23 April 2010

Grandma's Quilt

So, my lovely and talented cousin/friend, Artsy Aut had an awesome idea.  Since we are cousins, we share grandparents.  Said grandparents are in their 90's and their health is failing.  She suggested that we make them lap quilts.  I had a jelly roll that had Grandma's name all over it!  I sewed all the strips together, cut them and have all the (80) squares ready to rock and roll.  Now I just have to put them all together!  It is the Garden Trellis quilt from the Jelly Roll Quilts book and it is such an easy quilt top to put together.  Seriously easy, but looks really complicated!  Those, in my opinion, are the best!  I highly reccommend this book.  I have a few more quilts in the works from this book.

Wedding Announcement.

I was commissioned around Christmastime to make my sister's wedding announcement.  She sent me some inspiration from here and here and here and here too.  Then I set out to work.  I had never made a wedding announcement before so I just started playing.

To my lovely surprise today, this is what I got in the mail:
I love Love LOVE how they turned out!  I have seriously never seen anything quite like it before and I am also kinda jealous that my wedding announcements were nowhere as cool, clever and unique as Julie's!  I SOOOOOO wish I could do this for a living and make money doing what I love!  Oh, my favorite part?  On the back is my digital signature!  So stinkin' cute!

The Tree of FAIL

I was so excited to learn how to do the tree of life quilt block.  I don't know, it just seemed so cool.  My first attempt at it was an epic FAIL.  It was so bad, in fact, that I didn't even bother sewing it together.  But I did learn a few things:  1) half square triangles are no one's friend.  2) starch is my best friend. 
So, yes, I failed miserably at the Tree of Life the first time around.  That being said, I tried again.  Result?
Much better!!!  I made this for my mom as a wall hanging for her birthday.  I love how it turned out.  I used civil war fabrics and then quilted it and bound it by hand.  Not too shabby, especially it being a small quilt.  The finished size is 16"x16". 

20 April 2010

The Baby Maker

I finished this quilt for my sister Julie a few months ago, but I couldn't post it cuz it was a surprise for her wedding.  Anyhowzit, I gave it to her this past week in San Diego.  Here is the long-waited pix of The Baby Maker.
I had been saving fat quarters and other various fabrics for quite some time for this project.  Just a mish-mash of awesomeness, if you ask me.  My favorite part, you ask?  The border.  Machine bound the binding after making 1 1/2 inch bias tape.  It is definitely faster than doing it by hand, but I don't know if I'd do it on another quilt.  The finished size is 82"x 65".  I heart the plaid!

Graduation, schmaduation.

I was commissioned to make a graduation announcement for my baby brother Joey.  Sadly, he is not a baby anymore.  In fact, he is graduating HS (more than likely) in about a month.  Here is his announcement:
I really like how they turned out.  Perfectly masculine, just a bit indie chic:)

07 April 2010

CS Awesome.

I love digital art.  In the past two years, CS 2 and now CS 4 have become my new best friend.  I lay awake at night and dream about what awesomeness I can make.  It started with digital scrapbooking, which is still awesome and fun, but it evolved into printing fabric, jewelry making, wedding announcements and the like.  For Christmas this year I was in a digital zone.  I made all the people I love some of my art.  This one happens to be my favorite. 

Digital Brushes Tutorial

I have been tutoring a few (lucky) friends in CS4. I was thinking that digital brushes are awesome and I am sick of teaching it and having to answer questions.  It is much easier just to write out the directions to help my friends and to better humanity as a whole, right??
I love brushes for so many reasons, but a few are:  a) it adds an artistic look to EVERYTHING b) you don't have to have great pix to do it c) I get bored of pictures and it just adds a layer of AwESoMe.
Some things to try: a).  make a brush of your signature  b) use a brush as a clipping mask c)make a brush alphabet out of your handwriting....I could go on forever!
Digital Brushes in CS4

1. Open picture into a new layer and double click on the Background layer

2. Rename background layer so that it becomes unlocked. Otherwise you can’t use the layer.

3. Use the magnetic lasso (or selection tool of your choice) and select portion of the picture that you want to include in the brush.

4. Click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers pallet.

5. Use a brush black brush to erase any of the unwanted background or use white to add back any background that you have taken away.

6. Right click on the mask and select Add Mask To Selection.

7. Under select at the top of the screen click on “select inverse”.

8. Go back into the layers pallet and select the picture (not the mask) and hit delete. This deletes the background that you do not want to include in the brush.

9. Hit Ctrl+D to deselect everything.

10. Change the mode of the picture to grayscale. It will ask you if you want to discard color info. Press OK.

11. Under Image, go to Adjustments. Select Brightness/Contrast. Make sure that Preview and Use Legacy (in CS4…not sure about CS3) are both checked.

12. I like to start with the contrast. The secret here is that you want as much contrast as possible. You want to get rid of any gray, or as much gray as you can. I go to 100% contrast and this usually takes care of the problem.

13. Now for the brightness. This is not an exact science. Sometimes a picture just doesn’t work very well. Go into the brightness and play around with it until you get your pic so that you can see faces, noses, eyes, etc. This is where you really just have to play with the thing.

14. Once you have it where you like it, press OK.

15. Now select the magic wand tool in the tool box. Since you will be selecting only white, make sure your tolerance is around 40 or 50.

16. Click in the white areas. Continue selecting the areas in white (with the Add To Selection box selected at the top of the screen). Be sure to zoom in if you have to to select the white.

17. Once you have all the white areas selected (if you don’t you can go back at any time from here on out and select them. Sometimes it’s hard to see) click Delete.

18. Under Edit, select Define Brush Preset. It will ask you what name you want to save it as. I usually just click OK, but feel free to change the name. Whatev.

19. Now, go up to the Brush tool and select it. Scroll to the end of the brushes and you will find your brush. Now it is like any other brush that you have in your pallet. You can change the size, color or use it as a clipping mask.

20. HAVE FUN!!!!