The Mess Hall

Rants and ramblings on all things edible, wearable, doable, or usable with a focus on Home and Health. Home is fun, easy on the wallet, and “gool” for the greatest game of tag ever (Life). Welcome to my home, the Mess Hall. Get in the Mess!

12 Feb

Farmland is Sparkly

Posted in Craftin' on 12.02.12 by Octopi

Hi all – thought I’d share my most recent crafts-capade.  In the past I’ve had commitment issues….as in I’ve had trouble committing to buying permanent artwork for the living room.  My solution was to buy three blank canvases and keep switching out what I’d display on them.

Iteration 1: Origami Butterflies.  I spent several weekends/evenings a couple winters ago tucked in safe from the cold with a nice bottle of whiskey, Netflix, some fine selections of fancy paper, and a YouTube video on how to make origami butterflies.  The result was about about 50 butterflies flitting across the canvasses.

Iteration 2: The poster prints.  Over the years I’ve amassed some pretty nice prints from the Flatstock poster show at Pitchfork.  Take poster. Put it up. Repeat X 2.  Done.  That was a pretty easy one and almost not worthy of being called a project.

Iteration 3: Farmland is Sparkly paillette-palooza.  Inspired by the Holiday Club exterior sign here in Chicago, I thought, let’s get a little sparkle going on.  A paillette, by the way, is a small shiny object applied in clusters.  Armed with about 3,500 little sparkly paillettes, I set out to cover those canvases with three images of farmland.

Makin it Happen

  • Pin paillettes to canvas.
  • Don’t mess up the pattern.
  • A thimble-like device is helpful so you don’t hurt your fingers trying to poke the pins through.

Here’s the start of one of images – I set an even distribution at the sides and then worked toward the middle.

And this is the final product!

And, for sense of scale…



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31 Oct

Crafting it Up MacGyver Style: Equipment

Posted in Craftin', General on 31.10.10 by Octopi

I have a tendency to dream up a project and decide that “Yeah, I don’t need official plans/directions/instructions. I can figure this out.” Typically though, one must at least have a general plan of attack, even if it’s a bit “fluid”.

I’ll have some upcoming posts with a few tips if you like to craft it up MacGyver-style. This post is a focus on equipment.

  • If it’s a dangerous piece of equipment (like an electric saw of some kind, heck even if it’s a hand saw!) make damn sure you have received instruction on how to safely operate. Don’t MacGyver this one. Just make sure you know how to use it. And protect yourself while you’re using it with appropriate safety gear (safety glasses, gloves, etc. as appropriate).
  • If it’s equipment or tools you use but not very often, you will still need to pay attention to how it works. For example, I always leave my sewing machine threaded (needle and bobbin) because it helps me remember HOW to do both (I can back-track into it by following what I see). So if it’s been a year since I’ve used it, it doesn’t take 10 hours to remember how to do mundane things.  I also keep the instruction manual right with the machine.
  • If equipment breaks and you decide it’s a great idea to start taking it apart to fix it, keep track of how you took it apart. EXACTLY. Get some small dishes to put screws, etc., in so you don’t lose them. Make note if you are turning things clockwise/counter-clockwise. Take some actual notes. I’ll even take pictures of the steps I took in taking something apart so I can flip back through them while putting it back together.

  • Keep your equipment and tools organized and in good condition.  Most of the time, when you have to send the Bat Signal out for a particular tool or piece of equipment, you need it right away.  Keeping your equipment well organized and in good working condition means they’ll always be there when you need them.
  • Sometimes it all comes down to using the correct tool. My new commuter bike is well, not quite new. Quick release apparently wasn’t invented back in the early 1970s. So I had to re-learn how to fix a flat with these new tires. Except I couldn’t figure out how to easily get the tires off with the tools I had. That and a string of bad luck with some flats got me “this close” to launching that bike off the nearest bridge. However, a bike shop angel at a nearby shop kindly and patiently showed me what to do. In the course of that I realized that I actually needed the right tool (socket wrench) to get the wheel off, not just a random old wrench. That “aha!” moment has saved me headaches and time. Helpful Instruction + Correct Equipment = Happy Girl


Be a MacGyver, not a MacGruber.

Any other equipment/tools tips and tricks, Mess Hallers?


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