Five marking tools

I thought I’d share the  five marking tools I really, really like for those painted canvas pieces.

First up is this neat wood clay roller. It comes with three other rollers and you can buy it online or at Blicks. I just love the marks this roller makes.  You can see I used the roller with several colors, and then added white lines as the top marks.

This wood fabric stamp can be found at craft stores and online. I just love the marks it makes, but then I absolutely love wood stamps.

Here are the last three.

The brayer with dots also comes with an extra roller with lines. I found mine at Tuesday Mornings, but you can also get it online. The old potato masher I’ve used a lot with my soy wax, but it also works great with paint. I don’t remember where I found it. The last is a cheap foam stencil brush. I don’t like to use it for stenciling, but sure love the circles it makes on this canvas.

These are just five of my favorite marking tools.  I showed one of my finished art quilts using these canvases on this post. Below are the two I’ve finished so far.

This second one I like even better than the first one.

Now to make one more. I’ve never been real good at working in a series. I’m trying to learn to be more disciplined!

Hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend.

Posted in acrylic paints, canvas, surface design | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Peppermint 100% Coconut Soap

If you’re new to the blog, you might not know that Dave and I make our own soap and have done so for the past seven years. If you’re interested in our soap recipes, check out this link.

When we were in Hawaii several years ago we met a soap maker. That’s not really unusual since when we travel we always scope out new soaps to try, and love talking to soap makers. However, she made 100% coconut oil soap. She had lovely long black hair and she used it also on her hair. Of course, we bought a bar and absolutely loved it. So we just had to try making it. It has become our favorite. Below is a picture with this soap and another new one Dave wanted to make.

Peppermint 100% Coconut Soap and Licorice Soap

The soap is easy to put together since we’re only using one oil. Coconut oil can be purchased at your local grocery store, Costco, or Sams. Coconut oil is super cleaning and may tend to dry skin. However, when you increase the superfat percentage to 2o, it becomes mild and good for your skin. It also has a great lather. Our recipe includes the 20%.

The only downside to this soap is that it takes almost 10 minutes to trace. By the end of the session, the stick blender is pretty hot.

If you’d like to try it, here is the recipe. We used to make large batches, but have found we really like smaller ones. This recipe can be changed using any essential or fragrance oil you like. We recently made a batch for me using Mokalata fragrance oil. It’s a great blend of cocoa, coffee and vanilla – Yum!

If you are not familiar with cold process soap making, please read the instructions Here.

Peppermint 100% Coconut Soap

Coconut Oil – 450 grams or 15.87 ounces

Distilled water – 171 grams or 6 ounces

Lye – 65.9 grams or 2.3 ounces

4 teaspoons Peppermint EO added at trace

This makes 1 pound of soap.

Before making any soap from any blog including mine, check the recipe through one of the online soap calculators.

On the art front, I entered the Threads of Resistance exhibit. This was my entry.

A piece of my ice-dyed fabric was used for this project. I showed my process back on this blog post. Over 550 art quilts were submitted with only 59 chosen for the traveling exhibit.  I didn’t make the cut, but it was great to participate.  You can see all of the entries here.

It’s been raining here so I’ve been able to get a little sewing (and soaping) done.  Have a great week!

Posted in soap making | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Painting canvas class

There is nothing like a new online class to inspire me.

I just completed “Paint & Stitch: Vibrant Acrylic Quilts” on This painting canvas class is taught by the talented Katie Pasquini Masopust.

I learned a couple new things, and I feel this class really stretched me.

I’ve painted on canvas, but never took her approach of painting. She has you paint on  three at a time, and then cut them up to make a quilt.

Here are my finished canvases.

It was so hard for me to cut them up. I love all three of them, but especially the red/orange one. I made my first two blocks to begin the process.

And after much playing, here is the quilt just waiting to be bound.

I’ve started on my next art quilt that will include these three blocks. If you are wondering where the red/orange went, I’m using the lighter areas of that canvas.

I like this set much better. I’ve never worked in anything quite abstract like this, so it’s been an interesting experience.  I like the idea of working on three different canvases so you end up with lots of fabric to play with. I’m thinking I can get three art quilts from these canvases with some fabric left over.

As you know, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, I absolutely love online classes. This is the first class I’ve taken on Iquilt in a long time. The only thing I don’t like about that platform is you can’t view other students’ questions. Otherwise, the classroom is easy to navigate, and Katie got back with me quickly on my question. Some of what I learned in this class can be transferred to working with my ice-dyed fabric.

What a great project the kids at Sharon Elementary, the school just down the road from me, participated in lately. I walked down there yesterday to get a good look at their painted rocks.

Love these painted rocks.

Lastly, lots going on in the gardens. I’ve been harvesting asparagus every day. Saturday while cutting the grass I noticed one of my recently purchased plants had flowered. Isn’t she a beauty?

Hope you have a great week!

Posted in acrylic paints, art classes, art quilts, online classes | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

How To: Reverse Applique

I’ve wanted to try reverse applique for quite a long time. I’ve also been looking for ways to use my ice dyed stash. Here is my tutorial on this fun and easy technique.


  • Three pieces of fabric: top, one that will show, and backing
  • batting
  • fusible web
  • fabric marking pen
  • scissors
  • iron
  • sewing machine with your favorite color thread
  • Design to trace

Let’s get started. Iron fusible web to the back of the front piece.

Now to one of the fun parts. I drew a Monstera leaf on cardstock, cut it out, and then traced it on the fabric. However, you could draw anything on this top piece.

I used a chalk pen to trace the shape onto the top fabric. Just be sure whatever pen you are using can be erased.

This is how it looks after I was finished tracing.

Now make the fabric sandwich before you take it to the sewing machine. Be sure to remove the fusible paper backing on this top piece.

Layer in this order: background fabric, batting, fabric that will show through, and your top fabric. Do NOT iron the top and second fabric together.

Machine baste the layers together. You could pin or clip them instead.

Now you’re ready to stitch on your lines of your image. You could use your free motion foot. Use either a contrasting thread or one that matches the background. I tried both ways, and really liked both of them!

Here is how it looks when it’s done.

This is where the magic begins. I start with a seam riper and carefully put a hole in just the top layer inside the design. Then start cutting.

Once it all cut out, clean off your marking lines, and then press.

Now you can continue to quilt around the image or even inside the image. Square up your piece and finish as you desire.

Reverse applique is so easy and I love the results. I thought this was a perfect use of my ice dyed fabrics. However, it’s a great way to showcase any of your favorite fabrics.

Talking about ice dyeing, my Icy Delights online class has been open a year now! Almost 200 students have taken the class producing absolutely stunning fabric, clothing, purses, and more. The Facebook group has been quiet for the past couple months, but with the weather warming I’m looking forward to seeing many more pieces.

Judy Sall, a wonderful fabric dyer and also known as “Tie dye Judy”, is  a student of the class and she recently wrote a blog post about ice dyeing on the “Fire” blog. You can check it out HERE. If you aren’t familiar with that blog, it’s a great group of fabric artists who share their knowledge every month. I am proud to say I was a part of that group for a couple years, but left due to other commitments.

If you’d like to know more about Icy Delights: Dyeing Fabric With Ice, check out my promo video. I’d love for you to join us.

It has finally quit raining, at least for a day or two, so I plan to get out and get some gardening done before the heat hits. Have a great week!


Posted in ice dyeing, Reverse applique, Sewing, tutorials | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Flag Swap and more

Back in February I posted about this Positive Prayer Flags swap. Last week I received my six flags.

Aren’t they beautiful? I’ve added the extra flag I made so I end up with seven flags from this swap. I’ve hung them under the ones I made last year.


Much of my time has been spent outside, weather permitting, weeding and mulching. I finished the asparagus patch way earlier than in the past.

We’ve been enjoying this asparagus. This was one of the dishes I fixed recently – Asparagus Mimosa.

I also got the screened porch ready for eating and sitting.

I’ve still been painting on rocks – testing different supplies to share with you soon. This first rock is a large one that sits outside in our landscaping.

And here are a few in one of my rope bowls.

It’s been fun experimenting with different supplies looking for my favorites.

Since I’ve been spending so much time outside, I bought some new gardening shoes and I absolutely love them!

We have our first bluebird babies. Here is one of them just out of the nest. Isn’t he cute?

Bumblebees have been working hard on the blueberries. I’m looking forward to my daily harvest soon.

That’s all for today. I have a couple tutorials and some other stuff to share in May. I just need time to post! Hope you are having a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by.

Posted in drawing, flags, gardening, rocks | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Easter!

Posted in mandalas, Photography | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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