Friday, October 14, 2016

Dining Room Table Makeover

How to paint a piece of furniture that sees a lot of use.

You'll need:
Steel Wool
A clear polyurethane varnish
Paint Roller

My dining room table was looking pretty sad. Over the years, several incidents with hot beverages and nail polish removers had left the top looking pretty bad. Additionally, the part I use most no longer matched the extra leaves. I usually keep it circular, but it turns into an oval with the leaves in, as you can see, the part that had seen the most use had become discolored.

 I decided to paint it because it's faster and easier than stripping and re-staining it.

First, I carefully cleaned all the surfaces and used steel wool to really get into the crevices. then I used sandpaper to lightly sand everything. I wasn't trying to be thorough, just wanted to, "scratch up" the surface to make the primer stick.

Next, I coated it all with a coat of white primer.

I decided to flip the color scheme. The top had a clear varnish and the legs were painted a pale cream color. Making the top light and the legs dark seemed like a great way to update it. I chose a cooler cream and a grayish taupe to switch to a slightly more contemporary color palette.

Once the primer had dried thoroughly, I began painting, starting with the legs.


With just one coat of paint, the color still not fully opaque:


I had let the primer dry overnight, and painted thin coats on the legs, doing both throughout a single day, with a few hours of dry time between them. There is enough design on the legs of this table that I had to layer very thin layers, lest I lose some detail in the gloopy paint. I used two different brushes to get a thin finish, a bigger one to get some paint on, and a smaller one to clean up drips and spread any paint that puddled.

Next, I started on the top. I used a roller for the top, and the first layer of paint went on with just the roller.

For the second layer, I used the roller to layer the paint on but went over it with a brush to even it out, as the roller surface doesn't lay the paint down smoothly.

I left the whole thing to dry overnight once again, then added a thin coat of clear varnish. I layered a second coat of clear on the top, leaving the legs with just a single, thin coat. I found that it was more challenging to get the varnish off my brushes, so I'd recommend using old brushes for this step if you have any.

I let that dry overnight, then pulled the leaves back out of the table. Here's the finished project:


Monday, June 13, 2016

A love letter to LGBTQ men and boys

I was raised by gay men. Nobody was out who didn't have to be when I was a teenager in Montana. So, I'd like to address my men and boys. I was just a baby proto-mo when you threw my coming out party and helped choreograph a dance routine to Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. I presumed that's just how it was done. That it was standard. That coming out was like a cotillion but with cocktails, sequins, and glitter. That we danced and sang and played and wore amazing outfits and then got harassed everywhere we went, as a result. People in restaurants would ask why you were wearing platform shoes, and suggest you buy some wrangler jeans. Once a man in a parking lot in broad daylight said, "excuse me," and waited for you to turn to face him, then slugged you in the gut. You were caught off guard, collapsing into yourself, blinking back tears, then straightening slowly with unutterable dignity. Beautiful, gilded, and fierce.

The world hates you in a way it never really hated me. The way I was hated was less noticeable, less visceral. After all, I was presumed to not even know my own mind or be capable of making choices, really. I was slightly gross and weird, but salvageable. But you, they felt you'd had a choice and made it and they hated you for it. You had the option of trying to pretend to be like them and likely hated anyway because they always knew, and just being who you were. You said fuck it and owned it. You threw confetti, played house music, you wore tight, shiny pants and glittery eyeshadow. You said fuck it, they're going to hate us anyway, we might as well enjoy it while we can. We laughed at their unflattering uniform cowboy jeans and boots and insistently nondescript shirts. Fuck them, if they can't even dress for shit. Fuck them and their droning country music. They're hateful assholes with terrible taste in pants. Fuck them, anyway. They hated you for not being interchangeable and forgettable like them. You said ok then, let's paint our nails in neon colors and show those motherfuckers how it's really fucking done.

We had solidarity around our queer selves, though mine wasn't visible like yours, nor was I singled out for the same kind of violence. We also had a solidarity around femme-ness. We know what it's like to be condescended to by everyone, even or perhaps especially by those who desire us most. To be talked down to, even as we're being looked over. Having someone buy us a drink, pay a compliment with a bit of insult just on the edge of it. Twisted little digs from even the ones who had already been inside of us. They would cut us with a sharp word, pretending they hadn't been there, too. That we'd been the only ones to show up and be vulnerable and open up our very selves. Still saying fuck it, even to that. Even the insults that hurt so much more coming from our own. Still showing up anyway, en femme. Because fuck that, nobody's disdain was going to make us betray our own selves and we'd choose better next time. We'd make sure the next one deserved and honored the way we showed up.

You've always been the men and boys who are safest for me to love. The ones most likely to treat me like a human being. The ones least likely to break into my body as though I'm a pinata containing sweet treats. I could let down my guard a little around you, and I like to believe you felt the same about me. That we existed together apart from that seeking and searching and trying to fuck, or get fucked. It was nice sometimes to just be around someone for whom that's not even part of the story.

You were closer than the men who were supposed to be my family. Once I was walking down the street with my little brother, who I had some part in raising. A random guy made a vile remark and he said, "hey! That's my sister!" and the guy apologized- not to me, but to him. I had to explain to him why that bothered me, and he still didn't get it. He'd known me his whole life but still couldn't grasp that I should be treated decently because I'm human, not because I happen to be accompanied by a man who is a blood relative. You are my chosen family. Not that I can drop all my defenses entirely with each of you. But, those of you who met me head on, met me as a fellow human being. You loved me and you encouraged me and you armed me. What did I know? I was just a kid. But so were you, and already you knew so much more about what we'd have to sacrifice just to be our most authentic selves. I love you so much, and I'm grieving for those we've lost today. I'm so sad that these young men, these mostly Latino LGBTQ members of our family are suddenly gone. I grieve for those lost, for those left wounded and those who are bereft. It's pride month, and it ought to be the one time when we put our grief aside.

The world likes to think of us as so joyous, and what they don't understand is that it's far more complex than that. We laugh because we've finished crying, for a time. We're proud because they've tried so hard to destroy us all for who we are, or for who we love, or just for being different from them. Yet despite all their efforts, we've survived. That's why we throw parties and have parades and deck ourselves out in our finest. Because we're celebrating our unlikely survival. Because we probably wouldn't have managed to fool you anyway so we might as well have some fun while painting targets on our backs. Because it doesn't matter that I wear a ring or that my wife is standing beside me, heteros don't respect that relationship, straight men will ignore her to keep hitting on me. I can't be expected to know what I want. I'm a femme woman, surely I'm just waiting around to be told what's best for me.

So, to my men, my boys- the only ones it's ever been safe for me to love. The only ones I can really trust that at least some of you know I'm fully human and not just a woman shaped dispenser of food or boobs or sex or nurturing. I owe you so much. You taught me how to stand tall and live my best self. You helped show me who I was and would become. You taught me to be brave and proud. I wish I could hold you all, right now. I'm bereft. I'm just so goddam sad. I love you all so very much. You're my darlings, my beautiful ones, my family. I wish I could wrap you up and hold you tightly. I just want to send all my love to you right now. I wish you healing, and peace.

I'm going to go finish planning my fucking pride outfit. If it kills me, I'm still celebrating. If I'm wearing a target on my back, it will trimmed in sequins, goddamit. Through mourning, through rage. Let's bury our dead, and then let's celebrate that we're still here and fight like hell for those that remain.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Quick and easy Valentine's Day Cards

Hey all,
this is just a quick, silly project. Some years it amuses me to make cards for the people I lurve and mail them in the snailmail. Not a complex project by any stretch of the imagination. I don't really do much with the holiday, but I sorta miss how in school we always got all those cute little valentines. So sometimes I make some or buy some and send em out. ;)

If you're like me, you have loads of random paper, stickers, glitter, glue etc just hanging out waiting for the next crafty inspiration to strike. This year I decided to combine highbrow 'crafty' with lowbrow 'kindergarten' ;) meaning I used fancy papers in tandem with disney princess stickers and other such silliness.

 I had prepared by using a cute heart shaped template and cutting out hearts from pretty pretty papers. I'd also cut down some heavier cardstock into card shaped sizes, although I also used some lighter colored paper. Then I got crafthappy with the stickers and such. ;) Et Voila!

 I'm actually sort of loving the mixture of high end crafty crap with ultra low. Also Disney Princesses.

This last one is for my lady love, who is herself a pretty pretty princess. ;)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

quick no sew tutu tutorial

I'm sure y'all have seen this floating around the internets, and its quite simple to do; so I won't spend too much time on it. But here is my quick and easy no sew tutu tutorial, and there will be a few pointers at the end. cheers!
You will need:

ribbon or elastic
a crap ton of tulle
(its easiest to use a 6in wide roll and cut the length to your specifications)
scissors or blade
measuring tape
that's it!

I chose to also employ a mimosa, this step is optional.

Ok, so you choose the length you want your tutu to be (usually 10-15 inches) and then double that. It depends on how tall you are and what look you're going for, the shorter length will be more of a classic sticking way out but not really covering your butt style; longer will hang differently and give you a very different look.

Once you have your strips, you attach them by looping them over the ribbon or elastic. If you pinch the end with one hand while pulling to the top with the other, it helps to keep the length even throughout the process. You can either tie or loop the ribbon or elastic over your leg or onto something like a chair back.

You basically loop the piece through and then pull it tight, keeping the knots all facing the same way and sliding them down to the end of the elastic or ribbon. With this first one I alternated a few different colors to nice effect, basically by counting them out. I was typically using about five or six strips to a section (i think) whatever it was, I just kept the pattern consistent.
here you can see a switch from pink to grey. pretties!

The final effect was quite nice!

And here are a few with me wearing this puppy, which I ended up alternating pink, grey, sparkly silver and sparkly white tulle. ;)
goes so well w my t shirt, no? ;)

Ok, so a few final notes:

Some folks suggested using elastic and sewing the ends together, others suggest one of those elastic headbands. What I found while doing this is that I actually prefer just using ribbon. Because you end up stretching the elastic so much while making that puppy, by the time its finished its all stretched out. During this one I actually snapped the elastic during an early stage, which meant I had to start over. Not cool.
Ditto with the hair elastic bit. It gets so stretched out as you go that its super stretched out by the time its done.

 For my second one, which I'll show another time; I used ribbon instead. I put the ribbon around my waist and figured on some extra length to tie it in a bow. Then I just tied a knot on each end at the right place. That way I can just tie it on, super easy and tying it with a big bow looks lovely. It makes little difference what kind of ribbon you use, although a thick grosgrain ribbon with make for a thicker waistband and will also tie into a loverly bow at the back. ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

quick update

I know I've been terribly remiss, I actually do have a few recent projects I want to document and I'm just a smidge behind getting everything together. Soon! I promise!! I've been putting together the Pride2013 outfits and can't wait to share what's going on behind the scenes. I also have one older project I want to put up because I'll soon be doing another based on that one. So give me just a minute.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

diy cat ears!!

You will need:
Fake fur
Scissors or a box cutter
Hot Glue gun
Cotton batting or other stuffing
Hair clips or headband

Start by drawing a basic template of the ear you want. It could be bigger or smaller than the one I used here, just keep in mind that the actual ear will be slightly larger than your template. Also since its going to executed in fake fur and felt, any tiny details, like an extra pointy top, might get lost in the shuffle.

Use the template to cut out the inner ear out of felt-I used pink for the inner ear, you could use another color depending on your color scheme.

Now use your inner ear as a template for the outer part, the part in fake fur should be bigger on all sides than the inner part. I didn't get too picky, just cut about a half inch wider around the whole thing. Cutting really thick fake fur can be a bit tricky. I combed over the fur part away from the cut to avoid chopping off fluff. It might've been easier with a box cutter to cut the backing without losing fluff.

Once you have two inner and two outer parts glue the inner part to the back of the fake fur, the side that's showing will be the inner ear. This mattered on mine because I used a sparkly felt.

Once you've glued the felt on, bring the edges of the fake fur over the edge of the felt and glue it down on all the sides except the bottom. You're leaving the very bottom for last. It should start looking more earlike right about now. :)

At the very top you'll pinch the excess fabric together, to get that little bit of bobcat ear tuft. You can then glue that pinched part so it doesn't show.
Once they're all glued down, add a little stuffing-I used some cotton batting, you could also just use cotton balls. You won't need a whole lot, cat ears aren't super thick but they also aren't completely flat. Add a little and spread it evenly. When you like the shape, you can fold up the last bit of fluff on the bottom and glue that to complete the ears.

The one on the right has some stuffing, the one on the left doesn't. I think you can see the difference.

I wanted to have clip-on ears, so I hot glued alligator clips to the bottoms. Unfortunately, because of the size I'd made these (4.5-5in) they just didn't sit right when clipped on. :(

 The size and weight made them hard to maintain upright. I looked less like a cat, more like a kangaroo rat.
Ah well, you live you learn. :) I ran to the nearest drugstore and found a decent sized headband; neither the thinnest nor the thickest headband, this one was probably a half inch thick. I hot glued my ears down where I wanted them and used a little extra fluff to disguise the band between em. Et voila!

They are still a smidge large for cat ears, but I like em! :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


So, I've made nothing of note lately. But my beloved baby sister, Katey, has. She's created a perfect new little tiny person. Anyone who knows me knows that my kid sister is the standard by which I judge all things. She is, as a dear friend commented, inherently good. Thus any child of my darling Kate is bound to be also a golden child, and lo and behold. Thus it came to pass.

So for those interested, here are some pics of me and Katey-mouse (I call her that because she was so very small once upon a time) and some pics of the new baby, Jackson Alexander Sargent. Jackson is my mama's maiden name, and the name I also had at birth.

Here is a pic of Katey and I at christmas a few years back.
This is me and Katey, her first christmas.

This is me and mouse when she was a teenager.

 One of her at new years a few years ago.
 The two of us at pride the summer before last. As you can see, while she used to be much smaller; she's now the taller of us.

And this is Jackson, who is clearly righteously pissed. He was overdue, he really didn't wanna come out. And who can blame him?He probably had everything arranged just so.

Jackson again, like I said; he's basically perfect.

In the fit my moms knitted for his arrival. :)

Mama and baby.
As you can see, little Jackson has his mothers mouth.