Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New linoprints on fabric

A couple of days ago I've carved those lino plates for upcoming stationery projects – floral, but arranged as lined ornaments. I'm now working on covers for small notebooks for my animals' serie. 

These fabric pieces are printed in two ways – as positive and negative prints – accidentally discovered by a mistake of a colour. I've made some paper prints as well – to use the leftovers of paint and got some pleasing results. That means I'll maybe come up with some other ideas for those prints soon. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

About responsible gift wrap making - with STAMPS

Hey there! This morning I've written a lot, waiting for brioche to get ready to bake, written a whole lot of eco-responsible-&-fun-&-money saving-&-oh-so-repurposable gift wrapping. Here's a project how to make it, consume less ready made's, make less leftovers, or at least upcycle them more easily. So go grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable to read it – there's A LOT of interesting ideas and cute projects.

First - I cannot help but somehow feeling guilty each time I have to buy the gift wrapping – all those fancy printed rolls, that produce leftovers and paper waste as soon as a gift is opened. The gift wrapping paper is forgotten right at the moment of pulling and pealing off. Well, it has been bought for a couple of euros, maybe not so fancy, for a bargain price, maybe taken free of charge at a gift wrapping service in many of department stores – so why bother, the value is insignificant, why bother trying to re-purpose it later. Especially during the Christmas. Well, yes, I try to collect and later re-use them in my paper projects. But how to reconcile the wish of making a beautiful gift wrap and not producing more waste as necessary? So I've been thinking. About lots of demands that a gift wrapping has to meet (in my opinion).

To begin – I wanted to take slow the wrapping preparation. And by taking slow I mean not going and grabbing like five paper rolls at the nearest grocery store. I mean taking blank paper or brown craft paper and STAMPING IT. So I thought of gift wrapping STAMPS. Try it, it's fun – first. Second – you stamp only as much as you need for a gift. Third – make it with your children, let them play and create their own surface designs - double fun. So stamps have to be easy-to-combine and easy-to-fill-a-surface. If you stamp on cream or white paper/cards, your children can colour and personalize easily each card at their liking with colouring pencils for example, or watercolours (especially while making invitations).

To continue – by making it slow and putting some more effort, it all gains more value, so you wouldn't be throwing it all away easily. And here's the next point that I find useful – offering possibilities for RE-PURPOSING afterwards. Re-purposing is much more easy with simple design - to colour them with colouring pencils, to cut them and make a simple and cute memory game, to cut and make some collages with children afterwards (and colour them). So the paper has to render possible all those cover versions – being simple yet cute, and stimulating some creative activity.

Next - to stick to it even more – speaking of CARDS, GIFT TAGS etc.
You know, I buy LOTS of fancy greeting cards, I'm collecting publicity cards or event announcement cards, I find them in thrift stores, museums and galleries, and art faires – there're SO MANY cute cards out there nowdays. Do you think I'm using them later? Nope... And for greeting card accompanying a gift package it's also very tempting to take a wrapping paper and card in the same design.

So why not make THE WHOLE LINE yourselves – all you need are squared scraps of cardboard, or blank cards, some pieces of soft paper, like from a sketchbook, and some embellishments, that you can make yourselves (see explication part). Make GIFT TAGS as well – it fun, and give more value to your package, gift tags are always a nice complement on any package. Stamp them all, so you have it all in the same line, made with your hands, upvalueing your gift, it's all unique, so someone who gets a package would be touched as well.

To stop here (keep in mind there are no limits for developing new ideas with stamping) - LAST (not least) - when making LOTS of cards – INVITATIONS and alike. Stamping technique is something that can be really useful for those projects – you make many of them, can vary the design and they all work together nevertheless. You can stamp the envelope as well. 

You can make the THANK-YOU TAGS to accompany the little gifts that your guests would become at the end of the party to take them home en souvenirs.

Practical part - today I'm gonna show you how to make use of those stamps that I've carved yesterday. I do already have lots of stamps, bought on different occasions, but they all failed - too detailed, too fine-lined, too different in size, too small, too event-related (like all reindeers and snow, or birthday cakes with candles, or babies etc.) 

So I designed and carved some myself - more outlined, neutral, even-sized, rounded in shape for easy-surface-making, not obstrusive, simple, and applicable for quite lot of occasions in terms of events, usability, upcycling. 

Well, they are a bit childish, since lot of stuff that I make is inspired by children, and made for children, especially this animal serie, that I'm creating for new borns/kids/parents.

You may need 
  1. BROWN CRAFT PAPER. Or any other paper with interesting structure – take banana paper (take it for smaller gift, because it's very interesting and beautiful, but may be pricey for big packages, and not so sturdy as craft paper).
  3. CARDS. Optionally envelopes. All blank/brown craft/plain coloured/recycled cardboard.
  4. STRIPES of paper (brown craft, or bold colours) to write the messages: „It's a girl“, „Save the date“, „Congratulations“, „Thank you“, „You're the best“, etc. I found it useful not to write them directly on cards, so that you do not risk ruining your freshly stamped cards.
  5. Anything else you may want to try - just get started and you'll wonder about all the creative ideas that will come along!

STAMP a cut piece of brown craft paper - those stamps are very easy to handle. They have an advantage of having all approximately the same shape, so space filling is easy. Make it spaced as I did, or more dense, if you have a small package, or a gift bag. Anyway stamping with those stamps is easy and quite fast.

For CARDS I've used some leftovers, only cutting them in rectangular shape. Here a light olive green leftover from Bazzil cardstock.

For CARDS STAMPING – I've first stamped all my designs for cards on some light-weighted soft paper. I find it a bit difficult and unreliable stamping directly onto cardboard – not so absorbant, not soft, printing may not have the results you expect, the layout may not satisfy you. Advantage of taking smaller pieces of soft light paper is that you are less inhibited to try new combinations, not ruining your cards and you can cut and re-ajust them at your liking.

For EMBELLISHMENTS – I've cut stripes of 1,5-2 cm wide (¾ inch), wrote my messages with ink and let it all dry.

For GIFT TAGS – mines are 5,5 x 9 cm (2 x 3,5 inches). First make rectangles, then cut off the angles and made decorative circles with punch (I've first punched larger circles with my punch from scrapbooking tools, then punched the smaller ones with punching tool (used in scrapbooking for eyelets) and glued.

Now assemble it all together - wrap your package, attach the gift tag on a thread. Glue the stamped part onto cardboard (I've taken the double adhesive tape), put the message. WE'RE DONE! Your package is now something special and valuable.

Price - 28 euro. You get 5 linocut stamps, and some blanc gift tags.

This set of stamps's gonna be cut of classic brown lino plates. The set includes 5 stamps, to use for your personal projects – gift wrapping, cards, tags, paper bags, envelopes, simple memory cards, stamping on fabric (little tote bags). 

Let me know if you're interested TO ORDER THEM (leave a comment or find my email in the right side bar or in "SHOP"-section.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lino carving - animal stamps

Today it's a new set of animal stamps that I've been carving from lino leftovers this afternoon. Here's the first test print, now I need to refine a couple of lines here and there. Do you want to know what I'm gonna use them for? For a couple of cute lil'things for lil'ones, but not only.

Tomorrow I'll make a post about how to make a couple of fun projects with those stamps, and they're gonna be on sale soon as a set of stamps. Stay tuned.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Trust in your dreams - new serie of pencil cases

I've spent last couple of days working on finishing a couple of pieces that got stuck in processing in last weeks.

I've begun them quite fast, working based on a simple sketch and all they need was stitching and finishing. But as it happens quite sometimes, and that time as well, something was missing. So I've started searching and trying. In the meantime I've been continuing my animals-for-new-borns serie, lino carving for upcoming stationery projects and those pieces were sort of a bit laid back. 

Wednesday I've forced myself not to work on anything easy going and worked that way two days long, without blogging about the steps in-between. Blogging can sometimes have quite pleasing photo results and it sort of turns me off from the real piece and slows down the work. And it came - the solution for cushion covers with printed background and hungarian-inspired applique motifs (to be posted next), the solution of graffity-like journaling for pencil cases (here) and also to enhance the floral printed and appliqued pouch covers with geometrical shapes and lace fragments (almost finished, to be posted next). 

After the surface is "completed" I can go into finishing without having that very uncomfortable feeling, that the front side is somehow still raw, half-made and yes, simply missing something. The feeling that I missed exploiting the potential and left it a few steps before the finish line. I've already gone through a couple of projects that were finished despite of that bug - not a good idea, so now I prefer to stick and not give up till the Eureka!-moment comes. 

Now they're done, it all feels right and I'm happy to move over/or back to my animals' serie and to lino prints.

Some technical details on this new serie TRUST IN YOUR DREAMS - these are zipped pencil cases, richly patchworked on the front side with hand printed fabric pieces, with some journaling and monoprinting as well. The applique motifs of flowers, other shapes and lettering is free motion stitched or made with fabric paint. The cases are padded and fully lined with some pink mixed (linen, cotton, viscose) fabric. They measure appr.  23 x 12 cm each. 

One of them is reserved. If you are interested to have one, let me know, I'm gonna list them on Etsy next week, they are 35 euro each.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tutorial "Children make art" - Present for the teacher

Need an idea what to offer to your children's teacher to complete any other present and bring some personal touch (I mean something relevant to her to thank her/him, something handmade with children and memorize some class/children related moments? 

Today I'm gonna show you how to make a fun cute present for a school teacher with some scraps, paint and a couple of children works. Starting point was that the children write their names themselves (we're speaking here about children of 3-4 years old), make a little fun drawing and tell me about "I love my teacher because....". So please ask their parents to bring all the works drawn/written/answered and noted by adults, get a cheap deco canvas and find a couple of calm hours for work.

Here's what I had got this morning. Examine them to decide how to work your background to hold it all together. All the works were different, so it may take time to find some neutral solution for what to put to your canvas.

Take your canvas - here's mine - 50 x 50 cm.

After you got some basic idea what colours your might need for background, grab some decorative papers, other scraps and some assorted fabrics. I've chosen a neutral yellowy shade of Eierlik├Âr to mix as paint, and taken some orange-rose-greeny-browny low key papers.  Many of children drawings were very subtle, so my background couldn't be louder than that.

Don't have the temptation of taking some very textured papers like corrugated cardboards - reserve it for later. I knew I might have not that much space left, after all the children works are fixed, so I decided to only use some plane materials first. 

Start tearing some scraps and fix them with gesso onto the canvas. Work fast. Don't think much. Leave space inbetween, we do not need the entire surface covered with paper - only some bites here and there to get started quickly and warm up.

Mix some paint - mine was shade of Eierlik├Âr -  white, a bit of yellow and a drop of burnt sienna. I worked with a brush and covered the most of surface with irregular strokes. Don't forget the side boards.

Here's a detail photo. Let it dry - in the meantime we're gonna prepare all the other elements.

One more time going through this pile of drawings and figuring out how to bring them all together - quite a difficult and challenging part - not without some fear about miscutting and ruining something. 

But I had no choice - the final work had to be small (50 x 50 cm) and compact, and saturated, so all the white blanc spaces had to leave/cut off.

Journaling - initially I wanted only to take the answer about "I love my teacher because...." noted by the parents and simply gesso them inbetween. 

But the space was limited - first. Second - I needed some sort of repetitive element to hold the whole piece together. So I took silk paper and hand wrote each answer onto little scrap. 

Silk paper has the advantage of becoming transparent after gesso is dried. So I can work compact, overlap some pieces of drawings and create some binding between all the different elements that I had.

Now the final step - the most intimidating and "how the heck can I ever put it all together in a pleasing and funny way"-part of the whole project. 

Arrange everything on your dried collaged and painted canvas. It may take time, you may need to cut and re-ajust some drawn elements. Each child has to have his corner and they have to somehow all work together - challenging and time consuming, if your working space is limited. 

I've then pinned some elements here and there, before I started to put gesso to fix them.  Some drawings parts were overlapped or got under the silk paper journaling, but do not care, they're gonna shimmer through once gesso is dried. We're done. Let it stay over night and maybe add some tiny little things here and there the next morning. Some parts may need a bit more outlining or some embellishments. You need to step back for some time and take a fresh look at it later. Congrats! I hope your children's teacher will appreciate it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

New cushions /pillow cases for children

The cushions, I've talked about recently, are ready - cute deco objects for children's room, and completing the mobile, that has inspired me to continue exploring this animals' concept for another pieces. So maybe I'm gonna make some other items in the same line - like soft books of anything else - I'll keep you posted. Now my priority is in fact to finish all the pieces, that have been shown here lately, but still remain in "in process"-mode. I hope this week I can post more about finished products, and start re-filling my Etsy-shop.

These ones are basically made of heavy linen and what is known as coarse silk - actually pretty heavy fabric with distinctive, a bit irregular texture, yet nicely smooth and fluent, and with subtle satiny gloss - one of my new favourites. The backsides are all heavy linen. No buttons, or other ribbons attached there, because of safety issues for little babies. The front side is as usual - variety of fabrics, linen, cottons, a couple of scraps of mixed fabrics. All free motion machine stitched in sort of messy way, as if I would doodle my animals by means of stitching - pretty similar to how I sketch initially the basic idea on a piece of paper with a pencil.

Size is about 28 x 38 cm. I'm gonna upload them on Etsy soon, but if you're interested to buy, let me know. These ones are already "almost gone", the next ones're gonna be pretty the same, and then I might vary a little bit the colours.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Recently made - newly photo shot

Now I'm working almost as effective as before the computer break. All my old tools and devices are back, so I'm posting today the new photos of the pieces that you've already seen in last days, only that they are better adjusted in colour and light. I've deleted all the temporary previous muddy and dark photos and replaced them.
I've also added some new ones, speaking of fun new deco projects for little kids - cushion covers with animals' design, to complete the mobile/wall hanging, that I've presented at the beginning of the week.

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