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Customize Your Aster & Anne Projects!

Aster & Anne Luella clutch by Jennifer Moore with block prints using Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint

Customize your own purse or accessory with Aster & Anne! The Artistic Artifacts Facebook Live presentation on February 20th shared with you examples of completed projects to inspire you on how you can embellish your own. We showed you how these kits arrive with everything you need to get started — precut wool felt shape(s), pre-punched grommets (where needed), required hardware such as buckles, closures and straps, sturdy pins and instructions. Watch our archived presentation:

I was joined by Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts for this live event, and we were happy to screen-connect with Jennifer Moore, the designer behind the Aster & Anne name, who stayed up late to share in our presentation too — it was 1:30 am in Australia!

Aster & Anne kits, finished projects and Artistic Artifacts products

Above, a glimpse of our presentation setup, with Aster & Anne packaged kits, selections of our wide range of fabrics, and one of our Inspiration Packs, bundles of hand dyed fabrics and found textiles that are perfect for fiber collage. All Aster & Anne precut wool felt pieces are sent unassembled so that you can work on them flat, and they are very easy to stitch through, whether by hand or by machine.

Completed Zipper Purses customized from Aster & Anne kits

The two finished projects shown are Zipper Purses. Chris attached Stitch Meditations (stitched with Eleganza) to either side for hers, leaving off the hardware to create a zippered pouch. For her version our BERNINA Ambassador Kathy Lincoln selected machine embroidery designs (remember you can order embroidery designs, stabilizers and other supplies from the Artistic Artifacts store at Embroidery Online) and sized them to fit her flat pieces. She used WonderFil Specialty Threads for her machine-embroidery — this is a beautiful example to show you in February which is National Embroidery Month. During her assembly Kathy added the adjustable cross body strap that is included in the kit.

Completed Anna tote made from Aster & Anne kit by Christine Vinh

Chris showed her completed Anna tote, embellished with with a piece of the Aviary Panel from Dashwood Studio that was stitched and embellished with hand emberoidery using Eleganza perle cotton, available in three weights.

WonderFil Specialty Threads thread packs with Aster & Anne kits

The thread packs curated by WonderFil Specialty Threads — available for both machine and hand stitching — are the perfect way to build your thread stash and to try out WonderFil threads you might not have yet experimented with. The newest packs are designed for the type of sewing you do (quilting, machine embroidery, serging, fashion sewing) and offer you multiple spools in a set that saves you between $18 and $31 off retail price!

Amalia backpack made by Judy Gula using an Aster & Anne kit

Above, my Amalia Backpack. I covered the pieces with a Marcia Derse fabric and machine quilted to enhance the linear design. And my latest Aster & Anne project is pictured in progrss below, the Needlecase/Cardholder Kit. I completely fell for the Little Forester Fusion- Sova Forester from Art Gallery fabric when it arrived in the shop and cut several of the adorable owls out to fuse on my needlescase as appliqué.

Details of Judy Gula's Aster & Anne needlecase

Then came the fun of hand-stitching! I’m really enjoying filling in design elements with various Tentakulum Painter’s Threads products. Those who watched our presentation on Tentakulum threads and trims saw the beginning of this needlecase project. Handpainted and imported from Germany, Tentakulum’s color blends and variations are gorgeous, and the specialty trims like the Ric Rac I use for a flower stem are so unique.

Needlecase/Cardholder Kit by Aster & Anne in progress by Judy Gula

Many of you know that of the many hand stitching and embroidery books we carry, I have a personal connection to Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler. Ruth is not just a friend but someone who really re-ignited by love of hand stitching with her approach as I noted in my post Block Printed & Slow Stitched Quiltlets. It gives you well-illustrated instructions on creating basic embroidery stitches. The fun of the book is how she shows you many ways you can adjust and alter those stitches for a new look.

Embellished Book Cover/Project Bag from Aster & Anne by Chris Vinh
Embellished Book Cover/Project Bag from Aster & Anne by Chris Vinh

Look at this wonderful Book Cover/Project Bag by Chris Vinh! She fused on a fish cut from a batik panel by Bambang Dharmo, first laying out a piece of hand dyed cheesecloth. She machine appliquéd and quilted it all, then accented with hand-stitching and embroidery. She used other portions of the panel to embellish the interior as seen here.

As noted in the product description, you can use this kit in several ways: as a notebook/diary cover, with the extra felt pieces (which are business card sized) placed as desired. You can stitch the included elastic as a pen/ pencil holder. For a project bag (like this example), the extra felt can become holders for needles or pockets for scissors, and the included zippered mesh bag can be attached. It has been designed to hold your thread (it fits up to 40 Sue Spargo hand stitching thread spools —Eleganza, Ellana, Efina) or any other project supplies you might want to carry along.

Technique tip: due to the nap of the Aster & Anne wool felt pieces, we recommendation is applying your fusible to your fabric and then ironing the fabric onto the felt. We carry a wide range of Fusibles, Interfacings & Stabilizers — and for fusing cheesecloth, lace and similiar fabrics, Mistyfuse, which is very sheer, should be your first choice!

What do you get when you mix a Luella Small Clutch with Designer Ribbon packs by Renaissance Ribbons? If you’re Jennifer Moore, the answer is “super cute little clutch purse, that’s what!”

Luella Small Clutch with Designer Ribbon packs by Renaissance Ribbons by Jennifer Moore

We have to agree! In her blog Jennifer wrote she was “so in love with these Tula Pink Line Work Ribbons” that as soon as they arrived she got to work, sharing how she created her beautiful project.

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Of course we’re also very partial to the Luella clutch shown at the top of this post. Jennifer shared its story on her Facebook page last fall: “I recently purchased some divine metallic paints and wood blocks from Artistic Artifacts… Judy Gula and I met at International Quilt market last year where she was signing copies of her book, which by the way has loads of inspirational ideas. So these lovelies have been waiting for me try (even though it is definitely not my usual colour palette). I used the metallic paint to create a wood block print.“ Jennifer’s final step was embellishing with Dazzle 8wt thread by WonderFil Specialty Threads, ending up with a bag she loves.

Jennifer reminds us all, “Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new techniques, textiles and colours.” Visit the Aster & Anne website and scroll down to the subscription link (pictured here) to receive their newsletter filled with projects, offers, events, ideas and inspiration.

Beautiful Grace Tote customized by art quilter Tina Curran

The beautiful Grace Tote pictured above was customized by art quilter Tina Curran, who shared her praise for the kit and her process for inspiration with her own newsletter subscribers. We really loved Tina’s use of black and white fabrics to create her trademark ‘whimsical garden’ flowers. Read Tinas’s newsletter (shared with permission) that contains lots of beautiful photos of her Winter Garden tote, plus her assembly and technique tips.

Marie Sepe machine appliquéd giraffes cut from a Jaka batik panel for her Book Cover/Project Bag by Aster & Ann

Above, one of our favorite Creative Minds, Marie Sepe, often uses our batik panels in her art quilts and art-to-wear. We love how she machine appliquéd giraffes cut from a Jaka batik panel onto her Book Cover/Project Bag and how they peek out of her pockets.

WonderFil Specialty Thread products

“Look what you can do with a Zipper Purse, Sue Spargo Pre-Cut Wool Pack and some Eleganza perle cotton from WonderFil Specialty Threads,” shared Jennifer on the Aster & Anne Instagram page, creating this adorable bag to Glenda Cust. Precut from 100% premium grade Australian Meriono wool fabric by Sue Spargo, these circles and shapes are ready to be stitched down and embellished — a perfect way to transform your Aster & Anne project.

The Aster & Anne website and their YouTube channel offers instructions and assembly videos, plus loads of inspiration!

Lots of inspiration from Aster & Anne with these examples of completed projects

Beading Info & Inspiration

It’s no secret that I have long been a fan of beading, whether it’s for jewelry, for mixed media art, or to embellish my quilts. I recently taped a presentation on the tools I use that shares my process for adding bead embellishments. (And visit the Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel for more tutorials and inspiration!)

For a recent ‘Share on Saturday’ #shareonsat on our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group, we asked members to share their own beaded projects and are gathering them here (in alphabetical order by artist surname) for you to enjoy.

Beaded projects by Kathie Korsnick Barrus

Above, from Katherine Korsnick Barrus: “I’ve never beaded on a quilt, but I’ve made bracelets and brooches.”

Mixed media shrine by Chirssy Colon

Chrissy Colón: “I decorated this masonite Shrine kit with a gorgeous paper collection I had and some of Gwen Lafleur’s translucent embossing powders [Boho Blends] I purchased from Artistic Artifacts. Looooove the effect the powders gave the gilding flake on the fan. I used Topaz and Ancient Aqua.”

Linda Cooper painted quilt with beading

Linda Cooper: “Well ‘beader’ isn’t my middle name like some of you. Here are a couple of my early painted quilts. I remember Judy cheering me on with ‘Do more beads, do more!’”

Handpainted art quilt by Linda Cooper

Above, another of Linda Cooper’s quilts.

Scarf by NiYa Costley

Creative Mind NiYa Costley submitted beadwork that she added to her crocheted scarf and her beaded zipper cuff from an Elizabeth Woodford class taught several times in past years here at Artistic Artifacts.

Beaded cuff by NiYa Costley

You will see other beautiful examples from this class — we all loved Elizabeth and miss her very much… so many learned from her.

beaded and embroidered needle book by Kathleen Dolan

Kathleen Sleman Dolan: "a beaded and embroidered needle book I made myself."

Beaded cuffs by Kathy Edwards

Kathy Edwards submitted several photos, including above, beaded cuffs that were taught to her by Elizabeth Woodford in class or then inspired by her techniques.

Kathy Edwards embellished a handdrawn batik panel from Artistic Artifacts with beading

Above, also by Kathy Edwards, “my first beading project on a Batik Panel from our favorite store. Another beaded piece [below] I call Aqua Seltzer. Beads add so much to a quilted project.”

Aqua Seltzer by Kathy Edwards

Along with Elizabeth Woodford, when it comes to beads, so many of us got our inspiration — and our stash! — from Rosalie Lamanna, who operated Beads Unlimited for years. For a JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds) challenge that required including your first name, she created this charming and colorful 8 in. x 10 in. artwork.

Recently retired to Florida, we will host a live sale of African Trade Beads from Beads Ltd to benefit Rosalie on our next FB Live, Saturday, January 23rd at 9:30 am EST. Stay tuned as we organize the collection, which is also being added to the Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Marketplace with instructions to purchase. (These items are not for sale in the shop or on our website.)

Lover's Eye Token by Joan McDonagh Grandy

Joan McDonagh Grandy: “Eye token I created during Theresa mARTin’s class in 2018. I plan to still add some beads or glitter on the gold base.”

Beaded cuff by Linda Morgan

Linda Morgan: “I wanted to share my beaded cuff from a class with Elizabeth Woodford, it is one of my most loved projects for many reasons!

Also from Linda, “I keep finding beading projects. I sure love colorful beads.”

Detail from Victorian Power Suit, a mixed media quilt by Linda Morgan

“I am very proud of this beaded butterfly headress,” wrote Linda. “Beading is a challenge for me so I was delighted at the outcome!”

Wall display in Linda Morgan’s home studio

Above, a beautiful display in Linda’s studio. Her quilt was from the 2011 Power Suits challenge and named Victorian Power Suit. She wrote, “my first thoughts were of Queen Victoria and her spectacular dresses and jewels, and then I saw this amazing portrait of a Victorian woman with a stunning butterfly mask. I love the chaos of collage, the freedom to create layers of paper, cloth and found objects – every element chosen has a story to tell. ‘After her morning French lesson Edwina, known to friends and family as Birdie, put on her best butterfly mask and leisurely strolled through town to the portrait studio, showing everyone what a beautiful, vibrant, charming, powerful woman she is.’”

Art quilt with beaded details  by Beth Richardson

Beth Richardson: “Lots of Artistic Artifacts influence in this piece, from the dresser scarf treated on a Dye Day to the beads and lace and mulberry paper, to the inspiration from theresa mARTin’s Dream Layers classes.” Beth’s mixed media art was accepted in the Women’s Right to Vote exhibit at Del Ray Artisans in November 2020. “For this #shareonsat, I’d like to highlight beaded sections, she wrote, and below, “Joining the beaded cuff party!”

Beaded zipper cuff by Beth Richardson

We love the combination of batik panel by Hari Agung, modern cottons and Australian Aborigine-designed fabric in the quilt below by Marie Sepe!

Batik panel quilt by Marie Sepe

Marie Sepe: “Bead embellishment on the batik flower panel of this lap quilt made for my hubby, and a beaded zipper cuff bracelet made in Elizabeth Woodford ‘s class at our favorite store.”

Beaded cuff by Marie Sepe

Artwork by Etta Stewart

Etta Stewart: “Bits and pieces of beads.”

Art dolls by Lacrecia Turlington

Lacrecia Turlington: “I love to embellish my Art dolls with all kinds of beads!”

Beaded bag by Chris Vinh

Chris Vinh: “A woven beaded bag I made in a class with Rosalie a few years ago. Body of bag is woven strips of batik and handle is silk ribbon braided with yarn. And of course the beaded fringe.”

Beaded art quilt by Sherry Evon Whetstone

Sherry Evon Whetstone: “Lots of beading.‘For My Son’.”

Aren’t these all wonderful? I hope you enjoyed these beautiful pieces of fiber and mixed media art. For more on beading on quilts, see my blog posts here and here and here.

Virginia’s Quilt

Completed Virginia’s quilt by Judy Gula including fabrics and blocks by Virginia Aribe

This quilt began with a box full of 1 in. wide stripcut Japanese fabrics from a friend, Virginia Aribe, who sadly passed away in January 2019. Virginia was a beloved member of the same chapter of Quilters Unlimited that I am (Burke). The box also contained some quilt blocks using the fabrics that Virgina had already started.

Blocks by Virginia Aribe incorporated into the quilt

Japanese fabrics have long been some of my own favorites, so I thought I would challenge myself to take Virginia’s squares (some pictured above) and create some of my own to combine into a new quilt.

Small log cabin blocks by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I began to make small log cabin blocks from the strips. I’ve joked that the log cabin block is the only one I know how to make! But it’s my go-to for a reason, it’s easy, showcases fabric well, and there’s so much you can do with your layout depending on how you structure the block’s colors.

More blocks originally completed by Virginia Aribe

I wanted a hint of red to contrast with the beautiful shades of blue and white, so I made sure that some of the blocks I created had a little included, from Chinese Red to Brick Red – not a lot, but little touches so the eye searches for it. Above, you can see my smaller log cabin blocks to the right of more of Virginia’s original blocks.

Log cabin quilt blocks from Japanese fabrics pieced by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

More of my blocks are above. I squared them up, kind of …

Originally I tried to combine Virginia’s blocks and my new one with another piece that I had been working on that contains indigo.

Test layout including a separate Judy Gula project

Longtime readers and customers will know we often like to say that fabrics “play well with others.” Pictured above, I decided my addition was not going to play well, so I removed it from the assortment of quilt blocks.

Working on layout, Virginia's Quilt

So with a pile of small blocks, I began trying layouts, assembling them into larger blocks, and then rows, and then the quilt.

Puzzle like assembly, Virgina's Quilt by Judy Gula with contributions from Virginia Aribe

This kind of improv piecing and assembling is something like building a puzzle without having the boxtop photo to refer to.

Detail, free motion quilting by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts using a BERNINA Q20 longarm

Once I finally had my layout completed, I layered my backing and batting and got to work quilting it. I used the BERNINA Q20 and a variety of free-motion designs.

Detail, free motion quilting by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts using a BERNINA Q20 longarm

In addition to blue thread, I threw in some red (seen above) too.

I completed Virginia’s quilt this spring — the Japanese scraps from her had been calling me for quite a while. While she has passed from this life, her creativity, kindness and strength carries on… thank you, Virginia!

Janet Green’s Improv Quilt

We’ve been lucky to see this beautiful quilt coming together during Janet’s visits to Artistic Artifacts, and we thank her for sharing its story.

Inside Stories

Guest post by Janet Green

Janet Green with her improv quilt Inside Stories

“The year 2020 started out much like any other. In January, I had a new planner. In February, I took a quick trip to Florida to get a healthy dose of sand, sea and sun. The first week of March, I attended a much-anticipated Gees Bend Quilt Retreat, returning home on March 8. A week later, life as we knew turned upside and came to a screeching halt. Enter Covid-19. Stay at home. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Socially distance.

“Now in quarantine, I had to stop and think about everything I did: shopping for groceries, going to the doctor, attending Quilt Shows. But life went on. In late March, my beloved dog, Coco, began having seizures. Trips to the vet and pet ER meant hours in the parking lot, often at night, while we waited to hear from the doctors. In late April, sadly, I was allowed inside the facility to say goodbye to my fur baby.

“With all the thoughts and emotions vying for space in my head and heart, I went to my studio and stared at fabric. Batiks, hand-dyeds, bright colors, florals, geometrics, African and Australian. You name it, I had it. To keep from becoming overwhelmed by the choices, I just picked a little piece that I really liked. And I built a block around it. One 16-1/2-inch block.

Janet Green's favorite block from her Inside Stories quilt

“The next day, I did the same thing. Both blocks were the same size, just completely different. I had no plan in mind. I just knew that quilting is therapeutic for me. A block a day, a step at a time, to help heal my broken heart and manage the myriad of Covid-related emotions I was experiencing.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“After 12 days I had 12 blocks. Each was unique. Each had at least one bright fabric which represented hope. I arranged and rearranged the blocks on my design wall and even reworked a few. Come July, I was finally satisfied.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“When I shared pictures of my work in progress with a few of my quilting friends, I was surprised and pleased with their responses. Some saw different rooms, and some began to read the blocks as chapters in a book. They all talked about how they were intrigued as their eyes moved around the blocks. It was time to piece it all together and choose a border.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“Artistic Artifacts to the rescue! Specifically, Ladder to Happiness, Step by Step, by Keiko Goke for Free Spirit. The colors, the geometrics and the fluidity of the design were simply perfect. [Editor’s note: Janet bought the last of this beautiful fabric, which you can see above — but we have lots more wonderful Modern Cottons for you!] Then came the final challenge: how do I quilt this? One block at a time, letting the fabrics dictate the design.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“I must have used at least 50 different thread colors so the quilting would disappear yet still add texture. I also did some hand stitching for accent. Finally, I used the border fabric for the binding. My quilt finished at 63 in. by 75 in. I call it “Inside Stories.”

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“This year, on any given day, we have all been stuck inside. And we all have stories to tell. Stories that make us laugh, or cry, or give us pause to consider the things that really matter.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“I captured some of my story in these blocks. My hope is that others, you, will see your stories in my quilt and that you will find joy in your own stories.

“Oh, by the way. In late May, we adopted a new fur baby, Zeus. But that’s another story!”

The completed Inside Stories improv quilt by Janet Green

Thank you for sharing your story, Janet! Above, the completed Inside Stories quilt by Janet Green, one of our favorite Creative Minds. View larger image »

________________

Janet often brings show & tell with her when she visits us at Artistic Artifacts, and we wanted to take this opportunity to show you some of her other work.

Janet Green with her pieced quilt featuring Australian fabrics

Above, from February of this year, Janet created this fun quilt she made using one of our 2 Yard Surprise Fabric Pack, which include a miscellaneous selection of our end of bolt pieces.

Janet Green's quilt top in progress, featuring Marcia Derse fabrics

Last fall Janet bought this quilt top in progress to the shop as she contemplated her borders.

Janet Green mixes fabrics she created in classes at Artistic Artifacts with Marcia Derse fabrics

When we shared Janet’s quilt on our Facebook page, we wrote that “We love to see what our customers do with the products they find at the shop and how they have used techniques they learned in a class. Love the use of a variety of Marcia Derse fabrics mixed with fabrics “made” in a class with Liz Kettle.” There are block prints, Thermofax screen prints, and fabric monoprints created using a gel printing plate from Janet’s stash that harmonize beautifully.

Improv blocks by Janet Green

Above, you can see how Janet loves to piece together improv block units!

Janet Green poses with her sister and the fiber portrait she created of her

In September 2018 we were happy to meet Janet’s sister on a visit here, “Check out this quilted portrait our customer Janet did of her sister!” we posted. “The details are wonderful, down to the hair. She laid a base of wool roving & added doll hair.” Janet gifted the fiber portrait to her sister, and what an amazing gift to receive!

Janet Green holds the batik panel quilt she completed after taking a Judy Gula class at Artistic Artifacts

In August 2018 Janet brought in her finished batik panel quilt, which had begun in a class with me. It’s beautiful!

Janet Green improv quilt embellished with wooden block prints

And above, Janet embellished prints that were made using wooden printing blocks during a class with me, featuring them in a beautiful nature scene atop another improv quilt.

I think you can see why we come running when Janet visits — she so often has something beautiful to show us, and it’s wonderful to feel we’re contributing to her creative journey with our fabric and other products. We love customer show & tell — tag our Facebook page and join our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group to #ShareonSat and inspire your fellow creative minds.

Our Urban Princesses!

I’ve asked Artistic Artifacts staffer Nancy McCarthy to share her experiences with the adorable Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs that we’ve just added to our website. Nancy was a home economics teacher with a specialty in clothing and textiles, so her expertise is invaluable.

Nancy McCarthy's granddaughters in their Urban Princess dresses

On Saturday, September 19 Nancy was featured for our regularly scheduled 9:30 am ET Facebook Live Videos! Watch our archived video as Nancy shared construction tips and techniques she applied to this pattern that can be translated to other garment construction that both beginning and experienced sewists will enjoy! (Plus there was a surprise sneak peek of some just arrived fabric that will soon be available on our website!

    Guest post by Nancy McCarthy

This super cute dress was a hit with my three- and four-year old granddaughters, pictured above! This pattern offers lots of design possibilities in terms of fabric choices and comes in children’s sizes 2-8. Urban Princess also includes a pattern for an 18 in. doll dress to match.

The Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs with the Tilda and Tula Pink fabric that Nancy McCarthy selected

My fabric choices for their dresses coordinate closely with their personalities, as you might imagine from the photos!

Nancy McCarthy's granddaughters in their Urban Princess dresses, showing the ruffled back

I lined the bodices and the gathered shoulder straps per the pattern, using fabric left from cutting the garment pieces. By the way, I didn’t realize when I chose the main dress fabrics that both are directional! Fortunately, the pattern layout in the pattern guide is for a directional layout.

This dress doesn’t use much fabric, especially the ruffles, so you certainly might be able to stitch your own with stash fabric left over from other projects.

The Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs

I want to share a couple of notes on the back of the dress — watch video

  1. The back bodice neckline and button opening are bias edges that I decided needed some interfacing for stability.
  2. The center back ruffle panel is created on a long, narrow base triangle (bias edges!) that fits into the two back pieces of the dress (more stretchy bias seams!) and the angle of the cutting line for the back pieces means that those pieces take a lot more fabric than might be expected. The end result is a cute swingy skirt that’s definitely worth it!

Editor’s Note: The Olive Ann Designs’ blog offers an update the Urban Princess pattern, an optional change to the top ruffle in the back that makes it less full and easier to sew.

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