Saturday, April 20, 2013

Jack of All Trades, Finisher of None

Oh dear, I haven't posted in a while for two main reasons: 1. I don't real have any readers so each post makes me feel increasingly like a crazy lazy talking to herself, or maybe a little more like my dad who talks to himself while he does things explaining, to himself, each step he's taking and 2. I have been in the middle of about a bazillion different projects (ok, maybe less, let's say more than 5 less than 10?) and have yet to really finish any of them (hence another ever so creative post title) and I tend to feel like posting about my finished projects. So, instead of a tutorial explaining a project I just did, I'll share with my many many readers the many many activities I find myself in the midst of.

And here they are:
  1. A plastic spoon wreath for my mom to celebrate spring (or summer at the rate I'm going).
    Normally I don't like to read other people's tutorials on complete projects because I like to get inspiration and come up with a project on my own. I feel as if following someone else's instructions on his or her idea from start to finish is kind of cheating at worst, unoriginal at best. But I did see someone's spoon mirror and thought, well isn't that just lovely, and my mom just loves lovely things so I thought since I am her lovely loving daughter I would make my lovely loving mom whom I love a lovely thing because she does so much for me since she loves me and I am lovely… ok, enough of that, I truly apologize. Anyway, she loves green and she loves, oh, sorry, she likes green and flowers, especially peonies, which the spoon mirror I originally saw kind of resembled (although the author of the tutorial likened them to chrysanthemums) and put the two together to make a wreath for the front door with different shades of green in a sort of ombre effect. To add my own little twist, I thought I'd melt and bend some spoon "petals" combined with melted and shaped plastic forks to make little flowers to sprinkle here and there amongst the green spoons. Usually this is a project I'd bang out in a matter of a day or two, but since I have to spray paint the spoons, which requires daylight and going outside, and I am a major night owl, it is taking me a lot more time to actually go out and spray the spoons and create at least 6 different shades of green. But I am determined to get up at a decent hour this weekend and paint the 150+ spoons I just spent the night before cutting from their handles.
  2. Yet another spoon related project. I finally finished my heart/peace dove/bent handle pendant from a vintage silver plated spoon I found at an antique shop, but while perusing the vintage
    Chicago Spoon won on Ebay
    spoons on ebay I found a Chicago-themed spoon and came up with the brilliant idea of cutting out the 6-pointed star found on the Chicago flag (I know, I know, I am obsessed with Chicago and its flag) and make a pendant in the same vein as the first one. I have only just received the spoon in the mail so that's my excuse for having done little to nothing with this particular project. This one may be easier than I'd initially thought, however, since I just found the tungsten carbide cutter for my Dremel that makes quick work of cutting out chunks of metal, but it also means I have no spoon innards to save for making a little charm to hang off of the pendant. Oh, the sacrifices we make in the name of art… of convenience…
  3. Several other utensil-related projects, which I will lump into one project together. This includes a couple fork pendant. One of the fork pieces will be an attempt to solder the poor little cocktail fork I snapped in 2 back into 1 so I can bend it into a heart-like shape. I do love making things into hearts… Most of the other involved banging the utensils with a hammer on my vice, which means yet again I have to get out of bed during the waking hours of the rest of my family so that my dad doesn't have to come downstairs at 4 in the morning to remind me how much noise I am making… whoops.
  4. Yet another heart pendant with a pair of scissors, a spool of thread and a needle all made with mixed sheet metals and wire on top of a pink heart made from, you guessed it, shrink plastic!
    "I Heart Crafting" Pendant, finally finished!
    This one is actually almost done, but I'll put it on this list since it's been on the docket of "things to finish" for a while too. As usual, it was the steps that required daylight that held this project back. I wanted to make each half of a scissors out of different metals and assemble it almost like a real pair so I needed to drill a hole into the metals and then into the heart to assemble the whole thing together; then I used the tungsten carbide cutter on the Dremel to cut out the handles (with a heart in one of them) to finish the look. This time neither cold connections (rivets, eyelets, etc) nor soldering could connect all the pieces so I resorted to glue (which I try to avoid) to assemble the pendant and it turned out looking pretty cute, if I do say so myself. I used something called E6000, available just about everywhere, for sticking the metal/wire spool and shrink plastic measuring tape onto the background heart, which worked out nicely. The only part I'm not thrilled about is the super glue I had to use to glue the needle onto part of the scissors definitely showed on either side of the needle where it smeared and it's pretty noticeable, in my opinion at least, but I tend to notice everything about my own pieces, especially flaws, so who know what it looks like to other people. This pendant holds a special little place in my heart (he he) for some reason, maybe because it's so cute, maybe because it feels so idiosyncratic of my own obsessions, or maybe, just maybe, it's because it's a pink heart. Stick a Chicago flag or a red 6-pointed star somewhere on there and it would never leave my own site. Which leads to the next unfinished project…
  5. Chicago flag earrings… made from shrink plastic… and involved fusing shrink plastic… I'm sorry, I really am, but these certain obsessions keeping creeping back into my crafting repertoire. These are most likely going to be gifted to a friend, but I have another version of these that I'm hoping someone might actually buy from my Etsy shop. The finished-ish pair is the Chicago flag, except one of the stars is replaced with a heart (I know, I know, it's adorable if that helps my case any) with an enlarged 6-pointed, red star hanging below the flag from the ear wire. That version is finished and probably on its way to a friend in the near future. The version for sale has the same flag, but instead of the additional star I made a grayscale "charm" of the Picasso sculpture in the Daley Plaza that will hang alongside the flag, but the Picasso is bigger than the flag. I normally don't like even numbers, especially when a piece only has 2 components so I will definitely be adding at least 1 more aspect to these earrings. Perhaps I'll keep the enlarged missing stars from the flag, or think of something else, or both options, who knows. I am experiencing a bit go creator's block with this piece at the time being. Maybe a hot dog charm can join the flag and the Picasso? Hmmm… I kind of like that, although I won't be able to decorate it the way I eat 'em since I love lots of ketchup, yes,, ketchup on my Chicago dog! Blasphemy, I know, so for the sake of my reputation as a lover of all things Chicago, this dog will get mustard and maybe some nuclear green relish.
  6. Yet another pair of gift earrings I am attempting to finish for a friend holds the place of project #6 I hope to finish. Since I finally got a fused Shrinky Dink fish tank pendant/charm that satisfied my demands, I thought I'd make it into a necklace for a good friend with whom I've kind of lost contact with and wanted to remind her I still treasure our friendship (cue: awww), but the necklace itself feels a bit anemic so I wanted to make earrings to go with it. They have two enlarged goldfish like the ones in the tank, with separate air bubbles and a tank plant that will hang on separate wires to add al title interest. I'm almost done with these, as well, and once I am I'll take some pics and post them here along with pics of the other projects as they (slowly) near completion.
  7. This project is of utmost importance: I need to collect 4 pieces to submit for jurying at Oak Park
    Where it all started: Chicao Wallet
    Women's Exchange along with my application to join the collective. They are a little shop in Oak Park that feature only handmade goods from their members, ranging from stained glass to jewelry to embroidery and all sorts of other great stuff. Once accepted, members only pay a yearly due and have to work 8 hours per month at the shop. For that, they get to sell their pieces in the store at only 15-20% commission (which is an amazing rate if you didn't know), a free booth at a huge  craft fair in the fall, wholesale prices on  supplies, along with a couple other perks. This sounds like it's right up my alley, since I seem to be awful at selling stuff online and "networking" through twitter, Facebook, blogs, Etsy, etc. and very much prefer having a chance to interact with a customer and let them not only see, but feel my pieces. I need to pick the 4 lucky pieces to represent myself. Problem is, they can't be up for sale on Etsy since I need to ship those right away in case they sell (not a huge concern, obviously, but you never know). So far I've decided on: a Chicago wallet since they show my sewing skills and personal style (and I have like, 7, so it's no big deal if someone buys one online): a pair of jellyfish earrings that also show my style and use of different materials; instead I was going to use a bird and nest pin set, but they both sold (yay!) so I may use the hair piece I made in the same vein recently, which shows my skills with metal along with style and unique point of view; and lastly my spoon pendant, which also shows my skills with metals and unique way of working with materials (I also intend on keeping it for myself so I don't have to worry about a sale on Etsy). This is my list so far and I probably won't end up changing it anyway, but they jury only once a month on the last Tuesday, which is a week from this coming Tuesday, so I need to get to it so I can start getting truly involved with other artisans and possibly start selling more.

Well, I can actually think of a couple other projects I am working on, but I've already bored you to tears with a wall of text with nothing other than the ramblings of someone with too much time on her hands and too few people to talk about her projects with. If you're curious about any projects and would like a tutorial or want to see pictures of anything I've talked about, please let me know, I'd be more than happy (read: desperate) to share even more with you

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