Friday, June 29, 2012

Fun Creating My Own "Washi" Tape

Washi tape is all the craft rage these days, and well it should be! It is fun stuff, with lots of applications (pun intended), and comes in a huge variety of colors and designs. I have been collecting washi tape, and my good friend Ami gave me a bag load for my birthday (she took me shopping and let me choose--an awesome present!),  And of course I have been collecting decorative tape over the years--Tim Holtz has a lot of different styles, and I think I have managed to acquire them all! And there are other brands, like 7Gypsies and Cavallini, and others I can't remember off-hand. Tons of colors and styles, and lots of fun to use.

But sometimes, three hundred and eleventy-seven rolls of tape Just Aren't Enough--and then you have to make your own. You can use any kind of tape and stamp and color on it, of course. Masking tape works well, and there are cloth tapes you can get for book binding and also for sports uses (like taping a baseball bat handle or a hockey stick). None of these, however, have the soft translucence of tape like Tim's or the traditional washi. So, can you get that effect? Yes, you can!

I discovered that Scotch Magic Tape, the removable kind in the blue plaid box, takes stamping well, and has the same soft translucent look to it that the washi has. The example above was stamped randomly with Ranger Archival Jet Black ink, and then colored with Ranger Distress inks. The Distress ink was put on directly with the pad, spritzed, allowed to dry for a minute or two, and then wiped down with a paper towel.

Another way to get that desired translucent effect uses parchment paper--the kind you cook with--as the base. I use strips about six inches by twelve inches. Again, I stamped random images in Ranger Archival black ink and also stamped some with Distress inks. I applied Distress ink directly from the pad, also, and wiped it down with a paper towel. I heat set the inks on the parchment paper, which I couldn't do on the Scotch Tape because it would shrivel.

Next, I turned the stamped paper image side down and applied Sookwang tape (packaged as Scor-Tape) to the back. I used various widths of the Sookwang tape, and burnished it down well.

When I had my parchment paper completely covered with the tape, I cut the strips apart.

When I finished doing that, I had strips of decorated tape, complete with liner, ready and waiting to go on a project! So easy!

You can also use deli paper to do the stamping on. It is thinner than the parchment, and therefore not as sturdy (before the tape is applied), but it makes great washi.. You can also get a more subtle effect by applying the tape to the stamped side. Tissue paper can also be used--either plain with your own stamping on it, or already decorated.

You can store the finished parchment paper tape in a plastic bag, and the Scotch Tape kind can be stuck to some kind of release paper and sored in a baggie as well. Or you can stick those to a page protector, and put the parchment ones inside.

This closeup has Scotch Removable Tape washi tape on the outside, and parchment paper washi tape in the middle.

Next I am thinking of trying to print on deli or parchment paper (or both) and making washi tape out of that. I'll let you know how that goes!

Until next time, Nan

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What possesses folks to use yellow?

I've just got to vent! I've just spent an hour blog hopping at Graphic 45 and their week with May Arts ribbon. (here's the link: ) I am getting inspired by the terrifically talented designers. They have great ideas, and they share these most generously and with good instructions. BUT (you knew that was coming, right?) some of them use yellow to type links and/or vital information, rendering said links and information unreadable. Yellow against white? About as little contrast as you can get! See what I mean? Isn't this better?

As long as I'm here, I might mention that, although one is encouraged to leave comments (there are swell prizes), on some of the blogs, finding the place to do this is really difficult and sometimes impossible. I've had thee days' experience with this now, and been frustrated at least four times when trying to comment. I like prizes, sure, but I also like to tell folks when I find their projects useful and ornamental, and it frustrates me when I can't do it. Now, this may be the fault of the blog host, but maybe a word from a client might fix it.

I've spent the last three days taking an awesome internet class on Photoshop from Jessica Sprague at . Although geared to scrapbooking, the class has lot to offer those of us who do digital art, and I am glad I signed up for it  Here are my class assignment results.

Day one homework: Top to bottom: Black and white version of "Best of Friends"; color version with grunge texture layer;  color without grunge layer.

Day two homework: Scrapbook page with journal text

Day three homework: Manipulating photo with textures and masks; using clipping masks

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Things My Grandmother Taught me

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? A bout of pneumonia (brought on by allergies) and preparing for classes at Letters of Joy and Bellevue Art & Frame, and Clay Camp with the Northwest Polymer Guild kinda took up my time, and I have some catching up to do!

The grandmother of the title is, of course, Bam Bam. I know I've mentioned that I lived with Aunt Quail and Bam Bam several times while I was growing up, including my last semester of High School. So I had many opportunities to observe--and collect, if only in my memory--her wit and charm, and her wisdom.

She was fond of quoting aphorisms, lines of poetry and plays, and of making her own observations. There were three she repeated often; one was a quote from Shakepeare's King Lear, one was her own creation, and one was an old Chinese proverb.

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child," King Lear says of his daughter Cordelia, who is the only one of his three daughters who loves him and wants him to live long and prosper. Bam Bam quoted this at me whenever she felt I was not toeing whatever line she had in mind. Often I hadn't a clue what line was not being toed. And when I did have a clue, half the time I had no idea why that particular line needed toeing. But that was Bam Bam: an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in whatever aspect of her fascinating self she chose to reveal.

"T'was greed killed the yellow snake that tried to eat the sun," Bam Bam would say, whenever she felt someone was trying to take too much of what she considered our common heritage, be it money, political clout, or property. The Chinese proverb appeared in a footnote of a book I was reading--I don't remember the book now--which I had found in the bookcase. She had apparently read the same book.

"Fear is the enemy," she would tell me, inclining her head wisely. She was writing a book about John Wesley at the time. He was the founder of Methodism. I don't know why she was writing about him, or what happened to her manuscript. It may be among her papers in the Bancroft Library at the University of California. Anyhow, Bam Bam went on to tell me that most of the baser emotions like hate, anger, and bigotry are founded in fear, and if one could be rid of fear, things would be a lot better. She was thinking of using "Fear is the Enemy" as the title of her book. I have always remembered her telling me that, and the older I get, the more obvious it becomes. In the words of FDR, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

A year or two ago I was looking through a bookcase in the downstairs "library" and came across The New English Bible New Testament published by Oxford Cambridge. I was going to refile it next to the Septuagint, thinking they might be related, and flipped it open. Inside the cover was the pencilled inscription in Bam Bam's unmistakeable handwriting, "From Anthea 1965." Further investigation revealed the book to be a "dummy," a book made to test the size and binding of the finished book, but with limited text. This dummy included everything up to the first page of the introduction, and after that the pages were blank. Bam Bam used these pages as a sort of journal of wit and wisdom, writing, beginning in 1966, some of her more observant thoughts.

"Boredom is ingratitude to God."
"All mental disturbance is caused by concentration on Self."
"Craziness is selfishness to the N-th power."
"Only the childless truly value children."
"Only the pure know passion."
"Alcohol before 60 is not needed. Afterwards it is a new life,"

Bam Bam was very moral, and a devout Episcopalian. She made some notes at the very back of the book, observations about Jesus, which she titled "Human attributes of Christ." They seem to be the distillation of much thought on the subject.

"Need of friends
'Sought after dinner guest.'
The bitter psychology of forgiving enemies, thereby disarming them of their implements of destruction and rendering them powerless to possess you.
Lilies--Love of beauty
need of necessities of life for all classes. Loaves and fishes.
appreciation of craftsmanship and quality. 'Casting lots for his garment'
Anger for righteousness--money lenders in temple"

There is also a poetic discussion of Yeats, apparently copied into the book from something she wrote in 1962; more aphorisms; and  the beginning of what appears to be a screen play pitch. And two essays on her meanness--about her behavior on two occasions, things  she felt guilty about her whole life. Some of the items were written when she first had the book, but there is an entry dated 1990. And there is no clue of the date of the last entry.

Until next time--Nan