Sunday 30 August 2009

A Little "Quilt" Hanger for Julie

As I have mentioned before I participate in a small "Art of the Month" exchange that involves making a small art piece (can be anything creative) for one other participant and this month it was my turn to make something for Julie.

It was one of those months when inspiration did not come quickly and being away so much with work has interfered with my "flow" but I am happy with my eventual result. Julie loves greens and rusty colours and is a nature lover so I decided to make a little mixed media "quilt". I've used fabrics and papers I have dyed, stamped, sprayed and generally had fun with! One of the layers is a beautiful lace paper that I bought in Melbourne a couple of trips ago (have I ever mentioned how much I love Melbourne???) and it has taken the walnut ink "wash" beautifully. I used a different stitch on my sewing machine to add some variety in the border.

The scalloped layer is a piece of commercial felt to which I have fused and sealed a decorative napkin to which I have added extra colour. The bird collage stamp is from Oxford Impressions. and is stamped on some fabric I dyed and then sprayed with Glitz Spritz and diluted walnut ink. I have then stamped it again on tissue paper and cut out the bird and a few extra bits and applied them on top of the original to make the composition stronger.

I did a bit of experimenting with some freestyle foiling using gold and copper foils and then used black StaZon ink and a brush to tone down the brightness. I am recycling all the twisted paper handles from off those good quality paper bags - I think they make a nice rustic hanger and a change from wire, ribbon or twine.

Now I am off to get organised for my week away...

Saturday 29 August 2009


(My ATC for Meagan)

My new ATC trading partner, Meagan and I traded ATCs again this week and this time we set the theme as "asian". I used to do a lot of oriental themed paper arts and I can feel a revival coming on! It took me half an hour just to decide which of my asian themed stamps I would use on this one ATC. But it was fun going through my stamp "catalogue" (which desperately needs updating with all the stamps that I have purchased over the last few years - I used to be so disciplined about stamping new images and recording them by brand in my file but I have got very slack).

For this ATC I used some vintage text (lovely thin paper), a piece of beautiful yuzen paper , a bamboo printed ribbon and some thin red paper tape. I coloured the image with my Faber Castell Polychromos pencils, blending with odorless solvent and a stump. It made me realise just how rarely I do detailed colouring.

(Meagan's ATC for me)

And this is the gorgeous ATC Meagan made. I love the way she has layered papers on top of each other to get such a lovely effect. And I am applying lots of pressure about starting a blog!!

I have been away with work quite a bit lately and I am away again this week so blogging his taking a bit of back seat but I am working on a few things so I will post about them once they are finished.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Fabric Collages - Vintage Style

For September a small group of us are trading four inch square fabric collages with a vintage theme. The theme was set by Ann over in the Netherlands and you can see the collages she has made (well in advance!) here and here and here and here! I have a pretty busy month coming up with work trips and with the red fabric inchie swap, so I decided to do mine this week while I was in the mood. I've re-sized and printed the vintage postcard image on those wonderful ready to print fabric sheets and added a touch of text stamping (got to be true to my rubber stamping roots).

The calico base fabric is tea dyed and the very old lace on the left (recycled from the early 70s) has been coffee dyed. All the other laces and fabrics are new - I wanted to include a bit of green and pink to make the collages on the "pretty" side of vintage. The little squares are backed with a cotton batting and a sheet of cardstock for stability. My art friend Coralie sent me the hand woven twine - it was perfect for the hangers. I added some silk ribbon I had dyed previously. Must nearly be time for another day of painting lace and ribbon. Sometimes playing with fabric just feels right...

This week I received these two gorgeous fused plastic ATCs from my trade with Jen (apologies for my crooked scan) and she included some yummy bits of interesting fabrics that will definitely be fun to use! Thanks Jen.
PS My love affair with the Cuttlebug continues - I bought the new "ironwork" borders embossing folder this weekend and I just know those borders are going to feature a lot in my stuff from now on!

Monday 17 August 2009

Monday Night & This is as Imaginative as I Can Get!

Wouldn't you think that a blog post should be a relatively straight forward thing to give a title to? Seems not...This week Meagan and I traded "Paris" themed ATCs - the one at the top of the post is from Meagan and I just love it!! Below is mine (the heart is my new Nestabilities die- so glad I eventually got a Cuttlebug!) PS Meagan needs to start a blog...

And I have to thank the super duper ATC (and Technique) Queen Kelsey for passing on the "Fab Blog" award to me. I know blog awards can seem a bit of a "pass-around" but I really do like the idea of honouring some of the blogs I love, so here goes (and there is absolutely no requirement to pass this on BTW).

I am to list 5 obsessions (what only 5!!) and 5 blogs:

My obsessions -

1. Living authentically (meaning making sure I am being "me" rather than who I think I should/would be)
2. "Simple Abundance" - being grateful!
3. Art/craft (in so many forms...)
4. Straightening up the crooked bits! (includes tucking in the tags on strangers' clothes!!)
5. My family (this is a biggie!!)

5 blogs I love:

1. Jas - The Gluten Free Scallywag - She is my one and only and very special niece and I can't claim any credit but she has a wonderful foodie blog (especially wonderful if you are looking for gluten-free) PS She has style!
2. Celeste - Paper Planet - I finally got to meet Celeste at the Creative Soul Retreat in March this year - she has a wonderful detailed and beautiful collage style!
3. Jen - Jenxo - I haven't met Jen (yet) but her blog is always interesting!! We are currently trading fused plastic ATCs!
4. Caitlin - Caity Quilter - I'm fairly new to Caitlin's blog but she has a way with words and she really strikes a chord with me. Love her art too!!
5. Carole - Kiwi Carole - Carole is in New Zealand (in contrast to the Aussies above) and I just love the variety that you get visiting Carole's blog - stunning photography, food, quilting, art, life, pets ...PS She is also a trading pal!

And I ended up making some changes to my little beeswax tree page for Julie's book - I am much happier with it now the clock to symbolise that time is passing and the environment can't wait!)

Saturday 15 August 2009

All Sorts!

I thought I would share the few bits and pieces I have been making recently. I haven't been overly productive in the evenings as bed and a good book seemed more appealing! It must be my "end of winter" syndrome!

Anyway Meagan (my new ATC trading partner who has yet to establish a blog or Flickr album) and I traded "vintage" themed ATCs this week. I made the one at the top of this post and this one is Meagan's. It is just gorgeous and it has the loveliest background - I had to photograph it on the angle so you could see her beautiful Perfect Pearls background. Pretty classy hey?

I am participating in a very small Altered Book round robin and the first book I am to work in is Julie's and she has the theme "Forest Industry". Julie hasn't actually used an existing book but has made some glorious metal book covers and pages that are not much bigger than an ATC. They are made from a lovely thick watercolour paper (think really thick) and so they have lent themselves to some robust treatment!

I have done the backs and fronts of two of the pages and focused on birds for the first two and the environment and ecology for the second two. Julie included a bag of interesting bits and pieces for us to consider using, so my first page uses her little metal birdhouse, the vintage bird card (which I aged with inks) and a bit of her beautiful frayed silk ribbon.

My second two pages are beeswaxed and include old text and a leaf cut from a napkin. The green on the tree page is melted wax crayon. I feel as though the page is a bit on the dull side so I might add a charm or something in a puddle of beeswax. I have sprayed a bit of gold glitz spritz over the beeswax and like the way it has dried in little droplets. It remains to be seen whether it stays there indefinitely but this morning it didn't rub off when I was buffing the beeswax.

I have also made another fused plastic ATC for my trade with Jen - this time I covered the painted plastics with Golden's GAC and I really like the shiny effect.

I enjoyed sewing all the various pieces of fused plastic together patchwork style. I can imagine making a journal cover from this stuff!

Last but not least, I received this funky Calendar Girls postcard from Pat - it is a terrific take on the inspirational calendar page. I have included a shot that shows how dimensional the face is!

And Pat sent me some great napkins as well - and as it happens, I don't have any of these in my "collection". Thanks Pat!A very wintry day here today - perfect for arting and crafting inside with an endless supply of steaming hot cups of tea. Might have to make some muffins to make the afternoon extra perfect...

PS The lovely Kelsey has honoured me with an award this week (thanks!) but that will have to wait until my next post.

Monday 10 August 2009

My Green Inchie Display

So far I have participated in five fabric inchie swaps with the latest being the green one. Each time I think "this is my favourite one" but really they are all wonderful. Yesterday I got around to mounting all the green inchies from the last swap and I just adore the results!

All of my inchie mountings so far have been "temporary" and this one is no different! All I have done is mount them as a grid on some black cardstock but they look fantastic stuck on the wall in my sewing room (the "fibre arts" studio!).

I REALLY do love green!

(This is a lousy photo but it is more accurate colour-wise,
the first two have a blue tinge that isn't true to life!)

(And last night I started pulling out all the fabrics, fibres, yarns and embellishments that I am going to use in making the red inchies that are my next inchie project!)

Sunday 9 August 2009

Leaves - A Fibre Postcard & Art Now For Autism

I had a lovely surprise this week when Leah in Texas commented on one of my posts and said she'd love to trade. Now I am nearly always up for a one-on-one trade so I quickly said yes. We agreed on a postcard with a leaves theme. It is not due to be posted until the end of the month but yesterday I got the urge to start and before I knew it, the postcard was finished.

I have used a text printed fabric background (you can see it in the background of my picture) but the muslin that I layered and stitched on top has virtually obscured it. I'm telling myself that it is "providing depth" as I hate to waste expensive fabric, especially text fabric for which I am forever searching. I coloured the muslin by bunching it up and spraying it with various Adirondack Color Washes - I love those sprays! Because I have been reading Lesley Riley's book "Fabulous Fabric Art With Lutradur" I wanted to make my leaves from lutradur, so I dug out a piece from a whole pile I had painted a couple of years ago and used my woodburning tool to cut out some free form leaf shapes. I used the tool to score the leaves a bit to imitate veins and then stitched them onto the background using a green metallic thread. I added a bit of organza under the middle leaf, sewed on some miniature sequins and a backing and then decided to add some glitz by spraying some Glitz Spritz in green and gold. They give it a lovely radiance in real life!

Now as a result of "meeting" Leah I had a good look around her blog and found out that she is supporting "Art Now for Autism" through a fantastic and very generous give-away on her blog (appropriately called ART GIRL!) So pop over and have a look and decide if you too would like to link to the Art Now for Autism site and enter Leah's giveaway. Unfortunately the deadline for art donations for the on-line fund raiser is 1 September so I won't be able to make anything for it this year but I will be checking out the art available at the auction, that's for sure.

Thursday 6 August 2009

Bits & Pieces...

Just a quick post tonight - can't believe it is already Thursday, where did this week go??

This is my first go at making a fused plastic bag ATC. It is for a trade with Jen. It was good fun although I had a bit of trouble getting my paints to stay on the plastic! Expect to see more ATCs made from these experiments as I have a lot of painted plastic surfaces sitting on my desk!

And this ATC arrived today from the prolific cross-stitching Anne (no blog) n France - this was the ATC she sent me for our latest trade. I think this is my favourite from Anne (so far!) - gorgeous bright colours and such lovely delicate work plus beading!!

As a result of a recent ATC trade with Margaret, Cynthia Peck contacted me and we also traded ATCs. And I now have my first digital ATCs -and I love them!! I have no desire at this stage to make them myself but I respect and enjoy the tremendous skill and artistry involved in making them and Cynthia's are beautiful.

My friend Annie has shared her latest napkin purchase with me - this is a really lovely napkin - love that pattern in the corner!

And to share what else is happening in my life - I received this gorgeous little metal covered "book" this week from Julie. We are participating in a small Aussie Altered Book Round Robin and I am really looking forward to it as I haven't done an AB for ages. I forgot to take pictures of mine before sending it off so I will have to just share the whole lot at the end when it comes back to me! Julie's theme is "Forest Industry" and I am thinking about what I will do for my pages this weekend...Don't you just love Julie's presentation!

Other things that are happening - I have managed to temporarily forget my horror of repetition and I have signed up for my first ever calendar swap! I picked January as my month so I could do bright and sunny summer pages (given that it is a West Australian swap and January is a summer month) or maybe vintage bathing beauty pages. I am also running another fabric inchie swap with Annie on Aus_NZartquilters and this time we are doing RED inchies so I guess inchies are going to feature here rather a lot again for a while!

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Calendar Girl Postcards

I decided to make my Calendar Girl postcard for this month as early as possible so I started it this weekend just gone, doing the finishing touches last night. The Erika Oller painting (pictured below) which is this month's inspiration just didn't "do it" for me in terms of any wonderful ideas for surface embellishment etc, but I really liked the soft colours so decided to focus on them and the heart shape.

I printed the image out on A4 size paper and cut it into varying width strips. Once it was woven together, I backed it with a lovely green organza (to show in the little gaps between the strips) and Pellon stabiliser and did some machine stitching in a basic grid to keep it altogether. This is what it looked like at this stage -

Next I coated it with gel medium and adhered white netting across the top to make my own version of a fabric paper. I cut out the postcard-sized bit I liked best and sprayed it with a blue Glitz Spritz for some glimmer!

White sequins and lemon seed beads form the heart shape. I decided to edge the postcard a bit differently this time so used a small but thick blanket machine stitch. Even with the calico backing the card is a bit transparent if held up to the light and I really like that effect!

And I have just realized that I haven't posted a picture of the beautiful Calendar Girl postcard I received from Val for July - here it is - isn't it gorgeous. Look here for more details!

Monday 3 August 2009

My New (Big!) Pincushion

(My 15 year old pincushion - looking pretty tatty now!)

About fifteen years ago (maybe more) I had a crafting blitz making pincushions in little baskets. I made several miniature ones as gifts and a larger one for my own use. That pincushion is still going strong but looks pretty tatty compared to all the beautiful ones I am seeing on the net these days!
(A Christmas scrap fabric wreath from a craft period quite some years ago!)

While I was thinking about making myself a beautiful new one I decided I would need to make it quite large as I like to have lots of pins available and also plenty of space for needles, including all those pesky threaded ones that so easily get in a tangle! Not long after this I was cleaning out a cupboard and found the fabric Christmas wreath I made at about the same time as the original pincushions.

(My very large new pincushion - the Christmas wreath turned over -
a variation on the turning over a new leaf approach!)

And it suddenly hit me - turn it over and use it as a giant pincushion!! Not beautiful or fancy but it works great and I can even hang it on a chair or on the wall to get it out of the way. Re-purposing - I love it!

Sunday 2 August 2009

A Little Quiltie for Mandy

I participate in a small Aussie art group that has an "Art of the Month" exchange and, for July, I was to make sweet Mandy something. I met Mandy at the Artistic Journey Retreat in Melbourne in 2007 and she really is the sweetest person, so I had a lot of fun creating a little quilt celebrating the theme of "home' for her. From reading her blog (just love her blog name!) I think she is having a bit of a rough time at the moment so hopefully this will be a little bit of a "cheer-up".

Incidentally I can also tell you that it was in the making of this quilt that I managed to damage my finger (in an automated car window no less - the mind boggles, I know...) but needless to say, that has nothing to do with Mandy and everything to do with my focus!! I know, be here in the now ... (just in case my wonderful sister Marrijane reads this!)

The little girl image is a freebie download printed on fabric from the wonderful Gaby. The quilt actually has a frayed edge and a hanger but those bits didn't fit on my scanner! And I don't think it is crooked in real life (although I am starting to wonder, having said that two posts in a row!)

PS I am in love with velvet ric rac (or is it rick rack?) and what's more, I can buy it in Kalgoorlie from the wonderful Renaye at Keepsake Krafts! This is an expansion on my ongoing leaf trim love (which I have to buy on the net)!

PS (+) Prepare yourself for some more inchie madness as Annie and I are hosting another fabric inchie swap with the Aust_NZArtQuilters group - this time the colour is way out of my comfort zone - it is RED!

Saturday 1 August 2009

Remembering the Fabrics from My Earlier Years!

Some weeks ago I mentioned that my Mum had made me a beautiful quilt using a lot of fabrics from clothes my sisters, Mum and I made during the late 60s and 70s. We all grew up sewing as virtually all our clothes were homemade. It is the first quilt Mum has made and I am thrilled that she has done this for me. My photo makes it look a bit crooked but it is just my photography skills (or lack of!).

There is so much work in it - all the little hangers are embroidered and each of the little waistcoats is lined and has an inside pocket with a little treasure inside. Mum has used embellishments to link the quilt with me - my name (Deborah) means "bee" in Hebrew so there is a bee, there is a school satchel because these fabrics come from when I was still at school, gardening tools because I love my garden etc etc. Just had to share it with you! I love having it hanging in my home and even though my Mum lives about 1000 kilometres away, I feel as if she is closer every time I look at the quilt.

(Detail of one of the waistcoats)

PS If you met my Mum you would love her (everyone does) but if you mentioned this quilt I can guarantee she would tell you all the faults she sees in the quilt and all the things she reckons she should have done differently!