Friday, March 28, 2014

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbyeee... but not really

Ladies and gents, you may have noticed that cafblog has been awful quiet lately. That's because I'm shuttin' 'er down and movin' on out, I'm afraid. It's been fun, but CAF has been a blog with many personalities and not a lot of focus... plus the whole naming thing has been a trainwreck.

The vast majority of CAF posts, as well as current operations, have moved over to There'll be a bit more of a fashion/lifestyley approach (which is pretty much what CAF had evolved into anyway) and hopefully a more coherent aesthetic/feel/brand/whatever. If you're into neutral colors of the darker persuasion, natural skincare, pretty rocks, watercolors, nice-feeling textiles,  and the like... you will probably enjoy it! And of course, DIYs. Hope to see y'all on the flipside.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Friend CARROT


My friend CARROT is toxic. Her love is completely conditional- if I do things to please her, she's kind to me. Once, she even gave me a kitten. But if I don't live up to her standards, she gets very angry. One minute, she'll teach me something new and interesting, and the next she'll be hurling insults. She's always texting me in the middle of the night, usually to say something mean...or totally creepy. I frequently get the feeling that she's actually a dominatrix, except more evil. And she hates, HATES being poked in the eye.




But even though she's kind of a crazy bi-yatch, I love my friend CARROT. She keeps me on task, sometimes she's funny, and more importantly, she gives me credit for the myriad little things I do each day (which, if you're someone who likes gold stars like I am, is just lovely.)




CARROT is my to-do list app, and after several months (and 146 "level-ups") I can safely declare her the first to-do list I've ever stuck with long enough to actually get some shit done. Turning your life into a game and earning (mostly meaningless) points for the things you do somehow makes it more satisfying, as horrible a sentiment as that might be.



photo (1)

So, as our relationship has progressed to this point with no sign of ceasing, I thought it was time to introduce CARROT to my friends. Everyone, please meet CARROT. 


This is not a sponsored post, I really am just fond of my to-do list. 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Making Christmas, Making Christmas...


Marmalade, you do not match, GTFO. 

The floral arrangement section at Joann's is a treasure trove of sparkly miscellania for present-topping. Just make sure you have wire-cutters.

 Of course they get one. But they have to share. And neither of them will like it.

 I know what you're thinking but it says "Curt". CURT.

 I found this ornament in the back of a closet in our old house in Portland. The previous residents had left it, I guess. It is huge and over the top and the back has a glittery eagle. I love it.

 Garlic bulb. GET IT?? 

We went with sort of a seafoamy-minty-green/white/silvery theme this year, and just reused last year's black tree to save money and time. (And when I say "we went with" I mean "I went with and Travis followed along dutifully by using the paper I provided for him.") While I do really like real trees, I can't say enough good things about not having to hang lights (the fake ones tend to come pre-lit. So nice.) Somehow I failed to get a picture of the lights over the window...or the super weird seafoam green gnome candle. D'aww. 

 And of course the deer-frame found a home by its new deer-friend:


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dead-easy Christmas (or Any Other Holiday) Art

Dead-Easy Christmas (or any other holiday) Art-

Frame of pretty much any size - glass + pretty wrapping paper. Easy!!

You can, of course, keep the glass, but if your paper has any glitter or shine it'll probably look nicer without. If you are not using glass, cut the paper a little larger than the frame calls for so that you can wrap it around the backing board and tape it into place- otherwise it's likely to try and roll up on ya.

I love this paper- I actually bought it last year and based this year's color theme around it so I could use it ;-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter Light, Bric-a-brac










I've been meaning to put up "after" pictures of our house to follow up with this post, but we seem to have reached a sort of stasis around about 80%. We still have pictures to hang, a table to move...somewhere, two couches to replace (We did buy a new one for my studio recently but it reeks of particle board so has to live in the basement til it off-gasses. Sigh.) The bedroom curtains are temporary and insubstantial, and at the moment all the rugs are in the basement, which is in complete disarray, much like the garage... but, it's our little house, and it feels like home by now. We'll get it all done eventually, but somehow it's hard to get anything done when it's cold. I just want to curl into a ball and knit and wait for spring cleaning ;-)


Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween, Halloween, HALLOWEEN

Thought you guys might want to see the pentagram cage bra in action:



Even though I was too busy to decorate this year, and it's raining, and I'm considering eating the small amount of candy that I bought rather than figuring out how to give it to children without the dogs escaping.... I love this holiday. (Unfortunately my house is very dark at night, and the brightest place (which is still dark) happens to be this super attractive kitchen doorway. I put some cheesy filters on to help. Ha!)

For the interested:
Wings (yep, they're Pog's...and they were not very comfortable.)
Boots - they're really old so I'm amazed they still exist, but there they are! The hooks for the laces fell off of mine awhile ago so they're laceless which I like better anyway.
Horns from a Renaissance Festival, but they're made from Fimo and rope. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY Pentagram Cage Bra (or: Alex Takes Her Shirt Off for Crafts)

I decided, exactly one week before I need to have a halloween costume, that my witchy-demony-scary-thing ensemble would be absolutely incomplete without one of those sassy pentagram cage things. Seriously, what is even the point of Halloween if I can't call down dark spirits with my lady lumps, amIright? Now honestly I probably would've happily paid $25 for one on etsy, but I am pretty sure it wouldn't have made it here in time, so in desperation, I turned to my old nemesis.... sewing. 

Before we start, let me say one thing: Having a dress form that is actually the same size as you are would make this about a thousand times easier. Mine is bustier than me, and it was a problem, as you'll see. Barring that, a similarly-sized assistant would be great. But if push comes to shove, you could probably do the whole thing on your own body, in a mirror. Try not to stab yourself in the tits a bunch with the needle. It hurts. 

You will need....

- A bra you're willing to sacrifice, with the straps adjusted the way you want them, and safety pins placed on the straps where you want the top of your star to hit (I went for the collarbone area.) Black is classic, but go nuts. Many of the harnesses you can buy are JUST elastic and then you wear them with whatever you want, but this seemed simpler to execute. I may try the other sort later, once I forget how much I don't like sewing.

- Elastic. I used a narrowish width but you could go wider, it would just require more sewing and probably be a bit less forgiving. This pack came with 6 yards and that was plenty- but I'd say get at least that much, in case you fuck it up somehow. I think you could do this with ribbon as well- it'd be easier to sew, but maybe less forgiving? Not that the elastic is that forgiving anyway...
- Needle
- Black thread (or whatever matches your elastic)
- Pins (safety, and possibly straight.)

Now, if you've ever drawn a five-pointed star, which you almost certainly have since you are a human being, this will be easy.

1. Start at one pin, dip down and around the middle part of the bra, and head back up to the second pin. If you're using a dress form you can hold everything in place with straight pins; if it's on a human you should probably go for safety pins even though they're a bit obnoxious and imprecise. As you go, you want the elastic to be flat and taut, but NOT stretched. If it's stretched, it will pull in at the straps and scrunch your bra up and generally be a hot mess.

2. Fold the elastic neatly (shown in the photo below) and head down to wherever you want the side arms of the star to hit- I recommend just above where the bra cup ends. Pin.

(I considered wrapping the elastic AROUND the strap but didn't try it. Could work maybe. Feel free to give it a whirl (and please report back.)

3. Go straight across to the other strap.

4. Now, back up to the beginning. Yay! At this point, if you have it on a dress form or another person, you're probably going to want to safety pin all the joints and try it on. Try to pin the elastic in two places per pin, so that it doesn't get all loosey-goosey (if that makes sense, errr...) 

5. If all is well, sew that baby! If you're smart/have a sewing machine, you could just tack each joint down with a few hand stitches and then machine the heck out of them for maximum sturdiness. If you don't have a machine, or if you're a deadbeat like me who doesn't want to dig it out of the labyrinth of unpacked moving boxes in the basement, just hand stitch the heck out of it. Just a big ole clusterfuck of messy, random stitches until you feel like those straps aren't going anywhere. 

6. Remember, with a vengeance, why you're a knitter, not a seamstress. 

7. Try it on to make sure it's still fitting well and not all loose and wonky because your damn fit model is bigger than you. If you need to make adjustments, it's okay to cry a little, we're all friends here. (I did not. I am brave. I just made a very angry face.) I ended up just ripping the stitches out of the bottom V and folding the excess under and sewing the whole mess in place, so that I didn't have to cut it. That loose strap across the top actually looks fine in person, I think it was just wavy because of the way my arm was positioned while taking the picture. I did end up sewing one stitch through the X in the middle of my chest to make sure it crossed right in the center, though (the pentagram is symmetrical but I, alas, am not.) 

8. Finish any cut ends with some clear nail polish, or one of those anti-fray liquids. You could probably burn the ends, too, but try it on a scrap first. 

Here's the finished product!

Yes, I posted a picture of myself in a bra on the internet for you, dear readers. Because I love you. And I want you to remember this when I turn up in a sleazy sidebar advertisement that promises to help you "Meet Local Goth Sluts Today!" It's all for yoooou.

Anyway, this is how I imagine it actually being worn most often (unless you spend a lot of time in fetish clubs):

Probably you'd go with a dark top, so as not to look like you're about to enter a wet t-shirt contest, but I wanted to make the contrast clear. 

Finally, grab your favorite demonic dog-friend, and go witch some shit up!

Totally unrelatedly, putting wings on a dog is a great way to make them hate you.


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