In my constant pursuit of the Hotel Tivoli aesthetic, I decided to use this glass top coffee table as an opportunity to infuse my living space with, you guessed it, more color. After some brainstorming to determine how to create a color blocked design, I landed on this paint chip technique. I like to keep these types of projects reversible if possible that way if I change my mind (likely) all is not lost. I know paint chip crafts are so 2012, but I never got to take advantage of the trend while it was hot so... humor me. I entered Home Depot under the guise of repainting... something and it got me thinking: How often do employees need to replenish the paint chip stock? Has there been a noticeable uptick since the invention of this low budget craft trend? How does it effect the paint department's budget? Can anyone provide some insight on this? Apologies for the digression, but I'm actually very curious. Moving on! Basically I just waltzed into the paint department and took an entire row of sequential paint chips and would figure out the design later. I know ombré is also a passé design trend, but paint chips are already organized that way so what can you do? Here's how it's done:
First choose your composition, laying out your paint chips will help you determine if it requires any of them to be cut or glued.
Next, cut a piece of clear contact paper to the size of your glass pane. Remove the paper backing and attach your paint chips color side up. Make sure to keep them evenly spaced, once they're stuck it is difficult to readjust them.
Lay your glass bottom side up, align, and stick your contact paper. Smooth down, a credit card works well for this.
Lay your glass in place and you're done! In case you haven't noticed, teal is my favorite color... I recently decided that some variety needs to be worked into the space because things were getting too Under The Sea, but clearly I had a mental lapse when choosing my color palette for this project because... surprise, it's teal. It must have been the intense pressure and guilt of robbing Home Depot of their precious paint chips. Going forward, I will make a more conscious effort to avoid turning my apartment into a beach side cottage. Regardless, this project is a super cheap and reversible way to add a pop of color to any room!
Welcome to the latest installment of Crazy Cat Lady Crafts! Modcloth stylists have always had my heart, but this time they outdid themselves. I happened upon this sweatshirt a while back and immediately added it to my "Love List" knowing full well I would never buy it due to the $225 price tag, but if it were to become 90% off at any point I wanted to be ready. Shockingly, that never happened and the item is now sold out. However! This is an opportunity to get back to the original purpose of the blog and use the adorable sweatshirt as inspiration for something more affordable. Here's how I did it:
First, I used another shirt with a pocket to determine placement and size. I then marked it out with a disappearing marker. If you've never used one of these before, they are amazing for any fabric based craft. Just don't get your material wet before you're finished, you will lose all of your work.
Based on my decal and my sample shirt, I sketched my pocket at 5 inches all around so I still had space to hem the raw edges. To make sure the design was symmetrical I sketched and trimmed one side, then folded and trimmed the other (you can see this technique in the T-shirt Tailoring post as well).
I laid out my pieces to check placement before making any permanent decisions and then ironed on my decal. I created custom Wallace decals with stickeryou.com because given the option I would put Wallace's face on anything. Sticker You includes parchment paper and detailed application instructions with each order. The only tricky part was that the decals had a white border so I took the time to trim the edges before ironing to give it a more seamless appearance.
From here I just followed a sequence of fold, pin, and sew until I had my desired pocket shape. As you can see in the photos above, I started with about a half inch hem at the top, did the same with the sides, then the corners and the bottom. I was just winging this part tbh, but I think it turned out well.
After that, the only remaining step was to attach the pocket to the sweatshirt which also proved to be the most difficult step. I pinned my pocket in place making sure to only pin the top layer of fabric and then attempted the awkward bunching and scrunching required to sew only the front layer of the sweatshirt (see photographic evidence of this below). In my limited experience, the most important thing is that the material not be stretched or pulled awkwardly when sewing. If it is stretched, the sweatshirt will return to its natural shape after the pocket is attached and the pocket will not follow... resulting in a wonky pocket.... pocket.
And there you have it. Now I can take my pet everywhere! And publicly declare my insanity at the same time! My version looks a little more menacing than the original, but it captures Wallace's true nature accurately. I think the result is so weird and cute and, as a perpetually cold person, I am looking forward to living in this for the next several months. Next up, pants to match!
P.S. I'm also considering making a few available for purchase on the Etsy shop since the decals came 6 to a sheet. Anyone want to wear my pet cat on their person?!
For my Intro to Graphic Design classes' second Photoshop assignment, I focused on studio lighting, Photoshop's selection tools, and typography. We completed a brief tutorial together on each selection tool and how it can be applied before jumping into the final project. I then randomly assigned each student a location around the world. After compiling research and downloading fair use high resolution images from a class-wide Pixabay account, we had a photoshoot during which the students photographed each other posing as if they were in their chosen background images. They then used Photoshop's selection tools to remove themselves from the original and insert themselves into the new background image. Each student created a set of 5 postcards illustrating themselves visiting their assigned location overlaid with typical postcard greeting text.
I wasn't able to find the exact references I used for studio lighting techniques, but Phlearn.com is a great resource for both Photoshop and photography techniques if you're ever in need of one.
I was definitely lucky that my students were willing to humor me when I asked them to pose with nothing in front of a blank backdrop, but I think the resulting cards are so fun. One of my students even used them to trick her relatives into thinking she had traveled abroad which I think signifies a job well done on her part.
Last Spring, I was lucky enough to go on an arts and culture themed trip to Cuba with High-School-Me's favorite performer and a group of like minded fans (brownie points if you can decipher who it was from the backwards logo). I was excited when the tour group decided to produce T-shirts commemorating the trip, but less so when mine arrived sized extra large. I'm more of a lanky sized person, but I thought this was an opportunity to try something new with my sewing machine friend (who was recently dubbed and will hence forth be referred to as Sally). So I decided to attempt tailoring a T-shirt. Plus, I hear Jennifer Aniston does it, she's still relevant right? After googling a few techniques and watching some youtube videos, I cobbled together a process that I think works well (disclaimer: this sewing series is presented to you by a dumb dumb so at the very least you will receive a detailed account of things to avoid), here's what you'll need:
Start by turning both T-shirts inside out and lay your template (the fitted shirt) on top of the shirt to be tailored making sure it is centered and no wrinkles are in the fabric of either shirt. Trace the outline of the template with a disappearing marker or chalk and pin the front and back layers together along one side. Cut both layers along the pinned outline.
Side note: My initial plan was to pin and cut both sides, but I didn't trust my tracing abilities and I'm glad I didn't... you'll see why further down.
Fold the cut half over the other, pin the layers together, and cut the remaining side.
Unfold the shirt, smooth out any wrinkles, and pin both sides up to the underarms.
As you can see on the left, my initial trace job was pretty shoddy.
The next step is where Sally comes into play. Through my research I learned that technically a serger, a term I had never heard until this point, is used to create most T-shirts. Basically, sergers create overlocking stitches, this means the thread wraps around the edge of the material to prevent fraying. Most sewing machines can create overlocking stitches, but require a special foot (the part that holds down the material). Sergers specialize in the overlocking stitch and are often used in industrial settings... the more you know!
I don't own a serger or an overlocking foot so I figured out how to fudge it with a run of the mill sewing machine. If you use a zig-zag stitch and place the very edge of your material within the eye (hole) of the foot (thing that holds down the material), the thread will wrap around that edge in a manner similar to a standard overlocking stitch. Use this method to sew each side of your shirt up to the underarms removing the straight pins as you go. You can see the result below.
Next step is to hem the bottom of the shirt. Cut off any extra length while leaving enough to fold the edge twice. Sewing the edge inside the hem will keep the material from fraying. Fold the bottom of your shirt twice, pin the material, and use the zig-zag stitch again to hem it.
To reattach the sleeves, trace the sleeve of a fitted shirt and cut along the underarm. Use that piece to measure and cut the second sleeve as well. Then, use the overlocking technique to sew the underarm seams.
Turn the disembodied sleeves right side out and place them inside the arm hole of the inside out shirt. Align and pin the edges of the sleeves to the edges of the arm holes. This is difficult to describe so hopefully the images below are more helpful.
Use the overlocking stitch technique once again to sew the sleeves onto the shirt. You can hem the sleeves to be the proper length of a fitted T-shirt also, but I like the way they look rolled anyway so I saved myself the trouble. Trim any loose threads, turn the shirt right side out, and it's ready to wear!
Final Note: Check the type of fabric used for both your template shirt and your to-be-tailored shirt. My template shirt was made with spandex so it was very stretchy, my to-be-tailored shirt was not. I gave myself a buffer zone while cutting the material in case I messed up and I'm glad I know myself well enough to know how likely that was because this shirt would not have fit if I followed the outline exactly. I definitely had a "duh, you idiot" moment when I realized what happened, but at least my low expectations of myself saved me this time!
I've been a "cat person" my entire life. I can't pinpoint its origin, but I remember begging my parents for a cat as early as age 5. My parents both had cats in their younger years so maybe it's genetic? Is that a thing? Unfortunately, my brother is allergic... like severely asthmatic allergic. Fortunately, I was an extremely annoying child and when countless stuffed animals didn't do the trick my family adopted a cat. My brother being an agreeable child, suffered in silence until his immune system got itself together. I do feel bad about this now, but at the time I was so pumped. Anyway, as soon as my life somewhat resembled stable adulthood I adopted Wallace (I'm sure if you've spoken to me even once you know this part). It's still the best decision I've ever made.
Something I learned immediately after bringing him into my home is that people have strong opinions on declawing cats. I can't even describe the look of disgust people gave me when I said I was weighing all options. People told me the procedure causes permanent physical and mental trauma and that declawing Wallace would be committing animal cruelty. My childhood pet never seemed to suffer any trauma from the experience and my vet assured me that today's technology is extremely precise and recovery time is brief. I tend to believe the truth lies somewhere between the poles. Regardless, Wallace still has his claws and I do not intend to have them removed.
He did, however, destroy all available objects in my old apartment and now that I'm furnishing my very first big girl apartment, I want to limit the amount of shredding that occurs. Enter Soft Paws, plastic nail caps that cover your cat's claws, protect the various surfaces in your home, and are hella stylish. Wallace has always been pretty chill about getting his claws trimmed and applying Soft Paws is just as simple. He doesn't seem to mind them too much throughout the day aside from bath time when he licks and chews them a little. I haven't noticed him swallowing any, but the adhesive and plastic caps themselves are non-toxic and, without getting too graphic, should pass without issue. There's some debate throughout the internet regarding the humaneness of Soft Paws, but after researching the product and observing Wallace's behavior it's a great solution for us. They also come in a wide array of colors including pastels, rainbow, glitter, and even holiday themes. Wallace is currently rocking blue glitter because blue is his favorite color and he fancy, but he's looking forward to the holiday season so he can get a little festive.
Does the anthropomorphizing make me sound crazier than usual?
While visiting my great uncle in the Hudson Valley last winter, I stayed in a hotel that spoke to my soul. Owned by artist couple Brice and Helen Marden, Hotel Tivoli features works by many notable contemporary artists of both the fine art and craft traditions. The hotel occupies a historic building located on an adorable main street in Tivoli, NY. Our stay was only a few days, but that was enough time to check out some artwork, appreciate the hand made ceramics at their farm to table restaurant, The Corner, and lounge in the seating area just outside our room. Kehinde Wiley and Alex Katz don't usually fall into the "hotel art" category, but I was so excited to see that in this case they did. With bold bright colors against clean neutral backdrops, I've never been more into a hotel's aesthetic.
When setting up the new apartment, my choices were pretty clearly influenced by our visit. Below you can see my feeble attempt at capturing the light and energy present throughout Hotel Tivoli, it's a work in progress...
My path into teaching has been somewhat untraditional so it wasn't until well into my 20s that I took on the role of full time classroom teacher. There was a point when I thought I'd stick with museum education and might not ever explore the classroom setting, but I am so glad things went the way they did.
My school was extremely supportive of classroom autonomy, so much so that I was intimidated and terrified when I began the school year. I spent so many years asking my employer for permission to pee that I didn't know what to do with this amount of freedom. This guy I hang out with sometimes (this is a running joke that he hates... it's not that casual... more on that later) took me to a comedy show the weekend before I started in an attempt to distract me from my feelings of impending doom. It was that bad, but with some breathing exercises and lots of hugs I made it through my first week and didn't look back.
When designing my Intro to Graphic Design curriculum, I wanted to focus on basic skill building with some historical components. After an introductory lesson on "old school" tools (T-squares, compasses, light boxes, etc.) and logo design, we jumped into Photoshop. This first lesson focused on Photoshop's drawing tools and celluloid animation. Here's how I approached the topic:
After a basic overview of the drawing and shapes tools, I had my students watch this humorously(?) antiquated explanation of the celluloid animation process (notice the male employees titled writers, artists, and engineers while the women are "pretty girls"... heavy eye roll). We then explored the history of the process including it's first application, first feature length film, and final feature length film. I also used this as an opportunity to introduce the concept of working in Photoshop layers since the processes have that in common.
Each student was responsible for using Photoshop's drawing and shapes tools to design a character for their own animated cel. They were randomly assigned a background (the default landscape wallpapers provided by Mac OS X) and picked characteristics from a hat to incorporate into their design. If they had time at the end, I showed them how to animate their character using Photoshop's timeline function. It's always amazing (or at least amusing) to see what happens to your ideas when a classroom full of kids gets to interpret them, below you can see some of the awesome creations they came up with...
Happy Back to School! I'm rooting for you!
After their portfolios were successfully submitted, I wanted to congratulate my AP Art students by giving them a memento of the software with which they became so familiar throughout the school year. I first tried to scour the internet for something small and specific to their experience in my class, but I didn't have much luck so I decided to make something myself. My students created their pieces primarily using Photoshop so I asked each one what their favorite Photoshop tool was and then used Photoshop to create an illustration of said tool... very meta, I know. Amazon sells a wide variety of keychain blanks that you can fill with pretty much whatever you want so I used my fancy shmancy new Cricut cutting machine to create vinyl stickers of each illustration and stick them inside the keychain blanks. Unfortunately (or so I thought at the time), they only came in packs of 50 so I had quite a few left over after my 6 students received their keychains. For that reason, these will be the first items available for purchase on the Etsy page! There are 5 Photoshop tool icons to choose from, but because this blog covers a wider array of materials I also created 5 traditional crafting tool icons. You can see some process photos and all available keychain options below. I'm also open to custom orders, if anyone is interested in a different color or illustration you can contact me through the Etsy page. Hopefully this endeavor will enable me to be less of a craft hoarder... although it may also have the exact opposite effect... time will tell. Until then, check out the Etsy page HERE!