Monday, September 17, 2012

Craft Night

So yet again, this poor blog has fallen off into the void. But here is another wholehearted attempt at revival. Who knows.. maybe there will be more success this time??

Anyhoo... I have been allowed a new endeavor at my wonderful job. (This job involves teenage girls in a residential.. ehm.. educational setting.) Starting tonight, I get to lead craft "club" with a group of my girls once a week on Mondays for an hour. I put club in quotations since technically it is compulsory for all the girls at the house I work at to attend. But, regardless, I am excited about it.

Tonight I wanted to start off with a bang.. something the girls would really like. My criteria for this was to find something that I myself would really like. And so I gave myself permission to spend hours and hours on Pinterest DIY and Crafts boards. And it was truly horrible..........

So what I ended up choosing as inspiration for my first Craft Night project was (drumroll): purses!

What a cute bag! I could totally do that!

I found this pin, and went off to goodwill in search of supplies.

Turns out though... that I did not look close enough at the list of ingredients, and confused myself on what type of pillow case I was supposed to get. I just looked at this infographic...

Clearly I can't even read pictorial instructions...

And thought I needed shams (the pillow cases that split in the middle as opposed to the bottom).

So I got lots of shams. And I chose one to be my demo piece (and also hopefully permanent piece). I picked this because I thought it was cute and liked that it was neutral, so theoretically it will go with most of my clothing.

My pillowcase!

Which is a sham. 
So at this point I have a bunch of shams... so it is PROBLEM SOLVING TIME! Aka start where the original instructions do and make mine work.

Because I was in problem solve mode, I didn't take pictures of the process, so I've tried to show with pictures of the finished piece... but the steps go a little like this:

Gather ingredients. You will need a pillow sham, scissors, and old t-shirts to cut up.

Lay the pillowcase with the split side up. The part of the split that is on top will be the main pouch part of the bag. Fold the corners on this side of the sham up to the split, folding them up and under themselves. The corners should be flat against the crack, and should be showing the same side of fabric.

Three layers to go through here
 Cut some holes through both layers of the corners, and the first part of the pillowcase. Do not cut through the part of the pillowcase that is touching the floor (or desk or whatever). Use strips cut from the old t-shirt to weave this part together. You can cut as few or as many as you like, and weave however you choose... whatever you feel is most pretty or effective or both.

Then, it's time to work on the strap. For this, I just took 4 strips cut from the t-shirts. Be sure to use strips that come off horizontally from the main part of the shirt, both front and back. This needs to be long enough to fit over your shoulder and head comfortably. I used 4 strips to make sure it would be thick enough to not dig into my neck every time I wear the bag.  Braid the strips together in whatever method seems best to you.   Then attach the strap in the edging of the pillow sham at about where the slit is.

Fold over the top of the pillow sham. If you like the way this looks, you can stop here. Otherwise, you can connect the top part by bringing the corners together and securing with a strip of t-shirt.

Fold the top back over and VOILA! You have a bag.

Mine fits comfortably messenger bag style - over the head and neck. It holds a normal camelbak water bottle, my wallet, keys, etc. The front part which was folded up at the beginning makes an extra pocket, and there is a little secret pocket in the top part of the bag which folds over.

All in all - the project cost me about $3, probably less.
When I did the project with my girls, some chose to add beads to the t-shirt strips that were still hanging. Depending on the pillow sham you end up with, you could also add decorations with paint or buttons or beads.  

More to come next Monday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More waiting!

Ok so I got fed up with waiting and I peeled the stencil off. The only danger to doing this while the paint is still semi wet is that it could potentially smear. However I'm impatient, and I did not smear! I'm actually even happier with this than I thought I would be. It turned out really well. A little bit of bleeding under the stencil, but fortunately this design really lent itself to that.

And the other hazard of doing this when it's wet is getting it all over your fingers, as you can see in the picture. Oh well. Now it's time to let it dry all the way, then I get to do the back!!

Step 1 - Complete

After quite some time digging through my storage in an attempt to find all the stuff I need for
this... I am successful!
So got some t-shirting done. Now it's just wait for it to dry.. which is always the frustrating part. Anyhoo, here's pictures of the process thus far - it's super easy. Because of the problems I created by my choice of stencil, I decided to make it an inverted image on the shirt. Hopefully it works when I peel off the stencil. This first one is the stencil, and you can see the fabric paint I've been using. I just get it at Robert's Craft store.
Next are a few images of my journaling process for this project. I've been working on returning to my research sketchbook habits, which means I've been vomiting ideas into here. For this one, it seems to be a lot of Alice quotes, and a couple pieces of design.

Ironing the stencil on. Woot.
Then "artistic" spraying on of colors, until I'm happy with the look, trying not to overdo it.
And now, waiting for it to dry so we can peel off the stencil and see how it turned out. Fingers crossed!

I hate waiting.

I really need to prepare better...

So I went over to go do some splash painting today because I finally was free at the time the studio was open. Once I got there I realized "haha HEY! I don't have my paint with me... it's all the way at home... and I'm not going there and back..." So I ended up just dropping off my ball jars, and now I just need to bring my paint next time. Then I can have epic splash painting adventures.

I cut out the design for the front of my Cheshire Cat shirt.. so I think I'm going to make up for missing painting, and go do some fun shirt making instead! hopefully this works...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We're all a little mad here...

So today I'm revisiting my fascination with the Cheshire Cat. This is one of my favorite characters of all time, and I've been wanting to do something artistic with it for a while. Today I finally acted on some of my promises to myself that I'd work with the character, and I did. In my new handy dandy sketchbook, I started designing my own version of the character (read: I drew my own version... possibly the first of many. However it's less of a formal character design, and more of the character sneaking out of my brain via my hand.) It's just a graphite/ prismacolor glorified doodle, but overall I'm pretty happy with it, though it turns out he was a lot creepier than I thought he would be. Regardless, it feels good to be using my creativity again, and I always like to start out a sketchbook with something I feel is at least halfway decent. As a matter of fact, I tend to havea hard time starting sketchbooks, simply because I want the first page to be good. I'll let myself do whatever in the consecutive pages, but I feel that unless the first page is decent, the rest of the sketchbook is worthless. Yay for strange quirks.

The other thing I've done in my time here at work is create stencil patterns for another shirt design - this one Cheshire Cat themed. I was smarter, and it's less complicated than the other design I'm working on... but I still gave myself some interesting challenges..

With both images, I've set myself up for a huge pain in the tush. The white parts of the image are the parts that will be the stencil, and the black images are where the color goes. What this means, is that I will be cutting out all the black parts, leaving a lot of white pieces that are not connected to each other. So I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to get around it. Will post later with the results of that adventure. I have a couple ideas, we shall see what ends up being effective...

Still need to get my mineral spirits to the studio... car still smells magical...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ah, spirits...

So... I keep forgetting to go over to the painting studio to drop stuff off...
As a result, my car smells strongly of "odorless" mineral spirits. Incidentally... the scent of "odorless" mineral spirits about knocks me over every time I open my car door to get inside. Yummy.

In other news... I got all my stuff for splash painting.. so hopefully I can get some splashes done soon. Once I remember to actually go to the painting studio and get all that junk out of my poor car.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shirt designs!

It is another day of attempting to creatively kill time at work. So today I'm working on making stencils for fabric printing... so I can make fun clothing that's more or less unique. And at some point I really think this would be great to do with students - especially since I learned the technique I'm using at the Utah Art Educators conference this year.

The process I'm using is really simple. Basically, you take an image and transfer it on to freezer paper, typically by tracing it. then you cut out the parts that you want to be in color with an exacto knife. Then you iron the freezer paper (waxy side down) onto a piece of fabric - for the piece I'm working on, that's going to be a t-shirt - and take fabric paint to it. When the paint is dry, peel the stencil off, and then follow instructions from the fabric paint to set the color (so it doesn't come out in the wash). Poof, instantly personalized clothing. This tends to work better with simpler designs, but for some reason I'm a masochist, and I always choose rather complex designs. These always take ages to cut out, and have a high likelihood of getting messed up. But when I choose designs, I don't think about this.. just about what I like.

So today was mostly about choosing the image. I decided I wanted to put wings on the back of a shirt, so I googled images. There are actually a ton of them, so I found several I liked and saved them to my computer. Then I chose the one I thought would work the best. The image i happened to choose was someone's lovely drawing - actually a tattoo design. Granted, I hate using other people's art straight, but for this I'm not too fussed about it, since it gets changed a lot in the process. So the original image is

and I just love it. But the whole intricate details thing is definitely not conducive to cutting out stencils... So to make the image a bit more my own, and 20 times easier to work with, I pulled it into Adobe Illustrator and vectorized it. I tweaked it around until it was something I liked and that I could realistically work with.

So at this point it's already started to look different, and it'll look way different when it's on a tshirt. After this, I split it into two images (1 per wing) and printed them out at 11x17. Then I cut the excess paper off with a big paper cutter, and taped them to my freezer paper so that it won't move while I'm creating the stencil. Now is time for tracing and cutting... woot.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Most Recent Status

So as of now, I am totally graduated, which means I can really have some fun experimenting and whatnot (Theoretically at least). However due to schedules and other assorted goings on, I haven't actually gotten any painting or arting in so far. However, I have some plans for some fun projects, and I keep finding myself wishing that I had my own studio space. Until I have the kind of money I could spend on that though, I'll have to rely on the school studio space, whenever I can get in there. I really want to get in and play with some more splash paintings. Most other arting I'm capable of doing at my place, but these are a bit too messy and chemicalified for that. So hopefully I can get in and do some soon.

During the semester I got to do a few, and they're some of my favorite things I've done thus far. Overall that's probably a really good thing, considering they're the most recent things I've done thus far...

Revamping the Blog

So I've decided that I'm going to revive this thing, and make it an art blog, just a recording of stuff I'm working on and all that. Not sure if anyone cares, but it should be a good exercise for myself.

I got a new sketchbook today, and some acrylic paints, to start a new research workbook, which is something I was introduced to in high school. Basically the function is to keep ideas, try out techniques, brainstorm, and all that in one spot that's easy to follow progress in and that is easy to carry around. I'm pretty excited about it, and I've already decorated the cover. :-) It's something that at some point I'd like to do with students, so I figure it's a good idea to play with it myself some more before I do that.

The link is to my personal art gallery page. It needs some work before I'll really be happy with it, but I'm still pretty excited about having my own site for displaying my art. It's also fun to be able to google myself and have that be the first entry.

So here's to me and art!