Winter Solstice

My friend Amanda's band (my husband is the drummer!) had their debut show last night, and I made the flyer! You should check them out.


Animals you can hold in one hand

I haven't blogged in a while, so here are some pictures of animals you can hold in one hand.

Sources (mostly not original...they seem to be lost in reblog land):


Indigo workshop

Last month I went to an indigo dye workshop hosted by Martina Thornhill. It was a beautiful day to sit outside and learn how to fold cloth and dye it to make shibori patterns. This is something I've wanted to learn for awhile. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the pieces I dyed just yet, stay tuned!

Some of the other participants' work.

My favorite result.


Birthday present

Happy birthday to my very best friend in the whole world! She loves Tina from Bob's Burgers, so I made this watercolor for her.



When my nephew was born, my sister-in-law asked for a painting of sea creatures to put on the wall in his room. He just turned two, and I realized I never took a photo of the painting! Of course it's in a frame now, so please excuse my reflection in the glass. It's one of the bigger paintings I've done (I think it's 20"x24"). I love sea creatures, so if my nephew ever gets tired of it, I'll hang it up in my house!


Cat fabric

A couple weeks ago Spoonflower was offering a free sample of their new fabric, Eco Canvas. I thought it would be fun to try out their service, so I got a piece printed with a repeating pattern of a drawing I made of my awesome cat, Hank. I'm not sure what I'm going to make with it since it's just 8"x 8", but it's so cute! Any ideas for me?


Drawing practice 2

I finished another week of Spoonflower Challenge prompts! I added some color this time. The theme this time was text and type, so I tried to incorporate that into each drawing. The prompts were: lemon (above) / book / arrow / tea / toast


Flossy the unicorn

I never knew I needed a floss holder...until now!


Drawing practice

I've been thinking about how I need to make time to draw more often, so when I came across the Spoonflower Drawing Challenge on Hugs are Fun the other day I though it would be just the thing! I finished the first week of prompts, and am going to catch up with the current week. I had so much fun doing these drawings, it's a great way to get creativity flowing.

The prompts so far have been: cactus (above) / mountain / tree / landscape / river


Art in the library

I love to find ways to use my artistic talents at work, so when my boss asked me to paint a mural on the wall, I was really excited. He specifically wanted a diagram of different cuts of meat on a pig (it's a culinary school library) so I did a little research, made a drawing, and added the text.

Here's how it turned out!



I haven't had any quality time with my needle and thread recently, but I'm really getting inspired by the textures that can be created using fairly simple sashiko/running stitches. I love that some of these use denim as the blue background, and some reverse the traditional blue and white color scheme. Time to get stitching!

Sources top to bottom (and l-r): Muna Home // Pinterest/unknown // Bleu Indigo // Sri Threads // Pinterest/unknown


Baby beluga

A good friend of mine is having a baby girl soon, and I wanted to make something for her room. The room has an ocean theme, which made me think of "Baby Beluga", a Raffi song I loved as a kid.

I started out by practicing some lettering and getting my colors right. I looked at a few tutorials online to help get some ideas - this one was particularly helpful.

Here's an in-progress shot, I did the lettering in a mix of blues and greens, and mixed a pale grey for the little whale himself.

And here's the finished illustration, with outlines, background color, and a bit of pinkish-coral highlighting on the letters. All framed ready to be wrapped and mailed!

I love how it came out, and my friend says that she and her husband love it too.


Crafty cacti

I love succulent plants and have a bunch of real ones in my house, but I can also appreciate artsy faux cacti (plus, they're easier to take care of). I even have a Pinterest board full of images of our spiny friends. Here are a few of my favorites.





Image sources: Paper cacti via Little Glowing Lights // Crochet cacti by Beau Travail via Les Yeux Sans Visage // Felt cacti by Once Again Sam // Fabric cacti by Sian // Foam cacti by Wendi Vansanten


Embellished collars, again

Way back when I posted about how much I love embroidered collars. I just finished my own version, and I seem to keep collecting pictures of embellished collars on Pinterest, so here are a few more for your enjoyment:

One of my all-time faves from Lorena Marañón.

Embroidered eyes by Fila Arcana via Honey Kennedy

More eyes; painted maybe? This pic is all over Pinterest/Tumblr but I can't find the source even after an image search. Cite your sources, people! [Stern librarian face]

Not embroidery, but still super cool. DIY beaded collar from Antimutig Blog. This one inspired the french knot one I made! Got any more awesome collars for me?


Blog Hop

It's like a chain letter, but way more fun because no one is threatening bad luck for the rest of your life if you don't do it! Jessica from Paperstitch tagged me for this blog hop, so here are my answers:

What are you working on?

All kinds of things. It's so hard to focus on one thing when there is so much inspiration out there! Specifically, I'm attempting to learn sashiko, though I haven't done any of the really complicated patterns in this book yet. I used the style to lend some Japanese flair to my bestiary swap piece and made this little stuffed cloud just for fun:

I recently tried out macramé and I think I might give weaving a try next. I love embroidery on clothing, and I have a few items I plan to embellish. For my first attempt, I used french knots to decorate the collar of this chambray shirt:

I haven't picked up this Game of Thrones embroidery piece in a while, but when I took it out to snap a picture I got excited about the idea of working on it again.

I have a few illustrations in the works, including a watercolor for my friend's baby's room. Here's a peek at my sketch of a baby beluga whale:

How does you work differ from others of its genre?

Nothing too groundbreaking, I mostly just create things that I think up in my head, so they're different than the things other people think up. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and have developed my own style over the years.

Why do you create what you do?

Since I have a "day job" I make things mostly just to please myself, because I like to look at pretty things, and because I enjoy having something creative to work on. I also love giving handmade gifts.

How does your creative process work?

It depends. Sometimes I'll come up with a random image that I just have to draw or stitch. I might see something cool online that I'd rather make than buy. Other times I'll see someone else's work or look at an embroidery book or blog and be inspired by that. If I have creative block, I find that participating in themed swaps or stitchalongs is great for getting some ideas flowing! Once inspiration strikes, I do some sketches, sometimes using reference photos, and then plot out the colors I'm going to use (either in watercolor or thread).

For next week...

I follow SO many cool blogs and they are one of my main sources of inspiration.

I first came across Sewphie's work when we were both participating in the Illustration Stitchalong on Flickr (we should really revive this, by the way). Check out her cute yet creepy Edward Gorey skeleton pillowcase. Update: here's her blog hop post!

I found Floresita's blog through Feeling Stitchy. I especially like her Three Things Thursday posts and the gorgeous photos of the feral cats that live in her neighborhood. Seriously, these cats are like some of the best-looking cats you've ever seen. Update: here's her blog hop post!

Last but not least, I "met" Olisa aka Cocoaeyes through the Mr. X Stitch Phat Quarter swaps and I think it's so cool how she combines watercolor and stitching (two of my favorite things!). We live in the same state, maybe we will bump into each other someday.

Have fun guys, the chain letter is now in your possession.


Sloths & Cats

If we're talking spirit animals, these might represent mine:

I'm trying to come up with my own little homebody slogan...stay tuned.

Cats via Stay Home Club // Nation of Amanda Sloth via Silver Sprocket



Macramé plant hangers have been catching my eye recently, and after looking up a few tutorials it seemed like they were pretty easy to make. Here are a few of the images that inspired me:

The hardest part was finding the right rope. I looked at three places before finding some nice plain cotton rope at my local hardware store. I used a combination of different tutorials to figure out the process. I liked the idea of incorporating wrapped embroidery thread and was inspired by the colors and textures of a the weaving in the picture above. I incorporated some of my beloved wool Paternayan thread because I thought it would look good against the natural-colored rope.

Here's how the project turned out! 

I really like it, though my measurement of the knots was a little off. I will definitely try another one, because I had a lot of fun making it.

Inspiration sources clockwise from top left: Skinnylaminx // Hello There Home // All Roads Market weaving via Pinterest


Jillian Tamaki

Jillian Tamaki's blog is always a source of inspiration for me. I just love her intricate illustrations for this Folio Society version of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas. Just seeing this one makes me want to read the book:

Another of my favorite projects of hers is a series of embroidered book covers she did for Penguin a few years ago. I have The Secret Garden - it's really neat how they embossed the design so it still has some texture even though it's a printed version of the original.

Images via Jillian Tamaki's blog here and here.


Cut Paper

I keep coming across really awesome cut paper art on some of the blogs I read (also, try typing in "cut paper" on Pinterest or Flickr - amazing!). Here are a few that really got some creative inspiration going in my mind:

By Maud Vantours via The Jealous Curator

"Arya Dreams of Red Fields and Battle" by Meghan Stratman also via The Jealous Curator

By Elsa Mora via All About Papercutting (looks like a good place to start if I want to try this out!)

By Miso via Miss Moss (also love her embroidery and tattoos!)