Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Font Choice in a Digital World

This is a repost from my neglected library blog Stacked in Our Favor edited slightly for this readership.

A member of a writing group I was in got me thinking about typeface and professional behavior. For a long time New Times Roman has been a default of style and professionalism. It is the default typeface in most word processing programs. It is the font considered to be the professional choice to use when submitting work that matters.

I have to question whether this is really in our best interests in a digital world. 

Years ago a favorite professor of mine stated that she would appreciate it if work submitted to her digitally used a non-serifed font. Her choice was Verdana. The reason? The non-serif font is easier to read from a computer screen. For someone who does a great deal of work reading online submissions, this is a critical issue. From that moment forward, I have used a non-serif font on my digital submissions when I deemed it appropriate. Over the years, I have found that it does, indeed, make a difference to me. That is why I have chosen to use Verdana as the typeface on my blogs. 

I also wonder about how the default affects children who are growing up online. Adults who are not aware, default to a serifed font. This is not as easy a transition as one might think for the emerging reader.  The letter “a” in particular, causes children distress. 

After thinking about these things I have changed my way of selecting font:

1.    For my own digital creations, I use a non-serifed font. You will find this on my blogs, in my course materials, and in many of the more personal submissions I make.

2.    For formal submissions, I follow the guidelines. If there are no guidelines, I usually submit in Times New Roman as that is considered the standard professional font.

3.    For elementary school students, I use a non-serifed simple font giving particular attention to the lower case “a”. This is for any computer generated materials including the materials children may be accessing digitally as well as the materials which I produce digitally to print and hand out.

4.    Love letters, I write by hand.

I’d love to hear what people have to say about font choice in a digital context. Have you thought about it? How do different fonts make you feel? Do you always go with the default or are you a font manipulator? Do you think that the default font will change as we are increasingly a digital society?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kuchi Koo - Artist Tribe Challenge October 2017

One of the many fun things about being part of Gwen Lafleur's Artist Tribe is the monthly challenges. Gwen's shop is so jam-packed full of great stuff it's hard to choose what to work on. These challenges help me to focus. I'm liable to stop and chase shiny objects midway through a project, so this structure works well for me.

Well, it's not just great for me, but it's also great for people who have a bit of hesitation because they can't think of how to use a particular shiny item. Peruse the Tribe's offerings of the month and you will get inspiration and the itch to create. Like bonuses? (Who doesn't?) There's a discount coupon at the end of the post.

This month the challenge was to use her kuchis from Afganistan. Here is my project and some information about my process. I got so wrapped up in the process I forgot to take pictures at each step. 

Who wouldn't make the connection between this piece of silk that's been in my stash for near 10 years and this beautiful kuchi

This gold trim from the Irresistible India Happy Pack in Gwen's shop and I love the way it works with the gold thread.

Then there is this - beautiful sari yarn from Darn Good Yarn. 
The colors! So luscious! Knew that this sari yarn would have to be stitched around the edge of the kuchi. 

But before I used that great Twisted Sister sari yarn, I thought the green sari ribbon that was in my welcome pack would be a great background. A running stitch along the edge, a pulled to make a ruffle and roughly stitched to the back of the kuchi made for a strong base. 

Next, the Twisted Sister sari yarn was stitched into the green sari yarn along the edge of the kuchi. 

Later I found it disappeared into the fabric, so I ended up stitching it again to upper edge of the kuchi. It was much more visible this way. 

Next the gold trim was gathered and sewn to the green sari yarn.

Next I wrapped some of that Twisted Sister sari yarn around my hand and tacked it together with thread. By cutting the bottom I made tassels of sorts. 

Remember that silk fabric? I cut some and tied it in a knot at the end of each strand. Beads were added and the whole was stitched to the back of the kuchi. 

Cutting a strip of silk for one more round of ruffle made it very apparent that silk frays. A quick zigzag around the edge helped to stop the strands from flying away. Then the two edges were sewn together, drawn into a ruffle and sewn to the backside of the kuchi. 

Finally, a circle of felt was sewn to the back to cover all the stitching and errant threads and a pin backing was tacked in place. Viola! A pin to wear to cheer up dreary days. 

I hope I have tickled your fancy with my Kuchi-Koo. Find yourself thirsting for a kuchi? Well, my friend, you have come to the right place. Gwen is having a sale. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Welcome - Artist Tribe Blog Hop

Welcome to my post for the Gwen Lafleur's Artist Tribe Blog Hop.

Today and tomorrow each of the members of the Artist Tribe will be posting a project to their blogs. You will see a wide variety of styles and projects all using materials carried by Gwen's shop. See the links at the bottom of the page for each member's post links and the giveaway from Gwen.

I have been a maker from a young age. I grew up surrounded by women who knit, crocheted, quilted,  embroidered, baked pies and got creative in the way they met challenges. One thing about mixed media I love is the ability to incorporate just about anything. Incorporating scraps of this and that into pieces is a passion of mine.

My artistic style tends to be stream of consciousness. While some projects I plan, most happen as I follow my instincts. And so it was with this project. 

Last week I visited the Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful day. 

Below you can see one of the tiles that circle the pagoda. 

There was a lovely breeze and the prayer flags were beautifully flapping. This is just a small portion of the flags. 

I sat on a rock under the flags and felt them cooling me. This page emerged from the sights around me. The floral pattern of the pavings, the purple that was being used to prepare for an event, the colors of the prayer flags and a sign I saw there "No matter where you are from, we're glad you are our neighbor."

The water lilies were stunning. 

Which leads me to my project. I still had the flapping of the prayer flags on my mind and these elephants that are found all the way around the base of the pagoda. 

One night when I couldn't sleep I looked through my basket of goodies from Gwen and found the digital downloads. There were elephants! I gathered my materials and was ready to go. 

The next day I had the chance to go to a member's weekend event at New England Bonsai Gardens in Bellingham, Massachusetts. There I found this raffia dyed exactly the color I was using. Score. 

Welcome Here emerged. 

I was taken with the hand stamped paper from Gwen that you can see in the middle. The paper is lovely to touch. Paired with a piece of craft paper, it looked great against a piece of burlap. The elephant looked perfect with this combination, but I yearned for more dimension. Looking through my printing box I found this hoop that had been some packing for kitchenware. Knew it would come in handy. 

Taking some of that beautiful raffia from the bonsai garden sale, I wrapped it around the hoop. 

Next I took some of the  Handmade Newspaper Yarn and auditioned it on the inside and outside of the hoop. Once I decided, I stitched it to the outside of the circle with a single floss of thread. 

After securing the hoop to the burlap by inserting the ends and tying them in the back, the paper was secured with jewelry making jump rings. The elephants were secured to the ring by jump rings. This makes it possible to see the paper underneath and for it to flap gently in the breeze.

Next I wanted to add the Turkmen Jewelry pieces to add some movement and sound. They sound lovely in the breeze or in front of the fan I am living next to as we are having a heat wave. 

Using the mustard colored raffia for the dangling pieces the jewelry pieces were placed on and secured by wrapping embroidery floss around the raffia. The floss was waxed to make it more solid. I also added some red beads I had to up the jingle factor. 

More of those beads were added to the ends of the dowel by use of wire. 

Sari ribbon was added on the sides. Isn't uncanny how well these colors went together?

 I had wanted to add the welcome sentiment, but decided to leave it without. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing my project and that you will go visit the blogs of the other members. I very much look forward to seeing what they have come up with. 
Thursday posts:

Friday posts:

Linda W.:

Read on to see how leaving a comment could enter you in the contest to win a gift card. 

One lucky winner will receive $20 Gift Card to the Shop at Gwen Lafleur Studios! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on any or all of the blog posts during the hop - the more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win! (One comment per person per blog please.)

You have until Sunday, October 1st at 11:59pm mountain time to leave your comments. The winner will be announced on the Gwen Lafleur Studios Facebook page ( on Monday, October 2nd.*-

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Origami Box Giveaway

The feedback from the origami boxes using my gelli prints was so enthusiastic that I decided to have a giveaway! I will be giving away these four origami boxes. Below I show the fronts and the backs, but they are all interchangeable. 

I have recently made a Facebook page for my artistic endeavors - Lynda Shoup - Mixed Media Artist. The winning person will be drawn from followers on that Facebook page. If you would like to be entered in the contest, follow my artist page and leave a comment on the giveaway post. If you are already following the page, just leave a comment so I know you are interested. 

A name from the comments on my Facebook post will be selected on  September 30th. Haven't decided if I will use a random generator or whether I will ask Sir Fernly to do the honors. 

Hope to see you on my Facebook page!

Box Number 1 - Front

Box Number 1 - Back

Box Numbr 2 - Front

Box Number 2 - Back
Box Number 3 - Front
Box Number 3 - Back
Box Number 4 - Front
Box Number 4 - Back

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ornamental Petals Screen Embroidered Zipper Bag - Tutorial for Gwen Lafluer's Artist Tribe

I'm excited to introduce my first project for Gwen Lafluer's Artist Tribe. This is the first design team for me. Usually, I simply follow my instinct when creating. To be truthful, I did not do the steps in the most logical order, but I will walk you through my process. Feel free to adjust the steps.

The end result is a zippered pouch approximately 6" X 6.25". It is embellished with acrylic paint, embroidery and vintage buttons. The inspiration for this piece was Gwen's Ornamental Petals Screen stencil from her Ornamental collection produced by Stencil Girl. I love all the details. 

Recently I have been interested in adding more fabric into my artwork. The first piece I could find was a piece of pale, pink fabric covered with delicate roses. It was just the right size to print this luscious stencil

Printed twice, back to back, the piece was perfect to make a bag.  

At first, I thought it would be a drawstring bag, so I used artist tape to block off a space for the drawstring and added paint for a little extra. In the end, I decided it would be a zipper bag, so this part was trimmed off. 

Using the stencil as the pattern, the edges were embroidered using the backstitch in DMC floss 703.

While the green was taking shape, the circular patterns reminded me of vintage buttons I had in my button jars. The center buttons were a set of nine buttons that mimicked the decorative aspects of the stencil. Perfect! I needed eight buttons! I then decided to use a mix-matched set of smaller buttons. I found 32 buttons that were similar in style but added variety. 

Here is the full stretch with buttons attached. 

Taking a look at it, I determined that the details should be embroidered in a pale pink - DMC 618. The teardrop shapes were done in blanket stitch and lazy daisy stitch was used in the crevices. 

It was time to trim the edges and sew the piece into a bag! Hooray! Unfortunately, it was impossible to use my rotary cutter to trim up the edges. Having the buttons sewn on made the surface too unstable.  Using a quilting ruler and a fabric pencil I added a quarter inch mark on both sides and cut the line with sewing sheers. The top I left untrimmed until sewing the piece together.

Next came bias binding tape at the top. Once basted in place, the zipper was pinned on top. This zipper has been in my stash since 1970 so I am delighted that it found its way into a project at last. Look! It cost 45 cents. 

Once the zipper was secured, a chain stitch embroidered in green secure the layers together so they lay flatly.

Then sew up the sides for the finish! Wait a minute, how could we skimp on details? The zipper pull deserves a little love. So that ninth button in the set? Together with a mother of pearl button and a couple of large jump rings, this zipper pull is charming it!

Here's another view of the finished product!

For this first project, I used only one of the many wonderful materials that I received from Gwen. In the photo below you can see a hint of some of the materials that will show up in some of my future projects. I can't wait to show them all to you. 

Don't want to wait for me? I don't blame you. You can head over to her shop where she is having an end of the season sale going on.