Sunday, December 15, 2013

News from the 'posh gift shop'

The festive season is finally in full swing and we are rushing around in the 'posh gift shop' selling lots of useful, fun, nice and not so nice gifts of every kind imaginable. This year we are a little understaffed so it's hard work but we still find time to joke and smile. The traditional competitions are all underway for the sweetest client, the rudest client, the most ridiculous request, who spends the most, and, who spends the least wanting of course all the trimmings like beautiful gift wrap and a free bag!

Some of my Keka cases are in one of the five windows, I am still hoping to sell them ALL! We have already sold our last singing snowman who has spent the whole of 2013 in a cold storeroom waiting for his moment, we are happy he has gone to a good home. The old lady who comes in every year to buy all her Christmas presents for NEXT YEAR!!! arrived today so the world is still as it should be :) I still have to wrap up an ironing board but as a substitute I have already wrapped up a hat and coat stand so we are still in practice. 
There are still 9 days left to go, for us each day that passes is always worse than the last because the clients become more and more frenetic and demanding. Some are convinced to have seen 'this or that' in our windows last week at 'that' price and we don't have the heart to tell them that we have never had an item like that in stock! In the run up to Christmas all is feasible and possible... even the impossible. 
Looking forward to Christmas Eve when things begin to calm down and everyone is at peace that finally what they still haven't bought they won't be able to buy because the shops all close in half an hour. Then just when you think you are safe you see him coming 30 minutes before closing time to buy 2 gifts and he is without fail always, ALWAYS, our last customer!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December - 2013 Designer Calendar Project

It is time for you to download the month of December in the fabulous freebie Designers Calendar Project organised by my friend the lovely Maria Jose Bautista V.
So we have gotten to the end of the pile and last but not least is the month of December designed by Esther Cox. Her work is colourful and very jolly and just perfect to finish of 2013 with a smile.

As a reminder of the project organised by MaJo  - 12 surface pattern designers each have created a month in 2013 using their unique style, the only guidelines being the format and the colour palette! The result is a very different calendar full of fun designs and patterns.  
This month's fun design can be downloaded directly from MaJo's blog where you can also read a a little about Esther Cox and her Kiosk. Download the full version HERE.
I am a little sad that this project has come to and end but good news is that MaJo has bigger and better plans for 2014 and I intend to be involved... I will obviously keep you all informed.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Milvia on Pinterest

For those of you who have been following my blog for a long time you will be familiar with my interest in Milvia vintage tea towels. I have written a few blog posts about these wonderful creations which I was lucky enough to come across at my Mother-in-law's house. My collection stretches to a mere 4 tea towels from the set called 'Days in the Week' but I have since discovered that Milvia did numerous collections for Zucchi such as the 'Hours in the Day' and many more. All of these tea towels are difficult to come by and I have yet to see one for sale on Ebay or Etsy. However I have recently become quite addicted to Pinterest and to my delight have found images of lots of Milvia tea towels. My new Pinterest board called 'You wash, I'll dry' enables me to pin images of any tea towels that take my fancy. At least I was able to complete my 'Days of the Week' collection by Milvia even if only virtually! I am lucky to possess Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and below you will find images of the the missing tea towels.

Tuesday - sewing
Thursday - cleaning

Saturday - shopping 

You can visit me on Pinterest here where you will find lots of boards with lots of interesting stuff on them! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kekacases update. Available to buy in Turin!

Probably you already know about my licensed Kekacase designs but I will just give you all a little update on recent developments. Firstly I have received some finished cases and am amazed by the quality of the product and the reproduction of my designs. The colours are wonderful and the cases finished beautifully. Finally the cases are sturdy and shiny and fit perfectly on the device. Also I particularly love the insides where my name is printed... soooooo exciting, see photograph below :) 

One of the advantages of helping out in a 'posh' gift shop means that maybe you can persuade the owners to stock some of your Keka designs to sell to the public! 
So we have chosen four designs and five devices and are selling a selection of them with our Christmas gift offerings this year. On the first day we sold two so I am hopeful that they will be a great success! You can see the four designs available at the 'posh' gift shop in this post (I apologise in advance for the poor photography but I am so excited and wanted to share this news with you all). Check out the whole collection of cases for the family of iPad, iPhone, Kindle and Galaxy smart phone devices directly on the Keka website.

P.S. Spoonflower news, my design Autumn Carpet was placed 27th out of 380 entries with 220 votes in the final voting for the Fall Leaves contest... needless to say I am very VERY pleased with the result. :) 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spoonflower Competition 'Fall leaves'

Hi all, bouncing back from my little set back this week I was amazed to see that the next Spoonflower competition seemed set up especially for me! With the title 'Fall leaves' what more could I do. Taking inspiration and using 'MY' leaf designs (which were so lovingly copied by a lady last week) I have put them together again to create an entry called Autumn Carpet. 

Please feel free to vote if you have a Spoonflower account or just take a look at my design here. Thanks to all who gave me support and comforting words over the last few days. The only thing to do is keep creating original artwork and beat the shallow people who think it is ok to copy!

Friday, November 8, 2013


My design for the 2014 Tea Towel contest organised by Spoonflower was placed 68th with 128 votes out of 195 entries. Not bad considering it is quite a while since I took part in one of their contests and it would be true to say that 'I am a bit rusty'. Pleased with the result I will make an effort to contribute to their contests more often and get back in the swing of things.

However the BIG NEWS FROM SPOONFLOWER is quite something else. Whilst voting in the 2014 Tea Towel contest I noticed a design which was strikingly like my entry in the same contest from last year. Well, strikingly is really a bit of an understatement, it was almost identical and looked like it had been just 'traced' over. The lady had'nt even bothered to change the colour palette but had lovingly added a few different birds (instead of my owls) which were also copied from Charley Harper's designs! (no less)

I immediately contacted Spoonflower and pointed out the dirty deed, however this morning I got another shock to find out that the copied design had been placed 11th in the final voting. So here my philosophical laughing now turned to rage. I contacted Spoonflower again and also left a very sarcastic comment for the lady who was already celebrating her success! Above you can see the two designs and decide for yourself. I asked some of my Surface Pattern friends what they thought and not one disagreed with my opinion that 'YES' my design had been copied. There can be a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism and I think this lady definitly exaggerated and just plain copied. The stupid thing is to put the design back up on Spoonflower in a contest where it is quite easy to be found out!
Spoonflower have not replied to me yet and I find this a bit disconcerting, but the lady's design has mysteriously disappeared from the Spoonflower site this afternoon and I believe her account too! I hope this will be the final outcome as it is what I requested Spoonflower to do in the first place. This will not stop the lady copying someone else but at least it may make her think twice next time.
I take it as a compliment that someone should like my design so much to copy it so blatantly and it has certainly made for an 'interesting day'! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November - 2013 Designer Calendar Project

A little bit late again but here I am reminding you to download the month of November in the fabulous freebie Designers Calendar Project organised by my friend the lovely Maria Jose Bautista V. November has been designed by Tina Devins of Dreaming on a Star she is a surface pattern designer who is based in Ireland. You may remember Tina was featured on my blog HERE a while back as a guest on Dream designs!

The project  - 12 surface pattern designers each to create a month using their unique style, the only guidelines being the format and the colour palette! The result is a very different calendar full of fun designs and patterns.  
This month's fun design can be downloaded directly from MaJo's blog where you can also read a great post about Tina Devins and Dreaming on a Star. Download the full version HERE.
Such a shame that there is only one month left to download and then 2013 has whizzed by us all. I do hope that Majo will consider doing the project again next year, and of course I hope to be invited as a guest designer.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Keka Cases... from me to you!

I am pleased to announce the launch of 10 designs licensed with KEKA of San Francisco, USA. It is a project I have been working on for months and now it is all official and up and running it is quite exciting for me to finally see my designs on-line. This collaboration is my very first licensing experience it has been quite a steep learning curve. 
To celebrate this new collaboration with KEKA I want to share this 'special launch' offer below of free shipping which you can use to order one of my cases for your phone or ipad.  

Enjoy free shipping on snap-ons and a 25% discount coupon code: SNAP25. This expires 10/31! that is tomorrow!  From 11/1 the promotion is Buy any 2 products and get 1 Keka Classic Snap-on Phone Case free - a $34.95 value!  
Use FREESNAP at checkout.

Happy to share this news with you all after months of keeping 'Mum's' about it :)

My profile piccie for KEKA

Please take a closer look at my designs for KEKA HERE

Spoonflower Tea Towel 2014 Calendar design

I had a busy weekend but managed to set some time aside to do some designing. 
As with tradition I cannot miss out on the Spoonflower Tea Towel Calendar contest. This year I moved on from Owls (my 2013 and 2012 both had Owl designs as themes) and I was inspired by a 1950's cook book which I treasure. So I hope this Tea Towel might inspire you on a day when you can't think what to put on the menu. There are some lovely illustrations of Fish, Meats, Pasta and Cakes to give you ideas. Buon appetito!
See below the complete tea towel design and some details of the Illustrations. Of course, if you are able, vote for my design directly on the Spoonflower site here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

70's inspired 'pedal bins' for Brabantia

My 70's inspired designs came in handy for the latest Brabantia competition. I designed 6 coverings for pedal bins in their 'Pimp our Print' competition. The brief was to design a successor to their iconic Patrice print, which is still their most popular retro pattern and has been selling for 40 years! 
I managed to upload my favourite design in the wrong resolution so it came out badly, the competition is now closed so I can't do anything about it. More importantly I can't ask you all to take part in the 'peoples vote' which is also now closed! However you can still see the other five 'pedal bins' in the design gallery. Or you can admire 4 of my designs here on my blog and wish me good luck in front of the judges choice!
Let me know what you think?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

70's inspired designs

Today (for what seems like the first time in ages) I have managed to set by a little time to myself to design patterns. Experimenting with 1970's icons and colour palettes I am pleased with the results of such a productive afternoon. I don't want to bore with too many words but will just give you some goodies for your eyes! :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A sad and melancholy post

Yesterday I received an e-mail saying that my most fave blog ever True Up (even more than Print and Pattern!) will be closing down for a while. Kim Kight, the founder and curator of this fab blog says that it's time for her to move on, you can read the whole post here. The blog will probably be taken on by someone else so it won't disappear, it is such a valuable tool and years of hard work and devotion have gone in to making it the success it is today. This blog was the very first blog I took an interest in and is the thing that made me start off on the surface pattern road. I have always read all Kim's posts eagerly and enjoyed and learnt so much from them.

So this news has made me a bit sad and melancholy for more than one reason. Secretly I have been thinking about closing my Nice and Fancy blog at the end of the year because I can't keep up with things at the moment and I hate to see my blog with old posts which have been hanging around for 15 or 20 days... for me that is just not a blog. It's quite pathetic for me to compare my little blog to one like True Up but it made me realise that maybe someone out there might be sad if I closed down Nice and Fancy. Well I know my Mum would be and perhaps my friend Flowerlady so thats at least two of you :)
I have so much going on at the moment and it is frustrating not to be able to post exactly what I like here. I have to be careful and keep certain things to myself which is not really my personality. So I feel that I must find more inspiration to carry on and find new things to post. When I finally have the go ahead with some of my projects I will share the good news with you all. 

Ok, so the news is not that bad, there are worse things you say, but probably the mood I was in has made me think and weigh things up a bit. October has started off on the wrong foot, with illness in the family and a bit of bad news lurking about. Luckily I have just spent some time with my parents and they have put me back on the right track again. It was also my Birthday last week and being such the spoilt little girl that I am I received not one but FOUR surface pattern related books! So that put a great smile on my face and gives me the new inspiration I mentioned above. 
See you soon x

Friday, October 11, 2013

October - 2013 Designer Calendar Project

It is quite easy for a month to creep up on you, all of a sudden you realise that yes it really is October, and, what the hell have you been doing for the last 10 days!
So this time I really forgot to post about the Designer Calendar project put together by the lovely Maria Jose Bautista V.
I have'nt been blogging much (as you may have noticed) so it was sooooo easy for me to forget about this great project curated and put together by MaJo 

The idea - 12 surface pattern designers each to create a month using their unique style, the only guidelines being the format and the colour palette! The result is a very different calendar full of fun designs and patterns. You can check out all the details about the each designer and the month they have designed over on MaJo's blog. 
This month features a super design by Julianne Hall who lives in Australia and works under the name of Jookiku. Her design incorporates cute monsters and it shows off her original and fun loving style to the full. Don't forget to check out MaJo's blog where you can read all about Julienne and download your copy of October NOW!!!! before it's to late...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September - 2013 Designer Calendar Project

Hurry, hurry, hurry... the month of September is now available to download and it is free. I almost forgot that I have been reminding you to download the lovely freebie calendar every month put together by the lovely Maria Jose Bautista V. September is designed by Groovity which means Mary Tanana. Her style is beautiful, intricate and colourful, and, sometimes a little psychedelic!

The Feebie Designer Calendar Project is an idea by Maria Jose Bautista V and is totally curated and overrseen by her. 
The idea - 12 surface pattern designers each to create a month using their unique style, the only guidelines being the format and the colour palette! The result is a very different calendar full of fun designs and patterns. You can check out all the details about the each designer and the month they have designed over on Majo's blog. 
Don't hesitate to download your copy of September NOW!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Museum shop interlude

Yesterday whilst waiting for an office to open in the centre of Turin I had the bright idea to go into the museum shop at the GAM (Galleria di Arte Moderna) and have a nosey around. Why do I love these places so much? I only had about 20 minutes to spare but managed to run up a mental wish list of books which came to over 150 euros! Due to lack of time my credit card escaped a good bashing and I contented myself with these beautiful postcards by Lora Lamm dipicting lovely examples of mid-century graphic design. I have a complimentary pass for the Paolo di Maria exhibition currently running in the museum so with a smile on my face I said to the shop assistant 'see you next week'... I think my credit card is already hiding away trembling in a dark corner of my bag. Next time I have a bright idea like this I think I'll try the Museum cafe!
In the meantime enjoy these postcards, I will be uploading them to Pinterest too.

Lora Lamm. 1958
Summer and fashion, la Rinascente.
Lora Lamm. 1961
Linen fair, IR, colour from America.
Lora Lamm. 1959-1963
Pirelli hot water bottles.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pinterest... a new game to play!

Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organising things you love. No matter what you are interested in, you will find it on Pinterest. A place where millions of images including photographs, illustrations and of course patterns, are there to be seen and captured by you. The game is to create your own personal boards and 'pin' all your favourite images on them. You can create various themes about anything you like, the list is endless. It is also possible to follow other Pinterest users and you will find people following your boards too. A Pinterest champion is Jo Cho who has 12 million followers! 
Although I have been a member of Pinterest for about a year I have only recently realised that I may have been bitten by the bug and I can feel a slight addiction coming on. It is fabulous to have so many inspiring images at the click of a mouse!
Here are a few of the images I have fallen in love with and they all have links back to my theme boards. Or it is possible to see all my boards directly here. So please come along and have a nose and of course... follow me!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A New Identity - Sneaky peek

Hi all.
A few changes are going to happen around here. I know I have'nt been around much lately but I am so busy trying desperately to organise my "Surface Pattern life". This does'nt exclude normal life which carries on simultaneously, and, quite honestly speaking gets in the way a bit! Some snippets of good news are in the pipeline but I can't share until all the details are sorted and secure.
One bit of news I can share is that I have changed my Logo, it is the beginning of a few identity changes which I know will help me promote my work and create a more professional base for me to launch new projects. 
So here it is...

It could be considered a bit of a corporate logo, well that just shows off my background of 20 years working in graphic design! I also know this logo is not particularly quirky or original but it is what I have had in mind for a while. I have created a symbol which includes my initials and a pattern, as simple as that! It's not advisable for me to have a complicated identity which may compete with the viewing of my patterns as obviously they are more important! The pattern will come in handy as a watermark and DC can be cut down as small and as insignificant as it may need to be in some situations. Below you will find a couple of examples of how my identity will adapt to cover different needs. Obviously colours and such might change a little but the base of the identity is here. Please let me know what you think? ... any comments are welcome.


My new website (coming soon I hope!) will be, and my whole identity will revolve around my name or initials. I'm afraid cute names like 'nice and fancy' might be getting the boot... but thats another story.
To complete the identity change my business Facebook page is now Dawn Clarkson - Surface Pattern Design and not Nice and Fancy as before... please feel free to like my page :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August - 2013 Designer Calendar Project

August has arrived and it's again time to download another month from the 2013 Designer Calendar Project. The Freebie Designer Calendar Project is an idea by Maria Jose Bautista V. Back in December 2012 she asked 12 surface pattern designers to each create a month using their unique style. The result is a very different calendar for 2013 full of fun designs and patterns. 
This months beautiful design is by Kathryn Pledger an Australian born Graphic Designer who now lives in London with her family. I know it is her birthday tomorrow so... Happy Birthday Kathryn!

The month of August is available for download here on Majo's blog where you can also read all about Kathryn and her work

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blowing my own trumpet!

I have never been very good at 'blowing my own trumpet' but today I feel I have good cause to do so. Two months ago I put forward an idea to run a course on Surface Pattern Design at a technical college in Turin. I was quite cheeky and proposed a trial workshop saying that the courses available were a bit out of date and that maybe some new subjects and input were needed. My trail lesson went exceedingly well so here I am planning my set of 10 workshops (to be run in October) and hoping that they will indeed prove to be 'exciting and new'. I am kind of proud of myself as I created this opportunity out of nothing, I just jumped in where I saw a gap and it worked out fine. I am also aware that this is probably the only Surface Pattern Course that you will find in Turin (very slight panic)!

For my trail lesson I had an idea to create some pattern cards to help the students understand how the repeat tile works, and even though I say it myself they went down really well. There you go I'm blowing my own trumpet again... it's never to late to learn!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fresh air, flowers and boiled sweets!

It's kind of HOT at the moment in Turin. 

Over the last two weeks we have had temperatures of up to 32 degrees paired with a lot of humidity and no breeze at all. It is quite normal, July is always like this, but when it happens it always seems worse than last year. 

You begin to dream of swimming pools, cold drinks and ice creams, not to mention the sea, a walk in the woods or a day trip to the mountains. 

So there we have it, a day in the mountains, Bonneval-sur-Arc to be precise. Located 27 kms from Val-d'Isère in France, a bit of glacier skiing going on above us, beautiful views and more than anything, cool, fresh, thin AIR!

Whilst someone was tiring himself out with a long bike ride I had a couple of hours sightseeing and took lots of photographs of the lovely village (and quite a few flowers). 

There was a small market selling local cheeses and cured meats and as always in this part of France, stalls selling every immaginable type of dried fruit and boiled sweets.

I bought a bit of everything like only a serious tourist does and thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

I took about 100 photographs of flowers and my favourite purchase was some lovely flower shaped violet flavoured boiled sweets! 

At the end of the day, tired and above all COOL we returned to Turin.