Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Oh man, will I be glad when it is officially summer! Being this busy and commuting is really hard. I did have some time to go onto the etsy site today and I found this BEAUTIFUL hand cochineal dyed and hand woven wearable (but I wouldn't) art piece. It's fantastic. This person spent months making this. I love art when the artist truly hand makes everything. It just adds a bit of the persons soul to it. Cochineal, a small red insect that lives and dies on a piece of cactus, offers a huge range of dye colors; from a light pink to purple to magenta to a deep crimson red! You can order cochineal insects online from Oaxaca, Mexico.

In the summer time, when I'm not bogged down by making up lesson plans and activities, blogs will become more frequent and regular. Blogs are great. They act like permanent sticky notes of special finds so I'm always reminded of them. 

Going back a little bit...shortly after I posted information about Ikat weaving, Pier 1 Imports also released into their stores Ikat printed pillows! They're really quite beautiful. Unfortunately, Pier 1 doesn't have them on their website but I will take pictures of them next time that I am there and post them. 

SoCal is HOT! Stay Cool.

Until next time

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Acceptance Day

I've been super busy lately with school BUT today I met with my advisor and I'm on way to graduation! On May 1st...I'm turning in my Request to Graduate form! YES!!!!

 Today was Acceptance Day in the Art Education Department today. Students from the Transitional class, who are mentally disabled or have severe learning disabilities, participated in making a quilt. They all created their own square about accepting others for who they are, about peace, and about loving one another. They came out FABULOUSLY! After finishing their squares they invited other students on campus to also participate in our quilt making. 

Celia and I were the official seamstresses and sewed almost 200 squares together to make 3 awesome quilts. One of the quilts made in past years is currently hanging at the State Capitol. Hopefully, one of this years quilts will hang at the Nation's Capitol. Here are some of the
 squares from today. They're great!

Friday, April 10, 2009

To Ikat or To Batik

So, I would just like everyone to know about this really fabulous exhibition that is going on right now at LACMA. This is definitely a must see show! They are displaying until this September textiles from Indonesia dating back to the early 1400s!

Indonesia is famous and their Ikat and Batik designs. Ikat is a type of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process. Batik is a wax resist dyeing process where the wax is later melted from the fabric leaving a design. Ikat is coming quite a trend. Many pieces of furniture and pillows can be found in today's retail. Lots of different furniture and prints are featuring an Ikat design. Pottery Barn released printed Ikat pillows.
Sabi Ikat Pillow covers from PB. $9.99 on sale
 Pier 1 Imports also carries light green and brown Ikat prints. (no picture :-( ) Anthropologie also has awesome Ikat printed bowls! 
Batik as well is very up and coming in furniture!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Best Store EVER

The Paper Source is probably one of my favorite stores to go into. I can totally lose myself in all of the D.I.Y projects, book making supplies, craft tools, paper, embellishments, books, gift ideas, sets of paper, stationery, letterpress, and so much more! I can spend hours just looking at everything and getting inspired. Their store motto is also amazingly inspiring. "Do something creative everyday." I try to live by this motto and so far it works out pretty great. Ahhh! I love this store!

They have a few convenient locations here in SoCal and the one in Pasadena is pretty awesome but the Costa Mesa location is the best one so far. 

The Paper Source also has some of the best folded note cards I've seen. Their patterns and quality of great and fun to keep on hand. You never know when you'll need to write a quick thank you note, last minute birthday card, or just a hello! If you're not sure how to write a fabulous handwritten note, refer to The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd. You can find it on Amazon for only $10.88

Happy Writing!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Inspiring Video

Yes, well, it's getting sort of late and I've had on my mind a video, I Met the Walrus, that came out about a year ago but I recently only found out about. A 14 year old boy, in 1969, secretly taped an interview with John Lennon, one of my heroes, and now made a video full of amazing drawings and graphics. This is an inspiring video and John Lennon always makes me want to be a more accepting person.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Found Love

Today, I found a new wonderful website, Poppy Talk. Another great website that features handmade treasures, this time inspired by nature. They have treasures from felted items, metals, embroidery, soaps, and other perfect for spring gifts. On Poppy Talk I saw that one of my favorite companies is featured, Night Owl Paper Goods

They have a fabulous folksy twist on stationary using 100% paper and wood for their designs. Check them out for wedding invitations (so cute if you're having an outside wedding), stationary, birthday cards, and journals. I, myself, just bought a journal from them. 

Happy Creating!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just Starting Out

Hello. My name is Valerie, though most call me Val. I love all arts and that includes fine arts, crafts and D.I.Y. projects. If I see something in a store I usually end up thinking of my own way of making it. As a result of this love of all handmade treasures I have started this blog to show the world my ideas and the ideas of others that I find creative and unique. My sister, Michelle, has also motivated me to start this blog and is also a key element in starting an Etsy site, also called BlackCloudDesigns. She is also designing all of the graphics for BCD.  The Etsy site should be up and running in a few short weeks. I'll let everyone know when we finally launch it!   
I'd like to start out by letting everyone know about this great documentary, Handmade Nation, about the uprise of the D.I.Y. movement and features some artists around the nation. I think it's really great that people are really getting back into handmade items. In a world where almost everything is manufactured it is so refreshing to see hard work and effort put into something so simple and comes out better than what a factory can do. It's in most major theaters now so there is no excuse to not go see Handmade Nation!  

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