Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to school // typography designs // special designs for your little ones first day of school

Did you guys know that during my studies I also attended typography classes, where we studied fonts, typographers and got calligraphy lessons? I was studying graphic design & typography on the Royal Art Academy of The hague. Not that it was such a dread, I was a little typophile back in those days i loved smart typography and walking by a Comic Sans sign seriously gave me the chills. It still does! It is that irrational love for typography that get’s me personally offended.

I have written an entire essay about Saul Bass and his typographical movie intro’s, but also about Dutch typographers; about Wim Crouwel, founder of this countries largest graphic design firm. About Piet Zwart and his work for the national postal service. And of course Willem Sandberg, part of the Cobra movement, with his gorgeous print designs. But after my studies I only use all this for simple every day typography tasks we graphic designers do every day, spacing characters on business cards and maybe we get to draw a font for some branding every now and then but that’s about it for me.

So with all this I thought creating a typography inspired theme for our back to school post this year would be fun. Since I create surface patterns I have made several type prints. They never really are hot sellers but our most recent designs, our black and whites and hand drawn designs have been selling pretty well. So here you can see some of the black and whites themes that might be perfect for your back to school gear. Go check out the entire fabric collection on Spoonflower and make some cool back to school fashion for your little ones first day of school.

All designs featured in this post can be found in our Spoonflower online fabric shop where we offer our designs on 16 different textiles and wallpaper. If you have trouble choosing the right fabric for your project check out our Spoonflower frequently asked questions post. And reach out if you need another scale for your project, we are happy to add an extra scale to the shop for you. If you would like to license one of the designs for your business, please send us an email.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // August 2016

It is so exciting to see a finished project after working hard on a new collection of design or a series of illustrations for our clients. But with finished fabric designs it is even a bigger surprise to see what customers create. To see how final products evolve when people put their own creative energy in there is amazing.

If you browse around on Etsy or Instagram for some kids fashion you are very likely to stumble upon some Little Smilemakers prints. Most creatives with small home based businesses sell their projects via internet and tag us via Instagram. So we see some amazing things pop up in our feed every month. We love how Little Smilemakers creations are the foundation for other creatives all around the world to work with. So here is our monthly blog post that features some creative results from Hawaii, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and of course America. This month we selected a whole bunch of fun summer fabrics turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and home and interior decoration. We have selected a cool summer romper, some origami fabric, triangles fashion and our fav must be some tiny pineapple shorts. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our August top 5.

Hekili Designs // Pineapple Pom Pom shorts
Nicole runs a small Etsy business from beautiful Hawaii where she sells pieces of jewelry, kids clothes and home textiles. We saw Baby Blue Skyler pop up in our Instagram feed rocking one of her awesome black and white pineapple shorts we totally love. The shape, the color combo and those cute little pom poms, I wish I had a little girl! Unfortunately I don’t, and they are not available in my own size just yet, so I hope you can make your little one happy with a cute pair of Pineapple shorts. Check out her entire collection over at Etsy.

Ansje handmade // Rattles & Kids fashion
Every few weeks we get another sample batch from Spoonflower to check quality, scale sizes and colors. We work together with Anouck and we let her create small baby shower gifts from our little pieces of cotton fabric. She has made some very cute rattles this summer but she focuses on baby, toddler and kids clothes that are all handmade from her home and available in her online shop. Ansje handmade is a small Dutch business that also sells fabric per meter and we are happy to tell you she also has some cute Little Smilemakers prints in stock for you and the following months she will be expanding that collection with some new colorful abstract designs and fall and winter themes. Go take a look and enjoy the collection.

Kalamati // Home interior textiles
The past years we have been working directly with this Polish company that is specialized in home decoration textiles for kids. We love how the collection is growing with every season and how they are building a fun range of products in a unique Scandinavian inspired style. Their range of kids bedding is not only suitable in your little ones bedroom, you can also use those blankets for a little picknick in the park or day at the beach. If you would like to get your hands on one of these new items. The new hot air balloons or maybe you like the latest edition: our writing feathers, then go visit the Kalamati webshop and check out all their beautiful items.

Apfelschick // New Triangle fabric
We have licensed some fabric designs to this small online webshop in the past year. This German company run by Dana, mommy of three, sells fabric per meter and doesn’t really turn these into kids clothes herself but when we saw this amazing photoshoot with this cute little boy showing off his new triangle hoodie we just had to share it with you guys and give them a little Shout Out. Our new triangles are now available in her shop so if you’d like to start being creative and make some fun fashion for yourself get your hands on a piece o this wonderful fabric before she runs out. Visit the shop! Hoodie made by Zuckerwolkenfabrik.

Shop Cranky Peach // Ice Cream baby romper
Minky baby blankets and girls clothing is what this small Florida based shop specializes in. We adore their little rompers and we just had to select their ice cream romper for this month ‘Made with’ post. These photo’s all breathe summer don’t they? There are a lot more rompers available in her shop and we’ve also seen some cute little woodland socks that would be perfect for chilly fall days. Curious? Check out this fun colorful shop and support this small business.

Are you curious what we are up to and want to keep track of our new fabrics that get available? Follow @littlesmilemakers on Instagram and stay up to date. We have listed the designs used for this post so you can go get a piece and make something yourself. Have fun and share your creations!

Get your fabric here: Black and white Pineapples fabric // Indian Animals fabric in Blue // Stars & Night fabric // Minty Teepee fabric // Pears fabric // Peacock fabric // Watercolor Ice cream Summer fabric // Aztec Triangles fabric

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sources of inspiration: Stockholm // bridges & water // delicate cuisine // Scandinavian design // top 5 things to see and reasons visit

Traveling to colder climates is not something I usually do when I decide to book a trip and travel. Stockholm has been on my list of places to visit for a while. The center of design, the clean, breezy and pure style is something that attracted me to visit this city. For me the summer is the only time of the year to travel more north from the Netherlands so when I realized this summer I could only take a short trip I finally got to visit Stockholm.

We all know Sweden from it’s clever designs solutions. Think about furniture from IKEA. Practical, stylish and brilliant. The Swedish design cultures have set foot on oversees markets too. Swedish brands are booming and fashion is getting more minimal and conscious, a clear sign of the Swedish design influence in trends nowadays. This ‘design’ state of mind and the beautiful waters and architecture of the islands of Stockholm were the main reason to visit for a visual peep like me.

Scandinavian countries are pretty expensive. Stockholm is also one of the most expensive places to visit so if you are traveling on a budget keep in mind that alcohol is pretty crazy expensive. You might just want to order some water. And Stockholm food portions are also pretty mad so if you travel with someone you might want to try and order just one main dish to share. You can always order more. The food is very good though. it is pricy but very pure and most places serve organic only. Try out the seafood, fresh and very tasty. And don’t miss out on the cinnamon buns. They are so good! Most sweet treats are a little less sugary than in other countries.

Of course with every trip we write a little piece here on the blog about what to do and what places to visit. Even though I think you should just explore and go with the flow, that is how you discover little gems, we did make a top 5 of things you really shouldn’t miss. So if you plan a trip to Stockholm this summer and wanna get some inspiration you can find it here!

1 // Underground Art
Of course I have to start with Stockholm’s best kept secret. I entered Stockholm by public transportation and to arrive at my little hostel I had to change trains and head for the subway. What I didn’t know was that Stockholm has an incredible amount of gorgeous subway stations. It is considered to be the largest art exhibit in the world with over 90 decorated stations with all sorts of art: sculptures, paintings, mosaics. Most of the subway stops are shaped like caves, cut out of stone that alone already creates a magical experience taking public transportation. I cannot imagine having a more inspiring commute to work every day. My favorites must be Kungsträdgården & T-Centralen. So if you have the opportunity go ride those trains for an our and visit all beautiful stops.

2 // Gamla Stan
Stockholm’s old town is one of the best preserved city centers in Europe. Gamla Stan must be the most touristy place of Stockholm, this medieval island dates back to the 13th century. Go visit the place in the morning before the tourist rush. Wander around the cobbled stone streets and little narrow alleys. Get lost in the maze and have a drink in one of the tiny cafés or visit small designer boutiques. You can also visit some beautiful churches and museums. And don’’t forget to check out the amazing facades of the old architecture.

3 // Cycle around
I love using public transportation because you get to be part of the every day vibe. But Stockholm is also a great place to rent a bike and cycle around, visit all it’s islands, it brings you places you would never visit by foot. Especially on a hot summer day it is a great way to escape the busy streets and enjoy some green ease. I discovered a great place to have lunch and get a refreshing drink. Boulebar Rålambshov located in the Rålambshovsparken is a great place to get some food and watch people play the old French game of jeu de boules. Strangely enough there were only young peeps playing the game. So ladies, enjoy a refreshing cider and enjoy some eye candy. You can also find a little beach there if you want to dip in. And from here you can cycle next to the water to the city hall that is definitely worth checking out. I love the architecture that reminded me a little of Berlage, the red brick and the chunky shapes. From here you can enjoy the city skyline and cycle towards Gamla Stan and discover old town.

4 // Södermalm
My hostel, Tre Små Rum, was located south of Gamla Stan on the island of Södermalm. When you stay in one place for a few days and enjoy the direct surroundings it starts to feel like home a little. I loved the neighborhood with its little boutiques and vintage shops. I discovered a brilliant shop for illustrators like me: The Penstore. Seriously you should have seen my face when I entered the store, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I spent way too much money on pencils.

Södermalm also has some fun shopping streets with main fashion brands, green area’s, and little squares with places to hang out, get a drink, small bistro’s and good quality restaurants. Did you know Sweden does not have any bars? You have to serve food when you serve liquor. Not bad! Since I love food and always get hungry at bars because the (finger)food sucks. The island is a vegan heaven. Organic and vegan restaurants are all over the place. I was very happy with my room located in such a great location. Around the corner of my hostel I would get some good coffee in the morning at Johan & Nyström and after a busy day exploring the city coming back to the area, having a proper wine at Bistro Süd before heading to bed. Perfect. Everything you need around the corner.

5 // Skeppsholmen
Pay attention creative peeps! You need to visit this little creative island. I was lucky enough to spend a truly magical summer night here with some live music and street food in the Moderna Museet garden during the Yayoi Kusamas exhibit. Surrounded by picasso scultures I was enjoying a live performance of one of my fav sing and sing writers José González. You can visit the Moderna Museet but don’t forget to enjoy the outside sculptures by Calder and Jean Tingely and Niki de Saint Phalle. From the island you have a beautiful view over Stockholm. Walk around the island and check out the little harbor on the northern part with old teamships and fishing boats. A great place to enjoy the sunset. From the south side you can take a ferry to the Abba Museum or Nordiska Museet.

It was pretty hard to filter and high light some of the amazing places to visit in Stockholm. There are so many things to love about the city, the food, the water, the peace and relaxed atmosphere. But I hope these tips might bring a little more in dept info for your visit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // July 2016

It is so exciting to see a finished project after working hard on a new collection or a series of illustrations for our clients. But with finished fabric designs it is even a bigger surprise to see what customers create. To see how final products evolve when people put their own creative energy in there is amazing.

If you browse around on Etsy for some kids fashion you are very likely to stumble upon some Little Smilemakers prints. Most creatives with small home based businesses sell their projects via internet and tag us via Instagram. So we see some amazing things pop up in our feed every month. We love how Little Smilemakers creations are the foundation for other creatives all around the world to work with. So here is our monthly blog post that features some creative results from New Zealand, USA, Italy and UK. This month we selected a whole bunch of summer fabrics, our most popular summer fabrics of this season, turned into beautiful items. We have selected a cool summer swimsuit, a colorful fruity pouch, some cool kids clothes and some glamping items. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our July top 5.

Quinn & Belle
When you're looking for something modern, fun, stylish and cute, Quinn & Belle has you covered. From handmade, one-of-a-kind items to unique tees & dresses, they truly are the one-stop shop for modern parents that is sure to keep you smiling. This Arizona shop has some of our summer hot sellers available on several cute fashionable items. This cool cactus garden design, our pineapple summer print but also our cool abstract monochrome grid is available in their shop. So if you are a fan of our designs go take a look.

The cactus swimsuit is one of Batoko’s hot selling pieces and has been available in their shop for over a year already. They just keep on producing them and they keep runing out of these quirky summer beauties. We love this fabulous photo made by Sublime Vision photography. Our best selling cactus print is now available again over at Batoko. Wanna look fabulous on the beach? Get yours in the Batoko shop!

Undercover is a New Zealand based shop that sells trendy glamping sleeping bags for kids. Their unique children's sleeping bags offer the perfect solution for slumber parties, camping, daycare, and any time when a little snooze is needed. Instantly create another bedroom/guest room once you unroll the bag... The bags contain warm thermal padding, perfect for chilly summer nights and is light wait to easy to take along. Bed time has never looked so inviting for kids! With the body of the bag rolled up into the pillow compartment, the bag acts as the perfect pillow for car journeys. So take a look in the shop and check out all Little Smilemakers prints.

Young Moon Apparel
This little online shop has some really cool tropical items. We love the palm leaf design and when we saw this beautiful photo in our Instagram account we had to share this fun handmade shop that is based in Portland. We are happy to see those mums work so hard to take care of their little ones and run a business next to it. Kudo’s for you Whitney! Shop these cute shorts and other palm leaf items in the Young Moon Apparel shop.

This Italian Etsy shop has some sweet summer items available. Beach totes, back packs and pouches with our water color fruit and ice cream design and also our mermaids are available in this shop. All items are handmade by Giullia and beautifully detailed. The pouches are perfect for make up, or for small items to carry in your purse. Her colorful prints are refreshing and fun so take a look and get your fave piece.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Spoonflower talk // frequently asked questions about designs, scales and fabric

We have been working for Spoonflower for over 4 years now and we expanded our online fabric on demand shop to 2000+ designs. Each month we upload new designs and color schemes and as our fabric shop grows so does Spoonflower.

But over the course of 4 years a lot more has happened. Spoonflower started producing in Germany now and they have improved their quality over time. The fabrics, the prints, the colors. We are very excited to see how Spoonflower has matured with us. We are very happy to get the opportunity to sell our designs on demand through such a wonderful company.

Every single working day we start with thanking each and very one of our customers for their purchase, we answer their questions and help them further. We noticed a lot of our Spoonflower customers have some questions in common. And since a lot has happened within the company we will explain a few things in this post. Hopefully we can clarify some things and make your future purchase at Spoonflower a great experience. These are a few of our customers most frequently asked questions and comments.

Can I use Little Smilemakers fabric for commercial products?
Sure you can! We started working with Spoonflower because we wanted to fill in the gap, there was not a whole lot to choose from in fabric and wallpaper designs, a lot has changed since then. Every possible theme is represented and there are thousands and thousands of designs to choose from made by talented artist all over the world. We always try to stay ahead of the trend and love to see how our fabric is used in new collections every season. One question we keep getting is: "Can we use Little Smilemakers fabric for our business?" Spoonflower has a royalty based pay out towards designers, with each little piece of fabric that gets sold the designers benefit directly. We love to see people use Spoonflower fabric for their small businesses. We allow commercial usage and love to see all these incredible products made by our customers. Just make sure to tag us in your Etsy shop, Instagram and on your Facebook Pages.

What fabric should I choose for my project?
Spoonflower offers a wide range of fabrics. There are some eco friendly ones for conscious peeps. There are stretchy fabrics, different weights. So much to choose from! Most of our designs are most vibrant on Modern jersey. It is also our best selling fabric type. Lot's of leggings, t-shirts, rompers and other kids and baby products are made with the Modern jersey. If you are looking for a stretchy comfy and soft fabric for clothes this is a great option. This fabric would be similar to the EU tricot.

The plain cottons are a little more raw. They are less soft compared to the jersey/tricot and the designs printed on rawer materials are a little less vibrant in color. If you'd like to use a cotton or a heavier textile like canvas it is useful to know larger scaled prints look better than small scaled ones. On these raw materials there is a little more loss in detail. Same goes for the minky. Keep in mind this fabric is very fuzzy and details might not look as sharp as you've imagined after checking the design on screen. The minky is a great fabric for blankets and soft home textiles, canvas and heavy cotton are great for projects that need a heavier fabric such as bags, soft sole shoes. Silk is wonderful for a scarf of blouse. Whatever you want to create, every design can be used on different fabric. I always recommend ordering a sample swatch. Spoonflower also has a little swatch book with all available fabric. Might be handy if you are a serious sewer.

Can I get this design in a larger scale?
Some of our designs have different scales. We tend to upload different scales once designs get popular or sometimes even become hot sellers. But if you need another scale of any other designs we have up in our shop you can send us a message and we will be happy to scale a design, make them smaller, or larger, whatever you need. We can also rotate the design. In most cases new scales are available in the shop within 24 hours so just send us your requests, we are happy to help!

Can I get a discount?
Of course everyone want to pay less. Spoonflower is not the cheapest website to purchase fabric from but it is an honest one. Every sale benefits the artist so keep in mind while we make your small business possible, we artists also need to eat. You might be able to find cheaper fabric somewhere but you will never find as many talented designers and such a great and gorgeous range of designs anywhere else. For small business owners Spoonflower now offers bulk discount and you can also update your account to Spoonflower Pro. Pro is a premium service for small business owners, frequent orderers, and anyone else who loves Spoonflower. For more information check out the Spoonflower website.

How to avoid import tax?
Spoonflower is based in the US but as of April this year they also opened up a factory in Berlin, germany. Good news for our European customers. They are still in the process of making this a smooth process though, they just started! If you'd like to stay away from import tax you might want to check your countries custom rates. The weight, the size of the package, it differs from country to country. But if you are based in a EU country, things got a whole lot cheaper as of this month.

I love your designs but don't like Spoonflowers quality.
As I mentioned before, some designs print, and look, better on some certain fabrics. Spoonflower prints with a water based paint which is better for our environment, it also means the print might not be as rich as you'd like. Have you ordered an organic cotton and are you not happy about the quality? Know that raw materials like the organic fabrics are less smooth, a print on this surface will loose some detail and will fade a little sooner than when printed on other fabric types like the Cotton Knit, Satin and Modern Jersey. Their thread is more smooth so easier to print detailing, smaller scales and it also has more color dept. If you do want to stick with the organic range try putting the fabric in vinegar to fixate the colors before washing. An old granny trick but it helps! Wanna have a bright, high quality fabric without color fading for fashion and home textiles? Use the Modern Jersey or Cotton Knit.

Can you check when my order will be shipped?
We frequently get questions like these. Spoonflower produces in Germany and in the US. All designs that are up for sale are made by artists that are based all over the world. Designers don't take part in the production process. All order related questions can be send to Spoonflower directly. So if you have questions about the fabrics, shipping, costs etc. just send a message to help@spoonflower.com. If you have any design related questions you can ask your designer through their Spoonflower profile page.

How can I upload my finished project image?
Looking at all these finished projects makes us so happy! But uploading a finished project image is a little difficult. Spoonflower does not allow an image to be uploaded directly to our design page. Instead it has to be uploaded to Flickr, or on a blog or other webpage first. You can copy and paste the URL link to the Spoonflower design page and select the right image. They have a really good word for this in Dutch, the English language really need: omslachtig. If you keep having trouble uploading, just send us an email with your images and we will upload them into our profile.

Well, I hope this will help some of you. If you have any further questions that are design & Spoonflower related. Just send us a message on our Spoonflower page. Have fun and keep posting your finished designs!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Musical kids mini-market // De Nieuwe Regentes Theater

Every year our local theater closes up for summer. I have been working behind the scenes as a volunteer for almost two years now. Preparing for the concerts, making the kids feel at home and being the go to person when mom’s and dad’s visit out local venue in The Hague.

The theater season is coming to an end. Just a few more dance performances and musicals before we close up for summer. For the first time we celebrated the last Toddler concert of this season with a little party. With colorful balloons, a kids fashion swap, and a mini-market with handmade artwork, musical instruments and kids clothes and accessories.

Handmade kids fashion by Ansje Handmade
For this mini-market I invited Ansje handmade to sell some of her handmade items. She has been working with our Little Smilemakers fabric for a while and you can find her on numerous markets around The Hague area. She runs a little online shop where she sells her fun kids clothes, blankets and other fun kids and nursery items, but she also sells fabric per 25cm. She has been a big fan of our designs so for all Dutch sewing addicts; check out her website for her Little Smilemakers fabric collection.

Musical toys by Tutti Timbri
We also invited Bert who creates beautiful wooden sound toys for small children that are also very suitable for disabled kids. The material is clean and ready to play with. If you would like to know more about his range of musical items check out the website for more info.

Paper art by Esther
Esther is one of our hospitality volunteers in our theater, in her spare time she like to draw and make these whimsical little creatures she calls ‘Wezempjes.’ She makes a combination of paper collages and abstract shapes, these are the foundation of her little creatures. Follow her Instagram page and watch her feed if you’d like to see more.

Toddles concerts by Club Ghazal
All year round, except for our summer holiday break, you can come visit the theater with your baby and toddler to enjoy a musical journey created by Club Ghazal. With their musical instruments, vocal performances and playful parachute they have been touring around local theaters in The Hague the past year and they will be back performing on Wednesdays in September. Come visit the Nieuwe regentes and enjoy their performance this fall!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // June 2016

It is so exciting to see a finished project after working hard on a new collection or a series of illustrations for our clients. But with finished fabric designs it is even a bigger surprise to see what customers create. To see how final products evolve when people put their own creative energy in there is amazing.

If you browse around on Etsy for some kids fashion you are very likely to stumble upon some Little Smilemakers prints. Most creatives with small home based businesses sell their projects via internet and tag us via Instagram. So we see some amazing things pop up in our feed every month. We love how Little Smilemakers creations are the foundation for other creatives all around the world to work with. So here is our monthly blog post that features some creative results from Australia, The Netherlands, Japan, UK and Slovenia. This month we selected a whole bunch of Scandinavian inspired fabrics, turned into beautiful items. We have some cool lions, all right, these are not so Scandinavian maybe, some cute bunnies in pink and monotone black and whites and some Nordic birds. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our June top 5.

Baby Lions top by Ansje Handmade
Anouck runs a small online boutique from Holland where she sells handmade items for kids and fabric per meter. For a local awareness campaign for Down Syndrome, she made some cute sets of clothes. This lion top was part of an auction to raise money for the Down Beauties project. We love her fun handmade fashion and her effort for the local community. Check out her shop for some fun baby shower gifts.

Little Living bunny leggings
This fun children’s clothing shop based in the UK sells all of our favorite prints this season. Our teepee's, clouds and bunnies are up in their Etsy shop. All items are made with soft jersey fabric. Perfect for your little ones soft baby skin. Wanna see the entire collection? Check out the shop on Etsy.

Daysie Maize Lion Safari baby bibs
We love the Australian Daysie maize collection that has some cool Scandinavian style items, clean graphic prints but with a little boho twist. Baby bibs, spew rags, clutches and boobie pads, seriously trendy boobie pads, so clever! All nursing mommies need those! All handmade with organic cotton. Curious. Take a look in the shop.

Kids interior decoration by Milk Panda
We have been working together with some companies in Japan. One of these companies is Milk Panda that specializes in kids home decoration. They sell some fun cups and plates, wallpaper, wall art and home textiles. We love seeing these fun prints pop up on our Instagram feed. Check their fun Scandinavian inspired range of products.

Hiskarija Penguin Notebooks
Hiskarija is a Slovenian brand that creates hand-made notebooks for kids and colorful recipe paper goods. Each item is carefully chosen, functionally designed and manufactured with plenty of love in an eco-friendly manner. Wanna get your hands on one of these fun notebooks for your little ones new school year? Check out the website and select your fav prints for the new season.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Finished project: Kalamati // New range of children’s summer bedding and home decoration // Colorful kids home inspiration

The past months we have been working on some new designs for Kalamati, a Polish company specialized in home decoration textiles for kids. We have been working for Kalamati for over two years now and we love how the collection is growing with every season.

Home is where the heart is, so we made some cute little houses. We created some super cool boys items with the iconic London black cab, bedding, blankets, cool cotton bags. Definitely our favorite print this season! But we also made some pastel colored hot air balloons for girls and in gender neutral colors too. An entire fresh range for the warmer season.

And the blankets are not only suitable in your little ones bedroom, you can also use those blankets for a little picknick in the park or day at the beach.

For this new range of bedding we have received some amazing photography we would love to share here on the blog. It is always a surprise to see the finished product with our prints on them and we love sharing these fun photoshoots.

If you would like to get your hands on one of these new items. Go visit the Kalamati webshop and check out all their beautiful items.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sources of inspiration: On the white // Living & working Scandinavian style

In a world where you can get anything on demand within a day, our lives and days are fully booked with appointments, skype call, internet dates and every day things we are all looking for a little ease at the end of the day. We are becoming more and more aware that dedicating our lives to more important things, spending our time with a more mindful approach is probably a better way to peace and happiness. That is why the Scandinavian design is a very strong trend, influencing design, fashion and interiors all over the world.

As a Dutch designer I also am stuck with the Scandinavian handwriting: I don't mind, space and white is important in our designs. Dutch design can be characterized as minimalist and clear with a little touch of color. Colors are usually trend related choices but the handwriting will always remain pure and spacious. In Scandinavian design white is also an important element in the design. It is not just clear space that can be filled up. try to convince your client of that when he buys a full page add in a magazine and want to fill up every inch with info. Designers love there 'space.'

Peaceful white
For our designs we use a white canvas. Every designer, painter, artist or musician, they all start out on a blank canvas or well, at least a clean slate. The very start. This white element is very important to our design process. I love designing prints on white and the majority of our designs are in fact originally made on a crisp white background. The strong black inky lines form a wonderful contrast to the white and the extra colors. And after designing for over 10 years, I am so happy this Scandinavian style was embraced in home decoration and fashion in other places than just Scandinavian countries only. The serenity and purity is finally picked up in other parts of the world too.

Easy home
So many things are keeping us busy each day. We have to get up, check out messages, get dresses, eat, work, we get exhausted by all the choices that cross our path. Here in the Northern part of Europe we live inside our homes for the biggest part of the year. Our cold climate keeps us cuddled up inside for months during the colder season and while most of us live in urban areas we do need our piece and quite. Our interiors have been a little more clean, and our spaces a little more serene compared to interiors in warmer climates where the colors are brighter and nature is lush and green.

Our Scandinavian style of living gets adopted in homes in warmer climates and in very different cultures such as India and Japan. Mid-century architecture and interior design is booming again and we all love to reduce the amount colors and stuff in our lives. Going back to a little more basic again. That is what Scandinavian design is all about. Natural colors, textures and lot's of white. Don't be afraid to grab that cluther from the shelves and you really don't need all those tacky commercial buddha's. Make your space one where you can get some rest and refuel.

Japanese serenity
Our Scandinavian inspired designs have been more and more popular each year. Recently we have been exploring the Japanese market with our designs. We are now selling our prints at Green Apple, a fabric shop and Milk Panda, a webshop that sells toys, bedding and other interior products for the Japanese home. I think the traditional Japanese style is very much related to the Scandinavian one. It is pure, with our too much fuss. That is why Natsuko Anderson, founder of Milk Panda, started her business, she wanted to combine these two styles, offer well designed honest products and in her worldwide search she found our Scandinavian designs. In the Milk Panda shop you can find a special range of clean crisp black and white prints for kids. We are very happy to see our prints pop up all over the world but Japan holds a very special place in our designers hearts. Of course. It's Japan!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // May 2016

It is so exciting to see a finished project after working hard on a new collection or a series of illustrations for our clients. But with finished fabric designs it is even a bigger surprise to see what customers create. To see how final products evolve when people put their own creative energy in there is amazing.

If you browse around on Etsy for some kids fashion you are very likely to stumble upon some Little Smilemakers prints. Most creatives with small home based businesses sell their projects via internet and tag us via Instagram. So we see some amazing things pop up in our feed every month. We love how Little Smilemakers creations are the foundation for other creatives all around the world to work with. So here is our monthly blog post that features some creative results from the USA, UK, Holland and Sweden. This month we selected a whole bunch of summer fashion themes. We have some tropical birds and leaves, some watercolors. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our May top 5.

Sew Kuddly Clothing
We are obsessed with this small UK kids shop. Not only because they have tons of products with our prints and we love their finished items but they also have some adorable photography, some cute tiny models that show off their headbands, leggings, headbands and other cool items they sell in their Etsy shop. For Hemmers/Itex we have made an exclusive series of designs and our new origami fabrics are turned into cute baby and toddler items. Our favorites: Birds and crocs are now available in their shop! So need anything for you boy or girl. Look no further. And support this super cool small business.

Yeti Feet & Co.
We love those cute and comfy moccs. They are perfect for our little ones tiny feet and these printed shoes made by McKayla Nelson are part of her new Arizona collection with cactuses, dreamcatchers and animals. She is a big fan of cactuses but she also has some of our other designs in her collection of soft soles. They make a perfect gift to a baby shower or kids birthday. These cactus shoes and more are available in her shop. Go check out her Etsy shop!

By using mostly gender neutral prints for their range of clothes and accessories this small UK based shop is a great place for some one-of-a-kind pieces for your kids. Of course there are some boys and girls themes too but we love their eye for pure and simple gender neutral designs like the one they used for these cute parrot leggings. Check out the shop for more Little Smilemakers prints, they also have our mermaids and some cool abstracts.

This Dutch company has some cool handmade new born and infant items. We licensed some designs to Hemmers/Itex and Staghorn this winter and now we see the finished results pop up on our feed. We love the colorful range of spring and summer clothes this small shop has to offer. They also have our cool bears up there and our feathers are also represented. Go check them out.

Lilla Busfro
This Swedish shop is run by Carin and we love her trendy collection of prints she uses for her handmade kids collection. She turned our feathers and plus sign fabric into some adorable leggings, t-shirts and hats that are available in her shop.

We love to see your finished results too. Even if you don't have a shop but make something gorgeous for yourself or as a gift, tag us via Facebook or Instagram and maybe you will be featured in our monthly "Made with" post.

Friday, May 6, 2016

New design for Hemmers / Itex germany // Colorful Sloth & Unicorns // Wholesale

We have been making some exclusive designs for Hemmers/Itex the past few months and we are so happy to get such a great response from customers all over Europe. Our Origami Animal range, our Inky Texture range, Baby Animals and now finally after some waiting our Unicorns and Sloths are released.

Every week we get tons of requests: "Where can we buy your designs in larger quantities?" Well, look no further. You can order all our Little Smilemakers exclusives at Hemmers/Itex. They have a sales team ready to answer all of your questions and they can tell you everything about prices and quantities. So hop over to their website if you need some fabrics for your shop or small business.

Visit website.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy Kingsday Dutchies // Koningsdag 2016

In a few days time the entire country will turn orange again while Dutch people celebrate Kingsday. On the 27th of April Holland celebrates the birthday of our King. All shop windows, supermarked candy and fashion boutiques show off their orange collection this week. Slowly everything will turn into orange. If you are visiting Holland during this period for the first time make sure you know what to do, how to behave and what to wear.

Fleamarkeds and under age street musicians
Kingsday is the day to get rid of old junk. It is the only day of the year where you can get rid of old toys and worn down clothes and actually make money. Street musicians are everywhere sometimes 5 year old kids are playing in the street earn a little something and small games and activities are created to bring in some change to spend on candy the next day. During Kingsday most of the shops are closed. It is the biggest and most celebrated holiday of the country so businesses are shut down so everyone can celebrate this quirky day. Even the entire Royal family is out in the town to celebrate, have a drink and take part in typical Dutch games.

Beer & Orange
If you decide to celebrate Kingsday make sure you don't walk the streets on a empty stomach. Beer is served everywhere but you can see groups of people in the streets and parks drink from their own stash too, they will offer you drinks and before you know it you are struggling to stay on your feet even though it's only 2 in the afternoon.
If you like to be ridiculed on the street you should not wear orange. You will be the joke of town. Make sure you add something orange to your wardrobe. Groups of drunk Dutchies can be very enjoying when they decide you are not wearing enough of this national color. Spray paint your hair, add some orange lipstick or get yourself a cheap orange t-shirt that can be bought in every single clothing shop in the days leading to this party. If it is not over the top orange, it is not good enough!

Where to go?
Kingsday is celebrated in every city and every small town. If you are up to big parties do celebrate this day in Amsterdam. One huge mass of people will turn the city into one giant party. If you like a party but want a little escape go celebrate Kingsday in the South, Brabant. My all time favorite place in Breda. The city center turns into a dance party around noon and if you like to escape the people you can walk to the city park, do some vintage (junk) shopping and grab a drink just outside of the city center where terraces are a little more quiet.
Not good with masses of people? Go visit a small town and see how locals entertain themselves with typical Dutch games and activities on the street. Here are some very typical and interesting activities you might bump into.

Koekhappen - Cookie biting game
Your hands will be tied on your back and without any help you will have to eat and finish this traditional dutch baked cookie that is hanging on a rope just above your head. If you win, finish the cookie first, well, it is all about the honor...

Spijkerpoepen - Nail pooping game
As a kid this was my favorite game. A string holding a nail will be tied around your waist. The nail will be hanging from your back in between your legs. You will have to try and get the nail into the narrow neck of a bottle. It sounds easy but it's hard work!

Zaklopen - Walking the bag
This game is very popular among kids. You will have to crawl into an empty potato bag and run track. Walking in a bag is not easy and can be very painful and I won't recommend it. I sure don't want to break a leg during Kingsday but if you want to take the challenge, I did warn you!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Legal Matters // License information Little Smilemakers Studio fabric & designs

We are honored that so many companies would like to have Little Smilemakers designs in there shop. We have licensed our designs all over the world. However, there are lots of companies not having the proper license to sell our work and it is starting to be a full time task to investigate and monitoring these matters.

Licensing art for your business
We have been licensing our designs both exclusive and non-exclusively. If you are selling fabric and would like to add our designs to the shop contact us directly. We opt out the enhanced license through Shutterstock since there is too much mis-use. If you would like to start selling our prints just contact our studio directly and we will be happy to guide you through the licensing process.

Legal steps
For all of you selling without a license you can still reach out to us and purchase a license up till May 1th. As of next month we will be taking legal steps toward companies who are selling our designs illegally. If you stumble upon our designs and if you are unsure the fabric is legit just contact us and we can help you further.

License & Spoonflower
And if you are selling our designs with Spoonflower fabric: no worries! Royalties are included in the price so you don't need an extra license to sell your products with our prints on them. Spoonflower has a great royalty structure, you might pay a little more but artist benefit from each and every purchase directly. We love to see all those finished products and would like to thank our Spoonflower customers for their support. You make our work pretty damn awesome!

If you want to make sure to buy original designs check if your reseller is registered on our client list on the Little Smilemakers Studio website. If you purchase through one of our customers you are allowed to use the fabrics for small businesses and other commercial use.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // April 2016

It is so exciting to see a finished project after working hard on a new collection or a series of illustrations for our clients. But with finished fabric designs it is even a bigger surprise to see what customers create. To see how final products evolve when people put their own creative energy in there is amazing.

If you browse around on Etsy for some kids fashion you are very likely to stumble upon some Little Smilemakers prints. Most creatives with small home based businesses sell their projects via internet and tag us via Instagram. So we see some amazing things in our feed every month. We love how Little Smilemakers creations are the foundation for other creatives all around the world to work with. So here is our monthly blog post that features some creative results from the USA, UK, France and Poland. This month we selected a whole bunch of adventurous boys themes. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our top 5 for April.

Hen House Apparel
Nicole is a mother of two boys living in sunny California who runs a small etsy shop with organic materials and unique prints. You can find a small selection of our designs in her shop, mermaids, guitars, polar bears and our cool umbrella rain design. With our umbrella print she has made some cute boys leggings and these are also available in her shop in different sizes. Take a look and enjoy her fun collection of leggings, shorts, head bands and more.

Sew Kuddly
A few weeks ago some cute lions popped up in our Instagram feed. Jasmin is based in Hertfordshire, UK and handmakes boys and girls clothing using cute, fun and trendy patterns. For this months 'made with' we selected her adorable lion leggings, one of our favorite designs exclusively made for Hemmers/Itex Germany. Jasmin also has some of our other baby animals in her shop. Curious? Take a look and get your little one a pair of these!

We have been working with Morgane for a little while now. Morgane is the driving force behind
Madkouch Boutik a colorful French webshop for kids clothing. She had licensed our tropical tucan, hot air balloons and inky texture cactus design. For this post we selected this cute cactus baby romper from the boys western collection. This cactus fabric is also available as harem pants, leggings, shirt and for adventurous girls: there is also a dress available! If you are looking for girls clothes, do check out the tropical toucan collection. We are so in love with this range too! Take a look into her shop, and check out all products.

Baby & Mother Poland
One of our favorite prints is our our dino palm tree design. A while ago we licensed this design to a company in Poland that has a whole bunch of Little Smilemakers designs available on fabric. if you are located in Eastern Europe this is a great shop to score some of our original design per meter. Take a look!

RoJo Apparel
Rose started her shop because she was having a hard time finding stylish things for her son Joshua (such a beautiful name!). She started out making bow ties but soon expanded her Etsy shop with clothing. For this monthly 'made with' post we selected her geometric dino t-shirts. We just simply fell in love with these cute little boys and had to have her in this April feature. Take a look at her shop for some stylish boys and girls clothes.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Madkouch Boutik // Inky Texture Cactus // Boys summer collection

I remember drawing my first cactus for a gardening calendar I made years ago. That same cactus became a hot selling print two years ago when suddenly the cactus was 'picked up.' It took a while! Trends come and go but after a few years the cactus is still going strong. Our cactus prints are, together with our pineapples, our hot selling designs on fabric.

We have made several designs, western themed, with skulls and botanical elements. But our plain and simple cactus prints sell best. This winter we made a new range of exclusive designs. To offer our business partners more unique prints. We created the inky texture collection. With hot air balloons, clouds, tulips, apples, feathers and other trendy themes.

Our inky texture cactus design was licensed to Madkouch Boutik, a small eco friendly business in France creating gorgeous colorful kids clothes. We have licensed some other designs to Madkouch before but this cactus range has such beautiful photography, such a pleasure to share this collection on the Little Smilemakers blog. We always love to see what our fabrics are used for and we are very pleased with the result. If you are looking to expand your little boys wardrobe take a look on the website. Madkouch has some beautiful baby, toddler and kids products such as leggings, rompers, t-shirts and headbands all made with eco fabric.

If you are interested in licensing one of our Inky Texture designs? Or one of our other surface pattern designs, just contact our studio and we will give you more info about licensing and availability. Just send us a message.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Announcement for our Shutterstock customers // Enhanced Commercial license only available directly

Almost 10 years ago I joined Shutterstock as a contributor. Starting out with a few abstract and urban photographs and textures but soon changed into uploading vectors: illustrations and pattern designs only. A lot has changed in print. Things have gotten more digital and the demand for designs for commercial purpose grew.

Our Shutterstock portfolio has been a great way to showcase our designs and we still upload some artwork every now and then. It has been a great way to built up a steady business, generate a base income and exposure.

The past year a lot of things have changed in the enhanced license agreement. Our designs are usually made from vector. So it is easy for customers to edit and change colors and adjust the prints to use them for their products. Which we love. But it also means it is easy to download the files without the right license and have a high quality file without paying the proper fee. Unfortunately that happened a lot.

Misuse of designs
As our business and also online vector portfolio has grown bigger we noticed an increase in misuse of our designs and since we have to protect our creations we decided that from April 1st we stop selling enhanced licenses over Shutterstock, at least for now. It does not mean our designs are no longer available, we just would like to do direct business when it comes to licensing our designs for commercial use, so we know every print we find out there is licensed in a legit way.

After some consideration we decided to opt out our enhanced license downloads via Shutterstock. But our entire portfolio is still available for commercial usage too. Just contact our studio directly and we will help you further.

Newbee in licensing?
If you are new in licensing designs we are also happy to give you more info about our standard and commercial licenses. We also have in-house expertise to guide your business through the process of production, can adjust colors, scales and detailing and of course with our 10 year experience we are on top of the trends. So don't hesitate and send us a message.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sources of inspiration: Rome // historical treasures // delicious cuisine // top 5 things to see and visit

Rome, the center of religion, historical gems and adorable vintage cars. I was planning on going to Italy's capital a while ago but never got around to visit up until this week. All our Italian customers are located in the Northern part of the country, the economical heart of Italy. So after a hectic first months in the studio, I decided to book a few days to this glorious place. No networking or trade fair shows, just to get away from it all.

There are so many things I love about Italy. The amazing food, soft red wines, the colorful vintage Fiat cars, the expressive Italian people, the coffee breaks, soft climate, amazing historical structures, the foundation of art, the chaotic traffic. There is no better place to start a new season and celebrate spring than in this city. The trees were blossoming, the wind was warm and gentle. And now I am having a really hard time readjusting to the gray skies of Holland. And yes, working again. But after answering over 50 e-mails and creating some new designs already I would like to take some time to write down my personal top 5. Places to see and things to do while visiting this ancient city. So here we go. And if you are planning a trip yourself feel free to reach out!

Rome is an interesting city. The capital of Italy, it can be overly crowded and noisy. And it is huge! The city is big and public transportation is not very good. Busses get stuck in traffic and because of this cities history, there is an entire city underneath, the city can not construct a proper metro infrastructure. So wear comfortable shoes and plan your day a little. You need to navigate and it will take some time to go from one place to the other. But it is definitely worth going out of the city center too.

Of course I can tell you the main sights that are a must see, the Trevi Fountain, The Vatican, St. Peter's Church. The pantheon, Colosseum and so on. But you can get those places from the Lonely Planet. Visiting these places will take a lot of time. Most of the main tourist sights have hour long queues. After you are done with these, you might want to explore the city behind the postcard. So here is my personal top 5. Things to do and places to see while traveling to Rome.

1 // The food
My friend actually got angry when I said that a mayor reason for me visiting Italy is the food. "We have culture you know!" But I think food is a big part of experiencing a culture. Holland does not have a very quality-first based cuisine. I remember visiting Italy for the first time and eating some spinach ravioli. Oh, what an experience that was. Such a simple recipe but such a delight. And the ice-cream. So rich!

In Rome you can find some very fancy places to eat, but if you would like to taste some typical Roman food, stay away of the trendy interiors and tourist areas. You will find some very fine dishes in typical Italian restaurants, try some different anti-pasti, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, bruschetta and definitely try the typical roman pasta carbonara, after that of course finish your culinary experience with some dolce.

Some places I really liked and managed to grab a bite were Trattoria Pizzeria Vecchia Roma, not too fancy looking but typical Italian family run restaurant. Ai Tre Scalini that has a nice atmosphere, good wine and typical Italian vibe. And Civico 4, a little more fancy but with lovely dishes and great dolce. These places are always busy, try to make reservations or keep in mind that a table can take up to an hour, Italians eat later than you might be used to, back home, you don't have to worry about the kitchen being closed if you go out to eat after 10PM.

But it is not all about food. Of course you have to try the coffee, recharge after walking around the city, enter an out dated looking bar and drink an espresso. Italians consume the largest amount of coffee in the world, and that will get obvious to you while navigating through the city. Every few meters there is a coffee bar. They sure do know how to make a proper coffee. No hipster barista's here, it is all about coffee, they take their job seriously. You won't be drinking an espresso like an Italian espresso anywhere, so if you are a coffee lover, go there!

2 // MAXXI
Rome is not a typical place to visit if you love modern art. Also modern architecture is not really common in the city, but if you take a train out of the city center you can visit a few very interesting places if you stop at Euclide. The 'bugs' at the musical auditorium for instance are a architectural feast. The arena Palazzetto dello Sport built in 1960 for the summer Olympics is a very interesting piece, could use a fresh layer of paint though. But the real gem for me was discovering the MAXXI. The National Museum of contemporary art and architecture. The building itself is simple beautiful and only open for public for 6 years now. With it's sharp edges and overlaps it's a surprisingly pretty composition in a slightly neglected looking area of the city. The exhibits are surprisingly well set up and diverse. I was very happy to see a some Italian parents brought along their kids to explore this place. There is a nice library dedicated to the building and Roman modern architecture. Check out the website before you go. All exhibits are contemporary. The ones I visit were conceptual, highly political engaged and visually powerful. But of course every artist and every expo will be different. Enter a place like this without expectations and it will surprise you.

3 // Romantic sunset over the city
I love to see cities from above. When I travel I always try to visit the highest building or top of a hill to see where I am and how the city is situated and constructed. Rome does not have lot's of modern buildings like many other cities do. There are no flats of skyscrapers. If you do like to watch from a hight you can walk up the Spanish steps. You will walk towards the Trinita dei Monti church (do check the interior) from which you have a great view over the city. If you walk even further up North you can have an even better view of the city and enjoy the city sunset from the Villa Borghese park. The best place for a romantic glance over the city before entering the night.

4 // Trastevere
When you would like to hang our, grab a drink, and not be surrounded by great groups of tourists this is a great neighborhood to spend a night out. This is the place where Roman students hang out at night. They toast and gather outside of bars and restaurants in these beautiful small alleys and cobbled stoned streets. It is a place to enjoy the Roman street vibe and you will feel the pulse of the city. If you look around carefully you can spot some nice street art too or enjoy some live music. This neighborhood is a little rough on the edges but it's honest. Great place to hang out and grab a drink.

5 // Vintage cars
In January i bought my first car. I always drove around in other peeps cars, and used Snappcar before that. But with my terrible joints and this bad winter climate in Holland it was time to get a car to skip the waiting on cold train stations. After test driving and checking out several brands I kept coming back to the cute Fiat500. I found one from the 70's on the internet but thankfully my brain started to work in time and I managed to get a proper updated version I can rely on. I just adore those cute little Fiat cars. These Italian cars are circling around the city like Vespa's. They pop up in from of the Colosseum, circle around the Vatican, they are everywhere. And in so many colors too! While I was in Rome I saw numerous old versions of the 500. It was hard not to stop and make a photo every time I passed one. For vintage car lovers the Southern part of Europe is heaven. Here in Holland we sell our car by the age of three to get a new one. But in Italy they appreciate these little old quirky things. And they are driving around in them until they fall apart. In a city like Rome it doesn't make sense to drive around in anything bigger than the Fiat500 anyway. If you are a vintage car lover, take your time and wait for those things to pass by. They are lovely.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happy spring // 5 reasons why spring is our favorite season

It is finally spring! Well, almost-ish. The winter seemed to be endless but finally after all these dark months days are getting longer and sun actually shows his face and warms up the little balcony where flowers are now able to bloom. I love spring. I have to say I love the drama of fall and the cosy winter nights on the couch bingewatching Girls but there is nothing better than waking up in the morning to see the sun light up the home.

I love the outdoors. I grew up in a little village and I remember playing outside for hours and hours. Picking flowers, yes also from our neighbors garden, collecting ants and enjoy the new signs of life. I could spend hours watching little baby animals run around the country side. The very first day outside was usually during easter when eggs were hidden on playground in our street. We knew exactly how many eggs were hidden and only stopped our searching for a quick drink. Months later we would find the remains of easter while digging around the swing or building castles in the sand. I loved those first days outside in the sunshine and I am happy to see spring coming every single year.

Of course I am not digging for easter eggs nowadays but there are 5 reasons why spring probably is my favorite season.

1 // Quality time in the sun
Since I work from a home studio I can feel quite isolated at times. Especially during winter I can be in the studio working for days without seeing or talking to a living soul. I love to work outside on a terrace, catch up on some paper work in the sun. But this season is also about finding a new way to spend quality time together with loved ones. Reach out again. Every year spring seems different. Time to go out again, have a nature walk, climb trees, watch the sunset on the beach. Meet up with friends and meet new people and of course celebrate the spring sun with a cool glass of beer.

2 // Late night ice-cream
Oh I love those late night trips to the local ice cream shop. I live in a country where ice cream shops close up for the winter. During spring new ice cream shops pop up all over the city and I love to hop in for a little ice cream at night, when the sun sets, to have a little bit of a festive end of a regular day.

3 // Byebye layers of clothes
I am one of those woman that does not like to shop for a new season. I do not really like shopping in general so warmer weather means less clothes! Somehow I always end up with shoes or bags. Oh yes and sunglasses. Those are easy to find but clothes… So yes, staying warm with just one layer, only one layer of clothes to worry about, I love it!

4 // New positive energy
What I love most about entering the warmer season is the fact that everyone seems to be just a little more happy. People are out on the street more, there is more time for a little interaction and a quick chat to your neighbor. During spring the city transforms into a friendlier place and people seem to smile just a little bit more. Enjoy the sunshine and take your camera for a spin. Opening up is what it's all about.

5 // City trips
This time of the year is amazing for short city trips. The weather is getting better so exploring a city by foot is not the same struggle as during winter. But the cities are not too hot and smelly yet. I love city trips in Europe for this reason. This year I am planning to have a Japanese blossom trip to Tokyo and some closer to home getaway to Milan hopefully. And all these short breaks give me a great boost of inspiration to start my new work projects with a clean slate.

Of course with every start of a new season we have been working on numerous designs. If you can not wait to start your new spring sewing projects check out all new designs in the Spoonflower shop.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Let's celebrate yellow / 5 reasons why we all adore this color of joy and creativity

Colors have a strong but also subconscious effect on our everyday lives. During my design studies, studying color was our most demanding and time consuming subject. As a visual artist I was taught how to influence and effect others with my use of the color spectrum.

Yellow is the color of sunshine, joy, vitality, happiness and creativity. Yellow is bright and warm and often used for light, breezy and joyful subjects. When I think about yellow I think off sunshine, vacation… But this color is also symbol of courage an confidence, boosting energy and self esteem. And with a little hint of black, bright sunny yellow turns into a trendy mustard color. With a little touch of red, ochre. All gender neutral colors that are very popular right now.

1 // I love yellow personality
I personally never liked yellow. Up until last year I wouldn't use this color in my designs. Only a little hint every now and then. Now I create full yellow, mostly mustard colored, designs and I really love these shades of yellow, but still I would never add a 100% yellow color to my work. I still have this inexplicable aversion towards the bright yellow color. Maybe it is just a little too energetic, draws a little too much attention, and with this ingredient it is hard to balance out colors in a design too? According to spiritual studies the color represents our self worth and in stressful times can be too vibrant. The color always makes me feel a little agitated.

2 // Yellow & branding
Yellow has often been used as a signal color. Like red is used for caution, bright yellow is often used to stand out and bring attention to the subject too, think about urban signage or the numerous cabs that circle around Manhattan, they are easy to find since their color pops out. And what about post-it notes, a brilliant color to remind you of things to do. A great color for attention without the heaviness of danger. Yellow loves to talk and is a color that can speak for itself. It is not often used in logo design but if we think about yellow branding we all think about cheap, outlet companies. Can you come up with some?

3 // The color of creativity
Yellow also lifts our mood and increases brain activity if we are surrounded by the color. It is the color of new ideas, while activating us it puts the brain at work and can give us a new perspective, create new solutions. Yellow activates in al lot of ways.

4 // Yellow & food
Studies have shown that people that were eating in a yellow room would eat a lot more than in rooms that were painted in other colors. So maybe painting your dining room in a shade of yellow might not be a good idea if you want to watch your weight. I do not eat at fast food joints often, most of these 'restaurants' have yellow interiors to make you eat a little more. A clever way to generate more cash right? One of world's largest fast food joint is well know for it's screaming yellow logo. The go to place to stuff your face.

5 // Girls & boys
This year yellow has been making a come back in fashion design. Yellow is a perfect color for gender neutral interior accents and is perfect in fashion for both boys and girls. Right now ochre and mustard are two shades that are very trending in print and fashion and also two shades we love to work with. We have made an entire new mustard colored series for this summer season. Go shop for sunshine at Spoonflower.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Exclusive fabric range // Hemmers Itex Germany // Scandinavian style designs and animal themes

This month our new fabric collection was launched at Hemmer Itex. After Robert Kaufman and Joann fabrics, both based in the USA, we now have a German wholeseller for our designs in Europe that sells exclusive Little Smilemakers designs only.

We know ordering from the USA and shipping to Europe can be costly. So we are very excited to work together with this German fabric producer so all you European peeps can purchase Little Smilemakers fabric without worrying about the extra import taxes and fees.

This spring our new designs will be released. We have some cool kids themes: Baby animals & origami art themes. But we are not only targeting on kids this spring also some more neutral themes are added to the Inky Texture collection that can be used for your own creative fashion projects or home decoration textiles. Hot air balloons, clouds, apples, spring tulips, feathers and arrows all trending themes are included.

This week we have finished up some new themes. So if you are interested in ordering wholesale fabric, follow us via Instagram and Facebook and stay up to day about all new available fabric. And if you would like to work with exclusive Little Smilemakers designs, send us a message and we will give you more info about pricing and available licenses.