Saturday, March 31, 2012

Into the West!

Two years ago today I arrived in the west! Ryan and I traveled for six days to move all my things to Washington from Rhode Island.

Elvis bravely guarding my stuff from the Uhaul.

Ready to embark!

One more mushy look before setting out!

Our modern day covered wagon.

Elvis was pretty freaked out the first two days of travel.
This is him clinging to me in a hotel room.

Taking a quick, sleepy photo in a hotel in the midwest.
Note Elvis is beginning to chill out.

North Dakota is a terrifying place.



Westward bound smoochin'.

How we kept Elvis happy on the road.

A photo after a particularly long, boring stretch of road.

This country has SO MUCH WHEAT.

For six days we survived on American diner food.

Ryan mapping our journey through the futuristic magic of his phone.

Elvis settling into life on the road.

Follow the sun!

It turns out 70% of the country looks like this.

Our apartment building the day we moved in.

Goofing around one of our first nights "home".

Happiness achieved!

One of these days I promise, I'll tell the whole, unabridged story of how Ryan and I fell in love and decided to run away together five days after our first date. I know I keep saying that, but I really will**.

**Edit: I finally did! You can read it here. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Paint Chip Garland Story

When I was done sewing this weekend, I turned my unstoppable energy (no seriously, it's a problem) toward creating an Easter garland.

Sometimes my husband forces me to
just sit still and f-cking relax....

But I have a hard time doing nothing.

And so I'm like, "NO IT'S COOL--I'M JUST GOING TO

I first saw this idea on (wait for it) Pinterest, and I just loved it. It's called a "paint chip garland", and you can find the super easy tutorial here. Basically, you go to a hardware store, grab some of those paint sample cards, cut them into an egg shape, punch some holes, and string them on a line.

Some folks choose the cards with a bunch of colors on them for a really cool two-tone effect. Myself, I wanted something a little less....


I'm not saying these aren't really pretty, they are...

...But there's no mistaking they're paint chips.

It's an awesome idea, and don't get me wrong, the duo-tone effect is really lovely. However, for a DIY project to work for me ideally it has to have two things going for it.

1. It's 100% free (or what's the point, right?)
2. You can't tell what it's actually made of (it's all about THE REVEAL).

The moment I saw these garlands on Pinterest, even when they were just a tiny pictures waiting to be clicked, I knew they were made out of those paint cards. The whole trouble was that stripe. Anyone who has ever been to Home Depot would immediately be like, "Oh, which egg should I use to paint my bathoom?" AND THAT DOES NOT CELEBRATE THE MAGIC AND PIZZAZZ OF JESUS CHRIST.

And the Lord spoketh onto me, and He said,
"Sweet Garland, bro...". 

In moments of crafting I like to think to myself, WWDDD? What would Dan Dunn do? Dan Dunn is my Dad, and he could make an airplane out of a broken refrigerator and an old car and it would fly. He is the Macgyver of DIY bullsh-t magic.

Immediately I envisioned a sort of Jedi-master bluish translucent version of my Dad beside me. "Use the fourths, Georgia." He said, "Use the paint chips cut into fourths. The square ones. You know."

(My Dad is still alive, but it's kinda hard to get him on the phone. So, Jedi Dad gives a lot of advice in WWDDD moments).

I moseyed down to Home Depot and looked for the biggest paint chips I would find. Soon I found that Glidden and Behr make some lovely sample cards, perfectly sized for the task!

Somehow I felt guilty just grabbing a bunch of free paint chips and fleeing the scene, so I leafed through several pamphlets on home painting. God forbid the dudes manning the paint counter catch on to my crafting plot. Was this happening all over the country? Were hordes of 30-something-year-old women raiding Home Depots for paint chips? Did they have a meeting about the evils of Pinterest that morning? How many free paint samples can a person ethically grab to honor Jesus? I felt myself looking nervous and shook it off.

"Play it cool, Georgia."

The Jedi ghost Dad of my actual living Dad had returned. "Just make it look like you're planning a big project. Rely on a woman's unfairly stereotyped indecisiveness. These guys probably already expect you to take a long time and pick out too many colors."

"Thanks, pretend Dad."

"You're welcome, Georgia. I'm so proud of you. You're my favorite."

"Aw, pretend Dad!"

I picked up another pamphlet and bit my lip thoughtfully, nodding my head in an elaborate show to prove that I was totally reading. Looking off into space now and then, I pretended to envision the perfect living room/bedroom/kitchen scenario in the hue of my choosing. Yes, I will paint my ceilings! Hmmm, but what shade? And then I casually picked out 100-160 DIFFERENT COLORS, YOU KNOW, JUST IN CASE.

This doesn't represent even half of the samples I nabbed.
I can never return to Home Depot.

Back home I shuffled through my rainbow of pirated booty, picking out the best shades and laying them out in carefully coordinated groupings. That was my favorite part of the project. I saved many chips for future garlands for other events, ensuring I will not have to raid a hardware store again (this year). I cut out 60-70 eggs, punched two little holes at the top of each with a needle, and then strung the entire thing together with fishing line. I love fishing line. The cutting took the most time, I worked on it as we watched movies Saturday afternoon. The needle punching and stringing only took maybe 20 minutes.

Next to this tranquil scene was a giant, chaotic
 pile of paper scraps.

I tacked it across our favorite shelf, and added some springtime items from around the apartment.

Some little bunny and chick fuzzies I sewed last year.

I really like them in that nest.


It's funny how vintage prints can look so sinister.
This box belonged to one of my parents when they were young.

I've had this candle in my room since childhood.
He's traveled with me from kindergarten to high school
from college to apartments, and now to the west coast.

Ah! I love him. I don't know who actually lit him
in the past, but I'm thankful they thought better of it
and blew the flame out before he could melt.

And that's the story of our Easter Garland.

The colors, shapes, and holiday options are pretty endless. And all it cost me was a little bit of my pride and the effort it took to walk out of Home Depot with a giant pile of paint sample cards and my head held high. All and all, this was a really fun project!


The past week or so I haven't really been able to paint anything. Hey, it happens. When it does, I typically set down my paint brushes and work on something else.

Last week the 'something else' was a little rag doll. For some reason spring always seems to get me sewing and stitching. I'm not certain why, but the past several springs I have spent my time making dolls, toys, and embroidering various cloth goods. Perhaps my fingers just need some exercise after a winter of clutching pens and brushes.

I made her over the course of five or six days, drafting out the patterns to form her body, stitching her shape, painting her face, sewing and embroidering her hair, etc.

And so, I'd like you to meet Pigeon:


Isn't she sweet? I mean, I know I made her, so I'm kinda biased, but I just love her.

Would you like an owl of tea?

Why 'Pigeon', you may ask? Well, there's not a precise answer. It's something that just kinda popped into my head as I stitched her together. I've always adored Tramp's chosen pet name of 'Pigeon' for Lady in Disney's Lady and the Tramp, and so that might have contributed to the notion. Once it got into my head, it slowly grew on me. I started referring to the sewing project as 'Pigeon' to Ryan ("I'm going to work on Pigeon for a spell") and before I knew it, that was her name.

Pigeon dreaming on the couch.

Basking in the cloud light (there is no sun in Seattle).

The embroidered details on her cardigan.

Playing in the curtains....

I tried to give her a few different looks,
between the dress, the belt, and the cardigan. 


Relaxing with our favorite throw pillow,
Reginald T. Hootenanny

The buttons closing her dress.

Making sure her dress fit....

Oh, hai guys....
(She does look a little like me, but that was unintentional).

Her body when it was first stitched.

Her face, freshly painted in acrylics.

Experimenting with her hair shape.

Embroidering the first curls....

The back of her head. I wanted a lot of curls, swirls,
petals, and hearts.

Her side profile, with the first bun pinned into place.

This is my favorite look for her clothes.
I still have to figure out shoes!

What do you think of her? I'm already planning at least three others. I have fabric for blonde hair, black hair, and red hair. My mind's buzzing with friends for Pigeon, including an albino (you had to see that coming, I love albinos) and a little tattooed lady. I'm also currently OBSESSED with RuPaul's Drag Race and so naturally I also want to try and create some Drag Dolls (as opposed to Rag Dolls). I'm thinking handsome little men with alternate beautifully make-upped cloth faces that button on in the back? As in, a button on the back of the head? Tiny yarn wigs? Fierce, sparkling bitty dresses? I'm still working out the fabric mechanics of a doll with interchangeable faces and hair, but trust me, it'll be sickening.