First Day of School

It is the time of year when many children are approaching school, so when Spoonflower held its “What’s in your bag” contest, I was inspired by the German tradition of giving small gifts to first graders on their first day of school. These are presented in decorative cardboard cones and taken to school that day. The gifts are meant to make this first-school-day-day-ever a bit less anxiety-inducing. Many parents craft their own school cones for their children. The cardboard base can be wrapped in fabric or paper (such as gift wrap, hint!). Here is an example of a mid-1980s school boy taken from Wikipedia:

I luckily placed in the top 10 for this contest, so here at the fabric images provided by Spoonflower. Thank you so much to anyone who cast their vote for my “First Day of School”! :)  It is now available as fabric, gift wrap and even wallpaper!

Miami Beach Lemonade Stand

For Spoonflower’s recent lemonade contest, I drew a design inspired by the subtropical feel of Southern Florida. I wanted it to feature palm trees, lemon trees (and blossoms), parrots, a lemonade cart roof (like an awning), bottles, pitchers, glasses and of course lemons and raspberries. Since the design made the top 10 this week, I can share fabric images here. Many thanks to anyone who voted for my design! It is now available for sale on various types of fabrics, gift wrap and wallpaper.

Pillow by Carousel Designs

My pillow came in recently from Carousel Designs, printed with my design “Mojave Desert: Dusk & Dawn”. I’m impressed with the quality – it even has piping all around the sides. It’s nice to know that it was sewn in the USA. Thank you, Carousel Designs!

Dream Away on Sunny Days

Today I wanted to show my new design “Dream Away on Sunny Days”. By now I have three different versions: the first one I made a few weeks ago for Lilla Rogers’ MATS course as a 12 x 12″ scrap booking sheet. For the second version, I made some additions to fit it on an 8.5 x 11″ sheet that could double as an art print (with the bottom labels separated) and as scrap booking pieces. The third version I made for Spoonflower’s “flying machines” contest, for which I removed all lettering but “Dream Away” and made sure no panel looks as if designed to be written in; I added flowers and other little icons for this purpose. The title was inspired by a song by the amazing F.R. David’s song “Dream Away” – the music and his voice sound so airy and carefree, which in my mind matched my drawings so well. :)

I can’t share a fabric image this week, since I only made #13 in the contest (which is only fair, with my constant luck!). But I have this inkjet print out that I think is just as good.

Mojave Desert: Dusk & Dawn fabric image

This week’s results of the Spoonflower ‘South West’ contest took an unexpected turn when the winning design got removed and replaced with a different one. While copyright issues were the suspected cause elsewhere on the web, I will not speculate here and would rather congratulate Grace Design for being picked by Carousel Designs’ baby bedding line with her lovely dreamcatcher design.

I’m grateful to have made it to #3, which means I will receive a pillow printed with my design. Thank you so much to anyone voting for my Mojave desert. This is Spoonflower’s fabric image:

This design is now available on various types of fabric, two types of gift wrap and two types of wallpaper.

You can view all the top 10 here (vote tallies and the remaining 420 entrants have been removed since Spoonflower’s original posting).

Mojave Desert: Dusk & Dawn for Baby Bedding Contest

I don’t often blog about contests before they are over, but sometimes, when I feel I might have a better chance with my entry and there is a special prize to be won, I present it here and encourage you to vote – if and what designs you vote for is entirely your decision, obviously. This week’s Spoonflower contest theme is ‘South West Baby Bedding’, which refers to the general American and South American area (a very broad range!). Carousel Designs will choose one design of the top 10 for a baby bedding collection.

My design is completely pen-drawn and features turtles, owls, hummingbirds, salamanders, millipedes, road runners, rabbits and foxes, flowers & flowering cacti, among other icons. I was inspired the many beautiful features of the Mojave Desert – do an online search of images of this desert and you may agree that the landscapes and its life forms are just stunning.

My palette, which I consider gender-neutral, is intentionally soft and pastel to be suitable for even very young babies. I tried to not make it clichee with many Native American symbols but I couldn’t resist including a dream catcher and a few teepees (tents, really) for their ornamental and geometric values.

If you are inclined to vote, please feel free to proceed to the contest page here. Thank you! :)

This is a cropped image of my design (click to see it on Spoonflower in fat quarter, swatch and the repeat in yard-view):

Hide & Seek with Fifi

Once again I count myself lucky to have made it in Spoonflower’s top 10, this time for their beagles contest. I had originally hoped to make a scene with icon-overload but had only one day to make this design. Keeping it simple, here is Fifi the beagle doing his or her business in the blooming springtime park. :) This design is available for sale on fabric, gift wrap and wallpaper. Many thanks to anyone who voted for it!

Loony Spoony Yard Sale

Last week’s Spoonflower theme was ‘spoons’, for which I drew a variety of spoons with flowers, berry-like shapes and the occasional mushroom, with a textured background to look like on an old tablecloth. My entry “Loony Spoony Yard Sale” made it to the top 10 and I wanted to share Spoonflower’s fabric images. Many thanks to anyone who voted for it – I always appreciate it very much!

Nordic Suzani Floral

Last week, Spoonflower’s contest theme was using only using their specified palette of coral, mint, black and white. I was lucky to make it to #4, out of 674 participants – many thanks to anyone who included it in their (unsolicited!) votes! My design also comes on Spoonflower in other colourways and as a folded greeting card in my Etsy shop.

These are Spoonflower’s photos of the fabric:

Black Sheep Habitat – Fabric Images

I wanted to share Spoonflower’s fabric images of my contest entry ‘Black Sheep Habitat’, which placed #3. Another big thank you to anyone who voted for it! I’m always glad when a design I created is well received. This print (and over 300 others!) is now for sale on fabric, gift wrap and wallpaper in my Spoonflower shop.

Magical Universe – Fabric Images & Collection

This week I placed #4 with my design “Magical Universe” in Spoonflower’s rocket contest. Once again, I’d like to thank anyone who voted for this design. There were so many great entries, all of which you can view here.

I have also prepared a few coordinating designs. The star constellations are based on actual ones out in space. I made lots of colourways of the stars and constellations, available for sale here.

These are photos of the design on fabric by Spoonflower:


Woodland Woodchucks – a spring design

Where I live, it’s the middle of winter with temperatures in the minus range, short days and not much colour around. It may not be surprising then that for this week’s Spoonflower contest theme (groundhogs), I drew a cheerful spring scene in a bright palette in my usual graphic stylized way. It features groundhogs (also known as woodchucks, a name I prefer) and various other animals. The design has a forest environment but also hints at grain fields, an aerial view of woods and a swan pond. There are daffodils and lilies, seedlings and grasses, clouds, rain and rainbows. The fox is chasing a groundhog up a tree (foxes are their predators), one is flying a kite in stormy spring weather, two are emerging from their dens, and there are babies around as well. Each icons has a paper texture look to it.

If you’d like to vote for my groundhog scene this week, please click on the image; it will take you to the contest. Thank you!


My 50th-Contest Anniversary Design: SOS Antarctica

I can hardly believe it but it’s true: yesterday, I entered my 50th Spoonflower contest, theme “Penguins”. Ever since coming across Spoonflower, I’ve been entering their contests almost every week, and to this date I still haven’t come across one I like more. One thing that is very important to me when entering design contests is retaining the rights to my design. Except for certain contests like Fabric8, Spoonflower only obtains the non-exclusive right to print the design on fabric, gift wrap or wallpaper, for which the designer receives a 10% commission. Most design contests I have seen require entrants to give up all rights when winning (even excluding personal use), often even when entering a contest without winning. I like to hold on to my designs in order to be able to submit them to companies for potential licensing.

Here is my penguin design, a carefully researched variety of Antarctic flora and fauna: penguins, albatrosses, snow petrels, blue whales, collosal squids, leopard seals, icefish, krill, algae, hair grass & pearlwort. I was happy to see that there are at least two flowering plants at home in the antarctic, lending themselves well to this design – I drew them, stylized of course, from different perspectives.

Elementary Math Collection & Fabric Image

Math has never been my favourite school subject (actually, that’s an understatement!) but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enter this week’s math contest at Spoonflower. I felt the urge to draw a math design that was full of colour and icons that might appeal to children in particular. In the top left, you see my entry for the contest, Elementary Math Lesson. The other designs are coordinates: an abacus, numbers and fruits/mushrooms as a counting tool – I have put them all on Spoonflower as repeat patterns. There are various matching chevrons I made as well.

Since this design placed #4 in this week’s contest, here is Spoonflower’s fabric image – thank you so much to all who voted!

Lush Winter Garden: fabric images

Another week that I was fortunate to place in the top 10 of Spoonflower’s contest, “winter toile” in a monochromatic palette as the theme. My drawing was inspired by the botanical or floral style of toile du jouy. These are photos of the fabric, taken by Spoonflower. The design is available as fabric, gift wrap and wallpaper here. You can view all of the contest entries here.

These are some of the pen sketches I used for the design:

There were so many stunning entries that were a lot more toile-style than mine. Here is one of my very favourites, by the extremely skilled and talented Vincent Desjardins. I love so many things about this design, including the wind-blowing cloud man, the black lab, the little house tucked behind a hill, the snow man and the beautiful style of every illustration. Click on it to see it in swatch- and yard view, or to purchase it.

Nordic Picnic Collection

This week’s contest theme at Spoonflower is Thermos bottles – my entry includes many different shapes, sizes and patterns with lots of floral elements. I made a whole collection to go with it as well. Starting a collection often means I can’t stop adding designs. Spoonflower’s limit of the largest sampler size is 30 swatches, and I maxed out this limit by making lots of versatile, easily combinable pieces.

Here are just a few of them, but my store contains many more. Feel free to vote for my “Nordic Winter Picnic” design here if you like it!