30 November 2010

mug painting

I finished off that messy mug...

I like it!
I have painted mugs before...

Flickr tells me these "craft night" pictures are from April 2009. I don't remember where i first learned of this paint, Pebeo Porcelaine 150, but once I saw it,  I knew I had to try it!  You can buy it online at Dick Blick, and they usually have it at Michaels if you have one of those shops in your town.

It is really easy to work with, just paint it onto ceramic or glass or metal, let it dry for 24 hours, then bake it for 35 minutes to make it permanent.

There are a lot of colors and you can mix the colors, but I have had a lot of fun with just three colors (coral red, sapphire blue, abyss black) and minimal mixing.  Three little pots have painted more than 15 mugs and there's still plenty of paint left!

My craft night mugs have been in heavy rotation for 18 months and the paint job is holding up remarkably well.  Only one shows some chipping.  Some of my favorites from the first round are mugs where I took an existing patterned mug and added color and print to it.
Doing this means I can buy thrift-store or TJMaxx mugs I like the shape and weight of even if I find them a bit ugly or dull.  Then, I paint them to suit my fancy. I had three such mugs that I did up this time around.

I also painted up a little sugar bowl and its lid.  I was thinking blood cells, can you tell?
The sugar bowl now lives in my office.  I'm forever emptying my wallet of change and needed somewhere cute to stick those nickels and dimes!

28 November 2010

pass the puppy

My younger brother got a puppy. Her name is Olive.
If you haven't heard from me this week, it is because I have been playing pass the puppy.

Or I've been at the fabric store (look, a shop with solids!)

Or, I've been out lunching with fellow-blogger Anna of noodlehead (she lives in my hometown).

Or, I've been spoiling my parents' 17-year-old cat, Macky.  Full name: Makanaki, after the soccer player because she used to dribble golf balls like soccer balls.
In the words a high-school friend "THAT CAT IS STILL ALIVE!?!?!?"  ha ha ha.  Macky has barely slowed down.

I did pick a winner for the thermofax screen, Laura, who said, "Less than a year ago, I dyed my first fabric with Procion MX dyes--and have been totally addicted since then."  Check your email, Laura!

And since she mention Procion MX dye I wanted to point out that you could use the Thermofax screen with thickened Procion dye (try sodium alginate or superclear).

20 November 2010

Thanksgiving is coming!

I love me some American Thanksgiving.  Food and football.  And, if I can make it work, a week in Wisconsin.  This year, I extra-'specially made it work and am currently on my first of nine days in my home state.  I'm ready for a whole lot of beer, cheese, and football.  : )

Thanks for your kind comments on the fabric and my toy box doodle. 

If you'd like a screen in this design, it is now available in Lynn's shop
The $5 mini screen is the scale I used on the fabric and mug in the previous post (5.75" x 4").  The $9 option is larger (8" x 5.75").

Lynn was thankful that I spread the thermofax love and she emailed me to say that she'd like to offer a giveaway to my blog readers!  Sound good?

Here's what you can win: one thermofax screen (any size, any design, including your own doodle) and one bottle of Simply Screen paint (any color listed in the shop).

To enter, name one crafty thing you discovered this year that you are thankful for.  I'll pick a winner on Friday.

14 November 2010

screen-printed fabric and ceramics

I love hand-printed fabric and purchase it from various etsy sellers on a regular basis.  Current favorites are this and this and this.

Much as I love hand-printed fabric, I have never screen-printed fabric myself.  So, even though I knew that Lynn (firbraartysta) made custom screens at a very reasonable price, I didn't immediately have it in mind to order one from her UNTIL I realized that her thermofax screens are flexible and I might be able to wrap them around ceramics and print on ceramics.  I hand-painted some mugs last year and loved the process and results. (If you want to see thermofax screens, with an explanation, check out Lynn's shop and YouTube channel.)

Well, I asked Lynn about printing on ceramics at a Modern Quilt Guild meeting and she had never tried it, but because the ceramics paint that I have (Pebeo Porcelaine) is water-based, she thought it might work.  She generously offered to send me a screen so that I might experiment. With in a couple of days, I had emailed her this doodle:

Which is based on this 1950s textile:

Except I was trying to have the shapes look less like windows and more like vintage Fisher Price Little People character silhouettes.

When the screen arrived, I tried it out on fabric first, to make sure I understood the technique.

Easy peasy!

I printed up a bunch of blue and yellow for my Grandma's quilt in no time!
If I had planned ahead at all, I could have had a much cleaner repeat, but I wasn't in the mood for fastidiousness, so there are some gappy bits.

Results in using the screen with Pebeo Porcelaine onto ceramics were mixed.  I simply could not get a clean print onto my mug:

This is the best I could do.  The problem here is NOT the paint or the screen, rather it is the fact that the mug is a very hard surface that curves.  Luckily, you can wash the Pebeo Porcelaine off and try again, so I was able to try multiple times to get something I liked.  This is the best I could do and getting this involved using a lot of tape to hold the screen in place on the mug, printing a tiny bit, moving the screen and printing another tiny bit.   Not a fun process and not really the result I wanted.  Oh well.

Using the same paint and screen, I was able to get a clean print onto a 100% flat surface:
So, I guess that if I wanted to print onto FLAT plates I could.  It's much more likely that I'll be printing some more fabric however, now that I've begun, I'm hooked!

08 November 2010

w i n n e r

Congratulations to Kirsty @ Bonjour!

Your number came up!

Check your email!

02 November 2010

Blog Tour - The Practical Guide to Patchwork

I really like this book.  In some ways this is not surprising, I've been a long time admirer of Elizabeth Hartman's work and when we've had the chance to swap emails--usually because i wanted a pattern or two for a giveaway in the Fresh Modern Quilts flickr group--she's always been prompt and kind and sincere, a voice that comes through clearly in this book.

But in some ways it is surprising that i enjoyed reading this book as much as i did: on the grand spectrum of quilting, the quilts in this book seem to mix the brighter fabrics available today with blocks that are fairly traditional (equal sizes, usually gridded and surrounded by sashing) without pulling much more in.  While i have a deep love for some of Elizabeth's quilts (this and this and this), the patterns in this book didn't shake me up me the way that those one's did.  I think the reason for this lies in something Elizabeth spoke of earlier on the blog tour, “I started planning the quilts for the book with a checklist of design elements, both conventional and modern, that I wanted to include.  Writing the patterns for the book was, to a certain extent, designing patterns around the items on that checklist."

If I think of these quilts as teaching exercises, the fact that none of the individual quilts takes my breath away makes sense.  I've been looking at Elizabeth's quilts for years now and can usually spot one of hers the second it shows up on flickr...if she wrote the book to communicate each of the skills and aesthetics she finds fundamental, then of course they look quintessentially and unsurprisingly like her work.  Duh, me, duh!

At any rate, I highly recommend this book.  Pages 25-44, Step-by-Step Quilt Construction, are worth the purchase price of this book alone.  I have a copy of one of Elizabeth's first patterns, which I keep in my sewing desk because it has become my go to reference for quilt construction (I regularly forget how to sew on binding).   Now, I'll keep this book in my desk, too.

Typically, i wish quilting books and magazines would LEAVE OUT the construction section...I think should be their own "101" books and not included in every gosh darn quilting book (often in tiny font, with few pictures, taking up space where another quilt could be shown!)  But  step-by-step construction is what Elizabeth does best, so i am glad she allotted many pages to this! 

With holiday season coming I think this book would make a great present for oneself or any quilter or would-be quilter on your gift list.  It doesn't cover all of what I would consider modern basics--Elizabeth doesn't do improv piecing, and there isn't much play with negative space--but it does cover a lot and it covers it well. It's a heckuva lot better that the introductory quilting books I consulted when I began quilting!

In point of fact, if I were giving a gift to a new quilter,  The Practical Guide to Patchwork would go in the gift box with a sample of some fabulous fabrics.

Today, one lucky winner--new to quilting or not--has the chance to win those gifts, provided by the lovely Elizabeth Hartman herself!  To enter, comment on this post with an answer to the following question: what is one thing every new quilter needs to know?

I will pick a winner on the 7th. 

For more chances to win, check out the rest of the blog tour:
October 27th – Sew, Mama, Sew!
October 28th – Film in the Fridge
October 29th – I Heart Linen
October 30th – Tallgrass Prairie Studio
October 31st – Handmade by Alissa
November 1st – Connecting Threads 
November 3rd – One Shabby Chick
November 4thTrue Up
November 5thPink Chalk Studio 
November 6th – Whip Up

And of course, you can follow Elizabeth on her blog, Oh, Fransson!