Biz Miss

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If You Know Your Work Sucks, You’re Halfway There March 6, 2010

Filed under: creativity,Success Stories — bizmiss @ 1:35 pm
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Or so I gleaned from this video with Ira Glass, in which he reinforces the old Thomas Edison idea that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”  Glass’s thesis is that if you know your field, and you have the eye to recognize that your work is not as good as it could be, then what is holding you back from greatness is not your lack of taste, it is lack of practice.  I personally find this notion very reassuring, because lack of practice is something you can easily remedy with something like a Thing-A-Day project.  Acquiring taste, on the other hand (as the judges on Project Runway will tell you) is much more elusive.

p.s. I am still making a thing-a-day, but I have had to revert back to my original rules.

via Craftzine

 

Thing-A-Day: Oscar Night!

Filed under: creativity,diy,events,sketchbook — bizmiss @ 1:25 am
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I’ve always wanted to have an Oscar Party.  The visuals are so dazzling on Oscar night–from the incredible gowns to the elaborate dance numbers–that it makes for the perfect party theme.  So this year I’m taking the leap and actually doing it.  I’m REALLY excited!

My time is very limited these days, so I’m focusing just on games and food.  To start with, I’ve created twelve bingo cards for red carpet time, because we all know that’s when the show really begins.  If you want to use these on Oscar night, click this link to download the pdf.  I’ve designed them to be reusable year after year, so if you have an annual Oscar bash, you could laminate these and use them with dry-erase markers.  You could even play several rounds this way.

Before the awards, guests can fill out an Oscar scorecard to guess who/what will win in each category.  I found a good one over at Rotten Tomatoes.  At the end of the night, the best guesser wins!  For the awards themselves, I’ve downloaded Jessica Jones’ Oscar Bingo cards from her blog How About Orange.  I’m using cheesy $1 DVDs as prizes.

To keep everyone’s bellies happy during five hours in front of the TV, I’ve put together a no-cook Oscar food and drink menu based on all ten nominated films:

  • Avatar: “Unobtanium” (Blue Tropicale cocktail)
  • The Blind Side: Superbowl veggie dip (decorated to look like a football)
  • District 9: Popcorn “Prawns”
  • An Education: Apples for the teacher (kinda lame, but it gets fruit in there)
  • The Hurt Locker: Stealth Bomber cocktail
  • Inglourious Basterds: Nazi pigs in a blanket
  • Precious: Harlem cocktails
  • A Serious Man: Bar Mitzvah bagel chips with cream cheese and lox
  • Up: Kevin’s bird food (assorted chocolates)
  • Up in the Air: Airline Snack Pack (cheese, crackers, raisins and nuts)

I tried to keep the menu as simple and varied as possible, so I can get everything ready in under an hour, and no one would feel sick if they wanted to sample everything.  If you’re low on ideas for your own Oscar party, feel free to use any of these.

Enjoy the Awards, everyone!

 

Thing-A-Day 16: An Effing JOB February 4, 2010

Like many creative types these days, I’ve had to get a day job.  It’s not that I’m getting fewer projects, it’s just that fewer of them pay much, if anything.  When faced with the choice, I always go for the well-paying projects first, then fill my remaining time with the projects that pay in web traffic, nebulous future sales/commissions or “cred.”  Unfortunately that’s been most of them lately.  I’m pretty good about not taking on jobs that realistically won’t give me much of either.

My new job isn’t bad.  It’s mostly tech-y admin stuff and it changes on a regular basis so it’s not too boring.  I also really like everyone I work with and I can make ends meet by working only 25 hours a week.  Even though it doesn’t sound like much, 25 hours a week will basically eat up four full work days when you add in lunch and commute time, which doesn’t leave much time for creative projects.  It makes me kind of tired and stressed.  Prepare to see this blog get a little crankier.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re all: “this girl is going to completely reneg on her thing-a-day responsibility!”  I did consider it but no, I will continue to make a thing-a-day. BUT, I might not post it every day and the rules may relax closer to their original incarnation. On days like today when I don’t get home until 10:30, I will probably not make something AND photograph it AND post it AND tweet it.  Sorry, but I need to not make myself crazy.  I have enough doing that for me already.

Today I took photos of my yoka in various poses.  Then I accidentally dropped him and the very tips of two of his toenails broke off.  You can’t really tell but it’s enough to bother me so I made replacement toenails tonight.  That’s my thing.  Whatever.  I’m going to bed.

 

Thing-A-Day 14 & 15: Custom Vinyl Toy February 2, 2010

I know I didn’t post a separate thing for yesterday but that’s because I spent both days this weekend (and many others beforehand) finishing up my Yoka bear for the DKE traveling Custom Yoka show.  I made new things for it each day, so I think it still falls within the bounds of my commitment.  If you’ll recall, my initial string-art-turned-embroidery idea didn’t quite work out because the toy was too small to puncture or sew, so I sketched up a feathered griffin idea instead:

I basically stuck to this plan but I turned his arms into the wings and changed the colors a bit.  Here’s how he turned out:

I’ll take better photos when I have some time during daylight hours (I started a part-time day-job so that’s been tough) but I wanted to give you a sense of the process in the meantime.  First I made him a polymer clay beak and little claws (I used gold).  After baking I attached them with a two-part super glue for plastics from Loctite which worked extremely well.

Next I made him two polymer clay eyes (using white clay), which I fired, glued and painted in three colors using acrylics.  He looks cute and doe-eyed here, but watch out!

Next I used more polymer clay to make angry eyelids.  They flattened out a bit when I baked them, but they were so thin that I was able to bend them back into shape while gluing them.

While I was waiting for his eyelids to cook, I wrapped his arms in wire to make bendable wireframe wings.

I glued some felt on top of the wire so the feathers would have a base.  When it was dry I trimmed the excess (not pictured).

Next I cut out a million tiny felt feathers.  Mostly I used a teardrop-shaped hole punch that works on fabric–sort of.  It punched through the felt most of the way but every piece was still attached by a little piece at the bottom that I had to snip off with fabric scissors.

One by one I glued the feathers on his body.  I started with his feet and his belly.

I also glued little felt pads for the bottom of his feet.  They look white here because I overexposed the shot, but they’re really the same blue as the feathers on his belly.

I also added a tail, which is just 22-gauge wire wrapped in felt.  I poked a hole in his backside for it but I didn’t glue it in until the end, after I’d trimmed it.  By the end of the day on Saturday, his body was finished.  I cut a few feathers in half for the tufts on his “ears.”

Sunday was mostly spent on his wings.  The long feathers I cut out by hand.  I cut a bunch of skinny triangles from one long strip of felt, then rounded off the ends with my fabric scissors.  Ta-da!

I made everything so that his joints all still move. His wings are also bendable so you can fold them at his sides, make him take off, or have him swoop in for a landing.

Your instruction for today is: customize a small toy to make it way cooler than the original.  You can customize a blank vinyl toy (or even a roll-on deodorant), pick up an action figure at the thrift store, or turn that old carnival teddy bear into something way more bad-ass.

Your inspiration for today comes from a few of the other artists in the traveling Yoka show.  Some people painted…

Some people felted…

…some people sculpted…

…and some people covered.

Some people had more ideas than time.

 

Thing-A-Day 13: Schnitzels January 30, 2010

Filed under: creativity,sketchbook — bizmiss @ 1:35 pm
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Ever since I was a wee bairn, I have loved making schnitzels.  No, not that kind of schnitzel (though you all know about my affinity for meat). I’m talking about teeny tiny paper and fabric bits.

For example, one of my favorite projects ever was this Paper-Aid recreation of Van Gogh’s “White Roses.”  I started it in college for an art class, but I didn’t finish it until more than two years later.  This image is pretty much actual size (the finished piece is 4″ x 6″).

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may also remember the credit card wreath I created in which every leaf was made up of 7-9 individually cut, punched and wired pieces.  Yesterday I made a pile of little felt schnitzels with a hole punch and scissors.  I’d been gluing them steadily onto an ongoing project (of which I will post progress photos when I’m finished) when A. walked in and exclaimed, “My God!  You’re building a bird literally one feather at a time!”  Bliss.

Your instruction for today is: make some colorful schnitzels.  You don’t have to make them into anything, just create a lovely little pile and revel in it.

 

Thing-A-Day #12: Show Some Gratitude January 29, 2010

Finally managed to print those tanks cards today.  The print areas were so large that they turned out with a little bit of distress but I really like what it adds to the image.  It makes it look more military-industrial complex with a hint of hand-printed propaganda.  Sweet.  (**Update: They’re up in the shop now.)

Today’s instruction: make something that shows gratitude.

Your inspiration for today comes from Jeff Rudell’s ingenious client-getting nutshell book.  Enjoy and be thankful.

 

Thing-A-Day #11: Wire Armature January 28, 2010

Filed under: creativity — bizmiss @ 12:27 pm
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Today I made a pair of wings from wire.  They are not attractive on their own but will make a light and flexible base from which to hang some felt feathers.

Your instruction for today, therefore, is to create a form out of wire–either a finished piece or a structure on which to build something else.

Your inspiration for today comes from the book and web site Bent Objects by Terry Border.  One-liners to be sure, but fantastically adorable editorial stuff.