Stitched collage: Folk Art Album

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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Paint a couple of coats of color on your substrate.

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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.

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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:

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Looking at this:

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With these gorgeous people:

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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:

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

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

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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:

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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:

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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?

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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

From inspiration to artwork

I had just started playing around with my stitched collages again when I popped in to a craft store on the way to the lake last August and saw this:

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“Ah ha!” I thought, “I could collage an owl and stitch all those great feathers!” I snapped a picture for future reference.

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I made a background and sketched out this little guy. I really loved that diamondy-shieldy shape of the feathers. I wanted them to have a watercolor look that the stitching would really accentuate.

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At some point the owl was sitting next to the mariner’s compass stamp and I decided the stamp would make cool eyes. This type of discovery is one of the benefits of the Messy Desk School of Creativity.

Inspiration isn’t always this straightforward. Next up I’m planning a piece that is a funny idea I had while working on this piece. In the meantime, I need to paint something Christmasy in a hurry and I’m a little stumped. I may just hit the craft store for some new ideas.

Posted in collage, color, creativity, design, drawing, embroidery, inspiration, mixed media, painting, stitched collage | 3 Comments

I’m practicing my penmanship

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I’ve been practicing my penmanship lately. I was pretty crappy at cursive in school (I was crappy at art too). It was a huge relief in high school to give up cursive and just print everything. Even though my printing was also crappy.

But now I’m so in love with letters and words and quotes and I want to make make make them. So I’m brushing the dust off my poor little skills and practicing. Perhaps if I’d had a fountain pen all those years ago I would have liked cursive better.

In other news, the weather has been impossibly beautiful. Every time I get hot and sweaty it feels like a special bonus!

Posted in art journaling, blessings, mixed media, practice, simple pleasures | 1 Comment