I wish every project involved silk or velvet ribbons...
The Birdsong journal for my class needed velvet ribbons. It is really hard to find affordable velvet ribbons anywhere!!! I found them in white at Dharma Trading, and while there, fell for the silk too. And the dye, and some scarves to dye, and well, more than I should've bought.
I've been a fan of this dye for years and use it a lot, for many things (including bottle brush trees, wool roving, and tie dye).
For ribbons, I didn't bother with instructions, or presoaks. These ribbons are meant for journals, not sewing on clothing that will be washed.
I've also used koolaide or food coloring to dye ribbon, and that works fine too.
Since I bought the ribbon in bulk, but didn't want it all the same color, I had to remove it from the spool. It needed to be re-rolled up to dip dye (like I did crepe paper here). A pencil worked great to roll it back up and I stored the rolls in a plastic tub so they wouldn't unroll again.
Each roll got dipped halfway into the dye.
Some I used one color on and left the other half white.
Others, I flipped over and dyed the other half a second color.
These small bundles were left to drain on paper towels for a couple days.
The pile of ribbons in the back? Those are nicely crumpled instead of rolled, and were left all smooshed up to dry with that wrinkly effect.
For this, I just dunked a bunch of ribbon, and squeezed out the moisture, and left it to dry still scrunched up.
This is some ecru silk that was done that way. If you don't want the solid color ribbons crinkled, hang them up to dry instead.
You should wear gloves.
If you want the dye to bleed, dip the rolls in water first.
Mix your dye in small batches, it doesn't take much. And try the color very diluted first, it's easy to add more dye and re-dip the ribbon if the color is too pale. If it is too vivid, you can try dipping in clear water, or holding it under running water, but that might not take out enough of the color. Start light, work up to darker. You can dip a paper towel in the mix to see if you like the color, if you aren't happy with the shade, add more dye or more water before using the mixture for the ribbons or lace.
If you want a two color ribbon with white in the center, barely dip the edges in to the dye.
While I had the colors mixed, I might have dyed a few more things too. Newer white ribbon dipped in ecru dye sure looks nice and old afterwards.
And this fabric was a bit too gray for my purpose. I'm sewing it to these canvas bags, but I wasn't happy with the original color (right) so I dyed some in pink, some in ecru.
Both did a good job of taking out the cool tones of the gray. I knew some dye would be the solution to the cloth not matching the bag. But the cloth was such a good deal, I couldn't turn it down. I found a bunch of it for a dollar at the Victorian Trading Outlet center, they use it on their ironing board covers. And I love the roses.
Especially topped with robins!
Happy St Paddy's Day!
This picture is from a display at Victorian Trading Company's outlet store in KC, KS.
They have all the holidays covered there, year round.
If you ever need a Santa fix about mid summer, this is the place to go. Of course, you can always wait a couple days and most stores will be hawking their Christmas goods about then....
But year round Halloween is harder to come by. They have lots of it here!
As well as stock up goods, like apothecary jars.
And pretty things, just to treat yourself.
It is my number one favorite place to buy a new coat. And many of my clothes are from the clearance rack here.
You never know what will be in stock, but I've discovered that if there aren't many clothes to look through that day, there might be a whole, huge selection of some other things that I had no idea I needed, but fell in love with when I saw them.
The catalog is something I've drooled over for years, before discovering that the one and only outlet store is right here in my area.
It is a very unassuming place, in a warehouse district.
Much more exciting on the inside than what you'd think from the outside!
The manager has offered a special gift, of this pretty, soy candle to all the Birdsong Peeps in town for our party June 5-6th. And a nice discount coupon too! How generous of her.
Last year, many of the ladies stopped by to shop, so I thought I'd ask if the store would like to do something for them this year. And Diane, the manager, was happy to help out. She even remembered some of the ladies by name and is looking forward to seeing them again.
You can find out more about Birdsong here. Or click on the button on my sidebar to go to the sign up post if you'd like to join us.
Or, maybe you'd like to be a sponsor too? If so, please email me at:
Deb Mitchell, a friendly blog reader has sent a package of birdie charms for the tweet bags. It's my first package to arrive for the event and I was so excited to open it. Over the years, the BEST stuff has come in the mail for our Peeps to share. And it gets to be like Christmas as the packages start rolling in! Thanks Deb!
PS- I've got 50% off the Boutique right now. But you MUST use this link:
to get to the sale site. If you go through the regular link, the 50% off won't register. If you can't click on it to get to the page, you might want to try cutting and pasting it to your browser. Thanks for helping me spring clean!
For quite a while, I've known what my 2 Birdsong classes will be, but I have had to wait till I pulled together all my materials before I could finish the examples for the class.
When I take a class, I like to see a full photo of what I'll be doing, not just a snippet of a corner. It's good to plan for variations and extras that I'll want to pack to personalize the project.
And when I teach a class, I have to know that the examples are accurate. That I'll be able to find enough of each item needed to make sure every kit is equal and of the same quality as every other kit.
But while I do want the kits equal, I do like them to have some flexibility and choice. So, I've got options for the students. These books can be made with the canvas as the outside cover, or as the lining. I've got a few selections of vintage fabric to use along with the canvas.
And I have been hand dying velvet ribbons to coordinate with the vintage curtain fabric and barkcloth that I've purchased to create the covers.
As well as hand painting little charms to dangle from the ribbons of each book.
(back of the book)
There was no problem with finding plenty of old lace, I have it by the bucket load out in the studio. I'll be measuring and cutting it to stuff the kits with, and since it is vintage and the velvet is hand dyed, no two books will turn out exactly the same.
That is my favorite part of a class! I adore looking around the room and seeing all the individual takes on the project.
This class will show step by step how to create a journal from a provided pattern based on an old cabinet card photo folder.
And will include some old photos to add to the books.
After we have assembled the books made of old, floral fabrics and canvas (no sew), the foofing will begin, with lace, velvet, millinery, ribbons, charms, and a vintage picture.
This book has the floral fabric used on the inside cover, instead of on the exterior of the book. All the books will tie shut with soft ribbons topped with sparkly bits of rhinestones.
On day two, for my second class, we will fill the pages up. I have pages of tips on doodles, lots of vintagey goods, and plenty of images and wallpaper to provide to make each book a work of art.
Each student should be able to leave the weekend classes with a completed book, some finished pages, and lots of ideas on how to complete the journal at home, as well as a fun bag of supplies to work on the rest of the pages with.
Three very talented and interesting friends came to join me for a craft day in the studio. Lesa Dailey is going to teach at Birdsong, and it was nice to get a chance to catch up on details about the upcoming party. Although, it was hard to fit in business talk when Carol and Debbie have such fun stories to hear, it's always fascinating to hear what is going on in their world of design and vintage goods.
I asked Carol to get a snap of Lesa and I together for the Birdsong blog, but I'm afraid, besides that, I didn't have my camera out for much of the day.
I've been making "doodle pages" for Birdsong 5, to include with the journal kits filled with old papers, and vintagey goodness. My friends were kind enough to try them out for me.
I've colored in a few myself too.
I've made a few of these, some are examples of ideas on how to make one yourself, along with some tips on elements you can use on your own page. Others are completed pages, ready to color, to get the feel of making one.
And really, just because it is fun to color. How often do you get to do that as an adult??
I had to force myself to step away from the markers, after a point, because I was putting way too much time into these pages and could have sat at the kitchen table and colored away for weeks. I did spend an entire single week doing it, before I came to my senses and was able to move on.
But I still feel the draw of the markers, and would love to sit and doodle away....
So, I was extremely pleased to see that my friends understood the lure of the markers too and had a good time coloring themselves.
These ladies also brought presents!!!!!! Lesa made this hanky/brooch bracelet and the glittered basket.
Pretty, isn't it? And such a simple and sweet idea.
Deb brought gifts from her store, which is a wonderful shop. And an even bigger gift, she has offered to be a Birdsong 5 sponsor, with a gift for each of our ladies who come to visit her at Top Hat Mercantile. It is in the Old West Bottoms Antique District.
And while about half of the shops will be closed on the Sunday of Birdsong weekend (our classes are Friday June 5th and Saturday June 6th), Deb's store is one that is open. And to tell the truth, there are SO MANY shops there now that I usually can only make it to half anyway.
So, if you are planning on coming to Birdsong (by the way, I have a couple spots left), you might want to plan on spending Sunday in KC. The shopping is pretty durn good there!
Carol brought me a hyacinth, in the same pink as the tulip I had on the table. What a perfect pairing!
And what thoughtful gifts. You know what the best part of getting little hostess gifties is? After my friends are gone, I have these momentos of the fun day.
PS- If you'd like to be a Birdsong Sponsor, please contact me for details. My "Birdsong Ladies" (as Sugarwings calls them) would love to have your gifts in the goodie bags, otherwise known as "Tweet Bags" or as a door prize.
While getting ready for a Valentine Craft Day with friends and family, I scanned a few old cards to print for the group.
If you'd like to use them too, just click on the picture to open in a larger window, save it to your computer from there to print.
Here is a page of labels that I'd made for a Valentine journal class a while back. I don't know if I shared them before, but thought I'd do it again if I already have.
The treat cabinet got a sprucing up while getting the room set for our party. I taped up some vintage rose wallpaper, right over the old, green toile roses already glued to the inside of the cabinet. I'm sick to death of, ready for a change from the green, but didn't want to go to too much work. This is far from perfect, but I like the idea of being able to switch it out. And the toile roses make a nice background to the pink roses.
Like the new beverage dispensers? I splurged at Victorian Trading Co. because I couldn't resist this floral pottery one. Pink roses???? Well, of course, I NEEDED IT!!
Then, I saw the cut glass one. Elegant and timeless.
What to do???
Well, Birdsong 5 is coming up, so I bought them both. I think they will be delightfully useful. And it felt good to not be so cheap, like I tend to be. Well, they were on clearance....
And guess what? While shopping at the one and only, Victoria Trading outlet store, based in KC, I talked to the manager about being a Birdsong sponsor. She offered to have a gift for each attendee who stopped at the store that week before Birdsong. How nice of her! And my Peeps usually drop by to visit the shop while in KC on their way to Lawrence , so I think they will like it, don't you?
If you'd like to join us, we still have seats. Info can be found here.
There was some squealing when I opened the text that Lori Oles sent to me and I saw this.
First of all, yes, everything she makes is just wonderful and it is hard to pick a favorite. But I just might have done it. This has to be a fave. I love it. And am so thrilled that she is teaching this project at Birdsong 5.
Layers and layers of fabric, ephemera, and lace, with a pretty (pre-sewn) pocket filled with natural elements.
I'm very much looking forward to making this one. If you'd like to make one too, please check out the Birdsong info page here.
Last week, I grabbed my journal along with a handful of pens and markers and headed to Beth's house for craft day.
Her space is jammed beyond imagining with the BEST stuff. Oh my goodness, I love peeking in the cabinets there.
I knew I didn't have to bring much with me, she has anything I'd need. ( I always check out the trash can too. Including when she comes to craft day at my house. The stuff she tosses can be really nice)
And I scored in the trash can. She'd thrown away a very nice, old book. I tore a page out of it to glue into my journal, and started doodling on it.
She also had been telling me about this book that she'd received for Christmas, and after hearing her talk about it and then seeing my friend, Laurie mention it on her blog, I was intrigued.
Here is what Beth had been working on from the book.
Well, I'm all about doodles and could use a dab of Zen in my life so I started drawing. I think we were laughing and having too much fun for me to reach a Zen state, and I didn't exactly pay mich attention to the book, but it was a nice little push for me to create a page.
It was a little different than what I usually do, I normally doodle around words. But with words or without, you can't go wrong with an afternoon of drawing when you are visiting with a friend.
Here is one I did previously, with words. It was a coloring sheet for the Nature's Blessing Journal swap. You can see the style isn't much different than my zentangle attempt. I like to get inspiration from the lessons of others, but still make a project my own. And when I teach a class, I always hope the students will do the same, so I provide options for them to try. This page was copied before I added the color and included in every book, so that the artists could each color their own page however they liked.
Hmmm, I think I'll make a page for the journal I'm teaching at Birdsong....
I love an excuse to do more doodling!
And guess what???? I already told you that my BFF Beth is going to be a co-teacher for my journaling class at Birdsong 5, right? Now, I've got more news.
Hope is going to co-teach too!
Yep, I've got art journaling royalty coming to show us some tricks. And boy, is she tricky. That girl has some smooth moves. I can't wait to see what both of them have to offer.
Yippee! I'm beyond thrilled with the line up of talented friends coming to share their knoweledge at Birdsong.
Beth and I finally had a chance last week to have a play date and exchange Christmas gifts. Here is what I made for her.
She is as much of a journal junkie as I am, so I figured I could indulge my own love of making books by creating this one for her.
I bought this little framed photo of best friends when I was at a flea market with Beth, so I thought it was fitting to add to the cover.
These laces are both cut from the curtains in my house. I have very old lace curtains at the window and they got a bit shredded on the ends from blowing around when the window was open, so I had to chop them a little shorter.
The interior of the book is lined with canvas drop cloth, and the pages are card stock.
The "latch" is cut from an old necklace.
The exterior is remnants from the slip cover I made for my couch.
This is my idea of "Using the Good Stuff". Although, to some people, the ingredients might sound like trash. Trimmed pieces of torn curtains? A broken necklace? Scraps from a slipcover?
What makes supplies "GOOD STUFF" isn't what you pay for them. It's an item with a lush feel, something special, or sentimental. Maybe something old that you found at a flea market. They can be one of a kind, or just your very favorite kind of thing.
Now, some GOOD STUFF, can certainly be brand new and from a hobby store, of course. It can be any supply that you just plain old adore.
My idea of using the GOOD STUFF, is delving into supplies that I really love and feel like they need a special project for.
And then NOT saving them for something special. Anything you use them on becomes special by using the best supplies. I feel like any project worth my time is worth my best goodies.
But when I am making something for someone extra special, I'll use a double dose of goodies for her. This book is loaded, layered, and piled up with pretties. I hope she enjoys using it, half as much as I enjoyed making it.
I have not yet got my prototype put together for Birdsong. But I do know what I am making. And I promise, the kit will be over flowing with GOOD STUFF!
Last year, I couldn't stop making books. And I am still loving the process and making more and more. So, I simply have to do a book for Birdsong 5. How could I not? I'm more than a little bit obsessed with art journals lately.
So, my 1st class will be creating a journal, and embellishing it with lace, rhinestones, and millinery flowers. We will make it from the ground up, step by step.
My 2nd class will be about filling the book up. I'll provide a big, ole, scrap pack of fun and inspiration,, along with guidance from myself, and tips from Beth about designing pages. You'll get two for one teachers for the second day, Beth and I will teach together!
If you'd like to come to our classes, we'd love to see you here. And I know that you will just love these talented friends of mine, too!!
Wow, five years??? How lucky am I to have such a great group of friends come to Kansas each spring to visit me and be a part of Birdsong?
We will be having 2 classes, plus lunch on Friday June 5th, with dinner, wine, shopping and swapping that night. On Saturday, there will be two more classes, with lunch. Coffee, tea, and plenty of goodies will be served throughout.
At Birdsong, you are a guest in my cottage, it is relaxed, casual, and homey. No dress codes, (heck, I've sometimes forgot to change out of my slippers for the day), we just hang out in the studio and on the patio with friends, creating and laughing.
Class kits will provide 100% of everything you need to create something lovely, you just bring the suggested tools. And they will be taught by my delightful buddies, Lori Oles and Andrea Singarella. as well as myself.
Cost is $395 and can be broken up into 3 payments.
Registration is now open to anyone who has attended any of the workshops in my home or has donated to the goodie bags for Birdsong. It is so meaningful to me that many past attendees want to return each year. Thank you so much!
I'll open it up to new friends after our buddies have had a chance to enroll. If you are interested, please contact me for an invoice at:
I hope to see you here!