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1  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Cut paper Ketubah on: June 24, 2013 03:40:20 PM

Hi all! I'm excited to post pictures of my most ambitious craft project to date. My good friend was getting married, and she asked me if I would be willing to do a papercutting for her ketubah (a Jewish wedding contract). Of course I said yes!

We tossed around ideas for a long time, and she ultimately decided she liked the idea of a four-seasons-themed design. We settled on 24"x24" (a.k.a. HUGE) for the final size, with a 12" circle cut out of the center to accommodate the text. I got to work designing the ketubah on the computer, sending versions back and forth with my friend until it was perfect. Then I transferred the design to a giant piece of paper and I got cutting! After many, many hours, I finished cutting out the design (click on the pictures to see larger versions):


Then I needed to figure out what kind of backing to put behind the cutting, to make it stand out against the print of the text that would be behind it. My friend had been admiring some designs that had watercolor backgrounds, so I decided to take out my chalk pastels and make a watercolor-ish lining in cool colors.


Testing out how the cutting looked on top of the background:


Trimmed the background and popped in a hastily-printed-out sample of the text to make sure everything fit together:


Then I carefully rolled everything up, put it in a shipping tube, and mailed it to my friend! It was a very stressful few days, waiting for it to arrive safely. :-)

Finally, here's a picture my friend took of the ketubah in a frame with the final printing of the text!


I'm not sure how long it took me, since I cut it in bits and spurts between bouts of finishing my dissertation(!). I'm really happy with how it turned out, and my friend and her husband love it. Another good friend has already asked me to make the ketubah for her wedding next year!
2  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Feminist Rambo on: November 06, 2012 10:55:42 AM
(This isn't nearly as impressive as any of the other costumes posted here, but I figured I'd share it anyway!)

For Halloween this year, I wanted to parody the way that things for girls/women are always just the things for boys/men but in pink and "sexier." I decided to take the epitome of manliness and transform him into a feminist icon. Behold: Feminist Rambo!


I sewed a bandolier and headband out of pink camouflage fabric. But wait, what are those bullets in the bandolier?


They're OB tampons!


To accessorize my costume, I bought a toy M16 and painted it Pepto-Bismol pink, adding a black female icon to the stock. This is therefore not a great costume to wear in public (unless you want to be shot by a cop), but it was a big hit at the grad student parties I went to.

Here's a picture of all the components of the costume:


And here are a few more action shots:



Thanks for looking -- hope you found it amusing!
3  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" papercuttings on: May 18, 2012 12:57:26 PM

For my father's birthday I decided to make him a set of six small papercuttings inspired by my favorite poem, Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." I chose six lines from the poem and tried to capture them in illustrations cut into cardstock. Each one is the size of an ATC (2.5" x 3.5"). Here's the full set:


And here are close-ups of each individual one:

The first line of the poem: "Let us go then, you and I." I think this is, composition-wise, probably the dud of the set, but I'm too lazy to redo it. :-)

"Do I dare disturb the universe?" Technically that's a galaxy rather than the entire universe, but I only had 9 square inches to work with. ;-)

(Whoops, just realized I put them in the wrong order in the picture of all six! This comes before the next one instead of after.) This comes from my favorite part of the poem: "I should have been a pair of ragged claws / scuttling across the floors of silent seas." You may be able to tell it was the first one I made, because it's the most detailed. :-)

"I grow old... / I grow old..." I like this one because it alludes to a few different lines from the poem: the bottom of his trousers are rolled, he's walking on the beach, and note the half-eaten peach on the ground.

"I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each." This is another one of my favorites.

This one's a little hard to read, but if you're familiar with the poem you can probably figure out that it's the last line: "[Till] human voices wake us and we drown."

Normally when I make papercuttings, I design them on the computer; this was the first time I've sketched them out by hand and sort of improvised my way through them. I'm really pleased with how they turned out (some more than others), and I think I'm going to teach myself how to screen print so that I can make a print of them to keep for myself!
4  GLASS CRAFTS / Glass Crafts: Completed Projects / "Ferns" etched glass bowl on: May 24, 2011 04:37:42 PM
I made this bowl as a birthday gift for a friend. It was my first major etching project (I had previously used etching cream for some small dichroic glass pieces, but never for large designs and never on clear glass). I used contact paper as a stencil and cut the general outline of the fern out with an Xacto knife, then drew in some details with a fine-tip Sharpie (which acts as a resist for the etching cream, surprisingly!).

This is actually the second attempt, since I messed up the first bowl by following the etching cream's instructions to leave it on for one minute. The resulting design was so faint it was barely visible. After some trial and error I settled on 5 minutes as a good length of time for the etching cream to sit on the glass.

Click on the photos to see larger versions!






(I'm still trying to figure out how to successfully photograph transparent objects, as you can tell...)
5  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / "A Man and His Cat" on: May 24, 2011 04:19:01 PM
My parents adopted a cat a few years ago and named him Leo (after Leopold Bloom). Because my dad spent the days working from home, he quickly became Leo's primary caregiver and Favorite Person in the World. Leo will sit at my father's feet and meow until my dad makes eye contact with him, whereupon he will jump up into my father's arms and lie down across his shoulders, purring contentedly.

For my father's birthday, I made this drawing from a photo that I took of Leo wrapped around my father's shoulders while my father prepares a beef tenderloin. I love the juxtaposition of the massive amount of raw meat and the cat who couldn't be less interested and just wants to snuggle. Click the photo to see a larger version:


Done in pencil and charcoal. (I had never really used charcoal before, so this was a learning experience!) It turns out raw steaks are really hard to draw!
6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Two new papercuttings: Mothers and Winnie the Pooh on: December 04, 2010 07:54:49 AM
I made these two papercuttings recently. The first one was a gift for my mother; the quotation is from Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet." The second one was a gift for a friend who loves Winnie the Pooh; it was my first time designing the text freehand instead of using a typeface! The first is cut out of an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper and the second one is in an 8"x10" frame, to give you a sense of scale.

(Click on the images to see bigger versions)



7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Father's Day papercutting on: July 08, 2010 05:24:30 PM

I made this papercutting for my dad for Father's Day. The quote is from Moby Dick, which is one of his favorite books. Here's a picture of it framed:


(Click on the photos to see bigger versions!)
8  COOKING / Dessert / Rainbow surprise cake on: May 22, 2010 10:10:36 PM
I know, I know, so unoriginal. Rainbow cakes are totally played out. But I had to try my hand at it, especially since my partner loves bright colors (like, to an almost unhealthy extent -- I have had to make quite a few wardrobe interventions in our many years together).


I used a bundt pan, because I liked the idea of a cross-section with all the colors layered on top of one another. I'm slightly ashamed to say that I used cake mix, both because I didn't have much time and because my cake-baking skills do not yet measure up to Ms. Crocker's in the taste department.

It took a long time to layer the colors. In my head, the cross-section of the cake was going to have perfectly horizontal layers of color. So I didn't just want to just ploomf one layer of color on top of another and let it sink in unevenly. I slowly drizzled each layer, trying to keep it as spread out as possible. I also used less batter for the layers closest to the top of the cake (when unmolded) and more for the layers at the bottom, because I wanted each layer to be approximately the same thickness despite the tapering of the pan. Here's the cake, still in the pan:


I was quite surprised to see how everything swirled together in the oven -- there went my visions of a perfectly stratified cake! When it had cooled a bit and I unmolded it, I had some sticking problems. On the bright side, it gave me a preview of the inside of the cake!


I attempted to glue everything back together with some frosting. (I did make the frosting myself!) After letting it dry for a bit, I frosted the cake. I wanted the rainbow insides to be a surprise, so I chose a thematic yet non-obvious sky theme:


(Why yes, that IS an enormous can of gefilte fish in the background. Do you like my composition skills?)

When my partner cut into the cake, he was super excited to discover the rainbow hidden inside.



You can see that, as the cake baked, the layer at the bottom of the pan (now the top of the cake) cooked first and began rising up around the edges of the pan. This resulted in an arched rainbow that, while not as neat as what I had imagined, actually seems more appropriate. I think if I had used equal amounts of batter for all the colors (instead of using less red/orange and more purple/blue) then it would have looked even more like a rainbow.


The best part about the cake was how beautiful the crumbs were. In the daylight they were like little glowing jewels -- I tried to capture it on camera but couldn't come close.
9  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Art Nouveau/e.e. cummings Papercutting on: March 06, 2010 02:49:15 PM
I made this for my partner for his birthday. It took me a few days to finish, working a few hours each day. I used a piece of shimmery scrapbooking cardstock that almost had a plastic-y feel to it, which turned out to be a great material for papercutting, because it's nice and sturdy but the craft knife glides through it smoothly (unlike textured cardstock).

(Click photos for bigger images)


For a sense of scale, the frame is 11"x14", and the cutting itself is probably about 8"x10". I chose a quotation from e.e. cummings's "i carry your heart with me" poem, and decided to pair it with an (admittedly anachronistic) Art Nouveau design. I designed it on my computer using a couple of Art Nouveau fonts and one big Art Nouveau "ding" that I found at House of Lime.

Here's a picture without the glare from the flash:

I'm really happy with how it turned out, and my partner loves it!
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Rice pillow animals (and one robot) on: December 20, 2009 03:10:24 PM
My parents got me a beautiful new sewing machine as an early Chanukah/birthday gift, so I decided that as my first project I'd make some sewing-intensive holiday gifts for my friends. I settled on rice pillows (pillows filled with rice that you can microwave and use as heat packs), but I decided to make them a bit more interesting by turning them into cute animals. I bought a bunch of cotton flannel and went to work (click on the thumbnails to see larger photos):



All of the details are appliqued using a satin stitch. Doing a satin stitch around the little eyes was really difficult! Here are close-ups of the individual pillows.


Cat


Rabbit


Bear


Robot (the gauge on his belly says "E" and "F," and the "speaker" is black flannel with a grid stitched on in white thread)

Here's a picture of the back of one of the pillows. The animal "skins" are basically just an envelope into which a muslin inner pillow fits -- you take the inner pillow out and microwave it, and then put it back in the skin.



The inner pillow is filled with rice and some dried lavender buds. It's pretty floppy so that it can conform to whatever body part you want to warm up.



Finally, a picture of them all sitting up (since they're so floppy, they don't sit up too well):



All in all, I'm pleased with how well they turned out, especially since this was my first real solo sewing project (aside from hemming pants). I think the cat could have been a lot cuter -- the eyes are a little too creepily realistic, and I think they would have been better as plain circles like on the rest of the pillows. The robot was the best in concept and poorest in execution -- I don't know how the details got so crooked! I guess I was just ready to be done appliqueing. I'm 100% happy with how the rabbit and bear turned out and I think they are super-cute.
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