Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Paper Maché Fish - Step 1 - Armature

I haven't quite worked out my plan for fame and fortune, but I've decided that in the meantime, I'm going to make paper maché fish and sell them on Etsy.  I should be able to afford my own chef and a personal secretary after a few sales.  Pretty soon Sotheby's will be calling, asking me to do a retrospective of my paper mache, and I'll have to deliberate carefully, because I don't want to undersell talents.  


Seriously, though, I've been taking a lot of heat from a couple of my friends for this.

  "You're making a what?"  

"That's so time consuming,"  

"Enough with the paper maché" 

My paper maché fish is going to bite both of their asses in my defense when I'm done.  

Anyway, I thought a fish would present a nice do-able shape, with a bit of a challenge, but not so much of a challenge that I wad it up and throw it out before I'm finished.   I checked out paper maché fish online, and there ARE a few on Etsy.com, but not so many that it you could make the case that everyone's making them, so I'm going to give it a try. 

The first step in this process is to create the armature.  

I always seem to get the best results when covering a balloon, but unfortunately, I couldn't find a balloon that would suit this purpose.  I needed an oval shaped balloon that was somewhat flat.  I thought of getting a helium balloon from a party store, but they're not made of the same rubbery stuff as conventional balloons, and I just know they won't dry nicely.  Plus, I'd still need to add something to each end to make the round balloon oval shaped, so I gave up on that idea.  

I decided to give wire (my new best friend) a try.    

I had a nice hunk of wire left over from gardening last year so I cut a rectangle about 2 ft. by 4 feet.  

...then I cut that piece in half so that I had two pieces that were pretty much square.

Then I outlined the shape I wanted on the square of wire using some thin strips of duct tape.

I used a twist tie to hold the two pieces together and then I copied the same outline using more duct tape onto the second square of wire.  You want two sides to your fish, and you want 'em to the same size!

Then I snipped all the edges that were sticking out, leaving enough wire to fold each end under.  I didn't want to get scraped to smithereens later on.

Next, I curved the wire to allow my fish to have some dimension...  he's going to be somewhere between a fluke and a blow fish in thickness.

Next, I checked to make sure my two sides would go together.  
Not bad. 

Now, I needed to fill in those giant holes so that my wet paper towels would not sink into them while drying.  I had a spool of thin wire on hand, so I wrapped it across the open areas.  If I had to do it again, I would go with my nemesis from my planet project, chicken wire.  I didn't feel like spending 25.00 on a roll of chicken wire for just this one fish, but chicken wire has smaller, more consistent holes, and even though it can cut you to ribbons, it's easier to mold into the shape you want.  

Next I wrapped each form with a piece of dry paper toweling.  I just scotch taped the toweling over the edges.  If I had just started covering the form with wet, sticky pieces, I might not have been able to remove them from the form later on.  Plus, it would most likely have dripped all over the place.  YUCK.  Paper maché is messy as it is - I want to keep the mess to a minimum.  

Next post:  covering the armature and making the tail.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Swimsuit Shopping...

Memorial Day weekend is upon us... no time like the present for purchasing a swimsuit...

Of course, this was not to be a day out of pleasant shopping (Who am I kidding?  When is the last time I had a complete day of pleasant shopping?) this is quick and ugly shopping... sort of like buying feminine products in a crowded Wal-Mart.

I just have one question...IS there anyone out there who actually likes shopping for a swimsuit?

Rather than risk boring you with a narrative on the subject, I'm just going to whittle it down to a list of a the top 10 reasons why this process is so horrible.  Feel free to add anything I've left out...

1.  They're so DAMN expensive!  Today I bit the bullet and spent 70.00 on a top, and 62 on a bottom.  Let's be real, is there an option here?  Is it really realistic for me to purchase just ONE of those pieces? and let's talk yardage - that's about 100.00 per square yard of fabric.  

2.  The myth of the "figure flattering" suit -  you know what I mean - the ones that tell you to get this type if you're a triangle shape, and that type if you're a rectangle and still another type if your a circle...  really?  all this from approximately 1 square yard of fabric?  - they know we're not wearing suits from the 1920's right?

3.  Why do pants come in regular sizes - 6, 8, 10, 12, and swimsuit bottoms come in "S, M, L, XL"?  today I was debating between two sizes and I got the bigger one, but now I'm worried that I might just loose it altogether if I get hit with a big wave, and if you think swimsuits are scary, SUDDEN SWIMSUIT LOSS would be even more scary... 

4.  Tops - S, M, L, XL?  Those miraculously replace all the sizes between 32A and 38C, right?  and what about those of us outside those parameters?  We are left to match tops like 30F (it's not as odd looking as you might think) with bottoms marked S, M, or L or XL. 

5.  Halter tops - I know this may just be a pet peeve of mine, but I don't need the weight of both my girls on the back of my neck.  I have enough problems with my neck as it is.  I want to put that burden on my puny shoulders instead.  

6.  Insufficient engineering - we can build a bridge across miles and miles of a frozen sea in Canada, but we can't sufficiently support two boobs at the beach? In the future, can we please put some of our best and brightest on this?  It's really a problem. 

7.  Who comes up with a majority of these prints, five year olds?  I do not want cherries on my butt.

8.  Jiggle, and lots of it.

9.  Jiggle's uglier sisters, Dimples and Rolls.

10.  People in the adjacent dressing rooms actually sounding cheerful, saying things like "oh, that looks so GOOD on you - you should definitely get THAT one"  They are all under 25 and have not yet discovered the meaning of the word "cellulite."

Thanks for letting me vent.  I feel better now. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Luna Moth

The other day, I pulled the car into the driveway and my son noticed this guy (or girl) hanging out on the side of the garage door.

Apparently, my garage is very attractive to luna moths because this because this is the second year in a row this fancy looking bug has dropped in for a week long visit.   He drops in, hangs out in exactly the same spot for DAYS, and then suddenly, he's gone.

Lest you think a Luna Moth is just like a regular moth, only green, let me show you another picture:

Luna moth... and my hand.  Check out the size.  He's like a small mammal, for God's sake...  and you can see, he was not fazed in the least to have my hand right next to him while he rested there on the door frame.  I have a few questions regarding Mr. (or Ms.) Luna Moth:

What the heck is it doing?

Where did it come from, and how in the hell can it find its way back to the exact same spot two years in a row?  I'm not even kidding when I say it's on the same side of the garage door it was on last year.

Is there some symbolism going on here?  Is there some cosmic change in the works or is it....  jus springtime again.   If you're bored, google Luna Moths.  There's a whole lost of info out there.  Weird.

Who is this little guy?  Is this the opposite sex counterpart to Mr. or Ms. Luna moth?  It was hanging out patiently quite nearby.

and lastly...

Maybe this is a stupid question, but are Luna Moths the marketing symbol for Lunesta?

I think I need to get out more.  Or maybe I just need more sleep.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The best part of my day...

DISCLAIMER:  I was not paid for this endorsement of these yummy cupcakes, nor was I offered any cupcakes as payment for such, however, I would happily scarf down any cupcakes offered to me...

It's never a good when things seem to be going drastically wrong before 8:00 am...  sometimes when this happens, I try to think positively (yes, my glass is half full, but full of what?) philosophically, (what is this teaching me about my innermost self?) or I go for the Zen approach (for every bad day, a good day is surely coming).

And then sometimes I just want to throw something. 

So there I was, in the midst of having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, when someone came into my office and informed me that there were cupcakes downstairs.  

"Go get some, quick, before there's no more left!"  She had a plateful of selections (the small, dainty sized cupcakes) and she offered me one, but I was trying to be strong.  "That's sweet of you, but no thanks."

My attempt at resisting was a futile, pointless effort, though.  My day was sucking so far, and the cupcakes were calling my name.  I had tasted these cupcakes before and they were 


When I got to the faculty room, it was a BANQUET of cupcakes, and let's be honest, who can stay in a bad mood when there are cupcakes around?  

I chose one of the pink ones (chocolate raspberry, and you could see the raspberry chunks inside!)

Yum, yum, YUM.

These are, seriously, the best cupcakes I've ever had and according to my sister, we were raised in a  "foodies" family - we know good food.   Not that I won't eat a bad cupcake once in a while, but I know a good one when I taste one.  

These cupcakes are made by Sweetie Pi Cupcakes.  I told my friend Lech (creator of Sweetie Pi cupcakes) that her cupcake was the best part of my day, and I meant it.  Here's a link to her website, in case you want to check them out for yourself. 

Happy weekend!