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Thing-A-Day: Oscar Night! March 6, 2010

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!

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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 9: Love Notes January 26, 2010

Filed under: creativity,sketchbook — bizmiss @ 12:46 am
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Today I printed 112 “I love you…even more than bacon” cards for Valentine’s Day.  I’ve made these before, but this time I decided to try them at a smaller size which required burning a whole new screen.  I also tried a new rougher, recycled brown bag paper.  I wish they were a bit sturdier, but I like the more “rustic” feel they have now.  After all, bacon ultimately comes from the farm, right?

I’ve finally managed to get the process down so that I can afford to wholesale these now, so I may approach some local vendors this week about consigning.  If you’d like one for yourself, they’re available in the Sweet Meats Etsy Shop.

Today’s instruction is: make a personal, handcrafted valentine for someone you love.

Your inspiration for today is this embroidered love note on looseleaf “paper.”  There are many examples of these on the web, but I like how this one also shows gratitude. By Flickr use kristenaderrick.

 

Thing-A-Day 8: Birdie Bits January 25, 2010

Filed under: creativity,sketchbook — bizmiss @ 12:10 am
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Today’s instruction: study one tiny part of a bird up close–its beak, its eye, one feather, and recreate it in detail using any medium you choose.

Today’s inspiration: Andrew Zuckerman’s bird photos.  Listen to the calls, too, they’re amazing.