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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...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Time off

Rising Mist, my last quilt
You're probably wondering why there haven't been any new projects here for awhile.  Well, the problem is that I've got a pinched nerve in my neck, which is not only painful, but is also interfering with my shoulder and left hand through the nerve pathway.  I had to make a decision which blog to concentrate on, and Beading Arts won.  I'm sorry, but I had to hold on to my first love and let most everything else go.

I am doing physical therapy and am working hard to heal, but it takes time.  It's also problematic, as many of you can probably relate, because I have the tendency to hunch over my work which makes it even worse.  I'm not sure how successful I'll be in training myself to stop, but I'm working on it!

Meanwhile, make wonderful things, and please do visit me on Beading Arts.  When I'm able to start quilting and collaging again, I'll also start posting here again.

Love you all!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!



Art Bead Scene
Check out Ema's new favourite tool - her wood-forming block for making curved metal components!

Beading Arts
Cyndi has been experimenting with bead embroidery and metal mesh ribbon!

Charlene Sevier
Book Review: The Complete Photo Guide to Making Jewelry (2nd Edition)

Origami-Inspired Calling Card Holder Suits Gift or Credit Cards
This origami-inspired card holder had two large pockets on the inside and 2 "secret" pockets on the outside. It holds about 20 cards and fastens with an elastic ponytail holder.

Resin Crafts
What could be cooler than miniature people at the beach?


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book reviews: two new books for winter and Christmas!


If you want to get your quilting gifts finished  before Christmas is over this year, then might I suggest Here Comes Winter and Celebrate Christmas, both published by Martingale.

Here Comes Winter was written by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks.  The basics of quiltmaking are in the beginning for those who are just venturing into this artform.  Almost all of the book, though, is dedicated to the projects.  Using simple background blocks and delightfully cute appliques, each quilt project has a yardage and cutting guide to make construction go smoothly.


Some of the projects are really simple, but can be made in different color patterns to suit any giftee on your list.  The quilts that are a bit trickier, with some of the more intricate appliques, all have patterns for these extra embellishments.  A couple of my favorites from this book are immediately above and below this paragraph.




Besides full quilts, the projects also include lap quilts, table runners, table toppers, door banners, and pillows.




Although Here Comes Winter has a couple of projects that focus on the most famous winter holiday, the next book, Celebrate Christmas is pure Christmas overload!  With wall hangings, quilts, tree skirts, table runners, mantel covers, stockings, pillows, purses, aprons, ornaments, and a calender, you'd be hard-pressed not to find *something* you like in here!

There is no basics section in this book, but the instructions for each project are very clear, and there are plenty of patterns and templates provided for any of the tricky parts.

Here are a couple of my favorite projects from this new Martingale book.







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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quote of the week!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Book review: Quiltmaking Essentials 1


Donna Lynn Thomas has written a new book for Martingale called Quiltmaking Essentials 1, which focuses on cutting and piecing skills.  That leads me to believe that there will be more books in this series, what do you think?  :-)



If you are interested in trying traditional quiltmaking, or if you wish your piecing skills were better for making your art quilts more precise, this may be the book for you.  The author doesn't take anything for granted, but starts with the very most basic quiltmaking skills, from there she moves on to rotary cutting, pressing, block construction, machine piecing, and ends with special sewing techniques.



This little book is simply packed with information that will of great help to both beginners and to intermediates who want to perfect their skills.  The information on the steps to piecing particular block styles alone is so very valuable.



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Friday, July 18, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!


Carmi's Art/Life World
It is wonderful to see how a bit of fabric ribbon and a button can be featured into a new beaded cuff.

Resin Crafts Blog
There are inexpensive bamboo tiles that can easily be turned into wearable jewels with some simple resin application techniques.

Beading Arts
With a few funky components and a little bit of wire, you can quickly have a new necklace!

Crafty Cupcake "Recipe" Calls for Styrofoam and Glue
Not only are they cute, these cupcakes are fun to make. They’re guaranteed to be sugar-free, gluten-free, calorie-free and cute as the dickens.

Back to Amigurumi
Crafty Princess is loving amigurumi again with this new project that was a tad challenging.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book reviews: three new quilting books

The following books are all published by Martingale, which specializes in instructions, templates, patterns, and photos that are easy to follow, and pretty much fool proof!  If you haven't done much quilting before, these books are always a good place to start.  Some feature traditional quilt block patterns, while some are contemporary and original. All have yardage and materials lists, block assembly directions, and quilt assembly instructions too.

English Paper Piecing II by Vicki Bellino


In this follow-up to her best-selling first volume, English Paper Piecing, Vicki Bellino again presents a collection of beautiful new designs to tempt quilters of all skill levels.  You can learn to add even more shapes by using the English paper piecing method to construct gorgeous quilts, table runners, and other decorative and functional projects.  If you've never used this method of piecing before, don't worry; Vicki covers the details from the beginning.  And she offers eleven new projects to try out your new skills.


Beyond Neutral by John Q Adams


Are you sometimes afraid to use bold colors as background fabrics? Then you'll love quilter John Q. Adams's fresh and bold exploration of quilting color palettes.  He draws his inspiration from nature, but sometimes the wild side of nature!  There are sixteen beautiful projects that celebrate wind, earth, leaf, sky, grass, lava, coral, and stone.


Feathers That Fly by Lee Cleland




This last book is very technical and focused.  Feather motifs are classics for a reason, and now you no longer need to be intimidated as you follow along in this handbook.  Each chapter presents a new technique and has an appropriate project for your practicing pleasure.  You can learn to draw your own designs, or you are welcome to use the ones that are provided.  As a special bonus, if you have a long-arm quilting machine, there are "Fast and Free" feather patterns included.  Fourteen projects will walk you through straight-spine feathers, wreaths, curves, and cables.


Photography credits: Martingale, Brent Kane

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book review: Reclaimed Textiles


Kim Thittichai takes the readers of Reclaimed Textiles through a mountain of innovative techniques for repurposing discarded materials, reclaiming and recycling them to make unique and often stunning works of art.  Starting with the basic techniques you will need to know throughout, Kim moves on through textiles, paper, packaging materials, plastics, and mixed media.  You will also be treated to a really fun chapter titled "Inspiration"...it is, yes!

Each chapter has projects included that you can try out if you've never worked with that material before, but mostly the chapters are just packed with inspiring examples and new ideas for what experienced textilers are working on these days.  This is a British publication, so you'll have to do some 'translating' for things like "Bondaweb" (fusible webbing), but no worries...you'll figure it all out!  Batsford is the UK publisher, and you'll find the book marketed by Sterling here in the US.

Will you want to make the exact featured projects?  Well, yes and no.  I'm sure you will marvel at the examples that are photographed so beautifully and lovingly, but most likely they will set your heart pounding with the possibilities for reclaiming and repurposing your own stash of treasures!

Kim writes:
How many of you have at least one drawer of products you have stored away and never used?  Do you even know why you bought them?  I think that many of us are now feeling the guilt of storing away things we are never going to use.
So let's get out that stash and start to use it!



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Friday, July 11, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!


Art Bead Scene
Check out Kylie Parry's beautiful post on summer inspiration!

Beading Arts
Note every project can be a smashing success...come see why!

Crafting Discount Alert!
Get 25% off a cool Hobby Holster with this discount code good until the end of the month

Creative collaboration helps raise awareness and funds for a worthy cause.
Andrew participated in the Beads of Courage Design Challenge. Check out pictures from the Bead&Button Show and see images of his finished piece.

How to Make a Page Map Card Unique to You
Page maps, layouts, or sketches - whatever you call them - are a great way to: 1. Learn basic design principles; 2. Come up with a quick design on the spur of the moment; and 3. Observe how other artists interpret the sketch - honestly, no two are ever alike.


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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Book review: Patchwork Loves Embroidery


Don't be afraid to mix and match these projects, says Gail Pan about her pretty book, Patchwork Loves Embroidery.  That means that although there are fifteen stated projects in this volume, there are in actuality potentially many more.  Featuring full-sized hand embroidery designs, this book is sure to please embroiderers and quilters who want to merge the two.  Gail Pan is mostly known for her garden-inspired motifs as you can see in the samples below.  


The book covers the basics of hand embroidery: using the correct needle, choosing threads and fabrics, and transferring the designs to fabric.  Then you can select from patchwork and embroidery projects that include wall hangings, table runners, totes, and fabric covers for books or folders.


Photography credits: Martingale, Brent Kane

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Friday, July 04, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!



Beading Arts
Cyndi managed to finish her June piece for the Bead Journal Project with a little time to spare...but only a little!

Cuteness Alert
What is cuter than a matching bunny and baby afghan?

The Inspired by Reading Book Club reads about botany and booze!
"The Drunken Botanist" by Amy Stewart is an intoxicating exploration of the botanical histories of some of our favorite beverages. See how this book inspired a group of artists and jewelry-makers!

Would it be Pretentious to call this my Studio?
I ask because it's really starting to feel like one. And I remodeled it on less than $15!


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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Book review: Alternative Art Surfaces



Several years ago, Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson published a fabulous book through North Light Books called Surface Treatment Workshop.  I rarely buy books since I receive so many for review purposes, but this one I did, and I am so glad for it too.  And now I am even happier!  The dynamic duo has published what is to my mind a companion volume, called Alternative Art Surfaces.  Instead of focusing on the mixed media techniques that the first volume covers, this new one looks in depth at the surfaces themselves.  Oh, don't worry, there are techniques included for sure, but they are arranged according to the materials you'll be using.

Sandra Duran Wilson

I don't usually give you lists of chapters, but this time it is appropriate.  Darlene and Sandra will introduce you to working on metal (aluminum, tin, steel, and rust), metal leaf, metal foil and screen, mica, cast acrylic, glass (including mirrors), resin, cement (plus mortar and grout), plaster, clays, rawhide (plus suede and leather), wood, stone, foam, acrylic skins, specialty papers, fabric, synthetic fabrics, wax, and found objects.
If you still can't get enough, you are welcome to visit Darlene's website, with links to her blog,  Sandra has a gallery site as well.  You are also supposed to be able to find additional material and demos at ArtistNetwork, but as of this writing, it does not yet seem to be available.

Darlene Olivia McElroy


One of my favorite chapters (for the moment) is on stone.  I've got some slate tiles that came from my 1880 Victorian home's roof, and I've been meaning to play with them.  Now I've got the info I need right at my fingertips!  I am also drooling to try some of the techniques in the chapters on glass and Plexiglas.  So many ideas, so little time :-)



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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Crafts with Katherine and Julianna


We had a vacation, all-too-short, with our grands at the beginning of the month.  It was lovely to have long summer days to spend getting to know them better, doing projects with them, and finding out that the baby likes to draw!!

Above is a picture of Katherine after we went on a highly successful treasure-seeking walk.  We added some of our treasures to plastic bottles with colored sand.



Another day we visited the Rochester Museum of Play in Rochester NY.  What a great time!  There were all kinds of activities to try and crafts to do.




Back at the homefront, Grampy discovered that Little Miss has a thing for crayons.  She's just a bit over a year, so we're pretty pleased.  We've got one picture of Dani at 9 months drawing, so maybe this is a good sign...?

We also did fridge magnets, but I forgot to take a picture!

Copyright 2014 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, June 27, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!



Art Bead Scene
Take a peek inside the studio of Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry as she prepares for her exhibition at Gallery Q - and be in with the chance of winning one of her beautiful and unique Q Marks the Spot necklaces.

Beading Arts
Cyndi has finished a second bead embroidery cuff featuring pleated shibori silk ribbon, and she's provided a tutorial too!

Carmi's Art/Life World
My Pastel Statement Necklace is featured in the summer issue of Perles et Cetera magazine. What is unique is the addition of an applique for the pendant.

Knit Lab Review
Here are some pros and cons about Craftsy.com's Knit Lab class.

Old Timey 4th of July Card
The old time feel of this card evokes Eileen's childhood memories of 4th of July festivities, hot summer days and cool lemonade. Directions for this stamped card included.

Resin Crafts Blog
Who knew that fabulous paint could be swirled to create stunning designs under resin.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the book Punk Chic Jewelry by Erin Siegal.. You are going to love this wonderful book by the amazing Erin!


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Art quilts


Here are the links to my finished art quilts.  Often the tutorials are posted in several parts, but you should find the links to earlier posts are each of the posts listed here.  Don't miss the additional information on techniques that you will find at my Fabric painting link.

Rising Mist quilt

Glacier Bay quilt

Sepia photo quilt

Chickadee collage-quilt

Machine sewn lap quilt

Alaska quilt

Machine sewn lap quilt


Vulture quilt - Downdraft

Orbital Flow

My TAST 2012 quilt

KÄ«lauea quilt 

Sequined quilt

Felt flowers

Lava quilt

Black felt quilt

Lost In Thought

Manipulated fabric for texture in quilting

Marbled fabric quilt - Falling From a Blue Sky

Painted silk quilt - At First Light

Painted silk quilt - As Daylight Fades

Bird post card quilt

Reverse applique quilt

Margaret - a combination collage and quilt

Fall Migration quilt

Felted fabric technique

Woven fabric background


Making an applique quilt

A small mixed media quilted collage

Small mixed media quilt with image transfer 


Small art quilt with fish

Paper quilting



Copyright 2014 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, June 20, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!


A Bead A Day
What's on your beading table today? Lisa's getting creative in hopes of having something new to wear tomorrow!

Beading Arts
Cyndi finished up her project that combines shibori silk ribbon and bead embroidery, and has posted the rest of the tutorial!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has given up trying to bead in a traditional manner - hence the crazy cuff.

Knitting Circles
Looking for a way to store your circular knitting needles? Here is a different solution.

Mixed Media Artist
It's been a long time since Cyndi worked with image transfers...here's a new variation that she worked out!

Piecing Lazertran Inkjet Decals on Wood
You can piece Lazertran Inkjet Decals to create a larger image te 8 1/2 x 11. If you've ever made long printed posters where you have to overlap and make seams match or have ever matched seams to hang wallpaper, you know the basic technique.

Resin Craft Blog
This week in a two part post, Carmi took a tray that was recycled into charms for jewelry making...and upcycled it back to a tray with resin!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean got some fun news about a great book ! It is all about Jewelry Making Daily and Wire + Metal this week! See her blog!


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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book review: Water-Based Texturing



Tucker Stouch has a clear purpose in her book Water-Based Texturing, released recently by Schiffer Publishing, and that purpose is to teach you how to emulate the textures all around you, particularly natural ones, by using water media and tools that are readily found in craft or hardware stores.  She begins with a brief description of the products and tools she uses the most, plus a list of resources and a discussion of the importance of texture in art.  From there, it's one gorgeous technique after another!

The majority of the book is given over to step-by-step instructions for the various samples she shares.  Tucker uses a consistent wood panel so that you can compare the techniques in a meaningful way, but she also shows you many examples of the techniques used on other materials.  As you would expect with a Schiffer book, the photos are beautiful and will inspire you to want to push the limits of the ideas shared as well.

The instructions are simple and clearly written.  My personal favorites are the various crackle techniques, impasto using spackling paste and caulk, and frottage.  Oh, and by the way, have you ever painted with marbles?  :-)   



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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book reviews: two new quilting books

Civil War Legacies II by Carol Hopkins

Like the first volume of Civil War Legacies, Carol's book feature small-sized scrap quilts made with reproduction fabrics.  Each project takes you through how to make the blocks, starting with yardage needed and cutting instructions, and then moves on to assembly.  Although I'm not a traditional block quilt kind of quilter, I found many of these really appealing, though perhaps in different colors for me!  I particularly liked Gettysburg Sun, shown below:







You Can Quilt It by Deborah M Poole

Deborah teaches all the ins and outs of  free-motion quilting designs.  You'll learn how to use templates, rulers, stencils, and registration lines to keep your quilting patterns even.  She includes both traditional and original designs:





Photography credits: Martingale, Brent Kane

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fish image transfer


I have many photos of fish skeletons that I took at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and the stark contrast in them made me think that they might make a pretty good image transfer.  I wanted to try something just a little different, so I came up with a variation on one of my favorite methods, the Inkjet to Fabric Transfer.  The major difference was that I wanted to add paint and gesso to the fabric first, hoping to get a grainier result...and it worked!




1. Cut cloth to size and iron.

2. Spray with water and paint with yellow ochre.  Top with white gesso and spread around.


3. Sponge with quinacridone gold.  Let dry.




4. Size the image and print out on an inkjet tranparency sheet.




5. Stroke on a light coat of liquid polymer medium where the image transfer will go and quickly place the image down on the fabric, burnishing the back.  Pull off the transparency before it dries to the cloth.

6. Let the image dry thoroughly before using in a project.


Copyright 2014 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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