Monday, September 15, 2014

Coloring Animal Mandalas

Coloring Animal Mandalas is the title of Wendy Piersall's book published by Ulysses Press. When asked, I happily agreed to review this book. My readers know that I myself, love to play with the mandala form and often include nature in the themes, so I thought this one just might be a fun book to explore.

Here is a look at the front and back covers

Lets start with the basics....the book measures 9.25" x  7.5" there are 31 different designs for your colouring pleasure, presented on crisp white pages. A really nice feature is the "lay flat" binding.

I used this as an opportunity to play with colour in a way I don't normally. I did not worry about careful colour choice/consideration....I just picked up pencils and went to it.  Warning!...colour riot ahead!
With these first two, I used colour pencils only....often closing my eyes when picking a colour, allowing myself to use colours and colour combos I likely would not have chosen on purpose  :-)  Kinda fun to see what happens as the colours begin to take their place, to mix, mingle, and play off each other. The process is rather meditative and somewhat addictive.
There are no instructions with this is, after all, a colouring book.....but I assumed it would be suitable for dry media only....I was wrong!!!!  Know how I know? because I decided to give some watercolour a go to see what would happen. I was certain the paper would crinkle and not withstand the wet media. I began by taping a piece of watercolour paper behind a page just in case it would bleed through (turns out that was probably not necessary)

I used cake watercolours as well as Inktense pencils with water...the page held up quite well...really quite well! and as you can see, I laid down a lot of colour.....everything used on this design was wet. I initially began rather timidly, using just a dampened brush, but as I progressed I used more and more wet colour, now, mind you....I don't think I would use any heavy "washes" but it sure handled the moisture I did throw on it. 

Some designs in the book are more elaborate than others......Lots of detail in each one. I think the Frog and Dragonfly was likely my personal favourite but in Coloring Animal Mandalas, you will find insects, elephants, seahorses, serpents, cats, birds, flowers, fish....and I said 31 different designs to enjoy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A is for Apple

With September being National Sewing Month & back to school time, Janome Canada is celebrating with "An Apple a Day" over on the Janome Life blog.  Something "apple" related is being posted
everyday this month.  I am quite happy to be one of the contributors and since I seemed to be in design mode anyway, I created a continuous line quilt design.

I did 3 actually, 1 pretty basic, another, just a little more challenging, and a third for those who want to take it a bit further.

So, if you are interested in these designs and want to try them for yourself, head on over to the Janome Life blog and grab my downloadable  PDF.  These free designs are printable and ready for you to play with....(even if you don't want to do free motion, you could adapt them for applique or perhaps have a fabric painting/colouring session).....hope you like them!

Of course, I couldn't just stitch the design, I also thought I was due for another round of playtime with discharge paste, mine is called, "de-Colourant". You can find out more about this product here
I have shown this technique before but here is a refresher. I traced the design onto a piece of freezer paper, pressed the freezer paper to my black cotton fabric,

then went to the machine, removed the bobbin as well as the thread from the needle and stitched along the design lines in order to make perforations. The next step was to brush on the discharge paste. once I was sure I had distributed the paste evenly, I carefully peeled off the freezer paper and left the piece to completely dry.

The final step was to hit it with a good hot iron using plenty of steam. The discharge paste had made its way through the perforations, once activated by the steam, this is the result.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Small Whole Cloth underway

I have decided to play with the design I recently re-vamped, the plan is to use it in a simple "white on white" wholecloth piece.
This will also give me an excuse to re-visit the use of those FriXion pens. I do like the way they glide so easily across the fabric and the fine lines they make, I worry about the lines reappearing at a later time. BUT, since this is not going to be a competition piece or a gift, it is an opportunity to "test" this out again.
I enlarged my design and have begun the process of tracing it onto white cotton.

Did you know that when you are tracing, you will find it MUCH easier and accurate if you use a broken, dotted or dashed line?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Design Mode

I seem to be in "design mode" as of late. My needle has been idle but my pencil has been busy. A while back, I showed this quilt that I designed, painted and stitched.

Every time I walk by it, I see some things I would have liked to have done I decided to do a little "re-designing". The changes are subtle but I like this version much better.
I've named it "Echo"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Colour Pencil on Fabric

Earlier, I showed how I had begun colouring in my design which I transferred to fabric. Here is the result.

To achieve that blended multicoured look, I used 3 pencils. Working in small sections I added a bit of the blue

then some green

followed by the yellow. 

Once all 3 colours were applied, I simply continued to build the layers until the desired intensity was achieved.  As the sections were completed, I lightly brushed textile medium over the pencil to seal the colour. I tried a few different brands and found that for this project, the one I liked best was  Folk Art Textile Medium made by Plaid.

Even though this is not the sort of technique that would be used for a project that would be washed regularly, I was curious to see if it could hold up to a gentle wash. On a scrap of the same fabric, I drew and coloured with the same supplies. I cut the pieces in half, marked "wash" on the bits that would be tested.  Submerged into cool, soapy water, agitated a bit, a short soak, then rinsed.

 I placed the bits side by side once dry and as you can see, the colour remained vibrant.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Building on an idea

What began during a doodle session, grew into a design with potential for use in a variety of ways. I have decided to "test" it out in the form of  a mini whole cloth.
Since I really had only drawn 1/4 of the overall design, I first needed to make copies, which were also enlarged, then trimmed and taped together to form the complete design.

roughly 20" square

Next, it was traced onto a piece of pre-washed, 100% cotton

I am keeping the process super simple, plain old colour pencil is what I am using to bring the design lines to life. In order to mitigate the possibility of smudging the tracing, I am keeping most of the traced fabric folded up as I work and only exposing as much area as needed at a time.

Randomly laying in the colour using 1 pencil each, in Blue, Green and Yellow, then blending. The colour will later be sealed with a textile medium  ( I plan to do a couple of "tests" to see which brand I like best for this project)

 I will go into more details of this process as it progresses.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Still playing with the moth design, feeling that it was too "busy", a few changes have been made. I am liking this one much better. It now has more places for the eye to rest, as well as nice open spaces that would allow for some fun quilting

Friday, July 25, 2014


"Inspiration" just happens. My most recent post showed a lovely piece of vintage linen that inspired me to pick up a pencil and begin a new design.  As the week progressed, I drew, doodled, erased & drew some more, here is a look at the resulting design

In addition to drawing, I did mange to get to the machine as well. I created this greeting card using a small piece of the fabric I sunprinted this summer

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vintage Linen

When I spotted this piece of vintage linen at a yard sale yesterday, I just HAD to have it! (the moth is's wing span is 19.5 inches)

perhaps this was a dresser scarf?

Upon seeing it, I was immediately reminded of this doodle I drew a few years ago

After making my purchase, I sat in the car, grabbed my tools and the early beginnings of a whole cloth design started to is the rough idea, it will be revised many times before I am through

Don't exactly know where this will lead, but I am inspired to play!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lazy Summer

I can't believe I have let a month go by without posting.....even though I have engaged in creative endeavours, it would appear that I have become quite lax about documenting and photographing much of it. Below are a few things I have been up to.

Did you know that it is possible to "felt" stones?  I came across some felted stones while visiting a small gallery and was immediately fascinated. They look so soft but then you pick them up and are surprised by the weight. I knew I had to dig out my wool roving and give it a try.  A quick check on the Internet led to all sorts of tutorials. These were fun to do, and of course, I was compelled to add a few stitches as well. 

A friend asked if I would consider painting a milk can. I said sure, why not.....well.... painting a big rounded metal object was certainly an interesting challenge. My first (and likely last) attempt  LOL!

The can arrived a little dented but a brilliant red colour
The owner is quite happy with the end result

And what would a lovely, bright, sunshiny summer be without a bit of sun-printing. I used lots of tiny pins to hold the fern leaves down, which helped with getting fairly clear images

leaves on top of paint soaked cotton.....just add SUNSHINE!

The resulting print

Copyright Jill Buckley