Rocky Road to Top 10 for my Treasure Island

My print “Treasure Island in Twilight” has made its way to number 7 in Spoonflower’s Geodes and Gemstones contest. One reason I’m very happy is that I really like this design for not only featuring a pattern of rocks or stones. Which is not to say that I don’t necessarily like those that do. I just like variety, and there were many among those 297 entries that depicted what comes to mind first: jewels and geode rocks.

Feel free to take a look at the results here:
http://www.spoonflower.com/contests/235
http://blog.spoonflower.com/2014/02/10-fabrics-that-rock-seriously.html

I have 3 colourways of my treasure island print, along with a growing set of coordinates (not shown here but viewable at my shop):

Fabric images taken by Spoonflower:

Geodes and Gemstones Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Treasure Island in Twilight by christinewitte

Geodes and Gemstones Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Treasure Island in Twilight by christinewitte

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The Big Splurge: Spoonflower Order #2

It felt like my birthday when my second Spoonflower order finally arrived. I could write a lot about shipment delays and custom charges, but I better just recommend to plan extra time for your order to arrive and, if you live outside the US, send Spoonflower an email before they ship asking for standard shipping, no matter what the total cost (unlike their website states, even orders under $250 sometimes ship with a tracked method, likely incurring customs fees). I must say, the Spoonflower help team is great, although sometimes their first reply takes a few days. I do feel that they value my opinion and me having a positive fabric-experience.

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I’m very happy with my fabrics. I ordered my Floral Fantasy Quilt along with all coordinates of that collection as swatches, as well as one of those prints as a yard. I also ordered 1 and 2 yards of various prints on Kona-cotton to make clothing out of from the Blackforest Kitchen and the Maypole collections. I like Kona: much softer than basic cotton, but I can’t say yet how the two compare over time. Expect colours to be paler on basic cotton than e.g. organic cotton knit and cotton ultra.

Now I need a few patterns (dress, shirt) to narrow down my options. Do you, dear reader, have any online suggestions for free and easy dress-making patterns? If that’s not an oxymoron!

Yay! Moonlight Jazzers charted Top 10!

I must be sounding like a broken record at this point, but I’m honestly shocked to have scored yet another top 10 ranking, this time with my Moonlight Jazzers. I know that this contest included many very popular jazz designs but I guess the number of favourites and comments are no sure indicators after all, also since many voters don’t have a Spoonflower account.

This is the first time someone sent me a message saying they want to buy fabric with a not-for-sale-yet design, adding that “this would be a great T-shirt material for my elementary aged musician!”. That message made my day – I find the thought of children liking my designs so rewarding.

I tend to believe in Murphy’s Law – and it seems that the less I expect success, the more often it happens, in small ways. I do wish though that Murphy would prove me wrong more often!

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Fabric close-ups taken by Spoonflower:

History of Jazz Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Moonlight Jazzers by christinewitte

History of Jazz Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Moonlight Jazzers by christinewitte

Happy Schmalentine’s Day!

It was another pleasant surprise to me when yesterday’s results of the Spoonflower contest themed “Anti-Valentine’s Day Cross-Stitch” placed me at # 7.

I loved how their notification email was more personalized this time, and read “Your entry placed in the top ten in our Anti-Valentine’s Design Challenge this week, congratulations! And, thanks for making everyone at the office smile with your witty designs (we loved them!).”

There were so many great, intricate entries that I believed would qualify for the top 10 but ended up ranking lower. These contests continue to surprise me and I consider them somewhat of a lottery. And just as I was doubting that anybody would purchase such a design, someone actually bought a top 10 fat-quarter bundle. The fact that they will receive it long *after* Valentine’s day makes this even stranger. But I won’t complain!

THANK YOU to everyone who voted for this design!

Here is my entry “Happily Ever After”, and with that I wish you a happy Valentine’s or Schmalentine’s day, whichever you prefer.

Photos of the actual fabric can be viewed here:

http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/2818338

Anti-Valentine's Day Cross Stitch Design Challenge Top Ten: Happily Ever After by christinewitte

Free swatch give-away on Spoonflower, starting tomorrow!

Once in a while, Spoonflower gives away 1 swatch per household of a fabric material that they recently made available for sale. This is a generous offer, considering that shipping is free as well to ***anywhere*** in the world! You have the choice among over 1.5 million designs on spoonflower.com! If you ever wanted to see a particular design in person, this is the time to act.

The offer starts on February 13 at noon EST and lasts for exactly 24 hours.  Spoonflower has postponed the promotion due to the massive snowstorm – no date announced yet.

For more information and instructions, visit http://blog.spoonflower.com/free-swatch-day-spoonflower.html

And here are 3 new designs of mine that will be part of my Blackforest collection: Blackforest Casseroles and Blackforest Cuckoo Clocks on grey and white (shown here at a smaller scale). One of them I will make for sale tomorrow by choosing it for my free swatch! Which one do you think I should pick?

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Recipe of the Month: Truffle Tart / Trüffel Tarte (Deutsche Version)

Valentine’s Day is already all around us online and in retail – are you seeing pink yet? If you’re planning to make a treat for yourself or someone special, I have a scrumptious suggestion: my truffle tart! It is probably the most chocolatey and richest dessert in my repertoire and very easy to make. The taste and texture is reminiscent of chocolate truffles, hence the name. You will need a spring form, tarte form, or pie plate, as well as a blender for this recipe. For those many avid German-speaking bakers out there, I’ve included a German translation below!

*** Deutsche Version untenan! ***

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Truffle Tart (copyright Christine Witte)

Crust:
200 g flour
1/2 t baking powder
100 g sugar
1 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt
50 g coconut oil, at room temperature
30 g pureed silken tofu, extra-firm

Filling:
200 g dark baking chocolate (70%)
200 ml coconut milk, full-fat
100 g pureed silken tofu, extra-firm
100 g sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 t rum extract or 2 T rum

Preheat oven to 350º F / 180º C.

Oil a 7” / 18 cm springform, tarte form, or pie plate. If using the standard 9” / 22 cm form, double the recipe. Optional: Line bottom of form with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients for the crust. Then stir in the coconut oil and pureed tofu until a homogeneous mixture forms. Roll half of the dough into a circular shape and place on the bottom of the springform. Roll or shape the remainder into the edges of the crust and press against the walls of the springform. Pre-bake for 15 minutes.

Chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl, such as a glass measuring cup. Fill a small pot with just enough water to reach the level of the chocolate in the cup. DO NOT let water on the chocolate. With the chocolate-bowl inside, heat the pot on medium heat. Stir frequently until the chocolate has melted.

In a blender, combine all filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into the pie crust and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the surface is firm to touch. Let cool in side the form at room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours. If dusting with icing sugar, do so just before serving.

Trüffel Tarte (copyright Christine Witte)

Teig:
200 g Mehl
1/2 TL Backpulver
100 g Zucker
1 Tütchen Vanillezucker
1 Prise Salz
50 g Kokosnuβöl, bei RT
30 g püriertes Seidentofu, mit so wenig Wasseranteil wie möglich

Füllung:
200 g dunkle Backschokolade (70%)
200 ml Kokosnuβmilch, voller Fettgehalt
100 g püriertes Seidentofu, mit so wenig Wasseranteil wie möglich
100 g Zucker
1 Tütchen Vanillezucker
5 Tropfen Rumgeschmack aus dem Röhrchen oder 2 EL Rum

Puderzucker zum Bestäuben

Den Ofen zu vorheizen: Ober/Unterhitze 180º C, Heissluft 160º C.

Eine Spring- oder Tarteform (Durchmesser 18 cm) einfetten. Für eine Standardform mit 22 cm Durchmesser können die Zutaten verdoppelt werden. Der Boden kann nach Wunsch mit Backpapier ausgedeckt werden.

Für den Teig, die trockenen Zutaten in einer Schüssel vermischen. Dann das Kokosnuβöl und das pürierte Tofu einmischen und zu einer einheitlichen Masse formen. Mit einem Nudelholz die Hälfte des Teiges zu einem Kreis der Gröβe des Formbodens ausrollen. Den Rest des Teiges zu einem Rand rollen und in die Form drücken. Nun 15 Minuten vorbacken.

Die Schokolade im Wasserbad schmelzen (z. B. in einem hitzebeständigen Messbecher), dabei oft umrühren und darauf achten, dass kein Wasser mit der Schokolade in Berührung kommt.

Nun alle Zutaten für die Füllung im Mixer geschmeidig rühren. In die halb-gebackene Form gieβen und ungefähr 30 Minuten backen bis die Oberfläche sich fest anfühlt. In der Form bei Raumtemperatur abkühlen lassen, dann einige Stunden in den Kühlschrank stellen. Falls Puderzucker verwedendet wird, erst kurz vorm Servieren damit bestäuben.