Turkey Work

I learned a new embroidery stitch called Turkey Work, otherwise know as ghiordes knot. This stitch creates a plush pile on the surface of the fabric. The reason I decided to try this stitch is because I have a set of towels embroidered by my grandmother many years ago.


The towels are getting rather dingy and worn looking but the stitch she used had me intrigued. It looked almost like a chenille design but many washings have probably made it look that way. After much searching online, I finally decided Turkey Work was the stitch she used.


I used an inexpensive white towel to try to replicate one of her designs using cotton yarn I had on hand. I think if I had been able to use light and dark shades of yarn like she did it would have looked better. I just wanted to see if the stitch would work! I am not sure if it was the quality of the towel, the thickness of the yarn used, or the size of my needle, but when you look closely, you can see that some lines of terrycloth are missing around my stitching. Several times a thread from the towel would become tangled in the yarn as I pulled the needle through. This picture is after I took the embroidery hoop off the towel before washing.


After washing the strands of cut yarn were not quite so wild. I also had to do a little more trimming of longer strands after washing.


The way the stitch is made creates its own knot so the cut strands of yarn stay in place. If you want to learn how to make this stitch, follow the instructions on this video.

Tissue Paper Texture in Mixed Media

The art challenge for week 22 in the Documented Life Project was “textured paper”.  To start, I brushed watered down school glue onto my page and laid a sheet of randomly scrunched up tissue paper on top of the glue. I pressed the tissue down with my fingers, brushing additional glue under the overlapping pieces of tissue. Then I brushed glue over the top of the whole thing and let it completely dry. Here’s a darkened closeup picture of the glued tissue paper:


After the glued tissue paper was completely dry, I studied the texture to see what kind of picture might emerge from it.


I saw a gnarly tree in the texture, so I used Gelatos to color my page, blending the color with water. The underlying base of tissue paper texture adds unique features to the finished art piece when using the Gelatos.Textured-Paper Tree-Mixed-Media

Free Online Art Class for Kids of All Ages


Acrylic Painting by 3 year old Miss Tickles

Are you looking for fun things to do with your kids this summer? Spend a week exploring creative art with online video lessons from painter, illustrator, and creativity workshop instructor, Carla Sonheim, joined by artist-teachers Lynn Whipple & Diane Culhane. Everday from July 27-31, 2015 they will post a video lesson for you to watch, and then you get to create. The materials needed are simple basic art supplies and you can complete a lesson/project in about an hour or less. The lessons are free and the class materials will be online and available for you to access at your convenience at any time.  However, you do need to sign up!

Kids Art Week

If you don’t have kids or grandkids or neighbor kids to create with, you have permission to sign up for the class and do them by yourself. It’s OK for you to find the kid inside of you and enjoy playing again!



We just passed another milestone at in a Tickle. The previous post was our 400th blog post since we started 26 months ago. We are amazed to have found that many things to write about! When we started, if someone had told us we would write that many posts in barely over two years, we probably would have choked. We didn’t have to come up with a list of 400 things to write about in the beginning. We started with one week at a time and after a while our thinking changed from what can we do and write about to seeing everything we did as a potential blog post. The hardest part was remembering to take pictures—just in case.

We are also amazed to have people accessing our blog from all over the world. Just in the first six months of 2015, people from 146 countries have visited at least one page on our blog. To be able to give creative inspiration to someone in a country we would never have opportunity to visit inspires us even more. In the beginning, we were excited if twenty people (who were related or knew and loved us) would read our posts. Now, we are excited to have about 300 people a day reading posts. That may not sound like much compared to some bloggers, but our readership continues to steadily grow. We love the feedback received from those who have expressed to us how something we’ve written about has inspired them to pursue their own creativity. That is why we do what we do. We want to help others see that they are creative beings made in the image of their Creator.

For those who have thought about expressing your creativity through blogging (writing, cooking, parenting, art, dance, music. crafts, sewing, spiritual growth, and the list of possibilities is endless) we would encourage you to choose what you love to do, start doing it, and then keep going. Take one day at a time.

In case you are curious, here are the top three posts that are accessed almost daily:

Coconut Oil For Burns

Cushion Slip Covers

Homemade Gelli® Plate

In case you are new to our blog,  there are 397 other posts you can catch up on!

Cheesecloth and Other Textures

The art challenge for week 21 in the Documented Life Project was to use cheesecloth as a texture medium. I know it is hard to believe, but I do not have cheesecloth in my stash of fabric. So I did the next best thing—improvise. I took apart a gauze bandage for my “cheesecloth”.

For the base of my project, I used a paper textured with wall spackling paste through a stencil I made when experimenting in this post. I painted it with acrylic paints and then toned down parts of it with white gesso.


It reminded me of a bright colorful flower garden and gave me inspiration for the direction to take this challenge. While working in my garden lately I have run into more spider webs amongst the leaves. The “cheesecloth” had a weblike look to it, so I sprayed it with blue fabric paint, let it dry and glued it across the painted spackle for a web. Since I was headed in the direction of a garden in this piece, I decided to use the two pieces of candlewicking embroidery I made (see this post). However, the garden was too bright colored for the white embroidery on white fabric, so I used Inktense Blocks to color them as well as adding doodles with permanent marking pens.

More flower shapes were cut from muslin scraps and sprayed with fabric paint. For stems, leaves, flower centers, and more butterflies, I cut shapes from Gelli® prints I previously made. When I make prints on my gelatin plate, I save all the prints (even ones that I don’t think turned out well.) Parts of some of those prints make wonderful cut pieces on cards and other projects. I added shading with a colored pencils.



The quote I found (by anonymous) fit my garden perfectly. “The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower is a tethered butterfly.”


Embroidery by Candlewick

In my stash of craft supplies from many years ago are packages of candlewicking yarn. I remember making several Christmas gifts once upon a time using this yarn. At least one gift was a beautiful table runner and I had intentions of making one for myself (which never happened!) I decided to refresh my memory on how to do candlewick embroidery. The supplies are simple— unwashed unbleached cotton muslin, candlewicking thread, needle, and embroidery hoop.

Candlewick embroidery became popular in the colonial days as families headed west to establish new homes in undeveloped territories. Traveling in a wagon did not allow much room for anything but the essentials. However, the women still wanted to express their creativity and add a touch of “home” to their meager surroundings. The cotton thread used to make wicks for candles was put to use as well to embroider pretty designs on plain unbleached muslin fabric. Rather than doing fancy embroidery stitches that used larger amounts of thread (as in satin stitching) they created outline designs with mostly a series of sturdy knots which came to be called colonial knots. The colonial knot looks similar to a French knot, but supposedly holds up better.

I drew a simple butterfly placing dots for the knots on the fabric with a vanishing marker and stretched the fabric into an embroidery hoop. Depending upon the size of the design, either two strands or four strands of the candlewicking yarn can be used. More strands produces a larger knot. I used four strands for my design. If I had used two strands, I probably would have put the knots closer together.

Candlewicking-Embroidery supplies

To make the candlewick colonial knot stitch:

1. Bring the needle up through the fabric from the back to the front. Make a backwards “C” with the thread and stick the needle through the “C” as shown.
2. Loop the thread around the back of the needle as though forming a figure eight.
3. Pull the end of the thread to make the thread snug around the needle.
4. Poke the needle back into the fabric right next to the original hole as you hold the thread taut.
5. Push the needle through to the back side of the fabric as you continue holding the end of the thread taut.
6. Gently pull the thread from the back side of the fabric until the loop is completely closed.
7. And you have a colonial knot!

Candlewicking-Colonial Knot-Stitch-Steps


Here’s a quick YouTube demonstration I found:

For the body of the butterfly, I did a back stitch using only two strands of thread. After making the butterfly, I added some swirly vegetation to the design. Notice that I did not place dots on the swirls, I just drew a line and estimated where to put the knots as I sewed.


After stitching, the pieces were washed by hand in hot water and hung to dry. The process of washing the muslin in hot water after stitching causes the threads of the fabric to shrink up tight around the knots making them more durable.


I pressed the pieces from the back side to smooth out the wrinkles. (Laying the candlewick embroidery face down on a towel or other soft surface while ironing makes it easier to press without smashing the knots.)



I’ll show you in the next post how I used these two small candlewick embroidery pieces in a mixed media project.

Wall Spackling as Texture in Mixed Media

For week 20 of the Documented Life Project, the art challenge was to use modeling paste on the page to add texture. I did not have any craft modeling paste, but I did have a small container of lightweight wall spackling paste (used to fill in nail holes, etc on walls) that I decided to try.

My inspiration for this page was a photo I took on the deck after a rain.


I used my finger to rub the spackling over a woodgrain design stencil onto the paper. After the spackling paste dried, I painted over it with acrylic paint and then lightly sanded the raised texture to give a weathered wood look.


For the leaf I painted with watercolors on watercolor paper, then cut out the leaf shape and glued it to the woodgrain.


The grandkids thought this project was one of the best. They enjoyed getting the spackling all over their fingers and using the various “tools” I gave them to make fun textures.


And here are their creations after painting.

Miss Tickles:


My Princess:


Ninja Boy:


Melinda’s creativity right now is focused on figuring out what they need and how to fit it into their RV, which will be their home full time for a while as they travel for their ministry. After she gets settled in, you will be seeing more posts from her again.

Digital Creativity

You might be wondering why it seems to be so quiet at In A Tickle the past couple of weeks. I’d love to say we were all on vacation at some tropical beach, but that’s not the case. We’ve actually been quite busy.

Melinda’s family sold their house and had a couple of weeks to get moved out, sort what goes into storage, and into a garage sale, and what will go with them in the RV (still to be obtained.) They are moving into an RV full time and taking their ministry (BecauseFamily) on the road traveling around the USA to help strengthen families. Grandma and Pa’s house/driveway will be a home base for them. Their kids are excited about the adventure.

Last week Melinda and her husband focused on creating a video that is the first of a series they plan to produce. Melinda shot video and did voiceovers, Michael is the main character, and even the two oldest kids participated with their acting skills. Michael used his creative editing skills to finalize a great video about the movie rating system. If you have children or grandkids, be sure to watch and learn.


This week, they shot another video in our garage to advertise the fireworks stand they are doing to raise money toward their ministry. Even if you don’t live close by, you will have fun watching Michael and Ninja Boy in this crazy ad! Go to THIS LINK.

This week was also Dance Recital week, so lots of hours of rehearsal and two performances for everyone but the baby. Melinda and the three oldest dance, and Michael is the official stage manager for the recital.

Meanwhile, between helping Melinda out with kids and moving and garage sale, I was busy finalizing a website I have been designing for my sister’s new company, Aerosol Devices Inc. If you are in the field of aerosol research, check out their new instruments for collecting aerosol particles. If you are not into that and just want to see what I’ve been doing, you can check it out at AerosolDevices.com.

All Stitched Up

The art challenge for the 19th week of Documented Life Project was stitching.

For this challenge, I pulled out a box of small fabric scraps and picked out pieces that were small enough to not need cutting. I arranged them on a piece of fusible bond on top of a piece of interfacing . When I liked the arrangement, I used an iron over the whole piece to bond the fabric pieces to the interfacing. Of course there were pieces overlapping that were not touching the fusible bond, so I cut tiny pieces of the fusible bond and placed them under the overlapping fabrics and ironed them. I was not concerned with trying to stick down every edge, but wanted to make sure the fabric pieces stayed in place while I stitched. The I “doodled” with embroidery floss making random stitches over the whole piece.


I didn’t have any sewing stuff with me while I worked on this page, so I decided to draw some cross stitch. One of my favorite shows is Doctor Who, so I drew the Eleventh Doctor and wrote out some of his lines from different episodes.



For the kids, I asked them to draw a simple picture on cardstock and then let them punch holes in the paper along their drawing lines for their stitching holes.


Then they each got to pick out embroidery thread which I threaded on a blunted needle, showed them how to sew and they did the rest. They were so proud of their creations.


My Princess:


Ninja Boy:


Miss Tickles:


You don’t need to purchase fancy “sewing cards” to teach your kids how to sew. The grandkids were more excited to be sewing on their own drawings than they would have on something pre-made.

Painting Fabric

For the month of May the theme for Documented Life Project was Touchy Feely (Texture) and the art challenge for week 18 was Fabric. The journal prompt was “The Fabric of Your Life”.

I used a scrap of leftover fabric from a dress I made for one of my girls many years ago for a performance. The white fabric had a textured design printed on it.


My inspiration for the challenge was the newly blooming columbine flowers in my garden. I planted them last year and they only grew leaves, so it was exciting to see the blooms this spring.


I drew my design on the fabric using Derwent Inktense Blocks and then blended the color with water. The white design printed on the fabric created a slight resist for the color. When it was dry, I added some lines with black marking pen.



I haven’t been at a place where I could use fabric lately, and I finally had some time to work on DLP. I decided to draw my fabric by drawing some dresses inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest. I used water color pencils and water with a watercolor brush. To add some detail, I used fine tip Sharpie and a white gel pen. I kept having the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” go through my head, so I added a verse.


Someone recently commented she loved the fact we were doing the Documented Life Project as a multi-generational activity. The kids are enjoying trying new supplies and techniques in their journey of discovering what they can do with their creativity. They jumped at the chance to try out my Inktense Blocks on fabric.


My Princess:


Ninja Boy: