May 24, 2013
May 23, 2013
Want to know what my latest favorite Etsy shop is? Edelweiss Post. It's a store selling notecards and envelopes that come with postage stamps already applied— unused vintage ones, carefully selected and arranged by theme or color. Edelweiss Post is run by Patrick in Minneapolis. His grandpa collected stamps, and Patrick is carrying on the tradition by constantly adding to his own collection, and then making them available to everyone. I think it's brilliant.
Of course I bought an orange set. And sent my dad a manly-themed card and envelope for his birthday. If you're going to buy somebody a card anyhow, why not go for something totally unique with vintage appeal? These look and feel really special.
You can choose sets by color.
Or by theme. Mad Men Manly Mail?
How about guys with beards? The US postal service seems to favor facial hair.
Visit the shop to see more themes. Holidays. Owls. Nurses. Hot air balloons. There's even a Great Gatsby set.
Every pack comes tied with baker's twine and packaged so beautifully you'll hate to tear it open.
If you need a custom-themed set, Patrick will do his best to make it happen. Maybe something for wedding announcements or party invitations? One customer used an orange set to send thank you notes to the people who interviewed him for a job. He got hired. Keep that in mind, friends. You can't go wrong with orange, especially in the form of stamps.
May 22, 2013
I added a design to a blank tote bag using light-sensitive Inkodye and a stencil cut from freezer paper.
Inkodye is a water-based dye that works on natural materials like fabric and wood, and develops its color in the sun. It dyes fabrics permanently, and I like it better than fabric paint since it soaks into the fabric and keeps it soft and flexible, unlike fabric paints that can be stiff and sit on the surface of a textile. Plus, it's really fun watching the color develop!
To make a similar tote, you can create your own design or download the Big Fun stencil I made.
Print the design and trace it onto the dull side of plastic-coated freezer paper, available at grocery stores. Or, save yourself a step and print directly on freezer paper cut to fit through your printer. Tape a piece of freezer paper, shiny side down, to a sheet of copy paper and print on it. It will come out a bit curly and lightly fused to the carrier sheet if you use a laser printer like I did, but it should peel off easily.
Cut out the letters and shapes. Remember that any empty hole will get filled with color, and no dye will go where the pieces of paper sit.
With an iron set to the appropriate temperature for your fabric (likely the cotton setting), iron the paper pieces to the tote, shiny side down. The iron will very slightly melt the plastic coating, sticking the paper to the canvas. Give the pieces an initial quick, light press to make sure they're where you want them. If not, peel them up and reposition. Then press down firmly with the iron and make sure all the edges are sealed so no dye will seep under them. Once they're stuck down, the pieces are really stuck, and will probably tear if you try to peel them off.
If there are any areas you're worried about getting dye— you know, if you tend to lose your mind a little and start painting outside the lines— mask those off with painter's tape. Place a piece of freezer paper inside the tote to prevent any dye from soaking through to the back side.
Then, in a dimly lit room, brush on Inkodye with a foam brush. Or any kind of brush or roller will do the job! Try for even coverage. The fabric doesn't have to be completely saturated; you just need a nice even coat on the surface of the textile.
(You can mix Inkodye with water to make it go further, if you like. A 1:1 ratio of dye to water will still yield maximum vibrance. Add more water to make pastels, or mix colors as you would paint.)
Blot off any excess dye with a paper towel.
Place the tote in the sun. The color will start to develop instantly! Here's the tote after 30 seconds, a minute or two, and fully exposed after 10 minutes.
Peel off the paper, my favorite part.
If you like, you can wash the tote with laundry detergent to remove any excess dye. Or just let it air dry and call it a day.
May 21, 2013
May 20, 2013
Announcing a fun event for Chicagoans and visitors! West Elm asked for my input as they host a pop-up shop of local Etsy sellers inside their Lincoln Park store. The event will be Saturday, June 22 from 1pm – 6pm at the North Avenue location. Come hang out with me and browse through lovely handmade jewelry, art, home decor, stationery, and more. There will be delicious refreshments, plus I've heard rumors of a DJ and a photo booth...
For a complete list of the participating Etsy sellers, visit West Elm's blog. Find the event on Facebook here to RSVP or share with a friend. Grab somebody and come on out!
Here's sampling of the wares below. Better start planning right now where you're gonna hang that chipmunk.
May 17, 2013
Check out my new house plant. It's healthy and thriving because I'm giving it the perfect amount of water and sunlight.
I made it from the cardboard kit, Port-a-Plant, sent over from Chronicle Books. It contains punch-out parts for three different paper succulents. The leaves can be a bit challenging to slip into their slots, so I think a child might have trouble with this. But a grown-up will conquer the cacti. Fun, right?
Below is the photo from the cover of the kit, which is available here.
May 16, 2013
Caravan is a shop full of digital downloads created by Alma and Mike Loveland and Melanie Burk. And they've just made all of their printable stationery free! Find notecards for teachers, grads, birthdays, and more right here, including a bunch of chalkboard-style designs which are super trendy right now. Save yourself a trip to the store!
May 14, 2013
I amused myself the other day by making some little origami foxes using this diagram by Mark Leonard, and a whale using these traditional instructions. (The website where I found the fox is apparently no longer active or I'd link to it.)
I thought maybe these animals need a place to live, so I made them each a habitat.
You can download and print these backgrounds, then glue your own origami animals onto them if you like. Framed, they'd be cute in a kid's room.
Download the woods.
Download the sea.
Print out the sheets and leave them 8 1/2" x 11" or trim them a bit to 8" x 10", a more common frame size. The animals were made from 6" standard-size origami paper. A full square for the whale and a half sheet for each fox. You could also shrink everything to mini size and make some little cards if you have nimble fingers.