Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Patterns

I visited a friend a couple of weeks ago and she borrowed a whole bunch of cute Japanese craft books to me. I loved flipping through everything and drooling over all the cute little critters.

I drew some of the patterns out, and in my enthusiasm was able to put them into practice. I started out with two owls and a hedge hog. I had seen the owls in so many places before, and it was nice to make some myself. I got so excited that I cut a whole bunch of fabric out and started 12 more. I had to go to a conference so I could not finish them all right away, but here is where I got so far.
Harry the hedgehog was fun to make. He is very small though, so it took a lot of effort to sew and turn the arms inside out. On such a small scale the corduroy was pretty stiff to maneuver. When finished he ended up turning out just as cute as the hedgehogs. I cut another hedgehog out, but haven’t had time to sew it together yet. It is fun to work on this miniature scale for a change. IT takes just as long to make as bigger stuffed animals, but smaller is always cuter.

The watercolor class I talked about earlier is also a lot of fun. I am learning some new tips, but mostly I enjoy just getting back into making drawings again. After the first week, the assignment was to work on basic watercolor techniques. I am not a very good student, since you can tell I never finished my exercises… I guess I should work on this again.
The next week we were working on shading, and had to bring in a round object. I had chosen a garlic, but had to use 5 cloves of it the night before for cooking, so it ended up being a half a garlic. We were just painting with a gray color to practice lights and darks.
Last week we had to bring an artichoke in and draw that with graphite. Tomorrow we are going to bring the completed drawings in and paint over them with watercolors. I am excited to do that, since I have done a lot of drawing and my prints are predominantly black and white, but don’t really know the intricacies of color in plant life. Listening to the teacher there seems to be a lot of things I never noticed. Apparently on a green leaf the highlights always have yellow undertones and highlights have blues. I would have thought opposite. So after my great attempt at painting this artichoke tomorrow I’ll post it here.

On a completely different note, if you have seen those pretty letter pressed cards in gift shops and wonder how they are made, I will soon post a video from a printmaking conference I just came home from.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shrinky Dinks and Drawing Easel Idea

I hope you are doing great today. I wanted to share a craft with you that I had almost forgotten: shrinky dinks. I remember making these with my mother when I was a little girl. Oh, the thrill of watching your drawing shrivel up right before your eyes! Last year I had seen it somewhere and brought it up with my husband, who to my suprise had never even heard of shrinking plastic. So I headed out to the nearest craft supply store (A.C. Moore) and found a great deal on some shrinky dink plastic to educate my husband on craft making. It came in a nice pack of 8 sheets, so no worries if you mess the first one up. There are directions if you have never made any. Its super simple, basically just draw your design, cut it out with a pair of scissors, and then bake at 325 for a couple of minutes. Done!

I used regular colored pencils to draw, but it was a little dusty after baking, so I had to fix it with some polyurethane spray. You could use markers as well. The nice thing about the sheets in this set was that it was see-through, so I printed out some photos (left) from my desktop and used them as a guide to make fun gifts to my family and friends.
I made a whole bunch of keychains/zipperpulls, earrings, and a pin. To the left you can see a pair of the earrings.

To get an idea of how large to make your drawings, I have the below guide of before and after baking size.
Below is a flathaired retriever pin for my friend who has two, and zipperpulls/ charms for my mom and sister of our dog and horse back home. (I hope they dont read this before I give these to them)

Here's a collection of other charms.
My husband is into these plastic Gundam model kits, so I drew him some of his favorite characters.
I started an 8 week botanical illustration class this week as well. It is taught by the very talented Louise Smith, who has a beautiful website http://www.greenstems.com/. One of the ladies in the class had made her own little travel easel from a camera tripod. I thought I'd share the simple design, in case anyone else needs to make one. Basically, she screwed a piece of wood to the piece that comes off on the top of the tripod, and added velcro on it. The other half was a piece of corrugated plastic board with velcro on the bottom of it. Voila! Stuck together makes a great mini easel that travels well, if you like to paint or draw outdoors.

New Monthly Giveaway on Etsy

To boost sales after our move, and to get back into making things- I am starting monthly giveaways from my etsy store. The raffle is pretty simple, buy anything from the store and you are automatically entered to win. On the first day of the following month, a random drawing will determine who will win the giveaway!

This months giveaway will feature a pair of cute kitty earrings featured on the left. Good Luck!

Finnfactor Design

Finnfactor Design