Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Larvae Cake Day - 2019


In remembrance of all the Larvalwyrmen cursed to never to mature after their eldritch Queen passed, we eat cake! Especially, we eat cupcakes of red velvet, filled with Maraschino cherries, topped with chocolate frosting, white sprinkles and extruded marzipan!

We celebrate just before Halloween, sustaining the tradition sparked last year (follow the link to learn the history and connection to Dyscrasia Fiction).

Cupcakes will be served in the West Chester area tomorrow. Cheers!

Next year, we may try some Dr. Grave Skin Pie's!
Inspired by "The Macabre Art of Baking ‘People Pot Pies’"
 Ashley Newman Photo from  The Macabre Art of Baking ‘People Pot Pies’"






Sunday, March 3, 2019

Is That The Best You Can Do? Card Game - Review by SE

 "Is That The Best You Can Do?"
Free Market Kids delivers a solid card with "Is That The Best You Can Do?"

It is inspired to teach basics of financial literacy and negotiating skills, but it's fun whether or not you care about learning. It is as easy as Uno... but totally different.

The games works with three people, but works best with four or more for the negotiations to get exciting. It is excellent for family gatherings, home schooling, or class settings. A match runs about 30-45min, but a single ~5min round can be fun and full of teachable moments.

High quality materials, art, and design produced this Deluxe version. The box is like a book that can be stored like one. A magnetic closure/top is slick .  The currency, core to the game, are translucent, poker-sized "crypto-currency"---they are fun to hold and durable.



Each player takes 7 Supply/Demand cards. Then the negotiations start.  One player begins by offering to sell or buy an item (all are Sci Fi based.... like flying cars, robot dogs, alien chess, etc.).  Then... the others chime in. Some will want to buy, and others enter as competitive sellers.  Everyone has different goals (ie buy-for-less-than OR sell-for-more-than).

Pairs negotiate, come to a price, and are awarded the difference between their card value and the end-price.  Then they replenish their deck of 7.

It is easy, but different than most buying-trading games. Only takes a minute to pick up.

To add spice and learn more, there are Market Cards. Instead of replenishing one's deck with Supply or Demand cards, one can pick a Market card that introduces one-time events; there are 9 flavors (ie everyone holding a Robot Dog gets taxed! Or arbitrage is enabled, so you can buy/sell to yourself...and seven more events).

Free Market Kids are going to spring board off this, as they are preparing lesson plans and game-add-ons to stimulate learning. I suspect they will create a basic (non Deluxe) set that just has the basic cards and will cost less.


Game Overview

 

Set up

   

 Negotiations

 

 Market Cards

 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

National Larvae Cake Day - Monday before Halloween

Larvae Cake Day:

Well, you never know when something will become viral on the internet, or in this case: parasitic. When a Dyscrasia Fiction fan, Mr. Ward, was reading Spawn of Dyscrasia, his wife interrupted to see if he wanted to eat lava cakes (a gourmet chocolate cupcake with gooey insides). Mr. Ward first heard this as "larvae cakes" since the book (the whole series actually) features lots of larvae creatures, Larvalwyrmen in particular (giant larvae of the elder insects cursed never to mature once the Queen is killed). Larvae-filled cupcakes sounds gross! But they can taste good if we use non-parasitic ingredients.

After five experiments to capture the essence of a gooey lava cake that represented the Blood Bogs and Larvarlwyrmen of Dyscrasia Fiction, we arrived at a decent recipe. Sharing these at work catalyzed the even which we hope will become a national phenomenon: "Larvae Cake Day."

So the Monday before Halloween will hence forth spawn the sharing of Larvae Cakes. No need to wait for me to deliver them to you. Below is the recipe so you can make and share your own!

RECIPE for 24 "Larvae Cakes" cupcakes



INGREDIENTS:

Red Velvet cake mix (~15oz Box)
Eggs (3 needed for cake)
Vegetable Oil (1/3cup for cake)
Chocolate Frosting <16oz
White Sprinkles / Jimmies 1 jar
Maraschino Cherries 
Marzipan (Almond Candy Dough) 7oz

INSTRUCTIONS:


1: MIX CAKE BATTER
2: BAKE CUPCAKES
3: SLICE TOPS/INSERT CHERRY
4: FILL WITH WHITE SPRINKLES
5: COOL CUPCAKES & FROST WITH ICING
6: DIVIDE  MARZIPAN INTO 24 SIMILAR BALLS
7: EXTRUDE WITH CLEAN GARLIC PRESS




Other Dyscrasia Fiction Crafts
Two instances begin a trend.  How better to enjoy dark fantasy than to immerse yourself in crafts! Take note of the 2011 posting of Spooky Apple Head dolls used to inspire Lords of Dyscrasia







Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Holidays 2015 - Snow Flake Trapping Experiment - Lindberg Greeting Card




Happy Holidays and New Year too!

This year's theme is “snowflakes” – real ones. Due to winter's erratic precipitation and the self-imposed theme, we had to start early on this design--no snow would be present the months preceding card distribution (Aug-Nov) so we started in Feb 2015.  We were eventually successful. The snow flake design displayed on the card are actual shapes of flakes harvested and imprinted in West Chester Ohio. It took ~4 attempts, two of which were ~4AM since that is when the snow came. If interested in trapping snowflakes and learning how the card was made, then follow this link/blog post detailing to how this Snow Flake Card was made (previous 17 years of cards are displayed on Lindberg Craft Blog).  

Capturing Snow flakes 

0) Collect Snow Trap equipment: namely glass microscope slides (available via Amazon) & hair spray; put them in a garage to cool.

1) You need to have snow falling at the "right" rate/density: snow needs to be falling at a slow but steady rate.  Too much snow, and they do not imprint separately...not enough, and you won't catch enough on on your "snow trap" described below. This took several rounds of testing.

2) The snow trap consists of microscope slides coated with hair spray (cheers to Aquanet, the champion of 1980's hair styles!).  Most hairsprays are dissolved polymer solutions that, once exposed to atmosphere, evaporate allowing the polymers harden. Using "hot" (i.e. room temperature) hairspray will melt fresh snow.  Using cold/old coatings will not work since they will not be too dry or too hard to be imprinted. The trick is to coat the slides right before use with pre-cooled hairspray. Keep hair spray and slides in a cold place (i.e. garage); freshly spray the slides right before a snow event and lay them out in the yard.


3) Weigh down the slides on card board otherwise, wind (that often comes with snow) will flip your adhesive coated slides over...and you'll have mulch/debris embedded through out (tested that too).

4) Keep the slides cold as the water melts & polymer hardens: after harvesting the snow flakes, place them in a cold garage. If the snow is coming down heavy, you'll have to retrieve the slides before they get too covered. You need to let the polymer harden and dry before taking them into a warm house. Wait for the snowflakes to melt/evaporate.

5) Image these via (a) a photographic macro-lens with the flakes are still present.... or (b) via a microscope after the flakes melted and evaporated (leaving their image in cast). You'll see that many flakes are only half embedded or overlap.  The camera used on the scope is monochrome which reflects the colorless imprint.  Simple bright-field imaging is used.

Monochrome Raw Data 

7) Faux-color in Photoshop & Font Battle:  These monochrome images are now doctored up in Photoshop with lots of false coloring, masking, and layering options; a number of the snowflakes are isolated atop a template provided from PSprint.com (one of many online printers screenshot below). Art Director Heidi may initiate a war over appropriate fonts, and you should expect to lose. My blocky carved ice letters were "not right for this project" and I was convinced to follow her advice to use a sleek font instead. Erin and Connor concur with mother as per their training. The next battle is with the computer to ensure the printing of CMYK reflects the RGB coloring; this is resolved via opening & exporting the template in Adobe Illustrator (see variety of blues/cyans below). The template is made read for printing.  A proof confirms all is well. 

Team Lindberg Update

2015 had Connor growing taller than his dad (he's now 6 feet tall at 13yrs of age, cripes). Erin, Connor and Dad were promoted in the Kyu ranks in Aikido (Mushinkan Dojo in Liberty Township under Sensei Domaschko...a great place to learn self-defense without striking/harming your opponent…highly recommended to all).  Heidi ramped up her photography hobby to the point she is beginning to take portraits for clients (family photos, Linkedin head shots, & pet portraits). Dad continued pressing his writing hobby and saw his first short story appear in an anthology Heroika: Dragon Eaters (17 authors chronicle the killing of serpents across as many centuries--Seth covered ancient Egypt); also audio books for Seth's dark fiction were released thanks to voice professionals found via Amazon's ACX service. 2016 promises to be fun, as Team Lindberg tackles crazy artistic endeavors!

Best to all, Seth, Heidi, Erin, and Connor (Shorty & Sweetie too)



Monday, December 8, 2014

Lindberg Holiday Card 2014


HAPPY HOLIDAYS, 2014!

Crafting Holiday cards has been a tradition in our family since ~1998.  Most of the cards are on display on a website, clicking on recent ones (2010 onward) provide links to how they were made. This year, Heidi pushed me away from the art board. To make this beautiful rendition of a Poinsettia plant, she blended her photography, batiking, and design skills. Here is how she did it:

Summary: Photography > Batik > Digital Design


Phase 1: From Picture to Cloth
Photograph Poinsettia > Print Copy Onto Paper
Expand in Copy Machine > Outline Edges on White Cloth

Heidi took the Poinsettia picture Dec. 2013 and has been eyeing it ever since. It was destined to be a template for some other craft.  Printing it Summer 2014, she used an enlarged copy to trace the outlines onto a cloth.  This enabled subsequent dying.
Phase 2: Selectively Color Cloth 
Trace Edges to Cloth - Mask Areas With Removable Wax
The art of batiking involves masking sections of the cloth with removable wax.  Using the photograph to guide which areas should be kept light (i.e. the white background), the artist protects the cloth with wax.  Then the artist dyes the entire cloth, setting the darkest areas first. The original wax is kept on, and more wax is applied on the next gradation of color. Then the cloth is dyes again.

Adding Color
  1. Masking & Dying & Drying (mask lightest areas first..i.e. white, pink, etc.)
  2. Applying new masks... Mask On Areas Desired To Be Lighter/Pinker…
  3. Repeat...darkening the exposed areas


Phase 3: Iterative Masking – Dying - Drying
Beware, annoying husband's hell-bent on documenting the process may photograph you with your hair "up." Crackled wax provides a cool, vein-like pattern. The wax can be removed by bathing the cloth in hot water...the wax melts and floats to the top.

Phase 4: Photoshop
Finally, the cloth is photographed and Adobe Photoshop is used to experiment with some lettering.

In this case, "Noel" in landscape mode wins! Then an inside needs to be made to match the front:

Print copies are sent to an online print company.  First proof arrived Nov 13th.  It looked fine, so it was approved.  A stack was ordered to arrive ~Nov-20th.  This allows a few weeks (over Thanksgiving) to prepare the cards and issue them prior mid-Dec.

This marks the 17th year of hand-crafted Holiday Cards!  Check out the others at:Team Lindberg Cards.  So that's it.  From our family to yours, have a great 2015!  Sincerely, Team Lindberg (Seth, Heidi, Erin, and Connor).

The Kids!

Cool Update: The McCrone Research group's card also features a poinsettia!




Friday, August 1, 2014

Diorama Map Making

Making Maps Feel Real; Diorama Design

Maps have a special role and meaning for fantasy novels.  For one, they are often needed to orient readers to crazy, new worlds; but to make the fantasy-world be realized, I decided to depict the maps for Dyscrasia Fiction real landscapes (not common cartographers' maps). Below, the color version of the Land made for Spawn of Dyscrasia (publication in process Summer 2014) is a photograph of a 5' x 3' diorama constructed in my basement.  This post details the making of it.  First, note that there is no compass rose; instead, the sunrise indicates East.  The predecessor Lords of Dyscrasia had maps that appeared as hand-drawn sketches of the same landscape, which were used to guide the scaling (they are available online too as interactive maps--link).
Spawn of Dyscrasia Map
Lords of Dyscrasia - Maps made interactive online

Inspiration Real Places

New places are featured in Spawn of Dyscrasia, and old places have evolved.  It was important that each key area was identifiable and unique, just like a living person. I drew inspiration from real places with haunting beauty such as: the colored sandstone of Zhangye Danxia, China (for the Arenite Range),  the Island of the Dolls, Mexico (For the Gray Orchard),  the Maijishan Grotto, Gansu, China (for the Chromlechon Keep), and the La Brea Tar Pits, California (for the Blood Bogs).  La Brea is the only site I saw in person, the others are on my bucket list.

Plastering Terrain & Setting Viewing Angle

Then the fun began.  The existing map of the Land was drawn on a large foam core board.  Then pictures of the key places were laid out.  From the beginning, the desired output was a map that fit a portrait page design (to accommodate print and eBook viewing).  It was critical to plan a vantage for photographing this, and the topography was tweaked to present the desired perspective. The tripod placement was decided early on to capture a cross-section of the Underworld and the key Land features.  Then newspaper, bubble-wrap, and cardboard were used as skeletons for the mountains and terrain.  

Visible and Hidden Details

All was coated in plaster-coated gauze. Successive coatings of plaster and paint consumed weeks.  An undercoat of gray and brown blocked out terrain types.  The surface was coated in all sorts of crafty materials: trees were made from lichens, colored sand was used for the sandstone range, diorama-friendly powdered grass and faux bushes polished off the vegetation;  polymer melt faux water was used for the Pyre atop the Keep and the Underworld sea of oil.  Mixing black-oil paint with white-aqueous paint made for some wild textures since the "gray" would phase split during painting, and the black oil would slowly bead atop the white.  There are all sorts of details not accessible from the photo, including real cicada shells  in the Underworld, fluorescent paint around the magical areas (which require a black light), and real minerals for the crystalline tombs of Clan Tonn. 

Photography 

Luckily I know a competent photographer.  My art-director and wife Heidi imaged the diorama from all sorts of angels and lighting.  She preferred natural light, with strong shadows from the setting sun...so we hauled the beast outside.  It is amazing how many photos were taken.  In the end, I took the one taken from the initially designed vantage, but weaved in close-ups (digital magic via Photoshop) to ensure it was all in focus. 

Photoshop and Cover

With a color map in hand, I was ready to complete the cover.  Understand, that the only way I could provide a color copy of the book (and keep it affordable) was to incorporate the map on the back of the cover (the interior is all black and white). It took some creative thinking, but the fire from Ken Kelly's masterpiece art was weaved into the backcover landscape.  Print copies will be available soon (Sept 2014, available globally via online retailers like Amazon, BN.com, etc.), with eBooks too.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Glass Eyes - Inspirational Crafts - Spawn of Dyscrasia

Doni Hatz crafts inspirational glass eyes for Spawn of Dyscrasia

Consistent with Lords of Dyscrasia, its sequel Spawn of Dyscrasia (due out in 2014) has a lot of artisan themes.  Several human characters are glass-workers; others will require a glass-eye to see the Otherworld (souls, memories, ghosts, etc.).  A previous post details some hands-on research at a glass studio (link).

Another posts revealed the Cover (with illustration from Ken Kelly) that features the key character Helen, a sorceress with one special eye.  For inspiration, I touched based with a local glass maker, Doni Hatz, who created some fantastic example eyes (more info. on her below).  Thanks Doni for showing how glass eyes can be made!  Two of her eyes are featured here under different lighting conditions:
  • The top row is front-lit 
  • The bottom row have the same eyes, back-lit.  
The red-eye is particularly creepy.  The blue one was made from a striped cane of dichroic glass (multicolored, sparkles), which can see best from reflected lighting.

Glass Eyes from Doni Hatz  - Spawn of Dyscrasia

A red and blue eye, lit from front and behind (bottom)


Doni Hatz is an expert glass worker.  For decades she has created industrial-scientific works in the day hours...and all sorts of fine art by night. "Marcie Davis interviews Doni Hatz, scientific glassblower who has risen to the top of a field that is generally dominated by male glassblowers. Doni shares her background preparation at the Salem Community College, her work at Proctor & Gamble, and her venture into creating works of art in glass.  This article was originally published on page 34 of the Winter 2011 issue of The Flow."



Doni pointed me toward a great DVD made by that shows how glass eyes are made professionally (produced by Firelady Productions):
"Walter Hellbach is a third generation glass eye maker in Lauscha, Germany. Using specialized glass tubing and rods, he creates human eyes for prosthetic use. In this demo you'll get a "short and sweet" version of this complex and fascinating process. This is an excerpt from our newest DVD by the same name. (In "The Eyes Have It" DVD you can see the entire exciting process from beginning to end!) And while it takes years of training to make eyes for human use, you'll be able to apply the techniques you see here to your own work with great results. It all starts with white Kryolith tubing, which opacifies as it is worked. As you watch, Walter meticulously adds a variety of multicolored canes, and in just a few minutes an eye of startling realism comes into view."


Spawn of Dyscrasia Cover

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Glass Blowing - Making an Ornament


The sequel to Lords of Dyscrasia is coming in 2014, entitled Spawn of Dyscrasia.  It features a hero from Clan Tonn who is a glass blower.  My wife empowered me to do some research by signing me up for a basic glass blowing class; the goal being to make a glass ornament.  So across town to Brazee Street Studios (Cincinnati, OH) I went and had a great time.  John Ruzsa (glass blower) guided me through the process.  The below montages summarize:

  1. Gather some glass (Furnace 1)
  2. Manage temperature of the pipe and glass (Furnace 2)
  3. Add some color (colored frit is worked in)
  4. Shape it (molding, blowing, pincing)
  5. Anneal it (Furnace 3, not shown here.  Essentially the glass is equilibrated at a cooler, but still "hot" temperature.)

The ornament is quite robust, and rather heavy.  The blowpipe is the length of an Aikido jo (staff) and could easily be employed in combat.  And the furnaces...wow...they are hot!








Sunday, December 8, 2013

RobotSlayer, Vince Kamp's Family Friendly Graphic Novel - Review by S.E.

Robotslayer by Vincent Kamp

S.E. Lindberg rating: 5 of 5 stars

Family Friendly Heroic Fun: Looking for a fun, meaningful book to read to your child? Read this with your child, or let them have a go at it. Great art is inspired by passionate creators, as is Vince Kamp, who delivers this family-friendly graphic novel in a variety of forms (paperback comic and interactive “app”). The author’s engineering-minded father clearly influenced his own creativity; here, he pays the gesture forward to influence his own children, Leo and Benny, who literary play the heroes. Each panel is beautifully designed and painted.



The real Leo and Benny fight 8' tall, Kamp-made robots outside their Dad's "robot lab" (photo from author's website)

Availability: As good as the paperback is, most people will enjoy getting the electronic version (iPad only), since the entire graphic novel comes with a splendid mini-game and a host of interactive frames (only $2.99 in the US app store). Currently (Dec 2013) the paperback is easiest to get via a United Kingdom source (i.e. Amazon.co.uk), even if you are in the US.

App: The App is the entire graphic novel in electronic form, amplified with sounds, interactivity, and a cool mini-game. The arcade-style game is worth the price of admission; it is quite addicting too. Conservatively rated (Rated 9+), I think any boy from 2yr to 13yr’s old would enjoy this without issue. Any fantasy violence presented is really quite tame. Juvenile humor manifests in numerous “farting rats.”

Younger readers would need help with the reading, of course; this provides a great opportunity to read to your child. Let them press the buttons along the way to stay engaged. Older readers (adults mainly) may have to squint to read the font, until their tech-friendly counterparts show them that flicking the screen can “zoom in” (the flick-to-zoom feature may be turned off but can be activated in the settings).

More info:  The official Robotslayer website and its Facebook Page offer many details.  Best to hear from the author himself though, and you can do that too. Here's an interview with Geek Native talking about how Robotslayer came together - thanks to everybody who's getting behind it! The book is available to buy on amazon, there's a week and a bit until it's on the App Store... Mental. All the high fives!

Interview: Also, check out my 2011 Interview of Vince Kamp in which he discusses how he illustrated the book.



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