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181  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Contribution to Collaborative Memorial Project on: March 22, 2014 03:29:22 PM
About 6 weeks ago my friend and colleague's husband was the victim of a murder/suicide committed by a co-worker.  I know her from a now-disbanded decorative painter's guild and workshops we took together One of the other members of that guild organized nine of us from the guild to create for her a collaborative project.

This is the first time I've ever worked on a canvas and I was intimidated by that as well as the purpose of the project.  The only parameters were using a low profile 8" x 8" canvas and using the couple's love of the outdoors as inspiration.  The will be arranged and framed in a 3 by 3 square to make a 24" x 24" piece.

I had seen photos of them at the beach and enjoying water activities, so I decided to go with blue sky and blue-green water as my my inspiration.  I wanted to be dimensional, so I used the lid of a paper mache box to create an inset.  I liked the idea of warm colors in there to contrast with the cool colors on the main body.

She and I had just had a little FB thread about birds when the tragedy occurred, so I wanted a branch with a bird, but couldn't find a bird and didn't trust myself to make one and then got to thinking a single bird might be sadder than I intended.  So, I just went with a branch made of two gauges of copper wire and leaf shaped beads.

It was hard for me to capture with the camera, but there are hits of "interference gold" on the surfaces to add some kind of dynamic element and a little something else.  All of this is done with decorative painters' materials instead of artists' materials, because that's what I have and what I know.  It's mostly applied and manipulated with a trowel, but some with brushes.

I'm not thrilled with the piece, but I'm not humiliated either.  I picked up several more canvases when I bought this one, hoping to try more things. 
182  COOKING / Dessert / Tying Elk to St. Patrick's Day in a Cupcake! I bring you Irish Elk Car Bombs! on: March 16, 2014 03:55:23 PM
So The ManFlesh works at a foundation that is Elk-related (yes, really) and they have an Employee Crisis Assistance Program that has various fundraisers throughout the year, like chili cook-offs and bake sales.  Last month their bake sale was so successful they decided to do another one this month - on St. Patrick's Day.  Teehee, my *last contribution was so popular that The ManFlesh was asked if I would be contributing again.  Roll Eyes   Well, I'd already planned on making Irish Car Bomb cupcakes for his team, so I was already almost ready to make them for the bake sale!  

I just had to add fun toppers for the bake sale.  this piece by D Trudeau** was perfect (and I didn't even know it had been post of craftster)  While trying to decide on imagery, I got the idea to use Irish Elk!  POW! and BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!  There are more deets about all that went into these as well as links to the original recipe & details about Irish Elk, as well as a photo of my T-rex dressed for the holiday (no kiddin') on my blog - AFTER March 17, 2014, 7a US Mountain Time. http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-touch-of-blarney.html

** You can find of D D Trudeau's work here: http://kodriak.deviantart.com/ and under the craftster user name TheDaytimeHeros.
183  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Ice Marbles on: February 21, 2014 06:27:34 AM

When we decided to move to Montana, I started pinning all kinds of snow and ice activities and crafts. Well, it turns out usually our snow is too dry to compact into snowmen and snow forts, but it does stay below freezing for days on end, so ice crafts it is!  All I've done so far is make ice marbles like these.

It's simply a matter of liquid food coloring and water into balloons that are frozen in the freezer (or you could do it outside, too). Once frozen solid, remove the balloon and you've got a pretty ice marble!  As you can see, I like to place them on fence posts, but I have also stacked them on frozen bird baths and along the deck rails.

Last winter, I put a more thorough tutorial on my blog with some information about mistakes I made and how I corrected them: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/02/lost-marbles-found-marbles.html
184  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Crafty Charitable/Social Causes / Camo Cupcakes for Fundraiser Bake Sale on: February 13, 2014 07:04:22 AM
The ManFlesh's employer has an Employee Crisis Assistance Program which holds fundraisers at the office. Today they're having a bake sale with employee contributed baked goods.  Small treats like cupcakes and cookies will be sold individually, goods like cakes and pies will be sold under a silent action. So, I sent him off with a dozen of these this morning and directions to bid on a pie if a good one is on the block.  Wink 

It's a wilderness/wildlife preservation group whose primary donor base are elk hunters, so camo and elk seemed extra appropriate.  I used this tutorial for the cupcakes that I found on pinterest: http://craftymamabakes.com/2012/08/03/camouflage-cupcakes-tutorial/

Annnnnnd if you spend much time in the woods and wildlife watching you know that scat (droppings, feces, poop) is an important indicator of what is around (and what they're eating) so I used some sprinkles to add a little more humor to the decorations.  Like I doo do.

The toppers are made from free clip art I found online, printed on card stock.
185  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / "Wedding" (Cup)Cakes! on: February 05, 2014 08:41:08 PM
There's a long story and this isn't the place to go into it, but these are some Common Law Wedding (Cup)Cakes.  There's an in joke, etc.

They'll be delivered tomorrow morning to some desks at The ManFlesh's workplace.  Wink  It's hard to see but there are Wilton Cake Sparkles in "white" (they're actually pretty much clear) on the top and bottom tiers.

I used some free clip art to make the "toppers"; they're printed on glossy photo paper and taped on the back to the skewer.  That skewer goes through all the cupcakes to hold it all in place.

186  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Valentine's Day / Cupid's Arrows for Faux Taxidermy Antlers on: February 03, 2014 01:30:36 PM
I have a ceramic deer head faux taxidermy mount on my wall. It came with holes where the horns might go so I like to put different things in there and generally decorate her* up for the seasons and holiday.  So for this Valentines season I decided to make some cupid's arrows for her horns.

I realized last summer that synthetic wine corks worked well as a base for her antler shenanigans, so I cut one in half, drilled a hole and inserted a cut dowel.

Then I painted some stripes on the dowel in turquoise, red and gold using various arrows from an image search as examples.

The fletching is made with metallic gold paper I had in my stash.

In fact, the only thing I had to buy was a dowel. YEY!

*Yes, it's a female and her name is Mavis.
187  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Another Little People Diorama Takes Flight! on: January 12, 2014 02:44:36 PM
We're celebrating Christmas with my mom next week since that was the first time we could all be together, so that means I had a little extra time to make her this!

She's been traveling quite a bit since she retired a couple years ago and have more trips planned, so I thought I'd  skip the holiday theme this time and go with a travel theme!

I used sky print scrapbook paper to decoupage the inside and the base.  The door and window frames are air dry clay, embossed with mini-screws and then painted with silver craft paint.

The base is the inside tube from a role of ribbon that is covered with the same air dry clay technique, then I cut felt for the bottom.

The spheres come with a gold thread hanger, I took it off and covered the hole with this silver star.

And one last pic, taken through one of the side windows.

I hope she likes it, I'm not entirely sure it's her thing.   Undecided
188  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Reindeer and Tree Ornaments on: January 12, 2014 02:30:24 PM
I'm in a very exclusive, super secret, triad of sisterhood and for xmas I made my super secret sisters these ornaments. 

I printed some slightly edited clip art onto unbleached muslin, then sewed each piece to a different holiday print.

I wanted them to be similar, but not exactly the same (kind of like us), so the reindeer face different directions and have different colored jingle bell harnesses and there are two types of trees.

The beads are supposed to look like popcorn and cranberry garlands put on the trees for the birdies to eat!

I sewed a ribbon hanger into them and pushed a clear bead on them to give them a slightly more finished look w/o making them too fancy.  My sisters are already almost too fancy!

I ran a test print on paper before running the fabric through and didn't want to waste it, so I included the reindeer on the address labels.  Of course, on these I added a red nose!
189  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Winter-themed Cloth Napkins on: December 22, 2013 01:29:47 PM

I spotted this snowman fabric at JoAnn a few weeks ago, but left it on the shelf.  Then when I went back I saw that it was on sale for, get this, 70% off + 20% off!  What!?  Plus I got the end-of-bolt discount for another half yard or so. Oh yeah! 

Anyway, enough victory dancing. Ahem.  I like to make my cloth napkins two-sided so I don't have to press hems or have the backside of the print show. So I found this plaid with the same greens and a red in it, also double discounted.

I made a dozen and it's a good thing, because we have 4 other couples coming over for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres the Saturday after xmas. WOO!
190  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Alternative, Essentially 2D Christmas Tree now with TOPPER UPDATE! on: December 21, 2013 09:24:32 AM
It's been about 8 years since I had a Christmas tree and probably about that long since The ManFlesh has either.  We don't have a great place for one here without moving furniture around to awkward places or into the guest room or whatever AND as you know trees are made of sticks and our dogs are allowed sticks (at least when outside).  So... when I saw this material at Ikea in April, I bought a length and figured I'd come up with something.

I built a frame of 1x4 and 1x2 lumber, then attached Homasote board to that. Homasote is a recycled fiber material made as a sound barrier, but it's a great bulletin board material, too, and you see it used a lot that way.  Finally, I stapled the fabric to the sides and back of the wood frame, stretching with a similar method as art canvases (but with sloppier corners).

The ornaments are hung using 2" straight pins. I think we need some "us" ornaments; most of these are mine or ones I made him of various pets' footprints.  Also, we need a topper and I want to figure out some lights that won't mean a bunch of thick-ish cords or cutting holes in the fabric, perhaps some LED technology.  Maybe a bead garland, too.

This was not a cheap project, but cost about 2 years' worth of lot trees and half or less of a decent looking, full-priced traditional fake tree.

UPDATE! I threw together a topper with some things I had laying around. You know, like BIGFOOT!

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