31 January 2008

Step Outside Your Box Saturdays -- Beeswax

Here is my offering for Step Outside Your Box Saturdays. This week's challenge was to use beeswax. I love the smell of this stuff. Diamond background by Stamp Camp; phrenology head by Lost Coast Designs; ribbon from stash. Be careful with the quilting iron and the dymo label or you'll flatten the label -- I almost did!

Oh! Lesson learned from an earlier attempt: Embossing and wax don't really go together.

30 January 2008

Stampbord, Anyone?

I've been playing with Stampbord, have you? Specifically, I painted the piece on the left with three colors of Twinkling H20s, then tried to emboss on it. You can see the very bubbly results. The sample on the right is straight embossing, no painting first. Has anyone tried the same thing? Did you get a similar result? Did I do something wrong or is it just an interaction between the clay on the stampbord, the Twinkling H20s and the heat of the embossing gun? Input, anyone?

29 January 2008

Mini-Quilts All Finished!

Well, they're not quite finished. The hand work is done, but they still need to have the backs sewn on to them. Then they'll be all ready to put into the already-painted board book. I'm having so much fun with this project; I don't really want it to end! I've certainly learned a lot with this one.

Another Mini-Quilt!

Here is mini-quilt #4 (there are six), all finished and ready for its backing. As you can (barely) see, I just learned French knots.

Speaking of New Stamps ...

I went to a Rubberstamp and Papercraft Festival Friday night and spent way too much money buying lots of goodies: Twinkling H20s, Tim Holt Products, rubberstamps (the crowns are from Stamp Camp), and a Bind-It-All!

Mini-Quilt #3

Here's my third finished mini-quilt. I just taught myself the blanket stitch. It's a bit wonky it spots and I discovered the hard way that you can't really turn a blanket stitch around corners; I think it's best to knot it off and start a new row of stitches. If anyone out there can successfully turn a hard corner with blanket stitch, I'd love to email with you about how you do it!

These quiltlets are going in a board book; I think the theme of the book will tie in with a new stamp I just bought. It's a favorite quote from Helen Keller: "Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all."

28 January 2008

A Book Give Away!!!

Catherine Matthews-Scanlon is giving away not one, but two copies, of her new book Art From the Heart: Mixed Media Collage. Check it out and tell her I sent you.

20 January 2008

Finished Mini-Quilts

These are the two mini-quilts I've completed so far. I've got four more to go. I'm not used to hand stitching or free-motion stitching, so some of it is kind of wobbly, but I think it adds to the charm. Again, I'm just using the thread colors I have on hand; I'm trying not to buy anymore embroidery floss. I know it's only $.25 a skein, but I have several skeins I never use for anything. Besides, I'm trying to save my pennies for the rubber stamp convention!

17 January 2008

Fabric-Board Book Hybrid Project

I'm working on a fabric-board book hybrid project, as described by Kelli Perkins in her article, "Comfort in Small Things" in the current issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. You make mini quilts and paste them into a board book, alternating with the board book pages. These are my first mini quilts. I'm having a lot of fun. These pages are my three favorites of the six that I've worked on. I haven't done any quilting or adorning yet. That's the next step.

Lesson learned while doing this: Don't do this kind of work while having a low blood sugar attack. There are lots of not-straight fabric squares and hearts because I was having a case of the wobbles, but eager to keep on with my project.

My only other complaint is that I don't have a lot of fabric scraps to choose from, so my color choices aren't what I'd really have them be. I was determined not to spend any more money on this project, since I had to buy fusible web, fusible interfacing, and chunky stamps. I also bought some Jacquard Lumiere paints (LOVE those!). I already had the muslin and the board book, but I'm saving my money for an upcoming rubber stamp convention so I wanted to use the fabric I had on hand.

16 January 2008

More Free-Motion Stitching

Tyn saw my free-motion stitching and challenged me to write letters or draw shapes. Well, Tyn, I've done both! What do you think?

15 January 2008

Free-Motion Stitching

This is my first attempt at free-motion stitching. It's taken me long enough to jump on the bandwagon, hasn't it?

I have a wonderful old sewing machine that will still be sewing when we are all dead and gone. It's a Canadian White Domestic, about 60 years old, and weighing about 60 pounds. It's meant to go in a cabinet, I think; it's definitely not a portable, although it comes in a nifty carrying case. It's only drawback is that it has one stitch, a straight stitch, that goes forward and backward. I bought a darning foot for it today, so that I could do the free-motion stitching; it's first foot, other than the regular presser foot.

13 January 2008

Step Outs Your Box Saturdays -- Magazine Art

Here's my entry for this week's Step Outside Your Box Saturdays challenge. The challenge was to use a magazine or catalog image. I almost skipped this one, as I didn't feel the least bit inspired, but I came across this picture of a female model in the January, 2008 issue of Elle and was captured by the blank look on her face. I took it to Kinko's, photocopied and reduced it, then colored the copies in with my Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble crayons and went over them with water. I love these crayons, but I rarely remember to use them. Numbers are stamps with the Jive Alphabet by Stamp Craft.

11 January 2008

Step Outside Your Box Saturdays

I just made it in before Lisa posted a new challenge, but here is my offering for Step Outside Your Box Saturdays. The challenge was to use three colors of acrylic paints; I used yellow ochre, magenta, and burnt umber from the Home Studio International line. Image is from Collage Stuff. Buttons are from JoAnn. I also used the white-out tape technique that Jillian showed me from Kathy Wasilewski's blog. It was easy and fun (Thanks Jillian!).

09 January 2008

Dry Brush Technique

I've been practicing my dry-brush technique in my art journal. I've never been very good at this, and I still haven't perfected it, but I'm much better at it than I was before.

The texture on the left-hand side is grungeboard lettering from the previous entry.

08 January 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Christine Kane has an unusual take on the resolution thing. Instead of coming up with a to-do list that you won't follow for more than a few weeks, she challenges you (and me) to come up with a single word that best describes how you want to BE for the next year, and to focus on that one word. Kane talks about the BE-DO-HAVE model and how it's more efficient than the DO-HAVE-BE model for enacting change in our lives.

My word for 2008? Gratitude. I didn't even have to think about it. I made five gratitude journals during the holiday season (one for myself and the others for loved ones) because I not only wanted appreciation to become a touchstone in my life for the next year, but I wanted to share that idea with people that I care about. I truly believe that what we think about and "thank about" we bring about in our lives, so I look at my gratitude journal as a way to focus on the more positive aspects of my life. I'm happy to announce that since I began keeping my gratitude journal, my attitude has improved by 100%. I go through my day now looking for something to be grateful for. I ask myself several times a day, "Is this it? Is this what I'll write down today?" That's not to say that I don't still have my challenges each day, because I certainly do, but they seem smaller than they did this time a week ago.

I may, in a few weeks time, add a second word to my year: release (as Christine uses in her example). I have lots of stuff and I do harbor some resentments. It would be nice to let go of both. I believe that with the release/gratitude pairing, I open myself up for even better "stuff" from the Universe -- and I'm all for better stuff!

(Thanks, again, to Jillian, for pointing me to Christine's blog post.)