Thursday, June 28, 2012

Well, This Is Awkward

Since not all of you follow me on FB, I wanted to make sure you saw these updates re: my appointment tomorrow. (And I'm sorry to be inundating you with all this personal stuff, but you guys have been so wonderful this week I figure you deserve to know!)

 Update #1:

Just had a reminder call for my Doctor's appointment tomorrow...and the woman on the line was so curt and cold she managed to make "How are you" sound like a dirty insult. Even John commented on how angry she sounded. Then she moved my appointment up by an hour.

Not gonna lie - I'm a lot more trepidatious about tomorrow now than I was an hour ago. [deep breaths]

Update #2:

Uh oh.

John just googled the doc I'm seeing tomorrow & found a bunch of negative reviews: terrible office staff, cold demeanor, even an unnecessary biopsy! ACK!! Even the good reviews say she's always an hour late and a "salesman" more than a doctor. Crap. I think I should cancel - but I've been psyching myself up for this all week! ARRRRG. I need off this emotional roller coaster!

John says you guys won't think I'm a coward if I cancel.

Ok. I'm canceling.

But I promise I'm finding another doctor RIGHT NOW. I *am* doing this. Pinky swear.

So...anyone know a good "lady bits" doctor in Orlando? :/

( Mini Update #3: John's working on a good lead now, and we're planning on calling tomorrow morning - but any recommendations would still be appreciated!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quick Craft: Steampunk Medal

Thanks to some Father's Day clearance I spotted at JoAnn's last week, I was able to make this fun and steamy medal for just a few dollars:

 Ok, so it's both steampunk and a little Harry Potter, with that winged key. That's double the geeky goodness!

(ZOMG - steampunk Harry Potter! Why have I not thought of this as a cosplay option before?!)

This was more of a quick customization craft than anything, because I started with this:

If you have a JoAnn's nearby, check their clearance to see if they still have any of these available. They were 70% off when I bought this one, so it only cost about $1.50. SCORE.

I brought it home and cracked open my charm stash. The key and wing sets are from Wal-Mart:

The gears are thin die-cut metal (or metal coated paper, perhaps?), a gift from Sharyn. Happily I found two that fit inside the circle perfectly, so from there it was just a matter of picking the charm I wanted for the center:

These were my four favorite options for charms. My first choice was the ray gun (an old Cracker Jack charm), but after I snipped off the ring and re-painted it I wasn't happy with the finish. (Drat.) The winged heart is great for a jewelry option, but I wanted mine to be a little more unique, so I went with the winged key.

I snipped off the wing rings, and glued everything down with a gel super glue:

(I also switched to a different key charm.)

To jazz up the top ribbon portion, I used two jewel brads to hang a short length of silver chain:

I just cut a slit in the ribbon with a utility blade to slide the brads through. Super easy.

These are the brads I used, and you can see how I opened them up & snipped the one side on the back. (The ribbon is stained because I was experimenting with painting over the stripes with markers to change the colors. The ink tends to bleed, though, so I just left the ribbon as-is.)

And that's it! There are tons of possibilities with this one, whether you wear it as jewelry or as a cosplay accessory, so just use what you have, and have fun with it!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Turn Any Fat Frame Into a Shadowbox Frame!

I recently decided to switch most of my office frames from black to white, for a cleaner, brighter look. Most of the frames I can paint, of course, but my black shadowbox frames have glass that can't be removed, and I couldn't find the same size again in white.

The "before."

So, together John and I figured out how to turn any fat frame into a shadowbox frame, and it's a lot easier than you think. All you need are a few simple tools, some acid-free foam board, and four glazier points. (I'll explain what those are in a minute.)
We used this 5x7 frame from Ikea, which costs a whopping $2.99:

Ikea frames are perfect for this tutorial, but you can use any frame that's nice and fat on the sides - say, an inch or more - and any size frame, as well.

First, open up your frame and use pliers to yank out the metal brads or staples:

Next replace the glass and backer board, and measure the depth from the board to the edge of your frame, like so:

This measurement will tell you how wide to cut your foam core strips.

Our strips were about three quarters of an inch thick. Make sure you use archival quality, acid-free foam core. You should be able to find it at your local craft store.

Don't cut the foam core with scissors; it will crush the edges. Instead, use a craft or utility blade. To keep the blade from wobbling while you cut, brace it against a level or other straight edge with your finger, like John's doing here:

Next mark your foam strip's length against your frame:

Cut the strip, and then glue it to the interior side of your frame. Make sure the nicer edge of your foam strip is facing down towards the glass, and the rougher cut (if there is one) is facing up towards you.

Did I mention you should have your glass in place before gluing the foam strip down? No? Ok, make sure you have your glass in place before gluing the strip down!

Now repeat this process for all four sides of your frame.

Gluing the final piece in place.

Now replace your art, hold the original backer board in place, and take a peek:

Not bad, eh? See how crisp the inside edges look? You'd never know that wasn't part of the original frame! (This is when I realized the paper behind my art has discolored, btw. I'll have to replace it soon.)

We're not done yet, though; we still have to secure our frame's backer board.

You could just duct tape the thing on, of course, but John and I wanted a stronger and more elegant solution, so we eventually decided on glazier's points.

Glazier points are small metal triangular pieces used in installing glass panes. You can find them in any hardware store, and they're crazy cheap. (Maybe a dollar or two for a big pack.)

To place the points, first mark where you want them to be on your frame with the backer board in place. Then remove the backer board and use a utility blade to notch a small slit at each mark:

(If your frame is a soft wood, you can skip this step. Ikea frames have a hard enamel finish, though, so the notches help a lot.)

Once you've made all four slits, replace your art and backer board again and use a large flat head screwdriver to carefully push the glazier points in place:

When you're done, the back of your frame should look like this:

And that's it! If you ever need to change your artwork, you can just pop the points out again with a screwdriver.

My "before" art card still needs new paper, but here's another ACEO in my finished shadowbox frame:

I couldn't be happier with how this turned out - and now I'm off to do the rest of my frames! 

I hope this helps if you ever find yourself in need of a cheap and easy shadowbox. And as always, please send me a picture if you try this out yourself!

A Quick Word of Thanks

It seems so strange to bare a bit of my soul on this blog, spend hours and hours reading and responding to all your wonderful comments and e-mails and expressions of support, and then abruptly go back to "OMG lookit this cool steampunk thing!!" the very next day. Ha! So, allow me to say - though this will be wholly inadequate - thank you. Truly.  I am simply overcome by your generosity, and I've laughed and cried and cringed my way through the hundreds of stories of hope and pain you've shared (and are continuing to share) in the comments and via e-mail. I'm afraid I won't be able to respond to you all, but please know I'm reading and appreciating every single one.

Clicking "publish" on that post was a big leap for me, but I can tell many of you took that same leap by sharing your own stories, and I think that together we're the better for it.


Wednesday John gets his stitches out. Friday is my exam. And Saturday? Saturday, WE ARE GOING TO A CON, gosh darn it. Yep, we decided today that we're going to drive down to Miami for the Florida SuperCon, because we both need something to look forward to this week. With that, and all the many prayers and thoughts and lovely words you readers have given me, I'm thinking maybe I'll be Ok this Friday, after all.

Thank you, again, a million times over. And hey, meet me in Miami on Saturday, and I'll totally buy you a Cuban sandwich at Versailles. You've earned it.