Archive | December, 2012

How to Make an R2D2 Trash Can

30 Dec

Alternate title: How to Make the Best Christmas Present Ever

A few months ago my brother went to the Container Store with my parents. He found a small, rounded trash can and joked about it looking like R2D2. My mother, ever observant, relayed the experience to me over Skype. “You should buy it and paint it to look like R2D2 as a Christmas present!”

It seemed like a great idea. I’m a sucker for an art project and it seemed easy enough — just blue, black and silver paint, right? I was forgetting one minor detail — I can’t forget minor details. I couldn’t just draw some circles and rectangles, paint a few blue, and call it R2D2. I went to the library, checked out the Illustrated Guide to Star Wars, and made sure my little trash can resembled R2D2 as closely as possible. There was a lot of painter’s tape and measuring involved. But all the time and effort were worth it — my brother loved it. I know this because he immediately Instagrammed it with the caption “My sister hand painted an r2d2 for me. She rules so hard.” And then he chastised me for not taking more progress photos because I could have made an epic Reddit post. This is the only progress picture I took:

r2d2 trash can design

And it was on my crappy iTouch camera!

I took a bunch of photos when I was finished though.

r2d2 trash

r2d2 garbage can

But nothing beats the picture my brother took on Christmas, with the magical tree and presents background:

r2d2 trash can

And now, if anyone happened upon this post because of my search engine-friendly title, here are some tips if you want to make an awesome-o Christmas present for a Star Wars fan:

1. Use an oil pastel (I used grey) to sketch out your design, then use painter’s tape to draw straight lines with permanent marker. Rub off the oil pastel with a tissue. Look at photos online of R2D2 from various angles, or check out an illustrated Star Wars book from the library.

2. Use metallic silver and blue acrylic paint. The metallic blue especially packs a punch compared to matte. I think that’s what’s missing on this example I found on Apartment Therapy:


3. If you forgot to buy red paint or just don’t want to for one tiny area, cut the red light out of red paper and glue it on.

4. Once the paint has dried, cover the entire trash can in Modge Podge to seal it.

5. Don’t ever touch it or actually use it as a trash can, because the paint will peel and flake. I’m only slightly kidding about that, but even with the Modge Podge I’m afraid my handiwork won’t last long. But hey, it was a fun project and present and at least we have the photos! I hope R2 is enjoying his new home in Louisville.

How Christmas is different as an adult

24 Dec

Tonight I found myself asking, “How early do we have to get up tomorrow to open presents?” instead of “How early can we get up?!”

I also look forward to giving gifts instead of receiving them (although that’s still quite nice too!)

As usual, more (including photos of the awesome present I made for my brother) after the holiday.

Merry Christmas!

pug hump santa

Cheers to the best weekend ever

21 Dec

I know it’s been embarrassingly long since I’ve made a proper update, but first things first:

Why don’t they sell stirrup pants anymore? Skinny jeans are still big, leggings are huge, and both of these are a pain to tuck into boots — unless you have stirrups. I was a big fan of stirrup pants growing up and stumbled upon a pair of stirrup leggings by accident at the Gap Clearance Center a couple years ago (have I written about that place before? It really deserves its own entry). I bought them for some ridiculously low price like $2, fixed the small hole in them, and they’ve been my go-to boots pants ever since. I wanted to get another pair, but can’t seem to find stirrup pants anywhere, except on ebay, where they come from China. As much as I love China and all things that come from there, if the tights and leggings I buy in the US are often too short on me, I doubt I’ll have any luck with one-size-fits-all stirrup pants from China. So the search continues, albeit not too seriously, because as my lack of updates shows, I’ve been busy.

So I went to Chicago. And Milwaukee. I have this habit of downplaying things (My standard response to “How’s London?” is either “rainy” or “expensive”), but it was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. Truly. The kind that makes you immediately calculate when it can happen again (as you’re riding the Amtrak still a little buzzed from the night before), even though you know it will never happen again — not like that, at least. Everything went swimmingly, from meeting up with old friends and coworkers in Chicago, to celebrating my friend’s birthday Milwaukee-style (yes, a mechanical bull was involved. No, I did not ride it). Perhaps most importantly, I managed to reach that golden amount of alcohol where everything is hilarious, but you’re not sick. That is definitely something that I’ll likely not achieve again. Perhaps the only snafu of the trip was when the Chinese consulate told me I’m supposed to go to DC to get a Chinese visa because they have “jurisdiction” over people from Kentucky, despite Chicago being closer and easier for me to travel to. They still issued me a visa, but it’s only good for six months and two entries, unlike the usual multiple entries good for a year. It’s funny, last year when I went to Chicago my main reason was to get the Chinese visa. But this trip felt more about visiting friends and spending time in my former home, the visa was just a nice bonus. Even if I can no longer include the Chinese consulate in my yearly Chicago agenda, I think I’ll still be making yearly Chicago and Milwaukee visits. Megabus makes it hard not to.

And now some photos that likely won’t mean anything to anyone unless you’re familiar with the evolution of Chicago’s State Street:

Finally visited the Chicago Christkindlmarket and had some delicious mulled wine.

I visited the Chicago Christkindlmarket for the first time and had some delicious mulled wine.

The old Carson Pirie Scott building on State Street is now a Target!

The old Carson Pirie Scott building on State Street is now a Target!

Now there's a DSW on State Street?! Probably good I don't live near there anymore...

Now there’s a DSW on State Street?! Probably good I don’t live near there anymore…

The old Loehmann's is now a giant Walgreens, complete with an expansive wine section.

The old Loehmann’s is now a giant Walgreens, complete with an expansive wine section.

What are you doing, Old Navy? You belong on the other side of State Street!

What are you doing, Old Navy? You belong on the other side of State Street!


What do fluffy penguins and salsa dancing Chihuahuas have in common?

11 Dec

I’ve been rubbish about posting lately, and it’s likely to get worse as I venture to Chicago and Milwaukee this weekend. Here are some excuses as to why I haven’t been posting: work, family, baking, eating, shopping and looking up important things on the Internet.

To tide you over until I can make a proper post, here is a photo I took at the Cincinnati Zoo of a creepy fluffy baby bird telling off his parent:


More photos of awesome animals — including Squirt! — when I return in a week.


OK, fine, here’s a salsa-dancing Chihuahua too.

salsa chihuahua

Stoplights, As and 4s, and London, Kentucky

3 Dec

Before I begin, allow me to post a photo of my pants:

boston terrier pants

Yes, friends, I am finally in possession of magical Boston terriers wearing santa hats pants. And they were on sale plus 40 percent off, so I got them cheaper than I would have had I bought them on Thanksgiving. So thanks, Old Navy employees who had no idea where they were then.

I went to Walmart today for an eye exam. I don’t go to Walmart often. Not because of some hoity-toity “I watched a documentary on Netflix” beliefs, but because it’s not exactly close to my house and the sheer size of the superstore and parking lot scares me. Sometimes when I’m in London walking everywhere I miss the convenience of driving, but today I wished I could walk to Walmart. The store is only four miles from my house — a supposed 10-minute drive — but I got stuck at every stoplight and was late for my appointment. At least when you’re walking you can jaywalk. And then I swear it took another five minutes just to get from the turn in to the parking lot to an actual open parking space. Thankfully the vision center was near the front door, or else it’d be another 10 minutes just to walk from one end to the other.

While I’m on a complaining roll, I don’t like eye exams. I’m always convinced I got something wrong. I remember during my very first eye exam for contacts in eighth grade the doctor said, “Read the letters for me.” I saw a distinct “4” but since he said “letters,” I said “A.” And since I was still painfully shy at that age, I didn’t correct him or change my answer, so I probably got the wrong prescription. Every time I go I swear my prescription changes by .25. Are my eyes really getting worse, or am I just bad at the test? “Which is better, 1 or 2?” “Can I see 1 again?” “2… no, wait, they’re the same, no, maybe 1…” I’ve had many eye exams since eighth grade and I still can’t seem to get things right. So I left today with a prescription .25 worse than last time, but at least the eye exam was cheap. And I found Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa at Walmart, which they don’t sell at Kroger, as well as cinnamon chips, which apparently are like chocolate chips, but cinnamon. I’m excited to use both in oatmeal, but probably not at the same time.

I’ll leave you with this eye doctor quote of the day:

“There’s really something not right about a person whose first thought is ‘London, Kentucky.'”

(After I told him I was visiting from London, England and he jokingly replied, “Not London, Kentucky?” And I told him he’d be surprised by how many people first ask “London, Kentucky?” I was going to devote a whole blog post to the phenomenon, it’s happened that much. Some I hope are joking, but I’m afraid too many are serious. Perhaps I just need to fake a British accent.)