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#66: Baseball Spider

Do you know that Major League Baseball season starts today? Yeah, it's true. And I hope the Twins stick it to everyone. I made this spider in honor of a long-time American tradition but also to glorify my home team. There are a couple of things I love about this spider: 1) I found, by chance, the bat, ball, and glove charms that are used as the spider's leg, head, and well, glove, respectively, and 2) I used an old Twins vs. Yankees game ticket from my poor excuse for a scrapbook. The home game took place on September 7 (my husband's birthday) in 1991, the last time the Twins won the World Series. They were upper deck seats with my mom, brother, and sister, but the tickets were a mere $3. That's not just cheap; that's dirt cheap.

Back then, I loved so many players on the team. Gagne, Gladden, Hrbeck, Knoblauch, Puckett....oh, man, remember Kirby Puckett?? Yes, I know you do. The way they would call his name and he would strut up to the base. You were almost sure he'd hit a home run every time. You hoped he would. You never lost faith even when he didn't. And now a legend is gone.

But this spider is here, and he'll carry the torch.

Materials: pendant; baseball ticket; baseball, bat, glove, and star charms; red, blue, and gray bugle beads; silver seed beads; red and blue E beads; silver wire

#65: Nancy Drew Spider

Be An Interplanetary Spy (Martinez, 1984)
I never read Nancy Drew growing up. I read one Trixie Beldon, a bunch of Choose Your Own Adventures (my absolute fave is Be An Interplanetary Spy #6: The Star Crystal, which I purchased at a school book fair in 4th or 6th grade with my friend Bonnie, who was nuts over Harriet the Spy), an Agatha Christie, and a whole lot of V.C. Andrews (which is kinda like mystery, if you think about it). But there's something so charming and invigorating about Nancy, so I had to make this spider and then take a picture of it under the "hood" of my R.C. Allen typewriter that I got for my 16th birthday from my mom.

What kid doesn't love to spy or solve mysteries? When I was a kid, my cousin Erin, my brother, and I would spy on relatives at family gatherings with trusty little spiral notepads and write down conversations word for word, then report back to headquarters. This was before mini-recorders (which is also way before all of this digital hoo-haw, if you're wondering what I'm talking about). Once upon a time, a good sleuth had to use her own God-given senses to solve a mystery. Listen. Look. Smell. Absorb. Fit together pieces of a puzzle. Lock people in a jail cell sitting outside of your uncle's bike shop until they fessed. That last part will only make sense to Erin and Matt, but maybe you can imagine.

Inside Greta's sleuth kit
My 9-year-old daughter Greta fancies herself a sleuth. She particularly hunts for ghosts, but she has a lot of tools for her trade including a Nancy Drew sleuth kit that I made for her for her birthday with various pouches for storing a magnifying glass, Miss A Kit (like a Swiss Army knife but with girlie stuff), invisible ink, clue journal, spy pen, and more. Young detectives must be encouraged so that they can some day save the world!

A quick note about the making of this spider: I used Shrinky Dink plastic again so that I could draw the silhouette of Nancy and shrink it down to spider size. I used copper tape for the edges of the melted plastic, then antiqued the whole thing with gold paint and light green patina. I made the legs out of paper-wrapped beads from an old fallen-apart dictionary that belonged to my great grandfather. I think the whole spider has the perfect aged look. Some things only get better with Nancy Drew.

Materials: Shrinky Dink plastic, copper tape, paint and patina, pearl bead, dictionary paper-wrapped beads, blue E beads, gold seed beads, gold wire

#64: Calla Lily Spider

This white plastic flower piece is an impossible one. I bought it years ago and just never had the right project for it. It has the potential for being really elegant. The earrings I made never looked right because the flower faced downward. I made a beaded bookmark that was okay, but what do you know? A spider is by far the best way to show it off. The problem is, with this spider, which end is up?

Materials: plastic calla lily bead, yellow bugle beads, yellow seed beads, green leaf bead, green bugle beads, green and off-white seed beads, silver wire

#63: Matryoshka Spider

I wish I could say that this is a spider that steadily decreases in size upon removing several outer shells, but the wooden Matryoshka doll piece is from a key chain. I love the colors, which is why I couldn't pass this up. My earliest memory of a Matryoshka doll is probably the tongue-clicking charm of a stop-action segment from Sesame Street.

Materials: Matryoshka doll focal piece, wooden bead, turquoise and light blue glass bugle beads, metallic gold seed beads, round red glass beads, gold wire

#62: Parlor Spider

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

#61: Golden Snitch Spider

I have been so excited to share this spider, which didn't start out as a Golden Snitch at all. I had a brass bell, probably from some Christmas decoration, in my beading stash, and I thought about using it for a spider. It was the right size, but I didn't want to make a bell spider. That would be boring. I used may beading tools to pry and curl the bottom pieces of the bell up and away to remove the piece inside. What I now had looked like a very enormous bead or acorn cap. So I did what I usually do when I'm holding something unusual in my hand--I stare at it. And I think about it. And I turn it over in my hand trying to imagine it as something else. I decided to make it an all-gold spider until I could maybe find a cool bead or stone to glue to the base.

I started working on the head, for which I decided to use a couple of Industrial Chic metal fibers because they had balled tips that were perfect as spider eyes. The metal fibers were long like spider legs but thicker than the wire I usually use for spider legs. So once I had looped the fibers through the top of the bell and angled them up, figuring I would just use them for the spider's front legs, I realized I wouldn't be able to fit any beads on the wires. I ignored those wires while I attached the 8 spider legs and beaded them, which is about when I realized that I could use the metal fibers as a base on which to add wings. And then, as you might guess, the word Golden Snitch just popped in my head. The fibers were just the right length, the spider was golden, and all the creature needed was something to make it more than just a spider.

Finding the wings, honestly, was the hardest part because I spent so much time looking for gold metal mesh, something that was maybe used as a filter or as part of another product that I could remove and cut up. I won't bore you with the details of my quest except to say that after a couple of hardware stores and a phone call to my brother, who is a plumber, I ended up at Michaels, which I had been avoiding because I'd already looking for metal mesh for another project and couldn't find it. Ribbon, as it turned out, was the closest thing to finely woven gold mesh that I could find anywhere. I knew it would fray when I tried to cut a wing shape, and I didn't even know if I could get the wing attached to the wire, but at $3.99 for a roll of wired ribbon, it was worth a shot. I guess the crafting gods were looking down upon me. A soon as I cut out the wings, I dabbed at the cut edges with gold metallic paint and let the wings dry. After that, I cut off any extra fibers sticking out and bent each wired end inward so that it could fold under the metal fiber for a finished look. Then I applied a thin strip of E-6000 glue to the metal fiber and gently pressed each wing into place. If I just had some kind of miniature motor, my golden snitch spider really would look like a golden snitch. Instead, you have to imagine it in flight.

After 61+ spiders I will say that I am not as much impressed by the variety of spiders that I already have or am planning to make but the process by which my mind arrives at ideas. This creativity project, for me, has been about discovering my process. I know that I can make a spider, but how do I arrive at a particular finished spider? I have been wanting to read The Creativity Question by Albert Rothenberg and Carl R. Hausman, in which the authors discuss the definition, origin, and nature of creativity. Understanding why we create--what makes our brain operate in such a way that a creative product is the result of an idea--is even more interesting than what we create.

Materials: brass bell, metallic gold grooved bead, metal fibers, ribbon, paint, gold bugle beads, gold seed beads, gold E beads, gold wire

#60: Peace Spider

My original intention with the sea shell was to make many tiny diorama-type sea shells and sell them (at the seashore--just kidding) as pins. A few years ago, I bought some really tiny reprinted vintage photographs from someone on Etsy. In addition to buttons, sequins, and beads, they seemed perfect for a unique take on the bottlecap pin. But just this one seashell took a while to compose, and then it just sat and sat and sat. It's difficult, as most crafters know, to build an inventory of unique pieces that require time and a unique stash of supplies to create, so this sea shell became a spider instead.

Materials: shell, vintage photograph, blue metallic gift bag grass, scrapbook sticker, shell buttons, sequin, flower beads, blue and coral focal beads, coral bugle bead shards, sea green glass seed beads, white glass bugle beads, coral pink-coated wire

#59: Wild at Heart Spider

I went through a Lynch phase in college. It began with me telling my dad that The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover is the weirdest movie ever made. You can see my mistake right away. There is NO stranger movie than a Lynch movie. My dad told me to watch Eraserhead, a movie that sent my brain spiraling down the rabbit hole. Wha-? Huh? I love symbolism in movies and books, but I couldn't make any sense at all of the movie. I began renting other Lynch films: Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Fire Walk With Me and the rest of the Twin Peaks series.

Wild at Heart wasn't Lynch's weirdest creation, not by a long shot. And the movie only grossed $14 million with a budget at just $10M. In addition to the typical bizarreness and violence in Lynch movies, Wild at Heart also includes allusions to The Wizard of Oz and references to Elvis Presley. But what I remember most is the fire.

I didn't really make this spider as an homage to Lynch's Wild at Heart, but the colors and design that the metal charm evoked for me went in that direction. I could have just as easily written a description of Disney's Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, which was released a year after Wild at Heart, about a runaway orphan's dream to become a diving girl in a horse show, but that would be a stretch. This spider speaks more of a damaged relationship, a haunted past, and a tormented future. Long live Sailor and Lula!

Materials: Tandy metal heart charm; red and orange glass beads; red, orange, and yellow glass bugle beads; red and orange E beads; silver seed beads; silver wire

#58: Scrabble Spider

I gotta say, I'm kind of a big deal at Scrabble. Not the regular board game, HECK no. I mean, you can't lay your tiles down, find out whether it's a word, then start over with a new word. But in the digital world, watch out. On Facebook, I've won 18 of 22 games (but really haven't played in a long time). On my Kindle, I'm undefeated. And what crafter hasn't meddled with Scrabble tiles. On Etsy, you'll find pendants galore, and I've had my own fun idea for using them that I haven't gotten to quite yet. I inherited my grandma's old Scrabble board game, so now I have lots more tiles, the tile shelves, and the board. What to do?? First things first, the Scrabble spider. Note the pink and blue of the legs to match the double- and triple-word spaces on the game board.

Materials: Scrabble tile, wooden bead, metallic pink bead, pink and blue glass bugle beads, off-white and black seed beads, blue plastic seed beads, silver wire

#57: Shrinky Dink Spider

Shrinky Dinks were first sold in a mall in Wisconsin the month and year of my birth, October of 1973. I never played with Shrinky Dinks as a child. It wasn't until adulthood and before kids that I discovered how much fun it could be to watch a drawing on plastic shrink to one third of it's original size in the oven in a 1-minute time frame. The same day that I made the teeny tiny man to go with my Archival Vertigo Spider (see #50), my 9-year-old daughter made the planet Jupiter and my 5-year-old drew a picture of her best friend, almost completely filling their 8.5 X 11 sheets of rough and ready plastic. Then we all crouched in front of the oven window to watch our pieces twist and bend until they finally flattened out again into smaller, brighter, less brittle works of art than we started with.

Later that day, I used varied colors of permanent art markers to make wavy lines on some rough and ready plastic for a marbled look. Then, I cut a circle out of the colored lines, punched holes in the top and bottom of the circle with a paper punch, and put my piece in the oven until it was about halfway through the shrinking process. When I removed it, this was the result—a warped, concave piece that I could use for the body of a spider.

Materials: Shrinky Dink plastic, square brass spacer, round amber bead, green glass bugle beads, topaz glass seed beads, sky blue E beads, mustard yellow-coated wire

#56: Pilot Spider

The story of why I made this spider is really boring. I had made all of these glass word-definition baubles of various words like "memory" (see Day 23 in archives) and "hope" (see Day 27 in archives). But when I came upon "always" amongst my beading pieces, I didn't really know what to do with it until my friend Jenni and I had a bead swap and she gave me a brass charm of an airplane. Remember the 1989 Spielberg movie "Always"? It was the first thing to come to mind. It was sort of a flop as far as Spielberg movies go, and as a 15-year-old, the movie probably didn't mean much for me being that it was about the ghost of a dead pilot longing for a woman, and her grief over losing him.

But I also thought that a pilot spider could be sort of a talisman. Like the google-eye pom-pom critters with sticky feet that people used to adhere to their car dashboards, this spider could reside in the cockpit of a plane like a little traveling buddy.

Materials: brass airplane charm, glass dictionary pendant made with black baking clay, gold bugle beads, gold seed beads, black E beads, gold wire

#55: Buddha Spider

How can one resist a smiling Buddha spider? People attribute the smiling Buddha with positive characteristics such as happiness, prosperity, luck, wealth, and contentment; therefore, statues and figurines of the laughing Buddha are commonly found in people's gardens and homes. If you're having a bad day, finding a Buddha spider isn't the worst thing that could happen...not even close.

Materials: smiling Buddha focal bead, red wooden disc beads, round green glass bead, green glass seed beads, bamboo tube beads, silver wire

#54: Pewter Spider

I love to make metal spiders. They are more masculine and resilient than my other spiders, and I typically describe them as steampunk when I list them on Etsy. I especially like darker, dingier metals like pewter. For this spider, I like the way a bead cap gives more definition to the spider's body.

Materials: metal mesh-covered bead, bead cap, round metal bead, dark gray glass tube beads, black seed beads, metal spacers, silver wire

Carmen Electra

Carmen Electra

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Funny Sexy Bra Game Show

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Hot Video

#53: Bubblegum Spider

Bear Grylls would probably think this was a delicacy, but the most colorful spiders are usually the most dangerous. I debated what to call this spider because when I first saw the cluster-of-beads bead, it made me think of atoms and molecules. For a spider, however, I couldn't make the bead look scientific. It just had more of a cartoon bubblegum look.

I took a picture of this spider sitting on some really fantastic endpapers of an old children's storybook called Treat Shop (Johnson, 1954) that my mom found at a yard sale. I love children's books that are saturated with 50s and 60s picture book illustrations, and the hot pink endpapers with yellow line art of street shops is one of the snappiest things about Treat Shop

Materials: bead cluster, multicolored and semiprecious round beads, round silver spacers, rose glass bugle beads, silver wire

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Angelina Jolie in New York

Angelina Jolie in New York