Change of Weather

Finally! Summer is near! The temperatures are slowly going up and for the next few weeks it will be ‘comfortable’ – that is just before it becomes too hot and I need the airconditioner to feel comfy. I am still not used to the Australian weather. Funny thing is that ‘Sydney people’ try to deny that it is cold – many houses do not have heating systems and some of my friends seem to think it is quite normal to sit indoors with your coat on. I miss the comfort of a central heating system on cold days! I have had a serious cold / flu / sinus infection and been sniffing and coughing for weeks. So glad I can work from my own home!


Life here is not really so different as to my life in the Netherlands. Sure the weekends are awesome – bushwalks, beachlife and enjoying a laidback lifestyle – weekdays are business as usual. I really like the work and the complexity is slowly growing. As I wrote in my earlier post – I feel I am a full WordPress developer now. We deliver a few websites a month and are expanding our range of services. I am focussing a bit more on extending skills with particular frameworks such as JQuery. All in all very cool and a job perfectly suitable for a geek girl.

Joomla and Very Simple Designs

I finally found some time to do a major update on our Inkscape tutorial site The site runs on Joomla! 1.5 and I was hoping that by now version 1.6 would have been released. Not so – and that might as well be ages away again – so I finally found the courage to update all components to the last available version.

I still need to fix a few things: use of an older version of JComments has resulting in commenter’s names and email adrresses disappearing. Of course I have back-ups so I can restore the table – but one has to do that aye?

I am not sure what is keeping the release of the new version, a new beta version is released every 2-3 weeks and they have carefully mentioned a possible RC1 with the next release. But c’mon – that has been a way too long development cycle! (and yes I am aware it is open source, depending on volunteers etc…). Anyways.. I am working on an overhaul of the template we use on – for use with Joomla! 1.6. We will migrate the site when the release of Joomla! is production ready. A specific point of focus is to number the steps in a tutorial better to improve readability.


Inkscape 0.48 has been released a few weeks back and an update is in the making. Whilst all the developers work hard on fixing issues – some regression has occurred and the release of 0.48.1 is pushed back a bit. There have been a few cool but not so noticable additions to the program – and I am way overdue in writing a tutorial about that. Gonna try to fit that in next week or so.

More play

So is it all work and no play? Of course not! Like I said – the weekends are for relaxing and enjoying the Australian lifestyle (bushwalks, beachlife, meeting up with friends and of course steaks and such on the barbie).

I also picked up another skill – I did a course in textile printing. The very simple vector designs I create are very suitable for fabric printing and I figured I might as well add that skill to my set. The course ran at the Sydney Community Collegue and was led by a very enthousiastic instructor – Ro Cook. The course comprised of screen printing and relief printing.

In the screen printing part we created our direct stencils by cutting our designs from a a coated material. The results are pretty good – but I must confess that I am not crafty enough to spend 2 hours cutting an intrinsic design from a piece of (coated) paper. So back to automated techniques: we obtained an electronic cutter. At the moment that buy seems to be a failure as the software that drives the machine is not doing its work – it is unable to cut our own created SVGs. An update of the software has been promised a few times and is about to be released (this week). But counting the empty promises sofar I do not keep my hopes up too high.

Oh and tomorrow is the day of the Metallica concert 🙂

Freebie Easter Bunnies

I am working on improvement of the Joomla! template we use on And as that is mostly an after hours job, it progresses slowly. I have to divide my attention to creating new content, finishing tutorials and re-design. All fun to do, but it is sometimes more fun to just doodle a bit. And that is what I did last night.

I simply opened up Inkscape and started to dabble a bit, with the idea to make a concept for a character creation tutorial. But I ended up making an easter bunny – and as that holiday is upcoming – I decided to share it. The vector is cleaned up and can pass any microstock scrutiny check – all paths are closed, no embedded text, no transparancies and no patterns.

I have published the vector as Inkscape SVG and eps format but also exported it to png in 300dpi and as web-friendly size with all bunnies scaled to 256 px height. The work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. Check it out: Freebie Easter Bunny Vectors.

Freebie Easter Bunnies
Freebie Easter Bunnies

Seamless Pattern Creation in Inkscape

I started to write a tutorial about seamless pattern creation in Inkscape a long time ago. I really struggled with it, as I was afraid it would not show enough original content, and also because the use of seamless patterns within Inkscape comes with quite some limitations.

Through I received a request for a tutorial on seamless pattern creation, and I figured I might as well finish and publish the tutorial I started earlier. Total composing time for this tutorial is over 20 hours and I still am not totally happy with it. My Inkscape “guinea pig” still needs to test it – and I hope he’s gentle in his verdict. It is available on the Inkscape tutorials page and I will announce it on the front page as soon as the final tweaking is done.

Create seamless textures in Inkscape

Pfft.. what a week…

Our cute cat

Most weeks life goes by in a nice reasonably predictable way and the days sorta smoothly roll over from one into another. Other weeks things happen like wild water rafting. This was such a week. Worst thing that happened was that our cute cat got hit by a car and passed away. Some people might say a cat is a cat, others say it was just a pet, and others may cry for him. Truth is that this little cutie was very important to me. When I moved continents I had to leave my cats behind with new friendly owners. And when I arrived in Oz, this cat was waiting for me, rescued by someone that cared about the cat but had no idea how to take care of him. He was about 8 months then, kept indoors and as a young male in puberty very wild. So I was greeted by a strong cat piss odour and a cat that attacked upon each opportunity given. Oh, and they fed him dog food (as the cat ignored cat food). It took me a few weeks to straighten the cat out, train him to use the cat door and be happy with proper cat bits for food and little snacks of tuna or chicken whenever he was behaving particularly well. The cat turned out to be very socialized and a real cutie and he made it a lot easier to get used to my new home. This week I had to say goodbye as someone took him away from us. I feel very very sad.

New Inkscape tutorials

This event also slowed down some designs I was working on. I made a cute paisley motif a while ago for some custom stationery. I figured it would make a good Inkscape tutorial. When I started to write however, the tutorial became unbelievable long. This is mostly due to the fact that I try to write them for beginner Inkscape artists. So lots of hints and tips, while I describe each step. I am still very fortunate that my mate is not good in vectoring, and that he is still trying to learn Inkscape. That makes him the ideal guinea pig. I only mention new tutorials on the homepage of when they passed his test.

In the end the simple paisley motif appeared to be useful for 3 new tutorials, where each one focusses on a different aspect of pattern creation. The tutorials are published and we are awaiting feedback.

Inkscape Tutorial: Fancy Borders
Inkscape Tutorial: Fancy Borders
Inkscape Tutorial: Floral Motif
Inkscape Tutorial: Floral Motif
Inkscape Tutorial: Paisley Motif
Inkscape Tutorial: Paisley Motif

Working on a Valentine themed tutorial

I wrote a tutorial on abstract designs in Inkscape, such as used for wallpapers, website banners and sigs.

Abstract Wallpaper - Australia
Abstract Wallpaper - Australia

Tutorial Series: Abstract Wallpaper

As Inkscape had many cool features for creating abstract designs without effort, I figured that just one tutorial would only show the tip of the iceberg, and that a series of tutorials would probably better. So I made a few mockups and made a first selection of techniques to be covered.

Abstract Wallpaper - Valentine
Abstract Wallpaper - Valentine

The first tutorial is published and features an abstract design of Australia in cool blues. Right now I am working on a warm hearted tutorial in red for Valentines. I expect the tutorial to available tomorrow, after some further testing by my Inkscape guinea pig.