Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OMG! He's Here! He's Here!!

Evening All!
Got all the pieces together and tried them on.
So I thought I would give you a sneak peek of what's coming this weekend.  :)

Ladies and Gentlemen....
I give you....
The Traveler 2012

wow, i need to remember to keep my head up.
that squished double chin thing is awful. HA!

overjoyed with the turn out! :)

LOOK! i grew hair! LOL!!

I think that this will be the theme for future DragonCon's.....The Traveler. I'll just have to change the costume each year. Maybe incorporate the hat / mask? Yes, I know, it's not even here yet and I'm already thinking about next year. Sad, I know. :)

Anyway, that's the sneak peak! Hope you enjoyed it! I'll be posting more later. Not sure if I'll do it on a daily basis throughout the weekend or in one lump sum Monday night. Hhhhhmmmmmm. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!

I guess this counts as a post.....that brings us up to 122 and 40. ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Countdown To....Butternut Squash?

Good Evening Everyone!
Hope you've been having a great week!
Not too bad on this end. Just really busy. Had to work on Saturday (yuk!). It was only a 14 + hour day. BLAH!'s done and over with. :)

Not this weekend but the previous one my wife and I went to Aldi's. We thought we'd try something other than Walmart for grocery shopping. WOW. It was definitely an experience. I don't know if anyone has an Aldi's in their neck of the woods. It's a 'super saver' store. Yeah, ok. First off, you have to pay for your shopping cart. It's a quarter to unlock get it back when you are finished but it's a pain in the butt. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was that everything was 'off' brands. Which is how they buy in bulk and you save. Ok, I can deal with that. Then we got to the end of the first row and I realized that we were in 'yuppie hell'. Rude, unfriendly, uptight people....and that was just the staff. The shoppers were on a whole 'nother level. Then I realized that there were like 5 rows to the whole store. I've been in laundry mats that were bigger than this place. And then that leaves us with the selection...or lack there of. I have come to the conclusion that we will never shop there again. It was memorable....just not a pleasant one. LOL!

This past week my wife made me some butternut squash soup. OMG, it was so good. :)  It will be perfect for a cold winter's day. It's a crock pot recipe. Sally doesn't like squash so she didn't eat any of it. Even though I tried really hard to get her to try it. I really think she would have enjoyed it. We (I) had rolls with it. If any one is interested let me know and I will post the recipe for it. If you like squash you will like this soup.

not the actual soup. just a generic web picture. :)

Also this past week a friend of mine (you know who you are) had posted on facebook about a new doll/sculpture she is working on. First, let me say that the work is amazing. Like it always is. Anyway, the discussion turned to views of artists....who likes what artist. And then this woman post this comment that "those are real artists and you're (my friend) just a crafter". Now my friend choose to be the adult and explain to this woman that she was a 'real' artist and that she created for herself and didn't care what was thought of her work, she creates beautiful pieces that people snatch up as quickly as they are put out. I, of course, had to offer my opinion...which irritated me even more after I calmed down enough and re-read the post. I was so worked up and pissed off that I missed words and misspelled things. WOW. I'm sure that my mother, the english major, rolled over in her grave. I just wanted to make sure that people out there realize that an 'artist' is someone that creates. Someone that takes pride in their work. And I, for one, appreciate all the hard work that goes into these artworks.
Ok, I'll come down from my soapbox now. :)  
I didn't post the name of my friend simply because I respect her enough to realize that she took care of the issue and made it clear as to how she felt about this woman's (screwed up) opinion.

Now onto the real reason you're all here.......

I've been working my butt off to make sure that everything is ready for this weekend. :) YAY! It's just over two days away! DragonCon! I can't wait. I'm so excited to be going. The pieces have all fallen into place and things look amazing.
I have finished the mask and had to make a couple of minor adjustments to the hat - the mask and hat didn't meet up correctly and they pushed each other out of place. That is now fixed. I also managed to get my walking stick completed. Talk about pulling it out of your arse. LOL. Just down the street from me is a cabinet maker that I stopped at last Thursday. I spoke with one the guys and explained what I wanted and we came to the conclusion that it would be around $100 dollars. Wow, more than I was planning., more than I was planning. Then I discovered that we had a lathe at work. :)  It's primary function is to lathe metal rolls. But I was allowed to use the lathe while I was there on Saturday. Now keep in mind that the last lathe I used was a table top version some 25+ years ago. Wow, saying that out loud really makes me feel old. :)  Anyway, I proceeded to create a wonderful walking stick. Complete with crystal topper. It's an old crystal door knob that I found at an antique shop with our friends Yvonne and Eddy. I am thrilled with the outcome! I would like to thank Barney for letting me use the lathe and Junior for all his help in setting it up and giving me hints and help in using it. Couldn't have done it without their input. Here's some of the photos of how it progressed.....

overall shot...after the lathe

close up of the the groves

the crystal door knob in place and a large black
band for the top

i dipped the bottom in my neoprene to
give it a 'grip' and protect the bottom

and the final piece....i took a torch to it to
give it an old look and then sanded it down
and sealed it. there are also feathers wrapped
with black and white suede lacing - matches
the lacing in my jerkin. I forgot to take pictures
of the intermediate processes. oops, sorry.

And now the mask. I purchased a couple of masks that I wanted to use but after receiving them I realized how uncomfortable they actual were. So I made a mask to wear out of leather. Which turned out amazing. At least to me - HA! I designed, cut, stamped, dyed, shaped and punched the leather. It has a base of black dye (USMC black, just like the hat) with dry brushed 'Georgia Clay' acrylic paint (almost a complete match to the jerkin). I sealed it with high gloss tack spray, again, just like the hat. I then painted some designs using acrylic paint that was heat set and then spray with a gloss coat of clear sealer spray. I added three domed studs to it as well. One in the center and one on each side were the elastic meets the corners. It turned out great. Here's the photos of that project.....

the pattern cut - there was much more than this but
i didn't like the look of it so it was trimmed down

after the stamping. the top portion, curled,
was removed due to looks and functionality

black dyed base coat

close up of the stamps after the dry brushing

the right side

the left side

adding the elastic strap and the first domed stud

the mask finished.

scary shot of the mask on my face. LOL!

the costume - at least the upper half
you can see the feathers and skull that
i added to the hat to complete it.

That's where the costume is as of this moment. I am hoping to put everything on tomorrow. Maybe I can get my wife to take some photos. She has a really good eye for photography. So I'm sure she can make me look good. :)

I bet you thought you were gonna go a whole post without one mention of Halloween, didn't you? Nope, not a chance. Just a quick note on the subject. Went to JoAnn Fabrics and they were just starting to put out the Halloween goodies. I'm sure the woman that was stocking everything thought I was crazy. I kept getting in her way to take some pictures. She just laughed every time she heard my phone go 'ker-click'. Gotta have the Halloween pictures........

i like these lil' guys.....

i thought the star was unique. lots of bare
spaces waiting to be filled from all the
boxes spread on the floor. 

Well, I do believe that's it for now. Nothing more that comes to mind. I'm sure I will think of something as soon as I hit 'publish'.

Until next time....
Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!!

only 63 days to go! gonna have to get busy after DragonCon!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Black Hats, Halloween Dandies And A Couple Of Ravens, Just For Good Messures!

Good Morning All My Friends.....
Can you believe another week has past? It doesn't seem possible....but there it is.
I have been focused solely on DragonCon this past week...which hasn't been easy, since I see Halloween everywhere! :)

This past week has brought all my extra goodies to my door. I have everything here and ready to be assembled so that "The Traveler" can come to life....

My hair arrived on Monday. Wow, it's pretty amazing. I've been working on the styling but have not decided quite how I want it just yet. It's 100cm long and jet black. I think it will look amazing under my hat!

I have gotten a bag as well. The costume doesn't have many in, none! I was looking for a messenger bag but couldn't find one that I liked that would work with the outfit. I finally found a smaller black bag that could be worn cross shoulder. It rides about hip length, so it should work wonderfully.

I was also looking for started out with me looking for 'skeleton' gloves. The kind with the raised bones is what I was after. However, all the ones I found were extremely cheesy. But at the very end of my search I found a really amazing set! They're not bones per say....the are LED gloves that can be set to different sequences. They arrived this past week as well. I will keep them in my bag during the day and break them out when it gets dark! Here's a link to the video. They're really kinda cool. :)

I also sent for some clasps for the front of my jerkin / vest.....however, when they arrived I was not thrilled with the way they looked on the jerkin. The clasps are really nice but they just weren't doing it for me. So, the jerkin will be left open. Which is fine, with the belt and the bag no one will ever know there were going to be clasps. I have no doubt that I will find something for them to be used on....

these are the clasps that were ultimately not used

That being said....the jerkin / vest is completed! Hip, Hip, Hooray!! Everything is strung (laced) and I do have to say that it looks damn good! And not a moment too soon! DragonCon is only 10 days away. Talk about a speeding train. LOL. Here's some photos of the last bit of progress......what do you think? Not too shabby, huh? :)

here's a shot of the back lacing

the front - with the shirt

getting ahead! LOL
this is with the bag

Now for the hat progression......

this is where i left you last post.....

after some shaping and much contortion.....
you wet (soak it) the leather

after one coating of dye....a whole lot of 'see thru' spots.
and the underside hasn't been done yet, see the corner
on the right

and as of 11pm saturday night.....
5/6 coats of USMC Black dye
it still has to be sprayed with 'saddle tack' (so my head doesn't turn black)
i will be adding more to this today after the tack dries, assuming
the rain stops sometime soon. have to do the spray outside - smells really bad!

That's the updates on the DragonCon outfit. Can not wait to finish it and see it all together. I will be trying it on sometime this coming week to make sure everything fits like it should! I've been trying things on here and there and so far, so good!

This past week as I was coming out of the gym it started to really dark. As I came around the corner this is what I saw......freaked me out a little bit. I've seen tornadoes up close and my brain immediately pulled up those images.

see the big cloud - sky to ground - on the
left by the light pole? totally freaked me out

I stopped by Hobby Lobby this past week as well....they now have all their Halloween / Fall items out. They have some nice pieces. They have a lot of the 'suzy homemaker' pieces. Not really any thing for the die hard Halloween fans. But that's ok. Everyone needs a little Halloween in their life! :)  I did come across a couple of pieces that I liked....then I realized why. They remind me of my 'Patchwork Angels' and I had been creating a couple of years ago. Wow, now that I've gone looking for the link....I guess it's been a few years, not a couple. My, my, my...time flies!

on the shelf @ Hobby Lobby

And on a parting note....
I have finished my Huggin and Munnin piece. I am thrilled with the final outcome! Opinions? Comments? Praise (LOL)? I had to add the 'copyright' to it....I've been seeing where a lot of the people I keep tabs on (all my many internet friends) have been having issues with other people (dirtbags, thieves and unscrupulous scum) taking their images and passing them off as their own. It's ridiculous that artist can not share their work without fear of someone trying to steal it. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now.....

*digital oils - 24 x 24 - completed August 2012*

I guess that's all for now. Just thought I'd put out an update so you can see how hard I've been slaving! Ha!!

I see there is a new member as well!
Welcome aboard. I hope your visit is a pleasant one!
You can see more of Mantan Calaveras at Voodoo Ghoul.

Til next time....
Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!

p.s. that puts us at 40 & 121! almost there, can you feel the anticipation building? LOL

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Little Gnome Flew The Coup!

Hi Everyone!!
Hope your week has been good to you. It's been a hectic one here in my little corner.....
Been busy, busy, busy!

How busy?
Glad you asked! :)
Work last week was a boss was out of the office most of the week connecting all the computers and routers and phone system and etc.........So I was holding down the fort by myself. We've had a laptop just crap out. And one that just decided it didn't want to connect to the VPN at work. And then running back and forth to the owner's office trying to get everything set up the way he wants it. Next week my boss will be out until Thursday. And I'm already up to my eyeballs from Friday. Oh well, at least I will be busy. :)

Now that Sally can get back to going to the gym again- yes, she's doing well and walking without any crutches or cane - I started going again this past week. It's been a long 6 weeks since I've been. I can feel it too. My clothes fit crappy again. Gotta get back to the grind.

My daughter left today for Baltimore again. I'm not sure how I feel about that at the moment. I'm happy for her but I miss her already. :(  I know she likes Baltimore, maybe it's the best for her. Hopefully she can stay focused and accomplish everything she has in her heart. I know she'll do great. She's just so far away. Ok, enough with the self pity! :)

Let's see.....
We went to Michael's to see if they've put out any more Halloween.....yes, they did. But it was the normal holiday garbage. Kind of a bummer. I've been seeing all these blogs about the great Halloween goodies that are being put out, I want their stuff!! Maybe I'll make a trip into Atlanta in the next few weeks, see if there's anything better closer to the big city. I did get a few 'lil critters' to play with. Not sure how I'm gonna paint them. Or what I'm gonna do with them either. LOL! I also found some small skulls that I'm going to incorporate into my DragonCon costume.....

these were the only two pumpkins and bat they had

these will be dangling off my belt i think.......

I also came across some great Halloween fabric at JoAnn Fabrics. It's for a future project. Hopefully the very near future (next few weeks). We're getting closer to my goal - you remember, 50 members or 125 posts - well, I think this material will be part of the give away. Yes, I know what I'm doing with it, but, ssshhhhhhhh, it's a secret. Can't let the cat out of the bag just yet. LOL! Wanna see what I got? hhhhmmmmm??

secret stash.....what will it be??

Pieces of what I've ordered have started trickling in....
I received my 'pirate' shirt. It's freaking awesome! Jet black with ruffles at the neck and wrists. Looks great! My pants (dancer's tights) came in too. They are black as well. They'll look great with the shirt and jerkin (more on this in a minute). I ordered a couple of stocking masks (nylon). I like the way they look, I'm just not sure I will be able to wear them all day at DragonCon. They squish my face and are actually kind of hard to see out of. I may have to rework them some how so that I can use them. Maybe after you see them you can offer some suggestions on making them work. :)  Here's a few photos of all my goodies.......

my black 'pirate' shirt (bad pic, i know)

this is the pumpkin mask - the one i really
want to wear with my costume

this is the second one - i like it too

I also ordered a set of old 'dungeon keys' to hang opposite the three skulls (from above). They arrived on Friday. The package was on the table when I got home. My grand daughter was there. She watched me open the package like a kid on Christmas morning. Her eyes got really big when she saw me pull them out of the package. It was so cute. She had them in her hands within 30 seconds. They somehow became her keys not mine. She carried them around the house for the remainder of the day. She wasn't turning loose of them. I asked if I could have my keys and she told me 'No, they are my keys'. It was adorable. When she finally gave them to me (the following day) I put them on my work table and she had to move them to one of the side tables. 'You can't leave them there' she said. I moved them latter on and she came back and moved them back to the side table again. All I could do was laugh.

my skeleton keys! the perfect accessory

And now......
the reason nothing else has gotten done. LOL!
I have been cramming for DragonCon. I have been working on my jerkin and my hat. The jerkin is coming along fantastic. My hat is taking longer than I thought it would. But it's progressing nicely. I still can't believe that I only have 17 days to get this all done and pulled together. It just freaks me out that time has somehow flown by at the speed of light (or a witch's broomstick, wink, wink). Ok, enough talking, time for some photos of the progress......
the pattern for my hat - this is about the third or fourth
attempt. not as simple as anticipated.  :)

in the process of adding the 'pebble' to
the leather. took forever. the stamp is like
a half an inch wide. pain in the arse but
worth the effort when it was done.

at the beginning of putting it together and
attaching the tabs. leather cement is some
nasty smelling stuff.

working out the pattern. front quarter.
LOOK, my manikin is truly a pin head! LOL!

the back quarters. apparently i didn't take a
photo of the pattern......hhhhmmmmm, thought
i did.

the two back quarters are whole pieces.
i had to piece the front quarters together due
to the suede.

the front quarters being joined with a strip
of suede and leather cement (the inside)

the back quarters with the leather insert.
that way it will stretch and give. it's a green
leather. i know it's hard to see in this light.
i will take pictures outside once it's completed.

the front quarters - complete with 'Frankenstein' stitching.

the shoulders where the front and back quarters connect

the right front quarter. you can see how i
did the side seams as well. i used eyelets
to support the punched holes and then strung them
together. that way there will be movement and
air circulation. this stuff is heavy!

the left front quarter. i stenciled a sun/spiral
pattern onto it with acrylic paints and then
heat set them. turned out really nicely.

That's where I am with the hat and jerkin. The leather insert for the back is drying on the table as I'm writing this. The hat is drying as well. I can only glue a few tabs at a time, since it's an oval. Don't want to put to much pressure on the side walls and pop the glue free. Hopefully I can finish the gluing on the hat tomorrow. That way a can dye it sometime this coming week. Once the insert is dry I can add the rest of the eyelets to the back and string it. Then I will have to try it on and see if I want closures on the front or if I'm going to let it stay open. Not sure yet......depends on how the jerkin sits with the ruffles from the shirt. And that is the reason that I have gotten absolutely no work done on anything dollies, no Wee Stuffies, no Halloweenies, no nothin'. I wanted to join the doll making class from Ankie Daanen but it starts on the 14th of August and there was just no way of devoting any time to it with everything going on for DragonCon. Maybe she will have another one after things have calmed down. Just not enough time in the day to complete everything. :) Maybe Miss Daanen will read my post and have pity on me and do a class just for me. Hey, I can dream! LOL! If anyone takes this class let me know how it goes. Please!

I almost forgot to show you my new punch. It's a Martha Stewart retired punch. I really like. The only disappointment is that it doesn't like to punch through my card stock. It punches paper great. Not so much with my cards. :(  Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure something out. ;)

not so hot on my card stock - paper is great.

My mead should have been racked this weekend.....but.....that didn't happen. Fortunately it's not an issue. It will wait until next weekend (or maybe sometime during the week). This will be the second rack and then in another 30 days or so it can be bottled. Then I just have to wait until April 2013. Wow, that seems so far away....but these last few weeks (months) have proven that misconception to be false!
My poor pumpkins are officially dead. There is nothing left of them at all. No remaining vines, no withered leaves or tendrils. It's like they were never there. Really bummed out about this (lil tear shed). My broom corn is desperately trying to hang on. Even if they manage to make it, they will be extremely tiny. The largest stalk is only two feet tall. And really sad looking. Again, really bummed.

Well, I think that's all for this post. I hope you have a wonderfully productive week! I will be continuing to work on my costume. Who knows, maybe next post I will be able to show you some photos of the finished pieces! *fingers crossed*

I will leave you with a photo of my daughter being silly.......she had to try on my hat, without the brim. She looked like a ga-nome. :) It was cute and made me smile......

ssshhhhhh, don't tell her, i'm
sure she'll give me grief for
posting it. ;)

We have another new member to welcome! YAY!
You'll have to go and check out the carvings at LLA Creations. They're great!
Thanks for stopping by! Welcome to my neck of the woods. :)

Anyway, til next time...
Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!

That's 39 members and 120 posts....times-a-tickin'
OMG!! Halloween is only 79 days away! AAAAHHHHH!!