Tuesday, 12 November 2013

You are a STAR

A few weeks ago I made my little girl a reward chart for good sleeping. Since breaking her elbow she had been up most nights, and though I am used to a bit of sleep deprivation, I wanted to try and break the cycle. I have never been a fan of reward charts, not the kind that you can buy in the shops. They have long lists of things that you need to achieve and different stickers for each task. It's all a bit too military for me. They make me feel like children are something that needs to be sorted out. But still, my kids love stickers. What is it with stickers?? Olive comes running out of school every day showing me the little stickers on her school jumper. 'That one is for good tidying up', 'that one is for being a hard worker', 'that one is for the first thank you of the day'. (That last one always makes me giggle, so British...) So I thought about making my own sticker charts and they shouldn't be so rigid and strict, but more fun...

The Good Sleeping chart has been a great success. Not only in our house. Surprisingly I have sold a lot of them, via Not On The High Street, Etsy (for a downloadable chart) and to people around me. It's a very simple reward chart. You can make your own rules, set a reward together. Our reward for two whole weeks of good sleeping is a staying up late night with a midnight feast around 8pm. It works!

Today I added another chart that we used to have in our bathroom when the kids were still learning to brush their teeth properly. It wasn't nicely designed like this one, but stuck together with bits of paper. We used it until it completely fell apart. A sticker in the morning after brushing teeth, and a sticker after brushing in the evening. The kids loved it, it worked. I am hoping for a large order from Santa, because really these should be in the stockings this year, together with the new tooth brush that he always brings... Pop over to the shop if you would like to get one. The charts are laminated and they come with two sheets of golden star stickers.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Words to live by

Not enough time today to do a proper post. So I thought I'd just share these beautiful words with you all. I learned them a long time ago when I did my Reiki I and I have this up in my studio to remind myself every now and then. Just for today...

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


There is a great book from artist's agent Lilla Rogers that is called I just like to make things and apart from it having great content and loads of useful information, I love that title. Because I do just like to make things. Here is what I made today. Some letter paper for my kids to write their wish list to father Christmas. Because I also need to make money (to get them those presents) I have added it to the Printables and I am going to sell it at the Christmas markets that I will be doing this year. I know, it's not going to make me rich, but maybe it will make someone smile and that's good too.

There is a great new market starting in Seaford next Monday (the 28th of October). It's called Made My Monday and it will be on every week in the Clinton Church. I will be there with a little stall on Monday and will try to make it a monthly thing. Do pop over if you are local!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Printables

Remember the Printables? My little etsy shop where you can buy cards and prints that you can download and print at home or at your local printers? I have slowly been adding new stuff to it, one printable at a time when I have a little moment. And I have also teamed up with a bunch of hugely talented designers who all offer digital downloads on etsy. We are currently doing a facebook hop where you can hop from page to page and download great Halloween freebies along the way. Check it out! You can start here. If you keep going from page to page you will make it to my page towards the end where you can download my little Happy Halloween card. Hope you like it!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Busy Woman

(Picture is by the wonderful and very talented photographer Abi Ellson)

I haven't been in blogland lately. Life just gets too busy. I have been working on getting the shop organised for Christmas, with a lot of new prints. And I have also been working on the Busy Woman's Weekly Planner which has been a long time in the making, but is finally for sale (you can find it here!) I found a printer who did a good job on the printing but added very flimsy backing boards, so I ordered reinforcement to strengthen them, and a holepuncher to make the little hanging holes. And then I did a little label and I waited and waited for everything to be delivered. And then I packed one up, and I did a little dance in my studio. Because it looks great, just how I wanted it to look, and because being a perfectionist isn't a bad thing at all.

In the midst of it all, my little Olive jumped of the bunk bed and broke her elbow. She had to have an operation on it and it made for a tough few weeks, with her dad abroad and a cast that was way too heavy to carry around. She didn't sleep, for a good three weeks, so I made her a little reward chart with little golden star stickers. She likes it a lot, but she still wakes up in the night and cries. We are going back to the children's hospital tomorrow to have the metal taken out again and for another x-ray and maybe we can ditch the cast after that

I added the reward chart to the Printables and I am adding a laminated version with golden stars to my NOTHS shop soon, because sleeping is good and maybe it helps in some way. Still I remind myself every day, that despite the chaos and the tiredness, we are still the lucky ones. And I can still smile, even though I am yawning...


And to celebrate that the planners have finally arrived, I am doing a little Give Away on my facebook page. If you want to join in you just have to pop over, like the page, leave a little comment and SHARE the love... I am picking three winners on Monday the 14th of October, so hurry up busy woman, before you get distracted by something else...

Friday, 30 August 2013


Inspiration comes from funny places. My kids have a huge pot of Hama beads, (well they are actually the cheaper version that IKEA offers in a huge pot) and they can spend hours working out little patterns on the spiky boards that come with them. When they are done, I cover them with baking parchment and go over it with the iron to melt the beads together. It's great fun, and also slightly frustrating, because sometimes after hours of fiddling with tiny beads, someone knocks them over by accident. I have been meaning to use the beads in a pattern collection. The patterns below are inspired by the beads after they have been ironed...

The little heart made out of beads is next to my bed. My little girl Olive made it for me...

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Penguins are the new cute...

I have been working on a new pattern collection and I am embracing cute in all its adorable ways. Penguins are the new cute, that's what we decided (me and my tiny panel of experts: the 5 year old Olive who rocks this world and the 8 year old Jasper who is plain brilliant...) And the cutest of cute, we decided after that, is a baby penguin.

I'll be adding them all to Spoonflower when I am officially back to work, in a variety of colour ways. Now all I need to do is learn how to quilt so I can start making little baby blankets... How cute would that be!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Summer time and the living is easy...

We are back from a two week break in Holland and France. The picture of Olive and her bicycle kind of sums it up. She learned to cycle without her stabilisers and I just looked at her all day, feeling ridiculously proud of how she is growing and going off into the world. I also remembered the best thing about Holland. The skies! Oh the skies! We woke up to a double rainbow when we were sleeping in the tiniest little tent on a campsite near the sea. But every sky in my flat little country is worthy of a picture...

The last days of our holiday we met up with Adam in France where we visited friends and family. We could have easily stretched it out a few more weeks, but hey... there is work to be done.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Summer break

The shop is closed until the end of august and there are only a couple of things left on my work to-do-list. Wishing you all a great summer. Back again in September...

Ps. And before I forget: I have a new licensing partner that creates beautiful iPad and Kindle covers with my designs on. You can find them here...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Big traffic jam, little traffic jam

Me and Adam have had this little thought over the years to start a T-shirt label. Then the other day when I made my traffic jam illustration Adam said he really wanted it on a T-shirt. So I had one made, and I added a little one for the boy, who is his mama's biggest fan. They arrived today and the print was pretty good and the T-shirt of a nice quality. It has it's own DNA-code so you can track the shirt to see where it was made (they are all made in Europe). You can check out the website here...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Download a cake!

Whenever I have a long to-do-list I tend to make totally random things that have nothing to do with the tasks on my list. Often when I have accounts to do, or when I really need to order new stock, I bake a cake instead. I bake a mean cake, if I may say so myself. Me and my little girl both suffer with a milk allergy and Olive is also allergic to Soya, so we have to make our own treats. Lemon drizzle is high on my list of favorite cakes.

Today, whilst studying my to-do-list, I thought I'd design a Lemon drizzle recipe card first, and then I'll go and get the ingredients so I can bake it.

So, if you have got a lot on as well, maybe you should download the lemon drizzle recipe card (it's free!), and bake it yourself. It helps... Well... It's a good cake, that's for sure. And there is always tomorrow to do accounts...

ps. It's just for personal use, I am sure you guessed that...  

Sorry! You got here too late. The Lemon Drizzle Recipe Card is now available in the shop as a beautiful print that you can frame and hang in your kitchen. Hope you like it!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Life is a playground

Summer holiday is finally here! I have been working my flip flops off to get everything done before the kids broke up, but there is still quite a lot to do this next week. Oh well... The sun is shining and the kids are smiling. Today I finished my illustration for Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search. We had to make a cover for a Journal and the theme was old fashioned playground items. I made a design inspired by snakes and ladders, but replaced the snakes with slides. I loved working on it, and I can't wait to see the other entries.

Happy Summer Holiday!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Creative friends

I have a very dear friend, called Marike, who I don't see often enough but is very much part of my life. We used to write letters to each other, from all over the world, in airmail envelopes with beautiful stamps. But then kids, work, life took over. She writes a great blog that is well worth reading/seeing and you can follow her on facebook as well. Today she posted a little illustration about a traffic jam (you can find it here...) and it made me think of the illustration above. I worked it out quickly this evening whilst cleaning the kitchen (not quite finished that job) and bathing the kids (they like me not being in the bathroom for too long, so they can splash around properly...)

Why? I hear you say... I asked Adam the same thing yesterday. Why am I doing all this? And his answer was: Because you love it. It's true. I do. I try to stay away sometimes. I kept myself away from the computer for two nights this week, but found myself on the sofa doodling page after page in my sketchbook. It's not about making money (though I am so glad that it does, and I am very grateful for that) it's about being creative. I am starting to believe that it's not so much a skill, it's more a practice. We are all creative, we can all draw, make things. But you have to do it, you have to stick with it. You have to show up every day, even when it's a bad one.

So this is what I did today. In between working and looking after the kids, I made traffic jam. For my friend Marike.

And now I will turn the computer off...

...and open my sketchbook again.

Summer time

It feels like I have been running a marathon and I can now finally see the finish line. (Really good feeling, I should try a real marathon...) Summer holiday is only a few weeks away. I will keep the shop open for most of the summer but I won't do anything else except get orders out (and unlike normal I will only do a post office run twice a week, instead of every day...) Summer holiday is the time when I sketch, stitch, bake, play. When I hang out with my children from the early morning until late in the evening when they nearly fall over with tiredness. It's when we cycle to the beach, have another picnic, a barbeque, eat cherries from the tree in our back garden, pick greengages, go camping. I am longing for those lazy summer days. Just a few more weeks of getting organised for Christmas, packing up cross stitch kits and finishing some other projects.

The poster is for the kids school summer fair. We won't be around this year as my brother is getting married and we are going to Holland for the weekend to celebrate. But if you are local, pop over... it's where summer really begins.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

MAKE IT! Your own castle...

I thought I should try and do a regular post on my blog about Kids Craft. There are two statements in our house that we live by. The first one is 'we are the sharers' and the second one is 'we are the makers'. Over the years we have made a lot of toys, mostly out of bits from the recycling. They don't last forever, eventually they find their way back into the recycling box, but we all love the whole process. It always starts with a 'need'. I neeeeeed it, Jasper will say and then we will work out a way to make it. Sometimes it's a postbox that he needs, or a till for a shop. A while back he really needed a castle... We were in a beautiful shop in Lewes, called Wickle, where they have amazing toys. Jasper was eying up a wooden castle and said: I really need that mum, I need it for all my knights. So I said: let's make one...


Here is what we did. We went to the local brewery, where they also sell wine and asked for a wine box. The kind man in the shop found us one and gave us all the little wooden bits as well that were inside to keep the bottles in the right position. Brilliant!

Back home I cut out a bit for the door and I got all the staples out. Then the kids sanded the box and all the little pieces that were inside. We painted it with blackboard paint and then I glued the little wooden bits to the top to make it look like a castle (I used copydex). When it was dry we used chalk to draw the windows on and some decorations and then the kids played with it... for hours.

And here is what Olive made today, a beautiful fox mask on a little stick. She coloured it in and was ever so proud. Happy making!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Going around in ovals...

Oh the poor old blog, it has been seriously neglected. And it has always been one of my favorite things, to write on my blog, to think about what I am going to write next, to make the pictures etc etc. Life has been busy and maybe that's no excuse, but life has been really really busy. Adam has been away for the last 13 and a half weeks. He is retraining to become a commercial diver, my brave and rather extreme man. I have been left to hold the ford and earn the keep... And I did (patting my own shoulder as I type...)

A couple of weeks ago, I read a quote on pinterest that made me smile, it said: You are a magnet of money! It had an awful letter and nasty colours so I didn't repin it (imagine it!) but the phrase stuck with me. I turned it into I Am A Great Money Magnet. And I repeated it over and over. With a smile. And my smile grew as new orders pinged in that week, one after the other. It didn't stop. It was one of my busiest weeks ever! My positive confirmation had worked! (Well, it was fathers day as well but let's forget about that minor detail for now...)

So I turned my Money Magnet into a little print for the girls in my design group to download (a brilliant bunch with never ending support and advice) I will add it to the printables as soon as I have got a moment!

I have also been working on a flower border print that is for sale on Not On The High Street now. You can add names, dates or some text of your own. The print comes in the loveliest oval shaped picture mount.

And then I thought I could add this one as well: You Are Beauty Full. Growing up in Holland and learning English as a second language, I always thought that the word really was BEAUTYFULL, because that makes sense doesn't it? It's full of beauty. I remember feeling very embarrassed when I found out it was spelled differently. But today it came back to me with a smile and I thought it would make a nice print for a girls room. Check out the shop lovely people, to find all these new goodies. There are some brilliant new cross stitch kits coming up as well in some gorgeous new bags.

I'll be back on the blog soon, I promise...

Friday, 17 May 2013

And one more...

I was going to make one that says: Today is a good day. But it turned out to be not such a good day, with a very poorly boy home from school. This is what I always tell him... You are loved.

You can download the 'tile' here...

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Letting go...

I have a thing for old tiles and beautiful quotes, and especially if the two of them get mixed togehter. A little tacky, I know... But hey, forgive me, I love a bit of tacky too. Today I started on a little collection of printable wisdom tiles that I am adding to my new Onneke Printables on Etsy and that I will also turn into a set of cards to go into my Not On The High Street. My first little saying is like a mantra that you have to repeat to yourself when you get stuck in the same thoughts. Let it go. I'm learning to let go of things, and just working on this today helped hugely. You can download it here, turn it into a card, a print, send it off to turn it into fridge magnets... Do what you like. You could even have it printed on a real tile!

And as I have been so busy with work lately, I am going to let go of that as well tonight. I have got some wine waiting for me and some dark orange and ginger chocolate, and rather than fold the mountain of washing that is piled up on my sofa, I am going to snuggle up in it... Come on... let it go!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The future is printable...

It's been a bit quiet on the blog, because I have been working on new design briefs, new projects, lots of shop orders and even a brand new shop! It's called Onneke Printables and you can find it on Etsy. Here is the twist: Everything in the shop is for downloading only. You buy the file and you print it at home, or at your local or online printers. Why? I hear you say. Because it is the future. Mark my words.

More and more people have a good printer at home and lots of print on demand services are popping up all over the internet. You upload the design and you have it printed on cards, canvas, bags, t'shirts, phone covers etc. And if you are not a designer yourself, you can pop over to Onneke Printables and buy a design there. They are cheap, and the bargain is all yours. You can buy a set of birthday cards and you can print them over and over and over. Or you can pop back to the shop and buy a new design.

So far I have added Birthday cards, Thinking of you cards, Good luck cards, Fathers day cards and Get well soon cards. There is a pretty Make Your Own Little Bunting Card...And there are illustrations that you can print out and pop in a frame... Pop over to have a look, give it a try and make sure to pop back soon as I will be adding all sorts of other designs over the next weeks...

Monday, 8 April 2013

Taking a break - getting inspired

I'm having a little break from work. Well, not really because I'm getting patterns ready and working on some really nice briefs. But I'm having a little holiday from the shop, which is closed until Thursday.

I took the kids to their very first theme park, the Efteling in the Netherlands. Oh man, the excitement! It was a magnificent day with a few thrills and a lot of magic. My very favorite was the Carnival, it's a little bit dated but still so beautiful and it made me remember how much I loved it as a child and how it must have inspired me in some way as it matches my design style so well. You sit in a little cart and it takes you passed all these brightly coloured carnival displays. Each space you go through represents a different country. I could have gone again and again. But there were roller coasters and other rides to do...

When we sat down for a little picnic a neon pink pigeon landed right in front of us. We all felt a mixture of upset and excitement. Surely we shouldn't spray paint birds? But see how incredible it looks! A few white feathers blended in beautifully with the bright pink. It looked like it had come out of it's egg looking just like that, a lone pink pigeon surrounded by it's white brothers and sisters. It would make a great picture book. How it flew the nest and got teased by everyone until it found a home in a theme park that was just as brightly coloured. For now, I have added a bit of neon to my new pattern. I have been doing a lot of work in black and white lately. It was time for a pop of colour...