Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A very Dr. Perfect Christmas to you!

It was a great Christmas for Dr. Perfect. He got many wonderful, handmade gifts this year. Here's a sampling of the great presents.

In the lower left hand corner, you might be able to spot his tentacle stocking. Yes, I made him a stocking this year with footy-pajama material on the back. It was filled with yummy treats.

The pajamas were by far the biggest hit. Mimi Kirchner graciously donated the fabric. Dr. Perfect has been asking for "foreclosed property" pajamas for months. Long story. Basically, he likes watching infomercials late at night. ;)

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

small bean bag chair - about 2 feet tall

Some things I learned while making this chair:

1. If you think you bought a zipper big enough for the cover, add 4 inches and buy another.
2. Those bean bag filler pellets go EVERYWHERE! Make sure you have a vacuum handy.
3. For the inside bladder, even though no one sees it, make sure you use fabric that is easy to sew. I decided to use fabric that I had, but I knew I'd never use again, just to get rid of it. Big mistake, as this fabric was not at all easy to sew.
4. Add 2 hours to your estimated time to complete said project.

That said, I do feel satisfied that I have a cute little chair that will hopefully make someone happy in the future!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fat Bulldog

Another fantastic customer had a special request: create a bulldog as a gift for a coworker who was having a baby.

I presented the computer sketch first (seen above) and set to work.

I'm pleased with how much my embroidery has improved from when I first started. My last few animals with embroidered features have looked very close to the plastic perfection at first glance. I really like how the embroidery gives a classic look to the animals. There's something about the shiny plastic that I love, but the embroidered eyes and nose seem timeless.

Changes from the original sketch - I gave him little feet with toe detail instead of the longer legs. Because, let's face it, bulldogs are very stocky and sturdy. Also, the nose area is much larger and more prominent. It adds a little bit more personality I think.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Eco Friendly Lion

Meet Eco Friendly Lion!

I have a lovely customer who requested a fat lion to be made with Eco friendly materials. I've been waiting for the chance to use orange corduroy! I went to the fabric store and chose some fantastic, orange, cotton fabric for her to choose from.

I'm thrilled with how this guy came out. I cut out another lion from the fabric on the far left, and I hope to have it ready by the SOWA Holiday Market on Dec. 8 & 9.

The next few weeks will be so busy! My husband (Gubicza) put together the white cube shelves this weekend that will be my display for the holiday market. It looks great... I only hope I have enough animals to fill all of those spots!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wizard of Oz Show

Our quilt was accepted into the Ozspirations show at The New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University. I'm an adjunct professor there (teaching Design & Typography), and I heard about the show from a colleague who is one of the organizers.

My husband designed the quilt, and I sewed it by hand this summer. The size is 18"x24", so not a full bed quilt, just an art quilt to hang on the wall.

The opening is this Friday, Nov. 16 from 6-8 pm
75 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116

If you're in the area, I'd love for you to come and check out the show. We'll be at the opening to meet & greet visitors and fellow artists.

About the show:
New Works Inspired by The Wizard of Oz
See what happens when more than 30 artists, inspired by 100 years of L. Frank Baum's classic Oz series, allow their imaginations to take flight.
November 16-December 21, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sweetestpea in The Boston Globe

I'm in the Globe today along with fellow wonderful artists:
Azure Grackle
and Mogo

Hooray for press! Thanks Etsy for facilitating this!
Although the article implies that the animals are all based on designs by my husband, despite how wonderful and talented he is, only the monsters that are inspired by his illustrations.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fat Fox - upcoming creation

Recently, I seem to be thinking about foxes a lot. I woke up this morning thinking of them, and how I was going to create a fox in stuffed animal form. I created this computer sketch of what a fox would look like in the "fat creations" model... and I have to say that I'm pretty pleased. But, what I really want to do is create a fox that has legs you can pose, much like a teddy bear. Perhaps I'll experiment with a new line of animals that break the "fat" model in 2008 after the holiday rush leaves me in a pile of rubble. :)

But, for sure, the fat fox will be available before Dec. 9. That date is significant because it's the last day to get your holiday orders in if you want them before the 25th.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Perhaps I should make more time for this

I won some prizes this week for my robot costume!

First, from the South End Open Market -- 5 free market days!!

Second, from Etsy -- $150 shopping spree and a surprise grab bag!!
PLUS, my costume was featured on, because they were the judges for the "General Awesomeness" category.

I feel honored to have won such prizes and to have been chosen from many amazing costumes that were entered. Thanks to all of the contest sponsors and judges! I can't take the smile off of my face.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I don't have time for this!

I'm the queen of making extra work for myself. As if I didn't have enough to do: my full time job (creative director for a design firm) has been crazy-busy lately. Plus, there's that little side business known as The Sweetest Pea Designs. I'm staying on top of orders, but I haven't had a lot of time to build up stock for the Holiday Fair. I'm not going to meet my ambitious goals, but I can do my best and make as many as I can.

I know I have to get cracking at the sewing animals, but then along comes a holiday called Halloween. I love Halloween. I love costumes. Oh... what's that you said? Etsy's having a Halloween Party? I really need to go to this! It's important for my business. It's networking, and I'll refresh my skills on the sewing machine by making a costume. I've always wanted to be a robot, why don't I make that? What's that you say? Easy? Just "cardboard box" it? Noooooo. I need to spend hours upon hours that I don't have just to make a robot costume. It's an excellent use of my time. I have nothing better to do. Say goodbye friends and family! I'm busy making a robot!

Well, now it's done. And yes, it's pretty cool. I'm very excited to wear it at Etsy tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sweetestpea on TV!

Cool Mom Picks, Liz and Kristen, featured my fat monsters on their recent television segment for the Alpha Mom channel.

The segment is "It's a boy!" and is currently available for viewing online at Alpha Mom's site. My monsters are featured towards the end.

The shows will air nationally on the Cox Cable Network starting December 1 and on Comcast Digital around the end of the year. You can check those carriers' sites to find those markets around the country.

I'm thrilled to be a part of this. I heard my monsters were a little scared of being in front of the camera, but they were brave in the end. :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fat Bat - Altering Photographs?

I've made this new guy, Fat Bat. I think he's very cute and loveable. It took me over a month to shoot a photo of him for his listing. Partly because I like having him around, and partly because I knew what I wanted for his background and was debating on whether or not to do it.

I really wanted a spooky, halloween setting with a full moon on a navy background and to have him hanging upside-down on a branch. I tried setting it up in my usual way, with props, but it looked bad. Just not a good way to present him. The moon was obviously just some cut paper. And, even though the sets have worked well for me in the past, this just wasn't cutting it.

So, despite my reluctance to digitally alter the photographs, here he is in all his glory. I don't plan to do any crazy alterations in the future, but will you forgive me for Halloween? Just this once?

Friday, September 28, 2007


Recently, my husband and I have been into making and collecting Artist Trading Cards. My husband has joined a couple of online boards that facilitate trading between artists. I'd heard about these cards when I joined Etsy about a year and a half ago, but I never knew how addicting they were until I actually started making them.

The rules: The cards must be 2.5" by 3.5" (standard baseball card size) but they can be made out of any material you'd like.

Even Dr. Perfect has a binder (admittedly, he shares it with me) for collecting cards!

I'm showing some samples of cards that I made out of fabric. They're actually little mini quilts, which are really cool. Of course, they're for sale on Etsy, but I'd trade you for one if you've got some unusual cards to trade. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Teaching At The EtsyLabs Sept. 2007

Saturday, Sept. 1, 2007

I had the pleasure of teaching another stuffed animal class at Etsy Labs in NYC recently. Students made an owl, a cupcake, a snail and the unforgettable "cat monster."

It was a wonderful time, very relaxing, and also very exciting to see the students create 3 dimensional objects and see their creations take form. I think everyone learned something new, and gained some skills for their next projects.

Thanks to Etsy, and those who attended.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

D.I.Y. Kids - Get your copy Aug. 23, 2007

I'm very pleased to announce that D.I.Y. Kids is coming out in a couple of days. I had the pleasure of contributing to this book in the stuffed animal design section, as well as being interviewed for a profile. I can't wait to get my copy, and I'm even more excited to know that many, many families and groups will be crafting together and getting ideas from the book.

About D.I.Y. Kids:

"Princeton Architectural Press is proud to present D.I.Y. Kids, a book by Ellen and Julia Lupton forthcoming in Fall 2007. Illustrated with real artwork by real children, D.I.Y. Kids engages young people in making stuff, from binding their own books to sewing their own clothes. It’s packed with fun ideas for making stickers, logos, clothespin dolls, box buildings, graffiti furniture, ribbon accessories, and other cool projects. Each is explained with step-by-step instructions and colorful photographs of great designs and the kids who made them. The activities—rated by difficulty, time, mess, and cost—are intended for ages 7–12, but can easily be modified to suit all ages.

D.I.Y. Kids aims to trigger imaginative play, without requiring fees, teams, or a minivan. It’s for parents, teachers, aunts and uncles, friends and baby-sitters, neighbors and citizens—anyone who wants to create a better world not only for, but also with, the next generation. Most of all, it’s for kids who want to make their mark (and make a difference) by exercising the arts of design with wit, intelligence, and style.

— Ellen and Julia Lupton"

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Line - Eco-Friendly Animals

So, I've been wanting to make a line of eco-friendly animals for a long time. The only thing that has held me back is the fiberfill. All I've been able to find has been polyester, and that just won't do.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I discovered Eco-Craft fiberfill. It's made from corn, which is an annually renewable source. It's very cool stuff. It performs a little differently than its polyester cousin and has the consistency of cotton candy. I think it's great because of the source material, and I hope my customers will enjoy it as well.

So, here are the specs for my new eco-friendly line:
- 100% cotton fabric
- 100% cotton thread
- embroidered eyes, no plastic
- stuffed with eco-craft fiberfill
- beanbags are filled with buckwheat hulls

I'm really thrilled to be posting some animals this week in the shop.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fat Sheep - A redesign

Sometimes you think things are looking pretty good. Then you realize that you were sadly mistaken. Fat Sheep is a good example of this. I originally based the design of the sheep from the design of the moose - same basic shapes with ears instead of antlers. Then, recently, I was looking at the portrait of a sheep that is hanging in our kitchen (yes, we have animal portraits in our kitchen) and noticed that the sheep's nose should really be its entire face!

So... I made the modifications and so far it's been a success. A few sheep are going into a store in Groton, MA and I had an order for two sheep the day I posted the new design in my Etsy shop.

Compare the two and see the difference (blue is old, white is new). Oh, and I still offer them in all colors, these are just the photos I had at the moment.
Original Design: March 2006 | Redesign: June 2007

Sometimes it just takes hearing "Is that a sheep? If so, it's pretty cute!" so many times that something must be done to make it recognizable. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Featured on Mixed Plate

Today, my fat chick was featured on the Mixed Plate Blog in a collection of yellow - themed items. Check it out!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fat Pigeon - the newest animal

Welcome Fat Pigeon - the newest member of the sweetestpea gang.
This is one of those custom orders that is really exciting, and an interesting challenge. Most of my animals come about because someone will ask, "Do you make a fat (insert animal here)?" and I'll reply, "Not yet, but I could try it!"

Usually, things start out with computer sketches, so I'm attaching the client-approved sketch here for you to see. This one was a bit unusual because it relied heavily on the fabric choice. The client requested fabric that was shiny, and changed color like real pigeon's heads do. I went on my search, and I only came up with organza or silk with that quality. Then, I went back to dig in the piles of fabric that were home decorating remnants, and I found the perfect piece! There was one yard total. So, I should have enough to make 9 pigeons if I want! Good thing, too -- the client requested two more!

If you'd like to request a limited edition pigeon of your own, contact me at any time. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I've been tagged

Ok, so I've been tagged... This means that I have to list 7 random things about myself and also have 7 other bloggers do the same. If you'd like to be tagged, please comment on this post, and I'll leave a "tag, you're it!" comment on your blog.

1. I am really bad at keeping journals, scrapbooks and blogs. It's funny that the busier I am, the less I think about updating the blog. But, with all the fun things I'm doing, there's plenty to write about!

2. My husband and I have a giant stuffed octopus named Dr. Perfect. He has a blog and it's updated even less than mine. Last year, he threw me a surprise birthday party. Yesterday, I threw one for him. He just turned two (see photo above).

3. I am 27 years old and currently I am: a full-time graphic designer, a part-time educator, a small business owner, and I contributed to two books that will be coming out in the next year.

4. The song "Monster Mash" used to scare me as a kid. The man who sang that song died recently, and a friend sent me an email letting me know, "You're free. He won't hurt you anymore."

5. I'm really excited to travel to Japan - hopefully next year!

6. I think pickles, as a side dish, can add to most any meal.

7. Sometimes I'm surprised at the success of the stuffed animals I make. Sometimes I'm not. It's a very strange thing. From the beginning I saw their potential... I guess it's just strange seeing something work out and finding it sort-of unbelievable.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ignafruit's custom thank you cards

Ok, so I just had to rave about my new thank you cards. I've always included little notes with my outgoing packages. Usually, they're just pieces of paper I've taken from leftover paper sample books. I fold the piece over, write thank you on the front, draw some little leaves (why leaves? I dunno... why not?) and write my message inside. So... they had NOTHING to do with my branding. And, being a graphic designer who makes a living branding other companies, I decided to follow my own advice.

I discovered ignafruit's shop on Etsy in a Treasury. I thought "Those are really pretty note cards!" and I went to see what else she had to offer. Well, much to my delight, Angi (igna backwards) does take custom orders. I made my request - 3 inch square cards with my own design, sent her the file and she hand screen printed 200 for me. I think they arrived within a week (including production and mailing time) now that's fast!

If you want to see Angi's beautiful cards, check out her etsy shop: Or, you can just be one of my next 200 customers. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Teaching At The EtsyLabs

Hey there!

Long time without a post. I've been busy working on new designs to show, as well as activity sheets that you can use at home!

Etsy invited me to teach a stuffed animal class on Sunday, March 25. I'm really excited to show some fellow Etsy sellers how to make stuffies of their own design. The class will provide tips on making your own patterns, how to sew them, and each student will leave with a completed stuffed animal of their own!

The response was very good. Too good, in fact... I'm also teaching a morning class specifically geared towards kids. Kids will learn the same concepts, but the class will be taught in a slightly different way. We'll be creating characters out of simple shapes and by looking at the world around us.

Learn more about these classes, and sign up to take one at the Etsy Labs store!