Friday, December 27, 2013

Milk and Honey and Spoonflower and Me

A few months ago I was one of 4 winners for a design contest sponsored by Spoonflower in tandem with Milk and Honey Shoes.  Entrants were to design a textile print to use on the Milk and Honey website for shoes.  Winners got a free pair of shoes with their design on them.  The design will also be available for the public to use on shoes they design! Is that not the COOLEST thing ever?

Milk and Honey Shoes are can design your own shoes there using a ton of different materials and shoe styles.  You choose the body, the heel shape and height, the materials, pretty much everything so your shoe will be pretty unique.

I chose a boot. I'm a boot kind of girl.  I chose a stiletto heel with an internal .5 inch platform.  They are simply put...bad ass.  Lookie here.

Photo by Nathan Hanlon. Legs and feet by me.

Are they not gorgeous?  I love, love, love them.  I want to wear them every day...I do have to go buy an outfit or two to go with them tho.  I want a linen dress to wear with these and some fabulous linen pants too.  I'm pushing it wearing these kinds of boots since I'm a mature (ahem) woman but hey, with the right outfit I won't look like a hoochie mama wearing her 22 year old daughters clothes.

It's a hard to see that my design has a linen background but you can see it here if you want to look at it more closely. Here are a few more photos of the shoes (and just my legs).

Photo by Nathan Hanlon. Legs and feet by me.
Photo by Nathan Hanlon. Legs and feet by me.

Photo by Nathan Hanlon. Legs and feet by me.

This bird one is my fave because we came upon these abstract birds in an alley doorway. Since there are little birds in my design I thought it was Kismet.

Milk and Honey also asked each of us to send photos of ourselves wearing the shoes. OOOh, do I hate seeing photos of myself.   There is an art to photographing mature women...and luckily my daughter has learned some of the finer points of the art.  I didn't have to Photoshop any of the photos I used (hahaha, I also tossed out a whole boatload of photos tho).  Here I am casually posing in my boots.

Photo by Zoë Odien.
Photo by Zoë Odien.
Photo by Zoë Odien. 
Photo by Zoë Odien.
I sent all of those photos to M&H and I have no idea how many of them they'll use or if they'll do some Photoshop work on them. LOL, If they can take off 20 years I'd be estastic.

I have to thank my daughter and her boyfriend for taking the photos.  They were good sports as I looked at photos and said things like: "No, too close...OMG, do you see my double chins?" Or "Look at those rolls!  No rolls!." Or "...maybe you need to step back 20 feet and shoot from way up there looking down at me."  I'm lucky because they're both taller than me so they didn't really have to climb on ladders.

I'm still waiting for the blog post (probably delayed because it took me a few days to get my photos to M&H) and will post the link to it when it goes up.  I believe the design will be available for the public to use on their shoes at that time.  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#Spoonflower Top 25 Favorite Designs of 2013

Yipeeee!  My design "All the Pretty Little Horses" made #15 in the Top 25 for the year.  You can check out the blog post here at the Spoonflower blog.  And if you're feeling generous go to the blog, click on the link to my design and favorite it at Spoonflower and Facebook and Twitter and anywhere else you can think of!

You never really know who well you stack up against other designs at Spoonflower so it came as a complete surprise that I made the list at all.  They have their own ranking algorithm that I cannot figure out so you have to kind of search around to see what are the more popular designs in the millions of images there.

I feel really lucky because that list shows a lot of designs that have been around for a few years (and popular for good reason too) and mine has only been up there for 5 months.  So pound for pound I feel 15th is totally stellar!

I've really had a fantastic year in design. Placing this high at SF, winning a number of contests this year: Fairy Lanterns at SF, Fairy Lanterns at Connecting Threads and the Spoonflower sponsored Milk and Honey show contest.  (A blog post is coming soon on that one).

I'm jumping for joy this morning! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Color palette for the Spoonflower Retro Ski contest

This weeks Spoonflower contest is a limited palette contest and the theme is Retro Skiing.  Here are the colors:
Not my fave color combo when I think of snow, mountains, skiing, cold, winter, etc. But plenty of designers came up with fab designs using those colors.

I did a very calm mountain slopes design.

I played around with some textures to give it some depth and called it a day.  I love my design and feel it's very usable for quilting or a fun lining to a warm winter jacket.  I'm not positive that anything I could come up using the other 2 colors I didn't use would sell very often so I stayed with what I thought worked even if it's a pretty calm design.

If you want to check out all the designs in the contest go here Spoonflower Retro Skiing contest. Vote for what you like, as many designs as you like. Make sure you don't miss mine because it doesn't have the orangey-red and yellow combo in it!

Happy weekend to you!

Oh and btw, my poor embarrassed dogs only placed 17th in the last contest.  Now they're really mad at me for making them wear those silly sweaters! hahahah. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Spoonflower Ugly Sweater Contest

I laughed when I first saw this challenge."Ugly Sweaters  This week, designers should create patterns featuring images of (or images inspired by) ugly holiday sweaters. "

I wracked my brain trying to think of something that worked for me. I'm always mindful of what I think will have some longevity and I really didn't think ugly holiday sweaters would be a big seller. I could absolutely be wrong but that theme would never be something I'd buy except as a joke.  And with no time to purchase the designs by Christmas it just didn't seem like the timing was right.

Others may disagree.  That said I created something that tickled my fancy and didn't stick with any holiday at all.  Here is my design (which btw, is lo-res and does not repeat).

I love dogs, we're a dog lover family.  We have a ton of dogs.  I had to put one down about a month ago so our dog family shrunk down to 5.  :-( Some tolerate outfits and others just would never, ever let me or my daughter dress them up.  But we think it's a holiday when we can get our dogs in outfits!

Each of the dogs here have specific outfits that either coordinate with their breeds or are the total opposite of their breed. For example The basset hound is often thought of as lumbering (although they really aren't) and he got fairy wings.  He's quite embarrassed by them too. The Jack Russell got a turtle shell because ours needs to slow down some. She's a pistol.  The dog curled up with a lions mane is my nearly 20 year old Jindo Gae who has the biggest lions heart you'd every want to know.  The Corgi gets a giraffe outfit because in her mind she is taller than all the other dogs here.

So, even if my design tanks in the contest I am very happy with my doggies.  They think the sweaters are ugly so that's all that counts right?

Thank goodness for our furry family, my design is dedicated to Sheeves the Jindo because she's nearing the end of her life with us and I have to pay tribute to her. Because she's the best dog I've ever had and my 22 year old daughter has never known life without her (that she remembers anyway).

If you want to vote go here Ugly Sweater Contest. And if you want to see my design where it does repeat go here to my "When Humans Learn to Knit" design.
Ugly Sweaters
This week, designers should create patterns featuring images of (or images inspired by) ugly holiday sweaters. Previews will be shown at the fat quarter fabric size (21" x 18"). Deadline for entry is Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013.
- See more at:
Ugly Sweaters
This week, designers should create patterns featuring images of (or images inspired by) ugly holiday sweaters. Previews will be shown at the fat quarter fabric size (21" x 18"). Deadline for entry is Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013.
- See more at:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Guess what I won...Hooray!

I've been sitting here with a secret the last few days and it's been killing me not to post anything.  I've had to sit on my hands every time I get a bit itchy.  But now I can scratch that itch!

I won the Connecting Threads 2013 Design Contest. Yep, I did.  I have been singing and dancing internally for a couple of days now.  Wheeeeee!

It was quite a long process really and each week when CT published a blog post displaying another finalist's collection I'd get nervous and start sweating.  Each finalist brought something different to the table and it was easy to see how this collection or that collection could or would appeal to a certain cross-section of the fabric buying public.  I think we all worked really hard and all of us had high hopes of winning.  I say thanks to each of them because I know just how hard it is to create designs that come straight from the heart and then to sit and wait to hear the results. 

One thing I've learned over the past couple of years is I never really know what people will choose I can only hope what I've presented is what they want.

I like the CT process.  It is a popular vote first and then the CT experts step in once the votes are tallied.   In my mind both sets are expert..the voters because they vote for what they like and the CT folk because they know what is needed for their specific market.  They outlined the process of choosing the winner in the email to all of us finalists.  There is a panel of 20 people with various connections to the quilting community or industry. They all rate the designs by a variety of factors that are important to them and then tally the numbers.  Everything is anonymous too.

I don't know the final numbers but I'm thankful that my collection tallied the highest.  I really have to thank the voters and especially the CT folk who are so easy to work with and are so generously helping all of us by answering questions we might have while developing the collections.

And the biggest thing for me is thanking them for helping me realize my dream of having a collection of fabrics out in the world with my name on the selvage.  It's a huge thrill.

Go give CT some love,  buy some of their fabrics! Oh yeah, and a comment on their blog post would be fabulous too. 


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Coordinates or no?

I do a lot of work at Spoonflower.  A lot. Just ask my family how often I'm working on a design.  Hey, in my defense at least they always know where I am!

Generally I make focal prints. I don't always create coordinates.  If I do, it's usually only 2 or 3 and they rarely sell as well as my focal.

The decision to do a coordinate often lies in the ROI.  It takes time to create a coordinate and it needs to be able to stand alone as well as coordinate with the focal.

I see a ton of folk making coordinates sometimes there are dozens of coordinates for one focal. 

So the questions are: Do you buy a focal print at SF and purchase coordinates at the same time? Or do you buy only the focal and run to your local brick and mortar for other fabrics? Is it a matter of economics? It's no secret that it's a lot less expensive to buy from a big box store. 

If you're a sewer/sewist would you buy all of these or would you piece it out?  If you're a designer how many coordinates do you create and what nudges to create coordinates?

You can view the original collection of my African Inspired designs here clicky

Friday, September 27, 2013

My vow

Would you believe I was abducted by aliens?  That I was locked up with Hansel and Gretel in the forest?  How about I'm chained to my desk slaving over designs?

Honestly I cannot believe it's been so long since I posted to this blog.  Time sure does fly when you're aging (and not as gracefully as I thought I would when I was a mere babe of 40). 

Getting back to the title of this vow. I vow to post every week. I can't promise it will always be interesting or funny or you know...entertaining but I will post!

Because I have all kinds of things I need to post from the past X months!

See ya in a few days (because I really am chained to my desk designing and editing those designs!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A fun quilt: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Whenever someone buys one of my fabrics I hope to see a finished project.  It doesn't always happen that someone sends me a note with a photo but when it does it makes me really happy.

Today a woman named Donna W in western Australia found my Facebook page and sent me a photo of a quilt she made out of my Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My fabric. 

Isn't it darling?
I totally love it, it's very cheery isn't it?  I love her backing fabric and I love that it's for a little kidlet and that it lives in Australia.  Isn't it wonderful that I can create something here in California and it lives with someone in Australia?

I have to thank Donna for hunting me down and taking the extra time and effort to show me her fabulous work.  :-) You totally made my day!  Wheeeeee!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blog recommendation: Ellen at

I follow a few blogs, I love peeking into the minds of others.  A week or so ago I got an email from a lovely woman who followed breadcrumbs of mine and found me just to comment on my fabrics at Connecting Threads.

Now that my friends is a huge compliment that someone follows web breadcrumbs.  And to go the extra mile and make a comment!  Really flattering.

I answered the comment and didn't really check out the name before I posted.  Once I posted the comment I followed her name to her blog.

Totally gobsmacked as my friend Sharon would say.  Beautiful blog; filled with yummy writing and photos of fabric, quilts, deco and all gorgeous.  And she's got tutorials up.  I started reading...and reading....and reading.  I kept thinking...I must do more of what she does my blog is so, ummm *looking around* bland.

Go on, click that link.  Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in for some loveliness and make sure you say hi to Ellen!  She's been fabulous to get to know; I love finding people who have similar interests and who live in totally different environments. Totally an armchair traveler right?

So cool.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Victory of sorts

Today I did something I haven't done in (hmmm) 20 years at least.  I went to Joann's and didn't buy a thing.


I did help a friend pick out a beginner pattern, some fabric, scissors, thread, and pins.  But I stopped short of looking to buy something for myself.

Unheard of.


It helped that Joann's has such a dearth of good fabrics; especially for garment sewing. I did stop to fondle some decorator fabric, contemplated taking a photo with my phone and stopped myself because I'd want it once I got home and looked at that fabric.  Not to mention it was probably a 45.00 a yard fabric.  Which I can't afford and have nothing to make out of it.

Good strategy on my part eh?

It was a victory on my part to not even think about buying anything (seriously!).  I can't really remember the last time I went into a fabric/craft store and came out with zip, nada, nothing.

Aren't you proud of me?

Course once I got home I realized I should have picked up a walking foot because I don't have one.   Duh.  I have to drive 20 miles round trip (on surface streets) to get there so I don't go very often.

Like I said, it was a victory of sorts.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Kindle 3G Frozen - Amazon FAIL

I'm a big reader.  I'm addicted to reading. Always have been.  I read 4 to 5 books a month on my Kindle, sometimes more.  I read magazines and newspapers as well.  I still read actual books but my mainstay is reading on my Kindle.

Aug 2010 I bought a 189.00 Kindle 3G. I loved it from the moment I turned it on.  I raved to everyone about it.  All of my fears of missing the feel of paper, of turning pages, of the sound of turning pages were nothing in comparison to holding that Kindle.

I love clicking a book and buying it with one-click.  Sync and download and I've got a few hours of reading in my hands. I'm fine with the older technology of the Kindle 3 (keyboard). I'm an early adopter of electronic technology and can use that for my internet needs (where I read even more on a daily basis). But I like the e-ink for reading.

What I don't love is my 2.4 year old Kindle DIED. I read til 2:30 a.m., set it down on the nightstand and the next morning the screen was all streaky.  It was mostly pixelated but I could still see some words. It would not hard boot even tho I knew it had a 70% charge on it.  The light turned amber when I plugged it in so I thought maybe it'd drained overnight and all it needed was a charge. I charged for an hour. It turned on but froze after trying to turn one page.  Called Amazon customer support.  She asked me to hard boot it which resulted in nothing happening. She asked me to plug it in for 2 hours and she'd call me back.

And she did. Trouble is it would not unfreeze. The light was green this time so it was fully charged but it would not unfreeze. She told me my options were to buy a replacement as mine was out of warranty. Said they didn't have the Kindle 3G anymore (which is wrong since it's sold on the site) but I could gt a Touch for either 70. and some change or the next model up for 100. and some change.

I'd read some threads at Amazon and know there can be battery issues and a new battery might fix the problem but repair is not an option. My only option is to buy a new one, discounted but still there is a pretty good chunk of change to lay out.  Probably stings more because my 5 year old pc just blew the motherboard.

I declined the offer.  I have other options. There are 4 computers in this house, 2 tablets and 2 laptops. Plus my pc at work and my phone.  All of them have Kindle and Kobo loaded on them. So it's not like I don't have a way to read.

But I am mightily pissed that I should only expect a Kindle to last 2 years and a few months.  My Android phones last longer than 2 years, my computers have lasted longer than 2 years, my tablet is still working fine after 2 years.  But I shouldn't expect my Kindle that boasts it can hold 3,500 books on it to last more than 2 years.  That's a big FAIL. And why would I want a refurbished Kindle Touch for 100.00 if it's not going to last?

So I'm not buying a new Kindle. I'm extremely lucky that I'm gaining one from a friend who has an extra.  But since I'm a Prime member I may use that only for my free monthly lending book. I may go ahead and use Google Play to purchase my books or borrow from friends who have Kindles.  I suppose it will depend on how tired my aged eyes get from being on the computer all day at work and then reading on a back-lit screen.

In this day and age of throwaway everything I cannot believe that Amazon expects I'll throw away my old Kindle and hand over more money for a refurbished one.  I think I'll go find a replacement battery and see if that will revive mine. So before you buy a Kindle go Google "frozen Kindle". You'll find gobs of posts about it.  Make your decision after you read all the issues around frozen Kindles.


Or just go to Ebay and find an unlocked refurbished one for about 60.00.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My snakey, slithery ikat

For this weeks Spoonflower contest the theme is Snakes.  I choose to do an ikat design. I wanted earthy and it needed to be heavily textured to mimic the warp and weft of a real ikat.  Here is a good wiki entry about ikat if you'd like to read about the real weaving process. 

It was pretty fun to do and gave me all kinds of ideas for future designs.  This pillow shown above is available at Society6, along with a cell cover, skin, laptop skin and a canvas.  Or it's available as fabric in my Spoonflower store (or rather it as soon as I proof it).  Go on by and give it a Like or make a comment about it.  :-) 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I'm back!

I took the rest of December off to relax.  It was nice to have those 18 days off!  During that time I participated in a Secret Santa exchange, did the whole Christmas thing with the family. Spent ALL our money for the month of Dec., and generally sat around the house playing on the computer and chatting with friends.

Look! My secret Santa was none other than Cynthia F, renowned fabric designer, quilting extraordinaire and all around nice human.  Really, go check out her blog to see how talented she is and what a nice human she is. And she blogs all the time which gives me fun things to read on a regular basis.  

I must resolve to post to my blog more often!

I'm quite in love with her stuff, have coveted it and wish I could sew as well as she does.  I've sewn for decades but really, I don't have the patience she does because her work is perfect.  

I also sent off a few things to my Secret Santa person; she does a lot of hand drawing so with that in mind;  I created a quilted cover for a drawing pad and a pencil bag, and I stupidly didn't take any photos so I lifted the photos from the person who received the gifts.  

I love those technical pens and I love Strathmore paper. Those are my fave pencils and while the erasers are ok, the black pearl eraser is standard in my drawing kit.  Oh and have you ever had those white chocolate candies? OMG, they are to die for. Melt in your mouth goodness.  In any case it seems like she liked the gifties. :-)

I still owe some gifts to some people...I think I have an aversion to the post office. I resolve to get those things out the door too before too many more weeks go by.

Tomorrow I go back to my 8-5 daily job and must close so I can get my stuff ready for the week. The best part about going back to work tomorrow is getting paid tomorrow. OMG, running out of money and having to wait for a paycheck is the worst!  So yay for tomorrow!