Saturday, July 26, 2014

A custom auto patch & a different kind of book card

If you are a fan of television like me, you may watch the singing or talent shows, like America's Got Talent.  I don't care how many years it has been on, and how annoying the host / judges are.  There is just something about robotic dancers and people that juggle poodles that sing to me.

But then, they have more "cultured" entertainers.

Like opera singers.  Or men dressed up as women.  Or men opera singers dressed up as women.

I confess, I don't really get that.  I watch in awe and the camera pans from the entertainer during the performance to the judge who looks like their soul is 100% invested into the act.  At the end, they do a little of this ...



And I don't get it!

I immediately think of a couple scenarios:
A)  Am I not cultured enough?  Perhaps I'm too dumb to enjoy something so exotic and elegant.
B)  No, it isn't me.  It's not me at all!  It is the judges.  There is no flippin' way they can be enjoying this junk.  They must be putting on a show so viewers like me feel stupid for not enjoying it as well, and then the sheeple will start enjoying watching men dressed up as women to sing opera.

But then again, the flip is true.  They may have a singer that I *really* connect with.  And they don't click with it.  I think what????  This dude was brilliant, and you kicked him off?  Not to mention the fact that I feel like a fool publicly displaying my affection for one of these folks before the judges to speak. I mean, what happens if the judge says someone was awful when I just said they were brilliant?

All that to say, the same might be true with my latest custom.  I can see how people may not "track" with me with this card, which is okay.  Not everyone has the same taste, and not every card can receive a standing ovation from all four judges :)  I must admit, I thought it was fantastic, but my wife said otherwise.

Earlier this week, I did a custom booklet of Jose Canseco called the 2014 Rookie Recollection.  I was thrilled with it!  Even though it cost the lives of a few innocent Canseco rookie cards, I couldn't be happier with it.

Then, I thought to myself ... why stop there?  Why not destroy a few books as well?  If you aren't aware, Jose Canseco has written two books:  Juiced and Vindicated.  Surely, you have at least heard of them before.


For those of you who have a favorite player who ended up writing a book, you know - this stuff is gold.  It is great to hear the thoughts of your favorite player in 200-400 pages.  Very fun stuff!

The problem for me is, when it comes to collecting, for some reason - the collectability (is that even a word?) goes through the roof for me if it measures 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.  I don't know why, but I just love collecting cards more than I do memorabilia and oversized cards.  Perhaps it is because the standard size for cards fit nicely in boxes.  Maybe it is because I don't like clutter.  Or maybe it is just because I have too many bad memories and frightening flashbacks of what bowman did to their 1989 set.

Either way, I felt compelled to make something that commemorates Jose's books he wrote for my collection - and sign it later.  I have been thinking about something like this for a few weeks now.  What if I took a piece of the pages of each book and make a custom book card?  Not a book card that opens up, but a card that has the book pieces in it.

I had been meaning to pick up his books anyway, so believe it or not, I found his two and one of his ex wife's books about their relationship for something like $6 total.  Score!

Unfortunately, the cover of Juiced had seen better days (there were even human teeth / bite marks on it!) and the Vindicated book didn't have a cover.  That was fine, because I only wanted a sliver

Soooo, here is the carnage ....

I wanted some clips that said something about McGwire & Steroids.  Then I wanted another cut that was from page 33 with Jose's name on it.



Then, I decided why not use the cover and spine?  LETS DO THIS!



The end result ....
My concern was the small area for Jose to sign.  I also wanted an inscription, but I'm not sure that would happen with this.



I wanted to give the cut pieces a deep dish effect, so I made the card extra thick ...



So, I went to bed after creating this ... probably at about 2am.  I was very happy with it.  But that wife of mine happened.  When I showed her, every moment of silence was disheartening.  She came into the office later and said she thought it was too busy.  I told her that this is one time that even if everyone else didn't like it, it would be one that I love.  I still look at it now, and really like it.  The problem?  She posed a question:

"Uhmmm ... babe ... it is *ATHLETES* to Authors, right?  Why not have a jersey piece or something in it as well?"

Why ... the ... heck didn't I think of this before?  It made sense!  Then I started thinking even more about it.  What else could be done?  I already had a number of hours into the design and production as it was.  If I was going to redo it, I might as well REALLY give it a go.

So, I cracked open Photoshop and started playing with the design.  Then, I started thinking ... what if I put in a piece of the baseball I got at the Astros game in it?



Yes yes yes!  This could work!  I could put in part of the Rawlings logo in it.

Then, my wife came in asked what I was doing.  She said "why not use the stitchings instead?  I think that would look cool."

"But...it can't be done.  It is too thick.  Too difficult to work with.  That would really be hard."

Then, I thought about it more ... that would actually be cool.  I'm gonna try it, dangit!

So, after messing with it for a while, we had some good ole family time ...

Mouse Trap, anyone?  I lost.  It was my first time playing, so back off!  :)



When family game time was over, I retreated to the office to listen to my A's whoop up on the Rangers this and I finished up the real Athletes to Authors card:



I love that there are game used pieces.  I love that it isn't as busy, and I love that the bottom has more room to be signed on.  There is still something about the first one that I did that I like.  I might redo that one also to be a card that doesn't need to be signed, perhaps.

Last but not least, is possibly my favorite...or at least top 3.  I had been looking online and stumbled upon a design of a card I really enjoyed.  It is a basketball card called Silhouettes.  I thought it would look mega sweet with a few modifications to have a baseball card version ... a baseball card version of Jose Canseco, of course!

It was quite difficult to reconstruct, but I did it and I made several changes & enhancements to fit my design tastes.  Here it is!



So, that's a wrap for this edition, folks.  Thanks for reading!

Long Overdue Flip Quest Update

So, I have been MEGA busy - primarily with creating some customs for my personal collection to get ready for a signing coming up. I have not had much time at all to devote to doing anything with the flip quest! Another thing that has been a massive problem, is I've been having major issues with gmail. Everytime someone inquires about something ... I don't know if they get my response or not! Because of this, there hasn't been much movement, but here goes:

I sold some books, games, bins and Paula Deen autographed menu for $50.

I bought a projector screen, drafting table and vintage game table for $25.

We are keeping 1 of the drop leaf tables.

I also will deduct $7 for shipping for some trades. I did a custom and moved the Ripkens out of a few deals. I got a few Canseco out of it for my PC (incoming) and the following are incoming as well...





















Happy to have more cardboard goodness in the flip quest now :)

I am just waiting to find a collection to where I can sink my teeth into! It has been forever.

You can check the Flip Quest link in the navigation for the update.

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to turn $20 in cards into a priceless 1 of 1

A few weeks back, my wife and I were watching some television, and we heard a knock on the door.  If you want to scare my wife, that is the way to do it.  Her mind quickly gravitates to home invasions ... especially since we have a NO SOLICITING sign on the front door (too many issues w/Kirby sales people).

She told ... errrr ... asked me to look out the blinds instead of open the door, to which I obliged.  There stood a man in the dark, who was asking for me by name - first and last.  He was trying to ... you guessed it ... sell me something.  I loathe when these unfortunate door to door people cannot read.

It prompted me to make an addendum to our No Soliciting sign:



This was a big hit with my son.  I hope that the door to door folks will get the message loud and clear.  Hopefully, the chuckle they can partake in will make them forget about their desire to slash our tires on the way out.

Obviously, that isn't the only thing I created this past week.  This is, after all, me.  I write about baseball and baseball cards.

I've been wanting to do something a little different for my personal collection of Jose Canseco.  Something that hasn't been done before, to my knowledge.  So what I did was, I posted a message on several online forums asking for some beat up 1986 Jose Canseco rookie cards.  Don't get me wrong, I already had most of these cards, but there is just something about including contributions from other fellow collectors that helps me to feel like my hobby is not just "me" ... it is also others.  It is also great to see the generosity of people come out and send things along.  I am very much so appreciative of it whenever I receive things either for my Jose Canseco collection, or as material to make customs.

Before I get into the meat of the main card that this article is about, I thought I would show off a new addition to my custom collection.  It is based off of 2007 Exquisite Football, I believe.  I had this idea because Billy (a member on the forums - I cannot recall is screen name because we converse via email) had me do a few customs based off the Exquisite design, which he had the artwork for already.  The cards turned out fantastically, so I just had to tweak the design, add my touch to it and try for a Jose card for my personal collection, using some Canseco material I got from AJ.

 

I hope to have Jose sign where it says "Legendary" in the bottom left.

Here is the back - what fun is making a custom if you can't goof off a little with the text?



The only way I could love it more is when the autograph is obtained!  Thanks for allowing me to use the artwork, Billy!  I have a few other different designs that I have done as well, which I am waiting for Jose to sign.  I have been in contact with his manager for some more of my "creative" projects.  We had some good back and forth, but unfortunately, the communication has stopped.  I hope he has just been busy, and will reach out to me again.

The title of this is "How to turn $20 in cards into a priceless 1 of 1"  - I think it could just as easily be read as "How to turn $20 in cards into something worthless" since I am in fact destroying cards, and turning them into something with no book value!

A while back, I had an idea about incorporating existing rookie cards into a custom.  The major card companies have used jerseys, bats, balls, bases, tickets and more ... while I don't have access to a whole lot of that sort of stuff, I thought ... what about pieces of cards?  Heck, why not ask the online baseball card community for help?  Well, you all came through in a BIG way.

I posted the message, and over the course of a few weeks, I was able to get them in, as well as a bunch of other Cansecos as well - my collection and I thank you! This picture is one I sent to a friend via text after receiving my first 2014 Canseco card that he gave me as a gift. Yeah, I get a little too giddy over stuff like this.



As for the card I tried creating using existing cards ... like I said, I have been thinking about it for a while.  Here is what I mocked up before even asking people for the cards.  The card pieces below are just replica pieces I produced to see how it would look.



I think I liked the concept more than the design, initially, so I kept working it.  Firstly ... why have 5?  Why not all 6 of his rookies from the major companies?



Each and every one of these were given to me.  I mentioned this before, but I also got a BGS 9.5 '86 Topps Traded Canseco from an online member here named Parker.  I didn't have the heart to hack that one up.

Which leads me to the fate of the above 6 .... (kids, don't try this at home.)



AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  This was somewhat traumatizing for me, but I knew it had to be done for the greater good.

As I kept going, I had more ideas for this card.

Why have this just as a card?  Why not a <gulp> BOOKLET??

After spending countless hours staring at my screen and obsessing over colors, textures, blending, etc. I had some ideas worthy of producing, so I went to work on it some more ...



Cutting these was crazy nerve-wracking, and getting the pieces to FIT was even more so.  It was not fun at all, and everything took so long.



I wasn't too terribly happy with the finish of these, but after sleeping on it, I figured out a better way to display these, which I'll show in a bit here.

A booklet can't just have card pieces though.  It must have some other type of material.  How about some jersey and bat material?



Yes, the card has game used jersey and bat material!  I confess though, to add a little more variety, I did add a little non game used fabric to brighten it up as well.  This really made me wonder - what is keeping the card companies from doing the same?  You could have a large white chunk of game used material, and overlay with some gold or green, or whatever, and still say the card is game used!  Things that make you go hmmmm...

Here is the bat piece I used:



The jersey and bat pieces lined up to be used ...



On the inside cover of the actual card, I just had to give thanks to those who gave me cards to work this project!



After sweating it out, and SEVERAL failed attempts, I was able to wrap it up ...

The 2014 Jose Canseco Rookie Recollection Booklet!

The front of the card:


The back of the card:
Note that I did the back with reverse images of Jose, the A's logo and 1986.  As always, I added some goof ball text on the back, and instead of "CONGRATULATIONS" like all the cards have, I put "HOLY TOLEDO!"  If you grew up in California in the 80's and 90's, this should mean a lot to you.  Whenever the A's hit a home run, this is what you would hear from Bill King on the radio during the A's game.  Ahhh, memories.



The book opened:


Here is the inside right of the card:
My first thought was to do a square for a jersey piece and a square for a bat piece, but this was much more creative / difficult lol!  The bottom area is for Jose's signature, which I may get him to do an inscription of something about him being the Rookie of the Year.


Last but not least, the inside left:
I LOVE how the rookie card windows came out.  It went from being rough squares to much a much more polished looking 6 piece window area with shapes that match.  I initially used a different shape, and it was way, way, way too girly, so this one below was the winner.



Both insides!
You will note that the inner binding is black.  I was going to leave it white, but my thank you message to the donators would have shown through, so I ended up doing it black, which I'm glad I did!



So, there you have it.  The 2014 Jose Canseco Rookie Recollection booklet.  When Jose signs it, it'll be nice to have one booklet with pieces of all his rookie cards, game used jersey, game used bat and autograph!

I've been so busy making these, I've had a hard time looking for new cards to collect.  I have spent time putting my entire Jose Canseco collection online in a list format so I can show what my needs are.  I have a super collection by NO MEANS.  There is nothing really to marvel at.  99% are of the dime to dollar variety, so if you are interested in helping me to knock off some from my want list, I'd be happy as a clam.

Here is the most up to date list of what I have.  If anyone does decide to send me some cards as a gift, I'll be listing them off on this list as who sent them to me.  It should be fun!   Click here for the link.

Thanks as always for reading!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Crusade Throughout the Week of Customs, TTM, Chic Fil A and more!

This past week has been busy.  Not work busy, but life busy.  It has been good!  We have discovered the wonderfulness of a kids bowl free program during the summers, so the wife and I bought shoes for ourselves and now we are able to bowl 2 games a day for free basically.  Can't beat that!

I'll get to the custom work in a bit, but before I do, there are some things I'd like to document here on my blog (or wherever you are reading this from) so I can look back on it.  After I got my tail whooped by my wife and 11 year old in bowling (I normally beat them ... promise!) my wife wanted to go to Chic Fil A and have a victory ice cream cone.  Not to be one to turn down ice cream, I obliged.

Then, while in the drive thru, I read this:

COW APPRECIATION DAY

As it turns out, if you dress up like a cow, that day, you get free chicken!  I personally take this as a challenge.  Armed with an oil change receipt and a pencil, I cow'ed up just in time for the teller to see me, and scored a free sammich.  #winning.

 

Nothing like free food to make me forget my bowling blunders!  I posted this on facebook just after my cousin posted pictures of her family  playing with a jaguar.  Whatever.  My mom emailed me and laughed about it asking how we could all be in the same family - I pull up wearing a cow mask, and my cousin is playing with jaguars.

I told her I was trying to teach the world that you don't need to live life to the fullest by playing with exotic animals.  All you need is a pencil, paper and a willingness to make a fool out of yourself in front of a 16 year old cash teller.

I know what you are thinking - bowling AND free chicken?  My week can only go downhill from here!  Not so fast ...

The mail has been particularly fantastic this week!

As you may or may not know, one of my latest customs is in the works, and it involves using existing Jose Canseco 6 main rookies ... by the way .... if you have a 1986 Fleer regular Canseco rookie (the one with Eric Plunk) you want to float my way, I'd be happy as a clam.  It can be beat up, or whatever.

A kind soul (nadeauman33) took care of 4 of these cards for me, along with a plethora of other Canseco...for free!  Take a look at this.  It was like Christmas!



I'll be having fun with some of those soon enough!

As if that wasn't enough, p.thomaston asked for my address, because he said he picked up a Canseco for me a while back.  Here is what he sent this week to me:



Can you believe that?  This is my first 9.5 Canseco anything.  I was quite happy with that as well.  It is much too nice to use for my next project, so I think I'll leave it be :)

Driving back on our way back from vacation from Sea World, my brain was stirring quite a bit over customs (like it always does).  One thing I thought would be cool is if they made a Canseco rookie Superfractor.  Well, they didn't, so I did:




I'm quite happy with how it came out - the back looks like a regular Topps card, but instead of saying Topps, it says 1/1.  This puppy is displayed on my desk at the moment.


Next up in the mail is a personalized autograph from HELEN CHAPPEL! Well, okay ... her real name is Crystal Bernard, but to me, it will always be Helen from Wings. Gahhhhh, I love me some Wings.

 

My original plan was to make a custom out of what I got back from her, but I don't have the heart to do it with a personalized auto.  Plus, the auto may just be too big for it.  I received one from one ROY BIGGINS (David Schramm) as well.

Next up, is Good ole' dubya's dad:



I just got the one on the left earlier this week.  I got the one on the right a few weeks ago.  They are both auto-penned, but still cool with the personalizations.  I may try to get a few more and make a dual autopen cut booklet with them playing baseball.

This one, however, might just be my favorite of the week:



It fits in nicely with my rainbow explosion Rated Rookies that never were custom autograph collection:



I have one or two more to add later, but will not show them until they are autographed ... can't wait!

Now, as far as the other customs go, I've gotta say ... the past few days have been ... well...uhmmm...FRUSTRATING.  I've been trying to tweak my methods of producing them.  Each take several steps, and they are always difficult to do.  After hours and hours of time/effort, I was able to produce a 1993 SP Foil Derek Jeter tribute card:




It was born probably at about 1-1:30 am last night, directly after the A's game.  Man alive, was it a bear.  But it is done!

Now, for the last reveal.  Have you ever played this before?



Who am I kidding?  Of course you have.  And if not this, you have probably played / been obsessed with some sort of video game at some point of your life.

If this is truly you, then you understand what I went through for this next card to an extent.  Let me explain:

When you play a video game, with the intent to beat it, you enter a world of pure enjoyment.  Once you hit an obstacle that is seemingly impossible to overcome, that pure enjoyment becomes a massive burden where bliss meets a horrifying nightmare of obligation.  You have to try the same difficult item over and over and over again, no matter the cost.  It isn't fun anymore.  It is your duty to show Bowser who is boss.

Kind of like a steakhouse challenge.  You eat 3lbs of meat, and the meal is free ... otherwise it is $100.  You love steak ... probably more than you love many family members, but when you have to eat a LOT, it becomes something that you don't want to be a part of anymore.  you just want to run away screaming.

Such is with the latest Canseco creation.



After 15+ maddening tries, I finally got it to how I wanted it to look.  I wanted to do an amped up 90's Crusade card.  What is the point of doing a copy though?  That is no fun!  So instead, let's do a Tanner Crusade, shall we?



Tanner Crusade PLUS, folks!  This has got to be worth a million dollars, easy!

I toyed with the idea of making it a bat / jersey / auto card .... This is a "Donor" card AJ sent me a while back:

 

Surgery performed ....

 

Gosh, I think I'm gonna be sick.  How dare I do that to a Canseco BAT card!!!

I added a piece of his game used jersey as well, and did this:




I was not happy with it though, as I felt like it was just much too busy.  The bottom part of course, will be autographed in the near future.

I worked the design a bit more, and in my desperation between screw-ups, I got rid of the bat and jersey to save for another card, but changed some colors:



This was fun trying different versions, but in the end, the Blue/Purple Crusade Plus won out for me:




Much more simple, and it lets the refraction of light come through the card so much better without being hidden by a bat and jersey piece.  Don't get me wrong ... if I had my choice of pulling one or the other from a pack, I would, of COURSE had picked the jersey/bat/auto card, but I'm looking at these more like art pieces and am concerned more with how they look to my eyes...with the understanding that the jersey and bat piece can be used later, for something else!

As I said, the card was maddening to put together ... much more so than my wife taking us to a toy store to look for OVER AN HOUR today.  We all did get some rockin' sun glasses for a total of $1.69 though, so I guess I can't complain.  I also got to wear them in the mall and draw some nervous stares.



After we bought them, I informed the cashier to not bag them, as I would be wearing them out.  She laughed and said ok.  As we walked out, a lady coming in started laughing and offered to take a picture of all of us together.  It was great fun!

AHHHH ... so sorry to get side tracked.  Back to the card!

Yes, I did call it a Tanner Crusade Plus card.  I made it in the design of a '98, but also wanted to have a spot for it to be autographed.  Not only that, but I wanted to do soemthing else.  Here is the back:



Did you catch that?  Did you notice the cameo I made?  Here, let me make it a little more noticeable for you:



Yup, that's right - yours truly.  Just your favorite custom card creator chilling in the background, waiting for Canseco to get on deck.

This is the unfortunate picture I used for the back.  I was hoping I could use it for something useful in the future.  It is of me posing with my wife's ponytail that she just cut off.  This was posted on facebook, and I got some ... not too favorable comments about it.



That is it for today, folks.  I certainly cannot end this posting with this terrifying picture, for I fear that it will give you nightmares (or dreams...you freak!)  so I'll post another pic of the Crusade card again:



Thanks for reading!