Month: April 2010

This Moment

“{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.” -SouleMama

A Quilt Survey

I’m starting another project and would love for you to help. The final product will be a lap quilt with felted butterflies migrating across the quilt-top.

Would you please reference to the photos below and then answer the following questions in the comment section…

1.  Which quilt-top layout do you fancy most? (reference to the photos below)

2.  Which are you more likely to buy: a quilt, a duvet, a fleece blanket, a crocheted blanket, or other?

Conglomerate One
One Lone Block
One Block Missing
Two Rows of Five
Ten Together
Conglomerate Two
Systematic Conglomeration
Thanks so much!  I really appreciate the help!

Free Gift Certificate

Don’t forget about our GIVEAWAY.  The prize is a wonderful $40 gift certificate. 
You can read about the giveaway and enter to win here…
 My favorite spot to search has been the All Modern Eco-Friendly Section.  Look what I found this morning…
And if you win you could support amazing artists like this one…
Tord Boontje and Emma WoffendenSince its launch, the tranSglass Double Vase has become one of Artecnica’s best-selling items. The unique design of this double vase almost resembles an hourglass with the seperate top and bottom areadistinction. With its recycled origins and sleek, fluid design, tranSglass conveys a positive attitude towards the environment, affirmed as an Artecnica Design With Conscience project.
With the help of Aid to Artisans, a non-profit organization providing assistance to artisans worldwide, Artecnica collaborated with Guatemalan craftsmen to bring Emma Woffenden and Tord Boontje’s designs to the market. Combining old-world craftsmanship and sophisticated design, each tranSglass vessel is a unique, one-of-a-kind piece. tranSglass is included in the permanent collection of MoMA New York. 

Designed by: Emma Woffenden & Tord Boontje

Order with Confidence:
Artecnica’s mission is to elevate the purpose and value of everyday objects by using design to enchant, inspire and transform through the powerful tools of art and technology. Enchant – the unusual aesthetics of the object visually captivate the eye of the viewer; Inspire – an emotional attachment to the object develops while experiencing awe and stimulation, filling the heart; and Transform – excited and involved, the viewer’s intellectual analysis evolves attitudes toward living environments, and ultimately life itself, intertwining the brain. Art represents the most personal expression of our design language, technology our unique application of materials, fabrication methods and techniques.

Artecnica’s initial focus was on visual excitement, artistic expression and use of exciting shapes and colors. The “eye” was king. As Artecnica grew, the reward of pure visual excitement was joined by intense commitment to design. They then started traveling the world, where they began exploring and sharing experiences. Specialized vendors were selected and collaborations with designers, merchants and craftsmen had begun. This allowed Artecnica to explore new materials experimentally and spontaneously.

Mother Nature, Why Must You Rain On My Parade

Looks like the weather has kind of put a damper on this weeks theme of gardening.  While my plants try to stay warm outside, covered with plastic blankets, I guess I’ll have to get my sunshine from other source these days.
Here is a picture of Josh and Monet, working in the yard this past weekend.  I can’t tell you how this warms my heart.  Josh is such an amazing Daddy.
And here is a bouquet I made on Saturday.  Lovely, isn’t it!?
And while these photos do warm my heart, I am still very concerned for my plants.  Three days of rain and snow is what the forecast has predicted.
Stay strong Raspberry plant!  The sun will come back out soon.
Ruhbarb, you’ll be fine.  Just hang in there.
Hey little snow peas.  You’re one of my strongest.  Please help the others to stay positive.
Oh, my beautiful arugula.  You’ll be fine, just stay low and warm.
And my little mystery squash volunteers, what a friendly surprise you were the other day.  Hang in there.  I know you can make it.
The good news is that our rain buckets will be full of water once the storm passes.
Mother Nature, I don’t mean to be rude, I don’t mean to threaten, but can this please be the last cold storm we get?

Machine Applique Tutorial – Freezer Paper Method

If you love to sew, you should know how to applique.  There are so many wonderful projects out there that ask you to “use your favorite method of applique”.  Today, I’m going to share with you one method that I use.  I’m also going to link you to some other sites where additional applique projects and instructions can be found.
Applique, like many skills, takes practice and patience.  I would start by making a few simple shapes, and then progress to more difficult ones.  Buttons, rickrack, and embroidery thread are great tools in adding small details to your applique images.
And for your first project, why don’t you give my Art Inspired Applique Quilt pattern a try.  
It’s now available in my Etsy shop.  
(15% off if you mention that you follow this blog in the message to the seller)

Let’s begin…

Today I’m going to make an appliquéd quilt block with you.

Step 1:  Find or draw a picture that you wish to recreate using applique.  Make sure you consider the size.  I often use a copier to make the image larger or smaller based on my needs.
Step 2:  Trace the pieces of the picture that you need to create in applique on the glossy side of some freezer paper with a fine tip sharpie marker.  For the image I’m doing, I traced a circle for the mother’s head and the body of the mother.

Step 3:  Cut the shapes out and iron down the glossy side of the freezer paper to the back side of the fabric.

Step 4:  Cut around the freezer paper image, leaving about 1/4 – 3/8 of an inch border of fabric.

Step 5:  Using a fabric glue stick, preferably water soluble, rub a small amount of glue around the image on both the freezer paper and the fabric border.  Fold over the fabric so that it is glued to the freezer paper and so that all your edges are no longer “raw”.

Step 6:  Repeat step 5 for all your pieces.

Step 7:  This is optional… if your shape has shapes within a shape, you can simply add a piece of fabric, raw edges and all, behind the original shape to add a multi-layer affect.

Just cut around the added piece of fabric so that it’s raw edges are tucked under the top layer of fabric.  I used a small bead of water soluble basting glue to adhere the two fabrics together.  Sewing pins could also work.

Lastly, I tucked the raw edge of the baby’s back under with a little dot of glue.

Step 8:  Set your sewing machine to the zig zag setting, length and width set at about 1.  Bond the applique images to your fabric block with water soluble basting glue or sewing pins.

Step 9:  Carefully and slowly, sew around both the inside and the outside edges of the shape you originally made with freezer paper, knotting off the strings once you get completely around the image.  Your zig zag stitch should go inside the image, then outside, then inside, then outside, etc.

Step 10:  Once your applique pieces are securely sewn down, spray both the front and the back of the fabric block with water.  This loosens the water soluble glue so that the freezer paper can come out.  Very carefully cut the back outer fabric till you see the freezer paper.  Warning, be careful not to cut through the applique piece and stay at least a quarter inch away from the sewn seam.

Step 11:  When you’re finished cutting out the back fabric, it should look something like this.  Now carefully pull the freezer paper away from the sewn seam and discard.  

You’ve finished the head. 
Step 12:   Now move on to the mother’s body, repeating the before mentioned step and realizing that you will cut through two layers of fabric before getting to the freezer paper for the mom’s body.  Be very careful NOT to cut through the baby’s body.

Step 13:  Continue cutting out the back fabrics, it should look something like this.  Now carefully pull the freezer paper away from the sewn seam and discard.  Once all the freezer paper has been removed, neatly iron the seam allowance down.  Now turn it over…  
Congratulation!  You’re all finished!
For more help on different methods of applique, plus additional projects, you can check out 
Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions of better techniques.
What are you going to create?  
If you finish a project, inspired by this post, would you please leave me a comment linking to your project.  I would love to take a peak see!  
Happy sewing!

Mother’s Day Giveaway

No, we’re not giving away any mothers, instead we are honoring all the mothers out there by hosting a giveaway here at The Artists’ House.  And no, you don’t have to be a mother to participate.  Our sponsor this month is CSN Stores.  They have over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cookware to cribs, bar furniture to bedding, and so much more!  They even have an eco-friendly section.  So if your mother likes to…
listen to music
drink wine
or bake
then this giveaway is for you. 
One lucky winner will win a one-time-use, $40 gift certificate, to use as they wish on any of CSN’s 200+ websites. 
And if you win and you keep your winnings to yourself, I promise I won’t tell. 

How do you win?

You can enter to win in one of FIVE different ways, or increase your chances of winning by doing all five of the submission choices below.

But, please note, that you must enter in a separate comment for each entry submission.

1. Leave me a comment telling me why you love and respect your mother. Please remember to leave me with your email address so I can contact if you win.

2. Become a “Follower” by scrolling down and clicking on the”Follow” button in the right sidebar column. Already a follower? You’re automatically entered again. Just remind me by leaving another comment.

3. Make an announcement about this Mother’s Day Giveaway on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account. Then post your comment below with the link to the announcement.

4. Make a nice comment about The Artists’ House Blog or Etsy shop on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account. Then post your comment below with the link to the announcement.

5. Leave me a suggestion, sharing with me one thing you hope to see on our blog in the future.

The giveaway closes on Monday, May 3rd, at 11:59 p.m. (mountain time). The winner will be contacted by email.
Good luck!
And thanks again to CSN Stores for donating to this giveaway.

Decorating That Backyard Fence

Josh and I have been spending a lot of time in the yard lately.  It’s that time of year!  This week I plan to blog about “playing in the dirt” and beautifying your outdoor domains.  
Today I’m going to show you some unique decorative ideas for your backyard fence.  Just like an interior wall, why don’t you use these exterior walls to showcase art.

Here is one project that Josh put together.  He added small planter boxes to the fence.  Since the planters are small he planted drought tolerant succulents to the boxes since they will do better with the dry conditions here in Utah.
Josh and I love all these sedum succulent plants.  They are low maintenance, absolutely beautiful, and leave a small carbon foot print since they require very little water.
We also use our backyard fence to showcase some of Josh’s ceramics.  The ceramics is durable to the outdoor elements and adds a feeling of uniqueness to our small outdoor space.
Isn’t this amazing?  It’s a recycled fence.  You can check it out over at apartment therapy.
I also love this idea, a great use for those beautiful old window frames.  Run Lori Run shared this idea on her blog.
Here’s another great example that I found at Dallas Arts Revue.
What do you think?  What does your backyard fence showcase?

Turning Those Herbs Into Summer Drinks

Do you want to know how to make the world’s best margarita?  Have a seat, let me tell you a story.

Last summer… Josh and I helped some friends move.  While the boys moved heavy stuff, in my defense I was 8 months pregnant, Erika and I spent time cleaning out the freezer.  As we cleaned, elbow deep in ice cubes and frozen veggies, Erika came across a big bag of Lemon Verbena Sugar Pesto.  She kindly asked if Josh and I wanted it, a payment for our services.  At the time, I didn’t even know what Lemon Verbena was, regardless though, I smiled and happily took the gift.

Two moths later… this beautiful bag of Lemon Verbena Sugar Pesto continued to take up space in our freezer, untouched and taunting me.  You see I, like my grandmother, hate wasting food.  Just yesterday I was thinning my arugula seedlings and instead of throwing away the handful of arugula seedlings I had plucked, I washed them and threw them on top of my dinner that night.  And the water that I used to wash the handful of plucked arugula seedlings, that water got dumped back in the garden instead of going down the drain.

And so the taunting continued…

Two months + 10 days or so… after a bit of experimenting, this beautfiul bag of pesto tormented me just enough that out of my tormented state, the most delicious margarita recipe was born.  And when I say most delicious, I geneuienly mean most delecious.  That summer, we had friends over multiple times and every dinner guest begged for the recipe.  Soon, this lemon verbena sugar pesto was like gold.  People were frantically asking around at the farmers market, needing to get their fix.

Current day… it’s that time of year again, time to start planting our gardens and so I remind you, please don’t forget to plant all those wonderful herbs.  It’s so easy to make pesto in the summer and then freeze them for winter.  To inspire you, here is that margarita recipe…

Sugar Pesto Recipe:

Take two part sugar to one part herbs and food process.  Remember to wash your herbs, just using the leaves and discarding the stems.  Make sure the washed herbs are dry before processing them.  This sugar pesto works well with mint for mojitos or lemon verbena for margaritas.  Great for drinks, fruit salad, baking, etc.

The World’s Best Margarita Recipe:

In a martini shaker, shake these ingredients well:  1 shot lemon verbena sugar pesto, 1 shot tripple sec, 2 shots good tequila, juice of 2 limes, and ice.  Using two plates, one with water and one with sugar pesto, dip the rim of the margarita glass first in the water first and then in the sugar pesto to cover the rim with sugar pesto instead of salt.  Pour the margarita into the glass and serve immediately with a sprig of fresh lemon verbena and a slice of lime.


A Picture That Tells a Thousand Stories

When I was a little girl, my sister and I loved to dress up dolls: paper dolls, Barbie dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids.  We never really played with the dolls.  Rather, we spent countless hours dressing them, doing their hair, and creatively setting up their houses and rooms.  In hind sight, I guess I’m not surprised that I enjoyed making these projects so much.  I genuinely felt like I was seven again, dressing up dolls with my beloved big sister.  
As I created these applique images, from photographs that Josh and I have taken, I only used materials that I found in my stash.  This is my final submission to the April Stash Bust.  Materials I used consisted of freezer paper, left over applique supplies from the quilt I made Monet last year (invisible thread, basting glue, an awl, and a glue stick), embroidery thread, and scrap fabrics from my many drawers of leftovers.
While the picture below originally only reminded me of my sweet husband, running around the house with my nieces, playing with umbrellas inside; the new version’s many fabrics now remind me of all the stories that each specific piece of fabric holds within its various threads.

The fabric that created the skin came from a flower I made for a friend’s wedding bouquet and dress.
The umbrella’s fabric was given to me by a friend when we were making Christmas cards at a ladies craft night.
The dress was leftover from when I was pregnant and making my daughter a quilt. 
The black sweater in this image came from a sweater I altered just recently.
The rug was a leftover scrap from when we upholstered our bar stools.
And so, with each new fabric, a whole new story is added to the picture, a memory is revisited.
Now these pictures don’t tell just one story, or even two, but countless narratives.  Each fabric scrap is a chapter perfectly crafted together into an artwork that tells a story that is exponentially deeper.

Guest Post On Scoutie Girl Today!

One of my favorite bloggers asked me to do a guest post on her blog today. This really is such an honor, coming from an amazing blogger like her.  It would mean so much to me if you would pop over to her site and pay a little visit, maybe leave a comment.  Her blogs is one of my favorites; it has the right balance of art, life, and reality.  Check it out…