My Favorite Books

Saturday, October 31, 2009



I thought these little dogs were SO cute next to their pumpkin look-a-likes!
Weather is really strange the past few days. Winds over 45 mph yesterday and again today but the temp actually got up to 68 last night around 9 p.m.! It's only suppose to get in mid 50's today and still very windy for the little ones.
Off to do some work!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fish and Chips?

In Florida, one of our favorite restaurants is Stumpknocker's and I always get their deep fried shrimp which is wonderful and Bob loves their catfish. We just haven't found a restaurant in Michigan that has good deep fried, not breaded, shrimp. So Bob and I decided to go out to dinner (we eat early!) at one of our favorite fish restaurants, O'Malley's Galley with fish in mind. We just love their fish and chips.

But when I started looking at their menu, I noticed a shrimp basket with beer battered shrimp! I mentioned to Bob they had beer battered shrimp and so we both ordered shrimp for dinner. Well, it was FANTASTIC! We've been eating at O'Malley's for years! and never ordered their shrimp but we sure will now! The batter isn't as thin as the batter at Stumpknockers but it was great! Funny, how we just never thought to look further then the fish on their menu.

I did finish my big project on the computer which now allows me time to get back to sewing! I sewed on more beads this afternoon on Frankenthaler so I felt a little productive. Funny, how if I'm not sewing I just feel like I'm wasting time.
Today was the first time in over a week I didn't have a full blown sinus was mild this a.m. and after 'drugs' not too bad. Mary and I went yesterday to take down the Inspired by the Masters exhibit and then to lunch. I had a headache yesterday but it didn't stop me from enjoying a nice lunch out with Mary and her great grand daughter, Carmella. She is a sweetheart and really smart! I attribute that to Mary and her teaching Carmella.
So now to go downstairs and do some playing. I did wash out the one piece I stamped with the Letter 'E'. I'm thinking it will be a good journal piece to bead for the month of Nov. 2010. 'E' will stand for the 11th month! OK, that's stretching it a bit but I thought I'd add some type of 'nature' stamping, quilting or something on it as well. I'm sticking with the theme of 'Art of nature' for my bead journals/BJP 2010.
Very windy today and mist although the temp was 60 when we drove to dinner...more wind tomorrow which is Halloween. Just hope it doesn't rain on the kids for Trick or Treating!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mid Week

Not sure what all I've been doing this week...seems like nothing but I'm busy...hmmmmmmmm Beading on my Frankenthaler...I did rip out some beading because I didn't like the color of the beads on the background...sure does take time to bead but it is relaxing.

I did make a fiber post card to thank Kathy and Don for the wood blocks. I wanted something not too girlie and simple.
And I did use my 'stamp' from Ruthie Powers on the back. I have an idea for this stamp but I want to check with Ruthie to make sure it's ok. More on that later.
And I did print with my wood stamps! This is the letter 'E'! Feel like I'm on Sesame street! I'm going to wash out this piece today. I do love those stamps.
Weather has been wet and dry, sunny and dark..typical fall days but at least no snow or freezing cold. Temps have been in the mid to high 50's and even low 60's a few days.

Kids and I will go to the library today (we're going every two weeks now) and I know they enjoy that. My friend, Carol, who works at Borders, recommended this book for my grandson. It's by Tedd Arnold. I picked it up at the library and he thought it was great! We read the book 3 times before his dad got home then Nick had Darrin read it twice! After dinner last week, Nick took the book across the street for his friend to read. As I was leaving, his friend, Nick and his friend's mom were sitting on the front steps of their house reading this book. It's a must for kids starting to read. There is a sequel call 'More Parts'. I've been trying to get my computer cleaned up and pics organized. I usually do a pretty good job of it but noticed that I have lots of pics that can be deleted. So cleanup time! Plus, I like to get files organized to take to Florida. Enough of to do some work.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So Lucky!

I am SO lucky and fortunate to have some really great friends! Yesterday, at our library book sale, a friend of mine and her husband stopped by to 'look' at some of the books. While we were talking, Kathy mentioned she had a wood type printing set with a cabinet. And guess what! A few minutes after they left I see Kathy back at the sale and saying "we have something for you, where's your car!". Guess what!! Kathy and her hubby Don GAVE me the entire wood block printing set and cabinet! I felt like it was Christmas!!! I was SO excited!! I can't thank them both enough for this 'gift'!!!

Here are the blocks laying in the cabinet! Aren't they beautiful. Don said his father refinished the cabinet. I think it was actually a drawer they used to hold their blocks. I'm going to have Bob hang it in my sewing area.

Here is a closeup of some of the blocks. There were two tin stencils (Q and P) included.
And on the pictures to see some of the unique stamps. Some of them made of heavy metal.
and now the letter "E" which is approximately 3"x7".

And the letters "A" and "O" which are approximately 6" x 10"

Are these wonderful or what!!!! I'm going to carry them downstairs and try to do some stamping today. The sun is shining and perhaps I'll even open up the door and let some fresh air in. It's 54 degrees and a beautiful fall day.
Again, I can't thank Kathy and Don enough for these blocks. I'll certainly use them in my art work and will always remember the kindness of these wonderful folks in allowing me to care for one of their memento's.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mid Week

Last night at our fiber guild meeting we did some more surface design techniques using an article in the current issue of Quilting Arts magazine as our inspiration. Actually, my friend was suppose to being doing the technique this month but due to a back injury she wasn't able to make it. Hope you're feeling better, Karen!! Anyway, I did the technique for her with assistance from my friend Carol,who had to read the steps to me, along with the rest of the ladies.

Basically, it was monprinting or collagraph printing (which was what the article called this process). We created some type of collage on foam or using sticky foam pieces on Plexiglas and then applied paint to this collagraph plate; misted the paint; placed our dry fabric on top of the plate; misted the fabric and rubbed the raised foam areas to pick up the paint. Here are some of my results using some of my hand dyed fabric and also pieces from our technique last month.

Some of the pieces came out really nice and will make good journal background fabrics. The white piece is a piece of paper towel Joetta suggested I use to make a ghost print.

And this is my finished October art of nature journal piece. I'm happy with the way it turned out. The fabric was from our fiber meeting last month when we did the gelatin printing. I have two more pieces left that I'm going to work on hopefully while in Florida. I would like to somehow use the pieces together as a triptych. This is a shot of our tree in the front yard (facing the street). Thought our Florida friends would like to see a picture of fall. Some trees and shrubs in Ocala do change but not the same as here. I've been taking pics of this tree and another one every day for the past few days. Can't wait to put them together for a picture.
Wed. Amber made a great dinner for us! Chicken enchilada's! YUM! She did a great job and I was so wrapped up in watching her make the dinner I forgot to take pics. I did finally remember at dinner so I snapped this shot of the kids eating.

Today is our set up for the library book sale. That usually takes sometime to get all the books and tables set up. Tomorrow is the big sale and I hope we make some money. I'm starting to feel better. Dr. seems to think it could be meds I'm on or just a normal 'flare up' of RA. I'm still better off then a lot of people so I'm trying to ignore it and keep on truck'in! Have too much art work left in me to I better get off the computer and get busy before I have to leave for the day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Not feeling so hot the past few days so beading and knitting have been keeping me 'sane' and not thinking (too much!) about how bad I do feel..
This was the gelatin mono print I did at our CCC Sept meeting. I thought it would be perfect as a background for some stitching and beading for my Oct. Art of Nature journal quilts. I finished quilting it last week so started on some stitching and beading this week. This shows some hand stitching.

I started adding some bead work this week. This color pic is a lot more true to what it looks like...not sure about the coloring on the pic above. A photographer I am not!

Here is a closeup of the beading. I reference Margart Ball's book, 'Embeadery' often in my beadwork. I love her book and other beader's books as well. In fact, I just sent in an order for two of Robin Atkin's books! Can't wait for those!!

This is a piece I did back in 2007. I had the hand dyed background piece which was quite small and I had some painted tyvek pieces so what else to do but combine them. I still couldn't figure out what to do after I quilted and burned the tyvek so again, what not add some beading to it. I think this was the first time I tried some of Margaret Ball's Embeadery techniques.

Here's a closeup of the beading. It turned out to be one of my favorite 'scrap' pieces!

So back to the couch to sit and bead...I did take Mandy for a walk around the sub today. We both needed to breath some fresh air. Temperature was in the low 60's! Not as sunny as yesterday but still quite pleasant. Bob's still golfing...go figure!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This is for our friend, Lois Ann in Italy!

We had our Aussome fiber group meeting today at one of our members homes (Carol T.). Carol prepared a great lunch!! She's sending us the recipe for the roasted leek potato soup!! It was SO good! After our show and tell, a little talking and dessert we headed off to Birmingham to see Mary's fiber work at the Our Town exhibit. Mary was juried into this show so we were pretty excited for her! The art work was great but of course we thought Mary's work was just outstanding and looked so wonderful on exhibit.

So for our friend, Lois Ann, who moved to Italy last year we send this greeting!! We miss you but you were in our thoughts today for sure!!!

I'm also posting some knitting projects I finished this week...I didn't get my beads purchased until Wed. to put on my latest Inspired by the Masters piece (Frankenthalener) so I cleaned out my beading cabinet instead and knitted. Good time to start some knitting projects and finish some others!

The first is a beanie hat I made in one didn't take any time at all. Very simple will make a nice hat for Amber's dolls or if my head shrinks and I decide to wear a beanie.......
The 2nd one is a lace scarf I finished. It's smaller then others I've made but it was supposed to have a flower (knitted) attached. I gave the yarn away at one of the quilt guild auctions this past week so I'm going to add beading on the edges to make it appear longer. The picture shows the piece folded so it's a little larger then what you see here!
The last one is a twisted knitted scarf from the 1st Threfold journal by Linda and Laura Kemshall & Catherine Nicholls. I love these journals as well as their new Design Matters TV they have on the web. I've made 3 of these scarfs and they are fun to wear.

So Sunday will be a trip to the Farmers Market to get some more Granola which I love from the Bake Shop and Coffee House in Owosso. Their Maple Cherry is the best..wish they had a web site but you can order by phoning them (989-729-2253). Hope to get lots of the beading done on my Frankenthaler while watching our Lions!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

"You're making what?" "For what?"

I'm sure the title of this post is something my friends will ask - along with my hubby, although I haven't shown him yet - just because I know what his response will be! I've seen a few articles on making 'acrylic skin' to use in collage work, etc. so I thought I'd give it a try! Why not, right!

The first step was to paint some acrylic paint onto a plastic material (I understand you can use freezer paper (I'd assume shiny side?) too. I squirted several lines of Liquitex soft body paint on to the plastic then used a squeegee to spread the paint. I let this dry for over 24 hours. It needs to be totally dry before the next step.
Next I only have InkAid for non-porous areas left from my sample kit (my next 'try' will be on to metal!) so I thought I'd give this a try (I have some Golden Digital Ground on order but it's not due in until Nov.). First I applied a coat of InkAid horizontally, then vertically, allowing each coat to dry in between. Again, you want each coat to be totally dry before you apply the next coat. I understand you can also try this technique using a matt medium mixed with acrylic paint and just apply that in one step.
And this was my result! The 'skin' did peal off the plastic fairly easily and you can see the InkAid (clear area) on the top edge of the painted area.
This picture shows the edge turned over. I wanted you to see how it picked up the print from the plastic I had painted on. If you click on the very first picture where I painted the acrylic paint, you can see printing. This plastic is from some flowers I received years ago! I use it to paint on. I just thought it was interesting to see the transfer of the print on the back of the 'skin'. Maybe InkAid can be used for transfer printing as well...something to research.
So now what to do! Print on it, of course! Not sure why I picked the next two pictures. I wanted black and white pictures but I was too anxious to see how the skin would print.
This was one picture I selected to's a rubbing with oil pastels using a round place mat.

And this was the other picture I selected. This is part of my underwater fantasy piece I did in 2008.

I took the 'skin' and used masking tape to hold down a side and top edge. When I do it again, I'll use painters tape. I had a hard time removing the tape. And here they are printed out.

So what am I going to do with 'the skin' ? Heck, if I know..but I did it, it was fun, a new technique and I think I really will try it again. But I'll have a color scheme in mind and specific pictures I want to print. It really is fun!

This week I started another Art of Nature journal quilt using one of the gelatin mono prints we did last month at our Complex Cloth Club meeting. Here's a picture of the print I started with.
Here the piece is in progress. I'm going to continue adding some more hand stitching and some beads, of course! This might be the first of my bead journal project for 2010...I'm still not clear if we start in Oct. or Jan. Guess I need to confirm that. I do like the colors of the piece and the brown background fabric is from Dijanne (Cevall) which i thought added to the piece.

So that's all for this week. Sat., Carol is having five of us over for a lunch then we're off to see Mary's entry in the 'Our Town' exhibit. Can't wait to see all the wonderful art and Mary is part of this! How exciting! But justly deserved! Mary's work is wonderful!! Check out some of her work on her web site here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ruthie Powers Stamps

I follow Ruthie Powers blog and love her stamps. On one of her posts last week she had a 'give a way' for one of her leaf stamps, which I was fortunate enough to win along with some others! I was so excited to see my leaf stamp was here when I returned from Ann Arbor on Sunday! Check out her blog as she has another give a way this week!
Here is the leaf stamp I won! How cool is that! Can't wait to try it out...maybe today!

You need to go to Ruthie's web site to see more of her great stamps. I love these Notan like designs she makes. Here's some of her stamps.

I took these pics of Mandy before we did her 'day job' at Hospice. Doesn't she look like, "leave me alone". "You know I don't like my picture taken." She is so funny!

This is how the patients saw Mandy yesterday. I think the staff enjoyed seeing her more than the patients! We did have some nice visits with family and patients. It does make me feel good that we can take folks away from where they are to that place where dogs make you feel so good.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ilze Aviks Workshop

Wow! What a great workshop we had this past weekend with Ilze! She is a wonderful instructor and so passionate about her art. That enthusiasm was just contagious!! You can see some of her art work on her web site to get a better idea of what she does. And these are not small pieces!

It was also fun to be with Carol for the weekend to eat, talk, eat, talk, eat, get the picture! A fun girls weekend along with some education!

This was walking into our hotel room which turned out to be a handicap room! Not sure why we were given that room but it worked out nicely.

Our bedroom!

We even had this cute little table so both mornings we brought our food back to the room and ate breakfast...we did open the curtains so we had a nice view of outside!

So what do you think this is??? A galaxy? Oh, this was funny...Carol spotted this star on the pavement in the parking lot on our walk Friday night after our dinner. We did leave it in the parking lot although I felt badly about that....poor little star!
So onto the workshop.....Some of the ladies working away on their stitching!
Ilze started us off by working on one piece of fabric and using it as a sampler for all the different stitches she showed us. Here's Carol being very intent on her stitching.

These were our two neighbors pieces (you can click on the pic to see them better).

Some more samplers in their hoops still being worked on.

This is Carol's sampler piece. She brought linen for us to stitch on which turned out quite nice.

This is my sampler piece. Again, you can click on both Carol and my piece to see them closeup.

Next we worked with disperse/fabric crayons, transferring a pattern to polyester fabric. Same method I've done with the disperse dyes but this time it was drawing with a crayon which was fun. Here's a pic of our critiquing by Ilze and the group. It was so interesting to get feedback from the class in addition to Ilze. Just wonderful!

Here is Carol's transfer and stitching. We had to stitch one area that we didn't care for the color and make it into something and the other one we had to add density to it. Carol added french knots to the left drawing and her density work is on the right. I really liked the yellow french knots. Carol thought the yellow would change to orange over the red and I would have thought so too..but it didn't.

This was my piece. The stitching on the left was my density piece and the right side I added couching. I used a funky green and couched with yellow then I switched to purple to couch with. Again, click on pic to see the image better.

Next lesson was collage work. We had to use the transfer crayons onto organza and add other fabrics under the transfer organza and stitch the pieces to a background fabric. I'm still working on my piece and in fact I did some more stitching on it last night. I'll post pics of it later this week. This is just my transfer onto the organza.

This is Carol's piece. Isn't it cool! I love the colors. She put black and white fabric under her transfer in places and it turned out really nice.

These are the entire classes collage pieces. You really need to click on the pic to see the stitching. We took turns getting up close and personal to see each of the works.

This was Sonja Hagen's collage piece. Isn't it cool!

Some other collage pieces which are wonderful!

That's all I have! It was a great class and I would take another workshop from Ilze in a heartbeat. I did get my suitcases all put away last night as soon as I got home BUT my sewing room is a mess! I was taking items out to show Bob and then I wanted to stitch last night so again just grabbing items from my bag. So off to put that room back together so I can work!!