Free Template: Carve a Stamp and Make Cards for Any Occasion!

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

A few weeks ago I was asked to teach a class on block printing holiday cards. The class ended up falling through, but not before I decided to try my hand at carving a more detailed lino block than I'd ever attempted before.

I don't celebrate Christmas and don't assume that all of my students do, so I wanted to create an example block that can be used for a wide variety of occasions. (The actual projects my students would complete would be far simpler!

So I took to the computer and designed a 4x6" block that features a blank box I can fill in with anything I want. (Download the template and instructions below!)

HAPPY HAPPY happy Christmas!

HAPPY HAPPY happy birthday!

HAPPY HAPPY happy Hanukkah!

HAPPY HAPPY happy joy joy!

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

My finished block isn't the best – there are some nicked edges, some wonky lines, some not-clean-enough-for-my-liking details – but I'm glad I finally took the plunge and tried it out.

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

If you're new to stamp or block carving, I highly recommend using Speedball Speedy Carve for your block. It's way easier to carve than a lino block. I may make another of these in the pink stuff, actually. I'd be able to use a huge stamp pad for it then, too, instead of the more intense-to-use block-printing ink (though using the ink is super fun, and messier).

DOWNLOAD THE STAMP TEMPLATE & INSTRUCTIONS!

  

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog
Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

2016 Gift Guide for Creative Adventurers

Creative adventuring involves lots of play, experimentation, and curiosity. Here are some gifts I think are ace for anyone you know who’s into such things. And I assume you’re into such things, so share this gift guide with people who are shopping for you!

2016 Gift Guide for Creative Adventurers - http://kimwerker.com/blog

Field Notes quarterly subscription

A quarterly subscription to Field Notes limited editions. Notebooks are key to creative adventuring!

Nicely Said is a fabulous book about writing (anything at all) on the web. Creative adventures are best when shared!

Starter block-printing kit. Everything you need to get started.

I’m sure I’ve included Show Your Work in recommendation lists before, but who cares? It’s fabulous.

What better way to spark imagination than by turning the expected on its head? A notebook of black paper seems just about perfect. (See gel pens for a great accompaniment!)

Danielle Krysa’s new book is outstanding, and will help everyone in the world quiet their inner critic and get down to making stuff.

A fountain pen! The Pilot Kakuna is inexpensive and a total delight to write with.

Sound isolating headphones. These don’t rely on electronic noise cancellation, but rather cocoon you in a comfy state that’s removed from the noise around you. Perfect for getting into the creative zone!

Creations are best when shared. A lightweight, flexible gadget like this wee GorillaPod allows for endless possibilities for using a phonecam!

Watercolour brush pens. These are super convenient, and make experimenting with watercolour paints that much easier and exciting.

uppercase

A gift subscription to Uppercase magazine. It’s one of the best magazines for sparking the imagination, and for demonstrating that any interest is a good thing to spend time on.

No explanation needed.

Gel pens are amazeballs no matter what you enjoy making.

A Day of Tapestry Weaving

Tapestry weaving - http://kimwerker.com/blog

This past weekend was the fifth annual Knit City yarn festival here in Vancouver. It’s an incredibly fun weekend every year, and people come from far and wide to buy yarn, take classes, and relish in our collective crafty love. I spoke at the kick-off of the very first one, and every year people come up to me and tell me about their crochet adventures. This year included! It’s awesome.

I picked up a couple of skeins of gorgeous SweetGeorgia yarn and a hefty skein of self-striping Caterpillargreen yarn that I’ve already cast on. I caught up with some friends from Toronto I’d love to be able to see more of, and reconnected with local friends I haven’t seen in ages because of the super intense summer and fall I’ve had.

And I took a class.

A full-day class.

On tapestry weaving.

You might recall I’ve dabbled with tapestry weaving before. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, so I thought a class might help fill in some blanks, and indicate the places where I was totally wrong in the way I assumed it’s supposed to be done.

Janna Maria Vallee taught the class, and I loved every minute of it. We got to take home our looms, and I intend to finish my garish sampler (I obsessed a bit too much about the four colours I’d use, and chose wrong!), and see what mood will strike when it’s time to make another.

Tapestry weaving class - http://kimwerker.com/blog

Janna Maria Vallee teaches tapestry weaving at Knit City – http://kimwerker.com/blog

Tapestry weaving class - http://kimwerker.com/blog

Tapestry weaving class - http://kimwerker.com/blog

Tapestry weaving class - http://kimwerker.com/blog

Do you weave? What’s your favourite project you’ve made? What’s your favourite resource for learning?

 

$20 Online Classes at Craftsy this Weekend!

 

Craftsy classes are just $20 this weekend, which is a pretty incredible deal. Every class involves hours of video instruction, downloads, and teachers who answer your questions. (My crochet classes are included in the sale, of course!)

The sale ends Sunday, so now’s a great chance to stock up for the chilly months!

 

Daily Art Journal: Join Me for a Monthlong Adventure!

Daily Art Journal: just a few minutes every day for a month!

I had an idea last week when I was writing the Weekly Digest, and the idea was about art journaling. I’ve been wanting to really commit to giving an art journal a shot, and I don’t want to let my cluelessness about how to actually do it get in the way anymore.

I’ve heard from quite a lot of people recently about how they, too, want to give art journaling a try, but also don’t really know how or where to start. So it became really quite obvious to me that we should do this together. And what better way to do something new together than to commit to do it together every day for a month?

Right?

Of course right.

I’m starting today, along with several dozen people if the number of clicks from my newsletter is any indication. Want to join in with us? Here’s the gist:

  1. Every day for a month, spend at least a few minutes art journaling. You get to decide what that means for you – part of the fun in doing this together is that we’ll get to see all the different, hugely varied things people make in their journals!
  2. Post about it every so often. Tag your social media posts with #dailyartjournal so we can all follow along (and feel free to tag me at @kpwerker!).
  3. There is no number 3.

If you’d like to get occasional emails over the course of your month with encouragement, tips, and prompts, sign up right here.

Get started art journaling! Join in on a monthlong challenge to spend a few minutes art journaling every day!

What I’m Learning: Pottery

pottery-animation

I took a one-night pottery workshop a few weeks ago, and left knowing that I wanted – that I needed – to learn more. As it happens, Greg has long wanted to learn how to make pottery, too. So we did what any couple with unusual work schedules would do: we signed up to take an eight-week pottery course on Wednesday mornings.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time! I figured I’d catch up on missed work on Wednesday evenings, no harm no foul.

What I'm Learning: Pottery

I have to say, though, that this class has been totally stressing me out.

It’s not that pottery is hard. I mean, pottery is hard. But that’s not what I find stressful. I’m totally comfortable with a steep learning curve, and I enjoy being humbled by my inability to catch on quick.

Part of the stress comes from my lovely situation of having lots of work to do. I’m in the midst of a freelancer’s dream: I have lots of work – not too much – and it’s all enjoyable. And that means taking off every Wednesday morning is not the grand stick-it-to-the-man adventure I’d thought it would be. It’s more of a when will I get all my work done aaaaaaah kind of thing.

And part of the stress comes from my desire to work at my own damn pace, thank you very much. Halfway through the course, more than half of our class is behind. I skipped out on class this morning because I needed to work, and the lesson I missed involved making handles. Only thing is, only one or two people in class actually have mugs made to stick handles to.

What I'm Learning: Pottery

If I were to do this properly, in addition to every Wednesday class I’d spend an evening or two every week in the studio practicing. But since Greg and I are both taking the class, and we have a kid with an early bedtime, it means we’d have to manage for each of us to be out for an evening or two each week, and not on the same nights. It makes my head spin. And anyway, I usually want to be in my pajamas within five minutes of my kid’s early bedtime anyway.

It’s more than that, though. This class has reminded me of the way I prefer to learn how to make things. That way being: try, try some more, fail miserably, try some more. At my own pace. I want to get started on something and push the limits of whatever that something is, and only then, once I understand the limits, do I want to learn about the next step to take.

I’m a pain in the ass student is what I’m saying.

And I know it. It’s why I love teaching myself how to do so many things, in the comfort of my own space, without someone else telling me how I should proceed.

I joke that I have an attitude problem, and I’m sure it sometimes seems like I do. But really, I just know how I learn how to make stuff, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to allow myself to proceed in the way that works best for me.

What I'm Learning: Pottery

In an ideal world, I’d have my own personal pottery studio five steps away from my house, and I’d make some magnificent messes in there and learn from all sorts of sources, and mostly play around until I come up against limitations I can’t overcome on my own; then I’d seek out help.

Given that it’s unlikely I’ll have a pottery studio five steps away from my house anytime soon, it’s quite possible I’ll set this pursuit aside till I have a far more flexible schedule. Maybe when I’ve retired.

What I'm learning: Pottery! The highs and lows, over at http://kimwerker.com/blog