Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 'Tim Time'

Having been raised on a farm in a big family, I tend to lean toward creating things that 'have a use'.  It took me a long time to give in to the quilting bug, because I had trouble justifying taking those expensive pieces of fabric and cutting them into little bits that just had to be sewed back together again.  :)  And I couldn't seem to wrap my head around the fact that it then took twice as much fabric because of the waste and seams.  I think the thing that finally romanced me into trying the process, was the rotary cutting and imaginary way the designers sewed the pieces together to save time and create the patterns through logical steps.   And of course, once I started working all of those colors and patterns together into gorgeous designs, I was hooked.

Years ago I took a personality test while participating in a 2 week-long training course.  I was told that the logical side of my brain was as strong as the creative side of my brain - in other words, the instructor said, I was a flake.  I think he just meant that I was different from the 'norm', or as I like to view it - special.  :)

At any rate, I like to create things with a purpose.  Things that satisfy both the logical and the creative tendencies of my personality.  So when I saw Tim's tag challenge this month and looked through my stamps I tried to envision a unique way to use the technique to create something I could use.  And this is what I came up with - it's a little book with fabric pages to store my Sewing Essentials (just like the title says).  :)

I incorporated Tim's stamping and masking techniques on the inside covers.  You can view his tutorial here.  I made the stitching on the fabric pages a little 'rough and ragged' to give it that grunge look and stained the edges of the fabric with some Antique Linen and Tea Dye Distress stains.  I also antiqued the binder ring with some Mushroom alcohol ink to give it an aged look.

 I initially did my stamping directly on the inside of the book cover.  However, the uneven surface didn't lend itself well to the background stamping and the dark color of the cover didn't allow the stamps to show up as well.

So I cut a piece of manilla card stock to fit the book cover, stained it per Tim's instructions, stamped it, masked it, stamped the background and then rubbed the whole thing with some Vintage Photo stain while the masks were in place. 

With all of that wetting and staining and drying and rubbing, sometimes the cardstock can become quite rippled and hard to work with.  It's hard to stamp on a wavy surface.  So a while back, I took a piece of masonite and coated it with a diluted mixture of Aleene's Tack-It Over & Over glue.  I had read about this glue on the internet.  People were using it to make their Silhouette cutting mats sticky again.  I couldn't find a source locally but found it at my go-to place for hard-to-find items...Amazon.  Since I purchased it I have found all sorts of uses for it including adding it to the back of rubber stamps to make them cling to an acrylic mounting block.  For most things you will want to dilute it because it has a pretty sturdy bond if used full strength.  After I coated the masonite board and let it dry, I stuck my hand to it several times to lessen the tackiness.  Now I have a temporary mounting board that can be used again and again to hold items while I stamp and stain.  This should be used for the dry techniques only - I think if you wet the cardstock too much you probably wouldn't get it to release.  For storing the board, I just put a sheet of wax paper over it and set it alongside my desk.

For the front, I used a small crocheted doily, a Tim Holtz ornate plate and brads, a small piece of muslin that I hand lettered with the title and a little quilt batting to make it dimensional.  Before putting it all together, I 'aged' the ornate plate with some Distress Paints and the muslin with some Distress Stains.

Several pics of the inside:

It was fun to create and now I have a handy way to take my favorite sewing supplies to the ol' easy chair for a little stitchin'.  Like binding those quilts...

As always, thanks for stopping and I hope you enjoyed the visit!

Much To My Surprise!

The month is almost gone and my posts have been few and far between, I know.  The end of summer is such a busy time in the country with garden produce to harvest, outbuildings to clean, weeds to pull before they go to seed.  I love being out here and spend most of my days at home but there are always lots of things that need my attention.  Plus, I just want to be outside as much as I possibly can before winter comes and the nights grow as long as the days.  I guess you might say, I've just been busy living each day to its full potential.

So here it is the end of August and I haven't even taken the opportunity to write a post about how excited I was when the first of the month rolled around and I had my July submission to the Tim Holtz Tag challenge chosen as a winner.  Woo-hoo!!  It was a tribute to my dad which made having it chosen extra special.  You can check it out here if you haven't seen it.  Mario and Tim sent me an official Tim Holtz Apron and a set of Simple Sayings stamps as my prize.  Mario said to go right ahead and get glue and paint all over that apron, but so far I haven't had the nerve to wipe my hands on it.  :)  I will, though, and the stamps were actually on my wish list so it was great fun to receive them both.  Thanks, Tim and Mario, and to the whole team for great products and inspiration!!
As always, thanks for stopping!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Paint and Paper

I have always dabbled in all kinds of art and creativity.  But several years ago I took a watercolor class from a wonderful instructor in our local art store.  I had tried watercolor on my own but never quite got the results I was hoping for.  However, in Esther Chang's class we all became empowered to conquer the wash.  I really felt I had found my medium and loved every minute of the discovery of color and technique.

Esther moved to California last year and with that event and just general busyness and distractions, I kind of drifted away from my paints and brushes.

While shopping for groceries the other day, I came across the current issue of PaintWorks.  The cover feature was a sunflower painting by Debra Henkener done in watercolor.  Inside were step-by-step instructions for the painting process and colors used.  With my love for sunflowers, I decided this would be a great project to get me back on track and get my brushes wet again.

The instructions called for 'toning' the paper with a wash before painting the flower and leaves.  Then the background is painted in deeper tones after the flower is finished.  This process intimidates me a bit because I always feel like I am going to mess up that background and ruin the whole painting.  But one thing I have discovered with watercolor is that it is not quite as unforgiving as one might think.  You can coax and adjust even after the paint is dry.  It requires patience and a light touch, but you can add color and blend and lift till you get the results you want.  I love the look of watercolor paintings where the artist just lays the color down and  goes with whatever 'happy accident' occurs.  And I would love to be that free and uninhibited - but that is just not in my genes!  :)

It was a good project to renew my enthusiasm for the medium.  And I found if I come down to my studio first thing each morning and work at it a little bit each day, I can find the time for what I love.  That is one of the wonderful things about watercolor - you can find a stopping point and then come right back to it the next day.

Here is my finished painting:

As always, thanks for stopping!