Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm a luminarimaniac

I've been informed that I'm slacking. I didn't think anyone would notice. I'm pretty sure the only people that read my blog are my friend Megan because she genuinely loves and misses me, my mom because she also loves me, and my friends here in Jacksonville because they are fully aware that they may be quizzed at anytime on the content or they're scared that I might become a sobbing hot mess if I find out they're not reading.  Oh, and Megan in SA because she's just awesome. But for the sake of keeping up the blog and appeasing my adoring fans, I thought I should blog about something, so here it goes, my latest obsession: jars.
I would love to tell you that this is a picture of my jar room, the room where I store my hundreds of jars, but it's not. And if it were, I wouldn't have a story to share with you.
And I guess my jar love isn't new new. I've made a few cowboy cookies since moving here and I tried to convince my husband to let me pick up a giant jar on the side of the road- I'm pretty sure if it's on the curb it means they've disowned it and you can take it, right? (The girls from bible study are laughing right now for sure). He didn't think it was close enough to the curb to count as trash and he's not so hot about my excitement for rescuing things from people's trash to begin with.  I tried to get him to pull over so I could leave a note on the jar asking them to call me if it was indeed trash, which he thought was completely ridiculous, and sure enough, the next day gigantajar was gone. We'll never know if some other trash rescuer took it or if it wasn't actually trash at all. Hmmmmmm.
Anyhow, jars, yes, we were talking about jars. So, I was asked to come up with a craft for MOPS last Wednesday. Something "fallish" and something cheap. Like $1 per person. Something I could pull together in 6 days, during which I was going to a Lynyrd Skynrd concert and making baby shower gifts and attending said baby shower and Pumpkin Palooza! Hmmm.
I was looking around google images because that's how I roll and I found these luminaries or Jar-o-lanterns!  
So cute, right?? I love them all lined up. I typically like things in 3s, but 7 is good, too! I love their nutty little faces. I also figured we could do a fall luminary with leaves. There are SO many beautiful fall leaves in my yard. And if the jars are free (they're everywhere- storing pasta sauce, salsa, pickles, jam, all kinds of things), then really, all we would need is modge podge, tissue paper, brushes, construction paper, tea lights and ribbon (most crafts need ribbon). We're looking at like $0.65 a person. Awesome. Well, except that there is no way I could eat enough pasta sauce and pickles to collect 30 jars in 6 days.
So I posted a notice on facebook that I needed my friend's jars. I expect to be overwhelmed with jars. I envisioned each mom making 2 or 3 jars. It was going to be fantastic. Except nobody brought me any jars. Sniffle, sniffle. Really people?? No jars??? Some people mentioned that there might be some in the mysterious craft room, which I had never seen, but nobody could tell me for sure or what type of jars they were. I had 5 jars, but I had to make examples, so that cut me down to 3. I only needed like 27 more! Ugh. I kept hassling people and the MOPS hancho came up with 8 or 9 and a couple more here and there. I started to panic. Poop. My first craft was going to be a bust! I started to get desperate.
My friend Erika informed me that is was recycling day in her neighborhood on Tuesday morning. Yes, the day of the mops meeting. So I got my kids straight out of bed and into the car and headed out early Tuesday to rummage around in other people's recycling bins. What I didn't count on was the moms out on the streets with their children waiting for the bus. It's one thing to rummage around in people's recycling, it's a whole other to have captive audiences of 8 to 15 people at each stop. Awesome. There are a RIDICULOUS number of children and bus stops in Country Club Hills. Seriously. What I also didn't count on was the size of these recycling bins!!!
I was expecting this:
What I encountered was this:
Talk about awkward!!! AND to make it all more fun, not all people clean their recycling before putting it out. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Seriously???? I'm confused. I thought it was all supposed to be rinsed out. Milk cartons not rinsed out and left in a bin in the sun for up to a week. WOW. WOW. Just WOW. It's just wrong.
ANNNNNNNND- NO JARS. About a dozen bins and no jars. Am I total freak for having jars? So, I quit. I gave up. I'd just buy some jars from WalMart. I don't care about the cost anymore. Then I got a phone call from Maghan. I love Maghan. She's fantastic. 

See? See how great she is? That's a fertility guy- whole different story. But, Maghan had jars for me. Maghan had emptied the contents of jars into tupperware just so I would have some jars. That's a friend. 
So I was en route to Maghan's house when a creepy beat up suburban pulled up next to me. He rolled down his window and started smiling at me. And winking. And smiling. Ummmmm. Driving faster now. Diverting eyes. Much faster. He was very persistent. He kept right along side me, window to window. Topping off at 85 on Hwy 17 people. I finally broke as hard as I could without endangering us or anyone else and was able to tuck in behind some cars behind him. Ummm, yeah, because my morning wasn't exciting enough digging around in bins, being watched by scared moms with confused kiddos, I had a crazy man encounter on the Hwy. Of course I did. 
I picked up the jars, rushed to WalMart for back up jars and then I found out jars are only about $7 a dozen. What?? Really?? Yes really. Why was I digging around in recycle bins?? Why did nobody intervene?? Where are my friends?? 
AND, while at MOPS, which I arrived at on time and out of breath, I found the craft room. And guess what was in the craft room... JARS. LOTS OF JARS. Mmmmhmmm. 
But all ended well, except that there wasn't much time for the craft, but whatever, I give up. Here are my jar-o-lanterns or luminaries:

How was that for reading material, Sanae? I find it nearly impossible to tell a short story. 

So, if anyone is new to modge podging, wash your jar, remove the label. Using a paint brush or sponge brush,  cover your jar in modge podge (glue basically). Then take cut strips or torn pieces, whichever is more pleasing to you, and place it over the glue, working in sections, covering the whole jar. Then apply your faces cut out from construction paper or your leaf or whatever. Make sure to smooth it all out and then go over the entire thing with modge podgy glue again, covering all paper and the leave. It will look like a hot mess until it dries. I like to tie a ribbon on the top to give it a clean look. 
We had a few left over jars so I started another project. Here's a preview:

Unless I find more jars, I'll just be giving this holiday season. No thanks, just give. I need 6 more jars. Anyone?? Anyone? Anyone give a hoot? Give a care? I missed recycling day in my neighborhood. Maybe I'll finish this next week ;) 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A rosette dress and the ramblings of a sleep deprived mama...

I'm a sucker for a deal. I am. If it's a good deal, I'll buy it. I've been known to buy a pair of shoes a whole size too small just because they're soooooo cute and SUCH a good deal. Not really a good plan. I'll also buy clothes that I don't really love just because they're on sale for a great price and then I end up with a whole wardrobe of affordable clothing and nothing to wear. Also not a good plan. Well, when I saw this little dress on clearance for $10 at Marshalls, you know I couldn't just leave it there!!  Look at the potential! It's a blank slate. Dress it up, dress it down. Pair it with a cardigan? Sure. Add a chunky necklace? Why not! Boots? Yes! Sandals? Yes! Does it fit me? NO. No, of course not. For $10 on clearance, of course it wouldn't fit. Do you see the cut of the top of this dress? Of course it doesn't fit. Agh! Guess what. I bought it anyway. Of course I did. It's hanging in my dining room.

Of course it wasn't exactly in perfect shape, hence the markdown from $50 to $40, then $30, then $20, then $10! I love it when they leave ALL the stickers on- can you see the stacking of the stickers? Love it. It's kind of like the sad little crooked tree at the Christmas tree lot- back in the corner all by itself, about 4 ft tall, hunched over, no fluff on it's back side. It almost looks like it's crying. Yeah, this dress was that tree. And if you know me at all, you know I'm the person that buys THAT TREE. You know NOBODY else is going to buy it. It's like my civic duty to step up and be the hero to the tree. This is the same situation. I had to be the hero to this dress. 

I purchased it with plans of repairing it and embellishing it and finally putting something in the pile for my shop.  I have big plans to take a trip with my mom in February- NO KIDS!!!!!- so I desperately need to open shop to fund our adventure. I thought a fun project like this might be motivating. Apparently, it wasn't that motivating because it sat in the closet for over a month. But something AMAZING happened the other day. Wyatt took a nap in his crib. AWESOME.  AND, he did this at the same time that his sister was taking  a nap!!! So, I finally had some motivation to get busy. 
Sooooo, the top part of the dress had become un-attatched in several spots- and the neckline was also coming apart. All in all there were about 6-7 "holes" in the dress.  So I started my little project by repairing the holes, simply doing a top stitch around the elastic belt and the neck. Voila! Fixed! 

Now for the embellishment! It took me a while to find the right fabric and decide what I wanted to do...
I have a couple tubs of fabric I've collected over the past couple years, but nothing was really jumping out.  Then I was thinking maybe I should jump ship altogether and start my rag rug when it occurred to me to go look in my pile of goodwill clothes! Yes!! Now this shirt was one of those purchases that I don't really love, but it was on sale for a great price and I talked myself into thinking I could love it. I love it in theory. My favorite color- not red, not pink, kinda coral. Cute cut and shape. It fit. BUT, it's that cotton modal stretchy fabric and it has two layers and they just STICK to each other, so it is perpetually wrinkly and I always look disheveled when I wear it. Like I've been sleeping in it for days. Yeah, right, like I get any sleep- but this shirt would make you think I did. Loads of it. All in this shirt. So I decided to scrap it. Literally. I cut it into usable portions of fabric, then started cutting smaller pieces to shape into circles of varying sizes.

I also brought out the dark grey shirt from the "dirty shirt" I made for Megan (above), which is listed in my first blog post ever. You know, also the longest blog in the history of blogging, yeah, that one. I cut smaller pieces from the remains of this shirt in the shape of little leaves and pinned them around the hemline of the dress. I then stitched them on. 

Then I places my circles, stacking 3-4 circles at a time. Starting on the outer edge of the circles, I stitched my way inward. Now this is a stretchy fabric, so as I stitched around, it pulled and gathered, which I found annoying at first, but then I really really loved the effect. 
See how it's got some dimension! Love it! And I went ALL the way around the bottom of the dress, so it's cute from behind, too! 

So, I continued this all around the bottom and added a brooch like flower pair on the top. Maybe that was overboard? I dunno, but I love it! Like a lot. Obviously, I need a better picture, preferably on a human instead of a curtain or a floor before I list it in my shop, but I think it's my most favorite project ever! Again, I can see this with a little white cardigan and some girly sandals or some distressed brown leather boots in the fall! Oh, how I wish you fit me little dress!!! But then, if it fit, I wouldn't be listing it in my shop and my shop wouldn't be opening. Must. fight. urge. to give. to friend. I can see it on Erika with a cardigan and boots in Sunday School, nah, maybe too girly for Erika, but definitely quirky enough for her... or Jennifer with sandals, yep, for sure... Ah!! No, then if they don't like it, it's that awkward, "ahhh, thanks...." and then they never wear it and I'll miss it and think about it... If I put it in the shop, then someone that loves it will buy it and love it and wear it on a first date, maybe! I hope it's a good first date. Not a horrible one. Maybe they'll end up getting married! And they'll look back fondly on that night remembering her in this dress! Oh, the dreams I have for this dress, lol. Wait a minute, the pink sweater I was wearing the day I met Shannon got chucked. Well, it was cheap and it pilled. But I still remember wearing that sweater, my R necklace, my favorite dojo jeans, I was so nervous I about barfed in the bathroom at the airport, so romantic... Okay, I've got to open shop at some point- into the pile it goes!