Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Halloween quilting

Long time project in the works that got a boost today.  I have a large blank wall in the middle of the living room that is always a hard one to decorate.  Earlier this year I made a Halloween wall quilt, but it's not nearly large enough for the wall.  So my plan was to make some smaller quilts/blocks to surround it to bulk it up a bit.  This first step was mostly just using that magical thermobond to cut out lettering and pieces.  I used the pumpkin stencils from the lovely ZombiePumpkins.com that I get a subscription to every year.  (LURVE their patterns!)  The sides will either be actual shutters if I can swing them from the DI, OR a fabric panel that approximates shutters.  OR maybe just a panel of Halloween fabrics I've been saving up.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rocking out

The rocks got started today.  I have a kiddie pool that will be turned over with possibly some lights underneath, but I needed some rocks to go around it so I pulled together some $ store baskets with zip ties and added a few papers taped up with more paper.  I attached everything together in a rough rock formation.  The next step was to put several cans of great stuff foam all over the whole thing.  I currently have 2 formations.  Going to definitely need more though.  I had picked up about 8 cans, but I think I'm going to need more.  I really should just buy the stuff in bulk each year; I usually end up going through quite a few each time.  The only suckish thing is that they don't keep; definitely need 'fresh'.

I just realized I hadn't added further pictures of these, though I've been working on them periodically. Initially I painted them different types of brown...but it started to look a little...fecal.  So I added a bunch of greens to simulate a more mossy color.  The final look will work well for rocks meant to be around a waterfall/pool.  I've also made a few more, for a total of 4 pieces.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Susie's makeover

Susie got a face makeover today.  First up was to paint the gums a pink--pretty easy.  Originally I was going to paper mache nostril holes, eye holes, and just generally build up the head.  But then I realized that a can of great stuff would take a lot less time and be lighter.  On the downside--less control.  But it's not my main project, and I'm coming up on the only a month left mark, so I went with fast over super accurate.  And I'm planning on lots of painting.  I still want to get another can or two of great stuff to build up the back head more as well as attach some eyelids that I made with layers of rope.  The nostrils were just some looped rope that was taped up, attached to the head, then some great stuff sprayed around the base.  But the basic face is starting to take shape.  I'm working on the eyes, and will pick up some more insulation asap.

Now originally I was also thinking to build up a jaw and attach the two pieces together, but I'm remembering now how awkward the pieces are to move.  So now I'm thinking if I just had two jaw pieces that hang down on the top, but keep them separate, it'll be much easier to move the pieces back and forth.  We'll see how it goes, but I think that'll be the actually easier option.

The front of Susie's nose got filled in today.  I had had to wait for a bit until the outline firmed up, just so that it didn't flop over or do the melty thing that the foam sometimes does.  Going to wait until this firms up, then maybe go over it with some of the foam pieces to make some patterns around the bridge line.  Then I can finally get to spray painting.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Susie's Teeth

Blast from the 2012 past: assembling Audrey II
Bottom left: original teeth
First step forward in getting Susie started.  I've decided to nickname the revamping of Audrey II into a T-rex "Susie" in honor of the Tyrannasaurs Rex skull named Sue, but also to differentiate it from my mother (also named Sue).  So the Audrey II  was from a Little Shop of Horrors theme I did back in...oh wow, 2012.  Sarah and I made the iconic gigantic strange and unusual plant with some success and it's been in my rafters for quite a few years.  I've been meaning to throw it out (can't keep everything...can you?)  and I had the thought that if I could use it one more time, I could more easily throw it out.

So.  First up was to add quite a few more teeth.  At first I made a few prototype teeth with the air dry clay, following in the Bert tradition; they look nice and you can add detail that you can't otherwise with paper mache.  But I quickly realized this would not work with the more-delicate-than-I-remembered Audrey II.  The top mouth especially just wouldn't be able to handle the weight. So I switched to the old school method of rolling up newspapers and taping them up with duct tape.  I think I ended up making 30+ teeth to fill in the gaps, about 5 inches in length.  There had been some teeth added  to the original but it was more for the implication of teeth than anything else.  The teeth got spray painted white, and while they look very paper mache-y, what they lack in detail they make up for in quantity.

Today I set about taping them down into both sides of the mouth.  Once they were set in, I realized they weren't as super secure, as the previous ones had actually been shoved through the chicken wire before being paper mached around.  So I found a half a can of great stuff (best. invention. ever.) and filled in the gum line around the teeth.  This had a dual purpose of being a lightweight way to secure the teeth, and hide all the tape.  It does mean I'll have to go back and paint the gums (pink? bluish? salmon?), but I knew I'd have to paint at some point around there--this just looks a little better.

Next up will be to build up the eyeholes on the top mouth enough so that eyeballs can be put in, as well as some nostrils, and just general additions to the head to try and make it a bit more t-rex like.

HP Side project

A little side project that was refreshingly distracting.  A resident at Sam's work is a huge Harry Potter fan, and as it's her birthday soon, Sam asked me if I had any Harry Potter stuff laying about that could be put into a bag for a present.  I scrounged around and found a few things, as well as printing out and sewing up a Quibbler and Daily Prophet.  A wand was made (obviously) as well as a little owl.  Everything went into a paper bag ridiculously decorated like an owl, complete with letter.  Spreading just a little Harry Potter cheer:)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Painting Dinos (Part 4)

Bert is done!  Ohmigosh.  He's freaking done.  That felt like it took both no time and forever.  Lots of last minute changes.  Upon advice from Sarah, I added some eyelids to give him a little more personality, which led to a bit more painting.  I also painted the head/rooster thing on his head (not sure of actual name); and finally a clear coat of gloss on top.  I also separately painted the tongue and the teeth (which I put a faint spray of yellow on).  After everything dried, I superglued in the eyes and after dipping the wire in elmer's glue, shoved in the teeth.  I'm hoping they'll be secure once the glue dries--a little nervous as they definitely aren't super secure right now.  But he looks pretty scary:)  I was worried he was looking a little too surprised/gamine smile, but after the teeth went in, he just looks intimidating.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Painting Dinos (Part 3)

So I went for painting Bert today, which involved several layers and waiting time in between.  I started with a very bright green, then did a gradient towards the tips.  Next was to make the middle very yellow (I used a florescent yellow).  After that had dried, I taped down (painter's tape) some pieces of paper to cover up the yellow/bright green so I could do some red outlines.  I laid down some florescent pink then red.  I wadded up a newspaper and tried to mottle the colors a bit around the edges once the pieces of paper had been removed.  Next involved a lot of switching from different colors, and blending back and forth, trying to make the pieces a little less clear cut.  Lastly, I painted the back dk green (what I could reach) and closed up the garage to dry.  I still need to go over with detail work, and the eyes and crown need some work.

Did a little sponge work.  Mostly brightened up the spots and the red sections.  Yes, he looks super bright, but I want him to look very eye catching under the black light, so I'm emphasizing the spots.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Painting Dinos (Part 2)

The rest of the dinos got painted.  I went over their stomachs with a light green coat, the backs with a dark green, then the stomachs (and back highlights) with an almost neon bright green light.  I'm still going to go over them with either spots or scales and neon green paint.  They also need eyes, teeth, mouth touchups, etc.  But they're starting to look like dinos.

It's all about the Bert

Bert got some upgrades today.  First and foremost was the stand that he'll rest his head on.  There were a bunch of different possible ways to go on a stand.  I wanted it to be as secure as possible, so I went with a basic cube/rectangle out of pvc pipe.  The nice thing about it is that it'll be super stable with a brick at the bottom, and the joint can move up and down a little to adjust him once I get everything else in place.  I'm intending to paint it a dark color so it blends into the foliage (either black or dk green).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Painting Dinos (Part 1)

So the first of the painting got underway late tonight.  I decided to just go for it and paint the base color at least.  I'll go back over him and add eyes, spots/scales/something with some neon colors to make him a little more bright and noticeable.  But this was the first time that I was able to see if they looked even close to how I imagined them.  So far so good.  Tentatively optimistic.  I also went ahead and spray painted the rest of the mouths red.  I'll need to go back and paint the teeth white, but I expected that.  Might need some more dark green paint too as I only have the one can.  I used a lighter green for the belly--I'm wondering if I should make them lighter so they'll be more visible at night under the lights.  Of course, I can add some neon on the back and that should brighten it a bit.  I think I'll do a prototype with this guy and see what he looks like under some lighting after all the marks are on there.

I also went ahead and spray painted Bert's mouth with a bright red followed by a light layer of black gloss.  I wanted contrasting colors for his mouth and tongue, which is why the gloss.  Still have yet to make the tongue.  I was hoping my old can of Great Stuff foam was still good, but alas, it had expired and had to be tossed entirely.  I'll pick some up tomorrow.  Along with more paint and pvc items to construct a stand for Bert to sit upon.  The home depot people are probably getting sick of me...

The eyes have it

Small project of doing Bert's eyes.  Pretty simple to just find some eyes online that I liked and mod podge them onto some glass oval cabachons that I had.  They're a little small for his face...but I already had this size and didn't want to spend the extra $10 to get larger ones.  I figure I'll try to build up an eyebrow to make them seem a little bigger than they are.

ALL the blocks!

Bit of a project that I've been really wanting to do for awhile now.  But what I lacked was what I came across the other day--a 60% off sale on cushions.  At Shopko as it turned out.  So the seating on the back porch is always a bit of a mishmash--pulled in from anywhere I can find them and always very slapdash.  But I saw this thing on Pinterest  (started every disaster project) and today was when it came to fruition.  So the basic idea is to insert 4x4s through cinder blocks to form a bench.  There are various thoughts on height, how many blocks and their orientation as well as whether they should be glued or not glued together.  So here is my version.  I got 3 4x4x8s and had them cut down to 6.5 feet (cause that's what fits in my car).  I got 6 cinder blocks and put them standing up so that they were in a row, not on top of each other.  I didn't glue them together, mostly because one of the draws of this type of bench is that it breaks down and is movable.  I tested out the sturdiness by actually standing on the structure, and was convinced that it didn't need to be glued out of structural integrity issues.  The cushions (20x20 inches) got put on afterwards and less than 10 minutes into the project--done!  Big fan of this and am contemplating doing another side.  But this provides 2-3 spacious seats and fits what I use the patio on Halloween for, so I'm pleased.

The second project of the day was (yet again) another Pinterest project which also involved cinder blocks and lumber.  It was basically a wood caddy to hold all your firewood.  This has been a problem in the past and I've resorted to tubs in the past, which inevitably means I have to clean out the tubs which tend to accumulate spiders and leaves and various debris.  This also had the benefit of (now) blending in with the new decor.  And it was ridiculously easy.  So 2 cinder blocks side by side, and 4 2x4s (I had them cut to 36 inches) laid diagonally in the bricks.  It actually holds quite a bit of lumber, and I'm eager to have it loaded up for the 2 fire pits I have going on carving night.