Trying out Sashiko stitch

  Sashiko practice fabric. The white unstitched lines will wash out.

Sashiko practice fabric. The white unstitched lines will wash out.

Have you noticed? It's November! This is the perfect time to start thinking about making some handmade gifts for the holidays. I myself am in full make mode gearing up for some craft fairs at the end of the month so I thought hey, why not try a new skill. Something about fall brings out the maker in me and I can't stop exploring even when my time is limited.

I happened upon some images of the Sashiko stitch on Instagram and found them very captivating. So when I noticed Katrina Rodabaugh offering a workshop at Handcraft Studio School I jumped to try it out. I'll admit I may have seen this youtube video and thought I might walk out of the class as a human sewing machine. That's definitely going to take more time. 

I have done a little embroidery in the past but would consider myself very novice. While this workshop wasn't billed as being for beginners I would say this stitch to be very beginner friendly. What I liked most about the stitch is how patterns are created by intersecting continuous lines. In some ways it reminded me of Zentangle which is about drawing one line at a time and Sashiko is very much about one line of stitching at a time.

  The back of the Sashiko pattern fabric with my stitching. I opted to just stitch some of the lines.

The back of the Sashiko pattern fabric with my stitching. I opted to just stitch some of the lines.

  My first completed project!   I was able to understand my beginners limitations with this simple potholder/trivet project. While the stitching pattern is just made of straight lines it's stitch density was more time consuming than I'd expected. The back side used a lovely Japanese patterned fabric picked out by Katrina.

My first completed project! I was able to understand my beginners limitations with this simple potholder/trivet project. While the stitching pattern is just made of straight lines it's stitch density was more time consuming than I'd expected. The back side used a lovely Japanese patterned fabric picked out by Katrina.

  My extra project in the class was that I managed to get my thread in an incredible knot that I am still slowly unraveling.

My extra project in the class was that I managed to get my thread in an incredible knot that I am still slowly unraveling.

  Samples of  Katrina's visible mending  using the Sashiko stitch.

Samples of Katrina's visible mending using the Sashiko stitch.

  This wall is at the Handcraft Studio School which recently celebrated a year of being in business.

This wall is at the Handcraft Studio School which recently celebrated a year of being in business.

I took this workshop at Handcraft Studio School in Oakland. I've been seeing images from all the fun classes they've been offering but this was the first chance I'd had to visit. They're conveniently located near the freeway in Emeryville with plenty of parking. I think it's really important to nurture the creative spaces in our community so do take a class there if you have the opportunity. Or take any class in your own community if you're not local to the Bay Area. A workshop is a great way to experience a new skill. I love seeing the work of others as I explore something new and I generally learn something from a student as well as from the instructor. Go forth and make! Tis the season!

Gift wrapping with image transfers

WrapWithImageTransfers_4677.jpg

Have you ever heard of an image transfer? I had almost forgotten what they were until I recently got this book, Playing with Image Transfers, by Courtney Cerruti. I remember making one as part of a letterforms project in college. Google was barely a thing so I went off the verbal instructions from an art grad. Boy do I wish I had this book then. I remember having fun with my project but this book would have alleviated a lot of frustration.

Yeah, so what's an image transfer? There are many techniques but the basics are using an intermediary to transfer an image from paper (generally a magazine or photo copy) to your surface. In the case of the packages below I used the packing tape method. The packing tape is the medium that lifts the image allowing you to transfer to other surfaces.

Courtney covers many transfer methods in her book. I've had a chance to try most of them and will experiment more in the future. The one I was most immediately drawn to play with was the packing tape method because I could see its uses as an alternative to tape when wrapping gifts. Well, not exactly a tape alternative. After all it is still tape. But it's a way to add another layer of texture to the wraps.

Basics of the packing tape method

— Cut a piece of packing tape (thicker is better) and adhere to a magazine image.
— Cut loosely around the tape.
— Pop the tape into a warm bucket of water.
— After a few minutes dip your hands in the water and rub the paper off the back of the tape.
— Whala! You have just transfered an image to a piece of tape. Now stick it wherever you want.

Courtney has many more tips and project ideas for this method in her book.

  Wrapping with image transfers can allow for some extra personalization with gift giving. The gift above was for a doctor friend so I incorporated some medical type imagery along with one of her favorite colors purple.

Wrapping with image transfers can allow for some extra personalization with gift giving. The gift above was for a doctor friend so I incorporated some medical type imagery along with one of her favorite colors purple.

  These transfer journal pages show a couple other techniques. In the mix along with the packing tape method are some solvent transfers, some zentangle drawing (of course), and washi tape.

These transfer journal pages show a couple other techniques. In the mix along with the packing tape method are some solvent transfers, some zentangle drawing (of course), and washi tape.

Besides the Playing with Image Transfers book as a resource I've had the opportunity to take an in person class from Courtney. She's a great teacher full of tips and ideas.

If you live in the Bay Area you can take her upcoming class at Kala Art Institute and she often teaches at San Francisco Center for the Book. Alternatively she also has an online class available at Creative Bug!

 

Double exposure. Goodbye Fuji B&W.

The last few months I've been rediscovering my Polaroid Land Camera so it was sad news in November for Polaroid enthusiasts when Fuji Film announced the unfortunate news it would stop making the black and white FP-3000b film that still works in these cameras. There was a Change.org petition put into motion but alas it did not work. 

At the top of my Christmas List was the B&W Fuji Film. I'm happy to say I've now got a shelf of film in my fridge. As the Change.org petition points out the color film could be at the same discontinuation risk in the future. To do my part in keeping these fun toys around I'll be shooting more Polaroids and buying more color film. These are the last few months that the B&W film will be somewhat available in photo stores. I will be stock piling.

In hopes of the impossible you can let your voice be heard by asking The Impossible Project to pick up were Fuji has failed Polaroid enthusiasts. 

And now for some pictures. I shot these double exposures on a recent Dillon Beach getaway with friends. It's a fun pre-photoshop trick to play with.

BeachDoubleExp002.jpg
BeachDoubleExp005.jpg
BeachDoubleExp003.jpg
BeachDoubleExp004.jpg
BeachDoubleExp001.jpg

Shastablasta upside down. Part 1: beach crafts

  View of Bondi Beach from Icebergs Swim Club.

View of Bondi Beach from Icebergs Swim Club.

My first two weeks of 2014 were spent on the other side of the world playing in Australia. I was in Sydney, Bondi (pronounced Bond-EYE which was my home base), the Blue Mountains, Melbourne, and then some more Sydney and Bondi. 

My memories are glowing. For the record it smells great there. Food is fresh and tastes of summer. Bird sounds are slightly different than California. Louder. Bigger insects. And I think I came back a fan of humidity. I'll have more pictures to share next week. I'm sifting through them and still pouring sand out of my luggage. For a glimpse into my trip I posted throughout on Instagram using the hash tag #shastablastaupsidedown.

While I was on vacation my creative brain got a much needed break. It's slowly coming back to me. It had been taxed from holiday crafts. In Australia my senses were overwhelmed by everything I was seeing and doing that there wasn't a lot of room for making. Inevitably some of my crafting spirit came out and I'm sharing those few items here this week.

2014Stamp_3638.jpg

I packed with me a box of stamps and ink pads. For my birthday this past year I was gifted a stamp carving kit from Yellow Owl Workshop. This seemed like a great time to use it and was my first experience printing from something I'd carved. My grand plan was to buy postcards on my trip and stamp out Happy New Year sentiments on the picture side of the postcard.

2014Stamp_3644.jpg

Well I learned a lot with this project as it didn't go as planned. I hadn't fully tested things before leaving and it hadn't occurred to me how the stamps would react on high gloss paper. The 2014 stamp was unreadable so I abandoned it for a back-up stamp I'd brought. But I also hadn't accounted for humidity. Over a week later and the ink never dried.

2014Stamp_3643.jpg

Ultimately I stamped on the less glossy writing side of the card. I'd love to do this project again when I travel now that I've learned a few lessons. It's an easy way to be able to send a lot of cards as it can be hard to find writing time when having new adventures. Next time I'd have a stamp made instead of carving my own only because the pro-grade stamps can handle more variables. Carving stamps was fun and I'd totally do that again just not for this exact project.

  A week before leaving I found an Australian immigration stamp at my favorite art store and had to buy it. I carved out the middle which had Perth as the destination and a random date.

A week before leaving I found an Australian immigration stamp at my favorite art store and had to buy it. I carved out the middle which had Perth as the destination and a random date.

Of course a trip to the beach isn't complete without collecting some craft supplies. I actually didn't see to many shells until we had a picnic on Queens Beach along the Sydney Harbor. 

BeachCraft_3659.jpg
  Queens Beach. Not our boat.

Queens Beach. Not our boat.

  The  Yoga Hike Master  also traveling with me in Australia and I created this shell Om during our picnic.

The Yoga Hike Master also traveling with me in Australia and I created this shell Om during our picnic.

On my last full day I sat on the Grassy Knoll at Bondi Beach and  Zentangled this cardboard boom box. I gifted it to my wonderful host and tour guide. I took breaks to jump in the ocean as it was one of the warmest days of my visit.

BoomBox.gif

More to share next week...

#nofilter

  [Photo of the photo by Gritchelle Fallesgon.   Photo in the photo by me.]

[Photo of the photo by Gritchelle Fallesgon. Photo in the photo by me.]

A couple friends and I had planned to nerd out at a Polaroid Land Camera BBQ a few weeks ago. When the event was canceled we decided to go on our own photo walk. Fall is San Francisco's summer. We've been having some beautiful days and we lucked out with a bright clear one for our adventure. The day before it had rained cats and dogs.

  Our toys positioned in order of age. Mine are on either end. 

Our toys positioned in order of age. Mine are on either end. 

I've owned my Polaroid Cool Cam since the late 80's but I've only had my Land Camera (circa 1965-67) for a couple years. I really haven't used it much so I was happy to learn that I had friends who owned them too and we could experiment together.

   My cohorts for the day,  Gritchelle  and  Shawn.       

My cohorts for the day, Gritchelle and Shawn.  

The polaroids.

 

  My first double exposure. 

My first double exposure. 

Polaroid002.jpg
Polaroid001.jpg
  Sort of a panoramic while figuring out exposure.

Sort of a panoramic while figuring out exposure.

  Learning about what's actually in the frame. 

Learning about what's actually in the frame. 

  Grabbing the last light of the day. This was a double exposure that didn't exactly work. 

Grabbing the last light of the day. This was a double exposure that didn't exactly work. 

The film for the Land Camera is made by Fuji so it's been continuously available even with the disappearance of Polaroid film. All of our camera's have been refurbished to use modern batteries. I'm reluctant to say I paid about $125 for my camera. If you keep your eyes open you can find them for free or cheap. 

 

  My cool cam wasn't cooperating. This is the only pic that kinda worked. I think the Impossible Project film I was using was just too old. 

My cool cam wasn't cooperating. This is the only pic that kinda worked. I think the Impossible Project film I was using was just too old. 

The day was too gorgeous to not share some more full color images from my Canon EOS M. 

  A classic.

A classic.

PolaroidWalk_05.jpg
PolaroidWalk_06.jpg
PolaroidWalk_08.jpg
PolaroidWalk_10.jpg
  Bridge lights.

Bridge lights.

  The day ended with five million silly photo's like this one.  [photo by Gritchelle Fallesgon]

The day ended with five million silly photo's like this one.  [photo by Gritchelle Fallesgon]