Saturday, September 22, 2012

I came, I saw, I pieced a kite quilt

I've made many patchwork baby blankets (or- what I call- quilt cheating). I've always wanted to actually quilt (what I think most people call "piecing") but I've never taken a class and didn't really know where to start.

Then I saw this quilt and fell in love.

So, I faked it:

I sketched out my own pattern/pieces and made the kites/diamonds much larger than the original (as I'm a fan of instant gratification and larger pieces meant less measuring, cutting, ironing, pinning and sewing...)

I'm not 100% sure that I actually did "piecing" correctly, but- if not- I'm pretty sure I faked the hell out of it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My thought for today: Do what you love.

At the risk of being a complete cliche, I have decided to write a chick lit romance novel. That's right. I'm doing that thing which will likely make me ridiculous in the eyes of everyone who doesn't actually matter. Honestly though, peeps, I can't seem to bring myself to feel to embarrassed about it because I'm having too much fun. I've added a page to this blog entitled, "Writing Projects."

Maybe I've crossed over that youthful line into adult-ville, where things like modesty and fear of being  stereotyped don't really seem to matter.

I love being a mom and I love my kids. I love the work that I do. I have a great husband (and I love him). I love to knit. I love to carve stamps/blocks. I love to sew. I love red wine. I love laughing with my friends. I love to write. And, I love a good romance.

While you're doing what you love, make sure you give the two hand, two finger salute to anyone who tries to make you feel bad for who you are or what your passions are. If those people mattered, they'd support you and love you regardless and they definitely wouldn't want you to feel ridiculous.

Just, do what you love.

Own. It.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stamp Carving Roundup: Part 1 Assembling Materials

If you are looking for a comprehensive resource/ post on this topic which gives you complete information, alternatives, and comparisons then go here:

If you are looking for a "this is what I do/what a reccommend for beginners" then this post is for you.
Part 1 will cover assembling your materials
Part 2 will cover designing your image and transfering it to your carving material
Part 3 will cover carving your design
Part 4 will cover stamping your image

1. What you need to get started
  a. Pencil
  b. Tracing paper
  c. Carving tool
  d. Carving material
  e. Self healing mat
  d. Paper/fabric
  e. Ink
  f. A piece of wood (optional)
  g. Stamp adhesive (optional)

2. Where to get it/ what I reccommend/ why I reccommend it: You can buy a kit here from Amazon if you want to minimize your expenses but it doesn't contain everything I recommend. What I recommend is as follows:
  a. Pencil- I prefer a graphite pencil as it will leave a darker image than a #2 when you transfer to or draw on your carving material. You can get this at any art or craft supply store; I bought this kit (Prismacolor Scholar Graphite Drawing Pencils) from Dick Blicks- once I realized the #2 wasn't ideal- in order to try out different pencils.
  b. Tracing paper- you can get this at any art or craft supply store; I use this one (Strathmore 300 Series Tracing Paper Pad) and bought it at Joann's.
  c. Carving tool- you can get this at any art or craft supply store; I use this one (Speedball Lino Set No. 2) and bought it from Dick Blick.
  d. Carving material- I use this one (Speedball Speedy Carve Blocks) and buy it from Dick Blick.
  e. Self healing mat- I use this one (Fiskars 8-Inch by 8-Inch Self Healing Rotating Cutting Mat) and bought it from Joann's
  d. Paper/fabric- use whatever floats your boat! I find that, for fabric, cotton and linen work best and white or natural color fabric makes for a more vibrant image.
  e. Ink- you can buy ink pads that work on paper at any craft store; I have several and prefer none. For fabric I use VersaCraft and buy it from Amazon (best price I've found although you can sometimes find it in an etsy destash sale). I like VersaCraft because it is easy to use, readily available, and heat sets quickly. There are other options out there which will give you more consistent results but- in my experience- are expensive, messy, and require several days to set. Please let me know in comments if you know of any other viable alternatives.
  f. A piece of wood or acrylic block- the wood needs to be at least as large as your stamp. I have scrap wood a friend cut for me specifically for my stamping. If you aren't going to mount your stamp (and there are pros/cons to mounting) then you could use a book instead of wood.
  g. Stamp adhesive- only if you are going to mount the stamp.

Again, the link I included at the beginning of this post is a great resource but- that stated- when I first started to carve stamps I felt a little overwhelmed by all the information provided on the web and felt like- as a beginner- I had too many options (types of carving materials, types of carving tools, types of transfer methods).

Next up (in October):
Part 2- Designing your image and transfering it to your carving material

Friday, September 7, 2012

They're bigger on the inside...

I seem to have a collection of friends who enjoy Dr. Who. I really enjoy the show although I haven't been watching recently. AnyWho, I wanted to make something Tardis related for all my Who friends (WHO also happen to all knit or crochet).

 Here is the finished notions/ needle/ hook case.

IMG_1334 by zilamonster 
The Tardis stamp was fairly straight forward. I used speedy carve and my speed ball carving set (both can be purchased online at Amazon or Dick Blicks)

I did a few test prints on cotton paper to make sure the stamp had sufficiently clean lines. The great thing about stamps (well, one of the great things) is how mufti-purpose they are. I feel completely justified in making Tardis Festivus cards this year.

I also printed the bottom blue band with 'Bigger on the Inside'. The ink I use is VersaCraft for fabric. You can pick it up on esty or on Amazon.

The only regret I have is that I only made three. Next time I need to remember to make one for myself.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bias Shirt Smock- Tutorial

Find the tutorial here. It's in PDF.

Feel free to post any finished objects (or even WIPs) to the flickr group here

Background: When I went to SAW this last year (I feel like a lot of my posts start out this way...) I used/wore a smock during my classes; I made the smock last year and briefly blogged about it here. I have found the smock to be incredibly useful and wear it when ever I'm crafting (especially with the kids, the pockets are like having another two pairs of hands).

Original smock, still in heavy use
Anyway, the lovely ladies at SAW gave me many compliments and asked if I had a tutorial for it. I spent most of this summer promising myself I would complete a tutorial by Labor Day. So, with 28 minutes to spare, I did! Last night at 11:32pm EST I sent the finished tutorial to the lovely MB who agreed to review it for me.

Back of the green smock, front of the purple smock.

My fabulous drawing of said smock. I'm sure will be worth millions (of pesos) one day
Thoughts on writing the tutorial: Writing my first tutorial was really difficult. I kept thinking "what would I want to know?" and tried to use that as a guide. However, I usually want to know too much too quickly. Therefore, I split it up into 3 sections: 1) overview/materials/supplies, 2) quick and dirty diagrams, 3) detail instructions.

Where possible I also tried to include both drawings and pictures of what was happening (example below, how to make a bias fabric trapezoid).
Hoping this doesn't look like a diagram of a football play
Basically, this is a real image of the drawing  above.
The two key things in this pattern/tutorial are using bias fabric and choosing a shirt you like but which also fits easily over your chest and shoulders without too much trouble. As you can see below, the shirt I used to make the latest smock has plenty of room around my rib cage.

Using a large shirt is preferable, just as long as it's not falling off...
I purposefully made this smock rather plain; rickrack can be your friend. 
 Also, something I don't go over in the tutorial is embellishment. I'm excited to see what people do with this simple design to make it their own.
The pocket fabric is one of Anna Maria Horner's; I have a girl crush on her, it's true.
I hope not only that you all make it but actually enjoy making it. Please let me know if you encounter any issues; I'd like to improve my tutorial writing abilities so don't hesitate to let me know if parts are unclear/need additional info.

Happy smocking! and special thanks to Maya for her encouragement.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Smock tutorial update and spoiler alert...

So, I finished another of my bias smocks. However, this time I took plenty of pictures and have drafted a tutorial! I have sent it off to my volunteer reader; once she confirms there are no obvious errors I will post the tutorial for general consumption... I just hope someone consumes it.

In the meantime- another TA DA!

Husband making me laugh at the silliness of my smock photoshoot.
Tutorials are hard work! Although, admittedly, I may have been overly comprehensive...