Friday, June 20, 2014

laugh lines

  When I was a little girl, I was always attracted to older people with laugh lines.  Those were the strangers that would smile at you, those were the people who would know how to cheer you up, those were the people quick to laugh and hug, and those were the people whose lifetime of laughter and fun were etched upon their faces.   I loved following the deeply etched laugh lines of a face with my eyes and wondering what stories made them. 

  Then the inevitable growing up began, and when I was barely out of puberty I was told to start right now to avoid getting those nasty wrinkles when I was older.  Even now, I am constantly bombarded by anti-wrinkle creams and friends lamenting the start of their dreaded crow’s feet.  And that little girl inside me is looking at the corner of their eyes with her own eyes filled with tears, her lower lip trembling because to her those crow’s feet are just baby laugh lines and she still thinks they’re the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen.  

  My favourite people still have the deepest, strongest laugh lines creasing through their face like rays of sunshine when they laugh.  Sorry, folks, I want those.  I want my middle-aged and older face to tell the story of a million peals of easy laughter and good times and joy, not a lifetime of worrying about wrinkles.  I see those crow’s feet in the mirror and wonder to myself, am I laughing enough to earn those future badges of honour?  

   Am I laughing enough?

  Am I laughing enough in this lifetime to become the sort of person little girls will recognize as a happy, joyful person?   Or am I falling for the vanity I feel is imposed upon myself to become something that I’m not, something that is unhappy and unnatural, something that my childhood self would have pitied?

  Nah.  I’m having too much fun for that.    

Thursday, February 27, 2014

DIY wood stain (that you can use indoors!)

  I have been working on a project that just didn’t seem complete without a wood stain.  Unfortunately, it’s far too cold outside for that, and using a traditional wood stain inside would definitely make me sick.  

  So I started searching google and pinterest for some DIY wood stains and found some great ideas.  I set up some experiments to see what I liked best…

…but nothing grabbed me.

  Then inspiration struck.  

  I grabbed my olive oil.  I grabbed some blue pigment.  I mixed them up and slathered them on and waited while the wood drank it in.  Then I rubbed off the excess and much to my surprise I had exactly what I was dreaming of! 

  The blue seeped its deepest into the lighter spots while the olive oil honeyed the darker knots in the wood, resulting in a very happy looking union of tones.  

  If you’d like to try this yourself, here’s my recipe:  1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to ¼ teaspoon of blue pigment (I used some of Evening’s Natural Earth Paints) and mix well.  Make as large a batch as you think you’ll need, since it will be hard to get an exact match from batch to batch.

  Apply a thick coat onto your sanded, ready-for-finishing wood with a brush.  It will look MUCH darker than the finished result at this point.  Leave that for the wood drink in for about an hour and a half. 

  While that’s happening, make a batch of beeswax sealant to protect your colour later.  You can make this with 1 Tbsp of beeswax with 6 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Combine the two in a glass bowl/jar/cup and set in a pan with about 2 inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, all the while stirring the wax and oil in the glass.  Once the beeswax has melted completely, remove from heat and set aside to cool.  

  Using a rag, begin to rub off the excess stain from your project.  Once finished, begin to apply the beeswax sealant with a fresh rag.  Apply thickly.  If you have any sealant left over, you can store for up to a year and use as a polish (though if you have any pigment in the jar like I did be sure to only use it on this project!).  

  Leave for one hour, then rub off with another fresh rag, revealing a beautiful and safe, natural stain on your wood.  

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