Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Animal Pins

   I am doing a slow make-over on my Etsy shop and one thing I am changing is that I am going to sell these pins I made. They are all of animals. I want more variety in my shop. Eventually my make-over will include making prints and cards of my illustrations. As of now, everything is original but I will be able to sell prints cheaper then art originals.
   All these pins are either acrylic painted onto bass or balsa wood and shellacked or autumn leaves glued to animal shaped wood and shellacked  These were a lot of fun to make. I plan to make more and I want to make flower petal animal pins.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

After A Visit With Her Friend In The Country, Lucy Is Followed Home By The Rain Monster

   This picture was a commissioned work, my very first commissioned work! Basically, the person liked this picture that I sold awhile ago and wanted a similar one. I had a lot of creative freedom because she wanted a picture with a rain monster following a girl, but besides that I got to do what I wanted.

  On her weekend, Lucy decided to visit her friend in the country side. Lucy loves long, meandering walks. She started at her house in the town and walked down the path that led through the grassy hills and wildflower sprinkled meadows to her friends home. Lucy and her country friend spend the day doing country things. They wander through the landscape of old, gnarled trees and long soft grass in search of interesting birds and insects to look at. They lay on the grass and look up at the sky where they make up stories about the shapes they see in the clouds. They pick colorful bouquets overflowing with interesting flowers. Later in the afternoon they drink tea and eat scones while they catch up on each others lives. When the sun gets low, Lucy decides she should probably begin her long walk home. With fond farewells, she bids her friend adieu. As soon as she steps outside, the cheerful sky transforms and a light rainstorm begins. Lucy is accustomed to sudden rainstorms and has and umbrella to protect her from the wet. As she walks, Lucy is so consumed by her daydreams that she does not realize she is being followed by the rain monster. The rain monster finds Lucy endlessly fascinating  He finds all people interesting but Lucy has particularly peeked his interest because she seems far less irritated by the rain then other humans. She never rushes with hunched shoulders or ducks under the safety of eaves. Instead, she pulls out her umbrella and  continues her walk. The rain monster really wants to befriend Lucy but he is terribly shy. Maybe today will be the day that he clears his throat and says the line he has been practicing in his head for ages "Excuse me Madam, I am the rain monster and I humbly beg your kind acquaintance."

Friday, April 12, 2013

How To Make A Book Cover Pencil Box

  I got this idea from a book cover memory box I saw years ago. This pencil box is a simpler version using easy to access materials. Here is what you need:

  • Balsa wood comes in a lot of different thicknesses. Make sure to pick balsa wood thick enough to be sturdy.  The kind of balsa wood I chose was about a quarter of an inch. If you want, you can choose a different type of wood. Balsa wood is ideal for the crafter who does not have experience or the right equipment for sturdier wood. It is easy to cut through using a craft knife. 
  • If you don't have wood glue but you do have some sort of hefty craft glue, this should work too.

Step One: Choose Your Book
  It is important to choose a book that is long enough to fit pencils (Or whatever it is you want to put in it) and thick enough to actually act as a box. I would say to look for a book that has a spine that is at least an inch thick. Most importantly, find a book with an interesting cover so your box will be dazzling to behold! I've had this 'Modern Biology' book cover squirreled away with my craft supplies for years. I knew I wanted to use it in some project, but didn't know what until recently.

Step Two: Cut out the pages.
  Use your craft knife to cut the pages out of your book. Just cut down the spine of the book in front and back. Bring you knife down on the side with the pages, not along the cover of the book. If the book you are using has interesting pictures, save them for a future craft project. Pictures from old books make great collage and decoupage supplies. They are also perfect for unique handmade cards.

Step Three: Measure!

  You need the length, width and spine width of the book in order figure out the size of the panels (or sides of your box). You will need four panels. There are two ways to get the measurements needed for your panels.

Way One (The more confusing but more accurate option)- Measure the width of the book, the length of the book, and the width of the book's spine. Measure the width of the balsa wood you are using and multiply it by two. Panels one and two should be as wide as the book's spine and as long as the books length. Panels three and four should be as wide as the book spine. The length of panels three and four should be the length of the book's width minus the last measurement (width of the wood multiplied by two.)

Way Two (The more laid-back but less accurate option) - Measure the width of the book, the length of the book and the width of the book's spine. Panels one and two should be as wide as the books spine and as long as the book's length. Panels three and four should be as wide as the book spine's width and as long as the book's width. These measurements will not be completely accurate. They will be a little long. So from hear do some tinkering. Fit the panels in the book and  cut down the length where needed. I ended up cutting down the length of the panels a couple of times and then fitting them in the book a couple of times before I reached the perfect length.

Use the trusty chart below for additional help.

Step Four:  Cut your panels.
  Use your measurements from step three and draw panels onto your balsa wood. Now cut the panels out! An xacto knife or box cutter should do the trick.

Step Five: Sand paper the panels.
  This step is optional depending on how jagged your edges are. To get nice, smooth edges, run a piece of sand paper over them a couple of times.

Step Six: Glue panels to book.
No glue will be going on the inside cover of your book. This is the lid and will need to flip open.

First, glue panel one along the book spine.

Next, put glue on the bottom edge and side edges of panels three and four. Place glued edges on the bottom cover along the width sides of the book.

Last, glue panel two along the last edge of the book.

Step Seven: Let Glue Dry
   I placed a bunch of books on top of my book cover pencil box so the wood would be securely in place. This step is especially important if you live with a curious cat or dog whose investigations may lead to the destruction of your craft project.

Let it dry over night. Take the books off... and viola! You now have a simple but interesting box to store pencils and other kinck-knacks.
Inside of box
Outside of box

Step Eight: Fill your new box up.
  Fill your box up with pencils or your choice of knick-knacks.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fanny and Her Walrus Friend Petunia Travel the Rainbow Road

I did the drawing of this awhile ago but then forgot about it. That is until I was looking for a piece of watercolor paper and found this sandwiched in between blank pages. So I finished painting it.

       When Fanny woke up and walked out of her igloo, she was greeted with the most wondrous sight. A rainbow road leading from her igloo to mysterious unknowns. At first she was unsure if the road was solid or composed of ethereal light particles like most rainbows. She tentatively pushed her toe against the rainbow road and felt that it was solid as the ice around her. The penguins clucked and chattered. One of the penguins hollered "Don't go on it, Fanny! It could be dangerous." Fanny liked her penguin friends, but they were often lethargic and cowardly. Their days consisted mainly of gentle slips and slides along the ice before retreating to their igloos where they enjoyed muffled conversations over hot mugs of tea. Fanny however, adored the sweet call of danger. And her thrill of danger mixed with her insatiable sense of curiosity made it impossible for Fanny not to follow the rainbow road. Before she left, she yelled "Petuniaaaaaaa!" The call echoed around the arctic village and reached Petunia's ears. Fanny's walrus friend came waddling toward her. Petunia was equally nonplussed by danger and it was easy for Fanny to convince her friend to join her in this new adventure. The two walked across the rainbow road and found them self adrift on a small ice island. "This is it?" Fanny thought with disappointment, not realizing that in a moment the ice island would begin to rattle. Then it would lift up from the icy water and go shooting into the sky. Soon, Fanny and Petunia will be having adventures in space, spending their days traveling to far off planets and meeting alien people and animals alike!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cheap Fortunes

(1. Cheap fortunes 2. Tree sculpture by Fremont waterfront (I took this photo a while ago, but now there are two of these sculptures!) 3. A tree making a shadow puppet on a wall... the shadow puppet is of the human circulatory system 4. A leaf that looks like a tailless whale that I found outside last summer while doodling in the sun.)

  I saw my very first 3D movie this weekend- 'Oz The Great and Powerful.' This was a great movie to introduce me to the wonderful world of 3D movies. The movie was whimsical and visually playful which worked well to the 3D. The opening credits to the movie were especially amazing. The movie itself was fun to watch although my favorite part was when the wizard was still in Kansas. I like the 'Wizard of Oz' story and magical lands stories in general, but this movie was more intriguing when the Wizard was trying to get by as a magician/ con man in dusty, tornado-infested Kansas as he traveled with the circus.

I recently made some cupcakes for Davids Birthday. Here they are:

   They are yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. I happened to get both recipes from Martha Stewart's website. 

I also got David a plant, but look what Mue Mue did to it!

He bit and bent almost every single leaf spear. That cat is bent on destruction!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Strangers in Grayscale

  Here are some old photos of strangers that I got from an antique store on the waterfront downtown. What I like about old photos of strangers is that it is fun to make up stories about the people in them.

    I imagine that this man's name is Hank and he is an aspiring politician.  Probably this was the day he announced is run for mayor. It was also the day of the Mayfair parade. After the parade, while everyone was in the park eating baked beans and bbq chicken, he went to the podium to announce his candidacy. However, despite Hanks seemingly kind and friendly disposition, he was involved with some nefarious people. The man in the photo to Hank's right is Steve. Steve is the son of the local crime lords. The crime lords think that bumbling, sweet-faced Hank will the perfect shmuck to act as their puppet. What they don't know is that Hank is not as naive as they assume. While pretending to work with the crime lords, he will destroy the criminal network from within!

    On the back of this picture it says Judy and Jeannette (or maybe Jedy and Jeannette,  it is hard to tell because of the writing). Even though Judy makes more sense as a dogs name than Jeannette, I imagine the dog is Jeannette and the girl is Judy. The girl just looks like a Judy to me. It is hard to tell how old Judy is, but I am guessing 12 or 13. I think that her father was a traveling business man who always brings his daughter a gift after his trips. This time, he brought his daughter home a camera. Usually when her dad comes home, Judy runs to greet him. But before she could do so, her father had her stop on the patio so he could take a picture of her with the new camera. Jeannette the dog however, refused to stay put and continued her enthusiastic run toward her person.

    I think these two people are named Alice and Mary-Lou. Mary-Lou is Alice's first child. Before Alice had her daughter, she was a frolicking free flapper! She spent her nights swigging gin and dancing the Charleston  Alice grew up with an overbearing, conservative family so when she was fifteen she ran away to New York where she could indulge in the flapper lifestyle and its embrace of youthful freedom and light-heartedness. She has been estranged from her family ever since, but now that she has her own child she is considering an attempt at reconciliation.

   I think this is Maude and that she has lived her whole life in the country. She and her husband lived on a farm until his recent (in terms of when the picture was taken) death. Maude tried to live on the farm by herself, but she became lonely and the chores of keeping a farm afloat are too much for one person. So Maude's niece who lives in the suburbs insisted Maude must come live with her! The first thing Maude's niece did was take her Aunt shopping. She bought her aunt a new jacket, gloves and hat so she could more easily fit in with the fancier women in the suburbs. Maude's niece took this picture of her Aunt wearing her new outfit.

     This picture is my favorite (With Judy and Jeannette coming in as a close second)! I think that this is a family photo of a family who decided to leave behind the emerging suburban life to build a new life in the forest. The mother took the photo and the people in the photo are her daughter, husband and brother in law. They live in a small cabin next to a river. Every day they fish together and every night they have a grand fish feast. The little girl has an idyllic life or skipping stones and making up songs on her little toy horn. I think the brother might be a little bit of a bad influence. Before they left for the woods I think he drank too much (although he was always a jovial drunk) and sometimes pressured his brother into getting into mischief with him. The mother was reluctant to allow her brother in-law to accompany them to their new life. But she relented knowing her brother in-law has a kind heart and many useful skills.

These are the stories I saw while looking at these pictures, but maybe you saw a different story.....