Artwork and Etsy Finds


Want to see what’s new in our apartment?

We met local artist Franz Betz on a recent open studios afternoon. He does  a lot of light sculpture, and it was a blast to see his studio. He’s also created an alternative alphabet—-so interesting—you’ll have to go to his website (I’ve linked to the English version above) to read about it. My husband and I zeroed in on these prints. We looked at each other and  just had one of those moments on the same wave length—-somehow they just spoke to us.

We didn’t buy them on the spot but went home, waited a few weeks, and then returned to take another look. This time we had the feeling the prints really belonged in our home, so happy late Christmas to us! These two pieces are part of a series Mr. Betz created for a show in a library. His alphabet spells out the words, in English, “PLOT” and “LOOK.” This really cinched the deal since these words are close to my heart.

I love the reference to language, to printing, the architectural feel, and the way there’s lots of space for imagining with these images. We’re going to hang them near my workspace to inspire me.

I got these earrings (below) from my husband for Christmas. Aren’t they cool? They’re made of leather, really lightweight and comfortable. They’re from this etsy shop, which also has lots of other cool things. Looks like her shop is on vacation right now, so check out her website to see more of her work.

And I gave myself one of these hand-screened desk calendars. Love it! I am still so attached to hand-printed things. As we move further and further into the digital age they seem more and more precious. Yeah, I have a calendar on my computer, but it’s just not as pleasant as glancing over at this one.

Okay, back to work on my young adult novel.

Thinking Pink: Pillows with Hand-Printed Fabric

The pink started here:

My dear husband, for reasons yet unknown, picked out these shades for the lights in our apartment living room. In most apartments here, the lighting fixtures are not included, and since we’re here for a limited time, we didn’t want to spend a lot on them. We have no pink in our house otherwise, so I can only guess he was asking for a dose of color in our lovely but very white white white apartment. Reactions from guests have ranged from: “Fresh! Modern! I love them!” to “Hmmmph. Why? Why?”

I felt the need to echo the pink somewhere else, so recovering our pillows was my first thought. Finding fabrics here has been tough, so I hit up the thrift store, bought old white cotton tablecloths and turned them into something that works.

First I doused the tablecloths in a good strong brew of coffee (no, I did not use the good stuff, honey). Then I broke out a favorite childhood toy.

I love these stamps. I used Deka fabric ink that I found at the local art store. I’ve used Deka ink before, a long time ago, which was more like a gouache consistency. This was different, more gel-like.

You may recognize this shape from another project using dishwasher gel.

Now the pink feels at home.

For more information about printing on fabrics and other surfaces, check out Lena Corwin’s excellent book: Printing by Hand.

Hand-Carved Stamp

I just thought you might want a look at the actual stamp (for the note pads in this post) and its inspiration.

Yes, it’s an actual one of these:

I carved it with a little Speedball lino-cut kit from Michael’s.

The fish were inspired by the ones I painted in my son’s room. These in turn were inspired by my first (and only) snorkeling expedition—-in Mexico while I was pregnant with my son. I felt so peaceful floating under the water, watching all the graceful fish and turtles.  I wanted to bring some of that feeling to his nursery.

Handmade Note Pads Printed with Hand-Carved Rubber Stamp

I read about making your own notepads with padding compound on the most excellent blog, the small object steno pad, and immediately felt I had to run out and do it myself. Padding compound is a fancy word for the red stuff at the edge of notepads that keeps the pages stuck together. Turns out you can buy a huge jar of it for cheap (I ordered mine from amazon), and all you basically have to do is pinch some pages together and paint the compound on the end, then let it dry. For a full tutorial, check out the above link to the small object steno pad.

I acquired (by request) some defunct letterhead from my granddad, who was downsizing.  Then  I  carved a fish stamp using an eraser and lino-cutting tools, then stamped each page with it. Next, I saved cereal boxes for the backing.

I read in the comments on the small object steno pad that an easy way to do a bunch of pads at once is just to layer all the paper and cardboard together and paint the padding compound on the whole batch, then separate the individual pads with a knife.

To keep the pages together tightly, I pressed with clamps between two pieces of scrap wood. Voila!


One tip on using the padding compound—mix it up thoroughly with a stick or spoon before using, as otherwise it will be too watery to work.

Lastly, I dug up a stack of commercial magnets that I had been saving for just such a need. I glued a magnet on the back of each pad so they could hang on the fridge.

Easy Breezy Faux Batik Using Dishwasher Gel with Bleach







I got this idea from Kristi Porter’s domesticsphere. She’s my favorite knitting designer and does lots of other crafty things, too. I love the way her mind works.

So I’ve been looking for some brown patterned fabric for a sewing project. But I had some nice solid brown fabric lying around from another project, so I thought, why not pattern it myself?

So here’s the basic premise: paint or stamp dishwasher detergent with bleach onto the solid fabric. Wait a minute or two for the bleach to work, bringing out a lighter color, then rinse the detergent out. Make sure, of course, to wear something you don’t mind getting bleach on.

I used these Creative Playthings stamps of mine from the 70s. I was expecting the bleach to create white images, but instead, they are this lovely apricot color. I love the developing-photograph-type effect especially on the squares. I’m not sure if this is exactly what I want for my project, but I love the result, and I’m sure I’ll use the fabric for something.