Jun 24, 2014

Personalizing a tote bag!

My Oma (grandma) gave me this funky tote bag for Christmas last year. Even though it looked cool as it was, I decided it could use a little personalization!

Here's what I came up with:

     The first thing I did was to sew on some patches that I've been saving. I got the Nederland patch on our trip to the Netherlands a few years ago. I bought it at the Keukenhof gift-shop. The second patch is from my ballet studio; my teacher gave them to each of the students one year for Christmas. 

     Another idea was to glue a bottle-cap onto the button. The cap fit exactly over the existing button which was perfect!

      The bottle-cap I used was one my oldest brother gave me. He had a bottle-cap collection when he was little, and he got this one in Indonesia - one of the places my family lived before I was born. 

     Also, I took off the original loop that hooked over the button and replaced it with this friendship bracelet my bestie made for me ages ago.

     Another thing I did was to add this chain and to clip all sorts of mementos onto it. There's a random coin that my brother gave me when I was little (I think it's from Estonia?); my half of a friendship necklace; dog tags from Joy, a dog I had when I was little; a clipping of ribbon from my last pair of Pointe shoes that I wore as Sleeping Beauty; and a chunk of rock covered in layers of spray paint. 

     When my brother went off to college years ago, there was a boulder on campus that people were allowed to spray paint. It was called The Rock. Original, I know. :) The Rock would be repainted quite frequently - decorated for events and who-knows-what. One time when my brother came home for a visit, he brought me this piece that had fallen off of it and showed almost an inch of spray paint layers! Probably the coolest piece of junk I've ever had. ;)

     I also added some pins to the strap of the bag. The alligator pin is from a set of two vintage scatter pins that belonged to my great grandma. I have both, but only attached one to the bag; I like to wear the other one sometimes. They're so quirky! 
     The other pin is one we got at my other brother's first craft show. (He's a wood turner and sells wooden bowls, pens, jewelry, etc.) Plus, I thought "Creative Kid" was a pretty appropriate title for myself. ;) 

     And finally, one of my favorite changes that I made to this bag was the Shakespeare quote I embroidered on the strap.

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." 

This is one of my favorite quotes; I like to think it describes me. ;)

     I love that my tote is full of stories now. Some history of the lives that led up to mine, stories of people I care about, places I've been, things I've done, memories made. It kinda makes it feel like I'm carrying around a piece of art, or a library, or a mini-museum.

     Do you think you'd ever want to personalize a bag like this?

Jun 12, 2014

Spicing up friendship bracelets!

Welp, it's that time of year again. Summer and friendship bracelets just go together. Don't question it. It's just the way it is. 

So here are a few ideas to add some pizzazz to the traditional friendship bracelet! 

1. Fishtail braid it out, yo! Fishtail braids are quick and easy and make really cool looking bracelets. Especially if you go a bit mental and choose every color ever...



2. Finish bracelets with ribbon clamps and a piece of chain instead of the normal knots! This gives it a really clean and modern look. I got this package at Hobby Lobby for about 3 or 4 dollars. 

These clamps are really easy to use.  I cut my bracelet about an inch and a half shorter than I normally would (to leave room for the chain) and dabbed a bit of glue on the end to keep it from unbraiding.
Unbraiding? ... Unbraiding.
Totally a word. 

Then I put the clamp over the end, made sure all the threads were tucked in, and squeezed it shut with a pliers. Look at me, all using tools and stuff. 

Then I attached some chain and a clasp, and wa-la! Cool, right? 

3. Use yarn instead of embroidery floss! This gives a nice chunky look. Making a thick cuff out of yarn is infinitely faster than trying to do it with millions of tiny threads. (Infinitely? Millions? I never exaggerate.)

4. Combine friendship bracelet patterns, or try splitting off into different sections ... or both! I started out working all the way across and then divided the yarn as if I was working on two different bracelets, switching patterns at the same time. 

Tip: Use a toothpick to make sure all the threads are inside the clamps before closing them, and to apply any extra glue that is necessary. 

Le finished bracelets:

Pretty snazzy, huh? :) 

What's your favorite go-to summer project? 

Jun 10, 2014

Drawing my first comic strip! :: The Introvert's Legal Loophole

When I was faced with a question about my quietness this week, my sister came up with this genius answer for me to use. I laughed SO hard. I knew I had to record it somehow, so I decided to try my hand at comic strip drawing! 
Well done, sis. Just ... well done. 

Jun 8, 2014

Drawings :: they just are

Life is so complicated that my brain has short-circuited.

After months of being overwhelmed with school and work and ballet rehearsals, I finally graduated. Which means maybe I'll get back into the blogging zone? Hopefully? 

It's strange, this growing up business. This age of change. Watching everyone and everything around me change, and not understanding anything one bit at all. 
One chapter closed off. Beyond reach. One chapter ... not yet opened. Beyond reach. 
A floating existence. Restlessness. 

Pacing happens. 

Long walks - no destination. Just trying to figure out life. No words in my brain, yet thinking constantly. A feeling of prayers unsaid simmering inside while I power-walk my frustrations out until the blisters come,
and then further. 

And it's like I'm processing a million things at once until I can't think anymore.

And that's just it. It's a process. I know it will come. 
But, dang son, I'm driving myself bananas! (And my family - sorry, Mom. :) 

I finally just needed a space where I could tune out all the bigness - all the life changes that are coming, have come. The things that overwhelm me and catch me off-guard until I can't breathe right. I needed something small that I could wrap my head around. I needed little bits of uncomplicated curiosity and ... ease. And a place to JUST STOP OVERTHINKING EVERYTHING ALREADY. Geez. 

So I started a new series in my sketchbook. 
Yes. All that just to say I drew some pictures. :) 

Quick rough sketches of real-life things that caught my interest. Easy color. A few simple words. Poetic, funny, normal. Whatever.
I refuse to overthink them.
They just are.


Words I texted to a friend.
Sitting in the backyard watching the birds. 

From my senior ballet recital. 
Picking dandelions with a friend. 
Self explanatory. :)

Overall - 
Life is beautiful.
And very very weird.

Apr 28, 2014

Dear Person: Zebra Hats and Raccoon Tails

Hello lovely people.
Long time, no see!
To be honest, I have been feeling entirely burnt out lately, and my creativity and my words have all gone ... someplace else. I'm being swamped with school and work and other commitments, and simply don't have the brain space to do much besides survive. But I have recently gotten a lot of sweet comments from you guys, either here or on pinterest, saying that you have missed my posts, or that my posts inspire you, etc.

And y'know ... that really encouraged me.

So right now I'm just gonna dip into my sketchbook from earlier this year and post two Dear Person letters that I haven't posted before. I guess you could say I was saving them for a rainy day - and this is definitely one of those! (It's been cold and rainy ALL day.)

I'm just sort of throwing this up here to say thank you for your kind words, and to let you know that I miss blogging, and that I am hoping and planning to start more consistent posts again once school lets out in about three weeks.
So here ya go! 

Seen at open ice skating this winter: 


Seen on a walk with our friends on the first really nice day of spring:

Funny side-story: about two weeks after seeing this dude, I was out biking with my sister. There was a guy walking down the street in a very stylish cardigan, and after one glance at him I whispered, "Hipster!" to my sis. She glanced over her shoulder and said, "Hey, it's your raccoon friend!" I took another look, and there was indeed a raccoon tail hanging off his pants! It was the same guy! :D
Fyi, I personally like hipster style. I just thought it was hilarious that this guy exuded *so much* hipster that it was the first word that came to mind both times I saw him! It's actually quite remarkable. ;)

Well, that's all I've got for you at the moment. Thanks again for your kind words, and for still reading my blog even when I don't have the mental capacity to keep it updated consistently! 
You guys are the best.

:: view all Dear Person letters here ::

Feb 4, 2014

Timey-Wimey Book Binding Project and Art Journal Idea!

What do time travel, art journals, brown paper, book binding, Dr. Who, embroidery, polaroids, Star Trek and sealing wax have in common? 

My Timey-Wimey Journal project! 

No idea what that means?
Guess I'll have to enlighten you.

Sometime last year I got a positively brilliant idea. I was inspired by Dr. Who and decided to make a journal somewhat like River Song's. (For you non-Whovians out there: the Doctor and River are both time travelers, and River keeps a journal so when they run into each other they will know where they're at in each other's stories and River won't give spoilers about the Doctor's future, etc. The show is also where I got the phrase "Timey-Wimey" ... it's from a famous Dr. Who quote.)

So basically, thinking about time travel journals eventually led me to this idea. I decided it would be AWESOME to write to my future self, leave some blank pages, and then seal the book for ten years. The idea is that when I open the book, I will fill in the blank pages with responses to what my past self wrote. Like an interactive time capsule, y'know? A journal between my now-self and my then-self.

But I couldn't use just any common journal for this brilliance, so I decided to bind my own! This is much different from my last book binding escapade because I used a real tutorial this time instead of just making up random goop as I went along. ;)

I used this awesome super-easy-to-follow tutorial up until about the 6:20 mark in the video, after which I guess I did end up doing my own thing, now that I come to think of it. Apparently I can't get away from making up random goop after all. :-/

Anyways, I wanted my book to be TARDIS blue like River's, so I went to a thrift store and found an old bright blue book to tear apart. I cut off the front and back covers and part of the binding. I used a few strips from the original spine and covered two small sections of my binding for reinforcement. I didn't want to cover the whole edge though because I was impressed with my binding skillz and wanted to show it off. ;) After that, I simply glued the covers to the first and last page of my book, on top of the spine reinforcements. Just gluing them on worked really well, actually, because I had used super thick paper!

I like the texture of the cover. The squares remind me of the doors on the TARDIS!

Then on to filling the inside with time traveling goodness. Writing to my future self really sparked my imagination for some reason! (As you can see from the polaroid, this was before I got my pixie cut ... I've been working on this book for a long time, I guess. Oh, and this is the camera I used.)

Click to enlarge

After the intro page, the first thing I did in my journal was to put myself into context for my future self. I wrote down how old I was, where I was living, what I was doing, what my family was doing, etc. 

Then I wrote a bit about where I was at, just in ... life. Where my thoughts and emotions were, that sort of thing. The chameleon is in reference to how I was at a point in life where I was exploring different personalities and always morphing and blending into situations to try out different versions of self during the process of growing up. More about that towards the end of this post if you're interested.

The next one is one of my favorite pages, and it made me reaaallly fall in love with my choice of using brown paper. The thing I love most about drawing on brown paper is that you can really use white instead of just negative space. White becomes an actual color that really pops and adds such dimension! If you've never tried brown paper, I highly suggest it.

(For this doodle I taped a square with washi tape, filled in the space around it, and then pulled off the tape; I thought the clean edges made a cool look. It's especially prominent in the top left corner!) 

And of course I had to include one of my favorite Dr. Who quotes! (Written in silver sharpie.) 

We all change ... when you think about it. We're all different people all through our lives. And that's okay, that's good. You've got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.

This quote made me realize that remembering who I have been and being okay with changing and becoming someone new is kind of the whole point of this journal, and I think that's really cool. <3

I had fun throwing in some craziness too. Like predicting the futures of my family members and friends, and then leaving a page for my future self to fill in if I was right or not. :)

I am just so fascinated by the idea of life and how we can look back all we want, but we can never look forward. All the mysteries our lives hold for us that we won't know until we've lived them. It's so strange, and so intriguing. 

I found some lyrics that I fell in love with. Personally, I don't really enjoy this style of music, but the words are beautiful so I had to include them. 

From where I'm standing
Lord it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out

In a world I can't control 

From where You're standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan
When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
Cause You're already there
You're already there
When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there

(Pieces of Already There, by Casting Crowns) 

Aaaaannnd then I decided to embroider some life advice for my future self onto one of the pages:


And on the very last page, I included some more time-travely nerdiness - from Star Trek this time.
In case you are not a Trekkie, Spock always makes the Vulcan solute with his hand and says, "Live long and prosper" instead of goodbye. At one point in the film, he talks to his future self (Spock Prime). When it's time for goodbye, Spock Prime makes the solute and says:

"Since my customary farewell would appear oddly self-serving, I shall simply say ... good luck." 

And yes, I thought putting that at the end of my time-travel journal was devastatingly hilarious. Don't judge.

And for the final touch, I decided to seal the book with actual real honest-to-goodness sealing wax. Because my sister just happened to have some on hand ... I have a cool family. 

In between all the artsy pages I also did a lot of plain ole writing, asking my future self a ton of questions about if I was happy with my choices about college, what kind of job I should/would get, if I'd found my purpose/what in heck I should do with my life, what happens to my siblings and all their questions, what happens to all my friends/who will stick around in my life, etc. etc. The answers should be pretty interesting. 
I'm secretly hoping that my future self will be cool enough to reply in ten years, add more new stuff, seal it for another ten years, and etc. etc. 
We shall see. :) 

And now, I will leave you with a few more ideas for things to include in a time travel journal: 
  • A bucket list or a page on where you want to be in ten years. (How much will you actually accomplish in that amount of time?)
  • A letter reminding yourself what kind of person you hope to become. (How will you match up to your past self's hopes?)
  • A prediction about your life in ten years, done by a close friend or family member. (How well do they know you?)
  • Your favorite books/movies/music. (Has your taste changed?)
  • Photos! (You could totally recreate the pose/location/outfit in ten years ... it'd be hilarious and awesome.)
  • Ask your future self to introduce you to someone you will love very much, but haven't even met yet at this point in your life. (A new friend? A new relative?)

The possibilities for awesomeness are endless!

So what do you think of a time traveling journal? Does writing to your future and past self sound intriguing?