CoreCon 2012: Hosting a Con Suite

Boy howdy, have we ever been busy lately! Too busy to blog, apparently, but I will start making up for that now.

Karen with Jezebel and the Whore of Babylon

Karen with Jezebel and the Whore of Babylon

CoreCon 2012 was the second year of the KEEP con suite. If you are unfamiliar with fan conventions a con suite (or hospitality or party suite) is basically a party room, usually with a theme, that is open to the attendees of the convention. It may be hosted by the convention itself, or by fans who just want to throw a party.

The KEEP consists of Karen, Eric, Erica (me), and Paul. This year, in following with the apocalypse theme, we decorated sort of like a fallout shelter/ossuary for the general room layout. Friday was “Puppets of the Apocalypse,” which included a puppet stage and 3 different puppet shows, each running twice. Saturday was “Doomsday Cinema.” If you are considering running a con/hospitality/party suite here are some things to think about, and how we dealt with them:

The KEEP

The KEEP

Decoration: We used Scene Setters wall coverings this year, which we attached to the wall with blue painters’ tape. We also had a gas mask and warning posters for that special extra touch. That part was not too complicated or expensive.
When planning for decorations consider how you will attach them to the walls. Do not use anything that will damage wallpaper or leave holes in the walls or ceiling. You are liable for any damages. Also, be aware of any impediments like smoke alarms, a/c unit, pictures that won’t come off the wall. You can’t cover smoke detectors or sprinklers.

Activities/Entertainment: Friday night was the puppet show, which also sort of falls under the “decor” category. We were able to borrow a puppet stage from the library, used a backdrop stand to help support it and hung up muslin left over from last year’s circus tent theme as a curtain. Saturday night we removed the puppet stage and set up a movie screen in its place, running apocalypse-themed films.
When planning for activities and entertainment think about if this is something you would like to see or do yourself, and if it would keep you in the room.

Refreshments: We had Kool-Aid, candy, and homemade cookies.
When planning for food and drink consider what is practical and if you have the necessary facilities to pull it off. You will probably be lucky to get a mini fridge and microwave in the room. You may not be allowed to have hot plates. Find out ahead of time. Typically plan to have a serving for every expected attendee of the convention. Yep, that’s a lot. Some people will not show up, and others may take seconds. It should even out. Chocolate goes fast.

New things we learned this year:

  • People love puppets. I was really surprised to find we had a full house for all six shows. Rock on.
  • People are less interested in homemade cookies than we expected. We thought we’d be bribing people with the cookies in hopes they would stay for the show. It was the other way around.
The cast of KDINO

The cast of KDINO

We did a panel at CoreCon 2012 on this subject, and I would like to say a big THANKS to Karen for writing the outline, and to House, Carrie and Kim for contributing. The following comes from that panel.

Top tips for preparation:

  • Plan way ahead.
  • Decide on your theme.
  • Find out what kind of space you are working with (talk to the con chair) and what is available – chairs, tables, etc. See if you can get room dimensions.
  • Find out what the Con expects/requires from you.
  • Determine who you can actually count on to help before, during and after the con. Plan for breaks for everyone involved.
  • Figure out your budget. If it will be extravagant consider spreading the cost out over the course of many months.
  • Look at all of your resources. What do you have around your home or work that already fits into your theme? Do any members of your group have talents for sewing, designing, building, etc that you can use?
  • Determine how you will transport and store decorations and props, before and after the con. Will it fit through the door?
  • Decide if you will have commerce (selling stuff) in your room. At some cons this is prohibited, and there may be tax codes or health codes to deal with. I am personally biased against commerce because I think of it as a party for your 500 closest friends, not a business opportunity. That being said, if you are selling something akin to a meal, I can’t really fault you for wanting to cover some of your expenses. Use your best judgement.
  • Decide if you will have alcohol. YOU CANNOT CHARGE FOR ALCOHOL. And I wouldn’t recommend selling cups and then “giving away” the alcohol. You, not the con, are responsible for checking IDs and badges so be prepared for that. Giving alcohol to a minor is a big deal. Plus it is expensive. But it is also a party and will get more traffic in your room, so choose wisely.
  • Test all recipes ahead of time.
  • If possible, practice set up and tear down, and a run-through of any activities.
  • Design an ad and fliers.
  • Consider drawings or prizes.
  • Consider a tip jar. You won’t make your money back, but it’s worth a shot.
  • Make a checklist of every single little thing you will need, like remote controls, batteries, lights, napkins, cups, serving utensils, doorstop, etc.
  • Make sure you know the check-in and check-out times of the hotel.

Top tips at the con:

  • Get in as early as possible.
  • Be aware of badges. Non con-goers should not be in your room. Check all IDs if you have alcohol.
  • If you have food and drink consider getting self-adhesive painter’s plastic for the floor. It has paid for itself in our suite for sure! As I said earlier, you are liable for any damages to the room. We bought ours at Lowe’s, but I can’t find it on the web site. It’s in the flooring section.
  • Make sure to schedule breaks for everyone involved so you don’t miss the rest of the con, and you can check out all the other excellent suites!
  • Get a contact for security in case you have any trouble, and do it BEFORE you open up the room.

On a personal note:

  • Don’t take it personally if you don’t get much traffic. Some days are good, some aren’t.  Maybe nobody was in the mood, or another suite stole your thunder. It happens.
  • Taking into account the above, do this for yourself first and foremost. If nobody else shows up at least you will have fun.
  • Be realistic about how much time you actually have to dedicate to this project, both before and during the con. When we started out with the puppet show idea we were talking about doing a different show every half-hour all night. Eventually we got real and only did hourly shows that lasted about 5-6 minutes. Don’t burn yourself out.
  • As I said earlier, this is not a money making venture. We figured we spent around $700 amongst the four of us over the course of the year leading up to CoreCon 2012. Much of that expense was for things that we would have bought eventually anyway (portable movie screen, for instance). We had to pay for the room, decorations, food and drink. We also have a lot of puppets left over that we may never use again, and we had a prize drawing each night Friday and Saturday. We got $6 in tips. You do NOT have to spend a crapload of money on a suite! You just have to get creative.

Even though it was a lot of work we had a blast this year, and we won second place for our suite! That means we get a full-page ad in next year’s program! Now we have to figure out how to top this year’s success in 2013. I’m sure we’ll sort something out in our spare time.

Fionna and her Furry Friends

Fionna and her Furry Friends

Props to Puppets by Margie for our custom-made puppets! If you have any questions or suggestions please put them in the comments.

Published in: on May 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Elevensies

I was recently tagged by Karifur for the Elevensies meme. So in keeping with my Spare Time theme, I’m going to give you eleven spare time adventures I have tried:

1. Bellydancing! See here, here and here. Thank you Roxanne Gritt for the pic of my latest performance!

Enchanting Erica performing with Bad Weather Burlesque at the Erotic Art Show. Hosted by the Red Raven.

2. Sewing – I constructed the coin bra and harem pants in the above pic.

3. Photography. I don’t get a chance to do this as much anymore. I miss it a lot, but I only have so much spare time! Check it out here. NSFW!!!

Heavenly!

4. Scrapbooking.

5. Soapmaking. I had to give this one up, so I buy hand-made soap on Etsy.com.

6. Papermaking – that was particularly short-lived.

7. I went back to MSUM and took art classes several years ago. I prefer photography.

8. NaNoWriMo – I have completed two novels and given up on two novels.

9. Collecting art by local artists.

10. Travel – this also combines with photography, but I have a separate web site for travel.

Paul and Erica, Seville, Spain, 2011

11. Fused glass – Actually, I start that in earnest next month. Wish me luck!

Bonus twelvsie: BLOGGING! Sure, you’ve read this blog, and my dance blog, but did you know I also blog about less than truckload freight transportation? It’s a gripping read.

And now for Kari’s bonus questions:

1. In retrospect, what hair and/or fashion trend do you most regret following? Was it caught on film? Neon. It was the 80’s, and I only bought one shirt. My dad probably has a picture somewhere.
2. What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? Did you like it? Probably beef tongue. Good flavor but the texture was hard to get used to.
3. What would YOU do for a Klondike bar? Not much.
4. Whistling: awesome or annoying? Annoying
5. Rock climbing, deep-sea diving, or spelunking? Rock climbing, if the rock was not taller than me.
6. Blanket Forts or Snow Forts? Explain. Blanket fort – I live in ND!
7. Who would play you in the Lifetime TV Movie of your life? Monica Bellucci, because then my husband would totally watch it.
8. Would you rather have a TARDIS or a time machine made out of DeLorean? (If you had to click either of these links, go to the back of the class) Tardis
9. Can you drive a stick shift without dropping the transmission on the road en-route? Yes!
10. Which movie do you most wish you could un-see? Battlefield Earth
11. DisneyWorld/DisneyLand: Magic Kingdom or Overrated? We went to Disney World for our honeymoon. It rained a lot. Epcot was fun. The lines are too long for rides, which over too fast.

So now you know a bit more about little ol’ me. Coming soon: How I made that coin bra! To be published when I get some more spare time.

Zombie Felties Update

Zombie Pirate rises from his adorable coffin

Zombie Pirate rises from his adorable coffin

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve been sewing up an adorable army of the undead. Last year I reviewed the book Zombie Felties and made the Classic Zombie. That pattern had a difficulty rating of 2 skulls. This year I made a Pirate Zombie (pictured above) at a rating of 3 skulls, and the Zombie Kitty at a rating of 1 skull.

Zombie Pirate and Book

Zombie Pirate and Book

I actually felt that the Pirate was a bit easier to construct than the Classic. I concede that may be because I had a little more experience in making them at that point, but I also noticed there were fewer beads involved in the Pirate’s construction, and I think all the little bandages on the Classic made it a little fussier. I did not have the right size red bead for the Pirate’s eye, but I did have on hand some red sequins and a red seed bead. I’m pretty happy with the results. That was my only real substitution, apart from the hook, which is just a piece of bent wire. Super easy.

The Kitty was appropriately 1 skull because it was very easy to put together. The photo in the book does not reflect this, but there is a drawing on the following page that depicts the eyeball collar decoration as being bloodshot. I used a fine-point sharpie to add the red squiggles to the white bead. I did not use pale green felt as directed in the book, because I couldn’t find any. I think the gray works just fine.

Zombie Kitty

Zombie Kitty

Speaking of the actual felt material, there is one consistent piece of advice I would give for making any of these: try to find eco felt. It is made from recycled plastic bottles and it is more firm than regular felt. I wouldn’t use it for anything really cuddly, but for decorative purposes it makes life a lot easier. The Zombie Felties projects involve lots of teeny-tiny pieces of fabric, and with lots of handling the felt can start to come apart. Eco felt will not fall apart when cut into tiny pieces.

Since it is nearly Halloween I expect my next project will be a costume. I hope I can find some spare time!

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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Steampunk Softies – Craft Project and Book Review

Steampunk Softies

Steampunk Softies

Well, of course I had to pick up this book when I saw it in the store! Those craft retailers know the trends, and our weaknesses. Steampunk Softies is a new book by Sarah Skeate and Nicola Tedman. Many of you may be familiar with Sarah Skeate from her book Zombie Felties, which I also reviewed here. This book contains eight different characters/patterns, and includes very detailed instructions. The authors also include tips for how to modify some of the materials to make them look more authentic.
The first thing that you have to accept is that you will never, ever find the exact elements to perfectly recreate these dolls. And they tell you upfront in the introduction that you will have to make substitutions. This was actually a great exercise in creativity and making the doll your own. I was skeptical at first, but ultimately this was a lot of fun. I really had to look at craft items in a new way to achieve the look I wanted.
I chose to make Marveletta O’Houlihan. This decision was based mostly on the fact that she appeared to be the easiest doll to make. The materials and equipment list was very daunting, and to be honest I balked at it a bit. There are 37 individual items listed, including 4 different kinds of adhesive. Personally, I think E-6000 is the only adhesive I need, and it was the only thing I used. As a craft hoarder, I used this project as a personal challenge to purchase as little as possible and to just use what I had on hand. I’m sure you could easily spend $50 trying to assemble everything you needed. I say this because you can’t buy single bugle beads or 4 square inches of fabric at a time. So if you do one of these projects, try to work with what you’ve already got.

Constructing Marveletta

Constructing Marveletta

The body is assembled first, then the head piece is sewn on, and the collar covers the seam where they meet up. For the main body you are supposed to use a suiting fabric with a narrow pinstripe. The only appropriate fabric I had was brown, and I sewed pin stripes onto it, which they also recommend in the book if you can’t find what you need in the store. They are helpful with recommending substitutions here. For the hair they recommend a stretch woolen fabric. I did not have anything of that sort in my fabric collection, but I did have a fuzzy sweater with a hole in it that I planned to throw away. Lucky break there. I found working with the stretchy sweater really difficult, especially because the pattern has a lot of unusual curves that just didn’t keep their detail. But that’s just what I chose; another type of fabric may work better. I used muslin for the face and that worked out just fine. The face detail is drawn on with a marker, so I recommend that you do a test with the fabric and marker you choose before you do it for real on the final product. You have to hand-sew the stretchy hair fabric around the face in a kidney-shape with a blind stitch and that was probably the most difficult part of the whole project.

Opera Glasses

Opera Glasses

The next bit is the one that can either be really frustrating or really fantastic. Here you have to assemble her opera glasses and handbag. The body of the glasses is supposed to be a funnel-shaped metal blind pull weight, or similarly shaped bead. The handle is part of a handle to a tea strainer. Obviously I’m not going to go around town looking for a single blind pull weight, and if I hacksawed our tea strainer my husband would be a bit miffed because it is actually in active use at our house. Besides, those things are kind of expensive, at least too expensive to buy just so you can cut them apart. This is the point where I had to muster my creative energies and figure out how to make this work. My secret weapon: Sara Cura. Whenever I get to the Twin Cities area I stop by a little bellydance shop called Sara Cura, which is located in Dinkytown. The proprietor frequents estate sales for vintage jewelry and buys it in lots. These lots often contain broken and mismatched jewelry, which she sells in little bags for $4. Finally, this has paid off for me. I constructed the glasses from two funnel-shaped beads (purchased especially for this project), and two pearlescent beads from a broken necklace. For the handle I dug out an old bangle bracelet that I didn’t like, cut it and straightened it. I liked the texture of it and thought it would work here. All of this had to be glued together.
The handbag consists of beads and a charm I already had in my stash, and it is connected to the opera glasses with a chain from another broken necklace. The handbag is supposed to be attached to the body with a round-end safety pin, but I couldn’t find any. Instead I used a dangle earring finding. Her hair jewelry is an earring that had no mate.

Marveletta - both versionsMarveletta – both versions
Marveletta close up

Marveletta close up

As far as my review of the book, the instructions were very detailed and there are lots of drawings and photos to help you figure it out. I think that the patterns could be very adaptable to different kinds of dolls for whatever occasion. This could be a lot of fun for  a craft hoarder, but if you have not amassed a ridiculous amount of oddball craft items over the years it could be particularly difficult or expensive to pull this together. Ultimately, the only things I purchased especially for the project were plastic pellets (for fill) and the funnel-shaped beads. With the massive supply list at the beginning I did go into this project thinking that there was no way it was practical. But it really forced me to use my brain, and that’s always a good thing. I genuinely feel inspired by the project and I look forward to doing another in my spare time.

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hosting a Con Suite

After Decor

After decor, view 1

Before, view 1
Before decor

I’ve been trying to get some inspiration for running a con suite, hospitality suite, whatever you want to call it, for CoreCon 2012, but with little luck. When I Google these keywords I don’t get many useful hits. So in the interest of community service I’m going to blog about the suite that The KEEP put together for CoreCon 2011, in case anyone else out there is looking for ideas.

The KEEP (Karen, Eric, Erica, Paul) hosted our first ever suite this year and I think we learned a lot from the experience. And it was a total blast. We sort of went halvsies on Friday and Saturday nights. CoreCon’s theme for 2011 was “Myth and Magic.” In the spirit of this theme we chose “Tea and Tarot” for Friday. As the name implies, we served tea and did free Tarot readings. On Saturday we ran “Sword and Sorcery Sinema” which, once again, speaks for itself. Then again, after seeing Lou Ferrigno throw a bear into outer space, maybe it doesn’t.

We came up with the idea of a circus sideshow tent theme for the room decor. This required a lot of engineering. We ultimately built a rectangular frame out of 1/2 inch PVC pipe and draped it with muslin. We dyed the muslin (two 50-yard bolts) red and gold. It seemed to fit both circus and movie theatre ideas. We had originally planned to plant the upright supports in buckets filled with sand or gravel, but once we set it up another solution presented itself: we tied some supports to chairs and also used the loveseat in the room to keep everything sturdy and in place. Additional support was provided by masking tape. We had originally thought we’d drape very long lengths of muslin all the way across the top to make the room seem more tent-like, but the weight of the fabric was too much and we had to modify the plan. Half-inch PVC is very bendy. We draped two lengths diagonally across the top. I think it actually worked out really well. We also used a lot of large safety pins to keep everything in place. One of the best things we had was silicon tape, which we used to keep the pipes in place on the joints. That stuff rules! Additionally, for Friday we put posters on the wall that were printouts of vintage circus posters from circusmuseum.nl. Doing this on the cheap, I covered some foamcore boards with decorative wrapping paper (blue and gold, alternating) and then used double-sided tape to attach the 8.5 x 11 prints I’d run off with my Canon printer (which ran out of ink just as I was doing this of course!). On Saturday, Karen and Eric replaced them with movie posters. There are some really good resources online for that stuff.

Before, view 2

Before, view 2

After, view 2

After, view 2

To our surprise, we got the most compliments on our floor. At CONvergence 2010 we attended a panel about running con suites. One recommendation made was to buy self-adhesive painter’s plastic for the floor to protect against spills. As renters of the room we are responsible for paying for any damages. I think the plastic paid for itself almost immediately when, while having dinner before we opened, a slice of pizza took a dive onto the floor. Thanks to the great advice we received, it was a non-issue.

One issue we had to overcome was the shape of the room. Even when we got dimensions and a drawing we really had to check it out for ourselves. It was really a strange shape – I think it had 6 or 7 different angles, plus a small entry way. This ended up working out OK because when we made the frame a rectangle it left small alcoves we could use for private Tarot readings. On Saturday we removed one section of the frame and set up a movie screen in its place.

The CoreCon volunteers did a LOT to make our lives easier during the con. When we arrived the king size bed had already been removed. That was a huge help! Then they provided trash cans and bags and came around to empty them regularly. Less for us to worry about! We are very grateful for the support we got from CoreCon organizers.

Overall I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out. The main thing I think we should do differently for next year is to have more variety of snacks. We mostly had animal crackers (circus theme) and popcorn along with our tea and Kool-Aid. I don’t think we’ll ever do alcohol. There’s just too much expense and risk involved in that. Besides, there are plenty of other rooms who already have that covered.
So next year’s Con theme is The Apocalypse. We plan on working within that theme, but are not sure where to go with it. So far our Friday plan ideas (nothing in stone here) are Thundarr’s Cabaret, or The Atomic Church of Vectron. The main problem here is that the only things I know how to do in terms of entertaining others are bellydancing and Tarot reading. Thundarr’s Cabaret would require us to recruit a number of other reliable people.
Any suggestions? Lay them on me!

Product Review: Gary Fong Delta Point and Shoot Diffuser

Delta Point and Shoot Diffuser

Diffuser on Canon SD1200 IS

Most of us have tiny cameras nowadays – on our phones, in our pockets and purses. They are so convenient! The problem is that tiny cameras have tiny flashes. Tiny but POWERFUL flashes that blind our subjects while washing out our pictures. Unfortunately most normal room lighting results in our pictures looking either grainy or blurry if we don’t use a flash. What to do?

Well, after seeing ads in Photoshop User and Digital Photo Pro magazines for many months I finally broke down and decided to try the Delta Point and Shoot Diffuser from Gary Fong. So far I’d have to say that I’m pretty pleased with the results. It’s not perfect but it is much improved. I dragged my poor, PJ clad husband from his NaNoWriMo to do an impromptu demonstration. I felt that was best because when people take party pics they are usually done in this fashion (except for the PJ’s, unless you are 16 or younger).

Filter Test 1

With filter on Canon SD1200 IS

Without filter

Canon SD1200 IS with bare flash only

These photos have not been touched up. As you can see, the filter really evens out light well. I still had some flash flare on Paul’s glasses, but I was in pretty close proximity to him. It makes the tones warmer but it is also a little darker. With some basic photo editing that can be fixed, so if you don’t mind a little post-production time it’s probably worth it. It is certainly less of a hassle to knock up the exposure in Photoshop than it is to warm up the skin tone and get rid of shadows. You may notice more obvious shadows and also vignetting in the bare-flash photo.

The filter comes in 4 different sizes so you will have to measure the lens barrel of your camera. There is a diagram on the web site that shows you how to do this. It is also slightly adjustable so if you are off by 1/8 of an inch it’ll still fit. It is made from a soft plastic and pops on really quickly and easily. I was also pleased that it only cost $16.15, so you’re not out too much if you don’t like it (although shipping is a bit pricey on the Gary Fong site – you can also buy through Amazon.com or Adorama.com, etc). It comes with a wrist strap so I just looped that around the camera’s wrist strap and that is pretty convenient.

One other note, I took the photo of the filter on my SD1200 with my Canon 30D using Gary Fong’s Puffer filter. But I will have to review that one when I have more spare time.

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Zombie Felties – Craft Project and Book Review

Zombie Felties Book

Zombie Felties

A few weeks ago I was in Barnes & Noble, wandering toward the photography section, when I spied an interesting new craft book on an end cap display: Zombie Felties by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skeate. I had recently pared down my list of hobbies but since I still sew I rationalized the purchased. Plus: ZOMBIES! How could I resist? Luckily, Dawn’s birthday was coming up so I got to delve into one of the projects right away.

The felties turn out really small, which is OK except that means the felt pieces are also really, really small and somewhat hard to cut out and handle. I was able to manage, although the bandages were a bit of a challenge. I suppose you could enlarge the pattern when photocopying it so that can be fixed if you find the small size too difficult to work with. They are pretty adorable in their tiny form though. The instructions are easy to follow and they even give a brief lesson on types of stitches in the front of the book.

If you get this book you should be prepared to make substitutions on the projects. The authors list specific colors of felt and types of beads. I was surprised by my inability to locate white bugle beads and various colors of sequins. And there are only about 8 colors of felt to be found anywhere. This zombie was supposed to have a dark gray body and a light gray head, but I used the only color of gray available. If you don’t already have a craft stash you will find yourself with a LOT of leftovers. You just can’t buy a single black sequin anywhere!

Classic Zombie in a Coffin

Classic Zombie in a Coffin

All together it was pretty easy. I’d say it took about 2 hours but I was interrupted a few times so the actual time was less, I’m sure. And he’s just cute as a button! To complete the theme the authors have a template for a coffin in the end of the book. I made a color photocopy on cardstock and Paul glued it together for me. I am pretty happy with how the whole thing turned out so I’d have to say I would recommend this book if you are looking for a special gift for your zombie-loving friend.

I am also working on another super-secret project that I will reveal at a later date, once I have more spare time.

Update – additional Zombie Felties projects here.

Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm  Comments (13)  
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Bellydance Poster Design

Beginning Bellydance with Erica

The poster for belly dance class

In my spare time this week I committed myself to having less spare time! But it is a labor of love, as I am now the new belly dance teacher at the Spirit Room! I’m very excited about it as it is something I’ve thought about doing for a while now. The opportunity had not come up until recently. My most recent teacher, Rebecca, is working on her doctorate and would not have the time to commit to the class this year. So she asked me! I finalized things with Dawn, the director of the Spirit Room, and my first act as the new teacher was to make my own promotional poster. This is of course lots of fun for me being a photographer (travel and fine art) and having just upgraded to Adobe Photoshop CS5. It’s nothing fancy, but it was fun. The silhouette in the poster is that of a fellow student from Laura’s class at the Y, Lori Landa.  I did a whole lot of things to the picture to the point where I can’t remember it all. I believe I started with cutting Lori out using the quick selection tool. It came out rough and I decided I liked it because it gave it a sort of ancient quality. Then I desaturated it, did a “find edges” filter, and then the “bask relief” artistic filter. The top graphic design is a brush from Obsidian Dawn. I kept this all B&W because I knew it would be photocopied for fliers.

I have also decided I need to start a belly dance blog. I only know two other groups of belly dancers in the Fargo/Moorhead area. Neither have updated their web sites in at least a year. It’s hard to get the community of dancers together when nobody is current! I do not have that set up yet.

So I’ll be doing that in my spare time.

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spaceship Interior Underway

Spaceship panel

Found objects make great art

Found objects

Raw materials

Well, it has been a couple of weeks but I’ve been keeping busy. Last weekend Eric and I were working on free-form sculptures that will, eventually, become panels for a spaceship interior (think MST3K). This will be for a photo narrative project that we have been working on. The story itself was Eric’s idea, and being the creative and artistic sort of person he is I just had to ask him to collaborate with me!

I can’t be sure how long it has taken him, but Eric has amassed heaven knows how many caps, bottles, cups and miscellaneous found objects for just such an occasion. And thank goodness for that! Last weekend we glued a lot of his collection to mat boards in whatever way we found aesthetically pleasing and over this week I have been working on painting them. This has been tremendous fun! There was something really Zen about this sort of non-representational art. No expectations or rules, just whatever we felt like doing.
I ran out of spray paint pretty early on so I’m behind schedule. I am using Krylon Fusion in hammered silver. It’s a great paint for plastic, but it has to be non-porous plastic. If you try to paint rubber it will never dry. I tried it on a pair of rubber boots and I ended up throwing them out. We used E6000, hot glue and double-sided foam tape depending on which type of material we were trying to adhere.
I just can’t wait until they are all painted and hanging up!

In other news, I am trying to tie dye a pair of jeans, and as if I don’t have enough to do, I have volunteered to teach a belly dance class this fall. I’m really excited about teaching actually. But I’ll tell you all about that when I get more spare time.

Published in: on August 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Scrapbooking on Saturday

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.

Scrapbook of CONvergence 2010

Scrapbook of CONvergence 2010

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.

Published in: on July 12, 2010 at 11:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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