Archive for the ‘ Family and Friends ’ Category

I Love Decorative Painting

Back in 2002, when I started teaching classes in One Stroke Decorative Painting, I was quite surprised that the One Stroke organization did not have pre-planned courses for their One Stroke Certified Instructors to teach, along with supply lists, and step-by-step instructions. As a newly certified instructor, I struggled with planning the classes, and demonstrations, that I was holding at the local Michael’s Arts and Crafts store.

Perhaps if I had been painting for a number of years before becoming a certified instructor it would have been easier for me to plan the classes, but I really had only been painting less than a year before I became an instructor and landed the job at Michael’s.

I had been given the impression that I was going to get a lot more help with planning and executing the classes, and demonstrations that I was expected to hold. Because of this, I found myself spending at least eight hours planning and conducting a two-hour class, and getting paid very little money for the time I had invested.

To be honest, if I didn’t love decorative painting, and sharing what I had learned, and the great students that I had coming to classes, I probably would have thrown in the towel. But decorative painting is a lot of fun, and I didn’t want to give it up!

One of my favorite demonstrations that I did at the store, was with the Outdoor Paints that had been newly released by Folk Art Paints. The demonstration was done in only one hour, start to finish, with a wooden birdhouse. The photos above are the result of that demonstration that I had done. I can’t remember for sure what year that was (I wish I had written the date on the project) but I think it was in 2002.

I get a lot of compliments (and offers to buy) that cute little birdhouse! A few people have even commented that they think it is cute enough to be sold online on websites like YardEnvy.com. I considered selling it on Etsy, but my hubby insists that it is “his” birdhouse and he won’t let me sell it! It seems that every time I make something and talk about selling it, to generate a little bit of extra income, my hubby “rescues it” and claims it as “his” so it ends up staying home with us!

Easter Crafting

Decoupage Easter Eggs

Decoupage Easter Eggs

I don’t know what it is about spring that excites me about crafting with an Easter theme. I’ve never, ever, liked the smell of vinegar, so I have always hated the traditional Easter egg decorating.

Memories of my loving grandparents trying to get my siblings and me excited about dipping hard-boiled eggs into those little bowls of dye that smelled like vinegar make me cringe. They were kind, and patient, but I was not. After all, I did not like the smell of vinegar, and I did not like eating hard-boiled eggs.

Just the thought of eating something that I didn’t like in the first place, after ruining the pieces of art I was creating after suffering the offensive vinegar smell was just horrific to me! I’m sorry to admit that I was probably a pain in the neck during those times of decorating those Easter eggs!

But I guess that with the eruption of spring flowers, the urge to create spring-related, and Easter-related things gets to me. I try hard to resist, but now and then I succumb to the urge.

A few years ago I was watching a crafting television show on HGTV, and one of the topics was decoupaging Easter eggs. The show inspired me to try my hand at decoupage, and I had all of the supplies that I needed – some old plastic Easter Eggs, some glue, and some pretty, floral wrapping paper. The photo at the top of this page is a sample of some of the results, and I have to admit that I was pleased enough that these are displayed in a glass case all year-long in the foyer of my home.

I just found a YouTube video that demonstrates a similar technique to do what I did, although it is not exactly the same. I’ll admit that I really like the idea of decoupaging the half-eggs, and then filling the eggs with something special, but that is not what I had done. I simply decoupaged the entire egg so that it will never open. I am feeling inspired, though, to do what this video is demonstrating! And adding ribbons around the outside of the egg certainly makes it egg-stra special (pun intended.) I’m just not sure when I’ll have the time to actually DO this.

I will consider taking advantage of the after-Easter clearance sales to pick up some plastic eggs and put them in my craft-room storage closet for when I WILL have time, on a day when my hands don’t hurt too much to take on a crafting project.

Trip Down Memory Lane

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

A few evenings ago one of my sons asked to me find some photos of a family pet we used to have and email them to him. Well, my photo collection is NOT well organized, and I spent a few hours last night looking through dozens of envelopes of photos from the past. Yes, I found some photos of the pet that I will send to him, but that is not the focus of THIS post. This post is about another photo that I found that brought back some memories from a place that I used to work.

This cake was a specialty cake from a bakery in Lewiston Maine. I don’t know the name of the bakery (sorry) and I no longer have contact with the people who originally ordered it, so I don’t know HOW anyone can order this for themselves. But apparently the bakery had a lot of orders for this cake, and to be perfectly honest I think I would be inclined to order this cake on numerous occasions if I could. But I can’t, so it will just have to be a fond memory of a group of co-workers that got a birthday cake for a person who suffered from severe “potty mouth.” The people who ordered it called it a “poop cake.” Well, actually they used a different word that means poop, but I’m trying to “clean it up” for the purposes of being a “G” rated post.

It really is a chocolate cake, with chocolate fudge frosting with peanuts, plastic flies, and bathroom tissue tucked in and around the top of the cake. And yes, we DID eat it. And yes, it WAS delicious. Some of the co-workers joked about it being “Good ****”

The words around the bottom of the cake plate “Potty patrol” because we were always teasing the “potty mouth” co-worker that we needed to assign someone to help him control his mouth!

Crafting

Duct tape wallets

Duct tape wallets

As you may know, my hands were injured several years ago in a traffic accident, and the pain in my hands has made it very difficult for me to use my hands to do most of the things that I love to do. But this year I decided that I would slowly try to do some of the crafting things that I used to love to do, and even though it hurt my hands a lot, and took me a long time, it was good to do a few of my beloved crafts again.

One of the things I enjoy doing is making duct tape wallets. I made several of them this autumn, with the expectation of selling them at a Holiday Bazaar held by the Jefferson Ruritans, but at the last minute I did not attend the Bazaar. So I ended up giving most of the duct tape wallets away as Christmas gifts instead.

Another item that I made, in anticipation of selling at the Holiday Bazaar, was a lot of the “infinity scarves” that you can make out of T-shirts. I had never made any of those before, so it was a fun, new learning experience, to make them. I have to admit, though that the rotary cutter blade got dull pretty quickly, and I went through a lot of them. And, putting the kind of pressure I needed to put on the rotary cutter hurt my hands so I had to ask other people to help with the cutting from time to time. Using regular scissors was just too painful, and I could only use the rotary blade for a short time. It took a long time to get these projects done, and I took a lot of pain relief products, but it was really gratifying to be able to create with my hands – even if it was just a little bit. I ended up giving several of those away for Christmas gifts as well.

And then there were the crochet dishcloths. I made a few of them, too. But crocheting really hurt my hands, too. I did give two or three of those away, too.

Thankfully I paced myself over a long period of time, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to create like that again – my hands really were quite unhappy with me! And that made me realize that the chances of me going back to work at a job that requires me to use my hands a lot are slim to none. And it will probably be a very long time before I do any more crafting.

Everyone that got one of the scarves, dishcloths, or wallets was really quite pleased, so I was at least glad for that.

This morning my hubby showed me a photograph that someone sent to his phone. It looked like one of my sons riding a chicken! I asked him how in the world he did that, and he ignored my question. Eventually I heard him tell someone else that it was a picture that someone found on the Internet and sent the picture to him. The photo is not of my son at all, but boy, at first glance, it certainly does look a lot like him!

Man riding a chicken photo credit Richie Nolan

Man riding a chicken (photo credit Richie Nolan)

So I decided to go online and try to find the photograph for myself. It only took a few moments, and I found this website that talks about the photograph and how it was created by Graphic designer Richie Nolan. Apparently the photograph became an Internet sensation months ago (why am I only seeing it for the first time now, I wonder?)

Both my kids have a very strong resemblance to each other, you could guess either one if you’d like! I just think it is really funny! Especially since my kids enjoy role-playing video games, and I can just envision them riding a chicken off to battle!

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