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February 28, 2012

Peace and quiet…

It has been very quiet over here…I know. Trust me I’m haunted daily by Blog Neglect Guilt Syndrome. How do my favorite artist + mom bloggers (esp. Anna Maria) keep up? I have no idea. I often wonder if they sleep. They all seem to have pretty rosey glows so I’m doubting that my initial vampire theory has any merit. Without my 8-9 hours I’m completely unfunctional. Not to mention cranky. Along with not getting enough sleep, I know it’s unhealthy to compare myself or to dwell on BNGS. So I’m working to find peace with what I can and can’t keep up with. 

 

Speaking of peace (and that oh so clever tie in), I’ve added these peace prints available in three different colors to my etsy shop. If you have girls like mine, they can’t seem to get enough of this trendy symbol. My peace signs are working a modern mixed media style with a graphic black and white twist. 

 

Now to get back to the 15 other things on my list. I’ll return just as soon as I can. Peace out.

 

Filed Under: illustration
January 16, 2012

Inspiration behind the creation

 

I’ve baked a lot of cupcakes in my day, but none with Mylar. That is until now. I’m excited to announce…drum roll… I’m officially a StencilGirl! When one of my very favorite artists asked me if I would be interested in coming on board her stencil company it took me less than two sprinkles (that’s seconds if you don’t speak cupcake) to say yes.  

 

Artist Mary Beth Shaw is THE StencilGirl. Mary Beth and her team of artists create unique, one-of-a kind designs which are laser cut from 7-mil Mylar. Heat resistant to boot. You can check out the entire line of awesomeness right over here.

Cupcake sprinkles is my very first stencil design which is available in the 6″ x 6″ size. Perfect for greeting cards or whatever else you might have the urge to whip up. I have quite a few ideas of my own for stenciled cupcakes all of course topped with a healthy dose of sprinkles. I’ll be posting project ideas in the near future along with new stencil designs when they’re cut.

Now I need to sign off so I can eat those props. Not the Mylar ones of course…

  

 p.s.  FYI Cloth Paper Scissors featured StencilGirl in the January/February 2012 issue as a must-have for mixed media artists. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite issue of all time!

 

 

January 4, 2012

The Front of the New Year

Before this (see above) actually came in the mail a week or so ago, I got a call from Chicago. It was my BFF Heather acting all hysterical. *Really* Hysterical* I thought she must have hit her head and dialed my number instead of 911. I could barely understand what it was she was trying to get out. I heard “scissors”, “mail”, “did you see?” and the biggie…”COVER!!!”  As I pieced her ramblings together, I didn’t believe her at first. It was cool/totally awesome enough how we each had an article coming out in the same issue of one of our favorite magazines. Cover wasn’t on our radar. The funny thing is while Heather was all hysterically happy about my altered scissors making the cover, she initially failed to spot her own heart pendant looking lovely on the cover TOP. That’s a true friend for you. She only saw her work after I told her to calm down and describe every detail of what turned out to be our cover.

The next day my copies arrived in the mail confirming Heather’s story. It still feels surreal. Check out my scissor how-to article if you get a chance. Nothing makes a studio happier than embellished scissors. I used Jacquard Piñata alcohol-based paints and Pearl Ex powders to get amazing effects similar to my revamped office stapler tutorial which can be found here.

Also be sure to read about Heather’s amazing necklaces. She shares her techniques in the magazine or you can buy an original, one-of-a-kind necklace from her etsy shop (I am the proud owner of four gorgeous pieces…number still rising.)

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and creative 2012!

         
December 12, 2011

‘Bless you’ Angels: A pocket tissue holder project

It happens almost every Sunday. I’m in Church with my three kids and inevitably one whispers about needing a tissue. I scramble to find something adequate in my purse, but it seems I’m often fresh out. This inspiring scenario led to the idea  to make cases for tissue packs to whisper back “bless you” the next time they were needed (and I’ll never admit I created this project in my head during the homily, although thinking about angels and blessings is appropriate, right?!)

As the holiday season approaches, I’ll be creating more of these to “bless” family and friends. This quick and easy project make adorable stocking stuffers for loved ones. They also make the perfect holiday gift for those angelic teachers.

PROJECT MATERIALS:

6 1/4″ X 7″ piece of Jacquard Stabilized Fabric

6 1/4″ x 7″ piece of coordinating fabric

Jacquard textile fabric paints

Jacquard Lumiere metallic acrylic paints (I used Metallic Gold; Pearl Turquoise; Pearl Violet; Pearlescent Magenta; Pearl White; and Pewter)

coordinating thread

iron

sewing machine

paint brushes

angel pattern

DIRECTIONS:  1. Cut one 6 1/4″ x 7″ piece of Stabilized Fabric and lightly draw an angel design with pencil. (Click angel pattern above for a printable PDF of my design. Use tracing paper to transfer on fabric.)

2. Paint the angel and background with fabric paint. Use Lumiere metallic colors for the wings, halo and background.

3. Let fabric dry for 24 hours before peeling off backing. Remove paper backing and heat set with iron for three minutes.

4. Cut a coordinating 6 1/4″ x 7″ piece of fabric. With right sides together of the coordinated fabric and painted fabric, stitch 1/4 inch from the edge all around the outside of the fabric. Leave about a 1 inch opening for turning near the bottom of the angel.

5. Turn and press. Fold the sides of the tissue holder with coordinating fabric facing out. Overlap the edges approximately 1/4″  in the middle.

6.  Stitch 1/4 inch from the edge along each short end.

7. Turn right side out and insert a pocket tissue pack.

TIPS: Dip a wooden dowel in white paint and “stamp” on your fabric to make a quick and uniform dot pattern.

Make each angel unique by painting different hair and skin colors.

Work assembly style and you’ll be blessed with a chorus of tissue holders to gift before you know it!

p.s. I’m super excited to now be collaborating with Jacquard Products to develop new project ideas with their fabulous art supplies! In the notice of disclaimers all Jacquard products have been provided. However, a glowing recommendation is all my own.

Filed Under: crafts, projects, sewing
December 5, 2011

Rocky Road Candy Bark

I’m not sure what my problem is this December. I feel busier and more behind than last year. By all calculations, I should have oodles of free time since I’m not writing a daily holiday blog.  Speaking of which, I’ve had many, many requests for my recipe from last year’s temporary gig so here it is. (I promise the recipe won’t ever disappear over here! )

Rocky road candy bark looks beautiful yet is simple enough for little bakers old enough to hold a spoon to help out with. Since homemade candy keeps longer than most baked goods, you can make it well in advance. It also ships beautifully to out-of-town family and friends. And I think it tastes a whole lot better than any fruitcake, but that’s just my opinion. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

INGREDIENTS: 1 lb of milk chocolate coating wafers 1/2 lb white chocolate coating wafers 1 cup peanuts 1 cup mini marshmallows (note: I prefer to use chocolate coating wafers because they melt easily and are very difficult to mess up, but feel free to substitute your favorite type of chocolate alternative.)

1.  Melt the milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for two minutes stirring once. Remove the chocolate from the microwave and stir until smooth. Melt the white chocolate separately following the same directions.

2. Mix the nuts and the marshmallows together in a small bowl, then stir half of them into the milk chocolate. Using a spatula, spread the mixture onto a 9″ x 13″ baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

3. Drop the white chocolate by tablespoonfuls over the milk chocolate. With the tip of a butter knife, swirl the chocolate together to create a marbled effect as pictured above.

4. Sprinkle on the remaining peanuts and mini marshmallows.

5. Refrigerate the bark for about an hour or until firm, then break into pieces. Store the bark in the refrigerator or cool place for up to a month.

Now fill your holiday candy dish or give it away as gifts in a cellophane bag tied with a ribbon.

 Enjoy!

 

Filed Under: baking
November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This year more than ever it seems the turkey a.k.a. Thanksgiving is getting completely overlooked at least from a retail standpoint. What’s with Black Friday starting at midnight on Thanksgiving or even earlier? I have nothing against shopping that’s for sure, but I do prefer one holiday at a time. I mean just look at the poor guy up above in a ridiculous turkey Santa suit! Although I seriously think he may prefer a disguise rather than a table.

I still get many, many requests for my Thanksgiving Day coloring placemats (for kids and grownups) that appeared last year in Family Fun magazine.*Thank you for your enthusiasiam!* I’m posting them again. Click here to print out the first version and here to print out the second. (intended for private use only please.)

 

We love to use these around here as conversation starters and time fillers while the meal is being prepared. We have so much to be thankful for.

May you enjoy a happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!

 

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Stopping by quickly to wish a happy October 31st. I’m prepping Frankenstein Rice Krispie treats for school, doing an anti-rain dance and getting things ready for the big evening.

I created the above “Magical Metal Altar” in named class led by instructor Judy Coates Perez at the August 2011 CREATE retreat in Chicago. August was just close enough to October (in my world at least) to inspire several halloweenish art pieces.

Okay I’ve got to fly…have a spooky night!

 

Filed Under: fine art
October 27, 2011

Getting Into this Book

I was thrilled when this arrived in the mail. Even more exciting than the book’s actual arrival was being included! My article “The Mixed Adventures of a Superhero Series” can be found in Chapter 4: Collage and Assemblage. I’m honored to be among so many talented artists gathered by author Barbara Delaney. This inspirational book is mainly a compilation including some of the best articles and projects from the first six years of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. The book also includes an intro chapter with tips to start making art and ends with a chapter about getting that art out there. As a graphic designer, I totally appreciated the book’s gorgeous photography and layout (publisher Interweave has quite the talented staff!)

I’ll admit it was pretty fun to discover my leg on the back cover. Well not my leg exactly, but the leg of the apron-wearing heroine I painted. You can order The Cloth Paper Scissors Book right here.

           
October 25, 2011

Quilted Halloween Potholder

   Wondering how you’re going to handle your hot caldron this Halloween? How funny…so was I! Witch, I mean which : ), is what inspired me to design a couple of quilted caldron/pot holders. Follow along for a quick tutorial.   materials: 4 assorted fabrics (9″ x 9″ top; 9″  x 9″ bottom; hat and star according to pattern; 40″ x 2″ binding; 6″ x 2″ loop hanger); batting (3-10″ x 10″ squares); fusible web; iron; sewing machine; thread; needle; embroidery floss. 1. Use my free pattern (click here) to trace the hat bottom, middle band, hat top and star onto the smooth side of the fusible web, leaving a 1/4″ allowance all around each shape. Cut out the shapes just outside the marked lines. Press the hat shapes and star onto the wrong side of each of the chosen fabrics. Cut out the shapes accurately along the marked lines. Iron the shapes to the quilt top.   2. Make a quilt sandwich with the bottom/back fabric, three pieces of batting and finally the top/front of the potholder (a.) Pin together with safety pins. 3. Use a variety of machine stitches to quilt your block together (b.-c.) Use hand stitching to quilt the twirly line connecting the star to the hat. 4. Trim the excess batting from sides to make a perfect square. 5. To make the hanger loop, fold a 6″ x 2″ fabric strip in half lengthwise and press. Open out and fold each raw edge toward the center fold. Stitch along the long edges (d.) Set aside. 6. Cut a 40″ x 2″ strip of fabric for the edge binding. My new favorite way to machine attach binding is courtesy of my quilting instructor, Heather. She has a fabulous picture heavy tutorial here. Attach the loop hanger into the  left hand corner of the binding.

For an alternative design, I attached a spider to the end of the hat rather than a star. The spider consists of two fused circles and hand-stitched legs and eyes.

Enjoy creating a funky piece of functional decor just in time for Halloween!

 

 

 

 

October 7, 2011

Finished at last

When I first started this project back here, I didn’t think I’d ever see the day. I knew a quilt would be a big project, but I had no idea just how B*I*G. I certainly learned a lot through the process. For one, I can say that my second quilt project is somewhere in the far, far, far future. Perhaps when the kids are in college or maybe when the grandkids are in college. Until then, I’m quite content using my new quilting skills for smaller projects like pillows and potholders.

Here’s a closeup. I had hopes and dreams of doing some sort of fancy quilting technique…free motion pebbles maybe? However, I quickly realized that sticking to straight lines was a much safer bet. Actually…sending it off to a person to do the actual quilting would have been even safer, but this was about the learning (repeated to self over and over especially when holding seam ripper.)

Here’s what’s happening on the quilt back.  We can’t talk about how many hours this project involved (my husband might be reading). However, what could be better than a warm, handmade, one-of-a-kind quilt (finished!) on a cool fall day?!

Smaller quilting projects coming soon.

Filed Under: sewing

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