Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dialogue Pins for Troubled Times: Not My President (With Bonus Postcards!)

The "not" pins

After mulling over my own reaction to the events of Tuesday, November 8, I started thinking in terms of communication and dialogue and began making stuff accordingly.

First up is the "not" pin, made from paper, an old tin can lid, and a pin-backing that costs about ten cents (sold in packs of ten to 12 in various sizes at any craft/hobby/jewelry findings store). Here is what it looks like from the front:

Pin front
And here is what it looks like from the back:

Pin back

The original idea was that I would wear the pin, wait until someone asked me what it was or what it meant. Then I would tell them the copy on the back. If they appeared to like the message (and the pin) I would give it to them. If they did not appear to like the message I would have a dialogue with them.

Things have almost immediately gotten out of hand. As I give away a pin others gather and want one also. I am running out of my stash of tin can lids and have sent out a call for more. If you would like to make your own "not" pins, see the Tin Can Frames Tutorial on this blog. For a template for the copy for front and back of the pins, get a free download at "Not" Pin Templates. This could make an ideal present for all of the depressed folks on your gift list this 2016 holiday season.

Meanwhile, I had created a postcard for Donald Trump (Donald Trump c/o The Trump Organization, 725 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10022) for the "Postcard Avalanche" on November 26-28, and decided to make additional copies and give those away also. The idea is that instead of sitting around feeling frustrated, angry, depressed, and powerless, you might as well exercise your free speech while we still have it and let Donald Trump know what is on your mind and what your concerns are before he becomes inaugurated.

Postcard front

Postcard back

To print postcards of your own you will find a free download at my Postcard to Trump template. Just print them up and start giving them away (and if you're really nice, put postcard postage on the cards before you do so — a small investment in free speech and taking a stand).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Time Machine Advent Calendar

Time Machine Calendar

This is the sixth year of creating advent calendars for two young recipients who are now ages seven and five (though the five-year-old missed out on the earliest ones). This year's theme is time travel, based on a discussion back in October with the girls about how you can look forward to a future self or back to a past self and communicate with yourself along the timeline. I asked each of the girls what their message would be to a future self. I combined their responses with photos of them and had them made into jigsaw puzzles. See those results below.

Message to future self

Jigsaw version

Message to future self

Jigsaw version

The next step was to come up with time machine advent calendars that would slowly reveal to the girls the messages from their past selves as they receive a few jigsaw puzzle pieces each day and slowly put them together over the month. And here is one of the completed time machines:

The time machine

Time machine construction begins with a green plastic ginger ale soda bottle, which cut horizontally about a third of the way from the top and then embellished to within an inch of its life with ribbon, little jewels, and a name scribed on with glitter pair.

Embellished bottle

Time components - old watch parts

I used up my stash of old watch faces and innards to underscore the time traveling nature of this creation. I divided the puzzle pieces up and put a few in each little gift box, numbering the boxes for the days of the month and hanging them from a ribbon that dangles down within the bottle. Each box also contains either a foil-wrapped chocolate coin (traditional) or a Hershey's kiss - because kisses are 109 years old and have themselves travelled a long way through time. The result of the hanging boxes is a jumble: you have to hunt for the right number each day. Note in earlier pictures above the embellished wood washers I used just inside and outside the neck of the bottle to prevent the top loop (used for hanging the creation) from slipping back through the bottle, or the little boxes from all being pulled up into the inside of the bottle.

Little boxes, numbered by day

And here is how the little boxes were made. Start collecting toilet paper rolls!


Glue either paper or ribbon around toilet paper rolls. I used a lot of old sheet music from World War II (including "The Road to Mandalay" and "The Victory Polka") to reinforce the time traveling nature of this all.

TP roll covered in sheet music
Fold ends of the toilet paper roll in. This creates a nifty little box and the folded closures stay put until you open them.

Fold in ends

Voila! Instant little box

Embellish the boxes however you wish. I scored a sizable stash of little stick-on jewels and the like from a local art recycling depot. To dangle the box from the bottle, use an embroidery needle and string a ribbon or gold cord through one of the corners of the box. Put numbers of the days on the boxes with glitter paint.

Embellished hanging box

Ribbon glued around TP roll, embellished with little pearls

For about a quarter of the boxes I used old pictures of the girls from the past, converted them to sepia tone in Photoshop, and combined them with timepiece-themed images. These were then glued around the TP rolls instead of the sheet music or ribbon.

Embellished with photo from the past

And that is it for this year's calendar, all ready to ship. See creations from past years, including advent calendar couture, at the following link: Advent

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pun Couture: The Tern Coat

Have you ever created a huge, time-consuming project based on a total misunderstanding? Welcome to the Tern Coat - a labor-intensive, wearable pun.

Tern over a new leaf

Decades ago a friend told me a story about two young men in their late teens who gamboled about the San Francisco Delta and exchanged love notes that always contained a little drawing depicting a pun based on the words "tern" and "turn." Just after completing this project we had dinner and he told me I had completely misremembered the story. No matter - the false memory led to weeks of absorbing labor that resulted in the following.

Coat front

Coat back

The coat, which used to be an ankle-length duster I've had since the '70s, now shortened to about mid-calf, is embellished with 25 embroidered tern/turn puns. And here they are. 

A tern for the worse

Tern the other cheek

Done to a tern

From here to eternity

One good tern deserves another

Taking your tern

The tide has terned

Tune in, tern on, drop out

Tern back time

Tern a deaf ear

Tern down

Tern it over

Tern of the century

Tern off
Tern of the screw

Tern on

Tern on a dime

Tern the page

Tern the tables

Tern turtle

Tern up

Tern up the heat

Tern up your toes

Tern up your nose

From a distance, the garment simply looks like a patterned coat. It isn't until you get up close that you begin to wonder what is going on.

Coat detail

Coat detail

Coat detail

Coat detail

All in all, I'm pleased with the way it terned out.

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