Thursday, January 30, 2014

Glitter Dinosaurs.

I have a younger sister. She has a thing for dinosaurs. Not Ross Gellar style, more like give her a dinosaur balloon on her birthday and she'll be your best friend. She also loves metallics. And jewelry. And pretty things. And make-up. And the NFL. And cute puppies. And vodka. Sometimes white wine. And definitely anything that is remotely random and funny.

So the whole dinosaur thing. It started with a Christmas ornament. When we were little we each were given a sequin dinosaur ornament - one brontosaurus and one stegosaurus. A few years ago my mom sent me back to Canada with a small collection of my childhood ornaments. Among them was a sequin dinosaur. My sister had an absolute fit. Apparently I took HER dinosaur. "Thief!!" she yelled over and over through text message.

Seriously, it's been like three years and she still talks about it.

Did I mention that she also loves drama? Shoulda been her middle name...

Anyway, do you ever have a quick little craft project in mind and then out of nowhere it snowballs into a completely different bigger project? Somehow you're standing in Michael's with one item in your hand and then you notice something on the shelf, get a brilliant idea and the next thing you know you've gone from Michael's to Target to WalMart and are now elbow deep in glitter. Yeah, that's how this went.

On the up side, I did get the original smaller project done, but for now let's focus on the project that snowballed out of control. The giant glitter dinosaur for my sister.

A quick text message told me that she has a special place in her heart for all dinosaur species but that if she was forced to choose one that it would be the triceratops. I'd love to tell you that I scoured the toy section at Target but the place with the best dinosaur choice just happened to be the local Dollar Store.

I'm hesitant to show you the naked version of the dino because you might not be able to look at the glittered outcome the same, but I like to live on the edge. Just erase your memory right after this:

Scary business.

I considered using glue, but went with a light coat of modge podge for the initial coat.

It should also be noted that two sizes of glitter exist: chucky flakes and small powder-ish. I went with the bigger flakes for this project.

I used a thin fanned paint brush to cover small sections at a time and then sprinkled each section with big gold glitter, letting the excess fall onto newspaper. Pro tip: start with the belly since you'll need to be able to lift it up for this phase. Also, be sure to get in all the armpits and in between each horn.

I let the first layer sit overnight to dry. Once it was completely dry the next day, I used the same brush to put an additional layer of modge podge on. As I went I sprinkled on additional glitter to any area that seemed a bit thin. Then I let that dry for a the night.

The next day I added two more layers of modge podge. It goes on white but dried perfectly clear and created a layer thick enough that won't allow one single flake of glitter to fall off, but still allows the glitter to shimmer and shine.

All told, there were four layers of modge podge and the triceratops is glittery and rock solid.

When I said the whole thing snowballed, what I meant by that was I'm still cleaning up glitter in my kitchen. Also, that the dinosaurs ruled my house for a solid week. And then of course, one dinosaur wasn't enough. I ended up also making a silver stegosaurus and t-rex with another one still to come.

I'm hoping my sister's dinosaur will end up as a great conversation piece in her office. As for my stegosaurus, he's going to eventually live on a floating shelf on my office wall. I think he'll be happy there.

You know what? All I really want is a brontosaurus.

Do you know anyone who could use a glitter dinosaur?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fresh Air.

The trick to surviving Northern winters is to embrace it. Essentially, the opposite of what I've been doing. It's so easy during these long and cold winters to hibernate and only leave your house when absolutely necessary.

Exhibit A: I froze my gym membership until April because it's too cold to go out at night and I'm a weenie.

Exhibit B: While having an exciting night of watching Sex and the City 2 on Saturday night I had to message a few girlfriends and ask them if we could make plans for this coming weekend because I haven't seen anyone other than my darling husband on a weekend evening in a month. No lie, we've been hibernating since Christmas.

Exhibit C: I legitimately couldn't remember the last time the dogs walked further than the mailbox.

Exhibit D: Last Friday morning the thermometer was hovering around -40. I was outside helping kids out of their parent's cars at school drop-off. I helped a little girl out of the car and when I shut the back door the back window shattered because it was so dang cold. The entire thing cracked and glass rained all over my boots. I stuck my entire arm through the hole just to demonstrate the damage to the mother.

However, it is oh so much easier to embrace when the temperature is at least kind of close to being a positive number. There actually isn't all that much snow on the ground right now so TC and I decided to take advantage of the sunny skies this past weekend and hit the trails.

We weren't out there for more than an hour but it sure did feel good. Fresh air is so rejuvenating this time of year. Not to mention that those ridiculous dogs of ours had more fun than any dog has ever had in the history of the world.

It flurried just enough during our walk to make it pretty. The trees kept most of the wind away and we moved just fast enough that it wasn't even too cold. It was just what I needed to remember that winter is half way over and we're on the downward slide to spring!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Instagrams on Display.

This past summer I discovered a website/app called FoxGram that prints your Instagram photos. It's the simplest thing ever - you simply log into FoxGram with your Instagram name and it pulls up all your photos.

You check the ones you'd like to print and then choose to print them as 3x3 for 25¢, a 4x4 for 45¢ or as magnets for $2. Then they arrive in your snail mail box a week or so later!

I always go with the 3x3 because that is a more standard size and seems more Instagram-y to me.

But then the question of what to do with them all? I did have them covering my refrigerator but I took them all down when we moved and decided to go with a clean fridge this time. Pintrest and blogs have plenty suggestions for displaying Instagrams but most involve using pins and string or tacks. I've googled the hell out of 3x3 frames and none seem to really exist - especially not in a way that is conducive to buying twenty or thirty of them or avoiding the overlapping collage look.

So I noodled on it and then one morning while I was drying my hair it hit me! I knew what to do.

I grabbed one of the photos and stuck it in my purse to take to Home Depot. In the lumber section I held it up to pieces of wood until I found a width that was about an inch wider than the photo. It was 4 1/2 inches wide and 6 feet long and cost $4.50. SOLD. The nice Home Depot man cut it into six pieces that were each a foot long. (Math genius warning) Actually, we decided on a foot because that length nicely would fit three photos with a little room in between each picture.

But imagine the possibilities - six inch wide wood would have had a completely different feel. Or we could have cut two or three foot pieces that would have also give it a completely different look.

At home I gave the wood a very quick sanding and primed it, but only because I happened to have primer laying around. I (don't tell) spray painted two coats of black semi-gloss and then promptly forgot about them for a couple of weeks.

When I remembered the frames again, the final step was to add some picture hanging "teeth" to the back of each. I debated between making them vertical or horizontal but finally went with horizontal in the end.

I played with the configuration of the six pieces for a few days before I finally settled on a pretty basic staircase. I chose it because it filled the right amount of wall space and it will easily lend itself to adding additional frames in the future.

I was pretty proud of my measuring tactics too. Instead of complicating things I just roughly figured out how far apart I wanted them and then put a piece of painters tape diagonally on the wall that was marked off at 8 inch intervals. That way there was no chance of anything being off center or uneven!

To attach the photos I used putty which any teacher should be able to lend you. Or you could just go to WalMart. It's designed to adhere paper to walls and never dries out - it is definitely handy to have around.

I thought about using spray adhesive or that fancy wall tape and even modge podge but I wanted something that has no chance of harming the photos and that will allow me to switch out photos if I ever want to update.

It's displayed right across from my desk and so far I'm loving the look of it. I like the modern geometric look but I especially dig the pop of color! I probably should have cleaned up my desk for you, but I'm just trying to keep it real here.

What do you think?!

I love it so much.