Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday (Hydrangas)

I am so ready for spring. These hydrangas are from my yard last summer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday (Vegas Mirror)

We were in Las Vegas a year ago for Art and Soul Retreat.  We stayed at Ranch.  This mirror was across from the elevator on our floor.  I found this very inspiring, so took photos of it.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Cluttered Studio is a sign of...

“If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind,
what is the significance of a clean desk?”
Dr. Laurence J. Peter
Sharing my studio... Does Dr. Lawrence Peter's quote directly correlate to a messy studio and creativity? Hmmmm...

I cherish anytime that I can spend time in my studio. I often dream of having a spacious studio with endless shelves and large windows to bring in more sunlight. I say, "If I had a bigger studio, it would not be as messy." HA! Who am I trying to fool?!

Actually, there are many things I love about my space (which is a guest room in our home):
  • I have a view of my street and can enjoy looking at my neighbors go about their day
  • I am right across the hall from the bedroom- easy to crawl to bed
  • My kitties and dogs love to come and sleep there while I am working
  • AND of course, all of my treasures- fabric, beads, charms, and on and on
Now there is slight problem with my studio at this point; at the beginning of my summer break from teaching, I had big plans to really get it organized. I have made some progress- but it has far to go! Right now it is at its height of disorganization.

Check back next Tuesday to see if I have made progress!

What do you think? Is a cluttered studio a sign of a creative person?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When in doubt, dip it in dye!

See that any time you feel pained or defeated, it is only because you insist on clinging to what doesn't work. Dare to let go and you won't lose a thing except for a punishing idea.
Guy Finley
Last fall when I was on our annual quilt guild's retreat, I bought a couple 'jelly rolls' of fabric. Excited to have cut fabric, I got home and put together a sweatshirt jacket (my favorite things to wear!) Once it was pieced and quilted, I just did not care for how it looked. What to do? What to do? This is what the fabric looked like:
I took the plunge (literally) and threw it in a bucket of red dye. When I pulled it out- I liked it- I really liked it! I decided to add purple cuffs (also dipped in the red dye) and topped it off with a couple of Dorset buttons. And presto-chango...I have a new fashion favorite! What do you think?
Have you ever finished something that you did not like the finished product? What did you do?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rusting Fabric?

Every great inspiration is but an experiment.
Charles Ives

What I worked on over the weekend..... For a very long time I have wanted to learn to dye my own fabrics; the problem is that I am not sure where to begin.  Lately, there have been lots of magazine articles about natural dyes and natural methods of dyeing with objects.

 I receive the Australian magazine 'Embellish' (a wonderful magazine for textile artists!) , which includes many articles about shibori techniques. In Issue #2, there was an article about using bottle caps to create cloth.  One of the first steps in the instructions is to place your prepared bottle caps wrapped in fabric into caustic soda.  It mentions that this is something that you can find in the laundry soap aisle at your grocers. This seems not to be true in the United States; I have looked at grocery, big box hardware, family hardware, and farm supply stores- all with no avail.  I am going to Amish country in a couple of weeks and will try there!
So, I decided to put my fabric with rubber-banded bottle caps in salt water.  Every day, I poured boiling water over the top.  After a week, the only rusting I had was on the edges of the caps (Yes, I was impatient and only gave it a week).  I have removed the bottle caps and you see the end product at the top of this blog AND I love it!
Bottle caps wrapped in fabric
I am not stopping there, I have now purchased muriatic acid to soak the bottle caps; hopefully this will take the sealant off the caps so I can have fully rusted fabric on the next go-round.

Bottle Caps Soaking in Salt Water
Stay tuned for further bottle cap dyeing.

Have you ever tried any natural dyeing techniques? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and 
your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace. 
Kent Nerburn

I am part of an art quilt group that is part of my quilting guild;  each month we are given a topic and we create a mini quit using different techniques for the following month.The topic for my October/November Art Quilt Group is 'Harvest'. I created this  free-standing mini wheat filed that is made from an old butter-yellow linen business suit (I'm cleaning closets!). 

I pulled cross grain threads, tied wire to sets of 8 strands and then wrapped the straight of grain threads to create the stalk. The wheat was free-motion quilted on silk and then wired pulled through the back. 
I finished by placing wire around the bottom to help it stand up on its own.  Can you tell I had fun?

Do you belong to some type of art quilt group?  How do they inspire you?

Friday, February 3, 2012

On a whim...

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

-Roger Caras

It is a lazy weekend at our house before my husband . Yesterday, I decided to hang in my studio and made this brooch. I wanted something fun and you think I made my goal?

I used one of my favorite materials and also tried a something new. One of my favorite things to use is The Caron Collection Wildflowers Embroidery Thread; I probably have about 50 different colors. I call it my 'go to' thread because it is always the first collection of thread that I will 'audition' when I am beginning a project. I love both their color palette and the thread weight/texture.

The something new that I used was the Floriani's Stitch and Shape Double Sided Fusible Stabilizer. I believe that it is mainly to make vessel-type objects, but I found it terrific to make the pin. It it light-weight, but stiff and I liked how I could form the petals, once it was sewn. This stabilizer is definitely on my use again list!

Have you ever made something on impulse?