A Modern Quilt for The New Puppy

I have not been able to write here for a couple of weeks. I have a big project going on. And I am not talking about this quilt!


I am talking about the owner of the quilt!

She is my new beagle puppy Stella! As you can see from the pictures, see appreciates my hard work for the quilt.

I made the quilt from scraps that I found in the closet. I used to make a lot of quilts many years ago. Then I stopped. The reason was the lack of time to make really artistic detailed hand embroidered quilts and the lack of inspiration to make traditional ones. But now I have found a new trend: modern quilting! I am so excited!  

Stella wishes a long and warm summer to all of you! See you soon!

Painting With Wool

For a long time I have believed that the most valuable things are those that you can make yourself from start to finish. The question is only, where to start. This project was a very special one as I started with natural white wool. I had the idea of painting with fiber and I thought I could take a layered approach as what I have done with papers.

My first step was to dye the wool by painting colors over it. Here’s one of the rovings I dyed.

Then I spun the wool.

Here’s some of the finished yarn. With spinning I added “painted” layers.

Then I chose the pattern. I could have designed it myself but I find so perfect one I decided to go with it. It’s Stockport by Sarah Hutton from Rowan magazine nr 46. I chose to make mine it a little longer to really show off the yarn.

When knitting the sweater I made random stripes, another layer of paint. I think that the result really proves that the layered look can be done with fiber too!

Some Things Never Change

My favorite time in a normal working week is Friday night. That’s when I turn the music on, grab the pens and brushes and start creating.

I often think about deep and complicated but the music I listen to is very ordinary pop. It really does not go along with my visual style. What I need from music is to create a kind of shield around me, assure that I can do it. It’s been like this for tens of years.
Speaking of time over 20 years ago …

These two old paintings are hanging at my home and I watch them every day. What I did then was pretty much the same that I do now: listen to bad music and get into a flow state. Back then I had just discovered cubism and some new hues of color. These paintings remind me how people stay same even if the years go by. New thoughts will appear, new colors and shapes will be discovered but the true identity stays.

Creating Wood by Doodling Layers

My husband is into woodworking, and he often shows me stuff that inspires me too. Like this box! After seeing it, I wanted to work with papers like they were wood. Carve with my pen and all!

Wooden Box by Peony and Parakeet, read more about doodling layers!

Here’s my little piece of wood, only on paper!

Doodling on a Transparency

First, I only had an idea of how wood is constructed. It has lots of layers. I made the bottom layer with inks and chose deep orange shades. Then I took one of my illustrations, converted it black and white with a computer and printed it to a transparent film. It was pretty full of everything – as my work usually is – even in black and white, but of course it was not quite enough. I added some more doodling over it with a black marker. It already began to look like wood when setting the transparency over the orange background.

Doodling layers by Peony and Parakeet.

Doodling on a Print

I was not finished, though. The two layers were then scanned and manipulated digitally to make the black look like it’s gone deeper into the orange layer. The result was printed on paper. I added “the carving” using a white gel pen. Then back to the computer! I cut the piece in Photoshop and added the original scan as a background. Some fine tuning and there it was!

Doodling Layers – Creating Your Own Visual World

An American artist Georgia O’Keeffe said: “To create one’s own world, in any of the arts, takes courage.” I do not know about courage, but it surely is the best art can give to me: to create my own world. By process-oriented approach like by doodling layers, it’s both easy and fun!

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Some Publicity!

My interview is published at the newest issue of Taito magazine. It is a Finnish magazine about crafts and art industry in Finland. My story and the photos of my work covered several pages. It feels great! Here are some of the pages.

My folk bags were included in the cover of the magazine!
Here’s me showing how I save even the tiniest piece of paper!
Even if I enjoy tremendously making all the stuff I show here at my blog and sell at Etsy, it is hard work. I have a day job and all the creative work takes place at my spare time. That’s why rewards like this interview feel really great!

Faberge Revisited

Now is the time to grab those handmade patterned papers and make your own Faberge eggs! I used the smallest scraps here!

I begun with styrox egg and covered it with gesso. After the gesso had dried I glued the paper scraps with matte medium. Then I drew few extra doodles on it and added some faux jewels.

The stand is made from used tealight candle tin. I covered it with paper and added a decorated ribbon on it.

You can’t have too many details here! The more the better!

Have a creative Easter!

Masking Tape Magic

While reading the morning paper I saw this painting from Paivi Takala. It is made using masking tapes. Masking tapes! Surely I can do something for my art journal with them …

I made a page about Japan and wrote how I love all the tiny stuff they produce from bonsai trees to small boxes. Instead of layering with paint I used masking tape.

Here are some snapshots from the process.

Here you can see the masking tapes and how I have doodled over them. I started with black marker and color pencils.

Then I added some glitter paint.

Now I have removed the tape.

Here’s the final page again. I have filled some of the areas with handdrawn patterns but used most for journaling. Will definitely used this technique again!

Pretty Art Journaling

I have started to wonder: is there only one style in art journaling? Is it only for those who are ready to explore with paint and who are not afraid of getting messy. And scrapbooking: is it about using commercial products and aiming for pretty pages?

Can’t there be pretty art journaling?

Pretty art journaling, including lace, scrapbook papers, doodling by Peony and Parakeet.

I bought this pink Smash book some time ago. The pages were so pretty I could not put any mess over them. And my style of making scrapbooks was not suitable for them either. But after getting fed up with messy mixed media, I dared to open it and just make it pretty!

Pretty art journaling by Peony and Parakeet

So why not glue all the pretty stuff to your art journal? Add lace and frills and anything you find beautiful!

A detail of a pretty art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

I added both commercial products and my own hand decorated papers to the page. Even my handwriting is a bit more controlled than how I usually write.

Finished Journal

>> See the flip-through video of this art journal!

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5 Tips to Choosing Colors

People often comment the colors on my work. No wonder as my design process is very color driven! Here are some guidelines that I have developed for choosing colors.

1) Start with the color

Whether I am about to dye, paint, knit or make a new design, I often start with the feeling that I want to express. I see the feeling in color; there’s often the exact hue that comes to my mind. Sometimes it’s a combination of two or three colors.

I have learned to interpret abstract things to colors by observing color in everything I see. Try to omit the functions, shapes, and patterns of the objects and concentrate on colors. Do not worry about what you are going to make, choose the materials by their hue and start creating!

My paper designs often start with color. This lime yellow represents the warmth of summer for me!

2) Mix the colors you hate with the colors you love

The one mistake you can make is that you only give attention to the colors that cause positive reactions. I often go deep into hues that I hate. I have noticed that by combining them with the colors I love creating great impressions that are more real than if I use only my positive colors. And within the time I learn to see the beauty in every color.

Like I used to hate pink. Nowadays one of my favorite color combinations is muted orange red and pink. I get emotional when I see these colors together. They represent something about my childhood that I cannot put into words.

Alku yarn in Eleanor colorway, the hated pink and the loved orange-red!

3) Control the quantity of each color

I like to control the quantity of each color. I often have a few colors that cover the most of the surface and then some that I use in small amounts. When making a color palette for your design, keep in mind that you don’t need large quantities of the color you want to turn the attention to. Small colored areas that locate in the main focal points can create great impact. The colors interact with the composition of your work.

You can practice this by taking photos and analyzing them. Analyze why the certain colors in a photo draw your attention.

This photo looks black and white to me. The focal point is the place where the light hits the road. It emphasizes the darkness of the shadow.

4) Make your own colors

I try to avoid colors that come straight from the jar. Even if they look beautiful. At the end of the creative process, they look artificial anyway. Probably because it’s so easy to use them in too large quantities!

If you mix your own colors, you will get exciting variations of the same color. This makes your work look more natural. You can also use the same components in many different colors. This makes them go better together. When you start with the blues, yellows, and reds, you can create a huge amount of colors and hues with less cost and with better controllability. And if you end up creating ugly colors, see step two!

I often add a hint of black to create a muted tone, but you might prefer pastels and use white instead.

Mixing black with yellow to achieve the right hue for the hall (the result is shown in the first photo of this post). / Using white to create soft pastels in knitted fabric.

5) Put the color theory into practice

With this blog post, I do not want to underestimate the value of color theory. I have learned Josef Albers color theory during the designer studies. For Josef Albers, the color was everything, see this inspiring video of him and his works! Whether you learn the basic color theory or dwell deeper into Josef Albers experiments, it’s always good to experiment too. Get your safe color combos and then move to the more dangerous ones! You can never know too much about colors!

Here’s a snapshot of the library room where I like to create most of the color combinations. I am surrounded here by colors, textures, and patterns, and I find it so inspiring! One of my newest fabrics is on the chair, and I think it suits the room perfectly!

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Original painting on canvas, see more photos at Etsy

Here’s my my newest artwork “Enigma”. The making of it started with the thoughts about the atmosphere in old, high public buildings. Like old libraries and churches. The decorated ceilings and the feel of space create almost spiritual experience. It is a mystery how the beauty can uplift the mind so powerfully.

I used acrylic paints here and added the details with pens and markers.