Upcycled Milk Jug Watering Can: “Stained Glass” Lorax

Since most of the plant food recipes call for a gallon of water to mix everything up I’ve accumulated several milk jugs in my gardening supplies. I recently learned (thank you, Pinterest) that if you punch holes in the cap with a screwdriver they make great watering cans! So, really… how long was it really going to take before I made something sparkly or customized them? Pshh… I can’t last! I had to turn my plain milk jug watering can into a happy milk jug watering can, PRONTO!

This is a very simple project, and if you keep artsy-crafty supplies around anyway it’s not very expensive. If you just decide to go buy everything you’re looking at a good chunk of cash, but it’s stuff that’s good to have around the house and for arts and crafts.

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I used a variety of different colored Sharpies. These can rack up your grand total if you don’t find a good price on a set somewhere – Costco usually has a set for a decent price or you can find lots of different sets on Amazon.com. I like the big Magnum black Sharpies because they have a chisel edge and you can make thick or thin markings with them. I also used a regular size black Sharpie not shown in the picture.

I used a soft (6B) pencil to sketch out my design before I used the Sharpies. You can use a regular #2 pencil, but those are much harder and don’t mark the plastic as well – I learned that the hard way.

The jute twine is the same I used for the lightbulb fishbowl, and should be available for less than $2.00 at a hardware store. The scissors are to cut the twine, and the lighter is for burning the ends of the twine so they don’t fray. Just wrap it around the handle however you’d like and tie it off good when you’re done.

You’ll need a skinny Phillips-head screwdriver to poke the holes in the cap. The material is fairly soft and you shouldn’t need to apply too much force to get the screwdriver through.

Goo Gone is great for removing grease, sticky stuff, and all manner of “goo” from things around your house. I used it to help remove the stubborn glue from the label. Be careful with it since it will also take off paint, and a Q-tip dipped in the stuff makes a good “eraser” if you make a mistake with the Sharpies.

I used an acrylic UV/moisture resistant coating to seal the outside from the brand Krylon. It’s about $13.00 on Amazon, but it was only $9.00 in the store. You might want to shop around on that one. The Sharpies will smear and smudge on the plastic if you don’t seal your artwork. Make sure to read the directions and shake up the can really good before use because it will smear your design if you don’t shake it or if you hold the can too close – I learned this the hard way as well. I used a bamboo staff stuck in some dirt with the milk jug turned over the top to hold it while spraying, but you could also use a shovel in some dirt. The Krylon spray will give you an even coat of acrylic protection over your design if you follow the directions.

You can create any kind of design you want. I’m personally a big fan of Dr. Seuss so I HAD to put the Lorax on mine!

Dr. Seuss used his writing to make a lot of important statements, and I had wanted to put a star-bellied sneetch, a plain-bellied sneetch, and Yertle the turtle on the watering can as well. I very quickly realized it would get too crowded and opted for a Yertle-esque turtle, a swomee swan, and some truffula trees.

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A lot of people don’t realize that Dr. Seuss did a lot of political work with his art. It’s unfortunate, but I think we still see quite a bit of a bitter “Butter Battle” going on in our global culture. If you liked Dr. Seuss’ children’s books, and you’d like to learn a little more about his other work in a “family friendly” way, I highly suggest the movie “In Search of Dr. Seuss“. An all-star cast acts out some of our favorite stories and enlightens us to a new world of Dr. Seuss.

Here’s a clip from the movie that illustrates what Dr. Seuss had to go through in the publishing world:

NOTE: IF YOU’RE TRYING TO PUBLISH DON’T GIVE UP!

Dr. Seuss also did political satire cartoons, a short video about WWII, and a series of instructional videos for the military called “Private Snafu“.

Just a quick heads up if you intend to keep reading – Private Snafu is not what I would call “family friendly”.

If you didn’t already know, “SNAFU” is an acronym for “S.ituation N.ormal, A.ll F.ucked U.p” playing off the common military way of reporting “everything’s okay” as “situation normal”. SNAFU is something that should be normal or easy but has been messed up. This is not to be confused with FUBAR in which a normal situation has been royally messed up!

Private Snafu was supposed to teach soldiers about basic military protocols by showing them the wrong way to do things. There are a bunch of “Private Snafu” videos available on YouTube if you want to watch more of them. I’ll just share one that’s a little risque, but particularly funny called “Booby Traps”.

I think the best line is: “If you are a boob, you will be trapped!”

My point with all this is that you may want to take the time to learn more about Dr. Seuss!

Alright, so that’s my little post for today!

If you make a fancy watering can please send me a link! I would love to see your amazing creations. 🙂

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Can-Can Dancer Paper Finger Puppets

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This picture is from earlier this year in February. I had a nasty flu/cold/somethin’-or-other for the entire month, and I made these little paper finger puppets for entertainment. I just drew an outline like a big cartoon minus legs. Then I photocopied the outline, colored ’em in, cut them out and *TA DA* we’ve been transported back to the Moulin Rouge and Mr. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is painting our pictures! Three cheers for paper puppets!

Hip hip!

Hip hip!

Hip hip!

Hooray!

If you make any paper finger puppets please take pictures and share your fun!

Lightbulb Fishbowl: Ichabod Update

Lightbulb Fishbowl: Ichabod Update

Hey there folks!

I just wanted to give you a quick update on Ichabod and some things I learned for keeping a fish in a lightbulb fishbowl.

I hung my fishbowl with macrame which has this great nautical look to it, but I really felt like taking him down and putting him back up to feed him was hard on my new friend. If you can hang it somewhere where you don’t have to move it to feed your fish then suspension might still be a good idea. If you don’t have a good place to suspend your fishbowl I suggest standing your lightbulb fishbowl upright on your desk with a bit of wax. If you lean it slightly to one side you’ll increase the water surface area to air ratio and make it easier for your new friend to breathe.

I also suggest a small aquatic plant. It helps condition and oxygenate the water so your fishy can stay healthy. I wish I knew what this kind was called (the awesome lady at the fish store just gave me a bundle). All I do know is that with this particular plant you can break a piece off, float it on the top, and it will keep regenerating itself. Plus Ichabod can snack on it – BONUS!

Oh, and have you ever had “sea monkeys“? Remember how they give you a little “pump” that looks like a tiny turkey baster? Totally use that or something similar (an eye dropper would work) to send some extra oxygen into the water.

I change 30%-40% Ichabod’s water every other day when I change the water for my avocado seeds. At first I was changing the water by pouring a little out and putting in some new. For the same reason that I won’t be hanging him up anymore I’m now suctioning a little bit out and putting in new. You can use whatever you find to use as a pump to suction some of the water out. If you saved the mini-turkey-baster thing from a sea monkey kit then by all means use that! An eye dropper would also work well. I’m using a sterile (never used) plastic syringe from an old science kit.

So, what do you do when it’s time to clean your fishbowl?

First of all I’ve completely transferred Ichabod to the large glass jar where I was keeping his spare water and the rest of the aquatic plants. You will probably want to move your little friend to a similar pre-prepared spot for a good cleaning at least once a week. You can attach a paper towel to the eraser end of an old pencil with rubber bands. Proceed to gently scrub the fish poop grime off the inside. You can also pour a little bit of salt in and swish it around to scour the inside. Make sure to rinse it several times with clean water so you don’t leave any residue for your friend to swim in later.

RESIST THE URGE TO USE SOAP! DO NOT USE SOAP!

I’m going to keep him in the jar for awhile until I can figure out a better place for the lightbulb bowl. Although, he seems to be enjoying having more room so much that I may just turn the lightbulb into a terrarium! That seems to be a popular idea for what to do with emptied out lightbulbs.

Father’s Day DIY Gift Idea: Light Bulb Fishbowl

Father's Day DIY Gift Idea: Light Bulb Fishbowl

IchabodFishy

Hi there folks! Father’s Day is coming up on June 16th! If you’re lucky enough to have a Father/Father-figure/Father-of-your-children around to celebrate with you this might be a nice present. I’ve been thinking about my dad and remembering all the great times we had together before he passed away. He was definitely a fish person! I think he may have been a fish in a previous life with how much he loved the ocean, boats, and everything fish! We had several fishtanks in our home while I was growing up, but let’s face it – fishtanks are hard to keep up! I know there are several fish that are perfectly happy in small bowls – I just wasn’t sure which would be happy. I went and talked to the nice lady at the pet store and I recommend you do the same before picking out your new pet!

So, let me introduce you to Ichabod! I named him Ichabod because it sounds like “ichthyology”! 😀

I used instructions from another blogger on how to hollow out a light bulb. I will just add that it makes for easier clean-up if you work over some damp paper towels. The damp paper towels catch everything well and then you just have to fold them up to clean your work space.

I cleaned the interior out and put it through several rinses to make it free of residue for my little friend here.

I very carefully buffed the opening so he wouldn’t get hurt on his way in his new home.

Put him in gently with a teaspoon!

He’s so tiny, he could even swim in the spoon a little!

I’m setting aside special water for him so I can change his water frequently and keep it aerated.

BONUS! – Light bulbs cast light really well and the little rays of sunlight that stream through cast an Ichabod-shaped shadow on my wall!

He seems really happy “hanging out” suspended over my desk.

However, there is a separate larger bowl ready for him if he doesn’t continue to do well in there.

I hope to have time to post better instructions later.

The best part is that this project is really cheap!

Burnt-Out Light Bulb: a single light bulb is somewhere around 50-90 cents to begin with, and if you’ve already got one burnt-out that’s best!

Natural Jute Twine: you can get a roll of about 100 feet for less than $2.00, but you’ll only be needing about 20 feet – the roll I got was $1.39 at the hardware store. I used 5 pieces of twine at about 4 feet each to macrame around the outside.

Small Fishy Of Your Choice: Ichabod was a cool 13 cents + tax.

Fish Food: whoa now big spender! This is what kind of blows me away about this project. I wasn’t going to skimp on the food because I want him to have all the vitamins and nutrients he needs to be happy and healthy. I already had the twine and burnt-out light bulb, but even if I had purchased them for this project I still would have spent less than $2.50 on the whole mini-tank AND the fish! A small canister of fish food (that will probably last me a long time because he can barely eat one flake at a time) was $2.57 which puts the grand total cost of this project around $5.00 dollars. It costs more time than money. It took me a few hours to clean it out really good and put it all together.

P.S. Take the advice of the blogger with the light bulb instructions! I used eye protection and gloves and I’m glad I did because a rogue glass fragment bounced off my goggles! Be safe!

UPDATE (added June 13th, 2013): I’ve posted an update on Ichabod and some tips for keeping your new friend in the lightbulb bowl here.

Art Stuff Update Until I Can Clear My Head

Yesterday I couldn’t seem to get a blog post completely written out – mostly because I had three different blog posts I wanted to write and couldn’t decide which to start with. Needless to say, I have a lot going on in my head. I decided I needed to have a little chat with Emma.

“Rachie and Emma : Best of Friends”

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Wait, before you say to yourself “she’s a complete nutter”, I’d just like to point out that… yes, I am. We all talk to ourselves. Sometimes it’s something as simple as “I wonder if I could make a fluffy peanut butter frosting”, or “wow, she’s really crazy”; but the fact remains, we all talk to ourselves. I just happen to talk to myself in different voices for my own entertainment. The fact that other people encourage me to do this is just a testament to their craziness.

So, how did this rousing conversation go down?

Rachie: Aw, geez! I can’t think straight today.

Emma: You, my love, need an alcoholic beverage.

Rachie: No, no, I don’t drink. I’ll figure it out.

Emma: That’s too bad, doesn’t a margarita sound lovely?

Rachie: Not as lovely as a pina colada.

Emma: Woohoo! Break out the rum!

Rachie: Emma, you are the reason the rum is always gone.

Emma: I’m just doing you a favor, love.

*Rachie shakes head and sighs*

Rachie: What am I gonna do? I can’t seem to write today.

Emma: Fook it! Let’s go play in the yard and take a nap.

Rachie: Emma!

Emma: What?

Rachie: You shouldn’t curse…

Emma: I didn’t really curse, besides you should seriously consider playing in the yard and taking a nap. 

Rachie: How do you always know exactly what I need? 

Emma: It’s the age old “sock puppet paradigm”, love.

Rachie: Oh, yeah. I suppose that makes sense.

Emma: Well, what are you waiting for?

*Rachie smiles and proceeds to go play in the yard. She discovers a bumblebee with a blue and black striped booty instead of a yellow and black striped booty, and regrettably does not get a picture. There is then napping, a scrumptious pasta dinner, and then bedtime – all the while forgetting to blog.*

Okay, perhaps my conversations with myself are just a smidgen crazier than other people’s. Regardless, I did end up throwing my hands up at trying to blog, and going outside to work play in the yard. This was followed by a lovely “Rainbow Nap”, and linguine with chicken meatballs for dinner. All in all, it was an amazing day!

So, today I’m getting a blog done! Although, I’m not blogging on any of the topics that I wanted to blog about yesterday. Those will just have to wait until I can clear my brainspace. Today I am just going to share a few artsy-fartsy pieces in different mediums as a “filler” post.

I am suddenly realizing that I don’t have many pictures of my sculptures, but I do have a few pictures of masks I’ve made.

Sculpture

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GoblinMask

Squatty goblin mask

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GoblinMaskBigNose

Nose-y goblin mask

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FunkyMask

Funky goblin mask

Can you tell I like goblins?

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Photography

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sunsetinsb

Sunset in Santa Barbara, California

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Door_to_Nowhere_by_ShortSharpShock

Marshland viewing deck in Alviso, California

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Anemone_by_ShortSharpShock

Sea anemone from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

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jellyfish1_by_ShortSharpShock

Jellyfish from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

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Sketches

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labnotes

Lab notes from one of my fossil labs

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dragon_aka_smurg_wip_by_shortsharpshock-d34gbuc

Smurg – Smurg is now partially painted

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treespirit

Tree spirit

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WeepingWillow

Weeping willow dancer

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Oil Melts

fire_light_by_ShortSharpShock

“Firelight”

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Pompeii_by_ShortSharpShock

“Pompeii”

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Mercury_by_ShortSharpShock

“Mercury”

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I create the oil melts by melting oil pastel crayons onto paper. I came up with the technique by accident, and since have used it over and over. I had tried to make my own light box by putting a lamp in a garbage bin with a thin clear cutting board on top. I ended up melting the crayons with the heat from the lamp, but also ended up melting the cutting board. I loved the look of the melted crayons so I went out and bought a cheap picture frame for the large piece of glass. I still use a little desk lamp with the shade removed, and I still use a little empty garbage bin with the glass on top. If you try this technique let me warn you ahead of time to be careful of the hot glass. Wear long sleeves! You’ll also want to be careful of how much pressure you put on the glass. If you turn the lamp on for a bit before sitting down to melt the crayons the glass should be warm enough that they will melt smoothly without needing to apply much pressure. You’ll also want to be careful that the bin you choose to put the lamp in can withstand the heat. You don’t need any kind of special paper. I used regular copier paper that I’d swiped from my printing tray. Make sure to get the pastel crayons that are oil based and not the chalky ones. Most of the Office Max stores I’ve been to carry a small set of oil pastels with a colorful cat drawing on the packaging. Those ones work very well, and so do the “Reeves” oil pastel sets you can get at Michael’s craft stores.

I think this is where I’ll stop for today. I’m surprised I got so much writing done! I have been rather foggy though, so please be patient with me. There are a lot of other bloggers I want to keep up to date with, and my brainspace is so cluttered and contrived at the moment that I fear it will take me quite a bit of time to focus on reading anything. Still, it’s a good day to accessorize with a smile! Did you put your smile on today? Yes? Don’t wait! Smile! Smile a big toothy grin, and laugh!

Baby Dragon Eggs, Propagating Roses, and WordPress Family

First I’d like to thank Yaussiechick and Michelle for adopting me into their WordPress family! You ladies are lovely individuals and I’m glad to be connected! I’m going to need some time to pass the baton, but I feel honored and really grateful – thank you!

I’m not the world’s most amazing artist. I used to be horrible at drawing human figures. Then somewhere in my teenage years I managed to draw a human that didn’t look like a misshapen “Frankenstein” monster. I was hard on myself for not being able to create as well as my art idols. I had this coloring book of all the great masterpieces when I was a kid. It introduced me to all these amazing artists, and I didn’t feel like my crayon scribbles were worthy of their work. It’s still on the shelf “uncolored”. It just didn’t seem right – it would have been like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. Besides, I always kind of hoped that I’d have a masterpiece of my own be worthy of being alongside theirs someday. It wasn’t easy for me to be patient with myself in gaining some artistic skills. Heck, I can see how I want it in my head, why can’t it just spill out on paper?! It’s a challenge for me, and I think that’s part of what draws me to art. I can see personal growth as I get better feedback on my work. I’ve dabbled in all sorts of art mediums. I’ve done wood sculpture, metal work, clay, drawing, watercolor, acrylic, oil, photography, digital art, and various arts-and-crafty projects (hoping to finish the swords next). You get the idea – I’m “artsy fartsy”. It’s a wonderful form of expression, and it makes me happy. I’m not Boticelli, or Van Gogh, or DaVinci by any means – and I’ve finally come to a point where I’m okay with that.

I’ve been feeling particularly “artsy fartsy” lately! After my watercolor Easter egg and dragon painting adventure I thought it might be fun to paint dragon eggs! Then I thought that these dragon eggs should be made into ornaments after seeing Russell’s post on The World’s Top 10 Best Easter Trees. Cheers, Russell – the dragon eggs will eventually be turned into ornaments!

I decided I wanted them to look like a window into a baby dragon egg, and that I needed to figure out how to draw a baby dragon embryo. I sifted through a few Google image searches of different pictures, even found a few other people’s interpretations of baby dragon embryos, and eventually decided it needed to be a cross between a chicken and a turtle embryo with a dragon twist.

Dragon Embryo Sketch & Future Dragon Egg Ornaments

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I left it out on the table last night and this morning my mom goes “oh, I like how you put a little burn mark like he’s breathing fire”. I then had to explain that I had left a candle burning and accidentally placed my drawing on top of said candle. So, here’s to it not being a flaming tragedy, and an awesome coincidence! I’ll update on these again when I’ve gotten a bit further along. Perhaps a tutorial?

Oh, and I’ve been a gardening fool lately! I received a mini-greenhouse for my seeds as an Easter present, and I’m delighted that I get to draw a map of the seed placement. It needs to be like a treasure map, or a map to some far off fantasy land – and perhaps Thimble-Nip will live there!

I’ve been giving a batch of seeds special treatment, and most of them are ready to plant already. The apples will take a little bit longer, but I’ll give you my special seed-lovin’ recipe in a later post.

“The Beginning Of My Bedroom Garden”

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I’m starting them indoors, and then I will transplant everything into the yard. What’s on my list?

Today I planted

Cilantro

Sweet Basil

Beefsteak Tomatoes

“Alaska” Daisies

Dwarf Sunflowers

I really love sunflowers. They are my absolute favorite flower! They are happy, adorable, uplifting flowers. I recently found an absolutely stunning time lapse video of sunflowers where they look like angels fluttering their wings.

Seeds To Be Planted Tomorrow

3 more species of Sunflower

Wisteria

Lavender

Johnny Jump-Ups

Mini Sweet Peppers

Lemons

Cherry Tomatoes

The apple seeds still have a few more weeks getting nurtured with TLC. I also started a trimming of my dad’s roses in a pot. My dad liked to grow roses, and I do my best, but I still idolize his magic with roses. One time he took stem trimmings from his Grandmother’s rose bush intending to plant them – no roots, no flowers, just sticks with thorns. Of course we told him he was crazy, and he was crazy, but not about that. Sure enough they grew into a big beautiful rose bush with large pink roses. I like to remember this because it helps remind me that something ugly and painful can turn into something gorgeous and inspiring.

Like I said, dad had magic powers over roses! It is generally recommended to have a stem of new growth to propagate roses, but somehow all he ended up with was sticks – cut at both ends – with a whole lot of thorns. He took them home in damp paper towels, and just stuck them in the dirt. Bam! Gorgeous rose bush courtesy of the rose magician. Now, I haven’t tried Dad’s method, and it very well may work for me; however, I don’t think I was gifted with magical rose powers and I have a slightly different method.

“Propagating Roses From A Trimming”

Propagating Roses From A Trimming

You will need to RECYCLE something to use as a makeshift greenhouse. You can use a two liter soda bottle, a milk jug like I used, or anything that fits the requirements in your recycling bin.

*Hits The Pause Button On This Blog*

Real quick… Who else loves recycling? I love recycling! I like imagining what my sour cream container might be turned into, and often times I swipe things out of the bin for art projects. I live in California, and I’ve been recycling since I was a kid. It just seems like a normal part of life. I’ve visited other states and countries, and I find myself shocked when I realize they don’t recycle! How?! How can you just toss things into a landfill or the ocean that could serve another purpose?! Do you recycle? Have you ever used recycling for art projects?

*Hits The Pause Button Again To Resume Blog*

I chose the milk jug for the fancy “excess heat escape vent” that was previously a mere “handle” before I got to my hands on it! You’ll need to make your own decision depending on where you plant your trimming, but my bedroom garden happens to be in direct sunlight for a few hours in the afternoon which could potentially bake my lovely little rose trimming. You’ll need to make sure your trimming stays moist as it sends its roots into the soil. I mixed a little rose food, and some warm water into the soil before planting my trimming. When you go to choose your trimming look for a stem that’s recently had flowers – or if it hasn’t bloomed yet choose a new growth with leaves. I cut right above a “node” or the point where stems separate from each other. Don’t worry too terribly much about this part – just make sure you get a new growth with leaves. Snip off any excess leaves near the bottom so you have a straight stem to push in the soil. Make a small slice in the outer skin of the stem near the bottom about an inch long (perhaps a little less). This will help your trimming have room to send out new roots. Push your trimming into the soil so the slice is completely covered by the dirt. Make sure your trimming will get plenty of light, and maintain the soil moisture. The way I check is by pressing my fingertip against the soil: if little bits of dark soil stick to my finger I wait to water another day, and if my finger comes back clean it’s time to water. I chose a makeshift greenhouse with the fancy “excess heat escape vent”, and I may even choose to remove it when it gets warm in that room. You want bright light, but you don’t want to bake your new plant.

If you’re like me you will probably name your plants. I’m currently tossing around different names in my head, but I’ll wait until the plants are “born” to bestow them with names. I also sing to my plants. I know, it’s cheesy, but my plants are very happy! I sing all sorts of different songs to them, but “It’s Not Easy Being Green” is my favorite choice. I have a large hanging plant over my desk that is simply named “Ivy”, and a purple passion plant named “Violet”. I’ve given Violet a lot of nurturing, and I’ll have to give tips for purple passion plants in a future blog.

Watercolor Easter Eggs, New Traditions, and Sock Puppets

I never want to have the words “normal”, “mediocre”, or “mundane” associated with me. Call me “crazy”, “dorky”, or “nerdy” and I’ll take it as a compliment; but for the love of otter pops don’t call me normal! In my perfect world everyone would see me as some kind of hybridization between Glinda the Good Witch and a mad scientist. In fact, a friend recently told me that Glinda reminded them of me when they saw “Oz” in the theater – that easily goes in the top 3 compliments I’ve received this week. You get the idea, though – I don’t like anything that I could consider “ho-hum” (see tagline ^), and this is why I was almost happy when I realized that I had forgotten to get egg dye.

No Egg Dye = No Problem! 

WatercolorEasterEggs

I’ve been working on a few watercolor paintings lately and I already had my artistry supplies handy in the dining room. I had just been working in the garden all day, and I still had flowers on the brain.

One Of The Paintings I’ve Been Working On

DragonPaintingWIP

This is one of the paintings I’ve been working on. It’s a piece that is particularly important to me and I want to finish it in the near future. I got the idea in my head that it would be fun to draw little baby dragons curled up on the outside of eggs, but I felt like that wouldn’t be “Easter-y” enough. However, I REALLY like the idea of baby dragons on eggs and I will probably undertake it as an art project anyway. Perhaps on egg shells that have had the insides blown out so I can keep the eggs as ornaments or something.

In my last post I mentioned that we were trying to figure out new traditions for holidays because we haven’t celebrated them since my dad passed away over 7 years ago. So, what about those new traditions you ask? Well, in past years the tradition has been to have an Easter ham complete with several side dishes of feasting. Look, we all need to eat, and I like food – but, I also like fitting into pretty dresses. So, I’m up for celebration-food that’s maybe not-so-healthy, but I can’t justify making and trying to ingest massive amounts of food. My Mom’s meatloaf recipe is amazing, and I honestly don’t make it that often. Thus, we have made meatloaf the new “traditional” dish for our Easter celebrations.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of “artsy-fartsy” and this is a trait I share with my mom. We’ve decided that lazy Easter afternoons should be spent writing stories and/or painting. Do we really need an excuse to write or paint? No, but we don’t often get to enjoy writing or painting as a family, and why not share that on Easter?

Lastly, we’re going to write down some prayers, hopes, and dreams for the rest of the year on pieces of paper and make them into flowers. We’ll keep them in the dining room or living room, and then every time we pass them we can remember to say a silent to prayer to help those hopes and dreams “blossom”. Next year we’ll have to find some ceremonial way to let go of the old flowers and replace them with new ones, but we’ll worry about that next year.

Let’s re-cap.

Easter Traditions in RachieLand

Snazzy Easter Eggs

Easter Meatloaf

Writing and/or Painting as a Family

Prayer Flowers

Lastly, I’d like to make sure I introduce you to my favorite sock puppet, Mrs. Emma Calderdash. Emma is easily the manifestation of the more crude and sassy part of my personality. I really need to tell you more about her and her friends later. The thing is, I’ve been building a sock puppet theater, and I’m really looking forward to YouTubing. I’ll need a whole post to explain how Emma was born. She has a high-pitched somewhat cockney accent – think “Eliza” from “My Fair Lady”. So, here’s a portrait of Emma as a taste of things to come.

EMMATHEBRAVE

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Ribbon Headband Tutorial

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I’ve had an amazing day so far with lots of music! Here’s a little playlist of my favorites!

There are a few family recipes that are top secret. Corned-beef and cabbage with carrots, parsnips, homemade mustard and Irish soda bread is one of them. Some of the others are my mom’s famed meatloaf recipe, my smashed taters, my BBQ-ed ribs, my dad’s BBQ-ed salmon, my dad’s stuffing, my grandmother’s “Magic Milk”, and my other grandmother’s sopas. These are dishes my family has gathered around for many celebrations, dinners, and picnics. They’re very special, and only one of them has been written down and given to one very special person. These are not just recipes, they are part of my family identity. They’re history, and ancestral heritage that I hope to pass along to children of my own. Today we feasted! Every year I make this dish with my mom is another year I can learn it better and lock it into my own memory to teach my family.

CornedBeef

Don’t be fooled! It is not merely boiled vegetables atop tender corned-beef! The spices they’re cooked in and the mustard make them mouth watering. The Irish soda bread has the texture of a moist cake, but the flavor of a dinner scone. I start getting excited for this dish every year around January; pining away for March to roll around with it’s corned-beef goodness.

As far as ethnicity goes I am basically a European mutt with a sprinkle of Native American. This always made “ancestry day” at school a lot of fun because I had several choices to pick from. I am Portuguese, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, German, Swedish, French, and Cherokee. Someday I’d like to study my family history and personal genetics further because most of my physical characteristics are from my grandparents and not my parents. My dad had very tan skin, and my mom is fair; I’m somewhere in the middle and my parents used to say I’m “cafe au lait” because Dad was coffee and Mom is cream. My dad had straight black hair, and my mom is a blonde – my hair has several colors in it and it changes with the sunshine and the seasons. I once had a salon lady accuse me of lying when she asked where I had had my hair dyed and I told her it wasn’t. I’ve also noticed that, for whatever reason, when I spend time in the higher latitudes it stays darker; and when I’m home in California it gets lighter and reddish. Most of my life I’ve had long hair. I sported short hair a few times, but I feel much more feminine with it long. My Barbie dolls always had the most complicated hairstyles, and if you hang around me long enough with long hair you’ll probably find yourself as my newest “My Size Barbie”.

Yes, I love to play with hair! You will probably see several hair tutorials along the way in my blog. So, I present the first, and one of the ways I’m wearing green today.

“Ribbon-Headband in a relaxed Princess Pull-Back”

Ribbon Headband Tutorial

 

You’ll need 3 long ribbons, and you’ll have to choose their length depending on your hair. My hair goes to my low back and I used ribbons that were approximately a yard. You’ll need one shorter ribbon to tie it all back with, and several bobby pins. I also used a large pin-curl clip to hold the ribbons to a hardcover book to make things easier.

Use some bobby pins to pin the edges of one end of the ribbons together, and then use the large clip to attach it to the book.

Loosely braid the ribbons so they keep a mostly flat look.

Once you’ve braided all of it bobby pin the other ends together, and lay it out flat.

Next use the short ribbon to measure your crown. Hold the tip of the ribbon at your ear and pull it across to your other ear to use the length as a guide. Use the length you just measured with the shorter ribbon and lay it next to the middle of the longer ribbon. Place more bobby pins on the ribbon braid to mark a section in the middle with the length of your crown.

Part your hair down the center. If you’re like me you’ll want to use some kind of anti-frizz. I like “Tipsy” root to tip hair silkener by Got2B. I don’t believe in paying an arm and a leg for hair and make-up products. I’ve used the high end stuff before and I don’t think it’s any better than the stuff you can get in the drugstore.

Use bobby pins to pin your hair flat near your ears. Then lay the ribbon braid across your crown and secure it with more bobby pins.

Braid the ribbon into your own hair by separating your own hair into two sections and using the ribbon as the third.

Secure the end with more bobby pins.

Braid the other side now!

I used a pin to put the hair that wasn’t braided in a bun so it wouldn’t be in the way when I pulled the braids back. Pull the braids back and tie the short ribbon around them securely.

Remove all of the bobby pins and the pin and enjoy!

Now I’m off to sing in my green dress with my green ribbons in my hair! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Therapeutic Doodling and Nonsense

I was a total space cadet today! I’d walk into a room and sit down to work on something then instantly forget my original mission. Poof! Any kind of normal brain processing went right out the window.

“Rachie, this is Earth. Come in Rachie. Are you there?”

I replied with the noble astro-nut response of… “huh”?

I finally decided that I’ve been too hard on my pea-brain lately and I needed to give it a break. I curled up on the couch with my sketch book and zoned out watching “Pirates!: Band of Misfits”; doodling like a good space cadet and writing poetry.

Here are the results of this afternoon’s therapeutic doodling and nonsense session:

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I feel much better now!

By the way, “Pirates!: Band of Misfits” is part of a series of fiction books called “The Pirates!” by Gideon Defoe. They are deliciously humorous and I highly recommend reading them. I’d suggest starting with “The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists” which is the one the movie was adapted from.