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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, February 28, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!

A Bead A Day
Ever been to sunny Beadland? Lisa shares details of her recent trip...Is this the real life or is this just fantasy?

Anniversary Quilt: Middles and Ends
Cherie continues working on her quilt project.

Carmi's Art/Life World
How to turn a group of brooches into a necklace!

Cinnabar Chinese Lantern Earrings & Necklace
Eileen set out to make a set of jewelry for Valentine's Day. When she went to her red bead stash, her eyes locked on some beautiful red carved cinnabar beads just perfect for the design she had in mind anyway!

#Durathon Iron Giveaway!
An iron is used for everyday house chores, but it is also an important tool for many needlework crafters. Find out how you can win an awesome new Hamilton Beach Durathon irong.

Mixed Media Artist
Check out how you can use dryer sheets to "paint" a quilt!

Resin Crafts Blog
How to make a mold with a half doll body.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean writes a poem about (what else?) jewelry making as she participates in a fun 30 word blog hop created by Erin Prais-Hintz

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Glacier Bay - part two

I showed you this photo last week, as it was my initial inspiration shot for my current project.  But I wanted more detail in the glacier, so I turned to this shot:

For my actual quilt design, I decided to cheat a bit.  Do you ever do that?

I combined the detail of the second shot with the basic composition of the first.  This is just a rough idea of how it will look, with more pronounced jagged tops, but against a sky background (really cheating there!) and with the bay showing at the bottom.  This completely changes the proportions, but so what?  It's my fantasy!

You'll notice that my drawing skills leave a lot to be desired, and that's just fine since most of my work is abstracted rather than strictly representational.

Without cutting anything, I folded some of the dryer sheets to figure out the color placement and size of the finished piece.  Many of the colors are quite similar, but by layering them and using them like an impressionist, I was hoping to capture the feel of the subtle shading in the glaciers.

I cut a piece of muslin just a tiny bit bigger than I wanted for my finished piece and began to tear and layer the painted dryer sheets.  They stuck in place pretty well, so I just had to be a little careful, not worry about every little breeze!

When they were all layered, I sandwiched the piece in freezer paper and flipped it over.  I applied some watered down acrylic medium from the back and allowed it to dry overnight.  In the morning, I peeled off the paper and went back to work!

The next step was to even up the sides and corners...

...and to pin it to the batting, large enough to form a frame for the wrap and tuck method of backing/binding.  BIG IMPORTANT NOTE - next time I do one of these quilts, I will be adding the batting later, as I will explain next week.  Sigh.

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four
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, February 21, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!

Art Bead Scene
Have you always wanted to try Kumihimo? Try out guest blogger Ema Kilroy's handy tutorial for combining Kumihimo and art beads!

Beading Arts
Cyndi shares part one of her tutorial on how she integrated soutache braid into her bead embroidery.

Carmi's Art/Life World
There is a truly exciting way to create a scarf that does not require you using knitting or crochet needles. Take a peak at what you can make with water soluble stabilizer.

Charlene Sevier Jewelry
Yes, you too can learn to solder and make gorgeous jewelry using techniques traditionally used to make stained glass. Charlene reviews a book that shows you how.

Crocheting and Playing
Tammy takes a look at a relatively new book from Running Press that has some adorable baby and young children's projects.

Downton Abbey Inspired Earrings & Bracelet
Truth be told, the set wasn't inspired by Downton Abbey. The earrings were inspired by a moonstone ring for which Eileen couldn't find matching earrings. The bracelet was a recycling project of a filigree link removed to tighten a belt. But don't they look quite Edwardian?

Mixed media quilt project
Cherie continues the middle squares of her anniversary quilt.

Snap out it,Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the fascinating jewelry design book, Soutache & Bead Embroidery by Amee K. Sweet-McNamara

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Stamping on metal, Andrew created a series of pendants that have a positive message with the newsprint letter set from ImpressArt.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book review: Strip Savvy

All of the quilts in Kate Henderson's new book Strip Savvy are created with 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric.  What could be easier?  No matter how complex the patterns look on first glance, you'll find that that all break down into super-simple variations on the 2 1/2 inch theme!

Kate explains that the reason she favors these strips is because so many fabric companies package precut strips of the fabrics in their lines, so that gives you so many options for coloring and designing your quilts.  Don't feel that you have to use the exact colors that Kate calls for in each project...you can easily have fun with substitutions.  As with all Martingale quilting books, all the basics that you will need are covered, making this another good beginner book.  And if you're an unrepentant collector of fabrics, strip piecing might be just what you've been looking for!

The first section of the book covers the basics, followed quickly by the projects!  Strip Savvy has two main sections of projects: 7 quilts with borders and 11 quilts that are borderless.    Many of the quilts use fairly traditionally styled blocks, all composed from the strips.  My favorite is probably "Round and Round", shown below, because it reminds me of the simple log cabin quilts that I love so much.

Photo credits: Martingale, photographer Brent Kane

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Glacier Bay - part one

To continue with my goal of using up and recycling supplies that I already have, I decided to experiment with dryer sheets.  I've been saving a stack of them for months (actually a LOT of months!), and it's probably past time to figure out a project for them.  But my desires are not simply because I am sooooo green.  Nope.  The decision was really based more upon the fact that the used sheets seem like a great way to capture the look of Alaskan snow and ice, and full-out glaciers!

To get the ball rolling, I started with the acylic color sample I had previously made for myself and added a few more colors to it.

And then I began painting, adding thinned washes of the various colors (almost, but not quite, all of them) to used up dryer sheets.  One color per sheet.  I used freezer paper to protect my surfaces.

Here they all are, hanging to dry in my kitchen, with an ugly red drop cloth beneath them.  At least it makes them stand out in the picture!  Poor Mike came home and asked me WHAT in the world was going on.

And here they are, stacked by color next to the color chart, along with the paper towels I used for blotting up between colors.  Material for another future project!

Next week, Part two.

Part one
Part two
Part three

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, February 14, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!

A Bead A Day
Tweet Me Valentine! Lisa found the cutest group of charms that are perfect for Valentine's Day.

Beading Arts
Cyndi has ventured into the exciting world of working with soutache, and has worked up some practice exercises to sharpen our skills!

Carmi's Art/ Life
There is nothing like a fabulous bezel to inspire an equally fabulous felted collar.

Chipboard Heart Bracelet and Earrings
Eileen made this heart jewelry set with Valentine's Day in mind, but loved it so much, she wore it early. Her friends asked where they could get one. She said, "Make your own." Eileen wasn't being snide or nasty. These are fun and inexpensive to make. Check it out!

Postcard: Thanks to the Lord
Cherie works on postcard art for June's mail exchange.

Resin Crafts Blog
This week I had an opportunity to experiment with a new medium, Powertex, which allowed me to turn crocheted doilies into bezels I can pour resin into.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean has a giveaway of a fantastic book, Simple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories by Lisa Bluhm ! Comment on her blog and get a chance to win this classic! It is truly a terrific book!

Take 2
When you don't succeed the first time, try again! That includes crafting of course.

The Writing an Art of Andrew Thornton
Happy Valentine's Day! To celebrate, Andrew created some polymer clay heart pendants.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book review: Cute Quilts for Kids

Kristin Roylance has 6 cute kids of her own, so you can bet she has a lot of experience making Cute Quilts for Kids.  If you've never made a quilt before, this might be the book for you.  What could be more motivating than creating a special treasure for a baby or small child that you love?

The book starts with quiltmaking basics, so never fear if you are a beginner.  In short order, it covers materials and tools, basic piecing, fusible applique, machine quilting, hand embroidery, binding and finishing the edges.

The bulk of the book is 9 projects, which include yardage requirements and patterns so that you can make them exactly as shown if you like or you're a beginner. Although Kristin doesn't really address varying the color choices, if you have any quilting experience, you'll easily be able to see how to customize the quilts to your liking.  Some specifically for boys and some for girls, but with a slight change in colors, you could easily morph any of these quilts.  Others are appropriate for any child, like the dinosaur quilt, "Tromp, Chomp, Stomp!", shown above, or "Rodeo Roundup".    

One of the cutest elements of these quilts is that Kristin has included a 3-dimensional element to each design.  The "Ladybug Landing" quilt, shown below, has flowers that pop right off the background.  Adorable!  "Are We There Yet?", on the cover, features a stop sign pocket to hold toy cars.  Genius!

Photo credits: Martingale, photographer Brent Kane

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Maleficent the Dragon

Click for a larger view!

Designed by Michael Curry for Disney World's Magic Kingdom parade, Maleficent is also scheduled to roar to life on the big screen this May!  Our daughter Dani worked on this project, so we feel a special sort of pride in seeing the photos that Disney recently released on their blog!

See more about her on the Disney Parks blog

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!

Anniversary Quilt - The Middles
Cherie works on the middle squares of her mixed media quilt project.

Art Bead Scene
Check out this month's new challenge artwork - The Rose Garden by Paul Klee. You will not fail to be inspired!

Beading Arts 
Cyndi set off in search of a way to combine the "charm" of a charm bracelet with the control of a cuff.

Craft Instantly
For those who love immediate gratification type projects, this new book published by Ulysses Press gives you lots of fast and easy crafting options.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a great jewelry book compiled by Karin Van Voorhees: STYLISH JEWELRY YOUR WAY. There is even a super DVD which comes along with it! You will love it!

Stamped Valentine's Day Card Tutorial
Hurry! You still have time to make a few of these for your loved ones.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew was recently interviewed by Jennifer VanBrenschoten for Beading Daily. The article is the first in a series called, "Boys Who Bead". Check it out!

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mike's piano

Mike has been working on restoring a reproducing player piano for years (and years!).  He only tends to work on it during the winter, since there are just so many other things that need doing during the summer.  But all the hard work has finally paid off and he has it working.  There are still some work left to be done, but we were all so happy for him that the end is now in sight!

Video of the piano in action

Sorry guys...I tried to embed this video, but even after correcting the wonky url, it was making the entire screen go white.  No idea why.

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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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Monday, February 03, 2014

Sepia photo quilt - part two

I can't believe that I set this quilt aside for sooooo long!  I started it back in August 2012, completed the layout, and then just stalled.  So here's a link to "Part one", if I'm even allowed to call it that!  That post shows you how to turn your photos into sepia prints using Photoshop.  And now, please allow me to pick up from there...

I took these shots of Mike during our trip to Hawai'i, and the fabrics came from a wonderful shop on the Big Island, called Kimura Fabrics.  I wanted to make a very personal quilt that would be a scrapbookish reminder of our trip.

1. Cut out fabric pieces for the top and arrange them with slight overlaps.  I used 4 large rectangles as you see above.

2. Cut out "windows" in each rectangle for pictures to slip under.

3. Cut out batting.  I cut it larger than the pieced top would be so that I could do the "wrap and tuck" binding method.

4. Stitch the pieced top and the pictures to the batting and to each other using embroidery floss in a blanket stitch.  Do NOT stitch the outside edges, and keep all the stitching 1/4 to 1/2 inch back from the pieced edges.

5. Cut a piece of backing fabric, making it large enough to wrap and tuck.  Stitch some quilting lines though the entire quilt as desired.

6. Wrap the backing fabric up and over the batting and tuck it under the edges of the pieced top.  Blanket stitch it into place.  I didn't miter the corners of this one, although I usually do.  I decided to go for a more rustic look this time, in keeping with the fabrics and the theme.  

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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