Thursday, July 29, 2010

screen printing fun!

A few fun snapshots from my screen printing class this week.

Getting ready to do my first test print.

The Scouts - this is the print I am most excited about. It came out so clear!

And the Alice-themed designs.

I am so excited to turn these into something fun. I have a finished product in mind - but I'd love to hear what you would do with these!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

sweaters I've been meaning to knit

After I cast on my Owls sweater, I got to thinking about all the sweaters I meant to knit 1 or 2 or 3 years ago. Projects that have been sitting in the back of my mind for awhile now. Lets revive.

1. Brompton by Alice Bell

2. Heart Yolk Cardigan, or "Cold Hands, Warm Heart," by Kate Gagnon Osborn

Anything you've had in mind for awhile now?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's almost August - which means it's sweater time

I don't know why - but about two weeks ago I got a hankering to start a sweater...

It makes no sense. It's almost 90 degrees every day here, and yet I wanted to knit a thick, wintery sweater. Maybe I'm already dreaming of Autumn?

So yesterday I cast on Owls by Kate Davies. I have been meaning to knit this (and all of Kate's other designs) for about 83739283 years. So I finally pulled myself together and ordered some Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool. Let me tell you something about this Ecological Wool....

The skeins are huge, as you can see it displayed above next to my head for scale. I was afraid that the yarn would be really rough, but I'm happy with it. It's wool, so it's not as soft as a baby's bottom, but I don't think it will irritate my skin either. Looking at that picture with the yarn next to my face, I think I picked a pretty flattering color!

Do you have a Ravelry account? If so, here's my link to this project. Let's be Rav friends!

Friday, July 23, 2010

new skillz - screen printing!

I'm really excited, because I'm taking a new class - screen printing! I'm in the 4-week beginning class at Lillstreet Arts Center, taught by Camille Canales, who is a lot of fun.

Camille demonstrating how to put emulsion on screens

Since it's a 4-week class, it moves pretty quickly, and last night we learned out how to clean our screens, coat them with emulsion and burn our images onto our screens. It was really fun watching the images come out:

Can you see what's on mine? It's something I've been playing around with for awhile now, so I'm excited to see how it works out when printed!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Felt Boxes - A tutorial using felt & a vintage sheet

I promised you a group project, so let's get started!

Materials needed:

- one sheet of craft felt
- piece of vintage sheet about 9" by 15", or other piece of woven fabric for lining
- lightweight fusible interfacing, also 9" by 15"
- thread for sewing lining
- embroidery thread for sewing felt
- scissors
- needles for sewing by hand
- disappearing ink pen
- ruler or measuring tape

Click below for step-by-step instructions:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

new business cards!

Hey friends! I wanted to show you my new business cards that I got about a month ago.

I ordered some minicards from Moo. These are the images on the back, all photos of my work. I went with a pretty wide selection of my artistic ramblings, and I am really happy with how this side turned out.

And the text side, which I designed using Photoshop. The print quality of the text is not the best on this side, so I think in the future I would not do it this way again. But for what they are - I'm happy!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Zachary Trover - My Personal Hero

I want to tell you a story about an awesome artist. It's a little long, but bear with me. In June, I saw the work of Zachary Trover on Dude Craft.

Photo from the Too Hectic Shop

As soon as I saw the "Hectic Empire" print, I wanted it. Then it occurred to me that I had planned for my kitchen to be cowboy themed. Add the fact that Chris and I are big Star-Wars-loving nerds (I used to call my brother "rebel scum" during our childhood fights), and it put me over the edge - I ordered the print from Zachary's shop, Too Hectic.

a temporary hanging solution

Fast forward about a week and half. It had not been delivered, and I had not heard anything, so I sent Zachary an email asking if my print had been shipped. I was not worried until I got a response saying that he had shipped it the day I had placed the order, and "I could have hand delivered it to Chicago by now, so I'm a little nervous about it!"

Now, y'all should know - the Chicago postal system is terrible. I once lost a package for a good 3 months - they refused to redeliver it AND they refused to send it back to my grandma (and there was a DS game inside!) I had specifically given Zachary my address at work, which is usually more reliable than having things delivered to my apartment. So we decided to wait a little longer and see if it was delivered, and if it didn't arrive, Zachary offered to give me a refund, or to send me the very last print he had - one of his artist proofs.

my own cowboy Storm Trooper, hanging out in my kitchen

A few days later, it still hadn't arrived, and I emailed Zachary to tell him so, and he said he would send out the artist proof. And the very next day, two and half weeks after it had been shipped, the original print arrived, looking like it had been through an apocalypse. The tube was dented in two spots, but it was heavy-duty, so the print inside was unscathed. Zachary had not sent the replacement yet, so everything ended well!

I want to commend Zachary on his exemplary customer service in addition to his artistic talents. What could have been a terrible experience turned into a great one - he answered my emails at all times of the day, even at work, and offered a lot of different solutions. That, my friends, is how it should be done. If you want to order your own print, or one of his other awesome products, head to his shop here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Music of the Month :: Mumford & Sons

Ok, I'm a bit late to the party with this one. Mumford & Sons released their debut album, Sigh No More, last October on their own record label, Gentlemen of the Road. However, I did not purchase it until about two weeks ago, after I heard them on NPR, and I have not stopped listening to it since.

They are a "folk rock" band from London, although when I downloaded Sigh No More from iTunes, it told me the genre was simply "rock." Mumford & Sons has everything I love about folk music - hearty lyrics, driving banjo riffs, a great beat by talented musicians. And burly men with nice beards who wear suspenders and vests - dreamy.

Try it, I think you'll like it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

what I've been up to...

I made a little felt box, lined with a vintage sheet.

This weekend, I'll teach you to make one, too! Group project!

(tutorial is now here!)

Other than that, I've just been trying to play the accordion.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

talkin' thread

There is no topic that thrills me more than the one at hand - thread.

Ok, I kid. Sew Mama, Sew is doing a little giveaway and survey about thread, and I am excited to participate. Although thread may seem insignificant, it can add something special to any project.

On with the questions!

How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?
Occasionally I will specifically buy a spool of thread for a project, I usually just pick out colors I like. I have a lot of white thread, but I also like to pick out bright colors on a whim.

Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?

Do you ever use contrasting thread?
Yup. Especially on more "fun" projects. I also like to use contrasting thread on projects that are only one color - like using red or yellow thread on denim.

Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?
Usually. If I have a bobbin in a weird color, I will use it up on a project where the seams will not show.

What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?
I pick a color that is a happy medium between all colors.

Do you have any tips or suggestions about choosing thread?
Grey. Grey thread tends to completely disappear in a patterned fabric. When I worked in a costume shop and was sewing a lot of different period garments all the time, we used grey, brown, and other somber-colored thread the most. For my Parfait dress, I used an olive green, a color not evident in the dress at first glance, but it really disappeared once sewn.

Can you show us a picture(s) of your thread collection?
Awww, if you twist my arm....
I do actually keep my thread in this pretty green glass dish. It sits on the window sill right above my sewing machine. Bobbins are in the bottom. Not exactly the easiest way to access them, but I like it!

Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?
Oh yes, especially if it's on sale!

Do you “invest” in thread?
Not in a huge way, but I do have a constant stash.

What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)
A little bit of all types! I inherited (stole) some from my mother. I've picked up vintage wool & cotton threads, and I usually buy all-purpose. I think I have some elastic thread somewhere, but I have not yet taken the plunge of actually putting it in my machine.

I hope you've enjoyed this informative survey on thread!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

accordion dreams

Look at my new toy!

I have idly wanted an accordion for about a year now, and two weeks ago I checked to see if there were any reasonably-priced ones on Craigslist. I hit the jackpot with this beautiful teal baby! I originally offered a much lower price than the listing, so the owner did not want to sell, but then he contacted me this week and asked if I was still interested. I met him down by the lake shore and tested it out - don't worry, Mom, I took Carrie with me. It's gonna be hard to learn, but I'm excited!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

a sweet baby sweater for a sweet baby girl

My brother and sister-in-law went and had themselves a baby girl last Tuesday. So I went home to Michigan to welcome her into this world... with a sweater!

Don't worry, it's about 3 times the size of her, so she will not be able to wear it until this winter. I must say - I'm terrible with sizing for babies, so hopefully I got it right this time. The pattern is the Little Luxury Kimono, a free pattern from The yarn is Rowan's Soft Baby, which worked out perfectly. It is sooo soft.

I used i-cord for the ties instead of the recommended 53 cast-on stitches. It is absolutely as light as a cloud, and perfect for a tiny body.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Orla Kiely Love

I am mad about Orla Kiely.
I love the looks from the Spring/Summer 2010 Lookbook. The color palette is lovely, with flirty, sweet vintage-inspired dresses. Plus I am all about oxfords lately. I love the classic purse, but this one has my heart:

So when I got an email from Gilt Group with a sale on Orla Kiely notebooks, I snapped them up!
Luckily I had a $25 credit, so they were free. I must tell you - I have a serious penchant for notebooks and office supplies. The composition book is kinda skinny, but classic, and the travel journal is adorable, and includes these cute stickers:

Not quite a purse, but a little bit of Orla Kiely to call my own.