Friday, November 04, 2011

How's That Facebox Thing Work Again?

Really just a brief post so people won't be confronted with the "Sweet Baby Jesus!" title, and also I've (by which I mean Rob has) got my shop Facebook page set up.  And here's a lovely rhino I embroidered. He's for sale, too.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sweet Baby Jesus! Check Out The F***ing T-Shirt!

Pinned Image

See, this is the kind of thing I was talking about last night. That's the kind of copy I wish I could use on my Etsy stuff. Except, you know, I want to sell it. But it would be awesome. 

OK, here's my very slightly sought after post on the process of one of my t-shirt designs, from the original photo that served as the inspiration to the finished product. Currently I'm working on a series of very minimalist portraits of early punk musicians, primarily the ones from the New York scene in the mid-70s, though obviously Joe Strummer was British. The original one of these was a drawing I did many years ago of Jules Shear, from an article or maybe even an ad in Spin magazine. Jules isn't  particularly punk, I know, but it was a good drawing.

 I don't have any photos of the actual embroidery in progress, because frankly I don't find that particularly interesting. If you dig that sort of thing you can look for some of the billions of embroidery tutorials that are on the internet.

So here's the photo of Joe Strummer that's the basis for my design. I found it on Pinterest, and I liked the effect of the contrast between the smoke and the curls in his hair, though I knew I wouldn't have the smoke in my final design. 

I did some sketches and came up with this one that I didn't mind too much. Still liking the curls. 

I wanted to refine the design even further, to make it as minimalist as possible while still keeping it representative and fairly recognizable.  If I may be self-indulgently arty, (and I may, otherwise why have a damn blog?) currently I'm into making things as linear and gestural as possible. How little can I actually put down on paper and still retain the essence of whatever it is I'm drawing? (It's awful, isn't it? Soon I'll be going on about "mark-making". Someone please kill me if that happens.)

I decided to go with the design above, and then all I had to do was the embroidery, which is the fun and easy part. It's getting easier and faster all the time, which is good from a production standpoint, and makes it more relaxing and therapeutic from a mental health one. Lord knows I need all the help I can get.

Here's a closeup. I went with red and black, because the Clash, you know? Also I had a black t-shirt. All these designs are done in stem stitch, because it's nice and linear and lets me keep some of the sketch-like quality I want. I'm getting a lot better at it, too. I hardly ever have to rip anything out anymore, and if I do, it's usually because of a mistake in the design and not the quality of the stitches. 

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. In fact, I won't mind if nobody buys this, because I'll happily wear it myself, though seriously, check out the fucking t-shirt!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Once, I Made a Good Choice

It's always refreshing (and novel) to realize that something you did in the past turned out to be a good idea. God knows it doesn't happen very often. But I've been editing photos from a batch of embroidered t-shirts I've been working on, and I'm finding it profoundly fucking tedious. Now I'm having the chance to be very grateful that I never decided to go into graphic design, as I've considered at several points in the past, usually when I was feeling conflicted and unsure about my abilities and inspiration. I can see that I'd be driven absolutely ship rat nuts if I had to spend my life "staring every morning at a hundred nearly identical photographs of moodily lit tubes of toothpaste", to quote Douglas Adams.

I still have to spend a certain amount of time staring at nearly identical photographs of moodily lit t-shirts and pieces of jewelry, but since I'm the one taking them, there are usually only a dozen or so, and I don't have to do it every day. Then there's the copy writing, which is whole different kettle of suck, and always leaves me feeling stupid and slightly unclean, though I'm finding it's getting easier. I'm learning to set aside my dignity and self-respect and compunctions, and just write some nonsensical blather so I can post the shit. If I could get away with labeling everything "Oh just buy it already, you know it's awesome", believe me, I would. (And I'm thinking that should be my tagline when I go global. Actually, I have gone global; my first sale was to someone in France, and I also had a sale to Australia.)

The actual making of stuff is the fun part, naturally, not at all like work. Embroidering or putting together something while listening to music or audiobooks and drinking tea, and then later getting real live money for what I've made is still pretty miraculous to me. Not a lot of money, but I've sold several things this month. I really dig the series of minimalist punk portraits I've been working on lately. Who knows if anybody else will like them, but I'm enjoying doing them. Above are the Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone shirts I've got completed. I've also finished a Richard Hell one for myself, though I don't know if I'll make one of those for general consumption, I'm not sure how popular it'd be. Yeah, in comparison to the unbounded popularity of everything else I've been making. (Well, the Mark Twain bacon embroidery actually was pretty popular. Gotta get another one made soonest.) It would be nice if these really did take off, because I have several other ideas for the designs. I think they'd be awesome on onesies, for a start.

Like this guy was. He's the one who went to France. (If I think about that too much it's mind-boggling.) I'm really just putting him up here to show off the sheer technical perfection of the french knot that makes his eye. I realize no one but me cares, but that is a textbook fucking example of a french knot and I think it should be noted. So it is.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Forever Now

Sunday night I went to see the Psychedelic Furs and the Tom Tom Club here in Lexington. It was a fantastic show, which made me wonder why I hadn't tried harder to see the Furs again since the first time I saw them all the way back in the Mesozoic Era, i.e. 1983. I will amend that in the future, if possible.

I was looking at my old concert shirt yesterday and realized that to me, it really is an incredibly complex symbol and not just a garment. For one thing, it may be the oldest piece of clothing I own that has belonged to me alone. It's been kicking around with me for 28 years, so it's a part of me and my "style", whatever that means. My friends and family are all familiar with it, so they know what I'm talking about when I reference it (which happens more than you might think). It's something I had in high school, and everything that entails and implies. Then too, it's a piece I've altered, so it showcases the kind of things I do, my art if you will. 

For another thing, the Psychedelic Furs were only the second concert I'd ever been to, so that was a BIG DEAL. It was here in Lexington, and we had come to visit my grandparents for Easter weekend. There was an article in the paper about them, (which I kept for years afterwards) and the tickets were only $7, so Mom and I went. I was 16, and so excited. 

Really I had to go. I had an obligation. I was living in a small town in southern Ohio, and everybody else (as far as I knew) except me and my best friend were into bands like Journey and REO Speedwagon. MTV had come to our county the previous August, so people had been exposed to New Wave, and talked about it, but if people were listening to it, they kept it to themselves. 

Of course I didn't. Everybody thought I was smart and weird anyway, which was fair enough, so my being into New Wave was no surprise to anybody. Now I was actually in the same town as a real live New Wave band, British guys who'd been on MTV, who spiked their hair, who wore eyeliner. Eyeliner! I had to represent. How could I hold my head up if I didn't go see them? I can guarantee you nobody else from Wheelersburg, OH, was spending their Easter weekend seeing the Psychedelic Furs.

So we went and it was awesome. I was fairly nervous about the whole thing. I'd only ever been to see Cheap Trick before (with Saxon & Krokus opening, WTF?), and that was an arena show, which is a whole different ballgame. Would there be a lot of punks there? Would there be slamdancing? For sure everyone else would be a lot cooler than me. 

But I had to go. I'd seen the videos for "Pretty In Pink" and "Love My Way", and even without the video, LMW would be enough reason to go see a band. Plus, eyeliner!

It was a great show. There were some people dressed in garbage bags. I saw a couple of Mohawks. There was a little slamdancing in the back. Richard Butler had a lot of product in his hair, and yes, he was wearing eyeliner. He was beautiful. I wanted to marry him, which not turns out not to have been such a pipe dream after all, since his brother Tim, the bass player, actually did marry a girl from Kentucky and now lives in Casey County. See, dreams can come true!

I had to have a shirt to commemorate the occasion. I couldn't wait to wear it to school, and show everybody how infinitely much cooler I was than they were. The reactions were all I could have hoped. "The What Furs?" " ' Psychedelic?' " "Whuut?" "Who're they?" "Whut?" Most gratifying. 

Funnily enough, I still get that today whenever I take the shirt out for an airing, or even mention the Furs. "Christ, I know you people have heard of 'Pretty In Pink'. That's them". I used to date a horrible boy who would say "the Psychedelic Furs" which such a sneer in his voice. You know what, fuck you, because you're a jerk with a bowl haircut and you're so stupid you buy whole cassettes and will only listen to the one song you heard on the radio. Besides, your musical tastes certainly don't hold up to scrutiny. Asshole. 

Therefore, my shirt represents not only the Psychedelic Furs, who I really do love (and Richard, I'm definitely still available), but also all the other bands I love and who people always gave me shit for listening to. It's old and has yellowed with time, and has permanent smoke stains from when the house burned. (It was pointed out to me that a concert t-shirt that's been through a house fire is in fact, punker than fuck.)  I had to paint the neck and sleeve bands so it wouldn't look quite so bad, but I still love it. 

It makes me think of high school, of my friends from then, of being 16, of concerts, of 27 year-old Richard Butler dancing around with big hair and eyeliner, of the Concrete Blonde show I wore it to when they broke up on stage right in front of us, of 55 year-old Richard Butler dancing around with smaller hair and no eyeliner. It's all good times.

So I wore my old shirt to the show, though since I'm not a young girl anymore, I wore it with pearls and Chanel #5. I was right up front and Tim Butler sang to me. It was awesome.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I Was Going To Call This "For The Birds" But That Would Be Stupid

Another thing I've done for public consumption, and of course agonized excessively about, is this birdhouse I did for the Lexington Arboretum yearly birdhouse display and auction. I'd wanted to do it last year, but couldn't come up with an idea in time. That sort of worked out well because it gave me a whole extra year to think of something.

I don't remember when it hit me, but it suddenly occurred to me to do something with an embroidered or cross-stitch design (since I think about embroidery a lot anyway). Then all I had to do was think of how to implement it. I considered using or making a traditional house-shaped birdhouse and drilling holes in it, and good Lord am I glad I didn't, because the one(s) I finally did build out of polymer clay were quite enough of a pain. (Note to self: maybe do a small mock-up first next time. Also you probably won't go wrong scaling up your design.) 

A seemingly good idea that turned out not to be was using colored wire for the stitching. I wanted to use it for durability's sake, but it got too kinked and bent and broken (o, the story of my life, especially the men in it), so I just used plain old DMC embroidery floss and a needle and coated it with matte acrylic varnish when I had the whole thing done and baked. One lucky idea that panned out was using a large ceramic flower pot for the base, which was exactly the size and shape I had in mind.

The whole thing turned out OK, though I wish I knew how to get my polymer clay smoother when I'm joining seams in it. I don't know if it's a matter of practice or if there's a magical trick to it. I hope the latter, but I doubt it. Naturally I had my usual bout of panicky self-doubt while I was driving over to the arboretum to drop the birdhouse off, thinking, "Oh my God this is crap, I should just set it on fire except the fumes would probably kill me, and anyway I paid $10 for the entry fee so maybe I'll just set it on the doorstep and ring the bell and run away like I'm dropping off an abandoned baby." Which would have looked really stupid since the visitor's center is primarily made of glass and the dozen or so people inside would see me doing that and maybe call the cops because they thought I was dropping off a bomb or a bag of anthrax or something.

So I didn't do that, I took it inside, nervously, and the lady there was very nice and said, "Ooh, that's so pretty!" and "Did you cross-stitch that by hand?". (In my head, "No.") And I saw the other birdhouses, though not closely, since they were all shoved together on tables prior to display. They were very nice, but they weren't all a million times better than mine as I had feared, and of course nobody's stuff ever looks like mine, (why am I still always surprised?) so I left feeling pretty cool. Now I can get on with worrying that the roof and base are going to come apart, or birds will hate it and peck out all the stitching, or the arboretum staff will hate it and set it on fire, or it will just spontaneously combust, which would be kind of awesome.

In other news, I've gotten a lot of "favorites" on Etsy for my Carolina wren wall hanging  that I showed in my last post, which is of course nice, though I would gladly send it off to a new home in exchange for a little cash. But a very cool thing is that a couple of other Etsy sellers whose embroidery work I've admired for a while now favorited it also. That makes me happy.

Friday, August 19, 2011

That Was Relatively Painless

Here's the latest thing I've made for my Etsy shop, and also for the Etsy NeedleArts Team July/August Challenge. I think this is the first thing I've made for a challenge or swap where I knew what I was going to do immediately and with no brain-wracking or agonizing. It even came together amazingly quickly, even the nest, which I totally made up as I went along. It was curiously refreshing!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Very Slight Possibility That I Might Be Crazy, Plus Confirmation That I'm a Huge Dork

I totally have this! I didn't know there was actually a term for it (Ordinal-linguistic personification ), though I figured I have some slight aspects of synesthesia in other ways, since I first read about it in Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds .  But I've always known that 1 was the father and 2 was the mother and 3 was their daughter, who was in love with 4, who was young and handsome but poor, but 1 and 2 want 3 to marry 5, who is older and rich. 6 is male and kind of arty or bohemian,  and a little weak, while 7 is his girlfriend but more ambitious and is also interested in 8, who's very charismatic but distant, though she may eventually marry 9, again older and richer, but without such a distinct personality as 5.  I am NOT totally crazy, other people think like this too, and some even more than me.


Possibly the best persuasive sentence ever: "I promise I'm not some kind of modernist monster trying to make you read something with no pelisses or heaths in it. " Well, I'm sold.  

It's from this review/recommendation of Villette by Charlotte Brontë, which I've been considering reading anyway. The fact that the review is totally hilarious AND shows the same edition that I have is just pushing me closer to the edge. It's going to happen.

Also, I just found out I can get the audio version from Librivox  for free. How did I not know this existed? I vaguely feel that maybe I have heard of it, but that can't be true because if I had why would I not have checked it out? Not possible. I find that audiobooks are often very good for Victorian or other "classic" novels where sometimes you can get bogged down in all the verbiage,  but too they are immensely soothing to listen to, and good for walking or needlework, plus the libraries only have a limited number of the ones I want to read/listen to and I've heard all the Jane Austens at least twice, so this is heaven sent. Yes, inordinate glee over free public-domain audiobooks=hopeless dorkiness. I don't care.

Ooh, and more Pinterest validation! I pinned a very cool necklace by Wendy Brandes,  who is an actual legitmate jewelry designer with a very cool blog, and she's started following all of my boards. That makes me very happy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

And Another Thing

Something else to complain about - super-restrictive diets undertaken not because of specific medical issues, but because you don't appear to have anything else to do with your life. And you don't have a sense of humor, and you like to proselytize. Or so it appears to me, anyway.

Now, you can eat whatever you want, I don't care. If you want to live exclusively on Doritos, or if you want to be a floratarian (I read this in a Connie Willis story, but they may actually exist) go ahead. If you have a medical condition such as food allergies or intolerances or celiac disease, then of course you have to restrict your diet. I can't eat bivalves, because I throw up for hours if I do, but that doesn't mean I don't think you should eat them. Eat what you like, just don't tell me about and for the love of God don't try to bring me around to your way of thinking.

What got me started on this was reading a recipe on a "paleo" diet website. These are the people who believe we should go back to a "hunter-gatherer" diet, because that's how we evolved to eat. So wait, we stopped evolving before we learned to grow crops? I don't know the precise number of thousands of years (or tens of thousands, who knows), since that happened, but my understanding of evolution is that it keeps happening all the time, without our knowing it. Sort of the point, n'est-ce pas? I'm wondering when this line of thinking will "evolve", if you will, to the point of thinking that even coming down from the trees was a bad idea, and we should never have left the oceans in the first place, (thank you, Douglas Adams) so we should just eat fish and plankton.

Also, the paleo people don't eat grains, but no one could have begun to raise grains if there weren't some wild ones around in the first place, right? I suppose if you can find some wild oats or wheat, that would be OK, wouldn't it? And what about wild rice? They eat fruits and vegetables, but those have presumably been farmed. The recipes I see call for things like broccoli and onions, but not wild ones.

Oh well. Here's the non-paleo, non-vegan, totally delicious cake I made for Mom's birthday back in June. It's the Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne recipe with the Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting from the Joy of Cooking, garnished with chocolate chip-stuffed wild black raspberries (I got the idea from Pinterest). Man is it good, and I'm not even a big chocolate cake fan.

Sweet! And Get Over Yourself

So you know what's cool? Having someone whose blog you follow and admire start following all your Pinterest boards. I mean, it's cool anyway to have people you don't even know follow you, but that just makes it a little bit better, makes you think, "hey, maybe I'm not such a dork after all". Obviously, this is patently untrue, but it helps.

Fortunately, nobody much is reading this, so I won't piss anybody off, but I just have to point something out. In many of the blogs I encounter (not follow, for reasons which will soon be made clear), women go on and on about how the most important thing in their life is "being a mama", or "raising my beautiful children". Well and good, but I can't help but notice that all of these women have small children. I have yet to see the mother of, say, a 15-year-old express this sentiment. Just sayin'. (Also, I love Kate Beaton so much. She's so brilliant and hilarious.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today, Productivity!

I've accomplished several things today! Mainly what I've done is work on an embroidered wall hanging, but since I may enter it in the Etsy NeedleArts Team challenge next month, I can't show it yet. It's turning out well, though, even the bit that I completely winged. In fact, so far that's the best part.

I also made this colored pencil drawing of the view from my window. The cows weren't part of the original plan, but they showed up around the time I was working on the foreground, so I had to add them. You'd think a cow is more or less a stationary object most of the time, but they move around a fair bit when you'd like them to stand still and be drawn.

I also added this coffee cozy to my Etsy shop today. I found it a couple of weeks ago with just the planets finished, and I had completely forgotten about even making it. I added the stars and put the fastener and backing on it last week, then forgot about it again until today when I finally photographed and posted it. Now I'm free to forget about it again for as long as I like.

Finally, here's a chalk drawing my niece did when she was here last weekend. Her artwork always fascinates me, and I really like her color choices here, especially in the top section. I'm thinking I may borrow them for something, though I'm not sure what.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

When In Doubt, Cook Some Squash

I've been feeling extremely lazy lately. I don't think I've actually been, I've read and studied a lot and last week we babysat my niece, which is a full time job, but it's mainly that I haven't made anything to speak of. If I haven't produced anything, I just don't feel, y'know, productive. 

So today I added a few photos and updated some items in my Etsy shop, since I haven't made anything new to put up in a while. Every little bit helps, I suppose.

 Also, I came up with a new recipe in my ongoing quest for Things To Do With Squash. This one turned out actually very good, though I had an inkling it might, and it's very easy, once you make the sauce. I guess you could call it Sesame Summer Squash "Noodles", though I'm always suspicious of recipes with words in quotation marks. (Plus, why are they called "sesame" noodles anyway, when they only have a small amount of sesame oil in the sauce? Presumably there was more at one time.)  So maybe Summer Squash In  Peanut Sauce is a better name. 

Whatever, I used the sauce recipe from the The 1997 Joy of Cooking, more or less. Basically it's peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar of some sort (I used red wine), hot sauce (crushed red pepper also works), and sweetening (honey in this case), and then I usually use garlic and ginger paste from the Indian grocery. Mix all these things to taste, adding a little more of this and that until you think it's balanced. The Joy calls for black tea to thin it out, so I tried it this time, and while I don't notice much of a tea flavor, it didn't hurt it either.  

Then all you do is slice your squash, yellow or zucchini or both. I did 1 small squash in longish julienne since I wanted it to have a noodlish sort of form, but you could slice it any way you like. Then I sliced about half a carrot into thin coins, and around a quarter of an onion into thin slices. Steamed all that together in the microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes, just until it was tender. Of course you could always saute' it, but I wanted to limit the fat, what with the peanut butter and all. Then I tossed it with a couple of tbsps of the peanut sauce,  and garnished it with a little chopped cucumber, and I must say, it was damned tasty. Also fairly healthy, and most importantly in the summer, it uses up some squash. It's colorful, too.

When the moon was full a couple of weeks ago I took some (I think) cool photos on my evening walk. Of course they don't quite have the glow of the real thing, but it was very lovely in the dusk with the Queen Anne's Lace blooming everywhere and the moon coming up over the hill.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Boredom as Inspiration

Just a couple of drawings I made on the drawing pad function of my phone, which isn't even a smartphone. It's extremely useful for occupying bored children (and adults), and I don't care what kind of phone I get next, as long as I can draw on it.

I made these in a parking lot in Bardstown, KY, while I was waiting for my dad. This is a view across the parking lot of some old houses. I think it's not bad considering I drew it with my fingernail. It really is true, the more limitations you place on yourself, the more you discover. I wish I could remember where I read that.

Looking in the other direction. I drew this one with an unopened ball-point pen. My favorite part is the electrical pole and the twist of cable hanging from it.

Oh, and apparently the Rapture really did happen for this guy. Good for him. Unless somebody melted him with a bucket of water.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feel Free to Hate Me

All right, it did turn out to be spring after all.  Today is sunny and hot, so I spent the morning in the little nook I've carved out under some big, twisted old honeysuckle bushes. I took my embroidery - a birthday present for my sister and a laundry bag I'm making for my Etsy shop - and sat in the shade and listened to the birds while I worked. Oh yeah.

The view from inside the nook. It really is lovely, cool and shady, and when the wind blows honeysuckle blossoms shower down on you. I'm still picking them out of my hair. Yes, you may hate me.

Some rings I just made, epoxying things onto ring forms. The bee is made from a brass stamping I've had for ages, and the heart locket was directly stolen inspired by one I saw on Pinterest. (Oh Pinterest, you are my very favorite time-suck.)

The cameo one is made from a button I didn't even know I had. Last week I spent a day rummaging around in our old barn, going through a lot of boxes I had stored for years, and it was well worth my time. I found so much stuff I'd forgotten about, like my high school class ring, which I thought I'd lost ages ago. There were two fruitcake tins full of buttons, with a twin sewing machine needle in one. Very nice, since I'd been planning to buy a new one.

I'd also been planning to buy some batiste to make summer slips with, and I found several pieces just the right length, and in peach, cream, and mint green, just the colors I'd wanted. Then a whole box of linen blends and linen weaves and 2 or 3 yards of what I believe is 100% percent linen in black. Such a score! And that's not even counting all the other things I needed/wanted and found, like pillow forms, that rubber-dotted stuff you use on the bottoms of slippers and feety pajamas, still more fabric.... And I didn't even get spider bit.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rumors of Spring Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

It's almost 1:00PM on May 4th and it's still only 48 degrees. It's been raining since forever and there are pools of standing water in the yard. All the shrubs around are green but the trees are only grudgingly putting out leaves. Can't say I blame them. To brighten things up, here are some pictures I took last month on a rare sunny day.

Violets and lilacs, my favorite flowers.

California poppies in my grandmother's wildflower garden.

Some lovely pink tulips. Amazing how much better they do when they don't get mowed down.

Tulips at the corner of the yard. I'm very pleased at how well these have done, considering they were potted bulbs from Kroger that I saved and replanted. I'm actually going to have to divide them this fall. (Assuming that's when you divide them. I think it is.)

A closeup of the pink ones. I love the triangular shapes they make when they're opening. I did some drawings of them last night. I want to work them up into a design for embroidery or painting.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Easiest Chalkboard Tutorial Ever

I've wanted a nice big blackboard for years now, ever since I saw some forever ago in the Ballard Designs catalog. I even have a frame somewhere I was going to use for it, but it's literally just a frame, no backing or anything. Plus I'm not sure where it is .

I've been seeing tons of cool blackboards and blackboard-painted objects on Pinterest lately, so I thought I'd make a Goodwill excursion and try to find a good-sized frame for cheap. But the other night as I was drifting off to sleep, it occured to me that there's a big stack of old windows in the tobacco barn that I could use for free. Done and done!

Most of the tutorials on the web tell you to to mix something into your paint if you're going to use it for a chalkboard, but I remembered seeing a fabulous, enormous yellow chalkboard in an old issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. The article said you could use any color of regular matte or satin (I think) latex paint, just not gloss, which seemed like a wonderful idea.

To experiment, I used a small wooden box I'd been meaning to paint anyway, and some navy blue craft acrylic I'd bought on clearance for 50 cents. It worked perfectly once the paint dried and I tried writing on it with chalk. More importantly, it erased, too. OK then.

I went out to the barn, selected a window, knocked off the spiders, cleaned off the dirt, and brought it inside to paint. I just used regular black acrylic craft paint, mixed with a little brown and navy blue so the black wouldn't be so stark, and thinned it slightly with some water. The water wasn't strictly necessary, since a couple of spots needed two coats, but really the paint covered the glass very well. I didn't prime the glass in any way beforehand, so it may flake off at some point, but that's no big deal since it'll be easy enough to touch up.

I think for this the cheaper the paint the better, since you want it to be flat and chalky. The MEHC article suggested rubbing the painted surface lightly with chalk first, and mine did seem to work better after I'd drawn on it and erased it a few times. So, here are my instructions:

  1. Find the space or object you want to turn into a chalkboard. (Window, wall, door, flowerpot, wooden object, piece of masonite or foamcore to fit in a frame, etc.) You could try something smooth like glass or ceramic (a jar or a mug), but I don't know how well it would hold up. You'd want to be careful washing it.

  2. Clean and/or sand as necessary, making sure surface is grease- or residue-free.

  3. Paint with acrylic craft paint, any color you like. Let dry. Add another coat if needed.

That's it!

The weather is finally pretending to be springlike, complete with thunderstorms and tornado watches, and the flowers seem to agree. The trees, however, are having no part of it. None of them have any leaves yet except the willow, and they don't look in any hurry to produce any. Oh well, at least there's daffodils. I bought these bulbs a few years ago, and the package claimed they had pink centers. The first year or two they were a little peach-tinted, if you used your imagination, but now, obviously, they're just yellow. Still pretty though, and they bloom late, so they make the daffodil season last longer.

And the peach trees are blooming now!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Postcards Are Mailed!

I actually finished my postcards for iHannah's postcard swap a couple of days ago (when it was still March, amazingly), but didn't get them sent out until this morning. Still, I'm nearly a week early for the deadline, and they're off into the world, 2 to the Netherlands, 1 to Sweden, 1 to Norway, 1 to Canada, and the rest to various places in the US. I've posted pictures of the individual cards at the DIY Postcard Swap Pool on Flickr.

I hope the recipients like them, because I'm actually pretty pleased with the way they turned out. It was an unusually painless process for me, since I usually stress and obsess way more than necessary over anything I do that people are going to see.

Plus, I finally got to experiment with the rub-on film I bought lord knows how long ago. It can be run through a printer or stamped or drawn on, then used as a regular rub-on. The little flourish above was drawn with a metallic gold colored pencil, which didn't turn out as metallic once it was applied, but otherwise came out well.

The eggs on the card above were done with a stamp I carved, then stamped onto the film and applied. I carved the wren stamp, too, but just stamped it directly on the card. You can see how the film changed the color of the ink slightly, which is fine.

I could have stamped or drawn the eggs and the flourish directly on the cards, but it's good to see how the rub-on film worked, which was really very well. I think it would be better to use for computer images, or on non-flat surfaces where you couldn't conveniently draw or stamp. I don't know how well it would hold up on hard surfaces like glass or ceramics. Maybe if it were sealed with some sort of topcoat.... Fun stuff to play with, though.