Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Doodle Bags 2012

Here's the newest batch of Doodle Bags for 2012 (and a couple from the end on 2011.) Now that I'm engaged I've been working really hard to save up for the wedding this year. I've noticed that these Doodle Bag things tend to sell faster when there's a lot of them for sale so I've been blasting through the blank purses in my craft closet. Even a low-budget B-movie wedding like the one I'm hoping to have is still pretty expensive so hopefully these will help me out. I've listed them from oldest to most recent below. I'm going to keep updating this post as I make more. If you're interesting in purchasing one of these and wanna check if it's still available, check out my Etsy shop.


"Mad Monster Party"

"Werewolf Woodcuts"

"An American Werewolf In London" (first bag I made for myself!)

"An American Werewolf In London Side 2"

"Custom Buffy/Dr. Who"

"Jack The Ripper"

"Serial Killers"

"Elvira Mistress Of The Dark"

"The Dark Crystal"

"Pressed Fairies"

"The Princess Bride"

"Monster Beach Party"



"Sabrina The Teenage Witch"


"The Last Unicorn"

"Custom Villians Bag"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Engaged Part Two

Got the ring today! It looks awesome, they did a great job. We pretty much spent the rest of the day just showing it off. Martyn took this picture with his phone outside the place we had breakfast, Decatur Diner (which I highly recommend, by the way, best diner I've been to in Atlanta so far.) You can see what my ring looks like in bright sunlight.

Just now I took some more photos of it in the apartment with my camera. It completely changes color depending on the lighting.

Here's a detail shot of a fun point of interest--inside the ring underneath the stone there is a little carving of a crescent moon.

And a couple more photos of that box that it came in, with all its tarnished glory.

I like it.

I'm Engaged

YAAAYYY!!! Martyn and I have been dating for five years, but I actually did not see this one coming. In hindsight there were hints that it might happen soon but I really hadn't thought much of it with all the stupid Christmas stress taking precedence. So after we woke up Christmas morning and exchanged our gifts to each other (and the stupid cats) the plan was to head over to Roswell to meet up with my mom at her new house and the rest of my immediate family. My brother was cooking the special breakfast that my Dad used to make for Christmas, and everyone seemed like they were getting frustrated that we were running late. The car was already packed, I was waiting on Martyn and wondering why the hell he was just dragging his feet. Then suddenly he tells me to, "Wait, there's one more thing" and starts digging around in the closet where he keeps his video games. I never play video games or go in that closet and start to wonder what is going on, but before I can think about it for too long he tells he to close my eyes...then he's down on one knee with this ring...and yeah. My initial response was actually just, "WHAT?!" due to my surprise at this very unexpected proposal. Then a few minutes later I remembered to follow up with..."Oh yeah, I mean...YES."

So yeah. The ring is perfect. Martyn knew that diamonds aren't really my thing and chose the best thing he possibly could have for me--moonstone and white gold, antique from the art deco era. Since the moonstone is so old it has a unique smokey quality to its surface that really brings out the layers of blue and reflected light within, kind of like a droplet of water or of course, the moon. There is a slight etched detailing on the sides of the ring and the setting is strong and simple. The Tiffany style prongs that hold the stone even remind me a little of tree branches framing a full moon at night. Even the box the ring came in is cool. It's this really banged up tarnished silver with black puncture marks all throughout. It looks like it's been through an explosion and it even creaks sometimes when I open it.

I am of course psyched about the whole thing. We're getting married this coming October the 31rst and there are going to be costumes involved. I'm not the sort that has been planning my wedding since I was four years old. In fact, I have never watched a chick flick in my life or even thought about my wedding until pretty much now. I feel that I probably have quite a bit of catching up to do, but I know I'll figure it out in the end. I can think fast, I'm creative, I have no regard for conventions or traditions and I have a damn good sense of humor, so hopefully at least one of these things is going to work in my favor. I think I want the shortest, most understated ceremony possible and then a really awesome and noisy party with electric guitars, crazy costumes and lots of alcohol. These are after all, some of the finest things in life.

Anyway, since my ring is from a time when ladies were dainty (or at least shorter that I am, I'm around 5'10") we had to take the ring to a jeweler to get resized. I of course had no clue about my ring size so I'm glad that we left that part up to a professional in Decatur. The jeweler was closed for the holidays so we have had to wait for quite a while. By some strange "coincidence" the date that my ring is ready for pickup is January 14th--the one year anniversary of my Dad's death. I generally don't believe in a whole lot of anything but this struck me as intensely interesting. What better way to spend what would have been such a sad day otherwise. One key quality about my Dad, especially while he was sick, is that he absolutely hated when people worried or were sad about him. He would put on a front, change the subject or do anything else in his power to stop people from dwelling on the messed up situation that fate had given him. He fought death like no one in the hospital had ever seen, using his last bit of energy to smile at us, make us laugh or even flick us off if he thought we were acting too sad. Maybe this world is made up of a series of random events, maybe not. All I know is that my Dad really did approve of Martyn (despite how much he loved to mess with him) and if he could have set something sneaky up with the date of the engagement ring corresponding with the anniversary of his death, he would have. I miss you Dad, and I can't wait to pick up my ring tomorrow!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cleaning/Christmas Crises 2011

After the madness of Halloween came the annual retail hell/Christmas crisis. I won't even go into the failure of humanity that is Christmastime at Trader Joe's right now as it is entirely too depressing and too soon to revisit at this point. Luckily I did not become deathly ill until much later this year (ie now) so I was able to get some work done for myself before the shit truly hit the fan. Behold: THE CLEAN ART ROOM.

The new shoes I bought for myself as a reward. Custom Keds from Zazzle. The pink stitching and interior was my personal modification.

And lastly, the Christmas cacophony. The theme for the flyer was Polar Express. This one was mostly designed by my friend on the art team, Jen. I guess the book has a lot of sentimental value to her. Since it's a classic, pretty alright children's book and the movie was creepy as fuck we decided to stick to the book for our inspiration. I made this sign for the entrance/vestibule using the usual paint markers on foam core plus a little chalk pastel to capture the fuzzy outlines of the book illustrations.

The rest was pretty much all Jen. Check out the mountain train setup she built from scratch for this candy display.

That little train was so cool, but SUCH a pain in the ass in terms of maintenance! I won't even go into all the times when we thought it had broken down for good--at one time I was hanging snowflakes above it and accidentally played Attack of the 50-Foot Woman when I almost fell on top of the entire mountain and impaled one of my fingers on a miniature pine tree--but somehow that train still made it through to the end (despite the accusations from Jen that I did it on purpose and was trying to destroy Christmas.)

By the way, I don't actually hate Christmas. I just became sick of being disappointed by how increasingly lame it has become to me in recent years. That, and my Grandparents and my Dad now being dead as of this year, and the watching shoppers tear each other apart over material things in a frantic mob of bad will to the tune of sappy Christmas carols that I have already heard that day on the radio at least five times a piece...let's just say, it was rough. Sometimes I found little things to amuse myself. For instance, in protest to all the Santa hats surrounding me in the store I decided to come to work as the Krampus. In case you never heard of him, Krampus is like Santa's evil counterpart in some parts of Germany and Northern Europe. He looks like this, a big demon with horns, hooves and a long, lolling tougue.

Krampus comes down the chimney brandishing a whip and chains to kick all the naughty childrens' asses before dragging them to hell as his slaves. Kids in Germany don't just have to worry about getting lesser quality gifts when they've been bad. This was my Krampus outfit for work. The nametag says "Krampus" and I was wearing these knee-high clunky death metal boots, not pictured here.

I also had a whip I made of cinnamon sticks, which I later donated to my neighbor's cat as a Christmas gift.

After all the Christmas hoopla at work I didn't even feel like decorating our tree. Since Christmas is Martyn's favorite holiday we eventually managed. We were even occasionally able to find some comic relief as we tried to muddle through.

Yes, that is the Dumbledore ornament from my old Harry Potter set introducing himself to the "Pornament" Martyn purchased from The Junkman's daughter last year. We are very mature and classy people, after all.

So with full expectations of Christmas being a total letdown once again, I was somehow proven absolutely wrong on Christmas day...but that is a story for my next post!

Junkman's Babies

Amidst all of the madness of I was able to squeeze in one illustration of my own and test out my new Prismacolor markers. Psyched for the release of "The Muppets" in theaters and thinking about a previous drunken pondering I had with some friends concerning what everyone looked like when they were kids, I made this. "Junkman's Babies" is an homage to my friends at The Junkman's Daughter and to one of the only "characters as babies" cartoon series that wasn't a piece of crap, Jim Henson's "Muppet Babies." Jim Henson just had the magic touch I guess.

The Bathroom Hallway and other TJ's Projects of Fall 2011

The subject of this post is the major projects I was doing at work all by myself around the same time as Halloween. You can see how things were crazy. First pictured is the mega project: THE BATHROOM HALLWAY. I had painted the plain beige bathroom doors to look like wooden doors on an old ship, portholes and all, a year or so before. This project was to transform the plain pale blue walls of the bathroom hallway to match the old sailing ship feel of the doors. I did a layered faux-weathered paint job with some seaworthy accents for the walls and made or found all of the artwork and decorations myself. The Kraken tentacle is painted directly onto the wall.

For instance, the jackalope I found on Ebay but I found/painted the wooden mount for him myself. The curio cabinet I made entirely out of foamcore, laminated cardstock cutouts of objects that stick inside with velcro, and acetate that I misted with spray paint for that dusty fogged antique glass illusion. Some of the items inside are actual Trader Joe's products that have more mysterious sounding names, others are inspired by mythology or simply pulled out of my imagination/ass.

Here are a couple more detail shots of all the crap on the wall. I was going for the busy, cluttered early museum of natural history aesthetic.

In case you didn't know, lame jokes are a staple of the Trader Joe's branding. Also awkward black and white artwork from Victorian times. The group portrait at the bottom is a "photograph" I made in graphite of our store art team in Victorian times.

Here's an even closer shot of that portrait.
I'm the one with the badass parasol.

This "Culinary Inventions" board has crew or customer recipes we find nifty for a time, then we wipe it clean for the next one.

Next is the Trader Joe's Halloween Fearless Flyer, the theme of which was thought up by my friend Eeon and myself. We were going for a spooky Grimm's fairy tale haunted woods sort of look, with particular emphasis on Little Red Riding Hood. I made a five foot-something tall big bad wolf standup for the entrance, using photos of both wolves and drag queens as my reference. It was the big bad granny tranny wolf. On the right is the scavenger hunt I made featuring the same character. The red flyers are meant to be missing signs drawn up by the wolf, who tragically seems to have lost "her" granddaughter Red Riding Hood. To help/participate you are meant to look for Red Riding Hood's footprints throughout the store and write down the products that are next to where they were found. My manager asked me if the wolf was just wearing lipstick or if it was blood. I didn't really have an answer for that.

Here's a close up of the drag makeup, the scavenger hunt sign and the bunny slippers.

The demo station was decorated like the Grandmother's cottage in the woods. I can't find a picture of the whole thing right now but here's the big piece I made as the backdrop, somewhat inspired by Disney's Snow White, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow and Bram Stoker's Dracula (the one with Gary Oldman.)

That's it for the work stuff. Next I'll post the personal projects I was working on.

Halloween 2011

Life has been crazy so I'm pretty behind in posting. A nasty case of bronchitis has finally given me that minute of rest I needed to remedy this. Let me start making a couple of quick catch-up posts that are short and sweet. First we have the rest of Halloween. Here is my jack o'lantern for 2011: "The Brain Sucker."

Next is my Chupacabra costume, complete with stuffed dead goat that actually "bled" wine or sangria out of his neck, depending what I decided to stash in him that night. It was a great way to sneak alcohol into public and not rake up such an expensive bar tab.

Next we have the Little Red Riding Hood Werewolf outfit. I had picked up this beautiful vintage velvet cloak from an estate sale in Savannah earlier that year and I just couldn't let it go to waste. I also won $25 worth of drinks from the yacht club with this costume.

The last ensemble is what Martyn and I wore to the annual Halloween masquerade ball at the Fernbank. The theme this year was "80's prom gone wrong" and they were showing "Carrie" on the Imax, which was pretty neat to see. Unfortunately I spent a little too long on my makeup and we ended up missing the costume contest. Bummer too because the general reaction people gave us when we arrived indicated that we might have won. Ah well, maybe next time.

So I guess that pretty much sums up Halloween. Next year is going to kick even more ass, but I will elaborate on that in the posts to come.