Small Notebook Cover

My sister Christy (she gave me molas that I turned into notebook covers) was here for a visit and brought a hostess gift wrapped in handmade paper and tucked into a bag made of handmade paper. A triple treat!

I simply could not resist using the paper to create a notebook cover for one of the 4 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ notebooks I have. This size is ideal for tucking into a shirt pocket or purse.

Small notebook coverCan’t you just feel the texture of that great paper? It’s wonderful! Plant leaves, stems and pedals become subtle greens and pinks in this creamy-colored paper. I was thrilled to have a home for the mother-of-pearl button. Cream-colored hemp cord knotted with a few small beads is just the right closure. I initially used the plain cream paper for the lining and the flaps on the inside of the cover. Unfortunately, the paper flaps were not strong enough. I removed them and stitched in some pale pink fabric to do the job.

Small notebook - inside

A touch of stitching to enforce the spine and it’s done.

Small notebook cover - openI already know who will receive this book. And I have some ideas for other closure methods that may work even better for a small book like this that will travel regularly.

Notebook Cover and Postcards Embellished

I headed for Blue Door Beads — I just love the name and, yes, they have a blue door — this morning to find something special for the closure on the notebook cover just completed. I think I found just the right thing (click on image for larger view):

Notebook front

Notebook front

I had fun choosing the fabric for inside flaps

Notebook open

Notebook open

and the photo image on the inside cover of the notebook is from an old issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Notebook back

Full notebook cover

Here are 3 of the postcards that are embellished and ready to address and finish edges.

While I was completing the above project I decided to make use of a Mola that my sister gave me recently. (If you aren’t familiar with the origins of the Mola, be sure to visit the link above!) This one is particularly lovely and deserves to be useful.

Mola Notebook cover

Mola Notebook cover

Mola Notebook cover 2

Full Mola Notebook cover

I think Christy will be pleased that this lovely Mola is not going to languish in my stash.

To see the Genesis of all this, click here.

This post has been shared with Off the Wall Fridays.

Surface Design on Textiles with Lonni

I’ve just returned from Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove where I took a class with Lonni Rossi through Empty Spools Seminars. Lonni has been designing fabric collections (5 or more a year) for Andover Fabrics for 12 years and she shared her techniques for creating designs on textiles using Setacolor paints, silk screens, stencils and a variety of hand-made and found objects.

I have been using Setacolor transparent paints by pēbēo for many years to create my sun prints. Lonni introduced me to the opaque and metallic paints as well as thickener and discharge paste. Setacolor paints are water based, non-toxic and clean up easily with water. They are permanently set with a hot iron.

Lonni and the 22 students there brought a variety of tools which we shared with each other freely. I couldn’t resist using Anne’s rope stamp. She made this by securing the rope to a piece of wood with double-stick tape and painting the entire surface with house paint.


Here is the discharge paste stamped onto some hand-dyed fabric.


When the fabric is dry, the paste completely disappears. Then it is ironed with a hot iron. At home I soaked the fabric in a vinegar-water solution for 15 minutes, then washed it in the washing machine. And here is the final fabric.


I didn’t get a picture of this piece during the ironing step but here is one of Anne ironing her fabric — the design appears as if by magic!


This piece became the first in what is now called my radiator series. I screened the background dots and stamped with Anne’s rope stamp, then I placed it on a working radiator. Not only did the fabric dry quickly but I got a stunning striped fabric in both directions! The deep blue vertical lines are a result of direct contact with the hot radiator tops; the three softer horizontal lines of color are a result of the color in the middle of the fabric moving to create the darker vertical lines.


I liked the effect so much that I created several half-yard pieces of fabric using the same drying method.


My friend Suzanna was creating a staggering amount of fabric for a project she’ll be working on very soon.


She brought some wonderful stamps and other tools. I borrowed her rubber band-wrapped rolling-pin to transform a lovely green linen:


I used copper-colored transparent paint to stamp the entire surface. To achieve a lighter shade of the transparent paint, simply thin with water. To use the thinned paint for stamping, add thickener. After drying I used opaque green, then blue paint to create larger striped areas.

One of our learning exercises involved painting a half-yard of fabric, tearing it in half and painting a ‘wash’ over one piece. The wash is made by diluting transparent paint 50/50 with water. Here is Nancy’s stunning tree fabric:


And here are Denise and Nancy sharing a laugh.


A trip to Pacific Grove always includes a visit to see what new things Pat Riley has. Here I am with Pat and my sister, Christy. I’m wearing a jean jacket I bought several years ago — it still looks brand new.


Next up:  News about exciting improvements being made at Asilomar Conference Center!

Artist in Residence Wrap Up

My experience at Asilomar Conference Grounds has been exciting for so many reasons. Just being at this jewel-in-the-crown California state park is a wonderful experience. Here are just a few reasons why.

This is the sunset view from my room. (Click on photos for a larger view.)

Walking on the boardwalk. . .

Interesting stumps!

Notice the three new plantings that will replace the decaying tree.

Since my last visit to Asilomar in 2010 the kitchen has been remodeled. Can you see that the sign is hanging by wire whisks?

So, back to the primary reason I was there. Because my work area was the first spot with quilts people saw as they entered Merrill Hall, my brother-in-law Marshall commented that I was like a store greeter. Well, not a bad observation. As Artist in Residence I was the only art quilter who wasn’t taking a class, so I had the opportunity to interact with everyone who entered Merrill Hall and there were plenty. Empty Spools Seminars was just one of many conferences scheduled for the same week. (Their 2013 schedule of classes is available now.) And we had many day-tripping folks wandering in to see the Julia Morgan building we were in as well.  I was working on two different projects during my stay so I could demonstrate a variety of techniques that I use often during my creative process. I did not finish the broken ginkgo piece I took, but I got a very good start.

The fact that I used dryer lint as a background for this project always drew a smile. I needle felted the lint directly to a fast2fuse backing, hand-stitched sea grass cotton thread for the outline of the leaf shape and beaded like crazy.

You can see other projects that used dryer lint for needle felting projects here, here, here, here, and here.

My friend Heather Piazza came by to share lunch and the excitement of my week.

And exciting it was! Many of my fabric postcards have found new homes, my book will inspire new projects for others and Precious Metals went home with Carol to Naperville, Illinois.

My experience as an artist in residence for Empty Spools Seminars has been a dream come true. Owners Gayle Wells and Suzanne Cox went out of their to make me feel welcome and comfortable. The warm reception I felt by everyone — students, teachers and general public alike — was truly heart warming. And the genuine interest in my work was, at times, overwhelming.  I felt acceptance as an artist and energized to jump back into work as soon as I unpack. It doesn’t get any better than that in my book.  Unless it is to say that . . . of course . . . Christy finished the socks for Oliver!

On the Wild Side

There are several beautiful, well-maintained parks near my sister’s home in Boulder City.  One of the parks has daily visits by a local herd of wildlife. Here’s a sign to warn you on the way.

And here is the wildlife. (Click on an image to get a larger view.)

These are stunning beasts. When Christy said there were Bighorn Desert Sheep in the area I imagined sheep that I’ve seen hundreds of times. Nope. These guys are BIG. I would compare them to a horse but those horns make them seem even larger. I counted 22 in the park that day. They were completely unperturbed by my presence and the snapping of the camera.

This one decided to stretch a bit. . .eventually it went into a nice downward dog.

On the way home from the park I couldn’t resist capturing another herd. . .

this time they were plastic. Clearly this one is the alpha Flamingo.

Okay, okay, a little corny. But, hey, I don’t see herds of either of these beasts where I live.

Cabinet Redux

I’m visiting my sister this week and we each have lots of fun projects in mind. One of the things that Christy has had in mind for a while is working out a way to hide cubby shelves under some cabinets in her kitchen. They are little catch-all spots that are handy but not attractive.

Christy is also a quilter so she naturally wondered how her fabric stash could come to the rescue. Should she keep the simple fabric drop that had covered the cubby holes for the last 2 years or replace with something that could be changed at a whim? Should she make a quilted something-er-other that would reflect the four seasons of the desert where she lives? The possibilities are mind-boggling. In the end, an ability to change the look of whatever covered the opening was critical to the formula.

Pockets to the rescue. With clear vinyl (available from the local hardware store) stitched across the bottom portion of the fabric drop and sectioned into pockets, a change of look is easy!

I think it’s kinda fun. And Christy is happy with it. What do you think?