Keeping things Fun!

So, it was just about a year ago now that I listed my first item over on Etsy.

From there the whole operation sort of snowballed.

I came up with more designs.

Then I decided I wanted colored shirts. Dye them myself, oh yes!

And more designs.

And in-person shows.

And, now, I’ve got a pretty good set. I’ve got designs I’m happy with (though always brainstorming new ones), I’ve got colors I’m happy with (both dye and ink). I’ve got a pretty cohesive look.

But, well, I’m a little bored. (crazy, right?!)

It’s all become a little more production-y than I would like.

I dye the same orange. And I print the same brick red on that same rust orange. Because it works. And, I do the same with my other colors. And, well, it works.

But in the interest of keeping things interesting and fresh, a few things are going to change. Mostly, I’m going to start playing (again) with colors.

I’m really happy with the colors and tones that I have. Earthy shades, rich colors, good contrasts. I’m happy that the colors I’ve done can really work on boys and girls. Those things will stay the same, but I’m going to start doing some more color-mixing and limited dye runs. You’ll see more color. Different color. New combinations.

And the shop will be filled with more truly one-of-a-kind shirts. And it’ll be fun.

Oh, and have I mentioned that there will be more designs, new designs.

Bugs? Can’t decide if this is really a direction I want to go. Thoughts?

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Shop Update

Last month was an exciting month on the shop front. I had, what I would consider, my first successful show.

And I mean success in a variety of ways. There was, of course, conventional success. People bought my shirts. They bought my napkins. I went home with less inventory and more money. And that was nice, obviously.

But the success of the show was more than that. I got to talk to people. Real people. About my *art* (gasp!). I got to get honest reactions and feedback. I got to find out what people thought and liked. I got ideas…

Like this. I had already done the first two lyrics to the song, but a customer wanted all three. She was willing to get just the two and buy an elephant for the third kiddo, but I decided to work with her.

Because that’s the awesome thing about this gig. I get to make things that, hopefully, make people smile. And that’s pretty awesome.

And it doesn’t just stop there, or with that one woman. Over at my Etsy shop, I get frequent requests from customers who see something they like in the shop but want something just a bit different – different color print, different size, different sleeve length. And they ask.

And, most of the time, I get to say Yes! Yes, I can make that for you! (Just look at my Sold Items page, it is overwhelmed by my little Custom Order icon)

And then I do.

And I get to feel a bit like a magician.

Yup, this gig is pretty awesome.

The fact that I can do it while staying home with my little ones and loving on my dear “assistants,” major bonus!

(Oh, and there is still time if you’d like to place an order for the holidays. Just get in touch!)

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The Coat

I mentioned the coat crafting on our quiet afternoon last week, and even gave you a bit of a sneak peek.

Well today, it was finally coat weather, and Ewan was more than eager to wear his brand spanking new mama-made coat.

He was even eager to have his picture taken in it, though these days he’s always ready to sport his fake-o smile for a photo shoot.

Pardon the crappy picture. It is cloudy, again. And I used my cell phone, though, I’ve gotta say the new iPhone 4S can take some pretty rockin’ pictures, this just isn’t one of them. And, while eager, he isn’t terribly patient. He was ready to go to the grocery store to buy bananas.

The pattern was from an etsy seller, Heidi & Finn. Their Chic Everyday Coat pattern. This is my second pattern from them, I don’t think I ever showed off the results from the first, for Xander, must show you! The instructions are easy to follow and thorough. The coat came together quickly, taking just one afternoon nap plus a little extra for finishing.

The thing that makes this coat extra awesome, however, is that all the fabric was in the stash and the outer, a nice wool, is upcycled.

Upcycled from the coat (well, cape) I wore while I was pregnant with him.

You see, finding clothes to fit me in Japan was a challenge. Finding clothes to fit me while pregnant was impossible. When we visited the states early in my pregnancy, I bought all the clothes I needed for the duration of my pregnancy. Except a winter coat.

Then winter came.

I was cold.

And while I couldn’t (and didn’t expect to) find any coats that fit, I was able to find a lovely wool cape. I scooped it up, stayed warm and now I couldn’t be happier to see my little boy wearing something made from it.

Now there is a boy, instead of a belly, in that fabric. Keeping warm. And that, well, that’s pretty special.

(And then I made a coat for Xander. Same pattern. It’s huge. I’ll show you next week. Along with his uber-cool Heidi & Finn hoodie. Remind me if I forget.)

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Felt Board Fun

A few weeks ago a good friend told me about her felt-board hack for her Melissa and Doug easel. And then she gave me a big ‘ole chunk of felt so I could do it myself.

Replace the unused side because chalk is too dusty side with an awesome felt board.

Yes, please!

A big piece of felt, a little bit of spray adhesive, and about 15 minutes worth of time was all it took.

Then I sat down with a giant stack of rainbow felt and cut all sorts of shapes – squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, big and small.

Since the felt board’s creation, it has been in constant rotation. A daily toy.

Our favorite thing to build,

the love train. (sing it with me, now)

Ewan likes it because, unlike drawing, he can actually build things that resemble the images he has in his head. He also loves it because it is something we did, something we made, together.

For now simple shapes are bringing plenty of fun and joy but I can totally see wanting to make more sets soon – letters, numbers, animals, the possibilities for felt board fun are endless.

Cheap. Fast. Easy. My favorite kind of DIY.

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Clipboard Wall

Sometimes acts of nature force action.

Just about a month ago, I sat on my sofa in the sunroom watching a storm blow in. The skies got dark. The wind picked up. The rains started to come down.

The windows in both the front and back of our house were open. Sometimes it feels nice to let that air change as a storm moves through. But this storm ended up being a little stronger than expected. All of a sudden the winds changed. And picked up speed.

All of a sudden the air wasn’t just changing in our little home, the wind was whipping through it. As I scrambled to close the windows the wind caught some of the art hanging on our art line and moved it like a sail. Ripping the line out of the wall (affixed with three long screws) and clattering to the ground.

In its’ wake was a large, gaping hole. One that will have to be fixed properly, someday. One that had to be covered, temporarily, NOW.

Enter the clipboard wall.

I had seen, and pinned, a number of clipboard walls over on pinterest (are you on pinterest?! you should be.) for inspiration. And one day last week I decided it was time.

I scavenged for some clipboards (only an ex-teacher can find a dozen clipboards, just lying around), a hammer, and a few nails. Aside from covering the gaping hole in the wall, I didn’t have much of a plan.

I didn’t measure. I just hammered and nailed and kept going until there were no more clipboards left to hang (I wanted two spares).

And now we have an absolutely perfect little display wall. For Ewan’s art, for some of my own, and, soon, for Xander’s as well. Love it!
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