The Crafter’s Workshop Stencil Blog Hop: Lotus Blossoms


Then the lovely and talented Julie Fei-Fan Balzer asked me to participate in the Crafter’s Workshop Stencil Blog Hop last month, of course I said “YES!” I also fell a little in love with the Lotus Blossom Stencil that she’s designed:

I must have chosen the stencil subconsciously. I thought I’d just chosen it randomly….just because I liked it…but then I realized that the Lotus Blossom is used in Buddhism as a symbol of purity and non-attachment. And I’m in the early stages of my yoga practice. Coincidence, or did this image call out to me? I’ll tell you my story and then you can decide.

I knew before I even opened the package that I wanted to use the stencil on fabric. Originally, my plan was to use both the larger and smaller format versions to transform my old denim jacket. But alas, they were sold out of the smaller stencil, so I had to drop back and punt.

I also had BIG plans for a fairly elaborate art quilt. But the stencil arrived on Thursday, just ONE DAY before we were scheduled to leave for a week-long trip for spring break. And my post in the blog-hop- the one you are reading right now- is SMACK DAB in the middle of our trip! SO. I had to make some headway and then turn the piece into something I could finish on the road. I literally had less than 12 hours to get something started that I could add to on the road.

There’s that concept of “non-attachment” for you. I had to completely let go of my preconceived ideas and go with the flow…..

This is where I stop thinking and start letting the materials talk to me. I gathered some fuscia batik fabric, some deColourant, my Shiva Paintstiks, and sat down to play.

First, I applied stencil adhesive and masked off the surrounding area.

Tip: If you want to mask of a larger area, freezer paper works great. Just iron it to your fabric and not the stencil. The fabric itself is also stabilized with freezer paper. Then I applied the spray deColourant, removed the stencil, and used the iron to remove the color.


Phase one: discharged fabric.

Now I wanted to ADD some color. So I used the deColourant Plus, which adds color as well as discharging color from the fabric. So in this case, I added the silver color of deColourant Plus. Here’s how that turned out:

At this point, I started to feel like my central image was getting washed  out and I needed a pop of color. Lucky for me that Julie’s stencils are so well-designed! I used the outline and my Shiva Paintstiks to add a burst of teal. (I briefly toyed with black, but teal is one of my favorite colors.)

Applying the oil paint with a brush.

I love the detail in this layer.

Phase 3- Paintstik applied.

So this is where I started to get frustrated. I wanted to do a LOT more with layering stencils with the oilpaints…but you really need 24 hours to let the paint dry thoroughly to avoid smearing. And I needed to pack it up to travel with the next day. So I decided to go with the flow, separate myself from any attachments to what I THOUGHT the piece should be, and let it dry overnight.

The next morning, we were rushing around getting packed. I KNEW I needed to pack a travel kit and was getting more and more stressed out…. I knew I needed to breathe and relax. THAT’S when I got a clearer focus as to what this piece needed next.

Sadly, I was in a huge rush and didn’t get a chance to take a photo until we were on the road….

You can see my workbox in the foreground.

My intention was to work on the piece the whole way to our destination. And THEN I realized that the needles I brought were too big to use with my seed beads! (breathe) And that there wasn’t a close shop the entire trip. (breathe) And that there was no possible way that the piece would be done in time for this blog post. (breathe!)

And it’s then that I really started letting go. I mean, Julie asked me to participate because I make fun stuff- but also because I’m invested in my own process of art-making and I’m willing to share that journey with you.

So, no, as of right now, my mini-quilt isn’t done. I’m sitting in a hotel room in Washington DC, enjoying the week with my family. I DID find a beadshop and purchased new needle (and a few new beads, too- but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post)  and while my “breathe” art quilt isn’t done, I’ve let go of that expectation….and I’m just enjoying beading and writing on it a little every night. And it’s doing EXACTLY what I intended it to do….. reminding me to let go of unrealistic expectations and breathe.

Lotus Quilt, work-in-progress

A big thank you to Julie for inviting me to participate….and I promise, I’ll write a follow-up post when it’s all done! In the meanwhile, see how other fabulous folks used this stencil and check out the rest of today’s Lotus-Blossom blog hop:

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Nathalie Kalbach

May Flaum

Stencil Hop Spring 2012

About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.


  1. says

    Wow it isn´t all done yet? I just love it already….and really love the aventure trip challange too.
    Enjoy your family trip and have FUN.


  2. Honoré says

    Well, they say ” necessity is the mother of invention” and I have to say I am loving your ingenuity, creativity, and breathing of your mini art journal quilt…it’s great! All of it has me inspired to try the stencil on fabric and make an art journal quilt too!
    Hope you’re enjoying our lovely city, too. I live in DC.

  3. says

    I love your quilted piece. Teal is one of my favorite colors as well and I have been using it a lot lately too. It looks wonderful with the fuchsia. I can’t wait to see the piece when you consider it finished. I think it is beautiful already.

  4. says

    wow “just breathe” is what i need to do right now too…. love your creation and the stencil is a favorite…..

  5. says

    Fabulous art quilt! I love how you handled the challenges and I so appreciate your honesty about the struggles to make the art you want and everyday life!

  6. Linda K says

    What a great and enlightening post. Love all your “breathe” notes to self :). Your fabric quilt is already so beautiful and meaningful-thanks so much for sharing your journey. The lotus stencil is my absolute fave along with the poppy stencil.

  7. says

    Stunning quilt Jenny! You did an amazing job with it! I so enjoyed reading your battle with the clock and your own expectations!

  8. says

    That turned out wonderful even with all the hustle and bustle of your life! Absolutely love, love, love it!

  9. Maggie M says

    WOW, I never thought of using the lotus blossom stencil on fabric, but this piece has inspired me to work outside my comfort zone. Very cool stencil! Thanks for sharing:)

  10. Andrea Beshuk says

    I love it and can’t wait to see it evolve. And thank you for your commitment to the process instead of the finished product! I SO appreciate that!

  11. Andrea Beshuk says

    I love it and can’t wait to see it evolve. And thank you for your commitment to the process instead of the finished product! I SO appreciate that!

  12. Stacy Caddy says

    OHGosh, I can’t wait to see the finished project but this is beautiful…. I SEW need to get a sewing machine.. TFS!!!!!

  13. Caryn S says

    PLEASE post the finished quilt! I can completely sympathize, I am the MOST impatient crafter but I have learned over the years and the many different crafts I have tried that it never pays to be in a hurry! This is going to be wonderful when you are done!

  14. says

    Love it! So vibrant and fun..I really enjoyed your post as you are very funny. Taking it on a roadtrip is something only a devoted crafter would do….Love it. Glad you participated as I was able to find you and add you to my reading list.

  15. TA says

    This is beautiful! I love seeing how to use the stencil with fabric. I need to try this out. Thanks!

  16. Tammy Shapiro (Demichelis) says

    I had trouble posting my comment so this may be a duplicate. My first one only had a partial name for some reason. Anyway….gorgeous work. I love the use of fabric. Thank you! Tammy

  17. Dawn F. says

    Just found your blog through Julie’s blog hop. I love the techniques of painting on the fabric. I’ve dabbled in quilting but not anything big. Love your use of the stencil and the story of how your piece evolved. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Cat Graves says

    Your art quilt is beautiful…what an awesome use of the stencil. Now I’ll have to own it!!

  19. says

    love this post! thank you for sharing this process – great how your commitment and determination shines through – rings so many bells and feels supportive too

  20. Cindi Shearer says

    Jenny, this is incredible. Quilting was my first love and this makes me want to get back in there using stencils! This is a very versatile stencil–I love it!

  21. Miriam Prantner says

    What a great project! Love that you did this on the road, the results are fabulous!

  22. Mary Ellen says

    You have done fabulous work with this already and I can only imagine how lovely it will be when you are done. I love Julie’s stencils and am doubly glad I got to find YOU through this blog hop!

  23. Woodie says

    I am Soooo impressed…I would never have thought of using the stencil on fabric and I would like to thank you for sharing the entire process. I’ve also never heard of ‘de-colourant’ but I can tell you I’m going to look into it, especially because I use a bleach pen all the time to take out stains then draw over them with making pens to outline and color in. I love your piece and plan to try it out myself…thank you so much for sharing!

  24. SusanHnSC says

    Wow!!! That’s an amazing project – and love the stencils! Love the fabric idea…

  25. Margaret says

    Love your quilt and the ideas you shared on how to do the artwork. I also like the lettering around it. Breathe is a word I think we all need to remember. Thank you for sharing this.

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