Shibori Dyed Scarves

Shibori dyeing is a beautiful Japanese method of creating unique fabric designs. Check out this post about my first experiments with this method when I dyed cotton flour sack towels trying out different techniques. This time I dyed some pieces of cotton knit for scarves for gifts as well as a solid cream colored scarf I already owned. I am excited to try more!


Shibori-Dyed-Scarf Shibori-Dyed-Scarf Shibori-Dyed-Scarf Shibori-Dyed-ScarfShibori-Dyed-Scarf


Draw Even if it’s Not “Finished”

I am not always able to draw every day. I would love to be able to, and maybe someday that will fit in my world. But until then, I try to draw as much as I can when I have a moment for it. For awhile, I have kept to drawing things that I see in a picture that I have taken or that I have seen online.

Here’s is one I did a few weeks ago real quick as I watched a show with my hubby.











One day, I came across the drawings of Curtis Wiklund. He did a project awhile back where he posted a drawing every day. Since then, he still posts but less consistently. I think his drawings are adorable. I loved that each one of them was unique. Sometimes they were pen and pencil drawings, and sometimes they were drawn on his tablet. Some of them look full and complete, and some of them are half stick drawings. I am just impressed that he stuck with it. I get stuck sometimes thinking that I had to draw something perfectly in order for it to count. I know that if I let perfection stop me from drawing, I will never improve.

Drawn by Curtis Wiklund of

Drawn by Curtis Wiklund of

I love the pictures he draws of his family. I let that inspire me to draw what was happening at the time. So this is what I drew while we drove down the road in our RV. . .


We had a weekend trip in our RV for a church service and stayed in a different place every night. It was fun to have a new front yard every day.

Some of our front yards. . .
KC Front YardKC front yard 2GCA front yard





I have been wanting to try a one line drawing lately. So since I was inspired, I thought I would give it a go.onelinetree10-26-15

As I can, I will keep drawing because I know that is the only way to get better. And I know sometimes I will start drawings that never get finished, but that’s ok.



Learning to Quilt One Block at a Time: Appliqué

Appliquéing is the process of attaching pieces of fabric to another larger piece of fabric to form a picture or a design. Over the years I have sewn many appliqué projects using a satin stitch or straight stitch on the sewing machine. One of the lessons in the Craftsy 2015 Block of the Month taught me how to do needle turn appliqué by hand. This method creates beautiful “pictures” with fabric.

I did not have all of the tools used by the instructor so in researching this method online I discovered many different processes for achieving this appliqué look. With things I had on hand, here is what I did.

Using a light table I reversed the original pattern and traced the shapes and all labels and marks onto the dull side of a piece of freezer paper. The dots represented areas on each piece that would be under the neighboring piece. Each piece was cut out on the solid lines. These pieces of freezer paper became the templates for the appliqué.


I separated the pieces according to the fabric I chose to use for the design. Then each piece was placed on the back side of fabric allowing about 1/4″ seam allowance around each piece before ironing. I cut around each piece leaving a seam allowance to turn under.


On any piece with curves, I clipped only the inside curve of the seam allowance. Instead of using a regular iron, I have a muti-purpose heat tool with a small iron tip that worked quite well to press the seam allowance over the freezer paper template. Since I did not want to burn my fingers, a seam ripper worked great as my extra “hand.” The dotted areas which were to be overlapped by another appliqué piece were not turned under.


I lightly traced the basic position of the flower pattern onto the front of the quilt block basket I made in this post. Using my version of the needle turn appliqué method, I hand stitched each fabric piece into place (after removing the freezer paper on the piece I was working on.) The result looks beautiful!


I found this video which explains clearly how to do needle turn appliqué for you to watch if you are interested in trying this method of appliqué on a creative project.


Creative Every Day–Just Do it!

I have had a lot of changes in my life recently. And with change, there is always a lot of transition and trying to adapt to the new way of doing things. Because of this, the ways that I am creative day to day and week to week often look different than they did before. I have four kids that I am homeschooling as well as helping my husband with our ministry to families in the US. I don’t usually have dedicated time to do what I would have, in the past, considered creative projects.

One day, I had a revelation. I do something creative every day. I just don’t think of it that way. Whether it is something I cook, or something I do with the kids, or a card I make for a friend, I do creative things. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate project or a year long challenge to count.

I have decided that I want to share something creative I have done every week, even if it is as simple as going to my dance class. I put a lot of creative energy into that, plus I usually do something else that I can share about too.

I have had fabric to make My Princess a dress since spring. I made her an Easter dress, but then I didn’t use any of the rest of the fabric I had. I kept trying to find the perfect way to use it. A week or so ago, I decided to stop fretting about it being perfect and just do it!

Dress-3 Layers

I often have the hang up of wanting something to be perfect. I don’t want to use a page in a journal or notebook unless it is going to be exactly what I want it to be. I don’t want to be “wasteful.” The only problem is that I end up being paralyzed into not doing anything at all. You can’t get better at something unless you are willing to practice and make mistakes along the way.

So this dress was a just get it done kind of dress, and it ended up being really cute!

Dress-3 Layers

I love using inexpensive t-shirts for the top part of the dress because it eliminates the sleeves step that I am not as comfortable doing. It also makes it a quick project for an afternoon.


So if you are staring at a pile of fabric or a blank page, my encouragement for you today is to just get started! Just do it! It could turn out really great and somebody in your world will love it.

Dress-3 Layers

Hand Lettering as a Creative Expression

I love handwriting. As a young girl I was captivated with the beauty of cursive writing and spent hours practicing my letters and writing my name. I wanted the letters to look perfect— just like the teacher’s. I found some paper with guide lines just like what I used in elementary school. After years of writing fast (taking notes in college, and so on), my penmanship has morphed into part print, part cursive, and many times rather sloppy. It was hard to write slowly on this paper, fitting in the guide lines, and trying to remember the correct way of writing each letter.


Much controversy exists today concerning time spent learning handwriting— especially cursive. There are many who feel it to be a waste of time since we mostly use technology for communication now. However, studies are being conducted with the results showing that handwriting improves brain function. The older I get, I am all for improving brain function!

This article in the New York Times explores why handwriting matters based on several recent studies. For a quick read, this article in Mashable shares “7 Ways Writing by Hand Can Save Your Brain.”

Recently Melinda and I have both become fascinated with hand lettering as a creative expression in our art. We checked out some books from the library and are learning the art of calligraphy. Though I sometimes use wedge shaped calligraphy markers (which are not as messy), using a dip pen and black ink makes me slow down and think through what I am doing (because I don’t want to get ink all over me and the table and places I don’t want it on the paper!)Learning-Calligraphy

Hand lettering is experiencing a revival in the crafting world as people desire to add hand lettering to cards, mixed media, art journaling, home decor, signs, chalk boards, weddings, and so much more. Do a search on Pinterest with the words ‘hand” and “lettering” and you will be amazed at the number of pins available to show you how to do it, various styles, and ideas to use. Even in advertising we see a renewed interest in vintage style lettering. I read about a young lady who spent a week refusing to use her keyboard to write text messages by only handwriting her messages to friends and family using calligraphy, taking a picture of the writing, and sending that as her “text”.

I want to share with you some amazing inspiration by a young man named Jake Weidmann who is the youngest Master Penman in the world. Watch the videos and check out his website to see more of his work.

Listen to his Tedx talk recorded in Denver.

Are you ready to grab your pen and paper and start lettering? You don’t have to become a Master Penman (unless you want to) but you can start improving your brain by improving your hand lettering skills. Practice, practice, practice!

New Baby Doll Carriers

Do you need a unique gift for a special little one in your life? We have just added several new Baby Doll Carriers to our Etsy store.

baby doll carriers

Kids love their babies and want to hold them close and keep them safe just like real mommies and daddies. With a baby doll carrier, your child can keep her baby close to her heart all day long. If she wants to take baby on a trip with her, she can use the carrier to keep her arms from getting tired and avoid the risk of setting her baby doll down and losing it. Her baby will always stay close so that she can continue to have hands free to play. With adjustable straps it will continue to fit as your child grows. Your child’s favorite stuffed toy animal can be kept close in the carrier instead of a doll. Recommended for ages two and up.

If you want to make your own Baby Doll Carrier, we have the pattern available for instant download on Etsy as well.

Doll Carrier Pattern

A Shadow With a Story

The wonderful historic city of Savannah, GA is a place my mom,sisters, and I will always remember with fondness. One of many stories we heard about on our visit a few years ago was of “The Waving Girl”. A young lady by the name of Florence Martus spent much of her adult life making sure each boat that came by the island where she lived was greeted with a handkerchief wave during the day and a lantern at night. It is said she probably greeted the seamen and passengers of about 100,000 ships with her wave. The SS Florence Martus, a Liberty ship built in Savannah in 1943, was named in her honor. Rumors abound that the reason she waved at each passing ship was because she was waiting for a lost lover to come home. Read this article for more of her fascinating story.

After hearing about this girl we visited the beach. While wading in the water and watching some ships pass by, I noticed my shadow and it reminded me of the waving girl. So I decided to be the waving girl in shadow and snapped a picture.

Waving girl-beach-shadow

One of the art challenges in September for the Documented Life Project was using silhouettes with the theme of journaling with photos. The journal prompt was: “There is no shadow without the light.” I decided to do a watercolor painting of this photo combining all three parts of the challenge- a shadow that formed a silhouette on the sunny beach recorded (journaled) by a selfie photograph.

Waving-girl beach shadow watercolor

Experimenting With Shibori Dyeing

Last fall I purchased a beautiful silk scarf from a crafter. As we visited, she told me she dyed the scarf using the shibori method. Well, that was a new word for me and after explaining quickly how she wraps the fabric around a pole before dyeing it, I asked her to spell “shibori” for me so I wouldn’t forget. When I returned home, I looked it up online and became fascinated with the history and many techniques of shibori dyeing, determined to some day give it a try.

Shibori is an ancient Japanese art form of making designs on fabric. Some might call it tie-dye, but when I think of tie-dye, I see in my head bright neon colored t-shirts with some sort of circular pattern of colors. Shibori actually has as many as 15 different techniques to achieve unique beautiful patterns depending on how the fabric is folded, tied, stitched, bound, compressed, or wrapped. Each technique forms a resist for the dye which forms the patterns. Traditionally, the fabrics were dyed in indigo, a natural blue dye from plants, but today a variety of dye colors are used.

For a quick history of this beautiful form of art and craftmanship, read this post, and this post.


For my first adventure in shibori dyeing, I decided to use the rest of the cotton flour sack dish towels I had from my grandparents. (I shared how I used some of them for embroidery a while back.) I folded, tied, stitched, bound, compressed, and wrapped them first and then dyed them all together. Since I did not have indigo dye available, I used Rit navy blue dye. Sorry, I was in experiment mode and not tutorial mode, so I did not take pictures of the steps I took along the way. I will show you each piece before dyeing and then how it turned out. You can find many videos about shibori dyeing on YouTube.

The simplest technique was an accordion fold. I folded the fabric back and forth accordion style and then folded that long strip in an accordion fold. In the first experiment, I placed matching hard plastic lids on both sides of the folded piece and secured the lids with several rubber bands. As you can see in the photo of the dyed towel, the areas compressed by the lids did not absorb the dye. This technique is called Itajime Shibori, or “fold and clamp” shibori in which a resist is formed by shaped objects compressing the fabric.


I folded this towel in the same way as above, and used wooden apple shapes on each side of the folded piece. Since this was a smaller towel, with less folds, the apple shapes showed up fairly well on the finished piece.


The next towel was also folded accordion style both directions and then secured on each end with binder clips. I also put two rubber bands around the middle. The shape of the clips only show up well on the outer edges.


This time I folded the towel accordion style starting at one corner in a fan shape and then folded that strip accordion style as well. I clipped both ends with binder clips. (I forgot to take a pre-dye picture of this one!)


This next technique is called Arashi Shibori, or “storm” shibori (which makes sense when you see the finished product!) Starting with a short piece of PVC pipe I wrapped the flour sack towel around the pipe, winding string around the fabric and scrunching the fabric down every few inches. I put rubber bands on the ends to make sure my string stayed in place as I was pushing the fabric down. I really like the crazy lines this technique left on the dyed fabric.


In the next one I used a broken square plastic leg from a shelf and wrapped the towel around it in the same way as the PVC pipe (I thought!) I am not really sure what I did different from the previous one, but there was less fabric and I probably put it on without twisting as I wrapped. I also don’t know how I got the variation of shading, but I do like it. The square plastic also left a unique design. This is why I call it experimenting because I don’t know enough yet to end up with something similar a second time!


The next technique I tried is called Kumo Shibori, or “spider web” shibori where the fabric is bound around a small pebble or marble. I used wooden beads and randomly placed them on the towel and secured each in place with a rubber band.


Another technique I tried was Nui Shibori, or “stitched” shibori. Many different designs can be made with stitches. On this one I stitched straight lines by hand across the fabric and pulled the threads tight to gather the fabric. As you can tell by the finished product, my “straight” lines are a little curvy. That’s what happens when you freehand.


I folded the next towel in half and stitched three half circles on the fold with three lines of stitching each. On the unfolded edge, I stitched several rows of straight lines through both layers of fabric. All of the threads were pulled tight to gather.


This next technique is called Kanoko Shibori. In this method portions of fabric are plucked up by hand and bound tightly with thread. You can see in the photos the thread lines on the dyed fabric.


On the following towel, I used both the stitching technique and Kanoko. I sewed the straight stitches first and then gathered the threads after I made the horns.


On this towel I did a straight accordion fold for the first fold and then a triangle accordion fold for the second fold. Then I fastened each point of the triangle with rubber bands.


For this towel I made the first accordion fold and then pulled up a portion of the fold on each side in a zig-zag fashion securing each pulled section with rubber bands.


For some more ideas on folding, check out this shibori folding tutorial video I found.

Are you ready to give it a try?

I am hooked. I can’t wait to try more shibori dyeing and maybe figure out how to use more than one dye color.








Nautical Baby Gifts

A long time ago I purchased several desktop magnet boards on a clearance sale. I scraped off the designs printed on them and remade several of them for gifts. (You can see what I made in this post.) Recently we needed gifts for another baby shower. Since the bigger sister of this new baby was the recipient of one of my previous magnet boards (and her mom loved using it) it was an easy decision to remake another magnet board. The theme of the new baby’s room is nautical with a red, white, and blue color scheme.


I painted a cloth background in shades of blue and glued it to the metal. Then I cut out wavy strips of navy blue fabric and attached them with gel medium. I colored some white buttons with alcohol ink and glued heavy duty magnets to the back.

The whale was made by sewing two pieces of fabric and a layer of batting together, leaving an opening to turn right side out (after clipping the seam allowance at the curves). I glued a googly eye and used a permanent marker to draw the mouth. For the back side of the whale, I cut a piece of stiff plastic (from a food container lid) just smaller than the body of the whale and glued it to the fabric. The magnets were glued to the plastic.

I did not make the anchors. I purchased charms from Michael’s Craft store and glued magnets to the back. The back and bottom sides of the magnets board were covered in felt.

Melinda used four small canvases and covered them with coordinating paint, paper, and buttons for wall decor for baby’s room.


Interview with Stoneybrooke (Inspiration)

I am happy to share with you several posts about a great friend of mine, Linda Lee. I first met Linda when her son came to our Junior High class when we were youth pastors at church several years ago. She started helping out and began bringing crafts for the girls to do before service started. The girls (and some of the boys) loved it! She is a beautiful, giving person who LOVES being creative. I have loved seeing her share her different mediums of art and creativity, and I hope you enjoy taking a little peek into her life too.

This is the final of a series of posts featuring Linda Lee, AKA, Stoneybrooke.


Jon and Linda

Linda has so much creativity that I couldn’t contain it all in just a few posts, but here is the rest of the interview with her words of inspiration and encouragement.


Inspiration from nature

What kinds of things inspire you to be creative?

I would say nature inspires me. If you can’t get out and about, the internet allows you to be an armchair traveler to all sorts of inspiring natural destinations.

I’m also inspired by music. Allison Kraus just gets me in the mood to make things.

And scent. Warm vanilla and cinnamon scents help set a creative mood for me. For that matter, any yummy dessert baking does it for me too.

Color is also a huge inspiration. I love an autumn pallet and red, in most muted shades, is a color that gets me creating.

Stretchy pants feel inspiring to me, but maybe that’s going too far?


Altered composition book to use as a journal

If you were stranded on a desert island what 5 things would you want to have with you?

Can I say an airplane and crew to get me home?  lol

But if you mean what creative tools would I want? My spinning wheel and knitting needles, colored pencils, my journal and Bible.

What are your favorite ways to be creative?

Knitting and spinning yarn are big favorites, of course. They are a core creative outlet for me.

However, this year a new interest has been added to my creative life. (Never fear fiber is not being replaced). I have fully embraced art journaling. I do that in a special journaling Bible and a composition book I created for that purpose. It is amazing to see what happens when you get out some markers and glue, or a kids watercolor set and try to illustrate a truth from the Bible, a key thought in your mind, or something beautiful you see.

I feel like a kid again. I’m discovering new ways to use color and trying my hand at putting images on paper. It has added a new dimension to my time of studying the Word for sure and I am looking at the world God created with fresh new eyes. Study the face of your child long enough to draw it and you will see that you develop a new appreciation for that child and for the Creator.


Page from Linda’s Bible

What encouragement can you give to someone who is just discovering their creativity?

For those who are pre-wired for creativity, the mere suggestion of an idea is all you will need to begin. To you I say embrace creativity and run with it. See where it leads. And find fellow creative enthusiasts that you can share with, and get inspiration from.

For others, you might worry that you aren’t talented enough. Negative thinking not only doesn’t feel good, and isn’t productive, but it literally makes your brain and body not work as well. Creativity is about flexible thinking and imagination. It’s also about adding joy and beauty to your life. Those are all great things. So decide ahead of time that negative thinking will not be allowed in your creative space. Any effort should be rewarded with massive praise, and a few “Yay Me’s” thrown in for good measure. If that’s too hard to do, imagine you are talking to your young child. If they showed you their best scribbles, would you not be delighted with them? Just do your best, have fun, and enjoy the process.

If you just can’t see the value of creativity, let me say this. Creativity is good for your brain and good for your spirit. When you think and do creative new things you are building new neural pathways to a healthier brain. You are improving your powers of observation and your ability to really see things in new and more detailed ways. You are adding to your dexterity and coordination. You can also improve your retention of new material to learn, when you reinterpret the information artistically. When you create something you like, it is a real boost to your spirit. It makes you happy. So don’t discount it until you try it.

I recently shared my love for art journaling with a good friend. She felt art wasn’t her thing. But she was brave and tried it. Today she went to Joann’s and bought markers to expand her tools for journaling. She is loving it and finding it very calming and good for mental clarity and focus. And her art is improving!

If you don’t know where to start, look outdoors for one thing that makes you happy. Or search the Internet for inspiration by typing a word and browsing images. Try drawing that one thing. I prefer working on smaller pieces of paper. They don’t feel as daunting. Just get something down on paper. No judgement. No worries about perfection. Or watch some YouTube videos and try your hand at painting, or scrapbooking or knitting or crochet. Whatever it is…I encourage you to just TRY It!

That should be my official motto for this time in my life.  “Just try it”. Don’t let your creative dreams stay forever a dream. Take one step toward that dream. One step at a time and you just may get there.


Rug hooking

Anything else you want to add about creativity or what you do?

I believe that everyone should discover what makes their heart sing, and I have discovered that creating beautiful things does that for me. I believe creativity is a healthy part of a well rounded life. If knitting and painting aren’t your thing, maybe you could be a creative cook, or gardener, or find creative ways to enrich the lives of co-workers. Being creative is about expanding your world and adding joy to life. That’s something everyone can benefit from.

And I believe we should exhaust ourselves in this life, chasing the dreams God has put in our hearts. We all should be in the business of discovering every bit of who God made us to be. You are uniquely and wonderfully made. You look just like your Daddy in Heaven and He is creative and so are YOU! He wants you to fill a special role on this earth that only you can fill. He wants your heart to fly and soar. So don’t emulate anyone but the Creator and who He made YOU to be. His life for you will always be the best life possible!


A page from Linda’s art journal inspired by a verse in Isaiah

Thank you so much Stoneybrooke for sharing yourself and your creativity with us! You are amazing.

You can follow Linda and her daughter, Brianne, through their blog at and through their Knitworthy Ravelry group. Check them out on itunes and Youtube.

Read the first three posts about Linda and Stoneybrooke:
Interview With Stoneybrooke (Introduction)
Interview With Stoneybrooke (Podcast)
Interview With Stoneybrooke (Generosity)