Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Main Street Block Swap

Over at 'In This House And Garden', a new swap is gearing up.  This is the first block I've worked on for the Main Street Block Swap.  I think it  needs some embellishments but I'm going to let it sit for a few days while I try to figure it out.

One of the sides with a quote by Thomas Jefferson...

The back of the block with a tree for a touch of scenery while trying to stick to my bank building theme.  There's still time for signing up!  Later...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Memories

With Christmas preparations and work, I haven't blogged much this month.  This morning in the quiet, I took in the tree and the decorations, and I realized how many memories are represented on the tree each year.  I thought I'd share a few...

Isn't this the most perfect wreath?  I admit I can't remember if it was Tyler's or Clarissa's but I cherish it either way.   It sure brings back some fun memories of both of their elementary school years. 

Another elementary school decoration and this one is Clarissa's.  Popsicle sticks, buttons, wooden cutouts and fun foam...does it get any better?  So to all those teachers that take the time at Christmas for ornament making: thank you! 

I made nine or ten of these in 1983 which was during my cross-stitch phase!  This one was for my husband but I also have one that says "Baby-Boy or Girl?"  Pregnant with my oldest, I wouldn't know until he arrived what we were having.  Ultrasounds weren't used as freely as they are now so the mystery remained until April when we welcomed Tyler.

This ornament is just two years old but the picture was scanned from when I was five years old and my brother was only two months old.  I'm still working on a series of family star ornaments and the collection grows each year.  Thanks to my friend Jane Harrison for the idea.

Another school memory and this one is from Tyler's high school years.  He loved doing stats and helping with the girl's volleyball team and this ornament always reminds me of those times.  He's gone on to be a TSSAA volleyball referee as well as a certified national line judge.  Good memories!

This is one of my favorites and it was a gift from my friend Pam Seavers.  The photo is of a young 'me', but the work is all Pam's.  I think of her and the sweet person she is every year when I hang it plus I love the ornament...thanks Pam!

This is a 5X7 clear acrylic box frame and it was Clarissa's gift to give at our annual art club gift exchange.  The insides of the box are coated with gesso and covered in glitter.  The snowflakes are from a Martha punch and the whole thing is glittered.  When I see something Clarissa has made, I'm reminded of how she used to stand in the door as I'd drive away to club and now she's old enough to go with me.  This piece is sitting on the mantle...just a bit big for the tree!

The last shot I'll share from my morning musings are of the snow men that also grace my mantle.  "Peace" and "Joy" were made by art club friend Allison Revetta.  The snowflake snowman was another Clarissa gift.  These were big last year when Cloth Paper Scissors featured the bottle snowman on their holiday cover.

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas. 
May your happy memories be many!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One World, One Heart's coming...

This yearly event is just around the corner.  I participated last year and it was so much fun to explore so many blogs.  If you want to know more, check out for complete details about the 2010 event. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Cones

Yesterday was the Christmas party for the TennGRITS club I've been a part of since its beginning. We began as a group over 10 years ago now; it's still fun and we still like each other!  Although originally a group of rubberstampers, we've evolved more into the mixed media world although we still put a stamp to paper now and then.

 I used the metal frame of a Dollar Tree tinsel tree to make hanging cones as my gift this year.

I removed the tinsel from each frame and used muslin strips to cover the frame.  I wove the muslin into the frame twice each time I wrapped a piece around the diameter.  The weaving, along with hand sewing, secured the muslin to the frame.  My original idea of just covering the frame with muslin didn't work at all.  Once the frame was covered and the cone was turned upright, the muslin wouldn't stay put. 

The wrapping process continues.  After all the frames were covered with muslin, I handstitched a fuzzy white fiber onto the muslin and also added a coffee stain here and there to give the pieces a slightly aged appearance.

An inside view

The handles were strips of muslin and fiber and were sewned onto the frame.

The image used is from a Luna Girl image CD.  Muslin was attached to a piece of computer paper and the images were printed using my laser printer.  A bit of coffee staining was added to the corners.  After adding lace and buttons to the top of the cone, the image was attached and a bit of fiber was tied on for accent.

The bottoms of the cones were dipped in coffee and once dry, they were finished off with glitter on the tips.

These were fun to make and I'm happy with the way they turned out.  I had my doubts along the way!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sisterhood Book Published

I did the happy dance last week when I came home to a complimentary copy of Somerset Studio's Winter 2010 Gallery. My "Sisterhood" altered bookboard is featured in the Special Book Section.

The images and quotes were printed directly on muslin and heat set with an iron. The vintage images are all from Rock Candy Studios. Rock Candy has a variety of supplies for mixed media art as well as image CDs and sheets.

This shot shows the shape of the bookboard.  The back of the bookboard is longer than the rest of the pages and that is what initially attracted me to this particular board book.  I wanted to put something on the extended page that would tie the book together since it is visible at all times.  "Sisters are different flowers from the same garden" -Author Unknown- was the perfect quote and cutting the muslin into an oval shape made it a bit more interesting.

Various fabrics were ripped and attached to the book board using gel
 medium.  Lots of handstitching went into this book as well and I enjoyed every stitch! 

Buttons, beads, flowers and charms all add to the book's appeal.  All muslin pieces are backed with quilt batting.

 It's always a thrill to have something published.  I hope you enjoyed looking!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blue Book

The event that I look forward to every fall is the TennGRITS' art retreat.  We've been doing this for years now and I think we just keep perfecting it. There aren't many events in Tennessee that cater to the mixed-media artist, so it's a real treat to be a part of this art group.  This year's retreat was the best yet and plans are already underway for next year's project!  I worked on the autumn book that I previously posted and started another one in blue.  I hope to do some journaling in the blue book rather than just having decorative paper. 

The beginning: I decided to go with cool shades of blue and see where it would lead.  I've added some soft lavender, gold and brown.  The brown on the pages will get glazed over to soften the look.  The designs on the covers were either stamped or stenciled using gesso on dyed muslin.  My desire is for this book to reflect faith, calm, and security.

Here's a few glimpses of the pages I've worked on so far.  There's still some glazing and additional layers to go plus many more pages to be made.  I decided instead of doing complete sheets and then ripping them down to book size, I ripped first and then treated each piece as a page.  By doing this, I was able to do some sewing on the pages and used that as part of the design element.

I'll post the book when it is completed.  Later...

Autumn Book - Not Quite Finished

Art club retreat was last weekend and I used part of the time to work on this book that I had already started.  I'm still not finished!  The plan is to add embellishments to the front and I'm looking for the perfect ones before plunging on.  The covers are dyed muslin with dyed paper towels layered and sewn on.  I used a liquid sealer over the paper towels to add strength to the paper and the result was one I like.  The paper towel surface looks a bit leather-like and there's a sheen that is in contrast to the muslin.  The edges are finished with a blanket stitch.

For the teal book that I posted a while ago, I went strictly by Traci Bautista's instructions in her "Collage Unleashed" book (which I love).  But this time around, I decided to take the steps in a different order.  With the first book, I had problems sewing the book pages and spine to the book after adding all the fibers to the latch hook material.  For this book, I layered the muslin and paper towel onto the silence cloth and then sewed the latch hook material to the front and back.  The painted paper page signatures were sewn into a piece of interfacing as Traci's directions call for.  To the interfacing flaps, I went ahead and added the fabric that lines the inside of the covers.  Being sure to leave enough room to latch hook, I sewed the pages and fabric lining to the inside of the book and trimmed the fabric overhang from the cover.  Forgive me if this is clear as mud!  The advantage of this method is that I didn't have to deal with the bulk of the latch hook fibers while sewing the book together. 

A glance inside the book...

You can see a bit of the inside of the covers. I used a purchased fabric for this one. 

One last shot of the inside. 

I love the look of the latch hook spine and it really is pretty easy though time consuming.  Here's a shot below of the spines of the two books I've finished so far...  They sit on a shelf and I love walking by and seeing all those beautiful colors.

What will I do with these?  I think I'll just enjoy the colors and the papers.  As someone said, they're like paper sample books and they're just fun to look at.  I started a third book at retreat and I plan to do the pages a bit differently.  Hopefully, there will be more open space on the pages for writing.  Later...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anne Bagby Workshop

Time flies when you're having fun and so it's been awhile since I last blogged.  Anne's Bagby's Signal Mountain weekend was a really enjoyable experience this year.  The papers pictured above were created on 12"X12" deli paper.  We used Anne's stamps to create our complicated papers.

The landscape was a quick exercise and there wasn't much time to think.  We had to lay down strips and add an element.   It could have used something else but I was lagging behind and threw this together pretty quickly.

Tiny composition books were used as a collage base for our self portaits.  I went with a symbolic self-portrait but some of the ladies did really wonderful jobs of collaging their images. 

Thanks (I think) to my new friend Lynne who snapped this photo as I worked.  I really had those arms going!  The entire group of ladies at this retreat felt like 'new friends'. 

We brought two sets of acrylic paint colors and these are the colors I used on the last day.  The object was to lay down a cross shape and to use some type of chop on the page.  These sheets were also created using deli paper. 

Anne's workshop was a real treat.  Besides the papers we made, we also transferred images onto carving block and worked on handcarved stamps.  Sorry, I have nothing to show!  I'm still working on mine and will be for some time.  The design I picked was very detailed and it may be spring before I get back to it!