Thanks for visiting my blog! MudBay Musings chronicles creative journeys, with inspiration and humor I find along the way... including my mother's and my artwork, stories, local bird life and garden favorites...
all of which I hope will bring a smile to your heart.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gothic Arches Challenge

This week's Gothic Arches challenge theme is "Inspired by the Rainbow" - choose two colors, use two rubber stamps, and add a word of inspiration. Thanks to Elizabeth at and Abbie at for their generous postings of free vintage images. Both stamp flourishes are by Memory Box. Thanks to our hostess, Cynthia, for such a fun, inspiring challenge.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dans ma maison il y a - un petit roi!

The challenge at "Dans ma maison il y a" this week is "un petit roi". For my little king, I chose a picture I took last year of a fledgling hummingbird, napping between feedings. I can imagine him growing up to be brave and unrivaled in beauty, just like his father. Sweet Dreams, Little King!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gothic Arches Challenge - "Vernal Equinox"

I’m very excited to have joined the Gothic Arches challenge group! Their challenge this week is “Vernal Equinox”. For the background of this spring fairy, I used a copy of an earlier collage on wood made from various purchased papers, gesso, paint and ink. The fairy image is from an antique cabinet card, her wings and tiny bird are digitally altered Dover clip art, flowers are from a deconstructed silk flower from Michael’s, brass crown is from MudBay Embellishment Co., and the lace and leaves were a gift from Lyneen (Thanks, Lyneen!). This challenge was so much fun – thanks to all for welcoming me into your group! Happy Vernal Equinox!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spontaneous Collage

I ran across these in the studio last week – experiments from a couple of years ago. In an attempt to prod myself out of a creative slump, I had decided to throw all caution to the wind and do some spur-of-the-moment collages. This was a real stretch for me, as by nature I horribly over-think things.

At the time, I was in the process of purging stacks of old, once-treasured magazines. After setting a self-imposed time limit, I quickly began thumbing through their pages, tearing out any images that appealed to me – textures, colors, shapes – resisting the attempt to reason why I found a particular image appealing. I became a woman on a mission… feverishly ripping, cutting, tearing… all against the clock. Then, after hurriedly dividing the pile of images into color groups (no surprise there!) I made quick collages using each group’s clippings.

It was a very freeing experience, with surprisingly enjoyable results. I highly recommend this process for anyone who needs a creative boost – shutting your brain “off” and letting your creative spirit play with abandon. Of course, using materials destined for the trash bin certainly helps…

Playing with Metal

Mom, Susan and I recently had another fun Art Day. For this workshop, we gleaned inspiration from Beryl Taylor’s article in the current issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine, rolled up our sleeves, and unrolled our metal!

Playing with metal, it turns out, is quite fun! For these pieces, I used lightweight rolls of copper, brass, and colored aluminum. We experimented with layering alcohol inks, UTEE, gesso, Lumiere paint and wax over dry embossed designs.

After completing an assortment of samples, I machine stitched some of my favorites onto a piece of light green hand-dyed silk (one of Mom’s and my previous experiments!). “Leftover favorites” were stitched onto a piece of purchased tangerine fabric. Both pieces are still in progress, in need of borders/backing and decisions regarding further embellishing. But, you get the idea…. playing with metal is FUN!

Lessons Learned Notes: In our experiments, alcohol ink will removed the color from colored aluminum. Keep that in mind if you are planning on tinting on top of the factory color! If you wish to use various colors of regular embossing powder on the metal, try gesso as a base coat first. I didn’t do that on my turquoise piece, and as a result the embossed layer falls off in big chips if the metal is flexed. The UTEE, however, worked well when built up into layers, heated from the bottom.

"Jardin Gothique"

It was a joy to work on this, but I am even more thrilled to have finally finished! Many thanks to my creative husband for helping me work through some in-progress design issues, and to Mom and Susan; this was an enjoyable Art Day project! Apologies for the wonky photography – we really do need to make a “design/display board” soon!

Included in this raw-edge machine-stitched piece are hand-dyed, painted, stamped and stenciled fabrics, needle felting, vintage buttons and glass beads, “collected” fabrics and trims, and hand quilting. After I say a lingering farewell, “Jardin Gothique” will be added to our future Etsy shop inventory.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breath of Spring

Spring… a welcome replenishment for my soul. Bittersweet, as the blooms I long for during the winter months are gone all too soon. Such has been our spring visit with friends and family… lovely, beautiful, heartbreakingly fleeting… graciously gifting me with contentment, even in memory. Each flower, each savored moment… treasured.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Creative Space

The looming question: What to do with a relatively uninspiring basement studio space? I used to keep all of my supplies nicely sorted in their respective, labeled plastic shoeboxes inside the cabinets (and on top of the cabinets and under the work tables…), but found I just couldn't get those creative juices flowing looking at all of that plastic.

I am fortunate enough to have great storage cabinets… thus was born the Compromise. I still have various sizes of plastic shoeboxes in organized and semi-organized states stuffed in every available nook and cranny, but have allowed myself the luxury of using the top shelves of three of the cabinets for displaying favorite components and embellishments. Behind closed doors, the lovelies stay clean and dust-free. Doors open, I’m inspired. And smiling. Doing the happy-creative dance.

Here are a few of my favorite things…

Cabbage Roses

I’m enamored with this particular ribbon flower design. Although a bit tedious, the process is very simple. One can easily be created in an evening, using one 3-yard spool of wired 1-1/2” polyester ribbon. This particular flower also looks lovely as a 5-petal flower with a button center. If antique shades of ribbon are used, this flower is lovely in a "squashed" state, suggesting an antique embellishment that has been stored in a trunk for many decades.

Mom and I will be teaching this class at Echo Artworks in April, and we will also be sharing this technique with the Lunch Ladies at our next art party. Although I love silk ribbon flowers, I greatly enjoy being able to create such an extravagant-looking flower using inexpensive polyester ribbon. I never thought I'd say this, but... "Let's Hear it for Polyester!"

Sew Much Fun!

Mom, Susan and I had the opportunity to attend the fabulous Sew Expo in Puyallup last week. We literally walked until we dropped, and only made it through one building! There were some amazing vendors this year. We spent the first two hours (!) at Treasures of the Gypsy's booth, fondling scores of her hundreds of silk fabrics and trims. That booth alone was well worth the trip. Her display featured handmade shrine, gypsy and mermaid dolls and fabric fairy houses; some of her offerings included hand-dyed silk devore velvets, embroidered and beaded trims, embroidered and crinkled silks…. it was mind-boggling. Other vendors brought hand-dyed Venise lace, hard-to-find fabrics and trimmings, and mixed media supplies such as hand-dyed silk cocoons, rods and hankies and hand-dyed wool roving. Now that we have the feeling back in our legs and feet, we’re already looking forward to attending again next year!

Experimenting with Felt

Ever wonder what happens if you take a base of cotton batik or silk fabric, layer a piece of Kunin felt on top, free-motion machine stitch through both layers with various threads, then zap the stitched piece with a heat gun? The Kunin felt melts away leaving a network of threads, revealing the fabric underneath. For extra fun, we sprinkled a bit of embossing powder in selected areas and heated it again, then added small dabs of metallic paste wax.