Thursday, May 28, 2015

Baby Quilts for Cool Babies

Ok, you can't leave a blog to die with the last post being a dead cat post.

So here is a new one.

I recently made a baby quilt. I have made quilts before. I have made baby quilts before too. So I almost, almost know what I am doing...kinda.

baby quilt by blacklilypie

So I had a bunch of fabrics already, and I kind of wanted to do something not too cutesy...I thought lightning bolts would be a good idea. I searched Pinterest to see if there was anything that would catch my eye and right away I saw a pattern that I liked. Why try and figure out something if someone (who actually knows how to quilt) has already done it...

Soo much easier than figuring it out myself. Instant download and I am on my way. Please buy it if you decide to make a quilt like this. Be cool.

I decided to only do one big lightning bolt block, then add some kinda modified triangles without the lightning bolt around it. The rest is just solid black quilting cotton pieces. It was pretty easy, the only thing that was challenging was keeping the patchwork patterns from touching each other.
I had originally thought I would add more red to other parts of the quilt, but I liked just the pop of colour in the centre. I can never stray too far from my black and white lifestyle! I ended up just using a black and white fabric for the binding.

Its backed in a pretty bad-arse (for a baby) flannelette with drum kits and skulls and stuff. I know from experience that having a back that has a busy pattern can hide a LOT of flaws and generally make your life a billion times easier and better.  I just bought all these fabrics at my local Fabricland.

I did some quilting with red thread around the outside. I had intended to do a bolder, fatter red, but didn't have a needle to fit it for my sewing machine. Oh well.

Oh and here is a pic for scale.
See, its baby size. I think this is after washing it, which I always do to make it all rumpled up and vintage-y looking. I also took pics of it in case it got lost in the mail, which I had nightmares about.

The only major fail I had with this quilt is using Warm and Natural quilt batting, which is nice and all but fibres from it started coming through the quilt top. Its called "bearding" and you can't really fix it unless you take the quilt apart. I usually avoid this problem on my toys and dolls by adding a layer of thin interfacing on the back of the fabric. Fixes it perfectly, but I didn't think of it. UGH.

So yay a non-cutesy little wild-child baby quilt.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Goodbye Rocko the Cat

This is a sad post. You will need to hug an animal after reading it. Or a cake if an animal isn't available.

Rocko the Cat is gone.

My cat life partner had to be put to sleep this past weekend. He was 13 and some, and he had some ongoing health problems, but on Friday his little body stopped working correctly. He went to the cat hospital but it turned out he wouldn't recover.

So I am super crazy sad, and its so quiet in the studio. This little guy was my 24/7 companion for almost all of my adult life and its going to take some getting used to to not have his annoying, but sweet fat face around. Rocko has always been heavily featured on my blogs over the years. I thought one final post for him would make me feel better.

Baby Rocko. Ok, maybe teen Rocko. I think its 2001 or so. Ugh so small. 
He was SO NAUGHTY and a bit wild in his youth. He wrecked things a lot. Chewed expensive things, scratched stuff. He also slept in drawers and would get fur on ALLL the black things.
Always so helpful when you are trying to work.  I have hundreds of photos of him in my studio, hanging out while I work.

He liked both of us for different reasons. Nathan was the soft touch who spoiled him. Rocko craved the particular petting and baby talk Nathan gave, and I could not replicate. It made him purr like nothing else.  
I was the one who gave him constant attention, he follwed me from room to room and slept on me. I think I was his cat wife.
He got fatter and fatter as time went on. He is a big cat to begin with, but he did love to eat. His face got very round. All of him got very round. 
This beige/grey fade on his foot is his best feature. Its lovely.

Here are some glamour shots of him. Fancy cat. Like all cats he doesn't like to pose. I just took SO MANY photos of him that I have dozens of very pretty headshots if he decided to become a cat actor.
This one is film.

This looks like a stock photo. haha. 

He lived in 3 different apartments with me. Was there through all of university, dull jobs afterwards, my working at home days...I have never really lived in a house without a cat. I mean, who do you even talk to?? People???

Here is one of the last clear shots I have of him. Taken with the iPad. He also lasted through film cameras, shitty 1.8MP digital cameras, flip phone camera, iPhone camera, all the way through to iPad. :-)
Just chillin' on the couch, being handsome.

And the last one isn't as pretty, but it really sums up how he changed in his final years. He was snugglier and sweeter then ever. Started to get very strict cuddling routines. He talked constantly in the tiniest squeaks and chirps and was generally attached to me all day every day.  Even though he had started to get sick and I often had to manhandle him, give him medicine, bath him...he never ever got upset at me. Near the end he took up A LOT of my time. He would get confused and have to be steered to do things, but he repaid with so much cuteness that it was ok.

This was a sunday morning, before breakfast. We would spend quality cuddling time for a few hours by ourselves. It was one of my favourite times of the week.
Bye little bud.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lets wreck some something!

My partner just up and exclaimed that our nightstands were friggan' ugly. I kind of agreed. They are standard ikea ones, a kinda greyish white striated finished laminate. They had also seem better days. 

Why did we even buy them??! 
We hate them now. 
SO lets wreck them!!

before Ikea nightstands DIY by
 Ugh, so boring. The laminate is peeling a bit from those bottom cut outs too. I peeled off any edges of laminate that were sticking out, glued and filled the edges then sanded them. Then I  took off the doors and the little shelf.

Painting Ikea nightstands DIY by
The internet is like "Oh use chalk paint, its the best" I TRUSTED YOU INTERNET. Ok, I am sure chalk paint is great when you get the right materials, but my DIY plaster/paint mix was chunky AND translucent and pretty much garbage. But we are WRECKING these things, so no matter, just try and make it pretty smooth, and do a few coats and it will alllll work out...

Painting spatters on Ikea nightstands DIY by
Oh, did you like that subtle, chalky finish? That is great but ohmygosh so dull. Lets wreck it more by dripping black inky paint on it. Also use a straw, dip it in paint then blow forcefully through it to get amazing spatters. Let each side dry before moving it.

Painting clear coat on Ikea nightstands DIY by

Hey, that is pretty neat actually.
Ok, now once it is all dry you have to clear coat it. I used a satin polycrylic with a pretty small brush. Do a few coats (let each one dry) especially on the top where it will get wear.

Final painted Ikea nightstands DIY by
Ok, they are pretty weird.
But they are SO MUCH BETTER than the boring ikea grey joykillers. I didn't even have to change the knobs like I thought I would, because they disappear. YAY.

Final chalk painted Ikea nightstands DIY by

Now we can relax. 

If you are thinking of trying questionable projects, you can't beat using an old Ikea piece as a starting point. Literally every step of this was a disaster, but I pressed on and the end product is super neat! 

The nightstand update is literally the first thing I did to my standard beige rental bedroom. Better find some more stuff to DIY/wreck...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sometimes Screwups

Sometimes screw ups happen.

I just completed a design called Skull Feels. Nine skulls with different expressions, pretty straightforward right? NOPE.

Sometimes it takes a while to get to where you want to be. This design had some screw ups, which I worked on, and I think it came out good in the end.

Here is an example of the final products I made with this design.
See it all turned out ok.  The background of these items (except for t-shirts) have a faint bones pattern that you can see up close. These things are available at my Redbubble shop. You can see bigger and clearer images of A TON of items I put this design on.

Ok, so lets get to the screw ups parts of this post. (Under the cut)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Real Life Test Drive

I rarely, rarely keep anything I make.

Other than original paintings, I basically sell everything I make. Or at least try to, har har.  So now that I have branched out into the world of print on demand it is SO SWEET because I can actually have some shit for myself!

blacklilypie wearing regular day tshirt by society6 grumpy tshirt

Yesss. Getting shirts (and bags) and other junk from Society6 or Redbubble or Spoonflower is AMAZING. 

Regular Day and Stay Back t-shirt from blacklilypie and Society6

I got these two from Society6, and they are pretty great. The "Regular Day" grumpy dude is a tri-blend black, fitted women's tee by American Apparel, and the "Stay Back" Batcat is a regular black women's fitted tee. You can get them in a ton of colours, and in different styles of apparel too. I have always thought American Apparel's sizes were tiny, its wise to get a size up, or if you have boobs...don't have boobs. Also the tri-blend seemed to be a bit smaller than then regular black tee. Looks fancy though! 

Society6 sometimes has free shipping worldwide too, so if you follow them on social media (or artists who use them, LIKE ME) its a great way to get cheaper goodies.

The colours came out pretty true. Its always a toss up when you get something printed, the colours never look the same onscreen and in person.

Here is one without the fancy Hipstamatic filters. Not too bad, maybe the design is a bit lower on the body, but pretty darn close. Tee held up to washing too, which is kinda a big deal.

I got a bag from S6 a while ago and it is super great. I was thrilled with it.

Good quality, universal message. Good for grocery shoppin'.

So far, I have only had good experiences with the stuff I test. I always check out pics that other people send me when they order my stuff. (WHICH I LOVE!) but there is nothing better than getting your mitts on the real thing and seeing how it holds up to harsh treatment. I am planning on slowly replacing all my wardrobe and household items with junk with batcat or grumpy boy faces on them. Slowly but surely...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fabric from Spoonflower

I made a ton of fabric designs from my art a while ago, then promptly uploaded them all to Spoonflower and forgot about them....heheheh. Ok, I got my act together,  and ordered a set of swatches, and it just came in!
Spoonflower fabric swatches by blacklilypie (

Spoonflower is a site that lets you design fabric, and then they print it for you. They have a ton of different options of fabric to choose from, plus they print wallpaper, gift wrap and those neat wall decals your mother-in-law buys. You can buy your own designs, or just buy from other designers. Its a community as well, lots of design inspiration. Lots of amazing stuff to be found. Here are the designs I have available right now...

Spoonflower shopfront grab by blacklilypie (

When you upload a design to spoonflower, before you can buy it (or sell it to others), you have to get a swatch. Which makes a lot of sense because a lot can go wrong with something like this. Its good to have a real life test print, to check out the colours as they are never quite the same on fabric as they are on screen. I mean, that goes for ALL printing. I test print everything.

So here are some images of the swatches. 
Spoonflower swatch kona cotton closeup by blacklilypie (

Spoonflower swatch kona cotton closeup "bring my tea" by blacklilypie (
They came out great! The printing is super crisp! Tiny details are clear. The colour ones look awesome! I actually did a lot of black and white, but seeing the colour swatches, I might make more colour patterns in the future.
Spoonflower swatch kona cotton closeup by blacklilypie (
I chose a Kona cotton for my swatches, which is at the cheap and cheerful end of the fabric selection they print. I think this would be great for lining purses or pouches, quilting, or other projects that you don't want bulkiness.

Spoonflower swatch kona cotton closeup by blacklilypie (

Spoonflower swatch kona cotton repeating pattern (

I am happy with my swatches, I will definitely be ordering some yards of fabric in a few of these designs. I didn't take photos of all of them, I swatched 15 designs, and a few didn't make the cut, not because of quality, but because I thought the design could use some work. My absolute favourite is THIS ONE.

Now I can get to it, making TONS AND TONS more patterns. I have plans to do a bunch of stuffed dolls and such with my fabric incorporated, and it is going to be super fun.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Canada Day

It was Canada Day weekend, and my parents came to visit.
And of course a bloody HEAT WAVE struck. Like, a terrible, horrible sweaty muggy heatwave, had the nerve to during their trip.

We went to to see the DorĂ© exhibit at The National Gallery of Canada. Which was interesting, but mildly disappointing personally because I had confused him with another artist in my mind. Like getting chocolate when you wanted vanilla really. You can't ever really complain about seeing AMAZING art. In my opinion DorĂ©'s best work is this:
Puss in Boots by Gustav Dore
SO CUTE. Like the angels and demons are cool and all but awwwwww.

So mostly we spent the weekend eating, sweating then eating again. I don't get to see my parents very often, we mostly just wanted to hang out so we could compare what british shows we have watched. (My mom didn't like SHERLOCKKKKK! *internaly weeping and judging*)
blacklilypie and cute parents laughing at the beach

We did do some Canadian stuff. We touched beach, saw people doing extreme water sports things.

blacklilypie and cute parents laughing at the beach
We bought beer, saw lakes and trees and ugly tent caterpillars.

But maybe the best part was when it was too hot to do anything, we just got in the car and drove, and ended up on the top of Champlain Lookout in Gatineau Park, we got there as a storm was blowing past and it was crazy neat.
Storm at Champlain Lookout Gatineau Park
Seriously cool. There was a tornado somewhere in the area that wrecked a bunch of things, we found out later. 

All the pics and driving were done by Nathan, who I told I would credit for his hard work because its not cool to steal content. haha. Plus he is better at taking pictures. All the ones I took of this amazing storm are pathetic.

My parents slept in my cramped studio with all my prettyboy Supernatural pin ups and half finished projects. They never, ever complain, and they always buy extra ice cream "JUST IN CASE." :-) Ugh so cute.

But this blog post is the final step before getting back to work, so I am trying to drag it out for as long as possible..................