Friday, February 26, 2010

Pillowcase Dresses

I haven't had a chance to try my hand at these, but I have had several friends tell me that they are super simple. I'm hoping to try one out this weekend! If you search for a pattern on the internet you will find lots of variations. The link below is for one that has easy to follow printable directions with pics of every step. If you try one out I'd love to see a pic, so please share it!

Copy and paste this link in your browser, or look under "Luvin' These Links" for a direct link to the pattern page.


Easter Egg Appliques

I remember that as a kid I loved to draw Easter eggs. The endless possiblities for combining squiggles, stripes, polkadots, and zigzags in a pretty much no-fail design was highly appealing. As long as you could get the outer shape to look sort-of egg like, then you were going to end up with a beautiful piece of kid-art.

As Easter approaches, I sat down to create some eggsellent designs. How quickly I was whisked back in time to 3rd grade! I just couldn't resist that drawing of old...the egg outline, a narrow stripe here, a wide polka-dotted stripe there, and a squiggle for good measure. I traced and cut out a set of the resulting pieces in both shades of pink and shades of blue. Stitched to brightly colored tee, these are a slightly fresh take on the pastel versions of old.

You can easily create Easter egg tee of your own using the applique tee directions I posted a few days ago. Start with a basic egg shape (you can find tons of templates for these in a google image search). Add your own flair with stripes and dots. New to applique...add just a few large polka dots. Experienced embroiderer (is that a word???)...pile on the decorations and embellish away. Too busy to sew...order one from Etsy today (see shop above).

Have fun...and I would love to see some pics of your results!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rainy Day was supposed to equal Inventory Building Day

It was a rainy, dreary day around here, so my plan was to work on building my inventory for the spring market. I did get one piece added (check out the cute turtle at the top of the page), but I spent most of the day more of the business of Belle + Bee than the creative front. The Facebook page is up and running (and slowly getting a few fans) and the Etsy shop has been linked to it. I took my first custom orders today and got started on those. And for the rest of the evening, I am truly going to attack that inventory!

For those of you trying felt applique for the first time...please feel free to use my designs as your inspiration. If you would like me to post a template for any of them, just let me know. And here is a little warning...appliqued soccer balls are not for the faint of heart. Don't pick that one as your first attempt!

You can now follow us on Facebook too!

If you're more of a Facebook kind of person, you can follow us there too. Become a fan of Belle + Bee, and you can see blog posts on the Etsy tab at the top of the page. Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Felt Applique - How To

Creating a felt applique tee for your little one is super easy and the results are super cute!

1. First design your applique. I always do a pencil sketch that includes both the shpaes and the embellishments.

2. On another sheet of paper, trace the shapes that you will need to cut using a felt tip marker. Cut these shapes out.

3. Place your pattern pieces on the felt. I always try to minimize felt usage by placing the shapes as far into a corner as possible. You never know when that 1 inch scrap of felt might be the star of your next design:) Trace around your pattern pieces with a pen or marking chalk, then cut out the felt pieces.

4. Embroider each piece with the embellishments from your original design. You can use basic running stitches, back stitch, french knots, etc. to make each piece uniquely yours.

5. Place the pieces (starting with the background pieces) on the t-shirt. Be sure to center the design where you want it, then pin it to the shirt. Make sure that you pin only through the top layer of the tee.

6. Use your choice of stitch to attach each piece to the t-shirt. The basic running stitch is the least noticeable. A back stitch or whip stitch will figure more heavily into your design. Try to keep your stitches neat and even. Continue securing pieces until your design is finished.

* I do not use a fusible webbing on the inside of my shirts because Belle thinks it is itchy, but this is an option to protect your knots and stitches.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wild Flower - The Outfit

I was so excited to share my Wild Flower tee that I had to post it before the entire outfit was ready. So here is the result. The pic isn't great...I was in a hurry, but you can still see how adorable it is! Look for a Fun Felt Applique How-to coming soon!

Inventory Update

I did it! I completed my first piece of inventory for the upcoming Spring Market...did you notice the coutndown clock at the bottom of the page. Time is ticking! And I didn't add just one piece of inventory...I added 3!

So what did I add? Three COOKIE CUTTER tees. Cookie cutter tees are named because I use cookie cutters from my collection for the basic applique outline. Then I add embroidered embellishments.

The first one I finished last night, is my favorite of the 3. A little lime green dino with Carolina blue polka dots is resting on a navy blue tee. (I made sure to start with some little boy tees, since we are so girly in our house:)

I also spent a good chunk of time designing some of the FANCY FELT tees that I will be creating. These are more intricate felt designs with multiple layers and lots of embroidered extras (similar to the Wild Flower in my last post). I would love some advice on what types of designs moms and grandmas of little boys are looking for this year, so if you have some suggestions please post a comment. So far, I have planned a skull and crossbones, a sea turtle, and a guitar.

Can't wait to post some pics as the inventory grows!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

FUN Felt Applique

I am totally in love with felt applique right now. It is so peaceful to sit with an adornment, slowly stitching each little piece together then adding the embellishments.

I just finished this ADORABLE Wild Flower for Belle. There is a "tutu skirt" in the works to go with it, but Bee has decided that the sewing machine disturbs her naps, so I haven't had a chance to finish it. The fabric for the skirt was actually the inspiration for this flower. I combined elements of several of the flowers on the fabric and came up with this fun design. I'm planning a sweet bumble bee baby tee for Bee that goes with the same fabric. I already have the pattern made, just need to get some black felt...can't wait!

A note on my Spring Market progress - I purchased a huge stack of tees to applique today. I made sure to get lots of shirts for little boys...I seriously need to figure out how to include them in my designs! I will post some pics as I finish a few. As for my goal to create at least one piece of inventory every day...well, I failed yesterday, but I am determined today. That probably means I need to stop sewing for Belle and Bee and start sewing for Belle + Bee:)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Playroom Organization

Is your playroom as messy as ours??? It drives me CRAZY!

We are supposed to have baskets of toys on the shelves, but somehow Belle is just incapable of putting away a single thing without me standing over her. So instead we have empty baskets on the shelves and toys strewn all over the floor.

I am determined to solve this here's my latest project:

Toy basket tags!

I spent about an hour (Belle was at pre-school and Bee was napping) photographing all the different kinds of toys in our playroom. After editing the photos (I LOVE Photoshop), I uploaded them to Snapfish and have ordered them in wallet size. As soon as they get here I plan on laminating them, adding ribbons, and tying them to all our baskets. I'll be sure to post a pic when they are finished.

Any guesses on whether or not it makes a difference??? My bet's on NOT A CHANCE:)

Snappy T's

I'm not normally a Martha Stewart fan. Not that she doesn't have some wonderful ideas...I just usually end up feeling inadequate when I look at her work. But in this case, I am loving this project!

These "Snappy T's" are a huge inspiration for me right now. I am definitely planning to use her templates to make a set for Bee. And I think I might use this concept with some of my own designs for the upcoming market. It is such genius that you can snap different tiny applique designs on and off the same t-shirt. I am totally into woodland creatures right now, so I'm planning a woodland set, and maybe an ocean set for summer time. Look for pics, hopefully coming soon, with some of my results. I will even try to put templates up for you if I can!

The Snappy T's link is posted on my sure to check it out for simple instructions and adorable templates!

I've Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew

I often feel really industrious. The sewing machine is whirring, the scissors are snipping, and products...actual finished pieces, are materializing at the speed of light. It is these moments when I get myself in the most trouble.

Case in point: During a recent snowstorm (or the NC equivalent), we had twirl skirt mania in our house. Belle is currently obsessed with all things princess or tutu related, and she is convinced that twirl skirts are "tutu skirts" and should be worn over an actual tutu and her clothes at all times. Stuck in the house for a few days, I was happy to oblige this obsession and created skirt after skirt after skirt. So many that I caught that industrious bug again. That's when I took that big bite, you know, the one I couldn't chew.

It seems I have signed myself up to sell my creations at a spring craft fair. I will be expected to have an entire booth full of these skirts, hair bows, toys and so much more. It seemed like a great idea at the time:)

NOW, I lie awake at night dreaming up inventory, planning out price lists, and listing all the supplies I'm going to need to make this happen.

Wish me luck...I'm going to need it! But, I figure this is a great way to start sharing my inspirations. What better time, than during an all-out creation blitz. Hopefully my "appetite" will whet yours!

Why "Belle + Bee"

Belle and Bee are my daughters...

OK, those aren't their real names. When my oldest was born we tacked Belle on to the end of her actual name and it stuck. Then when my youngest was born, "Belle" couldn't perfectly pronounce her name. It always came out with "Bee" at the end...once again, it just stuck.

So in honor of the centers of my world, Belle + Bee was born.