Sunday, October 31, 2010

righty lefty

I'm making colorwork Christmas stockings for my parents this year and you'd think that I'd have done enough colorwork to know better than to do what I did. This is what happens when you hold the color you'd like to pop out more in your non dominant hand:

It was fine for the top part where the name is in blue on a white background, but then for the snowflake on a blue background I really should have switched hands but I didn't and I just felt like the details on the snowflake really got lost. So I ripped back 38 rows and started over. Much better!

Monday, October 25, 2010

and the pod is open!

the very next day the carrion flower was totally open! it's at a very odd angle, so this is kind of an up-shot:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

almost there!

It's not quite big enough, but it's getting there!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the strangest flower

It's happening again.

See that gigantic bud hanging below the shelf? Yeah, that's a bud for the most amazing and gruesome flower ever. I realized that this this is on a quite regular blooming cycle when I looked up the blog post from the last time it happened - it is just days off from being exactly 2 years ago. And I remember last year a bud formed too, but for some reason never opened. If you remember, I did a little research the last time the flower formed and found out that this particular cactus is from Africa and that its blooms are meant to look like dead rotting animals, and that they also have a stench so that it'll attract flies which pollinate it. I'm over the initial shock of that (some things should just remain un-Googled!) and I'm just looking forward to the flower, which if you didn't know any of the details about it, is really really amazing looking - even when you do know the details it's gorgeous, but you're like "yeah, I can see how those little red lines are supposed to look like veins, and the hairs are supposed to look like, well, hairs." This is just about the best thing you could hope for in October right before Halloween! You may not be able to tell from the picture, but the bud is like a nearly translucent pod that looks so alien you expect to see something alive in there if the light passes through! I love this thing!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A weird request

A few months ago my 10 year old niece called me at home and asked if I could make her a Carmelite outfit. At time I didn't know what a Carmelite was and she tried to explain it to me and ended up with an exasperated "aunt Chris, can you just look it up online?" It cracked me up! I got the idea that it was a nun outfit, except brown instead of black. And yes, I looked it up online like she told me to. I don't know how many other 10 year old want nun outfits, but that sounds about right for my niece. I told her I'd make it for her birthday because she's one of 5 kids and I know well enough that you can't give just one kid something and not the rest - her birthday is this weekend, so I finally finished it up.

I used a halloween costume pattern and then kind of winged it for the wimple part. I guess it really should be like a hood, but I just took a rectangle of fabric and pleated it and then sewed it to one side of the veil hat bit and pinned the other side.

It'll either be ok, or it'll look like a white beard. Who knows!? I'm going to take a little sewing kit in case I need to make changes and I might be cool and sew some velcro to the side instead of making someone have to try to not stab her head with a safety pin every time she puts it on! She wanted a cape too, but that might have to come for Christmas! Oh yeah, the veil is being modeled by a big jar of cat food - it was kind of all I had that was remotely head shaped!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

a little plastic surgery

not for me - for my little plastic one! I've been customizing my little girl over the past couple weeks and I finally got her all back together. I tried to take a bunch of progress shots, so if you're all "ugh, she's taking about that doll again" you might want to just tap out now! :)

Here's her "before" shot

Then I opened up her head. The first of several kind of horrifying steps. I mean how often have you used the phrase "then I opened up her head"? There just aren't a lot of situations where that's an appropriate thing to say!

Weird look into a head!

Gaa! then unscrewed the whole shebang!

Unscrewed and took apart many small things which I smartly put into a little box so as to not lose them! look at me, thinkin' ahead! These pictures also helped me quite a bit when I had to reassemble and I was like "uuuh, there how did this thing go again?"

Then I sanded her face so she'd be matte instead of shiny - that right there made a world of difference to her look! I had to go to a woodworking shop to get the kind of sand sponges I needed and there i bought this overpriced set of files which I used to carve her mouth - sound scarier than it ended up being!

Took her eye mechanism out which required some tools and serious manhandling. I assured her that this hurt me more than it hurt her, because it really did! there are a surprising number of pointy surfaces there!

The hardest damn part was yanking out these damn eye chips which are apparently attached with the will of the devil, or something similarly powerful! this is a gluestick stuck to the eyechip and yes, it's the most recommended method. I couldn't make that up! you ought to see pictures where folks do this without taking the head apart - just picture a doll with two glue sticks jutting out of its eyes! none of this is pretty (until the very end!) I replaced her eyechips with amazingly lifelike Ana Karina chips (she's on Etsy) - I just did 2 sets because they're pricey! I left her original pink and pale blue chips but pulled the green and blue ones. Unfortunately the chips didn't entirely come out - bits chipped off and stayed in the little recessed ledge where the new chip would sit down in. there was a lot of cussing, chipping, prying and filing done and I still didn't get the stuff all the way out. Consequently, the new chips don't quite sit flush which causes her eye mech to not roll as freely as it should. that's a bit frustrating.

Ok, at this point I kind of got lax on my picture taking! I replaced her eyelashes, painted on new lips with a wider shape and used high gloss finish over them, then redid her eye makeup and blush with chalk pastels, painted on freckles, and miraculously got the whole works back together. I'm so much more in love with her now - I didn't even think that was possible!