handmade postcards and a sneak peek: the first print pattern

handmade postcards

For a brief moment – a while back – I was making hand drawn postcards to include in packages. Lovely to do and they made packing and shipping more fun but not a super rational or realistic time management decision.  A good exercise though – it woke up a drawing muscle I don’t use often – simple line drawings. They are quick and definite and it’s a kind of drawing that is peaceful for me and I can get deeply focused pretty quickly.

handmade postcards

handmade postcards

It started wheels turning in my head about making illustrations for my patterns and getting them in print. The wheels started turning and that was pretty much it – one of those things that felt too big and scary to start – I sat on the idea for a few more weeks. I could and maybe should out- source the illustrations but I wanted to do at least one pattern myself.  I have illustrated in an official capacity before – it is a little known fact that I illustrated a cook book – Jasper White’s Summer Shack Cook Book – A Complete Guide To Shore Food.   All Jasper’s cookbooks are great and this one is my favorite –  it has a gazillion illustrations – all pen and ink – I did the “how to” technical  stuff as well as the fun stuff. I ate so much lobster I couldn’t be near it for two years.vegetable parade

Since there is nothing like a credible threat for productivity I decided to take tiny rag doll kits – with full printed instructions – to my doll workshop at Squam last week as an extra for my students (more on that soon). It is amazing how quickly you can figure things out when it has got to get done. I decided very late the Friday before my Wednesday departure and started drawing like a madman – all day – everyday and usually into the night. I formatted the pages in photoshop and figured out how to turn it into a booklet – quickly. The deadline was magic – I brought it to the retreat (so glad I did – it’s a fun travel project) and had a chance to tidy it up and make some adjustments when I got home.  It is done. And I am happy with it.  tiny rag doll wardrobeThere may be a fancier iteration in the future but I kind of love this hand drawn version – hoping to have it available in the shop tomorrow. I don’t have a clear idea what the appetite for printed patterns is – if it’s significant I’ll do them all – probably starting with the mushroom pattern. What do you think – do you prefer PDF or printed patterns?


  1. Maybe it’s because I’m old school, but I totally prefer a printed pattern….. especially since my printer and I are always at battle. The rag doll pattern looks precious!

    • Hi Suzanne – thank you! And my printer has caused me to use unspeakably foul language – we are sworn enemies.

  2. I love how old school this is. The doll is old fashioned in her style and the pattern matches her that way. I have old doll making books with hand drawn illustrations and they’re wonderful because you can see the artist’s hand not only in the doll but in the line drawings of her instructions. I think this is wonderful!

    • Thanks Abby – so glad to hear it. Everything about how it went together was a poorly thought out accident – and…. I’m very happy with it. Response has been awesome so far – starting another today!

  3. Carolyn Harness

    I would rather receive a printed pattern in the mail. So much more fun having it to look forward to!

    • Mail is fun right? I fall more and more out of love with technology.

  4. Ruth Hoefert

    I am another one who fights with the printer, so I think printed would be nice.

    • Hi Ruth – I’m so glad to discover their is an appetite for printed patterns – I had fun putting it together – thanks for the input!

  5. Honestly I like both, only if it’s something small to print out because having to tape a pattern together is not worth my time, I’d rather pay for a printed version. On the other hand I like the convenience of a printed pattern because it’s all there & not have the hassle of printing out all the instructions& what not.

    • Hi Carol,

      I’m with you on the taping – never again. I think both is ideal – I’m going to do another small one and then I have a plan to get the shop pattern in print – with full size templates.

  6. Hazel Vicary

    Like Carol, I like both. Printed for large items and pdf for small. Living in Cornwall, UK, with my favourite patterns coming from the US, it is obviously cheaper and quicker for me to have them delivered to my computer and run them off myself. Also I am an instant person and I love the idea of ordering the pattern and minutes later there it is. One thing that really irritates me is having to enlarge pieces as I don’t have that facility on my printer and no local copy shop. Anyway, Ann’s patterns are superb and the instructions excellent – never a problem with any of them….

    • Hi Hazel,

      Thanks so much – I’m so glad to hear it. One idea I had while working on this was doing color photos for the pdf patterns and also offering very printer friendly instruction sheets at the end – need to do some editing but I think its workable.

      Thanks again – so appreciated,


  7. Leilani K-Allison

    Dear Ann, I have always loved your drawings and paintings. The little that has been shown has such vitality. I would love for you to show more ideas through you art work.

    I have very fond memories of cloth dolls the my mother made for the family. Making sure that each doll (girl or boy) was recognized by the color of hair, eyes and often times bits of their clothing from the actual person. Yes , she even used our own haircut scraps for the dolls hair. An idea I really disliked. Also the dolls continued throughout our lives for holidays changing as we did.

    Have wonderful and creative holidays! Leilani

  8. Maureen gallagher

    Amazing I love seeing your work,so sweet n calming love the dolls n sailboats , thank u for inspiration please do something on the east coast

  9. I retired in Ecuador from the United States….Mail is not available here….so pdfs are my only form of pattern! Please do both.


  10. Gwyn Draime

    I really appreciate printed patterns.
    I dont have a printer and have to go to the library and pay to have something printed, and sometimes it costs alot to download a pattern, depending on how many pages… Now with the whole Covid 19 thing, the library was closed for awhile, and Office Depot was my next choice…its alot of running around:)
    I would pay a little bit more to recive a paper pattern in the mail…thank you!

  11. LaceLady

    This is such a breath of fresh air ~ just a joyful “read” – new “maps” for unfamiliar territory! Blessings to you!

    I prefer printed patterns most of the time, for many of the reasons already in comments. In this case, a pdf pattern appeals to me, especially the templates. I can explore new ways and ideas quickly. I’ll be happy with whatever is most expedient for you!

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