Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I never was too keen on bowling. The last time I went, I was about 10 years old and still not strong enough to pick up even the kids' bowling ball with one hand. My score was something like 75.

The great thing about Spoonflower's weekly contests is that just about everyone can find something in the subject, a unique angle or take on it, to illustrate.

Like bowling: I don't bowl, but I love old neon signs. Fishing... I don't fish, but always thought the lures looked like jewelry or candy. Squid... I just happened to have watched a National Geographic documentary about giant squids a couple days before the contest subject was announced.

Anyway here's this week's design. I'm pretty happy with it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And we have a winner!

I checked my email this morning and was again completely surprised to see that my Hawaiian cheater quilt design tied with this lovely panel by Jessica Greenwalt as winner of Spoonflower's Fabric of the Week contest! I'm thrilled, and congrats Jessica!

I guess I am good at something besides changing diapers and vacuuming. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Spoonflower's weekly contest is a Hawaiian cheater quilt design. Here's my entry (the aqua one) plus some additional versions.

It's also Free Swatch Day on Spoonflower: any one swatch on any fabric shipped for free!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Connecting Threads contest entries

Here they are, the six that were uploaded and the one that didn't (never got a confirmation email for it... figures that that's one of the better ones.) They're all new designs made just for Connecting Threads, and voting just opened today!

There are many more entries than I thought there'd be, and a lot of really good designs. I'm not expecting to be a finalist, but a little part of me is holding out hope. You never know; stranger things have happened.

Although it seems like good stuff only happens when I least expect it -- cliche but oh so true -- meeting my husband; all my fabulous clients who let me stay home, draw monsters and design wacky projects and actually, unbelievably PAY me for it (yay!); having three wonderful but exhausting kids; getting chosen to paint a fiberglass bulldog; becoming an artist for Silhouette America. Serendipity has played such a part in all of these things. It's always seemed like the more I hope for something, the more likely it is that I don't get it.

It could be that the time is just not right, and somehow (serendipity again?), I end up in a better place later down the road... "everything happens for a reason" and all of that. Which is easy to believe in hindsight; not so easy to keep in mind in the midst of the moment.

Okay, I'm depressing myself. Honestly, though, I would so love the opportunity to be a real fabric designer, not just a wanna-be, floundering about not knowing what the heck I'm doing. More than the winning or prize money, it would be fantastic to have validation that yeah, I'm not that bad of a designer and I really can do something well besides change diapers. :) And it's just really darn cool to see my designs sewn up into something useful.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I just spent a week in marathon design mode. I came up with 7 different fabrics for Connecting Threads' contest and am not thrilled with most of them, as usual. It's so hard to not be overly critical of one's own work.

I've been trying to come up with something truly unique and innovative and just really cool to look at. Something that lots of people will look at and think, I need to buy that. For no particular reason or project, just because they think it's fantastic and must own a couple yards of it. Someday I'll come up with that fabric. I don't think any one of those seven is it, though.

Here's my favorite of them all, called "Road Trip". It's inspired by the old mid-century motel signs along Lincoln Ave. in Chicago's northwest side. I used to drive to work that way and thought someday when I had the time, money and a good camera, I wanted to come back and take pictures of the signs at twilight. Never did get around to it.

Twilight's the loveliest time in a city, in my opinion, because you get a wonderful combination of neon and streetlight combined with sunset glow reflecting off all the surfaces. It's hypnotic and melancholy all at the same time, and does a good job at camouflaging the stark and ugly that's so common in urban areas.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Robots aren't for girls"

First, a bit of background. My dad was raised in a very traditional family. My mom has a very different viewpoint.

Luckily hers won. As kids, my brother had dolls; I had Tonka trucks. And luckily for me, there were few expectations or limitations in my house about what either of us could or couldn't do, play with, wear, say, be or act because of our gender.

When I was 12, we went to a Christmas party sponsored by my dad's employer. Gifts were given out: real full-size basketballs for the boys, and latch-hook kits for the girls. I'm still mad about that.

Probably because of my upbringing, I've always believed -- still do -- that girls and boys both benefit from things for the other gender. Why shouldn't girls play with Legos and cars and trucks? Why can't a boy have a doll or play dress-up? Seems to me it can only help. Girls might learn skills they someday can put to use as an architect; boys might discover an affinity as a teacher.

Last year I did a design and entered it into a contest for Robeez baby shoes. It was a cute little robot, and I intentionally made it fairly gender-neutral, and wrote that either a boy or girl could wear the shoes. Someone commented on my design that she didn't think it appropriate for girls to wear robot-themed anything, and so she wouldn't be voting for mine.

The point of this? I guess it's that whenever I can, I'm going to try and design things that aren't the same old cliche: most everything for girls is an explosion of pink, frills, butterflies and glitter; boys get sports, vehicles, stripes and monkeys. Kids should have more choices and I'm going to try to do my tiny little part to provide them. Starting with a robot skirt for girls (you can buy it here). Which, incidentally, did not make the top 10 in Spoonflower's fabric of the week contest. I honestly thought it was a really good design, despite the robots.

Okay, soliloquy over. Here's my oldest daughter wearing her robot skirt. She loves it. I'm happy. :)