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Happy Earth Day! Here are some links for you to enjoy! 🙂
How Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet adhere to the Five-Hour Rule where they set aside at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) devoted to such practices as reading, reflection, and experimentation.
Philadelphia museum showing glass bongs as high art. The museum’s directors say that this exhibit is less about potheads and more about allowing an underground community of artists to showcase their work without fear of being stigmatized or prosecuted.
A billionaire collector of Rembrandt’s works said he started his collection with the intention to take art out of hidden, private collections and put it back into the public domain by creating a lending library. He’s doing this in an effort to build bridges between different groups and countries.
Google unveiled a new set of features for its popular Maps app that lets users share their locations with friends and contacts in real time so they can quickly let friends know if they are running late to a meeting or stuck in traffic.
Need a Valentine’s Day gift idea but you’re cash-strapped at the moment? Check out this this cool “You Rule Valentine” free tutorial using a cheap wood ruler and other supplies that you can find at your local dollar store.
If that previous Valentine’s Day gift idea isn’t up your alley, here are some more free tutorials for other Valentine-themed crafts using materials that you can find at your local dollar store.
Are you interested in learning how to play a musical instrument but you can’t afford to buy or rent one? Check out these free tutorials on how you can build your own guitar, ukulele, banjo, and even a violin out of cigar boxes.
Are you itching to crochet something to wear? Check out these free patterns where you can make variations on the pineapple bolero crochet jackets.
Do you find yourself in this scenario?: You’re in the mood to watch a movie. You’re too broke to go to your local movie theater and pay the ever-increasing ticket prices (let alone buy anything from the concession stand). You can’t afford to pay for Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Video rental stores don’t exist anymore. You only want just a couple of hours of escapist fun. What’s a broke person to do? Here is a list of the best free movies that are currently available on YouTube, including such classics as Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, Nosferatu, Detour, and His Girl Friday featuring stars like Cary Grant and Vincent Price. Yes, they are all completely legal for you to watch online without having to deal with torrents and things like that.
Feeling frustrated with President Donald Trump? You can take out your frustration with this free video game called Super Trump Run, whose gameplay is reminiscent of Super Mario Bros.
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For the past few weeks I’ve been uploading DIY tutorial videos showing how one can take a Barbie doll (especially the Made to Move Barbie) and customize her into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Marvel Comics’ fun-loving superhero who has gotten a sizable following (especially among young girls).
The first three videos focused on selecting the doll, changing her hairstyle, and sewing her clothes. By the end of the third video I had the doll about 80% finished. This last video goes into the steps that needed in order to finish this project. I made her felt boots from a pattern but I had to totally wing it when it came to the headband and squirrel tail since there were no such patterns available (especially for 1/6 scale dolls like Barbie).
The video shows how I did it while also going into how I managed to find a tiny squirrel as a stand-in for Squirrel Girl’s closest squirrel companion, Tippy-Toe.
Here’s the video. I’ll provide links to the relevant sites below it.
Like I wrote earlier, this video is the last one of the series. I’ll end this post with a few photos of my new Unbeatable Squirrel Girl doll and her sidekick, Tippy-Toe.
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A few days ago I mentioned that I was working on a new series of DIY tutorials on how one can customize a Barbie doll (especially the Made to Move Barbies) into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Marvel Comics’ off-beat superhero who has gained a sizable following. I’ve just uploaded the second video in this series, which focuses on the hair. First here are a few words about the making of this video.
While most modern caucasian Barbies tend to have long blonde hair, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl tends to wear a short boyish haircut that’s light red or strawberry blonde, as shown on one of her comic book covers below.
I’ll admit that it was a challenge but I took it on anyway. I managed to come up with two methods of altering Barbie’s hairstyle—the wig method and the DIY method. I initially tried the DIY method, which involves cutting Barbie’s hair then dyeing it red using a combination of acrylic paint and water. It’s based on an old tutorial that I found online years ago. (I wrote a post about that tutorial back in 2011 and it still remains among my most frequently read posts to this very day.) When I learned that the website which housed that tutorial went off-line, I found an archived version on the Internet Archive and provided a link to that tutorial. Recently another doll customizer known as Oak23 has taken it upon himself to repost the original tutorial on his Doll Junk Tumblr blog so those who don’t like dealing with the Internet Archive can go there instead.
I was hoping to save a few bucks by cutting Barbie’s hair by doing the DIY method. I initially had to wash Barbie’s hair before I could do anything because it felt stiff to the touch, like someone had put hair gel or some other stiffening substance in her hair back at the Chinese factory where this doll was made before she was packaged and shipped to the U.S. I had to wash her hair using liquid dishwashing detergent then let it dry before I could even begin to cut it. At least her washed hair felt softer but her hair was relatively thin compared to other Barbies I’ve worked with in the past. I began to cut her hair very short.
I tried dyeing her hair using the aforementioned process I found in an online tutorial. I have to admit that the results looked good on her. If I was just doing a generic redhead doll with a short haircut, she would’ve been very passable.
Unfortunately I was trying to get her to resemble the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and that person is frequently depicted with bangs, such as this comic book cover below.
I tried creating bangs in this doll but, no matter how hard I tried, I literally couldn’t make the short front ends of her hair hang in the front like bangs. I think it’s due to how the doll’s hair was initially rooted in the factory. I could’ve looked into trying to force the hair to go into bangs but I would’ve had to purchase something like hair gel, which would have her hair go back to having this icky feeling to the touch that her hair was initially when I first opened her package.
I decided to just scrap my DIY attempt and cut all of her hair off.
Then I ordered this wig from The Doll Peddlar, which not only fitted her perfectly but she looks incredibly cute as well.
Here is my video below where I not only demonstrate the hair dyeing method but I also mention how to find out what wig size your doll wears as well as the various online places where you can shop around for the best prices on doll wigs.
That’s it for now. Next time I’ll go into making the clothes for this doll so watch this blog.
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Over the past several weeks I’ve been working on a series of DIY tutorials on how one can take a Made to Move Barbie doll (which has more articulated joints than the usual Barbie doll) and customize her into a Marvel Comics superhero known as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.
Here’s some background. Last year I had gone to Third Eye Comics in Annapolis when I saw that Howard the Duck had undergone a revival. At that time I saw the premier first issue another comic book titled The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl that sounded pretty funny. I briefly thumbed through it and thought that it looked promising but I ended up not buying it because, with comic books being priced at $3.99 per issue, I really couldn’t afford to get hooked on another comic book series that would induce me to spend even more money.
A few months later I found that the first few issues of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl had been reprinted as a graphic novel so I bought it and enjoyed it very much. I can’t always get to a comic book store every month so I basically only get The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl when the last few issues are reprinted in graphic novel form. So far I’ve read the three graphic novels that reprinted the comic book issues—Squirrel Power; Squirrel You Know It’s True; and Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now. (A couple of new Squirrel Girl graphic novels have come out in the last few months—The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl & The Great Lakes Avengers and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe—but I haven’t read either of those yet.) I found them pretty hilarious and campy and the stories are such a contrast with most other Marvel Comic superheroes (such as The X-Men), who tend to suffer from all kinds of angst and they frequently delve into seriously depressing subject matter such as drug abuse and racism.
What I like about the reprinted graphic novels is that I can buy and read several issues at once. What’s cool about the reprint books is that they even repent the letters from fans that were originally printed in the separate comic book issues. I saw pictures of the various cosplay Squirrel Girl costumes that people have made. But I got an idea when I saw letters from fans clamoring for Squirrel Girl t-shirts, posters, and toys only to be told that the higher-ups at Marvel Comics have to decide on what spin-off products they want to license and release and they haven’t come to a decision on Squirrel Girl yet. (Right now they are focused on characters based on the movies such as the Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man.)
One guy went so far as to take a female action figure and modify it so she’ll resemble Squirrel Girl and he sent the picture to the comic book and it printed that photograph. I thought it was really cool. I decided to take that concept of modifying a doll and go a bit further by actually making a series of video tutorials on how it can be done. My decision was cemented when I visited Target and I saw the Made to Move Barbie doll that was on sale. This Made to Move doll has more articulated joints than the usual Barbie doll so she can achieve more lifelike poses. Here is what my doll looked like soon after I removed her from the package but before I began to modify her.
Drawing on my previous experience with refurbishing old thrift shop Barbie dolls into fairy dolls (such as the Leopard Fairy, Zebra Fairy, and the Red and White Flower Fairy), I decided to buy a Made to Move Barbie and convert her into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl action figure while documenting the entire process with my smartphone. I ended up making it into a multi-part series of shorter videos (with the longest being just 10 minutes) just so people would have an easier time keeping up with the tutorial instead of having to watch a longer 20-30 minute video. I’m going to gradually release them online over the next few weeks.
So far I have completed the first three videos and I’m currently working on the fourth. I decided to wait until after I was around 80% complete with this video tutorial series before I even uploaded the first video because of my previous experience with taking an online video course. Last summer I took a series of free tutorials on how to do a mixed media book using a baby board book. The series was supposed to last 10 sessions and they were supposed to be uploaded over the summer months. The first three tutorials were uploaded over a three-week period but then she stopped uploading new ones. I patiently waited for new lessons that never materialized. At one point, after going for three weeks waiting for a fourth lesson, I posted something on the artist’s Facebook page asking when there would be more lessons in that lesson series. She responded the next day saying that she would upload new lessons soon. Except she never uploaded any new lessons, which was frustrating because I had a half-completed book. (Every now and then I add new art in it simply by winging it but I’ve currently misplaced it so I haven’t worked on it in a while.) I still see new art from her on her Facebook page so I know she’s still creating. It’s just that I wished she would have spent some of that time finishing that 10-part mixed media book video course because I had got a lot out of her first three lessons.
My frustration with that other artist’s free tutorial had made me resolve that I wouldn’t upload this multi-part video tutorial until I was nearly done with that course because I know what it’s like to have video lessons suddenly end before the course is finished and having an unfinished project because of it.
Here is part one of this new video series that I uploaded this past weekend. It’s basically an introduction where I briefly mention a few things about the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl then going into how to select a doll to use as a base for changing into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. While I recommended getting the Made to Move Barbie, I also mentioned a cheaper alternative where people can buy a used Barbie at a local thrift shop. (I’ve purchased some used Barbies in the past that had more articulated joints than other Barbies, although these Barbies didn’t have as many articulated joints as the Made to Move Barbies.)
Future videos in this series will go into things like hair and clothes so watch this blog.
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