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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...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy takes a look at another new felting book. This one shows the method to the madness. 

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Are you making Homecoming Mum corsages this year? You'll find everything you need at The Artful Crafter - from suppliers to directions, including love chain weaving instructions.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Bead and button spiders have been made kicking off the Halloween decorating.  

June is building houses now. Come see what's going in... maybe even build one of your own!   

Beading Arts
Cyndi shares her thoughts on Kim St. Jean's magical book, Metal Magic!

Blue Glass Garden Sculpture With Bud Vases and Beads
Cherie makes a glass sculpture with some gems she got at a rummage sale. 

Carmi's Art/Life World
This is the week I am gathering flowers to dry for the winter projects I have planned.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there are fun tips on how to date your work easily and use tracing paper and photos to sketch your ideas, an idea for probably the easiest crochet scarf, and the 7 types of foraging walks.  

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Coloring Base Metals

Here's a book that I'm considering buying, available only (I think) from Volcano Arts.  It covers adding patinas using chemicals, heat, paints, colored pencils, and more.  I'm kind of torn between it and the DVD by Time McCreight called Patina Basics (at the same link). 

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mobius bracelet

I told you earlier that I received a copy of C. June Barnes's fabulous new book called Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art.  You'll find a review of it here.  One of June's structures that really caught my eye was a mobius strip piece that she had slit before twisting and stitching it into place.  Fabric sculpture...bracelet...what's the difference!  I was immediately intrigued and went about figuring out how to make one. 

I had to try 4 times to finally get it right.  One was too stiff, one was too long, one hadn't been cut accurately enough.  You get the idea.  If you want to make one, I suggest that you experiment with length before using your favorite fabric!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a knit wrap pattern, 4 different times of day cloud color combos, drawing style inspirations and the archetypes of fermentation from the new book Real Food Fermentation. 

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess shows off some of her latest fiber stash-related enhancements. 

Crocheted Pumpkins
Cherie takes a break from making glass sculptures to create these fun little crocheted pumpkins instead.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Start your sewing machines, ladies. September is National Sewing Month.  

June is seeing stars, and making them... and now she's sharing her pattern so you can too.  

Aileen's Musings
Aileen offers you a freebie word sheet for you to download and use in your art!

Beading Arts
Cyndi has reviews of the best books out there on working with metal clay.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a free give-a-way for software she used to make miniature scrapbook layouts in resin.  

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Printing on fabric with your computer printer (reader question)

Hi Cyndi,

I have frequently heard you refer to printing on fabric with your computer's printer.
How on earth do you do that without jamming it up?
I have an HP Photo something-or-other...I'd love to use it in that manner.
Please advise.


Mary Guerra, Miche Founding Leader
McKenna's Magnetic Handbags

Hi Mary,
There are a couple of different ways you can do it.  The easiest is to buy ready-to-print fabric sheets that are already cut to size and anchored on a thin piece of paper.  You print, peel off the backing, and voila!  I like the ones by Jacquard.  These printable sheets are available for inkjet printers, and I believe for other types of printers as well. 

The other way to do it is to cut your fabric to size and iron it to a sheet of freezer paper.  The slightly tacky side of the freezer paper will keep the fabric from wrinkling as it feeds through.  Some people like to treat their fabric first with Bubble Jet Set, which you don't have to do with the already prepared sheets.  BJS keeps the ink from running and gives the prints better longevity.  This is why I usually use the already prepared ones...making your own is a bit of a pain!

All that said, some printers just plain work better for this than others.  Mine is temperamental since it's a bottom feeder and the sheets get greatly curved as they feed through.  I have heard that top feeders work better, or at least more consistently.

Best ~

Copyright 2012 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, August 22, 2012

What to use to seal a magazine picture (reader question)

Barb wrote:

I came across your site by chance with the help of Google.  I want your opinion regarding when I use an imagine from a magazine (which is glossy)I want to know what your expert opinion is to seal my finished product without ruining the magazine part of the mixed media project. I want to be able, if possible to use the products on most of the project. I use gel medium for my go to glue at all times, but not sure it is what I should use on the top of glossy magazine papers. Any multiple ideas or suggestions would be a great help to me.

Hi Barb,
Using gel medium is usually fine on a glossy magazine image, but it you've found that other images from the same magazine smear (test an unimportant one first), then I would recommend spraying it first with Krylon acrylic spray.  Several light coats are better than one heavy one.  Krylon comes in both matte and glossy finishes, so make sure you get the right one for your purposes.

Here is a tutorial for how to use gel medium to make an image transfer with a glossy picture, in case that look might appeal to you for a future project.    

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sidewalk chalk

My special thanks go out to Michelle Vackar, from whom I first learned about the fact that you could make sidewalk chalk.  I read through her directions, and then tried a couple of test batches myself in order to get an accurate measure using the specific type of plaster I had on hand.  Mine is called ArtPlaster, and it is a much more finely milled powder than most that I've played with over the years. 

After experimenting a bit, I searched online and found that lots of people were aware that you could make colored chalks this way...just not me!  There seemed to be lots of different methods and formulas, so I just continued to do tests until I found what worked best for me.  Here are the results:

Materials and Tools

ArtPlaster by Activa, 5 lb box
Measuring cups, 1/3 c and 2/3 c
Tempera paint powders, red, blue, and yellow
Disposable containers for mixing
Stirring stick
Toilet paper tubes or cut down paper towel tubes
Duct tape
Waxed paper
Paper towels
Container to hold tubes upright while drying, lined with foil or waxed paper

1. Prepare the tubes by sealing off the bottom with duct tape and lining them with waxed paper.

2. Place 1/3 c water into the disposable container.  Add 1 to 2 T powdered tempera to create the color you wish.  You can add a bit more later if you need to deepen the color.  Stir well. 

3. Sprinkle 2/3 c plaster over the colored water and stir well. 

4. Pour the plaster into the prepared tube.  Place the tube into the larger container to keep it from spilling.

5. Wipe out the container and move on to the next color.  If you think about the color progression, working from light to dark, you won't have to worry too much about a bit of plaster being left over from prior batches.  In fact, you can deliberately swirl colors together if you'd like. 

6. Dispose of drying and hardened plaster by wiping it up with paper towels and placing in the garbage.  I don't recommend rinsing too much of it down your sink!

7. Allow the chalk to dry as long as needed.  On a warm dry day it will take several hours, but won't really be rock hard until overnight.  You can cheat a bit by using a medium or low setting on the microwave, but I recommend placing paper towels underneath the chalk to soak up the colored water that will run out.  

Copyright 2012 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, August 17, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has redeemed her pincushion making reputation with a new design! 

Beading Arts
Have you gotten into metal stamping yet? Come and see how easy it is to make a word-inspired necklace...

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are patterns, tutorials and techniques galore as we celebrate the back to school season! Pop on over to read all the great knitting and stitching ideas and inspiration we have from a whole bunch of our latest books!  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Needle-felting is an amazing low-tech hobby, and Tammy gives you a review of a new needle-felting book, "Felted Feathered Friends."  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Eileen shares an August-themed envelope for her hubby’s birthday, along with how to make custom envelopes the easy way and the hard way.  

Evergreen Glass Sculpture
Cherie makes a green glass sculpture with some pieces she has on hand.  

Resin Crafts!
Carmi has a brief post showing you how she dries flower for her resin pouring projects.  

A CreativeDream
Taking a bird from my journal page to one nesting in my tree..and the pattern for you to make your own!

About Family Crafts
Will you play along with the current craft challenge? Create a pencil holder or two and decorate your pens and pencils and then submit your projects.    

Aileen's Musings
Its back to school and Aileen offers you a set of freebie bookmarks for you to save, print and color!  

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Update on hedgehogs

Ok, so I certainly didn't need to worry about whether or not the grandbaby would like the crocheted hedgehogs I made for her!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book review: Print with Collage & Stitch

Glen Alps was a printmaker and educator who is credited with having developed the collagraph.  A collagraph is a print whose plate is a board or other substrate onto which textured materials are glued. The plate may be inked for printing in either the intaglio or the relief manner and then printed onto paper. Although the inventor of the process is not known, Alps made collagraphy his primary art form and coined the word "collagraph" in 1956.  He disseminated the techniques he developed for making collagraphs during his long career as both an artist and a teacher.    Wikipedia, Glen Alps
Val Holmes has written this excellent guide for Interweave Books on using collagraphy in your mixed media work, paying special attention to printing on fabrics.  Print with Collage & Stitch covers all the details so you won't be guessing about anything.  She starts with materials to use for the collagraphy plates and what types of materials to add to them to get the best textures.  Longevity and number of prints off each material is carefully considered, ending with a fantastic chart of materials on page 31.  I learned about some new (to me, anyway) materials for creating texture, and was introduced to the idea of adding gesso or varnish before printing.  All good!
One of Val's pieces you'll find in the book

The next major topic is which media to use in printing, depending upon your materials and printing method.  Val suggests starting with what you already have, which for many of us would be acrylic paints.  Further on, chapters cover how to prepare the fabrics or papers for printing, adding stitching or color to prepared fabrics or papers either before or after printing.  There is an entire chapter on the details of stitching onto the collagraphy plate, by machine and by hand.  Printing methods, intaglio, relief, and blind printing are covered, along with whether or not to use a press.  Val suggests that sometimes you can use your car if you don't have a press!!

One of the highlights of the book for me is the chapter on adding embroidery to completed prints.  You guys know that I like doing that stuff!  And the book ends with a little chapter on making your own press if you like the DIY way. 

Fossil II, Val Holmes

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beaded felt pyramid...an experimental piece

I have enjoyed reading through C June Barnes's new book Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art so so much! (here's my review).  I became enamoured of several geometric shapes that she played with, but not being quite sure of my own mathematical skills, I decided to do a sample of one shape in felt rather than using fabrics that I was terribly attached to.  This is not a project book, so any pieces that you want to make can only be inspired by it.  

Now that I've done the sample, I don't think I'd hesitate to use my own painted, embroidered, or quilted fabrics.

Materials and Tools

Template paper, pen, and measuring tools
Sticky-backed felt
Embroidery floss, 2 strands
Seed beads and accent beads (I used size 8/0 seed beads)
An embroidery needle that will fit through the beads

1. Cut out your template.  For a pyramid, cut an equilateral triangle (each angle is 60 degrees) and one side piece. 

2. Cut out the felt pieces.  Be careful and cut very accurately. 

3. Cut out sticky-backed felt pieces that are about 1/8 inch smaller around the edges, and shorter than the sides as shown.

4. Stitch each side piece to the bottom using 2 strands of embroidery floss in a blanket stitch. 

5. Stitch up each side edge and tie the bottom corners as shown.

6. Stitch around the floppy tips of each side, adding beads.  I added one larger bead to help weight down the corners. 

7. Stitch around the inner edge to keep the sticky felt from coming loose. 

8. Wouldn't this be great with additional embroidery, beads, or quilted embellishment?

Copyright 2012 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, August 10, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!

Beading Arts
Cyndi has gathered up all her favorite resources and tutorials on working with metal clay. Do you have any more to add? 

Carmi's Art/Life World
This week carmi shares her cursed hexagon sewing project.

Cherie Burbach
Cherie makes Green Solar Light Glass Sculptures for the garden. 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are a tutorials on how to paint with pencil, make patterns with letter stamps in metal , and sew two tone doll arms.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy won another podcast contest and gives you the scoop on how these contests work and where to look for them.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Eileen missed the blog hop this year but went ahead and made blue jeans themed bracelets for the 7k Bracelets of Hope Campaign anyway. Note to self: watch for blog hop notice in January next year!  

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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Glass flip flop coasters

Drew Emborsky, best known as The Crochet Dude, has created these adorable coasters, just perfect for summer!  You can see the free pattern at the Simplicity site.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Book review: Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art

This is an amazing amazing book!  It has quickly become my new favorite.  There are no projects in it.


How can a quilting book with no projects be any good?  Well, I'm going to try to explain.  C. June Barnes has written Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art in order to push the current boundaries of our two dimensional thinking.  Yes, some of us add texture to the surface of our quilts, but June wants us to think of quilting as a totally three dimensional possibility.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate math?  Well, Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art has got me rethinking that.  Simple (and at times not so simple) geometry stands behind a lot of June's amazing quilted pieces.  June starts with surface manipulations, which many of us are familiar with, but I'm going to bet that most of us have never tried the ones she shares!  She then moves on through manipulating and rearranging the plane of the piece into woven, folded, gathered, spiraled, curled, wrapped, twisted, and stacked layers.  From there, you'll explore three dimensional shapes and pieced constructions like squares, circles, pyramids, crescents, and all sorts of Platonic and Archimedean solids.  The math is doable, for the most part, with an appendix to help you.

I have already been inspired to create two different pieces because of this book.  I made a little felt pyramid to which I added beads, and a bracelet inspired by the mobius strip

This is not a beginner's book: you will not be told how to quilt.  But you will be told about all kinds of wonderful products to try in order to add strength and structure to your creations.  June discusses everything from interfacing to armatures in the first part of the book, and then throughout as different showcased pieces bring new challenges for proper presentation.  This book is really primarily an inspirational work: June introduces a new concept and points out beautiful quilted pieces that illustrate the point.  The unbelievable beauty of her work and of the artists she includes is just breath-taking.     

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Monday, August 06, 2012

Sepia print outs for quilts

There are lots of different ways to achieve a sepia tone in your photographs using Photoshop.  I recently decided to use a few of the shots I took of DH while we were in Hawai'i and print them out on cottom inkjet sheets to use in a future quilt.  The first step was to get a sepia result that I liked.  After trying several methods I've used in the past, this is the one that I liked the most for this application:

Duotone Sepia Technique

1. Duplicate image

2. Desaturate

3. Curves adjustment layer > darken whites and lighten blacks

4. Mode > Graytone (discard color info)

5. Adjust Contrast and/or Brightness sliders if needed

6. Mode > Duotone > sepia tritone option with magenta, black, and yellow

7. Size for printout.

8. Print out on cotton fabric sheets

Copyright 2012 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, August 03, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


About Family Crafts
Have you ever experimented with chalkboard paint? If so, share your stories!

Aileen's Musings
Aileen offers you some of her freebie e-postcards to send to your friends and family. 

Beading Arts
August is Metal Clay Month on Beading Arts!! 

Carmi's Art/Life World
A trip to the antique market can be very inspiring!

Cherie Burbach
Cherie makes a clear glass garden sculpture.  

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there are a whole bunch of designs created with new Sizzix Dies, a tutorial on how to make a Blackletter "S" , 12 ways to make the letter "K", plant a container garden featuring red twig dogwoods and a recipe for Tuna Tartar.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess has another giveaway going on. Enter for your change to win a wonderful new knitting book.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
How to make polymer clay food safe.  

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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Metal and glass artist: Joseph Cavalieri

Dusty (left)     Wheel of Dusty (right)
Date: 2011
Materials: Acid etched copper, glass, print in a metal frame
Measurements: 10 x 10 1/2 x 2 inches (25 x 27 x 5 cm)

Cava Glass

Joseph Cavalieri created these piece during a teacher's retreat at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Cavalieri says: “It was a new way of working, combining acid etched metal and digital imagery I created especially for the retreat." The process includes image transfer onto copper, acid etching and finally a patina is added to make the image pop. Joseph is an artist and instructor working with painted glass. His studio is located in New York City.

Time for SEX (bottom detail)
Date: 2011
Materials: Acid etched copper in a metal frame
Measurements: 10 x 10 1/2 x 2 inches (25 x 27 x 5 cm)

TIme for WAKE, WORK, SEX, SLEEP (bottom detail)
Date: 2011
Materials: Acid etched copper in a metal frame
Measurements: 10 x 10 1/2 x 2 inches (25 x 27 x 5 cm)

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Yay for Carly!

Congratulations to Carly, who writes True Color.  She just won a copy of  Stash Happy Felt !

Calls for entries and submissions

Quilt National

Sweet Silhouette reader challenge
Deadline: 09/03/12  
Craft Forms 2012

Deadline: 09/13/12  
Quilt National 2013

Deadline: 09/14/12  

Green Craft

Deadline: 09/15/12  
Altered Couture

Deadline: 09/15/12  

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