shower time

So Erica asked me to help her with her baby shower invitations. We both really love making things like that, so I was thrilled to help. As for a theme, we quickly decided on Lake Tahoe–she and her husband really love Tahoe and the baby is due in December (a nice wintery time of year) so it fit perfectly.

Erica found a vintage Tahoe postcard online which prompted our “aha!” moment–why don’t we use our own Tahoe photos, make them look vintagey, and then print them on postcards?

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A friend who is getting married tipped me off to the fact that postage was $0.29 in the early 90’s, and postcard postage is currently $0.28, so if you don’t like the current postcard stamps, you can look at old stamps on ebay and use those! We found some adorable squirrel and acorn stamps that fit perfectly so Erica snapped them up.

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On a blog I had seen this idea to use a stamp for the invitation information (instead of printing it) and it worked perfectly with our vintage feel!

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A few things to keep in mind if you use a stamp like this: 1. it takes a WHILE to arrange the little letters. Totally worth it, but I wouldn’t aspire to do something that requires a lot of changes. It can be pretty tedious. 2. make sure you push the stamp down good and rock it back and forth a little so all the important information comes out and 3. make sure the stamp is in the correct orientation. I only stamped it upside-down once, but still. Watch out.

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Overall I think they turned out super cute! It was so much fun to help with these, and I can’t wait to help with the rest of the shower goodies.

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Screen Printing

I have been dabbling in screen-printing in a completely unofficial, self-taught way.  Recently I was asked to do some bachelorette t-shirts and decided this would be a good opportunity to document the process.  Here goes–this is going to be talking about the photo emulsion process.

First, there’s the design.  You need to find a design, preferably one with not too much detail/too many teeny lines.  It’s doable, it’s just a little more difficult to execute.  Once you’ve come up with something, you need to print it on a transparency.
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I read a tip somewhere to print it twice and tape them together to make the ink even darker–I highly recommend this. You don’t want any light to get through the design.
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Once you have a design, you need to prep a screen with the photo emulsion. This can be a little difficult, because it needs to be done in a dark(ish), stored in the dark to dry, and then kept in the dark until you use it. There’s also a shelf life for the screen once you’ve put the emulsion on. I have to do this process on my closet floor–it’s the only dark room in the house, and the cats don’t have access.

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After your emulsion is on and dried, you’re ready to burn the screen. There are tables to tell you about the wattage, what type of bulb, how far off from the screen, etc. For our purposes, I’ll just say there are very specific directions for this. If you don’t burn it long enough, your whole screen will wash out. Too long, and it’ll be difficult to wash the design out. My screen took about 45 minutes to burn with a lamp hanging 12″ above the screen. I put a clean sheet of glass over the design in order to make sure the transparency lies flat on the screen surface–you don’t want any light to get under the transparency.

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Next is the washing process. Once the screen is finished, you “wash out” the design (everything that was untouched by light), while everything that was exposed to the light will stay put. A lot of sites will recommend a pressure washer or something of the sort to wash the screen out. While that would be fabulous, I live in an apartment. I have a sink and a tub. Neither of these things really have water pressure conducive to this step, so I resort to my trusty industrial squirt bottle. It’s tedious, and I get serious hand-cramps but I make it work.
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The dark green is the burned photo emulsion. The pale green is what the burned design looks like, and the white is where I have washed the design out.

After about over an hour (no joke) of squirting and rinsing the screen (you can imagine my hand agony), the design was finally washed out. When the screen is dry, you can begin your printing.

Because the printing process needs to happen fast (so your paint doesn’t dry and clog the screen), I didn’t take any pictures. My personal process involves the ironing board, a piece of wood (to put in the shirt so the ink doesn’t bleed through to the back), and the helping hands of Brandon. Lay out shirt, place screen, paint, squeegee, remove screen, hang shirt, repeat. In this particular run, repeat 14 times. Voila! Printed shirts.

Screen printing is fun, messy, and time-consuming. It’s essentially a 3 day process (one day to set up the screen, one day to burn/wash out the screen, and one day to actually print). I am looking forward to taking some classes and getting more knowledgeable, but for now I’m experimenting and having fun!

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crafty time

so lately i’ve been trying to get back on the craft train and make some goods.  gearing up for the holidays, i guess.  anyway, i’ve been doing a variety of things, but in my first batch of goodies is some knit goods.

the first item was sort of out of necessity–some handwarmers.  it gets super chilly in my office, and my hands especially get cold.  in order to keep working on the computer while keeping my hands toasty, fingerless gloves/hand warmers are the perfect things.  i found this pattern on the purl bee and decided to go for it, and i’m pleased with the results!  i chose to use one color instead of 4 colors.  i also shorted them up and made them a little smaller, because i have petite hands and wrists.

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i’m just going to throw it out there–it’s pretty tough to photograph your own hands sans tripod!

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next up–just some knit cat toys. i haven’t knit any in a while, and i sold out, so i made another batch.

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stitching stuart

so yesterday i posted about how naughty the kitties can be–in fact, this morning brandon had to get up early to go to the airport for his day trip to LA for work.  about an hour after he left i heard some scratch scratch scratching at the door, went to the bathroom and found the cats in there.  again.  trash dumped over, and this time the toilet paper roll became a victim.  anyone need a zombie costume for halloween?

anyway, it might be hard to imagine why i still love these kittes so much when they can be so so bad.  well, here’s a sample of why–i mean, how can you resist this fella?

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and the title of the post came from the following:

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he was snuggling with my awesome stitch book i picked up at powell’s last christmas. i had it on the couch to help me out with the embroidery project i’m working on (i’ll post that when i’m done with it), and when i came back to the couch after getting something, stuart had claimed the book as his snuggle buddy.

go ducks!

so the oregon ducks is really the one sports team that brandon cares about. well, i should say he cares about their sports teams, plural. anyway, i had experimented the other day and came up with a knitted reusable coffee sleeve, in order to stop using a new paper/cardboard one every day. how green of me, right? it stemmed from me collecting the sleeves on my desk and realizing just how many i go through.

anyway, i asked brandon if he’d use one, and he said if it was a ducks one, he would–thus the challenge was on. here’s what i came up with, and i’m pretty happy with the result, if i do say so myself. the hunt for the “perfect” yarn colors was NOT easy, and it took a couple tries but it was worth it in the end.

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expansion

i’m excited to share that we are expanding our line at adelie and the orca! we now are sporting some baby blankets and burp clothes. well, really these have been the plan for the start, but my sister took charge and photographed her creations so now they’re starting to pop up on etsy! thanks jen, the seamstress. so far we’ve only listed one, but look for more in the coming days! i like to call this one “you’re buggin’ me”
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adelie and the orca giveaway on moderncat

image courtesy of moderncat

toys, clockwise from top left: parisian mouse from 4 paws, knit fish cat toy from adelie and the orca, binkie sweetie toy from osha, catnip donut from catzilla crafts, woodland friends organic hemp cat toys from the modern pet, and mink catnip body pillow from kitty of mine.

so this week is toy giveaway week on moderncat, and there have been tons of amazing giveaways! i offered up a knit catnip toy (via adélie and the orca), and today you can have a chance to win! check out the posts from the week–some amazing etsy shops to discover, and tons of giveaways! if you have a feline friend who could use some spoiling, head on over and enter to win! thanks, again, moderncat for 1. being an amazing website and 2. featuring my kitty toy (and stu’s tooshie)