Monday, January 30, 2012

DIViji: Banister Update

I've gone ahead and called the caterer.  Told her to cancel the chicken satay, the tiny cheesecakes, and the ice sculpture in the shape of a weeping cherub playing the violin.  Because, tonight's tentaviely scheduled pity party is canceled!  Yes, the railings at Viji's are done.  Painted, waxed, buffed. Done.

Thank you for all your support through this project.  I really do appreciate it and felt every spray of love floating my way.

The wax on, wax off messages were a treat.  (I need more Mr. Miyagi in my life.)

The facebook shout-outs gave me the motivation to get up the next morning.

The "I Love You" brought with it a big bag of ambition. Oh, and I love you too Mom.

And finally, yes dear friend, I would rather have those parts of me waxed publicly than have to start this project again.  Thanks for giving me a tough one to contemplate for about ten spindles.

There were 148 white spindles and 6 brown end segments.

Do you understand now how I thought that we could knock this out in a day?  Yeah, me either.

What matters most is that Viji thinks they look great.  And I can't disagree.  For sure a more vibrant accent and pop than the light wood banisters before.  This banister makes a statement, and it says "Yeah, I like to drink and paint. So what?"  OK, maybe the banister doesn't get to talk anymore. Never mind.

So thank you again.  I can't tell you how happy I am to give this one the done stamp.

I am slightly disappointed about the pity party cancellation though.  You would have loved to see the ice sculpture.  You pour the vodka into the top of his violin and then it shoots down all chillified and comes sobbing out of his little eyes, then rolls down his cheeks right into your awaiting highball.  Maybe next time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bunnies, Books & Baby Borrowing

Remember Belly McGee and Bunny?  Well, as of January 3rd, Bunny is here! And her real name is Reagan.

I couldn't allow ReRe to start life without a bunny of her own to play with, so I made her one at my mom's house over Christmas.

It even included a quick embroidery lesson from Mom.

On a side note, it was hard for me to get the tension correct on her sewing machine, so Bunny's stitches may be weak.  I told ReRe that Bunny comes with a lifetime of free plastic surgery and botox.  Then I told Mommy Already-Back-In-Her-Normal-Sized-Jeans, that any therapy costs associated with Bunny's head falling off are not my responsibility. Sorry.

But, before Bunny came back to Arizona with me, she went on a full adventure in Luverne, MN that I documented for a book.

My mom held Bunny in random poses all over town. Inevitably, we ran into someone she knew at most of those places.  Slightly embarrassing for her, especially when the establishment was busy like the Coffee Haus.  If this project were mac & cheese, she would obviously be the formaggio holding it all together.

So then I photoshopped her out of all the pictures. Sorry mom.

Bunny coincidentally had many of the same experiences as ReRe's mommy, Leah Shaped-Up-Quicker-Post-Baby-Than-Posh-Spice.

And a few random experiences to keep it interesting.

With the help of some family and friends.

 Even friends that didn't know they were helping.

You can read it for yourself here.

After I dropped off Bunny, and Leah was busy reading about her adventure, I tried to sneak ReRe home with me. Bunny stopped me cold in my tracks.

"Listen Bunns, I was just going to borrow her for a little bit."

It seems that Bunny is already very comfortable in her new role.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dear Buffet, This Next Leap Will Be Your Leap Home.

It is a big day for me.

I bought a buffet off of craigslist.

Technically, it is an old record player cabinet.  That is why I love it so much.  I have fond memories of the stereo cabinets that both sets of my grandparents had.

When we moved to Luverne, we ended up using one of those cabinets as a TV stand.  One night --pre VCR--  I was completely wrapped up in an episode of Quantum Leap, so I set my tape recorder up on the cabinet to capture the thrilling audio streaming from our tube television.  I wish I could time travel back and tell little Heidi about DVR and Tivo, but I fear her/my head might explode. 

OK, so maybe the red velvet lining plays a small part in my love for it too.

I share all of this with you because:

a. my excitement overfloweth
b. if this deal goes sour, then there is now a trail of bread crumbs to lead you to my body in Gilbert, AZ.

More specifically, the border of Gilbert and Queen Creek.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stitcher's Delight

I'm jonesing to cross stitch.

My brother-in-law just finished a lovely chickadee piece.

My friend Amy whipped up this treasure last Christmas.

And now, I've discovered my new virtual sister-from-a-different-mister, Emily from Steotch.

Yep, that's right. Sugar Hill Gang's - Rapper's Delight in a frame.  Priceless.

She did this for the holidays.

Enough said.

This weekend I dropped $1.50 at the Phoenix Friends of the Library book sale so I could start something of my own.

 But, who am I kidding, I just need to pony up the $8.99 for her Gardening Ain't Easy pattern.

Friday, January 20, 2012

School Days: Gender Reveal

Remember when I didn't want to make my friend Jen mad when we decorated her classroom for her birthday? The main reason that I wanted to keep her happy was because she is pregnant and was puking up a storm at the time. Jen is feeling less like the vomitnator now and more like the sleepinator, so things are moving up in her world.

Yesterday she found out the gender of her baby and said that I had one night to whip up some gender reveal cupcakes for her coworkers if I was still interested.  She couldn't hold her foaming-at-the-mouth teaching team back any longer than that. Still interested? Are you kidding me? I was hovering over the creamy vanilla cake batter with the pink coloring in the left fist and the blue coloring in the right fist.  

I followed the bake a heart in a cupcake tutorial here. Surprise! It is a boy!

OK, here's the skinny on those heart cupcakes.  With a mild amount of effort, you can see in the photo above that those are hearts.  You can see it because I cut perfectly down the center where I knew the hearts had the best chance of moist debut.  This is my only moment of glory with the hearts. This here -- shared with you.

I thought about stopping the first few cupcake recipients today.
Wait! Not like that!
Hold it with the '?' facing you!
OK, now shove exactly half in your mouth. Wider...more.
Yep, bite directly down the center.
Now what do you see?
<in mouth-full-of-cake dialect> It's a boy!
No Jackass! It's a heart! Throw me a bone here. Geez.

The excitement and joy we all shared for Jen would have still been there if I had just piped some blue creaminess into the centers. You don't need a heart to fill a cupcake with love people. Lesson learned.

Rules say 'no homemade items for the school kids' so we made little treat boxes to do a reveal for them with blue wrapped candy.

 The really got into it. I may have amped them up a little before hand too.

There were even some high-fives shared between my homeboys in the back row.  It means a lot for them to have another dude on the team I guess.

Jen is so smart. She made them ration the candy then take most of it home. She is going to be a great mom on so many levels.

Now, I just have a couple months to get going on some baby bow ties and suspender sets. I'm serious.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

DIViji: Paint your railings? Nah, buy a new House.

There is sort of a loose format I use when sharing project content with you. 

1. Start something
2. Learn lessons along the way
3. Finish something
4. Share it with you

I'm going to switch it up today and share with you mid-project because I am on the verge of slamming my head into Viji's railings.  These railings:

When Viji went with the dark brown wall color, I really wanted her to paint the railings too.  Bad.  Quotes from the painters were over $800.  The few cans of Annie Sloan paint and wax we would need were closer to $100.  Viji wasn't sold on the idea so I made her a pinterest board to show her how great it can look.

I may have begged a little.

Mr. Schatze voiced his concern when I broke down my project timeline and gave the task of painting Viji's railings one day.  Go ahead.  Get it out of your system. Keep laughing. As a matter of fact some days I DO drink too much and believe that I have super powers.

The point that I am trying to make is that I dove head first into this railing painting quicksand all on my own.

I was so happy when we started. Last year.

But, became slightly nervous when I realized that one coat of white still looked pretty crappy.

I found it in myself to laugh when I talked to Viji about how drinking and painting before bed might not be the best choice for her.

When the second coat of white started going on (the two left spindles) I found a renewed hope and enthusiasm.  I could do this.

But then, evenings at home turned into a broken record.

Mr Schatze:  What did you do today at Viji's?
Me:  Painted the railings.
Me:  Painted the railings.
Me:  Thought about throwing myself over the balcony as I painted the railings.

Mr Schatze:  How many spindles do you have left?
Me:  I don't know. I refuse to count them until it is over because it might make me cry.
Mr Schatze:  So how did you make a timeline on how long this was going to take?
Me:  I just wanted to paint the railings! Don't act like this surprises you!
Mr Schatze:  <with a slow head shake> Oh, Heidi.
5 second pause
Mr Schatze:  So what are you going to do tomorrow at Viji's?
Me:  Too soon, my love. Too soon.

In the beginning I looked forward to the peace and tranquility of painting. It was meditative. Closer to Christmas I found myself needing background noise to drown out the delirious paint-hater voices in my head while I swung my brush.  I got to catch up on a little Day of Our Lives that way. Things were moving up again.

On a side note, Patti Stanger lost all credibility with me as a matchmaker when she told Nicole that she could trust EJ and that he would make a great husband and father...two seconds after EJ got done sleeping with Sami. Bad call, Patti.

Then things went downhill again when I forgot to tell Viji that the masking tape was there to tape off the top of the white before we started on the brown. No biggie. Easy fix.  <insert three deep breaths into my paper bag> Like the backsplash, it was something that I was overly obsessive about. Viji clearly didn't have the face sweat / dry heave a little reaction to the brown ferociously violating the white spindles like I did.

We made it past.

We even made it past all the brown and all the little touch ups.

We are on the home stretch. The wax coat.

In all honesty, we...I mean I, am not on any stretch at all.  At this moment, I am sitting at my dining room table staring at the computer screen completely unmotivated to drive myself over to the spindles of my demise. To spend hours pulling the old sock back and forth on those decorative banister balls to make them all shiny with their new wax sealer. But I will...hopefully with your help.

I need you.  Whatever spiritual practice you participate in.  If you could send me prayers, energy, light, angels, reiki, love, etc., it will be welcomed with an open heart and an open can of wax.  Want to send me a text about how you are going to shit in someone's trash can? Even better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sippers & Skimmers

...For when you want to coordinate what's going to your head with what is already there.

I'm going to stop calling that color camel and call it peanut butter instead.

Links: Daydreamer Desserts & Helen Kaminski

Monday, January 16, 2012

Flash Back To the Future

Finally, the end to this nephew painting trilogy. No more paint for a while.  Well, until I take you back to Viji’s to share what has been getting color shmeared over there.  Until then, sit back and get ready to be sucked into the captivating story about when my nephew Vaughn threw the ring and Gollum into the fiery lava to save Middle-earth. I mean how Vaughn teamed up with Danny Ocean in an effort to bring Willy Banks and his casino down a diamond after messing with their boy, Rueben.


Not that kind of trilogy? Suit yourself, but you are screwing yourself out of a delightful Clooney / Pitt / Cheadle / nephew Vaughn candygram.

Vaughn loves Hot Wheels (along with hugs, drawing ninjas and stealing cereal bars from his Uncle Schatze while he has his back turned and then eating them). And, much like my own burning obsession, the kid also loves red.

I checked out the website to find something that would fit the bill for his acrylic undertaking. The equation of winning components chosen was as follows.

The the car style in this:

PLUS components of the background style in this:

MULTIPLIED BY a color and direction revamp

EQUALS this:

While I am secretly hoping that Vaughn’s life turns out like the Back to the Future trilogy so he can escort his aunt Heidi back to Dillards in Scottsdale where she let those fabulous silver sequined heels on clearance slip away in March 2000, my greater hope is that the red car painting stays on his walls for at least the next 20 years. After that, there could be some negotiations with a significant other involved. But, I'll just have to bribe that bridge when I come to it.

Scream it louder.

I love Auntie Heidi!!

Yes.  Good.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Three Hour Mural, A Three Hour Mural

Just sit right back and enjoy this tale,
A tale of a design rush,
That started from this desert port
Aboard my tiny brush.

Don't worry, that is as far as I will go with the Gilligan's Island mural themed lyrics, but just know that a part of me didn't care what you thought and wanted to take it all the way.

If you find yourself in a rush to do a silhouette mural and don't have one of those fancy overhead projectors, then size out the picture in Visio or Photoshop and have them print it at Kinko's on the large format printers for less than $10 for a few feet.  

My 7th grade math teacher used the fancy overhead projector all the time.  It was awesome, because he spit a lot when he spoke (even more when he yelled) and you could see his little drool dollups soak into the dry erase marker on the math problems.  It kept me interested.

Cut out the silhouette and position it on the wall where you would like it.

Then trace. Hey! Take that back. Tracing is not cheating. If you have the skill and desire to free-hand your 3-hour adolescent boy wall mural then go ahead.  If I would have tried that in my time window, you would have found me sobbing and pounding the floor under a wall riddled with pencil holes and alligator tears.

Getting the hand that held the lightening as I wanted took long enough.

Then paint the outline of your sketch.

Then add lightening and more lightening.  And then some more lightening.

Then fill it like a delicious jelly donut.  

When you get sick of painting the inside and want to take a break, just stop and think about that time the 7th grade math teacher realized that you hadn't finished your homework and covered the projector with his rage saliva while he berated you and your lackluster ambition.  

Then start painting frantically again.

Do two plus coats of Glo-It on the lightening parts.

It's OK.  Go ahead and embrace those thoughts of painting on glow in the dark undergarments to reveal later in your rock star fantasy.  Then realize that now is not the time nor the place.  Try and keep it classy for at least 3 hours, Floozy.

Then marvel...and hope...and plead that the recipient likes it.  Because, you aren't going to get those three hours back.

Just like you aren't getting back those feelings of self-worth that you lost in the 7th grade.