Character Design

Regardless of the fact that I find Christmas abhorrent, I am actually writing a Christmas story right now that I hope to illustrate with my elaborate and (unfortunately) time consuming medium of layered construction paper. The main character is an Elf named Banjo (that may change) who misses his deadline because of his own self-centeredness and decides the right thing to do to redeem himself by delivering the package himself. Because I need a dynamic Protagonist I’ve been working on character designs and I think that I’ve come to a semi-final look for him. I like the idea of the tool belt (because he manufactures toys, of course), but I need something other than the shorts. I figured they would highlight his sneakers and be ironic because he’s in the snow, but I might reconsider. More to come…

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The Jack Daniels Motorbike

It’s genetic, you should know. The insistent need to be constantly working on one or two things at a time. Indulging in as much of the process as taking satisfaction in the product, only to tinker and tailor a little more. My dad is always working on something, and I must say, the projects he takes on and the things he accomplishes put the little things I do to shame. His most recent/epic is a 1948 Greyhound bus that he painstakingly customized and restored into a 1950’s era RV, something that draws crowds no matter where he takes it.

I did get to help him with this one, though, a “kit” (for lack of a better word) moto-bicycle. He recently got his hands on a brand new Jack Daniels promotional beach cruiser (?) for next to nothing at a swap meet and wanted to make it ridiculous and a $300 kit was purchased to do just that.

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However, it runs in my family that anything that is taken upon that is supposed to be simple/easy/quick/affordable/custom is rarely just that, and more often quite the opposite. We had a box of pieces and a garage full of tools at our mercy, and custom fabrication was definitely in order for part of the process. The frame was of course too thick and needed to be drilled (several times of our own ill-planned accord), the hardware was cheap and poorly made and the instructions were glazed over via Youtube video from the seller of the product.

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Image ….My father playing the exhaust pipe.

After two days of issues and (ahem) “solutions”, we ended up with a pretty good rough draft. I must say, I was  impressed at how dialed in my dad’s seemingly disorganized garage is, as when we needed to come up with a fix for whatever problem we were facing, he was quick to make or repair, adjust or adapt a part to fit our dilemma.

Knowing my father it will never be done, just in some Phase at any given time until he completely loses interest, and I can say this because it is exactly how I am with these things- you can’t help but want to improve this or add that. It’ll get lights and a horn and some sort of vintage, custom or just plain weird cargo option. It’s only a matter of time.

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A little Facebook fooling…

This isn’t really a project sort of thing, but I am too proud of this not to post it. I kid you not, a photographer friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while apparently grew this awful, awful mustache in all seriousness, let someone take a cheesy photo of him with it AND THEN made it his Facebook profile picture. 5 minutes of Google image searching and 2 minutes of Photoshop gave me the image below. Keep in mind the last photo in the picture below is legitimately my friend Max’s profile pic, for which he received a world of crap from everyone, but the most from me, by far.

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The Clock, number 3

Part three is done for the clock that I’m making for my sweet wife. I’m doing one of these little construction paper pieces for every hour on the clock, so I’ve got only nine more to go. I was inspired by a Pinterest post, and have been building these out of cigar box lids.

Here’s the new one and the others…

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The inspiration…

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Riviera Scooter Club Logo, #2

Here’s number 2, I couldn’t resist. This is Photoshopped from a vintage Vespa ad, a Psychomania poster, some random Clip Arts and my massive collection of fonts.

Riviera Scooter Club Logo

So, the local scooter enthusiasts group here in town is the Vesperados, which is an totally killer name, but it appears from their website that they may be no more, or at least out for the season. Enrollment in the Vesperados is $50, and we’ve been joking amongst our weekly rider’s group about making our own rival scooter gang. Here’s my first take at an alternative, I rocked it out in about 30 minutes…

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The Clock, continued…

Here’s the second piece for the clock that I am building for my wife. It’s being done solely with the wooden cigar box lids as frames and construction paper. The idea is to have different times of the day depicted on each piece for the appropriate time. It was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

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Here’s the inspiration…

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Photoshop tinkerings

I love my computer and, when inspired, I often waste a good amount of time with a cup of coffee and strained eyes doodling with a Photoshop design. I’m pretty amateur, but enjoy coming up with logos and designs for t-shirts I’m never going to bother making, and probably shouldn’t. What follows are some illustrations I’ve done for our stellar local Roller Derby team the Brawlin’ Betties, our own MC the Jalama Burger Motorcycle Club and a daydream of a motorcycle/coffee shop that my friends and I came very close to pulling the trigger on, Cafe Rumble. Feel free to comment…

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Kindergarten Stuff

ImageOne of my favorite things about being a teacher is the opportunity to create, design and implement fun and education original projects in the classroom. With sites like Pinterest and countless personal blogs becoming a great resource for inspiration, the number of hands-on, cross curricular activities that you can have the students participate in and have a wonderful time doing so is endless. I LOVE coming up with or discovering clever tasks and obviously so do the kids, much more than worksheets and dry textbooks. Here are some activities I designed and very successfully applied in Kindergarten.

Shape Animal: Using pre-cut pieces students illustrated their own animal and then identified the shapes they used and how many. They had a blast doing this and the product was not only very cool but also worked as a great informal progress monitoring assessment.

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Bird Glyphs: Done with 3rd and 6th grade “Big Buddies” the kids were given a sheet with the individual pieces required to make these little birds and instructions on how to color based on things such as whether or not they like dogs or cats more, if they had seen snow or not, etc. When they were done they had a cute little art piece that also displayed statistical data about personal dynamics of the 3 person groups.

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City Counting Activity: I drew a city scape on a large sheet and then laminated the whole thing to make this game board. Essentially there are “ten frames” parking spots (frames of ten with a number of dots for the kids to count) in different parts of the board- in a parking lot, airport, harbor, train station, etc. The kids were given little vehicles with a number on it and they match up that number with the applicable spot using the type of vehicle as a context cue. Planes would go to the airport, boats to the harbor, etc. Super fun and easy to implement. A second set involved matching animals and their appropriate pens at a petting zoo.

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Santa Barbara Snowman: This activity was easy-peasy and made a neat and funny craft. Living in sunny Southern California, we don’t really have opportunities to make snowmen, so using a simple pre-printed sheet with the outline of a puddle and an overturned paper bowl the kids made their own melty, sunshine snowmen. They put the usual accessories on, with the exception of the sunglasses, and then wrote a sentence about where their snowman should move to or what happened to him. A lot of bang for the buck.

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“Boo Hoo, my snowman melted. It was too hot. Keana”

Scooter Speakers

Living in beautiful southern California we’re able to ride our scooters/motorcycles/bicycles year round, just as part of the astronomical price of living here should entail. This last Christmas season my wife and I wanted to hop on her scooter to cruise around and look at the holiday light displays that people had so festively put on display, and I thought it would be novel to be able to listen to Christmas tunes while doing so (I don’t know why the idea struck me, I hate Christmas music).

Image(The festive scoot. The wreath was another quick hot glue and suction cup creation.)

I spent the afternoon keeping an eye out for a small, yet affordably priced speaker set up while out doing some holiday shopping, and found a little set-up at Urban Outfitters, of all places, while picking up a few things for the nephews.

Basically, it was a little person with a speaker for a head that plug via headphone cable into an iPod or iPhone and got decent quality sound for such a tiny package. I wanted to attach him to the top of the scooter with suction cups, but as the power switch was on the bottom of the figure, I had to make a stand for him with a hole for the switch so that I would be able to get to it. I did so by cutting up a small, plastic pencil box and hot gluing it together, Mod Podging decorative paper over it to make it more visually appealing and to hid my sloppy glue job.

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Next I took the remaining plastic from the pencil box and made a case for my iPhone that allowed for a plug and access to the screen while still staying firmly attached. Because I didn’t want to trust the fate of my phone to a suction cup alone for the case, I made a multi-layered loop on the back that I could put a climbing hook through and affix it firmly to the mirror stem.

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It worked very nicely, but after all that work, my wife wussed out and we ended up climbing into the car to escape the “cold”. Still, it’s a neat little set-up that works well for leisurely rides.

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