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.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Clothe Paper Scissors Magazine posted a reader challenge in their July/August Magazine. It was called Sweet Silhouette. The challenge was to use a silhouette in your mixed media project. I chose to do mine using Taylor's silhouette. Taylor sparkles whenever she does anything. She is an accomplished gymnast, singer/song writer/guitarist, track star and friend. She is also in her senior year of high school, attending college, and has a job.  I took the silhouette of her face while she was playing the guitar. The silhouette of her doing a handstand was taken by her father when she spontaneously did a hand stand on a rock on the shores of lake Michigan. I quilted the main silhouette with a standard straight line stitch, the colorful inner silhouettes are free motion quilted.  I added glitter to the edge of the outside silhouette and the dog tag "Sparkle".  If you know Taylor, you will agree that when she does anything, she sparkles......

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Gecko

This art quilt was inspired by a photograph taken by Tim Kaufman. Tim took a recent trip to Hawaii and was able to capture the gecko on this flower. His photography is amazing and this is just one of many examples. (http://www.timkaufmanphoto.com/gallery_hawaii.html) I asked his permission to "quilt" this amazing photograph. It took countless hours as I have never done anything like this in the past. The gecko was certainly the most challenging. Originally I was going to bead the gecko. After thinking about it over a period of time, I decided to thread paint the gecko. (Thread painting is the machine stitching of thread with stitches very close together. This allows the piece to look painted. The trick is to use multiple colors of thread to add dimension just as you would shade with paint.) The quilt was made in two separate steps. The first step was the background. I used all sorts of fabrics including quilting cotton, velvet, upholstery, and silk. Some thread painting was done at this stage.   I then made the gecko on a black piece of quilters cotton. The entire gecko is made from thread. The process took a number of hours and countless layers of thread.  The gecko ended up being 1/8" thick. I then trimmed the gecko and stitched him onto the background. The eye is actually hand painted with a brush that has exactly 10 bristles. Yes, I counted. Over 36 different colors of thread were used in this quilt. Beads were added to the plant for dimension. Finally, I quilted the entire piece and placed a border. I started this quilt in March and finished this in mid-August. There were many interruptions with other contests, gifts, auctions, and donations. I am so glad I finished this quilt and plan to give it to Tim as a gift of his generosity in allowing me to utilize his talents to complete my own projects. Tim you are amazing, thank you so much.

Monday, August 20, 2012


"The best day of your life is the day on which you decide your life is your own. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift of life is yours....." Dan Zadra

This is a page out of my lyrics journal. One of my truly favorite songs by the Fray. This page was fun to make as the actual signs are from cross village michigan and were taken by my camera. I drove around in my jeep taking sign pictures on a super hot day. It was a blast. I used a diet coke can to make the circles and stencils to add dimension.  A white paint pen was then used to pen the lyrics.  I think everyone has had a moment in which they needed to stop and refocus their life. Often the signs are confusing, or the road looks long and winding. Usually, if we just take them time to stop and think about what we really want the answer is right there in front of us, clear and easy to see.  This journal page captures that moment for me, and my life has been better ever since.

Giddy Up!!

"Live your life on purpose" Dan Zadra

Greencraft magazine focuses on some of the most unique art. Recycled objects are made into beautiful items. I have been smitten by the french fry crayon holders, water bottle art, and countless others. One of my favorites was the make over of cow boy boots. I love cow boy boots, I don't ride horses, haven't been to a working ranch, and don't know how to milk a cow, but I love cow boy boots. I like looking at them, and the more decorative the better. In Sante Fe, New Mexico, there were countless stores with cow boy books that were in the thousands of dollars. Hand sewn, embroidered, multi-colored, you name it, they had it. Mike bought me a pair of vinyl old musty navy blue cowboy boots for me to artistically enhance.  I painted them up red and did a daring flame in silver and black. I used every type of sequin and embellishment I could find.  Better yet, I found a way to incorporate them into my decor. Anyone can buy decorations from a store or an art gallery, but can you take a $1 pair of cowboy boot cast off's and sexy them up?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Leaves #9-14

You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose
You're on your own and you what you know
And you are the on who'll decide where to go
Dr. Seuss

Since the transplanted tree is in my garage, and only my garage I have taken the creative liberty of publishing the leaves in bulk. The die cuts are rather small and prepping the substrate (fabric, paper, foam core etc) takes some time and I am really into the embellishment aspect of these leaves. So I will do a small series if you will, of leaves and then publish them.  I am still way behind, but looking so forward to catching up, especially with fall right around the corner. It will be leaves galore!
These leaves were made out of fabric paper, one of my favorite techniques that I have talked about on more than one occasion. After making the paper, die cutting the shapes, the decorating ensues. I used old broken jewelry, cancelled stamps, bingo chips, doo dads, and fabric buttons. They are colorful and cheerful!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Owl City

Quilting Arts TV featured Lynn Krawczyk from Plymouth Michigan. She designed this pattern for these owls and I was smitten. She have a very unique way of making these owls and she put a little fortune in the back of each of hers. I chose to put inspiration words on the front of each of mine. Twenty four of these little guys all together. What a blast these were to make. They are small little inspirations made from happy fabrics like little candies.........I have featured just three of the 24 and they are fortunate, blissful, and giggle. I feel all of these today! Happy Hooting!

Where will you be five years from today?

The book Where will you be five years from today? is such a great book. I have had it for over a year and it is one of those things I go back to every time I have a few minutes. It is like your favorite treat.  If you don't own this book you should. It is full of great pushes to change your life. I would have to say I am a doer and a completer. I usually start what I finish and really have not been too afraid to try new artistic endeavors. This book though really pushes you to think about where you will be in 5 years. There are quotes from all sorts of famous people in this book, even Dr. Seuss. (Now there is a wise soul to journal about.....)  Sometimes I feel like I don't spend as much time creating as I would like. I realize that this is my own fault. However, if I start feeling like I am busy, I absolutely bow down to this quotation by J. Jackson Brown, Jr. (Author of Life's Little Instruction Book....another must have.)  "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein."  I will feature some amazing quotes from this book, you really should go buy yourself a copy as a treat to yourself.......So seriously Where will YOU be five years from today?

Journal Page "Travel"

Art Journaling is the coolest thing. It can be done on anything.....scrap paper, paper bags, plastic bags, junk mail or in a real or made journal.  I have admired the work of some of the more published journal makers out there!  I confess I subscribe to art journaling magazine which is just "eye candy" plain and simple. I did a little journaling last year and it was featured in this blog, I got away from it a bit, due to other time pressures. Well I think I need to get back to it. It is a great way to play with art supplies and take off the pressure of having to create something complicated. So I started three journals. The one last year was titled "Places, Spaces and Faces". Another is more like a scrap book with useless photos I have taken and song lyrics, my favorite journaling fodder. Finally this journal is about quotations.......my favorite thing to read. There are endless websites, books, and sources for quotes that make you stop and think.  The theme for this page was travel. I am hoping to get to Paris as I have always wanted to go there. I had spent 6 months in Europe, but never made it to the City of Love. I used different artist grades paints for the background. I then built the page with old sewing patterns, paper scraps, magnetic poetry, stickers, quotations, and scrap booking letters. My favorite part to this page are the quotations on travel that I found.   The quotes are just amazing regarding travel. There are the favorites "Not all those that wander are lost" J. K. Tolben or "A journey of thousand miles begins with single step." Lao Tzu (I like that one so much it is on a silver bangle bracelet that I wear.) But one of my all time favorites is a less familiar one by helen keller...."Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Now that is something to live by......