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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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Vintage Hardware in Oregon


The last time we went to visit with Dani in Portland Oregon, we ended up taking a (long) day trip out to Astoria.  Top of Dani's and my list was to visit Vintage Hardware.  It was even more fun than I expected it to be.  Aisles and aisles that you can twist and turn and get lost in, but not so big that you despair over missing something important.  Although I didn't have an exact goal in mind, I quickly settled on looking through some wonderful old hinges that had a great patina.

The lovely lady in the shot above showed me a few additional spots that had more hinges.  She didn't want me to take her picture at first since she isn't the owner, but hey!  She gets the credit for helping me find what I was after :-)  If you ever within several hours drive of Astoria, you must must must go visit them!


I've got a couple of ideas in mind for these.  One obvious use would be to include one or more in an altered book or handmade book.   But I also know that I want to use some of them for mixed media bead embroidery, perhaps as a replacement for a bail.  As soon as some of my current projects near completion, I'll be thinking more about this!

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, September 27, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!


Craftside- A behind the scenes peek at our crafty world
Cherry Basket Quilt pattern by Lori Holt From the book Quilters: Their Quilts, Their Studios, Their Stories

Halloween Crafts Gallery from The Artful Crafter
Halloween is fast approaching. Here are some crafty ideas sure to delight trick-or-treaters of all ages.

Gold Glass Sculpture Solar Light
Cherie uses an old ashtray as the base for a garden solar light.

Beading Arts
Time to add some bead embroidered motifs to Cyndi's new necklace, using African Helix, Chevron, RAW, and St Petersburg Chain as the inspiration!


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Recent publications: September 2013



Brave New Quilts: 12 Projects Inspired by 20th-Century Art From Art Nouveau to Punk & Pop by Kathreen Ricketson

Artful Ways with Mixed Media by Monique Day-Wilde and Angie Franke

Art Quilt Maps: Capture a Sense of Place with Fiber Collage-A Visual Guide by Valerie S. Goodwin

500 Handmade Books Volume 2 (500 Series) by Julie Chen

Art Escapes: Daily Exercises & Inspirations for Discovering Greater Creativity & Artistic Confidence by Dory Kanter

The Everything Guide to Selling Arts & Crafts Online: How to sell on Etsy, eBay, your storefront, and everywhere... by Kim Solga

Creating Art at the Speed of Life: 30 Days of Mixed-Media Exploration by Pam Carriker

The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice by Rosanne Somerson, Mara Hermano and John Maeda

Making Art: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist by Ed Brickler

Everyday Papercraft: Paper folding projects for the Home and Beyond by Keiko Komatsubara

First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting: 24 Projects for Fearless Stitching by Christina Cameli




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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Alaska quilt - part four





The quilting is all going to be done with two strands of embroidery floss, through all four layers (backing, batting, top, and netting).  Sometimes there will be more than four layers, because the top pieces overlap at the seams.  Still, a good sharp needle and only two strands of floss should be no problem.  I usually start from the back and pull the knots through the backing fabric to hide them.  Because of the way I'm planning on framing the piece, all quilting must stay back 1/2 inch from the edge.  I added pins all around to remind myself of this.

Simple spirals for the water

I decided to stick with the somewhat abstract or stylized nature of the quilt when chosing how to quilt it.  Because so many pieces are overlapped, I knew I had to be very careful to not jump around too much, or I could end up with large wrinkles.  Many times with a quilt like this, I'll start in the middle and work outward in all directions, but this time, because of the number of pins involved, I decided to work from the bottom upward.  If anything started to shift, I thought it would be easier to hide it in the upper reaches.



Zig zags for the trees



Wavy lines for the snow and glacial ice




Peaks for the mountain tops


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, September 20, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!



ACreativeDream
June has a whole new batch of mail art completed and sent. Come see what she's done!

Win 1 of 15 Prize Packages from Card Maker Magazine!
 World Card Making Day is October 5. You may want to get a head start because there are BIG prizes and GOOD causes involved!

Glass Mushrooms 
Cherie makes another round of glass garden mushrooms.

A Chimp Maybe When you cannot find that perfect pattern, sometimes you have to improvise.

Beading Arts
Cyndi is starting a new series on making a bead embroidered necklace...follow along and try one for yourself!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Katherine crafts - making sidewalk chalk


Last year I spent some time working out how to make sidewalk chalk, knowing that it would be a great project to do with my granddaughter some day...soon!  This summer we finally got the opportunity to try it out together.  We didn't make a lot of fancy colors, but she had no complaints.


1. Follow the directions at the link for making sidewalk chalk.

2. Let it dry overnight.


3. Peel it and find a good surface to draw a spaceship on.



4. Make sure your baby sister helps by staying out of the way with Grammy!

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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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Katherine crafts - making a faerie princess crown


The second project that I got to do with Katherine this summer was to show her how to make a crown fit for a faerie princess.  Can you imagine this crown in other fabrics?  If you've got a real princess-lover in your family, you could easily make one of these to match practically every special outfit.



1. I brought along a lace shirt to recycle into this crown.  The first step was to find a tupperware dish that fit on Katherine's head.  I wrapped the bowl in waxed paper and then cut a strip off the bottom of the shirt that was long enough to slightly overlap around the dish.

2. We soaked the lace with fabric glue, using a sponge brush.  You could also use a fabric stiffener, it's not really a very fussy project.  I used a binder clip to hold the ends in place.



3. After letting it overnight, we removed it from the bowl and adjusted the overlap to fit Katherine perfectly.




4. I stitched up the seam to reinforce it.  The glue was holding it together alright, but I figured it could pull apart pretty easily.



5.  Katherine enjoyed decorating the crown with markers and glitter glue!

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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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quote of the week


Click comic for a larger image.  Image: DoghouseDiaries

Monday, September 16, 2013

Alaska quilt - part three


Time to start making some fabric choices.  When I show you the following pictures, it may seem like it was very easy - just follow the planogram from last week - but you'll have to trust me when I say it didn't work out quite that smoothly.  I had a lot of false starts and re-dos before I got it into the final form.  Even then, I needed to leave it alone for two days to be sure!


I chose a large dark blue print of tree silhouettes and the moon for the backing fabric.  This was an important choice, because my plan was to fold this fabric to the front and create a frame for the quilt instead of my usual frameless binding.  I laid down a large piece of the backing fabric and a piece of batting, and then used masking tape on top of the batting just as I had on the table to block out the size of the finished quilt.




The batting and backing fabric both needed to extend several inches beyond the masking tape border in order to create the frame at the end.  I carefully pinned all along the edge of the tape to keep the fabrics from slipping while I auditioned the quilt-top fabrics.




It took me quite awhile to get brave enough to just start ripping the fabrics into the right size (with a bit of extra for overlap), especially the fabrics that I only had a tiny bit of.  They are all going to stay raw-edged and just be quilted into place, not pieced together first.  My recent quilts are all completely hand sewn, and piecing is just a huge waste of time!  When I want a hard edge, I use a lightweight interfacing to back the fabric, but most of the time I love the raggedness of raw edges.




After living with this arrangement for a couple of days, I decided that it was right, but too bright.  It failed to capture the haziness of the Alaskan light.




That was easily solved by placing a large piece of netting over then entire piece.  Yes!  Exactly what I was looking for!  All the pieces got pinned into place through all four layers.  Time to begin figuring out how to do the quilting.  


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, September 13, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!



Beading Arts 
Cyndi shows you how to make a necklace that features a "Shower of Pearls"!

Card Making with Photoshop Elements
 Photoshop and Photoshop Elements do not have art or image galleries but digital design elements can be found everywhere and many are free! You just need to know how to look.

Craftside: A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
How to tie a Ring Hitch, Double Ended knot from the book What Knot?

Flipping Over Dolls
Flip dolls and other interactive toys are the focus of this new book by Laura Wilson.

Worthy Postcard
Cherie makes a postcard for June's mail art exchange.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Katherine crafts - making a confetti bowl



This summer, I had almost an entire week with my granddaughters (oh yeah, and their parents!), and during that week, 5 year old Katherine and I had plenty of time to do projects together.  Our 5 month old Julianna mostly helped by staying out of the way!

I have the BEST toes!

Our first project was to make a confetti bowl.  I've seen this done many times, but I've never actually made one before, so I did a certain amount of anxious hoping when we went to remove the bowl from the form.  It worked out perfectly!  The only downside is having to wait overnight for it to dry, but we had so many other fun things to do that Katherine didn't mind.  Plus, I think it's a good thing to be showing young kids that not all art is instantaneous.



1. Blow up a balloon and find a plastic or glass bowl that it can rest on without too much slipping around.  Cover the bowl with foil or waxed paper.

2. Use Mod Podge, Elmer's glue, or any other white glue to adhere the confetti to the top portion of the bowl.  We found it worked best if I brushed on a small section of glue at a time and Katherine poured/patted the confetti into place.

3. After a few hours, I returned and added another layer of glue to the surface of the bowl to seal in the confetti.  This isn't really necessary, but it did make a nicer surface and made it a bit more water-resistant.


4. When the bowl was totally dry (overnight), we popped the balloon and peeled it out.  It stuck a bit, but was easy enough to remove.



5. Katherine declared that I needed to cut along the top and remove all the stragglers.  I tried to convince her that they added character to the bowl, but nothing doing!

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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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 09, 2013

Alaska quilt - part two


I had to go and look very closely at a map of Alaska's inner passage and compare my photograph number with the captain's cruise summary, and I can still only tell you approximately where we were...within about 300 miles!  This shot was taken somewhere between Whittier and Yakutat Bay, I believe slightly closer to Yakutat.  But I can't be sure.

Honestly, though, does it really matter that much?  I experienced such a sensory overload and just continued snapping pictures until my finger almost fell off.  It was hard to choose a single picture as the inspiration for my quilt, but there was just something about this one that grabbed me: the high contrast but limited color palette, the balance of shapes.  These were important qualities, because like I said last time, I don't really make a lot of representational quilts, and it's almost always about the shapes, color, and balance.



I'm not exactly sure what you'd call this style that I chose...it seems to be half way between representational and abstract.  I made a (very) rough sketch of the photo's major shapes, scanned it into Photoshop, and then began playing.




I like working with ripped strips of silk or cotton, so I first converted my drawing into rectangular blocks.  Referring back to the photograph, I designated colors in a very simple fashion: there was sky, water, snow, medium and dark trees, and medium and dark mountains.




Just to see how that was going to work out visually, I chose seven colors in Photoshop to represent these areas, and colored in the blocks.  It helped a lot to make the colors transparent so that I could see the original lines through them, but the only plan that I actually printed out was a copy of the labeled blocks without the colors or even the sketch behind them.  I wanted to put the quilt together with only the blocks for reference, and then check back with the photo and see if anything needed to be tweaked.




Out on my large work table (in the kitchen, not in my studio), I used masking tape to play with the size until I was happy with it.  You can see my little planogram there on the table, and a pile of different cottons that I thought might be useful.




My original plan was to use all of the fabrics that I bought in Alaska in the quilt.  Sad to say, that didn't happen!  In fact, I only used one very small strip of one of the fabrics, on the wrong side, and only because I stubbornly *made* it fit!  I ended up with quite a number of commercial cottons plus my own hand-painted fabrics, using both sides of many of them.  My husband was amazed by just how many fabrics I had.  I told him what he was seeing was just the tip of the iceberg...ha ha.



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, September 06, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!


Beading Arts
Beads in Motion?? Just what does that mean? Wait till you see!

Cooking and Sewing Combo
Here is a book review about a new crafting book that combines sewing projects for the kitchen along with recipes.

Crafting Totes
Crafts means you need storage, and totes are a good way to store and carry your crafting supplies around.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
Giveaway of The Quilt Block Book and The Pickle Dish Quilt Block pattern

Tales From a Flea Market
Cherie talks about her first experience selling her craft stuff.

Terry Potholders are Simply the Best
Retro terry potholders are simple to make for mere pennies!



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Thursday, September 05, 2013

I'm going to make a quilt about Alaska!



Well, at least it's going to be inspired by our trip to Alaska.  I had so many landscape shots to choose from, but I finally settled on the shot above.  I've done my preliminary rough sketch, and now I've got to decide exactly how this is going to happen.  I don't really make very many representational quilts...a few, but not many.  Mostly they are abstracts that are more inspired by color, shape, and mood.  Oh well, I'll figure it out!

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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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Book review: Journal Your Way


Gwen Diehn, the book making and journaling maven, has a new release of her 2010 hardcover volume, Real Life Journals.  Re-released as Journal Your Way by Lark Books, Gwen's book remains one of my favorites for beginners who want to dive into practical book making.  And if you're an intermediate who hasn't already bought the original book, I think you'll enjoy this as well!

Hands down, one of the most helpful features is Gwen's design inventory, found on pages 11 through 13.  Along with the reference insert, charmingly called "Choose your own bookbinding adventure", the inventory will help you make the proper choices about binding style, size, type of paper, etc, so that your journal truly fits what you want to use it for.  That is one of Gwen's main purposes: what good is a journal if it doesn't fit you and you don't use it?

There are instructions for making 16 different styles of books, along with 10 styles of covers.  And, nine lucky lucky people had journals custom made for them by the author, following the design inventory!  How would you like to have been one of them?


The Lark website has a sample project that you can try from the book if you are not certain that book making is for you.  Visit the Journal Your Way post to learn to make a multiple-pamphlet with a sewn-in cover!


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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Monday, September 02, 2013

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