Monday, January 31, 2011

Egg carton bowl

Sometimes I'll see a project online that I want to try, so I go to the store and buy the materials, and then never actually make the project. I was looking through my bins of supplies and came across this bottle of fabric stiffener, along with an empty egg carton, and decided that today was the day to put them to use.

Fabric stiffener is exactly what it sounds like--a glue that you can use to stiffen fabric in whatever shape you'd like. I'd saved the egg carton with the idea that I could use the fabric stiffener to make a bowl with different compartments to organize small craft supplies.

I started brushing the glue onto both sides of the fabric with a foam brush.

When it was pretty saturated I started shaping it over the form of the egg carton (after lining it with some plastic wrap so it didn't adhere to the paper). It wasn't really taking the shape of the carton very well so I stuffed some pieces of plastic bag into each crevice (and one foil ball, after I ran out of plastic).

Then I waited awhile for it to dry...and look at that.

Not sure what I'll actually use it for, but you get the idea. Buttons, jump rings, magnets...anything small that needs organizing.

In hindsight I think I would have made the piece of fabric larger so that there was more of a lip to the bowl, as it looks a little weird like this. Oh well, live and learn.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wood block T-shirt

I really like the look of old wooden letterpress type, and have picked up a few here and there at flea markets and the like, mostly for decorative purposes. But the great thing about them is that you can use them to make things as well, even if you don't have a press.

I wanted to spruce up this t-shirt so I laid it out on the floor with a few pieces of paper in between, just in case ink seeped through (it didn't), and played around with the arrangement of the letters until I arrived at one that I liked.

I applied some ink to the back with a foam brush (I used Jacquard textile paint but you could use any screenprinting ink). You don't really need too much, just a thin layer. Also don't mind the weird glare on the 5.

And then I pressed them into the fabric by hand, one at a time. I like the varying degrees of texture, how some came out lighter than others.

Finally, after it dried I ironed on the back of the print for about 30 seconds to heat set it. And that's it. The bulk of the project probably took about 5 minutes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mason jar containers

Not too long ago I decided to move my vintage cheese crate to the kitchen counter, to corral the bags of coffee and sugar that were cluttering up the space. To further the de-cluttering, I decided to move the coffee and sugar into mason jars. We just finished a jar of vodka sauce that was perfectly sized, so I washed it out, wiped off the label, and glued some decorative paper to the lid (because otherwise it just looked like a spaghetti jar lid). Now I just need to consume another jar's worth of vodka sauce for the coffee.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marimekko bowl + avocado dip

I recently made the totally frivolous purchase of two Marimekko bowls from the Crate and Barrel shop in Soho (I had a gift card, though it definitely did not cover it). I've been eyeing a lot of their designs online for quite some time (particularly this dress and this plate) but a pair of bowls seemed the closest to practical choice (we had a couple of bowls break in the past year...see?).

As for what's in the bowl...I gave this avocado dip a try. Not bad, though if you're going to make an avocado dip, you might as well make guacamole, which is just that much better. But it's nice to switch it up every now and then.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Museum of the Moving Image now open!

On Saturday we headed out to the American Museum of the Moving Image for their grand re-opening after being closed for the past few years. We're very excited about all of the great programming that's coming up, especially now that we've decided to buy a membership.

After watching several rare 8 mm George Kuchar films from the early 60s, we toured the museum, which was a combination of brand-new, bright white interiors and old familiar exhibit space. The gallery of vintage video games no longer exists, with most of the games having been moved to a different, smaller area.

I didn't see Tempest, but otherwise most of the classics are still represented.

Dave played a little Breakout.

Afterward we went into Tut's Fever, a reproduction of an Egyptian-style movie palace that shows old serials in the afternoons. If you "pull here" the coffin opens (with a surprise inside).

After we left the museum we consumed veggie burgers and the best chocolate milkshake ever at Bare Burger, and headed to Williamsburg to see Tyvek at Glasslands (blurry photo above). I hadn't been there in a couple of years, and the interior has changed a bit since then. Not only do they now have a fully functioning bar, but there's a crazy kind of paper sculpture hanging above the stage that, when combined with white Christmas lights, creates a really cool effect. I found a few random photos on flickr that better illustrate this.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My very own yeti

Last year I got to work a bit with a book called Beasties, which is a craft book on how to sew imaginary beings. The author built some great staged scenes of the projects using cinnamon sticks, cardboard, watercolors, and the like. (You can see a few of them here.) My department purchased a few of them from the author for our sales people's use, and I became rather enchanted with the yeti.

A couple of months ago, I had the nice surprise of receiving one of my own from the author as thanks for the work I'd done to promote the book. (She actually made various creatures for everyone who worked on the book, which is pretty crazy as they seem rather involved--but no complaints here!) Right now he's been hanging out on my bookshelf.

He looks kind of terrified in this picture. I suppose the ominous shadows in the background don't help.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Losing my Gocco virginity

Over the weekend I completed a few more scrap paper notebooks. But more importantly, I used my new Print Gocco for the first time to decorate them. I've been a bit of a shut-in lately because of the cold and am already starting to wish the warmer weather would come back so I can get out and start exploring again. Thus, I decided to go for a travel theme, and printed out part of an old Texas roadmap.

Overall the process was pretty easy, though it did take me quite a few tries before getting a decent print. At first I was pushing down too hard (see the print on the right)--turns out you barely have to tap it down to get the right amount of definition. At least in my experience. I think I generally picked a trickier image than I should have--there's way too much detail in there, plus I had a hard time getting the whole image to print. Although I do kind of like how there are spots missing where there wasn't enough ink on the screen--which I guess is technically a mistake and might not work for other images.

While the general process of making screens and prints with the Gocco is very simple and quick, I was a little disappointed to learn how fast you burn through the supplies. The bulbs can only be used once--after making one screen they go into the trash. The screens can be reused to make additional prints, but only to a point since the frames are made of paper and don't last too long. And unlike regular screens you can't erase them to create a new image. To make matters worse, because the product has been discontinued, the replacement supplies, while easy enough to find online, are rather expensive.

Someone needs to start manufacturing new supplies that can be used on the existing machines. I'm surprised it hasn't happened already! But for now I'll just have to be very careful and strategic with what I already have.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Handmade ornaments circa 1998

I took down my Christmas tree over the weekend and while packing the decorations back into boxes to be stored away till next year, I came across a handful of ornaments that I'd made when I was about 16. They're pretty awesome.

I'm think my mom had just bought me a miniature fake tree for my bedroom and I must have felt the need to fashion some punk-looking ornaments to make it cool. They're a combination of black and white inkjet print-outs and sharpie marker lettering, glued to pieces of cardboard. You can kind of see the tiny holes poked through for the hooks. I think there used to be a Germs ornament too (a blue circle with a black background, of course), but I don't know what happened to it.

I didn't even realize I still had these. I guess I couldn't bear to part with them after all these years. Maybe if I get a bigger tree next year I'll put them back into rotation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

DIY striped shirt

One of the best things about my job is that they give you the whole week off between Christmas and New Year's. With the blizzard and general coldness I wasn't really in the mood to go outside so I worked on a whole lot of projects.

I'd been planning on trying this striped shirt project, using painter's tape and fabric paint, but then I realized that I didn't have any tape. I was so set on making something that I turned to the freezer paper, which yielded something even better.

I cut out strips of the paper, purposely leaving ragged edges and uneven lines, and placed them on the shirt, right up to the collar.

After ironing the strips on, I cut out a few triangles and played around a bit with where I wanted to put them before ironing them on as well.

Then I applied several coats of fabric paint using a foam brush. I purposely left the ends a bit rough.

I had such a hard time waiting for it to dry before peeling up the paper. Here's a little more info about making freezer paper stencils.