Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Blog Design, Excalibur and Lace

I decided to change things up a bit but I couldn't find a premade background to suit me so I made one. I call it "Tools of The Trade". It sounded like a good idea at 3 in the morning. I also made it the new background for my site. I have yet to complete the welcome speech and the text boxes are still subject to change but here's what I have so far:

I measured my Saber figure and Excalibur and used my height to figure out how large my Excalibur would need to be for it to be to scale. It came out to be just over 49 inches. I used the grids in Photoshop to scale up my photograph of the figure's Excalibur then printed it out on several different sheets and pieced them all together.This will serve as my pattern.

I've got most of my supplies collected  for Excalibur. I decided to use a method I've seen used by Blind Squirrel Props and Volpin Props involving sandwiching a threaded rod in the blade and running it through the handle to strengthen it. I marked out the placement for the channel on one of my boards today but the Dremel bit I had just wasn't cutting it. See what I did there? I suspect they may just be worn out as they are the same bits I used to make all the recessed areas on my gunblade. Nothing frustrates me more than not having the proper tool for the job so I hopped on Widget Supply and bought replacements for my Dremel bits along with a few new bits. I decided to try a cylinder carbide cutter for the Dremel and some straight router bits for use with my Rotozip. I got the priority shipping so hopefully they'll be here in time for me to work on Excalibur this coming weekend.

I did a little test sew on some silk organza to see if I could make decent free motion lace on the sewing machine. It didn't look awful but it wasn't as accurate as I'd like either. Then the thought came to me to airbrush it onto the organza. This solves the problems of accuracy, uniformity and shaves off a good deal of time in the bargain. I'm going to test it out with the paint I currently have but once I've satisfied myself that it'll work I think I'm going to go for a pearl paint. Pearl White from Createx and Pearl Sparkle from Aqua Flow are looking good so far. I haven't figured out how to finish up the raw edge on the bottom yet but it'll come to me. Maybe some type of heat seal like a hot knife would work. Fray Check might even do the trick, I'll just have to play with different things.

I bought three sizes of half round stryrene from Hobbylinc so I could see what it was like. It's fairly stiff but with a little bend to it depending on thickness. I put the largest of the three (which I believe was 1/4") into the toaster oven to see if it'd become pliable. I probably left it in there for about 5 minutes total on 300 degrees but I took it out 3 times during that 5 minutes to check on it. The first time I wasn't able to bend it any more than normal, the second time it had more give to it then the third time it was nearly like a strip of clay. I was able to easily bend it into a tight horseshoe shape without any distortion to the styrene. I'm looking forward to trimming something out with this stuff. It comes in sheets as well so I may have to look into getting some to experiment on.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Craft Room

I finally got a few pictures of my craft room. It still needs some work but this is much better than the little corner I had before.

My ponies got banned from the rest of the house so I put up their old shelves again and dubbed this my "wall of happy". All my instructional books for sewing, crafting, drawing and whatnot are on the bookshelf below.

I kept the TV in this room since there isn't a hookup for it in the new bedroom. I've also got my NES and Playstation 2 tucked away in here so I'm good for retro gaming or dvd's. Just having the noise of a TV seems to help me work sometimes. I'm not fond of all the fabric bins being stacked up under the window but I just look at it as encouragement to make something out of it to sell. To that end, I started a cheshire cat set from some of the wicked long pile fur I picked up while working at Hobby Lobby.

I added another set of wall shelves in the corner for my various chemicals and my wig heads finally found a home there also. I've got some "for sale" stuff piled up in a box waiting for their new owners.

Having my table out in the middle of the room is sooo nice. I can get around my entire project now without having to shift it around. I've got my most current projects tucked away in the printer boxes below the table.

I decided to put my clothes rack in here as well since it's basically dominated by costumes anyway. It's nice because if I need to pull something for reference it's right there. The printer boxes have my costume shoes in them.

More shelves containing the various trappings of costuming work. I put up a shelf for my dolls as well so they finally have their own place to live where the cats can't easily get to them. I bought stands for them but some of them were too short for the taller dolls so I modded one for Ian using a curtain rod and epoxy putty. Not too snazzy looking but it works. Willow and Aurora need their stands modded also, that's why they're still sitting.

I've also been hard at work on my new version of I've got many of the main pages done and am now working on individual costume pages. I went through my old link pages and culled out all the dead ones and added some new pages I've found. I did a test transfer of the site to since I didn't have much there yet. I had to work out a few kinks but once I got the hang of it the pages were easy to transfer. Hopefully I can go live with the new version within the month. I'd like to have the majority of my pages set up first, but I'm well on my way. I also ordered a full copy of SiteSpinner since it was about $20 cheaper than normal so I don't have to worry about running out of trial version days anymore. It's a pity it doesn't include some kind of photo gallery coding or at least the ability to put pictures in the scrolling text box. I'm sure I could go in and tweak the code to get it to work but that would defeat the purpose of having the program. On the other hand, the workaround I decided on has the benefit of making the pages load much faster than they would with larger pictures. Plus since only the text scrolls the pictures remain visible at all times instead of having to scroll to the bottom of my text walls to get to them. After it's all said and done SiteSpinner pwns FrontPage so I can't complain too much.

I made some headway on Excalibur and the white lace at the bottom of Saber's dress. More on that in my next post.