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! But....it'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 it....you 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. But......no, 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!


  1. Wow!!! Your mask and walking stick are absolutely awesome.

    Yes I heard about the Facebook issue and your friend was a professional and handled it very well:)I cannot believe anyone would say that she is not an artist!

  2. THANKS Mary Ann!
    I am totally stoked about the costume! I can't wait til Saturday. :)
    She was professional,wasn't she. It's hard to believe that anyone would say she wasn't an artist. Obviously this woman has never seen any of her work. You know what they say....'you can't fix stupid'. LOL

  3. Yes to the squash recipe. Yes, PLEASE, even, as I love soup.

    The walking cane just shows how things come together when you need them and the mask is just awesome (I'm English, so I don't actually use the word 'awesome' unless there is actual 'awe' involved.)The heavy brow ridge, the ornate tooled leather pattern, all just wonderful.

    I'm sorry your friend met with someone so rude and unpleasant, and I'm sorry you posted first, proof-read after. I know how embarrassing that can be! Been there, done that.

    Have a wonderful time at DragonCon and yes please, pictures and what-have-you. I seem to know a lot of people, through the wonder of the Internets, that are going. I'll just have to go vicariously.

    1. Thanks Bev!
      I will post the recipe as soon as I get a chance. Gotta go look it up (you know, it's wwaaaayyyyy upstairs LOL).
      I was embarrassed, which just made me madder. oh well, too late to take it back now.
      Thank you for the 'awesome' - I really do appreciate it very much!
      I'm sure I'll be taking lots of pictures. Assuming that I'm not to flabbergasted at the costumes. HA!