How to avoid writing

The cabinet of curiosities

The cabinet of curiosities

Okay, honestly, I didn’t start out looking for a way to avoid writing. No, really. Here’s how it happened.

We (my husband and I, not the royal “we”) finally finished our long-term project of stripping the wallpaper from the kitchen/eating area and repainting. It’s not that big an area, but it took us at least six months to complete. With the advent of guests at Christmas, I felt the need to get things in better shape. We moved the wooden cabinet back in from where it and the kitchen table had languished for quite awhile. I’d considered replacing the furniture, because it seemed too “country” for my current tastes. We didn’t find a table we wanted in time, so the old pieces went back in place.

As I was deciding what knick-knacks to go back into the cabinet, I decided on a steampunk theme. I found some old-looking clocks

The clocks

The clocks

at World Market and Target, as well as a ring of skeleton keys, and hung those on the wall to the left of the cabinet. We already had some cool items, including a genuinely antique mustache cup and bowl, and a spice rack with test-tube bottles. My husband loved the idea, and we set out to find other bottles to adorn the shelves.

Aqua Regia label

Kinda cool, but too crisp and modern

Being Donna, I couldn’t just let the bottles go unadorned. I’ve loved making props ever since I freaked out a visitor to an early-1980s Call of Cthulhu game with an aluminum-foil covered dagger (for a campaign-starting auction). I recently read and enjoyed Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim, so I decided to add a label to a cool bottle related to a beverage (maybe not so refreshing) mentioned in the book.

Finished label

Finished label

My first attempt wasn’t so great actually. It looked a bit too fresh. I went in search of methods for aging paper. I based my aging process on this article at Curbly, but it uses coffee. Nobody who lives in or visits my house drinks coffee, but I have plenty of tea, so I substituted that instead. I printed out the label, preheated the oven to 200 degrees and laid the printout in a roasting pan. I brewed a cup of jasmine tea (loose leaf, itself in a most excellent tin, which I’d photograph, but one of my cats is on my arm at the moment), which proved not to be dark enough, so I added some English Breakfast to it. I poured the cup, with bits of leaves in it, and tucked it in the oven.

Way too soggy, so after about five minutes, I poured off the liquid. That did the trick. The instructions say you know when it’s done when the edges begin to curl. That observation made me realize I needed to trim the paper down to the label, or my edges would be too flat.

The finished label, complete with wrinkles

The finished label, complete with wrinkles

Within another two minutes, the label was ready. The writing on it was largely washed away, particularly the red letters. I did achieve an old, faded look and decided to use it until I try again. I affixed it with double-sided tape, and you can see the result below.  I left in the wrinkles, figuring it had been on the shelf a long time and the heat of years got to the glue.

I also obtained some tiny bottles from Advantus by Tim Holtz and 7 Gypsies from Supermart, and used those to create some small labels, using the wonderful set online from Seeing Things that Aren’t Really There blog. Be advised, these bottles really are tiny. I intend to put liquid or powder in them at some point. And hope the police never visit and decide it’s got real wickedness inside.

Lovely tiny bottles full of wickedness

Lovely tiny bottles full of wickedness

 

So there you have it. I’ve found a new way to avoid the writing that I really need to do on my work-in-progress, Revival. I have some more time-wasting craft projects to tell about, but I’ll save that for another post. Happy procrastination!

How do you avoid writing? Share in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Janica Carter says:

    Very cool prop-making/home-decorating! Are you sure you shouldn’t be behind the scenes while your brother is on-stage? You’d make an excellent props manager with your creativity (and mad cataloging skills for prop archiving).

    Now get back to your novel–I haven’t read anything of yours in a while!

    (Yes, I know I just read your short story in the last month, but your readers are becoming more demanding. Just sayin’.)

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