Friday, March 27, 2009

Art Doll

I have been thinking and working and doing the same things I normally do lately. There are a lot of things in my near future. Marriage. Drivers License test. Lots more....

But there's always time to relax and make art. Or, well, there should be, so there is. Just not always time to write regular blog posts.

I just passed my 55th blog entry. And I have 50 items in my etsy shop (and five sold, so really fifty five is the total). Not sure what 55 means, but I like it. I'm going with it. Fifty five!

Here's me making a face. I have a hard time smiling without looking goofy. So I usually smirk. Here's my smirk. It's kind of goofy too I guess.

I just got a new hair cut last night. It's nice to have nice crisp hair again. It won't last for long though, since I'm notoriously bad at maintaining haircuts. Sometimes I miss having really really short hair. I could do absolutely nothing more than just wash it and it actually looked fabulous.

Ah, the butch days.

I have a WIP going. In the spirit of the Toronto Craft Alert's recent 'Get 'Er Done' giveaway, I pulled an old project out of my box of unfinished art.

On the left you see my favorite creature, the Man-equin. He never really got a real name, but I adore him.

And on the right you see my attempt at making him a frankenstein bride.

They're both either sculpy or super sculpy creations. I made them in many pieces and then stitched them up with fabric scraps.

I never really ended up liking her head, but I thought it would be sacrilegious to pull it off and make a new one. So I put her in a box and forgot about her. It's been over a year, maybe several.

Now I'm making her into a sort of Egyptian goddess/kachina doll thing. With elements of Batman.

I don't know what she is. But I'm liking her. I'm going to do more beaded details I think on her inside costume. My idea is that she's grey when she's folded her 'wings' over her, but when she dances and moves she's a burst of hidden color. (Not that she will, but if she was alive she could.)

She's kind of like all the happy spring birds I'm seeing everywhere. When the robins get agitated they hop away from me, and only show their grey backs. Then when they realize I'm not going to hurt them they flip around and show me their beautiful orange/red bellies. I'm definite that they are influencing this character. They're everywhere right now, pulling worms out of the ground, stamping their feet, and singing happy Robin songs.

She's not really for anything. I'm not sure where she'll go when I'm done. Probably just up in the Etsy shop. Too bad i can't just dust her with the Powder of Life from one of the Oz books. That would be the best solution. She could fly off and do her own thing somewhere. Like the Gump.

Return to Oz is such a great movie. And a decent song as well. Here's a fairly decent mashup music video of the Scissor Sisters song with clips from the movie.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Walkabout New Rochelle


I feel so good!

I just took a walk around New Rochelle. I had to post something for the tall one, and I had an overdue library book to return.

Sometime after I was putting on my shoes and before I left the apartment/house, I decided to give myself an assignment. I brought my little digital camera and took photos of textures, patterns, and general New Rochelle.

I don't know why those were the categories I invented but it worked out quite well.

I think my assignment was an A+!

(The first photo above has the hideous Trump tower in it. Yes we have a Trump Tower in New Rochelle, NY)

Here are some examples:

A telephone on the corner of Huguenot and North Ave. I think it's from the 40's. I love it

The HSBC bank on the same corner. It has this beautiful/weird old style to it. I can only imagine how cool downtown New Roc looked when more of the buildings looked like this.

I couldn't help myself, I kept taking phone pictures after that first awesome yellow one.

Rust on the gates in the back of the post office.
A wall somewhere.

This weird bicycle shop has great polka dots all over it on Main street.

Rust on a post office box.

There are so many more, but I can't possibly post them all.

I mostly took the texture and pattern shots so when I poke around in Photoshop more I have an image library to pull from. I hate borrowing images online, even if they're listed as 'free', so whenever I can use my own photos I do. I might end up posting a bunch for free for other people to use if I ever can muster up some cash to actually get a real flickr account. Until then, this blog can house them.

I feel good! Usually I sit around the house all day when I don't have work. I make art, but I still sit in the house. My muscles are all jumpy and happy that I went for a walk. And it really feels nice outside even if it's only 42 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

PS: Can you tell from these photos that it was snowing really hard this morning? Neither can I.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thing from another world

The stuff you notice when you're watching a classic sci-fi thriller alone after doing taxes all day and having a beer to cheer yourself up (and you happen to have a degree in all sort of costume/set/design things) include:

(CAUTION. Spoilers for the 1951 movie 'Thing from another world' follow. Not that it would probably change the movie for you much. I'm just saying)

* Costume notes on the main scientist character. He was wearing a horrid outfit. Grey hair, all-too-knowing-smart-ass-better-than-you look on his face. Turtleneck. Captains style coat. Grey tweed pants at least three sizes too big and too long for him (did they have a budget for his pants? He did have at least three distinct costumes!)

* Scientists deduce that something has melted ice and then refrozen just recently. And yet they walk out onto a lake of newly frozen ice without even vaguely checking to see if it's solid. Common sense anyone?

* Slang is strange in 1951. I'm smitten by the following lines. "Holy Cat!" (said several times) and "He's having kittens." (someone was scared)

the best one, about 'the monster'

"An intellectual carrot, the mind boggles!"

* I ask all other intelligent people out there. When you find a flying saucer, do you immediately use bombs on it? Really?

* I learned that shaking the camera makes things MUCH more thrilling. At least, the DOP on this movie clearly thought so. (I'm thinking Star Trek TNG learned some stuff from these old school RKO guys).

* Do you rope your sled dogs outside in the snow during a blizzard that "Could last weeks?" I feel as though that's ill advised.

* Scientists in this movie have the coolest outfits ever. See screen shot of one of their shirts. You can tell it's a tight t-shirt over a collared button up. Why? Who knows? He was wearing short pants and tall white socks too! And he smoked a pipe the whole movie.

* Great random quotes from movie,
"There are no enemies in Science Professor. Only phenomena to study. We are studying one."

(In regards to failing to kill the monster) "What if he can read our minds?" (answer) "He'll be real mad when he gets to me."

(I'd heard this one before. Never knew where it was from. I'm thinking the cold war inspired this theme in sci-fi for years.)
"Watch the skies everywhere. Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!"

Here's one of my two pages of doodles:

You can see the short pants sketch. There on the bottom right.

I read the original short story 'Who Goes There?' by John W. Campbell Jr. at this website. Not that great I have to say.

And there's always the 1982 John Carpenter The Thing.

When all is said and done if you like horror and/or sci-fi and you haven't had the pleasure of watching the Carpenter version, get it. Don't you dare watch it alone, but get it. (Oh and make sure you have a unicorn chaser afterwards or you'll have deranged nightmares).

And the rest, you can leave to nerds like me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Word Verification Jibberish #2

For people not following, I have started a list of all the words that Blogger makes me type in so I can comment on other people's blogs.

They struck me as hilariously funny one day. And since I've always loved Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear they feel 'right' to me. Like something I've discovered and loved because there is some sort of meaning to them. Meaning I have to cut and pull out of them, but meaning nonetheless.

But really now. My list is getting ridiculously long and I have no ideas!

I keep hoping by keeping the list and the idea on the back burner I'll magically get an idea.

No dice.

I made some fun little watercolors about some of them, and then I sort of crumped out. Clearly that's not the answer.

I need some comment help from you all out there!

Does anyone have any ideas on what to do with these? Should I assign them to people and have strangers help me figure out what they mean? Or what their origins might be? I don't even know what language some of these may be in.

Here's my list, careful it's long. (Right now I'm only collecting my own finds, since they're already getting overwhelming without asking more people for what theirs are):


So um. Some of these are actually words in English! Ranted is definitely a word. So is wines. Shall we discount those? Or keep them and make up new meanings for them?

Help me out!

What are we to do with these? I refuse to just let them go into the wild without something happening to them. Shall we make poetry? Make a dictionary? A new board game? Oh wait, there's a board game about words like these...but they're real ones.



I accept any and all ideas. Silly or not.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tutorial on mini houses: Part Deux

Ok. So you've made the bottom part of the house. If you haven't made that, then look at my last post.

So we're on step deux, the top part and decorating.

You'll need the supplies from yesterday. Plus I forgot to mention an empty toilet paper tube will be helpful.

Step 1:

While your bottom dries, you can work on the roof. I decided to leave the little pull tab bit on the top of my roof so that it was actually recognizable as a milk carton container. If you wish you can cut that part off, or alter the base roof shape in any way you like. Now is the time to do that, as it will be harder to do later.

Step 2:

First, set your top piece down on its bottom over your cardboard scrap, trace it and cut that piece out. I taped it onto the top piece on four sides so I wouldn't have to worry about it shifting around. You could also hot glue it in place if you like.

Step 3:

I like to have a small chimney on my house. I took an empty toilet paper tube and cut it down the vertical side. Then I chopped that in half. Rolling one of those pieces I glued it in my opening and put a piece of tape in the middle to keep it from moving around.

Step 4:

It's not as easy to cover the top as the bottom. I cut a few different sized scraps and used those to fill out the weird little transom insert things in the roof. Make sure to overlap all the bends in the roof, you will cover those later. Make two little scraps to cover the sides of the stick-up part as well. Like last time use your clean dry brush to smooth all bubbles.

Step 5:

Take your outside paper and cut a long piece a bit less wide than the tab on the top. Put a bit of glue on the side with the chimney and spread it thin. Glue the paper to that. Then spread glue all over the other side thinly. Fold the paper down and carefully smooth out all bumps. Trim the end of the paper so it just folds down over the edge and glue it down.

Step 6:

Cover the chimney. I put a piece around the top first, folding it in, and then did the vertical piece. I added a piece of trim to cover the seam between them. It got a bit bumpy and weird but I decided I liked that about it. I also left a bit of the bottom unfinished as I decided it would be easier to fix with paint than collage over it.

Step 7:

It's sort of a pain to finish off the side with the chimney, but you can do it. I fudged the pattern at this point. Try your best to do it with only two pieces, cutting half circles in them to accomodate the chimney piece.

Oops! Step 7.5:

Trace the bottom of your roof from the inside paper, cut out a square a bit smaller than that, and cover all your nasty bits on the underneath side of the roof!

So now the bulk of the piece is done.

Step 8:

Add paint where you want to touch up edges. You might want to wait for the piece to fully dry before you do this. I didn't. I painted black around the chimney, and added black vertical lines inside the house to cover my bad seams. :D

Step 9:

Cut out details and apply them. This step is totally up to you. I wanted this piece to look like a house, so it has a bush, windows, and a door with a number on it. Use the same technique with the glue and brush, using only thin layers. I cheated and painted glue directly onto my house, knowing that my final layers would cover that.

Step 10:

Wait impatiently for the whole house to be fully fully dry. I left mine out overnight.
Then paint it at least once completely with clear poly acrylic. It should seal the piece and make it impervious to water damage. I recommend two coats but you don't have to do two if you don't want to. Do them in stages, letting it dry fully so each time you are setting down the roof or the bottom it is not wet where it touches the table.

Let it all dry and Voila!

It's done!

My little Pippi and her burble (by etsy seller Kitlane ) for scale purposes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tutorial on mini houses: Part One

I now give you, a tutorial on how to make a nifty mini house out of a creamer container!

Perfect for your jacabob, ursabob, matroshka dolls or other small softies or friends you have wishing they had a place to sleep at night!

You will need:

1 creamer container or mini milk container (preferably one you wouldn't be able to recycle on your own, so you can be saving the environment by keeping it out of a landfill. I really like the ones with screw on tops for this sort of project).

1 x-acto blade or similar sharp craft knife

1 cutting mat

a small scrap of cardboard

a paint brush for glue (you can use a nice one if you're careful to clean it out before it dries)

a dry paint brush for pushing down bumps and bubbles

scissors (sharp please)

a metal ruler

white glue (sobo or elmers, any sort of normal paper craft glue is fine)

a pencil

two large scraps of nice paper (wrapping paper, or something else fairly large is best)

various small scraps of whatever for decorating

Step 1:

Clean your container well. I rinse mine out as soon as I finish them. Then I put in hot water and a bit of dish soap, plug up the hole and shake it. I repeat and rinse well until fully cleaned out. You can use a bit of bleach if you want.

Step 2:

Let it dry fully. I leave mine out overnight in a warm place.

Step 3:

Prepare a surface to work on. I have a cutting mat set up on my worktable. Make sure it's well lit and that you have everything you will need.

Step 4:

Select the paper you would like to use as the outside of your house. And select the paper you would like to use inside. At this point I did a few doodles of how I wanted my finished house to look and got my supplies together.

Step 5:

Carefully cut off the top of the container using the metal ruler to ensure you're making straight cuts

Step 6:

Wipe out the inside with a clean dry cloth just in case there is any water residue still inside

Step 7:

Lay out your outside paper nice side down. Take your container and center it. Use your pencil to outline the bottom of the box. Then flip the box in each of the four directions and outline each side. You're sort of making a geometric flower design with four rectangles coming off of the main square. Remove the box, and draw about a 1/4" flap to the top and bottom of your left and right rectangles. Then draw a 1/4" flap to the ends of each rectangle. Make all the corners diagonal. See picture for clarification.

Step 8:

Now take your bottom part of the container and flip it over. Push down a little on the bottom so that instead of bulging out a little it's more flat. Take a bit of glue and squeeze it out onto the square of the paper. Take your brush and brush it out so it's a thin coat, just on the bottom. If there is excess wipe it off.

Step 9:

Center your cut out flower, right side up, and carefully glue down the center square over the glued part of your container. Use your clean, dry brush to push out any bubbles or bulges. And make sure that each flap will actually line up with the sides. Then glue down the two sides with the flaps, and then the two sides without the flaps. Finish by gluing the final four tabs over the top edges of the box. Be careful to only use a thin coat of glue. Brush out all bubbles as you go. If you use thinner paper (like I did) you may have overall bumps and wiggles. Next time I make one of these I'll use thicker craft paper.

Note: (My wrapping paper had a rip, so I mended it with another scrap of the same design)

Step 10:

Lay out your inside paper nice side down. Take your container and center it. Use your pencil to outline the bottom of the box. Then flip the box in each of the four directions and outline each side. This are the exact same steps as seen in step 7, only we will not be making any tabs. When you cut this shape out, cut just a hair inside each line that you drew. The inside has a tendency to be just a bit smaller than the outside.

Step 11:

Fold your new geometric flower along the square edges, and pop it inside your box. Without glue. See if it will actually fit when you do it for real. I had to trim the top bits after pulling it out again.

Step 12:

Put a thin layer of glue on the inside of the box. I got bold and did the whole thing at once, and ended up having to redo the bottom. Next time I do this I will just put glue in the center bottom, and then glue the sides after. If there are spots you miss you can always add more paper collage or paint over them. Use your clean dry brush to get any bubbles or bulges out before it dries.

Top part and decorating tutorial coming soon!