Friday, February 5, 2016

Paperless Drawing

Doodling without paper and pen?........I suppose it was bound to happen. A few weeks ago I was given an iPad mini2 and have since been playing with it to see if it could be used to doodle with reasonable results.  WELL....I am loving it.....truth be told I just might be a little obsessed with this.

I downloaded and tested a few apps....but...once I began exploring the app, Concepts by the folks at Tophatch......I could tell pretty quickly that I was going to really like what it had too offer and wasted no time purchasing the full app. It is perfect for my needs (wants)....actually, it does way more than I need or will likely ever use.  I also ordered a particular stylus called Pencil by Paper 53
At this point, I am not doing a review about these products...just telling you what I am using.

I may never doodle on paper again.....These were created completely on my little iPad

and so was this one.

A great thing about drawing directly onto the screen is that I could simply take screen shots every so often allowing me to later 'go back" and watch as the doodle developed.....I used those images to create a short video

Joining in over at Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays......lots of inspiration to be found over there

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Last week, I talked about helping a friend learn to create themed, papercut snowflakes, but did not have a photo to show.....aah... but I have one now!

Susan was quite confident that she could handle the "cutting" part of the process, it was the designing she thought could present a problem for her (she expressed a concern that she could not "draw" well enough) but did want to attempt designing and making these. So,.....we talked about her options.
I suggested that since we really don't need a detailed drawing, but rather a "shape" to work with, that maybe something as simple as a stencil would be a good place to start. It just so happened that she had a stencil of an ice skate on perfect was that? We used it to begin to build the design. I simply did a quick "modified" sketch of the stencil image while explaining my thought process when developing designs for these papercuts and the importance of using mirrors as a preview tool......but Susan could have easily used the stencil to trace/draw the image.

In the photo, you can see the rough, sketched outline Susan began with, I talked her through the process of folding the paper as precisely as possible, selecting a section on which to trace the image, refolding, how to determine where access holes needed to be punched, staples applied, and how to decide the cutting order.....but other than that quick sketch on the left, this is COMPLETELY her work and I have to say, I sure was impressed with her very first snowflake.  I am so glad she sent me the photos so that I could share them with you.  I can't wait to see what she will create next!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter = Snowflakes.....right?

Earlier this week I was showing a friend how I go about designing my themed, paper snowflakes. After some discussion, she came up with a fabulous idea to use ice skates as her theme. Her snowflake turned out incredibly well .....but unfortunately, I did not think to snap a photo.   :-(
In fact, hers was so terrific, she inspired me to do my own snowflake featuring ice is cold out so I threw in some mittens too.
this is it, all cut and ready to unfold

and the finished flake

If this is your first visit here and want to know more about these papercut snowflakes, see the tutorial tab at the top of this blog and check out my snowflake gallery (the button is on the sidebar)

Its you know what that means....I am linking up with Nina-Maries Off The Wall Fridays

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Video #2 Cutting Snowflakes

I have been blogging for quite some time now, mostly about  quilting, surface design, papercutting and doodling. Do you know what my most popular ......and most viewed post is?
It is this one on cutting snowflakes 

Since I am trying to teach myself how to make and edit video, I decided to record myself making one of my "themed" snowflakes.  Up until last week, our winter has been pretty mild and without much snow, that all changed over the last few has gotten cold and the white stuff has arrived.
Has me dreaming of spring..... which inspired this snowflake

If you are interested, you can watch my latest video to see it develop from start to finish here

I also cut a slightly different version

Linking to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday....where Nina-Marie has offered some excellent advice for all of us who find ourselves not spending enough of our time "creating"

Friday, January 8, 2016


This week was spent doing a few "tests" with a variety of inks and paints. I generally always do a quick test with what ever materials I plan to use, wanting to know how they will fare when subjected to water and how they will leave the "hand" of the fabric.
Other artists and I have been discussing some difficulties experienced recently, when working with particular supplies. For example, Tsukineko inks are very fluid, they are difficult to control and want to rapidly flow and bleed out through the fibers. I have a supply of those inks and wanted to see if there was a way to use them with more control.
Also, I have noticed that my recently purchased Sharpie markers are bleeding when I draw on fabric, I am not getting near as crisp a line as I usually do and wanted to see what else I have on hand that might work better.

here is a quick look at a few of the many test samples I did this week

First lets talk about that old stand by Sharpie marker.  I have used an ultra fine tipped sharpie marker for drawing on fabric for a long time but as I said, lately it is not giving me the same results.
A favourite pen I use for drawing (on paper) is a pigment liner made by Staedtler but I have had trouble with it "running" on fabric.....I now know  that it is waterproof once heat set.
Can you see the difference between the 2 pens?

Now, for those Tsukineko inks, I used the ink in a variety of ways to see what would happen, in the photo below, the leaf on the left had clear Aloe Vera gel spread over the drawing but not beyond its borders, I then carefully painted on the you can see in the close up detail the ink still flowed where I did not want it.
That did not happen to the one on the right which was painted with the ink only after it had been pre-mixed with the gel.

I always like to have reference samples so I made this little piece. I drew several circles and used the ink in a slightly different way each time to see what my results would be.

I have clear aloe gel....the ink....and then created mixtures of gel and ink as well as gel and shaving cream

In the top circle, I painted with the ink straight from the bottle, it quickly began to spread more than I wanted

for the second circle, I brushed the aloe vera gel over and beyond its borders (the dashed line is where I brushed the gel to) even though I only applied the ink to the inside of the you can see, the ink kept moving

next I applied the gel carefully making sure the gel stayed with in the lines....and so did the ink, but you may notice that the colour is not as vibrant as the one below it

for circle number four, I premixed the ink into the gel, it seems a bit awkward at first to work with it this way but it actually yeilded pretty good results and gave me good "open" time (important if I am doing something where I want to be able to blend colours)

In this last circle.....I tried something I have never done before, at the wonderful suggestion of Gwyned Trefethen, I mixed the ink with some shaving actually worked quite well! (although it did not give me the same "open" time as the gel.) I will definitely want to explore the use of shaving cream in my studio now....Thanks Gwyned!

Here is a sample showing 2 paints.... I drew the circles....covered the entire surface with the aloe gel and then painted within the circles.....because of the thickness of the paints, they stay exactly where they are put and do not migrate out at all

and so it went, I played with a variety of little tweaks with the paints, inks, gel and shaving cream....then I thought maybe it was time to start organizing some of these little test samples. I happen to have a supply of these page dividers that are made of decent cardstock, using doubled sided tape, I adhered the samples to them that I can now keep together in a binder. I can lift each sample piece and place lots of notes too.
Until now, most of the samples I have done in the past are stuck on a bulletin board, filing cabinet, or hiding in drawers scattered as I come across them I will finally have a place for them to all live and will be able to easily reference them

below is an example of a test I did many years was still lying at the bottom of a drawer, do you know what this is?   any guesses?

 it's I am linking up to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.....pop on over and see what other creative minds (and hands) have been up to.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Creating a new Pressing Surface

Way back, deep in the closet, a world map was lurking. It once belonged to my boys, it is old and outdated.....figured it really should head to the trash pile.  But wait!...maybe it could be re-purposed.

Once the narrow metal frame was stripped from it, I was left with a strong, flat, very nice sized, 2' x 3'  piece of Masonite.  I gathered my supplies and set out to create my new pressing surface.

I knew that I wanted to have a double thickness of batting  ( I am using Warm and Natural cotton) I also wanted to be sure that once it was all assembled, the two layers of batt would not shift during the pressing process, so I stitched them together. To do this, I marked a grid (with disappearing ink) and and simply straight stitched along the lines.

Now my 2 batts could act as one layer. I trimmed the inner one ( ultimately the top batt) so that it was just a tiny bit larger than my piece of Masonite and the outer one an inch or so bigger to allow it to wrap around the board.

I wanted to be certain the fabric serving as the outer surface would be smooth and taught so I taped it in place before laying the rest of the layers on top

Now, I was ready to begin pulling it all together. I began by folding and stapling at each corner.

Then stapling at the center of each side and working my way around the whole piece gently tugging to keep everything fairly snug. once all the staples were in place, I gave each one a tap with the hammer.

The next step, was to add something on the back to cover the staples and provide a nice clean "backing". A large piece of felt and double sided tape would do nicely for this. The tape was placed just inside the dimensions of the felt measurement (paper still on the top side) I removed the paper at one short end and firmly stuck the felt down. To make sure I would have no problem getting the felt placed onto the rest of sticky tape (you only get one shot at it ) I used a dowel to roll it all up out of the way.

Removed all of the remaining paper from the tape and then easily rolled the felt back down and into place

so now instead of an outdated, rather useless map in the closet (or on its way to the dump) I now have a nice new pressing surface

of course, I wasn't stopping there. I always like to have a clean surface to work on so I made a pillowcase of sorts ( made it very tight fitting so everything remains taught and flat as possible)

The casing can be flipped, washed, or changed out entirely if I need to

Linking up to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Doodled-Painted Hexagons - Tutorial part 2

I tried to cover as much as I could in one post last time....photographically attempting to show you that various steps involved in the process.

Then I thought...gee...could I make a video? I have never tried to make /edit video before but decided to give it a try, so, I am hoping that together with my last post you will know what to do and perhaps be inspired to try it yourself.

This is the Rosette I created from the hexagons I am painting in the video.....and it is this rosette pattern that I am sharing with you. Download, print, and make your very own, I only ask that you link back to me when showing off your creations.  You can get the file here
Note: this rosette and pattern is comprised of 1" Hexagons....print at "actual" size.   If you want to work with a different size you may have to play with printing at the desired percentage

I am not providing instructions for the actual paper piecing can find those all over the Internet as well as some great You Tube videos.  Check out my previous post for part 1 of this tutorial

I did it! very first video, my first time trying to upload to YouTube.....fingers crossed that it works!   The video covers the painting process....hope you find it helpful

I plan to try this technique in a variety of mediums......starting with these.....I have had this lovely set of watercolour pencils sitting in a drawer for years.....will they work?....lets find out

I began by testing the permanency of the colour on fabric. I doodled, laid on colour, activated with the Aloe-Vera Gel, let dry, heat set and then submersed it in water. It worked...the colours stayed put and equally as important, the hand of the fabric remained unchanged

In the image below, the hexagon on the left with just pencil applied....on the right the hexagon after the gel was applied

                                                               here they are left to dry

                                                         and this is the finished rosette

The process for this is just a little different than with paint, I will attempt to make another video soon.

Merry Christmas!  Nina Marie is hosting her "Off  the Wall Fridays" so I am linking up there where lots of creative stuff is happening

Friday, December 18, 2015

Doodled Hexagon Tutorial

For those of you who would like to try this technique, I plan to share a download-able, printable design for you to use soon.
But first I thought I would show the basic steps of the process.  Warning! this is a long post....but don't miss the ending...there is a money saving tip for those of you who are buying lots of pre-cut hexagons in packages

Note....Any time you will be drawing/ painting or inking fabric you always need to begin with one that has been pre-washed.

White, off white or very pale coloured cotton
Freezer paper
Dry Iron
Frixion or other pen with disappearing ink
A light box or some other light source for tracing the design
Masking tape
Permanent marker .....needs to be waterproof for this process
Fabric paint (preferably transparent) or inks or Inktense pencils need to test to make sure whatever you chose will not change the "hand" of your fabric as you don't want anything that will be prohibitive for the hand sewing process  (some paints/mediums leave the fabric with a plasticy feel which you most definitely do not want)
Aloe-Vera Gel   (the clear colour)
Assorted paint brushes
Paper hexagon pieces  (I am using 1".....these measure 1" on each of the 6 sides)
A fabric glue pen or stick

Below, are the steps that will be done to each hexagon.

Step 1:  is to press freezer paper (shiny side down) to the wrong side of the fabric, the freezer paper will stay in place until each hexagon has been acts as a stabilizer for ease of drawing and painting on fabric

Step 2:  Add guidelines......using a Frixion pen ( or any disappearing marker) on the fabric's right side, trace around the outer edge of your hexagon

next add markings indicating roughly 1/4" seam allowance.

Trim close to the seam allowance

you are ready to begin drawing on the hexagon

Step 3:  Using a light-box.....trace the desired design using a permanent, waterproof pen ( I use an ultra fine tipped sharpie marker)  notice that I have used a little bit of masking tape to secure my hexagon in place to prevent slippage

Step 4:   time to add colour.....there are a variety of ways to colour/paint fabric.....for this one I used Seta-Color transparent paint and clear Aloe Vera Gel
I first spread a thin layer of Aloe-Vera gel over the marked design/doodle. The gel makes the application of paint easy without worry of bleeding, running or having to thin the paint first...(use the paint straight from the bottle)

Begin in the center and work outward......I place the hexagon on a small piece of card-stock so I can rotate my work easily without having to handle the hexagon any more than need be

With a paint brush, apply the paint into the still wet aloe vera gel. (the gel has lots of "open" time....meaning that is does not dry quickly)....meaning you don't have to rush

notice that I am brushing the paint over the fold lines. I want to make sure that I have good coverage.

Step 5:   Set aside to let dry completely
Step 6:  Now is the time to remove that freezer paper from the back of your work, place the hexagon face down and place (centering) a precut hexagon paper piece (use the light box if you are having trouble seeing the guidelines)

Step 7:  using a glue stick/pen lay a thin line of glue on the paper along the first edge you will turn Tip: keep it back from the very edge of the paper so that there will not be glue in the area you will later being stitching through   (For those of you who prefer the thread basting know what to do)

begin folding over each edge, one at a time, until the all edges of the hexagon have been folded to the wrong side

The fabric paint is permanent once heat set.....this is done using a hot,dry this point the hexagon is ready to be joined into a rosette.  using the same method, continue to prep, draw, paint, and baste the other hexies that will join in

I always to be certain that the method and supplies I chose to use will all be okay when subjected to water.....I did just that. I heat set this hexie, then simply stitched the hexie onto a piece of wool......which was then submersed it into a dish of water. (here it is underwater...the photo shows that there is no running, bleeding or lifting of colour)

once dry it came out soft pliable and with no loss of colour

I knew that if I want to able create many of these rosettes (like the one at the top of the post) I was going to be in need of lots of paper hexagons. I have purchased some pre-cut hexagons but holy cow...they run anywhere from $6 for 100 pieces to $7 for 50 pieces (depending on the brand) so I figured that had to be a better way

I found this Fiskar's "Squeeze" punch... it is simple to use, I can cut as many perfect hexagons as I like in just minutes.  1 sheet of card stock yields 20 pieces of the 1" size I am currently using. The cost of this cutter was regularly $30 but I had a 50% off coupon so I think it will pay for itself in no time.

just a note about products......for the single hexagon shown in this tutorial, Seta-colour transparent fabric paint was used....for last weeks rosette (shown at the top of the post), I used Jacquard textile paint, and for the one below, I used Inktense pencils...each "colour" product was used with the Aloe-Vera the case of the Inktense pencils....I applied the pencil to the fabric first and then carefully painted the gel over top to "activate" the ink I think I have covered everything....but if you have any questions...leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.....I will try to have a design ready for us to play with soon.

I am linking up to Nina-Maries Off the Wall Fridays where there is some fabulous inspiration being shared by many outstanding artists.....why not grab your favouite beverage, relax and check them out.

Copyright Jill Buckley