Monthly Archives: September 2010

It’s been a while since a video post

It’s going to take a fair amount to make me recant my love of elephants. I’m not sure whether this video is a big step toward ending said love affair, or if it’s inexplicably and embarrassingly strengthening it. I do know that if it’s the latter, I’m not admitting it. Assuming you haven’t already seen this viral gem, enjoy… I’d put up an NSFW warning but I think the thumbnail makes the risk quite clear.

I couldn’t ask for a better day

I was woken up at 7 AM by a kiss on the forehead by Nefarious who crept up to our bedroom, worried I’d overslept my alarm and dying to wish me a happy birthday. I then rolled over, gave Caitlin the same, and climbed out of bed and headed down from the loft for breakfast and morning before-school rituals. The day was relaxed, watching a movie and clearing out the many hundreds of Facebook friend requests that I’ve let pile up. It was a good day to do it, being reminded of old friendships and having my page grind itself into an online traffic jam with a thousand wonderful messages of well-wishing. Thank you everyone, it means a lot to me to feel both relevant and cared for.

I got nicer presents than I could have hoped for, including some artwork from Nefarious and a giant toolbox for my casting supplies and some super big-boy Star Wars undies from Caitlin among other things (and I bought myself some lumber that I’m eager to make a mess of on the lathe). Caitlin made me my favorite supper — spaghetti — followed by an overwhelmingly delicious fresh cheesecake overflowing with fruit and berries and I’m going to see if I can survive another slice as we watch Survivor. Shane has asked me to be real clear that it’s fresh and incomplete because I wasn’t up to doing the expected final hour of the sit, but he gave me great session on my leg tattoo (in addition to the Nazi zombie himself not being done, he’s the only element we’ve laid down so far of this ambitious project).

That photo was surprisingly difficult to take by the way.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m spending at the hospital, which could be good or could be bad and which may or may not dictate what my treatment is in the immediate future, but today I couldn’t ask for a better day, and I couldn’t ask for better people to spend it with.

Looking up, not down

I didn’t really want to leave such a downer of a rant as my top entry so let me share with you some of the good things going on right now — although as I admitted, the good things bring me problems. Whenever I’m feeling alright, I happily stomp about, not realizing how much damage I’m doing to my flesh until it’s too late. But I wanted to share with you a few of the plugs I made for my Halloween series of lollipops:

Zoom it if you want.

Those are all made from Sculpey, and the multi-eyed pyramid and the one poison bottle were made by Nefarious. I first tried to cast them all in hard silicone, which didn’t turn out because of the hard putty has to be worked in small pieces and it left gaps. Then I tried casting it in a soft liquid silicone, which didn’t turn out either because I got too many bubbles it. Just for fun I used my previous mold to make some silicone toys — the all-seeing pyramid and batty boy — which shows the problems pretty clearly (and also because they were made with the dregs of my mix, the detail is a bit soft because there wasn’t enough catalyst). Finally I made the molds one at a time in silicone putty and they turned out perfectly with loads of detail, but I have not yet found the time to make candies or anything else. I find that I have at most ten minutes of motion before I’m completely incapacitated by a mix of a variety of sorts of pain, each worse than the other, nausea, and exhaustion.

I want to share something that I value a great deal:

You can click for a better image. It’s a floral painting done in acrylics by a young elephant. I’ve seen a lot of his other paintings and he seems to do mostly floral work. I liked his paintings because most elephants tend to either do abstract work (which is fascinating, because they each have their own evolving yet consistent style and express their own personalities in their work) or do trained paintings (like the video of the elephant painting a cartoon elephant that went viral recently), and this elephant does floral, which are usually trained, but this elephant paints them all differently in his own way, so it’s an interesting half-way point between the two that seems fairly rare. So in part trained and in part innate, but as to the level of specific comprehension that’s difficult for me to guess. I’ve been reading a lot about elephants and they have a sensitive and complex world view. Anyway, I got it in trade for a small donation to the rescue and I’m very happy to have received it a few days before my birthday.

Oh, and the paper is made of elephant dung. That’s good because it means that Nefarious is probably telling me the truth when she swears she’s going to keep her hands off of it. I haven’t had a chance to frame it yet, but I will soon, and when I do I think I’ll float it in the frame to show off the paper.

I also glazed the wooden bowl I made with glue, giving it a beautiful sheen, as well as a couple other nice projects (including my hilarious heat-score of a ZZ Top level beard in this awful dear-in-the-headlights snap), so please don’t think it’s all gloom and doom here. Just mostly, haha. Ha.

This isn’t about he-who-shall-remain-undrawn

I haven’t done a bit of proof-reading of this behemoth of an entry, so please excuse the many errors that I’m sure it contains. Grammar is very, very low on my list of priorities these days!

I’m sorry for my lack of posting. I had a few good days, but maybe got a bit excited and spent too much time on my feet running around with a smile on my face, and now I’m suffering for that ambition. It’s my birthday in a few days (on Thursday I’ll be thirty-seven) and if I was a betting person, my money would say this is the last birthday that I’ll see. I can’t begin to put into words how horrible and difficult the last while has been, and I don’t like to think about it. I had wanted and expected my next post to be about making candy — and I do have some nice lollipop molds made but haven’t found the strength to fill them — but that hasn’t happened yet. Later in the week I’ll have some much-looked-forward-to time at the hospital, hopefully giving me an explanation as to why all the much needed functional bits of my body are dying and being filled in with useless connective tissue… So let me channel all this pain and sickness I’m feeling into a suitable subject, something more deserving of death — the religions of the world, every last one of them.

Be warned, I feel a long, rambling, repetitive entry coming on.


My first attempt at soap making

Today’s DIY project (also built around my current love of making molds) was soap making. I sculpted an ugly pig man face about the size of a small apple, making a real effort to give it a ton of detail, but without doing anything that would be difficult to mold (or extract from the mold). However, I still did have a little trouble making the two-part mold because I initially used liquid silicone (rather than the stuff with the putty-like consistency) and not only did it cure with far, far too many bubbles, but I also must have messed up the mixture because it didn’t cure fully in areas and stayed soft and gummy. Eventually I just redid the mold in the silicone that I am more comfortable with, but I learned enough from the fiasco to do it right next time. Anyway, this afternoon I cast a bar (head?) of soap in it:

I used a cocoa butter melt-and-pour soap base (meaning that it comes in a solid block that you can melt to a liquid in the microwave, and then add color, scent, and so on before pouring it into the mold), into which I mixed camphor and eucalyptus oils, as well as some pink mica. I didn’t do a very good job mixing the mica in, so the pink is quite pale and there’s a bit of clumping (that’s what the black dots are — it’s not an exfoliant). Nonetheless, I think I did pretty well for a first attempt, especially given that the two-part mold I made is not ideal for how liquid the hot soap is. Here’s a couple more pictures:

I had a little soap left over which I quickly poured into the chocolate face molds that Nefarious and I made, as well as into the two-part bunny mold. The faces turned out great, better than they did in chocolate, but I was not so lucky with the bunny. I had a little trouble mating the two halves together, and lost some of the soap in the process. The end result of that error was that one half of the bunny is hollow, and the one arm is damaged. But it was a learning experience and it both showed me how to avoid this error and gave me some ideas on the best way to do hollow items on purpose.

My health has been all over the map lately with me either feeling great (I’m suspecting this is primarily due to me being excited about having all this new stuff to learn and make) and me feeling that I’m about to drop dead in a pool of vomit. But assuming I can find an hour tomorrow where I’m up to stomping around the kitchen, tomorrow’s self-schooling is going to be making lollipops and hard candies.

Oh yeah, and yay for a new season of Survivor. Caitlin and I watched the first season together a decade ago (and many more since then), and at least for me, I still enjoy the show every bit as much. And I still enjoy Caitlin every bit as much too!