Saturday, January 20, 2018

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 5 January 2018



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, Slovenia, Ukraine, USA and The Netherlands. This month we selected a whole bunch of hot selling fabrics, turned into beautiful items. We have some cool hedgehogs, kawaii prints and trendy abstracts. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our January top 5.

1 // Hiskarija 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. They have some cool Little Smilemakers penguins, hedgehogs and a few abstracts to choose from. Hope you like them as much as we do!
https://www.hiskarija.si/sl/



2 // Lucie June
This Australian based shop makes vibrant girls clothing, focusing on whimsical individuality, designed to be beautiful and practical for the start of life as a little lady. We love Lucie June and their handmade rompers. And wanted to give them a little extra attention with the summer season Down Under these are great additions to your little ones summer wardrobe. We love our watercolor cacti print and our monochrome geometric design on their handmade pieces. We call it stylish bohemian. Curious about the rest of their collection? Take a look on their website.

3 // Tiny Little Cactus
You might have seen the Tiny Little Cactus booties here on the blog. Krista has launched her new range of doll house items this month. Under the name of Dollhouse Bandits she created tiny furniture for your little ones dollhouse. She also made matching bedding and accessories for those tiny little rooms. Check her website for her fun kawaii and abstract collection of fashionable doll bedding.

4 // Ripka Store
Oksana is based in Kiev and creates adorable sleep suits and baby rompers she sells via her Etsy shop. Her eye for clean monochromes make this shop stylish and trendy. Perfect to browse around! For this months “Made With” post we selected one of her monochrome creations: our hot selling hedgehog fabric. This print has been turned into notebooks, baby nappies, bedding, socks, but this sleep suit, so adorable! We wish her all the best with her fun shop.

5 // Mile Mea Handmade
We were contacted by Debbie through Spoonflower where she send us some links of her new burb cloths creations. Deppie has been a loyal customer of our fabrics and offers tons of Little Smilemakers prints in her Etsy shop. Looking for a cute new born present? She has lot's of fun combo's. Colorful, abstract, monochromes, enough to find something suitable. Check our her online store.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Top 5 Hot Sellers // Love inspired fabric for Valentine’s Day



We are half-way January and blue Monday has come and gone so it is time to focus on the year’s best holiday: Valentine’s Day is around the corner an our loooooove sales are going well. I think everyone is excited to spread some love and we see some new cool Love themes come up in our trend overview. So here is a little top 5 of this years most trending Valentine themed designs on fabric. And of course love is always an option, so no need to limit the use of these designs to one day of the year.

1 // Lollipop Love
This prints was inspired by the naive pop culture trend. We see food and candy pins pop up in fashion and we love these retro style illustrations influence new fashion collections. This designs is a simple illustration of heart shapes lollipops combined with black dots making the design fresh and quirky. Perfect for Valentine. https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/7177070

2 // Monochrome Love Typography
We adore monochromes and this style is still growing strong. A simple black and white print, you cannot go wrong. Small hearts with hand drawn love typography. A cool combo making this print on trend and very useful for gender neutral creations. Create some cool fashion pieces or use this print as wallpaper for your home. I’d love to see this design used in a baby nursery. So cool! https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/6093977

3 // Textured Hearts
This design has been around for a little while. The mint and peach combo is still trending after three years. The textured hearts are matching our inky texture collection. A collection of designs that have been licensed throughout Europe, United Stated and Australia. But it is also available on fabric and wallpaper via Spoonflower. So if you are looking for a more contemporary love themed design, this one might be just what you’ve been looking for. https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/5163891



4 // XOXO Sweet hearts
The monochrome nursery is very popular. And this soft pink xoxo design is perfect for your little girls bedroom and wardrobe. A raw abstract ink print with xoxo and heart shapes. The designs is a basic repeat with minimal shapes making it perfect as a secondary design or for large scale use like curtains and wallpaper. Curious to see some finished results with this one! https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/4867777

5 // Love Hearts
Black and whites with a hint of color are it this year. And this design is perfect for both boys and girls. For your little one or for your own fashion items or home textiles. The pattern is made with hand drawn heart shapes and the random placed shapes make this print playful yet stylish due to it’s color use. You can never go wrong with a strong basic black and white. https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/4845697

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Collab // Maxomorra // New Spring 2018 Collection



Founded in 2008, Maxomorra is a sustainable children’s clothing brand from Sweden. Their clothes are characterized by functional design with playful colors and patterns, produced using ecologically and socially responsible textile processes.

The new Spring ’18 Plus Collection is part of a new design project, risen from their curiosity to explore Maxomorra outside the box. The new Plus collection contains eight prints in a limited selection of styles, all made by Little Smilemakers Studio. With a few extra details to the prints and a brand new and beautiful color palette. To create complete outfits, there is also a small basic collection with solid colored jersey and velour available. As always, pick your favorites, mix and match, and go out and be fabulous. There are t-shirts, cute boxers, leggings, hats, adorable onsies and so much more to choose from. And there is even more to come this year!

Spring Favorites
Our fave of the new spring season collection must be the Watermelon Love design. And the super cool Arrow Monkey and Indian Animals. We love how the prints turned out on Maxomorra’s range of kids fashion items. Hope you enjoy the new launch just as much as we do!



Conscious
Cotton can be a shady industry. Maxomorra chooses to only use sustainable certified cotton. And we are proud to work together with this socially conscious Scandinavian brand. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed through a collaboration by leading standard setters with the aim of defining requirements that are recognized worldwide and that ensure the organic status of textiles from harvesting raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing all the way to labelling in order to provide credible assurance to the consumer. Maxomorra has been using GOTS certified cotton since 2008 and is a GOTS certified brand since 2011. So if you are looking for some new conscious baby and kids items to fill your shop with contact Maxomorra and ask for their new Plus collection.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sources of Inspiration // Vietnam // Blue waters, magnificent caves and delicious cuisine // Top 10 travel tips



Like every year, December is a time to take a break and make some new memories. Travel, explore new places and soak up all the inspiration I need to start the new year all fresh and full of renewed energy. This year I traveled to Vietnam. A country with a horrific and complicated past. A country with glorious beaches and beautiful mountains, caves and rivers.

After a month of traveling from the North to the South experiencing unexpected cold weather, crazy bus trips and lazy taxi drivers, a typhoon coming our way, animals in our room and being constantly lost in translating we did also manage to enjoy ourselves too. So here is a little piece about the things that were actually pretty enjoyable. And it was a lot! So instead of a top 5 I turned it into a top 10 for you guys. If you ever visit any of these places I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

1 // Hanoi - Pearl of the North
The capital city of Hanoi is located in the North of Vietnam where we started our month of traveling. This city has an old center which is buzzing and filled with local bars, street food and boutiques. And very important: Proper coffee! Hanoi is a little hipster. Wandering around the streets you get a good impression of what once was. The city still has a lot of French influences, you can see it in the old quarter, the well preserved architecture and buildings take you back to colonial times. But Hanoi is a modern metropole. It is a fast developing city, a great hub from which you can visit the Northern part of Vietnam: Sa Pa and Ha Long are just a few hours away. I loved the easy atmosphere and starting our trip from this city was great: the people were friendly and welcoming. It was easy to navigate the streets and get a glimpse of the Vietnamese culture. Art Galleries, street art and small fashion boutiques. It was making my creative heart all warm and fuzzy! Asian cities can be overwhelming but Hanoi was fun.

2 // Sa Pa - Green Oasis
The North of Vietnam is simply breathtaking. We traveled from Hanoi to visit Sa Pa with a sleeper bus. It takes only a few hours to get there so if you are traveling North I can recommend taking a bus in which you can actually sit. The sleeper bus is way too tiny for our western sizes. Safe yourself the backache! It was a pretty funny experience though. So many people packed in a tiny bus is always very amusing.

A home cooked meal
The village of Sa Pa is one you can skip. There is not a whole lot to do. If you visit Sa Pa make sure you book a place in the green ease Sa Pa is. We stayed in a small eco lodge, which wasn't very eco but the food was delicious and we had a tiny cabin overlooking the rice field. A beautiful view to wake up with. From the lodge we took a short hike to the small town of Lao Chai. Together with our Sa Pa guide we walked through the rice fields up to her family home where she and her sister-in-law made us a delicious lunch. Sa Pa is definitely a place to visit. Unfortunately we visit Sa Pa in the winter when it was all foggy and crazy cold. If you plan on going North, keep in mind that it can be extremely cold and rainy during winter time it is probably not the best time to visit. So happy we had an electric blanket to warm up during those cold evenings!

3 // Rice fields and mountains
Ninh Binh Provence is a great place to recharge. With it's karst mountains, caves and rice fields it is a great destination to take a little break and recharge. We had a tiny home stay lodge in a valley surrounded by rice fields. This area is a beautiful place for a hike or you can get around by bike to explore the wonderful landscapes. From here we cycled through the rice fields. And we also visit the Caves of Trang An by rowing boat. A three hour trip will take you through canals and caves leading to beautiful temples and pagoda’s.



4 // Magnificent caves in Phong Na National Park
I love being surrounded by nature. For me it is the ultimate way to recharge so I was a little sad when we only got to see some caves while visiting Phong Na National Park. We were, well, let’s call it ‘unlucky.’ The weather was too shitty to actually do all the things we wanted to do. This UNESCO world heritage park is lush and green and you can do all sorts of activities, take a dive within the caves, go climb the mountains or hike through the jungle. When I visit this National park, me and my friend could only do a day tour which meant we had to pick only two caves to explore. We did not have any more time and the weather limited our options. But nevertheless, what we saw was magnificent!

Phong Nha
All trips within this park were organized so we took a small boat with 4 other tourists to visit the Phong Nha cave. With our small boat we entered the magical underground cave river from where we could enjoy the cave in all it’s glory. The colors and shapes. The spectacular textures created by nature over time. Within the cave we got off the boat for a small hike climbing the grottoes and following the passage we walked until we saw daylight. Such a wonderful experience. But we still had another cave to see.

Paradise Cave
The Thiên Đường Cave, better known as the Paradise Cave. This cave has a length of 31 kilometers! Only 1 kilometer is open for tourists, but it gives you more than enough to see. The entrance is located high up the mountain and on a hot day the climb will definitely be a challenge. So bring some water and protect yourself from mosquitos while going up hill. When you enter this cave and have a first glimpse of the magnitude of this gem you will forget the struggle going up right away. The boardwalk will take you up to a kilometer in, and every few meters the cave changes in color & texture. Small pools of water reflect the pastel colors and the soft acoustics turn this cave in a magical unearthly landscape. Hopefully one day I have the chance to see more of this National Park. But the two caves were crazy mind blowing already. So if you want to see nature at it’s best, this is a must see place when you travel through the Northern parts of Vietnam.



5 // Street Food
Vietnam has a strong street food culture. Breakfast and lunch are mostly eaten on the street where little carts and stalls offer simple one dish meals that are cooked right in front of you. Every new day the little stools and tables are carefully installed near parks, crossings and along the busy roads. Small street corners turn into little outside restaurants and locals are sharing a meal and conversation before heading home around 9PM when everything get’s cleaned up again.

One of the reasons to visit Vietnam for me personally definitely is the food. I love the mix of herbs and spices they use and during our trip we couldn't get enough of it! The Pho noodle soup, the fresh spring rolls, shrimp dumplings. And of course the Bahn Mi. Every place you visit has it's own local specialty and we tried a whole bunch of them. What I didn't expect was the amount of meat Vietnamese eat.

Veggies
For veggies Vietnam can be pretty difficult since all dishes are either based in meat or fish. When you order a veggie version they use a lot of tofu. Most dishes have a base of fish sauce, so if you order a dish and leave out the meat or fish to go veggie they also miss the base ingredient. I would recommend ordering lot's of vegetable side dishes so you can mix and match so your meal won't be too dull.

Vietnamese faves
The most famous meal of the Vietnamese must be the Pho Bo. Noodle soup with raw chunks of beef. This is considered to be a proper breakfast and we never skipped a day without a Pho Bo. There are super tasty ones with fresh herbs and veggies and more dull versions that only have noodles and beef. They are never the same. 

One of my other faves is the papaya salad. With lots of greens we simply don't have in Holland. Mustard leaves, lettuce, shrimp, sprouts, sesame seeds and peanuts form the base of this fresh salad. So delicious!

In Nimh Binh we stayed in a tiny town where goat meat was considered to be their specialty. I did not try it though, those burned full body animals presented on food carts on the side of the roads did not look very appealing to me. I am not a big meat eater so this was an easy one to skip. But Vietnamese food is very meat & fish based. It was hard to avoid both meat and fish. In Huè we first tasted shrimp pancakes. Definitely another high light food wise! With a fresh salad and cilantro and mint this dish was definitely one of my faves up until I tasted the Hoi An pancakes with similar ingredients but with a thin and crispy crust. Super yummy!



6 // Hoi An
We visit Hoi An after our second week in Vietnam after visiting the Northern part. During the first two weeks we managed to avoid the messy tourist places and actually thought we wouldn't be seeing many tourists for the weeks ahead. So when we entered the ancient city of Hoi An we were stunned. It felt like all tourists were centered in the small streets of this city. Mass tourism at it’s best. But it wasn’t all bad, the old town has quit a charm with it’s colorful lanterns and small alleys. And with tourists comes proper coffee. That’s a plus! Hoi An has a great street food culture and you can snack on every corner. It has a buzzing night market where you can find the local food: Vietnamese Pizza and ice rolls. Yum!

Made in Vietnam
And the city is famous for it’s tailored fashion. Shoes, wedding dresses, bikini's..., what is in your closet you wish you had another piece from? Let the Hoi An tailors recreate your fave pieces. I fell into the trap and found a girl who could make me the leather backpack I was looking for. I love handmade leather goods and carry my brown leather backpack everywhere. I was looking for a replacement but couldn't find one back home. With some small tweaks she created the perfect black backpack. There are some places that are just worth the trip even though it is packed with tourists and Hoi An is one of those places. it is easy, fun and there is lot's to see.

7 // Boat trippin’ - Cat Ba & Ha Long Bay
You have probably heard of Halong Bay, one of the most gorgeous bay's in the world. But it is also packed with tourists and we decided to go off the beaten track and visit the bay from Cat Ba Island. A small island south of Ha Long from which you can take a boat trip through the bay. The village of Cat Ba has lost it's glory, it is not the most inspirational place but a good alternative destination from which you can also visit the Cat Ba national park. A small hike leads you to one of the mountain tops from where you have a 360 degree view over the lush Cat Ba mountains. 

8 // Cooking class
Of course a great way to learn a thing or two about local cuisine is to take a cooking class. My friend and I took a class while staying in Hoi An. With a local cook we visit the food market in the heart of the city. We walked through the aisles and I was amazed by the amount of fruits, veggies and fish I had never seen before. We collected our ingredients for the day and took a bike ride to a small village outside of Hoi An to start cooking. It was fun to make some typical Vietnamese dishes, we prepared squid, spring rolls and pan cakes. Unfortunately I already forgot the recipes. Hopefully my friend still has them written down somewhere. I am such a sloppy student! Always have been.

9 // Mekong river and coconut islands
South of Ho Chi Minh City you can find the beautiful Mekong Delta. Most tourists visit the crowded My Tho area but after two days of Ho Chi Minh madness I needed a break from the chaos so we decided to go a little more South to avoid more masses of people.

Ben Tre
We stayed a little South from the Ben Tre village and from there we made a wonderful bike trip to a small island. We took the local ferry to visit an island filled with palm trees, mangroves and coconuts. The lush palm leaves protected us from the burning sun. And every few minutes we stopped to capture the beautiful plants, butterflies and flowers. Exactly what I needed!



Explore the Mangroves
You can also take a boat trip through the mangroves. Oh I am such a sucker for mangroves. What is not to love about trees and water? We visit the bee farm and visit a coconut farm and got to try some fresh honey tea and coconut candy. The Mekong huge and some area’s are packed with tourists. Vietnam tourist is very ‘stubborn.’ And it can be difficult to get off the beaten track but try to make your own path anyway. It is lovely to see the more remote area’s and dive into the real Vietnamese experience.

10 // Vietnam for hipsters
It took us a while to figure it out but Vietnam is pretty hipster. By 2020 Vietnam wants to be a developed country and you can see the country is working hard to meet those expectations. Everywhere you go new buildings are rising and modern concept stores, small fashion labels, art galleries, coffee shops and cocktail bars are popping up in dodgy area’s and old, crumbling buildings.

Preparing for the future

The young generation knows what’s going on and influences Vietnams progressive out look. In the cities you can find a proper latte and craft beer is on the menu. We visit the Pasteur Street brewery in Saigon and had a little beer tasting. It doesn’t get any more hipster than that! Times are changing and so is Vietnam. It is a wonderful mix of it’s complex past and inescapable future.



Whether you choose to visit Vietnam during winter or summer, the country is divers and there is so much to see and do. We were a bit surprised about the crazy cold Sa Pa nights and were not at all prepared for two weeks of cold weather. The climate change is also effecting Vietnam so pack warm clothes! I loved the green and easy North and traveling South we noticed the difference in culture and customs. Making the Southern part very different from the North. I am curious which part you like most. Drop a line of two if you have any comments and if you’d like to share your experiences with this surprising country.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2018 // Top 10 illustrated new year's resolutions // 10 things to add to your life to make it a little more joyful and fun



A brand new year! Hopefully you have had an amazing NY eve, did some partying, cocktail drinking with friends or cuddle up with your family or loved ones. After weeks of making lists and taking time to reflect on the past year it is now time to make room for a new year. Make plans, start new beginnings and of course: new year’s resolutions!

I know every year I have a bunch of silly ones. Luckily enough I am pretty content with my life so usually my new year resolutions are not very strict, life altering or sudden. For this year I have made a series of illustrations to remind myself to stay close to who I am and what I want. They say visualizing your goals makes it easier to work towards them right? The past months have been pretty hectic, so many new things, a demanding new business, to worry about, I have to keep reminding myself to be a little more kind to myself. Add some things, remove some habits, balance my time. Here are some of my favorite new year resolutions for this year.



1 // Create something every day
As a designer this might be a little obvious but the past 6 months my days were filled with contacting customers, searching for the right people for our studio renovations, being busy learning new things to set up a new business, meeting with lawyers, trying to get money back on fabric orders, trying to resolve a ‘water’ issue, fighting for justice with a company who is handing out my designs to anyone. Well, I can go on for a while. But all this meant creating was not an option. An artists day only has 24 hours so for the new year I need to sit down and create again. Do what I love most. Start my day with a pencil in my hand. Definitely my number one resolution for the new year.

2 // Don’t work for assholes
Well, as I already mentioned above, working as an independent artists means having to deal with shitty things sometimes. Every year I try to let go of those who take advantage, are disloyal or just behaving like complete ignorant assholes, mind my vocabulary. I am pretty easy going and if you do something stupid and apologize I am pretty forgiving. Unfortunately saying sorry is a little hard for some companies. I have to remind myself: I will be fine without the drama. I rather work with people that have a heart. Bye bye!

3 // Travel
The most important thing in my life is my freedom. Starting a new business might come with some extra strings but I have to remind myself to take time to travel, soak up some new impressions. I am a worthless human being when I am trapped in a routine. I want to experience new things, challenge my own perspective. It keeps me sharp, clear, focussed and most important: inspired to create new things.

4 // Eat more ice-cream
I know right? Such a great goal! No, I don’t want to lose weight, or eat healthier. I pretty much exercise twice a week and eat pretty healthy home made food, fresh veggies, start the day with smoothies, you name it. But this past summer I went out for ice cream once! Seriously! So I do need to eat more ice-cream, treat myself a little. Don’t forget to spoil yourself sometimes!



5 // Write more
I love creating, I am not a very good writer though but I like how it organizes my thoughts and experiences. We do not take enough time to let things in. To experience to the fullest. I love writing down things to sit down and reflect. It is like taking pictures of moments. They will stay with you a little longer. I love sitting down to write blogposts but I am too busy to make them as in dept as I would like. So yes, write more, and take time to write.

6 // Go for walks
I don’t spend enough time in nature. And I love wandering around the forest, take a walk on the beach. Go out and clear my mind. So important! I do not have a significant other special peep to talk about and share my day with over dinner and I know that my mind will go get busy if there is no room to digest things. A walk in the park can do wonders. I should. I will go for a walk. Once a week. With or without company. So doing this!

7 // Smile to strangers
Don’t you hate it when someone looks at you and they try to ignore seeing you? they cannot look away any faster. Especially irritating when they know you personally. What the hell? Such a weird way of treating someone. Sometimes I can feel very lonely, I walk down a busy street. No one interacts with one another. That is definitely not me. I started smiling at strangers, just a second, a short connection can make a day a whole lot lighter. A simple smile makes such a difference. It even releases endorphins, natural painkillers people! Let's give it a try!



8 // Eat more Cheesecake
Cheesecake is my guilty pleasure. I used to meet up with my best friend over cheesecake to talk about life, and love and everything that would keep us busy. Eating more cheesecake means: spending more time with loved ones. Sit down and listen. Quality time with friends. Let's make it a priority again!

9 // Quit buying shoes
And suddenly I was and accidental shoe addict. I don’t like shopping, I don’t like trying on clothes, I don’t like brief trends and I am not someone you’ll catch shopping on a Saturday afternoon. But as a human being I kinda have to cover myself, with clothes. Somehow I always go home with new shoes. I should definitely stop buying shoes instead of clothes!

10 // Get a new kitty
Or make some room in my life for something cuddly. I have had a cat for 22 years and I miss a soft purring creature that makes my house a home. But I am also a little anxious to commit. I might have some issues with commitment nowadays. Hmmm. Get a new kitty might be the first step to healthy commitments again.



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Holidays // Merry Christmas and an awesome 2018 // Warm wishes from our studio



It is that time of the year again. While the snow is falling, making the streets white and soft a quiteness falls over me. It is the time of the year to reflect on what has happened. And it has been a lot. Are you ready for a new year? While the media is making 'best of 2017' lists we are reminiscing over a fruitful year ourselves and closing up for a well deserved break.

The year started with a renovation. Decorating and opening a shop with Little Smilemakers fabrics and products was a dream come true. I never thought having a shop would be so much fun! People dropping in giving feedback, seeing those smiles on those customers faces. And I got to travel again, work on new exciting projects with clients from all over the world. New designs, new in depth researches and new trend reports. In September we found a new place and moved the studio, getting a bunch of new colleagues to work with. So much fun!

I have met some amazing new people this year while I was part of the creative hub of The Hague: Makerskwartier. Being part of a street full of creative entrepreneurs is so uplifting! All walking the same path, building a creative business from scratch. So much fun! So much has happened this year, business wise but also personally. Looking back 2017 has been a challenge but it hasn’t been half bad. It was a rollercoaster with unforeseen bumps in the road that only lead me to a clearer path and adventures to come.

There are a whole bunch of new plans for the future. We will be starting a search for a new account manager in January. And I will be exploring new ‘waters.’ But first it is time to celebrate and enjoy Christmas time with friends and family. Have a good toast to the new year and leave 2017 with a big bang. See you all in the new year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 5 December 2017 



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 and India. This month we selected a whole bunch of winter and seasonal inspired 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 tote bags, leggings and soft sole shoes. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our December top 5 selection. 

1 // Daily Objects 
Next to phone accessories, laptop cases and notebooks, Daily Objects now 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. They also added some cool home decor to their range of products. Our prints are now also available on pillows. Oh yes and of course Daily Objects offers world wide shipping on their products too. Click here for their collection.

2 // Le Petit Bouton 
Lisa Gillies a young mum and the owner of Le Petit Bouton. Like many new mums, she was madly searching for items for her little girl that were unique, on trend, and made with beautiful fabric and she was getting frustrated at not being able to find exactly what she wanted. That is why she decided to start her fun shop, stocking gorgeous little girls hair clips, hair ties and headbands using beautiful designer fabrics and organic knits. Our little reindeer girls have also been added to her webshop for this holiday season. Her products are perfect for special occasions, party favors, birthdays, baby showers, new arrivals, school, stocking fillers...the list goes on! Baby skyler is modeling her fun products. Such a cute little girl! Take a look at her shop if you want to get your hands on one. 

3 // Olive the Things 
For our seasonal ‘Made with’ post we selected a cute reindeer sweater. One our our personal favorites for this jolly season. This Utah based shop offers a great selection of soft sweaters, hoodies, shorts and other cool kids items. of you are looking for some cozy pieces for your little one, this is the place. take a look at their Etsy shop and check all fun mix & match pieces.



4 // Hazel & Holly 
We love these cute Origami Santa leggings. Perfect leggings for the holiday season right? And suitable for both boys and girls. This Washington based shop offers handmade kids clothes has a wonderful collection of seasonal fashion for kids. We have created some new Christmas themes that were selected for her new range. Leggings, skirts, beanies. Check them all in her Etsy shop.

5 // 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 baby and toddler shoes. These soft soles baby shoes are made by hand in Sharies studio in Montana. For this months 'Made with' post we selected their Grizzly Bear Ski Slope 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. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sources of inspiration // A playful mind in business



As you know Little Smilemakers Studio targets their designs on the children’s market mainly. Most of our designs are triggering those little ones fantasy and we love to see the joy on our tiny customers faces when they get to wear on of our designs or see our prints in their home and on daily products.

It is not a coincidence our prints are attracting those mini humans. Play is one of our biggest inspirational triggers. Whenever you are playing with your son or daughter or playing a board game with friends or dancing around the living room butt naked singing along with some terrible cheesy song; being playful is the fuel for creation. It opens up other possibilities, views and perspectives.

Choose a crazy color of lipstick instead of sticking with your regular tone. Commute on a skateboard instead of taking the bike. Try hanging upside down next to your kid on the playground. Try new things, new places, new food, and open up your senses to explore to the fullest.

Unfortunately most playful things are targeted on kids, but keeping an element of play present throughout your busy day will keep you energized and focused. At least that is what it does for me. It opens up new possibilities because my mind get’s distracted from my stressful studio life. Playing keeps you happy & healthy.

Play is getting more important. It is a way to reduce stress but also a way to engage. Customers choose to spend money on new experiences and making memories instead of spending their cash on stuff. It is another opportunity to reach customers and think out of the usual box. We see shops turn into concept stores with room for surprise and incorporating spaces to experience, grab a coffee and meet up, an mix of commerce and hospitality. The boundaries fade and the story behind a brand gets more important, it is not about quantity any longer. So we try to tell stories with our designs, trigger these creative souls in a playful manner. Curious to know more about how we can incorporate play into your brand? Just reach out and send us a message. We are also very curious to hear what you have to say about play. So let’s chat!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SOAPBOX // Column // Cotton Mafia

With her Dutch roots complaining is in her genes. Every month she writes a little piece about things that keeps her busy. Things that make her wanna scream “Nooooooooooo”



While I am preparing to close up the studio and finishing up all work to end the year I am daydreaming about this year’s holiday destination. Christmas and New Year’s are the perfect time of the year to travel if you are a small business owner like me and I love traveling to Asia, it is warm, the food is delicious, the people are welcoming and it is rich of culture, that gives me a great boost of inspiration.

Black Friday mayhem
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming and going I have been shocked to see the immense craziness involved with buying. Consumerism is something I am guilty of as well, but I do not like spending money on unnecessary things. I consider the source before buying anything new and it frustrated me how non-transparent brands and their products are. I want to buy something honest but the past year, building up a fabric production for the studio, I learned the cotton industry is shady business.

Cheap countries
Last year I visit Cambodia and traveled around the country. Going from one place to another I noticed an enormous amount of trucks passing our car coming from the other side. I asked my guide where these trucks stashed with woman and children was coming from. “From the Chinese clothing factory.” he said. And I watched these trucks pass us for half an hour. I started counting half way through and counted over 60 trucks. Carrying people, at least 30 people per truck. My guide told me about the Chinese companies relocating into Cambodia and subcontract for large fashion brands like Zara, H&M. After witnessing this I felt physically ill. The amount of people necessary to make cheap clothes in the poorest and most desperate corners of the world.

The Certified Cotton fairy tale
Most companies I work for are certified. Source their cotton from American cotton fields but the problem with cotton and therefore the fashion industry is that there is so much money involved. getting certified is simply applying and paying for the certificate. From there it is easy to outsource to cheaper factories, leading towards higher profit and low prices for consumers that love to shop in mass production shops like Ikea, Action or Primark.

When I started Little Smilemakers Shop my mission was to produce eco conscious fabric. Sourced, manufactured and printed in proper conditions. While starting up the production I noticed how naive I was, asking questions always led me to a dead end: “We can not tell you where the cotton knit manufacturer is located”. While hiring a print factory they told us they were certified, but they outsourced the printing. When I asked OEKOTEX and GOTS, two leading certifying companies, how this could then still be a certified, checked and approved process they told me they had never heard of this issue before. Leading me to believe these certifications don’t mean anything. Companies pay for the certificate. The main factory is checked and approved but all sub contractors are off the grid. I am a critical one, I don’t want to step into something so very shady and support this exploitation.

The conscious mindset
Because I am traveling to Asia again, not for the cheap prices, I wanted to get this off my chest. Whenever I travel I see the impact the, mostly Western consumerism has on these beautiful countries. With Zara in the news, factory workers sewing in labels crying for help, this is such a relevant topic directly related to my own business. I hope for the next year things within the textile industry will get more transparent leading to honest work. I hope there will be more awareness and saving money won’t be a priority over humanity much longer. Check your labels, buy local and if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Especially in the upcoming weeks leading to Christmas. Care a little.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 5 // November 2017



We love 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 around the world. Sweden, Australia, United States. All over the world our designs are used for the most wonderful items. We have some cute Polar Bear leggings, Indian Animal Rompers, Soft Sole baby shoes and some cool kids accessories. This is our top 5 selection for November.

1 // Bean Sprout
Bean Sprout must be one of our favorite webshops using our Spoonflower fabric. Hiedee has a great eye for unique and bespoke designs and we love her style and gorgeous clean photography. Bean Sprout has a pretty big collection of Little Smilemakers fabrics, all turned into the most adorable baby and kids fashion accessories like baby bibs, book bags, summer hats and nappy wallets. For this months Made With post we selected one of our favorites: the reindeer book bag. Perfect accessory for your kids winter school days. But we also featured our cool monochrome dashes fabric that was turned into a cute baby bib. Wanna see more? Take a look into her gorgeous shop for all wonderful handmade creations.

2 // Maxomorra
The new Autumn Winter ’17 Plus Collection is a new design project, risen from their curiosity to explore Maxomorra outside the box. The new Plus collection contains eight prints in a limited selection of styles, all made by Little Smilemakers Studio. With a few extra details to the prints and a brand new and beautiful color palette. To create complete outfits, there is also a small basic collection with solid colored jersey and velour available. As always, pick your favorites, mix and match, and go out and be fabulous. There are t-shirts, leggings, hats and so much more to choose from. But have some patience, the collection will be released for autumn and isn’t in shops just yet.



3 // Oh Boeys
We were doing a little happy dance when we saw this perfect pair of Christmas pine tree soft soles in our Instagram feed. We love this fabric and are so happy to see these turned into this cute pair, so cute! Oh Boeys is an Australian webshop selling bows, bibs, soft sole baby shoes and blankets for your little one. They have a colorful range of products and you can also customize your own pair of soft soles. Go take a look and see for yourself and see what else they have!

4 // La La Loop Baby
Lorraine is based in the UK and has a background in knitted textiles and fashion design and started her La La Loop range with cashmere fashion and interior accessories. After her twins were born she was inspired to pick up sewing and an entire new collection was launched. She now has some of our all time favorite fabric available as rompers, leggings and baby & toddler accessories. Her items are flying off the shelves so make sure you place your order in time for the holidays! Go take a look into her Etsy shop.

5 // Roostery Home
Roostery Home is an accessory and interior decoration brand that collaborated with Spoonflower. All of our designs that are available via Spoonflower are also available via Roostery Home where you can find all sorts of fun home decor items and interior accessories. From tea towels, bedding and pillows to chairs and wallpaper. Just order your favorite print on your product of choice and add some Little Smilemakers designs to your home. Perfect for the not so talented sewer like me. For this month we selected out monochrome crosses designs that was turned into bedding. Our designs were also featured on the Oh Joy blog and Spoonflowers winter catalogue. Take a look if you are curious and order quickly to be in time for the holidays. You can find over 50.000 products just with Little Smilemakers designs on them. Crazy!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

SOAPBOX // Column // New NS train design fail

With her Dutch roots complaining is in her genes. Every month she writes a little piece about things that keeps her busy. Things that make her wanna scream “Nooooooooooo”




This week I attended the annual Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. And it is always a delight to see so many brilliant minds at work. Projects about sustainability, small footprint living. Social interaction. All topics I love and care about. It is wonderful to see new design solutions making our society safer, cleaner, more efficient and more playful. But this week NS, our Dutch railway company, decided to also take part in Dutch Design Week. They were eager to show the new train.

As a designer I usually work around a theme and I can understand if a designer gets carried away by their own passion. This is a story about a designer that loves bouldering. I think.

I entered the new train and immediately noticed the climbing wall in the hall way. I was thinking ‘wow they actually have come up with something cool to kill time in the train. I love a little 'play' in public spaces, making simple things a little more enjoyable is part of a good design. It was a surprise element, a fun solution for a daily commuter! Of course I wanted to try it out but the NS ‘sales man’ told me the wall was not supposed to be a real climbing wall and I was not allowed to climb it. “It is placed on the restroom door, it could never hold an actual person” he said. Say what? Giving me candy and then taking it away? No! I see climbing hold, I want to get in there!

The wall was just ‘inspired’ by a climbing wall and the holds were actually hooks to hang coats and bags. In the hall way. Hanging coats. Where there is no place to sit. Hang your belongings. People! This is not how your customer uses a train! They see a climbing wall: their going to climb. And if people are in fact looking for a place to hang their stuff it won’t be near the exit or on the toilet doors (hygiene alert!) they won’t be leaving their stuff unattended. They might want a hook next to their seat. Maybe?

For me this new interior showed how functionality was completely secondary in developing a public space. So embarrassing. The climbing holds producer might have had a sweet deal with NS during this design process. Probably the only party that does benefit from this... The user of the end product should always be priority. Design solutions are only solutions if they are solving a problem. Understanding the needs of your customer is key. These are the first steps to take in a design process. NS, if you ever need some more insight about functional design by an experienced traveler, and understand what they would love to see incorporated into the train interior, please contact me. The outcome now is, well, an unfortunate bad design. Embarrassing at the least.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Thinking design // making design strategy for your business a priority

In a highly saturated surface design market we see a decrease on non-exclusive and royalty free design sales. More and more companies begin to recognize the importance of design within the process of product development. With strong competition in the textile industry, adding similar designs to a new collection than your competitor is not a way to profile your business. It even makes your customer doubt your intentions. The climate is changing and design strategy is becoming a must.

Honest business
The first year I was working as an independent designer I already noticed the harsh games businesses play in the textile industry. At one point I made a series of exclusive designs for one customer and another one of my customers, only licensing non-exclusive designs, payed it’s producer to give him the information what was going through their printers, designs their competition was printing at the same factory. They bought the info about the exclusive range and then behind my back downloaded similar designs through royalty free partners of mine. Well, you can imagine, some businesses need a little lesson or two about how to work with other human beings. They actually had the nerve to ask me to work for them on an exclusive base. No thank you, I do not work with people that are dishonest. Be kind, and your customers will notice. Stealing others idea’s and designs is also something they will notice.

Customers are getting more critical each day, with todays technology and information present at any time it is easy to track and check businesses and their story. Are they selling the truth or is it just a story? Stories can be fictional so just coming up with a story is not the way to engage customers to your brand. You’ll have to earn trust, tell your story, and back it up in all you got, your traces, your production developments and process, your communications. This is essential for your trustworthiness.



Visual priority
With the need of more transparency and more customers asking questions about the products they spend their money on we can see there is more need to prioritize designs within companies. Their visual language should be one unified message carrying out the brands philosophy. When companies use print designs they need a more distinctive print language, that has a connection with their overall visual identity. The demand of non-exclusive designs in textile, fashion, home decor and other commercial market places is declining. And it is time to prioritize design. More and more companies choose to license our exclusive prints and choose quality over quantity. Something that is highly appreciated by their customers creating more engagement, a clear message and trust. The past two years we have been working with several companies, guiding them through this process.

Design strategy
With a large portfolio with non-exclusive designs and quarterly exclusive collections we try to serve both small start up companies and large textile and commercial retailers. What suits your business most? Is there a mission, a story to tell? What impact does a print design have for your product? Does it sell the product? Or is the design secondary to your product and are these print designs or illustrations only used as detailing only? What does the design reflect? Does it have a connection to the brands philosophy or story? Can we make a connection? Creating an overall visual language? The importance of the design needs to be determined. All these ingredients should reflect your design strategy. Most companies have prioritize their product strategy, developing and improving their product, but forget about the importance of the design. Designs should always support the product. We can help you with this process of prioritizing designs and create a strong unified message in print design reaching out to the more conscious customer. If you would like to get more information about design strategies and how they can built a strong visual identity for your business just reach out and send us a message.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 3 black and white designs // October 2017



We love 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 around the world. We have some cute pineapple bloomers, ice cream leggings and of course our top seller: our black and white cactus fabric in watercolors. This is our top 3 selection for October.

Itty Bitty Kawaii Ice Cream leggings
Itty Bitty Leggings has been one of our most loyal customers. Monica is one of our frequent Spoonflower customers, she has a range of Little Smilemakers designs up in her shop every season. She makes wonderful leggings from her Salt Lake City home while she raises her two sons. This shop is perfect if you have some gentlemen to dress. Because she has a fun range of cool boys stuff in there. For this months post we selected our black and white ice cream kawaii fabric. One of our most popular prints this year. Monochrome fabric is trending! Suitable for both boys and girls. She also has some other gender neutral Little Smilemakers designs and more girly items too. They're lovely! With her fun stylish eye her collection is always on trend. Go take a look!

Lulu & Gunner cactus joggings
Our watercolors cactus fabric must be one of our favorite fabric designs this year. We were so thrilled to see Becca’s creation pop up in our Instagram feed. With a great passion for sewing she created fresh and fun kids apparel, tops, bottoms, one pieces and accessories are available in her shop. Becca named her online boutique after her son and daughter and on her website you can see some adorable photo’s of her precious family. We really love to give this lady a little shout out. Shop these cactus bottoms or one of our other prints in her online shop!

Sparkles ’n Studs bloomers
Gaby is a mother of 5 and started making kids accessories as a hobby. This hobby quickly turned into a business and she now creates all kinds of cute items for your little one. Rompers, leggings and headbands can be found in her shop. We loved these adorable bloomers made with our pineapple fabric. She has some other black and white picks in her Etsy shop too. So take a look if you are looking for some cool gender neutral items!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sources of inspiration // Vienna: grandeur, cafe culture and art // Top 5 things to do and fun places to visit for creative souls



Vienna has been top of my list of European cities to visit for a long time. I have only crossed the city a couple of times in transit, just passing through while traveling east or south. But I never got around to actually explore this beautiful city up until this fall, when my friend Monika, author of a book I was featured in, invited me to join her.

The first thing you will notice about this city is it’s elegance. It’s respect for history and it’s grandeur. There are so many places to see and explore, whether you visit this city as a shopaholic, an architectural geek, foodie, or as a creative like me, there is something to see and do for everyone. This city is diverse and surprising. With a raw city edge like most European cities have but also the contrasting wealth, the grand architecture is a reminder of Vienna’s rich yesterdays. One of Europe’s hidden gem’s definitely.

Vienna has a rich history of performing arts, musicians, composers, dancers, and was Europe’s breading soil for mid-century painters. The city is buzzing with creation. I was lucky to visit this place during Vienna’s Design Week. And during my stay I also found out I was visiting during their annual Museum Night. So there could not be a better time to visit and explore Vienna’s cafe’s, museums, galleries, botanical gardens and wonderful architectural sights. Here is my personal top 5 of places to visit.

1 // Polaroid & Letter Press at Supersense
If you interested in photography and typography this cafe and store is heaven! Supersense located in a beautiful corner building on the Praterstraße. It pretty much is super for my senses, so the name is pretty accurate, at least to me it is. This beautiful coffee house used to be a thrift store. It now houses a great place to have a drink; grab a coffee, eat some Viennese cake but it also houses a shop that is just one big designer heaven. Typography books, custom letter press printing, a smell bar, toy camera’s and design and photography gifts. All things I just looove to get my hands on as a former typography student and photo freak. This cafe is run by the man who saved Polaroid. So you can see a great selection of old Polaroid camera’s, books and prints but you can also stock up on new stuff if you want to expand your collection In the back you can find the music section with some instruments and music gear. Just yes!

2 // Botanical Lovers
The Viennese Palmenhaus is a definite must see. One of Vienna’s most beautiful places to have a bite. Located within the museum quarter, this place is an oases. The original late 19th century structure is such a delight to visit, with it’s glass walls and roof, it’s enormous palm trees stretching out from the front to the back, this is a great location to have a decent dinner and look out over the Burggarten. I am a sucker for plants and just love to enjoy these kind of places. If you are a true botanical fan like me you can also take the subway to Schönbrunn that houses an authentic botanical garden. The place is truly magical. Do not forget to also take some time to visit the park and it’s surroundings and hop into the palace. You have to visit at least one palace in Vienna!



3 // Viennese cafe life
Vienna must be one of the most convenient places to work as a freelancer. Cafe’s can be found all around the city and Vienna has a strong coffee house culture. It is serious business. The waiters are dressed in suits, and those interiors! Oh! Whether you want to meet up with friends, have a productive day with your laptop or just want to read the newspaper, the cafe’s are buzzing and going out for a drink and a torte, a cake, is part of the Viennese culture. People meet up in coffee houses rather than at home and this is why so many cafe’s are still in business. If you have some time it is definitely worth stopping by the most authentic and fun Viennese cafes. My favorites so far were Café Prückel with it’s amazing pastels and retro furniture. Loved the interior! NENI a little place on the Naschmarkt. From their heated terrace you can enjoy the crowded market life. Café Savoy, for all my gay friends. A classic place with a mostly gay clientele and very kind staff. Justizcafé, located in the beautiful Palace of Justice, this cafe on the 5th floor has an amazing view over the city and as you might already know: I love a little top view. Have a peek into the mail hall, (it is gorgeous!) and take the elevator to the 5th and stare over the city.

4 // Museum Night & Design Week
I was lucky enough to actually visit Vienna during Design Week. During this week art and design students and design graduates are invited to show their works in galleries all over the city and talk about their philosophy and goals. Functional industrial design, porcelain, installations. Oh how I love art! On Saturday night I was also able to enjoy the city’s annual Museum Night. During this night Vienna’s museums open their doors and for only €15 you can visit all mayor museums. But there is so much to see. get the most our of your night and plan a route, with over 130 museums it is a must. Instead of visiting my usual art museums, alright I did visit some: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Museum, with a wonderful expo about water life, the building it’s self is worth a little peek too though. Palace Liechtenstein with it’s crazy murals and ceilings. But I mostly tried some more out-of-the-box ones that are unique to Vienna. The Contraception and Abortion museum, very popular and crowded during Museum night. It is such an insightful place for young peeps that are discovering their own sexuality. It has tons of information about the female reproductive system. We paid a visit to the Schnaps Museum with an endless chat about alcohol, all in German, I had absolutely no idea what that was all about but the old brewery, tanks, bottles, the interior was wonderful. And of course we tasted some of the brews.

5 // Architecture
Vienna has a rich history and the old architecture is a great reflection of it’s wealthy past. Even though I haven’t seen too many modern structures I did enjoy the city hall, old mansions, villa’s, palaces and botanical houses. I was also amazed by the beauty of their public transport buildings. The patterned tiled floors, metal framework, the green color. Very classy. I loved the hidden Jugendstil places near the Naschmarkt. But the most beautiful old buildings must have been around the museum quarter. If you can appreciate these old gems just wander around these Viennese streets and hop in every building you get a chance to enter. I personally love the library with it’s flamboyant interior. Painted ceilings, golden details and books stretching from the floor to the roof. Breathtaking!



Whatever you decide to do in Vienna, you will notice the mix of old and new. With room for traditional culture and for new and modern. have yourself a great stay and be inspired by all great artists who once were roaming those cafe’s and streets of Vienna. You can still feel that creative buzz. I left this city with a whole bunch of new ideas and a new fresh creative energy. And I am sure it will do the same for you! So do boost this city on your "Places To Visit" list. Curious about all places I visit? Check the Little Smilemakers FourSquare list for a links and locations.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Hello Miami Beach // The Abstracts // A design process



We are very proud of our newly launched Miami collection over at Spoonflower. This summer we created a whole bunch of new abstracts inspired by Miami’s beaches and streets. In this post you can read a little something about the process of creating this range of abstracts.

For this collection I started with some expressive shapes. When I create abstract designs the process of creating the shapes is linked to how I feel. I usually make abstract art when there is lot’s of drama to deal with, it is a way to transform my emotions into creation without having to think to much about the final result, color palette or proportions of an illustration.

A hell of a ride
Throughout the year there have been several things I needed to deal with. A partnership that resulted in a dramatic ending. It turned out I was the only one invested in this colab, a romantic relationship that ended very sudden, uhm yeah, I sort of invested in that too. Some family ties that needed my attention. Lot’s of things have happened this year, shaking me to the core and rethinking my entire self. When I go though real lows I create. There is no other way I know to deal with these things. I have been making things ever since I was a little girl, and most of my designs are targeting kids, that is not a coincidence. Getting in touch with my fundaments, my pure self is all I can rely on. And that basic emotion gets translated into my artwork.

Soft edges
When I am angry I create raw, high contrast designs. I use a dry brush, black ink. It is very obvious you can tell something needs to get out. But this summer I was not angry, I was mostly hurt. And when I feel hurt I do not need to get into the ‘raw’ as much. For the new Miami series all designs and elements were made with markers and ink resulting in rounded geometric shapes. Using a large marker and large brush make the details and shapes a little softer, there is no raw edge like other abstract designs have had. This soft touch represents the vulnerability I did not want to avoid or ignore. But I felt vulnerable after all the events that happened this year. And I was not going to run from it. I decided to face it, and am still facing it. Creation transforms but does not take away the pain. it is a process.

There is nothing more soothing for me than to turn my illustrations, and for this series, my abstract shapes, into patterns. I think you have to be a little crazy making 2000 patterns a year. But turning these shapes into repeats is so fulfilling! It is like sleeping under fresh crisp sheets, or the scent of raindrops on the hot summer pavements. Well, I don’t expect you to understand but making patterns puts my mind at easy. There is no better way of meditating for me than staring at my own seamless repeats.

This too shall pass
The entire Miami series is about being vulnerable. Therefore the colors are soft with a warm blush pink and a light ice blue, and a contrasting whiskey brown for a little character. I am not much of a drama queen usually so when I finished my 15+ designs I felt like a huge weight fell off my shoulders. I can truly say making art is like cleaning my soul, at least get rid of a big pile of dirt. Creation, how I love you!

Every single design needs a name. When I started creating these basic shapes I did not work around a theme. I just noticed some shapes reminded me of the city and some reminded me of the beach. And I knew this series had to be named after Miami with it’s sunny sea side and busy streets, the art deco architecture. Naming these prints took away the serious and turned this collection into a fun range filled with humor. I had so much fun coming up with the names; cocktails, salt, derby. The bling, obviously. The food prints: fries, taco’s and hotdogs. The names of the designs tied them all together as a collection.

Now the entire collection is available on fabric and wallpaper via Spoonflower. Most of the designs are still available for licensing too. So take a look and enjoy the new abstracts.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Uitagenda 10 years // Kunsthal Exhibit



Here is a little story about my first steps toward being a designer. When I was a graphic design student I had to do an internship in my third year of studying. And I was the lucky girl that was hired as a graphic intern at one of Rotterdams best theaters. During my time there I worked with just one designer colleague who taught me the technical aspects of prepping work for the printer, checking the press, thinking in concepts, designing new campaigns for cultural festivals. I loved it. Being dropped into this cultural melting pot and working with so many creative people within the theater was amazing and such a good prep for the real deal. I had a shitload of responsibilities as an intern and I love the freedom of it all.

10 years later I bumped into my intern colleague when my college was having an open house and we met up for coffee later. it was so much fun to catch up after all this time and while we were sitting down, discussing all the things that happened in those 10 years he also invited me to participate into a new project. At that time he was working for a cultural magazine that needed a cover for the new cultural season kick off. I created a cover and I also created a bunch of illustrated patterns for their kids section. A year long my work was spread throughout Rotterdam. And as you might know already, I have a soft spot for that city. A great project to work on.

That same magazine is now celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary. And they are properly celebrating! All covers made on those 10 years are now part of a Kunsthal exhibit. Last week was the grand opening during the kick-off of the new cultural season, of course. You can now see a beautiful overview of covers; photography, illustration and typography. A wonderful mix of graphic designers and illustrators who have created something unique. I am pretty ecstatic to be on the Kunsthal wall, one of my all time fave museums, in my fave city.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 5 // September 2017



We love 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 UK, United States, Holland and Australia. This month we selected a our top 5 Spoonflower creations, turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and have you seen those cacti swim suits? There was so much to choose from! This is our top 5 September selection.

Wild Child Headbands
Headbands are so handy during those warm summer days, to keep your hair our of you face while doing chores, warm your ears in winter. They come in handy in lot’s of situations and Wild Child has them for all seasons. Beautiful and practical. Wild Child is located in Florida and they do not only sell fun head accessories but they also have some cool jewelry in their shop. We love their fun and stylish photography too. New designs are coming up, but we already wanted to share this dreamcatcher headband with you. Check their website for more fun designs.

Lucie June
This Australian based shop makes vibrant girls clothing, focusing on whimsical individuality, designed to be beautiful and practical for the start of life as a little lady. We love Lucie June and their handmade rompers. And wanted to give them a little extra attention with the warmer season coming up Down Under these are great additions to your little ones spring/summer wardrobe. We love our watercolor cacti print on their handmade pieces. We call it stylish bohemian. Curious about the rest of their collection? Tale a look on their website.



Bean Sprout
Bean Sprout must be one of our favorite webshops using our Spoonflower fabric. Hiedee has a great eye for unique and bespoke designs and we love her style and gorgeous clean photography. Bean Sprout has a pretty big collection of Little Smilemakers fabrics, all turned into the most adorable baby and kids fashion accessories like baby bibs, book bags, summer hats and nappy wallets. For this months post we selected our abstract rain drops print that was turned into a cool boy bib. For this months Made With post we selected one of our favorites: the bunny bookbag. Wanna see more? Take a look into her gorgeous shop for all wonderful handmade creations.

Wildflowers
Early this year Samantha reached out to license some of our prints for her new Wildflowers collection. This September our Sew Happy print was released and their new fall collection was launched. We love how her colorful bohemian style is a great mix and match of patterns and just wanted to share some of the new items in her collection. For the new collection she selected two of our designs. The Sew Happy design that is available on skirts and dresses and our Poppy Flower. Curious to see more? Check their website for the entire collection and stay up to date and follow their blog.

Mistral Home
We love to see our designs in the home. Most of our fabric is being used for clothing and accessories so we wanted to shed a little extra light on this new range of bedding available via Mistral Home. Our Feathers and Reindeer Love were used for their new collection of bedding that is now available in stores in Holland and Belgium. Wanna see more of their items, check out their website.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New collab // Wildflowers Clothing // Colorful bohemian girls fashion // Fall 2017 collection



Early this year Samantha reached out to license some of our prints for her new Wildflowers collection. This September our Sew Happy print is released and their new fall collection was launched. We love how her colorful bohemian style is a great mix and match of patterns and just wanted to share some of the new items in her collection.

For the new collection she selected two of our designs. And one of these two hold a special place for Sam and has a fun back story. And as you might know we love to tell stories. It was inspired by this place Denise and Sam used to work together, late at night and early in the morning. It was when they knew they’d be alone, left to our devices. They could design in silence or laugh their butts off from the nonsense earlier in the day. They could fight over ‘the good scissors and hide bolts of fabric from each other – because they HAD to use it first. They would build little “maps” of designs to show the local seamstress where each print should be sewn.

While they never really sewed together, they spent a lot of time with all the elements that create a piece of clothing. From the first time Sam held “the good scissors,” she knew she had to be a part of the process of making clothes—in any capacity. And when she saw our Little Smilemakers, she knew it had to be a part of her first collection. And we are so happy to be part of this process.



“For months, each style has been dressed on mannequins, pinned and trimmed until the fit is just right – and at the photoshoot all that hard work pays off. Seeing that first twirl, jump, or skip across a field is like crossing the finish line to me.”

The print is a reminder of where Sam came from, where she truly learned to mix and match colors, playfully add trims and buttons that never really seemed to go together; to create something original and so pleasing to the eye. A reminder of those long mornings and late nights the seamstress print on the Sew Happy Top is a special piece of our Wildflowers story. if you are curious about the rest of this new girls collection take a look at their website. if you purchase a Wildflower item you also support Seeds of Hope. By supporting their Education fund, you will be able to empower children all over the world with the educational tools they need to end the vicious cycle of poverty and rise above their deplorable living conditions. A great thing to support!