Appearances

Shake your bones

skull8
skull8

A quick recap from this weekend's Sugar Skull Making Workshop at SCRAP- We had super laid back afternoon making cool calaveras in the back room.  I loved seeing what folks put together using materials they found at the store, really creative use of recycled goods.

Looking forward to our workshop this weekend making costumes, masks, face paints and hair garlands for Dia de los Muertos.  There are still a few spaces in the class and you can register on-line here...

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skull6
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skull7

a Litany of Crimes

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Oh man the Portland Mini Maker Faire at OMSI was so much fun, I'm only just beginning to recover, that and my bail money finally came through.  The number of cool things to see and do was astounding from indie computer games, 3-D printed toys, the 30 foot trebuchet, fractal designed copper furniture and chocolates you could shape yourself into exotic flowers. I spent a good portion of the weekend ducking arrows coming over the top of the Tracker's booth, thank goodness they'd replaced the steel tips with sponges!  Wire's Geek Dad blog has a great re-cap of the Faire  and Dale Dougherty founder of Make Magazine and Craft, and the brain child of Maker Faire gatherings was also in attendance, his blog post is here . Not to be left out of the making mayhem, I snuck into the OMSI parking lot and  and on the sly built my own stand,  offering "policing by proxy" inviting criminals and potential criminals the opportunity to confess their mis-deeds in a mock mug-shot-photo-booth.  I was shocked, shocked I tell you to see the number of young miscreants our city is manifesting, sure they may look cute now- but just wait until their feet can reach the gas pedal of the get-away car.

I've posted some of the more outstanding offenders here as well as a more complete listing on my flickr site I would advise using caution when approaching any of these individuals, clearly they are armed with a wicked sense of humor and several are confessed cereal killers and cookie thieves...

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You're the Yarn Bomb

yarn blog post
yarn blog post

Because you are so cool, because you brave the weather to come out to book signings and liquor infused craft nights, because you wouldn't let me leave the house with my slip showing, purse that didn't match my shoes or a good alibi- I've made you a gift, and one for you, and you and you.  Fans of the Criminal Crafts blog who stop by my booth (#34) at Portland's Mini Maker Faire on Sept. 15th and 16th at OMSI and say "You're the Yarn Bomb" get this super cute kit- a small ball of yarn (enough to learn how to finger knit), instructions on finger knitting and a brief history on the art of yarn bombing, an atomic fireball candy and a commemorative gift bag hand stamped by Parole Officer Honeyman and myself. I'll also be giving a few of these precious gifts away at my panel discussion and Iron Craft event at the Contemporary Arts Center  on Monday Sept. 10th . Yes, I'm off to Cincinnati, you heard that right, the city that gave us Bootsy Collins, Carmen Electra, Doris Day and the Isley Brothers is also home to one of the more visionary and inspiring contemporary arts museums in the country.  I'm doing a fab night of talking and judging craft smackdown with local artists Pam Kravetz and Chris Salley and like any good hosts, they've promised beer will be available.  I'm really hoping to sneak off and squeeze in some yarn bombing when I'm there, since I hear it's quite the scene in Cincinnati.  There's even a yarn bomb posse, the BombShells  and they even have their own manifesto, and there really isn't anything I like more than crafters with manifestos, except for maybe crafters with beer.

On the off chance that you happen to live somewhere other than the craft meccas of Portland and Cincinnati, I'm thinking you deserve a treat too.  So the 1st five readers who email me a good alibi along with their address also get a gift in the mail.  So hop too it, and I want good alibis, something creative, slightly funny and will stand up in court.

Yarn bomb supplies
Yarn bomb supplies

So a bit more about these yarn bomb bags... they were generously donated by Stateline Bags and blanks in a number of sizes can be ordered from their website here.  They have a crafter's resource section on the website too which is pretty darn cool and it got me to thinking about some other projects I want to make later this fall.

For my bags I drew three designs on paper and made a rubbing transfer onto heavy linoleum stamp material.  I cut the shapes with carving tools but exacto knives work fine too.   From there it's as easy as stamping onto an ink pad and pressing onto the bag.  I did put a piece of cardboard in the bag so the image didn't seep all the way through.  I'm delighted with how the bags came out and am planning to screen print some others to using a darling print kit I got from Etsy seller SimpleKraft.

I've got a full stamp carving tutorial in the Criminal Crafts book and illustrations too, to make your own paper funeral.

%*#$ is About to Get Real

Alpine mock up
Alpine mock up

Oh man, I thought with summer winding down the Criminal Crafts hi-jinks would be coming to an end, not so my friends, not so.  The calendar is getting stuffed with devious fun workshops, cool give-aways, dangerous craft offs and Portland's very first Mini Maker Faire.  I'm so excited I could spit, but it isn't very lady like so I'll hold off. All the good stuff is getting added to my events page, check back when you can, as I keep adding to it and this awesomeness shouldn't be missed! First up, if you're cool enough to live near Cincinnati, you'll have to hot foot it over to the Contemporary Arts Center on Sept. 10th,  where I'll be in on a panel discussion about the resurgence of hand made arts, there's going to be an Iron Craft competition AND a bar.  Drinking, crafting and being competitive, Cincinnati gets me on a deep and fundamental level.  Will try to squeeze in some yarn bombing while I'm there, I hear it's the thing to do and if you get caught it's a much lighter sentence than what you'd serve than if was an actual bomb.

The following weekend, Sept. 15th and 16th is Portland's 1st ever Mini Maker Faire at OMSI.  A huge fun event for geeks, makers, Lego freaks, people who like giant trebuchets, 3-D printers and things that go boom. I'm in the process of building my space right now- aiming for mug shot photo booth and paper funerals to make and take, along with cool crafts  for sale, copies of the book and a special treat for people who read this blog.  More on this soon, but Stateline Bags has donated some of their very cool, small drawstring bags for an upcoming blog post and I'll be doing  give-aways based on that project.

As we sneak closer to fall, there's a whole slew of cool upcoming classes.  I'll be presenting a series of workshops to get ready for my favorite holiday Dia de los Muertos.  On Sept. 30th we'll be making sugar skulls a.k.a calaveras the next Sunday, October 7th, we'll be working on costumes, masks and skull make-up and a final workshop on altar or ofrenda building .  The classes are sponsored by SCRAP and will be held in their workshop space, for more info- check out my listings on Skilshare .

Speaking of SCRAP, the Rebel Craft Rumble is coming up and I'm itching for a good fight, they are taking applications now until August 31st and oh man, do I hope I make the cut, I've been training P90X training (not really)  since getting axed in the 1st round last year.  My ego is glue gunning for a re-match! Fight night is October 18th at the Hollywood Theater.

But wait, there's MORE can you BELIEVE IT??? Voodoo doll pincushions, two FREE  workshops October 24th at the St. Johns Library and October 30th at the Holgate Library . So friends and frenemies, I expect to see you soon.  And if you've made anything cool from the Criminal Crafts book, send me a photo, would love to add you to the gallery of rogues up on Facebook.

Vegas Baby-Part Two

CC Skyline
CC Skyline

As promised, I couldn't "do" Vegas in one post, there was just too much to see and really, The Mob Museum was so awesome, it deserved it's own post.

It might not sound true to character, but I'm not a huge fan of the strip so I made the requisite trek pretty short.  Everything there is a little too new for my taste, plastic and disposable like the giant day glow cocktail mugs shaped like the Eiffel Tower I saw a drunk lady throwing up into.  Just not my scene.

That said, I won't turn my nose up at the buffet at the Winn, it is divine and in one of the never ending malls I did managed to find one of those material goods I was willing to forgo my kids' college education on... If you guessed the Ferrari Museum, you'd be close, but actually it was a gorgeous print of the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti at Bauman's Rare books and a $30,000 copy of Ian Flemming's Live and Let Die in it's original dust jacket.  For that kind of cash, I'd hope to get some of Sean Connery's preserved sweat thrown in too.

While I yearned for Vegas' old noir vibe, my husband did manage to chat with Wayne Newton at the check in desk for Southwest Airlines, but that hardly compares to my visions of the old casino days of vixen card counters and Elvis at the pool of the Flamingo.

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CC Frida

Wandering off the Strip though, and into the downtown and arts district we were rewarded with cool thrift stores, friendly locals and some kick ass Mexican food.

Casa Don Juan on Main St. does a great chili relleno and had a super impressive wall of  Frida Kahlo on one side of the restaurant and Emilliano Zapata on the other.  Across the road I found some lovely vintage and modern decor at Corner Store.  Wasn't sure how to get the velvet couch back home with us and still kicking myself for passing up this lovely Remington typewriter.  Thinking it would make a nice change from the cut ransom notes I've been slaving over.

Also on Main St. was Medusa's Antiques, which had some decent stuff in the front of the shop and an amazing room of tiki collectibles in the back. Next trip its where I'll be spending all my allowance money.

If you're into the downtown Vegas scene, there's a documentary being made by William Swaney that is worth checking out, Beyond Neon based on the coolness I saw in the hood and the super nice folks, it sounds like a great film going down.

Next up: Seattle Squirrel Madness

CC Remmington
CC Remmington

Visit to The Mob Museum-Criminal Crafts Does Vegas- Part One

CC Mob Museum
CC Mob Museum

The best mobster stories take at least two volumes to tell, three if you include flashbacks, cooking advice and a couple generations of offspring added to the family drama.  My Vegas tale isn't quite as epic, but needs at least two posts to do it any justice.  And when we're talking about justice, The Mob Museum delivered it in spades.

Sitting pretty in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, The Mob Museum resides in a gorgeous old building once a US post office and Federal Courthouse.  In 1950 it was one of 14 locations around the United States to participate in the Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime.  Broadcast live on TV, these hearings put 600 witnesses, mafia kingpins and henchmen on the hot seat, nose to nose with US senators, facing allegations of interstate commerce violations and the uncovering the overwhelming influence of organized crime all around America.

Spanning three floors, with fun, and informative interactive exhibits and films, the museum delivers the goods on federal crime history, showing both sides of the loaded coin, profiling the thugs who did the deeds and the cops and legislators who uncovered the corruption and introduced legal oversights and justice to the chaos.

CC mob collage
CC mob collage

I'm a geek for crime history, so it was a delight to spend an afternoon exploring the exhibits and an even bigger treat to be doing a book signing of Criminal Crafts at the gift shop.  To really see the museum you'll want to set aside two or three hours, longer if you've seen Goodfellas, Casino or Donny Brasco more than once, because all those cats, and their homeboys are here.  I really could have spent a full day, as the exhibits were completely fascinating, and gorgeous, high tech and inviting all at once and the bad side of being a gangster never felt glamorized.

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CC mob collage 2

Of course I kept an eagle eye out for genuine criminal crafting memorabilia and insights into the minds mobsters, and was rewarded by this "interestingly" executed pen and ink sketch which I think was done by  John Gotti.  Serving 10 years time prior to his death, one can only hope Teflon Don spent a little more time refining his skills and this was only and early attempt.  I pity the poor guy who had to stand for hours posing for this one.

Around the museum were numerous quotes from famous mobsters and officers as well as clever presentations of background information.  I especially liked the chalkboard drawing of criminal traits- perusing through the criteria, I seem to hit most of the deviant tendencies for an older miscreant.

CC mob collage 4
CC mob collage 4

Seeing the mob connection to Vegas history was especially compelling, lots of great memorabilia and back story from the city's seedy past.  The book on card sharking was behind glass so I couldn't get any tips but there were a few slot machines tricked out for fake wins and other cons of the day.  A room next door was plastered with stacks of fake money illustrating how much revenue the government lost to skimming scams, astronomical sums.

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cc gift shop

Luckily for me the tour winds up in the gift shop where I had a table for the afternoon.  The gals who work the shop were good sports, indulging my corny jokes and trying on the spy glasses that I made. Special shout out to the super troopers who came in on their day off to get signed copies of my book.  Can't wait to see what they make, will be posting photos here!

I couldn't leave empty handed and aside from getting souvenirs for myself, belated father's day gifts I decided to start my Christmas shopping. The museum had some really unique stuff, biographies of famous cops and mobsters, movies, crime scene tape, loaded dice. shot glasses shaped like pistols and costumes for kids and adults.  Since I couldn't fit everything in my carry-on I'm glad the gift shop's collection is on-line too.

CC Dolls
CC Dolls

Had to share pics of the treats I got for myself- an awesome book of mobster paper dolls.  I'll be making the Goodfellas set 1st.  Skinny Ray Liotta, looks absolutely scorching here and I'm putting him on my desk to oversee all the hard work I'm doing.  Sad though that there isn't a version of him in his underwear, and it's pretty telling that the Joe Pesci doll is missing a head.

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cc tape gun

And I could not pass up on the tape gun, nothing, nothing quite says Criminal Crafts like this bad boy.  With any luck (or a good bribe) I'll have a chance to do the SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble again this year and can use it as my secret weapon.

Facinators, you wear them on your head

50 Shades of Grey Facinator
50 Shades of Grey Facinator

Well summer is in full swing, it's wedding and horse racing season which means two things, classy ladies are going on Champagne benders and sticking silly things on their heads while running willy nilly to the finish line. With these parameters, I of course refuse to be left out, and had to put my own twist on the chapeau phenomenon by making a series of themed facinators to wear at events I've got coming up.

Some of my men friends have never heard of facinators, so I'll take a moment to explain- They are fancy bits of lace, ribbon and do-dads that you wear on your head, similar to a hat, but smaller.  Their geographical placement, above the belt line, might make them a bit more disappointing than they sound at first, but bear with me, with the right theme in mind, we can spice them right back up to being interesting.

I've made a few of these literary inspired accessories now so putting together the "50 Shades of Grey Facinator" was so easy, I could have done it with one hand tied behind my my back.  (While rolling my eyes and chewing on my bottom lip).  Seriously, handcuffs on your head is hot, and not hard to do.  I opted to use the toy version of the shackles both for safety's sake and they are a hell of a lot lighter and easier to attach with a glue gun.  I actually got all the supplies to make the facinators from the Dollar Store, with the exception of the paint chips which I stealthily pocketed while at the paint shop.  I think they actually give them away, but I like to feel sneaky even when I'm not doing anything wrong (except for not wearing underwear).

Supplies:

Plastic headband

Plastic netting or fancy tuile

50 paint chips

Plastic handcuffs

So to make: Cut a produce bag into a 8x 12"  strip, scrunch one end of your "veil" together and attach to a plastic headband with hot glue.  Do this over a newspaper because it's going to make a drippy mess and since your veil is made of plastic, it's going to melt a little bit.  One trick is to put a bead of glue onto the headband and let it cool for about 20 seconds before pressing the netting down into it, and of course be careful, as it's going to be hot.

Fan your chips and glue one on top of the other, glue pain chip rosette onto headband and cuffs on top of that

Open a bottle of expensive Chablis and pick up the phone, maybe Christian is free for a booty call

Vegas Facinators
Vegas Facinators

 If he's not around you can always treat yourself to more crafting, it's almost as much fun as kinky sex with a neurotic billionaire.  I had a hoot making a whole horde of facinators for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas.  For some I went for the straight up gambeling theme, but I wanted to do something for my book signing at The Mob Museum of Las Vegas on the 30th.  I am super stoked to check the museum out, the exhibits sound spectacular, looking at both sides of the crime history, the criminal element and the law enforcement officers who fought to bring them to justice.  This duality inspired me to make two special facinators, one for the gangsters with a bottle of bootleg gin and one for Johnny Law with iconic shades and a fancy pants badge, that is probably fooling no-one.

Vegas Facinator collage2
Vegas Facinator collage2

Now you might be looking at these hats and think to yourself that Ms. Demeanor has finally taken crafting too far, no one would wear something so ridiculous on their heads, but friend, you'd be wrong and I'd like to point you to the most excellent blog post on Go Fug Yourself  highlighting the haberdashery hijinks at the Royal Ascot this weekend, where society dames wore two teared bird houses and gargantuan flowers on their noggins.  The outfits for Lady's Day have gotten so out of hand that the Ascot officials have laid down the law this year, all together banning facinators in the royal box (no innuendo there!) but they still allow big ass hats.  I remain amused and inspired.

Mommy Dearest

CakeWithFile_Hero
CakeWithFile_Hero

Since the publication of Criminal Crafts, I've been in a bit of hot water with my mom. This is nothing new.  The current bee in her very antique, threadbare bonnet is over how I portrayed her in my book. Now she's calling at 3 a.m. ranting about "character defamation"  and hinting that my exaggerations are the basis for a very expensive slander lawsuit and her lawyer's retainer is paid up in full.  So, before this whole ugly incident can go into litigation, I'd like to say, in a very public forum.  My mother has never been arrested for a crime, actually served time or been convicted of any crime that I am aware of.

However, I still have my suspicions, and until evidence is presented otherwise I'm going to assume the only reason mom isn't doing time, she's that good.  Good at getting away with it.

Her fanatical cleaning binges are really all about wiping down prints and the whole gardening kick only thinly veils something much darker and deeper which she's burying in the back yard.

HiddenBook_Hero_2
HiddenBook_Hero_2

Since she's got to leave all that stolen loot to someone, I'm staying on her good side and making her something extra special for Mother's Day, a decoy book with hidden compartment for her hooch. This is a pretty well known and fabulous craft, something which I've detailed in the book.  If you live in or near Portland Oregon, you can come make one with me.  I'll be leading a series of workshops at a number of Multnomah County libraries and all the supplies and instruction are free.  Best of all the 1st class is on Mother's Day, so you can bring your mom too, if she's anything like mine, making a cagey cubby to secret her stash is the perfect way to spend the afternoon, beats doing time.

Put Your Parole Officer on Speed Dial, it's Time for Criminal Crafting

well hung
well hung

This past week has been a whirlwind tour of fun and mayhem with two fiendishly lovely kick off parties for the Criminal Crafts book at Bridge City Comics and the Someday Lounge.  I'm new to this whole game, but I'm beginning to catch on to some of the rules of author signings and being interviewed by the press.

#1 When someone approaches the table don't offer them the choice between signing in ink or blood, you might freak them out- just use a sharpie, don't be a smart ass.

bridgecity4
bridgecity4

#2 Books featuring flaming cocktails and shiv cozies are actually well loved by children too and if an adult offers to buy it for their kid, it's between the two of them, you won't actually be around for the fallout.  Since my kids had a whole lot to do with the making of the book and my daughter has a great idea for the perfect bank job, I'm in no position to judge.

#3 Don't break the reporter.  I had a lovely interview with a cool guy two weeks ago and we made some flaming drinks for his story.  During the process of filming we managed to: accidentally pour a drink on the owner of the bar we were shooting in, get locked out of said bar, the reporter fractured his elbow scaling a chain link fence attempting to return us to civilization and was ALMOST ARRESTED BY TRI-MET POLICE FOR IMPERSONATING AN OFFICER, and we set some stuff on fire.  I am known to exaggerate on this blog a wee bit and sometimes outright lie, but this one is totally and completely true, all of it.  My agent has asked me to only do interviews by phone from here on out, wise plan.

I am super, super excited for the next big signing event at Murder by the Book which I'll be doing with the amazingly talented craft author Susan Beal.  I'm a huge fan of her books especially  World of Geekcraft and Button it Up which have cool projects for when I'm feeling less maudlin.  There will be snacks, Susan is bringing along a couple of her most mysterious projects to show off- A Coraline inspired sewing box and Tribbles!  I'll have a couple projects from Criminal Crafts including invisible ink and a ransom note kit, because we're all about depraved writing.  Susan was kind enough to do a write up of the event here....

It is an absolute treat to be hanging out at Murder by the Book, everyone in the shop is delightful and I always walk out with my arms loaded down with a stack of thrillers, local ner-do-wells and classic who-done-its.  One things I love about the shop is their excellent selection of mysteries for kids, since my posse is destine for either incarceration or a future in law enforcement I figure it's never too early to have them bone up on the fundamentals of the criminal world and espionage.  With that in mind I picked up three fantastic books last week:

Uncle
Uncle

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was one of the best things that ever happened in spy TV, though the Prisoner will always be 1st in my heart.  U.N.C.L.E. did get the best licensed toys, and spin-off books, I was stoked to find this at the store- not quite sure what a "gentle saboteur" really is, but I'm about to find out.  The illustrations are dope and I love the writing style  "The truth struck her like a tremendous gong.  She was not a soldier but a mercenary, a paid professional.  She was not part of an army but a member of a world organization of professional criminals, covering their crimes by a pretense of political activity, earning huge sums of money as the lackeys, without conscience, of governments that desired unrest and turmoil"  Booyah! That is some good shit!

Vanishing
Vanishing

 Vanishing Acts by Phillip Margolin and Ami Margolin Rome- A mystery story with Jr. High heroine, Madison Kincaid set in the ever sunny Portland Oregon.  I love reading local authors telling stories about the city I live in and Phillip's books never disappoint.  This is the first project he's written with his daughter Ami and though it's for a kid audience, I'll be reading it 1st because I'm already hooked.  I got the chance to meet Phillip and Ami at a signing last summer and they are both charming people with a quick wit, looking forward to snuggling down with this one!

Freddy
Freddy

 Freddy the Detective, the 1st book in the Freddy the Pig series.  Don't let the title woo you into thinking this is just a book for kids, Freddy is the shiz, love this little guy a whole lot- Super dry humor with the writer, Walter R. Brooks as a contributing author to the New Yorker and Atlantic.  Though the stories were written between the late 1920's up to late 50's, the political commentary remains astute and timeless.  Freddy is a dapper hero with a supporting cast of barnyard friends who manage to over-come their animal instincts to demand labor reforms, start their own bank and covert espionage agency and eventually diplomatic relations with the people of Mars.  Since meeting Freddy last month, the kids and I have become obsessed and he's our hands down favorite read aloud.

Aside from having my head in a book this week, I plan on doing some long overdue crafting.  I'll be spending a part of Thursday and Friday (10-2 ish) hanging out at Backspace Cafe as the "Crafter in Residence".  I'll be making some projects from the book and a few other things on my to-do list.  Drop in and say "hi" bring something of yours to work on or stump me with craft questions or master schemes.  This is an informal meet-up so tweet me if you're heading over @criminalcrafts I'll be in the back probably drinking one of the tantalizingly delicious Upright Brewing's Criminal Crafts Barley Bocks.

Take it to the Bridge- And, Thanks!

bridge
bridge

The Criminal Crafts world tour is off to a ridiculously fabulous start and I'm super stoked to be doing the official launch signing at Bridge City Comics this Friday night at 6pm.  Since it's on the suitably unlucky Friday the 13th, I'll be doing a super special give away- If you come in with a written hard luck story, you'll be eligible for a prize, something awesome and devious from my Criminal Crafts shop!  Since a couple of my pals are real Sad Sacks the competition for this will be fierce but I'll probably do a drawing rather than go for saddest story since many of my friends are also big liars and will do anything to win a contest.

cookies-001
cookies-001

Along with the book signing- there will be snacks- I've busted out a couple batches of my G-men cookies from the book, who've all tragically run afoul of hard times themselves, we'll also be sampling the Upright Brewing Criminal Crafts Barley Bock which is so freakin delicious that I've decided to write another book so we can get more beer.

Best of all Bridge City is an all ages venue so the juvenile delinquents in your house can come too, if they've checked in with their parole officer 1st.  There's a great collection of comics for kids and I plan on picking up our back issues of Tiny Titans and the new Asterix too!

While I'm name dropping, wanted to send a special thanks to Karen at the Someday Lounge, she put together a fantastic catering spread for our cocktail party last Tuesday night, the stuffed mushrooms were especially divine, looking forward to more special events there!  And as hoped, Kick Ass Oregon history delivered, we got a fab review of some of Oregon's more notorious and ingenious criminal moments as well as sage advice- Tip: don't pick up hitchhikers on the road outside the women's prison, words to live by!