Watercolor Transfer Painting class — finished

I took a deep breath this morning and took a Sharpie to my watercolor transfer paintings! (from this post)

I really like how his face turned out!

I didn’t use anything other than a Sharpie on the already-painted parts. For the fins I added at the top and bottom, I used Derwent Inktense pencils to fill in color, and also used those a wee bit around the top of the head (where the mane went beyond the original piece of collage). More about these pencils in a moment.

And here’s the finished face:

I didn’t do too much to this other than outline it and use the Inktense pencils to add color to the face.

So, the Inktense pencils! I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday intending to buy some pastels (and to use up the rest of my birthday gift card!), but their selection was rather limited and nothing appealed to me. So I started browsing through their various pencils and came across these water-soluble Inktense pencils:

From the back of the tin: “Pencil to ink in just one wash! Derwent Inktense combines the vibrancy of ink with the subtlety of pencils. Apply rich, deep, dry colour then wash out to create a pure and translucent ink-like effect. Once dry, Inktense becomes permanent and can be worked over without affecting the layers of vivid color.”

I didn’t use them too much to finish up these collages, so look forward to experimenting with them more.

Something else that caught my eye, but which I will wait to buy until I can use my Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon, is Derwent’s Artbars. Being a lover of all things crayon, the fact that these are wax-based appeals to me in a big way . . . that they are water-soluble is a bonus!! There are a couple videos showing how these can be used HERE and HERE. I can’t wait to buy a set of these!

There’s still one more project left in the Watercolor Transfer Painting class — you can see on Gretchen’s blog what that project is like. I’m not ready just yet to do that project, however. Instead, I’m continuing to look for another pattern to stitch up for Crafty Sheep’s September Color Challenge. Maybe I’ll be ready to come back to this last WTP project when I get my hands on the Artbars!

Watercolor Transfer Painting class progress

I’m nearly done with the first project from Carla Sonheim’s online Watercolor Transfer Painting class. Here are pics of what I’ve done so far:

Step 1 — watercolor onto transfer paper

Step 2 — used water-soluble markers and ballpoint pen to create less white space

Step 3 — cut the transfer paper into random shapes; use some of those cuttings to create a face and a creature; iron onto cold-press watercolor paper

The final step will be to use whatever I wish to finish off these mixed media collages. I’m not quite ready to move on to that step, however, so I’m going to let these sit on my office bookshelf for a day or three.

I particularly love how my “creature” turned out. It’s only three pieces of cut-up paper — the body + face is one piece, and then the tail is made up of two other pieces. When I was cutting up the watercolored transfer paper, the lines in the section I used for the body reminded of a goldfish, so I cut the body + face out with that in mind. As I futzed around with that piece, though, when I turned it a certain way I saw a cat’s face….a lion’s face, to be more specific. So I think it’ll end up being some sort of lion-fish creature.

There’s one more project in this class. To get an idea of what that’ll be like, take a look-see at what Gretchen created =). (The face and creature she created are here.)

Watercolors are totally out of my wheelhouse, and I don’t feel especially comfortable using them. But this has been a fun way for me to experiment with them because the end results for this project have lots of leeway about how they “should” look. (If you say “make a face”, most people are going to opt for two eyes, a nose, and a mouth….but, to me, there’s more flexibility in making a collaged face as opposed to a watercolored face.)

I did opt to skip the “paint some landscapes” project from this class because, in my mind, there are expectations attached to how landscapes “should” look. I think, however, if I take the project idea and modify it to become a mixed-media collage project, similar to what I’ve done in this post, that would be something I’d enjoy!

Unearthing Treasures

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been slowly going through, sorting out, and reorganizing the things on the shelves and in the closet in “my room” (home office / crafting space). I’ve not been in a hurry — some days I’ll putter around in there for an hour here and an hour there, and other days I don’t go into the room at all. My initial intent was to only weed through my needlework stuff, but then I decided to go ahead and go through EVERYTHING because I haven’t done that since moving into the room over a year ago . . . and even though I’m not a packrat, stuff still has a way of accumulating.

The bookshelves have all been emptied and reloaded, and are more functional now for my work-at-home part-time job. Before, all my office files were stashed in boxes in the (not a walk-in) closet and they weren’t easy to get to. After a year-plus of shuffling boxes around to get to files, it feels WONDERFUL to now be able to put my hands on any particular file simply by reaching over and grabbing it.

There’s still plenty of Pretty happening on the shelves! All of my needlework supplies that I kept are in pretty photo-storage boxes from Hobby Lobby, and I have a variety of clear-glass storage containers as well. All of the needlework I’ve received in craft swaps and have made myself that’s been displayed in there is still there, as is the various artwork that was already in there (much of that needlework and artwork can be seen in older pictures of my office, here).

I unearthed some treasures while cleaning out: a drawing special-requested by me from my oldest niece, and a Scrabble table I received in a craft swap.

My niece, Llexi, gifted this drawing to me at Christmas:

I’d stashed it safely away until I could get a frame for it. Lo and behold, as I was doing the last of my cleaning out I found an unused frame and mat that worked perfectly for the drawing! So I framed it up and it’s now residing on one of our walls. (This is the breed of chicken we have; sadly, I cannot, right now, remember what breed they are!!)



In the summer of 2009, I participated in a Craftster swap and was partnered with Craftster member “KarenLouise”, who made this FABULOUS Scrabble table:

(Not visible is a tin attached to the underneath of the table, and the tin contains the Scrabble tiles.) The table has been used as an end table in our living room, as a nightstand in our bedroom, and most recently as an easily-portable needlework table that held my OTTLite and whatever needlework project + supplies I was working on at any given time. I finally cleaned the table totally off this week, and when my kiddo came into my office last night to chat with me he spied it and asked if we could play Scrabble! For YEARS I’ve longed for someone with whom I could play Scrabble who found it as enjoyable as I, so his request was music to my ears!!

We ended up playing Scrabble for an hour or more and had SUCH a good time. Our goal was to use every tile, and we made that happen . . . even if it meant taking the very last tile, the letter “Y”, and using it just outside the border of the board to make the word “yon” (adding the “y” to the word “on” that was already there). But we DID use every letter ;-).

I wasn’t sure where to put this Scrabble table — space is a little tight in my office — but now that I know my kiddo’s digging playing Scrabble, this table will head back to the living room for a while :-).

In other news:

~ The Hunger Games movie starts Friday!!! This would be a good time to take advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling and catch ourselves a showing one weekday afternoon before schoolkids are out of school for the day.

~ In spite of not being very “into” doing needlework right now, I’m somewhat intrigued by Sharon B’s “Sumptuous Surfaces Embroidery” class, which begins May 10th. That kind of needlework is so very outside the box of the type of embroidery I usually do, yet I’m intrigued by it. There are some pretty examples of work done by folks who’ve participated in past Sumptuous Surfaces Embroidery classes, shown in this Flickr group. The only drawback, for me, of joining the class is that I’d need to buy an assortment of flosses, as I only have DMC stranded cotton, and I wasn’t really looking to *add* to my needlework supplies. Yet . . . my mind keeps going back to possible project ideas for the class ;-). I’m not rushing to sign up, though — my guys and I each get a certain amount of fun-money each month and this class + supplies would eat up a month’s worth of my fun money. And while I’m sure the class *will* be fun, I have a certain something that’s been on my office wish list for over a year, and now that I’m not spending my fun money every month on needlework supplies, books, magazines, etc., it’d sure be a good opportunity to get that long-wished-for item. Decisions, decisions! #firstworldproblems

Tackling Some of My “One of These Days” Projects

One of the dry erase boards in my home office has a list of various “one of these day” projects — you know, the things you want to do but which are generally quite time-intensive and maybe not as fun as needlework projects ;-).

After I finished my last craft swap for this year, and my last stitchy WIP, I decided to make some progress on a couple of those “one of these days” projects (knowing that Santa would be bringing me lots of stitchy goodies that would draw my attention away from non-stitchy projects soon enough!). These are the two projects I’ve been working on for the past several days:

ART JOURNAL FOR MY KIDDO’S STUFF — I took many of the drawings and other paper things our 13yo has made over the years and made an art journal for them. I bought an 11×14 sketchpad and adhered the papers into it using scrapbooking adhesive tape for the most part, but reverted to staples for things that were thick (like some of the paintings and things that were in packet form).

I included the menu and newsletters he made when he had an imaginary cafe set up in our spare room (before it became a home office), as well as the blog posts from the various game-review blogs he’s had in the past.

He doesn’t do much drawing these days, but there’s still plenty of room in the sketchbook for whatever he does in paper format in the coming years.

Because there are still lots of blank pages in the art journal, starting from the back of the sketchbook I added some of the drawings his cousins have made when they’ve been at our house, because those drawings are special to me, too :-).

The last thing I want to do on this project is a patchwork treatment for the cover, using this method by Nat of From Hell To Breakfast (and The Smallest Forest). I actually want to do this before I move on to another project, so that this art journal project can be marked off my “one of these days” list — as much as I love making lists (and I *do* love making lists!!), it’s equally as enjoyable to mark things off the lists ;-). I’ll share pics of the art journal cover when I’m done with it.

ORGANIZING & LABELING PHOTOS — I’ve been working on this project on and off for over a decade — I’ll work on it for several weeks or a month, then put it aside for a year or more. When I originally started organizing our photos by date, I’d been putting them into photo albums, starting from back during my pregnancy and working forward (because those pics were easy to organize each time I had the photos developed/printed).

But it became apparent in recent years that wasn’t the best idea, because a dozen years’ worth of pictures filled up at least that many photo albums! AND we still had photos from prior to ’97, from our childhoods, and from when our parents and grandparents were young, all of which I wanted to organize as well — we would’ve ended up with more photo albums than we had room!! And forget trying to get them out of the house in a hurry (assuming “in a hurry” allowed time for gathering up more than humans, dogs, and wallets).

So I scored some Folding Photo Organizers at Hobby Lobby.

They come with 12 inserts, each of which can hold up to 200 pics. I’ll be able to get a lot of years’ worth of photos into one box! (I’m going to futz around with the photos in the above organizer and combine some years, so that each insert is full, like the 2003 & 2004 inserts are.) As I’m organizing the photos into these organizers, on the back of each photo I’m writing the info about who’s in the pic and the date and/or event — that’s actually the most time-consuming part.

Once I get the ’97-to-current pics done, I’ll start working backwards from ’97. It’ll get really interesting when I start working on photos from when my hubby and I were kids, and when our parents and grandparents were young! I’ve already sorted most of those older pictures by decades, so I’m a step ahead there.

This isn’t a project that’ll be completed anytime soon, but it feels good to continue making progress on it. And it’s a nice project to work on while watching tv or a movie, if I don’t want to be stitching instead :-).