Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do All The Packing!!!

   It's true! We're moving! Again... The house we've been living our lives in this past year and a half in has sold, and so us renters must find another place to rent. We just might have done that depending on what we hear back over these next few days. But packing waits for no one. Because new residence affirmed or not we have to be out of here soon, soon, soon! And so I spend days picking up the things we own in my hands, feeling their weight and their awkward shape as I attempt to judge their true value, whether or not they deserve the required box space, set them down to decide later, after I've accomplished some more straightforward packing, only to repeat the process with the next item. It's cathartic and heartbreaking at the same time. Heartbreaking because it's time to let go and I don't feel ready but I don't think I can bear the added weight either. Or because I'm ashamed for having allowed it through my door, my filters in the first place and that I've allowed it to weigh me... us, down all this time. Allowed myself to become so burdened by and tethered to things. Plastic and metal and glass... things that break and warp and gather cobwebs in their hidden corners where they stay until some big up-heaving life change. Some things I want to keep but can't. They refuse to come with me and I am saddened by their refusal to fit logically into our new space. Hurt by their lack of desire to evolve into something that can stay with me in this codependent existence we at one point or another entered into. Those silly self-righteous things. With their lack of awareness. They mock me. And yet it makes me care for them all the more.

   Then I remember that it's all just stuff. All of it. Even the best of it. That what really matters is the people I share my home with... and I feel silly for getting so stressed over the minutia of it all. I realize that I have far more than I deserve and even if half of this mysteriously disappeared or was otherwise ruined, I would still have more than I need. That I am incredibly blessed.

   And after all of that I realize that I've been sitting on the floor for 40 minutes trying to untie a really stubborn knot a pair of nylons, that I've worn once, made of themselves (a weird long story as to how that is even possible) and OH NO! I forgot that I have to pack for our trip this weekend too, and I haven't done laundry in well over a week!

Oh the joys of moving...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sing Me Something That I Know...

   As far back as I can remember I have been plagued by this feeling that I just don't quite fit in with my peers. In some ways this has been a great blessing and in others it has felt like a curse. It has fueled some really poor decision making, especially during my teen years. But who can't say they've experienced that to some extent? We all feel like the odd man out at least every once in a while. The problem is how we respond to that feeling when it becomes a looming overtone in our lives. For me I went through various stages of trying to fit in and then trying to rebel in my pre-adulthood years. Looking back what is most funny to me is how much more I "fit in" when I was trying my hardest not to. The way in which all of us high school rebels rebelled in such similar fashion that we wound up just being another group of separate sameness. We all bought our "uncool" clothes at the same stores, listened to the same too-heavy-for-mainstream bands (that were for the most part pretty widely accepted among the mainstream) and smoked the same cigarettes on the same corner every morning before school.

   Don't get me wrong, I actually liked the aesthetic (still do... sorry) and some of the music. But in trying to be different and proud I wound up eschewing the things which actually made me different. I narrowed my focus and my tastes to only those things that were cool within the uncool crowd. If anyone hinted that they knew of my secret love of mellow music with tight harmonies, or my preference of tense thriller movies over the gruesome shock factor movies everyone seemed to be boasting, I would swear up and down that it wasn't true. I was scared that my interest in or love of some things would negate the validity of my status in others. That I would get the dreadful label of "poser" if I didn't preemptively inform everyone that "No, really, I was wearing my Dad's ties before Avril did it in that cheesy video" (that I secretly loved). And even though it was true I stopped wearing them when she started because she was making a mockery of our subculture with her badly written lyrics and bubblegum infused style. I didn't want to be associated with it... at least not publicly.

   I also wouldn't admit to knowing all the lyrics to my parents Simon & Garfunkel albums, or the songs on the country radio station we always had playing in the family home and cars... If you asked whether I enjoyed playing board games or putting together puzzles with my parents I would definitively tell you no. Mission trips and family vacations? I did those because I had to! Totally sucked. I basically didn't like anything... liking things, being enthusiastic wasn't cool, unless of course it was stuff that creeped "normal" people out. In fact I went so far as to pretend I liked spiders for something like two years... in which I actually picked them up with my bare hands to carry them outside and save them from being squished, all while my stomach was tying itself in knots and I was desperately attempting to not hurl the thing at the nearest hard surface and run the other way! All to prove what a bad ass I was. Seriously. What could be more lame?

   Things started to change as I began to heal from some of the bad decisions alluded to earlier... in the midst of the healing process, while I was just vulnerable enough to be open to it, I was introduced to a band I would likely never have listened to during my rebel stage. To this day I am not one to loudly endorse a particular musical group, mostly out of fear that they won't stand the test of time and I will look back on my enthusiastic writings about them and feel the same way I do when I crack open one of my high school diaries. Embarrassed. Because I really don't know that much about music, except for the way it makes me feel and the impact it has on my life as a result.... but Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World was a saving grace to me at that time in my life. I think most people found themselves uplifted and comforted by the single The Middle. I was no exception. And I still feel that way when it comes on, but I hadn't yet heard that song (if I remember correctly) when the album made it's way into my hands and then made it's home in my car stereo, where it for the most part stayed on repeat for years. It was energetic and mellow, challenging and comforting. Something about it felt like home. I could listen for hours, days, weeks on end without growing tired. I would change the CD only because I felt like at some point I should, only to return to it shortly thereafter. It was cathartic. I fell for it. And for once I wasn't afraid of what the rest of the rebels might say. They were already talking about me in much worse ways so what did I have to loose? I wore Jimmy Eat World Tshirts to school and sang along at the top of my lungs with the windows rolled down regardless of who I might pull up next to at the next stop light. I cried through Hear You Me more times than I can count. And I resolved over and over to not spend my life wondering, standing in the back just looking around...

   A Praise Chorus is what I think of immediately when I think of that album, that band, but most importantly that time in my life. A time when I freed myself up to like what I like because I liked it, and that's it. A time when I decided to re-inhabit my own body and do everything I could to be the person that I wanted to be. It's no surprise it felt like home... the chorus of it with things, snippets, of songs I didn't even know that I knew. A reminder of a childhood spent listening to and learning things about other people's lifetimes... not just mine. Not just my high school bubble of black clothing ripped apart and put back together with safety pins while Korn songs played in the background as I snuck another cigarette hanging out my parents bathroom window. It subtly reminded me that I was more than the stage I was in. I was a whole person, not just an image of one.

   And so all that being said, I did something I've always been a little leery of... something that felt like giving too much importance to a fleeting thing. A lyric. I tattooed a lyric on my skin.... well technically I didn't do it, a very talented artist did ... but still. I got a lyric tattooed on me in permanent ink. But if there was ever any lyric it was this one... because it is the opposite of fleeting. It has already lasted the test of time. And while it reminds me of the feeling a particular album gives me first and foremost, it also reminds me that there is more to me than one genre. I can and do love Tommy James and the Shondells, Joan Jett and Jimmy Eat World. And that is more than ok in my book.

Over and over... and over... and...

Friday, January 11, 2013

DIY Gothic Rhinstone Phone Case

   I've been seeing a lot of really awesome phone cases lately from flat Iphone cases adorned with beautiful artwork or cleverly designed textual messages to the super built up Kawaii cases covered in bright neon colors or cool pastels with the cutest baubles and cabochons one could possibly find. There are even some awesome edgy cases with crosses made out of studs... but despite my seemingly endless searching I could not find what I was looking for. A phone case that was gothic verging on gaudy. The heavily accessorized Kawaii feel with a darker color palette and embellishments a tad more "serious" and sophisticated than Hello Kitty and skulls with bows. I'm picky what can I say.

   So I decided to experiment with the basic rubber case I had, and now that I finally have a finished product worth sharing I thought I would tell my readers what did and did not work for me. I already owned a lot of the add-ons as I am the opposite of gentle when it comes to jewelry, so much of what you see it broken off parts and pieces from my own collection over the years (the mini dice, black clover and some miscellaneous beads including the awesome netted one). The cross and flowers I got at my local JoAnn fabrics and the rhinestones were purchased on Amazon along with the skull bead and some of the other supplies I will list below.

What You'll Need:

  1. Rubber phone case to fit your phone
  2. Assorted decorations of your choice (make sure rhinestones are basic flat-back without any adhesive already on them I recommend an assortment of sizes of 5mm, 3mm and a few even smaller like the ones found in nail decorating kits)
  3. E-6000 adhesive 
  4. Wax rhinestone picker pencil (do not skip this item, it will safeguard your sanity, I promise)
  5. Toothpicks
  6. work surface to protect whatever table you're working on (I cut a large piece of cardboard and used a Starbucks bottle cap for glue)

 Simple But Time Consuming Steps:

  1. Clean case
  2. Decide in advance roughly where you want your larger baubles
  3. Apply the biggest pieces first (Based on size you may prefer some decorations to be added on top of the layer of rhinestones to add height and some directly on the phone, now is the time to apply all that will go directly on to the phone case) by applying small dabs of glue to the contact points between the decoration and the case, then affix in desired location. 
  4. Lay out rhinestones face up (flat-back down on work surface just like it would be on the finished product).
  5. From there it is best to begin with all openings for camera, ventilation and sound (that are on the flat back surface of the phone, leave edges/sides for the end) to ensure that you don't wind up with an awkward empty space where a rhinestone won't fit.
  6. Apply a thin layer of glue in very small sections, it gets hard/non tacky quickly (not dry)
  7. Pick up Rhinestones by touching the tip of your wax pencil to the center/top of the "stone" and lifting very carefully, hovering over the glue until you have the right placement and quickly touching down. The pencil has enough grab to hold small rhinestones until something stronger like the glue makes contact, and then it lets go easily (if you're careful not to touch the pencil tip to the glue that is)
  8. firm the rhinestone or slightly adjustment placement with toothpick. 
  9. Repeat all over until covered (again leaving sides until back is finished)
  10. Add any smaller decorations you had set aside earlier on top of the layer of rhinestones in the same method as used for the initial larger decorations.
  11. Apply contrasting color rhinestones to the surface of any buttons on the side if your case includes them, being careful to avoid the flexible dip between the "button" surface and the rest of the phone case (which could make the buttons very difficult, if not impossible to use properly)
  12. Fill in sides
  13. Let dry before use

Helpful Tips / Lessons I Learned:

  1.  Separate rhinestones by size/shape. I found this saved me a lot of frustration.
  2. Tacky glue doesn't work. Hot glue doesn't work. Pretty much every glue I had didn't work. E-6000 is your best bet.
  3. Clear rhinestones with foil back seem to be damaged by this glue. Not sure what to recommend in this case. Maybe a higher quality rhinestone? Opaque ones seem fine.
  4. Glue comes out fast. Hold tube tip facing up once you've got the amount you need and are ready to close it up (which you should do in between each section) and ensure that you keep removing the glue that will inevitably seep out until the flow stops before putting the lid back on or the lid could become glued shut. Using this glue takes practice but you will get in a rhythm (especially when the tube is emptied a bit) I promise. Keep trying.
  5. Apply glue directly to phone case and spread with toothpick. I started by squeezing glue into the bottle cap and transferring it to the case with a toothpick. I wasted a lot of glue and toothpicks due to it's fast hardening time. You may still need to begin this way to avoid getting too much on the phone case if it's a new tube of glue since so much comes out at once in the beginning. Practice, practice, practice. 
  6. Work in a well ventilated room. It gets fumy.
  7. Wear a mask if you feel at all light headed or headachy. Take breaks when you need to. Open the windows. Light a candle for the smell. Go for a walk outside. Don't rush the process.
  8. If you seem to be accidentally touching the glue too much wear gloves. Seriously it's some heavy duty stuff. I may be paranoid, but I prefer not to take any chances.
  9. Respect the 24 hour dry time. It may seem ready, but a day without a case isn't going to kill you, don't let all your hard work go to waste!

ENJOY!! (and maybe even share some photos of your finished case in the comments when you're done!)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Previously Discarded Poem

(Sort of) - Originally written 25 July 2012

   What does my music sound like? What is the tune that seeps from my every orifice regardless of the words I am intentionally forming with my teeth and lips and tongue. What do people know of my soul from the melody filling the air, just below audible range, but subconsciously recognized… what are the words and notes, tones and rhythms of my song. Is is harmonious or chaotic discord? Is it truly music or merely noise? If I could detect it myself would I choose to play it on repeat through the computer speakers for days on end? Would I dance, or laugh or cry? Or maybe just plug my ears and wait for it to end. Click “Next”. Is my song catchy in that annoying ‘wish-I-had-never-heard-it’ sort of way, or does it tell a story with it’s sudden changes and lack of refrain… Am I a ballad, dance or mellow elevator jam? Do I go on too long or end too soon? Are there other voices singing along, intermingling themselves with my song. Harmonies? People so intertwined with my identity that their essence can be heard as a subtle subtext to the song… perhaps as a haunting bridge or a captivating guitar rift.

What do I sound like to those who aren’t really listening?

(At least not with their ears…)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Faces for the New Year | Masquerade Madness Continued

   Happy Not-so-New-Anymore Year to all of my lovely readers! The entire Taxidermy Worms household has been out of commission this week due to some sickness and some juggling to figure out a pretty major life shift (we're moving! Again!) But I didn't want that to get in the way of sharing the final product of a project that has been in the works since early October. One that some of you have been following the progress of since its inception... My transition into a real life freelance Masquerade Makeup artist! I have now officially completed my first two gigs with real-life, non-family/friend clients!! The first was early in December and while it was slower paced than the second it served as the perfect warm-up both for me and for the clientele. Some things you just have to see in person to understand the value of, and quite frankly, while I personally LOVE wild makeup and have been just waiting for the day I would get the opportunity to attend a Masquerade Ball, many people are a little gun-shy about bright colors on their eyelids let alone over a good portion of the rest of their face. Add in rhinestones and feathers and it can take a bit of peer pressure from one brave soul to get the ball rolling for the rest of their group. So when the main event (New Years Eve) rolled around we jumped on the opportunity to open up shop early... early, and in plain sight.

   It didn't take long for the two of us artisans to generate some interest simply by doing our own makeup as the guests of Grand Geneva Resort, one of the premier destinations for relaxation and recreation in the Midwest, walked in and around us on their explorations of the property. My co-artist Wendy Hall in addition to prepping for a day filled with painting masks had worked with Gretch of Mark and Gretch Productions (who coordinated the whole mask project on top of being the musical entertainment for the Ball itself) to create a whole mess of gorgeous, custom made physical masks for those who weren't interested in transforming their own face for the entire night. Between our stations in the Grand Ballroom Foyer, the physical mask sales tent and our appointments through the WellSpa we had an all-day audience, and a rather enthusiastic one if I do say so myself!

   I was lucky enough to start off the experience with two bucket list type, check-in-the-box events. One being that Wendy gave me the opportunity to use her beautiful face to create a leopard print"mask" that I had practiced but never had the chance to actually do for someone before... and, let's face it, I am just always going to be a leopard print kinda gal.

   The second one was as I was walking from the entrance of the resort to the Ballroom to find the rest of my team and out of the corner of my eye I noticed my work on display on one of the TVs they had set up in the previously mentioned foyer. I literally did a little high school movie character kick/jump-into-the-air/giggle/sequel thing, then quickly looked around to see if anybody was watching. Luckily I was alone at that moment. But I had a similar repeat reaction a few moments later when I was informed that the ad was running on screens all throughout the entire resort! I'm pretty sure several people saw my second geek out... and if not that I was definitely seen giddily taking a ridiculous number of pictures of the ad like a huge tourist.

Verdict = worth it!

   Throughout the day and evening we did some simple looks of light "lace" and rhinestones, and some really bold, stand-out masks for the extra-brave... like this beautiful couple below who attended the event as ballroom dancers performing during the breaks in the live music. What I caught of their show after breaking down my station was nothing short of inspiring!

   Everyone from employees, to event volunteers to Grand Geneva guests got decked out in their best. Between Wendy and myself we applied roughly 25 masks... maybe more. Guesstimating is not my strong suit... but suffice it to say that we had a very eventful day and a lot of fun doing it!

   I got to use a lot of my favorite products throughout the day... Urban Decay Primer Potion, Sugarpill palettes, Lime Crime lipsticks and a few other things. When the huz showed up after work I broke out my brand new palette I had been wanting forever and got for Christmas (Naked by Urban Decay) and put together a steampunk gears and cogs look on his handsome mug. Got myself dressed, and we headed in to the party to ring in the new year together. 

All in all it was a fantastic day!!

   Resolution 1 for 2013 has already begun. Make use of the talents I have, in ways I never thought I would. In spite of fear of imperfection. Get better by doing. Being in action. Creating. Saying no to what stifles my spirit and yes to things that will push me to grow. 

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