The creative and spiritual journey of a (textile) recycler. . .

I have thought about starting a blog for a long time now. I just couldn’t seem to get started. I thought. . what would I say, what would I do and really . . . . . who would care.

Last year I had the great fortune to witness a ‘happening’. As a spouse at a reunion (I know, groan) I was both an observer and participant. This reunion was attended by some of the most creative and talented people on the face of the planet. Really, no exaggeration! But many were holding onto life long insecurities. They didn’t think they were talented enough and embarrassed to perform in front of each other for fear of . . who knows . . . finger pointing, whispers, laughter, ridicule of some sort for sure. Once it was revealed that many shared the same feelings, the healing began. And I was the lucky one. I got to witness it all and benefit as well.

So, the message is that we all think we are not good enough compared to someone else, but we are. Don’t let your fears and insecurities stop you. We can’t measure our own success by someone else’s talents.

This revelation and the kindness / support of strangers has propelled my creative journey to a place I had given up ever getting to. Tho I thought my creative juices were dried up forever, they have merely been reawakened. Many thanks to all involved in my process, including in-part . . Victoria B, Mrs. W., Charles Mc., Claudia H, Mary B, Cindy G, Sandy B, Traci B., Kat C, and my IAA family. So, thank you. I dedicate this blog to all of you!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Craftsy Classes - Memorial Day Sale

This Memorial Day weekend, 
join Craftsy in honoring the brave men and women
who have served in the US Armed Forces. 

For every class sold this weekend,  
Craftsy will donate a portion of the proceeds
to benefit a veterans' organization. 

Select classes will be on sale up to 60% off! 

Have all the classes you want? 

Consider gifting a class to your favorite service member!

The Craftsy Memorial Day sale ends at midnight May 27th. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gelli print 'mop cloths'

I've been dyeing fabric now for a good number of years. I love it. There are a lot of dyers that keep records, use precise measurements and get predictable outcomes. Not me. I tried it. Didn't like it. It took all of the fun out.... besides, I really like the serendipitous nature of dyeing without measuring. Opening every bundle at the end of the process is like opening a  lot of little gifts. 

When I dye, I always, always have bits of fabric handy to sop up any spills.. or clean brushes, what ever.... I work pretty clean, but even I still have a spill now and then. So the 'mop cloth' is always there, ready and waiting. A lot of times the mop cloths looks so cool that I use them in projects!

With my gelli plate printing yesterday, I tried to use some fabric for cleaning brushes, brayers and stencils but it was not as effective as paper... so now I have some painted paper pieces for projects too!

 Here are just a few paper 'mop cloths' from yesterdays session:

Of course, had to try it again while gelli printing today.

I like the throw-away, 'clean up cloth' paper as much as the actual pieces I've been working on.... This a great distraction but way too much fun to stop!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gelli plate, stencils and paint... oh my!

This past weekend was fairly uneventful. Did some things around the house.. and had somewhere to go for a hot minute. On the way home I hit a garage sale or two. No shock. I managed to find some treasures as any good self respecting junker would do. One was a somewhat dirty wad of canvas ...

Today I just needed to do something creative. It's been a long long time and I'm itching.. So I turned to the lump of fabric that had been tossed onto a dining room chair. Here's a photo of a small hunk of canvas cut from the larger wad after a spin in the washer and dryer.....

...then a rather quick meet & greet with an iron, gellli plate, stencils and paint, I ended up with this:

 These 2 are close ups:

I need (or want) to add more layers, colors and contrast. I think this is a good start for my first attempt at using Gelli Plates... What fun!

Now, it's back to business.....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Heidelberg-esque Project

I went to the high school today to see how the Caroline Project was coming along. You may have seen the post about our field trip.... 

A few weeks back we took some of our kids to the Heidelberg Project in Detroit to expose them to 'found object art'. The kids had a great time and some super ideas for creating their own installations on the school property. They were broken up into teams. Each team had to 'find' their own bits and pieces to create their work.

Since it was such a nice warm and sunny day, I thought it was a perfect day to take some 'in progress' pix. You can see that they're making pretty good progress. Each team still has some interesting pieces to add along with paints and other treasures... but here's where they are at the moment:

I can't wait to see this project finished! Sadly for me, some of these great kids are graduating in a few weeks. They have been fun to spend time with and get to know. I look forward to seeing what wonderful creations they come up with in the future... they are all so very talented.

 Click this link to see Heidelberg post

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Universe does it again!

I had a wonderful experience this week. I was invited to accompany a friend to attend a 'business persons meet-n-greet networking event'. I've been working with her by bouncing ideas back and forth to help her grow a new business, and just being an extra pair of eyes, ears and hands. She's a great gal, so going was a no brainer. 

When we got there it was not exactly what we thought it would be. Not a lot of people and at first glance seemed more like a very very mini trade show. We walked, looked, talked, introduced ourselves and it seemed over in a hot minute. Then as we contemplated leaving, a woman came up to me, introduced herself and started talking to me about what she does. What a gem! We found that we do similar type creative work and have walked the same path for many decades. Then her gal pals started falling in and joining the conversation. Again, I was happily amazed. What a nice and fun set of women to spend some time with. Maybe it's because we are all cynics, or maybe because we love to manipulate and mutilate fabric, I don't know, but whatever it was, we got along and quickly bonded. 

The thought of sharing ideas and techniques is invigorating. Doing it with some really awesome people makes it even better. With these chicas I can tell that there are no expectations either, no stress to perform.. just do what comes naturally, creatively speaking. So getting together, having fun and seeing what direction we all end up is the plan.. I look forward to connecting with them real soon. Thanks Universe. Good job.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Craftsy classes on Sale now too!

Happy Mother's Day!

Craftsy is honoring this special day by putting some classes on sale from
Saturday, May 11 through Monday, May 13. 

(did I mention they are up to 50% off? Well they are!)

What a great Mom's day gift

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Creative Quilt Backs

Making quilts. So many challenges. So many decisions. So many techniques. Quilt backs, ugh. We all have our own methods for peicing or creating the quilt back. I am always intrigued by the way other quilters tackle this challenge.

So I decided to check out this class on Quilt Backs.... and it's free!

Elizabeth Hartman offers four ways to make the back using simple, basic supplies. I like that. The easier the better and more likely that I'll actually finish the quilt! That means one less UFO to add to the stack...

She demonstrates her simple methods to make the quilt backs using her easy-to-follow directions and she shows you each step of the way. You will learn things like basic quilt back math. Even if math isn't your thing, its so easy to follow... you just can't mess up.

If you've ever had trouble figuring out what to do on the back and how to figure out how much fabric you need, this class is for you. Not only will you learn to figure out your yardage, but how to match up prints for a nice unbroken patterned back as well. Elizabeth will show you how to join those wonderful large scale prints that we all love so much but don't look so great with big seam lines breaking up the patterns. You know those seams bug you. Now, no worries....

The class also offers solid ideas for contemporary designs for the back. If you've ever have a handful of extra blocks and didn't have a clue what what to do with them, you will see very quickly what big impact and importance those left over blocks or pieced strips have if used on the back.

I like Elizabeth's design process, her improvisational piecing, and the cool secondary composition she achieves with such little effort.

In the comment section some people thought that that Elizabeth's techniques are too troublesome, but there's a reason her quilts look so spectacular. Her hard work and preplanning has a big payoff. Give it a try. I think you'll be thrilled with the outcome and the compliments.

Thank you Craftsy for another fantastic and FREE class!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Craftsy has free classes too! has some really fantastic classes for 
sewists, quilters, and foodies.
Some are even free!

Here is one of my faves....

As I was scrolling thru the list to see what was new, I came across Quiltcon for Modern Quilters. I had no idea what it was all about but it was free so I thought I'd take a peak.

Wow. What a great class! If you don't already know them, you'll meet at least six people in the quilt world that each talk about what they do and how they do it. And, you get to see the winning quilts from the show. Fabulous!

I liked way too much to write about, but here are the highlights for me:

David Butler (Amy Butler's husband) gives away all (well, maybe just some) of his tips and tricks for shooting an ad campaign and how to make it your own. If you breath, then you know that Amy Butler has the most gorgeous designs and patterns and I personally think that her superb photography makes is all so much more appealing. David has an honest down to earth way of explaining what he does and shows photos to illustrate his point.

And not to be left out, Amy herself has a segment where she talks about her inspiration and her thought process. I was in awe of the places she's been and the beautiful photos she takes. Her thought process is interesting and just seeing where they live and work is sheer eye candy!

Have you ever heard of Jacquie Gehring? She is a hoot! She is also an emotional, sensitive, insightful, and introspective quilter who gives us a peak at her life and her journey to quilting. She comes from a family of 'makers', people that make things for utilitarian purpose as well as pleasure. She has a very sophisticated and stylized design aesthetic. Her message: Be true to yourself, make what feels right to you and honor the support you receive from others.

If you're a quilter you will be rejuvenated when you watch this class. Bonus lesson 10 will get you really geaked up just looking at quilts in a new way... maybe a more modern approach..

Awards yes, loved seeing the winning quilts. All I can say is wow....the colors, the ideas, the execution.... holy cow.... makes me want to run right over to my machine and start a new quilt (unfortunately, my UFOs put up a road block)!

I love this class! Craftsy offers the best from the best. So check them all out. There must be something that catches your eye.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gelli Plate or Slacker?

Just this once I'll allow you to laugh at me and call me names. I deserve it... here's why:

I began making gelatin plates quite a few years ago. I wanted a way to create unique, crazy & cool painted fabric and paper. Then suddenly Gelli Plates came on the market and I scoffed. (I know, who uses that word any more). 

Seriously.....who could possibly be that lame. You mean to tell me that you can't just throw some gelatin in hot water and then in the fridge? Really? I don't believe you. I know you can... if you really want to.

What a slacker. You have to really be a lazy so-and-so to take the easy route and buy a ready made plate. Sheesh.

Well, I spent years of trying to juggle things in the fridge to make room for the container of giggly stuff. Most of the time my refrigerator is just too packed...not an inch of room to spare for food let alone a pan of gelatin. So, I gave in. It took me a few years to get to that point and get over the fact that I would become one of those lame-o slackers, but alas..... I am. I finally succumbed. My new Gelli Plate arrived today and I can't wait to rip into it and paint, paint, paint.

So laugh at me ... call me names ..... say rude things about me, I can't hear you anyway. I'm squealing with glee while I pull out my new Gelli Plate. Go get yours right now.... let's have painting party....