My latest fascination has been with ribbon folding – inspired by kanzashi methods. This weekend is my first studio tour for ARTrails in two years — so I am busy finishing up details on these flower bases I’ve created with different ribbons.

My gallery piece this year is a bridal headpiece called “Blossom”. With my background in ballet costuming, bead weaving and mixed media – I have elements of lace, ribbon, crystals, beads and tulle to create this unique headpiece. It’s base color is white with accents of gold and pink.


New adventures in sewing!

Wow, time flies by!! This last year was filled with tons of growth, transitions, and opportunities!! So now that the dust is settling I am happy to announce some exciting news — I’m going to be teaching sewing at a beautiful new (old) facility in my hometown! I will have to share over time how this wonderful series of events culminated into me becoming an instructor 🙂

The newly formed School of the Arts in downtown Centralia, WA is scheduled to open classes end of this month!! Check it out here: SOTA campus.  I have formed a wonderful partnership with another local talented lady and together we plan to share the amazingness that is sewing to all ages from 7 to adult. We are part of an amazing staff of creatives that hope to share the beauty of the arts with our community!

This is an opportunity I never had in my childhood and I’m thrilled my kids get to experience this wonderful place! Their ballet school also moved into the facility and is the resident dance school for SOTA! Check it out here: Centralia Ballet Academy.  The transformation inside the building has been fun to follow!

I am looking forward to the grand opening and hearing the hallways, classrooms, studios and theater filled with the sounds of learning … about the arts! Come visit and see for yourself! Don’t forget to say hi!! -Melinda

The beginning of Studio A

The beginning of Studio A

The beginnings of Studio B

The beginnings of Studio B

Before painting this summer!

Before painting this summer!

Rainy day cards

I’ve had so much fun playing with Tim Holtz Distress Inks lately! The following cards were created using a craft sheet and water. So first pick your colors and smoosh them onto the craft sheet (or something that resists water) then spray with water to activate. Place your paper (I use watercolor 90lb the most) and wiggle it gently – lift up.

The first layer is usually a nice blend of the colors – I then dry the paper with my heat gun. From there, look for areas that need some contrast or color and tap that section down on to some beaded ink. Dry with heat gun. At this point you might want to smoosh a bit more color and spray – just repeat the process until you are happy with your results!

Once my pieces were in a happy place, I looked for elements that resembled objects. Two pieces reminded me of trees so I stamped tree images in those areas and blended them out. One reminded me of water – so I felt the man with umbrella would work … just have fun with it!

Card 1  Card 2  Card 3

My sewing assistant says get inky!!

My sewing assistant says get inky!!

Button Flower

Quick little crochet project! A button flower with super fine yarn and size E crochet hook. Find a button that has holes big enough for your hook to go through and crochet through each hole with single crochet.

Foundation row – I did a 4 chain between each hole until complete circle around button.

First row – chain one, then single, double, triple, double triple, double, single in the 4 chain space, chain one, repeat sequence in each remaining 4 chain spaces. Chain one.

Second row – chain 3, single crochet in the double triple strand, chain 3, chain one in the chain one space between “petals” and repeat sequence with remaining petals. Chain one.

Last row –  single, double, triple, double, single in 3 chain space, single in the previous single space, single, double, triple, double, single in the next 3 chain space …. repeat all the way around. Finish off with slip stitch.

I’m off to sew … tons to get done today!

Button Flower

My sewing assistant watching the rainfall!

My sewing assistant watching the rainfall!

South Wind Silk test piece

Hello! Back again after a fun weekend of ballet auditions! Congrats to all the talented young dancers that made Ballet Northwest’s company!! (Stephanie, Erin, Jacob, Elina) It was Elina’s first audition and she really enjoyed the entire process! Now the agonizing wait until Friday for roles!!

So part of my weekend included working a test piece of silk for my South Wind girls’ skirt. The skirt needs to be soft and flowy with a nice drape to it and Nancy wanted an ombre effect going from pink to gray. A wonderful silk painter (and acting coach), Stacy Ridgley, helped me get started!! Thank you Stacy!!

I worked with a silk double chiffon and Setasilk in Ebony and Raspberry. Steps to follow:

  • wet the silk and place in area for painting
  • shake the paint!!
  • apply either as drops directly from bottle or use a paintbrush
    • so my first attempt was directly from bottle: it was too intense for my skirt
    • second attempt: I used a paintbrush and had a little more control. I also added water to spots of color and it really helped “push” the blending down into the white areas.
  • for the paint to bleed into areas, have project angled slightly
  • to achieve concentrated areas of color, slightly scrunch silk in random places
  • let dry
  • set with hot iron for 5 minutes (cotton setting) *Stacy recommends a dedicated iron for this process so the paint doesn’t transfer to regular ironing!
  • wait 48 hours before washing and ironing out

I’m really happy with how the test piece turned out! Can’t wait to get the skirt finished!!

Silk Paint Prepping silk First color added Second color Finished piece

My sewing assistant keeping my scraps warm!

My sewing assistant keeping my scraps warm!

Nisse in the making!

For years I have designed a little tree for our hospital’s Festival of Trees and it is one of the few volunteer activities I still love to do! The festival is now called the WinterGala and I am designing another little tree. My theme this year is inspired by Scandinavian aesthetics and it’s a mix of mainly Swedish and Norwegian. I always strive to handcraft at least one element of my tree and this year I have a few: Nisse and Heart paper baskets.

I’m working on my little nisse right now! Although I really prefer to crochet, the size of my project looks best knitted so I have dusted off my knitting needles and turned my house upside down looking for the book on how to bind off! Sooo simple yet I always forget 🙂

I’m using Loops & Threads Woolike Super Fine in Red, Clover Bamboo Circular Knitting Needles No. 1 (2.25mm), and a little wooden spool. Very simple cast on of 25 stitches and then plain old Stockinette stitch (knit, purl, knit, purl …. ). I have some other colors to add in when I start on the hats!

Here’s to the start of the holiday season! God Jul!!

knitting needles for nisse  nisse body

Miss Elli in bag

My sewing assistant hard at work!

Introductions are in order!

“In October of 2014, Ballet Theatre of Washington will debut two new ballets: The Princess Who Couldn’t Dance & Peter and The Wolf. Both of the productions will be presented in one show that will be perfect for the family.” This is a direct quote from the website:

Ok, time for some introductions! Today you will meet characters (from my sketchbook): Elements

The elements:

  • Fairy of Happiness: Hooded cloak, silver bodice & romantic length tutu, large sparkly headpiece
  • Her two minions (they are actually called little fairies on the cast list): little tutus, little leos, little tiaras …. so cute and little!
  • Creek: Blue leos, Blue basques (waistband) with attached panels of blue and white
  • Sunbeams: Yellow leos, Yellow basques with yellow, gold and red panels
  • South Wind: Pink one-shouldered leo with attached silk chiffon skirt (soon to be hand painted by yours truly!) and White poet’s shirt with gray tights. (This is a pair dancing)
  • Sea Waves: White leos with an attached neckline representing sea foam (still working this out) and “water” leos used last year in Sorcerer’s Apprentice.


On my inspiration board I have the creek’s tutu panels (along with a court lady bodice). Since the fabric frays easily I have decided to edge them and give them a slight wavy finish. I do one “set” of 8 panels at a sitting and then move on to other work so I don’t go cross-eyed! I’ll try to figure out how to capture video on this edging for anyone interested.

My inspiration and work board

My inspiration and work board

That’s it for this post! Now it’s time for me to get busy!! Enjoy your day!

My sewing assistant keeping an eye on me!

My sewing assistant keeping an eye on me!

New directions

It’s been forever since my last post! The last year and a half has involved a tremendous amount of soul searching and refocusing. After closing several chapters of volunteerism, I am now able to refocus my energy on what truly makes my heart sing! I will continue to focus and move forward on this new journey I have chosen.

Both my kids are passionately involved in performing arts, mainly classical ballet and I have fallen hard for this beautiful form of art! In the past I dabbled with the costuming but have now taken on the role of costume mistress for a new nonprofit – Ballet Theatre of Washington. I have loved the creative process involved with developing a costume plot and bringing my sketches to life!

I’ll post soon some of the works in progress … but for now I’m off to sew!

My sewing assistant hard at work!

My sewing assistant hard at work!

Birthday Celebration!

Every year I make a cake for my sister – and this year was no different! Except this time I asked my SIL for some help with decorations! She has everything you could possibly think of to make awesome cakes (and some things I didn’t know even existed) … I just needed something simple for a beginner like me! 😉 So thank you Solveig for the quick lesson and goodies to make my sister’s cake the best one I’ve created thus far!!

Julie loves my handmade jewelry and I’m always trying to come up with something new for her! I thought she would look beautiful in copper so I’m very happy with the final results of her pendant and earrings! I was right – she looks beautiful in copper!! So Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister Julie! I hope her year is full of joy and wonderful things! Love you sis!! -Melinda


New work

I am working on a new piece that could be for ARTrails. Usually I work up to a certain point …. wait …. move a few things around …. wait …. and then make a final decision. An artist friend of mine showed me some of her 3d work – coming out of a frame! It was cool b/c it can hang on the wall … which is not the case with 3d work most of the time. Especially with dolls – they tend not to look good ‘hanging’ off the wall (unless they are flat). So – with her encouragement – thanks Joan! – I picked up a shadowbox and scaled a doll to fit within …. I have two more boxes to play with and can’t wait to get started! I haven’t been too inspired lately and this was just what I needed!

In the past year I have been playing with painting directly on cloth with acrylics – I liked the outcome but it was a rough surface – making it difficult to work with pencils for the faces. I’ve also been experimenting with paperclay – even that is toothy after sanding.  So I finally picked up some gesso …. yep! it’s wonderful on cloth!!! This little lady I’m working on right now is my first attempt on cloth with just the gesso as a primer! Two coats with a sanding in between …. smooth baby!! My pencils flowed and my acrylic paints worked beautifully! She feels so soft even with all the paint on her!

So now I’m working details .. maybe some additional washes of color and shadowing. Still need to finish her boots. Lots to do! The shadowbox is her hangout and I’m working on her ‘story’ to go with the wings! I’ll try to remember and post soon 😉 

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