Monday, December 22, 2014

Festive Fun...

I've been purging extra 'stuff' in my studio and I came across these little tags I made months ago...little extras that came out of something else I was working I decided to put little bits of decorative yarn on them and write a quick little holiday greeting on the back.

I've had a lot of fun handing them to random strangers as I've been out and about with Yoshi, running errands.

Yoshi and I wish you happy holidays during this wonderfully festive time of year. 

Be good to yourself and thanks for taking the time to pop in!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Graffiti Piece Finished!

In my last post (here) I showed the photograph inspiration for this piece, commemorating my first Future Dog Guide puppy, Dime. Thanks to some very tired puppies, I found more studio time and managed to get this piece in my Graffiti series done!

I free motion stitched the bricks using a cream thread before adding the letters to make up Dime's name.

As with the first in the series, I carried some of the brick and paint elements over the side so they would add interest to the sides of the canvas.  You can see that in the next two images.

And finally...the puppy wall...I can't wait to foster more puppies and keep adding to this commemorative wall!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dime Graffiti Has Been Started...

Another busy weekend has just passed, but I did manage to fit in a bit of time in the studio to start my Dime piece in my graffiti series. I did the first piece (see post here) with Yoshi, my current Future Dog Guide puppy, as the subject and I liked it so much that I've decided to make a keepsake piece for each of the puppies I foster.  That of course meant I had to go back and do one for Dime, my first foster puppy.

This is one of my favourite pictures of Dime, so I had to incorporate it in the piece.  I imported it into Photoshop and started having fun! 

Once digitally altered, printed and transferred onto fabric, I pulled out some of the new acrylic paints from the DecoArt Media samples that were recently sent to me, and I started adding elements with various found objects, stencils, and a small paint brush to add to the digitally altered image I had created.

Hopefully I'll find time in the next few days to get to the sewing machine to add some stitch.

And for those interested...puppy update...

(L - R) Shamus, Gracie and Yoshi, all Future Dog Guides

This weekend Yoshi and I babysat Gracie for another foster family.  While she was staying with us, we participated in two more Santa Claus parades, one Saturday afternoon, and the other on Sunday evening.  

Fortunately the parade in the afternoon and a long evening walk tired the girls out enough to give me some studio time Saturday night.

Yoshi (7 mths) in back, with Gracie (5 mths)

It sure is fun having a puppy friend for a sleep over! Yoshi and Gracie had some wonderful 'bitey face' sessions and really enjoyed running around the yard together.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Came Early!

Dare I say I must have been a very good girl this year? Santa came early, in the form of a wonderful DecoArt rep named Rosemary!  You see, Rosemary contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if she could send me some samples of DecoArt's Media line of products. You can only imagine how totally shocked (in the best way possible!) I was when a received a huge box FULL of these incredible art supplies!

To quote their website:

DecoArt's Media program includes products formulated to work seamlessly together to create amazing mixed media art.
Included in the line are fluid acrylics, antiquing creams, misters, gessoes, mediums, crackles, varnishes, and textures.
There are fabulous colours of misters as well as four additional shimmer misters!

These three jars are various crackle products...crackle glaze, crackle paint and crackle paste.
There's a variety of mediums, gessos (black and white), tinting base, varnishes and texture pastes. I can't wait to try out the Liquid fun does that sound!

This collection is a variety of different colours of antiquing creams.

And last but not least, an incredible range of DecoArt Media fluid acrylics!  I can't believe all the luscious colours! There's even a couple of metallic fluid acrylics...

and five different interference colours. These are fabulous since they change colour depending on the light and angle at which you view them!

Thanks again to the wonderful folks at DecoArt for giving me the chance to explore these products. I've only had time to dabble a tiny bit, but I'm liking what I see! I can't wait to get some studio time so I use these new media in my next piece of art. Until then, I hope you're all having fun and keeping busy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

What's Keeping Me Busy...

I don't seem to be able to find much time in my studio these days, but I have been very busy so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've been up to.

I continue to keep up on my art journal calendar, and I really enjoy recording the highlights of my days in such a fun and colourful way!

Because of his sad misfortune, I learned about Artis de Partis. Sadly, this particular little fellow lost an arm so as a favour to a friend I performed some delicate surgery to reattach the limb.  Artis de Partis was very brave during surgery considering that with the exception of a glass of wine for the surgeon, no anesthetic was used.

Yoshi and I continue daily outings to expose her to as many opportunities and experiences as possible. Often it is just the two of us, but we also like to get together with other foster 'parents' and their future dog guide puppies.  

We recently had a coffee date with Mojo, another future dog guide. As you can see, Yoshi quite liked this tall, dark and handsome flat coated retriever.

We also participated in an informal group mall visit in which we practised our skills among the many distractions of the mall and other puppies.

While at the mall, Yoshi sent her letter to Santa, asking for a pair of non-slip booties so she could sit in a more 'lady-like' fashion on slippery floors!

Popping back into the studio briefly, I was able to repurpose a damaged spatula that I felt was no longer safe for use with food.  It'll make a great mark-making tool for Gelli prints and such!

In addition to volunteering to raise these incredible future dog guides, I enjoy participating in many of the PR events that help to bring awareness to these amazing service dogs. These dog guides are provided to the clients at no cost, and all funding is raised through private and corporate donations and sponsorship!

Did you know that Dog Guides are trained to assist with more than blindness and visual impairments? Lions Foundation of Canada trains six types of Dog Guides to help with a wide range of disabilities including: deafness, hard of hearing, autism spectrum disorder, type 1 diabetes with hypoglycemic unawareness, epilepsy, as well as physical and medical disabilities. To learn more or to make a life changing donation, please visit

Yoshi and I have already participated in two Santa Claus parades, and we are signed up to walk in two more upcoming parades!  For the Kitchener parade, we invited my Mom along (she's temporarily in a wheelchair due to a foot issue). Having Mom along was a great help because I was puppysitting Kermit, a 13 wk old puppy and he ended up snuggled on Mom's lap in the sleeping bag. I'm not sure who enjoyed the cuddles more!

The Oshawa parade was a bit wet and messy, so by the end of it Yoshi was looking a bit more like a black lab! By the look on her face, I'd say she didn't care for my suggestion of a bath!

Because I've become totally hooked on this role as a foster puppy 'mom', I've decided it's time to get a bit more organized. I've been drawing a few rough ideas for a cabinet that will house the puppy kibble, treats, toys and miscellaneous other needs that are currently tucked into various cupboards and corners of the kitchen.  I've got a perfect space in the kitchen, as well as an incredibly skilled and willing husband, so once I finalize the plans and draw them to scale, he's said that he'd be happy to construct it for me!

As I mentioned earlier in the post, in addition to raising Yoshi, I've been helping out some foster mom friends by looking after their puppies for a few days here and there. Yoshi loves having other puppies to play with, and my husband and I enjoy having the extra puppies around too!

And finally, I'll end this way to long post by showing you that I am still working on the hand stitching of this piece in progress. However, gone are the days when I would stitch and listen to TV for hours...I seem to spend more time playing and/or walking Yoshi! As such, this is going to be a much longer term project than I first anticipated.

Life is busy but wonderfully fulfilling! Thanks for stopping by to catch up on what I'm doing! Have a fabulous day!

Monday, November 24, 2014

World of Threads...

A perfect 'sit-stay'
Last week, while Yoshi and I were puppysitting a 13 wk old Future Dog Guide puppy, we were in Oakville and had some time to fill, so I decided to pop in to see the World of Threads fibre art exhibition. What an incredible show.  If you haven't seen it yet, it runs until Nov. 30th and it is well worth seeing!

Here is just a glimpse at a few of the pieces, with these two future dog guides in the foreground.

The puppies were more interested in who was
coming down the hall than in the art behind them!

In addition to enjoying the art, it was a wonderful training opportunity for the puppies. Yoshi is now almost 7 months and she and little Kermit were amazing ambassadors for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides!

Kermit, how can you sit without slipping?

I loved this particular installation, although the photography doesn't do much for it. The location they chose, with the back lighting, was fabulous but very hard to photograph.

It's on the floor...does that mean we can touch it?

Yup, enough with the fibre art...

No, I'm done posing...

This piece was beautiful...stunning colour and texture...I can only imagine the time that went in to it!

Yoshi, you'd look pretty in a crown like this!

Okay, one more good 'sit-stay'
and then can we go?

Seriously Yoshi, we need to find a
12 step program for your mom...
this fibre art addiction is worrisome!

Kermit was thrilled to be home again and
'out of jacket' so he could resume wrestling
with Yoshi. She doesn't look it here, but
she enjoyed the playtime just as much!

Monday, November 17, 2014

...And About a Million to Go...

Here's another couple of pictures of the piece I'm currently working on.  It is going to involve a crazy amount of French knots as well as some other hand stitching before it's done...which may not be for some time since I'm babysitting a few additional future dog guide puppies in the next while.  
Yoshi and I will enjoy the puppies, but I don't know how much time I'll find for my art. LOL. However, when I do find time for this, I must say it is relaxing!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TAP Transfer Artist Paper on Fabric...Another StencilGirl Blog Hop!

Don't you love when things just come together perfectly?

I was asked to participate in this week long blog hop with StencilGirl and Lesley Riley's TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) and I was already planning to experiment with creating a graffiti style piece inspired by this adorable image of Yoshi, my future dog guide foster puppy. 


I've always got TAP in my stash, and knew it was the perfect tool for what I was planning! I took the image into Photoshop, cropped it and played around until I had the graffiti look I was going for. Then, following the instructions that come with the transfer paper*, I printed my image and transferred it to a piece of muslin (I wanted the off white colouring for Yoshi's face).  

*I won't go into details because Lesley does it much better than I could. 
See the links at the bottom of this post for more information about TAP.

Here is what the transfer looks like on the muslin. I love the bright, vibrant colour and clarity!

I knew I wanted to stretch this piece over a canvas frame, so I added some elements that would go off beyond the main image so that they could be seen on the sides of the finished stretched canvas.  I fussy cut some bricks and auditioned them in random places. (tip: I use my iPhone to take pictures as I go so I can compare and select the placement I like best and then remember how to get back to it!)

I also cut out Yoshi's name in navy fabric to make it stand out a bit more.

It was now time to add some stencilling using acrylic paint.

I used Terri Stegmiller's Broken Circles and her Heart Grid stencils. In order to have control over exactly where I placed the elements, I masked off individual elements using post-it notes.

I added the acrylic paint using a sponge brush.
I realized a needed something else, so I pulled out Seth Apter's Inside Out stencil. Seth has some wonderful stencil designs that are perfect for graffiti work!

Once the paint dried, I was ready to fuse on the bricks and letters. (IMPORTANT: use the release paper included with the TAP if you are going to iron over the transferred image!)
Over to the sewing machine...I layered the piece with batting and free motion stitched around the bricks, loosely doodling the lines. 
Next, I set the machine to do satin stitch, but I kept the free motion foot on and the feed dogs down so I could get a more 'grungy' look to my stitch as I outlined the letters for Yoshi's name.

It's now ready to be stretched and stapled to the pre-stretched canvas. 

I really like the look of the elements that carry over to the side of the canvas. 

This was really fun and I'm thinking of working on a bit of a graffiti series, perhaps making a piece like this for each of the puppies I foster. First on the agenda will be to go back and get a favourite image of Dime, my first foster puppy!
Here are the other stops on today's hop:

If you missed the other stops on this week long hop, head back to Monday's StencilGirl Talk post so you can find them all!  Have fun!

Don't forget to leave a comment at each of the blog hop stops for a chance to win these fabulous prizes!