Friday, May 31, 2013

Photoshop Friday

 Today is the first day of exams at work.  Because of the way my schedule is this year, I only had one class today and it only had 3 students in it (senior have graduated already).  I finished grading the small number of exams for today's class and cleaned and organized all that I could stand.  And then I started playing around with this image......

and with this one.
 I had so much fun refreshing my Photoshop skills and I ended my day with this image, which I LOVE and have BIG plans for..... I just can't tell you about them yet! I'd love to hear what you think.
Wishing you a great weekend full of magic and wonder!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Princess Party Invitations

I found these invitations that open in the center a few years ago on a close out sale at a stationary store. I decided to finally use them to make Lydia's princess party invitations. I had pre-folded invitation paper, but there is no reason that you couldn't make something similar using cardstock.

I thought the center opening would lend itself well to a castle design. I found a graphic that I liked and then spent some time formatting and getting everything to print correctly. I started by creating a word document the size of my invitation paper BEFORE folding the paper.

Insert your castle into the document and size it to the size the card will be after folding. The basic idea is to take the one image, split it in two (I made a copy then I cropped both in half) then move the half pictures to the paper edges so that the cut hall of the castle is on each edge. The biggest issue was that my printer didn't want to print all the way to the edge of the paper. I tricked it by sizing the document a little longer than my paper really was. The beginning edge still had a small border (margins as narrow as possible) but the last edge to print had the image going off the edge. The paper overlaps a little when the invitation is folded, so the blank border is hidden behind the printed edge. That created its own problem in that the picture now overlapped so my perfect half castles didn't line up perfectly anymore. I just went back to the crop tool and moved the cropped edge over a little more. It wasn't exact, but it seemed faster than doing all the measuring involved to figure out how far to move the edge to compensate for the overlap. I just printed and folded and checked my work and made adjustments a couple of times to get it right.

That's it. Simply print your details in the center of the other side of the invitation or print them on a separate card and insert it into the center. Either way, you open the castle to see the information about the party.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ready For Summer and a Princess Skirt Preview

The end of the school year is SO close I can almost taste it and this year I am SALAVATING at the idea of a break!  Lydia (and the big school system) have been out since last week, so it feels like we are a little stuck but summer is coming and I am getting really excited about having a little time to focus on making stuff (and cleaning stuff, and organizing stuff, and planning school stuff).

Of course I will also be devoting lots of time chasing to the kiddos, especially now that Joshua can WALK! Yep! He took his first solo steps this weekend after NEVER learning to crawl!  Aside from some baby-proofing, my most pressing project is making stuff for Lydia's birthday party.  I have scaled things WAY back and am mostly inviting school friends. We are having the party at our house and planning on the kids mostly playing on Lydia's new playhouse complex (blog post coming soon) so I'm not doing party games.  I'll have some fun with food and decorations, but for now I'm obsessing over what Lydia will wear.
So far, I have made something for Lydia to wear that matched the theme for each of her parties.  There was the dress shown above for her Butterfly 1st Birthday party, a fun dress for her Alice in Wonderland Tea for Two party, there was an up-cycled dress for the Three Under the Sea party, and then a custom tee shirt and Paris themed skirt for last year's Four and Fabulous party.  This year is all about PRINCESSES!
Lydia LOVES Cinderella and she actually already has a Cinderella costume that I made for her.  I have a feeling she will want to go full dress up for her party, but I want her to have something new and something that is more of a normal outfit.  I started searching for "princess fabric" online and fell in love with a few options.  I ran them by Lydia and she picked her favorite.  it's from a Riley Blake line called "Happy Ever After."
She loved the print of houses and castles because it reminded her of Cinderella's story.  There is even a clock and a pumpkin shaped carriage!  It even comes in a version with a blue background, the color of the sky..... AND of Cinderella's dress!

 Perfect..... except that I failed to notice that this fabric is from 2012 and sold out on most sites!  Ooops! How do I not check this stuff BEFORE showing it to Lydia?!?  After some frantic searching, I found a place in Austrialia that wouldn't ship to the US and a place in England that would. The fabric has been ordered and  has been listed as shipped.  Here's hoping it makes it in time!

While I wait for the fabric to arrive, I have been playing around with photoshop to look at a few possibilities.  Mostly, I realized that if I wanted any of the coordinating fabric, I might need to search it out as well and couldn't afford to wait.  I definitely want to use the landscape print as the border of the skirt. 
There are some other cute prints with princesses and one with princess dresses that are designed to coordinate. Honestly, I was more excited about the idea BEFORE I made these digital mock ups.  I think I have decided that I can find lots of prints that are a little less busy, maybe a dot or a stripe, and find them here locally after the border print arrives. I am pretty sure that I am making a skirt, so that still leaves a shirt to find or create, so stay tuned.... and wish my fabric happy travels across the ocean!

Friday, May 24, 2013

This Plastic is Fantastic! (Up-cycled painted trash bag masquerade masks)

A friend's daughter was going to a "masquerade themed" prom. Another friend had provided her with some masks. She asked me about adding sticks instead of the elastic strap that might mess up her hair. Easy enough, except this kid is SO nice to my family and always watches my kids when needed. I wanted to do something special, so I decided to embellish the masks a little more.

I wasn't opposed to spending a little cash on this kid, but I was at a spot where I couldn't get to the store for a while and I really wanted to play around with the masks. I had some feathers and flowers all of which would work on a girl's mask, but the red one was for the boyfriend. I thought of manly things like a devil or fire...... And then I got really creative with the trash that was laying around.

I started spray painting plastic to see what effects I could achieve. I was surprised at how well the plastic held the color, even the dark plastic garbage bags were starting to coordinate with the blue and red masks.

Next I played around with stretching and tearing the plastic to get interesting textures. This was SO much fun and so easy to do.

After gluing on only one layer of plastic to the edge of the mask, I am already getting the fiery look I was going for.

I ended up doing three ripple rows of plastic " fire" but it still needed a little something extra so I finger painted metallic paints in random patterns.

The finishing touches really look great up close.

For the "girl" mask, everything needed to be blue to match the prom dress. I sprayed some of the black trash bag, but also experimented with lighter colored grocery store plastic bags.

I glued the painted plastic to the back of the mask and it started to look like waves, which I thought was a good compliment to the fire on the boy's mask.

The thick row of sequins over the eyes inspired some smaller dot details under the eyes. I'm using liquid metallic acrylic paints and the end if the paintbrush on the dots.

I also added some blue metallic paint to the "waves" around the edges of the mask.

As a finishing touch, I added some feathers to the side of the mask. A little paint, some old masks, and TRASH bags create fantastic plastic prom accessories!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Up-Cycled Apron from a Thrift Store Dress

One of the three categories for the Miss Biscuit Competition that I entered was "sportswear", which at Biscuitfest meant an apron. I had a cute apron covered in tea and coffe cups, but I wanted something new and cute and it needed to match my biscuit plate hat!

The picture above shows my outfit, next to my competition. I don't want to brag (OK maybe just a little) but I think I look GOOD! Consider that I have yet to stop eating like a pregnant gal so NOTHING fits, and I am very proud that I made an apron that was figure flattering. It was so pretty, easy, and inexpensive to make. Here's what I did!

I went to Goodwill during lunch. I wanted a dress that could become an apron. I had no idea what I wanted my apron to look like so there were LOTS of possibilities. It was fun just to look at colors and patterns and not worry about the size. Basically, you want a skirt that has some fullness and a top that can cover your top in an appropriate way for an apron. The picture above shows my dress after I cut up the back seam. It was simple white cotton with large woven dots and a built in lining.

Once I had my dress, I went to the Internet for ideas and drew a simple sketch to guide my sewing. Below is the apron after I cut the dress into 2 parts at the waistline. If the dress had been any longer in the waist, I would have just left that part connected and sewn a waist band with straps right on top of the dress. This dress was small and the top was fitted, so I needed to move the top part up some.

I also wanted a scalloped hem. The first attempt had too few scallops, so I changed that later. I also added a yellow trim. At $3 a yard x 3 yards, the trim cost TWICE what my thrift store dress did, but it was SO worth it. I loved the detail AND the trim folded in on top and on bottom so I just inserted the raw edge of the apron and top stitched the trim, saving a lot of time and trouble.

Here is the new, improved scalloped hem with the yellow trim. Below is the apron top getting attached to the waist band sash.

You also can see the black piping detail that I added. This was in my original sketch. I didn't have any trim when I first dove into this project, but I did have a black t-shirt!

I cut strips of the shirt lengthwise. Then pulled on them until the ends curled in a bit.

Then I stitched them in place. Below are some different views of the finished apron. Not bad for a thrift store dress and a few hours during lunch!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Miss and Mr Biscuit Competition

Saturday was a rainy day, but that didn't dampen the excitement at the International Biscuit Festival. The kids and I took advantage of the rainy weather and got our biscuit tasting in early, before the skies cleared (a little) and the larger crowds arrived. Then we rushed off to the Children's Festival of Reading and then home for naps (hair and make-up for mommy) before returning to Biscuit boulevard for the Miss or Mr. Biscuit Competition.

Here I am, mid competition, with the other contenders. I seem to be having a good time! We showed off our aprons (mine was up-cycled from a Goodwill dress, blog post coming soon). We demonstrated our poise by walking with biscuits on our heads. (Here it is on YouTube if you MUST see it!) Then it was time for our biscuit themed talents.

I carved the Knoxville Sunsphere, out of butter, in about 5 minutes. Above is my practice carving, made at home the night before. Below is my rushed job during the competition.

And there I am in the middle of butter sculpture madness (photo by Tanner Latham via Instagram)! There's a video of the entire butter carving ordeal, if you really want to see me rub my hands all over a greasy shaft of butter. Yep, it's THAT dignified! Here's the link to the YouTube video. I love the look of concern on Erin Donovan's face!

In the end Biscuit glory was not to be mine. My apron was super cute and we all did equally well walking with biscuits on our heads, so it must have been a question of talent. The winners all had songs and dances about biscuits. Oh well, I had a really fun time, as evidenced by my post loss portrait on Erin's Instagram feed.

It would have been nice to have earned a little "dough" for all my efforts, but I think the winners just got biscuit themed swag. I suppose there's always next year! Perhaps a bacon flavored Power T, or portrait of Pat Summit?!?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Yep, There's a Biscuit on My Head!

It's time for the International Biscuit Festival in downtown Knoxville! I've actually never been to the festival, but I heard about this beauty pageant spoof they do to crown Miss or Mr Biscuit and I decided I wanted in on the action!

Contestants are judged on sportswear (an apron), biscuit knowledge, poise (walking with biscuits on your head), and a biscuit related talent. My biscuit fascinator is overkill, but might prove beneficial in balancing biscuits on my head. Should you find yourself in need of similar food themed head covering, here is what I did.

I started with 2 circles cut from foam. I glued them together and covered them in glue and white paper towels.

Next I painted on some buttery brown texture. Speaking of butter, I wanted a big pat of gooey melting butter on top if my biscuit. So, I mixed a little yellow paint with glue and dripped it into a puddle. I cut a square from foam and also painted it yellow. Then I got some help from gravity.

I wanted a biscuit on a plate for the hat and decided to add some food accessories where a real hat might have feathers or flowers. Bacon apparently is the feather in my cap! To make my fake bacon I just tore some brown paper and glued on red and white tissue paper. Then I wrinkled the strips and let them dry that way.

I wanted a third item, so I made a small orange slice. I cut a half circle out of foam and added some texture with a hot glue gun. Then I added some paint.

I painted a cheap white styrofoam plate and assembled my hat.

It was missing some little finishing touch, so I added a ruffle to match my apron (more on that later) and attached a headband to hold it all in place.

Wish me luck, or better yet, if you can make it to Krutch Park around 3pm tomorrow come out and cheer me on!