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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Photo editing Flowers

I took a photography class at Delta College back in the fall of 2010. I bought a new camera and went absolutely bonkers for flowers. At the time I lived in a neighborhood that had mature gardens with dogwood, cherry, and other flowering trees. There were also numerous flowers and shrubs. I took so many pictures. I wasn't sure what to do with all those photos, but I did save them. Now that I have finished Susan Tuttle's online course, I have found a new love of altering photos. These are some of those flower prints from 2010 with a 2013 twist.

Silk Tie Dying

I absolutely love to dye fabric. It can be time consuming, so I often don't get to it as often as I would like. I had some time this weekend to use silk ties to dye white silk fabric. This technique was out of the october/november issue of quilting arts magazine. The process is really simple and the sky is the limit on the types of colors and patterns you can get on the silk. This is a sample of the 8 yards of silk that I was able to dye with silk ties from the thrift store.  The only ingredients are silk ties (yes they must be silk, don't be fooled with imitation cotton ones!), vinegar, boiling water, silk, and rubber bands. The neck ties can be cut or used in a full length. They are placed in between two pieces of plain silk. The silk is placed between two pieces of cotton muslin. The fabric is then rolled and then tied with rubber bands. The fabric is boiled in vinegar water for 20 minutes and voila! Interesting fabric! I love the fact that the ties shift and so different tones, with some fractured white space occur. I hope to have time to use this fabric in some sewing projects.

Self Portrait

The self portrait was one of the most difficult assignments that I have done yet. I used an ebony graphite pencil. Over 6 hours and it still doesn't look exactly like me, but at least it looks human which in my book is huge progress.

Paper Curls

I was finally able to use charcoal for drawing, what a great medium. Messy, but great effects, these two drawings are paper curls that were placed on a design wall and then drawn with the charcoal.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Barn-Photo editing, the beginning of a beautiful relationship

This barn is located in Northern Michigan. It is one of my favorite places to go in the fall. The barn is a family owned business that sells pumpkins and cider. The picture was edited in photo software. I used the free online photo editing software Pixlr. These are three different techniques for the same picture. This is really a lot of fun, and I will definitely be doing more of this type of editing. I am going to also print some of these on fabric for photo postcards. What I love about this program is that your photographs don't have to be perfect to get interesting results.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

ATC 23 Kiss Me

This is one of my favorite ATC's. The image is from an old book. The entire "kissing the frog" has been around for so long. I had to laugh when I found an old box of magnetic poetry. There was actually "kiss me".  Perfect! To kissing toads and frogs and finding your prince.....

ATC 22 Wish

The ATC Wish was done using fabric paper. This paper was stamped in a large sheet. The butterfly was added using embossing powder. Then TIM HOLTZ steam punk Wish was added. There is something about butterflies that always make me think of day dreaming and wishing......

ATC 21 Chronicles

This ATC was fun to put together. I have a few pages of ephemera of women from different time periods. The background was fabric paper. This particular piece there is glitter that was trapped within the glue mixture prior to it drying. The pearls were added as it fits the time period for this woman. The stitching is a bit wonky. My tension was way out of wack, but I like the fact that it is whimsical.

ATC 20 Blessed

This ATC was done by using a larger sheet of the Fabric paper and decoupaging all sorts of images, then cutting the card.  The Sizzix die cut actually has an ATC die which is awesome, it is the perfect size and has nice rounded corners. The image is from Art Chix and the music is from an old hymnal. The actual background fabric paper came out really interesting. In the background there is old text from a book, this is covered by colored tissue paper, so you can barely notice it is there. The purple "flower" isn't a flower at all. It is an alcohol ink that was splashed onto the fabric paper prior to the glue drying. I think it made an excellent addition. I used a decorative stitch on two edges of the card.

ATC 19 Wings

This ATC was done using some great images from Art Chix. The bird with the Corinthian column is so interesting. There is also a music motif. The background was from fabric paper, shocking I know. I then stitched the edges with a contrasting red thread. This was to pick up the red in the image. The dictionary quote is an English to French insert and I chose wing!

ATC 18 Wander

This ATC was made from Fabric Paper. I used a different method for the next few ATC cards. I actually left the fabric paper in a long sheet and started to stamp and add ephemera. The cards were then cut after this was added. This gave it a different look. I then added paper tape, stitching and a TIM HOLTZ steampunk charm. I love the fact that the globes and wander go together. It is kind of like a hipper version of travel!


This ATC was made from a base of fabric paper. I used an old children's math book to find some images to include. I love text and numbers. The definition for calculus was added. Multiple stamps were used to add random text. The stitching around the ATC is a decorative stitch off an old sewing machine. The number three is from the TIM HOLTZ steampunk collection. I love his use of numbers and text.

Study then Visit Vincent Van Gogh

Another piece of art that I wrote about was Starry Night. Seeing it in person was so fascinating. It wasn't a large painting, but it is amazing to see the use of line. It is also such a prized painting, work hundreds of millions of dollars. To think that Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his short tortured life time. He never was able to see his talent nor fame.

Journal 8
The Starry Night

 Van Gogh painted starry night in 1889. It is an oil on canvas and is part of the post-impressionism period. The composition of this painting includes clouds, shining stars, and a bright crescent moon. Most everyone can relate to the scene depicted in this painting. What makes this composition unique is how these elements are conveyed. Van Gogh uses his brush strokes to swirl the clouds, thus drawing the viewer’s eye around the painting. (Artble) I personally noticed that I was looking at it from left to right, following the swirling cloud. As I moved from left to right, I was drawn to the bottom of the painting and then back around to the sun. It has long been thought that Van Gogh suffered from mental illness. At the end of 1888 he committed himself to an asylum. (Vangoghgallery) It has been noted that he has suffered from epilepsy, psychotic attacks and possibly depression. During this period he struggled to create works of art due to the frequency of his attacks. He did manage to create The Starry Night one of his most influential pieces. One hypothesis is that the swirling lines of the sky represent his internal uncertainty. (Vangoghgallery)
The color yellow is very noticeable in this painting. There is a yellow halo around each star and the sun is a very bright yellow. There have been many theories as to why the yellow is so vibrant. One explanation relates to the treatment of his seizure disorder. At that time digitalis was used to treat seizures. (Now this medication is used to treat cardiac arrhythmias). People receiving large and repeated doses often see a yellow-green tint.(Wolf) The most amazing thing about Vincent Van Gogh and this painting was his view of himself. He viewed himself as a failure, and that his life was a horrible waste. (Vangoghhallery) He shot himself in the chest and died a few days later. The ironic piece to this story is that his sister in law took his works to Holland to get Van Gogh his due recognition (Artble) His success was overwhelming and he is still considered a master today.
I am fascinated with the swirling lines, the starry sky and the landscape background. Each time I look at this painting, I see more detail. It’s composition and style are quite different from any other artist. I would absolutely love to make an art quilt out of one of his paintings. He remains one of my favorite painters.

Works Cited

"Starry Night." Artble. n.p., n.d. Web. October 5, 2012.
"Van Gogh Gallery." Artble. n.p., n.d. Web. October 5, 2012. <http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/later.html>.
Wolf, Paul. "Van Gogh Gallery." Paul Wolf West J. Med 2001 November; 175(5):34. National Institute of Health. NCBI, November 2001. Web. October 5, 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071623/>.

Study then Visit

In my art and history II class we studied a ton of art. I was always fascinated to see that a large number of these pieces were featured at MOMA, the museum of modern art in NYC. I got a chance to visit and see a number of pieces that I had to write papers on. It was such a great experience. Seeing the size of some of these pieces was really neat.  This one was done by Donald Judd. He was a part of the minimalist movement.

Donald Judd (1928-1994) was one of the foremost practitioners of Minimal Art, which had its apex in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  (WAC) “Minimalist refers to a style of art in which the least possible amount of form shapes, colors, or lines are used to reduce the concept or idea to its simplest form.” (ArtsNet) Judd and other Minimalists sought to create a depersonalized art in which the physical properties of space, scale, and materials were explored as phenomena of interest on their own, rather than as metaphors for human experience.  (WAC) "A shape, a volume, a color, a surface is something itself," Judd wrote. "It shouldn't be concealed as part of a fairly different whole." Judd constructed his minimalistic creations in the 1960’s.  He used industrial materials such as plywood, sheet metal, and plexiglass.   These materials were arranged in three dimensional forms.  “He manipulated these materials into arrangements.  He stacked, aligned, cantilevered, or centered, their strict geometric arrangements—often derived from mathematical progressions.” (WAC)
I found this artwork fascinating and considered it a form of sculpture. This was probably due to my naive view that since it was in 3D, it must be sculpture.  Judd refused to call them sculptures because he associated this with the hand crafted art of an earlier era.  Instead, he referred to them as “specific objects”. (WAC) He also referred to himself as a painter not a sculptor. (ArtsNet) Untitled is an example of a “stack” of these industrial materials. This is considered to be one of his hallmarks. In appearance the materials appear to mathematically precise, however Judd himself has stated that they mean nothing in terms of mathematics to him. (Artsnet)
The interpretation of this art is fascinating to me.  I see repetition, precision, beauty, order, and discipline. According to Judd, “his goal was to focus on the space occupied and created by his objects--their purity of form”. (Artsnet) I typically look for a meaning that is more than the sum of the supplies used to create the art. An example would be Van Gogh’s tormented life and his harsh brush strokes.  I can appreciate the minimalist art, but I tend to see it for the ideas that it brings to me. I am not sure if that was Judd’s intent, but it works for me.

Works Cited

"ArtsNet Minnesota: What Is Art?: Donald Judd." ArtsNet Minnesota: What Is Art?: Donald Judd.  Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://www.artsconnected.org/artsnetmn/whatsart/judd.html>.
"WAC | Visual Arts | Exhibition | The Essential Donald Judd." WAC | Visual Arts | Exhibition | The Essential Donald Judd. Exhibition Gallery 7, 12 Aug. 2001. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://www.walkerart.org/archive/F/AD7379EFF90772606175.htm>.

ATC 16 Swirl

This ATC was made using some of my favorite mediums. There is no real theme, just a swirling bird that was stamped using embossing powder. It gives a regal appearance and adds depth. The black swirl is a rub on. I remember these from when I was a kid, glad they have them in adult themes.  The base is fabric paper. I know, when will I ever run out? I make so much at a time, I have an endless supply. I then added a red patterned scrapbook paper and then some paper tape. (TIM HOLTZ) It was stitched with gold thread.

ATC 15 Maze

This ATC was made from literal junk. I used the recycled plastic bags for the base. The purple paint is actually a fabric paint by Lumiere. The background was painted with a stencil. A piece of metal, was added. It looked like a maze to me, and I have absolutely no idea where I found that little treasure. I then added an old dictionary quote on maze. I believe this dictionary (pocket type) is from the 60's.  Then three small pearls were added. They contrast the harshness of the metal!

Friday, February 8, 2013

ATC 14 Discover 2

ATC Discover 2 is made from fabric paper. The paper was stamped multiple times for a layered look. This included numbers and text. The entire ATC was stitched around the edges. The text "discover who you are" was actually small stickers from a scrap booking pad. The key hole is part of the Tim Holtz collection!

ATC 13 Adore

ATC 12 Adore was made using the fabric paper. A layered look was created by adding some old book pages. These were adhered with matte medium. I then stamped the paper with multiple stamps. There are text stamps, the number 4 and a large hot pink heart. The music note is a rub on, again, a huge hit. The silver heart is an actual grommet so it is hammered into place!

ATC 12 Number

ATC 11 Titled Number was done using the plastic recycled substrate. The plastic was painted and a stencil with numbers was used with hot pink tulip fabric spray paint. The Number 2 was stamped with gold, lower left corner,  it is hard to see but adds some color variance. The number 4 as stamped with the Staz On purple. The number six is actually a grunge board number (Tim Holtz) and was embossed with gold powder. The number quote is from the 1940 dictionary. I am a huge fan of text......

ATC 11 Discover 1

The ATC Discover 1 is simple, but I just loved the color combinations. The fabric paper was near an edge so the green was very muted. A word stamp with tea dye ink was used. Then using Staz On Purple ink, the pear stamp was added. The color combination really popped. I absolutely love pears, not to eat but as an artistic element. I also have some very favorite words, and discover is one of them......

ATC 10 Flutter

This ATC flutter is a combination of fabric paper (base) and plastic bag substrate (hearts). The hearts were made from the scraps that were left after cutting the ATC cards. They were stitched with gold thread. The flutter definition is from a dictionary from the 1940's. The book paper that you see in the back ground is actually part of the fabric paper. I will be making more fabric paper in the near future and will show the steps so you can see how to incorporate elements into the paper. Beryl Taylor discovered the technique and then perfected it. She is pure genius.

ATC 9 Bug Me 1

The ATC bug me was made from the fabric paper. This paper is so amazing as you cannot duplicate it. It is one of a kind. I loved the green colors in this paper. I used embossing powder to get the three dimensional silver look of the dragon fly. A script stamp by Dina Wakely was used with a Tim Holtz tea stain stamping pad.

ATC 8 Time

The Time ATC started with the recycled plastic bags. The substrate was painted with Luminere fabric paint. The large clock face is actually a stencil that was painted with tulip fabric spray paint. The small clock on the left and sand timer on the top left are rub ons. These are soooooo much fun. The actual metal gear is from the Tim Holtz steampunk collection. Too fun!

ATC 7 Treasure

This ATC was constructed from a base of recycled plastic bags. The bags are best painted with fabric paint as it won't chip away from the ironed plastic. The learning curve on these fabrics is huge. On plastic bags, very inexpensive chalk stamping pads are best. Due to the varied texture of the surface, it is best to use really big stamps, as details get easily lost. The key hole and a small jewelry piece were added for three dimensional effect.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

ATC 6 Love Letter

ATC 6 used fabric paper again. Small dried flowers were attached with matte medium on the lower left and upper right corners. An image from Art Chix was added in the center and some lace was placed on the right. (I think this was bias tape, another find from a garage sale). The image was stitched, and small  jewels were added for three dimensional embellishment.

ATC 5 The heart sings a chord

ATC 5 was constructed out of fabric paper. It was stamped multiple times to provide depth and a layered appearance. I have a small vintage dictionary with music terms. I selected chord and placed that within the heart.  A small flourish was added for dimension. This was found in my thrift trinket treasure trove! Again the zigzag stitch was used to frame the edge. Also, to add stability to these cards, they are stitched to a recycled card board backing.

ATC 4 Hearts

The fourth ATC is another tribute to valentines day. The base for this ATC is actually made from recycled plastic bags. These bags are ironed together (approximately 6 bags) to give them some structure. This technique was discovered by Alisa Burke. The bags are then painted with fabric paint. They are stamped and stenciled. After the base is completed, some hearts that were cut with the SIZZIX die machine, were also from recycled plastic bags. They were stitched onto the ATC. A zigzag stitch was done for added dimension around the edges in a gold thread.

ATC 3 Love

This third ATC is to celebrate the upcoming valentines day. Such a sappy holiday but it was one of my favorites as a child. I enjoyed trading valentines at school. This was made from fabric paper. The paper was then stamped numerous times to give a layered effect. The number three was embossed on the bottom. (It is upside down and cut off to give it a more whimsical feel).  The crown is an actual rubbing. A new found favorite medium! The small gold heart is from a broken piece of costume jewelry found in my thrift trinket treasure box. The edges were stitched in a zig zag fashion with pink thread.

ATC 2 Forever

The second ATC is also constructed from fabric paper that I made. This one was fun as the actual image of the bride, is in the base paper. This image is from an old book.  At this point she is getting married, and hence the title forever. There wasn't much added as the actual fabric paper had a lot of detail.

Artist Trading Card 1 I love Paris

I put forth the time to start my ATC collection. Artist Trading Cards are a hot commodity amongst artist in many different mediums. They are mini pieces of art that are 2 X 3 inches. They are to be traded not sold. Some artists use them as business cards. Others collect them like priceless baseball cards. Many trade them with other artists that they meet at shows and classes. I wanted to experiment with them because they are small and they are great for using up scraps.

This first card is called "I love Paris". This ATC is made from the fabric paper that I made last year. This is a Beryl Taylor technique and a favorite of mine. The paper was then embellished with stamps, and foil. The small collage is from Art Chix. I love their small collages as they are usually an artwork in themselves. A plastic bag heart piece was added. The entire ATC was stitched with gold thread!

Leaves 83-87

More leaves!!! These leaves are actually made of a tissue like paper and are actually in the decorating section of the craft store. They are quite plain when you pull them out of the package. So after some decoupage, stamping, and text additions, they are more lively!

Flower Power

As a goal for the New Year I was hoping to spend more time doing thermofax screen printing. I am still working on the Art and History notebook as my testing zone. This print was done with two different floral screens.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I have been practicing my machine quilting on some scrap fabric that I found at a thrift store. I decided that since these scraps have these neat grommets in them, that I needed to make a cover for all of my quilting designs. So I constructed a cover using some of my fabric paper featured in previous blog posts. I used my SIZZIX die cut to make the leaves and butterflys. The flowers were precuts that I got on clearance from a craft store. I used free motion stitching to quilt everything to the back ground. Scrap ribbon was used to make the stem.  I can't wait to hang this cover over my practice pieces in my studio.


"Hugs" is a quilt that was done from a pattern that I purchased when I was in Alaska. The top is a photograph of my quilt. The one on the left is the sample in the quilt store in Skagway. The actual quilt pattern was made after the original artwork of Barbara Lavallee. It took me a while to finish it due to the other commitments in my life. I added a lot of embellishments to this quilt. This made it fun to pick out trim, thread and the buckle for the belt. I actually machine quilted this piece. I used a tracing paper to draw my design. I then pinned the tracing paper over the quilt and followed the drawing with my machine stitching. A lot of mistakes and lessons learned, but I am still pleased with the way that it came out.