DIY Baby Nursery Decor: Removable Wall Decorations

Walls are easy to paint. And when designing your baby's nursery decor the area above your baby's crib cries out for decoration. If you're in the DIY mindset painting a mural can be great. Or, for a quicker, less permanent option these wall stickers are an easy option. When baby outgrows the nursery the stickers can easily come off and new decor can go in.  And there's a giraffe! The hottest design trend in baby decor today. And the best news is that it's available on Amazon and is affordable!

Buy it Now!

Portable, Affordable Art and Design Portfolio Solution

carlyn clark's affordable, portable alternative to an art or design portfolio
Carlyn Clark's affordable, portable alternative to an art or design portfolio

I haven't had business cards in years, thanks to the electronic world we live in, but several times lately I wished I'd had one. I'd seen the cards from and thought the ability to print different images on the back was brilliant. So I picked 50 images of my pattern designs and quickly got an order off. And of course, before I'd even received them I'd decided to change email addresses, leaving them obsolete before they'd arrived.

Once I got them I realized they could serve another purpose. They come in a nice little box that's easy to tuck in my bag, and now I carry them with me at all times and use them as a mini-portfolio. I thought about punching a hole in the corner and stringing them together, but I find people like to flip through them, move them around, sort them differently and generally play around with them. It's a nice alternative to flipping through the big pages of my actual portfolio, and is a much more informal way to begin a conversation.

And Moo is having a sale through November 18, 2014 which brings the price down from $19.99 to $14.99. So head over & order a mini portfolio!

Gearing Up for Encaustic

It's been too long since I've taken any studio art classes. All my focus has been on developing my print and pattern designs (see my progress at my new website.) But next week I'm taking a class on Encaustic with Caryl St. Ama at Glendale Community College sponsored by R & F Handmade Paints.

The word ‘encaustic’ comes from the Greek word enkaiein, meaning to burn in. Encaustic paint is wax-based using beeswax, resin and pigment. It's kept in a liquid state on a heated palette. After it's applied to an absorbent surface it's reheated so that the paint fuses (hence the use of the Greek word.) Not to be confused with the term ‘caustic,’ which refers to a corrosive chemical reaction - not at all what happens with encaustic.

Caryl St. Ama, "Home Turf", Encaustic and photo transfer on wood panel, 12" x 9", 2014

Caryl's work is inspiring me to gather bits of textiles and paper to embed in the wax. I'm really interested in the concept of using textiles to create art that I can then turn into textile prints.


Maybe then I'll use the printed textile in a new encaustic. Sort of like looking at a mirror with a mirror, goes on forever.

My next challenge is to come up with new materials. Fortunately the paints are included in the cost of the workshop, so the most important thing I'll need are the supports. For this class I think I'll try a few different sizes and thicknesses to see what I like best (linking to the Amazon page so I can find them again...)

Ampersand Art Encausticbord - Cradled - 1.5" Profile - 12"x12"

Ampersand Encausticbord 11 in. x 14 in. 1 1/2 in. each

I'll also need natural bristle brushes, and don't want to ruin any good ones, so think I'll try Loew-Cornell 2-Inch Wood Handle Natural Bristle Gesso Brush or maybe this set of three Royal & Langnickel Large Area Artist Brush Set- Three Brown Camel Hair Brushes which would give me 1", 2" and 3".

That should get me started.....


Indigo, Books and Resources

I didn't realize that my obsession with all things indigo was shared by so many others. My Indigo Pinterest board has more than 450 followers. And without realizing it I've got almost 1,000 images pinned.

Indigo, in the form of Levi's and bandanas seemed like such an American thing. But of course it goes back far beyond anything we've done here. It's fascinating to me that it's history goes far back into Asian and African cultures. And the evolution has led me to start reading more about it.

Indigo: In Search of the Color That Seduced the World by Catherine McKinley is a wonderful description of her travels in search of the history of indigo.

Reading that led me to the more scholarly Indigo Textiles: Technique and History by Gosta Sandberg. It's out of print now, and as it's selling for $500+ on Amazon I think I better take a bit better care of my copy. It's filled with recipes and photos of the processes that are really extensive. (I'm happy to copy & share part of it - of course for educational purposes so as not to copyright infringe.)

Now I've just learned there's a new book, that looks really gorgeous. It's more a coffee table book than the Sandberg book, but the photos are amazing.

  Indigo: The Color that Changed the World



Where to Order On-Demand, Custom Digitally Printed Fabric in Small Runs

8" Swatches from Spoonflower

I've been ordering custom printed fabric from Spoonflower, and as happy as I've been with everything about them, thought I should do due diligence and see what else is out there. Plus, I really would like to find some pure linen for prints for my own clothing and throw pillows. I'm sticking to services located in the U.S. that offer small runs. There are quite a few more companies than I've listed here that offer runs of 100 to 200 yards, but I'm looking for smaller runs than that.

With an easy to use interface and the ability to offer your designs for sale, Spoonflower is my favorite printer. Prices range from $17.50 to $ 38.00 per yard with a 10% discount for designers and a 20% discount for orders over 20 yards. There are weekly contests which give you visibility and let you tap into the Spoonflower community, which has been very welcoming and supportive of my beginner attempts at print design. You can order test swatches for $5, and they offer fat quarters for quilters and crafters. They're quoting a 10 day turn around, buy my last two orders have been faster than that. Shipping is based on weight and comes up in the order window.


A choice of 18 different fabrics, priced from $29.50 to $40 per yard and $5 shipping make this a good alternative to Spoonflower. You can only buy your own designs however, and there's no community as there is on Spoonflower. They promise to ship within 10 days or your order is free. They also have 8" swatch and fat quarter options.


In addition to offering a selection of prints from independent designers that are only available on the site, Modern Yardage offers a custom option on 56" fabric that is priced between $18 and $25 per yard, depending on the amount of ink used.


The 3 yard minimum and $65 - $125 per yard price tag make this out of reach for the casual stitcher. But they have a huge selection of fabrics available and are a good option for a small designer wanting the highest quality goods.

While teaching myself how to create designs in Illustrator and Photoshop, and then put the designs into repeat, I've found two books that manage to answer just about any question I come up with.


Liberate Your Art 2014 Postcard swap


For the fourth year in a row Kat Sloma is hosting a postcard swap. It's meant to inspire artists to document and share their work via postcards. You pop 5 in an envelope and send them off to Kat by March 15, 2014 and you'll get 6 back, one from 5 random artists and one from Kat. I sent 6 because it doesn't seem right that Kat doesn't get one, but that wasn't a requirement. Last year their were 216 participants and she's hoping to reach 250 this year. So join in, it's easy! Complete details and sign-up info are here.
I ordered cards again from I've ordered from other sites, but I like zazzle for small projects like this. I used a watercolor I did a while ago that I've been playing around with lately. My next challenge is to turn it into a repeating pattern. Need a few more days (or weeks?) on Photoshop to figure that one out.....
Watercolor Circles Postcard
Watercolor Circles Postcard
Postcard Back
Postcard Back
Tiger Licking Stamp Envelope
Tiger Licking Stamp Envelope
Kat did a nice blog post today showing a few of the envelopes she'd received, including this one that I sent her.

And here are the cards I received:

from Annie Kelleher

from Eric Muhr

from Jane P.

from Kat Sloma (or fearless leader!)

from Linda Ursin

from Tina W.


Vintage Postcards - Then and Now

As I send out vintage postcards I wonder what the picture would look like today. Thanks to Google images I can often find a more recent photo taken at or near the postcard image site. And for the sites that no longer exist I can learn what happened to them.

Astoria Column Information Center

Astoria Column Information Center, Oregon Postcard
Astoria Column Information Center, Oregon Postcard

Here's a more recent photo of the Sitka Spruce. It's from a different angle, seems like the photographer might be standing right where the Visitor's Center was.

Sitka Spruce photo found on the web

City of Portland Streamliner

City of Portland Streamliner eastbound on the Columbia River Postcard
This image was circa 1955. Union Pacific Railroad and Chicago and North Western Railway operated the train between Chicago & Portland. When it began running in June 1935 it took 39:45 hours, and in February 1947 began to run daily. Notable on the train is the dome observation lounge and dining car. The dome dining car was unique to Union Pacific and were only on this train and the City of Los Angeles. train. The train was discontinued in 1971 with the start of Amtrak.

Morton Hall, Naval Submarine Base, New London, Groton, Connecticut

Morton Hall Postcard
Morton Hall Postcard
Info on the card: "This gymnasium is used for numerous indoor sports. In front are seen two 6-inch deck guns from the U.S.S. Narwhal, which fired the first American shells to land on Japan in World War II. 

The card is available here for $14.95 (which is more than I paid for the stack of 80 cards I found this one in.) It went off to Hong Kong today for a Postcrossing swap.

Morton Hall
In this recent photo things haven't changed much.

Portland Zoological Gardens, Portland, Oregon

BELLE is showing her tricks to a delighted audience. With her is son PACKY, and Rosy and Pet, both expecting.
BELLE is showing her tricks to a delighted audience. With her is son PACKY, and Rosy and Pet, both expecting.
I'm not sure of the date of this card, but Packy does have a Wikipedia Page! Packy was born April 14, 1962 and today is the oldest living male Asian elephant in North America. Belle died in 1997 at the age of 45 from a foot infection. Packy's birth in captivity was very unusual at the time, and was celebrated in an 11 page spread in Life Magazine.

W'eel Turtle Country, Dunseith, ND 58329

World's Largest man-made turtle.
World's Largest man-made turtle.
From the card: "Erected as a novelty in 1982 by George Gottbrecht, owner of Dale's Thrifty Barn, a convenience store, restaurant and motel. The W'eel Turtle consists of over 2,000 steel w'eels, stands 2 stories tall. The head weighs over 1 ton and moves. It is located 12 miles from the International Peace Garden and 30 miles from Boissevain, Manitoba, home of the world-renowned Turtle Derby. It is truly magnificent and a sight to see as it salutes the Turtle Mountains."

W'eel Turtle in 2010
W'eel Turtle in 2010
It's still a roadside attraction today. Nothing much as changed. These days at Christmas time it wears a red Santa hat.

George Gottbrecht is a longtime resident of Dunseith, his 8th birthday party made the paper:

The internet is truly a wondrous thing.....