Posts Tagged ‘shabby chic’

They’re Not Just for Guacamole

July 16, 2018

So my BFF, Terri, recently pointed me to an article about using avocado pits to dye fabric, paper, yarn, etc. Whaaaat, really? It looked easy enough, but often the techniques that look easiest turn out to be the biggest failures. (Don’t ever ask me about Gelli plate transfers, thank you very much.)

Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to try it anyway. And, wonder of wonders, it not only worked, but was super easy, practically foolproof, and the results were awesome!

This is how easy:

Step 1: Buy avocados.

Step 2: Open avocados, remove pits.

Step 3: Rinse slimy goo off pits, place in large saucepan with a good amount of water.

Step 4: Put saucepan on stove over medium heat, walk away and forget about it. Literally.

Step 5: Run across saucepan while getting a snack a few hours later and notice, with some surprise, that the water has turned a beautiful shade of deep pink.

Step 6: Proceed to gather pretty much every white material in the house (fabric, lace, seam binding, Bristol paper, book pages, etc.) and dump it in the water.

Step 7: Stop short of dunking white cat.

merlin goin nuts


Step 8: Success!

One caveat: Anything that starts out white will turn a beautiful shade of blush pink. Things that are ivory, off-white, etc. will not be quite as lovely. Some ecru lace I had turned a rather unpleasant 80’s shade of mauve, and a length of unbleached muslin came out considerably less bright and pretty than a white cotton.

I was so happy with the results that I immediately sat down and started to work on a romantic, shabby-chic, girly, frou-frou, fussy, fluffy book. Using scrapbook paper that resembles old ledger pages as the base, I created nine 9″x18″ spreads, which resulted in a fat little 6″x9″ book. Each page features at least one element that has been avocado dyed. I’m still stoked that this worked so well, and the best part is, you don’t have to worry about caustic chemicals!

The cover is heavy chipboard wrapped in the avocado-dyed cotton fabric, and I’ve added ribbons to the binding threads, made from avocado-dyed seam binding. The seam binding is polyester, so it didn’t take on the dye as easily as natural materials do, but I think the subtle pink is quite lovely!

blush cover

blush p 1

blush p 2

I tend to throw everything plus the kitchen sink on my pages. Every time I came back to a spread that I thought was “done,” I would  reconsider and then add yet another element. (Sometimes it got out of hand.)

blush p 3

Everything was “grunged up” with Tim Holtz Distress Ink to add to the vintage flair.

blush p 4

Many of the pages have scraps of tissue printed with sheet music, which is also a Tim Holtz product. I usually create with whatever is close at hand, and I had a lot of this stuff close at hand.

blush p 5

blush p 6

blush p 7


blush p 9

When I showed this spread to Dude, he didn’t even notice at first that the woman on the left is holding a fluffy white cat. I told him the “story” I made up for this page was that the woman had commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of her cat, which is depicted on the right. Dude said, “Those two cats look nothing alike.” I said, “Of course they do; they’re both white fluffy cats!” After considering for a few moments, he said, “The one on the left isn’t as fluffy.”

blush p 9

Scrappy Tag Books

June 14, 2017

What a thrill it was to open my mailbox today to find an advanced artist’s copy of my favorite magazine, Somerset Studio! They had put out a call for tag art a few months ago, and, because I have approximately 900 tags (this is no exaggeration), I thought it would be fun to make a few tag books to send along. I hadn’t sent anything for publication in a very long time, and I missed the excitement of being published.

som studio jul aug 2017

They did a great job editing my article and the photography is breathtaking (as always). One thing did disappoint me a teeny bit: I had sent three books in, and you can see all three stacked up in one photo, but they did not show the cover of the third book, which happens to be my favorite.


But as Dude very practically pointed out, “They liked the other two best.” And he’s right; I can’t complain. I love how the article turned out. I’ve always said, it’s wonderful – and essential – that everyone is different with their unique likes and dislikes. Thank you, Stampington!

I’m Totally Ready for Christmas Now

November 16, 2014

Okay, I’m really not. But my desk at work will be quite festive very soon! I went shopping with my BFF, Terri, and found this beautiful sparkly reindeer at Michael’s. Given his weight, I think he’s made of resin, with a burlap texture and a silvery-gold coating of glitter. Reindeer are my favorite icons of the holiday season, and with a 40% off sale and a 25% coupon to boot, I simply could not resist him!

In the next aisle, we found Christmas picks on sale, and I chose one in shades of green and indigo with glittery accents. I didn’t have ribbon to match, so I dyed white seam binding with Distress Ink reinkers (Worn Lipstick and Broken China) to make the perfect color ribbon for the reindeer’s neck. After tying a fluffy bow and adding leaves and berries from the pick, I glued an Artchix Studio image onto a tag I’d colored with Distress Ink and inserted an eyelet so I could tie it on with a length of green embroidery floss.

close up deer

Couldn’t resist adding a shawl of wide satiny lace around the deer’s shoulders, just for a little added extra shabby chic flair. The photo doesn’t do him justice at all; he’s really such a beauty!

deer plain

While photographing him, I ran across a dish of purple glass pebbles that had come out of a heart-shaped bottle I’d found at the thrift store a few weeks ago. I had left them outside in the rain and weather because they were covered with a yucky oily substance from the bottle. Now nice and clean, they seemed perfect for my deer to stand in. Serendipity!

deer pebbles

Two Worlds Collide: Compendium Challenge #12

October 10, 2014

I’ve been taking part in the bi-weekly challenges over at Linda Ledbetter’s blog, where we’ve been working our way through Tim Holtz’s third installment of Compendium of Curiosities book. Unfortunately I couldn’t participate last time because the challenge was to use one of the current colors of Distress Embossing Powder, and I only had a few of the discontinued ones. (I’m going to hoard those until retirement and then sell ’em for a million bucks on Ebay!)

Even though I didn’t take part in that challenge, I was very busy with creative work. It all started when my bestest gal pal, Terri, decided she wanted to try quilting. She and I are paper artists, for the most part, so this was quite a departure! Also, I am not a “precision and perfection” kinda gal by any means, nor do I have the patience for any project that takes weeks or months. Hours to completion is more my speed, so the idea of quilting didn’t really appeal at all. But then I discovered the wonderful, fun and highly satisfying world of rag quilts! What is a rag quilt? Only the best way for a beginner (or impatient, non-perfect, non-sewer) to make a beautiful and useful quilt in hours instead of days! The quilt is constructed by sewing squares or strips together, seam side out, then snipping the seams so they’ll fray in the wash. The end result has a lovely, soft, shabby-chic look, and the best part is that you can be a little “wonky” with the construction and it won’t even be noticeable!

When I get into any new creative endeavor, I tend to go nuts and make zillions of them.  Happened with book making, soaping, knitting, felted handbags, gelli plate printing…the list goes on. Rag quilts are no exception; I have made five of them in the last two weeks and have plans for at least five more. I think they’re going to make amazing holiday gifts; suitable for both genders and all ages. The creativity and fun are in picking out fabrics and laying them out together, and the construction is so easy and quick.

Here are four of the rag quilts I’ve made so far. I have given each of them a name; it seemed appropriate to name them instead of having to refer to “that one with the orange-y fabrics” or whatever. The first one was made with flannel fabric donated to me by a lovely gal I met on Etsy. When she heard I wanted to try rag quilting, she insisted on sending me a box full of pre-cut squares! She had made her first quilt with donated fabric and wanted to “pay it forward.”  Thank you, Deb! I will remember your kindness every time I snuggle up under “Kiddy Pool.” Isn’t it cute and fun?

kiddy pool

My husband named it “Kiddy Pool” because it’s mostly blue and because of the rubber duckies swimming in one of the squares!

My husband also named the next one, which is almost big enough to fit a queen-sized bed. (I got ambitious after making a small one and wanted to go big this time!) I told him it had a vibrant, tropical vibe and he immediately said “Hawaiian Punch.”  (Sure, why not?) I made it from fabric gotten for a song from an Etsy seller who had long strips left over from other projects.

hawaiian punch

My favorite so far is a little throw made from pre-cut squares from yet another Etsy seller. (It’s so convenient to use pre-cut squares; it saves a lot of time and my cutting skills are still very amateurish!) This one is called “Manitou Blue,” named after the street my friend Terri lives on. This one is for her.  🙂

manitou blue

Finally, the rag quilt I made for my niece’s Sweet Sixteen birthday earlier this week. It took a LONG time to cut, sew and clip all those hearts (and the letters spelling her name), but it was so worth it. I love this so much I decided to make a similar quilt (without the name) in a size to cover the bed in our guest room, which is decorated in the shabby-chic style.

i heart muffins front

So what does all this have to do with the Compendium of Curiosities challenge? Mixed media, baby! The challenge this time is hand-tinting photographs with Distress ink products. I LOVE hand-tinting photographs; I learned how to do this back in 2005 at a convention from Tim himself. The method described in the Compendium is slightly different now in that it uses updated products, but the technique is much the same. I had forgotten just how enjoyable the process is and I hand-tinted many, many photos in the last few days.

Because I’ve been so into rag quilting, it occurred to me that it would be fun to make a mixed-media project using a rag quilted piece as the base of a wall hanging, and then add all my “usual” fun stuff to that. Two worlds colliding!

hanging 1 girl 1

hanging 2 flower

hanging 1 girl 2

hanging 1 key

hanging 2 girl

hanging 2 butterfly

I picked up four coordinating fat quarters from Joann’s, pieced together the hanging and sewed it “rag quilt” style, with the lovely, shabby-chic frayed edges. Then it was just a matter of adding the tinted photos and some pretty embellishments, like a flower, lace, beaded hat pins, metal key and a paper butterfly colored with chalk.

hanging 1 close

It turned out so pretty and was so much fun to make and I still had more tinted photos.  Soooo…

hanging 2 girl 2

…I made a second one! This time I added some Stickles flourishes. Can’t go long without getting out the Stickles!

hanging 2

Won’t you join us at Linda’s? We’re having a wonderful time creating our way through Tim’s Compendium; there’s so much inspiration from the design team and the possibility of winning a fabulous prize package during each challenge! The sponsor of Challenge 12 is The Funky Junky Boutique, for all your “frilly and funky” projects!

hanging 2 close

CC#3 Challenge 10: Is it TIME for Winter Yet?

September 4, 2014

At Linda Ledbetter’s fun and welcoming blog, we’ve been working our way through Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities 3, and her talented Curiosity Crew always makes a wonderful variety of projects to inspire. Check it out – and don’t forget to check out the great discount at this challenge’s sponsor, The Funky Junky Boutique!

Here in Florida, the heat of summer can get a bit…well, tedious. Fall is on the way, but it will be at least two more months before we can expect temperatures even approaching what you’d call “chilly.” So when it was announced over at Linda’s that it’s TIME to create with an assemblage clock, I was very much inspired by those who did a Christmas theme. It may have been well over ten years since I’ve seen snow, but the thought of cooler weather is quite refreshing right now!

I decided to go with “shabby chic” style and colors for my clock, and also decided to do a general winter theme, so it could be left out before and after the holidays. I wanted a pretty woodland setting, so the first thing I did was cut the silhouette of a deer from cardstock, paint it white and then load it up with Stickles. Because Stickles! Also, shabby chic means pink, aqua, minty green. Since I was doing the outside of the clock in the pale aqua (to make it look icy) and the little trees were green, the deer just HAD to be pink!  (HAD TO.)

winter clock closeup

I spray-dyed the bottle-brush trees, flicked white paint on them to resemble snow, and set them on a bed of white Styrofoam packing peanuts covered with texture paste and mica chips. The background is sheet music; I was fortunate to find a part that reads “saw the sky at night; sky of deepest night…” What could be more perfect for the sky in the background? I colored some snowflake buttons with alcohol ink and mounted them on foam dots and the inside was done.

The outside took a very long time to create, but I am so happy with the result. Started with a coat of gesso, then the pale aqua paint (a color called “Parrot Blue” mixed with white), then embossed it here and there with glitter embossing powder and dabbed with texture paste to resemble snow.

Added my usual embellishments: girly stuff like a flower, a cute little banner outlined with eucalyptus Stickles, grungeboard flourishes covered with silver Stickles, and my clock was finally done!

winter clock front

I thought about putting some “stuff” on the top, but I really like the frosty, snowy look and didn’t want to cover that up. This was definitely a challenge (I am not so good at the 3-dimensional stuff!) and it took two days to get it all done, but I am so glad for these challenges that make us think outside our 2-dimensional boxes!

winter clock angle