Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Embroidery - Paperclay Doll

After finishing up a large list of January deadlines, I was able to have a bit of fun and finish this paperclay doll - The Embroidery.

She sits working on her heart embroidery..

The base is foam covered in clay and bits of a sewing pattern.

She is a sweet paperclay doll - approximately 5.5" tall.

I'm adding her to my Big Cartel and I think she is the perfect Valentine gift!
Have a Paperclay Valentine? Link up!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Small Town Church - First Art Quilt of 2014

On the way to work a few weeks ago, I drove past this small Presbyterian church in Magna, UT. Its beauty struck me and I literally had to pull the car over to snap a few pictures on my phone. The lines are so clean, the colors so bold and true. I loved the modest and perfect beauty of this home of worship. It is in stark contrast to the huge and somewhat glamorous temples that are so commonly linked to the state of Utah. I knew immediately that I wanted to create an art quilt of this image.

Wouldn't you know it, the next week Project Quilting started up again. The first challenge was to create a quilt with fabric strings (fabric no wider that 2.5" across").

I roughly sketched out an idea of the quilt on graph paper and began slicing up the fabric I wanted to use.

I then glue basted all the strips on to muslin. After fussing, snipping and finally completing the layout, I then basted a grey felt back and a white, small weave tulle on top. Why the tulle? Since I don't use fusible webbing, the fabric can begin to lift. If I quilt with a discreet tulle layer on top, it keeps the fabric laying down.

And this is the final quilt; it is approximately a 20" square. I am shipping it off this week for consideration in a publication and upon its return, I will donate to the church. Maybe they would be happy to display it?
Here are some detail pics..

I've really embraced what I considered to be my "style". I am not fully abstract nor am I a realist artist. I truly like to focus evoking an emotion and giving more of a memory of an image, rather than an exact replica.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Quilt finishes at the end of 2013 and start of 2014

For the last couple of months in 2013, I had two quilts hanging over my head and stuck under my sewing machines. Both of the quilts were for my husband and were gifts. I finally found some quilting mojo in December and finished them.

This was his Valentine 2013 quilt gift - the color choices were based upon a single Michael Miller fabric I found. I loved the sweet fishing motif and the cheerful colors.

My husband's favorite part of the quilt? He loves the single block on the back. My quilt backs are usually very boring and I'm happy that this small departure is appreciated.

The second quilt was from Luke Haynes' QAL at WeAllSew.  The QAL is for a wall hanging, but I've made so many deer art quilts for my husband, I felt the need to break away. I pulled from a collection of his old jeans and created a small lap quilt. It's the prefect size for him while he relaxes in the recliner with a beer.

He loves it and doesn't share it often with anyone else. I'll take that as a compliment!

One of my first quilts for 2014 is inspired by a line from a poem..
"I've loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."
It will be another liberated quilt in dark shades of black with a pop of a white star here and there. I'm very excited and always looking for time to sneak off and sew a bit more on it.

I'm still enjoying my Paperclay as much as ever. I have two figures under contruction right now. I'm almost done with this piece - The Hand Quilter. It was fun to blend my two favorite past times..

Have you started any projects yet?


Friday, January 3, 2014

Spicy Chocolate Brownies Recipe

When Kiddo was just a baby, I had an online bakery and kept busy entering culinary contests. I've always loved to be in the kitchen and in my younger days, I dreamed of becoming a pastry chef. However, the hours are long and the stress is high - not my ideal profession. I do not create recipes nearly as often these days with the three children at my feet, but I know one day I'll return to this passion. This brownie recipe is one that I created a few years back and actually had for sale. One of my clients made this into a regular dessert at their restaurant. It's spicy, full of chocolate and deliciously rich. It is the perfect treat to make for Valentine's Day (which is just a little over a month away!!)

Kick You In The Pants Till You're Nutty Brownies

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 cups of white sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 1/4 cups flour
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
* 1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 1/2 tsp chipotle or chili powder
* 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts OR slivered almonds

*1/2 cup butter, melted
* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
* 2 cups powder/confectioner sugar
* 1/2 tsp. chipotle or chili power
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 2 tbsp. milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13" pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and chipotle powder. Gradually stir into the butter mixture until incorporated. Spoon into greased pan and gently spread mini chocolate chips on top. Bake for 35 minutes.

To make the frosting, beat butter, cocoa, powder sugar, chipotle powder, vanilla and milk in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until ingredients are moistened. Spread over the baked brownies and top with nuts.


I know you will love these and would love to hear if you make them.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cold Porcelain - Recipe, Tips and a Christmas Ornament

When I first began searching Pinterest for clay ideas, I ran across one called "cold porcelain" a few times. For some reason, the name kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I didn't pay it too much attention. I think I randomly categorized it as a child's clay or a play-dough alternative. And well, it can be those, but it is also an amazing air dry clay that you can create for just a few dollars and it is very versatile! I created the mended heart in the ornament above from it. I'm going to tell you how to make it and give you some tips along the way.

To make cold porcelain you need:
1 cup of corn starch
1 cup of school glue 
(if measuring glue sounds fun, let me spare you some messy grief.. you basically need 2 full bottles of the regular sized glue as show below)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp mineral oil, or baby oil, or a kitchen oil
(i was given a ton of baby oil with all three of my babies and i never use it on them - so that is what i used)
Lotion - for kneading

*This is a microwave version, you can absolutely cook it on the stove over low heat. Whatever utensils and/or pots that are used, please use them for crafts only and do it use them for food.

1.) In a microwave safe container, mix the glue, oil, and lemon juice together with a disposable spoon. Then add the corn starch and carefully mix together until well blended. It will resemble something like curdled cream.

If you have children that love to help, this is the best step for them to be involved.

2.) Place the mixture in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Quickly take it out and mix it well with your spoon. You will do this a couple of times.

How long? Well.. a number of recipes I found on the internet gave me all sorts of intervals and it always undercooked my clay. Here is my advice, you need to pay more attention to what the clay is doing rather than how many times it has been in the microwave. The clay will be ready when it is pulling from the sides of the container, it will have a matte sheen and hold a stiff peak. It roughly takes me 2 minutes total, but please pay more attention to the clay then time.

3.) Once the clay is well cooked, it will be super duper hot. Like Hades hot.. and you have to knead it. Don't let the kiddos help with this. Cover your hands well with lotion - this help the clay from sticking to you and it helps with the intense heat of the clay. Knead, knead, knead. You can do it on a lotioned up piece of saran wrap as seen below. Your clay will have a delightful, slightly elastic texture to it. Wrap it up in the saran wrap and place in an air tight container. Let it rest overnight in the fridge and you can play with it tomorrow!

Since this is an air-dry clay, you must try to keep it wrapped up tight. It can last for several weeks if well protected.

It will dry completely in 24-48 hours. Don't try to manipulate it during the drying process or it will become vulnerable to cracks and breaks.

It will be a translucent cream when dry unless you add pigment to it. You can color it with acrylics, oils or chalks. You can also paint it after it has dried. The heart I created was painted after the drying process.

Since this is an air-dry clay, there is considerable shrinkage during the drying process. I've never had a piece crack or break, but your optimum minimum thickness in my opinion would be 1/8-1/4" thick. Definitely something to consider if you like to use an armature. I am happiest with its use in molds or moldings without armatures.

It is a great clay to play with and because it is so relatively inexpensive, this is a great clay to use with children. I think it has amazing potential for more sophisticated art pieces as well.

I hope you will give the recipe a try and please let me know if you have trouble. My first batch was a messy, gigantic failure that occurred right before the baby woke from a nap. FUN! And if that happens to you, just try again. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to really mind the consistency changes of the clay during the heating process. You want it matte, pulling away from the container and stiff peaks!

Happy holidays!


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