Sunday, October 15, 2006

All Done and Shipped out in 21 Hours and 34 minutes!!

Well, it was actually pretty close to the 22 hours after all. I had intended to do this as 2 entries, but a temperamental hookup between computer and camera slowed things down.

Where were we??

Thursday night, everyone pitched in again so that I could work on the backside of the pants.

First of all, while supper was warming in the oven, I painted the background for the igloo on one leg and set it over the rocking chair to dry, but I forgot to photograph it alone.

After supper, I cleared off the dining room table and got ready for the evening’s adventures. I created the rough Moose shape to go on top of the trees on the back of the forest leg. It helped to have people here who see real moose on a regular basis because they were able to point out that I needed to make the legs skinnier. Apparently that is why they tip over to crush cars so easily when they get hit on the road!

I try to get all of the shapes and painting done before I work with the 3D fabric paint because it takes overnight to dry. It is hard to avoid areas at the bottom of the leg and work higher up if you have already completed a section.

I moved up to the seat of one side of the pants to paint the earth and a green garbage bag for the 1 tonne challenge section. Then, once that was dry, I bonded on the igloo at the bottom of the leg. I was a bit worried about the empty space between the two areas, but decided to move on to the fabric paint.

The moose received his outlines and details...

The buttons that I sewed on VERY LATE the night before got their caption...

Since the earth and garbage bag were dry, I added the 1 Tonne Challenge lettering up on the seat...

Then I moved down to the bottom of the leg to add the words above the igloo...

Since the area between the two sections still looked too empty, I decided that it really couldn’t hurt to have another maple leaf somewhere on the pants, so I added one with some decorative swirls on either side of it.

Just before 1 am, I decided that my vision was getting a bit too blurry to continue and left everything to dry with another 6 hours off the list and just 5 left in the 22 hours. Would that be enough? Would I have time to do a bit more in the morning before the jeans had to head off to Toronto??

Friday morning we drove to the airport to see Nick’s Dad and wife off on their journey back to Dawson City, Yukon. I had already decided that I needed to try the blanket stitching around the pine trees, so I grabbed some black floss, my needle, scissors and the jeans to come with me in the car. I sat there in the airport with my hands down Rick Mercer’s pants
(not with him in them!) working away as people gave me some rather interesting looks. I could tell the crafters among them because they had rather sympathetic smiles. I am sure that they have worked frantically on projects in strange places too! Others just gave me the “what is that girl doing to those nice jeans?” look. Of course the part of me that is a big Rick Mercer fan wanted to jump up on a chair and scream “Just look everyone!! These are Rick Mercer’s jeans and I get to decorate them!!!!” To my husband’s delight, I managed to contain the urge.

We saw our family safely off on the plane and Nick drove me home before heading up to work. The effect of the stitching was just what the pants needed...

The back pockets still looked a little bare and I had these really cool buttons shaped like leaves. I figured that Rick is masculine enough to handle a little bit of bead bling in the butt area... as might any macho guy that bids on these. It added just the perfect touch to the back pockets.

By now it was getting close to lunchtime, so I took the jeans up to spread out for the final photo shoot, only to discover that I’d never done a close-up of the Woody on the front pant leg...

So here is what the Final front of the jeans looked like...

And the backside...

After exactly 21 hours and 34 minutes of frantic creativity, a few too many late nights, a few wishes for more time so that I could have added in stuff about Newfoundland and a lot of fun working on this project, I tucked the jeans safely into a plastic bag and then into the courier bag so that they could begin their journey to Toronto.

Dare I hope that I’ll see them on Canada AM tomorrow or Tuesday?? That would just be TOO cool!!

Thanks to everyone who followed this adventure. Rick, if you read this blog then thank you as well for donating your jeans to such a worthy cause and for creating so many funny moments that inspired me as I worked on these jeans. By T’under... It was awesome!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Phone call Caused 22 Swear Words...

Self-imposed deadlines are one thing... and artists seldom have reality match up to the vision in their heads...but knowing that you suddenly have to rush a project is another thing altogether.

The phone rang during supper last night and one of the wonderful organizers from the CreativFestival asked me how the jeans were going.

“Just fine!” I said “I’m having so much fun with this project that I started a Blog about the adventure!”

“Are they all done?” she asked, ever so sweetly. “Could you ship them up to us tomorrow?”

The world paused momentarily while my brain tried to process that information and I heard my voice squeak a bit.

“Ummm. No.”

“What about Friday? Could you ship them out Friday?” she asked a bit more insistently.

My brain is now trying to frantically compute how many hours that leaves me to work on said pants amid getting my class kits made up, playing tour guide to Nick’s father and his wife who are here until Friday morning, sleep etc. How much can I alter my vision to ensure that a good reality still ships out. I assure her that this might be a possibility, especially when she informs me that the jeans may be on Canada AM, our national morning news show.

So, everyone in the family pitches in to clear the supper dishes and give me the table.

On go the polar bears thanks to a warm iron and fusible interfacing....

Tick...Tock...Tick...Tock (shoot photo to capture stage...)

Then they get some details and outlining. Instead of doing this with thread, I am going to have to use 3D fabric paint. Hmmmm, slight compromise.

tick...tock...tick...tock (CLICK)

The beaver gets his details and some nice teeth for chomping down trees. Boy, squeezing these tubes of fabric paint is murder on your hands!!

tick...tock...tick...tock (CLICK)

I look back over at the polar bears who are drying nicely against the Northern lights and decide that some gentle snowflakes might be nice.

tick...tock...tick...tock (CLICK)

Up above the beaver and trees on the other pant leg, I begin to paint a poutine. A QUEBEC poutine. When I first moved to New Brunswick, I discovered that Acadian Poutine and Quebec poutine are TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Quebec poutine is a bowl of hot, crisp french fries topped with squeaky cheese curds and delicious gravy. Acadian poutine is a lump of salt pork covered in grated potato formed into a snowball shape and boiled, served with molasses on a plate. All I could think of when I saw the round grey shape was that some poor elephant was now singing soprano!!!

Why am I painting poutine onto a pair of Rick Mercer’s jeans? One of his most famous/ infamous moments was telling then Governor George Bush that Prime Minister Jean POUTINE (instead of Jean Chrétien) was going to endorse his bid for President. Once the painting is done, I add the words to commemorate that historic sketch.

tick...tock...tick...tock (CLICK)

One of the shows that Rick Mercer is famous for is TALKING WITH AMERICANS, so that has to be worked into the front leg above the polar bears, but that means creating Canadian and American flags. I discover that I’m pretty sure that the American flag begins with a red stripe, but I don’t know how many there are on the whole flag. Luckily Nick has is wi-fi laptop on in the living room so I don’t need to run down to the office to use Google. OK... 13 stripes, red first and last.

Breathe Jen... you can do the whole front of the pants tonight if you really try.

(My brain goes into a rather pathetic whine as I take a break to put the girls to bed. I REALLY wanted to blanket stitch around each of the trees with DMC floss for a nice rustic look. Now I may not have time. Wannnnhhhh! 30 second pity party.)

Back to the flags. By this point, my hands are getting REALLY tired of squeezing fabric paint bottles in a nice steady pressure to avoid glopping, but I have two flags and the lettering.

tick...tock...tick...tock (CLICK)

Everything on the front of the pants is completed for now and the paint will need about 18 hours to cure. That means I can do Rick Mercer’s rear... I mean the rear of Rick Mercer’s jeans tomorrow night and still ship them off by Friday.

I glance at my watch. 6 hours more off the tally, so 11 hours left in the 22, but I may have to ship them before I’ve put in 22 hours. My brain just can’t do math anymore.

How am I going to blog about this? Nick gives me the title when he realizes that I have remembered some of the Greek swear words I learned in high school. Good title, honey!!

More Hours To Be Thankful For...

Amid the long Thanksgiving weekend and company arriving, I was able to start the background for the arctic pant leg. I added textile medium to the pearl paint and starting setting up some snow for the polar bears to sit on. I thought it might also be fun to paint in some Northern Lights.

Then, we needed the table to eat our turkey.... 18 hours left!

P.S. For some reason, this post did NOT go up on Sunday, Oct. 8th like it was supposed to, so I put it here today.

Friday, October 06, 2006

19 Hours And Counting...

This morning was brisk and cold but sunny and beautiful as I did my hour long walk through the trails right near our house. Many of the leaves are starting to fall and of course that gave me another idea... Appliqué everything would look pretty boring, right?

So I picked up a few of the nicest leaves in a selection of shapes, but heavily weighted towards the mighty maple leaf. Once I got home, I grabbed some of my acrylic paints and the textile medium which allows you to convert them to fabric paint.

I had fun mixing up a variety of fall leaf colours...

Then I painted each leaf with a thick coat of paint...

And used them as stencils. It was really neat to see how much of the leaf detail transferred with the paint in a few cases.

Wow! Where did this hour go? Time to clean up my brushes and run up to the bus stop to pick up Bethany!!

(I actually ran out of time and just dashed off to get her with a sandwich in hand, my lunch being forgotten completely in the fun of being creative... so I am posting this now that supper dishes are done!)

Yesterday I stopped by Fabricville to pick up some more supplies for the jeans. Another candy store for me and a wonderful enabling experience to justify buying fabric. I can’t buy any more for clothing until I use up some of the many, many boxes around the house. But this was for an assignment!! Shopping also doesn’t count in the 22 hours, so I could take my time and enjoy some fabric fondling...

The lady at Fabricville was VERY intrigued by the project, especially since she was a Rick Mercer fan too! I got all kinds of helpful advice about which browns would work best for the beaver, what material would make a cute baby polar bear and that since Rick was from Newfoundland, I just HAD to have a Moose on there somewhere...

When working on a project that may be worn by someone, it is important to wash the fabric first so that there are no icky surprises when the poor person pulls these jeans out of the washer or dryer. (Not that I will recommend putting them in the dryer once I get done with them!) Off I went to wash the fabric and by the time I pulled the tangled thread mess out of the washer, I was reminded about some of the serious drawbacks to working with flannel fabric!! It was much easier to snip the fabric threads to untangle them all than to puzzle out how they got so intertwined in my spin cycle in the first place.

While the fabric was drying in the dryer and fluffing up my lint filter, I got out some paper and sketched out some of the tree shapes, the igloo and 3 of the main animal characters. I traced them over with a marker to make sure that there wasn’t too much detail that I’d have to add later.

Next, I cut the templates out and used a fusible bonding agent on the dried fabric to make something stiff enough to cut. Luckily, I remembered to turn the main characters OVER so that when they were cut and flipped, they were facing the right way. I did goof up with the beaver tail and simply cut a second one. Then, with the help of the iron I fused everything down to the leg of the jeans. I got all of the trees on the back of this leg done as well, just waiting for the moose to go on them in another session. Since I haven’t seen a moose up close and personal in a few years, I Googled moose pictures to remind myself of what they looked like. All of my attempts to draw a CUTE moose last night ended up scrumpled in a little heap, so I decided not to waste any more of my 22 hours and called it a night.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It started innocently enough with a call from the organizers of the CreativFestival in Toronto asking me if I knew who Rick Mercer was. As a longtime fan of This Hour Has 22 Minutes the answer was a huge YES!!!

To help raise money for the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, celebrities have donated pairs of jeans that they have worn and the CSNF team has sent the jeans off to various artists to decorate so that the finished jeans can be auctioned off on Ebay later this month.

So guess what arrived in the mail last week?? Rick Mercer’s jeans!! Now how cool is that that a pair of this funny guy’s jeans come back to the Maritimes to be decorated here in Moncton, NB?? He was born in Newfoundland after all, so he’s a Maritimer through and through.

Since these are men’s jeans, they can’t have too much in the way of beads and sequins or frilly lace. Rick Mercer is far too manly for that!! After much doodling and revisiting some of the clips from his Talking to Americans series, I decided that these needed to be a TRULY CANADIAN pair of jeans!

I also just couldn’t resist putting in some fun things such as the One Tonne Challenge somewhere on the seat of the pants. He was the official spokesperson for this campaign to save energy and help stop global warming until the new government did away with the program!

So off I went to some local craft stores in search of supplies. It was like turning a kid loose in a candy store!!! I decided in my sketch that one leg of the jeans would be more woodland based and the other would be arctic, with polar bears and an igloo (our Capitol building needed to be protected from Global Warming don’t you know?)

I decided to try to tie in into his show in 2 ways. The first is that it will say “These jeans have 22 buttons” on one leg and I will sew on 22 little buttons in a pattern. Far less girly than beads or sequins! The second tie in was to start this blog and try to only spend 22 HOURS decorating these pants. Of course telling a creative person to limit their time is rather like trying to put a moose through a turnstile in a subway, but it is worth a try.

Once I had decided that there needed to be polar bears on one leg, I thought that I would get incredibly creative and felt a piece of wool!!! Off I went to rummage through my knitting stash and I knit up 2 squares. One was real wool by itself and the other was the wool knitted up with a totally artificial fibre in the hopes that it would create an interesting texture once felted. I am a slow knitter, so I didn’t count this or the felting process in my 22 hours.

Felting was fun, but the results were quite chunky and probably WAY too thick to appliqué onto a pair of jeans.... so maybe I will make a little felt polar bear that tucks in one back pocket as an added bonus.

There you have it...... the creative adventure to decorate Rick Mercer’s jeans has begun!!!