Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Horn for a Unicorn

I am busy busy busy working on my final project for my Fiber Arts Certificate.   I have always been interested in taxidermy and faux taxidermy and decided to make my final piece a unicorn.  But with a twist of course which I can't tell you about yet but will show you photos when it is all done.

What makes a unicorn a unicorn?  Why the horn of course!  I am making the head of the unicorn needle felted wool over a styrofoam and steel base but I needed to make a horn.  Wood?  Wool? I settled on resin.  I had to carve a model out of clay and then make a silicone mold over it and finally cover it with a plaster mother mold before casting.

I made a lot of samples and tests.  The first resin I used (Which I have a lot of that I need to figure out how to use up soon before it goes bad.) comes out too yellow and is supposed to be either colored in the pot or painted afterwards.  I didn't want to paint the horn so I used a different resin from Smooth On that ended up being a nice white.  There was a big seam line on the horn that I cleaned up with my Dremel, but the whole thing still needs to be polished and sanded a little more.  

Safety first!  I had to use this super duper respirator for all the resin casting and a dust mask for the plaster and then the sanding of the horn.   
My neighbors must think I am crazy.  It's been so nice out in the upper 70's that I just open up the garage door and work on the driveway.  Less than 3 weeks to finish my project!  Yikes!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What I Ate: Grilled Bok Choy

I've been taking big bunches of bok choy, splitting them down the middle and then brushing on a little olive oil before grilling them, leaves and all.  You can then leave them whole and drizzle them with a little dressing for presentation but I prefer to cut them up as a side dish.  Here I served them alongside broccoli raab that I par boiled and then sauteed with some turkey sausage, garlic, and parmesan.  We love to eat our vegetables around here.

I grill all spring, summer, and autumn long.  Except for yesterday when I tried to grill chicken breasts for a chicken and avocado salad and found out half way through cooking we were out of propane.  This always happens near the beginning of the season.  Once we have both tanks filled again we won't have this problem again until next year.  In the meantime, I just tossed the chicken into the cast iron skillet and it turned out just fine.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Felt

 I've been trying my hand at felt wall hangings and have come up with these two pieces to start. 
 They are both wet felted by hand and then machine stitched over top to finish.  They are sewn with a stabilizer fabric behind them and then to finish I sew on a machine made felt fabric to cover up the stabilizer. 
 I had a lot of fun making these!  I am only wishing that I had a proper free-motion sewing machine and then my stitching could be oh, so much more interesting! 
 I especially like this process because it is like sculpting, drawing, and painting all at the same time.

I want to try and do hand embroidery on them as well.  I am liking this direction and plan on playing with it a lot more and trying something on a purse.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Drawing App

I think I must be living under a rock, because I had never heard of the Paper 53 drawing app for the I-Pad.  I know I am living under a rock because until a couple of weeks ago I didn't even know you could get a stylus for drawing applications on the I-Pad.  Sheesh, get with the twenty-first century already!  But now I am onboard.  These two drawing were just done with my finger; a friend is picking up a stylus for me.  They were also done with the most basic of the Paper 53 tools, just using the free application.  I am going to download the paid extras that include more colors and different drawing and blending tools for sure.

The above picture is the Tacoma Narrows bridge as seen from our house and of course the bottom one is Oskar. 
Fun, fun, fun! 

Week One with a Puppy

This week has been tough.  Puppy training, house training: let's face it, people training mostly.  Just two weeks ago I never would have believed that the alarm could go off at 6am and I would spring out of bed to take Oskar outside.  I have never, ever, in 38 years considered myself a morning person but now after just a week with a puppy, I am a new person.  I've even had to give up drinking for the last week (I know!) because more than a drink and it is hard for me to get up quickly in the morning.

The hardest thing has been just letting ourselves leave him in his crate for a bit.  Since we both work from home, we think, oh, we should have the puppy around us at all times except when we crate him at night.  But this just ends up with him chewing on his leash, barking at the cats, and driving us nuts in general.  This morning for the first time we put him in the crate after his long walk (long for him is just around the block right now) and he settled down right away with his toys and didn't bark or whine.  Nice!  Also, puppies don't like to pee where they sleep so having him in the crate makes him learn to control himself.  The times we tried to leave him in the bathroom for an hour or so with a baby gate in the doorway, he would pee almost the minute we got out of view.  The crate stops all that silliness.  At this age he should be able to control himself for 7-8 hours but we never make him wait that long. 

I also went out and bought a little play pen for him yesterday because I have been dying to get into the studio and it has been next to impossible.   But he loves the play pen.  He just curls up or plays with his toys and I can finally get some work done.  If we put him in the play pen in the kitchen he squirms and won't settle because all number of things distract him.  The studio is a little mellower.

That felt piece is upside down and is going to be a wall hanging once I do some stitching on it. 
Oskar is a sweet little Cardigan Corgi.  He gets a little mouthy but since we've only had him a week it's hard to get mad at him and we are working on tricks and techniques to stop him biting our hands and clothes.  I bought some bitter apple style spray and it stopped him chewing on the leash immediately.  He has learned pretty much to sit on command and likes to carry big sticks around in his mouth in the yard.  He turns 3 months old this Saturday.