Thursday, 2 February 2017

Back to Australia again!

Hello again! Well it has been another while since I have posted to my art blog. My apologies.

Moving around the world and back with two young children is not for the fainthearted and unfortunately a few things have had to take a back seat for awhile and my blog has been amongst them.

Now back in Australia with my own computer and most importantly space for my desk, I am slowly getting back up and running.

Migrating back to Australia I have found the process a bit easier this time, thankfully. I have certainly felt more thankful to be able to return and trying to make the most of all Australia has to offer in terms of floral and wildlife. Being in rural Victoria again there is no shortage of exciting flora and fauna to enjoy.


At the moment I am living close to Uralla Nature Reserve. So I have taken my kids several times to the reserve for bush walks and each time we have seen something different.

My last trip was particularly special as we encountered on the path a wallaby just standing there looking straight at us. Very exciting to see one so close in the wild.

However for me the wild orchids I just fell in love with, being flower mad to see such beautiful plants with butterflies darting around in their natural setting was truly magical. This walk reminded me why I love and returned to Australia.

These beautiful wild orchids inspired me to paint the orchids on a whimsical birthday card for my mum, whom I am so sad about leaving back in the UK and not being able to visit on her upcoming birthday.



Saturday, 18 June 2016

The wonders of a new Spring in the UK

Having returned back to the UK from Australia this was the first UK Spring for me in over five years. It has been a delightful revelation to see the transition from the miserable dullness of winter, to the amazing mass flourish of green leaves and pretty flowers. Despite being time poor and still without space to produce my art. I managed to complete a few paintings of the blooms that really caught my eye this spring here in Dorset, England and I have taken plenty of sketches and photos for potential future works once I get more time and space to work again. Below is links to my new Spring watercolor artworks, designed to work on various products including wedding invitations, cards, gift papers and fabrics.
Pink tree blossom watercolor wedding
Pink tree blossom watercolor wedding
by Sarah Trett

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

We are going on a Easter egg hunt

Easter egg hunts are brilliant fun for children and adults of all ages to celebrate Easter. I have been busy drawing and designing Easter eggs and a Easter bunny rabbit to help you celebrate. 

I also have a selection of my original artwork on Easter cards and floral flower gifts ideal for gifting to family and friends this Spring.


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The joy of moving

As you can see I have been rather busy moving and relocating, that my blog as been somewhat neglected these last couple of months. My apologies for not writing sooner. We are still not resettled and my desk and computer are still looking for some much needed room. This is certainly making it a challenge to continue to work. I have managed to do some painting and computer design work on a laptop whilst on the move but it has been far from ideal. 

So why did we leave our beautiful Australian home? Well the mine fire we experienced made us question the area and with the lack of response to the health issues caused and future protection of the mine from further fires doubtful, it was with regret, we decided to sell our Australian home. Initially packing up to relocate somewhere else in Australia. We first visited Perth and then returned back to the UK to see family. The trip back was great until we left Singapore (a stunning city and well worth stopping off to see) but going via Frankfurt and Brussels was certainly an experience that I would not recommend nor repeat particularly with a strong willed two year old! 

Family health issues after arriving back in the UK has made us feel at this moment we should try to come back to stay. Giving our children the opportunity to spend time getting to know the family again. But no matter where you live there are always trials and issues involved in finding yourself a place to live and returning back to the UK has been a lot harder than we could have imagined. 

In the five years we were away, things have certainly changed. Being aware of the costs, financial, mentally and physically involved and being prepared to tackle the many unexpected issues that comes your way is key to surviving the process. Slowly we are getting used to being back but I am certainly missing Australia. I hope one day we will get to return. In the short term I hope I can find some of my own space again so I can more comfortably continue to produce my art and design work. 


Spring at least is starting to show itself (well almost) and I managed to draw and then paint up this hellebore standing at the kitchen bench. Then designed the artwork into a new wedding set for my wedding website www.mylittleedenweddings 



Hellebore watercolor wedding














Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Zazzling fabrics


Zazzle have recently added a choice of fabrics into it's ever expanding range of products, ideal for adding a customized touch to your sewing and crafting projects. This is a very exciting product addition to get creative with, but what are the fabrics really like? 

Zazzle kindly asked me to take a closer look. Here is what I discovered.

Getting to touch and feel  

Once you have been wowed by the shear variety of designs and options Zazzle have on offer you can expect to wait (depending on your shipping option and location) a week to two for your unique fabrics to arrive. If you live in rural Australia however like me expect nearer three. 

The first thing that I noticed, on receiving my fabrics from Zazzle, was just how well wrapped and protected they are. The fabrics arrived in a sealed poly pouch (that even the wettest weather could not penetrate). 

On opening this protective outer layer I found my fabrics, wrapped individually in a clear poly bag, so you can rest assured your fabrics will arrive in tip top condition. 

So what is the fabric really like?

The sample swatches I received were impressive, clearly printed and durable. Samples were even hemmed, a nice touch to prevent fraying. 

Fabric Types

Polyester poplin


My 100% polyester poplin fabric sample has a stiff durable feel and it reproduced my personalized daisy name design impressively. The fabric colors were very vibrant and the material doesn't crease or wrinkle easy which I like. I could see me using this for upholstery and curtains, as well as for bags and craft items. The fact that you can personalize this fabric makes the fabric extra special and unique.  

Cotton twill


I chose to print my personalized watercolor rag doll design as a test swatch with a view to purchasing more to cover a chair in my daughters room. 

The cotton twill was thicker than I thought and has a lovely diagonal rib pattern and a robust stiffness but a soft feel, making it an ideal choice for kids upholstery. 

This fabric would certainly work well for cushions or seat covering. Not wishing to waste my beautiful swatch, I have decided to cut and sew my sample dolly print on to a denim dress and a bag, personalized with my daughters name it will make my handmade creations for her even more special and unique.

Shown in the photo is the final fabric, you can see there is a little loss in overall color strength, particularly with the pink purple tones, but the general detail is clear particularly the text. Overall I think this material lends itself to home interior use. However, because of the strong rib lined texture stick to bolder strong art design to really get the best from this fabric. 

Ivory linen 


  


For my sample of this thicker tinted fabric I decided to see how my orchid botanical fine art would translate. The minute I designed this one, using the pattern tiler in Zazzle, I knew I had to have a sample. 

The fabric I received was of a good quality and much more robust than I was expecting. Even though the weave is clearly visible the artwork translated very well on to it. I think this was helped by choosing to keep the image on a larger scale. I would certainly recommend to keep patterns large or graphic on this fabric option.

The tones of the fabric again were more muted than my original artwork. Compared to my original and the screen output, they seemed to be more red, this was due to the underlying ivory color, but it didn't distract from the design or artwork. Having seen the fabric, I would love to upholster a classic winged back chair in this bold fabric! The orchids detail come out really clear and overall I was impressed. Pillows, home decor, reupholstering and crafting projects would look fabulous in this fabric choice.


Polyester weave 


This material is floppy and soft with an almost silky feel to it and is crease resistant. I chose my swimming turtles watercolor art  to print on this fabric and the colors were spot on, as you can see, most impressive. Such a pretty fabric, even though my turtles were a bit small in comparison to the weave size, they translated on to this fabric superbly. Due to the more fluid nature of this fabric, uses could include curtains, pillows, throws, quilts and craft projects.



My final two sample designs were selected from other Zazzle designers to see how well other artists work translated on to Zazzle's fabric.


Natural linen  


Whilst a bicycle is hardly natural I could not resist this simple black graphic on this brown natural fabric. The penny farthing vintage bicycle by shabzdesigns worked well. With a textured darker linen like this choosing a simple bold graphic is really the best option. The natural linen had a closer weave than I was expecting. A lovely fabric that works well with mono art.  


Combed cotton


I chose this sample to look at how well photographic designs translate on to a finer fabrics. Lobelia flowers remind me of my childhood and I just love the color blue, so I selected bebops pretty photographic lobelia fabric.

The combed cotton is thin, 210 thread count light weight with a tight weave, making it a great choice for detailed patterns and photographic printed designs. I would use this fabric for clothing maybe even for lined curtains. 

Overall the printing was a little duller than on screen but I liked the tones and the detail of the flowers translated well. This material was not only one of the cheapest options, but one of the thinnest, making it a versatile fabric, superb for crafting. 

Zazzle also offer a top end prima cotton, 246 thread count, fabric for extra special projects. 



Designing and choosing fabrics 

Choosing the right print on the right material at the right scale has been the biggest challenge for me, as I am pretty new to sewing and designing fabrics online. Fortunately Zazzle have made creating, re-sizing and reviewing your fabrics clear and very simple. You can even vary the pattern design, to display side by side or staggered and alter your pattern angle. The other aspect I enjoy when designing my fabrics on zazzle is that the pattern sizing is clearer and easier to visualize than on another site I have used in the past.

Other fabric size options 
Fabric can be purchased in three size options; swatches as seen here (ideal for quilting and smaller crafting projects), fat quarter (ideal for projects that require pieces larger than 9" or for 5"quilting projects) and finally go the whole 9 yards or just one with the yardage option. 

Washablity
Unsure as to how well this printed fabric would performs when washing, I have hand washed (warm water and lux flakes) a couple of the samples. I was delighted to see that it not only softened the fabric slightly but best of all the color remained true. 

Conclusion
Overall I was really impressed with Zazzle fabrics. My Zazzle fabric samples are clear and with good depth, graphics are strong and bold and my watercolor printed fabrics have much of the original detail preserved even on the courser and looser weaved fabric options. 

My only caution is, be aware the fabric may be be little duller and a shade or so lighter than on screen. My advice would be to purchase a swatch before you buy yardage, particularly if the project is large and color sensitive. 

It is always important to note that printing is a very different process to the way your computer, or device display screen works, therefore colors on your screen tends to be a little bright and stronger than an actual real life print. However, if you are looking for a really special fabric, personalized or just a print that is a little different, then it is time to discover Zazzle fabrics


Encouraged by the quality of this product, I have been busy creating many more new designs from delicate floral botanics to personalized graphic fabrics, explore my extensive fabric collections to find out more.    

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Personalized drink bottles for kids

Keep your kids hydrated and avoid bottle mix ups at school, sports or at play. Choose from a selection of my unique designs and then make yours even more personal by adding your own child's name. 

Zazzle has recently introduced several new water bottle types, so you can choose now to keep drinks hot or cold with a Thermos bottle or go light weight and durable with a stainless steel drinks container. 

Here is a selection of the drinks bottles I have designed and now are available in my little eden store, or you can find my entire collection with various colors and other options here.



Whale art igloo
Whale art igloo
by my little eden
Tiger art SIGG bottle
Tiger art SIGG bottle
by my little eden
Champion son bottle
Champion son bottle
by my little eden

Friday, 27 February 2015

Oh sew pink and personalized fabrics

Now you can make your sewing projects so much more personal thanks to zazzle. Add your own name or intial or just choose to have a uniquely designed fabric that you will not find anywhere else. Many designs can not only be customized with your own name, but you can change the background color and pattern size to suit your sewing and crafting needs. There are plenty more patterns and colors to choose from in my little eden store now.