From Background Papers to Background Fabric

At the end of my little crafting session yesterday I was feeling good about the torn and stitched paper background.  This is how I left it yesterday:

This morning I was up bright and early, and ready to take on the rocket science. I love computers and technology.  I’m lucky enough to have one of those mathematical/logical brains that enjoys the challenge of solving issues in these particular realms.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to be a genius.  I’m more of a ‘dog with a bone’.  I like to chew away at the issue until I’ve either whittled it down to nothing, or until I’ve found a bigger and better bone.  The computer thing doesn’t scare me.  What does scare me are printers, scanners and photocopiers.  I’m sure that printers have little annoying gremlins living in them.  I press ‘print’ and by the time the paper has been thrown from the printer either the paper has been pulled to one side, chewed, or half the ink has been licked off the paper by the said gremlins.  Daring to look inside the printer to solve the issue is a risky business.  This eats too much time and causes too much frustration.  I use the printer only when I can’t avoid it.  Photocopiers are even worse.  I lay the paper in what I think is the correct place, press the button, and all hell breaks loose.  Lights flashing, thousands of copies start churning themselves out, collated information becomes incoherent garbage, A4 turns into A5 giants and I generally switch the off button and do a runner!  Scanners?  They are another species.  I can never find the settings and I can never find the resulting scanned image.  I think I have used my scanner about 3 or 4 times in the many years I have owned it.  Today, I have had my ‘dog with a bone’ head on.  This is where it took me.

Firstly I wanted to achieve a number of things with photoshop;

  1. Scan the image.
  2. Find a way of viewing the image and any changes at the same time in Photoshop
  3. Alter the colour of the image:
  4. Alter the size of the image to A4 (the size of the photocopy transfer paper I have bought).

I won’t bother you with all the ups and downs of trying to work out how to scan the image and all the time taken finding the image and then working out how to change the settings from png to jpeg.  It took a while, but I managed it.  I also made an imortant discovery.  The scanned images go into a ‘Scans’ folder which is located in the Pictures folder on my computer.  Well, I never knew that.  Too easy!

Next, Photoshop.  I wanted to view the original image at the same time as viewing the image with any changes I made.  I searched the Internet for a solution and I could not find one.  So, thinking head on.  After a short time I realised I could rename the file so that I had a second copy which would be altered. I could then open the first one, so they are both open at the same time, place them side by side on the screen in photoshop and I have what I need.  Easy! Here is the saved screen print (you can save the screen print by pressing the windows key and PrtSC on your keyboard at the same time – the screen dims briefly and the file will have been saved in a ‘Screenshots’ folder which will have appeared in your pictures folder):

blue backgrounds before and after compared in photoshopAm I boring you?  Am I going too fast?  Nearly finished with the technical stuff.

After altering the colours (to make them more intense and to make the blues more purple-ish) I wanted to print A4 size.  In photoshop you can change the canvas size to 29.7cm x 21.0cm (go to Image, then Canvas Size for this – don’t forget to save as jpeg):

changing canvas size to A4 in photoshopAfter a few warnings about the image being cropped (and me selecting yes because by this time I would have said yes to anything) I pressed ‘Print’ to print the image on ordinary paper (with an x pencil marked in the corner so that I knew which way to place the Transfer paper) and the printer started to whirr and buzz.  Thankfully there was no hissing, spitting or ripping to be seen or heard.  Phew!

OK, so now I had the original and a print of the altered image.  I was ready to take on the biggest gremlins.  After comparing the printed image with the original, I thought that I may have altered it too much, so I decided to print the unaltered image onto the transfer paper.  I placed the Lazertran Inkjet Textile Transfer Paper into the printer the correct way (the back has a grid printed onto it so you know which side takes the ink), took a deep breath, held it, and pressed print…………………

I’m still here!  It worked!  Here are (from left to right) the original, the altered print and the transfer paper print. 

The transfer was ironed onto polyester cotton.  This took only a few minutes, and it was left to cool.  After removing the backing paper I could see that the image had transferred completely.  Here are the original torn paper background and the transfer print (which is on the right): As you can see, the colours are similar.  The texture, however, is quite different.  The print feels quite rubbery and flat (just like a thick printed area on a T-shirt), not quite what I had in mind.  Though the technique does work I felt I would have to continue to search for alternative methods to transfer the image.

I then went on to try another technique.  I’d read that you could use acrylic medium to transfer an image onto lutradur.  So, out came the matt medium and the lutradur.  The matt medium was painted onto the lutradur and the image was placed face down on top of the lutradur and rubbed with the back of a spoon.  This was the result:

As you can see, the image did transfer but it was a very faint print.  Again not quite what I had in mind.

I’m pleased to say I’ve learned lots today.  I’m still pondering what to do about the image transfer.

Just to finish on a positive point though, here are some of the backgrounds with just a colour change from the original file:

Tomorrow I’m going to try tearing fabric to produce a similar background.



More Machine Stitched Cards

I was on a mission today to complete more machine stitched pictures for cards (I really must buy some card stock tomorrow).  All three pictures today were inspired by nature at this time of year.

The blossom trees are blooming.  This first card is made from painted/dyed paper.  I had to figure out how to stitch over the blossom without it looking a mess.  I worked out that I could use circles over the blossom to secure it (I used a Pritt stick first) and to move from one blossom flower to another by changing the direction each time.  This card was the quickest and easiest to make today.


The tulips are flowering.  Again this card is all stitched paper.  The leaves were stitched onto the background before the flower heads were added.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, the buttercups and daisies are starting to appear. This card took quite a while to cut out and stitch.  The daisies are white fabric backed with bondaweb.  The buttercups are handmade silk paper.


When I finished stitching these this evening I was thinking that I’ve come a long way since the beginning of January.  I’m managing to produce more work than I ever did previously, and I’m feeling much more positive about the work I produce.  I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, worrying that many things are not quite right and that people will see my mistakes.  Now it doesn’t bother me so much.  It’s handmade, and not meant to be perfect.  It’s individual.  Vive la difference!

Stitched Cards

This morning I thought I’d start making some postcards.  I searched through my dyed and painted papers for suitable background papers and cut them to postcard size:


Next I went in search of my tin of tiny pieces of material (I don’t like to throw anything away)::


Some of these were ironed onto a piece of bondaweb:


My intention was to cut out small pieces to stitch onto the postcards.

Today I stitched 3 of the postcards, though they do still need edging.  The first one was inspired by the blossom theme:


The second one was inspired by all the beautiful magnolia trees which are in full bloom at this time of year:


The last one was made by stitching the background first, then flowers were added by cutting out of spotty material and stitching on top of it:


I’ve not stitched the edges of the postcards because I’m thinking of using some of these on small cards instead of postcards.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed stitching these today, and I’m looking forward to more tomorrow.

30 Day Doodle Challenge 28 – Inside the Gate

This is the second part of the doodle challenge started yesterday.  I had already drawn a fence and gate.  Today I doodled in the space in front of the gate and fence:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I’d drawn the fence and gate with pencil, I needed something to stand out in front of them.  I chose to use ballpoint and gel pens.   I’d previously enjoyed doodling with them, and today was just as good.  There seems to be something about the feel of using the pens that sends me into scribble mode.  All my reservations about drawing and doodling just seem to jump out of the window and I can relax into the process.

I almost finished the postcard based on the prompts I’ve followed recently.  I mentioned yesterday that the hand embroidered squares appeared to be like symbols.  I took the idea and searched for symbols associated with friendship.  I used Colour Prompt 20  to select the colours for the postcard.  This was the result:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fabrics used (except for the black background) started out as a creamy colour.  They were painted with acrylics as I did not have fabrics the colour required.  I wanted to keep the 6 squares from the prompts, and some of the embroidery stitches.   It’s not as bright as I’d like so  I think I might try out a little gold stitching to add sparkle.Then it just needs to be stitched onto the postcard and it’s ready to go.  Tomorrow I’ll post my provisional list for my next challenge.

Daffodil Postcard

This afternoon I spent some time making a postcard for Myfanwy Hart, author of the wonderful Creating Something Every Day blog.  Myfanwy had made a request for postcards in the Be Creative group on facebook, and I promised to send one.  I had a few ideas about the subject matter, the first though being ‘Spring is in the air.’  After 20 minutes of drawing daffodils and another 20 minutes searching through dyed papers (and throwing the rejected ones all around the room) I finally sat at the sewing machine.  This is the postcard I made today:


As you can see the shapes are quite simple, but the stitching was time consuming.  I really liked the background on this one.  I was tempted to add the words ‘Spring is in the air’ but I chickened out.  Stitching on paper is very effective, but one little mistake and you have a major problem.  I think poppies would look great on this background too.  Now there’s an idea…..

The postcard is on it’s way Myfanwy.

Felt Covered Pebbles and Postcard

After the busy day yesterday, my plan was to take it easy today.  Things don’t always go to plan.  After two loads of washing had been hung out to dry (it’s sunny in Yorkshire oh yes) I went walking with my friend Sandra and Bonny Boo Banana Dog!  As we were walking I started to pick up pebbles.  After meeting the bodgers yesterday I felt inspired to think about practical activities that could be used when the bodgers attend shows etc.  Something to draw people in, entertain children etc.  After an hour or so of wrapping wool around pebbles, wetting and covering with soap and curtain net, squeezing gently, then increasing pressure, this was what I had:


I’m thinking of adding some stitching and maybe some beads.  That will have to wait though as I’m too busy yawning my head off!

This afternoon I also stitched a postcard for a facebook friend.  She had posted a sketch of a place she visited in Tunisia. There were patterns on the sketch and I thought it needed to be stitched, so I offered to stitch and send a postcard.  Here it is:


The papers were painted with Brusho (I am getting so predictable now) and I made a collage of the papers and stitched on top.  The whole thing was then stitched onto a postcard.  This little project took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I’m feeling pleased with the result.

Tomorrow I’m going to finish my last few pieces of work for the distance learning course, and I’m thinking of paying a visit to Colourcraft in Sheffield.  I’m in need procion dyes and an excuse to oggle all the art and crafting goodies.  Who knows what I’ll come home with!

Art Chain 5 Leaf Postcard

I’m becoming obsessed with stitching these leaf postcards:


I’ve spent some time today painting and splattering more papers with brusho.  Tomorrow I’m going to be up bright and early to take my son to work (too icy for his motorbike I think) then I’m going to start doodling some more leaf designs and making more cards and postcards with stitched leaves on them.  Maybe I ought to be thinking bigger (I think the creative monster is trying to get out again!)


Art Chain 3

This is another quick and easy project:


My apologise that this looks a little bit squiffy, its my poor photography again! This poppy postcard was made by painting fabric with watered down acrylics and then adding organza and stitching.  Simple, anyone can do it!

I’m not going to nominate anyone for the art challenge today.  I would like to be a rebel and invite anyone who would like to take part to join in.  Five pieces of work shown over 5 days.  Each day you can nominate someone else to take part.  Many people are posting on facebook.  It’s all good fun!

Art Chain 2

I’ve had a lazy, laid back afternoon today, mainly spent on a crochet project.  I also have a postcard to show:


The background was fabric with painted bondaweb ironed on (it was painted with acrylics).  I then ironed on some organza leaves and flowers (pink and blue) and added a little hand stitching.  Quick and easy.  I think the delphinium is one of my favourite flowers, it’s so strong and… I don’t know.  Beautiful?  Proud?  I love the colours, I love the shape.  I’m sat here smiling to myself.  Summer is coming soon!

Today I would like to nominate Dee to take part in the challenge.  I know that you are busy Dee.  You can post work you have completed already – 5 days, 5 projects.  I will message you on facebook Dee (I’m pretty sure you will read this) as I’m hoping you would do me the honour of joining me on the blog and showing the world your work.

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 23 Winter Leaf

Today I’ve managed to kill two birds with one stone. I needed to make a postcard for a Be Creative Postcard group swap, but I also wanted to do something for the 365 challenge.  At some point I realised that one idea would work for both.

I’ve taken quite a few photos of winter leaves recently, a few are still showing their beautiful autumn colours.  This is one of the photos:


I’d noticed the leaves because of the colour, and also because they remineded me of a butterfly.  I thought that at some point I would base a project on them.

With regards to the postcard I had some other prompts to consider.  I had a colour prompt and a photo prompt to incorporate.

This was the photo inspiration I chose (from a prompt on January 20th):

Be Creative Photo Inspiration January 20th

I loved the leaf veins on this, and it provoked lots of lovely creative ideas.

The colour prompt I chose was the following one:

colour prompt

I loved the brightness of the colour scheme, and the fact that it reminded me of autumn leaves.  I decided to colour some lining paper with brusho using these colours.  I then used the green for backing and cut a leaf out of the orange and yellow.  I selected art silk (rayon) threads in similar colours and started stitching leaf veins.  Here is the postcard:


It’s another project I enjoyed, and I’m feeling pleased with the result.  I wanted to create something good enough to send to a new friend.  Hopefully this will be the first of many swaps.

I’ve spent a little time stitching butterflies on the whimsical wall hanging today, unfortunately I didn’t like the stitching I’d completed, so it looks like I’m going to be spending time tomorrow unpicking.  Not to worry though, it will all be worth it in the end.