Monday, February 22, 2016

How to Make a Fabric Card: Color Dolly

"Creativity is intelligence having fun" ~ Albert Einstein
My Inspiration

My inspiration to make this lovely card came from two places.

First, my sweet furiend Dolly The Boston Buddha, Pooch Editor-in-Chief at asked me if I would be willing to take part in her (at that time) new interactive art space for kids, young and old.  Since I love art, I was excited to do a project for her.  

But that was over a year ago. Sweet Dolly has been patiently waiting while I continue on my journey as a cancer survivor. 

Being a cancer survivor can be hard, and the past eighteen months have been trying while I have been coping with the same side-effects I've had since I was 26, except now I am just a few weeks shy of 59 -- (wow that looks scary on the screen...yikes ... ) and the 'ol bod ain't what it used to be, but I am a Baby Boomer and I grew up with Mickey Mouse and Cinderella so that means, at least inside, I get to be a kid forever!  

The second reason that I did the project was not physical but relational. I was in a very tough place with a loved one and needed a distraction. Been there? 

Life throws us curves just about every single day and some of those curves we can manage or change, but more often than not, there is absolutely nothing that we can do about the situation.  And I've found out that accepting that fact, is very liberating.  So I redirected my thoughts, and channeled my energy into the art project. And it worked!
Art has the power to heal and uplift you into a world of imagination, beauty, and creation, and is the very reason that I named this blog Color Me Well.  

So...while Dolly waited patiently on my contribution to her art gallery, two wonderful things happened.

  1. The fabric card turned out so beautiful, way beyond my expectations, and I've never made a fabric card in my life.  I guess my creativity genes were "mulching" during those unproductive months, think?
  2. Mentally diving into this project saved my mind.
Why did I use fabric?  Because I can't paint! I'm certified in interior design so I naturally went to what I was familiar with. I love fabric and am familiar with it's personality and how it behaves. 

I documented the project with photos, and below you can see a box of colored markers. I couldn't use them because they were dried up. I just stared at the box for a while with glazed over eyes wondering what to do.

My pens were dried up. Time for Plan B eyes turned to my fabric box.  I opened it up and immediately had a light-bulb moment. My mind started thinking in 'pixels'.  I wasn't seeing the print on the fabric anymore, I was seeing swirls and motion and curves and dots.  

You will see that I used two pieces of substantial cardboard. I originally punched holes in them because in my mind I was going to make a card that would open and close, but I covered the holes up when I decided to go with fabric. It sort of evolved on its own and I just went with what idea came next, and, I'll admit a few things did not work, so I had to undo and start over. That is how the creative process works. Don't be afraid to admit something doesn't work because usually another idea will come to you that works better. Keep moving forward.

      This pretty pink harlequin fabric remnant is from Jasmine's memory box. Jasmine was my Malti-Poo. You can read my tribute to her entitled 'Mine' on Dolly's site in the PawCircle section. 

The finished card is only 5" x 9" (about the size of a journal) which means all of the objects on it are quite small.  Dolly by herself is made up of at least 50 very small pieces, and there are over 15 pieces just in her face and ears.

Contributions in fabric mostly came from:
  • Best In Show (cream background) by P. Kaufmann. Available at or
  • 3 of Jasmine's (1992-2010) bandannas
  • vintage fabric I inherited from my grandmother and great aunt
  • every piece used was from what I had on hand
Below you will see one page from a coloring book that can be downloaded from her site.  

I chose the picture below from the Color Dolly coloring book for my project because I like the treasure chest and the way Dolly is looking at you.  Her expression really got my imagination going. What do you see? 

photo: Copyright Tao of Dolly

It appears summer is over and Dolly has carefully packed all her special toys in her treasure chest. 

Dolly is in her bedroom looking in her chest of drawers. She has just received an invitation to a masquerade pawty, and I think she is ready to get all dolled up, but I wonder what she will wear? 

Guess what? She's going to be disguised as her mom Suzanne! Her furiends will never know it is her. "Look out, here comes Glamour! (with a big slice of trickster) Dolly can't wait! Look at that face...

As you can see, I replaced the chest of drawers with a pretty stool. It was easier for me to pull off, and the colors blended beautifully. The stool was one piece, cut from the fabric Best In Show. Best In Show is an elegant fabric showing vignettes of different types of small dogs sitting on stools, chairs and beds.  It is available in a light blue and china red.  

Here is a photo of a pillow I made in the cream color some years ago and I love it.

Here's the back: That's Bo! How did they know I would one day have him? If you look closely to the left you'll see the teddy bear I used beside the treasure chest. 

Dolly's fur, and Suzanne's hair also came from Best In Show, where a Pomeranian, Shih-Tzu, and Pekingese gave their all for this art project (there is no limit to a dog's love).

In so many ways, the Best In Show fabric truly pulled all of this together. 

And, of course, I had to finish it.  Here's the back of the card. 

I added one of my fabric labels to the back to give it a HallmarkTM look! That label is at least 30 years old.  I used to sew a lot when I was younger. 


Dolly's mama Suzanne loved the card so much I sent it to her from Alabama to Montreal, Canada! It took ten days, and we sat on pins and needles while it made it through Customs. It made it there without a hitch, and we were all so happy.

I was grateful to the Lord for watching over the artwork while it went on its way. It is obvious that his hand was on the project the entire time.

Be sure to catch the next blog which will be mostly photos with my commentary of the project in process.

The card is featured in Dolly Art Galleryso be sure to go over and check out her awesome site!  

If you like pets, animals, love and human compassion for all living things, you will fall in love with Dolly. She is one of mine and Bo Shih-Tzu's favorite furever furiends. (Bo is secretly in love with her.  He calls her "Pwincess"). 

Dolly says I'm "sweeter'n buttermilk biscuits dipped in honey!"
~ Bo

and he really, really was.
New Years Eve 2009 I stopped two lanes of traffic to rescue Bo. It was dark, freezing rain with thunder and lightning. I thought he was a deer, until I saw those Shih-Tzu eyes. The vet said he was around 5 years old, but, we don't truly know.  

In loving Memory
my precious boy


Run free with Jazzie now Bo!
I miss you so...
Love, Mom

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At March 13, 2016 at 8:05 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

OMG you do some beautiful work, Rann! And lots of it ;)

At March 15, 2016 at 8:58 PM , Blogger Rann said...

Hi de John!

Thank you for the kind compliment, it was a blast. Now you know what a complex mind I have, haha! Look up 'girl-nerd' in the dictionary and my picture will be there-
Thanks for stopping by and commenting! - Rann


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