Promo Mailers Part 2 {Surtex 2015}


Yup. Ten days. And so much to do. But I have to say - after the stress of the last month, I'm definitely more chill than I was, despite the pile of work and lack of time. I don't want to go into the show totally exhausted, so I'm trying to get to bed at a decent hour (you know - 6 hours of sleep as opposed to 4 hours!) and I think that is helping to clear my head a bit. Ask me in five days if I'm still playing it cool! 

I wanted to finish my series on the promo mailers I sent out two weeks ago. After the flags were all sewed and ready to go I realized I needed to mount them to something to keep them flat in their envelopes. I got some backing board, cut it to fit and stamped them with my Emily Balsley Illustration stamp to make them even more official. Here they are, drying:

It may be hard to see in the photo, but I also designed a large rubber stamp for addressing the front of the envelopes. I love how it turned out, but it wasn't the easiest to print - the coverage wasn't as solid as I hoped and that big blank space was next to impossible to keep clean. I actually had to put a little piece of paper there to block the ink for every print. It was a pain, but it was still worth it. They're super fun!

And here are the flags on their boards. I secured them with cute washi tape.

I had also ordered some Surtex postcards, stickers and new business cards, so I stuffed the envelopes with those as well. The back of the postcard has a whimsical "nice to meet you" design.

Each mailer contained a flag on backing board, a hand-written note, a postcard, stickers and business card. I was relieved that the stuffed envelopes still fit through the sorter at the post office - that saved me a bit of $$ for shipping!

I'll be honest - I was a bit nervous mailing these out. There was so much love put into these mailers, I couldn't help but feel a little vulnerable! But that's okay. I want people to know who I am as an artist and I think these packages were the perfect representation of me and my work. And maybe...just maybe...I'll get a job or two from it!

If you missed Part 1 of my Surtex promo mailers, you can find it here.

'Til next time,

Promo Mailers Part 1 {Surtex 2015}

I can't believe there are only 17 more days until Surtex. I am SUPER excited, yet I can't wait for it to be over. I'm sure Stephen would agree with that, too, since that is ALL I talk about lately! 

The last few weeks have been absolutely insane with preparations. Even though I didn't have a lot of new art at the time, we needed to start thinking about the booth design. Which meant ordering banners. But of course, I don't want to put a lot of old work on the banners, right? So not only were we designing our booth, I was making new art at the same time. It was kind of a chicken-and-egg situation. I-need-art-for-the-banners-but-the-art-needs-to-be-created-before-I-can-put-the-art-on-the-banners. Ya know? Whew! So needless to say, there were a lot of almost-sleepless nights and sacrificed weekends while I pushed through. Once everything was ordered, a huge weight was lifted off me and I could breathe a bit. 

But just a bit.

Then I had to start thinking about promos. Originally, I wasn't planning on doing much promotion so I could focus on making new art. But then I thought, I am investing a lot of time, effort and money on this show, so it would be pretty unfortunate if no one even knew I was there! I've never done any kind of physical promotion, so I wanted to get it right. Lots of people do postcards, which are great - but I still think it's pretty easy to toss them in the wastebasket or lose them in a pile of papers. I needed something more memorable that an Art Director wouldn't want to throw away. Maybe they'd even pin it to their wall.

My answer? Felt pennant flags! I know they're nothing new - but they're right up my alley. They're throwback (vintage!), involve felt (my favorite material!) and they could be screen printed (my favorite printing method!). Plus if I really got my act together I could incorporate some of my newly-designed fabric as the binding. 

I was working on some Super Girl illustrations at the time, so I thought that theme would be fitting. A local screen printer, Screen Door Studio did the printing on some yummy colored felt. I scaled my colored pencil floral designs down to be proportionate to the flags and got some Spoonflower fabric printed. My friend Michelle saved me several hours by cutting, pressing and sewing the binding. And all of a sudden, I had a stack of amazing custom felt pennant flags!!

Ahhh. They make me so happy! I think they are a perfect representation of me. 

I'll be back soon with the rest of my Surtex promo plan.

Wedding Invitations {Part 1}


Well, I finally have a bit of a break from my client work, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share some of the fun projects I've worked on the last several months. 

First up, wedding invitations! I have been getting a few more requests for custom illustrated invitations, which has been amazing and challenging. 

I'm going to start with two couples that chose to have their invitations screen printed:

Anna and Ryan got married at a 150-year old brewery by the river in downtown Rockford, Illinois. Inspired by the building's iron beams and timber posts, they wanted their invitations to have a classic, yet industrial feel. The black French Paper screen printed with white ink gave a nod to the chalkboard signage that welcomed their guests to their big day.

They wanted to keep their suite simple - with a custom monogram surrounded by laurel leaves and hand-drawn type. I got to draw that cool old brewery for the map and a cow, chicken and carrot for the food choices. They even ordered some custom stamps made to match. I heart rubber stamps!

Lisa and Mark are an active couple who can often be found running or riding their bikes. It was no surprise that they chose a nature conservancy as the setting for their outdoor wedding. This screen printed invitation suite showcases the picturesque stone wall and the canopy of trees, under which their ceremony took place.

Both wedding suites were screen printed locally at Screen Door Studio on French Paper.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be back soon with another invitation suite. 

2013 Holiday Card

I love Christmas. I really do. In fact, my nickname used to be Mrs. Claus. Then, being the crazy maker person that I am, I started taking on more than I could handle in November and December. Instead of focusing on what the season is REALLY about, I became overwhelmed with my never-ending to-do list. I couldn't just buy a wreath, I had to MAKE a wreath. I couldn't just use store-bought gift tags, I had to HAND DRAW pretty, swirly names on the Kraft paper wrapping. Yes, in the end, I had a beautiful handmade holiday, but was it really worth it?!?

This year I made a tough decision. Instead of hand printing our Christmas cards, I outsourced the printing. This was the first time since 2000 that I didn't physically make my holiday cards. It pained me to hand over that task to someone else, but I have to say - it alleviated SO much pressure. And because of it, I could create a more complex design (more details and more colors) knowing that a pro could handle it.

Like previous years, I wanted our card to depict a fun, holiday family tradition. We decided to focus on the moment when Stella places the topper on the tree. Here is the sketch.

As far as color palette goes, I wanted something non-traditional, but still somewhat Christmas-y. I knew Stella would be a fan if we used pink, so I picked out French Paper's Shocking Pink and went from there. This was going to be a bold one!

I was excited that French was now offering no. 10 size envelopes. I thought the long, skinny format would be the perfect match for our tall tree. I hired Screen Door Studio here in Madison to do the printing, and I think they did a splendid job - especially with the fine line work I presented them. It was the best feeling sending the job off to the printers and NOT having to do all the work. Of course, we still had to write the inside message and address the envelopes, but it still felt like nothing compared to the hours of back breaking printing, cutting, scoring and stamping it used to be.

So the lesson I learned here is that it is OKAY to ask for help - even if it is one of your favorite things to do! I was much happier, that's for sure. And that extra time meant I could make snowball garland for the windows...and felt ornaments...and Christmas tree centerpieces... Who needs rest, right? ;-)

Holiday Card {2012}

I realize it is a WEE bit late to be posting about the holidays, but since folks in my neighborhood are still turning on their Christmas lights, it can't be THAT late, right?

Like always, the goal of our cards is to depict something fun and holiday-ish as a family. This year we went with the Bringing-Home-The-Christmas-Tree theme - one of our favorite traditions! It seems that something funny always seems to happen to us when we are getting our tree. 

I have to tell you the best story, though. It happened 6 or 7 years ago when we decided to purchase our tree up in Northern Wisconsin (where they're cheaper) and haul it the 2.5 hours back to Madison. We weren't on the highway for more than 2 minutes when all of a sudden, something just felt weird. I can't really explain it. Stephen and I looked at one another in confusion, and we both realized at the same time that our tree had flown off the roof of our car! Sure enough, there it was, lying in the middle of a 3-lane highway. It had ripped our roof rack right off. Thankfully, traffic was light that day, and there was ample room for everyone to respond and avoid running it over. We pulled over, and were able to retrieve it and tie it back on the roof with lots and lots of bungee cords - all the way through the inside of our car this time. There was no way we were going to lose this tree again. We got it home, and other than a pretty big dent on one side of the tree that we hid in the corner, it looked pretty good! 

So - there's a lesson here - do NOT tie your Christmas tree to your roof rack. Secure it to your CAR. Capisce? 

This year's card was printed on French Paper Dur-O-Tone Butcher Extra Blue. Though I loved the color, the coverstock was a bit too lightweight for my liking. Note to self: Stick to 100lb paper. It was screen printed in two colors - white and a dark, dark teal. I tend to avoid the uber-traditional Christmas colors, and I was really happy with this color scheme. 

Like every year, Stephen wrote the poem for inside. But this year, I decided to do him a favor and screen print the inside as well (usually he hand-writes the poem). Man, was that a time-saver! I love what he wrote. I'm lucky to have such a talented copywriter!

I have to say, I was really pleased with this one. It depicted our tree hunting adventures in a whimsical way, Stella's hair turned out great, and our hound dog Chloe even made it this year!

I still have a few left over. If you are interested in receiving a belated holiday card from me, email me your address! I'd love to send you some Balsley cheer! Next year, I'm hoping to be organized enough to send all my online friends cards BEFORE Christmas. We'll see...  :-)

Indie Art + Design Trunk Show {2012}

If you live in the Madison area, and you're looking for something to do this Saturday, November 10, head on over to the annual Indie Art + Design Trunk Show!

We will have goods ranging from paintings, textiles, plush toys and paper goods to photography, all-natural bath products and pottery! Get a jump on your holiday to-do's in a relaxed, festive environment and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Here is a little preview of what I've been preparing for the show. I can't wait for the big reveal!

For more info on Indie Art + Design, you can find at the following places around the interweb:

Hope to see you there!

LOVE Pouches {Shop}

Earlier this Spring, in preparation for Gallery Night, I made some new screen printed products : LOVE pouches. And now I am excited to say that they are finally listed in my Etsy Shop!

Utilizing my LOVE type from the Valentine's Day cards, these bright and fresh bags are sure to bring some happiness into your life. Pairing funky colors and vintage fabric lining, they are a whimsical approach to your typical pencil cases or cosmetic bags.

Each pouch as two different colored sides : sky blue/grass green; bright red/hot pink; coral/mustard; mint green/plum purple - you can switch it up just by flipping it over! 

Head on over to the Bluestar Ink shop to get your hands on one of these fabulous pouches!

Unicorns & Glitter!

In addition to lots of bike riding, gardening and chalk drawing, warmer weather means playing in the summer volleyball league! I have been playing with the same team for several years and I always look forward to spending week after week with my friends in this hot and sandy setting. This year we decided to change our team name to Unicorns & Glitter - super fun, right?

My friend and I decided that the name Unicorns & Glitter calls for colorful sparkly t-shirts. So I did a little research and found that we could each get a different colored shirt for screen printing our sweet unicorn logo. If I designed it in such a way that it was almost like a coloring book, then we could all paint our shirts with puffy paint. 

Shirts, waiting to be puffy painted

I haven't used puffy paint in probably 20 years, but there were lots of options, including glitter, iridescent and neon - perfect! We had a little t-shirt painting party where we all bedazzled our shirts. And boy, did they turn out awesome!

Puffy painting party
I wouldn't say we're the best team out there in terms of skills, but we sure do know how to have fun! And if nothing else, the glare of our glittery shirts in the sun has to help a little, too...right?

Team Unicorns & Glitter
And of course, our volleyball had to match, as well:

One of our super fans, Stella, holding the team ball
It's funny - I didn't think I could be more excited to play volleyball - until now!

Gallery Night {Spring 2012}


I would like to invite y'all to Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Spring 2012 Gallery Night this Friday, May 4 from 5-9pm!

Why, do you ask? Because I will be participating at the Goodman Community Center

There will be some new Runts, some new illustrations in various sizes, some new Mother's Day cards, and hopefully some new bags! I am really excited to finally reveal what I have been so busy working on!

I also want to note my friends Bethany Nelson of Milkhaus Design and Nicky Ross of N-Star Studio will also be participating - their work is phenomenal, so you definitely need to check them out as well!

Whoa, there are a LOT of exclamation points in this post. Can you tell I'm excited? (Or maybe I'm really tired and need to overcompensate by using lots and lots of !!!!!)

Hopefully I'll see you Friday night. Directions to the Goodman Community Center can be found here:

New Screenprint {Holiday Card}


I just realized I completely forgot to share the Holiday card I made for our family for 2011! 

I decided I wanted to go with the somewhat non-traditional color combo of pink and red. I've always loved pink as a fun substitute for Christmas colors, and it seems to complement red and green fairly well. And of course, our family had to be included in the illustration!

Ho Ho Ho! The whole fam is doing the Laugh-In peek-through!

The process of creating the screens for this card was a screen printing first for me. I decided I was going to forgo the exposure box for burning the screens and instead, create both screens utilizing only drawing fluid and screen filler. This means I hand-painted both colors onto the screens. Because I chose to use this method, it isn't nearly as exact as burning the perfect image - but that's why I like it! The rougher, mis-aligned registration allows the imperfections of my brushstrokes to shine through.

One issue I had was some really wonky red ink. For some reason it was super globby - with almost a jello-like consistency. I thinned it out a bit, but the coverage still wasn't perfect and the red ended up printing with tiny little bubbles (white spots). If any of you screen printers out there have ever had this experience, please let me know what you did to solve the problem!

Other than that, I loved how they turned out. Stephen wrote the poem which he wrote in every card:

Moving, work, school...all kinds of fun
It seemed some days would never be done.
Now the Holiday season is officially here
And to you we send a whole bunch of CHEER!

And of course, they were sent in a matching red envelope. I love making our cards every year because I feel like it's a little piece of art that we send out. Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's one of those rare projects that Stephen and I can work on together and I really enjoy that - even if it IS stressful and MAY be the cause of some arguments...  :-)  But what would the holidays be without a little stress, right?


Shop Talk {Valentines}


I'm excited to share the new products that have just been listed in the Bluestar Ink shop - Valentines! 

One of my goals for 2012 is to create more goods that cater to different seasons and holidays. First up, Valentine's Day! 

For this Love series, I wanted a fresh take on the traditional Valentine's Day card. Utilizing super-saturated colors, illustrations and hand-drawn type, I was able to put the Bluestar spin on love. (or lust, if you're looking at the NAKED card!)

All cards are 1-color screen prints on my favorite French Paper. They will be sold individually with matching envelopes.

So if you're looking for a little color this Valentine's Day, check out the new line of Love cards in the Bluestar Ink shop!

Have a fabulous weekend,

New Bluestar Product

Hello again!

Are you finding lots of wonderful goodies this Cyber Monday? Before you fulfill EVERYTHING on your list, I wanted to quick share with you the newest Bluestar products that just hit my shops this weekend.

First off, the new 2012 wall calendar. This 11 x 17 calendar features my new "Sitting Lotus" illustration in pale yellow, blue and teal. It is printed on the heavy-duty Arches watercolor paper and comes ready to hang with a white grosgrain ribbon. Calendar can be found here.

I love this new tote! I upcycled some vintage drapes to create these whimsical new totes. My new floral illustration is screen printed across the front. These bags are lined with coordinating floral fabric, complete with 2 pockets for all of your incidentals. Do you like pom poms? There is an option with, and one without.

Holiday cards, woot, woot! I decided to take a more simplistic, graphic approach when designing these cards. Each 8-pack assortment features 2 reindeer, 2 snowmen, 2 trees and 2 retro ornaments screen printed onto either white or Kraft cardstock. Coordinating envelopes, (red, white, tiffany blue, magenta) are also included. The white pack can be found here, and the Kraft pack can be found here.

Here we have the new floral illustration again, this time screen printed onto thick, 100lb French Pop-Tone paper. Printed on 5 colors: magenta, aqua, green, red and purple. Just a simple print to brighten any room!

Finally, lots of my personal illustrations have made it into the shop as prints! These include some of the Daily Animal Doodles, along with other fun illustrations I've created over the last year or so. All are printed on 8.5 x 11 creamy Epson Ultra Premium matte paper with a white border for easy framing. Print shop can be found here.

And last, but not least, the newest Fuzzies! Meet Valentino, Galama, Wanda, Tringo, Yasu, Jemizee and Zazu. All can be found in the Bluestar Fuzzies shop. And, I've finally listed the 3 circus Fuzzies who were featured in STUFFED Magazine. Fuzzies make great gifts for the kiddos on your list!

In case you missed it there are special Cyber Monday deals happening in both my shops today only!

Bluestar Fuzzies : 20% off your purchase using the coupon code CYBERMONDAY20 at checkout.

Bluestar Ink: A free print of YOUR CHOICE with any purchase. This includes screen prints! Just note your choice at checkout.

Thanks again!
Now I'm going to go check out the sweet Cyber Monday deals floating around the Interweb...

It's Cyber Monday, People!


I am SO excited for this post, because it means it's finally Cyber Monday...and that means big discounts for all of you!
As you probably know, I have two Etsy shops - one for the Fuzzies and one for the Illustrations & Screen Prints. For Cyber Monday 2011, I will have a different discount for each shop. They are as follows:

Bluestar Fuzzies - 20% your order - use the coupon code CYBERMONDAY20 at checkout.

Bluestar Ink - A Free Print of Your Choice with any purchase - just be sure to tell me your pick in the notes at checkout.

These discounts will be applicable Monday, November 28, 2011 from Midnight - 11:59pm Central Standard Time.

I know I haven't posted about all of the NEW PRODUCT yet - I've just been so busy listing all of the items in the shops in anticipation of Cyber Monday! I will be sharing all of the details soon - I promise! Until then, be sure to check everything out in the shops. If you have any questions, please let me know! Updated! Check out this post with all the details!

Happy Shopping!

Indie Art + Design Show Recap


I'm back! You probably thought I fell off the face of the earth. Fortunately, I didn't (though I came pretty close). I have just been busy, busy busy with the Indie Art + Design Trunk Show that was last weekend. Then I got sick, sick sick. But now I'm on the up and up, so I figured I'd share a few photos and tell y'all about my experience.

First I want to say how much I have enjoyed the last 3 weeks. This is the first time I've ever focused solely on my personal work, and I loved every minute of it. I have never felt so inspired! Just doing all of the things I want to do, and think about non-stop was so rewarding. Usually, as I'm working on my freelance design work, my mind is trucking along, spouting idea after idea at me. What torture that is, knowing I can't pursue most of those ideas! But November was different. It was all about me and making the stuff I want to make.

I'll admit - it was pretty scary, going a month without any income from my freelance design gig. But I was hoping that I'd make at least a little dough with the Trunk Show, and it would be somewhat justified.

My goal for the Trunk Show was to have a good mix of stuff, to show my range of capabilities. I didn't have a lot of inventory to start with, just a few Fuzzies and a couple totes. I needed a strategy for production. I decided to split my day into thirds: During the morning, while Stella was at school I focused on screen printing. (And this meant I had to finish setting up my screen printing studio in the basement!) A couple hours in the afternoon, while Stella napped, was dedicated to new Fuzzy production. And then the wee hours of the night, after everyone was in bed, was mostly for working on custom Fuzzy orders (non-Trunk Show-related).

I decided I'd go with this production schedule until a few days prior to the show, then at that point I'd switch gears and start focusing on the finishing details, such as packaging, hangtags, mounting, etc. Then, the night before the show I selected my favorite personal illustrations from the last year or so to print on my fancy new Epson printer. This was the first time I've ever printed them out! They looked just as pretty in real life than they did on the screen.

My space at the show was pretty limited (I was against the backside of a fireplace), so I knew I had to work vertically to make the most of the narrow room. Unlike my show experience in July, I wanted the Fuzzies to be out in the open, not crunched into some crates. Sandwiching some pegboards against the brick wall allowed me to hang the Fuzzies over my table. I really like the presentation, though I need to figure out a good way to hang them. For this show, I looped yarn under their armpits (or highest catch-point) and hung them from a hook. This worked better on some than others. The Fuzzies with a low center of gravity tended to lean forward off the wall. It worked for the time being, but I might start sewing a temporary loop into the top of their heads that can be cut off after purchase.

photo courtesy of Prozan McGlinn

One thing I improved with this show was my use of Square. Last time I couldn't figure out how to enter multiple items under one sale (on my iPhone...I think it's possible on an iPad). So I utilized a sales receipt book where I manually entered every item, totaled it, figured out tax, THEN entered that number into Square to finalize the transaction. It took a little longer, but in the end, I really liked having paper copies of all my receipts with the names of all the purchases and the names of the customers. It made my bookkeeping a breeze.

For the show I ended up with 3 new large Fuzzies (plus the 3 circus Fuzzies who were featured in STUFFED Magazine), 11 new Runts, a 2012 calendar featuring a new illustration, new striped floral totes, a new floral screen print (in 5 color options!) and new screen printed holiday cards on Kraft or white. Plus some of my old screen prints, totes, greeting cards and illustrations. It was a pretty good variety and I couldn't be more pleased.

Though I did fairly well, I didn't sell everything, so within the next few days I will be adding lots of new items to my shops. Yay! Just in time for your holiday shopping.

And...there will probably be a sweet deal in said shops to celebrate Cyber Monday, so be sure to check back for the secret code!


Indie Art + Design Trunk Show

I realize it has been pretty quiet here lately - I want to assure you it's not for lack of creativity or projects - I've been more busy than ever!

In addition to finishing up some major graphic design projects, I've been humming away in my studio creating product for an upcoming art show: The Indie Art + Design Trunk Show!

In less than 2 weeks I will be joined by 7 other fabulous local artists who will be selling our wares in preparation for the upcoming holidays.

In addition to what you can currently find in my Bluestar Ink shop and Bluestar Fuzzies shop, I will also have lots of NEW product! There will be oodles of new Fuzzies, new prints, new illustrations, new greeting cards and {hopefully} a couple new bags. I found some amazing fabric for said bags, I'm just hoping I have enough time to produce them - because in my head they are SWEET!  :-)

So if you're in the Madison area the Saturday before Thanksgiving, stop by! You will not be disappointed. 

For more info, check out our informational site and our Facebook events page.

Hope to see you there!

Project {Frisbee Golf Bags}


I am back with another random project I completed over the summer. A couple of Stephen's co-workers are avid frisbee golfers and expressed they'd love a sort of satchel to carry their discs (and anything else they'd like to carry with them). I figured I could probably help them out.

My challenge was coming up with a bag that was functional, yet manly enough that didn't look they were carrying purses. I also wanted it to be fairly low-profile, so they could wear it while throwing. This was my solution:

Even though I love patterned fabric, I felt it would be more masculine if the shell was solid, and incorporated the pattern into the lining. For some extra Bluestar pizazz, I hand-painted the shell to suit the guys' tastes. Typically I wouldn't hand-paint the fabric because it is SO time consuming, but since my screen printing studio STILL isn't set up yet, this was the only way I could get the desired effect. I added a pocket to the inside front for keys, drinks or any other incidentals. And the magnetic snap isn't visible from the outside...again, avoiding any embellishments that could make this bag look too girly.

All-in-all, I was pretty happy with how these turned out. And I figured I could always use the pattern to make myself a purse! But of course I'd add some extra pockets...A button or two...ya know - those little details that make a purse super cute!  :-)


Wyatt & Katie

Wyatt and Katie are two of Stephen's co-workers who have fallen in love and are going to get married this Fall (yay!). They are a super-fun couple that I have had the pleasure of getting to know since Stephen has worked at Saris.

Well, not too long ago, Katie asked me if I'd be willing to help her out with their Save the Date postcards. After I found out their color scheme of black, grey and magenta and their possible theme of bikes, I knew this was going to be a neat-o project. 

I really wanted to screen print the postcards, but with our crazy purging and cleaning, and having potential buyers come through our house, I knew that was going to be a challenge. But I love challenges, so I surged ahead. Things got off to a smooth start, but then I realized for whatever reason my positives were different sizes. Doh! That won't make for accurate registration, that's for sure.

Other than that little hiccup, it was a pretty good print run. It was my first time printing two-sided, so I wasn't sure how the registration worked for that. After a lot of guessing and testing, I finally got the spacing right. It was a great learning experience. And, in my personal opinion, I think they turned out really good!

I was excited I got to throw in some of my hand-drawn type and an old-school tandem bicycle. Thanks, Wyatt and Katie, for this fun, creative opportunity!

2010 Holiday Projects

Happy snowy Monday! Here in Wisconsin the snow is coming down and I'm listening to the sounds of the snow plow clearing the roads in our neighborhood. I think that is one of my favorite auditory memories. I remember as a child, once I heard the low rumble heading up our street, I'd sprint to the front window and watch the glow of the plow's headlight cut through the blowing snow. The slightly unnerving sound of metal grating on pavement gave me a shiver as the plow tossed piles of snow on the bottom of our driveway. We knew that snow would eventually lead to amazing snow forts built into the drifts.

So, back on track. Today I want to share some of the Holiday-themed projects I tackled for the 2010 holiday season. I didn't go too crazy this year, since I was focusing much of my energies on handmade gifts, but I was pretty excited with how these turned out, nonetheless:

1. 8-pointed snowflakes - Stella and I had fun making paper snowflakes, which we hung in the opening between our kitchen and living room. I think we're going to keep them up all winter, since they're not too Christmas-y.

2. Santa Bird screen printed ornament, which I've already shown on the blog here.

3. Stella's holiday dress - I took one of Stephen's old plain black t-shirts and made it into Stella's dress. I gathered the neckline and sleeves and appliqued some vintage fabric circles onto the front and the back for a little whimsy. She wore it with a white long-sleeved shirt underneath, white tights, a black headband, and her shiny black "party" shoes. It was pretty adorable, if I do say so myself!

4. Felt tree garland - Thank goodness for die-cutters, is all I have to say about this project. When I first decided I was going to tackle this one, I was planning on hand-cutting all the fabric circles. After talking to my mom, who is a Stampin' Up demonstrator, she told me the S.U. die cutter would be able to cut through felt. So when I was visiting my parents one weekend, I spent hours sending piles of felt through her Big Shot die cut machine. Then I just sewed a straight stitch through them all, stringing them all together. After it was hung on the tree, I loved the color it brought to the room. I'm hoping next hear to make a yarn pom-pom wreath in the same colors to coordinate.

That's it! 
Have a great week!


Holiday Card 2010

Now that the holidays are officially over, I think I can safely share our 2010 holiday card without ruining anybody's surprise. 

Every year, we create a card that depicts our whole family. It's usually Stephen's task to come up with the theme, and then I am in charge of execution. This year, my goal was to screen print the card, so it had to be somewhat simplified. Unfortunately, that also meant cutting the animals out, because it was getting way too busy. Sorry Chloe and Rothko!

The colors also had to be pared down, as had my illustration linework - that proved to be quite challenging, because much of my style is in the details! That meant many failed print tests until I finally got a combination that worked.

My other challenge for this project was registration. Apparently when I cut down the paper to size, they weren't all exactly the same size. That meant even 1/16" off caused major misalignment. So, I ended up registering each one individually to minimize the issue. Even then, it wasn't perfect, but it'd have to do.

It is times like these when I realize I am really still a newbie screen printer. I'm sure there are tricks that could have helped my registration process, but I don't know them, so I just had to deal. Every project I feel like I learn a little more, so maybe in 10 years or so I will be able to consider myself an expert. Until then, I'll have to settle for not-quite-perfection. 

Stephen is also responsible for the poem inside. I really loved what he wrote for this card:

Embrace this wonderful time of year
With snowy fun and winter cheer!
So find the cocoa, get out the mugs
We extend to you, Stella hugs!
The cards were printed on French Paper Pop-Tone Red Hot paper. Man, I love that paper.

Till next time!