PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick and Easy Alternative to Carving Those Pumpkins!

Some of you have requested tutorials on how Wenchkin carves her pumpkins. If you have ever SEEN her carvings, you would know why. She is pretty much the master. You can find her pumpkin gallery here . Well this week, she shows up an easy alternative to "carving" to help make your pumpkins last!

  I know, every year I get too excited, carve too many too early only to have them rot before halloween. So I am not going to give you my pumpkin carving tips and tricks just yet. That will be next week. What I suggest for this week is painting your pumpkin.

  Now you could paint anything that tickles your fancy in whatever color you want using the same techniques and materials I outlined in my how to paint toys post. For this I stuck the pumpkin in the sink, gave it a good wash and dried it off.
  Many people ask me about pumpkin carving patterns. I myself being an artist do not use them, I freehand an idea on with a sharpie and go from there. For this however I am going to pretend that like everyone else I want to use a pattern. I drew one out quickly that I will be using for this post.

So pretending this is your pattern you ripped out of your pumpkin pattern book or printed off the internet, the next thing is usually to transfer your pattern to the pumpkin. First, I HATE the hole poking method, I understand the concept of connect the dots but I personally think it makes for sloppy lines. So I never do that. I would first opt for carbon paper to transfer my design. If you can not get carbon paper I suggest cheating it and kinda making your own.

I am taking my drawing here flipping it over and shading the whole back in pencil

It is going to take more then this, I go back over it two more times in different directions.
I then cut the excess paper off down to a half an inch around the outside of the design just to have it out of my way then I position on the pumpkin.
Before taping it down I do a little folding work. I am sure you noticed paper is flat and a pumpkin is not so I try to fold up the excess paper in places of the design that do not matter as much trying to keep the lines properly lined up before I tape it all down.

Since I faked carbon paper I am actually going to take a pencil and trace around all of these lines but as I do it I am going to push the pencil into the paper with a little force so I actually kind of etch the outline into the pumpkin under it.

This is hard to photograph but what I am left with after I take the paper off is a faint pencil line inside a groove.

Then I take a cheap black acrylic paint and start filling it in.

When I am done I have what looks like a pumpkin pattern on my pumpkin.

This can now sit on my porch for a few weeks till it gets closer to halloween.
When the time comes all I am going to do it pick it back up and cut out all the black parts.
And I will be back with that blog to show you what it looks like.

But for now I think it looks cute sitting on my porch like this.

We want to see YOUR pumpkin artwork!!!  Head on  over to the Modern Rosies fan page later today, to find out how you win some cool prizes!!

Wenchkin is our resident guerrilla artist, and queen of all that is awesome. You can find her here on Google+, or on her fan page. To shop in her shop, visit her Artfire shop!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lunch Pail: Chole / Rajma; A Vegan Indian Curry Recipe

Union Riveter Krissi is switching from studio-mode to kitchen-mode today for a recipe!  Hope you don't mind!

I miss living in San Francisco with every kind of food available at some awesome, cheap restaurant about a block away.  Living in the Mission district, I had Indian, Thai, Mexican (oh, SO much Mexican!), Vietnamese and vegan restaurants nearby.  Now we have chain restaurants we have to drive to.  Of course, when you live in a friendly little cul-de-sac in the corner of a suburban neighborhood, great things DO happen.  Like my neighbor Bindavi asking to borrow a cup of sugar (yes, we do that here) and returning my Pyrex measuring cup full of homemade chickpea curry!  After an embarrassing amount of begging and pleading of my husband, I finally wandered over the other night to ask for the recipe and learned she was making it the next afternoon (which is a good thing, since her husband Vijay plied Ron and I with 18 year old scotch after we walked in the door).

So after a good night's sleep and a cup of coffee, here you go:

Chole with a garnish and a side of naan

"Chole" ("Chana Masala")
  • Chickpeas
    3 Cups canned for those of us short on time and patience OR 1½ Cups, dry, for the hard-core cooks among us
  • 3-6 cloves garlic
  • ginger root (fresh) approximately equal to amount of garlic
  • 1 green Thai chili optional
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, whole
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, whole
  • asafoetida powder optional
  • chana masala spice powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp tumeric optional
  • up to ½ tsp chili powder (omit if using Thai chili)
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes, chopped roughly
If using canned chickpeas, rinse them WELL and discard all the liquid.

If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in plenty of water, then cook on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker with a pinch of salt until cooked all the way through, but not mushy.*  
You’ll get about 3 cups cooked.  Drain and reserve a cup of the liquid.
Bindavi's cooking instructions are for "three whistles" on her Mom's whistling pressure cooker, which are often seen in Indian kitchens and at estate sales, but thanks to the magic of the interwebs, U.S. customers can easily acquire them too.

Image by Sara Ataie
Mash garlic and ginger into paste using a mortar and pestle.

In a pot or large saucepan:

Warm cumin seeds in a few tbsp of oil, when they sizzle, add fennel seeds.

Add garlic/ginger paste, asafoetida powder and onion.  Sautee onion until translucent and slightly brown on edges.

Add chopped tomatoes, 1 C water (or water reserved from cooking chick peas), salt, chana masala spice, coriander powder, cumin powder and tumeric.  If using chile powder, sprinkle overtop to taste.

Stir together, then add chick peas and combine all ingredients well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.  This is the best time to adjust your spices.

Our pot of chole, bubbling away!  Mmmmmm!

Serve over rice or with naan.  You can also garnish with anything you like including cilantro, yogurt,  fresh tomatoes, chives or whatever strikes your fancy.  Bindavi seems to prefer naan from one of our local restaurants and yogurt (and I'm inclined to agree with her!).

NOTE: By the way, you can also make this recipe using Kidney Beans instead of chick peas - if you do, it's called "Rajma."


p.s.  I really want one of these spice boxes now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wenchkin's Equation for Pricing Handmade Goods or Art

Making the decision to start selling your handmade goods, and artwork can be stressful. Where do you sell, who is your target audience, do I make a website, HOW MUCH DO I CHARGE!?!?!??!  That last one is an issue even experienced sellers can have issues with. It can become very difficult to price your items, and make sure you are selling them for what they are worth, at the same time paying YOURSELF what YOU are worth. So Wenchkin came up with a pretty easy way to go about this difficult task.

In this last part of toy painting and modification, I go about establishing setting a price for a toy. Now pricing of hand made items in general may seem a daunting task in coming up with a fair price. Many people have many ways of approaching it. This is simply how I go about coming up with pricing for items I list in my ArtFire store.

Since I have mainly been addressing ponies I will pull a pony listing then rip it apart from there to explain how I got there. So for instance let's take this http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/3827288

One Day of the Dead Pony, 40 bucks
pony cost: 1 buck
paint cost: 1 buck
clear coat: 1 buck

It took me two days to finish due to paint drying times which I do not charge for but actual paint time it took me 8 hours of actual paint time to get two layers of basecoat, block out the bones, add in the color and clean up the line work

So say I am only charging 5 bucks an hour (which is way under minimum wage), then I have already come up with my 40 bucks.

But I am not done yet

I still need to spend another hour of labor photgraphing and listing
and I have not counted shipping materials, i.e. box, packing, tape.

So basically, in my mind I am giving you a cut-rate deal for me to be able to do what I love. I could charge more. I try to keep my prices reasonable for my fans.

Also with all of this said and done it never hurts to surf the competition to see what other people are selling equivalent items for. With that I have seen a lot of new people base their pricing off of other people's pricing when the items were not of the same quality. Just because I can get 40 bucks for a pony does not mean you might be able to if you are new and starting out. I have kicked out over 100 ponies now and my skill has increased.

Lastly, I hope this is maybe a little eye-opener for the people that have to ask why hand made is so expensive. Being asked that makes me want to raise my prices as this is my full time job and I do a good job and i know it. I would never go to someone else's job and say you are overpaid, it is rude. I am asking a bare minimum for what I provide - most artisans do, when you think about the time it took them to create any given item. 

You can find more of Wenchkin on her Facebook page, or over on G+.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hot Rivets: Ad Love

Remember when you were a kid, and you had that ONE tee shirt that you wanted your mom to wash ALL.THE.TIME, because you wanted to wear it every single day? It fit so well, it was like a second skin, and the fabric was so nice and worn-in? perfect, right? Now that I am a mom, and my body fluctuates with every meal I eat, I have issues with tees sitting right AT ALL. Not to mention I have a long torso, so unless I want to make people ill in public by flashing my stretch marks because me tee is too short, it makes for a stressful situation finding a comfy tee.

Until now.

Enter Ad Love, a company run by Angel D'Amico-Bauer here in Chicago. I first met Angel back over 3 years ago when I did a fashion show called Masquerade with now defunct Sin For Charity. Her screen designs were edgy, and the clothing she printed on was really durable, and fit the models wonderfully. After the show, I kept seeing my girlfriend wearing one of the tees she had gotten from Ad Love, and it FIT REALLY WELL. Not to mention there were calaveras skulls all over the front.

So I liked her on Facebook, and a few weeks later, she had a sale code posted. SO I jumped, and grabbed a deep v-neck tee with the skulls on it. Now, here is where the best part comes in. This tee......oh this tee. I now have TWO of them (I totally want MORE!!!) because this tee shirt is the most amazing tee in my wardrobe. They are not only awesome, in bright colors with eye catching designs on them, but the fit is amazing. The fabric is light and airy, and the torso is nice and long. The sides of the tee actually FLARE OUT, so there is no snugness around my midsection. Which really can be an issue with any woman!

If you go check out the Ad Love shop, she has a lot of amazing screen designs. She also prints on totes, leggings, tunics, and a bunch of other really cutting-edge apparel. She even had some trapeze dresses over the summer that were TO.DIE.FOR! You can find Ad Love's Etsy shop here, or like her on Facebook for the heads up on coupon codes, sales, and new items!

Every once in a while, there is a shop that one of the Union Riveters needs to share with the whole world. We want to shout our love from the rooftops! So we will do it here, in the form of a "Hot Rivet". These are amazing products and shops that we feel you all need to know about. All of these posts will be available just by clicking on the tab at the top of the blog that says "Hot Rivets".

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mozie Mondays Beauty Buzz: The truth behind common beauty product ingredients

This week is the premier or our newest Union Riveter, Mo Love from Madd Style Cosmetix! We are excited to have Mo take on all of your beauty questions/issues and even share some awesome beauty recipes and secrets! 'Cause NO ONE does makeup and beauty like MO DOES! So check back every Monday for "Mozie Mondays: Your weekly dose of Beauty Buzz"!

Hi everyone, welcome to the first edition of Modern Rosie’s Beauty Buzz! My name is Mo and I own and solely operate Madd Style Cosmetix, an indie makeup brand with a strict policy on being animal friendly in every way possible. Working in the vegan cosmetic industry has really opened my eyes to various undesirable ingredients that mainstream beauty companies frequently use to provide you with a “better” product. I have compiled a list of the more common ingredients that YOU should look out for when shopping your favorite beauty brands. Remember, if you don’t know what it is, you probably don’t want to put it on your body.

Carmine (Cochineal; Carminic Acid)
  • what: red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect. 
  • where: cosmetics, shampoos, red apple sauce, and other foods (including red lollipops and food coloring). 
  •   Can cause allergic reactions
    note: reportedly, 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye.
  • why: colorant

  • Beet Juice: used in powders, rouges and shampoos; no known toxicity 
  • Alkanet Root: used as a red dye for inks, wines, lip balms, etc.; no known toxicity

Lanolin (Cholesterin, Lanolin Acids, Wool Fat, Wool Wax)

  • what: a product of the oil glands of sheep, extracted from their wool.
  • where: used many skin-care products and cosmetics and in medicines. An allergen with no proven effectiveness.
    note: while the gathering of Lanolin itself is cruelty-free, the wool shearing practice is a routine that leaves much to be desired.
  • why: emollient
Alternatives: plant and vegetable oils.

Urea (Carbamide)

  • what: an organic chemical compound excreted from the urine and other bodily fluids of mammals, amphibians and some fish.
  • where: found in deodorants, ammoniated dentifrices, mouthwashes, hair colorings, hand creams, lotions, shampoos, teeth whiteners,detergents, glue... (the list surprisingly goes on and on).
  • why: humectant, balances pH
  •  urea can be a skin and eye irritant if undiluted however it appears in very small amount in beauty items (but still, any amount of pee is too much for me!)

Alternatives: synthetics


  • what: A rendered form of beef or mutton fat. It contains mostly longer chain fatty acids.
  • where: Commercially found soaps, moisturizers, conditioners and salves.
  • why: emollient, emulsifier, humectant, occlusive, surfectant 
Alternatives: Soybean oil and other plant derived oils.

Hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid, hyaluronate)

  • what: a protein found in umbilical cords and the fluids around the joints.
  • where: most commonly found in skin care products and some cream cosmetics.
    note: Restylane is the trade name for a range of injectable fillers with a specific formulation of non-animal sourced hyaluronan acid.
  • why: wrinkle reducer/filler

Aternatives: plant oils

Squalene (squalene oil)

  • what: oil from shark livers and other cartilaginous fish.
    note: recently is has become a trend for sharks to be hunted to process their livers for the purpose of extracting squalene. It has been estimated that over 100 million sharks are killed each year because of this.
  • where: in cosmetics, moisturizers, hair dyes, surface-active agents.
  • why: lubricant

Alternatives: vegetable emollients such as olive oil, wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, etc.

Stearic Acid

  • what: most often refers to a fatty substance taken from the stomachs of pigs, cows and sheep but is also known to be fat from dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters.
  • where: used in cosmetics, soaps, lubricants, candles, hairspray, conditioners, deodorants, creams, chewing gum, food flavoring.
  • ☹  can be harsh, irritating.
  • why: surfectant, emulsifyer, opacifying agent

Alternatives: Stearic acid can be found in many vegetable fats, coconut.

 Sable Brushes

  • what: from the fur of sables (weasel-like mammals) or more rarely: squirrel, pony, goat, mongoose or badger.
  • where: used to make eye makeup, lipstick, and artists' brushes.
    note: While I know this isn’t an “ingredient” per se, I wanted to include it in this list because of the things mentioned, it is probably the most common/used item on the list. While the idea of a natural hair brush seems to be simple, I want to point out the cruelty issues that come along with this. Because some of these animals do not raise well being held in captivity, the harvesting the hair for these brushes is a rather brutal practice. Most of these animals are hunted, trapped and skinned merely for their fur.
  • why: makeup application

Alternatives: synthetic fibers, cruelty-free natural brushes (generally from ponies, etc)

"Natural Sources"

  • what: this is a rather vague term to look out for since it can mean animal or vegetable sources.
  • where: most often in the health-food industry, especially in the cosmetics area, it means animal sources, such as animal elastin, glands, fat, protein, and oil.
  • why: marketing!

Alternatives: plant sources.

Mo is the owner of Madd Style Cosmetix, which is dedicated to creating products using safe and vegan ingredients and lending some transparency to the makeup industry as a whole. You can find Madd Style's shop here, or follow her fast-pased fan page on Facebook!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

Admit it, you love a good homecooked meal. Even better if you are a busy mom of 3 busy boys (like Becca here is) and you can have a good homecooked meal that is good FOR them too! Right? RIGHT! So when Inchie-la-la's were on the family menu, Becca wasted no time snapping some pics so she could share her recipe with us all! We love us some Becca, and we love us some Mexican food that the kids will love.

Chicken and Cheese Inchie-la-la's (or 'Enchiladas' if you're older than 5!)

Everyone seems to have a different method to making this popular Mexican meal. My method is pretty simple, but the results are delicious. :)

Things you'll need:

For the Enchiladas:
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*15 (approximately) yellow corn tortillas
(I use the Guerrero brand)
*1- 28 oz. can of enchilada sauce
(can be whatever flavor is to your liking – I prefer the Los Palmas brand mild sauce)
*Shredded cheese – approximately 3 cups
(I usually shred my own Tillamook medium cheddar, but if I'm more pressed for time I'll buy the shredded Mexican four cheese blend)
*Avocado/Sour cream for garnish
*Chopped onions (optional)

For the Rice:
*Oil (about 2 tbsp.)
*2 cups white rice
*Garlic (I use about 6-8 cloves, but I love garlic :D I'm sure 2-3 would be great)
*Chicken broth or Chicken bouillon cube
*1-8 oz. Can of Tomato Sauce
*Chopped onions (optional)

Let's get started! :)

Boil a large pot of water and place chicken breasts in to boil. This usually takes about 20 minutes. Drain chicken and let sit for a couple of minutes in the colander so it's easier to handle. (We don't want any burned fingers!)

Set oven to 375 to preheat while you prepare the enchiladas.

Shred boiled chicken in a large bowl.

Add about 2-2½ cups of shredded cheese and about half of the can of enchilada sauce to the bowl of shredded chicken. You can adjust the amount of cheese to your taste – here in my house we're all cheese-heads. If you're going to add chopped onions, this would be the time to do so as well.

Mix together.

Pour the rest of the can of sauce into a bowl or something that you can use to dip the tortillas in.

I warm up my tortillas a little bit before I start assembling. It makes them easier to work with. I put the stack of about 15 in the microwave for about a minute

Assembly line time! Dip one tortilla at a time into the sauce and put some of the chicken/cheese/sauce/(onion) mixture into it. Roll it up and place it in the pan.
Repeat this until you're all out of mixture. I'll usually go back and put any extra mixture I have into the ends.

Put shredded cheese on top and place foil over the pan(s) and place in oven.

Set timer for 30 minutes and cook @375.

Rice time!

Place pan on the stove and put approximately 2 tablespoons of oil into pan (if you're just eyeing it, a couple of swirls of the pan works well).

When oil is warm, place 2 cups of white rice into pan and brown over low heat.

Chop garlic. I use this spiffy little table-top contraption I got for a few bucks. It makes it the perfect size. If you're putting in onions, this would be a good time to chop them up as well.

There's a few different ways you can do this next step. You can either use 3 cups of chicken broth, or you can use 3 cups of water with a chicken bouillon cube or two, OR you can do a combination like I do. I buy Trader Joe's Chicken Broth concentrate and will put two of those packets in with a large chicken bouillon cube and approximately 3 cups of water all together. Place whichever method you decide into the pan and stir with the rice.

Add the can of tomato sauce and turn up the heat to boil while you stir.

Place lid on pan and lower heat to simmer. Rice will take about 20-25 minutes to cook. Check on it occasionally and stir to ensure it's not sticking to the pan.

The oven timer should go off about 5 minutes or so before the rice is done. Pull pan(s) out of the oven and place on counter to rest for a little bit so it's easier to handle. If you try to cut them too soon it will be a jumbled mess to take out.

When enchiladas are ready to be cut, place on plate with shredded cheese, sliced avocado and sour cream on top and rice on the side and enjoy! :)


This is really a base recipe and you can always add additional items (olives, spinach, onions, jalapenos, etc.) or even switch it up with a different meat to suit your tastes. These also work awesome as something to prepare ahead of time and warm up or warm up the next day for lunch. My boys love helping make these with me – I hope you enjoy them as well!

Bon appetit!

Becca is a rockin' wife, a mom to three amazing boys,and our resident graphics queen. You can find her designs at PDP Exclusives, or like her on Facebook!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How-to: Making a COLORED chalkboard. ANYWHERE!

Who says all chalkboard surfaces need to be black? Brooke has been excited about this project for a few weeks now, and the sudden splash of colors in her home have become a topic of conversation with any visitors that pop into the Brooke Van Gory Studio. So we want to scream it to the WORLD! Black chalkboard surfaces are NO MORE! Let them have COLOR!!!

Materials needed:

Acrylic paint in ANY color (match your decor, do team colors, do a RAINBOW!) in 2 oz bottles.
Box unsanded grout (around 4$ at any hardware store)
Sponge brushes (I found the larger the brush, the better)
Cheap paintbrush or popsicle stick for mixing
plastic bowl you don't care about
painter's tape
level (if doing squares)

So, as you all may or may not know, I really am not the best at being meticulous with measurements. With my sewing, I tend to fix any discrepancy in a line with a straight seam. In this case, I HAD to be meticulous. SO I first gathered all my tools together, and made sure I had a helper, to help hold the level.
First things first, pick a large enough spot to place your writing surface. For my first board, I decided to do a calendar shaped surface on a blank wall in the kitchen. For the top block (where the month would go) I measured out a 5" space, and had Evan hold the level, so I could tape straight under it, then I measured the space that I needed to cover width wise. In this case, the width of the area was 33", SO I figured each square (there would be 7 of them would be AROUND 4" wide (about, again....not rocket science, and by no means exact). For the pieces of tape in the inner part of the board, I actually took the painters tape, and cut it in half, so the spaced between the squares would be thinner. You don't need to do this, I just thought it would look more professional.
So I used the painters tape to grid out 7 squares across and 5 squares high. Which is KIND OF a lie, because first, I made 4 rows, then realized it needed to by 5 high, and went back later and added another row. So learn by my mistake, and do 7X5.
Now, for the mixing of the paint mixture. I used the little tubes of acrylic paint. You can find these in pretty much ANY color of the rainbow at any craft store. I got mine from Hancock Fabrics, and each bottle cost me 89 cents. TO do this large a surface, please buy 2 of each color....and again learn from my mistake, as it is not awesome to run to the store during dinner time with a hungry 2 year old to get paint cause you ran out, and want to finish.
Mix one bottle of paint with 1 tsp of unsanded grout. I got a HUGE box at Home Depot, and I keep joking that I still have enough to totally chalkboard the whole rest of the house. When you mix the paint and grout, it will be a little gritty in texture, this is normal. You do not really want REALLY lumpy paint, just gritty. Kind of like it you put a pinch of sand into Elmer's Glue texture-wise. NOW YOU ARE READY TO PAINT!

Use an up and down motion with the sponge brush. I found that the wider brush worked better then the more narrow brush. If there do happen to be lumps, just smear it in, they will break apart, and smooth out pretty easily. Let each layer dry, and re-cover the area as needed (I put 3 coats in each color) Let the whole area dry for at least 2 hours. When you go to peel off the tape, be careful, because the dried paint can stick to the tape, and pull off slightly. SO make sure you have a little dab of paint left of each color to do a touch ups. I even went onto the adjoining wall, to create a matching grocery board, so we can jot down items that we run out of during the week.

Now, stand back, and admire your amazing new chalkboard! This technique can be use for SO many cool things! Paint the front of greeting cards, the sides of gift bags, the outsides of rubbermaid containers, or even upcycle cereal boxed to make a portable chalkboard for road trips!
I loved doing this so much, I did another project in Evan's room, but with simple squares! This way, he can keep track of homework assignments, chores, and stuff he needs to keep track of! This was also to get him OFF my board because he could not stay away, it was too much fun!

Brooke is a mom of two, and in an attempt to take over the universe with awesome, she makes rad bags. You can find her shop here. She is also wife to an aspiring rock star, his band page is here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ask Krissi's Art Studio: Using Someone's Art For Your Next Tattoo (is it Kosher?)

Union Riveter Krissi Sandvik is moving her regular posts to Fridays (she swapped with Wenchkin).  

While I am not, nor have I ever been a tattoo artist, inquiries have started coming in from people either wanting to use my art for their next tattoo, or asking me to design an original tattoo for them.  I know many other friends who are working artists (like Wenchkin and Rocky The Zombie) must hear these requests even more than I do.  With the popularity of tattooing continuing to grow, I figured this would be a good subject to cover.

Turning Your Concept/Idea Into an Original Design

Before you go running off to find an artist to draw something up for you, you need to realize that the days of wandering into a tattoo parlor on the seedy side of town and picking a pre-drawn (flash) design off the wall are o-v-e-r.  One of the services you pay for when you hire a true tattoo artist is the tattoo design itself.  I mean, you wouldn't go to someone else and say "I want Krissi to paint something, can you draw my idea up first so I can hand it to her and have her burn it on wood and paint it?"  Well, I hope you wouldn't do that.  It's very similar with tattoo artists.  Many of these people are also drawing or painting on canvases besides bodies.  If you choose your artist based on how much their style and original work meshes with what you have in mind, they will be able to come up with something you love.  If they can't, find another artist.*

Asking To Have An Existing Design Tattooed

Maybe you saw Skelekitty or a Wenchkin "muerto" design and decided "I need that on my flesh!"  Perhaps you felt that need so strongly, you even waved your arms about and shouted it out loud on the bus right before everyone scootched away from you.

The Two Sides of Skelekitty by Krissi Sandvik
Well, I, for one, am flattered that anyone would want to have my work tattooed on them, as are many other artists.  However, not every artist feels the same.  No matter what you think/know how artist feels about having their art turned into perma-body-marks, ask permission of each artist for each individual image and tattoo.  Here's a good rule of thumb:
  • Write them an e-mail.  Do not ask in a text, Facebook, Google+, Twitter or on chat.  You may need proof of permission later on for your tattoo artist.  Also, be professional and don't make your artist decode texting abbreviations.  
  • Clearly identify which image you would like to have inked.  If there is a name to the image, find out.  If you're not sure, provide the artist with a link to the image you are interested in.
  • Ask permission.  Tell them you would like to have the image tattooed and ask them if they are OK with it.  
    • If they say yes, you can print the e-mail out and take it with you to your tattoo artist (who, if they are respectable, will ask if you have permission to use someone else's art). 
    • If they say no, be respectful.  This is their intellectual property and they have every right to refuse.  Thank them for their time and don't badmouth them for their decision.
Assuming your tattoo artist agrees to put someone else's art on your body, be aware that their style and training will affect how the design transfers to skin.  Be prepared for possible changes in color, design, etc. - it's just the nature of the canvas.

After You Get The Tattoo

OK, OK.  Most interpretations won't be THIS bad!
Image from Horrible Tattoos
Once you have the tattoo finished, send a photo of the work directly to the original artist (another thank you note for permission isn't a bad idea at this time). Why not just post it on their facebook page? Well, because some artists may not care for the interpretation of their work, or they may not want the tattoo to act as a representation of their work.  Then again, they may dig it!  If they ask you to post it on their fan page, wall, etc., you definitely should.  If they say nothing, don't post it for their fans or tag them.  Remember, if you love your tattoo, you don't need validation from the design's original creator.  Just enjoy your body art.

No matter what they say, ALWAYS reference the original art in photos you post on your own pages/albums/walls.  EVERY TIME YOU POST A PICTURE OF IT or whenever anyone asks about the design.  All you need to credit the design is "inspired by 'Blankety Blank Picture' by Some Indy Artist" and give a nod to your tattoo artist too - they worked hard!  If it's a straight copy of the artist's image, skip the "inspired by" part and just say the name of the original art/artist.  Not sure which way to go?  When in doubt, ask the artist!

Edit: When you reference your artist, be sure to include enough information for someone to find them.  You don't need to include a URL, but something like "my friend Krissi drew it" isn't enough for someone to Google the image/artist.  Go with something like "it's by Krissi Sandvik."  Of course, in Wenchkin's case, one name *is* enough.  If you're not sure, try a Google search and see how much info you need to find your artist.

*The Modern Rosies Union Riveters are putting their heads together to write a "choosing a tattoo artist" post.  If you have written an article on this subject, please contact us.

Krissi Sandvik is a mixed-media artist and the owner of Krissi's Art Studio, home of Skelekitty and Friends.  She was recently named "best tutorialer on the web" by her friend Rachelle Rose.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wenchkin'sTips for Toy Modification

Union Riveter Wenchkin is moving to Thursdays!  That means you get Part 2 of her 3-part series on toy modification a day early (see here for Part 1).  Lucky you! 

Thank you for joining the second installment on my tips for breathing life into old toys. If you were looking for painting and prepping tips, please go back to last Friday's post for that information.

First, I am adding this as a post since people often ask how I go about cutting up toys and smashing them together. Here I am going to tell you what I did to achieve my results but that does not mean there might be another way to do things. I am not afraid to experiment and possibly end up tossing a toy. If you really want to get into difficult sculpting projects or heavy duty mods, this is a bit beyond my skill level. However, when I first started I found all the info I could want and more here in the Kid Robot Munny Customizing Forums.

You will not find me there any longer as I chose to move on with ponies as they are a less expensive base unit then a munny so I can offer them to my clients at a lower price. No real reason other then that. The forums are filled with all the info you could ever want about anything having to do with toy mods.

So for this I thought it would be easier to post a picture and tell you how I got the results.

Sometimes the simple addition of an accessory makes the piece:
In this case, the person I made the pony for is a chain smoker. I took an ice pick, rammed a hole in the pony and cut up a tooth pick, painted it like a smoke and stuck it in there. 


Pony Warhol!  His glasses and television are made from shrink plastic I purchased at Hobby Lobby.

(I may do a future blog of just diy shrink plastic stuff since there are so many things you can do with it.)

King Diamond's mic stand is polymer clay which was baked, painted and assembled with a tooth pick in the middle and shrink plastic "bones" on top.

And sometimes I actually modify the body of the pony before I paint it.

And my first real mod, Pony Kun. I cut the front of the pony's face off with an X-acto knife then glued cardboard over the hole, cut it down with my craft knife then gave it a few coats of gesso to smooth out the edges before I started painting. 

I cut Zombie pony's leg completely off, cut a stick the size I needed then used hot glue to fill the space around the edges and glued the leg back on. I also made cuts into the pony to ake it look torn and cut the eye out, I used hot glue to fill and give it somewhat of a socket then painted that area black so it would look sunken. I had originally taken out my dremmel for this then put it back as hot glue and pony plastic just gum up my bits.

This was two ponies cut in half and glued together. They did not just fit right, so I had to shave down the centers of both, one on the inside, one on the outside. I like to use hot glue to fill areas but it will not be enough to hold this kind of an edge (the toy would fall apart). When I glue two dolls together I ALWAYS rough the edges first with some sandpaper, then I use a light layer of super glue on both sides, set it, walk away, when I come back in ten that is when I fill the crack with hot glue or a few layers of gesso then move on.

Now, it is really really difficult for me to get nice clean lines from glue along seams, I would venture to say if you are going to try to pull something like this off, for you first one you might try *faking* it or rather covering up the seam with something else.

For example, my seam on this piece was terrible, not that anyone would ever know though, since the shirt is covering it up.

Next week I will be discussing how I came up with my pricing since many people who are starting out often ask. I hope you join me then and as always,

Happy creating!  Wenchkin