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Monster Piggy Bank

March 27, 2017

One day, quite recently actually, I was in the kitchen. So my sister gave me the empty can that used to contain powdered eggs instead of throwing it away. (Though I don’t know what she was doing… what are powdered eggs? Eggs chopped into a bazillion pieces and dried? What would you do with those?) I said, ‘Sure, I’ll take that can. I’ll make a monster piggy bank!’


I cleaned the can, and asked my sister about paint, and she brought me some spray paint. So, I spray painted for the first time. Lesson of the Project: Spray paint may look dry and feel dry, but that does not mean that it is dry, or that it will not stick to your hands. I painted the can orange, then used what I thought was glitter paint to add stripes, of sorts. The paint was really yellow, and it didn’t show up well on top of the orange, so it kind of looks… dingy. The yellow paint looked a lot better by itself on the white lid.

When I was sure that the paint was dry, (though I was wrong and got much more of it on my hands,) I cut a slit in the lid. Another Lesson of the Project: Order of operations matters. It makes a lot more sense to cut then paint, rather than paint and then cut. I know this now. I also know how to get spray paint off of scissors. Use lots of soap and friction. I outlined the ‘stripes’ with a black sharpie, and outlined the coin slot with red sharpie.

For eyes, I thought about using lids or circles of cardboard, but went with egg carton, even though it’s so overdone, because the next day was Trash Day and the recycle bin had already been emptied. And I didn’t even know where to look for lids. So, I duct taped it on, along with some antennae-type things made of old wire. (A couple of years ago, Mom threw out a defective string of Christmas lights. I kept the long pieces of wire, and the bulbs. Believe it or not, they do come in handy sometimes.)

Then I decided to make arm-like extremities. (Which ended up just being arms. And just two of them. No octopus today.) So… I wove the wire around and stuff until it looked cool. Then I taped it on.

Now it looks like this:



Cute or creepy? Mmm… doesn’t matter. For an hour project, it looks pretty good. I’m gonna call this one a success.


My Rainbow-Colored Life

March 20, 2017

Rainbows are great, bright colors are awesome.

This is my first experiment with paper mache and balloon animal balloons. It’s covered in catalog cutout pieces, mostly from clothing catalogs. It’s actually made of two separate pieces, because I didn’t like the twisted together look, I guess. Or I didn’t think about it until there was paper on the form. I know I was really worried about getting the shape right, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time on just that. The finished pieces are duct taped together and to the hanger.


This isn’t rainbow, per se, but it does have some bright colors. Mostly, it’s a pattern piece, being as symmetrical as I could possibly make it. The little black globs at the top are chia seeds I glued on, sort of like sand art. Lesson of the piece: don’t try to get bright colors from a computer catalog.


This is a Pinterest inspired collage. I can’t find the original, but it looks roughly like this. Except they didn’t cut colors from National Geographic, and they had more sections, so theirs wasn’t so heavy on the green and blue. And I don’t think there were white dots. What you can’t see is that the background isn’t solid black, it’s got tons of texture to it. You also can’t see the texture in the white, or in any of the colors, really… though I assure you it’s there.


For a long time, three or four years, we had a string of hearts hanging here that we made on Valentines Day. They held up surprisingly well, and the only problem was that A, they’d been up for 3 or 4 years, and B, they were incredibly dusty. (How can something that hangs straight up and down be so dusty?) So, after two weeks of staring at a blank wall, er… door frame with no door, I made this. It’s made of construction paper and packing paper- pretty much guaranteed not to last, so I’ll get to redo it when it falls down or fades to nothing. It’s only been a month, and already it’s beginning to fall…


This I started yesterday, finished today. It’s from an idea that’s been floating around in my head for a while. Except, in my head, it was a tulip, a nice green stem and a yellow background. My, how National Geographic forces us to reconsider. I’m pretty happy with it, though. I really like the way the starfish arms look as flower petals.


If you ever get bored, (and you should, it’s very good for the creativity) you should watch this video about snowflakes, starflakes and swirlflakes.  Or just cut shapes out of construction paper and glue them all together. DSCN3364.JPG

And finally, because it’s awesome, here is a picture of the clock that doesn’t work anymore. Yes, I stuck my elbow in it while trying to change the batteries once, and it bled pretty bad. Thus, I haven’t tried to change the batteries in four or five years. Every time Mom walks into my room, (less than once every six months) she asks if the clock is correct, which it’s not, but I say yes, because I have a digital clock that I can see in the dark and I forget about this one, even though it looks super cool.



A Procrastinate-y Set of Wings

March 15, 2017

So, not long after my last post, (yeah, the one in November,) I started a new set of wings. It’s huge, almost 3 feet from the tip of the left wing to the tip of the right wing. And unfinished. I keep trying to ignore it, but it’s really hard to ignore a 3 foot paper mache obstruction in an already messy room.


So… since I don’t actually know when they’ll be done… here’s how I made what I have.

First, I constructed a ‘skeleton’ of sorts from those long skinny balloons people use to make balloon animals. Traditionally, paper mache is performed (created?) on round party balloons, foil bases or wire skeletons. I’ve seen people add paper mache to objects like toy animals and cereal boxes also, though I don’t see the point of adding to something that already has permanent form. Anyway, I created a form to build on and make permanent.


Then, since we get a box of Scholastic Reading Club fliers every month, and I had  a stack floating around my room, I tore those up and glued the pieces onto the frame.


Some tips, if you ever try this yourself: the smaller the pieces, the easier it is to fit them onto curves and corners without folding. Also, wrapping the pieces around the frame, as pictured, rather than length wise helps avoid weird folds and pieces that won’t stick down.


But, you know, do what works.


I worked on this crazy-nonstop pretty much for about two weeks, because if you don’t cover the frame quickly enough, the balloons will deflate. I took about a week to cover it the first time.


I use watered down glue, which I keep in a jar, and a paintbrush with plastic bristles. It’s a bit less effective than using my fingers, but much easier to clean up. Plus, if the glue dries on the brush, I can just wash it off. Not something that works with ‘real’ brushes.


So, one I got it covered, I started thinking: How am I going to actually wear this?


This works… sort of. But the whole straps can’t be balloon thickness- I tried that, and it drove me crazy. So… ribbon, I guess? That’s the plan, anyway, and I even have some picked out. 🙂 Nice and wide. But that only works if the neck piece thing is really stiff and won’t fall apart.


So, all in all, there are about three or four coats of paper on this thing, I don’t remember the exact number. (Plus the fact that the coats overlap and share space and stuff…) But it’s pretty stiff. I’m probably going to want to reinforce all the joints and stuff before I cover it, but I might not. It’s doing fine, and honestly, if it breaks, I won’t have to store it anymore.


I mean, the thing is huge. Wider than my door. Just under 3 feet wide, I think. (I measured the door, not the wings. Door isn’t quite 3 feet, but more than 2 1/2.)

So… now what? I want to cover it in something, because newspaper ad/scholastic flier for preschool wings looks kinda drab, at best. I don’t have enough shiny paper from the last pair, plus, I’m not sure I could get that to stick. The shiny paper didn’t take well to tape, even duct tape, or glue. I don’t really want to dip the thing in glitter, because, well, how would you do that? Plus, I’m hoping for a slightly more sophisticated look than that. And hopefully in a light color. But not pink. Purple I could live with, but green would be better… but seriously, I have no idea what I’m going to do with this. Probably just trip over it for a few more months.

So… yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to since November, among other things… but this was something I’d planned to share here. I’ve never seen anyone else use balloon animal balloons for stuff like this, mostly because I have no idea what balloon animal balloons are really called, or if they have a name. So, when/if I decide to decorate these, I’ll probably post that too. 🙂

Fairy Wings

November 23, 2016

A recent fascination of mine has been wings. Dress up wings. I’ve been looking at how to make some really fancy ones for quite a while now, but I had a spare evening and decided to go ahead and make a static set. (Fancy term for ‘they don’t move’.) Someday, I’ll make some that flap, open, wave around… something. Today, though, I’m going to show you how I, in about three hours (because the glue had to dry) created a nice pretty set of wings.




I had an idea of what shape wings I wanted, so I went ahead and sketched it onto my base cardboard. (I used cereal boxes, but if I’d had any larger pieces of cardboard, I would have used them instead.) I wanted this fairy wing shape, but you could do butterfly, angel or other insect wings too.


I didn’t bother tracing the shape onto both pieces of cardboard. I just held them back to back and cut both at the same time. If you’re not planning to cover both sides of your base, be absolutely sure that you get mirror images of the shape by holding them back to back. Makes life easier.



I cut out the top pieces, then realized I didn’t know which side was supposed to go up! So, I messed around, moved the pieces ’til I was happy with them, and marked their orientations. You can’t really see the crayon on the box, but it’s got an arrow, the word ‘up’ (to designate that the arrow in fact points up, not down,) and an L, for the left hand side.


I rummaged through my paper bin and found these super shiny papers. (You can’t see them very well in the picture, because they’re so shiny the camera wouldn’t get a good picture.)


I picked red for the top pieces. It was kind of big, so I cheated and wrapped it instead of gluing it down. (Hooray for tape!)



Blue for the bottom pieces. (See those curly things I stuck on the ends of these pieces? They look cool, but they’re a nightmare to wrap. You can’t see in this picture, but I messed up in wrapping both of these, and at the part where the curve begins, there’s a little spot where you can see the cardboard. I’d cut a notch in the paper to accommodate the curve, and then, since it’s foil paper, it ripped. Both times. Just know, flat edges are much easier to wrap than weird wing shapes.)


Looks pretty good.


This is just the front (back?) side. The other side is still ugly. So, let’s fix it with more paper!


I laid the sheet of blue paper on the piece and kind of traced to figure out how big the blue should be. It didn’t work very well. I ended up with two blue middle pieces that are just barely too small. I glued them on anyway, though, and so far, no one’s noticed.


For the bottom pieces, I didn’t bother with tracing. I stuck glue right on the base, then laid the red and later the green on top and cut out what I wanted it to be. This works, if you don’t mind gluey hands and imperfection. They’re definitely not mirror images anymore. They still look cool, though.

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I glued the bottom pieces to the top pieces, and stuck strips of cardboard in between. This kind of works, except the glue takes forever to dry, and I ended up sticking in little bits of duct tape to help it stick.


The cardboard strips got taped together, and there you go. The base for the wings.


Add some strings for straps so you can wear it, and there you go. Three hour (less if you just duct tape instead of glue) fairy wings!

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I’m not really happy with the way the wings are attached to the back, and I’d like them to be bigger. So, since Dad told me where to find larger sheets of cardboard, I’ll probably try and make a better version.

Have you ever made dress up wings?


Leftover Fabric- Jean Purse

November 21, 2016

So, after I made the jean rug I told you about last week, I had some leftover fabric.


A jumble of pieces, really. I’d cut out panels from the middle of the legs, and left the sides, since there wasn’t enough fabric for another panel. I also hadn’t done anything with the waists (except one I cut the pockets and waistband off to make a purse for my little cousin), so I had a pile of those too.  So, I grabbed the strips leftover from the sides and started laying them out, just to see what would happen.


Huh. I could get a whole sheet of fabric out of these little strips.


Well, except for that.


That works. Now, what can I do with this sheet?


Well, if I fold it over and add a bottom…


And a handle…



I could have…


a purse! And now, wouldn’t it look cool…


if I sewed a pocket onto it? Thought so.

It’s a bit wonky, and one side is higher than the other, but for  a scrap project, I think it’s pretty cool.

And of course, by the time I finished this, I realized that I had a whole pile of my own jeans, just waiting for me to make something with them. But what? 🙂

Jean Rug- The Middle Is The End

November 19, 2016

So, now, the exciting part- the end of a project! (I honestly never thought this day would come. I spent more than a month on this- and it got finished too! Never happens to me. 🙂 Here’s the original blog post.

So, anyway, you’ll remember that the only thing left to do is attach a middle! And you could do anything, like plain jean, or a pocket, but Mom didn’t want a pocket, and since it’s for her birthday, I agreed. Besides, concentric circles is so much cooler than a pocket could ever be!

So, step one? Finding something to make a pattern with. I found a little hula hoop that was just bigger than the hole, a large bowl that was slightly smaller than that, and a little plate to be the smallest circle.

Then I traced them onto butcher paper (which I no longer hoard, since we have a whole roll of it now) to make a pattern.



I cut the centers out of the two larger circles to make rings, then folded them into fourths.



I cut all of the pieces (four quarters for each ring, plus the center) out of leftover jean fabric (which I didn’t throw away).




Then, I stitched the middle ring together



and the outer ring together,



then zig zag stitched the center piece to the middle ring





and the center and middle ring to the outer ring.



I wanted the rings to not quite line up to add ‘visual interest’ (and to look cooler).

Then I stitched them into the rug and sewed up the last seam.




Lastly, I hemmed it.



And there you go! A beautiful jean rug! Large too. 🙂




I hope you enjoyed this series on how I made Mom’s birthday present!

Tune in next week to learn what I did with the leftover fabric. (You can’t waste any of it, you know, we paid nearly two dollars per pair of jeans! XD)

Jean Rug- It All Comes Together

November 18, 2016

For the past week, you’ve been watching my round-about journey to making this rug for my mom’s birthday. Now’s the fun part (for you). You get to see the pieces magically glue (sew) themselves together!


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Yeah… don’t leave your pieces on the floor when you’re not using them if you can help it… people step on them and put chairs on them and have dance parties on them… uh huh, it happens. Even if you know your family is a lot more respectful than that, they’ll still probably see the rug as, well, a rug. To be walked on.

Anyway… you’ll notice that it’s still lumpy- my fault with bad seam allowance. Also, I have NOT sewed the circle all the way shut. This is intentional, to help with sewing in the middle piece later. (Did you notice it was still missing?)

So… what would you put in the middle there?