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...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recent publications: November 2011

Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists: Experimental Techniques for Composition, Layering, Texture, Imagery, and Encaustic by Ann Baldwin

Inside the Creative Studio: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Art and Craft Space by Cate Coulacos Prato

Metal Artist's Workbench: Demystifying the Jeweler's Saw by Thomas Mann

Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking by Jill K. Berry

Photoshop Brushes & Creative Tools: Ornate Letters and Alphabets by Alan Weller

Create Your Own Printable Scrapbook Papers: 135 Vintage Designs for use with Photoshop Elements by Jodie Lee Patterson

Sew to Swap: Quilting Projects to Exchange Online and by Mail by Chrissie Grace

Stitching a Culture Together: African American Quilters of Ohio (Ohio Quilt Series) by Carolyn L. Mazloomi

Firefly's Step-by-Step Encyclopedia of Needlecraft: Patchwork, Embroidery, Quilting, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Applique Plus Dozens of Projects with How-to Instructions by Louise Dixon

Mickey Lawler's SkyQuilts: 12 Painting Techniques, Create Dynamic Landscape Quilts by Mickey Lawler

A Field Guide to Fabric Design: Design, Print & Sell Your Own Fabric; Traditional & Digital Techniques; For Quilting, Home Dec & Apparel by Kimberly Kight

A Quilted Memory: Ideas and Inspiration for Reusing Vintage Textiles by Mary Kerr

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

At First Light - part four

Woo hoo!  It's finished!  Let me introduce you to At First Light, companion piece to As Daylight Fades.  They are both approximately 3 x 2', all hand painted silk except for the batting and backing fabrics, and all hand stitched.

I started by stitching down the top-most pieces, that is, any pieces that were not covered on any sides by any other pieces.  I then moved on and worked more or less from the center outward so that I could trim pieces as needed as they shifted slightly.  I used a single strand of embroidery floss and stitched through all layers of silk and the batting layer, using a blanket stitch.

The backing fabric was added and cut to size.  I stitched all around the outside with the same blanket stitch.  Even though the image at the top shows straight edges, they are not completely straight: wherever the blocks jutted out slightly around the edges, I allowed them to stay that way.

I added buttons to the back in strategic spots, stitching up through all layers and around seams on the front in order to keep the quilt from sagging.  Since I didn't quilt through the backing fabric, something must be done to help stabilize a quilt this size.  Tiny ones can get away with no buttons or knotting

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. 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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Saturday, November 26, 2011

More artsy links

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Do you craft for profit, or would you like to? Here are some tips for reaching your target market.

Felt Ornament Houses
Cherie makes little felt ornaments for the tree.  

Beading Arts
Beautiful toggle clasps are meant to be seen, not hidden away!

Creative Dreamer
Exciting news!  

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Artsy blogging round-up!


Carmi's Art/Life World
This week I have a little card tutorial featuring Popcorn the bear digital images.

Craft. You.
This week on Craft. You. we feature craft activist Corrine Bayraktaroglu a.k.a. Jafabrit 

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess attempts to design her own cotton market bag with mixed results.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
It's that time of year to harvest (or buy) hard shelled gourds for crafting. Here are some ideas to get you started.  

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Retrofabulous Christmas Craftabration marches on with some upcycled holiday greetings inspired by a 1966 Christmas Helps magazine!  

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Best way to darken fabric pattern (reader question)

Image via Wikimedia Commons

I received the following question recently, and I thought I'd share it with you along with my answer.  I am unfamiliar with textiles from Uzbekistan, so I did a little searching around before answering.  I don't know if my answer was "correct" or not, but it was my best guess.  Anyone have a better idea? 

[Note - before doing anything to ethnic fabric, you should really read Caroline's comment below]

Dear Cyndi,

I purchased an antique suzani from Uzbekistan on ebay. When it arrived, some large areas of the design are grey, not black. I need the grey to be black. I am willing to take the time to make the grey black. The design is intricate so I will need some kind of brush. I am going to have this framed when I finish. So no worry about it being washed and used over time. My only concern is appearance. I am thinking that I will probably have to do the black areas too for evenness of color. I believe the thread and is cotton and the backing muslin. I think it will take color fast.

Please give me your suggestions about paint to use and tools and do I need to wet the areas as I go.

I thank you for your time.


Hi Sandy,
I've thought about this a bit, and I think the first thing I would try would be fabric markers rather than either paint or dye.  Marvy makes pretty juicy markers in a variety of sizes so that you could touch up the intricate parts and also draw over larger areas to get that even color.  I have not had any problems with these markers bleeding on muslin, but it's always best to do a small test area first. 

Best wishes with your project!

Best ~

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book reviews: Push Paper and Push Stitchery

Make way on your bookshelf for a new series by Lark Publishing.  Containing Lark's usual fine attention to detail and color, the first two books of the series are ones that you will savor!  The purpose of the new series is to explore artwork that pushes the boundaries of tradition in various media; the first two books tackle paper and stitchery.  Just in case you think you know everything that can be done with these materials and techniques...you're wrong! 

Push Paper will introduce you to artists who are doing things with paper that you'll sometimes find hard to believe can be done with...well, humble paper!  I was already familiar with the work of a couple of the artists, but this book introduced me to many many more that I wish to know better.  Thirty artists in all, to be exact.  I was particularly enamoured of what Chris Gilmour is doing with cardboard.  It sent me searching online for more, and I was so happy to find that he's got a wonderful website (link above, image below).   That's all cardboard, folks!

   Chris Gilmour

The other book in the series, Push Stitchery, is equal in its ability to delight, charm, and inspire.  Viewing some of the artwork, I found myself scratching my head and saying, "But that's not stitchery...oh, wait...I guess it is!"  Very challenging stuff!  Please be aware that this new series is a gallery series, not focused on the how-tos and tutorials, but instead is a showcase for the artists to talk about their inspirations, passions, and what might be next.  

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

At First Light - part three

Trying to get the layout right for my new quilt.  This was not a fast process!

Log cabin style?

 Different centerpiece?

Reverse the colors?

Strips instead of block?

Move colors around?

Bottom colors too dark?

 Oh, duh...it was upside down!  And needed a better frame.

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. 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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Saturday, November 19, 2011

More artsy links!


Creative Dreamer
The ornaments have started! Come check out number three... June's take on a Sock Monkey!

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
It's that time of year to harvest (or buy) hard shelled gourds for crafting. Here are some ideas to get you started.  

Moore Whimsies
My amazing giveaway winner!  

Picnic Plate Veggie Stand
Cherie makes a veggie stand out of old plates.  

Beading Arts
Bead a continuous loop necklace for a unique eyeglass holder!  

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Artsy blogging round-up!


About Family Crafts
Looking for some ways to dress up your Thanksgiving dinner table? Check out these creative ideas. 

Aileen's Musings
Aileen show's you how to make a Sparkle Berry necklace. It's a perfect Christmas gift giving project!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi shares a little post about blogging for other companies.  

Craft Buds
Paper-piecing gives you a precise look to your quilt designs, and opens up endless possibilities. Check out the modern paper-pieced "Noel" quilt block tutorial, part of the 12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt Along.

Craft. You.
TV Producer and Artist Avelino Pombo shares his recipe for success! 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a chance to win a copy of the book Jewelry Lab along with a tutorial on how to make trapped felt and fabric jewelry, how to get started drawing, eye-candy with a good creative quote and a recipe for slow cooker lasagna.

Crafty Princess Diaries
It is that time of year - time for the annual arts and crafts shows! 

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Come see The Artful Crafter's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade of crafts! 

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge finally whips her studio into shape!  


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

At First Light - part two

I used very dilute acrylics (Golden Heavy Body Artist Acrylics) to add color to pieces of silk habotai and dupioni.  Painting rather than dying allows for some patterning techniques that I really love.  Since the particles of pigment float above the surface of the fabric rather than chemically bond to the fibers, you can manipulate the results quite a bit as the fabric dries.  I like Golden's acrylics the best because of their high pigment content.  What follows are some samples from last week's painting session.

Salt printing:
While the fabric is still wet, sprinkle the top with salt.  Experiment with fine,coarse, kosher, and even larger crystals.  Place the fabric outside in strong sunlight and let the heat do its thing.  What happens is that the salt is hydrophilic, and it draws the moisture towards it as the fabric dries, which moves the paint along with it.  That's where the wonderful patterns come from as the paint moves and dries.  It's an unpredictable technique, but sooooo pretty most of the time.

Sunprint with aquarium glass

Sunprint with cheesecloth

Sun printing:
While the fabric is still wet, position it outdoors in strong direct sunlight.  Place objects that you want to print on top of the fabric and protect them from wind, birds, and other annoyances.  The sunlight will cause a ghostly image to appear underneath the objects as the fabric dries. What happens is that the unshaded portions of fabric dry more quickly, wicking moisture from underneath the shading objects.  Paint moves along with the water and causes the fainter image to appear.  Some paint colors work better than others, you will find.

Playing with intensity and saturation:
I wanted quite a few pieces that were low intensity colors, muted pastels, just short of being muddy.  Why?  Because when you then place a vibrant highly saturated bit of color next to them, the area where they touch seems luminous.  My aim was to get the look of an early morning dawn sky.


Golden Heavy Body Artist Acrylics 2 oz

Next week the quilt layout!
Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four

This post contains affiliate links

Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. 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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More artsy links!


Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Come see The Artful Crafter’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade of crafts!

Beading Arts
Jewelry designer Tammy Powley shares some of her expertise for creating unique bead strung jewelry!

Easy Peasy Turkey Cards
Cherie makes some easy (cheesy) cards for Thanksgiving.  

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Artsy blogging round-up!


Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Retrofabulous Christmas Craftabration Returns to The Impatient Crafter Blog! Madge makes a retro inspired upcycled gift box!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to crochet a cute striped Christmas tree skirt.

Craft. You.
An inspiring interview with Crafty Mastermind Mark Montano!  

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to cut and lay a recycled end grain wood floor, a tip on how to cut tissue paper easier, a recipe for vegan white and milk chocolate and some wild crochet designs. 

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy shares a hand-made gift that someone else makes that is perfect for pet lovers.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
How to make a tubular wine bottle tote from a cardboard mailing tube.  

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quantum levitation demonstration

Nothing new, but still pretty darned cool...no pun intended!

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Seven no-fail organizing tips for crafters

A guest post by Romona Weston of KitchenCarts360

There are almost as many different kinds of crafts as there are crafters but, whether you’re into beading, knitting or mixed media artwork, all crafters face the same dilemma – what to do with all the material they have accumulated (or will inevitably accumulate) during the course of their projects.

Creative spaces are often allowed to become cluttered, but this can have a negative impact on crafting. How many times have you delayed starting, or even shelved, a creative project because the effort of finding and gathering the necessary materials seemed too much of a chore?

1. Mark out your territory
If you have the luxury of a studio or garage that you can convert into your crafting haven, then all well and good. Otherwise, you may need to partition off a part of the household to make room for your creative endeavours. Either way, ensure that other members of the household treat your space and materials with respect.

2. Scour your house for storage
Storage is often a bone of contention in any home, as family members fight to fill every nook and cranny with their treasured possessions. Before joining the battle, make sure that you optimize the space that you do have.

If you have rarely-used materials that can handle being stored away in the cold, have you considered tucking them away in the attic? The basement can often provide extra storage options, providing you take measures to protect goods from moisture damage. Even taking the time to re-organize the pantry, laundry room and closets can free up valuable spaces in which odds and ends can be stored.

If possible, make use of your vertical space by adding shelf units or cabinets to the wall. As well as maximizing space, this has the added benefit of keeping materials off the floor.

3. Consider a Kitchen Island Cart
Kitchen Islands Carts are becoming more popular as either permanent features or temporary solutions to a host of storage and workspace problems, and it is easy to see why.

From a crafter’s point of view, a portable Kitchen carts on wheels can provide a stable surface on which to carry out projects, while also enabling dangerous items, such as knitting needles, or precious materials, like your best watercolour paints, to be kept away from inquisitive fingers.The portability, mobility and flexibility that these wood carts offer is a boon to crafters They are practical, as well as functional. Mine is used everyday, and I have often wondered how I crafted without it!

4. Be ruthless with your supplies
Sometimes it feels wrong to throw out craft supplies, even if you know you will never knit anything in that shade of lime green ever again! Consider donating materials to a local community arts project to free up space and make your organizational task easier.

5. Choose the right boxes
It is worth spending some time ensuring that your storage boxes are fit for the purpose.

You may find that cheap, cardboard boxes from the local stationery shop will be adequate for your needs or you might want to invest in some heavy-duty, transparent boxes such as the Roughneck Clears available through Rubbermaid.

Collapsible canvas boxes are ideal for flexible storage while containers with little holes near the top are invaluable for ‘throwing in’ those odds and ends that get missed when tidying up.

Remembering that labeling your boxes is crucial for helping you to locate craft items easily.

6. Keep your tools nearby
Often-used tools, such as scissors, paintbrushes and glue-sticks should be kept within easy reach, as should your most commonly used materials. There is nothing more likely to derail a creative project than needing to spend hours looking for a vital piece of equipment. It goes without saying that these items should be returned to their allotted place immediately after use.

7. Tidy up time
Finally, to keep on top of your freshly-organized space it is vital that ample time is set aside to tidy up your workspace after use. If you are easily distracted by the TV or housework, consider setting a timer for ten or fifteen minutes to ensure you put in the allotted effort.

Though these tips are not exhaustive, I have found them to be most helpful, in helping me keep my many craft projects organized, and have given me the option of easily locating items I am looking for. Follow these and you will find success in creating the perfect craft environment!

These tips were provided by Romona Weston of KitchenCarts360, where you can read about all the latest trends and reviews about kitchen islands carts, stationary kitchen carts, and various models and manufacturers of kitchen carts. Romona is committed to providing the ultimate resource for kitchen cart buyers. She brings together quality information and unbiased reviews on all types of kitchen carts, sourced from all over the web as well as from family and friends.

 She lives in  Southeastern Pennsylvania in the beautiful Amish countryside of Lancaster County. In her spare time she loves to hike, organize and write, and has home-schooled her seven children for over 20 years. As a family of crafters they use napa kitchen carts and wood kitchen islands carts to help with their craft organization.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

At First Light - part one

It's great when you can have the luxury of spending several uninterrupted hours painting silk and drying it in the sun!  It's especially a luxury in New England, when an unexpected warm and sunny fall afternoon showed up! 

I know exactly what I'm going to do with these painted silk pieces...make a companion piece for the quilt I just completed, As Daylight Fades, which will be called At First Light

This never happens!

I used a couple of large smooth boards that I cover in a kitchen-sized plastic bags as a work surface.  This allows me to transport them outside easily for drying in the sun.

I'll show you some close-ups of the best results next week, along with some tips on how to get the look!

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. 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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