Friday, May 27, 2011

Life Hacks #2

So I was browsing through some of my old posts and noticed that, even for someone as hacky as me, I only have one post about life hacks.  It then came to my attention that there were so many things about our new house that we found while trying to fix it up that were more than life hack worthy.  Most of them have been fixed, but my favorite still remains.

Episode #2


This one actually isn't mine, but something the previous owners of our house fixed.  There were so many what-the-heck fixits, but this one was just the funniest to me.

Yes.  It is a spackled and painted pipe, cleverly disguised to look like part of the wall.  I bet you wouldn't even have noticed if I didn't point it out.  I'm not really sure why it's sticking out of the wall in the first place, but at least it's good for laffs.

That's all, goodbye. :)


Hello Blogger,
It's been a while.  My downfall when it comes to blogging is that I forget or don't make time to write new posts as often as I should, and as a result it's hard to get back into a comfortable place once I DO remember.  The solution is obviously to write more posts more often, even if they're short, so I'll try to be better about that from now on.
Meanwhile, guess what happened!  I MOVED!  Yes indeedy.  New house, new neighborhood, new zip code.  My initial reaction has been to freak out a little bit, wallow over how different everything is, and forget which drawer the spoons are in (I still can't find them).  It's quite a big change after living in the same house for most of my life, but I figure I'll have to get used to it eventually.  We're actually only about 20 minutes away from my old house, which means virtually no social change whatsoever.  I'm close to some friends and further from others, but thankfully that aspect of my life will stay the same. :) Also, in some ways this is more convenient.  I'm closer to a lot of the places that I go most often, and we're even right next door to my cousins' house (fun).  Ultimately it's not all that bad.

This house is interesting.  It's very odd, a bit quirky, and I like it.  One of the best things is this thoroughly-awesome-and-slightly-precarious spiral staircase.

That little blur is my cousin running upstairs

Is that not one of the most fantastic things you have ever seen?  I love it.  No one is very keen on the red, except me.  My older sister said it was "GROSS", which appears to be her new favorite word.  My parents wanted to paint it all black, to which I said "NOOOOOOO!".  I think it's great.  Besides, it matches the room in front of it, which we just painted:

I like this space a lot, probably because it's my favorite color.  Excuse the mess in all these photos, we're not finished unpacking as of yet. :P
My favorite place in the whole house is my room.  It's a bit of an odd shape and has slanted ceilings, which I'm thrilled about.  However, it's very cluttered and box-y right now, so I'll withhold from posting any pictures until everything is all set up and tidy.  The suspense is killing me, but it will be awesome.

Overall I think the weirdness will go away soon.  As one of those people who is deathly afraid of change, I'm still a little uneasy at times and forget that this isn't some weird sort of vacation.
I already miss my old neighborhood.  I go on long walks very often, so it's sad not having those familiar places to go to.  Especially one of my best and oldest friend's houses, who lives about a five minute's walk from our old house.  <3 ya, if you're reading this! :)

Something random: I noticed that even though I can't find any bushes nearby, everything smells like honeysuckle when you go outside at night, which is pretty cool.

I've got some unpacking to do, so I'll talk to you later.
Ta-ta for now!

P.S.  Another disclaimer oh-my-gosh-Niki-why-so-forgetful?:  In my last post I mentioned paintings from this semester.  I hadn't taken any pictures when I was supposed to for lack of better lighting, but now that it's sunny, I have NO IDEA where they might be.  I'm sure they're in a box or cabinet somewhere, so when I find them I'll be sure to share.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Student Exhibition, and more paintings

Hi everyone!

It's finals week at my community college!  Aside from classes being over, my favorite part about the end of the semester is, without a doubt, the Student Art Exhibition.  It's an event held twice a year at the end of every semester by the visual arts department.  Something like two students from every class are given the opportunity to showcase their work, but it's great fun whether you are in the show are not.  I love looking at all the other students' work, it's so inspiring.  This semester I had a painting in the gallery, which I'm THRILLED about.   It just happens to be the one that I've been paintcam-ing for the past few months, which is convenient.
Here's a picture of my finished painting, I'm sorry about the blurriness and weird color.  The lighting in the gallery was a little yellow for my camera.  I'll be sure to post a better picture when I can bring it back home.

Overall I think it turned out alright.  I don't love it.  The colors ended up a bit muddy for my taste, and there were certain areas that I could have worked on more, but I definitely learned a lot from it, and it was received well.
The last day of my painting class was on Wednesday, which I'm kind of sad about.  I really enjoyed painting in the studio and being able to see what the other students were doing.  It's really interesting to watch how different people see and approach the same thing, you learn a lot about different ways to work and the pros and cons of each.
Tomorrow I'm going to post some pictures of my finished stuff from this semester, but right now I've got some laundry to do.

See you guys later :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

How to: glitter shoes

The other day I was watching Wizard of Oz on TV with my sister.  When I was little, I used to have this pair of red sparkly ballet flats.  I called them my "parkle-parkle" (I couldn't say "sparkle") shoes, and I wore them literally EVERYWHERE along with a blue flouncy leotard thing.  Dorothy's awesomely sparkly ruby slippers reminded me that I actually miss them a lot.  A few google searches and price checks later, I decided it would be pretty fun (and cheap) to make my own.
In the end I came up with these lovelies:

Turned out well, don't you think?  Pictures don't do justice to how ohmygosh sparkly they are.  I'm really excited. :D  And for once, it was way easier than I expected it to be.  I actually made these to match my prom dress, which is why they're not red, but I'm thinking I might make a few more pairs in different colors in the future...but for now, here's a how-to so you can make some yourself.

DIY Glitter Shoes

Here's what you'll need:

1. A plain, unembellished pair of shoes.  Any style of shoe works.  I got a pair of plain black ballet flats from Payless for around $10.  It's best if they're made of leather, or something that the glue won't soak into.  The color doesn't matter since they will be covered in sparkles anyway.

2. GLITTER!  Use absolutely any color you want.  I used a pretty fine glitter.  Finer glitter is good because you can get away with using more coats, but your shoes will look less spangly and more metallic in dim light.  Coarse glitter looks really sparkly when you're done, but I imagine you might have trouble covering all the cracks, and too many coats might make your shoes look bulky.  If you're using a coarser glitter, I think it would be best to make sure the shoes you get are close, if not the same color as the glitter so you can get away with using as few coats as possible.
EDIT:  Upon reading this post, a friend of mine asked if you could first coat the shoes in fine glitter, and then do a thin layer of coarser glitter on top for spangle.  The answer: absolutely.  In fact, that's pretty darn smart.  Yay for my pretty darn smart friends!

3.  Mod Podge.  This stuff is magical.  My mom was worried that the glitter might come off the shoes with too much wear and go all over the place.  I think the trick is to mix the glitter into the Mod Podge so that it creates a seal over itself.  That way, it doesn't even flake off when you scrape it with your fingernail, and the shoes still stay nice and flexible.  Also make sure you get the gloss kind, NOT matte.

4.  Foam brushes, for painting stuff on.

5.  Small bowl, for mixing stuff in.

Ready?  First, glop about a tablespoon of Mod Podge into your bowl, and pour in roughly the same amount of glitter, maybe a little more.  You'll definitely want to add in more than you think you'll need, more glitter just means less coats, therefore less bulk.  Once you mix it all together, you should get a lovely, goopy, shimmery mess that looks something like this:

If you're anything like me, resist the urge to turn into a five year old and mush it around with your hands.  Instead, brush an even coat onto your shoes.  If you want, you can use masking tape to protect the soles of your shoes.  I didn't, but it would have made it a whole lot easier.

Next: don't panic.

It will look pretty terrible at first.  The Mod Podge dries clear and shiny though, so that weird milky surface will soon be gone.  As for the patchiness, that will go away once you put on more layers.  For now, just wait for the first layer to dry.
Once it's dry, all you have to do it to just keep painting on even layers until you've got the whole shoe completely covered in glitter.  And that's all there is to it!  Let them dry overnight, put them on, and have fun dancing around the house.  When you have sparkly feet, all arguments are invalid.

Even though I made these for prom, I think I'll definitely be able to wear them again with more every day things.  They would look downright snazzy paired with black tights and an oversized sweater.  I could also see this project done with a pair of oxfords instead of flats, now how cool would that be?
Enjoy. :)

See you later!