October’s Drawings and Beyond

In 2009 a trend called Inktober was envisioned. I don’t participate in Inktober, but I do try draw a tangle a day during the month and I like drawing on 16″x20″ art board. Below is my tangle drawing using a black art board and Sakura Gel Pens.

I also wanted to use my Copic Markers, so I created a list for 31 Days of Color. I randomly selected 31 colors from my Copic Markers and created a drawing with 61 sections on a 16″x20″ art board. Here is this list of colors I used.

  1. RV29
  2. BG15
  3. RY00
  4. RV04
  5. W1
  6. B26
  7. G07
  8. BV08
  9. R37
  10. YR23
  1. V04
  2. B29
  3. YG13
  4. B23
  5. Y21
  6. R08
  7. Y02
  8. G16
  9. RV09
  10. BG18
  1. Y06
  2. G17
  3. B05
  4. V06
  5. B32
  6. YR09
  7. B39
  8. R27
  9. C3
  10. Y13
  11. E09 – Border

My drawing for 31 Days of Color resembled a stained-glass window.

31 Days of Color

This inspired me to create another stained-glass window drawing. I used my Copic Markers and a 16″x20″ art board. The big question I had before I started coloring was “where is the light source coming from?” I decided it was coming from the outside, behind the stained-glass. Therefore, the inside had to be dark. I didn’t want to make it black inside, below is the result.

Detecting Scam Text (SMS) Messages

Regularly I get unsolicited phone calls, those are easy to handle. I normally don’t answer calls whose contact information is not in my phone. On rare occasions when I answer the phone, I found the best thing I could tell them is “I don’t do business with people who randomly calls me on the phone.”

Text messages (SMS messages) are a different story, they will appear on my phone solicited or unsolicited. Below is a recent, scam text message I received. They are trying their best to get me the click the URL link.

I will step you through the problems I found with this text message.

  1. Most legitimate companies I deal with does not use a real phone number. They are now using a 5-digit code like “59842” to send text. Also, the text message used the country identifier “+1” for the USA. Lastly, this number was not in my address book.
  2. Have you ever heard of NRSC Poll? They may be a legit company. If you want to fill out a survey, search for NRSC Poll and see the results. If they ask for any personal info, be cautious.
  3. The text message provided a deadline which you must respond quickly? Probably because the hacker knows that this domain has a limited life.
  4. Do we talk like the example in the text message? “Quick vote!” We aren’t voting, it’s a poll.
  5. Let check out the domain! First, item 2. said it was an NRSC poll. Why doesn’t the URL contain “NRSC”?

To check out domains, I use https://whois.domaintools.com/. Type the domain into the search box and press Search. Example: win-gop22.com. When I followed these steps for this domain, I found suspicious items:

  • Yellow highlight: The domain was created on the same day the text message was sent. This is suspicious.
  • Red highlight: The domain’s registrant information was redacted for privacy. Why would a legitimate company or organization need privacy? Very suspicious.

An email is provided (Green Highlight) where you can report abuse. It is different for every domain. You can’t report abuse to Godaddy if WordPress is the domain registrar. Godaddy has form to report abuse on their website: https://supportcenter.godaddy.com/AbuseReport?

Here is the text of the original text of the message. I want the search engines around the world to be able to index this page to warn other of scams:

NRSC LIVE POLL: BIDEN-HARRIS APPROVAL. We want to hear your thoughts on the DISASTROUS Biden-Harris Administration. All responses are due by MIDNIGHT. Take action RIGHT NOW, so your voice is heard. Quick vote! http://win-gop22.com/x6bpdNA
Text STOP to END

King Cake Recipe

When you are from Louisiana, but don’t currently live in Louisiana, and King Cake Season rolls around you need a King Cake. You have two options available for your King Cake need: 1) Spend $50 to have one ship to you. Oh, they are so good, it may be worth it. Or, 2) Make your own King Cake. I decided to make my own.

Below is my recipe for a King Cake:

Ingredients:

  • A large cookie sheet
  • A heavy stand mixer with a dough hook. (A hand mixture will work but will take a lot more work.)
  • A serving platter large enough to hold the King Cake. (I buy the 14″ round cake boards made from cardboard)
  • Candy Thermometer
  • All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup of Butter – room temperature; 1/4 cup of butter melted
  • Egg – room temperature
  • Hot Water (that is why you need the Candy Thermometer)
  • Powder Sugar (just in case)
  • Mam Papaul’s King Cake Mix – Yes, I just buy the mix directly from the company. It comes with everything you need; cake mix, filing, icing, colored sugar, and plastic baby.

Instructions:

Follow the directions on the back of the box. You could try just using the bag method, but I had the bag break during the kneading process and had to switch to the hand mixer. That was a lot of work. I now use my stand mixer.

The extra flour is for light dusting during the rolling and shaping stage. If you add too much water to the icing, you can thicken it up by adding some extra powder sugar and stirring well.

Let cool and decorate.

Railroad Town – Barber Shop and Millery

In 2015, I received a 3D Printer for Christmas. Instead of printing designs that other people created, I wanted to create my own items. I found Tinkercad. It has lessons that taught me the basics of using Tinkercad. The first building I created was a Church. If you look inside the building, you can see the pews, podium, altar, flowers, and on back of the pews you can see hymn books and pencils.

After I created my Two-Story House, the next major design I did was of a Train Engine. Afterwards, I designed a coal car, caboose, passenger car, and livestock car. I had a complete train that was designed to Gn15 Model Train scale. The livestock car design gave birth to one of my most copied designs, the Cow. Currently, the 3D printed train and a bunch of cows are sitting on a shelf.

In 2020, I started working on buildings for a town that my train could make a stop. The first build was the Train Station followed by eight other buildings. The ninth building I created for my Railroad Town was the Barber Shop. There are a lot of pictures in the post because when you design the inside of building, it takes a lot of work to design furniture and decorated the inside.

First was the Barber Shop. Since I had people coming into my town, they would need a place to get their hair trimmed. Traditionally, the Barber Pole had three colors: Red, Blue, and White. I wanted my shop to stand out, so made the front of the building to match the Barber’s Pole. A traditional Barber Shop is not very large, so I added benches on the outside for customers to wait.

Barber Shops needs a chair. I designed an old-fashioned Barber Chair. I created combs and bottles to place on the counter. Put mirrors on the walls. Designed a coat rack and benches for customer, and place signs on the back wall, including one that had prices.

I provided the Barber a room in the back with a wardrobe and stove to keep warm.

I had these nice-looking barber chair, what else could this chair be use for besides cutting hair? I got it, the town dentist. Someone will have a tooth ache one day. I placed the Town Dentist upstairs with a boarding room above the Barber Shop. A bookcase was added to the Dentist’s Quarters, because he would need reference materials.

A bench and a door were added to the back of the building so the residences could enjoy the evening after a long day’s work.

I never created a two-building design for my Railroad Town. I decided that a Millinery (Hat Shop) would go well with my Barber Shop. People without air conditioning would need a hat to keep the sun off of their heads. I designed the hats, hat rack, rocking chair, and fabric bundles for the Millinery. The flower garden was added to the back of the Millinery to give Lily a nice place to relax. Look at the sign, Lily has a sense of humor.

Lily’s Sign

If you would like to see the 3D Design, you can view it on Tinkercad: Railroad Town Barber Shop

2022 Election Scam

Below is another text I received on my phone. Yes, I believe that hackers have my phone number from the Dark Web. How? There are numerous companies that have my contact information and a several of the larger companies had data breaches, such as T-Mobile, CafePress, LinkedIn, Android, Facebook… Those were just in 2021.

+1 (386) 297-5094

Message from Donald Trump Jr. -> I can't lie to you guys. This election is going to be a tough one so it is REALLY important we hear from you. We need you to take the Official 2022 Nationwide Census. Take 2 mins and get it done: https://winitback2022.org/r.wr?id=JW0FCe4l

ReplySTOPToEnd

This is why I believe it is a scam:

  1. The phone number: It a phone number, not a 5 digits text number. It has a +1 in from of the number. And, when I looked up the number it did not return a legitimate organization.
  2. The web site “winitback2022.org” was created on December 23, 2021.
  3. The web site is hosted by GoDaddy. Okay, that makes it appear to be more legitimate. But, the domains registrant’s contact information has been withheld.
  4. The domain was registered by: Domains By Proxy, LLC. If you look them up, you will find they have a very bad rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
  5. Finally, there no Official 2022 Nationwide Census. The only official Census takes place every 10 years; 2000, 2010, 2020, 2030….

Again, don’t click any link in a text message. Don’t reply to a text message.

Next step, I will report it to GoDaddy as abuse.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

I wanted to create a Hot Air Balloon in Tinkercad. Creating a balloon is easy, the hard part is getting multiple colors. To resolve this issue, I created a template to create colorful hot air balloons. It was so much fun, before I knew it, I had a Festival of Balloons.

This is the multi-color balloon:

Balloon without basket

This balloon was created using the Tinkercad Logo:

The American Flag balloon was created from the flag I designed several years ago.

I’ve used Instructables to provide instructions on how to create a Hot Air Balloon.

Click here for instructions on creating a balloon.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

You may view the festival by clicking this link.

There are two YouTube videos on how I create some of the balloons:

Multi-color Hot Air Balloon
Hot Air Balloon with Text

Parcel Scam Alert

Below is a text I received on Christmas Eve, and it is a scam! Either they were phishing for information or worst:

+1 (402) 378-1378

Parcel Tracking: Hi, your package with tracking number ZZBURAHH is waiting for you to check the shipment address: spreadbrief.com/DemUgCq

It looked like it could have been legit with the a few problems:

  1. I never get text message starting in +1. I believe that to use +1 the message was probably sent from another country.
  2. I never seen a tracking number like “ZZBURAHH”. Personally, to me it sounds like “Brouhaha”
  3. I was only expecting packages from UPS or USPS.

First, I did a web search on the number. The results did not return any legitimate businesses. If a legit company was going to text me, I would expect to find their business on the web searching by their phone number.

Next I used WHOIS to look up the domain and I found problems:

  1. The domain was created the same day the text was sent.
  2. The domain owner was in another country.
  3. Most of the contact information on the domain was redacted for privacy. If you look at a legit company’s domain registration, such as UPS, they provide a mailing address and phone number.

Lastly, I emailed the text to myself and reported it to the domain provider. On WHOIS an email address is provided to report abuse.

Recommendation: Never click on a link you receive in a text or email.

Wood Tray with Folding Legs

Have you ever gone into a store and saw something and thought, “I could finish that item! If I did, my sister would love it”? That is exactly what happened to me earlier this year when I was strolling through Hobby Lobby.

Wood Tray with Folding Left finished by Sarah

The first step was to purchase the Wood Tray. If took me several trips to Hobby Lobby before I decided that I would work on this project. Next, I sanded all sides of the tray including the legs. Originally, I was going to stain the tray a traditional color. As I was looking through my collection of stain, I found Worn Navy by Rust-oleum. Perfect! My sister likes greens, blues, and teals. I painted the bottom of the tray with primer and stained the rest of the wood with Worn Navy. After it was dry, I placed a light coat of varnish over the stained area.

My original idea was to create a mosaic on the bottom of the tray with just leaves. I already had some leaves cut and baked which I made from Sculpey Clay, but I decided to add some flowers too. I used Sculpey Polymer Clay to make the flower petals and additional leaves. After everything was prepared and laid out, and even though it had a nice gradient, I decided it was too plain. I drew a tangle on every leaf, petal, and circle using acrylic paint pens. Each petal and leaf were glued to the bottom. Mint Puff Paint was used as the grout. I sprinkled three colors of glitter over the grout before it dried.

I seal all my work with polyacrylic before applying the resin. Sealing the piece helps to reduce the number of bubbles in the resins. My flavor resin to use is made by Art Resin. Their resin calculator is very useful.

I could of stop there and it would have been beautiful, but no I had to paint flowers on the outside edge and vines and leaves on the legs. I used acrylic paint pens. I like color, so the flowers were painted different colors.

After the painting was completed, I put a few more coats of polyurethane on the tray (sanding between each coat). You would think I was done. No! I was concerned that if it was stored, the legs would open at an inopportune time, hitting someone and causing an ouchy. Another trip to Hobby Lobby and I purchase belt buckles and ribbon and put my limited sewing techniques to work and made two straps. Again, they were a bit plain, so I used Puff Paint to paint flowers on the straps.

Flower Chests

These chests were a pain to sand and stain. An absolute pain. It took me over two years to complete them and at one point I almost tossed them in the garbage. The boxes were purchased from Hobby Lobby.

The problems: First the tops and sides of the boxes were so fragile they were difficult to sand. Second, I tried to use Minwax Gel Stain on the inside of the box – that went very poorly. On the plus side, this was a test of the Gel Stain before I put it on something much larger. I tossed the Gel Stain to never to be used again.

Three Nesting Boxes

First, I sanded the boxes and applied stain all over, even the areas I intended to paint. Second, I applied the first coat of varnish to the areas I was not going to paint. I apply varnish to seal the wood just in case I accidently got paint on unwanted areas of the boxes. Paint can easily be cleaned off the varnish areas before it dries, otherwise the paint would soak into the wood. Next, I painted the tops, sides, and the inside bottoms of the boxes using chalk paint.

After everything had dried and I was satisfied with the painting, I sanded the box again and applied another coat of varnish. Matte varnish on the painted areas and gloss varnish on the stained areas. Afterwards, I decided to add something extra. I created a mosaic pattern on the inside of the box, which I created from Sculpey Clay. I put a light coat of varnish on the bottom of the box before I poured resin over the pattern.

Since the bottom of the box was already painted. I didn’t see the need to fill the spaces with grout.

I still was not satisfied with color of the boxes. I wanted them to be darker. So, I lightly sanded the boxes with steel wool and applied a coat of Minwax Polyshade. It has stain and polyurethane.

Felt was added to the front and sides of the boxes because I thought if anyone wanted to store anything small in the boxes, it would just fallout through the holes.