Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 5 // Most popular Little Smilemakers Christmas gifts 2014

With Christmas just one week away it is time to enjoy some last minute Christmas shopping. This winter lot's of Little Smilemakers projects are finally finished and available in shops around the world. After a very busy summer we are now able to see the result. Fun nursery bed linnen, home wear, new storage boxes. For this year we have hand picked our Top 5 favorite Christmas presents.

1 // Fabric for DIY addicts
With new trends and designs added each month Spoonflower is the number one place to shop for your DIY friends. We just added another 30 designs in our Little Smilemakers Spoonflower shop. We have new winter and kids themes, abstract geometric designs and some quirky pastel ones. But if you'd like to start with some new Spring/Summer projects for your small business you can also purchase your fabric here. Take a look around and enjoy!

2 // Home Decor
It is always a blast to work on home decor projects. Wallpaper, storage boxes, family planners and stationary, it is what we love most here. Being part of someone's interior. If you are looking for some Little Smilemakers Studio originals take a look into the Society6 shop. With these fun pillows you can give your living room a little extra character and if you want to change colors and restyle your home they are easy to integrate and add for a quirky personal touch.

3 // Personalize your phone
It has been a year since we started working for Daily Objects. As you might know Maaike is a great fan of India and when she was asked to make an entire range of designs for this new rapidly growing company she was excited to add her Indian designs to their collection of designs. Now more than 200 designs are available on Daily Object's website. Take a look around, there must be something suitable for your friends and family in there.

4 // Sewing supplies and fashion accessories
This year another fall/winter collection by Maaike Boot is available in Veritas shops. If you are located in Belgium or Netherlands you can order the entire range online. Sewing supplies like fabric and sewing storage boxes are part of this year's design series but also fashion accessories: bags, scarfs, undies and cosy home wear. A completely new collection is out now. But be quick! There is not much left!

5 // Tickets to the unknown
Book two tickets to a place you have never been and go explore the world with your bestie or loved one. It is better to invest money in experiences then stuff. Get out of you comfort zone!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas // Kaartje2Go

It is that time of the year again. Time to send your friends and family a little sweet message for the holidays and wish them an awesome new year. This year I have added some cute woodland themed illustrations and Christmas song hand lettering postcards to my Kaartje2Go shop.

Last year around 170 million Christmas cards were sent out in the Netherlands only. Nothing can beat a personal message coming through your mailbox. So check out all Christmas cards and pick your fave. Looking forward to see this years designs on my doormat. I have been working for Kaartje2Go for a few years now and every year I add a couple of new winter, Christmas and December holiday designs. This years series of seasonal postcard designs were inspired by the top 10 all time favorite Christmas songs. Like Michael Bublé's version of It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Frank Sinatra's Let it snow. Ofcourse Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You is included. The cards are a mix of hand lettering and woodland animals. Cute geometric shaped owls, foxes and grizzly bears in trendy pastel colors all in Scandinavian style. Take a look in the Kaartje2Go shop and take a look at all new designs.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sources of inspiration: Lisboa // City of music and a great creative energy // 5 must-see places for creatives

The city of Lisbon has been on the top of my list to visit for years now but I never got around to do so. I managed to squize in a little trip this November. Where I got to know a little bit about the city, the music, creative spots and I got to meet some lovely people to share some great memories with. When I arrived in my apartment in Rua Augusta, the main shopping street in the old part of town, there was a band playing some amazing jazz right at my front door. A great start for an even better week.

I travel quite a bit for my work but also every spare minute I have I like to discover new things. I love traveling alone when it is just me to worry about. Wandering the streets of a city I don't know gives me a sense of freedom. Everything is new and this is a way for me to open up and get inspired. Feel. Taste. Letting go of my routine. Lot's of designs I have made in the past are little memories from my travels. Peacocks from India, water tanks from new York City, Toucan birds from Costa Rica, the world is such an amazing place with such great diversity. I can not wait to book my next trip. But first it is time to reflect. Take a moment to appreciate what I have seen the past week.

Here you can find a little top 5 of places I think a creative mind would appreciate while visiting Lisbon. Hopefully it will be a little list of inspiration. I sure loved what I have seen.

1 // Streetart
From the old city center, downtown, you can walk up the hill to the St. George's castle. On the Rua Madalena you can find the first stairway. But you will have to search for it a bit, you will pass it easily without noticing it is there. You can also take the famous tram 28 that will bring you up this glorious sight but I recommend a little walk through the steep stairways that go all the way up to the ancient castle. The stairways are all covered in street art and traditional Portuguese tiles. You can see street art with typical Lisboa themes, fado singers and musicians but also fantasy characters and beautiful abstract and figurative art pieces by local artists. The stairways are little streets itself where people leave there front doors open to chat with their neighbors and you can have a little peek inside their daily lives. If you are a fan of modern art you can visit the Berardo Collection in Belém but there is also a lot to discover in the city itself. Walk around and discover all it has to offer.

2 // Romantic city view
I love traveling alone but some things are just a little more awesome when you can share it with a special someone. You can visit St. George's castle for a great view of the city but a little more down hill you can also enjoy the view from the Chapitô y Restô terrace with a little wine, Port of course, and watch the sunset from up hill. A great place for a romantic rendezvous. If you are not up to climbing the hill enjoy a little stroll near the river downtown and have a drink in Bairro Alto to set the mood.

3 // Belém
Enjoy the amazing old architecture that is part of Unesco's Heritage list. Visit the Torre de Belém on the river banks and take a walk through the park. This is a great area to visit on rainy days too. Belém has a few museums like the Museu Berardo in which you can easily spend an entire afternoon looking at amazing art. From Pollock to Picasso, a great collection of fine art. But take a look around and check out the rest of the museums too. There is so much to do and see. Don't forget to take a little stroll through the narrow streets and take a look inside the handicraft shops. Hungry? This is the place to eat Portugal's famous pastries: Pastel de Belém. Don't order just one, you will regret it later. This little custard pastry will be the foodie highlight of your trip.

4 // LX Factory Alcântara
This is where my studio will move to in the future. Well, probably not but I can see myself working from this creative little melting pot under the shadow of De Ponte 25 de Abril, the suspension bridge that connects Lisbon to Almada. LX factory used to be an old industrial place and every little shop, restaurant and creative studio that is now located here will remind you of it's history. Nowadays it is a place where young professionals settle. During the night the place transforms into a trendy hang out. There is a restaurant near the bookshop in which you can dine next to heavy machinery. It tends to get a bit too trendy though. You can also have a quick lunch in the old cantina which is furnished with second hand items. The place might be a bit overpriced for Lisbon standards but the experience itself, exploring these grounds, is worth the extra money.

5 // All night Fado
Lison has a great musical scene. Street musicians playing on every corner and play every type of music you can imagine. You can go to a classical concert or dance in a night club. But if you visit Lisbon, a night of Fado is a night to remember. I was taken to Tasca do Xico by a dear friend, a little bar that was packed with people. But there was no music. After a few minutes they closed the main door (you are not allowed to interrupt fado!) and a 91 year old man stood up and started to sing. It turned out to be a magical night with great wine, great music and great memories.

Of course there is way more to Lisbon than just this Top 5. The Museu Nacional do Azulejo is still on my to do list. I would love to see the Jeronimos Monastery, Madre de Deus Convent and São Roque Church. But I will have to go and do that on my next trip. This city has so much more to discover. I got trapped in the creative energy and I never plan my day by day activities. I travel without any expectations and things just cross your path when you're open to them.

A little note on the side: In Lisbon I stayed with Sara, an amazing host. She has a great, sunny apartment in the city center. You can book one of her rooms via airBNB. Check her profile here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Album Artwork // Ave Maria by Sandra Reemer // The Guardian Angel by Vince

Sandra Reemer is a Dutch/Indonesian singer and has been working in the business for a long time. Although it might have seemed quite for a while she never stopped her biggest passion: singing. For this seasonal month she has released her version of Ave Maria for which Little Smilemakers Studio has made the artwork. For this production she has worked with Vincent Boot and Roel Jongenelen. Curious? You can listen to the song preview on Sandra's website or Soundscloud. Or order yourself a copy.

Vincent Boot, that last name might sound familiar? Yes, Vince is my brother and also pianist. He has been working with Sandra for over a few years now but also just finished one of his many solo projects. The single The Guardian Angel was released this month. Take a look at his website if you'd like to read more. If you are looking for some musical entertainment for your business meeting, wedding or celebration he can set the mood with his musical harmonies.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Top 5 travel inspired fabric // Hand drawn illustrated surface pattern designs // Spoonflower

It is time to talk about fabric. Sales are going very well this season and since there is so much to choose from I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some fabric themes, current trends or hot sellers now and then. Winter is around the corner and more and more people stay in and start their crafty projects. I notice I make more hand drawn based illustrations during the cold winter months when I have more time to stay in and have enough peace to sit down and experiment with materials; pencils, brushes, paint. So this is a great time to do a little piece about the hand drawn fabrics.

I love hand drawings. Whenever I travel I carry a little sketchbook in which I make visual notes and doodles. Back in the studio I collect all these moments and convert them into new designs. I love making surface patterns that are digital roots but I do enjoy sketching by hand too. Using pencils or paint. I love the diversity while constructing new designs. This time I would like to show some hand drawn hot sellers. And of course there is always a little story behind the image with mentioning.

1 // Creepy insects and beetles - Indonesia
I had never seen so many insects, bugs and little creatures before traveling to Indonesia, which is until this day the filthiest place I traveled so far. I love the diversity of nature, plants and animals. And I don't mind some creepy visitors in my bedroom now and then. I am cool with that but a cockroach in my bed and then in my face while sleeping, that was a creepy experience though. After my trip I made a series of designs with spiders, bugs, beetles and other little creatures cause they are simply beautiful. I love them. Not in my bed though.

2 // Old timers - Cuba
There is no other place like Cuba. It is simply breathtaking. Walking through the Havana streets it feels like having a little stroll through history. The architecture, cobblestone streets, music and the amazing amount of old timer cars will make you feel part of the 50's. I also made some other designs that were inspired by my trip to Cuba. All music and vintage objects themes.

3 // Peacock feathers - India
The Peacock feathers fabric is one of my Indian themed Hotsellers. I made this design with Indian ink and dry brushed to give it a little raw edge. The peacock is a symbol for beauty and integrity. And is also national symbol of India. I saw this gracious animal during my trip through one of India's national parks and it became one of my favorite animals ever since. They are simply breath taking. So gorgeous and elegant.

4 // Sweet pineapple picking - Costa Rica
Costa Rica made me fall in love with the amazing force of nature. The country has an great variety of species, plants, fruits. During a jungle walk I took a little break, sat down and ate a pineapple. Here in Holland you can get pineapples but I never ate one with such intense flavor. Oh dear! Pineapples please!

5 // Cactus garden - Spain
I am such a sucker for Botanical Garden's. Where ever I go I always try to visit a botanical garden, forest or park during my travels. I love to see the different plants and colors of nature but in those botanical gardens you can see a version of that. It was all planted and designed by people so these gardens can be really tacky or kitch. The Cacti garden design turned out to be a great hit in fabric. It was inspired by numerous trips to spain. I love the quirkiness of the shape. Happy to see this plant is making a comeback in interiors all around the world.

If you are curious about other Little Smilemakers fabrics, hand drawn or digital art or would like to buy one of the top 5 hot sellers from this list visit the Spoonflower shop and pick your fave.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sinterklaas & his rainbow helpers

Back in the day when I was a little kid December was he most exciting month of the year. Sinterklaas would come into town, Zwarte Pieten would look round and watch if I was being good. Each day I would but my shoe underneath the weird prop fire place and stuff it with carrots and little drawings. It was a good way to improve my creative skills, very productive I was back then. And every morning I would check my shoe to see if there would be a present waiting for me.

My parents were not big fans of this Dutch children's holiday. They rather celebrated Christmas with me and my brothers so I usually ended up with a new pair of undies and some pyjama's. That was the depth of Sinterklaas for me: receiving presents.

Nowadays there is a big discussion going on about the Sinterklaas tradition. Some people are offended by 'Zwarte Pieten.' The traditional black (painted) helpers Sinterklaas brings along on a boat. Why do they have to be black though? I see a direct link to our Dutch VOC history, lot's of people are greatly proud of, but it is embarrassing lot's of Dutch people have no clue about our real history, the damage, the misuse of power, the slavery the Netherlands was involved in. It is in fact a direct link to our slavery past. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to be white, to be Dutch. When you travel you can see the depth of it. Who am I to judge if people feel offended. They sure have the right to feel what they feel. Racism is still a big part of society and every day life for some of us. (read about P's story here, written by Charlotte Simons) We can teach our children a different lesson, a different tradition.

So this year I have made a new series of designs for this Dutch holiday. Showing this tradition is about color, in fact every color. Embrace diversity. I created a print with traditional Zwarte Piet helpers but also included other colors for their skin. If it is up to me if should be a rainbow of color. Cuz when you can have a rainbow... nothing wrong with a rainbow here. Why limit yourself to black only when there is so much more to choose from?

What should have been a cute kids holiday has a bitter taste to it. Why not take the bitterness away? Why not be a little flexible when it comes to other people's feelings? Isn't that what a holiday or tradition is all about? Celebrate being together and appreciating others? Isn't that what you'd like to teach to your kids? To keep things the way they are because we always have been doing things a certain way is the most ridiculous reason to keep this tradition as is. We evolve, that's what's part of life. Let's make this thing a bit less offensive.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

New finished product: Little Smilemakers Studio for Shooshoos // well hello adorable little baby & toddler shoes

This summer Little Smilemakers Studio started with a new collaboration in baby and toddler fashion: Shooshoos. The Shooshoos story starts 3 million (and counting) pairs of shoes ago, in South Africa, when a little family had a big idea. "Let's get idle hands busy making happy shoes for baby feet." The company in tiny shoes started producing good quality, non-toxic, soft shoes for little ones and after 16 years Shooshoos are now sold in 15 countries all over the world.

For their new winter collection Little Smilemakers Studio made some adorable illustrations that are now available in Shooshoos shops world wide. If you want to keep your little ones feet warm, check out the entirely new and very adorable collection. Make sure you are in time for your christmas shopping. Those shoes make an amazing gift for your pregnant friend or new mommy sister.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Little Smilemakers Studio // 3 year anniversary

Another celebration in the studio today. Happy birthday Little Smilemakers Studio! I started Little Smilemakers Studio 3 years ago on a cold and rainy November day in 2011. Now three years later, after working long days, it is time to say goodbye to the first toddler years. We've been growing strong with a great client base and it is time to reflect on a great start.

In three years so much has happened. I quit my safe but non-inspirational office job in a design studio and it seems like ever since I decided to work as an independent designer life seems to have fallen in to place. This way of life fits like that favorite pear of jeans. I have the luxury doing what I love: making illustrations and surface patterns for clients all around the world. My work has never been so fulfilling and is completely different every day. I am able to travel. I always carry a camera, just to make little visual notes. These impressions are translated into my work. In my portfolio, my travels come together in illustrations and patterns inspired by all the places, moments, encounters, and colors that stimulate my creativity. It has been a great ride so far. I am looking forward to what is to come.

Photo by Kaponia Aliaksei

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saying goodbye // celebrating life // make it count

Today I got some sad news: a dear friend of ours has past away this morning. He touched the lives of so many people all around the world. These prints were inspired by your kind heart and your fight for what is right. Safe travels to the rainbows my dear friend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November news // Veritas new wonderful winter collection

For Veritas I have been working on a new series of print designs for this years winter collection. The developing process from design to product can take a while and after months of patiently waiting I saw a sneak peek of the collection in September during Veritas Blogger event. Now has November has come and the entire collection is now available in all Veritas stores and in their online webshop.

From ink drawing to surface pattern
For this new winter collection home wear and accessories I wanted to create something which was in line with designs I made last year. A clear follow up. I wanted to create a series of prints with the same look and feel. When I started the designing process for this collection I just came back from India. The little illustrations and repetitive prints have a raw edge to them. I decided to use raw brushes and Indian ink to shape my whimsical illustrations, the first step to a surface pattern. The imperfect shapes of raw nature reflect the emotions with the change of the seasons. During this time of year nature transforms from soft and colorful into clear and raw. The new shapes were a direct conversion to this raw emotion. If you look closely to the little shapes that built the pattern you can see these spontaneous curves.

After this first drawing phase I will sit down and convert my drawings into vector files. When I have them on my computer I first start with a composition. It can be a simple repeat or a combination of shapes together. I will move the illustrations around until they find the right balance and then add color. For this collection I wanted to use cold winter season colors in soft tones and combine those with a warmer orange. Just using the second color as a little pop. The small scaled illustrations give the pattern a romantic touch. The entire home wear series is made from soft pastel repeats and the pyjama's have a contrasting t-shirt with a enlarged details and patchwork on the front and little detailing.

Cuddle up in cosy homewear
For the accessories, the bags and scarfs, I wanted to make a stronger series in color. They are a bit more winterly and darker than the series of prints I made for home wear. All designs are also available as fabric. And there is an entire series of sewing supplies that are very handy in your DIY home. The home wear series also includes undies, warm winter socks and matching negliges to go with the feather, flowers and apple prints. Take a look at the entire Maaike Boot collection online and mix and match! Don't be shy and tag your items in your Instagram feed of post your selfie wearing one of the items on the Little Smilemakers Facebook page. Looking forward to see how you mix and match this winter.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sources of inspiration: Cactus heaven // Botanical inspiration in Gran Canaria

The change of seasons can be a great inspiration. I love fall weather and see the leaves change color. In Holland you can see the joy of all seasons but when I travel I enjoy the difference in vegetation too. Colors of plants, shapes and leaves, they can be very different from the plants growing in this part of the world.

Last week I came back from a week of traveling on the Canary Islands where I went to see a botanical garden which was created in 1952 by the Swedish Eric Sventenius. His goal was to protect all species of plants from extinction that were growing on this island. Now this great garden has become a great lush place of green. A lush heaven on this dry island of Gran Canaria. When you walk into the garden the first thing you see is a forest of small palm trees that reminded me of juicy pineapples. When you walk further you can see a small pond surrounded by amazing colorful flowers and close to that same pond there is a huge bush of cactus plants that is totally breath taking. This garden is a great mixture of plants and it will take up your entire afternoon to take it all in.

I have this weird thing for cacti and have used this raw dry vegetation as inspiration for my 'raw nature collection' last year. For this collection I have created ink sketches of small insects and desert plants which are available on home deco items, wall art prints, throw pillows and phone accessories and stationary. During this trip I arranged a photo shoot in the garden for one of my Dutch clients. We made a series of portraits with abstract plants and popping colors in the background. It was not hard to make some great shots.

The garden is located in a valley and goes all the way up against a steep hill. The view on top of the garden is gorgeous. If you ever get the chance to travel to Spain, do visit the Canary Islands. You can find this botanical garden, Jardin Canario Viera y Clavijo on the island of Gran Canaria.

Are you already looking for some seasonal presents? Looking for fun Raw Nature christmas gifts? Take a look into the Society6 shop for home decor items and fun art prints with cacti theme or creepy insects pattern. These designs are also available on fabric and wallpaper via Spoonflower. Have fun!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

3 Must-Reads for starting up your design business

This month it will be three years ago since I started Little Smilemakers Studio. I have studies and read numerous books and magazines to stay up to date about social media and making my living doing what I love. There are three books that have helped me with the little bugs and errors that come with setting up your own independent creative business. I was lucky to have had 7 years of experience before starting my company so I already had a clear view of what I wanted and especially what I didn't want. But there is no way to oversee it all. There three books have been a great addition.

1 // Mollie Makes Blogging
This is not a book but a magazine all about blogging, social media and how to deal with creative content online. The magazine has great tips for transforming your blog and website into a great visual experience for followers, simple tools to keep in mind while posting content and it has a great overview of all social media pro's and con's. Find out what works best for you and build your creative blog with a steady foundation.

2 // Handboek voor het opzetten van een ontwerp praktijk
I already bought this book before starting my own business. It is a good preparation for what is to come when you do not have a lot of experience in design practice. This book contains all practicalities you will have to worry about while setting up a new business. How to attract clients and how to deal with contracts and numbers. The guide to start your own design business. The book is only available in Dutch.

3 // Art Inc
A guide for building your career as an artist and was written by Lisa Congdon, created by her own experience as an artist. This book is all about turning your skills into a successful business. The book has some great tips about dealing with irregular income, protecting copyright and you can also learn about promoting your artwork, work with creative galleries and selling your art.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween fright night

It's Halloween! Are your ready for this year's fright night? Traditionally October 31 is the day to remember the dead. But nowadays it is a time to dress up and have fun. However, with this holiday I would like to take some time to celebrate the life of all people that have passed in my life. Enjoy your happy holiday, celebrate and remember the life of those whom have passed and left a mark in your life or have influenced your being. Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall fabric Hot Sellers // Spoonflower

As a country girl I used to play outside a lot and enjoy the change of season. 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 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 lift up the interior. A great way to start this colder season. We are all ready to look ahead and show you the latest trends at Spoonflower. Fun fabric for the colder season.

1 // Pastel Feathers
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.

2 // Geometric fox
Geometric designs still are trending. For this design I tried to combine both fall and fashion. The design has been added to the Spoonflower shop just two weeks ago but already a hot seller. Looking forward to seeing all finished projects made with this woodland theme.

3 // Pine trees
Never expected this print to be picked up like mad. But I am happy to say this pine tree design made the top sellers too. If you are looking for a clean Scandinavian style winter design this is all you need. A simple repeat in black and white with little pops of color.

4 // geometric Woodland
This must be my favorite design on fabric this season. A mix of woodland animals and geometric details in soft powder tones. This designs has been used for kids fashion but is also very popular for winter and Christmas decoration. This print is also available in black, white and gray.

Want to purchase one of these designs or check out all other themes? Take a look at the Little Smilemakers shop at Spoonflower. There are over more than 600 designs to choose from. And of course, don't forget to show your finished projects and leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dreamy clouds // water colored foxes // geometric crosses // cute little ballerina girls // My Little Hands - Australia

Usually I am working on new winter and Christmas themes during summer. But for a new client I sat down for some summer designs. When days are getting colder here in Holland Australia is warming up. Time to show off some new Australian summer designs for My Little Hands.

My Little Hands is an online shop, a place to find all things beautiful for your little one’s including bedding for babies and children, clothing, floor rugs and room decor including wall art, garlands and wallpaper.

The Australian company is run by the gorgeous Emma Colombera. She has a heart for true designs and asked me to create a range of products for her shop. We started out with a series around the water colored foxes. A cute simple repeat of these yellow creatures is now available on cute blankets and other MLH items.

We also have been working on a cute series of pastel clouds. This dreamy print is suitable for both boys and girls, available in soft pink, mint and baby blue. Emma told me she has a weak spot for ballet and also hand picked the Ballerina designs for her shop. Of course for this season some geometric designs are part of the series too. A cute crosses design with small aztec detailing. Sounds good? Well, take a look in My Little Hands shop and check the summer entire collection. Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

New winter collection of phone cases // Daily Objects

Another season, another batch of gorgeous Indian designs. For Daily objects India we just finished a new series of surface pattern designs just in time for the holidays. Browse through more that 200 designs and pick your fav gift!

The winter season is coming, so for this series of designs we have been making some cold woodland inspired design. Organic shapes and raw garden themes in soft colors. There are also some new Indian themes: of course some new peacock designs and some retro American inspired art will be part of the new collection too. Take a look on the Daily Objects website and order your favorite design.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sources of inspiration: New York Yay! Series // fabric // postcards // home decor

I was a dreamer at 15. I wanted to go and see the world and luckily my father supported the idea of studying abroad for a year. Just before my 16th birthday I took off on my first trip to the United States. Where I crisscrossed the country. We took a long walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. Ate a one foot high sandwich in Salt lake city. Yes that is to be considered huge in Holland… We crashed at some awesome peoples home in Atlanta and we went to see New York. It was the first trip that made me realize I wanted to see the world.

Although I never went back until last year this country is my first taste of traveling. Letting go of what you know. Go with the flow and pick up the different energy while moving from place to place. Enjoy simple every day things and go back home appreciating what you take for granted.

This year, after receiving Shutterstocks Grant Prize I decided to go back to New York. Working for a company that invited me to come and see the new Empire State Building office, it was all work no play of course.

I love the buzzing streets of New York, where your eye gets drawn to the high architecture and people are in a constant state of hurry, but also enjoy life in little moments by themselves in a park or coffee shop. The city surprised me: I always have this sense of restlessness within me, but when I visited New York, I felt this sense of easygoing peace and calm, like I was home. It's also visually mind-blowing. Street art and high-end designer shops go hand in hand. NYC is the ultimate destination for a designer like me, where constant movement is inescapable, there's room for both culture and business, and, if you set your mind to it, everything seems possible. A multicultural melting pot, which I love.

I love traveling alone and getting lost in places I have never been before. I stumbled upon an expo of graduation students, met some interesting young artists with amazing refreshing work. Goosebumps people! Another stroll from my loft to the high line brought me through the romantic streets of the West Village with it's beautiful brown stones with the typical soundtrack of New York in the back: spring sparrows. An old lady walked by and told me luck would be coming my way... It had already found me.

After I came back from this trip I have been making some new US and New York themes. Some for fabric, some for my pug loving friends back in Brooklyn and a new series for iphone cases and postcards. I still have to create so many things though. So yes, I call them my New York Yay series.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Christmas is on it's way // new seasonal prints & fabric

Christmas. It is on it's way. Decorations are already up in New York and when it's up in New York Christmas is on it's way. During the summer we have been working on new winter and christmas themes for surface pattern design, postcard designs and of course a great chunk of the new seasonal prints is also available on fabric now.

For me personally Christmas always has been a bit of a dreadful experience. With family clashes, angry grannies and weird presents I was always happy to return to school after two weeks of family awkwardness. Now that I am older I tend to flee the country around the holidays. But I love the seasonal vibe and decorations. I am always happy to work on new Christmas themes and the romance of the tale. Designing new prints with fun winter themes and Christmas icons. No, I adore making new seasonal work. Hope you enjoy the new christmas designs too.

Of course you can also do some Little Smilemakers Christmas shopping for your friends and family. Have you seen the new prints available via Daily Objects? I have been working with this company for a year now and there are over more than 200 cases available. They company sells iphone cases for also cases for Samsung, HTC, Nexus, just name it. Take a look and see for yourself.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello October // Colorful transition time

Hello October! My favorite time of the year. When leaves change color and a renewed buzzing energy fills up the working days. When temperature drops but we still pretend there is nothing wrong with getting a drink on a terrace, just stretching summer and enjoy every second of what's left of the warmth. October is a month of transitioning. Letting go & preparing for what is to come and don't forget: make room for new things.

Many things are happening! This fall the new Veritas collection will be launched. The fall winter collection contains new bags, scarfs, cosy home wear and lot's of new fun accessories. After the very successful collection last year I was asked to make an entire collection of prints. Can not wait to see it in the shops.

This past summer has been a crazy hectic one where we welcomed a few new customers from the UK, Poland, South Africa and Australia. Now we are approaching winter most projects get finalized. Hopefully the new finished products will be launched shortly. We have been working on some nursery collections, a new fabric range and cute little shoes for toddlers. It always takes a while before the prints are finished and the finished products are ready. Can not wait to see it all! Of course it will be up here too.

And of course. With every new season there are new designs in the Spoonflower fabric shop. New winter 14/15 prints are up. Make sure to order in time for christmas and skip the holiday rush!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Finished projects made by customers // DIY passport cover // Baby nursery home // Lion dinner set for kids

After a lot of hard work it is lovely to see finished items. Sometimes it can take up to a year before we get to see the final result. Here is a little piece about some of the great ways Little Smilemakers designs are used by clients and fabric customers.

There are quite some travel themes in the Little Smilemakers fabric collection. For asian themes to New York inspired illustrated patterns. A Spoonflower customer send us this little passport case photo this week. And as travel addicts we love to see this travel themed finished project made with Little Smilemakers New York City fabric available at Spoonflower.

La Millou has a range of Little Smilemakers designs in their nursery collection. The hipster design, the Parisien design, Foxes and one of our all time favorites is the Toucan Birds design. A colorful patchwork style print for both boys and girls. The print is available on blankets, pillows, little hats and lot's more!

For Triple 8 Design Studios in Australia we have worked on some cute bamboo fibre biodegradable dinner sets. One with Lions but also one with cute little dinosaurs. So much fun to have these on your kids breakfast table! And after these there is even more to come.

We are always excited to see the result! So if you have been working with Little Smilemakers fabric or if you have some fun items to show that are in your little kids bedroom or in your household please share your Little Smilemakers via the facebook page.