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

How To: Recycled Pot Holders

Several years ago I mentioned my recycled pot holders, but never told how I made the work horses.

I made these from recycled towels and jeans, and fabric I had in my stash. We’ve been using them since I made them in February 2011! That’s really amazing for us that they lasted so long since we cook all of the time and really use them.

New pot holders from recycled stuff

Pot holders from recycled stuff

They still had some life left in them, but they were so soiled and starting to fall apart. Here’s what they looked like before I threw them in the trash the other day.

Old worn out potholders

Old potholders

Here are the new ones.

new potholders

new potholders

So let’s get started.

For making these pot holders we will be using old jeans, towels, and fabric. Look for those thin towels you’ve had around the house. Any old jeans will work. The top fabric can be anything. This was fabric I bought in Hawaii on our honeymoon. The small pieces of fabric are for the hanging loops.


In addition to the material for your pot holders, you will need your sewing machine, thread, iron, and scissors or rotary cutter.

Square pot holders measure between 7″ – 9″.  For these directions I’ll use an 8″ square, but the size can be increased or decreased, depending on the size you need.

  • 8-inch square of jean material for the back
  • 8-inch square of cotton material for the front
  • 7.5-inch square of towel as the inner insulating pad
  • 5 x 3 inch piece of top fabric for hanging loop

Let’s work on the loop first. Fold the loop fabric in half with wrong sides together and iron.

loop2 Then open up and fold each side to the center fold you just made.

loop3Fold that over and iron. Stitch on both long sides.

Next add that loop to the left side of the front side of the top fabric and pin.

recycledpotholders2Now to layer the fabric sandwich. The towel is first, jean fabric side up, and front fabric faced down. If you look closely, on the right side of the top fabric you can see where I pinned the loop.

recycledpotholders3You can pin or not before taking to the machine. I used these cute little clips.


Then to the sewing machine to sew a 1/2 inch seam around the fabric sandwich leaving at least a three-inch opening for turning.


Trim away seam allowance and clip corners.


Turn inside out. I use a bone folder to pop out the corners.


Press entire pot holder, folding over the area that was not sewn.


Starting at the open area, sew around the whole pot holder  ½ inch from edge. I do this twice. And you are done.

new potholdersAnd here is what they look like on the back.

recycledpotholders10If you forget to add the hanging loop before sewing (as I did on one of them) you can add it after you have top stitched the whole piece.

You can also free motion quilt or just stitch over the entire piece. I chose to leave these plain this time.

There you have it! Great sturdy pot holders made of recycled materials.

It’s snowing today. Good day to stay in and play. I might even do a bit of snow dyeing too! Stay warm and have a great week.



Posted in recycling, Sewing, tutorials | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fabric Printing At Home Blog Hop

Congratulations to Dawn Jones and Carole Gold!

Today is my day for the blog hop for this fun fabric surface design book. We’ll be giving two copies of this book – one from me and one from the publisher. See information below.

I reviewed this book a couple months ago on this post. Today I’ll be showing you one of the techniques I learned from the book.

Fabric Printing at Home

I made two stamps. One with lentils and the other with my glue gun.


Lentil stamps


Glue Gun Stamp

I added blue screen printing ink to my lentil stamp.

paintonlentilstampThen I stamped on my handkerchief.

lentilstamponfabricI love the irregular texture this stamp gives the fabric.

I then used the glue gun stamp and added magenta screen printing ink to the fabric. And here is my final result.

paintedhankieAnd a closeup.

closeupofpaintedhankieThat was so much fun and just a couple of the techniques Julie has in this book.

Now to winning, comment on this blog post and you will be in the running for this book. We will be giving away two copies on this blog. Deadline for your comments on this post is Heart Day, February 14 at 8 am Central.

The blog tour continues tomorrow on Cheryl Sleboda’s blog, and the full schedule is below. There are 14 chances to win a copy of Julie’s lovely book, one at each blog stop on the tour. (Two at my blog!) Julie has wonderful tutorials and additional giveaways on her blog each day of the tour, so don’t forget to head over there every day.

February 2: Lisa Chin

February 3: Lynn Krawczyk

February 4: Jane Davila

February 5: Carol R. Eaton

February 6: Judy Gula

February 7: Susan Purney Mark

February 8: Teri Lucas

February 9: Jennifer Coyne Qudeen

February 10: Deborah Boschert

February 11: YOU ARE HERE

February 12: Cheryl Sleboda

February 13: Terri Stegmiller

February 14: Jackie Lams

Good Luck!

Posted in book review, fabric, Giveaway, surface design | Tagged , , , , | 67 Comments

Soy Wax and Ice Dyeing

Now that you know how to work with soy wax, why not add it to other techniques, specifically ice dyeing? If you’ve never ice dyed, check out my very first tutorial on ice dyeing.


Ice dyeing is a bit different with soy wax because the fabric must be dry. The first step is to soda ash soak the fabric. In regular ice dyeing, that wet fabric would then be put on the dyeing rack ready for the ice. However, since the soy wax will dissolve in water, the fabric must be dry before you start this process.

After the fabric has been soaked in the soda ash water for 30 minutes, remove and hang to dry.

Once it is dry, you can lightly iron the fabric if it is too wrinkled for you.

Now get the soy wax out and play. Check out my soy wax tutorial.

In the picture below I’ve used one of my potato mashers and a brush to make marks with the wax on the dry fabric.

soywaxpieceOnce the wax dries, which only takes a couple minutes, lightly scrunch it up and set on the screen inside of the dyeing pan.

soywaxice1soywaxice2Add ice and then the dye. See these directions on ice dyeing HERE.

And here are the results.


On the left is fabric using a pure dye – Cerulean Blue. On the right I used Brushed Steel, a composite color which when ice dyed breaks out in all of its colors.

I’ve found I really like using composite colors instead of pure dyes with ice dyeing because of all of the color combinations. If we look at the Brushed Steel piece again, you can see all of the lovely colors including yellow. Also, looking closely you can see lines which are the screens that the piece sat on.


This is really one of my favorite ice dyeing pieces to date. I love all of the texture. The soy wax images are not crystal clear, but you can see them. I like the layers and it’s nice that it’s only two layers but looks like many more.

I wrote a post awhile back about Brushed Steel and how it breaks out and how it’s suppose to look like when low immersion dyeing. Check it out here.

So that’s just another way to use soy wax. It’s a fun medium and works great with ice dyeing. If you try this I’d love to see your results.



Posted in dyeing, fabric, ice dyeing, soy wax, surface design | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Hawaiian Art

We just returned a couple weeks ago from Hawaii where we visited Kauai and Kona on the Big Island. When going on vacation we plan our visit around farmers markets and art fairs. Last year we just happened upon the Kailua-Kona Village Stroll. So this year we made certain we’d be on The Big Island for that monthly event.

alii drive art stroll

Kailua-Kona Village Stroll

This stroll is the third Sunday of every month and they have a lot of wonderful artists. The main road is closed and lined with booth after booth of local artists’ art.

I bought this scarf from Kona Silks at the Ho’oulu Community Farmers Market at the Sheraton Kona. The artist is Val Pagni. I love that the scarf has a turtle on it who I call Timmy. (In our household, all turtles are Timmy!)

turtle scarfI knew Val would be vending at this event, so I was looking forward to meeting her.  The picture below is of her booth at the Ho’oulu Community Farmers Market.

kona silksShe had such lovely scarves and jackets. Anyway, she was not there. Her partner said she was at another fair just up the road about 15 minutes or so from us. So I didn’t get to meet her.

However, I did get to meet another artist whose work I had seen earlier in an art gallery. Peri Enkin of Designs by Peri makes lovely jewelry, sun catchers, and more that involve a lot of handwork. Here is one of her suncatchers I brought home for a birthday present for my bud, Barbara.

designsbyperiHere’s a closeup. I love her work. Her bracelets were also lovely.


While in Kauai we stopped at the Koa Store for another present. This is a sushi box made of koa with an 8-piece set of chopsticks.


Next door to the Koa Store is Kapaia Stitchery. When we visited Kauai in 2008 for our honeymoon I had stopped in this store while Dave shopped for wood. You will notice I didn’t buy much – just a couple patterns.

Kapaia StitcheryHere is the inside of this shop.

kapai stitcheryinside

A visit to the Big Island always involves a visit to Kimura’s. If she doesn’t have it, you don’t need it. I wrote a post about Kimura’s last year.

Kimura's 2015As soon as I walked in one of the ladies asked me what I was looking for. I asked her for lace and she pointed me to a section where there were bolts and bolts of lace, some under plastic. It’s a neat store that is kind of junky – my kind of place. I left with a bag of many different laces.

lots of lace

On The Big Island we also stopped by another quilt shop,  Quilt Passions. I bought a few more patterns here.

quilt passions

My interest in patterns this year is because Dave and I are talking about creating a joint project which will include my fabric and his woodworking. We wanted something that would remind us of our love of Hawaii. I’m not sure how or when it will get done, but I’m looking forward to collaborating with him. He’s a fine woodworker, but doesn’t have much time for it with all of his gardening.

I decided to get warmed up for our project by cutting out some Hawaiian leaves and flowers from stencils I made. Now I’m ready to quilt it.  I’ll tell you more about this project once I’m finished.

hawaii projectWe also bought several bars of soap – love to see what other soapers are doing – honey, and chocolate. Also, while Dave was in Aloha Woods shopping for wood, I was at the Goodwill down the street where I found two neat dresses and a top.

One thing that was so neat on our trip this year was we both wore mostly the shirts I dyed. EVERYWHERE we went, people commented on them and were so surprised I had dyed them. Of course they all said they loved our “tie dyed” shirts, which I didn’t correct them. The day before we left we stopped in a bookstore and one of the guys working there went up to Dave (I was in another area) and told him he really loved his shirt. When Dave told him his wife dyed it, he told Dave to tell me that it was beautiful. I did see the guy later in the store when Dave and I were together and he said that I did a great job – so different from regular tie dye! Anyway, I just smiled and thanked him! Makes me want to do some more dyeing right now! However, the dye studio aka garage is way too cold right now.

Hope you’re week is going well and thanks for dropping by.

Posted in art, vacationing | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Printed Fabric Bee Giveaway: Petroglyphs

Congratulations to Janice Novachcoff of Detroit who won this beautiful collection.

This past month I had the honor of being the Queen Bee for The Printed Fabric Bee. For my month I picked petroglyphs as my topic. I fell in love with this type of art when Dave and I vacationed in the Southwest several years ago. For this challenge I asked for fabric 8 x 18 in Turquoise and Orange.

If you’d love to win this collection of 6 x 6 inch fabrics, just leave a comment on this blog post or on the Printed Fabric Bee blog post. Deadline is Saturday, February 14, 8 am CST.

Fabric Bee Petroglyph giveaway

Once you have commented, stop by the other members’ blogs to see how they created their pieces.

Good Luck!
Posted in fabric, Giveaway, surface design, The Printed Fabric Bee | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

Completed Project #1: Valentine Chunky Book

My word this year is completion.  I really hope to finish some of the projects I’ve started, and also use some of the fabric I’ve created. I love all of the surface design techniques, but I need to use some of my stash! So here is my very first completed project and just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Valentine Chunky Book

Last year, a group of the Art Girls under Teresa’s guidance decided to make Valentine Chunky Books. The plan was that we would each make 15 pages, and then when everyone was done, we’d exchange them. I worked on my pages at the Art Girls Getaway last February.

Chunky Book 2014 pagesWhen Teresa collected all of the sets, she had a session where some of the participants bound them. I wasn’t able to attend, so I picked my pages up later. They’ve been sitting in a bag since then and I decided yesterday to get them out and add a cover.

The cover is a piece of canvas I painted years ago. I added some watercolor art I also made a long time ago. I added a book ring to bind it. Easy peasy, but at least now it is finished!

Valentine Chunky Book

Here are some of the pages made by the group. All of our pages are two sided.


What a fun project and it’s nice to have it finished for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

One down and many more to go!



Posted in bookmaking, Completed Projects, crafts | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Back To Basics: Soy Wax Batik

This year I’m started a new series of monthly “Back to Basics” posts which will include introductory information on different surface design techniques. I love to teach both through my blog and “live”, and thought these might be helpful for those of you out there who are newbees to surface design or just want to learn something different. I do know that many of you are experienced with some of the techniques.  Please feel free to add your knowledge. Some of these posts will also including videos.

Back To Basics

My first of this series is on Soy Wax Batik. I love soy wax because it is so much easier to remove from the fabric than the traditional batik wax. Soy wax burns clean with no fumes (no headaches for me!), and is a non-petroleum renewable product (good for the environment).  Using soy wax as a resist is fun and you get a lot of great results. And the biggie is that it’s easy. Please again understand, this is a basic – just get you started and your feet wet – tutorial. There is so much more you can do with this technique.

So let’s get started. Here is what you will need.

  1. Melting pot – A electric skillet works great and can be picked up at thrift or discount stores. Make sure it has a temperature gauge.
  2. Soy wax – Purchase this at ProChemical and Dye or Dharma Trading.  I would be hesitant to buy soy wax from candle companies, but that’s my opinion.
  3. Covered padded surface
  4. Tools – These can be anything except plastic which might melt. Tjantings are great to make thin lines and write with, but are not necessary. I do use one in my video.
  5. Fabric – I am using a silk hankie in this tutorial, but using other fabric is fine. Since I am painting with Dye-Na-Flow, the fabric does not have to be natural. If we were using fiber reactive dyes the fabric would need to be natural.
  6. Freezer paper (optional) – I ironed this to the back of the silk hankie to make it stable. You could also pin it to the padded surface.
  7. Drip catcher – I am using a piece of cardboard as a catcher. This prevents the wax dripping on the fabric as I move it over my piece.
  8. Foil rest –  I used a piece of foil to put tools on after removing them from the wax pot.
  9. Dye-Na-Flow paints -for this tutorial I’m using these paints.
  10. Sumi brushes – You can use others, but I love how these spread the paint over the fabric.
  11. Small mixing bowl – This is for watering down the paint.

So let’s get started. Once your soy wax is melted (It melts between 110 and 140 degrees. Once melted I turn the temperature control to warm.), place your tools in the melting pot to warm up.

soy wax potIn the above photo you can see my electric skillet, my tools in it, my drip catcher in the foreground, and the foil I use to set my wax covered tools on when I remove them from the wax. On the left is my covered padded surface with a piece of fabric.

Now let’s get to the video. You may have trouble viewing the video from the email newsletter. Please come to blog to view.

After completing that step, it’s on to paint the fabric. I used Dye-na-flow because of the ease of  use on silk which makes this a great beginner project.


Now to finish. Once the Dye-na-flow is dry, if you are using the freezer paper, remove it. Then put a cloth on both sides of the fabric and iron. You could also use newsprint. In addition to ironing out the wax, this step sets the paint. The paint instructions say to iron on reverse side for three minutes at temperature suitable for fabric to set the paint. I always like to iron a little longer to be extra sure the paint won’t wash out.

soywaxremoval1Then wash in warm water and dry in the dryer. Since I was just working with this small hankie, I handwashed it and then put it in the dryer. Iron and you are done.


Now this is just the beginning. If you wanted to add more texture and design, before washing, add another layer of wax and paint. You can continue until you are happy with the results. I’ll have more ideas on using soy wax in future posts.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email me.



Posted in soy wax, tutorial, tutorials, Videos | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments