Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Letter Geeks Like Me (or Artful Alphabets by Lisa Engelbrecht)

Do you know Lisa Engelbrecht? I am just beginning to get to know her...and what an amazing artist she is! A few postings ago, I entitled one "My 26 Favorite Things'. In this post I professed to being a "letter geek"(thanks Lisa for the title!). Lisa and I share those 26 Favorite Things...she is also a self-professed "letter geek". When I opened an email from Pokey Bolten
(CPS) today, I saw her DVD about Lettering on Fabric. I had JUST seen it on Creative Catalyst Videos ( and placed it on my list of "Things To Buy". Go to their website to view a clip from the video.

If you love letters, lettering, calligraphy, writing on fabric or any of the aforementioned activities or have interest in them, then you MUST purchase this DVD! You can purchase it directly from her and receive a special print from her. Go to for details.

Lisa has a book coming out imminently (publication due date is July 1st) entitled "Modern Mark Making".

I can tell you this is one lady that is definitely Making Her Mark in this world. She has a love for the letter arts that I appreciate and understand. She is also featured in Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine. Go to for more details about the Artful Alphabet.

My friends and family know how much I LOVE and ADORE lettering...I have been asked why I sit and draw letters...Why? I ask...Because they are the basis for all that we know...Without the alphabet, we would have no written word, no stories, no written history, no love letters, no recorded music with words...we, as a society, would not be able to share and past down our heritage...those 26 letters ensure the survival of our cultures, our families and our passions. They ARE the key to past, present and future.

Rock on fellow Letter Geeks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Needle Case

I forgot to add pictures of the case closed.
Here you go.

Couching on Fabric

I belong to the Quilt Art Internet mailing group and the past couple of days there has been some discussion of couching on fabric. It made me think of my crochet needle case that I made. Every time I pull this thing out, people love it! And it was sooo EASY. It really looks difficult but all I did was couch various yarns onto the existing design of the fabric. Ta Da! A scrumptious dimensional piece of fiber art! I did utilize the Bernina Couching Foot that makes it extremely easy to do. But you could just as easily use a regular foot and guide the yarn where you wanted it. Try it! If you look down the blog, you will see the same fabric in various stages of another project...I love the fabric and bought several yards off of eBay a while back. I don't know that it is available any more...

26 of My Favorite Things

Here's 7 of them from my sketch book...The letters of the Alphabet.
My 26 Favorite Things. I love drawing letters...these came from a Dover Book I was looking at. I love the beautiful swirls on them. I'll use this style letters on the Fiber On A Whim piece I'm working on.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Garden News

This is a row of our Gourmet Mix Lettuce. We thinned them out last week and had our first salad from the garden this tender!

We have a big flower bed in the front yard that, among other things, has Purple Coneflowers in it. These are two of the first blooms this year. I transplanted about 20 seedlings this weekend. I'll probably plant them along the back fence line with the Bearded Iris in our border garden.

A close up of the same young blooms. I love the way that the blooms begin their life with the petals standing straight up towards the sun, then begin to hang downward as time passes. One bloom we have has its' petals so far down they are almost touching the stem.

This is a strawberry pot that I have sitting on the front steps.

I have three that are in graduated sizes, large to small. They all have Hen & Chicks and small ferns in them. I usually plant an annual or Lemon Thyme in the top of each one in the summer. I haven't found Lemon Thyme yet but did find Lime Thyme. They stay green all year on my steps.

This is a close up of one of the Hen & Chicks.

We have so many beautiful container plants on our front porch and patio. We manage to keep a lot of things all year on the porch, I guess there is an awesome micro climate there.

I'll try to remember to take pictures of the topiary that I made a few years ago. It turned out quite nice.

I also have a Dahlia bed, a smaller bed with Gardenias in it and a "good sized" flower bed at the side bank...can you tell that I love flower gardening? I actually am a certified Master Gardener. I haven't volunteered at anything in a few years though. You should check out the program at your local Extension Office and get involved if you love gardening.

My husband is really the "Master" at gardening...vegetable gardening, that is. We have a huge garden every year. Some how it keeps growing...We live beside a church and when our harvest out-grows our ability to eat, to freeze or give to friends, we leave bags at the side church door for the members. We have the garden right along the fence next to the entrance and we love to watch people stop and point and look. Several friendships have been made at that fence because of the garden.

The Master himself...nice arms Farmer Sloan.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rose Applique Design

Yesterday I drew out this idea for a Victorian Applique style quilt. This is a picture from my sketch book.

I originally thought of it for a piece of 5"x7" fiber art...we'll see what comes of it (if anything). But the drawing is done so that I can copy it, then cut out the individual pieces for applique work. It could also be altered for stained glass.

If you have never tried the Marie Seroskie method of applique, you should. It makes the stained glass method of applique sooooo easy! Check out her web site for samples She has a really cute Big Mouth Fish Bag pattern too!

Rayna Gillman

I "found" Rayna's website and blog yesterday while reading another one (Jane Davila). Wow! Have you seen her fabrics? I love them!
Look at the gallery on her website...the quilts are absolutely breath taking, especially the "Poland" series. The story there will really touch your heart.
And she has a book coming out very soon. I am going to purchase one asap.
Her web site has a place where you can receive an email when the book hits the shelf, so I sent my name in. Imagine my surprise when Rayna emailed me back! She seems like such an awesome person , I can't wait to meet her in person.
Perhaps she will do a book signing at Fiber On A Whim? She taught there 2 years ago and I'm hoping she will teach there in 2009 or 2010.
Have a look at the website and her blog

House Pictures...

Well, today I thought I'd post some pictures of my houses...yes, that's right. I said houses, plural...some of you will be shocked to know that I actually own a pink house, a Federal House, a barn, a book store, a market and a small beige house.

Wow, impressive list. The tenants refuse to pay their rent though...they expect me to do their dusting and they do take up a bit of room...

on my mantle, that is!

These are all "Rock Houses" that I painted a few years ago. I altered a couple of them with wood filler but most are just plain rocks or river rocks.

It's amazing how your vision of a "rock" changes after you paint one or two. You see a house, a foot, a car, a dog...all sorts of things.

So, learn from the master , Lin Wellford ( Her books are so easy to follow that anyone can do it!
I used whatever acrylic paint that I had on hand then a coat of enamel sealer.

Enjoy the pictures of my homes.

"The Painted Lady"

This house measures 3 1/2" x 3 1/4", so that's pretty tiny ferns on the porch. Here's a close up of them.
The ferns are on a teeny tiny ridge that I built up with wood filler. They measure about 1/4" wide.

Here's the back of my Painted Lady.

The Federal Building measures about 3 1/2" x 2 1/2". The only area that I built up was the triangle above the porch.

And here's the back of The Federal Building. The topiary measure almost 1/4" wide and 1/2" tall.

This is Johnson's Book Store. I will be renaming it, as it was sold to the Sloan's in 2005. But they still have the same great service!

The front door measures about 1/2" wide by 1" tall...can you imagine how small that "open" sign is? I don't think that my 40 something eyes could paint THAT small again...

No alteration here, just a square rock. Here is a picture of the bottom to show you just that!

There's plenty of customer parking on the side.

But they only accept deliveries at the back door.

Did I mention they are having a big sale?

Next will be the Beige House. This was the first House Rock that I painted...the beginning of many years of "Rock Hunting".

And here's the bottom....a quartz rock?

My Barn, complete with hay fork.

The rear of the where did that horse go?

This is The Market that I run , it's right beside Johnson's Book Store.

And the bottom of it.

So, there you have village of Rock Houses.

My personal favorite, The Gnome House, was given mom loved it so much that I couldn't help but give it to her.

I also painted a Pebble House, and I do mean a "pebble" of those they use as a mulch medium. My eyes have aged too much to even try that now! My mom has that also. I'll try to get pictures of them both to add.

When my son was in elementary school, I painted a School House Rock for his teacher. It was really cool.

They make awesome gifts and people love to see their own homes in Rock Form.

Try it, you'll like it! I could call my business "Rock, Paper and Scissors". Hey, I just might do that!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I forgot to add that I have not only lost weight and inches, I have gained flexibility and mobility. That truly is a plus for me. I still have some issues , but my overall health has improved. My blood pressure has decreased also. So, all of my doctors are quite impressed!
And it is such a gratifying feeling to begin an exercise program and stick with it. I feel like I'm cheating or that I am missing something the days that I don't do Pilate's.
I usually exercise at LEAST 3 times a week but my usual routine is M-F...weekend off. It only takes 20 minutes but then I usually add the 10 minute sculpting should see my legs! Wow...they are being totally reshaped from bottom to top. They really are pure, solid muscle up to the mid thigh area. I have a good bit of "soft" thigh tissue to work on...doesn't that sound so much better than "flab/fat"?!
And my waist ...well, it's back!
So try it!
It may be an awesome improvement to your general well being and health. It will also improve your mental well being and your confidence.
I worked as a nurse for about 15 years and didn't push for people to exercise a lot because I didn't...but now I totally support it and expound upon its benefits.
OK, nuff said...just DO IT.

How To Lose 2 Pant Sizes in 2 Months

A lot of my friends around home know that a couple of months ago I began exercising to Windsor Pilates. I have a chronic pain problem (radiculopathy-disease of the nerve root) in my right hip and lower back and am often plagued with a sort of immobility/pain problem...a bit of a complication to another health issue...anyway, I have tried all types of therapy, exercise and get the picture. Well, I decided that since my weight seemed to be inching up as the years went by and my height (5'1 1/2") (and yes, dh, I'm sticking with that height!) wasn't increasing to go along with it, I'd begin some kind of regular routine.
I had purchased the dvd set a few years ago but didn't commit to the program at the time. I came upon the dvd a few months ago while cleaning out some things and decided to finally commit to toning up...losing a couple (or 4) pant sizes...I wish I had of done my measurements when I first began but I didn't...I CAN tell you that (after decreasing serving sizes) and not changing much else, I lost 20 pounds within 2 or 3 weeks !
I have been following the dvd about 2-3 months now. I was wearing a size 12 in some pants and a 10 in others...and now I am in a SIZE 8!!!
All I can say is....YAAAA HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
I was always so petite and small and never had to watch my diet so I had never really exercised beyond riding a bike when I was young.
I had always been the one that cooked before this (2nd) marriage and now my wonderful husband's so delicious that I began to over eat...and consume wine with dinner (and honestly, beyond).
Soooo...I realize that it is going to take me a while longer to get to where I truly want to be since these poor middle age muscles of mine were rather flaccid and underdeveloped but I will get there.
I did measure myself after I had lost the 20 pounds and since then I have lost a 1/2" off of each upper arm ! And I am beginning to see quite a "cut" in my upper arm.
So, if any of you need to tone up, lose weight or just generally exercise for a healthier life, try this
and thanks Mari!
If you order from the website, please notice that one of the order options is for a monthly shipment of different. Make sure you notice that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The Blue Ridge Quilt Festival is in Virginia...for some reason I thought it was in NC. Soooo, I probably won't be going. Unless any of my NC quilting friends want to go...we could all go together for a long weekend of relaxing, learning and , ummm, driving...

Lyric Kinard

Wow! I was looking around at the Blue Ridge Quilt Festival and came upon this awesome fiber artist. Go to and look at her wonderful work.
Here is her blog , ("Lyric Art" ).
I am going to try and take some of her classes at the Festival.
The dates are June 20-22. Here is the web site .
Does anyone want to go with me?

Enlarging Pictures

I am trying to figure out how to (consistently) load my pictures so that they can be enlarged when one is viewing them...does anyone know how or is it at the whim of Blogger?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beautiful Dyed Fabrics

I was reading a few different blogs and found a some awesome dyed fabric pictures. Don't know if the give away is over but have a look!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Quilt Shoppe Classes

I spoke with Darlene at My Quilt Shoppe yesterday. Lanna (the owner) is back from vacation and looked at the pieces that I had left at the shop. They loved my work (yay!) and want me to teach classes on every one of them. Wow, I am really excited about that. I'm going to get with Gen Grundy about planning the classes as I never taught an "organized" quilting class before.
I'll be doing the Katie Lane Victorian Stained Glass series (in a previous blog). I have to complete the third one. It's pieced but not quilted as yet. The other class is a quilted tote bag. It's a fairly large bag, big enough to carry a medium size cutting mat in the side pocket...perfect for class!
I'll really have to review the tote I tend to scan directions, look at the pictures and then make it my way! I guess I'll just wing it in class.
Anyway, that's the biggest news for Friday.

Paper Fabric Collage

I started out in the studio on Friday working on my Fiber On A Whim project. I did get the netting burned and it is a really cool effect. It looks like an underwater scene now, complete with the fragmented underwater vegetation. I hope that blogger will allow us to enlarge the image, you can really see the effect of the burned netting. It also was quilted with Iredescent thread, bluish black color. The netting has a shimmer to it as well...making the entire piece really cathces the light when you turn it. I plan on adding some beads to it as well.
You know, I started out planning a 5"x7" piece with a grid , like a game board...I have gone about as far away from that as you can. Perhaps I'll keep the underwater one and just work on the original design...we'll see.
Anyway, here are pictures of the 5"x7" piece, along with a practice piece.

Now what happened after I burned the netting is possibily a mystery to even me...and I was there! I somehow got side tracked and began working on fabric paper...similar to what Beryl Taylor demonstrates on the QA dvd. As usual, I strayed from the directions and did my own thing...I really did start the whole thing like she said. But then I thought...hey...this would look good without the paint on top of it all...and you know this would look good without the tissue paper...and I ultimately ended up with a really awesome fabric/paper/found item collage. Here are pictures...oh yeah, I used Ranger Ink Distress Ink refill with Perfect Pearls mixed in a spritz bottle to color the background. I also sprayed it lightly over the top. The entire piece has a shimmery look. TYhe bark is from a tree in our yard. My dh had pruned a few trees and we were moving the limbs to a "burn pile" (yep, Cheryl, that's from the "burn pile incident" story!) and I saw the loose bark on the ground. I knew immediately it was going to go in a piece of artwork! So, here it is.

I also worked on another collage. I was trying different tissue paper pieces, thicknesses and colors. I did use the Kimwipes also...they held up just fine as long as I didn't brush it too many times with the glue/water mix. Oh, I guess I didn't tell you how I actually did the pieces, did I?

Well, I started out with a piece of plain muslin or PFD fabric. I then mixed half craft glue/half water. I applied this to the fabric with an old paintbrush. Then I arranged torn papers on the piece. Most of the time there was enough glue to hold them down without adding more , you've got time to move them around also. I preplanned one of them but the other ones evolved as I went. I placed torn pieces of handmade mulberry paper here and there, adding pieces of other handmade paper as I went. I applied a thin layer of the glue mix over this. I then applied either tissue paper or kimwipes over most of the piece. I wanted to see how the fabric paper (or paper fabric?) would respond to being sewn after it dried. I liked the effect of the thin tissue paper, you can still see the color of the paper underneath it. The kimwipes behaved about the same way. The thicker tissue paper changed the color of the underlying paper a bit more but was very nice to work with. It didn't move around or scrunch it when I painted the glue mix over it. I'll try sewing it later will be interesting to see how it does.

Here's a picture of the last one that I did yesterday.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fiber On A Whim Donation Piece

Fiber On A Whim , an awesome mom-daughter shop in Atlanta, has a project going on for the Atlanta Breast Cancer/It's A Journey group. Rather than try to explain it in my own words, I'll just copy what they had on Fiber On A Whim Blog. Can I do that? Oh well, those of you that know me, know that I'm going to do it anyway and deal with the fall out later... It's all for a good cause though!

Brazenly Radiant Art (BRA)
You can make a difference!!
Fiber on a Whim has decided to take the Atlanta Breast Cancer Challenge put forth by It's the Journey, Inc. Simply make a 5 x 7” piece of art using whatever medium you wish and donate it to Brazenly Radiant Art (BRA) sponsored by Fiber on a Whim for It’s the Journey, Inc! It’s the Journey, Inc is a non-profit organization located in Atlanta, GA. They support local research, awareness, and support of breast cancer. FOAW will start collecting all donated artwork immediately. Please make sure it is some of your best. Your donation will be put up for online sale as early as June 15, 2008. The artwork will be available for purchase for a $40 donation to It’s the Journey, Inc. For more information on It’s the Journey, Inc. please visit:
Also feel free to join our yahoo group: BrazenlyRadiantArt_BRA

So, I decided that since I LOVE FOAW (I'm tired of typing the shop name!) and my life has been affected by breast cancer (my grandmother and my husbands mother) I wanted to participate.

I have been working on a couple of different things and because I expect so darn much of myself, it's taking me a while. I need to get over the "it needs to be perfect or at least just right" syndrome cause it's wearing me out/slowing down my creativity/too stressful...anyway, I'll post a couple of pictures of ideas or potential pieces.

If you'll notice , I used the same background fabric in both pieces but they look different. You can't really see it well, but the one with the fiber on it has a thin tulle or netting over it. I plan on going back today and burning some of it off to peak at the fabric underneath. We'll see how it looks. Nothing like a good science class type sewing experience I always say!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Practice Paper Quilt

I've been working on a practice quilt (5" x 7") using the kimwipes. I am trying a lot of different techniques on it and will post them all later. I did try some very simple outline quilting to see how the wipes do with machine stitching. And they did just fine! Next I think I'll try shading with colored pencils and paint sticks.

Oh, I did try doing a " mask" technique with a rubber stamp, h2o and a paintbrush.I'll post the pictures and results later.

Here is a picture of the practice quilt. I love how you can layer image upon image and still see through to the one under it. And you can still see the fabric under it all ! Awesome product and I know that fiber / mixed media folks are going to love it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kimwipe Auction

I sold the original Kimwipe package and have decided to list the auction as a "Buy It Now". I had got a couple of emails about the product and figured this would be the easiest and quickest way to get them to people. I gave samples to Linda Standart, the teacher at Stamps and More By Eleanor. She can do anything with paper, ink, paint, anything to do with paper art and she knits also! She is such an amazing artist and teacher. I can't wait to see what she comes up with! I'll post her findings when I speak with her again.
Please email me at or with any questions or comments. I may be changing my email address over to yahoo if we drop Charter Internet. I'll be sure and let everyone know if I do though.
If the above link to eBay doesn't work , the item number is 300224362997.

Busy Weekend

Whew...What a busy weekend! I went to an awesome class/workshop/monthly club thingy at "Stamps And More By Eleanor" , which is an local stamping/scraping shop, on Saturday. Look here for more great classes I go there for my paper/ink/fiber/stamp fixes...usually leave there with a glazed look on my face...unable to converse logically for about an hour or two. I'm sure that my dh would say that in itself was fairly normal for me...Anyway, I wanted to go to the Altered Book Club meeting but got the times confused and ended up at the Tag Art Workshop. They use Tim Holtz stamps and the alcohol inks to do a different technique every month. I LOVED it! I am going to try and make the workshops every month. They take place the first Saturday of every month at 1:00pm. Anyone out there want to go with me? I soooo long for a fiber art friend that lives close to me ! One that loves to quilt as well. I have a lot of neat paper and fabric that I am willing to share...Perhaps I should put an ad in the local paper...hmmm. maybe I will.

The background of the rust/gold/butterscotch tag was done with the Adirondack Alcohol Inks and the Alcohol Blending Solution. It's a very simple , 2 step technique. If you're interested, I'll be glad to email you or post the directions. We then added images from printouts and placed Tim Holtz Fragments over them , utilizing Glossy Accents. It looks really cool.

The Eiffel Tower one was done with a mix of water, Faded Jeans Distress Ink refill and Perfect Pearls. You then spritz it onto the tag. You can't see the gold sheen sheen on the background but it is there, and it is beautiful! I'm going to try it on fabric next.

Of coarse there are different techniques on the top of each one. If I have time, I may post those as well.

Speaking of "will" , I'll turn the subject to Mother's Day. And the "Will" I speak of is my son, Will. He surprised me with a beautiful card, a yummy candle AND a bag of luscious chocolate! Yes, Will , the kid that once told me that Hallmark came up with Mother's Day so that they could make more There is a picture of the card front above. It reads "Wonderful". Inside it says "That's what you are."

Now, isn't that just wonderful that he picked it all out himself ? I love the flowers on the front of the card and may use there likeness on a smallish fiber project.

My awesome (and handsome) husband gave me 2 dozen roses (wow!) that are really beautiful. I love getting fresh flowers and he often brings them home to me for no particular reason at all. Maybe to ward off bad juju...? Nah, he is just a really good guy. He also cooked me a special dinner Saturday night...champagne and all. Did I mention that he is an AWESOME cook? I guess by now you can tell that I think my husband is terrific...he truly is my knight in shining armor, dents and all.

We went to my mom's in Toccoa Georgia for lunch on Sunday , after church. We took my mom out to eat and my sister, Chrisie and her daughter Bonnie went with us. Man , I can't believe how quickly all the kids are growing up! Bonnie is 14 going on 21. Beautiful blue yes and so slim and curvy...hey wait. What did I just say?!? Curvy, yes! Yikes, my BonBon has curves galore! I'll try to post a picture of the dark haired beauty. She really is the perfect combination of her mom and dad. My mom was so glad to have us all there but we sure did miss my older sister, Cindy. We lost her one year ago to Renal Cell Carcinoma. She was so brave through the whole fight...she was such a giving woman. I know that her 2 sons, Jason and Matt, missed her so much this Mother's Day. There is a hole in all our hearts that will never be filled on this earth...but we will see her one day. All smiles, walking again, helping everybody else out...never a thought for her own comfort...that was my sister.

After Georgia, we went to T.R.'s dads to see his step mom Sandra. They were not home yet so T.R. planted her Mother's Day rose bush in her fabulous rose garden. She has THE most beautiful roses! One florabunda (spelling?) bush had 66 buds on it! 66!! She just has the touch for roses. T.R. and Sabrina (dh's stepsister) fixed dinner while we all consumed adult beverages and visited. My husband made up this great , really fast chicken recipe that he fixed. Everyone loved it and it was E-A-S-Y. You take a pack of dinner rolls. Cut them in half (like you're going to make a "roll sandwich"). Take a rotisserie chicken , pull it apart or shred it. Place this on top of the bottom layer of the sliced roll. Spread BBQ sauce of choice (we used a yellow mustard base one). Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of this. Replace the top layer of the dinner roll and warm/toast in oven. Eat! Enjoy the crowd exclaiming over how great it is!
I will say here that I am truly blessed this Mother's Day. My mom and mom-in-law are such wonderful, caring women that I know I could turn to for anything. I hope that they both know how very much I care for them.
Among all the travel this weekend, I did manage to knit up a wool bag that I am going to felt. The "small project bag" ...hopefully it will turn out ok, as I just made it up as I went...
This morning I had to sit and wait for another appointment and while I waited, I knitted what is going to be a paint brush holder / pencil holder to put on the large work table in my studio. I actually finished it this afternoon AND felted it! Man, I am on a roll here with projects! I just had to sit a lonnnngggg time this am...I'll take pictures when it's done.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Crazy Callie

That is what my husband calls me...Callie was a childhood nick name given to me by my aunt , who (in hind sight) may be able to see into the future. At the time of the nick naming my hair was a white-blond color...and now my hair is, yes it's Callie turns out to be quite the appropiate name for me.

Anyway, I did find a better picture to show the hair thing...and yes, dear husband, I cropped the boobies out of it before I posted it...

Quilting Design

I don't know how well this is showing up but here is the quilting design that I put together for the small paper quilt that I made. The original ornament was from a Dover publication. I'll try to post it and show you how I developed this design. It's a pretty simple yet effective process. I studied Judy Perez's quilting motif in the QA magazine and then looked through , oh, probably hundred's of images until I found one with (what I thought would be) the right shape/look that I was trying to find. Even if I don't use this on the small quilt, I thought I'd use it as a practice piece anyway...just to see how it stitched out. The individual circles may be problems...I might leave them out...that's the good thing about it all...I can always change it as I go, based on what works and what doesn't.