In the wild: Tiny rhino cuteness

Baby shoes made from Lellobird fabric by Casey Dumadag

Casey Dumadag (@littlecaycam on Instagram) shared a photo the other day of the adorable baby shoes she made from my Rhinoce-Roses Tiny fabric. Casey had asked me to scale down my original Rhinoce-Roses fabric to baby-size for this project, and it worked out beautifully.

Both fabrics are available at Spoonflower, and at least 10% of proceeds from sales of these two fabrics goes to the International Rhino Foundation, a nonprofit which works to help save the world’s rhinos through conservation and research. And speaking of babies, IRF is currently fundraising to support the birth of a new Sumatran Rhino calf at their sanctuary in Indonesia – you can read all about it on their blog and even host your own “baby shower” for Ratu the mama rhino.

Rhinoce-Roses Tiny fabric by LellobirdRhinoce-Roses Tiny fabric by Lellobird

Spring color: Watercolor egg garland

Finished watercolor eggs

Today feels like kind of a dark day in the world with the news out of Brussels, so I thought I’d share a cheerful springtime craft to try and counter some of the sadness. Sometimes it just feels good to lose yourself for a little while in making something beautiful.

Fall is really my favorite season, but secretly I admire Spring’s enthusiasm, with plants and birds and color popping up all over the place. This garland captures a little of that exuberance. We made eggs since we were in an Easter frame of mind, but you could use the same technique to make butterflies, flowers, geometric shapes or whatever strikes your fancy.

Inspired by Emily Sanford’s Spoonflower blog post about blocking off areas with tape before painting with watercolor, we’ve been experimenting with negative space and washes of abstract color around here.

Someone recently gave us a giant pad of drawing paper, so we used that and cut each sheet into two 9×12″ pieces. It was sturdy enough to stand up to the watercolor.

First we cut strips of painter’s tape the width of our paper. The only tape I had on hand was really wide, so I cut it into narrower strips. As long as I had to cut it anyway, I used the fancy craft scissors on some of the strips to get a scalloped edge. We used plain blue painter’s tape because it’s what we had on hand, but other kinds of art tape would work, too.

Speak softly and carry a big brush.

I’m trying to learn from the kids how to loosen up my painting style (kids are great mentors when it comes to art!), so we used big brushes, lots of water and lots of color. While the paint was still wet, we sprinkled sea salt in a couple places for special effects. All ages had fun playing with the washes of color and ways they combined.

The big reveal: Peeling off the tape.

Once the paint dried (that step took almost 24 hours, so plan ahead), we peeled off the tape to reveal the white stripes on our eggs-to-be. The paper on the left is mine; the right is kid-made. Our tape took off a tiny bit of the top layer of the paper, but not enough to bother me.

Painted papers.

Then I cut an egg-template, which you can download here — since it took me a solid half-hour of fiddling to make what I considered the perfect egg shape (they’re trickier than they look!), I figured I’d save you some time. I put lots of eggs on one page in case we wanted to color and cut out more eggs, but you really only need to cut out one for this project. Each egg is 4.5 inches tall.

Tracing the eggs.

Lay the cut-out space over your painted paper and decide where you want your egg to be. I like using this method because you get to see exactly what the egg will look like. When you’re happy with the design, trace lightly around the inside of the cut-out shape with pencil, then cut along the pencil line.

You could attach the cut-out shapes on yarn, baker’s twine or ribbon. I just hung mine up with tiny clothespins, since we have an existing ribbon strung up that we use for garlands throughout the year, switching out the items.

Watercolor egg garland

The bunnies are traced from the shape of an old notepad I had and cut out of scrapbook paper and other random papers we had around the house. The whole thing is happiness on a string!

What goes around

Pinterest suggestions

I finally set up some Lellobird Pinterest boards yesterday (more to come; stay tuned), one of which features all manner of arrows (signs, patterns, graffiti, etc.) which I found when researching a design project and thought might be useful to someone else.

Today, Pinterest sent me a “we found some more pins you might be interested in” email about the Arrows board – and it included one of my fabrics, pinned to someone else’s board. The internet really is a smaller world than we think sometimes…

Tea (towel) time

Fiesta Calendar by Lellobird, available at Spoonflower

It’s that time of year again: Fall is ramping up, the year is winding down, and you need a tea towel calendar to help brighten up your kitchen in 2016!

Spoonflower is running their annual 2-for-1 Fat Quarter sale today through Thursday, November 12, which means you can stock up on half-price tea towels that just need a quick hem to become beautiful, practical, sort-of-handmade gifts. Chilly fall days are perfect for sewing!

I have six tea towels for sale this year, or you can turn any fat quarter of fabric into a towel, too.

Bee Towel Calendar
Bird Talk Original
Bird Talk Autumn
Bird Talk Summer (coming soon)
Folk Tree Tea Towel
Fiesta Calendar (coming soon)

Sugar scrub labels

Free printable labels for sugar scrubs, by Lellobird

I recently hosted a pedicure party as a fundraiser for our local school, and I thought it would be fun to give the participants a little treat to take home.  After a little research (hooray, Pinterest!), I made sugar scrubs for everyone and designed some custom labels for them.  I thought you might like to have a printable version of the labels, too – they’d be perfect for goodies at a spa day or bridal shower, or as a quick gift for a friend.

I tried two different recipes I found online.  My favorite (and the most popular one at the party) was the Brown Sugar-Vanilla Body Scrub from Fiber Artsy & Craftsy.  It smells good enough to eat (like cookie dough!) and contains just four ingredients, which you probably already have on hand.  I added an extra cup of white sugar beyond what the recipe called for, because it seemed too moist at first.  The recipe filled five of the 8-oz jars.

I also made the Lemon Sugar Scrub from Hey Wanderer.  With just three ingredients, this recipe is super-easy, too.  The finished product didn’t seem quite lemony enough to me, so if I did it again I might use lemon essential oil instead of lemon extract.  It made enough to fill six 8-oz jars.

Brown sugar body scrub label by Lellobird

Overall I probably spent about $10 on ingredients making scrubs for 10 people – and I have sugar and olive oil left over.

And I found these cute wide-mouth half-pint jars at Target for just over $1 per jar: Ball Wide-Mouth Half-Pint (8 oz) Jars with Lids.  So at just over $2 per person, that’s a pretty easy and inexpensive give-away — and one that everyone seemed happy to get.

I made two different versions of the labels for you (right click to save PDF).  They’ll print six per page on letter-size (8.5 x 11″) cardstock:

With ingredients listed
Sugar scrub labels by Lellobird (with ingredients)

Without ingredients listed, in case you want to use your own recipe or add a personal note
Sugar scrub labels by Lellobird, without ingredients

NB – Since all the ingredients are technically food, these scrubs are pretty safe – but, of course, you are the best judge of what you should put on your skin, so use common sense.  And do be careful with glass in the bathroom, for heaven’s sake.

These labels are free for your personal, non-commercial use.

Fonts used:
Veneer Extras (crown)
Bombshell Pro
Bergamot Ornaments (sun rays)

Calendar time

Photo detail of Bee Towel tea towel calendar by Lellobird

Up until a year or two ago, I’d never heard of a tea towel calendar – a calendar with a pretty design printed on fabric. Thanks to Spoonflower’s annual tea towel calendar contest, I’m now in the know.  The idea of something that marks the year and helps dry the dishes appeals to my practical side!

This year I have three 2015 tea towel calendars available at Spoonflower: Bee Towel (pictured), Bird Talk and Bird Talk Original. There are a lot of fun calendar designs by other designers available, too – I’ll bet you can find one that matches your interests and your kitchen.

Matching kitchens reminds me of one of my most interesting requests on Spoonflower: A woman who was designing a steampunk time travel themed kitchen and wanted a sepia-toned version of my popular Time Travel Map fabric for curtains. I love the amount of time they put into coming up with a vision and a backstory for their kitchen — awesome!

Other special requests have come from people making quilts, custom lampshades, curtains for vintage Airstream trailers — it’s always a kick to see what people make with my designs.