Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The postman cometh............

I wanted to share with you some beautiful art that I have received over the past few weeks.

(Isn't this just wonderful!!) I got this from Eyembellisments. This mother-daughter team handcraft ceramic buttons & art cards. These pieces can be taken off of the cards & used in your own work or simply left on the cards as beautiful little pieces of art. They use tons of squiggles in the patterning on their buttons, which I just love!!! I've contacted Michelle & as soon as she gets back from California's Long Beach quilt show, she said she could custom squiggle some buttons for me. (Am thinking of using them as fasteners on some of my journals.)

Speaking of journals, check out the beautiful one below that I won from Fannie, off her blog. I met Fannie while doing a thread painting pc swap with her a few months ago. What a wonderful lady & her work never ceases to amaze me. You must check out her blog. Every day there's a post with new work, I don't know how she finds enough time in the day (the woman must be a machine.) :)

The pc below, I received from Aynsley(sorry no blog) in a black & white plus one color swap in Surface Design. Love the color & the swirls!! (A woman after my own heart.) She used a monoprint technique. Thanks, Aynsley!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Making Rubber Lace

Remember the melting of organza & the foiling? A very good friend of mine, Michelle, suggested I try using cheap craft felt that you can find at JoAnn's & Michael's for around 20 cents a square & puff paint & hitting it with a heat gun. Puff paint? I had to go into a store & buy puff paint? How embarrassing. When I think of puff paint, I think of when mom used to decorate sweat shirts with it. Please, lady behind the register, don't think I'm going to use this for this. (I know how silly of me to think that.) So I don't cringe every time I say it, I'll call it expandandable paint. It sounds more technical & not as tacky. (You can quit your laughing now.)

I did tons of sampling using craft felt, expandable paint, lumiere paint & a heat gun. The first two samples, I kind of consider as flops. I wanted to make 4" by 6" pc's. I cut the felt that size, applied the puff, I mean expandable paint & hit it with a heat gun. I soon realized as you can see below, with the melting, the felt shrunk in size & I applied the expandable paint to close to itself. It seemed to take over & you couldn't see the melted felt below it. I also used a green & a blue expandable paint & I didn't really like how the colors turned out.

The photo below, I used black craft felt & white expandandable paint. While the paint was still wet, I applied blue embossing powder. After the paint dried, I hit it with a heat gun & this is what happened.

I might add, when heating the felt, you need VERY good ventilation. When I started I just used one of those cheap painting masks......THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I would suggest either a respirator or do what I did, opened the garage door for fresh air & proper ventilation. I wasn't sure I liked what was happening with this piece & the embossing powder, but after completing more samples & coming back to it, I decided, I really like it. The embossing powder gave the piece this frosted or fuzzy look.

While shopping for felt, I didn't realize there were so many different colors & look they had my neon green!!

I used the green felt & white expandable paint. After the expandable paint dried, I hit it with a heat gun. The white was so overwhelming, I decided to go back in & paint it with lumiere paint which calmed the white down quite a bit. I have to say, I think this might be my favorite sample of all. Not sure how to finish it, since it just looks nice when you hold it in front of you & are able to see the space through it.

One thing I wanted to add about the different color felts, I realized that the colors melted at a different rate. I melted black, the green above & a dark blue. The black melted right away, the green took a little bit longer & it appeared to melt differently changing the look of the felt & the blue, just didn't want to melt at all. With the heat gun about an inch away it just did not want to melt. It's possible the fabric content of each color uses a different percentage of polyester, which is why they all melted at different rates?

The bottom pieces were actually why I did all of the sampling. They led up to these which are for a swap in Surface Design. We were to use black, white & a color & I wanted to create something really different for this swap & I think that's been achieved.

I used black craft felt & white expandable paint. After the paint dried, I hit it with a heat gun & then applied black lumiere paint, copper lumiere paint & black paint again. To emphasize the copper color, I painted Lutradur with the same lumiere copper paint & layered it behind the felt. It was suggested that I needed a focal point & that possibly I should add some beading to do this, hence the photo below. I'm not sure what I think, so will refrain from an opinion until I live with it for a little while. I tend to be VERY critical of my work.

The reason I titled this post "Making Rubber Lace" is while laying on the counter it takes on all of the characteristics of fragile lace, but then you hold it in your hand & realize, it's actually quite strong & not as fragile as you thought & actually has this "rubbery" pliable feel to it.

I haven't decided what to use these techniques for in a finished piece (besides a pc). They're really nice to not be backed & to be able to hold up & see the daylight through. Maybe a vessel, although I've never been good at the third dimension in creating work. Maybe in a small wall piece & creating a cut out for this "rubber" embellishment??

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goin' Green...................

If you're from the Midwest(US) you're probably familiar with this saying. It's when a bad storm is coming upon you with the possibility of a tornado. The best way to describe it is everything takes on a green color, the sky, the trees & even your skin. It's like looking through a camera lens with a green filter on it & I have to say it's the most beautiful thing to see. (If you ever saw the movie Tornado, there's a scene where they talk about goin' green.) It may seem odd to mention beauty with such destruction, but it's a remarkable site!! I now live in the Pacific NW & there's not much that I miss about leaving the Midwest, except for "goin' green" & their wonderful lightning & thunder storms, they can be pretty unbelievable!

But that's enough about that...............the reason for me goin' green, I did a wonderful color run between Dharma's Royal Blue & Sun Yellow. In DyeHard_RunOff, we do swaps of a 7-color run from one color, I chose Royal Blue to the other color, Sun Yellow. I soon discovered that I was missing some interesting colors in between those 7 steps, so I decided, since I already had the dye solutions mixed that I would go ahead & hit the colors in between those 7 steps, giving me a 13-color run & I found some beautiful colors!!

You always end up with left over dye solution after your project, (well at least I do) & what better way to use them....make parfaits!! I was really happy with how these turned out.

This last photo, I had to share with you. This was part of the 13-color run (I think it was step 5). The mottling on this is fabulous!! Funny thing is, when I try to intentionally mottle fabric in a dye bath, it never turns out. It's when you're not planning for it, THIS happens!! I think it's my favorite piece of the batch.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel). I did some playing with UTEE. Look, they make it in my green!!!

If you've never used this before, it's quite easy to learn. I started off with a 2" by 2" square of paper. I then took a Versa Ink embossing pad & stamped the entire 2" square. UTEE is just like embossing powder but on steroids (the powder granules are bigger). I sprinkled the powdered UTEE onto the paper, dumped the excess back into the jar & hit it with a heat gun. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PROPER VENTILATION & WEAR A MASK, this is some steenky stuff.

When the powder is in it's liquid state, do NOT touch, it gets VERY, VERY hot!! After I applied my first layer & heated it to a molten state, I repeated those steps 3 more times, powder then heat, to build up the thickness. After I sprinkled the powder, I'd wait a couple of seconds for the layer below to cool in hopes of helping the powder bond, since it seemed like I was having problems with it blowing off the piece when I'd hit it with the heat gun. After heating the 4th layer, place your rubber stamp into it & let it sit & cool before you remove your rubber stamp & WA-LA you have your own hand made embellishment. (This does no damage your rubber stamp whatsoever, if you let it cool before removing from the UTEE.) Now, what to do with them?!

(You might recognize the background-it's some white on white that I dyed black.) I love how the stamped swirls resisted the dye!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Practicing for Croatia

Yes, that dork in the photo is me. Daryl (that guy in the photo below, my DH) didn't think I looked like a dork. He said it looked like I was enjoying sailing the boat, which is the first time I've ever done this!! I'm still not comfortable with how the boat leans when the sails catch the wind. I've been told that you cannot flip the boat, but it still makes me nervous!

Remember the week long sailing trip next May that Daryl & I will be taking with some friends, to Croatia? Well, we're going to be sailing a few hours each day, site seeing then eating & sleeping on the boat. We've never done the eating & sleeping on board & since we're going to be doing it for a week, we thought we should practice before we get there. We rented a 30' boat from the sailing club that Daryl & our friends are members of. We soon decided, we must have a bigger boat if we're going to be doing this all week.

The head room in this boat was short enough that we kept bumping our heads into certain areas of the boat & trust me, you never seemed to remember that you hit your head there last time, so each time it was a painful wakening.

The sleeping berths...............I experienced my first episode of claustrophobia at about 3:30 in the morning. They were small, it was like sleeping in a tube. You had to crawl in & roll around to get into place & the ceiling was so low that every time Daryl rolled over he hit his shoulder. As I was laying there having this awful claustrophobic experience I thought, if I could just get out of the boat & get some fresh air, maybe I'd be ok, but I didn't want to wake the boat. As I laid there, Daryl decided he needed to get out of the boat. I soon followed & one of our friends was on my heels. Funny thing, was that we had all been laying there for an hour wanting to get up & out of the boat but didn't want to wake each other.

There wasn't much to see or do but I did find a couple of things to takes photos of.

(Oh by the way, we're taking another week, probably before the sailing week to site see another spot. I'd really like to go to Athens, but I think we'll end up in Rome instead. Am finding that it's a lot cheaper & easier to get to Rome than it is Athens. I don't think the art will disappoint me in Rome. I've just always wanted to go to Athens & see all the ruins that I studied while taking all of those art history courses in college.) If anyone has some "must see" spots while in Rome, please let me know!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm melting..................

.......................fabric :)

Ever since I discovered that you could paint & melt tyvek & organza with a heat gun, I've wanted to create a piece incorporating these ideas. I haven't done anything with tyvek yet, but it's next in line after I finish with these organza pieces. The first four, I hand dyed bamboo fabric forest green. I then added foiling, which I might add, that I love!! I think it really gives the piece glitz. They were then painted with lumiere paint on top of the foil & then a layer of black organza, stitched over the top & then hit with a heat gun. Unfortunately, these photos don't show very well how "shiny & glitzy" the colors from the foiling are.

The photo below, you can see where I added the foil to the right side of the fabric.

As for the foiling technique & where to purchase the foil, please check out Lynda's (you may know her better as Purple Missus) & Carol's website Fibre In-Form. They have beautiful examples of their work where they have incorporated foiling techniques & they have free tutorials on this site as well & you can also purchase the foils on their site.

I'm working on two different challenges for Surface Design. One, I'm to use black, white & one other color to create a pc & the other is Burn, Slash, Manipulate, Distort & we're to use a couple of those techniques in a pc. The second challenge, I think I've achieved with the photos above. The first challenge I'm trying to work out in the photos below. I'm having a hard time using white since it's not a color that I'm used to working with.
The photo to the left, I used black fabric, a gun-metal color foil, white paint & then layered it with a rubber stamped blue-green organza. I stitched it down & then hit it with a heat gun. I like what happened with the foiling & the rubber stamped flowers on the organza. The foiling pattern on this piece has a flower-like appearance.

To get the foil to bond to the fabric, you need to use something like wonder under, but for some reason, I had problems with the foil bonding to the fabric, so I tried Misty Fuse & it worked wonderfully!! You know how with Misty Fuse that it has a web-like appearance? When I placed the foil over the Misty Fuse & hit it with an iron & pulled the film back, the foil bonded only in the "webbed" areas & it gave a spider weblike appearance, it looked so fine & delicate. I didn't realize until after I hit the piece with a heat gun & the organza melted away, exposing the foiling that the pattern of the foiling had a flower-like appearance.

The photo above, on the right, just doesn't do it for me. Even though, I used a copper foil for my "other color" it just really appears, blah.
I'm not sure what I think about the piece below. I wanted to see what would happen with using a colored background (hand dyed bamboo-turquoise) & not using any foiling. I started with the turquoise fabric, painted it a lumiere metallic white, layering with a black organza, stitching it down & then hitting it with a heat gun. The turquoise seemed so bright, I went back in with a navy lumiere paint to tone it down a little bit. I'm not sure piece is done yet?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Paper Towel Art II

Remember the paper towel jewelry I made awhile back? I used the same techniques to make the covers for this journal. I'm very happy with the colors & how it turned out. (thank you Michelle for teaching me your paper towel technique)

I've always liked Asian influenced art but have never made any until now. Not sure if I'd make anymore or not. I often create pieces & use them as a way to work through & try new techniques & then when I'm done with the piece & feel comfortable with the technique, I move on. I look at each piece as a way for me to grow artistically.

I'm working on another journal right now made from a paper lunch sack & I'm liking how it's turning out. It has this leather-look to it. My part is done, all I'm waiting for his my DH to make me a button fastener from his exotic wood collection.