design*sponge book signing

Photo by Blair Sneddon Photography

At the begining of the month, I attended Grace’s Design*Sponge Books Signing at the Anthropology in downtown SF with the lovely Alisha. And of course we just had to pose in front of this awesome wall made of hanging cookies!! (and they were actually pretty tasty!)

After having sometime to sit with her book my favorite spread has to be of P.J Mehaffey & Dylan Hightowers place in Brooklyn. I just love their use of found things, and their globes collection!! (Lately I have a thing for all things mapped.)  I also really love that they have a locker in their living room. I’ve been dying to get a set of 3 for my entryway, ya know one for each member of my family, but just haven’t found the right ones yet. AND I just love this desk and HUGE inspiration board that sits behind it!! So many ideas for when I start to redecorate my creative space.

ALL Paid OFF!! :-)

WHOA!!! I never thought this day would come and it ONLY took me 13 years to completely pay off my college education!! Crazy, right!? So was it worth it? I’m still not sure I can fully evaluate that. I mean I know I wasn’t ready for the “real world” right after high school, so college was a good next step, but could I have gotten to where I am today with out going? Maybe, maybe not. I guess I just have to chuck it up to an experience that I’m glad I had and one that I am super excited to have finally paid off!!!

Sketchbook Story :: Phyllis Dobbs

I met Phyllis for the first time in person at this year’s Surtex show and I was delighted when she agreed to do a Sketchbook Story. Phyllis has been in the business for years, 24 to be exact. She started out by designing counted cross stitch based on her sketches and art. Since then Phyllis has moved on to designing quilts and quilting fabric as well. It was a natural transition and married her love of art, textiles and family ancestry.

Throughout her career Phyllis has designed over 2000 designs and patterns for the likes of just about everything –books, magazines, kits, fabric, gift and garden products, home decor, table runners, place mats, pillows, aprons, you name it. In 2003, Phyllis was awarded the prestigious Plaid New Horizons Award, which in case you didn’t know is a really BIG Deal! And recently she just finished up a new quilt book that will be due out early next year.

Here is Phyllis’ Sketchbook Story ::

PD: My sister-in-law Lyn rescues animals she finds in distress. She found KittyKat coming out of some woods when he was small. I met him a couple months later and it was pure adoration, so I took him home with me. Just watching his antics and haughty moods, inspired me to create an art collection all about these attitudes, resulting in “Meow Meow” a collection of 10 cats. Just drawing these kept me in stitches, the laughing kind.

PD: My art is inspired by everyday things in my life from florals and garden, pets and animals, inspiration and holidays. Everything I sketch and paint has a touch of whimsy. That’s just me! I love humor and am frequently told by people I meet that my art makes them smile. That, to me, is the best compliment I can receive.  


PD: I start with a mental image of what I want to create, then work with a sketch to get get the personality or flavor I want to give the image. When I’m satisfied, I go over it with a marker, scan it into my computer and use Adobe Illustrator to redraw the lines to add detail and give me a smooth vector line.  

PD: I used to paint everything by hand, then scan it to create the outline in Illustrator. But because so many companies want the art in digital format and on layers, I now paint my sketches in Photoshop. When I wet paint, I love to use gouache, acrylic and markers. I worked it into a fabric collection for the fabric company I license to, Quilting Treasures. (Just to let you know, to be fair, I later created another art and fabric collection “Its a Dog’s Life”.) When my fabrics come out, I like to create patterns to go with them. With “Meow Meow” I created an apron and tote bag with the free patterns available on my blog. The Chick Power garden flag for Evergreen was painted by hand starting with a pencil sketch. 


PD: I wasn’t born with a needle or paintbrush in my hand, but that came soon after. I swallowed a needle when I was a toddler, so I must have been attempting needlework at a very early age. And I remember my first grade teacher scolding me for drawing on my assignment after I had finished. I didn’t let all that discourage me and continued stitching and drawing from then on, just not on school work. 

PD: I love to experiment and am working in some mixed media techniques, combining both textiles and paint and anything else that fits in. My studio is filled with all sorts of things I have saved and collected. I’m looking forward to some exciting results. I have new fabrics being launched next year as well as several collections of kitchen textiles and stationery. My garden flags are with Evergreen.


Here’s where you can find Phyllis ::

   website ::

        blog ::

 facebook :: 

 LinkedIn ::

    twitter ::!/phyllisdobbs

    zazzale ::

product mockup templates for artists ::

share out :: 25 ways to tie a scarf

With the cooler whether approaching a scarf is totally my go to winter accessory, and what a great way to switch things up by tying it this way and that :-) This is a super cute video of Wendy teaching you how. I mean every one should know how to do The Infinity and The Turtleneck. But there were also quite a few NEW ways of tying that I definitely want to put into rotation. So don’t be surprised if you see me sporting The Bunny Ear, The Waterfall or The Braid.

 p.s. And if you want to see the behind of scenes of how Wendy created the viedo check here


Happy 1 Year! –what’s in a name

It’s been a year now since I first took Holly’s Blogging Your Way ecourse and it’s pretty much changed my “online” life :-) It’s was during her class where I was able to refocus and relaunch my blog (and I was also lucky enough to make some really good friends along the way) Her class has been instrumental in changing the way I communicate and relate to my community, and I’m happy to say that I’m still blogging strong!!

I’m often get asked how I came up with the name Blu Penny, and why there’s no “e” in Blu. Well here are my two namesakes and I think they pretty much explains it all!

Blu Penny is named after my two lovelies. Penny my ‘first born’ boston terrier and Ava Blu.

And as you would suspect, Ava Blu has some meaning behind her name too. The first gift her father gave to me was a pair of earing from James Avery, so I pretty much had the name Avery picked out for a boy right from the beginning. When we found out she was a girl we decided to go with the more feminine, closely related Ava. The second part of her first name, Blu, is named after our wedding color. I dropped the “e” in Blue because as a visual person I needed her name to be balanced and symmetrical. Yes, totally my artsy geekyness coming through. When people (mainly adults), first meet Ava Blu they often try to shorten her first name to just Ava or assume that Blu is her middle name. But Ava Blu is in fact her first name. She has two first names, just like her mama. A bond that I feel really strongly about. Ava Blu may have to correct folks for the rest of her life, but I can guarantee you that once they get it they won’t forget her :-)

So Blu Penny is named after and embodies all that I love, both in life and creatively!!


Sketchbook Story :: Laura Dro


Laura and I were neighbors at Surtex this year and it was a joy to be next to her. She has a rich background of working as an Art Consultant, Art Teacher, and Art Director. Laura first became interested in textile design when she started freelance designing wedding invitations and one year later, she launched her company.

Here is Laura Dro’s Story ::

LD: I am still so new and have so much to learn about this business. So, as a first time exhibitor at Surtex this past year, Cindy Ann was my neighbor and I was so lucky to be in the position to meet her and the other girls in our nook! Everyone was so nice and it was an experience I will never regret. I dove right into the art licensing world, I guess you could say that Surtex was my debut!

LD: Unique color palettes are what inspire me and are what motivate me to start something. I love fresh, vibrant and unique color palettes with simple, but artistic designs. 


LD: My main process is first sketching until I discover something that excites me. Next, depending on the feel of the sketch, I will either use watercolors to recreate it or scan the sketch into Illustrator or Photoshop. 


LD: My paintings usually come from having several pages of good sketches that I try to combine into one. I try to use similar elements through out my artwork to make it cohesive. I go through so many sketchbooks and I wouldn’t dare throw them away! I’m also an avid “clipper” of pictures from home design magazines; they always have color schemes that are so creative.

LD: I have several exciting opportunities that are developing from my contacts I met at Surtex. I can’t wait until it’s all official and I can spread the word about my new products. For all the artists out there thinking of getting involved in licensing, my advice is be patient, have several other jobs on the side, and keep creating, it will pay off eventually!

Here’s where you can find Laura ::

website ::

on my desk :: The Witch is IN

It’s been an ALL Halloween weekend!! Both in Art and Real Life :-)

Saturday I took Ava Blu and her BFF to the Harvest Festival at Ardenwood. There was Horse-drawn train rides, Cider Pressing, Corn Picking, Corn Husk Doll Making, a Pumpkin Patch, Ice Cream Making. Lets just say there was a ton of stuff to do.The best part had to have been running through the corn fields picking our own corn!! Each girl went home with a shopping bag full of popping corn (that you can actually POP!) and indian corn.

We spent the entire day there and I couldn’t believe that these little girls still had energy to spare. I was exhausted by the end but we had so much fun!! If you live in the bay area you should definitely check out this historical park.

lil’ birdies

So do you remember when I was drawing all of those birds. Well here’s what came out of all of those drawings. I think they came out super cute. What do you think?

Do a lot of work

A friend of a friend shared this on Facebook last week and it really struck a cord with me and so many other creatives that I just had to share it here.

And of coures, I had to take a step further and did a search to see if I could find a video of Ira actually saying this quote. So here it is:

I love the hard core truth of it all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set out to create something and had this amazing idea of what I wanted “it” to look like in my head. I could see it perfectly but couldn’t get that vision from my head down on paper. It can be quite frustrating, never mind heartbreaking. Thank goodness I don’t get discouraged easily (or when I do at least it’s not for too long).

It’s taken me 35 years and I finally feel like I’m getting closer to getting those images that I see in my head out into the world. Sometimes I get it spot on, sometimes I don’t and have to start over.


The objective is always the same to be able to consistently get the ideas and vision from my head into the physical world. It’s no easy task, but I’m definitely fighting my way through.