Saturday, June 27, 2009

Poem- Old Town

Okay, so this is the poem I submitted to Tin House magazine. It got rejected, but I still like it.

my town was living
a breathing giant,
of sweat, determination and greed
and the thud of miner's stakes
echoed the crash of coins
that fell into grasping hands
It was was booming
with brick-lined streets
and copper hopes
that forgot to stop and breathe.
Because now my town
is dying
The streets are barren
the bricks are broken
quiet snow fills the air
while desperation seeps around
every corner
Hoping to catch you
with your copper dreams
and hollow hopes.

It's about the town I used to live in, Calumet, MI. This isn't a knock on the town. I was showing it to one of my friends from up there and they interpreted it as making fun or criticizing Calumet. Not at all. I loved growing up in the Copper Country. I had a fantastic childhood rambling through the woods and exploring the ponds and rivers that dotted my neighborhood. But, eventually, you grow up, and as an adult, Calumet doesn't have a lot of opportunities. It relies heavily on tourism from it's former glory days during the copper mining boom. The Copper country and the Keweenaw is literally littered with ghost towns from copper mining. Calumet is still a town, it still has people and schools, libraries and stores, but it can feel desolate and isolated, cut off from opportunity.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to make a record clock

I'm not nearly old enough to have had a turntable, but, I love records. There's something very cool and retro about them. Here's a way to use records as decoration. I made two record clocks this weekend. They're cheap, fun, and can be made out of recycled materials, so you feel good about yourself as well.
Items you need for a keyboard clock

A record
(obviously. You can purchase them from Goodwill stores for about 99 cents)

Clock works
- buy a clock from Goodwill or any thrift store/garage sale, as long as you can see the clock piece in the back.

AA battery
(for the clock)

Keyboard numbers
(Again, Goodwill has computer keyboards for about $2. Use scissors or pliers to yank keys out)

Hot glue gun

gel pen

(any color but black)
mirror mounting tabs

Instructions: Dissemble the clock. This can mean anything from loosening a few screws to popping out the plastic/glass front face.
Line up the keyboard numbers around the record. 12 and 6 will go in a straight line vertical to each other, 9 and 3 in a straight horizontal line. Using the hot glue gun, glue the keys to the record. If you only have one keyboard, you won't have enough ones (1) for 12, 10, & 11. Instead, for 10 or 11, scrape off (using scissors) the letter off a separate key and write in the number using gel pen.
If the clock hands are black, you may want to paint them a different color to show up against the record. Affix two mounting tabs to the clock pieces and stick it to the back of the record, with the screw coming through the hole. Secure the clock hands to the clock, and put the battery into the back. (If the clock doesn't work, try hitting the back of the clock piece with your hand. It might just need a little jolt.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bargain hunting weekend

I had a great weekend hunting for deals. I got up early on Saturday morning and hit the garage sales with two of my friends. Everyone knows that the best deals are to be had earliest in the morning, but that's not the only reason to go at 7 am. Here in Phoenix, the weather hits 95 before noon, and schlepping around in the heat isn't exactly pleasant. We got going around 9:45 and only went for about an hour and 15 minutes. We literally had sweat pouring down our necks. You know its hot when you drink two full bottles of water and still don't have to go to the bathroom.
I did buy an awesome chair for $7 from the second garage sale we saw. I was so proud of myself- I do not bargain, for two reasons. 1) I'm horrible at it, and 2) I always feel dumb paying less. I mean, prices are so dirt cheap to begin with that it seems the height of greed and ridiculousness to say "Will you take 50 cents instead of $1 for this pristine prom dress?" However, the chair was $10 and on a whim I asked if they would take $7, and they agreed. I would've payed the ten bucks. It just barely fit in the truck of my car but it looks awesome in my room- kind of old and antiquey.

From there I went to Goodwill for their 50% off everything sale, and I bought the coolest item ever- an old-fashioned phone, the ones that you wind on the side. Too cool. It's not actually that old- quite obviously made in China nostalgic piece, but it looks amazing in my room, especially since I finally put up all of my map pictures and rearranged my bookcase.

A few photos:

That's a barometer on the top of the chair. I haven't decided where to hang it yet, so for now it's hanging out on the chair.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I feel like a real writer

Today I feel like a true writer, because I got my first rejection letter. I sent a poem in to Tin House Magazine a couple of months ago, and got a reply today. Standard, "sorry we couldn't use your work at this time. Best of luck, blah blah blah". I'm a little disappointed, but not terribly, since I didn't think I had a shot in hell anyways. I'm going to try submitting some stuff to smaller magazines, maybe some college ones. There's so few literary magazines that actually exist anymore that it's hard to publish in them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Scrapbooking layouts

I haven't done a lot of scrapbooking lately, but I am working on one strictly of Arizona & the places I've been, like Sedona, The Grand Canyon, Tombstone, places in the Valley, etc. I'm trying to incorporate more of the feel of an altered book into it, so I'm using different materials that I wouldn't ordinarily use in a scrapbook, like fake flowers and material, and tearing up paper to get different textures. It makes the book seem a bit more unique. I think scrapbooking is fabulous, and I see some of the books at shops that are just fantastic, and so much better than I can do, but at the same time, they're starting to feel all the same. It should be how the picture speaks to you, what kind of mood you want to portray, rather than how structurally pleasing to the eye the page is, with three different colors echoed throughout the book and a ribbon with a button to show your creative side.

Anyways, that's my little rant. I like to be messy with my crafts, and experiment, so I think this book will eventually veer into a bit more of a deconstructed look than it is now. It's fairly clean at this point. Also, I actually used my OWN handwriting for a quote. That's pretty amazing for me- I HATE my handwriting. It's atrociously messy and never looks good, but my printer wasn't working. It kind of works for the crumpled paper I wrote in on though.

Edited photos using Picnik

Have you ever used Picnik ( to edit photos before? It's a lot of fun, and I've been playing around with it the last couple of days using photos from my sister's wedding. I think my favorite features are the 1960's effect ( I like anything vintag-y and old) and the lomo-ish effect, which simultaneously seems to brighten and darken the photo.

A few of my (very amateur) favorites:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Craft - Picture mosaic/tile

I found the initial idea for this craft on instructables, but I modified a few of the instructions. Basically, its a photo that I took and "blew" up to a 12 x 12 image. Its nine pieces of the picture printed individually on tissue paper, then ironed to plain white tiles. the nose is slightly off balance because I didn't line the tiles up perfectly to take the picture. It's of my gorgeous mother on her wedding day.

Edit: The link to the instructables is here
I changed a few of the instructions- I ironed the paper on instead of gluing it, and I added a sheen to it with a spray adhesive. I used Gimp (free on google) and divided the picture into nine parts by making the grid at 33% and 66% for both vertical and horizontal, adjusting if the line landed at the eye.