Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two Toos and Dashed Dreams

Hello Everyone.
Hope you are all enjoying your Saturday!

I want to thank everyone for all the birthday wishes and wonderful comments on the 'alternative' Valentine views. :) They were all very much appreciated!

It's been a busy, albeit ultimately disappointing, week.

I did manage to get the fencing up on the right side of the yard. Only one more little piece to do and then the gate. YAY! It has been nice not having every stray in the neighborhood come through my yard. :)
My neighbors just finished up their fence today. It looks good. Now the dogs (mine and my adopted ones) can go out and run around and bark and carry on with trying to eat each other. Amy (my neighbor) was telling me how Cotton isn't afraid of anything....except Pixie (my Rat Terrier). All I could do was giggle. She can be extremely intimidating at times. We have yet to figure out why Pixie and Cotton don't like each other. Pixie is fine with Rocky and Newton, it's just Cotton. Amy says Pixie is just a bitch. Well.....yeah. She's my little guard dog. And she takes her job very seriously. :) LOL!

Guess what I got for my birthday? I GOT TWO TOOS!!  Two tattoos. They are both on my left leg. Around my ankle. One is a little skeleton and the other is a Goddess spiral. I am really pleased with how they came out. I spoke with the tattoo artist and he is supposed to be working up a price for the Phoenix (see last post). I'll have to wait and see how high the cost is.....maybe?? ;) Sally got one too. She got a butterfly/face that is really quite pretty. The pics aren't the best. Taking pictures upside down with a cell isn't as easy as it appears....
lil' skelly. you might have seen him on my hang tags

Goddess spiral.

Sally's butterfly. The wings are purples

I worked on my mask more at the beginning of the week and it was coming along nicely. Good shape, good depth, nice details. I set it aside on Tuesday to do one of many other things....Well, Tuesday and Wednesday we had an unexpected warm front come through. And the house was miserable. Warm (hot) and stuffy. Then on Thursday it cooled off so I went to go and work on my mask some more. It was cracked in several places. Not tiny little lines but huge fissures. So after freaking out and being totally pissed off, I decided I would do the mask in paper mache. I did two layers on Friday night and let them dry. This morning I added an additional two layers. I set it down in front to the heater to dry. I figured I would 'cut it out' because of the horns and long pointy nose. And then I would paper mache the pieces back together. It's not like this is the first time I've done this. Well, it might as well have been. The sculpt and the paper mache are destroyed. The paper mache wouldn't release from the clay. And then promptly ripped and collapsed. I am not a happy camper. But I refuse to let this hamper me in my quest. Here are some photos before all the bad juju...... No pictures of the aftermath - I was too busy throwing a temper tantrum and various things around the room.

not too shabby :)

side view

first two layers of paper mache. the little white globs are glue

On the plus side, Forrest's mold is completely dry now and my neoprene should be here some time in the next week. I guess I had better get started on another mask. I just can't stop in the middle this time. :) 

My manikin is 3/4 filled with expanding foam. I can't believe this thing is taking so much foam to fill. I inserted a 1 inch dowel rod the last go round. That way it will 'stand'. I did however learn an important lesson when dealing with expanding foam. Don't be lazy! Put your gloves on!! The first time around I didn't make any mess (yeah, I know....scary!). So as I was preparing the second batch I realized, in the middle of things, that I hadn't put any gloves on. Oh well, after all I didn't make a mess the first time. HA HA HA! In the process of mixing, pouring and holding onto the dowel rod I managed to get foam up my arm, the side of one hand and the back of the other. Let me tell you, expanding foam is a royal pain to remove....even from skin. This stuff sticks to everything! It took me over two hours of soap, water, scrub brush and acetone to get this stuff off. And I am still picking little piece here and there. I assure you, it will never happen again. Lesson learned!

Last weekend I got a message from AT&T that my phone needed to be updated. Now, being that I do IT work all week, I promptly put this off. Well, I decided that I would do the upgrade. Actually two upgrades. Yes, I was that far behind. First off, they can't make things easy. No, you have to download the upgrade to your PC and then to the phone. What a pain. After what seemed like forever (two and a half hours) I finally got the upgrade completed. I have had nothing but issues with my phone since. The upgrade has changed all my settings, all the locations of my buttons and half of the 'normal' programming. Then on Thursday night we had a storm roll through and screw up AT&T's service. Which is still not fixed. It sends messages and photos and phone calls as it sees fit. I am totally disgusted with my phone. Now I understand why my Dad turned ours off. Yes, I spent almost all of my high school years without a phone. My Dad just didn't want the hassle of dealing with a phone. I am so tempted to do the same thing. But, my daughter is on the west coast and my son lives too far away to not have one. Damn. 

Well, I am off to work on the manikin and probably the fence. Wish me luck. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a fantastic week!!

p.s. ~ this is my 101st post. I think I may have a give~away when I reach 125. Or when I reach 50 followers...which ever comes first. So pass the word and let's see which one happens first. I'm going to be trying out a different who knows? :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day To You All!

It's hard to believe another year has gone (blinding speed) by. Yes, today is my birthday. YAY?? Yeah, I guess Yay. It's a mixed bag.....this morning I was definitely feeling another year older. However, that has been eased by all the well wishes from the wonderful people in my life. Thank you immensely! I am truly blessed to have so many caring people around me. :)
OK, enough mushy for now......LOL.

I took Monday off of work to get some things done....yeah, like that happened. Usually I take off my birthday but my boss had scheduled a doctors appointment before realizing the day. So Monday I got up bright and early....too early for a day off. Off to the tag place. Not too terribly bad. They have updated everything and are quite efficient. I was only there about 20 minutes. Nice, shinny, new, expensive little tiny sticker for my truck. One down.
Then it was off to get my license renewed. Guess who's not open on Mondays? Yeah, the DDS is closed. And apparently they are open for four hours on Saturday now. I had no idea that any of this had changed. It's been eight years - the last time I sent it through the mail. I was not a happy camper....seeing as how my license expired on Tuesday and there was no way I could go.
It all worked out though....Fortunately they are open until six. So I flew proceeded to go straight from work. :) They were packed, but they too have updated the system. So I was only there for about 30 minutes. Not bad at all. Now I am legal again. Yippee!

And now for a short stroll thru the twisted landscape that is my brain.....
I'm sure that this comes from years of being 'sweetie' or 'a valentine's baby' or 'an all hearts baby' or so many of the other things that come from having a birthday on Valentine's day. While everyone else is running around with visions of hearts and cupids racing through their brains I have tommy-guns and well dressed criminals laughing and saying 'look at those poor s-o-b's'.
I can see a lot of raised eyebrows......
Yes, my vision of St. Valentine's Day is filled with betrayal, retribution and MURDER.
Disturbed? Nah, just choosing to see the alternate to the over commercialization of a day of sharing your love with someone special. Besides, it is my birthday. I can see what I want.  LOL.
Do you know about the Valentine Day Massacre?  It happened in 1929. When men dressed as well as the ladies. And weren't afraid to stand up for what they believed in. Granted, not all of it was legitimate. But hey, nobodys perfect. :)
If you'd like to know more you can go here or here. Quite an interesting story.

 seven well dressed, bullet ridden gentlemen

six of the seven killed. supposedly over a 'turf' war

they say Al Capone was gunning for....

 George 'Bugs' Moran. Who slipped away

Now, how's that for a history lesson? Makes you wonder what the world would be like now if these 'gentlemen' were still running things. Hhhhhmmmmmmm......

On a down note....I had very little latex left to run a test on Forrest's mold. What tiny bit was still in the bottle had long since solidified. Kind of a bummer. I was looking forward to getting a glimpse of how the plaster mold turned out. Guess I've got to wait for my neoprene now. Patience is not my strong point. I can hear the crazed laughter of the people who know me......

I did manage to get some work in on my mask. It's coming along very nicely. Almost sticking to the image I have trying to get out of my head. We'll see if it remains that way. By the time my neoprene gets here this mold may be ready too. That would be nice. Then I can cast them both at one time. Fingers Crossed!

DragonCon mask beginnings...

I was also Duct Taped this weekend. Why? Well, I could go into a lengthy explanation but I'm sure you already have images in your head - whether you want them or not. LOL
Actually, I asked my wife to tape me up in order to create a workable manikin so that I can use it to fit my doublet. The RenFest is speeding at me like a train. I am really, really trying to stay focused on the doublet but things keep getting in the way. I find myself constantly saying 'NO, put that down. You have to complete this first'. At any rate, I got the idea from the web, where else, right? You use duct tape and then fill it with expanding foam. Simple, right? hahahahahaha
Now my wife had a good time 'tying me up'. Rude comments, raised eyebrows and all. :)
Then she tried to take all the skin off my arm. WOW did that hurt. We missed the shirt on the under side of my arm and the tape was firmly pressed in place. OWW! 
Then it came time to fill it with foam....supposedly, according to many people on the web, it should only take one can of Great Stuff expanding foam. What a freaking lie. I have put two cans of Great Stuff and an entire bottle of Super Foam 320. Which expands to 20 times it's volume. I'm only half way towards filling this thing. Now, that either means that the people doing these manikins are three feet tall and the size of a toothpick or I am somehow huge. I know I'm not 'petit' by any means...but come on. It's going to cost me a fortune to fill this thing. Which was the whole point of doing it this way. After all, a good (or even a not so good) dress manikin is easily $300. I am hoping to get this manikin finished by this weekend so I can start laying out the doublet. Wish me luck!!

all wrapped up and no place to go

less than half way filled after much foam

My wife has also decided that we should get tattoos. For my birthday, of course. We went out and looked at a couple of shops (locally). One of which I wouldn't let tattoo a grapefruit. The other one is a fairly new shop. Looks like one or two experienced artist and a 'newbie'. My wife has found a really pretty butterfly that becomes a face. She seems fairly intent of getting it. I have yet to decide on what I want. I think I want a phoenix. But of course the one I want would probably cost a small fortune. It's a fairly intricate design with a good deal of color. I may show it to them just so I can have a good laugh. We shall see!

this is the one i want.......

I spy, with my little eye, two new followers! YAY!
Welcome to Marijke and to Lena! Thank you for visiting! It's always a pleasure to meet new people.
You can see Marijke's latest bear (he's all white and adorable) at her blog
and Lena's latest is a lil' princess, tiara and all. You can see her here. Be sure and scroll down. Lena's angel's are total too cute.

Well, I do believe that's all for now.... Have a wonderful evening. I hope you can spend it with the one(s) you love. :)

Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!

p.s. this is my 100th post!! Yay me! :)


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Thursday ramblings....

Hello All!
Hope you are having a great week! It's been a really weird one this week.....

I got Forrest de-molded. And for the most part the mold came out well. Won't know for sure until I pour the neoprene. The outside of the mold cracked in one spot. Fortunately it doesn't affect the face. The crack is on the outer rim. :(   Not as bad as it could have been. I'm really getting impatient.....I don't have my neoprene yet. I do have a small amount of latex though...I may do a test run. Just to make sure that it 'grabbed' all the details.
I'm not positive I have enough for the mold though. I'll have to go and investigate further. :)
looking down into the mold. see the big crack in the upper right corner?

this is whats left of Forrest's sculpt and pieces of plaster. 
what a mess!

Tuesday night's full moon was accompanied by something I haven't heard in the 10 years I've lived in my OWL! I was letting out the dogs and I heard a 'noise'. At first I thought it was one of the neighborhood dogs (I was glad it wasn't, because I thought they may have been hurt). But then he hooted again. I searched the woods behind my house to no avail....then he hooted again. That was when I realized that the moon was full. What a wonderful night for an owl. Owls are at the top of my favorite list. They are simply 'Royal'. They're beautiful, intelligent, graceful and one of the best hunters on the planet. When I was a kid I always wanted a barn owl to take roost in our barn. But it never happened. I checked all the time but they must not have liked our barn. Either that or our cats got to all the mice before they did. :)
And then yesterday while I was continuing to work on the fence, I heard something I haven't heard in a while...a woodpecker. He was loud too! A couple of years ago we had a really large one. He was about 2 feet tall. Absolutely beautiful bird. And then he just stopped showing up. I heard the bang, bang, bang again today and went looking for him. He's a tiny little thing for all the noise he was making. He couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 inches tall. I think he must be a 'baby'. I love my woods! 

I came across a post where they were talking about Johnny Depp's new movie. What? New movie? Really? How did I not hear about this? He's doing a version of Dark Shadows. He plays the vampire. The makeup is fabulous (like I'd expect anything less). Of course this is a Burton collaboration. There is no trailer yet. I think it's going to be released in May. So we should start seeing something soon. :) 
Johnny the vampire

And I came across the trailer for Paranorman. This looks cute. It's from Laika. It's supposed to be out soon too. It's from the makers of Coraline. It's an animated film but the premise looks good. Maybe I'll take the grandkids to see it. Hhhhmmmmm. You never know, stranger things have happened. LOL!

from the makers of Coraline

Not a bad week so far, right? Wrong! Wednesday morning I realized that I forgot to make my chicken salad to take for lunch (all the sodium ya-ya). So, being very bad, very bad, I went to McDonald's for lunch. That doesn't sound too terrible, does it? When I got done eating and pulled back into the parking lot my boss called me and said 'Can I talk you into going to get me something to eat?" - he was on a service call with an outside tech. I said 'sure - what do you want?' Guess where I made another trip to......yep, McDonald's. Again, that doesn't sound too bad. Well, on the way back to McDonald's, I managed to run over something in the road. I think it was a piece of metal pipe. The tire caught it and threw it into the wheel well. Made an awful noise. And I freaked out about it. But it seemed to not have done anything. So, back through the drive-thru and headed back to work. Half way back my little yellow light comes on saying 'low tire pressure'. Then I noticed that my truck was kinda leaning towards the left. Pulled into my parking space and got was half way flat. And I could clearly hear the air escaping the tire. DAMN!! About an hour later my boss comes to me and says 'you gonna change that?' The whole time I wasn't even sure there was a spare up under the truck. But there was! So I proceeded to change the tire. Yeah, right. Had a hell of a time getting the spare down. It was tucked waaaayyyyy up underneath. Got the lugs busted loose and started jacking up the truck....the jack didn't take the truck up high enough. Really? Are you kidding me? Off to the maintenance department to get the big jack. Then realized that there wasn't enough room to put both jacks on the little 'jack bumper thing'. I had to cram the spare up underneath and take the small jack down. Finally got the tire changed.
Then I left for the tire place.....a couple miles up the road some clown in a van pulled out in front of me, he was less than a car length away from me when he gunned it. Which really just infuriated me, then whatever he had on his roof came off and straight into the front of my truck. Really? Why me? Fortunately it was empty cardboard boxes. If there had been a policeman around they would have hauled me off for road rage. I was fit to be tied! Then when I got to the tire place they were swamped....couldn't do it today. Of course not, whThy would I expect anything else. So I left the tire to be repaired. I picked it up today and was promptly told that it would be 2-3 hours before they could put it on for me. Ummmmmm, no thanks, just give it to me. I will do it myself. Whew! Came home to change the tire....that's when I heard the woodpecker. Funny how a little bird can change your whole outlook on the day. :)

I did get a pleasant surprise today though. A couple of days ago I left a response to a post. It was for an article written about a well known doll artist. To my wonderful surprise she responded and told me that she liked my blog and would have to make time to read more of it. I was blown away. Then a short time later I was checking my facebook page and she had found me and requested that we be friends. I was overwhelmed that she would do that. :) Who is it? None other than Marlaine Verhelst. If you don't know who this is I encourage you to go and see her dolls. Here's the link to her blog. I have always loved her work. I think you will to (if you don't already). Well don't just sit there...go look! LOL!

I have just realized that I have two more new followers! YAY! It would seem that I am some how gathering steam! LOL!
Welcome to Nina, you can see her blog here. Her dolls are just too cute!
And welcome to Louisa at Needful Friends. Some wonderful bears! 
Thank you both for being part of my little corner of the world! 
I really appreciate all the people who pop in to visit. I just have to figure out how to server coffee or tea through the computer now.....hahaha. It's like having people stop by for a visit at the kitchen table. :)

I guess that's all for now. I will look and see if I have enough latex to do a test on Forrest. I'm sure I'll 'see' you all before the weekend is out. Until then...

Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Full Plate!

Hi All!
Hope you are having a fantastic weekend! Been busy, busy, busy. Only gonna be more so in the next couple months. :)  Can't wait!

Let's see....hhhhmmmmmm.....
Work was hectic this past week (and the week before). We switched over from regular phones to VoIP. That's voice over IP. They're all network phones now. So I've been running around prepping things and then testing and checking. And testing and checking. And testing and checking. PHEW! Fortunately, it seems we have most of the issues worked out. Now it's just a matter of getting the users used to the phones. You would think that the phones came from Mars the way some people act. I mean, the are just phones. They work the same way. They just connect differently. I figure by the time we get everyone set with them...they'll change something else. HA!

Went to see the tax lady this weekend. WOW! I was expecting her to be busy, she always is, but there was already people in the parking lot when we got there. I was there at 7:30. She doesn't open til 9. There was at least a half a dozen cars there and people pulling in right behind us. By the time she got there I would say there was a good 30 people waiting for her. BUT, she's really good at what she does. Been going to her for four years now and she never ceases to amaze me. :)  So that's one chore down. YAY!!

Got my new glasses on Saturday too. Man do I feel old. My last pair were 'progressives'. That three different lenses crammed into a pair of glasses. This time I opted to not get the distance since it's so small I really don't need it. So the tech talked me into getting split line bifocals. Talk about getting used to it. It's gonna take a while. The line in the middle is still making me crazy. I's only been a day. What can I say? I'm impatient. I am getting used to it though. I'm starting to 'look' where I need to in order to see. My new ones are for mid-range (computer work) and close up. It is nice to be able to clearly see things again. :)

And then, Hobby Lobby called me. My manikin heads came in. Yippee!! I went to pick some up at the store but the ones they had looked like someone played hockey with them. Big chunks missing, no noses, the sides caved in....they were bad. So they ordered me two and promised me they wouldn't look like the ones on the shelves. And they didn't!
What do I need manikin heads for? Masks of course. I think I'm going to sculpt my mask for DragonCon. I think it's going to be a half mask...just above the lower lip. Horns and all. Along the lines of a masquerade mask. And I believe I'm opting for the 'Marquee' dress. Big cuffs, lots of ruffles, obnoxious colors, etc.....
two heads are better than one. soon to be covered in clay

I've been working on Forrest as well. He's is progressing nicely! I got all his sculpting done. Finished that up on Friday night. And tonight, after working in the yard - getting things ready to finish my fence, I did his mold. Wow did I forget how much of a mess I make with potter's plaster. No, you don't understand....I make a MESS! Good thing I had a slab of wood on my table. I got plaster everywhere....on the floor, on the chair, all over the table. It's going to take me another day just to clean it up. I am waiting for it to completely set...right now....while I'm writing this! I'm excited...and nervous! It's not the first time I've done a mold but I'm always scared something will happen. Bubbles, scratches, who knows what else. I've got another 15 minutes or so before it's ready to be de-molded. Keep your fingers crossed! In the mean time, here's some photos to bring you up to date....
Forrest getting some 'texture'

eyeballs, horns and all. ready for the mold process

i used more clay for the mold walls then for Forrest

plaster of choice. No. 1 Pottery Plaster

looks like a cake i made when i was 8.  LOL!!

Well, I guess that's all for now....about to go release Forrest from his mold. Wish me luck!

I see I have another follower! YAY!! 
Hi LuLu! Welcome to my blog!! Glad you could stop by. :)
Go check out LuLu's blog....good stuff! LuLu's Apple Sauce.

Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!!