How To: Toilet paper tube bird feeder

I was meeting with my friend Martha and her daughter Jillian this week and I wanted a fun easy activity we could do together. I thought a toilet paper tube bird feeder would be perfect and would feed our birds.

Here is what you need:

  • peanut butter and knife
  • toilet paper tubes (or paper towel tubes)
  • bird seed
  • pan
  • wire and wire cutters (You can also use jute or ribbon.)

Start by painting the tube with peanut butter.

Next roll the peanut-covered tube in the bird seed.

Pat the seed down so it has good contact with the peanut butter.

Cut wire and thread through the tube. You can also use ribbon or jute.

Then put on your coat and go hang them in your trees.  Here is Jillian hanging one.

Now wait for the birds to find your feeder. Within 10 minutes I had birds checking mine out. However, they couldn’t get to my feeders since they were hanging too far from the branch. I twisted the wire around so the feeders sit on the limb. Now my feathered friends can reach it easily. Here is one of my first visitors – a male yellow finch.

After we finished making the bird feeders, Jillian had fun playing with the seeds.

I’m slowly getting back to creating and blogging. Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in recycling, tutorials | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Drawing on Rocks

My word for this year is expand – expand as in being open to other art and other substrates besides fabric. You know how I love to draw mandalas. I also love rocks and petroglyphs. I’ve been wanting to put those two loves together.

After some research I decided to draw on my rocks with white ink. I don’t remember ever using a dip pen, so this was a new experience. I started drawing in the center of the rock and working outward.

I see a lot of painted rocks that stop here, but I wanted some color. I used the dip pen and colored the mandala with Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay India Ink. I bought this small set on Amazon to test them out.

And here is my rock painted.

I liked the look of the ink on the rock, and the ease of painting, but the colors weren’t true. The magenta, green, and even the yellow were fine, but the blue didn’t show up as blue. However, I still like the inks, but I wanted stronger colors.

I decided I’d paint the rock with acrylic paints using the dip pen. I tried painting with a small brush, but I had trouble controlling the paint. This was much brighter.

Then Sherry suggested I use color pencils. Here is my rock painted with colored pencils. The colored pencils give a chalk-like effect. I liked that too.

If you are interested in painting on rocks, you don’t have to draw mandalas. Draw whatever you like. However, I would definitely practice on paper before moving to drawing on the rock. You could also draw in pencil, and then cover with ink or pen. Here are a few rocks I started on.

I plan to seal the rocks with a varnish that contains UV filters. That way it will protect the design from handling, and also the elements if put outdoors.

I really love drawing on rocks. Using the dip pen was so much fun and really easy. I was disappointed that the inks weren’t brighter, but they would be fine if I painted the rock white. But that said, I still liked the way they looked on the rocks. My acrylic paints are old and I didn’t have much of a color selection, so before I draw another set I want to pick up a few more colors. Lastly, the colored pencils worked too.

I really love those rocks with mandalas made of dots. I tried my hand at that art last year, but not on rocks. That will be my next adventure with these rocks.

Meanwhile, one of my Lenten Roses has opened. This is my first time for them to bloom since I planted them last year. They are so beautiful.

Been working on a couple more ice dyeing techniques to add to my Icy Delights online class. I have been updating it with new material since it opened last May. On this last experiment I got an unexpected result – a kitty face on the fabric. Can you see it?

Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in acrylic paints, art, drawing, mandalas, rocks | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Positive Prayer Flag Swap

Last month Lynn Krawczyk  proposed a positive prayer flag swap on Facebook. With all of the negativity in the news, it was a great idea to spread some positive thoughts.

It’s been awhile since I made prayer flags, so I thought it would be a fun and fast project to ease me into after everything that’s been going on here with my back and all. Here are those finished flags.

To get started I dug out the dry brush fabric and used my Scan and Cut to cut some words. I showed you this picture on the last post. As you can tell, the finished flags don’t look anything like how they started!

I used this Artistcellar Texture Series stencil designed by Jill Berry. The words represent all of the talk that’s going on right now.

I stenciled the design with PROFAB Magenta Textile paint.

Now that I had a “noisy” background,  I started auditioning fabric strips, lace, and some metal leaves.  “Trust” was the word I chose for these flags.

I dipped white lace in Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Magenta so it would match my flags. The green fabric is from my dyed stash. My next step was to add the green fabric which would break up the “noise” and bring some calm to the flag.

Then I added the dyed lace.

Next I sewed both pieces down to the flag.

I decided that the cut letters, even if I changed fabric colors, would not work on this flag. I went to my backup – printing words on fabric –  and added to the lace. Lastly I added the feather charm which has many means including trust.

So my message was to be calm and trust yourself amid all of the noise. Of course, the recipients of these flags can make their own interpretations.

They have now been mailed to Lynn.  I am so looking forward to the flags I’ll be receiving in April. I made six for the swap and one for me so I’ll have a total of seven flags. I’ll post them when I receive them.

Meanwhile, it’s amazing what is coming up in the yard. We’ve not had much of a winter at all this year and everything is starting to come out. It’s way too early! I’ve not seen any asparagus yet, but the magnolia tree is starting to bloom and it smells so sweet.

I do love Spring when everything is new again. I’m looking forward to getting out and spending time tending to the areas. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Posted in dry brush, flags, Sewing, stencils | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Seeing the Light

Before I get started on this post, I want to thank all of you who have commented or emailed me privately sending your prayers and healing thoughts for my back injury. I really appreciate each and every one.

I am seeing the light at the end of this tunnel I’ve been in for the last five weeks. I’m still in pain from my fall, but it seems to be getting better every day.

When we returned home from Hawaii, I was two weeks into this injury.  I tried to create. I started with sitting with my watercolors. This was fun, but it felt like a chore because I was pushing so hard.

I also decided I wanted to make prayer flags for a Facebook group swap. I would use already dyed fabric and just cut, sew, and embellish the flags. Again, I got started and that was too much.

I kept trying to push myself and finally gave up. The muscle relaxers also made it difficult for me to even stay awake, much less create.

So I’ve spent the last three weeks trying to watch some TV and videos before drifting off. I wasn’t alone. Most of the time Puddin was on my lap keeping me company. Ace surprised me a couple days and joined me for some lap sitting – a rare occurrence for him. He likes to be near me, but not on top of me.

Of course Dave has been so helpful. He’s been making us steel cut oats for breakfast almost every morning, and he’s taken on all of the meal prep and cooking even though it was my turn. He’s also had to put up with my whining, and driving me to my physical therapy appointments.

Anyway, just checking in to let you know that again I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers, and I am seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. Hopefully I’ll be posting some creative stuff soon.

Posted in cats, flags, Ramblings, watercolors | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

A lesson on just “being”

This year’s vacation was a lesson on just “being” for both of us.  This was not something I wanted to do; It’s something I had no control over.

HAWAII 017

Even though not feeling well, we had to take our traditional picture.

Dave and I flew into Maui on the 11th. On the way to the rental car shuttle I fell. I had fallen several years ago in the LAX airport on our way to vacation. That time I injured my shoulder and when we returned home I started on several months of physical therapy for my frozen shoulder. Both falls have these in common – airports and rushing.

This time I fell landing on my knees and hands, but instead of messing up my shoulder, I twisted my back. For those of you who have chronic back pain, I really feel for you. Back pain is really hard to live with. I’m fortunate that it was just a sprain.

Anyway, we got our rental car and made it to our condo. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story. A day after we’re in Paradise, Dave got sick. There were a couple days when he didn’t even want to eat – which for my foodie hubby is pretty unbelievable.

I pushed myself to walk on the beach every day because of concern that I might have more problems if I just took it easy. With my shoulder, I didn’t move it for the two weeks we were gone and it took forever to get it unfrozen. I didn’t want that to happen with my back. I bought a heating pad and took Ibuprofen. Dave walked with me on days he felt well enough to get out.

So our plans for our vacation, which included several hikes, had to be scrapped while we just spent our time “being.” There were a few days when we felt good enough to go out to eat. Mama’s Fish House is our favorite restaurant on Maui so as we were sitting there I asked the server to take our picture.

mamasfishhouseDave’s dessert was a work of art: Liliko’i chocolate mousse in a pastry seashell. Yum!

mamafish2

I really hate to be sick. But for me, it’s even worse on vacation. Since returning home I’ve continued that state of just “being” while taking anti-inflams, muscle relaxers, and doing some floor exercises the doc prescribed. Unlike on Hawaii, I’ve spent a lot of time sleeping.  However, I’ve found the more I am active – walking or just standing – even though my back hurts, I feel better in the long run.

After almost three weeks since my fall I’m just now feeling like I want to create some art. Here are a couple of the mandalas I drew and colored the last two nights.

newmandala3 newmandala2

I also have been looking at this 3-ply cotton cord I dyed before we left. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be feeling good enough to sew it up.

coloredropeSo if you don’t seem much creativity on this blog for the next couple of weeks, just know I am here and looking forward to not just “being,” but creating.

Oh, on a happy note, Icy Delights will be open for registration tomorrow! I’m looking forward to seeing all of the beautiful fabric and clothing that my students will produce. If you are interested in this class, check it out here.

Thanks for dropping by.

 

Posted in drawing, Hawaii, ice dyeing, mandalas, online classes, teaching | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Finding my word – Expand

I’ve been looking for my word for this new year and it finally came to me – expand.

Hopefully this isn’t me physically expanding! No, it’s about my life and especially my art.

Last year I really felt I need to focus on fabric, although drawing my mandalas did venture away from that. But as the year progressed I felt as though I had restricted myself too much. If I saw something I liked that involved a medium other than fabric, I told myself I couldn’t do that. My restrictions left me feeling a bit hampered and somewhat imprisoned by my own rules.

So with this year, I will still focus on fabric, but if I want to venture off to another area, I will welcome it. Meanwhile, those passions I currently possess will be expanded.

To give you an idea of expansion, I decided while drawing my mandalas the last week that I’d draw them on small 1.5 inch wood discs. I have lots of these around from previous creative lifetimes. Working small and on wood was not only a challenge, but really fun! I could see a whole set of these mandala discs.

smallmandalasFor several years I have been using Faber-Castell Pitt pens when drawing. I thought I’d try the Koi Watercolor Brush pens. I’ll write a comparison of the pens on a later post.

koipensAnd just a few of my new mandalas on paper.

mandalas22017-1 mandalas2017-2I feel that this word will not only stretch my art, but will also push me to widen what I’m already doing.

And for me, this is exciting. So have you selected your word for the year?

Posted in drawing, mandalas, paper | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to: Dyeing cord

I’ve been loving all of the bowls and coasters I’ve been making. Unlike many of the rope bowls out there, instead of using the cord plain or covering it with fabric, I like to dye it.

multicolorbowlThe above bowl was made with the same three colors as the coasters.

Today I want to show you how I get the variety of colors when dyeing cord. Also, I dyed some of the 3-ply cotton cording and I will show those results.

This bowl is made from cord I dyed for this tutorial.

dyedbowlclotheslineHere is what you will need:

  • cotton clothesline or other cotton cording
  • dye stock in bottles with tips (I use fiber reactive dyes, but you could also use Tulip or Rit liquid dyes)
  • soda ash, water, and dedicated bucket with lid
  • dyeing pan and rack
  • plastic to cover your dyeing when completed
  • plastic container to rinse and soak cord
  • Blue Dawn
  • towel to lay dyed cord on while it dries

So let’s get started. If using fiber reactive dyes, the cotton cording needs to be soaked in a soda ash solution for at least 15 minutes. If you’re not familiar with soda ash which you can find with pool supplies, it is necessary to bind the dye to the fibers.  I added a cup of soda ash to one gallon of hot water. Be sure you use gloves. (After removing cording, cover the container. The solution can be used over and over again. Add both water and soda ash to it when the solution gets low.)

dyeingcord1When I remove the cording out of the soda ash water, it more than likely is tangled. I take the time in this step to untangle and place the cording on the racks. The reason I like to use the racks is that they keep the cord elevated and away from the excess dye that drips off of the cord.

dyeingcord2Now to add the dye stock/solution. I’m only using two colors (lemon yellow and turquoise) on this cording, unlike the three I used in the first bowl photo. To make the dye stock from the fiber reactive dyes, add one tablespoon or more per cup of water. (This dye solution will last for a long time refrigerated. I’ve been using dye stock I mixed last July.)

I dye one color at a time, spacing it out on the cording.

dyeingcord3After the first color is finished, I add the next one.

dyeingcord4Here is how the cord looks all dyed. Be sure and check both sides of the cord before quitting. And don’t be concerned about the colors mingling.

dyeingcord5Now I cover with a garbage bag to keep heat in and wait for at least 5 or 6 hours, but I usually leave it overnight. Be sure at this stage your dyed cord is in a room that is at least 70 degrees. These dyes work best at 70 degrees or above. I have overnighted them in my dye studio with 40- 50 degree temperatures and they worked, but they would have been more vibrant had I brought them inside.

After the batch time, the colors will change a bit. You can see how the yellow and blue have combined to make green.

dyeingcord6Now to wash out. First rinse with cold water until the water runs clear.

dyeingcord7Once the water is clear, rinse in hot water and then fill the tub with hot water adding Dawn.

dyeingcord8Let the cording soak in the sudsy water for at least 30 minutes.

dyeingcord9Since I’m not washing this in the machine, in order to get all of the loose dye out, after this soak, I’ll rinse again. If there still any dye coming out in the water, I’ll do another hot soak. When I’m sure all of the dye is out (the water is clear), I’ll place it on a towel to dry. Once it’s almost dry I’ll hang it to finish the process.

Here is how the cording looks after it’s completely dry and ready to be made into a bowl.

dyedcordclotheslineI mentioned that I also dyed 3-ply cotton cording the very same way. This cord is much thicker and took the dye differently as you can see in this picture. The colors are lighter and there is very little blue left.

dyedcord3plyHere is how the two bowls compare in color.

bothbowlsThat picture shows how there is little blue left on the 3-ply. I was quite surprised at the difference.

The more I thought about it, I realized that the 3-ply is so much thicker. To make the colors as dark as the other bowl I really needed to use more dye. You will notice in the center of the 3-ply bowl you can see white. That’s where the center of the cord wasn’t dyed because the dye didn’t penetrate all the way. To fix this bowl I could use a marker to touch up that area.

As far as the 3-ply bowl, it is much more sturdy than the clothesline bowl. Since the cording is bigger, it sews up faster. Also, I love the texture. I’ll definitely be making some bowls out of the 3-ply.

As I blogged in an earlier post, I’ve been wanting to make these bowls for years and so glad I’ve finally gotten around to playing with the cording. If you decide to dye some cording, I’d love to see your finished projects.

Thanks for dropping by.

 

Posted in clothesline bowls, dyeing, fiber reactive dyes, Sewing, tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

How to: Dry Brush Dyeing

OMG! I am so excited about dry brush dyeing. I could hardly wait to blog about it!

drybrushresultsI found this technique in Making Your Mark by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan. This book also includes a video. I absolutely love watching these women create.

makingyourmarkOf course, there is some prep. The fabric needs to be soda ash soaked and hung to dry before you begin. Once the fabric is dry, you can take a warm iron to the cloth. I didn’t do that though.

You also need to make up some chemical water. I mixed 200 grams of urea, and 13 grams of Ludigol (optional) into 85 ounces of distilled water. I used distilled since our water is hard, but you could use tap water.  The unused chemical water will keep for a long time in a cool place.

Once mixed up, put a small amount of the chemical water into a bowl and then add your fiber reactive dye powder. Except for the black, I added already mixed dye water to this chemical water. I’m trying to use up the dye water I had mixed up last year.

So let’s get started. Lay the pre-treated fabric on your surface. For the demo photos I used my printing board which I covered with fabric before pinning the fabric to it. However, since I only have one of these boards, the other pieces were dyed just taped to the plastic covering my tables. That worked fine except any creases in the plastic showed up on my pieces. For me that’s just more texture.

I’m using cheap brushes from the paint section at Walmart. I bought three  2- and 3-inch brushes. I cut them a bit jaggy so they wouldn’t lay down a perfect line.

paintbrushessize

I used three dyes: Turquoise, Fuschia, and Lemon Yellow. I started laying the dye down with the 2-inch brush starting with the yellow. The object is to put down very little dye each time and why it’s called dry brushing.  You see on the right side of the piece where I started I have way too much dye. The more I did this, the better I got. It’s like stenciling – less is more.

drybrush1Then the next color was added.

drybrush2And the third color.

drybrush3Then I started going over the colors. This time I used the 3-inch brushes. After a couple passes, I left this piece alone and started working on another piece so this one could dry a bit.

drybrush4I kept adding more color and then added a pass of Raven black dye.

drybrush5I really liked how the black looked so all of the pieces have black except one.

I rolled them up in plastic garbage bags to batch.

drybrushrollingupAnd let them batch for 24 hours.

drybrushbatch I washed them out starting with a cool rinse until the water was clear. Then rinsed them in hot and then soaking in a hot sudsy tub. Love the colors!

soakingbrushedfab I then put them in the washing machine and washed in hot water, rinsed twice, dried, and ironed. And the final results!

drybrushresultsHere are the individual fat quarters.

drybrushfinish2

drybrushfinish1

drybrushangleThe following one I didn’t add black dye. The line at the top is from the plastic. The other lines are from the fabric not being ironed.

drybrushwoblackThis last one is way light. I’m not sure what I did different, but it needs more dye.

drybrushlightOf course, any of these can be over dry brushed. They would make great backgrounds. Anyway, this was so much fun. I will be doing much more of this in my future. Next time I will use the dye powder instead of the dye water so I will get more vibrant colors. Also, will use a different color combination.

It’s so much fun trying something new! Been looking for my word for this year and it may be “experiment.” Well, maybe not. I’d love to hear your word for this year if you’ve decided yet. Or you might be like me, still looking for it!

 

Posted in dry brush, dyeing | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Happy New Year 2017!

happynewyear2017

Posted in art, clothesline bowls | Tagged , | Comments Off on Happy New Year 2017!

Looking back 2016

Oh my! This year has really gone by fast. So how much did I accomplish during 2016?

This year I spent a lot of time teaching. After a year of planning and thinking about it, I finally opened my online class, Icy Delights: Dyeing Fabric With Ice, for registration in May. It’s been so much fun to share my love of this technique, and to see all of the lovely fabric students have created.

moreicedyed

It also was the year of teaching local classes. I taught almost 200 students.

Ready to get the class started

I taught three classes for kids: tie dye bandanas at Patchwork Central and tie dyed t-shirts at Gilda’s. I also taught the Patchwork group to dye silk scarves.

tiedyedshirtsThe Easy And Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing class was so much fun. Students found out that they  could create something beautiful and wear it home! I taught a couple classes at Gilda’s and many more at Scattered Art in Newburgh. I also had a couple groups contact me to have their own dyeing party.

gildassilkdyeing I taught a prayer flags class at Gilda’s and a Painted Zip Bag class at Scattered Art.

PaintedzipperbagclassBut besides teaching, my biggest accomplishment this year was sewing! Not only did I sew up these lovely bags, but I felt confident enough to give the one in the back on the right (my favorite of the bunch) to a local silent auction.

Craftsy One-Zip Way

I’ve wanted to make those corded bowls for years now, and finally this year I did it! I’ve been having so much fun, but instead of covering the cording with fabric, I’ve been dyeing it. Then I got on a roll making coasters.

coasterprojectI also had the opportunity to share my art on WEHT Local Lifestyles. I appeared on this popular local program seven times this year with my friend and lovely host, Ange Humphrey.

angeandmeoctI also completed another project I’ve wanted to do in years and that’s sew those little cloth dolls.

Cloth Dolls

I moved my mandalas from paper to cloth and painted them with watercolors.

watercolormandala10This year was the third and last year for The Printed Fabric Bee group. It’s been a fun run and it’s been so exciting to meet this great group of creative women. During the first two years when we did a project every month, I felt it really helped to stretch me as an artist. This year we each took a month and posted on our specific topic. During my month I talked about adding resists to ice dyeing. This was one of the posts.

soywaxsamplesIn June I headed to Cincinnati for an Eco Print Retreat “Exploring Nature’s Patterns” with Jacqueline Sullivan. I had fun and loved meeting Jacqueline and the other lovely women, but decided eco printing  just wasn’t something that I wanted to pursue. And that’s a good thing – marking off something from my list!

ecojournalfront

But of all of the wonderful stuff I did this year, the highlight was traveling to Honolulu with Dave and recreating a picture with him. We tried to find the exact location where mom and dad’s photo was taken. We were close, but so much has changed since they were there. I talk about this journey on this post.

dadmomandus

What a great year! Thanks for dropping by. Now for 2017. Happy New Year everyone!

Posted in art, eco printing, ice dyeing, teaching, The Printed Fabric Bee, year end review | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments