Consider the Flamingo

I love flamingos.  So, so much.  First there’s their gorgeous coloration.

  
I want coral skin.  It’s not fair.

Secondly, there’s their cat-like, spastic behavior.  So many times have I seen a flamingo just standing in the pool, casually looking around, acting cool and collected; then out of nowhere, he’ll turn to the flamingo beside him, and attack.  I’m talking honking, pecking, flapping, the works.  Just as quickly as he started, he’ll stop and slowly walk away, leaving his victim behind like, “Dude.  The fuck.”

  
Also, they sometimes do this thing where they spread their wings, start to make that obnoxious honking noise, stretch their heads toward the sky and walk slowly and ominously forward.  One will do this, then another, and another, until the whole flock is marching in this bizarre homage to Nazi Germany.

  
Unfortunately for this guy, no one was in the mood.

That is how I chose to depict my flamingo; to me it reads elegance, confidence, and a whole lot of pride and egomania.

  
  Just like me.

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Okie Dokie Artichokie

I love my apartment. I really do. When things are going bad, as they regularly tend to, I sit back and think, “well, at least I have my home.” Three years ago, I quickly had to move out of my quaint back house on account of an animal dying and flies swarming the property, and moved in–what was supposed to be temporarily–with my then-boyfriend. His one bedroom apartment was far too cramped for the both of us and a year and a half later I finally left…and moved back into my parents’ house. Nothing humbles you quite like moving back into your childhood bedroom, especially if it was quickly converted into an office and your bed has been replaced with a futon.

After being displaced for so long, I am forever grateful that I found the apartment I am in now. Not only is it my own, but it’s pretty great for North Park standards. With a garage, fireplace, and vaulted ceilings, it has a particularly homey feeling that I needed. I love to decorate and my roommate and I have slowly been adding touches here and there to warm the place up, but the biggest difficulty has been in decorating the walls. Though vaulted ceilings open up the apartment and make it feel even larger than it is, it’s incredibly difficult to fill all that extra space, especially on a retail-manager’s budget.  

After some (read: a year of) contemplation, I’ve decided to paint small canvases with my favorite things and mount them on the wall above my desk. What better way to personalize my space?

  
My first painting is titled, “Artichoke,” because it is an artichoke. While painting it, I became curious about the vegetable I love so much and decided to look it up. Here are some fun facts I learned about them:

1) artichokes are actually the flower part of the plant. If one does not devour it and allows it to bloom, it blossoms a pretty indigo. I don’t know who discovered that, but I applaud their willpower.

2) they are related to the sunflower, which makes COMPLETE SENSE because I love both artichokes and sunflowers very much. 

3) California produces nearly 100% of the country’s artichokes, which makes COMPLETE SENSE BECAUSE I LIVE IN CALIFORNIA. Clearly everything revolves around me.

That’s pretty much it. I realize that really wasn’t all that interesting after having written it, but hey, now when you’re out at a dinner party where artichokes are being served, you’ll have something to add to the conversation you were otherwise awkwardly avoiding. Check back next week for round two of My Favorite Things and Other Worthless Information courtesy of yours truly.

BOO-tiful

I was at Target the other day, and I came across some really adorable plain wooden letters.  I know some of you are thinking, “how can plain wooden letters be adorable?”  To you I say, you obviously have never seen other plain wooden letters. These wood blocks are to others on the market what Kendall Jenner is to her sisters–sleek, elegant, and not super fucked up in comparison.  Here’s a visual–at Michael’s, you can choose between this guy who is a nice font, but made of paper maiche, something that should have no place in this world outside of a middle school science fair:


Or this guy, who I don’t even need to generate an insult for, because look at it:


Even Comic Sans would be embarrassed to have this hanging in its home.  And lastly, you got this pasty mess, courtesy of Joann’s:

What the hell is going on here.
So obviously, when I found a good one, I had to invest in it.  Because it’s Halloween or, more accurately, because I’m obsessive about Halloween, I bought myself a “B” and two “O”s, picked up some orange, white, black, and gold paints from Michael’s for only $1 a pop (they may have dropped the ball on letters, but are still clutch on all other craft supplies), and headed home to decorate.

I don’t have a palette because I’m not a real artist–in fact, I literally had to google “thing artists put paint on” to find out what to call that–which is actually a really common google search–I only had to type “thing art” and it came right up–


See, I’m not lying, it’s true–so I’m not dumb–I just don’t remember stuff I learned in high school art class–or ever.

Anyway, since I’m not fancy enough to own/know of a palette, I just ripped open an empty Digiorno box I had from the night before and, voila, instant, makeshift palette.  You know, this is actually a pretty great display of my resourcefulness, recycling something most would see as useless.  That’s pretty cool of me.

Onto the letters.  I didn’t really have much of a theme in mind; all I knew was that I wanted them to be different patterns, but have the same color scheme.  After playing around, I ended up with an ombred B, one chevroned O, and one polka-dotted O.


Ugh, too cute.  Because they’re the greatest letters of all, the bottoms are just flat enough for you to be able to stand them up; I put mine on our game/book shelving unit next to a jar of candy corn.


At $4 a piece, the letters were a little pricier than some, but sometimes you need to invest in nice things.  Embrace the Halloween spirit, girl.  TREAT yo’self.

The Greatest, Most Beautiful Wreath Ever Made, Ever

It’s a hundred degrees.  And I’m not just exaggerating like that time I said I would LITERALLY KILL MYSELF if Nicholas beat Nina on Top Chef New Orleans.  No, it is actually 100 degrees in October and I will seriously BURN THIS CITY TO THE GROUND if it doesn’t cool off soon.

Because it is too hot to go to the pumpkin patch, I have decided to celebrate Fall in a way less likely to make me collapse of heat stroke.  I have decided to throw on a scary movie, and make an Autumnal wreath.

First things first, set up your fans.  Grab every last one in your home, and position them inches from your body.  Have an ice pack in your freezer?  Grab that too.  Dab it lovingly on your face; clutch it dearly to your breast.  You already feel better, now don’t you?

Okay, now turn on Netflix and peruse the selection until you find something worthy of background noise, something you’ve seen before but it’s been a few years now and you really kind of miss it.  My choice?  Scream.

Now here’s what you’ll need:

A plain wreath


Some faux foliage


Scissors

Your trusty hot glue gun

About 12 inches of twine

Step One: Remove the berries from the stem and glue them to the wreath.  Now don’t worry, the berries are attached to the main stem in little segmented stems; think of the large stem as an artery, the small stems as veins, and the little berries as capillaries.  You don’t need to cut off every berry individually and glue them to the wreath; Lord knows I don’t have the patience for that.  Just slice the veins from the artery and glue the vein to the wreath.  This allows our little capillaries flexibility around the foliage you add in the following steps.  I went and used two whole stems worth of berries because I like them so much.

the veins
All bloodied up with capillaries.

Step Two:  Now remember when I made those mason jar candleholders and told you that some of the materials would go toward a future craft?  THIS IS SAID FUTURE CRAFT.  Any leftover leaves I had from the garland got glued onto the wreath.  They’re malleable and easy to tuck under the berries, so do that when you can.  I decided to cover the full surface of the wreath, but feel like just a handful of them to add some color?  Great.  Do YOU.

Step Three:  Decapitate your flowers, and affix them to the wreath.  I used some faux mums and peonies; they added a nice bright pop of color and, yes, I know it’s a Fall wreath and one would expect pinecones for the larger, statement pieces, but we do live in San Diego–florals are appropriate year round.

Step Four:  Take your twine and tie it to the back of the wreath so you can easily hang it.  Put on your front door and induce jealousy.

What a beauty!

Alright, now for the cost:

Wreath: $4.99

Garland of leaves: $3.99

Two berry stems: $4.98

Mums: $2.49

Peonies: $0.79

The cost of the twine was negligible, probably about five cents or so, as was the glue for the glue gun.  So all in all, you made your very own Fall wreath for under $20, AND got to watch a scary movie at the same time, AND didn’t pass out under the glare of the defiant, blazing sun!  That is literally the greatest triumph in the history of mankind.  And no, that is not an exaggeration.

Leaves That Are Green Turn To Brown

Hey you guys.  It’s been a while; last time you saw me, I was scrubbing some stubborn blue polish off my fingernails.  Let’s just say I took a long summer vacation (like, the entire summer; just all of it), and am back and ready to help guide you through the struggles of life.

One of the many things I have done during my not-so-brief respite is move.  Sometime last April I was meeting up with a friend at her apartment.  I noticed a For Rent sign on the outside of her complex.  “Two bedroom, two bath upstairs unit for rent, with garage and additional parking space,” the sign read.  “$1425/month.  Contact Marty with applications.”

“Hey, Melissa,” I greeted my friend upon entering her apartment, “looks like you’ve got a spot opening up in your complex.  I should move in–we can be neighbors,” I joked.

“GINA LET’S DO IT.”

“I was kind of just joking…”

“OH MY GOD I’D SAVE SO MUCH MONEY.”

“Uhhhh, didn’t you just move in here four months ag–”

“GINA, I’M CALLING HIM NOW.”

Fifteen minutes later, I was touring the apartment that would soon become home.  Thankfully Melissa and I had lived together in the past but, after a possum died and rotted for a full month under our house, birthing an infestation of flies to rival that of The Amityville Horror, we had to quickly leave.  We packed our things, shoved them in our parents’ garages, and went on our merry ways for two years.  Because of this, moving was relatively inexpensive.

Though we already have a good amount of decor, there is still plenty of room for expansion and improvement.  Both Melissa and myself enjoy decorating, and are excited to add touches of coziness where we can; what better time to do this than Fall?

While poking around on Pinterest today, I found an adorable and seemingly easy way to add a bit of Autumn to the house.

Pretty right?
Pretty right?

Easy enough.  I decided to see if I could recreate it.

But wait, before we get into everything, can we just talk about how put together I am today?

Damn, Gina
Daaamn, Gina!

Despite having nowhere to go, no one to see, and not a single soul in the world to impress, I showered, put on makeup, and assembled a top notch outfit.  Good for me!

In my gorgeous new clothes and clean, silky hair, I went to Michael’s and picked up my supplies.

Here are my things
The things.

Here’s whatcha need:

Mason jars

Faux leaves

Twine (not pictured)

A substance with which to adhere the leaves to the jar (I’ll get to this later…)

Candles with which to illuminate your beautiful work immediately once finished

A fun podcast to get you through all the heads down work.  My new favorite is How Did This Get Made?, created by and starring Andre and Rafi from The League.  They watch terrible movies, and talk about them.  I made these while listening to the episode about LOL.  It’s a horrifying movie starring Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore and I highly, highly recommend it.

Step One: Deleaf Your Garland

I decided to buy a garland of fall leaves rather than a bag with half as many leaves that was selling at twice the price. When living in poverty, you really have to keep an eye on that budget.  The garlands were 50% off so each one came out to $4; I got three to use in this project, and another top secret one that will be unveiled in the near future.  So here’s what you do: take your scissors.  Snip off a leaf.  Be careful to not cut a hole in your palm.  Not that I did.  But, you know, it could happen to someone, even if she’s really smart and maybe just kind of wasn’t paying attention for a minute.  Repeat until all leaves have been removed.  I also decided to pull the thick plastic veins off the leaves to make them stick to the jar better.  It’s very easy and makes a big difference, I promise.

Step Two: Adhere Your Leaves to Your Jar

Initially, I tried to use Modge Podge to do this.  That’s what the Pinterest article advised, and their jars looked beautiful–why wouldn’t mine?  I painted a thin coat of the stuff on one side of the jar, as instructed.  I waited for it to get tacky, as instructed.  I placed my leaf on the jar and gently pressed down, as instructed.  I lifted my hand up a minute later and the leaf fell off, as not mentioned anywhere in the article.  I tried for 45 minutes to get the leaves to stick–I applied layers on top of the leaves, I applied layers underneath the leaves.  I tried and I tried and I tried but the leaves just refused to stick.  Terrified that I had wasted money on a worthless craft, I began to panic.  That is until I remembered my secret weapon…

I ain't fuckin' around.
I ain’t fuckin’ around.

THE HOT GLUE GUN.  I plugged that thing in, gave it two minutes to harness its heat, and glued the SHIT out of those leaves.  Sweat dripping down my face, fingers burning, strings of glue flying every which way, it was a sight to see.  Some good, raw crafting at its finest.

Step Three:  Twine It Up

Basically take your twine, measure out a length you’re happy with, and wrap it around the top of your jar.  Tie it into a nice pretty bow.  Marvel at how something so raw and coarse can look so pretty.  Wonder if that’s a metaphor for life.

Step Four: Brag About It

IMG_0696 IMG_0699

BOW DOWN BITCHES.

Because I assume some of you are also living paycheck to paycheck, here’s a little breakdown on cost:

Mason Jar: $2.99

1 Garland: $3.99

200 Feet of Twine: $6.99

I only used about 3 feet of the twine and probably less than half the garland to cover one jar…so after some maaath….each candle holder was about $6 to make.  I already had my glue gun which I got for about $2, and the glue sticks were from the dollar store, so that won’t add much to your cost if you do not already own these tools.  Cheap girls for the win!

As I hinted at previously, I have another Secret Autumn Craft Project in full swing.  “What else could she do with fall leaves?”  You may be wondering.  “Is the twine going to be featured as well?  What divine creation will she bestow upon us next?”  Check back next week to find out!