Friday, January 29, 2010

Made: Some Cards

I’ve been into card-making lately. Well, the cheapskate in me has always been into card-making, but that was back in the Print Shop Deluxe days. My parents still ask me to make cards for people on print shop and I have to remind them that we no longer have a floppy disk drive.

So now that I’ve evolved past clip-art libraries and MS-DOS, I’ve moved on to actual cut-and-paste type cards. There are actually a lot of good ideas for homemade cards on the internet.

These are part of a card swap I participated in this Christmas. Mine isn’t pictured because it, um, wasn’t very good.


I made a wedding card for my cousin this summer before I really knew anything about card-making. I still don’t know very much, except that you’re supposed to use cardstock, not scrapbooking paper. It was a little on the flaccid side…

That ain't no Print Shop Deluxe

For the dress, I drew a dress shape on white paper, cut it out, and wrapped the skirt in two pieces of lace to create a tiered skirt. I used a glue dot to attach the mini rosette to the “waist.” The veil is made of a piece of sheer ribbon and some more lace.

This is a card I made for my dad’s birthday. I used the tutorial I found on a design blog I read, How About Orange. I like mini things and colorful things, so naturally this card struck my fancy. If you’d like the make your own, her tutorial is great. I would add that it was very easy to make!

My photog skills are not up to snuff, I’m afraid.

Finally, a card only a boyfriend could love. (I would say “only a mother could love,” but I gave it to my boyfriend, and he had to like it because otherwise I’d deck him.) It was yet another crafting fail. I’m learning, people!

I got the idea for this from another blog I read, MADE. It was my first experience sewing on paper. I used stash fabric (okay, it was an old sheet I bought at a thrift store). This fabric also makes an appearance in a tank top I embellished over the summer. Perhaps I’ll blog about that project later.

This is my own rendition of the artfully swirled fabric photo from my necklace post.

I think I need to work on making sure the fabric doesn’t shift during the sewing, because I ended up with a pucker. I also need to go slower because my stitches were a little sloppy.

Like I said, he had to like it or I’d deck him

I used my Cricut to cut out the letters on the front.

O, Cricut. How I love thee.

So I'm curious: if you had to make all your own cards from now on, would you go this route or invest in a Print Shop Deluxe?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Time Wasting

Why is there a blog for every imaginable nuance of society? For instance,
...I could go on forever, baby. The newest one to add to your Reader (filed under "things to read instead of writing that paper/scrubbing that toilet/shaving those legs," etc.) involves my two favorite things in the world:
1. Nicolas Cage
2. Photoshopped pictures.

one of my faves: Tony Little, aka the Gazelle guy

The blog's mission statement of sorts states that the blog was "founded on the belief that everything in life would be better with a little more Nic Cage." I couldn't agree more. So go over to Nic Cage as Everyone and witness the magic for yourself. But don't come crying to me when your grades suck/your bathroom smells/your legs start barking.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm 12 going on 21

If I had a nickel for every time someone’s told me I look like I’m 12, I’d have, like, several dollars by now (assuming I exchanged all these nickels for bills at a Coinstar machine). It’s always the same: hairdressers, dental hygienists, great uncles, etc. will ask how old I am, I’ll tell them my age, and they’ll raise their eyebrows in a face that says “wow I feel sorry for you. You look so young and childish. I’m glad I was better looking when I was your age.” Yes, all of this is conveyed in one facial expression.

Sorta like this face, only usually less hairy.

They always cover it up, of course, and say “Well you know what? When you’re older you’ll be so glad to look young!” Right, because that follows logically…I mean, who’s to say I won’t look old in a few decades, just because I don’t now?

Like this

Or even this

So why is it that so many people have this reaction to me? I’ve tried changing my hairstyle, clothes, makeup, and nothing seems to help. Once I got a haircut and was mistaken for a 16-year-old (whoo hoo), but since it grew out I’ve reverted to 12. I figured as I aged people would start guessing 13, 14, maybe even 15. But the number stays constant at 12. This used to bother me in high school when I was actually 16, a mere 4 years older. Now that I’m 21, this shit’s getting serious.

Most problems can be blamed on one of two scapegoats: the media, and your parents. This problem is no exception. If my parents’ DNA hadn’t blended in such an unfortuntate, cataclysmic way, I wouldn’t look like an effing SIXTH GRADER while I try to navigate job interviews and the like.

This is me in a few years, after I get a job. And turn black.

But really the media is more at fault here. Television shows and movies constantly feature people my age playing teenagers, and the ones who are actually teenagers are so dolled up with professional styling that their true ages are indiscernible.

Wtf this girl looks like she’s 35.

Exhibit A: Ashley Tisdale was 20 when she began portraying a 15-year-old on Disney’s “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” James Van Der Beek was approximately 21 when playing Dawson on “Dawson’s Creek,” a show about high school sophomores. The character “Gordo” of “Lizzie McGuire” fame was 17 when he began portraying a 7th grader. Leslie Bibb was a 25-year-old playing a 15-year-old on the WB’s “Popular.” Sorry for my old examples, but those are the shows that were popular when I used to fantasize about being a teenager (except the Ashley Tisdale one. I just plain don’t like her). I guess this is proof that I really am as old as I say I am.

This is how actual teenagers look these days, apparently.

What’s worse than twenty-somethings playing teens and teens looking like twenty-somethings is that actual children are starting to look older than me.

She’s only 9. How can I compete with this?

WHAT?! Even Dakota Fanning looks older than me? What is the world coming to?

I’m not gonna get into the ethical argument here (what about their childhood? This can’t be good for their self-esteem! Everything’s always about looks, isn’t it? Blah blah blah). I am merely concerned with how I look compared to society’s ill-informed notions of what a 21-year-old should look like.

Although, now that you mention it, I think the real question here is why are all these hairdressers, dental hygienists, and great uncles watching the Disney Channel? Don’t answer that, Uncle Milton.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who's experienced this psychological trauma!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Made: Yellow Flower Necklace

Here is the first installment of “Something I made all by myself!” I know I made fun of this type of blogging in my first post (but seriously, what was up with that vest made out of pop tabs? I saw that on a real blog that was actually about people making their own clothing. It was masquerading as clothing).

But here’s what I think of the whole crafting/blogging dichotomy: I have more incentive to blog if I have something to write about and show off. Similarly, I am more likely to make stuff if I know I have a medium for showing it off. Catholic confession time: half the reason I make stuff is so people will say “oooh, ahh, how fabulous!” The other half is because it’s cheaper, and the other half is because it’s fun to make stuff. Yes, that makes three halves (I put 150% of myself into every diy project [side note: does anyone else absolutely hate when people say “I want to give 110%” or some other number that is >100? It’s not logically sound, people!]).

So back to my crafting fabulosity. Over the summer I went into Anthropologie down in the Third Ward. Don’t ask me why; it’s not as though I can even afford a piece of thread from that store (oh, you mean that’s actually a scarf?). I found a necklace there that I just absolutely Had. To. Have.

Are you drooling on your keyboard yet? Ew, you sicko. What’s wrong with you?

Unfortunately, it was $42. I don’t think I will ever spend that much on any necklace, no matter how rare the stones are. This necklace wasn’t even made out of precious stones. No, the folks at Anthro were charging the equivalent of 5 hours of working at my menial student job for a necklace made out of FABRIC. Well, my little thinker got to thinking and I decided that, since fabric is one of the materials I am somewhat comfortable with (dare I say it is the fabric of my life? Or does that not even make enough sense to be a bad joke?) I could easily make my own for a fraction of the cost.

Since I wasn’t an avid blogger at the time, I did not document my efforts photographically. But I think I can provide a good enough tutorial for those of you interested in trying your hand at this little endeavor. First, I bought some yellow fabric at Walmart.


For those who didn’t realize, this is what yellow fabric looks like when it is artfully swirled.

I don’t know what kind of fabric it was, but it felt kind of like a sheet (like for a bed), if that helps. Most of their fabric feels like that, because I don’t think they really specialize in varying their fabric selection. I think I bought 1 yard, because I didn’t know you could buy partial yards (actually, I still don’t know if you can do that, but I’ve since bought partial yards of trim so I assume you can do so with fabric too). Then I traced and cut different sized circles. Make sure to cut the same amount of each size so that your four flowers will be roughly equal. It doesn’t matter if they are perfect circles (lord knows mine were practically squovals), and if the fabric frays, that’s okay! Just make it work!

After my circles were all cut out, I stacked them all up into four “flowers,” with larger circles on bottom and smaller circles on top. I don’t remember how many circles I made for each flower, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Just use your best judgment and make all four flowers have the same number.

Next, I bought a little vial of green seed beads and a packet of jewelry-making…stuff.

These probably have names already, but I shall call it…stuff.

I don’t even know what I bought, but I think they are used in actual jewelry making (like clasps and teeny-tiny rings). I just bought them because they were gold and I thought they’d do the trick. I by no means used them as they were meant to be used in jewelry-making. I randomly sewed strings of green beads and gold thingies into the middle of each circle.

Green things are seed beads. Gold junk is…I have no idea.

Then I went about “cinching” the circles to make them look less circle-y and more flower-ish. I did this by pinching the middle of each circle, in the back, and sewing random stitches on the pinch. Let me tell you, there has GOT to be a better way to do this. This part was really boring, time-consuming, and unregulated for my taste (come to think of it, this whole project was unregulated, and I’m sure this tutorial will help no one because I keep saying “just sew random stitches!” But seriously, I don’t even know what I’m doing half the time). Plus, my flowers did not come out as wavy-looking as the real ones.

Next came making these little flowers into an actual necklace (speaking of randomly attempting to diy something when I don’t know what I’m doing…). Like I said, I have absolutely no jewelry-making experience, unless you count friendship bracelets on the playground in fourth grade. So I just picked up a silver chain in the craft department at Walmart and tried sewing the flowers to each other and then to the chain. Long story short: this chain looked totes stupid and didn’t even work right. I ended up using hot glue, more stitches, and periodical adjustments throughout the day when I actually wore the necklace. I haven’t actually worn it since that day because I haven’t gotten the chain part figured out. I will abstain from giving you advice on how to finagle this part because I obviously have no right to do so.

Yeah...this is before the drinking started.

Final assessment: I ended up spending approximately $10 on this project, between the fabric and jewelry-making supplies. However, with the amount of supplies I purchased I could have set up a sweat shop and mass-produced hundreds of these bad boys (assuming I could procure some defenseless children for the manual labor). I would say it was $10 well spent except for the fact that I have only worn the thing once, to my cousin’s wedding. Perhaps I will fix the chain one of these days. Until then, crafting fail?

Has anyone else ever attempted to recreate something they saw at a store for mucho dinero? What was it? I’m curious!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lyric Interp: Fleetwood Mac

In the words of the greatness that is Fleetwood Mac:
"Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.
Don't stop, it'll soon be here.
It'll be better than before.
Yesterday's gone. Yesterday's gone."

Well isn't that an upbeat song? It's an oldie but a goodie for me because I have a tendency to listen to "The Dance" on repeat when I'm forced to pick something from my dad's CD collection. Fleetwood Mac is just about the only musical preference we have in common. (And the Beatles, but everyone likes them. That's like saying I'm Keira Knightley's twin because we both like chocolate. Actually, by the looks of her, she probably doesn't indulge in chocolate nearly as frequently as I do. But I digress.) Anyway, when this song came on the radio yesterday I couldn't help but be depressed by it. Ugh, you're right, Christine McVie--tomorrow will soon be here. In fact, my anxiety and fear about the proverbial “tomorrow” increases with every turn of the Sudoku page-a-day. Maybe it’s because in about four short months I will be homeless, jobless, moneyless, and the sheepish recipient of an English degree. Why are you leaving me, my dear alma mater? Why, after all the money I’ve given you? After all the good times we’ve had together? Why are you kicking me out, making me fend for myself, giving me the cold shoulder?
This is a visual representation of Marquette's treatment of me.

According to this article, the number of depressed college students today is five times the amount from 1938, in the midst of The Great Depression. Why is this? Here are the hypotheses:

· The recession—no jobs

· Everyone's fixation on perfection and individualism

· Parents are raising their kids to be neurotic

· Too much emphasis on mental well-being causes people to be more aware of their pathetic lives

I think all of these explanations seem viable. But I am a bit skeptical of this study. First of all, it was self-reported, so we can’t actually say that these people were clinically depressed. Second of all, almost everyone goes to college today, or else they are ostracized as lazy asses that will ultimately amount to nothing in life. Back then, however, college students comprised the rare group of people who could afford not only tuition but time to study such pointless pursuits as Anthropology and the like, while their less affluent counterparts toiled away in factories. So of course college students were happy back then.

This article was definitely not life-altering for me, except that it managed to mutate a friendly old song into the trigger for a self-loathing-induced drinking binge. Just kidding.

But it’s true, what they say: yesterday really is gone. And the days of eating koala yummies without a care in the world are gone too.

Oh yeah. Get in my belly.


Monday, January 11, 2010

6 ways of writing a blog entry

So I decided to start up a blog. I've gone down the Xanga road and dipped my toes into the world of LiveJournal, but today I decided to break out the big guns, go for broke, go big or go home, and get a real blog. What makes this blog more "real," you ask? I suppose it's the server (host? domain name? I don't know computers [or animals]). Something about Xanga just screams "idiot with an internet connection."


The computer don't lie, buddy.

And Livejournal screams (in three part harmony) "idiot with an internet connection and a razor blade."


Like this guy, only with a blog instead of a regime.

But Blogger (Blogspot? Again, I don't know computers) is the blog of the stars! First of all, it seems to be run by Google (again with the computers...) which is like the Lady Gaga of search engines. Second of all, almost every blog in my reader (my Google reader) is run by Blogger. Third of all...meh, I've got nothing--but I generally like to have three main points because I'm an English major who can't...get...past...the 5 paragraph essay.

This little internal debate got me thinking about blog stereotypes (how funny that such a thing did not even exist last time we changed decades). I decided there are really only about 6 different types of blogs:

6 Ways of Writing a Blog Entry

1. The “Why do I not own this overpriced piece of hipster art I found on etsy?” blog.

"Oh my, it's just so adorable and sweet! I can think of so many different uses for it, too! Eek, I die. I die!"

2. The “Look what I made all by myself!” blog.
"It was really quite time-consuming and frustrating, but I am sooo happy with how it turned out and can't wait to see everyone's reaction when I wear it to LARPing practice tomorrow."

3. The "I went abroad for the semester or did something else equally eye-opening and decided to share my travails and triumphs with the homies back home" blog.
"Just got here yesterday and I am soooo tired! First we checked into the hotel, and haha we saw the bidet in the bathroom---culture shock! Then we went to dinner at this pub where we had these little tiny hamburgers with "chips" haha and we got to ride one of those double-decker buses. Tomorrow we're going to visit Big Ben and London Bridge andddhnj oh sorry I just fell asleep."

4. The “Hey, everyone else was doing it. How does this thing even work?” blog.
"Hey everyone! I just started a blog, lol I know right? I don't know how to change the font on this thing. How do I see my post when I'm done? Oh well, I'm probably not going to is this very much anyway."

5. The “I just had this totally, totally deep thought that I wanted to share: what if my version of blue is different from yours? And there’s no way for us to ever know?” blog.
"I had this totally trippy dream last night, and it really made me think about life, and the world, and human nature, you know? Like, we're, and yet none of us is really, actually here. It's so philosophical haha!"

6. And worst of all, the “OMGGG my life sux no1 understandz me and my ripped jeans” blog.
"Ugh my mom is such a b!&@$. I told her I was going to a show tonight and she was like, 'what, the movies?' and I was like 'no, a show, idiot.' And she was like 'what, a concert?' And I was like 'no, a show.' Oh Em Gee get me out of this hellhole. Here are some song lyrics to help assuage the pain."

Hopefully this blog will not just fit neatly into one of these categories. I'm hoping to hit up all the stereotypes, with a heavy emphasis on number 6 (sarcasm noted). Sometimes I'll share cool/funny/amazing things I find around the web, but hopefully a mustache on a stick will never again make a cameo on this blog. I also will show you guys stuff I make because I like to make stuff but I am neither prolific nor talented, so maybe this blog will help me in that area. As far as type 3, I don't really do anything interesting, but maybe I'll find a way to wax poetic about the banalities of my daily existence anyway. Type 4 is a given. If I delve into #5 and 6 too much, then...I don't care because this is my blog and I can do whatever I want!

On that note, no one understands me wahhhh.