Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stretching Watercolor paper

Anyone who has ever painted with watercolors  (either as a kid or adult) knows that the paper "buckles" when it gets wet.  It makes the paint roll off of the high parts and settle in low parts.  Making for a not so nice finished look.  I'll show you how to solve this problem.  Stretching your paper. I use Arches 140 #(pound)  cold press paper.  For beginners I'd recommend using a quarter sheet and work your way up to a full sheet.  I fold and tear the paper to keep the deckled edge. I fold the (full sheet) in half one way and then fold it the other way and then tear it.   You'll then have 2 half sheets.  Then I take one of the half sheets and fold it in half one way and then the other way and then tear it.  Leaving me with a quarter sheet.
Then place your desired sheet of paper in a bathtub with warm water for about 10-15 minutes.  Turning it over about half way through.
When it's finished soaking take it out of the water and hold it up over the tub, letting the water drip off until the dripping stops. (About 10 or 15 seconds)  Then place the paper on your board.  HERE is where I describe what kinds of boards are suitable for Watercolor paper.  I usually smooth it out, making sure it is flat on the board.

Then staple the paper onto the board.  Keep the staples about a 1/4 inch from the edge and about 1 and half to 2 inches apart.

Your paper should look like this when it's done. (This is a half sheet, not a quarter sheet)
IMPORTANT:  MAKE SURE THE BOARD LIES FLAT WHILE IT IS DRYING.  Also keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heaters and air conditioners.  Standing it up makes the water drip down the board keeping the lower part wet longer and the top part dry first, pulling the paper away and sometimes out of the staples.  I also once set my paper on a stool (flat) and the next morning the whole board was bowed.  So make sure it is on a table or on the floor.

When it's dry, you can paint your picture, and when you are finished, use a a pocket knife (See the above link) to remove the staple by gently sliding it under the staple and the board and wiggling it side to side until it comes loose.  Usually about 90% of the staple come out entirely but I sometimes have 3 or 4 that I have to pull the rest of the way out with a pair of needle nose pliers.
See the other Watercolor Series HERE.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Sew Ninja/Super Hero Mask

I made Lilly this Ninja mask for our video THE NINJA'S.  It was easy peasy and used up a leftover t-shirt that I had used to make Lilly a pair of SHORTS.
This first picture is the left over shirt.  I made the eye mask on that top part and over the sleeves.  But If you were using a whole t-shirt you could do it from neck hole to hem.

Next, I drew an eye mask shape like so, making sure to make a curve in the middle for the nose. P.S. the eye holes need to be closer together than mine shows.

 Cut it out and tie  it on.  Since it's made from a knit material (T shirt) it doesn't need to even be sewn because it won't fray.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Watercolor Wednesday Week 25

View other weeks paintings HERE.

Cascade Springs

Well, since we still had our 3 day canyon pass from when we hiked to TIMP CAVE, we thought we would drive over the ALPINE LOOP.  It is always beautiful (especially in the Fall).  I mostly wanted to drive it because 1) it's been years since I've been, and 2) I wanted some more reference pictures for paintings :)  So yesterday for Family Home Evening, we went for the drive and about half way there I remembered Cascade Springs!  The last few times I've been up there, there hasn't been any cascading due to lack of water, but since we have had such an abundance this year, it was beautiful.  They have bridges and walkways all through the Springs. But wouldn't you know it, halfway through, my camera ran out of batteries.  I was very disappointed.  But here's a few shots I did get.
These first three, are from our drive over the loop before getting to the Springs.  This is up Provo Canyon.  We always drive over the loop starting up Provo Canyon.

 The whole way up and down, the side of the road is like this, trees and wildflowers and beautiful, beautiful views!

Here's Jarrett and the kids at the Springs. P.S.  Doesnt' he look great?  He's been working out alot and riding his bike to work everyday!  I'm so proud of him.

This last one I had to try 4 times to get, as the camera kept shutting off saying "Battery is exhausted."  I felt so triumphant when it finally took the picture and turned off for good.
And then the camera was off for good. Good reason to go back I guess.
On our way back down the mountain we listened to some Pink Floyd, the Deja Vu album and some Led Zeppelin.  (All of which, I might add, just happened to be on the radio!  Coincidence, I think not.) See HERE.  We stopped at the Purple Turtle for some ice cream and shakes.  It was a good evening.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Timp Cave

We hiked to TIMPANOGOS CAVE today as a family.  The last time I went up I was 8 months pregnant with Max and had to carry an almost 3 year old Lilly up.  Much easier this time around!
With it being Saturday and all, it was very busy!  Although we got there at 10am our tour didn't start until 1:20pm.  What to do for an hour and a half until we needed to start hiking?  Luckily they happened to have a Junior Ranger certification program starting.  The kids got to be part of the Stop, Drop and Roll demonstration.

Then some guy with a golden eagle showed up, that was pretty cool.

Then everyone learned the "Smokey the Bear" song and while we were singing it Smokey came out and we took pictures with him.

After the kids finished certifying and got their badges (Lilly opted for a patch) we ate a quick lunch and started our hike to the cave.  The scenery was beautiful and I got lots of pictures for future paintings.

Here is one of the tunnels inside the cave!

Here is a terrified Lilly.  She didn't like being in there.

We parked next to this raging, beautiful river.  

An exhausted Max fell asleep on the way home.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Summer!

We are having a great summer so far!  Enjoying the warm (but not too hot yet, I don't think it's even reached the hundreds yet this year) weather.  Hope everyone's enjoying their summer too!  My kids think it is  hilarious to sit in buckets with water in them!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Infant Patchwork Star Toy

So I saw a really cute patchwork ball on Pinterest and thought I'd try and make one and mine turned out to be a star, not a ball. worked out in the end because I stuffed it with some plastic grocery bags (To make that crinkly noise babies love so much) and gave it to my nephew who is almost 4 months old.  The flaps on it, that make it star like, are perfect for little fingers to hold on to, and for sucking on.  Here's how I made it:

First I made a pentagon pattern piece.
All 5 sides need to be the same length.  I made mine 2 1/8 inches on all sides.  You can make it bigger or smaller.
Make sure that the top point is in the center of the bottom line.  I folded mine in half to make sure it was. (you can see the crease mark below)

Next you'll need some fabric.  I used 4 different fabrics and cut 3 pattern pieces out of each one of the different fabrics.
You need 12 pieces total so however you want to do it.

 I laid my pattern piece down and pinned it, and then folded my fabric under 3 times and pinned again and cut once.  (I evened up the fabric (obviously) before cutting it out.  I just showed it this way so you can see the three layers)

Here's my 12 pieces of fabric.  (Don't mind the crayon on the table.)

Then you'll lay the pieces out like so: making sure there aren't any of the same fabric together.

Then start anywhere you'd like and put right sides together and sew away.  I lined my fabric edge up with the edge of my presser foot (1/4 inch).  I didn't pin mine together I just took it piece by piece.  Also make sure that you leave about a 1/4 inch not sewn on each end so that when you sew the next side it leaves some room for the next piece to be put together.  (see next photo)

Like this: (and the next in succession)

Here's how it will look when you finish a side.  It's already looking ball like.  Just place the two pieces that look like the one below together. (RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER)

Leave one side of one of the pentagons un-sewn (for stuffing) and turn it inside out so right sides are showing.  Make sure you push all corners out (this is where it magically turns into a star).  Stuff it full of plastic grocery bags (for that crinkly sound).  I used 5 bags.  Then fold the raw edges of the remaining un-sewn side in, and sew a blind hem or just sew it closed really quick with your machine. It is kind of tricky (although faster) to do this as you have to smash the ball down really hard while trying to feed it through the machine.

This little guy loved it!  It was perfect for his little fingers and mouth!  Doesn't my sister have a cute little boy!