30 January 2015

Play date with Dixie

This is my friend Dixie. Everyone needs a friend named Dixie (smile). She came over today to learn how to make a stamp from a photograph. We've had pretty continuous snow and we had just gotten about 4-6" of light powder so I figured we could do some snow dyeing THEN make a stamp. We each had our own set-up. Dixie used my Sakrete mixer and I used my double sink each with 1/2" hardware cloth.

Making a mess is fun!

At this point I needed the sink so I hogged Dixie's set-up while I popped the cloth piece by piece into my dye microwave.

**After about 3-4 hours just sittting there rotting, most of the snow is gone and I can see fabric peeking out. This is the time I put the fabric with the remaining snow cap in the microwave. I don't remember why I do this or where I learned it but I have no memory of doing snow dyes without this final microwave step. I put the microwave on high for 3-5 minutes depending on how much snow is left. If you want to be cautious, cover the dish with cling film and punch a dozen holes in the film with a sharp knife. The fabric will heat, maintain moisture but be able to vent.

These are Dixie's pieces

This is BEYOND scrumptious!!!

Then Dixie carved her stamp and did a GREAT job. Mine was a failure. You can't win them all.

Then she did one flat piece of Tyvec and two beads just to learn how. We had great Chinese carry-out and the day was perfect!

29 January 2015

Blizzard Update

Mid coastal Maine. 40-65 mph winds, 20" of snow. Now gone!!

 Tree outside fence under 40" of snow

There is no jumping over that drift

You can't tell from this picture but the walls of snow are 30-40 " high.

The snow actually protects the trees from wind burn and helps bank the house

28 January 2015

Massive mess

Well, at least I call it massive considering how well it could have gone. I know a woman from the Everyday Matters (sketching) yahoo group who loves to make books. She recently made a book using "album binding". She was kind enough to give me her notes and help me with the book. Everything was going fine until it came to attaching the stitched signatures to the book case (front, back and spine). I  was fascinated by this binding method because you could have a conventional looking book but the signatures were not glued to the spine, leaving them to open flat for a sketchbook. 
Let me start at the beginning. I started with a piece of paper I wanted to use on the cover. Using paper for the cover was the first mistake. I should have used book cloth. OK, mistake #1. 

This was a piece of paste paper that was sort of prints and smears of leftover paste. It was too white.

I used dye based watercolors I bought from DMTV (the Kemshalls)
This wash gave the colors a continuity.

Next was long stitching the 10 signatures to a cloth strip. This may look easy but took HOURS to do.

The signatures were stitched 1/8" apart. 

I then clamped the signatures together to help the book stand on it's own

Here is the front back and spine

I glued the individual pieces of bookboard to the paper. This was mistake #2 because the paper wrinkled and it was difficult to make it adhere.

The fabric  used had steam-a-seam on the back so I ironed the fabric backed signatures to the inside of the book. NOT a mistake. This worked well.

It's done and I'll use it but I doubt if I will ever use this binding technique again. The coptic binding is fast, easy and the pages lay just as flat!!

27 January 2015

Winner of the book

I used my trusty random number generator and #6, Cris Winters, is the lucky winner of this book. Cris, email me your address and this wonderful journaling book will be winging it's way to you...

26 January 2015

Tyvec-ing the dolls arms

Not as great as I thought it might be but interesting. I think when you see where I had intend these dolls to go, you with understand my disappointment with the Tyvec.

23 January 2015

Book Giveaway

You can click on the title above and see "Inside the Book". Leave a comment for a chance to win the book.

21 January 2015

Judith came over

and we lost our minds having fun and riffing on what each other was doing. Oh man, what a fun day. This is what happens when Judith comes over and we end up doing things neither of us would have thought of on our own.
It all started with Judith making Tyvec beads. Now of course Judith being herself had to make these elaborate sheets of Tyvec which could stand alone as pieces of fine art. I will link to her blog. I made more of my two tone beads.

Then we started to make dolls out of twigs. We decided they needed heads so I tried this stuff I bought called stone clay. Horrible. I threw it away. Then I opened a tub of Crayola Air Dry Clay. Fabulous. It was dead cheap, easy to use and dried over night.

 I stuck my heads on to the sticks.

This little lady was sporting some cloth beads I had made Wednesday when Marcella came over. They were sitting on my desk so I popped them on her arm like bracelets. Will have to explore this idea more this weekend.

This is a face I have made may times before but today I added dimples.

This one I popped on to a chop stick, added a "clay vest" and stuck the twig arms into the clay

Now this little lady I made YEARS ago (like 9 years). She is made from another brand of air dry clay which I also liked. Once the container of clay is open, you better use it or it will harden. I love her hair. She also has a clay vest.


I had this fabulous idea to wrap the Tyvec around a twig for hands. This was my experiment.

It worked so well, I THEN decided to fringe cut the Tyvec on one side only and wrap it on a long twig.

Holy Cow. We were really in the groove. Now I can't show Judith's work but her stuff was out of sight and even involved rocks!!!

Plans for tomorrow - more twig wraps and work on the now dry dolls!! stay tuned!!!

19 January 2015

Made a new book

out of some of the paste paper Judith and I made. One of my friends wanted a sketchbook so I made a few sheets of paste paper just for her to chose from. This is the paper she chose.

Cut the paper and the bookboard

Glued the covers and inner liners.

Nice paper that will take some water folded into signatures each 16 pages. So front and back that will give her 160 pages.

Holes for coptic stitching made with my new (thin) awl.

Stitching done!! With the coptic stitching these books will lie flat. Tutorial here

16 January 2015

Some experiments

Win a Dionne Swift online textiles course

follow the link above

One of the things that I needed to work out was exactly how to attach some of these materials to the background which is 100% wool. I only have a small piece of navy so dark it almost looks black. It is top quality suiting and fusible web loves it. I now know I need to buy another piece of wool with plenty to spare so I can experiment on it. The fabric above is cotton on synthetic (cheap) felt. The reason I tried this was that I need a dark "batting" on this strip of fabric since the background fabric will be creme/white. So what did I do but attach all my experimental materials to the felt side by mistake. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem but I used a hot iron to attach the long strip of gold candy wrapper to the felt and it almost melted - yikes! The iron got so close to the gold Tyvec on the upper left that it burned holes in it. Must remember!!

Then I thought I'd try machine stitching and see the visual affect on Tyvec. I like it when the stitches go completely across the Tyvec and disappear in the black background. The gold piece with a square of stitching looks terrible. I also thought of cutting one of my Tyvec "beads" in half and stitching that down. I like that a lot! I then tried some heavy metallic   thread in the bobbin to see how it showed up on the felt.

Lower  left is a strip of Tyvec I had previously "bubbled". There is another Tyvec split bead (love those colors) and small grouping of fused cottons, hand stitching over the gold candy wrapper with Madeira Lana (wool /nylon) and a small circle of Sari yarn.

A nice closeup. I think the hand stitching with Lana will be in evidence on the finished piece.