Sunday, September 7, 2014

4 months late

It's been four months since I last posted on this blog. I wish I could explain but there's no clear cut reason. I just couldn't find anything to say. I wasn't working on much as far as design and craft. I was focusing on the monumental task of searching for a new house, a good school district, a job, then buying said house, and trying to find a loan, and then waiting for the closing. Unfortunately, on closing day some very unpleasant things happened, and continued for days afterward and we were unable to buy the house I had spent so much time effort, thought, work and hope to buy. So.....then what?

Well, I had to start over. Look for more houses. Couldn't find a house that would work for us. So we upped our purchase price. Found one house. Started the loan, hoping, thinking, praying, preparing,  for the process again. I hoped against hope that this would go through and we could move before school started. I needed to have residence in the new house to send my son Jedi to Kindergarden. The loan process was even more arduous the second time around. They forgot about my loan, or misplaced it, or I was just not important enough for the mortgage company to finish it. We barely made it.

That was a month ago. I've since been able to send my son to kindergarden. And that has been an experience. The principal now knows my son by name. It has been hard. This year, has been harder than the rest. So, so very hard. So I didn't post. I couldn't. I couldn't find the time to sit at the computer and post when every-time I sat down I got another three emails I had to responds to with records for the loan company. I had a very small window of time to use without being sat on, poked, begged, demanded by my children. Those moments I had were devoted to getting the home crap finished. Problem was, it was never finished.

But the clouds are starting to rumble and hopefully the rain will come and put an end to this drought. I mean that figuratively and literally. I'm in a design drought as well as the entire state of Texas being in a perpetual drought. I need rain.

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.