Monday, March 26, 2012

Kim Klassen's SkiniMini Class for PhotoShop Elements : Day 4 Homework

Here's my touched-up photo for the Day 4 Homework.  
It's a shower curtain hook from our bathroom sitting on a ceramic hot pad.  
Nice improvement!

Here's the original photo.  Not bad, but I have to say that playing with the Soft Light Layer, adjusting levels, adding the text seems to have made it more vivid! ;-)

Here's the second picture I played with.   Cropped, Soft Light Layer, Brightness/Contrast Adjustments, Mask Layer, Text with Vivid Light.  I remember that flower being bluer in real life ...
If I were to do it again, I'd probably crop out those 2 red stems on the right.  They made it difficult to place the word. On the other hand, they do add some balance.

Here's the original. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kim Klassen's SkiniMini Class for PhotoShop Elements : Lesson 1

For Christmas last year, I got some money and purchased my very own official copy of PhotoShop Elements (PSE).    I've looked at a lot of the free image software, but this is the one people seem to refer to most often.  So I finally got it--trouble is, it's not exactly the most intuitive program out there, so I'll need to call in some reinforcements ...

Fortunately for me, Kim Klassen is offering a FREE SkinnyMini 10-day online class on some of the basics of PSE.    Sign up here.  I have long been a fan of Kim Klassen's GORGEOUS textures, and am determined to learn how to use them with my own images this year. 

The Honey Crisp Apple above is my homework assignment for Lesson 1, in which we learn to duplicate an image, crop it, add text, and save it in a variety of formats.   So far, so good!

I took this picture last year when I was working on still-life shots for the Sketchbook Challenge.  I had in mind to draw/sketch this apple, but I never got round to it.   With all the talk of Honey Crisp Apples on ABC'S Once Upon a Time, I thought this would be a timely and appropriate subject.  ;-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Candied Fabrics Lesson 4 : Earthy Triad

All these rich beautiful colors came from just 3 primaries.  Yum!  I think this my be my go-to set!

Here the swatches are drying.  I still need to process them for another Candiotic Table.  
I still need to do the Sky set!

A few detail shots of these lovely colors :

More Color : Silk Scarves


This spring, we're taking another trip to France to see family and friends.  Christian's Grandmother turned 100 this week!  So the grandchildren are throwing her a party in celebration. 

I usually make something to give the womenfolk who host us.  This year, I made a dozen of these hand-dyed scarves, using Spectra Bleeding Art Tissue.  This is a project so easy and non-toxic, you can do it with kids!

Brief Tutorial for making these Scarves - Conversations in Cloth, our local fiber and art quilt group (now defunct)  Thanks to Joann for sharing the technique!

Supplies :
Blank Scarves from Dharma Trading
     I tend to get the 8 in x 54 in. Satin Silk, China Silk, or Crepe de chine, but they certainly have a variety to choose from!

Spectra Bleeding Art Tissue
       From Dharma Trading Company
       From Dick Blick Art Supplies

Here's a picture of a wet scarf with tissue paper wrapped up in it.  It's "batching."

Here is the scarf after I picked off the spent tissue paper.  You can see the color successfully transferred to the silk.  This is a good sign!

To set the color, I put all the scarves in a hot dryer for about 10 minutes.  You could also use a warm iron.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Candied Fabrics Online Dyeing Class : Lesson 6

Now that the table is complete, Candy encouraged us to pick a few swatches and use the color recipes to dye larger quantities.  She provides a spreadsheet that makes all the necessary calculations.  Yahoo!  Did I mention  this class is a worthwhile investment?  Sign up here.

Here's what I picked :
 This is swatch 4-5-1 from the Brights Triad.  I liked it because it combined a lovely green patina with a rusty overtone.

This is a fat quarter that was pre-soaked in soda ash solution.   I really like the 2-tone effect here. 

 This is the same color recipe on a dry scrumpled fat quarter.    The dye was left to sit and wick into the fabric for 10 minutes (or so).   Then the requisite amount of soda ash solution was poured on and massaged in.   We still have the 2-tone effect, but it is not as pronounced.   It's a more even color effect. 
 Here they are side-by-side for easier comparison. 

This  one is a close-up comparing the 2 versions.

 This is swatch 0-7-3 from the Naturals Triad.   I liked the red veins running through it ...

 This is a fat quarter that was pre-soaked in soda ash solution.   I really like the texture effect here. 

 This is the same color recipe on a dry scrumpled fat quarter.    The dye was left to sit and wick into the fabric for 10 minutes (or so), then soda ash solution poured on and massaged in.    Again, much more even color/texture effect.

 Here are the fat quarters side-by-side for easier comparison.  

Here's a close-up comparison of the 2 blues. 
It's very clear that you can get different effects according to when you add the soda ash.

 This is swatch 1-7-2 from the Naturals set.  Again, I liked the veining.
I tried this one on a 1/2-yard piece of dry fabric and got this :

 It's actually kind of interesting, like pictures from the Hubble Telescope, but not quite what I expected with this one ...  I might try this one again.   Maybe I didn't mix up the dye sufficiently.  It was a much larger quantity that what I used for the 5-in swatches.   I might try this again ...  Maybe I forgot the soda ash step for this one? 

In the meantime, the Earthy Triad is batching as I speak.  Can't wait to see how those gorgeous, rich colors turn out!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

"Spinning Helps Me Forget"

I've become a huge fan of ABC's Once Upon a Time, particularly the character of Rumplestiltskin, in part because he spins.  In one episode, Belle asked him why he spins so much.  He has more gold from straw than he could ever spend in a lifetime.  He answered that it helped him forget ...  When she asked him what he wanted to forget, he said, "It must have worked!"  The little guy has a sense of humor, and he does enjoy life.  He's always willing to help a desperate soul--for a price.  He's a complicated character, but I'm confident that he will redeem himself before the series ends.

Today, I was spinning a silky tencil / merino mix.  Very lustrous and beautiful fiber!
Spinning for me is a nice meditation.  I know what Rumple means ...

Enjoy this montage of the little Man's Giggles :

Candiotic Table - Finished!

Brights and Neutrals Triads are complete! YUM!

If you like what you see, sign up for Candy G's online class : Sign up here.  The class is designed to work at your own pace, so you can sign up anytime.  It's worth it!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Almost Done ... The Candiotic Table


I couldn't wait anymore ...  I spent 3 hours last night fusing the swatches to the black Kunin felt.  Even though it's synthetic, it worked fine to spot weld each swatch initially and then really go over it with a pressing cloth.  

It was a kind of meditation to really study and consider each color swatch while I fused it.  There are some lovely colors and textures on this table.   Mmmmhhhhh!   Tonight when I got home from work, I went into my studio and just sat by it.  It radiates a warmth that is really nice!

Yes, I went with the black felt, rather than the white background.  The comments from classmates were unanimous : Go with the black!  Thank you for your input!  These sets are not so dark as to get lost on the dark background.    

The teacher raised a question about the possibility of the black background shadowing through the lightest colors (the yellows), so I did some tests:

There was indeed a difference with the yellows.  This is easily remedied by adding a layer of light muslin behind the yellows as a buffer.

I also tested the lighter squares around the yellow corners, but there appeared to be no discernable difference to my eyes.  Thus, only the yellow corners got the treatment.

There are 2 swatches that I need to re-do.

The first time it came out very green.  I must have looked at the recipe wrong and put in yellow and blue instead of yellow and red.   I re-did it once already, a week after the initial set, and I got this salmon color.  Still not quite right.  It sticks out like a sore thumb in the table.

What went wrong?  I have some ideas ...
Possibility #1 : Was the dye stock stale, or weakening after a week?
Possibility #2 : Because my dye studio is in in my 45-degree-F basement (brrr!), I elected to  pop this single cup into the microwave (dedicated for dyeing) for 30 seconds.  It was enough to melt the cup, and sufficiently steam the the swatch.  That may have been a confounding factor.  The melting cup effect never happened when I had 10 other cups in the microwave.
Other Possibilities? Anyone care to weigh in?

This was the last swatch I had to fuse last night.  I was in a rush--my husband was calling me to walk dogs.  I knew I had to add an extra layer of muslin to the back for the color correction / shadow issue.  But I wasn't thinking and I fused an extra layer of Wonder Under onto the existing layer of fusible.  Then I had to add the muslin with final layer of fusible.  That makes 3 layers when only 2 were needed.  It got a little stiff, thick and rumpled.  Easy enough to fix. 

It may take a few days to get the newly dyed squares affixed to the final table.  Stay tuned!

I am hooked!  This is so beautiful!  A wonderful color tool! 
I'm planning to do 2 more sets of primaries.  Candy calls them the Earth and Sky Triads.  Just need to order the other primaries!