Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beautiful Cursive...

I have long admired the beautiful cursive writing of Lori Vliegen and her lovely, simple style of art journalling.  Being left handed, I gave up cursive writing for a personalized 'cursive' printing back in junior high when we were required to use binders for our notes and the rings interfered with my ability to write.  For some reason, I guess I hold my hand differently to print so I developed a form of joined printing that allowed me to take notes more quickly while avoiding those silly rings.  However, in spite of the fact that I think my hand writing looks okay, I've always wanted to teach myself beautiful, fluid cursive writing.

I decided to take Lori's Letter Lab online class.  It was just the bit of missing info I needed to help me refine my writing.  I've been practising for a few minutes everyday and hopefully in time it will become faster and more my own.

Add all of that to the fact that the last few days I've been feeling unmotivated and somewhat stressed, and in comes this journal page, because...

Monday, April 28, 2014

StencilGirl Blog Hop Featuring Seth Apter's New Releases

Welcome to another fun StencilGirl blog hop stop!  Today I'm using Seth Apter's new stencil called Inside Out for a mixed media encaustic piece.

I started by lightly misting a sanded board (see here re: my use of recycled art boards) and then using Caran D'Ache Neocolor II wax crayons to create the first layer.  Since these are water-soluble crayons, I sprayed the piece with a fixative before adding the first layer of encaustic medium.
Some layers of tissue paper, one on which I had written a quote, were added next.

In my fibre art group, Group of Eight Fibre Artists, we participate in two challenges each year. The current challenge is "Secrets", so although I have another piece I'm doing for the challenge, I thought I'd also use that theme for this piece.

The quote reads, "...there are two types of secrets...the kind you want to keep in, and the kind you don't dare to let out."

Seth's stencil, in addition to having many fabulous design elements, includes the words 'inside', 'out', and 'secret'.  Perfect for the quote right!?

I used oil pastel to add some of the elements from the stencil onto the surface, and then used a heat gun to slightly melt and fuse the pastel with the encaustic medium.

I drew some simple dots with the oil pastel and doodled circles around them with either a permanent black pen or my Signo white pen, again fusing the ink into the wax.

Great news...StencilGirl has a giveaway! 

Two lucky winners will each get a set of Seth Apter's newly released stencils!

All comments left on the hop are eligible for the giveaway so 
the more blogs you comment on, the more chances you will have to win. 
Have fun and GOOD LUCK!

The giveaway will close on Sunday, May 4th at 11:59PM Central Time. 

Please Note: Although this is considered a one day hop, 
you have the ENTIRE week to comment to win the prize.

Note about replies during blog hops: Blogger seems to cut me off at a certain number of replies (no sure how many) and then stops letting me post comments from you. Since I want anyone to have a chance to win the giveaway prizes,  I have decided to only reply if someone asks a direct question.  
Please know that all of your comments are much appreciated.  I do read them all, and I thank you for all of your kind and thoughtful words!

Blog Hop Order

Friday, April 25, 2014

That's Better...

It seems I'm no longer happy with machine stitch on its own. I sat down and added some hand stitch to this piece, along with a some text, and now I think it looks finished. It was a fun little diversion, and now I feel I can get back to the two more labour intensive pieces that I have in process...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Opposites Complete...or not...

On Friday I started this little diversion from the long term fibre pieces I've been working on. I just needed a quick piece that I could do, start to finish, in a couple of days.  I got to the thread doodling the other day, and it was a lot of fun just to randomly doodle the little swirls into the round piece.  For contrast, the square piece has straight lines.  I decided I wanted the circle to be attached to the square so that the edges were still loose and could sit up a bit from the square.

I'm toying with adding some text or paint or ???, but I'm not sure what I want to do yet.  I'll just let it sit and simmer for a while...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Machine Quilting Has Finally Begun...

I've had a lot of distractions lately, but I've finally got down to some machine quilting on this WIP.  Thanks to Anita at Cotton Mill Threadworks*, I was able to get the perfect variegated thread that had the warm grey tones I was looking for to compliment my hand painted fabric.
(*It's the best place to get thread!  If Anita doesn't have it, you probably don't need it.)

Here are a few photos of the machine quilting in progress:

Friday, April 18, 2014


I needed a quick little diversion from some of my ongoing fibre art pieces and I wanted to sew and thread doodle, so I decided to pull out some of my hand dyed fabric and play around with complimentary colours and the concept of opposites.  Here's what I've got started so far - a half square triangle and a circle with some fun curves and swirls.


I'm thinking of some fun stitching, both machine and hand stitch to further the idea of opposites.  Hopefully I'll be able to show you the finished piece soon.

Until then, Dime and I wish you a wonderful Easter weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rusty Encaustic...

I've been exploring encaustic a little more.  The other day, while out walking with Dime, I found a few interesting rusty bits.  Since I have lots of rust dyed fabric and some rust dyed paper towels in my stash, I thought I'd use them for a small encaustic piece.  I started with another of those recycled art boards (see here). My first layer was a rusted paper towel, and then I layered on some strips of rusted cotton and added the found objects and a dried cedar 'tree'.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Repurposing a Quilt...

Many years ago, I designed and made a quilt that was used for the quilt guild's block of the month.  Although I liked the idea of the blocks, I never really liked the little quilt I had made with them.  So, this weekend I decided to repurpose it into an organizational system.

I could have just used it as a dog bed, since as soon as I put it on the floor to snap this picture so I could show you the 'before', Dime walked right over and lay down on it! Silly puppy!

Anyway, the original blocks were 12" blocks so I cut them down to 11.5".  The four blocks used for the outer panels of the bags were trimmed to get rid of any binding, but the four blocks that I used for inner pockets were trimmed so that the binding became the open edge of the pocket.

Since becoming a foster 'mom' for future dog guides, I've been carrying a lot of ziploc bags with puppy needs (paper towels, a collapsible water dish, water bottle, training treats, etc.) as well as the usual contents of a purse.  Now I can organize all of the puppy things into one bag...the pockets are great for finding things quickly, and the second one holds my other 'purse' items.

The final block (the quilt had 9 blocks) became the water bottle holder and a little change purse (which fits nicely inside the larger 'purse' bag).  All of this fits into the larger bag I carry so that now instead of riffling through a bunch of ziploc bags to try to find my wallet or whatever, I can get my hands on things really quickly!

The idea of cutting up a quilt and repurposing it took some getting over, but I'm going to enjoy this quilt so much more now that I'll see it daily and know that it'll keep me organized!

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm Featured on StencilGirl Talk Today...

Please come visit me over on StencilGirl Talk today where I'm using Julie Snidle's Curvy Ladder stencil as I play with some more drywall compound and encaustic medium...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Exploring Encaustic Medium...

I've been wanting to try encaustic for a long time, but for some reason I just kept putting it off.  I think I was a little intimidated by some of the technical 'stuff' even though I've used similar tools and heat for resists, batik, etc.  Anyway, I've got Daniella Woolf's fabulous book and DVD, The Encaustic Studio so I finally pulled them off the shelf, spent time reading and watching and then I felt ready to jump in!

For my substrates, I'm recycling some picture boards (not sure what to call them but you can see them in the picture).  I get them for pennies at a recycling depot in town, so they're perfect.  I sand them, cover them with gesso* and then I'm ready to go (research gesso vs. encaustic gesso if you're planning to do this).

I wanted some heavy texture in this piece, so I pulled out the drywall compound again, and using a stencil I applied a thick layer of compound with my fingers, making it easy to control where I was applying it without having to mask off the stencil.

Needless to say, this needs a bit of time to dry, especially because of the fairly thick application.

I'm now ready to add some collage elements and start playing with the wax medium!
I'd say I still need to work on my use of this medium...a lot!...but, here's my first attempt at encaustic. It's a very interesting medium to explore, but as you can see, I have a ways to go before I get a handle on this. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

April's Calendar...

I can't believe it's already well into April! And fortunately, although it's still quite cold, the snow is slowly melting and there are some definite signs of Spring.

I'm a little behind in my art journal calendar, but I finally got the spread done and coloured in, following the awesome idea from Joanne Sharpe in her online course Draw Your Awesome Year.  This is a fun idea for journalling, and luckily I write very small so I can still document a fair bit inside these fun number spaces.

The transition from black and white to colour is always fun.  Once those bright colours are on the page it just seems to pop.
(sorry for the 'black out' suggests I might lead a more exciting life than I really do, LOL. I just can't reveal a secret that's not mine to tell!)
 We've had a lot of rain one would expect in April, and my purple crocuses have peeked out among the dirty snow drifts so I just had to add them to the page.  And with Easter coming there just has to be a cute, fluffy little chick.

I used my Caran d'Ache Neocolor II to colour this page. Since a lot of the areas were small, I found it easier to scribble on my craft mat, and then use my water brush to activate and pick up the pigment for 'painting' on the page.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Embellishing the Text...

I last posted about this piece here, when I had added the text using painted fusible web. Well, I've finally found my way back to it (life's been getting in the way!) and I've now finished another step in the process. I've layered the batting under the top (no backing yet), and free motion stitched around all of the text to outline it.

As you can see, I've also begun the hand stitching on the text to add a little more texture and interest.  So far I've just finished the first word, but I'll catch up on some TV listening and hopefully get all of this stitching done in the next few days.  I'm using one of my hand dyed cotton threads for the stitching. Once all of the hand stitching is done, I'll add the backing and then finish the machine quilting.  By doing it this way, any 'messiness' that may result on the back from my hand stitching will be covered!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Dog's Life...

Today's post is a look back at the life of a wonderfully special family pet, our beautiful Golden Retriever, Casey. Sadly, she left us a couple of weeks ago, but as I looked through all of my photos of her, I just had to share a few (okay, more than a few...but you can stop looking any time).

Casey was an adorable puppy who loved to play hard, get dirty, and thankfully swim (which cleaned her up nicely).

She was a wonderfully gentle, loving soul and great companion to all her friends, two legged and four legged!

Her favourite place was at our cottage, where she conveniently forgot how to drink from a bowl in favour of walking chest deep into the lake for her drinks, and a bit of a swim!  She loved boat rides and snoozing on the dock or the deck!

And she'd even car sit when my friend Heather came up to the cottage!