Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lucky



My cat was sitting on the floor in front of me the other evening, and I'd never drawn him before, so I decided to try. I got the pencil sketch finished before he moved. I did the ink work last night and finished the watercolor pencil today.

He's getting pretty old, so I've been trying to really pay more attention to him lately, since I know he won't be around forever. He's in pretty good health for his age, but still . . .

Padfolio

After making a folder-folio for a gift, I had to make one for myself! Actually, I prepared the backgrounds at the same time, because I knew I wanted one. I just didn't have time to make it before Christmas. I modified mine to hold a legal pad on one side instead of loose papers. I also added a little loop of fabric for a pencil. And I used some of the skills I learned in Terri Stegmiller's Mixed Media Collage class to make the cover. I painted the purple cone flower with Neocolor watercolor crayons on white duck cloth, then fused it to Pelmet Vilene (which is a stiff interfacing, but thinner than Timtex or Peltex). Then I outlined the flower and stem with free motion stitching. I'm looking forward to having an excuse to use it!



Monday, December 29, 2008

Reading Challenge

I have never done a reading challenge before, but I recently started reading the blog She Is Too Fond of Books, and the author has been listing many challenges over the past few days. I found one that really appeals to me, because I've always liked reading about World War II. Here is a little bit about the challenge:

"To participate in the WWII Reading Challenge, you must commit to reading at least five books throughout the year. The books can be fiction or non-fiction, and they can be about any aspect of WWII. WWII should be the primary or secondary theme, and it doesn’t matter whether the book takes place during the war or after the war. Children’s literature is acceptable! (Please visit the WWII Reading List page for some recommendations.) You can count books you are reading for other challenges, so long as they meet the aforementioned criteria."

You can read more about this challenge and sign up at the War Through the Generations blog. I plan to read 5 books (I may read more, but I'm just committing to 5, since I know I can do that). I haven't chosen my 5 books yet; I'll add them to this post as soon as I do. I have chosen my first book, however.

1. A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
2. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
3. The Avengers by Rich Cohen
4. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
5. Book Five

Folder-Folio

I met with my book club on the Friday before Christmas - it was a really good discussion on a book that many of us didn't particularly like (The Sea by John Banville - I reviewed it here). I noticed that our leader had a folio with her that she kept her papers in - but it was just one of those heavy paper folios. So I decided to make her this:


Front cover - as always, you can click on the picture to see it larger.


Inside.

I worked on it over that weekend, then I took it by the library last Monday. I got to see her offices and learn a little bit about what she does at the library (other than lead our book club). And my DH came, so he got to meet her too. It was fun. The pattern for the folder-folio is by Terri Stegmiller and can be found here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Book

Well, it happened again. I started a new book on Sunday (A Thread of Grace), and then a book I'd placed on hold at the library came in on Wednesday (Dewey - The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World). Dewey is the January selection for Bookworms Reading Group, and other people have the book on hold after me, so if I want to read it soon, I had to check it out today and start reading it. I'm a fairly slow reader, so by the time I finish Dewey, I'll probably need to read the book my Four Star Reading Club is discussing in January (The Namesake). So I'm not sure when I'll get back to A Thread of Grace - I may even need to start it over (I don't read more than one novel at a time). I hate it when that happens!

Padfolio



Now that it's after Christmas, I can show this padfolio that I made for my mom. I used my needle punch machine for the background and the flower, then free motion stitched in the background and around the flower with my sewing machine. The pattern for the padfolio is by Sue Bleiweiss, and can be found at Two Creative Studios; the flower is my own design. I modified the pattern to use velcro for a closure rather than a cord.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

Marina is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She remembers her days as a tour guide for The Hermitage Museum in 1941 Leningrad more clearly than she remembers details of her grown children's lives. As the German Army approached, the Hermitage employees boxed up and hid for safekeeping all of the artwork - 1.1 million objects. During the first winter of the siege of Leningrad, the museum staff and their families lived in the basement of the museum - almost 2000 people. This is told as Marina's memories, which she confuses with the present: her granddaughter's wedding. It is a sad story but beautifully told. I found out about this book through my local book club - they read this book last spring before I joined. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Proximity Award



I have been truly honored to receive another award from not just one, but two of my fellow blogger friends, Fannie and Tracy.

This award states that: This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY- nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends, they are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

I would like to share this award with Sue Bleiweiss, Terri Stegmiller and Elizabeth Golden.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Queen's Bastard by Robin Maxwell

I actually finished this book in November and forgot to post about it.

This book is a sequel of sorts to The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn. The premise of the book is that Queen Elizabeth gave birth to a bastard son, whose father was Robert Dudley. Elizabeth hid her pregnancy from all but a few close to her. At the birth, Kat Ashley took the baby away, replaced it with a dead baby, and told Elizabeth the baby was stillborn. She took the baby to her former sweetheart, Robert Southern, to be raised as his own child. It turns out there really was an Arthur Dudley who claimed to be the son of Elizabeth and Dudley. And in the early years of her reign, there were rumors of bastard children. Interesting idea. Well written. It kept my interest. I rate this book 4 out of 5.

The Sea by John Banville

Max Morden, recently widowed, returns to the seaside town where he spent summers as a child. The story shifts from present to recent past (his wife's illness) to distant past (his childhood). I also shifted between liking the writing style and thinking it was a bit over done or pompous. I had to keep the dictionary handy at all times. The story was interesting, but slow to develop. I was glad it wasn't any longer. I rate it 2 out of 5.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Giveaways by Chrysti

I just found the most amazing giveaways - 29 Days of Giveaways by Chrysti. Lots going on there - click on the title and check it out!

Season's Greetings



To all my readers - happy holidays! Click on photo to enlarge it (especially if you want to see the fish in its mouth).

BTW, DH took the photo, I cropped it and added the greetings in Photoshop Elements.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cards and Stuff

We actually sent out our Christmas cards today - pretty amazing! I don't think they ever would have gotten done if DH hadn't gotten busy and written the annual letter a week or more ago. He usually writes the letter, and then I edit it and add stuff about me. He's quite the jokester, so he always puts something in the letter that he knows I'll take out. This year, after putting down all the information about our son and daughter-in-law, our travel, and stuff about him, the last sentence was "Cheryl didn't do much this year." Ha ha!

I read it when he wrote it, but didn't feel like figuring out what to write for my part. He kept after me until I finally finished it a couple of days ago. Then we decided to send out a photo he had taken, so I cropped it and added some words to it in Photoshop. We bought some fancy stationery at Staples yesterday and printed the letters, mailing labels, and photos. Today we stuffed envelopes and he took them to the post office when he went out to his eye doctor appointment.

I am so not in the holiday mood yet - we haven't even put up the tree yet. But I did finish making a presents for a couple of my friends today. I'm just making two more. I hope to finish the one for my mom tomorrow and then the one for my DS and DDIL in another couple of days.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Gift by Pete Hamill

I read this for my online bookclub - Bookworms Reading Group - which is a Yahoo group. It is the story of a young sailor who is home on leave during Christmas of 1952. His family is poor, his girlfriend has left him, and he's back in the dreary apartment his large family lives in. While it was a fairly well written story, it seemed a bit simplistic and even sappy to me. I rate it 2 out of 5.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Freebie

Lisa Vollrath has generously provided free printable images between now and Christmas at her website here. There are some lovely images available already.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mythological Goddess Test

Your result for The Mythological Goddess Test...

Minerva

Indeed, you are 71% erudite, 58% sensual, 29% martial, and 29% saturnine.


Another virgin Goddess (Diana or Artemis being the other), Minerva was, just like her Greek counterpart Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and Freedom as well as an all powerful Goddess of War, which made her a most formidable opponent indeed.


Among the many disciplines that fell under her control were: writing, the sciences, architecture, embroidery, and just about anything else dealing with artistic skills, wise counsel, and of course battle and warfare.


Like Athena, owls were considered sacred to Minerva, representing wisdom. She was a very wise warrior, respected by the Roman legions.


She was also, no kidding, the Goddess of Women's Rights and patroness of career women.


The Fifteen Goddesses


These are the 15 categories of this test. If you score above average in …


…all or none of the four variables: Neit. …
Erudite: Minerva. …
Sensual: Aphrodite. …
Martial: Artemis. …
Saturnine: Persephone. …

Erudite & Sensual: Isis. …
Erudite & Martial: Sekhmet. …
Erudite & Saturnine: Nemesis. …
Sensual & Martial: Hera. …
Sensual & Saturnine: Bast. …
Martial & Saturnine: Ilamatecuhtli. …

Erudite, Sensual & Martial: Maeve. …
Erudite, Sensual & Saturnine: Freya. …
Erudite, Martial & Saturnine: Sedna. …
Sensual, Martial & Saturnine: Macha.


Take The Mythological Goddess Test
at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks

Charlotte Gray is a young Scottish woman who moves to London in 1942 to help the war effort. She falls in love with an RAF pilot who doesn't return from a mission to France a few months after they meet. She's in training as a secret courier, so when she completes her mission in France, she tries to find her pilot. She stays in France for several months helping the Resistance.

We had seen the movie version several months ago, and I wanted to get the full story. I got a much different and better story instead. I'm not sure why a movie changes the story of a good book so often - and rarely for the better. Read the book - skip the movie. I rate this book 4 out of 5.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two Creative Studios

I have posted information here before about classes I've taken from two of my favorite teachers - Sue Bleiweiss and Terri Stegmiller. They teach out of Two Creative Studios. Well, they are offering a fabulous giveaway just for subscribing to their newsletter. Here is what Sue has written about it:

"Every day starting on Sunday, December 14, 2008, Terri and I will choose one name from the Two Creative Studios subscriber list and that person will win a handmade item from both of us. Then on December 25th we'll pick a final grand prize winner and that person will not only win a handmade item from the both of us but they'll also win their choice of a free online class!"

Now I've not only taken most of these great teachers' classes, but I've also received some wonderful handmade items from each of them as well, and let me tell you, this is a very wonderful and generous giveaway! They also have some really nice free projects on their site, so be sure to check it out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mixed Media Collage for the Fiber Artist

I have thoroughly enjoyed this class from Terri Stegmiller.

Below is the finished quilt that I did for lessons 2 and 3. The background fabric is white cotton duck that I painted and stenciled and stamped.



Each leaf was done using a different method taught by Terri, but all were done on prepared for dye pimatex cotton. I used Jacquard Black Permanent Resist on the left leaf, Presist waterbased resist on the middle leaf, and black gel pen on the right leaf. I painted all of the leaves with Dye-na-flow paint. After heat setting the paint, I washed out the Presist from the middle leaf for a faux batik look. The black stayed in the other leaves.



In addition to doing this quilt, I've also been working on a quilt pattern and kit that I bought from Frieda Anderson called Autumn Mums (she has gorgeous hand dyed fabrics and beautiful patterns). I used some leftover scraps from that kit and her fusing technique to make the flower and added french knots to the center (amazing for me, since I usually do as little hand work as possible - but heat set crystals just didn't look right to me).



I rubber stamped the text on another leftover scrap of hand dyed fabric.



I finished the quilting and binding on Sunday, and added the french knots today. It's pretty much my own design, with inspiration and instruction from Terri Stegmiller and Frieda Anderson. I couldn't be more pleased with it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Paper Clips

We just watched the most amazing movie tonight. It's called Paper Clips. It is about a project in a middle school in Whitwell, Tennessee. The students are studying about the Holocaust and are trying to understand how many six million is. They decide to collect six million paper clips. It became a life changing experience for everyone involved - the students, teachers, and community. I cried through much of the movie, but it was actually pretty uplifting. Everyone should see this movie!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

I finished this book over a week ago, and couldn't decide what to write about it. That isn't because I didn't like the book - in fact, I loved it. But it is a very unusual book that is very hard to describe (for me anyway). I read it for the book club I joined in September that meets at our local library.

Because I've had such a hard time figuring out what to write about this book, I'm going to cheat and quote Amazon.com:

"Nicole Krauss's The History of Love is a hauntingly beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways that even after the last page is turned, the reader is left to wonder what really happened. In the hands of a less gifted writer, unraveling this tangled web could easily give way to complete chaos. However, under Krauss's watchful eye, these twists and turns only strengthen the impact of this enchanting book."

There were plot twists and surprises, and I wanted to be sure I really understood what happened, so after I finished it, I read it again. I've never done that before. I rarely read a book more than once, and if I do, it is usually after many years have passed so that I don't remember it at all. But I found that I got much more out of the book the second time.

I rate this book 5 out of 5.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

What Color Green Are You?




You Are Teal Green



You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Award



Look what Maggi awarded me. I was so surprised! Now I get to award this to 4 dedicated followers of my blog and one new one from another part of the world.

1. freebird
2. fannie
3. crazyquiltgaljennalouise
4. tracyb
5. annetteinoz

Thanks so much Maggi - I really appreciate it!

Sunset in Santa Fe Detail



Maggi asked me how I quilted this, so I thought I'd post a close up of one area of the quilt. The quilting shows up well on the background in this picture, but not as well on the star. I used various variegated threads in the star sections - different thread for each spikey area - and quilted flames in the narrow spikes, triangles in the wider spikes, and rays in the centers. You can see the quilting a bit better if you click on the picture to make it bigger.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sunset in Santa Fe



I finished this quilt a few days ago. I took a class from Deb Karasik at Quilt Camp in the Pines in July, and this was what she taught. All of the spikes are paper pieced, so it isn't quite as hard as it looks. But still - it's probably one of the more difficult quilts I've ever done, and I'm really proud of how it turned out. I quilted it myself too.

Deb called it Arizona Sunset, but I bought all of the fabrics for it in a wonderful quilt shop in Santa Fe, so I had to call mine Sunset in Santa Fe. I'm entering this in the Oklahoma Winter Quilt Show in January, so wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ATCs for Embellish Stitch and Enrich Class Swap

Done with my embellisher machine for a swap in my Embellish Stitch and Enrich Class:



I painted fusible web and fused it to white felt. I added some soy silk and silk throwsters waste over top and embellished. I used some yarn I bought from Terri Stegmiller and made the hearts. Then I fused the felt to pelmet vilene with muslin on the back, cut into atcs and satin stitched the edges. I stamped the words on newsprint that I'd used under painting and fused them on with Misty Fuse.



Blue ones: I painted fusible web and fused it to white felt. I added some soy silk and silk throwsters waste over top and embellished. I added some snips of yarn, covered it with a light blue chiffon scarf, and embellished some more. Then I used my circle attachment for my Viking and stitched circles all over. Finally, I fused the felt to pelmet vilene with muslin on the back, cut into atcs and satin stitched the edges.

Red ones: I started with black felt, fused some Wonder Under onto it, then fused foil to the Wonder Under. After that, I added bits and pieces of yarn, soy silk, mulberry bark, and wool roving. I didn't have any chiffon scarves, so I put some tulle on top to help keep it all in place and then punched away. When I was done, I pulled the tulle off. l added more fibers on top. I used some yarn I bought from Terri Stegmiller and made the hearts. Then I fused the felt to pelmet vilene with muslin on the back, cut into atcs and satin stitched the edges. I stamped the words on a paper towel I had used when I painted some fabric paper and fused them on with Misty Fuse.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Fish


Click on picture to enlarge.

And here are two of our sunburst wag platies with a gold twin bar platy in between them.

Fish


Click on picture to enlarge.

It is REALLY hard to get a good picture of the aquarium! If I use the flash, there is reflection in the glass. If I don't use the flash, it's too dark - the shutter speed has to be so slow that the fish are blurry because they're always moving. So this picture isn't very good - but it was the best I could do. I cropped it to show a close up of some of our newer fish. Two of the angel fish are near the top (one in the center, the other over to the left) and the smaller fish that are somewhat schooled together on the right are the harlequin rasboras. You can also see one of the cherry barbs just to the right of the plants (just below the center), and near the bottom is the tail fin of the plecostomus (he is facing down on the back glass behind the heater - his favorite hiding place).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Fish

I was in Oklahoma City on Thursday, so my last stop was at PetSmart for fish. I bought 3 angel fish, 3 sunburst wag platies, and 4 harlequin rasboras. They're all alive so far! Last time I brought fish home, 2 of them didn't make it. One was my own fault - we really wanted an angel fish, and PetSmart only had 2. They were just staying near the top, not swimming around very much. I asked the clerk if they were healthy, and she said yes, angel fish just like to stay around the airflow. I knew better, but I bought one anyway. The fish didn't make it through the night. So this time, I looked them over very carefully. The clerk who waited on me this time was much more knowledgeable - and he picked out the ones that looked the healthiest for me. The other fish that didn't make it last time was a rasbora - it was the smallest one, and one of our gambusia nibbled on its tail. It only lasted a couple of days before it died. So this time I told the clerk I wanted the larger fish, with the idea they would be healthier. It seemed to work. We now have:

2 gold twinbar platies
3 sunburst wag platies
3 cherry barbs
1 red velvet swordtail
1 plecostomus (who has done a remarkable job cleaning up the algae in the tank)
2 green cory catfish
6 harlequin rasbora
3 angel fish
5 gambusia (we removed the one who nibbled on the rasbora)

It's looking so much better with all these fish. We've still got room for some more - just haven't decided for sure what else to add. But we're both enjoying having the aquarium - I'm really glad I talked DH into it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Journal for a Friend

I thought I had already posted these, but in looking for them, I couldn't find them, so I guess I never did post them.

When I took Sue Bleiweiss's journal making class, I started on a journal for an artist friend. He had told me that he had never used watercolor paper, and he pretty much just used whatever paper he could find. So I decided I wanted to make him a journal with nice papers in it. I ended up doing 3 signatures, each signature a different paper. I used a paper called Sheer Heaven for all 3 covers.



This signature has watercolor paper in it. I used color wash sprays for the color on the Sheer Heaven.



This signature has pastel paper in it. I used pan pastels for the color on the Sheer Heaven.



And this signature has drawing paper in it. I used bleeding art tissue for the color on the Sheer Heaven.



I don't think I took a picture of the cover, but it was very similar to the one I made my son; it just had a different button on the closure flap.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cat and Mice



I just finished this little quilt for Terri Stegmiller's Mixed Media Collage class. It was a LOT of fun to do. I actually drew the cat and mice myself - I didn't use a pattern! And I cut the squares freehand.

I hope to find some time this week to start on lesson 2, which is faux batik, but I'm trying very hard to finish up a quilt that I want to enter in the Oklahoma City Winter Quilt show. The deadline for entries is November 1 - the quilt doesn't have to be completely finished by then, but it does have to be close enough that I can get 2 good photographs of it. And that will be easier if I have it finished so that I can hang it up. I'm getting there - I'm actually pretty close. I'm doing more quilting in this quilt than I've probably done in quilts I've quilted in the past, but I'm quite happy with how it's turning out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

One Sweet Blog Award



Look at what Fannie was kind enough to award to me! She awarded this to me on October 1st, I started a post about it, didn't finish the post, then I must have forgotten to come back and finish it! What a silly thing to do. I really appreciate the award, and I'm humbled by the fact that someone I admire so much gave me this award. Not only that, but then a few days ago, Fannie was kind enough to give me two more awards:





I have met some amazing people through the internet and blogs. I would like to pass these awards along to two talented artists whose blogs I read regularly: Sue Bleiweiss and Terri Stegmiller. Not only do I enjoy these ladies' blogs, but I have also taken several of their online classes, and both are excellent teachers. I highly recommend their classes, which you can see at Two Creative Studios.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Set in France during World War II, this is actually two novellas. The first, Storm in June, tells of the evacuation of Paris when the Germans arrive. All classes of people flee. The second, Dolce, tells of the German occupation of one small village in France. This was intended to be a five-novel cycle, but the author, a Russian-born Jew, was arrested and shipped to Auschwitz in 1942, where she died a month later. I have read many books about World War II, but none (that I remember) set in France. I liked Dolce better than Storm in June, although both were very well written. I rate this book 4 out of 5.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Squares Paper Quilt



I just finished another paper quilt today - this one is from my last lesson in Terri Stegmiller's class, Paper Quilting Explorations. The top is all paper - no fabric at all. It has Peltex (a stiff interfacing) between the layers, and a fabric backing. The background is watercolor paper that I painted with watercolors. The squares are a variety of papers - watercolor paper, handmade papers (some commercial, some my own), old book pages, layers of tissue paper, brown lunch sack. I used a variety of coloring methods as well. I'm learning that my favorite papers usually are colored with some type of watercolor - liquid, spray, Twinkling H2O, or crayon. A few of the squares have acrylic paint or walnut ink, and all are edged with stamping ink. Then the squares are free-motion sewn to the background. I tied on the buttons with embroidery floss, and the binding is a brown paper lunch sack that I crumpled up, flattened out, then painted the high spots with Lumiere paints. I fused some Misty fuse onto the back, cut it into strips, fused it to the edges of the quilt, then stitched. It was a lot of fun to put together.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Second Paper Quilt



I just realized that I hadn't posted this yet. This paper quilt is 12" X 12" and is from the second lesson in Terri Stegmiller's class, Paper Quilting Explorations. I'm having a lot of fun with this class. In the first lesson, we colored our fabric-backed paper while it was still wet with the glue. For this lesson, we waited until it was dry to color it. Terri gave us several more suggestions for coloring techniques. I used Twinkling H2Os on the bird. For the background, I took one of the pieces I did from the first week and added to it, using sequin waste (also know as punchinella) as a stencil, paint bottle lid as a stamp, and edge of a credit card as a paintbrush. The words are computer printed on watercolor paper. The branch and beak are scrapbook papers, and the eye is painted on watercolor paper. The leaves are papers from the first lesson. The music notes are drawn directly onto the background. This was fun to do, especially the background - I really love adding more and more layers like this. I want to do a fish quilt too.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tagged

I'm behind on my soul journal - 2 weeks behind. Maybe that's why Kathryn tagged me - to get back at me! LOL!!! Just kidding.

The rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

My six random things about myself:
1. My aunt taught me to knit when I was in grade school, and I knitted 2 sweaters for myself.
2. I learned to crochet shortly after that, and never really knitted again.
3. I learned counted cross stitch in my early twenties, and stitched more things than I can count. I always had my stitching with me - it kept my hands busy.
4. I learned to needlepoint in my thirties. Again, I didn't go anywhere without something to stitch.
5. After all those years of hand work, I developed tendinitis (or something) in my wrists, and had to give up all hand work.
6. That's when I learned to quilt - by machine. I do all of my piecing and all of my quilting by machine. I even put my binding on entirely by machine. The only handwork I do on a quilt is sewing on part of the hanging sleeve and part of the label - the parts that don't go into the binding seam.

The six people I'm tagging:

1. Elizabeth
2. Tracy
3. freebird
4. Jennifer
5. Fiona
6. Cheryl

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Cyber Fyber Random Trade



These are the ATCs that I am sending to artist Susan Lenz of Cyber Fyber for the Random International ATC Trade (which you can read about here). I've already posted pictures of the two on the left in earlier posts (here and here).

The one on the right has a funny story behind it. The postcard I did for day 3 of my blog giveaway used this technique, and I had the postcard signed and addressed and all ready to mail. For some reason that I don't remember, I had carried it into my sewing room and set it on my cutting table. I was cutting apart atcs (probably the set that includes the one on the left in the picture above), when one cut was more difficult than it should have been. I realized that the postcard was under the atcs. Well, I'm sure you can imagine how I felt! And I had cut the postcard in such a way that I couldn't even get an atc from it. I had to decide what to do about it since I didn't want to disappoint Jennifer, the winner of that postcard. So I made another one. And while I was doing it, I made a large enough piece of felt that I got not only the postcard, but 5 atcs from it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Love Maps (and I always have)



I was reading The Decorated Journal by Gwen Diehn last night, and something inspired me to do a journal page about my love of maps. I had done the background for this spread several weeks ago without any idea of what I would put on it. The background was inspired by The Decorated Page, also by Gwen Diehn. I put acrylic paint on plastic needlepoint canvas and put the canvas on the page while the paint was wet. Then I added a wash of color after that was dry. And that seemed like the perfect background for a spread about maps.

As far as the two books I mentioned, I got The Decorated Page from our local library, and requested The Decorated Journal through inter-library loan. Both books have a few good ideas in them, but probably not enough for me to buy them for my personal library. I am going to do this more often, since I have too many books I don't use already.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Embellished ATCs



I took the felt I did earlier with foil (here) and added more fibers on top. I used some yarn I bought from Terri Stegmiller (her Etsy shop is here) and made the hearts. Then I fused the felt to pelmet vilene with muslin on the back and satin stitched the edges. When I completed all of that, I thought they still needed something, so I stamped the words on a paper towel I had used when I painted some fabric paper and fused them on with Misty Fuse.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lost and Found

I finished up last week's Soul Journal prompt today; it was called Lost and Found. We were supposed to journal about things we had lost and things we had found in our life. I didn't follow it exactly; I wrote about how blessed I feel in spite of some losses. We were also supposed to take comments given to us and turn them into affirmations. I wrote some of the wonderful compliments I've been given on my blog about my work. These are written on the stamped leaf that is on the front of a folded piece of watercolor paper that I glued to my page. On the inside of that paper is the journaling, which is in the second picture. The top border is some ephemera that I collected, and along the bottom is a piece of tissue paper that I've saved for a long time from a purchase at Chico's (my favorite clothing store). I only used a small bit of it; I have a lot more for future projects.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

This book tells the story of Anne Boleyn from the perspective of her sister Mary, who is the narrator. Mary was the mistress of King Henry VIII before Anne. I don't know how historically accurate the book is, but it is well written and mostly believable.

Mary is only 14 when Henry becomes interested in her. She falls in love with Henry until she realizes that she is only a pawn in her family's ambitions. Henry's interest in Mary wanes (after she has 2 children by him) and Mary is forced to step aside for her sister Anne.

I enjoyed the book very much and rate it 4 out of 5.

Paper Quilting



I finished this little paper quilt over the weekend while at my quilting retreat. I had made the fabric-backed paper earlier in the week (I'm taking Terri Stegmiller's Paper Quilting Explorations, which is a great class). I started with muslin, brushed on watered-down Elmer's School Glue, added white tissue paper, added more glue, then painted it while it was still wet. There are other ways of making the fabric paper, but this is the way Terri teaches it. After it's finished, you can use it the same way you'd used either fabric or paper. I made some in blue, green, and red, and used them for this little quilt.

It was so much fun that I decided to make some artist trading cards in a similar theme. I will be using 6 of these for a swap in my Creating Chaos Swap Group. The theme of the swap is experiment (you need try something new, and fabric paper is new to me). Another one is for a private swap I'm doing with Anna.

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the Winners Are . . .

Day 1 - Fannie
Day 2 - Christy
Day 3 - jennifer
Day 4 - blueviolet
Day 5 - marciglenn
Day 6 - freebird
Day 7 - ikkinlala
Day 8 - nfaband
Day 9 - Julie Bagamary
Day 10 - Kay C
Day 11 - Kathy
Day 12 - SuZ Stuff
Day 13 - StegArt
Day 14 - TracyB
Day 15 - Lee

I am in the process of contacting all of you who left me a way to contact you. I am emailing many of you; for the rest, if I can find you somewhere else, I will leave you a comment. If you don't hear from me by tonight, it means I don't know how to reach you. I need your address so that I can send you what you won. You can leave me a comment here, or you can email me at csgebhart at gmail dot com.

I want to thank every one of you who left me comments. I wish I could send every single one of you something. But I've really enjoyed this and plan to do another one someday.

And this is my 400th post! I never knew when I started blogging 3 years ago that I would reach 400 posts!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Soul Journal



I joined the Soul Journal Yahoo Group recently, and our first prompt was called Instant Gratification. This had to do with creating a page quickly - using an image from a magazine, creating a title, and writing about the image. I'd been wanting to journal about our aquarium, so this was the perfect way to do that - my page is above.





The next prompt was to create a permission slip for ourselves. Above is my page; first showing the permission slip inside the envelope and then showing the permission slip itself. I'm working on another prompt now called Lost and Found - I'm not at a point to share yet, but it's a good one - it's making me think! If you're into art journaling, I recommend this group!

I'm going to a quilting retreat this weekend, and then I'll draw the winners and announce them here sometime Monday. And that post where I announce the winners will be my 400th post!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 15



I fused mulberry bark to wool felt, then added foil. I stitched it in a grid pattern with black thread, then used Razzle Dazzle thread in the bobbin to do bobbin work all over. I cut this up into ATCs, fused muslin to the back, and satin stitched the edges. I did this while enrolled in Sue Bleiweiss's class, Mixed Media Surfaces for the Fiber Artist. I learned so much from that class; I highly recommend it! Or any other classes from her as well, since I've now taken most of them.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 14



I started with a base of wool felt, then used Misty Fuse fusible web and fused on a variety of things - dyed cheesecloth, mulberry bark, fibers, ribbon, organza, painted paper towels, foil, tulle. I used several layers of Misty Fuse, which is so light that you hardly know it's there. I cut it up into postcards and ATCs, then satin stitched the edges.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 13



This is my favorite of all the postcards and atcs I've shown. I painted fusible web and fused it to white felt. I added wool roving, soy silk, and yarns, and punched. I cut it into strips and wove the strips, then punched some more. I cut it into two atcs. I added more soy silk, and realized I'd made a heart, so I added yarn to emphasize the heart. I added a silk flower and balled up some yellow yarn for the flower center. Then I fused this to some Pelmet Vilene (thinner than Timtex, but with 2 layers of felt, all I needed was a bit of stiffening, no added thickness), fused some muslin to the back, and satin stitched the edges.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 12



I fused mulberry bark to wool felt, then added foil. I stitched it in a grid pattern with black thread, then used Razzle Dazzle thread in the bobbin to do bobbin work all over. I cut this up into ATCs, fused muslin to the back, and satin stitched the edges.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 11



I painted fusible web and fused it to white felt. I added some soy silk, silk throwsters waste, and cheesecloth over top and embellished. I added some snips of yarn, covered it with a light blue chiffon scarf, and embellished some more. Then I used my circle attachment for my Bernina and stitched circles all over. Finally, I cut it into postcards and satin stitched the edges.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 10



I started with a base of wool felt, then used Misty Fuse fusible web and fused on a variety of things - dyed cheesecloth, mulberry bark, fibers, ribbon, organza, painted paper towels, foil, tulle. I used several layers of Misty Fuse, which is so light that you hardly know it's there. I cut it up into postcards and ATCs, then satin stitched the edges.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 9



OK, it's going to start to look like I'm repeating things now, but actually I have more than one version of several of my postcards and atcs. I will often make a large sheet of some technique and then cut it up into postcards and/or atcs.

To create the background, I used soy silk and textile medium and followed this tutorial at Joggles. After I finished the background, I fused it to a batik with similar coloration and then fused that to a stiff interfacing (like Timtex). I put Razzle Dazzle thread in my bobbin and did bobbin work all over the piece, then cut it up into postcard sized pieces. I added Bonash and foil, then used my embellisher to add the silk flower with balled up yellow yarn in the center.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 8



I fused mulberry bark to wool felt, then added foil. I stitched it in a grid pattern with black thread, then used Razzle Dazzle thread in the bobbin to do bobbin work all over. I cut this up into ATCs, fused muslin to the back, and satin stitched the edges.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blog Giveaway Day 7



For this postcard, I started with a base of wool felt, then used Misty Fuse fusible web and fused on a variety of things - dyed cheesecloth, mulberry bark, fibers, ribbon, organza, painted paper towels, foil, tulle. I used several layers of Misty Fuse, which is so light that you hardly know it's there. I cut it up into postcards and ATCs, then satin stitched the edges.

Remember to leave me a comment if you're interested in winning this.

I have been trying to respond to comments left for me, but many of you haven't left me any way to contact you. So if you don't get a response from me, it isn't from lack of interest or trying! I really do appreciate your comments.

When I draw the winners' names on September 22nd, I'll post them here. I will contact as many of the winners as I can, but if you don't give me a way to contact you, you'll have to contact me. I'll give you a few days to do so, and then I'll draw new names.