Saturday, August 21, 2010

$5 dress

Straight up inspired by this chick.

Went to Goodwill the next day and bought a $5 dress. I've had a dress of my grandma's for about 2 weeks now that I need to alter to fit me.... but I'm a bit terrified of ruining something that I actually care about. So I got this. I learned a lot of things about myself and sewing. First, sewing makes sense to me. Second, I always pin things in the wrong direction and am not above actually sewing them wrong.

Here's the before: DSC08438

Here's the after: DSC08442

What I did:
1.) made cap sleeves from the existing long sleeves. I dislike long sleeves. I love cardigans. Also, it had a cute puff that I didn't want to cut off.

2.) It was a size too big for me, so I made an elastic waistband instead of making it more fitted. It has pockets! I didn't want to have to fiddle with making those fit if I took it in on the sides.

3.) Chopped off 7 inches from the bottom. It's about an inch or so shorter than I wanted, but that's because blind hems confuse me- I definitely have enough hemmed up to get it an inch longer. I'll probably take it out and lengthen it a bit... but later. Most of what I've done is taking out stitches, not actually sewing. The awesome part is that I didn't have to cut a pattern. I did become quite intimate with my seam ripper though.

4.) I have yet to tackle the neckline. It's not so bad when it's unbuttoned and I have about 3 camis that match the colors in it. I do want to practice on a neckline, so I might fix that later.

Best part? I'm proud of it. I completed something.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I'm in the throes of my last two weeks of college and the deadlines for my design work have led to long hours in the press room and very little time to buy or cook food.

But the other night I whipped up a little spin on my favorite go-to comfort food: mac and cheese. I added my other favorite comfort food, squash(/yams/sweet potatoes) and some carmelized onions. Just added the cheese packet, some butter, and milk to pureed squash and mixed in the noodles- I was hungry NOW and didn't have time/desire to make my own cheese sauce and do the full out homemade version. It was pretty darn good and definitely NOT my traditional mac and cheese, but I think I'd choose any squash other than spaghetti squash next time.

*sigh* the work continues.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When I say I'm majoring in design production and I get to do things like make books and letterpress, people don't always know what that means. If they've been through the wedding thing, they might know letterpress means "pretty, but pricey." Some might know it as a dying art because, really, letterpresses are a thing of the past- they stopped making them years ago. As weddings and greeting cards are the only modern place where letterpressing is surviving, I decided to tailor my senior project to that genre. I'm making wedding invitations. Not just generic ones, MY wedding invitations (april 30, 2011 is the date). So not only do I get something to use for a portfolio that might possibly get me a job, I get extremely personalized wedding stuff. I have a lot more to do, but I'm trying to take pictures of the process so those closest to me know a.) why I'm exhausted after day of printing and b.) what letterpressing is.

So here we go. First, a video.

This is how something goes through the press. I printed two pieces during this.
Here's what going on.

1. put down the rollers/turn on the rollers
2. put the paper under the grippers and line it up against the guides
3. hold the paper with the left hand while turning the crank with the right
4. take the paper off the press with the left hand and put it on the drying rack (just off screen) while checking for hickeys on the plate/rollers, ink density, and even printing (which could indicate a packing fail). Any of these issues could result in stopping the press to fix the problem.
5. roll the platen back for another run (preferably using the left hand to even out where I'm building my muscles)

So when I say something with through the press X amount of times, this is what I had to X amount of times for that piece.

It's a lot of work. I have calluses on my hands, my feet are aching, and I'm only about half way through with what I plan do to. But after a couple of days, I lay down a second color then I get something cool. Like this. I present my thank you cards, a simple two color run, but things are finally coming together.
Thank you cards

and that makes me happy.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reusable produce bags

As I was working on my everlasting knitting project recently (a shopping bag featured in last year's spring issue of Interweave knits... and yes, I've been working on it for a year with a nine month break between spurts) I started thinking about resuable produce bags because I HATE all those flimsy little plastic bags floating around in my refrigerator.

So I decided to make some reusable ones. After a bit of research online of what to make it out of (sheer fabric or tulle), a bit of browsing at an antique store, and a brief wait to collect my iron from a friend that borrowed it, I made some. (I would like to note I used Wisdom of the Moon for reference, but simple bags aren't that hard to make. It's a bag.)

I made a total of 4 bags: one tall and skinny for celery, carrots, green onions and the like, one for lettuce, one for small items greens (cilantro, garlic, lemons/limes) and a large "apple" bag that actually could hold many apples, onions, potatoes, etc. As I did not have any cilantro, garlic, lemons or limes on hand, I put three apples in that bag for the photo and a gigantic sweet potato and four onions in the large apple bag.

Anyway, I allowed for seams on one side of the bag, but for some reason wasn't thinking and didn't add it to the other side of the bag... as a result, all of the bags are 2 inches shorter than I was expecting. But that's ok, they'll work. Also, two of the bags (the large apple bag and the lettuce bag) have a drawstring that needs to be added to it as soon as I figure out what type of cord I want.
I'm thinking about making more of these and putting them up on etsy. It's an idea at least.
lettuce, celery, apples, oh my!
the print
lettuce help you carry fooood
celery goodness

Thursday, February 18, 2010

screenprinted the paste paper for the cover of the commissioned item I'm making. I can't wait to finish my mockup/photobook #2 so i can get started on the real thing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not all paper is made the same! So I have issues with grain direction- mainly remembering which way it needs to run (parallel to the spine, usually) and then keeping it straight which direction my paper is running! Well, I was "commissioned" to make a journal for someone in my family by someone in my family and so went out on a paper search. Up to this point, all my books have been made with paper given in class or "found" paper (aka left over from other projects). But I wanted this book to be special. Also, it's my first book that's not blank!

I went to Dakota Art Store to find paper. As soon as I walked in, I saw A4 and A3 paper (on sale!) and I wanted it. But, being the obsessive/compulsive shopper that I am, I searched the entire store for the papers on my list of "good for book arts" paper. Now, I was expecting to find parent sheets to cut down so I had figured out how how many parent sheets I needed to buy depending on what size parent sheet was found. I did not figure in A3/A4 paper. For those that don't know, Europeans use different paper sizes. Like the metric system, it's way more logical. They start out with a giant piece of paper (1m) that is called A0. Then they cut it in half. That's A1. Then they cut that in half. That's A2. Etc. Etc. Etc. Here's where grain thing kicks in: I was expecting grain long. Most computer paper is grain long (hotdog style). This paper was grain short (hamburger style). As I assumed/hoped it was grain long, the easiest thing to do would be cut the A4 in half to make A3 paper which would then be folded for my signatures. Clearly this couldn't work with grain short paper.

I made do (I'm making a 6x8 book, so cutting 12x8) and using the scraps for... well... unplanned books or half planned books. I cut about half the paper I wanted for the book to make sure printing on the size would work well, etc. and then used some of the scraps to test out the binding I wanted. SO GLAD I DID. I'm modifying a Gary Frost binding, but I haven't done one in about a year and my directions for it are somewhat vague. They're clear if you know what you're doing because it refreshes your memory, but I was taught visually and given the book for reference- I've never seen these directions before. I should have had a signature of two end papers on each end, I didn't need to sew on tapes (my favorite style of sewing), and book board is far too thick. I used too much glue on the paste paper cover (ok, that's not a failure, more unnecessary for this style) and too little on the spine. However, it looks better than I thought it would. I took another girl's leftover paste paper after my book arts class last term and to be honest, it's not really my style. I would probably never think to make that paste paper design myself, but it looks kind of sexy on this book. The book is 3.7x6 and would fit a 3x5 photo fairly well. I was thinking of selling it on etsy, but my lack of end papers to glue down makes it a lot less of a professional book than I would have liked. Also, as part of my modification, I covered the portion of the cover that is normally left "bare" but glued those pieces over the spine attachment and I'm unsure how well it will hold up. It's just not as polished as I would like.

However, I'm going to take all this into account and use more scraps to make another photo book (this time a bit longer so there's room for captions) before I do my grandma's. So maybe I'll have something to put up on etsy after all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Felting gloves and binding books

I need to clean off my shelf to make my quick and dirty "light box" to put some pictures of my books. I need more shelves, my books have overrun my predefined space for them. Finished my felted gloves a while back but forgot about this blog. Same pattern as the ones I made for my dad but different size and colors.

However, as soon as I finish my nice warm gloves and finally put my nice, light-blocking, heat-saving curtains (made possibly my thoroughly exciting new cordless drill), there's a heatwave. It is officially 30 degrees warmer than it was last year at this time and I am not amused. I haven't seen snow yet this year and it's January. There has been snow in both locations I reside (college and parent's home) but I've been someplace else whenever the tender white flakes do fall.

yes, this is the only picture I have.

Can't help but put a picture up of one of my more favorite bindings I did while TAing this term. It's not actually difficult, it's just more unusual to sew the top and bottommost "tapes" of this interlocking book and not have a kettle stitch. I'm eagerly planning my new few books now that I have a relatively easy term.

oooo, binding....