Friday, December 2, 2016

Fabric feature Friday // New Apfelschick fall collection // Plus sign fabric



Our plus sign print has been one of our all time faves all over the world. This design keeps selling like crazy for over three years now. But we never licensed a darker version of the fabric up until this fall.

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, ok she probably does, but when we saw this amazing photoshoot with this cute little boy showing off his new plus sign sweater and beanie we just had to share it with you guys and give them a little Shout Out. Our new plus signs are now available in her shop so if you’d like to start being creative and make some fun fashion for yourself of your little one get your hands on a piece of this wonderful fabric before she runs out. Visit the shop!

Photo credit: Eulis Nähwerkstatt

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sources of inspiration // Top 10 favorite world wide Modern Art Museums & Galleries



As an artist, I can find inspiration in everyday things — but traveling, that's a whole different creative source. Maybe it's the need to feel connected to the bigger picture, or a different culture; or to get more insight into who I am and explore things from another perspective. Maybe it's simply stepping away from my routine and overlooking things from a distance. But one thing is for sure: traveling provides an endless flow of inspiration, and there's an entire world to explore.

How often do you visit a gallery or museum? Holland has some great art galleries and museums and I love to see all these different artists and skills come to life. I often visit the Pulchri Studio close to my home in The Hague where they have new art up on the walls every few weeks. I try to visit museums during my travels. It is lovely to see cultural differences, there is a different way of expression in each part of the world. What museum would you recommend in your country/city? For this post I have selected a top 10 of personal faves. I have seen quite some Modern Art Museums and would like to share those with you. Some awesome gems of The Netherlands and some less obvious choices, places I have seen during my travels. Enjoy!

1 // MAXXI - Rome
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.

2 // Pulchri Studio - The Hague
This Art gallery is a place you can just walk in free of charge. Every few weeks there is something else to discover here. The short term exhibitions are great for a little break during a busy working day and I visit this gallery in the old part of The Hague frequently. You can also enjoy a good lunch in the restaurant area, or sit down and have a coffee.

3 // Brandhorst Museum - Munich
The museum itself is a great piece of architecture that is already worth a little glance. Inside of the museum you can find a collection of modern art with a large representation of work by American artists. My personal favorite is the collection of paintings by Twombly on the first floor. Unfortunately the Museum prohibits photography. Such a shame since I love to capture the amazing visual art to take them home to stash in my box of memories.

4 // Tate Modern - London
On the bankside of the river Thames you can find one of my favorites of all time. The very immense and industrial looking The Tate Modern is a place for modern and contemporary art. If you ever get the chance to fly in to this city do check what is happening here. There have has numerous amazing exhibitions in the part. Malevich, Kandinsky, Hodgkin, Hopper, to name just a few. You can easily spend an entire day at this place.



// Brooklyn Museum - New York
New York has so much to offer for the creative soul. There are many places worth visiting but on my last trip to the Big Apple I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to watch the Ai Weiwei expo in the Brooklyn Museum. I am a big fan of modern art but this museum also shows a little bit about the history of Brooklyn and I was surprised about the variety and quality of art that was shown here. It is a gem and truly worth crossing the river for.

6 // Moderna Museet - Stockholm
Pay attention creative peeps! If you ever visit Stockholm: visit Skeppsholmen. 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 steamships 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.

7 // Louisiana - Copenhagen
As a graphic designer I adore this amazing Danish museum of modern art. If you ever visit Copenhagen make sure to take the train to this museum. It will take you an hour traveling North but it is a lovely way through a beautiful area of Denmark. The museum is located in the most lush area near the seaside and the sculpture garden has a breathtaking view over the water. But trust me, you don’t need the water, there is so much to see inside alone. With over 3.500 pieces of art, a combination of American, European and Danish art from 1945 till now, there is enough to see to keep you busy for a day without noticing the surroundings. Warhol, Picasso, Kiefer, Kandinsky, they are all there. But if you visit the museum on a summer day, do take a stroll through the park and enjoy sculptures from Calder, Henry Moore and my personal favorite: Miró. A must see, beautiful museum. Definitely one of my all time favorites.

8 // FOAM - Amsterdam
My favorite museum for Photography is located in Amsterdam. I think it is the museum I visit most frequently in Holland. They have temporary exhibits and change their walls every few months. I have seen numerous great photographers here. Helmut Newton’s life work. Annie Leibovitz with her famous portraits. The Kate Moss Show. Vivian Maiers black and white, street photography and this winter there is another big name to add to the list: Weiwei. FOAM is a lovely place to pop in for a quick visit. You’ll be in and out in 2 hours so if you want to see something during you stay in Amsterdam but don’t want to wait in one of those crazy museum lines go visit this little photography gem.

9 // Blain Southern Gallery - Berlin
This contemporary art gallery is located in the old press building and offers a huge canvas to artists. This summer the gallery has an impressive exhibit of Morellet. You can see his paintings and also his later work: neon installations. His work was influenced by artists like Piet Mondriaan and Max Bill. You can see some similarities in the movement and the composition but using materials like neon, concrete, metal, and leaving out color were considered to be quite modern back then and still make his work very unique. What I love about the gallery itself is that it has a huge main area with one high sealing stretching up into the sky. The canvas for the work makes the art even more astonishing.

10 // MoMa - New York
New York, one of the most inspiring art museums are based here. With the Frick Collection, the wonderful Guggenheim with temporary exhibits and of course the Witney. All amazing places to go and check out but my fav: the MoMa will always be one of the greatest places to visit if you are an artist, I think this museum is a must see. Don’t get me wrong, there are other awesome places in New York, I will have to type down a top 10 for New York only some time… The MoMa has some iconic pieces every artists should see i real life. Monet’s Water Lilies for instance. Picasso, Matisse and our very own Piet Mondriaan and Willem de Kooning spreading our strong Dutch Design. The sculpture garden has some wonderful pieces too, don’t skip those. But I particularly like this place, not because of those great names but because there is a mix of so many different techniques, that really trigger my imagination. Why choose paper or why stick with ink? Sculptures, paintings, architecture, graphics. Very inspirational place!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Top 5 fabric trends // winter 16/17 // watch out for these cool themes and styles this winter



Every season we reveal our best selling designs and make a fun top 5 of current trends. In this part of the world we are preparing for the colder season and all winter themes are picked up. But down under things are getting warmer, so we always have to contrasting geographical areas fighting for the hot sellers title. So much fun to see those two world join in our shop sales. Here is our Top 5 in fabric trends for this year’s winter season. All fabrics are listed below.

Monochromes & Textures
More and more people begin to realize we need a serene and peaceful place to call home after being overly exposed to so many things each and every day this seems to be a ultimate lifestyle change all around the world. As a designer the prints I love most are the basic, plain, pure shapes. We have been making fabric and print designs for over 8 years now and we have seen the shift from crazy colorful-all-colors-of-the-rainbow-in-one to the pure Scandinavian inspired texture like designs. And we love it. In this time and age our fabric buyers are more conscious and fabric should fit into a multi purpose: gender neutral, age neutral, cross seasonal etc. We love this strong trend since we love working with a clean simple shape and turn it into a strong repeat for fashion and home decoration. Especially the monochromes have been very popular this season. In strong black and white, less saturated natural colors and soft pastels.

Kawaii faces
When we visit japan almost two years ago we were inspired to make a new series of Kawaii style designs. We all know Hello Kitty right? Kawaii means something adorable or cute in Japanese and while I was traveling through this amazing one-of-a-kind quirky country I notice nearly everything ‘graphic design’ related, business logo’s, packaging, public adds, infographics: everything was Kawaii. Cute tiny eyes and a smiley face. So we are so happy to see these eyelashes, tiny faces and smiles pop up in home decoration in this part of the world. Our most popular Kawaii inspired print must be our popsicles and ice-cream design. But we also created some winter themes for this colder season. We mixed it up with a little Scandinavian: less colors. Hopefully we can enjoy those smiley faces for another few years.



Bears & Sloths
We looooove all the typical fall and winter animals. Animals will always be one of the most hot-selling themes and every year there is another animal standing out and trending like no other. This winter it has been the grizzly & polar bear. Bears are popping up everywhere and unfortunately a lot of copies are also going around also. But we have a cool, very unique selection in our shop. When we are preparing for snow, down under they are sewing their new summer pieces. This summer we saw our Sloths picked up all around the world. Now 8 months after releasing the Pura Vida series in our exclusive design presentation every single print artist has their own sloth available. So the sloths probably won’t be here next year but we wanted to celebrate them a little anyway. Next to elephants my personal fav-of-all-time animal. How can you NOT love those quirky creatures?



Gender Neutral Kids Themes
The past few years there has been a worldwide discussion about gender. This topic made it a little difficult to sell my pink designs as ‘girls print’ and blue designs as ‘boy print. Sometimes we get the most nasty comments on designs in blue or pink. The thing is: if someone is looking for ‘baby boy fabric’ you kinda need to tag designs in a way everyone can find what they need. It does not mean we think blue should only fit boys. As a Dutch designer I can tell you I am quite happy about the gender discussion and when people get better informed they also make better choices so that is why we see an increase in sales in kids designs that are gender neutral. It is getting more and more important to NOT label and we are so happy to see how strongly this effects our sales. That is why we wanted to add it to our top 5 trends this winter. Buying gender neutral is not only a gender conscious decision, it also reduces the footprint for our kids fashion industry and home decoration companies. Why release two lines when you can cover all at once? I love it! We plan on making more and more neutral prints ourselves but keep adding a boy and girl tag every now and then.

Dreams
All night and sky related designs are crazy popular this year. It is so funny to see how all dream themes and sky related prints are trending. Our hot air balloon designs were all sold with an exclusive license this year, we did not manage to add new designs to our fabric shop but our oldies, clouds, moon & stars, they are all picked up and are popping up in small boutiques all around the world. So funny how quick a trend can set! We thought this dream topic was a good one to end this post with. If you are looking for some fresh themes go visit our Spoonflower shop and show us what you make!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sinterklaas & Zwarte Piet // Dutch Holiday season start // Kleurplaat & Kijkdoos



For non-Dutchies this might be a little bit of a strange post. Each year The Netherlands celebrates Sinterklaas the first week of December. It is quite similar to the well known Santa tradition in the US but our old white bearded man comes from a typical Dutch heritage. He arrives on a boat with a dozen of helpers that come and turn the dark November month into a sweet candy filled mayhem. Like Santa fills socks, Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piet fills kids shoes with presents and candy.

Each year we try to create a cool freebie around this traditional Dutch holiday. This time of the year we need some cool crafty projects to work on while it is pouring out go sit down and have a nice crafty afternoon with your kids. This year we have a fun project to work on. A Sinterklaas and Zwarte Pier themed set of drawings your kids can color, cut and paste into their Sinterklaas paper Peepshow. Click on the image below and save the file to your desktop. Don't forget to send us your results!

This crafting set was originally made by me around 10 years ago for H&M Holland when I was still working for a design company that was hired to do all H&M's graphic design in The Netherlands. The original illustrations were made for them and this crafting project was a free give-away they handed out to mommies and daddies shopping for their youngsters.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Top 5 tips // online shopping Christmas gifts for fussy people // tips & tricks for the perfect present



It is that time of the year again, half way November it is sneaking up on you: you have to get started on your Christmas shopping before all awesome things are sold out. But time flies and as you schedule in your day of shopping you realize it is mid-December already. There is no time to cover all those gifts in one day!

Christmas can be pretty hectic and shopping for the perfect gift can be pretty stressful. For some people hand picking a present is almost impossible. How to get your hands on a cool, genuine item your family member appreciates? I love to keep it close and personal, but sometimes some people… First of all, take a deep breath and realize we live in a world of internet and 24hour shipping. Things will be all right! We have made a top 5 for the more fussy peeps, the art of giving.

1 // The Designer
I must be the most difficult person to buy something for so let’s start with a the fussy eco-conscious designer. Go for a one-of-a-kind present and stay away of bulk knick-knacks and artificial materials. Think about something authentic and handmade like a piece of handmade jewelry or licensed designer wall art. Art can be very personal so if your friend is a designer think about what they create themselves, is their style colorful, vintage or minimal? You can find all kinds of styles, on trend and contemporary via Society 6 where you can choose different sizes, frames and of course designs.

2 // The One-Without-Any-Hobbies
One of my family members is really difficult to please when it comes to picking a Christmas gift. Don’t fall into the gift bundle or gift card trap. If you have every unwrapped one of these your know that ‘oh, yeah’ feeling. Not very exciting unwrapping those. Make your gift personal, maybe print out a small photo book of your time together. Spend some money on a shared experience, a high tea together, a day at the museum or a sewing class. Whatever fits best and shows the recipient you put in some effort. We have found some cool courses via Ansje Handmade. Take a look!

3 // The Teen
I did not grow up with a lot of cash when I was a teen so I appreciated every gift coming my way, even second hand clothes. But I remember one gift up until this day: receiving a souvenir from my fathers (then) new girlfriend: a bottle of Sahara desert sand. I loved the fact that someone took the effort to think about me while riding a camel a few 1000 kilometers away. What was perfect about this gift that it was not related to my own style and needs of expression. Stay away from clothes and specific items they do not ask for. (Or get the ones they ask for.) Give them something they haven’t seen before or expands their horizon. A lot of things can do that. A night at the theater, a concert ticket. I loved that little bottle filled up with sand, it made me wonder about the world, about places I had never seen before. After that she gave me tickets to a summer festival I could not afford. She still remains the best gift selector up until today.

4 // The Grandpa
Our older family members can use a little help every now and then and sometimes the Christmas presents they go home with seem to be more like an old people survival kit. Containing weird storage boxes for their daily medicine, walking sticks or those giant sized objects because their sight is not what it used to. Surprise your Grandpa a little and get them something fun, colorful or shiny. Something from the now, some on trend socks or a cool hat your hipster boyfriend could wear. Give them the impression they belong in this time, in the here and now, instead of teaching them they need help. We love Happy Socks but have you heard of the Alfredo Gonzales? They have some cool stuff too.

5 // The Colleague
Not sure if this goes for celebrating Christmas all over the world but in Holland we have a thing called ‘surprises’ where we blindly pick a name form a jar and then we end up having to arrange a present for our dusty accountant 60+ colleague. Everyone has to buy one person a present and that means sometimes it is for that colleague that kinda holds a grudge for you, or that spoiled posh manager. Those things can be tricky. Buying a present for someone you don’t specifically like can be hard but thank god for modern technology. Just check their devices: iPads? Laptop size? What type of phone? And get them some cool case, laptop sleeve or accessory that fits their style or interests. Daily objects for instance offers a great collection of cases. Abstracts, themed, textured, girly. I bet you can find something fun in their collection of designs.

Last but not least we have a top for all guys out there shopping for their wives, girlfriends, mothers or sisters: Stay away from beauty ‘improving’ products and of course kitchen appliances. Oh and lovers: don’t give that ring under the family tree, wait for a private moment!

All right we have covered some of the fussy peeps. Whatever you do don’t buy a ‘joke.’ be considerate and show your loved ones you love them by giving them something from the heart, not so much from the brain. Enjoy giving!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // November 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 or home decoration 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 US, Australia, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Indonesia. This month we selected a whole bunch of crisp, minimal, Scandinavian inspired fabrics, clean whites with a color pop and monochrome prints turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and home and interior decoration, so much to choose from! We have selected some cute harem pants, leggings, baby blankets, bibs and cool lion hats. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our November selection.

Mooi
Mooi is a company that specializes in baby nursery textiles and home products for kids based in Indonesia. We love seeing our prints traveling all around the world. Their range of bedding and textile products is fresh and light. Their whimsical prints are on trend and we love their photography styling. Their collection is modern and Scandinavian inspired with lot's of white and color pops. For their new collection they selected our triangles and turned them into these awesome blankets. Curious about the rest of their collection? Take a look in their shop.

Kidooz
Kidooz is a Dutch shop full of fun kids toys, clothes and accessories. They offer a small collection of baby, toddler and kids clothing all eco friendly and we selected our bubbles and pineapples for this months made with. These prints fit perfectly in our Scandinavian style November post don't you think? Looking for a fun gift or wanna get your hands on one of these cute leggings? Take a look into the shop and order your fav print.



Ollie & Coco
Ollie & Coco is a small company based in Australia and makes adorable baby bandana's and bibs. They just added a big selection of Little Smilemakers prints to their shop. We love designing on a clear white background and clearly we are a good fit. We love to see so many of our designs pop up in their shop so we thought a little shout out was in place. We love to see some less obvious prints used for baby items. Those coffee cups and percolator bibs are perfect for caffeine loving mummies! Or Italy lovers like me. Okay, I might go for a headband then... Wanna get your hands on one of these cool new bibs? Check out their shop!

Little Pitterpat
Every month a new set of soft soles pops up in our feed. Little Pitterpat has been using our designs for over two years now and we keep loving the way our fabrics are turned into the most adorable shoes. These soft soles baby shoes are made by Sharie. All items are made by hand in Sharies studio in Montana. For this months 'Made with' post we selected their new Raccoon Cactus print. One of our fave designs suitable for both boys and girls and we know how handy those gender neutral items can be. Looking for a baby shower gift? These cute shoes make a great present. So take a look into her shop if you want to have a pair of these. She has over 500 different items, yes lot's of different prints as well, to choose from.

Bean Sprout
We love this African Lion print and are happy to see this new design pop up on finished items. Bean Sprout has a great selection of Little Smilemakers fabrics turned into the most adorable baby and kids fashion accessories. Monochromes, christmas themes, enough for you to take a look and order something cute.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Daily Objects // New Tote Bags, Phone Cases, Pillows, Pouches and Notebooks



For over three years now we have been working together with Daily Objects. The company started out selling phone cases and accessories but has grown into a full trendy lifestyle brand. They have expanded their collection with stationary products, tote bags, pillow cases and so much more cool stuff. So as you can imagine it was about time to post a little piece about this company before the holiday craziness kicks in.

Global & On Trend Phone Cases
DailyObjects works with over 70 designers from around the world and offer a fun selection of graphics. Abstracts, comics, Scandinavian inspired prints… enough to choose from. They use advanced printing technologies to ensure that your cases and other items not only look fantastic but are also durable, they even offer a lifetime warranty on their products. Their amazing collection of designs have been carefully selected from artists across the globe, now offering designs from over 70 artists from 28 countries. Watercolorists, surface pattern designers, illustrators, they are all part of the Daily Objects collective and they are still expanding. So much fun to be part of this rapidly growing business.

Tote Bags & Pouches
Daily Objects offers a small range of leather goods, key chains, leather wraps and notebooks. But now they also launched a new collection of tote bags and pouches in different sizes with beautiful high quality leather detailing. We love those new totes! They make a perfect gift for Christmas. In Holland they have banned plastic bags, a cool shopper is a must. Oh yes and of course Daily Objects offers world wide shipping on their products too.

Notebooks
Ok as a designer I am pretty much a paper lover by heart. So when we found out Daily Objects was also making Notebooks we got super excited. We love those notebooks. I am a pretty neurotic list keeper so I can never have enough notebooks in stock. These notebooks have a soft matte finish. Perfect for some classroom notes or scribblings.

Cushion Covers
As a print designer my couch is filled with cool pillows. Daily Objects now offers cushion covers too. These cushions are a great gift for your BFF’s birthday or as a sweet house warming present. Many of our Indian themes are selected for their pillow range. There are some abstracts and Scandinavian inspired designs to choose from too. Take a look and smile up your new home!

Oh and don't worry they still sell over a 100 different cell phone case versions, protective cases, transparent cases and wood cut cases. Also they have some cool laptop sleeves and leather items. So for all you guy shoppers out there looking for a cool present for your girlfriend; check out their cool accessory collection for more manly stuff. Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Announcement for Shutterstock buyers // License designs // Contact our studio directly



Some of you have noticed already: We are no longer licensing our designs via Shutterstock. Due to a crazy sh*tload of misuse, and no proper sollution to prevent this in the future, we decided our designs were not getting protected as they should and we decided to delete our collection. We are very sorry for all you buyers it had to come this far since we worked with Shutterstock for almost 10 years, but things got.... unworkable.

We have removed our all our designs and we are working on a new library of non-exclusive artwork. You can now only license our designs by contacting us directly. If you would like to receive a link to view our online portfolio just send us an email and we are happy to send you a link to our work. We are still in the process of adding all designs to this library, not our entire collection has been uploaded yet but we are working on it! It will take a little while before all 5000+ designs are all up, processed and tagged. Please have some patience!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Freshtastic Little Smilemakers Fabric: Winter weather // November selection



Every month we upload new work to our Spoonflower shop and over the past 5 years our portfolio has grown from zero to over 3000 designs to choose from. Behind the scenes we can search within our portfolio but we noticed customers have a hard time finding what they want sometimes. With our monthly Freshtastic Fabric post we feature new fabric that was added to our shop. We include some direct links to these new designs and color versions. Hopefully we can filter on trend designs and make the process of selecting prints a little easier.

For our November post we selected some Winter Weather themes we wanted to give a little extra attention. We have made some fun abstract designs for our Inky Texture collection, and some more whimsical prints for fun winter home decoration or cute little kids fashion items.

Clouds
Sky themed designs have been trending for over three years now. We have made som fun monochrome versions, some abstracts and now we added some winter color schemes of this Inky Texture Cloud fabric to our shop. We created the Inky texture series a year ago, we made some exclusive designs for Hemmers/Itex. But these clouds did not make the cut. Hope you like these new blue, nude and mint colors.

Mittens
I personally love knitted clothes. I would probably not survive Dutch winter without those. My feet are stuck in woolen winter slippers as we speak. I like how I can make my winter mummy outfit a little more joyful by just adding some fun mittens or a colorful hat or scarf. We added these illustrated designs to our shop so you can turn them into something cosy. Check out these icy, wood, lilac and blue colors in our shop.

Raindrops
With the color season comes rain. Those rainy days make me all melancholic, and as usual I turn something I really don't like into something pretty: an abstract memphis inspired raindrop print. That is how I deal with these things. Just create something. These designs are ready for you to create something cute too. We already had some colorful summer schemes up in the shop, now you can also find some neutrals and more natural colors: wood, blue and lilac.

Snowmen
This print has been trending in our shop already. This snowmen design was part of our exclusive design series last year but it wasn't licensed up until now so we decided to add this design to our Spoonflower fabric shop. We just uploaded this winter print and it is already selling like mad. If you want to order here are the links to these featured colors: pink, blue and our favorite: teal.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween // Crazy spooky pumpkin fest



It's Halloween again! Are your ready for this year's fright night? Traditionally October 31 is the day to remember the dead. But nowadays it is a time to dress up and have fun. And we love to see what all our fabric customers are creating this year. Fun pumpkin leggings, black cat dresses. We have seen so many cute designs made with our Little Smilemakers Spoonflower fabric.

And even though this holiday has turned into this crazy dress up party world wide, it is also a day to remember those that passed. Enjoy this joyful holiday, celebrate and remember the life of those whom have passed and left a mark in your life or have influenced your being. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Limited Edition Memphis Style Little Smilemakers fabric // available via Ansje Handmade



We have something really cool to share with you guys! The past months we have been testing the market for fabric production ourselves. We worked with suppliers in the past but never produced our own series up until this summer when we decided to test these grounds.And we have something cool to show!

We have been approached by numerous companies in the past who wanted to order fabric outside of Spoonflower. Up until now we never provided this service but we would love to see if this would be a possibility in the future. Hopefully we can start doing so in the near future but as you can imagine, we want to make sure to cover all glitches and we want a top notch quality, with a low impact on our environment. Aiming for a high end product. Safe for babies and toddlers and with a long lasting print. of course all GOTS certified meeting the highest standards in the industry.

Ansje Handmade collaboration
When the designer herself starts her own production you can make sure things better get close to perfect so for our own production we are definitely not ready yet but we have started a test production and we now have released a limited edition range of Little Smilemakers fabric working together with Anouck who runs her small fabric business Ansje Handmade. Without her things wouldn’t have come this far, she has been a vital partner in starting this process and with a whole bunch of positive energy she has supported me and together we hope to get things up and running within the next year.

Fresh Limited Edition fabric
For the first small batch we have selected 9 different colorful prints to choose from. Some fresh Memphis Style inspired abstract rain drops an brush strokes. Our all time fave geometric plus sign design and some fun kids themes of course. All designs are printed on 220grams GOTS certified jersey fabric. And there is only 15 meters of each of these designs. So for all Little Smilemakers fans in the Netherlands, rush to Anouck’s online shop to get your hands on a piece of this fresh fabric. And stay tuned for more fabric production news!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top 5 things every starting creative should know // Starting your own design business



I was drinking my coffee at one of my favorite lunch spots here in the city and realized a lot of waiters are just creatives in disguise. Nowadays it is so hard to find a job, even after doing master after master and a great amount of unpaid internships all over the world, graphic design business and other creative business in general do not have a lot of 9 to 5 job openings. But if creating is in your genes a Barista job will eventually wear you out so lot's of newbees try to start their own business and struggle, since doing business is something completely different than creating things.

There are so many designers in this world. Why did I ever think this could be a way of making ends meet? Well, it is possible. With the right mind set, eagerness to learn new skills and flexibility you can come a long way. If you are a designer yourself and don't know where to start keep reading! Here is my personal top 5 priority list. Things that I think can really help you out while starting your own creative business.

Create a solid business plan
I never started out with a clear business plan but working in the design industry for almost 10 years made it very clear what I did and did not want for my own company. When I myself started Little Smilemakers Studio it was not to get rich and make lot's of money. It takes a good steady foundation to built something solid.

The most important thing, the one to start off with is setting clear goals. Be realistic and humble. What would you like to do? Make a description of your workflow and plan your days. What clients would you like to work with? How much time would you like to work? What is most important? What sacrifices are you willing to make or not make? Could you work from your home office and save money or would you like to have a studio? Where would you want to be a year from now?

I schedule a little time to reflect ever quarter. What can I improve? What is going well? Where there any major issues to deal with? It is important to make time to overlook what you are doing. Sometimes there is so much to do you loose track of what is important to you. The one thing that being an independent designer should always keep in mind: Am I doing what I love? You can always go back being a Barista without all the responsibility of running your own business.

The art of social Media
The first thing you should know: Social Media is your new best friend. And as your friend it needs frequent attention and now and then some critical input. I know lot's of designers that do not have their own website. We live in a very visual world and you can reach a lot of new potential business partners via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube and Instagram. Before posting and oversharing make a plan about what you think is representative of your business, be honest and only share things that reflect your skills and set a light on what you do best. Don't be afraid to delete old posts, comments and images that seem to lack quality if you at it later on.

Be visual. As a designer there is no better tool to present your portfolio to the world than on the internet. And we are working a in a very visual business, that is a big pro! But always be critical. Try to avoid posts that are too informal, no one wants to see your pet four times a week. Of course you can stay a little human too, but try to make the balance 20/80 when you post via Twitter or Instagram.

"Social Media is your new best friend. And as your friend it needs frequent attention"

Make sure your image is of good quality. If you want to post a finished product make sure you use with some good lightning that really improves image you put out there. Stay away from harsh lightning and mid night flashes. Just wait for the next morning and use natural light as much as possible. Research shows that light colored photography and visuals attract 80% more traffic than dark images. Something to keep in mind.

Create a Facebook page for your business. This looks very obvious but it needs a lot of work and make sure you upload frequently. By not posting anything for a few weeks your hits will drop and people might think you are out of business or just traveling the world. I always like to plan my posts, you can schedule posts if you are out of the office for instance so your page will stay active. I post things that I am working on, finished products and projects (tag your clients pages) but also try to come up with themed posts around the holidays and seasons. Variety is key here. Try to inspire your audience with everything you put on there and make sure all designs and creations are yours.

My favorite type of social media is by far Instagram. It is easy to post, tag and comment and that way your work will be found easily and lowers the threshold for people to get in touch with you and your work. Keep things interesting and inspiring. Keep in mind who you want your audience to be and connect with them by using tags. For instance I create a lot of designs very suitable for wallpaper and fabric, textile and home decor companies will study their market by searching by tag. So if you make patterns add 'Fabric' and 'Pattern' to your post. If you create typefaces add 'type' and typography etc. The right people will know where to find you. I have had several companies contacting the studio after getting connected over Instagram first.

Twitter is a great way of getting some attention too. Make sure you follow business related people and companies and keep a flow of communication going. I only use Twitter for current topics, design news, tips about online education and design courses etc. Keep in mind your potential clients are watching you. Don't get too involved into politics and off topic issues and mind your language. And always check your spelling!

Earn passive income
Making money as a designer is challenging but a true creative knows how to use their skills and make them into at least some money. I mainly create patterns and illustrations nowadays but started out as a graphic designer making brochures and logo's. I grew into creating things i love to create most and have the ability to focus on one thing now. But that can take years to accomplish. And you know, even designers, they got to eat.
On the internet you can earn a loaf of bread or two by selling your work via stock or Print on Demand websites. For instance I started out selling my photo's via Shutterstock, they were just there soaking up all this space on my computer and they were good enough for print and magazines so I started uploading my travel photography and themes that are popular in stock: food images and conceptual situations. I never earned a lot from selling my photo's, since I am not a very good photographer, I do not have the right technical skills to be a pro but from there I realized that I could just sell my illustrations there too. Even nowadays if I am not working on a project I still pass time creating new work for my stock portfolio and Society6 shop.



If you have no projects to work on and like to create things every day just keep in mind you can earn passive income with illustrations. photo's, musical compositions, paintings, video. There are many websites on which you can put your artwork into t-shirts or bedding for instance. But you can also start a blog and add advertisements to your page. Create video tutorials, typefaces or design templates. There are a lot of ways to earn some passive income. Research what works best for you and your business and once you have a decent portfolio and get the hang of it you will see the work will pay off. And don't forget to share your products via Social Media!

Join design organizations and connect to a creative network
Ah yes networking. It might be my least favorite part and I am so lucky I don't have to depend on other people too much. But working by yourself can be lonely, but also can keep you back from improving your skills, creative or business wise. If you are starting as a designer it is probably a good idea to consider attending meetings where people come together and can talk about similar experiences as a designer. I think networking is my weak point. But you simply can not do everything yourself. Keep creating, representing yourself to the world, learning new skills, researching wold markets, stay on trend and on top of that stay critical about your designs. Networking is a way to stay up to date and get feedback which is very important.

There are always people that have better skills in some areas in which you could use some extra. It is better to focus on what you can do though. I have a designer friend that is amazing with software, printing techniques and new features. If not for him I would just get a new computer plug and play without taking care of the right presets and things like that. Some people have more experience in doing business overseas, some have good knowledge of the producing side. It is good to have these people under your speed dial when things get complicated.

In Holland there is a design organization called BNO. Joining a design organization like this gives you access to legal information but also is a way to represent yourself as a legit designer. You can have a face to face with people but you can also join an online creative network. Whatever works for you. Do some research, there are several design organizations in each country.

Be honest & humble
If you don't have any colleagues to tell you "this header is a little off" you have to make sure you be critical about what you create all the time. Be honest about what you can and can not do. If a client approaches you and asks you to create a website and you are technically unexperienced don't prove yourself you can do it. Learn some skills first before taking your business for a test ride.

People always ask me "how does it feel to see your designs in shops world wide." I like to see how my designs pop up everywhere but it is still my job. I know my skillet, I know what I am good at and I see a lot of things that could use a little improvement too. Just because I am a designer that is creating prints for a famous brands and thus visually out there doesn't mean I am a good teacher or art critique. Some designers have this diva attitude which doesn't look very attractive on anyone to be honest. And I think literally people should mind their own business.

"Learn some skills first before taking your business for a test ride"

Be honest about your skills and trust your own creativity. Don't envy competition and don't try to be that competition. Work on your own skills and your own handwriting will convince people to work with you because you are unique and different from anyone else. Stay true to who you are.

You will have to work together with people and simply have to come up with a solution to their problem: company needs design. Know your skills and rather than lose patience in the process, give step by step feedback why you think your design would meet their needs. I have worked with a designer that had a complete lack of overview, made things that simply weren't practical and were not at all meeting the clients expectation. Keep communicating during the entire process. Instead of going back and forth meet each other half way. Stay in touch after you finished a project. Letting go of your creation can be hard and sometimes a client is persistent and really doesn't see what you see and it is hard giving up your baby. But it is true: kill your darlings.

Keep in mind, things worth your while are never easy. Stay on to of your game, set clear goals and work hard. For me it meant working 70 hours a week which is all right since I do not have a family or husband who need time. I am always looking for things to improve, stay on top of my numbers and after more than three years I can finally say I kind am getting the hang of it and can take a little step back in hours and if I travel it is not only for business anymore.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // October 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 the US. This month we selected a whole bunch of fun seasonal fabrics turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and home and interior decoration, so much to choose from! We have selected some cute shorts, leggings and rompers. Cute fall fashion for kids. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our September selection.

Henhouse Apparel
Nicole is a mother of two boys living in sunny California who runs a small online boutique with organic materials and unique prints. You can find a small selection of our designs in her shop, perfect for fall. We selected our halloween hot selling pumpkins and we had to share these cute little hedgehog shorts. These are available in her shop in different sizes. Take a look and enjoy her fun collection of leggings, shorts, head bands and more.

Hazel & Holly
We love these cute leaf leggings. Perfect for a walk in the forest on one of these fall Sunday afternoons. This Washington based shop offers handmade kids clothes has a wonderful collection of seasonal fashion for kids. We have created some new Christmas themes too that were selected for her new range. Leggings, skirts, beanies. Check them all in her Etsy shop.



KutiKati
KutiKati is a small kids clothing brand founded in 2014 and based in Califirnia. Every piece is handmade from scratch by using quality organic fabric. Fresh, comfortable and playful clothes for your little ones. The shop has a fun variety of leggings, harem pants, tanks, patched pants, shorts, beanies, sweatshirt, dresses,headbands,mittens, rompers, and so much more. Every piece is handmade with passion and love!

Rockin Llama Co.
When Kristina became a mum she was having trouble finding fun and unique clothes for her baby boy. She became a stay at home mommy and opened up her own small Etsy shop to offer other mothers the opportunity to get their hands on cute and on trend fashion for their little one. This fall she has released some cute seasonal gender neutral rompers and leggings and we love what she made from our Halloween Pumpkin fabric. We selected a cute pumpkin romper for this months feature

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fabric Feature Friday // Handmade doll clothes // by I can’t dance Sweden



A few weeks ago we were tagged by Jenny on Instagram. She had just finished a cute pink sweater made with our Hemmers/Itex panda fabric. But not just a regular sweater, Jenny makes doll clothes. Oh yes googly eyes!

We fell in love with her panda creations immediately and wanted to write a little something about her and her small creative business. Jenny is based in Sweden and has been creating doll related items for over 8 years. She makes doll clothes but also designs dolls herself which she draws, prints via Spoonflower and then tuns into stuffed fluffy creations. She designs fabric, jewelry and all sort of other fun items. This girl is truly creative by heart. And we love her whimsical and joyful style.

If you want to create some cool doll clothes yourself? Check out our fabric available at Spoonflower. Most of our designs can be scaled down so if you need another scale of a specific design just send us a quick message via our Spoonflower account. If you are curious about what Jenny is up to? Follow @icantdance on Instagram or check out her Etsy shop to find these cute doll dresses and sweaters.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fall fabric Hot Sellers // Spoonflower



As a country girl I used to play outside a lot and enjoy the change of seasons. From lush green leaves to bright red, orange and yellow. I enjoyed playing out in the windy fall weather. Hiding out in a big pile of crisp leaves, dancing in a puddle of mud. I loved playing outside, see birds build their nests and take care of their little ones. Me and my bestie took long hikes to spot little animals. Rabbits, owls and an occasional fox. And after the summer we would wear our rain boots to walk through the cornfields to see crops grow.

These little parts of my childhood are a great source of inspiration. The little girl hiking in her own Alice in Wonderland fantasy land, where oak trees came alive and little birds would turn into dinosaurs, well everything could turn into a dinosaur or a unicorn of course, those happy moments still inspire me creating seasonal designs.

Fall might just be my favorite season. It is all about starting new things and a time to reflect. Stay in, find your way around the house again and maybe improve small things to make it feel like home again. I noticed the past few weeks a lot of DIY fans have started their new projects. Sales are up and it is time to make some new warm fashion items and fun home decor textiles to spice up the interior. A great way to start this colder season.

We have seen an increase in lighter and gender neutral color schemes. And this season we have more halloween and winter sales. We are all ready to look ahead and show you the latest trends at Spoonflower. Fun fabric for the colder season. This is our top 5 hot sellers this fall.



1 // Pastel Feathers
No matter what season, our feathers keep selling. The pastels and the black color scheme form a light crisp contrast to the background. This 2-directional repeat has been very popular for baby and toddler fashion items but also very suitable for home decor. This soft design has little Aztec detailing and small arrows. Our most popular color combo still is a hotseller.

2 // Hedgehogs
We adore hedgehogs. Those adorable animals that are so damn hard to cuddle with. So we made some designs for our fabric range so you can cuddle! We have several different color schemes but this year we see an increase in gender neutrals. The black and whites with a hint of color are trending.

3 // Indian Animals
We love to see this print being picked up. For an exclusive range we designed some indian animals that were never licensed so we put them up on Spoonflower a while ago and didn’t see many sales then, but obviously the print is crazy popular this year. Happy to see this design picked up by so many enthusiastic crafters, it is one of our faves this year as well.

4 // Textured Pumpkins
In Holland we don’t have much of a ‘pumpkin’ culture. My first taste of pumpkin was in the States when I was 16 i travelled to Atlanta where my host made me a pumpkin pie. Loved it! It was early October and the US was preparing for halloween. Shops were all orange and I got to see a little of the halloween madness. This year we have seen an increase in halloween themed sales. But the pumpkin is by far our most popular one since it it also cute for fall in general. Oh, and I loved the pumpkin pie. Still hooked!

5 // Geometric Polar Bears
For the second year in a row the polar bears a very popular theme in the shop and we notice lot’s of people are already ordering winter fabric for their new range of clothes. This gender neutral Bears have been very popular the past year but the trend is still growing. Happy to see these white babies get so much love out there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sources of inspiration: Morocco // Country of the warm welcome // pastel landscapes and colorful patterns



Morocco has been on my travel bucket list for a while now. I have always been curious about this multi cultural country with it’s desert and mountains, delicious tagines and of course the medina’s and markets. This September I traveled around this breathtaking country. After seeing a little bit of the world already I was positively surprised by the warm welcome and sweet encounters.

I have always been attracted to Morocco. As you can imagine as a pattern designer I was very curious about the wonderful architecture and mosaic ornaments and decoration. The materials and texture, the craftsmanship. Very interesting indeed. The patterns were amazing, so many of them, so colorful.

It was a truly amazing visit and as you might already know after each trip I write a little piece about the country and share a few things that inspired me throughout my trip. Things you should really experience. This is a top 5 of things to do and places to visit.

1 // Ouarzazate colors
This city in the High Atlas is the gateway to the sahara desert but it also surprised me because it has such a great energy. I loved the small city and its colors. The palm forest and the sand. The blue sky. Most of the buildings are made out of clay and they are one with the breathtaking landscapes. The colors are wonderful. Every few meters there is a minty color pop. All doors are painted in the same minty color. Seriously cute! Travel to this city and plan a morning trip to the desert to watch the sun set. You can also wonder round the sandy dunes on a dromedary if you like. A shepherd will guide you to the most amazing views up those orange peaks.

2 // Fez Medina Magic
All over Morocco you can find Medina’s. Old markets inside of the old city walls. Ok the wall itself is pretty impressive. Lot’s of city walls in Morocco are protected and are Unesco heritage. The clay walls with their castle silhouettes and tiny holes will make you feel part of a fairy tale story book. Well, I was talking about the medina, let’s get back to that one. A medina is a market where you can find anything. Shoes, oranges, party hats, blue painted chicken. A market with a maze of tiny alleys where locals come and shop for their dinner, homes and wardrobe. The Medina in Fez is a little less hectic than the one in Marrakech and is great to wonder around and get lost a little. It also has some gorgeous old pieces of architecture hidden in between these walls. Visit the Royal Palace, go see how they weave those gorgeous textiles and see craftsmen paint their leather. You can also find some wonderful restaurants with traditional food and magical interiors. Oh Fez, so beautiful.

3 // Surf
Morocco is a great place to drive around in a little vintage VW bus put your surf gear on the roof and drive to one of the many beaches. Great waves everywhere. I am a little too clumsy to get the hang of it. Always wanted to surf but well, looked easier that in was. After getting knocked out on the beach, I didn’t even get to the water, I decided surfing, that’s a little too dangerous for me. But if you can manage those waves Morocco is a great place to go be a hippie surf peep! And you can find several surf schools all over the west coast so don't worry about traveling around with your own gear too much. Enough places to rent!



4 // Food on the Jamaa el Fna square
Of course the first thing you would probably think of visiting is this square in the old centre of Marrakech. Go visit the Medina in the early evening and wonder around the little alleys till the sun sets and life on the square starts. Go take a bite at one of the food stalls where they prepare fresh traditional food, tagines, couscous, it is all fresh and delicious and it’s also very cheap. Soak up the energy and watch families on their night out. After you have your Moroccan tea take a walk around the square and watch all performers do their funny things. Fish for soda, join a political discussion or enjoy some music. It is such a vivid and fun night out. Be cautious though. The square is poorly lit and pick pockets take advantage of that. It is the only place in the country where I felt I had to watch my stuff. Woman, prepare and cover yourself a little, those teen boys sure like to grab your ass. Leave your phone in your riad or hotel and watch your belongings. I promise you will have an amazing time!

5 // Jardin Majorelle - Marrakech
This place was the biggest surprise for me. Eye candy! My happy place. I didn’t know anything about this twelve acre botanical garden. The beauty took me by surprise. The use of blue cobalt paint and the lush green are such a wonderful combination. Gigant palm trees and cacti. A small bamboo lane and a pond with fish and turtles. It is a wonderful break from the hectic city. Did you know Yves Saint Laurent owned this garden and after his death his ashes where scattered around? he loved the place and the surroundings. If you are a botanical lover this is really something you should go see.

Morocco is a pretty easy country to travel around. The people are warm and welcoming. Before I left everyone kept telling me to watch my back and my friends and family were a little nervous about me going to visit this country. There are so many preconceptions about Morocco, and even though I travel without any expectations I noticed that I did expect to be harassed or tricked. But I can tell you there are so many countries I have been to where I in fact did feel unsafe traveling as a woman. Morocco wasn’t one of them. In Holland most people assume Morocco is very conservative but in fact the people are very open and tolerant. I was embarrassed by my own preconceptions and happy to feel welcome, just as I am. If you have any recommendations yourself please leave a comment!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Freshtastic Little Smilemakers Fabric: Pura Vida Animals // October selection



Every month we upload new work to our Spoonflower shop and over the past 5 years our portfolio has grown from zero to over 3000 designs to choose from. Behind the scenes we can search within our portfolio but we noticed customers have a hard time finding what they want sometimes. With our monthly Freshtastic Fabric post we feature new fabric that was added to our shop. We include some direct links to these new designs and color versions. Hopefully we can filter on trend designs and make the process of selecting prints a little easier.

For our October post we selected our new Pura Vida series. 5 years ago I traveled to Costa Rica, such an inspirational place full of amazing animals, plants and views. Over the years we have made many collections based on my travels but somehow I never sat down to make a series of designs based on this trip until last year when I decided it was time to expand our portfolio with an entire Costa Rica inspired series of animal fabric. For this months freshtastic post we have selected a whole bunch of these amazing animals. Hopefully you like them as much as I do and we hope to se some fun kids fashion and home decoration pop up in our feeds.

Frogs
While I was traveling we were joined by a Biologist who told us all about the amazing life the jungle in Costa Rica had to offer. We stopped for a little break and while we would buy some beverages he would be out looking in bushes and under leaves. When we came back from one of those stops, he had found a tiny little frog. A very poisonous one was staring at us from the palm of his hand. Such a tiny creature. We have included this tiny monster of the jungle on our fabric series. We made them in yellow, blue and pink. They don't look much like monsters though. They are pretty cute.

Toucans
The iconic toucan is hard to find in the forests of Costa Rica. Seeing one up close was pretty impossible, but I did. These birds are so bright and so beautiful. Gorgeous animals! We made a simple repeat fabric design for our Spoonflower portfolio in fresh tropical yellow, lilac and green colors.

Toucans
The sky and trees are full of wonderful birds in Costa Rica. We included a Pura Vida birds design including some of the quirky birds we've seen during our trip. We added some colorful summer color schemes for this tropical collection and also some more neutral shades for our colder season since winter is on it's way here in Europe. A basic black and white, green and a stone purple. Enjoy!

Turtles
When I was a kid, my older brother had some tiny turtles, he still has some up until today. Right now they are preparing for their winter nap. I love turtles, those beautifully textured shells, their curious heads. So cool. I have seen some turtles during my travels and if you visit Costa Rica you can go to the ocean at night to see those sea creatures nesting on the beaches. We also had a turtle friend over at one of our lodges, just walking slowly through the gardens. We made some fun textured turtles for our fabric collection too. We have made several colors, teal, brown, pink and yellow ones.



Lizards
The Pura Vida fabric collection also has some cool reptiles in there! Geckos, snakes, crocodiles and iguana's. These giant lizards gathered around the river we passed, on every rock there was a lizard getting some tan, well, they were probably just waiting for bugs to pass by, but they seemed to be pretty chill just hanging there. We made some lizards for our collection too. I personally was not very happy with the result but some of you convinced me they were lovely and I decided to include them anyway. Here are the links: Teal, blue, gray, maroon and yellow.

Sloths
One of our trending prints at the moments: Sloth fabric is hot hot hot! Those adorkable creatures hand in trees everywhere. They seem so slow and lazy, but next day they are gone. Run off to another branch. I come from a country where there is very little wild life, seeing those sloths for the first time was amazing. Those long arms, up side down heads, so funny! Everything about these creatures made me smile. So mysterious! For our exclusive collection we made some sloths, but since they were licensed exclusively, sent out never to be seen again, and a Pura Vida series needs some sloths we made some new ones for this range. Hope you like them! We have some cool teal colored fabric, pink, lilac and we added our print that is also available on fabric via Ansje Handmade: blue beige.

Whales
We can make an entire new range of water life. There is so much in and on and around the ocean. But these creatures couldn't be left out. Some blue, lilac and soft moss colors are available in our shop. Go take a look.

Snakes
During a walk through the jungle I notice something bright laying on a piece of bark in front of me. It was like a throne. On top of it was a bright shiny, all rolled up, snake. As I came closer he noticed me and started to move. My guide rushed towards me and told me to not come any closer, this snake was supposed to be the most poisonous one in Costa Rica. I wasn't really going to watch the snake from up close. Dear lord, a snake! Hell no! I am Dutch, I don't like those scary creatures. But as I do with most scary things, I turn them into something cute and created these green, pink, yellow and beige snake fabric designs. Pretty adorable right?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Let's celebrate green / 5 reasons why we all adore this color of life and nature



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 and every few months we celebrate one of those colors here on the blog.

Green is the color of life, nature, renewal and energy. When I think about green I think off trees, walks in the forest, balance and harmony is associated with this color. But it also is symbol of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, ambition, fertility, and environment. Green is a color that has to be taken serious, it is mostly used for conscious and environmentally aware businesses but is also has a more negative side to it, green is associated with: greed, finances, banking and most importantly: jealousy. Well, for me the money stuff goed in the ‘negative’ pile. Maybe that is the reason why less commercial products are being sold in green. Black and white, pink and blue are far more popular and green was to be considered a ‘difficult’ color in sales. Thankfully all around the world people are getting more aware of their footprint and how their way of life affects mother nature. Green is no longer taboe but is quite a popular and well selling color.

1 // I love green personality
I personally adore green. All my life green has been my favorite color. I love a bright apple green but also love the pastel minty greens and all shades olive, grass and nature. I just painted my living room wall; another fresh green over the old olive color. If you are a green loving creature like me you might also like to be in touch with nature every once in a while. A walk in the forest keeps my head fresh and organized. You are probably a very compassionate person if you are a green-lover, you enjoy looking at yourself under a microscope and having an in dept relationship with yourself and others around you. Green gives you the energy to love, transform and open up to the world around you but also focus on inner health and being.

2 // Green & branding
Green always had a pretty dusty image. Just like nature. 20 years ago thinking about mother nature was only done by people who were wearing woolen socks and eating fresh veggies every day which was obviously not cool. My mom was one of those uncool people and we were very uncool kids. Our food was not wrapped in fancy packaging and not promoted and branded like candy, veggies were not cool. But, times have changed for the better. We are becoming more aware of our footprints and most of us now read ingredients when food is pre-packed. The green revival! People start caring. At last. Green used to be the color for serious law agencies and eco-products. Now the color has become a trend. Mint and olive are hot selling colors and pop up in new start-up logo’s for interior design, clothing. Green has become a lot more ‘every day’. And now actually sells.



3 // The color of love
Green is the color of the heart chakra. You might think of red when you think about the color of love but it is in fact green that influences acceptance and stimulates healing. Starting with self-acceptance you grow towards loving yourself and others. The deeper meaning of love. The heart chakra can be overly active or out of balance, this will affect relationships with friends and family. Surround yourself with green if you are having heart problems, lung problems or tention in muscles in your upper body. The heart is a place that has to be taken care of. Get yourself a dose of green every once in a while!

4 // Green ease
Studies have shown that people that were out in nature regularly are less stressed and are more in harmony with themselves and others. It made them more alive and grounded. Imagine getting out of that gym and doing some exercises outside, in a park. This environment is way more effective. Recently a study showed that kids with an ADHD ‘label’ benefit from a day in the park or playing in a forest. Not very surprisingly: when kids get in contact with nature they get more balanced. What a shock! (I am being sarcastic here…) We are so used to bringing our kids to school where they sit down in a classroom all day and well, of course they will have a break but those school playgrounds lack of green. Imagine those little ones focussing on the little leaves and moss, pine needles and twigs, climbing in trees and jumping over tiny streams of water. They will be so much more focussed after a nature break.

5 // Girls & boys
This year mint green has been our crazy hotselling color in prints that were licensed but also trending color on fabric and wallpaper. Mint green is a delecate gender neutral color and we love how this soft shade pops up in fashion and interiors all around the world. Green used to be one of the most difficult colors in sales but mint will be on trend staying strong for at least another few seasons.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Finished product // Bebè Casa new fabric collection



The past few months we have been working on a series of cool trendy new prints for Bebè Casa Fabrics. We have been working for this Polish company for over two years now and we love seeing their collection grow.

Always on trend with new pastels, gender neutrals and watercolor themes that are now available. Fun fresh and colorful fabrics suitable for your little ones wardrobe, create some cute dresses with those unicorns or fun home accessories or bedding for your kids bedroom or nursery. We licensed colorful mountains, vintage toys, retro owls, new feathers and sweet kawaii sky designs to Bebè Casa that are not for sale anywhere else.

Bebè Casa uses certified cotton and inks and the colors are vivid. If you are looking for some good quality cottons look no further. They have released their super fun collection of kids prints the past few weeks and they are now also available in their online shop or for all Dutchies: check out Ansje handmade, we manage to have some fabrics for sale in The Netherlands! Yay! Of course we are curious what beautiful creations will pop up from this new collection of designs. Don’t forget to share your finished results and tag @littlesmilemakers via Instagram.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // September 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, Utah, Latvia and Australia. This month we selected a whole bunch of fun minty pastel fabrics turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and home and interior decoration, so much to choose from! We have selected a cool mermaid romper, some teepee items, cactus fashion and some cute new born leggings with our hot selling feathers. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our September selection.

Sew Modern Tots
This small Hawaii business sells some fun kids items. We love Hilary’s mermaid creations! And we love seeing new photo’s pop up on our Instagram timeline. With lo’s of water, so fresh and breezy! And because every girl needs a fun romper like this we had to feature this one piece for our September post. But the mermaids are not the only Little Smilemakers designs she has for sale in her shop. So if you are looking for some cool creations with our ice cream watercolors or texture cactus fabric, take a look in her shop!



Little beans Baby Shop
Stephanie is a Utah based mom of four and creates wonderful pieces of fashion for kids when she is not busy with those cute red heads of hers. She runs a small Etsy shop where she sells her fun collection of kids clothes. For this months feature we selected the most adorable cactus hoodie. I bet the red head in the photo is part of the family somehow! We also selected a cute new born set made from our teepee fabric. If you want to see more fun creations check out her shop!

Rainbow Arrows designs
We are so happy to see all these new customers all the way in Australia, unfortunately we do not offer any good wholesale prices and Spoonflower can be pretty pricy so we would like to thank all of our customers ordering our fabric from other parts of the world. Rainbow Arrows is a handmade business based in Australia. This small shop sells sweet and stylish baby accessories. We are featuring their teepee bibs but there are more Little Smilemakers prints available: our trending black and white grids and our watercolor blue blossom design are also available. Of course she has lot’s more to choose from so take a look and keep track of what’s new!

Wuf Kids
This Latvian shop has some cool things to offer. We love their range of leggings and we adore their fun little fabic crowns. So clever! But theu have lot’s more cute tems to choose from. And lot’s of Little Smilemakers designs! Triangles, flamingo’s, teepees, ice cream cones, grizzly bears, and our minty feathers of course. I bet we forgot to mention some other designs but take a look at their Facebook page and see them all!