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Cosmo Cricket

Member Since February 2008, 1 forum posts, 1 public projects

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Blog Post

How We Created Summer Love

This is Julie

And this is Eric

We have to tell you how we created Summer Love because it is my most favorite line!

While working on some posters for Fab.com, I got the idea that we should do a vintage line about drive-in movies, the beach, picnics, ice-cream, etc. I thought the record player would work in it. I suggested it to Julie and she loved the concept.

(By the way, if you want to follow all of Eric's art endeavors you can on our "The Comstocks" facebook page.)
Eric Comstock | Illustration
I kept drawing things. These ice cream cones made their way onto the stamps, but funny enough, the record player isn't in the line anywhere.
Cosmocricket_sl_preview10
I started working on papers. This was the first design. I was going for the feeling of sunshine. (This image is missing one layer that Eric added when he prepped the files for production, can you tell? You can see the real paper below with the pattern on the backside.)
Sunshine_small
Cosmocricket_sl_preview6
I really wanted to use an ombre effect in the papers. Illustrator has an option for gradients, but to get the sunbleached look, I did a lot of work in Photoshop. While working in Photoshop, I started to feel that the line was too heavy overall. To me every design was beautiful on its own, but together, it felt overwhelming. To fix it, I screened the opacity on all my designs by 30%. At first, they felt washed out in comparison, but after a day I knew it was right.

You can see a before and after example here. The first is how the design looked with full on opacity in Illustrator. The second is after the opacity change and some hand painting in Photoshop.
Bold stripe | Julie Comstock

Ombre stripe | Julie Comstock
Julie had designed a couple papers and then got stuck. She started saying things like, "Frick a fricky, freackin' frack... This is not working." When Julie has gone from "goodness gracious" past "darn it" and all the way to "frick", you know it's serious! I intervened by saying, "Hey, let's go to the movies."

Eric took me to see Moonrise Kingdom. My mind was still on Summer Love when the movie started and I became obsessed watching the countdown screen. When the girl in the movie had a record player, I knew the design Gods had sent me a message. I came home and created this paper.
Cosmocricket_sl_preview3
Somehow, when you've really struggled through a line and are finally able to make it come together in a way that you are happy with, you become quite attached to it. I love this line! Oh, I think I said that already. ;)
Cosmocricket_sl_preview11
Basically, once I opened the door to Julie's creativity, she was able to spread her wings and fly. I take full repsonsibility for the line's success, of course. What would she do without me?!?
Cosmocricket_sl_preview12
I would drive myself to the movies and eat all the popcorn.
Cosmocricket_sl_preview9
You always eat all the popcorn anyway! (Seriously, Julie loves popcorn and if you take a break to pop in a few Junior Mints, you will miss out on getting any.)

Hmmm, is it too early to pop some now?!?




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Blog Post

5 Minute Card: Sweet Disposition

Heart Card | Julie Comstock for Cosmo Cricket
This will come as a complete surprise to anyone that knows me, but yesterday I decided I would clean off my desk. Part way throug, I found these punched hearts left over from a previous project. 

Since I'm really great at getting side-tracked, I whipped up this card. It took just long enough to make me forget about cleaning my desk which I'm now planning to do today. ;)

If you want to recreate this project, you'll need:
3 paper rectangles measuring 1 3/4" by 3 7/8" 
3 big hearts (I used a Fiskars punch)
3 small hearts (I used matching Fiskars punch)
1 standard card base
1 Tiny Text sticker
1 Sewing machine with gold thread (optional) 

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Blog Post

Gift Box: TV Dinner

Thanks to the lovely Donna Budzynski, we have this fun little project to share with you today.

Recipe Box | Cosmo Cricket
I can imagine this filled with mini muffins, peanut butter cookies, or homemade crackers. I'm not sure where Donna found the box with the scalloped edge, but it sure is cute.

Altered Box | Donna Budzynski for Cosmo Cricket
This is such a simple but cute project. I think the little chef sticker totally makes it. I love him!

If you want to try it out, you're going to need something good to put into it. Don't worry, this recipe isn't from my kitchen... are you kidding? It's from a really great friend, Deanna, who I love dearly. You know if these turn out well for me, it's an awesome recipe.

Kiss of Kindness Cookies
1 3/4 C Flour
1 t. Soda
1/2 C Butter
1/2 C Peanut Butter
1 t. Salt
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 t. Vanilla
2 T Milk

Mix wet ingredients. Blend in dry ingredients.  Deanna then makes the dough into little balls and rolls them in sugar. She adds a chocolate kiss to the center after they've been baking for 5 minutes. We like our chocolate distributed throughout the cookie, so we add chocolate chips and mix them in before dropping them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

In other culinary news, adding to my list of "vegetables in smoothies do's and don'ts"- Avacado. While technically a fruit, it makes the list on the do's side!  Try it with pears, yogurt, mint leaves, soy or regular milk and ice. Everyone loved it, nobody could guess why it was so creamy and it's the perfect color for St Patrick's Day!


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2/25/2013 7:55:14 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Congratulations to Today's Winner

We want to thank everyone that stopped by yesterday and participated in our contest. We hope you liked the block!

We also want to give a huge shout out of thanks to all our friends at Moda. We love working with them. They put so much effort into making our designs into fabric for you as well as helping us show you how it can be used and we appreciate their support enormously!

Congratulations go to: Laurie who said, "my best friend is my beloved sister :) We are eagerly anticipating a trip to Rome in a few months to celebrate our 50th birthdays (we're the same age for one week!). Love the new line - thanks for a chance to win - laurie"

Well Laurie, maybe you'll make a cute camera bag with some camera printed fabric to take on your trip? Let your sister know we have something fun for her too. Then, send us your info to julie at cosmocricket dot typepad dot com and I'll send you your goodies. 

For all our other fabric friends. Here's a few things we've made with 2WENTY-THREE. Enjoy!

Phillip's Pillows, named for the screw driver otherwise known as the plus sign.
Phillip's Pillows | 23 Fabric

A cute and comfy skirt.
Skirt from 2WENTY-THR3E fabric

Popcorn shaped holders for lounging around under quilts eating popcorn of course... hold the butter unless you use them as a cozy over regular holders or make the inside with food-safe, plastic-coated fabric.
Popcorn holders

And last but not least, quilts. Thanks to Moda, Lissa Alexander and Lisa Christensen for bringing my designs to life.
2WENTY-THR3E | Julie and Eric Comstock | Moda Fabrics | Quilt

2WENTY-THR3E Quilt | Julie and Eric Comstock | Moda Fabrics

And special thanks to my sister Emily Bailey of Aunt Em's Quilts for making our fabric lines shine with her design and quilting talents! You can check out all her quilting escapades on her blog Em's Scrapbag.
Twenty-Three | Moda | Julie and Eric Comstock
Now, I think I need a rest.
Julie Comstock | quilt market 2013 | moda fabrics



 

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Moda Friendship Quilt Along and Giveaway

Hi All,

This is Julie and Eric because it's a friendship quilt along and we happen to be friends. I also invited Eric to join us today because he is the major creative talent behind the creation of our new fabric line 2WENTY-THR3E. So heeeeeeeerrrrrrrreeeeee'sssssssss Eric.

Wahooo! Thank you, thank you. Today we are going to tell you how Julie created this block.
Friendship Block | Moda Fabrics
It all started before fall market when Lissa Alexander asked each designer to pick a block from some she showed us. She wanted each designer to have their own and so she told us to pick our top three choices. I don't know that much about quilting and I love to be accommodating so I just told her to choose out an easy one that nobody had picked. Next, time I will be more specific because my idea of an easy block is not this... it's more like two rectangles sewn together.

So, Julie spent a day sewing, cursing (for Julie cursing is saying things like "Oh My Goodness" and "Darn it all to bits and pieces"), un-stitching and repeating until after a few hours she had a decent block. She took this block to quilt market and gave it to Lissa. But, since she's so accommodating, she didn't want to bother Lissa and ask for it back or for a photo. No, she just decided she would make another block in time for the hop.

I got up at 5:45 this morning to make my kid's lunches. I told Eric I would be sewing my quilt block today for tomorrow's blog post.

I said, "WHAT!!! The post is today Julie." She said...

"No, it's the 21st." Then I started to worry. I decided to double check the post. Eric was right!

So now Julie is running around like an insane women. There's fabric flying, sewing machine running, but strangely enough... no cursing. I decided to make the kid's lunches before she realized that she had now forgotten that.
Eric makes lunch
(If you notice the spotted plate in this photo... that is Eric's paint palette. No, I didn't even get mad.) 

I have learned a lot in my past year of sewing practice. One thing is to keep calm and concentrate! Lisa Christensen's instructions say to "carefully cut" her crazy measurement of 2 3/8"... who cuts fabric to the 1/8"?!?!? But I did it. Trimming very exactly.

Fabric Scraps | 2WENTY-THR3E
The next thing I learned from The Fat Quarter shop video tutorials. Here's my 1/4" mark drawn right on my machine. This has made a huge difference for me.

Seam guide
And finally, I have quit being lazy and now iron between every single step, no exceptions!
Step 1

Sewing a quilt block copy
While Julie was doing this, I made grilled cheese sandwiches with cucumber slices and grapes on the side. I found Abby's glasses and Jack's shoes and I made sure Kate had her water bottle. I referreed no less than four arguments and only lost my temper once. All children caught the bus, so it was a great morning.
Sewing a Quilt Block Tips
At this point, I could see that the block was going to work. It wasn't perfect. I'm not even close to making a prize winning quilt, but for me it was pretty good!
Friendship Block detail | Moda Fabrics
While Julie is persistent and hardworking, she's not a great quilter. If she can do this, you can do this too. Maybe not on a morning while you're trying to get kids off to school, but you know. (I had to put in the caveat, because what can I say, not every household is going to have me.) If you want to give it a whirl, you can download the pattern here: Download Moda QA-Block 14-Julie Comstock (9-9)-1
2WENTY-THR3E Pre-cuts | Eric and Julie Comstock

We are giving away this lovely set of 2TWENTY-THR3E fabric today. But before we do, I have to tell you all how we named it. When I met Eric, I was 18 and he was 23. When he told me how old he was I replied in shock, "That's so old! You are as old as my sister!!!" Funny, now I don't think 23 is old at all!


Because 23 seems young now, we felt it was a great name for the line. The design is fresh and fun with a young feel to it. If you think so too, enter to win it by telling us your favorite thing about your best friend. We'll even throw in a surprise gift for him or her. I'll start by telling you that my favorite thing about Julie is a certain spark in her eyes that shows a combination of coming mischief and naive optimism. Also, you always knows when she's onto something because it's like her whole face is connected to a dimmer and when she gets that certain idea it lights up. It cracks me up everytime I see it.

To enter the giveaway, leave your comment today. We will announce our random winner on tomorrow's blog post. Then check out these other fabulous blogs featuring their blocks today.
Deb Strain
Camillie Roskelley

And here's to my best friend who's always there to help me out. He is my background man, shining the light on me in the most flattering of ways. What other man would be grilling sandwiches at 6:00 am just so I don't have to admit I am a complete scatterbrain?!
 


 

2/20/2013 8:33:26 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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How To Capture Your Child's Personality in Photos

IMPORTANT NOTICE #1: I am no photographer. In fact, I don't even play one on TV.

IMPORTANT NOTICE #2: All of the following images have been photoshopped to compensate for Important Notice #1.

Photoshop can fix a lot of poor photography skills. I am a perfect example of a really horrible photographer who can reach mediocre with this software. However, Photoshop can't fix boring. There are no filters or adjustments for bringing out the subject's personality. There is no action for tweaking a fake smile into a sincere expression.

So, how do you get your kids to be their true selves in front of the camera?

Here's what works for me.

1. Get your camera all ready to go. Have your subject in the lens, the focus adjusted, your finger ready to snap and ask them a question. Click right when you see the moment that says, "There's my kid. There's the face I know and love."

Here, I asked Abby, "What would you do if the cutest boy in your class asked you to dance?"
Abby | Stake Out
She gave me a mixture of embarrassed excitement, with a hint of "I don't know!" 

2.  Use different camera angles. The above photo was shot from above, this one was shot from below. Here I asked her to imagine what her perfect birthday cake would be.  
Abby Thinking 

3. Try unusual crops. You don't always need to have a face in the frame to capture who your child really is. I love this photo with Abby's crazy painted fingernails, rolled up jeans and one green toenail.
Abby's Hands copy
4. Don't get so caught up in getting the photo that you miss the actual moment. Slow down the clicking to let them talk and forget they're being photographed. Keep the camera ready to go, but just listen to what they have to say until the perfect shot appears.
Abby | Austin Winter
During our photoshoot I learned that when Abby is 16, she has plans to either drive a limousine, a yellow slug bug or a rusty old truck painted blue (she thinks they're cool). I also learned that she would like to have a stakeout like we used to, "You know where you invite friends over and grill steak outside."



 

2/19/2013 9:27:15 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Tutorial: Paper Heart Flowers in a Jar

Tutorial  | Paper Flowers in Jar Craft
I wish I had some bright photos of this project for you, because it is super cute. But alas, it is a gloomy and rainy President's Day in Austin. I hope you'll still enjoy the post.

I had fun making these paper heart flowers with Kate yesterday. To do it, we started with the centers by punching a 1" circle of paper. We placed a 1" Gluber over the top of it and dipped it into some glitter.
Glittering a circle | Cosmo Cricket

To get our heart in the center of our 1" circle, we first punched the heart and then punched the circle around it.
How to center a heart punch in a circle
I have to give a huge thanks to Stephenie Hamen of Fiskars for sending me some awesome heart punches. Because of a neurological disorder (you had to know I had one, right?!?!) I have very weak hands. Most punches are hard for me to use, but this design by Fiskars is awesome. 
Fiskars punch
I used the bigger version of the heart to punch enough petals to go around a two inch circle. I didn't count, but it was two more than in the photo. I also had to cut more to do an inner round. Fold all the hearts, not quite in half. I like to draw a little bit of a guide to help me keep the hearts at the right angle as I go around the circle.
Folded Heart Flower Tutorial
Then just glue them in place as you work your way around.
Folded Heart Paper Flower Tutorial | Cosmo Cricket
Like I said, I added an inner round of petals too. Then I stuck the glittered heart center in place with some foam adhesive. To put it on your skewer, just dip the end pointed of the skewer in glue and wedge it inbetween the petals and circle backing.

How to make paper flowers on sticks
I wanted my flowers to be pretty from both sides, so I made a smaller version of the flower to go on the back. To do this, just create another flower using a 1" circle base instead of the 2" base like before. You'll only need one round of flowers.
Making two sided Paper flowers
Next, we made a second smaller flower. For the back of this one, we just added another center on the backside.
1%22 Paper Heart Petal Flower
We dropped these in a little jar and to cuten it up, we used some gold thread and one of our chipboard banner words.
Jar Crafting | Flowers in jar
All in all, it was a really fun mom and daughter evening. Kate is just as quirky as I am. At one point I looked up to see that she had a rectangle of paper stuck to her forehead, with circles punched out to see through.

She would like you all to know that the clean section of my desk in these photos is the only clean section of my desk. She says it's unfair to portray my desk as anything other than a complete mess. I told her to remember that whenever she looks at blogs, facebook photos or advertising of any kind.
Tutorial  | Paper Heart Flowers in Jar Craft

2/18/2013 10:43:19 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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2WENTY- THR3E: Hex & Heart Coasters

UPDATE: FIND THE TUTORIAL & FREE PATTERN FOR THIS PROJECT HERE

All my hexes live in Texas.

I have decided that coasters are my size of quilt! I love making them. They are so cute and quick and I haven't found anyone that doesn't like to get them as gifts... or at least anyone that will tell me to my face!
Hex & Heart Coasters | Eric and Julie Comstock for Moda Fabric
Did you know that Moda has pre-cut hexes in some of their beautiful solids? I was unaware of this little fact when I cut the fabric for my coasters. I found out approximately 30 minutes after!

Oh well, live and learn right!

I was going to do a tutorial to go along with these, but Eric thinks you all can figure it out on your own. Is he right? Do you need steps? Let me know. 

2/17/2013 9:58:49 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Free Tutorial and Pattern: Hex and Heart Coasters

Remember these cuties?
Hex & Heart Coasters | Eric and Julie Comstock for Moda Fabric
I promised a tutorial and although it's taken a little longer than I anticipated, I have it for you all today. This time around, I used our tiny polka dot pattern from Odds and Ends. They are sweet!
Hexagon Coaster Tutorial | Julie Comstock
First, you'll need to cut your hexagons. You will need three hexagons in the print you want for the outside of your coaster and one hexagon for the heart. Then add one more cut out of batting.
Making fabric hexagons | Julie Comstock
I used a special guide to cut mine, but I also made a pattern for any of you that don't have this tool.
How to Cut Hexagons | Julie Comstock
Hex and Heart Coasters | Free Pattern | Julie Comstock

Download Hex and Heart Coasters | Free Pattern | Julie Comstock

Now you need to cut your heart out of two of your outer-print hexagons. I just made a little heart pattern out of fabric, layered up the two hexagons and cut. That way my hearts always match up perfectly. Another tip, you can have your heart fit so that the point is toward a hexagon point or toward a flat edge depending on how you fold the hexagon. I did half one direction and half the other.
Cutting Heart in Hexagon | Julie Comstock
Now you are going to put these two halves right sides together and sew around that heart using a tiny seam allowance (approximately 1/8"). Then clip your seams paying special attention to the points of the heart and the curves.
Clipping Curves for Applique | Julie Comstock
Turn your heart hexagon right side out and press. Use a paint brush end or something similar to turn the dip in the heart, but be careful not to poke through your fabric. Getting this little shape to turn can be tricky, but just be patient and work a little at a time, pressing as you go until it looks like this.
Pressing Reverse Applique Hexagon | Julie Comstock
Now put your heart colored hexagon behind this along with your batting behind that. I prefer to do the quilting before the back layer is on because as a coaster I find that water seeps through quilting holes and onto my table. If we quilt first, we solve that problem. So, switch out your sewing machine to your walking foot and quilt around these layers.
Sewing hexagon w reverse heart applique
Take your last outer hexagon and place it, right side down, on top of what you have now sewn. Stitch around the outer edge of it all using a 1/4" seam allowance and leaving an opening for turning. I really like to sew this so that all the corners will turn, it leaves only a small opening which makes turning tight, but it makes the topstitching step much easier! After sewing this, clip the corners.
Turning Hexagons | Julie Comstock
Now turn it right side out and press that little opening in so that you can topstitch all the way around your soon to be finished coaster!
Top Stitching Hexagon Coasters | Julie Comstock
I like to make these assembly line style, completing each step across the whole set. It makes it quick and easy.
Hexagon Reverse Applique Coaster Tutorial | Odds and Ends Fabric
Obviously, I love these as coasters, but I can see lots of other fun things to make with them.

Here's a few for you to think about trying:
Coin purses
Pockets
Banners/Buntings

Have fun with it, you could easily use this same technique with lots of other shapes too.

We also have a winner to announce today. Congratulations go to Joan Fowler who said, "I love buying surprise gifts for my granddaughter. She thinks I'm sweet." Joan, send your info to julie at cosmocricket dot com and I'll see to it that some Sweet Disposition comes your way! Please write Sweet Dispostion blog winner in the subject line of your email. Thanks!
 

2/17/2013 9:54:34 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Sweet Disposition Giveaway!

You knew it right?!? Today we are giving away:

The 12" papers, the stickers, the tags and the chipboard alpha banners.
  Cosmocricket_sweet_disposition

Cosmocricket_sd_preview11

Cosmocricket_sd_preview9


Chipboard banners | Cosmo Cricket
All you have to do is enjoy this fun little project featuring butterflies in a bottle.
Butterflies in a Bottle | Jar Craft | Cosmo Cricket
Butterflies in a Bottle | Cosmo Cricket
And tell us what it is about your disposition that makes you so sweet. I'm sure you can come up with something, we are in the embellishment business, right?!

We'll pick a random winner to be announced tomorrow here on the blog. You can enter in the comments here and/or on our facebook page. Good luck everyone!

2/15/2013 8:02:41 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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How We Created Sweet Disposition

Today is Valentine's Day and so I thought we would tell you a love story. It's all about how Eric fell in love with me because of my sweet disposition.

Alright, I can go along with that, tell me more about this story Julie. 

Well, it all started in Advertising Design 101 when you noticed the prettiest girl in the world (that was me, by the way) and you asked her if she wanted to get together to share dye markers.

Wait a second, it was you that invited me over to share your dye markers. 

Oh, that's right and it was you that invited my friend Jessica to join us.

I don't want to talk about that part of the story. Let's move onto your sweet disposition. 

Ok, Ok. Now I have to admit, it started out as Eric's sweet disposition, but since it wasn't so sweet, I had to get involved.

It was AWESOME, that's what it was!

True, but it wasn't sweet. Eric and I have this pull back and forth. He wants to create art and I want to create art that sells to women. If the truth be told, and it only can be while I'm typing and refusing to read this line aloud to Eric, he is the more talented artist of our little duo. I'm just here to help pull it all together for you in a way that makes sense. So, on that note, here is the first bit of art involved in creating this line. This and That Alphabet | Eric ComstockAn interesting thing about the above file is that it was in a folder called This and That. That was the first name we used for Sweet Disposition. However, the file name of the alphabet was Eclectica. That was the second name we thought about calling the line. There are lots of others including:  Connect the Dots, Wallflower and Bits of Love. We finally settled on Sweet Disposition which was inspired by a song from The Temper Trap.


OK, so back to the creation of this line. I had this idea to use a lot of found objects, paper bits, different textures, etc. Where I usually begin is with typography. It sort of helps me figure out what I want to do. I scanned tons of random stuff like old maps, letters, book pages, sewing pattern covers, magazine adds, etc. I created a folder called paper bits and threw all these clippings into it. Then I went to Illustrator and started drawing the alphabet. I used a clipping mask to cut the paper scans into the shapes I had drawn. Julie came in and said, "I love it, but it needs to be a little softer."

So next, I created the hexagon pattern and filled it with the paper bits.
Cosmocricket_sd_preview7
I thought the hexagons in old paper were brilliant! I love this paper!!

Next I created the polka dot pattern.
Cosmocricket_sd_preview4
Then I got stuck and felt like I couldn't come up with anything that was working. I was ready to give up on the line, but Julie said she had some ideas.

So, I got Eric's files and they were HUUuuuuuge! By using the clipping path in Illustrator, each pattern design was something like 500+ MB. I couldn't have them all in the same document like I usually do because it would crash my computer. Having every pattern as its own document made it really hard to know if the line was working. It felt like we were designing blind. We never saw more than two or three patterns next to each other at any given point until the paper was printed. 

I just continued with Eric's idea of making designs with ephemera and paper filled patterns until we had enough designs for the line.
Cosmocricket_sd_preview3
Cosmocricket_sd_preview8
Then we moved onto stickers and stamps. I actually borrowed from previous projects including The Boyfriend Collection and some work we did for Shutterfly making the art new by adding paper bits and updating colors. We also created new art like the borders, flowers and typography.
Cosmocricket_sd_preview10
Cosmocricket_sd_preview9
The tags are my favorite though and it was me, not Eric that drew the sunglasses... yep I'm pretty proud of that since I'm not known for my illustration skils.
Cosmocricket_sd_preview11

When Julie and I were in college we took Illustration 101 together too. The teacher, Glen Edwards, loved Julie and treated her like his daughter. He's a fairly well known artist and during the class had painted portraits of many of the students including Julie and myself. 

Julie asked him if he would give her the paintings and he declined saying he never gave them away. Our other professors confirmed this to be true. None of them had ever heard of Glen giving a student a painting. But, when the semester ended, Julie went to the Illustration room to pick up our sketchbooks and tucked in hers were the two paintings. On mine, it read, "You're really talented keep drawing". On Julie's it read, "You're really fun, I loved having you in class."

What can I say, I married you to supplement my illustration weaknesses. But, you have to admit, he was right, I am fun!

 




 

2/14/2013 5:10:01 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Recipe Memories with TV Dinner

Well, if I knew you were all going to say such nice things about me yesterday, I'd tell you that I have dirty dishes in my sink everyday! Thanks for all your kind words, they really do make me feel better about my crazy life.

Today's project is a layout I created with one of Will Fisher's photos. This is his oldest daughter picking apples. Isn't she beautiful with the sunlight behind her?
Recipe Layout | Cosmo Cricket
Recipe memories are some of my favorite memories. Unfortunately, I think the memories my kids document from our kitchen will be about our funny and failed adventures in the culinary arts, not about preserving great recipes to pass down.

I have given up red meat entirely and I'm on the verge of becoming a full on vegetarian. I now eat things I couldn't pronounce a few years back like quinoa and falafel and although I have mastered saying them, I'm still having trouble cooking them. I have to ask, does anyone have success with tofu on their first try and how many tries exactly does it take one to get it right?

Yesterday morning I got up early to make a smoothie for my kids for breakfast. I do this often and don't usually have trouble with it turning out. However, just in case you were wondering, Romaine lettuce does not hide as well as spinach leaves do. And from another past experience let me assure you, as sweet as bell peppers may taste, they are not a good vegetable to add to a fruit smoothie!  

When my children seek counseling in their adult years, I'm pretty sure they will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder related to mealtimes! 

2/13/2013 10:20:14 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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An Honest Blog Post

I did this card a while ago for a magazine call. I never heard back.
Glitter on Glubers | Cosmo Cricket
I share this with you as proof that I fail. Although now that I think about it, if you've been following this blog for any length of time, you already know that. It's just that sometimes, especially via the internet, people look perfect right?!?! I mean the photos of their homes are amazing. Their children are beautiful. Their abs are tight. Their crow's feet, non existent. They seem perpetually happy and everything in their life appears to glitter with gold.

I can't imagine you've ever had that impression of my life while reading this blog. But just in case.... just to drive home the point a little further..... let me assure you there is nothing perfect about me. My sink is currently filled with breakfast dishes. My daughter came home from school yesterday wearing two different shoes and one wasn't even her own. I've had four kids and my abs just got worse with each pregnancy. My crow's feet are entrenched... when I stop smiling all the smile lines just keep on keepin' on like they missed the memo. I am mostly happy, but not all the time and everything in my life appears to glitter with..... glitter!

2/12/2013 10:10:16 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Valentine Card Tutorial: Sewing Paper Heart Flowers

The very best thing about moving to Austin is the sunshine. I have never had a more productive and creative winter! The only drawback is that everything I am creating looks like spring and summer. I just can't get into the winter look.

Yesterday, I managed to design the remaining 6 patterns for a new line, read all your comments about Honky Tonk music, help Jack and Abby make robot Valentine's day boxes, perform many domestic duties like cooking dinner and folding laundry and I still had time to create this card. I am like a creative girl on steroids!
Julie Comstock Card | Cosmo Cricket
Since I was kindly reprimanded for not providing a tutorial for the hex coasters (it is coming!) I was sure to take stepped photos for this project.

My first trick was to use a glue stick to adhere the underneath set of hearts where I wanted them. Just a dab will hold the paper in place as you sew without gumming up, or causing any problems for your sewing machine.
Glue Stick before Sewing Paper shapes
Don't glue down the top layer hearts though. We'll lift this layer to create dimension in our final step. For these hearts, you'll just place them on top and hold them carefully as you sew.

To stitch them down, start at the top of one heart and sew to the base. Leaving your needle down in the paper, lift the presser foot and turn the paper so that you can sew up the next heart. Don't forget to put the top layer heart in place before you start stitching... I almost did that a couple times!
Tips for Sewing Paper
When you get to the top of this heart, clip the threads. You'll have something like this.
Sewing on Paper
Continue this process for your first flower, then stitch the stem. For the other two flowers, you will use that same technique once and then on the last, single petal lift and turn to position yourself to go right on down the stem. 
Pretty Sewing on Paper
Now you just need to clean up by erasing extra pencil lines, trimming threads, etc. Fold the petals of your top hearts like I mentioned earlier and stick this beauty to a card base (it would make a lovely canvas wall hanging too). I added a Tiny Text sentiment, but honestly, if you read some of the page I cut out, it's quite awesome in and of itself, "...stockbrokers, fat lawyers and large men don't have to be dumb!" 

In other news, please leave your congratulations to our Honky Tonk winner, Pam Sohan who said, "YAY !!!!! Fingers crossed ! I totally adore this line!"

Pam, send your info to julie at cosmocricket dot com. Please put Honky Tonk Winner in the subject line and I'll make sure you get your prize.

Thanks for playing everyone and have a great weekend!

2/8/2013 8:33:18 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Honky Tonk Giveaway

I grew up playing the fiddle with the Utah Old Time Fiddlers. It's a little known fact about the life of Julie Comstock. When I was about 6, my mom entered a silent auction at a thrift store for a small violin. It just happened that she won it and it just happened that I was the child who was the right size to fit it and it just happened that my dad loves bluegrass. This began my musical career. 

The rest of the Utah Old Time Fiddlers were mostly men that looked to me like grandpas who had been farmers in their younger days. They loved me so much and they especially loved to push their little fiddler out front and say, "Take it away Julie!". I would then go into a ripping version of "Boil 'Em Cabbage Down" or "Wabash Cannonball" while they whooped and hollered in the background. Good times!
Honky Tonk Products | Cosmo Cricket
So today, tell us your favorite country western, bluegrass or Honky Tonk song and we'll enter you into a drawing to win some of the goods. We'll pick one lucky winner to get the highly sought after scarf, the mini deck, the stamps and the fabric stickers.

Here's the details, you may enter here and/or on our facebook page. Some of the giveaway products may not be in the warehouse just yet and so your prize will ship when the products arrive. We'll pick a random winner tomorrow morning and announce it here on the blog. You will be required to wear your scarf at all craft related events until death do you part when you can leave it to one of your children. (I'm joking about that one.)
 

2/7/2013 8:48:06 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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How We Created Honky Tonk

This is Eric

And this is Julie. While you wait for me to put together a tutorial for the hexagon coaster, let's tell you how Honky Tonk came to be. 

One day I was working at my computer and I got an email from Cheryl at Moda Fabrics. It said, "Now that you and Eric are offical Texans, I have a request..." Then she asked if we would be interested in designing a fun, hip and trendy western line with guitars, boots, etc. Of course I said, "Yes!" Then I said to Eric, "Hey can you draw me some western stuff." (Are you sensing a pattern here?)

For this line, I didn't really start with any pencil sketches. I drew the beginning art direcly in Illustrator. After a while, I had this file to send over to Julie. It all started with Cheryl's mention of Guitars. In fact, I got so hooked on the guitar thing that I even started creating patterns with them... something I usually leave to Julie. 
Beginning Illustration for Honky Tonk | Eric Comstock
When I got the file, the first thing I noticed was that the colors were really similar to TV Dinner. That's when we had the idea to make the two lines match. The color palettes are the same, except I replaced the pink in TV Dinner with the warm greys in Honky Tonk.

People ask us all the time how we come up with our color palettes and when I tell them I often get an exhasperated look because they feel I've been no help. We just make up the colors as we go along. I like to create these little color squares to the side of my working document so I can see all the colors together in one place. Then I import them into my color library in Illustrator. I continue to add them or change them as necessary to make the line work. 
Honky Tonk color palette | Cosmo Cricket
I do the same thing, but I don't hold myself to the palette the way Julie does. This tends to drive her crazy because I'll have 50 something colors that are all slight variations. I hear rants from her all the time about using the wrong blue or needing to be consistent, but hey this is art... all the colors in the world are available for it, right!?!?

Yes, but customers like things to match!

You can see from my master document that Honky Tonk came together easily. How can you tell? Well there is very little mess left on the sides. This is an extremely tidy file for me!

That's because I gave it to you so perfectly!
Making of Honky Tonk | Julie Comstock
Something you might notice about Honky Tonk is a different rhythm to the patterning. Because our primary focus was designing it for fabric, rather than paper, the patterns were created a little bit differently. Can you sense it?
Cosmocricket_ht_preview3
Cosmocricket_ht_preview5
Julie created the stamps using some of my drawings and some of her own designs, but she couldn't get them all to fit in the matrix. This is really unusual. Julie is like a master organizer of suitcases, closets and shapes within matrices (think stickers, chipboard, stamps, etc.). She sent me the file to decide which stamps to take out to make it all fit. To her surprise, I rearranged them and got them all on there. You can thank me later.

This is true. Did you know that my high school aptitude test results indicated I would be a great car mechanic or mover because I am good at working with shapes and folding up flat boxes in my mind? Funny, designer/artist was not mentioned as a possible career choice.
Cosmocricket_ht_preview10

So Julie, do you have anything else to add?


Just one more thing Eric. I really love how you drew the mustache for the canvas brads.

Why, thank you.

You're welcome. Did you know that if you flip it upside down, it doubles as a bikini top?
Cosmocricket_ht_preview12
I'm a man, what can I say. All thoughts lead back to....



2/6/2013 8:56:17 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Three Crafty Valentine's Projects

I guess I need to get out more because I didn't know it was the Superbowl until about 10:30 Sunday morning when Kate was invited to watch it with friends. Instead of following sports, I have been hanging out in my studio creating fun little things. 

Here's a few projects I made for some of my sweethearts.
Wine Cork Foam Heart Valentines Stamps | Cosmo Cricket
These are heart stamps and yes, I heart them!

Drink a couple bottles of wine with your sweetie, save the corks, grab some foam and your ready to go. (If you don't drink wine, make friends with someone who does, or look online for them... the corks, not the wine-drinking friends.)
Foam Heart Stamp Creation | Cosmo Cricket
The foam can be folded in half to start your heart, then just trim it up until it looks good. Glue it onto the end and you have a cute little gift for someone you heart.
Cork and Foam Heart Valentines Stamps | Cosmo Cricket
Be sure to make one for yourself, so that you can stamp the heart on the paper wrapper. Hot glue the wrapper around the cork and your done!

Maybe your valentine isn't into stamping. Maybe he just wants to unwind? Well, get him to help you drink your wine and make him one of these to sit on his desk.
Valentine Craft Spool Photo Holder | Cosmo Cricket
These are so fun to make and so cute, that I went a little crazy. Here's just a few.
Valentine Craft | Spool Photo Holder | Cosmo Cricket
Valentine Spool Photo Holder | Cosmo Cricket
Valentine Thread Spool Photo Holder | Cosmo Cricket
The phrases on our Tiny Text stickers are perfect for Valentines! Another tip: change your quilting pins from bright yellow to pink-toned colors with a swipe of nail polish.
Tiny Text Stickers | Cosmo Cricket

Don't go yet, I have one more idea and it may just be my favorite. These tiny little canvases are made from jewelry boxes. All you have to do is get your valentine to give you jewelery (I think all my ideas tie right back to that wine) and then you can make these to give to friends. They are adorable hung on a wall or standing on a shelf.
Tiny Canvas | Valentine | Cosmo Cricket
Simply paint the box, cut some paper to fit and punch a heart into it. Then use some Tiny Text stickers to add a little love.
Tiny Canvas | Valentine Craft | Cosmo Cricket
Now, we do have to announce our winner of the TV Dinner Collection giveaway. Congratulations go to Chris Dring who said, "Love the funky retro vibe to this collection! Thanks for the chance to win!"

Well Chris, thanks for loving funky retro. Send me your info (julie at cosmocricket dot com) and I'll make sure you get your prize. Thanks to everyone who played, I loved reading all your comments on the line!

It's Monday, if you make something fun today, you'll feel good for a whole week so get offline and go make something!

2/4/2013 8:46:43 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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TV Dinner Giveaway

You learned how we created TV Dinner and now you could win some of it! Why? Well not only because we are super nice, but we just surpassed more than 15,000 Facebook Fans and I'm pretty excited about it. Thanks for all your support!
TV Dinner Giveaway | Cosmo Cricket
You can enter by leaving a comment here and/or on our facebook page. We'll pick one random winner to be announced Monday morning. 

Happy Friday everyone!

2/1/2013 12:54:16 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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