My first try, the gel was too thick, resulting in this:
Yuck! It smeared Hartwell's face and some of the transparency ink didn't stay on the canvas. You want this:
Nice, even application.
Place the transparency ink side down on the wet gel and sort of finger press to get both surfaces touching. (It doesn't move around once it's stuck down. It comes up a little as you rub, but lays back down in the same place).

Now use your spoon to burnish the ink to the canvas. Just rub in circles with medium pressure. Since my canvas was already wrapped on a frame, I placed a book underneath inside the frame so I could press without the canvas pushing in too much.

Once you've covered the whole surface, peel back a corner and see if it's working. You can kind of see what's sticking as you burnish, because it's transparent.

Keep going until you have the look you want. Since mine included people, I really wanted the faces to look normal. 
Here is my bad canvas:
And the good one:
 This video at metacafe really helped. Except for the thin layer part. I messed that part up to help you.

*I'd link to them, but they told me they had plans for a raised garden bed on their website and it wasn't there and the website acted like I was all crazy. So no link to you, Do It Yourself Magazine, if that is indeed your name...

Where failure equals happiness...

This is so true. And I have created some incredible failures. Take this for example:
Purl Bee had a pattern for a felted potholder. I spent three evenings knitting this little guy, with 100% wool yarn. I threw it in the washing machine and only the green felted. So I tried again...same thing. So now I have a sad lumpy three quarter's felted trapezoid.

I think I'll try again. Which means I get to buy more yarn. And that's always a happy day!

Poster by Marius Roosendaal.

Puppet Show!

Bunk Bed Puppet Theater!

John took the boys to visit a high school friend a few weeks ago. The best part of the visit for the boys was the amazing puppet theater they had. It was a stand-alone wooden situation with curtains and fanciness. They also had a microphone and speaker hooked up so the kids really felt like they were doing something special.

There is no way we could have a giant puppet theater in our tiny house, but we could have something like this awesome Doorway Puppet Theater. So I made a bunk bed puppet theater!
It was a crazy pain in the ass. Mostly because it was so big. I used a folded over piece of heavy duty muslin and added ribbons to tie it.
 My solution for the center was to sew two parallel lines and cut between them. I might go back and pink the seams. We'll see how "Breakwell & Wreckett" treat it for now...
They've already made me laugh. So I guess the pain is worth it.

There's a new corbel in town...

We put in a corbel! And trim on the header! And new light fixtures!

In case you forgot, here's the before (featuring my mom and a prybar):

And the middle:

The pots ARE the rainbow...

Still need violet. Too bad I don't need violence. Got that in spades. Ha. Garden pun. This is what it must be like to live in Darren Star's brain.

Beachy Keen?

My tiny California Bungalow needs some fresh make-up. I had like a million ideas. I had an epiphany a few weeks ago where I thought "I can keep the house navajo white and just repaint the trim!" Then it won't seem like a crazy project that never gets done. I can work on one window at a time and move as slow as I want.

Sunday I was in my local hardware store, where I learned they can make ANY color of paint I want from any company, and I saw a color card. It featured a creamy white with a sage-ie green and a taupe. It reminded me of my beach phase when I wanted the house to look like a beach bungalow, except with forestier colors.

Before we had a reddish brown on the trim and windows that drove me bananas. And here's what I did today. Spruce and Taupe. It took FOR-ever!
Subtle. Blend-ie. Kind of totally unlike me. But I really like it.

Shake your Buddhas

The boys love these Buddhas. I bought one for Bee and he took it everywhere. I would hear their conversations and I would be instructed to make food for Buddha.

When we went back to the store we bought them in, Beckett requested another one. So I bought one for Hartwell and one for Bee. When we got home, Hartwell opened his, it was supposed to be light blue, but it was gold. I thought they put the wrong one in the box.
Turns out it was a special Golden Buddha and we won a prize! I went to the website and the boys won a full set of all six Buddhas!

They just came in the mail. I think I need to film them playing with's gonna be good...

Spring Party!

Pinterest is so amazing! I found these while browsing and made them for our little Spring Party.

Lights. Camera. Spray Paint.

After pinning several spray painted light fixtures, I found this little guy in a vintage store. It was only $25! (Which in everywhere else money is around $5!) Very exciting.

So I spray painted it navy blue. And it looks good against the coral wall and the white of my hood. But it looks kinda lonely from the other direction...
Maybe when I change the window coverings it'll be more excited to be there...
I have big plans to change the window covering and make a cord sleeve...but I have a billion other things I should be sewing...I'll keep you posted...

Sons of Beaches

Hiatus started for John so we took a little seaside jaunt. We stopped along the way, for what we call "Crazy Picnic," a term coined back before we had kids to denote the drive-to-the-beach-really-early-while-it's-kinda-drizzlie-and-overcast-to-eat-sausages-with-Barkley kinda days we used to have. I can't imagine going to the beach that early right now. Bananas.

The beach was fun, in photographs, in reality it was so windy we spent a lot of time chasing our stuff down. The boys also spent a lot of time stepping on stuff. Hartwell stepped on a plastic fork tine and Beckett stepped on a tiny hot coal that got away. Lucky we had our bag of Old Indian Tricks*. Along with a flashlight full of beans, John found a special foot rock that helps to heal foot injuries. So the boys rested their bloody and burned feet on it and instantly felt better.

We finally got to the hotel and Hartwell never left the Jacuzzi. Beckett was too cold and wanted to sit inside and watch TV. And was puzzled as to why he couldn't just watch whatever he wanted, but had to watch whatever was on TV. Did not see that coming with my no network TV situation.

Anyway, good times, including a restaurant that had a coke machine that offered 5 different flavors of Diet Coke and a stop at a biker seafood place where Hartwell muttered, "Where's the crab? I didn't come all this way for shrimp!"

*Racist Placebos

Roses are red, windows are green...

I've been waiting for my window roses for a long time. Training the plant to seduce my window frame. And stopping John from trimming it. Lovely.

Special thanks to Picnik and my old, peeling window frame for the deliciosity.