Macromé and Cats Pooping Rainbows Art

big-plans

 

As you know I’ve recently moved and I’ve been all sorts of busy with unpacking and making my new home perfect. This is my happy place and I can put in incredible amounts of work in when it comes to pretending to be a stylist. We’ve been hanging pictures, making shelving units from scratch and cleaning everything from top to bottom. We have a housewarming party scheduled for this weekend and there’s nothing like a time crunch to make it all happen even manically.

I had a crazy cool project in my head. I wanted to create something like this cool all-white sea shell sculpture except I didn’t want to become a ceramist in order to pull it off. ($200 is a out of my budget.) I knew oven-baked clay was a little out of my skill set and play dough would never work so I thought I’d just spray paint the real thing white and it would look awesome! Heh.

Then I took a trip to the shell shop and learned that sea shells are not really collectible any more. You can buy them but it’s not really ethical since so many of them are endangered. You can’t collect shells at our beaches anymore without the park rangers scolding you. It’s such a drag because I remember collecting shells as such a favorite part of my summer as a kid. Maybe someday the weather will change and our beaches will be covered with them again but for now they are on the rare and protected side.

So I only went home with two bags of shells instead of the 20 I needed. I really wanted to make a big piece that would make a big impact on Bug’s wall.

I laid out my wood and started arranging my shells. I had a pretty good stash of old shells in my craft cabinet from other projects but sadly, I just didn’t have enough. Boo.

Time for plan B.

macrome-with-shells

Macrome! I remember macrame from when I was a kid. My mom had pot holders made out of rope and wooden beads. I can picture them vividly with her tupperware planters with the little water window in the bottom so you could tell if your plant needed water. Remember those? The only one I can find on the net is this one but my mom’s were rust colored and round.

I googled some macrame tutorials and decided to make a simple wall hanging. It’s easier than I thought. As I was tying knots I was thinking I could keep going and make a whole hammock this way. But then I got tired of making knots. So I pushed some beads on there. Tied a few more knots and glued on some shells. Hot glue is great. Especially when you use your handy dandy Tokyo Pen Shop pen to push the rope down into the glue instead of your finger. Not to worry, no pens were harmed in this making. The hot glue peeled right off the pen, good as new.

Then I hung it up in Bug’s room. It didn’t quite make the impact I wanted but she likes it.

macrome-with-shells-in-bugs-room

It’s just as well I didn’t end up making a big art piece because she wanted to hang a bunch of her own art including her masterpiece “Cat Pooping Rainbows.” I love that picture. I love it so much I scanned it and put it in my Etsy shop in case anyone else wants to buy it too.

selling-rainbow-pooping-catIf anyone desires such lovely art for their home I will have it printed on cardstock and have it signed and numbered by Bug herself. I figure she can pay for her Shopkins this way.

Coming next: Corners of my house! I’ve been taking all kinds of pictures and I can’t wait to share.

 

The Royal Flop Cake

tiny-pink-cake-inspiration

 

Whenever I am doing a photoshoot, I always start with a vision. I don’t mean to sound like some kind of patronizing artist, dramatically fluttering my eyelashes and looking at the ceiling as if I have some grand idea that no one else does.  No. I just like to daydream. And then I like to make my daydreams happen. I make them happen with the magic of props (usually things found around my house) and my camera. I’m pretty good at this part and I go to great lengths to make my vision happen. Sometimes I go too far and it kicks me in the butt.

Like my latest tea party shoot for Victoria Day for Alphamom. You guys probably think I bang out crafts in an afternoon but the reality is that it takes me several days. One day of planning, one day of shopping/gathering and usually graphic designing and one day of shooting. This is actually an aggressive schedule and I’m always happy when it works out. When it doesn’t work out I lose money. Bad. Like working for less than a dollar an hour bad.

So it’s in my best interest for thing to work out.

This week I had a vision of tiny pink cakes for Queen Victoria’s Royal Birthday Tea Party. I love pink cakes and I love things that are tiny so put them together and I’m squeeing all over the place. I figured I could just make the cakes. I love to decorate cakes and I can throw a mix together usually. I figured I could do it. How hard could it be?

 

royal-flop-cake-1

I bought two vanilla cake mixes from Trader Joe’s and went to town. I figured I’d want the cakes pretty thin so I only filled my cake tins with an inch of batter. Then because I’m smarter than a house cat I baked them for half the time. Half the batter, half the time, right? Hah!  Baking is a science and nothing is easily halved like that. My cakes burned and they were not even. I also have an electric oven that is possessed by poltergeists so things didn’t turn out so well.

Aaaaaand maybe I should mention that I cannot follow directions. I mixed all my ingredients and then wondered why my mix was so mealy. Then I noticed that I had not added the two cups of milk that my recipe required. So I added them in later.

Hmmmm! Yeah.

That meant my batter didn’t mix completely properly. The milk sloshed over the sides of my mixing bowl and the bottom of the mixture was thick glunk. Did I make sure that I mixed it thoroughly? Of course not! I like to wing things and baking is tedious. I don’t have time for such carefulness. I poured my batter in my pans and sort of pushed it around with a spatula.

Let’s take an inventory of problems:

1. uneven cake

2. burned edges

3. cake is very spongey

royal-flop-cake-2

 

But I was not dissuaded. I got my little round cookie cutters that I bought especially for this project and cut my little cakes. I evened them up the best I could with a serrated knife. They sort of looked cute. I thought at this point that icing would cover a multitude of sins. That’s one good thing about photoshoots. It doesn’t have to taste good. I just has to look good.

 

royal-flop-cake-3

Hahahahaha!

Jokes on me.

I wanted the icing to be smooth. Like a glaze or what you would see on cake pops and petit fours. You know: cute little tea things, all smooth and dainty with maybe some iced flowers or some white polka dots. I even bought a new icing bag, new couplers and a new tiny icing tip for the job. I was so excited for the decorating part.

The first go around, I made my glaze too watery. I poured it onto my spongey cake like lemonade, soaking it like a strawberry shortcake in milk. It was very very sad. I thought I took a picture of that mess but I guess that one only made it into my snapchat story. Then I thickened my icing up and stuck my cakes in the freezer for an hour, thinking that harder cake would keep the frosting on the outside and not soaking in so much.

You know what happened? As the cake defrosted my icing kept sliding off of it. It was avalanche city on my cakes. Tiny little skiers were fleeing for their lives. I tried to smooth the icing around with a knife but that turned into a crumbly mess. I know I could do a crumb coat or something. I’ve watched enough cake baking reality shows to know about that but these cakes were so little, it was like trying to ice a mud ball  that was crumbling in my hand. Maybe there’s a reason there are no tiny pink cakes on the internet that perfectly match my vision. Maybe it just cannot be done!

And that is how my tea party came to be catered by the local grocery store! Some visions die hard, in the car with tears and a plastic take-out container from the bakery.

royal-flop-cake-5

Here are a few outtakes. My models say it tasted good. So there’s that at least. Too bad I don’t care about that.

Stay tuned for the alphamom post. In spite of my catastrophe in baking, the shoot turned out pretty well! Phew.