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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Ode to the Canadian Penny

Gone but not forgotten...
Gone from our pockets for the past seven years, the Canadian penny coin inadvertently became the inspiration for my entry into a Spoonflower design competition recently.

While many countries — except the US (go figure) — have gradually eliminated their lowest denomination coins over the years, it's not to say that they have been forgotten in our collective minds.

When the Canadian Mint decided to put out a commemorative $20 coin to celebrate the retired penny, I picked up several of them. They are made out of silver, however, not the copper that normally makes up the coin.

Commemorative $20 silver coin celebrating Canada's penny...

When Spoonflower announced a Neutral Retreat design challenge last month that would be judged on the print appearing as a duvet cover, I was intrigued. Having taken many photos of the scenery around our place in the mountains, I had no doubt that I would be starting from a photo.


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In my collection were pics of large rocks, petrified tree trunks, pebbles under water, and foliage of various kinds. While flipping through them, I recollected encountering a large maple leaf once while on a quadding adventure. After some searching, I found it in a folder from 2009. Turns out the photo was taken just over ten years ago.

Here it is, cropped into a square.

photo by eSheep Designs
My source photo...

Next, I applied a seamless tile effect and then colorized it.

Colorized and tiled...

Then I selected and colorized the main leaf.

About seven iterations later, I had the following. (Having access to a Roostery shop where one can generate mockups like these is a tremendous asset.)

Ode to the Canadian Penny fabric by eSheep Designs
Duvet mockup courtesy of Roostery...

Giving a fabric design a name is not always easy or intuitive, but when I saw how this turned out, it reminded me of the maple leaves on our retired penny.

Ode to the Canadian Penny fabric by eSheep Designs
Pillow sham mockup courtesy of Roostery...

Thus, this design is called Ode to the Canadian Penny. I thought this colourway was decidedly neutral and apt for the competition. (The actual entry was resized slightly larger than shown here.)

I later created two simplified versions without the smaller leaves, one in a dark brown and the other in a sky blue.

Ode to the Canadian Penny fabric by eSheep Designs
Placemats mockup courtesy of Roostery...

Here is the dark brown version as a set of placemats. In case you were curious, a set of four placemats from Roostery starts at $50, depending on fabric.

Ode to the Canadian Penny fabric by eSheep Designs
Round table cloth mockup courtesy of Roostery...

They offer both round and rectangular table cloths in two sizes each. The round versions are $89 for the small and $119 for the large.


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I believe the advantage to ordering the large items from Roostery is that they are not restricted by the normal fabric width offered by Spoonflower. I am not absolutely one hundred percent certain about this, but I don't get the impression that they are making oddly seamed duvet covers, curtains, table cloths, etc., you know what I mean? (By the way, I would personally love to own this bedding set, but there is no way in the world that I would ever spend what it costs to purchase it!)

Ode to the Canadian Penny fabric by eSheep Designs
Table runner mockup courtesy of Roostery...

A table runner will set you back between $49 and $69 depending on size.

And here is the blue version mocked up as a table runner and dinner napkins (starting at $46 per set of four).

Ode to the Canadian Penny fabric by eSheep Designs
Napkins mockup courtesy of Roostery ...

For those of us who sew, these smaller types of kitchen essentials — i.e., table runners, napkins, dish towels, placemats — are definitely DIY-able (at a huge savings) by purchasing fabric from Spoonflower and making them ourselves.

At the risk of repeating myself, being able to see my own designs come to life as fabrics has been highly satisfying. I am no more likely to get rich from designing fabric than from selling PDF sewing patterns, but I have to say, the former was something that I never anticipated doing at all.

Has there been something unexpected in your life that you never thought you'd be doing (and are enjoying)?


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