My Work Space (Updated Photos!)

I always love seeing where people work. It always gives a little more insight into their personality I think. After a little organization I took some updated photos of where I work everyday. Below is my smaller studio where I do small sewing projects and painting. All my non-knit fabric is stored on one side of the studio with my sewing machine. My large easel has a painting that will probably never be finished!


This side of my smaller studio is where I paint smaller paintings. You can see some close up photos in the last post I did on my studio.


Order or chaos? Who knows…..


Journals, mixed media books, gel mediums and solvents:


Finished paintings I just don’t know what to do with yet:


My second studio is a casita (guest house) outside but while Boo is young I’ve moved into our dining room so I can work and play with her at the same time. As you walk in our house, you see through a niche cutout (past the golf weather vane I took from my childhood home), my larger sewing studio/dining room:


Here is where I sew Lil Blue Boo dresses. From my chair I can see up into the living room and keep tabs on Boo!


A large rack of yummy finished dresses:


I have a dining room table and a conference room table I borrowed from my husband’s office. One is the sewing/cutting table…..the other is a shipping area. I can’t wait to reclaim my dining room at the end of this summer!


A big box of thread:


Bins of scrap knits too small to fold (every once in a while I sort them by color….but it doesn’t last long):


Our butler’s pantry is stocked with knits and wine……unlikely combo, right?!


Reclaimed knit waiting to be picked:


Stacks of new and thrifted tees as well as knit yardage:

And here is what is all looks like after a day of work:


Right now the casita is a storage room for canvases, fabric, baby stuff to sort through…..and paintings that will never have a place like this one:


I have a lot of work to do next fall cleaning out for my move! There’s my tour! Any insights?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day….from a grumpy little leprechaun!

You would think since I make children’s clothing I could have come up with a more festive outfit. We struggled this morning to find anything GREEN that was CLEAN! At least she’s got some cool new shoes on and a fun hat!

Dress by Lil Blue Boo
Handpainted Shoes by Snanimals
Hand-me-down hat courtesy of Great Grandma

Tie Dyeing using Procion Dye

Want vibrant color? Use Procion Dye. It’s what the pros use (and those of us that are pro “wannabes”). Look how yummy:


First, you’ll want to prepare a mixture of soda ash and water to soak your fabric in. I like to do this before I tie my fabric so the dye bleeds just a little….but you can also soak it after your fabric is tied. Here is what the soda ash looks like:


Basically you add 1 cup of soda ash per gallon of warm water. Make sure to wear gloves though…..this stuff can dry out and redden your hands (I know from experience).


Soak your fabric until wet and then wring out:


I like to use string to tie my fabric. I like the effect I end up with as the dye bleeds into the string:


Below is what the Procion Dyes look like. Measuring them is SUPER simple because they are coded with asterisks (*). You just mix 8 oz of warm water to the following amount of dye:
Colors with no * need 2 teaspoons of dye.
Colors with one * need 4 teaspoons of dye.
Colors with two * need 8 teaspoons of dye.


In this example, I was using Hot Pink (which had no * on the title) so I just added 2 teaspoons of dye……


…..into an 8oz squirt bottle using a little funnel I made from some plastic sheeting.


Then I added the 8oz of warm water and shook it to mix:


Apply the dye!


Wrap up the dyed fabric in plastic sheeting or a plastic bag to keep the dye and fabric wet. I let mine sit overnight for 24 hours.


The next day I remove the fabric from the bag and while still tied rinse off the excess dye using cold running water. Then I untie, rinse out again and put it through the wash on cold. I try to keep the dyes similar in the first wash to preserve color too (i.e. one load of pinks, one load of blues). They won’t fade after that!

Note: Dharma recommends the final wash with HOT water and Synthrapol or something similar so that the garment will never bleed on anything.

Note: There are many other variations and dye formulas you can use to perfect your technique. I recommend the Dharma Trading catalog which is more like a manual for dyeing!

Two recent custom dress orders I did using Procion:

A birthday dress with a screen printed “3” and a dyed skirt. The customer sent me the bling to applique on the skirt.

A veggie dress made with upcycled knits and tie dye.

Winners of the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Design Challenge!

We started with 154 amazing entries in the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Design Challenge! The judges (Shari, Dana, Disney, Candace and Rae) narrowed the entries down to 15 finalists. After a week long vote, with 3,855 people voting, I finally get to announce the winners! Congratulations to Shannon, Vanessa and Sarah! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest! I can’t wait for the next challenge!

First Place (884 votes):
Kung Hee Fat Choy (Happy New Year) Top
Made by: Shannon from Happy Tomodachi
Shannon used red and gold t-shirts: red-good luck, gold-wealth and happiness. She stenciled the character for “Double Happiness” at the top using freezer paper and Jacquard Neopaque fabric paint and added some 3-D gold glitter paint for some subtle “zing.” She appliqued the flowers using fabric from the original t-shirts and fusible webbing and dusted the flowers with glitter paint for sparkle. She then used hems from the original t-shirts to trim the sleeves and bottom hem of the new top.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress

Second Place (746 votes):
Spring Fever Dress
Made by: Vanessa from Punkin Patterns
Vanessa used three different plain fabrics in a dark pink, light pink and green. The appliqued flowers came from a really beautiful border fabric. The applique goes all the way around the dress and the pockets hide where the applique pieces meet giving the fabric the illusion from far away that it is one piece of fabric.
Pattern: The Paper Doll Dress

Third Place (668 votes):
Chicken Nuggets Dress
Made by: Sarah Boyd from 2 Giggle Boxes
The dress was inspired not from chicken nuggets…… but from four pet goldfish that Sarah’s daughter chose to name “chicken nuggets.” Sarah created the fishbowl on the top of the dress using lightweight vinyl PVC. The underwater world was created using applique and fabric painting. The bottom of the dress features imported Japanese fabric sewn into a bubble style.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Halter/Tie-Back Dress

Honorable Mentions:

Best Use of a Girl’s Pattern for a Boy’s Outfit:

“The Church Waders” by Sabra from Sew a Straight Line

Most Creative Use of a Halter Dress Pattern (tie):

“The Heat is On” by Sarah from Up to Date in Kansas City

The Knit Mermaids by Nicole from Cole’s Corner and Creations

Cutest Hair:

Girl Robot Dress by Charlene from Musings of a Mormon Mom

Most Patriotic:

Flag Dress by Lynette from Get Your Craft On

Best Mini-Me:

“Lil Lu and Bitty Baby” by Ashley from Not Just Grannies

Most Attention to the Details:

“Honeycomb Dress” by Nikki Williams

Best Period Piece:

“All Dressed Up” by Kestlyn from the Kestlyn Collection

Most Likely To Be Coveted By Every Little Boy in the World:

“Monster Hoodie” by Lynette from Get Your Craft On



First Prize:
:: Choice of one of the following: 50 Person Tie-Dye Party Kit, Screenprinting Kit, or $50 Dharma Trading Gift Certificate.
:: $25 Lil Blue Boo Etsy Store Gift Certificate.
:: Choice of boy or girl nursery painting from my fine art website.
:: “Challenge Winner” badge to display on blog or website.

Second Prize:

:: $25 Dharma Trading Gift Certificate
:: $25 Lil Blue Boo Etsy Store Gift Certificate

Third Prize
:: $15 Lil Blue Boo Etsy Store Gift Certificate

Click the collage below to view the entire gallery:

Do something nice…..

We have an “orange” fairy: the elderly man who lives behind us and throws bags of oranges over the fence. Boo thinks that someone is “throwing their oranges away in our yard.” Small gesture…..but it took thought and time to pick the oranges, bag them up and toss them over the fence. It made me think: here is our neighbor…….that we’ve NEVER met…….and he is throwing gifts over the fence. No one does things like that anymore!


So we took some girl scout cookies (the only ones left after I got to them)….and Boo painted a picture……


…..and we wrapped them up into a present and took a walk yesterday to give them to him. He looked exactly like Mr. Fredrickson from the movie UP.…..hearing aids and everything….no idea how he gets those oranges over the tall fence, but he tossed another bag over to us today!

Adding Bling – A Tutorial

I love using rhinestones to finish off a design or personalize a custom dress for a customer:


To make your own design you need:
Iron on Rhinestones
Mylar Carrier sheet


Cut your Mylar Carrier sheet slightly larger than your design will be:


Peel off the backing off the Mylar sheet and place it over your design, adhesive side up:
Important: Make sure you have REVERSED your image design….otherwise your design will be backwards when you flip it back over!


Using small tongs or tweezers start placing your rhinestones on the design face down (glue backing is right side up):


I always start adding rhinestones from the outside in so that I end up with a perfect mirror image……


…..so when I add in the final rhinestone it fits perfectly:


Take the Mylar sheet with the rhinestones attached, turn it over and place onto your fabric:


Place a small cloth on top of the Mylar sheet and iron carefully to melt the glue:


Carefully peel off the Mylar sheet. I like to turn my garment inside out and iron it again to make sure all the rhinestones are adhered well:


Be creative…..you can hand drawn any design as well, large or small:


Just make sure you are using low lead crystals if you are adding them to a child’s clothing!


Check out Dharma Trading’s site for a similar tutorial using a more intricate drawn design.

Earthquake Preparedness

Ever since moving to California (and having my daughter) I’ve been earthquake focused. We live only a few miles from the San Andreas Fault Line. This past year I experience my biggest earthquake yet and I remember thinking a jet had just roared past our house……until I saw the waves sloshing out of the pool! All of our large furniture is bolted to the walls and the large TVs are tied down with the little kits you can buy at the hardware store. I have earthquake kits prepared and our entire family has an earthquake plan discussed and thought out. After so many recent large earthquakes in the news I’m re-evaluating our kits today and making sure we are ready if one were to hit southern California. Just thought I’d share my master kit list and some great links I’ve found over the past few years:

Earthquake Master Kit List


Palm Desert Special Earthquake Publication
(Go to this page and click on Earthquake Safety)
Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country (PDF downloads)
Family Emergency Plan (FEMA) (includes download-able forms)
Household and Personal Inventory Book (download-able book)
Make Your Family Safer (collection of articles and tips)

And lastly, this is all over the internet so I’m not even sure who the original author was….it is a list of the first 100 things to disappear in a disaster or panic. Kind of put things into perspective and gives you an idea of how to plan:

Are you Prepared?

LBB & Dharma Trading Design Challenge FINALISTS and Final Vote!

Here they are! The FIFTEEN finalists! There were supposed to be only ten finalists but every entry was so creative into the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Design Challenge that the judges had trouble narrowing it down any further…..so we’ve decided to leave it up to you! So here they are in no particular order! Pick which one you love the best and think is the most creative! Thanks to the judges (Shari, Dana, Disney, Candace and Rae) for all the hard work they did in narrowing the entry field down to 15 from 154 entries!


Voting has ended.

1. Chicken Nuggets Dress: Sarah Boyd from 2 Giggle Boxes
The dress was inspired not from chicken nuggets…… but from four pet goldfish that Sarah’s daughter chose to name “chicken nuggets.” Sarah created the fishbowl on the top of the dress using lightweight vinyl PVC. The underwater world was created using applique and fabric painting. The bottom of the dress features imported Japanese fabric sewn into a bubble style.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Halter/Tie-Back Dress

2. Yeti Dreams of Soup Dress: Beth from Lemon Cadet
Beth used reverse applique to turn one of her yeti t-shirts into the main focus of this dress. She added freehand embroidery starting with the bowl of soup and then adding the dream-like thought bubble.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress

3. Rainbow Ruffle Dress: Shelly from I Like The Way You Do
Shelly went for the “kid land” couture look for her full length “formal” gown. The entire dress is made from 100% recycled t-shirts including the multi-colored straps and tie backs (which were actually hems from shirts, repurposed).
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Halter/Tie-Back Dress

4. Spring Fever Dress: Vanessa from Punkin Patterns
Vanessa used three different plain fabrics in a dark pink, light pink and green. The appliqued flowers came from a really beautiful border fabric. The applique goes all the way around the dress and the pockets hide where the applique pieces meet giving the fabric the illusion from far away that it is one piece of fabric.
Pattern: The Paper Doll Dress

5. B&W Mod Twin Hoodies: Sophia from Chimi and Changa
Sophia used fabric black paint and stencils to add her graphics to the black and white hoodies. She added a little bit of spunk using these neon fabric spray colors…..black and white…simplicity and cool modernism.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Hoodie

6. Airplane Pants and Shirt: Sascha from Piccoli Piselli
Sascha used the Sienna Dress pattern to make a raglan tee for a boy! The outfit was made from a bunch of old T-shirts. She cut two oval elbow patches and saved the pocket from an orange tee to use on the pants.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress, Lil Leggings



7. Kung Hee Fat Choy (Happy New Year) Top: Shannon from Happy Tomodachi

Shannon used red and gold t-shirts: red-good luck, gold-wealth and happiness. She stenciled the character for “Double Happiness” at the top using freezer paper and Jacquard Neopaque fabric paint and added some 3-D gold glitter paint for some subtle “zing.” She appliqued the flowers using fabric from the original t-shirts and fusible webbing and dusted the flowers with glitter paint for sparkle. She then used hems from the original t-shirts to trim the sleeves and bottom hem of the new top.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress


8. Church Waders: Sabra from Sew a Straight Line
Sabra started off with a mens pair of dress slacks that she purchased at a local thrift store. For this pair of overalls she left the main body piece wide and added “manly tucks” instead of gathering. She also carefully cut on one of the back welt pockets from the original pants and appliqued it to the butt of the overalls!
Pattern: The Paper Doll Dress



9. Knit Mermaids: Nicole of Cole’s Corner and Creations

Nicole started with some knits from her stash and some fleshy material used for ice skating costumes. For the bodice, she used Embird to merge the ‘boobie’ parts (seashells and starfish) together into one 5X7 embroidery hoop. Lastly she added bling around the neck, ruffles and fins!
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Halter/Tie-Back Dress

10. Monster Hoodie: Lynette from Get Your Craft On
Lynette appliqued the eyeball on with creepy red veins stitched in the corners. The mouth of the monster doubles as a pocket for little hands. The teeth are painted on with velveteen paint that give them a bit of dimension, using a freezer paper technique. She used the freezer paper technique to add all the hands. The spikes on the head was large Ric Rac sewn into the seam!
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Hoodie



11. Pirate Booty Dress: Karen from Landes in D.C.

Karen used a hand-me down toddler “Pirates of the Caribbean” tee with coordinating soft and scrumptious jersey cut from two Talbots’ tees donated by the model’s grandmother to make this dress. She created the pirate treasure map by drawing free-hand on freezer paper and carefully stenciling it onto the dress. “X marks the spot on this Pirate Booty dress.”
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress



12. Gracyn Dress: Lindsay from The Cottage Home

Lindsay wanted to design something that had a real sweetness to it, but was still somewhat earthy. The Gracyn dress was made from two recycled t-shirts & knit yardage. She added an organic looking bird & tree applique made from a thick bronze metallic fabric. On each sleeve Lindsay added a band of light pink & purple fabric from the recycled t-shirts and left the edges raw.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress

13. Super Girl Hoodie Dress with Removable Cape: Angie from Mama Lusco
Angie embellished this hoodie dress by adding freezer-paper stenciled stripes to the bottom of the cape and a star in the middle of the cape. She used a shiny blue paint to give it super hero style!
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress, Recycled T-Shirt Hoodie

14. Cotton Candy Couture: Alexis from Made by Lex
Alexis used a bunch of different t-shirts to make a striped skirt at the bottom of this dress and added a pick-up where the tulle under layer shows. To get the layered flower detail she appliqued cotton pieces on top of the t-shirt and added dimensional pieces to go on top. There are layered flowers with beads and buttons, chiffon petal flowers, tulle pom poms, and silk ribbon swags. She gathered the sleeves up the middle and added lace bows from on of the t-shirts. A matching hair piece to top it all off!
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Sienna Dress



15. GI Joe (My Hero) Dress: Ashley from The Clarks
This entry a little different……there is no blog post linked because the Ashley created this dress for her daughter to wear in March when she meets her daddy in Germany. He is currently in Afghanistan……he left just before his daughter’s first birthday. He checks Ashley’s blog regularly and she wanted him to be surprised when he sees this dress. She created the dress by lengthening the hoodie pattern and adding a ruffle at the bottom. She used Dylon’s Olive color to tie-dye some white knit fabric to resemble a camouflage color. She added cuffs to the sleeves from the collar of the pink t-shirt and used a freezer paper stenciling technique to add a red, white and blue stripe to the ruffle.
Pattern: Recycled T-Shirt Hoodie



First Prize:
:: Choice of one of the following: 50 Person Tie-Dye Party Kit, Screenprinting Kit, or $50 Dharma Trading Gift Certificate.
:: $25 Lil Blue Boo Etsy Store Gift Certificate.
:: Choice of boy or girl nursery painting from my fine art website.
:: “Challenge Winner” badge to display on blog or website.

Second Prize:

:: $25 Dharma Trading Gift Certificate
:: $25 Lil Blue Boo Etsy Store Gift Certificate

Third Prize
:: $15 Lil Blue Boo Etsy Store Gift Certificate

Click the collage below to view the entire gallery:

Painted Wood Plaques – A Tutorial

 

How to stencil using stickers via lilblueboo.com

 

My sister-in-law’s baby sprinkle was this weekend and I made her two painted plaques for her nursery, a LBB dress, and put everything in this great little bucket as my gift:

One wood plaque I made to hang on a wall or door:

…..and the other to hold hair clippies:

These are great little gifts to make on a budget! For each plaque I started out with an pre-cut wood piece from the craft store:

I sprayed the wood piece pink (the color that I wanted the lettering to be) and let it dry:

Next I used letter stickers (from the scrapbook section of the craft store) to spell my niece’s name “Cari”:

For perfect polka dots I used a hole punch to punch tiny vinyl circles from contact paper (adhesive shelf paper)…….

……..and placed the around the edge of the wood plaque. You could use any scrapbook punch shape as well…I wanted to keep it simple:

The stickers and vinyl dots become “reverse stencils”….

…..and I applied my top coat of white spray paint over them:

Once the top coat of spray paint was dry, I carefully peeled off the stickers and dots:

For the “clippie” plaque I took leftover fabric from the nursery rocker reupholstering (so it would match my niece’s nursery perfectly) and folded it in half tucking the ends under:

Then I top stitched around the edges of the fabric:

I attached some hanging hardware……

…..and used two tiny screws to attach the fabric piece to the back (I ran out of staples or I would have used my staple gun):

A finished personalized clippie holder….much better than the generic ribbon hanger I got free with all of my clippies!

For the second plaque I just drilled two holes at the top…….

…..and added wire ribbon to hang:

I signed the back of the plaques with “Aunt” Ashley:

Finally, I made an itty bitty Lil Blue Boo dress….

…..and added everything to a pink metal bucket:

Wedding Part VI: The Final Post

Remember all those posts leading up to my sister’s wedding?

Wedding Part I:
Making the ring pillow, starting the flower girl dress
Wedding Part II: My grandfather’s book, my wedding, heirlooms, THE phone call
Wedding Part III: Sewing the rehearsal dresses, engagement photo shoot preview
Wedding Part IV: Finishing the flower girl dress, more engagement photos
Wedding Part V: Handmade jewelry, gift and favor bags, flip-flops and golf tees, fast food

Well, I finally have the photos from my sister’s wedding! Ash Little did an amazing job (check out his commentary on his blog here). The ceremony and reception took place at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, NC where we grew up playing golf, swimming and celebrating every holiday and birthday. My favorite photo from the wedding……Perry swinging Boo around on the dance floor:

Before the Ceremony

Boo getting her hair done at Carmen Carmen. See the ballet dancers from the Nutcracker in the background? They entertained her the whole time!


She won’t even let me brush her hair….but she sat perfectly still to get her “flower girl” look!


Perry’s dress was SO beautiful…..and tiny……I probably could have fit ONE leg in it:


Attaching the veil:


Justin’s sister Jenny clasping the bracelet she made Perry:


Putting on Sienna’s jewelry that Jenny made:


Hide and seek:


Watching all the guests arrive:


Almost time to walk down the aisle!


Meanwhile the guys were getting ready:


Here is Justin’s dad entertaining the groomsmen with one of his card tricks:


Justin and the guys playing pool before the wedding:

The Ceremony

Sienna walked with me down the aisle….carrying pretzels in her basket:


One of my favorite photos:


Instead of walking up the aisle…..my dad brought Perry from the front and over the putting green (where my sister started golfing at the age of 3). Here he is reaching into his pocket for a golf ball which he rolled across the green…..it almost went in:


My dad is a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews…..and one day wants his ashes walked over the Swilcan Bridge and thrown into the Road Hole Bunker…..bagpipes were required:


The vows:

The Reception

Mr. Lil Blue Boo and Boo sharing a father/daughter dance:


Boo danced the entire night as the center of attention:


Perry and Justin sharing a moment:


If you’ve never met us all….then you might not know that everyone in our family is a ham:


My sister and I are the loudest and craziest:


….and we like to drag everyone into our fun:


My dad started the train:


Perry and my dad surprised everyone by singing Rocky Top:


My brother doing the robot to Rocky Top….he’s quite the comedian:

The Details

Perry, Justin, my mother and Tim Bagwell (the family interior designer) did an amazing job putting everything together. They did everything themselves…..from putting together the centerpieces and flowers, to printing all the paper goods etc.


All the tall centerpieces were made using branches spray painted gold. Tea lights and flowers were added.




The “sweet” table: Perry spray painted different hat boxes she picked up at discount stores a robin’s egg blue and collected jars and bowls of different heights and styles.




Favor bags for the cookies and candy….decorated with the wedding logo (Emily Ley Paper designed the wedding monogram and my sister used it to print up all her labels, programs, etc):

The End of the Night


Telling my sister what to expect on her wedding night….LOL!!!


And they live happily ever after!