Fix the Pig: Second Day

I didn’t say the days were going to be consecutive, did I? No.

So back to the pig. Previously on Argh:

My pal Krissie has the ugliest suitcase on the planet, a dingy pink monstrosity she affectionately calls the Pig. We’ve travelled all over the world with the Pig, and while you’d think its ugliness would become more endearing, it remains the Embarrassment on the Baggage Carousel. Then I painted silver stars on my luggage and Krissie said, “Fix the Pig.” Except we were never together long enough for me to do it, so when she left this time, I handed her my silver star suitcase and said, “Leave the Pig. I can’t stand it anymore, I’m fixing it.”

So the Stars went to Vermont and the Pig stayed home.

In retrospect, I was too harsh. The Pig is not the ugliest suitcase on the planet, but as Opus would say, “Lord, it’s not good.” So fast forward five weeks and I’m still staring at the Pig. It’s sitting in my sunroom, and it’s sneering at me, and I am still fresh out of ideas beyond “make it a pig.” So I decide the hell with it, just DO it, which is always what happens when I’m stumped on a book, too.

I began by making a drawing to scale of the Pig as it is:


Here’s the photo of the pig for reference:


Then I pulled out the photos of real pigs that I’d decided were going to be the most help and then I began to draw. I knew I wanted to stay within the inner section and I wanted to use those pointed areas at the top for ears. After that, I had nothing. So for about an hour I drew pigs inside that rectangle, starting with ears, and no matter what I did, they looked like cows. The thing is, if you look at real pigs, they are cows: rectangles with tiny eyes, huge nostrils, and pointy ears. So I broke away from the pictures of the real pigs and went to a rounder head, and I finally had something that looked like a pig. Wasn’t very exciting though. Then my eye fell on the gift bag I’d bought for Callie’s birthday present (yes, Callie is about to become one year old) and on this bag was a Famous Logo that Krissie loves, and I thought, There it is, and I drew this:


If Krissie approves, that’s going on the Pig. I’d say “Stay tuned for Day Three,” but I’m swamped here and I have until the end of July when I have to take the Pig back to Krissie, so I’ll just say, “And at a later date, I’ll be painting the Pig.”

You know, this blog is just nothing but cutting edge class.

Third Pig Post

70 thoughts on “Fix the Pig: Second Day

  1. What do you mean, Callie is almost a year old?! Holy cow–er, pig! How time has flown! I think the pig should have wings, speaking of things that fly. Because, you know, it’s a suitcase and it flies around the country and pigs may fly before you get it done! *grin* And I just like the whole flying pig thing. And yes, I love The Pig–very cute! Krissie is going to love it. But wings–it would be perfect with wings!

  2. Wings are an excellent idea. Wings could go round the side and back. Silver wings. Perfect.

  3. I feel sure that the suitcase will be a work of art when finished! And probably so valuable that it will get stolen, or at least pignapped and held to ransom, the very first time it appears in public in its new persona.

    But I have to protest about Jenny’s pig/cow comparison. Cows have beautiful, large, dark and soulful eyes and mobile, rounded ears. And nature also gives them graceful, shapely horns, though evil humans now remove those, spoiling the beauty and symmetry of their heads. So not at all like pigs — though pigs are charming in their own way, of course.

    We all look forward with bated breath to seeing pictures of the completed Pig.

    1. I have to agree. There is a reason that cows were equated with female beauty. Not only in ancient Egypt but also “Cow-eyed Athena” of Rome. Pigs, tho smart animals and very cute as babies, just aren’t pretty adults. I will also say that, despite fluffy pictures in kids’ books, real live sheep are ugly as sin.

      1. “real live sheep are ugly as sin.” And as a former sheep farm owner I must say that they are also as dumb as a box of rocks. We did, however, have a Pot Bellied pig, and she was very intelligent. When she moved onto our farm she was so fat her belly dragged the ground. Once we realized that she was content to remain in her stall we left the door open for her during the day. We also put her on a diet. The only time she ever left her stall was the day she waddled down the barn aisle, ate half a 50 pound bag of Soybean meal, and returned to her “room”. Cleaning up after her the rest of the week involved picking up scat that looked like compressed rolls of sawdust. She was eventually traded for a pygmy goat, who was very smart. The goat became the herd-leader for the sheep, and kept them out of trouble.

  4. You really think this adorable suitcase (after you fixed it of course) won’t get picked immediately from the baggage carousel?? Not necessarily by Krissie though.

    I’d agree in a minute to have my Pig fixed this way, in spite of the obvious danger of loosing it on the next flight 😉

  5. I LOVE the pig! Makes me wish I had an ugly pink suitcase instead of the Big Blue Monster. Hmm… inspiration is striking… Did you figure out what you’re going to use – paint, felt, colored hot glue? I can’t wait to see her when she’s done.

  6. Oh yes, the pig must have wings! And then if she likes she can come and visit us in Cincinnati, and we’ll introduce her to all of her winged piggy cousins.

  7. Doesn’t one little “hoof” need to be up so she’s doing the classic Hello Piggy greeting and welcoming of luck?

    1. I’m not a Hello Kitty expert, so I just mimicked the pose on Callie’s birthday bag. I thought this was the official pose. Sigh. Must go Google.

  8. I googled for Hello Kitty (that’ll make your eyes bleed) and realized that the bow is really the classic accessory here. There doesn’t seem to be a classic arm position, though, so I’m sticking with this one. I tried changing the flowers in her hands to a pen and papers, but I think that may be too detailed. Just because Krissie’s a writer doesn’t mean her pig is.

    Oh, and you’re right about cow eyes being huge and beautiful. My mistake. Sorry!

    1. No, no, no, this pig is just adorable as it is, and what’s more, I really think you could start a luggage chain with her. Esp. if you change the Hello Piggy to something even further from The Logo to something like, Hello, Piggy-ma-dear! Or something. Just you and Krissie (and a 100,000 hits to this website) will know the *real* connection, LOL!

      And if we *all* cute up our luggage, then there will not be problems with luggage stealing, because it won’t be so rare — but the wonderfulness quotient of the world will rise, overall.

      1. P.S. You could sooooo sell this in Japan. Young Japanese travellers would go nuts over pig suitcases. (And on the non-serious side, if you could get a hook up with Louis Vuitton doing Pink LV pigs . . . I can see no limit with the Japanese market!)

  9. This will be the envy of all other travelers, no doubt. Doesn’t she need some Ice, though?

  10. Love the Pig. You know, you could start an entire new career for yourself — or for a future character. Suitcase art. I can see the gallery showing. All of the pieces would be really easy to transport, too. Next them inside each other and roll ’em on in.

    1. I really think two suitcases are the extent of my Luggage Period. Although Lani has a green suitcase she would like updated, and she seems fond of the Pig.

  11. Hmm, I also think this could be a great item for you to donate to next year’s Brenda Novak auction. “Suitcase custom-painted by Jenny Crusie.” Heck, you don’t even have to promise them a new suitcase. Grab one from the Salvation Army and have at it!

  12. Does a pig fly?


    This one surely will!

    Tempus does Fidgit if Ms Callie is near a year old.

    Bet she is still cute as a bug.

  13. LOL, Slave Driver!

    Jenny, the design for the case is awesome and will make quite the statement when Krissie travels. You’re a goddess. Truly.

  14. Of course, you could go with a theme here–make Krissie’s Pig into Miss Piggy (with wings of course!) and then that would leave the obvious choice for Lani’s to become our most favorite green friend, Kermit the Frog… And the person with the blue suitcase? Why, it could only be Cookie Monster! Wouldn’t that just be the funniest thing–all these people at the next RWA with their Sesame Street/Muppet character suitcases?!! LOL! Everyone would think we were in our second childhood or something! What a hoot! I have dibs on Animal–he always made me laugh! Hahaha!!!

  15. I wish I could draw. Sigh.

    Love the Pig. Maybe you could do Lani’s suitcase up like an Easter egg. Then, when you’re all traveling together, you could point to them and say, “Look! Green egg and ham!”

  16. It’s a most wonderful gift to look at a suitcase, and see a pig in it (-:. My youngest can see that kind of stuff, so maybe I should let her have a go at my suitcase (-:.

    Will you please post technical details (kind of paint, how many coats, that sort of thing) after you are done?

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (-:.

    1. Sure. I’m still expecting this to be a disaster since painting on a suitcase is sort of putting a layer of plastic over a layer of plastic, so I’m cogitating on how to do this. I know Sharpie will work, but I need large areas of white here. The only white I know that doesn’t come off of ANYTHING is white-out. So I’ll take a hundred bottles of white-out . . .

      1. Hey there =) I don’t know if this will help you at all but I use to sell painted celtic cloaks and we experimented with all sorts of different methods. The one that worked best was or at least that was my favorite as it was both dry-cleanable or machinewashable aka could spot clean with soap and water without worrying about the color running was Jacquard Permanent paint…they have various colors for different fabrics. I usually went through Dharmatrading co as they have good prices and a good rep. Here’s the url if any of you are interested. I love the pic of the pig and the idea!! As for the blue suitcase…if not cookie monster there’s always Grover!!!

  17. Jenny- you can get white “sharpie” type markers at an Army/Navy store. The sailors had to use white to mark their dark uniforms. I work with our high school choir and one mom brought one of those markers in for the tux jackets. They worked swell! Though we did not send the jackets on a plane.

  18. That pig is aDORable. I third (or fourth?) the notion that you could make good money doing luggage art as a sideline. Or maybe one of the cherries will take it up with your good examples to start them out.

    I for one have a beautiful green and silver bag that doesn’t need gussying up, but it took me 3 years to find it. The criteria were larger than carry on, no/few useless compartments, wheels with long enough handle, and “not black, not dark brown, not red” color. I was glad to find one for $250 and I’ve never seen another like it. I love it every time I use it. (Seriously, 4 criteria, 3 years. The only other was a burnt orange one, somewhat cello shaped, but it had dumb pockets.)

    For someone else like me who wants a useful suitcase they can find on the carousel without cringing at the awfulness, they’d be willing to pay real money.

    Of course, I’d only encourage you in this sideline if it helped you recharge your writing batteries.

  19. I would highly recommend wandering around your local craft store, checking things out. They have some crazy-useful stuff in the Jo-Ann’s down here that I never would have thought of as existing. I always have to take in just as much cash as I will need and leave my credit cards at home so that I don’t splurge.

    On top of that, someone who works there might have some ideas of what to use as “paint” or how to get it to stay on. I’ve had bad experiences with Sharpies wearing off of plastic-type surfaces, and white out will get gray scratches and chip as it’s bonked around. (I learned this from painting my nails with it in high school chemistry class…)

    Good luck with it all! I love how creative you are with this. 😀 It makes me want to figure out some way to dress up my plum colored baggage…

  20. I think the Sharpie is my first move still. The only other white I can think of is that spray stuff that’s made for plastic, but I sprayed it on some plastic lawn chairs at the beginning of the summer last year, and they’re still tacky. So I am very hesitant to use that.

    Of course,we are talking about the Pig. It’s in such bad shape now that even flaking white-out would be an improvement.

    1. Actually, pigs are kinda dirty, and the general shabbiness and color of the suitcase is what really says “Pigglyness”. How about stitching some felt ears on to the zipper so that they poke out of the sides, and put some googly eyes, or paint eyes (only 2 bottles of white out, maybe?) and then find some pink felt that might be cut out to size and sewn on through the front of the suitcase.
      Would that work?

  21. Hi Jenny, this is an OT post, but I wanted to let you know that I found some really great dolls that just look like something you’d stick in one of your collages. It’s a tattooed man-doll by Mimi Kirchner. They are very piratey, and rascally looking. You’ve given out so many great links, just wanted to return the favor. I was following a link to Salley Mavor (and Mimi blogged about her) so when I went to check out Mimi’s work on etsy, I came across the tattooed guys.

    Keep up the great work on the pig. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  22. If it turns out even half as good as the sketch, the case could be pignappled.

    I love it.

  23. Felt would last about thirty seconds in an airplane cargo hold. Anything that sticks out will get ripped off. So I’m pretty much doomed to Sharpies and maybe paint.

    I got the back sketched on. I think I should have made the ears thicker.

    1. Aaarrrr! You’re right! Of course it would get ripped off! How about white Dr. Martin’s bleed proof white?

      Would that work? It says paper only, but it might stick to leather. We used to use it to cover up black india ink errors on our artwork. Covereage is smooth, not globby like white out, but very opaque.

  24. Jenny. This is outside the topic but thought you might be interested. This week’s New Yorker (June 8), p. 106 has an article by Louis Menand subtitled “Should creative writing be taught” . So far my favorite quote is “The workshop is a process, an unscripted performance space, a regime for forcing people to do two things that are fundamentally contrary to human nature: actually write stuff (as opposed to planning to write stuff very, very soon), and then sit there while strangers tear it apart.”

  25. Real idea for white paint: We found some white spray paint for appliances – frig, stove, dishwasher, etc. (Probably not the hot part of the stove). We used it on dings in the frig. It worked. This stuff was a higher quality than lawn furniture spray paint and should adhere to plastic. Don’t know about flexing, since one rarely flexes a frig.

  26. Jenny, I’m wondering if white tool dip would work. It’s that stuff you dip the tool handles in to make a comfy grip. You’d need to be able to clean the suitcase surface with alcohol to remove any lingering grease or oil, but the ‘paint’ should hunker down into the fabric enough to hold. It’s definitely flexible when dry.

  27. Sorry! Forgot to name the beast; Plasti Dip. They have versions you can use for costumes and props, etc., so I would think the Pig would qualify.

  28. Okay, I just wended my way through, and must now thank Jenny.

    If it weren’t for Fix the Pig, I would not have resourced fixing those rusting ends on my dishwasher rack, replacing the non-skid backing on my favorite entry rugs, coating the rust prone little pieces on the dog glide, and making ALL my clothes hangers non-slip.

    Happy Day!

  29. (-: I wish I could get my hands on some multi-colored Plastidip. That sounds like just the ticket!

    I had two ideas — one would be trying a q-tip with some bleach, and seeing if you got white (or if it simply turned some nasty color). The other was, I wondered if shoe whiting (like you use to polish white patent leather) might work. Hmmm.

    I have a computer case that I need to spiffy up. Since it won’t be going anywhere near the American Baggage Handlers’ Union (and their airline gorillas), I was thinking about using Japanese fabrics, and modge-podging them onto the Genuine Fake Leather case. Kind of like a crazy quilt, but without the sewing. (-: If I decide to try the shoe-whiting on it, I’ll let you know how it works (if I did, it would be kind of like a primer, I was thinking).

    Very much looking forward to the Finished Pig. (My kids squealed over the pre-lims, and now they want to do their own bags, LOL!)

    1. Lani wants a frog when she comes to stay at the end of the month, and she’s pretty sure her two girls will want different ones, too, so this may become a recurring feature for awhile. I told her we’d tell the kids to go for it: Hello, Armadillo; Hello, Platypus, Hello, Killer Rabbit . . .

  30. Micki; They have a Create Your Color kit that comes with tints you mix yourself. Ace Hardware is supposed to carry it. I don’t think you can use it on vinyl, but the same company has products for vinyl, too. They have a great website for info.

  31. Marta’s suggestion of cleaning down the surface with alcohol or some other solvent is probably essential, but I think there is a fundamental problem with applying any pigment to large areas; namely, the fact that the surface will undoubtedly flex all the time, because it’s a soft suitcase. Even if a large area of white (or any other colour) adheres well, it is still likely to crack unless it has exactly the same degree of plasticity as the case itself. I had originally envisaged a hard suitcase, which would still have been subject to knocks and scratches, of course, but would not bend. Or at least, not much.
    Maybe you will have to go for a simple line-drawing without any blocked-in colour, which will greatly reduce the amount of paint that will develop cracks and fissures.

  32. Plasti Dip! Great idea! I think I got mine at Home Depot and they had 6 colors (white black red blue green yellow) in tall narrow cans so you could just dip metal tool handles into it. I used it to coat hardware cloth to make a silverware try (why the sell silverware in sets of 5 and sell most silverware trays with 4 front compartments I’ll never know). I anyway, I cut all my pieces, dipped all the long narrow pieces in red, painted it on the wide base (or dragged it thru a tray maybe, it’s been a while) then assembled and touched up any dinged up looking connections. It’s 10 years old now. It doesn’t flex much but it’s still in good shape after years of silverware abrasion.

    And my repaired wrench handle is still sound. I’ve been looking for a good excuse to use it again. Maybe luggage painting will be it. I still have a useful black bag that could use some distinction. I would encourage anyone who thinks it would be fun or useful to go for it.

    Jenny, please do share if you make Hello Armadillo or Hello Killer Rabbit 🙂

  33. Plasti Dip definitely flexes; they use it to cover foam for wheelchair pads, safety equipment, costumes, etc.

    I’ll be Plasti-Dipping myself if this poison ivy doesn’t clear up soon. Of course, I just found out the main side effects of the rash and itch relief ointment I’ve been putting on it are rash and itch. The mind boggles . . .

  34. (-: Will look into it. Maybe my mom can send me some, Marta.

    LOL! Hello, Killer Rabbit! Why does this remind me of cross-stitched wolves with tons of sharp pointy teeth?

    Now I want a Little Red Riding Hood bag with the famous Thurber moral that goes something like: Little Girls are Not as Easy to Fool as They Used to Be. I was thinking Red with a large Pistol, but I’m thinking I don’t really have to go that far. Especially since I don’t want any trouble with the TSA.

    I bet my friend could really use a Gwen Goodnight bag, with wolves chasing an errant husband who doesn’t listen up a tree.

    Oh, BTW, Marta again: Mother Earth News’ latest issue recommends washing with dish soap after you come in. They swear it washes away the poison ivy oils before they have a chance to do much damage. Doesn’t do much good now, but maybe it’ll make a “next time” easier to handle.

    Gosh, I’m a flutter-bee today. Better sit down and concentrate on something.

  35. Hi Jenny,
    First time visiting your blog and I found it very entertaining. I don’t know Krissie, but if I were you, I wouldn’t wait on approval…Just go for it and totally surprise her!

    1. I hate to say this because I love all the paint suggestions I’m getting and want to try them all on something, but the acrylic primer is working. Evidently the bag has been through such hell that its waterproofing has worn thin. Four coats of primer so far–the stuff sinks right into the fabric–but I think a final coat of white acrylic should do it. Also have gone through many Sharpies. When it’s all done, I may go over the Sharpie in black paint, but I think not. It’s the Pig, not the Sistine Chapel.

  36. You know that there are several companies that make “Paint Pens”. I’d try that instead of the sharpie, since you keep using them up.

  37. Flowers in either piggy fist should really be sparklers. Krissie’s a real firecracker.

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