Polka & Bloom on Etsy

November 20, 2018

Arrr! Mandalas Pirates!

Mandalas to Embroider in Japanese!
I guess you know your book is popular if there are pirated PDF copies of it on Etsy..? This has started happening with the Japanese version of Mandalas to Embroider. Curiously, not with any of my other books. As far as I know, anyway.

Someone emailed me a little while ago to say they'd seen a PDF of the book for sale on Etsy. (Thank you, A!) She was almost apologetic about it, and not wanting to upset me with this information.

You'd think I would be upset about it, but I guess I've been involved with book writing, my own and friends', that I know this is basically par for the course. And frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. That I know of. If this had happened when my first book had come out I may well have gone into an OMG WHAT DO I DO spiral, but now I just deal with it and move on.

I wasn't upset, and certainly not with her. More like annoyed because it's another something you gotta deal with. I have a new routine now: whenever I turn on my computer, I do a search on Etsy for illegal PDF copies.

So far, I've requested three people to remove the illegal PDF listings, and they have done so without me having to report them to Etsy.

Obviously, it's annoying that people are illegally making money off your hard work! But on a small scale like this, and where it's easy to deal with, I'm not going to let it upset me.

If you do happen to come across pirated versions of my book (if it's a PDF, it is NOT legit), please let me know. Same goes if you see someone selling my patterns - my patterns are only available through my own shops. I am sure other designers/authors would appreciate a heads up if you see their work in pirated form.

It is difficult enough to police the internet for illegal copies if you're a big business, and for those of us who are one-(wo)man bands, it is nigh on impossible, so your help really is very much appreciated. Even if you think letting us know is going to upset us. ♥♥♥

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November 19, 2018

Home Boarding for Blake

Blake in snow
Adding Blake to our lives has been one of the best decisions we've ever made. He just brings so much joy into our lives. Some worries too, but they are far outweighed by the joys!

One thing that is a bit tricky is going on holiday. We don't have any friends or family nearby who can, or will, look after him. And Blake dislikes car journeys, so we can't even take him with us. So we've not been on holiday together since we got him.

Except for our trip to New York. My parents very kindly came over from Denmark to look after him. But obviously, that's not possible all the time. Especially not if we want to go to Denmark to visit my parents. :-)

The place where he goes to doggy day care also has kennels where dogs can stay but we don't think he'd react well to that. It would remind him too much of being at Dogs Trust. Of course they treat them as well as they can at Dogs Trust but it must be a stressful experience nonetheless. We don't want him to go somewhere that would remind him of that.

So we're looking into home boarding. We've found a few nearby that sound promising. No idea how he'd react to that, being with strangers, but if he liked the people he'd probably be just fine without us for a few days.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I'd react to him being with strangers! :-)

Have you tried home boarding for your dogs? Or cats maybe?


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November 17, 2018

I Made A Book with My Sister

I made a book with my sister
Last year, my sister was doing a course and at the end of the semester, she had to write a short story for kids and also do some kind of illustration for it.

It just happened that I called her one day while she was working on this assignment and she asked me if I would help her with some ideas for the illustrations. Of course I would!

Well, as you can probably guess, one thing led to another and within a couple of days I'd made illustrations for all the 'poems' in the story. It's what a good sister does, right? And it was fun to do something completely different.

I sent my sister the five illustrations for her course and that was it.

I made a book with my sister
But then I had an idea! Last year my parents were going to California to spend Christmas with my sister and her family. And I thought "ooh, wouldn't it be cool to have the illustrations printed as a book for my sister and my parents can pick it up?"

Of course, the story only had five illustrations, so I had to change them to each fit across a spread and make a front and back cover as well. It was a fun challenge!

I made a book with my sister
This is the first illustration I made. When I read the poem, I could just see the tent and the fire and the stars very clearly in my imagination.

I made a book with my sister
I love these little hedgehogs. :-D

I made a book with my sister

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November 16, 2018

Friday Links :: Illustrations, Murals, Antilibrary

Blake sez happy weekend! ♥

The 8 Healthiest Foods to Eat Every Day. Mmm...beans! :-)

Japanese Firework Illustrations Available for Free Download. I see embroidery and quilt inspiration here!

The other day I randomly hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button on the Google homepage and it took me to the Google Doodles page. What a delightful thing to see them all together! Especially the ones you might not usually see because they're country specific. :-)

I enjoy learning about the process of artists and makers, and this interview with Felicita Sala is inspiring.

I think I may have mentioned the podcast called The West Wing Weekly before. This podcast is of course about one of the best tv series ever, The West Wing. If you also miss CJ, Donna, Toby, President Bartlet etc, give it a listen. They've just wrapped up series five, so there's two series to go. Of course you can listen from the first episode if you haven't started yet. :-)

Umberto Eco’s Antilibrary: Why Unread Books Are More Valuable to Our Lives than Read Ones. {via SwissMiss}

Stylized Flowers Transform Buildings Into Floral Canvases. Beautiful!

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November 15, 2018

Bullet Journal Novice

Bullet journal
I've been intrigued by the idea of a bullet journal for a few years, but I've been quite happy just using my sketchbook for to-do lists as well. Everything in one place and stuff.

But sometimes the pages in my sketchbook are filled more with those to-do lists than sketches and drawings. Which feels like a waste of a nice sketchbook. Not that the sketchbooks I use are expensive, but they're not dirt cheap either, I need paper that can take some watercolour.

The other week, Tony and I were at the local shopping centre and a Flying Tiger of Copenhagen had just opened there. Of course I had to go in and take a look, it's a Danish shop after all. ;-) And they had these bullet journals, and I thought I'd finally give it a go.

You can use any notebook for your bullet journal, but I knew I wanted one with the little dots, instead of lined or graph paper, it seems more flexible to me.

Bullet journal
This is my weekly spread for next week. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to use a weekly spread or have one day on each page. For now I'm using the weekly spread. I figure there's only so much you can do in a day, so a whole page probably won't be necessary.

And I guess if I had a super busy day or week I could make individual pages. That's the great thing about a bullet journal, it is really flexible.

I am more or less following the bullet journal 'rules' and keeping it really simple. I like things to be pretty and colour coded as much as the next guy or gal, but I don't get how people find the time to decorate their journals AND, you know, actually get things done. :-)

I may add some colour or washi tape or whatever, if I needed something to really stand out, but for now it's just journal, pen and a ruler to keep up some semblance of order. ;-)

Do you use a bullet journal? What do you like about it?
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November 14, 2018

Roses And Lilies

On Sunday Tony came home from the shops with this big bouquet of flowers and lilies for me. The bouquet is so big it only just fit into my large Kähler vase.

I was a bit surprised that he bought me lilies because they have a strong scent and Tony doesn't like that because it only makes his hayfever worse. I don't think he'd realised there were lilies in the bunch, which is how they managed to sneak home with the roses.

The lilies have started to open and they are BIG. Each petal is almost the size of my hand! And the scent is really strong. I've cut the stamens of the lilies that are already open, but the house is still filled with a strong lily scent.

I think I may do a couple of drawings of them and then get rid of them. Sadly. They are beautiful, and it is a beautiful scent, but it is just too powerful. Even for me.
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November 12, 2018

Patterns :: Snowflakes

Snowflake embroidery
I'm re-stitching some of my 'old' snowflake patterns...I may re-stitch all of them but I haven't decided yet. And I haven't decided if I'm going to stitch them all in similar colours so they feel more like a 'set'. Currently, they are all in different colours. And they are different anyway. Some are very geometric and some are more organic and mandala like.

If you want to stitch some snowflake patterns, you can find all 12 snowflakes right here. (£15)

Or, individually: gold, tangerine, red, pink, magenta, lilac, purple, blue, (another) blue, aqua, teal, green. (£3 each so buying them all together is a big saving!)

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November 11, 2018

Golden Leaves

Autumn leaves
Autumn is here. With windy weather in the past few days, the leaves have started falling properly. The past couple of months have felt unusually warm. Even next week we're supposed to get 15-16°C on Thursday. That seems weird for November.

But the leaves have started falling now. Dotting pavements with flecks of gold and accumulating in rustling piles of amber and russet.

I could easily have taken many more pictures on our morning walk, but Blake had other ideas. :-)

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

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November 10, 2018

Review :: DMC Mouliné Étoile

DMC Mouline Etoile
DMC recently came out with a new range of glittery threads called DMC Mouline Etoile stranded cotton. I was really excited to try them because nice glittery threads are difficult to find. I'm a big fan of DMC (I may have mentioned that before!) and it's always exciting when they bring out something new.

So I ordered a bunch of the colours as soon as I could. I ordered 12 of the 305 colours, in colours that I'm most likely to use. The colours are supposed to be the same as the regular stranded thread, only with added glitter.

DMC Mouline Etoile
Here's a comparison of some of the Etoile threads with their regular counterparts. As I think you can tell, most of them are not exactly like the colour of the regular thread. The added glitter makes the colour a bit darker.

In the case of the white thread, it has become a light grey instead. The red C666 looks more orange red than red. It's a bit difficult to tell in this picture, but if you look again at the top photo you can see it quite clearly looks more orange.

DMC Mouline Etoile
The Etoile threads are a lot fluffier than the regular thread. They aren't spun as tightly as the regular thread. Would the glitter strand snap if it were spun tighter, maybe?

I was a bit concerned how it would stitch. Because the Etoile strands are less tightly spun, it's very easy to divide, but it also means that the ends fray more so it can be a bit difficult to thread the needle. You may even have to use a needle threader.

DMC Mouline Etoile
The stitching here is done entirely with Etoile thread. The first thing you may notice is that it doesn't seem very glittery. And you'd be right. It's kinda disappointing how little glitter effect you get.

The thread does not stitch as smoothly as the regular thread. I wasn't expecting that it would, to be honest. The Etoile thread is not mercerised, unlike the regular thread. But from what I'd heard about the thread beforehand, it was supposed to be pretty similar to the regular thread, only with glitter.

I found that I had to pull the stitches tighter to make them look neat. Even then they don't look as smooth as the regular thread.

DMC Mouline Etoile
Here you get a bit more of the glitter effect, but it is still very subtle. And I think you can see how the strands of Etoile in those detached chain stitches are kinda fluffy. Unlike the strands in the chain stitch which was worked in regular stranded cotton.

I am wondering if the glitter effect of the Etoile threads would be more pronounced with a fill stitch, satin stitch for example, or maybe an area filled with cross stitch. I think I will try and experiment a bit more with it.

However, if I were to use the Etoile threads for a large project, I'd definitely use some kind of conditioner for the thread to help with thread the needle and to make the stitches look smoother.

I don't know if I was expecting too much of this thread, but I must admit that I'm a little bit disappointed. It's not quite as sparkly as I thought it would be, and the stitching isn't as smooth as I'd hoped. Glitter thread is difficult to get right, and I was really hoping that DMC had finally cracked it. Not quite, sadly.

A few years ago, I did a comparison of a few glittery threads. If I were to add the Etoile to that comparison, I think it'd be my number two choice.

Have you tried these new threads? What do you think?
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November 9, 2018

Friday Links :: Dog Sweater, Apple Art, Appliqué

Quilt in progress
When a quilt top is in progress, there's no time for tidying! Although, I've finished the quilt top and tidied away the fabric but the desk still looks pretty much identical. I think 'tidy studio' needs to be on my to-do list for this weekend. :-)

This apple art is mindboggling.

Until yesterday, I'd never heard of "zipper trucks". Scroll down a bit to the video on the Golden Gate Bridge and be a-mazed! :-)

Recycled Packing Materials Sculpted Into Elaborate Renaissance Costumes. Wow.

This month is World Vegan Month. Go vegan for the animals, for the planet and for your health. :-)

How to Wing an Eddy Dog Sweater. {via Who Wore It Better?} I'm not a huge fan of clothes for dogs, but sometimes our pets do need extra protection against the weather. This dog sweater is super cute to boot. :-)

Appliqué and Embroidery Offer a Contemporary Spin on Classic Tales.

A Comprehensive and Colorful Map of London Outlines the City’s Great Buildings and Icons. I ♥ London.

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November 8, 2018

My New York Souvenir

Roy G. Biv
Question: what souvenir does a lover of colours, books and libraries buy on her New York trip?

Answer: an ex-library book about colours from the Mid-Manhattan Public Library branch (i.e. the famous library you see in so many films). :-)

Tony and I are not interested in shopping when we're on holiday. We're not carrying bags full of clothes or accessories back to our accommodation every day. I was actually wondering what, if any, souvenir I'd buy from our trip. I didn't want some plastic crap that I wouldn't use. I was thinking maybe I'd buy a book about New York, but that seemed a bit superfluous, I'd read loads before we went there.

Roy G. Biv
So when we visited the NYPL branch on 5th Avenue on the very first day in Manhattan, I was halfheartedly browsing in the souvenir/book shop when in a corner I spotted some shelves with ex-library books. Well, I had to check them out! And I quickly spotted this book about colours. I picked it up and flipped through the pages. Then I put it back on the shelf and wandered off, thinking maybe that was a silly thing to buy.

Roy G. Biv
But then I thought it would actually be a rather lovely and special thing to buy. How many ex-library books from the Mid-Manhattan Public Library branch on 5th Avenue am I ever likely to own?! So I went back and picked it up again and bought it. So now I have this interesting book* about colours which is also a nice reminder of our trip to New York.

It is the perfect souvenir and I am so happy I bought it. :-)

*Roy G. Biv: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Colour by Jude Stewart.

Roy G. Biv

Roy G. Biv

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November 7, 2018

Oak Tree in Morning Light

Oak tree in morning light
The other morning, the light was other-worldly when I took the daily picture of 'my' tree. The tree is still holding on to a lot of its leaves, but you can clearly see how they are thinning. Some have fallen, some have started to shrivel and shrink.

I have taken a picture of this tree almost every day this year, I think I'll miss our daily visits when the year is over. I suppose I could carry on, but I think I'll find another tree... But who knows.
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November 6, 2018

Tulips for The Future

Tulip bulbs
I love tulips and for years I have dreamt about planting a whole bunch of bulbs. This is the year! I ordered a bunch of different tulip bulbs and some narcissus. They arrived today so my plan for the weekend is to get them into the ground.

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." ~ Audrey Hepburn

This quote has been in my head since I ordered the bulbs. It feels extra important that I plant these tulips this year. To have something nice to look forward to next spring. When/if Brexit does happen, the tulips will appear just as this country will be facing some very dark times.

To say that I am worried about what will happen is an understatement. To the country in general, but especially to us EU citizens. So I'll plant my tulips and make each one a wish for a tomorrow where our lives aren't turned upside down.

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