Friday, May 29, 2015

Painted Postcard

I'm currently preparing, both mentally and packing-wise, for my upcoming trip to Europe! I won't be bringing all my art supplies, so I'm deciding how small I can trim it. I was at the art store looking at wee sketchpads and the like, and I spotted the blocks of postcard sized watercolor paper.

So I grabbed a pack, and sat down with this picture of Iceland. I timed myself to see if I could produce a reasonable piece while sitting outside. 30 minutes to a finished product!

I think I will bring a few of these blocks and send the folks back home a hand-painted memory.

Monday, May 25, 2015

My Webcomic Project!

Have you been wondering, gentle readers, why I have been making less crafty stuff as of late? Since the first of the year I've been working on a webcomic, with the goal of finishing a sheet of artwork every three days. Each page is storyboarded, drawn, inked, and colored by hand. I then hand it off to my good friend for a little digital clean-up and lettering.

The Comic is now in full swing and publishing two days a week! I'm hoping, if I can maintain a good pace and still do quality work, to go to three days a week after I return from my trip. Please go check it out Root & Branch, bookmark it, and come back regularly. I've also been sharing my working sketches and progress pics at my Sketchbook Tumblr. Don't worry, I'll still be making fiber and fabric things, it's in my nature...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Estonian Craft Camp - Travel Plans!

This summer I'm traveling Scandinavia for a month, including a trip to  Craft Camp  in Estonia, from the University of Tartu.
Pictures from last year's camp, taken by friends at Fancy Tiger
I just got my schedule for Craft Camp. I’M SO EXCITED! I’ll be doing workshops on Nälbinding, traditional embroidery, bone carving, and wooden box making. More importantly, I’ll be eating delicious scandinavian food and traveling the lush green woods of the north lands! Don’t worry, I’ll like, take pictures and such.

Anyone know of super awesome things to do in Finland and Estonia?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Waxed Canvas Bag - Part II

In which the crafter learns that science is only half the trouble...

After I performed some experiments with wax, I felt ready to start my waterproofing! I sewed the sturdy backpack pieces together, until there were only two sides to be sewn, I didn't want to wax each piece and then deal with sewing all the waxed seams.

So, using my little blocks of prepped wax, I began rubbing. And rubbing... and rubbing... and I finally completed one section. It wasn't sinking into the grain quite as much as I wanted, so I figured I would warm it up a little. I held it over a candle, which works swimmingly, but took a while. I realized I couldn't use this technique as some parts of the bag had multiple layers of fabric to warm thru.

 So I decided to go the alternative route, heating wax and brushing it on directly. I still used a small amount of turpentine to help the wax spread and soak in. This leaves clumps of wax sitting on the surface of the fabric, so it then must be Ironed in. Placing parchment paper over the wax and ironing seemed to let the wax soak in in a fairly uniform fashion.

If I make any more waxed items I think I will invest in a thrift store hair dryer, faster than the candle, more versatile than the iron.
 I then finished sewing the bag together. It's a big boxy affair, with large inner pockets and compartments. I sewed a leather bottom on to protect from bike splash up and setting down in soggy spots. TIL - sew the corner gussets before sewing on to the bag! It's hard to fold leather and shove it under the presser foot, particularly when it is attached to several pounds of stiff denim...

I riveted on leather straps for closures, and a belt that serves as shoulder strap. Not pictured - me hammering nails through the belt to get holes... it is very thick leather!

Ready to Travel! It's taken a while, and I think some spots may need another layer to be solidly waterproofed. My only material cost were a few ounces of wax, and a small piece of leather! One might be able to find some leather bags and strap materials at a thrift store. But looking like a super Hipster? Priceless...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Making a Waxed Canvas Bag - Part One

Or, waxed denim, as the case may be! I've been in need of a water-resistant bag lately, the weather is out of control here! But I'm also due for a new travel bag, we're heading overseas, and it rains in some of those places (i.e. Not Colorado.)

I looked online for advice on making waxed canvas, with lots of differing recipes! Many people used Otter Wax, which is a great choice. However, I already have a huge chunk of beeswax at home, no need to buy something. My plan was to make a rub-on wax, which has to have something added to it as beeswax is just slightly too hard to rub on when pure.


I tried three recipes, a few drops of linseed oil, olive oil, and turpentine (no idea if modern synthetic turps is suitable for this, I used what I have!) Melted each one with beeswax, and then cooled them into cakes. Which were stuck to the jar.   >.<  (I tried running hot water on the outside, I tried freezing, they were stuck!) So I added water, then melted and cooled again. The wax sits above the water and can be dislodged from the jar more easily.
 For my fabric, I of course chose denim! I have a huge pile of old pants to choose from. The tricky part was finding pants that were 100% cotton, most pants nowadays seem to have acquired a bit of spandex and the like. I cut out the pieces I will need for the bag, no reason to waste time and wax on scraps! I actually sewed the bag until nearly finished, just to avoid much sewing after the waxing is done.
 Here's the test rub for my three softeners. The two oils were similar in consistency and ease. The Turp on the other hand became a sticky mess! I held the denim over a candle to melt the turp into grain of the fabric. The next day, after curing, the Linseed was slightly darker, but otherwise there was little change. I gave all of them a spray test... WATER BEADS! That means it's working, but it certainly needs a thicker layer for a really good waterproofing.
Next time, I'll show the rest of the waxing, and putting together a good sturdy travel bag.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Finds - May Flowers

April showers bring May Flowers, so they say. We've had flowers for weeks, and rain at the same time, so I'm not sure which came first! Here's some bright choices that Are getting me through my cold and rainy days.
A dapper choice for a clean Spring time look! Flowered bowtie from TrendyGents, perfect for a picnic or brunch.
A dainty bit of decor in May's flower - Lily of the Valley. Fantastic stitchery from ConeBomBom, perfect for a Victorian tea, or a wild day in the park!
Perhaps it's a good day for spinning? It's been raining here for a week (It's Colorado, that never happens!) so I've been staying in and crafting. But this bright roving will be cheery on the greyest day! Hand-dyed by SpunDreamz.
And do you need a fancy spindle? The magic of 3-D Printing means that a sweet, colorful, exciting spindle is super affordable too! TurtleMade for your spinning enjoyment.
Then, having spun and plyed your yarn on your fun little spindles, get knitting! (Yes, let's pretend you did this all in one day, and you have all the free time in the world, ok?) Adorable spring time yarn bowl from GlyntPottery.
Right now, in my Etsy Shop, grab yourself some May Flowers (or Trees, or Birds or...) and get FREE SHIPPING with coupon code FLOWERS. Enjoy the blooms of spring!

Monday, May 4, 2015


I took a leap and finally painted the miniature I've been using for three years! It's one of the white plastic ones, so I imagine it's a bit different from the pewter figurines.

TIL - Those little ridges left from the casting are actually really large, next time I will carve them off. There is a lot of back and forth with the paint as little bits keep getting where it does not belong! Next time I'll mix a bit more of each color and keep it moist to do touch ups. Smaller brushes. This is seriously waaaay tinier than I really realized!

I have a handful of other figures that I'm now plotting to paint, more color on the board! I might fix this one's crazy hair bump too...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Blessed Beltane!

This weekend us in the northern hemisphere are celebrating the warming spring, the returning green, and fertile times ahead! My garden is starting to get moving, with most of it planted.

This little guy, my white sage, is blooming for the first time, just in time to feed the bees! Blessings!