Saturday, April 19, 2014

A few Customs and a Trash Bag full of Scrap

Ladies and gentlemen, this is currently what you see in my office, just next to my desk:


I can hear you thinking "Hmmmm, I wonder how many complete custom sets he has made from all this."

Nope.  Just nope.  I swear, if I were an ice carver, you could give me a metric ton of ice, and I'd be lucky if I could carve out a thimble.  Yeah, I'm the one who, in elementary school was cutting something out with scissors, kept getting one side crooked, and compensated by doing the other side ... only to make that side crooked, etc.  In the end, I'd have a nice pile of confetti.

Yup, that's me.

I better not mislead you here though - this isn't *ALL* from the three cards I'm about to show off here.  It is over the past week or two of doing tests, doing other base customs, etc.

I've been doing a lot of base cards recently, and have just been absolutely thrilled with them.  I decided to up the ante though, and do some more challenging cards.  Please keep in mind the elementary story I told you about above, when thinking about the trash bag full of scrap, ok?

One of my favorite recent inserts is from Topps - the Cut to the Chase die-cut refractor.  Again, as with every card I lay my eyes on:  "why couldn't they have made one of Canseco?  That would have been sweet!"

In case you don't know what I'm talking about off hand, here is what one looks like:


Insanely sweet, yes?  I love how it is cut, love the colors, love the refractor...y....ness.  I just love it all.  I clearly had my work cut out for me.  One thing I didn't like was all the yellow in the factory A's type cards in this set, so I amped up mine a bit.   I think it came out pretty dang good!


I did a few things differently - I didn't use as much yellow, I replaced "Topps" with "A's", put some subtle stars in a few places, and bowed out Jose's name.  You can't see it, but it is a refractor as well.

Next up, I had an idea of doing some 90's inserts.  Why?  Because it seems like everyone loves rare 90's inserts, and I have been bitten by the bug as well.  

So, last night, I had on the A's game streaming online via audio (CURSE YOU MLB TV BLACKOUTS!!!).  As the A's were pounding away on the Astros (my son said he'd hate to see them play each other because he wouldn't know who to root for!) I decided to fire up photoshop.  It is quite strange when you are working with photoshop pieces that are bigger than you on the projector, while lounging on the couch.  


That sounds soooo leisurely, doesn't it?  Oh yes, I was just lounging on the couch, playing with photoshop on my project, while taking in a baseball game.  

Pffft.  

What you don't know about is me doing this for 6 hours ... halfway through, my wife rolling her eyes at me while mumbling something about me liking baseball cards a little *too* much (as if that were possible) and going upstairs to bed.  

So like a mad scientist fueled by caffeine, I kept at it.  When I liked the results, I emailed them to myself, ran upstairs and went into production mode.  This was grueling, but apparently I'm a glutton for punishment.  

At about 2:30 or so last night, it was born:


It's aliiiiive!!!! BWAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!!  This is inspired by an uber-rare basketball insert "Big men on Court."  I rebuilt the whole thing like always.  I changed it up to "Big Men on the Field", played with the colors, texturing and used a pretty slick 3d type material.  You can't see it too well in the picture, but it came out pretty dang cool.  

EDIT:  I did a "base" die cut version of this because I wanted the colors of the artwork to "pop" more.  I am in love with it:  



This morning, I woke up and didn't want the party to end, so I whipped up another one.  This is a bit more of a "quickie" as it definitely needs more love to be perfected, but I like it too.

It is a Jambalaya - which is a 3d type die-cut basketball insert which I love as well.  


Again, a few things are different, namely the naming and logo that are see through for the 3d to pop out, as well as the gold holographic ring around the card.  

EDIT:  I tried a version with a black ring around it: 



I find that no matter what I do, whenever I'm done, I'm always like ... meh...these could be so much better.  I wish I could just be happy with them...and I am, to an extent.  Either way, I'm glad to have been able to experiment with different materials and techniques to come up with some cool stuff to show for it in my personal collection.  These are my first die-cuts, so hopefully they will only get better from here on out!

By the way, Happy Easter everyone ... HE IS RISEN!  :)  

Friday, April 18, 2014

EPIC MAIL DAY!!!

Yesterday was busy.  Very busy.  On top of it all, we got ready for my son's friend to come over for a sleepover.  I call him Ci-Ci's because, my wife is a health nut and is okay with going to Ci-Ci's pizza whenever his friend comes over.  My, how I love me some Ci-Ci's Pizza!

If you do not go any further in this posting, allow me to impart some life altering knowledge to you:  The next time you are at your nearest cardboard pizza buffet, ask them to make you cheesy bread.  NOT the stuff they already have on the buffet line.  "CHEESY BREAD".  

I have never tried crack before, but I'd imagine it probably gives you a similar feeling.  Yeah, it is that good.  The pizza they have there ... meh.  The cheesy bread = WINNING.  Here, they don't make it unless you ask them.  So go...run like the wind, and get some!  (after you read and reply to my posting, that is.)  I think they used it in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I believe they called it Turkish Delight.  

ANYWAY ... back to my EPIC MAIL DAY!!!

My son and I walked out to the mailbox, and saw this ....



My hands are trembling at this point.  Could it be????


PAUSE...WAIT.  STOP riiiight there.  let me explain something first.  

Remember this?  My 25 cent garage sale special hat that was (little league) game used?


 Remember that I used that hat to make this?



And this ?


Well, I've been itching to find a way to get my hands on real game used stuff.  You know ... Canseco GOLD.  

Well, here it is.

BAM!


Canseco game used and autographed swag ... cut up!




Even some bat "donor" cards ... oh, and don't forget a piece of game used Canseco hat band ... sweat stain and all (yeahhhh!!!)


So, how do I explain to my son that it is never okay to scream like a little girl when you have just done so?  

So anyway, that made my day.  All this was sent my way, by the one and only RAZOR Z.  He is the dude that has the Jose Canseco "Perfection Collection" at www.CansecoKing.com and has been featured in Beckett.  You all really should check out his stuff ... it is amazing.  No, amazing isn't even the word.  He could literally fill a museum of Canseco stuff.  

With all this newly acquired Canseco swag, I'm going to have a blast making some authentic game used relic/patch cards for my own personal collection.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roberto Clemente

One of my next projects might be a nice run of Roberto Clemente cards.  As you know, Clemente passed away quite a while ago.  You also probably know that he was one heck of a baseball player.

Did you know though, that he hit number 3,000 for his career in the last regular game he ever played?  Yup, he had exactly 3,000 hits.  I think that is just so amazing.  It kind of makes me bummed out thinking about Gehrig, and how he was only 7 shy of 500 homers.  Clemente getting 3,000 smack dab on the button?  Awesome!

It is late, so without further ado .... 1978 and 1980 Topps Roberto Clemente.  Oh, if these cards truly existed ... well, I mean, before tonight :)

Note the facsimile autograph on the '80 Topps just like the rest of the set had.

I custom did texturing on the backs like I do all my vintage customs, to give them that old timey look.


Some of the vintage backs of Topps cards have comics on the back.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Season Long Flip Quest, starting with an 89 UD Yasiel Puig Rookie?!? - Join in!

So, last year about this time, I did a flip to go from a 1989 Fleer baseball card set all the way up to a 1999 Topps Traded Josh Hamilton rookie autograph. It took 5 weeks! You do read ALL my threads, right? Well, if not, here is a refresher: My Quest for 1999 Topps Traded Josh Hamilton Auto -

Cliff's notes: It was a blast, and it took about 5 weeks. Plus, I got some cool extras!

I remember having so much fun with it, but I've been busy with making custom cards. Plus, I don't really want to spend all this time buying/selling/trading to get something insane for my PC. I don't ever keep anything that is worth hundreds of dollars in my PC.

On top of that, I've been uninspired as to what to start with. A red paper clip? Been done. Fleer set? Yeah, last year.

I GOT IT!!!! What about a BOX full of stars/rookies/inserts? That'd be cool!

Ehhh, no it wouldn't.

So then, a light bulb went on ....What if I started with a custom? People seem to like them, and I've been itching to do this:

a 1989 Upper Deck Star Rookie of Yasiel Puig!


It just looks like he was supposed to be in the set. So, there it is. There is my starting point! The back of the card looks just like an '89 UD rookie ... the twist is that I will make one with your own custom writing. We can say something about you, your kid, etc.

So the end result? Well, I don't have one. I've already accomplished going from a $5-10 set to a $250 card. Instead, I want to see how much and how big I can get by the end of the regular season. I think this can be mega fun.

I'm gonna set my sights high, and see if I can end up getting a house or yacht or something, when all is said and done. Or maybe at least a nice small collection of PC stuff. I'll record every transaction right here.

So, who wants a this little Puiggie? Shoot me a trade offer!

NOTE:  Just to make sure I am not going beyond any legal lines here, the above picture is my card.  I'll custom make one for you that is similar, with a custom back as well to suit your personal collection.


Hyun-Jin Ryu and Juan Lagares and Jonny Venters, oh my!

As *always* ... and I mean that, folks ... *always* ... these took longer than anticipated, and left a huge pile of material waste in their creative wake, but I think it was worth it.  Just thought I'd snap a few pics of the latest creations:

Jonny Venters - Five Star and Donruss rated rookie with a twist ...

A nice superfractor of Juan Lagares

Base, cracked ice and super of Hyun-Jin Ryu

That is all for the moment.  I've been sinking in WAY too much time on customs.  It is time to get back to work ... working on Jose Canseco customs!  Seriously though, I'm in the middle of creating a more difficult card for my pc.  Once that is finished, I'll show it :)  I'm kind of pumped about it!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Customs - Atomic, Cracked and Canary Goodness

So, the last few days have been very, very exhausting and frustrating.  I have been trying out many different methods to get the desired look *just right* for my newest customs.

Before I go any further, I'm going to remind you who is writing this.  Me.  The crazy dude who collects that one dude who had a ball hit off his head and go into the stands for a homer.  The guy who put the spotlight on the whole steroids thang, and hurt the generation of ballplayers I grew up watching of going into the hall of fame.  Well hey, they were the ones that took it, so maybe they hurt themselves, but I digress.

The one and only, Jose Canseco ... or as my friends as a child would call him, Jose Can-strike-out.  (Still stings!)  I had hesitated about making a blog posting on this, and just waiting until I get some Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig, Frank Thomas or Ken Griffey Jr.

I PROMISE that day will come - I'm gonna push out some frickin' cool stuff of the big boys, but right now, I'm still testing things and cranking it out for my personal collection.

Earlier today, I came downstairs for lunch with my family.  I just remembered my team, the A's were on - so I fired up the project, ran to the laptop and watched from the kitchen.

This isn't THE game I was watching tv, but it shows the projector ....


My wife balked at the idea of us swiveling our 50's style diner bench and have us all sit on one side so we can better view the game from the kitchen (What!?!  It meshes the classic eat meals at the table as a family, and now generation's addiction to watching tv while eating - best of both worlds!).  So I watched with my head cranked left until I finished, then I went into the living room.

As I was watching, I had a good...no...GREAT idea.  What the heck is better than watching baseball?  Watching baseball while opening baseball cards!  Now, if only I knew where to get some boxes to open.


Oh yeah ... I bought over 600 of 'em a few months ago!  I still have over 350 left, so what the heck ... let's grab some...

I decided on a few chrome blasters.


Hmmmm... that doesn't quite show how big this projector is throwing the image.  Let's try this again ...


Meh, I tried.  It is a good 142 inches or something like that on my wall . Great picture ... not bad for an $800 projector that uses a pringles can as a speaker!



(Not joking, folks - my son and dad made one, and we use it ... yeah, I'm that cheap ... errr. ... frugal ... errr ... fiscally responsible.)

I decided to call my family in to have a little pack wars action.  Well, something like pack wars.  No matter who wins, the cards are mine, mine, mine ... ALL MINE!!!  BWAHAHAHAHAAH!

I distributed the packs evenly, and we came up with some cool stuff!  Nothing too crazy....


Then I got to thinking how cool would it be if I opened these cards, and found some Canseco?


Of course, that didn't happen, but it really put more fire under me to finish a few projects I've been working on.  I've been to stores, searched online, tried tons ... TONS of techniques, and I finally got it!

I've done color refractors, base cards, superfractors and now ...

Ladies and gentlemen ... the atomic refractor


and the blue cracked ice version!


And last but not least, the canary refractor!



I'm very happy with how these came out.  It all stemmed from my canary idea, because I thought Canseco's gold jersey would go awesome with the canary.  

I didn't stop there though ... I did a few different Expos cards, just to show you I'm not just an A's Canseco fan!  

Here is a blue/purple/red bordered refractor (I called this a multifractor in a previous post ... I think I may change the name to a berryfractor though).  

Behold ... the berryfractor!


And the cracked ice berryfractor!


Finally, the multi berry canary cracked iced frac....ehhh ... you get the idea ....


To show you how much of a cheapskate ... NO ... financially responsible person I am .... remember these? 


My babies ... the three 1 of 1 red ink mini autographed Cansecos (Canseco himself autographed AND personalized them "1 of 1" for me a few months back).  

Well, I absolutely love the magnetic one touch holders ... but I only have a few, so for staging purposes, I took my 1 of 1's out to show my Expos Cansecos in one pic.  Here you go: 


So yeah, that is my story, and I'm sticking to it.  I had a blast with these, and with showing them on the blog as well.  My head is bursting with ideas for my next project(s)!  Thanks for sticking around to read this whole thing.  'Til next time, Seacrest OUT!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Custom Card with some Easter Eggs!

Easter is around the corner, and I thought it would be appropriate to toss some easter eggs into my most recent PC item:  A 2013 Topps Jose Canseco (duh!) - autograph prototype  1/1 SSP.  :)

This one was a doozie, as I was practicing all kinds of different methods, papers, techniques, etc.  I have finally risen from the card stock, cutters and recovered from the adhesive vapors to tell the story.

One of my first customs was a 2013 Jose Canseco A's card.  Just a plain, base white card.  I enjoyed it, but wanted to do refractors and a super.  Which I did.  I'm sure you've seen them on my Jose Canseco post on my blog before from a few weeks back.

Well, I was testing a few things - my prototype autographing capabilities and my 1/1 capabilities.

It did not come easy.

ALLL SCRAP.  I'm fairly sure my tears and hair are hidden underneath.


This, however, made up for it ....


Yes, my friends - this was parked in front of my house a few days ago.  Some dude came over to buy some old xboxes.  He went the whole 9 yards - he even had flairs in the back, and a digital screen up front talking about Jurassic Park!


I rarely think it is ok to use this word, but I'm going to ... AMAZEBALLS.

Okay, so back to the story...

I kept printing and cutting and testing, etc.  I finally came up with one.  YESSSS!!!!  2 AM last night!!!!


#VICTORY

I know, it isn't like those special supers, booklets or color refractors I have been doing, but the autograph looks spot on.  And then ... turn it over!!

1/1 .... YESSSSSSSS ... wait ... what's this?  

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!


Whatever.  Words can't describe.  Anyway ...  at 2:30am, it just .... oh well.

So, I ended up trying a few other things when I woke up.  One of which that I went to bed thinking about (and doing a few tests).  I have done Canseco with the A's over and over again.  Why not another team?

Well, aside from the fact that I can never find any good high quality pictures, the A's are my favorite team, so I just stick with the A's.

Until now.

Ladies and gentlemen ... Canseco on the Expos!


I've shown it before, but it is now an appropriate time in our story where I show this again ....



Bah, what the heck ...



After a run to the paperstock store, I came back and hammered this out:


Can you find the Easter Eggs?

I'll give you a hint.

My son is a huge ... and I mean HUGE Star Wars fan.

See anything now?  Look again ....




Here, let me help you.  Upper left: here is Anakin chillin' like a dark side villain, watching Canseco batting.  I blurred him out, 2010 Topps SSP Abe Lincoln style.


See anything else?

You don't?

What about master Obi Wan?


He is looking at you from the dug out.

Finally, one more.  Did you catch the storm trooper?


You probably didn't see him because he didn't make the cut.  In my son's words "there is no such thing as too much Star Wars", but I beg to differ, so the Braves fan stayed in place.  

Here is the back of the card:  


If you can't read it, it says in big bold letters:  "Congratulations!  You haev received a card that has been personally autographed by Jose Canseco"  ... and then in smaller, lighter print ...

"'s #1 fan!  Well, his printer anyway.  This is truly 1 in a million.  The other 999,999 went in the trash after Tanner pulled his hair out trying to get this to work." 

I admit ... the autograph looks eerily authentic... which is why again, I put "Certified Autograph Prototype" on the front.
As I said before, this isn't the most high quality of creations I've done - heck ... for all intents and purposes, it is a mock of a 2013 Topps base autograph card with a low-res picture to boot.  I think it was all worth it though.  I now have a cool new PC card with some fun goodies and stories to go along with it.  No one else on the intarwebs may understand my sense of humor, but hey, it gives me something to do and yak about.