Challenging myself

Spoonflower Design Challenges

Emerald Forest

I have embraced the opportunity to limber up my ol’ design muscles and get the creative juices flowing with the weekly challenges set by Spoonflower. I will be doing my best to produce something for as many prompts as I can and have gotten started with a couple already. Just last night I submitted my ‘Emerald Forest’ entry.

My boys climbing forest mountain tracks

The brief asked to “Take a step into the deep wooded emerald forest. As you look around, imagine yourself surrounded by moss-covered rocks and leafy ferns as oversized tree limbs canopy over you. Challenge yourself to create a repeating design that evokes the calming effect nature can have on oneself but don’t forget to include the rich shade of emerald in your design.” My first thoughts were, of course, of the beautiful native forests I’m fortunate to have right on my doorstep here in South Island, New Zealand.  The family and I try to trek out for a bush walk as often as we can, which never often enough with busy weekends. But when we do get away from it all it is so wonderful, calming and truly feeds the soul.

With my design, I wanted to use the ferns and koru as my source of inspiration along with Maori kowhaiwhai patterns, which are also inspired by the unfurling buds of the fern. I tried to use watercolour effects with layers of transparency to capture the effect of depth and dappled light in the bush. Overall, I’m really pleased with how this design worked out and I can see the potential for developing a few coordinates with this main pattern.



This submission doesn’t quite suit The Melon Seed brand though, I think, as I see this design in its current deep emerald tones as being more mature – a plush cushion on a living room armchair type thing. So, I have begun experimenting with a lightened colourway to soften the design so it might suit a native New Zealand inspired nursery setting. It’s part of a bigger plan I have for a series of designs with New Zealand birds and plants that I want to do. Hopefully this could be the first in that series…so, watch this space!

Princess Awesome

It was last week that I entered my first challenge – the ‘Princess Awesome’ design challenge. This brief also spoke to me!

“Princess Awesome makes clothes that honor all the amazing things girls love, from dinosaurs to sparkles, STEM to twirling, adventure to dress-up. Help the Princess Awesome team find the next design to be featured on their twirly dresses or comfy leggings by creating a repeating pattern that’s the perfect combination of clever, fun, and non-traditional for girls. Ask yourself: What’s missing from the girls’ section?”

I have memories of when I was a girl thinking that computer circuits were just the most magical and pretty things! So it seemed like the perfect place to start and even though I had to rush my design to meet the competition deadline I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Voting has closed and winners will be announced on Friday (my time in NZ).


There were a few things I really wanted to do better/differently in this design so I still consider this my first draft. I ideally wanted to have each of the circuit lines coloured individually, rather than stripes of colour running through the vertical of the design. This was proving to be FAR more tedious than I had planned for, so the stripes were a happy comprimise. I’m really happy with the colour scheme though and think the overall effect still works well.

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 2.24.34 PM
Can you see it better?!

I also added a far too subtle pattern to the background that has been completely lost and I’d like to bring it back better so it can be seen. My inner geek thought it would be awesome to spell out ‘Princess Awesome!’ in binary code, which is “01010000 01110010 01101001 01101110 01100011 01100101 01110011 01110011 00100000 01000001 01110111 01100101 01110011 01101111 01101101 01100101 00100001″…because I know you want to know too!

Hopefully, I can work in some time to revisit this design and make the tweaks I would like. And I would love to create some matching designs in the same girly computer geek theme.

So, there you have it. The first of many challenges…and the first of many posts in my new blog!

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