Category Archives: Challenges

Mission Complete

The Messy "before" picture

The Messy “before” picture

So the fiber area is 90% organized. The only things left are the large bins of fabrics that are 3 or more yards. The are in the closet and are Too large to put in my little bins. I will have to wait till I move downstairs before I decide where and how I want to fold and store those. Plus there is a box of patterns I need to sort thru.

The cleaned "after" picture

The cleaned “after” picture

I am so pleased with my progress. Notice the empty shelf areas! I purged a lot of stuff. Several bags are ready to go to the thrift store and two full garbage bags are just gone!

I did discover that a couple of my small scrap drawers smelled mildewy. This was my own fault. I often leave the windows open up there, pretty much all summer.  But it is Seattle and it rains… So obviously these plastic containers, which are right by the windows, were getting rain and then keeping the damp fabrics closed up tight in this plastic bin. Hence mildew. The nice big pieces of fabric that smell, I will wash with some vinegar and try to get rid of the smell. A bunch of scraps I just tossed, not worth trying to clean. This won’t be an issue anymore after the move downstairs.

Project in progress

Project in progress

I got it cleaned up enough that I decided to make a project. I am making a visual journalling travel supply kit. I need to figure out a way to best fit my favorite pencils, pens, papers and collage tools. I found a few blog posts online that made similar things, but I don’t like following patterns, and nothing was just right, so I am just making up as I go along.

I do still need to finish organizing the paper area then the computer area.

Ribbon and Trim and Lace, Oh My!

Next up on the sorting chopping block is the trims and notions. I started with sorting and organizing thread, needles and sewing supplies. I got all of that settled and moved on to the trims. I had several shoe boxes, plastic bags and random bins filled with trim, ribbon, laces and other junk!

A small fraction of dumped out trims, ready for sorting.

A small fraction of dumped out trims, ready for sorting.

Then I cut a bunch of chunks cardboard that is standard size for rickrack and binding. Bonus they fit perfectly into a set of plastic drawers that weren’t being optimally utilized. Sitting for a while, winding trims into the boards was almost meditative. Plus I got to see a ton of trims that I didn’t even know I had.

Finished trim organized by color.

Finished trim organized by color.

I also got rid of several patterns I will never make, unfinished projects I don’t care about anymore and a bunch of ratty, old trims that I will never use. Still lots to do, but making progress.

On To the Fiber

While I am not actually done with the paper area, in my true ADD cleaning fashion I have moved on to the fiber area.

The Disorganized fiber shelves of Doom.

The Disorganized fiber shelves of Doom.

I watched a couple of great videos on how to fold fabrics… While it isn’t rocket science, there are some tips and tricks to make your fabrics fit neatly. So inspired by some of these videos, I dumped my bins of small novelty fabric pieces out and got to folding. There are pieces that range from fat quarter to a yard or maybe two. I cut a chunk of cardboard that would make a fold to fit back into the clear larger shoebox tubs I was using. Then I folded and sorted away the hours. I resisted tthe urge to iron everthing. It was too hot to do that and would have added hours to the process.

A finished bin of folded fabric.

A finished bin of folded fabric.

I still have some bigger bins of larger pieces of fabric, and then the scrap drawers to deal with before -just- the fabric will be done. But the small progress I have made feels really good. I ditched a bunch of fabrics that I know I will never use.  I took pictures of a bunch of fabrics that I really like and need to come up with projects to use. Still so much to do, but making progress.


Clean and Purge

To prepare for moving my studio out of the attic, I am spending some time purging and organizing my supplies.

Monday I worked on the paper area. This is an old view of that area. But I had several of these plastic drawers and tubs filled with a ton of different types of supplies. Since paper collage is now my main medium any more, My goal is to reduce this down to one set of 7 drawers.



I was brutal with my culling. I have so many old weird trift store magazines and books that I thought I would use for collage… But now they aren’t really to my taste anymore. They are too ratty to donate, so they went into the paper recycling.



2015 The Big Summer Project

Well, this blog has been dormant for YEARS! As has my artwork. This is the summer to change that!

Basement room in progress

Basement room in progress

I haven’t made artwork in years and part of that is because my studio space has not been easy to use. The attic has been problematic for a number of reasons: too hot or too cold, depending on the season; only access is by ladder which my knees can’t handle anymore; and the dogs hate it when I am up there. So not that our basement roommate has moved on we are repurposing many of the rooms. Along with that a deep clean and repainting as things are moved around.

I already finished painting and cleaning the basement room. Next we move Shawn’s books and computer down there. Then I will temporarily move the bedroom to the spare room to allow for cleaning and painting of the bedroom. Next I will do the same for the living room. Finally, I will paint and clean the spare room and move my studio from the attic.

Part of the studio move will require new furniture, including a fabric cutting island. I will also sort and pare down supplies to focus on fiber arts. I am hopeful and excited that the new studio arrangement will allow me to work more often and more easily on my art.

As part of this, I am taking an online class called “craft cleanse” which has assignments geared towards clulling and sorting supplies to make your studio space more usable. I plan to blog as I go along with these assignments and to show the progress on the overall project.

Meanwhile I am pinning lots of ideas on Pinterest.




Today’s Word is “CHERISH”

To meet today’s word challenge I started by thinking about what things I cherish. (Treating something as an object of affection or as valuable.) 

One of the things that I continue to work on throughout my adult life is the idea of cherishing MYSELF. Why is it so many women find it easy to put everyone else ahead of ourselves when it comes to love and care? I am spending a good portion of this summer doing things for my self-care. Eating right, making art, going on long bike rides, learning new recipes to explore new foods.

Other things that come to mind quickly that I cherish is my dogs. They usually make it easy. 🙂

Staying OUT of the kitchen while mommy cooks

I also cherish my family, my home and garden and the fact that I have a great job that allows me to be artistic and creative.

Blue is the color that jumps to mind for this word… but I will see what else grabs me in the studio.

What do you Cherish?


The word I drew from my word jar yesterday was Cycle. I started by pulling a bunch of green fabric scraps. The idea of “cycle” just made me think of green for a bunch of reasons. For one, when I am out cycling these days there is SO much pretty green trees and plants. My allergies don’t care for it much but I love  looking at all the beautiful green. As much as it rains here, and I get tired of all the rain, it still makes our area so lush and beautiful. Another reason that green came to mind is the idea of cycles meaning growth and the seasons. Right now we are in the growing, green season. My garden is filled with green.

Then I cut all the green into circles. Circles make me think of my tire wheels… that are part of my bicycle. Also the idea of a cycle is that it comes back around from start to finish, so a circle is the perfect symbol for it.

Cycle B4 Beads

After I laid out the circles I decided they should become pea pods. The peas are one of the main crops I can harvest right now so there are lots of them around. But I was also thinking about the protective shell around the peas. I am in a fun, but sometimes difficult cycle of my year right now. As a teacher I have the summer to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. But without any structure I tend to get lost and antisocial and even depressed. This year I am  working on creating a protective shell around myself and my goals to provide some structure.

Cycle after beads

Using beads, ribbon and trim I grouped the circles into some pea pods. I added some buttons too as little peas within some bigger ones. I also like how the white trim with the green sequins ended up looking like a bike chain.

I meant for this to be a quick one day per word type challenge. More of a doodle art starter type thing. But I really enjoy hand sewing/beading work, which takes a lot longer. I am thinking actually that this might meld into my Beaded journal Project piece, since I am behind on those and really this is pretty much the same idea as the BJP.

Sometimes it is hard for me to decide when a piece is done, when to stop adding to it.  But I feel good about this one. Although I still have to figure out how I want to ‘finish’ it for display purposes. That part seems to hold up a lot of my pieces, so they end up just sitting around in piles in these not ready to display states.

Inspiring Words Challenge

For the summer I decided that I NEED some inspiration to get myself into the studio and creating. I put out a call to my friends for some inspiring words. The idea will be to grab a word, randomly, and then go create a quick and small work of art based on that word.

Here are the words I am choosing from so far:

If you have a word to add to my word jar, please drop me a comment with your ideas and I will add them. If I pick YOUR word I will send you some art based on that word.

Today’s Word is “CYCLE” (from the inspiring words site)

This is a great word for me right now! For those that don’t know I am working my way to a 100 mile bike ride by the end of this summer. So far my longest ride has been 60 miles. If you want to read more about my fitness and cycling adventures, that is on my Sweat 365 blog here.

But CYCLE also has a number of other meanings too. Every summer is the beginning of a new cycle for me. The time of renewal and reflection as I decompress from the past school year and prepare for the new year. It is also a time in the growth cycle of my garden where things are starting to fruit and flower, with early crops being harvested and more planting for fall. I am also in a renewed cycle of health and weight-loss as I refocus on my food and fitness. I have extra time to explore with new recipes and foods.

Now with all these thoughts in my mind I will head up to my studio and look at fabrics and papers, colors and trims to see what I can create for this first word. Pictures soon!

Summer Challenge


(An example of some of the art I do for my classroom, a FUN line doodle assignment. This one is with oil pastels and water color paint on water color paper.)

School is starting to wrap up and I will finally have some time to get into the studio to make some art. But I am still struggling with inspiration. SO I am asking for YOUR help!

Starting on June 28th I am going to do 30 days of one-word prompts. I will pull a word from a hat and then make a small fabric or paper art collage related to that word. The goal will be for the work to be finished within that day, but I will leave work open to additional time if needed. The main goal will be to get into the studio and work for a solid block of time each day during my summer vacation.

Send me some words! Looking for things like concepts, places, and emotions. This year my guiding word is “journey” so I would be happy for any of the words to fit within that theme, but that is not required. I haven’t decided what I will do with the work once I am done, or if I will keep to a standard size. BUT I will do a PRIZE drawing from all the comments on this post for ONE of the finished pieces at the end of July.

Post your words in the comments section below.


WIP Beaded Journal Project

jan 2010 WIP Beaded Journal Project

The Beaded Journal Project has begun again. The third round of this amazing project begins with January 2010 and will end in December. The goal is to make a beaded work of art that is a visual journal representing that month. You can read more about the project at the website. This year there are hundreds of people participating. I am part of blog #3 along with 100 others.

So this is my January page in progress. Last year, I did alter style pages that were big (8″x 10″) and an odd size, which is making it difficult to finish them off in a professional looking manner. But it will be done, eventually! Meanwhile I move on. This year I thought about a doll shape either flat or 3-D. But I decided that would be pushing it again. Last year was really my first exposure to beading and it was a wonderful challenge. I decided on a small (4″x6″) size and a basic postcard shape. I learned quite a few things from Robin in her class, so these are not multiple layers with batting (like last year’s, which added to the complication of finishing.) Instead just a simple piece of paper backs the fabric.

I chose “Journey” for my guiding word for 2010, so these pages will hopefully be in tune with that word as well. But I have also been very interested in the tree as a symbol lately. I like the idea of growth, the protection of bark, the stability of roots, and even the element of annual life, death, hibernation and rebirth. This month’s page represents that symbol.

I still have quite a bit that I want to do on this page, but it is moving along smoothly.