Bella Blu Designs

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Design Envy: Elizabeth Soule

I recently found Elizabeth Soule's etsy shop e.soule and was immediately taken by her beautiful photography. According to the Portland artist's website, she shoots with a Polaroid SX-70 and a variety of other film cameras. Her work is quirky, poetic, and completely gorgeous. I love her visual vocabulary of figurines, toys, food, and other inanimate objects.

Gnome print:

Horse 15 box:

Deer and Cupcake, print:

I have spent the past 30 minutes pouring over her work (which reminds me: I need to start pouring over my own!) and I can't seem to narrow down a favorite... I love them all.

The holiday rush is in full swing but knock on wood, I've managed to stay on top of everything and get everything out the door in about 3 days or less. I'd better get back to it before I fall behind.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something new is growing in the garden

There's a fun new shop on Etsy which just so happens to be owned and run by the very talented woman who taught me everything I know when it comes to sewing.... my mom! She's been making these super cute designer shoe bags and I cannot wait to place my Christmas orders through her new shop, Moon Garden Design. When she came to visit for Thanksgiving she brought her samples and I love all of the fabrics she's chosen. They're very well made (meticulous attention to detail) and fully lined in coordinating fabric.

Now I know I am a little biased and all but these bags are precious (and did I mention well made?). She's just getting started and in the process of setting up shop. But check back often as she adds new designs in the latest designer fabrics. Great gifts!

Monday, December 1, 2008

BellaBlu designs: Bark Editors' Pick!

Today the super cool dog mag The Bark released it's list of Editors' Picks: 60 Great Gifts Under $20 and I am honored that they included my personalized dog notecards!

From the gift guide:

Delightful, Delectable, Delovely! Gift ideas, $20 and under. From small specialty companies to those crafty folks at, we searched far and wide for whimsy, quality, creativity and affordability. Here are more than 60 of our favorites, just in time for holiday gift-giving.

Check it out -- Happy shopping!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gobble Gobble.... I'm full!

Happy Thanksgiving! We had the nicest, most relaxing day yesterday, just Andy, my mom and me. We cooked for most of the morning (and by "we" I mean mom) and ate around 3:30-ish. After our feast we rolled ourselves to Town Lake (aka, Lady Bird Lake) in downtown Austin and walked the 3 mile loop just before it got dark. It was nice to get out of the house and get moving after so much eating.

We didn't venture out to do any door-busting shopping last night/early this morning but mom and I did take a trip to Jo-Ann for a few supplies and they were having an insane sale. Just about everything in the store was 50% off and then it was 20% off your total order. So we stocked up on some necessities and now we're working on some odds-n-ends projects around the house. Mom is painting the bathroom that was driving me crazy (pick your paint sheen/finish very carefully!) and I've been hanging pictures:

Shortly after I returned from Ireland I had several enlargements made and framed them in good 'ol Ikea Ribba frames. I've been meaning to hang them for nearly 2 months now and I finally made myself take the time to hang this collage down our hallway. I'm pleased with the way it turned out (and am glad it's done!).

We've been talking about the possibility of going to a movie tonight but not sure what the plan is. I think it's safe to say we don't need to eat...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Discover Edge - Take Charge Guide

A few months ago I was contacted by Dana Dratch, a writer for Discover Edge magazine, who interviewed me about how I turned my hobby into a side business. The article is now online and I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.

Deck the tree

Today is our office Thanksgiving potluck and to mark the occasion, we're decking our halls with Christmas decorations. I can't believe the holidays are here (especially since it still feels like summer in Austin) but I am going to take some advice I heard recently and "accept it: the holidays are here; just get over it." My mom arrives on Tuesday for Thanksgiving and I think we'll put our tree up while she's here. So I've been looking on Etsy for some fun ornaments and here are a few of my favorites:

Vintage typewriter key Christmas ornament from Joy's Jewels:

Peace dove ornament - Picasso inspired by ooshkapah: good things:

Winter Robin bauble by SnowFish:

Christmas Tree Ornament - Evergreen tree by JMDAY (another Austin seller):

And last but not least, Owly Ornament Set of Three by Needlings (I love this shop!):

I wish I were one of those people who collected unique little interesting ornaments from my travels but unfortunately, I am one of those people who goes to Michael's and buys boxes of plain old frosted glass ornaments. Last year I did a fun pink and orange theme which actually turned out a lot more elegant than I had imagined.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I was just contacted by Starla of Curious Mess on Etsy who let me know she included me in this darling treasury all about pugs! I feel honored to be featured among such adorable pug items!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Glory Four

Today is our 4th wedding anniversary and I've been enjoying a trip down memory lane. We got married in Roswell, GA, a suburb of Atlanta, and the day could not have been more perfect. The best part was being surrounded by all of our dear friends and family.

It was a lively celebration to say the least and a day I will not soon forget. One of my more vivid memories is hand sewing more than 100 invitations out of chocolate brown dupioni silk.... everyone thought I was crazy but lord have mercy, they were beautiful.

Our colors were brown and rust for fall so everything followed suit - including our favors. Each guest got a bottle of dried rosemary, some recipe cards, and a note explaining the significance of rosemary as a symbol of love and remembrance.

We welcomed guests at the hotel with "We're Glad Georgia's on your Mind" themed baskets. Each basket included peanuts, bottles of coca-cola, fruit, candies, bottled water (of course I made my own coordinating labels), and a CD of some of our favorite tunes from Georgia musicians.

Our guests sent us off in style with these coordinating bird seed packets:

It was all so much fun to plan and I had a blast creating all of the individual elements. I can't believe it's been four years!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Super duper Cooper

My friend Jen just posted pics of her new puppy Cooper and he's just too cute not to share. He's a mini doxie and I can't wait to meet him next 4th of July!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fun new fabrics

If we should learn of the end of the world, I am pretty sure I have enough fabric to fashion some sort of a life saving apparatus... I've got us covered. But every now and again I allow myself to give in and order some fun new prints. I had a request for a yellow lab tshirt so while I was ordering some of Heather Bailey's swirly bud fabric in yellow, I picked up a couple more prints from Anna Maria Horner and Alexander Henry. This polka line fabric from Anna Maria Horner is just too cute! I am always looking for more gender neutral prints and this one is simply adorable:

I'm working on a few orders for custom Christmas cards and I am so excited that I finally figured out how to print on 11x17 on my printer. I had no problems before I got my new MacBook last October but the new configurations were a little tricky.
This is good news because it means I can bring back the accordion fold cards, announcements, and invites:

So watch for these in my shop over the next few weeks!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Go speedracer, go!

I am so relieved last week is over but I am happy to report that my big work event went off without a hitch on Thursday & Friday. We were up in Ft. Worth for a two-day program which wrapped with a driving event sponsored by Porsche. They let our group of 40 people spend 4 hours test driving the new Porsche 911 on a series of road courses at a private MotoSport country club outside of Ft. Worth.

And I might I just add that this was one of the most fun things I've ever done! I was actually pretty nervous/apprehensive to get into a $100K car and take off on a race track with minimal instruction and no supervision. But once we got going, there was no stopping us. It was really and truly an incredible experience that I will not soon forget. I am hardly a car enthusiast but let me tell you, if I ever find a spare $100K laying around, I might consider my need for speed.

I am so happy to be home! I've been working so hard on this program since last spring and I am just so relieved it was a total success with only a few minor glitches along the way. I've been enjoying the weekend but still a little sore that I missed Halloween. Hope everyone had loads of fun!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Design Envy: Caroline Gardner

I first discovered Caroline Gardner's work at Avoca in Ireland and was instantly drawn to her whimsical take on modern sophistication. This British designer is able to blend assorted graphic typefaces with fun and quirky illustrations in a style that is all her own.

I received an email promotion from Caroline Gardner Publishing this week and it reminded me to go spend some more time on her site. In addition to her lovely cards, I found some fun dog collars and leashes:

Caroline's boxed letterpress cards are so beautiful:

Caroline Gardner offers online shopping but note that all prices are in British pounds (a little pricey at the moment!). Be sure to check out her site, even if just for some virtual window shopping.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel

I have been so preoccupied lately with a big work event that's coming up this Thursday and Friday in Ft. Worth. I've been working on this program since April and I can't believe it will all be over on Friday -- I couldn't be more thrilled! All of the details are falling into place and I feel good heading into the last 24 hours of madness.

...So I've been a little distracted and slow to post. But I am happy to share with you a lovely new blog from "a creative girl in love with fashion & interiors." My friend Kim sent me a link to CreateGirl, which is written by the very talented Julieann of Jace Interiors. Julieann was kind enough to blog about my wiener dog onesie when she was a guest blogger on Decor8 back in August. And now I am pleased to share with you her wonderful design blog.

I look forward to Saturday when this whole event/program is behind me. Just in time for the holiday madness! (note to self: get Christmas cards listed in the shop!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I finally got the rest of my holiday gift tags up in the shop and it's now time to start on holiday cards. I can't believe November is just around the corner. I completely missed Halloween this year and I'm sorry to report I didn't list any 'Happy Halloweener' dachshund cards like I did last year (but didn't miss hand cutting all of those dachshunds).

Work continues on our bathroom remodel and we're just about to the paint/trim stage. The tile is in and the plastering has been done to repair the walls. We're hoping they're back tomorrow to install the closet doors... can't wait to get this wrapped up!

I'm off to bed after a brutally busy day at work and a long evening of sewing and printing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall is in the Air

I am pleased to report that I am finally caught up on orders and even had some time to spare this afternoon. I've spent the better part of the evening cleaning up my workspace and stockpiling stationery bags, clothing tags, and other various provisions. This is an old picture of my work bench from earlier this year when it was still neat and easy to control (I'm afraid to post a picture of my workspace now for fear of being called a hoarder):

It's finally cooling down here in Texas and we've been enjoying a lovely fall weekend. We got the lawn mowed, the pool filter cleaned, and lots of odds & ends done around the house today - it feels good!

I also started peeking around Etsy for some preliminary Christmas shopping and stumbled across these shoes - how cute are these?

They're called Petit Lamb and they're from Aurelia and Annalise on Etsy. At only $23.50 they're a chic (and inexpensive!) way to cover your little one's pigs.

These Chicklets with a red t-strap are awfully cute, too:

Well it's late and I'm off to bed. We've got more workers coming in the morning to re-drywall the bathroom and move us one step closer to finishing this darn project!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

*Office with a View*

I was delighted to stumble upon the adorable and totally hip blog *Office with a View* today -- and to find a posting about a few of my products. Thanks, Britt & Mon! These two sisters dish about beautiful things for the office and I am honored to be included. What a fun blog and another daily reader to add to my list!

I've been off by a day or two all week so I was surprised to realize tomorrow is actually Friday and not Thursday. It's going to be a busy weekend if we hope to wrap our bathroom remodel and check other assorted home improvement projects off the list. Not to mention that I HAVE to get going on my Christmas cards. I can't believe November will be here in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, Rainy Tuesday

I am pleased to report that the Ryan Adams (er, Cardinals) show last night was fabulous. I've never been to a show by myself but I thoroughly enjoyed it even if I didn't have anyone to talk to. They played for well over 2.5 hours so I was pooped by the time I got home. I think I can officially say I am too old to be out past 9 on a Monday night! At any rate, their new album Cardinology is due out on Ocotber 28th and based on what I heard last night, it should be a good one.

It's a rainy, yucky Tuesday here in Austin and I've been working from home all day. It's pretty depressing. The tile guys were back to grout our bathroom and I am pleased to report we're getting closer to completion. The tub and tile are in and the plumbing is halfway there. We just need to install the sinks, closet doors, trim and paint (not necessarily in that order). Will be very glad to be able to check this off the never-ending home improvement list!

When I was in Dublin at my new favorite store Avoca, I saw this chalkboard:

I remember at the time feeling very lucky to be in Ireland but it's a good reminder to be grateful everyday.... even on the blech, yucky, rainy days. So don't forget to thank your lucky stars.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I am a huge fan of Ryan Adams and his band the Cardinals so I am not sure how I somehow missed the original announcement that they are playing a show in Austin tonight. I managed to score one single upper balcony ticket on Craig's List and I cannot wait for the show! Andy is out of town and I don't think I know anyone who would be willing to pay *last minute pricing* with me. So I'm going alone but sure it will be worth it.

I also want to come clean with it....I completely, hopelessly and shamelessly addicted to Facebook. I know I am at least 10 years too old and entirely too busy but I can't stop. I am obsessed with knowing what my friends are doing at all times. If you've considered making your foray into the world of online social networking, be forewarned that you may also become addicted!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Super models

I love to seemy designs on such cute models. Here are a few recent pictures:

Friday, October 10, 2008


Today I discovered the amazing Helen Acraman and her Etsy shop Zukzuk. I am in love with her work! The image above is of her limited edition print 'Jelly Bean Birds' and I think it would look fabulous anywhere in my house.

Although this one is so beautiful, too. It's called 'Sugardrop Baby' and it's another limited edition print.

It's not too early to start Christmas shopping (for myself?), right?

This image above is called 'I Run to You' and once again, it's a limited edition print. This would look so cute in my nephew Austin's room.

Helen is a New Zealand artist living in Canada and you can read more about her work and sign up for a giveaway on her blog.

UPDATE: I purchased two prints from Helen last night and she is as lovely a person as her designs!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin