Spoonflower dreams come true

When I found out about Spoonflower several years ago, I imagined turning all my button designs into cute fabrics and gift wraps. I made a few fabrics, ordered two samples, and then stopped. You have to order samples to proof before you can sell the patterns, and the samples were a little pricey back then. I also didn't have any sewing projects in mind, so I left some un-proofed fabrics in the shop and shelved the idea.

Fast forward to this year. I received a message that someone really wanted to buy one of my not-for-sale designs. Upon consideration, I realized my digital design skills have improved so that I'm probably 20x faster at the process of turning a design into a repeating pattern and tweaking everything to make it look "just so". And the samples are so inexpensive now! So I spent this spring creating 30 fabrics for a sample pack. It has been a big project a long time in the making, and I'm super-excited about the results!

They all look awesome Cute, happy, fun–a.k.a. totally on-brand. Two of the fabrics had flaws, but I was able to quickly change those and re-upload the fixes. So now all 30 of these designs are available in my Spoonflower shop as fabrics, wallpapers and gift wraps. If you like a design but it's not quite the right size, I can easily scale it up or down for your project. Hooray for vector graphics!

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And my designs are already selling and further boosting my confidence! What a fun little snowball of happiness this is becoming. Thanks to friends, customers, and even Spoonflower's auto-email-bots for your encouragement and well-wishes. I really couldn't do this without the little bursts of energy I get from people expressing interest in my work.

Spoonflower Great news you're a success ferret fabric.png

Long break, new video, new products

For most of the winter, spring, and early summer, I have done slightly less art and slightly more Japanese learning, but mostly I have focused on my health. Daily physical therapy exercises and weekly trips to doctors really gets in the way of a "normal" productive schedule. But I gladly accept this challenge! And I exercise every day and cook lots of veggie-packed meals to help keep me mobile and functional.

Like everything else in my life, this has been another period of learning and adjusting. But it has all been going uphill. And I mean both that life is an "uphill battle", and that things are always improving!

I had a really great trip back home in April. I got to see lots of friends and family, and I had some very important, emotionally healing conversations with my mother, and with my mother-in-law. I love these ladies, and I don't know what I would do without them.

I was surprised to come back from Texas with a deeper sense of calm and purpose. I find it easier to schedule my days and balance my health, art, and language learning. I got an app that is saving me time every week in meal planning, and sometimes I save time by studying while I cook by reading Cookpad and watching YouTube recipes in Japanese.

 Veggie Stirfry Donburi

Veggie Stirfry Donburi

With some small adjustments, and a break from my language classes, I have been able to reclaim several hours a week for my art. In the past two months, I have created 20+ new fabric designs, several small watercolor paintings, and lots of new vinyl stickers. Awesome things are afoot!

 New stickers coming soon to my Etsy shop

New stickers coming soon to my Etsy shop

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm doing okay, and I'm in a really happy place. May it continue onward and upward.

I leave you with a little video I made about getting back into the art habit.

5 reasons to draw dogs

While I'm in between foster dogs, I decided to finish up this little sketchbook painting that I started three months ago. While I was working on it, I started to think about the dogs that I grew up with, the ones that I've fostered, and even some that I got very attached to back when I was a volunteer dog walker. Basically I was just reminiscing about great times I've had with dogs. So, nothing new really, huh? 

And after the piece was done, I was assessing what I learned from painting it, and my notes turned into an essay, which became a listicle of 5 Reasons You Should Paint Dogs. It started out tongue-in-cheek, but I love dogs too much that the final video is kind of embarrassingly earnest.

So go draw some dogs! And if you're not into art, you should volunteer at a shelter instead. Or do both. Because hanging out with dogs is awesome and so fulfilling!

Animal Refuge Kansai has a shelter in Osaka, and in Tokyo they can always use volunteers for adoption events. Or you can also sponsor the ongoing construction of their second shelter (in Sasayama).