Category Archives: craft

De-cluttering is good for the soul.

I’m getting to be more and more minimalist as I de-clutter stuff around the house. There is so much STUFF and it weighs me down. I have de-cluttered a few times already since 2013 when I moved into this house, but there is always more.

I have put many crafts aside that bored me, but then I end up holding on to the materials. No More.  🙂  I gave my neighbor a bunch of mosaic paraphernalia.

I came across some cool things my mom did.  She passed away in 2013, and I will never get rid of these things.  [Long post warning.]

I get a lot of my creative ability from her.  She always had a great eye for color and form.  She’s of that generation (and growing up on a farm) that knew how to shear sheep, make roving, spin yarn, and then either knit or crochet something useful.  She even made linen from flax, and knew how to weave.  They wove their towels (which lasted forever), their tablecloths, their rugs from old clothes that we used to sit and cut into long strips and ball up when I was a kid.  The destruction was fun.  She even taught me how to weave, but I had no patience weaving that thin linen thread into towels.

My grandmother even wove sheets, and they had a seam down the middle (the loom wasn’t wide enough.)  They had a loom always set up in a big part of the upstairs bedroom at my grandmother’s.  Mom never had a loom in the places where we lived, but she always wove rugs when we spent the summers with my grandparents.  She always had some of those brightly colored rag rugs on her floors, and I thought if I peer closely, I  might recognize the rag from one of my childhood dresses.  She was the ultimate recycler.

I have a lot of the things she embroidered in the “old days,” things that are truly vintage now.
In her youth, she was pretty much self-sufficient making her clothing, and later those of my dad, but with modernization, she stopped those habits, though her hands were always busy.  During the 2nd World War the women used to knit hundreds of mittens and socks for the soldiers.  That was before my time.

I asked her if she remembered some of my fave sweaters she made for me, but she didn’t.  I had a really comfy gray and blue patterned sweater that I wore ALL the time; I still remember it clearly.

She loved to sew clothes, make fabric collages, embroider, needlepoint, cross stitch, knit; she even dabbled in porcelain painting, but my dad complained about the fumes.  She could knit and crochet anything.  We used to get excited about some new pattern; I would start it and she would finish it because I always got bored somewhere in the middle.

I have the patience now, however.  I don’t know how that happened–with age maybe.  I have been more of a dabbler than making something “useful,” though.   In one of the pictures below I made a fabric collage from a picture in a book about Medieval life.  I now marvel at how large the horse is compared to the women, but I didn’t think of that at the time.  I could never finish it since I couldn’t decide whether to frame it or make it into a pillow.  It now lives with my mom’s things in a plastic bin.

Towel rack “curtain.” To hide the towels.

This is a really old piece, possibly embroidered by Mom in her youth, or Grandmother might have made it.  I don’t remember.  But look at the needle work!  These cloths were hung on decorative rods to hide the everyday towels used in the kitchen.

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Crocheted tablecloth. Very fine thread.
I have two tablecloths like this.  Mom crocheted those from a very fine cotton yarn, then patiently crocheted the flowers/snowflakes together.  It’s fine like a glorious spiderweb!
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This is a newer tablecloth; possibly one of the last ones she embroidered before her hands gave out.  She sent it to me.  My brother who is an artist always wanted the same pieces, so she often made two of the same pattern.  You would think a man wouldn’t care, but he does.

This is a tray tablecloth that is meant for a birthday cake placed in the middle of the wreath.  The word “Gratulerar” is Swedish for Happy Birthday (sort of, more like “Congratulation” if you want to be picky.)  A gift for one of my birthdays.  I use some of these things, but I worry about getting them dirty.

My foray into Medieval art.  I loved combining daring fabric patterns into a cohesive look. A knight going off to war.  Even the birds wore armor in my picture.  The fabric was mostly machine stitched even though I’m not very good on the sewing machine.

I don’t have any plans to take up embroidery or other sewing again, but I admire great craftsmanship.

xo

Maria

P.S. I have some paintings available in my etsy shop, HERE.

Adult coloring books and planners.

Awesome artists, I have noticed the trend of adult coloring books and planners sky-rocketing.  I was wondering why that is, and thought about people’s search for something fun and gentle to add to their life.  In this stressful world we look for something that has meaning and a calming influence. It brings us back to our childhood when the world was full of wonder and color.

I remember when I was a kid I was into paper dolls and beautiful bookmarks, Victorian roses and kids in vintage clothing mostly. I loved them for their intricate detail and elegance.

I also loved coloring books and would not color outside the lines. 🙂

My best friend and I used to take a composition book and fold the pages in half.  In some of the folds we put bookmarks we wanted to trade. We would each take a turn to pick one of the folded pages. It was always an adventure to see what bookmark I would get. This was an ongoing thing. I treasured my folded paper book and would look inside often and change out the bookmarks.

That was the old style “planner” for me.  I recognize the same wonder and excitement in ladies who buy their planners and all the accessories to create their very own version of planner.  There are stickers, embossed labels, special pens, lists, pockets, sayings, and pictures to add.  It is guided creativity.

I think we have forgotten how to create on our own, so we turn to kits and guided painting classes. Nothing wrong with that, and it may spark the individual to explore and continue with their creativity. In other words, unleash their inner greatness!! 🙂

Mandalas are big too.  Many of the coloring books are nothing but  mandalas.

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another gorgeous mandala

Mandalas are like snowflakes, each unique.  Some are so beautiful they take my breath away.

I think planners and art play books help us to heal and explore our own creativity. The time has come to be more of who you are. I think there is a strong inner urge for creativity as a unique expression and method for growth.

We grow through creativity and it is a GREAT thing!

I have a planner, but it’s not the artsy kind. I have to write everything down to remember stuff, but there is space to journal if I feel so inclined. I have at least three journals going right now. One is for business, one for personal stuff, and one for communication with my guides.

The journals all have their place, and I start every morning journaling while having my tea.  I sit outside in my backyard, partially to keep an eye on my kitty who gets to go outside one hour in the morning.

I find so many things to be grateful for, and I write those down. I write down my intentions and needs.  Ideas sometimes find their way onto the page. It’s a great way to start the day.

How do you start yours?

Much creativity to you this weekend. 🙂

Maria xo

P.S. I have some handmade low-cost art journals for sale in my etsy shop. CLICK HERE.

Fabric paper anyone?

I was pondering how to make some fabric paper from the stack of dry paint wipes I had collected while making art journal pages.

I knew I had to find a way to stiffen them, make them as solid as possible. I decided to do an experiment. I used Mod Podge for one wipe and Liquitex matte medium for the other.

I made a video of this process for you.  After the video was done I realized the sky’s the limit when it comes to making versatile custom fabric / paper.

Surely one-of-a-kind!  I even stiffened a paper towel rag to see how it would turn out. Check out the video and see for yourself. I hope it gives you some good ideas. 🙂

xo

Maria

Painting polymer clay mosaic tiles.

I made a YouTube video today on how to paint polymer clay mosaic tiles.  A few days ago I posted a picture tutorial on how to put the tiles onto a frame so that is another post you can check out for more information on the polymer clay mosaics.

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polymer clay mosaic tiles on a wood frame.

They are a lot of fun to make and they look rich and colorful with three layers of paint. The last layer is embossing powder.

Where there are gaps between tiles I use seed beads or black polymer clay “rods” covered with gold leaf as fillers. That makes the art work extra shiny and rich. You can’t add too much bling to this type of art work.

You can use any color combination, but I’m partial to blues, teals, purple, and reds.  As you experiment you’ll come up with your favorites.

Here is the video.

Fabric painting with a twist.

You know all about fabric paints and how to use them, and the dyes in powders, but have you tried fabric painting with acrylic paints and inks that you normally use for art?

I have been painting scraps of fabrics that I use for my bracelet cuffs (video at the end.) I use craft paints, acrylic artist paints, Dylusion inks, and Adirondack inks. All the material is water fast but you have to wash everything by hand in cold water and dry the fabric flat.

I always use cotton fabric since it’s the most absorbent.

Here are some pictures.

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scraps of cotton fabric and paints + inks.

Some examples of craft paints and inks.

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craft paint dripping

I dripped some of the craft paints straight from the bottle onto the fabric.

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after spreading the paint

I scrunched up the fabric into a tiny ball. If you don’t like paint on your hands, wear plastic gloves.  As you can see, the paint spread all over.

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added ink

I added some Adirondack inks. I used the colors copper and currant.  I held the bottles about 20 inches above the fabric and gently dripped the ink to get some splashes, not just globs of ink.  As you can see I mix and match the materials.

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Dylusion ink sprays

I used Dylusion ink sprays on this fabric. As you can see it diffuses gently. Be careful not to spray the ink where you don’t want it (including your hands.) It’s very hard to get off, and you can never remove it from the painted surface.  The spray comes in yummy colors though.

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Adirondack inks

I used a couple of colors of Adirondack inks on top of the Dylusion spray.  Pretty dramatic effect in my opinion.

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Craft paints

Here I squeezed some craft paint straight from the bottle on top of some light green corduroy fabric.

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paint spread on fabric

I rolled up the fabric into a tight log and this is how it came out when I unrolled it.

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the other side of the fabric

The paint bled through and saturated the other side of the fabric so I can now choose which side I like the best when I use it.

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writing

You can write on the dry fabric with permanent markers to make it even more interesting. 🙂

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Better quality artist paints diluted into spray bottles.

You can make very diluted acrylic artist paints in spray bottles and use that too.

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acrylic paints

From the spray bottles on some muslin.

DSCN2180I finished that with some drips of Adirondack inks.

The fabrics dry pretty stiff. You can iron them flat between newspaper or other protective paper.

You can add other fabric and fusible web to make them even more solid.

It is a FUN way to create your own fabric.  I love to make things out of it, like fabric bracelet cuffs.

Check out this YouTube video if you want to see how I made a cuff.

Art versus craft

Art versus craft, what is the difference?

What part of us needs to know?

I was making some polymer clay mosaic picture frames today and was struck by the thought that I feel the same when I’m doing crafts as I feel when painting.

In the past I have labeled painting as “art” and anything else that I enjoy to do with my hands as “craft.”  Craft ought to be more lowly than art, but there is NO difference since I’m the same creator.

Doesn’t it all come from the same inner source?  Yes, of course it does. Craft may be more mechanical in that you make more of the same items, but not one is exactly the same.  With my mosaics it’s hard to even make two that look alike, but if you put them all side by side, there is a definite similarity of style and a preferred choice of colors.

When I paint I also prefer certain colors to others. I don’t prefer a particular motif, but if I did, I might find painting easier than facing a blank canvas to start something completely new. I can’t seem to focus on a particular subject.  My color choices do carry “my” signature.  The mosaics all look similar because I have only so many tools in my toolbox for imprints and only so many rubber stamps. No matter. It won’t stop me from creating.

The me sitting in my studio is the one who creates, not necessarily the ego me who likes to think I’m The Great Artist. It doesn’t change what appears on the canvas or on my mosaic frames. If I’m having a good time, that’s good enough for me.

Feeling alive is what I enjoy, no matter what I do.  In other words, doing what I love.

It is a choice and sometimes a compulsion to create, but no matter how things transpire in the studio, I spent the day in a good way.

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polymer clay mosaic frame.

This one will end up with an altered Christmas ornament in the shape of a heart in the middle. I adhere some text to the surface and glue inspirational words on it. Then I attach it to the background that I alter with awesome paper.

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small frame with polymer clay mosaic tiles.

A 5×5″ picture frame.  Fun and fast to make since it’s so small.

What are you working on today?  I wish you all kinds of creativity.

This concludes day 10 of the blogging challenge …

xo

Maria

P.S. Check out some of my stuff for sale in my etsy shop HERE.