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

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!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Let's celebrate purple / 5 reasons why we all adore this color of power, independence and ambition



Colors have a strong but also subconscious effect on our everyday lives. During my design studies, studying color was our most demanding and time consuming subject. As a visual artist I was taught how to influence and effect others with my use of the color spectrum. After covering yellow, pink and blue, let's talk about the color purple.

1 // Lilac and history
The color purple used to be a royal color. Due to the rare occurrence of indigo and purple in nature, dying with this paint was very expensive and for a long time, the color purple was to be considered the color of luxury. Purple was sacred. So back in the day, royalty were one of the few people that could afford this color in fashion and home decor. Did you ever visit one of those European Palaces? If you look at the decoration, wallpaper, carpets, portraits on the wall, purple is always there. And because of the psychological effect, it is a not too obvious choice for decorating, but back in the day it was all about showing off your wealth. And up until today it is still associated with value and money.

2 // I love purple personality
The color purple is a combination of a calm blue and an energetic red. A mix of two that is associated with power and ambition but also extravagance (due to it’s historic use), creativity, pride, mystery and magic. If you adore this color you probably have a little bit of a curiosity toward spirituality. You are calm, balanced but also energetic and passionate. With a hint of extravagance, individualism and independence. You like to be a little different from anyone else, a little unconventional. A soft lilac and lavender represents beauty, delicacy and femininity. Also the color of adolescence. But most of all, if you favor this color, you are compassionate and kind, you love to take care of others and don’t ask for much in return. Well, you are welcome!



3 // Purple and branding
Understanding the basics of color is very important within a design process. Color can trigger a reaction, mood, calm us down, fuel us with energy. My design studies contained years of studying color. All hues and shades. Purple is a very interesting one, it has both warm and cold ‘effects.’ Due to this mix the color can cause unrest and discomfort. it can effect your mood in a negative way. The color is not very popular in branding but it does have a few characteristics that might be interesting, making purple a pretty good option for your logo. Due to this warm and cool mix, purple is a good communicative color. Calming nerves, it is uplifting and supports creativity. It is a gender neutral pick and the color is still associated with wealth and value. Therefore the color is great for general targets; young and old, male or female. And an interesting pick for corporate identities that represent both serious business ethics and creativity. If you want your branding identity to represent luxury and quality, this is a great pick.

4 // A little moody
You might remember those wizards from childhood, wearing purple. This color is associated with spirituality and painting your room in a lilac, violet or lavender will increase creativity; it stimulates the imagination. Purple is the color of magic. But too much exposure to purple can also lead to depression. So if you have a tendency to pick up energy easily, stay away from this color. Be careful decorating your home with this color. You don’t want to get moody in the bedroom right?

5 // Lilac and trend
Purple is a color that is constantly clashing. Warm and cold, calming and energizing. Therefore a middle purple is a tough color on the market. When purple enters the trend waves it usually is in a warm or a cold hue. All natural colors are in fact pretty popular at the moment. Soft and delicate lilac and violet. Purple flowers and veggies are very hot in the food industry right now. An interesting trend to follow and a fun way to make your plate a little more special.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Fabric Collection //Kawaii Breeze



We have been working on three new collection this year and one of these brand new series of designs has been launched on fabric this week. Our Kawaii Breeze collection was inspired by our trip to Japan. With a candy sugar color palette and typical kawaii detailing this must be one of our favorite design collection we worked on so far.

Two years ago I visit Japan. The country had been on top of my bucket list for a while but since it is quite the travel, a full day in the clouds, I only wanted to visit if I had enough money to actually see everything I wanted to see. I have always been inspired by this quirky country that is so different from where I come from. it is colorful and I noticed while traveling, everything has a cute face on it. Everything is Kawaii. the postal service has a Kawaii logo, public transport regulations are all illustrated with cute little characters and even more corporate advertising was all about cute. Such an inspirational trip. I ended my trip in Tokyo, where I visit the Takeshita Dori, a street full of Harajuku, comic book and kawaii inspired shops. Everywhere I looked I saw beautiful pops of color. Unique color palettes everywhere. But when I got back, I started working right away. I did not have time to create and turn my inspiration into new designs up until spring of this year.

The new Kawaii breeze collection is a combination of what inspired me during my trip and on trend themes. We created some seasonal prints with summer fruits and seasonal botanical influences. We created some cool food designs, cat cupcakes and breakfast ingredients. I had a huge ice cream cone in Tokyo, so I could not leave out the ice cream. And we made some christmas designs as well. So you can create something in this style all year long. The entire collection is now available on fabric, cotton, faux suede, modern jersey, knit, canvas and satin. And we also added them to our range of wallpaper to create some adorable Kawaii walls for your baby nursery.

Since not everyone knows it’s way around a sewing machine, (oh I can tell you I don’t!) we also added some of these new Kawaii breeze designs to our Society6 portfolio. You can score some cool back to school items, for both boys and girls. Backpacks and notebooks and all sorts of cool accessories. So take a look if you are curious and of course don’t forget to tag us in your posts and creations!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 5 // August 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, New Zealand 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 August selection.

Batoko
The cactus swimsuit is one of Batoko’s hot selling pieces and has been available in their shop for over a year already. They just keep on producing them and they keep running out of these quirky summer beauties. We love this fabulous swimsuit and they now also sell tiny versions for your little ones. And we keep getting cute images showing babies wearing our cacti swimsuit. So cute! So mommy daughter mix and match! Our best selling cactus print is now available again over at Batoko. Wanna look fabulous on the beach? Get yours in the Batoko shop!

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 bunny print that was turned into a fun book bag, and we selected some hair ties made from all different left over fabric she uses for her products. Wanna see more? Take a look into her gorgeous shop for all wonderful handmade creations.



Handmade by Monica
Monica’s business is located in London and she currently has a day job to keep up with the rent. However crafting is her passion and she hopes to make it a full-time pursuit one day. She turned a spare room into her workspace. She loves creating unique bunting designs that are quirky, colorful and perfect as a gift or for parties, to brighten up your home. Monica is a big fan of and heavily influenced by all things bright, cute, quirky and fun. With an interest in Japanese culture (Kawaii in particular!) since she was a child. For this months “Made with” we selected her colorful squirrel creation made with our retro animals fabric from Spoonflower. Curious to see more? Check out her fun shop over at Etsy.

Hiku Designs
Aga Wells is a British mum of two and creates modern baby, kids and interior accessories, such as baby bandana bibs, super soft baby blankets, natural wood teethers, fabric toys, kids cushions and luxurious baby gift sets. As a mum, she understands that baby products must not only be super cute but they also need to be practical and safe. Her designs are finished with great care and attention to detail, ensuring that each item will last through many squeezes, cuddles and washes. For this monthly post we selected our ice cream cones, one of many Little Smilemakers designs in her shop. Wanna take a look and see more? Visit her webshop.

Howl and Hound
Our fabric has been used for all sorts of things but seeing these cool dog bandana’s really made our day. We love a stylish pup! And this pet accessory boutique based in Brooklyn, New York made some cool ice-cream bandana's. Looking for some cool pieces to add to your doggies wardrobe? Check out the Howl and Hound webshop.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New Collection // Maxomorra // Fall & Winter '17



Founded in 2008, Maxomorra is a 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 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.

Conscious
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 Autumn Winter Plus collection. Here are three of the designs that will be available next fall.

Monday, July 31, 2017

New Collection available // Karla Cola Australia



A few months ago we licensed some of our monochrome designs to Karla who owns a fashion label in Adelaide, Australia. She creates beautiful, vibrant, unique original accessories as well as clothing pieces for woman. And we are so much in love with her tiny boutique we wanted to give her a little shout out.

Karla has a serious eye for style and her shop is filled with wonderful retro style fabric. Large organic shapes, popping colours and basic monochromes set the tone. All mixed with exquisite accessories, making her creations bold and unique. She mixes class and color with confidence and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of our prints in her future collections. I sure love what she has made with our designs so far; tunics, dresses and headscarfs. if you are curious to see all of her fashion pieces click on the link to her shop.

Shop Karla Cola Designs

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Memphis Style // July 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 Russia, The Netherlands and the United States. This month we selected a our top 3 Memphis products, turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and have you seen those baby booties? There was so much to choose from! We have selected some cute baby shoes, shirts, leotards. And we have a link to our Society6 shop, if you would like to add some Memphis to your home. This is our top 3 July selection.

1 // Tiny Little Cactus - Adorable Baby Booties
Krista visit our shop in The Hague to get her hands on some of our Memphis fabric. She became a fan of our designs and a week later she ordered a whole lot more of our fabric via Spoonflower. When we asked her to tag us in her social media posts, because we are curious what peeps make from our fabric, the most wonderful items popped up. We love anything cute and love this local webshop filled with crafty stuff and everything Kawaii. For this months “Made with” we selected her adorable little baby booties in our trending white Memphis print. Soft sole shoes, perfect for your little ones tiny feet. Seriously, things don’t get much cuter than this! We love these fresh colorful booties, but if you prefer our darker Memphis designs: She also has the black Memphis designs available in her shop. If you are looking for some baby shoes or if you are a big Kawaii fan like we are check our her website. Such a perfect new born or baby shower gift!



2 // Mami’s Little Muse - Baby & Toddler fashion
We haven been following this shop for a couple of years already. Isis is one of our regular customers and has made some cute fashion items for little ones over the years. For this month’s post we selected some of her newest rompers and leotards made with our Memphis fabric. We love how she mixes and matches colors and prints. Isis started her little shop after giving birth to her preemie daughter. She could not find any clothes to fit her tiny new born baby girl. Her little muse Kaili inspired her to start dreaming about sewing a whole wardrobe full of clothing for her. And her husband, sensing her determination, came home one day carrying a brand new sewing machine. With all it bells and whistles, it wasn’t long before Isis preemie was the most stylish kid in town with a dressed overflowing with handmade outfits in all the colors of the rainbow. Now she has expanded her collection by adding cool boy designs too. her shop is fresh, fun and colorful. And her items all have a little something special. if you are curious just take a look into her Etsy shop.

3 // LU Kids - Cool boys and girls
Our Memphis designs haven been travelling all over the globe and even in Russia you can find a cool range of kids wear. LU Kids offers trendy fashion items and accessories. This Moscow based shop offers shirts, pants, shoes, everything for your little ones wardrobe. But they have also reated some cool accessories. Shoes, hats, backpacks. An entire series of back to school Memphis prints is released this fall. For this new collection LU Kids has used organic cotton and eco-friendly printing, water-based inks on natural and synthetic fiber textiles. No additional chemicals are used in the printing or preparation process. That is something we just love to hear! Many of our customers are choosing a more conscious approach so we really wanted to list them in our top 3 this month.
Curious about their new stuff? Visit their webshop.

Home decoration & Accessories
We usually only feature handmade items and licensed products in our monthly Made With post. Because this month is a little different that our usual posts we also wanted to add a link to our Society6 shop. Where you can find fashion accessories, bedding, and als sorts of fun items to decorate your home with. If you want to add a little Memphis to your home. Go take a look. We have a whole bunch of other designs to choose from too.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sources of inspiration: Iceland // Landscapes, textures and delicious food // Top 5 things to do and places to visit while traveling this amazing island



Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. When I booked my trip to Iceland I needed an easy getaway, staring at lagoons and endless lava landscapes seemed like the perfect vacation. The perfect break from all the chaos, heartbreak and loss. I never travel to colder places, but I usually don’t book a trip during summer so I decided to go North and visit this beautiful island full of amazing landscapes. Adventure was  waiting once again!  

I woke up and was starring out of the plane window 10 minutes before landing and the glance I had over the landscape instantly gave me a little peace of mind. The roads and the landscapes under me where completely empty. Such a relief after all the rush and chaos I had been in for the past months. My first stop was Reykjavik, from here I would travel the Golden Circle and then after a few days it was time to have a little road trip and go east. 

The weather quickly changes and in Iceland they have a saying “just wait 5 minutes.” So when the rain comes, chances are it will be gone in 5 minutes. Definitely something to keep in mind when you arrive at that waterfall and it is pouring. I was lucky with the weather, out of 8 we had 4 days of sunshine, but I did need lot's of layers. Make sure you pack enough clothes! Make sure to pack warm clothes and proper water resistant hiking boots are a must if you want to experience this Island’s raw nature.

Iceland only has a small population and most of the people you will meet are tourists themselves. Therefore the country is focused on serving that tourist majority, the food, the shops, you will find fries and hamburgers and 50% of all shops are selling souvenirs. This is what hell looks like for me, I am not a big fan of the American food culture and I don’t like to buy things, but if you get out of Reykjavik and travel around the country you can dodge this consumerism a little bit. Leave the mass behind and soak up the peace and quiet of this amazing country with snowy tops and black beaches, lava landscapes, waterfalls and geysers. Here is a little short list of things to do and some tips to enjoy this place to the fullest. 



1 // Reykjavik 
The old city of Reykjavik is definitely worth a little peek. I loved the colorful wooden buildings and the city is pretty small, easy to do it all in a day or two. Personally I am a big fan of modern architecture and I love to see how old places are renovated and get modern interiors. The Hafnarhús Art museum is both an interesting building and a great place to visit if you love modern art. A ticket to the art museum is also your entry for two other museums: The Asmundarsafn sculptures and Kjarvalsstadir that houses the works of Iceland’s most influential artist, Jóhannes Kjarval. So if you are an art loving creature like me, this is what a perfect afternoon looks like. 
In the harbor the modern glass concert hall Harpa is definitely worth a glance. This brand new building is a beautiful contrast with it’s surroundings. Take the elevator up to the top story, stare into the reflecting textures, take a look at the ocean view and have a coffee in the lobby after you walk your way down the pretty stairway in this amazing building. Don’t forget to look back. it is such a delightful piece of architecture.  
Although the main shopping street is one big souvenir avenue, there are some nice places where you can find some more authentic memorabilia. Reykjavik still has some record stores where you can get your hands on some original LP’s and they have a great collection of Icelandic music and movies. If you rent a car to make a road trip you can buy your soundtrack in one of these places. I am a big fan of Icelandic music and have made a playlist in my Deezer account for those who want to listen to the landscapes. 

2 // Icelandic cuisine 
On my first day in Iceland I had a terrible meal and as you might know already, food is important to me, so I was not very happy to eat shitty. Iceland is very popular among American, Canadian and British tourists and unfortunately most restaurants serve hamburgers, hot dogs and fried things like fish and chips. While traveling around the country you will notice the donuts and unhealthy take away options when you stop to fill up your tank. Eating out is pretty expensive on the Island but if you want to eat a proper meal it is best to spend just a little more on your dinners. With a little extra you can eat so crazy good! You will thank me for this tip, seriously! The fish on the island is amazing and so are the typical Icelandic dishes where hamburgers are left off the menu. My top 3 restaurants in Reykjavik were Matwerk, Sushi Social and Rok. The last one has small dishes to mix and match and was definitely my number 1. Iceland has some typical local dishes on their menu. Whale can be found in big touristy places but since the whale hunt is up for debate, the more sophisticated restaurants don’t put it on their menu. Reindeer and puffin however are not endangered, if you want to taste Icelandic meat, this is your chance.  

I was surprised Iceland has so many local beers to choose from. If you are a beer lover you can eat your heart out! But it’s expensive. A proper beer will cost you around 1400ISK choose your beer wisely! Wine is just as expensive, but they do have a standard of good wine, not like here in Holland where the wine can be extremely bad sometimes. Not sure how that works, bad wine.  

3 // Walk over water 
Iceland is an amazing country and has lot’s of amazing places to visit. One of the highlights of my trip was a glacier walk, at the Jökulsárlón-Glacier. Maybe also because I am a little challenged doing hikes with my rheumatic joints and I was pretty proud completing an afternoon of hiking over ice, but I am sure it also has something to do with the amazing views, colors and the knowledge the ice won’t be there forever, you can hear the water flowing under you, the melting ice you are standing on. if you are afraid of heights this activity might be a little challenging. The black lava peaks, the gaps between the ice, the textures, the view over the glacier and the ever changing landscapes. It is breathtaking. You can also make a short boat trip on the glacier lagoon and see the blue reflection in the ice caps. The colors are amazing. You won’t be needing any meditation before going to bed that day i promise you!



4 // Chasing waterfalls 
Iceland has over 30 amazing waterfalls, enough to accidentally find some along the way, go off the beaten track and find one of these hidden gems around lunchtime. The perfect way to have a little break from driving and enjoy your lunch. Make sure you are equipped if you want to visit the main waterfalls: protect yourself from the water or get soaked. The Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss and the Gullfoss are Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, they attract a lot of tourists so these are not the best places for a lunch stop but they are worth the visit. The Seljalandsfoss has a path that takes you on the other side of the water. You can see the water drop 50 meters from the cave behind the waterfall. The water comes from Iceland’s notorious Eyjafjallajökull volcano. If you walk up and follow the track you can find another three waterfalls. You can either climb up and go down through the water of enjoy these forces of nature from the main track.  

5 // Geyser watching 
Most households in the city of Reykjavik get hydropower and households are heated with geothermal water from the surrounding springs and is the only country that solely uses renewable sources. Hot water is everywhere and so are hot springs, one of the most famous one is by far the Blue Lagoon. It is also the most expensive and crowded one. There are some little less touristy hot springs scattered throughout the country. If you travel by car you will bump into a few that are more natural and less crowded. The water is important to Iceland and the steam of hot water rivers and geysers turn the landscape into magical sceneries. Water comes in so many forms. The one thing I really wanted to see with my own eyes were the geysers. A rare phenomenon you can only see near active volcanic area’s and one of the worlds famous geyser is the Icelandic Strokkur where you can see the active geyser erupt every 10 minutes. It is truly spectacular. 

These are just a few things on my trip that were spectacular and I really wanted to share. Do some research and explore this amazing country. Make sure you pack a camera and some proper lenses to spot wild life. Puffin, whales and seals. And whatever you do in Island, take your time and respect nature. Don’t go off road or walk into the lava fields, respect and don’t impact and most of all take your time to look. And take in the spectacular views of snow topped mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, green canyons and wild ocean waves. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Handmade faves // June 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 world wide creations from Canada, New Zealand, The Netherlands and the US. This month we selected a whole bunch of clean Scandinavian themed designs, turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and have you seen those cute cuddle cloths? There was so much to choose from! We have selected some cute lions that make a perfect gender neutral baby shower gift, leggings, bibs and pillows. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our June selection.

Rosa Deco
This Dutch shop has a wonderful collection of new born accessories all handmade by Sabine, shop owner and passionate sewer. These fun gift boxes make perfect gifts for a mom to be or the conscious mommy who is looking for organic pieces for their little one. Teething rings, baby cloths, take a look into her shop and check out her fresh style.



Wild Littles
This shop creates modern handmade quilts & bedding for teeny tiny humans. Designed and handmade in beautiful Victoria, BC, each quilt is professionally designed, pieced and free-motion quilted. The very nature of being individually crafted by hand means that there will be slight variations and no two quilts are the same. The quilts make a wonderful, thoughtful gift for an expectant or new mom and are perfect to drape over the side of a crib and easily transition to toddler bedding. Plus they can be used as a play mat for the floor or tummy time, spread out for a picnic or for cuddling and snuggling. These baby quilts are designed to stand the test of time and are sure to be a favorite heirloom to last for many years to come. Go check out the shop!

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. Wanna see more? Take a look into her gorgeous shop for all wonderful handmade creations.

Itty Bitty Leggings
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 out abstract grid fabric. One of our most popular prints this year. Monochrome fabric is trending right now! She also has some gender neutrals and more girly items too. They're lovely! With her fun stylish eye her collection is always on trend. Go take a look!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Creative Business & Infringement // About design ethics and copy cats // How to protect your designs



Something needs to get off my chest, that is why I decided to write this piece. As an artist I have been working in the creative industry for over 12 years now and I have seen things change and shift over time. I love using social media such as Instagram to show what I am creating, new designs I launched and to give my followers a little insight about what I am doing. Get feedback and discuss work. A lot of it is very helpful to running a creative business. But the downside is that my business is a very visual one. I need to show my designs in order to sell them and over the years it has gotten more and more common to see ‘Little Smilemakers Inspired’ designs pop up. So with it is not about creating only, it's about being clever and work smarter. I have grown to tackle quite some problems over the years, maybe this could also help you a little.

Your designs are my inspiration
“Who inspires you” is a question that is often asked to artists during interviews. And to me too. Inspiration to me is something that itches. Something that triggers an emotion, something that creates a response. Shows things in a different light. Confronts, stirs up. It can be a walk on the beach. The perspective of a child. Joy, grief, pain, it is all converted into creation. And therefore very personal. But the interviewee usually refers to another artist, style or brand. And this is why they are so wrong. Inspiration is not something you can copy, it is a trigger, a mood, an energy that gives you power and drive to create. If you are an artist and have your own handwriting you are not highly influenced by other styles. Somehow being inspired has turned into copying that style and handwriting. And it is not ok.

The people I approach that copy my designs usually think it is okay to copy that handwriting instead of contributing to the world, finding their own ‘voice’ in their own unique way. They forget all about staying close to their own strength and choose to disrespect the artist by making a rip off version of a product or in my case a print. I find copied work almost every day. And it saddens me. Today I run across another ‘interpretation of a little Smilemakers concept’ and usually I just feel bad for a second, eat chocolate and get on with it. But some days it is just too much and I reach a point of thinking “shall i just stop doing this” a couple of times. I make things but what people don’t seem to realize is that it is my livelihood. My bread. I spend over 60 hours a week working my ass off. Things don’t just happen. Most importantly I create from the heart, designing is a very personal process and I can see the difference between ‘inspired by’ and copied, I know why I make a certain shape, toss elements a certain way, because the design is me. I am the designer, I know.

Everyone’s a designer
When I started working as a graphic designer 12 years ago, creating things on a computer was done by a selected, talented, few. But more and more software was made, printed media was turned into mostly digital pieces and more recently it became a lot easier to get your hands on cheap software and apps to create your own ‘whatever’. So I changed my graphic ways and started to create illustrations and patterns. Serving another niche of clients. But the past year this business has gotten more and more saturated. Not because of an increase awesome new artists that entered the business. Unfortunately it is the copy cats that seem to thrive nowadays.

My work has been copied by Etsy selling housewives and big multinational businesses. When I confront people that copy my work that are individuals, mostly housewives with Etsy stores claiming to be artists, it is a different story than approaching businesses. They have no idea how copyright works, since they usually never attended any creative business classes, they don’t have any legal insight. Neither do they have any ethical thoughts about copying creations. I started to realize these woman really have no idea how disrespectful it is and how wrong they are. Today I confronted someone I noticed putting up a new design via Spoonflower, the same person already added another design similar to mine a few months earlier. I was stunned. If you have several designs similar to another artist up for sale on the same website it is not dumb luck they seem similar. It is not ‘inspired by’. It is called fraud. Design infringement. When you pick the same shapes, same composition, same theme in the same colors it is not an ‘interpretation of a concept’. Unfortunately somehow I can not get my point across to these people. There is not an easy way to prevent this. Trust me I have tried. We all have to think global and the problem is every country has it's own regulations about copyright. And I am curious how other designers deal with this.

If you are a true artist no one can take away your own uniqueness.

Everyone’s a designer so it seems. But there is a difference to a skilled professional and a copy cat. A professional approach will lead and not follow. If you are also dealing with this kind of nonsense know that a true creative heart always ticks, always creates. Rely on your own creativity, find your own voice, your own style, your own handwriting and don’t focus on others. Do not focus on the negativity and try to let go of the heaviness in your heart when you bump into copy cats and copied work. If you are a true artist no one can take away your own uniqueness. Trust yourself.

Business to business
With all visual exposure from social media it is getting harder and harder to earn a living with my designs. And every few months I work on exclusive designs behind the scenes. Within a few days copies pop up when I put something on Instagram I am working on, or add new designs to my Spoonflower shop, so I choose to keep these exclusive prints private until they are send out to a selected few. When I present my exclusive designs business to business, it’s a given one of them will add the same themes and colors to their collection next season while turning my originals down. This is of course a problem. With my thorough market research, experience and skills it is not only the design I send out. It is weeks of researching the market and target group, scaping upcoming themes, color schemes and trends into new designs. It is not just the print but a whole lot of other information too they are handed before pay out. It took me a long time to resolve this matter but when last year’s batch of spring designs became worthless I knew I had to do things differently.

Last year I made a presentation that was send out to a select few customers. One of them, I had worked for before, shared my work to a company that has stolen my designs before. The customer I send the designs to asked me to prepare a license for three designs that were part of a collection containing 10 other designs with the same theme, concept, colors and elements. However, that same customer did not get back to me to confirm these licenses. After turning down several other companies interested in the prints, I finally got in contact with them and they told me they did not want to buy the designs any more. A few weeks later, the same theme, same colors, same elements…. copies of my designs popped up in their shop. I was curious where they came from: Nooteboom, they said. Which had copied my work before. My entire collection became worthless and I could not sell any of the designs I put weeks of work in. I knew, this was the last time this was ever going to happen.

Working in the fabric industry is shady business. When I visit fabric fairs it only takes me a few seconds to find copied work. It is crazy. So yeah, I learned a lot from my 6 years of making designs for the fabric industry but it still surprises me, the lengths people will go to not pay the artist. To resolve the business to business exclusive design issue I now make customers sign a binding agreement of not adding same themes and elements to their new collection for at least a year after receiving my collection of new designs to choose from. Invest in some legal assistance every now and then. This way your ideas and heard work are at least a little more protected.

It is not much and I am sure there will be another person or company trying out something new here. But do protect your work, add a little business mindset to running a creative business and I hope this piece can prevent you from making the same mistakes I have made so far. I haven't by far figured everything out yet, being an entrepreneur means setting new goals, make mistakes and learn from them. I am working on a top 10 of mistakes, things to think about as an artist while doing business. Things to consider to protect your artwork. So stay tuned!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 5 // May 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 Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and the USA. This month we selected a whole bunch of fresh blue colored fabrics, turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and have you seen those baby booties? There was so much to choose from! We have selected some cute baby shoes, leggings, blankets and a cool babynest. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our top 5 May selection.

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

LoveBird BabyNests - Blue hedgehogs
LoveBird BabyNests was founded by Ashley, an adventure seeking, outdoor enthusiast, nutrition and fitness passionate, loving mother of 4 beautiful children. While she was pregnant she decided to take on a sewing project creating a little baby bed that turned out to be a cute little baby nest. After her son was born she it became clear she couldn’t live without it and started making custom BabyNests on request for friends and family. Her business grew and now Ashley has a wonderful little online shop. For her small collection of BabyNests she selected some of our favorite Little Smilemakers fabric. Our hedgehogs is one of this years hot selling fabric and available via Spoonflower. Not having any sewing talent? Don’t worry, you can order a custom BabyNest via her webshop.



Tiny Little Cactus - Blue Baby Booties
Krista visit our shop in The Hague to get her hands on some of our Memphis fabric. She became a fan of our designs and a week later she ordered a whole lot more of our fabric via Spoonflower. When we asked her to tag us in her social media posts, because we are curious what peeps make from our fabric, the most wonderful items popped up. We love anything cute and love this local webshop filled with crafty stuff and everything Kawaii. For this months “Made with” we selected her adorable little baby booties in our abstract pink dashes print. Soft sole shoes, perfect for your little ones tiny feet. Seriously, things don’t get much cuter than this! If you are looking for some baby shoes or if you are a big Kawaii fan like we are check our her website. Such a perfect new born or baby shower gift!

Cover Up Baby Studio - Dino Blankets
Did you know Spoonflower also has a very soft minky fabric which is perfect for nursery blankets?
Mary, who is grandma of two, runs a small Etsy business from her home in Michigan selling fresh and unique new born baby swaddle blankets. We love what she made with our blue dinosaur fabric and love her style which is fun and colorful. Take a look into her shop if you want to get your hands on one of these adorable items.

Glitzerpüppi - Blue Garden Fabric
For this German shop we made this cute blue garden fabric that popped up on our Instagram feed a couple of weeks ago. This print is also available via Spoonflower and we love this cute little new born set: a baby romer and a matching headband was made for this little one. Curious about their own fabric production and available fabric? Take a look into their shop and get your hand on some of our exclusive prints.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sources of Inspiration // Top 5 spring-summer trends in fashion and home decoration



Another warmer season is coming, so it is about time to plan those decorating and sewing projects. With these top 5 trends for this year you can never go wrong. Add some Boho to your wardrobe, or add some retro geometric textiles to your garden as a contrast to your tropical plants and leaves. We are curious to see what style you like most. Have fun creating!

Bohemian romance
Summer is for dreaming. And this summer this dreamy bohemian breeze takes over fashion. The Bohemian style has been around for 200 years and back in the day it was a style that was carried by artists and intellectuals who wanted to reject the bourgeois lifestyle. Adding imagination and color the bohemian style was a way of expressing a different way of dressing and decorating. This style reflected the fashion in parts of Eastern Europe called Bohemia, where lot’s of Gypsy people lived: Immigrants without a home, traveling and living on wheels. Nowadays we still associate the Bohemian style with freedom. The romantic prints, colors, the ethnic elements. it all turned into a cult. A carefully picked outfit with lot’s of colors and accessories.

The Boho trend has been on the rise for a few years now including indian icons, such as native aztec prints, feathers, arrows and dreamcatchers but also flowers, natural and oriental elements are part of this easy trend. Mixed with bright color pops, think of neon detailing and wooden ornaments this is the perfect trend for romantics. We have created some modern version boho prints, our own interpretation of the Boho trends, that are available on wallpaper, home decor items via The Roostery and fabric of course. Pick your fave fabric type and order our boho designs. Have fun creating pieces for your new summer wardrobe.

Explosive Pastel
The Scandinavian style still is on the rise. The dark days of winter are behind us and the pure clean white makes place for a little hint of color. The nudes, blush and pastel color palette has been popping up going strong in Scandinavian fashion brands and home decoration and is a definite must have in your summer wardrobe.

But did you know the big pastel wave in the 80’s had it’s origin in Miami? Back in the 80’s Miami Vice was recorded, I bet you all know about this iconic TV show. It was situated in Miami and the Art Deco architecture was translated into the set and the shows wardrobe. Around that time film, music video’s and effects became very influential and lead to a pastel wave. Anyway, I am a big fan of pastels and since my skin is pretty white, winter is not really the season to pull off these soft colors. With a little more color on my cheeks I can finally wear those mints, soft grays and blush pinks again.



Colorful Memphis
During the pastel Miami wave there was another crazy trend popping up in the eighties. The Memphis Movement. Highly influenced by pop culture; their name alone was based on a Bob Dylan lyric. The movement was established in the early 80’s by a group of designers and was very strong in interior design, furniture, film decor and fashion. Geometric shapes, strong lines and bright contrasting colors were the groups signature and this short term colab has made such an impression that it is celebrating their revival. We especially love the geometric patterns that go hand in hand with the contrasting bright chunks of primary and secondary colors. Inspired by this style we have made some colorful, geometric Memphis inspired designs with of course a little twist. We left out the primary colors and made pink, mustard and blue hues. Hope you enjoy them!

Botanical Jungle
Book a ticket to the tropics this year cuz we all need a piece of tropical green. The past year we have seen an increase in more conscious prints. We noticed our customers buy more gender neutral prints and with more knowledge about climate change people are more attracted to nature based trends. Green has always been a very difficult color in retail but the past few years green is all back and this summer it is back in a lush tropical way. Think about palm leaves, jungle life, botanical creatures, corals, everything tropical & nature is hot hot hot. And we cannot get enough of these greens. Back to nature with this tropical trend. Yes please! For this post we selected our not so common print.

Summer Candy
Last year we saw an increase in sales on our Kawaii designs. Japanese graphics inspired prints and with this trend on the rise now we see the lollipop, sugar candy and popsicles take off as a trend on their own. We all need to eat during those warm summer days, so a little refreshment here and there is very much needed. These whimsical illustrations sell best in the brightest colors and are perfect for your little ones wardrobe. So if you’d like your little one to be on trend, splurge and pick your favorite candy! Oh and don’t forget those ever strong pineapples. We have them in all shapes, colors and sizes. need another scale for your wall of sewing projects, just send us a message and we’ll add another size to our collection for you.

Here are the links to all featured prints. All prints are available on fabric and wallpaper and if you are interested in a license, please fill our the contact form.

Boho: Pineapples - Arrows Memphis: Rain - Umbrella - Geometric - Memphis Eyelash - Lilac Stripes - Mint Swirl Ice Cream:
Yellow - Blue - Beige Botanical: Desert creatures - Spiders

Friday, April 28, 2017

Behind the scenes: Printmaking // New Under Water World summer fabric collection 2017



Last week we released a new series of designs we have been working on. Our new Under Water World collection with over 25 different prints is now available as fabric and wallpaper and we would love to show you a little sneak peak, a little behind the scenes of making this collection.

Yeah yeah, I know, you know. I love traveling and I adore being in and on the water. When I travel I try to make boat trips and look for places to go snorkeling and have a little peak into the colorful world of sea creatures and coral. I have seen quite some amazing things with my face in the water and my ass catching a nice sun burn. Tiny colorful fish, beautiful coral reefs, sharks, yeah, not my fave! And I love the textures and shapes. So very inspirational. Unfortunately I could never capture the beauty of all this n my prints but for these new ocean series I tried to make some joyful colorful designs.

We originally designed these series for our own production and shop in The Hague. But since we were partnering with someone that decided to step out of this process we are now releasing the entire series at Spoonflower as well. Our own production is on hold at the moments and these prints are too cute not to share right? For the print making process I started out making some a quick list of all sea life I have witnessed while traveling to tropical places. There were so many creatures but there were a few which I thought were most fascinating. The Octopus, turtles, the sea horse and the colorful corals. These were the base, the foundation of these new series.



Corals
From here I started making some sketches. For the first stage of sketching I use a fine pen with black ink, usually a sharpie or a micron. For this series I used both since I did not only draw outlines but texture as well. I started off making a whole bunch of different illustrations, a variety of corals, leaves, plants. And after filling several pages of my sketchbook with drawings I try to select the most interesting shapes. For the corals I choose three completely different shapes that make a wonderful series of abstracts by there own. I turned these into three different designs. These three designs all have a different quirky shape and texture, eventually these are put into the Under Water World color scheme so the prints are easy to mix and match with each other, or with some of the creatures. But not at this stage. I just focus on shape and how to get a strong repeat with basic elements. After that we started with the creatures.

Under Water Creatures
After sketching a whole bunch of ocean creatures we had to make our pick. We decided to skip the fish designs since we already have some cool dolphins, sharks and whales up in our Spoonflower shop. So after eliminating these three main characters stood out. The octopus, turtles and sea horse.

The Octopus, which I keep calling Jelly, stubborn as I am, since the characters are a little mix of both, has two variaties. The small ones; that are all slightly different and make a great print for kids fashion items and home textiles for the nursery. And then the large ones; for the older kids, these illustrations have a nice texture filling with dots and stripes and is also available as home pillow. Making the shape larger gives the illustration more character. The image looses a little of the cuteness that makes is more suitable for a slightly older audience. I wanted to make one illustration suitable for both babies and slightly older kids. But I could not figure it out. So instead of choosing one, there are two versions of these awesome creatures. Hope you like them.

The Ocean consists of so many amazing and colorful creatures. But most interesting are the shapes and textures down there. The Sea Horse has always fascinated me. Such a curious face and funny shape. We added some sea horse designs to the collection. I just couldn’t resist. I love the shape of these creatures. So beautiful! We could not leave them out. To complete these series we made one design with all corals and creatures combined. We are so curious to figure out which of these designs will pop up in our feed first. We are so curious to seeing what our customers will make from this fabric!

Home decorations & Paper art
Finishing up a series of prints means I can use them for all sorts of products. Our new series of designs has also been translated into a bunch of colorful posters and wrapping paper. For now these will only be available via our shop in The hague. We also added some pillow patterns to our Spoonflower portfolio so you can make your own cool jelly or sea horse pillow. I am looking forward seeing these babies pop up in nurseries and kids interiors! Hopefully you like our new summer series as much as I do. Click on the link to check out all our new designs over at Spoonflower. Select your favorite fabric or try out a swatch for some unique wallpaper.

SHOP NEW UNDER WATER COLLECTION

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Happy Kingsday Dutchies // Veel plezier deze Koningsdag!



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Woohoo! // Yay! // Celebrating 5 years of Little Smilemakers fabric on Spoonflower



This year we are celebrating our fifth anniversary this year over at Spoonflower. We opened up our Spoonflower shop back in 2012 when Spoonflower was only a new bee in the digital on demand printing business. There was so much to do and so many themes were not covered yet. We started making designs just for Spoonflower since the fabric industry was pretty old school and it was hard to find some colorful, fun and on trend designs. And while we were licensing to fabric printers, the designs they would pick were not really our own faves. We had so much stuff we wanted to put on fabric!

A great platform for Artists
For us working with Spoonflower was a great step of getting back in controle of our designs. We had been selling our prints over at Shutterstock but there was more and more misuse. Fabric popping up with our designs everywhere, but without paying for the proper license. It was way to easy to get your hands on the original vector files and do whatever. With Spoonflower we felt our designs were safe, our files were never shared with third parties and this way we could rely on the fact we would be properly compensated for each and every sale. In the beginning sales were pretty slow but after a year or so our designs got picked up. After starting our with our more colorful prints. Our plus signs, feathers, triangles and other geometric prints became hot sellers and we started to upload more designs ahead of the trend. Our 10 year old pineapple print suddenly took off and was lucky enough to catch the trend wave. If was fun to see how some of our older surface designs were suddenly selling like crazy when the trend kicked in.

Let's print color
Back in those first years, digital printing was all new and exciting for fabric designers, there were no color limitations so we could go nuts on color. Instead of designing fabric in the usual 5 colors we could add watercolors, use a rainbow of colors, shades, anything seemed possible. But of course after that first crazy exciting omg-we-need-more-color rush we toned down our prints a little bit. With a background in graphic design and typography I was looking for a more clean balance. Reducing colors and shapes lead to our very recognizable Scandinavian range. I always loved designing on a crisp white background and we were lucky this trend picked up immediately. Our woodland animals and geometric prints have been going strong ever since and the past two years we have been focussing more on adding more abstracts and raw detailed prints to our shop. Prints we love to see in our homes and fashion ourselves.



Researching & insight
Spoonflower has been a great way to built our portfolio, test the market, monetize our designs, get insight about what works where, since they sell and ship world wide. having that insight is very important. With all that information we know what works where and we can advise and coach our clients in their design signature for their brands. But what we love most of all is to see what our fabric is used for. We see new creations pop up on our Facebook page and Instagram every day and it is so much fun to see people from all over the globe enjoy working around our themes and color schemes. Making wonderful creations, kids fashion and accessories, totes, sports stuff, home decoration, pet accessories, you name it, we’ve seen it and we love it!

Links & Credits
For this post we have used some finished items from our long term supporters. Bean Sprout, Pistol and Arrow, Lucie June Boutique and Hen House Apparel. We just love their beautiful range of products using some of our all time best-sellers: Black and White Hedgehogs, Little Lions, The grid, Pineapple Arrows and of course our fave Bunny design. If you have some cool creations to shop yourself, please send us your finished items!

We’ll keep continuing expanding our portfolio, adding new designs and new color schemes every week. Our portfolio has over 3400 designs up for sale on fabric and wallpaper. Spoonflower has been a great platform for designers and creatives and we are proud to have over 2200 people following our work and with over 138.632 favorites received so far we would like to thank each and every one of our customers who has even ordered one of our designs. Thank you so much for your support and your awesome creations, sweet comments and requests. Let’s continue this journey!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Made with Little Smilemakers Studio Fabric // Top 5 // April 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 Australia, UK, The Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA. This month we selected a whole bunch of pink fabric designs, turned into the most gorgeous items. Kids fashion, nursery accessories and have you seen those baby booties? There was so much to choose from! We have selected some cute baby shoes, leggings, baby bibs and a cute little teepee romper. Take a look and see if there is something for your little one too. This is our top 5 April selection.

Little Living
This fun children’s clothing shop based in the UK specializes in fun, comfortable apparel handmade with love for your little ones. They sell all of our favorite prints this season. Our featured pink teepee's, clouds and bunnies are up in their Etsy shop. All items are made with soft jersey fabric. Little Living. Perfect for your little ones soft baby skin. Wanna see the entire collection? Check out the shop on Etsy.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/littlelivingshop

Tiny Little Cactus
Krista visit our shop in The Hague to get her hands on some of our Memphis fabric. She became a fan of our designs and a week later she ordered a whole lot more of our fabric via Spoonflower. When we asked her to tag us in her social media posts, because we are curious what peeps make from our fabric, the most wonderful items popped up. We love anything cute and love this local webshop filled with crafty stuff and everything Kawaii. For this months “Made with” we selected her adorable little baby booties in our abstract pink dashes print. Soft sole shoes, perfect for your little ones tiny feet. Seriously, things don’t get much cuter than this! If you are looking for some baby shoes or if you are a big Kawaii fan like we are check our her website. Such a perfect new born or baby shower gift!
https://tinylittlecactus.com



Quinn & Belle
When you're looking for something modern, fun, stylish and cute, Quinn & Belle has you covered. From handmade, one-of-a-kind items to unique tees & dresses, we truly are the one-stop shop for modern parents that is sure to keep you smiling. Quinn and Belle is a shop based in Arizona run by a mom of four girls. Creating beautiful clothes that were as unique as each of their little personalities. That's how Quinn & Belle was born. A girl should be two things in life: whomever and whatever she wants! Everything you see in the shop is hand selected and handmade by someone who understands how important it is that your dollars go as far as they can and your little ones look great in the process. For this months post we selected a cute Easter theme that has been a hot seller this spring: our pink bunnies. Take a look into her shop and check out all Little Smilemakers creations.
https://www.quinnandbelle.com

Ollie & Coco
Ollie & Coco is a small company based in Australia and makes adorable baby bandana's and bibs. They just added a big selection of Little Smilemakers prints to their shop. We love designing on a clear white background and clearly we are a good fit. We love seeing so many of our designs pop up in their shop so for this months post we selected their pink blush leopard. But there are so many more to choose from. We have counted over more than 20 Little Smilemakers designs so far so eat your heart out! Wanna get your hands on one of these cool new bibs? Check out their cool webshop!
https://www.ollieandcoco.com

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 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 pink theme we selected our bow ties, bunnies and one of their abstracts with pink and white brush strokes on pink. Curious? Take a look into her gorgeous shop for more wonderful handmade creations.
https://www.beansproutstore.co.nz