a bryant park blouse...

You may or may not have caught my post a few weeks prior seeking out beautiful creations made using Bryant Park or Theory [and you still can, deets at the bottom of this post!].

Ask and you shall receive. Less than a week later, my inbox announced I had mail, from the lovely Jennifer who resides in our neighboring country, Canada, showing off a sleeveless blouse with what I consider the most modern and whimsy print from Bryant Park's Yacht colorway.

Well before graduating from Purdue University with a fashion retailing and tailoring degree from the school of Home Economics, Jennifer tried her hand at sewing by way of both her grandmothers and mother, whom were all needlewomen. Seems like it runs in the family, no?

In her initial email to me, Jennifer exclaimed, "I bought a few yards a couple of months ago from Hawthorne Threads without knowing exactly what I'd make. Yesterday I made a simple sleeveless summer top and I love the sophisticated look of the fabric that transforms it from a mere 'tank top' to a very nice sleeveless top made elegant by the fabric."

Couldn't have said it better, Jennifer.

Sleeveless shells are perfect for wearing year-round. Under a cozy cardigan, tucked into a skirt or pleated shorts, or worn loose with skinny jeans, the options are endless. And the silhouette, classic. Yes, yes, yes!

But sorry ladies, Jennifer mostly creates for herself, friends, and family, so if you'd like a custom something-something, you'd have to contact her directly and work that out for yourself. Don't kill the messenger!

For her latest sewing projects, tutorials, general life news and inspiration, you can visit Jennifer on her blog Thimbles, Bobbins, Paper and Ink.

All photos taken by Jennifer Woodward.

So hey! If you want to share a little something something, shoot over one or two low resolution [72 dpi] images to me, niki [at] khristianahowell.com, and be sure to include your name, a snippet about yourself and any relevant information, such as a website or Etsy shop link.


its a super day for a SUPER SALE!

Happy 4th everyone!  I am certain everyone in the States has a full day of grilling and fun ahead.  What a great day to celebrate with a SALE!  The dynamic duo over at Zero 2 Illo has brought back the Community SUPER SALE to celebrate both the 4th of July and the 2nd birthday of their brilliant little girl.  In case you missed the last time around this amazing sale includes a bundle of some really amazing resources for artists. A few of the great pieces of the bundle are fantastic titles like 10 Steps to Powerful Online Self Promotion for Artists by Alex Mathers, Inside Illustration Competitions by Thomas James, AND the update to my first book Confessions of MORE First Timers.  If you haven't heard Confessions of MORE First Timers includes Confessions from the likes of Jessica Swift, Daisy Janie, Abigail Borg, and more! All 8 PRODUCTS in the bundle are worth over $200!  How does getting these great resources all for 39.95 grab you?  Yes!  It's true, and its is happening now!  Hurry, the sale ends promptly at 9am EST on Wed. July 6th.

Have a great day celebrating all and make this the day to begin declaring your design independence!


getting excited for the 4th and a BIG SALE!...

[caption id="attachment_3880" align="aligncenter" width="309" caption="from the "Fresh and Free" collection ©khristian a. howell"][/caption]

I am getting super excited about celebrating the 4th next week!  Truth be told I am excited because I am actually going to take some time off!  What?  Wait.  What's happening??  Yes, you heard it.  It's true, and I am thrilled (and so are my family and friends)!  For all of you who are in the mist of starting a business, you understand why this is so thrilling.  I mean it is 24/7 over here and a break is long overdue.  In celebration of the holiday and my little time en vacances, how about a SALE!!!  If you are in the midst of evaluating your mid year goals and progress, this one is for you!  Come back to THIS SPACE on MONDAY the 4th for all the juicy details!  Until then, enjoy the sunshine!


still bright, still ethnic, still in love!

In store snaps from NYC last week.  It's a bright ethnic world, and it makes me sublimely happy.  Soon we will be talking fall, so let's revel in these fun prints for as long as we can!


a call for creations...

Recently Khristian tweeted about a super cute wristlet clutch made using Mon Sheri by Etsy seller paocollection... which got me itching to see more awesome creations made with our fabrics.

As I type this blog post, three new collections are being produced for Anthology Fabrics to be released for Fall 2011. Khristian already disclosed which collections in a blog post prior to our departure to NYC for SURTEX 2011. In case you missed the big announcement or want to relive the moment over and over again, you should get excited right here.

Now back to the point!
If you or someone you know is a maker of cute things and happens to have made something - tote, quilt, spacesuit, anything! - using Bryant Park or Theory, we want to see! For a visual reference, check out these super cute pillows [above] by Etsy seller bluecalla, made with Theory in the Seaside colorway.
Cute, right?
And what about this adorable reversible sling bag [below], made with not one but two Bryant Park prints, Rooftop Garden and Village Floral, by Etsy seller makemineblue.

If you fit the bill and want to share a little something something, shoot over one or two low resolution [72 dpi] images to me, niki [at] khristianahowell.com, and be sure to include your name, a snippet about yourself and any relevant information, such as a website or Etsy shop link.

I'm not making any promises, but we'd love to show off what you've made!
Really, really. Do it.




meeble mail is live!...

Last year at SURTEX I met a cute bubbly woman who was really excited about my work, but wanted to discuss the details of her project at a later date.  I thought ok, cool, and made sure to follow up with her after the show.  Soon after we started communicating and she told me all about her exciting new project called Meeble Mail.

[caption id="attachment_3828" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="From my High Society fabric line!"][/caption]

If you are like most people today, you send hundreds of emails in the course of on month.  Maybe more?  I love that the Meeble Mail creators have thought to make this experience personal and pretty!  Meeble Mail is personalized stationery for your email.  How brilliant is that?!  A whole range of my work is available now! I will also be adding more fresh designs very soon! Run over and check it out and brighten up you email!  :-)


surtex 2011...

All that planning - and it goes by soooo quickly!  Surtex 2011 is in the books, and now the real work (well...more of it begins) As you have heard many, many times now, doing the shows is ALL about the follow up.  So this is what I have been doing and will continue to do for the next few weeks.  However, after that Niki and I are cooking up some fun new adventures, so stay tuned!

So last year, there was Confessions, and now the Updated version.  This year I would like to share with you a few things that I chose to do a bit differently after my first time experience of 2010

1. Enlist Help!! I did.  I could not have reached all my goals this year without the fabulous Niki.  Let's face it preparing for a show is a ton of work.  Add to that one (or in some cases all) of the following: maintaining current clients, creating new (tons) work, working a full-time job, raising young children, etc etc., and one can very easily and quickly reach a boiling point.  Luckily for me I am doing this full-time, and have no young children.  Yet even still - the lists spawn lists in the early spring, and it is really difficult to keep up.  Don't be afraid to ask for help!  Husband, brother, kid next door, an intern.  If there is anyone available and willing to help, take them up one it!  You don't have to be Shiva or a martyr. The people around you love and support you, so take advantage!  You can always hire help as well.  Maybe this is not feasible yet for your business long term, but think about swinging it just for a couple of weeks before the show.  Just thoughts...

2.  Don't under estimate the power of physical collateral. I know it is an email, paperless world, but we are all still human right?  There is nothing, and I mean nothing that beats getting a hand written personal note.  Along the same lines, it really can make a big impact to get a physical piece of collateral into an art director's hands.  They then have something to show others, take to meetings, put on a bulletin board to remember. You want them to think - "we MUST be sure to make it to this one".  I did not have the time to execute this last year, and I am so happy I did this year.

3.  ABC is good, but ABL is better. Have you ever heard about the number one rule of selling dubbed ABC - Always Be Closing?  This is a great rule for sales, but we are in the relationship business, and ABL - Always Be Listening is a much better rule.  Although I am very proud of my first showing last year, there were definitely some holes in my catalog.  I listened well, and made sure to have these bases covered this year.  My collection was much more complete for the types of manufacturers who are interested my work.  I took the constructive suggestions, and made it work for me.  AND, it dosen't stop there.  This year I learned even more ways that I can stay true to myself, and continue to push things forward.  I already have tons of ideas for new work.  Listening to the client and really hearing their needs is one of the most important things you can do to take advantage of the face time you get at the show.

Well, that's that.  Whew!  Until next year...happy creating!

***All images courtesy the always fabulous Tara Reed!



fresh off surtex 2011...

Over the past months, Khristian and I have been laboring over SURTEX prep work; banners, press kits, giveaways, layout, logistics...holy moly. I can't even believe how quickly those three days came and went. Luckily, we have some bits committed to memory thanks to our very smart phones.

That's Khristian. I have my invisible cloak on, so she can't see me. Or can she...

Little labors of love for our wonderful booth stopper-byers; giveaway swatches.  Yes, they were all assembled by hand with minimal casualties.

One of Khristian's friends made some really awesome boxes out of Ivory Coast, a licensed collection that hit stores earlier this year. They turned out really nice. Perfect for keeping our booth table tops organized and pattern chic. For the record, I could really use a blouse with this Nolita print [see below; bottom-most book cover] on it. No lie.

Many many thanks to everyone for a successful second year [first for me!] at SURTEX.


new for anthology fabrics!...

Wait not longer...well you will have to wait to get them, but at least now you can peek!!  I can finally show you my latest collections for Anthology Fabrics! The team is in Salt Lake City right now at quilt market introducing the new collections.  I hope you will love them!

Remember this??  Well, I just could not stop thinking about this color inspiration.  Here's the result!  Moroccan Mirage is about my love of color and culture.  The blue colorway is called Casablanca and the warm, red/orange colorway is called Marrakech. I'll share a bit more of the story behind this collection after the craziness of SURTEX!

Next up - The Woodlands!  Something a little more playful for me.  It's fun right?  I had to dig up my old kidswear days at Nordstrom for this one - so much fun!

Last up Rendezvous - this one is for the true modern romantic. I am so thrilled with the color story, and the modern feel of the traditional ideas of the rose, damask, and stripe.  

howdy, hello, nice to meetcha.

Thanks to a weird twist of fate, I found myself staring at an email from Khristian in late January, and the rest, as they say, is history! This post may be long over due, but better late than never, right?

So, howdy. My name is Niki. I am Khristian's design assistant and beyond thrilled to be here!

No, really.

Aside from working with Khristian, I am an avid photo-taker-maker, coffee consumer, and cheese-a-holic. I play tennis too, it keeps my arms strong to support my hands which carry my fingers that are used to key urls and cmd+c/cmd+v for my intraweb obsessions.

Music makes my world go'round. I talk to myself a lot. And I really believe that anything can happen.

I'm working with Khristian, and I look forward to working with you too!

Photo Cred: BP



surtex 2011 AND moving madness...

Hi everyone! I know, I have been a baaaad blogger. If only you knew the pure mayhem that is happening over here right now you wouldn't be mad at me. SURTEX is finally around the corner AND I am moving AND my hubby is starting a new gig! Crazyland - and I am the queen!

All that being said, I am actually having tons of fun, and I am so excited to see what this week will bring!  Are you headed to the show?  Please stop by and say hello.  I love it when my online friends, can become real friends!  yay!

I am still taking appointments so click here to make yours, or drop me a line at info@khristianahowell.com and we will get you all set up.  What is this "we" business you may be asking??  I am working with a fabulous new design assistant!  Her name is Niki, and she is fantastic!  She will be making her bloggy debut soon, so everyone be nice to her!  She will also be in the booth keeping me sane.  Hooray for Niki!

See you all in NYC!


meeble mail is live!...

How much email do you view everyday? I bet quite a few, and the number seems to be growing everyday. So...why not make it fun and pretty? That's what the girls over at Meeble Mail thought, and of course I agree! I am so happy to announce my partnership with Meeble Mail and that the site is now live! This launch is so fitting as I actually met the creators of Meeble Mail last year at SURTEX.  I am also proud to say, I am in some really amazing company including Trina Turk, Hammocks and High Tea, and Thomas Paul!! For the launch they are offering all the stationery for FREE for the entire month of MAY! Go check out the site and add a bit of pretty to your email love notes! :)



new little video for SURTEX...

Just incase you've been under a rock...it's show season!  Everyone I know if crazy busy (including me) getting ready for the show.  I did take a moment a few weeks back to get out into the market as I suggested here, and was encountered with a great surprise!  Check it out, and stop by and say hello!  I'll be in booth 608.  :)


theory is starting to hit stores!...

**images courtesy Fabricworm **

I spy with my wittle eye...two shops already carrying THEORY!!!  Thanks to Fabricworm and Pink Chalk Fabrics!  More to come soon!  Hooray! Can't wait to see what everyone will make!  Please share on the FB wall, I love seeing all the creativity!

confessions update and now available on blurb...

Have you heard about the update to Confessions of a First Timer??  Well Confessions of MORE First Timers is here, and includes some of my super awesome amazing friends like Jessica Swift, Mary Beth Freet of Pink Light Design, Jan of Daisy Janie, super talented Abigail Borg and more!  You can still check it out as an ebook, but now you can also get a copy on Blurb.com! Why?  Because sometimes you just want to unplug a bit right?  Now, the choice is yours!  Either way you are getting some super insider info about exhibiting at trade shows both in the US and in Europe!  Thinking of heading to a show?  Check out these tips from across the show spectrum who have already been there and done that!  HUGE thanks to Print and Pattern for the sweet write up about the update!Confessions of MORE First Timers


how do ya - custom brush strokes...

Hi all!  Up to my ears in SURTEX prep over here.  I am sure you have noticed around this time of the year my posts get a little sparse.  ; - ).  I have been meaning to do another Illustrator tutorial since "How to draw a perfect Heart", so here it is!  Hope you like it, and let me know what other topics you are curious about!


jonathan adler hits atlanta!...


Yes, it's true!  Jonathan Adler and his fantastic sense of humor have hit Atlanta!  Such a welcome and needed addition to this largely traditional town.  So the scoop is I was out to check out the market a bit for my new SURTEX video with my hubby, and we of course had to check out the new JA shop too.  HOWEVER, I had no clue that night was a big opening party (the store had actually opened the night before), and guess who was there...

JONATHAN ADLER Banana bud vase

Yep, totally stumbled into meeting Jonathan Adler!  It was the icing on the cake to a great night.  New video shot, fresh new store to explore again and again, and I got to meet a super talented, super down to earth design icon.  Tonight, score one for ATL!


artist interview - stephanie ryan...

Super talented Stephanie Ryan had been kind enough to share with us a bit about her work, what inspires, and how she landed her iconic florals onto a great product.  Enjoy, and thanks Stephanie!

"Through the use of simple shapes and thoughtful colors, I found that I could express a piece of myself through my art. Peaceful, serene, and beautiful are the colors that I use to express how I feel, and the simple uncomplicated shapes are the life that I am trying to obtain. It is my dream to reach people and soothe their hectic lives with quiet thoughts of inspiration."

"My journey began after a fire destroyed Little Souls, Inc. the doll company where I worked for 11 years. My time there was invaluable. I started as a doll maker and was steadily promoted from designer to buyer, to product manager. After the fire, I was faced with the fact that I had to start over and decided to go back to school. I studied graphic design at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. My love for fabrics and pattern lead me to explore the textile design program and through the exploration of both of these majors my style was born.
I am now a freelance designer, specializing in tabletop, surface, and product design.
Life is very exciting these days.

what three to five words would you use to describe your work?
I would describe my work as whimsical, fresh and pretty with a dash of vintage modern thrown in.


what inspires you?
I am inspired by the shapes and colors found in nature. I don’t like to look at reference when I am painting my flowers, it is more intuitive. I love to mix beautiful muted colors and let my brush create the shapes. It is almost like meditating to me.

what was your first job?  when/how did you know you wanted a career in art?
My first job was working in a deli, but my first creative job was working for a doll company called Little Souls, Inc. I had to drop out of college for financial reasons and found the job as a doll maker for 5 bucks an hour and was thrilled! I think I always knew I wanted a career in art but had no idea how to pursue it. I had given up hope when I left college so, when I got the job I dug in deep, worked really hard and learned as much as I could about manufacturing and product development.

can you tell us a bit about how the Lenox deal came about?
I was at the right place at the right time. I have worked for Lenox for many years as a designer and freelancer and an opportunity came up and my art fit their needs. It was quite serendipitous and came at just the right time. I love when that happens.

what was the process like from concept to execution?
This was a different situation than usual. I was doing some concept work for them and was struggling for ideas so, I decided to use some of my existing artwork. The concept didn’t work for that job but was picked up at a sales meeting by one of their major retailers. The deal came from that sales meeting. I then took the art and proposed layouts for the different shapes and handed everything over to their production department to finish it up.

finish this sentence: I could eat...Massaman Curry...all day.

design books/blogs you can't live without:
It has been a while since I bought a design book because of blogs and the amazing resources available online. I do have some Tricia Guild books that I love, and I can’t live without my Artful Blogging Magazine.  As far as blogs …. oh, where do I begin? I love decor8, Creature Comforts, & Bloesem for design inspiration and Gathering Spriggs, Simply Hue, and Secrets of a Butterfly for a deeper level of inspiration. It is so hard to pick just a few, I am so inspired by my blogging friends and wish I had more time to interact with them because I value their work so much.


what do you do when you are not doing art?
I’m sorry, what is that? I am pretty obsessed with art these days, it takes up most of my time. Whatever time is left over I try to spend with my husband and our families. Art really fills every corner of my life... how lucky am I?

name one thing about you that would shock the outside world.
Oh gosh, just one thing? Well, I like to paint and wood burn in bed. I don’t know if that is shocking, but it drives my husband crazy. I’ve never had a mishap either.

finish this sentence: If I could time travel, I would arrive... right here, right now.

what's next?
This is a year of transition for me. I left my full-time job in November and am adjusting to my new freelance work life. I am also creating new art and developing my brand in the hopes of licensing my designs some day.

For more on Stephanie, check out her website www.stephanieryandesign.com.
Keep up with her blog www.smallsweetsteps.com, or pick up a sweet print at her Etsy shop www.etsy.com/stephanieryanart.


bryant park is now in bloom for tiny prints...

antique blooms for tiny prints_paradise

More love for Bryant Park!!  If you are loving the fabric collection.  Now these sweet bridal shower invites are available from Tiny Prints in two colorways!

antique blooms for tiny prints_medium pink

floral sketch for tiny prints_sassy

floral sketch for tiny prints_paradise

With spring right around the corner, you know what that means...weddings!  I'm sure lots of brides would love to have these sweet floral invites for their showers.  Swing by and check it out!  Above - floral sketch Below - Fading Wildflowers (Part of the Provencal Print Collection)

fading wildflowers for tiny prints_gunmetal

fading wildflowers for tiny prints_pearl