The next chapter


I’ve spent the last six months seriously exploring pattern, surface design and related tools and techniques. Sitting down in January to do taxes means a hard look at what has made money and what hasn’t. It’s now time to get serious (but still play!)

So in that vein and knowing that some good things can’t be rushed. I’m working hard on the business end of things - really focusing on getting rid of those limiting thoughts and pushing through the noise of the Internet. I’ll be moving some things around and also really zooming in on my strengths - making more designs like the one above that combine my love or gardening with folk art. It’s simple, it’s abstract, and yet it was drawn from real life - a snowdrop picked just yesterday. Art is certainly subjective and yet there are ways to add value and not just more choices - that’s important too for this next phase of entrepreneurial greatness…

Solving my own design problems

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Welcome to my upstairs living room aka the winter snug - a cozy room for watching TV or having a cup of tea while watching the snow fall over the meadow. It had been completely covered in floral wallpaper… now it’s bare and ready for its next incarnation.

But what to do? I’m planning to move my comfy loveseat up here - it just fits in the dormer. It already has two slipcovers - gray velvet for winter and seafoam linen for summer so any color scheme has to fit those in. So I’ve been making designs in a set color scheme to see what might work. Here are a few of the mock-ups:

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I’m still sitting on a final decision but I’ve had lots of fun making designs based on flowers in the garden and woodland - trying to bring a sense of the place inside the house…

Starting down a folk art path

I’m easily distracted. And I really love color and whimsy. I’m not sure what kicked it off, I think it might have been a Skillshare class but I’ve found myself obsessing over folk art florals and capturing my garden plants through that lens.

Here’s an example

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I just want to keep making more, so I plan to devote some time over Christmas to just play and see what happens - with snowdrops, leaves, whatever takes my fancy.

Locally Inspired

Fiction writers are told to write the book they want to read rather than the one they think will sell. Trends can be a ticket to fame or the best way to get lost in a crowd. When it comes to design, I think the same dynamic applies. I certainly find trends to be an interesting dynamic and a way to add constraints to an open-ended brief. If you don’t have a color scheme in mind, why not explore the new ‘hot’ colors? You can always toss them and do something else if it’s not working.

I have a small upstairs room under renovation that I want to decorate with my own work - but having looked through what I’ve done so far, nothing seemed quite right. So I’ve embarked on a mini project - focusing on five main colors - to create designs drawn from my immediate surroundings and as potential candidates for this cozy little room. It will be the evening snug, the winter hidey-hole with an overstuffed love seat in the dormer, tv and good reading light.

Two of the five colors were dictated by existing upholstery/soft furnishings; seafoam green and gray, the remaining three were drawn from a purple glass vase, a fern and a green/white hydrangea in the front yard. I’m not ruling out white/black or shades and contrasting colors but these five form the main palette.

I want the room to feel like part of its surroundings so I’m focusing on designs that relate to the garden, woods, and landscape. So far I’ve done a simply hydrangea blossom and a fern design. I’m liking this direction and can’t wait to see where I end up!

My (temporary) Patron Saint of Social Media

Social media bewilders me - how can someone with four posts have 2000 followers? I’d like to blame it on my age, but the need to get eyeballs on your work in order to sell it is a pretty timeless problem. And I’m not alone in wishing there was either a) a magic formula that actually worked or b) someone else to do it for me or c) that I hadn’t avoided it for so long.

Regardless, we are in the age where if my bot doesn’t follow back your bot it’s going to unfollow and get-thin-quick somehow thinks that following a pattern designer is going to… what? I have no idea, but it was probably a bot too.

When this all begins to feel human-less and just odd I look up to the wall over my desk to “young lady of Lyon” who looks perpetually worried about her number of Instagram followers. Since she’s had that look on her face since 1775 I can last a little bit longer.


I found her at a nearby charity shop for the princely sum of $10. While I have the academic chops to discuss this print in great historic detail, I bought it because it makes me giggle. I’m going to let her worry about follower counts from here on out. I’ll be over in the corner muttering hashtags to myself.

Following the distraction


I’m not exactly sure how - I think a combination of something on Pinterest plus ink pens being in with the watercolor supplies - and suddenly I’m fascinated with the combination of ink and watercolor. Not the usual black line containing color but rather line ends, color caps it off.

I think this will evolve into something far better (eventually) but in the meantime I’m pushing the perfectionist aside and just getting on with making art and putting it out there. A part of me likes the informality of a slight jig and jag in a line (and another part really doesn’t!) I do think there may be potential with current trends towards looking handmade… Digitizing it has it’s own tricks but I’m working it out.

Thoughts? Would you go in a different direction?


Introducing Uncle Henry

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My Uncle Henry was a character. A veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I he claimed to have taught Roosevelt how to use a machine gun (possible and feasible but not verified) and later as a telegrapher in Chicago to have been the one to broadcast the famous moment when Babe Ruth pointed and hit - also not verified, but with the wonderfully plausible cover that he was the one reporting it because nobody else in the press box was paying attention! He went on to become a union organizer and took great pride in getting equal pay for women telegraphers.

He also took great pride in his handwriting, carefully lining even envelopes before writing out the address. This font is based on that handwriting with some modifications to make it work in the modern world.  Most of it is based on a 2-page letter he sent me when I was fifteen and he was in his nineties entitled "Research on Embalmed Mummies".  That pretty much sums up Uncle Henry!

Uncle Henry, the font, will be going on sale next week. I've no idea if it has commercial appeal, but as a labor of love I'm convinced it will find its place, even if its just on family Christmas cards.