Monday, December 24, 2007

Noel, Noel

It's amazing, but I've actually finished all my Christmas projects except for cutting out and baking one batch of cookies (but the dough is already made), and packing for a couple of weeks in West Kentucky (but I have everything laid out on my bed). In fact, I had all my presents bought and/or made and wrapped by 10:00 AM yesterday. This is completely unheard of, let me tell you. I don't know what I'm supposed to do at 1:00 AM tonight. Maybe get some sleep.

I've been a busy girl these last few weeks. I made all my Christmas cards, in several different styles (I'm not bragging, I'm just sayin'...), and as usual lots of my presents. I have a sore shoulder from embroidering my niece's monogram on a comforter for her, and I burned my arm in two places making miniature mince pies. Of course the oven rack burn on the wrist is understandable, but I managed to slightly blister my right upper arm with the corner of the cookie sheet (and I'm right-handed). That takes talent, folks. Not just anybody can pull that off.

I also made a batch of ornaments for the Cake and Pie and Freshly Blended ornament swap. I got some really cool stuff back, too. Thanks, everybody in my swap group. Here are the ones I made:

The bodies are painted wooden balls (doll heads, actually), and the heads and wings are polymer clay, molded off a porcelain angel head and a rose petal respectively. The legs are twigs from the yard wrapped with brass wire and held in place with hot glue. I just hope the wings survived shipping.

I decorated my little bedroom Christmas tree with my swap ornaments and these clothespin ornaments I made based on these Martha Stewart instructions. I made them 3 or 4 years ago so the photos aren't the greatest, but you get the idea. I especially like the Regency ones.

Now I can relax and enjoy the day. I'm very excited about seeing all my family and Bowling Green friends, and I can't wait for Bokkon Family Christmas. But those cookies aren't baking themselves, so Merry Hannukwanzmas to everyone and be safe and happy.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Procrastination is a Great Motivator

I've been busy making things, but since they're mainly for Christmas I can't post anything yet, lest it be seen. And because I'm perverse like that, I've also been inspired to do some sketching and painting as well. I always feel like making "fine" art when I should be doing something else.

I won't post any of my paintings, since they may turn out to be presents for someone or other, but here are a few pen and ink sketches I made in my Moleskine (yes, I'm one of those dorks.) I kind of like the one of Sally.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Super-Sexy Sewing Machine

Wow, I want this!

I've been toying with the idea of getting a smaller, portable, made-in-at-least-the-second-half-of-the 20th-century sewing machine (unlike my old one which is "probably one of the first electric ones" and seems to be made out of solid lead). Not so much that I've actually checked models or prices, just considering.

I think my search is over. I don't care what it costs, this just looks cool, which is not something you can usually say about sewing machines. (Ok, never.) The only problem? It's not actually in production yet. : (

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I'm freaking out a little right now. I signed up for the freshly blended and cake and pie Holiday Ornament Swap and I'm having serious self-doubts. I expected it, of course. It's what I do. I am actually excited about it at the same time.

My anxiety has two parts:

  1. When the other people in my swap group open my ornaments, they'll say WTF is this? and throw it straight in the trash and

  2. This doesn't matter because I can't figure out the last part of the ornament I'm designing.

I basically know what I'm making. I considered and discarded several ideas as being too ordinary, before settling on one of my polymer clay + other things creatures. At first I thought it would be too weird, but then I realized it was really the only thing I could do. It won't be too strange, but still me. I just haven't hit on just the right thing to finish it off. Well, I have a month before I have to send them out.

I also am absolutely forbidding myself from looking at any of the blogs or websites or Etsy shops of the other people in my group, because that would definitely precipitate a grand mal freakout. Plenty of time for that after I've sent out my ornaments and can't do anything about it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lovely and Amazing

Via, unbelievable polymer clay and stone jewelry by Kotomi Yamamura:

So gorgeous and inspirational. I need to go get to work on some stuff of my own. I wonder where she gets her stones? Her things can also been found at Syoko Mode. Most of the site is in Japanese, but there are lots of pretty pictures.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ok, Just a Few More

Really, I'll stop after this. (That's such a lie, I'm always liable to post good Halloween costumes or ideas for them at any time.) But I just ran across the Etsy Halloween Costume Contest Winners and some of them are really great.

I'm not sure animals care for dressing up, but this gnome costume made me laugh: That cat is furious. I don't blame it.

Some kid in this family is totally going as a Wild Thing next year. Austen, you know who you are. Actually, that's Max, isn't it? Ooh, Max and the Wild Things, that would be a great group costume.
The baby shrimp is cute too. I love the eyes and antennae.

Excellent Edward Scissorhands, but so was my friend Clay's several years ago. He had actual scissors on each finger and rigged them so they all really worked. He could even eat pretzels with them.

And finally, not a winner though I think it should have been. If I had a kid I would definitely make it dress up as Frida Kahlo:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Walking On Broken Glass

Finally here are the glass pendants I've finished. I particularly like the large aqua-colored one at the top. The long narrow pendant with the text on the right is the first of these I made, about 2 years ago or so. I've gotten a lot of compliments on it, including one from the mad hot boy librarian at the branch library, which was nice.

This photo isn't as good, but you can see the colors and detail better on the brown pendant.

I've got several others in various states of completion, which I'm hoping to finish now that I'm back home.

Halloween Ain't Over Till It's Over

I've been spending a few days in beautiful Bowling Green, famed in song and story. I attended a Nine Inch Nails cover band show on Halloween night dressed as a hooker, complete with black eye and split lip. (Just makeup, of course, which I learned from this and this video on YouTube, courtesy of the Costumer's Manifesto, as usual. It was a fabulous time, I must say.

Me and Frosty, the World's Whitest Pimp:

Lookin' good:

Then I made Day Of The Dead cookies the next day:

It's been a good trip.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Isn't A Holiday, It's A State Of Mind

Keeping with the theme, here are some pictures of costumes and things I've made for Halloween, though first I want to state here and now my views on Halloween costumes. Sexy costumes are absolutely out. No sexy nurse or French maid will ever darken my door. In the first place there's nothing less original, and in the second, I've never seen a really good, clever costume that was sexy or even particularly attractive. Besides, it's very liberating to be something hideous, because you don't have to worry anymore about looking good, you can just relax and enjoy yourself. I wish I had some pictures of the year I was a West Virginia snake-handler, as a case in point. I still have all the pieces; I may have to dress up in them again and take a picture. Anyway, down off the soapbox.

Heat Miser and Cold Miser, I think this was in about '99 or 2000. It was totally last minute, held together with Stitch Witchery and safety pins:

From the next year, Willie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas. I had more time for this one, and made "Willie's" coat, vest, and bow tie. For the Oompas, all I had to do was paint stripes on the socks and safety-pin elastic on the pants and pom-poms on the shoes.

This is a doll/sculpture I made of "Cinderella Skeleton" from the book by Robert San Souci. Last year I made her consort Prince Charnel but I couldn't find a picture of him. They're polymer clay over a wire armature, with painted faces and acrylic fake fur hair. Cinderella's dress is made of vintage dress scraps, though Prince Charnel's clothes were new fabrics. I'm especially proud of her shoes, which I also made of polymer clay and which are removable. I really like the book and I loved making the characters. I'm thinking I may eventually have to do the stepmother and stepsisters, and especially the skeleton dog.

Here are this year's jack o'lanterns. Mine's on the left and Dad's is on the right. I like the nose on his. Maybe it's coincidence, but the cows across the road started making a huge ruckus when we set them out.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Things

Everybody else is doing it, so why not me? Here are some cool things I've found lately.

I love these mummy cookies from Baking Bites and the skeleton ones are nice too:

Extreme Pumpkins is always a classic. His "Candy Traps" make me very, very happy.

The ever-popular Cylon jack o'lantern at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories:

For anything you could possibly ever want to know about costumes and make-up, The Costumer's Manifesto. This site is just fantastic.

What better Halloween accessory for a child than a pimped-out Munsters-style Cozy Coupe (courtesy of Craftster):

Oh god, it's Frank:
If I saw anyone in this costume, I'd pee my pants. (Also from Craftster.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Like Movies For The Wrong Reasons

I'm not really a big movie person, but I tend to like them for visual reasons. I saw Stranger Than Fiction the other day, and surprisingly liked it. For one thing it has Emma Thompson and Queen Latifah and Maggie Gyllenhall in it, all of whom I love, but even Will Farrell was unusually good in the straight role. I have much more respect for him now as an actor.

What I really liked about it though was the visual details. Unfortunately I couldn't find all the images I wanted, but there's a couple here.

First of all there's Maggie Gyllenhall's bakery. It has a fabulous 3-dimensional cupcake sign hanging outside (no picture, alas), and an assortment of glass plates attached to the front window:

I've been wondering how they were attached. Silicone, I guess, or possibly hot glue, though in real life I don't think it could cope with temperature changes.

I also like this little crushed velvet bolero. There's a better picture here .

I loved Emma Thompson's apartment too. No really good images, though you can get a small idea from this:

It's all blank white walls and terrazzo floors, with very little furniture and just a few giant architectural fragments here and there for decoration. There's a massive stone lintel surrounding one doorframe, which is a nice touch. All in all, very cool.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's Oh So Quiet

The circus has left town and it's very quiet around here now. My family's all gone home after Dad's 60th birthday festivities (which were awesome, if I do say so myself. Big props to Talon Winery ) so things are a little dull here. Not to mention it's been raining all day and I have a sinus infection, so all I've done today is finsh reading Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. It's very good, much better than the little I read of The Iron Council. I really am going to have to finish that one of these days. Maybe I'll read some of it tomorrow if it's still raining.

Amazingly I've also been working on some new pendants with the glass pieces I've been collecting. I found some good aquamarine-colored pieces that I think probably came from the old blue glass canning jars, and these look really good with freshwater pearls. I'll try to get up some pictures in the next day or two.

Then there's this from Monika Krol Jewelry, which I found at The Carrotbox:

It's absolutely ridiculous but I love it. I'd even wear it, though I'd catch it on things and break it or them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vodka and Teapots

An interesting post here at Chow about adding vodka to your pie crust dough to make it easier to handle. Now, with Grandmama's Magic Pie Crust recipe I have no problems, but I like their idea for using Calvados for apple pie or bourbon in a pecan pie. I'm also thinking maybe amaretto in a peach or blackberry pie, or bourbon for pumpkin. You could do a lot with this.

Also found this fabulous teapot on Etsy.

On another site I actually saw there was one that said "Slut" , which I liked better, but apparently it's sold out. But you can get custom pieces. The Hunter S. Thompson plate is also good, but really everything in this shop is. And only $6 shipping from New Zealand! I'm telling you, Etsy rules!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Covetousness

I was watching the Graham Norton show tonight and fell in love. With his t-shirt, that is. It had Carel Fabritius's "The Goldfinch" on it, with an actual chain attached where the one in the painting is. I've been looking around on the web for the shirt, but I can't seem to find anything.

It's surprising, because normally I wouldn't wear anything Graham Norton wears to a dogfight, but that shirt was mad cool, and very clever on someone's part.

Even prettier than the t-shirt was Ioan Gruffudd. He's dreamy. I thought John Barrowman from Torchwood & Doctor Who was shockingly attractive, but Ioan Gruffudd is just beautiful. I was excited and then worried to find out from IMDB that he's currently filming The Secret Of Moonacre , which is based on The Little White Horse . I love that book, but it's always scary when your favorites are made into movies, especially since I can't think who Ioan Gruffudd would play. He's too young and pretty to be Sir Benjamin. Maybe the leader of the Black Men? Possible. IMDB doesn't say yet. Tim Curry's supposed to be in it too, and he is also fabulous. Maybe he's the leader of the Black Men. That I can see.

Thou Shalt Not Covet

I got the new Dick Blick holiday catalog today and was consumed by an intense longing for everything in it, RIGHT NOW. Never mind that I don't need a whole $600 set of pastels, I only need a few select ones and anyway I don't use the ones I have, look at the colors. And they come in such a nice box. Never mind that I don't and have no intention of starting to practice sumi-e, the set is so pretty.

After I stopped hyperventilating I came to my senses and realized that what was really cool was the tree-topper on the cover, a 5-pointed star made of gold metallic Prismacolor pencils and tinsel.

I think this is very doable for Christmas this year. I'd use multicolored pencils since they'd be more festive and also much cheaper since I can find sets at the Dollar Tree or Big Lots. Then just cut them in half, sharpen both ends, use a dab of hot glue to hold them together and wrap the joins with tinsel or brass wire for strength. There you go!

Three Posts! Golly.

I went for a walk today and came back with a pocket full of broken glass. And I was happy about it!

The previous occupants of our (former) farm had their garbage dump along a fence a quarter mile or so from the house. Most of it's long since gone, but if you poke around you can find some treasures. I think we've already found most of the unbroken bottles and jars, but I keep and eye out for pieces of colored or textured glass. Even some plain glass develops an interesting iridescence if it's been in the ground long enough. Today was a particularly good haul, with several bits of blue and green, and even a piece of Depression glass (the large triangle on the left, though you can't see the design in the photo.) I intend, though I've only completed one piece so far, to use these bits for jewelry-making.

It's the little things that make us happy. Hey, yesterday I came back with a pocket full of snail shells.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Doing This

Finally posting for real this time. It's only been two years since I first staked out this spot, but I didn't want to start blogging without being able to make things look decent. I'm still not sure that's going to happen, but we'll see. (And for the record, I've finally been assimilated too. I've broken down and joined MySpace. Oy.)

So I accomplished some things yesterday. I did waste? some time organizing all my collage copies and clipart, but I tell myself it'll make things easier in the long run. And it did, because I finally got around to decoupaging the wooden blocks I bought ages ago. Here's one view:

And the other sides:

I also made some more paper-and-wood pendants:

The castle pendant in the bottom left corner of the bottom picture is a piece of an original sketch I made. I'm planning to do some more of these soon. I'm not sure about the purple and silver piece that backs (or fronts) the French textbook pendant. (Bottom picture, second from right, top row.) I actually think it looks better in the picture.