Friday, December 31, 2010

Snowman on Snow Days

I attempted three snow sculptures this week.  The first was a snowman.  His snow life was cut short when we sledded over him.  (1. He was not very tall, the snow was not packing well. 2. It was not a sled, more of a salad serving bowl that we used to 'sled' down the hill.) My second attempt was an igloo, complete with an entrance way.  This was bombed by a surprise snowball attack from my brother.  My third and final attempt was a snow angel.  Moments after I climbed out of my angel it was run over by Brent, in his truck. And I do mean moments.  I'm almost positive he was aiming for me. 

Tuesday, I settled for making a snowman in fabric.  I felt it was safer for the snowman and me.  He was created with fused fabrics and then quilted by machine.  

I added beading for the first time (and it won't be the last time) and did some hand embroidery for the details.  


The result was a drier, warmer day for me, and fun wall hanging! 

See this on Etsy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Very Best Assistants

I'd like to introduce you to my assistants.  They are possibly the best fans you could ask for... faithful, kind, and supportive.  They bring warmth (and sometimes odor) to my studio.  Unfortunately, naps occur frequently, so we are working to improve work productivity. 

Toeby likes to play.  Mostly while I am working.  I frequently get hit in the leg with a toy which is his sign for me to throw it .  It is nice to take breaks from my projects, but the frequency of his 'play times' continues to increase.  When he gives up he usually decides to sit right next to my legs... usually resulting in tail injuries.  

Daisy Mae prefers to watch from a distance.  She studies every movement and piece, never making judgement.  Her only vocal outbursts come in the form of loud snores.  

We work comfortably together in our shared studio space.  I have learned to walk around the water bowl as opposed to knocking it over every time I walk by.  Brent and I have both learned that the dogs like to pull the cotton batting out of the container to play.  Perhaps they think it is indoor snow.  

Toeby and Daisy have learned that when I enter their room and light a candle I'm staying for the day, and that makes us all happy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Morris Family!

As I scurry around finishing the shopping lists, wrapping gifts, scrubbing toilets and baking quiches (not in that order) I am looking forward to my week and a half break with family and friends. Regardless of how many last minute tasks come up, or finishing touches need to be done, it is nice to spend the evenings with the people I love. I hope that you will be able to do the same throughout this holiday season! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tropical Thoughts on a Snowy Weekend

I like the beach. A Lot.

I like sand, sun, waves.  I like the warmth of the sun.  I like to sit on the beach for hours and hours.  

I am not, however,  a fan of cold weather.  I don't like to wear socks or bulky clothing.  Cold air makes me grouchy.  If it is going to be cold, I want it to snow, but only if I am watching it from inside.  

So, nothing made me happier than to get a commission for beachy scenes, especially during these snow days! I was asked to make a beach themed necklace for a woman in Mathews.  Only one necklace was needed, but I made a couple extras so she could pick which one she wanted.  Here is the process, and the results!

All of the bottle top pendants are started on fabric.  They are created with fusing and hand stitching techniques.  Sometimes I use other materials like pens, fabric paint or beads.  Once that is done they are covered with resin to seal and protect the fabric.  

The resin hardens and is glass-like.  From here they can be strung to be necklaces or wired for ornaments.

The beach scene with the birds was the final pick.  I have to say my favorite was the palm tree, but I love them all, of course. I think the next step will be wine glass charms... perhaps over Christmas break, or, maybe over a few more snow days!  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Late Holiday Entry

Here is a late entry to the holiday season.  These are dove ornaments made by fusing fabric.  I had these beautiful white fabrics, one with silver glitter and one that has a white flower print, that I wanted to use for doves. I thought I would make a couple, add them to Etsy, and see the reaction they bring... who knows, maybe an idea for next year! 


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Starting over... again and again

I have my students create sketch after sketch before starting a project.  They hate it. I tell them over and over again, "better to start over on a sketch than start over on a project."  So why is it, that on my last three projects, I have started over every time? And not just a little start over, I mean, nearing completion and then throwing the thing out.  Sometimes I get a better idea, sometimes I just don't like it, sometimes I get bored with it.  Whatever the case may be, someone on a limited amount of studio time (me) should be learning to use time more wisely.  

For example, Unity.  I started this piece and created the entire thing with stitching.  Hand stitching. No machine work. It was the exact same image, but done with thick solid threads.  After working on it for DAYS, I hated it, threw it out, and started over.  Do I love the final piece? Yes. Should I have focused on planning before hand? Yes.  

Then there was Charley's Giraffe.  I have already admitted to procrastination on this, but spending an entire day working on a background painting only to find that it looked too 'grown-up' for a child's nursery didn't help. Best to throw it out and start over!  

Now I am working on Caitlin's Cats.  I've been working on this since October, but started over last weekend.  There were two driving forces.  First, I don't have to have it completed until Christmas because I know she isn't coming home before then.  Second, I hated it.  It was very small and geometric.  The background kept the cats in seperate sections which made it look too uniform.  I found myself not working on it simplly because I didn't want to.  (You also have to realize that one of these cats knocked my toothbrush in a toilet, so finding motivation to work on her can be difficult.)  

Last weekend I pulled out different fabric, drew some cat silouhettes and started sewing.  I like the detail in this new background and am ready to begin again.  Lets hope I can keep it at just two re-dos now.... 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful Thanksgiving Thoughts

Although I’m feeling about 20 pounds heavier and much lazier, it has been a great Thanksgiving.  I didn’t get a whole lot of art done, but I have spent four solid days visiting with family; who, at every occasion, enquired about the status of my current projects.  I can’t express how much I appreciate your emails, inquiries, ‘facebook likes’ and discussions over my artwork.  In four short months I have completed projects and challenged myself to attempt new levels with my artwork.  I am currently working on three commissions, a contest piece and two show pieces.  I don’t believe I would have continued to work without your positive energy and support, and I do mean that in a sincere, non-sarcastic way (I know that is hard for you to believe!) Thank you for your continued support, I truly appreciate it.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I hate deadlines.

So it is unfortunate that I don’t really function without them.  I have so many thoughts, plans, ideas and projects in my head that I am the kind of person that really does need a due date in order to finish something. A typical ‘art afternoon’ is spent with me working on a project, getting bored and starting a second one, getting distracted and working on a third…. As a result I usually have about three or four I’m working on at time.  (I like variety!)

When we first met Charley Robins, I left knowing I wanted to create a giraffe wall hanging for his nursery.  I sketched the project (mentally) in the car on the way home, ordered the background fabrics, and then did nothing.  (Not entirely true, I worked a full time and part time job and barely stepped foot in my art room.)  So when Brent announced on Thursday that we would be visiting the Robins family on Sunday I went into a frenzied, ‘finish the project’ (err, ‘start the project’) mode.  After stocking up on the necessities I entered my cave determined not to come out again until the project was finished, and I was almost successful.  After working for about three hours, hating the project and starting over, I finally got rolling Saturday afternoon and flew through until Sunday afternoon.  The project was finished in the car (and we were late to Jeff and Kati’s) but I FINISHED it! On time! And, more importantly I was more than pleased with the final outcome. 

It would be nice to think that in the future I won’t need deadlines in order to finish a project….  but after spending yesterday afternoon on three different projects and not focusing on one for more than an hour, it is safe to say the deadlines are in fact a necessity. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drool, meds and fabric

Finally! A weekend in the studio! It only required a dental procedure, pain meds, and a swollen jaw, resulting in not leaving the house for three days.  Although the drool and pulsing pain were slight annoyances it was great to spend time working on projects.  I finished dove ornaments in time to post an entire month before Christmas, worked on Caitlin's Cat Wall Hanging and started planning for our Christmas card and a calendar entry.  I've missed having studio opportunities and am hoping the cooler weather will free up some studio time.  On a positive note, I have three more of the same dental procedures, so three guaranteed studio days!  

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Congratulations to Lauren Mackey, the winner of the Name that Piece contest!!! 

Although there were lots of great entries, I liked Lauren's suggestion of Unity because it fit within the same theme of Solitude.  

I enjoyed hearing your suggestions and look forward to doing this again sometime! Lauren, I know you will be anxiously awaiting your prize...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Name that Piece Contest

I need help naming this one, and I’m counting on you.  This piece is the second in the “Sticks on the Beach” Series and I can’t think of a name that I like.  Starting tonight, anyone who has a name suggestion can send it to my Facebook inbox or my email.  I will stop taking suggestions Saturday morning. 

What’s in it for you? Other than the HUGE amount of fame that goes along with naming one of my pieces! Satisfaction knowing that you helped me out.  

So get busy and start naming… and then send them to me! You have until Saturday morning!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The perfect way to end the week!

It has been a long first week back at school, and there is nothing better than coming home to a quiet house, glass of wine and fabric project on the deck.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job- my classes are great, students are creative, friends are amazing…but I’ve missed my art. This week has been exhausting with very little time for creation… or anything else!  (Disclaimer: If visiting the house please ignore the flowerbeds, don’t open any closets, and throw in a load of laundry.) Ideas swirl in my head constantly and I try to be organized and record them for a later time.  Lets hope I take good notes!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Trashy vs. Classy

Who says beer caps can’t be classy? (Other than my husband.) I had this idea a couple weeks ago and ordered the supplies that day.  As soon as Brent got home I told him all about the bottle cap necklaces and he said they would be trashy…. I’m hoping to prove him wrong.  Designs and images are created using various fabrics and then covered with resin.  Tops are assorted (we like variety) and designs are one time only.  I’m thinking about custom necklaces in the future… pick your top and color scheme?  (PS… Brent does say he likes them now!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Parrots in Paradise

FINALLY! After about three weeks I finished this work.  These parrots were at the resort we went to in Maui.  Before leaving I'd read about a new technique for collaging fabric and thought using the Hawaiian fabrics from the trip would work well with this piece.

After drawing the artwork full size I pieced the image together using various pieces of fabrics in the realistic colors.  The pieces were attached using tacky glue.

I should have used the sewing machine to sew the birds one at a time onto the background fabric but was impatient and decided to do the birds and ring at once.  (This shouldn't be a surprise to most people.) I also added the green borders (without waiting...) 

After the piecing I started quilting. Cotton batting was placed between the artwork and a backing layer.  I used the machine to create the pattern in blue and did the embroidery by hand to outline the birds and hoop.  At this point the fabric was so thick it actually hurt my hand which made me feel ridiculous.  

The face was created using pastels for fabric.  I wasn't pleased with the result  (at all... kicking, screaming, punching...) and ended up embroidering around the face.  

FINALLY, the edges were done to tie the piece together.  This was my favorite piece so far... and a good way to end the summer!

Thursday, August 19, 2010



This is the first piece I created after returning from a trip to Hawaii.  Not having a completely finished art room to work in, and not fully wanting to come in out of the sun, I decided to work on something that I could do mostly by hand that could travel to wherever I wanted to sit at the time.  

The image came from boredom on the plane ride. My husband and I traveled with our friend Haley, and unfortunately (for Brent) Haley and I both have a tendency to get bored when sitting still.  Since needles and scissors are frowned upon when boarding a plane we turned to ink poisoning instead.  I drew this on Haley's arm and then again after she washed her hands... and then again a couple days later in the sand. 

The plan came easily.  I have stacks of Hawaiian fabric from two separate trips that I have been wanting to use.  I decided on this fabric to be the backing and use colors from this to be the color scheme.  All of the artwork was 'drawn' with pink threads and then accented with the actual color.

I love the end result.  In fact, Brent secretly hopes no one buys it.  I'm going to keep going with this theme, I love the backing fabrics and want to use more of them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Here we go...

I'm new to blogging.... completely.  My goal this summer was to create work, start a facebook page, and then create an etsy account.  Somewhere 'start blogging' was slipped in and now I am ready to go- I think.  I hope to use this as a way to show the work I am creating and get feedback and encouragement. Thanks for checking out my blog, and be sure to come back as I struggle to figure out what I'm doing with it!