jumpstarting!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2016, run for the 5th time by Nathalie Kalbach. If you're not familiar with CJS, it's a one-of-a-kind online event to kick your creativity into high gear in January 2016.

Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists and crafters. There is SO much cool stuff to learn!

Throughout January participants get 25 downloadable videos from 24 featured artists. I'm proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See for yourself:


Head on over to Nathalie's site to sign up and for more details:

http://nathaliesstudio.com/cjs

You get 25 videos for just $45 (USD) for a limited time if you sign up before December 31, 2015 at 11:59pm (EST)! But wait – it gets better: as my valued reader, you’ll get $5 extra off today. Just use this coupon code during checkout: cjs2016
*This is a limited offer valid from 10:00am Dec 4, 2015 to 11:59pm EST on Dec 11, 2015.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here nathaliesstudio.com/cjs, and apply the coupon code during check out process. Thanks!!
I cannot wait for you to see my video, I had so much fun making it!

keeping secrets

Yup. I've been keeping secrets! But I'm done and ready to spill!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2015, run by Nathalie Kalbach. If you're not familiar with CJS, it's a one-of-a-kind online event to fire up your creativity in Jan 2015.

Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists and crafters.

Creative JumpStart 2015 Trailer from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.

Throughout January participants get 25 videos from 23 featured artists. I'm proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See for yourself:
Head on over to Nathalie's site to sign up and for more details.
You get 25 videos for just $25 (USD).

But wait – it gets better: if you sign up today you’ll get $5 off. Just use this coupon code during checkout: cybercjs
*This is a limited offer valid from 9:00 am Dec 1, 2014 to 8:59 am EST on Dec 2, 2014.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here, and apply the coupon code during check out process.
CJS 2015 is proudly sponsored by Liquitex.

Easter crafting

My Easter egg collage (the bottom row is felted, I'll save that post for another day)
Yesterday I could not resist decorating my house for Easter, before starting my traditional baking marathon. Easter is one of my favorite holidays and the most important in Russian Orthodoxy. There are traditional sweets to bake such as kulich and pascha.

Eggs to color (this year I tried some new naturals dyes, still a mystery in the fridge...). Above are some of the blown out chicken eggs that I have painted with acrylics and nail polish over the years.
The fabric egg display.
For a few years now I have been doing fabric eggs, this year I didn't have chance to make them, but my girls and I sure had fun decorating with our ever growing collection. In my zeal to decorate and share I posted a photo to Facebook and got so many lovely comments on it that I thought I would share my process here.
I start with styrofoam eggs and sand away the ridge. My other ingredient is glue, preferably Modge Podge or a matte medium.
I pick some fabric scraps and randomly cut them into smallish shapes. Fabric selection is important as if it's too thin the glue will seep through and if it's too thick it will not "hug" the egg.
I start by brushing a layer of glue onto my egg and randomly attaching my fabric pieces.
Make sure that the pieces butt up against each other with no spaces showing.
Some overlap is OK as long as the fabric is not too thick.
As I start running out of space, I start cutting my fabric pieces to fit. Hopefully only the last few will need to be trimmed.


Now you can just let the glue dry and leave as is. Or if have some small sequins you can attach them by pushing a pin through the center right into the styrofoam. I have also used brass pins to make designs over the fabric.
Have fun digging into your stash!

teeny tiny collages

so my studio is sparkly clean... so pretty to look at, that I had a bit of a hard time making a mess there again. And if you are like me, you cannot make art without making a mess. I have a few largish projects waiting in the wings, but I just could not get going on them. Luckily I remembered an old trick - start on something small to ease your way back in. I have something coming up (which I will share more on later) that I need small work for, so I decided to make a couple of small collages by recycling scraps from my larger work. I have three baskets of teeny tiny scraps of embroidered, embellished, painted and hand stitched scraps. So before I knew it the couple of collages turned into seven collages. I had a good excuse - seven pretty little frames. I always check the sale bins in various stores and pick up frames that may some day come in handy, as these did this weekend.
So here's how I did the
m. I worked on all of them together and I started by rooting through my baskets and pulling out the scraps that tickled my fancy. Brightly colored and fanciest scraps where needed for this, since the size is so small I wanted the color to make the first impact. I chose the base scraps and trimmed to approximate size if it was needed. Then I started layering the littlest bits and pieces and forming one of my favorite images - the traditional Russian window. Here are a few in these first stages, the brown cardboard and paper squares you see are from the frames, I kept them close to give myself a visual size reference. Here's one of the windows from start to almost finish. I laid out the basic shape with a few of the bigger scraps. Then I added details with smaller scraps and a bit of yarn. Here's whole little quilt sandwich ready for stitching. There is a muslin back, fused to a timtex batting, which is fused to the background fabric and the scraps are held in place with a little bit of glue. This a look at all the collages with their background fabrics fused and ready for the windows themselves. Here are six of the the seven (the seventh is at the top of the post) all done and ready for their frames. Here they are in their frames, what do you think? I think they are cute!

revealed...

Remember when I teased few days ago about a secret project? 'tis not a secret anymore! I made some lovely easy leaves tutorial for Quilting Daily from Quilting Arts Magazine. Hop on over there for a read and make some for yourself! Please share pictures of what you've made, I'd love to see them. Thanks!

how to make a leaf...

Remember that tutorial I promised? Here it is! Have you heard of the International Fiber Collaborative? Jennifer Marsh has a new project in the works - The Tree Project. Interdependence is the operative word, go read all about it and then come back here to see how I did it. And then you can do it your way or my way...

Here are step by step instructions on how to make leaves from dryer sheets (you're very surprised about the use of dryer sheets, right?):
~start with an assortment of well used dryer sheets. I liked having about five sheets per leaf, so figure out approximately how many leaves you're going to make to see how many sheets you'll need. Put the sheets on to a cookie tray or a similar basin and douse them in water. Then open up a jar of paint (textile or acrylic) and liberally dab some onto the sheets with a big brush.
~Let the paint run for a bit and then put some more paint on the sheets. (I chose green for my leaves and then added more green family colors like chartreuse and teal to add depth. You can choose any color you want for your leaves obviously, no need to stick to the green.) Douse all the sheets with water again and let then sit for an hour or more while the color seeps into all the fibers.
~Then, if you wish, add a few more dryer sheets on top, spritz with more water and let sit until the color seeps into these sheets too.
~This is what it all looked like after almost the whole day of sitting around while I went about life with small children..
~When you're satisfied with the colors, pick up the sheets with your gloved hand and kind of fluff them up in the tray before leaving them to dry overnight. This is what mine looked like the next morning, or was it the afternoon?
~Take the sheets off the tray and marvel at the lovely patterning they left behind. Take a picture for future inspiration.
~Then take a few more wet dryer sheets and use them to wipe your tray, can't waste all that paint now can you!
~And look - now you have some light green sheets as a bonus.
~Iron your sheets flat for easier sewing and you'll also be heat setting them if you used textile paint.
~Look at how pretty the color looks on the webbing of a dryer sheet...
~Now make neat sandwiches of your dryer sheets, about five sheets per sandwich and pin in the corners.
~With a light color pencil draw your leaf shape on the top sheet. Conveniently most dryer sheets are close in size to the finished size leaf (5"x7") that is needed for the project.
~Free motion stitch your leaf with the sewing machine. I chose a contrasting variegated cotton thread for some interest on top and a bright yellow cotton thread for the bobbin. And as you can see in the above picture, perfection in your stitching is not necessary, nature is perfect in her imperfections.
~Here are my leaves ready to be trimmed.
~After you trim your leaves, you can add as much additional decoration as you like - beading, embroidery, paint. I went for the acrylic paint and added some yellow swooshes on the bottom side..
~and some bronze swooshes on the top side.

~Then I forgot to take a progress photo of pushing a thin jewelry wire through the center of the leaf. It is not necessary to do that, but it adds a nice touch and allows the leaf to hold its shape. Just push the wire through like a needle following the center stitch line.
~Go outside on a sun shiny day and take picture of the leaves with the sunlight streaming through them.... oooooh... pretty! Now put them in an envelope and send them to The Tree Project before March 15th!