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11  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Lino prints are my bag baby [lots of pictures!] on: September 25, 2015 01:32:35 PM

I went to school for art, and ended up specializing in printmaking. Of all the styles and techniques I learned, I fell the hardest in love with block printing. It can be so graphic and bold which I find compelling. So over the years, since I graduated, I have dabbled with making prints out of my own home. I prefer to work with speedball brand speedy cut which is the pink stuff you've probably seen in the stores from time to time. Personally I think it is the best block type that is super easy to carve but won't crumble on you (there are other varieties of speedball lino blocks that will - beware!).

Anyway, onto the prints! I just finished a brand new one that I was planning on posting here, and then realized I never made a proper post for any of my earlier prints so here we go!

This first one is base of a photo of a cat that I found on the internet somewhere. I'm really happy with the texture I was able to achieve on the fur - texture is always an interesting challenge. Printing is rather simple as it is designed to only be printed in one color.

This next one was a bit of a challenge as I was trying to fit a lot of scene on a little card. It came out a little on the messy side, but I still like it.

Now this one, I decided to use a larger area to print, giving myself more room for detail. I am in love with this print, if I do say so myself. It is probably one of the few things I've made for myself that I have hung up. Who doesn't love an aquatic siren with a fish hat? This one was also a challenge I set for myself, as it was a three layer reductive print, meaning that I carved out the second layer (aqua - technically the white of the page acts as the first layer), printed, and then carved out the second layer (black) for the final detailed print. So now I still have the carved block, but I will never again be able to exactly recreate this print because I carved the aqua layer away.

And now I have finally finished the most recent goal I set for myself...a four layer print! The design I created ended up not being feasible for the reductive method because the colors I planned on using would mix up and get muddied if I layered them on top of each other. Because of this, I had to do....well crap I forget the term for it, but basically each layer of color had to be carved on completely separate blocks from each other. This can be very tricky for registration (good thing I don't mind offset registration too much) so you have to set up a system to make sure each block layers exactly in the same place as the others so the colors line up where they should.

Here's a picture showing my system. I made a simple printing "board" made from a cereal box. I cut two layers of a corner so I have the bottom layer to line up the blocks, and the upper layer to line up my paper so that each time I print, block and paper should be printing in the same spot. Easier said than done, but it helps a lot.

*Oh I must include a caveat - I didn't have enough of the pink speedycut on hand to do this block print with it - I had some leftover blue lino material I had from back in the days when I was in school. It's a bit more of a challenge to carve, and more so a challenge to print with because it can be rather plasticy and not want to flex and print fully onto the paper at times....but I will say, for being kind of a pain in the butt, I'm glad that it printed out fairly well with a little extra attention to applying pressure when printing, and the fact that I used most of that stuff up instead of letting it go to waste.

So with all that said and done, it still wasn't perfect. But hey, if it looked too perfect you'd know I didn't do it  Tongue Smiley And now I'm proud to present my Christmas cards for this year! (I am also proud of the fact that I actually got around to making them - usually I give up due to lack of inspiration, motivation, and/or time - go me!).

And of course progress pictures.

Layer 2 (layer 1 being the white of the card of course):

Layer 3:

And layer 4:

Not perfect by any stretch, but it screams handmade, and is unique and I love it.
12  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Remembering Lola, a shrine dedicated to our furry family on: September 24, 2015 06:43:49 PM
I made this rather traditional day of the dead style shrine for Lola, kittykill's spirited jack to honor her recent passing. I tried to include as many traditional elements to this nicho: food and drink that the beloved would enjoy, candles burned in her memory, marigolds (known as the flowers of the dead), papel picado, and the cross which is often included symbolism as Catholic elements are often intermixed. I wish I could have included more personalized elements like a tennis ball or dirt since Lola loved to chase ball and dig, but it was getting too crowded as it was. I'm happy I decided to stop when I did.

13  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Cats and Coal, my ugly christmas sweater! on: September 12, 2015 12:52:55 PM

I have wanted to make my own Ugly Christmas sweater for the longest time, but would lose motivation, energy, or just time most years. But I finally got beautiful inspiration from a huge bag of sequins that had been languishing in my stash for a year and cobbled together this creation. The figures are all felt, with embroidery, sequins, and beads for further embellishments. I also did some stenciling for the snow...it's hard to see but there's also a layer of glitter on top of those, so it's all very sparkly  Cheesy I originally intended to applique 3 HOs down each arm, but quickly realized that I cut the letters too big, so adjustments were made.

And proving to myself that it is impossible to take a decent picture showing off what I'm wearing. Oh well, you get the idea.

14  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Ugly Holiday Sweater Swap on: September 06, 2015 09:01:06 AM

This is the swap where we would make an "ugly Holiday" item of clothing for our partner. It could be the traditional sweater, or a skirt, vest, etc! I love the whole concept and who can do it better than us crafters! I figure 2 weeks for sign ups, and then a month minimum for crafting. There would be questions included in the questionnaire to include what taste level you'd prefer (PG/PG-13/R/X). Anyone up for the fun?  Grin
15  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / The Rope Rug that Wouldn't End...but finally did! on: August 11, 2015 05:04:18 PM
My boyfriend and I just bought our first house. The minute we put an offer on the house and it was accepted, I was instantly in nesting mode, combing through pinterest for all sorts of ideas for things we could do around the house, and of course things I could make to turn our new house into "our" house. One of the first projects I found was this great blog tutorial for making a rope rug. Skip forward in time to us actually moving in...our lower level is where we primarily hang out now. It's a neat space that's tiled with some windows for natural light. The only problem is that on most days the floor is freezing! This is where the rug comes in. I decided it would be the perfect thing to make.

I tried to take progress pictures as the rug grew....and kept notes on how big it got compared to how much rope I was using.

This was the very beginning, it's so cute and dainty. I only had half a bundle of rope and this is where it ended...

Adding another bundle of rope...for reference, each bundle is 100 feet. I took this picture to show off the beauty of the rope all wrapped and ready to be sewn in all it's glory. *Sidenote: wrapping up hundreds after hundreds of feet of rope is not friendly on your wrists or fingers....it is a fantastic way to use up scraps though!

This next picture is after the next bundle of rope was added? The cutting mat next to it is one of those full sized ones that is 24" long I think just for relative reference.

Here's what my set up looks like after it got too big to keep sewing on the table like one would normally do. I did my utmost to sew flat and level but my rug still got wonky and the edges kept curling up no matter what I did (more about this later).

And I think this is about when I killed my sewing machine  Cry Well not really. But I did learn that sewing too much in one sitting is a recipe for jamming up your machine (i.e. I guess the metal parts get too hot and then stick together or something? I don't know, the professionals had to fix this one for me). Live and learn (I'm guessing all you seasoned sewers out there knew this already - let's just say I've never sewn so much for so long...this project took a long time!).

Ok, got the machine back all spiffy and in good shape again. Back to sewing sewing sewing.. well only 15 minutes at a time, then letting the machine cool and take a break, etc. I was very paranoid about jamming up my machine again. $120 to get it fixed up once is more than enough, thank you!

And now it's done!

I will say that this is not how it looked fresh off the machine. After I was done with the sewing, it was kind of horribly lumpy and I was rather dispirited that I had spent all that time and energy (and money!) making a lumpy mess. But the blog advises to spritz and iron the rug if this happens...the ironing didn't do enough for me, so I literally rolled it up, and stuck it in the shower to give it a good soaking. Then I laid it as flat as I could get it on the floor (hey the carpet will dry!) and put some heavy flat things on top of it (a really cheap bookcase and the removable shelves) and after a day it's looking good!

Here's a standard fold up chair on top of it to give an idea of the size.

Now to the fun part. Numbers. I told you I kept track of how it grew...so here it is!

0.5 of a bundle of rope (approximately 50 feet).......15 inches
1.5 bundles......24.5 inches
2.5 bundles......31 inches
3.5 bundles......36.75 inches
4.5 bundles......41 inches
5.5 bundles......45 inches
6 bundles.........47.75 inches......the total size of the rug.

So to recap, this ended up being made up of approximately 600 feet of rope, making a rug 47.75 inches wide in diameter...I wish I could have kept going to make it even bigger but I seriously don't want to kill my machine again, and it is very very hard at this point to maneuver it through the machine smoothly. Still I am really happy with how it turned out and will love this rug for a long time  Cheesy

Oh also, at first I had though to do an ombre effect with the fabrics as I went and I am so so so so glad I didn't. While it would have been stunning if I could have pulled it off, it would have required so much specific colors of fabric in specific order that would have been way more effort than I would have cared to put in (beyond the effort I was already expending). Not to mention I love the bright rainbow colorful scrappy look of it. It's definitely my style  Grin

Here it is in its new home, on the tile.

16  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Wings of Freedom Ticker Tape Art Quilt on: August 11, 2015 04:37:20 AM
I made this piece for artsycandice in the 27th round of the IYP. She loves woman figures and winged things so I combined the best of both worlds. I attempted a sort of ombre effect with the background too to give it more interest  Smiley It's approximately 24 x 36 inches I think.

17  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Quarantine pens may not be escape-proof on: April 17, 2015 06:58:16 PM
Whoops! It got away! I hope you have your rabies shots!

Made for MissingWillow's sheep zombie collection. Mounted on 3 x 3 inch wood. The wee tufts of wool are actually bits of cotton ball fluff  Cheesy
18  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Doctor Who and Harry Potter Fandom scarves on: April 15, 2015 04:02:59 PM
I've been looking for new ways to use my screen printing equipment so I decided to branch out and print up some scarves! They're all a light cotton that took to printing beautifully. Unfortunately I didn't have anyone available so had to play the model myself - trying to get good pictures to show off the scarves was definitely a challenge! I hope you like them  Smiley

19  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Did you ever wonder what the Doctor's closet might look like? on: April 15, 2015 05:10:01 AM
Maybe it's something like this...

I mean, where else would he put his spare paintings and bowties and extra hand? It only makes sense.

I repurposed a simple wood box found at Michael's, giving it an uneven Tardis blue staining.

Some of the items even come out and can be used to decorate your own tiny humble abode.

Don't forget your extra screwdrivers!

Even the Doctor has boxes of what seem like random junk. Good to know he's only huma....errr...right.

Also included: a spare spare key, emergency party bananas, a copy of Summer Falls and An Angel's Kiss, *gasp* TWO Weeping Angel children (how did they get there! Don't Blink!), River Song's party heels, a tropical umbrella (you never know when you're going to need festively bright umbrella), a portrait of River Song, Vincent's hat, the Doctor's fez, an extra Christmas tree decoration, an extra psychic paper book, a copy of the Don't Blink tapes on disc, oh, and a sword. Because the Doctor might need a sword someday...for some reason...

I hope you enjoyed this delightfully voyeuristic look into the depths of the Doctor's closet. One of them at least.
20  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / Unattended cookies - a wee outdoor ATC scene on: February 20, 2015 05:25:38 PM
This one is titled "Unattended Cookies". Probably one of my better titles lately  Smiley

I am so in love with the brickwork on this - made from egg carton stuff - not actual egg cartons as I can't find them anymore nowadays but a cup holder from a fast food joint (the only reason I got a small snack was so that I could get away with asking for a cup holder without seeming too weird... Roll Eyes). Mortar is fabric paint, works like a charm!

The umbrella is of course one of those little drink umbrellas trimmed up a bit to be more size-appropriate.

Supplies: cup holder, balsa wood, fabric paint, stamp ink, moss, stamp, drink umbrella, poly clay, wire, paint, hot glue, E6000, charm, texture paste, paper towel,...
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