Thursday, May 15, 2014

A busy month!

Since I last posted, we have moved to Sonora! Very lovely forested location, deer and turkeys wandering by all the time, but still close to grocery stores and the like. Despite the move I've still managed to keep entering the weekly contests, so I have a few to catch up on.

First, the theme was lilies. I combined actual lilies and fleur-de-lis. The colors I got from the list of prize winning varieties of lilies from Wikipedia, collected on a board here. The background is the same pattern as I used for the bark on my bonsai trees, and the leafy pattern on the fleur-de-lis is the "kelp" pattern I've used for a few things.

Lily and fleur de lis color study

I got 32 votes for this and finished right at the top of the bottom third. There were several entries in this one I really, really liked: a riotous combination of lily-named flowers with other vegetation, one in the style of William Morris, and a bright, stylized take.

Then there was another contest to make a floral design, but in a black-and-white line-art style, such that it could be used like a coloring book page. The idea being, you could use it as colorable wallpaper. I pondered trying to do something inspired by ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) but beyond making a board with some of the stuff I liked best I couldn't get that idea to gel. I just combined my eight favorite flowers: honeysuckle, jasmine, orange blossoms, fuchsia, lavender, California poppies, borage, and snapdragons (Side note: since some people tag bonsai as ikebana, I discovered that you can make some of these into bonsai, which made me hyperventilate a little to be honest)

My favorite blooms

This entry got 47 votes and came in right in the middle. The design I could most see myself using as coloring book wallpaper was this one, and the design I liked most on its own was this more graphic one.

Continuing the plant theme, there was also a contest for terrariums. This was one of those themes I found intimidating, as it's easy to imagine all kinds of amazing, lush illustrations on the topic, but hard to execute them. So I took a very graphic, subdued take. I had fun looking up neat terrariums on Pinterest, though. I based the colors and proportions on this very tiny spice jar terrarium. The textures I used here were the isometric dots and lines I originally made for my school papers and the lattice (all of which can also be seen here), plus the knit I've used quite often.

Moss Terrariums

This entry did not catch on, got 12 votes, and finished in the bottom 10. My favorite was this one.

For the contest closest to Earth Day, the challenge was to make a 1-yard pattern for a reusable tote bag. The bag itself didn't necessarily need to be Earth Day-themed, but I decided to use a couple of my existing designs that are nature themed, and combined them together with this tote pattern that I liked. This uses the "kelp" mentioned above in two color combinations, the "star" pattern in two more, the meerkats I drew for my son, and the map pattern, which is one of my most popular. (I pulled the other fabric colors from the map design.)

Meerkat Tote Kit

My tote did pretty well, getting 132 votes and just squeaking into the top quartile. My favorites were this bright one in modern colors and this more serene, mid-century-ish take.

There was actually another holiday-related cut-and-sew challenge. Another tea towel, but this one with one of "Mom's" recipes on it, in honor of Mother's day. I knew immediately that I would adapt my mother's banana bread recipe (which she got from my paternal grandmother). And for fun I drew it as a diagram instead of writing out the recipe (plus this is really how I think of the recipe in my head). The colors are the same as the last time I combined family lore with a towel. The blue/green background patterns are, yet again, my "kelp" and the "knit" both mentioned previously. The brown texture in the border was one I put together for the "anti-Valentine's" faux-cross-stitch.

Banana Bread Diagram Recipe Towel

I got my hopes up pretty high for this one, as it gained a lot of "likes" through the week - enough to make it my second-most-liked design ever (behind Baby's Book of Computer Science, of course). But even so it ended up with 84 votes, and just above the median. The entry I could most likely see using as an actual kitchen towel was this one, which combined an actual old hand-written recipe card with some textures from hand-me-down cookbooks.

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