Anchors Away

Delighted to see this news clip from last night and the charming Stephanie Stricklen modeling my see-behind-spy-glasses made especially for DB Cooper night at Mississippi Studios. If the whole TV thing doesn’t work out for her, I think she should totally take up being a Master Criminal, it looks GOOD on her!

Mile High Club

I’ve done a lot of stupid things in pretty unconventional places, so it may come as some surprise that I’m actually not a member of the Mile High Club.  I’m usually so engrossed in the Sky Mall magazine and the 10 gin and tonics that it takes to actually get me on a speeding tin can of death, that having any sort of physical interaction beyond ordering another drink is way beyond my comfort zone.

I am however fascinated by those rare individuals who see air travel as  not just a means for getting from one place to another, but an opportunity.

Case and point, DB Cooper, actually Dan, well, really we don’t know what his real name was, but we do know this: On November 24th, 1971, this guy walked down the stairs of a Boeing 727 with $200 G strapped to his chest, the plane was cruising somewhere around 10 thousand feet at 200mph and the windchill would have been around -7. What happened after that, nobody knows for sure.  DB had cajones the size of Philadelphia, his extortion of the airlines, bomb threat and crazy assed escape are the stuff of real life criminal legend.

I like to keep up to date on my perp history, especially when local heroes are involved, but I didn’t know nearly enough about this inspiring story until I listened to the freakin fantastic podcast “DB Cooper” Kick Ass Oregon History.   Pulp fiction for the ears my friends, but true!  I’ll have to paraphrase my favorite line, just before DB makes his leap of faith… “high on bennies and burbon, he was literally on top of the world” .

I’m so smitten with the Oregon History folks that I’ve put together a couple raffle items for their upcoming DB Cooper night gathering at Mississippi Studios on the 20th at 7:30.  Sounds like a winning evening there’s even a bottle of Pendelton Whiskey up for grabs.  Not wanting to be left out of the mayhem, I’m donating a stellar pair of retro see-behind-sun-glasses for the perfect get away and this amazing airline opportunist pulp fiction pendant.

The necklace is a reproduction of the only Harlequin Romance I’ve ever read, “Doctor Down Under” the story of a man who makes house calls in the bush.  I kid you not. OK, well, he’s a doctor in Australia, who travels by single engine plane to remote settlements in the bareback, I mean, outback.  If you don’t win this stunning piece of trash fiction at DB Cooper Night, you can always pick up your own copy in my Etsy shop.

And, if you’re up for more great Oregon Kick Ass History, check out their other shows, really great stuff, I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you’re like me and have a penchant for stories peppered with F-Bombs and Van Halen soundtracks.

2 Legit 2 Quit

Holy smokes, it’s like a for real thing! Criminal Crafts, the book is at the printer, getting boxed, bundled, and packed up for a shipment to stores this spring.  While I knew that it was happening, since books don’t write themselves, much as we’d like them too, it didn’t feel legitimate. Until this

The thing that’s got me super giddy is the ISBN number, it seems so official, even more fun than when I found my name in the phone book for the 1st time.  So even though the book isn’t out yet, you could pre-order it, or wait a bit and let me sign a copy for you with a devious inscription.

So delighted with how the project turned out, the folks at Andrews McMeel did an amazing job putting it together. The design elements are super charming in the macabre way that I find so appealing; faux bullet ridden holes in the pages, tire tracks from get-away cars and the occasional incriminating fingerprint.

My friends Laura Sams and Rob Sams carved a huge and generous amount of time from their super busy schedules last fall to take pictures for the book.  Criminal

Crafts is a bit of a departure from their usual work of making outstanding wild life films for kids, but

Laura and Rob have a great sense of humor so working on this project wasn’t really a stretch.  I’m super lucky to have such talented folks in my life, and grateful that my kids will actually have some folks who are a good influence on them as roll models.  I mention this last bit because, last week my 8-year-old came running into the room yelling “mommy, I have a great idea for a bank job”.  As much as I’d like to discourage her aberrant behavior, it actually was a good plan, so if this whole book thing doesn’t work out, we’ve got plan “B”, though it does involve waiting until her brother is tall enough for his foot to reach the gas pedal.

What’s In it for Me

The last few weeks have past in a delirious, craftastic blur.  I’ve been nose to grindstone in the secret lair prepping demo materials for this weekend’s Urban Folk Art Show at the Washington County Fair Complex.  I’m pretty excited since this will be my first chance to give sneak peeks of projects in the upcoming book.

Deciding what to bring was a fun challenge- I wanted to include a couple crafts, flashy fun things which come together quickly and really highlight the maudlin and nefarious humor of the book.   I’ve settled on three projects; Pulp Fiction Pendants, Making and using Invisible Ink, and Mexican Wrestler Masks from a burglar’s disguise.

The Pulp Fiction Pendants are my criminal spin on the ever-so-popular Scrabble tile necklaces.  Rather than using clip art or decorative paper, I’ve selected some of my favorite novels as source material for the designs.  The retro look and ironic titles are charming when miniaturized, giving your outfit a smokin noir kick.  In my book I suggest using a pre-fab pendant base which is recessed and can be filled with resin.  I like the finished look of these necklaces with a lovely silver border, but it is a bit tricky reducing book images precisely to fit the frame area.  Stumped for an idea for better backing material, I wandered over to SCRAP for some artistic inspiration.  Bang, POW!

Of course they had something I could appropriate for my pendants, and a host of other goodies too.  I’m stoked to be including reused materials in my demo and thrilled that this method turned out less expensive and easier to make.
I’ll also be doing a demo of my invisible ink kit.  A perennial favorite of eight-year-olds and Russian spies, invisible ink is a delightful way to share secret messages between friends.  Working successfully with these solutions can be a bit tricky so my demo will focus on good penmanship techniques, and safety precautions for volatile writing.
With Halloween coming up soon, I thought it would also be fun to include one great costume idea. My luchador design utilizes a black, full face ski balaclava, know in the trade as “robber mask” combining it with glitter, sequins and felt.  As any good bank heist movie will tell you, the art of distraction is the best disguise.  No one is going to remember your ugly mug when it’s sitting pretty under a pound of bling, making that perp walk, a cake walk.
So if you’re free on Sunday the 9th, and up for a little bad behavior and shopping, drop in and see Probation Officer Honeyman and I at the show.  Looks like there’ll be lots
to do; a host of great booths, live music, food, and thank the stars Provincial Vineyards will have some wine on hand! Criminal Crafts demo times are 11:30 and 1:30.

Barefoot Bandit

Folks are always moaning about the missing sock, the thread bare stray lingering at the back of the dryer… you ask yourself, “where’s the other, I know I put two in the wash, what could have happened, that is SO odd.”

I took it, I stole your sock and I put it in my Etsy shop .

I’ve been doing the sock thing for years now, slipping into the laundry room and grabbing a stray or two when no one was looking.  I’m not a foot fetishist, more of a thrill seeker really, and a harmless one- like you were really going to miss the stretched at the heel, gold seamed men’s work sock.  Really, by taking it I was doing you a favor.  I’ve seen you wear it with sandals, and it looks ridiculous, the fashion police are warming their engines as we speak.

My acquired collection has been getting a bit out of hand though and rather than guest star on an episode of Hoarders, I thought I’d see if I could get a little equity out of my larceny. Like most of the tricks up my sleeve, I learned sock buddy making at the Big House where we’d craft with just about anything.  A little dirt from the exercise yard, dental floss, smuggled grass seed, stolen sock and presto- instant friend in solitary.

I’ve a number of these pals now, enough to make a quorum and frankly, they are getting under foot.  I’d like to release them into the wild, but like any other parolee, they need some supervision (and the occasion spritz when they get wilty).

So here’s the deal, you can have your stinky sock back, it’s been upcrafted and it’s waiting for you on Etsy.  You’ve been missing your sole mate,right?  And when your pal “Lefty” starts filling in a bit, snap a pic and send it to my Grass Head Buddy Gallery on Facebook, I’m getting a line-up of usual suspects going there and would love to include your fancy footwork.

xx oo

Miss Demeanor

SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble 2011

It’s pretty well known that I’m a rule breaker, schemer, backstabber, big mouth potty talker, and well dressed strumpet- one thing I’m NOT known for is being a slacker, if there is something big going down, I’m there five minutes early, for someone with little honor to spare, I like to think promptness is one of the few credits in my corner.

The fact that it’s taken me over six weeks to blog about the most awesome SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble is shameful. I can only offer two excuses for my delinquency, choose whichever sounds best to you: 1. I was detained for questioning after thing went horribly wrong at the chinchilla ranch, OR 2. I’ve been working like a mad woman on the last edits for the Criminal Crafts book and barring an act of God, it will be in stores next spring…

Regardless my excuses, I’m ready to lay it all down now and can profess- the rumble exceeded all my expectations my posse and I had more fun than is legal.  (well except for Wyoming, I think pretty much anything goes there).  I’d been talking crafty smack with a few of the competitors on twitter for a couple weeks leading up to the rumble, so we were all pretty primed for a good fight when the big night came around.

The super talented  Bridget Benton a.ka. “The Crafty Bee” and I came up with short straws and were on deck 1st.  Before I go on to explain the smack down and the spanking I quickly received- I should mention a few things about the rumble I really LOVED- all the competitors had an alias, can’t tell you how at home I felt with the gals all using fighting names, also they all wore costumes, I wish I’d thought to do that, I had my work clothes from the yard and my usual sexy stripes- Next year, I’m totally wearing a costume.

For those of you who’ve never been to a rumble, it’s similar to an iron chef event- Each of us had a stash of materials to work with and were given an object to crafticize with in fifteen minutes.  We could each bring in a “secret weapon” and were encouraged to bribe the judges.  Also there was a lot of beer drinking going down- my kind of gig, crafts, bribery and beer, what could be better right? The Bee and I were given a chair to gussy up and present to the judges.  Despite my “secret weapon” of genuine police issue crime scene tape and drunken strip dance with said chair, the Bee cleaned my clock, deservedly, but hope she’s sleeping with one eye open as I don’t do well with disappointment…

Next up was Miss Aurora and The Chealsinator (sic?).  Dang these guys were both super crafty amazing and had to make THREE puppets, they rocked it, they really did- Aurora made freaky funny voices for her puppets which was disturbingly hilarious.  She went to to the semis only to loose to the Bee in a ball gown designing kerfuffel.

For the finals the Bee faced down raining champ and mistress of all things crafty Sister Diane.  Now, I’m not going to say the spirits were at work, but suddenly the Bee’s glue gun crapped out and her benevolent opposition was kind enough to share tools (this act of mercy further endearing her to the judges)… then when the time ran out and the gals showed their embellished chandeliers, one had faulty wiring and the other…. well, I’d never guess who had divine intervention on that one, and I’d NEVER suggest that Sister Diane made a pact with the devil, but there was this freaky odor of brimstone when the lights went up…

As anyone who was there that night will tell you, it wasn’t about winning or loosing, but having a good time- fortunately my home girls had staged  a prison break that morning and released themselves on their own recognizance. They did me proud and next time around I’ll have a decent change of clothes waiting for them.  Special thanks go to all the amazing folks at SCRAP for putting the evening together and my parole officer, Mrs. Honeyman who let me attend by special arrangement.  More photos from the rumble are up on my flickr site.

Mud in Your Eye

Oh rapturous spring has arrived, and while this might conjure images of flowers and warm weather for most, I’m laying low in Oregon where sunshine is a fickle mistress teasing us with brief glimpses of bare skin before hopping back into cold showers.

This extended gloomy weather is perfect for us crafters and schemers, no guilt in hiding out in the basement all day crocheting our sorrows, polishing the glue gun.  By mid May though I notice my comrades getting a little stir crazy, ready to show off finished winter projects, and bad-ass techniques they’ve perfected in the cold dark solitude.

Unshackled from the sewing machine the crafters break free like naked baby mole rats clawing out of isolated craft caves.  They emerge into a world exploding in color and scents, the libido of the season fully attacking their fragile psyches.  Unable to handle the assault and stimulation they launch into hyper ambitious mode and the next thing you know they are like rutting sheep calling out craft challenges all around town.

I too am hearing the sirens call of the crafty smack downs, and I’ll tell you what, I’m ready.  Late nights of sniffing glue and yarn bombing have me down to fighting weight. I’m an animal, a knitting machine ready to cut loose and meet you on the playground after school, pinking shears in hand.

To further demonstrate my awesomeness and because I’m in need of a stiff drink this afternoon… I’ve created an homage to the ubiquitous squelch under my boots and general sentiment to fellow crafters who think they can take me down… and because I’m such a good sport and all around winner, I’m willing to share the recipe… Here’s…

Mud in your Eye


1 large box cherry flavored jello

1 box chocolate instant pudding mix

1 cup milk

2 cups whipped cream

2 cups Stoli vodka

1 cup Coffee Liqueur- I prefer Godiva but assume you’ll go for the cheap stuff which would work fine too.

To Make:

Several hours ahead make the cherry jello as directed on box, substitute vodka for 1/2 of the water called for in recipie on box.  (should be two cups depending on brand).  Pour into fancy glasses and let set for about four hours.  Make the instant pudding according to recipe on box, substituting one cup of coffee liqueur for half of milk portion directed.  In a separate bowl beat the whipped cream into stiff peaks.  Add the pudding mix to the whipped cream in two batches, folding gently.  Can be served immediately or will keep for several days.  Garnish with shaved chocolate and fancy straw.

Drink if you dare fellow craft-a-holics.  Actually you’ll need a spoon… but here’s my challenge to you… a cocktail rebuttal.  I’d love to sample some tasty treat my bad mouthed friends are dishing out.  Send me your best (or your worst) and if it meets the low moral standards and high expectations of Criminal Craft’s own Miss Demeanor, I’ll print it here and say nice things about you all over the internet.

Love Letter, Straight from My Heart

With the coming of Valentine’s Day, I’m inspired to acknowledge that singular stunning person in my life who motivates me to create.  Dante had his Beatrice, John had Yoko, Warhol had Edie and I’ve got my Amy.

My muse is not a gauzily veiled coquette,  a Helen of Troy with beauty inspiring an armada across the sea.  No, she is my nemesis, a hooded figure who trailing through my nightmares barks at my heels like a rabid pit bull in heat.  Holding a mirror to my shadow, I see her lurking in the dark crusty side of my soul, feeding on spite and malice.

In the past I may have tried to win the affection of a fair beau with my crafty prowessness, but let me tell you friends, these victories come easy.  Sew a guy a pair of mittens, make him a beer cozy and he’s yours to keep, it’s pretty darn simple to catch a man, you don’t even need to knit the net, just put on a tight sweater, toss him a  sandwich and mischief managed!

And while I’ve given up on impressing my paramour, I still have my frenemy, the woman who keeps me sleeping with one eye open.  She is a craft stalker, plain and simple.  If I make something unique and lovely, I’ll see her the next day whipping up some facsimile, a China Town knock-off of my designer original.  To call her a copycat though is a cheap shot, her cunning and quick draw with the pinking shears make her a worthy adversary.  She truly is an artistic genius as demonstrated in her Tornado Landscapes and seminal work in dental implant mock-ups .

Born of Russian aristocratic stock, her kin found her to be such an unpleasant child, they abandoned her in the woods during a spring outing.  Subsequently, Amy was raised by a community of Bush Squirrels.  Ever the traitor, she milled the family tree for firewood, during a winter cold snap.  “She’s dead to me” said her cousin, Stumpy, when I asked him about those early days.

My nemesis and I met a few years later, classmates in a “Hand Tools for Woodworking” course that left us both inspired and bloodied.  Bonding over a passion for expensive Japanese saws and a well stocked liquor cabinet we became inseparable until the ugly gorgon of competition reared it’s distorted head.  Our feud has been slightly documented, scholars desiring of more back-story should begin with the poignant blog, Remember When We Were Friends where our early correspondences have been cataloged.  The letters are in chronological order so it is best to start with the oldest work first.

Learning that I had accepted the Iron Craft Challenge, Amy had to jump on band wagon too. Her rigorous schedule of prosthesis making, accordion lessons and personal grooming has left her unable to participate on a weekly basis. She was determined to make a Valentine for this week’s challenge, and since she’s got to worm her way into every facet of my artistic life, she made her own interpretation of a Randy and Evi Quaid love note, complete with an Australian Shepard.

And that, as Stumpy would say, is our relationship in a nut shell. My challenges are not personal ones, they are spurned by knowing there is a devious soul out there trying to best me at my own game.  We run faster when we know we are being chased.

Happy Valentine’s Day Amy, you’ve won my heart, and one day I’ll have yours (possibly in a small box that I keep on top of the fridge if all goes according to plan).

Whistling Past the Grave Yard

Well this Iron Crafting is sure keeping me nose to grindstone.  I’ve been super busy prepping projects for forthcoming Criminal Crafts book so I decided today to double down…

I combined our challenge of bunting with stamps from my “It’s Your Funeral Kit“.   I needed to take pictures of that today too.

I’m pretty happy with the results even if you can’t see all the letters on the flags, my photo is over exposed and I didn’t get all the headstones in the shot… OK, maybe I’m only slightly pleased…

Very pleased with my new hearse linoleum stamp though.  Cinephiles  should

immediately recognize this car as the ’69 E-type Jaguar that Bud Cort drives in Harold and Maude.  It took me about $25 in linoleum to get this model right (head light and grill issues).  Unlike Harold’s car, I won’t be driving mine over a cliff…

All things considered it was a great day to be hanging out in the cemetery, and of course I began to wax nostalgic for absent and departed friends and it got me to thinking,  what the heck are Randy and Evi up to these days.  Think it’s about time I checked back in with them…

Draft Dodger

Oh baby there is an ill wind blowing, can you feel it, just seeping through the door jams and window sills.  And while it’s chilly in here, I can only imagine how down right cold it’s going to be feeling in my buddy Tom Delay’s jail cell.

Poor Tom went from being the big shot in the house to being a little man in the  big house for conspiracy and money laundering.  Since  making an insulating cushion was the project theme for this week’s Iron Craft Challenge, I thought I’d whip up a little going away present for my favorite felonious former Speaker of the House.

For the outer shell I used the sleeves of a left over prison uniform sweater, something I just happened to have at the bottom of my laundry basket.  I stitched the two arms together at the pit joint and sewed one long end closed.  I filled the cushion with pinto beans raided from my stash in the nuclear fall-out shelter and sewed the other end up.  My project was cute enough but to keep pace with the quality work being done by the other Iron Crafters, I’d have to step it up a notch…  A  prison i.d. patch seemed just the right touch… so who’s number did I use?  None other than M. Diddy’s,  the patron saint of criminal crafters , the ultimate irony being that I used her super expensive silicon hand stamps to create the badge.  Classy right, and it seemed like the perfect thing to make Tom feel at home in his new digs.

As an added bonus the cushion weighs about 30 pounds so if he needs a kosh for self defense he is set and in some kind of lock down scenario he’s got the makings of a pretty substantial meal, if some kind soul gives him access to a coffee maker… good luck Tom!

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