Blog

More Shameless Plugs (for ridiculously talented friends)

Once again, I am showcasing the work of friends who have been more productive than I have.

glint gear

GlintGear is home to a collection of stunning bags made by my dear friend Celena.  She uses a variety of fabrics including eye-catching vinyls and hand-painted canvas, styled with a touch of classic deco and a whole lot of play.  If I had the funds, I’d just buy out her whole stock, but since I can’t, I’ll just encourage you, dear reader, to go check out her beautiful stuff.

eleventhreedesigns

Eleven Three Designs is the outlet for my friend and creating mentor Jason.  His primary focus has been really badass resin fantasy masks, but lately he’s stumbled into the customized unicorn Christmas tree topper business.  Yeah, you read that right.  They’re funky and unexpected and just the thing your home needs for the holidays.  Lucky for you, they’re also available at his Etsy shop.

frenchanna

FrenchAnna is your source for elegant, well-crafted jewelry with a little genuine French flair.  Filigrees, chandeliers, felted, gold, silver, brass, stones, crystals, pearls…  Anna’s work is gorgeous and varied – so varied, in fact, that her unique fiber jewelry has its own home at Magical Whimsical.

Magical Whimsical

The name is absolutely appropriate – I’ve never seen anything quite like the earrings she makes with these felted beads.  They’re big and bold, and weigh next to nothing on your ears.  Eccentric yet practical, just like their designer!

Get to shoppin’!

Advertisements

NaNoWriMo Halftime Report

So this is the part where I geek out about how well this experiment of mine is going.

I jumped on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon so I could use the public shaming aspect as a motivator.  Several of my improviser friends are writing actual novels, and did the customary public announcement:

“I’m writing for NaNoWriMo.  Ask me about it constantly so I feel obligated to keep writing.”

So I did the same.

I’m ahead on blog posts, and I have several more that only need a few touch-ups before they’re ready to post.  The scripts were being neglected, as I’d finished the easier of my two planned arcs, and wasn’t feeling up to the task of the second.  I need to add more characters, and I was really struggling to come up with characters with any sort of depth.

The Hideout runs a show called The Free Fringe where groups submit really ridiculous format ideas, then get a thirty minute time slot to try them out in front of an audience.  Sometimes it’s amazing and turns into a new troupe.  Sometimes it crashes and burns.  This is why the show is free.

Last night’s Fringe was a NaNoWriMo special where a group of writers came in, talked about their work a little, read a scene, then a group of improvisers from the Austin Secrets cast would pick up the story and play a few scenes to help work out what comes next.  I tossed my scripts into the mix, just to see what would happen.  Given that I couldn’t really read a scene, and it would be very hard to explain the comic quickly, I didn’t expect much.

I should really stop underestimating my improviser friends.

I gave them a very open scenario, and they jumped in enthusiastically.  Two happened to perfectly fill the roles of two characters I’d partially written, and two more gave me really excellent new characters to build on.

I walked out of the show with four pretty solid characters in my head, then I stayed up late brainstorming with the Boy, filling out those characters, building their world, and plotting their arcs.  I feel like I have a few years worth of material here, if I stick to my one-a-week schedule.

I’m actually itching to start drawing, so I’ll probably hit the 30-script mark early and get a jump start on my buffer.

My comic is coming back!  Yay!

Another one bites the dust

It is with a good deal of regret that I mark the passing of another of my mother’s kalanchoes.

image

We had a good run. I managed not to kill it through two insanely hot and dry Central Texas summers (If only the fragile begonia had been so lucky!). Last spring I nursed it through a nasty infestation of mealybugs. Then a couple of weeks ago I went outside to water it, and the roots and base were totally rotted. I replanted the few leaves that had stayed green, but they soon turned grey as well.

It may be an actual blight issue, and not just over-watering, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on the rest. The one that I nearly killed a year ago is still plugging along.

Someday they may actually flower again so I can tell which plants I lost – they were all different colors and bloomed like crazy when they were living on Mom’s back porch. For now I’ll just file this away as another learning experience. My thumb isn’t nearly as brown as it used to be, but I still have a long way to go to green.

Four-Yard Scarf

As happens far too frequently, this quest started with a perfectly innocent question from my friend Mike:

Why, Mike?  What do you need?

“Knit a scarf that is at least 12 feet long and is being worn by 3 people at one time.”

For a scavenger hunt.  A really big, ridiculous, awesome scavenger hunt.

12 feet with no gauge or width requirements?  Easy peasy.

Two skeins of Red Heart (Cherry Red and Royal blue), one skein of Impeccable “Folklore” variegated, size 13 needles, a few feet of Premier Starbella “Fly a Kite” just for added whimsy, and a few hours later…

Bam

12+ feet of scarf

Obligatory NaNoWriMo Post

I will not be writing a novel this month.

November is National Novel-Writing Month.  I briefly had thoughts of trying to write that thing that’s been knocking around my head for the last three years, but then I remembered that I’m very, very busy and have a to-do list that will take me a decade to complete.

So instead of writing 50,000 words in the spare time I don’t have, I’m going to knock a few things off my to-do list.  I’ve been intending to resurrect the comic all year, and I’ve let the blog fall tragically behind.  My knitting/comic friend Rachael – half of the creative team behind the brilliant Worsted for Wear – strongly recommended having a large buffer before publishing again, so I’ll be putting most of my efforts toward that.  I also have at least five blog posts from the last year that are mostly written, but haven’t been edited and posted.

So this is my stated goal for NaNoWriMo:

30 days, 30 comic scripts
5 Fridays, 5 blog posts (back-dated to the time they were originally written)

If I’m very good and get all my homework done, I’ll try to get some preliminary sketching done as well, but let’s be reasonable.

I put this out into the world for my followers to keep me honest.  There will be a new blog post tomorrow night.  You are officially deputized to bother me if there is not.

Epilogue: You Need a Console? I Make You A Console

Firefly: The Musical ran its inevitable course – it got shut down prematurely by Fox.

So the theater finished out the second month with the Joss Whedon Pajama Party, a variety show with sketch, musical, and improv acts inspired by the work of Mr. Whedon, as well as a collection of videos that were written and shot usually in a week or less.

One video series featured Firefly’s Wash playing with his toy dinosaurs at the bridge console when he should have been flying the ship. Simple enough, right? We had the actor from the musical, toy dinosaurs aren’t hard to come by, we just need a stationary camera and… oh yeah, the console.

Mind you, this is the week that I was getting minor surgery done on my face. I should have volunteered for lying in bed and being useless. But no.

“Yeah, I can make a console.”

Surgeries were Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, the shoot was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Monday evening was my only available work time.

Step 1: Raid the Craft Cabinet
Available materials:
poster board (assorted sizes and colors)
faded black construction paper
chalk pastels
oil pastels
air-drying clay
assorted wooden doo-dads
ribbons
felt
yarn
fabric
acrylic paints
fabric paints
water colors
one tiny can of metallic spray paint
foam sheets
pipe cleaners
assorted scraps
odds
ends
hot glue
wood glue
tacky glue
Modge Podge
white glue
spray fixative
three rolls of packing tape

Wait. That is a ridiculous collection of materials. Pare that down.

Useful Available materials:
poster board (assorted sizes and colors)
faded black construction paper
chalk pastels
oil pastels
air-drying clay
assorted wooden doo-dads
ribbons
felt
yarn
fabric
acrylic paints
fabric paints
water colors
one tiny can of metallic spray paint
foam sheets
pipe cleaners
assorted scraps
odds
ends
hot glue
wood glue
tacky glue
Modge Podge
white glue
spray fixative
three rolls of packing tape

In the interest of time, I opted for drawn-on buttons, knobs and screens, rather than some complicated collection of bits and pieces that would take too long to construct, and would be very likely to fall off in transit.

Step 2: Find Reference Photos
Folks, I challenge you to find photos with a clear view of Serenity’s bridge from the tv series. No really – Google it. More than half of the images returned are from the film, which used a much more complicated and rounded set – not ideal for a reproduction that is clearly going to be made from poster board base.

How about a shot from the show itself? Every time you see the console, there is someone between it and the camera.

Finally, finally, I collected a few decent images.

Step 3: Get Over Any Expectations of Making an Accurate Replica
Seriously. The set designers had a budget, better materials and probably a couple of weeks. A high-quality replica is not going to come out of a pile of paper products and some spray paint in 6 hours or less.

Step 4: Construct the Base
The console is basically broken into three parts, each at a different angle. Using the poster board and a truly stupid quantity of packing tape, I built fairly close approximations, then painted them with a combination of spray and acrylic paints, in shades of metallic bronze and brown.

Step 5: Make the Doo-Dads
I made the lights, switches, buttons, and screens using chalk pastels on black construction paper, then liberally applied fixatif to keep it all from rubbing off on Wash’s hands while he played with his toy dinosaurs.

The final product was not at all glamorous, and bore only a passing resemblance to the real thing, but given that the video showed only a small portion, and that wasn’t the focus anyway, it served its purpose.

Sketch – Wash has too much time on his hands, Part 1 from Peter Rogers on Vimeo.

Sketch – Wash has too much time on his hands, Part 2 from Peter Rogers on Vimeo.

Sketch – Wash has too much time on his hands, Part 3 from Peter Rogers on Vimeo.

As an added bonus, I was able to just slice through the tape along the edges and store it flat, just in case the need arises again.

—————————————–

Oh, and that “seamstress for the band” bit?

After the first Firefly show, the cast and crew hung out and sang karaoke for a few hours, and toward the end of the evening, they sang Tiny Dancer to me.

Blue jean baby
L.A. lady
…seamstress for the band

🙂

Quick and Dirty Saffron Shawl, or How I Became Seamstress for the Band (part 3)

One final costume project from Firefly: The Musical

Saffron, one of the lead characters, was supposed to have a lovely red shawl, something that looked like it was hand-knit either by herself or one of her “sisteren” in the backwater maiden house from which she came.

Our Saffron had a really lovely, not-at-all-handcrafted crimson wrap.

It didn’t kill the backwater farm peasant costume, but it didn’t really help. The shawl is also one of those memorable costume pieces that a lot of fans would just expect to see. So in my last act as impromptu costume mistress, I took on the task of making a proper shawl.

Now, the shawl from the original show is pretty clearly knit, and it’s a fairly intricate lace pattern, making an accurate replica well out of my reach because (a) I never learned to knit lace, and (b) I didn’t have the time to learn just then. So I took the most obvious course of action: I faked it.

Using Caron’s Simply Soft in Garnet, and a size N hook, I crocheted a pretty slick shawl.

The pattern is pretty simple:
Ch 3
DC 4 in first ch
Then repeat this pattern for as long as you can stand:
Three rows of spaced Treble Crochet:
Ch 4, TC 1 in last st of previous row, skip 1 ch 1 to the middle stitch of the previous row, TC 1 ch 1 TC 1 ch 1 TC 1 in middle stitch, skip 1 ch 1 to the last stitch of previous row, TC 2
One row of solid Double Crochet:
Ch 3, DC 1 in last st of previous row, DC 1 in each st to the middle stitch of the previous row, DC 5 in the middle stitch, DC 1 in each st to the last stitch of the previous row, DC 2
End with a spaced Treble row.
Add fringe to your heart’s content.

I completed the shawl in time for the third show, and our Saffron gleefully tied it over her shoulders, and fiddled with the long fringe when she got nervous on stage, and enjoyed having her arms free for the action scenes.

(For more adventurous knitters, this is far and away the best-looking pattern I was able to find before giving up my search.)