Thursday, May 10, 2012


"Ink-A-Dink-A-Do"   Diane Evans ©2012
If you love coloring inside the lines, you’re really going to enjoy Sherry Rogers-Harrison’s technique for creating art quilts with intricate color.  In her book, “Ink-liqué,” Sherry explains how to quilt the design first and then add the color; I couldn’t wait to try this – turns out it’s both artistic and meditative.
I drew an original design onto paper and traced it to a piece of Hoffman PFD fabric that had been starched to within an inch of its life – the fabric felt crisp, like paper.  The piece was then layered with cotton batting and backing, and the free-motion quilting began; every motif was outlined using So Fine 50-weight thread and a size 65/9 needle.  The idea is to create the smallest holes possible in the sandwich so that no ink will migrate through to the back.
Then the next stage of the fun began.  Color was added using Sakura Gelly Roll pens for the outlines, along with Identi-Pens and Tsukineko Fabrico Ink Pens to fill in the shapes.  
Sulky rayon thread was used in the machine quilting, and the postcard was inserted into a raised white mat.  It's now available for sale in my Etsy shop.
And if you found yourself humming the title's
 tune by the late Jimmy Durante, you're probably as old as I am . . .

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Feelin' Groovy"

"Feelin' Groovy" Diane Evans ©2012 
The latest “To-Do” project has now become a “Ta-Da!”  Many, many moons ago, I used a design from one of my copyright-free sources, altered it somewhat, and printed it out on fabric.  Thanks to the experimentation of fellow blogger Jill Buckley at The Quilt Rat, I learned that aloe vera gel makes a wonderful medium for fixing fabric ink; it’s easily available and very inexpensive.  Since “available” and “inexpensive” are two of my favorite words, I bought the All-Purpose Giant Economy-Sized tube and went to work.
I ironed the fabric to a piece of freezer paper to give it stability.  The gel was spread over the entire drawing with a paintbrush and left to dry.  I then applied the color using Tsukineko Fabrico ink pens and used an iron to heat set it.  
Sulky rayon thread was used in the machine quilting, and French knots were added for texture.
The postcard was inserted into a raised, white mat and is available for sale in my Etsy shop.
Jill has also had great results using the aloe vera as a medium for blending watercolor pencils, and the next project is already percolating away.  I think this gel could be the next baking soda of our time – one simple product, so many uses.
Thanks, Jill! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"It Might As Well Be Spring"

"It Might As Well Be Spring"  ©2012   Diane Evans
I learned a new word a few weeks ago while working on the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle: “grok,” a synonym for “see,” “get,” or “understand.”  I love this word – it sounds like the name of a character from “The Lord of the Rings.”  Say it three times fast; it makes you giggle.
I decided that I would use an altered version of my new favorite word as an acronym – in my little world, G.R.O.C. now stands for Get Rid Of Clutter.  You could let the “c” stand for “chaos” or “calories” or “cellulite” – whatever your heart desires on any particular day (actually, my heart desires getting rid of all three of those things, but that’s another post entirely).
Notice that my desire to GROC meshes nicely with my goal of changing my “To Do” list into a “Ta Da!” list, since I will undoubtedly be “GROC-ing” as I finish up my languishing projects.
The design was traced onto fabric from an original sketch I had done many moons ago; the piece was then outline-quilted with black rayon thread and stippled with green rayon thread.
I gathered together my Derwent watercolor pencils and Plaid Folk Art Textile Medium.
The medium was painted onto one section at a time; pencil was added while the fabric was still wet.  I learned to apply the color heavily to the edges of the motif first and then to fill in the design with a light touch to achieve a shaded look (my inner child was unleashed at this point -- gosh, how I love to color things . . .).
After completing the coloring . . .
. . . I fused the composition to Timtex and backing fabric, zigzagged the edges with more rayon thread . . .
. . . and inserted it into a mat, suitable for framing.  (This piece is now available in my Etsy shop; click here for more details.)
And, in keeping with the spirit of GROC-ing, I’ve added a few more books to my page of “Books For Sale.”  Click on this link and see if you can find a great bargain for yourself – or for someone else who doesn’t currently have the need to GROC . . .

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ta Da!

I recently read an article which stated that this is the time of year when many of our New Year's resolutions begin to fade and dissolve into the universe.  The article suggested that we gently prod ourselves with smaller goals on our way to reaching the ultimate goal that we had set for ourselves way back in January (seems like years ago, doesn't it??).  So, I went to the Land of Unfinished Pieces and Percolating Ideas and decided to choose just one of them to bring to life; my plan is to slowly complete a "To Do" project and turn it into a "Ta Da!" piece.
I will begin by stating that I am being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century; our son, Sean, teases me because I still use a phone book to look up telephone numbers.  Therefore, it should not surprise you to see that my first "Ta Da!" project is a legal pad cover; in this age of electronic note-taking devices,  I'm hoping that some of you will remember legal pads.  Please humor me.
Thank goodness there is a company out there who makes a pattern for these covers; this one is designed by Cotton Dreams and was purchased through Fabrics 'N' Quilts.
I chose a Jane Sassaman fabric for the outside cover and coordinated it with other fabrics for the lining, pockets, and binding.  After fusing the cover pieces together with Timtex, I used one of Jane's ideas and created a cardboard template to use in quilting a wavy design over the entire cover (I actually drew a sine curve onto graph paper to use as the shape -- math teachers never completely retire . . .).
After inserting the pockets, the binding was added by machine and hand-stitched to the inside.
And because I wanted to make the folded cover lie a little flatter, I found an even better use for the phone book; Sean should be pleased.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What To Do During A 12-Hour Hospital Wait . . .

You may remember that our son, Sean, suffered a broken arm (among other injuries) in an accident over a year ago.  Two surgeries weren't able to repair it correctly, so we finally found a third doctor in NYC who operated on him four weeks ago (he's doing extremely well as I write this -- we're hoping that the third time was the charm).  
Needless to say, husband Fran and I had a looooong period of waiting at the hospital before, during, and after the surgery, so I brought lots of play things with me to occupy the time, including the book, "Zen Mandalas," by Suzanne McNeill; this is an exciting collection of Zentangle®-filled, circular designs by several talented artists, complete with guidelines for creating your own mandelas.  Since they're basically round and divided into 5, 6, 8, or 12 equal segments, it's easier to design one if you have a compass, a protractor, and a ruler.  I had brought exactly none of these with me, so I followed the suggestion given in the book: I made a snowflake.
I folded a piece of paper into eighths and made a few holes in the folds by tearing away the paper, since I also didn't have scissors.  Then I traced the cut areas onto my art paper and used them as guidelines.  I followed some of the examples in the book, and the mandala pictured at the top emerged. 
Everything that has been said about Zentangles was true for me that day: I felt an amazing sense of well being; the process helped to both calm me and foster my creative spirit; and I experienced a much-needed feeling of timelessness.  This was just what the doctor ordered.


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