Author: zoundsdesigns

A Tank Top Recycling… Up-cycling… Revamping

tank-before

Whatever you want to call this type of project… the point is I had a white tank top which had gotten a little grubby. Originally from Everlane, which incidentally makes some of my favorite clothes, I love their “Ryan” line of Rayon shirts and tanks so much I have bought them in a bunch of different colors. They aren’t selling them anymore, which is a tragedy and made me even less inclined to toss the tank in question. Overall the shirt was structurally sound but I wore it to the Great Sand Dunes and the front had gotten strangely sand yellowed and a few other spots were discolored as well. After trying in vain to get it back to white, I decided to change the color. Most people would have (wisely) taken the easy way out on this and dyed it. I of course concocted a far more complicated plan to hand draw designs on the tank and then “paint it” with fabric dye.

I bought a Tee Juice fabric marker in black and started drawing out designs from my coloring book “In the Garden”.

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Denver Art Museum

This weekend my family and I spent a few hours at the Denver Art Museum. I love visiting old favorites, and getting so much new inspiration.

I really liked the color palette in this exhibit of 1900’s Southwest Survey photos. The light blue walls, dark frames and sepia colored photos was gorgeous.

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The amazing stillness in the older wings of the museum is so tranquil and calming. I love just sitting with the old pieces. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

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Teaser Video! Sacred Geometry Coloring Book

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I have been working non-stop on my latest line, Sacred Geometry! The tentative release date for the art prints, stickers and temporary tats is January 1st, with the coloring book hopefully a week or two after. I wanted to finish all the designs in time for the Christmas season, but time has gotten the better of me. Below are some teaser shots of the products, and a quick little video of me adding color to the Arrow Hourglass design. Enjoy!

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Nemadji Pottery

Nemadji Pottery Macro 2

The picture above is a macro shot of a piece of pottery I received as a gift some months ago. When I was given it, I was told that the mark on the bottom “Nemadji” was the name of a Native American tribe. Of course I immediately Googled that and found out these pots have been mistakenly attributed to a Minnesotan tribe since the company who actually made it started. The term “Nemadji pottery” has come to mean smaller clay items, decorated with swirling primary colors with un-glazed exteriors.

The Nemadji Tile and Pottery Company took its name from the Nemadji river where they harvested their clay. It opened in 1923 after The Northern Clay Products company moved locations and decided to focus on tile and pottery instead of bricks. Very early examples of their pottery was simple and utilitarian, in 1929 Eric Hellman joined the company and brought his distinctive painting techniques to their line. His hand-thrown pots were used to create the molds by which thousands of pieces of pottery were created. Hellman eventually left Nemadji and took his distinctive style to Colorado where he created pots for the Garden of the Gods Trading Company. Through many more years of operation the Nemadji Tile and Pottery Company made tens of thousands of pieces sold all over the nation. The company stopped making “Nemadji” pottery in 2002.

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Thrifted Treasures

I haven’t had too much time to browse second-hand stores lately so this round-up actually covers about 4 months. I picked up these two first items at Pennywise, a thrift shop in Westminster a couple of minutes away from where I used to live. I actually bought these on two separate occasions. The first a porcelain butterfly:

It is marked with a made in Japan sticker and the base has a metal clip so you can display it. It looks so whimsical perched on my lampshade:

Porcelain Butterfly Clip-On 3

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I Published an Adult Coloring Book!

In the Garden Coloring Book 0

A few months ago I started creating adult coloring pages for a completely different project. I was having fun doing it, which got me thinking about creating my own adult coloring book. It went through a few iterations, and a few months of work but In the Garden: A Botanic Coloring Book is available now! Below is the first 10 pages, in total there are 32 unique designs in the book.

You might wonder why I chose to use the word “botanic” rather than the more common “botanical”. Well both words are generally considered to hold the same mean, relating to plants. However, botanic’s usage has fallen off the map in the 21st century. Seeing as “Zounds” itself is an outmoded word, I felt it was only fitting for my first coloring book title to pay homage.

I published through Createspace, and it was really a very simple, straight forward process. My favorite part was designing the cover, I used a few of the designs from the book, and filled them in with watercolors. Incidentally I have been using this watercolor set lately, and absolutely adore it! It’s super compact, the colors are very vibrant and the little paint brush is perfect for detail work. Anyway, the cover image is now available as a free printable coloring sheet, the link to all my free In the Garden printables is at the bottom of this post.

Also now available for purchase through the Zounds’ Store the In the Garden Postcard Set. 6 4.25″ x 6″ cards with unique designs not featured in the coloring book, and postcard backs.

In the Garden Postcard Set 1

In the Garden Postcard Set 2

In the Garden Postcard Set 3

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! To celebrate the release of In the Garden: A Botanic Coloring Book, use coupon code GARDEN to receive 50% off this item!  

BUY YOUR COPY NOW!

ALSO AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.

FOR FREE PRINTABLE COLORING SHEETS CLICK HERE!

Solvent Image Transfers

Not exactly ground breaking stuff, using a solvent of some type to transfer an image to another surface has been a popular DIY topic for years. I wanted to try it out on fabric, for both a new throw pillow cover and future mixed media projects. There is a huge number of other blogs who have done the same thing with a different solvent product. I have seen people recommend Citra Solv, paint thinner, lacquer thinner, acetone etc. I happened to have a bottle of full strength acetone already sitting in my cabinet, and a few copies of the images I wanted to transfer.

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My Latest Light-box Iteration and New Lenses!

I’ve posted several times about light-boxes, my first was a small DIY I setup in my project room, the next was a short-lived larger installation in my basement. Now that I have absolutely no room for a permanent installation and minimal access to light a folding light box was really the best option. I bought the StudioPRO 24″ Photo Studio from Amazon, it comes with two standing lights with daylight bulbs and 4 backdrops. Here it is in use:

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Check out the comparison below, the backdrops really make a difference. My only complaint about this light tent really isn’t a problem with the product but with storage, the backdrops get such bad creases in them they require ironing each time you want to use them. If I had the storage space, I would just hang them up so they didn’t get the wrinkles inside the storage bag but otherwise I have been VERY happy with this light box.

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While I’ve Been Away!

I thought I would do a quick photo re-cap of what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve been working hard on a few new exciting projects, including a coloring book I will be publishing in the next few weeks. The release of the book will also include free printables and a new section of Zounds dedicated to the super trendy, oh so fun world of adult coloring books. Here is a sneak peek at one of the concepts I’ve created for the cover:

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Hanging a Lightweight Tapestry

A tapestry is technically defined as a thick piece of woven fabric, so a “lightweight” tapestry can’t really exist. I guess “wall hanging” would be more appropriate or maybe just “fabric I’m going to put on the wall”. I bought this batik dyed cotton wall hanging from Urban Outfitters:

Urban Outfitters

Possibly the dark colors were a mistake in the basement room I’m currently living in, but I loved the pattern, and it does feel cozy. I bought a 5 foot roll of adhesive backed Velcro similar to this stuff. If your tapestry is heavier weight or you want added security from pulling you could also buy sew-able Velcro and stitch it to the fabric. I took the easy route and just applied the Velcro tape to the top back of my fabric, after ironing all the creases out.

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Mixed Media Monday: Ancestor

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This video was really simple to film, I had a nice time doing it. The editing however was a particular kind of tech hell, as my video files wouldn’t write to the hard drive, a couple of clips were corrupted but only if you looked at them on a windows machine… etc. Just one thing after another, especially weird considering I haven’t switched phones, or cables or machines or software or… anything. Either way I finally got it altogether and uploaded so I hope you enjoy it!

I used a brown craft paper card, vintage dictionary paper, gesso, Inktense blocks, paint pens, and liner pens to create this woman. I’ve started calling her Ancestor because she looks out through the crumbling, obstructed old paper full of half forgotten words. The music is by Chris Zabriskie, check out more of his amazing work on Free Music Archive.

Happy (end of) Monday!

Mixed Media Card


Thrift Store Round Up

I haven’t bought much at thrift stores lately. Working full-time has left me with minimal time to browse and space constraints means that even if I find something cool I don’t have anywhere to put it anyway! However, in the last 4 months or so I have still managed to find some things:

Overgrown Quarry by William Thon (1906-2000) an abstract lithograph, check out his biography from The Caldwell Gallery.

Lithograph Thon

I would love to re-frame it eventually, I don’t think the brown mat is doing much for it. It’s hanging across from my headboard, so I see it very often. The abstract-ness of the cracked leaf-vein like patterns have worn off and now I see very defined trees and the walls of the quarry, and the cuts into the rock.

Lithograph Thon 1

 

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New Custom Mats for Old Photos

Vintage Black & White Photos

I’ve had a collection of black and white photos for years now, many of which I purchased at a swap meet in Arizona. I had 5 of them matted in these black and white eclectic frames in my house. I created the mats myself… well “mats” is really too nice a word for the cheap paper I used.

My Studio

When I moved, I hung them back up, but I wanted to re-do the mats and add a picture to the 5th frame. So they’ve hung like this for 3 months:

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I finally got around to ordering custom mats 2 weeks ago, from matboardandmore.com. Their site is fantastic, tons of options and super easy and cheap to order weird sized openings.

Custom Matboard Online

I received the mats a couple of days ago, I went with a similar color to the paper I had previously used. Photo grey with black core:

Custom Matboard

I think the grey looks very nice with the old sepia/black and white colors of the photos:

Custom Matboard Vintage Photos

I was less than $30 to mat all 5 of the photos, and I’m glad to have this off my to-do list. Quick and easy projects are the best when you want to feel like your’e accomplishing something! The frames and photos don’t look nearly as good on the white walls of my basement room as they did in my studio room but I’ll move again soon enough. For now I’m glad my vintage photos are protected in the beautiful way. If you need new mats check out Matboard and More.

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Creating a Cameo Pendant from an Old Brooch

Vintage Cameo Brooch Refashion

I picked up this little vintage cameo brooch for less than a dollar second-hand forever ago. I don’t wear brooches… and rarely  wear gold, but I liked the cameo. I have always thought cameo’s were lovely, I think I had a porcelain doll with a tiny cameo when I was very little perhaps that’s why. In any case I got around to re-fashioning it the other day when I saw that the Vintaj line of natural brass findings were on sale at Hobby Lobby.

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Telechron Electric Clock

Telechrom 327 f327

I found this lovely electric clock at the thrift store a month or so ago. The case is rather beat up, but I love the art deco dial. I looked the model up on telechron.net, if you have a Telechron or want more info about these clocks this is your website! The site has all Telechron models organized by year with model numbers and pictures. I found my little clock pretty quickly listed under the 1928-1932 era as a 327 “Salisbury”, however the dial didn’t match. The next era of clocks “1932-1938” has a clock listed as a f327 “Sudbury” with the correct case shape, and dial but with a closed wooden back. The site author writes “A few models from the Early Years were sold into 1935…” so I would guess this is an older case with the newer motor and dial but it could also have been some old owner’s repair job marrying the two pieces. Either way it seems this clock is from sometime in the 1930’s.

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We Sold the House

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to say. Or if I even wanted to say anything… We sold our house… let me re-phrase Matt sold our house. I hadn’t lived there for 6 months. It’s a very bittersweet end, on one hand I’m glad it’s gone and we both needed the money to fund new projects, new lives… but I worked so hard to make that house beautiful. So many projects done, so many projects in progress. Below is about as far as I got with the kitchen cabinets, I hung a couple more doors before I left. Sanded, stained, sealed, new veneer, handles and hinges, the interiors all painted teal and lined with cork. They looked fantastic.

Kitchen

New tub, new tile, new vanity, all the walls painted, the wall we torn out, so much cleaning, so much painting. All gone. When I first moved out, I was so upset and sad but I’ve realized over the last few months, I’ve left many rentals before and I worked hard to make them beautiful knowing I would leave. I can and will make anywhere I live just as wonderful, I just never entertained the notion that I would have to leave this house:

House Front

I think that’s been the hardest part of this transition, trying to re-imagine and redefine who you are to yourself and then presenting that to others. I’m not a happy married woman living with her husband in our beautiful home… but I hadn’t been that person for years. That was the image of myself I kept in my mind, that’s what I told people. I’m separated, I’m living with my parents again, and I’m very happy there. I’m working full-time, I go to yoga, I try to drink enough water, and get enough sleep… In short I’m taking care of myself. Endings are always sad and I will miss all the things I’m leaving behind, but I know I’m on the path to a much brighter future for the first time in a long time. I hope Matt is doing the same.

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Cleaning Real Fur at Home

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I found this little clutch at a vintage clothing store in Denver. I have no idea how old it might be, possibly late 50’s to early 60’s… although it could be more recent. There are no labels of any sort in it. It is however real fur, I would say rabbit by the look and feel. It’s pretty easy to figure out if an item is faux or genuine fur if you can see the backing. Fake fur will be backed with fabric, genuine fur with of course be on hide/leather. If, like my clutch, it’s not possible to examine the back of the fur, the next thing to look at is the individual strands of fur:

Cleaning Real Fur

 

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Mixed Media Monday: Girl Adrift

Girl Adrift Mixed Media Page

I went off journal this week and worked on a piece of watercolor paper. I actually started and stopped 2 other pages when a few minutes in I hated the direction I had gone in. I used scraps of dictionary pages, matte decoupage medium, gesso, Inktense blocks, watercolors, scrap cardboard and oil based paint markers to create this page. The video is below, have a great Monday!

Girl Adrift Mixed Media Page 1


New Thrift Store & Apollo Butterflies

Matt and I visited a thrift store I’ve never been to the other day (I know shocking!). If you’re in the Denver area, check out Demi’s Treasures & Thrift Store. We actually came to pick up this cabinet:

Mid-Century Stand Alone Cabinet

 

Matt had been in and seen it a few days before and thought I would probably want it. He was right! It’s a really interesting kinda stand alone cabinet with great mid-century legs.

I also found an unabridged 1950’s-ish dictionary. Which if you have seen any of my mixed media pages or the prints for sale in the store you know I use constantly.

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End Table Refurbishment

End Table Veneer Refurbishment

This project has been in the works for 3 years… 4 years… I can’t even say for sure. I don’t even have a proper “before” picture for it, I know I took some but they’ve been lost to time. The best I found were from old posts like this one, it’s the table the lamp is sitting on:

Funky White Lamp

We bought this beat up table for less than $5 at a Savers in Aurora as an add-on to the nightstands, chairs and other things we picked up. It looked to us like someones wood shop project, all the pieces of wood are different species, and different quality, the front molding doesn’t match the rest of the table, but the craftsmanship is surprisingly solid. The whole table was completely covered in graffiti as you can see above.

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