Catwoman Screenprint Test


Reposted from my post on the RPF:

Over the weekend I finally made it to Makerplace to try out the screenprinting machine on my Catwoman Fabric. I promised to share the results, good or bad, so here they are!

I used plastisol inks, black and a puff additive. I mixed them at approximately 1 part puff to 6 parts black. This was done very scientifically by me using a plastic plant marker I found at Walgreens on the way down there to measure and mix. There is no doubt that my complete inexperience with screenprinting contributed to the less than stellar results. But hey, I am trying something new, and maybe with some practice this could work!

All pictures pop to Flickr. I can’t figure out how you guys embed pictures and have them pop in a lightbox to a larger size in the browser?

This is a set of swatches I did, at slightly different patterns. Looks cool, but not what I wanted.

And the back looks like this, with the puff raised.

Closeup so you can see the front and the back.

Notice the uneven raised texture – totally my fault I’m sure!

Thinking that if painting the “pills” gave me the opposite effect, then maybe I could reverse it, I then tried to screenprint the area around the pills. The paint puffed up too much, which made the holes get too small, which basically ruined the pattern. Plus, the fabric is so stiff it would not have any stretch left and be very uncomfortable (and probably hot!) to wear. I also tried a “reverse” print with just black ink, no puff, but that didn’t work any better.

Pretty sure the big warped glob in the middle is just me overcooking it.

If you look close, you can see some puffing OUT, not IN, so this might be a step in the right direction.

Finally, here is one of the swatches pinned to my dress form. Stretching it really brings out the problem with the inverted texture.

1) After curing the ink, it had the OPPOSITE effect than what I wanted! Boooooo! Wherever the ink touched the fabric, it stayed sunk, and then where the heat hit the raw fabric it became more raised. This created an interesting effect on its own, but not what is needed for the Catwoman outfit.

2) It was very hard to “cook” the fabric just right with the heat source I have access to. Makerplace has a basic flash dryer unit meant for a single t-shirt that hovers over the platten. This means that the heat is somewhat uneven, so certain areas ended up shinier than others when I flipped it over. I think to do this on a large scale, I would either have to be a crazy with a heatgun, or have access to one of those roller dryers so that the entire thing cooks evenly for a set length of time.

3) I’m not giving up just yet! Next time I go down there I am going to try one more time with the “reverse” technique, except I am going to modify my pattern to draw little lines connecting all the pills instead of just printing the reverse of the existing pattern. Hopefully this will make the pattern pop out “just right” without adding too much stiffness to the fabric.

Diaper Cake


One of my coworkers is having a baby and also recently moved across the country to another office. So, we decided to have a baby shower/going away party for her.

This is the diaper cake I made.


I used this tutorial from youtube. The only difference is that instead of cake pans, I used these gold macrame rings (in the right size of course) that I found at Joann. I didn’t have the right size cake pans, and these were much cheaper. They were a little bit fiddly until I got all the diapers in, but after that it was perfect!

It came out really cute, and was a great centerpiece for the party



I stopped writing every day because I wasn’t accomplishing much, but then not-writing meant not-crafting!

My “big” effort last month involved spending 30 minutes helping a friend with her knitting project.

This month, I made a sad little stuffed elephant for a coworker’s baby shower, and a diaper cake for the same event. I will post pictures after the event this week.

I also want to get back into my Catwoman costume. I’ve spent some more time looking at screenprinting techniques and tweaking the pattern. I think I am close to trying something on a larger scale.

Random Craft of Kindess

Crafts Cross Stitch

Yesterday and today I finally finished up my Luann Cross Stitch, so I want to talk a little bit about the project.

My workplace goes a little nuts for Halloween/Christmas time. We have inflated penguins, Christmas trees, costume contests, etc. Even though I am not religious and celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, I really like how my workplace still allows us to actually use “Merry Christmas” around the office. Anyway, one of the ladies in my office is named Luann, and she sometimes has a Luann comic strip taped to her door.  During Christmas, she has on from Christmas up.  These are printed on paper and taped to construction paper, nothing fancy, but it always makes me smile when I go by her office.  I used to read this comic in the Sunday paper growing up and always liked it.

We never work together, but it still seemed like a nice project to cross stitch the comic strip for her.  I decided it would be a little creepy to be all “Hey, I made this for you even though we don’t know each other” so I decided to do this anonymously.  My boyfriend and now this blog (with 0 readers except those who stumble on it through google searches for a MS Word post I made years ago) are the only ones who know about it.  Hence the title of this post “Random Craft of Kindness”

Through Google I found a website that has archives of the Luann comic going back to 1985.  The comic had the date “12/25″ written on it, so I went back year by year until I hit on the magic year: 1996

From there, I needed to make the chart.  The software I ended up using is called PCStitch 10.  I could have done it in Excel, or used the trial version, but I decided to buy it.  I always have mad scientist dreams of making knit pieces with a similar approach, so I figure I will be using it again.  After some work in the program, I came up with this.  The borders are a neat feature of the software.

Another name for this blog could be called “The Eleventh Hour Crafter” or “Procraftination” because I always do things at the last minute.  I did not really start the project in earnest until the Monday before Christmas Eve), so I had to scrap the border. As for materials, I had to buy the metallic colors, the aida cloth, and the frame, but I had the rest from my cross-stitch phase from my “stash”. I bought the frame from Joann for $3.50 after a 50% coupon.  I couldn’t find a link to the Joann version, but it is also at Walmart.  It was the perfect size, and after I carefully cut out the two extra bars making it a 3 picture frame, I was able to re-use the mat also.

After washing and ironing, which you’ve seen on previous posts, I had to mount it.  Using the Comic Book boards for an acid-free backer, I then sewed the canvas onto the backer using the advice of this post from  I used a thicker top stitching thread that I used on another project, although embroidery thread or even regular thread doubled probably would have worked.  When I do this again I would sew the shorter edge before the longer edge so all those strands would be covered, but since it is covered by the back of the frame it doesn’t really matter.

After doing that, I had to fit it in the frame about 100 times to try to get every last speck of dust out of the glass, and now it is wrapped up and ready to be put on her doorknob when I leave work tomorrow!  All in all, I am really pleased with how it came out. She is a little googly-eyed, but it looks better in person, and I have not cross-stitched in literally decades so I will call it a win! My hope is that IRL Luann will be pleasantly surprised and not creeped out that some work stranger is making her things after hours :)

Maker Update

Crafts Cross Stitch

Today I ironed the Luann Cross Stitch and cut the piece for mounting the canvas in preparation for framing. I’m really happy with how this is coming out!


The canvas will be mounted to a piece of Comic Book Board cut and taped to shape.  I originally bought the Comic Book Boards to make mini-bolts of fabric, but since it is acid free I figured it would be a good material for mounting too.  I had to cut a quarter inch off the long edge, and then add 3 1/4″ total to the length.  Luckily the length of one full board just matches the opening of the mat, so it shouldn’t be possible to tell it is taped together when it is all framed up.


Tomorrow’s plan is to mount the canvas to the board.  If all goes well I may even finish framing it tomorrow too.  I’ve already completed more in the first three days of the new year than in the last month of 2012 :)

The Year of the Maker

Crafts Cross Stitch

I hereby declare this the Year of the Maker! I will do at least 15 minutes of craft-oriented or tech-oriented activity every day. This could be actively working on a project, planning new projects, or cleaning the craft room. The important thing is to CREATE.

Jan 1 – Finished the Luann cross stitch

Finished and unwashed

Jan 2 – Washed the Luann cross stitch…


… and modified the mat for the frame. The frame I bought included a mat that had 3 cutouts for smaller pictures. I cut out the middle pieces to make one large opening.


Require Subject for Outlook eMails


This function will prompt for confirmation if you try to send an email with no Subject.

Private Sub Application_ItemSend(ByVal Item As Object, Cancel As Boolean) 
Dim strSubject As String
strSubject = Item.Subject
If Len(strSubject) = 0 Then
Prompt$ = “Subject is Empty. Are you sure you want to send the Mail?”
If MsgBox(Prompt$, vbYesNo + vbQuestion + vbMsgBoxSetForeground, “Check for Subject”) = vbNo Then
Cancel = True
End If
End If
End Sub

Add it to the “ThisOutlookSession” part of the VB Code. See the source below for full details


Easy Garlic Bread


I would hardly call this a recipe, but here is a simple “poor man’s garlic bread”.  I find myself making this when I don’t want to buy the pre-made stuff or just want a slice or two.  I’m sure this would work on an entire baguette if you put it in the broiler.


  • Slice of Bread
  • Butter
  • Garlic Salt


  • Butter the slice of bread.  I butter a little thicker than I would normally
  • Sprinkle Garlic Salt on top of the butter
  • Put the bread in the toaster oven for 3 or so minutes, until you reach desired toastiness
  • Enjoy!

Word Doc “is reserved by”


The project that I am working on right now is using Microsoft SharePoint.  It has some convenient features, but I absolutely hate how it does change control for documents.  Maybe I just don’t know how to use it.  Anyway, a common problem we are having is documents are staying “Reserved By” people who have left the project, and our only option is to open them as Read Only.  If those documents are then saved using SAVE AS… so we can create a new version, the save as is password protected too.  Highly annoying.

Here is the solution (I apologize for losing the source of this tip – I will add it and pictures when I can)

  • Go to File > Save As…
  • On the top right of the window, there will be a Tools option.  Click this, and choose Security Options…
  • Delete the password and uncheck the Read-only recommended checkbox
  • Save the document

You do still have to Save As… the document, but you can always rename the document once the password is removed

How to find the name of a DFF


If you have the name of the table you want the DFF for, you can use this query: