Monday, July 07, 2008

It only took two tries, which, thank gawd.

I don't know what my problem is, but despite the fact that I KNOW I need to test a new craft before I go for the gold creating a final product, I never do it.

No way.

I just get all my supplies ready, most of which are a totally new mystery to me, and I set out to make the perfect vision in my head. I also ignore any nice learned best practices or helpful instructions because certainly I, the all-knower of crafts and art, don't need special instructions even though that is exactly what I need because I am the all-knower of nothing and need to be told (and shown in pictures) exactly how and when and where to do things so they don't come out looking like a pile of shit.

Same usually goes for recipes, car repairs, the garden, get the idea.

Basically, Try #1, with any craft is typically a terrific eye-opening failure.

Which you think I'd know by now. But no. As evidenced by my most recent craft vision, I apparently have no idea that I am a woman who creates with practice, determination and careful instruction following rather than one who creates with raw talent.

It's a tough row to hoe, but that's me: Crafter by Instruction

So, what do you think I did when I decided to make a monogrammed cake plate for my grandma's birthday after seeing Thimbleanna's cute rendition? Well, I obviously first ran out and got all the supplies that Kairle listed on her great and perfect tutorial and 100% ignored the part about getting a glass item which had a nice flat bottom on to which I could paint a reversed monogram just like her photos.


I was like, whatever, I want to give my grandma a cake stand, so I'll just figure it out because I'm all-knowing when it comes to glass etching even though I've never done it before.

You already see where this is going, don't you?

Anyway, I got everything else and then came home all ready in my head to make the cutest glass etched monogrammed cake stand in the history of things and then promptly made an enormous etchy mess out of the cute cake plate I found and loved.

Oh, right. I'm not a skilled glass etcher. Perhaps I should have tried this out on, say, an old jar from the recycle bin first.

OR - maybe now that I've proven that I am not the skilled glass etcher I thought I was, I should go practice on that old jar before embarking on a mission to destroy one of my own cake stands because, you know, now that I've fucked one up, I'm obviously a pro.

I'll let you guess which way I went on this one.

I think the fear is this: I'll do a practice run and by some miracle it'll come out PERFECT. Then, I'll be all, I am such a pro at this, and go to do the real one only to make a big mess and then I'll have wasted my talent on the old jar instead of the cake stand.

I know it is totally irrational and retarded, but this is how my mind works and I'm not proud.

And to save you any undue suspense, I went with option B. I headed directly to my cabinet of serveware and grabbed one of my two glass cake stands for Try #2.

Then I started crossing my fingers.

Thankfully, by some glorious twist of fate likely brought on by my grandma's bulletproof karma (I'm sure Karma doesn't want her getting a fugly birthday present), Try #2 did not come out fucked up.

Que milagro! I was very happy. For some obvious reasons but also because I only had one cake stand left and I was sure I'd mess that one up and have to go back to the store which is a total no-no.

And then, after all the soul-searching and mess making, I was filled with an inspiration to monogram things, so I did.

I wrapped up a get-together type cookbook in white tissue and monogrammed it. Then I wrote out a birthday card and monogrammed the envelope. Then I stacked all those glorious monograms that did not look fucked up all together and tied a bow.

No one had to know what a big loser mess I'd made thinking I was a pro at something which I most certainly was not.

Until my Aunt so astutely asked, at the opening of the gift, "Hey, how many of those did you go through before that one?"

Oh. I've apparently fooled no one with my I'm Such a Pro Crafter masquerade.

And now I can share with you some tips that I learned while creating this glass etched cake stand so that you can ignore me and go make your own mess. Or not! You might be one of the smart ones that can learn from another's mistakes instead of having to see the devastation first hand!

That'd be cool. I envy you.

Anyway, Tip #1: Use a paintbrush just like Kairle says.

So, I ignored this because I only have nice paintbrushes for the few moments in my life when I choose to work on the same painting I've been painting for five years, and instead I used one of those foam brush things.

Does not work as well. It absorbs the cream rather than distributing the cream and ends up taking a lot longer to apply and then also pushes the cream under the edges of your carefully Xacto'd letters until things come out ugly and you have to start over on your own belongings.

Tip #2: Really adhere that contact paper to your glass piece.

The first time I didn't do a good job of this, so all those pointy edges from those serif fonts kept getting lifted off by the pesky foam brush and, well, it made an irretrievable mess. SO - once you have your Xacto'd contact paper right on your glass, cover it with a piece of paper and rub evenly all over it to make sure that contact paper, and all its pesky edges, are really on there.

Tip #3: Don't use serif fonts. Use "a large, cute font. Unless you're a glutton for punishment..."

You can see from my final product that I just went whole hog ignoring this sage advice. In fact, I *might* have been able to get away with Try #1 had I used a large, cute font instead of a large, punishing font with serifs BUT WHATEVER.

And that's all I learned. I learned first hand exactly all the things that both Anna and Kairle warned against in tutorials and emails and blog comments. Because my head is thick like that and I need to make the mess myself to see that, nope, that doesn't work.

BUT - my grandma received a nice monogrammed cake stand for which I did NOT have to apologize and I have a future nice cake stand that will be receiving another ill-advised glass etching treatment to cover up the mess I made during Try #1.

One day, I'll learn.


  1. That's pretty awesome. It would never occur to me to even try something like that. Oh, and . . .

    "No one had to know what a big loser mess I'd made thinking I was a pro at something which I most certainly was not."

    No one except the entire Internet, that is. :-)

  2. beautiful - and I am right there - so seldom test anything (like knitting I hate to swatch) and I dive right in to bake or make something with just enough time and...slam

  3. too funny! I had to highlight you on my blog. hope you don't mind that I poked a little fun in the same vein as your post.


  4. That turned out great! I etched something years ago. It turned out okay, but I remember it being a nightmare. It was very intricate.

  5. Man Finny, that cake plate is AWESOME! A monogram AND a cake plate -- you're a genius!!! And hysterically funny I might add, but we've long ago established that. You're aunt's comment about the number of tries cracked me up too. I'll bet Grandma was just beaming!!!

  6. I learn best by experience than by reading. That cake plate turned out fantastic. But next time practice on something cheap, like recyclables!

  7. First of all, beautiful cake stand! Second, your story cracked me up! I could totally picture it being me doing all of the don'ts. Thank you THANK YOU for posting this and letting me know that I'm not the only one who has the screw things up a few times before getting it down.

  8. OK, when do you sleep, girl? You garden. You bake. You cook. You preserve things. You knit. You sew. You craftize. You run. You blog. Hell, for all I know you also leap tall buildings at a single bound, put the ridges in Ruffles, and know who wrote the book of love.

    What are you on and can I have some?

  9. So beautiful! Another trick that saves time is to run the contact paper through one of those cricket cutters.

  10. Ok, you have to give yourself major props for pulling off something like that - that's really nice!!! Seriously! Mistakes or's not like you're gonna be a master at this stuff until you try it.

    But don't you ALSO want to show us the messed up one??? ;-) C'moooon, you know you want to!

  11. It looks great! Thank you for this post, because I have been thinking about doing glass etching and I probably would not have done it on a jar headed for the recycling bin...

  12. DIG it! And can you believe I own a bottle of Armor Etch from a long time ago project in which I etched fall leaves on my bathroom window. AND KEPT THE BOTTLE BECAUSE OF COURSE I'LL ETCH AGAIN! Cool!

    Loving the new look too! Esp. the goggles. ;o)

  13. Seriously? You made that? I haven't made anything in what seems like forever and I cannot believe you created that gorgeous plate and stationery. Actually, I can believe it.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.