Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #17--Felt Tip Markers

For this challenge, we where given the letter "F" as a guideline. I thought about a felting project. The catalyst for my project was my newly acquired Copic Markers sets. So I decided to play with them and decided that my F would be "felt tip markers."

I have been busily designing some new gift wrap options for my upcoming store on Spoonflower. I hope to release the designs within the next week. These are hand designed papers that you will be able to order directly from them. We hit a snag in that the matte paper they were using is being discontinued. There are some designs that I will be able to release in the interim but others will have to be placed on hold until the replacement paper is chosen.

Here is the basic Happy Birthday Wrapping Paper. The basic paper comes with the letters "pre-doodled" so all that you have to do is color in the letters and/or the background if you choose. This was done with Sharpie Markers.

Basic Happy Birthday Paper

Here is the paper colored in with Copic Markers. These markers are alcohol based markers so they blend easily together. I have chosen to leave the background blank on this sample.

Happy Birthday Reds
The second sample is a Thank You wrapping paper that has designed with a background and then reproduced. The background was done with Sharpie Markers. This is definitely fine on its own OR

Basic Thank You Paper

you can color in the words yourself. I used the Copic Markers for the words on this sample.

Thank you in Blues

I am still tweeking the designs and they will be available in my Spoonflower shop under nystarcards.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #16--Cabin Lampshade

Moose Scene

For Challenge #16, we were asked to contribute to the Minnesota State Fair. After much internal debate (not), I knew that I wanted to enter the Decorative Crafts Division--Paper Cutting competition. Somehow, my eyes immediately locked to that entry in the official rules and divisions.

The only difficulty was deciding exactly what to enter. I knew that I wanted to do something from the area but didn't quite know what to do. I was planning on doing a cut out of a grizzly bear face. My motivation came from the theater once again. One of the actors was redecorating his dressing room and he wanted a Maine Cabin decor.

I decided to contribute a lampshade to his room. This actor is in love with moose (I didn't know the plural of moose was moose--why not mooses or meese?). I started with craft paper lampshade with black trim. I knew that I wanted to do a moose silhouette that would only appear when the light was turned on. I glued the silhouette to the interior of the shade. The shade has 8" slanted sides. The top opening is 5 inches in diameter. The bottom opening is about 9" in diameter.

I then had several options--to repeat the pattern or to create different silhouettes to fill the space. I made each silhouette 6" in height so that the images wouldn't be too close to the bulb. I  treated each of the silhouettes with a heat retardant spray so there wouldn't be any problems with the heat.

I decided to do three different scenes. The shade is an Empire shape with a slip UNO fitting. This means that the light bulb holds the lampshade in place. More importantly, it allows the shade to rotate easily. I chose the three different scenes so the actor could rotate the shade as his preferences changed.

Bear Scene
Elk Scene
 I am very happy with the way this turned out. Everyone that has seen it seems to be pleased as well.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #15--Paper Suncatcher

Paper Suncatcher
The challenge for Challenge #15 was wee (as in tiny). I took a little liberty with the challenge and designed something that was small-ER than normal. The tiny/wee part comes with some of the tiny/thin cuts that were required to create this project. The overall size of the project is 5.5 inches square.

On a previous challenge, I created a Paper Stained Glass. The difference with that project that it wasn't translucent because each of the pieces where filled in with card stock. For this project, I wanted light to pass through the cutouts so that it would appear like stained glass.

The first step was to cut the piece out of black card stock to simulate the lead lines. As you can see, I always work with wide borders. Not only does this give you someplace to put your hands but it actually reduces the tension when you work on the inner-most or tiny areas. Of course, you have to work from the middle to the sides. For this project, I worked on all of the tiny little (wee) rounded triangles (you see what I did there?).
I forgot to take a photo of the pre-painted image. I then mounted the black card stock to plain white tissue. I then mounted it to another piece of tissue. So there are two layers of tissue.

Painted, untrimmed project
I realized that I really needed two layers of tissue and that I would have to work with a relatively dry brush. I used a very small liner brush dipped in undiluted liquid water colors. The only problems that I had were two areas that bled through because I didn't wipe my brush dry after changing colors. The brush was too wet.

Here is the underside (backside)
of the project. The second layer of
tissue really helped.
I then trimmed the image with a half inch border on each side. Right now, I am calling these paper suncatchers because I have placed them in an acrylic sign holder and have placed it in my office window. The below image is the project in its holder with a light behind it. I might want to turn these into lampshades.

Backlit project.

I don't know why the image seems so stretched out--maybe it is just the angle that I took the picture but the image really is 5.5 inches square.

Waiting for the sun

I am really pleased with the way that this turned out. Once I figured out the bleeding issue, I really didn't have any other problems. I worked on a light box so I could see how the colors would change once dried. I see a lot more of these in my future.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #14--More Quilt Squares (Study in Blues)

Logs (but small narrow ones)

Blue. I'm so BLUE. Not really but this challenge really challenged me. It wasn't that I had a dearth of ideas but I had so many that I couldn't decide and ended up wasting a couple of days trying to decide. The challenge became even more difficult in that I decided to continue on working on blocks for a future quilt.

These blocks were dedicated to logs (rectangles) and points (triangles). The points almost made me jump off the George Washington Bridge.

The design that I have been most enamored have been the log designs. I tried them in a larger (thicker) format but decided to try to do narrower rectangles to work on my seam allowances. With the larger rectangles, you have a lot of room for error. On narrow rectangles, much less so. The reason that I like the pattern so much is because there is less pre-measuring. You simply sew two sides to the length of the current side and then cut the opposing sides to the added length.

Although there is less blue here, I did feature the color in the design.

The second pattern featured rectangles, squares and triangles. In this example, I tried to work on the triangles meeting the points of the squares. I loved the blue against the red. As you can see, I ran out of the grey striped material and had to piece one side and it made it wonky in the process--LOL. You live and learn.

The third and fourth patterns really featured blue and POINTS. The classic star pattern proved to be most difficult and that I had to start and restart several times. As you can see, some of the points matched up better than others. I do love the two shades of blue and the pattern on pattern.

The final pattern made me dizzy in the process. I don't know the name of the pattern but I got so confused and at times couldn't remember where I was in the pattern. I think that this would be equivalent to a knitter losing count during a stitch pattern. On a larger scale, I think it would be too busy. Once again, sometimes the points met and sometimes they didn't.

One of my biggest regrets is that I don't have a washing machine. Therefore, I have to wash all of the material by hand, let it drip dry, and then sew it. The I have to repeat the process with the finished square and iron it.

So, hopefully I met the Blue Challenge even though it turned me blue in the face. When I worked with Isaac Mizrahi, he told me that he learned more about sewing from taking things apart than sewing them together. I never understood what he meant until I started these quilt blocks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #13--Halloween in July

For this challenge, we were asked to work with text. Kat said that she was letting off easy and I really needed an easy challenge for #13 because I was on vacation for most of the crafting period. When I returned, I developed an inner ear infection so it seems that I am constantly in a cave.

I was watching QVC and was noticing their Christmas in July broadcasts and I thought--why can't I have a Halloween in July crafting period. This is a two-for-one special because I felt a little guilty after cutting my first card.

Two years ago, I had a 31 Days of Halloween series and I used the ghost image for a bag topper (seen here). So, for the first card, I decided to make a card using the same image and adding the text "Boo."

Thinking that I was done, my good old Catholic guilt kicked in and I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning thinking that I had cheated. I decided to use the same text with a different image. I did a quick "bats and moon" card and then went back to sleep.

With a clear conscience, I was able to go to work--LOL.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #12--Quilt Squares

This week we were tasking with creating something of which we were a fan. Many of you know of my fascination with QUILTS. Whenever I see a quilt, I become reduced to a blithering idiot in awe. My grandmother was a quilter and she would make a quilt, by hand, for every child and then grandchild. The quilts were all greatly revered by the family and many times she would enter them in local craft fair competitions.

My grandmother never made me a quilt because there was some angst within the family that by making a quilt for an adopted child that the "natural" children would get upset. Of course, this was adult stupidity but it made its mark and I never received a quilt. When she died, much to the regret of the "natural" children's parents, my grandmother bequeathed her fabric to me.

For this challenge, I wanted to honor my grandmother with making some quilt square with some of the fabric that she left me. I have been waiting for the right project and decided that this was it. 

I started simply by just doing a four block square.

I then make smaller squares but kept it simple.

I then used the smaller squares to make a pattern.

Then I experimented with points and triangles and geometry, oh. my.

Then I tried different shapes (oops, everything just didn't quite measure up.

Finally, I decided to go back to simply shapes that I could control. I had used this pattern in paper quilting and decided to try my hand in real fabric.

I have a new found admiration for people who do quilts. Moreover, I have a greater appreciation of my grandmother and her ability to make this quilts without calculators, computers and the modern convenience of sewing machines and stitchers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #11--Paper Playbill Bouquet

For Challenge #11 we were asked to create something out of paper or in the words of our leader--find your inner Dr Russ. Oh. My. Gosh. The pressure to produce something special really hit me hard (just kidding). The only other difficulty is that we were in the middle of the theater awards season here in NYC and the show that is currently at my theater has been nominated numerous times. Three of our actors were nominated for a Tony Award (the highest honor in the on-stage professional theater profession). I wanted to do something special for them so I created these paper bouquets out of the show's Playbills (the free programs that are given to the patrons at each performance).

I folded, curled and molded several different types of flowers out of the most colorful pages and gave a bouquet to each of the nominated performers.

Paper Rosettes
Kusudama Flowers 
Curled leaves (and the underside)
 I am very happy with the way these turned out. The actors were very appreciative. I just hope that my Iron Craft crafters like them.