Thursday, March 31, 2016

Party time! A happy how-to...

Spring always makes me want to throw open the doors and party outside
but this year it's irresistible because my new Garden Party dies are out from Sizzix!

These dies have me almost turning cartwheels in the studio because they are one of the most versatile crafting products I've ever seen, making it possible to duplicate my most complicated cut paper almost instantly!

First up on my party plans is always who to invite. And when it's REALLY special, invitations have to be over the top. Snail mail is the way to go to tell someone "this is going to be AMAZING!" 

I love to switch it up and make every invitation different.

Woohoo! My secret is just a simple turn of the handle on a Sizzix Big Shot die cutting machine!

Looks impossibly hard... don't tell anyone all you did was turn a crank and make a few folds...

(An aside for you who think your workspace should always be tidy... GIVE IT UP! Let yourself make a creative mess and just get out the vacuum later!)

Do as my sweet friend Delinda and I did... sip some tea, eat something delicious, turn on the music and LAUGH!

After you roll your paper through the die cutting machine you need to clean out all those tiny bits of paper that make this so lovely. Here's where you're going to want a die brush. It chases the scraps out in a jiffy and makes the beautiful paper easier to peel away from the die.

Fair warning: Don't try to rush... if you spend a full minute or two extracting the paper from the die you'll get a piece of paper that will make your friends drool!

Now fold your paper back and stick onto a 5X7" backing card as shown. 
I love Zots for crafting... so convenient and you get a nice strip of 300 so you don't run out in the middle of a project (don't you hate that?!?) I always keep a spare box on hand.

Now take out some pens and write your invites and envelopes. I lingered over mine with another cup of Lavender Earl Grey...

and then because the tulips are in bloom just outside the studio door, I played with watercolor on the envelopes!

Time to tuck my invitations in the mail.
If you want to party along, just run into your nearest paper crafting store and pick up the Garden Party dies or order online at Amazon (click here.)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Jesus Loves Me... a fabric collection

The first song I learned as a child was the basis for my recent fabric collection.
It's a bright and happy group from Henry Glass Fabrics.

Here's a little peek- though there are lots more I can't show you until it releases
officially on Monday.

There's more and you can find it on the Henry Glass website
where we're having a fabulous giveaway...
leave a comment there or here to enter to win.

A combination of antique wood type printed on my old press, scissor cut paper done freehand, and some hand drawn lettering...

My neighbors and family can see their children in the fabric, too...
and even their cat!

When we buy something we don't always know what went into making that product. 
So I want to give you a peek behind the scenes...

The core of most of my work begins with cut paper.

I simply take a pair of scissors and snip freehand, using a simple sheet of ordinary paper, usually black because the high contrast scans very crisply.

Sometimes I play little games with myself to see how intricate I can be, how much emotion I can show, how lovely the simplicity art can be with only scissors and a single sheet of paper.

My old press is mostly cast iron, and it was made in1902. I love the clackety-clack of printing with a collection of type that dates to civil war era.

All the type is wood or lead and is set by hand, letter by letter.

After I've painted, printed, snipped and lettered, I scan the art into a state of the art iMac, and arrange it into repeat that works for fabric or art that will appear on greeting cards, mugs, craft products or other things that brighten and encourage.

I know how special it is to tuck in under a hand made quilt on a chilly evening or whip up some pretty napkins. To delight in the little things.

If you want to win an original paper cut or a silhouette portrait of your favorite little person, leave a comment below or on the Henry Glass blog.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Simply scissors. That's all.

You never know when you'll have an epiphany.
Mine happened years ago, sitting in a rowboat.

I picked up my husband's Swiss army knife scissors and snipped up the lunch bags to tell my bored children a story, and never looked back.

Ever since, I've been obsessed with cutting paper.

All I need is an ordinary pair of scissors and a piece of paper...

sometimes only a small scrap tucked into a pocket and a child's scissors.

So much of my art is all about how much I can do with how little.

A simple pair of ordinary scissors and a common piece of paper.
How intricate can it be? How much life and love and feeling can be shown with only the simplest materials?

Just scissors and paper combined with an overactive imagination and lots of happy practice!

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Spring in our beautiful valley begins with splashes of unbelievable yellow.

It's so bright it looks almost artificial.

But it's not.

It's as if nature is shouting, "WAKE UP!!!"

We come out of hibernation, stealing hours to cycle, to garden, to sketch and picnic and photograph for hours.

I'm intrigued with the reflections...
Flowers and sky in the puddles between the rows.

The addictive scent of spring is so strong I can smell it calling me from inside.
The tiny violets, flowering trees, forsythia and all the rest mingle in that signature smell of springtime.

It's like walking in a storybook here in the Skagit Valley when spring arrives.