Zombie Felties

Day of the Dead ZombiesI am so excited I can finally post some photos of things I recently made for gifts. The recipients have actually received them, so I’m safe from ruining anyone’s surprises!

This first photo is of two little Day of the Dead Zombies, which a friend and my sister-in-law received as Christmas gifts.

Classic Zombie Mummy

All credit for this project goes to the authors of Zombie Felties: How to Raise 16 Gruesome Felt Creatures  From the Undead. This was an impulsive purchase I made one day when I was browsing JoAnn Fabrics because I thought Chris and Zoe would both really love these little guys. Before this purchase, I’ve had no interest whatsoever in creating little felties and now, thanks to this book and thanks to encouragement from Anderale, I am really enjoying the process, despite the tedious nature of the pattern-cutting process, which I HATE. I mean it. I do not like measuring!!

Here is another zombie from the book. This is your Classic Zombie Mummy, which made its way to New Jersey to hang out with my sister for her birthday. The last three photos here represent his travels with her on his first day in the Big Apple. (captions by Katie)

What's in my coffee?!?
What’s in my coffee?!?
I hope he closes the sale!
I hope he closes the sale!
Step off!
Step off!


prayer flags

After working in the office for a few hours this morning, I stepped outside onto the patio to warm up. Standing there in the sunshine, I was so grateful for so many things, including —

  • Our adorable foster son who raked the whole yard and swept the patio so I could stand out there an enjoy the weather, rather than think about all of the work we needed to do.
  • The sun and how warm and wonderful it felt on my face, while thinking about my family and friends back east who are about to be pummeled by a nor’easter, after being pummeled by a hurricane just a week ago.

I watched my prayer flags flap in the breeze and realized that I never posted a photo of them here! Imagine my surprise when I came to my blog and realized how long it’s been since I posted. I don’t understand how the days can pass so quickly without my even noticing. ANYWAY, here are the flags I made. This photo is not from today, but from this summer, when I actually finished them and put them up.

prayer flags

Praying for rain and reopening the studio!

Tim’s first pea

I have had a nice little “sabbatical” these past few months. Granted, it’s been spent working (the building websites part of my business) and cleaning up my home studio…and moving in all of the STUFF from my old public studio. Turns out I’m pretty happy to be home! Some days I don’t even leave the house if I don’t want to and the dogs are so happy to have me home, giving them treats.

What have I been doing? Working on SO many things! Tim and I are working towards certification to be foster parents in Larimer County, so that’s been a lot of homework and paperwork. I have been revamping this website and my website design business site, as well as redoing my business plan. When I’m not working, I’m journaling, reading, puttering …and hanging out with my little family, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, because that is my new TV obsession.

Since Tim has been so busy growing vegetables in our yard, it’s the least I can do to make the yard pretty in my own way. There are two projects I’m doing.

First, I started by gluing those flat-backed glass marbles to some old sinks we have been holding onto specifically for this purpose. I’ve been planning to do them for years but that FEAR THING kept holding me back. One day, I just dove in, armed with clear caulk and my collection of little glass pieces.

Attempt #1

Here are two finished sinks. I still have two more sinks and an old tub to do — all will become planters in an area of our yard that I’m turning into a pretty and peaceful (hopefully!) meditation garden. I’m not working on them actively right now — there is a lot of smoke in the area from the High Park Fire and it isn’t good to breathe, so I’m staying inside until our awesome firefighters can get that thing put out.

Attempt #2

The second project is making prayer flags to hang off the pergola on our patio. Recently, Cloth Paper Scissors had some info about making them and I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll never learn how to sew well if I don’t practice! There are a few more in progress on my work table, but here are the first two I put outside!

my first attempt at prayer flags

That’s all for today — later this week, I’ll have some good news to share!

Art Unraveled Recap

The Littlest Rose
5 3/4 x 7 1/2 on watercolor paper.
Bird Lady
Acrylic, collage, wax on wood board.

Another Dream in Which I Am Flying
Acrylic on canvas board.
Quilted Laptop Bag

I’ve finally had a few minutes to upload some of my artwork from Art Unraveled. It’s always so fun to take a breath and a step back and then look at the work with new eyes. I could tell you everything I hate about these pieces, but I won’t. I will tell you how they came about and what I do like about them, though! Some of them are finished, some may get a little more work — some detailing, or will become part of another piece of artwork. (Yes, that means I may tear things up. It’s ok, I’m brave!) Some of it is here, and the rest is on my Flickr site. You can click on these to go there and see them larger, with descriptions.

Art Unraveled was great. I had missed it last year, so I tried to make sure I really enjoyed it this year. It was so wonderful to

  • see my friends
  • take a vacation (mostly — I did do some web work while I was there)
  • make art and relax.
  • I made new friends, too, which was extra cool.

I didn’t really stretch myself in terms of the classes I took, but it was nice to have the extra time to try new things and keep working on the skills I’m trying to improve.

I stayed at the hotel with Leighanna, with the intention to move to Fran’s house on Sunday. That was thwarted when Fran’s husband got sick with a stomach thing and when my doctor called to inform me that my ankle was fractured (something I wish that she told me before I left for AZ!). So, the trip was a little more expensive than I would have liked, but I really do love staying at hotels. I love the soft sheets, especially. And this hotel has the most comfortable pillow top mattresses and soft pillows, I have never been so happy and willing to go to sleep at night! I also love the happy hour and the little kitchen area in the room, where we had a little version of Trader Joe’s to munch on for lunches and snacks. 🙂

Katie Kendrick taught us how to look at other artwork and use it as inspiration. Since I don’t do a lot of faces and people, I was extremely frustrated with my first attempt, The Blessed Mother is Laughing at Me! I ended up doing some intuitive painting and the other two I did in this class were a little more satisfying.

From Alex Shur, I learned how to use tube watercolors and assorted non-traditional techniques I can use with them. This appealed to me greatly, because I don’t ever intend to follow many rules in my art. I’ve used pan watercolors since college, so stepping up to tube colors was really cool. I painted a lot in this class and have a lot of works in progress as well as pieces to use in other work.

From Traci Bautista, I learned her method for developing project ideas. This was extremely reassuring, because I already do a lot of what she showed us. Neat!

Judy Wise‘s class was GREAT — the Bird Lady (above) is from that class. Judy is a very good teacher and she showed us her techniques for using collage, paint and wax to create depth and really interesting compositions. At the last minute, I decided to add one more class, since I didn’t feel stretched.

Monday night, I took a Crafty Chica (Kathy Cano Murillo) class. I had seen my friend Joanne’s bag, which she made after taking a similar class with CC. I sew a little, but still have some fear of sewing through my finger. It’s great to learn from Kathy because she just eyeballs it and doesn’t use a pattern and “figures things out.” I admire her so much!

OH! I got to meet Joanne, who is just wonderful and was so much fun to hang out with. She makes me LAUGH! I’m so happy about how much time she and Fran and I got to spend together.

And on Saturday night, we watched the 1000 Journals movie, and had a Q&A session with Someguy, the dude who got that whole thing in motion. The movie was a little long, but was really interesting. Then we had a chance to put our own marks in a few of the journals he brought with him. I decided it was a good opportunity to connect my Wreck This Journal experience with AU and 1000 Journals and I brought a page from Wreck This Journal, did some stuff to it and pasted it in. If you ever get 1000 Journals book #742, I’m in there.

1000 Journals cover My page in journal #742
Unfortunately, my Palm Centro camera isn’t that great and we can’t read this now. But it was stamped in each of the books and shows the journal number Cover of the book I worked in. My page that I glued into the book and doodled on.

recent mini quilts, journaling, collage and cards

I have been very very busy finishing Christmas gifts (yes, really) and, more recently, valentines. I’ve also been working on the Collage Challenge with Crowabout and assorted swaps. I have so much to show, so I put a few of each type of item here (click on photos to see larger version), but there are a lot more on my Flickr site.

Mini quilts. These are fun and I’m finally getting the hang of using my machine. I’m no expert, but I like the way these are all coming out. The base fabric is stuff I painted in workshops with Lisa Englebrecht (Maybe I’ll actually finish the projects I started in Lisa’s workshops someday!) last year. The two that say “hope” are for my youngest brothers and there’s a pocket made from a Hambly overlay that holds a prayer card from our dad’s funeral, which was last year on 2/14. The card is of St. Jude, who was my dad’s favorite saint (and is my second favorite). St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases (and policemen) and I thought my brothers would like a little something to remind them to have hope for whatever their dreams may be. Recently I thought that gluing pony beads on the ends of the hanging stick would finish off the look nicely and I was right! Very happy with these.

Mini quilt for my brother Steve and his
wife. A belated Christmas 2008 gift!
Mini quilt for my brother Mike. A belated
Christmas 2008 gift!
This was Jennie’s Christmas gift and
it was less late than the ones for my family.

Collage stuff. I’ve been trying each week to find a little time to participate in the Collage Play With Crowabout challenge. Here are a few of the recent collages I’ve done using images from that challenge. If you are interested in playing along with us, email Nancy and ask for an invite. Let her know traypup sent you! I’m really enjoying art journaling lately and will be posting more pages from my journals in my next post.

Crowabout challenge week 20.
Crowabout challenge week 21.
Crowabout challenge week 22. The heads
are my mom and myself about 40 years ago.

Cards. Sometimes I have a hankering to make a ton of cards. I can’t bear to buy them in the store because I feel like making them from scratch means so much more. Plus, I have all of the stuff! So I collected all of my Valentine’s Day-related supplies and sat on the sofa watching movies with my husband and made a ton of cards. Here are a few:

Vday 2009 card for Devin
Assorted Vday cards
You make my heart whirl

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! There is lots more that I’ll be writing about this week. I’m excited to get back into the swing of things.

Art Quilt #2!

I am so excited, I can’t even wait until tomorrow to do my weekly post! Tonight, I finished my second art quilt. I got a little more into this one than the last one because I added batting and all sorts of fun charms and embellishments. The hanger is a stick from our yard and noodly copper wire with some beads. The background is a piece of canvas I painted in Lisa Englebrecht’s workshop.

I really like the idea of mixing up all of the things I love: paper, scraps, transparency, rub-ons, charms, sparkly paint and now….stitching! It is so rewarding to add some stitches to my work. I feel like something has been missing for a while and this might be it! I know I’m a little late to the bandwagon, but I don’t care — I am hooked!

Huge thanks to Fran for helping me understand the steps in the process and talking through the hanger thing with me over IM tonight. I seriously couldn’t do half of the stuff that I do without her encouragement.

My First Art Quilt…

…Hell, it’s my first foray into fabric art, for that matter. *facepalm* Because I need one more type of craft to get into, right? Right. And you know why? Because Lisa Englebrecht told me so. Well, she didn’t tell me in so many words, but oh my gosh, her work is glorious and she makes it look so easy to make such beautiful letters. I want to make amazing wall hangings, too!
Then it occurred to me that I can use my stamps and doodling to make beautiful lettering. And I can use all of my regular old paper collage techniques and just transfer it to the fabric stuff. Fabric doesn’t need to be scary anymore!

The other revelation of the week is that a sewing machine doesn’t scary me anymore. This is huge, people. I vaguely remember using a tiny sewing machine when I was young. Maybe it was my mom’s old Singer from when she was a kid. I remember sewing tiny pillows and blankets for Barbie and sewing little booklets together. I don’t know just when I started to be completely afraid that I’d sew through my own finger. LOL

Mom wanted a sewing machine for Christmas, so I recommended to my brother to get the Hello Kitty one by Janome since it was highly recommended and inexpensive, but much better quality than that $10 crappy one you can get for paper at the craft store. For some reason, they sent him two, so mom gave me the other one for my birthday.

I received it in February and I looked at the box for months. I took it out of the box after the Lisa Englebrecht classes. I looked at it for a week. Then I took it to the kitchen table and looked at the booklet and learned all of the parts. Then, this weekend, I learned how to fill a bobbin and thread the machine and I played with scrap fabric and stitched what could have been a bean bag, had I had some beans to fill it with.

Upon the advice of Fran, I got a needle to use with metallic thread today and went to town. I started out by using a painted piece I made in Lisa’s class and I stenciled on the swirls with Color Mists. Then I stamped on it with gesso and foam stamps. I wrote the quote with a tough wash pen I bought from Lisa and then sewed on the little dove bead I had lying around for years, waiting for the perfect project.

A chopstick is sewn into the top and I tied cord around the ends. A little handmade bead Andrea sent me is up on the cord, right below where the hanger is. This piece is going to my friend Wendy for her birthday, which is at the end of this month. It isn’t perfect, it’s crooked, and I smudged it a little but I love it and I think she will, too!