Picking Up the (Apple) Pencil Again

I've struggled in the past to bond with truly digital tools such as the iPad and Apple Pencil. There's nothing like the feel and connection I get with an actual pencil and paper. This week though, we've had company at our house and I decided to give these digital tools another chance out of necessity. While I did cheat in that my original sketches were in pencil and scanned in, I worked over them in Procreate with the Apple Pencil. I had fun downloading new brushes and making a color palette. I've only briefly used the program before on a couple of occasions but never felt compelled to try them more. I'm glad I tried again because it was fun to use!

The reason behind these sketches is I'm taking another Make Art that Sells Bootcamp online class. I do enjoy the creative vibes and friendly community within the group. These sketches were for the initial mini and involved drawing items inside our bags/purses.


I've been carrying around Baker Creek's most recent catalog. The photography is beautiful and it's a treasure trove of unique heirloom seeds. I recommend checking them out for all of your seed needs for planting.


The holidays are coming

I'm amazed November is nearly over! This past week, I decided to wrap up some ornament patterns that were nearly finished. Recently, I purchased some printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy. I printed my stitching guides onto it (the guides will be included in the pattern ebook) and started using it today and love it! I'm so happy a product like this exists! While tracing onto dissolvable stabilizer is easy enough, I can work even quicker this way. Plus, I don't have to pin the small pieces of felt down!


The stabilizer peels away easily from the paper backing and there's a lightly sticky (but repositionable) back to it.


I layered up my felt pieces onto the stabilizer in reverse order. My printed lines showed me where to place the felt pieces and the sticky surface held them in place.


After the mitten is flipped over, you can see all of the felt layers held nicely in place. All I need to do is stitch on the lines with embroidery floss and finish putting it all together.

In other news, a bundle I opted in to join a couple of months back is now live at Ultimate Bundles. I packaged three ornament ebooks together (the Nordic set, the lumberjack set, and the retro set) and gave it a new spiffy cover for the Handmade with Love 2017 bundle.

I was able to download and look at all the materials in the bundle, and I have to say it's such a great deal as you get quite a large amount of patterns, projects, and step-by-step tutorials (over 200!) in a lot of topics like quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc. In the past, I've purchased the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle, Ultimate Homemaking Ebook Collection, and the Ultimate Photography Bundle. Sometimes they have a free Craftsy class included in the bundles and this time they do again. The bundle only sells for a week though, until Monday, December 4th. These are just a few of the many ebooks and ecourses included.*

On a side note, you can still find my fabric collections, Mouse Camp and Nursery Rhymes, in quilt shops or online.


*Please note that the links for the Handmade with Love Bundle is an affiliate link. I don't actually make any money on my bundle ebook unless someone uses this link. But seriously, bundles are a great way to get lots of goodies in a very affordable way and this one contains great resources for making gifts for friends, family, or yourself.

Oh, and one more important thing... if you are a designer, illustrator, or artist (even a budding one) Sabina at Design Garden is offering her Winter Trends class again and it starts today. I signed up and the material looks fantastic just from looking at week 1!

I'll probably post with an update when my newest ornament pattern set will be available, but if you don't check back here in the near future, happy holidays!


I thought it might be fun to hang an ax on antlers and why not throw a random sock and hat on there as well?

The above was my finished set of ornaments, as well as the image for the etsy pattern for the ornaments on etsy.

Mouse Camp in Stores Now

I'm posting today because I wanted to share that my Mouse Camp collection with Windham Fabrics is available in stores and online.

A lovely photo from Hawthorne Threads (they have the entire line for sale on their site).

A lovely photo from Hawthorne Threads (they have the entire line for sale on their site).

Tick Tock

I'm listening to Catching Fire, the second book of the Hunger Games series (which I've read twice and listened to twice), and I'm at the part where Wiress keeps repeating, "Tick Tock" to the other tributes in the games. I don't know about you, but I love to listen to books while I work.

I found it relaxing to do my drawings in fountain pen and ink and cut out some tissue bits and made watercolor blobs.

Global Talent Search Results

It's quite surreal that I find myself writing that I've made it into the next round for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. I was up late last night and I couldn't resist peeking over at Lilla's blog, wondering whether the winners were posted yet. I wasn't thinking at all that my piece would be on there, and when I quickly scrolled through, I didn't see it. I took some breaths and felt sad a bit, but knew that it was OK and went to the top to look through the amazing illustrations more slowly.

Needless to say, I was shocked, humbled, and grateful that Lilla and her team saw something in my work they liked and chose to move me forward to the next round.

Enjoy looking at all the winners here and all of the beautiful submissions in the gallery here.

Blog Hop With a Difference (and Global Talent Search)

My fabulous new artsy friend, Kate Mason, with whom I share a love for online art courses, such as Lilla Rogers Make Art that Sells, tagged me to take part in a Blog Hop With A Difference, where fellow creatives share their creative process.

What am I working on right now?

1. Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search

Close-up of a tiny preview of my submission. Quite a 180 from last year's, which you can see below.

Close-up of a tiny preview of my submission. Quite a 180 from last year's, which you can see below.

I just finished up creating and submitting a wall art piece with the theme of little terrariums for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. As I’ve been exploring working in traditional media lately, I was driven to go handmade this year rather than the vector concept I did last year. I loved my playground journal from last year, and I still love vector design, but I enjoy working with this ink, collage, and watercolor style as well. Last year, I wouldn't have had the nerve to try something like this. Lately, I see these opportunities as a time to experiment. The chances of winning a competition like this are so slim to none, that it's best to simply enjoy the process. I've included sketches and bits from my creative process for the project below.

Sketch for last year's Global Talent Search

Sketch for last year's Global Talent Search

Sketch for last year's Global Talent Search

Sketch for last year's Global Talent Search

Sketch for last year's Global Talent Search

Sketch for last year's Global Talent Search

Last year's concept for the Global Talent Search.

Last year's concept for the Global Talent Search.

Sketch I developed for illustration below

Sketch I developed for illustration below

A piece I did based on the second round of the Global Talent Search project (which I wasn't a part of, but still wanted to participate in in my own way).

A piece I did based on the second round of the Global Talent Search project (which I wasn't a part of, but still wanted to participate in in my own way).

2. Felt Christmas ornament patterns based on Christmas cards I did for Make Art That Sells: Part B

3. Collections for licensing

4. My first fabric collection for Windham Fabrics will be in stores October 1st, and I’m so excited to get my hands on it.

Sketches for this year's Global Talent Search submission

Sketches for this year's Global Talent Search submission

How long does it take to create a project?

Since I spend a goodly amount of time with my kids during the day, I work at night. During intensive projects, I might put a late hour in here or there, but I don’t do that too often. I love working on creative projects, but I also find it necessary to daydream and pursue all sorts of interests that pop up.

I’m not sure how to define in hours how long it takes me to work on something. I work fast, but since having kids, I work in little clumps. (Lilla talks about managing time wisely and working in clumps in the Make Art That Sells A & B classes.) Mostly it depends on deadlines, which I enjoy, even if sometimes they cause a little cursing. Having a deadline and knowing someone is counting on me means it’s going to get done. Somehow during my MATS classes, I found time to get projects done. I could snag an hour while the kids played to get all the watercolors and inks done and then at night assemble it. For years, I didn’t believe I could work in the evenings and be with my kids during the day. After practice and doing intensive projects, somehow, miraculously, I found I could juggle both. The key seems to be about narrowing down tasks and focusing more. More time does not always mean more productivity. I make do with less or take time where I can wrestle it away from something else.

Sketches for this year's Global Talent Search submission.

Sketches for this year's Global Talent Search submission.

What are my fave things I love to create with at the moment?

My mom and step-father brought back a beautiful twisted glass fountain pen and ink from Italy some years ago. Only in the past several months have I tried it out. The ink is sepia (with a touch of violet) in color and translucent. I love how it bleeds and looks aged. Also, I’ve been using just one color of my mom’s watercolors from when she went to art school, Payne’s Gray. The gray is actually a deep blue, or a moody ocean blue. I enjoy working in a monochromatic fashion and then later adding color in Photoshop. The process allows me great flexibility and a client or whoever can tweak things easily later.

My favorite pen (black and white twisted glass) and ink (tiny bottle with wax-covered top)

My favorite pen (black and white twisted glass) and ink (tiny bottle with wax-covered top)

How does my creative process work?

My process seems to vary depending on the style and project. Initially, it starts with understanding the project and the customer. Then, I have fun with jotting down words first, and any ideas and brainstorming that might occur to me. Next, the research. I look for images that support my ideas. It could be colors that feel right for the project, an image that reflects the mood, something that represents a specific design period, and especially related subject matter to use for sketching. Then I sketch my ideas and composition thumbnails. When I work in vector in Illustrator, I like to have everything sketched out so I can concentrate on executing the concept rather than filling in any blanks as I go along.

Recently, I’ve deviated a bit in my process when I do the watercolor, ink, and collage style, as I did for some MATS projects and the Global Talent Search concept. Like in Lilla’s mini projects, I draw all sorts of things and later see what resonates with me. If I like an ink sketch, I might pull out my light tablet and on a new sheet of paper over my sketch, I’ll make a paper collage or watercolor. Later, I combine the pieces in Photoshop.

How do I become inspired and stay inspired?

Some wreath sketches I made inspired by Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

Some wreath sketches I made inspired by Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

Often, I’m inspired by what I want to learn about. If I want to learn more about a subject matter or design period, I can’t help but explore it in illustration or design. Also, I have to give credit to all the amazing classes I’ve taken for the past year and a bit. It all started last year with Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells course and Design Garden's Trends and Vector Graphics classes. They've been life-changing for me and have given me hope that I can do what I love and also enjoy my family life at the same time. I don't have to sacrifice one for the other.

Next week, I'll post my final piece for the Global Talent Search with the link for all the wonderful (999!) wall art submissions for the contest.

If you are so inclined, please join in on this Blog Hop With a Difference! Give a shout out to me if you decide to play along. I can't wait to see your creative process and learn about what moves you to create!

A moment of zen

This month wrapped up the very last assignment for Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells Bootcamp class. We were tasked with creating a piece of art concerning our favorite beverage. There were no restrictions on size, style, medium, or market. The only request was that we make something we would want for ourselves or to give to a friend. My beverage of choice was tea. Every morning, I like to start my day with tea.


Looking back over the past several months, I've noticed that I've stepped away from doing strictly vector art. I know this has been a direct result of taking the Make Art That Sells courses and experimenting with getting my hands dirty with ink, watercolor, and such. I've quite enjoyed taking a vacation from working over my pencil sketches with Adobe Illustrator's pen tool.

I enjoyed this month's assignment so much, I made a series of illustrations of various types of teas. Oh, what will I do now that Bootcamp is over? Actually, I'm signed up for another round of Make Art That Sells in the Fall; it doesn't have to end! Plus, yesterday, I registered for Lilla's Global Talent Search as well. If you're an artist, won't you join me? There's still a little time to enter.

Make Art That Sells Bootcamp: June

Yet another month has gone by, and I'm happy to write that I enjoyed working on another bootcamp assignment. The mini was all things nautical, especially ships in a bottle, and whales, and the final assignment was for wall art.

I was drawn to the idea of a sailor at night, perhaps dreaming and thinking of home, but enjoying the stars and the sky and the waves. It makes me wonder where a sailor feels most at home: at sea or on shore at home? In the end, I submitted the eyes open version to the gallery, but my favorite is the eyes closed version. I can't wait to be working on a collection of these.

I combined ink, watercolor, public domain textures (Japanese fabric, bookcovers, and wood), as well as a scanned wood canvas background I made.

Make Art That Sells: May Bootcamp

May's assignment from Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells Bootcamp this month was an editorial illustration for an article on meditation. The mini on the other hand was all about drawing dolls, even Lilla's Ken doll. Funny, but I kept seeing my husband in Ken, even in other classmates' drawings. Scroll down for a laugh at my Ken. =)

Because I was incredibly short on time for the assignment, I challenged myself to complete it anyway, with a few hours to concept, sketch, quickly ink and watercolor, and then scan and assemble it in the computer. It was hard for me to post this concept in the gallery as it isn't a style I have much experience with. But it came to me in a pinch, and came naturally, and I love it. Even if no one ends up liking it, I don't care. I do. Does it look like me and that I made this? Quite often, someone tells me they can tell when a piece is mine, be it paint or pixel, but I don't see that as clearly because I'm experimenting a lot of the time. I'm not ready to settle down and hit repeat again and again on what works yet. I still want to grow. Unless someone in the biz tells me that one direction will garner more results. Then I'd go with it and run with it until my legs give out.

My rough pencil idea.

I decided the flower at the bottom looked like legs and other things, so I took them and the circle above out.

Some ink bits and refined (and spelled properly) lettering.

And now for some funny ink sketches of Lilla's dolls. See there, that's my husband on the right.


Part of the mini challenge was using different materials, and so I gave watercolor pencils a whirl. I've had them for many years and haven't used them. Why on Earth not? Doesn't Ken look sweet? And the colors are wild.

And now some pencil sketches. I kind of like how the upper left three turned out. I tried to portray their eyes like flowers and keep their features more geometric. Some of their features inspired my final illustration.

Ink drawings from dolls this time. And that about wraps it up.

Trends Workshop with Design Garden

If you've been following my blog, you might remember when I reviewed the Hand Drawn Vector Graphics class with Design Garden. Earlier this year, I took another great class with Sabina, Trends Workshop. This class greatly inspired me to dive deeper into surface pattern design, and I even submitted some of my class assignments to Uppercase Magazine's Surface Pattern Design Guide issue.

This trends class was more intense and produced more projects in the four weeks that it ran than Sabina's foundational class, Hand Drawn Vector Graphics. Please note that I took the live class rather than the self-study option that is offered now. If you want a lengthy review, here's a breakdown of the four weeks, or scroll down for the pictures. ;)

  • Week 1: Trends Class Intro and Borders and Brushes
    • Lecture video that goes over the class structure; trends in general and how to use them to make your work different, stand out, and be aware and current; the trends provided in class via pdf; and the design sets you'll make in class
    • You get a big juicy ebook pdf of selected trends to pull from, some inside info on what certain customers look for when buying clip art, as well as clip art subject matter suggestions and color ideas for each trend
    • A video tutorial in Illustrator where Sabina shows how to make pattern borders and brushes
    • The first assignment pdf (to complete a clip art set) which helps guide you through all the steps to create your set, including research and mixing trends and influences
  • Week 2: Patterns
    • A tutorial video on making patterns using the old school method as well as using Adobe Illustrator's new pattern tool
    • Assignment 2 pdf, to make a clip art set with patterns
    • Bonus material (shh, it's a secret) for those that finish assignments and post progress with classmates
    • A Q&A session where the assignment, trends, and any questions are discussed, and a recorded video of the chat
  • Week 3: Wreaths
    • A video tutorial showing Sabina's method of making a wreath, step-by-step. She even shows her initial reference sketches and inked drawings before she draws her wreath concept and creates it in Illustrator.
    • Assignment 3 pdf, to make a clip art set with a wreath focus
    • Bonus material earned from finished assignments and progress posts
    • A Q&A session and a recorded video posted soon after
  • Week 4: Diverse Set
    • A wonderful video showing Sabina design process while she creates a clip art set (clip art, wreath, brushes, and pattern), from the initial research and mood board phase, to sketches, through to completion on the computer
    • Assignment 4 pdf
    • Testimonial on credly for those that have fully participated in the class
    • A Q&A session and recorded video

I've got to say one of the best things about Sabina's class is that she asks you to do your research properly and take a deliberate and design-centered approach. If you have experience with graphic design, or want to know more about graphic design, sell art to graphic designers, or how to merge illustration work with design, her classes are probably unlike anything out there and would definitely appeal to you.

One thing I greatly recommend while taking the class is to jot down notes while watching the videos. There isn't as much typed out content as in the Foundational Class. Instead, there are videos to watch, great assignment pdfs (with some useful reference links and information) that you can use as a guide for future projects, and a trend pdf. Something like Evernote might be useful to store your pdfs and class notes in a specific notebook.

To see some of my work from the class, please scroll down to see selected sketches, inked drawings, and some finished art. =)

This pattern made it into Uppercase Magazine's Surface Pattern Design Guide!

This pattern made it into Uppercase Magazine's Surface Pattern Design Guide!

Some various pencil sketches.

On a wonderful side note, Sabina asked me if I was interested in selling some patterns and such on The Ink Nest, her fabulous online shop for clip art and patterns. I will post more on that when it comes to fruition! I hope you enjoyed the review.

Coming to a Fabric Store Near You

I have great news I've been wanting to share. Last month I signed an exclusive contract with the wonderful Windham Fabrics (after they saw my work in the Surface Pattern Design Guide in Uppercase Magazine) and one of the collections I've been working on is something I created during Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells, Part B! I can't wait to see this fabric become a reality. Needless to say, I'm feeling very very grateful and excited. =)

Because I couldn't help myself

Since I took Part A & B of the Make Art that Sells ecourse, a wonderful offer was presented to previous students to take it again at a greatly discounted price. I had already signed up for the stellar class that would be during the same time from Rachael Taylor and Beth Kempton, Module 4: Building Your Portfolio (more on that in a bit), but I couldn't resist the siren call of more fun assignments. I worked very fast in the class this time around so I could juggle the other class and other projects.

This second time around with Part A, I took the opportunity to experiment with adding more handmade elements and textures. Being familiar with the content of the class and assignments, I felt less pressure or cramped for time; it was simply a joyful experience.

Children's Books


A tiny rough thumbnail and larger sketch to scan and work off of.


I left out the smiling sun as it ended up competing with the focal point - the fox.

Bolt Fabric


Pen and ink drawings


Pyrex and other kitchen tools


A style variation in vector for the same theme

Pencil sketches

After a suggestion from Zoe Ingram in the class, I did a quick mix-up of the two concepts. It needs some tweaking, but I like where it's going!

Home Decor

I received very valuable feedback on these plates from Lilla that I'm looking forward to implementing, such as changing up and varying the amount of art on the plates and making them a bit more diverse.

Pen and ink


Wall Art

I used all handmade parts for these two pieces, including pen and ink, watercolor, tissue, lace, and painted wood panel. Everything was assembled in Photoshop.

Ink drawings

Tissue collage of Earth

Some ink and watercolor bits

Part B of the course starts later this year in October. There's still time to sign up! I definitely recommend it. Great opportunities can happen as a result, not including the best benefit - making great art for your portfolio.