Category Archives: Crafts

Christmas Wall Art Part 2

This was the 2nd piece I made. While looking through the Cricut image library for free images, these carolers caught my eye and I knew I wanted to make a cute scene with them.

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The background is again acrylic paint and the same snowflake turned stencil. I like this technique and kept many of the negatives of the die-cuts I used for my Christmas gifts to use as future stencils.

I was disappointed by how much the paper curled while creating these pieces. I’ve considered buying artist’s stretched canvas for creating stuff like this, but I never felt worthy of even such a relatively minor expense (Michaels often has a very good deal on them). With as wonderful as these turned out, I feel that I’m ready to upgrade my materials a bit.

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Christmas Wall Art Part 1

I recently created a swap via Swap-Bot for a piece of wall art. I actually created 3 different pieces (and forgot to photograph one of them before I gave it away as a gift). This is the one that will be sent out this week :-).

I’ll also be entering it and it’s companion into the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog’s Christmas/Winter Holidays competition.

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For anyone interested, the base is a laid textured paper. I made the background with acrylic paints and a die-cut snowflake turned stencil. The trees and birds are paper cut using my Cricut and the trees are decorated with glitter glue and flat-back rhinestones.

Letterpress

My dad is the letterpressman at the shop we work at. His press is a 1962(?) Heidelberg Windmill, though we used to have a C&P hand-feed press.

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It’s so shiny! This is not his press, but a photo borrowed from this website.

A few weeks ago, we were offered a ticket to see the new film about letterpress: Pressing On and he went to see it. Ooh–the first press shown in the trailer looks like the hand press that the shop got rid of (and the press that I most want for my own).

Anywho. My dad is not a graphic designer. He’s not artsy at all. He likes chatting with old pressmen, but mostly he went to the movie to see the presses. It was a bit too people-centered for his taste, but he enjoyed it.

What really annoyed him was the letterpress printed drink ticket they gave him! Yes, I’m laughing as I write this because he ranted to me the next day about how crappy a job they’d done printing it!

“The ink is too light! It’s a weird color and the ink isn’t even.” (It’s a seafoam-ish green color and yes, it’s heavier and lighter in places.)

“They beat the ever loving shit out of the paper!” (Okay, he actually said they beat the crap out of the paper, but I’m exaggerating his words because of how huge a deal this is for him.)

You see, my dad entered the printing industry back when offset printing was just starting out and just about everything was printed letterpress. Type was real type and a typesetter was literally pulling upper and lower case letters out of upper and lower cases. As they competed with offset printing, the sign of a good letterpressman was that the printed material looked indistinguishable from offset. If the paper looks even slightly embossed, the paper is hitting the type too hard and you’re going to wear out your type too fast. Since type does wear out, it’s critical for the typesetter to build up the low characters to match the higher ones so that the ink hits flat and smooth.

Pretty much everything that makes modern artists squeal about letterpress is everything that my dad would have been yelled at for as an entry level pressman. Of course, I am on the artsy-side and I while I don’t need the paper to be beat to crap to know it’s letterpress, I do love it when the ink isn’t perfectly placed on the paper either because the type isn’t perfect or because it’s not lined up 100% correctly.

My dad has a new favorite museum in Colonial Heights, VA and they have some old printing presses and stuff to play with  show off to visitors. At a special event a few weeks ago my dad was very confused by the way they were creating “original letterpress printings” by letting two colors of ink mix on the pallet of a handpress each time someone created a print. Like I said, he doesn’t really get letterpress as art, haha.

And, he really doesn’t understand how anyone makes money off letterpress. He likes to talk about how they’d print business cards at 5¢ a piece in quantities of 20-30. Business cards were really generic back then and they mostly just threw a new name into an already set base. He can’t understand why anyone would pay $5 for one letterpress greeting card.

Of course, he as fond memories of making $2.50/hour when the minimum wage was $1.25.

 

Birthday Card

I am entering this card into 2 challenges this week. The first is Seize the Birthday–Anything Goes.

The second is As You Like It Challenge–Favorite Colour (and Why). My favorite color is orange because it’s kind of the non-conformist color. I mean, it doesn’t rhyme with anything (?) and I think a lot of people are afraid to wear orange because it’s a very bold color. But see, orange can play nicely wit everyone :-).

Look what we found!!

My husband and I were driving around a couple weeks ago (as a former truck driver, he loves dragging me on 4 hour drives around southeastern VA) and spotted this guy in Surry, VA.

The window says the shop name is “A Steampunked Life”. I wanted to go in, but the husband said he saw a closed sign on the window (I was otherwise distracted and missed this).

I looked them up online and they have a nice Facebook page and Etsy shop! (I’m just sharing what I found, I don’t know these folks.)

Anyway, the arm there is part of a hookah and on the back is the rest of it seeming to function as its propulsion system (we didn’t get a picture of that).

Surry is only about an hours drive from Norfolk and is even closer to Williamsburg.