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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

So Mad I Could Scream

I've been working on re-painting a couple of gnomes now, off and on, for the better part of two months. The metallic silver Testor's paint I bought isn't fucking drying/curing on the gnomes. I don't know why. The gnomes were clean (one is vinyl, the other is resin), I primed them first...but the silver isn't curing. I've even run an embossing gun over them to speed dry. The silver remains tacky.

So I went online and tried to figure out what's going on. "When paint is not drying on the surface, the most common cause is that the wrong paint was applied. When painting flexible vinyl or rubber, our solvent based enamel will not dry. A water based acrylic paint should be used. Dry time on acrylics is about 15 minutes minutes and enamels are dry to the touch between 30 minutes to 1 hour." I don't know that I believe this. If this were happening ONLY to the vinyl gnome, then yeah, this is true. But it's also happening to the resin gnome. And my vinyl gnome isn't flexible.

It's God damned model car paint. How can paint not dry when it's being painted on over PRIMER??! I've been wasting all this time for nothing. I've just now gone back, painted on a coat of some cheap craft paint in the same color over it and run the embossing gun over it again. It's still tacky.

I'm so pissed. I've been washing silver model car paint off my hands for weeks. I'm taking a shower and going to bed early tonight.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Just Saw "Guardians of the Galaxy"

We got the chance to see Guardians of the Galaxy this afternoon. Because it's late for me now and I've got to work in the morning, I just wanted to make a couple of notes here about it, but it's okay to read this even if you haven't seen it yet...there are no spoilers.

  • Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer pretty much steals the movie, at least for me. There's a scene towards the end where Drax sits down next to Rocket and pets him on the head. It's ridiculously sweet and you just don't know how Rocket will react to it.
  • Rocket looks incredibly real in this movie. CGI has come so freaking far in the last dozen or so years. He's voiced by Bradley Cooper, and he may very well have more life to him than any other character in the movie. That's no slam on any of the actors, but his back story was fleshed out well enough. He's an angry, foul mouthed little shit, and you like him for it. And when he's hurt, you feel for him.
  • The very first scene actually hurt me a little bit. It's between Peter Quill as a kid (8-10 years old) and his mother on her deathbed. She's got cancer. She's thin, pale, wan, bald, and dying. The things she says to Peter just about brought me to full on tears. Without going into detail, the things she says to him were so close to what my own mom said to me before she passed. Her words, and Peter's reaction, are TRUE and they are CORRECT. It was beautiful and haunting and so sad, all at the same time. I couldn't really watch it, so I concentrated on my popcorn and just listened instead. I didn't want to turn into a sobbing mess there in the theater.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Finally Got My Hearing Back

We went to go see Alice Cooper and Motley Crue last night, and I finally have my hearing back as of this morning.

My husband decided, bout a week ago, that he needed to give me  crash course in Alice Cooper. I think he wanted to make sure I didn't go all, "WTF???" when we got to see him. But like with Motley Crue, whatever I'd heard on the radio of their music, I liked, I just didn't know much about him/them.

I got tickets to this show mostly for my husband. He's a Crue fan and had seen them twice already, about 25 years ago (shit, that makes us sound old!). But he'd never had the chance to see Alice, so when I told him about this concert, he actually got a little excited.

Can I just say...this You Tube uploader, Dennis Justus, uploaded all of Alice's show from last night. He probably should have actually watched it and really enjoyed it.

I have to admit, as someone whose never seen Alice Cooper, this was a really good show! I'd probably go see him again. His set list can be found here.

Alice opened up for Motley Crue, and that was pretty good too. About halfway through their set, Tommy Lee did a long drum solo, set to a hip hop-type background, where he was harnessed into his set set and platform, and he went airborne, drumming while he was upside and spinning as he went up, up, up. I had already known he did things like that in the past, but didn't know he was still doing it. I was pretty impressed, because the rotations didn't seem to phase him any. He drummed away, beating the shit out of his instruments like it was nothing. He may have been having more fun than the other guys he was up there with.

Both parts of the night had a good amount of pyro, and Motley Crue ended their show with confetti (which I snagged some), and an encore on a smaller stage out in the seats. Their set list can be found here.

We knew when they were coming back out. We were seated in the last row of section 103. While we waited for that encore, we realized security had the section behind us closed off, and even the walkway behind us was closed off. There was security all over the place. And all of a sudden, in the dark, coming up to that smaller stage, was more security, leading the guys out there. Unfortunately, we realized later on that my husband's phone decided to delete the pictures and videos he'd taken that night, so we didn't get to keep the video of this. But there they were, and as they came past us (Tommy Lee first, then Vince Neil, Mick Mars and then Nikki Sixx), I stood up (I was already turned around anyway), and started yelling to Tommy as he came by first. He highfived me and my husband each, and the security guard actually looked surprised. I don't know why, because everyone else in our row did the same thing, and Tommy highfived us all. None of the other guys even looked at any of the audience. They just walked on.

So, they go to that smaller stage, sing "Home Sweet Home," the show ends, and they leave the same way they came out. And it was the same deal again...I stood up (I was already turned around anyway), and started yelling to Tommy as he came by first. He highfived me again, and just about everyone else in our row again. My husband didn't try it that time, as he was trying to get Mick to highfive him, but none of the other guys even looked at any of the audience. They just walked on.Tommy looked like he was having a good time and seemed like the friendliest one of the bunch. I had yelled to Vince, but he didn't look around as he walked past.

Yeah, at the end of the night, the last concert they'll ever perform in Virginia Beach, during their "All Bad Things Must End" tour, since they've been performing since 1981...I think I became a Tommy Lee fan.