Saturday, January 31, 2015

If It Weren't For...

...Social plans, I would have become a grade A hermit.

A legit, horde your shit and never leave the house, hermit.

I would buy all my stuff online, and have my essential groceries delivered. With the Internet at my fingertips I would never have to leave the comfort of my four walls.

And guys, my four walls are huge.

If people never came over to view my home and silently judge the state of things as they saw them, I would never feel the obligation to clean or fix up any of the rooms.

Taking the trash out and dragging the bins to the curb would be the highlight of every week.

Deep down, I know all this would be a fact except for two things - my husband and our social calendar.

While both of us harbor a healthy (unhealthy is probably more like it) determination towards laziness, someone would crack under the pressure.  Maybe it's because our environment is built on cohabitation or we both have different brands of laziness?

Think about it.

When/if you lived on your own, and you started to let things slide around the home, for whatever "reason" you want to dream up, it never really bothered you.  Eventually you clean up your mess, but it was your mess.  It was your brand of laziness.  That changes when you add another variable into the environment.

I leave unfolded laundry in baskets, and ignore the tooth paste build up in my sink until I'm forced to clean it off.  Mike leaves dirty dishes strewn about the house along with shirts, socks, etc.

I know my perfunctory habits grate on his nerves after a little while as his does with mine.  Eventually, we muster enough gumption to clear off our neglected duties, and if a social calendar wasn't enough motivation to light that fire, then that shit just wouldn't get done.

The Frasca's are a sociable peoples.

we like hanging out and having a good time.  We enjoy hosting even more.

Being sociable doesn't quite fit well with "hermit".

I do want people to come back to our home again, after all.

And so, for the sake of social graces and my husbands sanity, I choose to be a decent member of society instead of the horde-ish hermit I secretly desire.

Suddenly, I am reminded of that movie, Wall-E.  Remember those fat humans in their hover chairs?

*Shudders*

I probably should force myself to get out more...

and stop collecting random things...

hmm...



XO

ANF








Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yesterday...

...I had a thought.

Shocking, I know.  Your world must be turned upside down right now but I implore you to keep reading on despite this shocking revelation.

This was my thought:

What the hell is decoupage?

Random, right?

I was working with Mod Podge yesterday on a project of mine (one of many), and it reminded me of my youth.  A memory came unbidden to my mind where my hands were covered in a sticky glue like substance with bits of paper due to the paper mache craft I was doing at the time.

This memory prompted a question as I studiously worked away on my craft.

I wondered about the differences between paper mache, collage, and decoupage.  I'm going to be honest here, I knew what the first two were.  The third, well, my brain automatically went like this:

Decoupage - Decompose - Compost...huh?

needless to say, I ended up on Google's home page to look up the definition.

Curious?



We all know what paper mache is...at least I hope you do.

If not, just Google that shit.

Based on the above, I feel like decoupage and collage are essentially the same thing...

Right?

Collage just has a broader base of materials and decoupage is strictly paper.  Perhaps we can afford decoupage a subcategory under collage, along with paper mache.

Maybe it already held that spot and it just takes me a while to "catch up".

Cool.  Mystery solved.  Huzzah!

My mind is now free for the next random thing that comes upon it.

YAY random information!



XO

ANF


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Asking Advice...

...Can be difficult for some people.

Much like the stereotype of men refusing to ask for directions even though they are completely and hopelessly lost.

While I don't believe the latter rings true to it's stereotype, the former definitely holds weight.  At least in my world it does.  Especially if it's asking advice from a stranger.

It's not so much as a "pride thing" as it is a "judge-y thing", I think.  Certainly so, if it's face to face. 

Will this person think my question is dumb?
Will they think I'm dumb for not knowing the answer?
What if I don't understand the answer?

However, the anonymity of the internets makes these things much easier to swallow, as is research when said request for advice goes by unanswered.  

Google is such a know-it-all.  

I recently fell into a situation where I asked advice of a group of individuals with regards to materials, and the inquiry was completely overlooked.  After waiting a sufficient amount of time for a response, I left the group altogether.   

Perhaps I misunderstood the reason for the group, or perhaps the description outlining the purpose of the group could have been a bit clearer so that I might have avoided the situation.  Whatever the case may be, I ended up researching my question on my own to find the answer.  
  
I would have loved to gain the invaluable insight of seasoned "professionals" on the subject.

Instead I found DIY information.

Totally not begrudging DIY information at all, mind you.  I have found countless crafty goodness that way.  I think I was just sort of hoping to connect on an intellectual level with others and tap into their experiences and make connections.  

Because of my experience, I felt that I should put my two cents out into the universe.  Or at least my own findings on the matter even if it does broadcast in neon letters "Novice Here".

Hey, I can't develop my skill, if  I don't learn, right?

The subject in which I refer is the simple fact of watercolor paper curling, warping, or crinkling after exposed to a wet on wet technique and dried.  LOOK!  I even did a little test example for you -

Even if the paper is secured while I'm working through a piece, at the end when I lift it off the surface the curling/warping still happens.

I made my own assumptions on why this was happening through the first 15 pieces I produced.

Brand of paper?
Paper weight?
Cold press vs hot press?

This list, incidentally went on in my head.

After my research?

It basically gave me a big fat "maybe" to all those questions above.  But I learned that "stretching" my lower weight paper might help with my paper issues.

So of course, I started to experiment.

Basically, you are supposed to take your lower weight watercolor paper (mine is 140lb XL Canson cold press paper) and submerge it into a shallow bath of room temperature water anywhere from 10 minutes up to 15-20.  This causes the paper to expand.  It's sort of like a science experiment where you have to do some trial and error to find the right combination of paper type and time.  I think brand definitely has a lot to do with your timing too.  Apparently there is a fine line of too little bath time to too much bath time.

After the ten minute mark, you can check the paper by pulling down one of the corners.  If it snaps back into place, it hasn't soaked long enough.  If the corner stays when you pull it down, then you've soaked long enough.  Should your paper corner fall of its own accord, then you've soaked it way to long.

Once the paper has soaked enough, it needs to be laid out and secured on a board of some kind.  For me, I have a foam core board that I use.  Laying wet paper out on the board, I take a damp sponge and gently push out any trapped air bubbles underneath.  Then I staple all edges to the board and lay flat to dry overnight.

I did 8 1/2" x 11" sheets here for 8" x 10" pictures.   You can stretch a larger piece of paper and cut away the edges later, if you prefer.  I removed the papers from the board once dried and secured them elsewhere for me to work on.  The paper still warped a little bit so I think I will try to work off of this board itself and remove the finished piece afterwards for trimming and framing. Plus increase my soak time - I think I removed them too early from their bath.

Also, weight can play a major factor in avoiding paper curl as well.  The larger weights will help reduce that, but the trade off here is that they are hella expensive.

Like WHOA.

One sheet of Arches 300 lb cold press watercolor paper runs for 20 bucks at Michaels.

20 BUCKS.

I'm just gonna let that sink in here for a minute.

My goal is to eventually create illustrations on a much larger scale.  Rolls of WC paper are many and expensive.  Before I'm comfortable committing to one particular brand/weight/type, I will need to experiment more.  Incidentally, because of the cost factor here, it may take me a while.

At least I didn't jump the gun and commit to one randomly only to find out I hate it! ;}

I think Mike would probably agree with that assessment as well.

Happy creating!



XO

ANF