Sep 28 2017

Funky, fun Planters & a Giveaway!!!

One of my favorite products I’ve worked on to date are these hand painted planters! Maybe because I love plants and cute pots and can’t seem to ever have enough of them!
I also LOVE that if you don’t feel like planting, you don’t have to! A standard 4″ pot easily slips right down inside! We also designed them with a plug in the bottom for optional drainage.

And to celebrate all this goodness, we’re doing a GIVEAWAY!

There will be FOUR WINNERS 
One winner will be drawn from the comment section on this post!
One winner from the comments/shares on Facebook!
One winner from comments on Instagram!
One winner from Our Newsletter Subscribers!


1. Leave a comment on this post: Telling me your favorite planter and your favorite plant

2. Comment on the giveaway posts on Facebook or Instagram 

3. Sign up for our newsletter (bottom right of home page).

Contest will close Friday, October 6th at midnight PST, (winners announced Mon. Oct.9th).

**Contest open to US residents only. Plant not included


Jul 24 2017

Spiffy Eyeglass Cases!

Check out our *NEW Eyeglass Cases* 👓!!! And they come with a matching cleaning cloth!
My personal favorite. My second fave would probably be the dog park glasses case.

This is a project that our Australian distributor and myself have been working hard on for a while. It’s so nice to see it finally come to fruition!


Feb 15 2017

my 16 year old clock designer

My youngest daughter has been talking about designing her own clock for years. This past fall she made that talk/dream come true. She came up with the subject matter, color scheme and design all on her own.


This is one happy girl, and so she should be. It’s already proven to be a winner.


“It has been pretty fun and exciting to watch my own ideas and design turn into a beautiful, finished product, just like what my mom has been doing my whole life. I hope to follow in her footsteps somehow by owning my own business and this has been a great way to see what it will be like.” – Jess


We’re still in negotiations over pay/royalty rate. I keep reminding her that we are feeding her and housing her. She’s not sure that’s enough. 😉

allen-designs-sunflower-clockBee Sunny‘ Sunflower Pendulum Clock by Allen Designs


Nov 3 2016

Local Portland/Vancouver Peeps!!!

Our 16th Annual Studio Sale is right around the corner and we are busy, busy, busy gearing up and getting excited! SO many good deals this year! 

I created my first stop-motion video to go along with the holiday cheer and it was super fun! I can’t wait to do more of them. 


If you’re not local, not to fear, we’ll be sending out a few special deals via our newsletter! So be sure to sign up if you’re not already!

Mar 24 2016

My daughter’s Bridal Shower

i seriously can’t believe i’m even old enough to have a daughter getting married… but I DO!!!
she’s almost 21, her and her fiancé are both graduating college in May and are planning to marry in June.
they seem so young. but, i was 20 when i got married, and we’re still married… happily. thankfully.
we are excited for them and proud of them both.

dessert bar wedding shower
i’ve never planned a party like this before. let me just say, pinterest makes party planning easy AND hard at the same time! we did a dessert bar with chocolate fondue. the sweet love banner i made from old doily coasters that i stamped on and then taped to a ribbon.

allen girls wedding shower
me and my sweet girls before the festivities commenced. (thank you mom for insisting on the pic!)

signs handmade diy
i used white gel pens to make the little signs for the tables.

dessert bar partymacarons dessert bar
the bride-to-be herself made these beautiful french macarons.

mimosa bar party
inspired by this i just had to do a mimosa bar. i scoured thrift shops for pretty glasses instead of buying plastic ones for close to the same price, and it worked out perfectly. it was super fun and interactive! i’ll definitely be doing this again.

bridal party shower decorparty decor rustic
we had the party in the upstairs of our Allen Designs studio so the lights and tassels were already set up, which was really nice. it just adds to the party feel instantly.

doily hanging crochet art
i’ve had this piece pinned on pinterest for a long, long time and throwing this party was the perfect reason to make it finally happen.

mimosa bar wedding showerbridal shower party decorwedding shower decorationsfood bar wedding showerfuture bridebridal bingo wedding showerparty favors bridal shower
it was a lovely time and my daughter was immensely blessed. i couldn’t ask for anything more.

Nov 2 2015

It’s almost Studio Sale time!!!

We’d love for you to join us at our annual sale where we sell close-outs, samples and slightly blemished products, along with everything else. You can seriously find some great deals here! The dates and times are in the images below. I’ll be posting more info on this later and also sending out some specials via our newsletter (upper right corner of this blog) soon. So be sure to get on that list!



Jul 20 2015

Painting in Color Workshop— MEXICO!!!

I am so excited about this opportunity to share my love of creating, explore Oaxaca, Mexico and spend time with like-minded people! Not to mention teach alongside the prolifically talented and fabulous Sunny Carvahlo (check out her work and her workshop post here)! We would LOVE to have you join us on this adventure!


Kathie Vezzani, also an artist, has been organizing culinary trips to Mexico with Culinary Adventures, Inc. and Marilyn Tausend for the past twenty years with chefs such as Rick Bayless, Diana Kennedy, Susana Trilling (from Oaxaca), Roberto Santibanez, and the late Elaine Gonzalez. Additionally, she tested recipes for Tausend’s last three Mexican cookbooks. Kathie’s tours combine two of her passions, food and art.

Joining her as she has with Culinary Adventures’ tours, is Ane Elena Martinez, a pastry chef from Puebla who coordinates details in Mexico.

Together with their many friends and contacts in Oaxaca, they have planned a once in a lifetime experience for us!




Trip will include:

• Painting and creating with Sunny and myself all week!!!
• “Welcome” fiesta
• Cooking lesson at Seasons of My Heart Cooking School with Susanna Trilling
• Market Tour
• Visits to artisans- black pottery and alebrijes
• Visit to museum and paper making demonstration
• Art supplies
• Transportation within Oaxaca
• Time to explore Oaxaca and its many artful offerings
• Opportunity to sign up for massages and/or a temazcal
• And, best of all… a new ART TRIBE!!!

Click HERE for more information 🙂


Hot Air Balloon Friends!

We are all absolutely gaga over this new cute bag hot air balloon bag!
If you look close you’ll spot lots of furry friends… a unicorn, owl, bunny, birds and a black cat.
These sturdy bags are perfect for the beach, sporting events, grocery shopping… you name it! 


Apr 2 2015

Note to Self…

TODAY’S NOTE TO SELF: Start small. Use time wisely.


Feb 19 2015

6 Bag Giveaway & Thank YOU!!!

I’m feeling a bit sentimental right now and wanted to show you how much I appreciate YOU!!!
You guys are AMAZING! It’s because of you that I am encouraged on a daily basis, thank you!

p.s. these bags are a wonderful gift as they fit perfectly into a large envelope and are super easy to send.


bag givaway allen designs


1. Leave a comment on this post: Telling me what kind of art/theme you would want to see on a bag???

2. Share us with your friends on Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment (here on the blog) letting me know you did.

Contest will close the evening of Monday, Feb.23.

To enter the Facebook drawing, there will be a post up on our Facebook Page on SATURDAY
that you can comment on to enter there. 🙂

Feb 17 2015

Things I want to Accomplish in 2015

Looking back, some of my best years of productivity and happiness have been the years that I make a list of things I want to accomplish in that year. I’m realizing though that it’s not JUST the list writing, cause truth be told, I do that every year. It’s been the times that I put my list of goals out there, document the progress and really reflect on my list that seems to make the things on my list actually come to fruition.

These are all things I REALLY WANT to do. But I get tired. And lazy. And distracted. The list helps me to stay on track. And putting it out here for all of you to see, gives me a sense of accountability.


I like to break my list up into different categories, as you’ll see below.

Personal/Family Goals:

  1. beach trip
  2. acts of kindness month
  3. print 2013/2014 book of pictures
  4. eat at Beast or Biwa
  5. family pictures
  6. make an article of clothing
  7. window treatment for living room
  8. landscaping in yard
  9. finish fence
  10. put on a Neighborhood Gathering
  11. TRAVEL out of the USA
  12. get misc. ART FRAMED
  13. hike BEACON ROCK w/family
  14. float river in Bend
  15. make a living will
  16. Hike Dog Mountain
  17. Eat at Lardo & Broder Nord
  18. chat books
  19. go see Steve, April & Marlo/ Sunny
  20. hike FOREST PARK
  21. Portland Art Museum
  22. plant cutting flowers
  23. go to Blue Star Donuts or Pips & Katchka
  24. go somewhere awesome for our anniversary
  25. eat at Maurice & Podnah’s Pit BBQ
  26. go to Sweedeedee
  27. clean out garage
  28. make over guest room
  29. make over tv room
  30. headboard for bed
  31. make over jessica’s room
  32. go to Rowena Crest in the Gorge

hiking dog mountain
I’ve already marked off “Hike Dog Mountain“!
My friend Stacey and I trekked the 6.9 mile hike last Friday and it was awesome!

dog mountain columbia river gorge
There was no view of the Columbia River Gorge to be had, but the frozen fog was quite magnificent.

Business Goals:

  1. art night in studio
  2. T-SHIRTS made for ADS
  3. STICKERS made for ADS
  4. business cards made for ADS
  5. handmade gifts for Christmas for customers/friends
  6. 2015 ornament (year of the?)
  7. blog my list for accountability
  8. take Mary Kate Mcdevitt’s or CD Muckosky hand lettering class
  9. volunteer at the Food Bank as a studio
  10. yummy pictures showing our products being put to use. being made.
  11. monthly meetings  *1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12
  12. take illustrator workshop Bonnie Christine on creative live
  13. get bag line together and launched
  14. take camera in for cleaning
  15. 300 Days of Creating Challenge

eating healthy tomatoes

Health Goals:

  1. yoga class (at least try it!)
  2. work up to running 10 miles
  3. lift weights


  1. drink more water/ take vitamins every day/exercise several days a week
  2. paint or create every day for at least 30 min. (300 day challenge)
  3. weekly family meals- sunday evenings *

I love the quote “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”.
I know it doesn’t hold true in every case but for me, planning definitely increases my productivity. And being productive, makes me happy.

For the items that are a weekly or a monthly I’m adding a * each time they’re accomplished.  


Feb 2 2015

300 Days of Creating Progress Report

Well, I have to say, this has been a REALLY GOOD challenge for me.
I’m already more intentional to be creative knowing that I can’t get behind.
And, along with it, I’m FEELING more creative!
Below are a sampling of a few of the days so far…

7/300  Thinking a lot about the lack of snow up in our poor mountains, makes me sad.

8/300 If all I get done in a day is a sketch, then I count that.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 7.26.43 PM
9/300 Love this wonky guy. “Angst Expressed”

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 7.27.17 PM
11/300  I decided to make and  keep a journal of the 300 Days of Creating as well as my 2015 Goals.

If you want to see more, follow along with me on Instagram (allendesignsstudio).
Also, check out the hashtag #300daysofcreating to find others who have joined me in this challenge!
And, it’s not too late to join! There are still 331 days left in the year!!!

p.s. if you want a pdf copy of the 300 Days of Creating lettering from above, make sure to sign up for my mailing list as that will be included in the next newsletter 🙂

Dec 11 2014

Cups, Cups, Cups

Would you call these cups or mugs? I keep vacillating.
None the less, they’re BACK IN STOCK! woohoo!


Find them here.


Most everything is back in stock, as we received our last container of the year yesterday.
Can’t believe Christmas is only a few weeks away!


Speaking of the year coming to a close…
The wonderful Mark is already beginning to recreate our Atlanta Gift Show space.
I’m excited for the change and the new look!

Dec 8 2014

Clock of the Day!

Clock of the Day!!!!!!
20% of THIS clock through tonight!


Dec 3 2014

Impromptu GIVEAWAY!

To show how thankful we are for you all, we’ll be giving away this clock by the end of the day tomorrow!
Go to our Facebook Page to to enter.


Oct 27 2014

Studio Sale, China Travel and Open Studios

there’s a lot going on!
first off, many people are a bit confused as to the difference between the Clark County Open Studios and our own Allen Designs Studio Sale.

i’ll start with the 14th Annual Allen Designs Studio Sale which is at our business location off Minnehaha Rd. this is where we sell close-outs, samples and slightly blemished products, along with everything else. you can seriously find some great deals here! the dates and times are in the image below. i’ll be posting more info on this later and also sending out some specials via our newsletter soon. so be sure to get on that list!



oh, and i’m in China right now, working on our newest line debuting in Jan. 2015. a little sneak peek above.


and then we have the Clark County Open Studios. this is where myself along with 49 other artists open their art studios (mine will be my HOME studio in downtown Vancouver) for two days- Nov. 8 & 9, 10AM-5PM, enabling the public to get a glimpse into what it looks like to be a working artist.
(p.s. i won’t have any clocks at this event)

and then there’s Preview Night, (where one piece of work from each artist will be on display) Saturday Nov. 1, 5-8PM.

if you’re a Portland/Vancouver local, i hope you can make it out to one of these fun art events! 🙂

Oct 13 2014

Black & Blue Painting

this was a painting i did a while back as part of VOCA’s Art Lab exhibit.
when i started this painting, my whole goal was to work in a very limited color palette.
it was challenging. but fun.

i can see the influence of my years spent as a youngster in Alaska coming out in this piece.


Oct 6 2014

The Artist’s Garden

as some of you may already know, cause you follow me on instagram (allendesignsstudio), i was asked to paint a violin for a charity event put on by the Vancouver Symphony & Orchestra.
i had told myself earlier this year that i wasn’t going to say “yes” to any additional charity pieces through the rest of the year. but, when the violin came up, i just couldn’t say no.
i LOVE music. and who wouldn’t want to paint on such a beautiful instrument!

symphony fundraiser violin
here she is as she came to me.

some of the progression.

violin_art_charity_3 copy
i played the flute in 6th grade and i sucked. i really wanted to be good at it.
i practiced. and practiced. a lot. (my mom may disagree, but it felt like it was A LOT)
i had no rhythm. nor patience. so i quit.

if you look closely, there’s a string missing. that would be due to my lack of stringing-an-instrument-skills!

violin_art_charity_6 copy
i was determined to paint a rose. i’ve wanted to for a long time and i just decided i was going to work at it until i got it.
roses are HARD! in the end, i’m pleased with how it turned out. happy with myself that i pushed through the good hour of frustration that it took to paint and repaint till it actually looked like a rose.

violin_art_charity_4 copy

i love how this turned out. it’s playful yet serious. free yet organized.
Playing it Forward auction Nov. 1st.

Sep 24 2014

allen designs studio space

over the past several years our business has evolved & changed.
to the point that we have a fairly large space upstairs that doesn’t get much use.
and it has been killing me. the light is amazing up there!

but no longer, we’re taking action!

we’ve replaced the ugly brown carpet with salvaged shiplap. and it’s BEAUTIFUL!

flooring makes all the difference. (as it should since it is so crazy expensive! ugh.)

we had gorgeous tables custom-made from salvaged wood.
i’ve been scouring garage sales for random chairs… not sure how this part is going to turn out, right now it’s looking a bit disastrous. 🙁

now we’re down to the details. the fun stuff!

at this point i still don’t have a definitive plan for the space.
i’ve got lots of ideas swirling around in my head.
i do know, that i’m TOTALLY EXCITED about the possibilities!
so stay tuned 🙂

Sep 22 2014

Camp Create – part 2

wow! two blog posts in a weeks time. i’m out of control!
to be completely honest, i came home from Camp Create with a new perspective on who i am.
i can tell you, and if you’ve read my blog at all you already know, i’m not the best writer. and truth be told, i’ve been super INSECURE about it!

camp create girls

i really want to let that go.
if you can’t handle my poor writing skills and bad grammar then maybe my blog isn’t for you.
and another thing you really need to know about me… i’m pretty much all about the pictures anyways!  🙂



above and below are samples of what the gals made in the block printing/pillow making workshop i taught.
i was beyond thrilled, they did SUCH A GREAT JOB!



thank you again Meg & Kimberlee for inviting me and for offering this experience to others.
i’ve come home inspired and encouraged.
and it feels good.

UPDATE: check out Meg’s blog post that has a lot more details and fun pictures!



Sep 19 2014

Whatever Camp Create – part 1

i don’t know if you remember, but a few years back i went down to Newton, KS to Meg Duerksen’s  Whatever Craft Weekend? it was a blast! so, when Meg asked me if i wanted to come down and teach at her newest endeavor  Camp Create, i was ALL OVER IT!

i mean really, who wouldn’t want to go to a place stocked so beautifully & creatively with arts & crafts supplies?

and where beds with vintage quilts like this welcomed you!

like last time, i had to get my hands on her giant chalkboard!

pretty sure this took me half the day. at some point i would love to take a hand-lettering workshop to learn tricks to make it look better and go quicker. i’m thinking i’ll give this one by mary kate mcdevitt  a go. many people have said great things about it. and she is crazy good!

we had mini devotional/thought provoking times working on our “god sized dream“,  led by the lovely, wise & oh-so-kind author holley gerth.

we went to a gigantic sunflower field. it was B E A U T I F U L !!! #duh (as stephanie ackerman would say)

sunflowers for days!

the sweet lady herself. her heart is so big. her intentions pure.

many special moments. friendships made. dreams shared.

and lots and LOTS of laughter!!! and i’m talking gut-hurting, face-cramping, eyes-watering laughter!

really, all this to say… i didn’t have much fun. 😉



May 20 2014

Artful Owl Cup

Allen Designs Owl Cup
Check out one of our newest items- artful CUPS!!!
I don’t know about you but I really love drinking my tea or coffee out of unique & fun cups. It just makes everything taste better.

Available on our website & in stores soon!

Apr 3 2014

April Desktop Calendar

okay so i skipped a month.
i’ve decided to put guilt aside and am, once again going to try to get back at it.
may i present April’s Desktop Calendar with a seahorse theme…

Wallpaper Calendars April

can you tell that i’m dying to go on vacation somewhere warm???

click here for your copy of this month’s FREE calendar.
hope you enjoy!
xoxo- m

(for personal use only)

Feb 12 2014

Letter A and my dad

looky at what my FABULOUS dad made me!!! (and mom, she did the painting!)
as most of you probably already know, i collect the letter A.
i’ve wanted one of these large marquee types for a long time!!! *squeal*

and isn’t my dad cute!

still haven’t quite found the perfect spot for it.
i’ll show you it all ‘lit up’ when i do.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 8.50.03 PM
realized i never posted this picture from the Atlanta Gift Show…
love the bag display with the porcelain hands that my friend Mark put together for me.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 8.49.49 PM
this was another treat from the show… i had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Lotta Jansdotter!
she’s as darling & sweet in person as she seems on her blog.
(don’t mind me… i just look cray cray in this pic!)

hope you’re all doing well… staying warm, healthy and creative?

Feb 8 2014

biz cards and how useful facebook is

i know that there are all kinds of frustrating things about facebook and how they’re going about monetizing their site.
i share in much of that frustration, as it’s getting harder and harder to reach the people who have already chosen to “like/follow” my page.
there are some great reads & perspectives on this issue flitting around on the www.
hopefully with all the chatter they will figure out a way that works for all parties involved.


that aside, facebook did work for me this time!
i had 88 people give me feedback on my card options, totally helping me make a final choice and some small changes to the design.
thank you to everyone who took the time!


as you can see i went with rounded corners and a satin matte finish which i think visually add a lot.
i had them printed through, i’m pleased with the printing quality, pricing and turn-around time.
but not so much with the cutting on the corners.
if you look closely you can see that there is a bit of choppiness going on.
i’ve emailed them to ask if this is common & acceptable but i have not heard back as of yet. 

Nov 26 2013

Allen Designs/Close2myArt Studio Sale!!!

Done with our first weekend of the 13th Annual Studio Sale!
And now we’re onto our 2nd starting the morning of Black Friday.
If you’re local, we’d love for you to join us.
If you’re not, we’ll be sending out some specials via our newsletter (bottom left of this page) so be sure to sign up!

window painting
Every year I paint the windows to announce the Studio Sale.
Some day I would love to learn how to really paint windows.

Allen Designs Studio Sale
The studio looks the best it ever has!
Thanks mainly to Deb, who is new to our studio crew and has an eye for decorating. 🙂



Google Map directions here.
Hope to see you soon!


Sep 24 2013

the “blog” shopper bag winners are…

thank you ALL for making this shopper bag giveaway so much fun!
reading through the comments and seeing which ones are people’s favorites, along with some stories, have totally made my day!



winners: please email me your mailing address along with your bag of choice 🙂

Sep 16 2013

6 bag giveaway!!!

as you can probably tell,
i’m still beyond jazzed about these new Allen Designs Shopper Bags that we just got in!
and i want you to celebrate with me.
what a better way than a giveaway?! 🙂





1. Leave a comment on this post: Telling me which one is your favorite???

2. Share us with your friends on Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment (here on the blog) letting me know you did.

Contest will close Friday September 20th.

To enter the Facebook drawing, there will be a post up on our Facebook Page on THURSDAY
that you can comment on to enter there. 🙂

Sep 3 2013


sorry to be a few days late with the september desktop calendar!
i must have been having too much fun over labor day 😉
hope you enjoy!

flower_art_michelle_alleni took a sketch and altered it in photoshop to make this month’s calendar.
loving simple pen & ink!


click here to download this months free calendar!

(for personal use only)

p.s. would love to know if you use it! 🙂

Aug 30 2013

kinda one of my favorite things!

art journaling is probably one of the things that makes my heart sing most.
inspired by a friend coming over and us making new book signatures, i’m back at it!
2013_art_journalmy journals are mainly made up of a compilation of travel smack, doodles and all kinds of other misc. paper gems.




artist_studio_michelle_allen_designsand the aftermath…


i really can’t believe we’re about to enter the month of September!!!
time to get a new desktop calendar done…
hope you all have exciting and adventurous plans for this holiday weekend!