Why Declutter Your Craftspace?

Ahem. It’s that time of year. The time for decluttering. That itch hits me every spring. Do you get that feeling too? Spring is a time I feel compelled to purge and organize my craft supplies, SCA hobby materials, and tools. If I don’t act on it soon enough it gets lost in Lilies Prep time. Then each messes up the other and neither goes well. There are people who have a minimalist storage style like my friend Grace. Any closet or drawer of hers you open is neat, simple and systematically organized. That’s not me. I’m an unruly craft supply collector. But, this time I really did it. I switched my sewing station and a cube-shelf to the room’s other side and added a another cube thing near my painting station. The new one took only an hour or so to make. And I did it all by myself. After the cube was done and my sewing table was under the open-curtained window. I moved a few smaller items and began sorting my materials and supplies.  I know there are benefits to organizing your creative space, whatever its size or use. The obvious is it’s easier to find what you seek. Over time I’ve learned there are other benies too. Going through your materials and tools cache unearths forgotten projects. Supply residuals remind me of forgotten finished projects. Things I since gave away or threw away. Unfinished projects call […]

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What’s A Scratch Knife Nib?

If you’ve been around kids recently or were ever one yourself I know you’re familiar with scratch knife nibs. For kids they’re just called scratch art nibs because even small knives are considered dangerous. Scratch nibs are commonly used to scrape through one surface revealing a lower contrasting color layer. But did you know they weren’t intended to be a kid’s toy? The original intent for scratch nibs was to remove ink from animal skin supports. They looked like small bladed knives with paring-knife handles. Later, dip pen nib manufacturers made them to fit their common pen holders.  Today scratch knife nibs are a curious commodity made for scratch board artists. But they are my go-to ink eraser. Scratch nibs easily scrape ink off the surface of pergamenata and vellum with little damage to its surface. You can even use them on paper if your ink purchases on its surface and isn’t absorbed. Its fine sharp blade gently scrapes ink mistakes away sometimes leaving the paper surface usable. Ampersand and Speedball make professional scratch art nibs that fit common type B dip pen holders. Royal and Lang make a less expensive nickel engraving foil set too. I prefer scratch nibs to a sharp knife or an x-acto for their smaller sharp blade. The teeny blades easily scrape away ink blobs within letters “a” “s” and others. They are inexpensive, and can be sharpened by a whetstone. The nibs come in […]

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My New Thing

I got a new camera. I’m over-the-moon excited. I’ll be able to take awesome, crisp friends and family pictures, fur-baby portraits and dreamy hued travel shots. You’ll see better blog photos too. A&S projects, events, garb, scenery, and action fighting pics. The possibilities are endless. Right now I have no idea what all its buttons are or what the dials […]

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Testing – Which Gouache Brand Rewets Best?

I often read James Gurney‘s blog the Gurney Journey. Gurney is the Dinotopia guy. His art is amazing and his posts inspiring.  Recently, I found a post of his I think you’ll find interesting. Some gouache tests his associate Cathy Gura ran comparing gouache brands rewetting behaviors. She also compared their consistency and of all things their smell. I was intrigued because […]

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Why Are Vellum And Parchment So Expensive?

Vellum or parchment is made from animal skins processed until they are smooth and thin enough for light to pass through. It’s been used for book-pages longer than has paper.  You can find one of the oldest surviving books in the British Library, the Codex Sinaiticus. It was written on parchment in the fourth century and is over 1600 years old. With that longevity and tradition, of course, SCA scribes want to work on animal skin. It’s the ultimate scroll surface. But is it ever expensive. When I can afford it, I usually buy my animal skin, from Talas. Their non-calligraphy types cost about $100 for a size suitable for a Peer’s scroll. The calligrapher’s quality costs even more.  So, why are vellum and parchment so expensive? You can get an idea watching this Dirty Jobs YouTube video in which Mike Rowe makes vellum. This is why I now use pergamenata for my scrolls. I even prefer it to smooth Bristol board, which I used back in the day before SCA scribes discovered perg. Even with these costs, you’ll want to use vellum or parchment sometime. It’s a wonderful scribal experience. You’ll be enthused and feel emotionally connected to medieval manuscript creation.  Related Prior Post:  Untangling Your Scribal Paper Purchasing Puzzle

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