Reviving the Living and Dining Rooms



{The living room in our 1898 Portland Victorian}

As many of you know, my wife Clay and I moved 7 months ago to Portland, Oregon. We mostly moved here to be closer to my family (my sister and parents have lived in this city for years), but in the process, we also had the opportunity to buy our first decent sized house together — something we couldn’t afford to do in the Bay Area of California. Last June we purchased a 2000 SQFT 1898 Victorian on a corner lot in the heart of the Kerns neighborhood. We loved this house instantly when we first walked in — it has enormous windows with fantastic light, a wonderful flow and beautiful high ceilings. It is surrounded by trees and just a short block from a beautiful park. But it also needed a lot of TLC, and we began quickly to make renovations. So far we have finished the downstairs half bath, which you can see here. And just last week we finished the living and dining rooms (more on that in a moment). We still have a long way to go (the complete renovations will take years), but it feels really good not only to be making progress on fixing up the place, but also to be nesting. Clay and I are both homebodies. We love to cook and clean, to organize, tinker and hang out at home.


{Looking down on our Eames coffee table}

When we moved into the house, I connected immediately with my friend Kate at Rejuvenation to begin helping us pick out some new fixtures and furniture. They house hadn’t been updated since the early 1990’s. In addition to lighting and some other accents, one of the things we needed was a new living room sofa. I wanted something modern, but I also wanted something that would reflect the old feel of our Victorian house.


{Living room arrangements of some of my favorite things}

One day Kate invited me to visit the Rejuvenation salvage warehouse (which is also the location of their 87,000-square-foot U.S. based factory). And while I was there I spotted a simple 1920’s vintage sofa, stripped down to its bare bones, and fell in love. I think Kate could see the adoration in my eyes, and so she suggested that we collaborate with Leland Duck of Revive Designs — a partner with Rejuvenation — to reupholster the beautiful old piece for our home. I quickly agreed. For the record, here’s what the piece looked like before:


Shortly thereafter, Clay and I went to North Portland to meet with Leland of Revive Upholstery & Design and his wife Chelsea in their new showroom and workshop to discuss what we’d use to give the piece a new and modern look. I’m not sure what I expected when I walked in, but I didn’t necessarily expect to see a young couple! So I asked Leland how he learned to reupholster furniture so beautifully (his showroom and workshop were filled with really gorgeous stuff he’d worked on). I learned that day that her learned the art of reupholstering by working on vintage cars as a teenager. In his early twenties this unique skill, combined with his keen eye for the good bones of cast-off furniture and love of historically significant fabrics, led him to creating one-of-a-kind chairs, sofas, ottomans, and pillows that are far greater than the sum of their parts.

In the newest segment of their partnership, the gurus from the Rejuvenation Salvage team have scoured antique shows, flea markets, and vintage dealers across the country rescuing rare pieces and trucking them back to Leland’s skilled hands. The result is a truly original and one-of-a-kind collection of furniture finds, each with a unique story to tell. I felt so lucky to have this furniture find and so honored to be working with Leland to make it new again!

After our initial meeting, we decided on a subtly textured blue fabric (I’m really into blue these days!). I went off to Hudson New York for my residency, and Leland set to work on transforming our new sofa. When I returned from Hudson, he came over to drop it off, and I was thrilled with the results!


Leland’s work was impeccable, and we adore the white accent stitching. That’s a vintage Chinese textile hanging on the back of the sofa and the beautiful pillow is by Anna Joyce.


We also replaced the former light fixture with a new globe pendant hanging light from Rejuvenation (which we love) and which you can see below. Trio of prints hanging on wall by Katherine Jalaty.


We also worked with Jen Garrido of Jenny Pennywood to purchase some yardage of her beautiful screen-printed fabric to cover the cushions on our vintage side chairs. The bold pink flower pillows by print maker (and my best friend) Jen Hewett. The abstract paintings are by me.


We also got a fabulous new light fixture for the dining room — a Cobalt Blue Butte Dome Pendant from Rejuvenation, which you can see below. We think it’s the perfect match to our blue accents and Danish dining furniture.


More from the dining room:


To celebrate the opening of their new showroom and workshop, Leland and Chelsea of Revive are hosting a grand opening party from 6-11 pm tonight at 2030 N. Willis Blvd in Portland. I will be there and if you enjoy Leland’s work, I hope you will check it out too! Drinks! BBQ! Live music!

From my home to yours: have a great weekend & happy nesting.




I’m Off to Portugal and Spain!


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I just wanted to say ¡Adiós! I am leaving for a three week trip to Portugal and Spain! I will return back to regular programming on November 2, 2015. I will be documenting my trip in drawings and photographs over on Instagram and you can follow me there. When I return I’ll post highlights from my trip here.

I am incredibly excited for our adventure. We will visit Lisbon, Porto, Sevilla, Granada, Madrid and Barcelona.

Have a wonderful month and I’ll see you over on Instagram while I’m away from the blog!


Small Victory: Renovating Our 1/2 Bath



As many of you know — especially those of you who follow me on Instagram — Clay and I have been renovating an 1898 Victorian in the heart of the Kerns neighborhood in central Portland, Oregon. We decided to tackle the smallest room in the house first: the 1/2 bath on the main floor of our house. The room is pretty small — so small, in fact, that I couldn’t manage to photograph much more than a corner at a time!

We worked with the amazing Portland based company Rejuvenation for the fixtures, the lighting and a couple of the vintage pieces. More on each of those in a moment. The wallpaper is a design I created for Hygge and West several years ago and have been hanging onto ever since (it’s no longer in stock, unfortunately). And I finished off the room with many of my own vintage collectibles.

To give you some perspective on the changes afoot in this room, let me show you some of the before photos.


The walls were painted dark green and the bathroom itself was dark and didn’t have much character. We set about to lighten it up and give it some personality.

The first step was to wallpaper. We hired a great guy to hang the gold ferns wallpaper. For the record, the wallpaper is what dictated the gold/brass theme in the room, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. You’ll also see that this bright wallpaper lightened up the room considerably. The photo below is taken at the same time of the day as the photos of the former bathroom above.


Next we added a new sink and new brass fixtures. We worked with Rejuvenation to select the Tolson Faucet in the aged brass finish. We absolutely love this faucet! Even the stopper is a thing of beauty.


We also selected the Tolson towel ring and toilet paper holder.

We didn’t want the bathroom to be too “matchy matchy,” so I added some vintage elements, including the vintage mirror and soap holder, both from Rejuvenation’s vintage stock.

Last but not least, we installed this gorgeous Plum Pendant light in aged brass with a filament bulb (plus resin antlers above the window).


After all the fixtures were in place, I set about decorating with some of my own collections. I hung this old metal shelf on the wall opposite the toilet and I placed a few of my knick knacks onto it.


I also added a few touches to the back of the toilet, including a plant and glass box filled with old photos and vintage bobby pins. I wanted the make sure the room didn’t look too precious, and so I searched my art collection for some pieces that wouldn’t compete with the wallpaper but would give the bathroom a little edge. I ended up selecting these two graphite drawings by Australian artist Sarah McNeil and a “1/2” piece (to denote the 1/2 bath) by Alexander Girard, and framed them all in gold and brass frames from the thrift store.





When I was in Hudson I went to my favorite shop there, The Red Chair. and picked up some French linens to hang in the towel hook (pictured here in yesterday’s bathroom selfie).


And voilà ! The 1/2 bath is currently our favorite room in the house.

Next up: the living room! We also worked with the amazing folks at Rejuvenation for some pieces in this room and I can’t wait to share with you.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!


August Hudson Residency



{Most of the work I make while I am here will include some blue // testing out blues yesterday}

Every once and awhile an opportunity comes my way that makes me really, really excited and happens at exactly the right time. Last year, I was asked by Katharine and Michael who run Drop Forge and Tool to come to Hudson, New York to do an artist residency in their space. I jumped at the opportunity, and after months and months of anticipation, I am finally here!

While I am here, I will be leave behind my client work, my book projects and my business. While I am here, I will be creating a new body of work — mostly abstract drawings and paintings, and some collage and print making. I’m not exactly sure yet because I am going to just take my time and experiment!

In the world of art and illustration, we call this kind of artwork “personal work” — which really means making art for art’s sake, work driven by personal inspiration & interests (and not work commissioned and art directed by a client).

In 2010, my illustration career began to take off. Since then, I’ve spent most of my time working for illustration clients and writing and illustrating books for publishers. I love that work a lot (and feel lucky to do it), but after five years of nonstop work and deadlines, I am experiencing really intense burn out.


{Sunflowers in a giant flower garden I visited yesterday in Hudson}

I am so excited to relax, experiment in the studio there and sleep in a little bit too. Three weeks isn’t a long period of time, but this residency feels like a gift.  I’ll be documenting what I make and my adventures in Hudson on Instagram and every few days here on my blog if you would like to follow along.

Oh, and for those of you within driving distance of Hudson, at the end of August, I will have an open studio exhibit with everything I’ve created this month (RSVP on Facebook here). I’ll also be doing a book event in Hudson, which you can learn more about here.

Have a great Thursday, friends!





Many of you who follow me on Instagram already know this, but I’m happy to officially announce that my wife Clay and I are moving to Portland, Oregon at the end of March!

Clay will be leaving her position as Director of Marketing at California College of the Arts & I am thrilled (beyond words) to announce that she will be joining me at Lisa Congdon Art & Illustration as Head of Marketing and Operations.

Since most of my beloved family is in Portland (sister & brother-in-law, niece, nephew & parents), it has been like a second home to me for 15 years. Clay and I are enormously excited for the opportunities Portland brings, including being close to family, the promise of more affordable home ownership (we’ve got an agent & are currently on a home search), strategic development of my business, connecting with friends & making new ones, enjoying the great outdoors, and taking part in the incredible creative community there.

It goes without saying that this departure is bittersweet (says the girl with the word California tattooed on her arm). But we could not be more ready or more elated for our new adventure. We’ll see you soon, Portland!

Photo by the amazing Sarah Deragon.


On Getting Older



A couple of months ago, my friend Karen asked me if she could photograph me for a new project she was starting in which she would profile women over forty who were thriving; to accompany their photograph, each woman briefly describes what thriving means for them. It is called The Thrive Project.

I agreed and a few weeks ago when we were both in Salt Lake City for the Alt Conference, Karen sat me down and took my picture with one of her film cameras. That photo is pictured above.

I get my picture taken a lot, so I am used to seeing my image, but for some reason this particular photograph struck me when Karen sent to to me for my approval. It hit me hard how much I’ve aged physically in the past 10 years. Hello, grey hair & laugh lines. I am, after all, forty seven years old, so all of that is age appropriate. But for a moment, I was taken aback. I am getting older and it’s showing.

As with many of the hard realizations we make in life, we can either fall into a deep depression about the things over which we have no control or we can embrace them. And at that very moment, I took a deep breath and said, I am going to own this.

And then I realized another thing: that despite the sprouting of grey hair at my temples and lines on my face, I have never felt younger or more energetic or excited to get up every day than I do today. Never, ever, ever. I am, indeed, thriving — more than I ever have in my forty seven years.

And so I began to embrace this image of myself with the lines on my face. And a couple days later I posted it on Instagram — without a filter or anything that would disguise the stuff that I might normally try to camouflage. And I expressed how the image had hit me when I saw it for the first time. Lots of people commented, relating and expressing their delight with the light in the photo (Karen is a fantastic portrait photographer).

My sister, who is two years younger than I am, commented on the photograph by posting this quote by the inimitable Frances McDormand, which moved me greatly:

“Looking old…should be a boast about experiences accrued and insights acquired, a triumphant signal that you are someone who, beneath that white hair, has a card catalog of valuable information.”

I am a self-described late bloomer. If any of you have heard me give a public talk in the last couple of years you’ve heard me tell stories about how I did not begin drawing or painting until I was 31, and how I did not begin my art career in earnest till I was 40, and how I did not get married till I was 45. I didn’t get my first tattoo till I was 28 (and I get my 13th tattoo in two weeks) and did not dye my hair pink for the first time until I was 41. Every year older I become, I get braver and freer. Getting older has, for me, been the best, most liberating process.

Yesterday I was recording a podcast, and while telling my story, I pronounced my age. My interviewer jokingly said, “Aren’t you supposed to keep that a secret?” The woman interviewing me is 50, and so she was being sarcastic, of course. But later on we got to talking about why I am so open about my age. It’s something I hadn’t thought about much before, but I suppose it’s part of how I own my unique path. I am in the same place in my career that some illustrators are when they are 30. Instead of being ashamed of that (I did get a late start, after all), I am owning it. And I wouldn’t redo my life in any way, even if I could. I think it’s important for people to know there are all kinds of paths, and all kinds of ways to live a life, and all kinds of things you can begin as you age.

And so here I go, leaning toward my fifites, hair greying, wrinkles gathering, experiences accruing, insights accumulating, joy abounding.

To view & follow along with Karen’s entire Thrive Project as it grows, simply go here.

Have a great weekend, friends.


2014 :: Some Things I Learned



It’s the last day of 2014, and over the past few days I have been reflecting a lot on the past year. I just finished reading Lena Dunham’s new book, Not That Kind of Girl, in which she recollects on what she’s learned so far as a young woman in her late twenties. I wonder if (and hope) she’ll continue to write memoirs. Because every decade (every year, in fact) we (and by we I mean YOU and ME, all of us) — if we are conscious human beings — learn more and more about what matters in life, about acceptance, about humility, about how to be ourselves and so many other things.

For some context, in two weeks I turn forty seven years old. Here are some things I have learned at forty-six:

1) Not everyone will like me or my work or my process or what I have to say, and that is okay. I am beginning not to care as much, and not because I have any plans to be lazy about kindness or treating others with respect. I realize that usually the reasons people don’t like you or your work have nothing to do with whether you are a kind or good person anyhow.

2) All of that said, I have also learned that, for the most part, most people are good and kind. And it is goodness and kindness that matter most. So I choose to surround myself with good and kind people.

3) I can survive a difficult experience. In 2013, I went through something quite traumatic — the most traumatic in my life, in fact. And it did not destroy me. In fact, I am better for it. What I learned made 2014 much richer in ways I could not have imagined.

4) I like being married. A lot. I am so grateful for marriage equality and what it has done for me and for my gay and lesbian sisters and brothers everywhere.

5) I can’t do it all in my career. Choosing the stuff I like to do the most and the stuff that brings me the most satisfaction (even if it’s not the most lucrative and even if it means I have to say no to prestigious opportunities) is what makes me happiest in the end.

6) That said, I don’t ever want to stop trying new things as an artist, expanding my practice, pushing myself, experimenting, keeping my everyday world exciting and new.

7) Life is not perfect and it will never be. Understanding that has changed me.

8) Showing up everyday and doing the work is what will get you to your goals and dreams as a creative person. Also: success does not happen overnight. Even once opportunities begin to arrive, being an artist/designer/writer/maker continues to be hard work every day, so you must find love in it and be dedicate yourself to enjoying the process or you will be miserable.

9) My unique path as an artist & my work are legitimate and worthwhile. And so are yours.

10) Nothing matters more than the present moment. Worrying keeps us stuck in the future. Lamenting keeps us stuck in the past. Today is for living.

And with that may you truly live every day of 2015.

Happy New Year!

With gratitude,



Happy Holidays & Thank You!



{Above, white gel pen on black paper, 2014}

To everyone who comes to this blog: thank you. My career as an artist would not be possible without you and others who buy, commission, share, write about, and otherwise support the work I do everyday. I feel very grateful. Thank you, thank you!

May you all have a wonderful holiday!

Stay warm and cozy and have a happy Wednesday!


2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: A Recap



If you’ve been reading this blog for the past year, you may recall that in January I made a goal to consume less. As part of that goal I allowed myself new clothes for the year if I a) made them myself or b) bought them second hand. As a result, I started a little project called 2014: A Sewing Odyssey, and you can see all of the projects here. In a moment I am going to report on how I did with that goal.

But first, let’s review the sewing projects from the odyssey, pictured above, left to right in order. There are few things to notice: 1) I like dresses 2) my hair grew longer over the course of the year 3) Wilfredo appears in three photos and 4) I got new glasses this month! You can’t tell here but my sewing skills & attention to detail also improved exponentially. But the most important thing to notice is that that was honestly NOT a sewing “odyssey”. While I intended to make many more than eight new articles of clothing (and #5 was a vintage upcycle at that), I just didn’t have (or make) time with my busy work schedule to sew as much as I planned. So maybe not an odyssey (Sonya Philip’s 100 Dress project was more of an odyssey). However, it was a) more than clothing than I’ve ever sewed before and b) I’m hooked. And those two things feel great.

Now to report on how I did with my goal of consuming less by not buying any new clothing this year (my goal was to make new clothes and buy only used). With a few exceptions, I stuck with it. I did buy a handful of brand new clothing items, mostly a couple of workout clothing items which I use almost every day and leggings & t-shirts that are harder to find in good condition second hand. I also bought one new dress for a special occasion. Overall, though, I purchased fewer articles of new clothing than I have in one year since I was a poor college student. I did buy lots of vintage and used clothing, so I did get to happily satisfy my shopping appetite.

So what does 2015 hold?
1) More sewing. I love making my own clothing, from choosing patterns to finding the perfect fabric and notions. I love the process of sewing and the satisfaction of making things I can use. I also want to try more altering and restructuring of vintage like I did in Project #5.

2) A new sewing machine. I did purchase a serger and it has been helpful (and opens up so many options for me). But I do think if I want to cut down on frustration I need a new general machine that doesn’t give me problems every 10 minutes. This is something I didn’t discuss here, but I had regular fights with my sewing machine, which my mother generously handed down to me 10 years ago when she got a new one. Perhaps its time to invest in my own brand new machine? Saving my pennies.

3) Starting in January, I’ll make one new article of clothing with each print from my new line of fabric from Cloud9. I’ll be posting more about that fabric line  soon, along with sewing projects using my new line over the course of the year. Stay tuned for that!

Thank you for following along, friends.

Have a great Tuesday!


2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #8



If you’ve been following along on my blog this year, you may know that I made a commitment last January to consume less. As part of that effort, I committed to only sewing new clothes myself or purchasing used or vintage. On Friday I completed my eighth and final sewing project of 2014, and, thus the odyssey. The result is pictured here!

It’s the “Rae” skirt from Sewaholic Patterns, which I purchased through Fancy Tiger Crafts (for the win, Fancy Tiger also carries yardage of my new Revelry line of fabric and has an awesome array of patterns and fabric). For this skirt I used African fabric that I purchased over the summer at a local fabric shop in Oakland.


I made the “B” view skirt, which is a bit fuller than “A” and shorter than “C”. The directions for making the skirt were really well written and easy to understand. This pattern is great for someone just learning how to sew. All you need is fabric, 1 inch elastic, thread, a machine and basic sewing skills (and the pattern, of course)! Here’s a close-up of the skirt.


Tomorrow I’ll be back with a recap of my year long “odyssey” and how I did meeting my goal of consuming less. Stay tuned!

Happy Monday!


Recent Interviews


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Friends, I’ve done several interviews lately and wanted to share the links with you in case you are the interview-reading kind!

+First, this interview out today from the magazine Dirty Laundry — all about starting in the art world late in life, imposter syndrome, self promotion, illustration vs. fine art and other nuggets.

+Next up, this interview with Stephanie Reagan for her series Material Studies (Stephanie started this series recently and already has several great artist interviews up on her site).

+Recently Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media posted this interview with me about the role of social media in promoting my work and on my art career in general.

+Here’s an interview I did with Mohawk Paper about PERCEPTION.

+I already linked to it in this post last week on Rejection & Criticism, but here’s my interview with Susan Muldar for her series The Rejection Chronicles.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Happy Tuesday!



My Doodling Manifesto


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Earlier this year I designed this Doodling Manifesto and I realized the other day I had never shared here on the blog! If you’ve taken my line drawing class with Creativebug, you’ve probably heard me talk about some of these principles.

1) In doodling, there are no rules. We all have that voice in our head that says, on occasion, “you should be doing it this way.” And when we doodle, it’s important to tell those voices to shut up. Rules play a really important role in some forms of art making: how to hold your brush, what materials to use, how to create a lush background, on and on. But in doodling, you get to draw whatever you want however you want. And, furthermore, no one but you ever has to see what you doodle. So you have all the freedom.

2) Carry pens and paper with you everywhere. This is important because you never know when the opportunity (or inspiration) will strike. In line at the bank? The waiting room at the doctor? Make your down time (even the boring stuff) less boring with doodles.

3) Make time to doodle every day. Even if you only doodle for a few minutes a day, free form drawing can loosen up your creative juju and even help you process other more difficult stuff, like working through creative blocks or thinking about solutions to life’s problems.

4) Think of everything as lines and circles. You don’t have to “know how to draw” to doodle. Make shapes! Create lines! And if you do want to draw flowers or people or buildings, think of them more abstractly as a collection of lines and circles.

5) You are the boss of your art. You get to draw what inspires you. You get to draw what you want to draw, even if it’s the same stuff you always draw. If you keep a sketchbook to doodle (which I highly recommend), your sketchbook (unless you choose to share it) is your own private place that no one else ever has to see.

6) Imperfection rules. Do you know that Japanese term Wabi Sabi? It translates to something like “beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” The idea here is that it is actually the “imperfections” that make something beautiful or interesting. What I often describe as “wonkiness” in art is to me what makes something really cool or different. Embrace imperfection in your doodling.

7) Doodling is art (end of story). Many of the large abstract paintings I make in my studio and sell to clients begin as doodles in pen in my sketchbook. Many of the repeat patterns I create that adorn fabric began as doodles in my sketchbook. Doodling itself, even if it’s never translated to things like canvas or surface design, is art. Every great artist doodles and every great doodler is an artist.

8) Black and white are beautiful colors. While I do use colored pens and watercolor paints in my sketchbook when I doodle, my favorite tools are black Micron pens and white paper. I encourage you to embrace the simplicity of using just one color (even if it’s not black) and even if it’s just every now and again. When you draw in black on white you will find great beauty in the monotony.

9) Negative space is as important as positive space. Whenever I teach line drawing, I remind my students that it’s important to pay attention not just to the marks you are making on the page (the positive space), but also to the white (negative) space that surrounds it. Composition is made up of negative and positive space and how they interact together, so ponder both as you doodle.

10) Everything you draw (even the stuff you don’t like) is part of your journey. It’s important to remember that even when you want to rip something out of your sketchbook because it is SO UGLY (and even if you do, and you can), the exercise of “making mistakes” or pushing something on the page too far when you should have just left it alone (sound familiar?) is all part of the journey of making art (regardless if you are a doodler or a professional artist). We learn & grow from those experiences. It’s important to learn to embrace the ugly, the mistakes, the “that looked so good until I added that color” moments. It’s all part of your path.

Have a happy Thursday, friends!


2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #7



This past Friday I worked on my seventh garment sewing project of the year: a tunic made from some beautiful Nani Iro double gauze, which has been hanging around in my fabric stash since I purchased it earlier this summer. For this tunic, I used the same pattern that I used to make this dress, except kept the hem a bit shorter. [For those of you who are new to my blog, I started sewing my own clothes this past January. You can see all of sewing projects from the year here.]

To give this tunic a special pop, I used some neon pink bias tape for the neckline (also something I bought earlier this summer that I have been dying to use). I also recently purchased a serger, which I used to finish off all the interior edges of the dress (a very satisfying exersize, I might add!).

When I first started sewing clothes in January, I had no idea how much I didn’t know about garment sewing, and how different it is from quilting, the only other kind of machine sewing I’d ever done. Since then,  I have been working on refining my sewing skills every time I make a new garment. The first few pieces I made were humbling and frustrating, and I realized I needed to dig in my heals and learn some things, especially if I was going to make anything that I would feel proud to wear regularly. So I read a few books, took some classes and had lessons from my friend Sonya. And I finally feel like I am getting the hang of it, though I have so much more practicing to do, especially because I want to advance to more complicated patterns and techniques.


This particular tunic is a very simple shape, just four pieces to construct. I know I will be using this pattern over and over again! It’s very flexible and easy to wear. My friend, pattern designer Sonya Philip, designed this pattern especially for me, but you can purchase very similar patterns of hers here.


Have a great Monday and happy sewing!


2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #6



This past Friday I ventured over to my friend Sonya Philip’s sewing studio in San Francisco to make a dress. You may remember that I am working hard this year to not purchase new clothing. My goal is to either sew for myself or buy vintage (for the most part I’ve been successful at this, except for buying a few pairs of pants and one new dress). You can see all of my 2014 sewing projects here.

I have realized the more I sew that I actually have no idea what I am doing half the time! So I’ve decided to take classes and learn as much as possible about sewing techniques. My friend Sonya is a sewing master, and I arranged two one-on-one classes with her. I had my first on Friday, and she guided me as I made the dress pictured above. I learned how to make a proper neckline with bias tape and also got to finish the edges with her serger (and promptly bought a serger of my own — they are magical).

You may also remember that last month I took a block printing class and printed the linen pictured below, which we used to make the dress.


It felt a little scary to cut up this linen that I spent hours printing, but I am so pleased with the result! The back of the dress is plain grey (we used the remaining fabric that I did not print for the back).

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for awhile you may remember that Sonya made me this dress back in 2012 as part of her 100 Acts of Sewing Project. Since I love this dress so much (and wear it all the time), we used the same pattern (designed specially for me by Sonya) to make the block printed dress this past Friday.


I plan to make another of this same dress next week out of some Nani Iro Japanese double gauze fabric I bought recently. Stay tuned for that. I’m on a sewing roll again.

Have a great Tuesday, friends.


New Podcast :: While She Naps



I’m so excited today to be featured with my agent Lilla Rogers on Abby Glassenberg’s awesome podcast series! We talk about working together (Lilla has been my illustration agent since 2008), our books, and making a living as an artist. You can listen to the podcast here.


Tomorrow Art Inc is released! I’ll be back first thing in the morning announcing the blog tour for the book! Stay tuned!

And happy Monday.