Friday, March 9, 2012

In Which I Attempt to Embarrass My Cat

Today I'm working on a cherry blossom tree mural for a friend's nursery, and the pressure's on because I already mentioned it to those of you on Facebook, which means I'm committed to posting pictures of the end result, and I've never free-handed a big tree on a wall before, and this could end up being that thing we're still talking about ten years from now in a "Wow, I never knew a tree could look like a demented platypus doing interpretive dance" kind of way, as opposed to a "JEN IS THE NEW DEMIGOD OF CRAFT PAINT" kind of way.

So, to distract us all from the impending judge-Jen's-artistic-talent-a-thon, here are some *other* really embarrassing pictures.

Of my cat.



If this angle confuses you, just know that John took the picture, and Lily (the cat)(obviously)(I hope) is wedged in between my belly and my desktop. Because like most cats, Lily has determined that where there's a will, but no lap, there's still a way.

She's also determined that my hair is an acceptable cat toy:

"I don't always bat playfully at dangling objects, but when I do, they're attached to my owner's head and I'm sprawled out on my back like a drunken weasel."

I'm not sure any of this is having an affect on Lily's dignity.

So how about a video of her SNORING?

(Turn up your sound!)

She sounds like a happy Tribble. Which is kind of awesome. And while I still refuse to believe that *I* snore (AHEM JOHN AHEM), I will accept the term "Tribble purr." As in, "Wow, Jen, last night you were Tribble purring sooo loooud!" Then I could be all, "Heck yeah I'm even adorable in my sleep! LL&P, bee-yotches!!" And so forth.

Ok, I think I still have some cherry blossoms to paint.

Wish me luck, and happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Craft Inspiration Roundup

I've been in a craft funk lately. I have several projects started, of course - what crafter *doesn't* have half a dozen stalled-out projects stashed in the closet? - but nothing that's really stirring the ol' creative juices.

In times like these I turn to you guys for inspiration, so here are some of my favorites of what you've been sending in lately:

Erin B. found this Pottery Barn-inspired candle mod over at Can't Stop Making Things:

The trick is printing your design on tissue paper, which then gets saturated with the wax and looks like a part of the candle. Get the full tutorial (plus the sheet music .pdfs) at the link.

Katelyn found a fun wand tutorial that's perfect for Harry Potter party favors:

Believe it or not, they're made from rolled paper, paint, and hot glue!

You know this one caught my eye:

A chalkboard cake play set! This would be a fun gift for junior bakers, or a perfect re-usable centerpiece. Just draw on new decorations to fit each occasion!

Heather V. spotted the tutorial over on Craft: All you need are nested hatboxes and some chalkboard paint. Hit the link for step-by-step pictures.

I tried some simple quilling once years ago, and remember it being surprisingly easy with almost instant gratification. The fact that it looks like it took you a million years to do is the two-ton cherry on top.

So when Stephanie sent over a link to this gorgeous quilled monogram, I started hearing the siren call of swirly paper strips again:

The contrast of the delicate swirls with a nice bold font outline is just gorgeous, don't you think?

Here's another example by Michelle of A Can of Crafty Curiosities:

(You should also check out Michelle's quilled Koi fish. Sooo cool.)

Head over to Craftastical for the full monogram tutorial.

And finally, here's something I've been wanting to try for ages: Perler beads!

From what I can tell, you assemble the beads on a grid and then apply heat to fuse/melt them together. Because of the grid they're perfect for 8-bit designs, which is why there are so many fabulous Mario and old-school video game designs out there. I found this one on Craftster; it's a set of coasters that fit inside the question mark box.

Decoy's Dork Decor sells a bunch of different designs, plus a sweet Nintendo controller box to hold the Mario coasters:

Most of the small perler bead sprites you see are pretty simple, but there are also some massive, jaw-dropping pieces out there:

By ShampooTeacher (several more gorgeous works at the link.)

This makes me want to pixelate some of my favorite movie scenes and make them out of beads. Like the elevator scene in Ghostbusters. Or the Dread Pirate Roberts looking down his sword at Humperdink. Or the Back to the Future poster. :D As much as I love jigsaw puzzles, I think I'd enjoy the tedium of putting them all together.

Plus, I bet you could use cross stitch patterns for these. I know there are programs out there you can buy to convert photos into cross stitch patterns, so really, you could make almost anything. Your only limitation would be finding the right color beads to match. (Speaking of which, anyone know of a good cross stitch conversion program for Macs?)

Oh, and earlier today I emptied out my first burnt-out lightbulb, despite John's assurances that I would "slice my face off." I'd like to use it as a mini cloche to display a tiny paper flower or other origami shape, like a crane, attached to a small wire. You know, something sort of along these lines:

By Jochem van Wette, via SuperPunch

(And isn't that beautiful?)

Anyway, do you guys have any other suggestions? It'd have to be super tiny to fit through the opening. (And I'm not interested in making a terrarium or bud vase, since those are pretty overdone.) I'd make a wooden base so it stays upright. Of course, I still have to make this steampunk heart lightbulb, too. Hm.... (Is it wrong when you start hoping your lightbulbs burn out?)