Thursday, February 11, 2021

Hunkered Down in the Cold

Waking up this morning at 5:30am for the first potty run of the day for the dogs, it was -30. It's crisp and squeaky when outside walking and the dogs need their boots and coats. The saying not safe for man or beast makes sense when the sharp air hits your face. 

Best way to deal with it is to keep plugging away at  the table runners to sell. I have 7 yet to do for my goal for quilting. The stack for bindings is getting thick also. 

Angus, Shelby and Duncan are loving this week because it's too cold for their guy to work outside. That means more play time and a few naps. 

Shelby doesn't have boots for her feet like the boys because she has massive feet and is a tougher breed. In this bitter weather even wearing boots, 15 minutes is a long time out there. 

Hurry up! We are ready to go.


Tuesday, February 2, 2021


Everyday seems like a busy day to me. 

Yesterday I had a friend renting one of my longarm machines to quilt her quilt top for a granddaughter. I decided to finish the next batch of journals. I now have 54 journals completed. 

Each one is a treasure to me and I love each one. 

In between the joys of working with fiber and color, there are necessary duties of a dog mom. Yes, I'm talking poop duty. With three big dog butts, that means big poop sickles. I hate stepping in it so I pick it up as much as possible.  

Today is the start of fiber art table runners. I prefer to work with batiks for the tight weave of the fabrics and the saturation of colors for the backgrounds. I then layer on yarns, ribbons, nettings, angelina, silk flowers or leaves and then a little wool dye cut shape. In this case it is a dark brown dragonfly. I try to use recycled wool that I've gotten from the thrift shop. It's usually thicker and well felted if it comes from a coat.

The quilting will be freeform and fairly dense. I try to quilt around 6 of these on the same backing with each being different. It saves time pinning and wastes less backing fabric. For the runners the binding is the same as the base fabric on top.


Sunday, January 31, 2021

The end of 2020 and Taxes

Today is January 31st and it's the day sales taxes are due in Wisconsin for the year 2020. Because I'm talking taxes I thought I would share a few furry happy faces. 
They don't care that I hate sales tax day or that I also hate fed tax day on April 15th. All they care about is eating, playing and getting to go potty. If only our lives were that simple. 

This year had the challenge of forced business shut downs and strict guidelines for individuals out in the community. Working primarily from home as a self employed craftsman has been to my benefit I never had to shut down. I did see fewer items come to me for quilting and I was able to keep up with the work that had been brought to me.

I also was able to find extra time to keep my fiber art supplies up for stocking at the gallery. I'm still working on the fiber layered journals and sketchbooks with another dozen to finish tomorrow. After that, I start on my fiber layered table runners that sell very well in the summer. 

As we lead into the beginning of 2021, my helpers send you greetings. Angus, Shelby, Duncan, Abby, Pepper and Willow (she was camera shy).


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

End Goal

This is the result of the fabric making. There are 26 finished journals and sketchbooks. After a serious online search, I finally found a source for journals with nice faux leather covers that I can buy in bulk. As much as I wish I could live without Amazon, it was the answer to my problem. Now I have 32 journals in 2 different sizes coming. 

At the rate that I'm going with these, I should have enough to last all through the summer and fall this year.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

These are a few of the stitched layered fabrics for the journals and sketchbooks. 

My stitching method is not complicated. I usually make swirling circles to cover the whole fabric to hold down the fibers. I stitch on the flower petals to make sure the petals stay on and do not fall off or are loose when the stabilizer is rinsed off.

My goal is to have a variety of colors and themes. Not everyone likes what I like so I do force myself to work with colors that are not "me".


Friday, January 22, 2021

Needing a day of Color

Today was one our first really cold days of the new year and that calls for some personal color therapy in the form of fabric, fiber and stitching. I decided to spend the day layering yarns, ribbons and silk flowers or leaves on batik fabrics. 

I use these complex fabrics for my fiber art sketchbooks, journals, jewelery, pins and magnets.

While putting these together I listen to the news of the day and try not to get too mad. Today's distraction was following the viral Bernie memes which are hilarious.

My little quilt sandwiches are all a little different and some are pre cut to sizes for the books I cover. 

The finished pieces will be for sale this summer at the gallery in Hayward.

I have taught this method in the past and it's always been a good class. 

I have about 20 pieces to finish sewing before they get rinsed with warm water to remove the solvy film that traps everything on the top. After they dry, I will iron them very flat.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Exploring New Art Techniques

Exploring new to me art techniques has helped me this past year to work through a mild funk of depression after my mother passed. I wasn't depressed to a point of causing serious problems, but more of a malaise with my day to day need to create things that are usable and marketable.

I researched gourd making as I was sitting on a large quantity of gourds that I had purchased from an online local auction. I had played a little with acrylic pouring and had a bright idea to try the technique on the gourds.

I searched for examples online but found nothing. Maybe I'm the first person the do it. It is incredibly messy. My first dozen finished pieces sold very quickly and I've expanded into using alcohol inks for the outside of the gourds to achieve a different look. 

With the success of the alcohol ink use I was able to format a class to teach at the gallery I'm in. 

This was a great therapy for me and I was able to produce far more useable pieces for sale last summer. 

This also led to raiding my husbands deer antler box he had been saving for years. I'm fortunate he saved the smaller pieces and not just the monster bucks horn.