12 December 2012


Today's date is very special and it's the last time this type of numerical symmetry will occur this century. A group of fellow artists on Facebook brainstormed a fun way to celebrate the date and our art, all in one! As a result we are each blogging and posting photos of groups of 12 art supplies. In order to keep the symmetry, I present 12 photos of 12 art things each. Note: The first photo is of the matchbook notepads that I posted a tutorial for on my Flourish! blog.

If you want to play along, post some photos of 12 supplies and add a link in the comments below!

19 March 2012

Studio Tweak - Behind the Door

The space for my studio in our new house is much smaller than it was in our previous house and every square millimeter needs to pull its weight. I like to use visual systems to keep myself organized and I needed a way to keep all of the paperwork associated with teaching and vending gigs, and their attendant travel arrangements, organized and attractively at hand. I also needed an out-of-sight place to store some of my packing and shipping supplies, as well as some gift-wrapping accessories. I started by analyzing available areas and finally settled on this area behind the door that you use to enter the studio. This door is kept open nearly all of the time, so the unused space behind it would be ideal for my make-over.

This is the before:

This space is definitely not living up to its potential! There's 3 feet of wall space and the entire back of the door just crying out for purpose. The wall is looking a little beat up and the trim could use some touch-up paint, but those are easy fixes. Since the walls are painted with flat-finish paint, a Mr Clean Magic Eraser takes care of most of the scuff marks. Remove the gold hook, patch a few holes and add a bit of semi-gloss paint on the trim and door, and we're good to go. I had hung up the one rod soon after we moved in but I kept thinking that more rods would be more useful. A trip to Ikea took care of that and I picked up 2 more rods, a package of hooks, and a few baskets to hang off of them, all from the Bygel series.

Here's the smooth-functioning after:

I drew inspiration for the clipboards from a few sources, most notably my co-author Elin's similar clipboard system as featured in Quilting Arts Studios magazine a few years back, and for the hanging rods and bins on the back of the door from Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone's make-over.


The clipboards as-is were a little too boring, so I jazzed them up with a bit of hand-printed paper from an art supply store. First, I made a template of the shape I'd need to cover the surface of the clipboard by using a piece of cardstock and measuring, drawing and cutting until it was a perfect fit.

Then I traced around the template on 2 different printed papers and cut 3 of each for a total of 6 pieces. I was thinking this would be fun with 6 different papers too, but didn't want to stop long enough to run to the art supply store again.

Next, I used gel medium (Claudine Hellmuth's Studio MultiMedium is one of my very favorites) to adhere the paper to the face of the clipboard. After applying a thin and even coat, I pressed the paper in place, flipped the clipboard over and weighted it down so the paper would dry flat, leaving the clip hanging over the edge of the work table.

I wanted to have a way to label each clipboard and hide the brand stamped into the metal at the same time.

First I tried printing out labels and affixing them to the clipboard with magnetic tape. That was okay, but didn't look finished enough and I think the labels could have been knocked off fairly easily.

Another trip to Staples office supply store (for another 2 clipboards - I only started with 4 for some reason), found me wandering the new Martha Stewart supply aisle. Yum. There I found adhesive metal bookplates, coincidentally sold in packs of 6. Obviously meant to be!

They fit perfectly over the logo and in the space on the front of the clip.

Here's a look at the oh-so-pretty after again:

There's something about Spring, finishing up some projects for deadlines, and having a few weeks at home between trips that brings out the organizing bug in me. What have you organized lately? How do you tame the "paper beast" in your studio?

12 March 2012

Quilting Arts In Stitches Blog Tour!

UPDATE 3/12: My apologies, I wrote and posted this last Tuesday while I was at the Quilting Arts TV taping and it wasn't until today that I noticed that the post was still in the drafts folder and had never actually posted. THAT explains why there were no comments!

Welcome to the last stop on the Quilting Arts In Stitches blog tour for issue 6!

You can find the action-packed issue here at the Interweave store for your PC or Mac or in the App store for your iPad.

If you've been following along, you've visited a slew of the contributing artists for this action-packed issue.

Lindsey Murray 

We are SO excited about this issue and hope that you have a chance to check it out. You will find videos, slideshows and images that you can zoom in to see every detail. There is a wide variety of interesting techniques and ideas to read and hear about - from Barbara Schneider's remarkable out-sized leaves to Sandy Donabed's update of traditional Redwork; from Betty Busby's painted and stitched macro designs to Tracy Stilwell's fabulous mixed-media art doll. And wait until you see how beautifully Nancy Cook echo quilts her designs. We even show you (with a wicked cool animation) how a stitch is formed in your machine to help you achieve the perfect stitch!
Barbara Schneider's Leaf Fall as it is exhibited - gorgeous!
Plus, in this issue, we reviewed an assortment of cool gloves and tools to make free-motion quilting easier and pain-free. At each stop on the tour we gave away one set of gloves or tools to a lucky commenter (we opened the packages for photography, but they've never been used!) If you would like a chance to win a set of Noble Notions' Quilter's Grips (really cool caps for your fingers to help you free-motion stitch) then please leave a comment below.
If you have a great idea for an article, please consider submitting it to the magazine. Who knows? Maybe you'll be part of the next blog tour!

12 February 2012

Foto/Fiber 2012

I am so pleased to once again be taking part in a fundraiser for Virginia Spiegel for the American Cancer Society. Virginia does more than any one person I know to help raise money to help defeat the scourge that is cancer. I am honored to have been asked to participate and I think her fundraiser this year is brilliant. All of the fun starts this Wednesday, February 15th. All of the details are below and on her website. Scroll down to the bottom to see the bonuses that I am donating,

Foto/Fiber 2012

90 Photos AND 90 Fiber BONUSES
Gold Donor Day - February 15, 2012
Make a minimum donation of $100, choose a photo by
Virginia A. Spiegel, Karen Stiehl Osborn, or Cynthia Wenslow
and choose a Fiber BONUS by a specific artist
from the following list of fiber artists.

Regular Foto/Fiber - February 16, 2012
Make a minimum donation of $50 and choose a photo by
Virginia A. Spiegel, Karen Stiehl Osborn, or Cynthia Wenslow.
Your Fiber BONUS will be chosen at random for you
from the following list of generous fiber artists.

Artists donating Fiber BONUS include: Natalya Aikens,
Frances Holliday Alford, Pamela Allen, Liz Berg, Sue Bleiweiss, Nancy G. Cook,
Jane Davila, Vivika DeNegre, Diane Rusin Doran, Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal,
Leonie Hartley Hoover, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Susan Brubaker Knapp,
Lynn Krawzcyk, Jane LaFazio, Susan Lenz, Jeanelle McCall, Linda Teddlie Minton,
Karen Musgrave, Gail Myrhorodsky, Karen Stiehl Osborn, BJ Parady,
Cate Coulacos Prato, Yvonne Porcella, Wen Redmond, Sue Reno, Lesley Riley,
Cynthia St. Charles, Susan Schrott, Suzanne Silk, Lura Schwarz Smith (with Kerby C. Smith),
Sarah Ann Smith, and Terri Stegmiller

Drawings for Fiber Art throughout the event.
All patrons of Foto/Fiber 2012 will also have multiple chances throughout Foto/Fiber
to win fiber art donated by:
Leonie Hartley Hoover, Lyric Kinard, Lynn Krawczyk
Yvonne Porcella, Susan Schrott, Mary Ann Van Soest

More information on how Foto/Fiber 2012 works:

Our goal – Raise $7,000 for the American Cancer Society
Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $215,000 to the American Cancer Society
through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons.

Contact Virginia(at)VirginiaSpiegel.com for more information

These are the bonuses that I am donating. If you make a donation on Wednesday, you can request one of mine as a bonus to your photo otherwise, the bonuses will be randomly selected after Wednesday.

I've included some awesome goodies! There are: gorgeous printed rice papers, a gyotaku (fish) print, a stampmaking kit, an ATC (artist trading card) and a printed bee.

Please consider donating and participating in Virginia's latest fundraiser. Together, we can do such good things!

24 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Here's to a prosper, healthy, restorative New Year!

06 January 2012

A quirky colorful sunburst mirror

UPDATE: I was invited to share this project in an upcoming issue of Modern Patchwork from Interweave so I removed the how-to part of this post. Look for complete directions and photos in this special magazine this spring!

My over-the-dresser project involved a plain round mirror from Ikea, a "jelly roll" of pretty fabric strips, a tester jar of paint and two bundles of wooden shims. I admire classic sunburst mirrors, but the "classic" part is just not us so I decided to put my own contemporary, quirky spin on it.

How cool is that? And no sewing involved!!

Hanging it up the next morning was pretty exciting! It's colorful and quirky and unexpected. And it makes me happy every time I walk by it. :)

02 January 2012

Dresser revealed

I am so pleased with the way the dresser turned out. It makes me smile every time I go in or out of the vestibule and I find myself peeking in there multiple times during the day.

It's a little hard to photograph because the outside glass doors let in a lot of light and it causes reflections on the sheen of the paint, which is a satin finish. The knobs look like jewels and the scale is so much better than the original dark wooden knobs.

As a reminder, this is where I started, with the tired, dark nondescript dresser:

I added modern, clear, slightly larger wheels, replacing the small, dark wooden wheels that didn't work very well and kept trying to scratch the floor.

Next up is completing the project that will hang over the dresser. You can see the mounting clips already in place. The mirror is another example of practicing patience, this time waiting for glue to dry. Hopefully tomorrow it will be ready to show off. I'm really excited, it is turning out really well!