Author: Kimberly Kling

Postcards From Camp: Nature Is Good Medicine

Everyday Magic Postcards From Camp

It’s summer in Arizona, but instead of the usual intense and dry heat, there is crispness in the air and it smells like rain. My husband has Monday and Tuesday off and we are kid-free. It’s a workday for me, but we haven’t taken an escape to nature together in months, something that used to be routine on weekends, so we decide to pack up our gear and head to camp. The baby will be here in two months and these impromptu escapes won’t be as easy come October.

The car is loaded and we take the mountain pass along bumpy back roads to our lake destination – one of few bodies of water in Arizona. It feels magical. My guilt of my to-do list slowly dwindles as we leave it all behind. The green grass, the quiet lake, the sunset, the billions of stars, and the hammock- this is just what we needed.

I come home refreshed the next day. My brain is a little clearer. The world I left seems more vibrant and still in one piece despite my absence. I realize again how important these escapes are. Nature is good medicine.

What do you prescribe for yourself when you need to escape, refresh, and clear your mind?

Let’s Create A Repeat Pattern In Photoshop!

Cretae a repeat pattern in photoshop from a line drawing

Are you ready to learn a new skill at the Oh My! Handmade summer camp and grab your “Create A Repeat Pattern” badge?

Caution: Pattern making may be addictive. Side effects may include spending endless hours in front of your computer, squinting, doodling incessantly, and feeling giddy.

I honestly am not sure what spurred my interest in pattern and surface design, but once I started with that very first pattern, it’s been impossible to stop. I could spend hours and days and maybe the rest of my life designing new repeat patterns.

I’ve had a few people ask for a tutorial on creating a repeat pattern, so here we go! FYI, I am using a Mac with Photoshop CS3.

There are many methods of making repeat patterns.  You can do it all by hand, use a vector program like Adobe Illustrator (my favorite way), or use a raster based program like Adobe Photoshop.  Because I tend to work digitally and I think more people are likely to have Photoshop than Illustrator, I am going to show you how to create the pattern with Photoshop.

1. To start, you will want to have a design to use. For this tutorial, I am going to use a pen and ink doodle that I will scan into the computer. I start with a 600 dpi scan which I save to my computer. Make sure your image is saved as an RGB (or CMYK if need be) image. Check by going to Image>Mode.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

2. The next thing I always do is duplicate the background to have two identical layers (in case I fudge up).  You can do this by right clicking on the background layer in your Layers Palette and choosing Duplicate Layer.

3. Next, let’s remove the white background from that new layer. Turn off the background layer. Select the new layer, then go to your Channels Palette. Hold down the Command Key (CTRL) and click on the RGB channel. This will select all of the white in the image. Hit delete to erase the white and leave a transparent background.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

4. Now go to Select>Inverse to select all the black. Make a new layer while still saving your selection. Use the Paint Bucket tool (make sure contiguous is checked) to paint all of your lines a new color, whichever you prefer. I chose a tan color.

4. Now go to Select>Inverse to select all the black. Make a new layer. Use the Paint Bucket tool (make sure contiguous is checked) to paint all of your lines a new color, whichever you prefer. I chose a tan color.

5. Create a new file where you will transfer your motifs that you just created and tweaked. I am creating a file that is 1200 px by 1200 px wide which is the resolution for a swatch on Spoonflower.  Use the Marquee Tool to start moving each motif to your new file (you can drag or copy and paste).

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

6. Once you have all of your motifs moved over, place them in a way that’s appealing to you. After that’s done, it’s time to color! Create a layer directly above the background layer (and under your motifs) and paint it a fun color. Then make another layer above that and proceed to color in your motifs on that layer. You can either use the Paintbrush or the Paint Bucket for this. All of your original line work should stay on layers above your new colors.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

7. When you get all your colors and motifs the way you like them, you need to flatten your image. (I usually save a copy of the .psd file first in case I mess something up or want to change something later). To flatten, right click in the Layer Palette and click Flatten Image.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

8. The next few steps are going to help you turn this design into a repeating pattern. With your flattened image, go to Filter>Other>Offset. Set the Vertical Offset to half your image size (600 px in this case) and set your Horizontal Offset to zero. Make sure Wrap Around is checked. You’ll see that the motifs that were in the middle are now split along the top and bottom edges.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

9. Now you need to fill any blank areas with motifs and tweak the pattern to your liking. You can use your marquee tool to move and copy motifs. Just make sure anything that you change or add does not touch or overlap any of your canvas edges.

10. You will now repeat the offset process for the horizontal (make sure your image is still flattened). Go to Filter>Other>Offset again and this time put a value of zero for the Vertical Offset and half the image width (600px here) for the Horizontal Offset. Now the left and right edges are brought to the middle of your canvas.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

11. Again, fill in any blank areas with motifs, staying away from the edges.

12. You may still have a gap where all of the outside corners are now meeting, so you will want to apply the offset filter one more time. Go to Filter>Other>Offset and  make the Vertical Offset half your canvas size (600px) and your Horizontal Offset zero. That brings the four corners together. If you need to fill in any blank spaces, do that now. After following that process, here is what mine looks like.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

13. Now for the moment of truth! It’s time to make sure your pattern is repeating properly and flows well. Go ahead and save first. Then from the Edit menu, choose Define Pattern and name it.

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

14. Create a new file to test your pattern on. You want your canvas size to be much bigger than your current file size (preferably 3x the size). I chose to make my test canvas 3150 px by 2700 px which is the size of a Fat Quarter of fabric on Spoonflower.

15. On your new canvas, Select All. Then go to Edit>Fill and choose the pattern you just saved. This will fill in your new canvas with the repeating pattern. Check it over and see if you like what you see. If so, congratulations, you have finished your beautiful repeat pattern! Time to give yourself that badge!

Making a Repeat Pattern in Photoshop

Up for a creative challenge? Design a repeat pattern and share it with our community to earn your pattern-making badges! Share a link to your pattern or post your pictures in the comments and let’s have some fun exploring each other’s designs.

Service, Socialize, Spider Repellant, and Sparkle – Lessons from Camp

Every Summer Has A Story, But This One Is More LIke A NovelWhen I was in 5th Grade, I got to go to summer camp for the first time. With a mixture of fear and excitement, I ventured away from home for two weeks to “rough-it” camp style.

After the initial shock of being “on my own” and some bouts of homesickness, I settled into the experience and started to have some fun – cannonballs off the dock, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, new friends, and of course, s’mores. While a big portion of the camp experience is a blur, looking back makes me realize I learned some valuable life lessons that can also be important business lessons too.

Many of the important lessons can be condensed into the following four S’s: Service, Socialize, Spider Repellant, and a good bit of Sparkle.

Service

Our camp counselors had some ground rules for us. One that was stressed a lot was to be of service to others. With so many kiddos running around things could get all crazy-like, so of course they needed to instill a sense of camaraderie and responsibility. I remember I had this horrible ear infection and one of the girls that became a good friend, stayed by my side when I was crying my eyes out, then asked me to play cards with her so that I could take my mind off the pain. I’ll never forget her kindness and she walked her way into my heart at that very moment.

It’s a good lesson as a business owner too. Treat your customers like a new friend and flourish them with kindness and compassion. Find out what they need to make their lives less painful, more joyful and easier. Do something memorable for them and you will win your way into their hearts.

Socialize

Obviously, a big part of the summer camp experience is making new friends, however, I was very shy as a kid and this one didn’t always come easy to me. Hiding in my bunk all day wasn’t going to make for a very fun experience, so camp pushed me to step outside my comfort zone and become a social butterfly (read: talk to other kids).

In business, it’s important to be sociable too. Hiding behind your screen or working in your studio all the time is not going to help you promote your business or build your customer base. You’ve got to get out there and talk to people. Share your story, relate to your customers, team-up on projects, and give genuine compliments and feedback.

Spider Repellant

The bathroom at camp had these big black spiders that completely freaked me out. I really wished I had brought some spider repellant with me, but I had to brave it as to not walk around stinky the whole time.

Life and business are like that too. You’ll encounter tasks, problems, or people that totally freak you out, but you must push forward. While most of the time, owning your own business means getting to do what you love, there are still some tasks that are necessary to your success which may not be fun or easy. You must be brave, carry on, face your fears, and develop some tough skin.

Sparkle

This one is my favorite! I loved arts and crafts time at camp – it was my time to really shine. A little paint, paper, and glue can go a long way and provide hours of entertainment, but it was especially important to not forget the glitter.

When building your business, don’t forget to have fun and add some pizzazz!  Little details and embellishments can set your business apart from your competitors and make a world of difference to your bottom line. Think about how you are setting yourself apart. Is your packaging doing justice to your product? Is your customer service something to rave about? Are the tiny details so beautiful that someone can’t help take their eyes off your product? Figure out your strengths and really let them shine through.

What are you doing in business to be of service, socialize, repel your fears, and really sparkle? Did you ever make it to summer camp as a child or an adult? If so, what other lessons did you glean from your experience?