Saturday, December 31, 2011

lazy day

i did another embroidery today when i felt i should be sewing.  i was semi-watching pretty woman for the 500th time curled up on my sofa.  my mojo was not in full force so the up and down of sewing was not very appealing to me.  i'm blaming it on the clouds.  i know, i know...i was just bragging about the weather here!  it's till 70 degrees out but helloooooo sun--where are you today?  anyways, this is what i got made!

Friday, December 30, 2011

my office is outside

today is one of the fabulous weather days that i say to myself: THIS is why we moved here!!  always being a northerner has meant snow, cold, wind and oh yeah, more snow for a big part of the year.  today is SUNNY and 70 and so i decided to sit out on my back deck and get some crafting done.

i should be inside sewing but i just can't break away from this gorgeous weather.  so i decided to feed my new crafty addiction and get some embroidery done.  then i realized not only have i been neglecting my etsy shop as i so often do (BAD artist!) but i have several items that need to be photographed.  so i took some pics.  and after this if i don't fall asleep because the perfect weather is making me very very sleepy and i'm longing for a hammock in the worst way---i'd like to once again make a to do list for the new year.  my annual self ass kicking, you can succeed in business list that i try to follow.

here's the embroidery i just finished up...
and here's one from like a month ago done in the same fashion.  both are machine sewn fabric pieces (made from my handbag scraps) that are have vintage collage elements hand embroidered on them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

custom order

i recently got a custom order request for a diaper bag and i got it made today!

i've been asked if i made them before and just never took the idea on so it was nice to finally do it.  it was a bit harder than i expected but i guess all new designs are the first time.  the request for the bag was to NOT be shaped like a diaper bag and have lots of pockets.  once i found the right fabric-the request was for a plaid and i used a vintage find from an the Salvation Army sale last year-i had to really think about functionality.  seeing i don't have kids i had to do a bit of research! 

i ended up doing a version of my Louise Bag...this one is wider on the sides and bottom so it sits up on it's own very easily.  then i did a large pocket the width of the outside front and back that sits almost 3/4 high.  the inside has one really big pocket, a long pocket divided in two and 2 elastic side pockets for bottles.  all the pockets are in different fun fabrics.  i detailed the strap with a black asymmetrical border and 2 orange lines of stitching. 

i am really happy how it came out and just hope she is too!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

market recap

this is REALLY late, i know.....but i've been in Ohio visiting family for an early xmas, getting a new order into Wildcard and working.  oh yeah....working.

i wanted to share pics of the Freret Street market i did on dec. 10th.  holy crap that was 10 days ago.
first off i was busting ass to make stuff.  you never know what will sell and want to have lots of everything!  i managed to get all my tags done in my new stamp and redid my old bags that had a jilsy designs stamp.  i recycled the other side of tags i had pre stamped with my old jilsy stamp for pricing.  recycling makes me happy.

the market was AMAZING!!!  i was so happy it all went off pretty smoothly.  i remembered everything, met up with a friend to help each other with tents and sold LOTS.  thank goodness because it's my only holiday show this year.  my crafty neighbors were SO nice and i don't think i had one cranky customer.  not that i usually do.  except for that one time an old lady fake punched me in the face over a $10 eyeglass case.  seriously.

i was super happy with my set up but am always thinking of new ways to cut down on trips to and from the car.  i'm thinking of investing in a cart from u-line.  they have one that collapses in half that isn't too badly priced.  i had a last minute vision of using big binder rings to displays large bags from the tent bars but couldn't find any at target so i still brought my rolling rack.  i did alter my usual display a little bit by adding a cork board in the center to hang my embroidery and collages on.  since my collages have been in embroidery hoops more lately than canvas and stretchers i couldn't use my old display.
now i need to get serious and look into more markets to apply to for spring to keep this momentum moving forward.

on a side note i made my niece a jacket for her pug.  i was so excited to see if it fit once i got there because i was just looking at a pic and having my sister send me measurements.  it fit pretty well but needs some adjustments for long term wear.  it slid down a bit in the front so i just need to sew that part a little higher.  so freaking cute.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

more new embroidery

i can't help but think this is SO cute even though i made it.  it's ok to say that, right???
i'm so happy with the way this came out that you can be sure to see more in the future.
have a great day y'all...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

something new

i felt like taking a break from sewing for a day or two and this is what i came up with....

i'm back to creating from my scrap pile!  there are just too many cute scraps to throw away.  i get way too excited when i think of a new way to use them!

other than this i am getting ready for the Freret Street Market on December 10th.  i finally have to make the leap to buying my own tent.  and then comes the challenge of putting it up and taking it down by myself....sigh.  i wish i had an assistant to come with me at times like this.  anyone in LA interested???

Saturday, November 26, 2011

creative juices becoming bubbly....

i've been saying i'm in a creative rut because i'm so distracted by working on getting my new house settled.  i think i FINALLY came out of it yesterday!!!

it's when i'm creating for the sake of creating...not for the sake of inventory or production.  as a runner i compare it to the point when i know i'm in shape again and i get in the zone.  it's when my body and mind are in synch, when i no longer have to think about moving my legs or breathing and my mind becomes like a machine in total calmness.  it doesn't happen often but when it does it's the BEST feeling in the world!

my crafting zone yesterday was when i started cutting up scraps and piecing them together.  i started doing something else.  i made a couple barrettes, some cards and an applique pouch.  as a result i have piles of papers and scraps all over my tiny room in hopes my zone would wake up with me.  so far my zone has only wanted to drink coffee and lie around but i'm hoping it come out again.

in the meantime here are a couple pics of the silly little things that i made.

here's hoping for a productive day!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

shop til you drop. (online while in your jammies)

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday-
Support independent artists, designers and crafters!!
pssst like me :)

Sales going on in my etsy shop now through Sunday the 27th at midnight are:
FREE shipping within the US
Purchase a Christmas stocking and receive a FREE handmade goody inside!

ALSO, the first 5 etsy sales get a surprise handmade item added onto their sale.  
Let's just say Santa's elves are working extra hard this year and want to put more under your tree.  

Come on y'all and show some handmade LOVE! items are being added to the shop all weekend....
xoxo jill

Saturday, November 19, 2011


i just registered for a twitter account.  i'm not sure why i did it but i just felt like hey, maybe i can figure it out and get some people to see my work!'s kinda intimidating. i need hours to figure it out!!

so follow me

Friday, November 18, 2011

new branding!

i get SO excited when the mailman brings me packages!!

i got some of my new branding this week....
my new stamps...i use them for bags and price tags.  she made my jilsy designs stamp too- LOVE this vendor!!
my new sew in labels.  i got the kind to cut myself to save a little money. i used her for my tags last time too. another awesome etsy seller!!
and last but NOT least is my new branding in friend Valerie designed this logo package for me and i couldn't be happier with it!!!  she is an amazing artist.  she made a beautiful illustration for me to give my sister last year as well.  it looks like a photograph!!
check out her work here:

Friday, November 11, 2011


i am kinda losing my s#@*t tonight. 

obviously, i just moved.  i'm not totally unpacked and the piles of stuff is starting to reek havoc on my creative mojo!!  i have several organizational issues in this house that chris and i missed when we decided to buy the place.  not that it would of prevented us from the purchase but i may have had a better plan of action for my organizational needs.  as you saw in my last post i have settled in nicely to my new studio.  but the piles of stuff outside the studio are saying "where are we going to live jill???"  yes, i'm developing some disorder and maybe a tick from it.  all the houses we've lived in before always had a basement or a garage or i know the luxury i was in.  plans are in place to get my organizational needs met but i'm need one of those HGTV handymen. just for 1 day and i could be in bliss!

so, my first New Orleans show is tomorrow and i'm SOOOO not ready.  my business cards did not arrive in time nor did my stamp to make business cards.  so i am making the saddest excuse of xerox copies with hand written info :(  i guess it is a craft show so it's not THAT bad. 

my inventory is what i consider low- 25 handbags, 5 xmas stockings, some embroidery, some misc. artwork and 4 small crates of accessories.  not what i had in mind for my new city debut but i have to make it work....right tim gunn??  my 13 years of visual merchandising knows how to make things look fuller or cram it in so i'm sure it'll be fine.  i'm just not READY like i wanted to be ready.  here goes!!

ready or not HELLO NEW ORLEANS!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

3 in 1

i think i finally did it!!

i had the challenge of fitting 3 rooms in 1 in this house.  i was SO blessed with space in our Pittsburgh home.  we had a basement and 3 floors including 5 bedrooms.  so i had a guest room, an art studio and a sewing/craft room that included my office.  not so much here in NOLA!  we now have a 3 bedroom house on 1 floor with no basement.  QUITE the challenge, i'd say.  the house is actually the perfect size...we just or uhummm I have too much stuff.  i personally think that comes with being an artist but my husband just thinks it's too much stuff.  what ev. 

today i fit everything except for my books into this room and i'm pretty proud of myself!  i dehoarded like no other.  so here's a peek into Fighting Spirit's new studio.
the biggest change is sharing my sewing table with my office space.  hopefully it will work!
cutting table that can turn into a painting table when needed.
wall of fabric.  drool.

i got these cute organizing boxes to inspire me!!  they fit my small accessories perfectly!

good thing i have high ceilings, huh?  it made up for the lack of a closet in this room.
meanwhile, you can barely walk in the dining room aka staging area with piles around the table.  my clothes have been thrown into the poorly designed closet (large project priority #2) and are still in suitcases, laundry baskets and random boxes.  but i'm ready to sew!!  priorities people, priorities!

upcoming shows!!

I have 2 shows on the schedule!!!!

The first one is next week (gasp!!!) Nov. 12th from 10-3. 
Find info here:

And the next one is Dec. 10th from 12-5.
Find info here:

I am so excited to be making my New Orleans debut but a little nervous because I don't have very much stock for next week being that I am trying to unpack and am actually working lots at my day job.  I guess it will be a test run...just hope my business cards get here on time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

hello moto

today is turning out to be PRODUCTIVE.  anyone who knows me, knows my LOVE of crossing things off my lists.  i admit i'm kinda a freak about it.  call me crazy but i really love my lists.

the odd thing is i've had a dull migraine since last night that will not go away and i just keep trying to avoid acknowledging it even with the waves of nausea.   i know i'm going to have to lay down soon because i'm getting to the point of no return.  i just took my last imitrex and am trying not to panic about that!  yes, one of my list items was make a doctor appointment.  check, done!  every time i  move i have to find a new doctor just to get this prescription...i wish i could get a lifetime supply.

now that you know my migraine history (had them since the age of 5 by the way...not fun) i will move onto to the important stuff.  CRAFTINESS!!  i disappoint myself often in my lack of crafty motivation when i kill it at my day job.  somehow i struggle with focusing on wearing all the hats of promotion, creation, scheduler, etc.  but it's NEVER gonna happen if i don't so i need to kick my own ass and like Nike says- JUST DO IT!!  laying in bed the nights before i work (2 days a week) and thinking about how much i loathe a certain authority figure lit that fire in me today.  i have a chance here.  a fork in the road if you will.  and i need to freaking seize the day.

i am already planning a relaunch of my biz by having a new name and getting a new logo for all my promotional materials.  i have checked out a bit of the local craft scene.  i don't have my official picture set up or my desktop with all my good pics and i was letting that hold me back from applying to shows.  NOT TODAY.  i decided to apply to 2 shows with my not so perfect pictures today.  results are to be continued!  then i sent some of my not so official pictures with a not very official price list to a local shop here in new orleans.  and BAM, i got a response within the hour to see the samples in person.  i did a happy dance that included fist pumps, i'm not gonna lie.  i also did a running sock slide on the hardwood floor.  that for some odd reason is one of my regular moves i've done since having hardwoods and it just never gets old....i think it's just one of those things that my mother never wanted me to do (not at our house, we had shag carpet) because it was kinda like running with scissors.  knock on wood, i haven't fallen yet.  i hope i didn't just jinx myself!!

i'm not saying this shop will love my stuff or place a very large order or any order at all.  nothing is guaranteed but it's the first step and that's what i needed to do today.  today motivation made an appearance and i kissed it on the mouth.

i also got some holiday ornaments made that i will take pics off when i get the chance.  i am in the middle of sweat-shopping so i better get back to it.  i just needed to share!

p.s. this is my running power song and i feel like it fits for crafty motivation as well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

jazz it up!

i finally got my fleur de lis fabric!!!  i started making some samples today to try and shop around town.  i have been so distracted, feeling like i have ADD trying to get work done in this little apartment.  did i mention that i can't wait to be settled???  i create a small explosion whenever i try to be crafty.  any surface becomes work space and my socks become swiffers picking up stray scraps and threads.  everything is cut except i ran out of interfacing again.  this is why i usually buy by the bolt.  i tried to get it into my suitcase in Pittsburgh but even with sitting on it, it wouldn't work.  so i chose fabric over interfacing which made complete sense at the time. 
i got coin purses, small and medium pouches and wristlets made.  well, one of each to tackle the cut piles!!

in the meantime i have had the chance to do a little more exploring and want to share a few pics.  the first one is a huge painted billboard for Zataran's, which is based here.  we actually drove by the factory when we went to pick up our cars in the middle of what i thought was nowhere! in reality it was on the west bank of the good ole Mississippi.  at the time we had only been here a week and i felt really disorientated.   i see this billboard everyday and for whatever reason it makes me smile.  oh, and a little hungry.
the next pic is from the front of a bank on Poydras St.  it's amazing what you really see when you look up at the old buildings.
and last but not least, we went by our future home!!  it's so freaking cute i can't stand it.
yes, that's a white picket fence!!!  it was never something on my wish list but heck, i'll take it!

this is the name of our street.  most of the streets in the city have these blue and white ceramic tile signs on the corners as identifiers.  i'm not sure what the history of them is but someday i'll take the time to look it up.  i do know the original part of our house was built in 1885.  there's a place in town you can look up all the people that have lived there before you.  how cool is that???  or i guess it could be kinda creepy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

city adventures

as i mentioned in my last post, i'm living in a new city.  i FINALLY took my camera out instead of just my smart phone to capture a few sights!  there are SO many good things to see here in NOLA that i really need to carry my camera EVERYDAY.  i am especially drawn to old original tile floors and have taken some pics, again, only on my phone.  i find them VERY inspirational...print, fabric design, i guess it's all kinda related.
this may seem like just another downtown street lamp but it's one of millions, YES millions, of fleur de lis symbols on EVERYTHING here!!  (p.s.i just ordered a bunch of new fabric to support the local love)
random fish on the side of a building.  no, not an aquarium.  i guess i didn't catch the name or business but i don't think it had anything to do with fish and it made me smile!
Lafeyette Square Park where TONS of festivals are held.

Jackson Square in the French Quarter
i finally went in here!!  i walked to the farmer's market and noticed they had a harvest tent set up outside and decided to venture in.  i've walked by this several times but never stopped in even though my face was glued to the display windows.  beautiful hand blown glass!!  i've always wanted to take print making...a class i regret not taking in college!  maybe some day....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

new beginnings

New city, new biz name!

When I began my little hobby business I wasn't prepared to love it so much. I really just wanted a change from painting so I began sewing. I didn't realize that it could actually be such a living, breathing thing. From bags to accessories to cards and artwork, jilsy designs began to consume me. My heart has gone into it even if my head hasn't. What I mean by that is I need to approach my business with a business type mind if I really want to make it successful.

I've worked in visual merchandising for so many years. I've been a power house tasker for every company I've worked for so why not be one for myself? It presents challenges. Many I am still trying to figure out. I've moved to New Orleans for my husband's job and now find myself at a very low point in my career. So this is a start of me taking control. It's simply starting with branding....a new business name that I've let marinate and am growing to love so today I am claiming it mine. jilsy designs is now Fighting Spirit.

It's going to be a slow process so please bear with me and stop back often. I am usually much more witty than I am displaying today, I swear.