Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

Creative Silk Challenge ~ Chase Away the Winter Blahs

Creative Silk Challenge ~ Chase Away the Winter Blahs

Liz Here ~

Are you ready to get back into the studio to play but find that you just don't have any ideas or motivation? That is what happens to us after the busy fall show season followed by the holidays. Ruth and I get the January creative blahs. We were thinking about this problem when we visited Treenway Silks recently where we became totally enamoured with their Creative Silk Packs. Such delicious colors and textures! Thus, our Winter Creative Challenge was born.

treenway berries     treenway green    treenway coastal

 

treenway midnight    treenway peach    treenway fields

Do you want to play with us? You can get your own yummy package of goodies from Blue Twig Studio or Treenway Silk.

The rules: In the spirit of keeping this totally fun and playful we don't have any rules! We do have a due date so we don't procrastinate forever...you know how that happens! Due by March 15. Get your Creastive Silk Pack and make something. Make a couple somethings. Share your photos with us and we will feature you and your work on our blog and Facebook. e-mail either of us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ruth picked the Wild Berries pack and of course I choose Eat your GreensI started playing with mine yesterday. When I opened my package it looked like this:

treenway silk pack green

So much possibility!

A few hours later it looked like this:

treenway silk pack phase 2

I added in some Treenway hand dyed silk ribbon. Then I started stitching but don't have a photo of that yet. I have to say I barely made a dent in the contents of the Creative Silk Pack so I know I will get at least 2 projects out of it. I wish the photos really showed how awesome the colors are.

We will both post photos of our progress.

So, come on...Jump in and play with us. Let's chase away the winter blahs together.

Continue reading
  2102 Hits
  0 Comments
2102 Hits
0 Comments

Demystifying Bobbin Case Tension

One of the frequent questions I get at any lecture or class is about that pesky bobbin case tension. It seems to make smart women doubt their skills and abilities. It isn't really very confusing but we have been told to keep our hands off that bobbin case tension screw! We might mess it up. Really? How tragic could it be? It is one screw. Righty tighty lefty loosy. Pretty simple.

for those of you who aren't quite sure why you would need to adjust your bobbin case tension well, I have a few words for you: uber yummy ultra heavy threads!

Farm Fresh Tencel-bobbin work close up sm

I chanllenge you all to make friends with your bobbin case tension! Be brave! There is nothing more staisfying than knowing you can make your machine do what you want.

Today, I am sharing my video that tells you just how to adjust that bobbin case tension.

Now that you have concqured that fear head over to Textile Evolution to create with us in our free on-line book studies. There is one for Fabric Embellishing: the Basics and Beyond and one for Threads: the Basics and Beyond. You do need a copy of the book for the details but the book study is totally FREE. Ask us questions, share your work.

Continue reading
  1997 Hits
  0 Comments
1997 Hits
0 Comments

Creativity ~ The New Super Power!

feet in the ocean water

2012 was a wild and crazy year for me. It all started with my word of the year for 2012. Empower. I spend a lot of time empowering my students in classes and empowering the stores and companies I work with spreading product love, inspiration and understanding. But, I wasn't spending much time empowering myself.

The crazy thing about picking a guiding word for the year is that you are never quite sure where it will take you and how it will manifest. I always write my word on a few post it notes and put them on my computer, in my studio and wherever else I need one. Last year I should have put one in my Kindle because I was on the road so much! This word, empower, took me down paths of discovery that I had barely known exhisted. This word made me stretch and grow and feel a little pain too.

You see, along the empowerment journey I found myself smacked in the face with the fact that I have been playing very small in my task here on earth. I have allowed myself to simply put my feet in the ocean rather than diving into the waves. I let myself be convinced that what I do isn't all that important. Sure I got great feedback from my students and I LOVE teaching and talking about creativity. I get such a rush from inspiring someone but is it important to anyone but me? Does anyone care about making art that speaks from their heart and touches their soul? Art that allows them to tell their story? Does anyone really care about being creative?  I guess you could say I was losing my passion. I was in a rut.

But then came the challenge. I wasn't diving into the deep end. I wasn't being authentic. I wasn't letting you know just how passionate I am about teaching creativity. I was holding back because it is scary to let strangers and even friends know how much I care about creativity. They would think I was nuts.

Could I really say out loud that I believe that creativity is what will save our country? Save our planet? Save our humanity?

If I was brave...I could.

So I did.

To a room of non-creative people.

I was scared I would sound stupid but nobody laughed.

They wanted to know more. They wanted to learn how they could be more creative.

I know how to do that! That is what makes my heart sing.

Are you ready for my word for 2013? ACTION. I have new classes in the works and some exciting projects that will take a bit more time but will allow me to spread creativity far and wide.

I am excited.

I have found my passion again.

Come along with me and we will change the world and have so much fun creating while we do it!

Continue reading
  1979 Hits
  0 Comments
1979 Hits
0 Comments

Clutter Wars

My friend Lisa Call wrote a great blog post the other day about clutter. Specifically she wrote about the cost of clutter. The cost in time lost managing the clutter. This got me thinking about my clutter status. Have I made any progress controlling the chaos or am I just making excuses, creating justifications and reasons? Going totally naked here folks...

Creating Art Creates Clutter

My art creates a lot of clutter. It can't be helped when you work in collage. I am sorta kind organized in the studio. The tables are cleared off except for current projects and things are mostly put back in their places. I go through fabric, mixed media stash and tools at least once a year and pass on that which doesn't serve me anymore. I use a lot of it in classes so there is a lot of turnover. That clutter is at it's manageable best. Not great but not drowning me either and I can find what I am looking for quickly. My studio may never be clutter free but in the rest of the house I have been eliminating clutter over the last year. I have conquered most of the kid clutter now that 2 of them are out of the house and off creating their own clutter. I have gotten rid of books that were just collecting dust, clothes that don't fit, misc. stuff that was just collecting dust. Pretty good here too. My desk is a bit cluttered but I have made great progress in this arena over the last couple years. I am a visual organizer so I will always have papers and notes on my desk but I do clear it down to wood about once a month.  I was thinking just how great a job I was doing patting myself on the back and pulling out the gold stars when I thought about my computer. There it was smirking at me...that sneaky time stealing clutter.

Facing Reality

My in-box and Outlook files are a hellacious mess. Let's not even get started on my document files, photo files or my desktop (yikes!). I keep saying I will get to that but I never seem to get caught up. Seriously that has been on my list for over 2 years! I have 3 different e-mail accounts to keep up with. I know I have well over 1000 e-mails (maybe even 1500 ok, ok, 2000+) that need to be dealt with: filed or deleted. I waste time trying to find a specific e-mail. I lose important ones that need replies or follow up. That's really bad right?

The Challenge

So, I am embarking on a 30 day computer clean up! Anyone want to come play with me? Beginning today (I know September 1 would be a better start date but I better not put it off one more day!) I will spend 30-60 minutes focused specifically on computer clutter each and every day. I will keep you posted on my progress each week. If you have any great tips please leave a comment. I need all the help I can get!

Continue reading
  2533 Hits
  0 Comments
2533 Hits
0 Comments

Dyeing With Johann Dippel


Ihad the pleasure of spending last Sunday dyeing fabric with a bunch of great friends. I don't know why dyeing is so dang exhausting but it has taken me a few days to get my fabric rinsed and dried. As you can see from the pile above that there is still a lot of untangling, ironing and folding to be done. And that is only the reds pile. I have a mound of blues and greens too. I keep coming across this quote lately; 'how you do anything is how you do everything', and my dye day adventure made me realize just how true it is. You see, I am completely unable to plan and fuss with my dye color choices. I rarely pay attention to the rules for more than 15 minutes. I don't approach it or any other part of my life in an organized or methodical manner. I approach dyeing more like a mad scientist. A little red here, a little orange there...ohhh what happens if I add in brown? Maybe a little violet or how about some blue?  Now that I think about it, I cook the same way too.

 

Johann Dippel
Johann Dippel is the classic mad scientist! Dippel was born in Castle Frankenstein and it is suggested that Mary Shelley modeled at least part of her infamous book on Dippel's adventures. In addition to his experiments in alchemy, anatomy and his quest for the elixir of life, Johann Dippel is credited with the formulation of the first chemical dye that we call Prussian Blue. He discovered it by accident. He was supposedly trying to make red. Sounds like my dyeing misadventures. Now, the problem with this approach (some would say) is that I can't replicate anything. Ever! I so admire friends who can plan to dye certain colors and actually end up with the perfect color for their needs. I wish I could be like them. But, I can't. I have tried and it just doesn't work out for me. I start off with intention to create yellows, oranges and blues. When I finish i realize that while I have a few of those, I also have a pile of unintended greens, purples and reds. I get into the zone and forget all my good intentions. The same problem presents itself when I am advised that I must create a cohesive body of work if my art is to be taken seriously by others. Really? I am totally out of luck then. I am way too interested in telling stories and communicating ideas to limit my tools, media and techniques enough to create this cohesive body of work. I would love to be organized, have carefully laid out plans for the future and have a place for everything with everything in its place but I have made peace with my unruly ways and organized piles that threaten to topple over. It has taken me longer to come to terms with the way I approach making art. However,  I now know that my eclectic way of creating art is just as valid as those who can pull together that cohesive body of work. Deep down I know that a few of those organized artists I wish I could emulate probably wish they could work more like me. Maybe I should get a lab coat. What is your working style? Mad scientist or organized surgeon?    

Continue reading
  1776 Hits
  0 Comments
1776 Hits
0 Comments

Needle Felting Winner!

And we have a winner! The random number generator picked #3 That would be the lovely and talented  Jan DeBellis!! Jan and I first met IRL at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach. That was pretty funny since we both live in Colorado. I have e-mailed you Jan and your goodies will be in your hands very soon.

Continue reading
  1571 Hits
  0 Comments
1571 Hits
0 Comments

Needle Felted Cuff

I got my copies of Quilting Arts today! I never get over the thrill of seeing an article I wrote in print! This embellishment issues is chock fill of great stuff so be sure to check it out.

 

My article about creating Needle Felted bases for embellishing. I made cuffs out of mine but the same techniques can be used in a wide variety of projects. I love needle felting! Have you tried it yet? It is perfect for creating luscious textures and layers of color that blend and flow together. This project can be made with hand needles or with a needle felting machine.

How about a giveaway? Anyone interested? I have an extra copy of this issue to give away and I will make up a goodie bag of fibers for you to create your own cuff! Leave a comment below to enter. Tell me what your favorite color or color combination is. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner on Aug. 19 2012.

Continue reading
  2690 Hits
  0 Comments
2690 Hits
0 Comments

Jumping Back into Art

A sneak peek inside my book



I have just sent in the final samples for my newest book about beading on fabric! I am excited that it is finished except for the dotting of the 'i's and crossing of the 't's. It will be making its debut at Quilt Market in Houston this October. When I am writing and creating a book I am a bit prone to hyper-focusing. Everything that is not 'beading' gets less of my attention. Beading took over my life. How fun is that? I especially loved the part where I took over the entire kitchen table because it was too chilly in my studio to bead for hours on end. The family is happy I am finished too!!

Anyone else see strands of beads here?



When I come out of that hyper-focus mode I have a difficult time transitioning back into my art...my art that isn't beading. Somehow it seems easier to stick with the left brain tasks on my computer than head down to the studio to begin a new project.Fortunately my friend Jill Berry suggested a sketching date at the Denver Botanic Gardens! It is unusual for us to both be at home the same week so we were thrilled to easily find a day we could meet up.

The weather was perfect and the wave after wave of garden color was delicious. We were more than delighted to find an incredible installation in bamboo. Words are not adequate to describe the intricate weavings and sculptures created by artists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik. Jill and I sketched their amazing forms and wondered for hours soaking up their shapes.

I left the Botanic Gardens full of art inspiration and color excitement. I will be diving into the studio this weekend refreshed and ready to create. What do you do to get your creative mojo flowing?

 
Continue reading
  0 Hits
  2 Comments
0 Hits
2 Comments

Jumping Back into Art

 

I have just sent in the final samples for my newest book about beading on fabric! I am excited that it is finished except for the dotting of the 'i's and crossing of the 't's. It will be making its debut at Quilt Market in Houston this October. When I am writing and creating a book I am a bit prone to hyper-focusing. Everything that is not 'beading' gets less of my attention. Beading took over my life. How fun is that? I especially loved the part where I took over the entire kitchen table because it was too chilly in my studio to bead for hours on end. The family is happy I am finished too!!

 

When I come out of that hyper-focus mode I have a difficult time transitioning back into my art...my art that isn't beading. Somehow it seems easier to stick with the left brain tasks on my computer than head down to the studio to begin a new project.Fortunately my friend Jill Berry suggested a sketching date at the Denver Botanic Gardens! It is unusual for us to both be at home the same week so we were thrilled to easily find a day we could meet up.

The weather was perfect and the wave after wave of garden color was delicious. We were more than delighted to find an incredible installation in bamboo. Words are not adequate to describe the intricate weavings and sculptures created by artists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik. Jill and I sketched their amazing forms and wondered for hours soaking up their shapes.

I left the Botanic Gardens full of art inspiration and color excitement. I will be diving into the studio this weekend refreshed and ready to create. What do you do to get your creative mojo flowing?  

Continue reading
  2473 Hits
  0 Comments
2473 Hits
0 Comments

Neverending Spring

I have been experiencing a never ending Spring. In late March I headed to VA and VA Beach to teach first at Artistic Artifacts and Art and Soul...spring was just beginning.

Carol Sloan, Judy Gula and I made time for a sunrise walk on the beach. Art and Soul was amazing as always. It is so inspiring to be surrounded by so many creative people who love the same stuff you do. Every classroom I peaked in was a hive of energy and filled with the joy of creating. I didn't get to take a class so I am treating myself to a trip to Vegas for the next Art and Soul retreat! Happens to be in my birthday week! Come and join me!

I am always wowed by what my students do with the techniques I teach them. Susan is showing off her beautiful needle felted book in this photo. Each student's book or purse was completely different and each exquisite. Look for some more needle felting classes coming this summer. The Simplicity felting machine is so easy to use and I have a few for my classroom.

I was home for a few days before I headed off to Lancaster PA for the AQS show. Spring was just arriving with tiny bits of green on the trees and beautiful blossoms just beginning to peek out on the bushes. I worked this show with the great folks from Havels Sewing. I adore their scissors and it was a lot of fun to share these great tools with quilters at the show.Robyn Reed and I are enjoying a moment of quiet before the show opened for the day.

Back home for a short rest and then I headed off to Barcelona Spain. During our 9 days there we saw the leaves begin to unfurl and blossoms burst forth. AWESOME! Best describes the trip. My friend Cass Mullane went with me to help translate in my classes but we first had 6 days to explore Barcelona. I took about 1000 photos so I will do a separate post with some of my favorites. I was thrilled to be teaching teachers and store owners as well as a few artists. These talented ladies stitched their hearts out and bravely tried every technique I threw at them. Their students are in for a treat as they share their new passion for thread. The flowers above were growing in a yard in Sant Cugat. We passed them on our way to and from the train station. I don't know what they are but they are so cheerful.

Home for 4 very short days and then off to Cincinnati for Spring Quilt Festival. I actually flew to VA and drove with my friend Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts to Cincinnati-don't ask why I took this round about route. The drive was spring in reverse starting out in VA with the azaleas in full bloom, snow in West Virginia and the very beginnings of spring in Cincinnati.

We stayed at a hotel near the convention center so we were able to walk to and from the show every day. Cincinnati has some great architecture and we loved these Rookwood tiles in the Carew Tower. I am so happy to be home for an entire month. There is the Mancuso show in Denver in May but I will be able to sleep in my own bed. Spring has finally come to Colorado too.  

Continue reading
  2496 Hits
  0 Comments
2496 Hits
0 Comments

Metal Play

Spring is a busy travel season for me and it seems like forever ago that I was in VA and taught my Metal Mesh Magic class at Artistic Artifacts. In fact it was exactly a month ago. We had so much fun with creating patterns on metal, using patinas, embossing an

d torching.

We made a bit of a mess everywhere as we learned how to transfer images and emboss. But what is creativity without a mess? We played with thin metal shim-colored and natural too.

We took full advantage of the amazing warehouse space to spread out our work as our patinas developed. It is much easier to work with Liver of Sulfur indoors when you have a really big space...not quite so stinky!

Most of the students had never used a torch before but once they tried it they were hooked! Many thanks to Carol Hamilton for allowing us to use her torches and for the safety lesson for everyone. Carol is an amazing jewelry artist. Check out her gallery.

I have a new piece that features metal mesh but it is for a special exhibit so I can't even give you a sneak peek yet. You will have to take my word that it is beautiful. :-) I am off to Barcelona Spain tomorrow to teach my three day intensive thread class, Stitch Journeys. When I get back I will catch you up on Art and Soul as well as my trip to Spain.

Continue reading
  2183 Hits
  0 Comments
2183 Hits
0 Comments

On-line Classes--Tell me what you think...

Continue reading
  1582 Hits
  0 Comments
1582 Hits
0 Comments

Art and Soul Blog Hop ~ Leslie Brier

I have long been a fan of assemblage art but have not taken the leap yet so I was delighted to be able to introduce Leslie Brier to you. As an avid collector of cool stuff that might come in handy some day I fear for my pending storage space problem after looking through Leslie's blog.  My husband doesn't understand my why I keep bringing home more  rusty stuff but, how can I throw anything away now? Leslie's work has been featured in Somerset, Cloth, Paper Scissors and Inspired Ideas.

What type of classes do you like to take at Art and Soul? When I first went to Art and Soul, I took classes where I felt I could be successful and come home with a nice, finished piece.  Then, I took a class that really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I realized that I could learn a lot by being brave. I didn’t always come home with a perfect, finished piece of art, but the skills I learned were invaluable, and I found ways to incorporate that new knowledge into my work. The classes I’ve taken at Art and Soul have really helped me to grown as an artist. What aspect of teaching do you love the most? I am amazed that a group of students can start with virtually identical materials, and within a few hours, an amazing variety of work will be created. Each student interprets what you teach and puts their own spin on it. I also love the fact that teaching doesn’t feel like work! I end a day of teaching feeling energized and inspired. That wasn’t always the case when I was working in the corporate world.

Do you work in a planned or intuitive way?  How would you describe your approach? I start out with a plan, but it is rare that a piece ends up exactly as I originally intended. I work with found objects and I find that they once I get them into my hands, the objects themselves will lead me in directions that I hadn’t thought of in the sketchbook phase of the project. What did you do to discover your creative voice and personal style? I did jewelry and graphic design for a long time, but my heart was leading me toward assemblage. I was afraid of ruining the objects I wanted to use in my art. I also was used to charging by the hour for my graphic design work, and I didn’t want to put a lot of time into a piece that might not turn out the way I wanted it to. I had to overcome those fears, and give myself permission to fail.  Eventually, I realized that no time spent in the studio was wasted time Taking the time to develop my own techniques has been invaluable. I learned to trust my instincts, and that’s when my own individual style emerged. What advice do you have for someone beginning their art journey? Dive in! Be fearless! You have absolutely nothing to lose, and so much to gain. Allow yourself the time and space to practice what you are interested in. You didn’t learn to read or write in one day -- it took time. The same applies to your artistic skills. Also, seek out like-minded people. I remember going to my first Art and Soul, and how good it felt to be surrounded by people that were interested in the same things that I was.

You can take a class from Leslie to learn all about her creative creatures at Art and Soul in Va Beach in March!

Pick ME! Pick ME!

We have another giveaway for you! Another chance for one of Artistic Artifacts awesome mixed media prize packs including some fabulous batik fabrics and lots of ephemera.  Leave a comment below...share your favorite place to find awesome stuff for your collection! Come on Share! There is plenty of great stuff for all of us. We won't buy it all!

Continue reading
  2007 Hits
  0 Comments
2007 Hits
0 Comments

Art and Soul Blog Hop-Jean Van Brederode

Welcome to your first stop on the 2012 Art and Soul Artist Interview Blog Hop! I can't wait to read all the artist's interviews...what fun to peek into their creative process. I am excited to introduce you all to an artist I first met in Portland last fall, Jean Van Brederode. I love Jean's enamel jewelery work. It is so fun, unique and almost all of it has some yummy fibers attached! Gotta have those fibers. I received a MAPP gas torch for Christmas so I see some enameling in my future! I just need to decide which class to take now...

Artistic Artifacts-the official Art and Soul on-site store has put together awesome mixed media prize packages for each blog on the hop. leave a comment at the end of this post telling me your current favorite technique. I will draw for the winner next Saturday January 28th.

This is a sampling of all the delicious stuff in the blog hop prize packages. Judy at Artistic Artifacts has all the good stuff Be sure to check out the next artist interview on the Art and Soul hop! Sunday features Barbie Saint John's interview on Kari McKnight-Holbrook's blog Now---here is Jean!

What teacher (s) lit your fire to be an artist?   I started taking classes at Art & Soul in 2005 after I retired from teaching 8th grade English for 34 years.  Art has always been my passion, and my goal was to find the art form that would carry me through the rest of my life.  What a wonderful adventure!  The journey was well worth the effort and expense. Instructors who have made the greatest impact on me are Susan Lenhart Kazmer, Jane Wynn, DJ Pettitt, Richard Salley, and Linda and Opie O'Brien.   Enameling teachers outside of Art & Soul include Linda Darty, Averill Shepps, and George Waricher.  Their dedication to their craft and excellent teaching skills led me on a path to enameling which is now my passion and life's work.  The things I learned that impressed me the most are that experimenting is incredibly fulfilling, "happy accidents" happen for a reason, and failures do not exist.  Even if you trash a piece, you still take away ideas to use in your next project.  

What 4 tools can’t you live without?     The four tools that I couldn't part with would have to be the enameling kiln (what a surprise), the Bonney Doon 20-ton hydraulic press, a set of Fretz hammers, and a pencil which I use to create designs in my journal.  

Why do you love to teach?     Since I used to teach 8th graders in another time of my life, it delights me to instruct a roomful of students who are all eager and active learners!  After I retired from teaching, I didn't realize how much I had missed the process of instruction like preparing lessons, gathering materials, creating worksheets, and researching background material.    

Do you have a favorite technique?    My favorite technique was shown to me by George Waricher, a college professor who taught enameling for over 50 years.  One method that he often used was writing and drawing on enameled pieces with enamel-bearing oil.  George can no longer practice his craft due to health reasons, but I am honored to carry on this fascinating technique

Classes I am teaching at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach- March 1-6 2012

VA179 Enameling: Necklace Roulette - Thursday, March 1

VA180 Jewelry Applications Using the Hydraulic Press - Fri Eve March 2

VA181 Nesting Instincts - Thurs Eve March 1

VA225 Bird Nest Enameled Charm Bracelet - Saturday, March 3

 

More of Jean Van Brederode’s work can be found at: Charmed I'm Sure – http://charmdimsur.etsy.com The Village Artisans Gallery, Boiling Springs, PA. Jean's Etsy shops - Art Girls Tools - http://artgirlstools.etsy.com - dedicated to selling jewelry-making tools that I personally recommend. Charmed I'm Sure - http://charmdimsur.etsy.com - an outlet for my many enameled jewelry pieces. Enamel Warehouse - http://enamelwarehouse.etsy.com - As a Thompson enamel distributor, I offer opaque and transparent enamels and enameling supplies and pass on an attractive discount to my customers along with enameling tips and advice. Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a mixed-media prize package! Just click on the comment link below.

Continue reading
  2913 Hits
  0 Comments
2913 Hits
0 Comments

Plaster and Tarts

I  belong to a couple local fiber art groups that are a lot of fun. Some are technique driven, some more focused on the journey of an artist and they all included amazing wonderful women. Last night was the monthly meeting of the Tuesday Tarts. This group in particular laughs a lot! We were missing a few members because of the holidays but that didn't make us any less noisy! Silly laughter is so good for the soul!


We focus on a different mixed media or textile art technique each month and this month was my turn to demo. I was inspired by the book Plaster Studio by Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise.  I found all sorts of great ideas in this book for adding texture to mixed media pieces.

Using plaster wrap and cardboard we created bases for further embellishment. We colored the bases with Gelatos and Portfolio Oil pastels. Both products worked really well and are so convenient to use. The Gelatos are a bit easier to mix and spread with just your fingers because they are so soft. I will post a photo of these and some of the other girls work when they are finished. We brainstormed a few ideas of how to use these techniques in our textile art and mixed media art. I get so much energy from these groups! If you are in the Colorado Springs/Monument area join us! If you aren't, create your own group and make some happy fun.
Continue reading
  0 Hits
  0 Comments
0 Hits
0 Comments

Plaster and Tarts

I  belong to a couple local fiber art groups that are a lot of fun. Some are technique driven, some more focused on the journey of an artist and they all included amazing wonderful women. Last night was the monthly meeting of the Tuesday Tarts. This group in particular laughs a lot! We were missing a few members because of the holidays but that didn't make us any less noisy! Silly laughter is so good for the soul!

We focus on a different mixed media or textile art technique each month and this month was my turn to demo. I was inspired by the book Plaster Studio by Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise.  I found all sorts of great ideas in this book for adding texture to mixed media pieces.

Using plaster wrap and cardboard we created bases for further embellishment. We colored the bases with Gelatos and Portfolio Oil pastels. Both products worked really well and are so convenient to use. The Gelatos are a bit easier to mix and spread with just your fingers because they are so soft. I will post a photo of these and some of the other girls work when they are finished. We brainstormed a few ideas of how to use these techniques in our textile art and mixed media art. I get so much energy from these groups! If you are in the Colorado Springs/Monument area join us! If you aren't, create your own group and make some happy fun.

Continue reading
  1601 Hits
  0 Comments
1601 Hits
0 Comments

Practicing Imperfection

afternoon shadowsThis time of year I try to look back at what I have accomplished the previous year. Today I am celebrating my progress toward embracing imperfection. My hard practice is paying off! I won’t get cocky though and give up my daily practice…one must be dedicated to that which they want to achieve after all. For starters, the photos in this post have nothing to do with our holiday celebration because I didn't take any...totally forgot! I could skip the post because I don't have the perfect photos but that would be giving in to perfection.

I know, it sounds silly to have to practice imperfection but I have to practice every day! I am a Perfectionist; a type A, workaholic, first born, product of 16 years of Catholic school kinda girl. Perfectionism is part of my core identity.  It has taken me years of battle with this cunning demon and I have made a lot of progress keeping it at bay. However, my perfection demon always likes to tempt me during the holidays demanding that I put on the best Christmas ever.

vintage christmas ornamentThis year, I set my Christmas Eve family table with a fine linen tablecloth that I hand dyed in shades of green and blue...a little unusual but fun. My napkins were dyed to match but perfection ended there! (Actually my dyeing is sort of random so the didn't match perfectly anyway.) I didn’t iron one bit of it…it adorned my table in all its wrinkled glory. This is a BIG DEAL! At one point in my life I ironed my boy’s tee shirts. Yes…their little tiny tee shirts, jeans and even pjs. Looking back I know my life was more than a little insane at that point and my obsessive ironing was probably an attempt to bring order to the chaos but still…little boys tee shirts???

Our Christmas dinner was a delicious gluten free lasagna. Woot! Win over perfection #2: I didn’t make it! We bought it…pre-made/homemade Taste of Life GF meals to go. A few of my loyal readers know that I have a lot of dietary restrictions including almost all the ingredients of lasagna. However, my son has been asking for lasagna for ages so Christmas seemed a perfect time to grant his request. I did feel guilty about not making it myself…yes, even though I couldn’t eat any of it my perfectionist demon suggested that I was less than a good mother for purchasing a frozen lasagna for Christmas! But, I overcame my demon with the help of my good husband and some will power. I didn’t give in to the guilt of being imperfect.

I have been pleasantly surprised by a side effect of my imperfection practice: calmness and a sense of peace. Yup, this girl is learning to let go of the stress of leading a perfect life and finding joy in just letting things be what they are. Not saying it is easy but it is good.



I am ready to let go of something else in my life this next year. I am not sure exactly what yet. Maybe it will be banishing self-doubt or guilt…ok, so given my background getting rid of guilt probably would be the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. Maybe I will save that for another year.

Is there something that you want to give up this year? Something that will bring you closer to the life you want to have?
Continue reading
  1693 Hits
  1 Comment
1693 Hits
1 Comment

ATC Swap for December

We had a big group at the monthly ATC meet-up in Monument last weekend. This was our no theme month but so many of us made something reflecting Christmas that it became our de facto theme. As usual, the variety of trading cards was amazing. We even had a ceramic one (the yellow, blue and red one), a cross stitched one and one that turns into a Christmas ornament (the ice skates detach from their backing). I am always inspired by this group of creative women. If you are in the local area (Monument, CO) come join us!

I am happy with the way mine turned out. I wove the background (check out more weaving techniques in the Fabric Embellishing book study in the forum) with two different green fabrics  or an assortment of aqua blues from Art Gallery Fabrics-love those fabrics! My trees are simple triangles fused to the woven base with Misty Fuse and stitched with a silver metallic thread. Next, I added some 'snow' with silver foil. Finally, I stamped the word believe on a piece of twill tape and stitched that down as well.

I hope you have some time to create something during this busy holiday season. It will save your sanity you know! I am off to bead!
Continue reading
  1799 Hits
  0 Comments
1799 Hits
0 Comments

Fabric Embellishing Additions

The other project I spent finishing up last weekend was putting the edge finishes and tabs on some new pages for my Fabric Embellishing sampler. When we were writing the book Fabric Embellishing; the Basics and Beyond we didn't have time to make pages for some of the techniques that one of the other author's was writing so Ruth and I have been going back and creating some of those with variations from the originals in the book. A lot of the pages that I didn't get done previously were in the 'foundations' section of the book. This one featured above is weaving.



Here we have tucks. Don't you just love the mini pom pom trim? I had a lot of fun with this page seeing how this striped fabric would look tucked.

This is my Stitches and Bits page. I skipped the stitch part and just inserted lots of bits. The yellow strip is plastic kitchen lace (you know the stuff your produce comes bagged in). Just remember not to iron it!

This is my vintage take on the Fashion a frame page. I used a beautiful piece of silk paper in the windows and some vintage bits that seemed to be treasures the young woman in the photo would have kept. I used a hand dyed vintage tea towel for the base and added quite a bit of hand stitching.

This page was a sample that didn't make it into the final cut of Fabric Embellishing. It is a combination of paper, fabric and kitchen produce lace layered. The strips on the left are from a piece of sequin waste that I cut, overlapped and stitched down by machine. The edge finish is pieces of purple produce lace couched down around the edge. I love the little top piece that sticks up straight on the top.
Continue reading
  1933 Hits
  0 Comments
1933 Hits
0 Comments

Just for Fun

The second piece I finished this past weekend is the extreme opposite of the piece, Connections, which I posted yesterday. They both feature hand stitching but they are just about polar opposites on the quilting globe. This quilt started with a challenge at my local Modern Quilt Guild. We were given a charm pack of Kona cotton solid colors and we were allowed to add only one other fabric. I chose white...not in my normal color palette! I used a piecing technique that I call stitch and whack and I didn't put any time into planning color placement. It was nothing but complete fun to create.

I quilted it in a big stitch using perle cotton in a rainbow of colors. For the moment it is a cheerful addition to the walls of my studio but it may come down to become a cuddle quilt. Even on the dreariest days of winter this quilt would cheer you up.
Continue reading
  1806 Hits
  2 Comments
1806 Hits
2 Comments

Login Form

Shopping Cart

The cart is empty