Sunday, August 31, 2008

More Embellishing

I finally broke down and ordered some chiffon scarves from Joggles, which I needed for my embellishing class. They came a couple of days ago. We're talking the old fashioned kind of scarf that women used to wear in the 50's or 60's to keep their hair in place! But they are really sheer, which is what I needed. So I took the felt that I embellished the other day (scroll down to the second picture here), 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 for the first time and stitched circles all over. Finally, I cut it into 2 postcards. I love my embellisher!

Fixing a Disaster - Part II

I wrote in my previous post about the disaster I had with two of the pages in my Soul Journal. Here is the second set of pages that I fixed. Pretty similar to the ruined pages, except I wasn't able to find the same pictures and quotes. For the most part that doesn't matter, but I do wish I could have found the "LIFE TAKES YOU PLACES" quote again - it came out of a catalog and the new catalog from the same company didn't have anything remotely similar. I guess I could have typed something up on the computer, but I wasn't sure whether the inks would run when putting on gel medium. So, it is what it is, and I'm happy with the results.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Soul Journaling - Fixing a Disaster

I had a disaster with two page spreads in my soul journal the other day. I purchased some Golden's Soft Gel Medium in the Soft Gloss to try it out, and I like it much better than either the Liquitex Glossy or the Golden's Matte. I had used the Liquitex Glossy on my taped page spread, and the pages were sticking together (which is what I had read was a problem with glossy gel medium). I decided to put a coat of my new gel medium over it to see if it would keep the pages from sticking together. I liked the way it looked so much that I then decided to use it on my squares page spread as well. I thought both page spreads were completely dry, but the next day, the pages stuck together so badly that I couldn't get them apart. And when I did, they were both ruined (paint from one side peeled off and stuck to the other side - that sort of thing). Anyway, I think it was because I had SO MANY layers on the pages, and maybe I didn't let them dry enough.

I had to figure out what to do about it. The two spreads were consecutive in the book, and I had artwork on the other sides of the pages too. I first thought I would cut out the page that was ruined on both sides and glue the other two pages together. I did cut out the ruined page, but when I tried gluing the other pages together, I could see that it wasn't going to work. So then I decided to take a fairly thin cardstock and glue it over the ruined pages and redo one of the spreads on it. It worked, and the result is above.

I still need to redo the taped page spread, which will be later in the book. I actually like my new squares page better than my original - I hope that will be true of the taped spread as well. I went to the travel agent a couple of days ago to get some new brochures for Greece. The pictures won't be the same, but the idea will be.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I played some more with my embellisher the past couple of days - trying to catch up on my class work from Embellish Stitch and Enrich by Dale Rollerson. For this first piece, 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 and this is what I got:

For this next one, I painted some Wonder Under and fused it to white felt. Then I added some soy silk, silk throwsters waste, and cheesecloth over top. I had read about painting Wonder Under, but I'd never done it before. It makes a really pretty background surface.

For this postcard, I again started with painted Wonder Under on felt, added wool roving, soy silk, and yarns, and punched. I cut it into strips and wove the strips, then punched some more. I had a big enough piece for 2 postcards, but I punched about 1/3 of it from the back before I looked at the front and I didn't like how it looked. Since I was doing all of this on white felt, the white was coming through to the front and making it look washed out. So I ended up only making one postcard from it - I will save the other piece and may make something else from it, but now there isn't a big enough piece for another postcard because of the way I cut it. Maybe a bookmark or something . . . we'll see. I added 3 silk flowers and balled up some yellow yarn for the flower centers. 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. I'm happy with how it turned out - it's for a postcard swap on the Machine Needle Felting group on stitchin fingers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award

Fannie Narte of Imagine, Create, Inspire gave me this award a few days ago. I am truly honored to receive this award. It's really amazing how you can become friends just by reading and commenting on someone's blog, but that's how I feel here.

So now, I get to send this award on to a few of the blogs I read regularly. They are:

Sarah Whitmire of Caspiana
Trish Bee of Trish Bee's Art-Venture, Art Junkies Blog-Ezine, and tRish bEe's aRtbUzz

Persuasion by Jane Austen

This is the second book by Jane Austen that I've read. Not quite as good as Pride and Prejudice, but enjoyable. This is "a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities." Anne Elliot, at age 27, is unmarried. She had been engaged to Frederick Wentworth 8 years earlier, but her friend Lady Russell persuaded her to break off the engagement. All of Jane Austen's novels end "happily ever after," but getting there is always enjoyable. She had a real knack for writing about society and manners and what was really important. I rate this 3 out of 5.

Board Book page 2

I haven't posted this series of pages yet, because I wasn't at all happy with it until now. But I like how it turned out, so now I'll post the progression. I'm using Trish Bee's instructions for altering a children's board book, which you can find here. Anyway, the first step was to draw a wavy line below the middle and paint the top part with orange and the bottom part with lime green. Not my favorite color combination!

For the second step, we were to paint a red line along the division between the orange and green, cut strips from a book and glue them to the green, and put white dots on the orange (I'm vastly simplifying the instructions here - just to give you a general idea of why my pages look like they do).

For the third step, we were to lightly color wash over the whole page with a light tea dye, then cut flowers out of colored papers and glue them on. Then we were to find a flower quote and add it to the page. And last were were to add what ever we thought the page needed to finish it off. I didn't like the colors, so I worked with that quite a bit until I was happy with it. My quote is a short poem by William Blake:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wildflower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Revised Bandana Tags

After asking for and receiving a few comments on my bandana technique tags, I added some more white to my favorite tag and worked on another one that I forgot to post. I'm much happier with them now. Thanks for the comments - they were most helpful. I still like the top one best, but I also like the background of the second one. When I first made the background, I didn't like it at all and I wasn't even going to use it, but after working on all my other tags, I decided this background wasn't so bad. Now I like that background the best.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bandana Technique Tags

I'm participating in a swap at Creating Chaos Swap Group. We are to make two tags using the Bandana Technique. My first set of tags is below, and I wasn't happy with it at all - mainly because my black inkpad was a bit too dry, and also probably because it was my first attempt.

So I reinked my black pad and made some more tags. I'm a bit happier with these; I like the last one the best, and the second one next. The first one is my least favorite (other than the one above).

I will probably play with this technique some more - it's pretty fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aquarium Update

We received the replacement sealing gasket for our aquarium filter today. We installed it into the filter, and hooray! the filter doesn't leak anymore!! Neither my DH nor I were completely convinced that this would fix the problem, but it did. We also bought 7 fish for the aquarium on Monday - 3 gold twinbar platys, 3 cherry barbs, and 1 red velvet swordtail. I'm looking forward to getting a lot more fish, but it takes about 6 weeks for a filter to operate at maximum efficiency, so I guess I'll just have to be patient (never my strong suit!).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Memorial Quilt for Fred

I finished this a few days ago. I used Bubble Jet Set 2000 to print the photos on fabric. It was the first time I'd ever used it, and it worked great. I'm really pleased with the quality of the prints and with how soft the fabric is. This is journal quilt size (8 1/2" X 11"), although most journal quilts seem to be vertical and this is horizontal.

And to answer a question I was asked, I stitched the lettering with my embroidery machine.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Embellishing Machine

I bought a Husqvarna Viking Embellishing machine a few weeks ago. It is so much fun!! You can see it here.

I already have a needle punch accessory kit for my Bernina, but it isn't working exactly right at the moment. I think that something is out of alignment, because every time I use it, I break needles. That didn't happen when the kit was new. I know how to move the fabric slowly to avoid needle breakage; but when I look at the needles, they don't look centered over the hole. My dealer is about 70 miles away, so I always try to make an appointment to take the machine in first thing in the morning, do other shopping, and pick it up late in the afternoon. The technician has been too busy to make that same-day appointment. I was signed up for Dale Rollerson's Embellish Stitch and Enrich class (here) that started August 12th, and I'd been thinking about a stand alone machine for awhile, so when I learned that my dealer couldn't repair my needle punch accessory before the 12th, I took the plunge.

One of the advantages to a stand alone machine is that this technique generates a LOT of lint; and I do mean a LOT!! The attachment requires changing a lot of things on the machine, and of course cleaning it very thoroughly after I'm done. With the embellisher machine, I can leave it set up all the time, and cleaning it is so much easier. There just isn't much to the machine - no bobbin case or bobbin area to brush out or oil.

Eventually I'll get the attachment repaired, and then I might try to sell it. But in the meantime, I'm having fun with my Embellisher.

I've just been playing with it a lot, making up samples to put in a book. Here are some of the things I've done:

Both of these show various fibers punched into felt.

These are tulle and organza punched into felt.

This has cheesecloth, batik, and soy silk punched into felt.

And this one has felt punched into felt; the top flower is from the front, and the bottom one is from the back.


Our new aquarium stand came in on Thursday. We were going to pick it up that evening after going out to dinner, but it started to pour while we ate. We had to wait until Friday to pick it up, since it was going into the open back of our pick up. When the manager called to let us know it had come in, she said, "I checked it over to be sure it was, um, in good condition, and it is." I had to laugh at that; she didn't seem to want to say anything about the mice (see post from August 7 if you don't know what I'm talking about).

We got it set up yesterday and the external filter leaked. We've had it for a LONG time, which means it wouldn't be under warranty anymore. We're pretty sure that it just needs a new sealing gasket, so I ordered one online. We also have an under gravel filter, so we were able to put a few fish in it this morning.

Here is what it looks like so far; sorry for the flash reflection.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Board Book

I finished the first two pages of my board book. Now on to the next 2 pages.

Board Book

I started another new art project - altering a child's board book along with Trish Bee and Next Generation Stampers Yahoo group. The pictures above show my first two pages after steps 1 and 2. I still have to do step 3 to them, then I can move on to pages 3 and 4.

The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George

I finally finished this book - it took me almost 2 months because it's over 900 pages. It was a fascinating book about a subject I knew nothing about. I never got bored with it, but I'm glad to be through with it. Very well written. Told from Cleopatra's perspective, there is a lot of historical fact in the book. A lot of conjecture as well, since Cleopatra left no actual memoirs. I rated this book 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Soul Journaling Bookmark Swap

We're doing a bookmark swap in the soul journaling group. We were to make color copies of pages from our journal and collage them onto a bookmark. I'm pretty happy with how mine turned out - I didn't think I would be, but I am. The picture on the left is the front, the picture on the right is the back.

I bought a new jar of gel medium last week, and it has really made a big difference. My old jar was getting a bit too thick - it's pretty old. I know everyone says that Golden's is the best, but that was my old jar, and my new jar is Liquitex. It is also glossy, while my old was mat. Anyway, I don't know if it's just that the old jar was too old, or the difference in glossy vs. mat, or the different brands, but the new stuff is so much better!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Soul Journal Pages 5-6

While Sarah was away last week, she gave us a couple of homework assignments. One was to work on our tape page - without rules. So this is what I did with mine. The pictures and most of the words came from a travel brochure, and the rest of the words from a catalog. I used gloss gel medium both under and over the pictures - I just bought the gel medium yesterday, and I like it much better than my mat gel medium.

After it was dry, I wrote on the pages, and here is what I wrote: "For our 29th anniversary in 2006, Glen gave me a choice of several locations for us to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I chose Greece. Because of my struggle with migraines, we have decided to wait awhile. I think we'll go in the next couple of years."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Soul Journalers

I'm in the process of adding links to the other participants in the Soul Journal exercises I've been doing. The links are in the right-hand column under the heading Soul Journalers. I'm not finished yet, but I'm working on it. Check out the other artists' work if you have a chance - it's all so varied and wonderful.

If I've posted a link to your blog and you'd rather I didn't, please let me know and I'll remove it right away! But I think most bloggers appreciate having more people see their work.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

New Aquarium

We had a very unusual thing happen to us today. Last week, we ordered a 55 gallon aquarium, hood, and stand from Petco. They called us today to tell us that they had come in, so we headed out to pick them up. DH noticed while loading the stand that the box was torn, and he considered opening the box right then and there, but for some reason he didn't. We brought it all home, and DH and DS brought them inside. DH opened the box, and the stand looked filthy and had a bad smell. DH and DS moved the box out to the garage so that it could air out, and when they took the stand out of the box, they found MICE in it! Not just one mouse, but LOTS of mice, both alive and dead. I am SO GLAD they didn't take it out of the box inside!!!

Needless to say, we took the box back to Petco after I called them to let them know. Two clerks carried it in and took it out back. When one of them came back inside, she apologized for the whole fiasco and admitted that when she was first told that we were bringing the stand back because of a mouse in it, she kind of wondered why. But after seeing it, she COMPLETELY understood. And by the way, we could have handled one mouse.

Petco is ordering us a new stand.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Soul Journal Pages 9-13

I did these 3 page spreads from Sarah's days 16-18, where she provided a list of techniques we were to add to our pages each day, and the only requirement was that we mix up the order - we weren't "allowed" to do them in the order she had them listed.

So, for the first page spread, the techniques I used (in my order) were:
1. Cut out a silhouette of a person and ink or paint over it (she demoed her magazine stencil technique here).
2. Fill the page with descriptive adjectives (use a permanent pen).
3. Add a wash of paint.
4. Write your grocery list or any other list somewhere (use your non-dominant hand).
5. Dry-brush on some paint.
6. Drip and splatter at least two different colors of paint.
7. Make some quick lines, fast and without thinking.
8. Use pencil somewhere.
9. Add tape (I used Magic Mesh).

My list for the next page spread:
1. Trace the outline of your hand at least 6 times (use a permanent pen or paint).
2. Stitch with a needle and thread (I used my sewing machine).
3. Add some meaningful words.
4. Add a wash of a new color of paint.
5. Blob acrylic paint in your book and close it.
6. Paint with a fork dipped in paint (I wasn't too successful with this one, but I did it).
7. Fill up the page with numbers (draw, collage, or stamp).
8. Use a crayon somewhere.

My list for the last spread:
1. List everything you did today so far.
2. Write the alphabet quick and angry (use a permanent pen).
3. Add a wash of paint.
4. Add a dry brush of paint in a new color.
5. Use something unusual as a stamp (I used a lid from a milk bottle first and then some bubble wrap).
6. Gesso out a section of your work. Add something new over it.
7. Cut out a silhouette of a person's face, ink or paint over it (magazine stencil technique again).
8. Add something metal (I stapled on a piece of foil from Dove chocolate - I've been saving these).

These pages have been a lot of fun - I'm sure I'll be doing this kind of thing again. I love the layers and the spontaneity. At one point, I wasn't happy with the second spread, so I just kept adding to it until I liked it. I think the first one is my favorite.

Sarah's been away for a few days celebrating her anniversary, so that has given me the chance to get almost caught up. The page spread before these 3 isn't quite finished yet - I have my house and neighborhood done, but I haven't started on my paper doll family yet. You can see what I'm talking about on Sarah's blog - it's days 10 - 15.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Soul Journal Pages 5 & 6

I doubt if we're through with this page yet - I have the feeling it will be the background for something. But I don't know what yet - Sarah has gone on to other pages. That's ok. I like the way this looks. What I did was first I did some private journaling on the pages. Then I covered that up with various kinds of tape - I used masking, duct, electrical, and metallic repair tapes. Then I painted over that by adding paint, wiping off with paper towels, adding more paint, etc. Fun technique and great texture.

Soul Journal Pages 3 & 4

I'm continuing to work along with Sarah in my Soul Journal. For this 2 page spread, I painted the background with a dark blue paint. Then Sarah sent me on a scavenger hunt of sorts - I cut out pictures from magazines of 24 items. I didn't know what I was going to do with them when she posted the list. But I found out the next day that I was to cut those items into approximately 1" squares and glue them in my book. A few days later, I came back to these pages, when I added the light purple paint and the rest of the decorating with a pen. Even though I'm behind, I've been trying not to look ahead, so that it feels more like I'm doing this along with everyone else.