Thank you for visiting artful embellishments. This is the third year for this blog and I am so happy to keep publishing. I started in 2011 and began with a quilt of the week, this lead to the leaf of the week for my newly designed paper tree that is located on the wall of my garage in 2012.......2013 is going to bring a lot of excitement and positive change. As a personal challenge for 2013, I plan on designing a artist trading card each week to be featured on the blog.
With so many interests, there will be quilting, art quilting, leaves (and more leaves), as well as experiments in thermofax screen printing, fabric dying, and tons of DIY recycle projects. I may even enter that altered fashion scene. To a happy and healthy 2013, may we all find happiness in those things we create....thank you for stoping by artful embellishments.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


This was my very thermofax screen that I have burned myself and then tried. I had been using my old art/history notebook as a sketch book for my theromofax screens. This allows me to recycle (one of my new years resolutions coming up) and to try out my screens prior to putting it to fabric. This was a sketch of a city scape. My favorite aspect is that it is less than perfect. There is something so unique about the sky line of the city.

Monday, December 24, 2012


This quilt was initially conceived during a thermofax screen printing class that was given by Lynn Krawczyk. She actually made the stamps and thermofax screens used in this quilt. This technique is so addicting. Looking back you may remember me covering my art and history notes in screen prints.  The background fabric which is green started with actual handwriting in white paint. The magenta circles were added with a pool noodle cut cross wise. That makes an amazing stamp! The purple fabric received it's print with a piece of orange construction fencing. Using paint, the fence was used as a stencil. The black circles were made using a cardboard circle. Finally, the whispering birds were made using a thermofax screen that was designed by Lynn. The quilt was then hand embellished with embroidery thread and buttons. Machine quilting was done along the main portions of the quilt. One of my new year's resolutions is to make more of these types of art quilts. They are really relaxing and enjoyable to make. Even more interesting is that you could never duplicate one of these due to the organic nature of the stamps that are used.........

Living the Artful Life

Surrounding myself with my art supplies is always inspiring. I love interior decorating and design. Looking at houses decorated in modern simplistic lines, to eclectic vintage rooms gets my creativity flowing.  In my home however, I find that I don't really have a style. Not quite modern, certainly not minimalistic, not pottery barn nor vintage, not eclectic or colonial, not shabby chic or cottagelike.  I tend to surround myself with my art supplies. I love looking at them and the bright colors always put me in a good mood. I enjoy being able to see my art work mixed amongst those that I admire most. Months back I featured these shelves bare. They were made from shelves that were used at the Rug Works in cross village that has since closed. Mike's unique vision, flipped them on their side, and he added an addition. These shelves are one of my most treasured pieces of furniture....and whatever the style they are, they are mine to treasure.


While on a recent vacation I was able to paddle board. In the hotel there was this amazing painting of a sword fish. I couldn't wait to draw it. Although my rendition is lacking the detail of the painting is does capture the cartoonish depiction of the real thing. Sea life is amazing!  This was done with my shapries and watercolors....

Practice Makes Perfect

Well as the saying goes.......Practice makes perfect. Free motion quilting can make any quilt really stand out.  It looks very easy, but it does take practice. It is like drawing, but instead of a writing utensil, you use the sewing machine. That adds another set of "situations".  Every master of this craft states that practice is essential. Some do it daily to fine tune what I think is already a perfect technique. At one of my favorite thrift stores in petoskey, I was able to find these upholstery samples that already come with metal rings. These were extremely inexpensive, but perfect for practicing quilt squares with machine quilted stitches. What makes them so much fun is that some of them are solids, and some have patterns. I love the fact that I can practice without using expensive fabric, and I can try out different types of thread....


This is one of my favorite doodles. I was able to draw using my favorite sharpie markers. It has been said by many that you will find your favorite tools, and I must say these fine tip sharpies are by far my most trusted writing and doodling instrument. I filled in the detail with metallic markers for the border. The actual letters, background, flowers, and paisleys are done in water colors. I feel cheery just looking at these colors.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Glass Brimming

Embarking on the path to doodling was not an easy one. I wasn't sure what to doodle. So I figured I would try. I sketched this in pen first and then painted this with water colors using my koi brush. It didn't have any deep meaning when I started the doodling but as I got done I had read a book in which the woman said, "The glass is half full doesn't seem enough, then it must be brimming!" Hence how it got it's name.  Even more special this piece was completed in perfect warm weather, hence the happy color pallette.


We all have room to grow, it is just where we choose to spend the energy. I started taking classes from Alisa Burke a while back, they are featured on line and they are amazing. She has such a way with small portable supplies. On a recent trip I brought a small sketch book, a few markers and my watercolor palette.  It was so relaxing to doodle and paint.  When making this painting, I felt that growth in the direction of the types of art that I experiment with should be a new goal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Flower Power! This thermofax screen is just a blast. I started with purple and teal paint. After letting that dry I was used white paint with the background stencil. This is one of my favorites as it has random designs all over the screen.  I then added the yellow sunflowers.  This one I liked some much, I will trying this combination on fabric.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What a hoot.......

Saying I love birds and owls is an understatement. I absolutely am fascinated with them in artwork. Remember the owls in the basket from earlier this summer?  This journal page was done with thicker acrylic paint, partly because I didn't like the way it came out with originally. I love the colors of orange and blue. The start contrast really pops. When I first dragged the thick bodied acrylic paints they actually turned a muddy brown. I then went over the mud with fresh blue and orange. I really like the thick texture that arrived.  I then used silver and white screen print paint for the cloud image. It was topped with the dusty gold for the owl.  I like how the text from my notes is sneaking through all of these pages......

Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors is one of my favorite sayings. A company for mixed media supplies actually named themselves Running with Scissors. It is the image that is conjures that makes me smile. You would think I would think of injury, and mayhem, but instead I think of a rebel running happily along with scissors. Totally going against the grain.  This screen print is a bit more simple than the las two as their is only one screen. I decided to do pink and green acrylic colors as the background after watching an episode of love it or list it on HGTV, one of the designers wore these two colors and I thought to myself, "She would totally run with scissors." The screen was done with silver silk screen paint. I love the iridescent quality of the paint. To going against the grain, in whatever fashion makes you a rebel........

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Go Fish!

Go Fish! This is a project that I started this week. I took my notes from my Art and Appreciation II course from my first half of the class. Yes I managed to fill entire sketch book in just 7 weeks. With my previous post, I had vowed to recycle and to create more art! So here it goes. I have started to paint over my notes with acrylics. I am going to use this experiment to learn how to blend colors and to test color combinations. A definite weak spot for me. I am then going to try out all my snazzy thermofax screens. This will allow me to see what they look like on paper prior to using them on fabric!  This Go Fish experiment started with three acrylic paints, teal blue, purple, and mustard. I then added a thermofax screen print of circles in gold dust and then the skelefish from Lynn Krawcyzk. I just love that fish and am excited to use in a fabric project!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Donation Time!!!!

I am really getting into the sewing and embroidering! I am already working on next years auction items for the 2013 Howl at the Moon Auction. Here is one tote bag set that I have put together. I made the tote bag out of bright fabrics. It is filled with dog toys and supplies. I have embroidered two towels, and one hat/scarf set to add into the mix. Can't wait to put more of these together!

Leaves 58-70

Recycling is really something I wish I did more of. Yes I put my recyclables out at the curb each week, and I do use some recycled materials in my art, but I think I could use more. It would be more challenging and very rewarding to think something was kept out of a landfill.  So this week I took some fabrics from old clothing from a local thrift shop. I used my accuquilt cutting system to make bigger leaves for the tree. Similar to the sizzix, but bigger and designed for fabric. What I have found some awesome is that either of the machines will do fabric or paper making them ultra-functional. These leaves didn't get embellished as I thought they looked pretty funky in their own right. I really like the ones from the polyester leisure suit.  I can't believe anyone would wear orange polyester, but boy does the fabric make some snazzy leaves.....

Friday, October 26, 2012

Leaves 50-58

The leaves are almost completely off the trees here in Michigan. I thought I would finish up my series of brightly colored leaves. There were 8 remaining. Two of my favorites are the "The Game" and the dragonfly, sans wings.  I loved this upholstery fabric, it is so bright and cheerful, but all leaves eventually come to an end, in this case I just ran out of fabric.  These are leaves 50-58. I have reached my 2012 goal of 52, but the tree hasn't reached "full".  I plan on expanding my leaf collection to include paper and different fabrics. I hope to work on those very soon.  To the end of the color season in nature, to the beginning of color for my tree.

Journal "I am"

I always wonder what to journal about. I found a book that gives some neat suggestions. One of them is "I am..."  Let me tell you how much fun that can be......I started by practicing my quilting stitches. The more you draw them, the easier it is to sew them. I used water colors and gelatos. If you haven't used gelatos by Faber-castell you are missing out. They write like a crayon, and when you put water on the color it turns into water color. The colors are so vibrant and rich. This is such a fun thing to do when you don't have a ton of time, but are stuck somewhere. I think the funnest thing of all is writing your own text that is not legible to anyone else. I have a lot of "I am's" in there. They make me laugh. Especially the "I am a rock star", Debbie that is dedicated to you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


 Journaling is still something that I want to try to do more often. I just finished an entire notebook full of notes on a class in which I take the test tomorrow. An entire notebook of about 80 pages in 6 weeks.  Hate to let that go to waste so I will have to alter, paint, stitch, glue, and otherwise destroy that book soon.  Before I get ahead of myself, this page is very simple. I used my favorite techniques of acrylic paint, sizzix dies, old book pages, buttons, stamps, embossing ink, and song lyrics.  Very simple but calms me every time I look at this page. I need to do more of these pages, I should actually do one a day. They are so relaxing to do as there is no right or wrong answer.  To journaling more and worrying less.......

Guest Spot Kirsten's Glass

I have mentioned my good friend Kirsten in past blogs. She had invited to me to a glass fusing class back in May. I think glass work is so beautiful, but cannot find enough hours in the day. Perhaps losing a job or two would be a wise choice. Anyhow, Kirsten took a class through Delphi Glass in the Lansing Area, and this was her project. The picture is on the right and the glass replication is on the left. I am so amazed at the detail. Who thought you could do that with glass? She is taking some more classes and I can't wait to see what she creates.  Her and I still think we should have a studio somewhere peaceful and quite, complete with a golden retriever and camel....at least I think it was a camel....To our dreams Kirsten and thanks so much for allowing me to feature this beautiful piece of glass on my blog.  Perhaps you and I should start an art wars for reality tv, glass versus fiber.........

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Tree October Style

Well for those of you who remember my 2012 project, THE TREE, will remember the photo below. This is what the tree looked like with just a few leaves. The photo above is 50 leaves later. I did laugh right out loud, as it doesn't look all that much different. I guess this 2012 project may extend to the 2015 project. I am amazed that this tree looks as bare as a tree on a january morning. Well, I guess that gives me something fun to work on all winter long!!! Hope everyone is enjoying fall.

Screen Printing on Journal Paper

Well I am totally infatuated with thermofax screen printing. I have blogged recently about taking a course from Lynn Krawczyk. Well I am now practicing my screen printing in my journal (sketch book). In this one I used multiple different screens and experimented with different types of pain. I also used these delux pens called Decocolor Acrylic Paint markers. They have a tip that is 1/4" wide. They make great additions to the journaling tool box. So expect to see many random screen prints, in off the wall colors with no real message at all. Happy screening!

Featured Artist Lindsey Guenther

Lindsey and I have never met in person, but through her awesome aunt Kirsten, we have connected on facebook. Lindsey is making this wedding knot quilt. She sent me these pictures and I was so enamored with the colors I just knew this needed to go on this blog! I typically use matchy matchy colors. Lindsey is able to combine these two bright colors for a punch! I absolutely love it. Lindsey is currently in Argentina studying abroad. She plans to continue quilting, when she has fewer academic commitments. Thanks Lindsey for sharing.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Cloth Paper Scissors magazine has a challenge for doodling. They have asked that you doodle your favorite art tools. The catch is that it has to be one color or black and white. The substrate must be flat and 4 X 6".  I am not a doodler by nature. However, with doodling being a huge part of art journaling I though why not.  I do love drawing dress forms, they are one of my favorite sewing elements, as is the needle and thread.  I did a practice run in the color pink, not my favorite so I went back to my trusty black and white. It suited my personality a little better. The dress form, needle, and tape measure were included, and hidden in the background is the work SEW! Happy doodling....

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Art journaling is something that I have featured before, but not something I am completely comfortable with or good at...... The art that I am truly enamored with is quilting, but for those of us who have done quilting, nothing is exceptionally fast, and well sometimes you want to see results, like yesterday. Art journaling has become huge and there are some amazing artists out there, just pick up a copy of Art Journaling by Sommerset Studios. You will be blown away by some of the art that can be created in someone's diary, to do list, or class notes. This page was done using acrylic paints, bubble wrap, cut outs from people magazine, clip art, sizzix die cuts, fabric trim, and metallic sharpies.  Of course I didn't know what to write, my to do list didn't seem so artistic, so I used some of my favorite song lyrics.  The instant gratification of completing something artistic is worth it, even if I do have a long way to go. I look forward to including more journal pages in between my quilts!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Crooked Tree Arts Center 32nd Annual Juried Art Show

My art quilt "My favorite Moment" was one of 35 entries selected for the 32nd Annual Juried Art Show. The opening night was September 8th and it was such a rewarding experience. On the right, a pamphlet features the winners and the honorable mentions. I didn't win any awards, but just being in the same room as some of these amazing artists was more than reward enough. One of my favorite entries was done by Sara Gauthier. She did a pencil drawing of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and John F. Kennedy.  It is titled "Abraham, Martin, and John".  This pencil drawing is 206" by 109". It covered an entire wall in the crooked tree art center. Her work can be found at www.saragauthier.com. The picture at the top was of Mike, my model for the quilt and I at the exhibit when there weren't any other visitors!

The Perfect Mermaid

This art quilt started out with the fascination of Rylee as the mermaid. I must admit this board was quite popular on the cruise ship The Allure. This was taken two years ago when Rylee was 11 and I am amazed at how much she has already changed. She is a teenager now, taller than I am, and is involved in all kinds of activities.  I selected this picture to quilt, due to the vibrant colors. Again the picture was taken into Photoshop CS5 and then posterized. I constructed the mermaid from various fabrics. Some were quilting fabrics, garment fabrics, and upholstery fabrics. Her face was challenging for me. It was constructed using fabric, stitch, and various paints. The final part that was fun to complete were the accents in her hair, bathing suit top, and her fin. These were done using decorative stitches, satin stitches, or quilting motifs. More art quilts to come!

Layer Upon Layer

Working with scrap booking paper can be extremely fun. Many of the journaling techniques for artists include using these basic papers as a base. Building on them is the really exciting part. There as many ways to build layers as there are art supplies. For the ones shown I did a couple of techniques. I took great phrases from magazine articles, tissue paper, old patterns, old book pages, various images and adhered them with medium to the 12 X 12 scrap book paper. I then used various colors of heavy body acrylic paint. After this dried completely, I added stamps. This includes regular wood backed rubber stamps, cling stamps, and foam stamps. Different types of inks were used including Tim Holtz distress collection, pigment inks, and dye inks. Finally I added interest by using embossing powders. My personal favorites are the metallics. The final touch came with various paper tapes. As you can see  a very layered look can be achieved. These layered papers can be used in art projects or in my case will become leaves for the tree!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Give! and then Give some more.

 Those of you who know me well understand my love of animals and rescue! Over the past few years I have learned how to use my embroidery machine to make items for dog rescue. There are 5 rescues that are near and dear to my heart and I try and keep them all stocked with embroidered towels, blankets and accessories. My beloved machine broke this past fall and I did break down to buy a new one. I have taken the challenge to finish a number of projects that I have started. I have finished some fleece jackets, blankets, and towels. The fun is in picking out the thread and fabrics!!!
I find that doing these creative projects is so rewarding. I love to get the emails from the rescues detailing how much money they raised selling these items. I think the saying, "It is better to give than receive" is a perfect one.

Screen Printing Fabric

 It has been a crazy two weeks. I hadn't gotten to nearly as much art as I had wanted to, but I did squeeze in one class. Lynn Krawczyk taught a thermofax screen printing class that was worth every penny. I had bought some of her screens and actually featured them on my drop cloth as one of my quilt squares last year. I hadn't done much more with them as I wasn't sure how to utilize them to their fullest potential. Ahhh, the left brainer making a mountain out of a mole hill.
They are super simple and an absolute blast to use. The picture on the upper right is of my kitchen table set up with supplies. You don't even need that much space.
The picture on the left is my kitchen floor, sans drop cloth and some of the first layers of screen printing. Typically, the fabric starts looking really interesting after layer 2 or 3. You do need to let them dry in between, so this will be a two day project for me! I can see art quilts, leaves, and functional totebags from this fabric in my near future. Stay tuned for more screen printing!!!
Lynn can be seen at

Home | Fibra Artysta


Friday, September 14, 2012

Leaves 40-49

These leaves were part of the grouping that I did from upholstery fabric. Decorated, yet again, from the bin of treasures. (a.k.a. junk) The leaves are decorated with scrapbook items, old cigar rings, magnets, doo dads, and even a class pin from 1938.  Soon I will take a picture of the tree. Interestingly, my original goal was 52 leaves. The tree is at 49 leaves and it looks like November......bare. This is perfect for me, that means I get to create more and my garage gets funner and funner to pull into everyday.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fall is coming.......

Every day that I am in northern michigan I take a walk. I had the privilege of being up north for 6 days over this Labor Day weekend. Saying it was wonderful doesn't do it justice. As I walked each of those 6 days I could see the leaves starting to change and fall. It is amazing how fast things change if you only pay attention. I have been busy creating leaves for my tree, so I have "leaves on my brain".  I couldn't help but notice how amazingly beautiful nature can be.  I picked up a few of the fallen leaves on my walk this morning. I don't think anyone can create anything as exquisite as these. I am hoping that you can stop and enjoy the beauty of nature and may you enjoy the transition to fall.

Leaves 25-34

These leaves were made from recycled plastic grocery bags. This technique was first demonstrated to me via Alisa Burke (alisaburke.blogspot.com/).  She has a DVD, online courses, and has appeared on quilting arts tv. She is a great resource for being able to create without spending a lot of money. This plastic bag technique is really fun. It is a little time consuming as you have to adhere the bags together by ironing them. Once that is done, you paint the textured substrate with fabric paint. I chose to use some iridescent paints. Then I used Tulip spray paint with some stencils to get a very neat effect. Finally, they were stamped with chalk inks using Claudine Hellmuth's sponge stamps. These work really well as they are larger and take up the ink more readily.  I did 15 different leaves with this technique and I will probably do some additional projects using this recycled material.