Feb. 22, 2010, was a sad day, folks. You see, that’s when the L.A. band Castledoor took the stage for the very last time. The group had dazzled crowds in venues such as Spaceland and the Echo with its melodic sounds and fun stage antics.
Anyone who had ever attended a Castledoor show can also attest to the other thing that the band was famous for: GREAT SWAG! Each of Castledoor’s performances would culminate with singer Nate Cole announcing to the crowd that free stuff (complements of Castledoor) would be coming their way. To date, I’ve gotten candy, a CD and even a screen-printed tote bag, which travels with me on a regular basis.
It’s really fun to be able to gift people things made from the heart. True, 10 years ago, printing a thousand T-shirts for fans of your band might have set you back a bit. But nowadays, there is fun and savings to be had.
If screen-printing has always been a secret fantasy of yours, you can finally indulge without shelling out thousands. Those big fancy machines that make our graphic tees are uber costly. But thanks to the YUDU (4yudu.com), you can do it – screen printing – yourself. I’m sure you’ve seen the infomercials on cable TV: “YUDU allows anyone to print any image on anything!”
Just buy your shirts or tote bags in bulk (an online search will unearth a number of wholesale deals). Then, send off for your YUDU. For a small fee of $33, you can test drive this all-inclusive screen-printing dynamo for one month. After that, additional monthly payments will follow. Not only do you get the satisfaction of finally starting that T-shirt company you’ve always dreamed about but now you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve cut out the middle man.
When I was in high school, I was encouraged to lighten my class load and take Home Economics. I’d heard a lot of horror stories about this course of domestication. Being a class clown, nobody thought I had it in me to cook and clean and sew, but boy, did I prove everyone wrong.
My first project was a pair of shorts that turned out so well, I was actually commissioned by three girls in my class to recreate my sportswear for each of them. Since then, I’ve kind of had a juvenile fascination with sewing. Couple that with the popularity of shows like “Project Runway” that tend to support untrained designers and, well, I’m hooked.
Sewing machines are an inexpensive and fun investment. Last week, I was in Walgreens and saw that they were selling a generic competitor to the world-famous Singer model for a mere $29.95.
Patterns are also cheap and easy to come by. Many companies sell them online very inexpensively. One great site is burdastyle.com. They’ve got patterns for under $5 that just need your creative touch to become winning fashions.
For goth kids who can’t afford the price of their cosplay habit, try Farthingales (3306 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; farthingalesla.com). This local pattern boutique carries all the hottest in Edwardian garb to make you the envy of all the other Eeyores in your crew. However, word to the wise: They’re open by appointment only.
Finally, if you’ve longed to be the next Michel Gondry or Tim Burton (or Seth Green from “Robot Chicken”), you can let your creative juices fly through stop-motion animation. I used to teach Clay Animation in elementary schools, and it was a blast.
Just go online and look for how-to videos on building your armatures (the skeleton of your character). Building one is quick, easy and usually only involves a few minor items from the local arts and crafts shop.
Using clay, cloth or re-purposed doll parts, craft your characters and then shoot your new film using your camcorder. Slowly reposition each character, snapping a picture with the individual movements.
Once you edit the project (iMovie works great for this process and is standard on most Macs), it will look like your characters are in motion. And you, my friend, will be gifting the world with your genius. Just check out stormthecastle.com/stop-motion-animation for more details on the process.