fun with hats

thru a miracle, we have our little maltese puppy back.  she was sold, and it didn’t work out, and now she’s back, and i’m actually very pleased because i liked her the best.  she’s so like her mother.

people get dogs and they don’t know what they’re getting into.  one guy bitched about every trait that makes the dog who he is, and blamed me for not warning him that dogs need to be trained, fed and watered, and don’t like to sit in cages for 20 hours a day.  how inconvenient.  in the case of my baby girl, it was an unfortunate story of an impulsive move, and the buyer was mature enough to realize that an abusive boyfriend and a rival for her affections don’t mix.  so.  who wants a purebred maltese?  12 weeks old, all her shots and a whole bag of toys, ckc registered.  will be housebroken for xmas, promise you that, if i have to keep her in my pocket all the time.  $800.  let me know.

this is the tail the hat developed after peeling back the plastic and exposing the uncured spray foam insulation, which i’ve been covering, as it’s fascinating.  the brains are all cured in the cap.  i’ve poked holes with awls and screwdrivers, right into the depths of the brainpan, and tho i’ve heard crackling noises, there’s no pressure, and nothing’s curling out like slow smoke.

but that pigtail is something, isn’t it.  inside it’s hollow, like a lava tube.  exactly like that, really, with a much more cavernous structure inside the tubes.  this stuff really is the shit.  easy to carve up with a mat knife, easy to peel back with my fingers and chop off.  precision cuts are possible also, but the texture remains too bubbly and holey to really carve a surface out of.

i cut the cured foam away from the cap, leaving about a quarter inch of fabric bared.  it fit better on the dolphin that way.  it goes down in the middle, sloping.  shaping it is basically all about carving away the lumps and bumps that keep it from lying flat, and that takes numerous times of setting the hat on, wiggling it, peering into the gap between it and the head, seeing a bump, taking the hat off, and slicing at it with the mat knife, and scratching it with your fingernail, and peeling it off.  then trying it back on the head again.

you can see the gap on the lower right.  that’s where the brim of the cap blocked the foam, which didn’t expand into the gap, and is leaving a very large airhole between the fabric and the foam.  so i have cut the seams along both sides of the cap, and intend to put acrylic molding paste in there to hold everything together and make the space more solid.  it may take an application or two more, as molding paste, as does everything with water in it, shrinks when dried.

this is the back of the foam, where the grocery bag was, and were it wouldn’t cure.  i’ve carved into a pleasant round shape that slopes toward the straps when sealed.

altho this looks like a freak weather photo, it’s the brim of the hat seem from underneath, and the carved-out foam is white underneath that, and the white planetary body underneath is the top of the dolphin’s head.  i had to lift, examine, and carve this 3-dimensional profile many times.

and then to the easy part.  the last time i did anything, i stuck on the belt loops, trimming tem to the width of the waistband so they’d fit snugly.  then i carefully tied the apron ties, making sure the ties lay flat and the knot was smooth and snug.

then i went all around every bit of glued-on clothing with modeling paste, which is the thickness of toothpaste, only lighter (less chalk), and smeared the edges with paste, running a bead, or whatever bricklayers call it, on the edges of each side of each raised bit i could find.

except for the pockets of the apron.  i’ve got to leave them open so i can stick things in them.  but everything else.

and now, gosh oh gee, i’m pretty much out of options.  i can take a day to sit them outside and prime them with kilz, but i’m pretty much going to have to make the hard decisions on one of the dolphins.  what to put at the base?  how to put it at the base?  how to reinforce and anchor it at the base?  will paint stick to whatever i put down at the base?  can i glue it to the dolphin at all?

the girls at cowpainters, when i told them i had a sheet of heavy acetate, the kind of plastic you get in cosmetic gift boxes, and shit you buy at walmart, you know, heavy clear plastic that acts like cardboard, all glued together to hold some sort of assortment gift.  no idea what they’re called, but they look like thick acetate.  the glue that holds the box together is clear, holds it very strongly, and i couldnt’ figure out what it was.  i asked them how to glue acetate to fiberglass, and she really couldn’t tell me.  maybe i could screw it on, except it’s not that thick.  i’m thinking maybe i can stick it down with bondo.  it’s for the safety glasses, and i guess i’ll tint it and paint the eyes underneath.  or can i do that?  i’m planning to leave a lot of the attachments unpainted, like the hardhat, and i’m wondering if that’s okay.  there’s another letter to the great good girls at cowpainters.

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