Sequin Background for YouTube

She’s back! The lovely Chelle has been co-opted to write in my place yet again. Enjoy, and be sure to check out her stuff on her website (details below)!

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Hi everyone! My name is Chelle and I run the beauty blog Makeup Your Mind and YouTube channel of the same name. I’m filling in for Alison today with a DIY on how I created my sequin background for my YouTube videos!

Since I live in downtown Toronto in a one bedroom apartment with my husband and two cats, we don’t have a heck of a lot of space to use as a filming area for my YouTube videos. The *only* area we really have available to put up a backdrop was our entrance “hallway” to the apartment.

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So this is how my filming setup looks in essence. I’ve got a high chair in the middle of the entrance, my ring light and tripod with camera pointed at it. Sadly, the apartment door and surrounding walls just aren’t attractive enough for videos, so I had to rig up some kind of contraption to put up behind me that could be put up and taken down easily.

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I decided to buy some sequin cloth from Ebay and a shower tension rod to hold it up. The sequin cloth came as one straight sheet of cloth, so I was going to have to attach it to the curtain rod somehow.

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I flipped the cloth around so that the curtain rod lay on the unfinished side of the cloth.

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Wrapped the cloth around the rod, and safety pinned it into place!

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Since the whole curtain is on a collapsible tension rod, it makes for quick and easy set up and take down every time I want to film a video!

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You will find that the cloth needs to be pulled tight on the edges so that you don’t get any wrinkling effects in the background and for that I use painter’s edging tape (not pictured).

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Et voila! A shimmery, abstract background that helps bounce light back into the video! I love how professional this can look on camera, and yet when you pull away it just looks like such a hot mess in the entrance to our apartment!

Thanks so much for reading, and if you’re interested in my little corner of the internet, come say hi over on my blog Makeup Your Mind!

Fast Tip Friday: No Effort Bulletin Board

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I told my partner at work that if he didn’t decorate his office, then I would. He told me to go ahead. I said I would. He thought I was joking. Dear reader, we all know I would never joke about something like that. I’ll show you more of the things I have been working on for both his and my office, but here’s the first one that I planted there when he wasn’t looking.

Our team leader always gets cheesed at him for having papers lying around on his desk (and we work in pretty much a paperless office so it boggles the mind that they’re there), so I figured if he had a place to put them then they wouldn’t be lying around.

I had a handful of cork tiles that I picked up from the dollar store at some point. I got two packages of two for two dollars each. Not bad. With some painter’s tape and some acrylic craft paint, I was ready to jazz them up a little to give them some form as well as function.

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So I laid out the painter’s tape to mask off the areas I wanted to paint.

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Then I painted.

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Then I peeled.

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So satisfying.

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Then I used 3M Command Strips to attach them to his office wall (the strips ensure they can be removed later with no wall damage).

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And a gentle reminder to put his crap away. 🙂

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Stay tuned for more quick and dirty office decor activities!

EDIT: My team leader, delightful keener that she is, took the idea and ran with it in corporate fashion in her own office:

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Guest Post: Renovating a TE Stick

Hooray, it’s our first guest post!  I helped the Pie re-do his MadCatz gaming stick back before Christmas and I’ve finally gotten him to agree to do a post about it.  Enjoy the geekery! – Ali

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Hakan is my favourite character from Super Street Fighter 4, and I thought it would be fun to modify the artwork on my fight stick. Here is what it looked like before:

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First you have to take it apart. I unscrewed the top and this is what the insides look like:

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You have to remove the buttons and the stick in order to replace the artwork on the top. It’s a good idea to take a (blurry) picture of the buttons or write down the colour-coding of the wiring so that you can put it all back together in the proper order.

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Blurry button removal:

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This is the old art that I have removed and will be replacing.

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I used a template, which I found on the Shoryuken Forums, to create my Hakan art. I printed it out in colour. Cutting out the circles with an exacto knife was the hard part.

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To make cutting out the negative space easier I traced it on the old art.

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All cut out. You don’t have to worry about those rough edges too much, as the button will cover those up.

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Because the old art was printed on a piece of plastic, I had to print the new art on paper and then purchase a clear plexiglass cover from Canadian Joysticks to go on top. You can see that it is held in place with the buttons and stick. If you wish to get new buttons, this would be the time to replace them all. You can get new buttons and sticks from Akihabara and/or Canadian Joysticks.

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This is where your earlier photo of where the wires go comes in handy.

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Now for the ball top.  I followed this tutorial on the Shoryuken Forums for proper technique.

The first thing you need to do is sand your ball top to rough it up. Use a fine grade sandpaper for this, because you don’t want it TOO rough, just rough enough that the paint sticks.

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I used Ali’s stale beer bread and a skewer as a prop to hold it up.

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Next, you need to prime the ball. I used two coats of Citadel Imperial Primer in Skull White.  These are acrylic paints designed to be used for painting miniatures, and hold up well to handling.

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Then I used painter’s tape to mask off the parts of the design I wanted to stay white (at least at first).

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One million coats of red paint later, and Hakan’s skin was filled in.

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Peel off the tape.

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Hakan has turquoise hair. Because he’s awesome.

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I used a permanent marker to add in eyebrows and a nose.

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Then I coated the ball top in a clear sealant and put it back on the fight stick.

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Hakan is awesome.

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Death to Beige – Painting Elizabeth, Summer 2009 and Winter 2010

Elizabeth is our house.  On the outside, she’s kind of pinkish, with an orange roof that leaks, and windows in need of replacing.  On the inside, she’s a cozy nest that we adore.  When we moved in, however, we were confronted with wall upon wall of the most disconcerting beige I had ever seen.  In no one’s conception could this beige be considered a neutral.  It looked to me like someone had taken a brown paper lunch bag and vomited on it, then left it for dead in the rain.

In other words, I hated it.  The Pie didn’t really care, but he’s a boy.  Something had to be done.  We had to paint.  We had an agreement with our landlord that we could paint the apartment any colour we wanted, and if she didn’t like it, then we would simply have to repaint when we left.  That is a good deal.  We had to leave the hallway as it was, because the ceilings were too high for us to paint safely, but the rest of the place was fair game.

We went with ICI Dulux Inspirations Paint for its low odor (very few of the windows in this place open so we didn’t want to fume ourselves out of house and home).

Office

Before

Because I was spending a lot of my spare time in my office, this was the first room to be painted.  I’ve always found green to be a good colour for productivity, so I went with “Kiwi Fun”:

I managed to only spill paint on the linoleum once, which was a high achievement on my part.

After: Nobody here but me and the freezer.

Bathroom

Cheers! was the name of the bright yellow I used in this tiny room.  All our fixtures are 1960s green, and all our accessories have blue in them, so it seemed only appropriate to make a tiny dark room a cheery yellow.

I taped up the toilet to avoid drips.

This was the job from hell.  This particular paint came out super thin and runny, and it took me SIX COATS to get it done, and that’s working with a tiny roller and sponge brush around all the fixtures.  I had also decided to re-do the woodwork and trim in the bathroom because years of dampness had caused it all to crack and mildew.  There’s nothing like scraping black mould out of crevices you didn’t know existed.

I had a really hard time getting the enamel to stick to the woodwork.  I think even that too four coats or so.  A smart thing I did was paint the ceiling with the same enamel, as well as the rusting out light fixture and the air vent.

I used rust paint on the ceiling.

Three lessons I learned from the bathroom experience: (1) don’t leave painter’s tape on any surface for longer than 5 days; (2) make sure the paint has fully cured before you stick stuff to it (even painter’s tape); and (3) sand the crap out of shiny surfaces before you paint them.

The sunny bathroom, finally finished.

Bedroom

I had hung curtains in this room that we were very pleased with: vertical stripes of brown, taupe, turquoise and green (sounds weird, I know, but they’re quite nice).  Having spent all that money on the curtain fabric ($250!) we wanted to paint the room to match them, as well as coordinate with our black bed and brown chests of drawers. 

Bramble Tan was the one we went with.  In the sunlight, it looks more like a warm, wet clay than anything else.  It’s relaxing and inviting at the same time, and I love it to pieces.  The consistency of the paint in this can was more like pudding than anything else, and we finished the room in a day with only two coats.

Living and Dining Rooms

Dining Room in progress.

Pie thought we should paint these rooms the same colour, so as to draw the eye to the magnificence of our kitchen, which we intended to paint a bright red.  I wanted something plain because our furniture in these rooms is a jumble of everything, and a bold colour would only make the place look cluttered.  In the end we went with Stowe White, an off-white that reminds me of cream.  It makes our hung pictures really stand out and yet it’s not a sterile white – cozy is definitely a theme in our place.

Photo stitch of the finished living room.

These rooms we did about two weeks before we left town for our wedding, so they were a little rushed, it was hot, and we had many other things on our minds.  Nevertheless, they turned out really well, and we made very few mistakes.

Stitch of the finished dining room.

Kitchen

We went with Cranberry Zing, to match the red tiles in the floor, and to make the white and black fixtures really pop.

The chaos before I began.

This room, I was determined, was going to be my pro job.  I was going to do it right, just like my dad does, and not take any shortcuts.

We had a leak in our roof the previous fall, which had since been repaired, but it had left some damage on the ceiling and the wall above the stove.  I took a wide, flat putty knife and used it to carefully lever away the damaged paint so I could assess the drywall underneath.  While spotted with dried mould and water-stained, it was still pretty solid, and so I just patched over it with Drydex.  I like this stuff because when it’s wet it’s bright pink, and you know it’s ready to sand and paint when it turns white.  It also doesn’t smell and is easily washable.

Step 1: Assess Damage
Step 2: Remove loose paint.
Step 3: Spackle!
One wall at a time.

I washed the walls down, then I sanded them, then I washed them again to remove the last particles.  I taped everything up well and I worked wall by wall, so we could still use the kitchen while I was painting it. It took three coats.  I didn’t spill anything, nothing broke, and it turned out really, really well.

I did this in January of 2010, while procrastinating on studying for my final comprehensive exam.  This is why I had the time to get it right.  I even managed to wait a week before putting all the stuff back up on the walls.

The one issue I had is one that had to do with my roller.  For some reason I can’t explain, the roller this time left bubbles on the walls as it passed, and when they dried you could still see them.  In certain spots it looks like I have sparkles on the walls.  It’s not entirely unpleasing, but it is a little weird.

In any case, we are both in love with our ‘new’ kitchen and we spend a lot of time in there.

Finally finished. My favourite room.