Sunday, September 20, 2015

EXPERIMENTATION: What the heck am I doing?

I ran away this weekend to play and experiment. I started with fusible web, ink, a syringe, and some water. Guess what I am doing with these wet and wild creations....
Stay tuned next week for the results. 

Have a great week....

Sunday, September 6, 2015

CHALLENGE: Mystery Material

I often talk about my Art Quilt Group and our monthly challenges.  On our schedule three times this year is incorporating a 'mystery material' provided by one of the members.  A couple of months ago our mystery material was these vintage crocheted stars provided by Jackie.
I decided to rebel a little and make a textile necklace instead of an art quilt. One of my favorite things to 'pin' on Pinterest is textile jewelry. Click for my Fashion- Textile Jewelry board. As I began to plan my necklace, I decided just a bit more rebellion was needed and dyed the stars to match the colors I wear most frequently. Here is the before and after:
I used three strands of book binding waxed cord and sewed a zigzag stitch all of the way down to create the foundation cord. This is one of my favorite techniques! 
To mark felted wool circles so the embroidery stitches were evenly spaced, I used appliqué pins as markers. 
There is thin felted wool between the two stars. 
For the spacer beads, I used plastic pony beads and wrapped silk ribbon around them. 
Already I am wearing this necklace LOTS! It is quickly becoming a favorite. 

If you are looking for more inspiration for textile jewelry, there is a list on TAFA: TAFA Gift Guide: Fiber and Textile Jewelry
 If you are unfamiliar with TAFA, it is The Textile and Fiber Art List is a membership association of handmade traditional and contemporary textiles and fiber businesses. TAFA’s members may exhibit, sell, and teach. Here is their homepage: TAFA.

For me, school starts tomorrow; I am looking forward to being back with the students.  Wish me luck!

Until next week....

Sunday, August 30, 2015


The quarterly challenge that was due at the end of June for my 12x12 group was 'Leaves'.  I was initially excited about it because I wanted to try a technique one of you members, Karrie, showed me.  You take an Oliver Twist "One Off" and make a tree out of it .  Here is a picture of a "One Off".  You lay it out in tree form and stitch.  (Side note- I also love, love, love the Oliver Twist thread shown in the photo.  It quilts wonderfully.)  Another note- I did not have a "One Off" in the color I needed, so I created my own from fibers in my stash. Last note, when I look back at Karrie's tree, I begin to see where I began to go off track; hers is free-flowing and artsy.

I got to this point and my work just did not speak to me (in fact it was yelling some bad stuff at me). At this point, I was already late on the challenge, so I decided to experiment.

Next I used Tombow markers and drew around the trunk and branches and spray it with water.
I made leaves out of used teabags and used a combo of Tombow markers and Dye-Na-Flow to color them.  Still not loving it yet....
Finally, I painted polka-dots on the leaves.  
This is now a piece I can live with- still not one of my favorites!

What do you do when your art is not going in the direction you would like?

Remnants: Quilt Stand
Mt husband and I were recently visiting the Northern Michigan and its fabulous wineries.  We stopped at a quilt shop (of course!) and hubby found this quilt stand for me to rotate my 12x12 quilts. Here is the website for it, it is called a table stand.

Enjoy! Kathy

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Last week I talked about an experimentation journal that I began.  One of my first experiment was from an article called "Teabag Trail" and the photo in the article looked like teabags sewn together. Well, I didn't read the article, just set it aside and began collecting teabags;  all winter long, when I drank a cup of tea I harvested the bag. The day I sat down to read the article, I realized it was about tea dyeing and not using the actual teabag. I was already invested in the teabags so I decided to play with the teabags and have not stopped; in fact, I ran out of teabags and went through my tea stash to create used teabags. Here is my monster load drying outside. 
I love giving a homemade card and I created many using the teabags.
Briefly, here are the steps I used to create my greeting cards:
  1. I have found that once you use the teabag, do not let it fully dry, take it apart when it is still slightly damp. 
  2. Iron the teabag before you begin marking on it.
  3. Draw on the teabag with a soft-leaded pencil.
    4.   Use a non-permanent fabric marker to draw around the edge of the design. I love Tombow markers.
    5. Using a wet paintbrush, paint along the inner edge of the fabric marker to let it bleed.
6.  Adhere the teabag to unbleached muslin using misty fuse. 
7.  Free motion sew around the edges
8.  Spray teabag shapes with a sealing spray
9.  Cut shapes out and adhere to your card

Below is my Teabag Card Gallery:
Do you make cards for family and friends' special occasions?

Remnants: 117,000,000 Girls Gone
I was reading one of my favorite magazines, Down Under Textiles, Issue 19, 2015, and it talked about Janice Appleton who was shocked when she read that the United Nations estimates there are 117,000,000 girls missing throughout the world with most of them from China and India.  Janice jumped into action and is collecting one million teabag tags to help visualize the enormity of the situation. She is going to create an art installation from these teabag tags to be displayed in 2016.

Here is Janice's Facebook page: 117,000,000 Girls Gone.

Have you ever been so disturbed by something that you jumped into action?

Next Week:  What to make when you are given these lovely vintage crocheted stars?  I will show you my take...
Enjoy your week!  Kathy

Sunday, August 9, 2015

EXPERIMENTATION: Keeping a Experimentation Journal

At work, both employees and students are encouraged to take Gallup's StrengthQuest  If you are unfamiliar with  StrengthQuest,  it is an on-line assessment , when completed you'll receive a customized report that lists your top five talent themes with suggestions how you can use your talents to achieve success. 

My top five strengths are Individualization, Activator, Positivity, Arranger, and Learner. People who have the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve.  In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

I am definitely that Learner; I am always looking to explore and experiment with new techniques and I have PILES of things I want to delve deeper into. Below is a stack of magazine articles that I have saved of techniques that I want to learn more about. The problem is that I am not always willing to experiment on a larger piece of art; my schedule doesn't allow a lot of time for do-overs when experiment fails. 

This summer I have found a way to go after my inspiration; I have made time to experiment and created an Experiment Journal.
When I am saving articles, I have a folder for my Experiment Journal. 
The most important change that I have made is that each Friday afternoon is my experiment and play day.  I play with small-scale pieces while making notes of trials and successes.  
If I want to keep the actual article from the publication, I tape the lower half of two pages together to create a pocket (the green tape above).
Now, I have a visual catalog of techniques that I can incorporate into my work. 

Do you like to experiment?  Where do you get your inspirations?

Going hand-in-hand with learning is my passion for creative magazines. Over the next few months, I will share some of my favorite magazines. One of my favorite magazines is In-fusion, an e-mag from Dale Rollerson who owns The Thread Studio in Perth, Australia. I have learned a great deal from Dale and her magazine is the same. It is a quarterly magazine; each quarter there is a theme that ties the articles together, this quarter's theme is "Liquorice Allsorts Edition(and it is yummy). 

You can subscribe to her magazine from her website, She has a taster on her website that you can check out: I encourage you to give it a try, it is well worth the money. Below are a few of my experiments inspired either by an article in In-fusion or an on-line class:

What is your favorite magazine?

NEXT TIME: If you are wondering about the two techniques showcased above, stop by next week when I show you my teabag creations using Tombow markers

Have a great week! Kathy