Leah Love

Balloon Twisting for Fear and Profit

Balloon twisting scares the hell out of me.
Well, just one part of it.
The actual doing it, part.  At an event. In front of people.
Sooo many people.

That’s what I think about, for days before the event takes place. I can feel the anxiety building and building. By the time I drive up in front of my gig, my hands are clammy and my mouth is cold.

I’d like to say it goes away while I work, but it doesn’t.  Unless Jason and I are working the same gig.  Then it’s a snap.

It started very innocently.  My husband, Jason, twists balloons as part of his living, and it looked so easy.  Twist a little here, twist a little there, BAM!  It’s a dog!  $100, please.  So we decided I should pick the skill up.

Twisting is in itself, easy.  I find that it’s still fun to do.  Making little balloon ladybugs, horses, dogs, monkeys, cats is enjoyable.

My favorite thing to make is a dog. But, it’s the sword that I recommend to a child who can’t decide what kind of balloon he/she wants.  Not only because it’s just about the fastest, simplest, thing to make.  But because, if you give balloon swords to a room of children and set them free it’s fun!

It’s seriously the only thing you could give children to hit one another with that will not end in tears. Well, unless something pops.  In which case, I just make another, lickety split.

Going back to the ‘twisting is easy’ statement, I add a revision. It’s easy, for the first hour. As you get into hour three, your fingers may start to get sore from the repetitive nature of the twist.  By the end of a gig, my hands are sore!

Sore and swollen, and covered in latex dust.

But that’s still the best part of the day.  It’s OVER!  I don’t have to worry about it anymore.  I could go home, wash up, relax!  And I am peaceful and happy…  until the next gig approaches.

Do Artists Need College?

“Do I really need this?”  I used to think to myself at 3 am while trying to stuff my brain with statistical facts before a big test.

I am not into algebra.  I don’t like algebra.  My focus is in the arts for pity’s sake, why the heck am I doing this to myself?

And then I would scream something like “F***k you Math!” while I throw my textbook across the room knocking over a glass of something sugary, which would then tip all over my sleeping my roommate.  Waking her, and her wrath.

I didn’t need to go to college to be an artist. I could have continued doing what I was already doing.  Painting, sketching, experimenting, and buying up every art book I found interesting.

I think of what life would’ve been had I never signed on to let a classroom of judgmental art-novices stand over my shoulder.  Watching my work with one collective eyebrow up, criticisms at the ready.School

So, why am I doing this?

Because I want my bachelors.  Because so many in my family didn’t get one, and I wanted to be a credit to our name and an inspiration to my children.  I wanted a better income and, hopefully, a better life.

I also wanted the general college experience.  Communal living, meeting up with cafeteria study groups, going on panty raids.  Stuff like that.

The main reason I did college, even though I didn’t have to, was because it would never, ever, hurt to learn something new.  Even if it means the casual destruction of math textbooks.


DIY Quilted Duvet Cover and Curtains

I’ve been hoarding fabric for years.

To the point where I started thinking, as I folded a ripped sheet onto the appropriate color coded shelf if I was ever going to DO anything with the stock.

Cloth on appropriate color coded shelf.

“Sure I am!”
I told myself.

“When the project wants to come, it’ll speak to me and, voila! Sewing Magic!”

And then one day, there was a duck-down throw at my local thrift shop, naked without a cover and needing me.

Time to raid the fabric pile!

My daughter’s 1st birthday is coming up, and I have enough pink and pink-friendly material to assemble a duvet cover and a couple matching half curtains as a present.

#1. Assemble chosen fabric(s)
Using cast-off materials appeals to me because it does not require carefully measured yards of second guessed patterns and colors. I am working with whatever there is, in whatever sizes there are. No matter how badly I screw it up, it’s okay because there was nothing at stake.

#2. Choose a method.
What do I want this to look like? Do I want squares? Triangles? Squares and triangles? I decided to take the lazy way out and make the duvet cover out of long rectangular strips.
Group of Three #3. Measure twice, riiiiiiiip once.
I use my cutting mat to do a rough measurement of each piece of fabric (old skirts and a bowling shirt).

When there are 4 inches of material, I make a slit, and I pick up the item and rip all the way down. I rip because I am too lazy/impatient for scissors.Strips of Fabric
#4. Strips of Three.
Once I’ve thoroughly demolished the source material and my work table is smothered in a plethora of patterns; I choose the order. Which should be sewn together to make them most pleasing to my eye?

If one strip is not quite at my 2-yard length requirement, I sew on more of itself until it’s good.

I start with one and pin another to it, right sides together. To that duo, I add a third.

Once I have straight stitched all three together, I lay it aside and do the next group of three and the next. I continue until I have a stack of them; enough to cover my needs.

Since I’m making two short curtains, I select a couple of these sewn trios to hem later.

The rest of the pieces of three I assemble until they look ‘right’ to my personal aesthetic.  Then I pin the right sides together, followed by sewing until I have a solid panel for the front of my duvet cover.Image of Pinning Patches
#5. Backing.
I went ahead and used an old sheet for the back of my duvet cover. The benefit is that I can make the most of the already hemmed edges!

Then I measured, riiiiipped, and pinned the right sides together until everything looks good. Then sew three of the four sides together and before pulling the duvet cover right side out.

Pinning the Backing
#6.  Finishing Up. 
I didn’t bother to sew buttons or ties onto the open side.  When I stuffed the duck down comforter inside the duvet, I just tucked the open edges down over it.

Martha Stewart may not have done it that way but it suits me, and it works just fine.

#7. Curtains.
I finished the edges of the two remaining panels and sewed on some loops made out of small scraps.

Voila! Matching curtains and blanket!

Do I Need a Childbirth Class?

I admit that I’d forgotten that I was supposed to look into childbirth classes until Jason (my husband) brought it up.

Then I forgot about it again until yesterday when I went online to my hospital’s website to look for classes.

Not knowing if this is normal or not, I have to admit that I didn’t like the scheduling.  There seemed to be only two classes offered a month. One that wouldn’t work for me because I work in the evenings. The other, a Saturday-Sunday class would work for us if it wasn’t eight days into September (9 days away) and the Sat/Sun class offered in October was oh-so-conveniently scheduled during my baby shower.  And why bother to take a class in my ninth month of pregnancy?  I barely want to do it now!

And then I started thinking…  do I even need this at all?

All I know is there’s supposed to be Lamaze; that’s it.  My sister Clair took Lamaze because she wanted to home birth her kids.  I don’t want to home birth my kids.

I’m getting an epidural damnit!  So what the hell do I need childbirth classes for?

Looking for a definition or some descriptor of what’s supposed to go on during class was a bit sketchy; a little of this and some of that.  At my hospital they offer a free tour of the birthing facilities with the class. The tour is offered separately with more scheduling conveniences than the childbirth class itself.

So you get a tour, get to involve your ‘partner’ and a chance to dispel any false notions you may have about birth.

One testimonial for the classes quoted a woman who was grateful for the classes simply because she’d assumed that an epidural was “…  a quick shot in the back… you could move around and do whatever you wanted, without feeling the contractions.”

I should feel bad for thinking ‘idiot’ when I read this because I happen to believe if you’re serious about your pregnancy you’d want to at least read up or do some research on all aspects, including your pain medication options.  That’s when I had the thought ‘do I already know enough?’

So I thought about what I still might want from the class, and the only thing I was left not knowing was 1) pain management before epidural 2) laboring positions with an epidural.  And both of these things I’ve learned from Youtube so…  check!

I’m pretty sure I’m still going to sign us up for a Newborn Care class. Though, for some reason Jason does not to want that class.  I myself am not too confident about it but maybe if I gave this class as much thought as I’ve given to the other, I might just see that I don’t need it either.

Or do you think I’m being overconfident?


Money Defaced or Delightful?

I’d like to introduce you to James Charles, he doesn’t design for the mint, but he ought to.  Charles can take an ordinary 5 dollar bill and, with a few touches here and there, can turn it into a $700 work of art!

Some people argue that it is not illegal to draw/ink/create or otherwise alter existing pieces of money. Believing instead that what is illegal is trying to pass that money off as a greater denomination than it represented. Such as counterfeiting 5 dollar bills on top of 1 dollar bills or Xeroxing copies of $100 bills.

If it is illegal the secret service must have bigger fish to fry. They haven’t shut down the famous ‘Where’s George’ (www.wheresgeorge.com) bill tracking movement.  I’ve seen more than a few bills with that website stamped across Washington’s face.

Even if it were against the law it would have to be forgivable. It’s that good.

Anyone able to turn 100 (Ben Franklin), 50 (Ulysses S. Grant), 20 (Andrew Jackson), and 10 (Alexander Hamilton) dollar bills into the band mates from ‘Kiss’ is an art master.

Peter Criss Cash

Ace Frehley on 50 dollar bill.

Gene Simmons on $100 bill.

Paul Stanley on money.


Charles’ subjects are pop icons, musicians, actors, politicians, artists etc.

I am partial to the bills he devotes to the artists. Notably, the Vincent Van Gogh, the Salvador Dali.

Vincent van Gogh bill

Salvador Dali $5 bill

Followed second by those he’d done of fictional movie characters. Such as the 1931 Frankenstein’s monster and his bride, or the Oompa Loompa! Love that one!

Frankenstein's Monster Money

Oompa Loompa on a $10

If I can’t own one of these altered greenbacks, then I want to learn how to make them myself!

Yoda on a ten dollar bill

Spock on a $5 bill.





Altered Thrift Art

Online I came across a photo of one of those cheap-o crap prints from the 60’s and 70’s that you always see undusted in thrift stores. The kind that features a drab landscape or a couple of tots picking daisies. Something like that, you’ve seen them before.

In this tree filled valley with mountain view and ‘picturesque’ cabin, there is an unusual addition. An AT-AT, from Star Wars, making its way from the forest.

It hooked me immediately!

ATST at a Fox Hunt

It’s a thing. There are slews of thrift store paintings bought for pennies and altered to include Star Wars characters. Or monsters; monsters are popular subjects. I’m not even a huge fan of ‘monsters’ exactly but add one to a crummy painting and it is an instant interest.

T-rex at picnic

This painting of two daisy-chaining children is infinitely better with the charging Tyrannosaurus Rex. I chuckle every time I see it. The dinosaur looks so hungry, and those kids are just so ‘ho-hum’.

I am forced to wonder what the heck might be going on in their little heads. They see this thing coming at them and make no move towards safety.

The meaning of the painting, once so crappy and boring has been completely changed.

It looks way better this way!

The Sleeping Beauty with Aliens

This thrift store painting isn’t ‘crappy’. In fact, it is the famous “The Sleeping Beauty” by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones; which I love.

Look at the face of the recumbent ‘sleeper’.

That is simultaneously hilarious aaaaaaand a little creepy, in a fun way.

See it?

It completely changes the meaning of the painting, doesn’t it? Kudos goes to Megan Stringfellow for coming up with it (her husband loves the Alien franchise).

A woman in the garden with the Tardis

She also did this fun image. Adding the TARDIS, which works for me so well. Not only because the TARDIS could belong in that timeframe, but it’s just painted in there so nicely.

It’s like it belongs in the painting!

And the addition of K9 is so cute!

He looks like a lil’ lap dog, I almost didn’t notice that he was not from the original painting. Suh-weet.

Tigger and Pooh

I’m including this last one, painted by Robert Brandenburg, for my husband and my son.

They have both just discovered the joy of Winnie the Pooh. It is nice for them but annoying for me. This is why I find this ‘Tigger and Pooh’ painting so cathartic.


Sculptures Carved from Crayons

Look below, aren’t they sweet?  A froggy and a flower!

Crayon Sculpture of Frog and Flower

These crayon carvings, by Hoang Tran, are just awesome!   My husband especially likes the characters from Adventure Time. I like the totem carvings from the Game of Thrones series even though I’m not a fan of the show (despise me if you must).

Adventure Time Crayon Carvings

Totem crayon carvings from the Game of Thrones series


But I like the crayon sculptures below the best!

This box full of carvings have shed their skins and gone buck wild!

I want to touch them, I want to figure out how the heck Pete Goldlust managed to make them look so good, so smooth and… perfectly even.  It makes me willing to destroy some Crayola.

Pete Goldlust Crayons

Diem Chau carved a whole alphabet with accompanying animal carving.

The zebra is my favorite. I’d sure like to know how to inlay the black stripes.

Alphabet Crayon Sculptures

Review El Goonish Shive by Dan Shive

Okay, the name is a mouthful.  I had to go into the FAQ section of the Webcomic to get an explanation from the creator.  I could explain, but I’ll just quote him as saying it is “…nonsense followed by my last name.”  However unpronounceable the title, the content is quite funny!

When starting to read a Webcomic, I start at the beginning. In their infancy, the first handful of strips are generally pretty bad.

This comic embraces the badness. What’s more is they embrace it in a decidedly humorous way.  How could you not appreciate that?!

Not only do the first few strips embrace the ‘suck’, but they do it in a way that is funny and familiar.  The simplicity of the drawing and it’s sharp wit works for the comic. In a way, it is reminiscent of one of my favorite comics, ‘Bloom County.’

There are other interesting similarities. Maybe a ‘guest’ appearance in the first slew of comics alone.  I leave it to you to discover them for yourself when you start reading!

Read for yourself at www.egscomics.com