Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Thank you for following my blog, hopefully you'll come back in 2012 too!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where My Heart Is

I have always wanted to learn how to draw. After getting a bachelor's degree in design I was not satisfied with my illustration skills. Then I started to draw circles. You know this "repeat 10 000 times and you'll learn it". I have made more than 10 000 circles I'm sure. I do not know if I have become much of an illustrator but I have definitely got passion for using my pens. Keep me away from them for few days and you get a very angry and frustrated woman! It's where my heart is, truly!

A glimpse of what I've just made: more handmade business cards. (Look at my treasure box of handdrawn papers, it's pretty full!)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to Fabrics

I had to take a break in fabric design to prepare the home for Christmas. After the break the previous designs looked too conventional, too stiff and too far from my style. So I started working with a new design, much more complicated, colorful, including several layers of hand drawings.

I also tested if the pattern works with less colors, here you can see the pattern repeats too.

My word for 2012 is the same as the word for previous years: Color!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This is the first Christmas after moving to the new house. I finally have the space for a real Christmas tree!

I made this ornament years ago when I used to make hand sewn quilts.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Getting Closer

I feel very relieved. This is the direction I want to go, what do you think?

After previous sketch I knew I have to turn around my idea of showing texture inside the motif. Here I let the rug type texture lead and got ornaments in the background.

I still have to think about the pattern repeat though!

The Next Sketch

My sketchings for the new fabric line continues.

I find this too old-fashioned, too christmassy, too everything. Clearly this does not really go along with the vision I have in my head.


For me it is important to get to the bottom. The worse I make the better I see what's wrong. I have a plan for the next step now and it is totally different than it would have been if I had not make this sketch!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Here's my design moodboard for the new fabrics. I have included the color swatches as well. My goal is to interpret the history of arts and crafts in a new way. Very challenging!

About the design process:

It is funny how I was not ready to make a moodboard before I made the first sketches. I had structural issues. I was worrying about how I could construct the design. Even if I am still not quite sure, I am more confident and know where to start the actual sketches and what source material I must gather. Then I became worried about the target group, the interiors the fabrics should fit in etc. Now after thinking about it by working with the moodboard, it is much clearer for me.

Sometimes it is really good to put words on paper too. I wrote few sentences describing the design idea. (If you are interested you can read it at Flickr.) I also like to talk about the ideas, that way they develop too.

I find it really important to keep track of my own style. One tool is to have a general style moodboard. I have that at Pinterest. When I feel uncertain or unhappy for whatever reason, I go to see the pictures and say: "Yeah, that's what I am fond of!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fabric Sketches

My big goal for the rest of the year is to design a new collection of fabrics. I have been searching ideas and thinking about it for many months already but have not actually started sketching. Now it's about time. So here are the first sketches, made quickly in Photoshop. Not final but I want to open more of my design process so I am bravely publishing these here and want to hear what you think.


This is the very first one:


Saturday, December 3, 2011


Original painting on canvas, see more photos at Etsy

Here's my my newest artwork "Enigma". The making of it started with the thoughts about the atmosphere in old, high public buildings. Like old libraries and churches. The decorated ceilings and the feel of space create almost spiritual experience. It is a mystery how the beauty can uplift the mind so powerfully.

I used acrylic paints here and added the details with pens and markers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Home and Warmth

I hate houses with no textiles. It seems to be a trend now. At least I have seen many lately in my favorite tv show Grand Designs.

For me, creating fabric is one of the main goals whatever I create. I like to study texture and structure and it never bores me. Before I grab my pens I can feel pretty uninspired but after thinking about fabrics, I am soon creating in full speed.

As seen in the pictures above, I've lately been into rugs. There are many beautiful rugs designed in Finland in the 40s to 60s that I adore. Like this Leena-Kaisa Halme's rug that I saw in the rug exhibition in Helsinki many years ago.

Textiles make home. When I need to escape from the world I take a romance novel and read few pages and get extra warmth from a homemade quilt. This digi layout is about me reading romances. I think my love for fabrics shows on the page as well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Elegant Christmas Cards

My first video ever! See how I make elegant but simple Christmas cards. In the end of the video you'll see variations of the basic design.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jewel Tones

I have been doodling rugs recently. The woolly texture of them is very appealing so I find it fun to try to make illustrations that imitate them. This one had colors that I really like so I repeated them on wool too.

Here's the first set of wool that I dyed. (Available at Etsy)

And here's the second one. (Also available at Etsy)

These jewel tones get me in a good mood, hopefully you too! Colorful day!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Nature Inspired Pattern

This is my second pattern on the pattern design course.

We were given instructions to take certain kind of photos on one day. Then on the other day we picked one favorite photo and started sketching based on that.

The instructions for making various kind of sketches were pretty good. Here's my photo where the inspiration for the pattern came from. I think the similarity is quite noticeable.

The process was very fast for me. I haven't been feeling fell and had a flu, so I just did barely what was asked. I really feel that the pattern design is something where I want to develop though! I try to put more energy into the next assignments.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Starting with Simple Things

Here's my first exercise for the Pattern Design Course: die cut circles on a painted background. This is terrible simple for me, it felt awful to leave it like this!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ornaments All Over The Place

The Rise of Ornaments

I have been making this collage piece by piece and it's finally finished. What can I say, I am hooked in ornaments of all kinds and new ones burst from my mind every day.

My next goal is to design a new line of fabrics. I have prepared for it by signing up Rachael Taylor's pattern design course. I hope that the course will keep me motivated to do the task! Not that it's unpleasant one, but even if I love designing patterns, it is also hard work and requires a lot of thinking.

I have got a lot of new visitors this month. Thank you! It means a lot to me to share all this with you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In Progress

A new ornamental collage in progress!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How I Survived a Scrapbooking Marathon

In September I attended a scrapbooking marathon, organized by Big Picture Classes with Lain Ehmann as an instructor. The marathon lasted 26 days and you were supposed to make 26 layouts, one each day.

I was busy with a craft fair for the first two weeks so I started 14 days later than the others, determined to make all 26 layouts. My advice: don't do like I did if you ever attend this kind of challenge, start in time - no start ahead if you can! I had to make 2 to 3 layouts each day. Sounds impossible for someone who has a day job and who usually makes one layout in 4 to 6 hours!

But I did it! I accomplished 26 layouts in 12 days! How did I do it?

1) Scrapped in digi. I scrapped 23 digital layouts and only 3 on paper. Digital scrapbooking is so much faster!

2) Found photos easily. My photos are pretty organized. I star them using Stacy Julian's method: I give 3 stars for those that I want to scrap, and 2 start for those I might scrap. I also use a limited number of keywords to tag them and have created plenty of smart albums (albums with predefined rules) in iPhoto.

3) Made some smaller sized layouts. 5 of the layouts were in 8 by 8 size. I usually scrap in 12 by 12 inches but I discovered a new concept with 8 by 8 size. I use only one photo on the page. The subject of the page is "Today". The photo is taken on the same day that I scrap it. I write about miscellaneous stuff connected with that day. This concept suits so well with my life! I might take an odd photo with iPhone, then just go to my computer and scrap the page. I have made plenty of these after the marathon and it is one of the greatest discovery for me provided by the challenge.

Here are a couple of the layouts I am particularly proud of.

I am a terrible cook but as everyone in scrapbooking is crazy over cupcakes and there are so many designs to got with cupcake photos, I baked some! And the cherries on top are from the cherry tree in our garden! The digital elements are from Mary Pop's kit I heart Sweets.

The guidance for the last day was to let go and do something wild and break the rules of scrapbooking. I decided to use my own elements only, few photos, a poem written by myself many years ago and some doodling. It all came so easy, knowing then that I am passing the finish line!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


It was so much fun to make this bag. I used to make these regularly but had to take a break once I moved to a new house. The inspiration of making these stopped then but when I found a bottom part from my stack of unfinished projects, it all came back! I also have another one on needles.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Playing With Polymer Clay

Remember when I wrote: "I realized that the best shop I can ever find is the one I am able to keep for myself"? The blog post was all about not to shop so much but make the stuff used in crafting from the very beginning.

Last weekend I realized my storage of handmade buttons was running low. I am not very skillful in polymer clay, but it has never prevented me playing with it! And I love the look of messy, handmade stuff that goes so well with my hand decorated papers.

To make my little "art shop for me" to be perfect, I sewed some to my handmade backgrounds, just like they would be for sale in a real shop. Looking at these makes me so happy! There's so much we can do without spending almost anything but time!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Enjoying Colors

I love dyeing wool!

I spun some baby sheep wool to get samples of various yarn so that me and my friend Susanna could decide what to get made at a yarn mill.

The first three skeins in the picture have been hand dyed after spinning. My personal favorite is the leftmost, the yarn with black, dark grey and red. It is called "Joy and Sorrow" and it is inspired by Karelia, the area where the sheep wool comes from and where also both me and Susanna come from.

The second one on the left is inspired by colors used in icons. Unfortunately the red got too pink! And for the third one I got an idea from embroidery stitches. But I did not succeed in color, neither in the dyeing.

The fourth skein is natural colored 2-plied yarn that I used for the first three. And the last one is spun with three different shades using 2 grams of each in turn. It is 3-plied.

Ok, those were pretty soft and I was quite pleased with the spinning process but still nothing like this one:

I love this yarn! It is so soft! Spun from the natural dyed Kainuu grey sheep wool. Susanna has handdyed it with hand picked lichen. I have two large skeins and I am so pleased I succeeded in bringing the softness of the wool into the yarn.

From the two of us, my friend is more specialized in dyeing with natural colors. But I have made some experiments too and here's a skein of commercial sock yarn, dyed with marigolds. Not any marigolds really, as I have grew them from seeds.

It brings me great pleasure to work with wool, dyes and plants. Probably as I love everything where I can enjoy colors!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Frugal Crafter's Guide To Hand Decorated Papers

This is the old blog from Peony and Parakeet. 
Welcome to follow the new blog at
This post is also found in the new blog, go to:

Sometimes I just want to overlook all the expensive materials and make art from plain and basic materials. While watching a video about embossing powders I got the idea of using color pencils as a resist for watercolor. So, if you are filled with ideas but hate to see instructions were special materials are required, this is just for you!

You only need
  • paper
  • at least one color pencil (basic one, not water soluble)
  • watercolors
Here's what you do

1) Grab a paper! I prefer quite thin (90 g/m2, 43 lbs) and smooth papers, but you can choose whatever you like or have.

2) Start doodling with the color pencil. You can use any color(s) you like but using white makes the result especially interesting, I think.

3) When you have filled the paper with your doodling, paint the paper with watercolors. Paint over the doodling! Use a lot of paint as we will wash some away in the next phase.

4) Let dry. Seriously. This is the only step where the patience is required.

5) Wash the paper with water. The idea is to get the color pencil strokes appear again. You may have to use the fingers to remove the color if you want a nice pastel background.

5) Let dry!

6) Here's my example. You can use papers for collages, cardmaking, bookcovers, all kinds of papercrafting!

Here are some of my experiments showing various colors of pens and paints.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wild Doodling

Sometimes it's just not possible to stay controlled. I was thinking about art nouveau and Alphonse Mucha's work but wanted to give my pens a relaxed speed.

Here are some close-up details. The line is wild and fast.

The watercolor background is as arbitrary as the illustration.

The most difficult thing in illustrating is to get relaxed lines. That's why it's important to get wild once in a while!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wool Fool

I am crazy about the wool my friend gets from the area where I lived as a child. I can't help buying it, dyeing it, spinning it, selling it. It is a part of my life nowadays. And the fact that my friend is equally obsessed with it makes it even better. I am not the only wool fool in the world.

I dye the wool with acid dyes but my friend uses natural ingredients she picks from the nature. The colors are softer and they all look great together.

Industrial dyes, natural dyes or no dyes at all, the wool is wonderful!

Where To Find Inspiration

This little piece of collage is an example of how the less obvious things can really be inspiring. It is all about the interpretation.

Here's what I do.

When I find something that gets my attention, I analyze it into pieces. For example, if I see a photo in the newspaper that I find attractive, I try to find the reason why I do so. It can be a color combination, an atmosphere, a composition, a small detail that looks nostalgic for me etc.

Let's assume I have now found that very thing that caught my eye. I then start seeking for analogies, the stuff that has that same factor. Soon I am filled with ideas that I am really enthusiastic about!

The story about the insect? I was thinking about the curtains of our library room (Compton by William Morris) and how I love them. They have very detailed floral ornaments that I absolutely adore. Actually, they reminded me of botanical plates. And I never had thought before how ornamental old botanical drawings really are! I went to a local library and browsed some botanical books, then accidentally found the book about insects and was totally hooked: I wanted to draw insects with ornaments, sort of go back to the concept used in the curtain. I would never have thought insects being so ornamental without deriving one thought from another!

Hopefully my method is useful for you too!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Using Hand Decorated Papers

A greeting card, available at Etsy

One of the most popular posts in my blog is How To Make Your Own Patterned Paper. If you have made some, I want to encourage to use those!

Or buy some that I have printed from my artwork, available at Etsy!

In one of the previous posts, I gave a glimpse of an art journal that I made recently. I want to show better pictures this time! In this journal I have combined my artsy photos with the papers, some printed, some originals.

I hope you enjoyed the art journal!