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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #10--E is for . . . (Updated)

In my attempt to get my post online in time, I left out some of the specifics regarding the envelopes. I decided to update the posting so people could understand the process.

The picture above shows the reverse of the envelope (or the face of the envelope if you are sending it out without the glassine cover). The top envelope is still awaiting its liner. The bottom envelope shows the liner. The liners are made up of pages that have product descriptions only (or pages that could not be used for envelopes).

As mentioned yesterday, many times I will place the envelope in glassine covers so I can send them out without ruining the image with an address label. I simply tape shut the envelope, throw an address label on the front of the envelope, place a stamp on it and send it out.

When I send the envelope without a cover, I simply tape shut the envelope on the flap side, throw an address label and stamp on the flap side (if you are using standard size envelopes you can use a regular priced stamp since no special handling is needed). By utilizing the flap side (the reverse), the main image is unaffected. Many times, I will send out my bills with these types of envelopes.

When I use a glassine cover, I include a blank address envelope so recipients can determine if they want to use the envelope for their personal use (I also include instructions).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #10--E is for . . .

Another letter challenge. This challenge was dedicated to the letter E. So E is for...envelopes. I have done this project before and I decided to revisit it as I need to use my stash of recovered Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs.

Someone posted on Craigslist that they were selling old A&F catalogs. After failing to find a buyer, the owner offered them to a good home as long as they would be recycled, reused or repurposed. I convinced the owner that I would put them to good use.

These are business sized envelopes. I am constantly amazed at the images used in these catalogs. These envelopes have been very popular with my friends. I usually send them in glassine outer envelopes so the recipient can reuse the actual envelope.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #9--Dragon Eggs

For this challenge we were asked to do something "faux." I took the challenge on a different direction. Rather than create something that looked like something else (faux painting, faux metalwork, etc). I decided to go with something that is truly fake--in other words, something that doesn't exist (well at least MAYBE doesn't exist).

I decided to make dragon eggs (a la Game of Thrones Dragon Eggs).

I took some leftover goose eggs that I have been hoarding for Easter Eggs and covered them with decoupage paper (which is a very thin glassine type paper). I used techniques similar to washi eggs but instead, I simply cut the fringe as it was attached to the egg. I will provide a tutorial when time allows. I went with wild prints to add to the fantasy of Dragon Eggs.

I wonder what type of dragons will hatch from these beauties.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #8--Mallory the Mallard

For this Challenge, we were asked to make something for the home. I decided to do a two-for-one for this challenge. My bathroom has a small window and ledge that I wanted to change out. There used to me a solid wood cabinet that would block the sun that would would shine through the frosted glass window. I purchased some wire shelves from the Container Store and placed them on the ledge. I also went to the dollar store to buy some containers to line the shelves.

The second feature of this challenge was Mallory the Mallard. She was a wooden fake decoy that someone had given to me previously as a gag gift at Christmas. She was a little worn out so I decided to re-paint her. I covered her with acrylic paint and freshened her up using Sharpie Paint Pens.

As you can see, I got a little sloppy with the white paint pen (or the pens leak--you choose) but I am very happy with the way she turned out. I still might go back and distress her a little bit but she is content guarding my bathroom supplies.
Mallory the Mallard (side view)

Mallory the Mallard (top view)

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.