Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Paper Angels

Here are some pictures of some retro inspired angels that I made last year. (Sorry, they are not the best photos, but it has been dark and rainy in my neck of the woods for days now, and as far as natural light, I just had to go with what I had.) I originally made them to sell, but I quickly became attached to them, as they look nice sitting atop my hutch, and decided to hang on to them. (This is one of those things that I had a lot of fun making, but will probably never make again.)

The tops are vintage magazine pictures, enhanced with glitter, backed with cardboard, and more vintage paper. The skirts are made from old pattern tissue, which I coated in beeswax. A bit of tulle netting and some angelina fibers complete the outfit, along with a dash of glitter and a pipe cleaner belt. The wings are also made from angelina fibers. Each one can stand on their own as shown, or hang from the attached beaded hook.

The angel above is a pretty big gal, measuring 16 inches. The blue angel is 11 inches tall, and the red angel is 8 1/2 inches. I also lined the two bigger angel's skirts with colored tissue paper, coating it with melted beeswax as well. I like the way the color peeks through the pattern tissue, and also it gives the skirts more strength.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Vintage Bling Brooches

This little piece of wearable fiber art is part of my "Vintage Bling Brooch" series. I added this one to my Etsy shop today and will be posting a few more this week. Each one is made from repurposed and recycled materials, such as bits of vintage fabrics and lace, old buttons, velvet flowers, guitar strings, and pieces of vintage jewelry. I think they look terrific this time of year worn on a coat or jacket!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Deconstructed /Reconstructed Doilys

I hope that everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday! I spent my time enjoying family, great food, (none of which I was responsible for cooking... to which I am greatly thankful!) and participating in a wonderful, grass roots effort, the Community Arts Market in Lancaster's historic Eastern Market.

This week in my Etsy shop, I will be posting some of my Deconstructed/Reconstructed Doilies. Each one is made up of various bits and pieces of vintage textiles including lace, crochet, and embroidery work, along with snippets of fabric and ribbon. I have carefully cut, layered and machined stitched these random elements together to create a unified, organic looking piece of fiber art. Each one can be used on a table top, or hung and framed.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Loosening Up

Today I had two objectives in mind:
1) Come up with some designs to be later reinterpreted in fiber.
2) Loosen Up!
I decided to forgo pen and paper, and used the paint features in one of my mysterious, unexplored computer programs. (Yes, I know I am late to board the bus.)
Why had I not realized the potential that this little computer paint brush, and paint bucket held for creative brainstorming?
Drawing with the little paint brush feature was just awkward enough to prevent me from reverting to my usual anal-retentive ways! It allowed me to do exactly what I wanted to do, loosen up!
Adding color via the little paint bucket allowed me to play with lots of color combinations with no clean up!
I am in heaven!
Looking back on my two objectives, and at the dozen of designs I created today, I feel like I was very successful, and am looking forward towards finding some time to create some new fiber pieces based on my new designs!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I was very surprised today when I received a copy of Somerset Studio's newest issue of Gallery, (Winter 2008) in my mailbox. I looked inside to find two of my art quilts! I had sent them in ages ago, one to Somerset's "Bohemian" theme issue, and one to their Tenth Anniversary issue. Alas, my art quilts didn't appear in either of those issues, and I had all but forgotten about them. Happy to say that good things come to those who wait, as it is always a special treat to see ones work published! So, next time you are at the bookstore, take a peek at this issue. It is packed full of some wonderful art, and I am thrilled to be a part of it!

The quilt on top is called "Happy Birthday". I was inspired by a vintage illustration in a children's text book, which I re-worked, changing the banner, and adding the birthday hat, along with other little changes. I painted the image with "fantastix all purpose ink" from TSUKINEKO. I finished by embroidering all around the image and beading the background.

The bottom quilt is called "Gypsy Girl" and features a vintage postcard and a bit of text torn from an old book which I have sewn on to various fabrics including silks and upholstery fabrics. I embellished the piece with various beads, buttons and trinkets.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Invasion Continues

This is another free-motion embroidered, red-work piece from the "Invasion" series I am working on, (in-between working on other things). I have to admit the ball at the woman's feet bothers me. The shape is off and I am not thrilled with the shading. Actually this was the 2nd one that I attempted. On the first one my shading got way to heavy on the woman, making everything else look off. To balance it out I would have had to show all the shadows being cast from the objects, and the whole piece would have been over-worked. So I tried again. Because I am drawing with my sewing machine, erasing or painting over the parts I am not happy with just isn't an option. And since the stitches are rather tight and often clustered, ripping them out isn't a great option, either. So I have learn to live with the things that bug me, which becomes good practice for me in letting go.
(One of my extended life lessons, and something I am continually working on.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!

Happy days are here again, as I finally have figured out how to add a link to my post! (t took me long enough to catch on!)
Check out the two links below for some Halloween treats!

The plastic vintage witch head, as well as the plastic vintage cat head, both started life as cupcake toppers! My friend Maggie, Happy Silence bought these cute toppers, along with a skull and a pumpkin, from A. Bel Emporium and was generous enough to give me one of each. As of now the skull and the pumpkin are content just as they are, but the witch and the cat begged to be made into something new. Above is what I came up with.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I would like to introduce you to Space Man and his trusty companion, Space Dog. They are two new visitors to our humble planet Earth, and the newest additions to my Etsy Shop!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Retro Space Love

Below are a couple of wonderful, retro, space theme flea market finds:

This is the cover of a children's book written by Marcia Martin, illustrated by Frank Vaughn and published by Wonder Books in 1953.

Here is a picture from inside the book illustrating the hero, Tom Corbette, who magically appeared one night with his trusty rocket ship named Polaris, to whisk little Johnny and little Janie off to the moon, for a fun-filled night of space exploration!

Above is the cover of a needle book which was made in Japan and distributed by the William Shaland Corporation. Below is a close up of the illustration.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This is one of the machine-stitched illustrated pieces I have been working on this week. The first one that I felt happy enough with to share! I call it "Invasion: July 23rd, 1955". It's a small piece, (apx. 7" x 6 1/2").

So what is this all about? Well, a few weeks ago I was joyfully watching old re-runs of the Twilight Zone on the Si-Fi channel. Several of the episodes featured flying saucers. I got such a kick out of them because they were so cheesy looking by todays standards. Nothing more then a toy model spinning around on some invisible string. Much to my delight and amusement, all the episodes featured the exact same model flying saucer, absolutely no variation! I got such a kick out of it, and the next thing I knew, I was doodling space ships, flying saucers, alien creatures and outer space vegetation every chance I had. All of this doodling unleashed lots of buried memories. No, not of any suppressed memories of alien abductions, but of lots of happy childhood memories, most of them I admit, centered around the television. What can I say, I am a very visual person. I remembered how my favorite cartoon characters were the Martian from Bugs Bunny, and the not too often seen tiny space man Kazoo, from the "Flintstones". My favorite "Munsters" episode was one where Herman is convinced he has contacted Mars on a ham radio. I loved all the old space theme movies, especially the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" I got a kick out of "Lost in Space",( yet I was never much of a fan of "Star Trek". I think it was too intelligent for my tastes!) I also really enjoyed a Dick Van Dyke show where Rob is convinced he has seen a flying saucer, as well as the episode where Danny Thomas plays an evil space alien, transforming all of Rob's friends and family into evil space people with no thumbs and with eyes in the back of their heads! Yes, as noted before I watched a lot of T.V.!
I was even a martian once for Halloween. My mom made me a green space suit, ( which she still has!) and a silver helmet. I carried a large green water pistol that acted as my ray gun. She painted my skin green with green food dye! (Not that easy to wash away!)

For this little quilt that pays homage to the media images, and imaginings that so many of us grew up with, I decided to stitch it with red thread, because I love old red-work pieces. I adapted and re-worked the image of the little boy and girl from a vintage illustration which I found in an old children's school workbook.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Pincushions and Creative Ramblings

Here are a couple of new pincushions that I made the other week. I added a small vintage doily to each of these. Besides these I made a few others that I have been selling at the local craft shows. Hope to get a few of the new ones posted in my Etsy shop sometime this week. And then I think I may be taking a break from making them for a bit.

Feeling a bit burned out and run down. Been so busy this summer and fall making things to sell at all of the shows. I feel myself getting antsy to create some new things. Slower things. A little more art, a little less craft. This is how I always am, flip-floping back and forth, easily bored. (Big sigh)

I have been doing a lot of doodling and illustrating on the sewing machine this week. I love to draw with the machine, as it is very freeing in a lot of ways. Still working on figuring out where these ideas and doodles are going. If they amount to anything worth sharing, I will be sure to post them!

This embryonic stage of creating can be very exciting at times, but also frustrating as I stumble and fumble along, making lots of mess, and seemingly little else. I have learned, that for me it is just part of my creative process, and to just give into it.

Hope to be showing something new and different soon!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Collage Cottages

The spool of thread helps show the scale and size of this little paper cottage.

The cottage was constructed the same as the ones in the previous posts, but instead of cutting out windows and a door, I simply collaged everything.

Old papers, and brown shoe polish cover the outside. Photo copies of old photos, touches of paint, and words cut from old books are added.

The roof is enhanced with a bit of glitter and some copper tape.

The cottage below is a combination of the one above and the one from my previous post.

The windows and door were drawn on.

Old photo copies were collaged all around.

Silver glitter glue was added to create the window panes and doorway.

Text from an old book helps to tell a little story of the children who live in the house.

For an extra hidden touch, a small bell can be dropped inside the house, before the roof is put on. This makes for a fun little surprise when the houses are picked up!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Dream House

Here is another paper house that I made. (See previous entry.) This time though, I used photo copies of some of my old photos to peak out of the windows, plus I cut out words from old books, to help give the house a theme.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

How to Make a Happy, Halloween House

I adore vintage paper houses, you know, the Christmas style ones, with the cellophane windows, and all covered with fake sparkly snow! I have a soft spot for most small scale things, plus I like a bit of glitter, so those little houses rank right up there with cool things. Inspired by those tiny treasures I made this fun paper Hallowen house. If you would like to try one, too, I will share with you how I made this one. ( I made other non-Halloween houses as well, and will show them in my next entry.)

It all starts appropriately enough with "Ghostline" poster-board, which is a nifty brand of poster board that has handy grid lines on them. This is super for people like me who dislike measurements. I found the "Ghostline" at the craft store, but recently saw some at my little, local, country grocery store, so it shouldn't be too hard for anyone else to find.

Draw and cut out a house shape. Make sure it has a front and a back, plus two sides. Also include two roof peaks. Add tabs to the sides of the roof peaks, as well as to one side of the house, as shown.
(Note: I made this little house last year, before I had a blog. it never occured to me to take pics of the whole process! The pattern example is not the same pattern that I used for this particular house... just one that I had left over, and was able to photograph for this blog entry. Hope that makes sense!)

Mark where your doors and windows will be. Draw and cut out a base for the house, as shown, adding tabs to all 4 sides. You will also need to have a piece for your roof. Make it slightly larger then the house so it will hang out a bit.

Cut out all of your windows using an exacto knife. Cut along the top and one side of your door. Leave the other side attached, as it will be the "hinge". Score on all fold lines.

Working on the side that has no ink marks and using some cheap-o acrylic paints, cover the outside of the house, roof, and bottom of base. Add details with pen and ink. Cover the inside of the door and the underside of the roof with vintage paper. Rub with brown oil pastel. Cut out some shapes a little bigger then the windows and door of your house, from the poster board. Paint these yellow and add some halloween clip art images. Position and attach these pieces with some tape to the inside of the house so the images are showing through the windows and through the door. Glue on a few more little clip art images to the outside of the house. Add a little clear glitter glue here and there to jazz it up.

Fold up the house and tuck in the tab, holding it in place with some strong, double-sided tape. Fold up the tabs of the base and using the double-sided tape, adhere the tabs to the inside of the house. Fold the roof piece and secure it the same way to the tabs on the houses roof peaks.

Ta-Da!! You now have your own fun, little, happy, halloween house! Happy trick or treat!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy House Pins

I am thrilled to be a part of this newest special publication from Somerset! Sew Somerset is packed full of great sewing projects that use fabrics, papers and various other mixed media. Wonderful ideas for sewn jewelry, art books, wall hangings, home decor and note cards plus lots of other art and craft projects are packed into this inaugural issue. Look for my "Happy House Pin" article starting on page 9.