Saturday, September 09, 2006

Down South of The Border

Last weekend my family and I made a little border run, heading South to Mexico. The border is only about 3 hours south of Phoenix, so we drove down to Tucson (one of my favorite towns) and stayed overnight, then set off early the next morning. We crossed over at Nogales, which is quite easily done by parking your car on the U.S. side and simply walking across, or in our case, running. Oh yeah, and I made the dress I'm wearing for the border run.

Once in Nogales, Mexico, I hit the jackpot and found exactly what I was hoping for: a fabric store carrying a big selection of brightly colored Mexican oilcloth for a fraction of the cost I would have to pay in the U.S. I'm probably the only person who will drive 3 hours to save $50, but I guess I get that from my mother, who would regularly drive to three different markets and spend $20 in gas to save $10 dollars in groceries - at least that's what it seemed like to me when I was young. Now that I'm older I find myself doing the same things, only I drive to two regular markets, two health food stores, I hit Trader Joe's and then I round it all off with periodic visits to Costco. I save absolutely nothing on groceries. Speaking of my Mom, my husband just retrieved one of my favorite portraits of her from our storage unit in L.A. Here it is:

We're almost to the end of the monsoons out here in the desert. I never knew there was a monsoon period in the Arizona desert but there is, and the rain, thunder and lightning get pretty furious. You start thinking of lightning in a whole different way when you and a few saguaro are the tallest things around. If you like dramatic weather, Arizona is the place you oughta be. On the way back to Phoenix, we passed by Picacho Peak as the sun was setting and a big summer thunderstorm was developing. Greg was driving and snapped these shots from our moving car:

Once we got home, I got to work right away and sewed a little pink handbag, using some of the floral designs from the oilcloth. Here's the finished bag:

After whetting my appetite with the pink purse, I decided to see if I could keep my lucky streak going. I hit the thrift stores this morning and it was half-off day! I scored on a bunch of bags full of ribbons, zippers, buttons, elastic and other gaudy items that I plan to work into my projects. My mom would be proud.

I think I'm getting better at cooking and sewing, but it seems that just as I start getting better at one thing there is something else I want to try, and of course, I have my own 3 step method for learning anything new:

Step 1: Suck at it.
Step 2: Freak out, wondering if I can do it the right way.
Step 3: Get all punk rock about it and just dive in.

My daughter is becoming a little PETA militant and has been asking me to help her stencil PETA slogans on her backpack and tee shirts.
I've never done any stenciling, but I love mommy and me craft projects (just ask my oldest daughter).

Maddie shows off the dress and bag combo that I "forced" her to make. She complained the whole time that the skirt was WAY too long.

So we're going to try it. I guess we can just xerox the stencil onto acetate and then cut the letters out with an exacto knife. I wonder how hard it will be to cut out the chickie. I wonder if we should spray or roll on the paint. I wish those damn La Mano guys were around to give me some tips! I'll see if I can find some advice on Craftster, and if anyone out there has any stenciling tips please send them my way.
Obviously, I am on step two.


P.S. Sunday, 7pm. After reading Matt "Max"'s suggestions, we got out the acetate and fabric paint and we did it! Yipee!! Thank you, Max!


Matt "Max" Van said...

For stencils, I would spray, rather than roll. For pre-existing images, like the PETA one, I'd cut out a lot of the process, though, and just go with printing on to transfer paper (which can be purchased rather cheaply at most craft stores) then, just iron it on to the desired cloth object.
But, if we're dead set on stencilling, yes, acetate, or, barring that, high contrast black and white print out, traced onto plastic, cut out with an exacto, placed on stretched out fabric, taped down securely (no leaks) spray paint on very lightly, repeating often until the image is solid. That's my method, anyway.
Next as for Nogie: Ye gads I both love and loathe Nogales. I love the bargains, I love talking with the people, I hate the hard sell on drugs and sex that I get there as a white male. (the assumption seems to be that the only reason why a white guy would be there is to score either valium, viagra, or a hooker).
As for the monsoons: I love the way they seem to eat the day: around about four these clouds roll in like claws, tearing up the sky. Next thing you know, like, by 4:15, it's grey and windy. By 4:45 it's pouring, and by 5:30, it's evening, and dry, with everything looking different, and the sky looking like the Arizona state flag.
Finally, as for saving a buck:
Savers, the Chain store thrift store that you have in Phoenix, and Tucson, has fantastic dollar sales (color coded price tags, and on, say, tuesday, everything with a blue tag is $1). Well, I'm negotiating with relatives that still live in Arizona about working as buyers for me at savers, then, shipping the stuff out to me. I reckon that, ven paying them for labor, paying for shipping, and paying for the stuff would work out to better prices, and better stuff thn driving around Maryland for thrifting out here!

Alice Bag said...

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the great deals I got on drugs and sex while I was in Nogales? ;)

Matt "Max" Van said...

Aw, yeah!

Yer right, maybe it's me. Maybe I just have a face that says "I need valium and a hooker, fast, and cheap!"

darkside777 said...

if sarah see's the shirt/skirt combo you made with your daughter, she will want one too...
Can I send her to you and you can craft together>>>>?
did you get the stuff i mailed?

You, Snow look great! Did you lose weight Alice?

germsburn said...

Your mother is surprise.

K said...

Heh. Cool shirts. By the way, nice title for your blog.