Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Websites and new homes

I have been trying to update my portfolio website since I'm looking to go back to work.

Click on the picture to go to my new portfolio website.

I have been struggling to make it look really nice and clean. I had generally used too many color in my work. One of my design T.A.'s said it was "disney puke." So using one or two colors was the goal. I still used about three major color and I'm ok with that. As always, I find myself drawn to blue and black. I guess I'm in my blue phase.

I also updated my business card. The idea was to create my own logo.

It's been about a 2 month journey of new ideas, and failed ideas, and just a whole lot of sketching and illustrating. I'm finally pretty happy with the above.

Let me know if you know of any graphic design jobs (full time please) in San Antonio or near me in New Braunfels.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Peacocks and first Birthdays

My niece is going to turn one this Sunday. I'm not able to make it to her first birthday so I made her a little onesies for the occasion.

My sister's theme was "Peacocks".

Onesies for One Year Old

Here's my design process. I start with a pencil sketch on graph paper.

Throw out some rough ideas.
Start drawing in illustrator based on my sketches

Refine based on new ideas (I liked the dark outline)

Then I liked no outline but disliked the font

Better font, and the colors changed to
suit the printing. 

In the end I had to change the colors in illustrator, to suit them to my desk jet printer. They are hardly calibrated. So even though the final drawing looked a bit to "lime green and turquoise". The finished product looked much more kelly green and peacock blue after printing. Oh, the pains of printer calibration.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The happy Whale

I had been working for the last few weeks on a baby quilt, and stuffed animal for my very good friend Brooke.

She is having a boy and was planning on decorating with whales.

A little illustration I did for this project.

I had to make something.

I had found this on Pinterest, and went from there:

It's an absolutely adorable tutorial on making a little whale toy from old jeans.

I had to do it. It was posted on a Chinese language website. I couldn't find the original source so I cant credit the person responsible. I just had to go from pictures, since there weren't any directions after I translated the website.

I cut up a pair of old jeans and came up with this. (Actually my second attempt after first making a rough draft)

Notice anything?

I was not trying to make an Orca.

It took me awhile to figure out why it didn't look right. And then I noticed. I switched the fabrics and  made the whale upside down.  The shapes should have been reversed, so that the belly of the whale curved upward, and the top of his head ended higher up. I tried to reconcile myself with my not quite orca (missing the correct dorsal find and spot) but failed and tried again. At this point I had no more left over denim and had to make it out of leftover navy cotton and some printed denim flannel.

Third attempt

It still didn't turn out as whale-ish looking to my eye, the nose came out too rounded. But I was drawing my own pattern and sometimes, the first pattern needs a bunch of adjustments.  Still, I'm hoping the little boy will like it, despite it's imperfections.

In-between the 1st stuffed whale and the second I worked on the baby quilt.

Working on layout on my kitchen table.

Playing around with the appliqué pattern

I was really excited to use the majority of fabrics from my stash.

And I was excited to use reverse appliqué technique.

It turned out pretty well until the reverse appliqué started to fray.....badly.

The wonky panels were intended. I was trying to evoke
waves moving. 

I disliked it so much I had to re-appliqué it with a satin stitch several times. And still it turned out messy looking. 

I thought I would just go with it anyway and began to quilt it to the batting and backing.

And hated it immediately. I tried free motion quilting on my basic Bernina and it just looked messy. So after much pulling out of stitches with my trusty old seam ripper, I gave up and decided to start over.

I had to get new fabrics since I had used all the fabrics that would work in the first one and began again.

For some reason the colors flare badly in this picture. I've color corrected
in photoshop so I'm gonna just chalk it up to my bad photography
and my bad lighting.

This was the fabric I found at the Quilt Haus.

This tag is an amazing find that I forgot I had stashed away in my sewing stuff,
I haven't used these since I found them 13 years ago. 

Hand quilted waves, and at the top white panel, clouds.
(this is the correct color of medium blue)

I had gotten so irritated by the machine quilting and the bunching and the little tucks that I decided to so something I'd never done before. Hand Quilting.

I had a lot of trouble starting the appliqué, I always forget the blanket appliqué stitch, and then beginning quilting by hand with no callous' on my fingers was pretty tough. I went thru four thimbles and still couldn't manage to quilt with any of them. I finally gave up on thimbles and went back to doubled band-aids on the pad of my middle finger.

I enjoyed the hand quilting, and it gave the quilt a softer and more fluffy appearance than machine quilting. I also managed to mitre the corners of my binding, something that has eluded me for a decade. Luckily, with Pinterest, I found an "easy" method that even working with my non-bias sashing. (Bias tape is too much of a hassle so I usually use straight grain sashing. (I know, I think bias tape is a hassle and I hand quilted this quilt, I'm a study in contrast)

Here's the little package all wrapped up.

Here are some of the links I used for the tutorials on binding with a mitred corner, hand-quilting, and reverse appliqué.

With reverse appliqué I would recommend using a knit or a felt so the edges don't fray.

Friday, January 31, 2014

New logo

I changed up my logo some for my website. I added it to the website as a header, but have yet to add any new or better material to it.

Take a look.

Or if you'd rather not.

I like it.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

G and the Narwahl

I'm not sure I spelled Narwhal correctly. Oh well.

So I did another handwritten letter for my sister G.

Her fav animal was a Narwhal.

I couldn't figure out how to feature Ranunculus (her fav flower) in a scene with whales, so I just added small fish and bubbles.

I'm not terribly happy with the letter G, it's a bit too stark.

But, I like the Narwhal, they seem kinda cool, and freckly. 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

A handwritten Letter

One evening as if by magic, I found myself with my Mother and sisters K and S. My sister S, ever the wise one, told me to call my Hubbie, and let him know we were going out on a ladies evening, and he needed to pick up the kids (my two little ones) and his wife, was going out to eat (and have a few gin and tonics)

So we headed out after the kindly Sarge picked up the kids and we went to Gruene River Grill in Gruene, TX. I love that place. If you have a chance,go there. It's a a 150 year old structure on a high hill above the Guadelupe River and it's just lovely. Great food, nice atmosphere, and you can wear flip flops and eat Creme Brûlée without feeling underdressed.

After regaling the rest of the restaurant with our raucous laughter and bawdy talk of harlequin romance novels and the elderly women who love them.....we went home and on the way picked up our Mother's mail. My Mother is on every catalog and junk mail mailing list in the knows printed universe. The mail lady continually asks my Mother to get a larger mailbox, and my mother counters with she'll just add the largest trash can she can find, and that will be her mailbox, seeing as it's where it ultimately ends up. My mother's mail is often double wrapped in rubber bands to keep the 20 or so magazines, junk mail, and catalogs together.

After pulling the 5 pound stack of glossy paper out my Mother remarked how she would rather have one handwritten letter, than all the junk mail and bills and catalogs. We all agreed and I promised (remember 2 gin and tonics-) to send them all handwritten letters.

A few week later after asking them their favorite animal and flowers, and dragging out my dusty light box,I fulfilled my promise.

I had been working on some design stuff (purely for myself) and was fascinated by the illustrated drop cap. These were my attempts.

For K:
Her Favorite animals: The Secretary bird (right) and the Swallow
tailed Bee eater (left) I chose the protea (the South African
national flower) Since she lived and Loved S.A. so much.

For P:
Humming birds and Orchids were her favorite.

For S:
Chickens were her favorite, but I didn't like the
way it turned out so I tried another one.

Second Attempt for S:
Roosters and Daisy's, (her favorites) and
I liked this one better. We jokingly call it
her "BIG S ROOSTER" (say it fast and loud, it's funny I

So there you go, handwritten letters. I took a bit of license with the term "handwritten letter" but I don't think they'll mind.

I did another one for my Sister G, but forgot to scan it in before I gave it to her. It has narwhales, so she'll have to scan it in for me since, my descriptions doesn't really do it justice.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nightgowns for little girls

My little goose is a wiggler. She can somehow manage to thwart Sarge's and my attempts to dress her, diaper her, keep her in one place for more than a second.

Most days and nights she's in nothing but a diaper and a t-shirt because she kicks and squirms and pajamas with legs are too demanding to put on her. She can take off leggings or pants like some sort of un-dressing Houdini.

I had tried putting her in dresses but she got her knees caught up in them when she tried to crawl. Well, guess what she's doing now....walking. Which means a whole new world of clothing and pajamas are opening up to us....or so I thought.

Almost everything for little 11 month old girls is two piece outfits, usually a tunic with leggings, or a shirt with leggings. The pajamas all have zip up or snap up legs, and again the 2 piece pajamas are all legging based. It requires two people to put her in pants or leggings. And most of the time after the diaper changing acrobatics, we just want the crying and squirming to stop.

I have pictures of myself younger than her wearing nightgowns. I guess that went out of fashion for babies. Maybe because they weren't fire retardant, or because kids are walking later. Who knows.

Me in an adorable nightgown with my baby doll.

 I found a bunch of flannel, and disney themed tricot nightgowns, but they all start at 24months or 2 T. And I tried to find 2T in an actual store, but they were just not there. I found them online but I cant try them on her that way now can I?

It's colder now, so I want to dress her in something, diapers only wont cut it, and she pulls off blankets when she sleeps.

What to do?

Sew something, obviously.

I went to Target, Belk, and Walmart. No baby nightgowns. So I found a cute long sleeve shirts at Kohls, and then went to Hobby Lobby to find some knit fabric. They had about 6 bolts of knits. Which is a shamefully paltry selection. They have 65 bolts of fleece though, so go figure. I'm guessing very few home sewers sew on knits. I couldn't find any colors that I really liked so I had some prints, and a pink knit. (which I'm not fond of)

Here's how I went about this little sewing adventure.
Buy a shirt. I went a little bit bigger than her size (12M ) and got a 18 M.
It's a waffle knit from Jumping Bean brand, in Kohls. It's a baby doll fit
which I thought would suit the idea.

Try it on your baby and measure where  the hem falls
and where you want it to be. I wanted an extra 4 inches.
(give baby something to play with or else
well, she's so wiggly)

Cut some knit fabric in double the measurement
that you needed to extend the shirt

I needed it to fall 4" lower than the hem, so I cut 9 inches
8 inches is doubled, and I added 1/2" seam allowances
Fold it over, (the folded edge will be your new hem.)

At this point I gathered my fabric at the cut edge. 
Measure agains the hem of your shirt, cut to fit the hem
measurement, and sew the sides. Pin the panel on the hem making
sure there are no gaps.
Sew with a serger, or with a zig zag or another stitch
which suits knits,
*take the pins out of your fabric BEFORE
it goes thru the serger*

When I finished the first gown I didn't like the look of it, so I took the extension off, and cut more knit, and gathered it at the unfinished ends. I like that better and then sewed the ruffled knit panel onto the hem. 
* depending on your gathers you may need double the length you had before* 

I used a zig zag the second time to attach it to the hem.

I did a few more. The last two I added ruffled woven fabrics, since
I couldn't find colors I  liked in knits to match them.

Dress your adorable baby in her nightgown/dress

Totally works as a dress too!!

So here you are, a tutorial on how to make a cute dress/nightgown from a shirt.

(All credit for the design goes to my Mom, Patti, who did this same style for me in the '80's. I have pictures of me and my 6 sisters in dresses she made from t-shirts that she added skirt onto.)