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  • Win Your Own Copy of Inspirational Quotes Illustrated!

    Posted: January 30, 2015 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, inspiration |Permalink

    MT_GiveawayBook_ArtWords1Get your creative juices flowing! Win your own copy of Lesley Riley’s brand new book

    Inspirational Quotes Illustrated: Art and Words to Motivate

    Do you have a favorite quote? The Meinke Toy Community wants to hear it! Leave your favorite quote here, for the chance to win this amazing new book!

    Now it’s your turn! Add your favorite quote to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/meinketoy


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    Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue & Here is a Fun Valentine’s Special for You!

    Posted: January 30, 2015 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, fiber art holiday special, New |Permalink


    To show how much we love you, we have set up a Valentine’s Specials Page.   We’ve pulled together some of our favorite products that are pink, purple and red, along with other products with a Valentine’s Day feel to them, to get your creative juices flowing.  

    Receive a 5% discount on your entire order (excluding shipping), through February 14*! 

    Yes, that’s right, 5% off your entire order, not just those products on the Valentine’s Day page!

    *Just enter VALENTINE in the coupon code when you check out to receive 5% off your entire order.  We will continue to add new products, so check back often.  There is no limit on how many times you can use the 5% discount.


    Artist: Eleanor Love, Owner of Meinke Toy

    Did you know that “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…” is probably the most well know line of verse associated with Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day had its origins in ancient Rome with the celebration of the pagan feast of Lupercalia in the month of February.  The Feast of Lupercalia celebrated the founding of Rome and was also associated with fertility and the protection of the flocks and crops.  There was also another Roman festival taking place in February.  During that festival it was the custom of young men to draw the names, in a lottery, of young girls who would be their partners during the celebration.

    Now enters Christianity.  It is well documented that there were several saints named Valentine, all of whom lived about the same time.  There are various legends associating one or more of them with Valentine’s Day.  One of my favorite legends is about a Roman priest who was sympathetic to the early Christians, which at that time was a crime.  Because of his assistance to the Christians, he was arrested, imprisoned and condemned to death. According to the legend, he fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailor, and miraculously restored her sight.  The night before his execution, he is said to have written her a farewell love message that he signed “From your Valentine.”  A-h-h-h-h, how sweet.


    Artist: Eleanor Love, Owner of Meinke Toy

    You might be asking yourself what the connection is between pagan festivals, the execution of a Christian martyr and our custom of exchanging cards and candy on Valentine’s Day.  Well, as Christianity began to spread, the Church was confronted with the problem of dealing the various pagan customs practiced by the Romans, who were newly converted to Christianity.  Realizing that it would be almost impossible to eradicate their pagan celebrations, the Church felt that it would be wiser to incorporate the various feasts and practices into Christian celebrations.  As the centuries wore on, so did the celebrations associated with early Christianity.  In medieval days, the names of young men and women were put into boxes and drawn out in pairs on February 14.  So, the custom of drawing names in a lottery was replaced with exchanging gifts and cards, sometimes anonymously, just in case the “valentine” was intercepted by someone other than the recipient.

    From pagan Roman festivals, to Christian martyrs, to today’s modern celebration, February 14 and the name of Saint Valentine have become synonymous with love, courtship and marriage. Looking for more Valentine’s Inspiration? Go right over to our  Valentine Specials Page!


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    The 12 Days of Christmas Are Here!

    Posted: December 24, 2014 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art, Meinke Toy Story |Permalink

    MT_12DaysWe are all familiar with the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but do you know what it refers to?  “The Twelve Days of Christmas” refers to the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany, or from December 25 until the eve of January 6.  January 6, Epiphany, is referred to as “Three Kings Day” or simply “Days of the Kings.”  Epiphany celebrates the day that the Three Wise Men, the Magi, arrived to present Jesus with their gifts. Christmas is celebrated on December 25, but in some cultures, gifts are given on each of the twelve days and in others, gifts are given on January 6.

    In celebration of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” MeinkeToy is offering a 10% discount on all items from December 25 through midnight EST January 5.  Just enter 12Days in the coupon code when you check out. 

    We will be putting up new, exciting products through “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Watch every day to see what’s new!

    Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season, and celebrate give yourself a gift during the 12 Days of Christmas!

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    Meet the Fabulous Ms. Love & Her Inspiring Passion for Fiber Art

    Posted: December 23, 2014 | by | Filed under: Fiber Art |Permalink
    Lyn Belisle, Rune and Relic Bundles (detail) 2014

    Lyn Belisle, Rune and Relic Bundles (detail) 2014

    “Every time I purchase something new for the shop, my heart starts racing and I am lost in the land of possibilities.” ~ Eleanor L. Love

    Many of my fiber artist friends whose work is in the current FASA Exhibit know about MeinkeToy – if you don’t, here’s your chance to learn. I asked Eleanor to share some thoughts about the business of fiber art and mixed media. When you read to the end, you’ll see her list of fiber art trends and exciting new products for 2015 (plus a special discount for SHARDS readers).

    Lyn : Eleanor, thanks for sharing with the SHARDS readers. I know from your bio that you were a fan of MeinkeToy long before you bought the company in 2012. As an active fiber artists, how does it feel to own the business you used to buy from? Do you find yourself too busy running the company to do much creative work of your own? Or does it give you more inspiration and access than ever? (at left: Lyn Belisle, Amate Bundle, 2014)

    Eleanor: I have been knee-deep in fiber art, painting and collage for about the last 20 years.  Prior to that, from about age 13 until my twenties, I made all of my own clothes, plus clothes for my siblings and Mother.  Then there was a long period of time when I didn’t have time to do anything creative.  All of my energies were put into my career and raising my family.  A friend introduced me to traditional quilting, and I can’t even count the number of quilts that I started and never finished. 

    Lyn Belisle, Amate Bundle, 2014

    Lyn Belisle, Amate Bundle, 2014

    My introduction to art quilting opened a whole new world for me.  I didn’t have to use a pattern and cut out tiny pieces of fabric and sew them back together. I could do whatever I wanted!  I started buying new, cutting edge fiber art supplies from Deb Meinke at MeinkeToy.  Back in early 2012, when I found out that Deb Meinke was going to close her wonderful online shop to move on to other interests, I jumped on the chance to change her mind and let me purchase the business.  I was so happy that I would be able to carry on the MeinkeToy tradition of bringing unique, hard-to-find products to the marketplace.  I haven’t had too much time to do my own creative work over the last 2-1/2 years.  Running MeinkeToy, plus another business that I have, has me working two full time jobs.  I haven’t lost my inspiration yet.  Every time I purchase something new for the shop, my heart starts racing and I am lost in the land of possibilities.

    Lyn: MeinkeToy is a wonderful online shop with lots of unusual products for the mixed media and fiber artists. I love your Abaca Tissue paper, for example. Do you select the products yourself? And, if so, what makes you say, “Aha, that’s a winner!”

    Eleanor: I am the chief cook and bottle washer at MeinkeToy, I do it all.  I select all of the products myself.  I started out with the base of products that Deb Meinke had been selling and have expanded the products carried from that starting point.  I spend several hours a week on the internet sourcing products. Finding unique items that can’t be purchased in some of the big box craft stores (no names mentioned) is a huge challenge.  When I see something that really excites me, I purchase it for the shop.  I know that not everyone’s tastes are the same and I try to keep that in mind, but if it isn’t a good quality product and doesn’t interest me, I feel it won’t be of much interest to anyone else either. 

    Lyn: You have an inside track on what fiber/mixed media artists are buying and using – do you see a trend toward more non-traditional work and away from such formats as block-pieced quilting? What products are your most popular?

    MT_Blog4Eleanor: I think that the market has grown to accommodate both traditional and non-traditional fiber and mixed media artists.  My experience has been that individuals that are immersed in traditional quilting tend to stay away from anything that is non-traditional.  I gave a presentation at a quilt guild not too long ago on art quilts, and one of the members came up to me afterwards and said that all “of that other stuff” scared her.  She just wasn’t interested in trying something new, and that is fine.  I do think that the emphasis on art quilts and using non-traditional materials has been fueled by all of the wonderful teachers out there who have spent the time experimenting with new products, and then go out and teach it, as well as all of the great books that have been written.  Same thing applies for mixed media.  There is such a cross-over between fabric and paper and what you can create. Some of my most unusual products are Evolon and Evolon Soft, Abaca Tissue, Crystal Spunbond, Heat-Distressable tissue, as well as some of the other man-made spunbond fibers that I import from the U.K.

    Lyn: When we talked on the phone, you remarked that you can run your online art and fiber supply company from almost anywhere. That’s fascinating! Is there a brick-and-mortar MeinkeToy shop? Will there be?

    Eleanor: That’s right, that is the benefit of an online company.  MeinkeToy is only online and I have no plans to ever open a shop.  Right now, I can run MeinkeToy from anywhere that has UPS, FedEx and a Post Office.  I really like the flexibility that this business affords me.

    Lyn: The 40th Annual Fiber Artists of San Antonio Juried Exhibition is on exhibit now at Say Si! Gallery and the juror, Barbara Schneider, is known for her sculpturally contoured dimensional work. Is this 3-D approach to fiber construction going to be the next new thing?

    Eleanor: There are already some remarkable artists making 3-D fiber constructions.  The structures can be built to stand up by using heavy duty stabilizers, or they can be more rigid, using wire mesh or wire cloth as the structure.  There is a really interesting product that is fairly new to the market that I am taking a look at.  It stiffens fabric so that it can be sculpted.  As soon as I have done all of my research, I might just decide to carry it.  Actually, I can hardly wait to get it and try it out myself.

    Lyn: Tell us little about your own work – what are you working on now, and what are your influences and passions? Do you have a favorite artist mentor?

    MT_Logo1Eleanor: My own work is all over the place.  My favorite medium is what I happen to be working with at the moment.  I love to paint and collage, scan the image into my computer, do some alterations in Photoshop and then print the image out onto silk fabric or onto a transfer paper, such as Transfer Artist Paper (TAP), which I then transfer onto fabric, generally silk.  Same thing for my photography.  That way I have fabric and images that are unique.  I then heavily embellish them with stitching and beading.  I have always had an appreciation for all forms of art and art from different cultures. I am always reading and looking at art books.  I love pattern, texture, color and design.  

    Even though we might not realize it, everything we look at informs our visual vocabulary.  It’s all there in our heads, just waiting for us to draw down on it.  I am currently in the process of making samples using products that I sell on MeinkeToy.  I don’t have a favorite artist mentor. I appreciate all of the great artists that are out there doing their work.  I don’t have an art degree, and everything I have learned has been through classes I have taken and books I have read.  In the end, I always seem to come back to fabric. 

    Lyn: Finally, please tell us about which new product at MeinkeToy you’re most excited about as we go into 2015, looking for artistic inspiration and fresh ideas.

    Eleanor: As far as what 2015 will look like, I have quite a back log of well over 100 new products to get up on the website.  I am in the process of having a new website set up, so I have been holding off putting up products on the existing site so I would just have to do it once on the new website.  It is taking much longer than I expected, so starting in the next few weeks, there will be lots of new products on the existing MeinkeToy website.  I am excited about so many items that I have a hard time narrowing it down.  I have purchased two other fiber art and mixed media businesses that I am merging into MeinkeToy.  There will be lots of new fibers, fabulous embellishments, some tribal and ethnic embellishments, some collections of vintage French fabrics that will be sold as kits, authentic African fabrics that will be sold as kits, lots of new hand dyed fabrics, fibers for felting and the list goes on and on. 

    I like to think of myself as a facilitator.  I put products into the hands of people who are looking for something new and exciting to work with.  If anyone ever has any questions about products, I encourage them to contact me by email or phone.  I have always enjoyed helping other people.

    I would like to extend an offer to the SHARDS readers by offering them a 10% discount on their order (not including shipping) through the end of December.  Just enter SHARDS10 as the coupon code when checking out.

    Lyn: Eleanor – you are amazing. I have learned so much from you. Thanks for sharing!

    You can contact Eleanor L. Love at MeinkeToy Fiber Art and Mixed Media Supplies via email or by phone: eleanor@meinketoy.com and/or 800-330-5663. Check out the Extensive MeinkeToy catalog here.

    This interview originally appeared on Earth Shards.

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    Posted: May 24, 2012 | by | Filed under: Uncategorized |Permalink

     If even the mention of creating art gives you shivers up and down your spine because you think that you are not an “artist” and “can’t even draw a straight line,” then creating art using fabric surface design techniques may be for you.  It is even possible that these techniques will give you the wings to set your inner artist free.

    Variety of Techniques for Surface Design

    Fabric surface design encompasses a wide variety of techniques for altering the surface of fabric, whether it is cotton, silk, wool or a synthetic fabric.   There is something for everything and everyone.  Altered fabric surfaces can be accomplished by any of the following techniques, either individually or in combinations:

    • stitching, either by machine or hand
    • painting on fabric
    • dyeing fabric
    • printing on fabric
    • using heat transfer paints or crayons
    • adding color, pattern and design with paint sticks
    • removing the color from already dyed fabrics with a decolourant
    • layering different types of fabrics, as in a fabric collage
    • waxing
    • burning an image into the fabric to create a design or to reveal the layers underneath
    • rusting fabric
    • using various transfer mediums and transfer papers to transfer an image to fabric
    • digitally printing on fabric
    • felting onto a surface
    • using a resist such as beeswax, soy wax or a water-based resist to separate colors and to create a design
    • embellishing with beads, crystals, buttons, charms, fibers and other found objects

    This is a just a tiny glimpse into the world of fabric surface design and all of its possibilities – a little teaser of things to come as we explore this exciting world.

    Painting on Fabric

    For today, let’s just explore some of the options that you have if you decide you would like to create a piece of fabric art by painting on fabric.  Painting on fabric is one of the easiest and fastest ways to alter the surface of fabric.  There are so many ways to apply the paint that you don’t need to be able to draw the proverbial “straight line.”   Chances are you already have some of the paints that can be used on fabric, such as specially manufactured fabric paints, acrylic paints, puff paints and other dimensional paints, silk paints and heat transfer paints, to name just a few.

    The paints come in a variety of finishes:

    • matte
    • metallic
    • iridescent
    • neon
    • transparent
    • opaque

    Sometimes the acrylic paints will “change the hand” of the fabric, i.e., make it stiff.  If this is an issue, there are fabric mediums that can be added to the paints to help retain the “hand” of the fabric.

    For right now, you don’t have to go out and buy any special fabrics.  If you have fabrics such as a tightly- woven quality cotton, silk or even a synthetic fabric, they will work.  If you are not using fabrics that are specially manufactured without any finishes (i.e., already prepared for dyeing), then it is best to pre-wash and iron the fabric.

    When you are deciding on the color of the paint you are going to use, you need to take into consideration whether you will be painting on fabric that is a solid color, white, black, or maybe even an already printed commercial fabric.  You want to use a color that will show up against the background.

    Methods for Applying Paint to Fabric

    The various ways of painting on fabric is another whole discussion.  Some possibilities, just to name a few are:

    • paint it on with a brush to cover a portion of the surface, or maybe even the entire surface
    • apply it to a rubber or carved wood stamp with a sponge and then stamp the fabric
    • draw designs with fabric markers
    • make a mono print
    • stencil an image, using either a commercial one or one that you have made
    • silk screen the image
    • apply it with a brayer
    • apply it with a sponge
    • apply it with a credit card or other found object to create a design

    When you are creating art on fabric, you are telling a story, regardless of the fabric surface design techniques or products being used.  The techniques and mediums you use should enhance that story for your fabric art to be successful.  Don’t worry too much now about how to do it right.  Just get out there and do it!  It’s your story.

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    Stef Francis Texture Selection, Braided Silk, Chizimi Thread restocks

    Posted: September 8, 2011 | by | Filed under: Info |Permalink

    Stef Francis Texture Selection

    The colorful Stef Francis Texture Selection skeins and Medium Braided Silk skeins have been restocked. We have also received a new shipment of the very popular Chizimi Shrinking Thread.

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