Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No work of art but . . . .

I have been busting a move to get my latest project done in time for Christmas. I made a quick quilt for my son. His room gets mighty chilly in the winter as he is located in the top southwest corner - where all the storms blow in. Luckily he his not always cold. He runs around in bare feet and t-shirts most of the year. But he does like a warm and comfy blanket.

I am a terrible traditional quilter so I just used 6 inch squares pieced together. I hand quilted the whole thing with perle cotton in various colors. The top left is icicles. The middle is earth and the bottom right is fire.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Earnin' a Brownie Badge

I volunteered to co-lead my daughter's brownie troop. Unbeknownst to me, there ended up being 18 girls in the troop from 1st grade through 3rd. Not a big deal you say. But it is. Especially with skill sets. Big difference in what they can accomplish at a certain age. So trying to find something they all can accomplish has been a challenge. Since it is all girls, crafts always hit the mark.
They are working on a wear your art badge. So we did some t-shirt creations. All we said was that they were making their own t-shirts and they started squealing with delight. How cool is that. So with safety in mind, we opted to do a version of dyeing using bleeding art tissue. They also used the pentel dye crayons, rubbing plates, dye pens and watercolor crayons. Here are a few examples of what we accomplished yesterday:

Here's how we did it. First, I tried this out at home to see if it would work. Realized that you should dampen the t-shirt, then lay the tissue pieces down. After you have them where you want them, spray them with water again so the dye runs out onto the shirt.

Here is what I have after doing a large area. It is really wet, so I will let it dry before adding to it. The flower is from a rubbing plate. The areas with sharp edges were the pieces I tried without wetting the background first. So many possibilities.

Friday, November 28, 2008


What a surprise to find out that I have been nominated for a Kreative Blogger award by Sherryl Buchler! I have been following her blog Having Fun since meeting her on the Fiberarts Group  started by Ms. Annie Copeland. Sherryl does the most amazing fabric using dye. Her latest class took her to a shibori workshop and I am drooling over her pieces!!

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from in your blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

So the nominees are: Christine Swieszcz  and her blog Lily & Paris Designs. She likes to do hand embroidery and pairs that with wonderful color combinations. I frequently ask for her help/opinion when stuck on a project. 

Katherine Sands blog, Art Journal - A Creative Journey.  She is doing all kinds of experimentation with dye, fabric and surface design. I had the pleasure of meeting her at IQA Chicago last April. Fun, fun, fun!

I found Ms. Fannie Narte through a message she left on my blog. Her blog, Fannie Narte
holds a vast array of wonderful eye candy. She is more of a mixed media gal with a web presence and an etsy shop. 

My next nominee is another person I met at the IQA show in Chicago last April. Lynn Krawczyk has a wicked sense of humor and her blog never fails to make me laugh out loud. Her blog Fibra Artysta-Mixed Media is another I frequent. 

And finally, so hard to pick only 5! Virginia Spiegel who blogs at Virginia A. Spiegel on a very regular basis. She is a driving force for the American Cancer Society. She has several fundraisers involving artists from around the world as well as posting inspirational thoughts, prose and pictures. She posts her works in progress as well as her completed pieces, always leaving me scratching my head wondering how she achieved such wonderful surfaces on fabric! 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Madelyn was in a very creative mood. We were at Michael's yesterday getting t-shirts for the Brownie's troop project for next week. For some reason, she is totally taken with styrofoam. If you have priced it lately, you will see that it is getting a little pricey. So I let her get a package of 12 1" balls and made her give me three for a project I am working on.
Once we got home, she immediately went to work on her "masterpiece". I love watching her work. She tears around the house collecting all the pieces she needs and then sits to work on the project. Here is the fruits of her labors.

Initially, I thought I was looking down into a pen of turkeys and they were looking back at me. Madelyn explained that they were turkey's and the styrofoam pieces were their eyeballs. They were hiding in water, in a fenced in area and the big square created the walls of the room. The outline around the eyeballs is their bodies. 
I asked if they were hiding so they wouldn't be available for someone's table. She looked at me like I was strange. I don't think she is equating live turkey's with the one on the table just yet. 

Monday, November 10, 2008


I took this Elements class at Quilt University with Linda Schmidt over a year ago. I made four art pieces and never managed to finish any of them - until now!
I have been slowly working on this in between kid activities. Finally finished it yesterday. This was obviously the element of fire. Her binding techniques called for either a sheer border or to do a pieced border. Neither seemed to work for me so I left it as. One of the reasons I didn't finish this on time is because I didn't do a small version of this. The class samples were supposed to be done in a 9" x 12" format or thereabouts. I like working a little bigger so that is part of the reason this took so long. I plan on using this in my bedroom. One down and three more to go.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Garden Art Quilt

This is my contribution to a project done for a very special lady - Ms. Anne Copeland. She founded a non-profit organization to help promote textile arts and people with disabilities doing art. She is tireless in her effort and for that, we are all especially grateful. You can visit her group at http://www.fiberartsconnsocal.org/gallery.html A group of people made little mini art quilts for her. We put them into a scrapbook album so that she could look through them whenever she needed inspiration. I was in charge of the cover.

I dyed the fabric using setacolor dyes. When dry, I heat set and then stamped a fern image through the background in three different colors. I then outlined each of them to help pull out the details a little more. Annie loves flowers so I decided to make her a little garden she can enjoy year round. I embroidered various flowers around the front cover and also added sequins and beads for tiny flowers. I just loved how it turned out.


Here is the second piece I managed to finish for the Stay at Home Challenge for AAQI.

Hand dyed fabrics, hand and machine quilted. As usual, picture doesn't do it justice. The colors are much more vibrant. Played with it in photoshop but this is as good as it is going to get apparently. Oh well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

SAH 2008

For those of us not going to Houston Quilt Show, Diane Petersmarck hosted a Stay at Home Challenge. The pieces will be donated to the Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative hosted by Ami Sims. These quilts are donated to Ami and then auctioned off online or at various shows throughout the year. The proceeds are used for Alzheimers research.. This year, Lois Jarvis of Rust Tex fame is donating fabric to each person willing to make a quilt with her material and for each one registered by November 4th, she will donate $5 to AAQI!!

I received my fabric from Lois and it had stars all over it so I was inspired to create this little piece. The stars were not readily apparent to me when I first received the fabric so I wanted to show case them by stitching around each one. I added a scrapbook metal plaque that says BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, a central star, three gold stars and black sequins. I have a couple more to finish but this is the first one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Black and White Challenge

I finally get to post some pieces that I have been working on for the last 6 months! So exciting. I joined up to do Annie Copeland's "Your World in Black and White" challenge. We had to create a piece using only white, black, silver and gray. I thought it was going to be easy for me but it really was a struggle to get the lights, darks and mid tones.

In The Silence I Have Seen Him. This was an image I had in my head of an angel. It is done as if you have turned around and caught him in the corner of your eye. The brilliance of the light surrounding him makes him almost impossible to see clearly. It was created on white cotton fabric, sketched and then painted with dye for the basic design. Then I quilted the piece and finished with shiva paintstiks to add details and lights and shadows. I think this may be the best piece I have ever done in fiber.

This is my second entry. Styx and Stones. I created this piece from my sketchbook process. I had been playing around with tracing paper sketches from small sections of photographs. I then blew them up about 120% and glued the patterns/designs to my sketchbook and created a sketch from them. I thought that it would translate to fiber perfectly. It did but my photography does not do it justice.

This piece is about 60" wide by 30" high. It was hand painted with dye on white cotton then various black and gray fabrics were fused on to create the rocks. The rocks were FMQ. The boxes are white cotton, framed in black binding and the styx are black cotton fabric tubes hand sewn on. The water was hand quilted with silver thread. The highlights were added with white shiva painstiks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


When Madelyn was about 8 months old, she was sitting on my lap watching TV at 5:30 a.m. A special about Elvis comes on and they are playing some of his hit songs. She is just rocking back and forth - her version of dancing at that age. Clearly an Elvis fan from very early on. So my daughter has been telling me that she wants to BE Elvis for Halloween. It's been two years now. I ask if she likes the white suit or the black. She picks the black version (thankfully) She is not a neat and tidy child.

Wandering through Joann's with my coupon in hand, I venture into the pattern section and find an Elvis pattern! Of course it is for boys but I am not telling her that. I purchase all the fabric and the contrast fabric, interfacing etc. I am beside myself with excitement. She came home from school and I show her my find. She says "Oh. That's great mom. " Now I am thinking I shouldn't have wasted my time. But No! I am going to do it anyway. So I did. It turned out awesome and she loves it!!! Of course she doesn't want to wear the wig or glasses. So she looks more like a mariachi band member or Zorro. Oh well.

So here are some pics I took of my two lovelies. The sequins are all hand sewn on. Took about 4 days to complete the entire costume (while they were at school obviously!)

Patrick is obviously the Grim Reaper. They are standing in front of our blow up skull on the front lawn.

Madelyn did not want to pose for this picture. They had soccer games during the day and then this Halloween fundraiser. (Patrick scored 2 goals and won the game for his team!) She was beyond tired and crabby. Can you tell?

I finally guilted her into posing for me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day of the Dead

I have been hearing about the Day of the Dead celebrations and did a little research. I was intrigued by the celebration as I just love Halloween. I was surprised to find that it is a celebration of loved ones that have passed and the day is dedicated to their memories. It also happens to land on my son's birthday! I am usually not interested in making dolls but spirit dolls and the like are really intriguing to me.

So I decided to play with some scraps of stuff I had and this is what came out of it:

The body is made of polymer clay. I baked it to harden it and then did a wash of acrylic paint all over to give it more of a skeleton appearance. Then used a black dye pen in the crevices. The orange piece is some flower lace dyed orange and beaded in orange seed beads to simulate marigold flowers. The "clothes" are pieces of ripped sheers, and black cotton fabrics. And I added a little dragonfly charm necklace.

The best part of this happy accident is that I mistakenly used glow in the dark clay! So now I can power it up and wear it when I take the kids trick or treating!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

With One Voice

I finally found the pictures of my piece for Breaking Traditions - With One Voice! I was dumping a bunch of things off my computer because I was getting a disk full message and inadvertantly dumped my pictures of this piece. I had already sent my piece off to Lynn Krawczyk back in April so I couldn't take another photograph.

Well in talking to my friend Christine, I realized I had emailed her a picture of it to see if she thought anything looked out of whack. So this morning, I went back through all my sent messages since February (and I wonder why I am getting disk full messages) and found the email with the attachments!! Woo hoo!!

So without further ado, here it is:

I made this to honor everyone who does something to help save our environment and keep it from being viewed in a museum!

I quilted the background in two different directions and then painted it in layers of different browns to simulate a tree. I painted the borders in yellow and orange fabric paint. The cocoon is tea stained cotton fabric and gold angelina fibers are sewn over it using gold embroidery thread. I made the sides out of batting to create a window box feel to it and sewed black velvet to the back. I added leaves from cotton fabric and silk ribbon to create the leaves and branches.

The exhibit will be on display at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan, September 26-28 and then various others throughout the rest of 2008.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Journal Quilt - Elements

Well I was just notified that my journal quilt entry did not get juried in. Bummer. But I tried and that was a goal I made for myself this year. So I get to post it here for all who stops by.

I really had a great time making this one and experimenting with a ton of different materials. First I sketched out my design onto white cotton fabric. Then I created the large tree truck on top by using puffy paint and then dragging a stick through to create the texture. After drying, I puffed it up and painted it with acrylic paints. The bottom part was drawn with fabric dye sticks. The leaves were pink polka dot fabric, over dyed and rust dyed. I then cut out the leaf shapes and drew the veins in, sewing all down by hand. I added Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel over all to create the ice. When that was dry, I used sand paper to rough it up and cracked it in some areas. I added a wash of white acrylic paint on the outside in order to show the reflection better. The branch coming down was scraps of silk dye fabric and UTEE added for ice. The shadow was done using a black dye pen.

Someone is going to have an online show of all the quilts that didn't get in. Can't wait to see them all!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

TIF August and other pieces

So the August TIF challenge came out and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the picture I have started, matches the color scheme! I love happy coincidences.

So I started by taking a picture of flowers in my yard. This is my climbing vine whose name has completely escaped me at the moment. I loved the closeup textural quality of the picture and wanted to see if I could capture it with watercolor crayons, thread and pentel fabric dye sticks. Not there yet but off to a good start I think.

This one is another in my series of day lily's up close and personal. I am donating it to the Art for Autism fundraiser to be held in October.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Watercolor Pencil on Fabric

I finally had a moment of free time. Well moments strung together to create something pretty cool. I was playing with the macro button on my camera because it was raining on and off. My orange daylilies were blooming so I decided to take some pictures. Wow! What a cool feature on my camera. Even better because I figured out how to use it. So I decided this one would be gorgeous as a fiber piece.

Original picture printed on a laser printer.

Materials - white cotton fabric, watercolor crayons, my picture for reference and a paintbrush. I didn't add the water because knowing me, I would spill it before starting. Not cool!

The flower sketched in with the watercolor crayons.

Fun part! I dip my brush in the water and start painting over the drawing. Some areas blend and others stay put. Once I was finished, I put it outside to dry. It is nice and sunny and hot so it dried very quickly! When it dries slowly, the colors migrate into one another a lot more.

Thread painted and then puffy paint to create the flower centers. I thread painted with a fire engine red thread for the petals, added a wine purple and a light blue to pull out more details. After the puffy paint dried, I heated it up to puff it. I painted them with dye pens and added shadows. The "pollen" was made with puffy velvet in yellow and then colored with orange dye pens.

And here is the final piece! I finished the edges with satin stitching in the same fire red color. I love how this turned out. I have to try a few more I think!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Take it Further May and June

So finally getting back on track. I have actually finished my June TIF way ahead of schedule!!

The first is my May TIF and I went with the color scheme. I needed teachers gifts for the kids and decided to combine the two projects. Patrick's teacher is getting remarried over the summer so I thought a photo album would be nice. But a black and boring album would not work. So I made a cover for it using my new sewing machine!!

I free motion quilted the entire surface to give it a loose floral feeling. The cut it to size to fit the book. The window was cut out and I satin stitched around the border. His teacher was thrilled - or so Patrick told me.

This one if for Madelyn's teacher. She is going for a double masters and has a few years left of school. She likes organization and notes and paper - I think. So I bought the padfolio and created a cover out of fabric on hand, thread from my stash and even the backing fabric. I used felt for the batting. I love how it turned out.

The yarns were couched on to create more texture and it was also from my fiber stash. She is getting her gift this morning as I just finished it yesterday afternoon!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Last Friday was my son's 3rd grade end of year picnic and I got to do the craft! I bought the t-shirts from Dharma Trading and had them shipped to my house. The paint was red acrylic paint mixed with aloe vera gel to make it easier to stencil. I photocopied their logo and then created the text in Quark. Made a very nice stencil - well three actually. Back was killing me from leaning over the table all afternoon but the results were so worth it! We made 60 and even the teachers got into the action. You would think my son's would be one of the nicest but he had a boo-boo in the corner. But he loves it and so did his classmates.

I was out on one of my morning walks and veered off the beaten path. They redid a bunch of areas around the river and I finally decided to check it out. Well this little dragonfly landed right on my leg!! How cool is that??

This is the view of the river from another direction. The water was so calm. Considering all the rain we have been having, I thought it would be a bit faster moving. I love how the trees make a frame. Hard to tell where reflection meets the sky.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Off The Beaten Path

I started walking again now that the weather is finally starting to turn warmer - gee it's only end of May!! But I was not in the mood to stay on the walking path and decided to venture onto some of the horse paths. I also remembered to take my camera.

First stop was the bridge over a section of the Des Plaines River. Stupid me forgot that it had rained so much and the ground still hadn't dried out. So the area under the bridge was a squishy, slimy mess. Thankfully I didn't get stuck but did discover that my shoes are a.) not waterproof and b. ) have holes forming where the sole meets the shoe. Ugh!

Clearly I was not the only idiot attempting to check things out.

So I walked down a little further - clearly the shoes were ruined so let's go for broke.

I am so glad I did! This is along a bend in the river.

This was the newly redone bridge over the river along the horse path. I'll bet those horses are happy they can cross over rather than through. That water is still mighty cold!

And then this guy walks right out in front of me! Hey if you are going to cut me off, then stop so I can get a great shot! Clearly he doesn't speak human. Bummer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cyber Fyber Round II

I saw a posting by Arlee Barr about Cyber Fyber on the Fiber Arts/Mixed Media website. So I decided to check it out.

Well it turns out that Susan Lenz is hosting an international postcard and ATC swap. You have to look through the postcards or ATC's posted and pick one out you love. Contact Susan by leaving a message on that postcard and send her an email. Once she responds, you get that postcard or ATC and info on sending her one in return. She then marks that postcard as Trade Being Arranged. I picked number 240 and received it yesterday!!

Here it is!

And in return, I sent my going green postcard challenge postcard. I finally finished it because my honey bought me a new sewing machine!!!

The best part is - she's going to exhibit all the postcards and ATC's together in January, 2009 at a gallery in South Carolina. Good luck Susan!!