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!



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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

Free Motion Scribbling

One of the skills I want to learn this year is free motion quilting. I’ve always been in awe of those who can do it and their beautiful pieces. I’d like to add some of of this stitching to some pieces I plan to finish this year. However, I’m wondering now how long it actually will take before my free motion scribbling turns into quilting.

I’m really starting to think that maybe I should have tried this before now. But then as they (whoever they are) say, better late than never!

So I’ve been playing a little bit and have come up with free motion scribbling. I read that sewing your name is a good place to start. I don’t know about that.


I am taking a Craftsy class on this and have learned quite a lot. One thing she said was it does take practice. Well, That’s for sure!

I’d love to hear your free motion suggestions. What about batting? What about needles? How long did it take you to master it? Any help will be appreciated.

Wish me luck. Meanwhile if you are looking for me, I’ll be all hands on my sewing machine trying not to hold my breath while I scribble away.

Posted in quilting, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Printed Fabric Bee: Old World Maps

December’s topic for the Printed Fabric Bee challenge and giveaway was Old World Maps. Queen Bee Lisa Chin requested a 9 x 16 inch fabric using vintage looking colors. What a challenge! This had to be the hardest so far.

Let me tell you about my piece, and then the information on the giveaway collection of 6 x 6 pieces.

After many tries, including sketching and trolling the Internet for ideas, I decided on an old world map (without the countries) and a compass.

Old World MapI started with a piece of fabric that I dyed with Terracotta fiber reactive dyes. I then drew the lines to make it appear like an old world map template. I used a Micron 05 in brown.

drawing lines on old world mapNext to add the compass. I cut a compass out of freezer paper on my Silhouette Portrait, and ironed the stencil to the fabric.

ironing compass stencil to fabric

Now to paint it. I used one of my favorites fabric paints, Jacquard Lumiere in metallic silver.  It really pays to have a light hand when stenciling on fabric.

painting with Jacquard Lumiere

Now my favorite part – after the paint dries peeling off the stencil. Love the sharp clean edges.

Peeling off the freezer paper stencilYou will notice the broken lines around the circle. I needed to design the stencil that way so it wouldn’t all fall out of the freezer paper. They were real easy to touch up.

Now using the Y & C brown FabricMate,  I added lines to outline the compass and to add a center.

adding to compass

And the finished piece again.

Old World MapAnd a closeup.


Now to the giveaway. Here is my piece in this collection.

oldworldbee6x6To see the collection you could win, visit The Printed Fabric Bee  or Lisa’s blog and leave a comment.  The deadline is January 15. Good Luck!



Posted in Giveaway, The Printed Fabric Bee | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Happy New Year 2015!


Thank you to each and everyone of you who dropped by my blog to see what I was up to this past year.  I treasure each comment and email I receive. I know there are lots of blogs to read and only so many free minutes in the day, so I really appreciate you stopping by here.

I hope it has been a good year for you. I have so much to be grateful, but on top of that list is that Dave and I have been healthy. And that means everything. Here are some of the other things I have been grateful for in 2014:

This past year was my first time that I actually sold some of my art to other people besides my friends! Having my scarves and hankies on sale and sold at Studio 4905, next to all of the lovely pottery and other art, has really been exciting and reaffirming.

Scarves at Studio 4905

Evi and my exhibit in February at Krannert Hall at the University of Evansville really started the year off. It was fun to show my art combined with Evi’s lovely silk to the community.

Colorful Friendship exhibit

Being part of the Printed Fabric Bee has been so much fun and has really stretched my artistic muscles. I am in the company of some great artists. It was also nice to have an article on our group in Quilting Arts magazine written by Lynn. We all hope that article inspired other artists to find their artistic voice.


Several years ago I found the andthenwesetitonfire blog and fell in love with it. I secretly wanted to be part of that group of wonderful artists. I was asked to guest post in 2013, and then last year I was asked to be a resident artist. It was so much fun. However, looking at where I want to take my art this year, I decided to resign from the group. It was a hard decision, but one I needed to do. And I’ll continue to follow the group and their tutorials. If you’ve not visited that blog, check it out. Thanks to Judy for asking me to be part of that group.

Teaching again has been so much fun. Unfortunately the sun printing class had to be cancelled due to weather, but the Indigo class was a blast. I’m looking forward to teaching more classes this summer at Studio 4905. My sun printing and indigo classes have already been scheduled for June.

octindigoclass1And lastly I can’t forget about gardening. We had a banner crop of blueberries. I harvested 54 pounds, picking almost daily for two months! We sure have been enjoying them in our breakfast every morning!!


Those are just some of the things that I am grateful for this past year. I hope you have had lots of things to be grateful. If it has been a rough year, my wish is that this year will be a much better for you. To end this post I have a few prompts for 2015:

I plan on making …  more art, focusing on finished pieces and video tutorials.

I will continue … to improve my health with more exercise.

I’m hoping 2015 will…. be a creative and healthy year for all of you.

My word for this year is … Completion. I want to make more things out of my fabric instead of just piling it in my cabinet.

Well, that’s all for today.  I’d love to hear your answers to these prompts. Have you picked out your word for the year?

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The Best of 2014 Tutorials

With this year coming to a close I am posting links to my favorite tutorials of this year. I hope they were yours, or maybe you missed them and might like to check them out.

As most of you know, I absolutely LOVE my Silhouette Portrait and have really put it through it’s paces this year. I received so many questions about my lettering on one of the projects on a post that I made a video on how to make fonts into stencils.

word stencils

Making stencils out of fonts

I love to sun print using ferns from our yard, but I always have to wait on them to come up. This year I preserved ferns and now I can start sun printing with them as early as I want to!

preserved fern

I started sewing more this year and made lots of regular size composition book covers. However, I felt like making even smaller ones and posted this tutorial on sewing mini journal covers.


My artist friend, Kathy Sands, shared this technique with me and I just had to share it with you. How to mount a fabric print.

Going over with a small brush

This year I continued to try different techniques with dyeing fabric. One of my favorite techniques and one that received lots of pins is my post on Itajime.


I found I really like the ghost image when gelatin plate printing and made a video.


First and Second Gelli prints

Gelli Printing: Ghost Image Video

And then the last of my favorites is again about making stencils. This time it’s freezer paper stencils. I absolutely love them!

Removing cut pieces

Making stencils with freezer paper

That was fun looking back on my favorite tutorials this year. Hope you enjoyed it. If you are interested in other tutorials, check under Tutorials at the top of the page. What a year! I’m looking forward to more tutorials, especially videos in the future.

Posted in fiber reactive dyes, gelatin printing, Gelli Gel Printing, Sewing, Shibori - Itajime, stencils, tutorials | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

2014 Christmas Ornament

We decided not to decorate for the holidays this year. This was the first time I’ve not decorated a bit for Christmas in my life, but we both just didn’t feel like putting the time in to do that. One of the traditions I love that I wanted to keep was making Dave a Christmas ornament. I blogged about this tradition that started on our first Christmas in 2005 here.

So this year since we didn’t put up our tree, I made him a Christmas tree ornament.

2014 ornament

I also made a card to go with my ornament.

card and ornament

This was a fast and fun project. I found the tutorial on Life after Laundry. However, I made a few changes.

I started with an 8-inch circle. This is some of my dyed fabric leftover from Ange’s stole.

Cut circle

Then I folded it in half, wrong sides together and ironed.


I then serged the edges and ironed again.

Iron after serging

Now to folding it. I brought the curved side over to the straight side.

foldThen continued folding the fabric to the top. And a tree is born! I ironed over it to keep it from coming unfolded.


I wanted to add a little to the edges so I painted the serged edges that showed with Jacquard Lumiere. Those clips worked great to keep the fabric folded.

Painting sergingThen it needed sparkle so I added some bling.

Adding blingWhen finished decorating the tree, I glued down all of the folds. This should have been done before decorating.

glueunderfoldsI added a few more sparkles and a ribbon to hang. And there it is – our Christmas tree!

2014 ornament

That was so much fun and I finally used my serger! I also love to surprise Dave.

Posted in fabric, serger, Sewing, traditions, tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Ange’s Stole

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. Before the year was out I wanted to show you one of the projects I’ve been working on recently. This was a clergy stole for my friend Ange, the minister of a local church. She asked me if I could make her one for the Christmas Eve service. I immediately said yes as I saw this as a challenge and a great gift for this wonderful woman.

Here is Ange with Pastor Roberta. Their churches (Fresh Air and Grace and Peace)   had a combined candlelight Christmas Eve service. Doesn’t she look lovely in her new stole?


We chose Celerian Blue, one of my favorite colors right now. I purchased some Kona cotton for the back and a heavier weight broadcloth for the front and dyed them.


Since I had never made a stole, I ended up buying a couple patterns online from Churchlinens and Serendipity Clergy Stoles. I made mockups since I didn’t really trust my sewing skills.


We ended up using the pattern from Church Linens and Serendipity’s directions. I say “we” because even after sewing those mockups I wasn’t sure I’d get it right, so I enlisted Tami, a local friend/seamstress, who whipped it up in no time!

Once the stole was sewn, I needed to stencil on the letters. My Silhouette Portrait came in handy cutting all of these freezer paper stencils. Choosing the paint color was challenging. Here are just some of the colors I tested.

color choices for the stole From left to right: DeColourant,  ProChem Dark Silver Probrite Textile Paint, Jacquard Lumiere Pearl White, Lumiere Bright Gold, Lumiere Metallic Copper, and Lumiere Halo Violet Gold.

I thought I’d like DeColourant, but it was way too light. The church members wouldn’t be able to see it from their seats. The second and third were never considered.  I liked the gold for awhile. However, the more I looked at it, it looked way too yellow. The Metallic Copper was my choice until I stopped by Dick Blicks to use my coupon and there I found Halo Violet Gold. Looking at the jar I really didn’t think it would work, but it was so pretty that I just had to try it. I’m so glad. Although the Metallic Copper would have been fine, the Halo Violet just seemed to work best with the fabric.

Once my testing was done, it was time to stencil. Freezer paper stencils work so well on fabric. I continue to be amazed at the clean results I get from them. Here I am ironing the stencil to the stole.

ironinglettersonstoleAnd the finished stole.


And a closeup


What a fun project! I also used some of the leftover fabric for a small project I’ll share with you in the next couple of days. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Fabric paint, fiber reactive dyes, Sewing, stencils, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Happy Holidays

holiday greetingdone

Posted in art | Tagged | 8 Comments

Some inspiration from Penny

My good friend Barb and I took a day trip recently to Carnegie Center, just a two-hour drive from here, to see another one of Penny Sisto’s exhibits. I thought I’d share some inspiration from this talented artist.

This year’s exhibit is called Earth-Tones and all of the quilts have been dyed with coffee. She said that the whole dyeing with coffee came about because her husband spilled coffee on her ironing board! “As I ironed it dry I saw sheer beauty appear…the alchemy of coffee and heat across the fabric started this journey.”

Before I move on to the quilts, Penny uses recycled fabric in her quilts. Since she is known to use recycled materials she gets a lot of donated goods. However, she has been known to buy a t-shirt off someone’s back! Below are just a few of her pieces. What is amazing about Penny is that she has completed all of these this year!




Just to give you an idea of what she uses in her quilts, Langspil lists silk roving, fur, torn rags, antique lace, coasters, leggins, and Mexican blouse.

Her’s a closeup:

closeup of Langspil

Kudu Horn

Kudu Horn






Harp closeup

Harp closeup


Jaguar Rattle

Jaguar Rattle


Eagle Pipe

Eagle Pipe





First Day At Work

First Day At Work

The caption: “Hearing the hum of the factory, she stands timorous on the threshold. Child labor remains one of the darkest shadows on our planet.”




Closeup of Elders

Closeup of Elders


Fox Light

Fox Light

Irish Bride

Irish Bride


Crane Bride

Crane Bride


As I said these were just a few of her pieces in this exhibit. Most of them were already sold. Any of the quilts she doesn’t sell she will take home, take apart, and reuse for her next project. What an amazing woman!

If you live anywhere close to Louisville, Kentucky, take a couple hours and check out this lovely center and this exhibit. It will be hanging through January 10.

Posted in art, art exhibits, road trips | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments