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1  Doctor Who lawn gnome in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: April 05, 2014 11:11:19 PM
This guy started his little concrete life as a biker, complete with chaps, engineer boots, and a skull brooch/bolo tie/whatever, but my interests run more toward Weeping Angels than Hell's Angels, so here we have a lawn gnome cosplaying the Tenth Doctor:

I know we don't meet the Silence until the Matt Smith era, but that skull was just begging, y'know?

Ten doesn't have a hat, unless you count that straw beachcomber he wore in his last regular appearance, so I just gave this guy a TARDIS blue gnome hat and called it a day. (For my next project, I've got my eye on a gnome wearing suspenders. I'm pretty sure if I take a hacksaw to the top of *his* hat, I can turn it into a fez easily enough.)
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2  Across the Universe in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by Redforkhippie on: February 09, 2013 02:58:21 PM
A dear friend of mine has been under a lot of stress lately, and he's contemplating the possibility of taking a job that will require him to move halfway around the world for three years. I decided to make him a little painting to cheer him up and remind him that I've got his back no matter what. Here it is:

And an explanation:

I chose a blue color scheme to make sure the painting would look right to my friend, who is red-green colorblind.

The labyrinth at the center symbolizes the path of life -- the idea that we are all exactly where we are supposed to be, and all our choices lead us to the places we need to go. (You can get lost in a maze, but you can't get lost in a labyrinth, because there's only one path in and out, with no dead ends or wrong turns.) For reasons too complicated to go into, labyrinths have kind of become a symbol of our friendship.

The 12-pointed sun is a Choctaw symbol that represents happiness, which is obviously my wish for my friend -- and a nod to his Choctaw heritage.

The stars are constellations. Aquila, the eagle, is in the upper right; a Choctaw symbol of strength and peace and a spiritual messenger, he also represents flight and freedom to many cultures and seemed a fitting symbol for my friend. Equuleus, the "little horse," is in the upper left and represents my friend's wife, an accomplished equestrian, who is the most understanding and supportive woman I know. In the lower left, Canis Major represents their faithful dog, and in the lower right, Ursa Major -- the Great Bear -- represents my infamous "Mama Bear" streak protecting him wherever he goes. In Zuni mythology, the bear also symbolizes strength, healing, and wisdom and peace during times of transition.

Finally, the song lyrics are from "Across the Universe." I chose them because he's a Beatles fan. The Sanskrit refrain, jai guru deva, translates to something like, "Glory to the divine dispeller of darkness," followed by the "OM" that supposedly mimics the vibration of the universe.

I hope he likes it. If he doesn't, maybe he can swap it to some hippie for a bag of weed or a copy of Rubber Soul on vinyl or something. Wink
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3  Will work for coffee -- RIDICULOUSLY PIC HEAVY in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: March 26, 2012 06:59:49 PM

A few months ago, I wandered into a new coffeehouse in a historic building about half a block off Route 66 in Sapulpa, Okla., to catch up on some paperwork I needed to do for school. It was a nice place, with good coffee, soft lighting, comfortable furniture, free Wi-Fi, coffee sacks hanging from the ceiling, and local artists' work on the walls.

The restroom hadnt yet received the same cafe-chic treatment as the rest of the building.

After looking at the water putty smeared on the walls, outsized mirror above the sink, and awkwardly placed shelves next to the door, I asked one of the owners what she had planned for that space.

Im not sure yet, she said.

Thats what I was hoping shed say.

After showing her some samples of my work, including my sort-of-locally-famous car (on Craftster at http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=332918.0), I told her I'd be happy to redo her bathroom in exchange for all the coffee I could drink. Given my fondness for cappuccino, that may or may not have been a good trade for her.

Given the building's history and proximity to Route 66, I wanted to use a 66 theme, with lots of local/state history. I chose lots of brown "coffee" tones to give it kind of a quasi-sepia look that would (hopefully) evoke old photo postcards, and all my subjects were people, places, or attractions associated with Route 66 in Oklahoma. Before I started, I stripped off the old wallpaper border and rag-painted the whole room in cream and gold to hide the flaws in the surface of the walls and make them look sort of like scrapbook paper, which I thought suited the postcard theme pretty well.

I started with the iconic Blue Whale in Catoosa, Okla. (The white spot in the picture is Mod Podge that hasn't dried yet. I used acrylics to paint all the pictures, then came back and sealed each one with a coat of Mod Podge to protect it from everyday wear and tear, smudges, scratches, etc.)

A restored 1930 Phillips 66 station in Chandler; the late, great Shady Rest Court in Red Fork; the Desert Hills Motel in Tulsa; the Round Barn in Arcadia; the long-closed Cotton Boll Motel in Canute; and Sapulpa's own "Guardian of the Plains" sculpture filled the rest of the space to the left of the door. Each "postcard" is roughly the size of a placemat.

The World's Largest Totem Pole, four miles off 66 in Foyil, and Lucille's Historic 66 gas station near Hydro cover the space above the door.

The space to the right of the door was a little narrower, so I covered it with vertical images: Sapulpa's own flying roller skate sign; Oklahoma City's Milk Bottle Buildling; the Glancy Motel in Clinton; "Myrtle," the giant oil-drum kachina doll that stands outside the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City; the Mickey Mantle statue from Mantle's hometown of Commerce; and the historic Rock Creek Bridge on the old Ozark Trail alignment of Route 66 at the west end of Sapulpa.

At the owner's request, I painted a picture of the Victorian Theater, which was in the building that now houses the coffeehouse. This painting and the one below it were much larger -- about 30 inches wide, IIRC. The only thing in the room that doesn't have anything to do with 66 is the back of the postcard. If you don't recognize the names or the address, Google them. They're a long way from Route 66, but the quote and its source seemed nonetheless fitting for a coffeehouse near an old highway widely regarded as the ultimate road trip. (The picture of the theater has some wonky angles, partly because the wall was too narrow for me to set up vanishing points, and partly because I was working from a photograph of a photograph, which made my source itself a bit wonky.)

This was another request from the owner. I'm not completely satisfied with the likeness, but it's about as good as I'm likely to get on a rough surface. Will's portrait is directly above the toilet, occupying a space about the width of the tank, so I thought it would be funny to paint him in his famous pose, scratching his head and grinning as if he's amused by what he sees.

I even replaced that ghastly mirror. You can get a little better idea of the layout and scale of the pictures from the reflection.

I thought I had a photo of the Roman shade I made out of coffee-print fabric to cover the window, but I can't find it. I was actually more excited about the shade than the paintings, as I'd never made one before and was pleasantly surprised when it worked. Also not pictured: the door, which is covered with chalkboard paint so patrons can leave messages or add their own artwork if they're so inspired.

The project took several months to complete, mainly because the coffeehouse has limited evening hours and is closed on Sundays, which made it hard for me to get in there and work. I've got about 40 hours of actual labor invested in the project.

Oh, and if you're interested, the coffeehouse itself is online at http://www.brewsandbytes.com/.
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4  Sock bunny in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: January 18, 2012 01:01:14 AM
I'm starting a new intiative in my classroom whereby good behavior earns a kid an entry in a drawing for whatever bizarre prize I can think up. To that end, I was finishing up a tie-dyed sock monkey this evening when it occurred to me that sock monkeys are a bit time-consuming, and I suddenly remembered a bunny pattern involving socks in a book my mom gave me.

I got out the book -- The Woman's Day Book of Soft Toys and Dolls by Joan Russell -- and found the pattern. I made slight modifications by using oversized plastic eyes, gecko-print ladies' socks, and a prefabbed acrylic pompom in place of the button eyes, gray children's socks, and handmade pompom tail and overstuffing the bunny slightly to give him a kind of alien look.

Here he is:

I think he looks sort of like a cross between an Uglydoll and the goofy one-eared rabbit from the Life in Hell cartoons.

In an odd coincidence, as I was getting on Craftster to post this, I noticed a familiar face and discovered that AlwaysInspired had used the very same book to create one of the beautiful Indian dolls I used to pore over as a child:

I'm not sure what the odds were on that, but I'm guessing you could probably use them to fuel the Heart of Gold from Betelgeuse to Milliway's. Wink
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5  Hippie toddler in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: June 15, 2011 12:31:31 PM
When I was little, I always wanted stuff with my name on it, and I always had trouble finding it, because my name wasn't very popular at the time.

My 2-year-old niece, Hazel, is likely to have the same problem, so when I saw some Fillmore-poster-style wooden letters at the craft store, I had to buy a set so she could have her name spelled out on her bedroom wall in hippie letters hand-painted by her hippie aunt. Nothing fancy, but for a quick project, I thought they turned out pretty cute:

I still have to seal them with Mod Podge, and then they'll be ready to go.
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6  Where the grickle-grass grows ... in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: June 14, 2011 09:29:09 PM
I started this mural several years ago but never got around to finishing it. I ignored it for so long that the paint faded, so I couldn't complete it without repainting the old parts first. I finally had time to work on it this week. Aside from a few minor details and a couple of spots I can't reach until my husband gets a hand free to hold a ladder for me, I'm finally done with it:

I still have to do a little detail work on the far right, finish the sky and the Truffula tuft on the upper left, and complete the shading on the Once-ler's shop and the upper parts of the clouds and Truffula tufts, but I doubt it will take more than an hour to finish up.

A closer look. I was especially pleased with the way the thneed turned out.

I spent a lot of time collecting snail shells and begging my parents to take me for walks near the edge of town. I had it in my head that there might actually be a Street of the Lifted Lorax, and I was determined to find it, hear the Once-ler's story, and get the Last Truffula Seed of Them All so I could grow those crazy trees and get the Lorax and his friends to come back.

I thought the Lorax was an appropriate subject for a mural in the backyard of a house that has solar panels on the roof and a Honda Insight in the driveway. Smiley

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7  Honeybee umbrella in Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: April 17, 2011 06:24:25 PM
So a few years ago, I got online and found an absolutely adorable pair of yellow rainboots with honeybees all over them. Being an amateur beekeeper, I obviously couldn't live another minute without owning them.

I've spent the past three years or so trying to find a suitable umbrella to match, to no avail.

Tromping around in my bee boots during a Wal-Mart run one dark and stormy night last week, I spotted a plain clear Totes bubble umbrella and decided to do what any sensible Craftster girl would do:

Of course it hasn't rained a drop since then, but I'll be ready next time it does. Smiley
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8  Kitchen cabinets (IMG HEAVY) in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: January 22, 2011 07:49:39 PM
I finally finished repainting my kitchen cabinets the other day. The finish was in terrible shape, but these have to be the most poorly constructed cabinets ever, so they really weren't worth stripping and refinishing. My standard operating procedure, in such instances, is to break out the craft paint and cover the cabinet doors with busy enough designs to distract casual visitors from the fact that the cabinets righteously suck. Hopefully the ruse will work:

I chose a garden theme for my project. All of the designs are based on greenspaces I know and love. These first two are based on Dave Dardis' Secret Garden in Makanda, Ill. In real life, the mermaid is more rust-colored, but there's a place on Route 66 here in Oklahoma that sells a silver variation, so I kind of morphed the two together. I always thought the guy on the bottom was a Green Man, but upon closer examination, I think he's actually a Dionysus figure; the ivy growing on the wall around him just gives him a Green Man aura.

An idealized image of our bee yard.

Loosely based on my mother-in-law's back flowerbed.

Two of our favorite haunts in St. Louis. (We used to live in Belleville, Ill., about 20 minutes from the city.) The top one is part of the wall around the parking lot at the City Museum; the bottom is the entrance to the Venice Cafe, which has the coolest patio on the planet.

These two doors are a tribute to the late Larry Baggett, whose Trail of Tears monument still stands along Route 66 near Jerome, Mo. The top image is not an extremely pale man. It's a painting of Larry's self-portrait sculpture, which is made of plaster or something and sits next to the entrance to his property. The wishing well is next to his long, winding driveway, which goes up the side of a bluff.

This is a painting of the liriope-and-ivy-covered earthen sculpture I am planning to construct in my garden this spring. Yes, I am the only person I know who would use one insane project to plan another.

View of my backyard, decluttered just a bit for artistic reasons. The wisteria really had that many blooms this spring, though. It was crazy.

This started out to be a picture of light filtering through the trees in the Shawnee National Forest, but it didn't look right when I finished, so I just stuck a lawn gnome in there. Lawn gnomes are awesome.

This weird little door, which is above my stove, was too small for anything very elaborate, so I just mimicked my china pattern on there.

Having gotten good results with the chalkboard paint I put on the back of my car, I swiped an idea from a magazine article I'd read years ago and put some chalkboard paint on a couple of the cabinets next to the stove so I could write grocery lists, to-do lists, menus, etc. as things came to mind.

The bottom cabinets on that side got chalkboard paint, too, because I know my young friends-and-relations will want to add their own artwork, and I don't really want them standing on the counters to do it.  Undecided

And a couple of overall views. I brushed a coat of glossy Mod Podge over each door when I finished to protect the paint from spills and spatters.

The lantern hanging from the light fixture is going to disappear as soon as I get a hand free to install a new light, but the hardware store ran out of the fixture I wanted, and I wasn't really in the mood to do any wiring this week, so that project will have to wait.
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9  Route 66 kitchen cabinets in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by Redforkhippie on: January 02, 2011 12:09:10 PM
I'm in the process of repainting my kitchen with various garden scenes on the cabinet doors. I posted a few pictures of this WIP on Facebook, where I mentioned that this was my favorite method for hiding nicks, scratches, scars, and stains on cabinets that were too battered to look good with a plain paint job and too cheaply made to be worth stripping and staining.

During the course of a FB conversation, I remembered that I still had some photos of a similar project I'd done on the cabinets at my old house in Illinois. I thought somebody here might enjoy seeing them.

The guy on the left is the Gemini Giant in Wilmington, Ill. At right: My late rat terrier, Scout, loved going to Ted Drewes' Frozen Custard.

Left to right: Kansas sunflowers; the Round Barn in Arcadia, Okla.; the 66 Courts sign, formerly in Groom, Texas; and the Blue Spruce Lodge in Gallup, N.M. Scout, in a rare moment of good behavior, decided to sunbathe in front of the cabinets while I was taking pictures of them.

Left: the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz.; right: Roy's Cafe and Motel in Amboy, Calif.

Left: the famous billboard at the Jackrabbit Trading Post, Joseph City, Ariz.; right: the Blue Whale, Catoosa, Okla.

I painted the drawer fronts to look like old Burma-Shave signs and used toy cars as drawer pulls. I figured out that I could drill holes in the bottoms of toy convertibles and then attach them to the drawers with a wingnut and bolt.

The complete rhyme said:

At left: John's Modern Cabins, Newburg, Mo. At right: my favorite neon swallow from the Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, N.M.
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10  Bob Waldmire tribute postcard in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by Redforkhippie on: December 15, 2010 07:29:55 PM
I thought I'd posted this when I made it, but evidently I was waiting around to finish the back of it, which never happened. In any case ...

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, Bob Waldmire -- hippie, artist, Route 66 advocate, and one of the dearest men I've ever known -- passed away. Bob was the inspiration for the character Fillmore in the movie Cars. Bob was well-known for his intricate Route 66 postcards, and although pen-and-ink is not really my medium, as soon as I got word of his passing, I set about trying to create a Waldmire-style postcard featuring Bob himself.

Here's what I came up with:

And here's the photo I used as my starting point:

You can see Bob, his van, and some of his amazing handiwork here:


I still miss Bob.... Cry
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