Friday, July 26, 2013

blog lovin' tour // celebration

Hello everyone! and welcome to the seventh and last week of The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin' tour.
The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they've craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You's Blog Lovin' Tour, which I'm thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more and join us, read here!

This week is all about celebration. As I mentioned two weeks ago, I have lots to be grateful and celebrate this year (both professionally and personally). How do I usually celebrate big or small happy events? Well… my favourite treat used to be food, but that has to change now that I'm taking a different path on my new self-care journey. I have to learn and stop rewarding myself with food (not that it is wrong for you… it is for me though because I'm trying not to depend so much on my glutton soul). I also like celebrating by sharing my achievement with my loved ones and spending time with them (a movie, a trip, a phone call…), or a little shopping (it doesn't have to be anything super fancy… a nice and new nail polish will serve the purpose!) 

My to-do list is long… very loooooong, and it get's longer every day. I'm sure I could set daily baby goals that would serve as celebration milestones. However, at the moment, I have a particular goal set: to lose weight and exercise (and hopefully learn to enjoy it.) I also know how I'll celebrate each size dropped: giving away the big clothes until I have nothing else left; once I get to my ideal weight (and size), I'll get to treat myself with a new wardrobe!!! Part of my new wardrobe will be designed and sewn by me, yaaaaay! I've always dreamt of making my own clothes (a mini collection for myself that will hopefully get people's attention and become the start of my very own fashion line), but never have because I just haven't felt I could pull my own designs off. When the time to fill my new closet arrives, my biggest celebration move will be to actually sit down, design and manufacture a capsule collection for myself (that I will of course share with you all, so stay tuned for when that moment comes :P )

PS. Self-care update: exactly 5 weeks ago I took the step that will hopefully change my life forever. Everyday that passes I feel better. Eating again is an entire different experience. I'm now eating a wider variety of foods, and it isn't as hard as it used to be a couple of weeks ago. I'm actually starting to enjoy eating (even if just a little bit), and have started to feel psychologically better (I was feeling stressed and afraid eating was going to become a torture and I wasn't going to ever again enjoy the little I could eat.) I've already lost one fourth of the total weight I want to lose, and even though I haven't thrown anything away yet, clothes have already started to feel looser… oh yeah!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

blog lovin' tour // money

Hello everyone! and welcome to the sixth and last week of The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin' tour.
The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they've craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You's Blog Lovin' Tour, which I'm thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more and join us, read here!

This week is all about the money, money, money! (now I can't stop thinking of The Apprentice soundtrack, lol.) If everyday you ask a child what s/he wants to be when grown up, s/he will probably say something different every time. Well… that wasn't my case. Ever since I can remember I've always wanted to be a designer. However for one reason my father didn't really took me seriously, so when I finished high-school and told him I was going to study Design he totally freaked out! He wanted me to study Business because according to him you can do whatever you want with that and because that would grant me a future of economic serenity. He asked me how was I planning to make a living off designing; he said designers, like artists and musicians, couldn't make a living and that I couldn't live off a dream. You know what I said? I told him I wasn't choosing design because of what I expected to earn but because that's what I love. I told him I wasn't going to choose a career just because that meant I would have gotten a nice salary at the end of the month, and that even if it most probably was going to be hard, I knew doing what I love and my passion and enthusiasm would have taken me far. 

The truth is, it isn't easy (but I already knew that.) I'm not yet paying my bills designing (although I have in the past), but I still wouldn't have taken a different path. As I told you last time, I have another job that allows me to pay the bills and even though that brings home the bacon (for the moment), I couldn't just quit my dream and do that because it could potentially be a good source of money.

We all want to pretend and believe that money doesn't buy happiness and isn't the most important thing in life, but the truth is, money does help and money does make you happy (but only if you earn it doing what you love.) In Colombia I'm fortunate and I have many comforts I don't in Italy. It's been my choice to give up those luxuries, not because I don't like them, but because I want to get them myself. Both my parents have always worked hard to get what they have, and they have taught me the value of work and not having everything given for granted. I know as parents they want my sister and I to have it all, but it feels much better when you've earned that all yourself. 

I've not only always dreamt of being a designer, I've dreamt of being a rich and famous one (yup… even if that sounds childish!) I want one day have a lot of money to be able to do the second thing I love the most (travel), live wherever I want, and have the so hoped economic serenity my dad dreams for me. But I also want to be rich to help my family (especially my parents), to pamper all of them and give them serenity too, and I've always dreamt of having and animal shelter, a school with emphasis on the Arts for not so privilege kids, and a nice home for elderly people in Colombia to spend their last days in peace. I want money  and I would be lying if I said it wasn't important to me. It is, but not in a greedy selfish way… I want it to share it. 

I'm not close to that financial serenity yet, but I firmly believe that if you do what you love, the money will come along. It might not be immediate, but I'm sure when it does, the satisfaction will be enormous!

Monday, July 15, 2013

teaching // Reign Repeats :: session 1 :: winners

Sofia, Lucia and Robin!!! You are the 3 happy winners of Spoonflower fab prizes. Please email me your full names, postal address, phone number, and email so that I can give Spoonflower your info for them to give you your goodies :)

Picnic Ants
FIRST PLACE- picnic ants by Sofia Figueiredo

classy picnic
SECOND PLACE- classy picnic by Lucia Barabas

Picnic Blueprint for Bug Access
THIRD PLACE- picnic blueprint for bug access by Robin Pickens

Over 424 people voted and the blogpost had almost 1000 views this past week (woohoo!) I closed the contest yesterday at midnight (Colombian time) and these were the final results:
results updated on midnight July 14th, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

blog lovin' tour // success

Hello everyone! and welcome to the fifth and last week of The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin' tour.
The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they've craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You's Blog Lovin' Tour, which I'm thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more and join us, read here!

Success is such a big word and it is usually socially associated with the amount of money or possessions you have acquired thanks to your job. Every year when my birthday gets closer (fiy… it's on August 15th, hehehe) I think of what I've done in the past year and where those actions have taken me. In other words, I reflect on my year's success  I don't think so much about the amount of money in my bank account ('cause there's usually none at the end of the month, but hopefully my hard work will soon pay off, right?), but on how I've grown personally and professionally through the year compared to the previous one.

It's been a while since I've felt successful, not so much on the personal level but on the professional one. Right until I graduated university in 2008 I felt pretty good when doing my yearly recap: I was a good student, I got accepted in the best Colombian university, I was then one of the five chosen to go to Milan as an exchange student, decided to transfer to Italy and bust my a** off Summer 2006 to pay for the expensive tuition, was able to pay for almost all my living expenses in my new city so that I wouldn't be an economic burden on my family, and graduated on time. I felt pretty proud of myself and believed everything I had ever done was only going to make my journey a successful one.

Reality isn't as easy as I imagined. Time to find a real job in Fashion design arrived and it wasn't as simple as I'd thought. I got offered a couple of internships but all unpaid (which for me wasn't possible because I had to pay the bills.) Many things happened, many non-fashion related jobs came, and then some related to it arrived. I worked for a fashion house and learnt a lot (though I lost my creative soul there since designing for them meant copying from the high-fashion brands… awful!) I don't regret the experience though… I didn't do much real designing (just copying) but I learnt many other things and had the chance to travel to China for business. After a year, my time there was over; it wasn't a happy or healthy work environment, so I quit. Thought all my new experience and skills were just going to help get a new much better job (the one I've always dreamt) in a blink of an eye. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and in order for me to pay the bills I started teaching English and Spanish (like when I was student) and on a side, started making hand-tailored clothes for private clients and designing textiles to sell on Spoonflower. I didn't feel fulfilled… to be honest, I felt very frustrated that after all my hard work and dedication, I wasn't working on what I really love. I kept going while getting a job in fashion seemed always more difficult. I had a couple of interviews but none ended up in job offers (some were just more unpaid offers.) Then I was told I was never going to get a job in fashion being fat (yes, that hurt! a lot!)

Since I was a little girl I'd always dreamt with having my own fashion line, but before doing so, I really wanted to work for a famous and important fashion house to learn from the best. That didn't happen. Don't know if it ever will… I like to think everything is still possible even if I was told by my family to let it go, that my dream was never going to come true if it hadn't already, that I should just do something else and that I was too old to just keep pursuing a dream (that hurt too!) Then I met Angharad, an amazing Textile master while being her assistant in a Textile Design Summer course in 2011 (she's an amazing teacher and a great person.) I decided to take some private classes at her school (check it out because she offers many interesting workshops taught by great worldwide recognised artists and designers), and one day she told me: 'why don't you just start something of your own?' I told her I was scared and I didn't feel I had the necessary experience to go on my own. She said being scared was normal, and that I just had to take the risk. If I failed, at least I tried, but if I succeeded, then maybe those who so far have chosen not to employ me, would notice me and ask me to collaborate with them. I would never forget her advice. She was right… I had to dive in, even if that meant being scared. In Colombia we say: 'you have to risk an egg to earn a chicken' and I felt that way. While I tried to figure out where and how to start, I came across The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design e-course and my new journey started.

It's been almost a year since I finished the course, and for the first time in a really long time, I feel this birthday recap will make me feel awesome! I'm still teaching English and Spanish (it is still my safe money while designing becomes all I do), but I've finally found myself in the professional world. Since my last birthday I've learnt a lot about myself and my work, signed 3 licensing deals, was one of the Top 10 REPEAT(ed) designers, signed with A Fresh Bunch, I recently finished my first Skillshare class which was a total success and I'm working on new courses. This year I feel successful and it has nothing to do with how much I've earned but with how much joy and satisfaction my actions have brought to me this year. I'm not done yet… not at all. I'm only starting… I'd say, I'm just getting ready to start the marathon. After such a long time I've come to realised that it's the little successes in life that make up the big success at the end of it all. I used to judge my accomplishments too hard. Either I was working as a designer or I wasn't and that determined my level of frustration. Now I know it isn't that black and white and that there are many little (and big) things I have to contemplate. Plus, being successful is not only having a good career but also being a good person with yourself, your loved ones, society and our beautiful planet Earth (but this post has gotten way too long, so let's talk about that another time.) :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

teaching // Reign Repeats :: session 1 :: student showcase

A month ago, my first Skillshare class Reign Repeats: Create Perfect Repeat Patterns in Illustrator started. As part of the first three weeks of the class, I promised the students to showcase my favourite 15 designs and run a contest to choose the top 3 that will win fab prizes donated by the amazing Spoonflower.

Choosing the 15 below wasn't easy because all of the projects I've seen so far are great. I'm really proud of all of my students for the beautiful work they've created and the dedication they've shown in the class. However, a decision had to be made and I'm really sorry I couldn't just choose you all. I chose the following designs based mainly on three criteria: repeat layout, colour use and originality of their concept. 

Stephanie is an Illustrator newbie so I was really impressed by her final design. Her motifs are beautiful and the picnic theme is clearly portrayed in an original way.
Every Birdy Loves A Picnic
A- every birdy loves a picnic by Stephanie Sims

Kate's amazing illustrator skills captivated me since the beginning. I'm just in love with her water-colour drawings and that egg!!! Her illustrations make me want to eat all of those ingredients and her colour palette really speaks Mediterranean :)
Salad Niçoise
B- salad niçoise by Kate England

Sofias's design is whimsical and cute. I love the way she created a doodled ant trail creating an interesting texture in her design. 
Picnic Ants
C- picnic ants by Sofia Figueiredo

Elise's design seems simple, but it really isn't. The way she worked her motifs scaling them down and flipping and rotating them resulted in a beautiful floral design where spotting the repeat tile isn't quite that simple. I really believe that 'less is more' and Elise has proven to me once again that it is true. oh! and her colour palette is really on trend for this Summer!
daisy field picnic
D- daisy field picnic by Elise Bourne

Kirsten is one of the few that work the theme as a geometric design and not a conversational one. She wanted to create a gingham 2.0 and I really think she nailed it! Her process was wonderful… she created so many variants and then evolved her favourite until she got this clean but yet interesting design. I'm sure this design has everything to become the new picnic must-have pattern. 
Gingham v2
E- gingham v2 by Kirsten Blakerman

Another water-colour genius! Also Helena amazed me with her illustration skills and even more with how she turned them into beautiful vector motifs. I love how all the motifs seem to fall in the right and exact place and how she scattered those tiny ants that look so real! I also like the background subtle texture she created.
Picnic Fruit
F- picnic fruit by Helena Harvey

The first thing I thought when I saw this design was: so unique! and yes, it is. It is a very clever take on the theme and that just fascinated me. 
Picnic Blueprint for Bug Access
G- picnic blueprint for bug access by Robin Pickens

Celia's design first caught my attention for its bright pop colours (totally my kind of colour palette) and the 50s diner look. I think in spite of its retro feeling, it is modern take on the theme filled with energy and personality.
Googie Picnic
H- googie picnic by Celia Forrester

When I see this design elegant and romantic come to mind… well, you know what? That's exactly what Lucia's picnic concept was so she created the perfect design to communicate it and that's just fab! I really like her colour palette and how perfectly she used it. 
classy picnic
I- classy picnic by Lucia Barabas

Karla's motifs are adorably happy! How cute are the dancing fruit and the singing birds? The whole scene is just perfect and so is her use of colour and textures. 
Picnic dancers
J- picnic dancers by Karla Nunes

Kiri is another great illustrator. Her motifs looks so real to me. She also chose a beautiful colour palette and created a beautiful ogee pattern that looks really chic
Chickadee Picnic (small)
K- chickadee picnic by Kiri Moth

Quirky motifs, fun bright colours and a great tossed layout made me love this pattern. Louise was one of the few to create a large repeat tile, which allowed her to create a pattern where spotting the tile is difficult. All motifs are beautifully spaced and even though there's a lot going on, there's enough room for the eyes to 'breath'.
Lazy days
L- lazy days by Louise Parr

Paula created so many patterns with in her pattern that a huge collection could come out of this amazing design. I really love how she played with the outlined motifs and some filled spaces. The thermos are so old-school they should all be in a retro museum of some sort. Also her food motifs are pretty cool and so is her colour palette (very That 70s Show - it reminds me of Eric's basement, lol). oh! and the background texture just makes it all perfect!
Retro Flasks
M- retro flasks by Paula Woods

Margaret's bears are sooooooo cute. They remind me of Winni the Pooh's classic illustrations. The overall design is really beautiful and I really like the way she arranged the motifs to create repeating crests
Picnic for Bear
N- picnic for bear by Margaret Kelly

Finally but not least, this design just screams CUTE to me. The motifs are beautiful, the use of textures creates interest and the tossed layout just makes it all very playful.
If You Go Down to the Woods Today
O- if you go down to the woods today by Apple Mint Designs

Please vote for your favourite design below (only one vote per person allowed) and don't forget to leave a comment below if you want to say something to the designers. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to know what you all think. The winners will be announced next Monday here. The first place will receive a Spoonflower Welcome Pack, and the second and third places will each get a USD$25 Spoonflower gift certificate.