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I absolutely LOVE this time of year! Sure, it means back-to-school, and, in my case, back-to-work, but we thrive on routine. We were starting to get a wee bit squirrely at the end of August!

Today, I wanted to write about making stuff for dudes. Unless they have some sort of hobby, it's brutal to try and create something for them! As mentioned in several posts, making zombie-related stuff for my brother is easy (though I suspect he may be thinking, "Enough with corpse art!" :) However, items for dads, grandpas and even for teen guys is often a challenge.

Pictured here is a card created with a teen in mind. This particular teen is an Xbox fan, but I'm sure it would be just as easy to create a Playstation controller. Glossy Accents (a 3D gloss medium and glue) helped create the various buttons, while the rest, I designed on my Silhouette Cameo. I think the Silhouette Design Store has a cut file, but I tend to make my own.

Another item to make for dudes - t-shirts! Almost all men wear them. What to put on them is another story. And what guy would turn away candy? Using etching medium on a glass jar is an easy, and fairly frugal, gift.




 
 
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A week ago, my "baby" brother turned 38, and in keeping with my theme of giving him zombie-related gifts, I decided to try my hand at altering a baseball hat.

The good thing about using a font similar to The Walking Dead? If it's messy, it goes with the look! It's really difficult to iron vinyl on to a baseball hat . . .

I came up with the gruesome idea to use my daughter's hands as the bloody handprints. It's as though a zombie child took a bite out of his head.

Nice!

Below is a close-up of the t-shirt I made him for Christmas. *giggles* Zombie-puns!





 
 
Nowadays, you can't swing a proverbial cat without hitting an Alicia, Allysha or Alisha. However, growing up in the 80s, I was always The Only Alicia in the entire school - and I grew up in a very large suburb! Each school year, the teacher would call out attendance for the first time, invariably pronouncing my name as, "A-lish-a" or "A-lee-see-a" and sometimes, "A-lisa." It got to the point where the entire class would chime, "It's A-lee-sha!" en masse, while I just smiled.

On family vacations, I searched, in vain, for my name on key chains, magnets and the like. There was never a licence plate or sign reading, "Alicia St." Now, I can find my name everywhere and I shamelessly buy anything I find. 6 year old Alicia still wants a fuzzy tipped, pink pen with her name on it.

My nieces, sister-in-law and practically every friend HB has in school all have unique names. I imagine they all feel the same as I did - "Where am I?" they must think. That's why I go on personalizing binges. My Silhouette Cameo is a treasure in this department - I can pretty much personalize anything I can create. In this multicultural society, I can imagine a lot of kids named Khushi, Jiya, Prabroop, and even non-traditionally named kids like Yukon, Blaise and Nevaeh are in the same boat as Little Alicia.

So, if you cannot find your name emblazoned on toothbrushes and notepads - I can make it happen for you!

 
 
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Happy Very Belated New Year!

Our computer was hit with a particularly nasty ransom-ware virus last October. For the uninitiated (and I sincerely hope most are!) this type of virus worms its way into the majority of files and corrupts them. You are then instructed to pay a "ransom" to some lovely hacker, halfway across the world to get the key to restore your files. Maybe.

I get the motivation of these hackers - mostly money and for the sheer thrill of creating these viruses, simply because they can. I do not agree with the attacks on "Big Business" but I can see the allure - stick it to The Man, man! But, why attack personal computers of regular people? People with a fledgling business? Or parents with videos and pictures of their children that could be lost forever? Shameful.

That aside, I had quite a few "sparks" for this past Christmas. Seeing how this is mostly a "catch-up" post, perhaps it's best to just refer back to the Past Projects page to see what spark! was up to this past autumn! See here.

(Above - one variation of our 2014 Christmas card)

 
 
Warning: Please excuse the quality of the photos below; this was before we installed better lighting in the studio!

After working on HB's MLP pets and Elements of Harmony, I kept flaming the fires of a little "spark" for a Christmas gift for my brother. As die-hard zombie fans, we often text throughout episodes of The Walking Dead - "OMG! That was BRUTAL!" or "Ewww! Can you imagine being the actor opening that stomach?!" 

You get the idea. 

Another element to this "spark" is my obsession with Space Channel's (SciFi in the US) Face/Off. HB and I love watching this show, which is basically Survivor for make-up artists. My favourite part? When they do the "sculpt."

I have never sculpted before, but each time I watched this show, I'd think, "Man, I really want to take a sculpting class!" I then followed up that thought with - "I think I can do that!"

So, with these thoughts in mind, I breathed life into this spark and made a "computer charm" for my brother's monitor. I think it turned out pretty well for a first time. It's gross. It looks like the undead. Awesome! Except I made it for the wrong corner of the monitor - it would cover the "File" drop-down menu. D'uhhhhh!

I made another one that fits in the centre. I gave him this one for a TV.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!
 
 
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I absolutely LOVE it when someone "sparks" an idea I can run with! A few days ago, I was in the midst of my daily text-conversation with my friend, K. 

We've known each other for over a decade in both a professional and a friend/fellow mom sense. How she can find time to even text me is a marvel; she home-schools 3 young boys as well as cares for an infant! I'd need caffeine fed intravenously! Here's her blog: http://feetkissearth.com

She asked if I made cards; I said, "Of course!" The theme? A pretty sugar skull for her sister-in-law. Challenge accepted!

I'm fairly new to vector-based designing, but this came quicker than anticipated. It's really just a series of 5-6 circles, manipulated and sized (with exception to the swirl on the forehead). This was so awesome and fun to create!

 
 
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Blame it on my Doctor Who binging or procrastination, but my first few posts will be skipping throughout time. In order to explain what exactly spark! is and how it came to be, I need to cover some groundwork. So, in other words, you've been warned. Muwhahahaha!

Let's begin, using a vaguely chronological fashion, in August 2013. I had recently joined the ranks of unemployed in order to concentrate on what I've come to call "my most important job: motherhood." 

The months leading up to my departure were terrifying, yet oddly freeing. I knew I was embarking on something new for me. With exception to my maternity leave, I've been a "career woman" for my entire adult life. What would I do without a title? A business card? Wait - no more endless meetings upon meetings to discuss previous meetings?  No more impossible deadlines met and then ignored by superiors? OMG - NO superiors?! Hmmm, maybe it was a good idea I saved all my money since my mat leave. This might be the best thing for me, in like, ever.

I had the remains of the summer to spend entirely with my daughter (herein to be known as HB). I was determined to have an awesome time with her, start creating art for Christmas gifts in the autumn and basically, "take the rest of the year off." Sweeeeeet! 

At this time, starting a business was just an idea, percolating in the back of my wee mind . . . 

*cue sappy music*

Here's the part in the post where things get, well, sappy. I have OCD tendencies. Not in a cheesy, "we all have OCD" way. More like a "This is what a shrink told me" kinda way. Now, the specifics aren't interesting nor are they relevant. Just know that I have it. One good thing about my ruminations? I will find an interest and research the livin' daylights out of it. I store all these little interests, these "sparks," if you will, to dust off when the timing is just right.

At some point, I end up using these "sparks" - in my previous career or in my own art.  You get the idea. Those little, niggling ideas squirming in my wee mind eventually turn into  . . . .something.

HB loves all things My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. As a Gen X'er, I missed that toy/cartoon phase, but I've been happy to jump into this with her. However, it bothers us what Hasbro decides to create and sell. Two items in particular:

1) They do not sell Twilight's crown or the other ponies' Elements of Harmony (this only makes sense if you have a kid and/or are a Brony/Pegasister :) 

2) The pets that do come with certain ponies look nothing like they do in the show.

"I think I can make them," I said to HB one afternoon.

That "sparked" the cute lil' Angel Bunny you see above. Which "sparked" into other MLP pets and accessories. And that spark led to an obsession with polymer clay.

But, those are tales for other posts.