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Painted Rock Neighborhood

In case you didn’t get the memo (or you never look at your surroundings), we are presently smack-dab in the middle of a painted rock craze. (At least in my  neighborhood we are.)

My son and I didn’t go looking for them. We just happened upon them, a delightful surprise. Actually, when we go searching on purpose we usually cannot find any.

My son found a couple. I hashtagged them and posted them on Facebook, as the rocks instructed. Then I discovered there was an actual fb group for our area. I resisted joining it. But once I made a few rocks, I was really curious if anyone had found them. So I gave in and joined the group.

Then my stress level instantly went through the ceiling. I felt pressure to find rocks. To hide rocks. To make rocks to hide. People were in the group actually complaining because they had made and hidden rocks, but no one had posted them to fb  yet.

DO THEY REALIZE HOW INSANE THEY SOUND?!

1. These are in PUBLIC PLACES. That means anyone can take them. Raccoons could take them.
2. Not everyone has a computer or smart phone.
3. Not everyone uses Facebook.
4. Not everyone knows about this activity.
5. People CAN KEEP THEM. This is an unofficial community game. No one is required to play by your arbitrary rules. The cops are not going to track down the “theft” of a painted rock.

I couldn’t fall asleep that night. This is supposed to be a fun community interaction. But instead I could only feel all the emotions of the people who were mad that they didn’t find any rocks, the ones who hid them and felt they were not being found, and the groundskeeper at a public park who mowed over some. And there are the people who are already freaking out about what to do when winter arrives and it could possibly–God-forbid–snow.

I have not left the group yet, but I probably will very soon. There are so many people doing this now. My newsfeed is filled with rocks. The chances of me actually seeing one of the three rocks I have hidden to date would be like finding a painted rock at bottom of a river. It is fun to paint them once in a while, and to find one when we are out and about already, but I don’t have extra time to dedicate to this hobby.

Or the money. Apparently if the designs are to stand up for any length of time in the harsh elements, they need to be sealed. People keep saying Mod Podge is good for that. I have never used it. My sister-in-law said she saw some at the dollar store, but with this craze it was long gone by the time I got there. It is $3 at my local Meijer store. I already have a large collection of rocks painted and ready to go. Just counting down the days until payday so I can buy some Mod Podge.

The rocks of my son & I, almost ready to be released into the world

Here is a fun fact: If you say “Modge Podge” (because that is what I thought it was called until 10 seconds ago when I Googled it) 10 times in a row really fast in a semi-robotic voice, it will deeply annoy everyone in your house. (Except for the elderly dog who is deaf.)

Go ahead, try it! You can thank me later 😉

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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INSPIRATION HITS: Love Yourself Custom Bicycle

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Inspiration struck me over the 4th of July and I just could not resist giving in to it.

I have probably had my bicycle for roughly 15 years. I love that it doesn’t have multiple gears, that it has coaster brakes, and that it can coast for a very long time. But everything else about it I pretty much have disliked from the beginning.

The colors are to die for. As in, “I have fallen & I can’t get up.”

I waged a battle to attempt to keep air in my tires for a decade. I changed the tubes. I even had to change a tire. All I could find was a dirt bike tire, but then that affected the cruisability. Finally, I put in tubes with Slime in them, and got a replacement tire that was meant for a cruiser bike. That finally remedied the problem for the time being.

For five years, I had a small child that I would chauffeur around on the back of it. I never realized how much weight he added (more each year) and how much his constant movement threw of my balance.

Until I removed the child seat this summer, that is. Yup, I got him off onto his own little ride with training wheels. My bike could be just mine again. (Kind of like after you birth them and your body gets to be only yours again, except not QUITE that drastic.)

In the process of removing the heinous decals.

It kept bothering me how much I had always detested the colors on my bicycle. Beige and burgundy? Come on, old lady colors. And I may be on my way, but I am no old lady yet. And the fact that it had sticker on it that said “Thruster”? Oh, please.

I remembered that my husband had said he had painted his bicycle when he was a kid. The idea wouldn’t leave my mind. I knew I would have to do it on a day when he was home to help disassemble it for me for easy painting. So, the 4th it was.

First I had to remove the remaining parts of the child seat, the remainder of a broken water bottle holder, and the dog walking apparatus.

How many people have a bike that matches their hair? C’mon, you gotta admit that is some cool shit.

My husband asked me how I settled on the colors of pink and black.

Um, my cell phone case, my hair colors, my key lanyard, the nail polish bottles sitting on top of the television, my shoes, my Utopia dress. How could he miss that these two colors have been taking over my life lately?

After I got the paint on, I decided it really did need a saying on it, but most definitely not “Thruster”. So, I went with my new life motto and cause: Love Yourself.

I used a Sharpie marker to color the white stitching and logo on the seat to pink.

It serves as a reminder to myself, and maybe someone will ask me about it and I can explain it to them. (If you want to read more about it, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/love-yourself/) Mostly I am worried teenagers will make fun of it. Because I have never gotten over the good ol’ days of getting bullied by my peers. (A rant for another day.)

New black handlebar grips are on order from eBay as we speak.

I did learn a few things from this crafting experience:

1. If your fenders don’t rub on your tires, you probably shouldn’t mess with them because that kind of harmony takes a long time to establish.

2. If you are going to spray paint, do at least two coats. This never, ever occurred to me until my husband had the bike pieced back together again. It would have given it a little more durability against scratches.

3. Consider a clear coat to protect your creation. I love the matte/satin finish of my paints. But the original paint job had a durable clear coat that was very good at protecting the original ugly paint from scratches. (FYI–I did sand that a bit with a fine grit sandpaper, followed by a wash before I proceeded with my repaint job.) I spent a whole day creating a masterpiece, and now I constantly worry that one tip over will scratch off all that I have done.

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

Cracking Nuts

I asked for two things for Christmas this year. And I was so happy to get them both.

Works of Ahhh... Nutcracker Prince kit

Works of Ahhh… Nutcracker Prince kit

One item was a Decorate-Your-Own-Nutcracker kit. A number of years ago, for some strange reason, I became very fond of nutcrackers as Christmas decorations. At one point, I even had a six foot tall nutcracker, but I had to kick him out of the house. He was always breaking everything.

You are such a pig!  Leaving nut shells all over the floor...

You are such a pig! Leaving nut shells all over the floor…

I debated how to personalize my little hunk of wood. I am sharing the results with you here, honestly, because it seemed like a really easy blog post.

I present to you, Nutcracker Kid Rock.

I'm a pimp, you can check my stats.

I’m a pimp, you can check my stats.

Also, I wanted to give props to “Works of Ahhh…”, the makers of the kit. The nutcracker is a nice size for decorating, the paints cover in one coat, and the paint brushes are a nice enough quality to save for use on future artistic creations. The stickers included were useful, with details such as eyes and a mustache. The worst part of the project was the patience required to wait for paint or glue to dry before proceeding on to the next step.

It stinks that now that I have him all done and he looks so cool, I have to pack him away for next year. I will forget where I packed him among my dozen plastic storage boxes of Christmas decorations. I probably won’t lay eyes on him again for three years.

Now I am thinking it might have been fun to make a Hello Kitty nutcracker. Amazingly, that may be the one item that I have not seen her feline face plastered on.  Sanrio, get on that.

What was the other thing I wanted for Christmas, you ask? Here it is…

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

What I Learned This Week – 5/18/14

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This week I learned that I am pretty desperate to get my son potty-trained.

I knew it would be a difficult process. It is a big part of why I didn’t want to have any kids. My mother is still shaming me to this day that it took me so long to be trained. (I think that should be on her, not me. But I digress…)

About 2 years ago, we bought my son a potty. We have casually tried to train him on and off since then. I will admit it. We are the reason he isn’t trained yet.

Here was the little potty when it was new.  I have no idea what ever happened to that blue lid.

Here was the little potty when it was new. I have no idea what ever happened to that blue lid.

In the last two weeks, we bared down, and have seen some success.

Then, well, we left for a few hours on Saturday morning. When we came back, a dog (Dave? Parker? Who knows.) had eaten the foam seat and the decorative vinyl that covers it off of the potty seat. The splash guard was also badly chewed. My husband instantly deemed the potty no longer usable. I wasn’t even sure that all the pieces we needed where still there. But upon closer inspection, they were.

The little potty after the dog(s) got ahold of it.

The little potty after the dog(s) got ahold of it.

[I think it must have been Parker who chewed up the potty. Dave might chew it up, but only Parker would eat the pieces. He has some unhappy poopy-time ahead.]

I cleaned it up and reassembled it. But by this time, my son was also convinced it was unusable. I admit, it was scary looking right after the dogs were finished with it. But I fixed it! Just use it, kid!

So, last night after my son went to bed, I decided to turn it into a Thomas & Friends potty. My kid is crazy-nuts for Thomas and all things train. Let’s hope this gets us on the right “track” again with potty-training. Lol.

The new & improved "Thomas" potty!

The new & improved “Thomas” potty!

James graphic

James graphic

Percy graphic

Percy graphic

I used acrylic craft paint, if anyone is interested. I hope that it will withstand gentle sponge cleaning. I was originally going to paint the seat, but decided that would receive too much wear. I think it came out pretty good, since I free-handed it with no plan. And the #1 stands for Thomas, and a reminder of what goes in the potty!

I also learned that I need a yellow paint pen, and a working red paint pen. That is why my detail colors do not match up exactly to for the Thomas characters. My son will notice, but hopefully he will still use the potty anyway!

My son said: Mommy! There are trains on my potty!
Me: That is so cool. Do you think you will use it today?
My son: Ummmmmmm….maybe a bit.
Me: A bit later?
My son: Ya…

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