Easy Screen Printing Projects

Angela modeling the bride shirt, James modeling the hi-viz shirt, and others in the making! Photos copyright 2014 by Angela Schiavone

Angela modeling the bride shirt, James modeling the hi-viz shirt, and others in the making! Photos copyright 2014 by Angela Schiavone

Ever since I saw the tutorial at Calico Skies, I’ve been using this technique every couple of weeks!  I love it.  It does take quite a bit of time, but it’s not hard unless you choose a pattern with lots of small areas.  Essentially, you stretch nylon fabric over an embroidery hoop, put it face down on your design, and trace the design onto the nylon with a Sharpie.  Then, you use Mod Podge to cover the negative space, so paint can’t get through.  This is the hardest part.  I’ve started doing more complicated designs, so it can get tedious.  Then, it needs to dry.  Once that’s done, place the embroidery hoop onto the shirt, pour on some paint, and squeegee it!  I use those fake credit cards that are sent in the mail from credit card companies begging you to sign up with them.  They make great (and free!) squeegees.

First, I made a “bride” shirt to commemorate my recent engagement.  I feel a bit too “look at me” when I wear it in public, so I just use it around the house or as a sleep shirt.  Next was a shirt for James.  He likes riding his bike, and he’s a photographer.  Both hobbies sometimes require hi-viz shirts.  “How does photography require hi-viz,” you might ask.  Well, when you are shooting a cycling race on the side of a highway, you definitely want to be visible to traffic!  So, I did a design that combined both those hobbies.  I went on to make shirts for others as well.  They were always well appreciated and quite fun to do!  It’s fun to know I can just make any design I’d like.

Pillowcases!

So, I’ve decided I’m horrible at writing about writing.  It’s kind of redundant, isn’t it?  But, I do like crafting – a lot.  I’d like to craft all day long!  And I like sharing my crafts when I’m done.  After all, it’s just another way to create!  So, here’s today’s project.  I had heard about these magical pillowcases that you essentially sew a burrito and somehow a pillowcase comes out of it.  Now, I’m no stranger to sewing or crafts in general – and neither is my mother (who also decided to join me on this venture), but we cannot figure out how this works.  We’ve decided that it’s simply magic.  We actually tried two opposite methods, and both worked.  How is that possible?  Anyway, you can see the tutorial (complete with pictures) at The Twiddletails Blog, which is what I used to complete this project.  So, in those instructions, it says to put the main fabric face down.  My mom also tried face up, and it magically still worked.  Still can’t figure it out!

So, I decided to take on this project because my fiancé and I recently moved in together.  We bought our first bed (when did I become an adult??) and sheets.  We like to sleep with two pillows each (though I don’t always still have mine by the morning…) and I found some mis-matched flannel ones for our “under” pillows.  I kept the matching non-flannel ones on top so it looked nice when we make the bed in the mornings.  James mentioned how much he liked the flannel ones and wished we could have more.  Challenge accepted.  And thus the idea was firmly planted in my brain, all set to annoy me for a week and a half until I finally found a few hours to complete it.  I decided to make four pillowcases so it wouldn’t matter which one was on top when we make the bed.  And voila!

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Our bed with the new pillowcases!

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I love pirates, so when I found this great fabric with little skulls, I was ecstatic! Plus, it works for the men too.

Greetings from The Digital Author conference in LA!

Greetings from Hollywood!

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I’m down in So Cal for The Digital Author & Self Publishing Conference.  I did a lecture today and will have another tomorrow.  My session was very well received, and I’m pretty sure everyone who attended found me at some point to thank me and tell me how much they liked the speech.  So, it’s been going well – Minus the fact that I got the BIGGEST blister I’ve ever had on my baby toe!  So my baby toe is literally twice the size it should be, and I’m in high heels for two days straight.  Yikes!  I did take a picture of that just because it was so impressive, but I decided no one wants that picture posted in a blog (you’re welcome).

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I may be here for work, but I got to spend a little time visiting family, including this cutie!  I love my furry nephew!Image

Now, it’s off to bed (as I watch The Hobbit in my hotel room) so I can get some rest for another long day.

Developing the new cover!

Hi, all!  So as promised, I’m ready to show you the new Metanoia cover (or at least what I believe will be the new cover – the nice thing about self-publishing is that I can change it if needed).  But first, let’s look at the journey…

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This was the original cover.  Since I didn’t know anybody who fit the bill for the looks of the character, I used the only person at my disposal – myself.  Yes, that’s me in Golden Gate Park.  I was wearing a big and poofy sweatshirt at the time, so I grabbed a blanket from the car, stuffed it under my sweatshirt pregnant-style, and climbed up the rocks to the waterfall.  It actually looked quite awkward…

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Though I was happy with the cover image, it didn’t give an accurate promise of the words within the book itself.  I actually use this cover as an example of what NOT to do for that very reason.  I have people guess what the book is about.  “Poetry” and “geishas” are the main guesses.  Then, I drop the bombshell.  It has a lot of sword-fighting.  Didn’t see that coming based off that cover did you?  So, I’ve been promising a redesign…and putting it off.

Finally, I had the opportunity to do the shoot.  I used my beautiful cousin-to-be, Laura Hannibal, as my model, and my talented and handsome husband-to-be, James Hannibal, as the photographer.  Looking through her photographs, I gotta admit that I’m jealous.  She didn’t take a single bad shot in the bunch!  I’m no stranger to modeling for photographs (I’m marrying a photographer after all!), and yes, I eventually always get the “money shot,” but you can bet that there will be a bunch of me not focused and thus not “smiling with my eyes” and other modeling requirements.  But Laura?  Nope, she’s a pro all the way.

Photo by James Hannibal

Photo by James Hannibal

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I had to wait until my vacation was over before getting to work, but once home, I started some designs…

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But I didn’t love any of them.  They just didn’t have that “it” factor.  Everyone judges a book by its cover.  If it’s not excellent, people don’t pull it off the shelves.  You want a cover that people can’t ignore.  You want a cover that people walk past and say, “hey, what’s that about?”  It’s the best tool you’ve got as an author, and though the last one in that list was okay, it wasn’t there yet.  I admit that I got a bit disheartened.  Here I had great photographs, but they were being limited due to my poor editing/design skills.  I eventually realized that the font was problematic.  So, I went back to fontspace.com, set the filter to show me only commercially-ok-to-use fonts, and started my search over.  Then, I changed the photo.  After several zoom levels, edits, filters,  color changes, and hours, I believe we may FINALLY have a winner:

(drum roll please)

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Photo by James Hannibal, Cover Design by Angela Schiavone

What do you think?

Cover Photo Shoot!

Greetings from my vacation in Northern California! It’s a big family camping trip, so I decided it would be a good opportunity to do the Metanoia cover shoot since my model, Laura (my future cousin), and my photographer, James (my fiancé) are both with me. Plus, I have several others willing to hold up reflectors and help out. Here are some behind-the-scenes shots. The pro ones to come!

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An over-the-shoulder shot of James’ view.

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Laura gets ready with her boyfriend looking on. Yes, that beautiful lady is taken, gentlemen!

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Looking good!

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Photo shoot in progress. I was giving her directions and readjusting when necessary. I wasn’t always sure what to say, but she’s a pro, so it worked out great despite my odd directions.

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Me and Laura!

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We had several onlookers including a volunteer to hold the big reflector.

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Goofy shots!

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I am very happy with how the shoot turned out. Now, it’s a matter of picking the perfect shot for the cover! Stay tuned!

Covers: realistic or pretty? My journey to find that balance

Model: Laura Hannibal.  Photos and costume designs by Angela SchiavoneAs I mentioned previously, I’m doing a re-design of the cover for Metanoia.  I designed and made a costume in parts, and then had the model, Laura, try them on.  First, I had her put on the top of the renaissance costume I made and the vest over it.  That way, just the green sleeves would show.  She pointed out that though it is realistic for her to blend into her wooded surroundings in a true battle, it doesn’t make for a very good picture since there’s so little contrast.  She had a good point.  We tried it without the vest but that didn’t look right, and finally, we tried just the vest (no sleeves).  We’ve decided on that final option.  The realist in me was thinking “but no one would go into battle without protection on their arms,” but the cover designer in me understood.  Covers are supposed to pop.  They are supposed to be intriguing.  And even if someone thinks, “Hey, that’s not realistic,” at least they are still looking at it.  Their attention is still on the book.

It’s interesting to find a happy medium in what looks good and what’s realistic.  Realistically, she’d have arm protection.  Her arm guards would not have slits in them.  She’d have gloves.  She wouldn’t have flu-flu arrows in her quiver (not pictured).  What would she look like realistically?  So, bulky and covered up head to toe that you’d never know that she was even a girl let alone be able to see any emotion on her face.  So, we’re doing bare arms to give stark contrast to the leather vest (which is so thick, I think it could block a sword blow), fun golden arm guards, flu-flu arrows that lose speed when loosed from the bow, a crown instead of a helmet, and a sword that would split in half if it came in contact with another sword (it’s meant to spend its days displayed on a wall).  Oh, and notice how she has a quiver and no bow?  That’s because my bow has white arms that look far too modern.  Still, those arms are very exposed, so I plan to use make-up skills to give her a gash.  Again, drawing the eye to the contrast of red on the beige arm.

The shoot is coming up, so stay tuned for the results!