Sunday, March 31, 2013

365/2013 - Day 90

that drill and hammer get heavy after a while

The drill and hammer don't seem all that heavy when you first start out fresh on the job for the day.  But man -- it is so surprising to me just how much they wear you down.  

Today I was visited by my Universal collaborators and they guided me to flatten out the copper things as I added them to the croco-creature's base.  Of course, that meant I needed to go back and redo the top screws on the ones I had already put on yesterday...but it was well worth it.  I was also able to remove the big staples that I used on the very first day.  This base is incredibly secure.

there were some areas of the unfinished plywood table top that looked like I probably shouldn't drill into -- the wood isn't split, there is just a slight gap there

Thirty-eight copper things later and the croco-creature is back on the floor...for now.  Next I need to acquire a counterweight to replace the container of cat litter.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

365/2013 - Day 89

Thank You, Ace...

I felt like a Project Runway designer leaving Mood after my trip to Ace this afternoon.  SO much more helpful and enthusiastic than the Home Depot folks (sorry).  But, after all, ACE is a hardware store and HD is not.  The first young guy behind the Services counter listened and seemed to get what I was asking, but I think maybe he is sill sort of new.  He called someone named Joe over and Joe was GREAT!  Another young guy (slightly older-looking and a bit more familiar with the store/products) Joe is fabulous at thinking outside of the normal hardware uses box.  Once we got rolling,  he had really wonderful suggestions!  And I want/need to say that both of the guys knew what I was talking about when I was describing the smaller double-pointy-ended-roundy-tack thing.

I still need to come up with a counterbalance weight item to replace the container of cat litter -- we just couldn't find anything that would be dead weight AND relatively inexpensive...BUT...while I was at the check out Joe DID get a last-second idea and came back with some metal ribbon-like thing with continuous holes in it...if I get something like a cinder block or anchor or something I can strap it down with this stuff (last photo).

Part of what took me so long to get started tonight was I had to figure out how I could position the croco-creature without needing to bend down and work upside down from my chair (like I did yesterday) and still not hammer into the wood and keep bouncing the table top base on the casters.

This is what I finally came up with and it seems to be working pretty well.  IF the croco-creature starts to go off-balance I can catch him easily at this height.  It is actually more stable than it looks.

I was hoping the cabinet was going to fit in between the casters but it didn't.  But the box of foil does!
I know...I does look a bit precarious but it is pretty stable.
THESE smaller, rounder, double-pointed tack things!!!  And I have them in black and in silver tone...LOL
This was another idea Joe came up with after I described the situation.  The copper bends easily!
I am forcing myself to only do a few at a time to save my hand.  It surprises me how much work it still is using the drill to screw the screws into the wood.
This is the stuff that I can use to strap down whatever it is I end up using to replace the container of cat litter.
ALSO earlier today...

Juana and I went to lunch and to LIFT and to the m:tg card shop and had a great time...but first I brought her the Wowl.  I've only "owed" her this guy (for her birthday) since probably 2010 because I made him in 2011.   A couple of days ago I finally got up the nerve to varnish him. 

When I got home and got around to looking at Facebook I found that Juana had already done a photo shoot with the Wowl -- cool!  He looks so different to me in a setting other than my studio.  I am glad he is a hit.  Thanks for taking such cool pics, Juana!

Friday, March 29, 2013

365/2013 - Day 88 (part two)

work begins on the croco-creature

Today I have "officially" started working on the croco-creature.  The unfinished wood table top arrived -- this is what I will attach him to for stability and ease of movement.  This has to be attached (somehow) to the tomato cage (his body) before I can do any more plaster cloth construction...I need to "anchor" this guy this stage.  He will also need to have some sort of weight added where the container of cat litter is (for now) it is back one more time to Home Depot for supplies tomorrow.

the unfinished wood table top arrived today!
it fits perfectly!
I saw a couple customer product reviews complaining about the a/b surfaces of the wood and the center drilled hole -- for my purposes I have no problem with one rough side that has a hole drilled for me to mark the center -- now I don't have to try and do too much math!
I knew I wanted to add casters to the base so (using the handy center hole) I made an X and got four equal pie sections.  I set the casters one inch from the edge of the base and centered them in their sections.  I traced the four holes of the caster and then used the Dremel drill press to make starter holes for the screws. 
yay !
when I attached the first caster I noticed something a little disappointing...(after all four screws were in, of course)...
this caster had a flaw/irregularity in the surface of the wheel...bummer...back to Home Depot to exchange it
back home (in under a half-hour) and back in my pajamas and TRIUMPHANT -- the casters roll very easily and the base is nice and even!
next obstacle...the vertical rods of the tomato cage need to have notches made in the wood so that the horizontal hoop will sit flat (or at least flat-ish) on the base
I figured it out -- not perfect but it is functional -- it will be totally covered in the end anyway
these cable wood staples are what two people at Home Depot suggested to use to attach the tomato cage to the wood base -- I was pretty much thinking the same thing when I went there, but I was looking for smaller and more rounded-off ones...they look more like a little U with pointy ends...vs a tiny croquet wicket with pointed ends
oh man -- hammering these bad boys in is a MAJOR piece of it is a LOT of pounding of the wood and bouncing on the casters -- all done from my chair bending over to do it -- I managed to get about five or six staples in -- enough to hold the base -- but I need to go back and find something better...maybe some sort of strappy thing that screws into place...or maybe the smaller tack things I first had in mind
the plywood base wasn't difficult to drill, but wow -- it is really hard to get those staples to hammer in -- AND I am worried about splitting the wood -- it will come to me eventually how to do this -- I hope NOT to have to purchase a second specialty staple gun for these things
THIS time I will be taking these photos to Home Depot along with my sketchbook to show the helper guy -- hopefully it will be easier than trying to describe it -- LOL
the tomato cage was knocked off of the perfect fit a little bit, but it will go back I am sure -- I just can't do any more tonight
I also need to replace the container of cat litter with some sort of permanent weight to counterbalance the croco-creature's long jaws/teeth  -- this will also come to me eventually
Okay -- so I will keep my sketch book handy while relaxing for the rest of the evening.  I have some errands tomorrow and I will go to (probably) Home Depot while I am out -- although...I much prefer the really helpful guys at the ACE Hardware on 7 Mile in Livonia.  And to top it off, they seem to get a kick out of figuring out some of my temporary obstacles.  I will most likely end up there.

365/2013 - Day 88

finishing coats -- drying day

Okay!  I applied the finishing coats to two guys they need to dry.

cat-king-creature, of course

and oh my goodness -- who is THIS guy -- remember him???  I finally got up the nerve to varnish him
wow -- it has been an incredibly long time since we last saw the wowl

Thursday, March 28, 2013

365/2013 - Day 87

working on his eyes

First let me say he looks better in person than in the photos.  The rough surface of the plaster cloth has been pretty much hidden everywhere else with layers of art paper(s) and matte medium.  His crown and his eyes are the last of the areas that show the "real" surface texture.  I am a bit torn by this because it is all I can focus on. 

I will still be coating him well with varnish, giving him a satin finish.

early today his eyes are fogged with matte medium -- he still has some of the purple paint on the plaster cloth holding his glass eyes in place -- I cut away as much as I could of the eye plaster cloth but I HAD to leave as much as was left in the end
I started painting with the Payne's Gray acrylic paint painstakingly carefully, holding my breath -- then I thought "geez, let it go" and just worked at making sure I was getting paint into every single crevice and pitted spot
I think he no longer looks cross-eyed at all -- I have lived with many cats who had what looked like either white or black eyeliner around their eyes -- I am very happy with his eyes

I am looking forward to completing this cat-king-creature.  He has been fun, frustrating, and finally -- because he was not made with any particular purpose in mind -- satisfying.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

365/2013 - Day 86

another lovely Wednesday Morning with Joan and Leann

Ahhhh...I love Wednesday Mornings when Joan and Leann and I get together.  Today Leann had an activity for us -- folding a sheet of paper in half, dropping watercolors onto it and then blotting it with the other half and then making a picture out of it.  F*U*N!

my second one, but first one to draw on
Leann's, entitled "Lunch"
my first one, but the second to draw on

We worked on our own projects after the activity.  I touched up some of the cat-king-creature paper inside of his ears and around his ears.  After Joan and Leann left I opened a few windows and used some Liquid Leaf on the cat-king-creature's crown...this stuff is incredibly vapors-y.             I wanted to do it in copper but I tried the Florentine gold on the inside of the crown and then used copper on the outside but the copper looked a little too brown to me so I dry brushed some of the Florentine gold on top of the copper.

Now I still need to clean up his glass eyes and then paint some eyeliner around his eyes.  After he is totally dry I want to varnish him with satin varnish.

ALSO this morning I received my latest William Hessian piece in the mail (Leann brought it in off the porch when she came in.)  I LOVE IT -- now I need to think of how I would like to have it framed.  

still attached to the cardboard it was mailed in
Here is another link for William -- and one for his Etsy shop.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

365/2013 - Day 85

this is beginning to try my patience

Oh bother!  I get through a step with the cat-king-creature and think things are going well then BAM the alcohol ink bleeds through from some other impossible place...including from under two-part epoxy.  So I had to switch gears and go from what I thought was going to be paper-to-paint on the paws to paper-to-paint-to-paper-and-lots-of-cover-ups.  This had been a day-long project and I also got the second of three injections in my left knee this afternoon so I am on my last nerve with this whole thing tonight...gah!  Here are the photos -- I am not going to do captions (at least not right now) because I am too frustrated and "done" for tonight.

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