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Third Time’s a Charm – Jewelry Making with the Kiddo

jewelry making copper pipe pendant necklaces rings bracelets

It. Finally. Happened. I made some new jewelry! I hope you weren’t holding your breath this whole time… Everything was laid out – beads, copper pipe sections, cord, glue – EVERYTHING. I *thought* about playing around and making some new pendants. I thought reeeeaaaalllly hard. 

Then I put it all away because it was just SITTING THERE. 

The cleaning struggle is real…

A short while later I went on a reorganization spree that hit every room in the house. All of my art supplies are now neatly tucked away in plastic boxes! Yay!So I pulled out my boxes of jewelry making supplies and put them *back* on the table. Then I thought about making some new pendants. I thought about it EVEN HARDER that time. I legit took some stuff out and fit things together and contemplated the universe in a noncommittal way – then put it all away.

‘Nuff said.

Not too long after that Mixer made its rounds in the media for all the reasons we don’t need to discuss here and I decided to check it out. After poking around the creative section I noticed a few things: 

  1. It’s a lot less crowded than Twitch
  2. Most of creators are digital artists
  3. I’ve seen zero other people making jewelry on Mixer (although that could just be a timing thing)

That night I casually asked my son if he would be interested in making some jewelry with me and streaming it. Of course he was all about it and wanted to get started that very instant and maybe play some Minecraft after or some Geometry Dash and we should get Super Mario Maker 2 and… Anyway, getting my mini-me in on the crafting fun meant less screen time for him and more accountability for me. Win-win!

You really should check out chibird. 🙂 https://chibird.com

For the *third* time I pulled out my jewelry making supplies, but this time I set up the camera, mic, and lights. After some test recording and even a *GASP* test pendant – away we went! We streamed for a few hours and I got a few new pendants done while helping my super enthusiastic kiddo make two necklaces, two rings, and two bracelets. 

My awesome friend also popped in and watched *the whole stream*, which was really cool and above and beyond. You don’t find a pal like that very often. She mentioned coming over to watch IRL, but crafts aren’t a spectator sport in my house! MUAHAHAHAHA!!

Anyway, here’s the stuff we made. The boy especially loves showing off his bling! <3

Jewelry making necklaces pendants bracelets and rings
One necklace was a gift and we didn’t get a pic of it.

I don’t know why I didn’t think to take pictures along the way. I guess I went full n00b even though it technically wasn’t my first stream. For some reason our stream was flipped when we went live, even though it looked fine in OBS. Of course I didn’t realize it until the end. 

We all have our moments…

On top of that, the table was a MESS. Short of anything to do with resin, I had just about everything I use for jewelry making on that table “just in case”. It wasn’t all in frame, but there was a lot of reaching and confusion and switching seats – exactly how it would have been without the camera. 🙂

I ended up taking down the stream recording because my precious little one is still learning about what to say/not say online – especially live. At some point I’ll take highlights from the stream and post a video. We’re definitely going to be streaming more and it won’t just be jewelry. Drawing, painting, games and whatever else we can think of will be part of the createm0de channel! 

What would you like to see us make? Come find us on Mixer!

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

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Shifting Art Gears

fluid art painting acrylic ink

October has just flown by! After the past few weeks of doing Inktober and Drawlloween and staying (roughly) on track, I realized that I haven’t done anything with jewelry, painting, or the site. Sorry about that! 

It also got me thinking. I’m really loving drawing again. Not that I ever didn’t love it, but I’m rediscovering all the “behind the scenes” things that happen in art that make the experience of creating so robust. It’s deciding on concepts, looking at reference images, quick sketches to see if something will work, and starting over again when it doesn’t. It’s all the things that happen before the final piece is even started. 

I’ve also been thinking that I don’t miss the fluid art. There’s only so much time before and after work and in between family activities. Every day is a choice of what to make – if there’s even time (or energy) to make anything at all. For me, fluid art was a stepping stone to bring art back into my life. It was something I could just make without having to worry about it too much (plus I learned how to make videos, which was super fun!). Then I started working on an old painting again. That got me thinking of ways to revamp old pieces and ideas for starting new ones – so the “fluid art phase” did what it was supposed to do.

fluid art painting acrylic ink
They’re everywhere!

fluid art painting acrylic ink
They’re here, too!

fluid art painting acrylic ink
I can’t even look at them anymore! lol

Now that my walls are covered in trippy paintings, I’m ready to move on. Of course, with Inktober I’m drawing every day again. So the natural progression seems to be to shift gears and focus more on that. I’m not going to make any more fluid art videos, but I do want to start recording my drawing and painting. 

As for jewelry, I know I haven’t posted much about that here, but I’m going to keep going with that. I won’t be making any more Pebeo pieces, so I’m working on using up the Pebeo paint that I have left. For jewelry I’m going to focus on copper pipe necklaces and the “doogle” pins. There’s been enough experimenting and wasting supplies “in the name of science!” And it’s time to get the craft table under control. Seriously, it’s a mess. Time for some fall cleaning!

messy craft table clean up
So. Embarrassing.

All of the Inktober stuff is coming as soon as the month is up! I feel like this year is miles better than last year, but we can talk about that in a few days when the pics go up. 🙂

But for now, thanks for reading! Until next time!

BTW, if you want to check out last year’s Inktober/Drawlloween fiasco, click here. 🙂

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Roadblocks Don’t Have to be Roadblocks

manga atsushi nakajima anime bungou stray dogs drawing sketching

Life has weird ways of interfering with the things we want to do. Roadblocks happen all the time. Sometimes they seem to be everywhere, sapping energy, joy, and inspiration. Ugh. That’s a bleak start to a blog isn’t it? But it’s kind of how the last week or so has been. Lots of effort (or maybe not nearly enough?) and not much to show for it. This first paragraph is even a stretch. I’m saying I’m sorry now because I know it’s not my best. 

So what can we do when are just – blah?

I can tell you that a couple of days ago I was so tired I just lumped on the couch and binged a few episodes of Attack on Titan, occasionally glancing over at my sketchbook on the drafting table. It was a horrible feeling, like I just couldn’t handle getting up to do even a *little* bit of sketching. I knew physically I was capable, but it didn’t happen. I fell asleep early and woke up feeling… not at all better. Yeah, I know. You totally feel bad for me now. 🙂

manga atsushi nakajima anime bungou stray dogs
Atsushi Nakajima referenced straight from the Bungou Stray Dogs manga!

This next day was different though. As icky blah as I was feeling the following evening (my only time to work on any art during the week), I did a little drawing. It was just a bit of work on a drawing of Atsushi Nakajima (Bungou Stray Dogs) I started the week before, but it was something! And I think that’s the key to these types of roadblocks – or at least part of it. Something is better than nothing. A squiggle, a few lines, a small start – something that could be built on later. Or not. But it’s something!

Atsushi Nakajima Bungou Stray Dogs manga anime drawing sketching
Got a bit more done on Atsushi. One more sitting should do it!

There’s something important to remember, though, and it deals with part two. We all have those days where stuff doesn’t get done for one reason or another. Sometimes being tired is a perfectly ok excuse! Feeling bad about it doesn’t change anything. Guilt doesn’t make roadblocks go away – moving on does. It can start with a small bit of progress on a tough day or by taking a little time to check out mentally. Neither one of those things is wrong!

The blah isn’t totally gone, but taking a day off from work definitely helped. Just thinking about having the better part of a day with the house to myself was super relaxing! The night before I worked on a bunch of jewelry and poured a painting and still had a little time to play some video games with my kid. 

The day off is being spent working on whatever I feel like working on because it’s right now and the first thing I’m doing is finishing this blog post. I plan to finish Atsushi later this morning, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t. Maybe I’ll take a nap or do a little painting. Whatever happens after I hit publish, I’m moving on from those roadblocks. 

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

P.S. If you want to see my stuff as soon as it’s done, check out my Twitter. Thanks! You’re the best!

 

***UPDATE***

September 30: 

I finished it. 🙂

bungou stray dogs Atsushi Nakajima anime manga
Atsushi Nakajima is all done, but this won’t be the last time I draw him!

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I Made a Mistake…

body-kun body-chan figuarts bandai fakes

I like to think I’m pretty careful when it comes to buying stuff online, but I can also get a little impulsive. Because of that, I found myself in a small predicament all because I saw something shiny on Instagram. If you’ve ever taken a drawing class, there’s a good chance you had to sketch one of those nondescript wooden mannekins that sort of, but not really, look like people. It’s tough to get them into any sort of natural position, but for a basic subject to sketch, they’re pretty good. 

drawing reference wood mannekins dog penguin
A happy little family of drawing references!

That being said, I’ve been looking around for quite some time for an alternative – something that is more natural that I can look at in real life. Picture references are fine, but it’s different than sketching from life. Odd little knick-knacks around the house are great for a challenge, but at the end of the day I really like to sketch from the human figure. So when I saw an Instagram ad for Body-Kun figures, it looked like the most perfect solution ever! The site they were (ARE) being sold from is sketchy (the first red flag), but I ignored that for this perfect thing that was the answer to all my sketching reference dreams. The projected delivery time was 3-4 weeks due to high order volume. That was red flag number two. 

drawing reference body-kun body-chan fakes
Seems legit?

I received tracking information about a week after the order was placed, but it didn’t budge after that. During that time, I did the research I should have done before placing the order. I found instances referencing that exact site (and others) where poorly made knock-offs were being sold. 

https://www.trustpilot.com/review/bodykun.com

How to tell if an S. H. Figuarts Body Kun/Body Chan is fake …

Bodykun.com: Has anyone bought a Bodykun from here …

The real product is made by Bandai S.H. Figuarts and they are not for sale just anywhere. There are certain retailers that sell them and they are not available all the time. If you aren’t getting one of those, you most likely are not getting the real product. There’s even a handy post on DeviantArt that shows the differences between the real and the fake figures: https://www.deviantart.com/lauraramirez/journal/Edit-BODY-KUN-REVIEW-Very-disappointed-703049537

Once the order hit the four-week mark, I contacted the company to see what was up. They said the item was backordered and I would have it by the following week. I immediately checked my tracking info again and it was gone. Big, fat, red flag number three. 

I let a few days go by and decided I wanted nothing to do with any of it, so I contacted them again and requested a refund. Of course, they said the order was on the way and therefore couldn’t cancel. So I turned to PayPal, filed a dispute that I didn’t received the order, and the company replied that it was on the way. I replied that I would reject the package, at which point they would have to give me a refund, right? Sure enough, the following Friday when I was out of town, the package showed up. When did the tracking update? After the package showed up. 

So now what? Well, I escalated the claim with PayPal to “item not as described” or whatever they call it. Then, for the sake of documentation, I did an unboxing video! I mean, I HAD to open them at that point to see if they were really as bad as I thought they would be. Spoiler alert: they were. In fact, I’d say they exceeded expectations on that front. The figures are now sitting in a plastic bin awaiting their fate.

body-kun body-chan figuarts bandai fakes
This pretty much captures how I feel about these. I really wanted to like them.

Depending on what PayPal does or doesn’t do, I might get a refund, I might have to send them back, or nothing happens at all. I’ll definitely keep you updated! 

Don’t be like me – don’t buy junk from Instagram ads. 🙂

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Stickers! Stickers! Stickers! [Making a New Journal]

stickers paper sketches projects

Now that the outside cover was all done, it was time to figure out the inside cover for the journal. I had no idea what I wanted to do, except that there should be color. So I took one of my staple color combos – indigo, turquoise, and magenta – and dripped the paint around the inside of the front cover. It was looking… ew… so I closed the cover to try to get an ink blot effect. It *sort of* worked. I figured it was going to be mostly covered with stickers anyway, so I let it dry and pulled out my big ole stash of stickers. Yay STICKERS!!!

Did you know you can get packs of 100 or more vinyl stickers on Amazon for about ten bucks? Not promoting anything here, but when I need to make the free shipping (I REFUSE to get prime), those sticker packs are just the best!

I went ahead and picked out my faves. I’m talking the stickers I liked so much that I would probably never put them on anything, ever. Well, if ever there was a place to put said stickers, it would be on the inside of my journal. After picking out all the good ones (omg what are you gonna think about all the ones that I thought were good??),  I separated them into piles of black and white stickers and color stickers. Then I sort of figured out which ones would go in front and which ones would go in the back. Sort of, because we both know whatever plan existed was going to change part way through anyway.  

I thought it might look cool to transition from the black and white cover to a more colorful inside. So I put the black and white stickers toward the edges and the colorful stickers in the middle. I’m not sure if that translated, but that’s what I did.

journal making stickers inside cover
Transition! Or another hot mess… STICKERS!

When I moved on to the back inside cover, things got a little sticky – pun intended. I used WAY too much paint. When I closed the cover to smoosh it all up, it didn’t really want to let go. Then it started to run, so I dabbed it and smooshed it again. Eventually I got it to some kind of a happy place where paint wasn’t running and pooling everywhere, but it took a long time to dry. Seriously, it felt like FOREVER. 

journal making inside cover
Not only did it take forever to dry, parts of it stuck shut after the book was closed for a while. There are a couple of rips in there now. 🙁

It was actually more like I had to leave it overnight and stop working when I didn’t want to (*stickers!*). The next day the paint was still a bit tacky underneath, but that ended up being for the best because I had an idea. I was going to add A POCKET. Not just any pocket. A pocket made out of one of the pages I ripped out! It was another one of those singing angels moments and I’m pretty sure the entire room started to sparkle. 

After a bit of cutting, folding, and gluing I had a pocket! I put some of my leftover sketchbooks scans around it and proceeded to sticker away! 

journal making inside cover
I’m pretty proud of that pocket. I may or may not have glued it shut at one point.

All that was left at this point was prepping the inside pages, which would probably make for some boring pictures, except maybe for the first and last pages. I had two things that absolutely had to go in the journal. First, there was this big fairy sticker I bought at Hot Topic at least ten years ago. I have no idea why I got it, but I had it for so long it was time to finally give it a home. Onto the first page it went! I thought it would be a nice representation of all things past, since by the time I started the journal everything at the beginning would be in the past. 

journal making inside page
This sticker was just the COOLEST THING EVER.

Then there was the last page. That was filled with strips of pink unicorn duct tape because how could I NOT use pink unicorn duct tape? Buuuuuut, if I’m going to assign it some meaning it does represent a lot of change since I bought that fairy sticker. Back then the only color I really liked was black and everything all whatever and stuff, but I’ve worked at moving away from that and been through lots of life decisions. So I guess we can say pink unicorn duct tape represents change and moving forward while still being myself because I bought that on a whim, too. 🙂

journal making inside page
I had to do it! The unicorns told me to!

For the rest of the journal I just divvied up the sections, glued some stuff in, added drawing and watercolor color paper where it was needed, and that was it! I closed my freshly made journal for the year with pride and-

Oops.

journal making craft diy
There’s just too much love packed in there!

Remember where I said pages needed to come out to make room? Protip: Make sure you take out *enough* pages. Watercolor paper especially can be pretty thick. Even though it doesn’t close all the way, I still think it turned out pretty sweet Plus, it’s one of a kind, with plenty of other quirks built into it already!

If you want to watch me put this thing together in super sped-up time, you can check out the video here: 

Thanks for sharing this little journey with me. If there’s another project you’d like to see me take a crack at, let me know! Until next time!

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What’s Old is New [Making a New Journal]

Not too long ago, I made a journal out of my very first ever art book. It was given to me by the one person that encouraged me to pursue art – my elementary art teacher (Shout out Mrs. P!). When I was a kid I didn’t think I was good at anything in particular, and whether I was actually any good or not, I felt like I was when I was in the art room. That’s the best gift a teacher could ever give a kid. So this book has been on the bookshelf of every place I have lived since then, through many moves and lot of life. Now after a couple of decades I have to admit – it’s been a while since I even flipped through it.

So let’s look back to just a couple of months ago. I was coming to the end of my last journal, which I started following this book as a guide. It worked as a first journal ever and as an exercise to see if I could really stick to it for a year. The year went by quickly and I completed all (*ahem* – the vast majority) of the exercises from the guide. The thing is, I was never really happy with what I used for the journal. It was one of those kits you get from the local art supply store and for the second time around I needed something more personal. 

I did some poking around about bookmaking, thinking that you can’t possibly get more personal than making something from scratch! And really, bookmaking is still something I want to try, but it wasn’t feeling right for this project. Then I found some stuff about repurposing old books. I had that angels-come-down-from-heaven-singing moment even though I’m not the least bit religious (which is saying something). Anyway, the ideal candidate for a book-reusing project has to meet certain criteria.

First, it has to be a hardcover. That one is kind of a no-brainer. Second, the pages should be thick enough to withstand whatever you need them to do. If they are a little thin, they can be glued together, or other paper can be added in, but some books have crazy thin pages that I would never use (except maybe for ripping them out for a collage – not that I go around arbitrarily destroying books).

journal making pages
Those are the stitches you’re looking for!

Third, and this was something I hadn’t thought about, the binding has to be stitched. The reason is that in making the book strong enough to stand up to drawing, painting, collaging, and so on, pages need to be ripped out and glued back together (you’ll see what I mean later). Pages that are only glued in might hold up, but exposure to moisture (like ink and paint) means you run the risk of pages falling out.

Stitched pages reduce the likelihood of losing pages as you destroy a book in the name of art. (Of course, if it’s going to be more of a “light duty” journal and pages don’t need to come out, then a glued binding might be ok). The tricky part is, you don’t see many stitched bindings these days. Go take a minute to flip through some of your hardcover books. How many are stitched? Guess how many of mine were. Zero. Even some of the books that looked old were just glued.

journal making
Copyright 1978. When they knew how to make a book to last.

So I stood there looking at my bookshelves thinking – this is all the books I have? Mind you, having moved these books across the country and back and between many different apartments, I have long had the opposite sentiment. But there were a couple of books in there that I guess I’ve had for so long that I sort of didn’t see them any more. There was an early printing of The Stand, and obviously that wasn’t even a consideration. Can you imagine?? Then of course, there was the art book. Cue more angels. 

journal making
This is it! A little worn and very green.

It was the perfect size and had the perfect number of pages. It had history. This would make a journal that would be infinitely more personal than buying a bunch of materials and making a book. So I picked out paint, stickers, and paper. I thought about what kind of cover I wanted and scanned and printed out doodles and drawings from my sketchbook. I found a bottle of Modge Podge that is so old I have no idea when I bought it (it’s still good!). When I had everything together, I set up a camera and got to work. 

journal making stickers paper sketches
All the things will go into my journal!

I think that’s enough exposition for now. Next time, I’ll show you the transformation!

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Getting Started

Getting started – it’s tough isn’t it? Maybe it’s not the getting started part that’s hard, but getting the start that you want. I had a whole plan for the first blog on this site, all starting with this project I did turning an old book into my current journal. It was called “New Beginnings” and every time I got started writing it was TERRIBLE. That’s the point at which it’s ok to walk away because it’s just not going to happen – at least not at that moment. So I’ve been sitting on this for a while because I couldn’t get it right. That’s a dumb reason, isn’t it? So I’m just – starting. Worrying about how it all comes out is silly. It didn’t have to be some elaborate account of a project I did. This little bit is enough because all I really ever needed to say was this:

Hi! Welcome to my site! I make art and jewelry and I’m glad you’re here to check it out!

getting started journal book making
My future journal 🙂