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 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!

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!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pura Vida Collection // Sweet jungle animals // Costa Rica jungle designs for fabric

Five years ago I traveled to Costa Rica, the country was number one on my bucket list of places to visit for a long time so when I finally saved up enough money I couldn’t wait to see all the lush green parks and quirky animals.

As you know I love traveling and whenever I come back from a trip the first thing I do is create new work. Usually I have been on the road for weeks and during my trips I never get around to create anything, I do however collect scribbling and sketches, little thoughts and notes. So when I come back my head explodes, it is full of fresh ideas. But 5 years ago I didn’t make any time creating a full collection of prints after my trip to Costa Rica and while I was cleaning out my photo’s when my new computer arrived in the studio I found all these images of sloths, snakes and wonderful wild life, beaches, corals and national parks. And those fresh fruit! Pineapples, banana’s and papaya’s. I got that itch again. Something needed to be done!

I finally sat down and created an entire Pura Vida series of fabric this year. Inspired by my trip and inspired by my Costa Rican muse who reminded me to revisit this inspirational journey. I hope you enjoy how this collection has turned out. We created some sloth designs, sweet baby snakes, fish and a mix of tropical birds of this lush green paradise. Of course lot’s of green shades and colorful bright colors for fall and winter.

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 do 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 or take a look at the website for more information.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sources of inspiration: Munich // Amazing streetart // Late night Biergarten // Top 5 things to do in this Beautiful capital of Bavaria

Of course if you are visiting Europe from another continent other cities might pop in to your head first while planning your trip. But there are many hidden gems, smaller cities that have a little extra something. Munich is one of those places having it all. Great night life, parks, the Alps are around the corner and the city has an historic center and lot's of cultural sights to visit.

First of all I am a back fan of German cities. I haven't been in a city in Germany I didn't like yet. During summer people are outside and celebrate the warmer weather. There are lot's of things to do all around the city. here are a few of my favorites. Munich is a city located in the southern part of Germany and has a great cultural heritage. I am a big fan of German cities with their broad streets, rivers and amazing old architecture. We all know Munich is the center of the famous Oktoberfest but Munich also is a city with high class top notch museums and fun coffee places. I must say I love that combination! Here is a little top 5 of things to do and places to see spending a day in this Bayern city.

1 // University Rooftop Bar
Are you a fan of heights? I always love to visit one of the cities taller buildings and the first thing I do when I visit a city is go look for a rooftop bar. Munich has a student bar that is open for public. Cafe Vorhoelzer is located inside of the Architectural faculty of the University and from the bar you have a great view over the city. When the sky is clear you can even see the Alps. The bar itself is packed with students and usually a place on a location like this is crazy expensive but the prizes for drinks and food are very okay. Drink a coffee and have a fresh Panini or try out one of their very refreshing cocktails.

2 // Street art tour
All along the old train tracks, old industrial area's and outskirts you can find some amazing street art. Somehow there is always room for these forms of creativity in Germany. I am always amazed by the great works of art that turn all German cities into open air museums. And Munich actually promotes street art. They say Munich is the city where street art in Germany began in the eighties and it was the first city in the country where graffiti was legalized in some parts of the town. This way Munich street art became a true respectable form of art. There is so much to see when you hop on a bike and just cycle around town. You can also join an organized graffiti sightseeing tour. Be amazed!

3 // Long biergarten nights
If you talk about Munich of course there must be a little something about beer. Every year this city turns into madness: it is the Oktoberfest Walhalla. Every fall the city transforms in a festive beer drinking party, they even have created an entire park to celebrate all the craziness. If you don't visit Munich during Oktoberfest there are enough places to drink a beer like Bavarians do. Biergarten are the place people hang out during warm summer nights. Some have open air movie nights, other have a little playground for kids, or little food trucks where you can get traditional Bavarian snacks and finger food. It is not just a place to drink bier, it is part of the countries social tradition.

4 // The Isar River
On a hot summer day nothing is so refreshing that a little dip in the river. The Ivar river is east from the city center and a popular place for peeps to hang out. You can reach the river by metro or rent a bike and have a little ride along the green Ivar Trail. It is a great place to meet up with friends over a little BBQ or get a little tan, there is also a nudist area. It is green and lush and a great escape from the hot city center. So if you want to get out of the busy hot summer streets this place is a great afternoon gettaway.

5 // Museum Brandhorst
Pop art and contemporary pieces. I love a good Art Museum. And thankfully every mayor European city has a place worth visiting. Of course you can visit the Pinakothek Museum but the Brandhorst Museum also has a great package of modern art, paintings and sculptures. The Brandhorst Museum was built in 2008 and even the building itself is worth a little peek. It has a colorful clean cut facade that looks amazing in sunlight! Sometimes a Museum can be an overwhelming place but Brandhorst is not too big. Spending two hours inside is enough to see it all that is why it is a great place to visit if you will only be in town for a day.

Tuesday, August 30, 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 20, 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!

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

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 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.