Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Dukes Get Crafty

With the recent move of several Dukes to a home in another part of the valley we have had an eye towards decorating. Even though I do not number among those that have sought out new lodging (I have a pretty sweet gig in my current location) I got caught up in the frenzied desire to furnish a living space with awesome stuff. The only space I currently have to decorate is my man cave, which is already pretty darn full of furniture. That being the case I did not join my fellow Dukes in going on a shopping spree to IKEA (watch out for the Minotaur in the bedding section). I did however join in with the fun part of picking things to hang on my walls. In this post we are going to share a few of our adventures in decorating.

Zac's Struggle for Dominance Over a Lowly Puzzle

For nearly a decade and a half now I have had this sweet Star Wars poster-sized puzzle. It has sat in a box in my room and I have often had the thought that I should really put it together again and frame it. For years I put it off because as you may well know I am lazy and doing things just isn't my style. That being said I made the perfectly logical decision at one in the morning that now was the time to seize life and finish my puzzle. I picked a movie on Netflix (The Producers) and my cat and I got started.
No it's cool. I didn't want to look at the lid anyways.
One musical and two TV episodes later and I was done (no thanks to the cat). Every piece had been glued on the cardboard backing and it was magnificent. As I gazed through bleary eyes at my masterpiece I noticed that something was wrong. In a flash I felt like my night had been wasted and that I should give up on all future dreams because there was no point. I knew that just as soon as I began to love something it would betray me just like this puzzle had. I guess I should have taken the advice from Wizard People Dear Reader and been wary. What was wrong you might be asking. Well look upon the finished product and weep with me.

Let me give you a closer look.

Curse you puzzle and your missing piece! I know you did this just to spite me for all those years of neglect! You should just be happy that I didn't throw you out like I did my Goosebumps puzzles. I was distraught. I had come so far and I just wanted the project to be complete. I searched high and low for the piece, but to no avail .I decided that I would finish this puzzle come hell or high water (doubtful in either case). I managed to find several options using the wonder of Google on my phone. First I found that I could buy  the exact same puzzle of Ebay for about 20 dollars, or I could send the surrounding pieces and a picture of the box lid to a company in England and they would manufacture a piece for me for about the same price.

I am not usually a frugal one so what transpired in my head was quite interesting. I found out that I have a limit on what frivolous purchases I will make. My limit is apparently 20 dollars for one puzzle piece. I just couldn't do it. I figured that if once piece was worth 20 dollars that the whole puzzle would cost $6000 and there was no way I valued this puzzle that highly (don't look deeply into my logic I was really tired at the time). It was at about that point that I decided to give Big Puzzle the bird (I told you I was making no sense) and make my own replacement piece. Lucky for me I don't have a ton to do at work so I took measurements of exactly the size and shape I needed and I got drawing.

First rough sketch

I may have forgotten to mention that the piece I was replacing was the one with C-3PO's face. This was also an incredibly frustrating fact. It would have been way too easy if the missing piece were just a lowly border piece that knew its place and was really easy to recreate, but no I had to draw the robot face. After I had finished drawing I busted out my colored pencil set and went to town. In the end I am proud of my achievement in finally managing to not buy something in an effort to take the easy way out, and in my opinion the finished product looks pretty darn good.

Is it me or does Luke look like He-Man?

Ricky fears his idle hands

If there is one thing that you could say we did more than anything else that would be watch things. We watch a ton of movies, TV shows and the occasional raccoon fight. Add up all the time we spend watching things and you will see it is a huge chunk of our lives. Ricky saw this and he could not take it any longer. He had to take action against this time-sucking beast. He felt that if he spent so much time in repose he needed to be doing something with his hands and he picked the manliest thing he could think of. He took up counter cross stitching.

Look at how manly he is in the face of danger.

Now I can sense that some of you are picturing a sweet old lady making a pillow that says "Love at Home" or some such nonsense. I can assure you that this is not the case. He is neither old nor sweet(debatable), and his labor results in a more entertaining variety of images and phrases. In lieu of spending my words trying to describe the wonders he creates, I am instead going to take you on a tour of his work.

The first one I am going to show you currently sits in his front entryway and I think it is perfect for showing his balance of thuggery and love of pretty things.

Indubitably good chum
 This next one will be a favorite of any Firefly or Joss Whedon fans out there(me).

You leave Jayne alone!

As with any art form the message given in the art often shows you an insight into the artist himself.

From Ricky I seem to sense a lot of love and warmth.
 All the great artists have had some struggles with either critics or crazed fans. This also holds true for Ricky. After a short time one of the hottest commodities in the confines of our group were these wonders put together by Ricky. Many people wanted them, but with a limited supply almost no one was able to get one (I think there are only two, possibly three that are not in his own home). That didn't sit well with one of our friends and she demanded that the next one be dedicated to her (She didn't demand and it didn't really bother her, but hyperbole and deception are central to my writing). All I can say is be careful of what you wish for...
Hey wait a second...those don't look like Oreos.

I am sure that all of you out there have been dazzled by the things that he has immortalized in thread. As you can tell from this article our lives have become quite crafty and we love it that way. With the formation of the Vanguard and the introduction of a one Josh Allred to the group I am sure that this trend will continue to grow and develop.  Where the muses will take us next is anybody's guess, but you can be sure of one thing. We will have fun doing it and if you don't like it I only have one thing to say and that is...


  1. I'm glad you explained the demanded portion. Who knew I would have such a gem on my desk! Whoreo or not... I love it!

  2. As well you should haha. On the next crafty post I will highlight something else that you had quite the hand in as well so stay tuned! (Or not. I can't make you do anything)