sewing

Final Prep {Surtex 2015}

All I could think about for the last three months was Surtex

Surtex this, Surtex that. 

I'm sure Stephen and Stella were SO over it. And now the show is done. It's hard to believe! 

Let's get back to the last 10 days before the show.

After I sent out all of my promo stuff I buckled down and pulled together some collections. My original goal was 12 collections. As I got closer to Surtex I realized I'd never be able to pull that off, so my revised goal was 8. Then 4. Four seemed like a good number, right?

I ended up designing a Surtex flyer for every collection. I not only used them for my Surtex countdown on social media (40 days > 30 days > 20 days > 10 days), but they became the placeholder on my portfolio site for all of my new work and postcards for the aforementioned promo mailers. Plus it was a good way to put some of my new imagery to use and throw in a little hand-lettering. 

I made 2 flyers for my first collection : 10,000 Thrills



My 2nd collection, inspired by Stella - was about a super girl and her sidekick. It is called Flying High:


My 3rd collection is called Little Explorers:


And finally, my colored pencil florals, Joyful Garden:


Each collection had between 6-9 pieces. When I felt they were dialed I went through the rest of my portfolio and determined what needed to be freshened up and where the holes were. I spent a week refining and creating new work. At the end I had about 85 pieces of art ready to go. I had two portfolio books - one with my new collections, and the other with everything else. Thankfully I had the foresight to order enough paper and ink - because I went through a lot! Here are all the paper scraps after I cut the portfolio pages down to size:


I wanted to go the traditional route of having physical portfolio books to show my art. Call me old-school, but I always prefer being able to turn pages - you can go your own speed, start and stop when you want, start in the middle and jump to a certain page quickly without fumbling around on a screen. Not to mention the pages are big (11x14") and you can see the work very clearly. Plus, when someone buys your art, the page can be removed without ruining the rest of your book. Don't get me wrong - the Blurb books are beautiful - but I consider them more of a supplement to the rest of your portfolio. At one point I had also contemplated using an iPad to show my portfolio digitally. But in the end I chose to just stick with the portfolio books and they ended up working awesome. 

Once the portfolio was done I had about 3 days before I left for New York. I spend that time doing last minute prep such as printing, cutting and folding the header cards Jill designed for our booth swag:


I also made a bunch more pennant flags to give out at the show. Here are a pile of ends cut and pressed, waiting to be sewn onto the felt:


My last goal (and lowest priority) was to make shirts out of some of my own Spoonflower fabric. I bought a cute pattern called the Scout Tee by Grainline Studio and went to town. Sara from The Sewcial Lounge told me the finished shirt is a bit short, so I modified the pattern slightly and added on two inches to the length which ended up being perfect. This is one of the shirts all pressed, ready to be worn:


I wasn't sure what type of fabric to order from Spoonflower - so I ordered some Cotton Lawn. It was a nice fabric, but I have to say - it was still a bit stiff for a shirt. It didn't have a lot of drape, and it gets SO wrinkly every time I wash it. But it looks cute, and the shirts were a hit at the show, so I guess it was worth it!

That's all for the pre-show prep! Stay tuned for another post all about the booth. 

Until then, have a wonderful day!

Promo Mailers Part 2 {Surtex 2015}

ONLY TEN DAYS UNTIL 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.
Later!


Halloween 2013

Yup, it's November. And nope, I don't have a desktop calendar to share with you yet. Soon, I promise! I figured I should probably share Stella's Halloween costume before too long...

This year, Stella decided early on that she wanted to be a witch. But she wanted to be a pink and purple witch (isn't that a princess?). After much discussion, we compromised at a black and purple witch. That way we could utilize a store-bought hat. 

I thought it would be a fun twist to make a witch tutu in lieu of a traditional witch dress. You can find tons of DIY tutorials for no-sew tutus online, so that's what I decided to do. Basically, you just tie long strips of tulle around an elastic waistband and you have an instant tutu. Easy peasy!



We kept it simple - layering the tutu over a black shirt and leggings. I added a little sparkly purple ribbon around the broom, put on some black lipstick and blacked out one tooth, and we had ourselves a cute little witch! She had been practicing her scary claw hands and cackle, so when she put it all together it was quite scary! ;-)

Unfortunately, my camera wasn't very cooperative that day, so I got very few good photos. Bummer.

I hope you all had a great Halloween! We ended up inviting all of the neighborhood Kindergarteners and their families to our house for pizza before trick or treating. My friend Jinger and I dressed up as foxes and had a little impromptu dance party, performing our routine to What Does A Fox Say? Yes, I know - people are getting sick of this - but I have to say, it was pretty fun when there were 13 kids and 2 foxes jumping and dancing around! In case you're not familiar with this, here is the official video by Ylvis:


And here are the foxes!


I'll be back tomorrow for another Make Art That Sells recap.

Enjoy!

Ready to Snuggle {Fuzzy Blankets}

Over last six months, a lot of babies have been born all around us. So exciting! And now that I have finally perfected my Fuzzy Blankets (Ni-Ni's), I have been making them for the adorable newborns.


Meet Brixo, Joli and Lanodi! I found some really great black and white striped knit fabric to use for the fronts of the blankets - the neutral palette allows me to have fun with bright, colorful binding, stars and features.

Even though my Fuzzy production has slowed dramatically because I'm focusing on my Illustration career, I am still enjoying making these custom plush!

Until next time,

Home Ec {The Quilt}


Say what?!? Another Home Ec project? Heck yeah! I finally checked another one off the list. And this one was the Mother of all Projects - The Quilt!

A little backstory : You may or may not know that our house as been undergoing a huge renovation since last December. This huge project has forced me to look at our house with a critical eye and start cracking on some of the decor. 

We got new windows installed, which meant out with the old dark wood frames and in with fresh, new white windows! It's like every room has started over with a clean slate, a new canvas, ready to be decorated. For our bedroom we decided it was probably time to get a new, adult bed - meaning no more sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Once we had the new bed frame in place, along with the new windows, the old duvet was looking really sad. Since the bed was lifted off the floor, I was finally able to notice how saggy and uneven the comforter had been. I realized this was the sign I needed to finally start making our new quilt.

Yes, I decided to tackle a Queen-sized quilt for my first quilting project. And to add to the already daunting task, I decided to do it when our house was under construction. A.K.A., Dust City! Not to mention we have very small rooms in our 85+ year-old house - it would be next to impossible to lay out such a large quilt. 

So I decided to take an entire weekend off, travel to my parents' house, where they have a much larger space - perfect for piecing a queen-sized quilt - AND they could keep Stella busy while mommy sewed.

1) The fabric, all ready to be cut. 2) Cut squares.

I was really excited about the color scheme - sky blue, white, black, light pink, caramel and charcoal grey. I got started right away Friday night, cutting up all the pieces. This was definitely a true test of my measuring/squaring skillz.

1) Cut triangles - so pretty! 2) A close-up of all the pinned triangles.

It was lots of repetition, but sometimes it's kinda nice doing monotonous work - it's almost meditative.

It was all going pretty smoothly until it came time to lay it all out. Wow, a queen sized quilt is huge, when you take in the over hang! Even in my parents' very large Great Room, it barely fit. And the pets and Stella LOVED laying on it. Ugh!

1) Chloe preferred laying ON the pieces - I wasn't such a fan. 2) The quilt top all sewed up!
By the end of the weekend, I had finished machine-sewing the quilt top, and pinned it to the batting and the backing. I carefully folded it up and brought it home to be basted.

Photo taken by my mom from the loft (©2013 Paper Seedlings)

I had planned on hand-quilting it, which meant I had to hand baste it. THAT was a huge pain. The basting took me about 6 hours alone. The hand-quilting was fun, but super tedious. Stephen got a kick out of watching me with a huge heap of quilt sitting on my lap as I worked on small sections at a time. At least I was warm!

The hand-quilting ended up taking about 3 weeks, doing one row per night.


After binding it with the charcoal grey, it was finally finished! And I love it. Our room is so dreamy now.

Don't mind the unfinished painted wall in the above photo - that's the next project - painting the room a light grey.

Thanks for following along the process! Now hopefully I'll be able to finish Stella's quilt that I started last year with the Block of the Month club - and a Twin sized quilt doesn't seem nearly as bad, right?


Robbin' from the Rich to Give to the Poor {Halloween 2012}

We love Halloween in our house. And this year, the excitement was more than it has ever been. As of last year, Stella figured out what it was all about, so the last few months have been "Halloween costume this and Halloween costume that". Once again, I wanted to make her costume, but there is always the looming possibility that she chooses to be a Princess - in that case, I'd rather buy the costume than deal with all the tule and lace.

As Halloween got closer, the discussions were more serious - what WAS she going to choose? She decided she wanted to incorporate bow and arrows. Cool! That left us with 3 possibilities - Katniss (though she's a bit young for the Hunger Games), Robin Hood and Princess Merida from Brave. We were sure she was going to choose Princess Merida. But, alas - she wanted to be Robin Hood! Hooray! We loved the idea, and I could actually make her costume once again!


This one was pretty easy. I bought her some green tights and a long sleeved green shirt for under her tunic. This was also the excuse I had been waiting for to buy her a pair of mocassins. She picked out some brown fake suede for her tunic and quiver, in which I stitched some green contrast stitching around the hems for a fun little detail. We got a piece of leather cord to tie around her waist, and I made a simple green hat from this tutorial I found online. She requested a pink feather in her hat - of course I obliged!

She had so much fun being Robin Hood! After lots of practice with the bow and arrows, she was finally able to shoot an arrow - though not very far. I don't think it mattered, though - she was having a blast!

Any fun costumes in your household this year?

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!



New Project {Zoe's Nursery}

Remember this post when I showed a sneak peek of a big project I had been working on?


Well, I am finally able to reveal it in it's entirety. Yay!


Several months ago, our friend and local photographer, Andrea approached me about making some Fuzzies for her baby's nursery. Of course, I was totally on board! 


Andrea came up with the super fun color scheme of orange/teal/purple and a MONSTER theme! How cool is that? After discussing the rest of the decor with Andrea, we decided that in addition to the Fuzzies, I would also make her a custom monster mobile and some illustrated monster prints to supplement the theme. 






It was a big project, but it was great working with Andrea to see it through. She has a great eye for detail, and as she added more accessories to the room she looped me in so we could always be on the same page. We wanted to keep the balance of the 3 main colors in check. Knowing the rest of the plan (rug, lamp, rocker, crib bedding, etc) helped me coordinate my portion. It was a real team effort!


I created the Fuzzies first, as they would be the inspiration for the illustrations. When Stephen wrote the stories, the teal monster ended up chasing butterflies, and the orange monster was an extreme unicycle racer. So of course, the illustrations had to depict them in their natural environments!




And then we have the mobile. I was especially excited about this, since I have been toying with the idea of making mobiles as an extension of the Fuzzy family, but never had time to actually see it through. Thinking it wouldn't take me that long because of their small size, I severely underestimated the work. All that hand-stitching takes time! And then I had to figure out the actual hanging apparatus. I'm no woodworker, so it had to be simple enough that I could make it. Using a combination of wooden dowels, pre-formed round knobs and a cube, I was able to pull it off. I painted the center cube and ends a nice teal blue to pull it all together, added a star to the top, and voila! A mobile!


I am really happy with how it all turned out. I also really enjoyed the challenge of designing a "space". Even though my contributions were mere accessories, working with Andrea on the entire decor was a lot of fun.


Now that you have seen my creations, please head on over to Andrea's blog to see everything in its place! She did a fantastic job putting the room together. Her daughter is a very lucky girl! And, Zoe's nursery was even featured on Project Nursery! How cool is that?


On a side note - if you're in the Madison area, be sure to hit up Andrea for any of your photography needs. She is one talented lady!





Home Ec {Weekend Tote}



Can you believe your eyes? Yessiree. I have finally completed another Home Ec project! I think it has been about a year since the last, so it was LONG overdue. And what inspired me to tackle another project? Well, this upcoming weekend, I have a big illustration getaway planned, and I wanted a cute bag to carry all my stuff. Instead of buying one, I remembered the Home Ec tutorial for the Weekend Tote and decided to make it for the occasion!


Since this was one of the later projects, it would definitely be one of the more challenging. But I figured I've had some practice making various bags the last year (here and here), and I thought it wouldn't be too bad. Plus, this one called for some leather - how fun is that?!?


In lieu of buying some new leather online, where I wouldn't really know EXACTLY what I'm looking for, or what I was going to get for the money, I decided to scour the thrift stores for an old leather jacket that I could upcycle. But, I found an even COOLER option:




LEATHER CHAPS! Ohhhhh yeahhhhh!


They're XL, so I HAD to stand that way just to keep them up on my hips. :-D
But XL means lots of leather - exactly what I needed. The largest panel required for the bag was 18"x18". Unfortunately, there wasn't a section of leather from the chaps that didn't have a seam running through the middle. See how the legs were broken up into panels?




I decided to go for it anyways. After ripping apart one leg, I thought it would be cool to incorporate the big zipper from the chaps as well. And thankfully, it was JUST long enough!


As far as the fabric upper portion went, I decided to finally use the cute  Echino bike fabric I bought at Purl SoHo almost 2 years ago. The black leather would look great with the colors of the fabric. And as for the lining, since this would be a pretty heavy-duty tote, I wanted to use some heavier fabric - I ended up using some red and white striped upholstery fabric from IKEA. I was all set and ready to start sewing!


The basic bag construction was pretty simple. The tedious part was making all of the little leather accessories - the handles...the zipper tabs, etc. Sewing leather means taking it slow - but it was SO worth it in the long run. I LOVE how it turned out!




You can see where there is a seam running through the bottom panel and the leather handles. I really don't mind it, especially when there is such a good story to go along with it. And doesn't that zipper look badass? If the biker dudes only knew how cute their leather chaps could look...



House Project {Dining Room Chairs}

Well hello there!


I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Ours was fantastic - spent some time at the Farmer's Market, hung out with our old friends, played in the pool and worked in the garden. Great weekends make it even harder to go back to work on Monday! 


You know what else I FINALLY completed? A house project! My first project in our new house, which we've lived in for almost a year. Wow - how sad is that? My to-do list is long, but unfortunately the home projects don't take priority. 


Last year, shortly after we moved in, I found a beautiful Lane wood table on Craigslist. We had a hodgepodge of chairs that would work for the time being, but they weren't a cool, funky mix of chairs like this or this. So for the next several months I kept my eyes peeled for a set of 6 chairs on Craigslist. I had been collecting a lot of great room inspiration on here on Pinterest, but apparently 6 chairs in good condition at a somewhat reasonable price is hard to come by. Finally, the post came - hooray! Upon seeing them in person I thought the wood stain was a pretty close match, so they came home with me.




They looked really nice by our table, but that floral fabric had to go. I could barely look at it. Once I removed it, though, I was met with a lovely surprise - the underlying fabric was pretty sweet! I wish it had been a different color, though, because it kinda blended in with the wood dining set and the wood floors. But I definitely appreciated the idea of it!


I found some pretty blue fabric at The Sewcial Lounge and decided Saturday to take the plunge and reupholster these chairs. I've never done anything like this, but it seemed pretty simple - and it was! Other than the fact I got some bloody knuckles from removing the staples, of course. And I cannot be happier with how they turned out:




It is amazing what a little fabric and elbow grease can do - it completely transformed the room! 


And since we're on the subject of the dining room, here are a few more corners. I'm still in the process of hanging things on walls, so it's still a bit sparse, but you get the idea. In case you're wondering, the "We're All Normal..." poster is by The Little Friends of Printmaking. I have no idea who designed the Wilco badge poster.




I just found that little cart at a garage sale last week, and though I love it, it's a little beat up. I think I'm going to tackle refinishing it. Have any of you had any experience re-painting metal?


I still have a long way to go on our house, but I'm glad I can finally say I've accomplished something!


Cheers,



New in the Shop {Runts!}

Happy Hump Day!


Remember when I posted about Madison Gallery Night? Well, I had a few new Fuzzy Runts left over after the show, and I just put them up in my Etsy Shop


Do you need a baby shower gift? Or maybe you just want some more sunshine in your life. Whatever the excuse, you may need to check out the new additions - they're pretty fab, if I do say so myself! You can find them here.


Meet Abigail, Dalton, Baird and Carla!


I will share my experiences with Gallery Night soon, I promise!


Until next time,

Gallery Night {Spring 2012}

Hello!


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:



Custom Order {Beavers and More!}

Hello and Happy Spring!


A couple months ago I finished up my largest custom order to-date. It consisted of 11 Fuzzies, including a new request - Beavers! 




The new beaver fits into the Fuzzy animal crew perfectly, wouldn't you say? They require a few more details to make them Beaver-iffic such as a flat, quilted tail and some buck teeth, but I think they turned out SO cute! I can't wait to make more.


Like I've mentioned before, I love the challenge of custom orders. When people provide their own clothing/fabric, it can be a bit harder to portray the "Bluestar Style", but I think this group definitely pulls it off. Plus, I often get requests to personalize their Fuzzies even further!




For example, with this particular custom order, I personalized them in the following ways:

• I embroidered initials onto the back of each Fuzzy
• Patchworked t-shirt
• Every Fuzzy is stuffed with a special memento - in this case, a charity bracelet
• Special stitching - this recipient loves baseball, therefore some red baseball stitching

Every Fuzzy I make is unique. But with these additional details, they are even MORE special. I absolutely LOVE that!

Have a glorious weekend!


Plush Team Swap {Slothko}

I've only been on the Etsy Plush Team for about a year and a half now, but it didn't take long to realize my favorite team challenge is definitely the Swap. I believe it was originally planned for around Christmas time, but the holidays always prove to be an extremely busy time for plush artists (not to mention other artists as well!). So last year our exchange was in late January and this year it ended up being a Leap Day Swap - just to give us a bit more time to create our swap item.


It is a secret swap, so we all submit some fun facts about ourselves (favorite colors, favorite animals, favorite foods and smells, etc.) and then the Plush Team leaders pair us all up with our Plushee's info. This year I had the pleasure of making a Fuzzy for Denise of Yummy Pancake. She is so awesome! She makes some wonderful, hilarious crochet creatures which will put an automatic smile on your face. My personal faves are the Cheezburger Pouch and the Bread Cat Costume. So, so fun!


Anyways, when I got Denise's name, I was really happy. We actually have a lot in common! In particular, one of her favorite animals is the sloth. So of COURSE I'm going to make a sloth, since it is MY favorite animal, too! And I've never made one, but have always wanted to. What better excuse, right?


So, without further ado, meet Slothko:




Slothko struggles with the demands of two disciplines...art and science. Having only three
toes has made painting a struggle, even with her love of large blocks of color. And her love of science meant a career sometimes devoid of color...so now she wants a friend who also understands her dilemma and can help bridge the disciplines.



I had so much fun making Slothko. Though it was challenging stuffing those long legs inside the body before I sewed him up and flipped him right-side-out. I may have to figure out a different method in the future.


And since sloths spend a lot of time hanging out in trees, I decided to sew some velcro on each of his feet so he can hang out just like the best of 'em.


If you want to read more about Slothko from Denise's perspective, check out her post on the Plush Team blog - it looks like he even made friends with her cats McPuffypants and Guinness. I'm happy to see he is settling into his new home!


Have a great day,

New Project {BOM Quilt}

Hello!


As the windows are open and the warm breeze is flowing in to my studio, I am trying to focus on work. It is hard, considering it is mid-March in Wisconsin, when the average temps are about 45°F, and today the high is almost 80°F. It is absolutely lovely! And today is not a fluke - we are having about 10 days in a row of way-above normal temperatures. Ahhhhhhh!


But, the work still needs to be done, right? Today I want to share a fun project I started a few months ago. As you may know, I am about 2/3 done with my Home Ec project list. Progress has slowed to a halt, unfortunately, because the last projects are the most complex, therefore they take the longest to complete. And I just don't have time to work on them. The last project on the list was a quilt, and I am SO, SO excited to work on it! My goal was to finish it by Winter 2011...ha! That didn't happen.


So when I discovered the wonderful, colorful blog of fellow Madisonite, Jeni, I couldn't have been happier to see her introduce the Block of the Month quilting club with the start of 2012. I figured I don't have time for a WHOLE quilt, but I probably could handle one block a month, right?!?


This soon-to-be-made finished quilt will be a bit smaller, so I thought it would be perfect for Stella's new twin sized bed. I picked out some bright fabrics that would complement her current decor:




The yellow apple fabric second from the top was the inspiration for all of the others. And guess what - I had all of these fabrics already in my stash! (See, Stephen? THAT is why I need to have all of this fabric! I didn't even need to go shopping!!)


Jeni's instructions are fantastic. I have never quilted before, so I hadn't had experience with some of the basic steps. Thankfully, she breaks it down even further and links to those basic skills. Perfect! 


Here are my first two blocks: January and February:




According to Jeni, January's block is a variation of the Sawtooth Star. And February is called Flying Geese. For February, I decided to use a vintage Big Bird pillowcase with big yellow feathers in honor of the bird-theme...


So far, I'm really enjoying the project. I am discovering it is a absolute necessity to be EXACT, which is a true test of my measuring skills. And Stella is loving the fact that I am making a blanket for her. Though I wonder if she'll have the patience to wait around for almost a year until she can use it!


This post reminds me - I should probably start March one of these days!


Cheers!

New Fuzzies {For Crystal}

Hello!


Just popping by to write about some special custom Fuzzies I finished last Fall:




This was a fun bunch. Crystal provided me with some clothes, including a couple fabrics I haven't worked with yet - denim and a knit hat. I liked the challenge of manipulating these materials, and for the most part, they worked pretty well! The knit hat was tough, because I was afraid it would unravel. So I used ample amounts of fray check along the edges in hopes it would stay together.


I also utilized a couple pairs of socks for legs - I love the personal touch of the university logos! I had to be careful when stuffing them because they were super stretchy! I feel like I could have kept on stuffing forever, but that would have meant some fat legs! :-)


It's so great working on these custom Fuzzy orders because it pushes my comfort level. New materials or color combinations force me to think of creative solutions to maintain the "Bluestar" look. 


So, Otbie...Sully...Arbot and Happo - I hope you are enjoying your new homes!


Have a wonderful weekend,

Project {Yoga Mat Bag}

Hello, and Happy Wednesday!


Last Fall, my friend approached me with a request to make her husband a bag for his new yoga mat. She had seen the disc golf bags I had made, and thought I might want to tackle this sewing project. Of course, I'd love to help!


Initially, I thought it would be fairly simple, just a long tube with two circular ends, and found lots of tutorials on the Internet that could guide me. But all of those instructions were for bags with a drawstring closure, and I didn't feel that a drawstring bag was "manly" enough. My hubby agreed. {Insert frustrated growl here.}


Okay, I'll make a bag with a zipper closure. Not too much harder, right? Well, those instructions were MUCH harder to come by. Finally, I found one shop on Etsy with downloadable instructions: Needle and Spatula. That would at least give me a starting point.


Unfortunately, the mat I was making a bag for was bigger than your standard yoga mat. It was wider and thicker. Plus, even though I had it for sizing, it was still in its package which would mean it would expand once unwrapped. I knew I'd have to adjust the instructions for all of the new dimensions, but it was still a shot in the dark, considering I didn't know how MUCH to adjust. I went with 2 inches wider and hoped for the best...




After all the initial freaking out, the execution wasn't too difficult. Lots of steps, the lining and 2 zippers later, I finished up his bag! I upcycled a pair of old corduroy pants for the main body and hand-painted an abstract design on some chartreuse duck cloth for the bottom. Even though I kept thinking "manly", I still wanted to add a pop of color, so I found a cool geometric pattern for the lining. All-in-all, I was really happy with how it turned out.


...And, in case you are wondering, now that Christmas is over, and he received his new yoga mat and bag, turns out the bag could have been a bit bigger to fit his mat. In a very nice way, he told me "he needs to get in a zen mindset when rolling up his mat after yoga class". Ah, well. At least it fits! Now I know for next time - 2 inches isn't quite enough...


Take care,

New Fuzzies {Blankets}

Howdy!


How is 2012 treating you? Well, I hope. Today is my first official work day, now that Stella is back at school. I was really excited to get back to business. The break was great, but I have lots of plans for Bluestar Ink, and I'm anxious to start executing.


First order of business - getting back to blogging! There are a lot of projects I've been working on the last few months which will be nice to share.


I'll start off with some new Fuzzies - blankets!




These little guys are called Ni-Nis, after Stella's favorite blanket whom she'd named Ni-Ni. I'm sure you've seen them - little blankets with a stuffed head attached. They are perfect companions for little hands and not only does the kiddo have a friend, there's a blanket built right in!


Well, seeing how attached Stella has been to her Ni-Ni, I thought making a Fuzzy version would be a great gift for newborns. Plenty of babies have received my Fuzzies when they were born, but the size of the Fuzzies totally dwarfs the itty-bitty babies. These Fuzzy blankets have a smaller head than the classic animals, so they're a much better size for snuggling.


As far as the blanket portion goes, I'm going to utilize the collection of graphic tees I've been accumulating. Plus, there is some satin binding for those kiddos who like lots of different textures.


Since these were my first two attempts, I've been experimenting with the placement of the head: Corner vs. middle. I think I'm leaning towards the middle placement - it's more snuggly - plus I don't have to deal with the satin binding when attaching the head.


What do you think? Are there little babies in your life that may want a new Fuzzy Ni-Ni friend?


Take care,