Paper and Fiber Arts

Welcome to my mixed media blog. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tips for Purging Craft Supplies, Tools and Fabric

Tips for purging fabric

Yesterday, I posted here a little about what has been happening with me over the past year and a half or so.  It sort of feels like the theme of this time period has been Purging and Starting Over. Downsizing has taught me quite a few things. To that end, here are suggestions/tips for purging your craft supplies, tools and fabric. 

Tips for Purging Craft Materials and Fabric

Be honest in your assessment

Really look at what you have. Pull everything together that is of the same category.  How many pairs of scissors do you really need and use?  How many markers?  What about straight pins? Rulers? Thread? Paper? Craft and sewing items are hard for me to part with and I am trying to convince myself that I do not need as much as I have. The reality is that all of it will not fit into the allotted space. So, I will have to make some hard choices about what stays. In the end, I would rather have a functioning space with fewer things, than an overcrowded one that feels unwelcoming. Clutter, for me, stifles creativity.

Are you going to live long enough to use it all?

One more thing to give some serious thought to is, what is the likelihood that you are going to get to the project that uses those materials and supplies. In realistically assessing my life expectancy, I can not get everything made for which I have accumulated the supplies. It would be better for those things to be used by someone who will make them into something.

What to do with the items you are removing

Now, here is where some people may not agree with what I am going to say. If you are able to sell your excess stuff, Wonderful!  Give yourself a deadline, though. If you keep it around with the intention of selling it and it has not been sold in six months, donate it. For me, if I haven't sold something in a couple of months, I am not going to sell it.  Truthfully, if I do not sell it immediately, upon deciding to part with it, I am not going to sell it.  Recently, there have been some fundraisers in our area for some neighborhood children who have lost a parent.  Some amazing people organized yard sales for them and I was happy to give away some very nice things that do not fit in this much smaller house. I could not think of a better way for the proceeds to be spent than on children in my community.

Whether you are downsizing or taking stock of what you have, a good purge can be cathartic. It can help you transform your workspace. Maybe even give you more space with which to work! And if you are passing your supplies onto someone else to enjoy, all the better!

Organized office before downsizing 
Do you have any tips or suggestions for downsizing?  I would love to hear them!
In a few days, I will post some before and after pictures of our house and the extensive repair/remodel we have been doing.  My studio isn't ready yet, but some of the storage areas are. Wish me luck in getting the pared-down stash to fit!


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Moved! Starting Afresh!

Door frame growth chart
About a year and a half ago my husband took a new job in a new state. Our large house and, more importantly, several rooms of craft supplies and workspaces had to be packed and moved into less than half of the space.  Downsizing is not easy for most people. But for quilters, paper crafters, and art supply collectors, we may as well be told that we are moving to a deserted island with no Michael's or online shopping opportunities. That is how excited I was, to be giving up my set-up.

Pre-downsizing craft room storage wall

It took a long time to figure out how to effectively store things in that house. After 10 years there, it felt Just Right. Pictured below is one of the areas that worked very well.
Wafer thin metal dies on magnetic sheet on the wall

It is a 24"x 5' long magnet for my thin dies collection. Here is the link to what I bought on  Amazon. All of the Spellbinders,, Avery Elle, etc., wafer-thin dies stick on here and are easy to see.  If I see things, I am more likely to use them. And pack them!

Items that almost got left behind!

So the adventure began. Purging and packing. Purging some more. Packing some more. After the moving truck was packed and drove away, I discovered a cupboard that hadn't been packed. I quickly threw the stuff in a box. But knew I'd have a problem with how to move it since my Ridgeline was full. The idea was that I would take valuables, food, and chemicals in my vehicle along with the dog and the 13-year-old kid.  There was no extra room for this box of crap, goodies of metal tins, cards and other papercrafting items. I am not saying that I gave away a box of chemicals to the neighbors so that I could bring my craft items on the 1,400-mile trip. However, that stuff is now stored in my garage waiting to be put away.  What? A year and a half later and you still haven't unpacked? You may be wondering what is going on here! My tale of woe continues. We moved into a house and then it fell apart. More on that another day. With Before and After pictures!

Looking back on these pictures, the only one that really makes my heart constrict is the first one with the growth chart we made in my daughter's closet.  You can see on it that she measured herself (without us knowing) a couple of times over the years.  I wished that we could take it with us. And I'll tell you the truth. I actually shed a few tears when I took that picture. It was the only house she had known and she had many wonderful friends that she was going to miss in Arizona.

Tomorrow, I am going to post some suggestions about purging craft supplies and fabric.  This is mainly for my benefit because I need pep talks periodically and things are finally getting finished here so it is time to purge. Again!

All the best to you! Sorry for the long absence. In all honesty, this has been a pretty rough year and a half for me so I do feel like I need to start anew.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Quilt Roundup

Blue and White Quilt
I haven't been doing very many paper related projects and quilts take a lot more time before there is anything to show!  This is part of the reason for the gap in my posting. It has been difficult to find a good place to take pictures of the quilts I've made.  But I wanted to share what I have been up to for the last several months. Here are the quilts that I've finished over the last few months.

Disappearing 9-Patch
 All of these were started before 2005 except for the one made completely of leftover scraps shown below (with the dog.)

"Free Quilt" made out of leftovers from previous projects.
 I used a fleece blanket from Target for the backing and did not use any batting.  It makes a nice couch cover for dirty paws.

This Halloween quilt protects the piano from the cat. :-)

 The quilt below is from the book Candy Coated Christmas by Lynette Jensen.

Snowflake - Thimbleberries pattern

My current project is a new quilt to go with my daughter's freshly painted bedroom:

Black, white and aqua-green striped bedroom

I designed a quilt using EQ7 and hope it turns out the way she and I want!  It should be done by the end of the month. Stay tuned... :-)

Thank you for stopping by today.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Perpetual Calendar with Leftover Embellishments

Most of us have leftover bits and bobs from previous projects.  Items that are too nice to throw away but too few to use on a new layout or set of greeting cards.  Maybe because Christmas was still on my mind, I was thinking about ornaments.  Or maybe I just like dangly things that sparkle.  Regardless, I knew I was going to make something three-dimensional and practical the next time I played with my stash of stuff.

I have been wanting to make a new perpetual calendar for awhile and finally decided to start the New Year with one. It met the criteria of useful with ornament-like attributes.

This is super simple and did not cost me anything since I already had everything!  I love free projects!

The frame came from CTMH. It would be easy to make one, though.  A picture frame and some wire and some way to secure it and voila!  The little hooks to hang each of the dates are from Oriental Trading.  They are called "Artist Safety Pins".  However, it would be easy to just use some wire to make a loop. Or yarn, string, floss, thread, etc., would work as well.  If you have lots of eyelets lying around you might use those up to add stability to the hole.

If I did not already have a frame, I would have used a piece of wood and arranged nails on it in a grid to hang the ornament/dates.

If you decide to make one, I would love to see it! 
Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Resolutions, Goals, Guidelines

Happy 2017!  Sorry for the long gaps in posting. One of my goals for January is to post on a more consistent basis. It may be more along the lines of a guideline rather than an actual resolution!
January 2017 Intentions in Composition Notebook

I no longer make New Year's Resolutions.  It seems like a great idea to make plans to live a better life. So I try to do this on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  Because I am 'goal oriented', my list is usually formatted as goals or intentions.

Here is an overview list that I made. It is in the back of one of my art journals and I can refer to it when I make a new page of resolutions.  From this big-topic list, I make specific goals.  For example, on my January 2017 Intentions page posted above, I am choosing to be more mindful about my level of exercise.  This is stated with the goal of increasing the difficulty of my exercising throughout the month.  The time that will be spent on the exercise did not change from the previous month but I stated it just so I'd know what I am expecting of myself.  It may sound silly to have to write it down.  However, this helps me to stay focused.  And when it comes to exercise, every bit of focus helps!

Even though this isn't a goal or intention, I thought I would share my meal planning page for the next two weeks.  It is in the back of my regular planner so it is very handy. Meal planning is an ongoing thing that I do and it helps me with shopping and health goals.

Wishing you the very best in 2017!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Painting on Fabric Using Pigment Powder

Lately, I have been working with fabric. It has provided a great outlet for me to play with my stash by dyeing, painting, quilting, incorporating surface design techniques, and anything else which I can think up. Today, I decided to try using Colourarte's Primary Elements pigment powder to paint on some fabric that I had dyed a few months ago.

Hand dyed denim on left and cotton scarf on right
The original fabrics were white or off-white and now they are beautiful shades of blues and a bit of pink/magenta.  These seemed like great choices to paint upon.

Obviously, blue is a first choice for me when it comes to adding additional color! I used several different colors of Primary Elements but chose to stick with a cool palette. (Maybe even a 'cold' palette, as in sherbert! *See note below.) At the time, I was thinking of a tone on tone effect.  But as I was painting, I realized that more contrast would be more interesting so I grabbed some solid fabric to paint, too.  Those pictures are below the scarf.

Stargazer, Bolivian Blue and Green Pearl Primary Elements on tie-dyed scarf
In order to see how the rich colors of the pigment powder would work with a colorless extender I mixed about a teaspoon of the pigment powder with about a tablespoon of medium.  This is what I used:

It was fun to mix the powders and see the results. Sometimes paint colors change quite a bit when they are dry, so the anticipation of the end product was part of the fun! I decided to add a bit of white Brusho Colourcraft powder to the pigment powder to see if it would change the opacity much.  It may have been that I did not add enough but it wasn't a very noticeable change.

Forest Green Primary Elements is most noticeable on the top left piece
The pink denim fabric was left over from when my 11 year old daughter and I made an apron together several years ago. She wants me to make a book bag from today's painting experiment!  I love how the large stencil from this month's Stencil Girl Club collection made this project even easier!  The colors of the fabrics and the paints remind me of summer days with ice cream and sprinkles.

The lighting is wonky, but this is actually an intense pink color!

*Colourarte is having a "sherbert challenge" and I thought of Raspberry when I pulled out the fabric. The painted colors showed up a lot better on the solid color fabric.  And the picture below is a better representation of the background fabric!

The large piece of blue dyed denim in the top couple of pictures was painted also. But I will share the outcome of that on another day when I have sewn it into something!
I hope you have a wonderful, warm day with a cold treat! Thank you for stopping by today!
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Steel Die Storage Update for Spellbinders, Sizzix, etc.

Wafer Thin Die Storage
As my collection of tools grows, so does my need to find new ways to organize and store them.  Today's post is about using steel dies as artwork for the wall.  No, not really.  It is about the latest evolution of my storage system for dies that are used with die-cutting machines.

The video below explains this and shows examples of how I've stored dies in the past. I wrote about this in 2011 here and here. The first link has a video explaining my initial storage method at the time and the second one has some photos of the systems I used.

Here is a link to the magnetic sheeting that I hung on the wall which is shown in today's video:


Thanks for visiting!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Stencil Storage Ideas

My stencil collection has been growing and it was time to find a new storage system to keep up with it!

Here is a video that shows you the evolution of my storage system for stencils of all different sizes.

Several months ago, I bought self-adhesive hooks on ebay. Unfortunately, I can not locate the seller at this time. Here is a link to the same type of lightweight hooks that I bought to hang the stencils:

Here is a link to the 4-pocket page protectors that hold 6" stencils mentioned in the video:

And this link is for the single pocket pages. I stored 12 x 12 and 9 x 12 stencils back to back with a piece of cardstock in-between the stencils.

I'd love to hear how you store your stencils.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Creative Roundup - Lots of Photographs

For lack of a better post title, the following is some of what I have been doing the last few months.
Dyeing scarves
Chenilled a puppy quilt from hand dyed flannel
 The puppy quilt was for the little fellow pictured below.  We got him from a rescue and he turned out to be sick.  I spent several weeks tending to him and cleaning up the evidence of his tummy troubles.  I am happy to report that he is doing great, now. 
New Puppy

 It has been a long time since I dyed fabric, maybe more than a decade! The process is really fun.  It was nice to ease back into it with some scarves and a little bit of cotton yardage. Because of the dyeing success, I decided that I would like to try painting on fabric. This shirt was very plain and off-white is not a very flattering color for me. Jacquard paints to the rescue!
Fabric painting with Stencil Girl stencils
Front of shirt was done with a tiny stencil from the March Stencil Girl Club set that I moved around a lot to make it into a flower-like shape. The back was from another stencil from March's Club set.
Back of shirt painted with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow

There isn't a lot of continuity in my workflow, but here is some more evidence of how I spent my time since the start of the year.

Art quilt bed topper for my mother's 80th birthday

 The bed topper pictured here was a work based upon what I thought were important moments or objects that formed part of my mother's life. Like so many things in life, it isn't the entire story, but hopefully part of a good story.
Freehand cut orchid applique for the quilt

3 dimensional aspects to the quilt include this little pillow
Photos printed on fabric make up part of the background
My helper needed to pre-fur it 

 For the most part, I feel the time was well spent.  It is nice to be able to spend time following creative pursuits.

And playing with animals.
Happy Puppy
House cat playing with daughter
Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

What I Do While Creating Art -

My number one thing I love to do while quilting or papercrafting or doing mixed-media work is listen to audio books.
If you are interested in subscribing to Audible, here is a link to get you started:

 Otherwise, I check out audiobooks on cds or through digital downloads with my local public library. I have used Overdrive and One Click with equal ease. I love that my family can listen to them together. We always get books for long car trips. Rick Riordan, Jonathan Stroud and Cornelia Funke are some of our favorite authors.  Let me know if you have any favorite family-friendly titles to share.

I hope to be back posting some art soon.