Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Very Much Enjoy MIG Welding

I didn't think I would because there is no open flame and you have to wear a really dark helmet. But it's great!

I have titled the final workshop in the series: And Then There Were Four. It was down to me, Kyle, Brendan, and our instructor Dan.

L-R: Dan, Kyle, totally rad metal skull on a pike, Brendan.

Dan told us that the final workshop is our chance to just expand on whatever techniques we wanted to further explore. The fellas decided they wanted more forging. I decided I wanted the use of my forearms for the rest of the week, so screw forging, and since I hadn't had a shot at the MIG welder yet, Dan set me up over there. Here's the mighty beast:

[Dear OSHA or whatever: That's my plastic bag hanging on the hook because I brought cupcakes to celebrate the end of our welding journey. I took it with me, don't be a jerk.]

I set to work welding various scraps together. Here's a POV shot of the tip of the MIG on the left with my pile of scrap:

I think the second weld from the right is the one that caused Dan to remark, "That is a shockingly good weld for a beginner." SQUEE!! I'm pretty sure that falls under the category of "Women Follow Directions." You should have seen some of the bullshittery getting forged last week. You tell me what to do and how to do it, and then I do it. The End.

I quickly worked my way through the shop's pile of scrap, because unfortunately they had just taken a load to the scrap heap. So I welded my leftover bits from Week One into a janky bench. Hooray, I made something!! Then I said, "Dan, there HAVE to be more bits." He pointed me to the bucket that collects the scraps and I welded every single bit to my bench.

Bow to your new leader, the MIGHTY DRAGON BENCH:

Here's the Dragon Bench relaxing at home after a hard day of being fucking awesome:

That shot shows the last part of tail that I welded on. I cut none of this except for the square bench parts -- all those shapes are just as I found them in the bucket. Later Kyle wanted a shot at the MIG and there were literally like two pieces of scrap metal left. Ha. Sorry, Kyle!

After the shock of my amazing Dragon Bench wore off, Dan, in a bid to reestablish shop dominance, banged out this knife in like five minutes:

Okay, that was impressive. YOU WIN THIS ROUND, DAN.

I had a blast and now I am ready to explode the house.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Sure Do Like Metal Stamping.

Ages ago an old buddy made these cards and handed them out. Probably at work, because he's a lunatic, but I can't remember for sure:

He claims it reads, "People can be such stupid fucks" in Latin. Or it might be "sorry" fucks, again, I can't remember for sure. But the sentiment is solid and it has held pride of place on the mantel ever since. Then the other day I found ring blanks at Michael's! Hooray!! I sure do like metal stamping!! I bought them, grabbed the framed card, and got to stamping:

I draw reference lines with a thin Sharpie first so I have a better shot at lining things up evenly and cramming it all in there. Then I just rub the lines off with alcohol when I'm done. Hooray!! Now it can travel with me wherever I go!

Meanwhile, lost somewhere in Newark, KC/DC was having the worst day ever. I texted a photo and told her about my project. I asked her if she wanted a ring for herself. Of course she did. These things take like ten minutes to bang out, so I had some free time left to wrap the lid of a gift box with an old magazine photo of a house on fire:

You never know what you'll find in my decoupage box. Hooray metal stamping!!

Don't tell my husband, but I also made this and put it on his keychain:

In other news, I finally found a set of smaller letters! Hooray!! I need to make one of these for the BFF's wingman because they need to know their place and we're pretty sure it isn't legal to brand them. So this will have to do. Hooray metal stamping!!

A Forging We Will Go

I just finished Week 2 of a welding workshop at Phoenix Metalworks Atlanta. It's awesome. This week we did forging, and I can hardly type because my forearms are killing me. Here's a shot of the forge:

That's Jake mostly holding up the assclownery portion of the evening. Here's Kyle perfecting his taper:

That hammer looks small, but that junk is heavy. Incidentally, this is also a shot of me hugging the forge because it was somewhere around 34 degrees outside. As the night went on we decided we were getting kind of warm, but we couldn't take our jackets off what with the molten debris flying through the air. (Except for Jake, obviously.) That's when I decided that anyone that forges in a temperature above 34 degrees Fahrenheit is completely insane, end of story.

This nights' projects were a hook:

and a leaf, both of which we drilled holes into with the drill press for the purpose of hanging:

My leaf is anorexic, mostly because I kept forgetting which rod was being used for which project. Kyle's leaf is more robust.

The first week of the workshop covered oxyacetylene welding and cutting. Here are the bits that I cut and welded:

I have decided that I like this very much, and plan to purchase a torch, turn my backyard into a scrap heap, and explode the house at my earliest convenience. After attending Week 2, which I also enjoyed, I have decided that maybe I don't have the Popeye forearms required to make forging a full-time hobby. But I'm having a blast and can't wait for next week!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Post X-mas Roundup

It's time for another rousing edition of "Who Received My Crap for Xmas?"

First up, I found this round wooden box at an antique shop. It is real wood and way heavier than it looks. Why anyone would need a round box this heavy, I have no idea. I can only imagine it once protected a huge wheel of cheese. Anyway it's painted a weird sickly yellow-green color and was kind of scratched up, and I decided I liked it that way. Oh yeah, the one part I didn't like was that around the edge of the lid was a horrible flower border of the type seen circling mid-'80s bathrooms. SHUDDER. Amazingly that bullshit was a sticker, and it peeled right off. Hooray! Then I painted the box for KC/DC:

I originally planned to paint a bunch of other Sailor Jerry type stuff around the sides, but I know what Kay's shelving looks like at home, so I made the decision to paint just nautical stars so she could face the top part out:

Next up is an Xmas prank we pulled on a friend. I painted this ridiculous garbage ages ago, and a friend loved it, so I gladly gave it to him. He immediately hung it on his wall unframed, which drove me nuts. We live in a society!! So when my husband went to Alabama for Thanksgiving this year, I made him steal it back so I could get it framed as a surprise.

Oh yeah. That's much better. Right? Amazingly, he didn't notice it was gone. So when he unwrapped it, thinking I might have actually put some effort into his gift this year, BANG! REGIFT. He shook his head and proclaimed, "That was like some Penn & Teller shit right there." Hooray! Prank Success.

All the effort I avoided on his gift went into his girlfriend's gift. I found a ceramic teddy bear planter and, after confirming said girlfriend isn't afraid of zombies (I've run into that problem before -- but it was a dude...) I transformed him thusly:

Nice view of the ribs there. He's had a rough time of it.

Surely you do not gift a planter empty? So I tried to find a tiny plant for it. I never managed to find one small enough. Don't tell Plant PETA or whatever how horribly I treated this Christmas Cactus. I love the Christmas Cactus that I have at home! It's just now starting the annual bloom! I love it! So I bought one for this planter. And I crammed the poor thing inside.

OH MY GOD I PROMISE IT'S NOT AS BAD AS THAT LOOKS. The roots are in the soil as straight down as you please. But I did have to bend the top and it is kind of a tight fit. :(

See? It looks happier there, right?? Yeah so then I stuck it inside a carboard box with some padding so it could be transported to Babalama and then wait around a couple days to be delivered. I really hope the poor thing survives. Hang in there, little buddy!! :(

This last one has been done forever, but I couldn't post it until it got delivered to the BFF, along with his other gift, my Magnum Opus. Wooden tray, Krylon spray primer, decoupage, Fangoria, you know the drill:

This is to help him to remember that you do NOT PISS ON HOSPITALITY.

And with that, I think I survived another Xmas season. Oh wait, there's still one thing I have to finish sewing for my brother, but I've been so crafted out I haven't been able to work on it. I will soon. That should be the final gift. Hooray!! It's finally over!! Happy New Year!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Magnum Opus

I'm not even kidding. I have peaked. This is it. I can die now.





[Side note: If you have not seen the Predator, get off this page and don't come back until you have seen it. No, not the new one. I don't care if it does have Trejo in it. The original. GO NOW.]

Oh, how special the BFF's Xmas was this year! Certainly a single tear squeezed from his little eye as the wrapping paper burst open to reveal this, the finest gift he will ever receive. (His children don't count.) How he must have wept! How he must have known the gods had smiled upon him this day!

Personally, I hope I never see the fucking thing ever again. IT TOOK FOREVER.

It all started when I plugged this photo:

into this website: Picture Craftwork and paid them $12. Then I resubmitted it and paid another $12 because I realized I had created the pattern with the wrong stitch count. So pay attention to that.

Quickly sensing the enormity of this project, I snapped a photo of the first stitch for posterity:

Ah, how young I was. How bright-eyed.

That was back in October.

As the weeks and months passed, I looked fondly back to the time before I had this idea and wished that I had instead shot myself in the face. But it was for the BFF, so I stitched on. And on. And on.

And on. And on. Forever and ever. And ever.

At last the day came when I made the final stitch:

I could finally turn it into the pillow vision in my mind!! Sure, I had never used that type of edging rope before. But who cares!! I was so blind with rage at that point that nothing else mattered! I pinned it all together (putting a backing fabric behind the cross stitch so the fiber fill didn't come through the front) and added one of my personal labels. And a second label, one final touch: THIS TOOK FOREVER. Which is the most brilliant label ever created. Go order some.

My life now has some meaning. Nothing I do will ever top this. So please, if you will, a round of applause for my Magnum Opus:

May it burn in hell for all eternity. MERRY XMAS, BFF!!