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Posts from the ‘Design’ Category

Easy DIY Baby Shower Gifts

I attended a former co-worker’s baby shower last weekend. As always I try to give people something handmade because I feel it’s more special that way. Granted, hectic schedules don’t always allow it. I mean let’s be real, by the time I get home from work and walk the dog and make dinner, all I want to do is relax on the couch. And the weekends are somehow always filled with chores. Gah! It never ends! So, pfff! Who has the time to MAKE gifts?! Well you know, these two things here are super easy to make, that’s why I wanted to share them with you. Crocheted hats for babies are really only a couple of square inches in area, and even if you’re a beginner, you can most definitely make one in half a day. Top it off with a puffy pompom and you’ve got an adorable little snow hat. The pattern for the hat below is by Kristi Simpson and you can get it for 3.99 on Etsy.

Another easy project for a baby shower gift is a receiving blanket. Every mother-to-be needs one. Or five. Make a blanket that’s big enough so baby doesn’t outgrow it too soon. I made the one below at about 45″ square. Purchase about 1 1/2 yards of plain flannel fabric (you can always save the extra for another project in the future), and about 1/2″ yard of printed lightweight cotton fabric as an accent. Cut your main fabric and hem the edges, then cut about a 4″ to 6″ wide strip of your accent cloth, fold the edges and sew it on one side of the blanket using a zigzag stitch.

Sew 4 Home has an easy step-by-step on how to sew a mitered hem. Check it out!

And there you have it! You can’t go wrong with either of these gifts. And both of these you can do in less than a day. Happy gift-making!

Design Candy: Blue Poppy Seed

So just as a forewarning to you all, I may be posting a lot of wedding related stuff in the months leading up to the big day. I hope you all don’t mind. I promise to keep it interesting and design-focused so that anyone out there can perhaps use the ideas that I post for their own wedding. This month on our self-imposed timeline, we are supposed to send out save-the-date cards to guests, and I have been looking at a LOT of pretty paper lately. And speaking of pretty paper, Jen over at Blue Poppy Seed makes the cutest invitation printables. You can check out more of her designs on Etsy. Aren’t these adorable?

Illuminating Blogger Awards

Holy smokes has it already been a month since my last post?! My apologies dear readers, but while I realize that I have been spread too thin, I know that most of it is self-inflicted. The biggest item on my plate right now is our wedding that we planned for late September this year. Even though we’re keeping it small, it’s still a lot of work! We now have all the major vendors booked and on board, which means we can now focus on the fun stuff: invitations and décor. But I am sad I haven’t found the time to revisit any of my textiles. I have dreamt up new designs in my head that I’m itching to put on paper. If I can only figure out how to better manage my time, maybe I can work on all my projects simultaneously. And of course blogging is the last thing that I want to take for granted, because interestingly enough, it’s what keeps me on track.

So! Back to business. Last month I was given the opportunity to pass on the Illuminating Blogger Award to 5 other bloggers. But before I do so I am required to share a random fact about myself:

I… carry a steel tape measure everywhere I go. Yup! A little three-footer that’s attached to my key chain. You’re probably thinking “what a nerd!”, but let me tell you it’s one of the most useful items in my bag. And seriously what are you going to do if you come across a nice piece of free furniture while walking your dog and aren’t sure if it will fit in your house… Ok this happens rarely but it’s just an example.

So, now that you’ve learned a little tidbit about me, time to pass the torch to the following blogs:

Jeanne McGee – super cool wood-stamped textile designs

Draw and Shoot – beautiful, almost surreal photographs inspired by nature, architecture and design

Kirsty Loves Cardboard – impressive cardboard sculptures by a Melbourne-based artist and architect

Illustrated Bites – a blog that marries food and illustration

Hamster and the Bee – cute handmade soft toys

light bulb concept

If you accept and I hope you all do, please share something about yourself, then pass it on to 5 of your favorite blogs.

Have a great evening everyone!

Fat Quarters and an Award

So I would like to start off this blog post by giving a shout out to Veronica over at Agujas, for bestowing the Illuminating Blogger Award to First Bar. Thanks for the love Veronica! And in return I get to pass this on to 5 other bloggers too, which I will be announcing in a separate post. What a great community of people I have found here in the blogging world. You all are amazing.

On another note, my fabric proofs have arrived! I actually ordered these last month but haven’t had the chance to take photos of them. I am very excited with these and pleased at how they turned out. There are a few things I’d like to tweak before I make them available for purchase over at Spoonflower. In the meantime, here is a sneak preview (pardon the bad lighting). Oh and happy Fat Tuesday everyone!

Clockwise from the right:

Chinese Pistache in teal
Koi Fish
Japanese Maple
Chinese Pistache – grey
Ginkgo Biloba

Design Candy: Barkley Sound Bags Holiday Open House

Barkley Sound Bags held a holiday open house earlier this month and I went to go check out what new stuff they had in their workshop, and possibly get some presents for Christmas. More importantly I really wanted to say hello to my former boss, Dave. He started BSB when he retired a few years ago, and is the sole founder and craftsman of these wonderful bags.

It all started when the old sail from their Valiant 40 needed to be replaced, and since they couldn’t throw away the memories embodied in that sail, they re-purposed it into a tent for parties and ultimately turned it into travel bags for a world trip.

At present, BSB makes bags of different styles, from totes to duffel bags and messenger bags, using both Dacron sails that have seen many miles of ocean as well as colorful recycled wind surf sails. Dave hand-cuts each sail, carefully utilizing its features and character, making each bag unique and special. Features like batten pockets, cringles, reef points and bolt ropes are left in to give each bag its own identity. You can be sure that no two bags are alike. And because they are made of tough sails, they last for-e-ver. This I know because I’ve had mine for a few years now. I also have one of the earlier prototypes that I use as a doggie supply bag whenever I take Hudson to the park. It has held up to daily abuse remarkably well.

Below are some photos from the open house:

Bags, bags, bags!

So many color choices!

IMG_1965 copy

BSB Blue Water Totes in progress.

A yummy spread of crackers and cheese

Deb entertains the guests.

One of the work stations (I love that sewing machine)

My favorite guy and the man behind the sewing machines– the great Dave Rutherford.


Since its inception Barkley Sound Bags has gained popularity and has been featured in GQ, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Dwell and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. Barkley Sound Bags was also commissioned to do a special line for Nautica. How cool is that?!

For more info on these awesome handcrafted bags, see these links below (after the jump).

Barkley Sound Bags for Nautica:


Barkley Sound Bags Website

Barkley Sound Bags on Facebook

Free Printable – Gift Tags

Oh the holidays. So many things to do but so little time to get them done. If you’re like me, you probably haven’t had the chance to do your Christmas shopping yet, don’t have a Christmas tree in the living room (we’re getting one this weekend, hopefully), and are getting more excited about hitting the ski slopes (the passes got 21” of snow overnight!) than going to the mall to battle with a crowd of rabid shoppers.

But if you’re less like me, then you must already be wrapping up presents and stacking them neatly under your tree. On that note, maybe you’ll find these gift tags useful. I entered this design into a Spoonflower weekly contest just for kicks. It’s not the festive kind of gift tags you normally use for the holidays but I think it can be fun and quirky, no?  You can use these for other occasions too. Think birthdays, or Chinese New Year even.

For the free printable, click HERE. Enjoy!

And if you think this design is cool, vote for it at Spoonflower! While there be sure to check out some amazing entries from other designers as well, and vote for them too.

Have a great weekend people!

gift tags

Textile Design – Chinese Pistache

Ola! It’s been a busy week so far I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. I think the boy feels the same way and has decided to call it a night at 9:30 (which is unusually early in this household). But since I cannot will myself to go to sleep, I’ll take this opportunity to share with you my second installment of textile designs while watching the SNL Christmas special on television. Although now I’m realizing that I’ve been sitting here for two commercial breaks in a row and haven’t gotten anywhere with this post, and that is why I’m putting the television into mute mode for now.

The Chinese Pistache is a tree in the cashew family that has pinnate leaves that turn scarlet in the fall, and is planted in urban settings for it’s attractive autumn foliage. The first time I saw these trees was in a magazine and I thought they looked gorgeous. I think the leaf arrangement itself is interesting. For the following designs however I decided against using red and tried different colors to give it a modern spin. I think it’s more fun when things aren’t too literal, no?

Textile Design – Koi Fish

Hello everyone! Sorry for not posting in over two weeks, which in blogger time is more like 2 months.  Hope you’re still there and haven’t unfollowed me yet. It seems like I had lost my momentum after the elections and all the natural calamities  that have recently happened. And by natural calamities I’m not talking about the Patraeus scandals.

Anyhow I have been fairly busy at work and at home as well, but I did find some time over the week to work on a few textile designs. I’m pretty excited about this one. Growing up I always loved watching koi fish in fancy ponds and remember how excited I would be when I saw one. Did you know that Koi fish, or more appropriately called nishikigoi in Japanese, can live up to 50 years? And that if you release them in the wild they lose their coloring over just a few generations? I just recently found out about this last bit. I personally prefer them to remain the domesticated fish that they are and keep their bright coloring. And the ponds look better with them in it!

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