This weekend was very busy but I didn’t get as much accomplished as I would normally like.
During the week I work as a shipping clerk. This means a lot of filing and reports. The same ones day after day. If I’m doing my job right nobody will know. A good day is an empty in-box. I feel like Sysiphus rolling that boulder up the hill, just to have it slip from my hands and roll to the bottom again. So in my spare time I feel the need to create something tangible. I need to be able to see, hear, feel or taste my accomplishment, whatever it may be. I need some evidence of my endeavors.
This weekend that was in the form of scrapbooking. I didn’t get as much time in as the other gals. They had all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I just showed up Saturday until about 4pm. I did manage to make entries for both CONvergence 2009 and 2010, as well as a henna party put on by my bellydance class. My designs are pretty minimalist compared to those of my cohorts. My sister in particular did some stellar work with photos from our trip to New Zealand. I just want it to look a little nicer than just sticking pictures in plastic sleeves.
Pictured is CONvergence 2010. On the 2009 page, not pictured, I used a little robot cut out made with a Cricut. Annette picked up a cartridge that was all robots. How cool is that? I had to use at least one. The paper I used is from the Rockstar collection. An odd twist, as I had also brought pictures from two concerts but did not have time to scrapbook them. I must confess I have a ridiculous amount of paper considering how infrequently I get around to actually using it.
Apart from that, I met with Eric regarding a photo narrative project we are collaborating on. For those in the comic book know, it is called “sequential art.” But I find anything that I draw without reference looks like a Gary Larson cartoon, and that is why I am a photographer. I got the idea from a photographer on jpgmag.com. She told her story about how she would tell her friends she wanted to make a movie but couldn’t afford it. One day a friend got tired of her whinging on about it and told her to just find a way to do it or shut up. So she decided to tell her story in still photos. An excellent idea! In another lifetime (ending 11 years ago last week actually) I worked in the world of broadcasting. My BA is in speech communications with special emphasis in film and telecommunication arts. I later went back to my alma mater for art classes. In other words, I actually do know what I’m doing. On Eric’s part, he is an excellent artist, costume maker, and all around creative guy. Also, he came up with the story idea.
But I will be posting updates on that project in my spare time.
My latest spare-time project revolves around CONvergence. If you are unfamiliar with this annual affair, it is a huge genre convention held at the Bloomington, MN Sheraton Hotel. It regularly draws 3000-5000 people. Last year was my and Paul’s first year and we loved it! I went in costume so I am going to explain how this costume was put together for your edification.
The easy part was the actual costume. I have fallen in love with the steampunk style so I worked with that idea this year (and last year as well!). The ensemble is composed of a cream-colored frilly blouse that I found at a thrift store, a pair of vintage goggles I found online (I think I paid $20), an altered skirt from Old Navy, boots from JC Penney, and the key piece was a lovely green corset that I bought at the CON. I had planned on that purchase this year because I just don’t have the knowledge or patience to sew a corset. Maybe I will someday, but today is not that day.
It took very little time to alter the skirt. I just gathered it in strategic places and added vintage-looking buttons from JoAnn Fabrics. My main accessory to this whole thing was a rather snappy-looking messenger bag. I found this bag in Mills Fleet Farm’s army surplus section for $15. When I showed my husband he decided he should get one because it is perfect for carrying the Netbook. I also showed it to my friends Karen and Eric, who each ended up buying one, and I just found out my dad bought one after I showed him mine on Father’s Day. It’s just too good a deal. So I went to work turning it into a steampunk-style bag. I called on a very knowledgeable friend for advice on leatherwork. He was able to hook me up with what I needed.
I got a 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of leather, mahogany dye, sealant, screws for leather, and a really cool dragonfly adornment that is also for leather specifically. My first step was to make a stencil from brushes I downloaded from obsidiandawn.com. She has some gear brushes for Photoshop that worked perfectly. I printed off a design and cut it out of the leather with a box cutter. I then burned the edges with a soldering iron to give it a more finished look. It worked OK . I would have liked it darker, but I was under some time constraints, as usual. I then stained the leather. It ended up being streaky, so I had to stain it twice. Since I was using a water-based stain it took 24 hours for each pass to dry, leaving me with even less time. After I finally got the sealant on it looked somewhat distressed and very dark, but I think it worked pretty well. Next I glued some pewter-colored fabric (half-price remnant) to the back side of the leather piece so it would show through as gears. I used the screws to hold the cut-out pieces to the bag. That got to be hard, because the hole puncher only reaches about 1 1/2 inches. Paul ended up helping me drill holes through the bag. Then the screw for the dragonfly decoration was shorter than the other screws and I couldn’t get it to go through all of the layers. I ended up having to hot glue one corner of the main piece to the bag and also the gear decoration that covers the clasp on the bottom. I would have used E-6000, but I had reached my last night and I didn’t have time for the adhesive to set. My final detail was to hang a chain between the dragonfly and the screw in the top gear. I was pretty happy with how it had turned out.
It turns out I should have started earlier and used the E-6000. The one corner came loose and my gear ripped off almost immediately. I managed to locate some crazy glue, but ultimately that would not save my gear. It is probably somewhere in the dealers’ room. The jump rings I used to connect the chain to the screws kept pulling apart and I eventually had to just pull it off entirely. Ultimately, for a woman this turned out to be a very bad bag. It was difficult to access and didn’t work for girly things like a makeup kit and hairbrush. If I were transporting documents it would have worked just fine. The part that made this realization difficult was that I was getting compliments on the bag, so it still looked great in spite of everything – it just isn’t functional.
I am already plotting a more lady-friendly bag for next-year. And a more elaborate costume. But I’ll have to do that in my spare time.