Archive | June 2010

The Making of Ultraman

This is not my usual kind of post but a girl needs to branch out every now and again.

A few years ago, my husband told me about a couple of obscure tv shows that he had loved as a child.  They were both Japanese shows.  They were Johnny Socko (also called Giant Robo) and Ultraman.  I found both series on DVD that year and he received them for his birthday and Fathers’ Day.  The DVDs are great. Ultraman goes from dubbed English to subtitles and back.  And the monsters are fabulous.

I tried to find an Ultraman doll and could only find vinyl dolls, most of which were from later series and not the original that my husband loved.   So I bought a bunch of felt and decided that I would make him a stuffed Ultraman doll.

Well, I have to be inspired to take on a craft project.  I’m not the best at sewing, and anything that requires measuring and such, well, it makes me nervous.  I can’t even color in the lines.

About a month ago, I saw the felt looking at me from the top of my closet and decided that it was time.   So, here’s my story about the making of Ultraman (which I just finished an hour or so ago).  By the way, my son saw Ultraman for the first time today, we watched as I was finishing the doll.  He loved it.  He yelled for the Science Patrol when the monsters were sneaking up on them.  It was perfect.  I think he’s going to steal the doll.

First, I did research.
Then I drank. I mean, I did more research.
Then, I drew a pattern.
I cut out my pattern and laid out the fabric.
Then, I started pinning.
And pinning.
Then I cut out the gray felt, which was the front of Ultraman.
And I cut out the red fabric for Ultraman’s back.
Then, I realized that I should have made separate pieces for all the “decorations” for the front of Ultraman before I pinned the main pattern to the large pieces.  So I kind of eyeballed it and drew “patterns” for all of those pieces and cut out those pieces.
After I cut out all the pieces, I started pinning the “decorations” to the front of my Ultraman.  This was tedious, trying to place everything right.
Then I started sewing the pieces on.  I hate sewing.  But I like making things.  So, whatever I need to do to achieve my goal will be done. I was so happy every time I got done with a specific color of embroidery floss, it meant I was that much closer to my goal.
Once I finished sewing on the first “layer” of adornments, I added the elements for the next layer (the yellow stripes on the arm and the blue thing on Ultraman’s chest).
Then I sewed.
And sewed.
And more sewing.
And more sewing.
The part I am most disappointed in is the thing down the middle of the face.  I should have just made a flat piece but I was trying to be true to the character and made it three dimensional.
I sewed up both sides to the neck and then I started filling Ultraman with stuffing.

My biggest mistake was in making the arm holes too small.  It made them really difficult to fill with the stuffing. It seriously took about a half hour to get the arms stuffed.

I had some excess fabric to trim once I’d sewn the front and back together.
And here he is, the finished Ultraman.  It only took 3 years (active working time was probably about 20 hours, for everything. I’m really slow).


Tens of thousands of  balls of mozzarella cheese have been recalled because they turn blue when exposed to air.


Italian police confiscated cheese because of blue balls.


First, I had no idea that cheese even had balls.

Second, hahahaha.  Blue balls.

Snicker snicker snicker.

My inner 12-year-old boy is just loving this.

If you really need to, you can read the story here.  I swear it’s real.  Oh, that’s just too good.


Turkish Delight

I’m making a bracelet (I might get ambitious and continue until I have a necklace, I’m not sure yet) that was supposed to be Turkish Round.

Except that I misinterpreted the directions and ended up with this instead:

I rather like it, plus I’ve already spent a few hours on it, so I’m going to keep it.

I’ve made it out of 18 gauge 3/16″ round stainless steel rings.  It’s really heavy and not very flexible, but it looks really impressive.

British Steel

So, it’s not British but it is made of (stainless) steel and I like using song titles (or, in this case, album titles).  Plus, my old band used to do Breaking the Law (as did every other band) so there’s a little soft spot in my heart for British Steel.

I just finished making this hardcore looking cuff using 18 gauge 3/16″ square stainless steel rings with 20 gauge 1/8″ round stainless steel rings for the connections.

I have two cuffs like this; this pattern, which reminds me of a Japanese weave, and European 4-in-1.   I like really wide bracelets in stainless steel.  It’s fun to wear them with rather girly clothes; I enjoy the contrast.

Unfortunately, because stainless steel is so heavy, and stainless steel findings selection is so limited, I have to work a lot harder and make the cuff big enough to fit over my hand.  If I had more tools, I’m sure I could make my own stainless steel findings of whatever width I desire.  But, alas, until I make some money with my little hobby, I can’t really justify buying more toys, I mean tools.  If anyone knows a good source of stainless steel findings, please send that info my way.

I really do like this weave, it’s very industrial.  It just may be able to stop a bullet, but I’m not going to test that.

Crocker Park Patios

My husband and I really needed to find a good patio last weekend.  So we decided to go to Crocker Park  where patios are plentiful.

We started off at Blake’s mostly because my dad talks so highly about it.  We’ve visited once before, and our waitress on that visit was exceptional, but the food was only so-so for the price.  But I figured it was time to give it another shot.

The place was relatively empty as we sat at the outdoor bar, however, I was pretty dismayed to find that the bar was filthy.  Really.  Crumbs and yuck on the bar.  The bartender was obviously unhappy and not in any rush to fill our drink orders.  We had planned to order some food, but the bartender was so slow and unwelcoming that we ended up downing our drinks and leaving quickly.

Our next stop was Agave.  I’ve been here a couple times before and came away with a tepid feeling for this place.  The first time we visited, the service was just terrible.  My husband and I also thought that the food was good (quality), but there were no sauces, the food seemed rather dry and bland.  It’s Mexican food, I expect flavor.

But the patio is always packed and the people all seem to be having a good time.   And, summer on a patio just screams for a margarita.

I am so happy we decided to stop here.  We had intended to have a small bite and a drink or two before proceeding to another yet another patio.  We never made it to another patio.

I started with a mango margarita.  It was so good, the tequila so smooth, that even I liked it.  I always like the idea of a margarita better than the reality of  a margarita because, to me, tequila smells like gasoline.  And that smell just ruins the whole thing.  There was no gasoline smell.  It was lovely.  My husband stuck with Dos Equis.

We ordered three small plates.  We hadn’t eaten since breakfast, 11 hours earlier, and three small plates between the two of us left us feeling really full.


First, we had ceviche.   I love ceviche.  This ceviche has calamari and shrimp.  It is lovely and and more like a dip than some other interpretations of ceviche.  But it’s served with their lovely chips.

cuban sliders

We then had Cuban sliders. They are pulled pork sliders.  I could do without the mayo, but otherwise these are fantastic.  I don’t understand why the shoestring fries and the slaw that accompany the sliders are so bland but whatever.

The last thing we had was a 1/2 slab of ribs.  Seriously, sliders and ribs.  I needed to skip lunch to be able to eat this.  It was worth skipping lunch to get to eat this.  the meat was wonderfully tender, the sauce was nice, but sparse.  The Caribbean slaw was just the regular slaw topped with some really yummy something (jicama?? I can’t identify it, I was pretty buzzed by the time I got to the Caribbean slaw.  They should have had more of the stuff that made it Caribbean in the slaw instead of just a bit on top.  In fact, they should just get rid of the regular slaw and only have Caribbean slaw).

I was happy and loved the food and the people watching.  So, next time I’ll be skipping Blake’s and heading straight to Agave.  But only if I’m sitting on the patio, the wait staff is way more attentive to the patio diners.