Haunting Sunday

Alas, the Packers lost today.

Despite that, Eric and I were fantastically productive. We got laundry done, cleaned the living areas, and we redecorated our porch with the new Halloween decorations that my MIL graciously gave to us. We also decorated a little bit inside, but I must say that our porch is sufficiently creepy, and I am looking forward to scaring small humans on the 31st.

We received a healthy list of frightening props from MIL, but I wanted something a little crafty to celebrate and showcase, so I revisited my bottle painting of a few months ago.

I had an extra wine bottle hanging around, and while Eric painted a wooden skeleton to put outside, I went about priming the bottle.

Here is what I did:

1. After priming, I did a base coat of black paint.

The black of every emo teenager’s soul.

2. I decided to class it up, and I “labeled” the bottle en francais!

 

Basically, this is my witch’s brew of crow blood. Mmm.

3. Finally, I had to make it clear that this was a bottle of blood, so I used a dark red and did a few drops. Now, to do this realistically, I had to first mix the red and black together, then slowly add more red as the streak went down. I then made it “pool” at the bottom. I am please with the outcome.

Bloody

No crows were harmed in the making of this craft

This has certainly put me in the mood for Halloween. We also got Christmas decorations, and anyone who has seen me around Christmas knows that I am OBSESSED!

Perhaps the best bit of goodies were the books with recipes and craft ideas. I got some wonderful gift ideas from them already, and I think they will be rather simple to do, which will be good. Can you say excited?!

Yesterday also was my orientation on the new j-o-b. I am definitely tempted by the kool-aid. Mmmmmm.
Hope you are all ready for holiday decorating! Keep it crafty. 😉

Miniature Magic: Nurgle Chaos Warrior

A little back story: Eric and I were up North last weekend visiting some of his friends, and we spent Sunday morning/afternoon in a game store playing Warhammer 40K. While there, we picked up some Valejo paints for historical miniatures, specifically some German WWII colors. We’ve been slowly switching from Citadel paints (made by Games Workshop) to Valejo because the Citadel paints dry out too quickly.

With these new paints in hand, a new unit of Chaos Warriors to paint for my Warhammer army, I decided to try some of the drab green colors and paint the unit devoted to Nurgle.

Here’s what I came up with:

For the armor, I did a base coat with the Olive Drab

The Valejo paints dry a lot flatter than the Citadel paints, so the color is subtle. I actually preferred that for what I was doing.

A little dry brush with German Green

I dry brushed and highlighted the armor (and shield) with German Green, which is obviously much lighter. I didn’t like how light it was when I first tried this, but the solution was easy, and this two-tone under coat makes the final color a little more realistic.

Now paint over them with Catachan Green

Catachan is a Citadel paint, but that’s alright. It’s hard to see in the picture, but with the lighter green against the olive, there are natural highlights now.

Some details getting done, now

Here’s his backside

For the cape and leather bits, I used Valejo’s chocolate brown, another flat color. Then I highlighted.

Sword done and horns fully painted

Finished!

The final touches were some white tips on the fur of his cape, the highlights on the sword, shield, and leather bits. And then I painted the puss coming out of his helmet. It’s sufficiently gross.

All together, the two that I finished yesterday were some of the best I’ve painted. As it turns out, having the right kind of paint is a real help. They took a combined 2.5 – 3 hours. Only 10 more to go, too. Oh boy.

Went to see The Amazing Spiderman today, which was fantastic. I have to be honest; we were planning on going to see that this weekend anyway, then waiting for the crowds to thin for Batman, but after what happened in Aurora, I don’t know…it’s all very surreal.

I also gathered all of the supplies for birthday gifts! I will post those as I finish them (blanket, pillow, curtains).

Wine Bottle Mach 2: This time, it’s personal

So not long ago (read: yesterday), I mentioned that I was unable to recreate a craft that I found on Pinterest. I also mentioned that, upon investigation, I learned the problem was that I did not first prime the bottle.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I remedied that but good.

Today I decided to give it another go, so I grabbed another wine bottle from my collection, some Mod Podge, some paint, and some brushes, and I went at it. The only real question was whether to name this post “Mach 2” or “Wine Bottle: The Remix”…still not completely swayed one way or the other, but I had to use something.

THIS is the answer to my problems!

I didn’t have the matte finish, which I read was a good way to prime glass, but I had the glossy, and I figured it would work just as well. So without researching, I just went ahead and coated it.

The bottle’s clothes are invisible!

One thing I did, just to make sure I wasn’t about to waste a lot of time on something that wouldn’t work at all, was I painted just the neck of the bottle to test it out.

Just like it looked before…

I would still need a second, and maybe even third coat, but it was coating much more evenly, so I saw this as a sign to move forward.

As you can see, I went with a different color choice here. I decided to use my TARDIS blue for good luck (yeah, I guess I should update on that soonish, too). It came out nice – the color really pops.

You might say this technique was true blue?

I don’t have chalkboard paint or twine, so I made my own little twist for the finish touches. I used a green, shimmery ribbon (one that I used on my pincushion) and green paint to create the writing box. Then I just painted words on. If I decide I don’t like them later, I can paint over it!

The wine glass was the special touch

So I think the end result was an improvement for sure. Now I’m just not sure how to use this – a flower vase, perhaps? Or, if I bought a funnel, I could keep drinks in it for when we have guests – be them alcoholic or not.

 

 

 

 

Twofer Tuesday 2: Failure Update

If you read my wildly successful Guide to Failure, then you already know that my level of geekiness extends to painting miniatures. This is a source of entertainment and heartbreak.

After my descent into madness and decision to start all over, I put away Adelaide (the miniature) for a while. But today I was ready to pick up the brush again and give it another go. I would call this a success.

Because I like my “miniature magic” to be told in magical pictures, here you go:

The Crafty Polymath’s Guide to Failure

Greetings, friends, Romans, countrymen. I thought long and hard yesterday about whether or not to post, and what, should I decide to take the plunge. If you have read this far, you have probably put two and two together: “a guide to failure?” you thought, followed by “didn’t know what to post…this woman never shuts up! She must have had a setback!” If you thought this, or something along these lines, give yourself 10 points and a hug because you are correct! Then you can slap me in your mind because I am obviously being obscenely bitter about all this and kind of taking it out on you. Sorry.

I didn’t start this post to be sarcastic. Well, not toward anyone, and certainly not in a mean way.

I did start this post to paint a humorous picture of what happens when I begin a craft and it goes terribly wrong. To be completely fair to the interwebs, I am using the format of Cracked articles – a list!

Step 1: Have an idea

This idea must be one that seems inexplicably easy to complete. Preferably it is one that comes to you in that hazy state between wakefulness and sleep, a late-night brilliant moment that absolutely cannot fail because it is obviously so easy. It is so easy, in fact, that you wonder how you hadn’t thought of it while in the craft room earlier. Silly you, the idea just had to wait until your mind was quiet enough to work.

The problem: It’s a lie. Your mind is playing you! Your mind is making all of the steps happen so easily, and if you have done any crafts, you know logically that your mind is full of shit, but you’re too tired to call it out. It lulls you into a false sense of security by showing you every stroke of a brush or clever cut out of paper. It shows you every step you must take, and then it shows you the final product, and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

Step 2: Begin working

Using the images provided by your brain earlier or the night before, you sit down to begin working. The first few steps are easy. For me, it was a base coat on a new miniature. Simple! Cover the thing in paint and let it dry. It is literally impossible to screw the first step up. Your mind made each step manageable, so you start on high hopes! Maybe your first step was finding the background for your newest scrapbook page. You have plenty to choose from, so you merrily go about sorting your options, looking for that one design that you know you have somewhere because you hadn’t used it yet!

This is where things start to go wrong, but you don’t notice it yet.

Step 3: The first problem (minor)

Here is where the first hint of your mind’s diabolical scheme comes to fruition. There is a minor problem. It is so minor. It’s probably not even worth mentioning! But it’s still there.

In my case, it was that one of the color paints I wanted to use was drier than it needed to be. It was a little goopy (that’s a technical term), not as liquid as it should be for coating a fine miniature.

For you, it might be that you didn’t have the exact background you wanted. You have one that is so similar, but it’s not the same. Still…

Also, just a quick disclaimer, I am not assuming that you or everyone scrapbooks. But it’s the best, most consistent, example I can think of right now. So no offense intended those of you who do not scrapbook. Honestly, I don’t even scrapbook. My scenario is probably wildly inaccurate. So if you do scrapbook, please forgive my ignorance.

Step 4: Find a sensible solution to Step 3

This being such a minor problem, you know that there is a sensible solution. You are, after all, well-versed in what you are doing, and you know how to roll with the punches.

So I added a little bit of water to that goopy paint, and voila! No longer goopy. Okay, maybe a little watery, but that’s what I was going for, right? Problem solved! I was now ready to continue with the plot that my mind had laid out for me.

And, okay, so maybe the design isn’t exactly the same but it will work! At least you have a similar design, right? Go with it; it is sure to come out the same either way.

The secret though, dear reader, is that your mind has now been angered. You have defied its image of perfection, and it is now coiled tightly, ready to spring. Beware!

Step 5: The sensible solution? Yeah, it doesn’t work.

With a reasonable way to maneuver around the roadblock, there appears to be smooth sailing ahead. But that’s not the case. The simple plan that your mind had laid out for you provided no real solutions to potential problems because, in your mind, the world is a perfect place that always has ample craft supplies on hand.

The paint was too watery. It didn’t coat well. And I was working with a bright color (yellow), which I never work with. It simply was not coating. It was too watery, and then it was leaking onto other parts of the figure, which I had already painted, and it was looking sloppy, and it.wasn’t.coating! My husband assuaged me by saying, “Hey. You could just put some yellow ink on it, and that will make it work.” I agreed via grunt.

The design is off just a tad too much. The layout in your mind simply will not work on this new design, and while normally you could think of hundreds of ways to rework it, your mind is being stubborn. Maybe you’ve already started, and in your confidence, you’ve already pasted an accent onto the page, so there’s no turning back now. You figure, well, you can just move everything a half inch to the left, right?

Step 6: The simple solution actually makes things a lot worse

Somehow, your expertise is failing you because, through no fault of your own, I assure you, the solution has become a bigger problem. Had you been flying by the seat of your pants, you feel you could have done a better job at this juncture. Instead, the project is falling apart in your hands, and your mind is thrashing about with a righteous fury that screams at you, “This isn’t my fault! You just didn’t listen to me!”

The yellow ink, so help me, made itthat much worse. Now I had not only watery yellow that did not coat over the base coat very well, but the green was discolored because of it, and the grey-blue of the base coat was simply more pronounced. Since I had had to water down the yellow paint, there was not enough for me to do a second coat, and I was not guaranteed the same color if I mixed another batch. This is when I felt the first moments of panic and hatred.

Okay, so you’ve shifted everything just a half inch to the left. And now the piece de la resistance will not fit on the page. Your measurements were fine; what has happened here?

Step 7: Take drastic action

Your solution made things worse, so now you must throw caution to the wind and do something that, deep down, you know is a bad idea, but you’re seeing red, and you can come up with no other answer.

I painted over the yellow and the ink with turquoise, telling myself that this would make it way better. Gritting my teeth and with an intensity bred of ire, I went about coating over the areas again.

You put the main attraction on the page anyway. Maybe this page was showcasing a photo. You’ll just trim the photo down so it fits.

These are the moments in movies where the villain is laughing manically as they begin pushing levers and turning dials, not really aware of the sparks that are flying in the background.

Step 8: Your gambit doesn’t pan out

The drastic measures you’ve taken are not working. In fact, they are making things worse. Much, much worse. Your mind is in a veritable fit of rage, and it is spitting all kinds of nasty things at you.

The turquoise covered any and all detail work in the pewter. There was simply too much paint on the mini, and in my frustration over the yellow, I had just kept slathering paint on like a madwomen until there was no trace of the offending watered-down color. Except, of course, there were traces. For a color that hadn’t coated worth a damn, I couldn’t seem to cover it all. My sanity started to fall apart and land in tiny pieces on the globs of bright paint in my hands.

This is where you begin to trim the picture, and you accidentally lop off the top of a head. Maybe it’s not the focus of the picture, but it doesn’t work now. Maybe it’s even too small, but regardless of what happens, it is wrong, and your beautiful idea is crumbling to ash.

Step 9: Slowly descend into madness

Your reality is now shattering. Well, not your reality, but the absolutely unassailable perfection in your mind is unattainable, and your mind cannot handle it. Everything you’ve done to fix the minor problems has failed and in fact only made it worse. This is not what you pictured.

I handed the miniature to Eric, “Get this away from me before I throw it.” I went downstairs, feeling dejected and let down by my miniature and my mind, and I sat on the couch to brood. When Eric felt it was safe to approach, he did so, and I suggested that we burn the miniature. This seemed a reasonable reaction, in answer to the pain and suffering that the miniature had caused. Watching it melt down to a puddle of metal was quite appealing. Then I listed all of the reasons that the miniature and everything associated with miniatures was stupid, and he waited patiently for me to finish my tirade.

At this point, I don’t know what you do. Maybe you rip the page into tiny pieces. Maybe you simply walk away, like I managed to do. Perhaps you burn down a small village. Regardless, your anger stems from a place of insanity because your mind is broken by the failure of its seemingly simple plan.

Step 10: You realize that your mind is the one to blame, and you regain control

At some point after the ash has settled, you remember that the ideas that come to you in that hazy space between wakefulness and sleep are always a little crazy. It occurs to you that this is not the first time you’ve done this. And it occurs to you that every time it happens, you forget the previous ideas and failures. The realization soothes you, a cool balm to your ire and frustration.

When it was safe to do so, Eric offered a final solution: strip the model of all paint and start from scratch. This is usually the only solution at this point – to start all over. And it takes some time before it feels safe to do so. But with a clear mind, I was able to think of how I could paint the miniature in a real-world scenario.

This is the cycle of failure for crafts. Unattainable idea of perfection, inevitable fall from grace, and eventual peace. It’s just like the stages of grief.

But practice makes perfect. If you are able to get back on your craft horse after falling, then you will eventually succeed. And maybe one day, I’ll stop trusting my brain and its wild schemes.

Realistically, though, I’ll be making a similar post in a few weeks. So until then…

Twofer Tuesday 2: Miniature Magic

I mentioned in “A Day in Pictures“, or rather showed, that I bought a new miniature at Riders on Saturday. I collect, paint, and play a Warhammer army of Chaos, but I was looking for something a little different from metal and grotesque creatures. Don’t get me wrong – I love my dragon ogre, but I needed a challenge.

Yvette, a figure from Reaper minis, proved to be a challenge indeed.

Take a look for yourself.