Stretching Art and Tradition 14 and New Etsy Listings!

I’ve spent the last month working on my piece for Stretching Art and Tradition 14:  Foundations of ___________.  It is now in PA along with the rest of the exhibit, which is spectacular!  I finally got my photos edited, along with the rest of SAT14 and SAT13 (Games Children Play), this evening, so I’m posting my finished pieces.


This is my piece, Doorway Into the Garden, which is another 3-dimensional quilt.  This is the front view, although it’s actually the Garden part of the piece.  I really wanted to create a tree but didn’t leave myself enough time to figure it out.  Maybe next year.


The arch was constructed on a foam core armature which is filled with foam packing peanuts.  I machine quilted 3 different “stone” colored fabrics onto muslin and battling, then cut them to make the bricks.  I machine stitched them to the wool foundation pieces and then pieced the wool together in a weird mix of puzzle piecing and garment construction techniques.


I used up the last of my green leaf trim from Treasures of the Gypsy, taking most of a Saturday to bead it on and bead the flower sequins on.


The shrub is my hand-dyed rayon ribbon beaded to a pear shaped pillow of green hand-dyed cotton. 


The rose bush is constructed the same way as the shrub, with different hand-dyed ribbon and paper roses I got a Michael’s last year.  The monkey grass is two different colors of hand-dyed cotton sewed down the middle and fringed.


The foundation is my green hand-dyed cotton overlayed with commercial rock fabric.  All of that was sandwiched onto 2 layers of batting and I spent 3 hours machine quilting all of the rocks to make the cobblestone walk.  I seed-stitched the green in 3 different colors of perle cotton and then stitched the arch to the foundation.  After beading on the “rocks”, I put my botton on which is two layers of Peltex fused to more green hand-dyed cotton and then I stitched the binding on.  The last thing I did was stitch on the rose bush and the shrub.  Whew!  A Lot of work, but it looks incredible.  It’s 25” tall, by 26” wide at the base, and 12” deep.

Speaking of hand-dyed cotton, I cleaned some of my pieces out of my collection and have listed them in my Etsy shop.  I put in a bunch of fall colors I dyed late last year of Kona cotton.  I also listed more velvets and all of the extra Rayon Satin I had left over from my table at All Dolls are Art 2012.




These are lovely fall colors and all of these pieces have been pre-washed and ironed.  The cottons come in 1 yard pieces.  The satin comes in 1/2 yd pieces.  There is a limited quantity and what is in the shop is all I have.

Growing a Garden and a Bit of Velvet

I’ve spent most of the last month and a half working in my yard.  Spring came with rain, thank goodness, and, in between showers, I’ve been working on my flower beds and my gardens.

I spent time today dyeing some velvet.  I got some great turquoise and a wonderful chocolate color, as well as some yellows.  I will have them posted in my shop tomorrow. 

For now, enjoy pictures from my garden and of Marley!




Ornamental Kale


Marley likes to sleep on his back.  Funny cat!


Look at that sweet face!

A Highly Productive Day

This week, I’m working for myself.  I’m on vacation from my day job and I didn’t accomplish much over the weekend except run errands.  I did get out to visit a few art studios in the last day of the East Austin Studio Tours (see for more info) which was a nice diversion.  So, after a very unproductive weekend, I decided to institute a somewhat regular work schedule.  Today’s agenda?  Dyeing velvet.

I got a bunch of velvet in dye baths by lunch time and did with the left over dye what I’ve started doing to avoid putting a bunch of dye solution in the fridge, only to throw it away a few months later.   I made what I call mud cloth.  I call it mud for a couple of reasons – I’m mixing a bunch of colors, which often results in mud and I don’t try to control it all, so it’s a bit like making mud pies.  The last time I dyed fabric, I wound up with some gorgeous purplish blacks that I’m going to try discharging.  Today, I would up with kaleidoscopes.   I can totally see these three yards as whole cloth quilts.


Here’s the first one, close up below.



This is the second one, again, close up below.



And the last one, with the close up.


Why did I end up with such wild fabric this time?  Well, I lightly smushed the fabric in a horizontal pan, instead of twisting it up in a plastic bag.  I also tried to avoid completely overlapping the dyes when I dumped them in.  The rest is chemistry.  The conditions were more humid today than they’ve been most of the year, and cooler.  There are so many variables when you dye.  I don’t try to control them so I end up with a lot of fun surprises.

That said, I did have interruptions, thanks to the newest member of my household.  Meet Marley, the Fraidy Cat.


This sweet boy showed up for the first time about 6 weeks ago and made friends.  He is LOUD, and announces himself whenever he arrives.  Two weeks ago, he arrived at the right time in the morning to take a trip to the vet and get his shots and lose the rear-facing attachments (he was neutered).  The vet determined he’s between 9 months and a year in age and in very good health.  The interesting thing about this cat is that he is scared to death of machinery.  The dishwasher, the washing machine, the dryer, the ceiling fans.  This cat takes off running when he sees the fan or hears any of the above machines going.  He’s not scared of the radio, but jumps 3 feet in the air when the door slams or I make a sudden move.  He and the Princess Marigold (yep, she’s my princess, now that she’s the only cat… er… was the only cat) don’t see eye to eye and so, it’s good that he prefers to be outside.  I’m giving it one more week to see if he calms down once the evil testosterone is out of his system.  More stories on Marley (who is named for Jacob Marley of Charles Dickens fame) will be forthcoming, I assure you.

Back to artsy stuff.  I got to interview Arley Berryhill for an upcoming All Dolls Are Art interview.  I met Arley at the Enchanted Doll Artists conference several years ago and have seen him since at Gypsy Pamela’s.  He is a pattern designer as well as a teacher and doll artist extraordinaire, which I knew, having bought and made his patterns and bought one of his dolls.  It was so much fun talking to him about how he came to be a doll artist.  He’s had a fascinating career.  We talked an hour and a half, and I could easily have talked longer, but we both had other things to do.  So, check back Thursday (Thanksgiving here in the US), as I should have the interview up then.

I have also been working on a new doll, Modron, the Goddess of Fall.  She’s taking shape.  I got one of her legs sewn on this evening and will sew the other on tomorrow.  I have her arms to stuff and attach and her head to stuff and sculpt before I can start on her costume.  She’s the next pattern in the Seasons of Goddesses series, which will hopefully be completed by the end of the week so that I don’t completely miss fall with her!



As you can see, she’s kneeling.  She’s leaning a little bit far back, but that will be fixed when her shoes are on.

The last thing I did this evening (other than a side trip out to my friend, Ken’s house, to repair my attic stairs) was to list the velvet on my Etsy shop.  Here’s some pictures for you to see what I’ve done today.



These and more are available for $9.00/fat quarter in my shop. 

Fabric Books and Etsy Updates

I finished the page for Gypsy Pamela’s book, Temple of the Enchanted Gypsy.  I also finished my page in MT’s Haunted Mansion Book.  I am now caught up on fabric books!

Here’s the page for Pamela’s book:


This is supposed to be a view of the corner arch of a room.  My perspective is off, but I didn’t figure that out until it was too late.  The sides and sky are my paper fabric.


I beaded the metallic braid down, but I’m not sure you can see the beads in this picture.


This is the back side – the gypsy.  She is made from some of my hand-dyed velvet (available on my Etsy shop), some hand charms and trim from Pamela and a metal and amber piece I got at Houston last year.

Next is the Haunted Mansion.  I’m going to show the pictures in order for this one.

Front cover:


This book is something else!  She hand made the wire gates and beaded around everything!


The gates open.


And a close up.


This is Gypsy Pamela’s portrait gallery.


And Gypsy’s Graveyard.


Elinor did a coffin in her signature color scheme – Bright!


And a mansion with some organza ghosts.


I did a craggy tower, with boarded up windows and a creepy sight peeking from one.


And here’s the creepy guy himself, in the cobweb filled tower!


Last – MT’s Séance scene for her back cover.

Now that I’m caught up, I’m working on some stuff that will end up on Etsy.  I did list my hand-dyed doll skin fabric that I dyed for All Dolls Are Art and had left over.  I’ve used it for my last 2 dolls and it’s perfect(!) for skin tone.  Speaking of the last two dolls!  I haven’t posted pictures because they are in Houston and the show opens next week.  I will post the pictures after the show opens.

I am just full of news tonight!  I have been accepted as an artist member of the Texas Association of Original Doll Artists!  I’m really excited about this, as I’ve admired TAODA members’ dolls for years as part of the Storybook Dolls exhibit at Celebration of the Doll in Houston.  Yeah!  I have 2 TAODA members as faculty at ADAA 2012.  I’ll be profiling them here soon.  If you haven’t seen the class selection, head on over to the website:

Dyeing Fabric for “Visiting Nana”

As a true procrastinator, I am often at work at the last minute on art projects.  The latest last minute projects are my entries for the Stretching Art and Tradition 13 challenge, Games Children Play.  I have to have them completed by the end of the month and I started this morning on one of them.  Smile  I didn’t have exactly the fabric I wanted, so I got up this morning and dyed some.  I used 4 colors: golden yellow, strong orange, raspberry, and basic red.  I did 2 yards of Pima and 2 yards of velvet, mostly because I needed a yard for elinor as a present, in return for the present I received a week ago Friday.  The fabric turned out gorgeous!  So much so, that I was loath to cut into it. 

My quilt is titled Visiting Nana and is inspired largely by the sessions I’ve had with my niece and nephew when they come to visit my parents.  We sit in my mom’s craft room and color, draw, scribble and water color in my journal.  I have several pages of my niece’s scribbling with colored pencils, my nephew playing with my water color crayons and Nijii brushes, and tracings of our hands.  I have my nephew’s hand when I visited the year my niece was born.  I have both of their hands and my hand from last summer.  So, that’s where this quilt will go, although it’s not there yet.

After dyeing the fabric, I pulled out some fabric from the pile that I intend to over dye and, using a gelatin plate I made last night, I mono printed on the fabric.  I made stencils from the hand prints and used various tools to mark up the plate.  I ended up with 3 pieces I love, and one piece that is perfect as a background for other things.

I managed to get the four blocks sashed and then put together with borders of the dyed Pima into a top.  So, here’re the pictures:


This is the block made with Colin’s hand prints.  I have several layers in different colors, finished off with the white.


This is Kate’s block, with her two little hand inside the frame plus flowers.


And here’s the quilt top.  The sashing is fabric I bought at my LQS.  The borders (interior as well as exterior) are my dyed fabric from this morning.


These are the presents I mentioned.  The 2 heads are from elinor peace bailey, made from some of my hand-dyed fabric that I did for ADAA.  I got them in the mail on Friday before last and they made my day!  Aren’t they just fabulous?  The little doll in the middle is a present from my friend and fellow CTADS member, Joyce.  She’s my Halloween witch!


Here’s a close up of the more masculine head.


And the more feminine one.


And last – the spider web on the back of the witch.  It’s perfect!  This little Halloween angel is made from polymer clay and is a one-of-a-kind creation that I just adore!  Don’t you just love presents?