Month: November 2006

Summer Reads

If you submitted ATCs for the blog swap in May, I’ll be sending mine to you in mid-July. So sorry it’s taken me a couple of months, but we’ve had a rather intense publishing schedule for both May and June. I also might have missed some people for the Grant of Rights forms, and I’ll send those along in early July.

I’m about to embark on a rare break from All Things Publishing to go hiking in Arizona for a week (there’s nothing like two straight months of constant rain that will have you hightailing it to the desert at summer’s zenith to dry out.) I’ll be sure to bring along my sketchbook and watercolor pencils, but will also be bringing a few poolside reads. For fiction, I’ll be reading Adriana Trigiani’s Rococo, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and since I’m the last of our species to read it, The Time Traveler’s Wife. I thought now would be a good time to mention some good art and craft reads.

Recent Favorites This Summer

Making Family Journals: Projects and Ideas for Sharing and Recording Memories Together by Linda Blinn

Linda’s one of those rare souls who is both an exceptional writer and artist, and both of her talents coalesce beautifully in this wonderful book on family journaling. There’s a full review in the latest Cloth Paper Scissors if you want specifics, but in short, let me say that if you have kids and want to keep them from tugging your shorts and whining summer’s famous phrase, “Mom, I have nothing to do!”… this book will help keep them quiet in industry. And there’s plenty of intricate, beautiful art ideas to keep adults happy, too. Even though I don’t have kids (none of the humankind, anyway) I love the innovative and whimsical projects and concepts presented. I have three canine and two feline children and I’m determined to create a mixed-media diary using Jenn Mason’s house book on page 72 to celebrate our multi-species family.

Puzzle Quilts: Simple Blocks, Complex Fabrics by Paula Nadelstern

I sent many of my art quilting friends into a state of apoplexy when they learned I actually made a quilt without adding a single bead or embellishment to it. In January C & T sent me an advanced copy of Paula’s book and I was immediately seduced by the idea of closely examining patterns in fabrics to create a contemporary quilt sans embellishment. This is a terrific book if you’re like me, and you don’t do a lot of traditional or patchwork quilting––but want to be successful at it. Trust me. The sewing isn’t that difficult and the different pattern and fabric combinations can really teach you to examine designs in textiles more closely.  Below is a puzzle quilt I just finished for a dear friend. (I’m so shocked I actually completed something.)


Mixed-Media Explorations: Blending Paper, Fabric, and Embellishment to Create Inspired Designs by Beryl Taylor

I admit it: This is blatant plugging for a book we just published, but the truth is, I love this book. I’ve learned so much from Beryl about design and mixed media and there are lots of experiments and techniques (check out chapter two) to help expand your repertoire.

These are just few of my recent favorites but I have hoards of other books I keep on my keeper shelf for design, paper arts, fiber arts, mixed media, creative embroidery, and fiction—if you’d like, just tell me what you’re interested in and I’ll give you my input. (And I’d love to hear yours.)

If you’re still with me, I’ll spill the insider scoop that the 2008 Quilting Arts Calendar contest will invite quilters to visually interpret a favorite fictional read with needle, thread, and embellishment. So until we reveal the details in the next issue, now’s the perfect time to hit the beach and re-read a cherished novel.

Happy reading!



Fabric Collage Postcards and ATCs

I just got the sweetest letter yesterday from a seven-year-old boy named Will. I met him this past spring in Chicago at Make It U! and I remember finding him staring up at the wall of fabric ATCs we had displayed. Eyes wide, mouth agape, and neck craned at an impossible angle, he was obviously taking in all the joyful creations…and wishing he could be a part of it. I gave him my business card and told him I’d be honored to trade with him. 

Yesterday afternoon I got this in the mail:will_letter-3969680

Since reading this letter my heart has done about 100 somersaults. (And I’m framing this letter!)

The following fabric collage project is for all the folks (young and seasoned) who may be new to our fiber world and want to make fabric scrap postcards or ATCs.

Note: The directions below are to create a 12″ square that you can later cut up into individual ATCs or fabric postcards.


Materials• 12″ x 12″ piece of interfacing (that stiff, nonwoven white stuff used to make hats) such as Peltex, Timtex, or the like (Note: I prefer Peltex 72 because it comes with adhesive on both sides of the interfacing.)

• Misty Fuse (Fusible webbing you’ll need to iron to your interfacing if your interfacing doesn’t already have adhesive on both sides.)

• Fabric scraps (cottons, laces, and sheers) in various shades of one color, (In one of these examples I used fabric scraps from Mary Fisher’s textile packages.) • One larger 12″ x 12″ piece of backing fabric to cover the back side of your interfacing• Black-and-white fabric scraps• Variegated and metallic threads• Sewing machine with fancy embroidery stitches• Rotary cutter, quilting ruler and mat• Iron• Ironing board• Embellishments (beads, buttons, trims)

• Fabric scissors

Making your Interfacing Fusible

1. If you aren’t using Peltex 72, which comes with fusible webbing already on both sides, fuse Misty Fuse to both sides of your interfacing using your iron at the cotton setting and following the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Set your iron to the cotton setting and fuse a backing fabric to the back side of the interfacing.


Fusing Fabrics to the Front of Your Postcard or ATC

3. Fuse the cotton fabric scraps randomly to the front of the 12″ x 12″ piece of interfacing. (Save the sheers and laces for later.) Juxtapose light and darks making sure to cover the entire interfacing. Don’t worry if your fabrics overlap––they’ll be heavily stitched later.
4. Carefully take this to your ironing board and fuse the fabrics with your iron.


Heavy Machine-stitching (The fun part!)
5. Now it’s time to go a little crazy with embroidery stitches on your sewing machine. Load your machine with variegated threads in the same colors as your fabrics and stitch with fancy embroidery stitches. Stitch everywhere.  Stop mid-stitch and choose another embroidery stitch. Juxtapose big, swirling stitches with boxy, square ones. Don’t just stitch the seams, stitch straight down the middle of the fabrics. (Are you getting the picture? Go nuts…)

Adding Sheers and Laces6. Place small squares of sheers and laces on top and either straight- or zigzag-stitch them. If you have ribbons or trims with fun designs and in the same shade as your background, stitch them too.

7. Cut your 12″ x12″ piece into either postcards (4″ x 6″) or ATCs (2.5″ x 3.5″). fabric_collage_atcs-5860595

Finishing8. Choose a motif to place on top of each card—you could cut hearts, geometric shapes, or find motifs in commercial fabrics such as these wine bottles in the fabric post card below. 9. Cut black-and-white fabric into squares, slightly larger than your motif, and then place your motif on top of the black-and-white fabric (this is to add a little contrast). Place both on top of your card and machine stitch to your background using metallic or variegated threads.

10. Embellish with beads and buttons if desired.


What to do with these beauties?  A couple of ideas––come to Houston November 2-5 for the International Quilt Festival where we’ll be hosting Make It University!

•In the Fall 2006 issue of QUILTING ARTS we’re announcing our next ATC trade, this time at The International Quilt Festival this fall in Houston where we’ll be co-hosting Make It University. We’re planning for an exciting and fun event so please join us (and tell your friends)! Details can be found here.
• Virginia Spiegel is once again heading up an amazing, charitable event for the American Cancer Society and you can be a part of it. Make as many fabric postcards as you can for Virginia’s Fiber Art for a Cause (FFAC). Hundreds of fiber artists are creating fiber postcards to sell at the Fall Festival. I saw (and bought) several fiber postcards at the International Quilt Festival this past spring and they are precious little beauties I’ll cherish forever.

And Will, if you’re reading this, I love love love my beautiful ATC you made for me (see below for Will’s ATC)––thank you! Mine is on its way…




can_you_1-8726393 Fellow Artists,

If you sent in ATCs for the blog swap I’m starting to mail mine back next week. If you did not get a Grant of Rights form from me via email for the ATC book please email me directly– and put “Grant fo Rights ATC” in the subject line. Please do not respond to this blog about the Grant of Rights, but rather email me. I’ll check to see if your ATC is in the book and if so, send you a Grant of Rights via email a.s.a.p.

Secondly….drum roll… we’re in the nascent stages for planning Make It University with Cloth Paper Scissors this fall at the International Quilt Festival/Houston November 2 – 5. I’m curious…if you could take any one-hour workshop you’d like on mixed media or collage, what would you take?  Hoping to plan for an exciting and fun time for all! I’ll be posting info. on MIU on our website next month!

Lastly, is anybody planning to come to either the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest in Seattle or the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England ? If so, I hope to see you!

Back from the UK!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth last week at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. While I recover from a massive case of jetlag, I hope you enjoy some pictures…


I was so thrilled to learn that Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney of DoubleTrouble Enterprises were going to make an appearance at the show! Here I am with Jean (one of my idols); unfortunately I couldn’t grab Jan for the photo op. as she was speaking next door at the symposium, “Why Not Quilts?”


John manning the booth with the illustrious self-portraits on the back wall. People loved seeing them in person…


Leslie Morgan of Committed to Cloth in the Virtual Studios. Anybody attending the quilt show could stop by this section to see artists at work. Here Leslie demonstrated  with screens, dyes, brayers, stamps, and discharges how a plain white piece of muslin can be transformed into a beautiful complex cloth.


This picture makes me happier than a Calgon bath. Don’t you just want to sink your fingers into these containers? If features editor Cate Prato had attended the show (she’s a sucker for buttons), she would have bought out the entire booth in about five minutes flat.


The one, the only, the beautiful Maggie Grey of Workshop on the Web. Drumroll…..she has a new book out. (Promise to post about that later.) She’ll also have an article in a future issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. (I promise to post about that, too!)


Altered books by Angie Hughes (artist profile in our Spring 2006 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors). Unfortunately these pictures don’t do these books justice, they were so luscious and textured.


The infamous Art Van Go van. (While still running a gallery and teaching center, Kev and Viv really do roadtrip all around England, bringing one-of-a-kind mixed media and art supplies right to the artist’s door). Us Americans are green with envy.


Here I am with Quilting Arts Fall 2006 cover artist, Mai-Britt Axelsen. She didn’t know she’d made cover until she spotted a copy at the Art Van Go stand. (We’d sent her some copies but she hadn’t received them yet.) Apparently when she saw her quilt on cover, she screamed with joy in the Art Van Go booth. I love it when we make an artist happy…


Linda and Laura Kemshall of Design Works – Design Matters along with other “Six” members. It’s ten minutes until the show closes Sunday evening, and they STILL have the energy to smile! I’m in awe.

That’s all for now. On another note, we are at deadline for the next issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. If you have letters for the editor, we’d love to hear from you! Please email your letter (rather than post to the blog) to

Seven days until Houston!

Now the countdown really begins–one week until the Houston festivities commence! Quilting Arts Magazine/Cloth Paper Scissors® are taking out four booths in the Make It University section (right smack in the middle of the vendor area) and we are planning for a really exciting, creative time.

I’ll also be leading a colorful class on painting tote bags with stencils, Lumiere paints, rubberstamps, Pearl-Ex powders, and Shiva Paintstiks right at 6:00 on Preview Night so I hope you’ll put your name in the lottery for the class and join me. Past experience tells us that some of our best books/products sell out on Preview Night so be sure to stop by early.

More news:

Live Fabric and Collage ATC Exchange

Wait until you see the hundreds of collaged, humorous, embellished, and whimsical ATCs we received for the Fabric and Collaged ATC Live Trade. These are such wonderful little treasures, and we’d love to open it up to more people who come to the show and might have missed the October 16th deadline. If you’ll be at the quilt show, please bring up to three ATCs to trade during the designated trading hours. A Quilting Arts representative will be facilitating the trade and you can choose whichever three you’d like to trade out. Please spread the word!

“Surviving the Runway” Creative Challenge
We’re putting the finishing touches on the “Surviving the Runway” creative challenge, and trust me… this workshop promises to elicit a few chuckles. (Word of warning: all egos must be checked at the door.)

Live Demo’s
I’ll be hosting a demo table in the Quilting Arts/Cloth Paper Scissors booths. If you have something you’d like me to go over from a past issue of Quilting Arts Magazine or Cloth Paper Scissors, please tell me now so I can try my best to pack it. We get a lot of questions about Shiva Paintstiks, silk cocoons, Angelina Film, Misty Fuse, so I’ll make sure to have all of that on hand. I’ll also have many of Beryl Taylor’s fabric and altered books at the editorial table for show and tell. (Her work looks beautiful in MIXED-MEDIA EXPLORATIONS but even better in person.)

Do not forget to buy fabric postcards in the FFAC (Fiberart For A Cause) area where you’ll get to meet the one and only Virginia Spiegel. We’re all crossing fingers that she can reach the $100,000 mark to benefit the American Cancer Society, and word has it the hundreds of fiber art postcards she received are amazing. (And she told me that some of you specifically wrote on the back of your postcards that you made your card in honor of my dad… you have no idea how deeply touched I am.)

Lastly, I will start posting the Blog Challenge results in the next few days after we’ve finished shipping everything to Texas. Wait until you see what these artists fashioned out of scraps… incredible!

*Above ATCs by artists Allison Stilwell and Lora Disser.