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Some quick shares

My productivity has surpassed my sharing lately, so here are some recent projects.

A card:

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A scrapbook page:

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The gears are meshing

For my father-in-law’s birthday card, I knew I wanted to include florals, because he’s a gardener. But I also wanted to make sure it was a bit masculine in colors. Since he’s a machinist, tinkerer, and inventor, I thought I might include some steampunky gears.

This week’s Flouishes Timeless Tuesday challenge was to use a non-rectangular shape. I don’t yet have any large dies for base layers of cards, so I had to improvise a bit.

I had an embossed, sanded and shimmer ink-sprayed piece of Core’dinations shatter card stock that I had done as my very first embossing experiment. That became my base, and it thought that the Tim Holtz Picture Wheel die would both reflect both the embossed gear shapes and the overall rounded shape that I wanted to use.

I really enjoyed watercoloring the stamping with Distress markers. It worked so well that I’ve decided to invest in the whole set eventually, so that I can watercolor on lunch breaks or on the couch. While it’s certainly possible to color, as I have been doing, with the Distress ink pads, a brush and some water, the markers are way more convenient and portable. I just hope that the water brush markers work as well as using a regular wet brush. We’ll see!

I’d like to try the alcohol inks like Copics or similar down the road, because of their broader range of colors, but right now I don’t need to invest in a whole separate technique because there is so much to explore in the world of water-reactive inks. Besides, I’ve always been drawn to watercoloring.

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Ingredients: Watercolor paper, Core’dinations Shatter card stock embossed with a Darice folder and sanded, flowers and sentiments from Flourishes (Passion flower and Tag Lines), Distress markers, Distress ink, Archival ink, Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist sprays

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Learning: I really need some better ways to cut a shaped card base. I drew guidelines and everything, but I simply could not cut a curve smooth enough for my satisfaction. Fortunately the recipient was more excited about the flowers and the gears – which lead to us experimenting with die cutting and embossing his basswood scraps – fun!

Given all the trouble I’ve had with Distress ink on acrylic clear stamps, I was very pleased to find that Distress inks and markers worked so well on Flourishes’ photopolymer stamps. I had fun blending colors using a Distress marker directly on the stamp for the inside of the card.

Loving: I loved the finished colors, the strong browns contrasted with the rich purple. I loved the way the picture wheel shows little peeks of the background. And I was delighted to find a use for the picture wheel die which I think I picked up as part of a lot. I was also happy to have finally found a use for the embossed gears sample I had made a couple of months ago.

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Dye teasing

I just graduated today, and suddenly I can look forward to all manner of free time.  I’m delighted to be done, and very proud to have a Master’s degree… But I’m also eager to turn my focus to home, arts, and family. 

Our favorite annual gaming convention – and my costuming deadline – is just a few weeks off, so no time for a long post.  Here’s a brief tease of vat-dyeing adventure results:

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Seafoam green, plum blossom, and safari grey

The seafoam green came out nearly white (there’s an undyed hankie in there to show the similarity), the plum blossom came out crazy hot-pink on ths skirts (though more dusty rose on some canvas aprons not pictured), and the safari grey came out much warmer and more brownish than expected.  That’s the adventure part of dyeing!  You never know what will happen.  But these base colors are only the beginning.  There will be tie-dyeing, shibori, painting, resists, and more in the future for these garments. 

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And here’s an update on the jacket and harness rig that are a staple of my costume.  I’ve been refining both, improving them from what I wore last year.  Adding detail is especially important in steampunk looks.  Adding accessories to the belt/harness have pushed the inspiration into a “faerie hunter” theme, I like that it can be adventurous but not so rugged that frills and lace would be out of the question.  Not sure what might be done before the costume deadline, especially since my sewing/embroidery machine has had a breakdown and needs to go in for a repair and tune-up.

Until next time, keep those dye-baths bubbling and needles a-stitchin’…

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Preparing for a new (dye) adventure

School is nearly done.  Not just for the semester but indefinitely.  I am about to graduate and all I can think about is a summer of gardening, crafting and playing board games.  First up is a grand adventure to a gaming convention in my state.  Lots of people dress up in costumes, like any big geeky con, and this year’s theme is “Timetravel”.  It suits me well, because I really love steampunk and I think it will fit.

For last year’s early summer gaming convention, I started trying to cobble together a steampunk look,

Continue reading

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Project Swapway: The Steampunk Swap

Over in the “Odd Ducks” group on Ravelry, knitters get together and have swaps akin to secret santa.  You get someone’s name, answer some crazy questions, research your “spoilee’s” likes and dislikes and make them something wonderful that they will hopefully really enjoy.  Presumably you get the same treatment in return, and craft exchanging occurs.  The Odd Ducks pick crazy themes on which to have these swaps, and I recently joined their “Steampunk Swap”.  What a fun group of Ravelers lives on that forum!

I hesitate to divulge too much information here, just on the odd chance that my spoiler peeks at my blog and happens to also be my spoilee. Continue reading

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Adventures in steampunk

I have been obsessing lately about the style known as “Steampunk”.   And you know what?  Today (June 14th) is International Steampunk Day!

timetravel watch

Time travel watch

Imagine an alternate history of the world where clockwork and steam remained central to technological innovation instead of moving on to more electrical and electronic technologies.  That’s where the idea of steampunk jumps off from, and from there various authors, costumers and enthusiasts have explored a myriad of speculative “what if” ideas.  Sometimes it leads to fantasy worlds where quasi-magical inventions are created on the spur of the moment by gifted inventors (such as in the webcomic Girl Genius).  Sometimes the inventions are more believable like the Nautilus in Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Continue reading