Laelia’s Scribble Print Dress; How I Turned Her Artwork into a Dress

Laelia’s Scribble Print Dress; How I Turned Her Artwork into a Dress


About six months ago, Laelia asked me “what are you making” while I was working. I showed her how I was drawing via my pen tablet, and explained how the artwork is repeated and how it will be printed onto fabric and it will become a dress. I then showed her some of the dresses that have been made from prints I designed on ModCloth‘s website (there are videos, and they made it very exciting!). She seemed very interested. A few days later, she held up a drawing with a bunch of scribbles (usually Laelia draws scenes with people, so a plain scribble drawing was strange) on it and asked if we could make it into a dress. I thought “What a good idea! We can make one of your drawings into some fabric and I can use it to make a dress!”. Eventually, this idea became her first day of kindergarten outfit. See how we made it below! Continue Reading

Our Bedroom and Nursery Combo

Our Bedroom and Nursery Combo

I am especially excited to write this post because the last post regarding the main bedroom was at the top of my blog for nearly a year and a half; I had absolutely no intentions of waiting so long between posts, and seeing that top picture and knowing how far that room had come since I posted it was especially irritating! If I had known it was going to be the first impression this blog gave off for almost 18 months, I would have preferred it to be something a bit more pretty or finished, like this post! :D
IKEA Bed anthropologie bedding sputnik lamp
From the above angle, it doesn’t look too different from the last post. The biggest difference is the light fixture, which I’ve had my eye on for years! It is from Lucent Light Shop, and I highly recommend them. Great quality, great prices, and great customer service! You seriously can not ask for much more! I consider this sputnik lamp to be the little jewel that tops off the whole bedroom.
Next, we have the little nursery corner that we made for Luca. As I mentioned in the living + workspace update, Luca is sharing a room with us for now, instead of with Laelia, because babies really don’t need their own space until they are a bit older; I knew he’d be in our room more than his own room, so it just made sense to go this route, especially when we discovered that a mini crib would fit in our room. There might not be any breathing room between our furniture (which is usually a big no-no in my book), but it was our best option and it works!
Shared NurseryShared-Nursery
I’m so happy to report that we finally stripped and stained the drawers of this old dresser. I bought the dresser in 2001 for $40, not really knowing what it was, and I \ put so many layers of paint on this thing… but stripping it was really not a big deal at all. I would love to do the whole thing, but the top is very damaged with chunks of missing wood and water stains that you can still see through layers of paint that I think paint might just be the best option for it. I painted the little blue strip to be a neat pop color, but I’m not sure of it; it will probably change color. I sold our old changing table to a friend because we just didn’t have room for it anymore and her old changing table was very large, so it worked out for us both. One thing I liked about our old changing table was the little box that held the changing pad, so I had my dad build one for us really quick, and after WAY too much debate, I finally just spray painted it gold, and it looks fine. The changing pad is from Land of Nod. This dresser will probably become Luca’s dresser, and live with him in his room when he’s older.
When it was decided that Luca would be in our room, we knew our old crib would not fit. After some research, I settled on the babyletto grayson mini crib. It has since been replaced by the origami mini crib, but I like the lines of the grayson crib better. This crib is heavy tho, and the origami is supposed to be much lighter. Anyway, we love it. It was especially great when he was a tiny baby and would actually sleep in his crib! It was so great to not even have to take a step to pick him up and nurse him in the night. He just felt so safe and comfy right next to the bed. Of course, just like his sister, the second we had to lower the crib mattress, he stopped sleeping in the crib. His eyes pop open the moment you lower him below your hip. I don’t know what it is! So hopefully he’ll start sleeping in there again soon… Laelia began to sleep in her crib again around 2 yrs, which is very normal.
Clouds have always been a favorite motif of mine, and so I knew pretty early on that this was the direction the nursery was going to take. I also knew we needed a light on this side of the room, what with the changing pad taking up the space where I’d normally put a second light. In one of those strange middle-of-the-night light-bulb-over-the-head moments, this idea came to me. I took an old canvas, 200 white christmas lights, some fabric and stuffing, and whipped up this cloud mobile. The cords run behind the crib and up the wall, and we covered them with a cord cover and painted it to match the wall. There is an on/off switch that is connected to it which is at the side of the bed, so it works as a perfect night-light, which was especially great for middle of the night diaper changes! My biggest wonder was how to hang it; after some discussion w/ my dad, he said the best way to hang it would be industrial strength velcro! I thought that was a little weird, but he said that the only way it would come down would be if the ceiling itself came down. My aunt told me they use it to velcro down printers and fax machines in their trailers on movie sets! Anyway, we stapled the velcro, just incase it got too hot and the glue started to come undone as an extra precaution, and it works AMAZING. Tyler practically has to hang on it to get it down.
Cloud-Christmas-Light-Mobile--2 Cloud-Christmas-Light-Mobile-CribCloud-Mobile-with-Raindrops
For added fun, Beth came up with the idea have people add little notes and stuff them inside the rain drops at Luca’s baby sprinkle. I haven’t read them yet, but when he’s old enough, we’ll open them and read them together.
I also made his quilt and this little cloud pillow. I agonized over the quilt for a while, thinking I should come up with a new pattern…  I really loved the pattern I designed for Laelia’s twin quilt, so I just used that pattern, but in a very different colorway and I’m very happy with it! I’d really like to sell the pattern on this site at some point. The cloud pillow I made using an old cashmere sweater and another pattern of my own design. I finished up the eyes and cheeks the day he was born!
The next big change from the last post is that we finished the drawer fronts on our PAX wardrobes. Because I wanted some of the PAX to have open shelving, we had to get creative about creating drawer fronts on the wardrobes. PAX does not have finished drawer fronts for their drawers because they assume either the units are inside a closet or behind a door. So we bought 6 kitchen drawer fronts which were the right width, but not the right height, and used straight brackets to attach some 2 x 1 wood that we stained, and then used brass screws and grommets to make it a little more decorative. It’s pretty cool, really! I have all the photos to do a how-to post, I think, but not necessarily the time to compose it… but if enough people clamor for it, I might be motivated enough to do it!
PAX-Wardrobe-Hack IKEA-PAX-drawer-hack PAX-drawer-front-hackPax-Wardrobe-Sputnik-Lamp
I did the little trick with painters tape and paint to cover the cord for the light above our mirror. You can barely see it. It is the best way to cover cords where only a little of the cord is showing! I also got curtains from Target for our closet.
Mirror-and-ClosetLuca's-SideMid-Century-Dresser3 Fish Studios California-Bear
I switched out the old lamp we had here for this fun lamp from Lamps Plus. Not sure if I ever mentioned it here (my memory is fuzzy after the very long break), but Tyler works at Lamps Plus corporate as a Senior Front End Software Developer–this is the first purchase we have made, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last! Grayson-Mini-Crib-DIY-cloud-pillowSunglasses
This is how we managed to have a simple, beautiful nursery space that I think sits well with the rest of our 145 square foot “master” bedroom! It really is a monster of a post when I think about how I could have broke it down; Luca’s corner nursery, the wardrobe hack, the mobile DIY, the design and sewing of the quilt, the cloud pillow pattern, the midcentury dresser makeover… It was my original intention to post all of these things separately but something is better than nothing! :)

Living + Workspace Update

Living + Workspace Update

It’s been a long while since I have posted an update for the living room and office space in our apartment, but a lot certainly has changed! A lot hasn’t as well. Since my last full post about 3 years ago, we have sold our hutch, our chairs, the expedit we used behind the couch, and Laelia broke the old coffee table. I gave the old hope chest back to my sister, and our ancient projector died as well. Alternately, we purchased a new coffee table from West Elm (as opposed to making our own), two Stradmon Chairs from IKEA, two RAST dressers that I gave a little campaign dresser treatment, a BESTA credenza, and, as the TV in our bedroom had also died, we bought a new TV. Also, since that last full post, I have updated the curtains, and we have blinds on all the windows.


I feel compelled to mention that, despite how much as I love the coffee table from west elm, I don’t think the wood is sealed; any tiny drop of liquid makes a stain, which we learned the very night we brought it home. We have since sanded it down and put 3 coats of clear finishing spray on it, but it doesn’t seem to help. I wish West Elm had reviews on their site so we would have at least known about this before we purchased. I did try to research before we purchased, and I didn’t see this issue mentioned, so I’m mentioning it here. The wash is really lovely, so I’m guessing this is the price you pay for the lovely wash. It is not very complimentary to having young children about, however! I do still love it, and we plan on giving it a solid sanding and perhaps re-staining it after we move and have a garage.


When I became pregnant with Luca, I decided I wanted to bring some toys into our living space on a more official level. I knew he would be sharing a room with us (full update on our bedroom soon!), but there would be little space for his toys in our room, and I didn’t want to put baby toys in Laelia’s room. So we bought this BESTA unit from IKEA, and it is full of games and toys! It has served us well. And, naturally, I spray painted the base gold. I also devised this little Lego Duplo play station (below), from a 4×2 Expedit. A small IKEA hack!


Four of the paintings above are Laelia’s paintings. impressionist-painter

I bought the above painting from the Rose Bowl Flea Market, and it is one of my most favorite purchases yet! Below is a painting Laelia made in preschool.


Above are the RAST dressers which made to look like campaign dressers (as is very popular with RAST dressers). The hardware is antique, purchased from eBay. We store our DVDS in here, and Tyler converted the top drawer of the left dresser to a shelf with a hinged fold-out door, and it stores our video game consoles.


Tyler and I made this magnetic task manager for our family, inspired by YHL. We also put up the NORBERG fold out table from IKEA here, as an extra workspace if needed. The light switch is crooked, a fact that irks me daily!


I wish a had a few more photographs to share, a few more vignettes and close up shots. The bookshelf cupboards are organized in a way that would probably be helpful to share; on the left are all of my crafting and fine painting supplies; the middle two are all fabrics (which are all folded around cardboard) sewing supplies, and my sewing machine; and the right cupboard is almost entirely paper (large format artist’s papers and an entire row of notebooks and sketchbooks).



There is something very cathartic about looking at these photographs, and comparing them to old photographs. It is difficult to put into words–I am reminded of why I call my blog visual vocabulariethe juxtaposition of the old photographs of this space versus the newer photographs of this space say more about what has taken space in the amount of time that has passed between the photographs than I can put into words. Much life has been lived, mistakes have been made and learned from, new things have been tried and tested, moments of inspiration have come and gone, limits have been pushed, some ideas have been tried, and many others remain living on that “someday” pinterest board in my mind. I can say that I feel like this room is “done”. It took me seven years, but that is how I feel. Would I change things if I felt flippant about money or had a sudden and clear vision for something new? Perhaps. But as it is, I don’t feel as if the room needs anything different. It is about as comfortable, functional, and visually pleasing to us as it can get, I believe.

Striped Super Easy Knit Blanket

Striped Super Easy Knit Blanket

The instant I saw this purl soho baby blanket on pinterest, I knew I had to make a similar blanket for Laelia. Not only that, but it sparked the inspiration for a new color scheme in this room, going from a more pastel set of primary colors used in her nursery (aqua, pink, yellow), to a cleaner more bold set of colors; navy, bright pink, a fresh clean blue, yellow and gray.



I did not follow the pattern directly, because I knew I didn’t want to create a crib blanket (I have already knit Laelia a crib blanket), and a garter stitch blanket is so straight-forward. I think I cast on 120 or 150 stitches, and each stripe is 40 rows high. It took me almost exactly one year from start to finish, and I started the blanket six months after I bought the yarn! I knit in the car mostly, and when I watched TV and more often after Luca was born. It came out much larger than I expected, but I’m glad for it–it will certainly keep her warm even when she is grown! I deliberately wanted a colorful machine washable yarn, and it also had to be affordable. Although I would have preferred the color selection to be a bit more vibrant and less pastel, I chose Martha Stewart’s Extra Soft Wool Blend and I was very happy with it. Its warm and soft and squishy, it has great stitch definition, and I can throw it in the washer and dryer! I ended up having to buy a second skein of each color after I started the blanket, and unfortunately the lot dyes vary pretty greatly… if you look closely on the right of the above picture you can identify where I started new rows.


It felt great finishing this blanket. Knitting is an excellent tool to reinforce the idea that each step forward, no matter how small, is another step forward to accomplishing your goal. It felt like I was never going to finish it! And when I did and Laelia was finally able to use her blanket to sleep with, she was so happy. It is her “special-warmest-blanket-ever-that-mommy-made-me” (*dries eyes*).

My Kitchen Update

My Kitchen Update

The last big kitchen post I made was two and a half years ago, fresh after we had painted and hung the shelves and new blinds. It hasn’t changed drastically since then, but it is significantly more finished!

We upholstered the benches, hung some art, I made the little planters (from leather from a pair of old boots!), and we swapped out the light fixture. We use the upper shelf to hold all of our vases, candle holders, containers and the like, and it isn’t arranged in any specific way other than color. I’ve tried a variety of things on the two smaller shelves, but I don’t think I’ve found anything that has particularly worked yet, so in an effort not to force things, I feel like nothing is better than what I’ve got right now. We also had baby #2 in that time, and we really wanted to forgo a high chair in favor of one of these clip on chairs; they save a ton of space, and I use it at my desk when I’m working and at the coffee table when we decide to eat there as well. Plus I love how the color is repeated by the light fixture!  All in all, I think it looks pretty similar to my nook sketch, and it’s always fun when reality compares favorably to your fantasy!

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Instead of outright replacing the black brown billy bookcase that serves as our pantry with a white one, I decided to just buy white full length doors, and I think it works out great. I taped up the contact paper that we have in the drawers and on the shelves to cover the glass.

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Our old O’Keefe and Merritt stove finally passed on; a gas leak started at the temperature gauge and it would have cost significantly more than the cost of a new stove to replace it, since they don’t make parts for the old stoves anymore. We were pretty bummed about it, but we didn’t have a choice. I was just happy we got another white stove! I was kinda worrying it was going to be black, and despite that this is my dream stove, I don’t think a huge black stove would work well in this kitchen. Also, half the old stove was storage! So I did some fast thinking and bought a 9 inch cupboard from Home Depot and my dad put a couple of large tiles on the top, and we did it for $70. We store all of our baking sheets, cake pans, and pot lids in this little cupboard!

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Fun fact! Behind this little door (which we painted in chalkboard paint) is a fold out ironing board. The little island we bought from IKEA rolls right out of the way so we can iron pretty easily! (And, YES we do use it fairly regularly, but mostly when I’m sewing–which I always do at the kitchen table, and the island is the perfect size and height for my cutting table!).


I hope you enjoyed our updated kitchen! I may or may not post the utility/laundry room (through the lace curtains) one day!


Welcome to Visual Vocabularie! My name is Jesyka, and I am a designer, artist, mom to Laelia and Luca, wife to software engineer and UX designer Tyler, coffee lover, and all around enthused person. This is my blog; here I share my personal projects, whether it's a furniture makeover, a new painting, a birthday party, an invitation I designed, or a favorite outfit for my little. You’ll also catch a glimpse into our family life in Los Angeles.

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