Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gene Simmons Garden Gnome

And finished as of tonight...the Gene Simmons/The Demon garden gnome!

This guy was actually bought on my birthday this year, with money from my father, from an antiques store in Virginia Beach. He's actually a larger version of a gnome I repainted earlier this year. He's just shy of 16" tall, and was a little sunbaked when I found him,

This gnome actually gave me the biggest fits, when it came to getting the paint to dry, because he's made out of some kind of vinyl. Note to self: never use enamel Testor's paint ever again!

For him, I used the Super Sculpey to smooth out where his vest and shirt ended, because he was going to have a pretty significant belt. All of this made him very front heavy. I wanted to use the tool handle he still had in his hand to make him a bass guitar to hold, but because of his front weight, he would have just tipped over with a bass attached to his little gnome body.

Without the spikes or sequins yet. 
Have you ever seen a garden gnome's codpiece before? :)

The little spikes are flat topped beads from Michael's that I Super Glued on the costume.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Peter Criss Garden Gnome

After months of painting and getting pissed off, my Peter Criss/The Cat KISS garden gnome is finally finished!!!

I was on Craftster one evening, earlier this year, and I had posted the leprechaun gnome I had repainted, in honor of my mom. Redforkhippie gave me an idea, based on some gnomes she had painted: KISS army gnomes! The creative wheels were set in motion.

I went yardsaling with a friend and her aunt shortly after that. I wasn't able to find any gnomes to buy, but her aunt, Lorna, gave me a gnome she had and no longer wanted. This is actually the second gnome I got for this project, but he was finished first. He is 16" tall.

Lorna had tried repainting him herself but she wasn't happy with the outcome. This little guy was originally a $19.99 gnome from K-Mart, The label was still on the turtle's underside.

I originally wanted mustache-free gnomes, but this guy just begged to be painted as Peter Criss as the Catman.

I used some Super Sculpey to smooth out some areas of his blousey sleeves, and then more to build up his boot tops, gauntlets and the front of his little shirt. After that, I primed him very thoroughly.

My husband didn't seem to understand why I was building up different parts of his clothes. I tried explaining to him the gnomes were not going to be perfect KISS lookalikes,but rather gnomes that wanted to look like KISS, so they were keeping their own little gnome styles but were influenced by KISS.

He didn't really get it until I was finished painting them, which actually really surprised me, because he's a really creative guy. But he was really impressed with the new look to this gnome.

In September, I posted about the problems I was having with getting the silver enamel Testor's paint to cure. That's what was taking so damn long here. I'm not sure if I even got the enamel to dry, but what I think really happened was the three coats of clear spray paint dried here over the tacky, uncured enamel paint.

Most of his "silver studs" are actually beads of paint. There are some sequins that I Super Glued on as well. I didn't want to have a gnome that looked perfect. He needed to look a little "handmade," if that makes sense.

I decided, for fun's sake, to paint around the turtle's eyes as well, so he matches his rider, at least to a degree.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Update on the Titans Blanket

I've gotten to the bottom part of the helmet, which is just visible at the top part of the blanket. My plan is to trim all the loose ends when I'm done, which means I'll miss a few of them and it will drive me nuts checking it over one last time to make sure I got them all.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Need to Stop Watching "Man v Food"

I know "Man v Food" hasn't been on the air since April 2012. Thankfully, the Travel Channel keeps showing the reruns of it though. The problem with that show is that it makes me want to cook the stuff I see Adam Richman eating!

In Season 4, one of the episodes had Adam in Tulsa, OK, for the "Incinerator Pizza Challenge." Now, this entry is not about me making a pizza loaded with gut burning, ass melting peppers. Instead, there was one brief little, meek, shy pizza shown there at Joe Momma's restaurant that inspired me...the simple, the unassuming Taco Pizza.

Look, I never said I was getting points for originality with my cooking or these blog posts. Bear with me.

My husband loves tacos and has long since said that a taco is made with ground beef and that's chicken, no fish, no shrimp. I think he might have been Mexican in a previous life. Personally, I don't have those some opinions but I wasn't sure if he'd go for Taco Pizza.

I described the pizza I saw on that episode and told him I was going to make it. He looked skeptical but agreed. This is where it got cute...he went online to look for a Taco Pizza recipe so he could really know what he'd be getting. He came across the recipe on Pioneer Woman's site.

I thought it was cute because this chick, Ree, the Pioneer Woman herself, is not what I would imagine my husband looking for when hunting for recipes online, although she does seem to be a damn good cook. I have fond memories of watching a lot of the Food Network, specifically "The Pioneer Woman" series, with my mom, during the last two weeks I was with her.

Anyway, I'm getting off on a tangent here. So linked above is Ree's homemade version of a Taco Pizza. Here is mine.

  • Store bought pizza crust, a thin and crispy one (when I try making pizza crusts, they end up looking like deformed amoebas)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained of about 3/4 of the liquid, and then pulsed in a blender. They shouldn't be pureed but they do need to be mashed.
  • Half a jar of salsa
  • Browned ground beef (I used about 3/4 lb.) with the taco seasoning already mixed in
  • Shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomato
  • Crushed taco shells
  • Little bit of olive oil
Brush a little bit of olive oil on your crust. Then, add your black beans like you would a pizza sauce. On top of that, add the salsa, then the ground beef and cheese. Bake the pizza according to the instructions on the packaging. I put my pizza on a pizza pan, because this is going to be messy and I don't want it getting all over the inside of my oven.

When the pizza is done cooking, cut it into slices, and top accordingly with the lettuce, tomatoes and taco shells.

We were both pretty happy with how this Taco Pizza turned out. This recipe will be a keeper.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Finding Inspiration in Flowers

This weekend, I was at the Design Your Space show at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. I got to meet Jeff Devlin, a host of four different shows on HGTV and the DIY channel (and a super nice guy, as well).

When you were walking into the hall the show was in, you had to walk past a large floral display by Norfolk Florist. Their arrangements were truly stunning and they made me wish I was still working at A.C. Moore so I could do these same arrangements in silk!

I especially loved this arrangement: three separate jewel toned vases put together to create one work space for the arrangement to sit on. The base of the arrangement was artfully covered up, but it made me think of the cemetery headstone saddles I used at A.C. Moore.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting Ready for Halloween

I've been popping in and out of Michael's Arts and Crafts a lot more than usual lately. There's one not too far away from where I work (my favorite store, A.C. Moore, doesn't have a location out that way). And even though I know I have to work on Halloween night, that didn't stop me from picking up a new decoration.

Michael's had plaster skulls and monster heads on sale. I had to have the monster head, because I don't have anything Frankenstein-related yet. I know, it's hard to believe.

Frankie here was painted with both Testor's model car paint (that I bought for another project, the gnomes that are giving me hell) and Folk Art craft paint. I was going for a sickly pale monster green, by combining a flesh color, white and green of the Folk Art paint. When it was all said and done, in the light of my, painting studio...Frankie actually has a bit of a pale, sickly blue tint to him and I really like it (think Tom Savini's make up work on the original "Dawn of the Dead," in 1978.

I'm not a great painter, but I was happy that I was able to get some differences in skin tone. While I was able to create some highlights on the face, I had a hard time creating depth. I wanted him to have bags under his eyes and hollow cheeks. I couldn't get his cheek to be any more gaunt, but I think the eyes have a good start on them. I even made it a point to brush on various shades of green eye shadow under his eyes and on his cheeks  to show depth, but I can't get him any thinner.

I did think about clear coating him, kind of the cheap woman's clear glaze, but I decided against it. I've decided I like this kind of chalky finish that he has.

I thought a lot about my paternal grandma while I was working on this project. She passed away about three years ago. I would admit that during the last 13-15 years, I didn't have much to do with her, mostly because of how she treated people and how I didn't like it.

When I was a little kid, she had a corner of the basement that was her own ceramics studio. She even had her own kiln down there and shelves loaded with unpainted ceramics and molds.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world! I still have the peg light Christmas tree she made for my family in 1978, and a couple other small pieces.  I used to beg her almost every time I saw her to do some kind of ceramics project with me, but she never would. She always said it was too expensive. I would have loved to sit down there and paint with her.