DIY Wall Art

Gadora has been doing some creative work for Rent-a-Center. And it’s been pretty dang fun. Over the summer I was asked to produce a DIY art story complete with pics, the how-to’s and a finished project. I was on the road with nary an art supply in sight. After some thought I pulled into a few small-town thrift stores and grabbed some albums and magazines, and waited until DC to procure my Mod Podge. The result? An inexpensive DIY art project made from decoupaging album covers.

See the full story here


Always be a unicorn…

Crafternoons at The Gardens are in full swing. Gadora has been itching to play, and a recent score at Goodwill yielded the perfect mini project. My Hustlers have been toying with unicorns. Originally designed as a team who paid tribute to the female sports stars of the seventies (think Farrah Fawcett in her heyday), we’ve been working on overhauling our uniforms for 2013. It is a new year, and we are ready! We often giggle about the ridiculousness of the single-horned mythical creature. After all, a few of the Hustlers were reared in the seventies, and all recall fantasizing we’d one day have a unicorn of our very own.

Well, now I do.

Unicorn - before.
Unicorn – before.

Gadora was supposed to bring a used gift to the Hustler holiday party. We’d just named 5 women to the team, and Scrape was poised to wow them with my White Unicorn gift. But… I like the finished product so much I’ve decided to keep it through the holidays. She was hornless when I spotted her. A sad little unicorn on a dirty shelf sat near three wicker baskets, a gnarly spatula and a terrible mason jar sand sculpture even a parent couldn’t love. A marble for a horn, I contemplated if the $2.99 was way too much.

Unicorn ~ close up.

Gadora had visions of grandeur. The marble would have to go. At first I thought I’d repurpose a tiny cake decorating frosting tip, but the thrift store didn’t have that in store. Never mind. I used my hair dryer and pumped some heat on the marble, tapping it lightly with my hairbrush as it heated. A minute later it freed… and my unicorn was ready for the next treatment.

Unicorn ~ with painters tape.
Unicorn ~ with painters tape.

Painters tape is a unicorn-makers best friend. Gadora painstakingly placed teeny pieces around all the bits I didn’t want sprayed.

The bits...
The bits…

Unicorn covered, I took my project outside and sprayed her down.

Unicorn ~ sprayed.
Unicorn ~ sprayed.

All the pastel bits covered, I wasn’t fully satisfied. So I broke out the glitter paint.


And the baby blue nail polish… only thing left was to appoint a horn. I sat with her for a minute. Then remembered I had a smallish box of holiday ornaments. I dug out an icicle and the tacky super goopy glue. And voila!

Unicorn ~ with horn.

Another shot.

Unicorn ~ revisited.
Unicorn ~ revisited.

Gadora was so proud of her transformation, I walked her right outside to the neighbor. We giggled on our stoop at the ridiculousness of it all. She confided, “funny you brought her over. I have something I want you to hang.” Who me? I followed her upstairs, and there it was…

Always be a unicorn.
Always be a unicorn.

I thank the Universe for the opportunity to revive a crappy tschotske and for a lovely afternoon.


2012 NoLa Rollerbulls. It’s happening!

Derby is one of the many joys of my life. It’s an inexplicable, and dangerous, love I discovered late in life. I give and give, not as Gadora Wilder but as my other alter Scrape Myrtle, each week in hours of practice that exponentially give back—on and off of the track. It has afforded me a circle of women who make me laugh, constantly challenge and support me… and at 41 has given me an ass I’m finally quite proud of. My derby loves have trekked to New Orleans for years—without me—to partake in a wacky weekend whereby they skate the streets of The Big Easy as red “bulls” whacking willing runners along the 1+ mile route.

This year I. Am. In. There’s been countless chats for where we’ll stay. What we’ll eat. What we’ll wear. The organizers encourage us to have a blast and whack the runners with “the love for a brother we hate at the moment.” We are not to maim them, just toss them around a bit. We are promised the 15,000 of them will LOVE it. Always at the ready for a crafternoon, the gals and I gathered at my place to pimp our wiffle bats, helmets and horns. We hadn’t planned for our logo but wanted to represent Texas. So Scrape put on her Gadora hat and traced and cut a Rollergirl logo into a Shrinky Dink sheet. We used the reverse as our template.

Shrinky Dink Rollergirl template.

As a Texas Rollergirl hometeam representative, I now incorporate purple into anything I can. So, my shiny new helmet got a spray of Hustler purple.

Hustler purple Rollergirl

Huddled around my courtyard’s table, affectionately referred to as The Goose, we derby gals each sprayed our helmets and bats and gear. Here’s mine, quietly drying underneath the reflection of my canopy of trees. Pretty, me thinks.

Hustler helmet with tree reflection

MariEasy Livin’ (we’ve dubbed MariEZ… or maybe she did herself), Hydra (a Derby hall-of-famer of sorts) and I each took turns spraying all 8 participating bulls’ gear. In the Texas summer, drying time was a breeze. We carefully peeled and re-stuck the sticky tape on the underbelly of the Shrinky Dink template, then sprayed.

Drying time: wiffle bats and helmets.

I got a little crafty with my bat graphic. Yes, YOU, I fully intend to smack you with the wrath of my bat. I might even leave a lil mark. Then I’ll skate right past you to the next eager fool. MariEZ recommends we reinforce our bats at their base with duct tape… so as to prolong their life. What kind of hurt did SHE administer last year?

“You’ve been SMACKED by Scrape Myrtle!”

The horns. Oh my fellow derby dears—there will be some 400 of us skating—have created some magnificent specimens. Our gaggle of gals are going for practicality. Nothing will get between us and our ass-kicking. We procured some devil horns and re-appropriated them as bull horns, but not without a bit of bedazzling. They’re kind of perfect in that they’re easy to slip over our helmets, and will allow the maneuverability any self-respecting derby enthusiast craves.

Our bedazzled horn bouquet.

• • •

¡Bienvenidos a! San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (SFNO) is an annual festival in New Orleans featuring an Encierro (bull run), which replicates and pays homage to the world famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, or “The Running of the Bulls”, only our bulls are none other than members of the Big Easy Rollergirls and select participants from other rollerderby leagues across the country! I. Cannot. Wait.

Simply put.

We are the world… chalk is my prerogative.

Mom knows my love of globes. My obsession’s exact beginning is a little hazy, but Gadora suspects it started around the time I scored that insanely entertaining Fisher Price illuminated globe in Houston years ago. Now, my love for this earth goes beyond bumps on a globe or lines on a map. On a recent trip to Paris, she sent me a snap of Poops at the Centre Pompidou at the Modern Museum of Art. The exhibition, which I’m not able to find anything else on, was a series of globes on the wall. “The brown blobs on the globes signify the things we do to harm the planet and the pics on the shelves depict all the bad things happening in the world, such as war, famine, etc….” I would have found it mesmerizing too.

Perplexed Poops at the Pompidou.

On a recent trip, I reclined my seat back and grabbed the flight mag from the seat pocket in front of me. I scanned the blah, blah new-steak-restaurant-ads for some place I’d never visit, flipped past the wealthy-people match-making ads, and then spied this… I quietly tore the sheet out of the mag, and folded it into my bag. Gadora would be making this. At some point. Soon.

The Inspiration.

Back in Austin, and not thirty minutes after telling a friend I “NEED” a globe, I scored a National Geographic—1979 model—at the local Goodwill. $4.99. Sweet deal. It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t totally smooth, but it would do. I loved the base. And because it was slightly damaged, I thought it the perfect guinea pig for my project. Turns out my love of globes is shared almost equally with my desire to paint everything I can with chalkboard paint.

We are the world.

This would turn out to be a really quick project.

The stuff.

Score globe. Check. Procure chalkboard paint. Done (Valspar from Lowes). Use a new brush, taking care to remove any loose bristles. Done. And done. Prepare work space and get to work.

Continue reading “We are the world… chalk is my prerogative.”

1/2 Day Project: happy rainbow basket!

My friend Craig asked if I’d like to take a basket weaving class. Underwater?, I quipped. I’m so funny. Sure! It was early (for a Saturday) and way down South, at the home of notable basket weaver and teacher Lisa Adkins. Our nominal fee would include all the supplies, instruction and lunch we could handle (she even made accommodations for my vegetarian palette). We would arrive in plenty of time to pick our seats. She’d previously exchanged some snaps with Craig, and we both chose a basket to suit our fancy. His would be a modified “picture” basket with a round spoke base, and mine? A wooden base Rainbow basket, which I also heard Lisa refer to as the “Happy Basket.” Gadora liked the organic nature of its shape. Unstructured structure. Let’s. Get. This. Started!

Colorful reeds (the vertical bits)

Lisa’s passion for basket weaving began in 2000. She has taught at conferences in North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. She has a garage full of reeds and canes she’d dyed herself and a plenitude of supplies: wooden bases, handles, scissors, buckets of water, etc. Our supplies were carefully arranged on a table with enough space to fit another 3 weavers (who were also fairly new to the craft).

Each station had their own supply kit.

Lisa came by to get me started: I’d start with my base. Each reed had a flat side (to face the inside of the basket) and a rounded side. She’d marked my base with 4 pencil marks, equally spaced, and I’d snug each reed into the base, about 1/16″ apart. There were 49 of them in all (an odd number so my pattern would emerge once I started filling in with the cane).

Let the basket begin…

This process probably took about 30 minutes. This part was mindless, really, so I used the time to get to know my neighbors. All were returning students and all seemed happy campers with their baskets. Harley and Sassy, the home’s ardent 4-legged protectors, came by to sniff my biz. I was cool, they concluded, and I got back to squeezing my reeds into the small slit cut into the base.

Working from bottoms-up

Once all the reeds were set and spacing was just right, Gadora pulled each one out, dipped its tip in glue, and secured it back into the same place—taking care to wipe away any excess glue. Because the reeds were stiff, they tended to bend downwards (towards the side that had been shaved flat), so I used my water bottle to flatten it out. This pic is of outside of basket.

Glue goo and rainbow reeds…

Now this is where some skill comes in… Continue reading “1/2 Day Project: happy rainbow basket!”