A killer DIY project: We screen-printed our own tees!!!

9.30.2013

I'm super amazed by this DIY project, even after doing it on quite a few tees with total success. I got a chance to review a DIY screen printing kit from DIYPrintShop.com and actually screen printed tees like the pros do, with the ink and dark room and everything!!

It's funny how this came about--it's actually just because a met a guy who works for the company that makes these handy kits. We started chatting about blogging and I was so excited that they had home presses for people like me to use!! I thought you readers might want to watch me try it out!! (I got the kit and Instagrammed it ages ago, remember?!)

So my new buddy Alan and DIYPrintShop.com sent me this incredible screen printing kit to try out. I was intimidated. I enlisted the help of my artsy little brother-in-law, who's done a bunch of printing (wood blocks on paper, mostly) and so had slightly more experience than me, and then the help of my sweet husband once my bro-in-law had to go home. Two weekends and a couple trips to the store later (we were out of printer cartridge ink to print out the design onto the transfer, kind of the first step... ;) ) we were in business!!

We made tees with my husband's blog logo on them (edit--since you asked--Grassfed Geek = after years of vegetarianism and veganism, we're really into meat from heathy animals and improving our health by eating grassfed/pastured meat). His cute blog logo was the first thing we could think of that we knew we'd want lots of. Because you can freezer paper stencil one tee, or use a Silhouette machine or something, but a screen press is great if you want a bunch of the same image!! So we made these for Christmas gifts for husband's family. (Hey, family--if you're reading this, turn away unless you want the Christmas surprise to be ruined!!)


So check it out, you guys. The kit comes with all this good stuff, pretty much everything you need except the printer ink for your home printer, which you hopefully have already, unlike me. We also bought black trash bags to cover the screen before we had exposed it. I'll get to that later. This stuff is all entirely new to me so I really really appreciated the extremely thorough DVD that came with it!! The friendly DIY Print Shop guy explained everything so well and was so cheerful! ;)

We set everything up in the dining room at first, just needed a big table surface. We built the press and light, but didn't bolt them down to anything like the instructions say.

It comes with the perfect board for your tees and the press when exposing.

So then I did all the steps to prepare the screen, coating both sides evenly with the light-sensitive emulsion. No photos of that part, since we did everything in the guest bathroom-turned-darkroom. We covered the screen in the black trash bag when leaving the room and honestly for a couple days while I worked up the courage to expose it. The kit comes with an orange bulb for the dark room and everything!

The transparency--Husband's IG

[Once we bought the right printer cartridge...] we printed out the logo onto the transparency. The exposing part was super cool. You lay the transparency on the emulsion-coated screen, and expose it to light so the black ink part stays dark. The light it comes with get SUPER hot! We put a piece of glass over the transparency to keep the lines super clean and exposed it for 13 minutes or whatever the book said for if you're using glass.

Then, you just wash off the coated screen where the design was, and look--a negative space!! (Wish we'd had a high power sprayer in the bathroom... might try to use the other bathroom with the fancy showerhead next time. You need the high power to blast off the unexposed emulsion.

Here it is drying off under the warm light again...

So making the screen was the intimidating part, really. Light proof-ness and all that. Then it was time to print!

To print, you put the screen into the press (where the light was) and line it up, and put the adhesive on the white tee board to hold your tee perfectly still when you press. Here it is in a dry run. Exciting!

Then lift the screen a little, and apply the ink.

Then you get to use the big squeegee and coat the screen with ink... then lay the screen flat, and give a solid PULL across the design.

It was amazing how well it worked! The lines are SO clean, and we were able to get an almost perfectly even text with only one or two pulls!


Amazing, right?!!?!

Then you lay the special paper over the design and press the ink for a minute or two while it dries. Then it's totally set!

We made a bunch. Big boxy ones...

A women's cut one...

Seven tees! Whew!!

Super cool, right?!!?! Until I met my buddy Alan I had no idea you could screen print at home!, but now I'm hooked!!! I can't wait to make tees that say something else... think we may do some Portland Bloggers tees one of these days! I feel so powerful, having this super cool press and the ability to (sort of) mass-produce super quality printed tees (or anything made of fabric!). Amirite?!

How to Wear DIY: White after Labor Day, with plaid?

9.27.2013

I mixed it up last weekend. I thought I'd get another wearing out of this lovely white dress I made (and then lengthened--good thing). But it's been crazy rainy lately and not white cotton dress weather (I wonder if the "no white after Labor Day" rule could be applied to dresses as well as shoes?).

So I got creative and layered it with a plaid button-up. Little bit o' fall mixed in with the late summer look.

I wore it with these wedges I painted and loooove. Just dug them out of the out of season clothing closet, so another way it felt like fall!
Shirt: Old Navy via Goodwill (similar). Necklace: Target. Belt: Target via Goodwill.
Wedges: DIY (painted), here. Dress: DIY, here.

So, too creative? ;)

Classic colors and a new Kate Spade-inspired dress

9.25.2013

I've loved Kate Spade since I was in high school. Her bold colors and stripes and the tiny black ribbon label on her structured purses... always so chic!

I still love looking at Kate Spade dresses and tops (and now Kate Spade Saturday, for a slightly edgier look). Every season they have great colors that all go so well together. I love the navy/hot pink/turquoise/gold! Some faves...
Source

And I love the color block!

Those cuties, and of course fave dresses from J.Crew and ModCloth (other places I look for style inspiration when designing!), inspired me to combine a small piece of red cotton sateen (left over from this strapless sweetheart dress) with some navy cotton twill (I used it last year to make another Kate Spade-inspired dress, the one with the big ruffle at the bottom).

The great thing about color block and two-fer dresses is that you can use small pieces and leftovers and still come up with a cute, even dressy dress. I used a fave darted bodice pattern and basic pleated skirt and created this preppy dress!

You probably know how much I love this pattern. I even created a label for it. Simplicity 2444. A classic!


The bodice lining is actually hot pink. It was what I had around, and it was fun to see while sewing! So I also tried it with a neon pink belt for fun.

I think I can wear it to work or parties!

An office décor update and amazing DIY!

9.23.2013

And now, the story of a boring office and sewing room space, that got an update, a fabulous shiny gold DIY wall accent, and a little re-arranging.

I'm so super excited about this home decorating update because I spend so much time in our office/sewing room and it's been so blah until now! You may have seen the photos/tour of my home, but I haven't shown much of my office. It hasn't been really ready for your eyes yet. It's very small and pretty plain; I like a little minimalism and light colors in a workspace, but it's almost boring or un-decorated-looking.

I hardly even had any DIY's in it! Just these framed quote prints I made, with fave quotes from from The Happiness Project, and the gold spray paint initials I made for above the bed but have since moved.

(How about that bare bulb above the ironing board... ;) )

And if that wall was boring... how about the opposite side? Sharing it with Husband and the big computer. This space has not been decorated! (Shhh!! Don't look! Still a work in progress!)

If you've been following along with our house decor process, you may have seen my recent attempts to jazz up our new home with faux wallpaper stenciling, a big stripe pattern, and a bold navy guest room wall (see it all in my home tour). I've thought about painting something fun on one of the walls of our office, and I love brights in sewing rooms/offices (see those pins!), but I did not have the energy or commitment for painting another wall this time. I was hoping for a DIY project with a little less time commitment and mess.

So it is super fabulous that I got a chance to check out the fabulous wall decals from Urban Walls--you may have seen these around or in your Instagram feed--so many gorgeous accents! Gold polka dots, little silver or black stars, cute words... so, so many wonderful things! I reached out to Danielle like literally as she was having her baby, so it was so sweet of her to send along this fabulous gold heart decal anyway. (She has a beautiful blog, too!)

How to put up a wall decal


Prepare for some serious before/after success here, but first, here's a little on how to use the decal! I had never put up something like one of these before, so big and sticky! My husband got this AT-AT decal on Amazon for our game room and it was such an enormous pain to put up because of all the tiny pieces... it looks awesome, but it was nuts. So I was a little apprehensive but I'm glad to say that this decal went on much easier. And came with better instructions.

It came as a huge roll, so you cut around the shape with a little of the backing surrounding the design. (I put that tray on top to flatten it out for few minutes after unrolling!)

I taped it up in various configurations, trying to imagine the angle I wanted. I'd seen this decal put up straight on, but I wanted to include more of my wall space in the active part of the design, I guess... stretch it out a little from desk to ironing area.

A couple options I considered...

Once I found *the* spot, I taped it on well and traced around the paper here and there so I could line up the top paper layer once I peeled off the backing.

Then I peeled off the backing and had a huge sticky gold heart on my hands! (I probably should have done this with help, but... I didn't. I was impatient. It's cool, it worked out. ;) )

I lined up the edges of the front paper layer with the pencil marks I'd drawn on the wall and began to carefully stick the whole thing down.

Then I pressed reallllllly hard on the top round piece of the heart, and slowly and carefully peeled the front paper layer off!

And tore it as I went...

Done!!!


Before and after, pretty sewing space!


Now for some "after" shots of the pretty sewing area! I did have to change a couple other things when I hung the heart and moved the quote prints and thread rack. I also covered that bare bulb with a pretty Ikea chandelier I had sitting around!

This is where I sew!
(Edit: The amazing clear pegboard system is this one. I love it!!)

I found an even better place for the thread rack, too.

The "Keep calm and blog on" print is by my blogger pal Macey of Motormouth Studios--she made them for us for a blogger event once. Love it!

Yes, I know I have a lot of scissors. ;)

There it is! A much improved office and sewing space, and a fabulous and doable DIY decor project!

My first fashion week - thanks, Portland!

9.20.2013


I got to attend this year's Portland Fashion Week - the 10th anniversary, and a ton of awesome local talent and businesses represented, along with us bloggers. I was part of the Portland Fashion Week Blogger Style Collective, a great group of local bloggers - fashion, style, and DIY!

Fellow Style Collective bloggers Sam and Jenni

I actually have this little policy for myself wherein I purposefully don't look at high fashion/runway collections. I see them in my magazines every once in a while, but I usually look away from the models and extreme looks and focus on the other parts of the page. I've always loved fashion and clothes, but the stuff on the runways isn't usually stuff anyone actually wears, so it's not useful for me in picking out my fave trends for the season; rather, it seems like a specialized type of trendy art, shown off on extremely unhealthy-looking very young women and it makes me sad to look at it. I think about our culture and women's body issues and the demand for luxury goods and clothes that I know I don't need. I don't mean to rant here, no hard feelings for the high fashion industry, really, but it's not something I'm very interested in most of the time.

But, PFW is a little different. The show I went to featured models (men and women) varying in age, race, and shape (although they were all very tall!!). And, as this was the Ready to Wear show, most of the clothing looked very wearable! It's way more fun for me to look at silhouettes and styles that I might actually wear or make sometime.

I took a million pictures from this Ready to Wear show, but not all of them turned out and it would be hard to capture it all in photos, anyway! We bloggers got front row seats next to some fabulous local celebs (in my book) like Lisa Warninger of Urban Weeds. She's the sweetest. It was so super cool that we got to hang in the VIP tent and sit in chairs with our names taped to them!

So here are a few faves from the ready to wear show, a few of the designers from the night!

Fall fashion and suiting... (the big groups are the finales)

Fun knits and neons...

Some super pretty formal wear with a late 70's Charlie's Angels vibe!

Dramatic!!

Those are just a few of the fab designs we got to watch parade by!

PFW On the Run (trunk shows, parties) is still going on through tomorrow, the 21st, so if you're looking for something glam and exciting and inspiring to do this weekend, have fun!! ;)

You can follow along with Portland Fashion Week for more recaps - and updates for next year! on:

Multi-surface pretty paints, blogger-made stencils, and a crafty giveaway!

9.18.2013

So, stenciling is awesome. (My recent stencil project include faux wallpaper in our half bathroom and allover freezer paper stenciling on jeans. So many options with stenciling!)

I just had a chance to review FolkArt's new multi-surface craft paint line, plus these super cute stencils designed by Charlotte from Handmade Charlotte. I got to try the paint out as part of the new product launch of the FolkArt Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint, a new line they just came out with that works on many surfaces. It's dishwasher safe and machine washable, too. Also launching are the new Handmade Charlotte stencils! Both the paint and stencils are available now at Michael's.

So, here goes--my use of the new FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint and stencils!

Here they are, along with the Chalk Anything paint by FolkArt, and the sponge tools they sent me. And, the Ikea cork trivets and vintage white linens I stenciled on! 

Here's how to use it on cork and fabric!

1. Tape stencil in place on two or more sides.
2. Put paint in dish and put a little paint on foam stippler brush. Stipple on paper towel or scratch paper to get excess paint off.
3. Straight from above, stipple paint on and around stencil opening.
4. Carefully remove stencil and admire.

It dries fast, too! The tools and paint worked equally well on the cork and fabric, but as you'll see, I did have some issue on the cork... here's how they worked on both!

Cork Trivets

First I stenciled the trivets. I used the basic letters in the stencil kit, and two different paint colors. "Eat real food" is a little motto I like to stick to, so perfect for these kitchen/dining room accessories! They certainly would work well on their own - "eat" is a great thing to say in dining room art! - but I can also see using all three.

The paint worked great, and the stencil and sponge, too. I didn't need any spray adhesive to keep the stencil in place--just taped it on--and the paint didn't get under the stencil! With careful sponge tool stippling to apply.

Although, there were some places where the dips and valleys in the cork caught some extra paint. Oops! Not the stencil's fault, but maybe cork would be better suited to spray painting or stamping! (??) So don't look too close! ;)

Fabric Napkins

Next I stenciled these pretty vintage napkins. I know, it's a little sad to alter antiques, but they had a few spots on them anyway and it's not like I have a whole set. Just these two. I like the look of stenciling or a print over a woven-in pattern, so I thought it would be fun to do something funky and modern on top of the woven damask-ey floral.

The napkins are pretty bouncy but again, I just taped the stencil down and it stayed in place nicely. It was nice not to have to worry about adding fabric medium to the paint; it was the right consistency already, and even now that it's dry it has a good feel. Not too stiff.

Fresh blue and white!

Super fun, right?! These come in great colors, and I love the versatility!


Follow along with FolkArt, owned by Plaid Crafts, here:

And, FolkArt is doing a giveaway--a FolkArt Multisurface prize pack and $100 Michael's gift card! Wow, I can't even imagine how much fun a $100 Michael's gift card would be... ;) Good luck!
;
There's also a contest on Handmade Charlotte for people who use the stencils! Amaaaaazing prizes including a Cricut machine and oodles of other crafty goodies!
© Create / Enjoy • Theme by Maira G.