Saturday, November 24, 2012

Working on Halloween for Next Year

Right before Halloween this year, I stumbled across an online store called Grandin Road. They've got some really nice life-size figures for Halloween but I didn't get a chance to get one bought in time for this year. However, the figures went on clearance and I bought one so far.

I ordered "life-size sinister Serena" on clearance. "Life-size Sinister Serena is so frighteningly affordable; you'll want to pair her up with her partner Vincent Vampire, sold separately. Serena's long wavy white hair and maroon velvet dress render her magnificently terrifying. What's even scarier? Her eyes light up and eerily fade in and out." I think she'll go good with my old Victorian male vampire, because all he has is red light up eyes too.

I am happy with her but there's no way I would have bought her for the original full price. Interesting note: I had to make a username and password to order Serena online. Once she arrived, I went back to write a review on her. Grandin Road hasn't put the review up, probably because I rated her at a 3 out of 5 stars and listed a bunch of cons.

Let me just say right now: I knew what I was getting when I ordered her, because I read the online reviews. Nothing about her was a surprise, so I'm not complaining.

Here is her before picture. Her body is just a single metal pole, supported by a simple quad-kind of platform. Her upper body and arms are very light and flimsy. Her face is a mask on what appears to be a foam wig head. Her clothes are a costume, so she could be re-dressed later on. (I'd like to get one more of these figures, different from Serena, and re-dress her as the Bride of Frankenstein.) For updates and repairs, Serena has some great bones but she starts out pretty weak.

Regular watercolor paints didn't work on her face, which I was hoping they would because of their subtlety. I watered down some acrylic paints mixed into grey for around her eyes, but the plastic didn't take it smoothly enough.

I went back with some purple and some grey eyeshadow and liked those results. I shaded more around her eyes and under her cheekbones. I wanted to give her face a sunken in look to it.

I used real lipstick to darken her lips as well.

I think that in the dark, with a strobe light on her, Serena is going to look pretty freaky.
The lights are on top of her eyeballs. Because the lights are pointing different directions, it makes her look cockeyed. However, her eyes are straight, it really is the lights that are crooked.

Like some other decorations that I modified, I bought a simple pair of eyelashes from Kroger and added them to Serena. These really made her eyes pop and it seems to lessen the crookedness of the lights.

I used some red quick dry nail polish to add the bite marks on her neck and the blood dribble on the side of her mouth.

I gave her a red and black French manicure (red nail polish and black paint), and used red and blue paint to highlight the veins on the back of her hands.

The other thing I didn't like about her body is how she looked so frail, as in, "This decoration's going to fall apart." I used some quilt batting, bubble wrap and painter's tape to straighten out her shoulders and fill out her body a little bit.

I also straightened two wire hangers and inserted them into her arms to give her a little bit of flexibility, otherwise her arms just hung limply.

Call me silly, but I realized that when I had her shoulders, torso and arms done, she looked really flat in the chest. I took two pairs of socks and a couple rags from my rag bag and fashioned a quick and dirty little bra and falsies for her. I know an easier way to give her a chest would have been to throw one of my own bras on her and then stuff it, but I didn't have a bra that was worn out enough yet.

One other thing I'd like to do for her is buy a lot of costume jewelry at the thrift store and put together some jewelry for her. She looks so plain, and her gown looks like someone's grandma's nightgown with all the lace on it. I'm thinking if I could also find a good belt and maybe a cloak for her, she might look a little bit like a medieval vampire. I just wish Serena had fangs. That's something I can't fix.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Scenes From Black Friday

Nicole the Knitter and I have been going Black Friday shopping together for the last couple years. We don't get started until about 7 AM and we shop for ourselves. We haven't been able to convince Michelle the cook to join us yet, but we haven't run into any crazied mobs or anything yet.

The trees above Nicole and Michelle's house, on the morning of Black Friday.

The sunset behind the house across the street, on the evening of Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Doctor Who and the Case of the Expanding Scarf of Horror

"Pity about the scarf-- Madame Nostradamus made it for me-- a witty little knitter. Never get another one like it," The Doctor, Ark in Space

It's being made on a G sized hook and is slightly more than 3' long.

Yarns included so far:
--1 skein of SignatuR Handknits, 8 Ply Pure Wool in color #630 for the camel (love this yarn's texture and thickness)
--1 skein of Plymouth Yarn Encore in color #6002 for more of the camel but I prefer the first camel yarn I had 
--1 skein of SignatuR Handknits, 8 Ply Pure Wool in color #664 for the rust (love this yarn too but this is starting to look more like a scarlet color to me)
--1 skein of SignatuR Handknits, 8 Ply Pure Wool in color #645 for the green (see a trend here yet?)
--Almost 2 skeins of Trendsetter Yarns Marino VIII in color #335 for the purple (a very nice plum color)
--1 skein of Helio in color #3727 (I think, the label is in Dutch) for the bronze
--1 skein of Plymouth Yarn Encore in color #6002
--1 skein of Lion Brand Baby's First in color #157 (Honey Bee) for the yellow, but this was a stringy bulky weight yarn, so I'm actually separating it as I use it. (I like the label on this yarn. It has a ruler on both edges, in centimeters and inches, which makes for a convenient quick ruler.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Making of a Scarf

I have finally started a Doctor Who scarf for myself. It's about 1.5' long right now and about 7-8" wide. I actually had it about 1.5' long once before but it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too wide for my liking. Plus, I was trying something to make it look a little more like a knitted garter stitch, by doing the single crochets so they alternated in the front and back loops.

Yeah, it looked bad.

I frogged it, rolled the yarn and started over. I'm MUCH happier with it now with just the standard single crochets. I'm also doing the color changes on the same sides, so this scarf will actually end up being slightly longer because I'm adding a row, if necessary to each color, to make the color changes uniform.

Finally Crocheted Something For Myself

I decided it was high time I crocheted something for myself. It's not that I haven't been making anything lately, because I have...another crocheted blanket for a future hospice patient. So I put all that on hold for something for me.

I just finished it this morning. I made Monica Brown's crocheted crop cardigan. As the name specifies, this is a short length, short sleeved cardigan. For my own, I made it longer in length but kept my sleeves about like Monica's.

I loved this pattern because it works up like the babies' and little kids' tunics I've made over the years. This keeps me from having to figure out a toddler's pattern like this on how to make it fit an adult. My math isn't that great. There would have been a lot of swearing involved if I had to wing a pattern on my own. :)

It also worked up super quick, because you're working from the top down, and then back and forth. The body and each sleeves are the only pieces to it, for a total of three pieces. And really, the sleeves aren't separate, they are just worked after the body is done. There's no sewing even, because you continue to work the same pattern from the body when you start the sleeves.

For mine, I used a G sized hook. This was a total stashbuster, too, which was a nice little perk, because I am not buying any more yarn on a whim anymore. I am only buying for each project and that's it.

I wonder how long my resolve for that will last.

Here is what I used up:
--2 skeins of Universal Yarns in Classic Shades in Rainforest (#715)--This looks so beautiful until you start getting into the inside of the skein. The yarn's variegated color starts taking on a muddy look to it that overwhelms the rest of the colors in the skein.
--1 skein of Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Collection in Royal Blue  (#ED-100-09)
--2 skeins of Plymouth Yarn Boku in color #7--This color actually matches the Rainforest pretty damn well. While the Rainforest was 70% acrylic and 30% wool, the Boku is 95% wool and 5% silk, which gives it such a unique feel. I really liked the Boku yarn.
Really shitty picture from my cell phone.
--Almost one entire pound of Lion Brand in Denim (the same stuff I used for the overalls on a minion I made)
--Almost one skein of some random other blue I had laying around in my stash. There wasn't a label on it, but I'm thinking it's probably a Red Heart yarn.

The two large purple buttons were scavenged from my stash from a pillow I bought a while back at the thrift store when I needed fiber fill.

The snaps came from the sweater that I turned into hats, which, BTW, I ended up sending up to NYC for the Sandy Craftalong. I decided I couldn't gift them to people I know when I wasn't really happy with them.

I am really happy with how this turned out! It's going to be especially warm, because of the yarn and how it overlaps in the front. I think this would be a good sweater for under my motorcycle jacket. I wouldn't need to zip in the lining then.