Archive | June, 2011

Put a bird on it!

30 Jun

For some reason, I can never get the voices of Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and SNL’s Fred Armisen saying “Put a bird on it!!” out of my head. Have you seen that Portlandia sketch!? So good. For some reason the whole bird craze goes hand in hand with hipsters learning to silkscreen in my mind. Don’t get me wrong — I love birdeez and I love silkscreening… But you know what I mean.

Anyway, I’ve tried my hand at silkscreening once or twice but I never actually ended up with anything to write home about. Every attempt pretty much left me with a whole lot of mess and frustration on my hands. I think the problem has always been that the tutorials I’ve used in the past have left out some important tidbit of information that a klutz like myself needs in order to get the silkscreening process correctly set in motion. So I figured I’d just give up trying…

Until now.

Internet sleuthing to the rescue!

Mike of Paper Tigers Design has very kindly created an entire silkscreening tutorial website (called SilkscreenTutorial.com, natch), complete with detailed images that make it very unlikely that you’ll ever screw up as badly as I have in the past.

From the website’s “About” section:

Silkscreentutorials.com is an online resource dedicated to providing in-depth information, reviews and tutorials for screen printing. Whether you are a complete beginner or have already started your journey into the world of screen printing, this guide will provide all the necessary information to get you started quickly, producing professional results regardless of your budget.

Allllllright! Sounds pretty great. Plus, look at this super cute example he made:

Check out those birds!

Time to get silkscreening!

The Perfect Bloody Mary

17 Jun

Have you looked at Kelly Lassare’s doodle-y illustrations before? She does lists, recipes, stories, all sorts of greatness. Check out her recipe for the perfect bloody mary (one of my favorite drinks!):

Click image to enlarge

My wonderful friend Jack pointed me her direction after finding her work via Supersonic Electronic. Here are some other awesome things she’s made:

Apparently she’s got an Etsy shop where she sells her work as well. Check her out!

Lotions and Potions

16 Jun

As a little girl, one of my absolute favorite games was to dress up like a witch with my friends and make lotions and potions out of various bath and body products. Occasionally our brews would actually turn out to be useful but most of the time they were pretty revolting… By now I’ve thankfully become a little more sophisticated about the whole thing — gone are the days when I’d stuff aloe vera gel, my father’s mouthwash, my mother’s cold cream, and a handful or two of glitter into a leftover shampoo bottle. Instead I’ve graduated to using real ingredients from my kitchen pantry to make concoctions that can actually be put on my body without fear of damaging my skin. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know I’ve also ditched the whole pretending-to-be-a-witch thing.

Anyway, I’ve in the mood lately for mixing up some lotions and potions so I thought I’d share a few recipes for yummy bath and body products that can be easily made at home. Most involve ingredients you can find in your own kitchen or garden with minimal trips to the store for special chemicals.

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Upcycling Frames

13 Jun

This is a problem I have waaaaay too often: Say you’ve got your hands on a gorgeous new photograph or print (from White Pepper Portraits, perhaps?) you want to put up immediately. Super excited about it, matches the room, just wanna stare at it all the time. But how to display it properly? What frame to use that’ll live up to and enhance the beauty of the image you’ve chosen?

There are TONS of gorgeous frames out there—so many in fact it can be really tough deciding which one to use. But if you want a cheap but still attractive alternative then you can always go the DIY route and upcycle an existing frame.

Thrift stores, antique shops, and garage sales are excellent sources for old frames. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you hate what’s already in the frame. Don’t let that distract you! Look for interesting shapes, embellishments, and little details that’ll look nice once you’ve fixed up the frame.

Now, onto the upcycling!

One of the easiest ways to upcycle an old frame is to slap a coat of pretty paint on it. Just look at how Jessica of How About Orange was able to transform a tacky gold frame into something much more wall-worthy by using a little spray paint:

Before

After

Pretty impressive, right? Once you’ve done this, it’s a good idea to finish with a coat of clear semi-gloss to keep the frame looking fresh and new.

If you’re working with an otherwise plain, unembellished frame, consider using a faux finish to add some oomph. Do you have a bottle of Elmer’s glue around the house? If you do–and you probably do–you can use that to give your frame a crackled finish like this:

Paint a base layer on your frame in one shade and then brush the entire thing with Elmer’s glue. Once it’s dried for a few minutes but is still sticky all you have to do is paint a thin layer of contrasting paint on top of the glue. As the glue dries it’ll create little cracks in the paint. Simple as that. Ann of Make The Best Of Things has a more detailed tutorial you should check out if you decide to go this route.

Another option is to distress a wooden frame so that it has a worn, shabby chic look. Aurioll of PrettyCraftyThings has an excellent tutorial that makes this faux-aging process easy-peasy. All you need what you is what you see below — your wooden frame, two shades of paint, a wax candle, and some sandpaper.

The Necessary Materials

Now, if you can’t find a suitable frame to work with and you’re handy with a saw, by all means make your own frame! This is a great idea if you’re working with an image that doesn’t quite fit the traditional frame sizes available (4×6, 5×7, 8×10, etc.). You can adjust the measurements to fit your needs which is just awesome all around.

If you want to create that distressed wood look for your custom-built frame without the aforementioned faux-finishing, poke around Craigslist for free wood from old barns or fences. I see listings like that in the free section of the Austin Craigslist all the time. Here’s some inspiration for you via lickskilletcreations:

lickskilletcreations frame

Made from a white fence by LickSkilletCreations via Etsy

Got any good ideas for upcycling frames? Leave ’em in the comments.

A Big Weekend For Craft-Lovers

10 Jun

Attention craft lovers! This weekend marks at least two exciting craft events nationwide that you should take advantage of if you can.

The Renegade Craft Fair will be hitting Brooklyn’s McCarren Park this Saturday and Sunday, and I think you should know by now how I feel about the Renegade Craft Fair. This is not an event to be skipped! If for some strange reason reason you don’t believe me, you can always check out my write-up of the Austin Renegade Craft Fair.

Renegade Craft Fair Brooklyn

Do NOT miss this!

And if you’re in Atlanta, you should definitely check out the Indie Craft Experience going on this weekend. Admission is five bucks but I’m sure that’ll be money well spent.

Indie Craft Experience Atlanta

Need some more convincing? Check out this video about the fair:

 

BONUS: June 18th is Etsy Craft Day! True, it’s not his weekend, but it requires planning so I’m throwing it out there now. Host an Etsy Craft Party or attend a meet-up planned by someone else! Click the following photo to go to the Etsy Storque article about this awesome event. You can also find a meet-up to attend if you just go clickclickclick.

Etsy Craft Party

Photo by blissinateacup of etsy.com/shop/blissinateacup

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Map, Maps Everywhere!

8 Jun

Last week I posted on my favorite DIY map crafts. Yesterday I posted about my favorite map-related wall art I’d found on Etsy. Today, to round things out, I’ve got a post full of other types of map-related  items I’ve favorited over the years. Enjoy!

[Note: As always, click the image to go straight to the Etsy shop where you can purchase the item pictured.]

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AHeirloom sells these awesome cutting boards in the shape of states. Some make more sense than others (doing some serious chopping on Florida would be a little impractical) but all would make beautiful cheese cutting boards for parties.

Georgia Cutting Board by AHeirloom

Georgia Cutting Board by AHeirloom http://www.etsy.com/shop/AHeirloom

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Getchoo Some Map Art

7 Jun

The walls of my apartment are covered in maps — COVERED. Mostly you’ll find traditional maps — the map of India my grandmother took on her trip there during the ’60s, the map I was so impressed by the night I met my now-girlfriend, a Peter’s Map, a map of the city I live in, my favorite antique store map find–a vintage bright blue and purple map of Greece… The list goes on.

Right now my goal is to up the number of non-traditional maps in my home. Illustrated maps, art maps, decorative maps — whatever you want to call ’em, I want more. So here’s a smattering of the goodies I’ve found poking around the internet during my own search for map-related wall art.

[Click on any of the following pictures to go to the Etsy shop where you can buy ’em]

CityFabric Brooklyn

Brooklyn from above by CityFabric

This map is a hand stretched [canvas] print of Greenpoint [Brooklyn] depicting all of the building from overhead. This type of map is called a “figure-ground” which juxtaposes the “mass” of the buildings with the “void” of all the other open-space, streets networks and infrastructure.

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