Fixed. If you've signed in to Spoonflower today, you may have noticed an error message on the user home page… sorry about that. We should have it fixed shortly, but in the meantime you can still get to your Designs page by going directly to: http://www.spoonflower.com/designs
It’s all over now and thank goodness! I like Christmas and all but however lovely and joyous it is, it’s always a relief to me when it’s done. Now, there’s just the relaxing and reflecting part to revel in. My oldest daughter is off from school til the year turns and we can all hang out and make things because we want to and not just because we have a project with a deadline on our to-do list.
I think you all know at this point that Stephen and I decided to give only handmade gifts for Christmas this year. We did cave a bit towards the end and put store-bought candy and some other purchased odds and ends in the stockings. And after some skepticism, Stephen elected to include things made with a computer under the umbrella of handmade. (Which I’m glad about because I am the delighted owner of a fantastic new mix CD with some bands I’d never heard of before but now LOVE. Beirut, LCD Soundsystem, TV on the Radio…)
I’ve made the executive decision to always have handmade Christmases from now on and am even toying with the idea of making a personal policy of exclusively handmade gift-giving. Aside from the benefits I mentioned in this post, there was an additional perk I wasn’t expecting to have happen. I don’t know about the rest of you, but on Christmas mornings past, we’ve had bag after ridiculous bag of packaging scraps, plastic casings, and shredded wrapping paper to take out. A family of four–and this year, of five!–generates a lot of packaging waste. But this year? We had hardly any clean-up and only one not-quite-full bag of un-reusable wrapping paper to take out. All the love and none of the guilt! I love that.
In the interest of full disclosure here, I will mention one downside. If you’re the kind of guy person who likes to do the vast majority of your gift procurement on Christmas Eve, hand-making everything may not be for you. Because you probably can’t get it all done in one day. You know, I’m just sayin’.
Congratulations to Laurie Wisbrun, of Austin, whose lovely “Birdies On Chairs” (one version of it, at any rate) won this week’s contest. You can buy her fabric for the next week in the Spoonflower Etsy shop, and after that you’ll have to limit yourself to the fabulous items for sale in Laurie’s Etsy shop, Scarlet Fig.
The final tally on last week’s voting was as follows:
- “Cars” by Jessica Ojala: 190
- “Indigo_Dreams” by arpita pitroda: 219
- “Birdies on Chairs” by Laurie Wisbrun: 561
- “Monsters” by Cara Angelotta: 107
The choices this week include:
Clouds & stars by Stephanie Diederich
Be sure to vote this week.
I’ve been making holiday gifts by hand for a few years now, but this is the first year that I took the plunge and vowed to give only handmade gifts for the holidays. With Christmas so close, and the whole country, it seems, plunged into the final, wild throes of gift-procuring I’ve had several people ask me lately how it’s going with my gift-making. They ask me this with a strange look on their faces–I’d say equal parts sympathy and pity with perhaps a touch of surety that I’ve either given it up or am going completely insane with the effort. My answer? It’s going great!
I can’t tell y’all how liberating it is to walk into–or past!–any store lately and know that I don’t need to worry about one single thing inside. Nothing! But perhaps you already knew that. And then there’s the fact that I actually enjoy making things, so having an excuse to be at the sewing table as often as I’ve been lately is really nice.
I do have a wee bit of anxiety that the relatively humble gifts I’ve planned and made will disappoint those that I’ve made them for, especially the kids on my list. My oldest daughter, sophisticated 10-year old that she is, will be able to remember Christmases past to compare this one to, and I didn’t go out of my way to whip up over-the-top gifts to “make up” for them not being store-bought. But hopefully, the uniqueness factor will appeal to the older kids and, of course, the littler ones won’t be able to remember anything different if I start them young.
Other than that, it’s been about as low-stress as a Christmas can be. And on top of that tremendous benefit, all this creativity is just making me more inspired! I’ve got a number of projects in mind already to make for myself after I’m done making things for everyone else. Money-saving? Reduced stress? Creative inspiration? Why would I ever go back? I hope all your making is going just as well!
(The owl pillows in the photo above are from Amy Schimler’s free pattern here on the Robert Kaufman website. Amy’s blog is Red Fish Circle, and you can see some of the fabrics we printed for her recently here. Her Etsy shop, where you can buy some of her colorful fabrics for yourself, is here.)
Well, it's official. JoyBucket's design titled "Girls" is the winner of our most recent fabric-of-the-week contest, so for exactly one week (12/15-12/21), you can buy her fabulous design in the Spoonflower Etsy shop:
The final tallies were "bloom_in_red" by Rachel Walsh: 379,
"OUToftheBOX003" by Dawn Huntington, 86;
"girls" by Susan, 595
"collage_fabric_cropped" by joyce vance, 500 . Thank you to all of you for participating!
Voting on this week's winning design begins today, and we have another terrific crop of designs to choose from:
Clockwise from upper left:
- "Monsters" by Cara Angelotta, Chicago
- "Indigo_Dreams" by arpita pitroda
- "Birdies on Chairs" by
- "Cars" by Jessica Ojala of Vermont
Don't forget to vote for the fabric of the week before this week's contest ends this afternoon (3pm EST).
The designs are:"collage_fabric_cropped" by joyce vance of Birmingham, Alabama, "OUToftheBOX003" by Dawn Huntington of Vista, California, "girls" by JoyBucket, and
"bloom_in_red" by Rachel Walsh of Dublin, Ireland.
Let me just say right off the bat that I do not follow celebrity news, like, at all. I’ve never cared one iota what the rich and beautiful are up to. There are so many other, better things to think about, right? Let me say, too, that I almost never listen to commercial radio. One benefit of living in Chapel Hill is that we have a number of great college radio stations to choose from, and I much prefer that music and those dj’s. The lack of obnoxious commercials every few seconds is also a perk.
Ok. So now that I’ve established myself as a total snob, I can tell you that yesterday I had on the worst of the worst local commercial radio stations while driving the girls to library story time. They were playing round-the-clock Christmas carols, see, and naturally WXYC is not. We were pulling into the library parking lot, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” sung by who-knows-this-time came to an end, and the lady dj came on. I was just thinking, “Glad we’ll be missing her,” when she busted out a heartening piece of celebrity trivia.
It was this: Kate Hudson is knitting all her Christmas gifts this year. Apparently, she and her family are cutting back on purchases for the holidays, too (though I suspect her idea of expendable cash is rather different from the rest of us). And I thought to myself, well, alright! Yay! Maybe something good will come out of this recession after all if handmaking becomes mainstream! Personally, I’d love to see that happen, even if it is awfully fun to shock my non-crafty friends with the news that I made the skirt I’m wearing or those napkins they’re wiping their mouths with or the like. Wouldn’t you?
Being crazy busy lately has meant that we’ve been fitting Spoonflower into our lives whenever and wherever possible. Stephen checks help emails first thing in the morning and well into nighttime hours these days. Whenever my two younger daughters are sleeping at the same time, I’m on the computer dealing with help emails, browsing our Flickr pool and your blog posts, and, more rarely these days, composing my own Spoonflower blog posts. When I’m packaging orders, it’s usually on the weekends while Stephen stays home with the girls. Or it’s early in the morning before anyone even wakes up. I got up at 5:30 this morning to go into work and walked blearily out of Spoonflower HQ with a big post office lug of 30+ packages to mail. Such is the life of a start-up. It’s mostly fun, often tiring, but inspiring and interesting daily.
I recently found a great new way to pass those quiet hours cutting and wrapping fabric, though. Obviously, craft blog surfing and rotary cutting fabric don’t mix, but craft-related podcasts fit the bill very nicely. The fact that there are intelligent, interesting women talking about all things sewing- and craft-related on-line is probably not real big news to a lot of you out there, but I confess that this is a pretty new thing to me. It’s WAY better than NPR in my book, and a good Craftypod episode from Sister Diane is the perfect match for an early morning fabric cutting session. Browse through her long list of episdoes–an interview with Stephen is one of them!–and after you’ve exhausted all that good stuff, check out her sidebar of other crafty podcasters. I guarantee you’ll find someone–and certainly some new inspiration–that you love.
Another crafty podcaster I ran across recently is Tina Seamonster at Hello Craft. Her blog is an awesome resource, but her podcasts are what really stand out for me. They’re made by other crafters who call in and make a recording about their crafting lives. I love these little windows into why other people make things and absolutely plan to record my own once I figure out what I want to say. Click here for details on how you can contribute your own story of why you make things. I can’t wait to hear it!
Congratulations to Carolina Harris! This week her "Applesfinalhalf" design narrowly beat out "Emma's Owl" by Rachael Barkess. For the next seven days you can buy her lovely fabric in the Spoonflower store on Etsy. You can also see more of Carolina's work at her blog Beyond Wonderland.[Oops: bad link. Let's try her current blog, also called Beyond Wonderland.]
The final tallies were:
- "paraplyer" by Linn Bodur: 217
- "Untitled-7" by Aloramyst: 102
- "Emma's Owl" by Rachael Barkess : 398
- "applesfinalhalf" by Carolina Harris: 436
Don't forget to vote again this week! The designs are:"collage_fabric_cropped" by joyce vance
of Birmingham, Alabama, "OUToftheBOX003" by Dawn Huntington of Vista, California, "girls" by JoyBucket, and
"bloom_in_red" by Rachel Walsh of Dublin, Ireland.
If you haven't weighed in yet in this week's fabric of the week contest, the results are close this time so be sure to VOTE. Right now Carolina Harris of San Jose, California, design leads Rachael Barkess of Perth, Australia by about 40 votes. Results so far are here, and voting will close around 3pm EST on Sunday, December 7.