Welcome (back) to Mixed Media Artist!

Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Don't miss our book giveaway, running until Sept 21! Visit the link above to enter.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!

Fabric Photo Magnets 
Discover how easy it is to make personalized magnets using a photo and some fabric. 

Mail Art Inspires One's Art 
Have you tried mail art? Mail art inspires creativity in both sender and recipient. 

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery 
How to make a pom pom Easter bunny 

Cherie talks about strength and art. 

Beading Arts 
Cyndi has her March pieces completed for the Bead Journal Project, and they feature an embroidered form of the Cellini spiral! 

One thing leads to another... how creating an art doll led June to creating a necklace. 

Bag Lady in Training 
Tammy documents her training as a new recruit for Thirty-One Gifts, a company who sells bags and organizational products. 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world 
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to measure a book for a slipcover, make a raw edge applique, draw a dramatic portrait and form a caramelle (candy) shaped pasta. 

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Reader question: facebook

hi miss lavin,
your work is adorable. i am really inspired . can you have any page about
mixed media on facebook ? plz tell me where is

Hi Mawra,
Thank you so much for your lovely note!  I hope that you will always stay inspired to create!  I don't have a facebook page specifically for Mixed Media Artist, but I have a personal page and a page for Beading Arts.  I hope you'll consider becoming friends on facebook :-)

Cyndi Lavin on facebook
Beading Arts on facebook

Best ~

PS ~ That goes for the rest of you too!  Please friend me if you want more smart aleck stuff.  "Like" the Beading Arts page if you don't!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yay for Cherie!

Cherie Burbach, who writes several amazing blogs, is the winner of Adventures in Pompom Land!  Congratulations, Cherie!

Recent publications: March 2013

Creating Spring: A Writing, Journaling, and Mixed-Media Prompt Adventure (The Creative Year) by Nellie Jo Noonan

Crafty Birds: Bird Art & Crafts for Mixed Media Artists by Kristy Conlin

Imagine Create Explore 3 Volume Set by Susan Lenart Kazmer

Radiant Landscapes: Transform Tiled Colors & Textures into Dramatic Quilts by Gloria Loughman

Acrylic Techniques in Mixed Media: Layer, Scribble, Stencil, Stamp by Roxanne Padgett

Quick & Easy Hexie Quilts by Rhodes and Wood

In Love with Squares & Rectangles: 10 Quilt Projects with Batiks & Solids from Blue Underground Studios by Amy Walsh and Janine Burke

Phrex Brain by Elizabeth Was

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Here's your sign!

Where else but Portland Oregon?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tree texture quilt - part three

One of the trickiest tasks was to find the right foundation fabric this time.  A little alteration of the color, and this one was perfect.  I arranged the panels on it to measure for size and placement.  I cut the foundation several inches bigger than needed, and also cut a piece of batting to go beneath it.

Once I was sure of the placement of the panels, I trimmed each along with the batting and pinned them into place.

Although usually I would probably stitch the moons down first, working from the top downward, I wasn't 100% sure of the placement of the moons, so I stitched the panels down first, using a blanket stitch.

Ok, I rotated and moved the moons until I was satisfied, and then blanket stitched them down (not stitching through all the layers) with a contrasting thread.

Next week - backing and quilting

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Part five 

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!


Beading Arts
Cyndi has some process shots from a bead embroidered necklace that she made looooooong ago, and never got around to sharing before! 

Craft Bag Giveaway!
Tammy fell down the rabbit hole, but it's a good thing because you get a chance to win a cool craft project bag. 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a no-sew Easter Bunny fabric decoration, a Zentangled Easter egg with tutorials for 3 Zentangles, a crochet loopy leaf pattern, and a recipe for creme fraiche. 
How to Decorate an Egg
Sherri shares many creative ways you can dye or decorate your eggs for Easter.  

Springtime Butterfly Theme Handmade Cards
Kick your digital cards up a notch with 3D embellishments.  

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Three necklaces made with a bit of old and new parts.

There's been a birth, and June's created a "chalk board art" style birth announcement to mark the event!

Adding Faithful Words
Cherie adds favorite Bible phrases to her art.


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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reader question: using newspaper

Awhile back, I received a question from my friend Eileen who was trying to help out one of her own readers.  I'm sure you know Eileen...she's The Artful Crafter!  The link goes to the post she wrote to help her reader.  

Do you sometimes use old newspapers in your mixed media? If yes, what media do you use to adhere and as a topcoat? Does the print on the backside show through? If yes, how do you avoid it?
Thanks for any help!

Hi Eileen,
Yes, I love using newspapers, but the paper is very acidic so I'm always careful to coat it on both sides with polymer medium before adding it to any piece.  I usually use either the liquid medium or a slightly heavier gel medium (Golden's brand).  Sometimes the print on the back shows through a bit, but I don't mind it.  If you use two-part resin instead, the paper becomes very translucent and the writing, on both sides, is almost the only thing that shows...it's very cool.  If you really don't want the backside print to show at all, your best bet is to xerox to newspaper onto tinted paper, but that kind of defeats the purpose of recycling!  However, it gives you better longevity, because even coated newspaper will break down eventually.  Gotta decide according to your own priorities, I think.

Best ~

Eileen's post:

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book review and giveaway: Adventures in Pompom Land

Do you remember making pompom animals when you were young?  Maybe you've never stopped making them.  That would put you squarely in the same camp with Myko Diann Bocek, who has written Adventures in Pompom Land.  Warning: this is a book full of cuteness overload! 

Seriously, though, I don't think any of the pompom critters I ever made came out anywhere near as cute as these.  That's because Myko really knows what she's doing, and has elevated it to an artform.  The nice thing is that she shares all the tricks with you in this book, to take your critters from just ok to over-the-top adorable.  Check this out, and you can see more of Myko's work in her Flickr album:


***Free Stuff Alert!!!*** 

Would you like to win a copy of Adventures in Pompom Land?    Just leave me a comment below and you'll automatically be entered to win.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice!

Please make sure that your link will lead me to an email address, or else I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  Deadline: March 27, 2013.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Here's your sign

If you don't ask, I promise not to either!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tree texture quilt - part two

Funny enough, this quilt is not going to have anything to do with trees!

I received a fat quarter of my new texture design from Spoonflower and spent a few days just staring at it.  That's right...I had no prior idea what I was going to actually do with the fabric once it arrived.  All I knew was how I wanted to paint it, but nothing else!

After awhile, an idea began to slowly take shape, and I cut out one large panel to paint.  Once painted and heat set, I cut them into thirds.  Here they are, painted with a graduted wash of anthraquinone blue acrylics.

The next step ws to cut out some moons for the three square panels.  I didn't back the panels with fusible interfacing this time, but I did back the moons.

I cut some natural cotton batting squares (slightly bigger as you can see) to back the panels and pinned the moons in place.  Then it was time to start messing around with position.

It's almost time to get to the stitching...my favorite part!

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Part five 

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!

Yarn Making Progress
Crafty Princess is thrilled to show off her first skein of usable yarn. 

June's created an art doll from an altered domino.

Adding Smiles
Cherie experimenting with adding more smiles and smirks to her mixed media girls.  

Beading Arts
In celebration of Seed Bead Month, Cyndi shares a project to help you use up some left overs! 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there are a tutorials on how to draw barbed wire type and a wire fastener for the end of a cord necklace, an interview with Drawing Comics Lab author Robyn Chapman and a recipe for Irish Nachos. 

Fun Projects to do with Craft Foam
Did you know you can make original art stamps from inexpensive craft foam? At The Artful Crafter, we've used craft foam to make lots of fun stuff.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to make a custom St Patrick's Day label and card

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Reader question: wood hardener

Hi Cyndi,

I have been browsing your mixed media artist website and must say you do have a wealth of information available there and am enjoying it very much.

I am a quilter by trade but enjoy mixed media in my spare time. I stumbled upon your site looking for information on fabric collage/books.  You mentioned using wood hardener a couple times but couldn't find a search engine for your site to find your first post on the subject of "wood hardener"

Could you please tell me (or direct me to info) what the product is and the purpose for using it on fabrics for books? Is it just for stiffening or does it leave the surface ready for writing on?

Thank you so much for your time in answering.


Hi Debbie,

I don't know if you were able to find both these posts or not:
Fabric Books - part one
Fabric Books - part two

Those are the tutorials where I'm using wood hardener.  I used a Minwax product, and it served three purposes: stiffened the fabric, sealed in the colorants on the rusted fabric, and provided a slightly more smooth surface for future writing with markers.

All the best ~

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book review: Creative Lettering

Are you fond of adding text to your mixed media pieces, and do you like to do so in your own hand?  If you are already involved in hand lettering, I think you'll find Creative Lettering very enjoyable.  If you've never done much with your own handwriting, then I'm not sure what your reaction will be.  Not that I think you won't enjoy the varieties of tips and techniques, and even projects, that the featured artists share, but you're not going to get much of any background on lettering.

The artists who have been chosen for this volume are truly amazing.  Most, not all, of them are also people who have spent years mastering what we might call "traditional" calligraphic skills.  I like that most of what is featured in this book does not rely on those traditional skills, but I'm also somewhat skeptical that most people could produce beautiful fonts like these without some practice in the basics. 

The basics section is very sparse, and the book jumps right into the goodies, which is the beautiful work of sixteen fabulous artists.  My personal favorite is probably Barbara Close, who works in that beautiful, fluid, layered style that I love so much and can't really do myself!  Here's one of her pieces:

But then on almost the other end of the spectrum, I also love the work of Aimee Dolich, who has cultivated a carefree, almost child-like look to her pieces:

So now you have an idea of the scope of this book.  It is truly fun to look through, and like I said, if you already do lettering, I think you're gonna love it.  If you need to get inspired to do lettering, I think you're gonna love it.  Just don't expect it to be a text on lettering, because it really isn't.  And that's fine!

Right now, Lark has a special giveaway going on for folks who want to post links to lettering projects they've done.  Check it out!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Here's your sign!

In a restaurant restroom...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tree texture quilt - part one

You know I've gotten all obsessed with digital line drawings and turning them into fabric that I can quilt with...

Here's the next.

I have had some close up photos of tree trunks from Virginia for quite some time.  I love the texture of the bark, and especially how it looks when you turn it into a line drawing in Photoshop.    

I tiled them in Photoshop and then uploaded the file to Spoonflower to have some fabric printed up

So now I wait.

But while I'm waiting for the fabric to arrive, I've been making a few samples on the same type of fabric to see what color I'm going to end up using.  My idea this time is so simple that I don't really have to do a Photoshop mock up of the color, but I do need to pick one!

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Part five 

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!


Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery Check out the tiny crochet carrots that Rorschach Amineko got!  

Stitch Markers Giveaway
To celebrate National Crochet Month, Crafty Princess Diariies weblog has a stitch marker giveaway. 

Another mixed media journal page by June.  

Beading Arts
As a part of celebrating Seed Bead Month on Beading Arts, Cyndi shares her favorite seed bead suppliers and books! 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a video tutorial on a bunch of Zentangles with Beckah Kruhula, a beading on a ring how-to, a circle punch paper tab idea along with how to make puff pastry cups.

Felt Peep Bunnies
Cherie makes some Peep bunnies for Easter out of felt.  

Spring and Easter Craft Projects for You Crafty Peeps
Looking for spring and Easter craft ideas? We've got lots of egg decorating ideas, plus a wall hanging, place cards, greeting cards, and some pretty special bunnies.  

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

A letter from Debbie

Hi Cyndi,
I just came upon your blog(s) and am thrilled! Loved your quotes...of things you've heard others say about you.....and "please mommy don't throw that away"...I feel I dabble with everything....you have shown me how to use it together...quilting with painting...I look forward to following you and your creativity...its a lot you put out there for others...thank you.

Hi Debbie!
Thank you so much for your lovely note...may you always stay inspired to create and to try new things!  If you'd like to share any of the things you make with readers on Mixed Media Artist, please let me know.  We all inspire each other that way.
Best ~

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Here's your sign!

 Dick's Kitchen, home of the Dork Burger!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Delicate papers for mixed media collage and quilting

Delicate papers pose a special problem in collage and in mixed media art quilting.  Over the years, I have been on the lookout for methods that allow them to be included in my work without compromising the strength of the finished piece.  One of my favorites is a method made popular by Jonathan Talbot, which involves encasing the delicate papers in acrylic medium before fusing them together.

 Dreaming of June, an encased collage

I came across a second method by Beryl Taylor which also used acrylic medium, with a substrate of muslin.  My own take on it was to use gesso instead of medium to make a layered "paper fabric" so that the resulting merger would be more needle-friendly.  Gesso isn't a particularly good adhesive, however, so there were still compromises being made.

More recently, I came across Rebekah Meier's method, which she called "Fragile Fusion" in the March/April 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.  Rebekah advises using fusible webbing as the substrate, which you can then heat-fuse to any quilt or collage project in the future.  Finally...a strong enough bond that is also sewable!  I highly recommend Rebekah's book More Fabric Art Collage (see my review at the link), in which she covers dozens of other layering techniques that would also work for delicate papers.

My here is my version of Rebekah's method.  If you haven't seen her article, I definitely recommend you get ahold of a copy of CPS, because she has a much more complex tutorial than this one.  The inclusions that I used may look a bit familiar: they are tiny scraps from my black felt quilt project.  See?  Don't throw ANYthing out, ever!


1. Using a piece of parchment paper below the stack, lay out ripped or cut tissue and other delicate papers on a double-sided sheet of fusible webbing.

2. Cover the stack with parchment and iron from both sides.

3. Add inclusions as desired, dotting them with fabric glue.  Iron.

4. Apply paint (I used bubble wrap) to help unify the colors.  Iron to heat set.

5. Apply foil as desired.  Below is another example, but this one is made with a single sheet of delicate tissue paper instead of multiple pieces.

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, March 01, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!

Getting Fresh Woot! The Crafty Princess guest blogged over at Fresh Stitches about how to start a craft club. 

Learn to make these book covers in my new altered book class! L Thykeson's Uniques

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Easy way to dress up a shower curtain with yarn and ribbon.  

Tomorrow I Will Laugh Like a Child
Cherie uses words from an early poem to create a new mixed media print.  

June's playing with gouache paint.  

Beading Arts
Cyndi finished up her February piece for the 2013 Bead Journal Project! 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is an idea on how to stitch a pet portrait, a design technique from the book I Just Like to Make Things, an interview with John Sartin author of The Complete Photo Guide to Making Metal Jewelry, and a tip on how to texture frosting.

Fancy Paper Flowers are Easy and Inexpensive to Make
Learn how to make elegant paper roses from coffee filters, tissue paper, and paper clay.  

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