Me-Made-May 2019

MMMay Title Photo Mint Modal Chai Tee Brenda Zapotosky

Hi folks!  It is time for my Me Made May 2019 recap!  If you follow me on Instagram you have seen some of the looks already, but this is the only place I am posting ALL of the outfits.  As in past years I am grouping them by week and numbering them by DATE.  Also as in past years, I only took photos on the days I was out and about in “real” clothes.  Honestly I have TONS of lounge and pajama bottoms that I wear almost daily, so I was probably wearing something handmade most days, but I did not document those.

This May was a lot cooler than in past years!  (No complaints there, I LOVE cooler weather, anything over 80 degrees Fahrenheit is too hot for me!) So you’ll be seeing lots of layers.  Most of what I wore were older garments.  I thought I was going to weave in some of my newest makes (including a brand new pair of cropped pants) but the warm enough days did not coincide with the opportunity to wear them.  Since most of these makes are older, I will only be linking to my own fabric designs, since those are still available. I will link to all the patterns I used the FIRST time they are shown.  So if you don’t see a link, scroll back up to the first time I mentioned the pattern.  Also, I apologize in advance for the grainy selfies.  We don’t have a great place to take photos inside our house and the ipod I used to take them doesn’t have the greatest resolution.  Ok.  Let’s dive in!

WEEK 1:

No documented outfits

WEEK 2:

MMMay 2019 Week 2

May 5Oslo Cardigan by Seamwork, Lane Raglan by Hey June Handmade, Infinity scarf featuring my Spines (Siesta) design printed on Cotton Spandex Jersey.  The Lane and Oslo patterns, in my many variations, are both on heavy repeat this month.  They are wardrobe staples… as are scarves!

May 7:  Almost a repeat of May 5!!!  Ha Ha.  Oslo Cardigan, in fleece this time, Lane Raglan, Infinity Scarf featuring my SW Triangles Haze design printed on Modern Jersey, and thumbhole wrist warmers made from the same fabric as the Lane.

May 10:  Another Lane!  Another Infinity Scarf!  But a different cardigan this time!  This is the Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet.

WEEK 3:

MMMay 2019 Week 3

May 12:  RTW inspired french terry pull-over that was a mash-up of the Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade and the Tabor V-Neck (hem detail) by Sew House Seven with some custom detailing (like the yoke and top-stitching) to mimic the RTW look.  I posted more photos of this make and more details in THIS post.

May 14:  Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations and a Lane Raglan.  This lane is made out of Robert Kaufman Laguna Knit, it is one of my absolute favorite CL.  Lighter and drapier than most, but still a nice weight.  A lot of my me-mades in this post were made from it (Including the May 10th Lane and the May 17th Lane).  You can find it in a lot of online stores.

May 17:  ANOTHER Lane Raglan (custom sleeve length).

May 18:  Another Julia Cardigan, this time paired with a custom tee pattern I have been developing from the Renfrew Top by Sewaholic.  It is my “fancy” tee version.  Actually, since taking this photo, I have modified the neck finish one this one so it dips down more.  Bag is also me-made.

WEEK 4:

MMMay 2019 Week 4

May 19:  Chambray Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June Handmade with custom short sleeves.  This was a newly “made over” garment and I was super excited to bring back into rotation.  I shared about my modifications in THIS post.  I was most likely wearing a handmade cardigan over top but I honestly can’t remember which one and I don’t have a photo with it.

May 24: Oslo Cardigan, Knit Skirt (self-drafted starting from a RTW skirt) and Infinity scarf featuring my Petal Potpourri (Bold) and Sprigs and Leaves (Bold) designs printed on Modern Jersey.

WEEK 5:

MMMay 2019 Week 5

May 26:  Another Oslo Cardigan over a brand new make, the Chai Tee by Liesl & Co.  View of just the top is the first photo of this blog post so you can have a closer look.  I shared the details in THIS post.  Headband is also me-made.

May 28: Halifax Hoodie (An actual zip up hoodie version this time), Another version of my custom Renfrew hack fancy tee, and handmade tote.  I call this one my cool tones geometrics tote, made with all my original pattern designs.  You can see a close up look at it in THIS post and find the fabrics in this COLLECTION (a few have been modified in scale, color, etc before I listed them).

May 29:  Morris Blazer (with quite a few mods) by Grainline Studio and a Renfrew Top by Sewaholic (This time MOSTLY per the pattern, I did eliminate the short sleeve bands, which you can’t see anyways).  The blazer was made a while ago, I shared all the mods in THIS post.

May 31:  Last Day!  We actually took a road trip to IKEA that day and I was SUPER comfy in these #secretpajamas Oslo Cardigan (same one as on May 24) and my first ever Coastal Breeze Dress by Make it Perfect (also made in RK Laguna knit).  I have since made 3 more of this dress.  Another favorite pattern.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall I would call Me Made May 2019 a success!  Sure, I had a lot of pattern repeats, but I am ok with that.  One of the things I love about sewing is getting to create garments that really work for me and my body.  And when I like a garment, I make a lot of them!  Especially since I often do a lot of mods to get them how I want them, might as well maximize that effort. And actually, I think it is quite fun to see all the variety and variations you can achieve with just ONE pattern!  I am a bit disappointed that three brand new makes never made it into the mix.  I was especially excited to show off the pants I made.  And I expected to wear my newest Coastal Breeze dress (finished MONTHS ago) to a night out… but it only works with bare legs and it has not been bare leg weather (for me anyways). (In fact 2 of those 3 makes are still unworn!) But as I said at the beginning, I LOVE this cooler spring we have been having, and I will get to show off those makes eventually!

I hope you enjoyed this recap!  If you have any specific questions about fit/modifications that I did not share or link.  Want to know about a fabric I used.  Or would simply like to share a comment I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Alphabet City Art Challenge: A-I

Alphabet City Art Challenge Blog Post A thru I

Time for the First Recap in the 2019 Alphabet City Art Challenge!  This year, I have decided to three recaps instead of four, so this first post will look at the illustrations I created for letters A thru I.  If you missed what the challenge is all about you can read the announcement blog post HERE.

Let’s start with a look at the 9 Illustrations I did for the first round, as they were presented as square, framed art.

City Illustration Boxes A thru I by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I think this is a fun mix.  I have been intentionally switching up the colors so that there is a variety and looking at them all grouped together like this, I am very happy with the overall feel of the collection so far.  Whenever possible I have been keeping the scale of the buildings similar as well.  So, for example, for all the buildings with doors, all the doors are the same height. This was done so that I could easily combine them together in future compositions.  Just for fun, I arranged the buildings in two “street” views so you can see how they look.  (I had to change up the Gas Station colors a tad to make it work).

CITY Street View 1 by Brenda Zapotosky

 

As with past challenges, I did not “research” ahead of time if there would be a good pick for every letter.  I am mostly choosing each subject as I reach that letter (I did/do have some pre-picked ideas for a few of the letters).  Embassy was the biggest “surprise” so far, as it took me a while to come up with that idea (and I almost chose something else before it came to me).  It was one of the trickiest to create too, especially the curved entryway.

E is for Embassy by Brenda Zapotosky

My overall favorite is the Clock Tower.  It isn’t the most elaborate or even creative of the illustrations but I really love the overall feel of the composition.  The title for this one had to moved up to fit everything and I love how the building interacts with it.  Hopefully a few more illustrations down the line can also be arranged in a creative way.  Also… it makes me think of Italy.

C is for Clock Tower by Brenda Zapotosky

Somewhat surprisingly, the most “hearted” illustration so far has been the Gas Station.  Now I know that there are a lot of factors that can influence hearts, including when the artwork is posted and what hashtags it has…. So it could be that I just picked a “hot list” of hashtags.  Still, it is a pretty fun one.  Lots of little details.

G is for Gas Station by Brenda Zapotosky

So far I have not created any other art or patterns that incorporate any of these illustrations.  I already have the CITY COLLECTION in my Spoonflower Shop that features many city inspired designs, so I don’t have any specific plans to create more surface patterns.  As part of that collection, I have my Around the Town design that already includes many City buildings, which has added an extra challenge as I am trying to not repeat any of those and it includes many ubiquitous buildings.

That wraps it up for the illustrations, but I did want to talk about the letters/titles too.

I mixed things up this year and instead of using “A is for xxx” etc. to title my illustrations (like in past years) I chose to just put the word I was illustrating.  And the lettering for those words, is all original by me.  I like this clean look, but I do wonder if people who stumble upon the illustrations without knowing about the challenge miss out on the alphabet connection. Also new this year:  I have not been posting idea prompt lists.  Instead I have been simply posting the letter for the 2 weeks on their designated Mondays.  Here are the 9 posts so far:

City Letter Boxes A thru I by Brenda Zapotosky

I had already established the style of the letters with the CITY Collection title art, and I have been creating new letters as I have needed them (for either the letter prompts or in the illustration titles). The cityscape used also began with the CITY Collection title art, I have simply been mixing up the details for each letter.

Ok.  I think that covers everything. I hope you enjoyed this first recap.  If you aren’t already, be sure to Follow Me on Instagram to see each new Letter Prompt and Illustration as I post them.  And feel free to comment below!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

 

 

 

Artist Feature: 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge

Today we are back with the final installment in the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge Series:  A special “Artist Feature” spotlighting the other two artists who participated in the challenge.  I am so thrilled to have had two others complete this challenge with me.  It was so interesting to see their picks for each letter (sometimes we were the same, others we were different). Their interpretations of the subjects themselves as well as the presentations were outstanding.  Two very talented gals here!

First up is Jill.  You can follow her at jillbyersdesign

Jill is a fellow designer on Spoonflower which was how we “met”.  Last year she started the Animal Art Challenge, but did not make it through to the end.  I am so delighted that this year she did!  Jill painted of all her subjects with oil on square canvases with a unique cropped view.  They make quite a stunning collection:

A-P

She painted these all from real life, which meant she was sometimes out of order due to availability.  This is the reason U hasn’t made it to the grid yet.  She posted a photo of ugli fruit which she now has. So it is coming soon!  Be sure to follow her to see it when it is finished.

I asked Jill to share a few thoughts about the challenge. Here is what she said:

I set a few rules for myself when I started this project. I wanted to have the actual fruit or vegetable in hand, I wanted all of the compositions to be square and cropped and I wanted them to be 8″x8″ oil on canvas. My self imposed rules were pretty easy to stick to. I really enjoyed creating the compositions and working with oils. Having the actual fruit/vegetable in hand proved to be a challenge though. Dragon Fruit, Kohlrabi, Quince and Ugli Fruit where not in season when it was time to paint those letters so I had to occasionally skip a letter and then go back to it.

I love so many of them but some of my favorites are the Avocados, Beets, Eggplant, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onion, Papaya, Quince, Radish, Xigua (Watermelon). I had so much fun painting the carrots that I painted two versions. I thought that I would maybe do that again with another letter but time never allowed for that.

There are only two that I would have done differently. I would like to redo the Nectarine composition and I wish that I had sliced the Watermelon Radish thinner so that the slices would have been more transparent.

It was a great year long project. When I look at them collectively, I can see how my painting style changed throughout the year. I feel like every time I pick up a paintbrush I learn something new and this project taught me a lot.

Here is a closer look at some of the favorites Jill mentioned above:

A

Jill has decided to take a break from the Alphabet Challenge this year.  While I understand (completing all 26 letters was definitely a great endeavor) she will be missed!

Next up is Anastasia.  You can follow her at:  al_donzza

Anastasia was new to the alphabet art challenge this year and I so delighted that she joined in!  She also used paints: watercolors.  Her loose, sketchy style is so stunning.  Sometimes they included text sometimes not.  Here is a look of a few of her favorite paintings.  It is a nice example of the variety of her presentations:

al 2 images

al 1 image

Anastasia was also kind enough to send me some thoughts.  English is not her first language so the following is not a direct quote (I did some editing per her request).  As a side note… I absolutely LOVE that she is from a totally different part of the world!!!  Super awesome how the online world can bring together artists from all over!  Language barriers don’t matter much in the visual world anyways!  Here is the essence of her thoughts:

It was a great pleasure to participate in this challenge.

Honestly, I’m not a REAL artist, as other participants, and it was a great lesson to me as I discovered that I have my own style. (However my works were very different: different materials and techniques).

I saw that other participants did have a distinct style, something that I did not think I had.   However, by the end I realized that I do have my own style!  That was exciting to realize.

And I saw a huge progress between my “A” and “Z”. A one year long exercise like this, is a time frame to see things like progress and style.

Such great observations, although I would have to disagree with her sentiment that she is not a REAL artist!  Perhaps she is not pursuing art professionally, but she is ABSOLUTELY a real artist, and a very good one too!

She sent me this look at a few of the paintings she framed:

al framed art

Anastasia IS participating in this year’s challenge:  The Alphabet City Art Challenge.  She has already posted for the first two letters and they are amazing!  You can follow the challenge hashtag to see everything that we (and hopefully others!) will be posting. It is not too late to join in!  You can even skip letter A if you don’t want to play catch up.

Well folks.  THAT is a wrap.  If you missed any of the Recaps for the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge links to them all can be found at the end of this POST.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the artwork in this series both of myself and others and that you continue to follow along in 2019 as we explore the CITY theme!

And one last THANK YOU to Jill and Anastasia for joining in last year and for sharing their incredible work!

Brenda

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: Year End Recap

alphabet art challenge 2018 final review by brenda zapotosky

Today I am bringing you the Year End Recap for the Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge and I am very excited to be wrapping things up!  Actually… this is sort of a Part 1 as I have a follow up post planned… but more on that at the end.  And if this the first time you are hearing about this challenge, you may want to read the orginal challenge announcement HERE.

Let’s begin with a look at all the fruit and veggies I illustrated this past year:

26 fruit and vegetable illustrations by brenda zapotosky

I think it is such a fun and colorful collection!  I love seeing them all together like this.  My design parameters for this challenge were to do a geometric interpretation of the fruit/veg which included simplifying shape lines, segmentation, and using hatch, dots etc. to create texture.  You may notice that all the boards also include a background rectangle(s).  This was not originally planned, but I added it for the asparagus to fill in the white space and liked it so much I decided to make it a standard feature for all the boards!  Overall, I am extremely happy with this collection as a whole.  I already shared favorites and other thoughts in my quarterly recaps so I won’t do that again.  If you missed any of those, they are all linked at the end of this post.

As with last year, one of the goals of this challenge, besides committing myself to creating new art on a regular basis, was to create a library of illustrations that could be used in other ways.  I would definitely consider this aspect a success.  I created three new patterns which incorporated one of more of the fruit/veg and have ideas for a few more in the future.  I have also had a request for a poster version that would include most of the illustrations. This will be similar to the animal art poster I did last year but smaller and probably without the words. You can see that poster in THIS post.

Two patterns I created featured just one illustration:  Geometric Carrots and Geometric Strawberries (which has two different colorways).

carrots and strawberries patterns by brenda zapotosky

I also created a pattern that uses many of the above fruit/veg along with some other ones not part of the alphabet collection.  Geometric Taco Bar was created for a Spoonflower contest.

Geometric Taco Bar Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky

All of these designs can be found as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap for sale in my Spoonflower shop.  Along with several other geometric food designs from the past.  Here is a link to the entire Geometric Food Collection.

The other major component of this year long challenge was the Letter Prompt lists that I posted at the beginning of each fortnight.  These prompts included an original block letter and a list of fruit/veggie ideas that began with that letter.  Here are all 26 together:

26 fruit and vegetable letter lists by brenda zapotosky

I tried to include 7 options for each letter but as you can see that wasn’t always possible.  I enjoyed learning about different fruit/veg I had not heard of before. The font is an expansion of a slightly more simplified block font I had started a few years ago. (You can see an example of the letters on my Colorful Merry Christmas Text pattern.) I had been adding to it as needed so not all the letters were there. AND I modified the look of most of them and added all the hatching.  It was nice to create a font in increments like this. It made it much less tedious.  I am super happy with the alphabet as a whole:

stripey block font by brenda zapotosky

I definitely plan on making a repeating pattern with these letters.  And I am excited to play with lots of color variations!  Plus, now I have it to use for future projects!  WIN!

Overall I think I can call this year long challenge a success!  Admittedly, I wasn’t always enthusiastic to work on some of them.  And I was definitely happy to reach the end.  But looking back on the library of illustrations and letters I now have I am happy I did it!

And… so did two others!  Yup!  Two fellow artists followed along and completed *most* of the challenge!  Since their work is so different from my own and I knew this blog post would be long to begin with I have decided to give them their own Featured Artist Post. COMING SOON!  (I will link it once it is live).  You are definitely going to want to come back and see their beautiful creations!

And as mentioned above, in case you missed any of the previous posts about this challenge here are all the links:

EDITED:  The bonus Artist Feature post is now up!

Finally there IS a new challenge for this year!  We are still in the middle of letter A so if you feel inspired to join in you still can from the very beginning!  The theme is CITY and you can read all about it HERE. Or you just follow along with me!

Do you have a favorite?  Any fruit or veggie you would like to see as a pattern?  I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: T-Z

Happy New Year friends!  January is going to be a busy time on my blog so get set for a flurry (relatively speaking) of posts! We begin with the “fourth quarter” recap of the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge, letters T thru Z.  There will also be a final year end recap but I wanted to give some thoughts on the last batch of letters and illustrations before contemplating the year as a whole.

First a look at the 7 fruit/veg I created for the final quarter of the alphabet:

T thru Z Fruit and Veggies by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I quite like this group.  Despite the fact that there were less options for many of these letters I was able to find something interesting to illustrate for each.  It is actually quite difficult to pick a favorite.  I will call it a tie between the Turnip and the Ulluco.

T is for Turnip by Brenda Zapotosky

Interestingly, I was hesitant to choose turnip since I drew radishes for R and I thought they might be too similar.  But it was an enjoyable challenge to determine the differences and make the turnip its own unique thing.  Here is a side by side view.  (PS: The identical frame colors was not planned!)

Radish and Turnip by Brenda Zapotosky

The letter U was one of the more challenging one in terms of choices, making my love for the finished illustration all the more sweeter!

U is for Ulluco by Brenda Zapotosky

I love the look of the vegetables; the colors used for them, the background and frame; and just the overall composition.  It is too bad this would probably not be very marketable as a pattern, etc.

Choosing a favorite is difficult but choosing a LEAST favorite is not!  Yam is the “winner” of that unfortunate prize.  To be honest, I think my geometric rendition is fairly good in terms of representation… I just don’t like it!  It sort of looks like a hairy rectangle to me!!!!  In real life they are sort of “hairy” so again… rather accurate. You will NOT be seeing a Yam pattern in my Spoonflower Shop!  Ha ha ha

Y is for Yam by Brenda Zapotosky

However, you probably WILL be seeing a Watermelon one!  I see the most potential with this one either alone or incorporated in a more elaborate print.  Perhaps something picnic themed.  I have nothing in the works yet… maybe closer to summertime.

W is for Watermelon by Brenda Zapotosky

That about wraps it up!  Overall I would say it was a strong finish to the year long challenge!  Up next will be the entire year recap.  In the meantime, in case you missed it, the 2019 Alphabet Art Challenge has officially begun.  The theme is CITY and you can read all about it HERE.

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at the final set.  Do you have a favorite?  I would LOVE to know which!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: N-S

It is time for the 3rd “Quarter” Recap for the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge!  Letters N thru S were an interesting group and I am beginning to see some of the limitations of my “geometric” design criteria. Before I jump into my thoughts on this group let me share my 6 fruit and veggie creations for this portion of the challenge:

N thru S Fruit and Veggies by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I really like this group.

You may notice that the pear and quince are quite similar.  This was completely intentional.  I thought since their shapes are so similar AND they are in season around the same time that it would be nice to have them “go” together.  While I already have a Geometric Apple pattern in my shop, I think I would like to do a new apple that matches the style of the pear and quince and create a pattern using all of them.

Also, I had an interesting creative process with a few of these.  I recently created a new pattern, Geometric Taco Bar, that includes a variety of fruit/veg, including both the onion and the radish.  The letter “O” fell during the time that I was making the pattern so it was created for both at the same time.  As for the radish, that was created for the pattern first, but I did not feel compelled to do another “R” fruit/veg when it arrived, so I simply composed a board featuring the Radish.

Geometric Taco Bar was created for a Spoonflower Design Challenge and is available in my shop!

Geometric Taco Bar Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky
Geometric Taco Bar is available as gift wrap, wallpaper, and fabric.

I also included both the Jalapeno and Iceberg Lettuce which were created earlier in the Challenge (adding in slices of each).  I love this pattern.

It is hard to pick a favorite in this group.  I am actually more prone to pick a least favorite:  The nectarine!  It is difficult to differentiate between the specific varieties of round fruits especially in the geometric style I have chosen.  I like the cut view of the nectarine better and do think it captures the essence pretty well.  This difficulty is one of the limitations I was referring to at the start of this post.  I am also finding that even in the “non-circle” fruit/veg that there are a lot of similar looking shapes.  For example, radishes, beets and turnips, when drawn in the geometric style are also hard to differentiate.  The same would hold true with leafy greens.  Hopefully enough unique shapes will present themselves as I complete the challenge.

One fun aspect of this group is that half of them have been included in surface patterns! The onion and radish are both part of the Geometric Taco bar design.  Additionally, I love the strawberry so much I already created a pattern for it!  This pattern will be added to my shop very soon. So that is 3/6.  And, as I have already mentioned, I hope to create a pattern using both the pear and quince together. One of my favorite aspect of this challenge is a library of illustrations to use in other applications.

Speaking of the strawberries, I wanted to share a look at the pattern!  I have ordered the swatches, so it will be in my shop soon.  But I do want to say it COULD CHANGE.  I often tweak designs after seeing them printed, so this is how it will tentatively look.

Geometric Strawberries Classic Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky

This is the Classic colorway.  I also created a Pinky colorway too! I’ll update this post when they are available in my shop.

And that’s a wrap!  Looking forward, I expect this final batch of letters to be challenging.  For the most part I do not look at the options for a letter until I make the prompt list, so there is a chance that I will be surprised, but I think the options for everything but “T” to be very limited.  Follow me on Instagram if you want to see each letter (and the prompts as I create them).

As always, thanks for reading!

Brenda

 

 

UPDATE: Alphabet Animal Art Challenge – 6 months later

Alphabet Animal Update Title

With the end of June it has officially been six months since the 2017 Art Challenge:  Alphabet Animals has come to a close.  I wanted to do an update since I have used those animals I created in quite a lot of new designs!  One of the goals of the Challenge was to create a library of illustrations I could use in various ways and in that goal I have had much success!  So today I want to share all the creations that I have made since the challenge ended.  If you are hearing about this challenge for the first time you can read the final blog post recap and see ALL the animals.  You can also see the other designs I created last year.

SURFACE PATTERNS

I’ll start with surface patterns.  All these have been created this year, so after the close of the challenge.  Since in many cases I ended up tweaking the animal illustrations I will share a look at the original animal and the pattern side by side!

All of the patterns I have created this year with animals so far have been created specifically for Spoonflower Design Challenges (although one did not end up being entered as you will soon learn).

Modern Farmhouse

Quail Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

As you can see for this pattern the quail is playing a supporting role. I removed its top plume and did some recoloring to make it more “generic bird” versus a quail specifically.  I really love how it fits in so well with the other farmhouse images I created.  Modern Farmhouse is available in my Spoonflower shop.

Elephants and Polka Dots

Elephant Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

For the “Endangered Species” Design Challenge I chose to feature my elephant illustration.  I didn’t make many changes to this character.  I changed the toe nail color to white and made the line weights for the facial features a little thicker.  (And overall color changes of course).  Since my elephant already had a unique polka dot detail I decided to build upon that for the pattern.  I actually created 4 different colorways of this design.  The Taupe colorway one you see here is the version that was entered in the contest.  You can find it and the 3 other colorways in my Animal Fun Collection.  This was actually the second time this elephant was selected from the library.  Last year I created a greeting card featuring the elephant!

Hedges and Hedgehogs

Hedgehogl Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

The idea for this pattern was in my head almost immediately after creating the original hedgehog so I was very excited when the “Animals by Land” Design Challenge was posted giving me the perfect excuse to create it!  I kept the hedgehog mostly the same but tweaked the facial features again on this one, the most noticeable being that I gave it a round eye.  I think it is cuter that way!  The hedges got a bit more colorful too!  Find Hedges and Hedgehogs in my Spoonflower shop!

Mostly Happy X-Ray Tetras

X Ray Tetra Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

Last but not least is my X-Ray Tetra.  For this one, I kept the pattern simple since there is already a lot of detail in the fish itself.  I did play with adding some polka dots, but I didn’t like them.  I did, however, do a fun little switch-up!  As the title suggests, not ALL these tetras are smiling… I added some frowny ones to the mix and reversed their coloring in places to make them just a bit more distinctive.  This design was created with a contest in mind but was never entered because I got the THEME wrong!!!  I thought it was Animals by/in/of WATER since the previous two contests were Land and Air… but for this one Spoonflower mixed it up and themed it “Animals of the OCEAN”.  Technically tetras are not ocean fish (which I learned through research, I am not a fish expert!) and I did not feel right entering this design.  Oh well… at least it gave me the motivation to create it since this was also a pattern idea I had in my head for a while!  Mostly Happy X-Ray Tetras is also available in my Spoonflower shop.

GREETING CARD

I have created one new card since the close of the challenge.  I have a niece and nephew who both turned 3 in June (cousins, not twins) and I thought the koala was a good pick since it was already holding onto to something making it easy to swap in the number 3. I also changed the hat to a party hat. I left the koala itself the same (even the position of the arms worked as is for the number 3!)

Koala Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

I was there when my niece opened her card and upon seeing it she recognized it as a koala!  Granted she had recently seen a show that had koalas, but still, it made me really happy to know that my characterization was accurate enough for her to name the animal specifically!  I call that success.  The koala cards joins several other animal cards I created last year which you can find on my Cards and Gift Wrap page.

ARTWORK

The biggest thing (literally) that I created with the animal illustrations is a poster that incorporates ALL of them!  As I mentioned above my niece and nephew turned 3 and I decided that for their gifts I would create this poster.  It was actually quite a bit of work to pull it all together and fit them in a logical way and adding in all the text circles, title, etc.

Alphabet Animals Poster by Brenda Zapotosky SM

In addition to removing all the “props” that were originally paired with I also did some minor re-scaling, both enlarging and reducing scales of some of the animals to get them to work better as an ensemble.  Other than that all the animals except one stayed the same as the original in look and color (all the tweaks I made for the patterns came later).  The one animal that DID get changed was the armadillo since that was my very first illustration and it did not have the same “cute” look that I started with letter B.  Here is the “Before” and “After”.

Armadillo Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

It was actually my husband who suggested I make them “cuter” after seeing the first animal, armadillo.  I am so happy he did, because it definitely enhances my already slightly cartoon-ish interpretations.  And I am glad I changed up the armadillo for the poster!

It is definitely a bit of a gamble to give the gift of art.  Especially BIG ART that is intended to be hung in someone’s house.  I took that chance because I thought my niece and nephew as well as their parents would like the gift.  And because I expected these to be hung in the kids’ rooms and not the main house.  I am so happy to report that gifts were well received AND have both already been hung!  Here is a look at the posters “in the wild”.

Posters in the Wild

I printed these posters at a standard 20″ x 30″ but sized the poster border proportions to work with a favorite IKEA frame line that I love (Its similar sized frame is 19.75″ x 27.5″). (Seriously, almost every wall frame in my house is from this line).  For the smaller frame on the left (which I framed) I trimmed it to fit the slightly smaller proportioned frame.  My sister opted for the same IKEA frame but with bigger dimensions so it has a mat (on the right).  It is fun to see the two looks side by side.

My husband’s reaction to seeing the poster for the first time was that I should sell them!  After selling greeting cards for a number of years I decided that being a producer really wasn’t for me.  I have been focused for the last several years solely on designing and selling my work where someone else does all the work.  However, these posters, which I am extremely pleased with, have me actually considering maybe selling (on a VERY limited basis) again.  It is just an idea at this point.  I would probably sell them both wholesale and retail if I did.  If you are a retailer or an individual and would be interested please let me know!  If there seems to be enough interest I would start investigating larger quantity printing!

And that about wraps it up!  I anticipate using more of these animals in future design projects.  Do you have a favorite you’d like to see used in something?  I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: G-M

We have officially reached the 1/2 way point in this year’s Fruit and Vegetable themed Art Challenge!  It has been a fruitful (ha ha) challenge thus far, and even though the selection is a bit leaner than with the Animal themed challenge from last year, I have managed to find a good subject for every letter! But before we dive in to the works… If this is the first time learning about this challenge you can read more about it here.

OK!  Onto the good stuff! Let’s start with a look at the 7 fruit/veg I drew for this portion of the challenge:

G thru M Fruit and Veggies by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I like this batch a lot.  I was able to find a good mix of round and non-round fruit/veg to draw and all of them are commonly known.  I think those are the two biggest challenges.  I love discovering new-to-me varieties of fruit and veggies when I put together the letter prompts, but since I am drawing these in the hopes of future uses, choosing more commonly known fruit/veg is the better choice.  Plus, since I am choosing to do geometric versions, having the fruit/veg already be known helps them remain recognizable.  The other challenge is that so many fruit/veg are ROUND… often they are more distinguishable cut than whole (like the honeydew) especially if I am doing stylized versions.  A geometric, minimal detail round fruit or veggie could end up looking like a solid oval or circle!

Interestingly my favorite of this batch is an “oval” fruit… the kiwi!  Here is a closer look:

K is for Kiwi by Brenda Zapotosky

Obviously I used a “cut” view to make it more interesting.  I love how with the geometric stylization a common fruit takes on a beautiful “abstract” look.  I am considering making a pattern with this one. I might not even make it a kiwi pattern!  I think with some re-coloring it could simply be a geometric design element!

Speaking of patterns.  I have not created any new repeating patterns (or any other art pieces) with any of these fruit/veg or ones from the first batch (my only “extra” so far is my Geometric Carrots design which I shared in the last recap).  This is partially because an opportunity has not yet occurred to give me a chance to do so (like a Spoonflower contest or a new card need).  But also, I think that patterns that incorporate multiple fruit/veg or have the fruit/veg combined with non-food elements, etc. will probably be the way that I will most likely use them.  I expect at the END of the challenge that I will take the new produce library as a whole and work them into a pattern(s).

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION:

Another aspect of this challenge that I have been encouraging is participation from other artists.  You may recall that in my first recap I shared the work of Jill Byers.  I am happy to report that Jill has been continuing with the challenge and that there has been another artist, Al Donzza, who has joined and also been posting for every letter.  Since we all chose the Jalapeno for our “J” letter, I thought it would be fun to see all three together.  I absolutely love how different are our interpretations can be of the of the same subject.

First up is my jalapeno, which is obviously in keeping with my geometric theme.  I chose to hatch this one and I am quite happy with how it looks.  I did struggle with the composition of this art board though.  I think the jalapeno will work better in a repeating pattern, maybe with a few other variations thrown in.

J is for Jalapeno by Brenda Zapotosky

Next up is the gorgeous oil paint version by Jill Byers which is so drastically different from mine.  I love how Jill has chosen to compose all her canvases so that the subjects disappear off the sides of the canvas.  It adds a unique perspective which complements her realistic style and makes it more interesting!  You can see all of Jill’s paintings grouped together here.  It is an amazing collection!

Avocados
Jalapeno painting by Jill Byers

Next up is the work of Al Donzza who has also been doing paintings but in a totally different style and medium: Watercolors!  I love the vibrancy of Al’s work and the “action” worked into a usually static subject!  These red jalapenos really pop!

Al Donzza Jalapeno
Jalapeno painting by Al Donzza

I find it interesting that we all included two jalapenos in our compositions.  But that of course, is where the similarities end!

I hope you have enjoyed this review of the second quarter of Alphabet Illustrations.  If you have been thinking about joining in it is not too late!  I would love to have you take part!  I post a letter prompt every two weeks as a reminder of the start of the next letter and help get the creative juices flowing! And don’t forget to include the hashtag for the challenge with your posts:  #2018fruitandveggieartchallenge

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Me-Made-May 2018

MMMAY 2018 Blog Recap Promo

Happy June Everyone!  It is that time of year again… Me Made May Recap Time that is!  Did you participate?  My “pledge” this year was basically the same as last year.  I wore and documented Me-Mades for everyday I left the house.  I actually probably wore me-mades almost everyday since I have a lot of lounge wear and pajama bottoms that are handmade.  They are, in fact, some of my favorites in those “genres”!

My post will follow a similar format to last year.  I will group my outfits by week (Sun-Sat for full 7 day weeks), note all the patterns and share any thoughts I might have.  They are numbered by DATE.  I won’t include much in the way of sewing details, but if you have any questions about sizing, alterations, etc. please ask in the comments!  I rarely make a pattern exactly as drafted so expect that the majority of these had some sort of tweak.  I am only going to link patterns once, so if you see a pattern you like without a link scroll until you find one from another week!

WEEK 1:

MMMAY 2018 Week 1

May 1: Bento Tee (Heavily Hacked) by Liesel + Co., Not-so-Knotted Tote (Made with my own fabric design, Geometric Cactus Flowers. )  I made my sister a very similar bag using the same fabric which you can read more about in this post.

Thoughts:  This was a typical week for me, with the month starting on a Monday, I only had one day out of the house (until Sunday which started week 2).  Knowing that I would be going out on the first day of May was exciting since I would kick off the month with an outfit… but I was not feeling well that day which majorly deflated that excitement.  But I pulled a (very wrinkled) look together (paired with RTW blazer).  This Bento actually has some fun details added (Like the deep side slit in the second photo) but I have never managed to get great photos of it.  (I will have to try again).  This was also my first attempt at selfies with my new mirror… hadn’t quite found the right place to position it yet.

WEEK 2:

MMMAY 2018 Week 2

May 6:  Coastal Breeze Dress by Make it Perfect, Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations, Self-Drafted Infinity Scarf

May 8: Lane Raglan (With an extra giant scoop neck because I had to cut off the first neckband).

May 11:  Lane Raglan by Hey June Handmade

Thoughts:  It was cooler weather this week (no complaints) so more fall/winter outfits than spring.  I think it is amusing looking back that I wore two items that used the same floral fabric.  Two lanes too!  (But it is one of my most made patterns so that is not surprising).

WEEK 3:

MMMAY 2018 Week 3

May 13 (A): Lane Raglan, Self-Drafted Mini Cowl (featuring my own fabric designs from the KIKU GARDEN Collection).

May 13 (B): Oslo Cardigan, “Taormina Tee” (Drafted from the Renfrew Top, but majorly changed).

May 14: Bess Top by Imagine Gnats, Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet

Thoughts:  This week featured two “special events”:  Mother’s Day Lunch (Hence the second May 13 Outfit, the first I wore to Church earlier in the day) and my husband’s birthday.  He took the day off and we went out for lunch at a favorite french restaurant, so I was able to get a mid-week “non-selfie” photo!

WEEK 4:

MMMAY 2018 Week 4

May 20: Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June Handmade and Oslo Cardigan (See photo at top of the blog post)

May 22: Oslo Cardigan by Seamwork, Hudson Pant by True Bias

May 26:  Hadley top by Grainline Studio, Not-so-Knotted Tote

Thoughts:  It was actually too cold for the outfit I wore on May 22, but I REALLY wanted to have at least one pair of me-made pants make it into a photo!  Ha ha!  Anyone else dress for the photo instead of the weather/activity/etc. ?

WEEK 5:

MMMAY 2018 Week 5

May 27: Chai Tee, Everyday Skirt both by Liesel + Co.  I also wore a me-made cardigan (not pictured), either the gray Oslo or the navy Blackwood again… (Can’t remember for sure). I chose not to take a photo with it since the tee was new and I wanted to document it.

May 28:  Renfrew Top by Sewaholic, Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade (BLOG POST coming soon!!!)

May 29: Out and About Dress (Peplum Top Hack) by Sew Caroline

May 31: Lane Raglan, Oslo Cardigan

Thoughts: My husband was off this week for a “stay-cation” so there was a lot more out of the house activity than usual!  It also got very hot so I was able to wear more of my warmer weather items.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall Me Made May was fun.  I love seeing what everyone else is wearing (especially how they style their me-mades).  I love my handmade wardrobe and wearing my me-mades all the time already so I don’t really need the motivation.  And actually it can be a bit tiring taking all the photos.  Plus I feel more pressure to curate my outfits rather than just grab whatever I feel like wearing. But I am happy I did it!  It challenged me to style and wear some things I might not have naturally grabbed.  I obviously love my Lane Raglans… in fact I have already made another one, in solid purple, since I don’t have a lot of solid short-sleeve me-mades.  I also wore my Oslos a lot, but that is no surprise, I am all about layers!

And that’s a wrap!  I may or my not choose to participate next year…. or more likely I will participate but might not worry so much about pictures!

Thanks for reading!  And again, if you have any questions or just want to say hi!  Please leave a comment!

Brenda