Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 52: Ha ha, I created a round cardboard, um, well... paper weight?  Ever since I stopped throwing away all the various boxes I acquire through purchasing cereal, crackers, pizza and such, my collection of them has been building up and bursting out of bags in my laundry room.  I wanted to create something that would use up quite a few of these.  I thought about those plates and bowls made out of strips of magazine paper, and tried something similar with strips of cardboard.  It took much longer than I thought (suprising how often that happens) and so all I ended up with was what I had intended to be the base of something larger, like a vase or bowl.  It will happen, I'm sure, and its gonna be awesome when it does.
Day 53:  I created the central part of this piece of art a few years ago.  I used pieces of cardboard to create a person, put pieces of a broken mirror coming out of its chest, and used scraps of lace to add texture to the background.  The plant growing out of the person signifies that growth and beauty can come from experiences where we feel hurt or broken hearted.  I hadn't known when I created my egg carton flowers, where they would find a home, but wandering around my house trying to decide what do create today, I made the connection between this earlier work and my flowers.  The plant in the painting was clearing lacking its blooms.  I also added leaves to the flowers, by smashing the round aluminum cups that tealights come in (which I had been holding onto for four years!)  Then I added pieces of some art that I did also about four years ago.  Maybe I went too far.  I took a multimedia art class a few years ago, and the teacher always said, "less is more," and she would come up to your art in progress and start pulling things off it.  However, in another art class I took, the teacher encouraged us to follow our urges through and not let the art critic in our heads tell us what is right or wrong, and that our art then becomes more personal and revealing.  I tend to take the second approach, and let there be more of a raw expression, rather than something well thought out.  One thing I find that happens in this approach is that my art makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes.  I often ask myself, "where the heck did I get that from?"  Like my question, "what are wings?"  I don't know where that came from.  I do know that the outcomes of my creative expression often cause me to feel as if I'm weird or different.  I'm okay with that, but often people relate to the things I make more often than I expect. 

Day 54: I created a frame for the picture of Diane that her husband Marco printed out for her memorial.  On the back side were the words to one of her songs, "Wild Honey."  The first time I heard this song several years ago, the lyrics blew me away, and they still do (now they also make me cry).  I repainted a frame from a thrift store and added decorations that I cut from an aluminum can (thanks to my hot glue gun).  One of the things I have loved about doing this yearly project is that doing it every day causes it to merge with what ever is going on in my life on a day to day basis.  It has been a good outlet for all the love and joy and sadness caused by losing my dear friend.  Life goes on no matter what happens, and each day is a step forward, and each project is a reflection of the adventure of life and love.

Someday your chariot of air
Will vanish
From this world of wine and bone
And then what remains of you
Is pure and genuine
As wild honey

To penetrate pure light
Penetrate pure light
You gotta suffer some

And then what remains of you
Is pure and genuine
As wild honey

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 49:  I try to bring my reusable coffee cup with me where ever I go, but inevitably I somethimes forget and end up with the disposible kind.  So today I used a couple of them for my project.  At first, I thought it was going to be too simple and uninteresting to cut the sides down to make a sun shape, but the more I worked on it, the more I liked it.  I liked how adding several layers of the triangle shapes added to its complexity.  For some reason, I envision this as becoming part of a larger piece of art at some point.  I've been thinking of making a sculptural wall hanging out of toilet paper tubes and it seems like this might end up a part of that.
Day 49:  I bought a pillow a few years ago that was covered in a beautiful patchwork pattern of different colors of orange.  It was starting to wear out and tear along the seams, and the zipper on the side was completely broken.  I decided to recover it, and although this fabric is a new piece of fabric, it was a remnant left over from something else (I bought it at a yard sale), and I am giving this pillow a new life.  I absolutely love pillows, and it feels good to have a new one that I made myself.
Day 50:  I have had the idea for another bike tube bracelet ever since I completed the last one.  I wanted to make it by braiding strips of tire tube.  It was far more difficult that I thought it would be.  I used eight strips altogether and secured the ends by sewing a smaller strip of tire tube accross the weave.  It was hard to get the bracelet to have an even uniform look.  I also added a couple of small straight strips to join the ends together and to give it the ability to stretch, because once it is woven, the tire tube doesn't have as much give.  I like the end result okay, but it seems a little big for me.  I hope I'll find someone who likes it to give it to.
Day 51: Today was my friend Diane's memorial (whom I mentioned in previous posts) and I felt completely exhausted after a full day of setting up for it, meeting her friends who travelled here to Taos from other places, and laughing, crying and remembering Diane together.  It was a beautiful day, but I didn't have a lot left in me for creating something.  The project for today was extremely simple.  I made a vase for some of the flowers I took home.  I just cut off the top of a milk carton, stapled the top in a bit to create a smaller opening, and voila! a beautiful vase!  (I do want to mention that Diane was such an amazing musician and songwriter, and that her creativity and her ability to live life so fully, has given me so much strength and inspiration to stick with my own creative journey.  Love you, Diane!!!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

 Day 47: It was the first day of Spring and I was having a party to celebrate.  I decided it would be fun to dye eggs and make tea.  So we had a big pot of boiled eggs, nine different colors of dye, and a bunch of egg cartons.  The pile of egg cartons on the table were begging to be made into something else.  I am just going to shut up about whether or not I should be making more flowers and just make as many as I want to, because obviously I can't help myself.  So here are my egg carton flowers:
Day 48:  I made the larger version of the milk carton wallet that I mentioned I would like to try.  I love this version.  It is exactly the right size to fit my money in, and has the little screw top closure that I like so much. I am now carrying it around in my purse.  My old wallet was really falling to pieces after all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

 Day 44: It all started with these little swiss cheese looking cardboard pieces that came in a package.  I was immediately thrilled upon seeing these cute little morsels.  I had no idea what I was going to make with them, I just started playing around with them. They fit well together in a circular shape and made a pretty star in the middle.  So I made six of these and then decided to glue them on top of each other to make a vase (for my origami flowers I made on Day 3).  I painted the outside with silver acrylic paint, but left the inside alone, because I wanted some evidence of what it was made from yet thought a solid color on the outside would emphasize both the patterns of the holes and the flowers on display.
Day 45:  I took a vintage polyester dress and re-designed it.  I should have taken a picture of how it looked originally, but I was so eager to get started I had already started cutting big chunks out of it before this occured to me.  Anyhow, I pretty much just changed it from a ruffly, high necked, stuffy feeling dress into a dress with a V neck in both the front and back.  I used one of the ruffles that I cut away to create a flower.  When I cut a V neck in the back I cut the zipper in half and was going to remember not to pull the zipper pull off all the way before securing the ends again, but of course the first thing I did when I tried it on to see if it was going to work was to pull the zipper pull all the way off.  No big deal, I would just undo the bottom of the zipper and then thread it back on, (that is, if I didn't lose it first).  Which is exactly what I did.  I spent more time looking for that darn zipper pull than on sewing the dress (I shook out my blankets, moved my bed around, pulled out my dresser, shook out all the clothing all over my floor and it was nowhere.  I finally gave up, came home the next day, and there it was right in the middle of my floor where I swear I looked a hundred times.)  At least it was finished in time to wear it for the first day of Spring!
Day 46:  I wanted to make another box from a cereal box, because I realized that it would be perfect for storing my button collection in, and the one I made before wasn't big enough.  I just don't know any one who buys those pure sugar cereals that I grew up on, so I made a box from Triple Berry O's (from Trader Joe's).  It's pretty cute, I think, both the star shape and the pattern of the box.  I lined the bottom of the inside this time around.  Mazi had the idea that it would be cool to store Triple Berry O's inside this box.  I thought that was a pretty funny idea.  My friends could come over, notice my cute little box, and open it up to find something to snack on.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 42:  This just might be the strangest dress I ever made.  It's a weird mix of things; kinda elegant, kinda beachy, kinda disco, and all held together with bicycle tire tubes.  I think I like it though.  It is extremely comfortable, and perfect for a hot day.  I started with a skirt that I fished out of the back of my closet (there are a lot of things hidden away back in there).  A friend of mine gave me this skirt about four years ago, and I never wore it because it was too long and the waist was too big.  I was saving it for the day when I would put a new elastic in the waist and shorten it.  After I made my pop tab belt, I was looking for things to wear it with.  I pulled out this skirt and realized it just might be fun as a dress.  The bicycle tire tubes are very functional for a dress like this, because they help to shape the dress and also can stretch to make it easy to take it on and off.
In the past few weeks since my friend passed away, I've been thinking a lot about love.  Perhaps this is because she was married to her husband for 19 years, and they were always so sweet to each other and enjoyed each other's company.  For some reason, I can't picture myself ever having such luck.  I don't know if it is luck so much though, or if it's just that my heart always lets me down.  I fall into love then I fall out of love so easily.  I don't know exactly what this has to do with this dress, but somehow when I wear it I feel these things.  It's the "girl sitting alone at a cafe" dress.  Suddenly this is what I'm wanting in my life.  It is comforting to be alone, drinking in the sunshine and the air.  I'm not exactly single, but I am taking some time to reflect and listen to the whisperings of my heart.  What is it that it needs, this heart of mine?  Who knew that a dress could help accentuate an inner process, help it dare to exist?

Day 43: Another skirt, and even more blue.  All the clothes I've used for this project so far have been blue.  I've never realized until now that blue is one of my favorite colors.  The top photo shows scraps of bicycle tire tube that were left over from previous projects.  I used the scraps to cut out pokka dots to sew onto this skirt.  I sewed a sequin in the center of each one.  This is what makes the skirt humorous to me, that it has sequins made out of a beer can sewn to it, and that the beer happened to be a budlight, a kind of beer I never drink (I have a friend who does).  I cut this flower patch from a shirt several years ago and it was perfect for covering up the little black stain.  The whole pattern has an outer space feel to it.  Again, it is probably another strange item of clothing, but "strange" helps keep the world interesting, n'est-ce pas?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

 Day 40:  Why, oh why, do I keep making flowers?  Why not little paper piggies, chamelons or monster trucks?  (Oooh, those are some great ideas!)  I think all these flowers are revealing that I need to go in a new direction, break from my patterns.  Or it could also mean that I am meant to perfect the art of flower making.  Either way, I had fun making this lotus flower out of a catalog.  My girlfriend Nicole was hanging out with me while I made this, so we were talking with each other the entire time.  It's nice when my project making can merge with my social life, and the longer I do this, the more it has to, otherwise my friends would never see me.  I am being swallowed by my trash collection.

 I took a picture of Mazi holding my lotus to show how big it is.  It appears that it is bringing her some sort of mystical experience, her face lit up in a blissful smile.

Day 41: Whoops, another flower.  This one I've been planning on making for a while though.  After I made my bicycle tire tube necklace, my friend Sara suggested making a bracelet by layering several flowers.  Her other brillant idea was to create a sequin out of a aluminum can for the center of the flower.  It didn't turn out as I had expected.  The tire tubes have a slight curve to them so they wrap around my wrist, and they also lay more flatly against each other than I would have liked.  I tried to create a three dimensional look by putting a few stitches on each layer and gathering them, but it didn't hold and flattened out again when I put the next layer on.  The more I wear it though, the more it grows on me.  I sewed a button on the back side and cut a slit for a button hole, so that it can fit snug.  One of my favorite parts of doing this yearly project is when other people get involved by making suggestions, giving me random things to create with, or just asking, "What are you going to make today?"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 38:  I used a Mallow-Oats cereal box to create a triangular shaped gift box.  I've always loved creating geometric shapes (which must be why I like doing the modular origami so much).  It is fun for me to figure out the sizes and shapes of the sides to make it all come together.  I'd like to make a hexagon shaped box at some point, but would really love it to be made from the type of cereal box that I never have around, like Fruity Pepples or Coco Puffs (just to honor my crazy childhood diet).  I wonder if anyone I know buys the stuff?
Day 39:  A few nights ago I was hanging out at the Valdez Bar, a dark little bar nestled in a small valley just at the foot of the mountains on the way to the Taos Ski Valley.  They always play country music except when there is an occasional random show, like the punk music they were playing on this particular night.  Everyone was drinking $2 PBR, the cans were skattered all over the place, and as the bar tender began to gather the empty ones, I approached him and asked if he'd mind if I took the tabs first.  As the night went on, he started pulling them off for me as people left the empties on the bar.  It was fun to see him with a row of beer cans lined up, his fingers busy bending the tabs back and forth.  I also had all my friends handing me their tabs.  I was able to collect 64 that night.  Maybe I was a little OCD about it, but I thought it was fun to make collecting tabs my mission on my night out.  I also did a lot of dancing and a little drinking too (Ten Ton Strap really rocks my world).  Using those 64 tabs and about 140 more, I created this belt.  I used some twine that I just had around the house to string them all together.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 36: CD art!!!! Another idea found on (what a fun website!)  I took some scratched cds, painted over them with black acrylic paint, scratched a design into them with a screwdriver, and then covered them with a coat of mod podge to protect the surface from further scratching.  This project was so extremely fun, my daughter got involved and made some of her own.  (Check out her designs by clicking on "Mazi's Projects").
Day 37:  What could be more exciting than two dancing girls surrounded by woven cereal and frozen pizza boxes?  I designed this frame specially for this cute card, and although there's something a little creepy about frozen pizza boxes (the shiny red and black colors, the picture of the greasy pizza on the front), I like how they look when woven together with pictures of shredded wheat and multigrain flakes.  Also, the red of the pizza box really brings out the red in the women's clothes.  Just looking at this picture in this frame really cheers me up (and makes me hungry).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 34:  I was given about 25 sturdy cardboard tubes.  They had been used as the center piece for rugs to be rolled around.  I had no idea what I would do with them when I was given them, but was excited about seeing what I could come up with.  I thought at first I would do some sort of sculptural wall hanging, and decided that the first step would be to saw them into variously sized pieces.  As I was sawing them, I put them in a pile on the floor.  As it grew and I saw this heap of cardboard tubes, I couldn't help but think, "This is crazy! What the heck am I doing?"  Mazi started playing with them and organizing them into piles of different sizes, and from her creating these little structures, I came up with the idea to glue them into a table.  It took more glue than you can imagine.  I started with wood glue, used up my entire bottle of that, finished off a bottle of Elmer's glue, used a bit of Gorilla glue (which didn't dry fast enough for me), and then went out and bought some tacky glue to finish it off.  It was worth all that glue and more.  It resembles a wasp nest and is also somewhat industrial looking.  I love having it in my house, AND it replaced an ulgy black TV cart with wheels (which I just dropped off at the thrift store this morning). 
Day 35:  I made a bracelet out of rectangles cut from potato chip bags and candy wrappers. 
The idea for this project came from Sara Basehart who found instructions for it on  Thanks Sara!
I've been saving bags for months now because I am planning on making a purse out of them.  The bracelet was made from the pieces that were left over from cutting out the pieces for the purse (leaving almost no scraps!)  I'm happy with how it turned out, but I think it would be more appealing if I made it thicker by attaching another round of woven wrappers to this one.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 33:  I made a window curtain out of a white slip.  I cut it from bottom to top, removing a strip where it had gotten stained, cut off the elastic waist band and then sewed over the top to make a place for a curtain rod to slip through.  I am especially happy when my projects are useful, and take the place of something I would otherwise go out and buy.  It is much more functional than the piece of cloth I had tacked over the window.  Now I can let in the sunshine simply by pushing the curtain to the side.  This project was simple and an obvious way to reuse an old slip, but I had never made something like this before.  I need a few more curtains in my house, so I'll be checking out the thrift stores for skirts in the next couple of days. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 32:  I came up with another version of the wallet I tried on Day 13.  This time instead of folding the carton, I used a smaller carton and just went with the folds that were already there.  I cut out the part of the carton where the lid screws on and sewed it onto the wallet, so that it can open and close by screwing the lid on and off.  This was the part of the previous wallet that I liked.  I mostly like this wallet, but it is small and you can't fit a lot in it, so it's not very practical.  I'd like to make a bigger version using a milk carton.  It would be somewhere inbetween a purse and a wallet.  I am finding so many uses for milk/half and half cartons, I need to get the word out to more of my friends to hold onto these for me.  Just a few months ago, I didn't think of them as anything but trash.  Now, I am in love.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

 Day 30:  I decided to go for it and make the sphere today.  It was a fairly simple process but very time consuming.  It took about six hours to take each of the 55 squares, fold them into petals, glue them into flowers, then attach them all together.  I tried my best to complete this project, but fell asleep before I could finish it.  So I ended up finishing it the next day, as well as completing a project for that day too.  I'm not really trying to impose rigid rules upon myself anyway, so all is good!  I love spheres, after all we are all running around on one.  This piece is beautiful to me, and represents love, life, connection, and friendship.  Today I am loving life!

Day 31:  A while back I bought some picture frames at a thrift store for the purpose of redesigning.  This one was painted with pink and blue paint, one color starting at the top and fading into the other.  It was framing a generic picture and saying to give to your mother on mother's day.  No wonder it ended up at the thrift store.  I made tiles out of used half and half containers, and glued them onto the frame using hot glue.  I am in love with both milk and half and half containers as a material for crafting.  I find the items I make both appealing and humorous, and you can't really recycle these containers, at least not here in Taos, so I like that I am finding a use for them. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 29:  Went to the library and got an origami book, and learned how to make this awesome flower!  I love how it feels in my hands, how much it weighs (it's heavier than it looks), and how beautiful it is.  It is made up of five squares that were folded indentically and glued together.  The book also showed a bunch of these flowers joined together to make a sphere.  I think that is a beautiful idea, but all I had the time and energy for this time around was one.  I'm wondering if it's possible to make a sphere and somehow put a light in the middle, or wrap a small string of lights around it so it glows.  It sounds like I will have to expand on this project another day.  Yay!  Happy and inspired!
Day 27:  I tried to invent my own origami design today.  I enjoy doing modular origami, which means that you make a large piece that is made up of a bunch of smaller pieces.  So I made up a little piece that I thought was pretty cool, but then the only way I could figure out how to use them together was to glue them in a big circle.  It is somewhat interesting, but doesn't really excite me.  Plus if you hold it up, it doesn't hold its shape.  It becomes a funny looking oval.  I think I might have to go get a origami book from the library to come up with something more appealing than this.

 Day 28:  I made a recycled poem out of a bunch of old poems that I cut up into pieces.  I had a book of poems from my early twenties that really only contained a few that were of any quality and not completely depressing.  It was fun to snip out all the lines that had some phrases or words that I thought I could use.  The resulting poem ended up having a lot of meaning to me even though it sounds as if it is one person in particular that I am referring to, which I am not.  It is more just a summary of love and the loss of love which has occurred in my unsuccessful dating history.  I glued the pieces inside of a cover of a dream journal that is becoming an altered book, covered up with new words and images.

i was already
untangling the knot, tripping out hard,
dancing down an alley, lost in laughter,
pulsing through all the fucking extraordinary
colors of this earth,
stomping through this insanity.
my brain is a bird leaving its nest.
i'm throwing away all the lifelessness.
things i can't be or can't do
meeting the bottom of me, the part I try to separate
dark night, undetectable elegance,
packed away.
but all of me makes one whole.
then it was you and me
and i don't know why
side by side in a hammock, you fascinated me
caught up in the excitement of experience
floating in my viens.
my hindrances cascaded into pictures
and puddles
away inside the back walls of my brain
elegantly forgotton.
my heart is like the singing
uncritical ocean.
i just sit there thinking,
untangling the fragrances of thought.
you would reach in inside them
being on the outside looking in.
my eyes open in the morning becoming mirrors,
holding someone too much
between the fragility and strength of me.
i'm passed on the sidewalk
you are just not interested.
i'll never know you and the seats are empty.
i need the crack in my window,
all of my dirty thoughts,
laughter or the absense of.
while i drift out of your life like a cloud
all these people become stars in my sky.
then the chaos encourages me,
fades away,
becomes a pile of soft sand.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 25:  My friends Nicole and Zishan were at my house when I made this robot, so I had their opinions and feedback influencing the appearance of this little guy.  I think he turned out interesting but he's not quite the robot I've been dreaming about.  He looks more like a baby bug to me.  So although I dressed him up with a bow tie and cummerbund thinking there might be a wedding in our future, I'm going to have to disappoint him.  He was fun to make and because I had all kinds of things strewn about the house, I wasn't too suprised at one point to look up and see Mazi wrapping ribbons around Nicole.  Nicole started to look like an 80's punk rock mummy. Then Zishan got involved and started adding other things like bamboo skewers and egg cartons.  The results were a little wierd and scary, but I've never laughed so hard in my life!  Since decorating Nicole was part of the atmosphere into which this robot was created, I'll include some pictures of that too.

Day 26:  I have been making pop top bracelets for a while, but wanted to make a fatter version than the kind I had been making.  I ended up just connecting two together.  Although it was simple and not as inventive as some of my other days projects, I am happy with the results.  Sometimes all it takes is a small change to something I've tried before to come up with something exciting.  It feels more bold and dramatic than the other version and I have been wearing it ever since.  I also like the imprints it leaves on my skin.