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A Ducky New Book Bag

Okay so it’s not really “ducky” as in the small feathered creature. It is my latest creation made from my stash of duck cloth. Duck cloth purchased at Christmas for the project that never happened, and was stashed into the cupboard. Any type of heavy weight fabric will work for this project. I have used an old Eddie Bauer corduroy dress for texture on the front of the bag. In fact, now the bag is all finished,  I realize that it would have been better to make the back out of a heavier fabric. The solid duck I bought has a very loose weave and I am confident it won’t have as long of a life as I hope it will. Oh well, live and learn from my mistakes.

Here’s the project;  my daughter had a book bag that I purchased for her five years ago. She has loved it. Now that’s unusual because most of us know girls, more specifically, our daughters are hard to please, especially when mom picks out the item. However, for whatever reason this book back has been loved and used until it’s in shreds. I decided that I would copy the pattern from the book bag and recreate it from new fabric.

Now here’s a tip that I have utilized time and time again for pattern making. You know all the roll ends of wrapping paper in the closet? Well it makes great patterns. I especially like the rolls that have the grid on the back in one inch increments. I usually always buy that type of paper from Hobby Lobby at Christmas. The grid is great for cutting paper and even better for pattern making.

To make your own pattern decide what size bag you will need. Then add 1/2 inch to all sides for seam allowances. You can measure the body from one top edge around the bottom and up to the next top edge and add 2 inches extra to that measurement so you will have enough to roll in and reinforce the top. This method works best if the item is cut from one fabric or is completely pieced, or an applique is applied.

To make the book back I created; the bottom piece is separate and sewn to the bottom of the front panel and the back panel. I did this so the pieced front wouldn’t end up on the bottom. The size of the bottom of my book bag is the same width as the front and back and mine is about 4 inches tall. It is cut from the same fabric as the back. For either option mentioned you need to make a “box bottom” for your bag. If you don’t know how to do this, click this link for a good tutorial http://www.lazygirldesigns.com/blog/?p=1482 . Without doing a box bottom your bag will be very flat. You can decide your own measurements depending on what you will be using the bag for. I pieced the front of mine by cutting the pattern from the wrapping paper and adding 1/2 inch to all edges. I then overlapped the fabric, top stitched it together and frayed the edges. I added rivets from my scrapbook stash, reinforcing the back side of the fabric first with interfacing

So this is how the assembly goes:

1) Measure and cut all pieces.

2) Design your front (optional) and sew

3) Sew 2 “envelopes” of fabric, one for the outside (don’t forget your bottom piece if you are following the instructions for a pieced front) and one for the inside, using the same measurements. I use one length for the inside and don’t piece the bottom, The measurement for this will be equal to the measurement of the bag from one top edge to the other plus 2 extra inches to roll in when connecting the envelopes.

4) Turn the outside wrong side out and the inside right side out. Slip the lining piece over the other piece. (When you look into the bag at this point you will see the right side of the outside. (Yea! This sounds crazy but it is right). The outside will be the finished side of the lining. Sew the top edges together 1/4 inch from the edge. Turn the edge down 1″ and stitch 1/4 inch from the edge. (It will essentially be an raw edged hem). Fray the edges and turn the bag right side out.

5) The nylon belting used for handles is sewn to more of the duck fabric. I allowed 1/2 inch overhang of fabric, over the nylon belting material. I applied the fabric to both sides of the belting, stitched it in five lines running the length of each handle (my handles are each 24″ long). Fraying the edges of the duck fabric after it is sewn into place. Attach the handles to the bag, reinforcing it well.

6) Enjoy your creation!

Bowling Logo With Drop Shadow

The latest creation for my store http://www.zazzle.com/bowlermindy is the bowling logo “Spare Me!!!!”. I used illustrator CS4 to create the illustration. I used my new watermark (tutorial last posting) on this piece, and it looks good. I had to adjust the size to cover the whole image but that is quite easy. Just select all and increase the scale. The other thing that I played around with more this time was the gradient. My first images contributed to Zazzle were flat, one dimensional pieces. The Alley Cat redesign also was created using more gradients, and they are beginning to sell as well as the flat design. I think it is a matter of taste whether you prefer the simple flat non-dimensional vector image or the dimensional one. We’ll see how it goes since I have left both on the site as options.

The drop shadow effect was also used on the logo, to create dimension. When you apply this effect, select only the layers or image you want the shadow on. To clarify, if I applied the drop shadow to the whole “Spare Me” logo which I had created in layers, the drop shadow would occur on the eyes, mouth, striping etc. You don’t want this. Select only the layers (ex. the pin body, ball and wording) to apply it to. Do this by locking the layers you don’t want it to affect with the “toggle lock” located on the layers panel. After locking those you don’t want shadowed, use the select all option located under the “select” option at the top of your page. Then open the “effect” tab and select the “stylize” option. From there select “drop shadow.”  It will prompt you to “apply new effect” select this and it will then give you adjustment options. Darkness, location etc. play with these options and use the “preview” selection to see how the shadow will be applied. When it is to your liking remove the “preview” check, and apply it. You can always remove it through the discard feature in layers panel if you decide you don’t like it.

One final tip, if  you change your work after applying the drop shadow it takes much longer to edit because the shadow constantly adjusts. You might want to turn it off or remove it when editing, or add it when you know you are completely finished with your piece.

Have fun with this option!

Stop Thief! Watermarking Your Artwork

I was a little concerned posting my artwork on the internet without a watermark. What the heck is a watermark you might ask. Have you ever taken a closer look at some of the artwork displayed on a site like Zazzle. If you magnify an image on their site you will notice a large “Z” in a circle. Another time you may have seen a watermark may be when have tried to copy a document. Words like void etc. showed up when it was copied. It’s not visible until you make that copy. Well that’s a watermark.

The purpose of a watermark is to discourage theft of an image that you have created. I wanted to create my own watermark to place on the original work I post on the internet. You may want to create your own watermark if you are posting on a blog or anyplace you load an image you don’t want  copied. One thing you don’t want to do however, is submit your work with a watermark to a site like Zazzle or Cafe Press, because they wouldn’t be able to sell it in that situation.

Here are the steps for creating a watermark in Adobe Illustrator (my version is CS4):

Create a logo, wording etc. using text shapes etc. Make it large enough to cover your entire image. You want to do this all in black so you can see it.

The next step is to expand the image if you have used strokes (the outlines of objects). This changes all things to fills (the color inside your shapes and art). Do this by selecting all the artwork and selecting the option “expand” in the object tab.

Next if you have used type, select it and navigate to the “type” tab at the top of the program. Select the option “create outlines”. Now your art is made of fills and you can move onto the next step.

At this point select the “transparency” tab on the side panel. You can play with your watermark to determine the transparency you want. You can do this by adjusting the opacity of the object anywhere from one to a hundred, or just select the “soft light” option in the left dropdown box. Either one will work, its your choice. I chose to adjust mine with the “opacity” option.

The last thing you want to do is select all and change your watermark to white. Save it, then test it. Place the watermark on the top of your image and adjust it from there. Everything should look great!

If you’re having problems here is a link that will take you through the steps above in a tutorial online.    http://developer.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1399-Tutorial-Protect-Your-Site-Images-With-Watermarks

Get Zazzled!

Several years ago I joined a bowling league. It was great fun and a day out with friends who were on my team. We were the Alley Cats. I always thought we had the coolest name on the league, and we were a pretty good team. Well, one day while we were chatting we decided that we needed bowling shirts. Not just any bowling shirt, but a bowling shirt with our team name on it! How could we make that happen? Somehow I was nominated to do a little research on accomplishing that goal.

I came home and began searching the internet for bowling shirts. The selection was poor at best. Then I came across Zazzle. Now what the heck is Zazzle? It is a great little site where you can design your own product, just how you want it, OR you can choose from a vast selection of products made by others.

Back then, I didn’t have a program to do art on the computer, so I set out creating my little “Alley Cat” logo with colored cardstock. Yes, this is a very primitive way to create a logo but that was my only option. It turned out pretty cute. I scanned it in and submitted it to Zazzle to print on a T-shirt. About a week later a box of Alley Cat T’s arrived on my porch. Boy! were we cool wearing our team T’s!

THAT is not the end of the story. So after I placed the design on the T’s and ordered them, I got a prompt asking if I wanted to make this design public. Now what in the world did that mean? After reading through the small print and agreeing to their conditions, I submitted my design to the public marketplace. Essentially, I retain the copyright to my work, but if they sell my design to someone on a product I earn a small royalty (MONEY!). Sounded good to me! So I posted it and went on my way.

Approximately six months later, I opened my mailbox and there inside was my first royalty payment! If I remember right it was about $23. Starving artist wages, but hey, can’t complain about that.

Posted here is a picture of the original “Alley Cat” logo and you can see my new redesign made on Adobe Illustrator at my store at http://www.zazzle.com/bowlermindy.
It’s been about six years since I posted the original, but Alley Cat is going strong! I got my biggest check ever last year, just in time for Christmas!

Create a little art yourself and make a few bucks! Or just browse the pages of other artists, you just might find something fun.

ARTAHOLICS UNITE!

I know your type! You’re an ARTAHOLIC!

You wheel your cart down the aisle, it doesn’t matter where you are;  suddenly nestled next to your milk and bread you have a cartload of glue, paper, paint or perhaps a skein of yarn. You head home, unload your purchases, and stash your haul into your craft cupboard or closet wherever the stuff will fit.

You feel guilt. You didn’t intend to make anything right away, BUT just in case an idea or a project comes along you’ve stocked up. Your three glue guns, 20 bottles of Tacky, and assorted colors and types of paint are on hand and ready.

When you go to a craft boutique you walk away with nothing but sketches on the back of your checkbook and an “I can make that” attitude!

Sometimes it seems you spend more time in the store daydreaming projects than actually doing them! Well I’ll let you in on a big secret; you are not alone!!!

I would be a “Michaels” dream employee. I have done and created almost everything imaginable with the contents of their store, or have it stashed in my closet. In fact, my daughter got a job there a few years back and called me to ask me what a certain item was and where it could be located.

The other day as I “reorganized” the stash I thought, “This would be a great blogging project.” I can utilize the supplies, be motivated to do some unfinished projects, and share ideas and art.

 I recently acquired Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator and would love to exchange learning sites and tips with you “pix” and “vector art” addicts. Along with crafts and projects made from the stash.

The name I came up with: PixArtInk.com fits my new project perfectly! As I blog about projects, I will tag them into each category in their respective folder.  The Pix folder will be for pictures and Photoshop ideas. The Art will be anything creative from illustrations, home creations, to yarn projects. The ink will be anything that includes wording, scrapbooking, etc.

My site will be under construction for a bit but I am excited to get started!

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