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Taming Wild Horses – The Making of my First Pattern Called Pasture Pals

Big News!  Some of you have been asking for years and finally I finished a sewing pattern for my sock unicorn, horse, and zebra!  The pattern is called Pasture Pals and is ready for you to buy today!  To make it an even sweeter, it’s currently 40% off!  Yea!  You can find it here.

And now for those of you who like the long back story and to see variations I’ve made over the years, here you go:

This post is years in the making.  When I first started The Nesting Spot in 2009, I made sock and glove animals.  I loved making them but after my third child was born it became too challenging to keep up with the demand and I didn’t charge enough for my time.  So, I stopped making them to the dismay of some.  I still get so many people coming to my shop in search of them.


I considered creating patterns for my animals over the years but between being conflicted about giving the information away and also the huge hurdle for me of figuring out how to make a pattern, I continued to put it off.  When I moved to Scotland I thought it was time to finally write them as shipping from here is more expensive and complicated. With my unicorn and zebras being among my top sellers I decided to start with this pattern.

I started the process more than once, but each time I’d get stuck at some point with questions like which computer programs would be best to use, should I use pictures or illustrations, how detailed to make the instructions, and on and on.  I would just become a deer in headlights and put it off to focus on other, more familiar items on my to-do list.

Finally last year, almost exactly a year ago, I was approached by a woman who wanted a pattern for the unicorn so she could make one for her granddaughter.  In the past, I told people no or to check back because I had plans to make one, but this time I used it as the push I needed to finally get going.  I do so much better when I have a deadline and the accountability of someone counting on me.

In 2 weeks I created the first draft of the pattern and sold it to her for a reduced rate with the promise I’d give her the full pattern for all 3 animals when I finished it.  Since this was happening in Oct-Nov., which is the busiest time of year for me with making my ornaments, finishing it was put on hold.  Then finally a few months ago after more starts and stops and getting stuck or frustrated I made some leaps forward.

Nothing about this has been fast or easy for me.  It’s really pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Someone might look at it and wonder what all the fuss was about, but for a novice like me it was a lot of work.  With the groundwork laid, I’m very hopeful the next pattern will be much faster to make!

My mom suggested I call the pattern “Taming Wild Horses” because it was such a beast to get done.  I thought it was a clever idea but ended up going a different direction.  But, I am so thankful to say that I did tame those wild horses!  The 12 pages full of instructions, photos, tips and patterns are available for you to make your very own versions of the sock horse, unicorn, or zebra!  They make wonderful baby, birthday, or Christmas gifts.  Or you know, just because.

The pattern is normally $9 but right now it’s on sale for 40% off!  So get it while the price is extra good!  Here’s a little sneak peek at some of the pages so you can get an idea of what it looks like.

I really hope you like it!  Please send me pictures of the unicorns, horses, and zebras you make.  You can email them to me at jocelyn@thenestingspot.com or tag me on Instagram or Facebook.  I’m thenestingspot for both of those platforms.

 

 

A Closer Look at My New Invitations

whale invitation

I’m so excited to finally be able to share what I’ve been working on the last couple months.  I’ve gone back and forth about what all I want to offer in my shop for a long time now.  Shipping is much more costly and difficult than it was when in the US so I’ve wanted to sell things that were digital.  I had thought about selling my old art digitally but have been unsure about just putting my art out there like that.  And then it just suddenly hit me one evening that  I could sell custom invitations.  They would fit in with the vibe of my shop with being both personalised and mostly centered around babies/children  (even though any of it can be for other purposes).  Plus with each invitation being so custom it wouldn’t be as easy to just resell them.

I love painting with watercolors and so enjoyed some quiet evenings while the kids were asleep painting different animals, vines, banners, backgrounds, etc.  I used the animals for my ornaments as a starting off point since if someone is buying the ornament they may also be helping with a baby shower!  So, they can coordinate!!  And then I made a couple others that might be popular baby shower themes.  I want to continue to add more in the future but started with 6 different options.  And 2 of those options I have made in a blue/pink version.

bear invitation

For the process I played around and painted on watercolor paper until I got things I liked.  Then I scanned the paper and brought it into photoshop elements.  Since I painted different pictures on the same page I isolated them and saved them separately so I could move them around and work with them individually.  It was fun to play with them.

I continued to work with them until I got them just right.  (A fun fact: For the information I put on each invitation, I used first and last names from different friends and family and also places and numbers that mean things to me.)  At first, I had planned on only offering invitations but then I thought it would be fun to offer coordinating items to go with each one.  So, I made a matching thank you note and also a shower activity called “Wishes for Baby”.

Printable Blue Bunny Thank You Card from The Nesting Spot

Custom Printable Wishes for Baby shower game from The Nesting Spot

It’s funny, before I moved here I was involved with hosting SO many showers.  I was/am in that stage of life where everyone in my friend circle is having more and more babies and so I was always helping to host them.  For the last few I did I was usually the one designing the invitations so it’s really pretty natural for me to be doing this now.  I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner.  Part of hosting showers was figuring out games/activities to do and so I thought I had seen most of what is out there.  I noticed  this “Wishes for Baby” activity when doing some research for this and couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across it before.  It’s so sweet.  It’s a little form that each guest fills out with hopes for the baby.  The parents can then keep them and look back at them as the child grows.  There are things like “I hope you learn…”, “I hope you get your Mom’s/Dad’s…”, “I hope you try…”, etc.  So, I made one of these cards to match each invitation.  In the future I may add some other things as well.  Let me know if you have any requests!!

Custom Printable Anchor Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

After creating them digitally I then printed them out to see if they looked good in real life.  There were a couple that I made changes too once I saw them printed.  When I used to sell my prints I used archival quality Epson paper that was so thick and lovely and textured.  It really made the ink colors so deep and gorgeous.  I don’t have that here but figured the watercolor paper I used to paint on would give a similar look.  So, I cut it out of my spiral since it was a standard A4 size and it worked great.  I highly recommend it as a cheaper way to make your invitations LOOK super professional and expensive.  Also, with the designs being watercolored it really makes them look like they are painted on and not printed.

Pink Elephant Printable Baby Shower Invitation from The Nesting Spot

I also bought a corner craft punch so that I could make the corners rounded.  They looked good with normal corners but once I rounded them it really elevated the look.

Watercolor Bee Invitation from The Nesting Spot

Most people on Etsy who sell similar items just show a mock up that is just digital but I wanted to take pictures of mine to show the real thing.  I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to use as a backdrop and was also waiting on some good natural light to take the photos.  On the day that I cut the paper and corners I had them laid out on my couch.  When I was done I looked down at them all and realised that I could use a couch cushion as the backdrop!  Ha.  It is a light gray and has lots of texture which is what I was wanting to contrast with the white paper.  Once I get an idea in my head I’m not usually great at waiting and want to do it right away.  So, I told Ken I was going to walk down to the park at the end of our street and pick some flowers.  I grabbed one of the kid’s Easter baskets and some scissors and cut different wild flowers, purple leaves off of a tree, plus some grasses and twigs.  It was probably after 7 pm and the sun stays up here during the summer hours really late but it was cloudy which was making it get darker than it could be.  So with my sunlight running out I put an old blanket on the ground out behind our house, put a cushion on top of that and then played around with putting the prints on it and surrounding it with groupings of flowers and leaves.  Afterwards I could hardly stand up again since I had been bending over for so long.  My back actually hurt for a couple days after that…apparently I need to do some back exercises.  It was great to have that stage complete though.

behind the scenes

I also needed some other close ups of each piece and realized the blackout curtains in my bedroom would work for that with them also being gray and having a slight texture.  So I put our ironing board next to the window, laid the curtain on it and then took turns taking pictures of each print.  So funny that my sofa and curtains became the backdrop.  But the price was right!

behind the scenes

The next step was figuring out how to format it for people to be able to download it and print it.  It took me a while to figure out how to do that and then do it 48 times for the ones that are instant downloads (which are the thank you notes and activity since they aren’t custom).  I made it so for each of them you can have the option to print yourself with 2 on a page sized for both letter size which is the standard 8.5×11 inches that Americans use or A4 which Europeans use.  I also uploaded a jpeg of the print’s actual size in case people need it that way.

For the invitations, you will tell me what you want it to say and I’ll email you your own custom invitation!  I also think a perfect gift idea is to give the mother-to-be one of my baby’s first Christmas ornaments to match as a sweet way to remember the baby shower.

Personalized Whale Ornament from The Nesting Spot

Well, so that was a bit about the process from first idea to final product.  I hope you’ll keep me in mind the next time you are needing some printable invitations!!!

Introducing My Custom Printable Baby Shower Invitation Collections

Bee Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Today I want to show you what I’ve been working on the last 2 months.  On Monday I will share a post I wrote that goes into detail about why I made them and the process I went through from beginning until now.  So please come back for that!

But first, here are the printable invitations I have created and am selling in my shop.  They feature watercolored animals and designs which give it a custom, high-end look without the custom, high-end price!  To start with I have 6 different themes with 2 of those having a blue/pink color option.  I used my animal ornaments as my initial inspiration so they can coordinate. The thought is that you can use the printables to host your baby shower and also give a coordinating ornament as a personalized gift to remember the day.

Pink Elephant Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

And to make it even easier on you when hosting the shower I made additional items that match.  First, there are thank you notes which could also be given to the mom-to-be so she can send them out after the shower.  Second, there is also a shower activity called “Wishes for Baby” where each guest fills out the form to share their hopes and wishes for the little baby.  I thought it was such a sweet keepsake for the family to look back on in the coming years.

Elephant Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

The great thing about being digital downloads is that YOU have control.  You can print them from your own home printer or go to a local copy shop/printer or even use an online printer.  You can get the look just the way you want it at a price you can afford.  Online printers that offer custom invitations cost around $3 per invitation which would add up very quickly.  With these you can print out as many as you need!!  I printed these on watercolor paper that I got on sale.  It was spiral bound but I just cut it out and used it since it was A4 size (the normal printing size in the UK).  The pictures really don’t do them justice, they look and feel so nice.  The weight of the paper and the texture really makes them look expensive and professional.

 

Pink Watercolor Bunny Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Blue Bunny Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Whale Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Bear Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

anchor set

And to celebrate their new release I am putting them all on sale for 25% off until the end of August.  No need for a coupon code, I changed the prices in my shop!  So, please think of me the next time you need to host a shower/party.  Hopefully in the future I can make even more options.  Let me know if you have any requests.

They’re Here + New Font and Tail Options

The ornaments are now in the shop!  You can find them here.

Also, I decided to add a cursive font to the options this year since I had a couple of requests last year.  So now there are four font options.

Font Options 2015

And for the bunny this year there are four options for the tail.  You can choose white, pink, blue, or gray.  The pink and blue are a little different as well.  They are a bit speckled.  You can see all four options in the photo below.

Rabbit Tail Options

New Bloggy Home

New Blog Home

I’ve been keeping a little secret for about a year now.

Wow, how time passes.  I have wanted to get a dot com for years but the natural one to get which is thenestingspot.com was owned by a subsidiary of a certain internet provider and to get it from them you had to pay insanely high fees.  It really seemed like a racket.  Anyway, by chance I happened to check on it last fall and saw the spot was up for renewal and thankfully we were able to stealthily nab it.

I waited until after the craziness of the holiday season to try and figure out how to make a website for it.  Web page stuff is still pretty big and new to me so it took months before I found a format I thought I could use to do what I wanted and around May I finally got it in decent shape.  And then I got busy with other stuff and it has sat there.  I’ve been hesitant to tell everyone because it never feels quite ready.   But after doing a couple other things recently I think it’s time to make the move.  So, if you follow me in a reader like Bloglovin or Feedly etc. please take a minute to change your feed to www.thenestingspot.com.  If you are already a subscriber to my blog through WordPress then I’ll move you myself later today.  Hopefully all will go well and you won’t even see a big change. If you have any problems please let me know.

If you haven’t subscribed before a couple of ways to do it are: hit the RSS button at the top right corner of the new blog.  Or sign up in the right sidebar of the blog page to get an email sending you each new post.  Or go to your own reader like Bloglovin and search for The Nesting Spot.  Both blogs will come up so make sure to follow the correct one.

The site is still pretty simple and I’ll try to change and update the look as I figure out how, but for now it is clean and has the necessities.

I am posting a tutorial on my daughter’s Halloween costume today so please be sure to pop over!  It is also part of a Halloween craft link up so you can check out the other tutorials as well.  I will also be listing my 2014 ornaments this week and will notify you on there as well.  So please jump over and take a look and follow along!

New Print and New Size

I finally finished the latest print I’ve been working on!

I love having tangible ways to share love with others.  It is wonderful to be able to tell those you love most how you feel with words and hugs but if you can’t see them everyday to do that, a beautiful picture can be a great reminder of how you feel.  This would make a great Mother’s Day gift.  Or it could be hung on the wall of your nursery.  It’s been hanging up at my house for the last week so I could take pictures of it and I’m really loving it.  The colors are so happy but also soothing at the same time if that is possible.  It may have to find a permanent home here or be given to someone who needs a little extra love.  You can find the print here in my shop.

I have other big news.  I am finally offering 11″x14″ sized prints!  I can make any print in the shop that size.  Just purchase this listing and let me know which one you want.  I am very excited to finally be able to offer this.  When I got my own printer last year I got a large format one so I could sell larger prints.  I had put it off because of the extra expenses that come with offering another size, but no longer!  I have two 11″x14″ prints over my kids’ twin beds and the size is nice and substantial, especially framed with a mat.  You can see the size in the picture below.  I leave a white border on my prints to make it easier to attach it to a mat.

11x14 size

I plan on offering an even larger size soon, so be on the look out!  And if you just can’t wait, feel free to contact me about details.

Going to Space

Well, I was just about to sit down and write a post about how I was one of three people selected to travel to outer space!  I was so excited and was looking forward to this amazing opportunity, and then I woke up and discovered it was just a dream.  I know,  what  a bummer!  I wish I could have slept a little longer to get to experience it, but maybe next time.

In the meantime I have two new prints in the shop that I haven’t shared on here yet.  The first one I just realized is coincidently spacey.  Maybe it’s a sign!  You can find my “I Love You to the Moon and Back” print right here in my shop.

I Love You to the Moon and Back art print from The Nesting Spot

The next print is new to my shop today, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Faux Bois has been a trend for awhile now and it is sweet to stumble across someone’s love declared on the trunk of a tree (although I always feel a bit sad for the scarred tree). But if you get my print then there won’t be any tree scarring happening…ok, well, the paper is from a tree. Sorry.
But let’s get back to declaring our love! You can keep the print as is or I can personalize it for you. It’d make a great gift for the love in your life or even to hang on the wall of your wee one’s nursery.

You + Me = Forever, Faux Bois Print from The Nesting Spot

By the way, I have 6 prints in my shop now that help you share your love with others. Come take a look. It’s not too early to be thinking of Valentine’s Day. It’ll be here before we know it!  And don’t forget there are discounts for buying more than one print!

My Twine

twine

Remember back in May when I talked about a great deal on twine?  I know that feels like forever ago, but it wasn’t until November that I FINALLY decided what color to choose.  I was torn because the main color for my logo is turquoise but they don’t have twine that color.  I had gone back and forth with some other accent colors like orange for example, but then at the last minute decided to go with the ‘baby blue’ twine.  I figured it would be in the same family as the turquoise on the tags and would be a nice compliment.  Well, I got a delightful surprise when I opened my box of giant twine that  baby blue actually means turquoise!  I’m not sure why it is called baby blue since it is dark, but I’m not going to complain.

The roll is HUGE!  It’s 2 pounds and approximately 3400 yards of twine! It’ll be fun to see how many years it takes me to get through it, or if I even ever do.  I used the twine to tie the tags on all my ornaments this year (well, starting in November) and it didn’t even make a dent in it.

moon ornament with tag

I tried to be scientific and give you a size comparison to show you just how big it is.  Yes, my friends, that’s right, it’s even bigger than a dinosaur!

dino and twine

What, you don’t believe me?  Ok, so here is my hand holding it.  Don’t see my hand? Those little bumps on the side are my thumb and pinky peeking out from behind it.

twine

With shipping it does cost a lot (makes it about $18) but for the amount you get it is cheaper than anything I’ve seen out there by far.  It is definitely only something you want to get though if you are wanting one color for a lot of projects.  If you want to be able to switch colors often it might be worth spending the extra money to get some smaller rolls of twine.

I’ve really enjoyed having it to use and am one step closer to getting my branding all on the same page.  Plus, it’s just so pretty to look at.  It would be so fun to have a few colors all lined up in a row.  Too bad my house has no room for that!  Maybe one day when I have my dream studio to do all my work in.

Any other twine lovers out there?  What’s your favorite thing to do with it?

Happy New Year!

Deep in the Heart of Texas print
Before the year gets away from me I want to wish you all a happy new year! Since it’s been a while since I’ve been able to write I hope all your holidays were really wonderful. We had family at our house for Thanksgiving and then traveled to see everyone between Christmas and New Years. It was actually the best travelling the kids have done yet. We miraculously made it to Mississippi in 9 hours and only stopped once! Of course, it’s because we left at 2:10 am Christmas morning but besides the tired factor it was awesome! With 3 kids ages 6 and under only making one stop for gas, bathroom break, diaper change, and breakfast handouts was a Christmas miracle! I’d totally do it again. Now that we’re back we’re trying to get our house back in order and find a place for the bazillion presents all the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins gifted the kids with.

I’ve been thinking about my goals for The Nesting Spot for this year. I always look forward to the quiet around here after a busy Christmas season of making ornaments. The ornaments are still for sale by the way in case you forgot to pick one up for your little one. It’s pretty easy for that to happen.

One goal for the year is to be more consistent with making art. I am going to try really hard to make one piece of art a week. I also want to get back to blogging at least once a week as well. It was pretty impossible during November and December because of my work load but now that things have settled down it should be very doable if I make it a priority.  I’ve got a few other goals as well that I’ll share as they become relevant.  If I can actually accomplish them though it’ll be pretty exciting.

Deep in the Heart of Texas print

So, to kick things off I just added a new illustration in the shop. It’s called Deep in the Heart of Texas.
As I wrote in the description of it, if you start the phrase “the stars at night are big and bright” and a Texan is nearby they will most definitely finish it for you with “deep in the heart of Texas”. It’s a song that is near and dear to their hearts. In the shape of Texas I drew the stars and constellations that are seen over the night sky. I then placed a heart over the Austin area. The great thing about digital art is that it can be customized. So, if you have a favorite place in Texas I can put the heart there. Need ideas? How about your birthplace, where you met your love, or got married, or had a baby, or even where you currently live… the ideas are pretty endless. It would make a great gift for a Texas lover in your life as well!  Good thing about it is it’s pretty versatile.  It could be used for an adult space or would be darling in a little kids’ room as well.

It comes in two colors for the words as well. You can go with the whole print in navy or the words in navy and red. The print shown is a 5×7 size.

You can go here to see them in my shop. And don’t forget, if you buy more than one print at a time using one of these listings you can get a discount!

Ok, now it’s your turn, what goals do you have for 2014?  Do you make goals?  I have tended not to in the past for personal things but have enjoyed making them for my business.

Baby Gift Idea: Hand-Dyed & Embroidered Swaddle Blanket

baby-blanket-1

This is something I should have written about years ago, but I wasn’t writing the blog yet when I got this gift so I’ll use that as my lame excuse as to why I am just now getting to it!

When Audrey was born I received a very special package in the mail from one of my good college friends, Brandy. She is so very talented and can do any craft she puts her mind too. At one time she had opened a shop on Etsy but life with 3 girls, work, and school took precedence. Such a shame too because her knitted items are beautiful. Anyway, I was so thrilled when I opened the box to reveal two beautiful hand made blankets. They are probably sewn from a muslin cotton that she hand-dyed (the bottom right photo above shows the beautiful color variations in the cloth). One is purple and the other is pink. On the corner of the pink one is the most precious little bird that has been hand embroidered. It was done with variegated floss so that the image has a subtle variation in its colors. Audrey’s room had a sort of garden/bird theme to it when she was born so it was just perfect. She was also born in March in Texas which means HOT months were ahead so these light weight swaddle type blankets were awesome. I loved that she had made them just for my little girl.

baby-blanket-2

The blankets alone were so thoughtful that they were a perfect gift unto themselves.

But just for fun I thought I’d pair it with some other items to show other gift ideas as well. Handmade gifts are always extra special and are the ones that become family heirlooms, but if you aren’t the crafty type that doesn’t mean you can’t give handmade. This little bunny below is from the etsy shop, Yarnigans.   I just love her hand knitted items. One day when I learn to knit; maybe once the kids are grown and I have more time, I would love to buy her patterns for making these adorable animals.  This little mermaid is just so perfectbaby-gift-1
But I digress, I found a little basket which of course could be used by the recipient afterwards for holding toys, diapers, etc. I rolled up the two blankets and tied a ribbon around them making sure that the pretty bird was showing. I added a few board books because who doesn’t love a good book? And last placed the bunny on top. You could put a pretty bow on the basket and give it as is.

baby-gift-2

And if you wanted extra credit you could give some personalized art for the new little one. How about a print like this to add to the mix since it matches the bunny? You could even have a bunny embroidered on the blanket if you wanted them all to match.
bunny pink

And of course you could customize these things to match any nursery. I have lots of animals to choose from in my shop. If you don’t see an animal available that you’d love to have then let’s talk. I’d love to be able to help you!

Have you hand-dyed a blanket before?  Have you ever ventured into doing embroidery?  You can do a lot with knowing just one or two different stitches.  With the tutorials online it is so easy to learn.