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

Gelli print fabric cards

I got out my gelli plate last week to play and ended up with a stack full of fabric. If you are not familiar with gelli plate or gelatin printing, check out my posts on this technique HERE.

gelliprintsmarch15I thought they would make some nice cards so I decided my Elna was up for the challenge.


The old sewing desk my Elna is sitting on is one I bought at our local thrift store. I was working there last week and I saw it. For $5 I just couldn’t pass it up. Now I have all three machines out and ready for me. Of course, I always have to have a glass of Dave’s great ice tea near me when I’m playing!


And here are two gelli print fabric cards. I am using ProChem Textile paints for this project.



That was fun and a great way to use up all of those pieces. I’m sure there will be more to come. As I was playing with them, I thought they would also make some great collages. Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday.

Posted in card making, crafts, fabric, gelatin printing, Gelli Gel Printing | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

March Sun Printing

It’s pretty unheard of around here to sun print in March. However, the sun was out, the wind was calm, and it was 60 degrees so I thought I’d test it. I’ve not had much luck when the temperature is not real warm and the humidity is low. Anyway, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Here are my results.


One thing I did differently was to put my fabric in containers (a couple of my marbling trays) so they would be somewhat protected from the wind. I think it really helped.

sunprintingMarch15On the left I used one of my fabric stencils as as mask with DyeNaFlow Bright Green. On the right I scrunched up the fabric using DyeNaFlow Claret and then painted the peaks with Periwinkle.

So here’s a closeup of the two fabrics.



I was really happy with the results although adding Periwinkle to the peaks of the last piece didn’t do much.

It was 60 degrees, with a slight wind, and 40% humidity. I’ll be teaching my sun printing class at Studio 4905 in Henderson, Kentucky June 18 with a rain date of June 25. If you are in the area and interested in the class, contact Sherry Wilkerson at 270-869-4469. It will be loads of fun!

Meanwhile, even though I’ve not been blogging much I have been working on several projects. I started Jane Dunnewold’s Color Studies Class. I am so excited to learn more about color theory. These are the color wheels we created for the first class. Love how the colors look on the black fabric. Yummy!

3colorwheelsI’ve also been working on the Printed Fabric Bee challenge.  I ended up with lots of masks from the stencils I created for the piece.  I’ll be blogging soon about the Bee piece and the one with the masks. I love getting two for one!


I’ve also been working on another Back to Basics video. I have so many loose ends!

Oh, did I tell you both Dave and Ace had birthdays this month? I’ll be posting a picture soon of both birthday boys, but here is Ace on his day. He’s three years old now. What joy and craziness he has brought into our lives!


I also have two books I’m reading and working my way through right now. I’m trying to give them both equal time in the evening.


I love this time of the year. Even though there will be lots of outside chores, I love to see my part of the world come alive. I’m excited that I’ll soon be able to actually do some dyeing in my dyeing studio/garage. In just the last week I have felt my energy level increase after what seems like an all- time low!

Hope you are enjoying the weather in your part of the world. Are you reading anything special? Do you have a new project you have just started working on? I’d love to hear about it.

And as always, thanks for dropping by.

Posted in fabric, sun printing, surface design | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sunday Roundup: March 15

The snow is gone and it looks like spring will be here soon. This past week I spent some time outside weeding and raking – getting a head start on some of my chores. It felt so good to get outside and do something!

But I also spent time working on my word for the year – Completion. Here are a couple things I completed.

Kitchen Towels - I bought this fabric years ago when we needed towels, but never got around to making them. All I needed to do was cut and hem the fabric since the sides were already finished. I finished four and still have more to make later.


Cat Bed Cushion - Dave made this cherry cat bed in 1991 when he was selling his woodworking projects at craft fairs. This bed never sold so he kept it. I’ve wanted to make a new cushion for it since we moved here in 2007, but kept putting it off. So I finally made it using both my sewing machine and my serger. I used some flannel given to me by our friend Lydia and lots of stuffing left from other projects. I love not only completing a project, but using up stuff from my stash. As soon as I put the cushion in the bed, Puddin got right in it! She looks kind of upset here, but it’s because Ace is wanting in the bed too!


I also made a birthday card recently using some of my fabric. It’s been a long time since I’ve made any fabric cards. That was fun and I think I want to do more of that. And again I love using up my stash.


After practicing my free motion quilting on numerous samples with the exact same fabric and batting, I started working on this project. I wasn’t happy with my stitches so I’ve quit and put it aside. However, I have found that my old Elna’s stitches are much nicer than those on my Brother machine.


As to other studio work, I’ve been working on The Printed Fabric Bee challenge for this month. The theme is molas. I’ve been researching and then cutting stencils. I’m getting close to finding the exact stencil design I want to use. Then I need to decide on fabric and paint colors. Now I’m getting excited!


Meanwhile when my studio door is open you can find my assistants hard at work. I sure wish they got along better!


That’s all for today. Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in cats, serger, Sewing, Sunday Roundup, The Printed Fabric Bee | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Snow Dyeing 2015

Since it snowed AGAIN I thought I’d do a little snow dyeing.


In this session I’m really looking again to see colors split. I talked about and showed colors splitting on this post. I buy mostly “pure” dyes now which won’t split except give me lighter and darker shades of the color. However, I did have a few composite colors to try.

Here is a picture of Dave’s shirt with just a little snow left. I forgot to take pictures when I first started the process!


Here is his finished shirt snow dyed with Yucca. I’m not real excited about this result. Too much white for my taste and I’m not real fond of green. However, it did break out a bit. You might not be able to see it very well in this picture but there is a lot of blue and a small amount of yellow mixed in with the green.


I dyed myself a tshirt with Orchid. You can see in this picture how instead of orchid I got more of a raspberry and blue – my all time favorite color combination. I really love how this turned out with just a little white.


Then a piece of fabric dyed with Chocolate Brown. This is a lovely piece with lots of burgundy, rust, and gray.


Lastly, I dyed a piece with New Black. This is another lovely piece which includes blue gray and burgundy.


And a closeup. You can see in this picture the burgundy.


My reason for this experiment was to see the colors split and they did. Snow dyeing is what started me on this fabric dyeing journey back in 2010. Today I realized that I don’t like how I have NO control of the colors with this technique. With ice dyeing I can at least see where I’m putting the dye down. With the snow, I can’t see the fabric so I have no idea where it will land. Of course, there are also lots of surprises with ice dyeing, but at least I have a little more control. Maybe I’ll snow dye again next winter, but I much rather use ice. And with ice dyeing I can do it in the summer when the dyeing studio (garage) is warm. If you’re new to ice dyeing, check out my how to dye fabric with ice webinar that you can download and listen over and over again.

Talking about warm, I am so looking forward to spring and more dyeing. Hope you are having a creative Sunday and thanks for dropping by!






Posted in dyeing, fabric, fiber reactive dyes, snow dyeing | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Printed Fabric Bee Challenge: Forest Floor

This month’s Printed Fabric Bee’s queen Carol Eaton chose as our challenge “The Forest Floor.” We could choose whatever colors we wanted to use.

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


I started with a piece of fabric I had low immersion dyed with turquoise and orange.

forestfloor1Next I stenciled the fern leaves all over the piece. Usually I like to make my own stencils, but I had this fern one in my stash. I used SetaColor Opaque Sanguine #51.


forestfloor3I wanted to add some highlights, so I stamped a few more ferns on the fabric with Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Copper.

forestfloor4I love Jacquard Lumiere. They are just so pretty. I used them on that stole I made for Ange.

And here is the finished piece. I really thought about adding some spots of silver as I did in my practice pieces, but decided against it. I really liked the piece as it was.

forestfloor5And a close up.


Here is my giveaway 6 x 6 piece.


If you’d love to win this collection of 6 x 6 inch fabrics, just leave a comment on Carol’s blog or on the Printed Fabric Bee blog post. Deadline is March 15.  Once you have commented, stop by the other members’ blogs to see how they created their pieces. Good Luck!


Posted in fabric, Giveaway, stencils, surface design, The Printed Fabric Bee | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Tuesday Recap: Thrift Store Threes

I volunteer at our local thrift store once a month and usually I have a little time while I’m working to check out new-to-me stuff. Sometimes it’s amazing what catches my eye. Is it chance or is there something else going on?

About a year ago, I bought a shirt at a thrift store. I love that shirt because it’s so colorful, comfortable and warm. Then in December while volunteering, there was another one. It was like the rack parted to show that shirt to me. For a minute I wondered if I had donated mine, since I often see stuff hanging that I had dropped off. After some thought, I grabbed it off the rack and bought it. Then last Friday I decided to wear one of those two thrift shop shirts to my volunteer gig and as I was straightening up the racks, there again was that shirt – just like the other two and again in my size. What’s the chance of that happening? I believe since it happened the chances were 100%!


My Three Shirts

The shop was having a 2 for 1 so after finding this shirt, I just looked casually through the shirts and found this one. It makes a great stencil and it looks like one of my favorite Hawaiian plants, Monstera.


I had found a shirt last year that was similar with a different pattern. Isn’t this lovely?


First I sprayed through it on the silk.


Then I painted it.

fernonsilkI see both of these shirt stencils used on some new shirts I’m going to dye once the weather warms up.

I dyed a couple more scarves with ties again. If you missed my tutorial, check it out here. I was really happy how these turned out. I am so drawn to the scarves dyed this way. I guess it looks African or Indian – lots of color and patterns. Be sure and check when buying ties. Usually the fabric content is on a tag on the small end of the tie. I thought I could tell silk from polyester, but while getting ready to dye I found two of my ties were poly!

tiescarfsecondround1I also wanted to see if reused ties would dye. On the left is the scarf dyed with new ties. On the right the scarf is dyed with the used ties. There is still dye left in the ties, but since the ties are so cheap, I’d just use them once. The colors are not as bright.


During this cold spell, Dave and I made some soap. On the left is Lavender Coconut Soap – a 100% coconut oil soap. We bought a bar in Hawaii this year and it’s got such a wonderful lather we thought we’d make us a batch. The other is one of our green clay soaps.


I also made some of my Shea Mango Body Whip for my dry skin.  You can find the recipe here.


Well, that’s all for today’s recap. Hope you are keeping warm and having a creative day.



Posted in dyeing, silk, soap making, surface design, Thrift store finds | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How To: Dyeing silk with ties

I love ties. When I’m trolling local thrift stores I always have to stop by the tie rack and see what lovelies I can find. Until recently I really didn’t know what to do with them but add them to my stash.  I thought about cutting them up and making something, but then I ran across this idea – dyeing silk with these lovely ties.

I found a tutorial in Quilting Arts October/November 2010 issue, but didn’t find much information online so I thought I’d share my tutorial.

So here is what these silk scarves look like dyed with silk ties.

threetiescarvessilkfromtiesSo let’s get started.

First of all you need to use silk ties and silk fabric. This technique will not work on any other fabric.

You will need the following:

  • silk ties
  • silk scarf or fabric
  • cotton fabric cut a little larger than the fabric you are dyeing
  • scissors
  • string, rubber bands, or sinew
  • pot for water
  • vinegar
  • weight for holding down fabric in pot

Place cotton fabric on table and lay the silk fabric face up on top of it. In this tutorial I used a previously dyed scarf which also works. In fact, the middle scarf in the above picture of three was a mistake and the ties covered my mistakes! But you can start with just a white one too. I didn’t iron this scarf before “dyeing” it, but you might want to do that.

howtodyewithties1Pin the halfway mark of your silk. Now cut the ties and place them face down on the silk up to that pin. You can cut and place the ties anyway you want to.

howtodyewithties2Now, bring the other half of the silk over the ties.

howtodyewithties3And then cover that silk with the cotton.

howtodyewithties4Now starting at the open end, roll up the fabric.

howtodyewithties5Then tie up. I use sinew because it’s what I use for other dyeing. If you don’t have sinew you can use anything that will keep this bundle tied.

howtodyewithties6Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar to the water and then place the fabric bundle in the water. To keep the bundle from floating, place some type of weight on top of it. Anything you use for dyeing should never be used again for cooking.

howtodyewithties7Let it cook for 20 minutes, then take out of the water and put directly on a towel. Don’t rinse it. Cut the ties and open your surprise.

howtodyewithties8Hang the scarf until dry and then heat set with an iron. I also then hand wash again, dry, and iron to make sure there is no vinegar smell and that I feel the dye has set.

Here is the result from that dyeing.


Here are some closeups of my other scarves. This first scarf was the scarf that I had previously dyed and didn’t like. The ties covered up my mistakes.


The following two scarves were white to start.



It’s a fun technique. Be sure you use ties that are dark. Light ties won’t dye. The ties also have to be silk. Supposedly the ties can be reused a couple times, so I have a bin of them waiting.

If you try this, I’d love to see your results. Have a creative rest of the week.


Posted in fabric, recycling, silk, tutorials | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments