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Tuesday, November 24, 2015
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Posted by Megan Wampler at 7:08 PM
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Posted by Megan Wampler at 5:24 PM
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Monday, March 31, 2014
On Saturday, I took my daughter and went to MoPaca, the Missouri Alpaca Show where you can stand in a room with hundreds of adorable alpacas and their charming, extroverted owners. We went with friends and the little girls had a great time petting the alpacas and trying to kiss them, and my friend and I had a great time looking through all the yarn and spinning demonstrations (and also petting the alpacas).
Alpacas are so cute. I want to play ring-toss using hula hoops around their necks, but I would wrap the hula hoops with sweet-tart necklaces so that the alpaca could have a treat, too. Then afterwards I would ride my alpaca into the sunset while hugging its neck and telling it that it was the best friend I've ever had. (This is obviously a fantasy; I should not own an alpaca.)
My favorite quote from talking to all the owners was one I overheard by a lady running a yarn stand that told someone, "You should never buy an alpaca out of emotion." Sound advice, since I'm sure most people are not prepared to care for one, especially in Missouri where our weather is so flippantly random that they'd overheat easily.
|Cuteness x infinity = alpaca|
|If this Alpaca were mine, I would name it 'Shaggy'.|
|This lady had only been spinning for 8 years, stating she|
took it up in her "golden years" for relaxation. I would like
to start now even though I'm in my "bronze years".
'Mopaca' was a really fun (and free) time. My daughter got a little stuffed alpaca from her friend to put on her nightstand, too. We all want to go back next year.
Posted by Megan Wampler at 10:27 AM
I've been on Postcrossing for a couple years or more now. It's a really cool (free) website where you can sign up to be anonymous pen-pals with people across the world. You send a randomly assigned person a postcard, and then a different random person sends you one. I haven't always been good about scanning them all in for a digital record, but I have over 50 of them now from various countries and it's the perfect thing for collages... and to satisfy that wild need to travel and see the exotic (or a different person's 'normal') without having to drop thousands on airfare. I enjoy the stamps as much as I do the images. Things I've learned? China and Taiwan have the most elegant stamps, and girls from Belarus have the prettiest handwriting.
|Sinyi Business Complex - Taiwan|
|Tuomiokirkko (C.J. Engel, 1852) Domkyrkan The Cathedral Der Dom|
Posted by Megan Wampler at 9:27 AM
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Today we opened a sister shop called 5 & 19, too which sounds like my locker combination. We considered 5 & 19 Useful Things but it sounded too close to needful things and we all agreed that a Stephen King reference wouldn't sell doilies. It was hard to get focused on all the new inventory and most of the night was spent eating barbecue and having Megan argue with her brother about the state of the world. The real work didn't begin until 9:00 at night and now we are all up at 3:00 in the morning breathing sharpie fumes. I might have been asleep except for a cat that had been wronged multiply times during the day who decided that payback is never so sweet as it is at two a.m.
|Vada is master of all he surveys.|
Posted by Jackie Wampler at 3:29 AM
Saturday, March 1, 2014
My birthday present from my fiance this year was that he purchased me an unfinished yarn bowl (for my knitting) and studio time at the Ceramic Cafe - this great little pottery place in Overland Park, KS. I'm not much of a painter; there's this misconception that if you're an artist you just do ALL the art things... but paint is messy. I want to always have control over my piece of art as it happens. I watch tons of process videos on YouTube where artists are slapping paint around and paint on top of paint and wiping it back off and they'll get it looking beautiful and then volcano-blast the whole painting with black and then pull the painting back from the grips of destruction to be even *more* beautiful... but yeah. Not me. I don't like my process to be that exciting; I much prefer to sit and stew in my Type A personality while making 1,200 controlled and perfect little penciled hatch marks.
|Think... think... think.|
|This is 'frisket'. You need this.|
I took my reference photo and put a piece of double stick tape on it, and then stuck down the frisket (still on its backing paper - you don't want to peel that off yet!) on top of it. Ideally, you'd have a light table with a glass cutting board to use for the step of cutting out your image... but if you don't, take a sharpie and put the frisket/photo on your window. Use the sunlight to see where to trace the outline of what you want to cut out, and THEN cut around it with a sharp craft knife. (You can use scissors, but the frisket is stretchy and delicate at the same time and if the scissors aren't sharp and perfect you can stretch and tear the frisket.)
|Now you have a plastic stencil cut-out of your photo! SELF HIGH FIVE!|
|This plastic stencil of a skull is going to keep my pottery white where|
I want the skull to be, and let me paint all around it as sloppy/fast as I want.
Cutting thin strips of frisket is good for borders, stripes, patterns, etc. Applying the frisket with a decal spreader (tool shown in the photo - basically a piece of firm rubber with a handle attached) is also a good idea for a nice smooth edge. If you don't have one of those (who does?) then don't worry - just use your fingers to press down any air bubbles.
|Pottery before being fired in the kiln.|
|Notice how pale and blah the colors are? They won't be after they're fired.|
I painted the inside of my bowl black, and then peeled up the frisket skull to reveal the unpainted white surface underneath. When it's fired, whatever wasn't painted will be a bright white.
To summarize the painting application on the outside of the bowl, I painted the blue sky first. Then I peeled away all the strips that I'd cut for grass/leaves and painted the newly exposed areas green. Next I peeled away the flower stencils and painted those a creme color. Then I peeled away the rat shapes, leaving them white. Going back in with a detail color, I outlined everything in a darker red (which hides a multitude of sins where the colors maybe met up messily). Lastly, I peeled away the stripes for the border to leave nice, crisp lines around my artwork.
I'm going to leave you with the best, most true tip I read on paint application: 1 coat = transparent / 2 coats = streaky / 3 coats = opaque.
Good luck on your pottery painting projects and I hope this maybe gave you a new technique to consider!
With my paper dolls, I like to do things that aren't just two arms and two legs because it keeps things more interesting... so I've spent a lot more time than the average person on the planet contemplating a variety of human-animal-mash-ups. In an effort to keep things classy, (and not to feel like the villain from "The Human Centipede" with his beloved three-dog) I've done mostly things inspired from such unlikely places as the Dungeons & Dragons Bestiary and classic Greek Mythology.
Case in point was my decision to do Medusa, even though I personally loathe Greek art. There was never a more unbearable Art History Class than the one spent looking at their columns with the slightly different ornate tops and all their geometric zig-zaggy-boxy-whatnot. But aside from a ripped up version of a sorority-house-toga, I was able to have fun with Medusa in all her half-snake-half-woman monstrosity.
|Medusa Jointed Paper Doll - Snaketastic!|
|"I'mma kill you! and such!"|
It turns out, Medusa's story is just unspeakably horrible. It's like kneejerk/cringe/brow-furrowingly awful... something I've come to expect from "The Days of Our Lives" style of mythology that the Greeks dish up. There's several versions, but basically while Athena was making her daily rounds to all her temples, she caught Medusa being raped by a dude (sometimes Poseidon, sometimes not) and Athena decided she would punish Medusa for... you know... having the audacity to be brutally attacked in her temple instead of just coming to slaughter birds as sacrifices like a normal girl. (It all makes more sense if you're Greek.)
|Medusa with her snake hair. All the snakes probably had names, but|
I don't know them because Medusa's Wikipedia page didn't specify.
So Medusa was cursed with snake hair and a snake tail, and that really neat superpower where she can turn people to stone if they make eye contact. Since that curse makes it hard to date, or shop for groceries, or wear pants... Medusa went to haunt some lonely island for the rest of her days, and munch on rats. But no, that wasn't bad enough - then a bunch of Greek guys had to want to go hunt her as a trophy so she had to arm herself and fight back, lest she be brutally murdered on top of her rape.
I ended up my research really *liking* Medusa cause in spite of all that - she's fiery, and if we were all being honest, we always suspected Perseus was kind of an idiot anyway right? So I vote for the fighter girl with the awesome eyes.Of anyone in that story, I want to be the most like her. If you'd like to buy her to hang over your work desk as a reminder to be a tough-girl then she's in my Etsy Shop.
Modern House Designs for Minecraft: A House on Stilts Keepeth the Monsters at a Comfortable Shooting Distance
My love of modern architecture and legos spilled over into Minecraft in a big way. It's an obsession similar to my Sims obsession of 2000 (where I did nothing but go to my college classes and build Sims houses with downloaded wallpapers). I like the idea of small and well-designed houses that function in-game and can be built with materials that are easily mined. Anyone can build a 5,000 block mega-mansion out of diamond blocks in creative mode... but what if you're playing an online survival game with friends, and want something attractive that's easily defend-able from monsters? My logic led to me to build a house on stilts.
|Minecraft House on Stilts situated in a bay. Monsters wade, |
but they don't swim.
|I chose a shallow bay for the build site, so I could plant a lot of sugarcane|
for paper production as I was planning a gigantic library after this.
Materials to get that "modern" look are white blocks (snow), gray blocks (clay), birch wood plank blocks, and iron bars to form the ivy trellis on the other side. You can get leaf blocks into your inventory by using the "shears" tool to cut trees and then place them as greenery. I also made some more designer-looking trees from green wool blocks and fence posts.
|Here I built down to sea level to create a built-in dock for boats. A ladder|
takes you back up to the house-level.
|Pressure plates on top of fence posts make lovely little bedside tables.|
Using slabs for roofing helps break up the blockiness.
|The "X"s on the floorplan show stilt placement, and the dashed|
lines show the outline of the decking.
Final material counts differ from what's shown and I ended up using snow instead of stone (because I found out that it doesn't melt in the rain). Minecraft physics and weather are things you have to experiment with. For instance, torches won't melt snow but they WILL melt ice blocks into water source blocks and that can be a nightmare for those who like to use ice blocks for windows instead of glass blocks.
My knitting skills aren't where they need to be yet to knit a sweater for my loved ones, mostly because my loved ones have all these pesky arms and necks and torsos of various diameters... so I had to ask myself, "Do I have any loved ones that are more... rectangular?" The answer is, "YES I DO!" So, I made a sweater for my iPad.
|My iPad Sweater: The "Corylus" Pattern on Ravelry (FREE)|
For the button, I used a button from my dad's 1985 trenchcoat. I'm sure my mom will be pleased those buttons she snipped off and saved in 1992 have now found a home in 2014. If I had been smarter when doing this project, I would have made a button hole in the very bottom of it so that the charger port could still be accessed with the sweater on... but these are the things we think of in hindsight. Ah, the regrets of youth/yesterday.
I still have a bunch of yarn left over from my trip to "The Yarn Shop & More". It's my favorite yarn shop in Kansas City (Overland Park, to be exact), and they haven't complained yet that I mostly go in there to slam my face against their piles of baby alpaca yarns (the babies are the softesttttttttt) more than I actually purchase yarn. It's a little bit fancy/pricey for my skill level so I mostly go just to pet their inventory and take classes... and also watch their yarn-baller machine which is half parts magic and physics.
|See, the circular fencing spins and then the other thingie spins |
and then your yarn turns into a ball, the end.
My son made the most awesome archery target for himself to practice bow and arrow. I almost yelled in his face how awesome he is. I'm thinking when they go to bed tonight I might fly around in their world and take more photos because they're building so many delightfully colorful/silly/cool structures. Most of them involving giant mushrooms.
|My son made a giant Minecraft statue as an archery target for himself. It's adorable.|