Saturday, June 30, 2012

15 minute tee-shirt top

Sporting the cool Iron Man!
It's so much fun to have crafty friends visit!  My friend Nikki, who is visiting from the Pacific Northwest, found a fast and fun way to give an old tee-shirt a cool makeover at Crafter Hours.  With the Summer heat turned up we could all stand to be a little cooler.  A trip to the thrift store yielded excellent finds on perfectly worn in tee-shirts.   I turned around three times and ta-da!  Nikki had made a super cool shirt!  ..... I want one! .......and being a good sport Nikki not only made one for me, but showed me how to make them, and let me take pictures so I could share with you....she even came up with a few fun "extras" featured at the end of this tutorial!

 Lay the tee-shirt out nice and flat.  Cut the bottom hem off and set aside for later.  The bottom edge may need to be straightened.  

 Cut off the sleeves where they join the body of the shirt.  

Just underneath the neck,draw a line straight across the shirt, from arm opening to arm opening.

 Cut across the line you have drawn, through both the front and back of the shirt.  

 Turn under the cut edge by about an inch.  This will be the casing the tie fits through.  

Carefully pin the turned under edges.

Sew a straight stitch at about 1/8 of an inch from the turned under edge, to create a casing.  The sides remain open so the tie can be threaded through.
Find the hem you cut off in the first step. To make the tie, cut the hem in half with a nice, neat angular cut. Place a safety pen on one end. 

 Using the safety pen, thread the tie through the casing you made at the top of the shirt. 

Adjust the tie to fit! 

 It literally took Nikki 15 minutes from the start to the point of handing me the shirt to try on (even with me making her hold still for pictures).

Other old tee-shirt & tee-shirt scrap up-cycle ideas:

 Girl child wants to wear one as a dress....consider making one. 

 Use the scraps to dress-up the almost-teen as a Grecian Princess.

 Turn the cut off sleeves into fabulous head gear!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Shriveled Yellow Zucchini

Oh, the hope that the flower brings.  
I was SOOOOO excited about all of the big beautiful blooms on my zucchini plants.  When the little zucchini fruits started appearing the excitement increased exponentially, only to be completely shattered a few days later when all the baby zucchini started turning yellow and shriveling up.

poor little shriveled yellow zucchini
Desperate to have zucchini, I Googled "shriveled yellow zucchini."  I read post after post of  "the zucchini are not being pollinated."  I learned all about how zucchini have both male and female flowers.  The males begin blooming before the females, and are attached directly to the plant.  This was good information, it finally made sense why people eat zucchini blossoms, something I was not willing to do with my own zucchini blossoms in the past.  The females come on a little later and the flower is attached to a little zucchini.  My reading included how to pollinate the zucchini flowers with a paint brush.  
a male flower...though it's had to tell from the picture.
At the crack of dawn, (that's when the flowers like to open) I headed out with my paint brush only to find that all of the female flowers were closed up tight.    OK, not possible to have a pollination problem if it is occurring BEFORE the female is even ready to bloom.  

I went back to Google and search and searched, still post after post about pollination, tales of desperate people prying the flowers open and pollinating them any way.  FINALLY, I find ONE post about how the problem could be the plant is stressed, along with a list of things that would stress the plant out: lack of water, lack of nutrients, too little sun, and spaced too close together.

Confession time....I have a really difficult time thinning plants.  If they have the will and the way to break out of the ground and turn their faces to the sun, who am I to pull up the do you decide who should go and who should stresses me out.  So, there where two (sometimes three) zucchini plants growing all together.  Eventually my desire for zucchini out weighed my guilt and I thinned out the zucchini so that there was only ONE plant every three feet or so.  I cut off all of the poor littleyellow shriveled ones and waited.  A week later I can happily report that it worked!  We had zucchini last night for dinner...and it was yummy...and there is plenty more zucchini on the way!  

happy little female 
It's just down right embarrassing to not be able to grow zucchini successfully. But, there is hope for the shriveled yellow zucchini, it's just stressed out. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fun with Stencils!

stenciled pillow case

In preparation for a class I am teaching in August, I made a new stencil today.  The class will cover using stencils and different kinds of stamps on fabric.  Week two of the class will be all about stencil making, including places to look for inspiration.  For this design I was inspired by a photograph I took a few years ago in Barcelona of the painted ceiling in the house located in Parc Guell.   I used the stencil on a pair of 8 year old pillowcases, giving them a whole new look!

First, I made a sketch from the ceiling painting.  Next, the sketch was scanned into the computer, and then scaled down to the size I wanted for the pillow case project.   The design was printed on inkjet glossy photo paper... then the tedious cutting began.  Using both scissors and a rather dull exact-o knife, this process took a good long while.    


I mixed up a combo of Plaid fabric paints I've had laying about since 1997 to create the shiny bronze color.  The photo paper stencil worked well, especially when you consider the size and detail of the design, the stencil shown above is only a 5 inch square.  I am hoping it all holds up in the wash.  I like the new look!

stenciled pillow case

Friday, June 22, 2012

Watercolor Wednesday

Yes, I know it's Friday....but I have been p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-n-g for a week and 2 days (shocking, I know).  So, I bought some new paint and new paper at a local shop.  In my mind Italy should have fabulous art stores on every corner, reality has been very different. The three places I've found art supplies: large hardware stores, garden store, and house paint store.  My most recent purchase was at the house paint store.  I was very excited to find Italian watercolor paint.  The last paint I bought was from Germany, it was good paint, but always fun to have Italian paint.   The papier I found was a block of reasonably priced, French, fine grain, cold pressed, watercolor paper.  With my pretty new paint, and pretty new paper I painted a grotesque head, naturally.  The actual grotesque head can be found on a fountain in the picturesque town of Costozza.  

I used salt to give my grotesque head that, "I've been around for centuries" look.  If you are painting with lots of water, when the paint is still nice and soupy you can throw some large salt crystals in the puddles and the salt makes some really fun textures.  I think I really like the new paint, but not so much the new paper.  The paper warped itself off of the block and it absorbed the pigment very quickly.  It was a lot like using watercolor paint on Bristol board, which is a very different experience than painting on normal cold press paper.  I am getting ready to paint with the new paint on paper I've used in the past.  I'll give my final verdict on the paint after I've painted with the old paper.  Grotesque heads = really fun painting experience.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Watercolor Wednesday: Week 3

This week I broke out of my comfort zone, a little, to paint something other than flowers.  I painted from a photograph I took of a lizard my son rescued.  The lizard fell in the fountain in our yard and was struggling to get out when Super Boy came to the rescue.  Other than the usual challenges of drawing hands, the painting was straight forward.  I hesitated for a moment before removing the resist from the lizard's spots, I really liked the way the pigment pooled around the resist.  

But, in the end, I didn't know how the resist would hold up being left on the paper for a long period of time so I took it off.  I am not unhappy with the end results....but those little rubbery bumps of resist were fun lizard skin. 

I thoroughly enjoyed drawing and painting my son's hands ... seeing how gently he cradled the lizard ... seeing the dirt of a hard day of play ... seeing the dirty uneven fingernails of a happy childhood.  

Want to learn more about Watercolor Wednesdays?  Want to share what you are working on with the Watercolor Wednesday Flickr Group