Saturday, July 5, 2014

T-Shirt Hack

There are a lot of t-shirt hacks out there, this is mine.

I wanted to try to make one without sewing and specifically for converting long sleeve winter t's into summer wear. Today at the thrift store, all women's shirts were a dollar. A DOLLAR. So, yeah! I loaded up. Here's how I took a cute Chico's shirt and made it work for July weather.

Turn the shirt inside-out and cut make the sleeve very flat, seams matching up. Then you'll cut a line like I drew. The distance from the arm pit seam down the sleeve is your gauge for determining how long you want the sleeve to be. Mine is about 2.5 inches. If you want a longer sleeve, go 3-4-5 inches.

After the first cut.

The second cut will be from the point along the fold (where the sharpie is) ---just cut along the fold, then cut a tear-drop shape. Not too big, remember once on your arm it will be twice as big.

After the second cut.

Repeat on the other sleeve and you can use the cut scrap sleeve as your template.

Turn the shirt back out and tie the ends together.


I like it. It's a million degrees cooler and I didn't mess it up with needless sewing. Because it's knit fabric, the ends won't fray and because it's a busy print, no one will notice that the edges are raw and not hemmed. For a dollar and 10 min. time, I'm thrilled with my new summer shirt.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tile Fundraiser

When my friend Danny posted about his "Ability First: Stroll and Roll" fundraiser, I wanted to contribute but really didn't have the funds to make a nice donation. I know, I know, every little bit helps, but sometimes I feel like a moron donating $10.62....

So I thought, what if I listed the tiles I've painted recently (and there are many, many tiles) on my Etsy shop page only as a fundraiser?

I couldn't offer the sales to be tax deductible, but I did promise to donate all proceeds to Dan's program, specifically his earmarked charity Camp Paivika.

I listed the tiles, plugged it a few times on Facebook and low and behold...I SOLD SOME TILES.
It's nothing short of a miracle to me. You know me and my hangups with sales (see a few posts down), so this success on Etsy is super exciting to me. "Thrilling" is not exaggerating :)

So far, I have made sales to some of my Facebook friends both here in town and across the US. I am so hoping to one day meet my goal of selling something to a stranger. That will be amazing.

In the meantime, I have $265 to give to Dan's camp. So far...;-)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Alcohol Ink

To say I am obsessed with this new medium is an understatement.

I'm kinda kicking myself since I saw these on Pinterest over a year a go and never got around to exploring them. Now they're all the rage.
In any case, I'm transfixed with them. One Friday during winter break, Sean and I were at Home Depot and I picked up 12 tiles to experiment on with my newly purchased inks. I got the first set at MICHAEL'S.
By Sunday, I went back to Home Depot and bought a case of 100 16 cents, it's a cheap thrill ride.

As luck would have it, I was browsing Craig's List and found a woman GIVING AWAY 4x4 ceramic tile in pink and yellow. I drove out post haste. I took perhaps 1/8 of what she had and I'm happy to say it is probably a lifetime supply of tile for me.

Don't know what I'm going to do with them, but for now I don't particularly care! They are just that fun.

OK: Here's how ya do it.


Alcohol inks in a variety of colors. I bought Adirondack brand, but I hear Pinata is a better brand.

Rubbing alcohol in 91% and 70-72%. I didn't even KNOW there were different solutions! Perhaps that's why I got a D- in Chemistry (Thank you Mr. Hague).

Flat, non-porous surface to paint on---Like the 16 cent white tiles at Home Depot!

Slender paintbrushes. One about 1/4 inch and the other one should be a tiny one.

Little glass cups to pour 1/8 c of the 2 different types of alcohol in, Q-tips, paper towels, newspaper, drinking straws. Optional- a hair dryer.

Work Area

Give yourself a large area to work. Cover surface with newspapers---the ink stains everything. A well ventilated area is also good, the fumes from the alcohol will make you think you're at the flu shot clinic.

1. Clean off tile with alcohol, either kind.
My Alcohol is "dirty" with pink ink. It matters not. You can wipe the alcohol off or leave little puddles.

2. Put a few drops and squiggles of 2-3 colors on the tile.

 3. You can get the ink moving in a few different ways. You can guide it around with a paintbrush. You can tip and tilt the tile. You can blow the ink around the surface of the tile with a straw (surprisingly effective), you can roll the straw on the ink like a rolling pin (good for making well blended color areas) or you can simply wait and watch it run together.

4. Adding more ink will "push" the existing ink (wet or dry) out. (see second photo)

5. Adding "dots" of alcohol will create white spots. The 91% will REALLY get things moving. The 72% is a little less dramatic. I'm using the hairdryer to control the size of the white spots. By touching the wet brush to the ink and then drying it quickly, I was able to make smaller dots. Later, I learned to just use a little less alcohol. Using a Q-tip damp with alcohol to make the dots is interesting too as the Q-tip will absorb some ink AND deposit alcohol. Makes for a bigger dot that doesn't move as fast.

6. Tips:
*If you start a tile and hate it---just wipe the ink off with more alcohol and start over.

*They sell a Blending Solution which is alcohol and ether. I bought some. It didn't really seem to do anything different than the rubbing alcohol so I wouldn't buy it again.

*If you are just going to display this as an art piece, I would leave it as is. The ink dries SUPER SHINY and looks amazing. It will not however, take kindly to being wiped clean or scraped. Also, If the ink is diluted with too much alcohol, it loses it's shine (NOT A BAD THING), but you'll want to spray them.
If you were to use these as coasters, you'll need to seal them.
Let me tell you right now: this is my only stumbling block.

When you spray them with Krylon or Rustoleum clear gloss, the ink will re-hydrate and continue to run. NOT OK. So I painted them with water-based Varathane and they ran a teeny bit. Then I sprayed them with Krylon. Still had some run. OK I said and set those aside.
 Next batch: I sprayed this group with water based Varathane. Many, many thin coats. Then many, many thin coats of the Krylon gloss. "Many thin coats" does NOT suit my personality as I want to glob it on all at once, but this was the only way I could get it to work. It still isn't the perfect sealing solution, but for now it is OK.

This was made by swiping a damp (72%) brush through the blue ink and then dabbing lightly on the "stripes" once they were dry. The color of the dots is a result of a dirty brush and the color of the ink under the dot.

The, uh, first 60...

So. Fun easy and even a novice can do it. It's REALLY absorbing too---just watching the ink flow and blend. Kinda like being stoned without being stoned...or maybe it WAS those fumes?

When you do a Pinterest or Google image search, there are LOADS of images of these psychedelic dot dot dot tiles. It seems to be there are two camps: the clear, bright colors OR the muddled, subtle, multi-layered colors. I like the clear. There are also  many "Fantasy Moon/Dreamscapes". So many, that I quickly abandoned that possibility. I have been playing with traditional landscapes and I very much like these two: