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21  Plush shield-dragon from BBC's Merlin in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by ld on: March 06, 2009 08:57:38 AM
I made this fellow back in December, shortly after series 1 of Merlin ended.

If you've watched the show, you know there's a big dragon involved, but the dragon I really like is the one that appears on Camelot's shield.

I've decided his name is Cuddles.

Uther will not be pleased.

Tough luck, Uther.

Cuddles only has the two hind limbs, so technically he's a wyvern not a dragon, but all the knights laughed at "Arthur Penwyvern."

His tongue is a four-strand braid of thread. (Yeah, that was a good idea.) Depending on his mood, it can either mean he's thirsty, saying "bleah," blowing a raspberry at you, or he wants a bite of your curry. And you'd better give it to him, too, because he can fry you like a Hot Pocket.

His eyes are a fetching copper color. They glitter, but you can't see that through the camera.

Like my other dragons, Cuddles' wings, tail and neck are wired. Unlike them, he isn't really poseable. His wiring is only for support.

Also unlike my other dragons, his wings aren't quite anatomically plausible. But hey, I makes 'em like I sees 'em.

"I vigilantly stand guard over Camelot from any and all--hey, is that curry I smell?"
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22  "Memories I Never Had" Box (very picture-heavy) in Completed Projects by ld on: January 18, 2009 12:03:48 PM
In recent years I've developed an interest in New York City at the turn of the century. And so I started work on this box, which took me over a year to complete. I sealed and painted the box, then added images one, two, or a handful at a time, and then after they were all in, sealed them and the box again.

It's titled New York 1900: Memories I Never Had. I like to think of it as a scrapbook, in box form, of things I've never experienced.

The painted wood looks rough and chipped in places, especially the compartment dividers. This was achieved by sanding the box only after it was sealed/painted. In actuality, the box has been sanded (perhaps obsessively) all the way up to 1500 grit and is silky-smooth to the touch.

The images are either printed in black and white then antiqued with a paint wash, or printed in various sepia tones. I wanted a wide range of subjects: architecture and street scenes, fashion, art, sports, music, even food. All told, there are 50 images.

With the lid off.

If you don't want to read all the picture details, all you need to know is this: Nearly all the images fall within the narrow range of dating from 1890 to 1903. I stuck quite strictly to the "turn of the century" concept, meaning that I only selected things which existed by 1900. If you see a post-1900 image, you can assume that I used it only because I couldn't find an earlier photo, and that the appearance in those later photos is pretty much as it it would have appeared in 1900. The only exceptions are a 1902 Mucha drawing, a 1901 Outcault cartoon, and a 1903 Gibson sketch, which I included simply because I like them so much.

(I know that for some of the photos, like the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty, there wasn't much point in finding period photos because the changes are minimal, but for completeness' sake I did anyway.)

Vertical panels facing us, from left to right:

Front row: caption from Rand McNally NYC map (1897)

2nd: Catherine Klein rose painting (ca. 1890s); Charles Dana Gibson girl (ca. 1903); Helen Campbell's Darkness and Daylight (1893); Dewey Arch (1899)

3rd: the El at Greely Square (1898); lace based on 1890 pattern (modern photo)

Back row: Burnett's Vanilla ad (1900); Manhattan panorama from Hudson River (1900); Fred Pansing's Sampson and Schley Leading the Fleet into New York Harbor, August 20, 1898 (1898)

Front row: Alphonse Mucha's Documents Decoratifs (1902); Brooklyn bank check (1899)

2nd: doorknob (1890s); Herald Square (1895)

3rd: bishop's crook lamppost (modern photo); Hester Street (1900); chatelaine from Benjamin Allen catalog (1899); NYC postmark (1896)

Back row: Fulton St. and Lower Broadway (1899); silver perfume bottle, 1900 (modern photo)

Front row: New York World banner (1890)

2nd: official program of cycle and automobile exhibition at Madison Square Garden (1900); Chinatown (1899); tin ceiling ad (1895); William K. Vanderbilt mansion, Fifth Ave. (ca. 1900-1906)

3rd: gramophone (1898); The Bowery (1901)

Back row: Brooklyn Bridge approach, Manhattan side (1899); "The Bowery" sheet music (1892); Heinz electric sign (ca. 1900)

Front row: Rand McNally NYC map (1897); Sheepshead Bay race (1890, I've misplaced the artist's name)

2nd: Madison Square Garden (1898); Statue of Liberty (late 1890s)

3rd: Sears pocketwatch ad (1897); corset ad (1900); Richard F. Outcault cartoon (ca. 1901-1902); Louis C. Tiffany's Parakeets and Gold Fish Bowl (1893)

Back row: Central Park (1899); bicycle built for two (1899)

Top: Brooklyn Bridge (1896); "Sidewalks of New York" sheet music (1894); Gibson's His Vacation Over (1900)

2nd: Waldorf=Astoria Palm Garden (1902); City Hall (1900)

3rd: Delmonico's (1903); engraving of a horse (late 1880s)

Bottom: Newspaper Row (1890s); Manhattan panorama from East River (1899); Newsboys' Lodging House (1899)

Some of the compartments contain little "surprises":

The lady has a rhinestone in her hat...

...the pocketwatch has a 3D face (an epoxy pebble; it doesn't really show in the photo)...

...the dome of the World Building has a faint wash of gold...

...and the Parakeets is the only full-color panel. Because the original is stained glass, I reproduced the effect by printing it in color on a transparency and overlaying it on a metallic pearl background. If you look close you can see the wood grain through the "glass."

I covered the bottom of the box in dark brown felt to protect the tabletop.

All of it, encapsulated under glass.
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23  Re: Here Be Dragons in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by ld on: January 14, 2009 03:15:39 AM
Didn't manage to get a non-blurry pic of the green dragon in my hand, but here's my two boys perched in my artificial tree. Which happens to be right next to my bed, so I hope they're not discussing how silly the human looks when she's asleep.

Also...in a little over a week I'm going to be away for a month. So if you need to get in touch with me for anything, please drop me a note before then.

P.S.: I should have contacted everyone by now, so if you haven't heard from me, let me know. Thanks as always for all your kind words!
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24  Re: Plush NYC in Completed Projects by ld on: January 09, 2009 03:42:44 PM
The first time I posted these, I didn't get to take individual pics of the other boroughs. Eventually I gathered all the bits of NYC off my sofa, took more pictures, and posted them to my LJ, but completely forgot to add them here!

So without further ado:

The Bronx.


Queens narrowly escaped lasting effects from an accidental glue spill (from another project) during construction. Luckily, yours truly noticed it in the nick of time and made a heroic dash for the sink.

Staten Island, a.k.a. Borough of Richmond back in the day.
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25  Fannish Snowflakes in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by ld on: December 25, 2008 11:08:49 AM
So last night there I was, innocently cutting paper snowflakes. I don't know what came over me.

From the new BBC version of Merlin:

Extreeeme closeup (the dragons are less than 1.5" wide):

From Supernatural:

Extreeeme closeup:

Cut by hand with scissors through folded paper. There are only two lines which I had to cut after unfolding, and those are the second of each pair of cuts that make up the slices between the horns and behind the neck of the dragons. I could have tried it, but my nerves said no, and anyway I didn't want poor little headless dragons!

Each flake is about 8.5" across.
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26  Here Be Dragons (New Pic!) in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by ld on: December 13, 2008 03:14:17 PM
A little over a year ago, I made my first dragon, based on the dragons from the movie Reign of Fire. It was the second plush I'd ever made, and also my first without a pattern. Since then, I've learned a lot about making plush toys, and as much as I love my blue dragon, the process needed a little cleanup.

Design-wise, as in the overall way he's put together, he didn't need changing. I just wanted to see if I could come up with a more polished version. I've been working on this guy, off and on, for the last few weeks.

The new boy's in olive green (a slightly darker shade in RL than in the photos), which is the color I intended my original dragon to be. I only went with the deep royal blue because at the time I thought I'd have to color-match it to a second material, only to discover as I was putting the dragon together that I didn't need the other material after all. And the blue turned out gorgeous, anyway. But now that I was going to make a second one, why not give the original color a shot?

I know some people were interested in a pattern, but I wasn't able to work out all the design issues until now.

One of the things I wanted to get away from in the new pattern was having to turn and stuff that long, slender neck and tail. How on earth I was ever able to manage a turn-and-stuff on my blue with a) thicker felt and b) virtually no experience, I'll never know, because by using similar pattern pieces it was impossible to replicate it. I can only chalk it up to beginner's luck.

I was going to give the eye a reddish cast, as I did with the first dragon, but fell in love with this milky opal effect instead. It has an intense sparkle that completely does not translate through the lens, no matter how many times I photographed it.

Here he is demonstrating how he'd swoop down on prey. Well, as long as he doesn't do it to me while I'm sleeping.

Neck and tail are wired and poseable, as are the wings up to the second joint. He can pull in his wings and look down...

...or spread them out and look up. You can see his tail coiled around the glass in the top photo above.

"Enough pictures, human. Where's my dinner?"

Uh, well, I don't want to be responsible for his kind laying siege to the planet, so I guess we'll stop there then.
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27  Inverted Silhouette Bird Cushion in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by ld on: December 03, 2008 04:14:18 PM
Ever since I made my first cushion like this, I've continued playing around with the idea of inverted silhouettes. So here's my latest:

The front side.

Closeups of some of the appliques.

And the reverse side, in softer colors.

Closeup of the reverse side.

The two sides have very similar, but not identical, bird designs.

I'm pretty pleased how it came out. And I can choose which color scheme to display depending on whether I put the cushion on the sofa or bed.
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28  Plush Chevrolet in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by ld on: November 12, 2008 04:50:39 PM
This is the third plush car I've designed, this time as a commission. She was very happy with it, which makes me happy, too  Smiley

It's a 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

As with all the other cars I've done, the headlights glow in the dark.

This was based on a real car, which is why I've pixelated the license plate.

It was a lot of work, but I'm really pleased how this baby turned out.
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29  Re: Smoke me a kipper, Skipper... in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by ld on: November 11, 2008 06:23:33 PM
LadyFiasco suggested a glasses case, so I just had to take this picture.

I should mention that I found it funny that we seem to share a lot of interests...Supernatural, Red Dwarf, and the Newsies (historical and musical!).

Great minds!  Wink
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30  Smoke me a kipper, Skipper... in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by ld on: November 05, 2008 04:16:52 PM
...I'll be back for breakfast.

(Red Dwarf fans will get this one.)

Meet Harry.

Harry's a herring.

But wait! With one quick adjustment...

...he's now a delicious kipper!

The reverse side.

Yes. He's a kipper with a zipper, Skipper.

Harry's quite the helpful fellow.

(At a pinch he can also be used to chop down trees.)

Note: I NEVER do this in front of my robot goldfish. Despite his having a circuit panel in his own side, he would just find this too traumatic.

So let's just keep this secr--

Oh hi Nesmith!


Right. Our little secret, yeah?
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