Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Break

I'll be spending the holidays with family, something I haven't done for quite some time. So besides being derailed by the usual holiday preparations, I've also been attending to all the little things one must when getting ready for a trip. The newspaper and mail have been stopped, end of the month bills paid, library materials returned and a book picked out to pass the time in transit, to name just a few of the things getting crossed off the to-do list. The closest I've been to my sewing machine has been to sew the hems of a couple of new pairs of pants for the trip, perfect fits except for length (unless I want to go buy some platform shoes...). I'm so used to spending the last couple of weeks of the year wrapping up projects or leisurely working on some low priority itch that I find myself a little torn emotionally. I am so looking forward to this time with family, and the trip itself while at the same time feeling a weird sense of loss about not being home to putter in the studio.

Well, that's just habit talking. We get into routines, forge traditions, feel off balance when we are pulled out of them, willingly or not. And then we return refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. At least that's what I anticipate for me. And for my readers, I wish a safe holiday, one in which you allow yourself time to enjoy your own traditions or share in others, carve out some quiet time for yourself, create or rejuvenate. See you in a week!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A little printing and more cafepress

I'm down to the last few Christmas cards, some which will go with gifts, and so I took a bit of a break from writing yesterday to do some printing on fabric. (Sssh, don't tell anyone that some of these are presents!) I'm using cotton sateen that comes adhered to a stiff paper backing in a 24" wide roll. While my Epson Workforce 1100 does not accommodate rolls, let alone anything this wide, it will print up to 13" wide, and this particular backed fabric when cut to size feeds so well through it. The resulting prints look as sharp and true to color as if printed on photo paper - I just love it!

This printer hasn't gotten much use in the last couple of years, and when I printed something off on paper a few months ago, I got some odd lines running through my graphic. Printers that sit tend to develop heads that clog up. Sure enough, when I did a nozzle check, there were gaps in the test print proving that the heads required cleaning. I also took the time to check alignment to assure good clean and accurate prints. If this all sounds like Greek to you, I suggest you check the manual or help screens for your printer and work through these basic maintenance steps, particularly if you have been unhappy with the quality of your printing lately.

The difference between ICM & Adobe RGB settings

Another thing that is worth checking is the advanced setting for color matching and other settings found within the preferences or printer set-up (like unchecking "fast printing" and checking "envelop" to accommodate extra thickness). If what you see on your screen differs from what prints out, it may just be a mismatch of settings. I'd written down the settings that seemed to give me the truest color match on fabric in the past, but when I printed my first image, it was not very close. I checked the other settings I could choose from and decided to try a different one, and it was much closer to my screen image. Now for those of us just wanting to get on with it, all the time I spent yesterday morning cleaning and aligning heads and changing settings from the defaults might rankle, but with the price of ink and fabric, it is worth taking this time to get your settings right. I am so pleased with the results. And as so often happens with me, as long as I was set up and on a roll, I worked on and printed an image for my next art quilt. Holidays or not, the creative urge cannot be denied!

Angel of the Rock Journal through cafepress

And now for a commercial break. I've changed the image on another item in my cafepress shop. My "Angel of the Rock" art quilt is in a private collection, but you can enjoy it on the cover of this 5" x 8" journal. The journal is available with 4 paper options: blank, college ruled, dot grid or task pages. And does anyone use mousepads anymore? If so, perhaps you would like the mousepad I offer with the image of one of my journal quilts "Texture". Happy shopping! 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Holiday Break

The creative journey is on hold as the studio work table has been taken over by Christmas card preparation. I do enjoy this process, choosing cards that resonate with image and sentiment, recapping the year in a letter for those I only connect with periodically from season to season, adding a personal note to show this is not just an automated process. I guess I enjoy it also because I love being the recipient of the cards and letters that show up in my mailbox each Christmas. It's a different kind of staying in touch from our ubiquitous electronic one, a tradition I doubt I'll ever give up.

I've also been busy updating my cafepress shop - it's not too late to order gifts in time for Christmas. My "Idaho Maple Leaves" image has been added to the tile coaster (available in both framed and unframed versions) and keepsake box. And you can now find my "Willow" quilt on notecards that can be purchased individually or in packets of 20.

Still available are t-shirts and sweatshirts, mugs and totes, stickers and magnets with my Idaho Beauty Block logo and motto ( alternative lifestyle) as well as two calendars of my favorite art quilts and journal quilts. And don't forget the new items with oak leaf image recently added. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Postcard Postcards

Oak Leaf Fabric Postcard - Sheila Mahanke Barnes 2013
I think I'm done making oak leaf fabric postcards for awhile. It's been fun and informative and just a little bit addictive. There may be more of these in my future, but for now it's time to move on. And as much as I might like to make one for each and every reader, that isn't going to happen! Instead, I've added an image of one of my oak leaf fabric postcards to some of the products in my cafepress shop. The next best thing to the actual postcard might be the picture on a photo postcard. They come in sets of 8 and can be purchased here. I've also added the image to a lovely mahogany tea/recipe box and a business card holder.

I know I've said this before, but I do plan on more updates to the shop. In the meantime, check out my two calendars of favorite art quilts, cards, mugs and gift items. Some of these may be going away soon.