Saturday, July 21, 2012

Craft Wars: Episode 4

This episode was one that one after my own heart for both challenges.

The pop challenge was to design a keepsake box from keys and locks.  From the time I was a kid, I was a collector of little boxes full of my stuff.  I'd keep old keys from my first car, the musket ball I made to a colonial town on a class trip in grammar school, a dog biscuit my little sister pretended was a gift to me from our first dog, European coins.  I've had wooden, metal, plastic, glass, and ceramic boxes for them.  I used to have a collection of little boxes on my dresser, now just two.  But I definitely understand the keepsake box idea.  Personally, I'd have grabbed some crazy glue and made the boxes of locks and keys, built them up into a small box with an unattached lid.

That's not what the contestants did, but they had some good ideas.

I still can't decide which was my favorite between the two that kept their creators in.  The one the judges seemed to appreciate most was this gnome house.

One side of the roof flipped up as the lid.  The locks and keys were slight embellishment rather than structure - again - but it was definitely cute and well done.

The other one I really liked was this sandcastle box, which I think is adorable.

I love that the locks actually form the turrets and add to the shape of the box, rather than just being stuck on randomly.  And I liked that it was nicely lined.  Dark blue and tan is a great color combo.  And honestly, unlike the judges, I see no problem with the sand-colored felt covering.  Not everything has to be hot pink and full of glitter.  Sometimes understated is the way to go.  It's perfectly reasonable for a sandcastle to look like... well... sand.  And more than anything else, I really appreciated that when the original plan to paint the box using green paint and a "stencil" of lace didn't work out, she recovered and came up with a new plan on the fly, not easy with a one-hour challenge.  I know she was criticized for trying glue and felt over wet paint, and I know you could see a bit of green seeping through the felt, but overall, she did the best she could with what she had and thought fast.  That's a valuable skill in a competition like this.

I just wish I'd been there to help with the original paint-and-lace plan, which could have been cool.  After all, I'm used to using unconventional "stencils."  I regularly use punchinella to create monster and lizard scales on my face paintings, after all.

The trick is to make the paint you're using with a stencil a little more dry than you normally would want it.  That way it won't seep under the edges.

Sorry I'm being so wordy, but I suppose I've been avoiding the third pop challenge entry.  It was... well... it was... Oh hell, it was atrocious.  I really don't like to insult people, especially other creative crafty people, but this was bad.  It was kind of a contrived idea, since I've never known a tooth pillow to need a case.  And a fallen tooth isn't actually a "keepsake," per se.  It's not like kids want to keep their teeth; they want to trade 'em in for the prize money.  I don't mind the actual theme of the box, though.

It wasn't all her fault, I suppose.  It's tough when you have to delegate.  When the friend she brought as an assistant showed her that felt tooth that was going to be used on the pillow and asked if it was OK, I could see in the crafter's face that she really wanted to say no.  She just knew she had no time to redo it.

I don't think I've ever seen a tooth pillow, though, without a pocket for the tooth.  It's not a ring bearer pillow, people.  And even those have ribbons to tie on the rings.  Think about the logistics of this sucker.  Tooth falls out, kid pouts the tooth on the pillow & closes the lid.  Kid goes to sleep, expecting a home-invading fairy to show up, spirit away the tooth, and leave some dough.  Parent posing as tooth fairy sneaks into sleeping kid's room, wrestles open the box lid, and - oh no! - the tooth has rolled off the pillow and become secreted beneath.  Parent's got to fish around, wasting time and risking waking and un-deluding the poor kid, find the tooth, leave the money, and put the lid back.

Not the best idea.  And the randomly stuck-on keys on the wings?  I didnt' get 'em either, much as I liked the keys used as a wand.

I liked the crafter, but was definitely not fond of her craft.  The judges were right to cut her loose.

So... the big challenge, also close to my heart.  Wedding!  Yes, I know Eric and have been married for over 3 years, but I can't help it, I still love wedding-related stuff.  Shows, talk, pretty much everything.  So I was happy at the concept.  And I liked the idea of using old/new/borrowed/blue in the form of baby blankets, invitations, candlesticks, and jeans to made something wedding related.  Not easy, especially those damned candlesticks that initially confounded both contestants, but cool.

So... sandcastle crafter chose to make a photo booth setting.  It was pretty nifty and a decent idea.  And I really wanted her to do well.  I loved her signs and garlands, but I think as a background for the photo booth  those garlands would be too busy.  And I agreed with the judges that the bench cover was terrible, uneven, and just thrown on and the pompoms kind of didn't work.

Her use of the candlesticks, though, was phenomenal.  I think that might've been the best single detail between both of the challenge crafts.  She rigged them with light bulbs, flipped them upside-down, and used them to light the photobooth from the top.

The other contestant chose to do a wishing tree.  It was a neat concept, though I agree with the judges that the structure of the tree itself wasn't all that aesthetically pleasing.  But I did love the fabric flowers and the garland.  Unfortunately, the only photo on the TLC site kind of sucks.

They really needed to get a photo of this against a white or black or other solid background, 'cause it looked kinda pretty on the show from some angles, much more so than in this shot.  And the candlestick holder for notecards was very cute.  I do agree that hot glue wasn't the best option to hold together the candlesticks and that more fabric flowers showing better among the garlands would've been better.  But though it was a close call, I really felt this one should win.  Yet again, I don't agree with the totality of the judges' critiques, but I do agree with the results.

I was thinking about this.  If I was the contestant, I think I would have made all the floral decor for a wedding.  Fabric & paper flowers from the jeans, blankets, & invitations... and then vases & bases from the candlesticks.  I'd make centerpieces, bouquets, and ceremony decorations.  It wouldn't be one big structure, but as far as I could see from the rules, there was no instruction that it had to be.

So whatcha think?  What would you make?

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