Sleepy Sketchbook Gets Groovy

During the creation of this sketch I was watching vintage Sesame Street clips on Hulu with the kids. Some of my favorite clips are the Pinball Number animations that I remember watching when I was a kid.

I also was thinking about the season of Lent. Maybe this will help you get your Sunday groove going.


The Printed Fabric Bee goes to the forest

Lams_Forest Floor_PFB

Forest Floor was the theme for queen bee Carol Eaton this month. With several inches of snow, very bitter cold temps and a limited outdoor plant selection going on outside, I decided to get creative with some dried up ferns on the front porch. I apologize for not having photos of my process to share with you. This was messy (and fun!) production and thus, I really didn’t want to risk getting paint on my phone. Also, we have a newborn in the house and time is precious, so I had to work fast.

So one Sunday afternoon, while all the kids hung out with dad, I disappeared to my studio and got to printing. First, I selected a lovely, multicolored piece of hand dyed fabric to play with. Next, I pulled out my really big Gelli plate, inked it up with fabric paint. I then laid the dried ferns onto the plate and used a brayer to ink them up. I then took the painted up ferns and used them like stamps on the fabric. I used a second brayer with paper towel on top of the fern to help stamp them on the fabric. There was a bit of trial and error, along with a lot of paint.


So now it’s your turn to head on over to The Printed Fabric Bee blog or Carol’s blog and leave a comment for your chance to win your own 6×6 squares of the forest fabrics. Once you have commented, stop by the other members’ blogs to see how they created their pieces.



Sleepy Sketchbook

Today’s sketch is another piece inspired by a vintage tie design. Lots of watercolor pencils and markers. This one is still a bit rough and I will probably continue to work on it.


Sleepy Sketchbook Series

I’m really excited to share an idea that I have had brewing for a while now called the Sleepy Sketchbook. In order to keep my blog page active and the creative part of my brain from turning to goo, I’m turning to my sketchbook. Now that we have 4 boys in the house, one being a newborn, keeping the creative mojo going can be a challenge. So between the diapers, naps and late night feedings I’m going to try to work on something creative. Once a week I will post a page from a sketchbook or snapshot of a project (if I have one going). Some pages will be more thought out than others, have more detail or colors. It all depends on how life is going outside the sketchbook.

This sketch was inspired by a vintage tie design. I used drawing pens, watercolor pencils, and markers. The watercolor pencils and markers were new so there was a lot of experimentation going on here and some of them bled a bit more than I expected. No worries though! I worked it in and had fun with it.



Fabric Printing at Home


Today I will be the last stop for fellow Printed Fabric Bee member Julie Booth’s 14 day blog hop! Julie’s new book Fabric Printing for Home is the type of book that will inspire every surface designer from beginner to well-seasoned artist. I really liked the book because Julie shows you how to use every day, household items in not so traditional methods. I especially loved the idea of using spaghetti to make detailed pattern stamp or curling cardboard to achieve a bigger design.

Now, I’ll admit that I had a little extra help reviewing some of Julie’s book. I’m a mom of four boys, two of which are already very familiar with various surface design methods. So I showed them some of the ideas in the book and they loved them. The next time I took the 13 year old to the grocery store he thought much of the produce looked like tools for painting. The corn on the cob really intrigued him. The 8 year old is just itchin’ to make his own stamps out of cardboard and rice. So I know what we may be doing over winter break next week. I’ll try to get something posted from our own experiments in a week or so.

I think a big point of Julie’s book is that inspiration is all around us. Sometimes we need to think ‘outside the box’ and she shows you some great ways to do so! Now I have a question for you. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve used as a print your fabric? Tell me all about it here for a chance to win your own copy of Fabric Printing for Home. I will pick a winner on Wednesday February 18th. While you are here take a moment to check out all the other fun blogs that have reviewed and experimented with some of Julie’s ideas over these last 14 days.

February 2: Lisa Chin
February 3: Lynn Krawczyk
February 4: Jane Davila
February 5: Carol R. Eaton
February 6: Judy Gula
February 7: Susan Purney Mark
February 8: Teri Lucas
February 10: Deborah Boschert
February 11: Lynda Heines
February 12: Cheryl Sleboba
February 13: Terri Stegmiller
February 14: Jackie Lams
Good luck with the giveaways and check back here for the winner!
Apologies for the delay on announcing the winner of Julie’s book. Congrats to Jo-Anne Britt, she was the lucky winner!

A project just for fun

Fabric Cutting

For most of my projects I usually stick to hand-dyed fabrics that either myself or another artist has done. But for this project I made a happy exception. It’s not everyday that I have a friend come out with her own fabric and thread lines. Then there’s the fact that Lynn and I like similar colors and designs, so what’s not to like?

fabric prep

But I can never leave fabric untouched by paint or pen. Nope, not possible. So these three lovely pieces got printed and drawn on. And in between I turned them into hexi shapes. I had never made a hexi before this and let me say that they are pretty darn fun. And then there’s lots of stitching. The thread is part of Lynn’s INKED threads. The yellow, printed State Fair piece in the middle is from my own stash.



So I can honestly say that the INKED product lines can hold up to a fair amount of surface designing. This piece is still in progress and I will share the finished piece with you next month.

Did someone say petroglyphs?

Yes! Lynda Heines did for this month’s Printed Fabric Bee Theme. I was drawn to the catacombs of early Christians and various cave images. With those on the brain I did my own take Petroglyph images with the help of Adobe Illustrator. I will admit that it took a couple tries to get a fabric I liked. The first fabric looked like pajamas for some reason. So round two won out.

I thought I’d share an shot of my work table. Nope, not very orderly is it? I’m still organizing the new studio so I usually need to move a few boxes off the work table to get some painting done. But it’s still wonderful to have a big table and area to work in!

work table

Yes, I used a thumb tack to paint on this one. Initial thought was to use a cotton swab. But those were allll the way upstairs so I searched out the next best thing and thumb tack won. It actually worked really well. I know I was surprised.

Jan_thumb tack

Next I used some transparent fabric paint to add some extra color. And yes, I used my finger to smudge it about. It worked a lot better than the brush.

Jan_finger paint


Then I got smudgy with the paint all over the fabric to give a more worn effect.


It was a fun project and an interesting challenge. So now it’s your turn to head on over to The Printed Fabric Bee blog or Lynda’s blog and leave a comment for your chance to win your own 6×6 squares of the map fabrics.


This Month’s Printed Fabric Bee Giveaway

December belonged to Lisa Chin with a theme of vintage maps. This one was a bit of a challenge and required some lengthy brainstorming. Pinterest is my favorite tool for this type of activity. I went with the idea of a old, stained world map. I love how some really old, hand drawn maps had images of people and other lovely graphic twirly-do’s (yes, that’s a technical term). I layered up various images with Thermofax Screen printing. Mixed up some of my own paint colors to get what I wanted and came up with this for Lisa.




If I can’t seem to find a paint color to fit what I’m looking to do, I mix one up with what I have on hand.


Another trick, if I am printing with a screen that has a lot of details, words, smaller images, I will tape the screen down to help keep it from shifting. I will also use a piece of scrap paper to block out areas that I don’t want printed.


And when all was dry and done I had this lovely piece for Lisa and the giveaway.


One of my favorite images from this is printed in the burgundy/red color. It comes from an old wood stamp that I found at an antique place for a couple bucks. I think of a city of the west side of Michigan. I scanned it in, reversed the image from a positive to a negative (Photoshop stuff), then made it into a screen.

Okay, so there you go! Head on over to The Printed Fabric Bee blog and leave a comment for your chance to win your own 6×6 squares of the map fabrics.


Printed Fabric Bee Sunflowers Giveaway


This month’s Queen was Susan Purney Mark with a theme of sunflowers. And I actually managed to get some process shots for this one! Woo! But I will say that this one really is not that complicated.


First I started with a lovely piece of hand dyed fabric that I printed up with Thermofax Screens of leaves. I used various shades of green that I mixed up myself from the collection of paints that I have on hand. It’s all about layers. I like to make the background interesting so I don’t have to fill all the space up with the next layer. There is always something interesting to catch the eye no matter where you look.



Once the paint was dry, I got out this really fancy circle template and drew circles where I wanted to place the flowers. After that I grabbed a handful of fabric pens, found a place on the couch and I commenced with drawing the flowers. It took me a few days to just get the flowers drawn out. I used an actual circle template to get the larger circles in the flower middles, others I drew by hand.


Then I broke out the watercolor pencils, crayons, pastels, etc. and started coloring. Some worked better than others. I used some of the fabric markers to add the darker reds and browns. (Finished piece is at the top of the post) And that’s it! Really not that hard to do. Now go draw something!

Next journey on over to the Printed Fabric Bee Blog and leave  a comment for your chance to win your own 6×6 squares of the sunflower fabrics.


Printed Fabric Bee is all about Science!


Well, for the month of October it was about science. I have been fascinated with the design of anything at a microscopic level. Different objects, plants, chemicals, you name it, all have unique and beautiful designs when you look at them through a microscope. Check out my Pinterest board to see what I mean. So I figured that would be a fun challenge for the gang in the Printed Fabric Bee to translate that into a surface design idea. My only conditions were no pastels and 12×12.  And wow, I  have been getting very cool fabric in the mail every few days and it has been awesome. There have been a lot of ‘oohs and ahhs and cool!’ from the kids in the house as well since it’s a subject they really enjoy too.

So wouldn’t you love a chance to own your own 6×6 pieces of these scientific beauties? Leave a comment over on our Printed Fabric Bee blog before November 17th for your chance to win.



Dusting off an old favorite for today

Day of the Dead piece 2014

In honor of the Day of the Dead I dug out a photo of one the first pieces I made when I started exploring the world of fiber art. I’m jealous now of how much time I had to put into one piece. I was going for a movie poster look and I think I utilized almost every method I knew at the time (and I did not know of Thermofax printing at the time). This is also one of the few pieces my family has insisted I hang onto and not sell. I’m glad they did.

Going Industrial for the Bee

Yup, it’s that time again! The Printed Fabric Bee Giveaway and this month belonged to Susan Purney Mark with an industrial theme. This was a fun challenge for me. Not my usual colors or imagery which just makes it fun. I really had no idea how anything would turn out from one step to the next with this one. Because of stuff going on in our life right now, I work in short bursts of time almost every step of the way. So here’s a brief summery of what I did.

fabric roll dye fabri roll

I wrapped the fabric around some scrap PVC pipe then wound picture wire of various widths around the fabric. Then I gave it a bath in some MX Dye that I had left over from awhile ago. I thought I would get some grays and browns. I got green. No big deal, I went with it. It came out cool anyways.

dyed fabric

I’ve had a brand new, extra large Gelli Plate sitting on the work table for a few months now, mocking me. I’ve done all different kinds of printing, but I had never ever worked with Gelli plates before. I decided to build a ‘stamp’ of sorts (how I explained it to the kids) with Golden Molding Paste and canvas board. I then raided the garage workbench for objects to use and got to work. I had never worked with Molding Paste before either and that was lots of gooey fun. It came out as a rather electrical-industrial theme.

molding paste design

So here’s where I apparently stopped photographing what I was doing. With time being an issue I have a tendency to forget. I did use the Gelli plate and lovely mix of silver and black paints with the canvas board. I know the instructions for the Gelli plate say to use a brayer but I can’t find mine. I have two very nice ones, someplace very safe. So I used brushes and it gave it nice texture when printing. But it really needed a pop of color. I found a cool piece of cardboard and used it as a stamp all over the fabric. And there you go.

Finished closeup

But that is just how I tackled my fabric challenge. Please take a moment and check all the wonderful pieces by these awesome artists. And don’t you want to win your own samples of these lovely pieces? Hop on over to Susan Purney Mark’s Blog or the Printed Fabric Bee Blog and leave a comment. Susan will be picking a winner July 10th. Good Luck!

Susan P Mark Industrial collage_sm