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Pondering the next step, well, I decided on the next – step.
Not sure where the idea came from, but I found if I could insert the paper into the upside down punch and hold it firmly enough to flip, I could place it on the floor… and… step on it.
After about 200 of those couch slouch sitting, toe touch bends and leg lift/lowers, my heel got a little sore.
So, I switched. I guess being right-handed’s akin to being right-footed. The left foot was adequate, but the right foot had the rhythm, and later the blues and purple-ish greenies, too..
Tender, bruised heels = my second documented suffering for art. The first suffrage had to do with a v-shaped linoleum cutter across three tips of three fingers leading to the post-healing inability to feel the strings on the electric Yamaha folk guitar I’d won from WINE Radio. Lessons were dropped.
Sure, there’ve been nicks and nail splits, Mod Podge in the eye, hot glue gun burns and other unique displays of self-damage along the way, since then. (Wrong tools/wrong sitting position, mostly.)
I have an absolutely adored hideous collection of paint splattered, glue stuck, ripped clothing. The kind your mother warned you that you wouldn’t want to be wearing if you were ever involved in a car accident. Only outdone by the sage advice that you should always have pristine underwear for the same reason.
Many an undergarment went into the laundry basket on wash day and never returned. I did make every effort to rescue perfectly-worn jeans from the same motherial fate, I succeeded a number of times. I do occasionally dispose of one. Very occasionally. Only if I have a back-up to my back-up.
Anyway, in the middle of semi-concentration required stompage, it occurred to me that I could be pretty specific, if I wanted to. By this point I pretty much assumed I wasn’t going to be making my Sunday afternoon drop.
And, there you go. Add another level of dafter-crafter. Might as well.
So, after stomping enough to cover 34 cards, plus extra because some were bound to be ugly, I spent some time pouring out unnatural leaf shades for known preferences: Purple, Blue, Green, Rainbow. (You know who you are. 😉 ) Drying time required.
Plucking my little punches neatly into smart piles, wasn’t all that easy, either. I mean I made about 275 grouping decisions determining which color dominated the petite pieces of paper. Took a bit of patience and as good bit of time because I got side tracked by, “Oh, I love this one!” and “Oh, I should frame these three,” and “Oh, I saw one just like this a moment ago… wonder which pile I put it in? Orange or Yellow?”
The ‘Easy Horizon’ was in view, at last. All I needed to do was plop 7 or 8 glue-dotted paint chips to each card.
I faltered at the first leaf. Should the one dedicated to the top of the barren tree be hanging down, barely holding on? Should it be lifted up by a strong wind or just standing signifying the season?
For once, I decided not to decide. Sort of. It depended on the randomly selected leaf pattern. Some looked better dangling; others were perkier upped.
As for the other fallen additions, I tried to assembly-line stagger their positions into something resembling a true pile. That’s about as almost-random as this particular run of salutations got.
37 printed, cut, glued and commented seasonal message inserts later, it was time to sticker the backs, stuff & seal, address, lick stamps and apply return addresses to envelopes. Yep, I had enough matter for a solid three more mastered works.
28 dedicated hours later, I can proudly say, I drove off to the mailbox in a daring 5:10 PM dusk, and made it back home before the streetlights even flickered. Easy.
Quote for the Week:
I’m sure you know where this is heading, so I will spare you the shredded details.
I went down to the basement and used my old-fashioned wooden, elementary school in the 70’s, slicing block with lever.
You know, the one where my teacher told us to be very careful when we used it, and then almost immediately nipped her finger. I was terrified of that thing.
I store it in the drawer above the fabric drawer. I don’t take it out there, though. I just pull the drawer out far enough and use it just where it is. Awkward? Of course! Time-saving? Meh. But, the paper scraps are retained, nicely. While I was there, I did some smart thinking and chopped all of the ink layer rectangles, too.
That was actually easy. While it’s fun to be fancy, sometimes the primitive stuff works reliably better.
Next step: stampede stamping the ink layers and the white card stock.
Easy enough after a few, totally expected, crooked and over-lap pressings. (Pssst. Crafter’s secret: that’s why we have extra pieces and supplies and left-over small amounts of pieces and supplies, which we faithfully store. Though, they will likely never be needed.)
Now, onto the super-fun and exciting part! Punching out 240 or so maple leaves from my two-days-prior poured acrylic swirls on ugly neon yellow card stock that I couldn’t imagine any other use for all these post-store years.
Ah, the hand held assistive apparatus owned for at least 19 years. It had to have been used at least once before. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have looked at it and recalled it to be a bit-sticky, like new dies are. I knew it just needed to be used to loosen it up.
It’s probably a bit of a spoiler to let you know I looked up the answer to a question I should have asked before I began this step, but here you go, anyway: Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, silicon oils, defoamers, stabilizers, metal soaps. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become water-resistant when dry.
Word to the wise: they become punch resistant, too. Although, that wasn’t perfectly clear to my creative genius until my hand started cramping. Not to be deterred, I switched hands. Following a few fumbles, I decided I could place the punch on the coffee table, squat-up to apply appropriate pressure and get some glute work in there, too.
A few struggle-shapes in I had a few logical visions.
Interesting illogical resolutions:
This is typically the time a crafter stops to reassess invested time vs future hours required against the likelihood of completing the project in time to make the necessary Sunday afternoon Post Box drop. Then, forges on to concoct an easier way to accomplish what must be accomplished. I subscribe to this process, because, I’ll be danged if I’m going to call wasted-time and walk away.
Quote for the Week”
Plaid lines to follow! Success was on the horizon.
Seriously. How hard could it be to cut a straight line when there are lines to follow?
Kinda hard if you’re working with a maybe-a-little dull rotary push blade, a slippery plastic ruler, still stubbornly assuming an awkward couch-to-coffee-table posture.
I didn’t count the passes. I just know I, multiply, veered off the rule, lost the grip, over-corrected and then over-corrected the over-corrections.
After a few thinner, shorter, not card worthy swipes, I tried another roll-over aiming to trim with fabric scissor. Ancient, pre-Jeff, inherited, fabric scissors. When I thought about it, I calculated they were nearing or at 50 years old, holding just a smidgen of rust.
Correctable, in my view. A kitchen trip to grab the knife sharpener and hone away, also netted me an apple. It was a particularly good batch of market apples. I needed a break, so I savored, while staring at the rotten fruits of my labor.
That’s when I decided. Deviously counting the odds, here’s how I added it all up. The lop-sides and veers would herald obvious hand-made. By default, this would make them endearingly rustic. At least that’s what the perfectionist in me planned to say if anyone had a word about it.
Creative minds envision orderly procession, despite the disorganization of supplies and the tendency to rationalize with the phrase, “For now…”
Who wants to put away paint tubes by color when another fabulous idea has surfaced, which, if isn’t documented this very minute might float away, forever.
For now, I’ll leave it there. For now, I’ll remember where it is when I need it. For now, I’m just going to take a 10 minute (ahem 1.2 hour) break.
60 minutes later, the fabric finagling ended satisfactorily.
Since the Singer was still set up, I figured I’d give it a try for straight-cutting paper layers.
That’d be easy, for sure.
Quote for the Week:
First – the fabric stash.
Some of my well-traveled fabric has moved every time I have in the last 30 years, along with the books and writings and art supplies and chickens.
Yes, that’s right, I have antique (lol) fabrics, most with permanent fold marks.
(Only because I don’t own an iron, or an ironing board. A garment steamer has been on my ‘someday’ list for about 10 years now. But, you know how that goes… hot water heater, A/C, new interior doors pending and long over-due garbage disposal replacement – since I ground glass with the current one.)
I guess you could say I’ve been more of save-it-for-the- right-time collector, than an avid user for quite a while. I tend to stock-pile fall-ish hues. Patterned; reflecting the warm, calming colors of autumn. About 75 % can be accounted for in this category. The other rows are neon, old filmy curtains, and Christmas. And chickens.
By the most amazing stroke of luck, the perfect Nashville yard and a half was waiting for me exactly where it should have been.
Crafters will empathize with me on this. There are a lot of “Well, that’s where it’s supposed to be… ” moments, searching for an obscure item which we know we have and have been saving for the appropriate purpose. There’s a lot of self-questioning that comes with being creative. Like the, “If I were me, where’d I’da put it?” that comes out of my mouth. Often.
But, never mind that. The re-organization gremlins were apparently COVID-quarantining and there it was: right in the brown section, toward the darker end. That was easy.
Tools are always an important choice. I could scissor my way straight through the fibers or pink in jagged edges. I could rotary-cut along a metal rule. Or, I could take out that over 15-year-old, Singer Electric Rotary Cutter my husband gifted me. Which, 1. I never used in his presence and 2. vaguely remember a short-lived attempt at mastery. Once.
Yep, I’ll go that way. That’ll be easy.
The manual was vague, but I kept referring to it and eventually, tightened the tension and got set. Illogically, on the coffee table, in front of the couch. Maneuvering was awkward because I had to hunch from the couch and step on the pedal and keep the fabric feeding. A table would have been a better location, but mine was in the basement and I had assembled and carried all of the necessary paraphernalia up from the basement, so I was gonna make it work.
It worked. Badly.
Warbling foot-pressure speed, misguiding and failure to keep a straight line, resulted in messy, uneven, thread-warped swatches. So, I slid off the couch to the floor and tried again. Pretzeled with one leg up to apply pedal push and one under tingling uncomfortably. Success escaped me. Again.
I tried to scissor-trim the scraps into shape, leaving me with slightly skewed, ill-fitted measurements. I caved.
Manual rotary blade. One swipe later, I declared the treasured fabric non-cooperative and trucked down to the basement to find a better idea. The inspiration genies were smiling down on me as I pulled the Michigan acquired, grid-patterned, auburn packet from the vertical fabric file.
Lines to follow!
Ok, yeah. That’ll be easy.
Quote for the week: