It’s Sew Wild!

I’ve had fun reading an advance copy of Alisa Burke’s new book , Sew Wild. It’s beautiful and full of great techniques for fabric and more!

Now, I have to be honest, I don’t sew. I CAN sew, I CHOOSE not to. I learned how to sew the ‘right’ way and well, that pretty much took all the fun out of it for me. I learned quickly that I’d rather paint so I left sewing behind although my machine is still part of my studio. I did do a stint of sewing on paper that was fun, and when I took my machine in for a cleaning I got reprimanded for it-lol!

Where I’m  going with all of this is that I was very pleased to see how many of Alisa’s techniques can be used even for us non-sewers! It’s chock full of cool things that can be used without ever touching a machine! (shhhhh, don’t tell Alisa;-)

I chose to start with a wood carving project. I’ve never carved on wood and it’s a lot different than lino blocks, but fun and the carvings are very unique looking.

I did some simple designs to go along with the face I carved. The carving blocks and even tools can be found at Michael’s. I even used my lino cutters and they worked fine.

Now, to get around sewing something I found a cute little ready to decorate muslin apron at Michael’s as well. There is a whole isle of ready to alter clothing etc.

Here’s the begining of my apron, with some carved blocks, and thermofax screens.

I’m not sure if I’m done yet but loving it so far! Can’t wait to try some other techniques from the book. Be sure to check it out HERE.

Sew Wild! Blog Tour

I’m so thrilled to about the release of Alisa Burke’s new book, Sew Wild! I met Alisa at CHA this past winter when we discovered we had the same wonderful editor for our books and caught up again with her at CREATE Costa Mesa.  She is celebrating with a  blog tour that launches tomorrow on Sew, Mama, Sew, so go over and see a new tutorial by Alisa, and follow along for two weeks to see some great photo posts, reviews, giveaways, sneak peeks and more! I’m going to be rounding up things here on the 23rd with a book review and maybe even try a little sewing project-haven’t had my machine out in quite some time!


Sept. 14 Sew, Mama, Sew

Sept. 15 Balzer Designs

Sept. 16 and The Creative Goddess

Sept. 17 FaveCrafts

Sept. 19 Crescendoh – Jenny’s Blog

Sept. 21 Scarlet Time

Sept. 22 A Stitch in Dye

Sept. 23 Living Art at the Speed of Life

Day 9-Book Blog Tour

The next stop on the Tour is Chrysti Hydeck!

I’ve known Chrysti since my early days of mixed media when we were both members of ZNE, an online mixed media group. I knew ‘of’ her before I ‘knew’ her and was in awe of not only her talent, but her whole outlook on her artistic life. She amazes me continually with her strength and the way she turns what could be negative into positive.

When she wrote her essay for my book, I read it and then immediately showed it to my husband (who is an aspiring writer, having written a novel and with two more in the works-know any good agents???) He read it and was thoroughly impressed! Since that time the tweets fly between them, and me when I remember to sign in, (I’m the worlds worst tweeter) and we are all looking forward to a time when the four (Chrysti and her significant other, Nate and I) can hang out and talk creative stuff!

Chrysti knew about my book before it was a book. And graciously agreed to be part of it. She cheered me on, offered advice, and listened when I needed an ear. There’s a word for that….FRIEND!

Back in 2008 Chrysti interviewed me on her website INTERVIEW and one of the questions was

“What’s one artistic skill you’d like to cultivate in the coming year?

“I have been concentrating on sketching in my journal.  I love collage, but want to develop my drawing skills further.”

I’m always happy when I can look back and I’ve publicly stated a goal and then actually acted on it. That’s the thing with putting it out there-you’re accountable!!

On another note:

Here’s a pic of my first Book Signing yesterday at Barnes & Noble!


Blog Tour Schedule

Jenny Doh

Suzi Blu

Seth Apter

Suzan Buckner

Sue Pelletier

All Norah’s Art

Lisa Kettell

Nancy Lefko

Chrysti Hydeck

Lisa Bebi

Jodi Ohl

Laurie Blau-Marshall

Dawn Edmonson

Paulette Insall


Julie Bergman


Gail Schmidt


What Would Lesley Do?

This is a newsletter from Lesley Riley. If you haven’t yet signed up to receive it, I highly encourage you to do so.  I was honored to be interviewed about Living Art at the Speed of Life by Lesley-you can listen to it here, and love how real she is and how she speaks from the heart.

Why I Do What I Do

Starting on a new journey is hard, especially when you do it alone. Alone is sitting by yourself day in and day out trying to figure out what the next step is. I have a few people I can bounce ideas off of and a coach/mentor helping me grow and expand my new adventure, but when it boils right down to it, the buck stops here. I have to craft my own way. I have so many ideas, so many things I want to do that I spend most of my time just figuring out where to put my attention and efforts. There’s a note stuck above my computer that reads, “Where do I want to make a meaning investment?”

You see, it’s about meaning – not time, not money, although that does factor in, of course. With a ton of money I could implement everything by hiring people to help me turn ideas into reality. But for now, it’s just me, alone, at my desk, trying to make sense of it all. Some days, I just want to throw in the towel, get a 9-5 somewhere where I can make a difference in people’s lives, but without having to figure out the how.

Well over a year ago, I asked myself, “What is it I really want to do with my life?” The answer was exactly the same as the answer I got over 10 years ago – I want everyone to find the same happiness I did when I discovered how to express myself through art. Basically, I wanted to become the person I had been looking for all of my life, someone to show me the way, to teach me the game of ART.

For some it comes naturally. It’s those lucky people who make the rest of us think that we are not cut out to be an artist. But there’s a passion in there we cannot deny, so we persist. I spent so many years trying to find my way, exploring different media, taking classes, and reading. Damn it, I was going to figure it out if it took a lifetime.

And then one day (all alone), it all clicked. Once it fell into place, everything I ever wanted started to happen. Fast. Everything I ever dreamed of. I was on the magic carpet ride of success. But still, something was missing. I was riding away from the very reason that I started teaching in the first place. And that was to help others find that magic ingredient that makes it all click.

So here I am trying to figure out the how. Not how to help you find the magic ingredient – I can teach you how. The how I’m trying to figure out is how to convince you that what you are looking for is not another technique, or a new art supply but something buried deep inside of you. You take a class because you want to know how that artist does what she does. You think knowing how to do it is your answer. But that’s her answer.

Your answer lies inside of you. I was unhappy until I found it. I don’t want you to be unhappy. That’s it. That’s why I do what I do. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to best help you find your answer. Since you are reading this, I’m not working alone anymore.

So have you got any ideas, partner? I’d love to hear what you think.  Email me at  This operator is standing by.

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No problem! But here is what you MUST include:

Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit

My Pen is Poised

I’ve just opened a new Etsy Shop and will be selling signed copies of my book from there! You can pre order yours by clicking on the above image. The books will come with a large postcard print of a piece of art from the book that makes a great (big) bookmark and the book will be signed on my signature color that appears on the inside cover- a totally awesome little surprise! Books will ship around the end of January before they are available in bookstores. Please be sure to ‘heart’ my new shop as I will be adding artwork over the next several weeks.