Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spoonflower Design Challenge: Dogs

This week the Spoonflower design contest theme is Dogs. I chose a very hand-drawn vintage style for my design this time, using my scanned sketches and Adobe Photoshop software to add colour and a background pattern.

As I am lacking in suitably still canine models, I searched out photographs of dogs in my collection of British Country Living magazines to use as studies for my sketches. It was so nice to have an excuse to flick through them again.

I have been reading (but mostly drooling over the pictures in) Country Living for over 15 years now, and it’s such a lovely seasonal read.

Anyhoo, I’ve titled my design for this contest “Dogs are the Best People” after the Fauves (Aussie rock band) song of the same name from 1996 which includes the lyrics:

“Little head on the bed, and his little chocolate eyes”!

Dogs are the best People - textile design by Bee & Lotus

If you like my design please be sure to visit the Spoonflower contests page from December 22 and vote for it.

All the best for the rest of the week


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Art Journal Joy

I was about 18 when I first started keeping a visual diary, and how I wish someone had put me on to them earlier! I now keep at least 4 visual diaries (or art journals as I call them) of varying size and format around the house and in my bag so I can quickly note down ideas as they come to me.

Art journal keeping is a wonderful way of documenting the creative process, it can be and also can be a way to document our lives.

I’m not so good at expressing myself through the written word, I tend to cringe when reading old diaries so the art journal works well for me. I like to use plain black covered hardback bindings with a good medium to heavy weight paper (90 gsm minimum) so I can use watercolours without too much distortion to the pages. Try to find one made with“archival quality” paper and be aware that the term "acid-free" is not regulated and can be misleading. Just because it is "acid-free" now is no guarantee that it will not turn acidic in another 10, 20 or 50 years - important things to think about if you plan on leaving them to your descendants.

These are some of the things that appear throughout my journals:

  • Sketches
  • Ideas for designs, paintings and assemblage
  • Recipes
  • Cut outs from magazines
  • Invitations to art shows
  • Pieces of fabric
  • Lolly wrappers
  • Prints (directly onto pages)
  • Paintings
  • Books to read
  • Movies to watch
  • Inspiring quotes
  • Dreams
  • Funny things my kids say
  • Pressed leaves & flowers
  • Planting designs
  • Seeds sown in the garden
  • Postage stamps
  • My children's drawings
  • and lots more!

Being time poor, as many of us are, I like to write or draw ideas for design or art projects I would like to do one day but can’t find the time for now. It’s great to flick through an old journal when I find myself with time (which happens so rarely!) but lacking in inspiration. Even if I never use the material I’ve collected over the years I hope that when my children are grown, it will provide them with a snapshot of both my creative mind and the world we lived in.

I thought I’d share with you some selected pages of a the art journals I've kept over the years. As you can see they are not neat and pretty Martha Stewart style scrapbooks but I love them just the same as they are a record of my creative life.

I have recently given my 3 year old daughter her first art journal, which I’m hoping will be a thing of wonder to look back on in her later years :)

For those in need of some tips on starting your own art journal, Tammy from Texas has a wonderful blog called Daisy Yellow, and has written a great article on Art Journaling 101.

I have also found the ideas in the book Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachery great for harnessing creative energy. There is a chapter on journaling in this book with loads of tips from practising artists, many of whom chose to use their journal pages as finished artworks.

So if you haven't started an art journal before, give it a go! And don't be too precious about working directly onto the pages - you can always paint or paste over if you make a mistake or don't like what you've done.

I will have a post on Bookbinding sometime next year.

wishing you a lovely weekend


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spoonflower Design Challenge– 12 days of Christmas

This week the Spoonflower design contest theme is “The 12 days of Christmas”.

I spent many, many hours first trying to decide on the imagery and style of the design and then actually creating the design using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

I first drew illustrations of the characters mentioned in the song. These were scanned, turned into vector images and then parcels, letters and postcards and postage stamp images were created. This design was an excellent test of my skills on Illustrator, software that I have not been using for a great length of time. I had quite a bit of fun researching famous lovers from history and literature, see if you can work them all out!

All in all I’m quite pleased with the resulting design. If you like my design don’t forget to vote for it in December at the Spoonflower contest page. The design will be available for purchase shortly in my Spoonflower shop.

Please Mr. Postman - 12 Days of Christmas fabric design

Please Mr. Postman fabric design in repeat

Speaking of parcels and delightful gifts, have you ever received something in your letterbox that was totally unexpected? These days we tend to receive items we are expecting, junk mail or even worse, bills. In 2011, I intend to start sending out some special little parcels for no reason other than to delight the recipient.

I’m thinking one a month should suffice. Anyone care to join in the Random Postal Delights Lucky Draw? Post a comment or send me a message at beeandlotus(at)gmail.com and I’ll put your address on the recipients list (which will never be shared with a third party or used for any other purpose) to go in the draw to receive a lovely surprise parcel in your post box in 2011.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Foxglove Spires - a magical open garden

Last weekend my husband and I took the kids to see one of our favourite places on Australia's south coast, Foxglove Spires garden.
The beautiful open garden covers over 5 acres and is located near Tilba Tilba in New South Wales. It is a must for anyone visiting the south coast of NSW.

When you arrive at the open garden, you walk through the "Spires" nursery and come to an arched gate in a wall that leads up to the beautiful 100 year old home painted in a great shade of purple.

Little Mr L having a ball at Foxglove Spires, Tilba Tilba

The Manchurian Pear arbour leading to the house.

From there the pathways twist and turn and disappear under green shady arbours. Through woodlands and rose gardens, paths lead down to the "church ruins", a folly built quite recently by creators of the garden. My little ones loved the "secret" pathways and magical nooks in the gardens.
A magical place for children

A book has been written about the creation of the gardens by Susan Southam - Velvet Pears: Four seasons at Foxglove Spires.

The property is currently for sale, so if you have a spare AUD$1.8 Million it could just be your next home. Let's hope the next owners are as generous as Sue and her husband and make the gardens open to the public to share this little piece of paradise with us all.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spoonflower Design Challenge: Candles

This week the Spoonflower design competition theme is Candles.

Hmm. Candles huh? Interesting theme, meant to coincide with Christmas and other seasonal holidays without being specific to any particular religion me thinks. After some thought, I decided on a Mexican theme – just so I would get to play with bright colours! This is the first repeat pattern I have created using Adobe Illustrator and I’m really pleased with the results.

My Light up the Darkness candle design will soon be available for purchase in my Bee&Lotus Spoonflower shop. I’m thinking of having some yardage printed in the yellow onto Silk Crepe de Chine (ahhhh, drooool! Yellow silk!!)

Voting will open on the 1st December for the Candles theme design competition. If you like my design please drop in and cast a vote for it and all the other lovely designs there.

I’m off to the coast on the weekend, enjoy yours!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lost on the Midway - The Black Apple

One cold evening a few years back I was snuggled in to the sofa and browsing through Etsy on the laptop, looking for some handmade goodness, when I came across The Black Apple Etsy store, and oh my!

The Black Apple is Emily Martin, self proclaimed curiosity peddler and picture scribbler living in Portland Oregon, one of my favourite cities. Emily's beautiful whimsical paintings and drawings are available as prints, totes, pins and more and can be found in her Etsy store.
One of Emily's most recent series of work, Lost on the Midway brings an imaginary carnival of the cutest sideshow oddities you've ever seen.

The Bearded Lady

The Strong Man

Cymbal Monkey

I am especially fond of the Lost on the Midway Pin Pack available through The Black Apple Etsy store.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spoonflower 2011 Tea Towel Calendar

A while ago when visiting Soulemama's blog (sigh! what an amazing mama!) I discovered the wonderful Spoonflower. This is an amazing company that can print your custom created designs and photos onto a range of fabrics for a very reasonable price and no high set up costs that are normally associated with screenprinting.

Every week Spoonflower has a design competition with a chosen theme. The latest design challenge was to create a 2011 tea towel calendar to fit a fat quarter sized piece of fabric. So I fired up Illustrator and began to play...

This was much more challenging than I expected! Do you know how hard it is to fit 365 elements into a fat quarter? There is not a lot of room left for illustration I can tell you, so I decided to focus on colour instead.

Here is what I came up with. I am currently awaiting a delivery of the design printed onto Linen-Cotton Canvas. If you like the design you can purchase it at my Spoonflower shop. Just click on the design and select ‘Fat quarter’ then choose your fabric. One repeat printed onto a fat quarter of Cotton-Linen Canvas will cost you USD$14 plus postage.

Pretty Good Year - Tea Towel Calendar by Bee & Lotus

I will keep you posted on the results of the Spoonflower comp as there are always so many beautiful designs entered.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So, here I am.
I just stepped off the bus and set foot in the new (and a wee bit foreign to me) world of the Blogosphere.
Wow. quite the view from here.
I'll just sit down on my old suitcase and get my sketchpad out, I might do some drawing until someone interesting comes along.
Will keep you posted on things I see while I'm here and designs that pop into my head and out again onto my sketchpad. I might even share some good recipes with you every now and then.

Feel free to wave to me as you stroll by, or come have a chat if you're not too busy.
I'll be right here sketching.