Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spoonflower Challenge: 2012 Tea Towel Calendars

The inspiration for this design came from a Welsh tapestry blanket that was given to my mother and father as a wedding present many years ago.
Lately I have been somewhat obsessed with everything relating to the sea.
Sea shanties, corals, seashells, selkies, fishing nets & floats, seaweeds and all those amazing migratory birds that frequent the coastline have captured my attention these past weeks. I love the coast but the truth is, I’m a little scared of the ocean. All that deep, deep blue for miles down. Yikes!!
I’ve been trying to find a good novel set in a British fishing village back when Herring (also called Silver Darlin’s) was the catch of the day.
If anyone can recommend one to me I would be grateful.

My design started with simple paper cuts that I then scanned and manipulated using Illustrator. The motifs I created are representative of the urchin, seaweed and coral life forms of the sea.
The design Welsh Blanket 2012 Tea Towel Calendar is available in 6 different colours, so you should be able to find a colour to suit your kitchen! If you would like to see it in a different colour just let me know.
If you like it you will be able to vote for it during the Spoonflower design contest from mid-November.

If you really like it you can purchase one (fat quarter) or 4 (yard) form my Spoonflower shop and hem them to your liking. Tea towel calendars make wonderful Christmas presents, just take a look at all the beautiful designs for 2012 available on Spoonflower.

Welsh Blanket 2012 Tea Towel Calendar in Traditional colourway - textile design by Bee & Lotus

Detail of Welsh Blanket design in Rockpool colourway - textile design by Bee & Lotus

Welsh Blanket 2012 Tea Towel Calendar - showing all colourways (Herring gull, Coral, Deep sea, Kelp, Rock crab, Rockpool, Traditional & Urchin)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Missing Summer

Way back in February (I swear it only feels like a few weeks ago!) my gorgeous husband whisked me off to IKEA for Valentine’s day to make a few much needed purchases for the house.

I came home that day with a red Hemnes linen cabinet. I really, really wanted a yellow one but they are a rare find in Australia! I toyed with the idea of painting it yellow but I have so many other painting projects to contend with first I have given up on yellow and embraced the RED.

It is the depths of winter in this part of the world. The coldest night in years, frozen water pipes, frosty days, chilling wind.

I miss Summer :(

I miss fresh Basil and tomatoes from the vegie patch. I miss walking barefoot. I miss the kids running about the garden in just a sun hat.

I miss Dill.

Last Summer I created a textile design based on that lovely herb, and I had Spoonflower print it onto their delicious cotton voile. I’ve made some sheer curtains for my Hemnes linen cabinet, mostly to hide the mess but also to bring a little Summer into the house. I love the way they turned out. What do you think?


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spoonflower Design Challenge: Folk tales

The theme for the weekly Spoonflower contest this time is folk tales.

I turned to my bookshelf with my cherished Russian and Ukrainian picture books for inspiration.
I have always loved the work of Ivan Bilibin, since reading his illustrated version of the tale of "Vasilisa the Beautiful" as a child of 5 or 6. His illustrations of Baba Yaga flying through the sky in her mortar/churn and her wonderful but terrible house on chicken legs remain in my mind as the most realistic and frightening witch ever realised.
I also have some vintage publications of folk tales from soviet era Ukraine. The woodcut illustrations are crudely printed but beautifully depict the hard working peasants that are the heroes of these tales of bravery and persistence.

I love the color halftone illustrations in some of the soviet era publications.
They were designed to be created cheaply by reducing the amount of ink used during printing.
I have used this halftone effect in my design "Vasilisa the Beautiful", which is not my favourite creation but perhaps the start of some fun experimentation with halftone effects.

"Vasilisa the Beautiful" - textile design by Bee & Lotus

Close ups of the Halftone pattern effect

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spoonflower Design Challenge: Black and White

This week's Spoonflower contest theme is pretty simple, it can be based on anything so long as it's pure black and white. No gradients or shades.

I based my design upon Wayang, the wonderful shadow puppet theatre of Indonesia.
You may spot some familiar forms in my Shadow Garden if you know anything of Australian wildflowers.
We are blessed with some of the most dramatically beautiful foliage in the world - at least I think so!
Hope you like my design.

Shadow Garden - textile design by Bee & Lotus

Detail of Shadow Garden

Wishing you peace this Anzac Day.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spoonflower Top Ten - I made it at last!!

Whilst checking out my recent activity on Spoonflower this morning I noticed a comment on my "Autumn Showers" rain themed design saying "Congrats on being in the top ten of this weeks contest" (thanks rhondadesigns!).
What? Me? The top ten??

A quick look at the results and there was my design, 6th out of 361 entries!
Holy moly, that was unexpected but so cool :)

So thanks everyone who voted for my design, you've really made my week.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter in Autumn

Easter is approaching fast! Here in Australia, we celebrate Easter in Autumn. It is really quite strange to be celebrating the traditional pagan Spring celebration in Autumn, but that's how it is. Come Spring there's not a choccie egg to be found in the shops, just Halloween treats!

There have been Easter eggs in the shops here since new year's day. As soon as the Christmas merchandise clears the eggs and bunnies are brought out. Gaudy, brand name, "licenced", slogan clad wrappers filled with too-sweet chocolate.

It is becoming hard to find the lovely Easter treats I remember from my childhood (and I'm not that old yet!). So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across these gorgeous vintage style Heidel chocolate bars at my local confectionist/deli!

I hope you have some luck tracking down Easter loveliness this year!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spoonflower Challenges: Rain & Project Selvage

This time I've kept my entry for the Spoonflower contest really simple. I've always loved going for a walk after an Autumn rainstorm, so I've created fallen leaf motifs and ripples to create a simple design. Hope you like it! Please be sure to vote for my (and other) designs in the Rain Spoonflower Contest next week.

Autumn Showers - textile design by Bee & Lotus

If you visit the Spoonflower website, be sure to vote for your favourite designs in the Project Selvage contest. The winner of the contest will be employed by Michael Miller as a textiles designer! I myself did enter the contest but failed to make it through to the semi-finals :( Oh well! Here is my design titled A Boy Named Peter, titled after Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

A Boy Named Peter - textile design by Bee & Lotus
A Boy Named Peter - printed on canvas

There are some absolutely wonderful designs entered and I can't wait to see the final results. The folks at Michael Miller fabrics have provided such a fantastic opportunity for one lucky designer, so show them some support and vote today! Good Luck to everyone entered in the contest, I'm sure the winner will be very deserving of the prize. xo

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Autumn dreaming

Whenever Autumn approaches I start to get strangely excited.

I long for the changing of the leaves when my mind can turn to rugging up in woolens and wellies, walking the forests and hunting for mushrooms. I start to become more sentimental as the days shorten and find myself dreaming of a home in the British countryside with a small wood burning stove to warm my feet by, wet clothes pinned up with wooden clothes pegs on the make do line inside.

No www, no
tv, no texts, no distractions. Just for a little while anyway :).

No deadly snakes and poisonous spiders finding their way into Miss Potter's house I'm sure.
How lovely it would be have all of those sweet little creatures roaming my garden!
And if they were lucky I might invite the wee critters in for a nice cup of tea....

hope you have all enjoyed your weekends.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Annie Franklin - artist and printmaker

In May 2001 I came across an ad in the local paper for an exhibition by an Australian artist named Annie Franklin. The small image of one of her paintings was enough to entice me and my sister along to her wonderful exhibition "Feast". The beauty of Annie's work actually made my sister and I cry!
I wanted so badly to take a piece of this work home with me but alas, all of the work had been sold.
I had to wait a few more years before I could purchase my very own Annie Franklin painting.
I now am very lucky to own 4 of her prints and 1 painting.

Annie has kindly agreed to let me share her work with you on my site, but if you would like to see more please visit Annie's lovely site here.

Here are some of the paintings from Annie Franklin's "Feast" exhibition in 2001.

Tain's Okra - acrylic & oil on canvas on board, 2001 Annie Franklin

Daily Harvest - acrylic & oil on canvas on board, 2001 Annie Franklin

View from the studio, Gualchos in May -
acrylic & oil on canvas & board, 2001 Annie Franklin

And some more of Annie's gorgeous work...

One Tuesday Morning - Oil & acrylic, 2005 Annie Franklin

Feathered Angels - Oil & acrylic on fabric, 2005 Annie Franklin

Friarbird and Banksia - handcoloured solar print, 2008 Annie Franklin

Moju- handcoloured solar print, 2005 Annie Franklin

Homage to Fukuoka, Spring - Oil & acrylic on board, 2009 Annie Franklin

Homage to Fukuoka, Summer - Oil & acrylic on board, 2009 Annie Franklin

Homage to Fukuoka, Autumn - Oil & acrylic on board, 2009 Annie Franklin

Homage to Fukuoka, Winter - Oil & acrylic on board, 2009 Annie Franklin

Sacred Mountains, Gulaga - oil & acrylic on canvas, 2009 Annie Franklin

Backyard Portrait, Aragunna - oil & acrylic on canvas, 2009 Annie Franklin

I hope you love Annie's work as much as I do, now I'm off to do some more work on my Project Selvage design.
Wishing you the very best weekend possible.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spoonflower Design Challenge: Paisley

This week the lovely people at Spoonflower have chosen Paisley as the subject of the weekly design competition. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the paisley pattern is made using a teardrop shaped motif. The pattern is named after a small weaving town in Scotland, and so I set my sights to my heartland to begin this design.

Dreaming of Scotland Paisley - Textile design by Bee & Lotus

In 2006 I was lucky enough to return to Scotland for the first time since emigrating to Australia with my family at age 2. I had spent the previous two decades dreaming of what I considered to be my true homeland, but I was soon to discover that Scotland is not my homeland, Australia is. Scotland will always be my heartland and will always be the land that I return to in my dreams (and occasionally in life too!).

I have included in my design “Dreaming of Scotland Paisley” places that I visited and loved and peculiar constructions that captured my imagination.

Detail of Dreaming of Scotland Paisley in white cloud colourway

See if you can spot all of these:

Museum of Scotland
Caerlaverock castle
The Dumfries Rhino (a true symbol of democracy!)
Murray Monument
Wigtown garden
Wanlockhead Miners’ library
Edinburgh Castle
Rosslyn Chapel
Forth rail bridge
Bathgate Academy
Arthur's Seat & Salisbury Crags
St. Anthony’s chapel ruins
Falkirk Wheel (an engineering marvel!)
Pictish stones
Scott monument
Calton Hill
Highland Coo
Seal statue on Arran
Benmore Botanical gardens
Portrack gardens

Dreaming of Scotland Paisley border textile design
in evening & night colourways

I am hoping to go back in a few years and take the children, but for now I will continue to dream of what I consider to be my heartland, but no longer my home.

This is my country,
The land that begat me.
These windy spaces
are surely my own.
And those who toil here
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh,
And bone of my bone.

- Sir Alexander Gray


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day at IKEA!

On Valentines day this year I was pleasantly surprised by my wonderful husband who whisked me away to IKEA for lots of browsing and a little purchasing.
A desk has been on the agenda for a while now, so it was a lovely surprise to be taken on a 285km (177 miles) journey to our closest IKEA store to purchase one. We also brought home a red Hemnes linen cabinet to store art materials and crafty goods. My first choice was the Hemnes cabinet in yellow, but it wasn't to be. Not to worry, I've always loved the colour red as you can see by the wall behind the new cabinet.
Hmmmm. Time for a fresh coat of paint on the walls me thinks.

My new Ikea Hemnes Linen (craft!) Cabinet with Bee & Lotus 2011 Tea towel calendar

On the way back home we stopped in Goulbourn, a town that is famous for the Big Merino.
We like our big things in Australia (banana, pineapple, pavlova, gumboot, potato etc.)
For years the 97 tonne Merino nicknamed "Rambo" has stood proudly, awaiting travellers between Canberra and Sydney to come and marvel and perhaps climb the steps to view the surrounding farmlands through the big fellas eyes. Rambo is a symbol of Australia's rich history in the wool industry, and a reminder of the old saying that Australia rode to prosperity on the sheep's back.

Now I'm off to organise the rest of the house.....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spoonflower Challenge: Pointillism

The next Spoonflower contest theme is Pointillism, every design entered must be created using dots of pure colour only. I really want to use my limited free time in the next few weeks to work on the following contest themed Breakfast so I set myself a time limit for the design for the Pointillism contest. 1 hr. Yep that's it, only 60 mins.

So I've kept it simple, really simple. In fact I'm a bit worried it's too simple.
oh well, I guess we'll find out soon enough :)

Get to the Point! - textile design for Spoonflower Pointillism contest

I think the design looks best at the maximum size (you can change the scale of any Spoonflower design to meet your needs). I would love to see this design made up into curtains for a child's bedroom or an art smock, even a shower curtain! I think it would be great if Spoonflower could produce custom oilcloth, although I don't know enough about digital fabric printing to know if that would be possible.I'd love to know if anyone has seen such a thing!

You can also change the pattern by selecting basic repeat, half-drop, half brick (as image) or mirror repeat.

I will be off to the coast for a few days with the family to have a well deserved break
Good luck to everyone in Queensland battening down for Cyclone Yasi


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spoonflower Design Challenge: Year of the Rabbit

One of the up and coming design themes for the weekly Spoonflower challenge is to coincide with the Chinese lunar New Year of the Rabbit.
After doing some brief research into the symbolism and meanings of bunnies in eastern cultures I came up with my design Jade Moon Rabbit. According to Chinese folklore, there is a rabbit that lives on the moon with a toad. This bunny spends his days pounding herbs with a mortar and pestle, making the elixir of life for the Immortals.
According to Japanese and Korean folklore he is actually just pounding the ingredients for rice cakes! I think I like the Chinese legend better :)
Jade Moon Rabbit - Spearmint colourway
Jade Moon Rabbit in Duck Egg Blue, Autumn Eve & Spearmint
My Jade Moon Rabbit design is available in three colourways, and can be used with my Miniature Woodland Herbarium design, also available for purchase in three colour ways. You can see these designs in more detail and my other fabric designs at my Spoonflower profile.
Miniature Woodland Herbarium in Autumn Eve colourway
Miniature Woodland Herbarium in Duck Egg Blue, Autumn Eve & Spearmint
Stay tuned for posts showing the printed fabric from Spoonflower. I have plans to make a sweet little pinafore dress for my little Ms B, although I will have to make sure it has a full skirt as she won't wear dresses that don't twirl! Are all 3-4 year old girls like this?
Have a wonderful day today, especially if you're celebrating Australia Day. My family will be celebrating at one of the free events on in the capital and dropping in on the Triple J hottest 100 songs of the year on the radio.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Zucchini Pie?

This summer has been wet, wet, wet. About 4 months ago, an official announcement was made "the drought has broken".
Here in Australia's capital we have been in drought for a decade, that meant for us no watering gardens with hoses between 10am - 7pm, and when you could water it had to be every alternate day, no running through sprinklers, no green lawns etc.

This summer has brought more rain than I have seen since I was a child. Thunderstorms every week! Rain every other day! It has been very odd, but wonderful at the same time. The Dams our city relies upon for
drinking water were around 48% full a year ago, they are now 100% full and have been for the past few months.

All of this means that every tiny scrap of vegetation is GROWING! My garden looks like a lush tropical wonderland, the grass at the roadside is up to 2 metres tall (much to my husbands dislike).

The one thing that is growing like crazy in our garden at the moment is our solitary zucchini plant. So when the kids picked a few this morning I asked them what we should make with them and the answer came back, "zucchini pie".

So here is my made up recipe for Zucchini Pie (really a quiche!)

Zucchini Pie

1 medium sized Zucchini/Courgette sliced thinly
1 sheet frozen short crust pastry
4 free range eggs
1 tomato diced
1 small onion finely chopped
1 handful of grated cheese
1 tsp Korma curry paste
1 Tbsp sour cream
1/4 tsp sea salt
ground black pepper

olive oil

Take pastry out of freezer to thaw.
Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius (365 Fahrenheit).
Grease 22cm pie tin.
Line a shallow pie tin with pastry sheet and blind bake for 10 mins then remove from oven and leave to cool a little. Leave your oven on.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan, add some olive oil and saute onions.
Add tomato, zucchini and korma paste and cook until soft.
Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Beat eggs, add sour cream, salt and pepper and beat some more. Add cheese.

Spoon tomato/zucchini mixture into pastry tin.
Pour egg mixture over tomato/zucchini and bake for around 10-15 mins or until your "pie" is golden brown on top.



Queensland Flood Crisis

The past week has been a difficult one for many Australians.
We have seen images of houses and cars being swept down streets, some with people still inside them.
We have heard stories of courage & amazing rescues but also of tremendous heartbreak.
My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones, friends and neighbours.

You can help by donating funds to the Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Appeal or the Salvation Army's Flood relief Appeal.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Pretty Good Year, well I'm sure it will be soon.....

It has been so long since my last post and so much has happened since then but not the sort of things I was hoping for. The week before Christmas a family friend who I grew up with, tragically passed away. It really has shocked me and my family deeply to realise we could lose someone so young and full of potential in the blink of an eye.
Christmas has come and gone with many lovely meals and drinks with family members and friends. New Years eve was very quiet in my household, during the week leading up to it we had in our house two cases of flu, one case of tonsillitis
and an ear infection resulting in a emergency trip to hospital to treat a perforated ear drum. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for the children :)) I was the unlucky one who had flu and the ear infection :( .

So now that's all out of the way I intend on having an outrageously wonderful and most productive 2011. There are a few things I have on my resolutions list for 2011: eat more fruit, drink more water, spend more time with people, eat more wholefoods and most importantly watch the clock less, don't worry so much and enjoy the moment :)

I received my tea towel calendar order from Spoonflower
last week, sewed them up and have seen them sent off to far corners of the world. Yes they will be a little late, but I'm sure the recipients won't mind. Here are some snaps of the design printed onto cotton/linen fabric.

My trusty vintage Husqvarna

Pretty Good Year tea towel design on Cotton/Linen fabric

Close up of January-February

Sending all of you positive thoughts and lots of creative energy for the start of this new year of ours.