O fir tree

O Christmas tree

 

 

A snapshot from our Christmas card production this year. It’s one of the few (sometimes the only) art projects that Mike and I collaborate on every year. Mike set the O’s using a design program and I printed the Christmas trees and the stars with this fun foam stamping method :D

This made me curious about the origin of the carol, O Christmas Tree. So I looked it up, and wanted to share with you an excerpt of it on this Christmas day, translated from the original German song, O Tannenbaum.

O Fir Tree, O Fir Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!
Your boughs are green in summer’s clime
And through the snows of wintertime.
O Fir Tree, O Fir Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!

O Fir Tree, O Fir Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson
That constant faith and hope sublime
Lend strength and comfort through all time.
O Fir Tree, O Fir Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson.

 

I like using the words Fir Tree instead.

May good will, faith, hope, strength, comfort, and peace fill our hearts not only during Christmas but throughout every season this year.

Merry Christmas, friends!

 

 

 

fun foam stamping

It was one of those experiments that went very smoothly and turned out amazingly well, which doesn’t happen too often for me but when it does, it’s super exciting!

Printing fabric with stamp made from craft foam (or, as advertised on the package, “fun foam”)!

It’s REALLY easy. Everything about this project is encapsulated in this photo.

 

I used:

Craft foam (it looks like this) that I bought from the dollar store (12 sheets for $1)

A piece of foam core that I found at work (it had an event poster mounted on it and they were throwing it out. But I’ve also seen foam core at the dollar store)

Acrylic paint and paint brush (from the dollar store, of course)

Glue stick (I found this amazing Elmer glue at the dollar store! A bit of a theme going on here…)

A piece of fabric that was the remnant of a curtain that I was sewing for a friend. It feels like linen. Fabric with smooth texture works best.

What I did:

1. Cut design out of craft foam. Exacto knife works extremely well with this stuff.

2. With Exacto knife, Cut out a piece of foam core the same shape as the craft foam design but about 1/4″ larger all around.

3. With glue stick, apply a liberal amount of glue on the foam core. Press craft foam design firmly onto where the glue is applied. Stamp is made! :D

Here’s a closeup of my leaf stamp, after it’s made a few prints…

4. Set stamp aside for a minute or two for the glue to dry. In the meanwhile, mix a fun colour with acrylic paint, set out some scrap paper (paint will seep through fabric onto your work surface), and lay fabric on it.

5. Apply a thin layer of paint onto foam stamp with paint brush (not too much paint, but the stamp has to be wet). Test print on scrap paper.

6. Stamp away! The great thing about applying paint with a brush is that you can have streaks of different colours in one print! :D

7. If the finer details of the stamp starts to get gunked up with paint, use the corner of the brush bristles to clean it out before making the next print.

8. Set fabric aside for a couple of hours to dry. Place a towel on it, then iron at low heat to fix the colour.

 

And now we have a lovely piece of printed fabric to do whatever our hearts desire :D I sewed mine into a simple drawstring bag. (there are lots of nice drawstring bag tutorials out there, like these ones, so I won’t repeat what I did here)

 

Placemats, shirts, skirts, eyeglasses case… the possibilities are endless! 

Have a great start to the week, everyone!

 

 

super awesome week :D

Last week was the first week after school was done, I quickly filled it with trips to the craft/bead/fabric stores and a craft day with friends!

Found an acorn charm for 75¢ at the bead store :D It’s my new favourite necklace at the moment.

 

Then my friend and I went to the friendly fabric store down the street from the bead store, and African print cotton was on sale! Going to make more square blouses (like the blue one in this post).

 

Later in the week a friend came over to make uniforms for her floor hockey team. We made stencils out of transparency plastic (I happen to have stacks of them at home) and applied fabric paint on the t-shirts with a cut-up kitchen sponge.

 

We printed 22 shirts! One set of navy blue and one set of white. They were lying on the couch drying…

 

And my friend brought over homemade macarons! :D They were so good… felt so completely spoiled!

 

A very pretty pink one with green tea filling :D

 

Have a great start to the week!

 

 

 

okra episode two!

Remember a while ago I made some okra prints? Well, I don’t blame you if you don’t remember, because I’ve forgotten myself! But finally I remembered the prints last weekend, and finished what I had intended to do with them.

Make business cards! :D

 

A couple of orders had come in through the shop and as I was packing them I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I can throw in a cute business card with some contact information. 

So that was why I made the okra prints, to print my shop info on the back of them. I was really looking forward to flipping them over and see the composition of the prints on each one after they’re cut.

 

I used beige and light grey card stock. And they’re MOO Card size. I kept seeing business cards this size at craft shows and such and thought they looked really cute.

Hope you’ve had an awesome start to the week! 

 

 

okra is a thing of beauty

 

Finally got around to use the okra I bought a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t really in the mood of making anything, but the okras were going slimy on the outside :S They were going to be wasted if I don’t use them, so I forced myself to dig out the paint.

And it turned out to be quite an invigorating experience! (Making things always makes me feel better, it’s just a matter of getting started…) The patterns that the okras made were simply delightful… 

 

They remind me of jellyfish :D

My first sheet of prints was a bit blotchy. The second sheet was a bit more consistent.

 

Then there were the more angular prints of a different okra, compared with the more rounded ones.

I’m going to make something with these later… will keep you posted!

Have a happy Wednesday! :D

 

 

 

stamp a little joy

Last week I was making some greeting cards and thought they would look nice with some stamped letters. I don’t own any letter stamps, but I thought I could make just the letters I needed with my collection of corks and a glue gun.

 

The stamps themselves looked better than the imprints they made. It was just difficult to get an even surface. Writing with hot glue was harder than I thought! And the letters turned out rather squiggly. It was alright, but not quite what I had in mind…

 

Then I remembered that Mike has a collection of metal types. To stamp these, I made a makeshift ink pad with a wad of paper towel and some acrylic paint.

 

But are there enough letters to make up a greeting phrase? Or even just a greeting word? It’s time to put my Scrabble skills into good use.

 

elm…
loft…
globe…
norm…

Ok, greeting words…

Aha.

 

The little joys in life, are stamping letters and socks with cherries on them.

 

Have a happy Wednesday!

 

 

another rainy day at the print shop

 

Print shop à la mudpie, that is. It’s an experiment. And it’s perfectly acceptable to print in flannel pants.

Unlike the Mackenzie’s print shop, there are no machines here. No press. Just me, some cut-up plastic bags, some torn up Styrofoam trays (washed and sanitized), some cardboards, and the trusty PVA glue.

 

I was hoping to make a background for the plarn betta fish, and what would be better than making it with plastic bags? :D I’ve printed with bags before, at school, on a press. Actually, printing with found materials (i.e. things that people consider trash, like plastic bags, bread tags, and pop tabs) was my favourite thing to do in printmaking class.

I don’t have any of that equipment at home, but I do have a plan. I started by cutting up the bags and gluing them onto a piece of cardboard. That’s plate #1.

For plate #2, I tore up Styrofoam trays (again, washed and sanitized) and glued them onto another piece of cardboard, to resemble river stones.

 

I don’t have block printing ink, but I thought acrylic would be fine. I brushed it on so it can get into all the crevices.

 

I always like the test prints on newsprint the best. The feathery details were mesmerizing, like frost.

However, this makes too busy of a background for the delicate plarn fish. So I sprayed water on it to disperse the paint a bit before it dries. But then I got carried away and it got too wet. So rather than patiently wait for it to dry, I laid another piece of paper on it, hoping that if it doesn’t make a half-interesting print, it would at least soak up the watery mess. Kind of like a ghost print, and out came this…

Isn’t that so lovely? Well, at least I think so. Has a kind of smoky quality to it. Reminds me of aquatint

The layered prints didn’t come out so great. But I did salvage this one after reworking it several times.

I’m not in love with it. I thought it needed some red. So when it was all dried I added some watercolour…

Like leaves carried by the current or a school of fish. Still not liking it too much, to be honest, but I think it’s looking a bit better.

I ended up printing the background for the fish on a piece of canvas.

 

I trimmed it a bit, pinned on the fish (so I can move them to a new background if I ever want to), and hot glued a strip of cardboard on the back so it can stick on the mirror (because one large wall in our apartment is a mirror, and we’ve run out of regular wall space).

 

Ta-da!

I hope they’re happy in their new habitat.

A couple of things I learned from printing with recycled materials:

1) Must invest in block printing ink! I keep putting it off, but acrylic is really too runny for printing.

2) Styrofoam does not stick to white glue! The pieces kept falling off when I rolled paint on it. Next time I’ll use the glue gun.

 

Will definitely try doing this again. Thank you so much for stopping by!

favourite things of the week!

I’ve been seeing a lot of things that I like via the Crafty Crow lately. It’s a children’s craft collective, so I guess it appeals to my inner child. Or the child who is actually me. Anyway. I love these plasticine stamps from Filth Wizardry!

Christmas cards idea, perhaps! I think it’s perfect with those chunks of plasticine that’s got so many colours mixed in them that they’ve become really dull and nobody wants to use them and they just sit sadly in the bottom of the tub, just wanting to be squeezed… but dull no more! It can bring out hundreds and thousands of wonderful pictures! I love how the blog owner says that the process is so temporary and unexpected (because plasticine is pliable and the shape of the stamp changes after a few prints). And if you scroll down on the post you’ll see all the different impressions made with different objects! I’m sooo going to try this out when I get my hands on some plasticine!

I think after making some plasticine prints I would also want to make this brilliant artwork display wall-hanging from This and That.

And maybe not only artwork, but also postcards and photos, and greeting cards, and coasters from pubs, and other clippings of inspiration, and paper cutouts? Like these paper cutouts?

Perhaps these paper cutouts are best on windows and coffee tables — but aren’t they lovely? The templates are from Zakka Life. I love the oak and ginkgo ones, which are pictured.

And along the theme of display and decoration, I stumbled upon this brilliant idea via Whip Up.

They’re bookshelves! Literally! :D I’d love it simply because it’s a pun. But I doubly love it because it’s old books! Imagine displaying crocheted mushrooms houses on them! The instruction is available on Real Simple.

And there you have it, a week of favourite things! What are your favourite things? Feel free to share by leaving a comment! Happy Wednesday!

Favourite-things Friday!

A few weeks earlier I made a bunch of prints using Styrofoam pieces, inspired by the tutorial and lovely images on Glittergoods (you must scroll down on her page to look at the wonderful framed composite of the kindergartners’ work! If I were a teacher I would totally be stealing that idea!). Printmaking is my all-time favourite thing to do. It’s such a magical process, because the print never turns out exactly the way you thought it would.

Anyways, when I saw the tutorial I thought it would be lovely to make a composite of ginkgo leaf prints. We have this large orange frame with a generic photo poster in it and we (or I) have been wanting to replace it with something more personal for some time. Ginkgo trees are another one of my favourite things. Did you know that they are living fossils? I thought that’s very cool. There’s also a certain elegance about them, the fan-like leaves fluttering in the wind.

Anyhow, this was a rather spontaneous project so I just used whatever I could find in the house. One could get foam pieces that are specifically made for printing, but I just cut out rectangles from, um, meat trays. I know. I know it sounds gross. But I did wash the trays 5 million times with antibacterial dish detergent. And I thought, don’t we use the same sponge to wash the forks and the bowl that raw meat was marinating in? I mean, we’re not going to eat the prints! Anyways, I digress. So here’s how I scratched the foam with a leadless mechanical pencil, using pressed ginkgo leaves as a guide:

The foam plates are quite interesting in themselves.

I didn’t have block printing ink (I should really invest in some), so I used blue tempera paint mixed with a bit of black watercolour. I considered using acrylic because it’s more tacky, but I didn’t want it to dry and get stuck on the brayer, because I only have one. I did try to use a brayer to roll the paint on the plates initially and be all printmaker-like, but it didn’t work out very well because the paint was too watery and slippery, so I used a paint brush instead. I think I might have improvised too much and used none of the proper tools, so half the prints didn’t turn out. But then that almost always happens with printmaking. Well for me anyways. So here I am contemplating my “keep pile” and “toss pile”.

At the end of contemplation, here are some of my favourites. The brush marks actually turned out quite interesting.

Here’s another print with the same plate.

And some smaller ones.

Trying a different view.

We decided not to put these into the orange frame because we felt that the prints were better viewed individually than grouped. But we thought of another idea for making scratch foam prints for the frame, which I will surely share when we get around to it :)

I still had a fabulous time making them though. Especially the part where I don’t have to worry about whether the plate is perfectly centered on the paper or whether the ink is rolled on evenly or whether the paper is torn on a perfect right angle or whether my fingers are perfectly clean so I don’t leave fingerprints on the paper.

I thought it would be fitting to end with this quote I saw on French Toast Girl’s Facebook page:

The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.

- Kurt Vonnegut