Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rachel's Stop-motion Demo Reel - Dec 2013

Here is the collection of my animation tests and trials from this year. Many thanks to tigoboSCHOOL, for all their support and guidance!

Music: 'Push the Red Button' by Lush Logic; Courtesy of, and licensed under Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Tree House WIP Update

Progress continues on my little tree and tree house. I've completed the ground coverage using: hobby shop grass, coffee grinds dirt, acrylic paint mud, black tea wood chips, and Long Beach sand rocks and gravel.

Now I'm building the tree house itself.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Glues in Review

Stay tuned folks, next week I'll be posting my toilet paper tube hat tutorial! Combining such hobbies as toilet paper tube art and quilling. Today I'm reviewing a good sampling of the glues I own, to find the best bonder for toilet paper tube art projects!

First let's start with the winning combination, then you can read individual reviews after the jump (if that kind of thing really interests you).

My super magical combination: Hot Glue + ZAP Thin CA 
I found that this combo gets you the best of both worlds: Ease of application + the resulting strength and flexibility of thin rigid plastic.

  2. Apply a thin layer of hot glue to one piece of toilet paper tube, then connect VERY quickly to another piece. Working time is only a few seconds long.
  3. Next drip ZAP glue along the seam cracks until paper is saturated through and through.
  4. Once everything in your project is complete and dry, saturate the remaining paper completely with the ZAP glue.

If there are other highly suitable glues that you might suggest, please drop me a line!

(Individual reviews after the jump!)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Playa Ready (and Tested) Utility Proton Pack

We built this utility minded pack from scratch, a few days before Burning Man. I am happy to report that it was tried, tested, and survived! Many thanks to Aaron for helping (rather than strangling) me, while I built this during what little time was reserved for "stressful packing time".  I was - and remain uncontested - the happiest Ghostbuster on the playa!

Photo Copyright(c) Andrew Scogin

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stick Figure - Heavy Lifting

Last night's lesson was that it can feel really frustrating working with props, especially when you are without the proper tools to do so. I spent the rest of the night picking museum tac out of my hair.

Stick Figure - Medium Heavy Lift
Putting a large nostalgia box back into the closet.

This second one was a quick, straight ahead exercise; I didn't shoot reference video, or draw thumbnails for planning.

Stick Figure - Very Heavy Lift

Trying to lift a head boulder up and back onto the rock wall from which it fell.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Technical Difficulties (Re: Posterous Shut-off)

UPDATE: All posts have been fixed!


Please be patient while I fix all the broken image links on my site.

I used to use a, now defunct, social media sharing service, Posterous. It was very useful for uploading posts via email to all my of sites at once; like: tumblr, flickr, faceworld, and blogger. Sadly, what I did not realize at the time, is that it would upload the photos of the post to Posterous, and then create posts in blogger with those images, that were hosted on Posterous. Which was all well and good, until Posterous was shut-down last month. *grumble*

Thus is the frustration of using would-be awesome free services (just like blogger! hmmmm.... scary thoughts).

All will be fixed in good time.

Tonight's work. I'm getting faster for sure, but this still took about 2 hours to shoot, and 1+ for expo sheet editing. (And there's still lots to correct in this video, enough that I might re-do the entire take tomorrow night.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stick Figure - Squat to Standing

Learning more subtle movements and weight shifting (w/ tigoboSCHOOL).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Testing my new puppet!

Working on my animations with tigoboSCHOOL summer workshop.

Improvising mid animation, to accommodate a sudden change in the sunset's reflection on my not-so-controlled lighting scheme. This ended up being far more exciting than my original test animation, titled, "Granny waiting for the Bus".

Process pics for making the puppets:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Leather Spines

"For those days when one spine just isn't enough."

My friend Jessie ( has been mentoring me in the ways of leather working (because obviously we need MORE hobbies). For my first project I designed this spine accessory, with special thanks to Jessie, Aaron, Sam, and Hollye - each for helping me solve "the next step" in my design process.

We are hoping to have these available for sale on etsy, by the end of October, 2013.
"I think that's.... totally achievable. Mainly, cause that's all stuff you have to do, right?" ~Aaron

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CDA - Vis Com 1 - Spring 2013

These last three months I've been very focused on building a stronger foundation in my drawing skills, here's the best of my class work from CDA - Vis Com 1 - Spring 2013.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Brown Paper Bag Tree (WIP)

Here's a little something I put down for a while, hoping to pick it back up soon.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ursula Cocktail Dress

For Bronwen's *8th, Disney Princess themed birthday party I decided... "Shiny, let's be bad guys" and selected Ursula, as my villainess of choice. I sifted through racks at St. Vincent's thrift store, and found myself the most perfect long, fitted black dress and long, A-line purple prom dress.

This is one of my first real build instructional posts, and I'll do my best to detail each step. Please comment or email me with any questions or missing steps.

Black Dress:

  • The black dress I'm using for the actual structure of the dress.
  • First I tried it on, to design where the tentacles should start.
  • It was a little tough finding a balance between maximizing tentacle length and my desire to maintain some modesty.
  • The dress length I was happiest with started just below hips (and butt).
  • Marked the front, back and sides, while still in the dress, we'll call these "modesty marks".
  • Then, once I had the dress off and back on the table, I made the real marks, measuring 25" up from the bottom hem, making sure I was a falling below my "modestly marks" from the fitting.
  • To get more length and width for the tentacles, I let out the hem and closed the back slit to maximize the material available. This gave me a perfect rectangle of 42" wide, by 26" long.

Tentacle Patter:

  • Cut out a rectangle of pattern paper, 42" wide, by 26" long.
  • I knew I wanted eight tentacles, so that means 42" / 8 = 5.25" at the base. With a 0.25" seam allowance, this will give me a finished width of 4.75" - I cut out an example tentacle from scrap paper, and found that I was pleased with the result. 
  • Then divided my pattern paper into eight, 5.25" tentacle "templates", to show me the spacing. 
  • Alternating straight-ish and curly tentacles, I designed each one to be unique and full of life!
  • Cut out the pattern pieces and labeled them tent-1 to tent-8
  • The front of the dress will have tent-2 centered on it, and the back will have tent-6 centered on it (rather then having the slits between tentacles centered).

Purple Dress:

  • The purple dress I am using for material only.
  • Cut the top bodice off first (which I might use for a later project) and set that aside.
  • Then I cut out the liner from the skirt and and set that aside too (I will be using this later in the project).
  • Laid the pattern out and tried so see if I could make them fit without having seams running across them, that's when I noticed that if I split the seams and pressed the pieces flat, the pattern would fit perfectly!
  • Carefully ripped the seams to separated the seven pieces of the gore skirt, then I presses them open to give myself seven pieces of fabric.
  • I was very lucky that all eight tentacles fit on the fabric, with tent-7 and tent-1 sharing seventh, wider segment from the skirt.
  • Cut all eight pattern pieces out, and saved the larger pieces of scraps ( like everything else I don't discard, I may use them later in this project).
  • WARNING: The purple fabric frays so easily! Crap… I might need to use an overlocking stitch, or some hem glue to keep if from falling apart later.
  • Did a zig zag stitch framing the sides around the top 5" of each tentacle (to prevent fraying)
  • Created a little pocket, so that when turned right sides out they would keep the tentacle stuffing from coming out


  • Before I started sewing, I wanted to make sure my idea worked with a tiny curly proof of concept. It worked! But was distorted in the process because I skipped the zig zag sticking. Yikes.
  • I also did a quick test to see if I would like the look of using the skirt liner as ruffle detail on the tentacles. I love it!

Purple skirt liner:

  • Cut the existing hem off at about 3" and cut into short 4"-8" pieces, these will be used for ruffles.
  • Then re-hemmed the liner with a tiny hem, and repeated the previous step to get lot's of pieces for ruffles!
  • I was quickly reminded why I hate doing baby hems, and vowed once again never to use them in a project… after this one.

Back to the black dress:

  • Laid out and traced all eight tentacles (Yay, they fit!).
  • Before cutting, I put some tight (basting?) stitches (one back-stitch) at the top of each division, to prevent the cuts from ripping up into the dress.
  • I may also put thread lock on it, this fabric worries me too…. i'm pretty sure I "FRAY CHECK"
  • I marked 1" and 4" down from the top of the tentacles. I will stop sewing at this mark so that I have wiggle room to turn the tentacles right side out later.
  • I cut out each tentacle up to the 4" mark
  • Keeping the dress right side out, I pinned the purple pieces (right sides together, to the black dress tentacles.
  • Anywhere there was gathering, I pinned like crazy and did a basting stitch to make life easier for myself. It always seems like more work, but it saves me headaches later!
  • Once all of the tentacles were sewn into place I carefully turned them right side out with a fasturn, and stuffed them with upholstery batting.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Off the walls

Bounce, bounce, sploosh!

Signing off of Faceworld.

Has anyone had real success with "signing out for a couple of months"? Does the public guilt really keep you from coming back?

Let's find out!

Like most people, I have no will power. I check facebook far too regularly, and usually end up getting sucked in for at least 15-20min, sometimes well over an hour. Eventually closing the window, saying to myself "silly mortal, you'll accomplish nothing this way".

So I'm trying this. I'll be back May 1st (After classes and ArtWalk) - Until then, see for updates. And you can reach me the old fashion way! Thanks for playing along!

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fabulous Bits of Paper Feigning Aquatic

tigoboSCHOOL has me on a paper animation kick, and I love it!

"A Whale's Tale"

"First fishy school is in session"

"Heeeeeere fishy fishy fishy... friends."

Forgotten burns and warm water.

You know that horrible sensation you get, after momentarily forgetting yesterday's sunburn, and stepping into that hot shower today? Well, I burnt my finger on the kettle this morning. Stung like hell! You can't see it now. I mean - gosh, I'm such a baby - you couldn't really see it at the time either, but I could feel it for sure. I tended to it well - ran it under cool water until it finally stopped hurting. It ached for a while after the pain subsided, and after that I eventually I stopped thinking about it.

By the time I'd finished breakfast, I had forgotten the incident ever happened. Then I started washing dishes, the warm water hit, and it stung almost as bad as when I burnt it. I yelped! I'd completely forgotten! My finger - my finger remembered. It was still healing, long after the hurt. The water wasn't even that hot, but my finger was extra sensitive, and it was wary of being hurt again so soon.

As I ran it under cool water again, I wondered to myself: Do our hearts remember being burnt before? There is no damage seen on the surface, are we still healing something deeper? Even though we may have long forgotten the pains of our initial injuries and loss - is this why new, warm love stings old wounds? While we are still healing, are we not extra sensitive and apt to perceiving unintended slights? How do we remind ourselves then, to continue tending to these unseen scars, long after the pain is gone?

* * *

I shared this with Hollye and she added what was missing: "I do think our heart holds onto old wounds, burns, stings, and pain. And new love can remind us, trigger us, into remembering our ouchies. But, our ouchies heal with time, by loving ourselves, working through stuff, etc. Perhaps they may never fully heal, but perhaps we will be stronger, more beautiful, wiser, as we let ourselves feel them and heal them."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sketching at Barb's @ the Brewery

Here are some of my quick sketches of Barb's at the Brewery, for CDA's Sketching for Environment class with Ed Li.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dreams of Giants, Death, and Acceptance

I awake, curled on a warm bed of soft moss, dried leaves, and dead grass. Aching joints and stiff muscles, moving is such slow and arduous work. Stiffly, I stand to find myself in a sun drenched swampland, deep in the forest. The warm rays of dawn's first light, breaking through the canopy, feel absolutely wonderful on my face. I look out over the lush forest floor. It is littered with dead bodies and I am immediately filled with an intense feeling of understanding that only comes in dreams.

This land has been ravaged. There are no survivors.

Everywhere I look, there is death. Yet as the light touches us, we are reanimating. Humans, trolls, giants, everyone. Everyone that lay dead or dying only moments ago, all waking up. Each one, disappointed to discover their current state.

I look down, over a small river, full of these massive troll like creatures. Bodies white and bloated. Their great balding heads, squashed in. Their long strands of gray hair, dragging out, collecting dead leaves in the stream. I notice a giant just waking up. He is stuck on the river bank, his body bumping up against a dead log. As he stirs, he looks solemnly down his long torso, and with an uncertain hand, pulls thin stringy organs from his slashed belly. I watch quietly as he studies his pale intestines, and finally releases them with remorseful acceptance. Silently he turns away from the bank, away from me. Rolling with the current, flowing peacefully down stream. He rides the waters into the lake, to meet and make small talk with others who, like him, can no longer leave the waters. The swamp is alive with the hushed murmur of its inhabitants.

Needing to move on from this place, I start down the bank. I can see a place for safe crossing up ahead on the right, where the river narrows. With each step, my movements grow more fluid. I walk, I stumble, I melt, I roll. I walk, I stumble, I melt, ...

I know what comes next.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Animation: Sorry, I keep bumping the set...

I totally botched this take by forgetting to bolt the set down, and then bumping it, not once, but twice. Silly attempt to recover the scene.