Happy Easter!

Posted in mandalas, Photography | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Cutting it up

Now with my studio reorganized, I’m ready to play. First up is cutting one of my ice dyed pieces. I’m asked a lot what I do with all of my fabric. To tell you the truth, most of it is in my fabric cabinet since I’m so afraid of cutting it. Well, no more!!

Here is the piece I started with.

I decided I’d cut it in 1.5 inch strips and sew them back together. This reminded me of years ago when I used to collage. We’d take two different pictures or magazine pages, cut them in strips and then glue them back together. I had forgotten all about that technique until I started playing with this fabric.

However, instead of cutting from two different pieces of fabric, I cut from the same piece but cut from both ends and then sewed them together.


This is what I came up with.

And a close up.

I really think it’s so much prettier cut up!! I’ll be using it as a background for an art quilt with the strips going horizontal.

I had some of the fabric left over so I sewed a feather. That was so much fun!

The weather turned cold the last couple of days, but it looks like it’s going to be warm today. That means I’ll be back at weeding and mulching outside. However, I see some sewing in my future for this afternoon.

Have a great weekend! And as always, thanks for dropping by.

Posted in art quilts, ice dyeing, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Studio Redo

For the last week or so I’ve been working on my studio redo. In addition to moving furniture around, I’ve gone through my stash and took it off to Goodwill. I still have lots of stuff, but now it seems manageable.

For this redo, I decided to draw it out. Here is how the studio looked on paper before.

Although I measured this room and the shelves and furniture, this still wasn’t real accurate. It looks like I have lots of room as I walk in and that wasn’t the case. The cutting/work table was taking up so much of my room. Since I wasn’t using the one side of it, I decided it needed to go next to the wall. By consolidating, I got rid of the shelf on the other side of the cutting table. Here is the final placement.

A few things did not change. The glass cabinet and the tall shelves on the wall to the right as you come in the door stayed in the same place. I did rearrange and went through all of the stuff on those shelves. I ended up storing the large bins on the top shelves. They were on the floor under the cutting table before. I still have some labeling yet to do, but I’m in good shape now.

I also didn’t move the sewing area, although I did move my Brother and the serger. I like now that the Brother looks out toward the picture window. I used the Brother for the first time since the move and I just love this placement. My old Elna sits in the closet as before. Since I don’t work on large projects with it, this is the perfect place. Behind the curtain are more supplies that I don’t use a lot but need to keep in this room. The curtain serves as a back drop for pictures and also as a design board.

The cutting table works out well in front of the window. It’s a mess already from yesterday’s play. I still have three bins on the left that eventually I’d like to find room for in the closet. the Ikea cart and the 4-drawers fit nicely under the cutting table. The waste basket fits on the right side between the shelf and the table, but I moved it yesterday to work on the table and failed to move back.

The desk has been moved so now I can take advantage of both windows! I really like the view when I’m not looking at the screen. And in the middle of the room is the recliner. Before it was in front of the small window. I really hated having my back to window since I don’t have any curtains. No one can see in it, but I still didn’t like the feel at night.

Of course, the studio would be more open if I didn’t have the recliner, but it’s a great place for me to draw and also to relax at the end of the day. I felt putting it in the center of the room emphasized to me that relaxing is also important.

This new studio redo has not made Ace happy. He’s had some problems getting up in the window, although today he’s fine. Puddin loves her mat with the water bowl just under the small window. It’s been there for several weeks but behind the recliner. She likes it better out in the open.

I’m happy with this redo. I know there are things that can still be changed, but it’s nice to have a new order. Putting the design on paper was really helpful. Now I feel ready to really do some sewing and making some stuff.

Meanwhile, gardening chores are ramping up. I spent several hours this week working on the sun garden. And then a couple days ago I harvested our first asparagus spear! Yipee.

The weather has turned cold today so I’ll be working on what I started yesterday afternoon. More about it later.

Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in Cleaning, Organization | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Comparing rope for bowl making

For awhile I’ve been using 3/16 inch all-purpose cotton clothesline rope for making my bowls. Recently I tried 3-ply cotton. For any of you interested in making rope bowls I thought it would be good to show you the difference. At the end of this post is a short video to show you exactly what I’m talking about. If you are receiving this post via email you will need to come to the blog to view the video.

I have dyed both cord with the same dyes in the same fashion. You can see here how I dyed them. The one on the left is the 3/16 inch all purpose rope. On the right is the 3-ply cotton.

Here is a closer look at the 3/16 rope bowl.

Here’s a closer look at the 3-ply cotton.

This 3-ply cotton is much thicker so it’s a bit challenging getting it under the sewing machine foot. I tried several times on my Brother. After breaking a needle I returned to my old Elna which was a breeze to sew this thick cord.

Here is a inside of the bowl.

The 3-ply cotton cording is much stronger. It’s even strong enough to be used as a purse or a tote. The 3/16 inch cording is used to make bowls where you cover the cording with strips of fabric which makes it less flexible and more stable.

As I mention on the video, when dyeing the 3-ply, the dye doesn’t seem to want to go all the way through the cord so you will see some white. That can be bad or good depending on what you want. I like how the white gives it a different look.

I’ll leave you with the video comparing the two bowls. Have a great day!

Posted in Cord bowls, dyeing, fiber reactive dyes, Sewing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

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.


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!


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