Typography Testimonial Challenge


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I’m so excited to finish my Typography Testimonial Challenge for my recent Make It In Design course! I finished it in three days and that includes hand painting all of the components and then manipulating them in Photoshop. The prize at hand is a place on the Module 3 course and I’m really keeping my fingers crossed! I really want that spot!

The challenge is to come up with a Typography Testimonial about the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design courses. I have learned so much from the two modules that I have taken! It really is incredible how they manage to fit such important details on how to create a business in surface pattern design into only five weeks.

This past course I got pretty behind in my course work. Juggling my own stuff and my kids’ end of the school year activities was challenging! Thankfully, I’m done with all of that and now I can play catch up with my course exercises. Look for more posts over the next two weeks to see what I’m creating!



Sketch Books


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I never really understood the importance of sketchbooks until I enrolled in the Make It In Design course. A sketchbook is your history as an artist. Your inspiration and ideas all go into it and then they become art.

“Never throw away anything that you draw because you may find that later you can use it.”

This was an opening idea. Never throw anything away. A doodle, a mark, a misshaped bird, save it all. That doodle or that mark could become texture on a pattern with a funny shaped bird. You never know!

I have so many sketches that pile up on my desk that I never do anything with. Sometimes, I think, “Oh, that was an idea, but now I’m over it.” And into the bin it goes. But now I have something to do with all of those misplaced ideas. They all go into my sketchbook and wait for inspiration to strike.

Now I have two sketchbooks. One is a large book where I keep all of my sketches and the other is a pattern inspiration book.

This is my main sketchbook. I don’t always draw directly on it; thus, I use a lot of tape. Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy cute washi tape patterns.

This is a pattern that I drew, cut out and then taped onto a page to figure out if the pattern would work or not. It did!

sketchbook 1

My final pattern.


This is another page where I experimented with painting clouds and drawing stars.


This resulted in a wrapping paper idea.

wrapping paper and gift

My second sketchbook is more of an inspiration book. This is where I keep everything that inspires me. It is great fun now when I receive catalogs and magazines to flip through the pages with a pair of scissors on hand in search for inspiration.

These pictures came out of a recent Anthropologie catalog and possibly a Pottery Barn catalog (Is it bad that I don’t remember? It had to be one of those two. I’ll do a better job of marking my sources in the future). I love the lines on all of these cutouts. The lace on the woman’s back and the light shades all make for interesting shapes that I could possible use in a design one day.

patternbook 1

This page one of my holiday inspired pages. I have a lot of these! I’m working on an exercise where I need to create my own check pattern. I love the color combination and how the checks are used. I still haven’t sketched anything out yet for this exercise, but I am getting a few ideas.


Keeping a sketchbook and a pattern book are excellent ways to maintain organization. Let’s face it. We artists aren’t the most organized people when it comes to our work, so every little bit helps!

Make It In Design – Module 1


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I am so excited this week to be starting module 1 through Make It In Design. Previously, I have participated in their summer courses and really learned a lot. Surface pattern design is an real interest of mine and I’m taking that big step to learn more about it. Over the next five weeks, I’ll be posting what I’m working on during the course.

This first week started with a simple pattern exercise to get the juices flowing. I created a this black and white pattern by cutting black and white chevron scrapbook paper and then doodling between the lines.

pattern exercise - cut paper - 9-21-2015

We also had the task of playing with mark making. I have never done this before, so it was fun to try out new media. I have always wanted to play with good old fashion ink, so I got myself a pot and a calligraphy pen. My kids also brought a feather home, so I figures, “why not!” and got down and dirty. What a mess! But the results are so cool! I will say that I cracked my calligraphy pen pretty quick. There is definitely a gentleness involved that my heavy hand didn’t quite understand.

mark making

I also got to work on creating my first motifs. I had the hardest time trying to figure out what I wanted to draw. Do I start with Christmas? What about Halloween? Or then there are the ever popular florals. What to do, what to do! That’s when I turned to my trusty friend Pinterest and started scrolling through my boards. I landed on these pictures of succulents. I like the different shapes and colors and felt it was a great place to start.

succulent motif - mark making

This is the pattern that I created from my motifs. It isn’t quite a technical repeat, but we aren’t working on that just yet.

Succulent Motif - CE part 2I have really enjoyed the first week of module 1. I can already see a difference in the way I am approaching pattern design and can’t wait to see where this course takes me over the next few weeks!

Summer School 2015


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This summer I enrolled in Make It In Design’s Summer School. Make It In Design is an awesome website created by pattern designer Rachel Taylor and her business partner Beth Kempton. They provide designers – new and old – with tools to learn surface pattern design, how to build a business in surface pattern design and a load of other resources that can be used in the industry. It’s a one stop shop. Surface pattern design is an area that I have been interested in exploring for a long time and now I’m jumping in head first.

Summer School is four weeks and made up of three tracks – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Since I am new to surface pattern design, I enrolled in the beginner track.

I do have to admit that this is the second time I have enrolled in Summer School. I enrolled last year, but was so frustrated with my design that I gave up. Not good. Not good at all. This year I’m not giving up. I’m determined to finish.

The theme for the first creative brief is “Soft Pop Bright Retro.” The challenge is to draw a bright, retro pattern using simple shapes and bright colors.RT_FUNHELLO_550PX_LR-550x550The first thing that came to mind after reading the prompts were light bulbs. Where is the best place to search for inspiration you ask? Why Pinterest of course! I searched the key words “retro,” “bright,” “simple” and “shape.” I love Pinterest. the first items to come up were light bulbs! It must have read my mind!Mood board

Lightbulb processOne aspect of my drawing that I knew I wanted in my design is my watercolor technique that I created in Illustrator. This technique allows for a lot of textured color. I love  the simplicity of the shape of this light bulb. In my eyes, it’s very retro.

The next challenge was to create a pattern. The brief for the beginner’s track stated that the pattern did not have to be a technical repeat. Well, that’s not me and I wanted a technical repeat. Thanks to a Creative Live class that I took a while ago, I was successful in creating a repeating pattern. Yay! The problem is that I discovered that pattern swatches in Illustrator are not compatible with Photoshop. Uh Oh. When I design, I’m accustomed to moving back and forth between the two platforms. This is definitely an issue that I will have to tackle in the future.

This is the finished pattern that I created and submitted. I LOVE it! Love it! It is simple and bright and I even worked in a little typography. I couldn’t be more proud of this one!Jamie_Niebergall_BEG_CB1


What is a great pattern if you can can’t see it on a product? Of course, I need to mock it up right? I have never done a mock up before, so I searched Google for a tutorial and found a couple of videos. I put them together and came up with these two mock ups. It’s a shame I can’t buy this…yet.

Pillow Mockup1 Box mockup

I would love to know what you think of my pattern!

On to creative brief #2!




Giving by Design Grand Opening!


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Announcing a brand new charity shop opening today by the Etsy Digital Designers called Giving by Design!

Today is our grand opening and we are so excited! All proceeds will be donated to Kiva, an organization that helps small businesses achieve their goals.

Please take a moment and check out our shop by clicking the picture. You can also learn more about our involvement with Kiva at Kiva Lending Team: Giving by Design

advert 3

New Rainbow Linen Digital Paper


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The last two days have been nothing but rain, rain, and more rain. I’m in definite need of something bright, so I created a simple linen paper pack with solid rainbow colors. Just looking at them makes me feel a little brighter amongst all these clouds 🙂

Rainbow Linen Digital Paper Pack

The Art of Fandom – Part 2


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When I wrote my last piece on fandom, I was only thinking about sports. I didn’t realize until this past weekend that there is a whole other world of fans that I overlooked – Music.


On February 8th I went with one of my favorite friends to the Britney Spears Piece of Me show in Las Vegas. I admit it proudly that I am a huge fan of Britney. I’ve followed her since her first hit, Baby One More Time. People ask me all the time why I’m such a fan. Some even ask me with snide undertones as if it’s not cool to be a Britney fan. It used to bother me and I would hide it, turning Britney into some kind of guilty pleasure. But as I get older, I just don’t care what people think anymore. I love her, I’ll always buy her music, I’ll always go to her concerts, and I’ll always secretly hope that this will be the time that I run into her at Target.

For as much as I love her, I quickly discovered that I’m on the bottom step of fandom where others have jumped off of the cliff. I was very lucky in that I had pit tickets to the show. As I waited in line for them to let us through to the pit, I met some amazing fans. In particular, there was a group of guys – and a girl or two – all wearing homemade tank tops with 2000 and 2001 Britney on them. Yes, that’s right. These fans can distinguish between 2000 and 2001 Britney. In fact, when they talk about her they often refer to what year and which tour was happening at the time. I was floored. I knew that Britney’s VMA performance of Slave for You, you’ll remember the one with the snake, was one of my favorites, but I definitely didn’t remember which year it happened. What was even better was the sense of camaraderie among all of us in the pit. People were respectful – no pushing or shoving. You most likely didn’t know the person standing next to you, yet everyone was sharing their pictures and videos, making Facebook friends, and dancing with each other as She performed. I even saw a few people so excited, so enamored with Her that they had tears in their eyes.

When I took a step back and thought about it, I realized that in some way Britney Spears has touched each of these fans at one time or another in their life. She doesn’t understand the effect she has on them. How could she? I don’t know that any of these fans could really explain it themselves. But whatever it is, it’s remarkable.


BBA February Challenge – Show Us What You Love


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As a member of the BBAritsans Etsy team, we are required to participate in several challenges throughout the year. It’s a fun way to explore new and creative ideas that you might not do on your own.

February’s challenge is called “Show us what you love” and is brought to by Sharla at Beaded Tail (Sharla makes amazing jewelry, so please stop by her shop when you have a chance!).

    “Love is celebrated this month so show us what you love! Whether it’s time with family, spring around the corner, food or furbabies, create something that shows us what you love!”

I love my kids and love sending them to school with unique valentines. I think it makes the experience a little bit more special knowing that mom made your valentines rather than just bought them at the store (please no offense. I know we all don’t have time to make stuff. Lord knows I barely eeked this one out!). Eventually, as the boys get older they will be able to help make their own valentines, but until then the task falls to me.

I love my kids and so that means I get to love what they love, and right now they love anything that glows. While flicking through Pinterest a week ago I found the perfect valentines for them! Cute little cards that read “Valentine you make my heart glow.” Each had a little glow bracelet attached. It was adorable!

I put my own spin on the idea and created this Valentine card:

This is available in my shop, hence the watermark.

This is available in my shop, hence the watermark.

They came out even cuter when I printed them and added the glow sticks, which I found at Michael’s for a dollar. Glow photo 

I think I broke about six bracelets while sliding them into the cards. The boys loved them, plus they got to have all the glow sticks that I broke (more for them!).

Watching their excitement over these little glow bracelets was priceless. My oldest even slept with his under his pillow. It is times like these when my boys teach me to appreciate the little things in life, and in this case, glow sticks.

New Lovies!

These past few weeks I kept myself busy sewing new lovies for PoppyHill Baby. Lovies are my favorite gift to give to anyone who is having a baby or who has a toddler. They are small and fit perfect into a diaper bag for on the go or they can be placed in the child’s crib without worry of suffocation.

Over the next couple of weeks I will also be adding more pacifier clips and burp cloth sets. Those are currently in production 🙂

These are a few that I have listed over the past week. What do you think?

Nursery 1

Click photo to view in my Etsy shop.

Animal Cheveron 3

Click photo to view in my Etsy shop.

Airplane 2

click photo to see in my Etsy shop

click the photo to view in my Etsy shop

click the photo to view in my Etsy shop