Counting the days until my favorite holiday Dia de los Muertos, and as a warm up to this year’s celebration I’ve hosted a couple workshops in costume creation and sugar skull making. I hate to leave my out of town friends and fans out of the fun- and at the compelling request of Crime Spree Carol, it seemed like I ought to post a quick tutorial on calavara creation. I won’t say that she threatened me into doing this, but now that the blog post is up, I’ll assume she’s destroyed all negatives of the incriminating 8′ x 10′ photos that arrived in last week’s mail.
So Carol, and the rest of you, before we get to the disguise part, you’ll want to gather up supplies- The clown white grease paint was a purchase from Goodwill for $1.49, almost a steal! I got the black and glitter liquid eyeliners, mascara and fake eyelashes from the drug store and black face paint and body art kit from the craft store. In all the gear set me back about $30 but I’ll be able to do a whole posse of folks with this so it was a good investment. You might also want to get white face powder and tiny gems to add at the end for extra bling.
My friend Laura was kind enough to pose for the photos, I think Crime Spree Carol may have something on her as well, after this we’ll consider all debts paid in full. In the 1st step I covered Laura’s face in the grease paint with a small sponge. I left large areas around her eyes and tip of nose free. If you’d like the makeup to set you can brush on the white face powder next, it will also help the other colors go on smoothly on the top.
Next, I applied face paint to the eye area, you could also use a dark eye shadow for this step but I liked having the ability to layer and add lots of color to the flower shapes.
In dark blue face paint I created a flower shape around Laura’s eyes
I filled in the flower petals in a lighter blue and blended them into the green circles
Using the black liquid eyeliner I filled in Laura’s nose and made the outlines for her mouth
I used the black eyeliner again to draw a spider web on her forehead and fill in her lips. I also used it on her eyes in the waterline and outlined her upper eyelid
To give the web definition, I added a second line in black grease pencil. This is a great tool to use when doing skeletons for guys especially in the cheek areas and to add lip effects.
For the last few steps, I traced around the flower eyes in black liquid liner and added glitter eyeliner highlights. I also drew shapes on her cheeks and filled them in with face paint. From here you could add false eyelashes and sequins or small gems as well
Top the whole thing off with a saucy headdress of flowers and don’t forget the little people!
A quick recap from this weekend’s Sugar Skull Making Workshop at SCRAP- We had super laid back afternoon making cool calaveras in the back room. I loved seeing what folks put together using materials they found at the store, really creative use of recycled goods.
Looking forward to our workshop this weekend making costumes, masks, face paints and hair garlands for Dia de los Muertos. There are still a few spaces in the class and you can register on-line here…
Oh man the Portland Mini Maker Faire at OMSI was so much fun, I’m only just beginning to recover, that and my bail money finally came through. The number of cool things to see and do was astounding from indie computer games, 3-D printed toys, the 30 foot trebuchet, fractal designed copper furniture and chocolates you could shape yourself into exotic flowers. I spent a good portion of the weekend ducking arrows coming over the top of the Tracker’s booth, thank goodness they’d replaced the steel tips with sponges! Wire’s Geek Dad blog has a great re-cap of the Faire and Dale Dougherty founder of Make Magazine and Craft, and the brain child of Maker Faire gatherings was also in attendance, his blog post is here .
Not to be left out of the making mayhem, I snuck into the OMSI parking lot and and on the sly built my own stand, offering “policing by proxy” inviting criminals and potential criminals the opportunity to confess their mis-deeds in a mock mug-shot-photo-booth. I was shocked, shocked I tell you to see the number of young miscreants our city is manifesting, sure they may look cute now- but just wait until their feet can reach the gas pedal of the get-away car.
I’ve posted some of the more outstanding offenders here as well as a more complete listing on my flickr site I would advise using caution when approaching any of these individuals, clearly they are armed with a wicked sense of humor and several are confessed cereal killers and cookie thieves…
I barely have words to describe how incredibly cool day one was of the PDX Mini Maker Faire at OMSI. I’ll do a big fat link round up later, after I’ve had a little sleep and time to process all the great stuff I saw and new friends made. The mug shot photo booth was a huge hit and I’ll post pics up on flickr too as there were many, many amazing costume combinations and a wrap sheet of the world’s greatest crimes- Since I encouraged folks to come up with their own caption for the booking photos, there was a huge variety of crimes and misdemeanors, though I think today’s favorite was “early morning toilet slammer” followed by the kid who’s crime was being a hipster and yelled “that’s so main-stream” when I took his photo. There is one more day of amazing action if you can make it down here- remember code word is “you’re the yarn bomb” for a free gift from me, and if you can’t make it to my booth, there is lots of fun Criminal Craft handmade goodness in my Etsy shop.
Occasionally I get swept up in the heat of the moment, especially a moving political moment and feel my crafter self needs to take a stand. I’m so in awe of the fantastically brave punk rock chicks who”ve dared to take on Vladimir Putin the topless cowboy dictator.
How much I adore that the voices demanding democracy, freedom of speech and the separation of church and state happen to be hot 20 year old feminists in robber masks and Go-Go boots.
So today was set aside for busting out freezer paper, hot iron and a whole mess of ink and glitter. It’s uncanny that this particular event should happen since I’ve pretty much always wanted a shirt that said “Free Pussy Riot”.
I’m guessing that some of my other Criminal Crafter friends might want to make one too, so I’m posting my template, run with it, make something awesome, post the pictures on line and everywhere.
Nadezhda, Yekaterina, and Maria, you guys are inspiring, so sorry you got the short end of the stick in a corrupt system.
Because you are so cool, because you brave the weather to come out to book signings and liquor infused craft nights, because you wouldn’t let me leave the house with my slip showing, purse that didn’t match my shoes or a good alibi- I’ve made you a gift, and one for you, and you and you. Fans of the Criminal Crafts blog who stop by my booth (#34) at Portland’s Mini Maker Faire on Sept. 15th and 16th at OMSI and say “You’re the Yarn Bomb” get this super cute kit- a small ball of yarn (enough to learn how to finger knit), instructions on finger knitting and a brief history on the art of yarn bombing, an atomic fireball candy and a commemorative gift bag hand stamped by Parole Officer Honeyman and myself.
I’ll also be giving a few of these precious gifts away at my panel discussion and Iron Craft event at the Contemporary Arts Center on Monday Sept. 10th . Yes, I’m off to Cincinnati, you heard that right, the city that gave us Bootsy Collins, Carmen Electra, Doris Day and the Isley Brothers is also home to one of the more visionary and inspiring contemporary arts museums in the country. I’m doing a fab night of talking and judging craft smackdown with local artists Pam Kravetz and Chris Salley and like any good hosts, they’ve promised beer will be available. I’m really hoping to sneak off and squeeze in some yarn bombing when I’m there, since I hear it’s quite the scene in Cincinnati. There’s even a yarn bomb posse, the BombShells and they even have their own manifesto, and there really isn’t anything I like more than crafters with manifestos, except for maybe crafters with beer.
On the off chance that you happen to live somewhere other than the craft meccas of Portland and Cincinnati, I’m thinking you deserve a treat too. So the 1st five readers who email me a good alibi along with their address also get a gift in the mail. So hop too it, and I want good alibis, something creative, slightly funny and will stand up in court.
So a bit more about these yarn bomb bags… they were generously donated by Stateline Bags and blanks in a number of sizes can be ordered from their website here. They have a crafter’s resource section on the website too which is pretty darn cool and it got me to thinking about some other projects I want to make later this fall.
For my bags I drew three designs on paper and made a rubbing transfer onto heavy linoleum stamp material. I cut the shapes with carving tools but exacto knives work fine too. From there it’s as easy as stamping onto an ink pad and pressing onto the bag. I did put a piece of cardboard in the bag so the image didn’t seep all the way through. I’m delighted with how the bags came out and am planning to screen print some others to using a darling print kit I got from Etsy seller SimpleKraft.
I’ve got a full stamp carving tutorial in the Criminal Crafts book and illustrations too, to make your own paper funeral.
Oh man, I thought with summer winding down the Criminal Crafts hi-jinks would be coming to an end, not so my friends, not so. The calendar is getting stuffed with devious fun workshops, cool give-aways, dangerous craft offs and Portland’s very first Mini Maker Faire. I’m so excited I could spit, but it isn’t very lady like so I’ll hold off.
All the good stuff is getting added to my events page, check back when you can, as I keep adding to it and this awesomeness shouldn’t be missed! First up, if you’re cool enough to live near Cincinnati, you’ll have to hot foot it over to the Contemporary Arts Center on Sept. 10th, where I’ll be in on a panel discussion about the resurgence of hand made arts, there’s going to be an Iron Craft competition AND a bar. Drinking, crafting and being competitive, Cincinnati gets me on a deep and fundamental level. Will try to squeeze in some yarn bombing while I’m there, I hear it’s the thing to do and if you get caught it’s a much lighter sentence than what you’d serve than if was an actual bomb.
The following weekend, Sept. 15th and 16th is Portland’s 1st ever Mini Maker Faire at OMSI. A huge fun event for geeks, makers, Lego freaks, people who like giant trebuchets, 3-D printers and things that go boom. I’m in the process of building my space right now- aiming for mug shot photo booth and paper funerals to make and take, along with cool crafts for sale, copies of the book and a special treat for people who read this blog. More on this soon, but Stateline Bags has donated some of their very cool, small drawstring bags for an upcoming blog post and I’ll be doing give-aways based on that project.
As we sneak closer to fall, there’s a whole slew of cool upcoming classes. I’ll be presenting a series of workshops to get ready for my favorite holiday Dia de los Muertos. On Sept. 30th we’ll be making sugar skulls a.k.a calaveras the next Sunday, October 7th, we’ll be working on costumes, masks and skull make-up and a final workshop on altar or ofrenda building . The classes are sponsored by SCRAP and will be held in their workshop space, for more info- check out my listings on Skilshare .
Speaking of SCRAP, the Rebel Craft Rumble is coming up and I’m itching for a good fight, they are taking applications now until August 31st and oh man, do I hope I make the cut, I’ve been training P90X training (not really) since getting axed in the 1st round last year. My ego is glue gunning for a re-match! Fight night is October 18th at the Hollywood Theater.
But wait, there’s MORE can you BELIEVE IT??? Voodoo doll pincushions, two FREE workshops October 24th at the St. Johns Library and October 30th at the Holgate Library . So friends and frenemies, I expect to see you soon. And if you’ve made anything cool from the Criminal Crafts book, send me a photo, would love to add you to the gallery of rogues up on Facebook.
As promised, I couldn’t “do” Vegas in one post, there was just too much to see and really, The Mob Museum was so awesome, it deserved it’s own post.
It might not sound true to character, but I’m not a huge fan of the strip so I made the requisite trek pretty short. Everything there is a little too new for my taste, plastic and disposable like the giant day glow cocktail mugs shaped like the Eiffel Tower I saw a drunk lady throwing up into. Just not my scene.
That said, I won’t turn my nose up at the buffet at the Winn, it is divine and in one of the never ending malls I did managed to find one of those material goods I was willing to forgo my kids’ college education on… If you guessed the Ferrari Museum, you’d be close, but actually it was a gorgeous print of the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti at Bauman’s Rare books and a $30,000 copy of Ian Flemming’s Live and Let Die in it’s original dust jacket. For that kind of cash, I’d hope to get some of Sean Connery’s preserved sweat thrown in too.
While I yearned for Vegas’ old noir vibe, my husband did manage to chat with Wayne Newton at the check in desk for Southwest Airlines, but that hardly compares to my visions of the old casino days of vixen card counters and Elvis at the pool of the Flamingo.
Wandering off the Strip though, and into the downtown and arts district we were rewarded with cool thrift stores, friendly locals and some kick ass Mexican food.
Casa Don Juan on Main St. does a great chili relleno and had a super impressive wall of Frida Kahlo on one side of the restaurant and Emilliano Zapata on the other. Across the road I found some lovely vintage and modern decor at Corner Store. Wasn’t sure how to get the velvet couch back home with us and still kicking myself for passing up this lovely Remington typewriter. Thinking it would make a nice change from the cut ransom notes I’ve been slaving over.
Also on Main St. was Medusa’s Antiques, which had some decent stuff in the front of the shop and an amazing room of tiki collectibles in the back. Next trip its where I’ll be spending all my allowance money.
If you’re into the downtown Vegas scene, there’s a documentary being made by William Swaney that is worth checking out, Beyond Neon based on the coolness I saw in the hood and the super nice folks, it sounds like a great film going down.
Next up: Seattle Squirrel Madness
The best mobster stories take at least two volumes to tell, three if you include flashbacks, cooking advice and a couple generations of offspring added to the family drama. My Vegas tale isn’t quite as epic, but needs at least two posts to do it any justice. And when we’re talking about justice, The Mob Museum delivered it in spades.
Sitting pretty in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, The Mob Museum resides in a gorgeous old building once a US post office and Federal Courthouse. In 1950 it was one of 14 locations around the United States to participate in the Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime. Broadcast live on TV, these hearings put 600 witnesses, mafia kingpins and henchmen on the hot seat, nose to nose with US senators, facing allegations of interstate commerce violations and the uncovering the overwhelming influence of organized crime all around America.
Spanning three floors, with fun, and informative interactive exhibits and films, the museum delivers the goods on federal crime history, showing both sides of the loaded coin, profiling the thugs who did the deeds and the cops and legislators who uncovered the corruption and introduced legal oversights and justice to the chaos.
I’m a geek for crime history, so it was a delight to spend an afternoon exploring the exhibits and an even bigger treat to be doing a book signing of Criminal Crafts at the gift shop. To really see the museum you’ll want to set aside two or three hours, longer if you’ve seen Goodfellas, Casino or Donny Brasco more than once, because all those cats, and their homeboys are here. I really could have spent a full day, as the exhibits were completely fascinating, and gorgeous, high tech and inviting all at once and the bad side of being a gangster never felt glamorized.
Of course I kept an eagle eye out for genuine criminal crafting memorabilia and insights into the minds mobsters, and was rewarded by this “interestingly” executed pen and ink sketch which I think was done by John Gotti. Serving 10 years time prior to his death, one can only hope Teflon Don spent a little more time refining his skills and this was only and early attempt. I pity the poor guy who had to stand for hours posing for this one.
Around the museum were numerous quotes from famous mobsters and officers as well as clever presentations of background information. I especially liked the chalkboard drawing of criminal traits- perusing through the criteria, I seem to hit most of the deviant tendencies for an older miscreant.
Seeing the mob connection to Vegas history was especially compelling, lots of great memorabilia and back story from the city’s seedy past. The book on card sharking was behind glass so I couldn’t get any tips but there were a few slot machines tricked out for fake wins and other cons of the day. A room next door was plastered with stacks of fake money illustrating how much revenue the government lost to skimming scams, astronomical sums.
Luckily for me the tour winds up in the gift shop where I had a table for the afternoon. The gals who work the shop were good sports, indulging my corny jokes and trying on the spy glasses that I made. Special shout out to the super troopers who came in on their day off to get signed copies of my book. Can’t wait to see what they make, will be posting photos here!
I couldn’t leave empty handed and aside from getting souvenirs for myself, belated father’s day gifts I decided to start my Christmas shopping. The museum had some really unique stuff, biographies of famous cops and mobsters, movies, crime scene tape, loaded dice. shot glasses shaped like pistols and costumes for kids and adults. Since I couldn’t fit everything in my carry-on I’m glad the gift shop’s collection is on-line too.
Had to share pics of the treats I got for myself- an awesome book of mobster paper dolls. I’ll be making the Goodfellas set 1st. Skinny Ray Liotta, looks absolutely scorching here and I’m putting him on my desk to oversee all the hard work I’m doing. Sad though that there isn’t a version of him in his underwear, and it’s pretty telling that the Joe Pesci doll is missing a head.
And I could not pass up on the tape gun, nothing, nothing quite says Criminal Crafts like this bad boy. With any luck (or a good bribe) I’ll have a chance to do the SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble again this year and can use it as my secret weapon.
Well summer is in full swing, it’s wedding and horse racing season which means two things, classy ladies are going on Champagne benders and sticking silly things on their heads while running willy nilly to the finish line. With these parameters, I of course refuse to be left out, and had to put my own twist on the chapeau phenomenon by making a series of themed facinators to wear at events I’ve got coming up.
Some of my men friends have never heard of facinators, so I’ll take a moment to explain- They are fancy bits of lace, ribbon and do-dads that you wear on your head, similar to a hat, but smaller. Their geographical placement, above the belt line, might make them a bit more disappointing than they sound at first, but bear with me, with the right theme in mind, we can spice them right back up to being interesting.
I’ve made a few of these literary inspired accessories now so putting together the “50 Shades of Grey Facinator” was so easy, I could have done it with one hand tied behind my my back. (While rolling my eyes and chewing on my bottom lip). Seriously, handcuffs on your head is hot, and not hard to do. I opted to use the toy version of the shackles both for safety’s sake and they are a hell of a lot lighter and easier to attach with a glue gun. I actually got all the supplies to make the facinators from the Dollar Store, with the exception of the paint chips which I stealthily pocketed while at the paint shop. I think they actually give them away, but I like to feel sneaky even when I’m not doing anything wrong (except for not wearing underwear).
Plastic netting or fancy tuile
50 paint chips
So to make: Cut a produce bag into a 8x 12″ strip, scrunch one end of your “veil” together and attach to a plastic headband with hot glue. Do this over a newspaper because it’s going to make a drippy mess and since your veil is made of plastic, it’s going to melt a little bit. One trick is to put a bead of glue onto the headband and let it cool for about 20 seconds before pressing the netting down into it, and of course be careful, as it’s going to be hot.
Fan your chips and glue one on top of the other, glue pain chip rosette onto headband and cuffs on top of that
Open a bottle of expensive Chablis and pick up the phone, maybe Christian is free for a booty call
If he’s not around you can always treat yourself to more crafting, it’s almost as much fun as kinky sex with a neurotic billionaire. I had a hoot making a whole horde of facinators for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas. For some I went for the straight up gambeling theme, but I wanted to do something for my book signing at The Mob Museum of Las Vegas on the 30th. I am super stoked to check the museum out, the exhibits sound spectacular, looking at both sides of the crime history, the criminal element and the law enforcement officers who fought to bring them to justice. This duality inspired me to make two special facinators, one for the gangsters with a bottle of bootleg gin and one for Johnny Law with iconic shades and a fancy pants badge, that is probably fooling no-one.
Now you might be looking at these hats and think to yourself that Ms. Demeanor has finally taken crafting too far, no one would wear something so ridiculous on their heads, but friend, you’d be wrong and I’d like to point you to the most excellent blog post on Go Fug Yourself highlighting the haberdashery hijinks at the Royal Ascot this weekend, where society dames wore two teared bird houses and gargantuan flowers on their noggins. The outfits for Lady’s Day have gotten so out of hand that the Ascot officials have laid down the law this year, all together banning facinators in the royal box (no innuendo there!) but they still allow big ass hats. I remain amused and inspired.