Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Blogger: Karen Larko

I have been following the work of Karen Larko from the blog "Umelecky RANDOM SALVAGE" for a while now. I love her work which ranges from jewelry to needlework to repurposing cast-off items. Recently I learned that not only is she a talented mixed media artist but that she's a really cool person (of course anyone who loves Diane Keaton is pretty cool in my book).

The blog post below is gave me the courage to admit that I am an art/craft supply hoarder and that, like Karen, I am hanging to my stuff because some day it might be something beautiful!

Wood Scraps and Modpodge

The mixed media work of Karen Larko of umelecky RANDOM SALVAGE

A couple of months ago we had some construction going on here. The man who was hanging the drywall had some scraps of wood left over and asked me if I would like to keep them for my outdoor fireplace. Being the hoarder that I am, I grabbed a few of them up for a future crafty project. Does hoarding count if you actually use the stuff you save? Just wondering because...

To read more of Karen's post, click here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Haleighanna's Hands: Traveling Light

English Landing Park River Walk in Parkville, Missouri
In less than two weeks, I will pack up my crap and my beloved dog Jack to travel west. I have lived in Kansas City almost all of my life (except for a two-year exile to Minot, North Dakota) and so my ties and memories are pretty strong. I decided to say goodbye to my old stomping grounds, anticipating that I’d be sad. I was wrong.
I decided to start in Parkville, Missouri. It’s a beautiful little town on the outskirts of Kansas City. The main street is surrounded by lovely old buildings and a dreamy, yesteryear vibe. Not far from there is a park that runs along the Missouri river.

I spent many hours walking the trail. I’d go there to think. I’d listen to the river rushing by and dream. When I was troubled, I’d go there to work things out and seek God. It is a very special place and I’d thought I’d be sad to see it go.

The bank of the Missouri River where I'd go to think and dream.

As I walked around, I felt something strange. Instead of adding the weight that sadness brings, I felt the weight being lifted off. Each place I looked at felt like a stone falling off my shoulders. I realized that as much as I love these places and all that had happened in them, they were actually holding me back.

Park University's main campus--totally yesteryear gothic

The lighter I felt, the happier and more at peace I felt. There is happiness in letting go. It seems that the past with its unmet longings, dashed expectations, and even victories can finally rest. Not carrying it around means that I am lighter for the journey ahead.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Haleighanna's Hands: From Trash to Display-Ready

 I love that it is now chic to take trash and other cast off stuff and turn it into something that can be useful in my home. There's a lot of product on retail shelves that I think is cool, but the price tag generally is not. So I shop the damaged, super discounted stuff that's a bit banged up. Here's one of my favorite techniques to make it "home" ready.

I use paint, tissue paper and rubbing alcohol to turn trash into shabby/cottage chic treasures. This technique works great because it hides a lot of problems, gives the item texture and depth and involves some of my favorite products. By the way, did I mention it also lets me play with rubbing alcohol (see post, "My Love Affair with Alcohol")?

What you will need:

Acrylic paint (can either be spray or liquid)
Mod Podge
Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle
Foam brushes
Item of your choice
Tissue paper or dress patterns
Masking tape
Satin varnish (optional)
Paper towels

Step 1: Clean your item so the paint will stick. Remove hardware or use masking tape to protect it.

Step 2: Apply a base coat of acrylic paint to your item. You can try this process without this step, but I like to do it just to remove the "noise" of the background. For example, I was worried that the black pattern on my tin canister would bleed through, so I took my trusty Krylon spray paint and got rid of it.
I tore strips because my canister is curved and I didn't want too much texture in the tissue paper.

Step 3: Glue your tissue paper/dress patterns to your item. As you glue, you will notice that there are wrinkles in the tissue paper. This is exactly what you want. I go over the wrinkles lightly the Mod Podge to tack them down a bit and I use my finger to press them down if they are too wrinkly.

Step 4: Let dry.

Step 5: Apply your liquid acrylic paint in a thin coat and let it dry a bit.

Before you start the distressing process, please make sure that you are in a well ventilated area!

If you are using a tissue with printing on it, you will want some of the pattern to show through for added texture.

Step 6: Spray the paint with the rubbing alcohol. Be generous with it and spray the alcohol until it looks really wet. Give it just a minute to "eat" the paint. I usually count to ten. Then start wiping off the paint with a paper towel. Sometimes I rub it off; sometimes I dab it off.

What I love about this is that you can fix whatever mistakes you make. If you take off more paint than you intended, just reapply the paint and distress again. Let it dry completely before you do this again. 

Step 7: Varnish. I like the feeling of depth that the varnish gives my canister.

Note that this technique is not food safe. It is just to make things pretty.

This is so easy and yields some really great and unique results. Give it a shot and let me know how your projects turn out!



Monday, July 8, 2013

Haleighanna's Hands is Moving!

My new mantra!

Yesterday I kissed my husband goodbye as he left with almost all of our worldly possessions and headed to Vancouver, Washington. Today, I gave notice at my job. On August 1, I am driving across the Western part of the country to meet my husband and begin a new life.  

As Tom Cruise said in Risky Business, "Sometimes you just have to say 'what the f*&k!" A memorable line in a pretty forgettable movie. But it is true. Sometimes you have to take a flyer on something.  

For a long time, I have felt that something was missing in my life. In comparison to most of the world, I have it all. I am wealthy women--enough money to live comfortably, a husband who is my best friend and most honest critic, a healthy family, a relationship with God and his Son, and friends. Yep, I have it good. But there is still something lacking.

About a year ago, I suffered a disappointment at work. It wasn't catastrophic, but it was significant. About six months before that, I had a disappointment at my home church (mostly of my own making). But, together, these two events pretty much rocked my internal world. It was a painful time, but I am so thankful for it now.

It showed me that I have worked most of my life in an effort to be safe. At work, I labored for status and respect, thinking those things would keep me safe. Positionally and financially, I had gotten on pretty well. But it was a struggle; a struggle that tore at my heart. I wasn't comfortable and I sure wasn't the person that I want or am called to be.  

So a change had to be made. We decided to move to the Portland area where we have wanted to live for almost a decade. But things don't always come fast. In September, my husband and I started praying, dreaming, and planning. In June, he left for Vancouver to look for work. In between, we prayed some more, I started Haleighanna's Hands, sold our house, moved in with my mother, and went back to Portland to find a place to live. Today I quit my job.  

I am going to Vancouver to work on my business, Haleighanna's Hands. I am going to Vancouver to try something different. I am going to Vancouver so that at least once in my life, I can say I took a flyer on a dream.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Haleighanna's Hands Meets Ugly Glass

A Haleighanna’s Hands First!

Courtesy of Ugly Glass Company

My handmade goodies are now being carried at a cute and eclectic store in Independence, MO, the Ugly Glass Company. Located on the Square, this shop features handmade products including soaps and lotions, leather goods, jewelry and now me!

Holly Ann Shaw

One of the co-owners, Jenny Alexander, found my shop on Etsy and asked me to show my wares in her store. I took a ride over to 109 E Lexington Ave., and found a charming store and an even more charming Jenny. I loved the look of the store and the products including handmade glass jewelry from her husband Skip Alexander, the maker of eyeball rings. (That’s right, a glass eye—unused of course—mounted on a ring). And if that wasn’t enough, my good friends Carolyn Goodfellow-Adams and Kristi Pflugh-Jurgensen (aka Hang-Ups in KC) also have their jewelry there too.

Holly Ann Shaw

My stuff courtesy of Ugly Glass Company

If you are looking for gifts, home d├ęcor or just a little something to pamper yourself with, take a run out to the Ugly Glass Company. I promise you’ll find something there to make you happy.

Click here to find Haleighanna's Hands on Facebook
Click here to find Ugly Glass on Facebook
Click here to find Hang-Ups in KC on Facebook