Monday, July 30, 2012

Project Monday: Chalk Lettering Cheat

Well, after waiting a month and dealing with packages of fabric being lost in the mail, wondering if I should reorder but knowing that as soon as I did the original package would arrive, etcetera, etcetera... Finally an envelope came in the mail this weekend that included a swatch for a design whose process I've wanted to share with you so you can do it yourself!

Chalk lettering is all the rage right now, but since the chalkboard wall we have in our house is not quite large enough (and is pretty much at the mercy of a near-three-year-old boy), I found a way to do it on a smaller scale, and with the help of just pencil, paper, and Photoshop. Here is my process:

1. Draw it. Draw your design on paper using a slightly soft pencil (I used an F). Fill in some letters using different strokes or lines (diagonal, horizontal), and don't try to be perfect. Imagine the pencil actually is chalk, and how it would feel in your hand. Keep a pencil sharpener handy for finer lines.

2. Scan it. Scan your drawing, preferably at a higher resolution than you need, so you can enlarge it slightly for a more detailed effect. I scanned mine at 600 dpi, then reduced it later to 300 dpi, but at slightly larger dimensions than the original.

3. Invert it. In Photoshop, make the image grayscale and invert it so everything black becomes white, and vice-versa. You'll notice that inverting it really picks up any smudges that might have been on the paper, which gives the new black background a recently-erased chalkboard look. You may want to adjust the contrast a bit, to really make the chalk stand out.

4. Colorize it. Change the image now to a monotone (duotone, but with only one color). Choose a color that looks like the chalkboard you had in mind, like a really dark bluish-black slate, or a more elementary-school dark green. Then adjust the image to RGB or CMYK and you're done!

This is the printed fabric from my design, which I'm adding to my Woodtype Alphabet collection. It will be in my Etsy shop soon, along with a few other "chalk-lettered" tea towels and prints in other designs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fotos and Faves

It was a whirlwind week, what with our local town fair and Thomas the Tank Engine chuffing into town to take us for a ride. Here are some loved links I found in the down time. Phew!

1. DIY tabletop biosphere
2. Trick my kicks!
3. Embroidered newspaper pictures
4. How to make tiny pom-poms with a fork (via Poppytalk)
5. Big display ideas for Instagrams
6. Downloadable papercraft alphabet (via How About Orange)

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New iPhone Cases + Free Shipping!

So far I've only translated my pattern design to iPhone cases and skins on Society6. But I decided to try uploading a few photos, and I think I'm hooked! If you follow my Instagram feed, you'll know I like to take pictures of the everyday as much as the kitsch. Here are a few new cases, with more to come! Plus, as a bonus, Society6 is offering FREE SHIPPING through Sunday, July 29th!

My favorite in this bunch: my typewriter. I love that little guy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beautiful Boletos: Argentinian Railway Tickets

On Pinterest recently, I happened upon some images from an amazing collection of hundreds of train boletos from Argentina. The site from which they came includes the history of the tickets and the railway system in Argentina, plus images from the 1800s to present. It's written entirely in Spanish, but you'll find it hard to take your eye off of the tickets themselves anyway. So very simple and functional, yet beautiful for the same reason. View the whole collection here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Customized Jukebox Fabric!

I've been spending the last few weeks restocking my Etsy shop, adding a little bit every other day or so.

You may already have seen my Jukebox (Love) fabric, which features 140 different songs on it that include the word "Love". Well, I decided to take this one a little further and offer a customized version, so you can pick your own artists and songs, theme or no theme, and have them printed on the fabric! A fun idea for a handmade gift project, for pillows for a college dorm room, or even to document the soundtrack of your life... Endless possibilities!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Faves: The White House

1 Moustaches Mug by Unemployed Philosophers Guild || 2 Chill Pill Ice Tray by Fred || 3 Offer Hand Hook (reminds me so much of the hand hooks in the original "Willy Wonka") by Areaware || 4 Aromatherapy for Your Pup from Sniff Pet Candles || 5 Roller Stop Rollerskate Door Stop by Areaware || 6 Dinner Party Napkins with games and puzzles to keep guests busy, from Luckies Gift Shop || 7 Cassette Tape Lamp from Target

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Fun Project Idea for Generating New Ideas

Several months ago my friend and fellow crafter/sticker collector, Aidan, a.k.a. bubbledog, told me he was in a creative slump and came up with a project for himself to generate some new ideas. Aidan has a knack for making animals, plants, and even inanimate objects into characters, so I couldn't believe he was out of concepts. But we all know what those creative doldrums are like, so I couldn't wait to see what he'd experimented with. After sifting through his sticker collection, he used a sheet of stickers made by Hallmark in the late '70s as a starting point and imagined a whole new set of characters to use in future projects.

Original Hallmark sheet from the 1970s and bubbledog's set of characters

So lo and behold: this past weekend I was browsing through bubbledog's Etsy shop and latest work on Spoonflower and found this new "Summer" collection of prints. The Happy Summer Critters pattern clearly draws from this experiment, and I just love the '80s-inspired hearts, marching ladybugs, and adorable mushrooms (I know there's a gnome hiding behind one somewhere), all in sunny, summery colors.

I can't wait to try this inspirational exercise for myself. Even if you're not a sticker collector, you could find something you've always adored or admired and try to make it better or adapt it into your style and the ideas will just start flowing...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Am I Worthe-y of This Typeface?

Wow. These images filled my Inbox last week: Worthe Numerals from House Industries. I may have to do everything backwards, sort of like the "Jeopardy!" answer-and-question concept, and think of a design project just for this typeface! Those House fellas know just what makes me tick!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fotos and Faves

With summer here, it has been hard for me to stay indoors. But I did manage to find a few things online I thought were fun...

1. Watercolor paper flowers
2. Stitch your own iPhone case
3. Paint swatch wall
4. DIY Washi tape storage box
5. Candy sprinkles resin bracelet
6. DIY laced cement votives

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Customize Your IKEA Furniture!

The folks at MyKea have come up with a way to make your Ikea furniture more beautiful, unique and personal. They offer a variety of decals, submitted by artists from around the world, which have been designed specifically to fit just about every piece of furniture available at Ikea. You select which piece of furniture you have, then choose a design, and the decals are shipped to you for you to apply, and voila! This is not your mom's Ikea furniture!

"Home Controller" decals designed by Pablo Pintachan

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Party 'Arty with Alphabet Plates and Cups

Though I'd have a hard time taking them out of the package, these alphabet paper plates and cups from UK company Magpie would be great for a child's birthday party. The cups could also be used for storing pencils, crayons and small crafty items, and the plates might be fun strung on yarn like garland, in alphabetical order, and hung in a child's room. Great typography and color!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is there a 12-Step Program for addiction to office supplies?

I admit it: I am a hoarder of beautiful paper, pens, pencils, and erasers. I have always loved them and don't dare use them because then they'll be gone. Forever. That's why I am obsessing over these erasers and sticky notes now available at Madewell. The beautiful erasers, made by Koh-i-Noor (pen- and pencil-making extraordinaires), remind me of rocks on the beach. The pads of sticky notes were designed by Korean stationer Pansydaisy and bring to mind 1980s stationery, which you might have heard me ooh and ahh about here. Just try to resist these!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summertime Is Peachy Keen!

At last it is summer here in the Pacific Northwest! July 5th is usually the day when Mother Nature flips the switch from cold and rainy to hot and sunny, and this year she did not disappoint. So now it's finally time to break out my summer standby recipes. I thought I'd share one we had last night. After an afternoon trip to Dairy Queen and then eating handfuls of blueberries, salmonberries, and thimbleberries foraged in the woods, we were ready for something light! So here it is: a fresh peach salsa, which is best served on top of sliced grilled pork or ham steak and, believe it or not, corn bread! Yum!

Fresh Peach Salsa
Makes 3 cups

3 cups diced peeled peaches
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover and chill for 1 hour.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Faves: Rectangular Is Tubular!

1 Andy Warhol iPhone Cases by Incase || 2 Mix Tape USB Drive by Suck UK || 3 Scratch Pad Cards by Art. Lebedev || 4 Helveticards by Ryan Myers || 5 Floppy Disk Sticky Notes at Suck UK || 6 Sillycone Silicone Alphabet Baking/Ice Cube Tray Set at || 7 USA Scratch Map from Luckies of London || 8 Girl Scouts of America Journal and Pantone Chip Journal by Chronicle Books

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Snap, Crackle, POP! Vintage Fireworks Packaging

If you haven't seen the Flickr archives of Jason Liebig, check them out when you're feeling nostalgic and have a few hours to spare. He has one of the most, if not the most extensive collection of vintage packaging, and the majority of the collection is from the '70s and '80s. I have never met Jason in person, but he bought some of the items in his collection from me back when I was a regular seller on eBay, including a set of 1970s coupons. Hard for me to let go of, but I knew they'd be going to a great new home.

Here is some festive vintage firecracker packaging from Jason's collection to help celebrate 4th of July.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Jubilee Jack: New "Handstamped" Pattern

I've been itching to get back to carving my own rubber stamps, a craft I hadn't done in so long that I didn't even known Staedtler had stopped making the huge 3" x 5" white Mars plastic erasers I used to use. So after finding a new medium, I decided I would celebrate the upcoming Olympics in London, and the Queen's Jubilee, by carving a British flag for hand-stamping fabric. I also thought it would be great start with some fabric that could be mass-produced but still had that handmade look. Below are photos of my process.

First, to make sure I had an accurate image, I found details online that gave the exact dimensions and proportions of the true Union Jack flag. I had the picture in my head of using the final fabric on a small pillow, so I sized the flag image so it would look nice reproduced on a pillow with three images across, which also allowed it to fit on my carving block.

After printing the image in reverse and cutting it out, I used rubber cement to adhere it to the carving block. Then I carved the stamp with my X-acto knife and peeled off any remaining image paper from the stamp.

I dug out my brayer from the "printmaking" drawer, found a small piece of glass from an old picture frame, and rolled the brayer over black ink (mixed with a bit of extender), and then rolled the ink onto the stamp.

Even though I couldn't resist mass producing the image, I still wanted it to have that hand-stamped-on-fabric look. So I made several impressions on a piece of scrap white cotton and hung it up to dry. Once dry, I scanned the images at high resolution, trying to pick up as much of the fabric texture as possible.

I cropped out the three images I thought worked the best and colorized them...

...and then produced the pattern, in Photoshop.

Over the weekend I received a sample swatch and am quite happy with how the images reproduced. What do you think?

I also applied one of the images to iPhone cases and skins for Society6:

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