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The Last Prize

KNP--Stitch AlchemyI saved Kelli Perkins until last because I have followed her work longest.  I discovered her book Stitch Alchemy long before I decided to take this new creative path.   I checked it out of the local library a bizillion times and just looked and looked and was amazed at her versatility.    Since receiving her prize, I stepped up and bought my own copy.

KNP--DofD cardsThe first thing that interested me was the Day of the Dead cards in the book.  I really love the concept of the Day of the Dead celebration and have been collecting and planning my own wall hanging.  Someday!  You know how creepingly fast I work.  Anyway, this shows you her sense of fun and joy that permeates so much of her work.  So much lovely color.

Kelli Perkins note

While pursuing my watercolor skills, I have painted many exercises to learn new techniques.  The cheap side of me wonders what to do with these pieces–after all, watercolor paper isn’t cheap.  Kelli has shown me what a clever and resourceful artist can do—this note was written on the back of a previous work.   Loved it.Kelli Perkins note 2

KNP--bus. cards

Kelli’s business cards illustrate her diversity.  Whether brilliantly colored or the subtlety of vintage looks (and yes, that is her face on the left), there is always wit.  Check out the back of the vintage card.IMG_1820

Now about my prize—-Beads!!!!!


KMP--round beads

I have made some beads, but not like these. They are paper beads, but they are as hard as stone. Still weigh nothing which would be great for my ears, but they are durable. Not to mention being just plain beautiful.  Even some embossing.  Never done that.

The use of text is right up my alley and just reading the bits on the larger beads is great fun.  I can think of stories these words might be important to.  I love the organic, not perfect circle look as well.

Naturally, my first thought was “How can I make some of these?” and would you believe it?

The  directions are in Stitch Alchemy!  I am so glad I bought the book.  The link will take you to an in depth description of the book.

You have to check out her blog.  (click on her name at the beginning of this post)  This woman can make a book out of spoons.  Really.  And you don’t want to miss her fabric postcards.  At the very least she will make you smile—all day.

My Australian friends come Wednesday morning, so I may be off the blog until after the holidays.  Maybe I’ll get some knitting done under Liz’s influence.  Have the Happiest of Holidays and may all of you and yours be safe and well.

More later–

Making, Learning, Admiring

Desiree's GourdsI have been practicing with my watercolors again. I bought another big brush in hopes of loosening up more. Still not there, but better. I copied the card from Desiree’s Sketchbook Challenge Gift. Not nearly so well done as hers, but I learned. That’s all I ask.

Speaking of Learning—and I always am—Deborah Boschert sent me her Sketchbook Challenge prize.

This DVD redefines collage for me.

This DVD redefines collage for me.

I’ve learned so much about composing a collage from this DVD. Deborah is so well organized in her presentation that I followed everything she said easily. She carefully demonstrates each step in completing one of her works. She answered questions I didn’t yet realize I had. I’ve joyfully started a small piece based on this. If you have any interest in extending your fabric art or craft, get this workshop.

Here is Deborah’s business card.
Deborah's business card Check out her work.

This is the front of the card.

Check out this embroidery and the gorgeous lotus.

Check out this embroidery and the gorgeous lotus.

While we are admiring, take a look at some of the gifts my good friend Kate made. I loaned her my copy of Mason-Dixon Knits and she has really gone to town.

Colorful cloths to pair with handmade soaps

Colorful cloths to pair with handmade soaps

Felt basket filled with chocolates

Felt basket filled with chocolates

I can’t share anything I made, since it turns out my family does read my blog. :)
More later–

Be Careful What You Wish For

…expecially if your mother is a bit of a smart aleck.

DD#1 requested a notebook she could use to make notes in while in the choir loft at church.    Actually I badgered her to come up with some sort of notebook I could make for her to justify all the paper I had recently bought for my bookbinding hobby.  Anyway, that’s what she asked for.

Now I didn’t question her.  I didn’t ask if she meant a book to put sermon notes in, or to log the anthems they performed.  I just remembered that as a child, she and her sister used the sermon time at church to work math problems set for them by their Dad.  (Mom was in the guitar group at the front of the church.)  Maybe she just wants to work a few math problems.

Anyway, I assumed a need for sneakiness that may or may not exist.  I guess that says a lot about me.  Here is what I came up with–and I’m pretty pleased with it.

imageThis is the cover.  Looks like a typical anthem you’d find in use any Sunday.  But inside is thisimageWell, she is a nurse, and the symbols are just a quick reference.

For the pages, I found some personal things . . .imagelike Zelda’s Lullaby.  Her older dog is named Zelda and we all adore her.  The other little swoosh of music was cut from another design.  I also added a bit of The Star Spangled Banner which she and her dad can whistle in two part harmony and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy—who doesn’t like The Nutcracker?

Most of the pages are this,


giving her lots of room to write.

Oh–she does live in Athens, Ga., among all them Dawgs, so I put the Georgia Tech Rambling Wreck fight song in the middle.  Daddy went there!  She went to UNC Chapel Hill, but that’s another notebook.

More later–

Two Fabric Artists You Should Know

LTJ all1These lovely goodies were created by Leslie Tucker Jenison and I am going to have to email her because I have so many questions about them.  I also need to apologize for the poor photos—and not ironing the fabric before photos were taken.

LTJ Fabric detail2Anyway–she sent me hand dyed fabric.  First I’ve ever had, except for the wine stains on all my Tshirts.  First question will be what is this fabric?  It is cotton, but it feels like silk.  It must be the longest staple cotton ever produced.  Pinks to orange and colors in between.  Then there is this empossed design on the right side.  More questions, how, is this a stamp you created?  Would you be upset if, instead of using it to create, I just took it out and stroked it on special days?  No, I am not having wine now.

The framed piece is a collaged postcard.  It has stamps–both postage and rubber–bits of other ephemera laid out upon some of her fabric and then embellished with some glitz and pics.  It just glows, especially when outside the glass of the frame.   I’ve read so much about mail art and this wonderful piece makes it all sensible.  It is so beautiful.

LTJ bus. cardThis is Leslie’s business card.  Look at the colors in the log cabin quilt piece, and like the other artists who participated in this Sketchbook Challenge Prize, . . .

LTJ busi card backit wasn’t enough to just have art on one side.  I love this photo; may need to draw it into my sketchbook.

postcard2Finally, Leslie sent this postcard.  I have to know more about this work.  The title is “Amsterdam Alley:  The Shortcut Between” but that is all I know.  It appears to be a photograph (located in the bottom center of the piece) of the alley in Amsterdam.  The rest must be Leslie’s quilted/painted response to the photo.  The graffiti has been extended intyo flowers, text, even music.  The buildings grow and change and even have some small square stencil to suggest windows.  The alley is extended toward the viewer and may be quilted.  It is only a postcard so it’s hard to know exactly how she created it, but it still has a strong effect. I can’t  stop thinking about how she has extended the beginning and hope that will transfer to my work some day.   I would love to see the original.

rebel quilting DVD

Jamie Fingal created the above DVD workshop and writes the Twisted Sister blog.  Rebel?  Twisted?  Of course, I like her.  I bought the DVD a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed her take on fusible designs.  To me, it’s fabric + mosaic+personality.  In the  DVD, she talked about her love for Havel’s Non-Stick Scissors which cut fusibles and other adhesives without gumming up the works.  Thanks to Jamie, I now own a pair and will put them to heavy use.

She also sent other inspirations–

Fingal--bus. cardThis is her business card withg is most of an altered globe.  Her journey is impressive and terribly busy as you can tell from the flip side.

Fingal--bus card infoLots of activity.

Fingal-Ransom AlphabetThis is her “Ransom Lettering.”  Love the color and the style.  Speaks to many sides of my art and to my lettering attempts.  I have been trying to create alphabets, but this tells me what I can do with the letters I particularly like.  And not just letters, but words—

Fingal--Artist paperthese collages around the word artist will be used, but I want to make some of my own around my favorite words, like clever, wit, serenity.

Jamie has been a great inspiration and her work is fun to watch.  Check out the blog, and here is the youtube preview of Rebel Quilter.

Have you been intrigued, inspired?  Look around the house, grab what you have and make something.  Remember that the doing is far more important than the finished ( if you do finish) the piece.  No judging, just fun.

More later–

Ho, ho, a project or two

Tis the season to make things.  When is it not?

Joanne Sharpe teaches online and other lettering classes.  I took her Letter Love 101 class and had a blast.  She is such a good teacher; she makes you believe.  She is generously offering a free class called Five Golden Letterings which is a great intro to her.  Click the link and explore her offering.  Even the kiddies can do this.  Here’s my first projects.

christmas gold letteringJoanne is a big proponent of using your own handwriting to make letter art–even if you think it isn’t pretty, she’ll change your mind.

Felicia''s wingspanDecided the Wingspan I was making for Felicia was ugly, so frogged it and then bought new yarn.  Mostly Noro Kagagashi (?).  This one I am liking.

Jane Davies CDReceived the promised CD from Jane Davies.  You know how picky I am about the teaching quality of artists from whom I’ll take classes.  Well, Jane hits it out of the park.  She shows how to do many techniques:  glazing, texturing, spritzing and blotting, mono-printing, spattering, painting with the brayer, resists, and a bunch more.  I wish I could show you some samples of her work, but they are on the CD.  So, instead, I’ll show you what I did after I watched it.

metallic hp paperThis was my first one.  I used metallic acrylic paints, the copper is $$, but the others are cheapos.  I worked on deli paper that I begged Jessica to give me when we ate at Lebowski’s Friday.  The stencil images were created by placing them under the paper and using the brayer to apply the paint.  Fun and you don’t have to wash the stencils.

gold aqua hp paperThis one was done on drawing paper.  I used a brush to apply the paint and then added a touch with the brayer.  When dry I used bubble wrap to stamp it.  I brayered out a thin coat of acrylic on my piece of glass and used the bubble wrap like you would a regular rubber stamp.

hot color hp paperThese were done on tissue paper.  You can see the brayer work.  I also spritzed some liquid watercolor on the left one (blue), used a dauber to get the yellow, and a leafy foam stamp to finish up.  The one of the right stand as is with such hot color.

I was getting tired of the bright colors, so I went to Michaels.

neutrals hp paperMore tissue paper with stamps and texture.

What happens next?  The last part of the CD teaches how to do some great paper collage.  I may try that, but collage has never worked out well for me.  Jane’s process may change that.  I will cut it and tear it and just use it to make other kinds of art.

Actually you can see a lot of Jane’s work on her website.  Go to the Gallery and look at the slidesshows.  Amazing.

This was so much fun.  You could make art or wrap packages—which are their own brand of art.  Use what you have and give it a go.

More later–

Heading to Christmas; New Prizes

Thanksgiving was quiet and lovely.  After lunch, we went to see Lincoln.  The entire movie is a work of genius.  Daniel Day Lewis is always amazing and he truly made me see a new vision of Lincoln as a man and a very smart politician.  Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens also deserves an Oscar.  Sally Fields gave Mary Lincoln a personality that helped me understand why he married her.  She was wonderful.  As was every other actor in the film.  Go, run, abandon all work, and see this movie.  It will move you and teach you and then entertain you.

Our Aussie friends, Liz and Brett left Australia on Nov. 24th and are in England exploring their heritage and doing all things Beatle.  They will be here the 19th and I’m busy planning for them.  There will, of course, be knitting and yarn shopping and lots of eating.  We have to show them some Southern hospitality.  I’m not certain it will top the Australian hospitality we experienced.  We may have to thaw them out.  It never gets really cold where they live, and they flew into England the same time as a big Arctic front.

More prizes have arrived from The Sketchbook Challenge.  Too many for one blog so I will share just a few.

SBK-scissors  ps

The first is a fabric postcard from Susan Brubaker Knapp.  It is a much larger piece than the ATC she had originally planned.  My photo doesn’t do it justice.  It literally vibrates with color and is so technically perfect.  Of course she dyed the fabric and hand stitched everything.  She describes the entire process on her blog here.

Scroll through Susan’s blog postings because she does so many kinds of art.  The Art Apron she posted today should give you lots of ideas.  Visit the Gallery for a real feast for your eyes.  Susan lives just up the road in Mooresville, NC.  This state breeds great artists

Next up is Traci Bunkers whom I first encountered through the knitting world.

TB-card-info-psTraci does so many things in the world of art.  I bought her book The Art Journal Workshop when I first discovered this mixed media obsession.  I wanted to know the rules–there are none–and I really wanted to know about this Gesso stuff.  I knew the students at Northwest were always using it.  I was so excited when I bought my first gesso;  REAL artists use gesso.  I played with the techniques I discovered in the book but soon went off in search of drawing and watercolor.  Lately though, I have itched to wander back to it.  I love making art papers.

Traci has published some of her Art Journal pages as postcards–large ones about 5.5X8 INCHES.  They are so exciting.  I am showing you two of the five she sent me.  You can purchase them at her website.  TB-Postcard-4-psThis one puts me in mind of my son-in-law’s recent trip to Cuba.  I think it is the door and the truck combined with the blue atmosphere.  The stitching of the photos to the paper is a great mood detail.

TB-postcard-5-psAll of us who have older pets will be touched by this.  Traci puts her passion on the page and it is bold.

That’s enough gloating for today.   I have to confess frogging an ugly Wingspan and share a painting or two of my own.  So,

More later–

Happy Turkey Day

I drew this for The Sketchbook Challenge on flickr.  I love this time of year when I buy great apple cider and use cinnamon.  It is only a little while to eggnog and NUTMEG.

We are eating with Steve’s mom at the Geezeridge (Merrywood Atria).  Meghan and family will join us.  I even dressed up.  Major commitment.

Have a wonderful day, rest, relax, chase your passion.

More later–

Carolina Fiber Frolic in the Fall


Jan Smiley put together another Frolic in Sapphire Valley, NC. This was a very laid back affair: just sitting and doing whatever together. Mostly spinning, some knitting, some amazing felting, and Natalie’s food. (Mushroom bisque, crab cakes, coconut cake, etc.)


Some of the group met a day early and toured a fiber processing facility in Weaverville which is ecologically designed. They followed a fleece through the process and shared the results.


There were no classes this time, but you cannot put two fiber people together without learning happening. Just watching Vicki of Tangled Up in Wool make these incredible thin, delicate hats with a bit of an Art Deco twist was a Master Class. She will teach this class at the March Retreat next year along with a felted birdhouse class. I may have to take both. Definitely one. Vicki has made me believe I can felt without pulling a muscle. (Inside joke if you have ever felted a scarf.)


Samantha went to SOAR, the big deal spinning conference, and in a fit of something (She swears she has no memory of it) bought an electric spinner. It is made of Tiger wood which is richly beautiful. I was amazed at how quiet it was and she is delighted with it. It even has a power cord for the cig lighter in the car!


Renate came without her wheel. At the last minute in a flurry of packing, she forgot it. Don’t need to tell you how much trash talk she received. She had plenty of knitting though. She is still exploring swing knitting. This is a rug. It is mostly worsted weight yarn and, as ever, she is making it up as she goes.


This is a wall hanging in much smaller yarn. I have to do one!


I did some spinning–when Renate would let me use my wheel–and lots of sketching and exercises for my watercolor pencils class. Turned out that Priscilla is a wonderful water colorist and shyly shared pictures of her work with me, an unexpected and greatly appreciated gesture.
I took pictures to inspire some painting and thoroughly enjoyed the non-demanding pace of the whole event.

Steve hiked and knocked around strange shops in the area. I think he liked the solitude and I know he liked the food. Honestly, Natalie’s food is reason enough to go to these retreats. Oh, and then there are the cocktail hours put on by Tom, Emily, and Kevin. Always themed and generous.

Looking forward to March.

More later–

Chalk, Wingspan details, Art in the back of the Subaru

A work in chalk at Charlotte Yarn–fun.

Remi has bought so many new yarns that contain some of that magic fiber–silk. I love my wool blended with some of this luxury. While listing some of the desirable qualities, we had a discussion about the spelling of the word drapable, drapeable, or drape-able. The only one my word processor recognizes is the one I decided to use—-drape-able. No matter how you spell it, it makes you look sexy.

Wingspan Front

Had some questions about the yarns and the techniques I used in my Wingspan. The main yarn is the Noro Yuzen which may be discontinued. It is a wool blend DK. The panel on the right is a simple intarsia technique using grey Manos (which has a bit of silk) and a teal Cascade 220 Superwash. I started the panel with the grey, then I tied on the teal at row 3 and knit 2 stitches. Each RS row I added two more teal stitches until the panel was finished.

The Noro Yuzen had been hanging around for quite a while and had been tried in other projects. The last one was a mitered checked piece that I frogged. Therefore, only three of the five Yuzen patterns were a continuous knit. The other two were put together out of 8 yard bits. I spit joined the ends and placed the colors wherever I pleased.

Therefore, I tell you that this is an awesome stash buster. I used both DK and worsted yarns willy nilly with excellent results. Size 8 needle. Cast on 90 sts as written. Do not overthink your knitting.

I have also been doing so neat striping on my current Wingspan, where I work 6 rows in one color, and then 2 rows in a real eye popper. I am still figuring out the best place to make the color change and will share it when I post this next one. And this one is knit on chunky yarn and some worsted on US 10 needles.

I didn’t want a scarf, so both of these are shawls to shawlettes. The beauty of this pattern is that it works in any yarn.




Greenway Leaves

This may indicate obsession. I was driving by the greenway when I was compelled to park and go gather leaves. I have leaves at home. But I needed these leaves. Whatever. Then I went to Michaels, an everyday event when I have coupons. Next was the dentist, but I had an hour to kill. I didn’t want to eat or shop. Finally I raised the hatchback on my Outback and climbed in. With the warm sun on my back and my feet propped on the door opening, I sketched the leaves. Yep, still sitting in the Michael’s parking lot at lunchtime. Lots of traffic. I’ll bet they thought I was a serious artist. I know I was a content one. Maybe just a little bent.

And then I did this. I need to make put it in one of the side columns of the blog. Or maybe I’ll use it to update the title graphic.

More later– You are making things, aren’t you? Don’t make me come to your home to chastize.

More Prizes

This is a tool that will allow you to transfer any image to almost any project.  These are iron on sheets.  I can take a family picture or any picture I can print from the net and place it in any project.  I’ve read about this and seen great examples, but I’ve never tried it.  I think Lesley’s gift may open up a whole new world of stuff for me.

Click on the picture and read what she says and look at the gorgeous work just on the package. Yes, I should have taken the stuff out of the plastic envelop.  Sometimes we have to learn by screwing up.  Check out her website.

This is a fabric postcard by Kristen  LaFlamme.  It is exquisite.  Such a small piece of art using so many different fabrics, balanced perfectly.  The handwork is so simple and yet so effective. I am constantly overworking or over-embellishing.  I can learn a lot from looking at Kristen’s work.  This will be framed for the den where it will receive great honor.

Since this qualifies as Mail Art, the reverse side is appropriately designed and signed.  This piece has a very thin, flat batting which makes it interesting to touch.  The satin stitch edge is so well done.  I have messed up many of them so am grateful to see what can be done.

As usual, even the package was a treat.  She mailed it in a very strong, but clear, envelop; the label was decorated and address in a beautiful handscript; even the stamp was beautiful and matched the art piece.  Saving it all for who knows what.

These are quilting patterns from Desiree Habicht.  (Yeah, the plastic issue in photographs rears its head again.)  The one on the left is a very cleverly designed bag that will be quite useful for a person who has as many projects as I do.  I really love that jack o’lantern.

She also sent some of her own fabrics.  This western motif panel would make a great children’s quilt.  And since I am still quite a child, and I wore a Dale Evans’ cowgirl outfit at age 6, I think this is for me.  If you enlarge this photo, you will see a cowgirl in purple (my color!) riding with the guys.

These are the coordinating patterns she included.  There is another good look at that cowgirl.  They are so wonderful to feel, such soft colors and soft cotton.  But, as I am learning, just sending the prize is not enough for these artists.

Check out how she packaged this.  It is just a sturdy, ordinary plastic bag but it keeps everything together and clean.  Then she punched a hole in the bag above the Zip closure and tied a bow in it.  How clever and how easy. Tied up with the bow is her business card which on the back . . .

is an ATC (Artist Trading Card) like piece.  Sorry about the blur.  Mediocre photographer.

Best of all for me was this card.  This is a 5X7 ish card which is handpainted in watercolor with some ink.  This is what I aspire to.  I see several lessons for me in this and this will also hang in the den.  I love this card.  And ever since it arrived, I have seen all the pumpkins, gourds, winter squash just jumping out at me from the decorative displays.  I almost stole one from the hotel this weekend.  Saner heads prevailed.  I will definitely be following Desiree’s work.

This is a picture of the little extras from some of the earlier prizes.  The pen is there to cover the discount code on my 25% off slip.  I didn’t think Kari wanted that on the web.  She is the one who addressed the envelop.  Want to make someone feel really special.  Decorate the mail you send them.  Here lettering is awesome.  I hope she teaches a class online.

This is the ephemera from Laura Cater-Woods.  Bits and pieces.  I love bits and pieces.  I knew the yarns, but the two fabrics are different for me.  The back of metallic bits plus all the threads will be great for spinning art yarn as well as embroidery and maybe even just sticking it on an art journal page. The leaf is lovely.  I love leaves and will applique this somewhere special.  This makes me want to make cuffs again.  Well, why not?

Laura’s ephemera came with a beautiful notecard featuring one of her fiber works.  Do check her site and see her work.  It is so good.

This piece came from Terry Grant.  Again the wonder of how powerful a small work can be.  This one is about 5×5″.  Steve had a fit over this one.  He loves modern, minimalist things.  The machine quilting is deceptively hard to do, but she makes it look easy.  The flow of it really controls how you look at the work.

Terry, too, enclosed a handmade card.  On it she apologized that this was not the glass coaster which she had promised.  HA!  As if I would ever let someone sit a glass on even a glass enclosed piece of her work.  The orange tones will work so well in the den.  I may have to charge an entrance fee to the den because these wonderful artists are creating a gallery in my home.  Terry also has a drawing blog here.

Since all of these prizes come from The Sketchbook Challenge group on flickr, I thought I would add in my own little bit that goes up next.

Imaginary animals a la Carla Sonheim.

So much fun. You make blogs on your paper, and then you find the animal hiding in the blog. I am slopping paint in every sketchbook. Try it. Check out her book on drawing imaginary animals.

More later–

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