Upcycled Bohemian

As soon as I saw this bottom print on a dress at the thrift store I knew I had to have it to pair with Stephanie’s “I Grow Up” print….and who better to model it than Grace! An elephant ear dress with an empire waist….upcycled from thrift store finds: a dress, 2 polo shirts and some silk screened and tie dyed yardage. Eclectic, one-of-a-kind, bohemian…and totally green. Stunning photos by Monika McSweeney Photography. Enjoy!

Infinite thanks to Monika and Grace for such beautiful photos!

An I.D. Tag for Dolly (A Tutorial)

I couldn’t imagine if we lost Li’l Sally (our 10″ AppleTreeHouse Waldorf doll). Boo would be traumatized, I would be traumatized, and my wallet would not be happy about having to replace her! These dolls are so popular now (along with Bamboletta and DragonFlysHollow dolls) and almost impossible to get. There was a discussion on the LBB Facebook page the other day about the horror of losing one of these dolls and the idea of an I.D. tag necklace or bracelet came up. And so, a distressed identification tag was born for Li’l Sally:

Li’l Sally is wearing a Lil Blue Boo silk screened dress! Pattern to come soon!

This tutorial is almost identical to my wooden pendant accessories tutorial. But here are the directions again…..

Step 1: Create your text in a word program or Adobe Photoshop and reverse the text so that it prints backwards. (if you are using a word program you’ll need to save the text as a picture first and then import it back in so that you can reverse it). Print it out using a laser printer (which uses dry ink, an inkjet will not work) or send your printout through a black and white copier.

Our tag reads: Li’l Sally, if found call: xxx-xxx-xxxxn (I blurred out my phone number).

Step 2: Apply an acrylic paint base coat to a small piece of craft wood. These can be found at any craft store for about 20 cents a piece.

Step 3: When your base coat is dry, apply thick coat…..

……of Golden or Liquitex soft gel mat medium (also found at most craft stores). This is what will transfer the black toner from the paper to the wood.

Step 4: Cut out your text and press the paper face down onto the gel….burnish/rub the paper to make sure it is adhered and there are no air bubbles.

Step 5: When the gel is completely dry, apply a few drops of tap water to the back of the paper and peel off as much of the wet paper as possible.

Step 6: Rub the rest of the wet paper off with your finger. The text will stay behind.

Step 7:
Use sandpaper to distress the edges of the wood pendant.

Step 8: Dilute some brown acrylic paint with water and paint onto the distressed areas. Wipe off any excess. Once dry you can seal the pendant with acrylic gloss varnish.

Step 9: Drill a tiny hole in one end of the pendant.

Step 10: Add string or a leather cord through the hole and you are done!

Now if your doll gets lost at the mall or restaurant she’ll have some form of identification on her! Just tuck the pendant down into her clothing and he/she is ready to go!

Saturday LBB Gallery Share

Hope you are having a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! A few of my favorite things this week to share!

I LOVE these flag dresses made by Becky for The CSI Project using the Sienna Dress Pattern! Let Freedom Ring!!!!

How cute is little Harlow with her LBB ladybug shorts! Glad to know that the shorts can accommodate cloth diapers! Harlow’s adorable shirt was made by her mother….she sells them in her shop Sparkle Your Kids if you want to check them out!

I love this photo of Kacey’s daughter wearing her Lil Blue Boo birthday dress! Photo by Kasi Daine – Dallas/Fort Worth Photographer

I bought a few of these Haiti Tees from Rage Against the Minivan to make into dresses. Each t-shirt purchase benefits Heartline Haiti!

I’m FINALLY finishing up the twirl skirt pattern and sending it out for testing this weekend. It should be in the shop this week…I’ll hold a giveaway to announce it sometime this week! I had some requests for adult sizes….so that’s what I’ve been working on today. It will be a pattern for almost everyone now! Kids, dolls, adults, maternity etc!

Meanwhile, if you need a project for the weekend, check out my ribbon camera strap tutorial!

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.


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):

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

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

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


Painting and decorating the piece:

First I block in the colors…

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

Here is what the painting looks like at this stage:

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


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.

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:

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

….and tie them off tightly in the back.

Adding these tiny details completes the painting!


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:

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):

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

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

The reassembled frame and finished piece!

Perfect for a nursery wall or a shelf!


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.

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