Friday, October 19, 2012

TP Tube Dragon

It's official. I'm a Maker. I have the badge to prove it.

My friend Dashka Slater (who wrote Dangerously Ever After) and I participated in the East Bay Mini Maker Faire. To celebrate the release of our books we created fire- breathing dragons from toilet paper tubes and "poisonous" amanita mushrooms from crepe paper and wax.

I was in charge of dragons.
Here's how to make a dragon like this from a toilet paper tube.
 The TP tube will have a seam that intersects the edge of the tube. Cut along one seam and then cut again at 90 degrees to the first cut. The red lines on the photo to the left indicate where to cut.
 Don't cut all the way around. Leave about an inch between the ends of the two cuts.
 After cutting,  you will have a vaguely  triangular shape at one end of the tube.
 You can divide this triangular shape to make a dragon with multiple horns. Here I am making a four-horned dragon.
 Pinch the tube opposite the triangular shape so that the top and bottom are the same length, as shown. Pinch the ends only.
 Cut along the pinch marks for about 3/4 to 1 inch.
 Pinch along the upper and lower tabs created by the cut you just made. Wiggle the card board back and forth to loosen it and make it easier to fold.

 Fold the tabs over twice as shown.

 Do this for both top and bottom tabs. These will be the lips.
Pinch the tube just behind the cut for the mouth and fold it inward.
Repeat pinching the tube and folding it inward on both sides.
 Add a bit of glue to the inside of the folds you just made.

  You can clip them while the glue dries.

 You can curls the horns around a pencil...
 or just twist them with your fingers

 Fold the horns forward. Then make a second fold just a little higher up on the horns and fold back.

Glue along the first fold you just made and clip until dry...
 this will make the horns stand up like this.
 Push the little point behind the horns at the bottom of the tube forward...
until the tip of the point touches the top of the tube. Two folds will form on either side of the point.

  Now pinch those two folds together.
 Glue them.
 Clip them until dry.

Now you have the shape of the dragon's head.

Push a stick or pencil through the bottom.

Paint the dragon's skin.  Paint on eyes or add buttons for eyes or glue on googly eyes from the craft store.

 Glue thin strips of tissue or crepe paper to the inside of the upper lip.

Blow through the back of the dragon's head to make him breath fire.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

   I had an interesting facebook experience today. In my newsfeed was a profile pic update by a 'friend." In this case, she wasn't someone I actually know, but one of many friends who are probably more accurately described as "fans." She is apparently a Christian minister of some kind. Here's a shot of her new profile pic:
   Accompanying the picture was a story she told about how she was going to the cardiologist for some heart health issues. She was afraid-- until she looked up and saw that God had provided her this sign in the sky. She presented this as a true story that had happened to her. 
   Now I do a lot of my illustrating in Photoshop and can usually spot an image that's been created there. Some people are pretty good at it, but this one was obviously faked. Plus, I wasn't sure why God would appropriate a symbol more likely used by Hallmark than any diety. So I did a google image search and found this image on a dating site:
    There are human silhouettes and a building inside this image, which she has blurred out in her profile pic. And, of course, she cut off the people on the beach. I challenged her in a comment. Why, I asked, would she make up a story- lie - to promote her faith? I didn't mention that she also stole an image and presented it as her own. She didn't answer, but she did update her pic again and removed the post that told the cardiologist story.
   What does this have to do with writing?  Well, I'm working right now on a YA novel that explores questions of faith. This facebook post got me thinking about belief and faith. Why do people make up these sort of "miracle" stories to justify or defend their faith, and why do other people believe them? Were the visions of prophets recounted in the bible, from the wheel of Ezekial to the Book of Revelations, once just ancient versions of someone's "god-heart-cloud-in-the-sky' facebook update? How many ministers today make up these kind of bogus stories to console/guide their flock (or to fleece them)? Why do people feel such an urge to make Jesus a sort of "super magician in the sky" instead of listening to his message, which is basically "love one another?"
   Are you a believer?  What do you believe and why do you believe it? Are you a skeptic? Why? Have you ever had an miraculous experience, or fallen for a bogus miracle?
   Tell me.
   I'm curious.