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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / A question about female mannequins and clothing displays on: May 14, 2019 03:22:03 PM
I was originally going to post this question in TheMistressT's thread about the wooden hand she customized for her husband, but, I didn't want to lead her topic astray (I would get swatted with a limbo stick, so I would), thus, I'll put it here instead:

Recently, at a local woman's clothing store (Maurice's), walking by their display windows, I've noticed that they have several mannequins with nipples, which I've never seen anywhere else before.  They're fully clothed anyway, so, I really don't understand what the point is (or, rather, I see two points very clearly).  They're like a teenage boy's idea of what a female mannequin should look like.  I don't typically pay much attention to women's clothing displays, so, is that common nowadays and why?  I mean, yeah, it's anatomically more accurate, and I'm not a prude or anything, but, it also seems rather unnecessary too.  I is confused.
2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Tiamat cut-out figurine on: May 07, 2019 02:53:39 PM

Tiamat was the primordial saltwater ocean goddess of ancient Mesopatamian religions.  Her matings with the freshwater god, Abzu, produced the younger gods and goddesses as well as a variety of monsters.  She later waged war against said offspring, and her son, the storm god Marduk, slew and dismembered her.  Tiamat's ribs became the heavens and the earth, her weeping eyes the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, and her tail the Milky Way.  Happy Mother's Day I guess?

Said story is arguably the classic example of patriarchy overthrowing and replacing matriarchy.  

This cut-out figurine is modeled on Tiamat's depiction in the Japanese PC Engine CD video game Princess Minerva.  I chose the back view, rather than the front, because I felt that was more mysterious and dramatic.  Rather than the true goddess, the Tiamat(s) in said game are actually normal girls and women that have been transformed into monsters (defeating them presumably causes them to revert back to their human forms, or, at least that's what I choose to believe, as I really don't want to think that Minerva and her entourage are rampaging across the countryside murdering hundreds of her female subjects that were involuntarily transformed into creatures).

I drew her in pencil, inked my linework, and then colored Tiamat in with regular and watercolor pencils and a little acrylic paint.  I then glued her onto 3 layers of cardboard (sealing the illustration with white glue too while I was at it), cut her out, and mounted her on a similarly-fabricated cardboard base (I just happened to have a heart-shaped McDonald's Spider-man 2 watch ring on my computer desk and decided to trace that shape).  This was kind of a trip back in time for me, because, before I started making 3-dimensional figures, this was the sort of thing that I used to do instead.  While it's certainly not as impressive as a 3-dimensional figure would be, it's also a lot quicker and easier to do.

And here's a bonus sketch of Divada that I also did this morning and probably won't ever finish.  She's my favorite character from the SNES/Genesis fighting game Weaponlord.  I also REALLY like that name, and, if I ever have a daughter, it's definitely in my top three picks for naming her (Astrida & Cleo are the other two).  Divada belonged to a clan of sorcerers, but their women were forbidden to practice magic.  Divada said piss on that, I have higher aspirations than becoming a brood mare, murdered her father and brothers, and taught herself to became a sorceress anyway.

3  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Cool papercraft toys video on: May 06, 2019 08:00:25 AM

A video of Haruki Nakamura's papercraft toys showed up in my Facebook feed this morning, so, I thought I'd share.  Pretty impressive stuff!


His web site (Japanese, but, you can still look at the pictures)

4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Library Exhibit on: April 18, 2019 11:01:46 AM

My city's library director put out a call, on Facebook, looking for local artists to showcase their work in the library's display case.  While I was interested, at first, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to do something like that or not, but, I eventually caved, and, last Friday, since the case was still empty, I asked her if anybody had come forward yet or not, and she said that they hadn't, so I offered to do it and she accepted.  In the past, Craftster members have asked me if they could see all of my figures displayed together (which, as I've literally made hundreds, isn't really practical), so, while this certainly isn't all of them (just 66), at least it's something.  You may recognize some of them that I've posted on Craftster in the past, many others I've never shared here, as they pre-date my membership.  I also brought some larger (relatively speaking) pieces with me, but, when I was setting up the display, on Monday morning, I ultimately decided not to use them, as I felt that they'd break up the consistency of the arrangement, so I only used smaller figures.

The ancient wood and glass display case doesn't have any wheels or anything, and it's fairly heavy, so, it has to be slowly dragged/slid across the carpet to access the door on the back.  The librarian told me that things on display inside tend to slide around as a result, so, to prevent any mishaps (you haven't lived if you've never had one figure topple over and take out a bunch of others with it, in a domino-like fashion), I cut out a bunch of cardboard disc bases and glued all of my figures down onto those, and that worked great, not a single figure fell once I had everything set up and moved the case back up against the wall.  The door on the case doesn't have a lock or anything on it either; it's just held shut (poorly) with a piece of masking tape--I'm a trusting soul, so, I have faith that no one will steal anything.  Rainbow Dash also promised me that anybody that sticks their hand inside the display case uninvited is going to lose a finger, and I believe her, that pegasus' teeth are sharp!  (Plus she really enjoys biting humans to begin with.)

The librarian didn't tell me that I couldn't, but, since young children frequent the library, I made sure not to select anything that was gory, potentially controversial, or had any nudity, which excluded a fair number of my pieces.  I did briefly contemplate making some tiny brassiers to cover up some of my female mythical creatures' bare bosoms, but, I was ultimately too lazy to do that (cutting out all of those bases and gluing the figures' feet to them was work enough!)  Rainbow Dash lectured me that (1) I don't know the first thing about bras anyway, (2) my modesty-challenged creations had to stay home, and (3) that if I didn't make that kind of stuff to begin with, this would never be an issue.

Top shelf (sorry the pics aren't the greatest, I used my Nintendo 2DS to take them instead of my digital camera):

Middle shelf:

Bottom shelf:

If anybody wants to see a better/sharper picture of any particular figure, let me know, and I can grab one from my web site and post it in this thread.
5  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / SwapDoodle Scribbles on: January 14, 2019 08:38:04 AM
Here are a bunch of my scribbles from Nintendo's "free" SwapDoodle Nintendo 2DS/3DS app that I've exchanged with a few friends over the past month-or-so.  I say "free" because, unless you pay real money for add-on packs, which I'm too cheap to do, you only get black and red ink, and a pretty limited amount of ink at that (instead of being greedy, Nintendo should have made the whole shebang a pre-installed program to begin with).   You may remember that, back in the day, Nintendo's instruction manuals for the original Gameboy were usually only printed in black and red ink in the USA, so, I have to wonder if the basic package's ink choices are some kind of twisted homage to that.   Anyway, working within those limitations, and on a teensy touch screen with a plastic stylus, does make for an interesting artistic challenge.  There's no way, that I'm aware of, to get rid of my Mii in the bottom left corner, so, while his hand often intrudes onto the artwork, I wanted to keep the dates, so, I didn't crop him/me out.

Anyway, that's pretty much all I've done, creatively, for the last month or two.
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Glitter hate on: December 18, 2018 09:15:07 AM
On another forum I belong to (all men), some of the guys started a thread to complain about their wives/girlfriends/daughters getting glitter all over everything and one even referred to the stuff as "craft herpes" and another as "cancer dust".  (Most) men apparently despise glitter with a passion, lol.  I don't craft with it, but, I like sparkly stuff, so, I generally don't have a problem with glitter.  Some of my dolls shed it like pixie dust, which occasionally annoys me, but not to the point of hatred.
7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / SwapDoodlers on: December 04, 2018 12:47:27 PM
Do any of y'all SwapDoodle?  It's a free app in Nintendo's eShop (you gotta pay real money if you want to use more than black and red ink though, which is kind of lame) that lets you send handwritten messages and drawings to your friends.  The Nintendo 2DS/3DS' touch screen is pretty small (maybe half the size of an ATC), and the stylus only a so-so drawing implement, but, it's kind of fun.  I've been sending scribbles and messages to a woman in California for the last week or so after first learning about it from her in one of the two 3DS groups that I belong to on Facebook.

My understanding is that Nintendo used to have a SwapNote app too . . . but . . . um . . . adults in Japan were sending children naughty stuff (you could attach photos in that program, which you can't do in SwapDoodle), so they axed that one and replaced it with SwapDoodle.

So, if any of you have a 2DS/3DS, have downloaded the program, and wanna SwapDoodle with me, my friend code is:

0018 6684 9731

(You have to give me your friend code too for it to work, which you can do via PM if you don't want to post it publicly here).
8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Cute and Cuter + Halloween Fun on: October 31, 2018 10:50:34 AM

This is an American Greetings card that I modified and gave to my Mother on her 69th birthday (the 27th). I made little hand-drawn charms of the dog, Jethro, and the cat, Princess Butter Crumb, to hang from the clothesline that runs between the two sides of the card. [Done in ink, graphite pencil, colored pencil and permanent marker, on white paper, glued to cardstock, and then hung from the line with red embroidery floss.] The clothesline should be taunt when you fully open up the card, not drooping like pictured, but, there was no good way for me to shoot a photo of that without somepony holding the card open for me, and Rainbow Dash refused to help, since there weren't any horses on the card, which was a travesty beyond description in her violet eyes. She has standards.

Here's a closer look at Jethro (Chiweenie, a Chihuahua and Dachsund mix) and Princess Butter Crumb (Pureblooded She-Devil). Her Highness does not approve of having to share the interior of the card with a mangy mutt. She simply doesn't understand how anyone could ruin an awesome feline-themed gift with a stupid dog. Inter-species relations in our house need some work.


Since, it's Halloween, I'll also share this.  I wasn't doing any crafting myself, but I was facilitating children doing so.  The head librarian needed an adult volunteer to supervise and help the younger tykes with the pumpkin carving/painting portion of Monday night's annual Halloween party at the local library, and, since I'm an arts & crafts kind of guy, and I had nothing better to do, I said I'd do it.

Here I am staring at a box of acrylic paint, like it has the secret of life printed on it, shortly before the guests started to arrive. The hair on the top of my head is getting even thinner than I thought . . .

And here are things in full swing.  A woman's head is partially blocking the view of me, but I was probably scooping pumpkin guts/seeds into a plastic bag.

Across from me, some tween/teen girls had a facepainting station.  You haven't lived until you've seen Princess Elsa with a skull face!

And next to that was a wand-making station.  They had a Harry Potter party earlier in the year, so, I'm guessing that the librarian just wanted to use up the leftover materials from that.

Since I had to keep an eye on the knives with small kids around, I didn't get to personally see any of the activities in other parts of the building, but here are photos of some of those:

Haunted "house" tour through the book stacks with spiderwebs and "bloody" footprints:


Crafting station:

Costume contest.  The boy in the taco costume won second place, but, I don't know who got first.  I liked the girl in the voodoo doll outfit the best (the librarian's photos aren't the best quality, but trust me when I say her makeup was pretty disturbing--the two boys dressed up as Darth Vader and the Emperor were both terrified of her and wouldn't enter the room I was in whenever she was in there!)

The event was pretty well attended and the kids all seemed to have fun, so, I'd say it was a success.  A few kids got paint on themselves at my pumpkin station, but, nobody got cut or hurt (some of the younger kids vigorously sawing away with those serrated pumpkin carving kit knives made me pretty nervous, but, nothing bad happened).

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9  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Girl's hair be perfect for mah nest! on: October 19, 2018 11:50:52 AM

A woman that belongs to the same Multiple Sclerosis Facebook support group, that I joined back at the end of June, asked all of us if we'd send her youngest daughter, who's turning seven on October 21st, a birthday card and tell her about what it's like having MS. Said girl knows that her mother is different from other mommies, but her mother wants to show her that a lot of other people have the same condition too.

 Now, that is a somewhat unusual thing to want to do on a young child's birthday, and some of the other women in the group gave the mother some crap about it ("You have MS, not her.", "Don't ruin your kid's birthday like that.", etc.), but, I figured that it was a relatively harmless thing to try, and processing that your mother has an incurable illness is probably a difficult thing for a young girl to come to terms with, so, it might help. Anyway, I decided I'd do it and told the mother to ignore the haters questioning her parenting and that I'd send her daughter a card.

I asked the woman what types of things/themes her daughter likes and she told me that she's a girly-girl that loves owls and rescuing animals. I tried to find an owl birthday card in the store, but, didn't have any luck. I found some other bird cards, but they were doves and stuff like that, and more for adults, not children. I also contemplated making a card for her from scratch, but, if, I'm being honest, I don't have a whole lot of interest or enthusiasm for making much of anything these days, so, I split the difference, picked out and bought a ballerina mouse card, and drew a portrait of the girl (using photos from Facebook as reference models), with an owl on her head, in the interior that I hope she'll like.

 Here's a closer look at said owl. The bow is a little off-center, but, otherwise, I'm pretty happy with how it came out. Besides, it's not like birds have fingers or thumbs to tie bows with anyway, so, it's nothing short of miraculous that she managed to do it at all!

And this is the front of the card I bought for her. I liked the art, but, in retrospect, I kind of wasn't thinking--the copyright is dated 2006, and that's five years older than the birthday girl herself! I don't even even know if the Angelina Ballerina cartoon airs anymore. I didn't buy it, because the cover had some suspicious-looking stuff dried on it that I wasn't sure would come off, but I also found an Angelina Ballerina children's book in a thrift store the other week and the copyright date on that was 2002 or 2003. Dancing rodents never go out of style though, right?

This is what the signed interior of the card looked like. In addition to my letter to the girl about MS (which I intentionally did separately, so that her mother could still give her daughter the card if she happened to have a change of heart about sharing other people's MS stories with her child), I also put a folded sheet of tracing paper in the center, to prevent the artwork (done in ink and pencil) from smudging the opposite side of the card while the envelope was in transit. I thought about putting some fixative on it too, but, I was afraid that the resulting dampness would make the card warp before it dried, which I obviously didn't want to happen, so, I didn't.

 I don't think I captured the girl's likeness exactly and the spacing of her facial features, particularly the eyes, could be better, but, overall, I think the illustration works. I was going to post a photo of the real girl here, for comparison purposes, but, thinking about it, even though those Facebook images are public ones that anyone can look at, her mother might not like me doing that, so, I didn't. Likewise, when I originally typed this up, I used the girl's first name, but, when Rainbow Dash saw that, she beat me with a rolled-up newspaper and made me replace every instance with an anonymous "girl/she/her". My four-legged editor is helpful like that, violent, but helpful.

Writing a letter to a soon-to-be-seven-years-old girl about what's wrong with me was kind of a hard and awkward thing to do. I tend to be verbose [editor's note: "tend"?], but, as she's still learning how to read, at her mother's request, I had to keep it relatively simple and short for her to understand. On one hand, I didn't use a bunch of big medical terms that she probably wouldn't know, but, on the other, I don't like "talking down" to children either and didn't want to insult her intelligence with "baby speak" (in other words, I didn't want my letter to read like a Dick and Jane book), so, while I limited my word choices, I didn't make it super elementary either. It's hard to remember what my reading level was like at seven, that's for sure! I mean, I know I could read fairly well at that age, but, how well? And, of course, I was very careful not to be negative about having MS or what the future may hold for the health of her mother or myself. Physically, I'm not doing too bad right now, so, it's not like I had anything all that terrible to tell the girl anyway. I just wrote that I give myself shots three times a week, to try to keep myself from getting sick again, or, if I do get sick, so that it (hopefully) won't be as bad, and that sometimes my vision doubles or I get really tired. I don't feel that my letter would upset her in any way. I suppose it was even kind of therapeutic on my end as well.

10  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) and Art Abandonment / Stop to smell the rocks! on: August 07, 2018 01:13:36 PM

I selected my rock to paint from a trail by a creek on July 27th, but I didn't start painting it until August 5th. I suppose I probably should have spent a little more time trying to find a smoother/flatter one, but the one I picked, while a bit uneven and pockmarked, worked out alright. The stone looked like a dirty potato when I pocketed it, but it cleaned up into a lighter shade. I'm guessing it's granite, but I'm no expert on rocks.

I was going to do the base coat black, but I ended up doing gold instead. That way, I can pretend I'm a miner that struck it rich!

I decided to paint a woman smelling a flower. Why? I don't know, that's just what I felt like doing at the time. The art was done completely with acrylic paint and ink. I sealed the rock with spray & wipe furniture polish (orange oil, so, my rock even smells nice!), which worked out okay and gave a very glossy finish, but the paint tends to get damaged while you're rubbing the stone, due to its relatively rough texture, so, I wouldn't recommend it. The gloss also made the stone hard to photograph, and I even mentally told myself to shoot my photos before I sealed the rock to avoid that, but, when do I ever listen to sensible advice from anybody, especially myself?

I also wrote a quote, from Carrie Fisher, along the top, that reads: "I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art."

I got said statement from my copy of 2001's Funny Ladies: The Best Humor from America's Funniest Women by Bill Adler.

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And here's the back with the #CraftsterRocks tag.

After voting in the Primary early this morning, I decided to leave the stone in a pocket park, situated between two businesses, off of one of the main streets in my town. I put her on the ground, next to the trellis. That area sees a fair amount of foot traffic throughout the day, so, I'm guessing that it won't take long for someone to find and claim my rock, as it's in plain sight.

Of course, some people just like to vandalize rocks . . .

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