Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review of Disappointment

   I was really excited when I finally got my copy of "A Curious Invitation: The Forty Greatest Parties in Fiction" by Suzette Field from the library. It takes forever to get anything through inter library loan-I should be happy that I can still access books through inter library loan. Funding was tight and it was almost cut, but some wonderful person donated money and yay!- I can still get books from other libraries. This saves my wallet. I still buy books, of course, this just lets me decided which ones are higher up on the list.
  The idea of the book is brilliant- parties in works of fiction. Who was invited, why, the food, the clothes, the literary significance. However, the book disappointed me on several levels.
   First-There is no rhyme of reason for the books that are picked or the order they are placed in the book. We go from Gatsby's party to Queen Alice's feast, a little order would have been nice. Maybe the year the book came out or by the year the book was set? Something that gives a sense of order and progression of a party. Maybe even the tamest party to the wildest?
   Second- The book is just a recap of the books it is describing. Text is taken ver batim from books. Thanks, but I've already read "The Great Gatsby", I don't need to reread exactly what everyone was wearing as listed in the book. Yes, Gatsby's shirts are a big deal-we all know that.
  Third-No recipes. I repeat, NO RECIPES. How can you have a party book and not have recipes?! I was expecting at leaf one literary recipe per party. Blinis and caviar from "Brothers Karamazov", Bootleg Gin Cocktail from "Great Gatsby", maybe even a Pangalatic Gargleblaster from "Life, the Universe and Everything"?
  And does the prom in "Carrie" really count as a party? Was it just chosen because Carrie killed everyone? Why "Mansfield Park"? It is Jane Austen's most boring book?! No parties from Ayn Rand?
  I guess my expectations were just a tad high on what to expect from the reviews. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Easter Items

Go check out my Etsy store for some cool new things:
   I have some easter eggs and some "Zero calorie" chocolate bunny pins-they'll never, ever melt!

Re purposed stamps-"World traveler" egg sculpture

Put a bird on it-'nough said!

Button stash put to good use

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dr. Horribles Never Ending Knits

    About a year ago I checked I really cool book from the library, Knits for Nerds and horribly failed at knitting "Stash Bunny"- he looked like some horrible bunny-grelim hybrid that is so embarrassing I  have him hidden in a bin of easter items that never sees the sun.
   I did successfully knit (finally) Penny's wristlets from "Dr. Horribles Sing Along Blog". I breezed through the stripe pattern and the evil seed stitch (k, p, k, p.....bah) and then didn't have the blasted double pointed needles to turn the thumbs. Finally bought those at the beginning of the year (New Years resolution- finish all the hibernating projects) and then all I needed was buttons. 24 super cool 1/2" buttons.
  A visit to the Button Room at the "Mystache" event this weekend and I found 35 hand dyed neon pink mother of pearl buttons from the 1940's. All of them for $7- you can't buy new buttons for that price. I sewed them all on last night and then basked in the awesomeness of my new wristlets....Now I just need warmer weather to wear them!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Homemade Paper Mardi Gras Beads

Lately I've become quite taken with paper crafts. I've used folded paper books in my displays at craft show for the past 2 years and made paper treat boxes too. I'm also a big fan of "up cycling" or what it used to be called "we're too poor to buy stuff from the craft store so let's use what we have". I made paper beads galore when I was little-mainly out of magazines or newspapers. There's something quite zen like about rolling out paper beads and sealing them with a dab of glue. It takes awhile, but is well worth it when you finally get to make your jewelry. 

A brief history of Mardi Gras beads.....Tuesday, March 4 2014 is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. This is the last hurrah of excess before Lent. You party, drink, eat and generally do whatever it is you are going to give up for Lent. In Louisiana (mainly in New Orleans), parades are held by different "crewes" and beads and tokens are thrown to people chanting "Throw me something mister". In the 1950s the beads were glass and made in Czechoslovakia. Due to cost, the beads were manufactured in China and were made of plastic. Sadly, most Mardi Gras beads end up in the garbage after the thrill of the parades has ended. These paper beads are inexpensive (unless you use some fancy paper) and will last beyond a parade. 

I chose to keep with the Mardi Gras theme of purple (symbolizes justice), green (symbolizes faith) and gold (symbolizes power). 


Paper (your choice)
Modge Podge
Bamboo Skewers (found in the baking aisle)
String, Twine, or Wire (to string the beads-I used jewelry wire)
Jewelry Closures (jump rings, etc)
Beads (I used purple Czech glass beads to tie in with the 1950's in gold and purple)

You will need to cut out triangles to form your beads. The width of the base of your triangle will dictate the length of your beads. My triangles are 10" long. I drew out 2" and 1" triangles. I used the triangles formed with the left over paper (.5") for really small beads. 
My three sizes of triangles and my three types of paper-marbled green and gold and a handmade purple.
These were left overs from a previous craft, any paper will do!
My three sizes of beads-you can get some great variation of size!

Next, you want to take your paper triangle and with the non pointy end, start to roll it on the bamboo skewer.

Try and roll the paper a little tight, not too much, or you won't be able to slip it off the skewer.

Keep rolling, try and keep the paper centered-your beads will look cleaner.

When you have about that much paper not rolled, using a paint brush, brush some Modge Podge
or other type of clear craft glue on the inside and finish rolling. This will secure your bead.
I them coated the entire outside of the bead with glue to add a barrier and make it
more wearer friendly. 

Let the glue on the bead dry. I turned an egg carton upside-down and stuck the pointy end of the skewer in to serve as a drying rack.

When your bead is dry, remove it from the skewer. Do this for all the triangles you have cut. I always try and make more beads than I think I will need. 

Next is the fun part-making jewelry!

I mixed up sizes on these necklaces and used spacer beads to add some flash.

Now you're ready for the party! Happy Mardi Gras.