Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

portrait: j. nisbet-hoyle

In handmade, interview on 01/22/2010 at 1:21 pm

This morning, I am honored to sit down for a chat with the very talented J. Nisbet-Hoyle.  If you enjoyed last week’s visit with Emma, you’re certainly in for a treat.

J, let’s begin with your home. Tell us a bit about your family and where you live.
My husband Will, and I, along with our two boys, Luke and Liam, live in Laramie, Wyoming. I am originally from Redondo Beach, California and he  is from Charleston, South Carolina. A year ago we sold our house in Charleston and moved to the simple and quiet town of Laramie where my Will is finishing his education at the University. Our second son, Liam, just turned a year old.

As a mother of two, you must be incredibly busy. How do you juggle motherhood and your creative pursuits?
My first career is motherhood. At one time, as a single mom, amidst the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, I had to put so much time and focus into my career as a make-up artist that I lost out on some of the important growing up moments with my first son, Luke. It really hurt that I had to skip out on doing a birthday party for him some of those years. Now I treasure being able to work from home, watching the boys grow and participating in their lives. I am so blessed to do something that I love to generate a little income while at home with my family. It can get difficult to create around the schedule of a one-year-old but my husband is always there to help and so full of love for our family life.

Have you been painting for a long time or is this a new venture? 
My parents were the ones to discover my artistic ability at a very young age. I would color on everything from paper to tabletops and walls. It must have driven them crazy. I can remember my dad washing walls with Clorox and water before the invention of magic erasers. They were very understanding about it though, and encouraged my art (as long as it was on paper). I have always felt my best when I have something in my hands with which to paint, draw, or write. Now that my hands are full with the baby, I have paintbrushes sticking out from behind my ears.

There are  a lot of hand painted goods on Etsy but yours truly stand out. Your designs are unmistakably your own. Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration in so many places. I love the jumble of colors and flourished designs seen on old Gypsy wagons scattered around Europe. Jeanne Bayol has a great book called Reve de Roulottes that features her restorations of these old wagons and her interior design work. I love turn of the twentieth century design like Edwardian ephemera. It’s full of romanticism that one can rarely find today. 1920’s boudoir style and fashion is another inspiration, believe it or not. Also, French antiques and decor. Most recently the ornamental and flourishing designs on the bindings of vintage children’s books, and of course all the pretty things nature has to offer.

How long have you been selling on Etsy? Has that been a positive experience so far?
I simply adore Etsy! It has been so much fun. I opened my Etsy shop in August of last year and it was slow going at first. I am still slowly gaining a solid following. I have been so appreciative of Etsy as a company for providing such a wonderful place for a stay-at-home mom like myself to use for her small business.

If you asked me to choose a favorite item in your shop, I don’t think I could pick just one, but I’m curious. What is your favorite item at the moment?
You know, I love the Large Pitcher with Monarchs and Blackberries. It took a week to paint such a large piece of bisque and I enjoyed painting each and every blackberry with the variations of pink, deep violet, and green. I remember the joy I feel while I paint a piece, and that is what makes it a favorite. My next favorite is the Dogwood Blossom and Bird with Ribbon Plate. Something about painting those dogwood blossoms made me very happy.

Do you enjoy any other crafts or hobbies?
I have always been a painter. That’s my penchant. I painted faces as a make-up artist to bring in the bacon for many years. I enjoy painting on canvas as well. Working with paper is great fun for me. I can waste days away scrapbooking and ATC making. Crochet is another craft I enjoy and I find so much relaxation in it.  I am very interested in sewing and I’m working on that skill when I find the time. I want to incorporate other decor items into the Amongst Lovely Things brand, so soon you may see place mats, table runners and pillows. If the craft involves working with my hands, I want to do it!

You also have a beautiful blog that’s brimming with eye candy. How has blogging influenced your creative process?
Ah, sensitive subject. I love to blog but I am so lazy with it. Every time I start a post I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I get such an artistic release by blogging. I started my blog, Oh Look Thats Lovely, during my pregnancy last year when I wasn’t allowed to do much, simply sharing photos of interior design and fashion…pretty and lovely things that appealed to me. The blog is about things that inspire me every day. It is the release I seek when I want to express what makes me warm and fuzzy inside. I have a link to Amongst Lovely Things in the corner of the blog that Etsy has provided so followers of my blog can view my work. It isn’t a diary, per se, so I don’t post too many articles about my ceramic work. Just the things that make me want to work!

Oh Look That's Lovely

Just for fun, tell us what are you’re watching, reading, and listening to these days.
I am an avid movie watcher. I love historical films with lavish costumes and quick-witted dialogue. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette ranks very high, and I adored two recent films, Cheri and Easy Virtue.

I read a lot as well. The last book I read, The Thirteenth Tale , by Diane Setterfield, was recommended by one of my best friends and I had a great time escaping with it. I’m a huge Anne Rice fan so her latest, Angel Time , is next.

I’ve been told that I have unique musical tastes. The shuffle is always on and there are times when I must have music in the background when I create. I enjoy Jeff Buckley, New Order, Yann Tiersen, and The Bird and The Bee.

As a blogger, I’m sure you have some favorite online reads as well. If you had only fifteen minutes to blog hop today, what would you read?
I’d squeeze in a few minutes on Etsy’s blog, The Storque. Then I’d do some quick hopping to the blogs of my best friends, some of whom I have known since highschool. If I had time after that I’d look at A Gift Wrapped Life, Boudoir Queen’s Poor Little Rich Girl and Paris Hotel Boutique Journal.

J, thank you so much for allowing us this inspiring glimpse into your creative life. It’s been such a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to seeing where this adventure takes you!

Visit J:

Thank you for all of the support on Facebook. Unfortunately, this morning it came to my attention that I’ve got a bit of a privacy issue there so until I get that worked out, the page is hiding. With a little one to think about, I try to be very careful about that sort of thing. I’ll let you know when it’s back up and running. I’m terribly sorry! I’ll be publishing a new craft tutorial here next week and I have a special announcement lined up for Monday. If you’re a shutterbug, get your cameras ready. I need you!


simple toddler doll house

In handmade, projects + tutorials, toddler activities on 01/13/2010 at 11:41 am

I never got around to showing you the handmades I scrambled to finish for Christmas (except for the quilt, of course). I’ve wanted to get her a doll house…something small, portable, and simple. She’s at that age where “less is more”, if that makes sense. This was actually an unfinished CD rack that I purchased from Michael’s for a meager $5. I just painted it with acrylics and used Mod Podge to adhere some colorful scrapbook paper to the floors. This little family seems to be settling in quite nicely. Happy momma. Happy toddler. Happy wallet. In case you weren’t here yesterday, I’m giving away a vintage hand-tied mini quilt. Details here.

UPDATE 1.14.2010: Yesterday evening I received an “anonymous” comment from a reader who was kind enough to point out that the very talented Amy Karol originally introduced this idea back in 2006 and reprimanded me for failing to “give credit where credit is due”. I can honestly say I had never laid eyes on Amy’s version (which is actually much cuter than mine!) until last night when it was brought to my attention. Obviously concerned, I immediately contacted Amy and was graciously assured no harm done. The truth of the matter is that two crafty mommas purchased a pre-made item from a craft store, painted it (the same colors…yes, we had a good laugh) and blogged about it four years apart – a reminder that there is really nothing new under the sun. There are probably a zillion other mommas who have done the same thing. I hesitated to share this little diversion with you but thought that my experience might help you in the future. Misunderstandings and miscommunications are inherent problems in the blogging world. And unfortunately, if you blog long enough, it will probably happen to you in one form or another. I’d like to offer one piece of advice. If you suspect something is amiss in blogland, please address the “offending” party in person. A sincere attempt at rectifying the situation can go a long way. This morning I am happy to report that Mrs. Karol has a wonderful sense of humor and I have a clear conscience.  

tutorial archives





candy turns to cotton

In handmade, recipes, things pondered on 01/02/2010 at 2:16 pm

It caught my eye here, and then again there, but there was no time.
Still, it stayed with me, not offended by my inattention, patiently tucked away in a colorful corner of my imagination.

Now the rush has passed, all the doing is done, and the time has come to simply BE. And I remember.

And what would have been, way back then, gives way to something new.

This blustery morning, in my hands, candy turns to cotton.

Inspiration is everywhere.

1. onetomatotwo, 2. spork or foon, 3. craftapalooza, 4. the red deer


| days of doing one thing = 5 |

mail sorter: a tutorial

In handmade, printables, projects + tutorials on 12/29/2009 at 1:22 pm

I always feel better greeting the new year with a clean house. At least, as clean as our house gets. It seems I’m in a losing battle with our mail. It ends up heaped in the office where things are buried, lost, and forgotten. I’ve tried different filing systems but they never last. I prefer a tidy workspace. My husband prefers to have the important stuff in his line of sight as a reminder to deal with it. I managed to put this little number together in less than an hour. Super simple.

Materials:unbleached cotton fabric

coordinating thread

1/2″ wide elastic or ribbon (depending on where you’re hanging it)


off-white cardstock

Steps:1. From your fabric, cut a rectangular panel measuring 27.75″ by 16.5″ (or whatever dimensions you deem appropriate depending on your needs).

2. On each of the long sides, fold in the edge about 1″ and press flat.

3. Top stitch both folds closed using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

4. Determine which side you want to be “the front”, and top stitch a second time 1/4″ below the first line of stitching. (See the image if you’re confused.)

5. Fold the panel in half, lengthwise, right sides facing, and stitch up the sides. (1/4″ seam allowance again)

6. Now it’s time to add the pockets. I chose the size of mine based on the widest piece of mail that we receive on a regular basis. Using a straightedge, simply pencil in a faint line from the top to the bottom of the front panel to show you where to stitch in your dividers. This makes it easier to sew in a straight line and you can’t see the pencil mark after you sew over it.

7. Stitch in your dividers, following your pencil line, beginning at the bottom and stopping when you reach the lower top stitch line. (Again, refer to the image if I lost you.)

8. Print each of the four labels, below, onto cardstock and cut them out. I left a very narrow border around each one. [UPDATE: The reason for the “action required” label is that invariably, we have pieces of mail (not bills) that require a written reply or a telephone call in response.]

9. One at a time, position each pocket under the foot of your sewing machine. Place the printed label in the desired spot.  Top stitch across the top edge of each label to secure.

Whether you add elastic or ribbon at this point is entirely up to you. Ribbon loops or ties would be ideal for hanging on the wall. I chose elastic because I wanted our door to be able to wear it. To accomplish this, I stretched the elastic snugly around the door to determine a good size. Then I stitched one end carefully to the upper back side of the organizer. Just be sure you don’t stitch both ends, as you’ll have no way of getting it onto the door!!! Using a door is a bit tricky, I recommend hanging it just above the middle hinge. This gives the elastic something to catch on and it just so happened that one end of the organizer rests comfortably on top of the doorknob, which keeps it from sagging. The unstitched end of the elastic is secured to the fabric with a sturdy safety-pin.




thrifted, vintage, handmade nursery

In handmade, thrifting + vintage on 12/23/2009 at 12:23 pm

Our “big girl” room is nearly complete. It’s a bright mix of handmade, thrifted and vintage. “Happy eclectic”, we’ll call it. Soon enough, the crib will be replaced with the toddler bed built by my grandfather. This momma’s in no hurry. He also built the white chest of drawers (not pictured), which sat in my mother’s room as a child. She was kind enough to make the red bed skirt.

The rug was a $15 yard sale steal.

I thrifted the toy chest here.

The no-sew fabric bunting was one of my nap time projects.

The tiny rocker was a gift to my husband from his dear Grandaddy.

The framed vintage needlework was $12 at the local antique market. 

I discovered the storybook canvas hidden away in the back of a nearby small-town thrift shop. It was badly soiled and stapled to a stretcher frame but at $3.99 I decided to take my chances. A bit of Biz and Oxyclean worked wonders. I replaced the frame with two wooden dowels and some ribbon.

I’m looking forward to adding the quilt on Christmas morning.

I’ve enjoyed watching this colorful space come together and relished every minute of “the hunt”. A bright room for our bright-eyed girl, who is growing up way too fast.

Now that the pre-holiday madness is dissipating, I’m signing off for a couple of days. (Seems a bit backwards, I know.) If you’re looking for some easy craft projects to enjoy over the holidays, you can find a few here. Thank you to everyone who helped me out yesterday. I look forward to reading more of your suggestions.

Wishing you a weekend of warm gatherings.

Merry Christmas, from our home to yours.

finished. folded. waiting.

In handmade, the fine print on 12/21/2009 at 12:53 pm

The weekend wasn’t exactly what we’d planned, but it was, I suppose, what we needed. He traveled to visit family for the day while we found ourselves homebound once again. The pediatrician assured me ’tis the season. I was reminded not to complain. I’ve so much to be thankful for.

All in all, the day turned out to be a blessing in disguise – a chance to take a deep breath and tie up some loose ends before the week begins. I’ve pressed its seams flat in my sleep a hundred times. Imagined her waking up to Christmas morning under its crisp, crinkled cotton. Finally it is finished, folded, and waiting.

I’m loving your contributions to The Fine Print project. Keep them coming.  One quick housekeeping note…If you’d like me to include your images in one of my posts, be sure that the “All Sizes” option is visible above it after you upload.





|little house|


To all of you who are snowed in, enjoy your wonderland. Warm wishes…

p.s. A heartfelt thank you to Rachel for including one of my projects in her weekend roundup. It’s an honor.


printable tags & momma’s thoughts

In handmade, printables, things pondered on 12/17/2009 at 12:21 pm




Above are the free printable Christmas gift tags, as promised. Sorry for the delay! To print them, click on each set. When they open in a new window, select the “print” option in your browser. Be sure to set the page layout to “landscape” (rather than “portrait”) so they will print at full size.  Hope you enjoy! (Both sets of tags are for personal use only.) Click here for a complete list of printables, d.i.y. projects and tutorials.

In this season, where earth seems to dangle between Autumn and Winter, there’s a predictable cadence to our waking hours.

Whispered good mornings.
The scent of cinnamon.
Hissing and sputtering as the coffee pot brims.
Sleepy brown eyes, framed in bed-head.
“Picnic” breakfasts.
Watercolors and warm tea.  
Sunshine and soil.
Sacred hours.

Too soon, duties press in and “the list” rules. And as the harsh light fades again, lengthening our shadows, her heavy eyes twinkle amid a pile of blankets and a beloved menagerie. The days final words fade again to whispers – sworn love, prayers for peaceful slumber, and promises for morning.