Thermofax Screen Printing on Paper & a Giveaway

I have been thinking for a while now how I could promote my business, and one idea I had was to screen print cards with the rendering of my art barn. I have written a lot of blog posts over the years about Thermofax screen printing on fabric, but I have historically had minimal success on paper; I often end up with blurred imagery.  However, I was really glad I was able to watch Lynn Krawczyk’s brand new DVD,  Thermofax Screen Printing Essentials because she had some fantastic tips for screening on all types of substrates:

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It’s easy to see why Lynn was asked to create a DVD on Thermofax screen printing. Just check out all of these luscious fabrics of hers (currently in my possession…I am hesitant to send any of them back because I can’t stop petting them)!

 

Krawczyk Fabric

 

After watching her DVD, I thought about giving it a go to create greeting cards.  I first created a photocopy of the image in Photoshop that I then burned onto a screen.

Chalk rendering

 

And for the first time, per the DVD,  I used Jacquard’s Puff Additive, and mixed with Golden Fluid acrylics. The Puff Additive has just enough tooth to it to yield a very sharp image on paper, whether you later want to apply a heat gun to emboss it, or not.

Barn screen

 

I experimented with different colors, different amounts of pressure when pulling the paint down the screen to get a more organic result.

Screened barn

 

And now I have my first set of cards to send out to the greater world.

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Lynn has a lot of wonderful tips in her DVD and she masterfully and easily explains the processes from start to finish. In celebration of her DVD launch, she is giving away two screens of choice to a randomly selected reader of this blog entry. A question I have is, if you could create a screen of an image, what subject matter or image would you choose?  Just leave a comment below and you’ll be in the running!

To check out other ideas for screen printing and surface design, have a look at these bloggers also participating in this blog hop:

Maddie Kertay

Lisa Chin

Briana Goetzen

Dawn DeVries Sokol

Pam Carriker (goes up tomorrow)

Lynn Krawczyk (Sunday)

 

Progress! Art Barn & Retreat Info.

Things starting to come together here in Napa!

Crew

The crew who are making this barn a reality.

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The barn has doors at last, and I am really happy I chose a transparent glass for the garage doors so that the views are intact and allow for a lot of natural light to flow inside.

Porch

The interior is being worked on now…it’s not completed but I am happy with the clean lines, the cement floor finish, and the white-washed ceilings and paneling (vs. painted)  so that the grain of the woods still show.

Interior

 

Just to get a sense of how art would look hanging inside, we temporarily hung a trio of Lynn Krawczyk’s fabric collages from the loft.

Krawczyk Fabric Collage

 

This space is coming together, but it’ll still be months before it’s completed.

Barn WEB copy

In the meantime,  I recently announced on social media the first CRAFT NAPA retreat taking place next January 7-9, 2016 at the Embassy Suites! Workshops range from sewing and quilting, to fabric and paper collage, and surface design. Teachers include Carrie Bloomston, Jane LaFazio, Jamie Fingal, Leslie Jenison, Lynn Krawczyk, Jenny K. Lyon, Judy Coates Perez, Elizabeth St. Hilaire, and Melanie Testa. There are a few fun night events planned including a “Make Your Own Wine” competition with a BERNINA giveaway, an Artist Market, and late night sip-n-sews in the bar featuring some fun stitching projects. You can find out more about this retreat on this web page. The site and the schedule are close to completion, and registration goes live next Wednesday. If you want to get any e-newsletters relating to CRAFT NAPA, you can sign up for more news, stories, and information here.

I am keeping my blog a bit separate from the retreat so I can focus on art-making again.  I am finally able to take all of my supplies out of storage, and tomorrow I’m a part of Lynn Krawczyk’s blog hop for her latest DVD.  I have to admit…it feels pretty sublime to be screen printing again!

Cheers,

Pokey

 

 

 

 

 

News, Updates & Opinions Wanted!

What is my new favorite four-letter word in the English language?

SOLD!

After having my Houston house on the market for more than six months, and flying back a lot to tweak some things and getting this deal done, I can now cross this task off my list. Those who visited my Houston pad I hope would agree it was a great home, and my eyes smarted when I got this special bottle from my realtor at my closing:

Wine bottle

I will miss many, many things about this house and ‘hood, including this outdoor community chalkboard at the end of my street, which just illustrates how cool my neighborhood truly was:

Before I Die

 

And bike riding along the bayou with my little man; I will miss our rides…and him, always.

Louie Bolton biking

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But thankfully the flight from San Francisco to Houston is an easy and fast one, and I have some very good reasons to go back rather frequently, including visiting friends like Leslie Jenison in San Antonio. It just so happens I caught my last visit this past week when Victoria Findley Wolfe was there, and we had a lot of fun experimenting with Leslie’s outdoor kitchen and pizza oven!

Lesley, Victoria, Beatrice

Leslie, Victoria, and Victoria’s daughter, Beatrice

 

Now just back to Napa, things are progressing at a good clip in my world. Some progress pix:

 

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Waving from where my future office will be.

 

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Closing up roof

Construction crew nailing down the porch roof.

 

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interior dry wall

Interior ceiling completed.

 

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office before dry wall

Upstairs loft/office is framed.

 

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office with dry wall

Upstairs office with windows drywall, and most of the paneled ceiling.

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before paint

Structure before painting, glass garage doors, and metal roofing.

 

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painted barn

Current status today with metal roof and first application of paint.

 

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Office view

Future view from my home office.

 

I have received a lot of inquiries asking when my studio/ art barn will be completed. The answer is…I don’t know. There is still quite a bit to be done, and I am dependent upon schedules and when items (like garage doors) arrive and can be installed. 

In the meantime,  I have been collaborating with some venues in Napa to coordinate retreats in the greater Napa Valley, and I have some pretty exciting news to announce soon. When I can spill, this blog will be migrating over to the new site, and I will have a lot more information for those who want to come visit Napa and create! 

So here’s where I would love some feedback.

Want to opine on a logo? 

craft nappa badges

 

 

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View from Hartwell Vineyards

 

Cheers,

Pokey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Takes a Group of Quilters to Build an Art Barn Foundation

Some SAQA friends, my first round of artists, stopped by my place this past Friday afternoon:

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It was a lovely visit! We toasted with champagne, rifled through some discarded wood for mixed media projects from the art barn construction site, plucked lemons from lemon trees, and talked a long time about sewing machines.

Having these talented friends over was a total boost and affirmation of what I am trying to do here in Napa. And their visit inspired me to put together a short video of the progress made thus far for the art barn.

I hope you enjoy! The website reference on the final clip–craftingalifellc.com– it’s not live right now, but will be in less than three weeks!

 

 

The Inaugural Pokey Pour! (Of cement…not wine)

I could not sleep at all last night, I had gotten news that the Big Pour I have been waiting months for was scheduled to happen this morning at 7:00 AM sharp.

But just a little after 6:00, I heard the creak of the opening gate, followed by a slowly traversing parade of trucks and a crane making their way uphill, and so I shot out of bed with camera in hand.

Good morning April 15, 2015! It was Tax Day, but this day marked the pouring of the foundation for Crafting a Life, LLC.

Sunrise

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Crane in place

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Starting to pour

 

Despite dealing with last-minute tax business, there was every reason to smile on this day, including the site of this candy-cane cement crane complete with a fun retro font/logo!

Candy cane

 

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The night before at the 11th hour, I invited friends on Facebook to text or message me their artful wishes, hopes, and goals that I wanted to tuck into the foundation before the cement was going to be poured. Some people posted their thoughts publicly, many sent messages to me privately. I printed them all–seven pages total–sealed in an envelope, and placed into the foundation this morning.

Crafting a Life

 

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I explained to my contractor the gist of the contents and how important this envelope was, and when someone thought to remove it just before the cement was being poured, he waved his hands and said, “NO, NO, NO! That envelope absolutely belongs there!” You can see the envelope on the lower left corner of this video…


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Smoothing

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smoothing 2

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After the foundation was leveled, they wrapped it in plastic for sealing and protection from further construction. The plastic covering will not be taken off until the art barn is completely finished. To me it is a symbol, a wrapped present, a reminder what a gift all of this is.

Wrapped

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I am eager to unwrap, to unveil, but in the meantime, there is a raven that has been watchful all day from the towering trees above, and when everyone left, he stood guard. He and I have been greeting each other since I got here in January. I like to think he is my protector on this project.

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Raven

I am having a little Pokey Pour tonight in honor of this day. :)

Cheers,

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of Spring (Finally)!

Ooooooh, it’s here! My favorite season:

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Below is a collage of springtime images I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks. (One picture may seem a little out of place, though.)

PicMonkey Collage

But to me, the picture on the lower right symbolizes new beginnings, too…because when they put a porta-potty on a construction site, you know this (:::insert profane word:::) is getting real! :)

Construction is starting to really take off for the art barn, and once the foundation is poured, I will have a definitive launch date and can share more plans. But in the meantime–when not filling out a lot of paperwork, number-crunching, re-crunching, re-crunching again, and doing all of the behind-the-scenes stuff to get a new business going…I am determined to enjoy every step of this journey.

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And Clarences agrees.

Clarence

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Happy Spring!

 

 

 

A Most Interesting Sight To Wake Up To…

I had a neighbor drop in today. Literally. I kid you not, a little before 8:00 AM this morning, a hot air ballon landed on my property where the art barn is being built. The dogs went nuts, I went nuts, and barefoot and in a pink robe, I ran up the hill to make sure I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing (and thinking maybe indeed I had too much Boz Scaggs wine the night before).

The guys in the hot air balloon upon seeing me: “Ahoy there!”

Me, scratching my (bed) head: “Um…ahoy?”

Them: “You don’t mind if we land in your yard, do you? You have a nice flat area at the top of your hill. We will radio in a truck, fold up the balloon, and be on our merry way.”

Me, groggy, needing a lot more coffee: “Um, yeah, I guess that would be ok.You may want to watch out for nails and stuff. It’s a construction site.”

dropping in

 

And so they radioed in their colleague in the truck, and when he arrived, he helped pull them to the ideal landing location. (Notice guy pulling hard on the rope on the lower left.)

over fence

 

Almost there…

landed

 

Landed.

on site

 

Then they laid down a huge blue tarp to later put the deflated balloon on.

tarp

 

And began deflating the balloon to fold and put on the truck.

deflating

 

Once folded, they left. It only took about five minutes and I got their business card. Nice guys.

And that is how I woke up today.

Some day I will get used to this kind of thing.

Maybe…

It’s Starting

It’s been an exhausting yet exhilarating few weeks. We are getting settled, unpacking boxes, acclimating to a new time zone, a winter that consists of green mountains, and watching cherry red trucks haul dirt up the hill for the art barn foundation.

Moving Dirt

I thought (a bit belatedly) to host a Valentine’s Day Groundbreaking party, and planned for a local affair but I was really thrilled that some out-of-towners came too, and made a weekend of it!

 

 

Friend I have known forever came over, too…

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As did their parents who I have known most of my life.

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We ate a lot of cake!

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Quilters hung out with non-quilters (in efforts to lure them to the dark side).

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And the strongest woman I know, Yvonne Porcella, made the trek, too. Founder of SAQA and one of my greatest mentors, I was so honored that she came.

Her humor nearly surpasses her strength…

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She also wanted to made it very clear to me that she got dirt under her (freshly manicured) nails during the groundbreaking.

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Alex Anderson came too! (Below, far right)

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And more old friends from high school…

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There was the ceremonial dig. (The pink silk scarf on the shovel was hand-dyed by Yvonne.)

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Others got into the spirit of it, too.

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And we laughed. A lot!

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And took advantage of a surprisingly warm day.

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Some of the guys…

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It is really starting! I can’t wait to post progress pictures.

How a Quilter Takes a Hike

I recently moved from Houston to Napa Valley, driving nearly 2000 miles solo (with three dogs in my backseat). It was challenging, but looking back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.IMG_0679

I did have two offers for co-pilots, but frankly…as a pet-loving quilter with a lot of precious cargo, I responded to them, “Where the heck would I fit you in the car?”

A Quilter on the Move

What I refused to put on a moving truck, nor put in the temperature-controlled cargo of an airplane:

-3  Dogs

-2 BERNINAS

-1 thermofax machine

-An enormous suitcase containing my most precious quilts, some made by family, some purchased, one by me.

-Jewelry that had a lot of sentimental value

-Crucial documents

-A backpack with jeans, t-shirts, a toothbrush and other essentials.

 

For every night I was on the road (and no, I didn’t drive past sundown), I brought all of this cargo into the hotel room. It meant a lot of trips from car to room between pets, dog food, supplies, quilts, and docs.

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The  hours of driving each day–and being on guard while driving–were pretty exhausting for all of us…

 

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But we saw some very interesting sights along the way, including this Exxon station in West Texas, where, understandably, while I filled the gas tank, I couldn’t let the dogs out to relieve themselves:

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We encountered a wreck on I-10, 90 miles east of El Paso. I would have been stuck in this for five hours (plus) while they righted this semi that had tipped over and blocked both lanes, but with the help of some empathetic truck drivers, I was directed onto the feeder, and again on my merry way.

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After about 23 hours driving and two nights in hotels, I encountered this sign (below).  Admittedly, seeing this was emotional, and I cried. It had been 26 years since I drove my own car in my home state.

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The next day, after driving up I-5,  I was on my property in Napa and saw these pink little flags whipping in the wind. They mark the art barn for Crafting a Life.

 

I cried again.

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The next morning, I woke to this greeting.

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And I cried. Again.

I found this cluster of lemons on a tree on my property.

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You’ll be happy to know, I didn’t cry. (I just plucked ’em.)

Later, Clarence discovered his first hot air balloon and…he cried. (Video can be found on my Instagram feed.)

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And I let the dogs out to run run run. And we all cried…tears of sheer joy and gratitude.

 

Great news! I’m done crying. And better yet…I’m almost done unpacking! And soon ready to get busy and on with the Next Big Life and Business Adventure, here in Napa Valley.

We made it.

Cheers all around,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward and Looking Back

I have gotten a lot of great business and life advice in 2014, but the below quote I spotted in Magic Kingdom might be one of my favorites:

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2014 was a crazy, whirlwind year for me, yet ended on a very high note.

2014

 

I traveled the world; met one of my favorite actors in London when I accidentally ran onto the set of “Downton Abbey;” I witnessed my high school best friend get married in Maui to the greatest guy; and also nearly lost my hand to a hungry swan in Zurich. I also decided to take a leap of faith and go home to California and start a new endeavor, after 26 years away.

This past year Allison Stilwell left all of us with vital advice: Do what you love—nothing else matters.

That’s damn right.

And my college friend Fr. TJ Martinez also had a motto that he said over and over and over: Do the difficult now, and the impossible soon after.

I feel they bear repeating:

Do the difficult now, and the impossible soon after.

And do what you love- nothing else matters.

Pokey

My best wishes for a very happy new year!

Bring on 2015,

 

 

 

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