Hello, Little Owl

You may recall from my felted butterfly post that I was inspired to try needle felting by this video from Bubzbeauty. So inspired that I wanted my first project to be a little Totoro like her step-by-step showed.

He was less Totoro shaped than I would have liked, but in the end he became a cute little owl…with large, bunny-ish ears. Hey, at least he came out cute.

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Send It Off

I haven’t posted a project that didn’t involve yarn recently, and I want to correct that injustice. Because I do occasionally do something other than sit around an knit. Occasionally. Although I do have a giant string of projects waiting in my Ravelry queue.

Anyway, back in May (I should really catch up on these things already) I had a few occasions that required cards. And most times I like to make cards, unless I find a really funny one at Target. First was a friend’s birthday:

I started with my watercolor cards I bought to make Christmas cards last year and created the purple to pink wash. Then I drew the decorations with markers. I also glued rhinestones on at the last minute, but I didn’t take a picture of it after that (of course). Gold rhinestone in the centers of the flowers, if you are curious.

Then, there was Mother’s day. One grandmother got a lovely plant and the other got a card with a picture of a plant, a week late. Yeah, I’m on top of these holidays this year.

Again, I took my watercolor card and started with washes of color. Over several days, letting the cards dry in between coats, of course, I made a layer of yellow, then slowly added light, transparent washes of the orange and purple to get the desired sunset. Then I took my trusty India ink on a dry brush and created the palm trees with just a few, sweeping brush strokes.

On the inside of this one I used lettering stamps to write “Happy Mother’s Day!” in rainbow colors. Then I signed it and sent it out. Again, a week late. In my defense…well, there really is no excuse except I guess I was just a little busy with a billion different projects getting ready to go on my trip to France. Even though those things were a month apart. Yeah.

I cannot recommend these watercolor cards highly enough if you like to make cards of any kind. They have other versions for different media as well, but I find watercolors to be the best way to make these cards.

My question to you today is: What do you do about greeting cards? Do you make them, buy them, or send e-cards? Do you go for funny or more sappy poignant cards?

Printing Cards

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something non-knitting. To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything non-knitting. I’ve been in a self-imposed knitting rut trying to make all those blasted squares in such a short time. Really have to stop doing that to myself.

Anyway, I seem to keep adding more media to my…”artistic repertoire”, if you will. This one is pretty cool, though. I’ve taken up lino carving. It’s a way of making your own stamps.

For this first one, I got a kit with a lino block, carving tool, and brayer (the thing you use to put paint on the stamp). The carving tool has interchangeable ends to carve different widths and depths of lines. The block that came with the kit is a hard material attached to a wooden block.

The process goes a but like this:

  1. Draw out the design on paper. This is especially essential for words, because the print is going to be reversed from what you see on the face of the stamp.
  2. Trace the drawing onto tracing paper in pencil. It has to be pencil so it will transfer to the block. I filled in all the areas I wanted to cut away to make it easier on myself. That way you just remove all the pencil marks and don’t have to worry about hollowing out the wrong part.
  3. Place the tracing paper onto the block and rub really hard with your pencil to transfer the design.
  4. Carve out the parts where you want “white space”, being really careful. Remember, any place there isn’t rubber, there won’t be ink. Even if that is just a slight scratch.

I decided to make something I could use for a while. What kind of a stamp could one use most often? A “thank you” stamp, of course. Somehow, I don’t have a picture of the actual stamp, but these are the cards I made from it:

Thank You Cards

It took a little experimentation to get the right concentration of ink so the image showed up without being blobby. I think I got it down pretty well. I really like the “distressed”(?) look these have.

I Couldn’t Resist

…making a bad pun, apparently. See, for this butterfly:
rainbow butterfly
I used the tempera/India ink resist method to create the black outlines.

If you don’t know how an ink resist is done, here is the method I use:

  1. Draw the basic outlines, mainly of the parts that need to be black in the final product.
  2. Fill in the parts that need to stay white with a white tempera/gouache paint. Let that dry at least overnight.
  3. Cover the entire paper with India ink and let it dry.
  4. Rinse the paper under water and gently scrub the underlying paint off.
  5. Let the paper dry, then use watercolors to fill in the other colors.

It takes a few days, but I like how it turned out. Probably should have used a tougher paper to stand up to the washing, but it works well enough.