New Website – New Blog Location

Well I have finally got my new website up and running.  Admittedly, it has taken a bit longer than I had anticipated but I am pleased to say that I did it all myself!

Please do take a look; www.theoriginalthread.com and let me know your thoughts, feedback is always much appreciated!

I will be running my blog from my new website from now on and those that follow me should automatically be transferred over. However, if you want to go direct to my new blog page, please visit; www.theoriginalthread.com/blog.

I am hoping to have more regular blog posts with a variety of subject matters ranging from design, art, craft and everything in between!

I look forward to sharing and connecting with you from my new site.
FloralsFrontPgb-01

Posted in Crafts, Fabric Design & Illustration | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Designs for Paper

There is one thing I do enjoy doing and that is experimenting with different mediums. Largely my designs end up on fabric however I do have a love of all things paper related and created some new designs for cards which in time I hope to put up for sale.

I created an origami inspired birds mini collection for stationery and had a few printed out in cards to see how they looked.

Everything I do generally starts from a simple sketch.

img062 hummingbird origami

Then I scan and edit them digitally.

owl-hummingbird crane coloured-01 crane moo-01

For this mini collection I wanted to keep the colours simple and just have tones of a few colours. For me, these designs are all about lines and shapes rather than correct proportions and accuracy.

CraneCoStationaryCollection2

This mini collection is simple but effective. I think the printed cards are really nice but I would adjust the size of the origami bird to be slightly bigger, and I would also darken the background colour a little more to add better contrast.

origami birds

This is my first time exploring printing on paper so I have more to learn but I am happy with how I am progressing. I can see these origami birds in a fabric collection, so watch this space!

As well as digital printed cards, I have also had a bit of fun with lino printing a couple of cards. I do love carving patterns for print although I am still very much an amateur as my line work is not as neat as it should possibly be but I think it gives my subject more character, what do you think?

Owl Sketch Carving Owl Carving Owl Lino Print

I do love birds and Owls have so much character to work with. Although this guy is a little wibbly wobbly, I am really happy with how he turned out.

I also did another quick carving, inspired by our recent purchase of the Lakes.

Fish Lino Carving Fish LinoPrint

I hope to explore further with lino carving and printing as I do enjoy getting off the computer and using my hands every now and then. I think mixing things up is good, a bit of creativity digitally and with your hands is a good balance.

Posted in Crafts, Fabric Design & Illustration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A new Business Venture!

A lot has been going on this year and nothing could really prepare me for the next adventure I will be working on!  It has taken six months to complete on the sale but as of last week, we are now owners of three private fishing lakes set on 23 acres.

Tingrith Lakes 4

To be honest, I really did not believe the sale would go through as it took so long so I was not really prepared for it when it did finally go through. The scale of this project is rather big, we have never owned that much land ever before! As well as this, neither my husband or myself go fishing or know anything about fishing!

Tingrith Lakes Heron

That said, we both love a challenge and having new experiences and this will be both of those things plus much more.

Tingrith Lakes Lilypads2

Tingrith Lakes Kids

The area has not been maintained for almost two years and there are parts we have not reached yet as we almost need a machete to make our way through the brambles, thistles and stinging nettle! However, the sheer beauty of the place is that there is so much potential, the lakes are really beautiful, full with a good variety of fish which are good sizes so there is no need to restock the lakes.

Tingrith Lakes Fish

We will be building new offices on the land which I am hoping to relocate to as it will be much more inspirational than my office at home. There is plenty of flora and fauna to inspire me at the Lakes and I take my camera every time I go there.

Tingrith Lakes dragonfly

Tingrith Lakes Poppy2

For now, we are gathering as much help as we possibly can get to restore the Lakes to it’s former glory. I think it is going to be a very busy summer. Hopefully, I will still have enough time to design and get my new website live by the end of this month!

Here’s to a new challenge, adventure and chapter!

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VW Campervan – A labour of love for ‘Pinky’

It is hard to believe three years have already passed since we first purchased our beloved 1972 VW Campervan aptly named ‘Pinky’! She has taken on quite a bit of work since purchasing her from getting a load of rust taken out, new linings, new seating, new Subaru engine, new kitchenette and new curtains to name a few of the things that have been worked on!

Pinky2-1

My part in the restoration of ‘Pinky’ was to design curtains to replace the rather dated and mouldy ones. I wrote about the design process back in March, you can check it out here.

Before the changes.

Before the changes.

Pinky1a-1

and after.

New curtains.

New curtains.

I am so pleased with how the design translated so well into curtains and works well with the interior of the campervan.

Pinky7-1

Pinky4-1

Pinky3-1

Pinky6-1

It is so lovely to see something you designed into a product that you will use and hope to have many adventures in.  She still has a few small things to be fixed, like in the picture above, the fridge needs to be secured, the bag of foam securing it is probably not the best look!  We also discovered having her parked outside in the pouring rain that she is leaking, we think it is from the front window so hopefully it isn’t a big job to fix.

It is really a labour of love, when you take on an old vehicle, there is always something that will need to be fixed but we love our ‘Pinky’ and it is all part of the adventure!

We are off on our first camping trip this weekend since her renovation and we are all looking forward to it.  Let the adventures begin!

Posted in Fabric Design & Illustration, Random & Interesting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

New Surface Designs – A time to grow

I have been quiet the past few weeks as I have been busy working on a fantastic online course run by The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design.  The course is a seven week course on building your professional portfolio and is jam packed with informative posts with everything you need to know about building a professional design portfolio.  There are very useful and helpful exercises to build on your design skills.  They include prompt cards to help build up on drawing and I have to say these prompt cards have been so helpful for my development in drawing and I have almost finished my new sketch book already!

The course also includes six live client brief’s which have been such a good learning experience for me to do.  Last week was a busy week with three of these client brief’s due in and at times I did feel slightly stressed and a little out of my comfort zone as they were all stationery based briefs, something I have very little experience with.  That said, I am really pleased in the most part of the work I have completed.  The first brief from Card Crazy was to create three birthday cards for a female with the focus on a character or object.

birthday card

Before I started on this brief, I made this card for a friend, it is the first card I have hand-drawn and wasn’t so sure about giving it to my friend at first for fear that it would be deemed too amateurish but I did give it to her and she really loved it.

flower with button and stick

I decided to stick with a flower theme for the first card so did a sketch of the petals, added a button and a twig from the garden and scanned in to the computer.

photo (217)I did this love heart sketch and scanned it in and edited it to create a butterfly.

OneButterfly-01

 

diy-projects

I love the colours in this picture and based my colour palette on those colours.

happy birthday

Out came my vintage letterpress blocks and I had some fun stamping these. I’ve decided I need to use these letterpress blocks more often as I do enjoy using them and I have a good variety of types.

MelaniePaul_ButterflyBirthdayCard_26414

I put all the elements together to create this birthday card. I did use a chevron design I already had for the background to give it more interest.

The next card design I created was using three main elements, a tree, an owl and some bunting.

owl

tree cut out

happy banner

I wanted to keep an organic look with this card by keeping the hand-drawn pen element to it and just adding a touch of colour to compliment the design.

MelaniePaul_TreeOwlBirthdayCard_26414

For the final card design, I had in mind that I wanted to use a bicycle as the main focus of the card.

bike inked in

Bicycles aren’t as easy as I thought to draw, I do like this one but I know technically it is not accurate.

watercolour splodges

I was looking for some textures to put in the background and I came across this watercolours splatter which I did several years ago and it worked perfectly for the background texture.  It is a good thing I keep everything I do, you just never know when they may come in handy!

flowers

I used these flower sketches to add to the card.

SummerBloomsSocietyMug-01

I created this pattern to be added to the hand-drawn flowers.

MelaniePaul_Bicycle-Flowers_26414

The final version using the vintage letterpress blocks for the Happy Birthday and I also added my little bird which I had from a previous design.  A bit of shadow on the bike gives it a bit of dimension.

I am pleased with my first attempt at designing birthday cards and I have learnt so much from the process of doing these designs.  I have found that my drawing skills are improving although I am not technically accurate with my drawings, I don’t feel that I need to be to create the style of work I want to create.   This course has taught me to be true to myself and put a bit of ‘me’ into my work and that is what I am focussing on for future designs.

I shall be showcasing more of my new designs in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

If you have any thoughts, opinions, feedback on my work, I would love to hear it, please drop me a comment.

Posted in Fabric Design & Illustration | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Exploring Copenhagen

We had a lovely four night stay in Copenhagen last weekend, we did a lot of exploring on foot which is the best way to see a city I feel!  I enjoyed getting the camera out as it had been quite some time since I last took any photographs.

Copenhagen4 (1 of 1)

It was rather chilly when we first got there but it didn’t stop us exploring the city, we walked to keep warm!

Copenhagen2 (1 of 1)

I love the colours of these houses against the grey/white sky and dark water, very inspiring.

Copenhagen9 (1 of 1)

One thing about Copenhagen is there are loads of bicycles, it kind of reminds me of Amsterdam but the roads are much wider and you have to look in all directions when crossing them!

Copenhagen24 (1 of 1)

Copenhagen is well set up for cyclists with dedicated cycling lanes everywhere making it safer to cycle and probably why there are so many that do cycle.
Copenhagen11 (1 of 1)

Happily walking along soaking in the sights. My son has just learnt to skip so he skipped ahead everywhere, so cute!

Copenhagen17b (1 of 1)

Copenhagen12 (1 of 1)

Buildings along the waterfront, the one above is the Architecture design centre which would have been great to go visit but we just ran out of time and energy to walk the distance to it!  I love how many windows this building has, and the different sizes.

Copenhagen19 (1 of 1)

Fantastic house boat, there were quite a few of these which looked like permanent residency as they each had their own letter boxes and electricity hooked up.

Sweden13 (1 of 1)

We went to Malmo in Sweden for a day, it is only a 35 minute train journey from Copenhagen. It was good to explore of this city, much smaller and quieter than Copenhagen and slightly less expensive which was good as money goes fast in Copenhagen!

Sweden2 (1 of 1)

The main train station in Malmo above. I didn’t get my camera out much whilst we were in Malmo so not many photos to show. It is a pretty small city which was easy to get around with some lovely design and craft shops although I refrained from buying although I did see quite a few things I would have loved to have bought!

Sweden7 (1 of 1)

These chickens were made of paper and I think they are so effective and quite fun. I spotted these in a store in Malmo.

Sweden8 (1 of 1)

Another product I found in Malmo was this ceramic organiser which I really would love on my wall. Far too heavy to take home though!

BoConcept4 (1 of 1)

In Copenhagen we went to a lot of design stores, I love Scandinavian design and was in awe of all the gorgeous designs on offer, I just wish I had big pockets of money to be able to afford it.

BoConcept2 (1 of 1)

However, despite not having enough money, looking at all these designs was hugely inspiring and I now want to recreate some of what I have seen for my own home.

BoConcept3 (1 of 1)
BoConcept1 (1 of 1)

These rugs are made of reindeer skin and although I am not a fan of animal skins, I do like the geometrics and shades of these designs.

The above four pictures were from the BoConcept store in Copenhagen. I plan to visit the one in the UK as they have some very cool geometric mugs that we really loved.

Copenhagen8 (1 of 1)

We really enjoyed our time in Copenhagen and our day visit to Malmo, the Scandinavian people sure do know how to do design! I have come back full of inspiration and ideas that I hope to implement into our home one day soon!

Posted in Photography, Random & Interesting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Whale Wave Ride – New Surface Design

I have been really busy developing my sketches and building up on my surface designs.  It is a process which I am actually really enjoying and learning so much from.  This past week, I created a design based around a whale on a wave for this week’s Spoonflower Whale Limited Palette competition.

whales

I am enjoying sketching and hope that the more I do the better and more confident I become.

whales2-01

I scanned my drawing in and then drew over it in illustrator. I could have used image trace for this but wanted to have more control over the lines and I also would have had to redraw the whale in ink as the contrast was not enough.

whales8-01

The end design which I have entered into the Spoonflower competion. There are a lot of whales in this competition so if you have a thing for whales, you should go check it out here.

Whale SquareBlue-01-01

I decided to do a couple of versions in blue tones to see how they would look.

Whale SquareBlue-02

And then I did some coordinating designs in similar colour ranges.

Whale Chevrons_ReviewMod4
Whale Chevrons2-01-01
Whale Chevrons2-02

I do like chevrons and the colours work really nicely.

geometric shapes2-01

This geometric design reminds me of mosaics and I do like it although I am not sure if it completely fits in with the rest or it is something I shall move into another collection.

Which design do you like best?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

For now, I am just heading out the door for a long weekend in Copenhagen, really looking forward to it and have armed myself with my sketch book and camera to capture inspiration as I am sure there will be plenty. I do love Scandinavian design!

Posted in Fabric Design & Illustration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A New Chapter – The Drawing Chapter

Life is like a story and with every story there are chapters and I am entering what I call the drawing chapter!  I am currently doing two short courses which do focus on drawing, an area which puts me out of my comfort zone as it does not come as naturally as I would like.

A few weeks back I totally went out of my comfort zone when I started a life drawing class.  Admittedly I had not read the course description completely and had assumed it was a still life course so when I arrived and there was a rather big lady standing in front of me in all her glory for me to capture, I was somewhat taken out of my comfort zone and thrown into the deep end!  That said, I am actually really enjoying this course although I struggle with the human form, I am learning a lot from it, the way the light captures parts of the body, proportions, expressions etc.

life drawing lesson 1

Admittedly, I have a lot to learn but even this drawing above is a huge improvement from my first one I drew which will always make me smile as it is so bad! I will not be putting it up for show anywhere!

I am also currently doing an online course called Building Your Professional Portfolio run by The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design.  This week is the first week of the course and it has been all about object and character drawing and developing.  I have found this both challenging and fun.  I do not have a natural ability with drawing but I do enjoy it.

photo (210)

As you can see, I have more work to be done on my drawing skills, my bunnies look rather angry and odd!

photo (210)
I decided to focus working on my owl, developing it more in illustrator to create a new design.

owl 1-01

 

This is still a work in progress, I will be adding more colour and detail to this in illustrator. I hope to have it completed by next week and have a nice surface design to showcase.

For now, I shall get back to the sketch book and have fun with it.

Posted in Fabric Design & Illustration | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A-Z Activities Challenge

Today is the first day of my last year being part of the 30’s club and it got me thinking that I need to do more things in my life so I came up with the A-Z Activities challenge with a bit of input from my husband.

AtoZ Activities14_15-01

Sometimes in life we just get into the habit of doing the same thing and forgetting to experience new things and that is what this list is for. I think if you put it down in a simple alphabetical list it seems somewhat more achievable. We are not doing them in alphabetical order as tomorrow we are off to ice skate at Alexander Palace which I am looking forward too. I have a year to complete this list which I think will be achievable, some of the activities we will do on our holidays this year I hope.

I also made another list with my family which I have called the Jar of Wishes. I was inspired to make this list from another blog I read recently called Clicky Chick Creates and she created a beautiful Jar of Dreams, you can take a look at it here.

Jar of wishes-01

When I get a bit more time, I want to make it a much prettier display to put on the wall in a prominent area of our house so we can see it and not forget about it.

The list is made up from my husband, my 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son as well as me. There is a lot of travel on this list, my kids want to see the world and may have got that bug from me as I love travelling. I just don’t do as much as I used to due to life commitments but hopefully with this list we can focus and maybe get some of them ticked off!  I am sure there will be more to add to this list but it is a great start.

Have you got a wish list or have you thought of doing an A-Z of activities/experiences?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Posted in Random & Interesting | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

postcardswap200b

Further to my previous post of my first ever blog hop on my love of paper, here is another initiative I have participated in, the Great Big Stitched Postcard swap with the theme of Create with including paper into the design.

I decided to use the paper I made in the weekend as it really didn’t belong in the lightweight paper category, it was more like the stiff card category!

Create Postcard 4 (1 of 1)

Create Postcard 2 (1 of 1)

I used a variety of fabrics for this postcard, all the patterned fabrics are my own designs. I wanted to have a mix of colours and styles with the focus on the stitching to get the simple message across.  I added a leather border to give the seed shape more depth.

Create Postcard 3 (1 of 1)

I added a little message on the back for my swap partner and again bordered it with some black leather. I hope my swap partner, Monica, likes this postcard.

Create Postcard 1 (1 of 1)

This was a fun project to work on as it got me away from the computer for a bit and thinking about how to work several different types of materials into one project. Plus, I learnt how to make paper or in my case, card!

To find out more about the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap please click on the image at the top of this blog post. This particular swap had 350 participants from around the world. I really like the idea of receiving mail in my letter box (instead of electronically) and for it to be a handmade creation too is even better!

Posted in Crafts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments