Friday, September 20, 2013

Designer Cat Cone

My cat gets itchy and then scratches her neck so much she bleeds.  So I made an outfit for her to wear that protects the back of her neck from her scratching.  
 I started with a structure cut from a milk jug, and then sewed it to a piece of stretchy fabric.  I stitched two pieces of fabric together, trimmed them and then turned it right side out.
 I attached it to a triangular shaped body piece.
 Here is the cat sporting her new designer cone.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Display torso

I wanted to create a torso for displaying garment pieces using paper maché.  
 I used pvc pipe to form a "skeleton" for my torso.  I drilled holes in the pvc and threaded hanging wire through it, so that the wire will hold up the torso by the pipe when it is hung.
 I put wire hardware "cloth" around the pvc to give the torso it's basic shape.  I crafted a basic pattern (like for a shirt) and cut that from the wire mesh, and then sewed the mesh together with wire.
 You can see the hanging wire here.
 I layered several layers of newsprint paper maché in strips (alternating direction) over the wire frame, and then did a final layer in brown paper that had been torn into squares.
 I put the squares on diagonally for added interest.
Once the brown paper squares had dried I coated it with a layer of two part epoxy resin to protect it and give it some shine.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Octopus cat toy and failure

Okay, you are now wondering how this cute little thing has the word "failure" in the title.  Well, as a sewing project, this little guy is quite cute.  But this post is more about the creative process, and working with electronics, and learning from failure.   The original plan for this little guy was it would be a cat toy that would jiggle and wiggling ribbons would attract the cat.  So I bought a small vibrating motor and a battery pack and set to work.
The snaps are the switch, attached to conductive thread that goes up through the tentacles.
This is the first configuration, with the vibrating motor and the battery pack in place.  But two things happened here.  One, I learned that when the motor spins inside a stuffed creation--poly fibers wind up on the motor.  The other thing was it is easy to break something this small. 
This is how the motor compares to an eXacto knife blade.  The wires are very short.  I think when I was working with this and trying to strip an end of the wire to have enough exposed wire to work with, I pulled too hard and broke the wire inside the motor.  Once I got it installed in the toy--it would only work if I held the motor at a certain angle.  That was frustrating and I put the project away for a while. 
So I bought a "bigger" motor with longer leads.  This one needed 3-volts to operate, so I had to get a different battery pack as well.  
I used the straw to create a casing to protect the motor from the polyfil stuffing.
So here is the new set up wired into the octopus.  

But, when I put it all together and snapped the tentacles together, it didn't do anything except buzz.  
It did however briefly attract the intended audience... 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Upcycled Bias Pants

I had acquired some fabric from Fabmo, (a wonderful resource for creative people in the San Francisco Bay area) But I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it with that lovely pattern change (which is on one selvage side going with the grain.)
Sometimes when I'm at the library I leaf through the current edition of Threads magazine, and this time I saw and article for bias pants which was intriguing but looked kind of complicated.  You had to do some math (uh oh math!) to create a rectangle, and then sew it into a canoe shape, and then shift the corners--I stopped reading.
But a few weeks later, I remembered this fabric I had, and thought, oh those bias pants might be very interesting out of this fabric.  So I went back to the library and copied the article.  I made a trial tube from some old fabric, just to try it out, and learned that I needed to adjust some things--but I got the concept.  Basically is creates a spiral from the original rectangle.
Here are the finished pants.

And me wearing them.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cabbage Painting

After using natural dyes to color Easter eggs this year, I had a bunch of red cabbage juice left over.  I knew that you could make homemade litmus paper using cabbage juice, which made me wonder if I could paint on it using acids and bases for a reasonable effect.
So, I soaked some watercolor paper in the cabbage juice overnight.  It left me with a lovely blue tinted page to start from.
From there I painted with a variety of household items.  The winged serpent used: milk, lemon juice, baking soda and marinara sauce.  (milk=blue of his body, lemon juice = bright pink, baking soda = green, marinara sauce = orange/pink)
Once I was done soaking the paper, I boiled down the rest of the cabbage juice to make cabbage ink, which I painted in for the dark areas after the painting was dry.  You can see several of the paintings in progress in the next photo.
This one looks like a planet.  It was hanging by a corner to dry and I dripped some lemon juice on it which caused diagonal pink streaks.
And this one is an abstract.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Last Wednesday was the Spring Equinox.  On Thursday I taught Art in Action for my daughter's class.  Well, I should say I attempted to teach Art in Action, those kids were full of spring and had little focus for art.  But we made a lot of pretty piles of pastel dust on the art tables...
My favorite flowers are starting to bloom, the California Poppy.  So I sat down on my driveway and sketched one with my water color pencils today.  There is something about the sunlight shining through that color of orange that just makes me happy.
And here are some photos I took earlier today.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Illustration Friday: Wings?

This creature came from a description in a book The Dog in the Dark by Barb and J. C. Hendee.  The description includes a large wingspan, but I didn't show them in the drawing because I was more interested in the face and how the feathers came back from the head.  I had to guess whether it had a more human face or a more birdlike face--so I went with birdlike.  

I haven't done a drawing in so long it was nice that it all came back to me.  I'm still not sure if I like the way I colored it (using watercolor pencils)  Here it is in ink as I was starting to lay down the background color.