Summer sewing and dyeing

I have been keeping busy this summer with gardening and all, but I also have been really getting into sewing.

I had mentioned earlier that I was making some journal covers for Chemo Buddies, a local not-for-profit using fabric that was given to me by my friend Donna. Well, I finished eight and sent them on their way. This is a project I’ve wanted to do for years and just couldn’t seem to get the confidence to make them. I am so glad I did.

Journal covers for Chemo Buddies

Then my friend Barb wanted a few for some new friends. This time I wanted to use my fabric. One of the things I’ve struggled with is cutting into my fabric and really using it. This was a great exercise to help me push through that. Here are four from my fabrics. I’m really happy how they turned out.

The blue piece on the left is my dyed fabric and then stamped with decolorant.  The other journal cover is made from my sun printed fabric.


The last two are two are made with my recently dyed pieces.


Since a couple readers have asked me about the inside of these journals, I’ve updated this post with a picture of the inside. There is a pocket in the front cover and a loop for a pen on the back cover. These covers are made for composition books, but can also cover other journals depending on their size.

Inside journal cover

I also sewed Dave a new apron from fabric we bought in Hawaii this past January.

Dave in his new apron

I have to mention the kitties are a big help in the studio. Here is Ace in the scrap container.

aceinscrapsBut usually it’s Puddin whose sleeping there.


I’m also still dyeing. Last year I dyed Martha’s daughter Jillian some clothes for her first birthday. This year I dyed her a couple shirts and this dress.

Jillian's dress

And here is my shirt that matches.


Then Dave and I have matching shirts. We’ve not yet worn them together!


When we were in Australia a couple years ago everyone was wearing dresses with leggings. I love the look and wanted to dye a dress to wear like that.


I also played again with Colorhue dyes. If you are interested in these easy dyes, check out this post.

orange scarf

colorhue scarf

I bought this bag at Mother Teresa’s Treasures, the thrift store where I volunteer. I think today may be the day I paint it!

flowerbagWell, that’s all for now. The weather here has turned hot or really normal for August which is a great excuse to stay in and play. Hope you are keeping cool. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Colorhue, dyeing, fiber reactive dyes, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Round Gelatin Prints

Yesterday I showed you my “new” round permanent gelatin printing plate remelted from the one I made in December. If you missed that post, here is the link to the recipe to make your own.

So today I wanted to show you the gelatin prints I made on paper using Golden Fluid acrylic paints.

Round gelatin prints

I have mentioned before in my video, that I love the second or ghost print usually better than the first print so I’m showing you both.

The first ones were using Jane LaFazio’s Eucalyptus stencil from Stencil Girl.


janes1And Words to Live By stencil by Stencil Girl first and second print

stencil1print stencilprint2

The next first and second print are made with a piece of lace.

1laceprint 2laceprint

And the first and second print with netting.

nettingprint1 nettingprint2

The next two are first prints using a potato smasher.

1masherprint 2masherprint

That was so much fun. I’m looking forward to playing more, but next time with fabric.

So what, you ask, is the difference between this homemade gelatin plate and the Gelli Arts plate? The only difference I’ve come up with is that the homemade plate is softer – more spongy. I also need to store this plate in a closed box (Gelli Arts plate is stored in a clam shell container. I’m not sure how it would last just sitting out for 8 months on my worktable.) As I mentioned yesterday, I love my Gelli Arts plate, but this just gives me another size to play with.

If you’ve made one of these permanent gelatin plates, I’d love to hear what you think about it. Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful, creative week.

Posted in acrylic paints, art, crafts, gelatin printing, paper | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Homemade Permanent Gelatin Plate

First of all, I want to say I absolutely love my Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate and I use it a lot. However, last year when I saw this video by The Frugal Crafter on how to make a permanent gelatin plate, I just had to try it. I wanted a round plate to play with.

I made a regular gelatin plate in 2011, but it broke down pretty fast. Check out my blog post here.

Here is the recipe for the homemade permanent gelatin plate:

6 tablespoons of gelatin (7 packages)

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups of liquid glycerin

Dissolve the gelatin in glycerin and then add boiling water. Pour into a shallow pan to set.

So last December I poured mine into a cake pan. I put plastic wrap on the bottom of the pan so I could pull it out easily.

homemadegelpadAnd here it is sitting on the plastic wrap.


I played with it a couple times and then put it away. I stored it with the plastic wrap. It shrank a little and the plastic wrap I covered it with made deep lines in the plate. I like texture, but not on this plate.

old permanent pad

I pulled it out the other day when I played with preserved ferns on my Gelli Arts plate and also made some fern prints. You can see in the picture how deep much texture was on the plate. It was hard to keep from putting on way too much paint due to the ruts.

printing with permanent plate

Here is one of the prints.

prints from permanent plateNot bad, but I really want a smooth surface so this past week I melted the plate and repoured it. I broke up the plate into several pieces and microwaved it on high for several minutes.

After it was liquid I poured it into a smaller pan and let it set up for about 8 hours. I then used a blunt knife to cut around the whole plate. I used the knife to help me pry up the plate and it popped out.  My “new” printing plate is colored from paint left on it from previous printing sessions.

new gelatin plateI left this plate alone for another 12 hours. Then I decided I wanted it to be smaller. I found a container the size I liked, set it on top of the plate and cut around it.

Cutting the plateThis is how it turned out.

cut plate

It wasn’t perfect or even close to it, so I took some paper scissors and clipped.

Rounding out the plate

But wait! Look at all of the leftover pieces. I just can’t throw them away.

Left over cut up plateI remelted them and poured them in a small container to have a small rectangle.

small newly poured plate

I decided that the plastic wrap was not needed and it could put unwanted texture on the plate. I only used it because I thought I needed it to get the plate out of the pan. No, it pops right out.

I ended up putting the new round plate on a piece of Dura-Lar, the same stuff I use to make stencils. To store it I also put a piece over it. If you have a Gelli Arts plate it is stored with similar material on the bottom and top.

Covering plate with dura-lar

Covering plate with Dura-lar

Tomorrow I’ll show your some prints from this “new” homemade permanent gelatin plate.

Posted in gelatin printing, tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Gelatin Printing: Using preserved botanicals

Well, I finally got around to using those preserved botanicals – the ferns – the other day with my Gelli Arts Gel printing plate. And the jury is in – the ferns worked perfect, and I was able to put them back in the box for another session later.


However, I did find that the ferns with big leaves covered up a lot of the fabric and I didn’t get a good print.

bad fern print So I tried another fern and was much happier. The top piece is the first print. Below that is the next print with the fern removed.

firstfernprintsHowever, I was way too heavy on the paint, something I talk about avoiding in my video. The less paint the better.

So I was happy with the next two.

secondfernprintsThen I grabbed some paper and made a couple prints.


gelibotanicalpt2I absolutely love the second set of prints on fabric. I’ll be mounting them soon.

As for the preserved botanicals, they worked fine. They ended with some paint on them, but besides that they will work for another session. I need to get out and preserve some more before they are gone for the season.

When I was playing, I also printed some pieces with my homemade permanent gelatin plate. I make it in December and it’s still going strong. I’ll be posting a comparison of the homemade and the Gelli Arts Gel plate soon. If you’re new here, check out my other posts on gelatin printing.


Posted in gelatin printing, Gelli Gel Printing, preserving botanicals, surface design | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dyeing fabric with ink

I was looking through my pictures getting ready to write a post today, when I ran across photos I had taken several months ago for a tutorial on dyeing fabric with ink.

I dyed the fabric for The Printed Fabric Bee challenge.

Carol's Bee fabricOn this post I talked about the stencil I made from a plastic fern, and said I’d blog about dyeing the fabric at a later date.

For this project, I used white fabric with a pattern. I wanted a fast and easy way to color it green so I chose Tsukineko All Purpose inks. If you’re not familiar with them, they are a washable permanent craft ink that won’t change the hand of the fabric.

So let’s get started. Moisten the fabric. I used a spray bottle with water that is always sitting on my table in my studio.


Place the wet fabric in a ziploc bag.


Since I wanted to make the fabric green, I chose blue and yellow inks.

dyeingwithink3With a pipette, I added one color at a time to the wet fabric.


Once I thought I had enough ink on the fabric, I scrunched it with the goal of making the color somewhat even.


Once I was happy with the color, I took it out of the bag, let it dry, and ironed it.

Fabric dyed with ink

That’s all there is to it. If you’re looking for a fast way to color you fabric, try ink! Thanks for dropping by.



Posted in all-purpose inks, art, dyeing, fabric, surface design, tutorials | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

DVD Review: Art Techniques for Quilt Design

When I saw this DVD, I just had to review it. I thought you might like to know more about it.

Art Techniques for Quilt Design

Here is part of the description from Interweave/F+W:

Join innovative artist, designer, and quilter Carrie Bloomston for Art Techniques for Quilt Design, a Quilting Arts Workshop™ video that will help all artists find their voice and translate that in their work. Begin by learning how to capture the essence of an idea in cloth by using the simple warm-up techniques, drawing exercises, and basic design principles taught in art school.

Next, channel your art and focus on your inner voice with Carrie’s technique for shutting out your mind and focusing on what feels and looks right. Then put these techniques to the test as you learn how to craft a freeform nest pattern, create collages from fabric, and design a quilt based on children’s artwork.

Get your copy of this video workshop today to:

  • Discover how to consider artistic values and create art quilts using gesture, blind contour, color, form, contrast, and more.
  • Explore how important it can be to warm up – allowing your body the opportunity to experience your craft to take in the experience.
  • Put composition to work and create quilting designs out of cloth with movement and balance.
  • Learn to speak the language of your materials – be in the moment with your quilt designs and trust your intuition.
  • Uncover expert tips to bring out the most from your contemporary quilts and other fiber art projects.
  • And so much more!


I really liked this DVD and I liked Carrie. She calls herself a Creativity Enabler and wants to help us explore our inner artist. Sounds interesting, huh?

In her section on Drawing, she gives us drawing tips and talks about learning to see. This discussion reminding me of a class I took years ago. What a great refresher! She shows how she draws and explains why warming up is so important. Lots of good information and tips. After her discussion she gives us several exercises to do.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 7.58.23 AM

She also takes us through Composition, exploring four basic styles. Instead of just talking about them, she shows four different art quilts illustrating those styles. Very interesting.

Then she walks us through her Design Process and before our eyes she creates an art quilt. She challenges us to make our own art quilt.

She ends the DVD by showing how she created an art quilt, inspired by her children’s art work.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 5.02.41 PM

But in addition to this mini art class, she encourages us to find our voice – our own personal style. Whether or not you have taken any art classes, I believe you will find this information helpful and encouraging. Carrie is a good teacher. I’d love to take a class from her!

My only negative comment is that I wish it were longer.

Here is a link to the DVD. You also can just buy the download. Art Techniques for Quilt Design: Drawing, Composition, Collage and Stitch with Carrie Bloomston Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Disclaimer: I received this DVD from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review and received no monetary compensation.



Posted in art classes, craft product reviews, fabric, quilting | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yummy Veggie Recipes

As most of you know, Dave and I trade off cooking every two weeks. It really has been fun, but especially a challenge this time of the year when we are trying to move the harvest from the garden to the table. Since veggies are plentiful, I’ve been looking for recipes to use them. I’m sharing these two today because they are soooooo good! I hope you’ll give them a try.

The first is Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta, a recipe from Fine Dining. Since I am not changing this general recipe, I’m including the link so that you can print it out for yourself.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta

If you’ve not grilled veggies, you are in for a treat. It is amazing how their flavors explode by grilling. By the way, they are also great roasted in the oven! If you don’t have a grill, go ahead and roast them in the oven or grill them on the stove.

You can use any variety of veggies for this recipe, so feel free to change it. The only veggie that I feel needs to be included in this salad is a fennel bulb which we don’t grow. I wouldn’t make this without them since it adds so much to the mix.

The recipe only calls for a few veggies, but I added what we had including carrots, kohlrabi, and mushrooms. Any combination will work.

This dish does take awhile to put together with grilling all of the veggies. However, it is so worth the trouble. If I’m having this for an evening meal, I’ll grill all of the veggies early, cut them up and put them in the refrigerator until dinner. Then all I have to do is add the dressing, basil, and feta. This salad is great leftover the next day.

So let’s get started.

cutting up veggies

Cut up veggies to grill

Toss them in olive oil

Toss in olive oil and lightly salt

grilling veggies

Put them on the grill

Chop up the grilled veggies

Chop up the grilled veggies

Add the dressing

Add the dressing

Toss, add fresh basil and some feta and there you have it.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Another dish I made in the last two weeks was Lentil Salad from The only thing I changed was I added more lemon and salt. When I make it again, I’ll add more garlic and add two other beans, but then it will be a three bean salad. While you’re on her website, check out her other recipes. I’ve made several of them and they’ve all been good.

Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad

And talking about food, today was my last day to harvest blueberries. I’ve been picking them every morning except a couple since June 9! I’ve harvested over 51 pounds. This is how the kitchen counter has looked for the past two months.

blueberriesOnce I’ve harvested for the day, the ones on the pizza pan are frozen. The new ones are put on the pizza pan and will sit on the counter until the next day and the process goes on and on. We also eat some every morning for breakfast in our muesli.

Enough about food. I’ve been dyeing a little and will be posting about it this week. Have a great week!

Posted in gardening, preserving, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Sun Printing: Textile Paint & Screen Printing Ink

This is an article I posted on the Fire blog in June. I thought I’d repeat it here in case some of you did not see it and are interested in my experiments with sun printing.

I’ve done quite a bit of sun printing and am partial to a couple products (Setacolor Transparent and Dye-na-flow). But I wanted to try comparing two different products,  a good fabric paint and screen printing ink. I was pretty surprised at the results.

I decided to paint both pieces of fabric with similar colors and fern placement so that I could get a good comparison.

So let’s get started. After covering my work surface with plastic, I mixed up my paints – one set of Jacquard Textile Paint and the other Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink. You can use the paints full strength for a real dark color, but I mixed them a little with water. How much water is up to you. I’ve mixed them half and half and various combinations. For starters I’d recommend 1 part paint to eight parts water.

mixed paints for sun printing

While I was mixing the paints, my fabric has been sitting in water. It’s important that the fabric stay moist. Once the paints were ready, I squeezed my fabric to get most of the water out of it, and spread it on my table smoothing it to get out the wrinkles.

smoothing out fabricOnce I was happy with my fabric, it was time to start painting. I use sponge brushes for this. If you are painting in the sun you need to work fast so the paint doesn’t dry. However, I keep a spray bottle with water nearby to keep the fabric moist.

After I’m happy with the painting job, I add masks. These can be botanicals, stencils, lace, wood cutouts, or whatever you’d like to use to make a design on this fabric.  (I’ve tried using plastic ferns and they don’t work. First of all, they won’t lay flat on the fabric. I tried putting a piece of glass over them to keep them down and that did not work at all!!) Whatever you are using as a mask needs to be able to be flat on the fabric so it blocks out the sun.

As I put my ferns down, I use a little more paint to help them adhere to the fabric.

Adding paint to the fernAfter I’m done with the placement of the masks,  I check to see that the ferns are flat on the fabric.  I usually help that process with with a little spray from my water bottle. If the ferns or whatever you are using aren’t flush against the fabric, you won’t get a really clean print.

screenprintingink4Once I’m happy with my design,  it’s time for the sun to do it’s thing.

sun printing fabric in the sunNow is the hardest part – waiting for the fabric to dry!

Here are the results. This is the piece using the textile paint.

sun printed using textile paint

And the fabric using screen printing ink.

sun printing with screen printing ink


I discovered from this experiment that regular textile paint just doesn’t do a very good sun printing job. I know other artists would disagree with me, but I just haven’t gotten good results with those paints. In addition to the colors not being as bright as the screen printing inks, the fern images were not as crisp. On the orange, the fern image can barely be seen.

There was a little problem with the ferns on both pieces due to how rigid the ferns were. That may be due to the plant I used or the time of the year, but they still looked much better on the screen printing ink piece.

The screen printing ink fabric was bright, images were pretty good, but as with the textile paint, the hand of the fabric really changed. Both of them were stiff and kind of rubbery feeling.

I was surprised because I had no idea how the screen printing ink would work. In a pinch it would be okay, and much better than the textile paint. It would make good journal covers or even wall hangings although it might be hard to stitch through.

However, in my opinion, if I want sun printed fabric to use in a garment or anything I’d need to sew, I’d use Pebeo SetaColor Transparent Paint or Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow.

This is a piece of sun printed fabric I did last summer using SetaColor.

sun printed fabric using setacolors
If you have any interest in this technique, try it. You will love how it turns out.
And if you are in this area, I am teaching a Sun Printing class on Thursday, July 31 from 10 am to 2 pm at Studio 4905 in Henderson, Kentucky. Rain date is Thursday, August 7. For more information, call Sherry Wilkerson at 270-869-4469 or contact her via her Facebook page.
Posted in crafts, fabric, Fabric paint, sun printing, surface design, tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Sunday July Roundup

Good Morning all!

It’s another lovely day here and I thought I’d post a little Sunday roundup.

One of the big things I did this past week was clean out the front part of the garage which I use as my dye studio. I’m excited that it’s organized finally!

dye studioI’ve been working on make some journals from fabric my friend Donna gave me a couple years ago. These are the first ones, but all of these will be donated to a Chemo Buddies, a local organization.

journal covers

I won a set of Artistcellar stencils from a recent blog hop of Lynn Krawczyk’s new series called Marked. I can’t wait to play with them!

artistcellar stencils

I love to support local artists. I bought this lovely pendant from Anita. I’ve known Anita for many years, but have just recently reconnected with her. Her business is called Nee Nee Ree Beads and you can keep up with what she’s doing on her Facebook page. Her polymer clay creations are beautiful.

Anita's pendant

I’ve also been working a bit on a piece of color magnet fabric I made awhile back. Yesterday I added some fabric paint. Not sure where it’s going or when it’s going to be done.

fabric over printed

I’ve been continuing to pick blueberries every day and freezing those from the day before that we didn’t eat. But I do see the end coming soon.

Last of the blueberries

The asparagus patch is looking so pretty now.

asparagus patch

Even part of the slope garden is looking good.

slope garden

I love these Becky daisies. I’ve split them and they are not just in the back, but also in our front beds.

Becky daisies

That’s all for now. Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful, creative week.

Posted in gardening, stencils, Sunday Roundup | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Folding and Clamping: Itajime

I’ve really enjoyed trying some new (to me) techniques with my dyeing. Itajime, a shibori technique, involves folding fabric and then sandwiching it between two pieces of wood or other material and holding the shapes with clamps.

Itajime fabric

My Itajime pices

I bought these plexiglass pieces for this technique. You can get your own set from this Rossie’s etsy shop where she has lots of different sizes and shapes.

itajime shapes

There are lots of ways to fold the fabric. I wanted to try the equilateral triangles. Fabric is folded in half lengthwise, then folded again, and then fan folded into triangles. After folding, I clamped them with bulldog clamps. Since I didn’t have enough for all of my pieces, I used string to secure the last one.

itajime Now to dye them. You can soak the pieces in the soda ash solution before you add the dye. You can also soak them in water, add the dye, and then add soda ash. The other option is to dye them with the fabric dry and then add soda ash. The last option is not a good one. It was hard to add the dye to dry fabric. I did that with two of the four pieces and I won’t be doing that again.  I added dye with pipettes until I was happy with the colors. Here they are sitting in the sun.


I let these batch for 24 hours since I was too busy to wash them out earlier. Here are the original folded pieces and my results.



itijami fabric







That was fun. My favorite is the second one. Which one do you like best? Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in art, fabric, Fabric Resists, fiber reactive dyes, Shibori - Itajime, tutorials | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments