Time for Christmas Cards!!

Every year I start thinking about my Christmas cards in September. Something about Christmas being my favourite holiday. All my sisters are home in one place and everyone puts away stresses and just laughs and talks, I love it! Once it starts to feel cooler outside and it’s getting closer to Thanksgiving in October I’m making them in every spare moment I have.

This year I considered many possibilities for my Christmas card designs, including reusing some of my linocut cards from last year and adding paper quilling to them. In the end I decided to go with a 3D paper circle ornament design with ribbon bows.

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To make 3D circle ornament cards;

1. Start by cutting or punching 1″ circles out of coloured or patterned paper. And proceed to fold each circle in half. I used three circles for each ornament, you can use more if you want a fuller ornament or if you just want to make ornaments and not cards. I thought that three circles would flatten nicely for putting the cards into envelopes.

2. Then proceed to glue two halves to the third piece, to create the 3D shape. *as seen below

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3. I glued the ornaments to the card fronts in groups of four, in a scattered non-linear format.

4. I then took several hours and tied many tiny red and white bows out of 1/8″ ribbon. I used this website to help me http://ribbons.com/how-to-tie-a-gift-bow-six-different-ways/. Using the classic bow image. It was not an easy task with such tiny ribbon, you have to think tiny finger thoughts.

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4. Finally, I glued ribbon from the top of the card down to the top of each ornament as the string they are hanging from and glued a little bow above each ornament.

5. Once everything is dry, you can write in your cards!

Et Voilà! C’est Tout!

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Happy Card Making!

Shaylah

Getting in the Holiday Spirit!

I’ve been busy lately, getting ready ready for Christmas. I’ve been making and sending cards, and doing a great deal of framing. This year seems to be the year that a great deal of family members are getting art for Christmas. Now that Owen and I are engaged he’s promoting my artwork more than ever, in an effort to sell some and show everyone what I was doing for four years at York.

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All framed and ready to go!

Besides trying out some different kinds of wood for printing, I’ve recently gotten a membership for a local print studio for the new year which is pretty exciting! Until then, I was having a bit of a dilemma last week. I was trying to figure out how to chine collé the branch and lino prints I did in the end of the summer so I could frame and use them for the family White Elephant exchange. Due to not having access to a press currently, I was a little unsure how I was going to pull off using the prints.

Epic 6 Letterpress Combo

Epic 6 Letterpress Combo

But then I remembered that I have an Epic 6 press from Lifestyle Crafts (now know as We R Memory Keepers). This little 6″x12″ press is made for diy letterpress and cutting. Similar to a Cuttlebug or Sizzix machine. I thought that I could try to chine collé prints using this press and see what happened. So I did everything as per usual; got my paste ready, got a collé plate ready, cut down and soaked my paper (all on my parents kitchen counter) and set up the letterpress bed and press on the dining room table. I basically took over my parents kitchen and dining room for a day or two. In the end it was worth it!

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Press bed set-up.

My initial concern with using the Epic 6 for chine collé was that I didn’t believe that it had enough pressure when the press bed rolled through to collé flat and smooth. But with several strips of scrap rag paper acting as press blankets within the letterpress bed, I was able to collé my branch prints and linocuts perfectly! All my prints had to collé to 6 inch wide paper but when I’m framing them it doesn’t really matter. Now I know I can chine collé prints as long as they’re tiny using my little Epic 6.

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The first prints! They turned out so well!

**My parents also thought I was crazy because I was stretching the prints on my bedroom door after they went through the press. Oh well!

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Good old student style bedroom room door paper stretching.

Good luck on all printmaking endeavours this holiday season!

Shaylah

The Next Step!

WE’RE ENGAGED!!

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Owen gave dad the goat! Because one day my dad said to Owen that if he had “high expectations”, they should talk goats. So old school but I love it!

Owen and I have never really been the most serious people.. We both come from pretty silly families. So in tune with that, we don’t have the most serious of engagement photos. Our lack of serious modelling also had to do with the fact one of my very silly older sisters was taking the photos.

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This super exciting news has been keeping me busy and distracting me from posting on here! So.. I’ve taken the time today to write up about all the things I’ve been doing lately!

Happy Thursday!

Shaylah

Inspired Prints | Artist: Bryan Nash Gill

I had an inspired sort of Saturday this past weekend..

Japanese paper, layered print

Japanese paper, layered print

After hours of looking through wedding invitation templates and examples online throughout the week, I started looking more towards fine art prints that I could change into invitations.

My problem with all the customize your invitations from our templates online, is that as a printmaker they all looked either cheesy or cheap to me. I believe that prints should not come from a printer especially in the case of nature inspired prints…

My printmaking work has always revolved around the beauty in the nature around me. I connect a lot of personal memories to outdoor locations close or far from home. So when I went to York University and started taking courses in printmaking, I started printing these locations in my childhood memories. This where and why my print series’ are titled Nostalgia, CMYK, Welcome to the Family, and so on.

Because I plan to print my wedding invitations (and stationary) myself and I intend for it to be woodsy and rustic, running into Bryan Nash Gill’s artwork was perfect. I watched videos and read about his process online until it was no longer teaching me, then I turned to going to the local Chapters to check out his book, Woodcut, to read and learn from it. And drool over the images.. Much to my fiancés dismay.

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If you haven’t heard of Bryan Nash Gill‘s artwork please look it up, it’s gorgeous! His book is a truly beautiful reflection of the work as well.

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I’m still surprised the book was even available at Chapters due to the fact only two copies were available in all of Ottawa at the Rideau store and no stores in Toronto had any. But it was convenient to stop in and read the book on the way home from Nuit Blanche.

I am now educated on the process to create prints like Bryan’s, and I’m going to try my best to produce prints that look good enough for my wedding stationary. Here goes nothing! or everything?!

 First off I needed to find wood! And I needed to cut it..

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Luckily I’m at the point in my life where I’m living at home with my parents again and they have a garbage pail full of tree branches they’ve cut over the years on their property.

I chose to use a much much smaller piece of wood than Bryan does but I’m working from what I have and what will work for my end goal (my stationery).

After sawing off two pieces of the branch one from either side of the branch so they’re slightly different sizes and show different character.

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Sanding

Because I’m not necessarily a woodworker, I put a piece of sandpaper down on the picnic table and swiped the pieces on it like a cheese grater to smoothen the work surfaces I’m going to use for printing. It was a creative solution to sanding a small surface and being oblivious to normal woodworking procedures. It worked for me.

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After sanding, I had two pieces of beautiful branch. So smooth! and the sort of burn marks from sanding make it look gorgeous, so gorgeous I didn’t want to burn it!

This is where I was confused of what Bryan did next, because in the videos where he speaks about his work, it shows him burning the surface with a propane torch and brushing it. I was confused why he did this until I sanded the pieces and realized they wouldn’t show their rings without the next steps.

Burning

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For this step I used a butane kitchen torch regularly used for creme brûlée but I’m repurposing it for wood burning, because let’s be honest we never make creme brûlée. Not something I’m happy about…

I burned the surface a bit at a time, having never used the torch or burned wood not in a camp fire, I had no idea how fast or close the torch had to be. I burned a bit, then brushed it with a toothbrush (a new toothbrush that we had overfilling a drawer somewhere). I also picked up some of the pieces of wood my uncle cut for me last summer that were supposed to be coasters until I forgot about them. They’ve been outside over the winter and used to steady table legs on the deck all summer, so they’re a bit weathered. I figured I might as well find another way to use them or try it out at least.

 

In the end, I now have four pieces of branch now burned and brushed, that I can seal, so I can print! Eek!

Sealing

I was a little unsure about what kind of sealer to use on the wood. I needed something that would seal the printing surface, so that when I inked it the ink would not penetrate the surface and soak in. That would mean ruining the piece for future printing. I needed something that would seal the wood, without filling in the cracks completely as well. But I needed to be able to wash the ink off after printing also. This was a hard and lengthy process of researching what I could use.

I’m starting to understand why he talks about his process as a long and patient process.

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The piece on the left I sprayed with hairspray. The piece on the right was brushed with an outdoor Varathane wood sealant.

Printing! Finally!

Once the sealant is dry they’re ready to print! and how fun that is!

It was difficult finding a way for the paper to stay still so that I could press the paper onto the surface with the bowl of a spoon to make sure I printed every ring. I eventually found a book that was the approximate thickness of the pieces I had and got out my steel letter stamp set to hold the paper in place on top.

I also tried out a new kind of ink. Akua Intaglio Ink, it worked nicely. This ink isn’t as sticky as the speedball block printing inks but washes off with soap and water which is an awesome feature for oil based ink!

Once I discovered that printing on Japanese paper turned out gorgeous and not so great on traditional smooth rag paper, I printed away! Here are my results!

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Overall, I think they turned out pretty well. I’m going to get some new pieces of Maple and try out to see the difference. These pieces were Spruce, a very soft wood, so I’m excited to see how the hard wood turns out. I’m going to try some larger pieces as well and different colours.

I’ll be sure to post when I’ve tried the new pieces!

Happy printing!

Shaylah

I finally did it!

Here we go! Image

After years of growing and changing my hair style over and over, I finally had enough hair and motivation to cut off my hair for charity. One thing that has to be understood, is that when I was 14 my hair was so long it was down to my butt and one weekend when my mother was away at a conference…my sister cut it all off… Now my mom was in no way happy to come home to my hair significantly shorter and especially without any warning. I didn’t cut all of my hair off, but it was close to 14-16inches shorter. Still long but not nearly as long as it had been.

I was very happy with this haircut for many reasons; my hair was a lot less heavy, I used way less shampoo, and it didn’t get stuck in things when it blew in the wind anymore. But I was unhappy with it when everyone started asking me if I had donated my to cancer..

Well no..

My sister’s and I simply threw it out never even thinking about donating it. We were a little distracted thinking about how much our mother was going to kill us for cutting my hair off! But ever since then, I’ve felt really guilty for just throwing out my hair that could have been used for those without.

Well after years of playing with different lengths and styles, I finally grew out my hair for one sole purpose. I was going to donate it.

So about 10 years later, I finally had 12inches of hair to donate to children who lost theirs. I cut my hair off for Angel Hair Canada, who make wigs for children with cancer.

 

 

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Thanks to my good friend Fely for being there for support and to take photos! and Thanks to Doreen for making me less nervous about getting a shorter haircut! I love it!

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I definitely recommend donating your hair for those affected by cancer, it is a very rewarding experience and goes to an amazing cause! Making children feel like they’re #1! As a teacher this was the most memorable and rewarding thing I did all year in teacher’s college. Take the plunge! Cut your hair off to make a child feel special!

PS. There is nothing more weird then having your ponytail just sitting on the backseat of your car until you mail it off! My friends were so creeped out when I picked them up for class two hours later!

 

Free time.

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While I’m off for a few months I intend to get a lot of card making done. As I was preparing a card for my photo award donor, I made these guys. Super cute if you ask me. I saw someone a while back that had quilled vintage cameras. So I tried it out. I’ve got a Diana, a Polaroid, and Instagram (which is realize isn’t vintage but still adorable), a love robot haha, and a series of Holga’s.

I’ve quilled several different kinds of cards in the past. Including flowers, animals and custom people to look like the recipient. Its a lot of fun! I believe anyone who loves crafting and especially paper (which I have learned to love from my university printmaking prof) will love quilling. It’s a fun way to craft with paper, with so many options. Make the art of quilling popular once again! And try it!

If you’re unsure about you’re cutting skills there are many suppliers for quilling mostly based in the U.S.. The supplier I use is The Quilling Superstore. I also learned quilling from a book designed for children but nowadays as quilling becomes more popular you can find tutorials online showing you the steps.

I hope you’ll try it!
Happy Quilling!

Shaylah

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