Jun 062017

Over the weekend, someone ordered a bunch of pins from my Etsy shop, including both sets of cat heads. That gave me a little burst of good mood and I decided I should paint another cat head to make into a thank you card for the order. After I did that, I realized I wanted to do more, so I spent a whole evening painting. I ended up with enough for a card four pack.

Makes a nice set!

I gave them all metallic painted eyes and noses, although you can’t tell from the photos. In person, they sparkle and shine brilliantly! I have to paint those bits all by hand after they’re printed as cards, but it is worth it. I think they’re striking. Goes well with the metallic envelopes, too.

Of course, they’re listed in my Etsy shop, if you want them for yourself.

Jan 132016

The Chinese New Years cards were a pleasant success last year, so I thought I’d do them again this year.
Year of the monkey print.

The Chinese New Year begins Feb 8th and this is the year of the red fire monkey, with a lucky flower of crepe myrtle. These cards feature a monkey, the symbol for monkey, the year 2016 and a crepe myrtle on the front.
Year of the monkey print.
I’ve listed them in my Etsy shop, Creations of Dubious Utility, like last year. Hopefully they will be equally popular this time.

Chinese New Year of the Monkey card pack items.
I like making the card packs up. They’re like little kits, and I love kits. This puts me in the mood to make some zip pouches, too. Kits are even better when you have a place to put them.

Sep 282015

When the year is turning to harvest
and the wind invites you to ride
light fires on every hilltop
and greet those beloved who died.
– by Artemis (screen name)

This poem was the inspiration for these cards.
Autumn harvest cards.
I had some cards from a previous project and thought it would be nice to carve up another block. That poem was the direct inspiration for the design here. I printed the block in a mixture of silver and white on some black. I quite like that look.

Autumn harvest cards, detail.
The layout was arranged so the kraft brown of the cards would show through the black, once the trees and leaves were cut.

Autumn harvest cards - envelope seals.
I had some trouble figuring out the envelope seals, but finally decided to paint watercolor paper with acrylics and inks and then punch out the leaf shapes. I cut shapes of double-sided tape to fit the backs, so they are somewhat nontraditional, but they do stick like crazy.

Autumn harvest card packs.
Since the last card packs went over well on Etsy, I went ahead and listed these packs in my shop.

I am pleased with these cards. Making them scratched a number of itches, too; using spare cards, carving, cutting, and painting – and arranging things into small kits. Satisfying. With all the trees starting to change colors here and finishing these cards, I feel positively autumnal!

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Feb 142011

While we’ve been working on/having work done on the old house Slick and I have been limiting the things that might take away our time and resources from it. We’ve done almost no work on The Arches, we’re not planning vacations, we’re not working on projects or buying any new toys. Plus, a large part of both our future workshops sit in packing boxes in the basement. Getting the old house finished up (paint is drying now!) is at the top of our list and no projects are getting attention until that thing is at least on the market.

This means I haven’t done much crafting this year. I took a stab at finishing off The Sketchbook Project just because it had a deadline (and we had a handyman working at the time), but when that didn’t pan out the gold dust, I turned some of the sketchy bits into their own little crafts. The medium heart I’d carved fit neatly onto a 1.125″ badge:

Inked hearts on silver acrylic on Bristol board.

When they were done and I decided to share them, I put them on those little cardstock cards like Valentines; you saw the previous five with a white background which were already listed and sold (!!yea!!) on Etsy. These are on a silver acrylic paint background on Bristol board. This means they required a smidgen more effort to press into the button shells, but it also means I got to work many layers of ink colors into them.

Inked heart on silver acrylic on Bristol board.

Like this blue one. It has about five layers of blue colors along with some yellow for interest. It is like I use my carved stamps to make my own little coloring book sessions, which is fine. I’m more into having fun and enjoyment out of my crafts than making a piece of statement art every time.

Heart stamps I carved.

I tried to carve the Sketchbook Project stamps in a looser, rougher style than I normally favor. I like to have clean, clean lines, all smooth, with no leftover lines showing. Everyone I showed the sketches to liked the unfinished look better than the clean and finished look. Of course, people only seem to like the messy look if it is a controlled messy – with contour lines; not real, actually unfinished lines. While this sorta means an artificial roughness that I am naturally opposed to as a control enthusiast, I gave it a shot to see if I would like it, too. After all, I can always go back and clean them up to my normal standards later. There are about twenty or so stamps (at this point some are bordering on block prints) in the dramatically incomplete collection. Maybe I’ll show some of those so that I can blog about crafty things until I get to create again.

I also carved this broken heart stamp I’m chuffed with. I carved the heart and interior jagged lines and then cut the whole thing along the split lines. The stamp is actually in two pieces so I can stamp it as broken apart as I want each time. However, these broken hearts were a bit too big to fit on my small badges and too small to look good on the large buttons. So, I trimmed some of these up and turned them into teeny, tiny, anti-Valentines.

Inked broken hearts on printed cardstock cards.

These are the size of credit cards, when they’re folded. Here you can see what I mean about the variety of broken space in the hearts.

Interior of inked broken hearts cards.

I already had my ink pot and nibs out, so I scrawled out some anti-Valentine appropriate messages. Except for that one that says Happy Valentine’s Day on the front, I think these could be all seasons cards of bitterness. They’d make excellent bitter-breakup cards. You know, if you’re looking to be prepared for the worst breakup ever.

Inked broken hearts on printed cardstock cards, with envelopes.

And they fit into these unassuming bitty kraft paper envelopes. Since they’re the size of credit cards, you could carry one around in your pessimistic wallet for just the perfect moment.

The (silver background) badges I did list on Etsy, but they didn’t go anywhere. The cards I never listed because I apparently can’t get over myself. Plus, until I’m willing to put the word out and around that I have stuff in my shop, I can’t expect anyone to find it on their own. That would be like putting up a table in my front yard to sell lemonade without a sign. But, I’ll put further effort into the Etsy one day. One day when the old house is sold, perhaps. It would be nice if some of the profit from Etsy sales could contribute to my craft supply fund.

That was it. That little bit of playing around with things on my desk, not even a real project. That was a month ago. I haven’t done anything crafty since then and am getting noticeable crafty withdrawals! My dreams the past couple weeks have involved crafts. Making things is such a creative outlet in my life that I’m dreaming about it. I have been away from home a lot already this year and I’m leaving for more work travel in a couple hours. Although, even if I were here I wouldn’t be doing much creating anyway. Yarns call out to me, tempting with crochet. A gal at work is ready for a baby shower and I can feel the cottons under my fingers and hear the gentle snickety-snick of Gretchen twisting thread through the baby quilts I want to make. Looking at the stamp pictures above makes my hands miss the hold of the carving tool and the Xacto blade. I’m dreaming of cutting paper, punching holes for brads, straight stitching, gluing paper, twisting wires and planning. I am jonesing for crafting. I could gather up some small crafty things to pack into my suitcase to sate my desires, but I might hold out until I can get some straightforward, basement, dedicated crafting time for full satisfaction.

I am a hedonist, after all.

I hope you all have a delightful VD. Not a droopy one. Or an itchy one.

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