Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Popularity of a Single Post

I'm actually really surprised about the popularity of the Steelers blanket pattern post from 2010. I'm still getting requests from people to share the pattern with them, which I definitely will do. While that pattern wasn't mine (I found it online), it was a free pattern when I stumbled across it so I saved it to my computer.

The most recent request for the pattern (it's saved as a PDF, and I don't know how to post a PDF here online) came from Devin, who included this picture of Brett Kiesel, #99. "My daughter went last year to San Francisco but those game pics are on my computer at work. Sorry I can't send them too. Thank You soo much for sending the pattern. It means more than you know."

How nice is that? I love getting pictures back from new people online!!! :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Best Swap Yet!

I just got my Doctor Who swap goodies from my partner, Shynii. I just have to say, I really had an amazing partner and I think I got the better end of the deal!

Shynii painted just all of the packaging with this beautiful outer space watercolor design.

I wonder what was in this little pouch...

OMG, it's an adorable portrait of Tom Baker!!!! Right now, I have this tucked into a mirror frame in my crafting room. I'm fighting the weirdest urge to color it, for some reason. I think I might scan it and save it as a JPG so I can "color" it later on in Photoshop without ruining her work.

A TARDIS pin and necklace. If you hold the TARDIS up to the light, you can see light coming through the windows. "The Doctor is in!" On the charms with the necklace, she translated my name into Gallifreian. AWESOME!!!!!

The jewelry came in this starry pouch, complete with a leather TARDIS tag, which has a cut out D for Doctor on the other side.

PSYCHIC PAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But here we go...the best part...Shynii drew a beautiful, thoughtful portrait of #4 (that's my second favorite doctor and where I'm currently at in watching the entire series), and put him in a Gallifrian-themed frame with a clay Dalek adornment.

Another Swap Done

One of the other things I've been working on lately is my part of the Doctor Who swap going on at Craftster. And as I've heard River Swan say, "Spoilers!" So Shynii, if you're around, then go check out another blog because I'm posting pictures!!!! :) This package is on it's way to Shynii as of Thursday morning.

I definitely wanted to make something TARDIS-y. And for as much as I like reusable bags, I figured I had to make a TARDIS bag.

The blue, black and white fabric is all remnant material I got from Wal-Mart. I had problems with how the sign on the doors was turning out, which is why I actually sent this late to Shynii. I ended up cross stitching part of the sign on the door. The windows, sign and blue section on the door are actually all quilted with a little bit of batting underneath. The back side is done the same way, although without the sign.

I actually put some of that batting in the shorter sides and in the bottom, so if Shynii wanted to have a soft bag for shopping or whatever, she'd be able to use this one. Those panels are quilted as well.

The finished size of this bag is probably right around 15" wide x 17" tall x 5" deep, not counting the straps. Aside from two little spots on the bottom, I'm really happy with how this turned out. This is the first bag I've ever sewn, I think. I love it so much, that I think I'll make a second one for me, because I still have more fabric left over!
I even used some bias tape on most of the seams inside. There are two pockets inside: one larger one and another that is divided into three smaller sections. Each seam was sewn twice before adding the bias tape (which was really added to cover my messy seams because I decided I wasn't happy with them).

And of course, a crocheted Dalek. I'm never really happy with how these guys turn out but I guess I'm not finished with them just yet! :) This green is the same yarn I used for David's Doop from last August.

My Little Halloween Pony???

Finally, a new post to share! I haven't been completely sitting on my ass, letting the creative juices dry up. I've been Halloween crafting, and in the process, been able to take enough pictures of this project to put up on Craftster this weekend. I got lucky...I can enter another Craftster challenge with this project: the Ugly to Awesome challenge.

A long time ago, before Hurricane Katrina ever tried to wipe out New Orleans, I came across a family's Halloween idea site. One of the many ideas I loved about this site was the horseman idea the King family posted: "Create this neat prop by using a child's horse. Paint it all black, eyes painted white, and stick a skeleton on the saddle. Then attach real rope to the face and use a child's size grim reaper costume." The idea stuck with me for some time and I kept it filed away in the back of my head.

Then I discovered Craftster. A fabulous post over there caught my eye, on how to turn a child's bounce horse into a carousel horse. And somehow in the twisted confines of my head, these two projects combined to form a carousel My Little Halloween Pony.

I bought this used for $10, because the dowel for the handles on the top of the head was missing. I removed the American Flyer frame and was going to put it out for the metal scrappers, but a man came past our house, recognized it for what it was and asked me if he could have it. :) He legitimately seemed surprised that I gave it to him. The horse was standard black and very dirty. The dowel where the stirrups hang was starting to rot.

Primed in our driveway. I used Rustoleum Extra Cover Primer, Rust Control flat black for the quick and dirty spray jobs I did on the mane and tail, and Textured grey spray paint for the body. Unfortunately, it wasn't as textured as I was hoping. I was originally concerned that the details in the saddle (it's just a blow mold plastic horse) would disappear once primed, but that wasn't the case here.
Umbrella base for support from Ace Hardware, a wooden dowel, a random furniture leg from Home Depot, and some PVC pipe fittings. The saddle area is still primer, but the rest of the horse has it's first coats of paint.
In our dining room at this point. The pole has been sprayed with aluminum paint, left over from my Jedi communicator project earlier this year. The first bit of detail painting has begun. Do you see the vampire bite marks on the horse's neck? It even has a little dribble of blood running down.
More detail work on the saddle. This was the hardest part for me. I painted that part so many times, trying to get it just right. I filled in the hole from the handles and the thigh dowel with hot glue, buttons and then wall putty. It needed so much stuff because those holes were about 1" across and the plastic walls of the horse are pretty thin. I needed to fill in the depth first. Once I got to the wall putty stage, I was able to hand sand it down pretty smooth.
Excuse the flash, but what My Little Pony would be complete without the rump design? The details were painted with a variety of paints, some mixed together for different colors: a variety of Apple Barrel paints, some Elmer's Paint Markers, and even some acrylic paints from the Wizard of Oz series I did a while back.
Closer up on the mouth, you can see some blood coming out. I wanted to add vampire fangs in the mouth, but the mouth isn't open far enough to fit them in. I actually bought a set of cheap vampire fangs from Walgreens but they were too big. :(

Done with the detail painting and the clear coats. I also went back to the mane and tail, and brushed on some blue glitter paint on the top parts of the hair to catch the light, kind of like highlights. I also ran a thin paintbrush, dipped in the darkest black paint I had, through the deepest parts of the mane and tail, to show depth. I actually ended up being quite happy with how some of the paint crackled and ran, once the clear coat was applied. In some places, it looks like veins. The umbrella base is a little larger than the dowel, so I have to finagle it into place to make it stand straight.
I purposely drilled the holes for the pole through the middle of the saddle, instead of more towards the front. We have some "interactive" looking props in our yard for Halloween. While we don't let anyone play with them (so no one can get hurt), we can't be there 24/7. So I wanted to avoid any parents seeing this in our yard and think, "Oh, the baby would look so cute sitting on that carousel horse. Let's put her up there and take a picture real quick!" This horse is supported on the pole with super glue, hot glue and 550 cord. While the bottom PVC fitting makes for a pretty tight fit to hold the horse up, it's not fool proof. If a parent put their kid on this, the kid will fall when the horse breaks and then they'd probably want to sue us. But, since they can't sit their kid on the saddle, problem avoided! :)

The finished horse of doooooooooooooooooooooom! To hide the hot glue mess in the saddle, I dressed it up with some ribbon I had and some flowers/leaves from the Dollar Tree.

 A profile shot so you can see the vampire bite, new reins, patterned duct tape bridle (I really hated the flat orange paint job I did originally), and blue highlights.

Close up of the paint job on the saddle.

Hi ho Silver, awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Observation About Alzheimer's

I made a visit to a new patient earlier this week. She's in an assisted living facility in Virginia Beach and she has Alzheimer's. Her husband sugar coated, which is usual (denial) the condition his wife was in, but I got a good overview from her nurse and CNA before I got there.

Apparently, she's a pincher and a spitter, and I was told she's also low-verbal, which is a kinder way of saying she's mostly nonverbal.

She didn't pinch me, and she was content to spit onto her breakfast plate, but she did speak. In fact, she swore at me a couple times and then told me to go away.

On my ride back to the office, I realized something about patients with Alzheimer's. They're like computers with a virus. They can't read their peripherals anymore and you can't really get the screen saver to turn off so you can access the hard drive.

The sad thing is, is that the longer I work in this field, the more I worry that someday I could wind up with Alzheimer's or dementia. Not by catching it from someone, of course, but just because my grandfather had dementia and he became a mean son of a bitch as the illness progressed. I don't want to be like that: a malfunctioning computer hard drive trapped inside a CPU that no tech can fix. Like other health concerns, I have a tiny part of this in my own computer programming. I think that might be why I try to learn different artsy fartsy things: new crochet stitches, how to sew, how to modify clothing, Modge-Podge, etc. Maybe if I can keep learning things, maybe I won't turn out like our patients.