Friday, April 19, 2013

Wreck This Journal Part Four


That's what this blog post would be called if it were made into a movie... of course you'd have to watch the first, second and third installation before you could watch this one. Otherwise you'd totally have no idea what was going on with the plot. But the good thing about sequels is that they always add in some sort of surprise element to keep the story spicy. In this case, we have a surprise walk on role from my Wreck This Journal's clean cut, long lost brother. 

See for yourself the ridiculous differences between these two books...
Wreck this journal before and after... wow
Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal- Before and After
I recently purchased a brand new WTJ as a gift to one of my artist friends. I couldn't help but take some pictures comparing the two books. It's hard to believe that they are the same.. actually, the new one has more pages inside than mine does. Kinda hard to tell from the pictures, I know.

Wreck this journal before and after from the side
Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal - Before and After from the side.
Here's a picture comparing the thickness of a new Wreck this Journal compared to my totally wrecked copy. This is where their differences become real obvious. Since I began working on it, this book has doubled in size.
So what else is new with my journal? Lots of new pages, but the old ones are still changing all the time...

The main thing that has happened to the journal lately is that it is completely falling apart! The covers are peeling off. The book itself has also breaking up into two equal halves. I think the only thing holding the two pieces together are some little threads of paper.

Wreck This Journal- Table of Contents
  I'm still using my home-made table of contents page... I've began crossing out page numbers that are 100% complete. It seems like I still have a lot of pages left, but I try to keep in mind that a lot of those pages are very close to being finished. Makes things seem less daunting if I think about it that way, at least!

"Press leaves and other found things"

Some may remember this page from previous blog posts, it is covered in rose petals. Like the changing of the seasons, the petals have almost all completely transformed from a vibrant red color to dull brown. Still, this has to be one of my most unexpectedly favorite pages in my journal.

It's been quite the challenge trying to fill up every single page of the Wreck this Journal. To combat all of that empty space, I've been doing all sorts of little doodles in my WTJ lately, including these pages:

"Scribble Wildly with Reckless Abandon" So I drew a portrait of Lana Del Rey... I'm going through a phase, I think!

"Do some rubbings with a pencil" I think I waited too long to do this page. By the time I got to doing the rubbings, the paper was so worn down by being so wrecked that any of the rubbings that were there barely showed up! So, naturally, I drew a big fat fly's head over all of the mistakes.

Kind of a weird page- "Chew on This"... The freaky lips and tongue are loosely based off the infamous "Open up and say Ahh!" Poison album cover. Also, suddenly maggots!

"Tongue Painting" Okay, I kind of went crazy with this page. It all started with some sticky transparency paper and a sharpie. I drew the strange dancing figure ladies and layered them on. After that, more and more colored pencils and markers. And some lips. And some Eskimos. Like I said, this page went crazy.

"Tie a String and Swing Wildly" I admit that I never did work up the bravery to tie a string around my journal and swing it against things. However I'm sure it's been thrown and abused enough to make up for that teeny tiny factoid. Since my last update on this page, I've added kind of reminds me of some sort of weird jungle now.

Out of everything that has been inflicted on this journal, time has effected it the most. This page is the ultimate tattoo cover up- I drew over the original drawing on this "Ugly Drawing" WTJ page because I have since let go of those frustrations and replaced it with two pieces of poop.

"Pretend you're doodling while on the phone"

There are a lot of pages like this in my book- half finished. I think the biggest challenge of the Wreck This Journal would definitely have to be commitment. To fill each page back and front is no easy task... it's almost like you have to rewrite the book entirely. But there's no time limit, so I feel encouraged to work only when I want to. And sometimes that means I sit my journal down for long periods of time before I get back into it again.

"Test This Page" For Science, of course.
Still haven't done anything with this page besides color it, but I have to note it is the "last thread" keeping this book from splitting apart. "Sew This Page" seems more like a command than an instruction now!

"Wrap something with this page" - Instead of wrapping up something in this page (which would be weird because the paper is tiny) I went ahead and made it into a cool bat person themed pocket holder. The pocket contains a napkin from Medieval Times, personal notes, stickers and other random things.

"Cover This Page with white things" - A very interesting but tough challenge...  it's like having to draw a picture entirely with a white crayon! But somehow, it works. I love how everything is "white" but all in a different shade.
"Make a Mess. Clean it up."
A page that I was shying away from until a random person finally marked it up with their drawing of a toilet, scribbling on the rest of the page for flair.  For some reason the scribbles reminded me of tangled threads, so I glued in a big ball of thread trimmings that I snipped off of my Frankenquilt. I was feeling extra reflective that day so I entangled little strips of paper in the threads that are tiny secret "personal messes." I work on those messes one pile at a time.

"Page of Good Thoughts"
Atta Boy!

One day, I was given all of these really weird / old encouraging Disney stickers, so I thought the best way to utilize these guys would be on the good thoughts page. Because Disney characters are always so overwhelmingly positive all the time. I didn't think the page was quite finished until I drew all over it with some markers and colored pencils, though.

"Write Carelessly. Now."

 It took me a long time to fill up this page! I thought it would be a quick and easy one, but I ended up going back on several different occasions to "write carelessly." It became kind of addicting after a while, though. You get an overwhelming sense of freedom from writing random trains of thought.

Working on certain pages can unexpectedly effect others... most of the time in an awesomely cool way. For example, these pages were so raw that they wrecked other pages in the process:

"Cut Through Several Layers" I didn't like the job I did the slack job I did the first time, so I got my X-Acto blade and took it to the extreme.
"Infuse this Page with a smell" - The nose approved of the sweet perfume scent that once permeated off this page... if you sniff really hard, you can still smell a little hint of it! I like the way the cut diamonds have created an interesting pattern on this page and still somehow managed to not cut any of the words or drawing off.

"Create a Nonstop Line" - Challenge accepted.
I created a really complex nonstop maze and colored in the sides with Sharpie marker.
"A Space for Negative Comments"- This is a collaborative drawing between me and my boyfriend. He drew the strange spider guy and I colored him in... then, accidentally bled the nonstop line maze all over it. Fortunately, the maze kind of fit around the drawing in an interesting manner. Very surreal little drawing.
By the way, if you recall from my very first Wreck This Journal post, my friend Tiffany had gotten into wrecking spirit as well. Tiff has been super busy with being awesome at school but between the craziness of finals and college life she has still managed to find time for her journal. She worked on a few new pages that I'd like to share!

"Throw Something at the Journal" I could never quite figure out what I should use as a "ball dipped in paint" without ruining a perfectly good ball but it seems that Tiff has figured it out. Whoppers make perfect disposable paint covered ball missiles!

"Fill This Page with Circles" - I love all the googly eyes, so cute! I also like how she utilized round containers of all different sizes as colorful paint rings.

"Page for Four Letter Words"
"Add your own Page Numbers"

Two new additional pages to Tiffany's WTJ.  I just want to point out her first four letter words that came to mind were "Poop" "Turd" and "Fart"... I like your style Tiff, very "artsy fartsy" of you Lol.

Probably my favorite page by Tiffany so far, "Write One Word Over and Over." It's so colorful and nice looking!

The most important thing to remember about working in a Wreck this Journal is that you just have to keep with it. Even if you put the journal down for a whole year or something, that doesn't mean it's no good anymore and that you aren't allowed to work on it again.  There aren't any rules..The book is a symbol for being able to live your life how you want to!

In conclusion, I guess I have to say that I can't say exactly how long I'll be working on my Wreck This Journal before I consider it finished. I know it seems a little extreme to try to fill up all the pages, but seriously, how many people have actually been able to complete this challenge? It would be an honor to be a part of that club, so expect more updates on new finished pages from my WTJ in the future. I'm in it for the long haul.

The only thing that can stop me is the book itself... it's falling apart at an accelerated rate at this point!

I leave you with a few things to think about...
Firstly, does anyone have any suggestions on how I can put this book back together again? I was going to try to sew it but I'm not sure, especially if there's another option that would be more heavy duty and long term.

Also, I invite anyone that has done a few pages of their WTJ to definitely share their work! I love seeing fresh inspiration. Just drop off a link to your blog or directly to the images in the comments section. It's very interesting to see how people all interpret the pages differently and also the rationale behind their process.
As always, happy wrecking everyone!

My Journey With Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Recycled T-Shirt Pillows

Good news everyone! You no longer have to sleep in a bed full of rock pillows, because your savior has arrived. Let me introduce you to a passion of mine......Pillow Making.

I've been making pillows for my friends and family for a while, but for my big public reveal I needed pillows with a twist.

These pillows are special because most of the fabrics came right out of my clothes wardrobe. I was cleaning out my closet and was faced with a terrifying dilemma- how could I simply get rid of  all these radical t-shirts and stuff?! The answer was clear, I needed to make them into pillows.

After successfully making a few and seeing the enormously positive reception they received, I went crazy and made like another set of 20 recycled t-shirt pillows from stuff in my closet and things I scavenged.  Here are the results, all for sale.

Presenting... The Pillows

"Betty Boop" Pocket Pillow #1
This was the first pillow I made from a rather large nursing scrub I found at the thrift store. The pink sides are made from some scrapped polyester I also found at the same store, what luck. If you'd ask Betty Boop, I think she'd say these fabrics were totally a match made in heaven.

Also, check out the sweet built-in pocket on the front of the pillow. The uses for them are endless- my mom suggested you could use it as a place to put your tissues on Lifetime Movie Night. I thought it would be better off used as a cellphone keeper...  try over sleeping your next nap when the phone alarm is ringing right next to your head!

This pillow weighs 1.4 pounds.

Height: 18.5"   
Width: 2.5"
Length: 15"


"UFC Fight Night" Skull Pillow
Side view of the UFC pillow.
The back is made from the rest of the
shirt, which is a plain brown color.
I didn't want to leave the boys out of all this pillow fun, so here's one of my attempts at a pillow built for a man. Doesn't it just ooze masculinity? If the skulls weren't tough enough, it has the UFC logo on it and even says "FIGHT NIGHT" right on the pillow. You could probably get Chuck Liddell to punch this pillow and it wouldn't even fall apart. It would probably just be very severely dented.
The sides are made out of soft black fleece. This was a fairly new t-shirt to begin with, so it's still very soft as well. I think that makes this pillow a pretty deadly mix of cuddly and badass.
 This pillows weighs 1.8 pounds.

 Height: 17.5"
Width: 4"
Length: 15.5"


Ladies- if you think this pillows seems a little sexist, I just have to say this pillow could quite possibly be made for you as well. The shirt used to belong to my mom, after all.

Embellished "Pink Cafe" Pillow

Another pillow made from a thrift shop shirt. This was a medium lady's dress top. The print depicts this quaint little cafe scene which wraps around the entire pillow. On the front side it has these shiny little sequins sewed on... definitely wouldn't suggest sleeping on this side unless you want a cafe imprinted onto your face! (Actually, that sounds kind of cool.)

I almost didn't have enough of the shirt's fabric to finish this pillow, so I had to patchwork the sides together so that they'd fit. As an unintentional but cool result, this pillow transformed from a square shape to kinda round! It's definitely unique, to say the least.

Shiny Shiny, shiny bits of sequin.

Height: 17.5 "
Width: 4.5"
Length: 17"

This pillow weighs 1.4 pounds.



"Zoo York City" Pillow

This is definitely one of my personal favorite pillows that I've made thus far. The print is just full of skulls, grime and other cool things. Too bad the t-shirt was a Boys XL or I would so be wearing it right now.

Besides being cool and covered and skulls, it's very soft,  fluffy and comfy..  it would probably make a good neck pillow, too... If someone doesn't get this pillow soon I'm totally going to keep it for myself, seriously. 

Height: 9"
Width: 2.5"
Length: 20"

This pillow weighs 12.2 ounces.



"Bubba Gump Shrimp Co" (Charleston) pillow

I don't know anyone who hasn't seen Forest Gump yet... and if you haven't, I guess you're just gonna have to miss out on this cultural reference because I'm not explaining it. There is a Bubba Gump restaurant right here in Charleston, but I got this awesome shirt from the neighborhood thrift store instead. I enjoy utilizing "localized" things in my pillows because of their rarity... Charleston is the only place in the world you could buy a shirt like this, unless you cheat and order it off of Ebay or something. So in a sense, this pillow carries a little bit of history and travel mileage with it.

The sides are made of brown felt and the print is on a cotton tee.

Height: 15"        
Width: 3"
Length: 14"

This pillow weighs 12.2 oz.



"Wild Cat" pillow

This is definitely one of the "big cats" of my pillow collection, even larger than a standard sleeping pillow. I know the print has a tiger on it, but I was just dying to use this cheetah/leopard fabric, which is soft and kind of fuzzy like a real wild cat's fur. The sides are plain black and the print was taken from an old workout t-shirt.. its the eye of the tiger, get it?

Height:  17"
Width: 3"
Length: 21"

This pillow weighs 1.6 pounds.



Everybody knows that kissing an Irish person will probably just lead to eventually fighting them. At least, that's the motto I've lived my life by. Either way, I still think this little green Irish pillow is pretty charming. The sides are made from a very shiny and soft polyester ribbon I got from Wal-Mart's remnants section. The print was from my mom's closet again... If you haven't noticed, we come from a long line of angry, short potato eaters. 

This pillow weighs 8.6 ounces.

Height: 13"   
Width: 2"
Length: 15.5"



"Betty Boop" Pocket Pillow #2
This is the second pillow I made from that giant thrift store scrub. For your convenience, it also has a built in pocket. The difference between this pillow and the first one is that it's slightly smaller and that it uses the Betty Boop fabric on all sides instead of utilizing the polyester. I can proudly say that there were very few scraps of the nurse scrub left after I made it into pillows...awesome.

Height: 15.5"
Width: 4"
Length: 14.5"
This pillow weighs 1 pound.


"Drink Cheerwine" Pillow

Cheerwine, the weird cherry-flavored cousin of Coke and Pepsi! This would be perfect for someone who is a fan of Cheerwine... I gotta say, their fans are never lukewarm, they are always so die hard about their favorite drink. The sides are made of a bandana like red and white fabric, and the back is plain white.

Height: 12.5" 
Width: 3"
Length: 17"

This pillow weighs 13.4 ounces.


"Wicked Witch" Pillow

 Okay, I have to come clean. This pillow was not made out of a recycled t-shirt. The print came from some absolutely wicked fleece that I found in the craft section of Wal-Mart... what a good find, if you ask me! If you love retro things, this pillow will definitely be right up your ally. The sides are made out of green and yellow striped fabric, it kind of reminds me of the striped socks on the witch that gets the house dropped on her in Oz. Consider it in memoriam.

Height: 14"    
Width: 2"
Length: 16"

This pillow weighs 13 ounces.


"Burt and Ernie BFF's" pillow

"You're my best friend." - Queen

This is probably another one my favorites! This pillow is humungous, probably one of the largest one I've made so far, so it's perfect for sharing with your friends. To make it even better, I used an awesome junior's Sesame Street t-shirt as the print. Ironically the print seemed really small when it was on the shirt, so small I had to include the arm caps in with the print (check the top corners), but once it was transformed into a pillow it seems so huge! The sides are a purple fabric and the back is this really nice textured plaid fabric. I really like how it feels as the surface of a pillow, very comfy.

Height: 20"
Width: 4"
Length: 17"

This pillow weighs 1.6 pounds.


"Little Miss Sunshine" Pillow

Another great throwback (throw pillow?) from childhood. Little Miss Sunshine and the rest of the Roger Hargreaves' "Mr. Men and Little Miss" sereies were definitely books that were read to me a lot as a kid. This is a super cute pillow, another one I can boast used almost the entire junior's t-shirt. For some reason, juniors shirts fabric make for the softest and squishest of my pillows. Us girls have good taste in fibers, I guess!

Height: 15"   
Width: 3"
Length: 18"

This pillow weighs 14 ounces.


"Homage to AnvilTee's" Pillow
This pillow is so awesomely meta.  According to its tag, this thrift store t-shirt is made out of "66% recycled material" to begin with... So now that I've recycled it again, how has that percentage changed? Maybe someone savvy at math can figure that one out. In the mean time, I love being able to re purpose something that had such a great purpose to begin with. That's what this whole t-shirt pillow series has been about! Like the pillow says.. "I am part of the solution."

Sierra Club and AnvilRecycled Tees teamed up to spread their message
about waste reduction, and I'm now doing my piece by breathing
life back into something that was close to the edge of obscurity.
Everything goes full circle.
Height: 13"
Width: 2.5"
Length: 15.5"

This pillow weighs 14 ounces.



"Lego Batman" Pillow

The corner that was "chewed up" in the sewing machine.
Ahhhh what an adorable print! Personally I LOVE the Lego Batman game, it's insanely fun. However, I think the Joker was playing some sort of cruel joke on me while I was making this pillow because it gave me so much trouble! One of the corners got severely damaged during construction and in result the fabric got all chewed up in the sewing machine. There were a lot of holes, I managed to patch them up but the perfectionist in me will always be a little bit mad at this pillow.
Because of these issues, the price has been reduced accordingly.

Height: 17"
Width: 2.5"
Length: 14"
This pillow weighs 15.3 ounces. 



"Orange Cheetohs" Pillow

Anyone hungry for some Cheetohs? This pillow is pretty delicious. It would be the perfect pillow to rest your head on while laying on the couch, watching tv and munching on your favorite cheese flavored snack. The sides are made out of soft yellow fleece and the print is from a standard cotton t-shirt.

Height: 13"
Width: 3"
Length: 15.5"

This pillow weighs 14 ounces. 




"300 Movie" Pillow

Another really tough pillow featuring prints from the movie Frank Miller inspired movie 300.  Historical Roman and Greek stories are totally all the rage right now... This would be perfect for a Spartacus or Rome fan too, I bet. The sides are made from a sturdy black fabric and the front and back of a men's cotton t-shirt makes the body of this pillow.
Height: 17.5"
Width: 3"
Length: 14"

This pillow weighs 13.6 ounces.


"Spoletto 2003" Pillow

This was one last really interesting find from the thrift store. It's a Spoletto shirt from 2003. If you didn't know, Spoletto is an annual arts festival that happens right here in Charleston. The print is so unusual. After spending a lot of time looking at it during the construction process, I've really come to appreciate its meaning more. To me, this is a picture of a woman that is expressing pure joy and uninhibited freedom while enjoying the warmth of a nice meal and good company. How can life be better than that?
The back of the pillow is a tan brown color and the sides are
made from the same cheetah fabric as the "Wild Cat" pillow.

Height: 17""    
Width: 3"
Length: 18"

This pillow weighs 15 ounces.




Final Words

These pillows are soft, fluffy, and full of love. I also must admit that they are sturdy as hell- they are definitely meant to last after much wear and tear. I have made a few of these pillows over the years for my friends and family, and I think that they were all surprised how long their pillows have endured.

 Most were afraid to wash them in the machine, but I actually encourage you to run your pillow through the washer and dryer when you receive it. Not saying I have "Dirty Pillows" or something, but running it through your machines will get it all  squishy and tenderized for your lounging. They kind of change form over time anyways, depending on how the person uses it. Sometimes the pillow becomes very flat and compressed, and other times they get all lumpy and malleable. The choice will be yours!

BTW, You may notice that some of them have adorable price tags attached. These price tags are mostly for when I'm presenting my stuff at shows and craft fairs.  By default, I will take the tag off of your pillow before I send it. However, if you want to keep the fancy tag on, please specify in your Paypal order and I'll happily comply.