Gesso & Liquid Watercolors

For the One Little Tag challenge this month I looked through my craft stash for products I’ve not used in a long time. These are the two I chose.


I really love these liquid water colors. I bought a set of them back in 2012 and even wrote this post on my love for them. The colors are so beautiful and they’re so much fun and easy to use.

I can’t even remember the last time I used gesso. It might have been for this old Gesso and Stencil post. That post has continued to be one of my most popular ones!

For this month’s One Little Tag challenge I am making backgrounds first. I wanted to use gesso with stencils again, so I dug through my handmade stencils and used the ones with words.

I smeared the gesso over the stencil.


After I lifted the stencil off I needed to touch up the letters where the “bridges” were located.


Once the gesso dried I sprayed watercolor over the tag. I experimented with using black and was really happy with some of my results.


Before it dries, rub the whole surface with a paper towel.


To finish my tags I took one of my pens and drew on the tag and also outlined the word. On some of the tags I just added shadow to the words.

gessoandwc5 And here are a few tags that are finished.


None of these are perfect, but that’s not the object of this challenge. It’s all about doing some art, not spending a lot of time, and then moving on. Love all of the tags with words sitting on my work table waiting to be complete. Fun!

Today I’ll be getting into the dye studio and dyeing some scarves. It’s been a long time, or so it seems, since I’ve done any dyeing. Have a colorful day!


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One Little Tag: January

Last month I started a  year-long challenge. I wrote this post about creating art every day on one little tag.

I wanted to focus on watercolor in January so I broke down and bought this Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box. I have been wanting one of these for years, but hated to spend the money. Well, it has been so much fun to be able to take this set of watercolors on our recent trip. And the 24 colors are so pretty!

While on vacation, I sat on our lanai and painted this Plumeria we had picked up on our morning walk.


Here are my tags for January.


And my favorites of the bunch.

januarypicks2 januarypicks1

The challenge for February is Mothballs. Jenny suggested that we look at our art supplies and pick something that we’ve not used in a long time. Humm… I know exactly what I’m going to use. It’s going to be a fun month!

If you want to play along, come join the Facebook group. Here is the link. You don’t have to create every day. You can create once a week. Or skip days. Or do several at one time. It’s just a way of encouraging us to try to make art more often. Also, the tags are small that they don’t take a lot of time.

For me, working on paper is a nice diversion from playing on fabric. Have a great weekend.

Posted in art, drawing, One Little Tag, watercolors | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Swimming with Radar

I love turtles. It all started when we moved here. One day I walked out to the driveway and there was a turtle. I took a picture of him for evidence since Dave was not home and I figured he’d never believe me. Here is his picture on my scrapbook page from 2007.


Since then, when we travel we are always on the look out for turtles or Timmy, what we named the turtle in our driveway.

We have lots of turtle art on our walls and have taken lots of pictures of turtles.

I’ve even made a stencil of a turtle for stamping on one of Dave’s shirts and some fabric.

Dave's turtle pocket

But this was the first time that we were able to “swim” with a turtle.  Next to our lodging in Hilo on The Big Island, is a park which break walls form a great place to swim and for turtles to live.


We saw turtles a couple years ago when we were here, but never got close to them. The day we went into the water was overcast so there were few people out.

Meet Radar. According to locals he is 80 years old. A marine biologist comes out and checks on the turtles and has determined he’s been around that long.


To give you an idea of how large he is, here I am with him in the water. He came right up to me. He was just one of several turtles who make this area their home.


What a thrill to not only see the turtles, but to get so close. For me, this was the highlight of our trip.

As promised, that’s the end of my Hawaii photos. Now to some serious art play!

Posted in Hawaii, vacationing | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Dyeing Hawaiian Fabric

Whenever we travel to Kona on The Big Island we have to stop at Kimura’s Fabrics. Here is a post I wrote several years ago about this interesting shop.


Me and my fabric haul

You can buy about any type of fabric here from Hawaiian prints to lace and silk. On this trip I wanted to find some silk to dye.

KimurasfabricsI bought some vintage silk – 30 years old and on sale – and another couple yards of silk/ cotton blend.

I also purchased two interesting white-on-white fabrics. One was 65% poly/ 35% cotton and the other was 100% cotton. The poly/cotton fabric was so beautiful. Even though I was concerned it wouldn’t dye well with the fiber reactive dyes due to the poly, I just had to get a couple yards of it. I was also concerned about the 100% cotton fabric thinking that when I dyed it the pattern would be gone. I’ve had that happen with vintage napkins. If the design is in cotton, all I get is a colored napkin.

Was I ever surprised when I did a test. OMG! How exciting! The patterns just popped out.

3samples But wait, I need to let them batch and then wash then first. Here are the final results.


The first is the poly/cotton; second is the 100% cotton; and the third is another piece of poly/cotton I purchased at Fabric and Quilting Delights in Kona. I had no idea they would be so lovely. Since the two only have 35% cotton they will come out more muted, but that will be fine. I know the cotton one can be darker if I add more dye.

Now I am really looking forward to dyeing these. I’m thinking I’ll make some place mats with the poly/cotton. They also would make good journal covers or even bags.  Or I could think about dyeing them with the dye that dyes poly and have them two toned. Lots to think about.

It felt good to do a little dyeing yesterday since it seems like it’s been so long. One more Hawaii post and I’ll move on. The next one is the highlight of the trip. Such a neat experience. Hope to see you next time.

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Hawaii: Recreating past photos

My mom and dad always dreamed of traveling to Hawaii. As a child our family took four trips – three to Florida and one to visit my sis and her husband in Colorado. Then in 1972, Dad won a trip to Honolulu for a RCA convention. (I googled about this convention but couldn’t find any information.) They were both so excited. Mom sewed several outfits for herself with matching ties for dad.

This was a professional picture they had taken while there. So last year when we were planning our trip to Hawaii I thought it would be neat if we could recreate that picture. To do that we had to stay in Honolulu. From other pictures it looked like they stayed in the Royal Hawaiian so we booked a few days there to recreate the photos and to see some of the area since I had never been there.


We talked with some of the staff and they did their best to direct us to where they thought the picture was taken. So much has changed since then.


As I dug through my old pictures, I found another picture of Dad in front of the Royal Hawaiian.

I showed several of the workers at the hotel and a few remembered this sign. It’s changed quite a bit from back then.



Then I found a picture of my mom on Waikiki beach.


That was so much fun recreating those pictures and that wonderful time they had. Unfortunately, their story had a sad ending. Three weeks after they were home from Hawaii Mom died. I think she knew something was going on before she left, but kept it a secret so that Dad could enjoy the vacation. I was so happy that they did have that fun experience together.

While we were there, we visited Pearl Harbor and The U. S. S. Arizona Memorial. What a sad and sobering experience, but so well worth the time.



Inside the Memorial

I dedicated my tag that day to the Memorial.


While in Honolulu we walked up to the top of Diamond Head. It was so worth the hike to view Honolulu from way up, but there are lots of steps!

diamondhead1 diamondhead5

And some areas where it was a flat trail.


But when you get to the top, this is what you see!

diamondhead3Here is a little closer view. The pink hotel is the Royal Hawaiian where we stayed.

diamondhead2And a typical tourist picture of Dave.


While walking around Honolulu we spotted this interesting drain cover.


We only stayed in Honolulu a couple of days before heading off to The Big Island. I promise I’ll try not to bore you with more vacation pictures, but I have a few more to share.

I picked up my sewing machine yesterday from the dealer. Right before we left on vacation I again became frustrated about free motion. I had decided this year if I can’t do it, I’m not going to try anymore. So I tried everything from changing out the threads, needles, fabric and batting. What a mess the backside of the fabric was. It then occurred to me to try FM on my old Elna. The stitches and backside were perfect! So it wasn’t me! I had been blaming myself and it was the machine. Anyway,  when I took it in to the dealer they said I had no tension. When I picked the machine up yesterday, in addition to the tension problem, it also needed oil and a couple other adjustments. I plugged it in and I free motioned last night. Yipee! So maybe you’ll get to see some of my FM this year!

Have a good creative week and if it’s cold in your neck of the woods like it is here, stay warm.

Posted in Free Motion, Hawaii, Photography, Sewing, vacationing | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Vat dyeing – Third Time is Charm

As you know I like to dye. However, vat or tub dyeing is one I don’t do that much. For one thing I have to stir for an hour or so. It’s all about having the color solid. I’ve been able to get some even dyeing with low immersion, but more often not.

That being said, most of the time I don’t want uniform colors. I like the texture and irregularity of low immersion, but when it comes to, for instance, dyeing my vintage napkins, I want them to be a solid color so that their pattern will show – not the blotchy dye.


I recently dyed these beautiful Devore Satin scarves. I love how they turned out. They are so pretty. The picture just doesn’t do them justice.


This all brings me to the third time is charm. I bought this shirt last year at a Goodwill when we were in Hawaii. I know – just can’t keep me out of thrift stores!! I thought it was so cute, but the color – so blah.

overdyedshirtSo I low immersion dyed it and it turned out so uneven I had wished I would have left it alone. Ugh!


But there is always over dyeing, so I tried that. That turned out so badly that I didn’t even take a picture of it. A couple weeks ago I decided that if I was ever going to wear this shirt I needed to dye it again. This time I vat dyed it. Is it the prettiest dye job I’ve ever done? NO. Is it even? Yes. Will I wear it? Yes. However, if I were to do it over again I would have vat dyed it the first time. I still may do some discharging on it, but for now it’s okay and hanging in my closet waiting to be worn.

overdyedshirt3If you’ve never vat dyed, here are some directions.

This was my table setting for Christmas Day dinner. This is a set of vintage napkins with a matching tablecloth. I dyed the napkins several years ago, but never got around to dyeing the tablecloth. I just couldn’t decide on the color and with it being white, it went with all of the napkins dyed in different colors.

thanksgivingtable And a close-up.


Well, I now have to make a decision as to the color of the tablecloth.  I washed the napkins and tablecloth together. I wash and wash my dyeing, but it’s never a good idea to wash red with anything white. Anyway, I now have a splotchy pink tablecloth. I knew better,  but was in a hurry. So it will be vat dyed one of these days.

Meanwhile so much other stuff to do and dye. Have a great day and if you’d like to comment about vat dyeing or anything else or just say hi, comment below. Thanks.


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A Year Challenge – One Little Tag

I’ve been wanting to take on a year-long challenge. I so enjoyed drawing the mandalas several months ago, that I wanted to focus on drawing every day. However, I was having trouble about what substrate to use. With the mandalas I have a couple months of loose pieces of cardstock. That’s okay, but I wanted to have something real portable; something I could put in my purse, and something I could put together at the end of the year.

Then on New Year’s Day, Jenny’s Craft Test Dummies blog post came into my email. She decided to do one tag every day. What a great idea! I have lots of tags from a project years ago and this would be a great way to use them up. Also, at the end of the year, I could put them all together with a ring. If you want to join in, check out that post. She also has a Facebook group.

So here is my start. I’m beginning this series with watercolor which I’ve not done in a long time.  I’m finding that I really love the colors.

tags1and2jan3and4 jan5and6

These are simple. Who knows where this journey will take me, or if I’ll be able to keep it up all year. If you’d like to join me, I’d love having the company. Check out Jenny’s blog post for more information.

Until next time, have a creative day.

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Printed Fabric Bee takes a new direction

If you’ve been following me for the past two years you know that I’ve been involved with a group of artists. Every month one of the members, “the queen,” would choose a topic and the other members would make a piece of fabric for her, and a 6 x 6 piece to be given away in that month’s collection. It’s been fun, but after two years we’ve decided on a new direction.

For this year, every month one member of the Bee will post surface design tutorials on The Printed Fabric Bee blog. In addition to the tutorials, the artist-of-the-month will offer a fabulous giveaway that will range from custom designed fabric to art supplies to books and DVDs. All you have to do is leave a comment on at least one of the blog posts during that month to be eligible. The artist-of-the month will draw the winner at the end of the month.

Julie B. Booth is first up and her first post this month is all about using liquid dishwashing soap as a resist!! Check it out HERE.


Julie is the master of kitchen resists and has a wonderful book, Fabric Printing At Home. If you’d like to read about this awesome book and what I created from it, check out this link.

I’ve chosen April as my month and we’ll be exploring ice dyeing. But until then, hop on over to the Printed Fabric Bee blog and comment to win.

If you’d like to see what I’ve created in the past two years for this group, just type the printed fabric bee in the search box. Each piece I completed included a tutorial. Here are a few of my favorites from the past.

My inspiration for Architecture was Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House. LINK


The topic for this one was Geometric Forms. LINK


This one was all about Sunflowers. I used both DeColourant and screen printing after making my stencil. LINK


I love Color Magnet and used it in this piece for the Text topic. LINK

giveaway piece

For Woodlands I dyed my fabric with ink before stenciling.


The last two years were so much fun and really helped me to stretch. I’m looking forward to this new direction. I sure hope you enjoy our journey, pick up some new techniques, and maybe win a prize. I’m off to read Julie’s post.

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Happy 2016!


Posted in art, paper, sketching | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Best of 2015 Tutorials

As we end another year, I am again looking back on my favorite tutorials, or what I consider my best of 2015.  I hope you liked them. If you missed them, here are the links.

I started the year with a soy wax batik tutorial on my Back-to-Basics video series.  LINK

soy wax pot

Dyeing with ties was popular with a lot of you. It’s so much fun. If you’ve not done it yet, it’s something you might want to put on your creative to-do list. LINK


Another video I posted was using fabric as stencils. This is so much fun and a great way to add design to either fabric or paper. LINK


I loved taking some of my indigo-dyed fabric and over dyeing it.  LINK


Then I had some fun clamping and dyeing fabric using the usual and some switch plates as masks. LINK


Love when I can look at something and recreate it. That’s what happened with this ice dyed piece. LINK


Lastly, since I love ice dyeing, I added soy wax to the process and came up with this, one of my favorite pieces. Link


These tutorials were so much fun to put together. I hope you enjoyed them and maybe were even inspired. Looking forward to the new year and new experiments!

Oh, I just found this linky party with Best of 2015 posts you might like to check out. Link


As we end this year I just want to again thank you for dropping by and seeing what I’m doing here at Happy Acres. I love hearing from all of you. Please feel free to comment on any of my posts, or email me at lheines at wowway dot com. May 2016 bring you joy, peace, good health, and lots of color.

Posted in dyeing, fabric, fiber reactive dyes, overdyeing, soy wax, surface design, tutorial, tutorials, Videos, wax | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments