September 10, 2010

Book Review: Straight Man

Straight Man by Richard Russo
Straight Man: A Novel

The rebel in an English Department is the only man not trying to play the straight man, because in Straight Man by Richard Russo, everyone is trying to play the straight man. Our rebel hero Hank Devereaux plays many different roles: chauvinist, innocent, guilt provoker, ingrate, curmudgeon, misogynist, religious, but never the straight man.  He makes everything interesting; he makes people laugh and/or groan. I am attracted to just such a man, though my version is studying psychology while I am entering the English realm, which explains why I took such perverse delight in Hank’s antics.

The fact that everyone else is so serious and unhappy does indeed evoke the question: Why? Why not take things less seriously and have a little fun? 

There is the right amount of absurdity and the mundane that makes this novel so appealing and truthful. The contrast and interweaving of comedy and tragedy is profound, and while the jokes are often at the expense or because of our hero, Hank is ultimately a likable character. You don't have to be an English major to laugh out loud at this one.

September 2, 2010

Shabby Frames

I bought some dollar tree frames  and thought i would have fun making a lil gift/keepsake for my boyfriend and I. 
Here is the ugly before picture!

The first one I made for myself as it was the experimental one. It was my first time using my mini-drill. It has many different heads you can put on it for sanding, polishing, drilling holes, carving and more. I used the carving tool to carve our initials into the bottom frame of the wood.

After I painted a base of white, I tried crackle painting it, but it didn't work so well.
Be sure that you wait long enough for the crackle medium to dry, and also that you use only one stroke to get the paint on. The second turned out really well once I paid attention to these two factors. It looks cool and it really adds a lot of texture. 

The pink one turned out fun anyway as I played with different layers of paint to create texture. I did have to go back and repaint the lettering white so it would contrast more. 
Washes: Mix a few drops of dark paint with some water.  Paint the wash over all or parts of your frame. If you have some sort of carving or texture the wash will really get into all the crannies and help add to the texture.
Metallics: use metallic paints to add more texture to the frame. On the pink frame I used a bit of bronze paint. Because metallic paints are thicker, it’s easy to rub on just the right amount. Use a paper towel or cloth to rub the paint on and smudge it just right. A little goes a long way.

More painting and distressing tips here!

 Pictures: Try sepia tones, or aging the picture with distressing ink. Draw a silhouette by tracing a picture (remember the shapes are the most important feature when selecting or taking the photo). You can also crinkle and rough up the paper to distress it further.
Finishing Touches! I added some natural-colored yarn in a lil bow around the pink frame to add more three-dimensionality. And here are the finished products! I'm sure I might be changing out the pictures when we actually take some decent pictures of ourselves, but for now it's alright.

 Thanks for reading! <3

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