Your House Should be a Poem

InThisHouseWe’re doing a blog hop over at the Sketchbook Challenge Blog. This month’s theme is Houses & Hideaways – one of my favorite topics. I was instantly reminded of a project I did for Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn’s 2007 book, In This House. (Wonderful book, BTW). The first and easiest decision to make was using fabric to cover the cardboard template. But every project needs a theme, a focus. (and some fabric – see below for my giveaway!)

In addition to my very large fabric collection, I have a very, very large collection of quotes. It’s my go-to place when I’m looking for ideas and inspiration. I settled on this quote by Ella Church Redman:

There is no reason either in prose or in rhyme
why a whole house should not be a poem.

The idea of creating a house poem in fabric was the perfect solution. And away I went.


I love creating art that tells a story. In addition to my fabrics and beloved images, I used found poetry – snippets of phrases from another collection of mine – old books.

This page says: “approach the dewy world as | the messenger | still your desires and be | of | what the universe is wanting to utter” – is that deep or what? There’s so much magic in creating found poetry. How could I have forgotten about that? I must do it again!

It was important to me to create fabric poetry for this house as well. One of the pages is covered with copper mesh, layered over an image (hard to see in the photo), and then layered with a metal door plate and beaded Lutradur.

This page reads: “Let our curiosity keep up our spirit. | Life | is an unending adventure. | No artist has any | other aim | than to show his soul by his work.



This last page takes me back to the reason for this post. I am a journaler. I have an art journal – a sketchbook. I work with fabric. I sketch with fabric. Over on the Sketchbook Challenge blog I have a video of how I create fabric sketches, like these fabric house sketches. Check it out.

And to inspire you even moreleave a comment HERE by midnight Wednesday September 25.




  1. I’ve never seen ‘fabric sketching’ before. What a great idea. And you make it look so easy!

  2. What fabulous houses – thank you for sharing your projects with us!

  3. Lesley, I still remember how amazed I was at your beautiful pieces from a class I took with you many many moons ago at the rubber chicken! I love my little book I made in that class. You have inspired me all of these years! Thank you.

  4. I am new to your blog and really liked seeing the homes you make with fabric. I never thought of using fabrics in quite that way. What a lovely project for someone who is sewing machine challenged. I am going to go buy the book “In This House” to include in my library. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Using fabric in journals is something new to me. I find it fascinating! 🙂

  6. My favorite project–A book I made while taking your class: “Sew What.” I also have your two books, your video, and Angela’s as well, so I guess it’s pretty obvious I love making books. Thanks for sharing your talents with the world.

  7. I love your houses and even have In This House book. Beautiful pieces and fun sketches.

  8. Your art always inspires me – I love seeing what you come up with. I bought Angela’s book In This House after seeing your house. 🙂 I would absolutely love to win fabric from you…I can’t think of anything better to create with! Thank you for the generous giveaway, Lesley! xx

  9. The quote you used on the copper mesh page was exactly what I needed to read. Due to circumstances beyond my control my creative spirits have been lagging lately. Thank you for the encouragement to follow my artful curiosities to lift my spirits.

  10. would love some new fabrics to work with, mine would be a jewish home and I have some perfect Jewish beads to add to it.

  11. I loved watching the progress in the video and feeling the difference each little addition contributed to the spirit of the piece. Can’t wait to put this type of “sketching” into effect for my next project.

  12. Barbara Haugen says:

    My house is full of fabric, yarn, and beads – a daily poem of gratitude and celebration! Thanks so much for all you share!

  13. I have that house book and a friend of mine and I did our own books. Took us a year but we had so much fun doing them. I used everything but fabric and now you have inspired me to want to do this again only using fabric. Your work is always inspiring. And who doesn’t love fabric!!!

  14. Lesley, thank you for the reminder to “sketch” with fabric. My newest journal doesn’t have one fabric scrap. That will change today! I’ve loved your fabric art for a long time and am now re-inspired.

  15. What wonderful work. I love learning new things, it is so inspiring.

  16. I like the collage effect of your houses and since textiles are my favorite medium I may begin sketching with fabric in my sketch book.

  17. I love fabric!

  18. Nice houses. Guess I’ll pull out some fabric scraps to add to my journal. Thanks for the video demoing your work. I never thought about using fabric in my visual journal.

  19. A poem, is what you say our house should be,
    Well, that resonates excitedly, with me,
    For, deep within this girl where you cant see,
    Explodes this thought, exactly!

  20. Lesley, you never fail to inspire. Your work is so fun and your methods spontaneous and delicious. Since marrying Prince Charming, I have lived in 22 different houses. I think it’s about time I journaled about that….in fabric, of course.

  21. Love your blog! I have fond memories of many summer days playing outside from morning until supper–including tons of fun at construction sites. Ah, the good old days.

  22. susan berkowitz says:

    Ok, so this was one of those major “Duh!” moments. I am always at a loss for words or phrases to incorporate. It’s as if once faced with a piece of artwork needing text my mind goes absolutely blank. Why did it not occur to me to use quote from others that I love? I see them all the time in your work and the work of other amazing artists. OK, now off to assemble quote on fabric…

  23. April Lopez says:

    I love house and I love fabric. What an awesome combo.

  24. I’ve been enjoying all the stops on the blog hop. Some more than others, but they are all good. I especially enjoyed yours because it inspires me to keep at my art journaling. I noted the flower on one photo…I have several fake flower petals in a box. I save all kinds of odd things for artsy projects. I’ve used them on quilts but never thought to use them in the art journaling! lol

    Thanks for the kick in the brain to add a new dimension on a future page for my art journal….and for the chance to win a prize. It all makes me smile. 😀

  25. I just love your fabric journals. They are amazing!

  26. Thanks for being such an inspiration. Looking forward to trying this technique.

  27. All your houses feel like homes! Full of love and sentiment…It is without a doubt your soul at work…

  28. Wow! I can’t believe you did that in less than 3 minutes! 🙂 Very inspirational and I want to add some yarn, feathers, leather, and wire. Thanks!!

  29. lovely- now I have to head over to watch the video!

  30. So much fun…going to go play now.

  31. I think using fabric is inspired. The texture, the visually tactile quality, makes me think ‘home’ — in that homes are lived in and where things are touched. Warmth in a home comes from touching these things and each other. Then we own them, we mark them with ourselves. We watch these things wear out, wear down, become softer, more meaningful with time and association. I think I would use old clothes to create a ‘house piece’, now that I’m riffing. I’d use the actual clothing and leave them in their shape and make them into walls or whatever. Now I have to go make notes.

  32. Thank you so much for the wonderful images. As an Army “brat”, I lived in lots of interesting houses and places. You have inspired me to share memories in fabric, not just in words.

  33. When I opened your site today and saw the house I thought about creating The House of Self. This is the beauty of being inspired by one another’s art

  34. wonderful video and the poetry combined with the houses adds so much —leaves one thinking. Thank you for so generously sharing.

  35. you always have such wonderful words of wisdom for us, love your blog and would love to have a bit of your stash 🙂

  36. Love that fabric sketching…so whimsical!

  37. I loved that book and have it. What a great inspiration and a way to use my scraps of materials. Love the In the Garden book the gals did. You have just made me go check my copy for a few inspiring posts in my art journal! You rock the world, girl!

  38. Loved your little video! I am at my in-laws where we have just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. They are still in their own home, so a video about home was close to the heart. Love you!

  39. Oh, what joy! I’m grabbing my “stuff” love that Elmers & playin your video while I create. Thanks so much.

  40. Cynthia Regan says:

    Lesley, your kind generousity is so appreciated by your faithful fans (I hesitate to use the word “stalkers”). And your creative soul speaks to all of us. I,too,love your found poetry and so appreciate the process you undertake to produce the your works of heart.

  41. Your fabric houses are wonderful, but I especially love the found poetry you included. Thank you for sharing your work, and for the giveaway opportunity.

  42. Sarah Nickel Ellis says:

    Leslie, I have admired and followed your work for years…you have always been an inspiration to me. I would love to win your giveaway, but even if I didn’t, it’s a gift to be able to share in the joy of creation that you communicate. Thanks so much for great groups like this!

  43. Fabric and the theme of “home”… the perfect combination. I would love to win this great giveaway!

  44. Geneen Granger says:

    Sketching with fabric is the best idea I’ve seen in a long time! Can’t wait to get in my stashand try it! And thanks for the drawing!

  45. I love the sketching with fabric. Houses are one of my favorite motifs.

  46. I Loved your fabric sketching video and the resulting house (esp. the door and the doily like structure at the top). I don’t know how to sew so I would never have tought about sketching with fabric. But now I’d love to try.

  47. I love the idea of using fabric to create a story! Lesley, you work is amazing. I’m off now to check the video! Thank you for the chance to win some gorgeous fabric!

  48. I love these ideas. I’d be thrilled to win fabric!

  49. I’m working on a crazy quilt for my daughter and it seems that “home” may need to be one of the themes in the design.

  50. I am in love with this fabric sketchbook! My sister and I have been so inspired by your projects that I am flying from L.A. to Minneapolis for 2 weeks in October just so she and I can make our own fabric books together (and attend a wedding). We have never been able to do anything like this before and are extremely excited about it. Thank you, Lesley, for your generous spirit, sharing your art and journey with us all. I am grateful for your inspiring example of an artist’s life.

  51. Merrie Schroeder says:

    Love your work. As a quilter I don’t know why I haven’t used more fabric in my journals…thanks for the reminder

  52. What a great idea! I see I now “have” 🙂 to increase my fabric stash so I have more options, as I would love to try this! My daughter has a collection of poetry/phrases as well, which will come in handy. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I know you will have fun increasing your stash, Gail. Don’t overlook clothes you no longer wear, flea market and yard sales. Fabric is everywhere, not just in fabric stores.

  53. Love your sketchy fabric houses and use of fiber! Enjoyed watching your video of how you construct your house, the process of auditioning fabric was fun to watch. Thanks for the opportunity to have some of your fabrics!!!

  54. Loved the video of how you work… It was inspiring. I just feel like going downstairs and creating…
    thank you for sharing.

  55. I was just mesmerized watching your video on creating your fabric house sketch. It was so fun to watch it all come together. I’ve got to try this….. Thanks for the chance to win some of your fabrics – I’m sure it will be a treasure trove.

  56. Love the video. I love your “Wisdom” page with the very welcoming door. The colours, the tree – everything is beautifully put together. Thank you for this fabulous, generous giveaway!

    • Thanks, Erin. I think the book was so successful because of my passion around houses, fabric and words. When you work with what you love it really shines through, doesn’t it?

  57. I’m so in need of little bits of cute and interesting fabric accents! Just got a free motion needle for my sewing machine and it’s calling to me.

    • I’ve been a fabric scavenger for so long, Lynn. Make friends with a fabric re-upholsterer and ask for their snippets. Beg, borrow, but don’t steal, lol.

  58. What a fabulous project. Love that you sketch with fabric.

  59. Sketching with fabric. What lovely idea. I particularly love your fabric poetry. Would love to try that.

  60. Hello Lesley, I adore your fabric sketching its realy cute. Thank you for the chance to get some of your fabric.