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.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Day-Old Art

Here's a few things I haven't posted yet.

My brother-in-law's wife has done a great job of decorating their house. It's done in lots of reds and browns with lots of Spanish influence. I saw this rug on Knitty Gritty one day, and I decided to make it for her:
It's all acrylic, very cushy, and lots of fun to knit up. Apparently one of her purse-dogs peed on it, so I'm not sure what happened to it after that.

Another Knitty Gritty pattern, this time for a pillow with a garter stitch inset panel:

They call it "reverse applique." The technique calls for a panel of stockinette and a smaller panel of garter stitch. You draw your chosen pattern (I picked a women's restroom symbol) onto a piece of tear-away stabilizer. You then attach the stabilizer to the front of the stockinette panel, and place the stockinette panel on top of the garter panel, and sew around the pattern either by using your machine or doing it by hand. I tried my machine.

First of all, two layers of knitting and one of stabilizer are really hard to wedge under the presser foot. Removing the presser foot didn't work, as I then had to hand-feed the fabric. Secondly, the tear-away stabilizer tears while you're sewing it, so it's really tough to keep the whole mess together while you try to work around the pattern. Pinning the stabilizer to the fabric doesn't work, because the pins go right through the damn stabilizer, because guess what? It's designed to tear. Thirdly, my machine kept trying to eat the knitting. Placing another sheet of stabilizer under the whole mess in an attempt to keep the machine from eating the knitting made it even thicker.

I gave up the machine and finished the pattern by hand. Hand-sewing somehow makes the stabilizer tear even more. I would rather have not used the stabilizer at all, but I didn't know how to draw my pattern on without it showing later. Next time (and unfortunately there is going to be a next time - I've already knitted up all the pieces) I will probably draw the pattern onto the back of the garter stitch panel, since it will be hidden later, and just sew around that. The final step is to cut the stockinette panel inside your line of sewing to reveal the garter stitch panel underneath.

In conclusion, either I missed something, or this is a clever idea that does not translate into real life. I tend to believe it's the latter. But I like the pillow, despite how hairy the chick looks. Moving on....

My husband is always hot. (He's good-looking too, but I'm talking about temperature hot.) So when I first started knitting, he begged me to never knit him anything, as he would more than likely spontaneously combust while wearing it. However his feet are ice cold. One day he requested some socks. But these couldn't be just ANY old socks - no, these had to be BAT SOCKS:Side view:Close up:Our house is full of Bat-stuff, so the logo was readily available - I just graphed it out and intarsia-ed it in. That's why it looks kind of pinched. Intarsia in the round probably wasn't the best idea. Don't ask me how I did it, because I can't remember. But he loves them.

I used a basic sock pattern and four colors of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. I added the ribbing, the stripes and the logo.

Just for kicks, here's the first sock I ever made:
Gauge is important, people.

Mango Moon recycled sari silk yarn is expensive, but it's gorgeous. A girl in my knitting group used hers to knit a cover for a notebook, so I immediately stole her idea:
Thanks Ruth! I garter-stitched a flat panel (which I think actually shows off the beautiful silk better than if I had used stockinette) and E-6000ed it to the front of a free spiral notebook they gave us all at work. I also attached one of those rad little Buddha charms. I then made a little pouch for my nail clippers and ever-present sudafed (shown) to go in my purse.

Okay, last day-old art for today: "Glitter King"Another derby fundraiser oldie. Acrylic and glitter in gel medium, purchased by a friend of mine for his "Bad Art Wall." He will soon be the proud owner of Hasselhoff for two reasons:
1) I feel bad when anyone pays good money for my "art," so I'm giving him two-for-one; and
2) I can't think of a better place for old Hasselhoff than a Bad Art Wall.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Up and Running

It seems I have finally finished getting this blog ready for public consumption. Yay me! I think I've wrestled Flickr, Blogger, and the HTML into submission, but if anything doesn't work please let me know. I've tried to make each link open in a new window because I hate clicking on stuff that replaces my page so I have to hit "back" all the time or force it to open the link in a new window. If you find one that doesn't, please holla.

The good news is that if you click on the photos, you will be treated to a larger version. Huzzah! But then you have to hit the dreaded "back" button, because I have not as yet figured out how to make the photos open in a new window. I don't know if that's possible, but I'll keep working on it.

Anyway, welcome everyone, and I hope you all have a good time.

-- Diana

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Various Projects

Sometimes I like to torture my husband. He loves Lord of the Rings, and I always joke about what a gorgeous woman Legolas is. We keep getting PB Teen catalog for some reason. So I combined them both and left this for him one morning on the counter:

Legolas: I cannot waiteth to see what shall happen on the O.C. this day!
Babysitter: Yeah, well enjoy the first half, because your mom said you have to go to bed at 9:30.

Zeppo makes great shrines. I am jealous of her great shrines. So when I finished the chamomile tea that came in this tiny box, I used it to construct a shrine to Satan and Anton LaVey:

Inside I put Bible quotes, Hieronymus Bosch artwork, and a tiny devil that you use to decorate fancy girly drinks. (I have squids, too. Stay tuned.)

I'm actually not sure if it's finished yet. I wanted to put some of my skull beads in there, but I haven't decided yet. I'll let the voices in my head guide me.

One of my only fond school memories is from a music class we had in middle school around Halloween. The teacher spent a whole period on the Saint-Saƫns piece "Danse Macabre." She explained the whole piece start to finish, telling us which instrument represented which part of the story, and handed out triangles and xylophones so we could play along at the correct time. She even had skeleton decorations up. I still love "Danse Macabre," so I commemorated the piece with this set of nesting dolls:

"Memento Mori" means "Remember you will die." Not sure what "Momento Mori" means, but I have since corrected the spelling. Don't drink and paint.

I purchased blank nesting dolls from Golden Cockerel, then painted them with acrylics. I have since coated them with spray-varnish, so they are much shinier now. The varnish claims to have "ambering properties" that I think will enhance the dolls over time.

Okay, last item - double point needle wraps:

If you don't knit, then you will have no idea what the hell these are for. Quick recap: When you knit tubes, such as sleeves or hats, you can either use two needles joined together by a cord (called circular needles), or you can use several small (double pointed) needles in this manner:

There are many types of needle wraps to accommodate regular long straight needles, but I haven't ever found one I like to haul around all my double points at once. (And believe me, I need them all.) Some will hold a few needles with a pocket for notions, but I already have a huge notions bag. So I developed this pattern:

(By the way, this is two needle wraps - the brown/blue one is lying on top of the green/pink one. I just realized it looks like a big gross hybrid of both wraps.) Each pocket is labeled with the size needle it will hold, the top flap folds over all the needles, and the whole thing rolls up into a neat little package. I actually made these because someone that saw mine requested some for her store. I hope she's not too horrified by some of my crooked lines.


I don't care what my husband says - you can't have too many purses.

This is one of the first purses I ever made:

I LOVE Deco-Ribbon. I made a bunch of little purses for friends and relatives out of it, and I decided to use all the leftovers in one big bag.

Other side:
I decided how big of a bag I wanted, then seed-stitched the panels and a handle and sewed it all together. (You can see where I screwed up the seed stitch in the green part.) Deco-Ribbon is very stretchy, however, so when I loaded things into the bag, the handle stretched so much that the bag was down to my knees. I put it away for a while to think about it.

I finally decided to remove about half the length of the handle. I did this by folding a good bit of the handle to the inside of the bag, stitching it down, and sewing a lining into the purse to hide the whole mess:

Oh, I also added one of my "Diana's Originals" labels on the inside. Those are fun.

Still in love with the ribbon yarn. I can't remember what pattern I used for this one, and if I remember, I'll post the info. Michael's had a huge sale on Moda Dea Ticker Tape one day, so I bought a ton of it. I love that stuff.

Behold the amount of stretch this stuff has:

That's a pound skein of Caron mustard yarn - and I don't know why this photo is so purple. But you can really cram stuff in that bag. I used this as my carry-on when we flew to San Diego. It held my wallet, phone, Security-Approved Denise knitting needles, yarn, pattern, snack, reading material, and a water bottle until I was forced to throw it away. The thing just keeps stretching.

Pattern: Stitch'n'Bitch Book (the first one), p. 169 "Chinese Charm Bag"
Yarn: Red one - some great hand-dyed cotton/acrylic I bought in Denver. Blue one - either the cotton I bought off Ebay and hand-dyed, or Patagonia, or Araucania Nature Cotton. I seriously can't remember. But it's great, whatever it is.

Aren't these cute? I bought those little Buddha charms at a scrapbooking store (not that you can tell what they are in this photo), and I've been putting them on everything.

By the way, I machine-sew all the edges and seams in the linings, but I always hand-sew them into the bag. Lots of people claim to machine sew the linings into the bag, but they're obviously not using my sewing machine to do it. My machine HATES that. It chews and growls and eats half the purse before I can wrestle it free.

This purse is knit using sliced up plastic shopping bags as seen on Knitty Gritty. I couldn't get a better shot of it, as it has no ability to hold itself up properly, so this sort of looks like a crime scene photo. I think it's a great purse, and it's fun to identify all the bags - blue printing for Kroger, green for Publix, and that strange yellowish blotch in the middle is a Home Depot bag. I think of this as "stunt knitting," where you knit with something just to see if you can do it.

Moral: Become a knitter and have all the purses you could ever hope for.

Stuffed Stuff

Onward to my adventures in sewing!

Xmas was a cheap-n-crafty one at my house last year, starting with these little fleece monsters:

The pattern is my own design, which is why the little dudes are so misshapen and lumpy.

Some friends of ours have a daughter that absolutely loves "Monsters, Inc.," so I decided to make Mike and Sulley. Sulley is a different color in my mind than in real life:

Oh, well. Also, be cowed by the majesty of my white plastic Xmas tree.

Here's Mike:

[Big thanks to Brother Dan the Man for the name correction. Don't believe everything you read on Google Images.] I did not trust my sewing skills enough to attempt individual teeth, so I colored his and Mike's mouths in with a Sharpie. Not the greatest result but I couldn't really think of a better way to pull it off. If I had sewn individual teeth, they'd be all scary and crooked and raggedy and not really the type of thing a child would want to sleep with. Maybe next time I'll glue them on.

We visited some friends in San Diego and had a little stingray "adventure." So for Xmas I made them a stingray of their very own. In all likelihood their dog has probably eaten it by now:

Awww! He's cute AND menacing.

I made this lumpy-ass pillow for the Tennessee fan on my list:

That's it for the Xmas presents and the sewing. Here's something I knit for myself to cuddle in bed:

That's right, it's my hot boyfriend Rob Zombie! I made him based on the pattern in Knit.1 Spring/Summer 2005 for Robot Keychains. I used various leftover acrylic, and I used Red Heart "Symphony" in Juniper for his hair which turned out awesome. I did not make the sweater - I bought that at Joanne's.

With this next one I don't remember what I was attempting. But when I was finished I decided he looked like a little choad, so I named him "Richard":

And last but not least, here's an oldie but a goodie, whipped up for a Roller Derby fundraiser and also based on the Robot Keychain pattern - it's L'il Danzig!

Isn't he cute? Note the massive biceps and inflated ego. I made the belt buckle and necklace out of silver Fimo, and the tag is a woodblock print I made. I like to hand those out sometimes to deserving folks.

That's it for the stuffed animals. I think I'll do the purses next.