Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Silk Vases

With the upcoming holiday season, I am preparing for the one sale that I take part in each year.  I am fortunate to be part of a group of artists and our eclectic work is displayed and sold before the holidays in a collective show.  It is the time of year that I open my sketch book and look through the zillion ideas that I have written down and pick a few quick projects that I have been thinking about.  Since my mind is a continuous mindstream of ideas, it isn't usually too difficult to narrow it down to a few choice projects.  This post is about the last project that I completed before the sale next weekend.  With these little things out of my system, I will soon be turning my sights to something more challenging and time consuming.

These vases have a base of Fast 2 Fuse and are covered with Silk dupioni.  The fibers that I couched are hand dyed from bundles of "Oliver Twists" that are made by someone in the UK.  And the inside is lined with my hand dyes from the summer.

Inside I added a glass vase from the local craft store and voila! - a vase.

In an effort to use what I had on hand, I selected silk that I thought went will with the oliver twists that I already had and I came up with the following combinations.


The inside of this one has a commercial print that looks like a screen print.  A friend told me it reminded her of a willow tree.
This silk is crosswoven with lavender in one direction and turquoise green in the other so it changes color as you move around it.  Again, the inside is lined with one of my hand dyes.

Finally, this one is also cross woven with hot pink and emerald green.  All of the vases are approximately 8 1/2 inches high and 3 1/2 inches on each side.  

This was a fast project adapted from the Fast, Fun and Easy Fabric Vases book that I purchases a while back.  If they sell great, if not I am sure they will make great gifts or will be a functional place to hold my paintbrushes and rulers.  

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jersey Shore

I have been going to the Jersey Shore since I was a little kid.  My family would spend a week at Wildwood Crest playing in the sand, surf and on the boardwalk.  It was a traditional vacation but we always had a great time at the beach.  I still live in New Jersey and the recent superstorm Sandy has really taken a toll on us here.  Luckily, I live in the northwest corner of the state and aside from slight damage to our house and a brief power outage we fared pretty well.

Ironically, I was at the shore for the day this past September and spent quite a bit of time collecting the pretty shells and stones that I just love.  I have been doing this since I was a kid too.  I had already begin my shell and stone collages before the storm but, they have taken on a certain importance as I sit and hand stitch while I am glued to the grim news reports that air around the clock.

These collages are each 8" x8" overall and the actually fabric is 6" X 6".  My photo editing skills are sketchy at times.  The bases are cotton batik and a silk burlap type fabric that I quilted.  Then each little square was fused and stitched on.  Finally I embellished with shells, stones, lace, ribbon, buttons and machine and hand stitching.  

Here is a close up of the piece mounted on blue canvas.  I find it very calming to just look at a small area and work on only those few square inches as a time.  Then I move to the next area and work on that.  It was a good project to work on when I was feeling overwhelmed by the storm, the aftermath and now the worsening situations in our area.

Here is a close up of the blue batik piece that is mounted on the yellow ochre canvas.  They look nice together since the fabrics coordinate.  My favorite thing about them is the individuality of each little square as it fits into one cohesive piece.

One last close up as we all keep the people who have lost so much in our thoughts.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Something Out of My Ordinary

As a habit, I don't generally do a lot of representational work.  I love working in the abstract and I love making collages that are randomly arranged.   However, every once in a while I get an idea that sticks long enough for me to do something with it.  This simple piece actually has some more interesting aspects to it, so I thought I would share it with you.


The blue background is hand dyed cotton that I did using a low water immersion technique.  The table at the bottom is a collection of black and white batiks that I had.  I put Mistyfuse on the back of the batiks, cut them with a wavy blade rotary cutter and fused them together to make a more interesting texture for a table.


The stems and leaves were also done by fusing small pieces of randomly arranged green fabrics.  It adds a whimsical feel to the piece, while still being representational.  The petals were a variety of yellow batiks and almost solids, which gives the flowers a more realistic look - since flower petals can sometimes appear varied in color when they catch the light.    The vase is a red batik that I quilted in such a way as to add dimension.

Here is a closer look at the flowers with the varied yellow fabrics.  Also, you can see the loop-de-loop free motion quilting in the background to keep the fun feel of the piece.  The borders were made with a different red batik and solid black quilters cotton.  Overall, I am happy with the quilt even though it is our of my usual vein of work.  Which is why I call my studio "Random Acts of Piece", because sometimes even I am not sure what will come out of there.

As an aside, I also put together this quick project using black quilters cotton and some silk yarn that I purchased at a quilt show.  The vase inside I picked up at our town wide garage sales in September and it was in a "free" box.  It was a pretty non-descript clear glass vase but, I knew that I could use it for a functional project.

The silk is sort of frayed and textured so it adds some dimension.  The vase on the inside is about half an inch shorter than the fabric piece that conceals it.  Once you add flowers, you can't see it.

I ran the silk along the seamed corners and top edge to help give the vase extra sturdiness.  The fabric is fused to Timtex so it will hold its shape.  Quick, easy and functional.

Thanks for visiting the blog.  Feel free to leave a comment.  My next post will include shells and stones that I collect at the Jersey shore.  As I work on it, I can't help but think of the people who lost so much and are still struggling down there.  I hope to finish it soon before the power is restored in the rest of the state and I have to return to work.  Although a little normalcy would be very welcome here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fortune Cookie Purse

Hello there, and welcome to my first attempt at a tutorial of sorts.  Usually I just take pictures of my projects at the end but today I made this little purse in about an hour and I took pictures along the way.  I hope you will give it a try - it is a fun project.

This is the final product.  It is a small purse that holds just enough for those nights that you're going out but don't want to carry your usual carry-on luggage sized handbag.

I started with a piece of fabric that I bought with no intention of doing anything in particular with.  This is a Ricky Timms design.  I cut it about 13 1/2 by 13 1/2 square, added Warm and White cotton batting and black Kona cotton as a lining fabric.  Then I quilted it using a walking foot.
After it was quilted, I used a 12 1/2 inch platter that was in my dining room cabinet and traced around the outside.

Cut it out.
Fold it in half and use chalk to mark a line right down the center.
Cut it on the line.

Next I added a zipper.  I picked the colorful fabric because I already had a bright green zipper that would go with it.  My goal was to not leave the house.

Attach the zipper to the other side.  Pin it this time so the sides are even.

Press it flat with a lot of steam and then I did two rows of top stitching so the zipper would never get caught in the fabric.  I HATE when that happens.


Sew around the curved edge and then either serge the edge or zig zag stitch it so it doesn't fray.  Br sure to open the end of the zipper a little so you can get your hand in there and so you don't stitch the zipper shut and have to take out your seam ripper.  I HATE that too.

Turn it inside out and press it.

Cut a piece of fabric 2" by 18" or so.  Fold it in half and press it.  Then open it up and fold in the two raw edges to the center, press them.  Finally press the two folded edges to they meet and Voila!  a 1/2 wide strip of sturdy matching loops for your bag.  Cut the strip into one 5" long piece and one 13" (or so) piece.  The 5" piece is shown here.

Sew across the bottom with about a 3/8" seam allowance.

Next you have to open the bag up and line up the loops on the side seam.  This is a little bulky but if you use a 90 or larger needle you should have not problem.  I then stitched across the bottom the loop where the seam allowances are and again above the raw ends to reduce the chance of any fraying.

Take the long loop and put it through the small loop and you can carry it in your hand or as a wristlet.  I think it would also be a great little girl purse.  I personally never wear black, it makes me look tired.  But if I had a little black dress, I would carry this bag with it.  

I hope you will take a stab at my little purse.  It was fun to make, used less than 2 fat quarters of fabric and has a lot of possibilities.  For example, I would love to make it in randomly pieced strips, dupioni silk with couched silk cord, batiks, hand dyed, oh the mental list goes on and on.  I will post some of the possibilities as they arrive.  

Thanks for reading and feel free to let me know how I did on my first tutorial or ask questions if you decide to try this fortune cookie purse.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Scrapbooking Meets Quilting

This year my husband and I were fortunate to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  We decided to  take a trip to someplace neither of us had ever been - Paris, France.  It was a wonderful 9 day trip and we took a ton of pictures.  I thought about printing them and making a scrapbook, then I looked at the scrapbooks of years past and realized that I hardly ever looked at them.  So, instead I decided to print the pictures on fabric and make a quilt to commemorate our trip and our anniversary.


The background and outside border are cotton batiks while the tower and inside border or black Kona cotton.  I used a background that was neutral with pale Fleur-de-Lis motifs and a border that was structural like the Eiffel Tower itself.

I free motion quilted it in swirls which just felt Parisian and wavy lines on the borders.  I then added vintage mother of pearl buttons on the corners to give it a  little bling that kept with my vintage sepia look.  That top picture was taken by an Italian tourist from Trocadero.

I used printable fabric and adjusted my pictures to 1 1/4 X 1 1/4 inches each.  I also made them in sepia tone because it made it look old - maybe older than the 25 years we have spent together but, that was the idea anyway.


Here is a close up that shows the quilting, the buttons, the pictures and the inside border.  The luster of the buttons really adds to the look of the finished piece.

Finally, here is the subtle fleur-de-lis batik that I just love.  I got it at Batiks, Etc.  I was very  happy when it arrived because the internet image was true to color.

So thanks for stopping by and checking out my work.  My advice to you is that if you ever get the chance to go to Paris - GO!  It is a beautiful city - and I am a country girl so that is saying something!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saluting the Flag

A while back I purchased a Gelli Plate.  I hadn't used it and it was on my list of things to play with over the summer.  So, one day when I had a get together with my friend we pulled out our plates and made a whole pile of painted papers.  I used inexpensive craft paint that I had on hand and a few metallics and I was thrilled with the process and very happy to have a whole pile of papers to play with.  What to do with those papers?  I decided that I would cut them up and make a flag book since I had been wanting to try that too.  So here is my first flag book, with no particular theme but a whole bunch of my gelli monoprinted papers.
The cover was made with a paper that looks fine all in one piece.

The inside covers and flags were made with the monoprinted pages and some scrapbook papers and other random things from my stash.

I like how you can stand it on end and flare out the flags.  It just makes it more interesting.

I liked the first one so much that I went on to make another.  For this one I used some papers that I had painted with a method that I learned with Jane Davies while at the CREATE Retreat in Somerset, NJ.

The cover has some punched painted paper with some organza ribbon and buttons.  The ribbon goes around the whole book and acts as a closure.

The flags were also random, I started a third one, still in progress with a theme.  I just liked the way the colors came together.  

Again, standing on end adds a bit of fun to the book.

And makes it look interesting from above.

The ribbon wraps around the book and ties at the opening when you want it to be shut.

Thanks for checking out the latest projects.  I have a few more in the works and hope to have them completed and blogged soon.  Feel free to leave a comment or question.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Studio Time and Quilting

I am sure that I am like most of you out there - full time job, house, spouse, other responsibilities.  The kids are grown so I can check that off of my to do list (most of the time).  With all the other things that usurp my time, I thought of a little saying that I liked so much I wanted to hang it in my studio.

Dimensions: 11" X 45"

I feel that this comes close to explaining to others how I feel about the time I get to spend making art of any kind.  When I showed it to my husband he asked me if I meant that making art improves the quality of my life so I will live longer, or making art leaves something behind after my life that lives on for others.  My reply was simple  - YES!

The process was rather simple.  I wrote out the saying, chose some general dimensions - I wanted it to fit above the window in my studio and drew it out on copy paper that I taped together.  I fused and cut and picked out fabric from my stash and used black as the background to keep it from causing seizures upon viewing.  The saying is meant to be whimsical and so the format of the quilt also became whimsical - I am not one to take art too seriously as to toil and sweat over it.  I have a full time job for that.


I used batiks and hand-dyed fabrics for all of the letters and blocks.

The letters were stitched free motion and the background has a loop-de-loop pattern that was also free motion quilted.  I added some colorful buttons from my collection and voila.  It is now hanging in my studio.

I recommend that if you have a favorite saying that you post it somewhere where it can make you smile often.  It also inspires me to spend more time in my studio.  Thanks for checking out the blog and feel free to post any comments.

I just love those fabrics from Ricky Tims that I found at a quilt show vendor area.  I used it for my letters that spell studio.  So, oops, I guess I also used commercial print in my piece.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Three Sisters - Which one are you?

Psychology of children has been studied for centuries.  And as I made these three quilts I began to call them the three sisters.  I have an explanation why each one has it's place in the family and a very loose grasp on the psychology of how childhood might relate to them.  Once you've read my post, I hope you will let me know which one of the sisters you are.

This quilt was in my last post and is what I am calling the oldest child.  She came first and required a lot of attention.  I spent quite a bit of time figuring her out and planning how she would be quilted and raised up into this final product.  She is also bigger than the other two sister quilts.  And even if she wasn't bigger than the other two, she would think she was just because of the time it took to conceive of her and to create her.

This is the second child.  She was brought up in much the same way as the oldest child.  However, the random strip piecing method had become more familiar and therefore she did not take as long to make.  Perhaps the middle sisters feels she did not get the attention she deserved, however she turned out just fine and has her own personality and vibe.  She will however always feel she did not get enough attention.  She is also slightly smaller than her older sister.  22" X 28"

To help with this jealousy, I have added another picture of her close up.  This picture shows her details and stitching.  Hopefully she will feel like she has been given more attention now.  Her older sister does not care because she came first and apparently that is enough for the oldest child.

One more picture of the middle child should suffice and if she is not satisfied, then she will never be and there is nothing anyone can do about it. So there.

Finally, there is the baby sister.  She was created free from worry and with less concern for the final outcome.  She would take on her own personality and there was little I could do to change it, which I have learned from the first two sisters.  There were more experiments and mixed media brought into making her.  By now a more carefree attitude seems to dominate her creation.  Perhaps it is because the painstaking hours put into the first two sisters have exhausted me and I realize I just need to relax.

The baby has a much different aesthetic.  She is 12" X 12" and mounted on a canvas.  I used copper that I painted with alcohol ink and copper wire that I shaped and hammered.  I also make freezer paper stencils and made squares using both the positive and negative space and some gold fabric paint.  I hand stitched her edges, perhaps to make up for the painstaking hours that I did not spend on her.  (you know how there is only one picture of the baby of the family and when they are 20 you kind of feel bad about that)

The button on the copper square came from my grandmother's stash that I recently acquired as she downsized her apartment.  The canvas started as hot pink, then purple and then a wash of metallic burgundy.  The iridescent sheen can be seen in person but, not so much in the photo.  The baby is spoiled - she got the bling, the button, the fancy wire, the gold paint and set on a canvas.  She knows she's spoiled but, due to that drastic reduction of photography time on her, she'll take the spoils happily.

Copper wire in square spirals and hammered so they have a bit of texture add another metallic element to the piece.  Why not, she deserves it.

So there they are, the three sisters.  I would love to hear from any of you out there who are part of a family of three sibs.  Which one are you?  and how's my quilt psychology?  Thanks for checking it out and please leave a comment.