Swimsuits for summer!

I’m ever optimistic that the British summer will show it’s face. As I sit here writing, I can actually see blue sky. That’s probably the first time in weeks when I come to think of it. Yet here I am sat writing a blog. Opportunity missed? Maybe not, it’s been a productive day. I’ve finished something I’ve been dipping in and out of for ages. I cooked butternut squash and pepper risotto. Today is good.

So what is this thing I’ve finished? The swimsuit block patterns of course! Tada!Ladies-Size-6-26-Swimwear-Blocks

I’ve been slowly populating my Etsy shop with block patterns this year. Eventually I will move onto full sewing patterns. It’s something new I’m trying, combining my pattern making skills with my graphic design skills. The patterns are instantly downloadable and can be printed at home. This set of swimsuit blocks goes from a skinny minnie size 6 right up to a plus size beauty 24. I’m thinking I might get myself over to Spoonflower, order some of their sport lycra in an kickass design (like the one below!) and make myself a leotard!

 

rrrrCosmonauts_rapport_color_shop_preview

Yep, I can totally see me rocking this. 

I’ll be back soon with an update on how 2016 has been for me (spoiler alert: it’s been shit). For now I shall love you and leave you. Do tell me if there’s a particular set of block patterns you would like to see in the shop, I’ll be happy to oblige.

 

My kinda game

It used to be a quite common occurrence that my friends and I would meet up to have games nights. Those nights had become a little more scarce lately due to family commitments & people moving far far, far far away (yes Kenny & Aly, that’s you. And as for you Rich, London?! It might as well be the other side of the moon ;p). However, when I was given the opportunity recently to review a new card-based game, I was more than willing to try and re-kindle this dying habit. Randomise sounded like my kinda game – it’s creative, fun and fast paced.

Randomise Game Box & Cards

When this game arrived at my house, I was happy to see it’s a properly portable game – about double the size of a pack of cards. I loved the illustrations on the box, and the brief description on the back gave me a good idea of what was to be expected. Feeling positive, I scheduled in our games night! Games night No1 did not go to plan – if you haven’t seen people for a while, you tend to do a lot of talking… So games night No2 was booked in. With much more success😀

There were 5 of us this particular night. Not the optimum figure for playing this game, even numbers would be best for fairness, but hey, you do what you do with the cards you’re dealt. We decided to have girls v boys. 3 girls, 2 boys. I stayed sober because I was driving, the others were in various states of inebriation. Believe me, this game is JUST as funny if you’re sober. My cheeks hurt from laughing so much.

Randomise cards with a cup of tea

My peppermint tea in shot there – see, totally sober!

So! How does it work? It’s basically like a mix between Pictionary and Charades. The ‘randomness’ is introduced by the things you end up being given to draw, describe or act. There are A, B and C cards. You pick one from each pile. Each card has an ‘easy’ and a ‘difficult’ section. You can choose whether to take an easy turn, or a difficult turn (more points rewarded for correct guess). In each of these sections, are listed three words. Card A will have words that describe you (ie happy, frightened, silly). Card B will have words that tell you what you are (ie giraffe, fish, astronaut). Card C will have words that tell you what you are doing (ie playing the saxaphone, digging a hole, making a fire). The opposing team picks three random numbers from one to three, and you are left with what you have to act. draw or describe. So you could end up with a frightened fish making a fire… yeah…

I won’t go into the rules and points system, I’ll just say that it’s all REALLY straight forward and we were playing straight away with no problems. We decided to play the game in every way possible and all took a turn at describing (definitely the easiest thing to do, but least funny), drawing (second easiest), and acting (hardest but also the funniest!). I would highly recommend you do the same, it’s loads funnier when you get over yourselves and act silly. We spent about 1.5 hours playing this game. We used a marker board to draw on but all you need in addition to the game is pens and paper, and someones phone to use as a timer.

Sanem with our marker board

Randomise tall giraffe riding a surfboard drawing

I think this one was “Tall giraffe riding a surfboard”

Randomise crazy rabbit going a jigsaw puzzle

I believe this one was “crazy rabbit doing a jigsaw puzzle”. At this point, me having got it in record time, me and Sarah were accused of some sort of paranormal communication…

I’m afraid I don’t have any videos of our appalling acting skills! What a shame! You’ll just have to give it a go yourselves😀 I’ve got to say, I’ve not been paid or bribed in any way to give this a good review. I was simply provided with the game for the purposes of reviewing and all these views are my own. Lucky for them, I totally give it 5 stars, it will no doubt become a much loved & re-played (there are loads of ways to change it up) game of ours and I’m really happy I was given the opportunity to play it! You can grab your own Randomise game for just £9.99 on Amazon! Perfect for trips, games nights, lunchtimes at the office, dinner parties and kids sleepovers (age 8+).

New Spoonflower Competitions!

I’ve been super excited to find out what the first of the new Spoonflower competitions would be, and yesterday my wait was over. The first of the new competitions has launched with a ‘Japanese Garden’ theme, and designers have until 19th April to submit their designs. After that, voting will open on the 21st, close on the 27th, and the winners announced on April 28th.

sproutpatterns-logo

The change to a monthly rather that a weekly competition brings with it bigger potential rewards. Under the old system, just the winner took home a prize ($100 Spoonflower Credit). Now, everyone in the Top Ten will get $50 dollars Spoonflower credit PLUS $50 Sprout credit. The winner will receive $100 Spoonflower credit, $100 Sprout credit, plus a whole load of promotion with their design.

I really like that everyone in the Top Ten gets something now, that’s a really good decision I think.

What is Sprout I hear you ask? Sprout is a new website by Spoonflower where you can buy patterns for clothing and accessories printed on Spoonflower fabrics. No tracing pattern pieces off – the pieces are literally printed for you so all you have to do is cut and sew! Cool! nice idea!

I’ve started putting together some inspiration for my Japanese Garden design, I love that I have more than a week to put it together. I’ll let you see it as soon as I’m finished x

 

One for the ladies

My first set of block (sloper) patterns for ladies is now available. You can now purchase a tailored skirt block in a full range of sizes (6 to 26) in my Etsy shop, just click here.

Ladies Size 6-26 Tailored Skirt Blocks

With this skirt block you can make your own patterns for a wide variety of skirts from pencil to pleated perfection. A size chart is provided so you can pick the size perfect for you, but if this doesn’t quite suit your needs, I can also create custom skirt blocks. I just need a set of measurements from you and it can be ready in a day!

I’m super excited to see what you creative types might make by starting off with this block. Post your creations in the comments!

Spoonflower Watercolour Competition Entry

I finished my second Watercolour design inspired by the Spoonflower Design a Day Challenge, and have entered it into their current competition of the same theme. I’m really pleased with the outcome of this one and will be making it available in my Spoonflower shop for sure. What do you think?!

Watercolour-Feathers-2

If you’re feeling generous, pop over to the competition page, have a scour through the entries (sorry I can’t post a direct link to mine as they jumble up the order each time someone visits to make it fairer) and vote for mine😀
If anyone would like to commission a fabric design or purchase a licence to print one of the designs in my Spoonflower library then please feel free to get in touch x

Productivity Central

I’m being rather productive at the moment which is lovely. It means that I now have another set of block patterns to offer – a trouser block/sloper set for ages 2 to 14. These are for an easy fitting non-stretch trouser:

Age 2-14 Years Easy Fitting Trouser Blocks

Next I plan to do the block patterns for children’s leggings and stretch fabric trousers, and then I’ll move onto ladies trousers.

I’ve also, alongside moving our belongings out of our flooded house, been trying to take part in the Spoonflower Design-a-Day Challenge. Spoonflower is a site where you can upload your own designs for fabric and have them printed. They quite often run competitions, and I do like to enter them every now and then for a little creative challenge.

On Day 1 of the Design-a-Day challenge, the theme was ‘pencil drawing’. Little Loop was at forest school that particular day, so I took inspiration from that and started sketching out some bugs:

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I then tidied up the illustrations themselves by tracing over the best lines in pen:

Bugs-Illustration

I scanned them in, and began arranging the different elements into a pattern design. I coloured the design in photoshop, and this is the final outcome:

Forest-School-Pencil-Illustration.png

I was super pleased with this design and really happy I had taken part in this challenge as I probably wouldn’t have come up with something like this had I not had that little push to do something I don’t usually (but totally should!) do – work on PAPER first! I know from my graphic design uni course that this is always the best plan of action, but you just get so sucked into working on-screen that it falls out of habit. I shall give myself a talking to and make sure working on paper is at least a weekly occurrence from now on.

The next Design-a-Day challenge theme was watercolour. Handily, I had spotted the watercolour set Mr Loop had bought last year (and not used!) whilst packing our things up and kept it to one side. One evening, I popped out the watercolours and began painting some random things:

IMG_20160304_081458

I scanned these in, and took just one of the elements and a bit of Photoshop editing to make this design:

Watercolour-Feathers-1

which I’m also super happy with! I do have a lot more watercolour paintings I did to play with so I’ll be doing more on this theme for sure.

Now, by this point we were over a week into the daily challenge and I had only managed to do Day 1 and 2. I’m still to start:

Day 3 – Abstract
Day 4 – Block prints
Day 5 – Pen & ink
Day 6 – Geometric
Day 7 – Vector
Day 8 – Photographic
Day 9 – Open source
Day 10 – Steampunk
Day 11 – Dyed
Day 12 – Typographical
Day 13 – Kawaii
Day 14 – Found objects

so yeah, a LOT to do! I did actually make a start on the steampunk theme as it was something I felt drawn to, and did these little sketches:

Steampunk-Sketches

I’m thinking of maybe combining these with the ‘pen & ink’ theme to make a nice looking design. I’m sure I’ll get something done on all the other themes eventually… it’s nice to have them there as inspiration for a little playing around.

The final contest (the challenge wasn’t a contest in itself) theme to come out of the Spoonflower Design-a-Day is ‘Watercolour’ from Day 2, so I’ll be spending the afternoon playing with and refining some of my watercolour pieces to hopefully make a winning-worthy entry! Wish me luck!

 

Out of laziness, comes greatness!

Last year, I decided I was going to design my own range of kids clothing patterns. Just a small range to begin with; some harem trousers, hooded dresses, funky dungarees. In order to create the patterns I needed a set of pattern blocks ( known as slopers in US). I could have created the pattern blocks myself from various measurement charts I could find online, but in all honesty, I was feeling lazy. So first, I tried to find some ready made children’s trouser blocks.

I found one set.

They were not cheap.

Nor did they come as a digital download, so I couldn’t use them to create my patterns in Illustrator, I’d have to do them all by hand. I prefer to be able to work on my laptop. Especially so now that I currently don’t have a studio for working in (another casualty of the flooded house).

What I wanted just didn’t exist. I was going to need a full set of childrenswear blocks, in digital format, with the ability to print out at home if I wanted to. I emailed places, I tweeted, I spoke to various people. No luck. There was nothing for it. I was going to just have to spend the time doing it myself.

I started my creations with a flat two-piece trouser block for newborn to age 2. It took a lot of work, but I think it’s been worth it because I now have exactly what I need to do some baby harem trousers.

Baby-Toddler-Trouser-Blocks

And I have decided to put the pattern block up for sale, so that anyone like me, who wants to create some patterns but perhaps would like to skip the blocking stage, can!

This first set of blocks I have created are available on ebay for £9.99 (a lot cheaper than the printed only versions out there). You will be sent a link to download the PDF within 24 hours of purchasing. As long as you have the latest version of Adobe Reader (available for free here), then you will be able to print at home on any A4 printer and piece together. You can even choose which size option to print if you don’t need to print them all, making it easier to trace off from. Those wanting to use programmes such as Illustrator to create digital patterns can do so from the PDF.

I am now working on a two-piece trouser block for ages 3 to 14, which should be available next week. More will follow! Please let me know in the comments if there are any particular blocks you would like to get your hands on.

Happy drafting!

Happy New Year?!

Light at the end of the tunnel

Yeah, it’s definitely too late for that. There’s a good reason I haven’t written a blog post so far this year too. We had a pretty sucky start to 2016. Our house flooded on boxing day. So a pretty sucky ending to 2015 and a ruined Christmas. I won’t go into the details, because quite frankly, it’s something I just want to put behind me now. Onwards and upwards. It’s worked out for the best in the end actually, for so many reasons. It was tough for a time back there, but there is a big shiny light at the end of the tunnel.

Now I’m able to concentrate on the projects I have planned for this year with my newly found freelancing freedom, I’m already making progress. I’ve applied for a business accelerator programme which will hopefully help me in the areas I’m lacking skills in to take certain projects forward. I’m currently sat in the brilliant Basecamp in Baltic Creative in Liverpool working on a couple of personal projects and trying to get some actual paying work, which would be nice! I’m feeling hugely positive.

So yes, here is to a slightly belated, but what is definitely going to be, a happy new year.

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