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Embellishment as a Mood-Lifter

More Color!

This gray time of year is enough to take many of us down. This time of year I often burst with the need to make everything around me colorful.

One easy thing to create smiles, is to mail something unbreakable through the US Postal Service (without an envelope). There are folks who do this often, and they frequently call it mailart.

If you can get stamps on it, you can send it Priority Mail. This sort of project must be handed directly to a postal worker over a counter, but other than that it’s easy to do. Sometimes the postal worker hasn’t seen mailart before. The proper response to “don’t you want an envelope?” is “No thank you, I do this all the time.”


Pictured here is a vinyl play ball embellished with permanent ink/handmade rubber stamps, sent to me a number of years ago in a mailart ball exchange. Also, there is a fish which comes apart into an envelope, embellished with stickers, which I sent to Brian’s dad; and an empty bleach bottle rescued from a recycle bin. The bottle was embellished with stickers and permanent markers. Once I sent a plastic yard flamingo (sans legs) to an artist friend in New Hampshire.

The way to get a stamp to stick to plastic is easy. Packing tape sticks to anything, it seems. Stick the packing tape on your item, and the stamp(s) on the tape. Voila! Instant Mailart! It makes you happy, the post office happy (if sent in a month other than December), and the recipient as well. I find this very gratifying. There is no need for anything near perfection, it’s all about energy and fun.

Other Embellishments – Nail Enamel on Hard Surfaces

I did a bit of embellishing last night with fingernail polish on a new speaker for my iPod, and got a bit frustrated. The polish is a very good paint, but the brushes the paint comes with, on the bottle cap, are unacceptable for my needs.

The good news was, even with bad brushes it turned out rather fun! I think it looks like an African or Mideastern drum.


Those who know me understand that I am not a fingernail-polish-on-my-hands sort of artist. However, if you want to paint on an enameled metal surface, or on a hard plastic, it’s an excellent and durable paint. I have an entire shoebox full of fingernail polish bottles in every possible bright color, it’s fun stuff.

So last night, I finally realized it was time for proper tools. I just today purchased my first sable-bristle paintbrushes. I wonder what my first project using them will be?

Finally, the Slooooooow Charlie Brown Sweater

Over the holidays, I got out a project that is solely for me. This is a sweater which has been in the works for over a year. I am not much of a sweater knitter, so I picked a pattern I didn’t write and dove in, with the intent to embellish.

I don’t know why… probably because it is a zigzag pattern, but I’ve long wanted a Charlie Brown-inspired shirt or sweater. We all can relate to bits of Charlie Brown, I think. However, the colors he wears in the comic strip are not my colors. I’m going to see if I can pull this off in my own colors.

I knit much of the front and back last year. I somehow had to fudge making the front and back end up with the same number of stitches without it being a strange shape. After our guild retreat last year, I put it away until Christmas parties beckoned. I worked on the zigzag-stripe embroidery in the car and at a family party one day, it went pretty fast. I just LOVE to embroider.

Here are two pieces, one on top of the other. This is when I was reknitting the shoulders for the 5th time, and before embellishing:


Here I am with both pieces pinned together, after embroidering zigzags:

charliebrownvestwebYou can tell it has been crunched up in my knitting bag, but I rather like the general idea. I sort of like it as a vest. Is it right for me to contemplate skipping out on the sleeves and just making armholes/neck finish?

I did not imagine the v-neck this deep from looking at the pattern, but I sure fudged enough that it’s not the way the designer intended. This makes me think it might just be better as a vest.

On the other hand, it would look less Charlie Brown if it didn’t have sleeves. I won’t be back to working on it for a while, but my mind can ponder the options while I do other things.

Any opinions? I’m all for input. Tell me what you think! (Please.)

3 Responses to “Embellishment as a Mood-Lifter”

  1. Diana Troldahl Says:

    I think the decision between sleeves/no sleeves shoul dbe determined by how much you would use either option.
    And if you decide against sleeves, you can do another charlie brown sweater :-}

  2. Riin Says:

    I love the fish. And yes, sleeves. Vests are never warm enough for me, and I know you have even more trouble staying warm than I do.

  3. kathy b Says:

    Could you fill in the vneck a bit with an upside down v say? I hate to see you add sleeves. It is so cute.

    I would LOVE you to mail some art to me. DO you want to? Email me at Harpnut@gmail.com
    I don’t quite get the fish thing but it is soooo cute. I would love to try this.

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