Thursday, August 29, 2013

From My Sketchbook - Stamps from Photos

The picture below was taken when I visited Chicago in April and went on a Design Tour. This is a very simple design which reminded me  of a few of the Stained Glass designs I have done for quilt patterns. I’ve printed it out and done some alternate sketches of it which you can see below left.

If you are not sure where to start on your Design Journey, begin with something simple. Look at designs around your house, a piece of china, the pattern on a chair or table. Trace it out and repeat the image two or three times and see where it might lead you. There are no rules and you don’t have to share with anyone until you feel ready.

Make a couple of copies of the photo you have taken or do a rough sketch.  

Carve a stamp from Speedy-Cut with lino cutting tools.
Use paint or stamp pads to create layers of colour and play with different ways to arrange the images. Try different colours or multiple colours, turn or rotate the stamp for different effects.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August Blog Give Away

Well, this is the last blog give away, sadly the month is almost at an end. Its been a wonderful summer, lots of sunshine, my garden has been so productive and I've certainly enjoyed sharing with you!
This last giveaway is a package of photo printer sheets, one of my favourite brands. I teach at class on using photos on fabric, the description is here: We have so much fun in this class and its inspiring to see what the students create with their photos.
So, to win this package, tell us what summer pictures you would like to print on the sheets and use in a quilt. The winner will be chosen on Friday!
If you would like to order a package of the sheets, you can go here:

Monday, August 26, 2013

From My Sketchbook - Continuous Line Drawings

Continuous line drawings are one way of improving your drawing skills by observation. You may do many drawings before you produce anything you actually like. As with other art exercises, you are not ‘making pictures’ so much as being part of the process. Don’t be stuck on the idea that you are ‘making art’ and must produce something worthy every time you put pen to paper.
You can make these drawings almost anywhere, at a cafĂ©, playground, shopping mall or sitting in your home. Have a large pad of paper and use either a pencil or marker/pen. Sit comfortably and look at the subject, start on one side and work to the other without lifting your pencil or pen. You can look at your work if you wish, but its often helpful to keep your gaze upon the subject and not trying to ‘improve’ your work while creating it.

Try this on a daily basis and see what gradually develops as you work. Consider drawing the same subject from different angles every day for a week.
Check out this website: 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

From My Palette

If you asked each quilter and artist “what is the most challenging aspect of designing and making quilts?”  I think the answer would be colour– don’t you?
Understanding and using colour is a lifelong journey through our senses. I’m not going to try to teach you in this little column but I am suggesting that you can learn a lot by creating a little self study course of your own. Buying a book about colour and working through it is one good way to learn. But here are some little exercises that you can do as well.
I’ve chosen blue as my focus, but you can begin with any colour. Get a small sketch book; 8” x 10” is a good size and use it for the full colour spectrum.
· Make a list of every thought and feeling that uses blue: blue moon, feeling blue, royalty (blue blood), sky blue,  are some possibilities. Ask friends and family to add to the list.

· Take snips of all the blue fabrics in your stash. Glue them in your sketchbook, arranging them in order of value (light to dark). Or arrange them in two groups; ones with a yellow (blue-green) cast and the other with a red (blue-violet) cast.
· Cut blue paper strips from magazines and glue them in your book. Arrange them in value or cast . Play with different orders, name the groupings, create other arrangements, put them into nine-patch blocks.
The idea is to play with blue and get to know it well. Understand your feelings about the colour and how you use it in your work. 

· If you use paints, then make little colour studies of blue by adding white and then black to sweeps of colour. Then try adding yellow and red and finally other colours to see how they act with blue. If you don’t have paints, then use crayons or pencil crayons.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I'm Happy, I'm So Happy!

Those who know me, know that I'm not one for self-aggrandizement (boasting or exaggerating) but I was checking my Soy Wax Inspirations DVD on and found four wonderful reviews! As an author and teacher, the worst thing that can happen is to have my workshops or books to be found lacking anything. So to my utter delight the reviews were all FOUR stars ****

One review said: I wish I could give it 6 stars. Yes, it is THAT good! This is not the usual, simple stamping of fabric with soy covered objects. Many ideas presented were a first for me. 

Another said: .... this DVD gave clear instructions on layering dyes and soy wax which builds a gorgeous softly blended richness on the fabric that you can't easily get with regular wax! 

And another: Susan covered the subject completely.

Thank you all so very much, its wonderful to know that you felt the DVD was good! So to celebrate, I will include one soy wax resist fat quarter for any orders of the DVD, until the end of August. Don't delay, do here to order:

Thank you, Thank you!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

From my Print Table - Summertime Printing

Summer is a great time to take advantage of all the wonderful shapes and textures in our gardens. Pick and few leaves and grasses and come play with me!

You will need: a couple of acetate or plastic sheets (plastic page protectors are good), fabric paints, a brayer, some fabric and your greenery!

1. Pour some paint onto you plastic sheet and spread it out with the brayer.

2. Lay the leaves onto the paint and pat down so all areas are touched by the paint.

3. Lift the leaves carefully and lay down onto the fabric (remember it doesn’t have to be white fabric).

4. Pat gently on the leaves and then lift them off. 

5. Repeat for multiple images. Let dry and follow the manufacturers directions to set the paint.

I like to use either the Jacquard or Setacolor paints. Look for the glittery ones if you want a bit of bling or the opaque so the images show up on darker fabrics.

Here are a couple of blog posts about Monoprinting:

Maybe there's some other posts that you like?


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August Blog Give Away

We are ready for our third blog giveaway this week. It was fun reading about your first surface design technique....isn't life a tickle!
This week the give away is a fat quarter of some fabulous white PFD fabric. I love, love, love the hand of this fabric, it is soft and drapey and takes colour beautifully! You can order it from me by the metre (approx. 39") at:                                                         The stencil I've included is from ArtistCellar, they create a whole range of awesome designs. You can see more here: Keep checking through to the second page, there are more terrific designs!
To win this prize I want to hear what colours you would apply to the fat quarter with dye or paint and then what you would do with the stencil! That's it! Winner will be announced on Friday!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August Blog Give Away

Thanks for all the comments last week, I had fun hearing from you. This weeks give away is a copy of the Quilting arts magazine with my Soy Wax Stitch Pattern Resist and a fat quarter with, what else, soy wax resist!
I want to hear about the first surface design technique that you learned.....maybe it was grape jelly down the front of your Grade 3 party dress or art class where you learned about linoprinting. Tell us about it! I'll pick a winner and let you know on Friday.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday, Monday

Since my work week is often very flexible, I've never had cause to complain about Mondays.  Sometimes I'm en route home from an event or in the studio catching up with some work or it happens to be my DH day off so  try to make it mine as well.
Yesterday was the Bowker Creek Brush Up and I had fun demoing my soy wax resists and meeting the public and fellow artists. Today I'm answering emails, washing fabric, making plans for teaching next week at the Pacific West Quilt Show (hope to see you there!) and unpacking.
Here's some of the fabric from yesterday:

I think I actually spend only about 50% of my time creating and working at the sewing machine! Years ago I remember thinking if I owned a quilt shop-, I'd be able to sit and sew all day, ha!
Anyway, I wanted to mention the wonderful gift I received a couple weeks ago. I was at a guild meeting and met a woman who had moved to Victoria from Jakarta and all her furniture had been shipped wrapped in cotton fabric. She wasn't a quilter and didn't want any of it. So she asked me if I was interested? Interested, you bet! The box has over 130 metres of cotton, to dye, stamp, screen printed, paint and more..... What a wonderful gift!

Friday, August 9, 2013

And the Blog Give Away Winner Is:

I hunted high and low for a a very impartial judge for this weeks Blog Give Away! The judge read through all the comments and voted with his stomach!
So Sherryl, whose comment was: This summer has been fun because each weekend I've made a different home-made ice cream, Yum! is the winner!
Congrats, Sherryl, send me your mailing address to: and I'll get your Thermofax screen in the mail to you. And the judge and I will be over soon for ice cream!!

Mark Makers Show

For those of you in Victoria, Vancouver Island or nearby, try not to miss this show!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wow! Three More Blogs! Blue and White!

I'm on a roll here and have been having a blast checking out different blogs, how about suggesting some of yours? A while back I posted about a "blue and white" shop in Tokyo. I thought it might be fun to do a search for other "blue" related blogs. Here's what I found: Oh, yummy, yummy. lots of home decor and interesting designs. I need some serious $$ to shop there!

An artist with a great sense of style, there is lots of eye candy here: But check out this:

Design inspiration for working with blue and white:
I'll take #1 and #12, oh, heck, I'll take them all! Which is your favourite?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August Blog Give Away

For the month of August I'll be giving away a sweet prize every Tuesday. All you need to do this week is leave a comment on my blog telling me what has been best about your summer so far this year.
Today, the prize is a Thermofax screen and scraper. I'll be announcing the winner on this post every Friday.
If you didn't win the prize you can always order any Thermofax designs here: