Monday, February 28, 2011

Unfinished Business

I was going through the art files left over from the Big Hard Drive Crash of Summer '10, and it seems that time and time again I come up with unfinished, random illustrations of which I have no recollection. How does this happen?

Like this poor, bored little girl and her crazy cat. When did I make this, why did I make this, and why isn't it finished?

I like it though, so it is kind of a nice treat to find these things. Perhaps I should finish it for reals now that I have rediscovered its existence.

Now, if I could only find all those files of finished art that I DO remember making and why I made them, and most importantly that I desperately need right now. And that I have a growing sinking feeling are lost forever... UGH! Pin It

Friday, February 18, 2011

One Tom Selleck Dream Fulfilled...

Every time someone I meet finds out that I made the original infamous Tom Selleck Cake, I always get asked the same question, "Do you know if Tom Selleck has seen it?!? Does HE know about it?!?"

And of course, I never know the answer to that. "Maaaybe?"or, "Sure, I guess?"

Well, I can now die knowing, for sure and without a doubt, that my Tom Selleck cake made it all the way to Tom Selleck himself - hooray!!!

Tom was a guest on The View yesterday, and they didn't let him leave before letting him feast his baby blues on my very own pastel pastry portrait of him. Greatness! It even garnered a dimpled chuckle - even better!

You can watch it for yourself here -- just skip ahead to 29:29. Still no word from the View ladies on when they'd like me to swing by the show and create cake caricatures of all of them just know, I'm just sayin', is all...

So, that's one more meta dream fulfilled (of course, it was another meta and fabulous dream to learn that the cast of Futurama ate their own cupcakes inspired by MY brain slug cupcakes).

What's next? Maybe Mark Hamill slicing into his own Alicia-inspired Wampa cake arm? I have to admit, that would be pretty sweet! Pin It

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Never Too Late For Love...

On Valentine's Day morning, I woke up really early,quietly crept around the house (so as to not disturb my sweetie with my kitchen noises), and softly called to him from the kitchen to wake up... not to surprise him with any sort of romantic gesture, however.

You thought that's where this was going, Didn't you? You're wrong.

Quite the contrary, in fact.

I called him to the kitchen because I was feeling faint and queasy (hence why I woke up so early), and it was while I was attempting to make myself a little snack to maybe feel a bit better that I realized I would not be able to keep anything down, and proceeded to be very sick for the entire day with what we can only assume was food poisoning.

Happy Valentine's Day, darling! You get to take care of me and make sure I don't die! *kissy*kissy*retch*!

So what's all this have to do with extravagantly coiffed ladies?

Well, it's why I never got to post this little gouache and watercolor hair-tastic hearts piece that I was planning to post on Monday to wish all of you a happy Valentine's Day.

Because instead of eating chocolate and smelling flowers I was trying to shake off the chills and keep at least a few sips of Gatorade down. Booo!

But I figured I might as well go ahead and post it now, becasue, hey! It's never too late for some love stuff.

So I hope you enjoy her now just as much as you would've 4 days ago. I like her all right, but I'm pretty 'sneh' on her coloring -- It's no where near what I had envisioned when I put the brush to paper. But maybe that's because I painted her at night. With terrible lighting. D'oh!

I learned my lesson.

Kids, don't paint in the dark.

Also, don't eat any salad that might not have been thoroughly washed before your eating it.

But most importantly, remember that Valentine's Day is fun and all, but it's not the end of the world if you don't do a thing for it, or if you happen to get violently ill on it. Any day is a good day to share some love, and that's what matters...

Awwwww! That's sweet, isn't it? Wait a sec, I think I may be sick again... Pin It

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day!

Hooray! We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning here in Austin, Texas (of all places).

This usually means two things: 1) Do not attempt to go anywhere because, oh, the roads! They are bad (we lack proper snow equipment)! And 2) Hurry up and enjoy the snow, because chances are, it will be gone by lunch time.

So it was decided that we should stay put, and build a snowman taller than 6" for once, and posthaste, too, before all the snow is gone. So this morning we did just that.

And here he is. And I love him! I happen to think he's incredibly cute. Adorable, really. He even made it up to about 2 feet tall, which is pretty ginormous in these parts.

I think it's the literal corn cob pipe (why, thanks, hillbilly zombie Halloween costume props just sitting around!), button nose, and two eyes made out of coal that make him so irresistible.

Now we just need a magical old silk hat for him, and maybe he could spring to life and spend the day with us before melting away...which I am sad to say, is likely to happen very soon.

The melting part, not the springing to life part, that is. Pin It

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tweet-Heart Valentine's Day Cards How-To!

Ahh, hello and welcome, February! And good riddance and no thanks, January! You brought me flu, oral surgery, and lots and lots of cruel allergies. February, in you I see the promise of cuteness and colorfulness and fun and lots o' new projects. Wheee!

So how's about celebrating with a little super cuteness-inspired Valentine's Day card How-To?

I drew up and made this cute little birdie cards. I call them Tweet-Heart cards. Because they're birds, and Tweet-Heart sounds like 'sweetheart,' and it is something which one could give to one's sweetheart or Valentine. Get it?*

So let's see what it'll take for you to make your own tweetie for your sweetie.

Here's what you'll need (almost everything is pictured):
- cardstock (for the template and cards)
- scissors or an x-acto (I mostly used the standard scissors, using the small one for details and tighter cuts)
- a bone folder and straight edge (you can use the blunt end of a sewing needle or blunt side of a butter knife or scissors blade to score it should you not have a bone folder -- but if you do, be very careful of the pointed and sharp ends!)
- some sort of non-wrinkling adhesive suitable for cardstock (I used what was sitting around - rubber cement)
- a pencil (an eraser is also handy for stray marks)
- a paper doily
- a colorful drawing utensil (I used craft paint and a tiny brush, but you could use crayons, markers, pens, etc.)

And most importantly, you'll need to download, print, and cut out the template pieces before you start, which you can find right here.

Having printed and cut out your template pattern pieces for the card, trace the shape of the bird body onto the cardstock of your choice. I do this in pencil, which means that I can erase away any stray marks or hints of tracing after I cut it out.

Using a scissors or x-acto knife, carefully cut out the birdie body along the traced line. I find I work better with scissors myself, especially on a piece like this that has so many straight snips. I have no control over my curves when using craft knives!

Using a bone folder, score a straight line between each wing and the body, and fold each wing inward.

If you don't have a bone folder, there are other ways to go about this, or you can fold it without scoring at all, but I highly recommend this incredibly useful and durable tool. I use it all the time!

So once you've scored and folded both sides, it should look like this. Now we're ready to make its sweetie-tweetie, widdle-biddy birdie heart.

Using the cut heart shape pattern piece from the template, trace the outline of the heart onto your cardstock of choice, and cut it out.

If you're a nervous Nelly type, or just smarter than I am about the sequence of things when it comes to spacing and lettering, it's best to go ahead and write your message on the heart now before everything is all glued together.

I waited to do this at the end, because I'm weird like that. But I imagine most folks would feel more at ease to make sure the lettering looks all right and is free of spelling errors BEFORE they permanently glue it to something they've traced, cut, folded, and whatevered.

So go ahead and write your message now, before this next part!

Next comes the doily bit, which is completely optional. I like it because it adds a smidge of pattern and texture to things.

Place the heart along a bit of doily lace that you like. I liked to center mine under a symmetrical spot in the doily pattern. Hold it in place, and cut about 1/8 in. all the way around the heart to create a lacy edge. You don't want too thick of a lacy edge, or it will get crushed in the folds of the wings.

I just eyeball this myself, but if you're a stickler for measurements and whatnot, you could use the template heart piece to create a second, slightly larger doily pattern piece to use.

Now, because my doily is small and round, I couldn't get an all-lacy doily border from it. So, to get an all lacy doily border to surround my message heart, I cut two doily hearts, one with lacy doily all up top, and one with lacy all down below...

...and then I trimmed them like so, and pieced them together with adhesive. Then I centered and glued my cardstock heart on top of my new conjoined lacy doily pieces heart...

... and it looks like this! Now it's time to glue the heart onto the birdie.

I like to place it on there and test out its positioning before gluing it down, as I like to make sure that I can't see the heart poking out from the wings when they're folded shut.

When I have it where I want it, I make four little pencil dashes along the perimeter of the heart to give me a guide as to where I want it when I'm ready to glue. I can easily (but gingerly) erase them if they show too much afterward.

Then I do any extra trimming of the lacy border (I had to shave off a smidge to keep it out of the wing creases), spread some glue on the back, and use my little pencil hatch marks to guide it to the perfect spot.

Ta-daa! Now this little bird needs a face. Let's make a face!

I cut two little, tiny triangles from the cardstock of my choice. Personally, I just eyeball them, snipping little bits off the sheet, with one being bigger and longer than the other. There's an approximation of them on the template though, if you're not into eyeballing.

Then I glue them onto the bird, one on top of the other just above the center of the heart.

And to make the face and legs? Just draw on whatever eyes and legs you like using whatever drawing utensil you like. I used a tiny paint brush and some craft paint, and opted for traditional Alician 'U' shaped eyes, rosy cheeks, and, yes, a widdle, biddy bird bum.

If you're me, this is when you would last of all, paint or write your little message on the heart.

But you're smarter than I, right? So you already did that loooong ago before gluing all those heart and bird pieces together, right? Yes! Of course you did.

And here's our little finished birdie before he spreads his wings of love!

You can use a tiny dot of double sided tape or something similar to help keep his little heart shaped wings closed should you like.

And then he spreads his wings to give you a hug and some words of love - how sickeningly sweet!

And if you feel like mailing these cuties out to your Valentines, you can vamp up their envelopes by folding and creasing a whole doily in half, then nest it along the inner envelope crease, and secure the top half of the doily to the envelope flap. Securing just the top is just easier to do, plus it allows the doily lining to move and flex with the envelope.

It adds an extra bit of Valentine-iness to it, dontcha think?

Oh, and as for these envelopes, I actually re-made them in a smaller size from a stack of larger, too-big old Christmas card envelopes that I had.

If you want to know how to make your own envelope, there's a tutorial on it over here.

And, well, that's pretty much it! Hope you liked the how-to, and that it was clear and thorough enough. I always get so aggravated when I come across a cool tutorial, and get halfway through to find it breezed over something crucial that needs more clarification... so, I hope that's not the case here. Suuuurrre it is...

Anyway, I'd like to write up more of this type of thing, so I'm eager to see what other folks make of it! Hopefully they make good, cute things.

In the mean time, you can take a gander at the other various little birds I made, like Mr. Orangey bird, above.

Or my favorite of the bunch, Ms. La-La-Lemon bird. There's something about yellow and red on Valentine's Day that I just love. It's so cheerful!

And of course, there has to be a Miss traditional Red-n-Pink Robin. She's pretty cute, too.

And while I prefer the blushing birds with their closed, U-shaped eyes, I rather like this Miss Perky Purple Martin.

And lastly, here's Pinkney, all snug as a bug and ready to bare his heart to his sweet tweet.

Awww! So. Adorable!

Ok, I must stop looking at these pictures now. They're giving me a toothache, which is a very mean January kind of thing for them to do anyway, and this is February. I'll have none of that, you hear!

* Speaking of bad puns, you have no idea how bummed I am that I didn't get around to posting this yesterday just so I could call it a "How-To's-Day" post. Because it was a Tuesday. And I love horrible puns.

Ho-hum. Maybe some other Tuesday, then. Pin It