Friday, August 31, 2007

The 2-Headed Croc and the Pig

This is how I found it:
I decided it needed some wildlife, but not just any wildlife.... It needed a two-headed crocodile. Here's a close up:The frame is pretty awesome too, but it gives me splinters. 21"x27"

This next thing isn't much of a craft. I had a red plastic piggy bank that I gave to charity. Right after I dropped it off, I realized that if I had painted the eyes red, it could have been that ghost pig from "The Amityville Horror" named Jody that floated around outside the house. I was PISSED. Luckily while I was out thrifting last week I found a blue one. I quickly colored the eyes with a red Marks-A-Lot, and voila: She's living over the dryer now to collect all my husband's change. He pays off like a slot machine.

I have decided that I really need to get busy on some decoupage because my case is getting awful heavy. I'll get back to you on that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gill-Man and the UFO

"The Creature from the Black Lagoon" is hilarious, and if you haven't seen it put it on your To-Do List. In tribute to the creature, I decided to add him to this painting:
Here he comes!
Feel the fury of the close up:
The second painting needed something, but I didn't know what.
Luckily a passing UFO lost steering control and smashed into the snow bank, providing just what I needed:
Close up:
"Gill-Man" is 19 1/2" x 23 1/4" with frame, and "Snowed In" (that's what it says on the back) is 21"x27" with frame.

I have been busy lately with things not related to crafting, so not much has been going up here. Next month is not going to be much better I'm afraid. But with Xmas coming the crafting should pick up. I have two more paintings lined up, some more etching planned, more sewing, more shrinky-dink experiments, and two more blank sets of matrioshka dolls. Also I have a pretty cool lampshade that may or may not get decoupaged, depending on the flammability warnings on the Mod Podge label... In other words, bear with me - I have more things piled up in my head than I have time for. Save me a seat at the crafting table!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Skull Beach II

I don't really like this painting. To be honest, I didn't really like it that much when I bought it, but I thought I could improve it. Here's what it looked like at first:

And here's what I did to it:

Unfortunately, it has a weird perspective in that the flowers in the front are huge as compared to the lighthouse and birds. So whatever I put in it had to be huge. If I had added many small skulls, they would have looked like tiny Rhesus Monkey skulls instead of human skulls. I had to go with one big one instead. Also, the flowers are abstract whereas the lighthouse and sunbeams are more realistic. So I don't think this was a great choice for altering. C'est la vie.

However, I LOVE how the frame turned out. I bought a black frame at Hobby Lobby which did not go with the painting, but it's 12"x16" so I had to take what I could get, and sprayed it with this aerosol "granite" paint that I found in my garage. It's so bad it's good. I love how the hideous purple "granite" sets off the hideous purple in the painting. I've got two more cans of it!

Anyway, you live and learn. The next one will be better, I promise.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Office Luchador

My coworker knows that I knit, and he accidentally found some bizarre photos and sent them over to me with the comment "Can you make some of these? Please?" I told him I had been looking for a pattern for those for about a year with no luck. About five minutes later he called me and said, "I don't know what a knitting pattern looks like, but I think I found one." Indeed he had. If you are not familiar with these, you're in for a treat. Check it out:

Armed Robbery for the Holidays

His favorite was the red boy's balaclava, so I took that pattern and combined it with the adult man's balaclava pattern so it would fit his head. He's quite pleased with the result:
Apparently he's so pleased that he's fallen asleep. And we're very pleased that we have our very own office luchador. Orale!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wheels on Fire, Burnin' Down the Road

This is the sister painting to the lakescape painting below. They were done by the same gentleman in 1968. I know this because he helpfully filled out the label on the back of the board.

Close up:

In other news, I have finished the brown stash sweater, and one other thing that I think you'll enjoy. I'll post those soon.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Craft Pile-up

We've had numerous technical difficulties at home lately, but crafting stops for no man. So I'm back in action, and I have a whole pile of crafts to share.

Let me begin by saying that Ready Made magazine has exactly one more subscription cycle to impress me. And they only have that because a friend renewed it for me as a gift. But there's usually one tip I can use (and afford) in each issue, and this month it's the one where they used chicken wire and housepaint to "update" a skirt. I don't have chicken wire, but I do have some left-over strips of that rubber mat stuff that you put under throw rugs. So I took a cherry-print blazer that I've never really looked good in (I'm not really a cherry-print person), a rubber stamp of a house fly and a rubber stamp of a 50's style family, some acrylic Mars Black paint, and went at the blazer in this manner:Now it looks like it's been run over by a car. But that's fine. I like it better this way.

On to knitting! If you knit or crochet, you're familiar with the Stash. For civilians, the Stash is the leftover pile of one-skeins you have after you complete projects. Yarn costs money, so you're hard-pressed to throw it out, and plus you might be able to use it for embroidery or small projects later. It piles up and piles up until your husband starts wondering why the closet door won't close, or why his stuff's being tossed out to make room for more yarn. That's when a Stash-busting project comes in handy.

Here's what I did with my green Stash:I used the pattern in Interweave Knits Spring 2004, p. 92 for the "Striped Angora Raglan," the same pattern I used for the Ugliest Sweater Ever, the Housefly Sweater, and the "Object that Shall Not Be Named" Sweater, AKA the Easiest Sweater Pattern In The World. And I used all leftover worsted weight acrylic. I just used each ball until it ran out, then picked a new one. I tossed in some orange because I just really dig that orange. Oh, and I embroidered a skull on the bottom because that's how I roll. I've already started a sweater using my brown Stash.

If you do something like this, you definitely want to use yarn that's identical except for the color, because otherwise your gauge will be all over the place and you won't be able to clean it properly. (Unless that's what you're going for, in which case knock yourself out!) With 100% "Cheap'n'Shitty" acrylic, this baby goes right in the washer and dryer with no problems. Except when it gets attacked by the velcro that is seemingly ALL OVER my husband's clothing. (Note the fuzzy bits around the collar and left sleeve where I wrestled some pants free.)

Next up: I have done another painting. I really hoped I had taken a before photo of this painting. Of course I did not. So you're going to have to use your imagination.All I did was add the planets to the sky and the reflection in the water. Here's a close up of the planets: I think it turned out pretty good. With the frame it's about 16"x12". I'm just calling it "Lakescape."

The last item here is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Okay, maybe not, but I sure did love Shrinky Dinks when I was a kid, and now they're back! I forced one of my Craft Agents to find me some Shrinky Dinks because I can't find them anywhere. She came through in a big way, delivering packages of bright white, transparent, something called "fuzzy," and inkjet printer versions of Shrinky Dinks. Last night I eagerly dug out my G.B.H cds and pored through the liner notes looking for things to trace. I chose the giant black and white logo from "City Baby Attacked By Rats" (minus "CHARGED") and the rad little skulls from "Midnight Madness and Beyond...." I traced the pictures with sharpies, trimmed them out with a paper cutter, punched holes with a regular hole punch, and shrank them up. I attached all the bits with jump rings, harvested a clasp from some old jewelry I have lying around, and came up with this:That's pretty much the punkest Shrinky Dink bracelet ever.

According to the directions, you're supposed to coat it with spray varnish when you're done. What the directions don't tell you is that when you do your 'Dinks will bleed. Behold the bleeding on the G.B.H in the bottom photo. Perhaps I sprayed too heavily, or perhaps the people at Shrinky Dinks, Inc. are a pack of liars. Whatever the case, it's still pretty rad. Next time I do this, which will probably be in about an hour, I will round the corners, because I have already cut both my husband and myself. Which is pretty goddamned punk rock.

That's it for now. Sorry about how long it takes this blog to load, but I can't think of a way for you to appreciate my crafting genius without photos. One day perhaps, but not today.

Monday, May 14, 2007


My friend Shawn sent me this email:
Hey you know those stupid things old ladies have that sit on their toilet tank that are little crocheted (I don't know if that's correct, but it's the first way I typed it and spell check let it be so...) women that their dress covers up a spare roll of toilet paper? Damn, that's a long question! What with you being the master of the needles (are they called needles? Hell I don't know!), do you think you could make me one that's some kinda monster or something?

I just went to take a dump and didn't notice that there was hardly any paper left until I was "goin at it" and suddenly those "stupid things" didn't seem so stupid.
I was intrigued. Yes, indeed, those things are crocheted, and I do not crochet. I can't stand crocheting, and I don't plan to ever do it again. But I was convinced I could knit just such a toilet paper cover. I just needed some time to work out the pattern, or rather, assemble the bits I needed from other patterns I was familiar with and had worked for me in the past. I used leftover acrylic (my fave) and #6 needles because I wanted a close knit that wouldn't show off the toilet roll inside.

The first issue was the top part of the cover as it would have to be round and flat. I really enjoyed making the flower washcloths in the book "Weekend Knitting" by Melanie Falick. The center part is knit in the round with a lot of decreases to make it flat. I used that for the top part of the toilet roll cover. Once that was done, I picked up stitches all around the outside edge, then knit in the round to make a long stockinette tube the size of the roll of paper. To prevent too much rolling, I did three rows of garter stitch at the end (in the round, that means knit one row, purl the next) and then bound off.

Issue number two was his head. I decided I wanted a substantial head, about half the width of the top. So I divided the number of stitches I had cast on for the top in half, and I cast that many onto my straight needles. I knit three rows of garter stitch to give me something to attach to the top, then knit stockinette until I decided it was time to start reducing, about 2". I evenly spaced out some decreases (I think 3? Sorry, he's already been gifted.) to make his head sort of rounded. I cut the yarn and drew through the last few stitches. Then I embroidered his mouth and attached his eyes. The ladies in my craft group correctly pointed out that Godzilla has an angry brow, so I embroidered that and then noticed that he couldn't breathe, so I added some nostrils. Then I sewed up the back seam. I stuffed him with polyfill and attached the head to the "body."

The last issue was the plates down his back. I had made a friend's dog a dinosaur sweater that has plates down the back using the Patons pattern book called "Another Dog's Life." But those were too big for this project, so I made tinier versions and decreased the size of each plate as they climbed up his back towards his head. Also, I made them out of the darker green that I used for the eyebrow and nostrils to give him a little variety. Once those were done I attached them up his back, and here's what he looks like:He's so cute when he's angry! (In case you're wondering, that's a lenticular print of toucans that we have over the toilet in our Tiki Bathroom. That's why the birds look wack.)

I took a vote of the craft group on whether or not to give him tiny, useless hands such as the real Godzilla has. (That's right, I said REAL.) We decided we liked the way he looked as is. I also didn't want to get into making him a tail, and I felt that would be the next step after hands and feet. So I left him limbless. Once he finds out what his station in life is destined to be, it's probably best that he doesn't have them.

I'm pleased at the way he came out. Shawn was really pleased with the result, and that's all that matters. But I do enjoy a good challenge.

I haven't reproduced all my silly notes and stitch counts for a few reasons:
1. I never EVER get the same gauge that the rest of the world apparently gets;
2. My notes are boring and tedious; and
3. I kind of want to get across the idea of experimentation rather than following regimented patterns. If you're inspired by Toiletzilla, go forth and make your own knitted toilet roll covers using whatever tools and patterns you have in your arsenal. Experiment! Go nuts!

However, if you do really want to hear all my numbers, holla and I'll get them over to you. Just be forewarned that you might end up with a spare tire cover instead of a toilet roll cover, because I can't explain why I never get proper gauge. Ever. Not once.

I guess that's just how I "roll." Ahem.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Frigging in the Rigging

Everything was going just fine. The seagulls circled, there was a beautiful sunset, and the waves were breaking against the shore:Then this happened:Oh no! Those poor fishermen or whatever! Close up:'Twas an ugly day at sea.
(An ugly 11 1/2" x 13 1/2" day.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stick Your Head Between Your Legs...

...and Kiss Your Ass Goodbye is the title of my latest work. This is how I found it:
This is what I did to it:

Here's a close up:
You can see that it's a very weird shape. It's 7x9" and it sticks an inch and a quarter off the wall. The canvas wraps around the bizarre little frame in an intriguing-slash-pretentious way. I decided to not get too technical with the perspective because I could never pull that off. I think it turned out well. Not well for those poor folks... but you know what I mean.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Return of the Yeti

Here's my latest painting, completed last night. Before:


You know you want more Yetis. Close up:

Right before I started working on it, I realized that what he's walking on probably isn't a road. I had thought it was, but upon further contemplation I realized it was probably water. I then made the executive decision that it was frozen water, and therefore stable enough to support a big dumb yeti heading out to run some errands.

As a bonus, here is a free sewing tip: I can't ever get those stupid blue pencils to write on my fabric. The best one I have is a "dressmaker's" pencil, whatever that means, but the other ones never work. So the other night while working on a project for a friend, in frantic desperation I licked the point of one of the pencils before holding it to my fabric. Huzzah! It traced a perfect line right where I needed it.

If it's not going to write on the fabric unless you lick it, why don't they print that shit on the packaging? Is this something that everyone in the world knows except for me?? Probably. Anyway, I was so pleased with my discovery that I wanted to share it. Go forth and write on your fabric with abandon, grasshoppers.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Baby Hats

A friend of mine just recently had a baby. Well, he didn't have it, his woman did. But he saw a photo of my Baby Valkyrie hat and requested one for his offspring. Being that he and the baby are black, I offered to make black pigtails instead of the usual blonde:This is not his child. This is a baby skeleton I got at Joann Crafts one Halloween, and I freaking love it.

His other request was a Jamaican-style dread basket with attached fake dreads. I came up with this:The skeleton's head way stretches out the hat. On the baby it will poof out more. At least I hope it will. I have demanded photos of his kid in these hats. They are 100% acrylic, but with the fake hair attached I recommended hand-washing. But spit-up or spewed carrots and peas should easily wipe clean. Or just blend in.

I plan to use this pattern again. I think it would make a cute bonnet if done in a solid color, or would make a good wee Scottish tam if done in a kilt color combo. Of course I would leave off the dreadlocks in those cases. Maybe.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Two New Paintings

The camera is back from SXSW, it's unloaded, recharged and ready to accept my deranged "artwork" again.

Here's the first victim:Nice little snowscape, boring and a little eerie, I think. Here's what happened:Oh no! Some dumbass skidded off the road into the lake! Here's a close up:I really dig that frame.

The second one looks like someone was doing shrooms when they painted it - good shrooms:I decided that if I was a unicorn, this is where I would want to die.

Ahhh... eternal rest by a purple lake. How fitting. Close up:

The Jesus/Bigfoot/Nessie painting actually sold, if you can believe that. Big thanks to the man that bought it, whomever he may be. All but these last two (and the one that sold) are hanging in a shop called Victory Vintage in Decatur, GA. Big BIG thanks to Lee for taking a chance on me. I hope I do you proud.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Nice Day For A Swim

Here's the other painting I worked on this week. I bought this at a thrift store SO AWESOME that I'm not telling anyone about it. It was either $2.98 or $3.98 - there were two different prices on the back - but I bought a mountain of crap and my total was $12, so I'm not complaining. I found it like this:
I'm not sure why the artist decided to mask off a section in the middle to paint. The landscape sometimes reaches out past the border and sometimes doesn't. This painting is confusing. Also, you can't really tell from this shot how dirty it was. There were smudges and spots all over it and there was water damage on the bottom. I finally resorted to mixing up an ivory color and washing over the whole outer edge to try to clean it up.

Then I added this:
I really hope that looks like a human, because sometimes I think it looks like someone murdered one of those articulated wooden dolls you use in illustration class. Subtle shading with acrylic is hard, and I've never had the patience for oils, so there you have it. Close up:

And, boy, am I glad I didn't use that other frame! I found this one at Goodwill last night for $3:
How rad is that? Turns out it's some kind of resin, not wood, so it was tough getting the painting to stay in there. But I think it was worth it.

I'm going to be busy with the two other paintings I got last night, but the husband is taking our camera to Texas for vacation so it might be quiet around here until he gets back. Also, I wonder how long it will take for me to max out the photo allotment on blogger.

See you in ten days!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Van Goghzilla

This week I have done two new paintings, but I will only show this one for now because the other one isn't framed yet.

I bought this at the Salvation Army for $1.99: I suspect someone had a coupla beers and thought they were Van Gogh. But they were not proud enough of their efforts to actually sign their name to it, and eventually gave it to charity. So here's what I did to it:It did not come with a frame, and since all my other ones are framed, I went to Hobby Lobby to search for something appropriate. People, frames are expensive. I don't think I ever knew how expensive they are. The cheapest one I could find was $14.99 and it was basically four mitered pine boards nailed together. Complete with random knots. And the top board was warped, which I didn't notice until I brought it home. But I gave it one coat of white paint to simulate a Frenchy-shabby-chic look to go with the Van Goghness of the original painting, and I think it turned out okay:Here's a close up of the Godzilla:So the starting price for this bitch is $16.98 to recoup my expenses. I need to learn how to use the circular saw, because clearly I am in the wrong business.