Monday, July 20, 2015

Citra-Solv Paintings Complete!

For The Most Part Anyway...

I never thought my week could get any busier until this last one rolled around. Never a dull moment around here. The Hubby and I have decided that I need to go back to work. After three years of being at home with my kids I am going to be an Art Educator again. I have mixed feelings about this transition, and am hoping for the best.  My kids were preoccupied with swim lessons, while I was hurrying around to various appointments trying to get all my paperwork in for this new position. 

I really felt this week didn't give me any downtime to do what I truly wanted to be doing, which was working on my new feltie project using watermelons and popsicles. Piecing and sewing some of the details of the popsicle feltie started last Saturday which was a plus, but sadly that's as far as I got. Since sewing and any other creative moment was lost this past week, I decided I would show you guys what I have accomplished so far with my Citra-Solv paintings.

Over the past couple of months, I have been trying to paint through some of the pages I made with Citra-Solv.  Several of these paintings came from the post Cabin Fever. Being inspired by metal and finding interesting images within the ink on the paper created by the Citra-Solv, allowed me to produce a variety of images

"Mouse in Flight"

"Pick'n Up Rocks"


"Hand Crank Grinder"

"Caterpillars on Metal"


"Lines to Flower"

"Lines to Flower" was created differently from the other paintings. This is a textile painting. The girls image was created with acrylic ink, and then left to dry. Once I was satisfied with my painting, I cut a piece of muslin to fit the page. I soaked the muslin in my glue/water solution. Then rung out the excess, and laid it out flat. I added my painting on top of the muslin. Last but not least, I brushed on the glue/water solution onto the entire image. Once dry the stitching was added by sewing machine. If you want to see more about this process, head on over to view my post about painting on textile paper.

I hope that this new journey with my new school and students will continue to help me grow as an Artist, an Art Educator, and just as a person as a whole. Now I am really going to have to learn how to juggle a career and a family, while creating my art on the side. Its going to be tricky, but I know I can figure it out. If you have any suggestions on how to do this I would love to here from you!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pattern Making Made Easy

Making Patterns On A Smaller Scale...

Pattern making is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Once you do, you can make anything from stuffed animals to clothing. Since summertime has arrived with a vengeance, I chose to create a stuffed feltie watermelon and ice cream. Got to stay cool somehow in this heat!

When I start a small pattern like this, I begin by drawing in my sketch book with a pencil. This helps me to work out all the kinks before I start cutting everything out. You don't want to make a mistake and have to go back to the drawing board. Since I am hand-sewing these little guys, I didn't add seam allowances to my drawing. Hand-sewing doesn't take much away from the size of these little felties, so that's one thing less to think about.

Once the drawing is complete, I like to sort out the color situation. I've colored each part with colored pencil, so that I know what piece is going to be what color. 

I find that white tissue paper is best to use when making patterns. It's see through, and it also mimics pattern paper that you find when you actually buy a pattern from the store. The tissue paper is placed over the drawing and the image is traced with a pencil. Marker does not work well here because you risk tearing the tissue paper with the ink. Each piece is traced exactly as is onto the tissue paper leaving some space in-between each part. The popsicle stick is drawn slightly longer than the drawing because this leaves some allowance for the seam.

Now it's time to cut out all the parts. I used regular shears to cut out the tissue paper. You don't want to mess up your fabric shears by cutting paper because this will dull the shears. That is why separate shears is needed when cutting out your patterns. After all the pattern pieces are cut out, pencil is used to label each piece, so that I know how many pieces to make for each part.

Once all the pattern pieces are cut out, place each piece onto the felt. There are two ways you can get your image onto the felt. You can either trace each pattern piece with a fabric marker or pin each piece down with pins. Choose whatever works best for you. Then cut everything out with fabric shears, so that you get a nice clean cut.

Pattern Placed onto Felt.

Pattern Pinned to Felt Ready to Cut.

Use Fabric Marker to Trace Pattern

I want these felties to be three dimensional, so I need to make some side pieces. They are going to be various lengths of rectangles, so I decided not to make a pattern. I just wanted to measure and cut. I measured with my measuring tape all the way around each drawing. I decided the width of the sides should be cut at one and a half inches wide. Once all that was figured out, I cut out each side.

The last thing to be done are the tiny details. I hand cut out all of the seeds for the watermelon. Black circles were cut for the eyes. To get the whites of the eyes and the rosy cheeks, I used a hole punch to cut out each piece. This gives me a tiny perfect circle.

Sandwich bags make great containers for all of these pieces, so they won't get lost. It also helps me to keep things together while I am sewing certain parts. All of my pieces are ready to go! Its Sewing Time!

Monday, July 6, 2015

End of 4th of July DIY Special!

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July Weekend!

After a very long weekend of fun in the sun and fireworks with family and friends, the vacation must come to an end. All hope for fun is not lost! I have included a download for the recipe of the DIY Gelli Plate. This will create a great Gelli Plate from items you may have in your very own home. If not, a quick trip to the grocery store will do the trick. Either way its a low budget way to create tons of monoprints and endless possibilities. HAPPY PRINTING!

Recipe for DIY Gelli Plate
Gelli Plate Recipe

Monday, June 29, 2015

Swimsuit Fix

Summer is here and I just realized my swimsuit needs a little work. I bought this swimsuit last summer. Since then I've lost some weight, and the top is very loose. You're probably asking yourself, "Why doesn't she just go out and buy a new one?" Well I have bought several over the last few years, and I never felt like the fit was the best until I got this swimsuit. This was the one suit I truly enjoyed wearing, so why not fix it. The thought of trying another swimsuit did not appeal to me at all!

I've been pondering how I was going to fix it. The solution lies in the side seams. Each seam has boning sewn onto it, so trying to figure out the best way to take it in was a challenge. (Boning is a plastic strip that gives the seam support.) I played with it for a little bit, and finally decided the best way to fix it was to pull the back seams forward. This would overlap the boning giving the illusion that this new seam had been there the whole time. Now to figure out how I was going to sew it.

I thought the best way to sew these seams would be to hand sew them with a Blind/Slip Stitch. This stitch is mainly used for hemming or closing seams when finishing such things like pillows. This stitch is mostly invisible on a hem except for tiny tick marks made by the thread when attaching the two folds of fabric together.

Supplies needed:

Blind/Slip Stitch 
Great tutorial from Sew It Love It at

First thing I had to do to get started was to try my swimsuit on. This helped me to visualize how much I needed to take in.

I then took it off and pulled the back of the seam forward, overlapping the boning and the original seam. I placed pins where I thought they were needed. Once the pins were in place, I carefully pulled the swimsuit on. This is very tricky because I'm trying not to jab myself with a pin. It's like playing a game to see who will win, the pins or me.

Time to get my thread ready. For swimwear I have read that polyester thread is best. It resists all things such as mildew, the sun, and won't deteriorate over time. The closest thing I had to polyester thread was nylon thread. It resists most like the polyester, but it may decay over time. The only supplies needed here are scissors, pins, thread, and the will to get the job done. 

I cut a good length of thread measuring about two arm lengths. Then, I threaded my needle. Usually this becomes the hardest part, but luckily I didn't have any trouble this time. I doubled my thread, matched up the ends, and tied my knot.

I pulled my needle through the inside of my fabric, so that the knot would be hidden.

Now to start the Blind/Slip Stitch.

Once the top was stitched, I moved down the side seam.

Working on the side seam.

When I reached the end of the side seam, I repeated the Blind/Slip Stitch by going in the opposite direction. I wanted these seams to be as sturdy as possible, so they could withstand the weight of water when being at the pool. 

Sewing my way back up to the top.

Now that the side seam was finished, time to sew the overlapped fabric. This would help every seam to lay down flat. Once everything is sewn create a knot and clip your ends.

Tick marks of thread on the inside of my suit.

 All top seams sewn together.

Finished seam.

Voila! After all seams a sewn, it's time to press each seam. Set the swimsuit on an ironing board and place a pressing cloth over the seam. The pressing cloth keeps the iron from burning the fabric. Iron each seam down to get that professional look like it came right out of the store.

Now that my swimsuit is finished, I can head to the pool. Time for some much needed relaxation in the sun. What have you found is the best way to tailor your clothes to you?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

DIY Fabric Dye With Crayons

Since my experiment of adding paint to fabric with my Gelli Plate, I have been wondering if there was any other unconventional way to add color to fabric. I remember batiking in high school, and thought why not dye fabric with crayons. Being a mom and an artist/art teacher, we have accumulated a lot of crayons. My kids have a whole shoe box full of crayons. Most of which are broken with the paper torn off. Perfect for this little experiment!

Supplies needed:
Freezer paper
Extra Cotton Fabric
Ironing Board
Paper Bags
Scissors (Might Be Handy)

I got down a pan to get started, and went through their box of crayons. I picked out colors in the same color family while adding in a little while. Once I found what I was looking for, I placed them in the pan.

I then put the pan on the stove, and turned it on to medium heat. The waiting time begins.🕐

I could see the crayons starting to melt, so I gave it a little stir with my plastic fork. 

While the crayons melted, I got my freezer paper ready. I laid the paper on the stove next to my pan with the shiny side-up. This would allow me to have something close by to lay out my fabric once it was time to take it out of the melted crayons.

When the crayons were melted, I added a piece of muslin cotton into the pan. I stirred the fabric around with my plastic fork. This would be a great time to use those gloves and tongs, both of which I didn't have. Try not to slosh the fabric around in the hot wax. You will get burned! True story.

Keep moving the fabric gently until all of the melted wax has covered the fabric. I didn't realize that my plastic fork would melt. Thank goodness for trial and error.

I removed my fabrics with two forks. This is where metal tongs would have come in handy again because this is going to be HOT! You make do with what you have.

Let dry, which won't take long. I had enough left to dye one more piece of fabric. I repeated the process and laid it out to dry on another piece of freezer paper. After using up all the wax, make sure to wash your pan right away while it's still melted with hot water. This will make cleanup a lot easier.

Dyed Fabric Piece #1

Dyed Fabric Piece #2

When the fabric was dry, I took it to the iron. All of the wax has to be ironed out, or you will have one stiff, crunchy piece of fabric. I grabbed a larger piece of cotton, and sandwiched the wax fabric in between the cotton. 

I turned my iron on making sure it was a dry iron. There shouldn't be any water in the reservoir. 
Place the iron on the fabric and press until you see the wax appear onto the cotton fabric.

Make sure to move the cotton fabric around, so that you are always ironing onto clean, wax free fabric. You don't want to iron the wax back into the muslin.

When I moved the cotton fabric around, I noticed I was dyeing my ironing board cover. Whoops!

When I finished the first dyed muslin, I moved on to the second dyed muslin. I switched to a green fabric this time to release the wax.

Repeat the process of releasing the wax.

When I was finished with the green cotton, I noticed some awesome texture! Why not get another dyed piece of fabric out of it. This time I sandwiched the cotton between a cut up paper bag. This worked a lot better than using the cotton fabric.

Place the iron onto the paper bag. Move iron around until you see the wax coming through. This might take a little longer to see because the paper bag is thicker than the cotton fabric. Keep going until the paper bag doesn't show anymore wax.

So excited to get four pieces of fabric, two dyed pieces and two printed pieces!

Dyed Fabric Piece #1

Dyed Fabric Piece #2

Printed Dyed Fabric Piece #1

Printed Dyed Fabric Piece #2

Once again I have learned a lot from this DIY.  Fabric can be dyed from crayons, and it kind of gives it a tie dyed effect. Just make sure you have the right supplies before you get started. Paper bags work better than cotton fabric in soaking up the wax from each dyed piece. Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these pieces, but I surely got some interesting texture out of each. What unique processes have you found to dye fabric with?