Dude, Really?

 

A couple of weeks ago, I showed a picture of a little chainmaille fella I’d been working on, who accompanied the SQO on his trip to Texas.  He didn’t fare too well on the journey.  One of the beads fell out of his leg.

At least he didn’t leave his heart in Texas…

Now, by the time this little dude came back to me, damaged but still recognizable, he had a brother or 2 – as I employed chainmaille therepy to combat the separation.  Those guys aren’t going to lose any pieces any time soon, as they were upgrades in pattern and design from the little Dude who went traveling.

This weekend, I got the last few ring sizes I needed to finalize the overall design, and I’m happy with the result.

 

dude-assembled

Introducing:  The Dude – a whimsical little Maille Man design by yours truly.  He’s  entertaining the masses from his residence in my Etsy shop – available in both stock and customizable colors.  I even wrote a tutorial if you want to make a Dude of your own!

 

You want to know how a pile of rings and beads went from “I’m bored,” to “Look, I made something KEWL!”?  You got it…

Here’s the process behind ‘The Dude Project’

Step inside my mind…

***Creak***

***Dry Rustle***

***Wet Squishing***

Oops – you may want to watch where you walk – but don’t worry, a bit of cleanser and a stiff brush should save your shoes…

Never mind the piled junk in the corners or the graffiti painted on the walls.   The cauldron?  It’s boiling at the exact shade of purple it should be.  Don’t follow the trail of broken bracelet parts out the door  –  that’s the Dragon’s Trail, and you’re not fireproof!

And pay no attention to the long, stringy, slimy guys in the other room singing ‘Madness’ by Muse (a bit off key, I might add…)

They’re just ear worms…

Step up to my work table.  Yes…I know it looks like a big pile of papers and junk, but trust me…there’s a table under there…

See – right in the center of the pile of stuff?  The cell phone?  That’s the Muse Hotline…and lookie here… it’s RINGING…

 

muse-text-copy

At least they haven’t figured out emoji’s yet…

Soooo – let’s dig out some rings, and play…

dude-one

Dude #1  –   OK – round ring for the head.  Round ring for the body.  Paired chains suggesting arms & legs.  A way (ok…a bad way) to settle limbs in a manner which suggests they ARE limbs.  All in all – a very ROUGH proof-of-concept.

Problems:

  1. He looks like a deformed spiny/fuzzy fish mated with a human being…in maille.
  2. He has NO neck.  The head is loosely attached to the fuzzy/spiny body & he’ll get whiplash if a strong breeze comes along…
  3. Without more definition for those things coming off the center ring, he could be a squid, a sun, a malformed table…  The form needs to scream ARMS, LEGS, HEAD, TORSO.

 

dude-2

Dude #2   –   Fixed the spiny/fuzzy fish-man mating issue by building a short chain of FP 6 in 1 for the body. Form now resembles a stick figure…certainly a human-analog with the addition of ‘fingers’ and a neck.  Going in the right direction…but – gave him pants up to his armpits.

Problems:

  1. Body too skinny.  Need a quick & easy sheet-weave instead of a single-strand chain.
  2. Colored AA rings do not come in the 19ga 1/4″ rings used to capture 6mm pearls.  Closest common size is too big, as evidenced by this Dude’s trip to Texas, where he came back missing a bead, and common glass beads do not come in 7mm.  Will have to ditch the ring colors, working only in Stainless Steel and/or bronze/copper.
  3. Dude is bow-legged, and legs still have no defining characteristic.

 

dude-3

Dude #3  –   This torso is MUCH more pleasing, offering better positioning and flex in the legs & hips, while keeping the suggestion of a neck between the torso and the head ring.  Really BIG feet define human form legs, as well as solidly locking in those beads.

Problems:

Just need to work on a face.  The body feels complete, and the feet are adorable!

 

dude-3-5

 

Dude #4  –  Facial design prototype.

Face has suggestions of eyes, hair, and a mouth full of (?)teeth.

 

Problems:

 

  1. Face piece too small for the body.
  2. Face is IMPOSSIBLE to attach to the body without losing the teeth in the neck.
  3. Are they REALLY teeth – or just confusing stabilizing rings?

dude-4

 

Dude #5  –   Final.  Reconfigured the facial design using larger framing ring.  Lost the teeth, but gave him a hint of a smile with this final construction.

Dude project complete – and he’s a happy little guy.  Can add colors to the ‘hair’ rings for variety, as well as changing out the colors of the beads.

 

The Muses are pleased.  The Dudes are pleased.  And I have a new fiddly-toy thing to play with at work while I sit on hold…

 

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Pumpkins Get No Respect

Many thanks to the Nudge-Wink for this timely advice – for the rest of you:

Just a little PSA for all you pumpkin-carvers out there.

Remember – Halloween isn’t supposed to be ‘cute’

The Nudge Wink Report

It’s that time of year again. Halloween is just over a week away and pumpkins everywhere are busy being stabbed, sliced, jabbed, disemboweled, and carved into outdoor decor for your front porch. Where they’ll sit until they rot and the stench becomes so strong it attracts feral cats and winos.

Pumpkin carving is an art. Most of us see pumpkin carving as a craft and try to DIY them into something cute. Something that makes a child go all “ooh” and “ah.”

That is not the purpose of a pumpkin. Pumpkins distain cute. Pumpkins don’t want to bring a smile to your face. Pumpkins want to be the scariest part of your day come October 31.

So when P.U.S. (Pumpkins United Society) contacted me to help get the message across, I agreed. I said I’d take a stab at carving out a post as long as they didn’t hold a…

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Flash Fiction – What does a Statue Think?

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

I’m digging through my old flash fiction files again – I just happened to come across this gem.  I know exactly why I didn’t post this one out here when I first created it – the first 2 paragraphs had far too many abstract concepts in them, and the flow just wasn’t there.

I’ve touched it up, and I think it hints quite well about how I feel about this year’s Presidential Dog & Pony.  The near future will tell if the rest of the world agrees with the thoughts I’ve imagined in Liberty’s head.  Until then – enjoy this little bit of Flash.

In Lady Liberty’s Head

217 Words

I say: the ink used to record human history is no more than fluid prejudice. Like all ‘lofty’ Human notions – Truth is an abstract now honored with empty lip service – a Utopian ideal moldering in a dumpster of forgotten debris.

Thus do the records of wholesale tragedy and individual accomplishment become a collection of fiction slowly crumbling into dust.

I stand, as I have stood for centuries, atop this granite pedestal built on Liberty Island, torch aloft and tablet proudly clasped to my breast – my face turned away from the land I symbolize. There are many who say I attend the eastern waves to welcome new visitors, proudly lighting the way to a new country which will “take in the tired, and take in the poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

I now watch across the waves as the rest of the world scorns this land of plenty – overflowing with the degenerates and predators wielding that prejudicial liquid in a final, mad attempt to paint themselves in a more favorable light.  An effort to cover the filth-buried truth with a final coating of pretty lies.

The world has seen through this poisoned ink, and comes en-masse to sterilize the festering wound.

I turn my back, so as not to watch the final defeat.

statue20of20liberty20in20new20york20usa

On Funerals and Seating Arrangements

roses-from-ceiling-uprighted

Everything has its season.  You start out all fresh & shiny and new – then that little thing we like to call time happens.

The shine dries out.

The leaves start to droop.

The aroma begins to fade…

Smooth goes to gritty.

Soft becomes hard.

The stitching starts to fray…

My computer chair has finally breathed its last.

spook-on-chair

 

The poor old dear has been showing her age.  The seat cushion has lost it’s cush.  The casters feel gritty when they roll across the floor.  The pleatherette has faded to a dusty blackish-grey, crossed all over with fine pressure lines.  The back is pebbled with tiny claw holes.

 

Flowing across the entire surface, the criss-crossed scrapes, scars, and tears combine into a roadmap of the journey I and my chair have traversed together.

 

 

We’ve been through a lot.   She originally resided in the office of a dance studio in downtown Waukesha, where she was loved furiously by the owner’s (then) 3 year old daughter.  She’s sit and spin, giggle, spin, giggle, spin and giggle, often rubbing the chair’s corners against the wall in her youthful zeal.  I received this affection-abraded chair from the owner when he closed his shop- my only cost being to love the chair as much as his daughter had.

The chair and I have been through photo editing for several bands.  We embarked on learning to manipulate images, first with the free online editors, later investing in Photoshop. We’ve conducted hundreds of Photoshop experiments, both successful and not, worked together to develop my photographer’s eye, learned origami, glass etching, wire wrapping and chainmaille.  We’ve created announcement banners for my vaping group, a couple of graphic ideas for business cards, and watched the increasingly downward spiral of politics in this country.

We’ve laughed and cried over various social media outlets – Facebook, ECF, VF, SpaceCiggies and Google+, and researched the hell out of Keto before tentatively dipping the first hesitant toe into the diet waters.  One day, we vowed to figure out what good Pintrest does for the world.

I was on this chair when I heard of my sister-in-law’s death as a result of a heart infection, and my Grandmother leaving us at the age of 92.  It officiated over the purchase of 3 different cameras, and supported me when I finally upgraded to that damnable smart phone.

It has been THE place to sit whilst I compose flash fiction, and my perch when starting this blog & my Etsy shop.

This chair has additionally survived my 3 moves, 1, 2 and then 4 cats, and the great flea & bedbug invasion of 2015.

No wonder she started to act like a cranky old Auntie…I’ve put her through more drama than a piece of furniture ‘aught to have to survive.

The hydraulics started gasping their final tortured breaths about a month ago.  I’d lean back, and the chair would sink rapidly.  I’d be working at the computer, and realize I wasn’t as high as I used to be.

Last week, the old girl could no longer support me.  I’d sit, and immediately sink.  She’d spring back up once I vacated her seat.

Yesterday – she dropped for good, the hydraulics no longer giving even a hint of pressure.

She lived a full life.  A good life.  Time now for her to rest.

dumpster-roses

 

 

 

 

The funeral will be Friday, at dusk, in the Rusting Dumpster Cemetery, located behind my building.  Flowers, a candle in vigil, or good vibes appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mariko-on-chair-box

 

 

In a (not-so) surprising twist  –  I would also like to announce the birth of a clean, cushy, bouncing baby new chair and play-palace (that thing we humans call a box)  for the cats.

Once Mariko allows me to get INTO the box, that is…

 

 

 

 

Cycle of life, huh?

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 *R*I*P*

 

 

A Simple, Pretty Thing

This afternoon, I had to take the SQO to the airport.  He’s visiting a friend in Texas on a 4 day weekend.

 

On our way in – they had this sculpture thingie in the corner of the breezeway.  At first, we thought it was construction materials.  Once we got closer, we realized…

 

face-close-in

These are HUGE face masks – the flag flying out the window is sort-of a scale measure…but to really nail it down, I’d guess they were about 6 feet across.

 

pair

 

There were three of them.  This translucent green one was my favorite…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

full-sail

 

And making it even neater, was the rest of the sculpture…

 

 

 

 

All three are stylized sailboats, crafted from some translucent material.  Too bad it’s an overcast day – I’ll bet these three are stunning in full streaming sunlight.

 

 

 

I also got a bonus when we were separating – him going to the x-ray machines and me watching from behind the glass (non-boarding-pass people aren’t allowed past this point), when D pulled one of my newest chainmaille creations out of his pocket.

dude-2

He wanted to let me know he was bringing a little piece of something I’d made with him on the trip.

Gotta love the man!!!!