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Visitors Can Be a GOOD Thing

We've had a couple visitors in the last week.

I'm just glad I wasn't the one in the shower with this one!

I was happily sewing along with the Beatles blasting from my CD player when I heard Jerry.


Really...it isn't funny.


He called MY name!

He didn't squeal like a girl or anything but he's a soft spoken person generally and I heard him over the machine and music.

When I got to his bathroom, he pointed out our visitor in the shower.

He was in his birthday suit and dripping wet.

Yeah...Jerry AND the spider.

The tile behind this picture is 4 inches square which tells you how big he is was. I have no idea what type of spider this is but I do know that he eats insects and I'm happy that he was here to eat some of our mosquitos.

Unfortunately, he died yesterday and was buried in the toilet.

Flushed twice.

But we also had this little fella show up in our Guanabana tree this week...

I was excited and didn't get a good shot but I'd say he was about 4 feet long including his tail and he was in no hurry to leave the premises.

Jerry thinks he was only about 2 feet long.

At any size, I thought that he too, eats those pesky little bugs but found out that iguanas are vegetarians...so he just came to get a bite of Guanabana leaves. He's welcome anytime but we haven't seen him again since he took off.

Now...I'd LOVE to see some visitors from the USA...or anywhere!!! 

I can't promise you a critter free zone, but life here is happy and you'll experience a taste of what it's like to live in our current Paradise.

Come on down!


I, I, I, Me, Me, Mine - another Art Book all about I, I, I, Me, Me, Mine!

I Me Mine is the ego problem. There are two 'I's: the little 'i' when people say 'I am this'; and the big 'I' - ie duality and ego. There is nothing that isn't part of the complete whole. When the little 'i' merges into the big 'I' then you are really smiling!
—George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology

front cover - you really have to look to see the title but it's there

I'd never before heard the quote above, from George Harrison, until I found it online today, but as I was working on this book, my ego was definitely involved...in a big way.

I lived in Virginia for 30 plus years so the page on the left is dedicated to it. The one on the right is my philosophy...loosely put.

This project started about 6 or 7 years ago with a group that I belonged to in SW Florida, called the IQs...which stands for Innovative Quilters.

The page on the left is all about my two grandchildren and the one on the right - my children.

We each took a picture of ourselves and then, traced it onto paper and using the basic shape of the picture, cut our head shot apart into six 'puzzle' pieces.

Both of these pages are about my absolutely favorite place/time in my life...in SW Florida.

This is hard for me to explain so it'll help to click on the pictures to enlarge them and you'll see what I mean...hopefully. 

These pages are just bits of this and that going on in my life at the time.

We used seven different fabrics for each puzzle piece - alternating where the fabric was used. So...fabric #1 was the face in the first "head shot", then it was the neck in the second, one of the shoulders in the third...and so on.

I mean, I had to do something with all that stuff I'd been collecting.

The idea was to have six blocks with our head in each block - which I did do - and then to put them together in an art quilt - which I didn't do because I was so new to fiber arts that I just didn't have the confidence to work on it. 

The back cover.

So, in 2k8 - when I was finally free of any and all constraints regarding art - I decided to finish some of my UFOs and made this book out my head shots. I was the starring character in the book and ended up using all kinds of ephemera that I'd collected and which had meaning to me...or not...so it became like...a scrapbook.

Up close and personal. My nose is pierced so you may have noticed that all of these head shots have a stud in the general area of the nose.

It was great fun to work on and went really fast and when I sit down to look at it from time to time - it just makes me want to do another one!

Oh yeah...I had help with this...

Miss Kitty trying to fit into a shoe box and looking totally cute as usual. I miss her.


The Boat Book - TAA DAAA!!!

I'm happy to say, "I finished my boat book last night"! 

I know...lots of these pages have nothing to do with a boat. This book is really about techniques and since there were so many pages with the boat...or that tied in with the picture of it, the name just seemed right.

The front cover is dark so I took it outside to see if I could get a better picture...but there's just something about that black background that makes it look richer.

The cover is made of a heavy, hand-made paper (bought at a yard sale) which I added black ink to and then discharged - mostly unsuccessfully. I free motion stitched the hot pink flower into it but when I added gel medium to stiffen/strengthen the page, the ink ran into the thread. Live and learn. I pushed molding paste through a stencil for the heart and block printed the pink rectangles using a block I made from scrap Styrofoam. The trims on the sides were assorted pieces left over from other projects. 

Following are pages 1 and 2.

Page 1 is a collage of several pieces I've had in my surface design 'bin' for ages. The sunset in the middle was my very first thread sketch from a workshop I took several years ago on free motion stitching from a Sulky lady whose name I can't remember. Sorry! The flower at the bottom is the flip side of the one on the cover. I added a little paint to this side to make it stand out a bit more.

Page 2 is a collage of fabrics that I painted, stamped, and stitched. I made the fish 'button', which has my name scratched in it, in the middle from clay.

"Scooter" is free motion stitched in the blue sheer fabric as a joke to a friend (but it doesn't show up well in this picture). I promised his wife he'd be in my book. 

(When I mentioned in my status on Face Book, 

"Working on a book"!!!

everyone thought I was writing one and you wouldn't believe the comments I received)! It was pretty hilarious so I put them in an earlier post...(click here to go there)

Here are pages 3 and 4...

Page 3...

We used to see alligators on a regular basis whenever we took our boat out in the waters of SW Florida and my husband and I both have a fascination for them. I made a stamp and block printed the green fabric at the top of the above page. The shells were bought at the Shell Factory in Fort Myers; the fabric at the bottom, from an old project, has lots of lines of thread running through it and the sheer at the side was stamped with the bottom of a paint bottle. The palm tree is a stencil which I pushed Golden's molding paste through.

Page 4 (above) is a collage of different fabrics I've done surface design techniques to. The blue piece at the top is the same picture, printed on fabric that I've used in the rest of the book which is why I've named it The Boat Book. You can't see it clearly but it's a picture I took of our little boat at Cayo Costa State Park in SW Florida where my hubby and I used to spend a few days a month in Paradise. The orangey / purple piece was my first attempt at wet felting and I'm still not certain I won't add something to that block. The sheer along the side is simply stamped with paint.

Pages 5 and 6:

Page 5 (below) is just the back side of page 4 with a little embellishment added for the fun of it. The gold floral lace across the middle is vintage.

Page 6 is my least favorite in the book. I keep doing stuff to it and I just have to stop that because so far it hasn't helped. The border was an unsuccessful attempt on a larger studio quilt. This page will probably change once I've had some distance from it.

Then pages 7 and 8...

An American friend that I met recently here in Colombia (where we both now live), gave me a little purse for my granddaughter. Thank you Sandee! :) The middle of page 7 is the wrapping she used for the purse...which I melted snippets of thread and stuff into...using my iron. 

The border is cut from the back side of scraps that were cut from a large quilt that was my rendition of the picture on page 13 of this book. The starfish were real and found on a beach (by me) in SW Florida where I used to live.

Are we having fun yet?!?

I found out, by trying to iron a photo transfer onto the piece of velvet below, that it will flatten and shine and give a wholly different, beautiful result. (As opposed to fluffy or nappy velvet). The photo transfer didn't show up because it was too dark. This piece of velvet has been around since I began fiber art a few years ago and was actually originally going to be part of the project that got me going on this wonderful trip down 'Mixed Media Lane'. I carried it with me for a couple years to practice hand stitching and finally decided to do something with it...so here it is in my boat book bordered at the top by the first piece of silk (cut from a shirt) that I painted and burned.

Pages 9 and 10...

On page 9 (below), I used stacked writing , photo transfer and stamps on the peachy fabric and then bordered it with this and that.

I hand painted or dyed the fabrics on page 10 and then stamped on top, added thread / free motion stitching, glitter, more paint, drywall tape, and netting to make a pocket to hold the picture of this spread. Thanks for the great idea, Trish!

We're halfway through!

Pages 11 and 12...

Page 11 began as an attempt at a small quilt which was cut down and rearranged a few times. I need to work on abstract art - no doubt - but I did like the thread work on this piece and it determined the size of the book once I decided to include it. I dyed, discharged, painted or did something to all the fabrics.

I AM is thread sketched onto flattened-with-an-iron velvet (I really like that effect) and bordered by scraps from other projects. I AM are two of the most powerful words in the English language...at least to me.

And here are pages 13 and 14...

This is the picture I took at Cayo Costa, printed on fabric, which started a series of artwork for me and is included in this book in many ways several times. I made the palm tree stamp but wish I hadn't stamped it onto the picture. The alligator was made by pushing Golden's molding paste through a stencil. You can see the boat just above the middle palm tree.

This page - number 14 below, turned out way less than I desired but EVERYthing I do is practice and I don't undo anything...usually. There is an acetate sheet sewn in -  which I printed that same picture onto and then added the palm trees via several stencils. The tree at the right was a stencil that I pushed Golden's paste through and then painted so it stands out. The boat is in the picture...right before the shoreline curves...but it's hard to see because of the fabric behind the acetate. I've left the acetate sheet loose so that when you pull it up, the original is clear. 

Hope that made sense!

The above picture is with the acetate flipped over onto page 13 and the following is what's in the background (behind the acetate)...

OK...now we're gettin somewhere.

Pages 15 and 16 look like this...

Page 15 is simply made, once again, with different fabrics that I've painted, dyed, thread sketched, and/or  burned. The photocopy on fabric is a picture of a collage I made using scraps and is my rendition of the Cayo Costa picture on page 13.

Page 16 was the other page that began and set the size of the book, which btw is about 14 X 14 but I don't measure so that's a loose guess.

I sewed some strips of watercolor paper together using metallic thread and then bonded the sheer fabric onto it. Then, I pushed Puff Paint through the tree stencil and highlighted with metallic wax. Next, I hit it with my heat gun to melt the sheer and used plastic letters for the verse. Lastly, I free motion stitched it to page 17.

The above page is really sort of the odd ball in the book, but that verse runs through my head when I MISS MY BOAT and the waters of SW Florida. And those trees are more what you'd see in Virginia, where I lived for 33 years, met and married and had my two babies. But again, Ecclesiastes reminds me there's another season RIGHT NOW that I'm loving and making the most of.

Pages 17 and 18...

Once again, a collage of pieces where I've tried a hodgepodge of surface design techniques. The most interesting piece here is the one I foiled. Love that foil!

Page 18 is a collage of surface design techniques that I've tried...painted and stitched lace, discharged paper, and painted wallpaper. I blogged about the wallpaper technique here

That's the last of my yellow and orange dingle berries by the way. 


And that brings us to the end - the outside cover - which may be my favorite page...


The yellow felt has some paint on it from another project and the little fabric squares that run across were put together by my friend Trish. She throws away scraps and if I'm lucky, I'm around to dig through her trash. The black section is that same paper wrapped around from the front that I inked and then discharged and then stamped with my home made Styrofoam stamp. 

And there you have it!

And yes...Art is therapy for me. Working on this book helped me work through the fact that I miss the United States of America some kinda bad but I will and I AM creating a happy life here in Colombia.