Freebie: Inspirational Quotes

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Back in January, I had the joy to design a little print series for Bing for their lounge at Alt Summit. They wanted inspirational quotes to support the concept of their cloud-based services. I made a series of 4 prints that could be tiled together to create an abstract cloud, or they could stand alone.

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I’m happy with how they turned out, despite my limitations with the design and time.

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See above how I tiled them.

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I was very limited on the design as I didn’t have much time to execute. I was given the official ‘go ahead’ while I was flat on my back with strep throat. The next day I created the designs. By the time I had work ready to print we were less than a week away from the deadline. Obviously no time for fun stuff like letterpress, gold foil, laser-cutting, etc.

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Of the local digital print services I tried, no one wanted to touch this job. We needed 500 of each design (2000 cards total). I sent it off to overnight prints and they pulled through for me (granted, it required a substantial rush fee).

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I would love to re-work these prints and get them completed with off-set and silver foil printing. I just don’t see that happening though.

As far as the design process goes, I painted the starry scene on watercolor paper with dry gouache. Added gold and glitter touches then scanned in. I lettered the quotes separately and placed them over the background.

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Click the image above to download the free desktop background quote “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” By downloading you agree to the Terms of Use below. Stay tuned for more fun stuff with the other three quotes!

Are you new here? Check out the “printables” tab at the top of the page for more freebies! Interested in learning calligraphy? Let me teach you how! Click the image below for more information.

learn calligraphy online with melissa esplin

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!
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Style: Easy-going Palazzo Pants

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These last few months have included a lot of fun travel. I’m getting worn out, but I’m also meeting so many fabulous people and having a wonderful time seeing new places.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

All photos by Brandi Gard

This month has taken me to Nashville, Tennessee area for Inspired Retreat.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Naturally, I was bored with my current selection of clothes. I had to make something new. I had some fabric that I knew needed to be palazzo pants or culottes. It’s a very breezy fabric I found at Michael Levine Loft in L.A.’s fabric district. I love visiting there, but I need to sew up more of my fabric stash before I visit again. I have too much fabric now!

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I used a vintage patternsimplicity 8550 for the pants. The size I got measured for a 23″ waist (who has a waist that small?!? NOT ME. but looking at the technical drawing and the flat pattern pieces, I did the math and it was a simple gathered pant with a straight waist. I could alter the waistband without having to change anything else. I did add an extra 2 inches in the length just in case. I’d rather they be too long than too short.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

The fabric I chose is a glorified broomstick fabric (you know broom stick skirts from the 90s?? Yes. Like that. I ironed the fabric before sewing with it, which may cause a problem down the line, but I like the feel of them better when the crinkles aren’t SO dramatic.

In an ideal situation, I would have let the fabric rest before cutting into it. I didn’t, which is why the patterns don’t quite match up at the seams. It kind of drives me nuts, but I’ve actively decided not to care about it because at the end of the day I crossed a project off my list that I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I decided to sew and complete these all on Saturday (the day before leaving for Tennessee). I’m thrilled that I finished them and they worked! I plan on making another pair, but with a few slight changes.

It was a real treat to have Brandi of Brandi Gard photography photograph this session. It’s not often I get to take direction from a pro. Feeling so glamorous.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Outfit details:

  • top: thrifted
  • necklace: H&M
  • bracelet: The Haute Pursuit
  • pants: self-made
  • shoes: TOMS
  • sunglasses: c/o TomKat Studio

Next I plan to finish my Easter dress. And upholster a chair.

 

 

 

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    1. Judy Meagher says:

      ADORABLE! You really could be a model–so very very pretty! Wishing you a wonderful time in Nashville. Sometime I hope you will do a workshop here in Memphis, just down the road! :)

    2. Lauren says:

      I love the change of scenery for your photo! Gorgeous. Cute pants, and your hair is fab. :)

    3. […] Style: Easy-going Palazzo Pants – 1 freebie(s)? […]

    4. Sarah Helene says:

      FAB outfit including self-sewn pants! The blues print you selected is “spot on”! Photo shoot looks professional with you modeling & accessories show off the pants! THANKS for sharing. Sarah in Minneapolis

    Sewing: Easter Dresses for the Girls

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    Easter came and went so fast. I can’t believe it’s been over a week since that glorious day. We kept festivities simple with new Sunday Best and a basket of candy for each kid (minus J – she’ll get one next year ;)).

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    I made dresses for the girls and bought Felix pants and a polo. It’s kind of unreal how Felix’s pants match the fabric I picked out for the girls.

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    I found this great polyester (I’m assuming it’s polyester) in the fabric district in L.A. last month. It’s very drapey, but with how light-weight it is it’s completely opaque. I’ve had trouble finding fabric with good drape and opacity these days. The print and colors aren’t what I would normally gravitate towards, but it’s growing on me. I like the little tulips and the unexpected blue. I love dressing girls up in blue. Little known fact: Pink used to be a boy color and baby blue was a girl color because they were the pastel versions of red and blue. Red being viewed as more masculine than blue. I don’t think color should be relegated to just masculine or just feminine. I like mixing it up.

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    Back buttons and pleats for Juniper’s dress

    For the dresses, I made up the patterns. I drafted both dresses from clothes that Penelope and Juniper already had and fit. I kept them simple with pleats instead of gathers (whoever says gathering is easy is crazy). I wanted them to be simple enough that they could be pulled over, but with some thinking, that wasn’t going to happen with a woven fabric. Some kind of fastener had to be involved. Due to the fabric’s drape, I decided buttons were the best fit. I hate putting on buttons. Executing the button holes was a breeze. I’ve got an amazing automatic button hole setting on my machine, so I would set it then let it do its thing while I sat or left the room to take care of something else. It was sewing the buttons on that was a pain.

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    Front pleat detail for Penelope’s Dress

    Overall, the buttons add a sweet element, particularly to the simple silhouette of Penelope’s dress. Both girls have to have help getting dressed, but closing a button isn’t a big deal.

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    Back button detail for Penelope’s Dress

    The fabric has been a dream to work with. Now I want something in my size. I’m still trying to decide what to do. I’ve got about 2 1/2 – 3 yards left so the possibilities are nearly endless. Culottes? Wrap skirt? Pleated dress?

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    Also, I think I have the most beautiful children. I might be a tad biased.

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    1. Kathy Doherty says:

      What a beautiful family! You are truly blessed!

    2. Kati says:

      I have decided I’m going to start making my kiddos some clothes. It just doesn’t feel right donating all these lovely things that have been gifted to me or my kids – I want to repurpose them. I think I’m going to try to make a dress for my three year old our of a dress shirt. Wish me luck…

      Oh and Penelope and Felix are like little Christophers and Juniper looks JUST LIKE YOU! They are all so beautiful. :-)

    3. These are adorable! When I have kids, I definitely want to sew little outfits like these!

      Jennifer Ashley
      http://www.prettylittledetails.ca

    A Few Of My Favorite Calligraphy Things

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    We have had our fair share of travels these days. Between partying in Vegas with Calligraphy friends, Disneyland with the kids and a Phoenix Calligraphy workshop I’m happy to be home. And I’m tired. One of the many reasons why I haven’t updated this blog in some time.

    I hate the silence! Let’s fix that. :)

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    A couple things I’ve come to obsess with over the last couple of months:

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    In the above image I used Jacquard’s Lumiere Halo blue gold for the “Local Calligraphy Workshop” lettering. It’s one ink and the golds and blue swirl around to create this fun dance with color.

    In the envelope below, I did an ombré with dioxazine purple and turquoise blue gouache. It’s more obvious in person, but the gradation is fun. And I also used the lettermate for writing guides on that envelope.

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    You can subtly see the clear glitter gelly roll pen on the above card. It gives things the subtle hint of shimmer. I like to do swirls, but I don’t worry if they’re perfectly balanced or executed, because you really can’t see them that close when you’re looking at it in person.

    In the ‘thank you’ I’m using that jacquard lumiere ink. It’s got to be diluted with water a fair amount. Mix regularly and apply with a brush, but it’s great.

    I’m also using little bits of glitter glue for little dots of sparkle. I have one in every color except orange. That needs to change soon. I need ALL the colors!

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    Here I’m using Jacquard’s Pearlex super bronze powder. It’s hard to convey through a picture alone how bright the metallic is. It’s mirror-like in some lights! I love it! Mix with gum arabic and water to make a useable ink.

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    I’m using the Lettermate directly on the envelope to write the above envelopes. The top one I letter without ascenders or descenders then I take off the template and pen them in afterward.

    With the Scratch envelope I wrote Franky Scratch by hand, let it dry then used the Lettermate for the address below. I added an excessive amount of flourishes between each line when I finished.

    What are your favorite calligraphy things right now?

    If you have no idea what I’m talking about and would like to get into calligraphy, take my class! I teach year-round at istilllovecalligraphy.com. Purchase the class and starter kit right here.

    This post contains affiliate links for products I own and love. Using these links help support my craft habits. Thank you!
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    1. Jody says:

      Thanks for the link to the Lettermate! I’ve ordered mine. Calligraphy and lettering is a hobby that is not so relaxing with my inability to write in a straight line!

    2. Love this! Thanks for sharing links to all of your favorite things. Love the idea of a template that can be used over and over for tons of envelopes. I may or may not be excited for Christmas cards this year… ;)

    Sewing Style: Sequins and Leather

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    This top took me FOREVER to construct. I’ve known I’ve wanted to do this sweater since last winter and I discovered the glories of quilted knits. As the sweetest surprise, Lauren Dahl gifted me a couple yards of this gloriousness from Mood. Yes. You better believe I was beyond giddy to cut into it.

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    And cut into it I did. But it took me a month to remember to buy sequins and beads whenever I was at the store.

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    And then another 2 months to sew the darn things on. Chris was a trooper through this project. I had a pile of various sized sequins glittering the floor in our living/dining room for about 6 weeks. I’d sew one or two on before having to get to an email, calm a fussy child or police the troublemaking that Penelope and her neighborhood buddies like to initiate.

    I kept telling myself it would be worth it.

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    The sequins I started with were huge. I didn’t like how big they were. So I graduated them to the smaller size toward the bottom of the shirt. I like the subtle depth it adds to the top.

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    I cut out my regular size Lane Raglan only to realize I should have gone up a size if I wanted more of a sweater look. As a stroke of genius, I added a ribbed racing stripe down the sides of the arm and bodice to remedy my mistake.

    A happy mistake, if you ask me.

    Another happy mistake was with the shoulders/elbows. I had initially cut out leather shoulder pieces, but I forgot to sew them in place when I was constructing the top. Instead of unpicking 5 large serged seams, I opted for leather elbow patches instead. I used Megan Nielsen’s elbow patch download instead of drafting my own. That lovely woman is a life-saver.

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    After I completed the sequins and lined the front panel (to keep the sequins from falling apart), the sweater came together rather quickly.

    After I triumphantly completed the sweater, I wore it to my grandparents’ house for a dinner we had planned. That night June came down with rotavirus and vomited all over the sequins. Poor girl.

    I was confronted with the issue: how do I wash this thing now? It’s got hand-sewn sequins and leather patches. It’s truly a dry clean only top. I don’t like making tops that aren’t easily laundered. I don’t want to be hesitant to get messy. I’m in a very messy phase of life with 3 littles under the age of 7. They’re darling, but disgusting.

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    As much as I love this top, I don’t want them to feel like mommy can’t play with them because she’s wearing her ‘nice clothes’. But I still want to have a couple of nice things. I’m torn.

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    Speaking of nice things, these pants are my favorite post-partum find. The midrise waist with stretchy denim is fabulous. I’ve lost some of the pregnancy weight so they’re getting looser on me, but they’ve never felt uncomfortable. And I got them about 10 pounds ago. Lulu*s for the win.

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    Aaaaand. . . I finally found my leather jacket. I started a pin board of leather jackets to get my mind in the space of what I was looking for. When I was in Vegas hanging with my calligrapals, we went on the hunt and successfully found the jacket. And when I say the jacket, I mean the only jacket I’ll ever buy for the rest of my life. It was worth all those pennies, though. It fits like it was tailored just for me.

    Outfit details:

    melissaesplin-sewing-style-sequin-top-tedbaker-3

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    1. Alana says:

      so…how did you finally clean the top?! Absolutely love the jacket. Definitely worth it :)

    2. Nancy says:

      So fabulous! If you didn’t have the leather elbow patches, I should think that washing in the machine on “gentle” inside-out would be fine.

    3. Adrianna says:

      It looks fabulous, thanks so much for sharing Melissa! I’m so glad the racing stripe down the side happened – it adds SO much to the top! And congrats on that jacket! I remember when I found “the one”. It’s the only thing I’ve grabbed and taken straight to the register without checking the price :) And also the only leather jacket I’ll ever buy again. So fun when it works out!

    4. Wow! This top looks like so much work but it looks amazing! Great job!

      Jennifer Ashley
      http://www.prettylittledetails.ca

    5. Lauren says:

      You AND this top look amazing! So glad you found good use for the fabric. :)

    6. Nanvy says:

      This looks so so cool. I really like the sequin bead detail. It is an amazing bit of work!

    7. Alix says:

      Oh this turned out amazing!!! Bravo mel!

    8. Jessica says:

      It looks great. You did an amazing job on it!!

    9. phil says:

      this jacket reminds me so much of the NWOBHM …. really cool :-)

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