Gerber Onesies: Mustache, Aviators, Succulents and Chanel

Idea:

I’m visiting my friend Dina and 1 month old Sofie today! Insert swoon face emoji here. My mom always said never visit someone’s home empty handed. Though my mom has never said it, I know she prefers to give a practical gift that will be used and abused over a pretty something. Each passing year has shown that I am my mother’s daughter.

I’ve been told by many mommies that their babies lived in their Onesies for a good part of their first few months. I couldn’t find a Onesies with the design and price I liked enough to give to the minimalist Dina so I assigned myself project.

Inspiration:

Last year I hand-printed shirts for Dina’s Bachelorette Party. Using the same ink and technique, I designed prints that were close to my heart and quick to produce (I only came up with the idea late eyesterday evening).

Ingredients:

  1. Tulip Soft Fabric Paint Metallic Gold
  2. Reynolds Freezer Paper
  3. Silhouette SD
  4. Iron
  5. Cardboard /  Something to line the back incase the fabric paint bleeds

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your design in Silhouette Studio.  Keep in mind the negative cuttings space will be used as the stencil.  Leave an 1″ + border of blank space around your design.  This will help avoid accidentally bleeding the paint to the outside of the design while painting.  I recommend that grouping of cuts be kept to a minimum.  For this project I grouped the mustache with the succulent and the chanel with the aviator sunglasses.  Freezer paper has a tendency to lift off the most tacky cutting mats once cuts are made.  Paper that lifts off the cutting mat can get caught and possibly damage your Silhouette machine.
  2. Place freezer paper wax side down on the cutting mat.  I recommend flattening your freezer paper if it came in a roll and ensuring the entire paper adheres to the cutting mat.  Rolled paper on an un-tacky mat will always lift from the cutting mat.
  3. Cut.  If you are using the latest Silhouette Ratchet-Style Blade, use a Material Type that calls for a blade setting of 2.  I selected ‘Heat Transfer Material – Smooth’.  Because my freezer paper was 15″ long, I cut the mustache and succulent on the top 6″, flipped the cutting mat upside down and cut the chanel and aviator sunglasses on the bottom 6″. Note that both designs were placed at the top 6″ of the mat.
  4. Place the onesie on an iron-safe surface.
  5. Place the cut stencil wax / shiny side down on the onesie.  If you want the design centered to the babies chest, draw an imaginary straight line from the armpits of the onesie using a ruler. Place the top of the design no more than 1″ over the ruler and center to the ruler.  If you have small pieces to iron, I recommend using tweezers and also placing the positive cut down as well. to keep the small negative pieces from shifting.
  6. Set your iron to the 2nd lowest setting with no steam.  On my Sunbeam iron, the setting is ‘Silk’.
  7. Remove the ruler and carefully iron until the was adheres to the onesie.  If you’re ironing to a synthetic fabric, be careful not to burn the shirt by ironing over the freezer paper only.  If the freezer paper is not adhering you can increase the heat setting on your iron but do so carefully.  If you’re ironing small negative pieces, using the edge of the iron, press down on the small piece.  If need be, also press down on the positive piece as it can be easily removed after ironed.
  8. If you placed the positive cut piece, now is the time to remove it.
  9. Place cardboard inside the onesie under the stencil area to prevent paint from seeping to the backside of the shirt.
  10. Paint!  I recommend painting from stencil into the middle of the design.  Painting from inside to the stencil runs the potential of ink bleeding under the stencil.
  11. Peel the stencil off slowly to avoid lifting any wet paint.

Images:

 

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Decoupage: Booker’s Bourbon Packaging Facelift

Idea:

From now until next September, I will be collecting an assortment of glass bottles and wood boxes in preparation for my cousin’s big day.  The Booker’s Bourbon box came to me via my aunt last week.  It’s a great size but the print on the box makes it difficult for me to paint or stain it into a faux vintage cheese box.  What do I do with this box now?

Inspiration:

I’ve seen a number of Krafty Pearl’s beautiful decoupage projects but I haven’t found a reason or the courage to experiment with the technique. Til this day, the MDF crafts that Pearl gave me are all stored away, awaiting the day I develop a stronger decoupage technique because I don’t think I’ll be able to live with ruining any of the unique pieces with any decoupage missteps.

I tested my hands on this technique now that I have a box to recycle and can shamelessly decoupage without fear of ruining.

Ingredients:

  1. Wood / MDF Box
  2. Mod Podge Matte Finish
  3. Paint brush
  4. Paper.  I recommend rummaging through an old book / dictionary collection.  I was given an old dictionary which I’ve been slowly re-purposing page by page.  I used 3-4 pages for this project to cover the 4 sides.
  5. Newspaper / Magazines to use as liner to protect your work top

Instructions:

  1. Google ‘How to Decoupage’ and make sure you watch this video by Addicted 2 Decorating and have at it!

Images:

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Signage: Vintage Wedding Date Countdown Chalkboard

Idea:

The engagement party was over 3 weeks ago and I still owe the couple a gift.  I ran empty on ideas so I shamefully attended the party empty handed.  Giving a gift late is schmuck-ish but there are advantages (not that I gift late for these reasons).   Now that I’ve had the advantage to scope out the gifts they received, I’m thinking an engagement gift should give a nod towards becoming ‘one’, should be customized to the couple, is something they can use for their engagement and/or wedding but, isn’t something that one would normally gift at the bridal shower or wedding.  After scouring the internet for engagement basket ideas, I gravitated towards gifting them a custom wedding countdown.

Inspiration:

Ask anyone that attended college upstate New York what Wegmans is and they’ll probably remember two things:

  1. It’s the only supermarket in town.
  2. They have beautiful chalkboard signs.

My adoration for chalkboard signs dates back to the earlier years of this century when I attended college and I’m thrilled that they’re making a huge presence in today’s craft / event planning industries.  They were my signage medium of choice in 2011 (the year EFI got married) and they’re my signage medium of choice for my engagement gift to a beautiful couple.

Instructions:

  1. Purchase an ornate frame.  The simplicity of white handwritten chalk coupled with a beautiful vintage frame seems so rustic and country chic to me.
  2. Paint the glass of the frame.  You can also opt to remove the glass, paint pre-cut foamboard / poster board and insert into the frame.  I had to paint the glass because the glass and matte were not removable.
  3. Find a signage template you like.  Pinterest is your source for inspiration.
  4. Hand write your message.  Be sure to arm yourself with a wet rag.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

Images:
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Ingredients:

Chalkboard Paint

Farewell sash

Idea:
A text from my sister said: I commission you to help me make a sash that says “cinco de farewell” for Lauren. Bc our going away drink night for friends and fam is Monday.

Inspiration:
A nice sash shouldn’t be flimsy and should have a 4″ width – enough room for text legible from across the room.

My brother gave me a stash of 4″x4″ blue upholstery samples a month ago and I’ve been looking for the right project to use them.

I think we have found a match.

Instructions:

    1. Determine required length: Lauren and I share the same build so it was easy for me to determine the proper length and text positioning.
    2. Sew pieces together: I used a ladder stitch to join (without overlap) the pieces. I opted for no overlap and a visible stitch since the pieces already had a trim stitch and the pieces are heavy enough to make it difficult to fold had I gone with a single stitch on the wrong side.
    3. Sew button and button hole: my singer 160th anniversary machine is built with button and button hole sew settings. It also came with the button hole foot. This was my first time using these features. With a quick read of the instruction book I had myself a nearly perfect button hole and button sew to the sash.
    4. Paint / Affix text: I had 3 options of getting the text onto the sash.
      • Create a stencil using the Silhouette SD and stencil to sash using fabric paint.
      • Cut thin fabric or durable paper using the Silhouette SD and sew to the sash like an appliqué.
      • Paint freehand.  I love my silhouette but my recent love of calligraphy made me opt to free-hand.
    1. Embellish: I added a feather, some pearls and flowers as a finishing touch. Feathers were left over from D’s moms birthday party. Pearls came from a Forever 21 necklace that unraveled. Flowers are from a lei that I took apart.

Moral of the story: one persons junk is another persons craft supplies. (A very bad moral if you’re trying to shed hoarding tendencies).

Images:
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Interesting Points:
So, I MAY have cheated and didn’t quite freehand in the true sense of the word. I held thin brown wrapping paper to my laptop monitor and traced the desired font at the desired size. I held the brown paper on top of the sash and lifted the brown paper as I went with the paint pen on the sash under the brown paper. Ok. So, I traced rather than freehanded. I’ll call it freetraced.

Baby Shower Invitation: Pooh Letterpress Part 2 – Print

Idea:
In my previous post, I mentioned booking time on the Vandercook Press at The Arm.  45 pooh baby shower invitations and envelopes were my creation that night.  I wish it was as easy as booking time on the press, getting there and pressing.  But, there was quite of bit of preparation involved:

  • Book the press at least a week in advance and try to reserve a time slot that has at least another free press in case more time is needed.
  • Cut the photopolymer plates to fit on the boxcar baseplate and in a way where it will be easy to keep the print aligned when switching colors.
  • Pack enough paper and envelopes to allow for 15-25% error.
  • Pack the ink safely away from the paper.  I used wax paper and plastic bags.
  • Pack the paper in packaging and bagging that will not dent the paper, especially the corners.
  • Pack a separate bag to store the finished product (if the original packaging doesn’t suffice).
  • Give yourself ample time to get to the studio on time and preferably early.  Traffic between 2PM-8:30PM in Williamsburg due to the BQE is INSANE!

 

Images:

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Interesting Points:

  • Clean ALL rollers on the printer. Especially when you’re working in a co-op studio.  The previous printer left yellow ink on the rollers which  turned the intended grey into a beige.  I’m not thrilled but I’m also not unhappy with the final printed color.
  • Wipe down all surfaces – again, when you’re working in a co-op studio.  The previous printer also left magenta ink on the paper loader which ruined the backside of several prints and the storage box for all my final prints.
  • In a perfect world 2 hours would have been enough time.  At the end, it took me 3.5 hours (4 hours paid time).  I was 30 minutes late due to traffic.  It took me an hour and about 10 sheets of paper to get the paper properly aligned with the baseplate and an even distribution of ink on the rollers.  The printing of two colors to the invitations and one color to the envelopes took an hour and 15 minutes.  It took 15 minutes to pack my final product and photopolymer plates away safely and another 20 minutes to clean up.

Baby Shower Invitation: Pooh Letterpress Part 1 – Ink Mixing

Idea:

My good friend Michelle is chic (pronounced ‘chick’ by D) in that Audrey Hepburn kind of way and she’s having a baby!  She’s due in June which means it’s time for a baby shower.  Yes, it’s another opportunity for the USPS to deliver more of meiling’s mailing’s.

Inspiration:

Her sister Stephanie came up with the adorable classic Winnie The Pooh theme.  As much as I love the bear who lives in the hundred acres woods, a brown and tan colored invitation implied Autumn and that just wouldn’t work right for a spummer baby.  So, for fun, I swapped the colors for something a little more chic.  Something like Tiffany & Co.

Instructions:

I like to mix my ink ahead of time.  So, after the design was finalized and the paper and photo-polymer plates were ordered, with the help of Dan @ The Arm, I mixed 8 ounces of each color (enough for 50 4″x6″ invitations and 50 thank you notes each with 30% ink coverage to be printed on a Vandercook proof press).

Interesting Points:

  1. Don’t mix too much ink.  I asked Dan, a well seasoned printer, how much ink I needed.  Before my question could be answered, I needed to know:
    • How big is the print?
    • How many copies will be printed?
    • How much ink will coverage each print?
    • What kind of printer will be used?
  1. “Don’t add white to color. Add color to white.” – Boxcar Press on Mixing letterpress inks: how to make 1600 colors from just 14 cans of ink.  Basically it’s easier to darken than lighten ink. Therefore, if the pantone recipe calls for X amount of transparent white and X amount of the other colors, go modest on the other colors.
  2. To the note above, the mixed clump of  ink will always look darker than the intended print color.  Remember that letterpress ink is transparent and will print lighter so taking a draw down of your ink onto the paper you plan to print will give you a better idea of how close you are.

Images:

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Canvas Photo Album: Freezer Paper Stencil and Fabric Paint NYC Skyline

Idea and Inspiration:

I love that my family members are supporters and cheerleaders of my craft. My sister is probably one of my biggest. After she happily reported that her Kirby decal on her snowboard survived the weekend snowboard trip to Killington, she asked if I could make another decal for her coworkers going away present. They wanted an outline of the NY skyline affixed on the front of a photo album.

It sounded easy enough (under the condition that she provide the .svg file of the skyline) but then she came home with a canvas covered album. I pictured decals on a canvas album and wanted to cringe. It took a little convincing but she finally agreed to go with the recommendation of fabric paint rather than decals. Granted I haven’t tried the technique yet but I read about the freezer paper stencil technique on How About Orange a long time ago and figured it can’t go wrong.

Ingredients:

Tulip Soft Fabric Paint 1oz Matte Ebony
Freezer Paper

Images:

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