"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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Interview on Be@Home

I had the great fortune to be interviewed by the lovely Michele of the blog Be @ Home. Click HERE to read the interview and a review of my blog. I was thrilled to be selected and I hope when you are finished reading the interview, you will click on the "Home" key and check out all the other cool things Michele has going on.

And since I can't leave you without a picture - here are some diminutive computer chip earrings, about 1/4" square, that were fun to make, even if they did leave me a bit cross-eyed.
Finally, Natasha, if you are reading this, I appreciated your comments so very much, but I have no way to get in touch with you to send you the information you requested. Please drop me an email and I will send you the information.

Thanks, and Happiest of Holidays to All!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Salvaged Selvage

A friend of mine saves her scraps for me, and that includes selvage. As I've accumulated it, I've wondered what I would do with it. When I trim the selvage off a fabric I'm using, it's pretty easy to just toss it in the trash ... but when I am staring at a whole bag full of selvage? Then it just seems wasteful. So I started stitching the selvage together and came up with this nifty little zippered pouch. I added (after this photo was taken) a larger lobster claw type clip to the zipper and now I can fit my cell phone in the pouch and clip it to my belt loop and I am good to go! I love it. I kept one for myself and the rest will find their way into my etsy shop (eventually, when I've managed to edit all the photos I took!)
I also made up several with my hand painted dryer sheets. The main body of the pouch is exactly the right size for one dryer sheet. A lucky convenience! These were the colors I happened to have already painted. If the weather ever warms up, I'll get outside and paint some more.

And finally the little bits of selvage that were too short to make into a pouch have found a new home as a coffee sleeve. I love the colors and the graphic nature of the dots. The only problem is that I've used up that entire bag of selvage! So I will just have to wait for my quilty friends to give me some more.
Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

(not) Tossing Out Technology

I was fortunate to get a box of computer chip samples from a friend whose company was going to throw them out. Don't they make great pendants? I only have about a dozen of the square ones, but I've got gobs of rectangles!!!

So what else can I do with these? I would love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


It's been so long since I've blogged that I almost couldn't remember my password! How crazy is that. I have been busy. I stepped up the number of festivals I attended this fall, so I have spent most of my time keeping my inventory levels up. I am sure you do not want to hear about pounded bottle caps every day! So here are some of the other things I've been making ... I had a little bit of covered clothesline left over from the bowl I made and shared in my last post. I finally got the idea to turn it into these cuff bracelets. I really like how they came out. I have more clothesline and am planning to make more with my more interesting hand dyes and batiks.
I nearly sold out of my altered altoid tins (I only had one left!) so I spent some time making a few more. They really are a lot of fun. The one with the skull is my favorite.
I have been tie dyeing shoe laces like a madwoman. They are so much fun! I have 45" (low top) and 63" (high top) available in my etsy shop. This pair is one of my favorites.
And I've been using those old felted wool sweaters that have been languishing on a shelf for want of an idea. I would say I am using them up, but there is quite a bit of material available in one sweater! I am also making cuff bracelets with some of the leftovers. The crochet flowers have been a fun little project to take on the go. I have my friend Carolyn to thank for the leftover bits of yarn from her knitted dish cloths.
Speaking of crochet ... I am on my third blanket made from yarn purchase from The Scrap Exchange ... each blanket cost around $5. I've enjoyed dusting off my crochet hooks (finally).
I have one more show this weekend at a local high school. I am really looking forward to it. I have made about 3-4 dozen new ornaments this week, and a bunch of poetry bracelets. Today I am going to work on those aforementioned cuff bracelets and maybe some dryer sheet wallets. With any luck I will have more to share with you before the week is out. Thank you for visiting and baring with my little blogging hiatus!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tutti Frutti

I decided I needed to take a break from pounding bottle caps and do something different. I dyed this fabric last year. It was a white tone-on-tone and I love how the flowers resist the dye. The problem was that there was way too much pink for my taste. I like the top and left sides, but the rest, well, what to do with all that pink? Last year, on a whim, I also bought the pattern to make fabric bowls with strips of fabric and cotton clothesline. I've been wanting to try it, but you know how it goes, I just never took the time to do it. Well, I decided to use this fabric, and here is my new bowl ...
I made the smallest size the pattern offered, but made the sides a little taller. It is pretty big! And I love it. Yeah, still a lot of pink but at least it is tempered by the other colors. So I've decided it is my new fruit bowl.

What do you think? Hey, at least I know I can wash it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Loco Laces

Empty dye bottles - you know what that means ... I finally got my dyes back out. Today's victims? Shoelaces!

Aren't they yummy? And the best news is ... there's lots more! I plan to carry them in my shop. If my tween doesn't take them all before I get the chance!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One Wild Summer

I find it rather amusing that I was just wondering what happened to July. Here we are half way through September. Silly of me to think I was going to get much accomplished this summer, and now we are knee deep in all the activities that fall with teenagers brings.

Meet the newest member of our family ... Jasper ... this little guy showed up at our door and decided to stay. He was skinny and flea ridden, but how could we say no? He's very sweet and hasn't even asked to go outside since the day we brought him in. I think he is happy to have a home ...
I made this fish piece for my August show at Eye of the Eagle. The fish are painted dryer sheets and I used lots of odds and ends for the background. I did a bit of hand stitching and beading as well. I finished it just in time for the show, so these photos I have are actually of it hanging in the gallery.

I just received an order from Dharma ... an assortment of scarves, shoelaces (yes, I am going to dye them!) and soy wax to try my hand at batik. Maybe I will have something fun to share with you soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou July?

Well, this summer sure is flying by! I haven't posted anything here mainly due to computer issues, or rather server issues. Actually we don't know what the issue is. We have a temporary workaround while we try to figure it out, but I haven't been online much.
I completed my 3rd t-shirt quilt and it is getting easier. I think this one came out nice. It was the first one I did for a boy. He's off to college this fall. I hope he enjoys it!
I also made a load of charms for Christi over at Earth Traditions. She makes Celtic and earth-themed jewelry and will be incorporating these charms into her designs. It was a lot of fun to go Irish for a bit.
I am sending off another package of jewelry to Art & Soul in Beaufort NC. I'm so glad things are selling well there. And The Raleigh City Museum will be carrying my jewelry, beginning in August, so that is next on my list. I'll be using only NC brewery (and soda) caps for their museum shop.
My show at Eye of the Eagle in Clayton opens August 1st. The reception is Friday the 6th and if you are in the area, I'd love for you to come!
That's about all for me right now. Here's hoping our internet issues are resolved soon and I can get back to blogging on a more regular basis. Thanks for stopping by!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Felting Finished!

I finished the felted piece that I first showed you back in mid-May. I made some cording on my machine and hung it from a bamboo rod. I stitched some shells with natural holes to the cording. I think the rod needs something as it looks rather plain. Any suggestions? I may dip the ends is glue or UTEE and beads. I'm just not sure.
As I worked along, I wasn't sure how I was going to finish the edges. I finally decided that I liked all the raw edge pieces going on and wanted to leave them. I backed the whole piece with a bit of hand dyed scrim that was just the right size. I think it was a good decision.
Here's a close up. The whole piece is hand needle-felted, hand stitched, and hand beaded. It's about 12" x 15" not including the hanging parts. Now I need to figure out what to call it! This is one of the pieces that will hang at Eye of the Eagle in Clayton in August.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sew Somerset and other good news

Some good things have been happening while I've been in a creative lull. First of all, I have a few small pieces of fiber art on page 132 of the current (summer 2010) issue of Sew Somerset. And just as exciting is the fact that three of my cyber-friends are also in this same issue! So, if you have an opportunity to check out my work, you can also look for Carole, Normajean, and Leilani.

Nautical Flags, Beaufort NC
Secondly, I will have a few pieces on exhibit in The Green Room Gallery at The Scrap Exchange in Durham NC. The focus of this awesome store is recycling, and I am going to exhibit "Spirit Tree" (see recent post) and a few other pieces along with other members of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild. The show will run from June 18 through July 10.
Sailboats at Sunset, Beaufort NC

Thirdly, I am gearing up for a solo exhibit of my fiber art at The Eye of the Eagle in Clayton, NC. This is a wonderful little art gallery, tucked away in a quaint little town. Definitely worth a visit! I have to deliver my art by the end of June, so I will be busy, busy, busy, trying to finish up some new work. Wild Horse, Shackelford Banks NC

And finally, as you can see by the photos, we got away the other weekend to the beautiful coastal town of Beaufort, NC. We took a ferry to the undeveloped barrier island of Cape Lookout National Seashore, and just generally relaxed and enjoyed infinite beauty and inspiration. It was wonderful. While I was there, I came upon a delightful art store called Art & Soul. I spoke with the owner and she is going to begin carrying my bottle cap jewelry! I have always wanted to have representation at the coast, and now I do! I'll be making some new "beachy" pieces this week to send to her.

Cape Lookout Light

I hope you've enjoyed this little taste of the beauty to be found on the North Carolina coast, and if you are not too far away, I hope that you will visit sometime. I'll be posting more info about upcoming artist's receptions as I receive details, so watch this space!
Cape Lookout National Seashore

Thanks for taking this journey with me!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A change of paint

Ain't it funny how the time goes? I started this blog post a week ago, ran out of time, saved it as a draft and here I am just getting back to it. It almost feels like old news now! Anyway, I traded in my art supplies for a roller and some wall paint, and remodeled the kids' bathroom. I thought I'd share it with you. It was time to say goodbye to the palm tree mural that has graced the long right side wall for many years. The walls needed to be repainted, and the kids are getting older - not that they don't enjoy palm trees any more, but it was time for something a bit more sophisticated (or maybe it was just as excuse!)

I painted the walls a soft chalky green (which really doesn't show up well in the photos ... the photo of the shower curtain has probably the best representation. The color is Harbour Town by Benjamin Moore). On the long wall I painted blocks of color and hung black and white prints of photos I've taken on our many family vacations. I let the kids list their most memorable places and use their lists in choosing photos. A nice way to make the space personal! I can always change out the photos whenever it needs refreshing.

I painted the ugly, old orangish oak and plywood cabinets a semi-gloss black and added chrome hardware. Ahhhh ... they look so much better, and set off the white marble vanity, which isn't going anywhere.

I swapped out the old tropical shower curtain and rings for a sleek black and chrome number. I also hung it about 8" higher up the wall which added more drama than I expected.

I, yes, I myself, personally and without assitance, took down the old brass "hollywood" globe vanity lights and wired up these new chrome and glass beauties. And I even did it right the first time! Was a leap of faith to flip that light switch on for the first time, that's for sure.

What's left is the floor (half carpet - what was the builder thinking??? - and half old vinyl), mainly, and a low flush toilet. I am toying with tearing down the tiles in the shower and installing new ones. I am a bit suspicious that there is an insufficient moisture barrier behind those tiles, and better to take them down and find out than to deal with a mold issue down the road. Or, maybe this is just another excuse ...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Recipe for Adventure

Here's my little adventure of the week: I wanted to try my hand at needle felting. I don't have an embellisher machine, but I have the little needle puncher and brush mat. The base of this piece is part of a thrift store wool sweater that was shrunk/felted. I have been adding a little bit each day, and I suppose I will keep adding to the piece until it tells me it is done. I hope you can tell that it is a beach scene. I just added the "lines" to separate the water from the sand and sky, and next I'll fill in more water colors to give the ocean depth and (hopefully) dimension. It's been a fun experiment, in spite of the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing!!!

And I made this cake today - we are celebrating the 19th birthday of Pablo, our Guatemalan high school student who is living with us during the school year. The recipe is below ... delish!

Strawberry Fudge Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can strawberry pie filling
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

1 tub chocolate frosting

(note: you can use whatever flavor cake mix and pie filling you want - apple spice is very good! and you can substitute vanilla extract for the almond, or you can omit the extract, if you want)

Mix all ingredients and bake according to directions on cake mix (about 40 minutes for a bundt pan). Let cake cool, melt some frosting in microwave safe bowl for about 15-20 seconds. Drizzle over cake. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spirit Tree

Here's a sneak peek at the piece I've been working on. I need one more yellow bottle cap to finish it. Hopefully it will come my way soon. I am calling this piece "Spirit Tree". It is a 22x28 wrapped canvas - something new for me. It is for the exhibit at Eye of the Eagle in August and therefore is made with saved/recycled materials.
The background texture is built up with tissue paper. The flowers are fabric paper, and the flower centers are bottle caps and wine bottle tops.

The word "Spirit" rests among the roots of the tree. I have had the gulf oil disaster on my mind while I've worked on this piece, even though I started it before that happened, and it has directed much of the path this piece has taken. When it is finished, I'll share the completed piece with you.
On to the next one ... wonder where it will take me? ~Michelle

Friday, May 7, 2010

Going Green, and Orange, and Blue ...

In honor of National Craft Beer Week, this bracelet was chosen to be highlighted in the Going Green section of the Try Handmade website. Thanks to Rebecca for choosing to include me in a terrific article, and a special shout-out to my friend and fellow collector-of-all-things-cool-and-reusable, Tracy, for recommending me to Rebecca. Tracy's blog and etsy shop are definitely worth a visit! I've added some charm bracelets to my etsy shop, and will be adding more items during the day.
And just to prove that I still know how to thread my sewing machine, here is a small round-robin quilt that I am working on with a group of three other ladies. We are going to donate these quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Inniative (AAQI) for auction when they are finished. The May quilt auction is going on right now - but ends on Monday the 10th, so check it out! New quilts are available each month and all the proceeds go to fund research for a cure.

I was the third person to work on this quilt. It started with the jar of honey, the second person added the bees (which are amazing!) and I added the clovers. I free motion embroidered the clovers and was pleased with how they turned out. I might have to make some more for myself or a future project, so I don't forget how I did it. I love how this quilt is developing.
I am still working on a rather large canvas piece. It is coming along - I just have to figure out what finishing details are needed. It always seems like that is the hardest part!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Five Rounds of Poetry

I survived not only my first "solo" street fairs (as in, no one came with me to help set up or relieve me during the day) but my first back-to-back weekend street fairs. The days couldn't have been much different, the first being cool, cloudy, and threatening rain and the second hot, humid, and sunny. Both went well and I received a lot of nice compliments on my work. The only "new" items I made between sales were poetry bracelets, in the fashion of the one that was published last year in Cloth Paper Scissors. It was a challenge, but a fun one, to create little snippets of poetry to fit into five small circles. The people who stopped by seemed to enjoy them and I did sell a few.
This one was my personal favorite. I loved the blued and teals, and of course anything about the ocean! I thought for sure it would sell, but I still have it. It just might find its way into my etsy shop, which is in serious need of beefing up.

This is the same bracelet, with blue and white ocean-related caps. It is almost as much fun choosing the caps as it is designing the bracelet. In case you are wondering, yes, I did add a clasp before heading to the sale! I just took the photos before that happened.
I'm going to do some straightening of the studio before all the street fair tables and boxes find their way back in there. I am also working on a large canvas piece, which is developing nicely, although I've decided I need to do "something" to the background (which could be tricky since a portion of the foreground has been developed already). I am not sure what that "something" is, but I will share the work when it's complete.
Hope you have an enjoyable May. ~ Michelle

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Life in 100 Square Feet or Less

I thought you might like to see my booth as it looked on Saturday at SpringDaze. The sign is new ... the canvas covered in paper scraps, then painted and each letter made from chip board (cereal boxes, two layers) and alcohol ink-painted CD mosaic. It took forever but I loved the results!

I didn't bring as much of my framed art this year, since I was by myself to set up and it takes a while to hang. I need to come up with a better method for hanging stuff along the sides. I hung the sign by bungee cords, which worked really well, but I'm not sure I'd trust glass frames to that method.

This was the first time I brought the extra card table that I put in the corner. It's up on risers, and I like how it created the different levels. Everything fit well in the space, though it was tight when there was a crowd!

Thanks for visiting ... I hope you'll have the opportunity to stop by in person sometime!