Thursday, November 20, 2014


I have been exploring creating some art journals using Karla Nathan's (Karla's Cottage) online class, Creating An Art Journal. I started with the Hardcover Book Journal as described in the class...

I was inspired by an old magazine ad for silverware, the demure belle in the ad reminded me a little of Melanie in Gone With the Wind.  I imagined that she like to dance in dainty silk slippers under glittering crystal chandeliers with pale pink roses pinned in her hair as the ribbons and lace of her dress flutter at each spin...
I picture her as a sentimental sort who collects mementos from her memorable moments and pastes them in her scrapbook, a quaint poem her first collection...
Vintage paper pages await being filled with her artful fancies...

A tiny clasp with dainty golden key keep her secrets locked away for only her eyes to see...
A pile of pretties await their turn at being pasted in.

Next I followed her Vintage Cabinet Card Folder Journal and am in the process of making two versions as described in the class.  I used two vintage upholstery fabrics for one and a favorite old sweater for the covering of the other one...
Both are very much still in the works...

I am enjoying so much inspiration from this class!
I hope to have them finished soon.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


TOME:  A volume forming part of a larger work; book

~ Merriam-Webster ~

 I have been working on small parts of larger works, tiny tomes created to mimic antique books for some new jewelry designs.  Books have always played a large part of my life.  I was an early and avid reader as a child.  Books were my friends and means of travel, escape, and doorway to knowledge.  As an only child they were often my companions.
As a child I played "library".  On most Saturdays I would set up my "library" in our formal dining room using the big lace covered dining table as my desk.  My mother indulged me by letting me remove items from a shelf or two of her whatnot cabinet and fill them with my books.  I created library cards for the neighborhood children and our rarely used front door became my grand library entrance.  I would sit on a stack of large books piled up in a chair so I would appear more adult and invite the children in the check out books.

My mother would often take a break from her Saturday cleaning and read a story to the group.  Now, my mother was not and is not an animated type of person, she is pretty no nonsense, but you put a book in her hand and as she began to read aloud a transformation took place.  She would relax and the best part was that she did the "voices" of the characters.  One of the begged for neighborhood favorites was The Tales of Uncle Remus.  Being from the South and growing up in rural farm community which boasts a twang and language all its own, she would lapse back into her native dialect, it was both enchanting and fascinating to hear.

My mother read to me every night of my childhood.  I often lay in bed staring at her lips as they formed the words and listened to her voice lift and lilt with expression and feeling.  She never tired of reading and I could beg and beg for another book and she kept going until I fell asleep.  I think we both sort of missed those times of reading aloud when I grew older.  We still read together in the same space only quietly and separately pursuing our own tastes in tomes.

She was the first one to foster my love of words and reading.  She was the one who influenced and introduced me to the magic of moving through worlds unknown, places of imagination, and she gave me the gift of books.

I am hoping to foster that same gift to a few of those on my gift giving list this year with a custom jewelry piece inspired by books and the library as well as nice hardbound volume that will take them on a magical journey of words.

What is your all time favorite book and/or book related memory?


Thursday, November 13, 2014


"My connection to the earth is reinforced through the rhythm of the waves."
~ Mike Dolan ~

"Serenity by the Sea" mixed media necklace:
I recently viewed a new video class, Mixed Media Etched Jewelry, by Ruth Rae through my Craft Daily subscription (it is also available for purchase through the Interweave Store).  I am enamored by Ruth's artwork and loved getting a chance to learn from her via video.  I used some of the tips and techniques in her class to create a new piece of jewelry.  While I did not follow her tutorial exactly as I did not have all the metal etching supplies on hand I did not let that stop me from diving in and doing what I could with what I did have.  That said I have metal supplies on their way and can't wait to try my hand at etching!
Some of you asked how I would use the hand made beads from my own free embellished fabric bead tutorial in a piece of jewelry and this was a perfect opportunity to incorporate a couple.  Here they are below: 
Ruth's class sample was demonstrated as a wrap bracelet that could be worn as a necklace.  My piece is just a necklace.  I was most proud of being able to make my own closure, never done that before!
I used her crochet, wiring, beading, resin, sewing, joining, and clasp forging techniques in this piece.  I chose to create my piece with a summer feel, that of a stroll along the shore incorporating glass beads, stone chips, cultured pearls, and tiny shells.  I titled this piece Serenity by the Sea based on the feelings of serenity, peace and calm that accompany a visit to the shore.  I applied those words to the back of each sewn section, tucked away like sweet summer memories.  
The piece can be worn either way.
Thanks Ruth for sharing the inspiration of your teaching.  Ruth also has some other fabulous new videos as well as a couple of new books with fellow artist Kristen Robinson out and I want to explore them all!

What is something new and artful you would like to explore?


Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I know that like me many of you have turned your thoughts towards Christmas crafting whether it be making gifts, ornaments and holiday decor, or filling shops with custom items for sale.  I wanted to share a little reminder of the Quill Cottage Christmas site where you can find a grouping of my FREE holiday tutorials that have at one time or another been featured here on my blog.  

For a full listing of the tutorials visit A Quill Cottage Christmas, scroll down to the bottom of the blog where you will find an archive linking list.  All tutorials feature photographed step by step instructions with variations on each project.  I have placed a clickable icon on my sidebar for easy access.

Besides the tutorials that share a variety of ornaments, tips, and techniques, you will also find an Advent celebration that my family I share with friends and family featuring a handmade center piece idea for using in each weeks gathering plus a program guide.  I hope you will join me for the holidays.

Happy Holiday Crafting!


Monday, November 10, 2014


wishing a fond farewell to fall...
its warm breath puffing out like dandelion dander...
as it dances out on dainty feet...
a celebration of seasons end...
autumn begins...
to tiptoe in with a riot of color...
barren branches, spent flower, glittery morning frost...
goodbye summer, hello fall...
a little art journaling, playing with paper dolls and leftovers on my art table.

happy fall ya'll!


p.s.  I cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for the outpouring of support and encouragement I received from my last post.  I am reveling in the freedom to just create in my own way and carve my own path where ever it might take me.  My creativity has been renewed and in the span of just a few days I have gotten six new projects completed.  It feels great to be me again!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I am sure I am not the first person this has happened to...I lost my voice,  not my literal speaking voice, my creative one.  I lost the voice that imagines and makes art, the one that stings together thoughts and turns them into words, the one that directs my minds eye to see, feel, hear, taste, touch, and create in my own tactile unique way.  I fell victim to the voices of advice from others. While advice is a wonderful thing that can spark a new direction or reroute a train of thought onto a broader path but it can also get into your head and derail you.  Advice is meant to be guidance or a recommendation but it is ultimately up to me to decide if that is best for me. 

While trying to decide a direction to take I thought I would educate myself in a few areas to help get my bearings.  I took a couple courses that seemed a good fit and started making a plan.  I consulted a few professionals who gave me great advice.  What was supposed to encourage and energize me became information overload and I let myself feel like I could never be a success or reach my goals if I did not do it the way that was pointed out.  Labels were being bandied about, things like "marketing" "target audience/customer" "branding" "tag line" "platform" "social media presence" "finding your voice" "reigning in content" ...etc. that literally stifled my creativity.
In the midst of trying to connect with other like minded creative types I decided to check out a local art group.  It felt more like an interview than a gathering.  I failed the interview...after questions about what I make, what my art pedigree was, if I had had any gallery showings, did I teach, blah, blah, blah, I received a sniff of disapproval as I overheard a cluster of members snarking that I was one of those "Outsider" artists.  In their eyes being self taught equals untrained and untalented.  Also, this group was made of primarily painters (oil and water colorist), they did not understand my art and I left feeling no desire to further our relationship.

I cannot say exactly when or what happened but I literally could not get past my self doubt.  I could not compose a thought to write.  I would sit in my studio for hours and just look around, no creative spark or idea.  I would try to putter with this or that but my heart was not in it.  I tried focusing on my blog by sprucing it up and mostly sat on the "create a new post" page watching a blinking cursor in a white block of space.  I thought maybe I could focus on social media more, pitiful attempt on my part, its just not my thing.  I took my camera on field trips and it never left the shelter of its bag.  I was stifled and stagnant, my voice was simply gone, until I read these words...
"...Do not let your splendor be dormant, show your colors...." {Cherie Haas}

With Autumn right outside my cottage windows color is ablaze in hues of red, yellow, brown, green, and orange against a stunning backdrop of a water blue sky, I am in awe of natures show of color.  I am in wonder at natures ability to stay true to its self, its seasons, its times, its talents, and its treasures to be found in each stage of times turning.  Nature does not hide who or what it is with its energized lush blooming spring moments, nor does it change its slow and lazy summer days followed by a burst of showy color each autumn just before it slips into its barren quite winters.  It keeps a steady rhythm of doing what it is meant to do how and when it is meant to do it and it never doubts its plan or purpose. 

I am reminded of Matthew 5:15, you don't light a lamp then put it under a basket...I had snuffed out my own light with doubt and trying to be who I am not.  I may not have a big successful huge voice because I am not following "the rules" to success and I am perfectly okay with that because starting today I will be true to myself, my abilities and talents, finding my own steady rhythm of expressing my artistic voice.  With this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, no longer dormant.  Like autumn, I will show my colors.
I encourage you all to unleash your splendor and show your colors, reflect and emit your own unique light!


Wow, that was a lot of words, I think I got my voice back :)  
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