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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Siren's Call Cross Stitch on: April 17, 2015 08:47:38 AM
I watched the cartoon you linked to and it was pretty good, but I agree that the ending is indeed very sad (but I would argue that it's a lot more powerful than Disney's usual "everybody lived happily ever after").  She does become an air spirit at the end of said cartoon, in lieu of death as foam, as a reward for not killing the Prince (in exchange for their hair, her sisters acquired a magic dagger, from the Sea Enchantress, which would restore the Little Mermaid to her mermaid form if she slew him with it, but, she couldn't do it and just kissed him instead), and, after 300 years of watching over the world's children in that air spirit form, the Little Mermaid earned her soul and entry into heaven (yay!)
2  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Re: Morgan & Kade / Then and now on: April 16, 2015 07:16:14 AM
Excellent form/anatomy and expression on this newer piece, as well as the older canine (your skills have obviously improved quite a bit since you did the 2011 one).

There used to be a guy living around here with a 3-legged dog, but I haven't seen either of them in a while, so he must have moved away or something.  It was amazing to see how well a dog could still get around, and even run at a good clip, with only three limbs!
3  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Re: Ongoing ATC Swap discussion thread 2015 on: April 16, 2015 07:02:07 AM
Looking forward to seeing your future cards elliot_anne & kwality570!

@curiousfae: I just use a normal Bic pen, or whatever I have lying around, for inking.  As long as I give the ink sufficient time to dry, and don't rest my hand on it while I'm working, I generally don't have any problems with it--the only pens I've ever had serious smearing issues with, in the past, are those erasable ones (I don't know if they even make those anymore).  For paint, I usually use acrylics, and, likewise, as long as I've given it adequate time to dry/cure, I don't have any smearing issues (I haven't done a card extensively with watercolor, but, given the nature of that type of paint, it's possible that there would be issues with the white glue absorbing the pigment there). White glue can smear some media (like markers), so it isn't the ideal sealer for everything (I'd recommend doing a test, with whatever you're drawing/painting with, to be on the safe side first).  I do a lot of intentional smudging (especially when I use graphite pencil), with tissue paper, when I draw, so, my art is usually well smudged before I ever put any glue on top of it anyway (it's probably best not to rub the glue coating on too vigorously though).

One of my two college degrees does happen to be in biology (physiology emphasis), but I don't really consider myself to be a scientist per se.  And you don't want me taking apart and/or reassembling any machines, because I'm one of those people that usually ends up with a bunch of "extra" parts afterwards.

@cmarions3: Congrats on scoring the assortment of markers/pens/pencils at Bic during your teaching assignment; I'm sure you'll put them to brilliant use!  If you ever do some work for them again, maybe you could negotiate part of your fee in supplies? Cheesy
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Re: Ongoing ATC swap - April 2015 - GALLERY on: April 16, 2015 06:25:40 AM
@blupaisan:  I love your design for the flowers on the front and the blue fabric butterfly on the back, and I like that you used the same patterned material for both elements, as that gives them continuity (in my mind, I like to think that the butterfly "absorbed" the pattern by feeding on the nectar from the flowers).

@kosmicgirl:  Cool fantasy warrior and giant raven!  From her scalloped ears and the scale-like pattern on her head/back, I assume she's part dragon?
5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Re: Felt Superhero Masks on: April 15, 2015 08:59:23 AM
Cool masks and a great idea for a party favor; I like the Wolverine one the best!
6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Re: Tic Tac container Owl Scene on: April 15, 2015 08:43:37 AM
Neat moonlit environment!  I can't say that I've ever seen a customized Tic Tac container before, but I can definitely see the possibilities now.

Do you glue the paper during, or after, the twisting process, and, if not, how do you keep it from unraveling/untwisting (in my experience, paper usually unravels from the moisture when I paint it if it's not secured with glue)?
7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Re: Ginger's House graze snack mailing boxes on: April 15, 2015 08:36:38 AM
Cool little diorama environments.  One is a lot of work to do, let alone four!  It'd be fun if you found, or made, some little occupants for them too.
8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: Did you ever wonder what the Doctor's closet might look like? on: April 15, 2015 08:29:44 AM
Awesome piece with so many fun items and embellishments!  I think my favorite detail is the Dalek "No Trespassing" sign.  This must have took forever to craft!
9  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Re: Ongoing ATC Swap discussion thread 2015 on: April 15, 2015 08:12:08 AM
Success!!!









So shiny! The jagged film around the cards' edges is just dried glue residue that I haven't cut off yet. Upon closer inspection, there are still some tiny imperfections (probably caused by small air pockets/bubbles), but these results are MUCH better than what I've gotten in the past and the finish is good enough to pass my quality control standards.

I applied a slightly thicker film of white glue onto the artwork this time and affixed only the paper drawing to the plastic/metal, and that seemed to do the trick (the previous Makara card was already glued to rigid cardstock when I did the white glue top coat treatment). I'm not sure which factor, or both, made the difference, but I would hypothesize that the thinner paper allows the card to "breathe" better, aiding the drying process of the underlying glue.

Over a decade ago, I used to make my own Magic: The Gathering (a high-fantasy collectible card game) decks from scratch with video/computer game themes. My younger brother was not a fan of this, calling them my "Christmas Decks", because I put whatever I wanted in them, completely ignoring game balance, and, while at the time I wouldn't listen, in retrospect, I can see that he was right. Anyway, these two cards are from a Quake (an old PC first-person shooter from 1996) deck that I never finished. "Azure Agony" is a predominately blue-hued level from said game, while the "Ring of Shadows" is a power-up that makes your character temporarily invisible to monsters (and was obviously inspired by Tolkien's One Ring). Since I needed some new ATC test subjects for my high gloss white glue topcoat experiments, and I was too lazy to actually make any new art for that purpose, I just pulled out one of my old uncut card sheets, drawn on lined notebook paper, and "volunteered" these two cards for the job.

Once again, the process was tested on both plastic and metal. The results were more-or-less identical, although it was much easier to remove the card from the flexible plastic (the card just popped off when I bent the plastic slightly) than the rigid metal, so, that's what I'd recommend using.

I employed the interior of a small cookie tin for the metal test (the "dirt" inside is dried glue):



And for the plastic test, I used this sheet, from a toy package. It's transparent, so, I know it's kind of hard to see (again, the "dirt" spots are dried glue):



In other words, the exterior of this type of packaging:



(Barbie says: "I've been trapped in this sealed box ever since I left the the Chinese factory in 2005--make Patraw let me out!!!")

Of course, any number of other objects/surfaces would work too. The two important factors are that the surface is (1) smooth/shiny so that it imparts the gloss finish (the glue won't dry glossy otherwise) and (2) made out of a substance that white glue doesn't adhere very well to so that you can easily peel off the dried and sealed card afterwards without damaging it. If you'd like to give this a try, I'd recommend doing some tests with cards that you don't care about first, until you get a feel for the process.

You can just press out air bubbles/pockets from underneath the glued card with your fingertip, or some other tool, but I find this particular type of roller implement useful for that purpose:

10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Siren's Call Cross Stitch on: April 15, 2015 07:58:05 AM
I've only seen the Disney version--I didn't even know that any other animation studio had ever tackled that story.  In the book I was reading, if I'm remembering right, I believe that the author noted that, after the Little Mermaid died and turned into foam, she was then transformed into an air spirit, so, while she didn't get the Prince, at least she got to continue existence in another form.  I can't say that I care much for the idea that a mermaid can only be "saved" by marrying a human male (a man was doubtlessly the one that came up with that notion).
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