You Amaze Me, Graham Francoise

A sad sad songGraham Francoise is a local illustrator and painter here in Austin, Texas. His work is dreamy and introspective, somewhat sad yet filled with hope. His characters are beautiful, innocent, and instantly recognizable. Each painting somehow expresses an entire story, one that immediately compels you to know more; they draw you in. There is a sense of longing there, but they are very peaceful. The frequently muted colors and touches of nature in his works, and of course the tranquil expressions on the characters’ faces, give me a feeling of calm.

A Quiet Place To Be- original

For making such beauty, you amaze me, Graham Fracoise.

Please visit his website and shop to view more of his work :)

Sneak Peek: Bedroom

Interior design is one passion of mine. It’s a way of shaping the space we live in, of giving it a unique character to fit our lifestyles. It’s something I love to create and work on. In that spirit, I think it’s time to share with you our little space in the world.

We moved into this apartment at the end of November. We held our Christmas party two weeks later so that we’d unpack quickly. Well, we managed to unpack (!), but it took another couple weeks to get everything arranged just right, and to decorate with pictures on the walls and such. This month Alex and I have been working on our Style File for our home. We know we won’t be in this apartment forever, so we’re working on a vision of how we want our eventual home to look. Why buy things to fit in a temporary location? So we’re planning basic color palettes, fabrics, textures, and styles for each room.

I think our bedroom is the closest to “done,” although we have several things we still want to amend :) Right now the colors are grays and blues, but we eventually want to move to gray, silver, and a deep purple. We painted the walls a gray-blue color (over the icky taupe that was there) to create a cool, calming space. We have mainly low-profile furniture and a few of our favorite things displayed. This is the hardest place to keep uncluttered!


1. The heart tree painting looks great above our bed; I think it really fills in the space well. Alex will be repainting it soon with the new color theme!

2. We’ll eventually make a new bed (this one’s Ikea) – we’re still in the planning stages. I just made the body pillow (see the DIY here), and I have plans for a quilt.

3. Atop my dresser: Hand-painted tile mirror, jewelry box, cute photo of Alex, origami from a friend’s wedding, and an antique painting from my grandmother’s bedroom.

4. We’re also planning to build nightstands! My must-haves are shown: current books, sketchbook, reading lamp, my Batman alarm clock, and a basket for odds & ends.

Bedroom 2

5. “A is for amazing” print from our BFFs

6. I bought this vintage dresser for $10, then repainted it and added new handles for a fresh look! [What I checked for: the drawers slide smoothly, and no wobbles.]

7. Vintage, tufted, yellow velvet bench I inherited from my nana.

8. Grrr…dinosaurs from my last birthday party stand guard in front of my upcycled planters, which were wine bottles I cleaned for centerpieces at our wedding reception!

9. A little stuffed collection! From left to right: Mr. Polar Bear, Ox, Mr. Bonehead (made by my bestie), Moxie, Ice Bat. We may like Ugly Dolls 😉 In front is the i <3 u pillow I made!

It’s definitely a work-in-progress, but that’s one of the things we love about it. It’s hard to get something perfect when you have strong tastes, a limited budget, and love making things yourself! But in the end, it’s definitely worth it. What’s most important in our bedroom is comfort: soft colors, handmade touches, and some of our favorite things.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peek into our home! I’ll keep them coming so you can see more of my style and what I like to make in my “free” time :)

3 Things Friday

The Good: I got some delicious, deep purple, dupioni silk for some upcoming projects. Ohhh it’s good enough to eat!

Purple Dupioni silk

The Not-so-Good: With the new job, I’m having a hard time fitting in much crafting!

The Great: I got to use a Canon EOS 5D – a digital SLR camera, and it was amazing. After a few photoshoots, I’m really getting the hang of all the manual settings! I may have to become a full-time photographer so I can have one for my very own ;D The photos just turn out so beautifully…

Canon EOS 5D digital SLR Camera

Etsy Crush: Chevron

I love most patterns – plaids, stripes, polka dots, harlequin…you name it. But lately chevron has caught my eye. It’s simple, yet bold, and can be used in so many ways! I’ll take it on floors or walls, as a focus or an accent, in bright colors or in classic black and white. So bring on the eye candy! Click on the any image to go to its listing.

A chevron pattern looks great in rust on a clutch (ao3designs):

Rust chevron stripe with gray ALEXIS Clutch

And in black and white on a dress (I want one!) (TheMeasure):Black and white mod chevron stripe dress, short sleeves

It can be knit in a sweater (ovejanegra):ZIG ZAG hand knit cardigan vest in grey and red

And printed on notebooks (witandwhistle):Jotter - Chevron Stripe

It looks great in fuchsia on a pillow (HoneyPieDesign):Chevron Pillow in Fuchsia

And in purple on a wedding poster (LoveInLetters):Modern Wedding Poster- Guest Book Alternative

I love it in two colors on a serving tray (afabulousfete):Grey and White Chevron Wood Tray

And in three colors on a notecard (DotsandDahlias):Chevron Stripes - Set of 8 Folded Notecards

In blue on a teacup (nevedobson):Chevron Pattern Teacup Modern Art Print 13 x 19 - different colors and sizes available

And in black and white on a teapot (katemariescreations):Chevron Tea Pot Upcycled

I think maybe I need chevron in every color…maybe I’ve found a new look for my living room! Oh yes, I think that would be lovely…

A Knitted Wonderland

Along with a couple hundred other volunteers, I am knitting orange, pink, turquoise, and olive yarn to cover 99 trees in the Blanton Art Museum plaza. The project is coordinated by Magda Sayeg, renowned yarn-bomber/textile artist. The exhibit will open in March for Expolore UT, where tons of little kids get to play on campus and learn all about the University of Texas (my alma mater). It’s going to be so neat to see it all put together! It will really be a knitted wonderland of such happy colors 😀

It grows...All four colorsAnd gets coffeeknit knit knit

Every tree has to be striped with the required colors (although not necessarily all four), and we chose to divide ours up and stripe them however we wish. My stripes are all varying sizes with no color order. I love the randomness! I began knitting my 2.5 foot section for the tree sponsored by Velma, Lisa, and me a couple weeks ago. I was so excited that I’ve already finished….woops! I’m really looking forward to getting together with the girls and knitting our creations onto our tree. Don’t worry, I’ll take lots of photos 😉

And of course I’m already finding other uses for my leftover yarn…;DBright & Colorful Granny Squares

It fits perfectly into my latest brainstorm! Oh, it’ll be great when I can show it all 😀

You Amaze Me, Crochets of the Past

Crochet Magazine

Last week my grandmother-in-law gave to me a bag full of old crochet magazines (1987-1993), in case I found anything I wanted. Who would have guessed that this would spur such an entertaining evening?! You may have seen me tweeting some of the hilarious pictures I found, but I have more to share…oh, so much more…

It started out with this gem that just screams 90s. I left the description so you could read all about the “Fluorescent Fun!”

Neon sweater

I found patterns for children (I wonder if my mom would have made these for us)…

Taxi Sweater for BoysCrayon Sweater for GirlsGame BlanketWhat's with the lobster? <–What’s with the lobster?

And patterns for young adults (Below: “Granny Glamour” and a rockin’ sweater vest!)

Granny GlamourCircle flower sweater vest

Accessories are killer. Such a 90s photo for the headband! But the jean jacket takes the cake. Don’t you want to embellish your own? It’s so easy with doilies, lace from your grandmother, and crochet you can do yourself!

Winter HeadbandJean Jacket

So many projects for trendy crocheters of the 80s and 90s! Thank you for sticking with me through this blast from the past. I hope you’ve found these as amusing as I have! I wonder what crochet/knitting patterns we’ll laugh about 20 years from now… Will cowls be old-fashioned and silly? Of course, I’m already laughing at some current patterns I’ve found…maybe fluorescent sweaters were the crocheted bikini of 1990? 😉

Have you come across any fun vintage patterns? Share in the comments!

Sewing a body pillow

The other “Home Improvements” project I finished last week was a body pillow for our bedroom. I created it to fit into our plan for a cohesive style. I decided to use two fabrics to give it a little extra, and I’m very happy with the result. Though I made a few (fixable) mistakes as I went, it’s one of the few finished products I’ve been able to call perfect.

Body Pillow

Special considerations:

  • Color: I chose silver and grey to fit into our overall palette while contrasting each other enough to express the difference between materials
  • Material: Silk and velvet fit the feel of the room, but they are slightly more difficult to work with. I used a smaller sewing needle and lots of pins.
  • Zipper: Since I want the pillow to last, I included a zipper in the design – this way I can change out the stuffing if it starts to lump, and remove it for cleaning.

Cutting FabricSewing Silk

1. Measure and cut fabric. I used the full width of my velvet, then added enough silk on each end to make it the width of our bed (adding seam allowances).

2. Pin and sew end pieces to middle. I made each silk end piece exactly the same size, then pinned them to the ends of the velvet (right sides facing) and sewed together.

Layout fabricAlign fabric

3. Line up all pieces and trim. I first made this as one large rectangle, then cut it in half (to make the 2 sides) and trimmed each to match up.

4. Pin together. Make sure all your seams are aligned!

Pin ZipperTurn

5. Add the zipper (optional). Design Sponge has a great tutorial here. Put it in a place it won’t be noticed – mine is along the bottom (but not the whole length). Don’t forget to unzip it when you’re done, or turning will be a pain!

6. Pin and sew around. Remember to back-tack! (If you don’t add a zipper, you’d better leave an opening to turn.) Go ahead and trim any bulky seams and clip corners, too.

7. Turn right side out, stuff, zip. (No zipper people: sew the gap closed.) You’re done!

3 Things Friday

What a week this has been! I was offered a new part-time job doing photography and graphic design for an antique dealer (I start Monday :)), I tried to start Couch to 10K, I tried out some new recipes, and brrrr – what a cold front last night! But on to my 3 things.

The good: I’ve been working on a new product line for AJ the Purple. I want to take it in a new direction, and it’s been so fun getting samples together!

The bad: I’ve been fighting a cold this week.

The great! I’ve been working on a Knitta Please project for the Blanton Museum of Art. (The exhibit is in March.) On Wednesday I got together with Velma at my favorite local coffee shop to sip, chat, and knit! It was lots of fun :)

What have you been up to this week?