Monday, January 31, 2011
The weekend was full of making more boxes to give away as members of the cast left the Broadway musical American Idiot. The actor that left on Sunday was a featured actor who did not have any program inserts. Therefore, a new style of box was necessary. The above sample uses reversible Unryu paper from Thailand. The lid of the box is debossed with a symbol from the show--a heart grenade. The interior of the box is capable of holding 4 x 6 photos or postcards. The interior is lined with black Prestige paper.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Gingham is two colors of stripes, usually the same width. One color is usually white. Think of picnic tablecloths. Below is an example of a gingham with the strips being 1/2" wide.
A plaid is usually two colors and the width of the stripes can be the same or not. Below is my example of a Buffalo plaid (think flannel shirts) using the traditional red and black. Notice that the widths of the stripes vary--the wider stripes are actually two widths of the same color. All of the stripes are 1/2" but are combined in different patterns to make them wider.
A tartan is usually more than two colors on a solid background. The widths of the stripes change. In this case, I used 1/4" and 1/2" strips in both directions to give the tartan look. Also, I used four different colors to mimic the tartan look. The base color is the dark purple.
Next week, I will discuss using patterned strips and uses for your weaved paper. Have a great weekend.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
In the United States, I was told that plaid is a pattern that uses two colors usually in consistent perpendicular patterns. Sometimes, the patterns can be different of different widths. When I think of plaid, I think of the buffalo plaid that is common in flannel. Below, is an example of a plaid.
In this case, the widths of the stripes are consistent. When the stripes are the same color and when they appear on a white base (sometimes the base will be a color other than white), I was told that this was classified as a gingham. Usually, the stripes in both directions are the same width, although the widths can be different.
(l) small weave gingham pattern.
(r) large weave gingham pattern.
Tartan, on the other hand, are more than two colored stripes that appear on a solid background. The widths of the stripes are different widths. When we think of tartan, we think of kilts. The patterns below are examples of tartans.
Tartan images courtesy of Wikipedia.com. Plaids and Gingham images courtesy of warmbiscuit.com
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
This week on Iron Craft, we were supposed to make our own coffee cozy. I don't drink coffee or tea but have randomly stopped by the overpriced coffee store that appears on every other Manhattan street corner in order to get some hot chocolate.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
There are several projects that I continually work on--some with and some without a closure date. I have been commissioned by Penguin books to create 10 cutouts that will be used to illustrate a children's story of my choosing. The collection of stories will be illustrated by 10 different artists using 10 different media. My medium will be silhouette cutouts. I have until the end of next week to decide which fairy tale that I will choose. I am leaning towards Jack and the Beanstalk. After viewing this silhouette movie by Lotte Reiniger, I also am intrigued by doing Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs.
I am also working on designing a special Broadway box for Billie Joe Armstrong when he leaves the cast of American Idiot. I hope to cover the box in green leather and feature a logo from the show.
Another project that is in its design stages is a pentagon box with lid. I want to work out the angles and master the logistics of covering the box.
Finally, I need to finish my Iron Craft project this week. This week we are supposed to make a cozy/belly band for a cup of coffee. Of course, mine will be made out of paper but figuring it out will take a little bit more time.
Monday, January 24, 2011
This year, I hope to be better organized with my materials. As I have been designing products for sale in my Etsy store, I have been deficient in labeling the materials being used. In the product descriptions on my items, I would like to be able to say the type of book cloth, or the type/weight of the paper that I am using, etc.
The problem that I have is that I get so excited about the creating, I just move forward and make things. Once I have the prototype/example, I file the details regarding the making of the item. In other words, I notate the dimensions etc. but never annotate the materials themselves.
Another problem that I have is that I have loads of materials that simply aren't marked. I have rolls of book cloth that I have no idea (1) where I bought it, (2) how much it cost, or (3) its name. I got so excited and folded hundreds of sheets of paper so I could put it in the book press but then forgot to label it so that I could remember the name/weight of the paper. I can still use the paper but I only feel comfortable selling those journals in person because I can't fill out the details in my online store.
Oh well, this is the way one learns the ins and outs of owning your own business.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Left: Japanese lift top box
Right: Japanese lift top box with inserts
On Broadway, there are several traditions that happen when one of the actors leaves the production. On the final performance, the cast usually sings the song Happy Trails before the curtain raises on the final performance of the leaving actor. Another tradition, especially if the actor is an understudying a role in the show, is to give the actor copies of the program inserts (stuffers) as a memento of their participation in the show.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I wanted to work on some bookbinding projects this past weekend. I have a supply of Khadi handmade watercolor paper that I wanted to use for a project. The paper is handmade in India and is 100% cotton rag. The size is A4 which folds in half to a size of 4" x 6". I wanted to create something simple and fast so I decided to create a hard bound pamphlet stitch book.
The book consists of two signatures of 5 sheets of paper each. I could have stitched all ten sheets together into one signature but because the paper is so thick, the swell would have caused the usable space on the page to diminish too much. Instead, I sewed two signatures onto a piece of book cloth to act as the spine. The casing-in process is the same for any hardbound book with the exception that there is no actual spine board. Instead, a gap is left between the front cover and the back cover. I glued the text block into place and then pasted down the end sheets. I used some of the marbled papers from my Rhonda Miller stash.
The end result is a small watercolor/sketch book that fits comfortably in a pocket or handbag and is ready for quick and ready use. The book cloth cover is very durable and the book lies flat for easy access while sketching, writing or painting. I hope to sell these at my store in a couple of different sizes.
Monday, January 17, 2011
My third New Year's resolution is to keep my Etsy store open and stocked. I want to average 10 items available for sale every week. Right now, I have only been using my Etsy store for custom orders and credit card payments. This year, I will change that. I guess what has been hindering me from selling on etsy is the fear of putting myself out there for every to see. People who see my products seem to like them but dealing with complete strangers buying your work online is a little bit daunting.
My fourth New Year's resolution is to keep better records for my online and greeting card business. Every year around tax time, I am stumbling alone looking for receipts, and checks, and invoices, etc. for my business. Being the procrastinator that I am, I usually start dealing with all of this in December. My resolution this year is to stay on top of it all and enter everything on a monthly basis.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I am revisiting an old feature of previous years--Paper Fridays. Today, I am featuring more of the artistry of paper marbler extraordinaire--Rhonda Miller. I have gushed in previous posts about Rhonda's papers and I recently received another batch of her papers (in all fairness to Rhonda, I purchase all of the papers that are shown here. In other words, I am not on her payroll).
Truth be told, I have to prevent myself from visiting Rhonda's etsy store because I feel that I have to leave some paper for others to buy. I will be using Rhonda's papers this weekend for some journals that boxes that I will be listing on my etsy store. I am sorry to say but I have to release Rhonda's papers to the world and hope that others will enjoy it as much as I do.
Of the papers above, the orange and purple samples are my favorites. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
This week's challenge for Iron Craft was to make a "draft dodger" or "door snake." Having been raised in Texas and having lived in Tampa, I had never heard of such a thing. Even when I went to school in Indiana, I never came across such an item.
For the uninitiated, a door snake is something that is placed in front of a window or door that blocks the cold air from entering (or the cold air from the air conditioning from escaping). I had a roommate in college that would do the same thing with his sweatpants. In our case, it was a signal for me that I would probably be sleeping in the dormitory lounge or with a friend for the evening.
After doing some research, it appears that this would be an easy project for most people. You simply take a piece of fabric 4 " tall by the size of the opening you want to cover (my door is 31" wide), and add 1.5 inches for seam allowances and turn downs. This would make my piece of fabric 4" by 32.5". Fold in half on the long side, with right sides together and sew on the three open sides leaving a seam allowance of .5" to 1". Turn out the tube through the opening so the right side of the fabric is showing. You leave a small gap in order to pour in your filling material (usually beans, rice, cat litter, etc.). Once filled, you hand stitch the opening shut, decorate the outside as you please and Voila--you have a door snake.
The only problem for me--I didn't have a piece of fabric long enough to make the project, and I didn't have anything to fill the inside with. After mentioning my New Year's Resolution, I was bound and determined to make a draft dodger out of materials I already had.
Tune in tomorrow for my solution.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
I am happy to say that I finished the coordinating journals that I talked about in this post. I am very happy with the way they turned out. Friend C was quite happy with them as well. I delivered the items on Saturday, January 8. I am starting to require more of my commission work to be paid through my Etsy store. I figure if my friends feel comfortable enough to request last minute work then they should feel comfortable helping me out my boosting my online sales. In all actuality, it lose a little bit of money by having them go through the Etsy store because I have to pay for listing feels, commissions, and credit card processing but I feel that a better online presence will help when it comes to IRS and tax time.
Here is the bride's journal. The yellow Prestige paper is brighter than probably shows here (all computer monitors are different). There is a gold metallic ink on the paper so that it shimmers when the light hits.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Recently, I have been hooked on a show called Art Race; it appears on the Ovation channel. Two artists must cross the US by only selling their art. The artists start in NYC and LA respectively and must travel to the opposite cost by selling or bartering art that they make while they are out. While the premise of the situations seemed staged, the creativity of the artists is inspiring.
Another show that I have been watching via the computer and television is Hoarders. I am afraid to say that I am addicted to the show. While the psychological trauma associated with hoarding is heartbreaking, the realization that many people can easily become hoarders is rather frightening. Every time that I watch, there is a little voice inside my head that keeps on shouting--Russ, are you really a hoarder?
I do collect stuff. Not the tschotkes that other people do. But I do collect crafts and craft materials. When I see a craft technique displayed or explained, I buy all of the materials needed to replicate it. Not only do I buy all of the materials, I buy them in all colors and sizes available. For example, I have 32 vials of ultrafine glitter in 26 different colors because I saw a glitter demonstration on the Carol Duvall show. I have every color inkpad (in two different sizes) that Stampin Up! makes. I could go on but I don't want to depress myself any further. Don't even get me started on paper and bookbinding supplies.
So, one of my New Year's resolutions is this: When starting a new project--even when dealing with a commissioned work--go through all of my supplies before purchasing any new materials. I seem to have the habit of going to the stores to get motivation and inspiration when starting a new project. Unfortunately, I also seem to be drawn to the same materials and patterns. On my last shopping trip before the new year, I went to one of my favorite paper stores and returned home with five sheets of beautiful decorative paper. When I got home to put the papers in their respective flat file drawers, I realized that I already had three of the five patterns that I had just bought. After doing an inventory of the books in my craft library, I realized that I had 7 books that were duplicates. I now carry an Excel spreadsheet on my smart phone that has all of my books listed.
I am very happy to say that I have so far kept up with this resolution. I was asked to make coordinating journals for a bride and groom. I went to my stash of papers and took samples of the papers that I wanted to use when I had the consultation with the purchaser. I am happy to report that he accepted my recommendations (from my already purchased papers).
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Here is my card for the Fourth Day of Christmas--Four Calling Birds. The card is made from chocolate brown card stock (80 lb) that is cut into a tri-fold card. The first two panels (the left and center panels) have matching ovals cut from them. The artwork is then place on the center panel and the first panel is then glued shut and enveloping the artwork.
The artwork is from a Dover Stained Glass Coloring Book. It is reduced in size and printed on vellum. It is hand tinted using colored pencils and blended using a blending stick.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
We are supposed to post our images on the Flickr account starting on Wednesday.
Monday, January 3, 2011
While I know that I haven't been blogging much since September, I have been busy with the holiday season and travel. I was also trying to recover from the latest in a string of burglaries where both of my new cameras were stolen. Santa said that I was a good boy this year so he brought me another camera for Christmas.
After reading one of the blogs that I frequent, I found this crafting challenge. A theme is announced each week and you post your response to the challenge on their Flickr account. Fifty-two projects for 2011. I figured that this could be a catalyst to keep me blogging each week. For at least one entry, I can share with you my design for the weekly challenge.
I hope that you and yours are well in this new year and hope that the holidays weren't too stressful. Here's wishing you a prosperous and crafting New Year.