Welcome! Last week, this blog officially hit 10,000 page views, which is a pretty big milestone for me. For the first couple of years of this blog, I didn't blog with any sort of intention of having a whole lot of folks see it, and I didn't blog about every project I did. And I didn't blog very regularly. There was an especially noticeable lack of posts in 2010, after my son was born (who knew newborns could take so much energy? aside from every mother in the world, I mean).
Since finally giving up my regular gig designing book covers at the start of this year, though, I've made a commitment to be more intentional and frequent in my postings, and to try to start increasing readership. Turns out that I really thrive on sharing my creative work with others. So going from a couple thousand page views to ten thousand in the space of a few months has been very encouraging. Thank you! And this week, I'm actually on the precipice of 11,000 views. Incredible. (update: hit 12,000 tonight, 5/24.)
I know this will seem like small potatoes to some bloggers who regularly get thousands of hits per blog entry, but it's a place to start!
I'm also celebrating the release of my Quick Red Fox collection of fabrics over at Spoonflower.
This is a design set that's very close to my heart, as it is the first collection I've done since last year's Baby's Day at the Beach, and also the first since then to have been hand drawn and watercolored.
Doing artwork with my hands (and then manipulating it on the computer) is much more rewarding for me than doing all of my work on the computer. Although I'm designing both, I feel more ownership over the designs including handwork. I've always felt that way when designing book covers, too; the ones with handmade elements always felt more mine.
Of course, as with any design on Spoonflower, designs must be proofed before being sold to the public. Designers can order a single 8x8 sample of a single design ($5), or they can add all their designs to a collection, and order a collection sampler ($20 for up to 15 designs, $30 for 16-30). I always try to wait until I have enough to get a full fifteen designs before ordering, so I feel like I'm being as cost-effective as possible.
Here's a photo of my most recent collection, The Quick Red Fox, on a sampler sheet with four colors of my new Snow White print, my White Swans in a Blue Pool, and a couple of recent contest entries I hadn't had proofed yet (the vintage sewing pattern and the library check-out cards).
And here's the lesson: it might seem like a drag, and it might seem like too long to wait, but it's so important to proof your Spoonflower designs.
For example, there are three patterns in my Quick Red Fox collection that need to be reworked because, well, the color variations didn't have enough differentiation to show up well when printed. These are the three designs that included a neutral tone-on-tone chevron pattern in the background. The colors looked great on screen, but turned out too close to each other to perform well on printed fabric. You'll notice a couple of squares in the photo above that look blank. These are the ones with a nearly-invisible chevron pattern. So I'll make adjustments to beef up the pattern and upload revisions that fix the issues, and in the end, everyone will be happier for it.
That's the reason Spoonflower requires proofing before letting you sell to the public. Otherwise, there'd be a bunch of disappointed customers asking for refunds for bad fabric, and their reputation would suck.
Currently, five of the Quick Red Fox patterns are up for sale here, on my Spoonflower page. But, in celebration of the line going on sale, and in celebration of 11,000 page views (which I'm sure to hit by the end of the day), I'm hosting my first giveaway!
One lucky winner will win a fox pillow of his/her choice (Sneaky Red Fox or Sleepy Red Fox), sewn from my Red Fox Pillow Set fabric.
A second winner will win both mini pillows from the set (Cold Shoulder Fox and Fox Face).
How to enter the giveaway: Comment on this blog post (or any other blog post on the Night Garden Design Blog) about a project or post you especially like by May 25th.
If you post anonymously, add your name to your comment so I can add you to the drawing.
You can enter more than once by leaving comments on more than one blog post. I'll see them all, as my comment settings are set up to run everything by me first.
I'll also count new blog follows as entries, so copy my url into your reader!
On May 27th, I'll put all the names in a hat and let Baby P pick the winning entries at random.
Winners will be announced here on the blog, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and on the Spoonflower page for the Fox Pillow Set on May 27th, and the packages will be shipped out by June 1st (assuming I've heard from the winners by then). If you provide a way to contact you, I'll do that, too!
And yes, I'll even ship internationally.
Thanks for reading, everybody, and good luck to you!
UPDATED TO ADD WINNERS: Fox pillow of your choice (Sleepy Fox or Sneaky Fox): "I really like the sneaky fox! Your style is so unique, and creative!" --Jessica
Two mini pillows (Cold Shoulder Fox and Fox Face): "My son would LOVE these foxes! I envy your drawing skills and will add you to my Google Reader blogroll." --Holly U
Here's a new twist: Holly U can choose to instead to have the second large fox pillow (whichever one isn't chosen by Jessica), in which case, I'd pick a third winner for the two mini pillows.
Contact me by 5/31 at info at thenightgarden.com with your address and preferences! If I don't hear from you by the 1st of June, I'll pick a new winner.
Linking up to: