Tutorial: Freezer Paper Stencils and Masks

Way back in the day, before I got into painting and collage, I was really really in love with quilting. (Honestly, I will probably always be a quilter at heart.) I am well versed in quilting tools and tricks and I often turn to those tools when I’m making mixed media stuff.

One of my favorite quilting tools is freezer paper. Freezer paper is white butcher paper with a plastic coating on one side. It makes a great drop cloth for my messy work space since wet stuff like paint doesn’t easily soak through the plastic to the table below. But one of my favorite uses for freezer paper is stencils and masks.


In quilting this would be a template for appliqué. You can draw any shape you want, exactly the way you want it on the freezer paper, cut it out, and then iron it on your fabric as a cutting guide.


And it peels right off when you are done! No residue and the template can be used multiple times.


So when I wanted to paint several dresses on collaged paper, freezer paper was exactly what I needed.


Here I’ve cut out a cat shape and ironed it on my background paper. It just needs a few seconds with a hot iron to make the plastic side stick to the paper. If you’re worried about your background burning or melting, you can use a pressing cloth between the art and the iron. I like to use gauze as a pressing cloth so I can still see exactly where the freezer paper is going.


The freezer paper acts as a mask, keeping paint off the background under the cat shape while I paint the rest of the piece.


When I peel away the mask (after the paint dries) I have a cat in the original blue background color.


Conversely, I can use the freezer paper I cut the shape out of as a stencil to paint cats wherever I want them.


Just iron it down and paint over it.


This time I have a green cat on the original blue background.

You can find freezer paper at the grocery store with the aluminum foil and wax paper. A few bucks will get you a big box, plenty of paper to make your own stencils and masks for any little mixed media project you dream up!

Posted in cats, collage, color, crafts, creativity, mixed media, painting, tutorial | 1 Comment

What’s going on around here?!?


Hi there. Long time no blog. It seems the minute I chose the word FOCUS as my 2015 word for the year, I promptly lost every bit of focus I ever thought about having. Sheesh.

In this unusually warm Spokane winter, after 40ish years of intense dislike of the cold, it seems silly to say that I wasn’t prepared for the cold, but it turns out I wasn’t prepared for the cold. I wasn’t prepared for how much of my attention would be taken up with matters of staying warm. Or for how intense the desire to hibernate would be.




But it hasn’t ALL been hibernating…there’s been a lot of doodling.


Doodling almost every day.


There have been sporting events.


And fancy dress up events.


Trips to Trader Joe’s for some color.


And even a bit of art making.

And lots of putting on layers and cranking up the heat and trying to regain my focus…

Posted in cats, color, drawing, life, practice, simple pleasures | 1 Comment

Stitched collage: Folk Art Album

Folk Art Album. 27″ x 24″

I was so happy to finish this project before 2014 ended. I got the idea and started this back in August. I’ve worked on other things in the meantime, but this project has been a touchstone for me, the driving force behind most of the art I’m working on right now.


I figured out this stitched collage technique several years ago and made a bunch of these little dresses. I love making stitched collages – they bring together my favorite paper mixed media techniques with the quilting and embroidery that I love. But I had trouble moving the technique beyond dresses.

And then last summer I saw this quilt on my Instagram feed and everything clicked. I’ve always loved folk art quilts but if I was going to make the time commitment to make one, I wanted to put my own twist on it. Finally figuring out that I could make a folk art quilt with stitched collage unlocked a door in my mind and I’ve been bubbling over with collage ideas ever since.


I just love the way the folk art elements fit together with the vintage look of the collage and paint and surface design.

It’s also been really great to have a big ongoing project again. That’s one of the things I’ve really missed from my quilting days. Best of all, I already know what my next big project will be and I’m starting it this weekend!

Posted in collage, color, creativity, embroidery, mixed media, painting, pattern, stitched collage | 9 Comments

A Tale of 2 Scarves


A month or so ago I started knitting this scarf. I really wasn’t feeling well. My defenses were down. I was seduced by this blog post. Honestly, if I’d been feeling better I would have resisted the urge to make a really big scarf with really tiny yarn. Really. But the scarf on the blog was sooooo pretty and I felt sooooo yucky and I went right out and bought this pretty lavender Patons lace weight yarn and some size 3 needles and I started knitting this scarf.


Maybe a week later, I showed one of my dear people this ridiculous knitting project. She promptly reminded me that one of my other dear people is going through chemotherapy and could really use a nice soft scarf to help her stay warm. Clearly the ridiculous project would not work because it will take 5 years to finish. But I knew what would work so I went right out and bought some big chunky soft Lion Brand Homespun Thick and Quick yarn in Granite Stripe and some size 13 needles and started knitting this scarf.


These scarves are total opposites. One is really thick and chunky (I knit it with two strands) and came together very quickly. The chunkiness of the yarn hides all my mistakes. The other is fine and delicate and shows every mistake. I can knit for an hour and not make any visible progress. When I picked it up again after finishing the other one it felt so tiny in my hands. One is 15 stitches wide and the other is 100 stitches wide. And yet both scarves will be lovely and functional and made for the love of creating something beautiful with my own two hands.

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Tutorial: Festive Chalkboards


I had fun earlier this month making festive little chalkboards for the holiday season. This project is super easy and makes a great gift or a fun addition to your holiday decor.

Please note that the chalkboard paint takes a couple of days to cure so you need to plan ahead a little to make these.

The main thing you need is clear chalkboard paint. The one i used is Clear Chalkboard Coating by Americana and I found it at Joann in the craft paint section.

You’ll also need some craft paint, some embellishments and a substrate to turn into your chalkboard. I used 8″ x 10″ mat board but chipboard, wood or a heavy Bristol paper would also work. Use whatever you have!


Paint a couple of coats of color on your substrate.


Add some subtle pattern with stencils and/or stamps. I found it’s best to keep it monotone and fairly simple. A busy background makes it hard to see your chalk message.

Paint a coat of the chalkboard coating and let it dry for 24 hours. Paint a second coat of chalkboard coating and let it dry another 24 hours. Season your new chalkboard by rubbing chalk over the whole thing and then wiping it off with an eraser or a soft cloth.


Now you can embellish your chalkboard any way you want and write your chalk message. I just added a border of washi tape and popped mine in a dollar store frame. I think it would be fun to add ribbons and jingle bells too. If you make one, send me a picture!

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Awesome Adventure Weekend!

Last Friday I got up at 4:30 am so that I could be here by 1:00 pm:


Looking at this:


With these gorgeous people:


I am so blessed to be able to spend time being completely real with these women. More than I can ever express.

I finished up this little stitched fox collage in amongst the wine drinking, beach walking and deep analysis of People’s sexiest man alive issue:


Saturday afternoon I hopped back on the ferry to Seattle. It was another spectacular day:


My usual partner in crime stayed home this time so I went to the game with my Husky roomie Amanda:


Our Dawgs could have played better but we had a great time catching up and cheering for our team.

It was back home for me on Sunday morning but not before a quick trip to Ikea where I finally joined the art club and bought the Raskog cart to hold my art supplies:


Installation is not complete until you put your paint bottles in.

It was a charmed adventure weekend, truly a last hurrah for 2014 as I came home to suddenly bitter cold temperatures:


Winter is here. Now it’s time to cuddle up inside and make lots of art while I dream about the adventures I’m already planning for next year!

Posted in blessings, celebrations, friends, inspiration, life, simple pleasures, small adventures, stitched collage | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall color?







I took these pictures NOVEMBER FIRST! Yes, I’m shouting because it’s freaking weird to still have tender flowers blooming this late in the year in these parts. I just had to capture the oddness of the bright fall leaves mixed in with the bright summer flowers. It’s been so warm that some of the trees aren’t quite sure what to do and are still holding on to their green. Also, gratuitous cute cat photos. Enjoy.

Posted in color, gardening, simple pleasures | 1 Comment