A little reminder to myself

As a little reminder to myself I thought I’d share with you my intentions and goals for my blog. I always find that if I share publicly it make me more accountable :-)

  1. Showcasing My Art and Process ::  Sharing new projects and collections I’m working on as well as documenting my process.
  2. An Honest Account of My Creative Journey :: Talk about my triumphs as well as my challenges. The roadblocks that I face, both self inflected and external.
  3. Connecting :: I want to  connect with other creative on a level that makes them feel like they know me.
  4. Staying Positive & Motivated ::  Keeping a positive attitude and snuffing out the self-doubt and fear. Staying motivated and on track. Being kind to myself as well as others.
  5. Learning, Sharing & Creating a Community :: Being an artist can sometime be a lonely and isolating path. I know I need a support network and community to keep me connected and growing. And  I strongly believe others seek this too. I’d like to get to know new people and be able to share their points of view.

Above all I know I need to be …investing my time and life energy into doing work that’s fulfilling and I need to stop wasting my time on things that suck me dry and in the end really don’t matter.


Sketchbook Stories :: Bari Ackerman

Bari is a fabric, sewing pattern, surface designer, mom and owner of her own self-named brand Bari J. (And just in case you’re wondering what the “J” stands for. It’s her middle name Jill.)

Bari is all about putting her self “out there” and welcoming in all the possibilities even if it means that she stumbles a couple of times. Bari a self-taught fabric designer, which she explains means that she:

A. Learns things the hard way

B. Is ridiculously stubborn

Bari’s romantic fabrics have been featured in the likes of Romantic Homes, Quilts and More, and Belle Armoire. Her first book Inspired to Sew, which is packed with all of her favorite kinds of sewing projects is out in stores now!!

Here is Bari’s Sketchbook Story ::

BA: Hello Blu Penny readers. I’m so excited to be here for a visit. My sketchbook story may be a little different from what you are used to seeing over here. That’s because I don’t sketch most of my work on actual paper. Usually, I open Photoshop, choose a brush and sketch using my Wacom graphics tablet and pen. I don’t have a fancy shmancy one (although I’d like one). I have the Bamboo which works just fine for me. 

BA: This is a design that eventually became a fabric for my first line of licensed fabric, Full Bloom. It was inspired by a morning hike by a creek. What I had actually seen on the hike was a bird on a cattail. But in my brain I was already turning it into pussy willows.

BA: It soon became a group of pussy willows:

BA: And then it was a repeat:

BA: And here it is on fabric:

BA: This is another design I did in Photoshop. It was for my next fabric line, Art Journal. Here I was playing with watercolor brushes.

BA: You can see as I turned it into a repeat, added a color background and reduced colors for printing purposes that the design took on a bit of a different look.

BA: And here it is on fabric with a white background:

BA: As you can see, I also do sewing pattern designs, and often I do applique work. This design came from a set of paper dolls that I had drawn for no particular reason except that I felt like it. I realized pretty quickly it would make a cute applique. I simply put the drawing on a light box and traced the various parts which were then made into a pattern for applique.

Check out Bari’s embroidery stitch class video at the ctpublishing digital lounge ::

Here’s where you can find Bari ::
blog :: www.barij.typepad.com/
shop :: www.barijonline.com
twitter :: @barij

Gearing Up!!


Kicking it into High Gear!!! The time is ticking away and according to my handy dandy counter, there are only 47 more days until Surtex!!! And boy, is that time going to slip quickly thru my fingers.


 There is still so much I need to do, but  thank heavens a lot less then there was this time last year. And I’ll have more time to do it. So, I’m not in panic mode just yet :-) I’m planning on revealing 5-6 new collections and I’m partly or almost done with most of them. So fingers crossed that I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew and that it will all get done!!


I’m also excited that this year I’ll be hosting The Sweet Spot with Megan Halsey at the intersection of booths # 627 & 630 daily at 1pm. If you’re at the show stop on by and enjoy a cupcake, good art, good conversation and a chance to win some prizes!! Megan and I will be giving away some of our products including a flip camera, an autographed children’s book, mugs, magnets, signed prints and skins for your iphone and laptop!


…And if you’d like to schedule an appointment to view my work please contact my assistant Myleen Obando and she will work with you to reserve a time slot. (Gosh, I’m soooo glad that I have a ton of help planning this year!! I don’t know how I managed to do it all by myself last year!!)



Delighted to be included :: Confessions of MORE first timers



I was delighted to be asked to be included in Khristian’s Confessions of MORE first timers!!


And I wanted to share with you my My top 5 Learnings  from exhibiting at Surtex for the first time last year:

  1. Matte prints work best with the supplied spot lighting- I had printed photographic satin prints and they were catching some big glares from the spot lights. This year I will definitely be doing matte prints.
  2. Be friendly with your security guard, but not too friendly, as you don’t want him hovering around your booth during show hours.
  3. Shipping freight is mysterious and expensive. I shipped all of my supplies last year and won’t be doing that again. This year I’m going to try to bring as much as I can with me to avoid the expensive shipping costs. But if you find that you absolutely have to ship make sure you have your Bill of Lading. 
  4. For your display focus on the things that will give you the biggest return. <–That’s me wearing my business hat. Usually, I’m wearing my artist hat where aesthetic, style and craft trumps all else. This year I’m planning on being a bit more cost conscious and I’m planning on sticking to my budget. It can be done thrifty and still done well.
  5. Surprisingly I found that I didn’t need as many postcards as i thought I would, but needed more packing tape than I had.

+2 logistical learnings:

  1. Have “busy” work, for those slow time.  Something you can easily drop if  you need to, like putting together sample packets.
  2. Appointment, Appointments, Appointments!!!  Last year my booth was across from an Artist Rep. and they had an appointment scheduled every 1/2 hour. The clients just rotated in and out. Book as many appointments as you can.

If you’re a first time you are soooo going to want to get your hands on all the amazing tips that Khristian shares including over 40 pages of confessions from some super talented contributors on everything from tools for mapping out cost to the power of presentation. All this info. is totally worth way more than 30 bucks it cost to download!! 

Khristian, Thanks so much for including me!! :-)

Sketchbook Stories :: Kimberly Schwede

I met Kim at one of the first Eastbay Art Licensing Group meetings. But we really got to know each other and bond a couple years back, while we were both working on a project for Americhip.  Kim’s professional career has led her to do everything from custom logos to designing marketing materials for real estate companies, but her real strengths lie in her sweet and sentimental illustrations. Kim has a girly girl style that is super cute and ultra feminine. She has worked for companies such as American Girl, Swatch, and Klutz and is also co-owner of CosmicBebe.com. A gift company that offers personalized children’s products from stationery to lunch boxes and placemats. If you have a kiddo you should totally check it out.

Here is Kimberly’s Sketchbook Story ::

KS: I don’t really do a lot of pencil sketches and the ones I’ve done in the  past I just toss afterwards. Most of the time I just start drawing on the computer in Illustrator with the pencil or pen tool. 

KS: I did have some scanned sketches though for the “All Things Green” promo postcard. Inspiration was all things eco friendly and I still would like to illustrate a series of different color postcards.

KS: My process is googling what ever object I want to draw so I have reference of how to draw it, then I draw it, scan it and save the file as a transparent bitmap file in Photoshop which I place into Illustrator. I then (gasp ;)) use the mouse to draw shapes of color to fit inside. I bought a Wacom tablet a year ago and never even use it. I really like the hand drawn look and find its just too hard to mimic sometimes even with all the fancy brush options in Illustrator.

KS: Inspiration wise I love to go back to my travel photos for reference although I don’t do it enough! Lots of ideas that never come into fruition. 


KS: Take “Bali Bunny”, just love this little guy and would love to eventually license him. In the meantime I want to draw him doing more things…. flying a kite, holding an umbrella, in different holiday settings etc. This bunny is all digital, none of the bitmap process.

KS: I love looking at online international kids boutiques whether for fashion, stationery or furniture. Fashion magazines are great too.

KS: “Dream” sketch…. tbd ;)

Here’s where you can find Kimberly ::
  website :: www.kimberlyschwede.com
    twitter :: www.twitter.com/kimberlyschwede
facebook :: www.facebook.com/KimberlySchwedeDesign


 So a few years back, when I was a bit down and out a friend of mine turned me on to the Secret. This was way before it hit masses and started to over saturate the market. No matter thou, I still really enjoyed and believe in the thinking behind the Law of Attraction and I always try to be mindful of what I am inviting into my life. It was during this trying time that I eagerly signed up for their Secret Scrolls messages of inspiration that still periodically show up in my inbox.


And today I wanted to share with you this week’s Secret Scroll:

“When things change in our life, often we have resistance to the change. But if you understand the structure of the Universe, life, and creation, then you will understand that life is change, and nothing ever stands still. Everything is energy, and energy is in continual motion and change. If energy stood still you would be gone, and there would be no life. Change is always happening for the good of you and for everyone. It is the evolution of life.”

It’s serendipitous, or perhaps just the Law of Attraction at work, since this message has showed up at a time where big changes are on my horizon and I am welcoming it with open arms!

Creative Tattoos!!

So umm, I have this botched tattoo on my stomach, right above my belly button, that I got when I was 16 years old and obviously not thinking about having kids, that I desperately want to get removed someday. Definitely, no bikini for me at the beach. But, if I were EVER to get another tattoo this is the lady that I would want to do it!!

Aren’t these just beautiful!!!