Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends

It's Thanksgiving! And here are some designs to celebrate. I used to love cooking big Thanksgiving dinners in New York for all the non-American waifs and strays (like me) who had no family to visit during this massively important American holiday.  It's hard for a European to grasp the concept of Christmas having a rival but it's almost as big of a deal - minus the presents.  There's not a trace of it here, of course.  Maybe I'll cook some Turkey tomorrow.
So aren't we supposed to say what we're thankful for? Well... aside from the usual health, family, friends etc. and of course my beloved Isadora and Leonardo, I'd say the best things in my life recently were;
1)  The new garage shelves I installed which have brought me unbridled joy.
2)  Ricky Gervais and Frank Skinner podcasts to listen to instead of same old music from iTunes Library.
3)  Adobe Illustrator - I have to pay tribute.  You have changed my life!
4)  My running routine.  I'm thankful I had it while it lasted but not quite thankful enough to resume it.  Need to work on thankfulness for this one.
5)  Erm - think that's it off the cuff.  Oh yes - recent ability to make a cake due to memorised recipe (am too lazy to follow recipes).  6 oz flour, 6 oz sugar, 6 oz butter, 3 eggs, tablespoon hot water - shove in bowl, mix, put in pans, cook.  Very grateful for that every time someone has a birthday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Parco Dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters)

My own personal monsters,  one smiling sweetly while she tortures the other one.
Happy monster
Isadora wanted us to have our picnic in there.  I wasn't keen.
Leo having a little rest with his (rather angry) friend.

The quiet after the storm - there was a huge battle for the privilege of sitting on this faceless horse thing.  
We decided to mark the end of the Summer this year with a day trip to the Park of the Monsters (Parco dei Mostri) which is about an hour's drive away from Rome. Needless to say I got lost both on the way there and on the way back while using a Sat Nav.  Sigh.
However... the gardens were created during the 16th century then became horribly neglected and overgrown during the late nineteenth century, then were restored in the 1970's and are now a tourist attraction.
We took a picnic and spent an entire afternoon wandering through the woods, stumbling upon one fairy-tale like sculpture after another.  It was magical.
There was a small display of photographs of the park as it was before the restoration, showing flocks of sheep ambling around the foot of the elephant, and I wished I'd seen it then.  Must have been like falling down Alice's rabbit hole.

Competition Entries

This is my first Spoonflower competition entry!
Lessons I have learned;
1) Working with a very limited palette is hard!
2) Working with a weird limited palette is very hard!
3) Always upload a larger scale, bold repeat because the smaller repeats have no impact when they're displayed.
4) Entering competitions has multiple benefits -  you get introduced to a community, can see how other designers interpret the same brief, are challenged to be creative in ways you wouldn't otherwise be, and can gauge the success of your ideas through the views and votes.  Not bad for free.
5) There are initial drawbacks - devoting huge quantities of time to selecting, re-formatting work to fit brief then ploughing through uploading requirements, getting it wrong, doing it again, getting it wrong , doing it yet again, then finally going to bed wondering if you did it right!

This is my first Threadless competition entry - for their iPhone case competition! Was wondering how appropriate it would be among all the skull, vampire and zombie images but I'd happily keep this in my handbag!
Next up is Tigerprint Christmas - my territory.  Brain has started ticking!