Blue and Gray

Today is all about blue and gray. I was trying to find colors that would make a nice sun pattern on pillowcases.  I also wanted to play on silk and vintage napkins.

I was dyeing with Celerean Blue, Nickel, and Black. My goal was to have a two-color sunburst. Here was my first attempt.

sunburstfirstattemptI thought it was pretty, but just too soft. I wanted separation of the colors, and I wanted both colors to be darker.

After a couple test batches I was happy with bumping up the nickel and adding black to the blue.


Dave liked this so much he requested a shirt with these colors.


And since I had some dye left I also dyed me a tshirt – one I bought just last Friday at the thrift store. Can’t beat a $1 shirt!


And a silk scarf. It’s interesting how different the dyes react on silk.

blueandgraysilkscarf While I was in this mode I also dyed some vintage napkins using just the blue.

bluevintagenapkinsHere is a closeup. With these napkins I never know how they will turn out.


Well, that’s all my dyeing for now. Hope you’re having a great week.

Posted in dyeing, fabric, fiber reactive dyes, silk | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Review: Playing With Surface Design

Today I’m reviewing a new book, Playing With Surface Design by Courtney Cerruti.


Here is the description from the publisher:

Create unique and stunning imagery on any exterior with diverse surface design techniques from Courtney Cerutti, author of Playing with Image Transfers and Washi Tape.

Whether you are looking to stamp on fabric, marble paper, etch into wood or clay, or create modern looks with neon and metallic, the projects in this book will provide endless inspiration.

Playing with Surface Design is a practical and modern resource that will teach you the seven techniques of surface design: Paste Paper, Marbling, Monoprinting, Dyeing and Bleaching, Stamping, and Painting and Mark Making. This book highlights methods and contains multiple project per technique so that you can use them across all mediums. You’ll learn how to make beautiful items, including gift boxes, albums, sketchbook covers, wall art, accordion books, and much more.


As you know I love surface design. The author explores this topic on all types of substrates from fabric, leather, and even wood.

Her four main techniques are gelatin printing, paste paper, credit card printing, and mark making. Armed with those techniques and a few more, in Chapter Two the reader is given step-by-step instructions with color photos of 22 different projects, half of which are on paper.

Here are two of my favorites:

playingwith1 playingwith2The last chapter offers the reader inspiration from other artists. These chapters are always a favorite for me because I love being introduced to new artists.

This is a beautiful book with lots of information on this fun topic. The projects are easy, but give really nice results. If you are new to surface design, this is a great beginners guide  to getting your feet wet. If you are a seasoned artist, you will probably find several ideas to expand your creativity.

Playing with Surface Design, published by Quarry, includes 144 pages and can be purchased from the publisher Here.

Disclaimer: I received this book 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 craft book reviews, surface design | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Review: Playing With Surface Design

Iris-Inspired Colorways

This year I decided to do more than just count my irises. For those of you new to my blog, I used to count them and documented that count on my blog. If you’d like to see some of my other irises and read about their history, search iris or iris count.

I love seeing some old friends and some surprises (those that haven’t bloomed in awhile) add color to our landscape. Here are a few of the beauties.

irisescollage1First I decided to bring them inside to enjoy instead of admiring them from afar.


Then, since I’m always looking for colors to use in my art I looked to the irises for inspiration. I searched through my dyed fabric and came up with several iris-inspired colorways.

wineandltgoldfabriccarnivalsongfabricrustiriscolorwayIt amazed me when I saw the colors together. Yes, they look good, but I wouldn’t have chosen those combinations.

Once the irises are gone in a week or so, I’ll still have their colorways to play with. It’s been so much fun for me to combine my loves of gardening and dyeing. Does nature inspire your art?



Posted in art, Color palettes, dyeing, fabric, fiber reactive dyes, gardening, irises | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Review: Modern Memory Quilts

Today I’m reviewing Modern Memory Quilts, a Quilting Arts Workshop with Lesley Riley.

modern memory quilts

Here is the description from the publisher:

Tell stories through quilting.
Combine memories, photo transfers, and crazy piecing to make unique and personal art quilts.

Take your family photographs out of the drawer they’ve been hiding in and allow them to take center stage in your next art quilt. Internationally-know artist Lesley Riley will teach you how to tell stories in fabric using image transfers, improvisational piecing, and more in her new Quilting Arts Workshop™ DVD Modern Memory Quilts. Lesley shares photo editing hints in Adobe® Photoshop® that will freshen up an old family photograph. Then, she introduces Lesley Riley’s TAP™ Transfer Artist Paper, a unique product she developed that allows you to transfer the photo to fabric in a few easy steps. Now the fun begins! Unlock all of the possibilities this process has to offer as you audition a variety of compositions and experiment with improvisational piecing, or what she calls “really crazy quilting”.


If you are interested in telling your story with a memory quilt, this is the video to get. But wait! Maybe you don’t want to make a memory quilt. With her tips and tricks, you can make any type of quilt. I can see a garden quilt or an animal quilt or a house quilt – any art quilt where photos are the focal points.

As mentioned above,  Lesley takes us step-by-step on creating these memory quilts. She gives us her tips on altering and enhancing photos regardless of size in Photoshop. However, those of us who own PSE can also use those tips.

She shows us how to use TAP (Transfer Artist Paper), an interesting product she developed to transfer pictures to fabric. After transferring her photo, she walks the viewer through her design and composition and then shows how she completes her “really crazy quilting.” She shares her attitude which I love – “Life is difficult enough…let’s keep it simple and down to the fun stuff.” Yes, I’m all for simple and fun!

But one of my favorite parts is the last chapter on finishing where she shows how she completes this quilts.

On my first viewing of this dvd I thought it was a good workshop, but wasn’t sure it would help me since I don’t plan on making  memory quilts. But on the second watch I started thinking about  how this information could be used for other projects.

Here is what I learned:

  • Altering pictures so they are ready to print on fabric: That would be helpful for any project where I want to use photos.
  • How to use TAP: After watching the DVD I finally played with my TAP that I’ve had for a couple years. It’s a great way to transfer photos to fabric!
  • Design and composition ideas: I can always use some help in this area.
  • Fun crazy quilting technique: I’m not sure I’ll ever use this, but it gave me some other ideas.
  • Ways to bind and finish the quilts: This is where I struggle – finishing. I see a couple projects I’ll be finishing with her tips.

If you are interested in art quilts (memory or not),  I think you will find this workshop helpful.

Modern Memory Quilts has a run time of 71 minutes. It can be purchased as a DVD or download from Interweave.

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 quilts, craft book reviews, fabric, quilting | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Printed Fabric Bee: Geometric Forms

This past month’s The Printed Fabric Bee challenge topic was Geometric Forms. Gerrie Congdon, the Queen Bee, chose this topic, but left the colors up to us. Before I show you the collection that will be given away, here is my piece and my process.


I started with this piece I dyed rust with fiber reactive dyes.  I mixed Tangerine, Fuchsia and Celerian Blue to get this color.

Geoprint1After much thought I came up with this stencil design and cut it out of freezer paper on my Silhouette Portrait.

geoprint2Gerrie wanted a 12 x 12 piece. Unfortunately my cutter does not cut that large. I ended up making two stencils and adding a couple of the squares on the top and bottom area that the stencils didn’t cover.  Once I had the stencils cut out, I ironed them to the fabric.

geoprint3I didn’t want those breaks in the lines, but if I wanted the stencil to hold together I needed to design it that way. So after it was ironed I cut away the connectors.

geoprint4Instead of cutting the connectors away, you can stencil and then touch up later, but that would have been way too much work for this piece. (Another way to make this stencil is to not add connectors and then place each square on the fabric – also very time consuming!) Once they were all cut I was ready to add the paint.

geoprint5I was looking for a color that would be the same color as the background or at least near that color. I love these Pro Chem fabric paints. So I mixed the paint, testing it on a small fabric strip.

geoprint6Then it was time to stencil. And here it is completed.

geoprint7Now to remove the freezer paper.

geoprint8Just what I wanted! Now to add an image with a tint. Back to my paints where I added white to the rust color. Once I liked that tint I got out my thermofax screen.

geoprint9I wanted one more color, so I added turquoise.

geoprint10And again the final piece.

GeobeepieceHere is the 6 x 6 piece that’s part of the collection that will be given away.


Now for the giveaway, if you’d love to win this collection of 6 x 6 inch fabrics, just leave a comment on Gerrie’s blog or on the Printed Fabric Bee blog post. Deadline is May 15.


Stop by the other members’ blogs to see how they created their pieces. Good Luck!




Posted in Fabric paint, Giveaway, stencils, surface design, The Printed Fabric Bee, thermofax screens | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ice Dyeing Plus

Since I started ice dyeing back in 2011, I’ve really enjoyed the results from this simple technique. As I’ve continued on this fabric surface design journey, I find I want more texture. In this post I’ll show you three different techniques to add to ice dyeing.

Back in February I showed you my ice dyed piece that I first marked with soy wax. Here is a link to the tutorial and below is the picture.


And I went on to compare two different fiber reactive dyes: Cerulean Blue (a pure dye) and Brushed Steel (a composite dye). If you missed my post about composite dyes and a example of the Brushed Steel and how it splits, check it out here.

Here are both pieces soy waxed first and then ice dyed.


Now I have completed two more experiments. I am using the same dyes, but different techniques before ice dyeing.

Again, as with the soy wax, the fabric needs to be soaked in soda ash water for 30 minutes, removed and then hung to dry. Once it is dry, you can lightly iron the fabric if it is too wrinkled for you.

Up first is Cleanline Resist. I really love this stuff and I blogged about it HERE.

Now to add the resist. I pulled it through my thermofax screen and then let it dry. When completely dry I scrunched it up and iced dyed it. Here are the results.


The design shows up on the blue although not as detailed as normal due to it sitting in the ice bath. However, you can barely see the design on the fabric with the Brushed Steel.

Now to try another one of my favorites: Jacquard Color Magnet. If you aren’t familiar with this product, check out this post.

Same process as the other one pulling the Color Magnet through the thermofax screen.


On the left, the image is clear. On the right, the dye on the design did not break out, resulting in the gray color. Interesting!

From these three exercises I found that pure dyes work much better with these techniques. However, soy wax and ice dyeing work real well together regardless of dye.

Of course this was just a limited study and more research might have to be done, but I thought it was quite interesting.

I’d love to hear if you’ve added another technique to your ice dyeing. If you’ve not tried ice dyeing, check out my webinar. Also, check out this link for my posts about ice dyeing and other fabric dyeing.

You know how I love thrift stores. Well, the other day while looking through thrift stores I found a couple more marking tools. Can’t wait to test drive these with soy wax and gelatin plates.


Since my last post I also took a felting class. I’ve played with felting a little and thought it would be a fun diversion. Here is my frog from the class!


Hope all is well with you. Have a great week and as always, thanks for dropping by.

Posted in fiber reactive dyes, ice dyeing, Jacquard Color Magnet, soy wax, surface design, thermofax screens | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Rust Dyeing

After seeing some lovely rust-colored fabric I finally tried my hand at rust dyeing.


I used this old rusty chain that has been sitting outside the garage for a long time. Every time I have walked by it I thought about rust dyeing.


So let’s get started. Here is what you need: fabric, dyeing container, rusted items, plastic garbage bag, and a spray bottle with 50/50 vinegar and water solution. You will also need a bucket with a salt solution that I’ll talk about later.


I crumpled up my piece of cotton fabric and sprayed it with the vinegar and water solution. You don’t have to crumple up the fabric. I thought that might give it more texture.


Next I placed the chain on top of the fabric.


Then I sprayed it again making sure the chain was also wet.


The fabric is then covered in plastic. I put mine in a trash bag and left it alone for about 30 hours. I checked on it after 24 hours and thought it needed more time. This is up to you. The longer the object sits on the fabric, the darker the fabric will be.

Here is what it looked like after 30 hours.


Here is what it looked like after I removed the chain.


The fabric was then put into salt water solution (1/4 cup of salt to three to four gallons of water) to neutralize it.  After the salt was dissolved, I swirled the fabric in the solution.  I left it in the salt solution for a few minutes before putting it in the washer and then dryer.

Here is the finished fabric.


And a close up.


So how do I feel about rust dyeing? I’m not real excited about it. If I came across something like an old grate – something with character – I’d probably try it again. Maybe I needed to lay down the chain better. But it all comes down to time. With the busy gardening season I have to really focus on art I love and get results I love. This rust dyeing doesn’t yet fit in that category.

However, if you would like to see some lovely rust dyeing check out my friend Kathy’s blog post. I saw those pieces in person last summer and they were absolutely gorgeous and it got me to thinking about trying this.

Have you tried rust dyeing? What do you think about it? Any tips?

Posted in dyeing, rust dyeing, surface design, tutorials | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

April Sunday Stroll

Oh, how I love Spring! This past week has been pretty exciting here at Happy Acres. Let me take you on a short Sunday stroll.

For starters I harvested our first asparagus, which is a week or so earlier than normal.

firstasparagus15Since those two spears, I have picked enough for Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry! Later this week I will be grilling them and later adding them to a bean salad. Oh, how I love asparagus!

Everything is coming alive once again. The hostas are now starting to show.


The blueberry buds are popping out.


I’m really excited about this cherry tree we planted in 2007. This may be the first year we get a nice haul. We’ll still go pick at the local orchard, but it will be nice having our own again. Our cherry tree was cut down by mistake several years ago. If you want to read about that sad story, you can right HERE.


And a closeup of the blossoms.


We hope that in our lifetime we’ll have some Pawpaws. Right now the trees are still sticks, but we do have a couple buds on this one.


We also think we’ll have peaches this year.


Down by the cherries my two cats Sidd and Shel are buried. When they were alive a friend of mine gave me rocks that were painted from their pictures.  That was such a sweet and thoughtful gift. However, after they died, I just couldn’t have those reminders in the house so we used them as markers over their graves. They both died in 2011 and I’m amazed at how well the rocks have held up.

siddstone2015 shelstone2015

When I came in from working in the yard yesterday, Puddin and Ace were taking a nap. I love how she throws her leg over him.


Even though gardening keeps me busy this time of the year, I still try to make time for my art. One of the things I worked on this past week was an altar cloth for my sis. After choosing the font,  I cut out a stencil, and stenciled the fabric. I sure hope she likes it.

mari'sI also worked more on that indigo wall hanging. I ended up hand stitching two more birds. Even though I’m not into a lot of handwork, I really enjoyed it.


I also have started reading a couple books.

Blue Zone

In my goal to get organized I bought this cute Ikea cart. We don’t live near a store, but I was able to order it from their website. I’ll be using it for my sewing stuff that right now sits on the floor or in various places in my studio. The white cups I ordered from Amazon since I could not buy them directly from Ikea.

ikea cart

Well, that’s it for this Sunday roundup and stroll. I’ll be back this week with a fun technique or two. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.

Posted in gardening, Sunday Roundup | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Playing with indigo pieces

This past week I was drawn to play with some of my indigo pieces. I wasn’t sure where they were going, but I thought I’d follow the muse. And since my word for this year is completion, I was excited to go for the ride.

I started by cutting up some pieces for a wall hanging. The white pieces are also indigo dyed pieces that just didn’t get much dye. They worked perfect for what I was planning for this project.


Then I was off to find a quote I wanted to stencil on this wall hanging, and then cut the stencil. But while I’m waiting for that idea to gel, I started cutting small and came up with these two collages.


As I’m progressing on the wallhanging, I continued on my ideas for the small collages. I grabbed a canvas, painted it with Lumiere Indigo and printed out some words.

indigocanvasAnd here are my results. So happy to use up some of my fabric.


And the wall hanging. After taking the picture this morning I think it needs another bird or two and I will be stitching around the border. But it’s almost done.


I absolutely love this quote. Here is a closeup.


So that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you? As always thanks for dropping by.

Posted in art, fabric, Finishing pieces, indigo dyeing, Sewing, stencils, surface design | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Printed Fabric Bee: Molas

This past month’s The Printed Fabric Bee challenge was Molas. Julie Basseches Booth, the Queen Bee, chose this topic requesting colors of red, black or other bright colors.

Here is the collection of giveaway fabric. See information on the giveaway below.

Printed bee - mola

If you don’t know what molas are, they are the colorful appliqué patterns of the Kuna Indians that originated in the San Blas Islands of Panama. If you’d like more information, google molas or check out this link.

I will say this was one of the most difficult challenges yet. How could I convert an applique pattern to a surface design?  After many, many (did I say many?) stencil designs,  I finally came up with one I liked. However, I kept having trouble getting it to cut out like I wanted it.

I was feeling like I was finally figuring out what I wanted for my stencil and cut this out. But after playing with it, I was still not happy.

molastencil2Finally after so may tries I finally arrived at one I really liked and the process could begin.

I started with another piece of that fabric I had dyed for Ange’s stole.

printedbeemola1Here is the final stencil taped down to the fabric.

printedbeemola2  I am using ProChem Bright Red, Lemon Yellow and White Opaque fabric paints. I just bought these for a class I’m taking and I absolutely love them. They will definitely be my go to fabric paints.

printedbeemola3If you are wondering about the white, I didn’t think the yellow appeared bright enough so I added the white to it.

Once the paint was dry I outlined the design with a blue fabric pen. I love the way it make the image pop. In the past I would have outlined it in black, but I found outlining it with the color that’s closest to the background fabric really looks better and not quite so stark. But of course, that’s my opinion.

printedbeemola4Here is the final piece before I added the outline.


And the finished piece. The difference to me is really big.

printedbeemola6Here is the piece that is part of the giveaway.

Heinesmola6x6I was really happy with how this turned out. It was quite a challenge but I made it through.

Now for the giveaway, if you’d love to win this collection of 6 x 6 inch fabrics, just leave a comment on Julie’s blog or on the Printed Fabric Bee blog post. Deadline is April 14. Once you have commented, stop by the other members’ blogs to see how they created their pieces. Good Luck!




Posted in fabric, Fabric paint, Giveaway, stencils, surface design, The Printed Fabric Bee | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments