Learning Pattern Design at Home: My Journey


"It is never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot

I loved art and science equally as I was growing up. When it came time to choose a college major it was a tough decision. I picked earth science (physical geography). It was during my senior year that I realized the mistake that I had made. I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to set my own hours, and choose my projects. That's when I went into stationery design, as I was finishing my science degree and working part-time in human resources. 

Here I am now, seven years later. I am way behind those who took fine art and graphic design classes in college (or even high school). Up until a year ago I had zero experience in Photoshop, and I have no formal art training.

I am one of those people who believes, "there is no great loss without some small gain" (Laura Ingalls Wilder). Yes, I have a degree that I am not using; however, the work I put into that degree made me who I am today.

A photo posted by Ashley Pahl (@theashleypahl) on

I find myself constantly inspired by nature, in a way that I never was before college. My Geography of Plants of North America course taught me the difference between pines, spruces, and firs; to recognize  the different types of maples and oaks based on their leaf shape; seeds; bark; etc. All of that information is now showing up in my art work.


With books and e-courses, I've learned how to use watercolor (I was an acrylic girl before). A Skillshare class, Pattern Design: Creating Repeat Patterns From Your Illustrations and Paintings*, taught me what to do with those paintings to turn them into seamless, repeating patterns. Cutting up my paintings was very scary, but I also now have enough Photoshop experience to assemble the patterns and clean them up.

I now see so many new possibilities in the future of my work. I am thinking about my own wrapping paper, fabrics, printables, etc. 


A photo posted by Ashley Pahl (@theashleypahl) on


If there is something you want do, but have been avoiding it because you have no experience or you don't know how, just go for it! There is no harm in learning something new. If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out. Remember:

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
-Edwin Land

*If you're new to Skillshare, signing up with my link will give you a month of free Premium Membership to try as many free classes as you want for that month.

Sweet Delights: August Break Day 19


My mint plant is prolific right now, so I'm digging out my Mint & Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream recipe. It's perfect for those who don't have an ice cream maker, but for those who do, it will work for you, too.

Looking Up: August Break 2015 Day 18


"The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust

Part of my nature-based self-education.



Art: August Break Day 15



I've been painting more than ever this summer. I don't want it to end!

I used my Sakura Koi Water Colors Field Sketch Set with Brush - which was a birthday present for myself - to paint this. The palette is fantastic, but the best part is the Koi Water Color Brush, which you can buy separately.

Also pictured: van Gogh water colour paint tube in Quinacridone Rose.

A Year Ago: August Break 2015


What was I up to a year ago? I was planning my sister's bridal shower. I was designing my newest line of stationery. I was preparing to send my oldest child to kindergarten. I was also working very hard to eat healthier. The result of these life changes and projects meant that I had little time to spend blogging. One of my favorite posts from last August was actually a round-up post: 12 Projects and Recipes that are pure. fun. It's still one of my favorite collections. See it here!
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