Friday, May 22, 2020

Little Books & Journals

Last week I stitched a quick little journal out of water color paper. I wanted to use it to have some fun with water color splotches and ink doodles. I worked on it for just a bit everyday. It's a good exercise to stretch your imagination and creativity.










I stuck to one palette of colors for this exercise. It's a Prima pan set called "Woodlands". I plan to pop this little book in the mail and send it off to Danielle as a cheery surprise.

During this quarantine time I have also created a couple of other small journals. I am still using a simple binding method.



This one has a variety of paper types and sizes inside it. It will make a cute little art journal or a place to write down your thoughts and/or important dates. The fun part about creating these journals is using up odds and ends of paper and bits of artworks that in their original state you just weren't happy with.

Here in North Carolina we have entered into a "modified" phase II of re-opening the state. Here at 505 East Main we are continuing to stay at home and remain closed. We will give it a couple more weeks and then reassess opening our gallery to the public. In the meantime, you can buy our pottery online and we can ship or do curbside pick-up. A link to my Etsy shop is in the sidebar. Our website has links to both of our shops:

Stay well, stay safe, stay home as much as you can.



Monday, May 11, 2020

Image Transfer

I have really enjoyed printing with a gel plate. Initially I had purchased a small 6"x 6" plate and after using it for a month, I decided to get a larger 8"x 10". I found a different brand that was a little less expensive. I haven't noticed a difference between brands, other than price.

The technique that has really intrigued me is using it for image transfers. It's taken a lot of experimenting with different acrylic paints and application thickness. I think I am getting close to success!


I rolled a layer of black on to the gel place and placed a stencil over it. I want to create some negative space to fill with color in the second layer, so I pulled a print to remove some paint before taking the stencil off.


Once the black paint has completely dried I apply some colors over the flower design. I let this layer completely dry as well. Sometimes I use a hair dryer on the cool setting to speed up the process. Don't use a heat tool on a gel plate. It gets too hot and can damage your plate. When it's dry it's time to pull your print. That's when the magic happens!
Apply a thin layer of paint over the gel plate, place your paper on top. I have had the best luck rolling over the back of the paper with a clean brayer. Slowly peel the paper off of the gel plate to reveal the print.

I didn't get a photo of the plate with the transfer coat of paint because you have to work fairly quickly during this part of the process. You want to pull the print before the paint dries.


At first I was having problems with a lot of patchy areas that didn't transfer. I have eliminated a lot of that by applying a thinner coat of paint on the transfer layer. I am still getting some spotty areas but I am okay with that. I sort of like the look. 


These are some prints I also pulled during the process. I try to not waste any paint. They are printed on cover stock that I found in my office. I am trying to use up paper that I have on hand.


These were printed on deli paper. Layered over some other prints. These can be used to make little envelopes, wrap small gifts, or incorporated into collage.


This is a "ghost" print that I did over watercolor paper that was printed with distress oxide ink. I really like how this turned out.
The prints done on heavier paper may get used to make journal covers. I have been doing some simple binding techniques. Next on my "to learn" list is to teach myself how to stitch a coptic binding!




Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there! My sweet girl Danielle sent me this box filled with lot's of comforting goodies...


Today we won't be having our usual family gathering for a chicken barbecue. Instead, Jeff and I will cook and deliver meals to his 92 year old mother and his sister's mother-in-law, who is in her 80's. Yesterday I even baked a cake, which is rare for me. I much prefer baking breads and pizza, but I came across this recipe a couple of years ago and thought it might be a good time to try it.


It's an Italian Lemon Pound Cake. I hope it's good... I will let you know! The lemon cream cheese frosting made way too much. It's pooling around the cake and I didn't even use it all. If I make it again I will cut the frosting recipe in half. It also could have come out of the oven a few minutes early. I checked it 10 minutes before the low end of the baking time and it was already done.

It may not look like it, but I am still making work. It's been all about the pigs here. I have been swamped with orders. We are very thankful for online sales.


North Carolina has entered phase I for re-opening the state. I think it's too early. The county we live in has had an ever-increasing rate of covid-19 cases. We have made the decision to remain closed until we feel it's safer for us and our customers. At this point in time, we can barely attain enough hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes for our own trips to the grocery store, never mind providing them to customers. We are happy to provide curb-side pick up if you need a special gift, and we are open 24/7 on Etsy.

PS - I have temporarily deactivated my Facebook account. I need a break. If I saw the "Plandemic" conspiracy post one more time I was going to go nuts. You can still find me on Instagram. So far it's still a happy place. :-)





Thursday, April 30, 2020

Cuteness Overload!


I am in LOVE with these little paper purses! I can't even tell you how much fun I had making them. I found a couple of templates online. I decorated the paper using multiple techniques... mono-print, distress inks, acrylic paint, stencils, and stamps.


I made the backsides of the paper in a complimentary design to mimic the lining of a real purse. My paper wasn't very thick so I gave each of them a coat of matte medium.

I think adding embellishments was the most fun.

I filled each one with a tiny bag of little candy and I am sending them off to my favorite girls... great nieces in New Hampshire, and one to my daughter in Connecticut, who has a great love of handbags.
They took me so long to make that if I added up my time they would cost more than a Coach bag!

Monday, April 20, 2020

DIY Washi Tape and Handmade Cards

I recently bought a small gelli plate for mono-printing. Printers used to make their own plates with gelatin, and you still can, but now there are a few companies that manufacture them. The bonus is that they are quite durable and they should last for years if you take care of them.

I recently saw a YouTube video on making your own mono-printed washi-tape. I had all the ingredients to make it happen! 

The first step is to tape strips of masking tape onto wax paper. Don't overlap. 

Second, roll out some acrylic paint onto your gelli plate. I wanted random, bright colors.

I impressed some designs onto the plate and pulled a few prints using the taped wax paper. If you don't have a gel plate you could always sponge paint the tape with acrylic paint.

Once my layers of printed paint dried, I stamped and stenciled random designs.

Why make washi-tape when you can buy it reasonably priced? I wanted to use it to bind multi-fold cards. I wanted to the tape binding to blend in with the card.

This is my first attempt at a three fold card with a washi-tape binding.

I had so much fun creating it!

It took me a few days to complete because I kept adding new layers and embellishments. I am quite happy with the results and plan to make more. The washi-tape "hinge" blends in nicely.

 But now lets get back to the handmade washi-tape...

In theory, you should easily be able to pull the tape off of the wax paper. The first day I made it, it appeared that it would lift off easily. Three days later, when I was ready to assemble my card, much of the tape would not come off the wax paper. It could possibly be that my masking tape is too heavy duty. It's the same tape we buy in bulk to tape bubble wrap when packing pottery. Maybe inexpensive tape works better. Another thought is, the artist in the YouTube video is in Italy. European waxed paper may be different from what we get here in the US. I am going to give it another try with an idea that Jeff gave me. Lay masking tape down on a board or piece of cardboard. Tape another layer of tape over that tape. Print, stamp, and embellish the second layer. In theory, it should peel off easily, since that is how tape works on a roll. Hopefully, your first layer of tape can be re-used to make more. I don't like being wasteful!
I will post again when I finish my second attempt. In the meantime, feel free to ask questions, or share your method if you have made your own washi-tape.

Be well, and keep creating!