Saturday, June 28, 2008

Commission finished

Today, I finished my commission of a beaded prayer pillow. It will hang on the wall so I'm waiting to hear back from the friend as to what kind of hanger she prefers but I thought I'd show you the finished project in the meantime. This heart only measures about 3 inches but oh my, the time it has taken to bead it!!! I've only done a couple of these before and I forgot how much time they take. I have huge respect for people that do this for their art all the time. I do love the look. And it is pretty relaxing but you can easily get sorta' "stuck" in one position when you sit too long doing it! I hope Jackie likes it!

Quiltlet #2

Answering questions

I had a couple of questions asked in my comments for my last post so I thought I'd answer them quickly.

First: Am I making a wall hanging series? Well of sorts, I guess I am. I hadn't thought of it like that but yes. I'm working on these and plan to make some to sell in my etsy shop.

Secondly: How will I mount them to the watercolor paper? Well, I'm not sure yet. DJ Pettitt sews things to the watercolor paper but I'm shocked that there's no problem sewing that weight of watercolor paper because it is like cardboard! I will most likely either glue or hand-stitch the little quiltlets to the watercolor base. Before add them together, I plan to tear the paper to just about 1/8 of an inch wider than the quiltlet and then add metallic silver to the deckled edge so it will barely peek out around the edge of the quiltlet sort of giving it a frame. I'm still deciding on a hanger.

I've spent some time adding a few things in my etsy store and I still have more things to add! I have so many supply type items and really want to get more art in it for sale. Work, work, work!

I'm also working on a commissioned beaded prayer pillow. It's about 1/3 done. I'll post it when complete.

Chuck and Sam have been in Cleveland for 3 weeks now. They are due home tomorrow evening. Truly it has gone by fast. I think it's been good for the boys to be apart for a while. I got some good time with Max and he seems to have matured so much in 3 weeks time. Sam has had a great time and I know his one-on-one time with Chuck is something that has great impact. Not to mention that since Sam is the shy one, he's spent 3 weeks running around meeting a lot of new people and spending time with them. It's been good for him. He's also been to amusement parks, water parks, swimming with friends, boating, fishing, riding bikes in the park, waterboarding, need I go on? This kid doesn't want to come home! LOL! Since Chuck's work can be mostly done by computer, have computer, will travel.... It's both a curse and a blessing. Since most of his work can be done on his laptop, he can work from anywhere which means long extended vacations. However, the curse is that you never REALLY have a vacation because you bring work with you. UGH! And it seems that problems always come up and then you are out of state and trying to deal with stuff over the phone. NOT fun. Oh well, Chuck will barely get back home into the swing of things when he will leave again on July 8th for his 50th birthday trip to Alaska, thanks to his dear friend, Dave. The photographer in me is seriously green with envy.

Well, gonna' run for now...

Friday, June 27, 2008

A little artwork

My cactus blossom book has inspired me to make some separate pieces of fiber art similar to my pages. I will be mounting these onto 300 lb. watercolor paper. Here's my first piece done today. I already made up several transfers, cut background fabric, and timtex to size so it's just a matter of the composition and sewing. And since I'd never actually put ALL my fabrics away from the book making session, most of my fabrics needed for this are out already! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Great thrift store find!

Look what I found at Goodwill for only $1.99! Now all my nice threads can be together and untangled from a drawer!

It's finished!!!

I have now finished my artwork from the weekend class with DJ and Deryn so here she is! I'm pleased with the piece. Now, to work out all the muscle problems from my shoulder so I can get back to doing more art again! The stress of the weekend on my neck and shoulder are in full flare now. I went to the chiropractor yesterday but it's clearly muscular. I"m trying to work it out, use my hot packs, etc... but it's pretty painful. But what a great class! I have several errands to run today and Max has swim lessons so I'd better get movin'...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

still a work in progress

Well, I'm beat and will be heading to bed really early tonight. Today, we worked with the wire stuff in Deryn's class and I really enjoyed it. I still have to put text with Diamond glaze behind all the leaves but you can see how far I have gotten.

Workshop day 1

Yesterday I had day 1 of my workshop. DJ Pettitt taught her face painting technique and wow, amazing how much time it takes to paint a 6x6 canvas! I painted most of the day and then another 2 hours after I got home and finished up this morning! I'm dead tired. Painting, especially sorta' realistic, really exhausts me. And DJ's style of painting faces sends me straight into my perfectionist thinking. It's so hard to fight it! Anyway, this is my canvas. Everyone else painted using an image of DJ's just to learn the technique but me... nope. I always have to do things the hard way. I really wanted it to be my own, 100% and I've wanted to paint this young girl for a long time. She is taken from a photograph that my friend, Noleen, took in Senegal. Noleen is the most amazing photographer and the photo of this girl is one of my favorites.

Today, Deryn Mentock will teach us how to embellish the canvas with wire and metal work so I'll post the finished product either tonight... if my eyes are still open when I get home, or tomorrow after I"ve had some solid sleep! The class is great and I love both DJ and Deryn. My friend, Maija is also in the class as is Tonya Peacock,whom I got to meet for the first time. Also, I'm really enjoying getting to sit next to Rena from Utah... gotta' get her blog addy....

Gotta' run... babysitter will here here shortly!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Book is finished!

I wish I had kept up with the number of hours it literally took to create this book. I have been working on it daily 8 days and several of those were all day. Here is the finished book. The photos are the greatest but you get the idea.

Things I learned... suede is a bear to sew. It's not as easy as I'd thought it would be so I spend hours sewing with a pair of pliers. When making my cover this time, I allowed for fabric overhangs from the pages when deciding on a size. I wouldn't do that next time... I'd let all the stuff hang out past the cover. And, the number one thing I'd do next time is make sure the book is in the right position when attaching the cover... I realized after it was too late, that I'd added the cover on (which was done last) with the book pages upside down and backwards. I can't begin to tell you how sick I felt. I had to sit down and take a cry before calling Fran, my best friend, to calm me down. There was no way to re-do the book once I'd added the cover because I'd glued the covers to the suede before stitching it. It's permanent. At this moment, I'm glad my strength in my art is creating balance. I spent so much time on each page making sure it was not only balanced in composition but color elements as well. So, unless someone is REALLY looking, no one would know the pages are upside down. But it makes me sick to look at them. I planned the composition so carefully the "right" way. Oh well, this was my first fabric book, the first made like this, so it was a learning process... but oh, the time it took to make. It was a costly lesson that I'll never let happen again!

Anyway, if you were wondering about the front cover, the cut out rectangle contains a glass vial suspended which contains cactus needles. On the inside of the cover, I added a loose "flap" of sheer black fabric so it would show as a back drop for the cut out window making the needles show up better.

This book looks completely different than my original vision for it all except the construction of the book. That turned out to be exact.

Tomorrow, I have a weekend workshop with DJ Pettitt and Deryn Mentock at The Paper Studio in Tempe and I'm very excited. I have my things ready to go. Because of the drive, I have an early morning so I'm going to eat something and go to bed!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

pages finished!

Today I finished my fabric pages! I now have to create a cover and bind all the pages into the book. I have, however, made a decision about the exhibit submission. It was brought to my attention by a fellow artist that the gallery with the call for these books happens to be located with an alley entrance only AND, it's only open for a few hours on Friday and Saturdays! Not much time for people to see what's there! So, I have decided against the submission and am considering a class with my binding method using this book as one of my samples. I have uploaded the remaining pages to my flickr site here:

I think I mentioned previously that I made little charts for my boys for chores, behavior, and a little tag book for Max for getting ready in the morning and for bed. I have been asked to post all the stuff I made for this so, here goes:
This is the magnetic chart on the refrigerator. It is made from a manilla folder and sewn pockets. Each boy starts each day with his 10 sticks. Disobeying, fighting, arguing, etc... causes them to lose a stick. Each of the 10 sticks is worth a point. The gold sticks can be earned by my finding them acting in a kind way, encouraging, helping, being polite, volunteering to help do something, etc... The gold sticks are worth 10 points each. I tally the points at the end of every day. The points are accumulating right now until Chuck gets home from Ohio to help me made decisions on things they can earn. You can also see chore sticks on this chart. They each have 3 chores to do each week besides cleaning up their normal stuff. Since Max can't read well yet, I drew pictures in code that he can understand and know what his responsibilities are.

Next, we have the June calendar:
It consists of list of things to do this summer, movies to see, playdates, daily things to do, and the weekly point tally chart. I also color coded days Sam's best friend was not going to be in town so we can plan around that for them to see each other since they will be gone a total of 5 weeks this summer. Those are the orange dots! I keep up with things they have going on, swim lessons, etc... on the daily blocks as well as daily points earned. I got the idea for the poster from Joanne ( Thanks Joanne!!!

To help organize the boys toys and make it easier for them to know where things go, I made photo tags for their baskets showing what toys should be put in each basket:

To help Max, especially, with getting ready for the day or bed, I made him this little tag book. His mind wanders so fast that he can't remember what I told him to do from one minute to the next. With this in hand, he can flip through to see what he's suppose to be doing. It hands on a hook in the bathroom.

I also made a chart that is on their bedroom wall that shows pictures of things that should NOT be on the floor in order for their room to be clean:

I have to say that so far, all these things have really been helpful and made a difference in the conflict happening in the house. Of course, for the past week, I've only had one child here so it's been peaceful regardless since he doesn't have anyone to pick fights with! It's been a great break taking off my referee hat... a job that I despise! Also, seeing the difference in points Max has earned this week with Sam gone and how many he tallied with Sam here, really shows me that we need to come up with some strategies for them to be able to work their own issues out together without me being in the middle of everything. If anyone has advice, I'm all ears!

Well, it's time to get Max to bed....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Workin' hard

I am creating my first ever fabric book for an art call put out by a gallery in CO. The submission deadline is Friday, the 20th and I'm crankin'. Why don't these ideas come to me just after I find out about an exhibit so I have time to work instead of right at the deadline?!

Since this is my first fabric book, I am learning a lot, documenting what I'm doing, what I'd do different, etc... Yesterday I worked from 5:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. with little break. My body is lashing out at me for it too. I will take the day off to spend Father's day with my step-dad but will be back in the studio tomorrow. With other things I have going on this week, I'll be lucky to get this finished. It's MUCH more detailed and time consuming than I'd anticipated. The thing that frustrates me about my work is that often, it looks so simple yet I spent hours and hours on it. I've easily had some layouts for these pages that have taken me an hour just to design the composition and layout of fabric bits for a single page... and they aren't big! But I'm trying to achieve the right balance in composition with elements as well as color and value. Then, all the little pieces have to be adhered to the fabric page, sewn, and then the image added.
The images are transparency transfers onto watercolor paper of my cactus blossom photographs. They are then ages with walnut ink. Here's a preview:
I completed 10 page faces yesterday with 6 left to go... then binding the book which will be done using my original binding idea so the pages will be added individually. By the way, I did submit a proposal to write an article about this binding method but was turned down. I'm thinking of creating a class to teach it and also creating a pdf file to sell the instructions. I dunno...

Here's a tip for those of you wanting to try transfers from a transparency printed on an inkjet printer to watercolor paper. I experimented and found that the images turned out better on cold press paper instead of hot press, which wasn't what I'd expected. I used fluid matte medium to transfer the images and on the hot press, because it is smooth, the images showed streaks. This didn't happen on the cold press paper. See what I mean?
These transfers are on hot press paper. You can see all the lines where I was burnishing the images down.
These were on cold press paper. This was the look I was going for.

Well, gotta' go get ready for church! The shower is calling...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I"m so behind

I've had a couple of awful days dealing with a headache. It has finally lifted and I'm trying to come out of the fog and rejoin the living.

For anyone who was keeping up with my Every Day in May challenges, I did actually sketch for the entire month and have just uploaded the pages to my flickr site here:

My experience with this is that while I started off with enthusiasm, I ended with dread. I know that practice and daily discipline is good but gosh, by the end of the month, I just dreaded the thought of having to draw something. I find no joy in drawing just for the purpose of saying I did it. It had no meaning. If there is no meaning, there is no joy in it for me. So, I am not continuing in the daily drawing. I did enjoy my watercolor journaling while on vacation but I also had these daily things to do as well and it was hard to keep up. You can tell that with some of these, I was just slapping anything onto the page to say I did it... like anyone actually cares if I did or not. Anyway, I spent more time on some and almost none on others. It was a good learning experience for me and I did find that my vintage paper coated with gesso took watercolor washes nicely without buckling! Nice discovery!

Gosh, I REALLY need to update my Etsy store. I have several things to list and just haven't had time to do it. With Max in Vacation Bible School this week every morning and Sam gone, I had planned fun time for me but it's turned into survival mode of pain management. I had plans to create a small fabric book this week using my desert photos, transferring them, creating a leather spine, and my original binding method. There is an artists call out for an exhibit in CO. for books using fabric and I really wanted to submit this but I think the deadline is like next week... no wait, it's not until the 20th so if I get crankin', I can make it. Max and I are going over to Fran's tomorrow and I can't wait except that this is a hard project to do away from my own studio. I will try to take some time in the morning and think through what I want to do and pull some fabrics together. I have all the transfers to do as well so I know I can do those at her house. I stopped by a huge fabric place today and purchased my soft suede scraps that I will use for my spine. Anyway, the whole idea hasn't gelled yet... I hope my brain will clear really soon!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New cell phone case

I recently purchased the cutest little orange cell phone that I loved, with the exception of one very important thing... I couldn't hear it ring. Chuck even loaded different ring tones in it, etc... but the volume just wasn't loud enough for me to hear with my hearing loss. So, last night, we went back to the store and exchanged it for a different phone. I can now hear the phone ring and made a cell phone case today so that the phone can hang on the outside of my purse or backpack making it easier to grab... and no digging needed! So, here it is... not as cute as the little orange one but, oh well....

Chuck left with Sam this morning and headed out to Cleveland for a couple of weeks visiting Chuck's side of the family. He took Max last year. It's their "bonding time". Sam said it's really hot there, hotter than here, and it's night time! It's not actually hotter than here, temperature-wise, but my little guy is finding out what humidity is. UGH! Ya'll can keep it if you've got it... don't send any here. I like dry!

Max and I went to see Kung-Fu Panda today and it was really cute. I've done 4 haircuts today as well... and the guys in the family. I cut Chuck and Sam's before they flew out this morning and then my step-dad and Max this afternoon. THEN, I made my cell phone case.

I'm heading to started a new book with Max. We're starting a chapter book, the first he's ever chosen. Max is not one that enjoys books at all ... he likes to be in constant motion. Anyway, he's just beginning to enjoy stories and he picked out a Wishbone chapter book so I'm going to read to him before he goes to bed.

Amazing and Inspiring

I can't get the video to load properly but trust me, this is an amazing video about an inspiring artist with no arms. The rest of us have no excuse not to create. It's a must see...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Inspire me Thursday

This weeks theme for Inspire me Thursday ( is Hummingbirds. I know these have been posted here before but I am posting them again. One is a photo I took at the Desert Botanical Garden, here in Phoenix. The other is a painting that I did.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Show me Wednesday

Hazelruthe's challenge this week for "Show me Wednesday" is sewing machines... so here is my sewing machine! I love it soooo much! It is a Viking and my favorite feature is being able to wind the bobbin without unthreading and rethreading the needle!

Double Dog dare

Well, on Hazelruthe's blog, she has posted a "Pit" challenge and has double dog dared us to show pictures of our messy studio. So, I'm being brave and showing what a total mess mine is right now. And geez, look at all the fabric underneath my table! Think it's time to clean up? YIKES! I did, however, clean off my art table in front of my window... enough to work a little bit! ;)

Here's a cute picture of Max making guacamole! It was yummy! He's taking after his daddy, although it was mommy that taught him how to make it!
I have been busy the past few days working on a summer schedule chart, chore chart, behavior/attitude chart, etc... for the boys. I need to photograph all these things I"ve worked on! It's been time consuming but the boys seem to be into it so I hope some changes are made around here this summer!

Chuck is taking Sam back to Cleveland for a couple of weeks leaving Saturday morning. He took Max last year so it's Sam's turn. Sam was upset he's going to miss Vacation Bible School next week but I think he'll have a great bonding time with daddy and he'll get to see Grandma and other relatives that haven't seen him in 4-1/2 years! Max will have VBS next week every morning so that will give me a little alone time. I'll do some fun things with Max while Chuck and Sam are gone.

One of my big projects to do in the next week is go through all the boys school papers to decide what should be kept and what to throw out. I'd like to do it before Sam leaves... like maybe tomorrow, so that he can make some decisions about what things are important for him to keep from 2nd grade. Then, while he's gone, I can get things put into a ring binder. I actually did a lot of weeding out as things were brought home throughout the school year but I still have huge amounts of papers saved! It's insane!

I've hardly seen Fran in the past month and it's been so depressing! I'm hoping to do some visiting next week. Gosh, we haven't done any art together in a few months, at least! That should be considered a sin, seriously. I miss her so much!

Well, boys are getting out of the bathtub so I have to make sure they get ready for bed.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Creative Catalyst

I am honored to be the guest artist for Creative Catalyst this week... check it out! And by the way, Sam, my 8 year-old, took the photograph of me! ;)