Friday, August 31, 2012

8.31 Scott Pilgrim WIP

It's a day later than normal, and two days later than it was teased, but here's a new update on my project.

Work on Kim Pine's skirt is finished and I'm a couple of lines in on her legs. As you can see, Tamara Chen is starting to sneak back into the picture because of where Kim's legs are. Will we see more of Tamara next week? WHO CAN SAY?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Makin' horns...

The last week or so I have been making horns, getting ready for my Halloween rush.  Here are some progress shots!

All my horns start out as balls.
Then I shape them into horns.

Tray of horns, about to go into the oven.
Bowl of horns, cooling in ice water.

Want to learn how to make some horns yourself?  Check out my tutorial here!

Don't want to make your own?  These should all be available soon at my etsy shop.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

8.23 Scott Pilgrim WIP

I wasn't planning on posting an update today, but when I checked the last update, I actually have made some significant progress, so here we are!

Kim has hands now, and I have just one line of shading left on her arms. Hopefully by next week, I'll have started on her skirt.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Mad Tea Party Sculpture

I've been wanting to do this project since I saw a tiny teacup jumble jewelry stand at an overpriced department store. Of course, being an overpriced department store, it was almost $70 for a tiny stand that wouldn't hold all of my jewelry if it were able to grow to twice its size. Being me, I immediately said, "Pfft. I can do that." Fast forward almost two years later and I'm just now doing this project... surprising no one. In the meantime, Plutonium Paint was kind enough to send me some of their spray paint to check out, so that was a perfect opportunity for me to make my teacup sculpture.

Here's what you need to make one of your own:

  • Teacups. They can be matching or mismatched. I bought mine at my local Salvation Army for 15 cents per teacup and got a plethora of different teacups - some matching, many not.
  • A plate to stack your teacups on. (Also obtained at the SA for 50 cents.)
  • Some type of adhesive. I used Loctite Epoxy gel & was pretty impressed with its adhesive properties. After I put all the teacups I wanted together, I waited about 5 minutes and flipped the whole thing upside to see how well it would stay together (also known as the Dairy Queen Blizzard test) and it didn't budge an inch. Which is amazing. Most adhesive gels need to "settle" for at least 24 hours before they're at optimum adherence. 
  • Spray paint. As I said before, Plutonium Paint was kind enough to send me some spray paint and I was very impressed. (They're not paying me for this information, by the way.) It covered VERY well. It only took one coat whereas if I were using some of the leading brands, it may take up to 3 or 4 coats. I was able to spray from various angles without it clogging - even upside down. You definitely don't need a primer with this spray paint, so ultimately, you'd save money because you'd use less paint and wouldn't need a primer. It doesn't even drip if you overspray. I tried to misuse this paint every way that was possible and it still looked beautiful regardless of anything I did to mess it up. It dried very quickly and you want to know what the best part was? IT SMELLED LIKE VANILLA WHEN IT DRIED. I've already put the sculpture on top of a bookshelf and can't stop sniffing in its general direction when I pass by there. It's almost become a problem. Almost. 
Okay. So... to make your very own delightful teacup sculpture, first you need to clean your teacups to make sure there isn't any adhesive from the tiny price stickers. When I was done doing that, I placed all of the teacups out so I could choose which ones I wanted to use. As you can tell, I was also indulging in my current Netflix addiction, 30 Rock. What you can't see from this picture is the delectable Bloody Mary I was also also indulging in. I don't know who introduced me to olives in Bloody Marys, but god bless that individual.

Unfortunately, there would be no spray painting inside this particular day, so I had to turn 30 Rock off and go outside. Mainly because my boyfriend has forbidden me from spray painting inside. Again. >.>

Set up your teacups and plate on whatever you're choosing to spray paint on and get to spraying. 

Normally, I'd admonish you all to spray carefully and evenly with light, even strokes in the same direction, taking care to not overspray. I did that with all of the teacups, but with the plate, I tried my "misuse" approach. No dice. It looked just like the teacups - evenly covered and painted with no splotches of paint. Freaking amazing. 

Once everything is dry, take them back inside to start putting everything together. This is where the fun of mixing your epoxy gel comes in. I bought the kind that has two plungers in one container to avoid putting forth great effort. Remember: I'm lazy. 

Once the epoxy gel was mixed, I used a toothpick to apply it to the teacups so they wouldn't fall down all willy nilly like teacups are wont to do. 

Once I was through putting the teacups in the positions I preferred and let the epoxy dry, I sadly discovered that it dries... white-ish.  

Nice. So back to the spray paint I went. 

In the end, the teacup sculpture looks great.

I'll probably end up putting it in our bedroom to save it from the kittens from Hell. God forbid I could ever own a normal pet.

 Seriously. What kind of cat seduces the camera? It's not right. 

Glitter Shoes: A Tragedy

I have two weddings to attend in the upcoming months.  I own exactly one pair of fancy shoes and they're black pumps ideal for the one day a year I get to wear business casual to the office.

I saw a pair of sparkly shoes on Pinterest and fell in love only to find that sparkly shoes are generally in the price range of making my wallet weep.  So I said screw it: I'll make my own.

After perusing Pinterest, I settled on this seemingly simple method.  I found the shoes at Payless for $20 and procured the glue and glitter at Jo Ann's for under $10.  I choose the bright pink after almost settling for something more practical like silver or black.

I coated both shoes with clear coat of the Mod Podge and then added a layer of glitter mixed with the glue.  It then became apparent to me that covering the shoes by painting glitter on layer by layer would take forever so I then shook the glitter over the still wet shoes (cover floor well if using this method: we'll be finding glitter for years because I thought covering a small area would be sufficient).  After another layer of glitter/mix, I decided I'd achieved the desired glitter event horizon and applied another layer of just glue as a seal.  I was pretty pleased with myself.

And then two days later at a wedding reception, I realized that the glitter covering was cracking and as the night wore on chunks of glitter were falling off the shoes.  The husband thinks that I should have broken in the shoes before giving them their makeover, I'm wondering if a different glue would have been given me better results.  I have a few months until we have another wedding to attend so there's time to decide whether of not to make the necessary repairs.  I'm not sure if I should remove the glitter already on the shoes or just do a spot repair.  I'll report back later.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Twin Peaks Laura Palmer Doll

Warning:  I am a huge Twin Peaks fan and I recently decided to attempt to make some custom Barbie dolls, and while discussing this with a close friend the two ideas coalesced into the idea for this project.  I'm not a serial killer or anything, swear to soap.

Screen shots from the show provided for reference...

She's dead...

Wrapped in plastic.

Good Lord, Laura!

Laura Palmer.
*Deputy Andy weeps*

The next custom Barbie I make will be a representation of a live person.  Probably.

And after I get better at it, I will post some tips and tricks and some links to helpful doll customizing sites!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

8.16 Scott Pilgrim WIP

When last we met, I provided you with a full project shot that had Kim Pine's hair only partially done.

We come back to another update with not only Kim's hair done, but her entire head as well. I've progressed down to her shoulders and most of her upper right arm.

On to the picture!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Very Fancy Candies

Making molded candies is very similar to making melt and pour soap, except in the ways that it is very different.  Thinking that I should have the skills to recreate something I'd seen on etsy, I bought some supplies and proceeded to experiment.  Here are my results.



Candy melts in various colors
Candy melt flavorings
Candy molds
Sharp knife or CLEAN clay scraper
Ziplock bags in sandwich or snack size
Wax paper
Wooden skewer
Scotch tape
Wilton Pearl Dust in Silver
Non-darkening vanilla extract
Treat bags & ties

Step one:  Put some of each of the colors of candy melts you want to use in a ziplock bag.  Microwave at half-power for 30 second bursts until the candy is melted, massaging the bags between rounds to ease out the lumps.  The candy doesn't need to be super-hot or very, very liquid-y, it just needs to be able to pour.  Below you can see the unmelted dots and the melted ones on the right.  At this stage you can add a flavoring if you'd like.  Only add a few drops at a time, as a little goes a long way, and be sure to knead the bag thoroughly to mix it in after each addition.

Unmelted vs. Melted
 Step two:  For these multicolor candies, you will need to make a layer of candy in each color you desire in the mold, letting set between layers.  To start, snip a tiny corner off of the plastic bag of melted candy.  Carefully squeeze a tiny blob of candy into the mold you're using.  It's not going to nicely settle into the exact shape you want, because it just doesn't get that hot.  Instead, put in the smallest amount you think will fit the cavity, and then gently tap the mold on the counter.  The candy will settle down into the mold, and any air bubbles trapped in it will be released.  Don't worry if you get too much in there, but you might want to try one at a time until you figure out the appropriate amount to use, or use small amounts and add more if necessary.  After you've filled the cavities, let the candy harden.

More work that its worth.  Do it right the first time.  ;p
 Step three:  If you have overfilled your cavities, take a small knife or a clean (as in, unused for clay) clay scraper, and remove the excess candy.  This can get a little tedious so it's best if you can avoid overfilling.  But if not, scrape away the excess candy gently over a sheet of waxed paper, so that you can catch the candy and dump it right back into your ziplock bag.  In the photo above, the right hand side had been overfilled, and the left is what it looks like once the extra has been removed.

 Step four: Repeat the above steps for as many layers as you'd like.  In the picture above, two out of three layers have been poured and let harden.  If you want to create a hole in the candy, in the last layer, insert a tube of wax paper.  These you can make easier by winding a strip of wax paper around a wooden skewer and taping it shut.  This should be light enough to stand up on their own in the thickening candy. 
Almost done!
 Step five:  After all the layers have hardened, remove them from the molds.  If you find this difficult, you can put the mold in the refrigerator for a few minutes, and they should easily pop right out.  Carefully remove your wax paper tubes and finish out the holes with your wooden skewer.  Cut your ribbon to the length you'd like (I think mine were just over 12 inches) and VERY CAREFULLY thread the ribbon through the hole.  You might need to use a needle to do this, depending on the side of the ribbon you chose.

ooooo, sparkly.
 Step six:  For a really fancy finish, you can "gild" your candies using a mixture of Wilton Pearl Dust and non-darkening vanilla extract.  The extract will evaporate as you work with it, so if your texture is a bit runny at first, keep mixing and it will become thicker... or just add more Pearl Dust. Just use a clean (that is, unused for painting!) paint brush to apply the liquid anywhere you'd like a metallic finish.  Just a note that this works best on the white candy, so if you know you want a certain layer to be metallic, you might want to pour it in white.

And done.  No one will dare eat them.
Step seven:  Carefully pop each candy into a treat bag and close with a gift tie.  These would make fantastic party favors for a bridal shower or baby shower or even a wedding.  The are really, really labor intensive when made as shown, however.  You can cut down on the time involved by ditching the ribbon, or not doing the pearl dust painting, but then your results aren't quite as wow-worthy. 

Who wants one?

And that's how you make fancy candies.  I think I'll be sticking to soap.  ;p

Thursday, August 2, 2012

8.2 Scott Pilgrim WIP

Back in late May, I was working on Stephen Stills' shirt. After a regrettable decision to stitch Michael Comeau from the bottom up and stitching a green bunny looking thing, it's time to provide you with a full project shot.

As mentioned last time, I'm currently working on Kim Pine's hair. I imagine once I'm done with Kim, I'll be moving all the way back to the right to work on Gideon Graves.

Here's the picture!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Knitting vs. Crochet

Knit or crochet?

Ah, the age-old question! A war to be fought on the battlefield of yarn! Who shall come out victorious? Which craft is better?

They're both pretty rad, actually.

I learned to crochet when I was younger. My grandmother is an accomplished crocheter and from the time I was about nine until, well, now...I would pick crocheting back up, put it down, pick it up, etc. At some point in my childhood, I had attempted knitting but I didn't know anyone who knew how so I gave it up (this was in the pre-youtube the long, long ago).

Now that I'm older, wiser and have access to the internet, I decided to give knitting a try again. I'm not quite sure what pushed me in that direction, but here I am now. Blogging primarily about the craft and loving every minute of it. Frankly, it's now my yarn craft of choice.

That's not to say I won't ever crochet anything ever again, from what I've read it's far easier to make stuffed animals and the like with crochet and you can't beat it for making larger items (afghans, etc). However, I pretty much suck at crochet. The issue I've always had is my inability to keep the correct number of stitches. No matter what I did I would either accidentally increase, decrease or both. I can't tell you the number of scarves I started that ended up being Barbie skirts because they started to sharply decrease. For whatever reason, it's far easier for me to keep the correct number of stitches while knitting. I think it's because the stitches stay on a needle and it's far more obvious which stitch I go into next. And that works for me.

That being said, I still think crochet is awesome and definitely has its merits. I've made some sweet hats with it and 3/4 of a stuffed giraffe.

So, dear readers, which yarn craft do you prefer? Knitting, crocheting, both or none? I don't know, you tell me!

This post was originally published on Mallory's personal blog over at Check it out for more!