Saturday, January 31, 2009

Add flair to your letter wall in 13.5 sweet steps

Ever wanted to add some flair to that letter wall* you've started? How about with a HUGE letter X? Now with step-by-step instructions:


1. Pick a typeface you heart. We picked Bodoni.

2. Pick a letter. We picked X. It's anonymous, not too flashy, and it sports a super sweet series of straight lines through most of its length. (Straight, I dare say, is easier than round.)

3. Open Illustrator and create a document with the dimensions of the letter you want. Ours is a little over six feet tall. (That's a lot of inches, ya'll.)

4. Type your chosen letter in your chosen typeface, create outlines, and resize to the proper height. (I want so badly to make an x-height joke here.) To save on laser printer ink, I turned the X into a stroke only--only an outlined X.)

5. Print--using crop marks. Ours was something like 183 pages. But there wasn't ink on very many of them. Later, I took all the blank pages and put them back in the printer. Never fear.

6. Line up and tape together. This part is hard, because printer margins all run a bit differently. If you were super TYPE-A you would get your paper cutter out and cut all the edges at the crop marks and then tape together. If you were me, you'd just eyeball it because you like the risk. (also, watch for dogs. They LOVE to walk on projects that have been layed out on the living room floor. They also love to lay down in the CENTER of such projects.)

7. Now. Here's where I'm going to tell you what we did, and then tell you to do it differently. We got out our cutting mats and X-acto knives and cut the X out of the center, leaving an enormous X stencil. Were I to do it all over, however, I would cut the X out of the center, leaving the X in-tact, creating a positive X...mostly because it's more sturdy to work with the bulk of a huge letter than the wobbly edges of a huge letter. And also because our big dream of putting the stencil on the wall and then just painting over it with rollers was NOT to become a reality.

7.5. Pause to notice that the serif on the Bodoni X looks a lot like a long nose. Pose with said nose.

8. Take the X positive or negative and tape in place on wall. Use the step stool. Try not to scream at your partner. This part takes patience because the weight of the paper really likes to listen to gravity and fall over.

9. Trace. (Joe's adding pencil lines to some parts we didn't trace strongly enough.)

10. Tape. At this point you're going to be jonesing to just start painting, but trust me, you'll thank yourself later if you take the time to tape the edges now.

11. Paint. We used three coats of Ralph Lauren metallic silver paint (free from our neighbors) and we probably should have used a fourth coat but we got impatient and ripped the tape off. Plus, like I said, we like a little risk. And we scoff at perfection. So there.

12. Take off the tape.

13. Clean up the edges. If you have textured walls, and we do, the paint will have bled a bit in places. We cleaned up the most egregious errors with white paint, but left some of the more subtle blurs in homage to how a letterpress or typed letter will bled ever-so-slightly when pressed into porous paper.
14. Add letters. Play with placement. Debate, rearrange, add more.

*(What letter wall?) Oh you know, us typofiles are all doing it. In fact, after we started ours, I found out that hula seventy has one. I've seen them elsewhere, too, but can't seem to find any links.

Alas, our letter wall is a collection of three-dimensional letters collected from old signs, old buildings, and the like. I find them on-line, in antique and junk stores, and even in some new spots (I'm okay admitting that's where we got our super rad F).

Shopping List Saturday: white on white

New obsession: white on white. It all started with a 7 on the letter wall. More on that later. For now, I bring you monochromatic bliss found on etsy this week.

Row One: Quimby Necklace by Muntedkowhai; Cloud Factory by PearsonMaron; Pearl and Sterling Disk Bracelet by elegantexpressions

Row Two: Map paper bird by cottonbirddesigns; Ceramic dog by LucindaChips; Victoriana Scarflette by TickledPinkKnits

Row Three: Cashmere Sleeve Arm Warmers by stacyleighatelier; Miss Purr Kitten by lullabylily; January No. 3 by fernanimals

As always, find more Shopping Lists at Fancy Picnic.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shopping List Saturday: a little bit of 'stache

I can't get enough of them. I really can't. And, luckily, neither can the brave folks at etsy. Just look at all the mustache love!

Row One: Howdy Doody by Moustache Masquerade; Blue Handlebar by born lippy; mustache on a stick: the bartender by somethingshidinghere

Row Two: Grey Moustache Disguise by lupin; Mustache vinyl keyring by Majestyinc; Large Mini Mustache Necklace by wickedminky

Row Three: Mustache Ring by Isette; Mustache Pint Glasses by BreadandBadger; Mustache Envy (brown) by DianaTeeter

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shopping List Saturday: Illustration

This week, I'm happy to present a set of amazing illustrations and paintings by artists selling affordable prints and originals on etsy. I am continually amazed by the talent and variety that I find in the world--there is so much talent among us!

I'm currently enthralled by drawings that host semi-hard edges while still allowing a bit of a tender center to peek through.

Row one: the grand reach by corid; tell me by laurageorge; cannonball girl by DoomGloomBoom

Row two: knitty, knitty by ashleyg; water by birdsandswings; darwin's finches by dsudyka

Row three: runaways by ninjagrl; point by Jessica Doyle; lui by blancucha

As always, find more SLS at Fancy Picnic

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ancient ceremony

What I made for Christmas morning, for my sweet Polish husband; Polish Poppy-Seed Bread, or Makowiec, a yummy rum, poppy-seed, and dried fruit filled bread that emanates a damp concentration of love and spice across your house.

[Breadbaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells...there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.

--M. F. K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas Presents Round Three: Project Neptune

So, in the spirit of this book, and this art project, and this other art project, and of course this, and in wanting to do something different and special (but not lamely special) and fun for our families this year instead of giving them more stuff they have to dust weekly, we devised Project Neptune: An Artistic Inquiry, a year-long experiential and collaborative art project.

The rules are simple: each month players will get an assignment. Players will have one month to complete the assignment. They will submit the results to the hosts, and the hosts will compile the data. Three months of data will be collected and the hosts will then create a curio (suitable for displaying prominently in one's domicile) using the data and the responses. [Also: a TOP SECRET NUMBER CRUNCHING ALGORITHM, known only by the hosts, will be used to create each curio.]

Each player will receive a copy/edition of this artifact/curio/art piece.

The Stats:
12 assignments; 1 per month
3 assignments = 1 curio
12 assignments = 4 curios
1 curio = 17 buckets of fun

PLUS the bonus invitation art piece, a pictorial and mathematical representation of the prevalence of the first initials of the Neptune players. (see below)

Curio No. 1. Three layer screen print on wood.
(SCALE: 2" = 1 occurrence)

The invitation and rules.
I'm so excited to see what's going to come of this. So far three player households have returned their already-stamped postcard to say that they are IN like Flynn and will participate. The first assignment was sent by the Project Neptune Computer on January 1, 2009, as per the rules.

Stay tuned for results.
Also. This is the last of the Christmas presents. They have finally all been revealed. Expect no Round Four.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shopping List Saturday: home sweet

I have to admit: I'm smitten with houses.

Perhaps it's that the symbol, all boxey-bottomed and pointy headed, that says "house" across the western world feels cozy, comforting, and warm. Maybe because a universal symbol like "house" can be interpreted in so many ways and it still feels the same inside.

No matter, I love a house. A tiny house. A soft house. A sleeping house. A bird house. A wooden house. A clay house. Et cetera ad infinitum.

So, for this week's SLS, I give you houses. Not to scale.

First row: little house by madebymavis; Whimsical birdhouse by Rose4aname; Houselette 003 by ReneesPaperandYarn

Second row: clay house by callejas; my sweet house by LeiLiLaLoo; a house I could live in by LovesGasStation

Third row: House7 by WhataCharacter; A House is a House by turtlebones; Little mint house pendant by PeculiarForest
As always, find more SLS at Fancy Picnic

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's time for a new list

It's time. The new list is upon us. I'm officially 31, and have officially abandoned last year's list. The things that didn't get done were few and far between, and probably for the best. You don't always need to do everything you think you might need to do on a random day in January.

I'm actually pretty impressed with all the things I did accomplish--a new business, two new on-line stores, refreshed sense of community, baking skills, sewing and knitting projects, photobooth bliss, et cetera. It's not (maybe) that I was more successful last year than it is that I am more accountable to and aware of my successes.

So: here goes 2009.

1. take a drawing class. seriously. (any suggestions of where i should do this, oh blog-o-sphere?)

2. design some new patterns for tiny footprint. cupcake is gettin' bored ya'll. design some new designs for gavron. still bored.

3. figure out free motion machine embroidery. which looks so easy. but maybe isn't.  done.

4. visit foreign soil. (as in, not north america. as in, probably, Morrocco. And Spain, if we can swing it. cross your fingers for swinging it.)  done.

5. buy an old camera so I can take ttv photos. make a tubey thing to take ttv photos...then take some. work on it till they look good.  done and done.

6. post a tutorial on my blog. tutorializing what? i don't know yet. something good.  done.

7. go to the desert all spur-o-the-moment-like.

8. join the Cacaphony Society for another event and this time wear a better costume. (okay, so I already did this on New Year's Day...but I want to do it again. And, Santarchy 2009, you better watch out! This girl is a-comin')

9. build one of these. Use it for my etsy stuff. post that stuff. repeat. done. but then it took up too much room, and outdoor photos were so much better, so I recycled it.

10. it's time. to learn. to crochet. seriously. how can you still not know how?  half done.

11. find people to play games with. like cards. and dominoes. and board games. (as in, regular-like).

12. volunteer at KEXP again. and also somewhere else. done.

13. put skinny shelves around the house and fill them with wonderful three-dimensional handmade art and stuffs.

14. okay. so I bought this amazing book at powells. now i have to actually make something that's in it. done.

15. build a worm compost bin

16. begin a collection of candlesticks. begin a collection of taper candles. light candles. repeat.

17. simplify. simplify. (give away two things for every one thing i bring into my life; stop buying crap I don't need; stop saying yes when i really mean no.)  still doing.

18. visit some cows and help vaccinate them.

19. visit a local farm and meet some farmers.

20. visit the labyrinth at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and/or at Seattle First Baptist.

21. walk the reflexology path at Bastyr. done.

22. visit the lavender farms when they're in bloom (Mid-Late July-ish).

23. cultivate more clients for gavron (network? eek.)

24. do something scary. (sam says I can define this later)

25. do something that brings me hope (again, the defining comes later)

26. visit a new gourmet restaurant. (canlis? the gluten-free one in madrona?) done

27. find an old typewriter that still works and clickety clack on it. (give away two big things when i bring this one into the house, see number 17, above)

28. Learn some French. And some Morrocan Arabic. And refresh the tiny bit of Spanish still in my brain. done.

29. knit a sweater for myself out of that yarn that Amy recycled for me three years ago already!  done.

30. dinner party.

31. design, build, and sell my own softies.

handmade shoutout

Thanks to Second Sam for her shameless shoutout about gavron designs and tiny footprint! Click on the picture to read her posting about locally sewn!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cross off number 8

He'd been flying that day, and flying 3,000 miles in your mum's lap is tricky stuff. You have to remain seated, you can't scream, you can't kick the seat in front of you (though it makes the best thump, bump, thump sound when you do), you can't fidget too much...but you're only 13 months old. You are ONE BIG FIDGIT.  They are asking for the impossible.

You land in Seattle. Your Nana and Boppa are already there visiting, and your Auntie and Uncle live there.  They take you for pizza.  Pizza?  You hate the wooden high chair. You hate keeping your shoes on. You hate that there's no food yet.  You've had to sit still and be quiet all day, and they take you to a really loud restaurant.  They order cheesy bread so that you will have something to gnaw on, but you're just so tired and fidgety.  You don't care about gnawing. You want to sleep, but you don't know that you want to sleep, so you're just fidget and fuss.

Your Auntie swoops you up and drags you to the photobooth in the back.  You have no concept of photobooths, are not yet swayed by the old-timey nature of their processing chemicals, of their strips of tiny, poorly exposed photos.  You aren't going to pose for the flashing light.  You don't even see the flashing light...because you have moved beyond the fidget and into the squirm. 

Your Auntie points to the light and over-exaggerates a smile. You see the silly smile in the reflection, but you just can't smile right now. Maybe tomorrow.  After your Auntie finishes with the photos, after Boppa let's you run around the parking lot, and the adults get the pizza to GO and you go back to Auntie Heather's house and you get to play with the wooden coasters with the Japanese paintings on them and the bamboo steamer baskets that stack so beautifully and you have an ENTIRE night's sleep in Auntie's neighbor's borrowed Pack-n-Play.

Then you'll smile.  You'll wake up with a smile and you'll strut your new walk around the wooden floors and you'll pet the dogs and squeal at everything, your mouth open and ready to eat the whole world.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Shopping List Saturday: words

I'm a writer by trade (trade? Yes. This means that I will trade you one story for one piece of this awesome art) and I love the use of text in art. Here's an SLS to prove it.

Row One: Mad Scientist 4 Necklace by uncorked; Pale and Interesting by reform; Word Spiral Bangles by peaceofpi

Row Two: Seeker by kellierae; Four Napkin Rings by raedunn; Word House with Lady by gypsyandtwink

Row Three: Bearing His Soul by studiolyon; We Will Not Know by BlondeChick; Ask/Ask Not by UlaEinstein

As always, find more SLS at Fancy Picnic