Monday, January 26, 2015

Fandom Subway Art

We're starving for wall decor in our little house, and I'm mad about subway art.  It occurs to me, linking up with my old blog, that I probably should have reread that post before putting this canvas together. Because, apparently, I'm reasonably consistent in my mistake-making.

Anyway, I had a good-sized canvas to work with, and one of the local office supply stores was going out of business.  I scored a stash of vinyl letters for 90% off (squee!), and I knew what I wanted: an homage to our favorite tv shows.  I started this project back in October, then went on hiatus when the madness of holiday markets consumed our every waking hour.  (It got seriously hairy there, for awhile. Also, it said "Buffy the Vampire Slaye" for weeks, and that set my poor, spelling-sensitive nerves on edge each time I looked at it.)  I finally finished up last night, when I added in the last batch of shows and hit the spray paint. 

I have some touching up to do; some of the tinier letters kind of melted when the spray paint hit them and didn't leave a clear impression.  And, of course, I listed one show twice---(can you find it?---and left out a few (Warehouse 13, Psych, and The Listener) that I remembered at the very moment the spray paint fumes settled. 

All in all, though, I'm pretty pleased with my handiwork, and can't wait to get it on the wall.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Magic of Freezer Paper

Freezer paper.  It's amazing stuff.  Apparently, some people use it to wrap things in before they freeze things, and I've got no problem with that. Except that it seems like such a waste of potential awesomeness.

Here's the deal.

You're going to need

  • a roll of freezer paper
  • a pen, pencil, or Sharpie
  • an X-Acto knife
  • a cutting surface
  • a sponge brush
  • fabric paint (but I almost always use plain old acrylic)
  • something to stencil your design onto
  • newspaper or similar to keep your table clean
  • an iron 

Freezer paper has two sides: one shiny, and one papery.  So what you do, should you ethe need to make something---t-shirt, shop banner, tote bag, whatever!---that looks pretty professional and requires minimal preparation, skill, or moolah, is this

You choose your design.  You can print it out, or flip your laptop over and use it like a lightbox and trace it right off the screen.  Trace it onto the papery (non-shiny) side of the freezer paper.  I almost always use a superfine sharpie for this step, but that's purely a matter of personal preference.  Whatever works. You are the master of your fate, yadda yadda yadda. 

Next---and if it seems like we're moving at a pretty brisk clip here, we are---use your trusty X-Acto knife to cut out your design.  I'm hoping you've got mad X-Acto skills, but if not, we'll wait while you catch up.  Go ahead and cut out the whole blessed thing, then position your design---shiny side down--- on whatever you've chosen to stencil on.  (Ugh.  Preposition at the end of sentence has been duly noted. Sue me.)  Heat up your iron and use it to press the paper firmly and slowly to the fabric until it's nice and stuck.  (I usually turn my iron to the highest setting.  I craft like I cook---a lot of trial and error and "to taste" type of measuring.  Your mileage may vary.  Don't burn yourself.)

Next order of business is the application of paint.  Pour out a puddle of paint and get the tip of your sponge brush nice and paint-y.  Then use a stippling motion to fill in the areas left exposed by your stencil.

 Once they're all covered, gently peel the freezer paper off of the fabric and admire your handiwork.  Try not to smudge. 

Quick, cheap and easy, right?  There are scores of applications for this little trick, and I promise, your friends will be in outright awe of your talents.  Go forth and make stuff!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Saturday in St. Pete

Yesterday was our first market of 2015, and it was a doozy!  We were lucky to be set up next to the fabulous Kate of Kate Kreates, and spent a busy afternoon and evening hanging out with her crew, hobnobbing with the fine folk of St. Petersburg and basking in the glow of the goodies we've added to our setup.

We finally got a chance to use our new banner (yes, I'm a little obsessed), and we gave the bunting a trial run, too. The banner looked pretty damned good, if I say so myself, but the magnets I sewed in to hold it up were a fail.  Actually, the magnets were less of a problem than the fact that I didn't set up the tent while I was making the banner to determine where the magnets should be placed.  (Duh.)  So we improvised with tiny binder clips, and nobody was any the wiser till this very moment. Consider yourself armed with insider information.

See the canister in the right-hand corner of the photo? That's our new magnet display, and I'm a little bit smitten with it.  Actually, it's so cool that I'm planning to dedicate a whole post to it later in the week.  For now, let's just say that it spins, it didn't cost me a cent, and it worked like a charm.  We let people choose a free magnet if they followed us on 3 social media channels at the event.  It was a good deal all the way around, and I got to introduce a surprising number bunch of people to the wonders of the QR Code reader.  It's kind of magical. (If you're looking to make a follow sheet of your own, you can generate printable QR codes for free.)

Our upcycled cork keychains made their debut at this event, too.  These, like our pendants, are only available at our events--we won't be listing them in the shop.  They're a fun upcycle, and they seem to appeal to oenophiles and garden-variety lushes alike.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shop update and a giveaway!

November and December were kind of a blur.  A busy, happy blur, but they went by in a frantic rush of markets and making.  We were constantly under the gun to keep our inventory up, and I'm pretty sure that visions of sugarplums were entirely eclipsed by frenzied 3 AM fretting over whether the resin would set, the bracelet blanks would arrive in time for whatever events we had that weekend, and whether it was actually reasonable to assume that I could card 60 pendants on the way to Sarasota. (It was, in fact.  And, no---I wasn't driving.)

Lots of new cuff designs made their way into our market setup with precious little fanfare. (Unless you happened to be following us over on Instagram, in which case there may have been a modicum of hasty, hey-look-I-made-this show-offery and perhaps a some half-hearted hashtagging, but still.)  The point is that the shop has been languishing while we played store, and we've finally gotten around to fixing that.

A couple of cuffs that have been knocking around in my brain for too long finally came to fruition earlier this week.  Makers gonna make is one of my favorite hashtags over on IG, and our stint at St. Pete Maker Fest gave me the impetus to go ahead and do just that.  It's in the shop now, and was actually our first order of the new year!  Pretty sure that's an omen.  The good kind, right?

Not my circus, not my monkeys has been my unofficial motto for a few years, now.  Works like a charm in situations from traffic jams to family feuds, and keeps me well and truly focused on whose drama belongs to whom.  Try'll see!

You can also check out some new fandom-y goodness in the shop.  We've added another Firefly cuff, an homage to Joss Whedon, and, of course, the Printsicle-inspired ain't nobody got time for that.  Lots more on the way...I'm shooting to list one a day. Goals, right?  You can tell it's January.

In other news, we're approaching 300 followers on Facebook, Instagram, and in our Etsy shop.  When we hit those milestones, you can be sure there's going to be a giveaway.  We'll keep you posted!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Banner Day

New Year's Day was a day off from Ye Olde Day Jobbe, and I vowed to make it a productive one.  I swapped Netflix for Pandora, and spent the morning putting together our new banner. 
I'm a huge fan of freezer paper stenciling and dropcloth, so I chose to enlist that trusty team for this endeavor. If it ain't broke...

Having completed the lettering, it occurred to me that I should have gone with a much bigger font.  There was some significant space on either side of the "fandomonium designs" and I wasn't entirely sure what to do about it.  I'll admit that I considered just trimming it down and making a bigger banner later, or starting over then and there.  Frankly, I'm too lazy for that to have been an option, so I hit Sean up for ideas.  As usual, he had a plan; put "aluminum cuffs" on one side, and "upcycled bling" on the other.  I liked it, but I still wasn't sure how to make it work.  Different fonts?  Different colors?  I let that percolate while I had my  breakfast, and hit on "negative space."  I went to my laptop and printed out the phrases I'd need---same font, but a little smaller---and set about tracing and cutting. 
Ninety-nine percent of the time, the cutting that's called for when I freezer paper is done with an X-Acto knife.  I'm kind of a whiz with the X-Acto, but the blade on my current one is beat, so I was delighted to be able to knock this one out with a plain old pair of scissors.  Yaaaaaay, negative space!

While I cut (and sang along with a mix of Once More With Feeling and Dr. Horrible tunes, thank you very much), it occurred to me that it was going to be a huge pain in the keister to block out rectangles of equal size to float these letters in.  More cutting, more rumination, and finally a lightbulb moment.  I hightailed it to the kitchen to grab a dinner plate---thank you, IKEA!---and quickly traced it onto the freezer paper.  A bit of seat-of-my-pants arranging yielded this:

Better than I'd hoped for. I filled it in with black acrylic, taking care to keep from bleeding through to the table this time,  and hoped for the best.  I pulled each letter off carefully with my X-Acto knife, knowing full well that this part of the process is the riskiest bit.  It's easy to get a smudge in the white spaces with the not-quite-dry paint, and it wouldn't be the first time I'd screwed up a big project this late in the game.  Slow and steady.

Here are the fruits of my labors:

Not bad, right?  I'll get a full view at our next market on Saturday.  You local yokels, come check it out in person! There will be beer, and music, and merry-making1