What Else I’ve Been Up To

In The Studio

After several months under wraps (hah!) I can finally reveal my secret knitting project:

I pinch! But softly...

I pinch! But only softly…

My friend Alison is expecting her first baby soon and has created a nautical nursery for the little one to come. I don’t usually knit things like blankets (the monotony does not appeal), but baby-sized is different, right? It’s the Anchor and Hearts blanket pattern from Judy’s Knitting Page and was a great project for car trips, Friday night knitting, and keeping my mind and hands busy in waiting rooms. Big Red, there, is The Deadliest Crab courtesy of Knitty.com designer Amber Allison. He was an absolute joy to work up and I was a little sorry to see him go! I hear he was a big hit with the father to be, as well!

In less-secretive project news, I created a dolly diorama inspired by various My Froggy Stuff videos. Seriously, the things she makes out of paperboard, glue, and office paper are really impressive. This diorama is 28″x14″ and more details and in-progress pictures can be found over on the Helmar blog.

Landscaping for dolls is so much easier (and cheaper) than landscaping for myself!

Landscaping for dolls is so much easier (and cheaper) than landscaping for myself!

Check out her Secret Garden and Water Fountain tutorials to be amazed and inspired!

It was with a heavy heart that I said farewell to the Gauche Alchemy team this month. After three years it seemed a good time to bow out and make room for some fresh faces over there, but I’ll miss the behind the scenes hi-jinks and being in the know about what’s coming next.

Walking towards what's next!

Walking towards what’s next!

The Love My Fabrics team also came to a close in May at the choice of the company owner, and my last projects over there were a quilted hot air balloon wall hanging and the outfits you see the dolls wearing, above. I hope the fabrics are still available on etsy as they really are great for sewing for dolls with!

Up Up and Away!

Up Up and Away!

Finally, I was interviewed over on Paint is Thicker Than Water yesterday. Last fall I contributed to the Monster Chores coloring book collaboration, and Jennyann is kind enough to shine the spotlight on each of the contributors over the course of this year. It was a fun project to work on (the monsters are doing the opposite of the chores they are assigned) and you can sign up for Jennyann’s mailing list to receive a copy (though I think the link for that may be down at the moment–she’s in the process of shifting some things around on her site). As part of the interview I also shared some images of commissions I’ve completed over the last little while, some that have yet to make it to my portfolio site just yet, so that was fun to share, too.

Custom holiday card illustration a friend ordered last year.

Like this custom holiday card illustration a friend ordered last year.

Well, now that I’m down to only 1 design team and the store’s not going to be taking up all my time, whatever will I do?

Like I ever have to worry about running out of projects!

Project Share: Victorian Memo Frame for Helmar

In The Studio


Hey, guys! Today I have a new, fun, and fairly quick project up over on the Helmar Design Team blog. Apparently my interest in Victoriana has not yet waned, and probably won’t for a while, so the fussy, frilly-ness of this project is mainly due to that. But, you know, it’s kinda fun to do fussy and frilly every now and then.


Also, if you didn’t see it earlier this month, my February Gauche Alchemy project was a very texture-heavy red canvas for the love/hate-themed challenge (and you might recognize the hearts from the last Helmar project). There’s still some time to create your own project and submit it for the February challenge. Remember, anything goes as long as it’s inspired by this month’s challenge board!

February Challenge Inspiration

February Challenge Inspiration

Finally, here’s that doll sweater I mentioned in the last post. This is the first “right” prototype of the pattern. I’ve since made it a second time in a longer, oversized-cardigan style and I’ve got a third one on the needles even longer as as coat.

Tessa modeling her winter-appropriate "bookish" look.

Tessa modeling her winter-appropriate “bookish” look.

Did I mention I bought more dolls? There were some unbeatable deals on Amazon a few months ago and I got a total case of itchy spending finger and picked up two girls for less than one would normally cost (Tezca and Lipoca). Then I found a Yeolume (Pullip’s daughter from the future, serious, the “storyline” of these dolls is rather amusing) in Tuesday Morning, and finally brought home a Byul (Dal’s best friend); again from Amazon, again at a great deal. She’s the one who needs a bit of work due to a broken arm and her replacement body arrived ahead of schedule so she’ll be in the dolly O.R. before too long.

It’s the little things, folks, that make us smile, right?

Episode 14: Sweet Tea


Today’s episode turned out to fit beautifully with the September challenge over at Gauche Alchemy, so I decided to run with it! While not all of the songs are strictly “country,” they all have some aspect of down home earnestness, a twang to go along with the back-beat, or something else that makes them fit in my head; there’s even a bit of the rolling zydeco rhythms in there in tribute to my beginnings in Louisiana. And an apology for my voice, today, I’m still getting over the cold that prevented me from putting out an episode over Labor Day weekend as planned. Hopefully we’re back on track again with this episode and I’ll find a good time for the “missing” set of songs to fall into place 🙂

Sweet Tea—Kim McLean 
If You Feel Froggy—Freighttrain Jones
That Texas Girl—Late Model Humans
Mercury In Retrograde—Sean Wiggins
Space monkey—Jim Hodgson
Rolling Back To You—Codie Prevost
Hard Way Home—Runaway Dorothy
Need a Little Squeezin—Copper Box
Zydeco Junkie—Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
Strip Tease—Musical Spa
As Far As My Heart Can See—Norma Jean Martine
Evelyn’s Green—She Swings, She Sways
One Monkey Don’t Stop The Show—Dann Schumann

Of course, this isn’t my only contribution to this month’s Gauche Alchemy challenge. To go along with the music I painted up an old pair of lace ankle boots into appropriate dancing shoes. Check out today’s post over at gauchealchemy.com to see and read more about my project and find out how to enter your own inspired creation for a chance at this month’s prize.


And on a technical note, can I just say how much easier it is to create this podcast now that I’ve started using Adobe Audition?! When I started podcasting I used Garage Band because it came on my my Mac and it was fairly user-friendly. Since Minnie the Mac finally gave up the ghost last year, I was kinda dreading how I was going to put the episodes together and, truth be told, it was part of the reason I kept putting off relaunching the podcast. I know a lot of people use Audacity (the fact that it’s free helps) and I downloaded it to edit some songs for our wedding last year. It’s okay, but it wasn’t as intuitive as I’d hoped; even reading the help and tutorial files didn’t help all that much.

Now, Audition is cheap, but since I subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service anyway for Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom and (more recently) Premier Pro, it was nothing extra to download Audition as well. And even though the process of putting together the podcast still involves selecting and rearranging the playlist to the point where I’ve listened to the whole thing about 5 times before it’s all said and done, using Audition means that the actual putting-together of the show takes about as long as listening through it all once more time. Even the transitions that took forever to fiddle with in Garage Band are automatic in Audition, to the point where I maybe have to tweak one each show.

So, you know, if you’ve ever thought of creating your own podcast on whatever subject or in whatever format, I can’t rate Audition highly enough for making the technical aspects super simple.

[/end PSA; no affiliate links just a really happy customer :)]

In Front and Behind and Somewhere In Between

In The Studio

So, did you hear the news? Gauche Alchemy has decided to continue their blogging even while the shop is on hiatus by running challenges each month and I’m happy as a clam to remain part of the Alchemists who get to work on those challenges as well! Of course anyone can participate in the challenges and there’s even a link-up for submitting your own take on the month’s inspiration with a prize: this month is a punchinella pack! You have until the 31st to come up with something, so still plenty of time.

This first month’s inspiration was Frida Kahlo–what a way to start, right?!

I’ve long admired her as a human being and as an artist and have read a spectacular biography of her that went so much deeper than the Salma Hayek movie ever could (though it was pretty faithful in many ways). Despite the various physical infirmaties that tried to cage her in, she stood out in life and art in a way that definitely leaves an impression. It was that presence that really inspired my project this month and took me somewhere I’m not usually all that comfortable:

In front of the camera.

Head over to Gauche Alchemy to see the rest of the pictures.

Head over to Gauche Alchemy to see the rest of the pictures.

I started by creating a floral crown, like the flowers she often wore in her hair, but it grew from there, encompassing wrist and ankle. Now, I ramble on quite a bit about the meaning behind the piece and the thoughts it stirred up in me over on the Gauche Alchemy blog and I encourage you to read about it there, and keep in mind that I wrote it all up back before the end of July. Had I written it this week, I don’t think my feelings would have changed, but the passing of Robin Williams a few days ago just reinforces what I’ve come to believe about the balance of creative gifts and our mental and/or physical health.

This month’s inspiration spurred those deep thoughts while also taking me far out of my comfort zone. In order to even attempt for my shackles to make sense, I had to wear them, to show them in place, and to embody the best I could the spirit of our inspiration. And if I was wearing them, that meant I would need help to get the images needed for the post. Thankfully (as I always am in his case), Todd was willing to help me rearrange our guest room to make a photo space and then have me coach him through the photos I needed. It is my hope that the pictures come off more as an homage to Frida Kahlo and not a mockery, if intention counts for anything…

F for Frida...

F for Frida…

I’ve been spending a good amount of time the last few weeks more focused on what I want to be creating–both in art and in life. It’s made me look harder at the current time limitations I’m under and the steps I need to take in order to alleviate those constraints. Simple put: time to work my ass off to build my personal career so I can make the time for everything else. There’s a shift in my priorities going on, now, and I hope I can keep up!

If you follow me on Twitter you may have already seen the patterns I’ve been creating as part of the Make It In Design summer school. I’ve been enjoying the challenge of the creative briefs the classes have given and have taken some steps–again–outside my comfort zone and been rewarded for it! Here’s the first set of briefs (I signed up for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced tracks) I completed, I’m still noodling over the second set but I’m excited to play with animal print and tribal-inspired designs.

For the beginner brief I went with a whimsical scatter design...

For the beginner brief I went with a whimsical scatter design…

But for the advanced brief I used some of the same images without their outlines and a painted background to create an entirely different mood.

But for the advanced brief I used some of the same images without their outlines and a painted background to create an entirely different mood.

The intermediate brief was a bit odd-theme-out from the other two, with a different palette and a call for a more geometric style to work well on swimwear.

The intermediate brief was a bit odd-theme-out from the other two, with a different palette and a call for a more geometric style to work well on swimwear.

I’ve also entered Lilla Roger’s Global Talent Search and have already turned in my round 1 assignment (I’ll share it once the entry galleries have been made public later this month). Not gonna lie: I want to be one of the 50 picked to proceed to round 2 like you wouldn’t believe. But even if that doesn’t happen (there are a LOT of people in the competition from what I understand, something like 5,000?!) I’m happy with the work I turned in and plan to do more with it on my own.

Which means I’ve been spending the rest of my time this week working on my portfolio. My current portfolio is not only sorely in need of updated project images, it also needs to be reconfigured to allow for an art licensing section so those patterns and the collections I create around them have a better chance of being picked up by buyers!

I’ve got a fire lit under me–what’s keeping your engine’s stoked as we hurtle towards fall?

5 Favorite Projects for Gauche Alchemy

In The Studio

I’ve been part of the Gauche Alchemy team for a little over two years, now, and I’ve loved every minute working with these ladies. The store is now on hiatus for now but I get to share one more project on the blog.



With change on the horizon, I thought it would be nice to take a stroll down memory lane and pull out my 5 favorite Gauche Alchemy projects, in no particular order…


The first project I actually started for Gauche Alchemy but it took a year before I actually got it finished and ready for posting. It highlights the awesome color kits that Gauche Alchemy is famous for (at least in my eyes) and I still get a kick looking at them.


I think this is actually the first project of mine that ever showed up on the blog, a challenge I posed to my fellow Alchemists that we all had a blast with. My little Polly Flanders doll never had it so good!


I was so jazzed to be the Alchemist who got to play with the Dia de Los Muertos kit first, and this rosary with paper and clay beads and the skeleton cameo still holds a place of honor in my craft vault. Seriously, I love the way this turned out and, looking at the picture again, might do another on a different theme. Paper beads are kind of addicting.


Of course when a steampunk-themed kit came out I was all over it, and my Steampunk Chef’s Hat gets a lot of compliments when I wear it (paired with my Steampunk Chef’s Coat, of course) to conventions.


Finally, my recent Curiosity Cabinet was another project that I had in mind for several months before making the time to put it together. I love the way it turned out (a common refrain, I know, but it’s true regardless of the repetition) and it’s another project I want to revisit and make another in a different theme. Someday. First I have to get through the other ideas in my head.

Have you made anything awesome lately?