Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #7--D is for Decoupage (Eggs)

Decoupage Eggs (Washi Eggs)
I really struggled for this challenge in that I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. I thought about dinosaurs. I thought about dragons. I thought about doing another cut out but this season of Iron Craft, I wanted to start doing other projects without falling back to cut outs.

I was walking through the local craft store and I saw some decoupage sheets and Mod Podge so I decided to do something with decoupage. Since it was Easter, I decided to revisit these washi eggs. I have chronicled my attempts at washi eggs here, and here, and here.

I finally listened to my own advice and only used Japanese Washi Paper. Rather than use Mod Podge, I decided to use traditional bookbinder's paste. This paste dries clear and does not leave a gloss coat to the paper.

The first egg was a real duck egg that was blown out. Duck eggs are slight larger than chicken eggs. They are little more pointed at the top than goose eggs.
Real Duck Egg
The second egg was a real goose egg that was blown out. Goose eggs are a 1.5 times larger than duck eggs and almost 2 times larger than chicken eggs.

Real Goose Egg
The third egg was a paper mache egg that I had left over from a previous project. They claim that it is a goose egg but in reality it is between the size of a goose and ostrich egg.

Paper Mache Egg

I am getting closer to standardizing the process so I will be able to adapt to the size of the egg. I am getting fewer wrinkles and less bulk at the ends of each egg. Maybe by next Easter, I will have conquered the process.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #6--Noon Rise/Noon Set

Front Cover

For this Iron Craft Challenge, I decided to create a coloring book for myself from start to finish. I have always enjoyed coloring and find the zen like feeling of doodling and coloring very satisfying. I don't think that I have ever created a book for myself from start to finish. I have used some of my own books after they were completed but never truly designed a book for my personal pleasure.

This is a mandala style design. The front and back covers are different because the book can be viewed two different ways. With the orange side facing up, it depicts the rising of the sun (i.e, Noon Rise). The first page indicates moonlight, the second page indicates the sun rising to midday, and the last page indicates the sun at high noon.

With the blue side facing up, the book represents the setting of the sun (i.e, Noon Set). The first page indicates the sun at high noon, the second page represents the sun beginning to set, and the third page represents the setting of the sun into moonlight.


Rising/Setting Sun

High Noon

Back Cover

Noon Rise
Noon Set

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Final Coloring Book

I have been spending a lot time finalizing the details of my handmade coloring book as I prepare to start selling them on Etsy. I have made several adjustments after sending them to people to use. The biggest dilemma I was facing was how to close the book. I finally decided to use an elastic band similar to a moleskin. I also thought about using a ribbon to tie it closed but decided against the ribbon due to the fraying over time. These are books that I want to last a long time.

The title page can be left blank (in case someone wants to send it as a gift and/or write something). The colophon will be a paper label that is glued in place. I also tested some different papers in hopes that I would find something that would withstand dry and wet media. I also wanted a paper that would be wide enough so I could use one continuous sheet rather than having to glue several sheets together to get the book length that I wanted. I decided upon a Fabriano 200g paper.

Other than the title page, there will be some options so people can personalize the coloring book design. Namely, if there will be coloring lines or not. In order to illustrate, I decided to color and test my own book.

Coloring Lines or Not

Also illustrated here are the results of an unlined coloring book and using markers.

Crayon Illustrated Pages (using Crayola 96 count crayons)

 (left side--without coloring lines; right side-- with coloring lines)

Watercolor Illustrated Pages (using Caran d'Ache Classic Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels--15 count)

(left side--with coloring lines; right side--without coloring lines)

Colored Pencil Illustrated Pages (using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils--24 count)

(left side--with coloring lines; right side--without coloring lines)

I don't know if the paper has enough tooth to use pastels (of which I am not a fan) but with fixative I am sure that it would probably be OK. Also, I did not test it using acrylic or oils. Maybe that will be a later test.

Now the only decision I have to make is how much to charge for each book.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #5--Tie Dye Magic

The theme of this challenge was GREEN--either the color or green crafting--in order to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the US. I chose the green crafting route--in other words: recycle, repurpose or reuse.

I wear T-shirts and I have a lot of them. I have a collection of graphic tees. I also wear colored tees. I practically live in basic white tees: crew necks, V necks and tanks. Since I am so hot natured, I love wearing tees because I can layer them in the winter or cooler months. In summer, I simply wear them as an outer shirt. The problem is that I sweat in them and they get stained; this coupled with the fact that I hate throwing out perfectly good tees that are simply discolored means that I have A LOT of tees.

So for this project, I decided to tie dye some of my tees that were a little less pristine.

I used some tie dye pigments that were left over from a previous project that I will share later--tie dye Easter Eggs. I used the Tulip One Step Tie Dye kit which makes the process a lot easier.

Shirt #1
Shirt #2
Shirt #3

I have always been a fan of tie dye and I am really happy with the way these turned out. What I am not happy with is the quality of the pictures and how bloated I look but I will work on those problems in the future.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #4--Flower Power Adult Coloring Book

Flower Power (pages 1 & 2)
For Iron Craft Challenge #4 we were asked to dream about Spring and remove ourselves from the Winter Doldrums. I have been working on large scale doodles each month and this month, I decided to combine my doodles with the Iron Craft Challenge.

I am calling these the Adult Coloring Book series because grownups are finding their coloring mojo again and the market is inundated with this style of coloring book. The premise is that the pictures should be more challenging (in design) to color. Many of these books are pattern/design books that replicate classic motifs (e.g., William Morris or Tiffany Stained Glass).

I am calling this book--Flower Power. It is a throwback to the Flower Power movement of the 60s and 70s.
Flower Power (pages 3 & 4)
Flower Power (pages 5 & 6)
Flower Power (pages 7 & 8)
Flower Power (pages 9 & 10)
These will be recreated by hand for those who purchase them and will be hand bound in solid covers. The pages can either come with coloring guidelines (like those shown above) or blank (as shown below). The structure is a bound accordion book. The overall dimensions are 50" (width) by 7" (height). That's right--that is over 4 feet of coloring. If you want to view the video, click here (open a YouTube video).

For the adventurous
(without coloring guidelines)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Almost Back

By the time that you read this I will have completed a one week stay in Los Angeles and will be returning back from Tokyo. It will have been a whirlwind of travel and while blogging has been on the wane, crafting hasn't been. I am still trying to catch up on some of the monthly projects and prepare for the Iron Craft Challenge that is due after my return.

Best Wishes and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #3--Encaustic Collage

The Key to My Broken Heart
For our third challenge, we were asked to do "Something New." I was vacillating between several ideas until I read this post from Susi where she decides to revisit unfinished projects in her studio. Rather than come up with a new project, I decided to check my myriad of materials in my studio to see what new projects that I had already purchases materials but had never attempted.

I realized that I had all of the materials to complete a project that I had always wanted--an encaustic collage. The only appliance that I didn't have was a wax warming plate so I decided to use my electric skillet in order to melt and keep my wax at a constant temperature.

The board is a two inch thick 10 inch by 10 inch Encaustic Board. The background paper is a vintage Valentine paper. The hearts are cutouts there were left over from a previous project. The key is from my key stash. The wax was colored with oil paint sticks there were buffed out after being fused to the piece.

Bottom Detail
Top Detail
For my first attempt, I am very pleased with the way that it turned out.