Monday 24 September 2012

Birthdays and more

Last week was a terribly busy one - my baby turned six, I turned forty-something, it was the last week of school with Letterland Day for the Preppies, on the weekend we had Robbie's Olympic birthday party, and today and tomorrow my eldest son is competing at the Gymnastics State and National Club Championships in Caloundra (guess who's chauffeuring). I got a lovely, handmade birthday present: this donut pincushion from my friend Kate (and a new smartphone to Instagram it with, yay!).

It has been getting quite warm here in Brisbane in the last few days, which inspired me to make another Burlap Beach Pillow. And I put a kookaburra in a hoop:

On Wednesday we are going to our caravan at Wooyung Beach for a short holiday. I am looking forward to it soooo much! See you next week :-).

Saturday 15 September 2012

Aqua and Burlap Pencil Roll

The Burlap Pencil Roll I showed here a while ago quite unexpectedly became a big hit on Etsy - it has been on the front page twice and been viewed more than a thousand times since I first listed it on 12 August! (gasp!)
I have sold so many that it is now a 'made to order' item. It was also featured on the Illustration Friday blog (along with some other gorgeous pencill rolls and cases). Wow! what an experience! :-)

Today I thought I'd try a different design for a pencil roll. I used a piece of burlap that I had threaded with turquoise (thinking I might use it for a quilt but then changing my mind). I also added a 'flap' to fold over the pencils, so they can't fall out.

What do you think? I am quite happy with the latest addition to my pencil roll collection!

(not that I am keeping it - I still have the one that started it all and really, how many pencil rolls does a girl need? So it's up for sale, and remember: you still get 20% off by using coupon code ETSYVERSARY at check-out!)

Thursday 13 September 2012


Remember Lily and Gus, the Etsy shop I featured here in March? I got one of their whales for my youngest son, who loves cuddly toys. I gave it to him when he had a migraine and had just vomited all over his beloved Bear...

While Bear was cleaned, Walfie kept him company, and he quickly became one of Robbie's favourites. He took him along when we went to Europe and there a very sad thing happened... We stayed in many different places and somewhere along the way Walfie got lost :-(. Robbie was devastated, and once we were back home I asked Ashley if she could make another whale like the one we had. She could, and did, and it arrived here last week. Robbie was overjoyed, and so was Bear!

Meanwhile, Lily and Gus is a finalist in the Martha Stewart Presents American Made Awards - how awesome is that?! If you click on the link you can vote for them, and go in the draw for the sweepstakes as well!

Wednesday 12 September 2012


Today is the first anniversary of my Blue Jacaranda shop on Etsy! It's been a great year and I am looking forward to the next one. To celebrate I am offering a 20% discount on all items in my shop - just use the coupon code ETSYVERSARY at check-out.

The stretched burlap print has been added to the shop yesterday and the bicycle word art print in-a-hoop today. The other hoop art prints will be added tomorrow - now that this business is my main source of income, I am planning to add a new item every day.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Designing fabric

Yesterday I designed this fabric (and some more) on Spoonflower. I thought you might be interested in the design process. The picture above shows the fat quarter view (21 x 18 inch); below is the swatch view (8x8 inch):

To create this fabric I used a set of stacked boxes that we got for one of my sons when he was a baby:

I made a series of photos of the boxes, seen from above:

... and cropped and edited them with Picasa (free photo-editing software):

Then I uploaded the photos to Spoonflower and used their Change Colors tool to do just that:

Spoonflower allows you to view the following layout options for your design: centered; basic repeat; half drop; half brick and mirror repeat (go here and have a look to see what I am talking about). My Stacked designs look great in mirror repeat - or so I think! - because it gives them that log cabin-ness, but basic repeat also looks good:

If you haven't tried Spoonflower yet, do give it a go - it's so much fun! After you have ordered a test swatch you can also put your fabric up for sale, and earn 10% of the sales (Spoonflower gets the rest, because they do everything except designing - printing the fabric, cutting it and sending it to the customer). My Dutch Houses and Calligrammar collections supply me with a nice bit of pocket money every month.

When ordering your design you can choose from 10 different fabrics - among them basic combed cotton, cotton voile, cotton silk, cotton knit and silk crepe de chine. I had a fat quarter of my Colour Pencils design printed on linen-cotton canvas:

.. and used it to make another Rainbow Pencil Roll:

Do let me know if you have designed any fabrics on Spoonflower!

Monday 10 September 2012

Burlap Doily Pillow

My ongoing love affair with burlap has produced a new item. I added a vintage doily (bought from an Australian vintage seller on Etsy, as I couldn't find any in my local op shop) and created this small pillow.
Don't you just love the combination of the rough burlap and the sweet, I would almost say virginal, doily? ;-)
In the shop now!

Saturday 8 September 2012

Bleeding Heart Market

Here I am in front of my stall at the Bleeding Heart Market yesterday.

The weather was perfect, the location was beautiful (the deck of an old Queenslander; the historic School of Arts Building in Ann Street) and my fellow stall-holders were lovely - the only problem was that there were so few customers!

There was very little signage to lead people to the market - we even took turns going out in the street to tell people about it - most were very surprised and happy to come and have a look. The few people that came seemed to like my products and I sold enough to cover the cost of the stall, but it was disappointing nevertheless. I don't think I will be back next month. Oh well...

This weekend I am trying to put some of the things I learned at the conference into practice. For instance, I am giving Twitter another go - if you would like to follow me, I am @lindarobertus.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Artful Business Conference

Yesterday and today I was at the Artful Business Conference. It was an amazing experience; extremely inspiring, stimulating and useful. The location was perfect (Portside Wharf in Hamilton, Brisbane - we even had workshops on the deck overlooking the river!), as were the speakers. Russell Allert (above) had great tips on how to use social media to promote your business which I will certainly put to use. His blog is extremely helpful too!

Jess Van Den's presentation was very entertaining and inspiring and Megan Auman had invaluable advice about pricing. I will definitely be working on that!

The catering was terrific, as was the view:

I also quite liked the lighting in the main conference room:

And last but not least, I met some lovely people who are in the same boat as I am - trying to get their handmade business up and running. I'm sure we will keep in touch and cheer eachother on!

So, two very valuable days but no time yet to reflect on it (and adjust my prices ;-)), for tomorrow I am at the Bleeding Heart Market in the City! If you're in town come and check it out!

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Busy week

How lucky am I?! I have won a ticket to the Artful Business Conference in a giveaway at the Epheriell blog. It is on here in Brisbane tomorrow and Thursday! This is such a good moment, as I am still jobless, so lots of time to devote to my artful business, Blue Jacaranda. And on Friday I have a stand at the Bleeding Hearts Market, 166 Ann St, Brisbane. Busy week!

Speaking of jacarandas... In the next few weeks they will start flowering again, until the end of October. This is definitely my favourite time of the year in Brisbane - sunny and warm, but not hot and humid yet. I made the photo above a few years ago and am looking forward to making lots of jacaranda photos again this year!

Saturday 1 September 2012


It's still very quiet on this blog... I am busy quilting the new quilt and, as always when I am at the quilting stage, not happy at all. I will probably feel different when the quilt is finished, but again I have that horrible feeling 'why did I spoil that lovely quilt top with this awful quilting?' :-(

So today, to cheer myself up, I tried something new; stretching screen printed fabric in embroidery hoops. Wouldn't these look lovely in a nursery?

They are in the process of being added to the shop...

And last but not least, here is a photo that I made last Sunday at the beach:

I'm very proud of my big boy AND of the photo! ;-)