JoJo's So Creative

The creative girl's guide to style, crafting and (occasionally) life

Everything is Awesome!

So I’m super excited for WonderCon in a few weeks. I am slightly kinda mostly obsessed with making hats right now…

What I do is make glamorous vintage-inspired fantasy hats in the theme of my favorite comic characters or other things I go all fan-girl for.

This is the Thor hat I made for mi amiga Britney to wear to Thor: The Dark World opening weekend:
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Loki hat I made for myself to wear on my Dark World date with Brit (modeled by our friend Gloria):
20140329-184050.jpg

I also made some Hunger Games themed hats but I’m writing this post on my phone and it’s totes hard adding pics.

Anyhoo, as soon as I saw the Lego Movie, I instantly fell in love with Princess Unikitty, and it inspired me to design a very pop-art Unikitty hat.

Right now I’m sewing a fancy Unikitty-inspired dress I designed to wear with the hat. The Easter-egg colors aren ‘t really my thing so I’m going accessorize with dark makeup, dark nails and moto boots for a kind of “Punk-Princess Unikitty vibe. This is a pic of the ginormous skirt in progress:

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I don’t know what to call this cosplay… Couture Cosplay? Is that a thing?

Whatevs. Its gonna be dope and I’m excited!

Lunchtime Life Hack- Prepping for the Week

Being creative is not always about creating something awesome. Ok, mostly it is, but sometimes it’s about saving time and money to put it towards all the awesomeness you plan to create.

Because I commute to my office job and work 40 hours a week, lunch is always a stupid big problem for me. Either I spend extra $$$ for the convenience of eating out every day or I scramble to pull something together in the morning that A. is not satisfying and B. usually makes me too late to hit the traffic sweet spot.

SO here’s my little life hack: Do your weekly shopping on Sunday, then pack & prep your lunches for the week so you can grab & go in the morning. I usually spend about $40 for 2 weeks of lunches + an afternoon snack.

Check out my dope work preparing next week’s lunches this morning:

full bar

These are my three favorite easy, portable lunches that are perfect for the office:

1. Canned Soup + pretzels + piece of fruit + a treat

By far the easiest. Just grab a can of soup with a pull top and something to heat it up in. I bought a 4 pack of plastic bowls with snap-on lids for $2.50 at a Dollar Tree. I like the lid so that I can heat up the soup in the lunch room and then easily travel to an outside picnic table- or back to my desk when I’m super busy. Suck it, lunchtime. You just got owned!

Ps. For a treat I really LOVE sugar-free chocolate pudding. In this case I’m settling for a small brownie cuz they were on sale.

soup

2. Salad + piece of fruit

I found this salad bowl with fork and dressing thingies that snap into the  lid and it is the best goddamned invention humankind has ever fucking created! I fill the bowl with lettuce and then pack a zip lock bag of toppings.  My favorite combo: Pink lady apple, spicy monterey jack cheese, and 1 hardboiled egg. Combined with my fave dressing ( Light Cheese Fantastico) it’s light, refreshing and super satisfying from the protein in the egg.

salad

3.  Tuna Salad -minus the disgusting, foul, demon jizz also known as mayo + strawberries + crackers + a treat

For the office, I  pack a little container of tuna salad, 2 leaves of lettuce to make wraps and crackers or pretzels for dipping. For this one, I’m going to give you an actual recipe , because I know you also deeply despise the  disgusting, foul, demon jizz also known as mayo. And if you don’t you should. You’re welcome.

  • 2 cans chunk light tuna in water
  • 1/8 cup of diced red onion
  • 2 diced baby dill pickles
  • about 6-7 diced green martini olives- (the picture shows black  because that’s what I had so just suck it up and be adaptable, k?)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of light Cheese Fantastico dressing

Mix that shit up, add some salt & pepper to taste, and you’re done!

tuna-salad

DIY Buckle Ankle Boots

I wear dresses and skirts year-round. Tights are a must; but footed tights making your shoes slip off? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

That’s why I LOVE ankle boots. I’m a big fan low profile, simple black ankle boots with a good sturdy heel that I can walk around in comfortably all day… but recently I’ve been obsessed with sturdy black ankle boots with  bad-ass-bitch straps and buckles.

After WEEKS of fruitless searching for a pair that perfectly combined style, comfort and a don’t-have-to-eat-ramen-for-a-week price, the closest I came was this pair on asos.com:

Faith Spitalfield Black Buckle Ankle Boots, now sold out, but at the time they cost about $120 bucks.

Waaay too expensive, plus I’m not a fan of the open sides during rainy seasons. One of my favorite things about ankle boots is that I can wear them rain or shine.

Asos Faith Spitalfield Black Buckle Ankle Boots in Black - Lyst

Here’s MY version that cost under $60 bucks:

Boots_2

Supplies:

  • Comfy boots with the perfect silhouette from Chinese Laundry – $42.59 (sale price on amazon.com)
  • 2 boys’ belts- $6.00 each from Walmart
  • Super Glue of your choice

Boots_1

Here’s what I did:

  1. Put on one boot.
  2. Wrap a belt underneath the arch of your foot, cross the belt across the top of your foot and wrap around the back of your heel.
  3. When you have the look you want, fasten the belt.
  4. Follow the super glue directions to attach the belt to the shoe where it wraps underneath your arch.
  5. Repeat with the second shoe.

Done, BAM. Take that expensive designer boot regime!

I’m Not Dead!

Well, Halloween 2013 was pretty dope, you guys. Then “THE HOLIDAYS” came and pretty much sucked my will to live- and craft. What with the presents to wrap and things to decorate, you would think that my crafting little heart would love Xmas- etc. but alas, no.

Maybe it’s because my alter ego, daytime-job-self works in marketing…maybe it’s just because I own a TV and have eyes…but during “THE HOLIDAYS” I just get so overwhelmed with the pushy media-ness of it all. I don’t like listening to 27 versions of “Jingle Bells” on repeat from October 30th to January 3rd. I’d rather not have to commit to a knife fight to win a parking space at Target. And I would rather die than attend any sort of Black Friday, Gray Thursday, Cyan Tuesday, Periwinkle Monday, or whatever.

So now it’s March 2014 and I finally feel somewhat recovered. To be fair,l things have also picked up on the Clark Kent side of it all. Major changes at work have landed me extra responsibilities- hard !- and new opportunities -exciting !- but more than anything I’ve really been blowing my whole creative load in the office. Which means when I’m home it’s all I can do to tackle my part of the housekeeping, put away my laundry, drink a glass of wine and crash. If it wasn’t for Boyfriend I would have perished of starvation long ago. (Let’s all say a silent prayer of thanks for Boyfriend.)

What is the point of all this? Just to holla at you, boo. Let you know I’m still alive. That I’m gonna post all my Halloween adventures on Instagram for you (remember I made my 60+ dad an Ariel costume?). Oh and I totally did a craft last weekend, so come back in a few days and thou shalt have a DIY article to check out.

Happy Springtime, Bitches! XOXO

Last Minute Living Doll Costume

Another last minute costume idea from things already in your closet. This makeup looks intense but is SO easy. All you need is a hot pink lipstick, red lipstick and a pair of false eyelashes.
TIP: Make your own giant bow with scrap fabric and hot glue it on a headband. 15 minutes tops.
Living Doll

Vogue knee length socks
$29 - nelly.com

Lip gloss makeup
$35 - theiconic.com.au

Benefit eye makeup
$18 - johnlewis.com

MIA hair styling tool
urbanoutfitters.com

Last Minute Hippie Chick Costume

Last minute Halloween costume from items already in your closet!

Keep your hair long and loose, your makeup natural and use a yellow or white eyeliner pencil to draw a peace sign on your face. Bam! You’re out the door.

Bonus: You don’t have to shave your legs!

Hippie Chick Costume

Gringo evening dress
$65 - fashion-conscience.com

Cognac sandals
target.com

Opal bracelet
etsy.com

Nars cosmetic
barneys.com

DIY Light Up Signs!

DrinksMainOMG, I am so in love with this project! I’ve made like four of these for my “Circus of the Damned” Halloween party. They are super cheap and high impact. Plus because they’re battery operated you can put them ANYWHERE! I am hanging them above various party “stations” such as the Drinks table, the Snacks table, etc. I found super awesome free circus fonts to go with my theme, but you could easily change up the color scheme and lettering for a casino night fundraiser or a Vegas themed party. Oooh or a vintage Hollywood theme…or Broadway!!! Sorry, I just had a theatergeekgasm at the thought of a Broadway theme party, lol.

Here’s a fun fact for you: Did you know that Broadway  (between Union Square and Madison Square) was one of the first electrically lit streets in the U.S.? It earned its nickname “The Great White Way” because by the 1890′s the section of Broadway from 23rd Street to 34th Street was so crazy illuminated by all the electrical advertising signs.

Boom! You just got knowledged. You’re welcome.

CRAFTING BONUS:  Whatever theme you choose, you can just cover the labels with new labels for a different theme and re-use these suckers again and again.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Cardboard

Black Spray Paint

Scissors and/or Crafting Knife

LED String Lights (Battery Operated)

Power Drill

3/8″ Drill Bit

Glue Gun

Decorations: Paint, Letters, Etc.

Papier Mache Supplies (Click here for my Quicke Papier Mache How-To)

Optional: String or wire if you plan on hanging them.

Before you start: Open up your LED lights, make sure they have batteries and turn them on to make sure all the bulbs light up.

STEP ONE:

Cut out a shape for your sign out of cardboard or foam board.

TIP: Dig around recycling bins and maybe you’ll get lucky, and like totes save the planet while you’re at it. Someone was throwing out an arrow shaped, cardboard yard sale sign so I swooped it up!!  (But you will still need extra cardboard)

These are the dimensions of my rescued yard sale sign:

IMG_1608

STEP TWO:

Once you have your desired shape trace it out on cardboard. Cut it out and spray paint both sides black.  It will henceforth be known as the Backing. Set it aside for later.

Drinks-Backing

TIP: Well, this is not so much a tip as a confession. I cheated at Step Two. I found a really awesome super sturdy sheet of black paper in the painting section at Michaels. I think it was for watercolor painting…it was about 5 bucks and perfect, but I can’t remember what it’s called. I really did try to find if for you, but as I have mentioned elsewhere, the Michaels website is just about useless- except to find a store and go look for yourself, lol.

STEP THREE

Count the bulbs on your LED light string. Draw a diagram to figure out how many bulbs per side of your shape. (Most small battery operated strings have about 20, like the ones I used.) for smaller signs you can get away with one string, or use multiple strings for bigger signs.

Here’s what I did for this specific sign (brace yourself this contains actual math):

IMG_1606

In the end, for my shape I ended up spacing my bulbs about 2-2.5″ apart. You can get all crazy with measuring if you want, but I just eyeballed it. I’m gangster like that.

STEP FOUR:

Create a “cup” to hold your battery pack and a spacer to hold your Backing way from the wires. For this shape I cut a 1.5″ x 6″ piece of cardboard and a 1.5″ x 7″ piece of cardboard. (Doodle 1)

NOTE: If your shape is using more than one battery pack, you will need a “cup” for each one and bigger shapes will also require more spacers.

IMG_1609

STEP FIVE:

Hot glue your battery “cup” to the somewhere near the bottom of your sign about 1.5″ from the edge of at least one side. (Doodle 2) This will henceforth be known as the “Front Inside” portion of your sign.

NOTE: The battery cup needs to be near an edge because you will need to be able to reach in to pull out the pack to turn it on/off and change batteries when necessary. Remember that you will be putting the Backing on the sign!

IMG_1612

STEP SIX:

Spray paint the Front Inside black and let dry. Flip over and paint your sign as desired. When applying your lettering, remember that you need to leave about an inch around the edges for the light bulbs.

STEP SEVEN: 

Remember that handy diagram you made in Step 3? On the Front Inside, use a pencil to mark an “x” where you want each bulb. Place your drill point at the center of an “x” and drill baby, driiiilllll!

IMG_1613

Repeat for each “x.”

STEP EIGHT:

Place your battery pack in the battery cup. Gently insert the first bulb closest to the pack into the closest hole (geez, LEDs are such sluts, right?) so that the widest part of the plastic bit beneath the bulb is visible. About 1/8 of an inch, for you measurement Nazis. Work your way around the sign until all your holes are filled. With bulbs you sicko!

TIP: If any of your bulbs seem loose you can use a tiny bit of hot glue around the base to keep them in place. Or just add the glue around the base of all the bulbs just to be sure.

Drinks-Insides-w-Pack

STEP NINE:

Once all your bulbs are in place, use some string or tape to gently pull all the extra cordage between bulbs towards the center so that it doesn’t poke out around the edges of your sign.

STEP TEN:

Apply hot glue to the edges of your battery cup and spacer, line up your your backing and firmly press in place.

Drinks Backing-Side

OPTIONAL: 

To hang your sign simply loop string or wire underneath the top. Slide out the battery pack to switch them on and off. Ta-dah!

You can see more pics of the signs I made for my circus party on Instagram.

XOXO

Quickie Papier-Mâché How-To

I’ve been doing A LOT of papier-mâché crafts lately and I thought I should write down my tips and tricks. Putting papier-mâché on balloons to make globes is a time honored elementary school tradition, but you can do some wicked awesome things with it, and brace yourselves, you don’t always have to use a balloon. What!?

YES. Papier-mâché is useful for tons of other projects besides hollow globes. Personally, I like to use it to change the texture on cardboard, poster board and foam. You can cut any shape out of these materials, but firstly, your shape is not going to be very sturdy and secondly, even if you paint it… it will still look like cardboard, poster board or foam. Once you have applied papier-mâché (PM), your shape will be hella sturdy AND will have a nice plaster type texture.

SUPPLIESPapier Mache

The Essentials:

Newspapers (cut into 1-2 inch strips)

White Flour

Elmer’s Glue

Water

Whisk

Bowl

My Handy Suggestions:

Latex Gloves

Trash Bags/Plastic Drop Cloth

Masking Tape

Optional: Phone Book Pages

TIP #1: I’ve found that phone book pages torn in half and/or quarters is a GREAT for covering large surfaces!

TO GET STARTED

First you need to have something to add the PM to such as the ubiquitous balloon, or some other shape you have cut out or crafted in some way. (I’ve seen some really awesome animal head PM projects!)

Once you have your shape you should find an area you can get messy and keep messy for a few days. I personally have a large folding table that I set up in the garage when I’m in the mood to get my PM on.

When you have your space, cut open the trash bags and lay flat (or use your drop cloth) to cover the area. Tape down a couple edges so it stays put.

Also, tape down some plastic elsewhere (I use the floor) to have a place to lay your project out to dry. This is especially important if you’ll be working on multiple pieces.

NOTE: This project is really  messy, but the good news is the flour and glue are totally washable! But you should wear gloves because it can get really sticky and it will be impossible to do simple things like operate a door handle and use the restroom…

 

TIP: Crafting/Beauty Double Whammy: you can try my Miracle Cuticle Fix before you slip on your gloves to moisturize while you craft!

STEP ONE:

Add approximately 2 cups flour and 1-2 table spoons glue to your bowl. Slowly pour in water, whisking the mixture together until it has a smooth “soupy” texture. You want your paste to be slightly thinner than pancake batter.

NOTE: I never actually measure this mixture, I just eyeball it. The most important thing is the consistency.

STEP TWO:

Gently dip your strip of newspaper or phone book page in the mixture. Use your hand to smooth the mixture over the entire piece. You want it to be covered, but not so saturated that it falls apart.

STEP THREE:

Lay your paste-covered paper over your desired shape or cut out.  With smooth, gentle motions smooth down the piece and press down the edges.

Repeat until all of your shape (except what is resting on the floor) is covered. Make sure your strips/pieces of paper are overlapping generously.

Let dry to the touch and then cover whatever part was resting on the floor.

Note: If you are working with a flat shape, let it dry to the touch and then weight down the edges so that it stays flat while it continues drying, Otherwise there will be warping…which can be a really cool effect if that’s what you’re going for.

 

TIP: Depending on the size of your piece you can hang it from string so that you can cover the whole thing at once (this will reduce warping and speed up your project).

STEP FOUR: (Optional)

Repeat the whole process (Steps 1-3) laying your strips/pieces in opposing directions to the first layer. This is good to get a really sturdy piece- especially if you’re doing something hollow like a balloon.

Once your piece is completely dry it’s ready to be painted an decorated!!!

My Dad; The Prettiest Princess of Them All

DadArielOk, so this one is going to take a little explaining. Firstly, let me just say I have two dads…but not how you think! I have a very long complicated home-life story (which maybe someday I’ll tell in it’s entirety) but basically through a combination of foster care, marriage, and divorce I belong to one of those amazing Frankenstein families that’s more about people choosing to love each other than actual blood relations. I happen to think its a pretty special thing. :)

Anyways, so my dad, Craig (pictured here) happens to be a heterosexual male, well into his 60′s, is a decorated veteran of the Marine Corps, served in Vietnam, drives giant Harley Davidson motorcycles, cusses like…well, like a Marine, and also is the most mischievous person on the planet. Thanks to him I was actually kicked out of a Las Vegas hotel like a boss when I was still in middle school. How? He was teaching me to throw paper airplanes in the Luxor Hotel’s atrium!

Back in the day, when I still lived with my parents, I made this super awesome detailed Snow White costume. About a year after the last time I wore it to a party, my dad comes sauntering down the hallway wearing one of his Harley t-shirts, sweat pants…and my princess skirt. Somehow he had opened the back and wedged it around his waist. I’ve never laughed harder in my life than when he was batting his eyes and fanning his face “because someday his prince would come.”

Obviously he had to be Snow White for Halloween! I made fancy light blue princess sleeves for a regular dark blue t-shirt, he commandeered my skirt, we added my wig and my cape and it was a done deal! Of course he wouldn’t shave his handlebar mustache, so yeah, that happened… He ended up not just wearing the costume on Halloween night, but also to get kicked out of both Disneyland AND Disney World for sporting it in the parks.

That’s right. In the name of mischief he got himself kicked out of The Happiest Place on Earth. Twice. That take’s commitment.

At first we were ambitious and swore to do a different Disney Princess costume for him every year…but you know, things happen and we got sidetracked. We did make him a full Cinderella costume, which he wore very well, but once me and my wig collection moved out on my own, I’m not sure if he’s worn it since.

This year, we bought his very own bright red “Ariel” wig and it is game on! The tutorial (and pictures which you will never be able to unsee) will be up soon.

You’re welcome.

Craft Tool of the Week: Crafting Knife

Hobby KnifeOkay, so there are like billions of gadgets, gizmos and tools out there aimed at crafters….and also some very handy items hiding in plain sight you may not have thought of for crafting.  Each week or so, I’ll share with you some of my favorite tools for crafting plus review new ones I’ve never used before.

My favorite tool of All Time Ever is the mighty glue gun (you can read more about that here) and if I had to choose a second favorite, it might be the crafting knife (a.k.a. Exacto Knife, a.k.a. Hobby Knife, a.k.a. Utility Knife, a.k.a. Boxcutter) …but who’s got time to go ranking every craft tool ever? Plus I don’t want to hurt any of their little tool feelings, even thought they’re like children: you say you love them all equally but you know you have a favorite…

So back to the crafting knife. Wicked sharp and extremely useful for

A) cutting detailed shapes

B) cutting cardboard & foam

C) cutting detailed shapes in o cardboard & foam.

If you’ve ever attempted to cut even simple shapes from cardboard with ordinary scissors, you know how difficult it can be to get clean edges without bending the stiff cardboard- never mind the cramping and occasional blisters because cardboard does not heart scissors. Like at all.

Not only are crafting knife blades super sharp, they’re also perfectly shaped to maneuver around curves and corners, they down on hand cramping (especially when you’re working with cardboard or foam) AND they have replaceable blades so you don’t have to worry about getting them sharpened or ruining the blade.

Here’s some things to remember when working with a craft knife:

  • They are SUPER sharp. Was I clear about that?
  • Always make sure the blade is locked in place
  • Never attempt to cut something without scrap cardboard or a cutting mat underneath
  • Children should be supervised unless you prefer your children with less than ten digits or otherwise maimed

TIP: When cutting cardboard or other tough/thick materials a “sawing motion” is often more effective than a “slicing” motion.

Here’s why:

  1. When you slice you are applying force in a linear direction. If you get stuck, have to apply extra force  and your hand slips, the follow through is likely to intersect with a surrounding person or object. When you are sawing you are applying force downward so that if your hand slips or you have to apply extra force, you are more likely to hit your mat or scrap cardboard.
  2. Cardboard, especially, has a grain. When you are slicing, it is very easy for your blade to get caught in the grain and stray form your desired cut.  Sawing eliminates this problem.

I recently used my craft knife this weekend, making some awesome creepy carousel unicorns for Halloween (more on that when they’re finished) and took the opportunity snap a quick video of my sawing technique, which you can check out on my Facebook page! Cuz I’m nice like that, :)

Now go get yur craft cutting on!

Ps. You can find crafting knifes (knives? Whatever…) at plenty of major retailers. I even took the liberty of picking out some good ones for you online at  Walmart, JoAnn’s Fabrics, and Home Depot. Michaels Crafts also has great ones… but their website is very nearly, almost entirely, useless. So they miss out on a link.

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