When I grow up…..

….I want to be just like Grace! Comfy dress, sneakers, upcycled t-shirt bangles….did I mention that she loves karate and camping? Here she is sporting a dress from the Stephanie Corfee/Lil Blue Boo Limited Edition Collection…..an elephant ear style sleeve on a twirly knit dress. Beautiful photos by Monika McSweeney Photography.





Another upload of these limited dresses this afternoon in my Lil Blue Boo clothing store on Big Cartel!

A Pirate Matryoshka (with Download)

This is for the boys (and pirate-loving girls too)! Last year, Christy from Beachbrights asked me to do a pirate matryoshka doll for her son Max, he is adopted from Russia. I’m a little embarrassed that I am finally getting around to it! You can use this tutorial to transfer my pirate matryoshka image to t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants etc. I used a plain white dress in this tutorial since I don’t have a little boy…..and Boo loves pirates anyways….so this dress will be worn a gazillion times over.

The easiest way to transfer this image to fabric is to print it out onto transfer paper using your inkjet printer. I use Dharma Trading’s Super Soft Transfer Paper…it’s the best out there…your image will end up looking almost like a silk screen. Cheaper transfer paper from the store will look too plastic-like.


Cut out the image…with the Dharma Trading transfer paper you can leave a border…it won’t be noticeable on the fabric.


Place the cut out face down onto your fabric. I used Dharma Trading’s Double Lettuce Edge Spagetti Strap Dress (Boo wears a 4T….they do not run small).


Follow the instructions of the transfer paper…..but make sure you use a hard surface like table….not an ironing board. For the Super Soft Transfer Paper you will use the hottest setting and iron firmly back and forth for about 20 seconds.


While the paper is still hot peel off the backing…leaving a a perfect pirate matryoshka doll!


Shiver me timbers!

On Boo’s dress I used a Fabricmate pen to add a treasure map path….


…..all the way around the dress.

 

Glammed Up Lil Blue Boo

We had our Lil Blue Boo photo shoot yesterday….to be revealed in a few weeks! Both Boo and I were “glammed” up by the best stylist in the world….Tara Correnti. We shot in 106 degree heat. It was SO hot….but so fun. Taili Song Roth was the photographer. Her work is AMAZING and I can’t wait to see the final photos! Boo and I couldn’t resist the Mac Photo Booth last night after the shoot ended:



After I took a shower and washed all the makeup off and curl out….Sienna cried that she wanted my curly hair back. Hmm…..maybe I should curl my hair before picking her up from school today?! It’s so easy to make her happy.

A BooMoose

I love collaborations because they are a chance to create something new by combining my interests with someone else’s. Recently I teamed up with Melanie of The Melamoose Co to create some adorable little doll clothes to fit 15-16″ Waldorf style dolls (Bamboletta, Dragonfly’s Hollow, Apple Tree House etc.) I silk screened some itty bitty little lady bug onto knit yardage and sent it Mel’s way and here is what she turned it into! Introducing….the “BooMoose” collection:


She made an entire mini collection of BooMeese! You can check out preview pics of the other creations on The Melamoose Co Facebook page. They will be listed in her Etsy shop on Thursday, July 1st at 9pm EST. Her little tiny creations sell out in seconds so be on time!

I’ve been having so much fun with my other current collaboration with Stephanie Corfee. Here are just a few of the creations I’ve made with her “When I Grow Up” print:


And since I’ve been working on adding more and more “Big” Blue Boo clothing to my shop (Junior/Women’s sizes), here is Stephanie’s vision for a maxi-length dress using another one of her prints! It’s in the works! I’m working on a detailed tutorial for how I plan to silk screen the bottom portion of the dress.

It’s been a busy few weeks at Lil Blue Boo! Today Boo and I have a photo shoot together (it’s still a secret). I’ve got my air dried “beachy” hair ready and got my fingernails done (they were a little purple from some recent dyeing). Oh yes, I’m wearing a “Geek Batik” printed Lil Blue Boo tunic……


If you are new to Lil Blue Boo, check out some of my screen printing tutorials!

Screen Printing 101

Screen Printing with Contact Paper

Screenprinted Drapes and Pillows

Stephanie Corfee for Lil Blue Boo!

Here are some sneak peeks of a brand new Lil Blue Boo collaboration with artist Stephanie Corfee! Stephanie emailed me a few weeks ago out of the blue and the second I saw her artwork I was hooked. Stephanie’s blog title describes her work perfectly: vibrant, bohemian, intricate. Her detailed works are amazing!


After a few emails back and forth, all I could think about was how similar we were and that I wanted to work with her on something! I kept thinking about how great her work would look on fabric. When I asked Stephanie if she would be interested in a collaboration she said yes! She even had the perfect typography print that she had been working on……When I Grow Up:

The coloring for her print comes from another one of her original works: Baby Bohemia Stephanie writes more about her print on her blog.


I love the idea of giving a silk screened piece of clothing combined with the original art print for a gift!


The past week, I’ve been working on several different fabric and ink combos using Stephanie’s print…..


…..as well as incorporating some vintage linens.


Here are a few sneak peeks of the new mini collection:




I’m so excited to be working with Stephanie! We are already talking about the next project! Look for the “When I Grow Up” limited editions in my Lil Blue Boo shop starting tomorrow! As usual, new items will be added daily until the print is discontinued.

Personalized Hardboard Nursery Art (A Tutorial)


While I don’t have a tiny baby of my own anymore, I still have the opportunity to make things for my baby nieces, nephews and my friend’s babies.

 


I love making elaborately layered personalized nursery art pieces…..unique to each child.


The secret is the layering of paint, buttons, brads……


…stitching, tiny bows, decoupage, stamping….


….resulting in a truly unique piece of art for a special little one!


I always start out with a ready made (and matted) frame. Custom framing can be ridiculously expensive…I once asked a store to custom cut a mat for me (JUST the mat)…and they quoted me $90! So I decided to start making my little paintings to fit frames that I could buy right off the shelf!


You’ll want to use a hardboard or Gessoboard (gesso means it is pre-primed) for your painting. It won’t warp and it doesn’t have sap or woodgrain. It is also thin enough to frame under glass. You can buy it in several sizes. For the 6×8″ frame shown above I would typically use a 5×7″ piece of Gessoboard. You want there to be a small gap between your mat and painting because the painting will be “float” float framed in the middle.


For the frame I use in this example (5×7″), I had to custom cut my board to 4×6″ so it would fit.

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Cutting a custom hardboard piece:

I use larger hardboard pieces so that I can cut several pieces out and reduce waste. First, I measure the 4×6″ shape out:


Then I attach a metal ruler using small C clamps:


I use a hand skill saw……


……to carefully cut against the ruler:


Then I use a sandpaper block to fix any edges:


Starting the design:

I started with my piece of Gessoboard. This is pre-primed…..if you are just using plain hardboard then you’ll need to prime it with Gesso first. You can even add some paint to your Gesso for your background color.


I painted my background with acrylic craft paint (mixing a little Gesso in with my paint to make it more opaque for less coats):

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The easiest way to draw a design is to print out the name and use graphite transfer paper to transfer it onto the board:

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I use a piece of tracing paper to draw in my other designs……

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…..and then transfer them with graphite transfer paper too.

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Painting and decorating the piece:

First I block in the colors…

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…..these don’t have to be perfect because I’ll be outlining and adding to them:

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I outline all my letters and designs using a black paint pen.

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This is the best paint pen I’ve found: the Zig Painty Twin…it writes very smoothly….as if I was hand painting each detailed letter:

A little trick: Once your paint pen tip starts to become rough and at its end, pull it out and stick it in the other way….you’ll get paint all over your fingers, but you’ll have a new pen!

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To make the entire design more cohesive I take a decorative stencil…….

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…….and draw it into the background in several places. Then I outline it with black paint pen too.

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I add in “faux painted” stitching around many of the designs and letters:

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I begin to decorate each of the letters slightly different….here I added some white dots to mimic stars and constellations:

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I love adding sparkle paint to some of the letters and images:


Here is what the painting looks like at this stage:

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Before adding my three dimensional details, I apply a glossy acrylic varnish coat to the painting:

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Adding three dimensional details:

To add buttons, stitching and brads I use a tiny drill bit with a regular household drill. (I use either a 3/64″ or a 1/16″…..just make sure your needle will fit through the hole.) You might want to take your drill to the hardware store with you when buying the bits….some cheaper household drills can’t grip the small bit tightly.

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I set the painting on top of a box top (from a pack of sodas or a file box) so that I don’t drill into my table…..and drill each tiny hole that I need:

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I use metallic or regular DMC thread to sew around letters or to attach buttons…..

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….and tie them off tightly in the back.

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Adding these tiny details completes the painting!

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Float framing your final piece:

I take apart my frame and add a decorative piece of paper to the cardboard backing using double sided tape:

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I add adhesive spacers to the back of the mat so that it will be raised slightly from the backing (you can find these in your scrapbooking section of your craft store):

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I use a heavy duty double stick tape on the back of the hard board…..

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…..and place it directly in the center of the mat.

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The reassembled frame and finished piece!

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Perfect for a nursery wall or a shelf!

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Variations:

You can decorate a plain white backing behind the painting with stripes:


….or checks:


Decorate a plain outer frame with hand painted polka dots……


…..or use tiny cork stamps to stamp a design….


…..or a stencil to paint flourishes:


A gift they’ll treasure forever!

Visit this tutorial for more layering techniques:

Oh the places they go!

Boo loves working on her wooden U.S. map puzzle every morning when she wakes up. She’s starting to associate the states with where family members live and what each state is known for. I think her geography skills are better than mine already. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t even know all of the state capitals. I thought it would be fun to start mapping out where my handmade upcycled dresses have ended up. I asked for locations on my Facebook page and for each new city I added a little miniature upcycled dress. So here it is….around the world with Lil Blue Boo:

One day when I get time maybe I’ll look through my old shipping data to see what I need to fill in. For now it gave me some new goals: New Mexico, South Dakota, South America, Italy etc. Most importantly, I’m finally learning my geography again.

New Things for Boo

I’ve talked about this before….how Boo rarely gets store-bought items….well I’m giving in a little. I’m not a shopper, I just don’t have time for it….so when I do buy new things it’s kind of newsworthy! Here are a few of my new favorite things:

Dresses by Mary at Green Goat:
Hand dyed using low impact dyes that are better for the environment, and then screen printed using non-toxic inks. Gorgeous! Perfect for our hot desert heat. A green owl……


…..and the purple hummingbird and wildflowers:



Hand-painted shoes by Jane from Snanimals:


Boo picked out the yellow dragonfly shoes….they are a size too big but she insisted on wearing them yesterday. We also have 2 green pairs featuring a Japanese doll. I love that she can put them on by herself.


Handmade doll clothes by Mel at The Melamoose Co
These are so tiny and perfect! They go in seconds so you have to keep track of uploads through her Facebook page.

Ok…I’m done shopping for a while. Back to work :)

The Thrift Store

I love taking an entire morning to hit the local thrift stores. Sorting through the racks of color-coordinated clothes is the ultimate hunt for treasure:

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After I’ve pillaged the clothing section, I spend time browsing the other parts of the store. This entire rack was dedicated to ziplock bags of unfinished projects….I felt right at home:

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Every thrift store has a large power cord section….I should remember this the next time I lose my phone charger:

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Some thrift stores are nicer than others:

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Random rug art….this was once a great idea:

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Wedding dresses (a few were ripped so badly I immediately thought: Bridezilla):

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I always get a little sad in thrift stores…..like it’s the end of the road for some….

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….kind of like a place where really old things go to die. Depressing, right?

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I hit three thrift stores yesterday. Each one in a different part of town. I spend a lot of time observing the people shopping….but I never have the guts to ask to take their photo.

A young man whipping through the store in 3 seconds flat….obviously looking for some specific electronic.

An elderly farmer waiting in line to purchase a pair of dress pants, maybe for his grandaughter’s graduation?

A young woman browsing the 99 cent intimates rack.

It’s a scene from a John Steinbeck novel. A reminder of what’s discarded, unedited and real.

Wine Cork Mementos

I have no idea when or where this tradition started, but every time our group of friends enjoy dinner together at a restaurant…..


….everyone in attendance initials the wine corks, dates them and takes one home.


Now I have got an entire drawer full of dated wine corks…..each a reminder of a special occasion and a fun night with friends. I’m still pondering what to make with them ;)

Other uses for corks: itty, bitty stamps (see previous post)

Or maybe a cork card holder decorated using a cheese shaped stamp.
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