Oh. My. Goodness. There goes another year….. in all its chaotic, mind-bending glory. Disappointments, epiphanies, and serious amounts of hard slog.

I’m older and wiser. And clearer on what I need to do. And that’s awesomeness right there, even though I didn’t achieve everything I set out to do. 

Make sure you take stock of what you have learned as well as what you have achieved this year.  If you don’t, you probably will have missed something very valuable indeed. Take time to savour the journey.

I’ve loved my journey this year. Here’s a snippet of the most popular, the most beautiful, and the most interesting posts on 
tractorgirl for 2014. {And some useful stuff too.}


mariaqueenmaria - black tunic with multiple ribbons

mariaqueenmaria – black tunic with multiple ribbons

Maria Queen Maria is a deconstructivist clothing label from Bulgaria, run by two women with backgrounds in the film industry and costume design. You can find more of their work here.


+ Designing a knock-out business card, Parts 1 and 2. Your business card is much more than just a carrier of your contact details; your card sends out a message about your business. Do you want to be perceived as boring or cheap? Probably not. Get onto these tips to make your business card memorable. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.



stoflab - crispijn - green

stoflab – crispijn – green

Stoflab: Despite his bold and uncompromising geometrics, Stoflab himself prefers to remain mysterious and anonymous. Based in the Netherlands, his influences run through Dick Bruna, Bauhaus and computer technology. You can find more of his striking work here


+ Repeating patterns in Illustrator CS6 with the Pattern Making Tool. Written by Illustrator expert Sew Heidi, this excellent post goes through step-by-step to help you create simple patterns with the new Pattern Making Tool in CS6. The tool includes features such as live previews and half-drops, so is a total boon to designers who have been struggling with earlier versions of Illustrator. You can find the post here.



sim luttin - these things

sim luttin – these things

Sim Luttin: Australian jeweller Sim Luttin grew up wanting be an inventor. She watched things being created by her grandfather tinkering in his shed and her scientist father; “I was encouraged to do things in a more labour intensive, meticulous way, which was often a longer and highly detailed process. Now, many years later, I approach my creative work this way.”  You can find more of Sim’s beautiful work here.



leschiwelt - owl

leschiwelt – owl

Nora Leschinski grew up in a remote mountain village in the green forested heart of Germany. It was the perfect place for the future woodcarver to play and fuel her imagination. You can find more of Nora’s beautiful illustrated woodcarvings here.


 + Photographing your work for your online shop. Got an Etsy shop or similar? This one’s for you. Your pictures ARE your product, in the sense that the online world is an overwhelmingly visual one, and you’ve got mere seconds to grab your customer’s attention before they click away somewhere else. Read it here.



mark obrien - church st records - created for the skyliner show

mark obrien – church st records – created for the skyliner show

Mark O’Brien has made enormous chickens {and many other things} from cardboard. See more of his work here.



clemens wirth in the studio

clemens wirth in the studio

Clemens Wirth claims he’s not a wizard, despite his red hair. I beg to differ.  See him build amazing dioramas and turn them into film here


Getting Started in Surface Design, Parts 1, 2 and 3. Part 1 goes through image sizing and resolution, and how to create a simple repeat. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 explains the difference between CMYK and RGB colour, which one you should be using and why, and has a list of online printing venues so you can print your own fabric. Part 2 is here. Part 3 shows you how big to make your image, helps you figure out what image-editing program to use, and shows you the easy peasy way of creating variety within your print, and mostly importantly, explains what to do next if you want to get serious about surface design. Part 3 is here.



Beata Czyzowska Young - make it possible

Beata Czyzowska Young – make it possible

Beata Czyzowska Young: After moving from Poland several years ago, Beata now makes her home on the Australian Central Coast. 

She is absolutely adamant: “Expensive camera and expensive equipment is not gonna make you an artist.” For her, it’s all about looking beyond the obvious, and not being afraid to break the rules. Anything is possible.

You can find more of her gobsmackingly beautiful photography here.



I wish you all the very best over this festive season – peace, love and happiness.

Julie X