Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Illustration Project

I've never illustrated a book before but my friend Nikki wrote a cute children's story that I am working on the pictures for. I think I need about 12 pictures so the challenge will be to not burn out! My granddaughter has already burned out with posing but next time I will use real cupcakes to make it interesting! She posed for this one with a fake cupcake.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


When someone gave me some naked Barbies for my grandchildren, I decided that they all should become mermaids. At the fabric store I got two mermaidish types of fabric and proceeded to sew tails for each doll with a small Velcro closure at the back.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Homemade Lip Balm

I've been wanting to make my own healthy lipstick ever since I read that the average woman eats four pounds of it a year! The recipe I used was 20% beeswax, 25% coconut oil, 15% cocoa butter, 40% olive oil and small amounts of dried red wine (for color), argan oil and rosemary oil. Just melt the beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter in a can in a pan of boiling water and add the other ingredients when these get melted - then pour into chapstick containers. I thought I was making a small batch but I ended up with 44 tubes! I will say my dried up wine was not totally successful as a colorant so now I am drying a beet for the next experiment.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

En Plein Air

I had to get at one plein air landscape in this summer. This was painted down at the newly renovated boardwalk at the mouth of Accokeek Creek. The boardwalk is plenty fancy - time to check it out if you haven't been down there yet!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Quilt Square

Years ago, my friend Francis told me about the easy way to make a quilt square. You sketch out a picture, then make fabric cutouts of the picture, then glue them together using iron on "stitch witchery" glue, then use a tight zigzag stitch around the fabric edges. It's so easy to do it this way! In this square, the Owl and Pussycat are actual little stuffed animals, attached by a ribbon to the inside of the boat.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Willow in Straw Hat

Every time I see a painting I am familiar with acted out in real life I feel like I have to paint it. The inspiration painting is Mary Cassatt's Girl in a Straw Hat. I know I'm kind of in a grandchild painting rut - will try to break out soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Handmade Camera Case

My two cameras before my current one both broke and I finally caught on that keeping a camera in a case is the way to go. My current one did not come with a case, so I traced the camera outline on paper and added about 3/16 around the edge. Using my paper pattern, I cut two pieces of leather, one with a extension about 2 1/2 inches for a closure flap. I measured the widest part of the camera and cut a long leather strip that width plus 3/8 inch. The embellishments were cut out of leather scraps. All the seams were glued first with contact cement. Then I used an awl to punch holes about an eighth of an inch apart. I stitched up the seams and put a magnetic snap on the flap and I was done. I have a nice case that exactly fits my camera!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shoes for me

I made this pair for myself in about 2 days. It went so quickly because I had already gotten my basic pattern right - and its a pretty simple design. I learned about a free photo editing site at and had a lot of fun making the collage.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Julia Waits for Dance Class to Start

Well it wasn't a recital; it was called "Observation Day" where we got to see what goes on in Julia's dance class.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


This is my Mother's Day craft. Does everyone know about Ink Jet shrink film? This is special paper that you can draw or print on then cook for 3 minutes and it shrinks and firms up. With this method I was able to make a Mother's Day bracelet for my mother commemorating her favorite book/film, "Pride and Predjudice". I made another one for someone in my book club using images of books we had read and I think color pictures work even better.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tiny Handmade Books

I've gotten many compliments on my little book necklace so a step by step tutorial follows.
Cut 25 small pieces of paper for the pages. I used paper pieces about 1 inch by 2 inches. Fold these into 5 page "signatures" and sew them together as shown below with regular needle and thread. Make a stitch that goes in and out of each group of pages, starting by going in the first signature, ending with going out the last signature and tie a square knot in the thread and snip it off.
Take the sewn signatures and clamp them in a little vice. I made mine out of two small vice grips and 2 pieces of cardboard. Put glue along the spine of the book.

Cut a little piece of cloth, longer than the book spine and make little ridges at the ends by gluing inside some heavy duty thread.
Glue the cloth piece to the spine, pressing down to make sure there is contact with all the signatures.
While the glue is drying, cut a piece of leather out of an old jacket or something that is somewhat bigger than the size of the pages that are used for the book
Punch two little holes in the center of the leather piece to put a "jump ring" finding in. I bought these findings in the bead section of A. C. Moore.
Squeeze the jump ring closed with you fingers or pliers.
When the glue on the cloth on the book spine is dry, remove it from the vice grips and trim as shown below.
Cut 2 pieces of marbelized paper the same size as your page size. You can make your own marbelized paper, or for a short cut, just print some out from the internet.
Now glue the book spine and the excess cloth to the leather book cover, placing the spine over the jump ring.
To cover the cloth, glue marbelized paper on the first and last page extending to the leather cover.
Get ready to put this back in the vice grips and cardboard but slip some cellophane in between the folds of the marbelized paper so it won't glue to itself.
When the glue is dry, take the book out, trim up the leather to match the page size, and run a ribbon through the jump ring. That's all there is to it. By the way, binding a real book isn't much different, except you need a bigger book press and the cover usually has cardboard in it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pirate Boots

Some time before his birthday, Soren sent a link out to hint that he wanted some very pricy boots. I realized I could buy many hides for what they wanted for the boots so I bought one hide and decided to take a stab at making them. Since I had not really done boots before I got some poster paper and made a tenative boot with that first. After Soren tried it on, we made a couple of adjustments, then I launched into the leather version. Not so hard, really, but a lot more stitching!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Black and White

I saw this scene along the Indian Head Rail trail, a great place to walk, run or bike.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Baby Ballerinas

My ulterior motive when I gave my granddaughters matching tutus for Christmas was that I might get a painting out of the deal. The result is above with the Degas inspiration below.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hold on tight, Willow

This is yet another grandchild inspired painting.