Saturday, April 05, 2008

Laugh it up!

Hello there, I'm back with another paper (and felt) craft for you to make with smaller children, or just for yourself!

How would you like to be able to send your best friend a Kowakian Monkey Lizard?

This card is based on the old 'peeping chick' card design with the moving beak that I'm sure we all made in school at one time!

There are a couple of tricky bits for younglings, but I am sure that with the guiding hand of their masters, this card should be quite straight-forward.

First of all, you will need a piece of white (or any other color) standard letter size card (I use 65lb card stock which can be printed on). You also need a peice of black card, the same weight, but cut a little smaller so that it is 2/8 inch smaller all the way round.

Next, fold the black card like a greeting card and measure 3 1/2 inches from the bottom of the spine - cut a 1 inch slit and fold the corners back and forth (see below)

Now open the black card and fold the 'mouth' inward - it should look like this.

Next, you need to draw and cut out your Salacious Crumb template - here is mine (along with the beak which you will need later)
Again, feel free to contact me if you want the PDF of this template - sadly I can't link them on this blog.

I drew this template onto paper and cut it out - note that I have left a diamond shape in the middle for his beak.

Next up, draw around the template onto some light brown felt and cut it out. You'll notice I had to do the neck separately - I was using an old felt scrap I found that wasn't quite big enough - thrifty, eh?

Using the beak template, cut the shape out of black card and glue the 'hook' sides together - see below.

Before you go any further, you need to place the black card on top of the white card and figure out how much of the inside of Salacious' mouth you are going to see. Draw a pencil outline of the interior, then draw the tongue, insides and (most importantly for comedy) his uvula.
In the pictures below, you can see my faint pencil outline, then the drawn details and finally the colored version. I used pencil crayons, but you could use anything - how about a piece of pink felt for a tongue?

Now you need to glue the beak onto the top part of the mouth, like so...

... and then glue the black card, complete with beak, onto the white card.

Now you are in the final stages! Hurrah!

Glue the felt Monkey Lizard head onto the black card, making sure the beak fits inside the gap just right (you might want to trim the edges of the felt for a snug fit).

Next, you want to add some eyes.You could use beads or buttons, or even those crazy googly eyes that you can buy - I'm trying to show how you can save money, so I made his eyes out of black card and white paper and glued them on - they look just as groovy I think!

The final touches include drawing on his smile and adding his hair. I went to a dollar store and found a toy monkey that had the perfect fur. The poor monkey sacrificed his tail to help me...

I stuck the fur on top and around his neck to add the finishing flourish.

And here he is!

You could personalise the front of the card to give to someone for a present, or add a quote, or even draw a picture on it - then, when your friend opens the card, they will get a Monkey Lizard surprise!

I hope you enjoy making these - I have a couple more cards based on this design coming soon - they are a little more difficult and ideal for older children.

See you later!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mark of the Clones

I have a whole series of interesting paper crafts lined up for you, and thought I would start with a basic one that is easy to do, but looks great.

This would be ideal for younger children to make - it will help build confidence and get them interested in further paper crafts.

Bookmarks are a staple of simple classroom activities, and yet can be personalised enough to be great gifts, and quite frankly, who wouldn't want their books protected by the Grand Army of the Republic?

Firstly, I began by drawing the head and upper torso of a clone trooper. You'll notice that when I inked him in I changed some of the ratios, and only finished one side.

I could then scan this initial drawing and clean it up.

I then cloned (appropriately enough) the one half of the trooper, flipped him over and attached him together, filling in any missing bits.
(All done in Photoshop)

I then erased the features from the front, and drew the back of his head, plus the back plate. This ensured that the outline would be identical.

Next up, I attached the clones to standard bookmark templates, making them 7 inches tall and 2 inches wide.

I then used Photoshop to color in their helmets (although you could color them by hand if you wish).

I printed the bookmarks on thin, 65lb card stock and cut them out carefully. You'll notice I cut them out differently. I used small scissors and a steady hand to carefully cut out the red clone, but smaller children might want to use a simpler cutout shape, as with the blue clone.

Once the two halves were glued together, they looked really good and felt quite sturdy - good for a clone trooper.

And here they are being put to good use.

You might want to further protect your bookmarks with laminating film, and you could also add a personal message or a name to them - the galaxy's the limit!

Have fun!

** Feel free to contact me if you would like a PDF of the clone trooper bookmark templates**

Friday, March 21, 2008

Your Stars from a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Recent excavations on the Hutt homeworld of Nal Hutta by the prominent Republic archeologists, Grego Resh’Ulte and Mikelaur Senn, have unearthed a set of fascinating manuscripts that were apparently forged several millennia ago by ancient Hutt star-gazers and myth scholars.

Deep in the catacombs beneath the Great Blaggo Library of Bilbousa, a data crystal was recovered and its contents analyzed. According to Dr. Resh’Ulte, they indicate a primitive belief in the fates of sentient creatures being entwined in the movements of celestial bodies.

Thanks to modern decryption and restoration, the ‘gah gahharn’ can be translated into basic as ‘horoscope’ – and furthermore, the investigative team has readjusted the original dates to accommodate our modern calendar.

To determine your sign, pair the sign that encompasses your date of birth with your family standing. For example, a female only child, born on July 18th, would be an Ice Mynock. She could then refer to her reading and fortune. So if a male human, born on September 12th is the oldest child in a sibling group of four, he would be a Plasma Acklay.

Enjoy this whimsical remnant of the ancient Hutts!

Signs (equivalent to)

Jan 1 – Feb 5 – Tauntaun
Feb 6 – Mar 11 – Bantha
Mar 12 – Apr 17 – Colo claw fish
Apr 18 – May 23 – Wamp rat
May 24 – June 28 – Rancor
Jun 29 – Aug 3 – Mynock
Aug 4 – Sept 6 – Wampa
Sept 7 – Oct 13 – Acklay
Oct 14 – Nov 19 – Nerf
Nov 20 – Dec 31 – Krayt dragon

1st or only child - Crystal
2nd or middle child - Ice
3rd or higher sibling - Silica

1st or only child - Magma
2nd or middle child - Carbonite
3rd or higher sibling - Plasma

Below is a translation from the original Nal Huttese of the meanings behind the signs. Simply combine the two meanings to get an overview of your character and fortune.

Sign Definitions

Sign of the Tauntaun
You are hardy and loyal, able to travel great distances without complaint or fatigue. You like to be aware of your surroundings, and are quick to vocalize any concerns you have to those around you. Although generally a secretive person, it doesn’t take much for you to open up.

Sign of the Bantha
When you enter a room, everyone notices. You are larger than life, amiable and happy to help others. Your good nature takes precedence over everything, including your appearance, but you plod on regardless, single-mindedly pursuing your goals.

Sign of the Colo Claw Fish
Agile and lithe, you like to explore your surroundings in the hope that an unexpected opportunity might arise. When you see such an opportunity you seize it, and make the most of it, but beware of being so engrossed in your endeavors that you fail to spot the ‘bigger fish’.

Sign of the Wamp Rat
Happily independent, you like to socialize with others, but don’t enjoy being exploited by those who would further their own careers off your misfortune. You try to keep a low profile, appearing only to grab at life’s tantalizing scraps as and when they appear.

Sign of the Rancor
On first appearance you might seem to be overly gruff and constantly hungry for more out of life. However, when those close to you get to know you, they will discover a misunderstood person, always ready with outstretched hands, with one companion that cares deeply for you.

Sign of the Mynock
Somewhat of a fly-by-night, you are a highly social person, with a tendency to latch onto friends and possessions with great vigor. You are constantly on the search for new ways to get more energy, and will soar above others as you lay claim to your own domain.

Sign of the Wampa
You are normally a solitary person, easily disarmed by a cutting remark. You regard a good time as when friends unexpectedly drop in for dinner, but you have a short temper for those who hang around, and will soon voice your disdain through your chilly demeanor.

Sign of the Acklay
Standing head and shoulders among your peers, you command much respect. However, be careful that this respect is not born from fear of your reactions to confrontation. People soon discover that you will only take so much prodding before you snap back.

Sign of the Nerf
You are a happy and contented person, always ready to follow the herd in whichever direction they lead you. Individualism is not a high priority for you, but you do have an opinion when it comes daily decisions, preferring to chew things over before leaping to any decisions.

Sign of the Krayt Dragon
You are a powerful and secretive person, allowing your reputation to precede you in matters of daily business. You like to keep to yourself, working quietly and quickly to attain your goals, but if you are crossed, then you show no mercy to your enemies.

Elemental Definitions.

Crystal – The Crystal female is beautiful, yet this fair exterior masks a rigid soul. She is not easily swayed from her punctuality and clarity of vision, but given enough time, constant pressure from external forces could result in fracturing. She must choose her friends carefully.

Ice – The Ice female sparkles in societal gatherings, but takes a long time to warm up to strangers. When warmth is established between the Ice female and her partner, she will stick to her object of affection and can only be moved when the conversation becomes heated.

Silica – The Silica female is always on the move, shifting locations and alliances with each passing whim. She is a carefree spirit, constantly adapting and allowing outside forces to mold her into their desired shapes, but at the same time, if allowed, she will smother her partner in a close relationship.

Magma – The Magma male is a torrent of boiling emotions. He is convinced there can be only one true path to happiness and will tread it relentlessly. He needs to be constantly on the move, or else he becomes stuck in a rut and crusty. In a heated argument he can hold his own with anyone.

Carbonite – The Carbonite male is a true dichotomy. He is extremely protective of his possessions and relationships, and yet will not let anyone into his own psyche. In all matters he stands tall and inflexible, and yet will melt, revealing his inner self, if the right person comes along to push his buttons.

Plasma – The Plasma male is bright and intense in all aspects of his life, yet can be so enthusiastic that he burns himself out too quickly. He can find a way through most obstacles in life, although he usually leaves some scarring which reveals his movements. Although his actions are generally very fast, they are powerful enough to leave a lasting impression.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Allow me to present, Taun We.

Imagine my delight when I discovered via Bonnie Burton that I had inspired someone with my Salacious Crumb doll.

Check out the result here!

Following that, I watched the video profile of Bonnie by (watch it here) and in it she mentioned that she loves receiving crafty gifts.

Well, seeing as she has been kind enough to feature my handiwork on the Official Blog, and knowing that she would be at WonderCon, I decided to make a little something for her.

This won't be my usual step by step guide, as it was rather more spontaneous than usual, but hopefully you'll get an idea of my thought processes (if there are any).

My initial plan was to make a pencil topper, thinking that a Kaminoan was the perfect build for such a thin object. I drew a rough plan.

However, as I started to cut out pieces (approximating again, I'm so naughty), I got carried away, and Taun We developed into into a full-fledged doll.
Here are the pieces before assembly.

Basically, I started with the head and worked my way down, sewing panels together and then to each other, and stuffing the head, neck and upper torso with polyfil.

I made the two legs and attached them, hiding the seams with a belt, and filled them with acrylic beads for weight. I then sewed some joints into her knees.

The detailing was painted on using acrylic paint - black and silver, and by cutting out small details from gray felt.

When Taun We was finished, I made a label to attach to her, and utilized the initial sketch I had made.

And so here is the final cloner!

Bonnie sent me some cool pictures of Taun We, one shows her helping out at the 'You Can Draw Star Wars' panel at WonderCon

and one shows Taun We in a meditative moment. Probably thinking about all the poor clones she has sent out to serve the Republic.

Thanks for dropping by!

Photo credits: Last two - Bonnie Burton, all the rest - me.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Operation: Crumb

During the holiday period, I thought it would be fun to take my mind off the Ottawa snow with another bout of frantic sewing and stuffing, and this time I used a slightly different source as my inspiration.

For the past six months I have been creating a comic strip based on the Star Wars universe, more specifically Jabba's Palace, and one character has been the driving force of many of my jokes - that character is Salacious B. Crumb.

You can see some of Salacious's misadventures over on the official blog for the comic strip - Turning to the Dork Side.

I began my attempt at a life size Crumb with the usual raid on my local Fabric Land store, and found the perfect light tan velour for his body and some black for his beak and claws. I also found some plain black buttons for his eyes and some crazy orangy-pink fur fabric for his hairy bits. Now I was ready to start!

As always, I approximated the panels and shapes I would need (I don't use much in the way of an exact science) and cut the templates out of plain white paper.

As with the cuddly Yoda I had made previously, I hand-stitched the panels together inside out, then turned the forms the right way out. You might be able to see some extra panels I put in the base of the head and torso to give them more shape.

The ears were then stitched together, and secured to the head with connecting pipe-cleaners - no stuffing because I wanted them to be floppy.

Once I had all the pieces stitched together, I could begin to stuff and assemble them. By this point I had sewn his eyes in, and I was really enjoying the ragged look to the stitching where the fabric had frayed slightly - this gave him a slightly 'scruffier' look!

Here you can see the pieces stuffed and ready to be attached to each other. The finger and toe nails were beyond fiddly, but turned out OK in the end.

Salacious waited patiently while I prepared his fur for his collar, top-knot and tail. He sits really well because I made a bean bag for his belly filled with acrylic beads. Just plant him and run!

And here he is, Salacious B. Crumb, as seen in Turning to the Dork Side.

I hope you have enjoyed my latest romp through the world of decidedly dodgy sewing, please feel free to drop me a line - I'd love to know what you think!