Sunday, May 24, 2015

Studio Sunday - Margaret Applin Designs Stencil Explosion Updates

It's Memorial Day Weekend already!  We are almost 6 months into the year and time keeps flying by.  I expected to have more information on my large-format stencil collections for you today but we must be running behind on that.  I'll share more as soon as I have updates.

I am TOTALLY EXCITED to launch my Margaret Applin Designs - Stencil Design Tools very, very soon!!!  I have 4 fantastic collections put together for you and one Magic Stencil.  The designs are complete and will be sent for cutting this week!  I can't wait!  Each collection is different from the next and these designs are fresh and fun each with a special format design (secret) and great coordinates to use together or separately.  I will be presenting the collections in full color to help show my vision for all the designs and hopefully build your excitement!

I'll be working on a few videos with Barbara at and I will be sharing everything I'm working on here in the studio as I go from Designer to Maker of all things fabric, paper and canvas!  In the meantime, I have been amassing tons of inspiration pins on my Pinterest boards so if you are on Pinterest, check out my Stitch, Fashion, and Interior Design boards with tons of ideas for applying designs through stenciling, embroidery, and collage.  My brain is exploding with ideas so bear with me as I produce my vision in finished products.

I've got 2 days left of this beautiful weekend to get started! 

This Memorial Day, don't forget to say a special Thanks to those service men and women who have given their lives to protect our country and even more Thanks to those who still do!  It is a scary world out there and things are changing every day both here in the U.S.A. and over seas.  These are times where we need to give extra support to all service men and women, including police officers, to keep fighting for peace and protect us against threats to our country.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Studio Sunday Post Colorado

In the midst of all I am doing on the art front, I was excited to skip away for a trip to Colorado Springs to visit friends of mine.  I have been to Colorado before when I visited Loveland twice to film my Interweave DVDs but this time I headed south east to Colorado Springs for a few days of adventure.

So while it turned 80 degrees and hot in Boston, this is what I arrived to in Denver!  More snow!!!  LOL  As promised, the closer we got to Colorado Springs, the less of the snow we saw.  The weather was not ideal but our trek up into the Rockies at 9,000 - 10,000 feet was nothing but sunshine and blue sky.

We spent the day in the Jeep going up through parts of the continental divide, Breckenridge, and Vail.  We were surrounded by snow-capped mountains, rushing brooks and raw beauty. 
We had to turn around and go back in Leadville so we could venture into the Silver Dollar Saloon which was a great call on my friend's part.  

The interior was covered with vintage photos, hanging saddles, and little pieces of history throughout and we sat at the large bar taking it all in.  I had to ask the workers if there were any ghost stories to be told about the place and they had a few good ones!  

It was an incredible place to visit and fun memories to cherish as I took pictures throughout the day up high in the mountains.  The ride wouldn't have been complete without a few tunes from John Denver to really appreciate the beauty all around us.

The older I get, the more nervous I get about being up so high.  Some of the roads right around Colorado Springs dropped off the edges and there were plenty in the mountains that didn't have rails either.  

The views were simply majestic and mesmerizing and I can't wait to get back and explore some more!  It was a fantastic break and a great trip!  My friends were so good to me and I can't think of a better place to relax and hang out than at the foot of Pike's Peak, listening to John Denver, of course!
This week is all about getting back to business and STENCILS, STENCILS, AND MORE STENCILS!!  There is so much to do and so little time and when it is all ready, you will know!!!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay creative!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Studio Sunday Stencil Testing Groove

I have got 10 HUGE stencils taped to my design wall right now ready for testing!  So I've got a variety of paints out and lots of paper and I'm testing away!  We are already in MAY and these large stencil collections will launch the end of this month if everything stays on schedule.  It's time to register these designs for copyright, a quick and inexpensive step to ensure they are mine in case of infringement.  I sound like I am at work tracking all the company IP, but it's already happened to me once so to take that extra step seems very reasonable.

In the midst of testing, I stole a little time to play with the lessons for the workshop, "The Doings of a Do-o-dle" with Diane Culhane on Carla Sonheim's site.  I love her style and wanted to see if I could experiment using my stencils instead of doodles.  In the end, I broke down with some doodles.

On this first piece, I used my Leaf Specimens stencil on top of some cool textures from Barb's Animal Textures: Zebra and Croc stencils.  I also added a little Chevron.  Instead of painting the entire background one color, I mixed it up a little with acrylics and then went back in with watercolor paint to get the darker areas.
On the second one, I just played around with a few test stencils I had and added a little bit of doodle.  I added gold paint using the Sharpie Paint Pens so this one looks much better when you see the gold laying on top.
So, I've been experimenting with different concepts for my personal stencil line and I had fun using some of the painted deli paper that I made when I was down in RI at Barb's for a play weekend.  I love how the pieces are all broken up, although not perfectly balanced, still fun.   
I still can't share any images from the actual stencils but I will soon so stay tuned!  You can be sure there will be a free giveaway coming when they launch!
Have a wonderful and warm weekend and keep on creating!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Studio Sunday and Stencil Explosion in the Works

Who doesn't have a million stencils lying around in their studio?  Really, stencils are so versatile and can be used in lots of ways which makes them so addicting. 

One of the stencils that are a part of my MARGARET APPLIN DESIGNS premier launch is a template that can help you customize a unique medallion design that you can build using stencils that you probably already have as a part of your stash!  I think this template will help you breath fresh inspiration into stencils you aren't so excited about any more.

Think about what stencils you already own that have smaller design elements like flowers or shapes (which probably covers just about any stencil LOL).  Here, I'm looking at a couple of Barbara's Joggles Stencils, Botanicals I and II, and going crazy thinking of how I can apply these cute little flowers and leaves.

How can I change them up to create a new story?  Do I want to build that story on paper or on fabric?  And how will I lay them out?

These are questions that I am always asking myself as I design my own stencils.  I want the designs that I create and produce for others to us to have the ability to play on different media with lots of design options.  I want to help build your toolbox of ideas and techniques.
Look at the stencils you have in your stash and select a few that really catch your eye and think about combining them to create a new story.  Stay tuned as I talk more about my Margaret Applin Designs Stencil Design Tools inspiration.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Studio Sunday and Ramping Up

Oh my gosh!!!  I think it's SPRING!!!  Wow, really three whole days of sunshine and warmer temps and I'm loving it!  Too bad I haven't had a chance to get out and enjoy it because I am soooo busy.  Busy is a good thing, especially right now with so many ideas flowing.


The schedule for stencil releases is currently the end of May for Stencilease and I'm narrowing in on a June launch date for my personal stencil line.  Stay tuned!!

I'm gathering supplies for all kinds of fun with the new stencils and will definitely be putting together instructional videos on how to use them and what you can make with them.  It's very exciting!!!!  I'm thinking big format stitching so I've ordered some sari silk yarn!  There is a lot of testing going on and I'm off to a rough start LOL.  I'm using my favorite image from my Sunshine stencil from on homemade canvas.  I think I will do my fingers a favor and move on to softer materials.

This is a great piece to get warmed up on.  This was one of my paper towel art quilts started back in 2013.  It is stamped and stenciled and stitched onto a muslin backing with a layer of batting.  Maybe now is the time to finish it!

I love this one that already has a binding on it but maybe there is more I can do to the surface.

I will be working on paper and canvas as well as fabric with new projects.  Here is the base of one canvas with paint and screen-printed deli paper collage.  It will be fun to see where this one goes!

I'm testing colors on fabric so I had a little fun with some tie dye!

There is so much to do and so little time but I am excited to see it through!!!  Have a wonderful weekend and stay creative!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015


It's been spring-like here this weekend!  I've noticed some bulbs under the windows in the back yard that are starting to come up and waiting for that sign of tiny buds on the tree branches.  It sounds like spring will be exploding all at once and I can't wait!!!

There is going to be a STENCIL EXPLOSION coming soon!  How do you prepare for this sort of thing?  You take inventory of all your supplies; sewing, stitching, painting, collage and drawing tools!!!  You clear your workspace, clean all your brushes, set up your iron, oil your sewing machine, buy new paper and embroidery floss and hunker down.


Ok, remember when I took my trip to the CHA Tradeshow in January with Barbara from, quite unexpectedly, I managed to obtain a license agreement for BIG stencils!  Big Big stencils!  These are stencils you will be able to use on furniture, walls and flooring; however, I won't stop there!  I've got ideas brewing and ready to test as the TWO COLLECTIONS, not one but TWO, will be sent to me shortly for testing and approval!  Each COLLECTION will contain 5 (five) designs that coordinate with one another.  This scale will be a lot of fun to work with across different applications and I plan to push the ideas as far as I can. 

The current launch for these 2 COLLECTIONS is expected to be around Memorial Day Weekend.  Don't worry, I'll be sure to spread the news and share everything as soon as it is ready!  Of course, because the imagery in in the final testing phase, I can't show you anything right now as I've got to get my ducks lined up and copyright my designs and prepare all the lovely promotional stuff!

Stay tuned!

My second surprise is that I will also be releasing MY OWN PERSONAL LINE OF STENCILS!!!!  In coordination with my friend and business partner, Barbara at, the first set of MARGARET APPLIN DESIGNS stencils will be out soon and sold exclusively on  These stencils are DIFFERENT and FUN and INNOVATIVE!  I can't wait to show you and share all my project ideas!  The expected launch date is not concrete as of yet but will be happening VERY SOON!!! 
So with everything that is going on here in the studio, that seems to get smaller and smaller with every BIG idea I have, I'm working hard and might be quiet as I'm plugging full-steam-ahead with project ideas and instructional videos and PDFs.  I'm going to be wearing a lot of design hats while still working full-time and you know what that's like! 
If any of you follow me on Pinterest, I have two boards that might be of interest to you as I gather ideas to use my new stencils.  Check out my STITCH board as well as my INTERIOR DESIGN IDEAS board. 
Stay creative, happy and healthy!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Be back next week.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Studio Sunday and Stitch on the Brain

You know it's spring when it snows all day and nothing stays on the ground!  Yay!  Beautiful sun today that will hopefully work away at the remaining snow.  The roads are a complete disaster here and just running out to do an errand becomes a maneuvering exercise to avoid all the potholes.  Can we sue the towns if our suspension breaks? LOL

I think my friend, Lynn Krawczyk, has been tickling my stitching muse with all of her hand embroidery that she's been doing lately!  She's just completed new tapings for QA TV and another workshop DVD.  Go Lynn!!!!  I really want to do some hand stitching but, of course, I'm thinking about how I can do it differently, as always.  This design was a little experimentation using a watercolor flower I had painted but it is giving me BIG ideas :)

So my Spoonflower fabric arrived and it is so CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!  You can see it tucked between two other pieces of fabric that I ordered last year for Surtex but I didn't have enough time to finish the project I was thinking about.  How weird that my new fabric ties in with these, hmmmmm...

It really is soft and yummy fabric.  It is on a white background which is hard to tell from the pictures.  The one thing wrong with it is scale.  LOL  I seem to have problems with scale.  I want to order more that is twice the scale or a little more of what I got for the cotton sateen only.  I am itching to embellish that design on a throw pillow and the scale is too small for that project.

However, the same design in the modern knit is the perfect scale for a wearable so I plan on making up that top to wear underneath a couple of different work jackets/blazers.  On the image below with both fabric types, you can tell that the knit on the left is more saturated in color than the cotton on the right.  I feel that the synthetics retain more of the color than the cottons do.  Additionally, I think the cotton sateen retains more color than the Kona cotton as well.  It is still light-weight enough to use for quilting so it is my preferred cotton fabric from Spoonflower.

Some fun digital play that also got me thinking about cross stitch.  Really thinking......

And below is the 16" repeat without the grid look above.  You can see the marks from my big X stencil which has been a part of my stitching itch.  Lots of happy spring colors like those bulbs just waiting to shoot up from underneath the last of the snow.

Here is a more subtle design from a painted and stenciled piece I was playing with last night.  There isn't too much color adjustment on this one.  It reminds me of argyle.

I hope you have the same sunny day as I am and keep those creative juices flowing!