Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Revolution

I usually make the same New Year's resolution every year... eat healthier, exercise more.  I figure that a healthy me is good for everyone, it has kind of a trickle down effect.  I'm pretty good at the healthy eating part.   My husband and I are constantly adopting new, healthier eating habits.  Exercising more is where I consistently fall short on my promises.

This year, in addition to the standard eat healthy and of course exercise more promise, I'm also going to start a "revolution".   I'm going to try to change the way that I think about myself.   To help me achieve this revolution, I've downloaded Beth Kempton's free "New Years Revolution" kit.  I'm a fan of Do What you Love and they offered this free kit to help people get closer to doing what they love in the new year.  I recommend checking out their site to download your free copy here.

After downloading the 24 pages... I sat with a cup of tea, cleared my mind and truly focused on the questions being asked of me.  I came to the conclusion that what I really need in the New Year is confidence.  Not a bit of confidence but a whole lot of it.

For as long as I can remember, a lack of confidence has ruled my life.  It's crept into every aspect of my personal and professional life.  It has caused me to worry unnecessarily.  Every once in a while I fool people into thinking I'm calm and collected... When my daughter was born, I needed to go to my 6 wk check up with my Ob/Gyn.  It was one of the first times that I was out and about with my new baby daughter, all by myself.  I had made a few quick outings with her to the grocery store in the weeks proceeding just as practice.  I would feed her and then run out to the store with my sleepy baby.  My Dr. apt. was at an odd time and I was not able to feed her before I left home.  I remember sitting in the waiting room worrying.  I was a ball of nerves, worried that she was going to cry, worried that she would get hungry and I would have to figure out how to nurse her in public... YIKES what would I do?  (This seems very funny to me now of course!)  Anyway, a couple came in and sat down.  I smiled at them and the pregnant woman said... "I can only hope to be as calm as you when I have my baby".  I smiled again and said "You'll be fine, trust me".    I later wondered how had I fooled them, and what was I so worried about?  Even though I worried, making it through the appointment was a success and I felt like a more confident new mom.

I think that worry, confidence and success go hand in hand.  In the new year, I hope to cut out the worrying, in hopes of having more confidence to tackle whatever is in front of me.  If I could just be confident from the start, imagine the success that could come from that!

I'm going to keep this "kit" where I will see it everyday to remind myself of my goals.   It comes with a great calendar where you can write down your goals and each month they give you something new to try.  September says to "Be brave.  Do something that scares you every day."  I think that could make for a really crazy September so I think I'll tackle my fears throughout the year.  I'll try to update you on my progress, successes and failures.

Best wishes to anyone who happens to read this...
May we all be most importantly healthy and happy but also more confident in the New Year!


Monday, December 16, 2013

New things on Society6

I would like to send a big THANK YOU out to anyone that has purchased my designs on Society6!  When someone purchases a design from my Spoonflower shop I am notified right away and I can send that person a thank you note.  Society6 on the other hand does not tell me who has purchased my design and they don't even notify me when something sells.  I have to log into my account occasionally to see if anything has sold and it's always a nice surprise to see a sale!  THANK YOU!!

Here are some of the latest things that I've added to Society6.

My MATS Week 5 zipper pouch assignment made into some fabulous phone cases...


"Song bird" is also available as a framed print and as note cards too!  My playground journal cover is also now available and in place of the word "journal" I substituted "Enjoy the small things".  There are a few other new things listed in my shop so head on over to Society6 and check them out.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MATS Blog Tour

Welcome to my blog!  This is day one of the MATS Blog Tour!

My name is Jill and I love to make things.  I started this blog after buying Lilla Rogers book "I Just Like To Make Things".  The book led me to enroll in the Make Art That Sells class which led me to the MATS class discussion group which led to today!

I'm posting today with two other classmates Aisha Khan @ www.aishaandherwork.blogspot.com and Linda Tordoff @ www.paintlovestudio.blogspot.co.uk
Be sure to check out their blogs too.
This blog tour will take you around the world!  Over the next 3 weeks you will get to visit the blogs of some of my fellow classmates and see some beautiful work that was created during our 5 week class.

I thought that I would invite you into my studio today, tell you a bit about myself, show you what I've been working on since school ended, talk a bit about my grandma and send you home with a recipe. 

I wish I could offer you a drink while we tour...

I didn't want to miss a minute of my daughter when she was young so I left my job as a stylist for a wallpaper company when she was born.  In my opinion... there is nothing better than a 2 year old.  I wouldn't trade those days for anything.   She is now 8!  I'm just now starting to get back into surface pattern design trying to find my own style and my niche in the world.  Lilla's MATS class has really helped me focus on my goals, it's slow going but I think I'm making progress.  I love to paint, garden, and sometimes cook.  Oh, I'm happily married too!  My family lives in beautiful Rhode Island and I'm always inspired by the ocean, and the world around me.

Here is where I spend a lot of time.  It's an 8'x13' room that was maybe supposed to be a large closet?  It's affectionately referred to as "the closet".  It is not always so clean and tidy.  The floor and walls are usually covered with whatever I'm working on.  It's really frigid in here from now until spring so that heater near my chair gets a lot of use.  My left hand is usually resting on it while my mouse hand freezes.

Since MATS has ended I have started to rework my designs from the class.  The class was so fast paced that it's been nice to take a step back and rethink things.  This week I wanted to make my fabric design from week-1 look a little less rigid and more playful.  I love pizelle cookies and I like the snowflake shape that they have so I've added them to the background.

Lately, my grandmother has been working her way into some of my designs.  I used some of her brooches in the zipper pouch from my last post about week-5, and this design has her rolling pin, pastry cutter and now... the addition of pizelle which she used to make for us.

My grandmother was ALWAYS baking.  She lived with us until I was 5 and then after moving to her own apartment she would visit every Sunday with some kind of homemade treat.  She did not always use recipes and I must confess that I preferred when she did.  She often made "good for you cookies" that would usually consist of oats, molasses and whatever was in her cupboard that day, usually walnuts, raisins and/or dried apricots.  They were often very dry but if there happened to be chocolate chips in them, I would manage to eat them.  When I was a child, Christmas time at our house meant lots of cookies, not the "good for you" kind but the ones that followed a recipe.  This is one of Gram's tried and true recipes.

Thanks for stopping by today!  If you want to hear more about my MATS experience check out my previous blog posts.  Please be sure to check out the other blogs too.  My favorite part about MATS was every Sunday when I got to see what everyone had created.  Now, you get to have a little peek too!  Here is a schedule (subject to change)...

November 20

Martina Lenhardt-  www.ma-len.blogspot.com
Melissa Doran-  www.melissadoran.com
Sarah Gager - www.sarahgager.com

November 27
stephanie corfee - www.stephaniecorfee.com

November 25
Son Atwal Sonia Atwal - www.applekaur.com/blog

November 26
Sarah Ehlinger- www.verysarie.com
Jordan Vinograd Kim-  http://www.foundandrewound.com/blog/

November 27
Jen Burbridge - www.madebyburbs.co.uk
Carolina Coto - www.carolinacotoart.com

November 28
Eva Marion Seyffarth - www.eva-marion-seyffarth.blogspot.de

November 29
Anna Whitford - www.rosanna-rossi.co.uk

December 2

December 3
Melinda Hopkirk - www.crouchriverstudio.com

December 4
Antje Martens-Oberwelland - http://antjeart.com

 December 5
Renske de Kinkelder- www.renskedekinkelder.com

December 6

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Make Art That Sells - Week 5- Gift

I can't believe how fast the last 5 weeks have gone by!

If anyone is wondering if I would recommend taking Lilla's class I would definitely say YES!

Lilla describes the class as "Art Boot Camp" and it really is true.  You definitely need to be able to devote a lot of time.  I put in so many hours of work and almost every week I wished that I had more time.

Lilla has so much market knowledge, she knows artists and how we think and she is very positive!  Every bit of advice that she gives is so true and I've even printed out some of her quotable pieces to hang in my studio as little reminders to myself.

You get to see video interviews with very accomplished artists that Lilla represents and interviews with design directors of great companies and their insight is invaluable.  Throughout the class you feel like you're picking up a bunch of little gems that you'll hold onto forever.

You get to be a part of a great community of artists that are really supportive and encouraging.  The talent level of my group was amazing!  It's definitely inspiring and so much fun to see what everyone created each week.  You also learn so much from your fellow classmates as well.

You will definitely see an improvement in your work!

You can read my previous posts to get a sense of the emotional toll the class had on me.  At times, I got a bit discouraged to put it lightly.  I've learned that I'm not alone in feeling self doubt every time I put something that I've created out for the world to see.  It was amazing for me to hear that some very accomplished people feel the same way.   It's perfectly normal and basically I need to just get over it!

I will be reworking some of my designs from the class.  Week 4 was a disaster!  In hindsight... I should have just sat out week 4.  I killed my painting, brought it back to life and then killed it again!  I then did a really quick piece Sunday morning because I felt the need to submit something.  I thought that I would be giving up by not submitting but I really should have just called it... Time of death Sat., Nov. 2, 2013, 9:45!
I'm also going to rework my book cover from week 3  and my fabric from week 1.  I'm keeping week 2 as is... those plates are growing on me!   I'll blog about the revision process so if you're interested you can check back if you would like to.

This final week we were designing a zipper pouch for the gift market and our theme was "Hyper-Lush".  It's a really fun look with over the top icons, patterns and color.  This is nothing like anything I have done before and it was fun. Lilla had us find things we collect as the images for our piece. I used some of my grandmother's brooches in my design.  It was fun to do and I'm kind of happy with how it came out!  Really.  This one is a keeper.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Make Art That Sells- Week 3 - Children's Picture Books

This week has been a bit different.
It started off with the fear of illustrating a picture book.  No confidence, right from the start.  I don't consider myself an illustrator.  I am however in awe of illustrators and LOVE picture books.  I have a small fortune invested in books for my daughter.  Seriously, I could open a small library.
Monday: Our "mini" is to draw birds.  I almost put a bird into the week 1 assignment but he was cut...  I think that it's going to be a long week.
Tuesday: I'm full of self doubt.  I'm not sure if what I've done the last two weeks is even marketable.  Would someone buy my work?
Wednesday:  Our assignment is to create either the cover art OR an interior 2 page spread illustrating the Russian folklore "The Language of the Birds".  I'm not feeling hopeful but I'm not giving up either.
Thursday:  I'm liking my sketch.
Friday:  I'm kind of liking my painting!  I'm having fun!  We didn't need to take the story literally but I choose to because it is full of so much imagery.
Saturday:  Now that it's almost finished, guess what?... I'm not happy with it.
Sunday:  I finish my design and upload it to the group.  I'm blown away by the talent of the group taking this class and I'm finally coming to the conclusion that I really don't like my own style.  It's not what I would personally buy.  I always love my ideas and sketches but never the end result.  I'm not sure if this is a curable design disease that I have.  My idea for a cure is to take the 5 weeks after this class and rework all of my designs into a style that I could live with, possibly love.  Wouldn't that be great!  I have a lot to figure out.  Lilla wants us to find our own style.  Now that I have mine, I'm not sure what to do with it.  It's always nice when someone compliments me on my work.  A compliment makes me feel great for a minute but when I truly don't feel the same way, it doesn't mean as much.  It's strange to think that I would be happier if I was the only one that liked my work.  I am however, truly enjoying this class.  As painful as it has been for me personally, I'm still surprisingly looking forward to the next 2 weeks.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Make Art That Sells- Week 2- Home Decor

This week we were designing a set of plates for a company like Crate & Barrel or Anthropologie.  The theme for the plates was bromeliads.  Bromeliads are tropical flowers that come in all kinds of interesting shapes and colors.  I wish that I could say that this week was an easier week than last but because of a flaw in my personality I took an almost identical path.
Monday: Happily sketching my bromeliads.
Tuesday: Still feeling confident.
Wednesday: I've got this one!  REALLY clear vision of how I want my plates to look.
Thursday: What happened overnight?  I'm not sure I'm going in the right direction.
Friday: Ugh!  Seriously, why does the self doubt pour in on Friday?  I start to abandon my original idea and start trying new things.  At this point I've designed dozens of plates.  Seriously, at least 30!  I have some that are super contemporary but I'm feeling like they are not "me".  I send some off to my trusty sister for feed back and she reels me in and makes me focus on my original idea.  (There is a MATS Facebook group that I could be tapping into for feedback but I haven't tried that yet... Maybe next week?)
Saturday: First thing in the morning I finish my plates!  Yay!  The weekend is beautiful and I have the time to get out and enjoy it!

The difference this week is that I actually kind of like my work!  I really wanted to loosen up my painting style this week but old habits are hard to break.  It's a goal of mine though so I'll keep trying!  (Maybe some painting classes after MATS.)   I still plan to rework last weeks fabric design but these plates are staying as is.

Again, I feel like a learned a lot this week from Lilla and friends.  The biggest thing that hit home with me this week was Lilla's advice on designing.   She recommends not jumping right into an assignment.  We are supposed to play first.  She gives us a mini exercise to get us warmed up and I think it really helps.  It also helps to have a ritual before you start to work.  It helps to clear the mind.  For me, I start each Monday cleaning out my workspace from last weeks craziness.   I always get a cup of tea or coffee and I put my music on.   Fresh start.

I also have to mention that I'm taking this class with some seriously talented people and it's so much fun to see what everyone comes up with.  Saturday and Sunday is when the finished designs start to get uploaded and I find that I have no will power to keep from constantly checking in to see all of the finished designs.  It's like opening a bunch of presents.

Week 3 we are working on children's picture books. This is the one out of the 5 markets that scares me a bit.  Maybe it will be good for me.  I'm looking forward to it.  Can't wait to get our "mini" tomorrow. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Make Art that Sells- Week 1- Bolt Fabric

Wow!  What a week.

Lilla gave us a "mini assignment " to draw berries (any kind) and vintage casserole dishes.  Fun!

Keep drawing.  Still fun!

An assignment was given to create a fabric design featuring... you guessed it... vintage casserole dishes and berries.  Yay!  Still having fun.  I really like my idea and I'm so excited to get started.

Still happily painting all of the elements for my design. Happy, Happy, Happy!!!

UGH!  I'm really worried that I'm not going to finish by the deadline!  I start scanning in the paintings that I've completed and I'm not liking how the design is turning out.   Really not liking it.  I start to panic and I want to give up!  I think way, way back to when my college guidance counselor asked me what I liked to play with when I was a kid.  I answered Legos and puzzles.  Why didn't I become an architect?  Why did I choose textile design? Good thing it's time to pick up my daughter from school.  It forces me to walk away.  Later that night, when I start working again, I put on the "serious" playlist to get me motivated to keep going.  This is the music that can keep you from jumping off a cliff...

"Don't give up" by Peter Gabriel
"Keep your head up" by Ben Howard
"Fight Outta You"  by Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals

Music is amazing!  OK, I won't give up!  I pull myself together and remember that I'm not doing this for a grade, I'm doing this for myself!  It's all a learning process and I learned a lot this week from all of Lilla's insight and analysis, from interviews with people in the industry, and from my own self therapy.  One of my favorite things that Lilla said this week was that talent is not finite!  Thank god! Practice, practice, practice.  That's what I tell my daughter all of the time.  She is a lot like me in that we give up REALLY easily.  I need to take my own advice!

I complete my design!  Yay!!
This is what my work space looks like right now...

Here is my finished design.  I was inspired by the winterberry growing outside my window and I thought that I would do a Christmas theme.  The color inspiration came from a vintage Christmas card that was pink, green, yellow and grey.  I do wish that I had more time to work on it.  When MATS is over I think I'll revisit it.
So, I'm now going to clean up the mess behind me and get ready for Week 2  and...  I can't wait!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

School starts Monday!

I'm all set!

I'm really excited and super nervous.  I've done everything that Lilla has asked us to do to prepare.
-My studio (aka the closet) is clean and organized.
-My calendar is pretty clear for the next 5 weeks.  (Let's hope that no major life changers happen during this time.)
-I've pictured myself happily designing things.
-I know what I want to accomplish.
-I'm highly motivated.

Now I just need to get over the nervous thing.   I'll get back to you in a few weeks and let you know how that's going.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


All kinds of Spoonflower updates for you...

My dinosaurs came in 5th place in the weekly Spoonflower contest!  I'm super happy!  Thanks to everyone who voted for them.  I have not received samples of the fabric yet but when I do I will upload some photos.

In the meantime, I just received my samples of "Dim Sum".  This collection of designs really surprised me.  At first, I was not going to enter this contest because I had no idea what to design.  Then... over coffee and google one morning the idea hit me and I really enjoyed building the coordinating designs.  I'm pretty pleased with the way they printed too.  I took some photos this morning...

This afternoon, I found out that my "Kuler Carnival" design placed 27th!  I'm pretty happy anytime my design is in the top 50!

This week the theme is "Small-scale Geometric Print for Shoes".  The contest is in conjunction with the company Milk and HoneyMilk and Honey is a website where you can custom design your own shoes.  If you love shoes, you need to check it out.  I'm not expecting my entry to do very well.  I hate to be a pessimist but there are so many entries and so many that are more interesting than mine.  A lot of designers mocked up their design onto a shoe and it's really fun to check out the Spoonflower Flickr Pool to see them.  There are so many ways to style your shoe!  After quite a few mock ups with different shoe styles, colors, heels, open toe, closed toe, rounded, squared and on and on and on...

This is what I went with.

I know, as I try to find my niche in the world I know it's not in fashion design.  If this were Project Runway, Heidi would be saying "Auf Wiedersehen"!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

All kinds of fun...

I had a great reaction to my "Dim Sum" designs.  I placed 20th out of 144.  Yay!
I ordered some of the fabric to make some placemats.  Hopefully, my fabric will be in the mail to me this week and I'll sew something up to show you.

This week the theme is "Dinosaurs".

I created some coordinating designs that you can see here.

I also uploaded the design to Society6.  I made a slightly different arangement for a framed print.

The dino silhouettes were originally made years ago for wallpaper.  They were originally spaced out a little bit more and on a white background.  When I put them closer together I liked the way that they fit like puzzle pieces so... I carved into them a bit to emphasize the puzzle effect.  It's subtle.  I like the addition of the egg background too.

The next Spoonflower contest is in conjunction with Adobe.  The contest is titled "Kuler Spaces".  The design is supposed to use the Kuler app. from Adobe to create a color palette for your design.  I just recently did this on my own with a bunch of swiss chard using the color picker in Photoshop...  So simple.  I was curious how Kuler would work so I used the same photo and let Kuler pick the colors this time... How frustrating!  I'm sorry Adobe,  I'm a big fan of Photoshop and Illustrator but not so crazy about Kuler.  I was off to a bad start when I could not remember the password I set up when I downloaded the app. to my iphone.  Oh my, the patience I lost just trying to log in!  Here are my thoughts...  It only allows you 5 colors.  Why not more?  You are able to tweak them... which I did.  The color palette that you create gets saved onto their website and can be used by anyone.  That's nice, here is the link to mine.   Now, I may be alone on this but I think it's weird that it does not show the photo where the colors came from.  That's what is interesting to me.  I like to see where the inspiration came from!  Maybe I'm missing something.  A lot of people love the app. and think it's fun to play around with.  Give it a try!  Here is the link... Kuler

This is what I came up with.  I'm calling it "Kuler Carnival ".

I put together something on my own to show the color palette with the inspiration photo.  It's very similar to the one that I made with photoshop in my last blog entry.

Wow.  That's it for today!  Too wordy???

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Color Palettes

I'm always looking for new color inspiration.  There are a lot of great color palette sources on the web to go to.  There are also some fun apps for creating your own too.  This weekend I bought some swiss chard at our local farmers market.  The bunch had such a great combination of colors.  I made my own little inspiration board from it...

...then applied it to a new design that I have at Spoonflower!  A bit of the 60's maybe??

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dim Sum Anyone?

Here is another entry into Spoonflower's Weekly Contest.  This week the theme is "Dim Sum" and it is a palette restricted contest too.  At first, I had no idea what I would create.  I kind of liked the colors that they chose so I googled "dim sum" for some images to get my brain working.  I was first inspired by the steaming baskets that dim sum is cooked in.  I'm familiar with the baskets so that may be why they caught my attention first.  The food however was a challenge.  I have never actually had dim sum so I was looking for some kind of appealing shape.  There were a lot of little dumplings, some shaped like scallop shells (I liked their look).  There were a lot of leaves, some stuffed with food and others used in the bottom of the baskets (leaves always work), and there was a sushi roll looking thing with maybe carrots (??) that looked good.  Here is what I came up with.  I think the designs would make cute houseware items.  Hope you like it :)

Voting starts this Thursday 8/29.  Here is the link if you want to vote.  I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone came up with, I think this contest will be a fun one.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hello August!

I woke up this morning and with trembling hands and a pounding heart I checked my email to see the top 50 Lilla Rogers GTS designs.  My playground design was not one of them and I can appreciate why.  I thought that most of the top 50 designs were truly outstanding.  I can't even choose a clear favorite, there are 4 or 5 that I think are over the top good. They had over 1500 submissions from 30 countries!  It's wild to think that there are so many other people that want the same thing that you do.  It will be fun to see who makes the next cut.  If you're curious to see the top 50 click here.

I had a lot of fun with this assignment and because I've been reading about how great Lilla's MATS class is... I just signed up!  Class starts in October and I'm really looking forward to it.  I definitely think that I could benefit from some professional critiques.  It will be fun to be in school again!

So, no deadlines for August!  I'm off to enjoy some free time:)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

End of July

I've entered into another Spoonflower weekly design contest.  "Fireflies" voting begins August 8th.  I love to see fireflies at night.  At first, I was going to paint them because I thought that I could get a nice glowing effect with the transparency of watercolor.  I eventually decided to not be too realistic with this one.  I thought that they were less creepy in this stylized way.  I have a smaller version too that you can see at my Spoonflower shop.

In the meantime, I'm anxiously awaiting tomorrow.  Lilla Rogers team will announce the top 50 that will be able to move on to the next assignment.  I've been checking out the blog world and I'm blown away by all of the different ways that people have tackled the playground journal assignment.  There are so many great designs, they must have had so much fun going through them all.  I'm so curious to see the top 50, I have the joy and anticipation of a kid at Christmas!  I really hope they let us know how many submissions they received too. 

Side note... Since I was in the sharing mood in my last post... I thought that I would let you know that my mom is doing much, much better:)

July has been a blur... I'm dreaming of a great August!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Life is definitely a roller coaster.  I have to say that I've been coasting along pretty well up until a couple of weeks ago.

Since my last post, my mom has had some severe health issues.  She has been at a hospital an hour away for more than a week now and visiting her and worrying about her is definitely taking a toll on me.  There were some days last week when I was not quite sure what I was supposed to be doing with myself.  When I had some free time I decided to keep working on my playground design for Lilla Rogers.  That seems silly right?  I have someone that I love near death and I'm painting kids on a playground.  Well, painting kept my mind off the dark, scary side of life and reminded me of the bright, fun side.  I'm thankful to these kids... even though some of them gave me a little trouble.  I'm glad that I was able to finish the assignment too.

I'm sharing this because I think that art, any form, can have tremendous healing power and it's a healthy way to escape.  I think it's so important for people to have some kind of creative outlet.  If you don't have one,  it's never too late to learn something new.

I'm now waiting to see where this ride takes me... I really wouldn't mind if it slowed down a bit.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New adventures!

My newest adventure in design began July 1st...

I'm entered into the Lilla Rogers Studio "Global Talent Search"!  The winner gets representation by Lilla Rogers Studio for two years and a host of other great perks!  (Details here.)

Lilla Rogers is an artist and licensing agent.  This past winter, I purchased her book "I just like to make things".  The book was very inspiring and informative about the art licensing world and making art that sells.  It's what led me to start this blog!  The book title sums up my life, all 43 years of it.  I can't imagine a day when I'm not creating something.  I've worked in the design world before as a stylist for a wallpaper company.  I loved my job but left it almost 8 years ago to be a full time mom.  (My daughter is definitely my best collaborative work ever!)  I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to be at home with her.  However, I'm now ready and craving to do design work again.  This time I want to be out on my own (with an agent)!

While checking out Lilla's website, I stumbled upon this contest and I decided to enter.

I woke up July 1st to an email containing our first "assignment".  We are to create a journal cover for the company Paperchase and it is supposed to have a playground theme.  I'm so excited and scared to be working on this.  I can't wait to be finished and show you my design.  I'm at the point in the design process where I love my idea, I'm pretty sure that I know how I will execute it and I'm really nervous about messing up.

I'm going to wait to show you my design until after the submitting deadline has past. 

Lilla and her team will judge all of the entries (I'm curious to know how many) and they will pick the top 50.  If you make the top 50, they give out another assignment August 1st that will be judged by an impressive panel of judges from the design world (see here) and then...

This will sound pessimistic but... I'm not expecting to win.  I'm not in it to win it.  I'm doing this for the experience.  It's challenging, it's fun and it's forcing me to put myself out there (wherever there is).  I would be so thrilled just to make the top 50, ecstatic to make the top 6 and you would need to resuscitate me if I actually won!  I'm grounded to reality though, there are some incredibly talented people entered into this with me.  (Seriously, I'm not sure why some of them don't have an agent already!)  If this first assignment turns out to be the last with Lilla, I'm OK with that.  The process has been really fun and I have another design for my portfolio!

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sewing 101

I made something with my fabric!  Really simple too.  I ended up making some dinner/picnic napkins with my "Ants love watermelon" fabric.  I am really happy with the way the design printed.  I was able to make 6 square napkins from a yard of linen/cotton from Spoonflower.  It was fun and frustrating photographing them...

I made a little watermelon juice and then had a difficult time shooting the photos before the ice melted and the table and napkins got wet.  It was an incredibly hot day.    I got the idea for the slice on the glass from a beautiful photo of watermelon/coconut water on Pinterest (see it here).  My attempt looks a little awkward... I think.  This was my first venture into food photography and I give the pros a LOT of credit!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2nd Place!

I'm so happy to say that I placed 2nd in the last Spoonflower design contest!  Thank you to everyone that voted!  The theme was "Midsummer Nights Dream" inspiration from the play by William Shakespeare.  It was a palette restricted contest too.  We had to use these exact 5 colors...

My design is named "Love-in-idleness" which is another way of referring to pansies.  The flower has a big part in the play.  I have little white details on the fern leaves that make them appear to be a lighter yellow.  Fun how that works!
Moving on...

Results for the "Citrus Fruits" will be announced this Thursday (not expecting to do so well in that one).

In the meantime, I've also entered into the "Picnics" weekly contest (voting starts Thursday).  My design is named "Ants Love Watermelon".  I painted the watermelon with watercolor.  People tend to not care for the realistic approach but I'm going with it anyway.  I like it.  I've ordered some fabric in a linen/cotton blend that I plan to make dinner napkins or dish towels with... maybe an apron.  I'm not going to promise that you will ever see finished product though.  Maybe.  I'll try.

I've really had fun entering these contests.  I love to see what all of the other designers come up with and I've loved when there have been extra limitations to the rules.   However, I'm going to take a break from Spoonflower contests to have time for NEW adventures in design.  I'll keep you posted.  Promise.  Jill

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Evolution of a Lemon

I have been having a lot of fun entering Spoonflower's weekly contests.  This week the theme is "Citrus Fruits".  I love to see how a few hundred designers will take the same theme and everyone will approach it in a different, unique way.  Here is how my idea for citrus fruits evolved...

I started with a very simple sketch.  I envisioned half circles in a row, slightly tilted.  I was not sure if they would be lemons, limes, oranges, or a combination of all three.

 I took a few dozen photos of a lemon, lime and orange.  Here is just one of the many.

Then, while I was on Pinterest, someone was pinning hundreds of images of Morocco and quite a few were from the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh.  There were so many photos of the AMAZING cobalt blue that apparently is everywhere (I have never been).  One photo , taken by Neal J. Wilson, screamed out to me as if the design gods were trying to tell me something...

"JILL, PAINT LEMONS ON A COBALT BACKGROUND!"  I could not block out the screaming so I listened, and painted...

Then...  I decided that I should make the citrus more simplified, not so realistic.  I scanned in my painting and simplified it in Illustrator.  After getting the layout and repeat the way I liked, I did what I love...  I tried it out in different colorways.

This is the final design named "Summer Citrus" and the colorway that I picked to enter the contest...

As you can see, I abandoned the lemon and cobalt in favor of oranges and pink grapefruit!  Sometimes you need to follow your heart and take a different path.  I think it's funny that it turned out to be a very simple design that started with a very simple sketch but somewhere in the middle I made it a bit more complicated.  That is typically how my brain works.  I'm very aware of the principle that the shortest distance between point A and B is a straight line but sometimes I take the scenic route.

This design and 3 other colorways (including a lemon and cobalt) are available at my Spoonflower shop.

I liked the design so much that I've uploaded it onto my Society6 shop too.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I  made my first 2 sales!!  Thank you to the buyers!

I originally started to upload designs onto Society6 because I wanted an iphone case with my own design on it.  Now, it's addictive.  It's fun to see my designs on various product and of course it's very exciting to make sales.  Here are a few of my favorite pillows and phone cases.

This shibori iphone case on the bottom, left was the winner that I picked for myself.  It's a shibori design that I created a long, long, long time ago, when I was in college.  Still as beautiful today as the day I made it!  I have a small collection of shibori designs.  I think they make great designs for phones.

Well, there you have it.  Two posts in 3 days!  I'm not making any promises that you will hear from me soon but you never know...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

So it's been a while...

I still haven't made anything out of those original fabrics.  I had good intentions but it just didn't happen.  Here is what I have been up to...
I have uploaded a lot more designs onto Spoonflower.
Here are some photos of my Citrus Flower Collection.  I'm really happy with the colorways. They are fun and bright and summery.

I've also made an apron with my Garden Tools Fabric.

I will keep you posted if I sew up anything fun with my new designs.  I think I'll try to stay in touch more often! Jill

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I've uploaded some designs onto Society6. There are laptop and ipad skins, pillows, iphone cases and prints available to purchase.