Sunday, September 27, 2009

I need a hand . . . or two . . .

Well, I woke up this morning and I just couldn't take it anymore. The sun was shining, the air cool and crisp, and those big, brown eyes were looking into mine, begging for just a little walk, please mom? They really have been so good lately. Faithfully laying at my feet while I work in the basement. (actually, covering every square inch of floor space while I work - well, try to work) So as soon as I got myself together (which is no small task) the leashes came out and off we went. It was nice to get out and about for a while. Our neighborhood is always a little crazy on the weekend, especially this weekend.

Mahaffie Farm and Stage Coach Stop

We live just a block from Mahaffie Stage Coach Stop. It's an historical site here in Kansas - the only remaining actual stage coach stop along the original Santa Fe Trail. It's a lovely house on a large plot of land, surrounded on three sides by beautiful parks with walking trails. Over the past couple of years the city has really sunk a lot of money into restoring it to it's original condition. They have added a small farm, a pasture where they now keep horses, bulls, and livestock year round, and instead of the annual civil war battle reenactments, they now have all sorts of events there. (so we now get to listen to gunfire and cannon blasts on a more regular basis - Yipee.) Anyway, this weekend is Wild West Days and the parks were full to capacity with family pic-nickers, football games, old time army tents with character actors cooking over campfires, and horse trailers filled with horses and who knows what. Except for the occasional loud booms, my dogs just love the sights, and smells, and excitement of weekends like this.

It was almost 1:30PM by the time I got everyone walked, fed, and got Jake's glasses picked up from the eye doctors. So I finally got a chance to work on my props. Today, I spent the afternoon making hands. I have all these (sort of) lovely static props, (at least I've put in a lot of work to make them creepy) and I've always found that making realistic hands for them is so damn difficult. So I took a few days last week and did some experimenting. I decided that the best way to make them was from the bone structure up. I've been doing a lot of playing around with paper mache lately, so I thought that might be a good medium. I just needed to figure out how to make the bone structure. A week or so back, I spent an afternoon just wandering through the local Hobby Lobby store, and found these really cool things. They are sold as building blocks for little kids, but they look a lot like Styrofoam packing peanuts. ( you know, the stuff they fill the box full of to ship breakables?) Except these are different; first of all, they are dyed all the colors of the rainbow, secondly, they are totally biodegradable. When you are done building and playing with your castle, or whatever, you just place it in the sink, run warm water over it, and it melts like an ice cube. The way they connect, is by rubbing it onto a damp towel or sponge, and they just stick together. Of course, I've found that it's easier to just lick 'em and stick 'em. ( I probably shouldn't do that, seeing as it's one of those "green" products, it could be made from recycled kitty litter for all I know) Anyway, they are just about the same size as all the bones in a hand. You can even squeeze them and scrunch them to a smaller size. So after I build a skeleton hand, I wrap it in either foil, or put it inside a latex glove, pose it any way I want, and paper mache them. When it dries, I paint it, varnish it to keep it weather proof, and attach them. I built several today, and Heather helped with the paper mache, and when they are dry, tomorrow, I'll paint them, coat them, and stick them on - Ta-Da!!

I should be able to get 3 or 4 pairs done tomorrow. I could probably use a few more pair to replace the hands on the old props, but I've scheduled a break in my work day tomorrow. Jasmin and her family are coming out tomorrow for the Wild West Days, and they are going to sign little Caleb up to do mutton busting. (it's like bronco busting, except they use sheep for broncos, and little people for cowboys.) It's exactly the kind of thing that Caleb (the dare devil) loves to do. I can hardly wait. Hopefully, Jasmin will get photos that I can post. (got to find that memory card for my camera!!)

Oh, and by the way, Roy didn't build my shelves in my work room today. Actually . . . he found some already made that someone was getting rid of. They had to disassemble them to get them into my basement, but they are perfect! I can get so much more done when I am organized. Yay, Roy!

Okay, got to get to bed now - busy day tomorrow.

Good night all,

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