Art Journal: Upcycled Showcase

I am taking part in a showcase on Facebook that has the theme “Upcycled”. I do love a bit of upcycling so was very excited to join in. My first piece was made from these: A gorgeous tablecloth, a broken bracelet and fabric swatches from a furnishing fabrics sample book (you know how I love those!)


Of course I turned it all into an Art Journal. I pieced the fabrics then free motion quilted over the top using a variety of threads including a lovely variegated sulky. I then added buttons from the bracelet. This is the result.













I love the bright colours in this journal, even though they are colours that I haven’t ever really used, or been attracted to before.

My second item for the showcase is a bag made from a couple of shirts, a dress a vintage tablecloth and a pair of jeans.


I haven’t made a bag for a while so it was fun to do one again. I have since made a couple more!. It is lined with cotton batting and has been free motion quilted and appliqued onto the batting to give it some form.









Both of these items are available at the Upcycled Showcase from Wednesday 5th of June.

Looking Out the Window

Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2013: Wallhanging

The Bloggers Quilt Festival is on again!. You know what that means?.. pages of gorgeous quilts to drool over. This year we can enter not one but two quilts!. I have decided to enter the Wall hanging and Art Quilt categories.

Here is my Wallhanging.. “Looking Out the Window”

Looking Out the Window
Looking Out the Window

This quilt was made for the National Wool Museum: Expressions 2012 competition, in which it reached the finals. The brief for this competition was to make a quilt out of a majority of wool fabrics.

I decided to go with something bright and graphic, to get away from the traditional uses and colouring of wool.

I made a  randomly pieced patchwork of soft 100% wool fabrics, know how I like random!. It is free motion quilted with variegated thread in concentric circles to contrast against the linear construction of the patchwork. The white circle is an applique of wool felt. The backing is an upcycled vintage wool blanket and is bound with a gorgeous aqua brushed cotton. I couldn’t get wool batting within the time frame so it is quilted onto bamboo batting.

It measures 102 x 82.5 cm ( 40 x 32.5 IN)

Quilt 2

As part of the exhibition we also had to make a mini quilt with the fabrics and techniques to go onto a touch table. This was so that people could feel the textures of the quilts. A fabulous idea! I wish I had been able to go to the exhibition to see and touch for myself..unfortunately it was over 2000kms away so just wasn’t going to happen!

Here is my touch table quilt.


Onwards and Upwards

You may remember this piece of randomness that I created not long ago. This was created by randomly stitching together a range of fabrics from my scrap box. The red strips are folded red satin.


I decided to unrandomise it somewhat. I cut it all into 8in squares and stitched them back together (randomly). The interesting part of this was that even though it was a very uneven shaped piece of fabric, I managed to cut exactly 16 8″ squares…there were only a couple of tiny slivers left over!.


Here it is all stitched back together and ready to quilt.


Here it is finished. “Onwards and Upwards (Many Paths)” 69 x 67 cm (27 x 26.5 “)



The red satin pieces are set into the seams so that they are actually raised from the surface..creates and interesting texture, as well as making a feature of the “Paths”


More experiments with randomness

I’ve been playing with some new techniques again today. I love the randomness of randomness so I have been randomly stitching strips of fabrics together then randomly stitching and cutting  those strips. I wanted to try to get the hang of curves in the fabric as well as inserts so my randomness included both of these.

I have used just about every blue fabric in my stash, from vintage sheets to bits of upcycled clothing to canvas and quilting cotton. The red strips are satin that has been folded and inserted, so that it stands out from the cloth. It’s a great way to use up some of my vast stash of fabrics.

At the moment it is nothing more than a piece of fabric, I wanted to sample these techniques for an idea I had for the next competition that I want to enter..I have a few lined up this year!


Excuse the stray threads, I haven’t really finished with it yet. This is just a small section, I got a bit carried away so it is quite a large piece. I may well quilt it up and see what happens….

A fabulous discovery and Stitching texture

I had a thought the other day, so went to seek out my grandmothers old suitcase, buried deep in the back of the garage. In it, as I had thought, I discovered most of the samples I had made during my time studying textiles in 1989-90. These included lots of hand weaving and a mound of hand sewn and dyed Shibori samples. Some of these are now beautifully aged having spent 20 years in an old 50’s suitcase! I had dragged that suitcase around with me from house to house and literally forgot what was inside..until my brilliant thought….


This shows the mound but not the gorgeousness of this find! So much fabulous fabric to work with..

I recently borrowed a book called ” Stitch, Cloth, Paper and Paint” by Angie Hughes from my local library. I am a huge book borrower, especially art and textiles books….always a bookworm at heart. I still can’t help but get upset when my sun uses Google for homework and doesn’t look it up at the library lol.. Anyway, this book has some great techniques in it, so I decided to use some of my new sun printed fabric to try one.

It’s very simple really and I’m sure plenty of you out there already do it, but I have always been nervous about doing too much with the tension dial on my machine. This technique involves turning the tension really high then stitching circles or spirals.. The high tension distorts the fabric beautifully without misforming the stitches, so it adds a lovely texture to the spirals.

Here is my pebble printed fabric before..


And after stitching.. normal tension in the bottom corner so it’s flat.. then the highest towards the top.


I have stitched it with some of my new rusted fabric and some of my gorgeous old shibori.. Not finished yet, but you get the idea.


The next stage.. rust

Following on from my sun printing episode, I decided to torture my samples a bit more and add some rust. I have quite an extensive rusty objects collection from the days when I studied Sculpture. I used to create works from found objects and I loved rust!

The leaves sample from my sun print experiment wasn’t very exciting so I thought I’d add some of my rusty friends to it to add some zing.


More waiting,…waiting.

I put it in a bed of plastic so that it would slow down the drying a bit. I also sprinkled it with a little salt to enhance the rusting.

finished-rust-2 the pretty flower


Now to cut it up and sew it….

New experiments..

I have been having a load of fun this week, playing around with staining and printing fabrics, fiddling with thread tension and so much more!

I’ll start with my first bit of fun. I decided that I would finally have a go at sun printing. I had heard that you can do it with straight acrylic paints, and don’t need the flash proper paint, so as we are a little cash strapped at the moment I thought I’d give it a go. I started by painting all over my sample fabrics with basic acrylic paints. In some parts I used quite thick paint and others very watered down. I also sprayed some parts with water so that it would create a nice effect of it’s own.

All the bits ready to go. I just used what I had to hand just to see what would work


Painted and drying. The first I have layered with grass and a piece of lace fabric. The paint also soaked nicely into the lace 🙂

drying2 drying1

The bottom ones I covered with leaves and pebbles. Then left to dry in the hot, hot sun..

waiting…. waiting…..




Leaves ..not great but still interesting


Lace..a bit hard to see in the photo but the pattern is really quite pretty, parts are very subtle and others quite strong.


Grass, very subtle but pretty


The large finished piece..unintentional but  looks like a landscape to me..


The back of the leaves piece. I painted them on the pebblecrete out the back..they now have a lovely impression of the pebbles on the fabric…and paint on the pebblecrete!! ooops

So. all in all I think it was a success. whether or not the results would have been better with the real paint I don’t know, but I did get some marking with acrylics. The best sections were where the paint was quite thick, not watered down too much so I’ll work on that in the future. I (and my kids) also had fun waiting for the paint to dry….

I have done more to most of these pieces now but that will have to wait for another day……

Holidays and cushions

I’ve been on holidays..yippeee

We did a bit of thisDSCN1330

A bit of this


A bit of this


Saw some of well as some other lovely creatures..turtles, stingrays…


Climbed lots of these


And looked out at lots of this


Then we came home and I made these



A journal addiction..

I am starting to really enjoy making these journals so here are a few more newly finished. I love that it combines my love of textiles and my stationary fetish!..yes, I am addicted to stationary, sad I know! These are now listed in my Madeit and Etsy stores.

flowers-1A5 Journal cover with vintage fabric flowers appliqued and free motion quilted onto a new denim base. There is also a segment of hand embroidered vintage doily and button features. I have also done some extra hand embroidery to add highlights.



A5 Journal cover. Embroidered owl with vintage fabric flower appliques, and button features. Free motion Quilted onto a new denim base with cotton lining.paisleya4-1

A4 Journal cover made from a patchwork of upcycled denim jeans. This one also has an upcycled crochet belt “pocket” at the top to hold pencils etc.