Caddy Monster!!!

As I transition more and more over to the Children’s Library, I’m slowly making my desk my own.  I still will, on occasion, share it with my boss – but it’ll be my desk more often than not. (tee-hee!)

For my sanity I like to keep things organized (plus the public can clearly see back into our office, and sometimes the kiddos will wander back there), and I also like to personalize my space. So as I wandered through a store the other day, I swung by their small organization section and found a plain black-wire supply caddy.  In my mind I thought of some cool things I saw online with people treating these sorts of mesh items as a canvas for cross-stitching or embroidery.  I do neither, but thought that it would be fun to try.  So I picked up the cheap (if not boring) caddy.

After I arrived home I set the caddy by the door to remind me to take it to work the next day.  Several hours later I had a SHAZAM moment when I realized what I wanted to do with my caddy: make a caddy monster!  It had a fun monster-head shape and a “monster mouth” already built-in!  I also still have plenty of leftover fake fur from other various projects.  And googly eyes too.  And a hot glue gun.  And scissors.

To succinctly go over the supplies needed again:

  • A boring supply caddy
  • Fake fur
  • Googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun/glue

And that’s all!  I trimmed the fur to fit along the bottom of the caddy, and then I left about half an inch of extra fur over the top to fold the fur over and give it a better-looking, easier-to-do finish.  I used three separate pieces of fur: one for the largest portion of the head, one for the “upper lip” and one for the “mouth.”  I glued the fur around the solid borders of the caddy.  Then I sliced tabs into the fur at the top to make it go smoothly around the curved lines, and glued those down.

I then trimmed the fur down where I wanted the eyes and hot glued them on.  I had some leftover red fur and I trimmed that down into a tongue-shape and glued that on too in the little notch in the mouth.  So he looked like this:

Within minutes of completing this super-simple/fast craft (my favorite kind), I decided that I hated the tongue.  It looked rather bizarre.  So I ripped it off.  I may eventually try a different mouth set-up using card stock for teeth or red felt for a tongue, but for one reason or the other I did not like the look of the tongue I’d created.

I still wasn’t completely happy with it, but couldn’t put my finger on why.  It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning that I had a flash realization: I didn’t like how low the eyeballs sat – they’re too tough to see!  So I got back out my hot glue gun and my bag of googly eyes and made one more addition:

MUCH better!

So I took Mr. Caddy Monster (I shall call him George) to work today and had the best time rearranging items on my desk and bringing some items out of drawers and within reach of my seat.  My teammates squeed and enjoyed how soft he is.  Then my boss came over from the Main Library and we were chatting when she suddenly stopped mid-sentence and said “what the heck is that?”

“That’s my George!”

The Call of Kermthulhu

Back when I was trying to figure out how to do some large scale decorating with a small-scale budget, I came upon the quasi-insane idea of Pom-Pom Art. I still love the two large pieces and they proudly hang on the living room wall.

They’re crazy-easy to do:  get a canvas (or two), get some pom-poms, get some adhesive, and then put them all together.  I used a super-strong adhesive to do one and then hot glue for the other.  The reason I attached the the pom-poms in two different ways is because my apartment has poor ventilation.  Epoxy + Poor Ventilation = Bad Overwhelming Fumes.  So after I experienced one tube of strong adhesive, I switched to hot glue.  The hot glue webs weren’t that annoying compared to the aforementioned fumes.

When I finished the two large canvases I had extra pom-poms left over.  My brain then reminded me that I had an extra smaller canvas waiting to be used in a project.  And then I remembered that I have an old copy of the awesome The Muppets Big Book of Crafts on my bookshelf.  I thought that the book had the outline of Kermit that you can copy/enlarge.  It did, and so it was.

I traced an outline of my printed-out Kermit silhouette onto the canvas and then filled it in with green pom-poms and then used the other pom-pom colors to fill out the rest. I actually had to run to the craft store to get more pom-poms.  Between my two large canvases and my Kermie portrait, I loved to imagine the district manager of that retail craft chain scratching his/her head over the sudden boom in pom-pom sales.

And the result?  Not quite what I expected:

I was actually disappointed with it.  For some reason I felt that it didn’t truly reflect the outline of Kermit.  I had spent so much time on it, however, that I placed it on my entertainment center in a fit of stubbornness.  It was one evening while watching tv that my mind had one of those SHAZAM moments – I knew what was throwing me about the image:  all I could see was not Kermit.  It’s like one of those images where you look at it and you see an old crone, and if you look at it another way, then you see a young woman.  My brain was seeing two things at once. Thus Kermthulhu was born when I separated the two in my mind.

Lemme ‘splain with pictures!

I remember proudly showing Bruce my Kermthulhu on our first date (heh).  Bless his heart, he never told me until when I asked him to do some photoshop magic for this post, that he couldn’t clearly see Kermit in the image.  I asked him to add some real Kermit eyes onto my picture of the piece. He saw it immediately when he did so.  Here’s what Bruce did to help y’all see this:

Now, I can just hear you saying, “Well, that’s obvious – but Cthulhu? How do you turn one of the most beloved characters of all time into a terrible Elder God?”  Here’s the trick: it’s all about the eyes.  Let us flip and drop the eyes for you:

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Kermthulhu R'becca wgah'nagl fhtagn!

Tremble before Kermthulhu!!!

I have loved this piece from the moment it became Kermthulhu to me.  I loved it so much that, as I’ve mentioned in another post, I almost named my blog Kermthulhu.  And please know that I’d love for my accidental mashup become an intentional piece of art.  So, if anyone out there’s inspired to create a more epic Kermthulhu piece, then I’d love to see it – please share!

Coming Up Next Week:  The monster behind my bedroom door.

Coastin’ Right Along

Sung to the song Movin’ Right Along from The Muppet Movie:

Coastin’ right along
in search of good wines and good brews,
With good friends you can’t lose,
This could become a habit!
Condensation drips and drinks do slip –
Yeah!
Together we’ll nip it!
We’ll stop watermarks or coaster trips!
Coaster trips?
Just forget it.

This particular craft was in the making for about a decade.  Yes: a decade.  I know my mind, and my mind works in mysterious ways – and sometimes several disparate ideas will suddenly collide in my gray matter to form a wholly unexpected idea.

The three thoughts that were percolating in my head when I came up with this coaster idea were:

1. I really need to do something with these Muppet Show dominoes I’ve had for almost a decade.  It’s so sad that they’re just left in their tin.

2.  Poor Bruce!  Every time he has a cold drink, our coasters stick to the bottom of the glass and then release when the cup’s halfway to his mouth and the coaster and cold water from the condensation ends up in his lap.

3.  I bought a copy of Mark Montano’s Big-Ass Book of Crafts several years ago.  There’s a section in there about using dominoes as office supplies (but no mention of coasters).  I filed that idea away because knew that I didn’t need any office supplies so I should save my limited Muppet dominoes for something else.

It’s one of the most simple instant-gratification crafts that I’ve done in a long time (I’m good at overcomplicating things).  Basically, I laid out the tiles how I wanted them, both looking at the pattern of the tiles themselves as well as how I wanted the characters to match-up.  I then took some handy-dandy Loctite and stuck them together.  On the back side of each coaster I put a bright red quadrilateralish piece of felt to catch drips (since I knew the coasters weren’t water-tight) as well as protect the wood furniture.  I’ve had to re-glue one coaster (on a seam or two) that is used the most, but I generally don’t notice that it’s come apart since the felt holds the pieces together.  It’s usually when I’m moving it to dust that I realize that I need to fix it.

Ultimately this has been one of the most unexpectedly fantastic functional crafts that I’ve ever done.  The coasters stay in place and can handle the ginormous bottles of sports drinks that Bruce has been known to have.  They’re also great surfaces in that you can easily rest a remote or book on them without anything tipping over or sliding off of the table.  Plus they’re just bright and cheery and very Muppetey.

Coming up next time:  Love in the time of comic books.