Tips and Tricks for Drawing on Fabric

Art, DIY

I really love to draw. But I also love fiber art. So – what’s one of my favorite things to do? Draw on fabric! To me, drawing is the foundation of all art and I love bringing it into the fiber-verse whenever I can.

Drawing on fabric has a few different use cases including:

  • Artwork: If you are like me, then maybe you want to draw a masterpiece on a piece of cotton. If you’re not like me and don’t understand why one would want to do this, think about all of the fun embroidery and sewn elements you can add to the drawing when it’s done on fabric!
  • Embroidery designs: I love drawing embroidery designs right onto the cloth. 
  • Sewing projects: Sometimes you need to draw out a pattern or indicate cut lines.

Whatever your reason for drawing on fabric, there are a few tricks to keep in mind to keep the process fun and frustration-free. Here are my top tips to get you started:

  1. Iron out those wrinkles: Or steam them out! You won’t want those pesky wrinkles getting in the way of your design and tripping up your pen. I have a travel-sized steamer that I keep in my studio that I love using for these occasions. 

  1. Pick the right drawing tool

I you’re drawing an embroidery pattern or making marks for a sewing project, then you’ll want to use a marking pen. I love this pen by Dritz because the ink is disolvable by either air or water, depending on what side you draw with. This is great for making marks that you don’t want to be permanent.

  1. Be wary of bleed

If you’re using a marker, or pen and ink, be wary of ink bleeding through to the other side. To be on the safe side, do your drawing on a drawing board or place scrap paper beneath the fabric. I’ve had this board since college and use it for soooo many projects. It’s my on-the-go studio space!

  1. Add texture

Bring your drawing to life with embroidery! I have a penchant for hand embroidery but adding stitching with a machine is also a lot of fun. Utilize French knots for even more added texture.

Mermaidembroidery1

The Perpetual Creator a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Whipped Mocha Frosting and the Cutest Dessert Stands

Food

This weekend we celebrated my husband Andy’s 35th birthday! This was really exciting for us as it was the first birthday celebration we were able to host in our own home (our last house was waaaaay too tiny to host his large family all under one roof). It was really great having everyone over for what turned out to be a lovely afternoon spent indulging in entirely too much pizza, ice cream and cake covered with Andy’s favorite frosting: Whipped mocha.

Typically, I pair this frosting with marble cake and an apricot filling but it really does taste great with any kind of cake. Andy actually asked for a devil’s food cake this year and the added chocolate made the dessert extra decadent.

I was really missing the apricot filling though so I decided to also whip up a batch of yellow cupcakes and fill them with apricot preserves!

While I’m still very new to cake decorating, I tried to make both the cake and cupcakes fun by piping details with a star tip and throwing some colorful sprinkles on the cupcakes.

Adding to the whimsy, I displayed the treats on stands. Doing so really helps elevate your display and makes grabbing for a treat extra fun for your guests!

The Pioneer Woman cake stand featured in these photos is so adorable and I honestly leave it out on my counter all the time. Its farmhouse charm adds to my kitchen decor and it is perfect for storing all kinds of goodies including cookies, bars, brownies and doughnuts. I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite kitchen items!

img_4929.jpg

I’m also loving this cupcake stand, which holds up to 13 treats. One thing I especially love about it is that it unscrews into three pieces, making it incredibly easy to store in your cabinets. This also makes it portable for displays on the go! Bring it to parties or family gatherings for a more sophisticated display.

To check out my recipe for whipped mocha frosting, click here. I promise you’ll use it again and again – it’s so tasty!

And to shop the items featured in this post, click on the links below:

Large Chalkboard

Pioneer Woman Cake Stand 

Wilton Dessert Stand

The Perpetual Creator a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

A Creative Practice in Mindfulness

Wellness

I’m willing to bet you’ve heard the word “mindful” before. It’s a bit of a buzz word. A hot topic. But what exactly does it mean to be mindful? This is what Dictionary.com has to say:

a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique..png

In layman’s terms, mindfulness means focusing on being mentally and physically present, and using that time to check in with yourself. Practicing mindfulness has a lot of great benefits including:

  • An increase in gratitude
  • Decreased stress
  • A more positive outlook

It can also do wonders for your physical health. For instance, slowing down and practicing mindful eating has been known to aid weight loss. And meditating before bed is shown to help you have a more restful sleep.

Bottom line? In a society that praises multitasking, it’s important to remember that our self worth is not based on how busy we are. There  is a lot to be said of slowing down and taking life one thing at a time. This actually helps us enjoy our experiences more and aids us in getting to really know ourselves.

So how do you become more mindful?

There are many different ways you can practice mindfulness including yoga, journaling, meditation or even just using your daily commute to check in with yourself and ask yourself how you’re doing.

Today, I’m sharing an interactive book that is particularly helpful for creatives looking to become more mindful. I know it definitely helped me! Published by Flow Magazine, “A Book That Takes It’s Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness” is basically a Godsend for those looking for a creative way to become more in-tune with themselves.

The Amazon description will tell you that this book is essentially a “mindfulness retreat between two covers” – and I couldn’t agree more! I love how this book mixes reading with interactive activities. It’s basically an activity book for adults. (What else could you ever want in life?)

Some of the activities include:

  • Collaging
  • Journaling
  • Stickers
  • Drawing

And all of the activities share a common theme: Slow down and enjoy life. 

This book is perfect for creatives looking for inspiration, lovers of books and anyone looking to become more mindful. This book would also make for a terrific gift.

To shop this title on Amazon, click here.

How to Take Your Weavings Beyond a Basic Scarf

DIY

One of the biggest questions I get about weaving is, “What do you do with the weavings?” or “Can you make more than just scarves?”

I love approaching weaving from an artist’s mindset, meaning I like to weave works of art that convey an idea or concept. This might be weaving a specific pattern or color to convey a feeling, or adding embroidery to tell a story. So for me, I don’t feel the need to necessarily “do” anything with my weavings because they do something on their own – they’re art!

The other approach to weaving is from a crafting, DIY perspective. In answer to,”Can you make more than just scarves?,” the answer is absolutely! There are soooo many things you can weave. Some projects include table runners, dish towels, blankets, coasters and pot holders – to name a few.

These projects are all straightforward (or, I should say, rectangular) and don’t require any sewing. But what if you feel like moving beyond the basic rectangle?

In that case, the possibilities are endless! 

This is something I’m just starting to explore more myself, so I know how scary it can be to take a pair of scissors to your precious handwoven cloth.

Before cutting into your weavings, there is one very, VERY, important investment you need to make: Fray Check. This is the magic that’s going to make cutting into your weaving 10,000 times less scary. Seriously. ✂️

This product is an absolute Godsend and you can buy a two-pack on Amazon for under $10. Worth. Every. Penny.

So what exactly is Fray Check you ask? Essentially, a glue that helps keep your cloth from fraying. Designed for sewers, it works just as well for weavers! Using Fray Check, you can bind your cloth together where you’re going to cut it.

Both of the projects featured in this post I put together with the help of my handy-dandy friend, Fray Check.

How to use:

  1. Decide where you will be cutting your cloth and run a line of Fray Check across. (Do this in a well-ventilated area).
  2. Allow the Fray Check to dry.
  3. Once dry, turn the cloth over and put a corresponding line of Fray Check on the other side.
  4. Once the fabric is completely dry, you can go ahead and make your cut! Use sharp scissors to give yourself a nice, clean cut.

Use this trick to start transforming your beautiful cloth into different projects. If you’re nervous about fraying edges, you can also run stitches across the edges to make them extra secure. Depending on the weight of the yarn, you can either run the cloth under the sewing machine with thread or hand sew it with yarn leftover from your project.

As you can see, I transformed this green, checked weaving into a small pouch (perfect for stowing pencils, erasers, and other art supplies!) and a sketchbook cover. I love that I was able to get two projects out of one small weaving. It definitely makes warping worth your while. 😸

Not sure what you want to make first? Check out some of these ideas on Pinterest.

Sleep Better with This Natural Remedy

Wellness

Spend any amount of time with me and you will quickly realize one thing: I can’t sit still. Twenty five years into my life and I’m still learning the concept of “relax.” Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, working, making art, playing with the dog, learning a new piece on the piano, reading, writing, etc., etc., etc., I always have to be doing something. Always. Hence the name of this blog! I just can’t help myself.

Usually, this is a good thing. I’m never bored and I’ve truly mastered how to prioritize my to-do list to make sure I have time for everything I want (and need) to do.

Like everything else though, being busy also has its downside. Because I’m always on the go, I have a really reeeeally difficult time unwinding to go to bed at night. Aside from having my energy levels up all day, I also struggle to shut my mind down – so many things to do tomorrow!

Point of the story: I’m not good at relaxing. BUT it’s something I’ve been working on. In fact, one of my resolutions for 2019 is to get more sleep (5.5 hours a night just isn’t cutting it anymore) and so far, there’s been one important thing that has been helping me accomplish my goal: lavender essential oil.

I was first introduced to all the benefits and uses of lavender by my in-laws, who are in the process of growing their new lavender farm. Some of the benefits of using lavender essential oil include:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Better sleep quality
  • Headache relief

I decided to work this miracle plant into my bedtime routine and for the past few weeks, have been using this diffuser, purchased on Amazon, to diffuse lavender essential oil in my bedroom before going to sleep.

The scent is heavenly and it definitely helps me relax before shutting down for the night. ✨

If you’re looking for a more powerful dosage, you can also apply essential oil directly to your pillow, either through drops or by leaving some dried sprigs on your pillowcase a few hours before going to bed.

So far, I’m loving incorporating lavender into my bedtime routine – it really does help me relax! Not to mention it smells amazing. 🤗 I’ve even started placing dried lavender bunches throughout my house for scent and pops of color.

To learn more about drying florals, click here. 🥀 And to learn more about Hillcrest Lavender Farm, click here.

The Easiest Way to Preserve Fresh Flowers

DIY

One of the things I loved most about my wedding was the flowers, especially my bouquet. 💐 I had gone through two consultations with my florist prior to the wedding but, admittedly, was having a difficult time imagining what the finished product would look like.

I had brought several inspiration photos to the first meeting and was dismayed to learn that most of my desired florals weren’t in season. My florist assured me that her suggested alternatives would be just as a beautiful and, leaving it to the professional, I trusted all of her suggestions.

I remember getting ready the morning of the wedding, somewhat frantically running around doing 8 million things but stopped dead when the flowers were delivered. They were gorgeous – prettier than I could have ever imagined.

Janitz bridal portraits-2.jpg

And my bouquet? Breathtaking. Leading up to the wedding, I definitely questioned my own vision from time to time (totally normal for brides) but felt so happy with all of my decisions when I saw that bouquet. It was the proverbial icing on top. Holding that bouquet made me feel like a bride.

Janitz bridal portraits-10.jpg

After the wedding, Andy and I immediately started getting ready for our honeymoon to Maui and Kauai. I was incredibly excited for our trip, but kept thinking how sad it was that all of my flowers would die while we were away.

I was on a mission to preserve some of these pieces and made a special trip to my florist’s shop before embarking on our honeymoon. After talking it through with her, she provided me with a simple solution to preserve my flowers for many years to come. She even showed me her own preserved flowers from her son’s wedding – over 20 years ago!

Following her advice, this is what I did to preserve my wedding bouquet & Andy’s boutonniere (and spare boutonniere – which, by the way, is an excellent low-budget add that is totally worth having in your floral proposal should anything go awry).

Step 1

If preserving multiple flowers, tie the stems together tightly with string.

Step 2

Spray flowers lightly with hairspray.

Step 3

Hang flowers upside down in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Closets are perfect!

Step 4

Allow them to dry for a week or two.

Step 5

Once dried, feel free to give them another dose of hairspray.

Step 6

Take them down and enjoy them forever!

I’ll admit, I’m super excited about how our florals turned out and have been enjoying displaying them in our home. They are a great every-day reminder of how perfect our wedding was and how exciting our life together is bound to be.

Wedding photography: Blushwood Studios
Floral designer: The Floral Fantasy
Wedding gown: Circa Bridal Boutique
Hair & makeup: Dayna Rae Beauty

Fudgey Chocolate Cut-out Cookies 💞🍫

Food

Chocolate cut-outs are admittedly delicious any time of year, but they are extra fun around Valentine’s Day! I made a batch of these decadent cookies this year to give away to my co-workers and family members, and left a few for my husband, of course. 😘

The dough whips up super fast and you can even make it a few days in advance. If you choose to do so, just be sure to wrap the dough in plastic wrap tightly to prevent air from getting in and drying it out.

While I’m writing this post for Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to get creative and use this recipe all year round. I love my Wilton cookie cutter set because it allows me to make cookies for literally any occasion.

Christmas, Saint Patrick’s Day, dinosaur day…no wait, that’s not a thing. But it very well could be!

Side note: this recipe produces quite a few cookies so be prepared to be a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate melting wafers (I used Ghirardelli)

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients.
  5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  6. Roll out the cookie dough on a floured counter to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut dough into heart shapes.
  7. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 7-8 minutes. The edges should be firm and the centers are slightly sod and puffed.
  8. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  9. Once cooled, melt your white chocolate according to the instructions on the package. Use a fork to drizzle the melted chocolate onto the cookies.
  10. Enjoy! 😍

Original recipe retrieved from Shutterbean.

Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Food

I love Valentine’s Day! It’s a great reminder for all of us to take the time out of our day-to-day to show appreciation for those we love most.

Valentine’s Day also means a plentiful amount of one of my favorite things: Chocolate! While I’m always down for a box of assorted truffles, I love using the holiday as an excuse to bake up some delicious homemade goodies.

This V-day I decided to bake up these extra-festive red velvet crinkle cookies. Because of their mild flavor these cookies are perfect for choco-holics and vanilla-lovers alike.

Ingredients

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 & 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick of salted butter
3/4 c. granulated sugar
large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. red food coloring (Tip: use gel food coloring for more vibrant color!)
1/4 c. powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat after each addition. Add vanilla.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll ball in powdered sugar. Repeat with remaining dough then reroll each ball in powdered sugar again.
  6. Arrange balls about 1″ apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until cookies have flattened and set in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes
  7. Let cool on trays 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to let cool completely.

Bake up a batch of these to share with your loved one, your parents, your co-workers, or your friends!

Original recipe retrieved from Delish

Weaving buffalo check on the rigid heddle loom

Art, DIY

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 6.01.09 PM.pngThis Christmas my husband gifted me perhaps the greatest present you could ever buy a fiber artist: an Ashford rigid heddle loom! I took a couple of weaving courses in college and have really been missing the art form over the past few years.

While I am knowledgable in weaving on a floor loom, the rigid heddle is a new venture for me. Things that I’m loving about it so far:

  1. It’s so light! I can move it wherever I want.
  2. It doesn’t take up a lot of space. Slide it right under the bed if you want!
  3. Warping it is a breeze. Less than an hour? Yes, please.
  4. It allows me to use a wide variety of yarns. Suddenly yarn scraps have a purpose again!

Hands down, an awesome option for beginner weavers as well as those who may not have the room to dedicate to a floor loom or the money to invest in one.

My new loom is the 32” model which is amazing because it allows for me to create patterns up to that width but also as narrow as I would like. This means I can make blankets as well as scarves!

Because the rigid heddle loom is new to me, I’ve been using the last six weeks as a learning period – experimenting with different yarn weights, colors and patterns.

So far, one of my favorite designs is buffalo check. This trendy pattern is honestly the simplest you could create on the rigid heddle loom and, when created with contrasting colors, yields striking results.

Pattern

Warp: 4 red, 4 blue (8 ends)

Weave: 4 red, 4 blue

I followed this pattern using Caron Simply Soft yarn in red and navy to create this super cozy scarf.

Seriously, so simple! I’m curious, what are your favorite buffalo check colors?

Stay tuned for more pattern exploration updates and don’t forget to follow along with my weaving adventures on Instagram.

 

DIY Plaid Flannel Blanket Scarves

DIY

This Christmas I was inspired to go all-out with homemade holiday gifts. In searching for a project I could tackle for several of my family members, I came across a great DIY gift idea: blanket scarves!

Trendy and inexpensive to make (less than $10 per scarf), I decided to give this craft a whirl this holiday season, making one for every female family member I’d be spending time with on Christmas day.

This ended up being nine scarves. Word to the wise, if you’re planning to make this many scarves for Christmas start early (like, early November) to avoid stressing yourself out with a scarf-making frenzy two days before Christmas. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.  

That being said, these scarves would make great gifts any time of year!

The time and energy were well worth it, as these homemade gifts were a huge hit. Now that the holidays are over I’m looking forward to making one for myself!  

Supplies:

  • 1.5 yards of apparel flannel (can be found at Walmart & Joanne Fabrics)
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper

Instructions

  1. Start by trimming all edges, using the plaid pattern as a guideline to cut relatively straight. Don’t worry if you mess up! The fresh cut will make it easier for you to begin pulling your fringe.

2. Fold the fabric diagonally, creating a right angle.

img_3996.jpg

3. Trim the long end of the fabric so that it lines up with the edge to form a square.

4. Now – get a movie ready as you begin to start your fringe. This part of the process is easy – it just takes a hot second. Here’s what you’re gonna do – using the seam ripper, begin to undo the weave of the fabric, thread by thread. (check out the photo below)

5. You can either create a fringe on two sides of your scarf OR all the way around. Personally, I like blanket scarves that have a little fringe on all sides.

6. Once you’re done with the fringe you can either stop as is or (for extra reinforcement) use a sewing machine to run a quick stitch down all four sides.

Once your done with the fringe, all that’s left is to package it up pretty to give away as a gift! Or, ya know, throw it around your neck and call it yours. 😏