If vanities could talk…..

When my grandparents passed away a few years ago, I inherited my grandmother’s beautiful mahogany vanity. I use it for 2 years and then when we moved out west I gave it to my sister. My sister was the first to remove the drawers in say, FOREVER, because she found these playing cards stuffed in the back (click them to view larger):
If vanities could talk via lilblueboo.com
They are a little tattered but of course I love them even more because of their age. I printed them out on iron-on transfer paper for a few projects….here is the queen of hearts made into a patch applique for a little knit dress.

If vanities could talk 2 via lilblueboo.com
You can find my tutorial on making the patches here.

If vanities could talk 3 via lilblueboo.com

Feel free to use the graphics if you like…just save them to your computer. I think the “pinup” gals would look cute on a t-shirt or even on a little coin purse.

So You Think You’re Crafty? Week 5

I made it through to the 5th week! This week’s challenge is “snow.” 6 crafters and 6 challenges remaining! Please go over and vote on your favorite “snow” craft….can you guess which submission is mine?

So You Think You're Crafty? Week 5 via lilblueboo.com

milyA Memorable Christmas Gift

Are you struggling for a gift idea for your parents or grandparents or brothers and sisters? My brother, sister and I collaborated on this book last year for our parents. My mother takes it everywhere with her and even reads it to my dad on road trips. When I was back at my sister’s wedding I photographed a few pages of it (sorry the photo quality isn’t that great)…..my mom showed me the tear drops she had left on the pages.
All three of us wrote a letter to my parents about how much we appreciated them and with it included a few pages of our most vivid memories of children. It was so amazing reading each other’s memories as well. Some were good, some bad and most hilarious. We each ended up with about 10 full pages of memories….the book is about 50 pages.
I printed the pages out on cardstock and added in photos here and there. The front page was a photo of my parents on their wedding day and I covered it with a piece of vellum with a letter of introduction on it. I took the book to Kinko’s and had them spiral bind it and add a clear vinyl cover and sturdy back to it.
A Memorable Christmas Gift via lilblueboo.com
The memory portions were sometimes as stories and sometimes as lists. I even put some sad things in like when my grandmother died and my parents forgot to tell me until they asked me to get dressed for the funeral….long story.
A Memorable Christmas Gift 2 via lilblueboo.com
Memories of the restaurant we used to eat at a few times a week and how I used to trick my parents into thinking I was sick so I could stay with my grandmother and watch the Twilight Zone instead of going to church:
A Memorable Christmas Gift 3 via lilblueboo.com
My brother is hilarious and made his entire memory section resemble a computer accessing data from a hard drive:
A Memorable Christmas Gift 4 via lilblueboo.com
The last section of the book was a compilation of memories and photos from the last big family trip we took to Ireland/Scotland/England in 1997. My husband and I had just started dating and I wrote him between 2-3 postcards a day to keep myself sane….he kept them and I typed them all up with exactly what we did each day. I was really bratty at the time and we drove the entire perimeter of Ireland in a mini van so there were some funny stories.
A Memorable Christmas Gift 5 via lilblueboo.com
I think this book was even more special to my brother and sister and I because it became almost a mini-memoir of our childhood. It was nothing fancy and very simple.
Another idea for grandparents (and yourself) is a yearly compilation of a child’s artwork, photos and memories. I’ve made one the past two years and of course I’ll make one this year. I use the Mac iPhoto software but it you don’t have a Mac check out my other post and it has some other links to similar products.
Below are some excerpts from the 2008 book. I couldn’t post the whole thing because it was just too large a file. I hope it will give you some ideas for your own book. I included excerpts from my journals as a narrative.
I can’t believe how little she was just not long ago….she doesn’t even look like the same child! If you have trouble viewing the book click the link below:
Excerpts From Sienna 2008 Book






Snowdrift Dress – Tutorial

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial via lilblueboo.com
This was runner up for my submission for this coming week’s snow theme over at SYTYC. I made two “crafts” but this was the one that didn’t quite make the Lil Blue Boo cut so here it is! You can use this technique to make any print you like….I just chose snowflakes because of the holiday season! Use it on t-shirts or pants too! A very simple reverse freezer paper stencil technique:

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial 2 via lilblueboo.com

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial 3 via lilblueboo.com

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial 4 via lilblueboo.com
Materials needed:
Solid color fabric (white or another light color works best)
Dyn-A-Flow Silk Paint* (I only needed a 2.25 oz jar)
Spray bottle
Freezer paper
Scrapbook Punch

*Not typically available at your local craft supply store….I got mine from Dharma Trading.

Step 1: Cut out the pieces of your clothing pattern.

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial step 1 via lilblueboo.com
Step 2: Cut your shapes from freezer paper using a scrapbook punch.

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial step 2 via lilblueboo.com
Step 3:
Starting at the bottom of your pattern pieces start to iron on each shape (or snowflake in this example). I overlapped the pieces to resemble accumulating snow at the bottom.

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial step 3 via lilblueboo.com

Step 4: Mix your Dyn-A-Flow Silk Paint into a spray bottle: 1 part water to 1 part paint. I did the entire dress with one small jar of paint. This paint is really thin but strong (resembles a dye)….which leaves your fabric really soft unlike other paints.

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial step 4 via lilblueboo.com
Step 4: Lay out your fabric on a protective covering and lightly spray the entire surface. Do not spray too much or the dye will seep under the freezer paper shapes.

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial step 4a via lilblueboo.com

Step 5: As each layer dries, spray another layer……continue until you reach the desired color and coverage.

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial step 5 via lilblueboo.com
Step 6: Press each pattern piece with a hot iron to set the dye. You can wash your pieces before sewing if you prefer.

Snowdrift Dress - Tutorial step 6 via lilblueboo.com

Finished! Boring old white fabric made into a vibrant custom print! Click here to see other projects and tutorials with freezer paper stenciling.

Screen Printing 101 – Photo Emulsion Tutorial

How to screen print 101 with emulsion via lilblueboo.com

This is a new little Matroyska screen print that I designed for some dresses. I just love her! I took some photos of the process I used because I think it is so easy and efficient and I know you all would love doing it. This would be a great way to make Christmas presents for the whole family! I’m making t-shirts for gifts! Also many of you often ask me where I get the cute t-shirts I use for dresses….I often make them and you can too….

How to silk screen 101 with emulsion 2 via lilblueboo.com
I used this Speedball Screenprinting kit from Dharma Trading which included almost everything I needed. There are several methods included in the kit: screen filler method, drawing fluid method, and photo emulsion.

How to silk screen 101 speedball screenprinting kit via lilblueboo.com
The photo emulsion method usually scares people off but it produces the most amazing results because you can do such detailed images (thin lines, small text, etc.). I’ve tried to break it down here into the most basic of steps and without the fancy lingo:

Just a quick simple explanation of how the the photo emulsion process works: Basically I think of it as film. You use light to expose an image onto the screen to make a stencil. The photo emulsion hardens where light hits it and will wash away where light doesn’t hit it (leaving an image behind). Note: I use natural sunlight for my light source. It is best to wait until the sun is high in the sky (i.e. around noon).

The only other materials you’ll need (besides the kit) are:
:: A piece of glass the size of your screen (I bought an 11″ x 14″ frame glass from the craft store)
:: 4 pushpins
:: A piece of black fabric
:: Screenprinting ink (if you want colors other than the ones included in the kit)
:: A sturdy board or piece of cardboard/foamboard

Step 1: Creating an Image
I designed my little Matryoshka doll in Powerpoint of all things (I don’t have a graphics program) using basic shapes and dingbat fonts….just overlapping white and black shapes. I’ve included a few images at the bottom of the post and I’ll be designing a few more just for you over the next few weeks.

Step 2: Printing A Transparency
Print 2-3 copies of your image to a transparency. I don’t have the best printer so I save my image to a disk and take it to Kinko’s and have them print the transparency for me…..the transparencies run about 75 cents a piece…..they are also much crisper printed from a commercial laser printer! Stack each of the transparencies on top of each other to create a complete “blackout” of the image….I use a little tape on the corners to keep them together.

How to silk screen 101 - transparencies -  via lilblueboo.com
Step 3: Mixing the Photo Emulsion

The kit has a large bottle of photo emulsion and a small bottle of sensitizer. Follow the directions but basically you add water to the sensitizer and mix it up. This process is a little tedious because the residue in the bottle is coagulated at the bottom….I used a small clean paint brush to mix it so I could “swish” the residue off the bottom.

How to silk screen 101 - photo emulsion -  via lilblueboo.com
Mix the sensitizer (black liquid) into the photo emulsion bottle (bluish liquid) until the mixed liquid becomes a slime green color:

How to silk screen 101 - mixing sensitizer -  via lilblueboo.com
Step 4: Prepare the Screen
The bottom of your screen is the non-recessed part (i.e. the screen is flush with the bottom of the frame). Turn your screen so the bottom part is facing up and insert a pushpin into each corner. This will help with the next step of spreading the emulsion (and provide little “legs” for your screen to sit on while it dries).

How to silk screen 101 - tacks -  via lilblueboo.com
Step 5: Applying Photo Emulsion to the Screen
You will want to do this step in a fairly dim room since the photo emulsion reacts to light. Spread a small amount of the photo emulsion on one side of the screen bottom……

How to screen print 101 - emulsion -  via lilblueboo.com
…..and use the squeegee from your kit to spread a thin layer of the emulsion across the screen. Flip the screen over and repeat on the other side…..

How to screen print 101 - applying emulsion -  via lilblueboo.com
….and keep spreading and flipping until you have a thin even layer across the entire screen.

How to screen print 101 - squeegee -  via lilblueboo.com
Place your finished screen right side up (the pushpins will serve as little legs) in a cool dark place for a few hours or overnight to let it dry. I carefully placed mine back in the original box bottom to protect it.

Step 5
: Preparing the Screen for Exposure
Once your screen is dry you are ready for the “exposure” part. As soon as you are ready to go (with no distractions), take your screen out of its cool dark place (but still in a dim area) and remove the pushpins. Assemble what I call the “screen sandwich” which is a sturdy piece of cardboard (so you can carry the screen into the sun easily), followed by a piece of black fabric to reduce reflection, the prepared wood screen (bottom side up), the transparencies (face down), and finally a piece of glass to hold your image in place against the screen.

How to screen print 101 - screen sandwich -  via lilblueboo.com

Step 6: Exposing the Screen

Note: I use natural sunlight for my light source. It is best to wait until the sun is high in the sky (i.e. around noon) so the light is direct. See the bottom of the post for links using artificial light.

Cover your “screen sandwich” with a piece of cardboard or paper and carefully carry it outside into the direct sunlight. This is the tricky part because if you expose the screen for too long it will burn the image into place and it won’t wash away…..and if you don’t expose it long enough areas of the image might wash away. Here is how I gauge the exposure: the emulsion is a slime green color and as it exposes it begins to turn to a dark gray/green. Once you see it darken considerably it has been exposed….it should only take 2-3 minutes depending on how strong the sun it. If it is overcast it may take a few more minutes.

Carry the “screen sandwich” back inside quickly and remove the glass and transparency and take the screen directly to the sink. Your image should still be a slime green color and the rest of the screen will be the dark gray/green.

How to screen print 101 - exposing screen -  via lilblueboo.com

Step 7:
Washing the Screen
Using a sprayer or hose apply a forceful stream of water to the screen. After a few
minutes the screen will start to open up and the image areas will start washing away leaving your “stencil.” If the areas do not wash away you may have overexposed the screen….and you will need to use the “emulsion remover” from the kit to clean the screen and start the process over……exposing it for much less time.

How to screen print 101 - washing out screen -  via lilblueboo.com

Step 8:
Hold your dry screen up to the light to see if there are any holes……and use the screen filler included in your kit to touch them up. Use painting tape to cover all the inside edges of your screen to prevent any ink from leaking through.

How to screen print 101 - finished screen -  via lilblueboo.com
Cover your work area and get your ink and squeegee ready.

How to screen print 101 - ink -  via lilblueboo.com
Place your screen flat onto the fabric that you are preparing to print (if it is a t-shirt make sure to place a piece of cardboard inside to prevent ink from soaking to the other side). Apply a small glob of ink at the top of side of the image…..

How to screen print 101 - ink well -  via lilblueboo.com
….and pull the ink down the screen with the squeegee. You might have missed some areas so I like to go over it a few times carefully. Do a test run to get the hang of it before printing on your nice t-shirt!

How to screen print 101 - pulling -  via lilblueboo.com
Carefully remove the screen and admire your image!

How to screen print 101 - print -  via lilblueboo.com

Step 9: Heat Setting the Ink
Allow the image to dry and then heat set according to your ink directions (usually just ironing on a high setting for several minutes).

How to screen print 101 - heat set -  via lilblueboo.com
Feel free to email me with questions!

Here are some other links you might find useful:
How to use artificial light for exposure (instead of sunlight)
Excerpts from the Kit Manual

Tutorial Sneak Peek

Not ready yet, but it will be tonight or tomorrow! So I thought I’d give you a sneak peek! Perfect for making multiple Christmas presents! If you want to go ahead and order the materials so you are ready to go…..here is what you’ll need:

:: Speedball Screenprinting kit
:: A piece of glass the size of your screen (I bought an 11″ x 14″ frame glass from the craft store)
:: 4 pushpins
:: A piece of black fabric
:: Screenprinting ink (if you want colors other than the ones included in the kit)

Tutorial Sneak Peek via lilblueboo.com

Tutorial Sneak Peek 2 via lilblueboo.com

Tutorial Sneak Peek 3 via lilblueboo.com

Aren’t they cute?!

Linen Snow White (Updated)

Do you have a fabric that you leave untouched just because you can’t bear to cut it? That was this Snow White themed linen I bought from Lisa at This and That from Japan (check out her linen themed fabrics….bananas). I love it so much I just wanted to keep it on the shelf to look at….but I made myself cut it last night. I made this cute little Snow White skirt and matching shirt for Sienna.

Linen Snow White (Updated) via lilblueboo.com
I love the magenta and green colors of the Snow White theme on this linen. It might be my favorite fabric ever.

Linen Snow White 2 (Updated) via lilblueboo.com
The skirt has some dainty lace on the underside so it peeks out just enough.

Update: The skirt was made using Jona’s Evelyn Skirt Pattern (which is my favorite skirt pattern ever)…..I just left off the contrasting band because I couldn’t find any other fabric that was nice enough to pair with the linen!

Linen Snow White 3 (Updated) via lilblueboo.com
The shirt was made using a freezer paper stencil and applique using the same techniques I used for the Tinkerbell skirt I made here. The tiny linen leaves and the Snow White are applique and the tree was hand stenciled using these fabric paints.

Linen Snow White 4 (Updated) via lilblueboo.com

Modern Bustle Skirt

This was my entry last week into the SYTYC contest. Once again I was totally upstaged by my friend Dana over at Made who also did a skirt. She is WAY too talented. My entry was the Ruffle Bustle Skirt. I’m thinking of making this one of my new patterns after the holidays. It would be really cute with some different knit fabrics.

Modern Bustle Skirt via lilblueboo.com
I used pieces of old t-shirts to create a modern Victorian bustle underneath the back of this knit skirt. The result is a ruffled, flirty full skirt that every little girl would love to wear!

Modern Bustle Skirt 2 via lilblueboo.com

If you are wondering……the theme last week was “Turkey.” The colors (maroon, red, purple, brown, charcoal/white stripes) and angles of the ruffled t-shirt pieces were inspired by a plume of turkey feathers.

Modern Bustle Skirt 3 via lilblueboo.com
Sienna tested the skirt at our local playground and it was a huge hit…..

Modern Bustle Skirt 4 via lilblueboo.com
…..especially when it was discovered that the full bustle creates a padded “seat” for the swings and slides!

Modern Bustle Skirt 5 via lilblueboo.com
The SYTYC Contest is on a break this week. I’ve survived last week so I’ll let you know when the new entries are up this next week!

Christmas Dresses

I’ve been sewing up a few Christmas dresses for my Lil Blue Boo etsy shop. I tend to sew mostly 3T/4T for one reason…..sometimes I secretly hope they don’t sell so Sienna can wear them for the Christmas holiday (don’t tell my husband)! I think the “I’m not short I’m elf size” is the cutest t-shirt find ever…..it was an adult size but much cuter for kiddos! If you are looking for other dress sizes make sure to let me know!

Christmas Dresses via lilblueboo.com
Christmas Dresses Grinch via lilblueboo.com
Christmas Dresses elf via lilblueboo.com
Christmas Dresses joy via lilblueboo.com
Christmas Dresses woodstock via lilblueboo.com
Not much else to share right now….I’m working on a few projects and tutorials for next week so stay tuned! Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Christmas Dresses Boo Grinch via lilblueboo.com

Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial

Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial via lilblueboo.com


These are the little wallet/clutches I made for the SYTYC Contest for the theme “Green.” I was going to wait until after Thanksgiving to post the tutorial, but I had so many requests that I thought I’d do it early. Maybe you want to stay in on Black Friday and make some handmade presents for Christmas instead of shopping!


Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial 2 via lilblueboo.com
I made the wallets using leftover ribbon scraps that are too small to use for anything else (except maybe for a scrap ribbon camera strap or a scrap ribbon belt) and a basic applique technique.


Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial 3 via lilblueboo.com
The wallets have a clear vinyl ID/photo wallet and three pockets for cash and credit cards.


Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial 4 via lilblueboo.com
They are so interesting when folded out!


Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial 5 via lilblueboo.com
I made one of the wallets for Sienna’s teacher and one for Sienna (with the little princess button/ribbon flower on the front). She keeps her little pet shop puppies in it now….she doesn’t have any money….not even sure if she knows what money is yet.


Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial 6 via lilblueboo.com
Materials needed:
Scrap ribbon
Wonder Under or fusible web (I used the kind without backing)
Muslin fabric for the base of the outside
Fabric for the inside lining
Magnetic clasp
Optional: clear vinyl PVC (for the ID pocket)

Note: All the dimensions in this tutorial are for the wallet size. You will have to adjust them for the clutch size.

Step 1: Cut a 5″ x 11″ piece of muslin and a 5″ x 11″ piece of Wonder Under.

Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 1 via lilblueboo.com
Step 2: Place the Wonder Under on top of the muslin and begin layering your scrap ribbon pieces on top until the Wonder Under is completely covered. Try to overlap all ends of the ribbon with other pieces of ribbon. As you get sections completed, place a piece of parchment paper over the ribbons (use parchment paper if there is printed design on the ribbons) and apply heat with an iron to fuse the Wonder Under. You may need to cut several small pieces of the Wonder Under and place it under pieces of ribbon that do not come into contact with the fusible web.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 2 via lilblueboo.com
Step 3: Once all of your ribbon has been fused to the muslin, trim off the excess around edges….



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 3 via lilblueboo.com
……so you end up with a nice 5″ x 11″ piece.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 3a via lilblueboo.com
Step 4: Carefully sew all your exposed ribbon edges to the muslin….this doesn’t have to be exact. There were areas where I just sewed directly across the piece instead of following a ribbon edge….it just depends on the look you want.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 4 via lilblueboo.com
Step 5: Cut your 5″ x 11″ piece into 3 smaller pieces: one measuring 3″ x 5″ and two measuring 4″ x 5″…..



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 5 via lilblueboo.com
….and sew around the edges of each piece to keep all the ribbon secured.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 5a via lilblueboo.com
Step 6: Cut fabric pieces for your inside lining: one measuring 3″ x 5″ and two measuring 4″ x 5″. You will also need to cut a 3″ x 5″ piece of fabric or clear PVC vinyl for the inside pocket.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 6 via lilblueboo.com

Step 7
Creating your ID pocket piece: Take a piece of ribbon and fold it in half over the 3″ x 5″ PVC piece. Sew along the ribbon edge.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 7 via lilblueboo.com
Take one of your 3″ x 5″ ribbon quilt pieces and add one side of your magnetic clasp.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 7a via lilblueboo.com
Sandwich your ribbon quilt piece with the magnetic clasp and a 3″ x 5″ piece of lining wrong sides together. Add your PVC piece on top of the two and sew the bottom edge.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 7b via lilblueboo.com
Step 8 Creating your middle pocket piece: Cut three pieces of fabric 4″ x 2″ and then cut a slight slant to each as shown below.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 8 via lilblueboo.com
Take a piece of ribbon and fold it in half over the slanted edge of each piece (the same as you did with the PVC pocket. Sew along the ribbon edges. Place your top pocket in position first and sew along the bottom.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 8a via lilblueboo.com
Then sew your middle on and then the bottom pocket on as well.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 8b via lilblueboo.com
Step 9
Creating the top piece: Take your 3″ x 5″ piece of ribbon quilt and a 3″ x 5″ piece of lining and place them wrong sides together. Make sure to add your magnetic clasp first to the lining side. Sew around the edges to secure the two pieces together.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 9 via lilblueboo.com
Step 10: Lay out your three pieces as shown….



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 10 via lilblueboo.com
…..and find a piece of ribbon wide enough to cover where the pieces will connect but leaving a 1/4″ gap in between.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 10a via lilblueboo.com
Step 11:
Fold your ribbon over the gap….



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 11 via lilblueboo.com
…..I used seam tape to secure (or you can use small pieces of Wonder Under)…..



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 11a via lilblueboo.com
…..and sew both up both sides of the ribbon…..connecting the two pieces of the wallet.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 11b via lilblueboo.com
Step 12: Repeat to connec the last two piece of the wallet. Use bias tape or ribbon to cover the outside edges of the wallet…..



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 12 via lilblueboo.com
…..and now all seams should be covered!



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 12a via lilblueboo.com
Now you can add embellishments to the front of the wallet if you like. For the brown/green wallet I added little flowers made from scrap ribbons, a plain button decorated with thread, a small ribbon “fan” covered with a gold/pearl button, and a ribbon badge with a matching fabric covered button.


Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 12b via lilblueboo.com

Optional: Add a personalized label

I added the little ribbon label inside that reads “Handmade especially for Mrs. Patty. Much love, Sienna” to make the wallet a little more special.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 12c via lilblueboo.com
I printed the label on iron on transfer paper, adhere it to a scrap ribbon, and sewed it onto the lining before sewing the piece together in step 9.



Scrap Ribbon Wallet/Clutch Tutorial step 12d via lilblueboo.com

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