"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


No, I'm not talking about the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament...though I am doing quite well with my brackets. I would be doing better if Florida State hadn't lost in the first round.

March has turned into a bit of a crazy month. First it snowed, then I was sick for about a week, and in all of this I have been working madly making bottlecap jewelry for a sale at the end of April. I feel like I have so much to do!! Oh, did I mention my daughter has been off school for three weeks due to the "year-round" schedule she is on? She goes back next week and we have done a boatload of cleaning out in her room (it's looking great!). I did manage to accomplish one creative thing, and another is in the works which I hope to finish this week. Above is the house I made for Gabriela for the bi-monthly house swap on Textile Challenges. This is the same swap that is scoring me the gorgeous tropical beach cabanas. I am so grateful that it is bi-monthly!! Gabriela's theme was "homes around the world" and of course I could not pass up the opportunity to represent Guatemala!

If you google "Antigua Guatemala house" (or "street") you will see images from the colonial capital that inspired me. Antigua's streets are cobblestone, bordered by narrow sidewalks and connected house fronts. The walls are generally stucco and brightly painted. I used clear caulk on blue fabric to represent the stucco and then lightly rubbed a darker blue to give some detail to the roughness of the paint. The homes generally have a large wooden door, which I represented by some hand painted and stamped handmade paper. The window (often just one) is often shuddered and protected by iron bars ... as much to protect from road debris as from rifraf.

The roof is spanish tile - which I represented with a gorgeous coppery fabric. I fused the fabric to paper and ran it through a crimper to get the grooves, then brushed copper paint on top to accentuate the raised areas. It's hard to see in the photo. Some of the houses are topped with a cupola, but never a pointy roof. The only hint to the gorgeous courtyard that awaits those invited in is the cascade of flowers spilling over the roof. These were punched from an aluminum can.

I really had a lot of fun representing the homes of Antigua Guatemala in fabric. I think my challenge for May is "Victorian". I'm glad I have a while to think about it!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Treasures in the Mail

I've received some really lovely things in the mail lately, and I wanted to share them with you. First off, my friend Tracy sent me this unbelievably gorgeous journal. We are in a dyeing group together and on this group they play Bingo (sounds strange but it's lots of fun). The winner receives a "small" gift from the hostess and then gets to host the next round. Well, Tracy was the host and I won! She sent me this wonderful journal. No small gift! The pictures don't do it justice. It is hand dyed bamboo fabric and eyelash yarn. The yarn looks royal blue in these photos, but it is more turquoise. It is stunning.
Tracy has an Etsy shop called Squiggle Chick Designs. She has some amazing things for sale, including some to-dye-for journals ... so check it out!
I also received my second tropical beach cabana for the swap om Textile Challenges. This one is from Marie Nutt (I'm not aware of a blog). Isn't it wonderful? She made a hammock from a piece of vegetable netting. I just love it. It reminds me of Key West.

And finally a while back I joined a black and white charm swap with Amber Dawn.

I made bottlecap charms (mine is in the middle with the dove) and here are the charms I received back. They are wonderful and I can't wait to put them on a bracelet.
I feel so lucky to be connected to so many talented artists and to share in the treasures they make. Hopefully those who receive my work feel the same way.

Friday, March 6, 2009

In like a Lion

Well, the first week of March sure has been an eventful one! We went from 70s to snow in three days (and back to 70s today). Kids were off school on Monday, then home sick on Wednesday, busy busy busy and not getting much done. Next week doesn't look much better, but hopefully the weather will cooperate and no one will get sick!

I made an ATC a few weeks ago for a challenge ... there was no guidance, just make an ATC. This is what I came up with.

I had a small piece of coppery background left over from an old project, so I started with that. Then I couched a fancy yarn onto the background in vertical rows, using copper thread. I was surprised at the effect of this technique - and I really like it! I will use it a lot, I think. It has a very interesting feel. I had a leftover inchie, a metal word and a small piece of copper mesh to add the details. I was really happy with how it turned out, and I get to keep it!

I then used the same technique to make this leaf. It is going to be a part of the International Fiber Collaborative (click on The Leaf Project). I need to mail it TODAY because it is due by the 15th. Nothing like the last minute!
I've received some really awesome treasures recently that I want to share with you. Check back soon and hopefully I will have the photos loaded.