30 July 2015

SPOONFLOWER CONTEST The Hilly Billy Goat

Another week, another pattern! This week for the Spoonflower Challenge the theme was "Goats" with a restricted color palette. Originally I had planned to skip this challenge because 1. I don't care for goats and 2. I don't care for the palette. Then one evening I was sketching a hill pattern that just begged for a goat and voila!


The Hilly Billy Goat pattern was created. The final version looks quite different than it did in my sketchbook, but I am glad I made it because, just after it about killed me, making it taught me a lot. This is my first Scale/Clamshell pattern with each mountain/clamshell layered in as a separate piece. Phew!

This was the palette I was working with:



I don't often choose to work with green or yellow, so I am excited to see how the other designers worked with the palette. If you would like to vote for The Hilly Billy Goat visit the Spoonflower Contest Page.

It is fun to see how this


and this


[Terrible picture and all!]


can create a fun pattern!

Also, Spoonflower is hosting a giveaway to Bonnie Christine's Roost Tribe (of Going Home To Roost) along with $100 in Spoonflower credit. Click here to enter!

29 July 2015

READ MORE BOOKS [Part One]



It's no secret I love reading. When I was growing up, if I wasn't dancing, there was a 98% chance that I was reading. I thought I would share a few of my favorite books because I am always on the lookout for a recommendation.

1 --- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - Slightly spooky with a thread of historical intrigue, this is one of the few books I have read more than once.

2 --- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I read this book in high school and was profoundly changed by it.

3 --- Ender's Game - by Orson Scott Card - I secretly love Science Fiction and this novel is an easy read and a gentle introduction to the genre for the skeptical.

4 --- A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith - Beautiful, impactful storytelling that you never want to end.

5 --- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - A magical little book.

6 --- A Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh - I wrote a little bit about this book yesterday.

7 --- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - I have only started reading fantasy in the last couple of years and this book is a gem of this genre. It will leave you feeling empowered and determined to find your place in history.

8 --- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - A nonfiction, real food treatise that reads like a novel. A great introduction to the slow food movement.

9 --- Radical by David Platt - First introduced to me in a Bible study format, this book really makes me think about what the Bible tells me verses what American culture tells me.

10 --- The Secret History by Donna Tartt - I love the story telling and suspense in this book.

28 July 2015

MY ARTISTIC VISION Empty, Open, Choiceless [Part One]


Have you ever read Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh? I read it for the first time earlier this year and after a $1 thrift store find, am now the proud owner of my own copy. The plan was to put it on the bookshelf and re-read it again in a year or two, but I found I could not put this little book away without cracking it open again.

I'll just read the intro, I thought.


A few minutes later and 17 pages in, I came upon this quote, "Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea." (Emphasis mine.)

Lindbergh's words pierced my anxious mind. Lately as I've been drawing and sketching I have been wondering and worrying about where it is leading. Instead of enjoying the journey I was focused on the destination, a destination I have not even decided upon as of yet. It really made no sense and was steadily driving me mad.

Empty, open, choiceless is how I've resolved to move from here. I want to be open to all possibilities and empty of limiting goals. I am not going to make choices yet; purposefully I will let myself create playfully and with joy. Instead of forcefully digging for treasure, I am going to let the sea of life bring me a gift.

I am hoping that creating with this open, empty mind will help me shape my creative vision, emphasizing joy and care in my work. If you get a chance, pick up this little book. You won't be disappointed and I will check in soon and let you know how it is speaking to me.

27 July 2015

A Little Monday Morning Progress

Sketches in progress
I am working on a new pattern today. This one is inspired by goats. This Spoonflower challenge has a restricted color palette which is a new constraint for me to work with. As I am struggling with the limited palette, I couldn't help but think of a quote I read last week in the book Things A Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter. He talks about the powerful effect of constraints on creativity and wrote, "Creativity is a renewable resource. Challenge yourself every day." I like that.


At this point in my creative journey, simply entering these contests is good for me because I often want to scream, "Don't look! I take it back!" the instant I hit the 'submit' button. This way I am ripping that bandaid of self doubt and fear right off almost every week. No, my work is not perfect. But I am working hard, enjoying myself and I learning how to share my work.

23 July 2015

SPOONFLOWER CONTEST Rocky Mountain Walk


Above is my entry for Spoonflower's National Park contest. Mine was inspired by Rocky Mountain National Park, a place I long to visit. Sketches will just have to do until I can actually make it out there.

I think I am most happy with this pattern out of the ones that I have made so far, but who knew it would be so difficult to create the patterns I see in my head. I am still logging my 10,000 hours so one day the abilities of my hands can create the patterns in my imagination.

If you'd like to vote for my entry go here and look for the above pattern with my name.

22 July 2015

FABRIC8//Botantical Sketchbook --- Inspiration

Today I am working on my Botanical Sketchbook pattern for the Fabric8 contest. Below are some of my inspiration shots and you can check out my inspiration board here.
 

A ship in Baltimore's Inner Harbor
 
Nature's feminine color palette
 
Summery pajama bottoms
 
My children' chalk drawings

21 July 2015

Eight Years of Marriage


Today my husband and I celebrate eight years of marriage. Instead of a romantic dinner, we are going to be serving at our church in the children's ministry. Somehow that just seems fitting and at least we'll be together.

The picture above is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding. The braid that our arms make reminds me of the braided lives we began on that day. If one were to remove the strand of James' influence from my life many of the intricate beauties of my life would come unknotted and fall listless.

But, here's the real reason I love this picture. Before our wedding day I wondered what the car ride to our reception would be like. I'm sure there are lots of options for this first private time for man and wife, but our limo ride was, dare I say it, boring. James and I rode side by side in silence, staring out the windows at the countryside. We didn't say a word. It is one of my most cherished memories of that day. I knew then, with all of my heart, that we made the right choice. After all of the hustle and bustle of the day, we were able to sit side by side in silence and be happy and content with one another.

So, Happy Anniversary to my first love.

14 July 2015

The Best Hospital Window View Ever

My father had hip replacement surgery yesterday. In all likelihood, this is a gift of genetics that I will one day be given as well, so I was trying to look at the bright side while visiting him.
 

I used to work in the city that his hospital is in, so I decided to open the window to see if I could spot my former office building.


Best decision ever, because I was rewarded with the best hospital view ever. The graveyard. Once I stopped laughing at the irony, ("Well," thought the hospital patient, "At least I'm not out there!") I noticed how beautiful the pattern of the cemetery was.


Please pardon the terrible photography, but I just had to share.


My dad is recovering well and is doing his best to come home with a cute nurse of a girlfriend. My mom is mortified.


If the food's not good, Dad, just remember at least you're not out there!


13 July 2015

A Walk In My Sketchbook

 
Lately I have been missing a sweet family member of mine who lives across the country. Yesterday I found myself wondering what I would see if I could visit her, so I decided to sketch a walk in her neck of the woods. Not only do I get to learn more about the plant life where she lives, but I also feel a little closer to her. Missing you, friend.
 


Bonus// While looking up different plants and flowers that I had never heard of before, I came across Elephantella. << Click here. I googled it for you. Try not to smile when you see this fun flower.

10 July 2015

Noticing Details


Today I am thinking about details. While doing research on my first collection of patterns, I have found that there are so many details in the plants, flowers, animals, trees, and foods I come across every day that I don't take the time to notice. Each petal, root, leaf, and wing is perfectly created and a marvel to behold.

This week Spoonflower announced Fabric8 2015. Also, have you checked out the Spoonchallenge 2015? It is great to not only have these opportunities, but to have some deadlines to work with.

I hope your weekend is filled with creativity, joy, and rest!

07 July 2015

INSPIRED BY Online Beauties

An uncluttered corner of my workspace
As I have been purposefully nourishing my creativity, I have slowly realized the importance of the beauty in my environment. My brain feels cluttered if the rooms in my house are cluttered. I can't concentrate on drawing if there is a mess. The motivation to keep my home not only beautiful, but personal and inspirational, is something I must foster in myself each day, otherwise I am bogged down in the struggle to keep a home neat with three little ones.

Here are a just few online sources of inspiration that I enjoy. I love the personality and beauty that each of these sites offer.

1 --- zilverblauw - A fun instagram account that satisfies my craving for color.

2 --- inthefunlane - The blog that gave me the final push I needed to buy white couches. I love her style and zeal for all things fun.

3 --- Manger - The recipes, the photography. Try not to drool.

4 --- Darling Dexter - Her sweet patterns are a dream. (Check out her instagram feed as well!)

5 --- Cloistered Away - Beautiful words and photographs from an artist/mother's perspective. Her approach to motherhood really inspires me to enjoy each moment.       

02 July 2015

Paper Piecing and InvisiGRIP


I started quilting a little over seven years ago after a lifetime of swearing I'd never quilt. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting under my mother's cutting table playing with fabric scraps and threads. Though I learned how to sew at a young age, I was resistant to quilting on my own, probably because I spent one too many loooong afternoons in a quilt shop. Then a month or two before my first niece was born I wanted to make her a quilt, quite inexplicably.

Considering I am now a fourth generation quilter, my mom was thrilled. She helped me choose my fabrics and we decided to make a quilt similar to the first one she made: my very own baby quilt. From that moment on I was hooked. However, I've also been pregnant, breastfeeding, and raising little children ever since that point, so I haven't been able to quilt as much as I would like.

I still have a lot to learn and today I am trying my hand at paper piecing. My mom taught me how to get started one rainy afternoon, so I brought the project home to keep plugging along. That being said, one of my least favorite parts of quilting is cutting out the pieces. Not only is it tough to make that first cut into a fresh piece of fabric, but when my ruler slips (gasp) my inner perfectionist pretty much has a mini-meltdown. Enter: InvisiGRIP.


I mentioned my frustrations and my mom gave me some InvisiGRIP she had on hand. I tried it out and it works! I'm not sure I am going to get any dishes done now since I want to cut all the fabric! Do you see it in the picture below? It is a thin film of plastic (it feels like vinyl) made by Omnigrid that adheres to the back of your ruler.


The Invisi-grip "sticks" to the fabric as you cut and I can't believe the difference that little bit of resistance made. I am excited to add this to my other rulers and the best part is that it is removable. (If you are looking for it you can buy it on Amazon.)

I'm off to finish the next paper piecing section with my perfectly square pieces!