Jen Spilly Designs
handmade for woman and home

spillymade blog

Handmade for Woman and Home
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Fruits, Veggies & Creative Friendships

Strawberries What a great day! Back in May I was lucky enough to pick up a session on our school auction to draw with fellow parent, Neiley Royston. Neiley is an amazing artist who composes beautifully dreamy illustrations inspired by her weekly meanderings through the Marin County Farmers Market. Today, I had the pleasure of finally taking my little field trip with Neiley, her daughter and a friend to the market, choosing some fresh, art-worthy produce and flowers and heading back to Neiley's home to get to work.

A few hours later I had created a fun collection of my own. Let me be clear... I like to draw and do often with my kids, but I need some serious help. Normally, I don't share my drawing with anyone but my kids, but I've wanted to develop this skill for a long time. Neiley finally gave me the confidence to trust my own instincts and just keep working. As "they" say, "we are our own worst critic" and I certainly look at these little art works and think of many things I would do differently a second time around. However, I am pretty proud of myself. Even if the drawings aren't what I would consider perfect, the process alone and the chance to get to know a fellow creative soul right down the street is worth any fear I might have sharing this work on the internet.

We started with line drawing some fennel...


And then I took a stab at a rather adult looking beech mushroom...

Beech Mushroom

I played with watercolors and still life...

Melon, Cucumber & Purple Pepper

And then a little blended watercolor pencil...


Finally, when I was home, I couldn't resist doing just a little more so I saved a few of the strawberries I bought this morning and...


To top it all off, it actually rained. I mean, like, it really rained... in July!

Neiley & Jen with Market Flowers

Here's to creative friendships, trusting your instincts and rain!

art, friendsJennifer
Surprise, Surprise...

When my friend Terry asked me to make a bag for her, I of course said yes and sent her on her way to peruse fabrics at our local fabric store. I steered her in the direction of Amy Butler because, well, Amy is my current favorite and I knew there was a lot available to see in person.

Well, turns out Amy Butler isn't for everyone because Terry couldn't find one she loved enough to carry around day in and day out. She was actually looking for something more rustic and wondered if burlap might be a possibility.

Several days pass and I get a call from Terry. She is at Calico Corners looking at upholstery fabric and she has her heart set on something. Yikes! I start to worry. She brings by a sample 20 minutes later and I think "Yikes!" again. The sample looks like, well, upholstery... like a snippet of (and don't take offense Terry if you are reading because this gets better) my grandmother's couch. I take a deep breath and hope the full width of fabric will inspire me more than this swatch.

I head to Calico Corners and buy the necessary yardage. I am still not overly inspired. I purchase brown canvas for the lining and start whipping the thing up. And, well, the long story is already told so I will say in short that ... I love it! It's really quite beautiful. I made sure to center the motif on the bag to make it seem very intentional and that works giving the bag a focal point. The long strap is made to wear across the body. The green background has a sort of raw silk feel to it and the floral is velvety and soft. The brown lining somehow worked out perfectly although I must say I had my major doubts. And there is a large, split pocket inside made from the exterior fabric.

Terry's Shoulder Bag (interior)

It made me wish I had my grandmother's couch to cut up for yardage. I really do love how this turned out and I'm so glad I went with Terry's gut on this instead of my own.

friends, sewingJennifer
liz/elizabeth bag

Liz Bag

My friend Liz asked me to make this bag as a gift for her sister-in-law, Elizabeth.  I'll make another one of these to sell at some point (when I get it together and open that shop) and when I do, I will call it the Liz Bag simply to remind myself of this one.

I love this Amy Butler fabric - it's Pressed Flowers from her Daisy Chain line.  Funny, I don't really like the other colors this print came in, but the pink and green is burned on my brain.  And, I love that green.  I have a pile of that green solid and I seem to find a way to match it with everything.

Liz bag inside

I made this bag after several other totes like it in other fabrics.  I'm playing around with different interfacings to get the right weight.  This process is more complicated than a non-bag maker might think.  For this one, which turned out nice, I used a relatively lightweight shirt interfacing as well as a sew-in (Pellon 40) to add some structure.  Still working on the perfect combination but this one got darn close to what I have been looking for.  I was also pretty proud of my stitching on this, but maybe it just looked nicer because I found the perfect green thread to go with my favorite green solid.

friends, sewingJennifer