vrijdag 30 mei 2014

Design team

My eldest son Pieter and I have co-designed before to enter a Spoonflower contest.

Pieter's Reflections.

We made a boats fabric then, with a limited color palette.I really enjoyed the process of the design. After getting out markers in roughly the color's specified in the contest rules, we set about making sketches of anything hat sprung into our mind around the topic 'sailing'. We tried all kinds of boats, sails and waves. Then I photographed the design we chose, uploaded it onto Spoonflower and reduced and reset the colors to the specifications. Finally we used good old Paint (I haven't a clue how to use any illustration software) to make a repeat pattern we liked.

Now the theme is "Cosmic Voyage" and we pimped up an old Spoonflower design to enter in the contest.
Pieter's Space, from a pencil drawing by Pieter, aged 6.
I didn't like the grid pattern in the first version of the fabric. But since I don't know how to get the scribbly background right with the half drop configuration (I can only manage a basic repeat on Paint), I worked around my lack of computer skills by only having scribbles around the picture and putting stars on a flat background beyond that.

Pieter's Voyage.
I hope we get a good score, or maybe just some hearts? You can have a look at our design here. The contest isn't open for voting yet.

maandag 26 mei 2014

Beauty in unexpected places.

A home office is supposed to be a little stern, filled with high tech apparatus, built to be efficient, to promote hard work. Our computer desk sits in our living room. We don't work from the home, so it's used mainly for non-work purposes. It's an entertainment center for the whole family. We use our computer to play music or watch a movie, to play games and to read blogs. We also use it for study. Our eldest does online learning in addition to his regular school work. We are using it to motivate him to practice his multiplications. So it can be a friendly place, somewhere nice and welcoming.

Pretty desk! It feels even prettier than it looks, because the scent is so lovely.
 Today, it is decorated with peonies from my front garden. I cut out all the big blooms yesterday, in hopes of having a second flush of blooms on Thursday, for the first communion party for Pieter. The front garden is looking lovely; The willow is starting to look like a real tree, and my plan for the planting is really coming together. The pink geranium doesn't really cope well with the heat of the Southern orientation, so I'll have to find an alternative for that. I'm also going to have to remove a lot of the lilies of the valley, because they are becoming rampant.

My front garden, I'll have to get some nicer pictures soon.

A little victory this year is that I finally succeeded in starting Echinacea from seed. It's the inspiration for the color scheme in my garden, pink and orange, with a little purple for some more contrast, and I have one plant in the garden, but I need more. I've been trying everything to get the little buggers to germinate, but until now nothing worked. This year, I tried some seed I harvested from my own plant, instead of from a packet, and lo and behold: it worked! I have about 12 plant, ready to transplant! I'll be growing them in pots until they're a decent size. When I plant them in the garden I'll be protecting them from the slugs with a copper tape boundary. I have loads of slugs, and try to live with them by using plant which they don't like, or which grow too fast for them to keep up. Although I once had a patch of mint that didn't come up because it was being eaten faster than it could grow...  to give you an idea of just how bad our slug infestation is... Anyway, copper tape on a bottomless tin (from pineapple or cat food for example) is the only thing that works to keep them away from my seedlings. the tape is quite expensive, but it lasts for a few years, and as I said, it works!

Pretty bouquet, picked by Marieke. I have some sweet peas already!

donderdag 1 mei 2014

Knitted Bunny

After drooling over several patterns for knitted bunnies for ages, I finally made one!

Cute pincushion!
I used the pattern you can find here. The lady who made and generously shared the pattern also has a lovely blog: By Small Means. Go and have a look! I knit my bunny in cotton, on number 3 needles, so it's quite tiny. I then decided I wanted to give it as a birthday gift to my best friend, who is a wonderful seamstress and general crafty and artistic person. She makes and dresses the most beautiful dolls and is trying to start a small business selling some of her beautiful creations. Her sewing adventures inspired me to turn the rabbit into a pincushion-holder. I think she looks rather cute.

Cute bunny!
Because she was all cool colors and needed some warmth, I added a crochet flower, for which I learned how to start crochet with a magic loop.

Cute flower!
I love learning new things, and I love how the internet makes it so easy for all those wonderful, creative people to share their art and knowledge with me. I also added a tail to the bunny, and adapted the dress so it has an opening for said appendage.

Cute tail!
 A bunny without a tail is just not possible in my world. To add further interest to the back, I added some buttons on the straps of the dress. (They're just sewn on, I didn't really make teeny tiny buttonholes in those teeny tiny straps, I'm not that crazy!) I really hope my friend likes her little sewing companion. I already knitted a second dress, in lime and raspberry, for a white bunny. I think the eyes would have been better in black. I thought it would be too stark against the soft colors, but now they look a bit faded. I'm also considering using glass eyes for my next bunny, but I'll have to find the right size first.

PS For the pincushion I also used a tutorial which I found on the web, but I lost it. i thought I'd pinned it, but apparently not. If I don't find it, I might just make a tiny tutorial myself, to remind me of how to make it, although it's so simple, it's hard to forget once you've done it, really. You just start with a square, fold it in half, sew the short sides, leaving an opening for turning on one end. Then you fold the thing so the seams line up and sew again. You sew and cut of the corners to make the boxy shape (like for a tote bag). Stuff, close and add button.