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July 2008
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September 2008

Butterfly Kisses


Here it is, a little gift embroidery design - use it for whatever you like. I've used it for this little round cushion for Gracie but if she was a baby it would have been stitched on a onesie, or a bib - probably both. Actually, in my haste I made the cushion quite small, so it will probably be for her dollies instead.

The colour choices are endless, not sure about the colours I used, I grabbed a handful for a road-trip and this is what I ended up with. I would love to see the colours others come up with - email me and I'll link your finished pieces and post your pictures here. The PDF file is easy to scale up or down for whatever size you like by choosing the percentage you want when you print it out.

Update: This pattern is now available with a voluntary donation and can be found here.  Just leave a simple comment about how you might use this embroidery pattern and I'll email you this PDF pattern (be sure to leave your email address.) It need not be an original idea, it's just nice to know what might become of this little butterfly once it flutters out of my computer.

For tips on transferring designs to fabric, I still use the method of taping the pattern and fabric to the window and tracing the pattern onto the fabric. The Embroidery Flickr Group and Craftster both have ongoing discussions regarding various other transfer methods. Enjoy!

See the beauty

Grace in the dunes in Waxham, Norfolk. Looks posed, it's not.

Children. Astonishing in so many ways, like:

How they can never find their shoes, but mummy can - a wonder they can ride a bicycle with eyes that bad. The way they can be well-rested after performing gymnastic maneuvers in their sleep (especially if they happen to be in my bed.) The way they become hard-arsed negotiators at a very tender age - resulting in extra biccies, later bedtimes and pajama days.

But sometimes they astonish me in the nicest of ways. Rubbing my feet, just because they know I love it. Making me a cup of tea, because they know a quiet cup is a treat to myself and they simply want to treat me. And when they see things in the nicest of ways that only unjaded eyes of children can see.

Example. Mummy and Gracie walk into a shop, the shatter-proof glass at the base of the door is all cracked.

Gracie: Aaaah, mummy that glass is all cracked.

Mummy: Yes, shame about that.

Gracie: No mummy, the cracks make such a beautiful pattern!

I had to write down this snippet of conversation to help me remember to see more beauty.

Fun with type

Tristan's-sample-font Well I would think so, I'm his mother.

My children are amazed that I can hand-draw a variety of fonts before their eyes, it was called "Type Indication" when I was in art school. Even though I'm not that old desktop publishing was simply too slow in the late eighties and early nineties for many companies to embrace it.

When I finished college and got my first job as an art director, the company I worked for still exclusively used typesetters. Of course this company was in a bit of a 1950's time warp where lunches were long, started with cocktails and most of the women working there were secretaries in skirts (and still called secretaries.) The art directors had to draw the type and note to the typesetters what the exact point and leading size should be (a process called specing type.)

Back then I could draw dozens of fonts without looking at them, and even though I only worked there a couple of years I still draw fonts all the time while doodling. I love the creative return to hand-drawn fonts in graphics these days - another incentive for me to make a new header. I didn't like every letter of any existing fonts so I imitated a couple and made a new one of my own for the new header - drawn with a charcoal pencil.

Tristan, amazed by the idea of creating a personal font wanted one of his own. So we tried out Fontifier, an online handwriting program that Amy linked a while back. It was magic to him, like the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas all rolled into one. He now has his own personal typeface (complete with a funky double crossed "f") to use any way he wants.

Fontifier couldn't be simpler. It takes a couple of minutes and in just seven steps you have a font to load to your computer - and it's only $9. There are some issues with spacing and things, but all-in-all a fun investment for adults & kids too.

Fingerprint And if you want to browse some great graphics using handmade type and illustrative elements read, Fingerprint by Chen Design Associates. It's foreword by Michael Mabry (one of my design heroes when I was a student) is great to read and to look at.

A time for change

Outside-of-cupboard I've been struggling with new design elements for a while here and finally thought - what the heck, just do it. So here they are, my new header, and a tutorial page and button linked in the new left sidebar.

Not sure why I haven't changed it sooner, probably because I never feel quite satisfied that what I'm working on is finished - which is why I have many in-completed paintings littering the house.

To work on this problem I've tried to clear my workspace, starting with my fabric cupboard - now arranged in sections that make sense to me.

This is s simple pine wardrobe that I fitted with shelves for my fabric and painted F&B Old White (the photo doesn't show the colour well.) It's not a lovely old pine, it's modern and was very, very inexpensive - picked up at a local barn that sells junk.

It's not large enough to hold all my fabrics but all the fabric I use most often and like to see in front of me.

Fabric-cupboard It's a start. I have a new embroidery design coming your way next week as a little gift to those who would like it. A small token to  celebrate change.

We're off to Norfolk for the weekend, visiting friends and taking the children here.

Have a good one :)

P.S. I 'm giving up on the final changes now. I've begun strongly worded communication with Typepad. Hopefully things will be figured out soon.

Edit: I've had quick responses from Typepad and they were very, very helpful in helping me sort things out! Thanks Typepad people :)

Happiness is: A very sharp pencil!

Pencil sharpener

When I went away to school our good family friend Marilyn gave me a Panasonic electric pencil sharpener as a gift. I had no idea at the time what a good friend it would become. It kept me going during projects that had me up late into the night and often into the morning. Having a freshly sharpened pencil was often all I needed for a little inspiration.

I've been without one of these babies for 11 years now since moving to the UK - as voltage is higher here my friend couldn't come with me. But now I have a new friend and here she is. I found her on Ebay UK and she was only £25 (many I've seen are as much as £100.)

She is a Jakar electric pencil sharpener, Jak works hard and fast and stops when the pencil is sharp which means no waste. She's been helping late into the night and early in the morning just like my old friend - and she's just as loyal.


She's been helping me while working on things like this, a new header with my own type - I'm having a little redesign. Actually, I'm trying to have a little redesign and reorganize stuff but I'm finding the Typepad tools sooooo slow it's making me crazy. Not crazy in a good, excited and very happy way. Crazy in the I want to chuck my computer out the window and watch it smash into a million tiny pieces way.

So if you check in and things look a little wonky, you'll know why. Typepad problems are possibly one of the reasons sharp pencils are making me so giddy, nothing like old technology - steadfast and ready. And no, that's not my whole header :)