Monday, April 29, 2013

Wise Words...

I love this quote from Winnie the Pooh, and when Kim's challenge this week was to use 'wise words' this immediately came to mind.  I've used some photos shot this week of Arbour and Casey, but I've also dipped into the archives to pull out shots of Spencer (we lost him to kidney disease a couple of years ago) and some of the oldies from when they were just young'uns.

As you can see, our dog, Casey, loves her cats.  When we first got Arbour she was so tiny I worried that Casey would accidentally crush her, but she was always so careful.  Arbour loved to snuggle in her 'arms' and that centre shot where Casey is looking at her like a loving mother is one of my favourites!  Now Arbour tends to sleep in my studio on whatever I'm trying to work on LOL, but she also loves to cuddle with the teddy bears on our antique settee.

Spencer was our 'puppy cat'.  He seemed to identify more with Casey than Arbour and although they all got along well, he preferred to be with Casey whenever he could.  I love the shot of them cuddling on our bed as well as the shot of the two of them on their respective steps.  As you can see in the bottom row, when he was sleeping alone, he had an odd way of lying with his butt raised up...too funny!

To quote my husband, "I'm going to have a little nap 'cause it's too early to start doing nothing..."

Hope you all find time to have a little snooze of your own today.  Siesta time is way underrated!

For those of you interested in the processing, I created the collage in Lightroom's Print module and then added the text and textures in Photoshop Elements. Here's a screen shot of what I did in Photoshop Elements:

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A New Series in Progress...

I've started a new series of work which will be matted in 12" x 12" mats, with an 8" square 'window' in the mat, ready to be framed.  I've been playing with my Gelli plate to create some mono prints on pieces of an old denim shirt I inherited from my husband because the sleeve were too short for him.  I'm  adding various other elements, including rust dyed fabric, machine lace which I made using water soluable stabilizer, pieces of silk fusion and some batiks from my stash.  Here are a couple of them ready to be quilted and hand embroidered.  
Time to go listen to some TV...

Saturday, April 27, 2013


 Here are a couple of close ups of this work in progress.  I had no idea how much embroidery floss you go through making French knots!  I've been separating the floss into 3 strands to get a nice big knot, and I've already gone through an entire skein of floss!  I'm not even half way through making all of the French knots I want on this piece, but  fortunately the variegated green is one I dyed myself, so I can make more.  

I'm off to get my hands green...I know I should wear gloves, but I just find them so awkward and hot!  Good thing I don't have to be anywhere in the next couple of days!

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'm Featured Today...

I've been featured on The Needle and Thread Network today.  Please visit their blog and while you're there you can learn about a lot of other fabulous Canadian fibre artists as well!

Taking Another Creative Jumpstart

I had a couple of minutes last night, so I took another look at one of Nat's Creative Jumpstart ideas.  She used gloss gel medium as a resist by using a stencil and then when the gloss medium was dry she sprayed it with some spray inks.

Although my stencil was giving me trouble (very flimsy plastic, not best suited for this), I quite like the end result.  Because the medium had leaked under the stencil, I used my Uniball Vision waterproof pen to outline the features of the stencil as well as the entire medium marks.  That's the only pen I found worked really well on the gloss medium.

With greater care and a better stencil, I think this technique is fabulous for some lovely texture and shine!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Journey Continues...

A couple of weeks ago, I started a journal (you can see the first post here), and today I have finally finished the second spread.  The journey is all about thinking positive thoughts and moving forward on a healing journey.  I can't think of a better way to do that than through art!

You can see a couple of the stages the page went through as I worked on it.  I just love seeing the transformation as colour and shading is added to the page.

I use a 0.005 Micron to do the actually journalling on the page once the art is done.

My writing is super tiny, but it allows me to get a lot of thoughts onto the page and work through the many things I've been reading and thinking about.  I also like the added texture that the background text gives the page.  It's a great way to make a pretty looking spread (if I do say so myself) while keeping the 'heavier' underlying text from taking over the page.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Winston Churchill

A few weeks ago, while in Toronto, I took these shots of the Winston Churchill statue.  I love this quote by the great man!

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Beautiful Napkins" Swap

In a recent art journal spread, inspired by a class in 21 Secrets by Cathy Bluteau, I used some flowers in my collage which I had cut out of napkins.  You can see the original napkins in the photo to the right, and how they were used in the close up shots below. 
Although they are a wonderful source of lovely collage elements, it gets expensive to have to buy a whole package and only use one or two images in your arts, so...  

I've decided to hold a "Beautiful Napkin Swap" of napkins that have flowers or birds on them.  What I would ask everyone to do, is go out and buy a package of pretty napkins that have either birds or flowers (or both) on them.  Take one of the napkins out to keep for yourself, and then mail the rest of the package to me.  I will gather all of them up, divide them among all of the participants, and mail you a mixed package of assorted beautiful napkins.  If you're interested, please send me an email (click on 'view my complete profile' at the right, under my profile picture and then click on the email link under my picture on the next page that comes up).  Once I get your email I will send you all of the details, including where to send your napkins.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Machine Doodling on steps...

I finished the next stage of this piece (you can see the first post about it here) so that I'd be able to take it with me and work on the hand stitching while sitting in the hospital with my aunt.  I used Tsukineko ink in black and spring green.  When using these inks on fabric, they need to be heat set with a hot dry iron!

The next step is to add lots of French knots in the green and then decide what to do with the white areas.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Doodling Your Way...

I'm really enjoying the online lessons in '21 Secrets'.  This journal spread was inspired by the lessons of Cathy Bluteau.  It involves using collage and doodle and it was a lot of fun to pull out some of the little stickers, homemade washi tape, etc. to add some extra layers.  Some of the flowers came from beautiful napkins I've collected over time, as well as a birthday card my Mom gave me this year.  I wish that you could buy those beautiful napkins individually instead of having to buy a whole pack.  They often have such pretty flowers on them and they're perfect for collage!  I've also started collecting interesting elements from flyers and much easier than having to store the entire magazine!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pick-Up Sticks

I was in the mood for some piecing so I pulled out the fabric I had dyed while doing my Easter eggs and I started cutting very thin strips.  I used the blue as my background and in addition to the other brights from my Egg colouring leftover dye, I pulled out other interesting brights, stripes, etc.
The strips were cut 5/8th of an inch wide, allowing for scant 1/4" seams as I pieced.  I started by randomly cutting the blue into two pieces and then inserting one of the narrow strips.  Because of how narrow the strips were, I found it necessary to press each seam before I could proceed.  After inserting the first strip, I randomly made another cut to the piece and added a second strip.  You want to start with a piece that's a bit wider than you hope to end with because each time you add a strip you are loosing almost 1/2 an inch and only gaining a very narrow strip (about 3/8th of an inch)

Here's what the piece looks like so far.  Now I'm going to add some machine quilting and maybe some hand stitch.  I have no idea where I'm going with this piece...just playing for now.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Machine Doodling on White

I was doodling on paper and suddenly thought 'what if...' so I used my light table to transfer the design to some white fabric and then I machine sketched over my pencil lines with black thread.  My plan is to do some painting and then hand stitch to add texture.  I'll share as it progresses...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrate Spring..

Every the optimist,  in spite of ice storms and resulting power outages because of all of the trees and branches that came down, I am celebrating Spring... because I know that one day it will come!

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Look Around...

This journal spread was inspired by Carissa Paige's "21 Secrets" lessons.  I had fun just freely laying down colour and then drawing/scribbling over it with Inktense pencils.  I love that the Inktense becomes permanent once wet and then dried so that you can go ahead and add more layers over top.  Carissa's idea of using photos of yourself and then painting over them was fun and since I had a photocopy of my profile pic (which I had used to help me draw my face for the painted portrait I did a few days ago), I decided just to use the glasses and my eyes since my message was all about looking around and seeing what's around you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Treasure Map

"Searching for Serenity" is the treasure map art quilt that resulted from a funny bit of dupioni silk that my friend Heather gave me a few years back after she had done some dyeing.  It was actually her wipe up cloth, and the colours and shapes in it called to me to do some hand stitching.  If you'd like to know more about it's progress, you can read about it here (original post showing the dye stained silk), here (showing the extensive hand stitching), and here (where I posted about adding the machine stitching).  

As I completed the the machine stitching, the hand stitched areas seemed to rise from the surface and I watched as a treasure map emerged.  Jean noticed this too, and even commented on it in a previous post!  Free motion pebbling was used to add additional depth and texture, allowing the islands to rise from the sea, and the sea to flow out into the border of the quilt before changing to a linear echo of the flowing water.  I did free motion machine embroidery on water soluble stabilizer to create the pirate ship and the compass rose.  The island names are small metallic pieces with words engraved into them, including the word Serentity...the ultimate destination.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

First Attempt at a Painted Portrait...

This week I've been participating in Kat McBride's free online class "Let's Draw and Paint Fabulous Faces".  Kat breaks down the process and makes it very do-able (for someone like me who has never painted a face before!).  The class was intended (I think) to teach us to paint semi-realistic 'beautiful girls' for use in our art journals, etc. but never being one to start easy, I decided to try a self portrait.  Well, I don't see a future in portrait painting, but I had fun.  I seem to have grown a bit of a Jay Leno chin. LOL

I played around in Photoshop to see if I could do away with the extra long chin.  ;o)

I think my next effort will be a more whimsical 'pretty girl'...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Threadworks Fibre Art Show: April 20 - June 4

I'm thrilled to announce that my piece, "Ode to Dr. Seuss" has been accepted into Threadworks, a juried fibre art show.

This piece was made with machine felting, hand embroidery and beading, free motion quilting, three dimensional fish and a nod and a wink to Dr. Seuss.  You see, there are two fish, each about 4 inches long and heavily beaded.  One fish is red, the other blue.

Threadworks is a juried exhibition of needle arts, and the theme of this year's show is "Water".

The show runs from April 20 to June 9 at the Wellington County Museum and Archives in Fergus, ON and then will spend the next three years traveling to museums and galleries across Ontario.

Threadworks is a special project of Ontario Network of Needleworkers' in association with Wellington County Museum and Archives.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Without Light There is no Shadow...

Bonnie's challenge this week over at Photo Art Friday is 'shadows and/or light' so I had to use an image which I had taken a couple of summers ago.  I had been out walking the dog in the late evening (although I'm not sure where Casey is...?) and my long shadow just caught my attention.  Thank goodness for iPhones!

 Here are the components I used:

         Original image        PDPA-Antique Farewell        PDPA-Gauze Sheers                 PDPA-Ma Belle 2

This next image is of an African Hammerkopf that I shot while visiting the Toronto zoo back in October.  This is straight out of the camera.  I just love the light and shadow in this shot and knew it didn't need anything else.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Back to the Beginning...

On Saturday I posted about the first inside spread of the new journal I have begun.  Since then, I have been working on doing the outside cover.  I created the tree because of a wonderful quote I found that says, 'Storms make trees take deeper roots." Trees, to me, also symbolize strength and stability and they can be so interesting and majestic!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tulips Two Ways...

 For this weeks 2-For eDition, in addition to using two textures on the image I'd also do two different images, in two different ways.  I was intrigued by these purple tulips and the fact that one still looked so beautiful while all of the others had dropped their petals so I took this shot, and as I was processing it this quote came to perfect for that one tulip to hang in there in spite of what was happening around it.  :o)

The second image is another colour palette.  I just about went crazy making it because my colour squares kept coming up sort of soft and almost pastel and it just wasn't right.  I actually deleted all of the layers and started again...Note to self:  Make sure brush is at 100% opacity before stamping! :P

If you're interested in the steps I used for processing, you can see the screen shots of each image below.

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, and Sweet Shot Tuesday

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Just The Right Inspiration

For a few weeks now, I've been meaning to create a journal to record my thoughts as I work through a book called Healing From Trauma by Jasmin Lee Cori (which I highly recommend if you're looking for this sort of book).  Anyway, I hadn't quite decided on the format I wanted to use until my friend Kathie told me about Valerie Sjodin's art journalling.  Valerie is an incredible artist and she has created a number of stunningly beautiful art journals.  This gave me a jumping off point.  I loved the idea of some interesting edges and flaps as well as little pages within the bigger ones.  

Once I had the journal bound, I got started on the first spread.  I've decided to call it 'a healing journey', so the journey begins with that first spread.  I've mentioned in the past that it is my goal to do Art Every Day because I find it very relaxing and even healing at time.  Today was no exception.  As I started working on the page, thinking about things as I worked, I felt the burning need to start journalling.

I stopped working on the overall spread so that I could quickly finish the lower left area in which I knew I wanted to do some journalling so that I could get my thoughts down on the page.

Once I had written down my thoughts, I got back to finishing the rest of the page.

I incorporated part of a map into the top of the page and drew a bicycle to represent my other passion, cycling, which is another vehicle (no pun intended) for allowing myself to work through issues when I just need some 'zen' time to burn energy and think.  Those endorphins do wonders!

Here's the finished spread: