Thursday, May 29, 2014

DIY Boa Balls

While working on my latest tulle boa, I decided to add sparkly balls to the boa for glamour, texture, and weight. I searched the internet for tutorials on how to make the sparkly balls you see on fancy boas and came up with nothing. It was that empty search that prompted this blog.

  • Two or more styrofoam balls (I used one 6"diameter ball per end. You might decide to use more than one ball on each end, perhaps varying the size of your balls.)
  • Retired pantyhose
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush for the Mod Podge
  • Acrylic paint or gold Mod Podge (whatever best suits your stone selection as a background)
  • Rhinestones
  • Rhinestone glue (I used E-6000 for this project)
  • Drill or knitting needle
  • Roll of duct tape, packing tape, etc.
I was concerned about the glue eating through the styrofoam or creating a horribly toxic gas when combined. (I don't know that it would happen, but I'd rather be safe and living than daring and dead.) I slipped each ball into a leg of pantyhose and tied a knot in the hose at one end. (Don't worry -- I cut the knot off later.)

I rested each ball on a roll of duct tape or packing tape. It's the perfect stand to keep it from rolling away. I applied a coat of matte Mod Podge over the center of each ball, careful not to apply it too close to the tape stand. After that dried, I rotated the balls so I the former top and bottom were coated. I didn't coat the pantyhose knot but did coat the puckered area below the knot. Once that dried I cut off the knots and coated the puckered area with Mod Podge. Base coat complete!

I didn't want the white of the styrofoam to show between the rhinestones so I applied a color coat. My rhinestones were light peach, and a gold Mod Podge color coat worked perfectly to tone down the white. I used the same technique to color coat the balls that I did with the base coat: coat the ball but not too close to the tape stand, let it dry, rotate the ball, repeat. If I was working with darker rhinestones, I would have used acrylic paint as a color coat, sealing in the color with more clear Mod Podge. Color coat complete!

I used the holes from the ball mold to find the top and bottom center. I used a knitting needle to gently work a hole from the top of the ball to the bottom so I could thread my boa through the ball. My husband cleaned up the hole with a drill later. I had to make sure I could successfully feed the cord base of my boa through the hole with no problem. Boa holes complete!

Rhinestone time!  I bought 3000 ss12 and 2000 ss28 acrylic stones from Amazon for about $25. This was enough to cover one ball. I had to get a second shipment of 2000 ss28 and 1000 ss12 for $20 to finish the project. (I still have some leftover.) I used the center line left from the mold as my guide for rhinestoning in stripes. I worked my way up, then flipped the ball and worked my way up again. Those rolls of tape are handy for the rhinestoning.

Once the balls were rhinestoned, I took a clean, dry dish scrubbie to the stones. This helped work free any stray glue strands that were obscuring the stones.

I threaded the cotton cord for the boa through the ball holes. (It's easiest to slide a crochet hook or long wire through the ball, tape the cord to the end of the wire or hook, then gently pull the wire or hook back through the ball.) Tie a knot below each ball, and proceed with finishing your boa.

To finish off the end of the boa, I tied some tassels to the end and covered the knot with tulle.

It turned out wonderfully and the balls looked amazing under stage lights.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Do You Swing?"

The simple answer is NO.

I shouldn't have to justify my life choices, but I'm going to take a moment to share what it's like to be me and be asked that question.

I was a child genius, and I'm still pretty smart. By following me on social media, I'm sure you've gleaned that I'm always up to something. Actually, it's more like I'm up to fifty somethings. My brain rarely shuts off because I'm pondering, problem solving, postulating. My mother learned how to rein me in at a young age by providing me with charts and lists. This gave me focus. This kept our entire house from becoming land of the creative crazy. I still live off charts and lists so I can stay focused and complete tasks, giving me creative discipline.

I get overwhelmed easily. I don't always understand things that aren't black and white. I scored high on science, math, and logic on my standardized tests, and noticeably lower on reading comprehension in school. I need some structure to stay focused. I need stability in some aspects of life so I can handle the randomness of creativity and problem solving. I like stability.

I study menus before I go out to eat. Part of it is because food is my porn. (I like to imagine how things would taste. I like food.) Another part of it is that I have a lot of food allergies and dislikes. I need to know what I can actually eat off the menus so I don't inconvenience everyone with questions that hold up the order. Once I find something I can eat, I usually get the same exact thing every time I go to the restaurant. I know what's in it. I know I can eat it without getting hives or diarrhea or blisters on the back of my neck. I know I like it. It becomes something stable. I like stability.

I turn people down when they suggest I eat fish. "C'mon, it's really good for you. You'll like it." They seem to think they can change my opinion, or if I try their fish then I'll see that I've been wrong my entire life. They don't realize I have eaten fish in the past. I've caught, cleaned, and cooked my own fish. I'm far more familiar with fish than folks may realize. They may think this is my first time to be offered fish. "No, thank you" doesn't seem to work. "Because I'm not interested" doesn't always kill the topic. I turn down people who suggest I eat mushrooms. "Why don't you eat mushrooms? "Because I'm allergic." "What happens when you eat them?" It's not polite to say I get the raging shits and feel miserable for the rest of the day. I like stability. I like enjoying my food and feeling good after consuming it. I like what I like.

I've been with Andrew for more than half of my life. I like stability. He's my steak cooked medium without mushrooms, no judgments for wanting extra greens, no shaming for saving room for dessert. I don't have to explain or justify why I like this but I don't like that, why I do this but I don't do that. I don't have to jump through hoops to impress him, to do anything that would make me feel unsafe or uncomfortable, to try to apply my poor reading comprehension skills to sort out what something means because it isn't incredibly simple. I like my steak. I don't share my steak.

He doesn't share either. He's like the male version of me in many ways, only he got a better reading comprehension score and wasn't good with the math. He saves complication for writing plots and characters, not for real life. Stability. Simplicity.

We don't swing. Too many complications, too confusing, too much unwanted problem solving. Neither one of us wants to work that hard. We'll just be over here enjoying our steaks together.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Doodlebug Repairs

My Doodlebug has been sick lately. You can read more here, and you can buy a Doodle pillow to help fund her recovery or just donate if you want. :)