Friday, October 29, 2010

Bondage Boat

Another wedding present made for a friend. It's supposed to be Bettie Page, but the combination of bad lighting and THE BRIGHTEST FLASH EVER made this impossible to photograph. Believe me, it was really lovely in reality....

Now I just have to deliver the other wedding gift I have sitting here...
And get to work on all the lame yule gifts!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Drawing it out

For the last year or so, when I'm bored, I've been drawing portraits of my friends from photos.

I have done a few upon request. I've given a few as presents. Mostly, I'm just doing this for my own entertainment.

Sean, the drawing of the man and the photo that got me started on my current portrait kick. I haven't drawn a lot of men, and he's a pretty inspiring guy. The most awesome person you'll ever meet, perhaps. Anyway, I think it's pretty obvious that I mostly draw women. He's very pretty in person, but not *quite* this feminine.

Here's my chikadee, all dressed up for a wedding. It will be a present, if I haven't given it to her yet. I wonder where I put that drawing...

Here's my gorgeous friend Gibbitt, from a photo of herself on her way to a dance party at Dragon*con. She's all blues and purples and greens in that photo, and I didn't realize til I drew this that the color is what makes it really special. Luckily, she's gorgeous enough to be breathtaking in black and white as well. Of all of my portraits posted to my deviantart gallery, this one's got the most favorites, I believe. Can't blame them.

This was a commission for a birthday gift. I don't do many group or couples portraits, and it's always interesting. Not only do the features have to be in proportion, but the two or more people have to be properly oriented in relation to each other as well. It helps that Amber is a perfectly average ladyheight, and her Tim is beanpole man. Made everything really strange to fit on a page.

This was another commission by the model, which turned into a birthday present from her husband. Or something. There were two commissions. But one gift. I was very sneaky. This was fun to draw. A dream to draw, even. There were challenges, but because it was a photoshoot situation, the lighting and shading were interesting and dynamic. With standard flashes, the shadows disappear and the light colors get blown out.. this is why faces look just a tiny bit fatter on film than in person. All the interesting shades are missing. Only the lightest and darkest make the cut. As the artist I usually spend a lot of time trying to imagine those shades back in. This is made much easier when the photo is as nice as this one was.

Here's another photo snapped by a pro of my friend Watcho. It was one of the photos I picked up when I was soliciting portrait practice jobs. I'm excellent at getting a likeness when the person is in a standard position: front facing, relaxed features. This was an entirely new thing where I had to get the likeness while most of her face was hidden behind her hand and she was sucking on a smoking thing. Interesting challenge. :)

My most recent drawing is... alright. Like the others, the scan makes my pencil texture scratchy instead of awesome. The likeness is.. alright. I was trying to mix it up a little again with the glasses and big happy smile as my challenges. For the record, drawing glasses sucks. They're these stupid little bits of plastic or metal and glass that should be shapes and shades and no big deal, but they're shapes and shades within shapes and shades and all curved and twisty and I kinda want to kill them. And smiles will always be tricky, what with teeth and muscles and whatnot. So I'm only mildly satisfied with this one, but happy with my progress.

As I draw I become more aware of my style, which I've always considered pretty traditional, especially when it comes to portraiture. But I'm seeing now that I have a slightly heavy hand and an eye for simplifying that works best with casual, organic images. The photos with more formal staging, or more expressive features don't look as good in my hand. I'm hoping to get more experience with facial expressions, but I can't discount that my pencil stroke and weight and shading usually creates the mood enough that the person in the portrait is almost an afterthought.

I'm ok with this to a degree. On one hand, it's kinda cool to leave my mark so obviously. But then again, what's the point of a portrait if the content is as much about the artist's stroke as the model?
Not sure I need to worry about it so much. We'll see which photo interests me next, and what I actually end up working on: the portrait, or my technique.

Anyway, you guys might be getting drawings of yourself or loved ones for any upcoming holidays. Don't bother to complain. Just be grateful I'm not going through a self portrait phase.

If you need to see the whole gallery, knock yourself out at

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I've been SUPER busy (being awesome, mostly) and haven't shared the success of the lame things I, and others, made/put together for Dragon*con with my devoted blog readers!

I suck!

So here are some of the highlights:

This is my lovely, wonderful, bizarre, devoted, intoxicated group of friends dressed up like M*A*S*H meets Battlestar Galactica. That's me with the cylon bear from the last post, and that's Jack with the sign with all of the colonies... There are better pictures, but I can't find them at the moment. Maybe I'll add some later. The important thing is showing how the lame thing I made looks in context. Pretty awesome! I also made the image on the clipboard of the chest xray with a waffle inside. Like a toaster! Get it? Har Har Har!
I think best crafted item in the photo is the sign with the colonies. Luckily, it's being "stored" in my living room until next year's con. :)

Ahh, the Doctor. There is nothing lame about him at all. There is an argument for the knitted TARDIS being a lame thing, however. It was a gift*, which by all accounts, he adores, posing for pictures with it as he did all weekend, so the lame tag is obviously ill placed. (kinda like the positioning of that TARDIS. I'm sure there's a more appropriate photo out there, but they just weren't as funny...)

This is the beauty of lame gifts. The recipient either gets the inherent awesome and appreciates the quirkiness, or they accept it with an awkward smile and shove it in the closet until they get a chance to kill it with fire.

Sean (the Doctor) gets it. :) I'm convinced he cuddles that TARDIS in his sleep.

* Chikara knitted both the Doctor's scarf and his TARDIS. Well, done, dearest!

Friday, August 6, 2010

By Your Command

D*C is coming right up, so it's time to hit the costuming and crafting like a fast thing that reaches top speeds before collision.

I really suck at metaphors, but it is indeed like that.

Today I worked on a costume for a group theme that was the brainchild of my friend Emily. The plan: get several of our drunken batch of friends to morph Battlestar Galactica uniforms into something with a M*A*S*H influence. We've been calling it B*A*S*H. :) I've taken on the role of RADAR, cause I'm shortish and roundish and have glasses and ... ok, I wanted an excuse to make a Cylon teddy bear.

And now I have done!

I started by gathering everything I thought I'd need:

And fine, fine, I bought the scrolling LED kit from thinkgeek and had my dad do the soldering. I outsourced!

Then I altered the plans on instructables by using hot glue and velcro and such to attach everything. I didn't put any sound tech in it, cause I think talking stuffed animals are creepy and will try to kill me while I sleep. Stuffed Cylons especially.

I cut the seam in the back of the bear's head, and took out it's brains and then cut the eyeballs out of it. Unfortunately, with the stuffing out, it was strangely difficult to cut a straight line.

I then glued the LEDs in (REALLY frustrating!!) and rigged a velcro closure on the back seam, restuffed it, making sure the battery box with the on/off switch stayed within reach.

So it's done, and it does look sinister.

Remember how I said I couldn't cut the front straight?


That poor bear.

Here's what the bear looks like in action! With a soundtrack in the background cause I'm filming this with my coolpix! And me trying to hold still and not giggle!


I like to think that what I lack in polish I make up for in goofiness and enthusiasm. Silly is just one letter short of skilly! I'm almost there!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let's Play Dress-Up!

With Dragon*con fast (OMGFAST!) approaching, I've been thinking about my appearance more than usual. I've been considering what costumes to wear, and how they look on me. I've been playing with makeup, and considering hairstyles.

I've also hit a moment in my life where I feel like I've surrounded myself with so much useless nonsense, I need an intense purge: of possessions as well as outdated thoughts and beliefs. Spring cleaning for the whole self!

All of this has brought something I rarely consider directly under my gaze: my fabulously lame wardrobe!

Jeans, tshirts, sneakers. I've dressed it up a bit since I worked at the library...Give me a plain V-neck or throw a cardigan on, and I'm layered enough for any indoor environment! I don't dress to get attention, and that's really ok, since I usually don't want attention, but I've recently begun to notice that the clothes I own aren't flattering or comfortable. Nothing makes a person feel more self conscious than ill fitted clothes! (except maybe a giant nose pimple)

I was having a discussion the other day about jeans, and it hit me like a fashion epiphany that I prefer trouser cut to all other styles. Something about being fitted around the waist and belly, but having space in the leg/knees that is appealing. Also, I think it flatters my shape. Since then, I'm super aware of how constricting my boot-cut jeans are! I can barely wear the damned things anymore!

My tshirts are often too long for my frame. I haven't met a capri pant that hasn't made me look like a hobbit. I love natural fibers and knitted layers and sun dresses. And, shockingly (to me), I love things like this:

It's very pretty, feminine and kinda hippyish, and I love it. No idea where I'd wear it...

But it goes with my self image of being silly and pretty and creative and carefree. I've been carrying this weight around, literally and figuratively, for so long, it's hard to remember a time when I dressed like the sweetheart I tend to be, instead of the attention-resistant introvert I've become. There's room for me to be both! I can have pretty clothes if I want! I deserve to feel good about myself!

So, since I'm working now, and back in college (surrounded by teenagers), I'd like some input concerning my intended make-over. I'm calling on all of you to send me links to things you'd think would enrich whatever my style is turning into... Please ask me questions, get me thinking about this, since I'm feeling out of my depth trying to think on it alone.

If I like what I hear and see, I'll buy an item or two as I can afford it!

Summary: Right now I dress like a boringly repressed woman who writes worf/wesley slash and takes pictures of her cats wearing handcrafted hats based on those worn by historical military leaders.

Not that this is a bad thing. I'm sure done properly, it would be hilarious...

But it's not me. Let's turn my lame wardrobe into something wonderful and reflective of the puckish you all know and love!

Let's play dress-up!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home Alone With Sunburn

I'm going to blame the sunburn for my current state of wacked out delirium in the hopes that some of you may actually believe it is the cause. The truth, however, is that when I get bored and I'm too tired/lazy/unmotivated to actually work on or start a project, I surf the internet until I find something distracting.

I'm sure it's a common occurrence, and I make no apologies. It's just that it would be cooler if you all thought I lived and breathed my lame crafting.

Tonight, while exploring the interwebs, I found a lovely website that featured insightful photographs of the contents of several young hipster's bags and purses.

I am now sharing (forcibly) the contents of MY purse with you, as I am just a little bit hipstergeek and veryvery bored. It is lame. I made it.

My rendition of this exercise is less interesting than the examples in my opinion, but since I see this crap every day, it's probably a normal complaint.

BONUS: I found my lost flash drive! Who would have thought I'd have put that in my purse?!?

Now, go do the same and send me links. We'll discuss what it means to be ourselves.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

So You're Getting Married...

There's love in the air. The sky is blue, the flowers in bloom, and there are harps and birds and all that junk. My sister's good friend is having her bridal shower this weekend, and there was some joking about disregarding the registry and getting her an Elvis gravy boat. Which, then, of course, had to happen.

All of you who are currently planning a wedding, beware. I've got an affection for dumb decorative things anyway, and this is nearly perfect. Gravyboats and butter dishes for all of you!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gifting Insecurity

I'm currently looking at my calendar for the fall season. With a newly acquired part time job, studio art classwork and all of my wonderful friends with events coming up, it's turning into a bit of a pain in the arse to schedule.

What's got me troubled more than anything else, more than money even, is the gift giving. I've got a number of birthdays and weddings and showers to attend this upcoming autumn, and I'm having serious doubts while thinking up gifts worthy of their recipients.

Come to think of it, I do this every holiday! Why do I work and fret so much when most of my family and friends just ask for a list of what I need, or call my sister for advice? In a world of gift cards, why am I so worried that my gifts aren't personal or valuable enough?

A lot of it is my own psychology, I'm sure. I'm a poor artist who constantly undervalues my own work. I don't sell what I make, I give it away. Lack of ambition? Low self worth? Lazy work ethic? Who knows? All of it! I'm complicated!

A large part is the fact that other, more commercial gifts have an obvious price tag. It's easy to gauge a person's perceived esteem for the recipient, and their level of intimacy and affection, since everyone will know exactly how much money was spent. How can a crafter compete with that? Especially if the gift occasionally doesn't turn out just as you'd prefer (i.e. it's a bit lame)?

Is it the cost of being friends with an artist that you get handmade gifts of questionable value? Should I just assume all of my friends and family know it's part of the deal? How does an artist or crafter know that the gifts they make are appreciated for their time and thoughtfulness, since there is no status imparted by accepting, as there is with a store bought item? Is it faith? Confidence? Blind devotion to ideals?

I've got horror stories of where my handmade gifts have ended up. I've also got a surprising number of things I've made that are kept in much more prominent locations than I'd ever anticipated. It reminds me that I'm making what amounts to thoughtful or silly decoration most of the time, and I really dislike giving people something they'll feel obligated to display.

I have no answers to these questions. I have some insight, but no sense of practical wisdom when it comes to my concerns on this topic. The Buddha doesn't have any thoughts of gift giving that I've read, so my usual source for generic insight isn't an option. I don't think Jesus was particularly concerned with the confusion that can surround gift selection and acceptance, though I honestly haven't asked. He's not my go-to guy when it comes to most things. Martha Stewart might have some input, but I just don't trust her to be reasonable.

I wonder what Leroy Green, after his self actualizing "I'm the master!" moment, would say about all of this.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Adventures in Random Gifting

To give a gift is to engage in a social contract. The idea that a gift can be accepted with 'no strings attached" is an truly rare occurrence which I've never actually observed. Whether the gift is given as an obligation, in celebration, or to ingratiate one's self, it is offered with the knowledge that giving the gift "means something". And usually, that it must be repaid. Reciprocity is a big deal in all cultures, and it begins and ends with gifting.
I, having low self esteem and a distracting need to "earn" what joy I find, have a strange, but not unheard of, urge to give unnecessary gifts at random intervals.
My friends are usually the recipients of these delightfully lame things, as they have to consistently choose to hang out with me and I am forever grateful for this.
Just to be clear, I don't mean these gifts as bribes, but as payment for services rendered.

Hang out with me = Receive lame gifts.
It's that simple.

It also helps, I think, that I have a great love for making lameness and giving it away. What else could I do with all of this unfocused creativity?

After seeing several varieties of these little crocheted characters, I just had to try my hand at it. I'm sure Jack got one, for helping with the browncoat table at TikiCon. I don't remember who got the other....

When it came to "inspired ideas" I really thought this one would take the cake! Alas, everyone I tried to give this to graciously declined. Can you believe it? Lunatics!

I saw a photo of this baby cthulu and had to make it. Then I had to make one for everyone. It was a Dragon*Con gift for the folks I was expecting. cymerin still needs one. Don't let me forget!

These are only the lame gifts I photographed mind you. I'll find more. I'll make more. And I'll be sure to catalog them all here from now on!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Poor Dad

There are several days during the year that I find myself unintentionally dreading. With all of my skills and innovative problem solving experience, I am filled with anxiety at the thought of these three very specific days:
Father's Day
Dad's Birthday
Poor dad. He's got a poverty stricken daughter who would rather spend her money on DSL or out of town trips to visit friends than such frivolous investments as food or car maintenance. My gift giving is usually the result of brainstorming how to convert objects around my house into something giftable for the least amount of money possible.
This practice has led to dad being the proud recipient of some of the lamest gifts ever given. He has everything a dad could want already; power tools, electronics, awesome daughter.
This Father's Day I had nothing. No ideas. No money. No inspiration. Not a single clue as to what I could possibly make for this wonderful man. It's June, so most of the practical knitted items are out. I haven't been painting lately. My silk screen process is pieced together from scraps and flawed enough that I don't feel comfortable gifting the shirts I make. Also, I don't have a shirt in his size on hand.
While checking my twitter one fine day, I came across a contest from with fabulous prizes, some of which he would enjoy very much indeed. So I entered the contest.
I didn't win. Of course I didn't win.
A few days later, they posted another contest. This one involved writing a 500 word "essay" about my geeky dad. He's not completely geeky in the traditional sense, but he's got lots of moments that make you realize his dorky humor and his nerdy interests. He owns it, however, and he's always been built like a jock, so not many people have noticed. Anyway, I entered that contest, too.
And, strangely enough, I won. Or he won.
I owe much to the networking of my browncoats. They advertised and posted the voting links. We had what amounted to 5 hours to rustle up enough votes to be one of 5 winners, and we did it! We won a $100 gift card to ThinkGeek for my dad! I believe he intends to purchase a spy watch. (Oh dear)
This all brings me to the lame gift aspect. How to present the "gift card" to dad in such a way as to express the fun and hype and community involvement that went into winning? The emails sent, the facebook messages, the tweets? Well, a scrap book of course!
I took an unused 20 page sketchbook and colored it with markers. I printed out the ThinkGeek contest pages and emails. I glued them all inside in a focused burst of lame crafting late Saturday night and gave it to him wrapped in brown paper, tied with a ribbon when he arrived Sunday morning.
It looks awful.

A child could to better, honestly.

I have a frakkin art degree!

So you see. All of the information was available and time constraints and money issues, blahblahblah. Poor dad. He opened the present and teared up a little. I'm sure it was because he was flattered by the efforts that went into winning and not because he was offended by the aesthetics of the scrapbook. And because my dad's a class act of awesome. I hope he gets that spy watch and saves the world with it.

Friday, May 21, 2010


To open up this little blog of all the lame things I make for people, I give you THE WORST BEARD EVER. Inspired by the beard on that guy in that movie.

This is Jimmy in Chikara's Mad Hatter top hat (Noticeably NOT lame). THE WORST BEARD EVER was made for the cost of $4 from dollar store finds: Two sparkly little girl dress up wigs, one random, package taped ball of yarn like stuff, and a buffer mitt for car washing.

It was not only hideous, but ill-fitted and itchy.

I love you, WORST BEARD EVER. You have exactly what it takes to earn the first spot on a blog devoted to hand crafted lameness.