Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One Word Wednesday


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Books for Your Library

This has been fun, I've been thrilled to hear from many, many people both by email and on a number of list groups I belong to. It's interesting to see which books become our "essential" books to own, many people agreed on some basics such as Jane Dunnewolds books, as well as Ann Johnson's dyeing books for the surface designers. Many quilters thought some of the 'older' books stood the test of time and were still very relevant, and a couple of the latest books, including Sarah Ann Smith' s Threadwork book and Gloria Hansen's Digital Essentials have quickly become 'essential' because they are so well written and spend in-depth time on important topics.
I think the list is fairly evenly divided between good solid 'design', 'how to' and 'picture reference'. There are a few books I'll be adding to my shopping list, some are out of print and I'd recommend as a search tool for finding any book you might want.
If you see more books to add, then please leave a comment.
If you'd like the list as a PDF go to:

Here it is:

Stitch Magic by Priscilla Sage and Tim McIllrath
The Art of Embroidery by Fracoise Tellier-Loumagne
The Art of Knitting by Fracoise Tellier-Loumagne
Any book by Richard Box
Laura Cater-Woods guided studio workbooks
Celebrating the Stitch: “Contemporary Embroidery of North America" by Barbara Lee Smith
Goddess of the Last Minute by Robbi Joy Eklow
blue and yellow dont' make green by michael wilcox
Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone
Drawing on the Artist Within and Drawing on the Right side of the Brain by Betty Edwards
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Anything by Double Trouble Enterprises
Complex Cloth by Jane Dunnewold
Color by Accident and Color by Design by Ann Johnston
Finding Your Own Visual Language by Jane Dunnewold w/ Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan
Piecing: Expanding the Basics by Ruth McDowell
Contemporary Quilts, and Creative Quilts by Sandra Meech
Intuitive Color and Design by Jean Wells
Screen Printing by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan
all of Nancy Crow's books
Anything by Maggie Grey and/or Valerie Campbell-Harding
The Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery
by Val Holmes
Notan by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield
Digital Essentials by Gloria Hansen
Freestyle Machine Embroidery by Carol Shinn
Fearless Design for Every Quilter by Lorraine Torrence
Collage & Altered Art by Roni Johnson
Fabric Collage Art by Rebekah Meier
Thread Work Unraveled by Sarah Ann Smith
88 Leaders In the Quilt World Today
Quilt Masterpieces by Susanna Pfeffer
The Fiberarts Book of Wearable Art
Masters: Art Quilts by Lark Books

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Books for my Library

I thought it might be fun to make a master list of art, stitch, quilt and technique books that I think are essential for the library of a Creative Spirit (that's any and all of us).
I'd love to hear from anyone with a few of their favourites. I'll compile them and post it on my blog. Any books that inspire or motivate you......

My list (no particular order) would include:
  • Surface Designers Handbook by Holly Brackman
  • Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner
  • Creating Sketchbooks by Kay Greenlees
  • any of the Motif and Pattern books by Graham Leslie McCallum
  • Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

I'd love to hear from you.....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Design Notes Newsletter

I've been writing a newsletter for the past couple of years that goes out to subscribers who have signed up in workshops or through my blog and website.
I'm trying a new service called '' where the newsletters are posted. So, I think anyone can get a copy.
If you'd like to check it out go to:
or email me at and get added to my distribution list.
The newsletter contains book reviews, tips and techniques and other creative ideas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One Word Wednesday


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Screen Printing for Christmas

Yesterday I went back to teach a group of teens about simple screen printing. Their teacher, Karen, had asked me for a simple project that the children could create as gifts for Christmas. It was fun to think of something that would have some "cool" factor and that they could have a hand in creating.

We decided on muslin tote bags and I did some research for fonts and script that looked a bit like graffiti. I discovered a wonderful website for downloading hundreds of great fonts: there are fonts in every style and!

Then I did a little research in graffiti and found lots of great information here:
I used my Thermofax machine and made up two screens using some fonts I had downloaded and the word 'believe' that the class had chosen as their motto.

The bags turned out really well, the children were thrilled with their results and I think their parents might get a pretty cool gift for Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Year, New Plans

Its coming close to that time again...not the 25th but the 31st! Are you ready? I starting to make plans to make my plan and its a task I look forward to every year!
We're all busy, creative people and it takes organization and forethought to accomplish the tasks and goals that we set for ourselves. I don't want to reach December and have to wonder what I did during the year and that I didn't do the things I planned.
So around the end of the year and close to the beginning of the new one I spend some hours getting The Plan in place! Its not a complicated or lengthy plan but I do spend a lot of thought and time to make certain that it works for me.
There are lots of books and strategies out there to help us and I admit to owning a few books and manuals on how to "make it my best year yet". I've added a list of possible books that you might consider at the end of this post.
My plan is a bit of 'this and that' I've compiled over the years, tweeking as I went along until I've created what I like to use. It might work for you or perhaps you'll get a couple of ideas to apply to your own plan.
I begin with a school type scribbler, I don't make the paper too precious so I don't want to scribble on it!
On the front page I write down all the categories of all that I do, professionally, around my home and community, they are not in any priority. The list might look like this:
  • teaching locally
  • teaching elsewhere
  • writing magazine articles
  • website
  • holidays
  • family and relationships
  • church and community
  • reading/self education
  • judging
  • art work
  • shows to enter
  • committed entries to make quilts

and so on...... make as many entries as you want

Now each entry gets one right hand page in the scribbler. And under each entry I'll list all the things I can think of that pertain to that entry. It could be something like this:

Teaching elsewhere

  • make certain web calendar is up to date
  • flights or travel plans to make and deadlines
  • supply lists to the sponsoring organizations
  • contact information up to date
  • extra supplies ordered and ready for shipping

and so on.....

On the left side of the page I will make a list by month of the places where I'm teaching and the above tasks that need to be done for each and their deadlines.

I can then transfer that information into my daily planner and know exactly what the status is on each task. I'm sure that the calendar on my computer, phone or in Outlook can do something similar but I like paper and being able to touch it and use a pencil.

Does anyone else have tips they use for keeping up with their plans and goals?

Helpful resources: I bought his book 'Getting Things Done' have found it very useful although geared for the office person.

Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny Ditzler

How to use Mind Maps

Now I have a couple of weeks to work on my plans for next about you? I'll post more information in a couple of days.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting Papers

In my Art and Design class ( I use a lot of painted papers, sheets and sheets of them, in fact. We use a variety of media: acrylic, inks, acrylic mediums and more. For the quickest and most inexpensive (cheap, cheap) colour I use Procion Paints, you probably have some dye powder kicking around your studio, so its easy to make the paints. I mix this paint in squeeze bottles and have it on hand all the time.

The bottles have 8 oz. of water and I add a rounded teaspoon of Procion MX dye powder. Put the lid on and shake , shake, shake to mix it up. They will last indefinitely, years probably, and give great colour. I can over paint with other paints, mediums and inks. They make great backgrounds and don't change the hand of the paper. I can also use almost any kind of paper with them.

However, they are not colour fast, add water and they might bleed, the solutions in bottles are not suitable for dyeing fabrics since there is no activator added. But for less then pennies, they are perfect for my 'art' needs. (I love the green baskets for my art stuff, they're very portable. They come into the grocery stores with mandarin oranges, so only available at this time of year....we eat a lot of oranges right now!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Word Wednesday


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Classes for Spring

I've finally finished my class samples for teaching in Victoria this spring! Hurrah, now I can get onto my Christmas preparations.....

I'm showing some of the quilts at our guild meeting tomorrow morning, so here's sneak preview:

Ball Joints-uses my Give and Take Applique technique. If you'd like to see the patterns that I design using this great "no waste" fusing technique, then check out:

Repurpose Runway
I'm teaching a class that is all about recycling and repurposing fabrics of many different types and styles, I have other samples using old shirts, table cloths and more. This one has vinatge hankies and is called Nana's Hankies:

Dragon Bones uses my "stack, slash, shuffle and sew" technique a great way to have fun with fabric, a "suprise every time" with easy piecing.

Mi Casa is a unique way of cutting and stacking fabric and using a very different technique for the roof!
Funky Floribunda is a fat quarter project, even though it looks very different! I'm teaching applique using Misty Fuse (a great fusible web product), the background uses a small part of my collection of toile fabrics. I've been collecting them for many years with the intnetion of making a toile quilt for my daughter.....eventually she'll get it!

I also teach the surface design classes there, more smaples to show in a day or two....golly I've got a busy spring!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stamping Monday

I saw these foam brushes in the Dick Blick catalogue and bought several, I thought they'd be perfect gifts for my arty friends. Perhaps they could be made from sheets of squishy packing foam.

You can roll them into spirals, coils or around a stick. There are several brushes in the package in two different sizes. I think they'll be a great addition to my brush and stamp collection. Terrific for textures and patterns.

Friday, December 4, 2009

And the winner is:

Actually I chose three many good names, I'll keep them on file for the future! The three names I chose were Cloudprints-Sarah Ann Smith, Drifting Thoughts-Victoria, At the Beginning-DianeL. I'm not sure which name the piece will have, perhaps I'll ask my husband for his thoughts.......................maybe not!
Could you email me with your mailing address and I can get your prize in the mail to you! Congratulations and many, many thanks for all your very kind and positive comments. We are all truly blessed in this rich and talented community of quilters.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I need a name!

I just finished stitching this piece, its about 18" x 22". Lots of thread work, mostly straight running stitch and cross stitch with applied shapes that have been screen printed, stamped, dyed and painted.

I can already see that the upper left square of silk organza is too dark and I'll unpick it and find another one.

In the meantime it's heading out as a class sample on "Screen Printing for Stitchers". I've moved away from a long background in embroidery and have found that I really do miss it. The boundaries between "quilting" and "embroidery" really have blurred over the last few years and that can only be a good thing as we seek to work with a threaded needle in all its many forms........

But I do need a name for this little thing. The winner that I choose will get a hand dyed, printed and stamped fat quarter!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One Word Wednesday


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Magazine

Like many creative people, I have more that one interest or passion. In fact, its often challenging to curtail myself when something new comes along, perhaps its a little bit of ADD. My daughter sent me a link to a new online stitchery magazine that is fun, uplifting, creative and free....what could be better! I think I might be taking a new path!

Check out their first issue:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stamping Monday

I found some small cuts of textured wallpaper at the local Home Depot a while back. Its the kind that has an embossed or raised surface to create a pattern, not the flocked kind (that's too 80's!). I think they are meant to be applied to the wall and then painted over.

I have some small wooden boards that DH cut and sanded for me and I covered one side with double sided carpet tape. If you don't have that kind of tape, run to your nearest hardware store and pick some up, its great for all kinds of uses and it really stays stuck.

I then stuck the wall paper on and trimmed around the edges. Two coats of matte varnish/medium to seal the paper means that I can wash the stamps afterwards and use them over and over again.

By having the stamp as a rectangle I can create multiple brick style patterns but the stamp could be any shape at all. I could also cut the wallpaper into shapes and stick it to a wooden board for more design possibilities. HMMMM.....
Maybe you can come up with some ideas too?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One Word Wednesday


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Colour to Cloth Class

I spent two sessions teaching in Nanaimo with six very talented and kind ladies. Wecovered several different surface design techniques and I think they did some very interesting and exciting work!

We created some deconstructed printing with screens that I had prepared with thickened dyes. the resulting images will be very organic and textured. The picture at the top that Irene made shows the results when I added rick rack to the thickened dye while it was drying. I think I'll try that one again.

Mary made this piece by screening with discharge paste and the colour was removed. Then two more screens with white and gold were added on top. Great layering of images....

Linda began an underwater scene with brayer printing, stencils and writing with a fine point nib. Lots of possibilites here!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Autumn Sidewalk

Out for a walk yesterday we noticed interesting prints left behind by the leaves. its as though they wanted to leave one last impression before winter. Great texture...I wonder how I could use this?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Textile Artist Packs

I've just finished some new dye packs and have them listed at my Etsy Shop
Its been fun to make the packs and there are so many different creative ideas for using the packs; making small quilts, journals, little purses, bags or put a couple together for even more creativity. Each one is slightly different but they all contain:
° 9” x 12” cotton
° vintage embroidered linen or cotton napkin
° 10” square cotton scrim
° cotton doily or lace piece
° cotton embroidery thread
° pack of colour coordinated beads

Here's sample of the packs:
Ocean Spray

Golden Sands

Fires Aglow

Earth Layers

Citrus Salad

Sunshine Smiles

Purple Haze

Ocean Spray

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Work-hurrah!

Its so great to be back in the studio and almost doesn't matter what! I got into the wet room and worked on some fabrics I had already dyed and played with my thermofax screens and some new fabric paints. I had ordered some new Jacquard Screen Printing paints. They are luscious and creamy, quite a treat to use and highly pigmented. They change the hand of the fabrics a bit, but not as much as I expected.
This week I'll be working on some new screen designs, I've sketched out the designs and just need to print them off, hurrah!
Here's some of the fabrics I created, three fat quarters and then some of my imagery packs that have one fat quarter and six 6" squares of cotton, linen and silks.
They'll be going up on Etsy over the next couple of days. Check them out at

These are my Imagery Packs:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Class in Edmonton

I taught at Lori's Country Cottage last Monday and had a great time with a lecture in the morning and then two classes combined in the afternoon. Some students worked on a project from my Simple Stained Glass book and other worked on my Shattered Angles design adapted from my Fat Quarter Frenzy Two book. They worked very hard and had stunning results, we were all thrilled!

This is a display in the store with the quilt underneath some lovely goodies!

Lori, the owner of the store, took time to work on her Shattered Angles quilt. Another student is working hard too!

Lori has an ingenious method for supplying power to her sewing table, from the ceiling! they retract when not in use!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alberta Autumn

Some pictures of the views from my time in Alberta at the retreat. Everyone siad the colours weren't as good this year due to a cold snap at the beginning of October. but I found the views to be wonderful looking across the lake.
The gold band of trees are Tamarack, a species of needled tree thatdrops the needles each winter, a little bit like a cross between a deciduous and an evergreen.

I like the patterning of the leaves on a cement walkway, with a sprinkling of snow in the corner...not too much snow, just a little taste!