Other Crafts

It’s not always silent

Happy National Grammar Day! If you’ve been reading me for a while, you likely know I have a bit of a fixation on grammar. And spelling. And language. Nothing aggrieves me more than getting a mass email at work from “You’re Social Committee”.

I’ve marked this occasion (I’m loath to call it a holiday) in the past by flying my language-freak flag with a tea towel, and one fun if amateurish t-shirt. I shouldn’t be so hard on the shirt, actually. Despite its clearly homemade vibe, it doubles as a nod to The Simpsons and still makes me laugh. A few weeks ago, I found the perfect design to try my hand at another shirt, and kept my fingers crossed that the execution would work as well as the idea.

I started out with a plain maroon t-shirt from Michaels, and some silvery heat transfer vinyl, and got the design ready to cut on my Silhouette cutting machine. (A note: this picture is the most accurate representation of the shirt’s colour. Don’t ask me what happened in the later pictures.)

This is the back side of my cut. See the outlines of the letters?

A confession: it took me two tries to get this cut out properly. When I initially adjusted my cut settings for “heat transfer vinyl, metallic”, it cut straight through the vinyl and the plastic carrier sheet. When I adjusted them to “heat transfer vinyl, smooth”, it didn’t cut quite all the way through the vinyl on the first pass, and I had to feed it back into the machine for a second go.

While I was weeding the excess vinyl from my design, I discovered that if I pulled/stretched it too much, it sprang back on itself like curly ribbon – you can see a little bit of that above. Between my cutting issues and weeding issues, I should have realized how finicky this stuff was going to be.

Did I mention that this metallic vinyl was finicky? After following the application instructions, I still found that parts of it really, really liked hanging on to the plastic carrier sheet and were reluctant to adhere to the shirt (although an extra taste of my heat press solved that). It’s a bit hard to see in this shot, but the serif on the bottom of the “r” in “your” positively refused to join the rest of the letter, and the serif on the bottom of “I” folded over upon itself. Finicky.

Although the instructions advise to wait 24 hours before laundering my newly festooned garment, and it’s been several times that, I’m still convinced this (finicky, finicky) stuff will all slide off the first time I wash it. But I have pictures now to prove that, however briefly, I had an almost-professional looking grammar shirt.

Thanks for looking! 🙂

craftmas, Cross-stitch and Embroidery, General Sewing

On the fourth day of Craftmas…

…my true love gave to me: a shirt with a duck who’s daffy!

I am so!  Freaking!  Excited!  about this one.  This was a labour of love which, despite all odds, was finished around 10:00 on December 23…with a day and change left to go.  No early-Christmas-morning stitching for this honey badger!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a tendency to stitch up railway logos onto the pockets of shirts for my dad.  (Last year’s offering, for example.)  After scooping up an out-of-print book of Looney Tunes cross-stitch designs online, I thought I’d try something different.

“Daffy Drops the Ball” is done in three pieces, which makes it three times as annoying to stitch all centred-and-straight and whatnot.

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I love the colour of the shirt, and how the black pops on it!  I am less fond of the fact that unlike simply stitching on the pocket (which I take off and then reattach), working on the shirt itself meant I couldn’t access it from the left, which is a real problem for this southpaw.  To stitch Daffy and the bowling ball, I actually worked holding the shirt upside-down, and somehow it’s all reasonably lined up.

Close-up of the design:

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I can’t wait for him to unwrap it!

Merry Christmas, everybody! 😀

Other Crafts

Far out, man!

When I was a Young Person™, I went through a massive hippie phase, but in the whitest, most uptight way possible.  No illicit drugs or free love for this honey badger; my hippiedom was confined to doodling peace signs and rikki-tikki flowers on my notebooks, wailing along with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and bemoaning the fact that I never got to Woodstock despite having parents who were barely old enough to attend (an older, more self-aware Witty Child knows this was probably for the best, since I like hygiene and dislike crowds, but still…all those musical acts…).  Oh, and tie-dyeing like it was going out of style (it was).  I eventually stopped doing it when I ran out of places to wear it and people to give it to, but still always liked the look of it.

When I found out from my friend a few months ago that he had tried it as a child, with limited success due to some faulty technique on his mother’s part, I decided it was time to break out the rubber bands again.  We turned his apartment into a sweatshop – literally: it was boiling hot out-of-doors, and because we were situated on the linoleum floor of the hallway in order to minimize damage from drips and to allow access to both the kitchen and bathroom faucets, neither of us benefited from any breeze the open windows might have provided – and got our hippie on.

We had to soak the shirts in soda ash in batches due to space constraints, but found that each 20-minute soak was approximately just enough time to get the current shirt finished and wrapped in plastic, and rinse off our gloved hands before starting all over again.

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Not exactly awe-inspiring, are they?  In order to shower, he had to gingerly remove them and try not to drip dye out of the ends while they did their overnight soak.

But when he unfurled them and rinsed them out the next morning, well:

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Has anyone ever tried this with children?  I’m appalled that they market some of these kits as a fun birthday party or day camp activity, considering the mess that two grown adults with fully developed motor skills made.  I can’t imagine that being relaxing!

This has slaked my craving for a while, but I’d like to get my hands on a softer, cotton-poly blend shirt rather than the $4 Fruit of the Loom special from the men’s department at Wal-Mart – now that we’ve got our technique down, spending a little extra on raw textiles wouldn’t break my heart.

Thanks for looking…and peace out! 🙂

Other Crafts

That’s it! Back to Winnipeg!

Hello, dear readers and crafters, and let me be the first (probably) to wish you a very Happy Grammar Day!

Having a fairly relaxed dress code, I wanted to do something wearable to mark the big day this year.  I saw a t-shirt eerily similar (ahem) to the one below on a website, and knew it was perfect.  They had a little blurb asking customers to contact them regarding international shipping rates, so I sent a very polite message doing just that…and never heard back.  (Still haven’t.)  Either they’re extremely skittish about shipping to Canada (“But the dollar is so low!  How will she afford it?  How will she afford it?”), or they’re now completely defunct.  In either case, when it became readily apparent I wasn’t going to be finding a parcel in my mailbox in time for March 4, I took matters into my own hands.  I’m crafty like that.

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Yes!  Something to combine my love of The Simpsons (as it used to be, anyway) with my inherent grammar geekiness!  The shirt is just a standard men’s crewneck from Old Navy, and I used Tulip soft fabric paint for the logo.  I would love to learn how to screen print to get cleaner lines, but overall, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out.

Fun fact: although the purely fictitious National Grammar Rodeo from the episode “Bart on the Road” was to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto, the original artist apparently decided this needed more of a Calgary vibe.

And because I know you’re all dying to know: yes, Andy Williams was on heavy constant rotation while I painted this. 🙂