Crafting as I live and breathe

A few years ago two of my close friends* teased me about I am always doing some type of art project or another, taking the extra effort to drive their point home that I’m unusual in how much I art it up.  I won’t lie, it kind of stung when they first said (clearly, since I’ve remembered it over a the course of a few years), but the basic truth is that they’re right. I’m the friend who crafts the crap out of party decorations, who schedules art journal dates with her mom, and who hand made her sister’s wedding guest book. I am always working on some art project or craft project. At the end of the day, when David comes home and we watch tv or he plays video games, I curl up on the couch with him and pull out my art journal or a painting I’m working on. So… what do I wear for it all? An assortment of pajamas, mostly, but I do have a designated painting shirt.

Marci 6-27-13 Full1

Welcome to an unedited view of my living room. I used to have a dedicated art studio in our second bedroom, but since I’ve never been good about using it I had no qualms when one of my best friends moved into it. I have a good set up in my living room now, and by good, I definitely mean I like it even though everyone else now has to deal with watercolor water on the coffee table and scraps of paper all over the rug.

Marci 6-27-13 LeftMarci 6-27-13 Right

This shirt is my favorite thing to do crafts in, and I know I’ve shown it off in a few other posts. It’s absolutely covered in paint and glue and you can’t hardly see that unless you’re reeeeeeally looking hard. And as for my skinny jeans, I’ll admit–all of my jeans are fair game when it comes to painting. Except maybe my black ones–I try to keep those clean, but even they have some white paint marks on them.

Marci 6-27-13 Horiz

Alright so you should check out Nicole’s blog for her craftastic fashion, as well as everyone else who is participating. In two weeks check back in for what I believe is a wine tasting outfit, and have I got the dress for that!

*Two close friends who read this blog, and who should know that I love you guys a ton. And I think you’re both beautifully crafty ladies!

Because I really needed a new hobby

EmbroiderBobRoss Closeup

If you come over to my apartment to hang out, the sight of me working on any one of a million art projects while we chat would not be a surprise. So logically, you know, I figured it was time to take up a new hobby. When we were visiting friends in Oregon, I saw K. working on a cross stich project and immediately got sucked into the medium. In case you couldn’t tell from the closeup, my first embroidery* challenge was done on my Bob Ross painting from this night.

EmbroiderBobRoss Full

I’m definitely years away from becoming an expert for sure, but here are the resource books I’ve been using to get started

Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray was the first book I picked up and while I haven’t done any of her doodle patterns yet, she was a great book for getting started with supplies and color suggestions for threads. Annnnd I’m still super excited for 95% of the patterns in that book! Mermaids! Gnomes! Trees! Unicorns!

Little Stitches by Aneela Hoey is a book my mom is currently lending me and has a great style that helped expand how I thought about embroidery and its potential. I love the way she stitches people and am super stoked to copy that style.

Star Trek Cross Stitch by John Lohman came home with me after I tried to be responsible and say no to it, when my mom went ‘umm what how are you saying no to this??” It’s so friggin’ fabulous and I can’t wait to make presents for every Trekkie geek I know, including my mother-in-law-equivalent.

Hoopla by Leanna Prain Now, I saved this book for last because it’s the one I could talk about for the longest. This book explores the potential for embroidery far beyond samplers and custom kit cross stitch (not that there’s anything wrong with them, having plans to do both!) and this book contains amazing works of art. Better yet, it also contains some sample how-to tutorials for some of the milder stuff. This is definitely my inspiration book for where I want to take my experience with the medium.

So what do you guys think? Any embroiderers out there or cross stitch fanatics? I’d love all the tips and tricks you’ve got to offer!

How do you want to be described by others?

Art Prompt Spread

Before we get to the fun stuff, I have to be honest. I woke up this morning with a particularly endearing expression burned onto my face. One that I went to bed with as well. Sexy, I know.

Marci Face Grumpy

 

It was a pretty lame moment and one of the only things that’s keeping me from just screaming at the top of my lungs until the day is over is my plans with my mom for some art journaling! I’ve talked about it on the blog before, but my mom is one of my favorite people to do art projects with. Also topping the list is my sister, when I’m capable of making her join us. Plans to art journal turn my above face more into this face:

Marci Face Intrigued

 

So this prompt developed rather organically after a conversation with my darling favorite roomie Kim about how she thinks I’m funny. Because she does–she thinks I’m hilarious. So does my mom. So does my sister. You know who doesn’t find me laugh out loud funny? David. It’s okay because he still thinks I’m clever, but there’s something to be said for being able to make someone belly laugh until they choke. Something I’ve never done to David.

Art Prompt collage

 

It’s strange how very personal this prompt can be. I mean, it’s one thing to ask how you would describe yourself. That seems easy. But how do you want others to perceive you? That’s a personal question tangled up in ego and my ego relies on being funny, apparently. My page is mostly finished, although I think I’ll take the white hatching all the way to the top.

Art Prompt Final

I have some other projects to work on today, though, so I better get ready to chill with my mama! That makes my face look like….

Marci Face Happy

Hope your Monday is a happy perky day the way I’m hoping mine turns into!

Here’s that short-haired rant I promised

Short Hair Rant

Okay, so it’s not so much as a rant as it is a ramble. And to tack a disclaimer on in the beginning, I just want to say I have nothing against long hair. I think it’s awesome. My bestest friend in the whole wide world, my sister, has had long hair for most of her life and it’s awesome. Her hair has turned me into a pro french braider. This ramble is about what’s right for me, and I don’t for a second think that what’s right for me has to be right for everyone. Cheers!

So on a basic level, I just don’t recognize my face in the same way when my hair is long. When I have hair, it’s hard for me to see my face outside the cultural context of feminine beauty. Advertising and marketing have done an obscenely effective job in telling women what we need to look like, even what we want to look like. Every time I decide to grow my hair out, I do it for all the wrong reasons. That is, I never decide to grow it out for me, but rather for other people and for the comfort of blending in socially. Yeah, I know, shallow. And seriously, me blending in? Lost cause much?

The point is, I have no internal drive to grow long hair. That should be enough to keep it short, you’d think, but I grow restless easily and get bored with my appearance pretty easily and like the idea of long hair and, call me shallow, but I like the idea of being standardly pretty. So once a year or so, I grow my hair out, and thus begins a longcycle of restless self-criticism. I look in the mirror and instead of seeing myself, I see a work in progress on the way to beauty.

My hair needs two more inches so it’ll have that swooshy curl that will make my face look soft and delicate.

It just needs to grow ou t the layers in the back so it’ll be in “medium length range” and I’ll look cute and sporty.

My hair is almost ready for french braids, and then I’ll look super cute and feminine.
My ego becomes so much more fragile as awareness of pretty ladies around me transforms into comparison.

My hair wil never be that long.

My hair is too wavy to lay that nicely.

My hair will never be that outrageously curly.

The comparisons expand, pointing out my weight, my jawline, my eyes, my cheeks, my skin until nothing is safe. Until I hate looking gin the mirror because I can’t see my own face beyond the buildup of expectations and comparisons and judgements. It builds and builds until one day, when one small random and inconsequential moment triggers my breaking point.

It’s not just about getting rid of my hair. It’s about getting rid of the cloud of expectations that nest in my hair, whispering in my ear about what I should look like, instead of just seeing myself for who I am. When my hair is short, I’m shockingly comfortable in my own skin. I’m happy with my body. I’m happy with my face. With no hair, there is a fence holding off all the expectations of what I should look like, how I should decorate myself, ways I should be pretty.

I get that I’m probably in the minority with this, and I think there are a million and one times a hundred women out there that feel powerful in their own skin with long hair, and just as many women who like the comfort and ease of short hair who are capable of growing their hair out without having an existential crisis about beauty. I’m not one of them, though, and I’m just glad I’ve found the best way to be comfortable with my appearance. Also? When I told David that this hairstyle felt the most right and what I would stick with? Yeah he just laughed at me and said he thinks that’ll be true up until the day I get bored with short hair. And he’s totally right.

Time Traveling Red Polka Dot Pants

Side note? David and I saw a dress that had a scotty dog print on it and I called it a polka doggie dress. He thinks I’m the most cleverest. Anyway.

So I’m time traveling to bring you this outfit. Impressive, no? I figured I’d travel back to when I had a full(er) head of hair. It’s no secret (it shouldn’t be) that I have an ongoing war with anxiety, and that my closet is often the battleground. David is super patient when I change my outfit seven times on a bad day, and has lately been getting attached to my red polkadot pants. They were rejected on a stressful day and he tried to encourage them. “Maybe it’s a red polkadot pant day?” he suggested gently. I told him that I couldn’t handle it. He suggested that maybe that’s exactly when I need the pants the most. Sad to say, they weren’t worn that day.

But.

But the next day, in a similar stressed out crisis, he suggested them again and it worked.

Marci 6-9-13 Full

Marci 6-9-13 2

 

But even more of an also? David looked pretty sharp that day as well, so I had to get some shots of him in. He’s a way better model than I am, and makes much nicer faces. I mean seriously, look at how cute this mug is:

David 6-9-13 Love Face

David 6-9-13 Full

 

Kels, who was David’s coworker for a while in addition to being one of my bffs, joked about how she could always tell when David showed up to work in something I picked out, versus something he picked out. To be fair (and to make me sound a lot less like a control freak) it’s usually a combined process. He’ll ask if he needs a sweater, or he’ll ask if the shirt is okay with the pants, and I usually yay, occasionally I will nay. Like this outfit–I bought him the sweater and picked out the shorts, but the shirt, shoes, and combination of all four was all him. All him and all awesomeness.

 

 

Every tree needs a friend

1 Art Supplies

Before leaving us to travel across the whole country to the other Washington, Kels came for a visit and the three of us (we let David chill with us) had another fantastic Bob Ross adventure! It was a blast, and I can’t believe how disgustingly fun this is! We used bigger canvases this time, which I think helped a lot. We’re all developing such specific and different styles, which are showing more the second time around than the first time. Prepare for epic photo time, because I don’t know if you caught this but one of my bffs is leaving me for the other side of the country. So I took a lot of photos.

2 Group Shot Before 3 Mid Way David 4 Mid Way Kels

5 Mid Way Marci7 Pterodactyl Insert 1 8 Pterodactyl Insert 2

My blue trees really made me life, although I’m pretty sure you can’t see them in the final version. Kels’ grumpy face has a lot more to do with the fact that her hands were covered in paint and not anything to do with her painting. Also, we had to include Pterodactyl in on the action. Despite the fact that I think my sentient tattoo had no idea what was going on. Kels knew, and I guess that’s all that matters.

6 Weirdo Kels 9 Weirdo Marci

10 Art Work ComparisonThat’s how they all turned out in the end, and Bob Ross’ picture in the center. We skipped the part where he did a border, which is how one of the paintings ended up with a bit of extra white space. Can you guess which one was painted by which artist? I mean even without cheating and scrolling back up, that is. I think it’s super obvious, but only because they each reflect our personality styles. Kels churned out this amazingly quiet, open space in a forest that looks like something that belongs in a Neil Gaiman short story, even though she’s never read him. David’s piece is currently hanging up in our bedroom above his desk and we’re both pretty smitten with this bombed-out looking, dinosaur apocalypse scene. And mine is super duper crowded with bright colors and flowers everywhere, so I guess that fits me.

11 Finished David 12 Finished Kels 13 Finished Marci 14 Group Shot AfterGood luck with all your new adventures, Kels, and we can’t wait for our first Bob Ross double date via Skype!!!

Ice cream should have been a requirement

what to wearI actually was on top of my game with this week’s outfit prompt, and even scheduled an ice cream date with my sister to celebrate her finishing up with the quarter’s paralegal schooling work. This and that happened, though, and we ended up bailing on ice cream. She took some cute photos of my outfits, though, so it still worked out. Oh and if you don’t follow me on instagram or twitter, don’t be alarmed. I got a haircut.

Marci 6-11-13 ice cream

 

I even added in a dorky ice cream cone for you guys. Adds believability, doesn’t it? Also it’s a lie. I hated cones even before I cut out wheat, and I don’t like pink colored ice cream. Unless it’s sherbert, I guess. Ice cream dates are all about being cutesy, in my book, so I kept it playful. A thrifted Big Bird pin, a handmade taxidermied moose pin, and bright cheery colors. The skull dress was needed to balance out the kitschy, and also because it has such an ice-cream-esque silhouette, don’t cha think?Marci 6-11-13 SittingMarci 6-11-13Outfit DetailsMarci 6-11-13 Face

Be sure to check out Nicole’s blog to see her ice cream outfit, as well as everyone else who linked up this week. Oh and I know, I know–there’s been some epic radio silence on my part around here, and that’ll probably continue for a bit. Although I have a long winded feminist rant coming up as an explanation for my hair, if that sounds appealing. Stay tuned? I guess?

I’m falling further down the hipster rabbit hole

I know, guys, I know. Falling? Try ‘fallen’. I get teased a lot in real life about being the token ‘hipster’ in my social circles. Particularly by my brother in law. Years and years ago, when hipsters were just starting to become a recognizably dirty word, I sent him a ‘panicked’ text about how I was already walking to art class before I realized I managed to dress myself like a hipster (gray tights, black shorts, sneakers, plaid oversized button up, headphones, tote bag) and he laughed. He gave me a free pass for that one since it was an accident, but we’ve since learned–I act like a hipster all the time, but that’s okay because it’s always unintentional. The Accidental Hipster–that’s going to be the title of my memoir. Anyway back to the story.

GF Jars

Since changing over to the gluten free, egg free lifestyle, the biggest change has been how often I’m in the kitchen! I’m definitely not someone who enjoys making meals, which I get is a little strange considering my whole current pseudo-housewife-professsion. But yeah, I’m not happy in an apron. I can cook meals and dinner, that’s fine, but I draw the line at baking. David comes from a long line (maybe? I really only know his mom on this level) of amazing everything-from-scratch bakers, so I’m fine leaving the finer culinary details to him. That worked for a while until the GF EF thing, and David tap-tapped out of kitchen duty entirely. Until I figure how easy recipes, that is. So I’ve been spending way more time in the kitchen than either of us expected, and armed with a bottle of chalkboard paint, I’m revolutionizing our personal organization. Think lots of mason jars.

GF Jars BIrdseye

I’ve made muffins before and from that same book I made two dozen chocolate chip cookies that disappeared in like three days, so I must be meeting with success, yes? Yes. Which is good, because I’m baking a gluten free, egg free cake for a bbq on Sunday. Wish me luck!

You know that moment when you’re on vacation?

And, while you realized you forgot to pack essentials like an additional outfit, your toothbrush, conditioner, etc, your body takes a little bit of time figuring it out? Well, the moment my brain ran out of actual outfits and my hair realized it hadn’t been getting it’s normal product and was feeling abandoned over lack of styling, that’s the moment when I managed to get an outfit photo taken.

Marci 5-26-13Outfit Details

 

Eh, fuck it. You guys get to see my off days all the time, I just don’t tend to announce them so majestically in the beginning of posts. This was one our last full day in Salem, where we had to follow through on one of my mini traditions. I love stopping by the Book Bin and shopping their clearance (they always have the best selections!) I think David underestimated the power this store would hold over me when he took me there three years ago on our first trip to Salem, but I seriously ask to work it in every time we’re in town. Call me cheap, but there’s something about not paying sales tax that just gets me really excited (politics aside, because honestly there’s a lot about not paying into such a regressive tax that hurts the poor the hardest). Ahem anyway, books! So many books!

Marci 5-26-13 BooksMarci 5-26-13 SidewaysMarci 5-26-13 Top

This outfit was definitely a hodpodge mess of mixing from a couple other planned outfits. I forgot to pack a sweater which is an all new level of fail. It might sound silly, especially since it was so warm out and I remembered a denim jacket, but sweaters are definitely my security blanket. I feel like you guys get the mild version of what my arms look like sans-sweater, although my in-real-life peeps say they aren’t that noticeably. Whatever, they’re probably just too distracted starting at my awesome pterodactyl, amiright?

Marci & David 5-26-13

Oh look! A mushball photo!

Ignore that it was over a week ago because I have photos

After all, you don’t model for a living, you don’t intend to fit into a teeny bikini any time soon, and you don’t worry about being able to wear your favorite denims. the one study in this category has a PEDro score of 8. Chronic back pain is the cause of 14% of long-term disability in the UK.

I don’t know why, but man this spam comment just tickled me. Can not stop the giggles, although also insulting much? How do they know I don’t intend to fit into a teeny bikini whenever I damn well please? Harumph.  Well I know that Memorial Day was aaaaaages ago, but here I present my photos from our trip to Oregon, visiting David’s bestie and his adorable lady. My favorite part of the trip? Where the guys cooked us dinner. It was a nice change of pace!

Memorial Day DMemorial Day K    Memorial Day Dog Memorial Day MMemorial Day TD1Memorial Day TD2Memorial Day TKDD     Memorial Day T

Memorial Day TK