Me-Made-May 2017 Handmade Journals


In today’s Me-Made-May 2017 post, I’m switching things up a bit. Let’s talk about handmade journals. I think of journals as an essential accessory. I carry one wherever I go. It’s part of my ensemble, if you will. Nothing like knowing that it is at my beck and call.  It is tucked safely inside my tote,  along with an assortment of pens, pencils and other fun and necessary journalling tools, like washi tape, glue stick and double-sided tape.

This Spring into Summer has seen a great deal of journal making. I am gifting most of them as workshop treats for my students, end of the school year/welcome summer gifts of gratitude to my fellow educators and to new friends and cabin mates at an upcoming art retreat. For my paper-covered types, I painted with acrylic paint, sponges and bubble wrap onto 140 lb weight Canson watercolor paper. My color story was based on Spring in the City. I mixed colors to look like urban concrete neutrals with touches of warm sunny yellows and earthy browns. The assortment of papers inside come from my collection of new and vintage pages as well as from my handpainted paper stash. I machine stitch the signature using a Jeans needle 90/14, a heavier weight cotton thread and a long straight stitch.

Roll call!img_5454-e1495997625987.jpg



These cloth covered journals are a classic fave of mine. They are sewn like a book cover, so that the writer may replace the journal when necessary. I used both 7oz and 12oz unprimed canvas from Jerry’s Artarama. The serger is my friend for this style. I love the look of the overlocker’s exposed chain stitch of ivory beige thread against the canvas. Covers are hand stamped with Jacquard Textile Paint. I have a wonderful selection of bias tape and it is often a mainstay in my journals, whether tying around the machine stitched binding , as above in the paper journals or threaded through the spiral bound notebook inside these cloth journals.



I wish all my creative friends many days full of opportunities to sit, muse, write and create in these “me-made” journals.

For more on Me-Made-May 2017, click here.






Day 23 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Queen of the Silver Lining


I’m very excited to tell you about today’s recipient of Day 23 Make & Give. This lady is without a doubt one of the most resilient, positive people I know. She is truly the Queen of Silver Linings. In past years she has weathered the most difficult storms imaginable.  And despite how rough things got, and they had to be unbearable, she navigated through with the utmost style and grace. This gal is the definition of inner strength.

So for my dear friend, I am gifting one of my handmade journals, as she is a most gifted (and published) writer, a copy of one of my favorite holiday CDs and some jingle antlers because she loves to be festive!

Write on and jingle all the way, dear girl!

Is there someone who inspires you…remember them today and always….


Me-Made-May 2016 Post #7



I have been participating in a global sewing challenge this month called,                  “Me-Made-May 2016”.  My previous posts have featured garments I made for this spring and summer. Today’s post features something different: make up bags!

Our daughter is graduating college this month and to celebrate her and her BFFs, I designed these bags. Back when she was in high school I also made cosmetic bags for her friends and they were such a hit!  I received thank you cards and emails from them saying how they loved their bags and had them perched on desks and dressers in their dorms. They said their bags which were a sweet reminder of home and their friendship. SO, naturally I wanted to create a fresh, new look for this limited edition, college version!

I decided to Shibori dye three yards of snowy white, canvas fabric a dark navy/indigo color, T’s school colors!  Wooden blocks, clamps and hemp were used to bind the cloth. All the bags have a zipper closure with a bit of vintage ribbon as a zipper stop. I lined the bags with a purchased indigo, paisley gradated printed quilting weight cotton (Joann’s). For embellishment, my very dear, talented friend Lisa spent the greater part of a day helping me design a zipper pull. We used pewter “2016” and “Handmade” charms (Oriental Trading) and an assortment of glass beads including Lampwork “Wise Ol’ Owl” Beads (from Michaels), adorable! I tied a Sashiko inspired printed ribbon (from Joann’s) through the wire loop. For the finishing touch, I hand stamped “2016” and a mini Peace sign, using a blend of Gold and Brass Jacquard Fabric paints.



Looks like we are ready for the commencement festivities to begin!

Congrats and best wishes to all this year’s Grads!

For  more info on #Me-Made-May2016, click here.


Art Is You Stamford 2015, Recap!


Just recently I had the honor and pleasure to attend and teach at the 10th Annual Art Is You Stamford 2015.  I had been preparing and promoting my workshop, “Art Retreat Threads” for almost a year leading up to the retreat. And am happy to report that the workshop lived up to my high hopes and then some! Every one of my students brought such enthusiasm and diverse skill set that added to the overall success of the class. IMG_3808


The ladies all tried out the different techniques I offered to recycle and upcycle some of their clothing. Machine and hand appliqué, Reverse appliqué as patches, Fabric Painting with stencils and stamps, putting Inserts into garments with contrast fabrics, adding Ruffles, Hand and Machine embroidery and beading.


Brenna who is still learning to machine sew, used two shirts that she had but wasn’t wearing and sewed them together as one and added a ruffle. Now she has a tunic to wear!

Judy (pictured below) found two silk shirts at goodwill and used the body from one and the ruffle from another and created a whole new look! She took the upcycle further using machine appliqué, note the “10” (included in the class kit) to celebrate AIY’s anniversary and then added a sweet flower appliqué on the front!


Susan went to work on a denim shirt where she used Reverse Appliqué to make a window with a fabric painted patch, fabric stamped where there were some tough to remove stains (you would think those crayon stains were part of the design…so clever of her!), added a vent with some Shibori dyed fabric and then embroidered and beaded! She brought the WOW, for sure!



Cheryl (hiding behind her shirt!) also up cycled a denim overshirt with a sweet RA patch window on the front and back and then added jumbo ric rac down the front button/buttonhole placket.


CL focused on a denim skirt. She added a lined pocket and ruffle!  I hope she sends a photo of her finished work!IMG_3808

Our friend, Nancy, was only able to stay for the morning and was off and running on her garment…can’t wait to see some pics!!

All students were given detailed directions of each technique in these handmade class journals, made from recycled grocery brown bags! Also included was a tote bad filled with fabric samples and supplies for each technique to continue sewing with at home.



Thanks to Sallianne and Ellen for the this teaching opportunity!  All my students were asking for a multiple day workshop experience with more garment redo’s and up cycling! You got it! I’m at work on some great new samples and will be in touch!


Brenna gifted me with this hand sewn and embroidered heart as a thank you for helping her with her machine sewing skills. I am grateful to her for her appreciation and to all my dear students for bringing such fun, talent and interest to our class!!

Here’s to 2016!

Art Retreat Threads: Bottoms!

IMG_3409 BOTTOMS! Here’s a lil recap on the sample bottoms I embellished for my upcoming workshop, “Art Retreat Threads” at Art Is You, Stamford, this October.  One of the easiest and quickest ways to embellish a look is to use stamps and stencils with fabric paint. As this year is the 10th Anniversary of Art is You, I thought I would use both store bought and hand made stencils and rubber stamps to embellish these bottoms as a homage! I love wearing these cotton yoga pants when I am putting long hours in my studio…they are so comfy and yet have a creative flair.  Another little benefit is that should I need to run out to do errands, I wouldn’t hesitate keeping these on…cute in and out of the studio! IMG_3408   I am classifying overalls in the “Bottoms” category.  I have two samples to present! My first was actually a pair of overalls with shorts on the bottom.  I removed the crotch seam and turned it into a overalls skirt! IMG_3339 This piece was calling out for some journalling and so I responded on the back with… IMG_3346   And then with this on the front… IMG_3340 With a little help from a skinny belt, a bouquet of raw edged muslin blooms and some vintage lace around the unhemmed bottom, we were go to go! I can’t wait to wear these overalls this Fall! IMG_3430 I loved these overalls but they had one too many holes for me! So, I sewed in patches using reverse appliqué, added embroidery stitching and finally stamping with fabric paint to make them pop! For more on these overalls, refer to my blogpost….click here. IMG_3419 As you can see the possibilities are many to recycle, upcycle and alter clothing, that you already own and that fit you properly but are just sitting in your closet, are endless! Some changes, as you can figure, are quicker fixes than others but we will explore, and get to as many as possible in my workshop!. Registration for my class “Art Retreat Threads at Art Is You 2015, Stamford, CT is still open! Click here for more information.

Art Retreat Threads Recap: Tops


As many of you know, I am teaching a workshop, “Art Retreat Threads”, on  Saturday, October 10th, 2015 at Art Is You…Stamford, CT.  To show prospective students some of the unlimited ways the could recycle/alter/upcyle garments they already own into fun and unique pieces they can enjoy wear when making art at home or away.

I thought I would run a few posts to recap and to also introduce the workshop to those still considering classes at AIY.

Time for a Fashion Show!!

Today’s feature are TOPS.


As pictured above, I decided to stamp the name of my workshop on this little T to create a signature piece. Stamping is easy peasy. I used Jacquard Textile Paint and the dress form was drawn free hand. Acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium works fine too ( I have used acrylic paint alone and had no problem with it regarding repeated washings etc.).


Now Top #2 is more like a tunic. Can u believe this piece started out as a plain ol’ grey sweatshirt! I machine appliquéd the letters  and the flowers and then added a piece of white cotton eyelet, from a flea market found skirt, onto the bottom! Cuteness!



Again a outstretched old cropped sweatshirt. I thought I’d take the loose, cropped look a step further by adding batik fabric inserts on the side seams. The embellishment is a free motioned flower that I beaded.  For more on this, click here.

The last Top, is a homage to our dear Art is You Retreats that are celebrating their 10th year!


Under this nifty hoodie, is a baseball T. The number 10 is hand drawn, I will have it available for workshop attendees to use to make their own commemorative/anniversary pieces!. Using fusible on the wrong side of the fabric was the technique here, and I followed up with top stitching all around. For more on this T, click here.

These Tops are just some of the ways students can change up simple T’s, sweatshirts and button downs. A basic knowledge of hand and machine sewing is all you need!

There is still time to sign up for my workshop,”Art Retreat Threads” at Art is You, Stamford!!

For information and registration, click here.


“Holey Jeans”!


Here is the final installment of the so-called Unfortunate/Ugly Garment Stepsisters of the plain and simple. If you missed the last part of this series,  click here.

In this last part of the trilogy, I’m showcasing a pair of overalls. And again they are okay as is, but who in our creative community is satisfied with okay…meh!! Now I know the whole frayed and distressed look is still trending but I thought here is an creative opportunity if I ever saw one!

I started by patching up the holes from the inside with fun fabric scraps. Then added some embroidery stitching.



Here’s a couple leg shots! By opening up the leg side seams a bit, I could easily get in to do the work.

The pinks and blue patterns of the fabric scraps and the colorful floss, give it a little pop!

For many years, have loved adding words to my pieces so I stamped SEW on the front of the overalls, STITCH on the back and then a simple running stitch….


I loved helping out the Unfortunate Step Sisters get their looks together. What’s so fun about projects like this is that you can always go back and add more stitching, fabric paint stamping and trims! It’s your look to define!

In my Art Is You Stamford Workshop this October, “Art Retreat Threads”, I will be guiding you along to create your own garment transformations!

Click here to read more about the workshop

Simple Sweats


Thanks to everyone who has “Liked” and “Commented” on my last blog post, “Sweatshirt Fairy Tale”.  I received so many fun responses.  And as promised here is the first of three followup related posts, sequels to the aforementioned. As you may recall, our “Cinderella” Sweatshirt has some unfortunate step sisters (3), who are looking for a makeover. Today’s post features, “Sloppy Sweatpants.” Right away I’m feeling the need to rename these pants as they are really just simple not sloppy, seems more fair!

Our garment redo is a pair of Old Navy light weight navy knit pull on pants with a roll down yoga-style waistband. They are great for working all day in the studio or at a retreat.  Since my previous post featured several different altering techniques, I decided to keep this one very simple.  With just some fabric paint, stencils and stamps these basic pants are transformed!

When painting with fabric paint, I used Jacquard, always make sure you prewash the garment to remove any sizing used in the manufacturing process. My pants were ones I have had for a while, they have been in and out of the wash many times and have held up quite well!


I used  purchased letter stencils for the “Art is Life” and “Create”. I cut my own stencil for the number “10” from mylar with a utility knife. Also a good idea is to slip a flat pice of cardboard or some newsprint paper in between the fabric layers so that the paint doesn’t bleed through to the other side when applying the paint. BTW the “10” is to commemorate the tenth anniversary this year for the Art is You Retreats. The title “Art is Life” was the theme from a previous AIY Retreat…I just love that expression!

Always let your fabric paint dry overnight, if possible (a hand held craft dryer also works if you are in a rush!), and then heat set with a press cloth and a dry (no steam) hot iron.


Here’s a pic of “Cinderella Sweatshirt” and her sis, “Simple Sweat”.

If you love to sew, paint and embellish…please join me for my workshop “Art Retreat Threads”on at Art is You, Stamford CT on Saturday, October 10, 2015. Here’s the link for the class, click here

Stay tuned for the next chapter in this garment makeover trilogy!!


Sweatshirt Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was an old, plain sweatshirt. Nothing wrong with her, just a plain jane gray. You know the type.  Recently while I was sewing away in my studio, I heard this tiny voice calling from the closet.

“Is anyone out there?” said the voice.

I walked over, opened the closet door, pushed back some clothes and heard the voice again,

“Over here”, it said

“Well, hi there”, I said (just realizing I was in fact talking to a piece of clothing).

“Thank goodness you heard me! I have been trying to get someone’s attention for some time now.”said a sweatshirt. “My name is Little Gray (LG), and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed in here with all these clothes. Is there anyway you can please help me look cool like them?”

“Well of course I can, LG.  Let’s take a look at you and see what we can do.” I said

I told Little Gray about my upcoming workshop “Art Retreat Threads” at Art is You, Stamford this October and she immediately lit up!  “I’d be willing to be a class sample if you’d like…I really could use a makeover!” she said.

I said I was game if she was, so I began to make suggestions as to how we can change up her look.

“How about if we try a flower design:  free motion embroider the petals,  reverse appliqué and then bead the flower’s center?


Then we’ll stamp an inspirational word under the flower. Let’s add side pleats by opening up your side seams and inserting this batik fabric..that would look great. The neckline could use some trim,  maybe this stretch lace? To round out the design, let’s add some more free motion flowers on the front and back sides down by the pleats.  What do you think? I asked.















“Yes, yes, yes to everything!’ Little Gray said with delight!

So that’s just what we did. When I was done, I tried LG on and we looked into the mirror.

“WOW, I’m so arty and cool!” She exclaimed. “Thank you so much for this makeover, I feel so ready to rock this new look (very nice manners for a sweatshirt, I must say!)!.


Then LG asked, “I have a couple ugly step sisters, “Holey Jeans” and “Sloppy Sweats”, can you help upcycle them too?”

“Of course, LG, I would be happy to!” I said. So off we went to gather them up for their redo.

And they all lived happily ever after….to be continued!

Join me, Little Gray, Holey and Sloppy and a whole cast of characters (!) for a great day of re and up cycling clothes from your closet.  It will be such a fun, stimulating and transforming wardrobe experience!

To learn more about my workshop Art is You, Stamford                “Art Retreat Threads”, click here!

The Sketchbook Project 2015


Every year since its inception, I have submitted to a global program out of Brooklyn, NY called    The Sketchbook Project.  It is truly a challenge for me as I am not a fine artist, illustrator or painter. Fortunately the very good folks there support all forms and mediums and are open to the multi media, collage style of my books.

Not giving anything away here as the deadline date is March 31st.      But if you look closely, you can see the title on my handstamped paper book cover.  Having done a couple years of dress themed books (my fave!), I felt the need to try something new.  As in all of my previous submissions, all the pages are hand painted, collaged, hand lettered and often stitched. I also simply hand bind my books using colorful (bright yellow this year!) hemp binding thread. I don’t usually use the Moleskin type sketchbook that comes with when you sign up for the project. TSP also offers to digitally photograph your book for an extra fee, totally worth it, they do a great job.

Stay tuned for more pics and do check out their site! Off she goes!


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