Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Photoshop–Finding the Stamp Tool, Thermofax screens

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

WAHOOOO!   I’ve discovered something almost as cool as the holy grail!  At least if you want to make thermofax screens…..and yes, you may liberally share the link to this blogpost so that others may learn and play with paint.

If you want to find out how to do this the easy way, keep reading!

So I was on a quest for my next project:  creating thermofax screens using my new (to me) thermofax machine.  I remembered a tool I loved in Photoshop Elements (PSE), but it wasn’t in Photoshop (PS–full thing).  How could that be?  So I opened up my 2010 PSE software and discovered the tools I liked were called Stamp and Photocopy, in Sketches under Filters.   So I googled around to find out how to create actions in full PS to do what those tools did.  Turned out I didn’t need to–Adobe included those tools but then HID THEM.   So here is how to find and use these awesome tools.

Note:  I realize this will sound like gibberish unless you are into PSE or PS….if you aren’t, just skip!  But this is SO AWESOMELY COOL AND USEFUL for those of us who want to make Thermofax screens and use Photoshop! So if you are interested, read on!

First, you need to install all of the Filters in the Filter Gallery.  Yeah right.  Not as hard as it sounds.  Under Photoshop, find and click on Preferences.

First you need to find Plug-Ins and load the Sketching filters.

That will cause a pop-out to appear; look for and click on Plug-Ins:

The flip-out widow reveals Plug-Ins. Click on it.

When you click on Plug Ins this window opens up.  Check the box to show ALL Filter Gallery Groups and names.  Sheesh….why was this not the default?????

This window will pop up. The box at the bottom of the arrow will be blank. WHY Adobe? WHY? Check it and the wonder and joy of more filters will appear in your PS workspace.

Here’s a colorful photo I use in my Quilting the Garden workshops.  NOTICE the COLORS in the Foreground and Background boxes on the bottom left corner.

Let’s pretend I want to convert this image to black and white to create a Thermofax screen.  Take note of the little Foreground/Background boxes at the bottom left.  They are important.

Boxes are important!   The next step is to USE the Stamp tool.  Look across the top of your PS window.  Click on Filter, then Sketch, then Stamp.

To use the Stamp tool, go to Filters (on the menu across the top), select Sketch, Then Stamp (see arrow).

When you click on Stamp, the following window opens.  But I ended up with Grey and Black.  WHY?  It used to be black and WHITE, right?  So what was I messing up?

This was not what I had in mind. Then I had a lightbulb moment (who me? I know, rare, but it does happen sometimes). Remember those BOXES?

YEP…..the Foreground color, due to something I’d done not so long ago, was dark grey, not white.  Aha!  A glimmer of light (pun totally intended).  Groan.  Remember, Boxes are Important!  I switched the foreground color from dark gray (above) to WHITE.  And lookit what I got!

Drum roll……stamp is once again black and white!  Notice the arrows on the right:  use the sliders or the number boxes to adjust the level of black/white and the degree of detail.  Now isn’t it a whole lot easier to get to this point in a hurry, THEN fine tune with the eraser tool to clear out extraneous yuck?

Those arrows on the right point to fun things to play with to adjust the amount of black, white, detail, etc.  But the realization that the foreground/background colors could make a mess make me think….hmmmm……COLOR!  What would happen if….

BUT, one more tidbit about what you see in the window.  The one below looks like a lot of nothin’, right?  That’s because is it at 100 percent, which doesn’t fit.

Then I realized I could play with COLOR. When you open this window, however, it opens at 100 percent. I prefer the “Fit In View” option, so check out the arrow once again.

If you click on the little down arrow to the right of 100%, you can switch it to Fit In View or whatever you like to use.  For my pea-brain, it’s a whole lot easier to figure out what I’m doing when I can see the entire picture, like this:

Then you can create a really bizarre two-tone hot pink and green image. Just what you always wanted, right? Not! But you can see the potential, right?

Let’s just say I am ridiculously happy.   I asked for help on FB today and got it…THANK YOU Lynn Krawczyk, Lyric Kinard and Leslie Tucker Jenison among others.   Then I — having learned this lesson before — googled around for online information, including the forum at Adobe, which is where I found the clue that the Sketch filters WERE in full PS.   But I didn’t know the terminology (like where to find the Line tool to create an arrow to illustrate these screen shots), so YouTube search box to the rescue.

SQUEEEEE!     I don’t need to use my antique PSE, I can use full PS and not have to move between the two, AND (best of all) I have my easy-peasy Stamp tool back!   Time to CELEBRATE!  Lynn, I may just have to fling some paint!  And now that I have written this up to share ASAP in thanks, I am going to celebrate, perhaps with chocolate! Or maybe Talenti.  Or some culinary Venn diagram that involves the intersection of Talenti, banana and chocolate.  SQUEEE!

And a PS, thanks Whiskers for asking the questions:  Hi Whiskers!  Yes, I will do a blogpost eventually on thermofax screens.   Not sure when, so the quick response is the Thermofax machine is the predecessor to today’s photocopier.  They were used in the 50s/60s in the office to copy stuff.  They are no longer made (consequently they cost a fortune, it has taken me a decade to save up and make the purchase, $1350! If you buy one be sure you get one that works with the mesh, not just the purple ditto masters!)…but folks have figured out if you use an image with carbon in the ink (laser printer, some inkjet printers, carbon ink, lead pencil) and you run it through the machine with a plastic-backed mesh, the plastic melts where there is carbon.  When you separate the two sheets (paper and plastic mesh) you end up with a screen.  Tape up the edges, then push the paint through.  I actually just taped a segment for Quilting Arts TV on this!

 

a video of me quilting and progress on the Peony

Monday, August 29th, 2016

So over on Facebook I’ve posted some  photos of my current project, a hugely oversized peony…well, part of a peony.  I decided I’d try a quick video posted via youtube so show me actually quilting.   Along the way, I added a quick visit to my studio.   The studio is sort of “midway messy,” true to life.  I have a couple things piled on the floor that are: find time to sort and put away, try to get rid of in some way, and prepping for teaching in Houston piles.  When I’ve found time (usually after just barely meeting a deadline), I have a tidy attack.  Mid project it is utter chaos.  This is in the middle. And apologies for the overly loud and enthusiastic hello at the start.  Learning.  I’m learning…..ps:  if the video doesn’t display at first, hit refresh on your browser. Update:   thanks to Donna for some good questions, so I’ve added info at the end of the post about holding your thread tails and my appliqué press sheets.
On the video, I mentioned how I select threads in a value range.  The reason the light ones are in the box and the dark ones to the side is that I have used the dark ones.  When done, I put them aside so I know what I’ve used.  I keep them in the order in which I used them, which helps if I need to go back and do more in a certain shade.

I had clamps by my Janome for working on larger projects, but hadn’t set up hooks from the floor joists (my ceiling) near the Sweet Sixteen until yesterday.  WHAT an improvement!!!!!!! I’ve been using dyed-by-me cotton duck on the backs, and let me tell you the quilts have been HEAVY.   So that’s why there is a blue-handled clamp visible.  I didn’t use the one on the right because of where I had the phone set up to film.

If you like this, let me know and maybe I can do some more videos of me just quilting.  And yes, I sound like a dolt when I try to narrate while quilting–I can’t concentrate on the quilting and manage to talk in a normal rhythm at the same time.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45x55 I think.....depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45×55 I think…..depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back. You can see both of the hanging clamps in this photo, as well as the photo of the peony clipped to the left side of the thread stand on the machine.

IMG_0009

Detail of laying in the darkest-on-this-petal pink.

 

Showing the clamp on the right in use

Showing the clamp on the right in use.  Some folks have started using those dog-grooming things that you clamp onto the table and attach the dog with a short leash for grooming, but substitute a clamp.   That idea became common AFTER I set things up over at the Janome; since I have bare (primed) joists and sub-flooring for a ceiling, I opted for the much less expensive hook in the joist!

 

UPDATE/Addition:    About the move to another bit, be sure to press down on the threads (top and bobbin) when you begin stitching, even if they are still attached.  If the pulled out part is longer than the “jump” (which it sometimes is for me because I need tails long enough to bury), you can still get a snarl if you don’t hold the tails firm to the machine for the first stitch or few.

Non stick sheet on the wall:   same as on the ironing table, just hold the iron vertically.   I tend to make smaller components flat on the ironing board, then move to the wall.   Sometimes I don’t use the wall…just depends.   If I have draw a full cartoon/sketch, it goes UNDER the non stick sheet that is on the big board, so I just work there.   On the rare occasions where I am working improvisationally or something seems amiss, up on the wall it goes.

I ordered my sheets from Valerie Hearder in Canada…the exchange rate is very favorable at the moment.  She sells 24 and 36 in wide, by the foot.  So I got two that are 72 inches long.   They should hold me for a couple decades.  Misty fuse now has the Holy Cow, which is 36×48.   Had that been available when I got mine I might have done that instead. However, I REALLY like having my Big Board totally covered, and it is about 22×60 inches.

Thanks for writing!   The peony is done and I am revelling in having the Peony DONE and HUNG!

How to make a Hanging Sleeve, or a return from oblivion

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Well, in late November my laptop started acting bizarre.  That led to getting ridiculously behind in EVERYTHING.  Add in the holidays and the beginning of Eli’s wrestling season and, well, it has been weeks since I surfaced here.  The good news is I have been VERY busy and productive, so now it’s time to start sharing.  And since “enter shows” season begins, I have drafted up a new, freebie PDF on how to make a hanging sleeve properly.  You can download the Hanging Sleeve–PDF, and it is also listed in the “Tutorials” section of my Resources page which is here.

A quick peek at my new PDF on How to Make a Hanging Sleeve

A quick peek at my new PDF on How to Make a Hanging Sleeve–click on the link above to download the complete instructions.

Guilds, shows and shops have my permission to download and reproduce this handout as long as it is downloaded in its entirety, nothing is changed, and credit is given to me with a link to my website.  In other words, something like “How to Make a Hanging Sleeve by Sarah Ann Smith, www.SarahAnnSmith.com.”    And I’m pretty sure it will in the not distant future be available on the SAQA website, as well.   I’ll update this post if/when that happens.

Given the way my life goes, I can’t promise I’ll be back soon, but I sure hope to try!

Quilting Arts TV–my free downloads

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Well, I’m only a little (ahem) behind the curve!  Finally discovered where the links are to my downloads, and folks LOVE my easy-peasy inside-out bag!  I am thinking of expanding the pattern and adding LOTS of options to make iPad cases, card cases, journal covers and more, so the popularity of the download thrills me!    Here are links:

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag

Free-Motion Basics

Thread and Needle FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

I believe you need to have an Interweave/Quilting Arts account, which is free, to download theses freebies.  Enjoy!

 

 

An Embroidered Tote for Janome

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

As many of my loyal readers know, I sew on a Janome.  I have been incredibly fortunate to be a part of their artists and teachers loan program for an embarrassingly, blissfully long time.  THANK YOU, JANOME AMERICA (and yes, I’m shouting!)  As part of this program, I gladly and happily make things which they can use, whether it is a banner for their booth (and also used in their adverts!), a project used online, asking to teach in Janome classrooms at big shows, you  name it.  This season, I have been using a (gasp, gulp!) top of the line 15000 embroidery and quilting machine.  Links for a free tutorial on this caddy are at the end of this post.

Embroidered Caddy for Janome America.  The sewing machine is a built-in design on the top of the line Janome 15000.

Embroidered Caddy for Janome America. The sewing machine is a built-in design on the top of the line Janome 15000.  Right Click to see larger.  Thanks to Jean S.  I know now this design was created by Jill Buckley, who has fun stuff on her blog here.  Nice to meet you Jill!

Embroidery you say?   Well, I never would have thought that *I* would fall in love with machine embroidery–the pre-programmed kind, but I have.   I’ve got a project for fall that will be awesome using one of Lonni Rossi’s designs built into the machine.  But for spring, I have made that lovely little tote!  It is 4×8 inches (footprint), 5 inches tall.   I used two embroidery designs that are included on the machine along with the initials that are one of several included alphabets (see photo below for the other side).

One of the things that most surprised me is how easy the interface is with the software.  I’m not very patient with that sort of computer-ish stuff (and after all, these machines are really computers that sew).  This was SO EASY to size, position, all of it.  Even *I* could do it using the manual–no classes needed!  And utterly cool:  there is an iPad app that allows you to do stuff elsewhere in the house. With the iPad and your 15000 sharing your wifi network, you can view the progress of the stitch-out so you know if you need to go to your sewing machine and change thread colors or insert a full bobbin.  Totally cool!

FREE TUTORIAL!

Best of all, this project has just been featured on Janome’s blog where you can find a link to free instructions!   Today you can see my project here as a featured project.  Scroll down their blog to April 1 for a blogpost  on it.  Or go straight to the project, here.  At the bottom of that post is a link to download a PDF of my full instructions.

Here’s a view of the other side and the end:

Side two:  the Heart is also an included design, the font is called "Galant" and is also included on the machine.  It was surprisingly easy to create the design on the machine.  And if you happen to be my BFF living on SJI with the initials MZJ, yep--this is a sneak peek at part of your birthday present!  Red is the theme this year.....

Side two: the Heart is also an included design, the font is called “Galant” and is also included on the machine. It was surprisingly easy to create the design on the machine. And if you happen to be my BFF living on SJI with the initials MZJ, yep–this is a sneak peek at part of your birthday present! Red is the theme this year…..Right click to see larger.

End view of the caddy.  I used one of the built-in decorative stitches on the handle.

End view of the caddy. I used one of the built-in decorative stitches on the handle.

Thank you again, Janome, for years of support.  Your fabulous machines make it possible for me to do what I do!