Sunday, January 29, 2012

Post Holiday Wrap-Up

The problem with having loving and supporting friends and family, is that you can't talk about what you're working on until after the holiday season is over! I know, tough break, right? Geez.

And so, well after Christmas and the wintry sort are behind us, and now that Boston weather is bringing us bizarrely toward an early spring, I give you a look into my season, and how a variety of projects worked out:

Detachable [Post]Cards

This is the first year in a long time that I've sent out holiday cards, and ones that I made myself, at that. I had been playing around with a detachable postcard idea for a long time, but hadn't been able to settle on a design. So, building off the hand-carved paper-snowflake card idea that I had created for a client the month previous, I got to realize that concept.

The first thing I wanted to do was add some embossing to the original stamping method. As I was using pigment ink pads--rather than oil-based printing ink--to stamp my design, I was concerned for the durability of the stamp, and its potential for the ink to transfer when in contact with other paper (a particular issue given that the front half of this card was going to have to go through the jungle of mail sorting twice: once in an envelope, yes, but then again on its own as a postcard). Embossing the stamp would take away something that seemed "natural" about the weathering that automatically occurred with the Speedball rubber, but would preserve it as an intended design element. Et voila, happy compromise (with a pinch of life-lesson).

My perforating tool is one of my absolute favourite gadgets and never fails to make me irrationally giddy (giddy effect may vary depending on the potency of one's inner dork). It's easy and effective, is incredibly lightweight and small, runs at only around $3, and can be used for all sorts of fun projects other than just cheesy coupon books. You will be subjected to further gushing and proclamations of perforated love in future projects. To the point: I used the perforator and a ruler to run a line along the top of the designed half of the card; then, to detach, the recipient simply folds along the line and tears apart.

On the inside of each card, I included a postcard stamp, so that it was ready to send when the recipient was done enjoying their greeting, and wanted to pass a greeting of their own along to someone else.

Above are examples of the four colours I chose to use (from front to back: Moss, Harbor, Scarlet, and Eggplant), which all paired with corresponding envelopes.

Each envelope was addressed with a fun "Support Snails Send Mail" address label, and included a snail mail insert which read, "I hope you will enjoy this card and send the thought along, in support of the Unites States Postal Service. Fold and tear along the perforated line to remove your pre-stamped postcard."

Over all, the cards were a great success, and I look forward to working more with that detachable format in the future.

All Play and No Work

The following are some fun things I put together for my office coworkers. 

"Snowigami" paper crane ornaments (I know, I'm too much...really, I should stop...and yet I don't), with stamped and mounted gift-tags that each had a personal holiday message.

Up-cycled letterpress calendar picture frames. These were taken from a beautiful letterpressed desktop calendar, and I simply cut the calendar portion out to create a photo mat for either a frame, bulletin board, or fridge. Each "page" was different and made for a nice addition to our cubicles.

I also bound a few single-signature notebooks using mostly up-cycled materials. The "B" features laminated Boston street/subway map endpapers, "L" uses illustrated book pages, and "V" uses a heavy stock book page for it's endpapers as well as a small branch for it's spine. Each uses paper taken from the office recycling bins, and features a letter corresponding to the recipient's name.

'Tis the Season to be Crafty

For my parents, who spend half their time on a surfer's/cattle ranch on the Central Coast of California, I crafted a ceramic cow mug in my pottery class.

Having never sculpted a cow before, nor having a picture of a cow to look at at the time, I'm proud, yes, but significantly more flabbergasted that it actually came out even remotely resembling what it was supposed to! A few of the spots came off in the kiln, but the naturally uneven "oatmeal" glaze certainly made up for the loss. And, when I went to collect it from the classroom, I found this note from another ceramics teacher (so nice!):

Another crafty experiment was the baby onesy I made for one of my best friends, who's expecting.

I used a machine-made onesy as a pattern, but just kind of held it up and drew around to get the dimensions (I can not recommend using an actual pattern for sewing enough haha gestimating was a pain). For this one I used a (new) Hanes white t-shirt that I had in my drawer, which worked pretty well in a pinch. I hand sewed everything using embroidery thread and doubled up my stitching, but using a sewing machine would probably give the stitching more stretch (and wouldn't take many hours). Instead of snaps, I reinforced some holes with an extra layer of material and a heavy dose of threading to prevent it from stretching or tearing, and used some cute red buttons. Then I free-handed a little elephant on the *coughbackwoopscough* (an embroidery hoop will stretch out the fabric so that it doesn't wrinkle, and a fabric store open at 5am in my neighborhood could have sold me one, but alas, no such hours of operation) and wrapped it up in a gift box.

Certainly an experiment, and a good first try, but I think I'll need to sort out the hiccups before I go too baby crazy. Luckily the soon-to-be mother gave me an A for effort.

Wedding Portfolio

Finally, we have a wedding present to a wonderful couple--high school sweethearts--that tied the proverbial knot in June.

The portfolio box is made from sturdy book board and picture matting, and is covered with a handmade Indian Lotka paper, and a handmade Japanese Yuzen paper. It measures 9" x 11" x 1".

The couple's names are typewritten on the Lotka paper and inset on the lid of the portfolio.

The ribbon weaves in and out of the box, through incisions in the book board, connecting the lid to the base, and tying in the front with the other end.

Inside is a photo mat and mounted wedding photograph, and will be joined by the various wedding keepsakes of the bride and groom.

A lasting happy new year to everyone, and thank you for supporting Warren Tales!