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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DIY Home Improvement

Hello, faithful fans!  As some of you may know, I'm SORT of obsessed with interior design.  It all started back in 2008, when I would get bored at the doctor's office I worked for and start flipping through her subscriptions to House Beautiful.  I lived in a big, gorgeous house at the time, and started getting ideas.  Unfortunately, I moved before I could really utilize the beauty of that house...but the passion hasn't died since.  I'm constantly looking for ways to improve and beautify the space I live in (which means it's always changing, much to Dom's amusement.)  And yes, I have my very own subscription to House Beautiful. (And Coastal Living, and Real Simple and Whole living, which also have homey stuff in them.)

So anyway, every once in awhile, I take a break from the crafting and take some time on my house.  My plight has become more challenging than ever, as we live in Daddy Balsamo's office, with the use of only three rooms and a bathroom as our living space.  Forget the kitchen; I can't do ANYTHING about that.  So, we can't paint or do any major remodeling, which hurts my soul because of the terrible paint colors I have to look at every day.  But I do the best with what I have.  I figured I would show you some of the projects I've done, since it's all in the name of do-it-yourself crafty goodness.

We have a sunporch that we were using as a closet and catch-all, but I got jealous of Dom's man cave and decided I wanted a lady cave as well.  It's going to take awhile, but I've gotten started.  We tore down the self-installed closet rods, and re-installed a whole wall system in our bedroom. Not pretty, but functional. We had a huge, bulky dresser that I love....but it was just too big. So we hauled that to storage, and rescued Grammy's old dresser and a tiny little shelving unit.   I went to "the Deep" as I affectionately call it, and bought some paint.  So began my reclaiming.



This was the color of the dresser, complete with pen marks and dents.  I sanded them as best I could, but....eh.




My in-progress projects.  Forgot to do the "before" shot, but this is good enough.  I love that sea-foam green color for the dresser, and the shelves definitely needed some livening up.
The inside of the drawers: Terrible.

Ohhh yeah, it's coming together.

No project is complete, of course, without orange 70's shorts and a leopard print bikini top.


























So here's the finished product, all dry and placed in my up-and-coming lady cave.  I bought some nifty wrapping paper at World Market and lined the top drawer, but have yet to line the rest of them.  These things take time.













And with the addition of the shelves to hold some beloved knick-knacks:



Please ignore my laundry heap.










And yes, the view from the other side.  I had painted those night tables previously, and the hue of the colors all sort of go together.  This probably isn't the way it's going to stay, but for now, it provides a cozy little reading nook where I have since spent many hours.


When it's not claimed by the cats, masters of the universe.

Onward!!!! (Finishing Dom's custom guitar today.  Stay tuned.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't Worry, I'm the OPPOSITE of Stopping.

Hello faithful friends.  You may be wondering where the hell I went, or more likely, assumed that I got bored with my most recent crafty endeavor.  FEAR NOT!!! I've actually been going stronger than ever.  Long story short, I decided to start selling my stoof.  I'm starting easy at first.  I've been making some simple greeting cards and invitations and posting them on Etsy and Zazzle.  Just like the other random things that you've seen so far, they're not mind-blowing or anything, but I wanted to get some stuff in these online stores just to see if anyone would buy them. :)  A dear friend ripped an article out of Better Homes and Gardens about this girl who put her handmade stuff on Etsy, and her AND her husband were able to quit their jobs and live off her sales.  Living the dream, much?!?!?  I was inspired beyond belief.  (Mostly because she handed it to me shortly before I LITERALLY had my first nervous breakdown about my job.)  So I pretty much immediately started putting things together, just to see if I could.  I have tons of ideas, including custom guitars (thank you Dominick), but for now I'm just starting easy with the cards.  It doesn't require too much time, and they don't have to be particularly complicated, because I'm just scanning them and making the cards on Zazzle. 
So anyhoo.... here's what's up so far: (Halloween themed, of course, since it's the next holiday.)



These are just the fronts.  I obviously made backs and insides as well, but the front is the most important. :)
Ultimately, if things actually sell on Zazzle and Etsy (hint, hint), I'd like to get my own website to sell my stuff.  That way I wont have to pay these sites their ridiculous seller's fees.
Stay tuned, there's definitely more to come!!!!! In the meantime, let me know what you think and if you have any ideas for cards or other things!!!! I could always use inspiration.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Presents for the Fam

Hello friends! I'm finally back from my half awesome, half lame vacation on the east coast.  Before I left, I sent off a few presents to my Montana family (my sister, her dad, her step mom and step sister), but never had time to post what I did.  But fear not, I am still crafting. :) Here they are:
This is the mirror I made for Bridget, Ali's step-sister.  She lives in Montana, so anything that reminds her of the beach makes her happy.  She's 16 though, so I didn't want it to be tacky.  I went for "beachy chic" here.

Complete with local shells and sea glass. :)

I glued little black bling to three of the corners to hide the seams in the wood.
The verdict: she loved it. Win!
Ali's instructions: Anything black and/or pink.  So this is the picture frame I made her, with my favorite picture of us in it.  I could not seem to get a good picture of...the picture.

This one shows the color better.  Hooray for glitter paper and sticky bling!!!!

She's called me sissy since she could talk.
The verdict: Loves it! She says it's going on a shelf called the "Ali and Carrie shelf".  Amazing how loved kids can make you feel.  Win!!!!
I also sent that heart box to Anne, and, as predicted, she loved it.  I totally laughed at her because of how crappy of a job I did, but I knew she'd be stoked just the same.  Still, I promised her better in the future.  Tom didnt get anything.  He's just like me. He hates stuff. (But shhh don't tell, I got him something in Salem.) 

Stay tuned, more crafts in the making!!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Adorning the Man Cave

So my adorable husband Dominick bought a shed and built his very own playhouse.  It is a black and red haven filled with electronics, action figures and skulls.  It's perfect.  Even more so because pretty much everything he owns is now in there. (Meaning all the ugly boy stuff I don't like. Shhh don't tell him I said that.)  Anyway, when we first started dating, he began keeping all my letters and cards and notes and things in a little box that he had me paint.  (Black and red, of course.)  He just recently asked me to paint something else on it.  All he gave me for inspiration was "some sort of design".  So this is what I came up with:
I painted it sort of quickly, so it's not really the best thing I've ever done....

But whatever, he loved it.

However, what he loved MORE.... are the coasters he asked me to make for him. 
Directions: "I want puppies and kitties."
So I found the cutest pictures I possibly could, and added skulls and crossbones to make them completely ridiculous in their awesomeness.

Dom is pretty metal.  But he still requests puppies and kitties for his mancave decor.  That, my friends, is the definition of irony. <3

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Greeting Cards!

Good evening.  I am finally able to post the greeting cards I drew a few weeks ago, because the recipient has received one of them.  They're fairly simple.  I bought a pack of plain greeting cards, envelopes included, from Beverly's.  It's been many years since I drew anything, let alone with pen and ink, and this was my first attempt:
I started simple, so that I wouldn't get frustrated right off the bat.  If I failed at drawing branches and birds, I would have to just kill myself.

I knew I wanted to make my "real" one a gift for my dear friend Adam, who lives in New Mexico.  I decided to find something that would remind him of home, in Santa Cruz.  I stalked his mom's photos on facebook and found a lovely shot from inside their house, which just happens to be my favorite place in the world. 
 I don't know why I thought a picture with so much shadow would be a good idea to attempt drawing, but I just started going and by that point it was too late to turn back.  The finished product:

Here's a little closer. Kind of weird and abstract, but...eh.

And my favorite part: signing my shit with my awesome last name. :)  
The cards themselves are pretty flimsy, so I cut out the same size cardstock and glued it inside to make it more hearty.  Then I covered the front with a lacquer adhesive type thing to protect the ink, and voila.  I wouldn't say I'm stoked about the end result, but I AM happy that it didn't turn out to be complete crap.  So that's a start.  And in the end, all the really matters is that he loved it.

I 'll probably keep complaining for awhile that the stuff I make isn't amazeballs. Bear with me.  It will be eventually. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Witchy Wonder

Good evening! I just finished my third craftypants project, which is farther than I expected to get. And I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.  I'm going to try something different next......pen and ink on greeting cards!!!!! I'll see if I can finish one tonight.  But for now, another wooden box.  I feel like these boxes are sort of "below" what I could be doing.  I only say that because I remember how talented I USED to be...ah, how creativity and artistic ability dwindles without use.  Anyway, I made a box for my friend and fellow witch Moe.  I don't know what the crap she could use it for, but the themes are applicable to her so hopefully she'll like it anyway.
Started with: a box.




And a bunch of cool paper.

My favorite redheaded witch picture. :)
I painted the box black first, cut the inner paper to size, and glued it to the inside:


She's going to England and Ireland this summer, so I figured an old-world theme might be appropriate.  Oooo maybe she could use it to keep souvenir postcards or something. I'm a genius!!!!

Next came the top of the box.  I cut three 5x7 scraps of purple paper (her favorite color) and glued them to the front, then covered the little leftover square with that awesome non-glitter glitter paper.  I glued Ms. Witch in the middle, and realized that some of the edges of the paper looked weird, especially the glitter paper.  So I got some black bling and super-glued them along the edges.  As an afterthought, I cut a little moon and stuck that on there.  Simple, not as awesome as it could be, but my collection of supplies isn't big enough yet to really choose from.
I used that lacquer adhesive to make it shiny.

I covered the back with a plain piece of blue parchment-ish looking paper and wrote lyrics from a mutual favorite song. (Dante's Prayer by Loreena McKinnett- BEAUTIFUL song. Look it up.)

I'm still not super happy with what I've done so far, like I said, because I know I can do better.  But I guess, when starting over, shit's gonna suck for awhile.  I'm gonna keep posting it.  If I know I have to post something, I'll finish it.  Otherwise I'd get frustrated at how lame it was and just shove it in the back of a closet half done. Speaking of, maybe I should pull out all the half-finished bullshit I started years ago and actually attempt to make something of it.

Not tonight though.  I think I'll try one of those greeting cards.  I've been copping out with the paper-gluing, because that doesn't actually require drawing.  Here goes nothin'.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I made a mirror!

This was probably the simplest thing I've ever done, and it turned out fairly awesome if I do say so myself.  My bedroom is sort of a mix of Indian and Moroccan looking decor, and I found some paper that matches the bright colors of the decor.  Not like I need another mirror in my bedroom, and it probably wont stay where it is, but it was so easy I couldn't resist.
I started with a pretty piece of paper, a blank wood mirror, and a little help from Roland the cat.

I used regular lined paper to cut the proper sizes for the sides, just in case I messed up the cuts.  That paper is like 1.00 a sheet!
 First I painted the sides of the mirror with acrylic paint (I believe in burnt umber).  I painted it thin, which turned out to give it a sort of distressed "old dark wood" look, which was a happy accident.  After I traced the lined paper to the right size, I traced it onto the real paper I was going to use and cut that out.  I sprayed that annoying but effective tacky adhesive onto the backs of the paper and stuck it to the wood.


It's not going to stay on my little side table but I didn't know where else to put it. Besides, we all know I'll get bored of the current set-up and redecorate soon enough. p.s. I <3 iPhoto for having Photoshop-like effects for me to play with, making my shitty pictures a little more bearable.
Stay tuned, I'm almost done with my third project!!! I'm on a roll!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome from Mrs. Craftypants!

So, I got sick of "talking" on my normal blog.  Bitching and moaning about how I'm never creative anymore, how I haven't painted in years, blah blah blah.  I began following the art blog of an extremely talented friend and photographer a few months ago, and realized that there is SO much more I can do.  I've been stuck for my entire life in my usual mediums of acrylic, charcoal and pastel with the occasional pen and ink thrown in....but who needs canvases when there are wooden boxes and cardboard blocks and greeting cards to be adorned with that special Carrie touch?

I went to Michael's that very day and bought some pretty paper and a couple boxes just to get me started.  My very first project on my journey to revisited creativity started with a desk covered in crap I wasn't sure what to do with:



And quickly turned into a gift for one of my many pseudo moms:

Glitter paper that's not actually glitter. GENIUS!!!!

I added that little heart to cover a smudge, and it ended up looking way worse. Note to self: just leave it alone.

So.  It's simple, it's kind of boring, it may fall apart.  But the point is, I did something, dammit.  I promise I'll get better as I do it more, and eventually you wont need to laugh at me.   (And Anne is a sap, so I know she'll love it despite the suckage.)  Now I just need to save up and get myself an awesome camera, so the pictures of my awesomeness actually...look....awesome.