Thursday, February 28, 2019

Watch Over My Shoulder - Seven Moons Fabric Art Series - Phase #3

What is Abstract Art? According to the dictionary, it's "art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures." 

Have you viewed Phase #1 and #2 in this series? Click on the #number to view those also.

What can we learn about ourselves when doing this type of art? In whatever medium we choose to use, abstract art opens doors in our brain and allows us to break away from the structured reality of simply making something by routine or pattern, and instead, to create something new, original, and untried. In the process it reveals things about us and our creativity that we wouldn't see without it. It reveals how we see color relationships, our favored shapes, our use of connectivity, and our spatial concepts.

What are the main elements that keep repeating themselves in abstract art? Shape, value, line, color, contrast, texture, and spatial features. There is always some element of reality, though the artist is the one in charge of what is being abstracted and to what degree.

I love this type of art and encourage others to dabble in it as well. It's not the only type of art I do, but it's the only type of art that removes all fear, anxiety, and preconceived expectation. For me, it's the only type of art where the ending justifies the beginning, giving it validation and creative license.

I'll be finishing this project in Phase #4. Meantime, why not tell me about your adventures with abstract art forms.

Monday, February 25, 2019

When, and to Whom to Give Handmade Gifts and Why?

The WHY part of this question is simply answered. If we care enough about someone to present them with a gift, then we should care even more about how the person receiving it will respond. Depending on culture, upbringing, and attitude, not everyone still values handmade gifts. For instance, a special teenager in your life may much rather have a new electronic gadget than a handmade quilt for their bed. However, given a few years, that same teenager may be begging you to make them their own quilt.

Handmade Tic-Tac-Toe Board with fabric pieces
If we're reasonably sure that the person will appreciate a handmade gift, then the next question is what kind. Think about their fashion or decor preference, their favorite colors, motifs, and textures.

The next part is a no-brainer but needs to be mentioned. Whatever we make, we should be reasonably skilled so that the quality of the item will not suffer. We don't have to be an acclaimed artisan, but we want the item to convey our sincerity.

Fabric Art Greeting Cards are one of my favorite gifts to create.

If you love unique gift tags, check out my post - Designer Gift Tags

I found another adorable idea at the Thread and Thrift Blog by Mandy Pattullo. 

I gifted this fabric art to a friend who fell in love with the doodling concept.
The last thought, but an important factor that I use when creating handmade gifts, is to try and make my items a personal extension of myself and my art. Most of my close friends don't love fabric the way I do, they don't hoard every small scrap, and they don't envision the day they would ever willing use a sewing machine. However, each of them appreciates the imagination, texture, pattern and color that I utilize in my fabric art and my handmade gift items. So, when creating for them, I try to just be myself, have oodles of fun, and create something uniquely theirs.

When was the last time you gave a handmade gift? Do you have a list of favorite items you enjoy making for friends and family?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Creatives Need Snacks - Margaritas to Sugar Cookies

Today is National Margarita Day and I'm all for that refreshing limey drink on a warm summer day. However, it's February, rainy, and cold so some warm out-of-the-oven sugar cookies are a better snack for this 'Creative'. But just in case your basking on a sun drenched beach soaking up inspiration for your next project, I'll leave you with a little margarita gift before giving you my favorite sugar cookie recipe.

Are you ready to make some sugar cookies. Most basic sugar cookie recipes are about the same. But with any family recipe that has been tweaked and handed down through several generations, there will always be some variation. So try this recipe as is, or tweak it to fit your taste.


3 cups of flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup of butter that is soft (room temperature not melted)
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

If the dough is a little too stiff - just add a tablespoon of warm water until you get the consistency you want to work with.

Instructions: Preheat oven temperature to 350°

  • With a mixer, cream butter and sugar together for 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Stir in vanilla and egg 
  • Mix in flour, salt, and baking powder 
If you want to make cut-out cookies, first roll the dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick.
You can also hand pat or shape your dough if you prefer.

Cut-out cookies will usually bake in about 6-8 minutes. They should be done but not browned.

Eat as is, or sprinkle with sugar, powdered sugar, sprinkles, or spread frosting on top.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Watch Over My Shoulder - Seven Moons Fabric Art Series - Phase #2

Before considering Phase #2 of the Seven Moons Fabric Art Series, if you haven't already, you may want to first view Phase #1. Sometimes the beginning is the hardest place to start, especially when working on an original design.

Beginnings don't need to be elaborate concepts. All original artwork begins with a simple stroke-of-the-brush, the first cut of fabric, stitch of thread, etc. The most important step is to just begin...

Moon number seven finally agreed to come on stage and is tucked away in the top, right corner. Next I started contrasting the circles with odd shapes of different sizes. Then, I thought it would be nice if all the moons were connected by a pathway on which we could stroll through the moons at a leisurely pace. 

Remember, that as a fabric artist, I work-in-the-moment. Which means that I respond to random thoughts or inspiration as I'm working. When designing an original piece, I don't preplan, sketch, or outline my concept before I begin. I enjoy letting things develop naturally. It's a little scary sometimes simply because I never know where I'm going to end up until I get there...

I hope you're having fun looking over my shoulder as I work. It's nice to have your company. I'm going to take a short break now and make some brownies. This moon walking can make a person hungry. Be sure to visit again as I'll be working on Phase #3 soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Watch Over My Shoulder - Seven Moons Fabric Art Series - Phase #1

So many of you have emailed me or taken one of my workshops and the comments I hear most are, "I wish I could just watch over your shoulder while you create." 
So I'm going to try a new series of blog posts that I hope will allow you to do that in a virtual way. These are not meant to be detailed tutorials, but rather, informal work sessions that I hope will spark your imagination, giving you some ideas or thoughts on how you might adapt my design to fit your style and technique. 

I use a black background fabric and an array of cotton fabric, quilting quality. I use a fusible web product and adhere my shapes to the background with a mini/tacking iron. I work on a heat resistant surface, a padded quilters pad.

I like creating abstract designs. One reason is it allows me to use lots of fabric shapes/scraps left over from other projects. I usually start with some concept of shape, color, or motif that gives me a platform to build on. I do not pre-design or preplan my projects. I work by the seat-of-my-pants. Some artist's might say that they work intuitively, instinctually, naturally, etc. However we express it, it simply means we work in-the-moment.

The platform concept for this project is circles, seven of them to be exact. Everything else will grow from these seven shapes. WHAT! There are only six circles? Don't worry, the other one is a little shy and will show up in Phase Two of this series...

Random Acts of Kindness - Key #7 - Unlocking Your Creative Ingenuity

Key # 7 Random Acts of Kindness Spurs Creative Thinking

Have you ever noticed that when you're stuck in your normal routine too long you become very self-absorbed resulting in apathy and fatigue? Your energy level drops and creative initiative is virtually nonexistent. 

On the other end of the spectrum, when you're focused on doing something randomly nice for someone else, ideas begin to pop out of nowhere. Enthusiasm begins to build energy, energy then gives way to creative action. 

Key #7 is one of the best ways for Creatives to jump onto a new project or design. Why? Because you're busy thinking of unique gifts that fit a specific person or need. Play-days aren't just for kids, not if you're a Creative anyway. Be sure to schedule time each week or month, depending on your life style, and decide what random act of kindness you can devise. You might create a small gift, as in the telephone pouch I made for my granddaughter (shown above). Or you might bake something, offer to run errands for an elderly friend, or make a card for a sick friend. Whatever Your random act of kindness proves to be, it will increase your creative ingenuity.

Have you seen Key #3 (Understanding Perfection)
Have you seen Key #5 (Discover What Shouldn't Be)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

2019 Scrap Busting Challenge - Participant Showcase for January

How is everyone doing on their scrap busting projects. 

I hope you're having fun finding a zillion ways to tackle those bags of scraps you've got stashed away. One small project each month is doable and stress-free. Don't overthink or plan elaborate items. Just find something you'd like to keep for yourself or an item you'd like to give away. You can find some ideas in my Scrap Busting Challenge - Project Idea Series in the right sidebar.

Here are the January projects that were submitted by a few of our challenge participants. They've been creative and their projects may inspire some of your own.

Marsha submitted two items for her January project.

She explains more about her projects in her blog post.

Shirlee submitted this January project.

It’s also on her blog

"Made with paper clips and the remnants of a beaded necklace. I wrapped wire through the beads and around the paper clips to attach them together."

Wilma submitted this January project.

"I make a small crazy quilted pincushion in a serviette ring for the scrap busting challenge."

You can find the description and picture on her blog

Carrie submitted Puffin on Parade as her January

She created this mini quilt using decorative stitches and applique.

This was my January project

I made four of these, three to give away and one to keep.

See my blog post here.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Create With Me! - Fabric Wall Art

Wouldn't you love if your home or office walls were adorned with beautiful artwork created by, YOU! It's not as difficult or scary an idea as you might think. Anyone with an adventurous spirit can do this. Why not join me when I start my new fabric art workshop, 'Color Reborn', on May 1st. Check out the details here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Apple Pie with Maple Syrup Recipe

There are definitely two things that all 'Creatives' need. At least, these are the two things at the top of my list. The first is a comfortable space in which to work. The second  is an effective reward system for sticking with those projects and getting them finished. Your reward system can be anything you dream up. Mine is homemade goodies. Today I wanted to share with you my recipe for Apple pie. Let me know if you enjoyed this scrumptious reward.

Apple Pie with Maple Syrup 

I use a refrigerated pie crust when baking. My preferred crust is made by Pillsbury.

Pie Filling:

6 - cups of apples - peeled and sliced

3/4 cup - sugar

2 tablespoons - all purpose flour

1 teaspoon - ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon - salt

1 tablespoon - lemon juice

3 tablespoons - maple syrup (optional)

Pinch - of nutmeg (optional)


Set oven temperature to 425 degrees

Place one pie crust in an ungreased pie plate

Mix the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and then spread them evenly in the bottom crust.

(Optional) Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup over the top of the apple mixture.

Add top crust and crimp edges.

Bake 40-60 minutes or until the apples are soft and the crust is golden.

(Optional) When the pie is done, drizzle the last tablespoon of maple syrup over the top of the crust.

Friday, February 1, 2019

2019 Scrap Busting Challenge

You know you need this! So join the fun and make something beautiful.

2019 Challenge Update: 
Don't forget that to be eligible for prizes you need to follow the guidelines for the 'Get Featured' part of this challenge. Your project photo/photos needs to be emailed to me by the 5th of each month. Should you miss a month, it okay to double/triple up the next month to reach the goal of one new project each month for a total of 12 projects for the year. I'll post our monthly Challenge post between the 10-15th of each month. KEEP busting those scrap piles!

Original Challenge Information:
You're being challenged to create one scrap busting project each month in 2019. Twelve months = 12 new creations. Here are a few helpful guidelines...

  1. Use whatever scraps you have on hand to create something new. That could include fabric, beads, paints, glitter, threads and fibers, craft supplies, paper, etc., etc.
  2. It can be a practical or artistic project - or both. It can be a gift item or something you've created for yourself.
  3. The project doesn't need to be large or time consuming. Just create something new from scraps you already have.
  4. To join this challenge - just comment below
I'll be featuring my projects monthly and would love to include some of yours, as well. Want to join me? Make sure you have commented on this post. Then, just send me a project photo and the following information to by the 5th of the month. 
  1. Short description
  2. Your comment ID so that I can verify that you've joined this challenge
Prizes Up For Grabs
Here are some prizes that will be awarded to some of our FEATURED participants in April - July - Oct - Dec. (You must be up-to-date with each month's project and be participating in the monthly feature as described above to qualify)
  • Handmade journaling embellishments
  • Starbucks $5 gift cards
  • Free Fabric Art Tutorials
  • I'll be giving away some of my monthly project pieces
  • Handmade gift items
  • Free online fabric art workshops
OOPS! I started this challenge late - what do I do?
You can join this challenge anytime, however, you still need 12 new projects completed by Dec 2019. And to qualify for prizes you will need to verify your projects by joining the featured program outlined above. 

~ Questions can be sent to me at ~
***** Consider following my blog by email so that you won't miss any Challenge posts throughout the year! (Simply fill in the box on the right sidebar labeled - Follow by email)