studio shots part 3: welcome to the palace

So you’ve seen a video, side 1, and my ironing table idea hack.
Want to see the other half?

Coming up my stairs and looking to the right is another room full of light and space. My drafting table is my favorite thing in the world. An art professor that I was a Teaching Assistant for one summer (I don’t clearly recall how that happened – I wasn’t an art student, I was in the architecture program) pointed me to a pile of discarded desks outside and told me I could take one. I took it apart, refinished it, and used an old door as a table top for years. A few years ago I finally made a dedicated plywood top for it that fits both the table and my large cutting board. It originally had a light table top but that was gone when I got to it.

Most days I have a print-ready cover on it consisting of a big chunk of felt covered by duck cloth that can be washed. Last week I had white poster board on top and photography lights and photo stands working on getting some good shots for my upcoming Bead It Like You Mean It part 2 online course.

Another window, more fabric and stuff storage. I move my table around as needed and have learned (the hard way of course) to be very careful if it is close to those angled walls. Ouch!

This spot is still under construction. I have to keep the area by the wall clear so that the pull-down attic steps aren’t blocked. The ugly door on the left leads to a closet I had built – filling in the empty space above the stairs. It’s the only thing I thought was badly done in the renovation but I don’t have time to deal with it. I’ll make a quilt to cover it up!!! The closet holds my book/DVD/Packing materials inventory.
On the someday list is to paint the filing cabinets there bright red. On top of it is my thermofax machine and materials.

These shelving units from IKEA were much easier to install here than making custom built-ins. AC ductwork goes through this bench so it felt like lost space. Finished quilts are stored up top and really, this is most of my fabric collection. I think I have more garment sewing fabric than quilting cottons.

The one serious drawback is that I don’t yet have a big design wall. I’ve got two 4’x8′ insulation boards covered with flannel. I’m going to frame them. The only big wall I have is covered with a full wall mirror and I love the light it reflects into the room. I might end up covering most of it anyway. I need that wall. 

Or – I’ll frame up two or three of the insulation boards and put them on wheels so they can move around. I could then use them for backdrops for filming video. We’ll see.

studio shots part 2: welcome to the palace

Here are some overall photo views of my new studio space.

Coming up the stairs you see storage – it’s taken me six months to take a day to look through what was actually in most of these boxes. I didn’t actually get around to clearing them out and organizing them but at least I added a sticky note telling me what was in each one.

The purple sleeper sofa was here before. It’s from the 60’s and weighs about a thousand pounds. I recovered it years ago (it was hideous) when I helped a friend take it off her hands. I paid two seriously burley guys to get it up the stairs to the third floor years ago. They had to hold it straight up on end to get it around the corner entry of the stairs. I realized a little late that filling in the opening above the stairs (turned into a closet) precluded it ever leaving the attic again.

In the foreground you see my pressing/ironing station… the previous posts spotlights this in case you missed it. I spend lots of hours at my computer watching birds land in the tree right outside this window. It’s heaven. To the left you can see my trusty Bernina Record 930. It’s my primary machine these days and I love it. There is a yoga mat under the fluffy green rug that I pull out occasionally.

Next around is my HQ16 – one of the first made. No stitch regulator. Just me and the needle going up and down a million miles an hour. I built in the window seats as a reading nest. Underneath I’ve stored machine cases and a roller table with my wide format color printer and a stool with all my printing supplies dumped into it. My duct-tape-double, mounted in a plaster filled bucket stands guard and I haven’t put my clunky serger away yet. There is a yoga ball that needs a lot more inflating before I see if I can sit on it at my computer.

The closet holds my finished artwork, blank stretched canvases, rolls of fabric, and batting. It’s stuffed. But at least I know where everything is.

This is just half of my space. (Spoiled much!?)
Stay tuned for the other half next week.

Any questions? Feel free to ask them!

studio: ironing table ikea hack

In the category of “my favorite things” in my new studio is my ironing station. It’s the exact height I need and perfectly fits my requirements.

I’ve had these wire baskets in my old studio since, well, forever, and they have served me well. They are an IKEA product that still has several iterations available, this ALGOT style being the closest to what I have. Each of these frames is tied together with zip-ties and clips made just for that purpose so they are rock solid. I’ve just figured out that my hanging container works perfectly on the back corner of the shelves so I don’t even have to walk across the room to find my scissors or a pen.

I had originally intended to build this brilliant IKEA hack ironing table by Brooke over at the Custom Style Blog – the long roll storage she has is phenomenal. She has detailed instructions there as well as links for the Bump Cloth (insulation layer). I just bought my silver ironing board cover fabric at the local big-box place.

Because I had leftover plywood and supplies I was able to make tops for these baskets. If I ever feel like it I will prime and paint each one white. They are in three pieces because I didn’t want to buy another piece of plywood so I pieced these out of other scraps. Good enough. I’ll eventually  paint the wooden legs as well… and maybe screw them down so they don’t scoot. This is what happens when you work on a project for three months that was supposed to take two weeks. “Good enough for now” becomes “done because I just want it to be over.” One fabulous thing about having to unexpectedly gut the space was that I have plugs everywhere – and this on, especially for the iron, is on it’s own circuit. I don’t have to worry about blowouts!!!

The ironing surface is 54″ x 22″ – wide enough, and exactly the same height as the banister so I end up hanging whatever I’m working on over the long stair wall as I go. It works for me. Just last week I took a sharpie to the thing and marked off inches. I have ruler marks on the edge of my sewing table, my ironing surface, and my drafting table. The cloth is just stapled on to the underside of the board. If I end up doing what I did last time, eventually I’ll just staple another layer of the silver stuff over the top of this when it gets too gross.

That might not happen this time though as I’ve been really good at using my HOLY COW sized Goddess sheet for all fusing projects. Gotta say, it’s awesome! Hmmm… I just had an idea. two big hooks with a hefty dowel layed on them – screwed onto the bottom of the left side of the board would hold the roll of misty fuse perfectly! I’ll add it to my list. Along with a wall mount for the iron. I end up leaving it on the wall and just know some day it is going to go over the edge.

Studio Shots: welcome to the palace

Hello Friends, It’s been a while. Life has been overfull the past three years and I’ve neglected this space. I spent a while thinking about my intent for this blog over the weekend and this is what I’ve concluded.

1- I want to document my work on a platform that I own. That isn’t FB or IG.

2- I want to have a space where I don’t feel obligated to constantly speak to the injustices I see in the world. (I feel compelled to do so on FB where my largest audience is. I feel that if I don’t do something to stand up for immigrants, refugees, the poor, minorities, that I cannot face God when that time comes, or my children now.)

Those two things alone are enough. So we will start here.

A very quick tour (part one) of my new palace.


I’ll give you a lot more detail in coming blog posts.

Tutorial: Citra-Solv Photo Transfer

The work I do as a mother involves a lot of delayed gratification. When I escape to the studio and put on my artist’s hat it can be nice to see some instant results. Solvent photocopy transfer is one of my favorites. You need only a photocopy, fabric,  Citra-Solve®, and a few seconds of elbow grease and viola!The good people who produce this environmentally friendly cleaning product have included an ARTISTS’ PAGE on their website. I’m honored to have been included among other textile artists I admire such as Jane Davila and Jane Dunnewold.

I encourage you to take a peek over there – lots of interesting things being done. It makes me think that I have some experimenting to do. Dissolving pages from National Geographic magazine? Hmmm. Wonder how I can do that on fabric.

Want to join me in a little playtime? Here are the instructions for moving the ink from a photocopy onto paper or fabric. Wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area. The stuff is much more pleasant than the paint stripper I used to use but it IS still a solvent.



  • Citra-Solve®  (find where to buy it here)
  • Cotton ball
  • Metal spoon
  • Non-porous smooth surface
  • Masking tape
  • Fabric or paper of your choice
  • Photocopy

1. Find a copyright free black and white image. I love to use vintage family photos.
2. Make a photocopy of the photo, sizing it no larger than 5″ x 7″.
3. Cut away the background if it detracts from or competes with your image.
4. Draw in any lines that need emphasis or add in some fun scribbles. Maybe Grandma always wanted a tiara or your puppy looks great in polka dots! You can digitally manipulate the photo as well.
5. Make a final photocopy. (Note: Inkjet prints DO NOT work with this method.)
6. Tightly tape a piece of fabric or paper to your glass or non-porous surface.
7. Tape the photocopy face-down on your paper or fabric. Don’t let the tape cover the image.
8. Dampen the cotton with Citra-Solve® and squeeze it out. Rub it on the paper until you see the ink show through. It should be barely damp – too juicy and your image will bleed and blur.
9. With the back of the metal spoon, rub, rub, rub hard and like crazy in all directions. You are moving the ink from the paper to the fabric.
10. Pick up one corner of the paper and peek. Look for spots that haven’t transferred yet then put the paper back down and rub some more in that spot.
11. Toss the paper in the trash and let the solvent evaporate.
12. Feel free to play around with the image. Color it in with colored pencils, ink, paint or whatever you have on hand. Be creative! Have fun!

The only tricky part is finding a photocopier that works. If you are using Citra-Solve® (the other orange solvents I’ve tried have not worked) and you are rubbing and nothing is happening it is most likely the copy that is at fault. I test any copy I make right at the copy center. Dampen a cotton ball with the Citra-Solve® and stick it in a little zip-loc bag in your pocket. Make one photocopy then place it face down on another piece of paper on the counter, dampen with the Citra-Solve® then rub it a bit with the scissor handles on the counter, the back of your thumbnail, whatever you have there. If it’s going to work it will work right away. If not, no amount of rubbing will work. Find another copy center. Don’t leave the bag in your pocket too long. The solvent will eventually dissolve through the bag although it won’t really hurt your clothes. (Ask me how I know!)

If you’d like to see it instead of just read about it I demonstrate the technique along with a lot of other fun techniques in the Quilting Arts DVD Workshop “Surface Design Sampler Platter.”Here is a link to the first of several Tutorials on how to Photoshop your images.

Studio Classes in Cary NC


Wednesday March 13, 9:30 – 2:30
(5 hours, lunch provided)

Creating your own unique abstract design is much easier than you think! This is one of Lyric’s favorite classes to teach and this will be a unique opportunity to experience it in a very small group setting with lots of indibividual attention.

She will gently guide you through concrete exercises designed to help  you create ideas for original abstract quilts. Doodles will be  scribbled, eyes and minds will be opened, fun will be had.

(click here to see a supply list, detailed description, and student gallery.)

Photos on Fabric

Saturday March 16, 9am – 12:00pm
$65 includes ALL materials

There are so many ways to apply photos to cloth! Come play with some computer technology, some super easy solvent transfer methods, and try out Transfer Art Papers. Students will learn to transfer photocopies onto fabric and will also  review bubble-jet-set and various ready-to-print products.

Lyric will provide everything you need to learn each technique. You will have the opportunity to send an image of your own (jpg via email) ahead of time to work with.

(click here for more information about the class, what supplies Lyric will provide you, and a student gallery.)

Playing with Paint

Wednesday April 17th 10:00 – 1:00
$65 includes ALL materials

Join Lyric for a day of playful exploration as you learn various methods of applying textile paints to cloth. Learn to carve stamps, print with found objects, use resists, and use thermofax screens. You’ll go home with a series of small sample cloths and a whole lot of new techniques for creating your own unique fabric!

Show up with nothing but your playful spirit – Lyric will provide all materials for you. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy.

(click here for more information about the class, what supplies Lyric will provide you, and a student gallery.)

Elements of Art Study Group

Part 1 Wednesday group, 10am – 1pm
March 27th, April 10th, may 1st, May 15th
FOUR WEEKS for only $160.00

Part 1 Saturday group, 9am- 12noon
March 30th, April 13th, May 11th, May 25th
FOUR WEEKS for only $160.00

Delightfully informal and intensely informative! Students will meet together four times during each session to delve deeply into what it takes to become an artist. Learn to see, understand, and interpret the visual world as artists do. It is a journey full of joy and wonder! Come prepared to learn, work, laugh, and grow.

During the Spring Basic Elements Session, basic drawing stechniques will be taught, observational skills will be developed, and hands-on design exercises will be explored. We will explore the basic elements of art, learning the basics of the visual alphabet, namely texture, shape, line, color and vlaue. (principles of art study group will be held in the fall)

Click here for detailed information, supply lists, and comments from former students.

In the Studio… packing for a trip

New Hampshire are you ready?
Here I come!
Things get kind of crazy when I’m getting ready to teach. For every class there is a day (at least) of ordering, shipping, gathering, and packing supplies, printing hand-outs, figuring out inventory, and hoping against all hope that even though I’ve checked my lists ten times I’m not forgetting anything.

The Sketchbook Challenge: Highly Prized

I’ve been thinking about the Sketchbook Challenge theme all month.
It only took a few minutes to know what I consider to be very valuable.
The first bit glued into my sketchbook? My usual schedule. It looks like that through next June. Five kids and a part time career will do that to you. Time is flying by and I often feel I’m missing it. My oldest daughter just applied for college. I’m feeling a little … something. Excited? Yes. Apprehensive? Just a tiny bit – she’s prepared. Bushwhacked? When did she grow up!?!
I’ve thought of images I wanted to incorporate. I’ve thought of amazing and wonderful outcomes.
I’ve also avoided actually doing anything until the last possible moment. It’s a fear thing. Yup – me. The lady who preaches non-stop that “it’s all about DOING the work and we can’t let fear get in the way.” Here I am in front of everybody – thinking everybody is expecting some fantastic outcome and feeling inadequate.
So. TIME for me to take my own words to heart and just DO it. Forget about expectations. 
1- The calendar gets glued in. Painted over with a bit of gesso. Oops. Now I remember that ink-jet prints smear when wet. Ah well, so be it. Find a couple of my favorite pics.
2- Let the gesso layer dry then paint a little bit of a color wash over that. I’m using Prochemical’s Profab Textile Paints – because I have a LOT of them on hand. They’re an acrylic and work fine.
3- Play around with photoshop and a few of the images that speak to my feelings. Print them out, cut them out, glue them in. I used a PVA glue this time. I think I might like gel medium better. We’ll see.
4- Add a little more of a blue wash over the hands to blend it into the background.
5- More acrylic in a transparent blue and an opaque white – swirls in with a brush – like time swirling all around me and away.
6- Hunt through my stack of screen for the perfect image. Ah – there it is. This time I used it like a stencil, first with the white opaque paint, then a navy transparent. It was a pain having the wire binding loops right in the way. I’m seriously thinking of working with loose sheets then binding them as shown in Jane Davie’s  tutorial. When I find some time.
I am addicted to thermofax screen printing. I have a machine and run a service, making ready made or custom screens. It allows me to feed my insatiable hunger for making new images in my own work. This particular screen came from a photo sent by Alexandria (one of my on-line students from of one of her antique pocketwatches.  
This is what my work surface looks like when I’ve got projects going on. Stuff left from the last class I taught. Samples shoved out of the way. Kids forms for school events to be filled out. The usual. No – I’m not an artist who thinks clutter is great – it drives me nuts. I work best when I can clean everything up and start fresh with room to work and breath. No TIME for cleaning up right now.
8- Last step – I started in with pencil, moved up to a Sukura Pigma Pen and then decided a sharpie would glide over the bumpy acrylics on the page. 
My baby has wings. She’s ready to fly.
I’d love your feedback.
Do you have any ideas that could help me?
I want to learn how to savor each moment, live in the present. I still have to keep most of my schedule – I’m already very good at saying no to more stuff. The things I do I love. But time still flies away.
Oh, and don’t forget to head over to  the Sketchbook Challenge today to see who won this months giveaways. February’s theme will go up tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Digging Out

Today I made my first inroads into the deadline induced mound of chaos that is my studio. Clearing a path to think creatively and with something of an organized mind is an absolute necessity for me. Oh – that and the fact that I can’t walk two feet or reach any of my supplies for the piles on the floor. I’ve been racing to meet one deadline after another and things just (literally) piled up.

After clearing one corner I took a break to sew up some Christmas Bags. Every year I buy a yard or two of a Christmas fabric on clearance and make a few gift-wrap bags of different sizes. Sometimes I get fancy and include drawstrings and linings. This year I just whipped a few rectangles together with serged edges and tied it with a ribbon. I’ve always disliked gift-wrap. Not really. Actually – I think a beautifully wrapped gift is too beautiful. All that time and expense on something that will be ripped apart and thrown away. These bags are kept year to year or given away. Believe it or not they end up being much cheaper, even initially, than wrapping paper. If I wanted to they could be as elaborate and beautiful as any paper wrapped gift.

And this for Catherine in New Zealand. The view out my studio window. Blue skies, colorful autumn leaves, green pines. Here in NC there are trees grow like weeds everywhere that you don’t mow or pave. Most lawns stay green year round. I love it here weather-wise. Mostly. Talk to me again in August about humidity. I think I’m definitely a cold weather girl. I love my woolen sweaters and socks.

Great Design

I love it when I come across something that is not only great to look at but ingeniously engineered. At first there was nothing too exciting about my most recent studio addition from IKEA other than it’s color. Oh, and the fact that if a sneaky little four year old managed to get into my paints and spill them inside the drawer I could wash it out. Can’t do that with wooden drawers full of thread. Ask me how I know.

As I assembled the cabinet I fell in love with its’ elegant design. I love putting things together! A very creative soul figured out a way to put a full sized Taboret….

…. into this skinny little 3″ box. Anyone else out there concerned about the way we ship most everything we buy back and forth around the world? Fossil fuels, pollution, human rights, all that. Think of how many skinny little boxes will fit into the same space as one fully assembled cabinet. Maybe sometime I’ll riff on my hopes for the future of clean energy sources. Another day.

Back to the cabinet. This clever designer made it simple enough for any novice to assemble with nothing more than a screwdriver. This is a drawer. Really. Fold on the dotted line, slide this piece in here,  fold the little hook there, and viola! You have a drawer! Elegant design in a simple object.

The gorgeous vase by the way, was a gift from my mom. Every time my parents come to visit they take a little trip to Seagrove, NC – home of too many talented potters to count. 

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