Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Great Mail Day!

I love finding wonderful packages of awesome artwork from wonderful friends in my mail box!!Yesterday was an especially good mail day! I got the latest issue of Quilting Arts Magazine and I got the most wonderful collection of Valentine Heart Pins from my art group pin swap. In an earlier post I share with you the pins that I sent off for the swap. Now you get to drool over the pins that I recieved in return!!
Sammy beaded this wonderful pin.

Jan made this pin.

Barb needle felted this glorious chocolate and raspberry confection!

Look at her glorious presentation card! a work of art in itself!!!

And Hope created this wonderful little gem with tiny flower sequins and tiny french knots!!

I think that I might just wear three at a time from now till Valentines!! Thanks so much , girls!!!

Next I have finished up a few little sur[prises for several wonderful friends.

The bluebirds in the nest will go to Trina!! My wonderful friend Trina and I started working on books with similar themes, back in October. She has been so incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about my work that I thought her Altered book about birds could use a few Bluebird fledglings. Trina has also recently opened a wonderful Online store that specializes in All original vintage finds. The shop is called The Paper Flea Market at . Trina has a passion for Thrift Stores, Flea Markets and Estate Sales and has opened her store to share her amazing one-of-a-kind finds with other apprecaitive artists. She carreis whatever she can find-from vintage brass stencils to vintage trims , vintage reciepts from the 1800's, game pieces and vintage puzzles. I urge you to check out her wares as her prices and stock are amazing!!

The Blue bird with the flowing tail is for a wonderful New friend, who will remain nameless as she reads my blog on a regular basis. I wonder who it could be????????

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pink Artist Squares and Porcupine Beads.

Here are my Pink Artist's Squares all done and ready to be sent off to MONICA fro the Pink Artist Art Doll Collaboration.
(You have probably noticed this button in my sidebar.) Artists from all over the world are sending Monica two inch square pieces of art that have fabric backings. Monica will then sew all of the squares onto an Art Doll and the Doll will be auctioned off to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. Monica has a wonderful blog called THread Girl Gone Wild and you can find a link to it in the blog list to the right!!

I made both of these tiny collages using needle felting and beading techniques. For the purple heart I felted thru a piece of the red and pink lace that I showed on an earlier post- the lace that I painted. For the Pink Heart, I used a piece of a fulled wool sweater for the background. I am really happy about how these turned out. Also if you go to Monica's blog, you can see all of the squares as they arrive for her to work on. She has gotten some beauties already but the deadline is not till the 1st of March! Hard to believe that I am an entire month early!! WOOOO HOOOOO!!

Now on to Porcupine Beads.

This is also an idea that I got from the wonderful Monica!!! As most of us never throw away our scraps of fabrics, as we may NEED them for some cool project some day-Here is a fun project ot add to the What Do I do With All of My Scraps list!!! Cut them into smallist pieces if they arent smal already and be sure to include some scraps that really ravel.

Throw the wad of scraps into the washing machine- I put mine in a net bag and include it in with another load of laundry. then dry the scrap bag along with everything else. The result will be a tangled mess of color and fibers. Then you tear or cut- if you must- off a small wad and roll it up into a ball. With a neddle and thread stitch throught the ball of scraps a few times and then with each stitch add a bead. In this manner yo uwill come up with some wonderful, totally unique beads to embellish all sorts of fun projects!! Some of them turn out looking like Porcupines because they have fibers sticking out all over! My 16 year old son said that they looked like Mines that were used during the second world war during the sea battles. That 's a 16 year old history nut for you!! What ever!!! I think that they are really cool and they are wonderful fun to have to work on when you want to do someting with your hands but don't know what you want to do!! I think that I might even make a necklace out of some of them!!

Thanks Monica for this wonderful technique! Fun, Unique, Funky and Fabulous!!! What could be better!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Bird ATC's!

Since last spring, I have been involved in a swap of Bird Themed ATC's. Each month we send another member of our group three atc's. This will be my last batch of ATC's for this swap.
It has been wonderful to see what each atist has created each month and to be able to add 3 new atc's to our personal Birdie collections. We will each end up with 30 Birdie ATC's! At the beginning of this swap we each made a specail folder or book like structure which would eventually hold all of the ATC's.

For my last batch, I decided to really push the Mixed Media envelope. I made two atc's using needle felting techniques. I am not sure which one I will keep for myself, and which will go to Jo in Australia, we shall see.
This is the first ATC.

For the background I used a piece of a fulled wool sweater. Then I added the bird and the tatted vintage trim along the top. To attach the trim I laid a very small amount of pink fleece over the trim and stabbd the neddle through all of the layers. To finish the edges I felted on some wool yarn and then added the fringe beeds with a beading needle and beading thread.. the little flowers are sequins with seed beads in the middle to hold them down.

This is the second ATC. It took me only 30 minutes to make this one start to finish, as I was much more sure of what I was doing!

I had a bit more fun with the birds tail feather's here! I am very happy with both of them! Now I have only two more ATC's to finsih for Jo, but these are the only ones that I will needle felt for her batch.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Project Finished: for MYSELF!!!

Don't get me wrong, I love to create art as gifts for other's and to sell, but sometimes I look around and realize that I have nothing that I have made for myself!! Besides, some of the best advertising is done when one wears pieces that one has created!! I started this bracelet project last summer. It got pushed aside as I got busy with swaps and gifts and the Holiday shows. Well now it is finished!! Having time to finish up special projects is one of the reasons that I like the winter so much! The Holidays are past, the garden is asleep and the kids are back in school and it is the perfect time to organize, clean out and finish things up!

As some of you know, I love to garden and I love Old Fashioned Roses!! When I came across a pattern for this bracelet, I knew that I had to try it!! I made each cabbage rose as a separate piece and then attached them onto a green square stitched base. Next I added in all of the leaves and little flower beads to complete the garden look. It just makes me smile and I love to wear it!!

Here is a detail shot!

Spring and roses are just around the corner!!!!

Valentine's Day Is Fast Approaching!!

I have just completed another fabric gift cone! This one is for my dear friend Patti B and is part of a Valentine's Day Gift Cone Swap on one of my art groups.

I used a vintage damask napkin as my base and then layered it with some wonderful old scarves. The pink one in the upper left corner is silk and I trapped a small piece of muslin stamped with an image of a bird underneath. In the back, I used an old Hankie with wonderful Red Poppies on it and then I added in some of the red/pink/purple lace that I had shown you in a previous post. I had such fun rummaging through my stash of old lace and bits and buttons to find pieces to add to this fabric collage. The flower jewelry piece at the front is actually an old clip earring that I stitched on to hold the top closed. At the very bottom of the cone I added a vintage chandelier prism and some sparkly beads. It is hard to see this detail in the picture.

In this picture you can see more of the details.

Here on the back , you can see that I trapped some paper butterflies under a cranberry red chiffon scarf and I did lots of Free Motion Embroidery over the whole piece to hold the thin floral scarf in place.

I will be sending this off to Patti after I add a few littl gifties to it! I hope that she likes it- but then what's not to like!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

First Adventure with Needle Felting!

I have had the supplies for needle felting for months! I bought a wonderful collection of hand dyed fleece at a Fiber Festival, I bought a tool and needles at Hancock Fabrics when several stores closed in the area. For some reason I was hesitant to get into it. Maybe I thought that it had to be more difficult than it sounded, despite what my dear friend Patti B. had told me. Perhaps I thought that I would get too inovlved in "painting with wool" and turn away from all of my other projects. i'm not sure what was holding me back. Well, today there was a Demo/class given by Donna at The Fredericksburg Mixed Media Art Group meeting. I packed up my supplies and drove on down. I collected a few extra things with me because although I had not been playing with the fibers and tools, I had been thinking about the whole process and wondering what all I could combine into the needle felting process. I took some of my painted paper towels and some of my dyed cheesecloth. Well, after watching Donna's demo and learning how to stab the needles through the fibers ( incredibly difficult technique actually, NOT!!!),I started layering my various media and stabbed away! I am hooked!!
I layered a piece of synthetic white felt on top of a thin layer of quilt batting, then painted paper towel, then cheesecloth and then colored roving. I made these two pieces at the meeting and then made the third once I returned home.
I am not sure what they will become. At first I was thinking that they would hang together as a wall hanging, then I thought they would be neat individually on the cover of small journals. Any ideas???? They are each approximately 3x3.
Oh and I know that although I love this process and had a blast painting with the wool, I won't give up my other art passions! I stopped at my favorite Bead store on the way home!!! One can't ever live withut beads!!! I am sure that several will wander on over to embellish these pieces before the weekend is done!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

My picks for You MAke My Day!!

Here are my picks for You Make My Day Award! Getting the list narrowed down to ten was not easy!! Here are the blofgs that I visit most often and where I get so much inspiration. What am amazing community that I am lucky enough to be a part of. If you can, please take some time to visit these blogs and I guarantee that you will get more inspiration than one ever thought possible!!!

There are some amazing projects of outreach to be found on some of these blogs and all of them are chock full of creative, spiritual and artistic inspiration! I have come to "know" all of these artists either through art exchanges, Yahoo groups and several I am lucky enough to be able to meet with in person. I am very grateful to each and every one for providing me with support and artistic encouragement. They all help me to reach to find the artist within me!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ready for Valentines

Thanks to my good friend Cheryl, in Oklahoma, I have successfully moved the You Make My Day button to my blog!! Hopefully, one of these days I will develope some confidence with this machine!!!
Now MY chore is to pick 10 blogs that make my day!! that will be very hard as I have so very many favorites!! Think, Think, Think........

I sent my quilted hearts off to Barb today for the swap. As soon as I get the pins back I will post them!! I am going to spend more time with the technique of painting the quilted fabric. I really like the effect!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Wonderful Gift!!

Barbara, who has the terrrific blog Artify Your Heart has nominated me for the "You Make My Day Award". Recipients of this award are honored for having blogs that either beautify, inspire, or in any other way, "make the day" of the person who has chosen them. What an amazing gift! I am so very flattered. In fact Ati of Norway has also just honored me with this award!!! In return, recipients of this award have an obligation. We must pass along this award to our top ten favorite blogs, the ones who make our day!
But now comes the problem! I have to figure out how to get the Award Button from their blogs to mine and then even a bigger problem still, I have to pick 10- just 10 of my favorite Blogs that make my day- everyday to nominate and Pass it Forward!!!!
This is a huge challenge and is going to take me more than a moment, soooo I will be back later!!!
Hugs to all of you and thank you to both Barbara and Ati for such an wonderful gift!! You all make me blush and swell my heart!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First Ever Watercolor !!

Today I went to a meeting of a new Art Group in Fredericksburg. At each meeting there is a demo/lesson taught by one of the group members. The gal who taught today is named Ariel Freeman. She is a professional watercolorist who has never taught before. She was terrific and it was a great first time for her as there were only three of us there and none of us knew a thing!!! We basically watched her and then the did the same thing (as best we could) on our own pieces. THis is only 4x6 but I am going to frame it anyway!! I am so excited about the possibilities for painting flowers from my garden. Ariel has promised to give me some more lessons, specifically on flowere studies and she is going to come over to my garden to take pictures once things are in bloom!!
It is all very exciting!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Getting Lots Done!!

I have figured out a way to continue to make progress on my work area organization and to keep working on projects that must get done!! I cleared off one small table and set up to paint some things while I was taking a break from shuffling, sorting, tossing and decision making. It worked very well and I was able to accomplish quite a bit!! I also did not leave the house to go anywhere after the dogs and I had our daily 3 mile "walkies". If I go out to run errands I find that the day just disappears!!
I am going to be making several fabric cones for Valentines Day, so I looked thru my stash and decided taht i wanted to paint some lace. So, on my clear table I set up to paint.

I simply chose some acrylics and went to town on a polyester lace panel that i had picked up at a thrift store.
This is a picture of the watercolor paper that I placed under the lace!! I love it when I think ahead and plan accordingly!! (RARE EVENT) I am going to do many different things with this paper, eventually. First off, I think that I will use a small portion to back some Heart Pins that I am working on for a Swap. ( More on that shortly!)
Here is the lace all painted and ready for cone making.

It is so beautiful! It was also really messy and fun to do!

I also checked on some of my new rusting fabric projects.

Here you can see the steel bailing wire that I coiled and bent and placed between the folds of this piece of muslin that had been soaked in vinegar and water. Pretty cool!!

Here are the afore mentioned Heart Pins that I am working on. I need to finish the beadwork on two more and then back them with my lace patterned paper and get them in the mail for the swap.

These pins evolved after I read one of the wonderful books that I got for Christmas. The book is The Painted Quilt by Laura and Linda Kemshall. They are wonderful fabric artists who paint on quilted surfaces!!! The book is fabulous!!! I was inspired to quilt these muslin hearts with purple embroidery floss. The muslin was backed with two layers of felt and the stitching was pulled very tightly to achieve deep valleys in the fabric. Once quilted, I painted the hearts with a very stiff dry brush and three different colors of red paint. I used a dry brush to avoid soaking the piece with paint. The object was to leave a bit of a halo of fabric color around the purple stitching.Once dry, I went crazy with the beads!!

There are sparkly little gold beads in the center of each quilted square andedged with glistening clear droplets. Unfortunately the flash on my camera kind of blew these details away. They look much more bejeweled and rich in color in person!

One last project for the day was to finsih up a long overdue Quilted Journal Page for a swap on my Surface Design group. Annette Jeavrons of the UK, had created a glorious page for me and I received it back in early November. I begged her pardon and asked for an extention as I was swamped!! She has been very patient and understanding and I have gotten it done. Here is her wonderful creation. The task was to create a page using complementary colors. She chose Purples and Greens.

I wish that you could see this piece in person!! The stitching is gorgeous and the flowers were made from threads and bits and sparkling Angelina fibers with glitter sprinkled on top. She stitched them together using Water Soluble stabilizer and then submerged the flowers in warm water to dissolve the stabilizer.

I decided to use a piece of my rusted fabric for a starting point . My complemetary pair was blue and orange. This is NOT a combo that I would normally be drawn to but I really wanted to use some of my Rusted fabrics.

To get the rust patterns, I used a steel gear die from an old meat grinder and a metal earring that I had found, already rusted, in a dormant flower bed at the local library. (One never knows where one will find treasures!!!) To add the color, I used the steel grinder die as a stamp and sponged it with Sapphire Lumiere paint and stamped it on the fabric. Then , yet again, I went crazy with the beads. This is like NOTHING that I have ever done before. At several points I was not at all sure that I liked this piece, but I was certainly reaching and stretching out of my comfort palette and design zone!! In the end, I am quite pleased with it and very happy to be able to send off an e-mail to Annette to tell her that my long overdue journal page is finally in the mail!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

An Addictive Sewing Project

I am really enjoying collage work with fabric these days! Yesterday I created this Gift Cone as a vessel to hold a small birthday gift for my wonderful friend Trina. I gave it to her today and I must say that she was thrilled! The gifts that went with it were a vintage (1950) Sewing book filled with great illustrations , that I picked up at the Library Used Book Sale for $1 and a selection of vintage braided trims from my own stash!! I love getting together with my Art Scavenging friends as the story behind the treasures and how little we paid for them makes the gifts all the more special. I am sure the other patrons in the restaurant thought we were total LOONS!! DON"T CARE!!!!
This is a detail of the front.
The back. At the bottom I had added a vintage crystal chandelier drop. It does not show up very well in the picture, nor does alot of the beading.
This is a detail of the back!
I suppose that I love all of this fabric collage work because I can combine all of my art lvoes- vintage fabrics, laces, embroideries, beads, buttons,costume jewely, old papers, text , cards and sheet music. I also feel really good because I am using many of my ammassed treasures! I can never psosibly make two alike and that keeps me inspired and happy, too!!! Once used as the "Wrapping" for a gift it can be hung on the wall and used to display dried frlowers or a cute stuffed peice or whatever the recipient desires!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Taking Down the Tree

I always dread this chore! The excitement is past, the anticipation is gone, only the major chore remains!! But this year WE got it done in record time!! ( It is usually a lonely chore for me, but this year I insited on making it a family event!!) Of course, since I was sick, we did not put it ALL out, so the better part of a day to pack it up was wonderful!!
I want to share with you the wonderful ornaments that i received this year in a Handmade ornament Swap. These ornaments are truely special and WILL NOT be packed up for quite awhile. They speak to me of all of the wonderful friends who I have met during the past year's art adventures!

I am sorry that this picture is so blurry! Pretend that you are viewing it thru a foggy window. I made it 20 years ago on a mountaintop in Vermont with my dear friend Rebecca. It has survived 16 moves with only very minor repairs. So this is my tree for my treasured handmade ornaments.

Isn't this little guy just amazing!! My wonderful friend Barb felted him for me, not knowing that I collect snowmen!!

My friend Martha made this wonderful gem for me! She does the most amazing work with the littlest bits of fabric and paper!!

Of course the back is as wonderful as the front!!

Rhonda created this beautiful piece from a mini tart tin and a little porcelain doll. It is covered with texture and glitter. The baby is holding a glitter covered star and there is a twig branch adorned with stars behind the baby!

I was lucky enough to get two of Martha's creations and this is the second. This one is made from wallpaer that has been painted and stitched on the sewing machine and then collaged. It is very silvery and elegant.

This adorable Bird came form my dear friend Patti. We both love birds!!

Lyn created this gorgeous collage ornament using a papier mache base. Again the front is just as wonderfulas the back!!!

Some things just need to stay out all year long to help to remind us to keep the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts all year long!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Bird ATC's

I am really going to try hard to blog everyday and to write less. I do tend to blather on !
I have jsut finished up some More Bird ATC's for my friend Fiona from Australia. These are part of an ongoing rotatingswap that will be finsihing up in the next couple of weeks.
The shiney black of this silly bird did not photogaraph very well! I just love his expression! He looks as if he has had just a bit too much coffee!!

For each of these ATC's I used leftover pieces of the fabric that I created for the Padfolio gifts. So these are definately mixed media works with handsewing, machine stitching, paper, fabric, beading and stamping on each one!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Art for The NEW YEAR!!

First of all I would like to thank al of you for providing me with an amazing art experience in 2007!! I had no idea what having a blog would do for me nor for my growth as an artist! There I said it!!! I am actually sort of , maybe becoming comfortable with calling myself an artist!! I owe alot of that new found confidence to all of you who visit my blog and leave your comments. It is such an amazing thing to be able to visit with like minded people from all over the world without having to pay the airfare!! Yesterday while I was checking my e-mail , I had a wonderful conversation with a new friend, Ati, in the Netherlands. We exchanged 4 messages within a matter of minutes about fiber arts and fusible webs! How COOL is that!!!!
So Thank you all very much for leaving comments and/or just stopping by just to visit!!
May we all experience a wonderfully fullfilling year of joy and Peace!

I thought that I would share some crazy little bits that I have finally finished up for a swap on Surfac Design. You will NOt BELIEVE what these stampings are made from!! Can you guess???
Would you believe Toilet Paper?? Well, it's true! I took several of my own carved rubber stamps and layered them with wet glued layers of Scotts TP!! Once they began to dry, I peeled them off of the stamps, let them dry completely and then coated both sides of the stamping with Matte Medium. Then I painted each with sparkling H2O's and trimed down the excess tissue. these stampings are now incredibly lightweight and durable and can be added to any sort of project, be it an Altered Book or a Mixed Media Quilt of some sort. Very, very Cool!! I have my friend Michelle, from Surface Design, to thank for inspiring me to try this fun technique!!
Now if I had shown you this picture first, I am sure that many of you would have been able to figure out what I was playing with! This is what the stampings looked like after painting and before trimming!


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