Friday, August 28, 2009

Painting the Piano: In the Midst of Madness

Painting the Piano: Blued!
The Piano is Now Blued

In case you get the urge to paint some piece of furniture yourself, here's my advice - follow this How to Paint Furniture tutorial from Young House Love (yes, I'm not crazy about the name of the blog either, formerly "This Young House").

One major edit:
Step 0: Test Existing Paint Job for Lead
Really easy, they sell these Q-tip-like Lead Tester swabs at any place like Lowe's, and you get two or three of them for $5. This way you can avoid creating a lot of lead dust, which would suck.

I anticipate painting on the monster face tomorrow (Saturday!) so if you haven't voted, get to it! The poll closes at midnight tonight!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Painting the Piano

The Piano Is Boring

This is the week! I've been meaning to paint my piano for at least two years, maybe more. I abhor its uneven yellow hue that looks *exactly* like the old glow-in-the-dark toy color.

My problem: I'm having trouble deciding how to paint it. There are just so many options. I offhandedly mentioned painting it like a monster, and now Will is completely behind that idea. It's just such a huge piece of furniture, anything I do to it will sort of take over the room.

I just have to remember this isn't permanent. I can always change it if I hate it. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Michelle's Skirt - Skirt Finished!

Michelle's Skirt - Finished Front!Michelle's Skirt - Finished!

Please excuse the blurriness, I was just so happy to show the finished product last night that I immediately took a picture. I plan to take more/better ones soon. After I finish up the sailor collar!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Michelle's Skirt - Not Much of An Update

Michelle's Future-skirt
Michelle's Skirt - Original Birthday Card Design

So I'm finally working on Michelle's birthday skirt, which I plan to finish by tomorrow. Tomorrow night. Definitely before Saturday.

Michelle's Skirt - Main Skirt PieceThe Main Skirt Piece, Cut out (striped prototype pinned over it)

I'm basing the skirt on this FanPlusFriend nautical skirt, but making it a bustle back. I had no idea what shape it would be, and I asked for help over in the sew_loli group, and thankfully happi_pineapple had some ideas. Thanks again!

So yes, I'm pretty much head down, working on this. More updates about this skirt to come, and then I'll tell you all about the giclee print talk I went to on Tuesday, and how I'm planning to paint my piano next week!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Art Opening - Damn Hot at Wootini & Way Back

Hot Damn Art Opening: The Artist and her WorkMe at the Damn Hot Opening Friday Night
(click on the image to see more art opening pics)

Thanks again to everyone who came out to the art opening Friday night - it was absolutely lovely to see everybody! Having your friends come out to one of your shows always makes you feel awesome! Yay!

But, what if I was getting a big head? I had an art opening! I might start using multiple exclamation points!!!11eleven! Well, I like to keep myself in check. And by that, I mean posting embarrassing old pictures of myself on the internet. So here you go:

Old Pictures - Glamour Shots, Cowboy Hat? (1993)
My Glamour Shots from 1993 (I was probably 13 or 14)
Click on the picture to see more. There were FOUR different outfits! This one is probably the "best".

What about you guys? Most embarrassing pictures of you online? Don't leave me all alone here!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Art Opening - Damn Hot at Wootini Tonight!

The New Myth (sneak peek at new painting)Art Opening Tonight!

Where: Wootini Carr Mill, 200 North Greensboro St., Carrboro
When: Friday, August 14, 7-10 pm.

Damn Hot features artists Jerstin Crosby, Orvokki Halme, Kelly Green, Amy Richards, as well as me (Leah Riley, in case you forgot).

I'll likely be there the entire time, so hope to see you tonight!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Art Opening - Damn Hot at Wootini

The New Myth (sneak peek at new painting)
Sneak Peek at "The New Myth" (part of a new painting of mine)

If you're local to the NC Triangle area, I'm in the Damn Hot show at Wootini during the month of August! Come by the opening of Damn Hot this Friday!

Opening Details
Where: Wootini Carr Mill, 200 North Greensboro St., Carrboro
When: Friday, August 14, 7-10 pm.

Damn Hot features artists Jerstin Crosby, Orvokki Halme, Kelly Green, Amy Richards, as well as me (Leah Riley, in case you forgot).

From the press release (which makes me sound so daring):
"Leah Riley fearlessly explores any media—design, comics, acrylic painting, sculpture in both metal and felt, and even screenprinting."

Miel Bon Bons - Patisserie & ConfiserieMiel Bon Bons

In case you needed an extra reason to come to the opening, I just discovered this gorgeously ornate bon bon shop in the same building as Wootini! It's usually open around the time the Damn Hot opening starts, so get there early if you need chocolate!

Now that I've delivered all my pieces for the show, I better get back to working on stuff!

Monday, August 10, 2009

More Costuming: Omega Pin

Omega Pin
Omega Pin Beginnings

This month is definitely heavy on costuming - with DragonCon coming up for some people, and the North American Discworld Convention coming up for me, costume construction is on the rise!

While working on the Ambush Bug mask, I am also working on a project for me! I'm going to re-visit my Susan Sto Helit costume -

Leah as Susan Sto HelitMe as Susan Sto Helit

I probably won't be able to bring the scythe on the plane (boo) but I will update the pin for my cape by making Death's omega pin out of cardboard. The technique is based on Katie's windup key tutorial which I'm finding very handy!

Anyway, cool info coming Wednesday, and hopefully some progress between now and then!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ambush Bug Mask - Costuming & Sewing

Ambush Bug Mask Sketch
Ambush Bug Mask Sketch - Oh lord, I forgot about the antenna!

My friend Stuart is teaching me Japanese, and as payment, Will and I feed him dinner when we do lessons, and I agreed to make him (attempt to make) an Ambush Bug mask for DragonCon.

So far, we've picked up materials (green spandex, yellow trim). I'm a little scared to get started because there's the always present "What if you screw this up?" voice in my head.

Fortunately, I've been emailing back and forth about sewing spandex with the illustrious and dynamic Jared Axelrod and he's given me several good tips. And I've found an online pattern for making a mask/hood in spandex.

Between these two things, I may be able to make it! Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yotsuba Needle Book!

Yotsuba Needle Book - Front
Yotsuba Needle Book!

I should have made this during cute month! I've been thinking about making a needle book for my various embroidery needles for awhile, but I kept putting it off because I couldn't decide on a theme (why make a boring one?)

I finally decided to whip together this Yotsuba one yesterday - On the front, we have Yotsuba with her typical super-smiley expression. On the back we have her namesake, the four-leaf clover and the Yotsuba tag line: Enjoy Everything.

I really like the way this came out! I based it loosely on the needle book pattern from Sew Darn Cute, but needle books are pretty basic. I used a lot of that Heat-n-Bond stuff.

The snap is really hard to open, but I think it loosens with age. I had to buy a snap kit just for this - totally worth it!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Etsy Shop Update

Black Lace Jabot & Will
Will Modeling the Black Lace Jabot

I've spent the last day updating my etsy shop ( with this fancy lace jabot and other steampunk and gothic items. Also making Will model wearing eyeliner, mwahahah!

There's more on the way - a fleur-de-lys pin I made from vintage pieces I found at the flea market, a jolly roger clip - you know, excellent costumey stuff you and all your friends want to buy.

Cupcake Apron!Cupcake Apron!

I finally finished that cupcake apron that I kept talking about during cupcake week. I even lined it, which was a first for me. There's a loop to hang a spoon or scissors from - someone has already referred to it as a "spoon holster"! Excellent name!

So yes, there's new stuff all this week at Woo!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August is a Month of Indeterminate Status! (book review, dinosaurs)

So far, August doesn't have a theme, so the theme is Indeterminate Status! I guess?

Book Review: Sew Darn Cute (by Jenny Ryan)

Yay! This book has tons of cute projects, including fabric cuffs, Square Bear, a needle book, and a tool belt. The products are all really cute, and I'm thinking of making a Square Bear sometime this week to try it out. It comes with detailed information about sewing and embellishing in the front, as well as patterns to be blown up in the back. I also like the tips for each project.

Small amount of boo. The thing missing from this book is images of the creation steps. For most products, there are 2-3 pictures of the finished product, and that's it. Most of the projects are quick and easy and this isn't a problem, but the ones with more than five of six steps get a little hard to follow. Also, I'm spoiled by the internet tutorials that feature a million pictures per step.

Overall I highly recommend this book for beginners (for the short projects) and for intermediate sewers (which I don't consider myself) for the longer projects. The name says it all, it is pretty darn cute.

Oh no! Will watch out! - Albertosaurus, Dinosaur Walk (Museum of Life and Science)We went to the Museum of Life and Science yesterday, and my picture of Will getting eaten by their Albertosaurus is currently being featured on their Albertosaurus page. Yay!