Shop update: New Print

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I don't update my online shop nearly as often as I would like - and frankly that is just life - I can't always do it all, but I try not to give myself too hard a time over it. I know there will be periods where I can spend more time on it than others and that is ok. I am having a bit of a push to get lots of new products into the shop that have been hanging out as ideas in my head for far too long now. Last week I put up the new Father's Day Cards and this week I would like to share with you a new print that I designed.  

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When I read this bible verse from Psalms I knew that it was something that I wanted up in our nursery so that I could read it on a regular basis. Then I decided it would be a great gift to give to a couple of my friends who have recently become or are about to become parents. I wanted to keep it simple but I also wanted the type to be white rather than black and a bit more subtle than my other prints. 

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I decided to go for a simple grey background but then I tried a green version and liked that too - so I decided to get them printed double sided so that my friends could choose which colour they prefer and fit better in their homes. Genius huh! It is basically two prints for the price of one! 

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I got a few extra printed to go in the shop. They are printed on really beautifully textured card and as mentioned above one side has the grey background and then the other has the green background. They are A4 and could be displayed in a standard A4 frame or would even look cool on a clipboard on the wall, or washi taped on too. 

I think they would be perfect for a kids nursery or as a gift for a new mum. Or actually they would be great to inspire and encourage anyone. The Psalms really are beautiful.

If you want to get your hands on one they are on sale for only £6.

Shop Update: Father's Day Cards

I managed to get my act together and get my Father's Day card designs up in the shop in time. While I was on holiday I brainstormed and doodled some ideas and that really helped me to just get the ball rolling and get painting when I got back. 

I kept the colour palette simple with blue and green. It was fun experimenting with watercolours but still using my signature hand lettering style. I definitely want to experiment more with my style and how I use colour in my designs. 

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There are 4 designs to choose from and as usual they are printed on really beautiful quality thick card. Each card comes with a white envelope and will be packaged in a plastic sleeve to protect it. Visit the shop to order. Father's Day is June 19th so you have plenty of time! 

If you want to get a discount code sign up to my newsletter in the box below. The first newsletter is ready and waiting to be shipped with a mega discount code and also with a free printable for a really cool hand lettered print that would look great on your wall. 

Paper Flower Workshop: Quill London

Earlier in the week I used a birthday gift voucher and headed along to a paper flower making workshop hosted by Quill London and taught by Susan Beech from A Petal Unfolds. The workshop ran for two hours and was held in Quill's beautiful little stationery shop (I wanted ALL the stationery!). 

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I didn't really know what to expect - and naively thought I would come away from this workshop with a whole bunch of paper flowers! Ha. How wrong I was - it took the entire two hours to make the one flower - and that was with a few of the elements having been pre-cut for us!! Honestly the amount of love and detail that goes into making each single flower is a lot and it gave me a much better understanding of what is involved in this process. 

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Susan took us through the process and showed us what we needed to do at each stage, and then with the tools we were given we were able to crack on with making our own peonie. The peonie had 36 petals - Susan told us that when she makes a ranunculus over 100 petals are needed!!

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It is very detailed work and there is a lot of cutting out that needs to be done, but it is so satisfying seeing the layers being built up and then a beautiful flower appearing! 

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This is my final flower. I went for deep red colours and I am really pleased with how it turned out - although having looked at the example ones that Susan had made, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. Sorry the photos are a bit rubbish - I was quickly snapping away on my phone in-between cutting! I am hoping to get some more materials so that I can make a few more and maybe eventually make a bunch! 

Also if you are interested in having a go but are not near London to go to a workshop I found this tutorial on Design Sponge (and I am sure there are many more out there) which looks really detailed so am excited about giving these flowers a go too! 

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Inspired by: Oliver Jeffers

So, I have mentioned a few times already about starting a sketch book and creating work that is not for anything in particular. I am struggling with it to be honest and haven't got very far - but I am still determined to do it. I am hoping as I start winding down client work before maternity leave that might afford me a bit more time to experiment. 

Anyway I am rambling - the other day I stumbled across sketch book pages on Oliver Jeffers website and it got me so inspired (you should also check out the rest of of his work - I am in awe - I also can't wait until our kid is old enough to read books so that I can buy ALL of the kids books he has illustrated!). How amazing is the picture below. There is something so satisfying about a big fat messy sketchbook. Don't you just want to be able to feel it in your hands and look through it? The sketchbook below was actually a part of a project called BOOK which included 3 other artists and involved them sending the sketchbook back and forth between them (across the Atlantic no less) and each contributing pages over the course of 36 weeks. 

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In this post are some of the pages that Oliver Jeffers created for the BOOK project but also some from other sketchbooks that he has included on his website. 

I love that Jeffers seems to use lots of different materials in his sketchbooks. It is not just about drawing and sketching in the traditional sense - there is a really fun and playful nature about the pages which I guess matches his illustrative style. It feels like he is experimenting and trying things out and the results are a thing of beauty. 

I have so many scraps of paper and ephemera that I have collected that would be perfect for using in my sketchbook experiments. I just need to get started! Using all sorts of different scraps of paper and techniques Jeffers creates so much texture in his sketchbooks. 

I hope that these pages have inspired you as much as they have me. I am really hopefully that it won't be too long before I can share some experimental pages of my own and give you a bit more of a behind the scenes of my creative experiments. I have the sketchbooks and the tools and now it is just a case of getting started and being a bit more disciplined with it instead of just talking about it! 

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Things I am loving on Etsy - Nursery edition

I think I have mentioned it before but we have been re-jigging and painting the rooms upstairs in our house to make room for the baby. We have done some serious de-cluttering and so far I am really happy with our choices and how things are coming together.  The thing that is really missing though is artwork for the nursery walls! So obviously I got lost in the rabbit hole of Etsy looking for some. I was a bit disheartened when I first started looking - I searched for nursery prints and there was just so so much stuff that wasn't my style (and depressing when you find things that are blatant rip-offs of your friends work!). I guess there is so much on Etsy now, that you have to trawl through quite a lot to find the gems. BUT I persevered and forgot about looking at things that were specifically for a nursery and just found illustrators I liked. I REALLY love the prints I found below and think all of them would look great in a nursery (or anywhere in the house to be honest). Now to decide which ones to get! 

1. Plantas Prints - by Depeapa

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You know what, I think this bird alphabet by illustrator Sarah Abbott might be the winner. I have admired this print for ages but had forgotten about it - I think it would look perfect on the nursery wall! 

What do you think about these prints? Do you have any other favourites you have found?

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Book Review: Nib and Ink

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A few weeks ago Chiara Perano's first book was released called Nib and Ink and I couldn't help myself but nab a copy. Last year I did a calligraphy workshop run by Chiara and it was so much fun. When this book arrived I was nicely surprised. There are lots of really beautiful details that make the designer in me happy and the content is a lot more detailed than I expected. 

The book is nice and thick and there is lots of space for practicing your letters. It starts off going through the basics and of modern calligraphy. It also gives you lots of information about the different tools that you can use and what everything is called, and gives you tips on how to use the book. 

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To be honest I was really pleasantly surprised with just how much information is included (but there is not too much reading to hold you up from getting stuck in to practising). It really guides you through getting started too - firstly with practising simple strokes, then moving onto letters, and then later in the book joining the letters together. 

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Another nice aspect of the book is all the ideas contained at the back on how you can use your new found modern calligraphy skills, for example, working on blackboards, addressing envelopes, gift tags and lots of other creative ideas. 

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I only have one slight criticism of how the book is set up - because of the spine you kind of have to hold the pages flat with your other hand and you can't really move onto the next page until the page you are working on has dried. It might have been good to include practice sheets with the book that lay flat. I guess on the other side of this minor frustration it is nice of all your calligraphy practice is in one place rather than on sheets all over the place. 

Despite that, I still think this is such a great book and goes into so much detail that it is perfect for getting started in learning Modern Calligraphy. I would highly recommend it and I am really looking forward to carry on using it to work on and improve my calligraphy skills and develop my style. 

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Hello Spring

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Well...I well and truly fell off the blogging bandwagon again! (can't believe my last post was at the beginning of Feb!). I have tried to not give myself too hard a time about it - but I am frustrated about not being able to get all the things done that I want to. I guess that's life though and with becoming a parent on the horizon I had probably better get used to it! 

Anyway, I have slowly been working on a few posts despite not having them ready to post up just yet, so hopefully there will be a bit more action in this space over the next few weeks. This time off from blogging makes me realise how much I love it and miss it when I am not - so I guess that is a good thing. 

March was a busy month for me with LOTS of freelance work - which has been amazing but also has made me realise that I need to start slowing down in preparation for the babies arrival. I have had so much more energy in the second trimester than the first which has been great and I have mostly felt back to my old self - but I am starting to experience the tell-tale signs of fatigue so want to start taking it easy now rather than having a mega crash. 

I find turning down work soooo hard but I know that I am going to have to do it more and more in the coming months so it's good to start practising saying no now and trying not to freak out that no one will ever want to work with me ever again! Ha. 

Anyway, that is a little snippet of life lately - hopefully there will be some new posts coming up next week and then we are off on holiday! Our last one just the two of us and I can't wait. After trying to fit 12 months into the first 6 months of the year (that's what it feels like anyway! Haha) it will be nice to just stop and spend loads of quality time together chatting, taking stock and just calming things right down! 

Hope you all have lovely weekend's full of beautiful spring goodness! I always forget how lovely it is when it is light in the evenings! 

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Inspired by: Virginia Echeverria Whipple

I wonder if collage is one of those things that people look and think 'well I could do that' - but I really think there is such a skill to it. You need to have a real talent at composition and colour to get the piece looking just right. Yes most people can glue and stick, but that is not enough. 

Virginia Echeverria Whipple
Virginia Echeverria Whipple

I was really blown away by some of these pieces of work by Virginia Echeverria Whipple. I find the images and colours that people find and then put together to make something new so interesting. I guess collage is the ultimate form of recycling. 

Virginia Echeverria Whipple
Virginia Echeverria Whipple

I have picked some of my favourites below that really struck me but you can check out more of her work here. I really like how her website is set up in collections of work - so you can see how things have developed and progressed in her work over time!

Virginia Echeverria Whipple
Virginia Echeverria Whipple
Virginia Echeverria Whipple
Virginia Echeverria Whipple

 

Collage is on my never ending list of things I want to try out and experiment with - if it ever happens I promise I will share it here! Have you seen that Laura from Cardboardcities has set up a new instagram account called collagescraps? Check it out it is a colour explosion.

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A studio re-jig

Since finding out we are having a baby I have been daydreaming about what would be the best way to re-organise the rooms in our house to accommodate a new little human. Admittedly he won't need much space at the beginning but I am itching to start redecorating and rearranging so we are going to get started in the next few weeks. 

The plan is to turn the small box room, which is currently the studio/office, into the baby's room and then our guest room will be a guest room and office all in one. I have been thinking of ways to try and make the two different spaces feel kind of separate and distinct even though they are part of the same room. I thought a feature wall where the desk and shelves will go would be a great option so of course I took to Pinterest to do some research. 

Here is some of the inspiration I found and now I am so excited. The only dilemma is deciding on a colour. Click on the images below to link through to the sources and let me know in the comments which is your favourite! Also, you can check out more of my inspiration on Pinterest.

I don't think I ever would have considered a yellow but this mustard wall looks great and is a strong contender. I think it would make the room look stylish but warm and bright. 

I don't think I ever would have considered a yellow but this mustard wall looks great and is a strong contender. I think it would make the room look stylish but warm and bright. 

I would NEVER have thought I would consider painting a wall in my house pink but this blush wall looks amazing. I think it would add a really fresh and clean feel to the office area. 

I would NEVER have thought I would consider painting a wall in my house pink but this blush wall looks amazing. I think it would add a really fresh and clean feel to the office area. 

I am a big fan of all sorts of grey walls and this dark charcoal looks really elegant and smart for an office. I think with white walls in the rest of the room it would still look airy and fresh. 

I am a big fan of all sorts of grey walls and this dark charcoal looks really elegant and smart for an office. I think with white walls in the rest of the room it would still look airy and fresh. 

I am not afraid of a dark feature wall and navy blue is high on my list of options. This is a great example of it working well and I think the yellow accents really compliment it well!

I am not afraid of a dark feature wall and navy blue is high on my list of options. This is a great example of it working well and I think the yellow accents really compliment it well!

How incredible and rich is this green. We have a light green wall in our house already but this dark green is something else. I think it would look great with a gallery wall on top. 

How incredible and rich is this green. We have a light green wall in our house already but this dark green is something else. I think it would look great with a gallery wall on top. 

Ok so not a colour but how awesome would a cork board feature wall be? It could work really well for the office space because it would be a great place to stick up inspiration and things I am working on. 

Ok so not a colour but how awesome would a cork board feature wall be? It could work really well for the office space because it would be a great place to stick up inspiration and things I am working on. 

2016's big adventure

Illustration used with kind permission from Jo Waterhouse

Illustration used with kind permission from Jo Waterhouse

Something that I feel like I am always trying to work out is getting the right balance of personal posts and design/business related posts on the blog. I guess I err towards not sharing loads of personal stuff but I definitely want people to feel like they know a bit about me and the person behind this little business.  

Anyway, that is a little introduction to a very personal post today – we have a big adventure coming up this year because we are having a baby! It is definitely going to be a big change to our lives and will have a huge impact on my business and how I work as a graphic designer, so I am excited to share that journey and learning process in this space.

At the moment I flit between being really excited and also terrified which I am guessing is a pretty normal reaction. We recently had the 20 week scan and it was amazing to see our little baby on the screen again. It has been wriggling around like crazy and it's so odd when you can feel this thing living inside you. We still have a few months to do a load of jobs around the house and preparation for the business alongside fitting in a holiday just the two of us before the big life change.

I feel very blessed to have lots of beautiful friends who live near me who have had or are having babies. One of the things I was worried about was being able to juggle a baby with a creative business. I am sure it will have to change and evolve over time and I want to try and be realistic about what I can achieve but I am really determined to keep my small business going in some capacity. I am so inspired by all of the incredible creative mamas online that I follow or have been lucky enough to meet in person who make me feel confident that it is possible! (special shout out to Siobhan and Rachel who I love getting to hang out with in real life).

My plan is for the blog to continue in a similar vein to normal but I guess there will be the odd update about pregnancy and the baby's arrival and then after that hopefully some helpful posts about juggling life with a baby and a business.  Any tips from mama’s out there who are doing it would be amazing! I haven't managed to be as consistent as I would like with posting but am going to keep going and not give myself too hard a time and remind myself that I am busy growing a human!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! We are off for a weekend away with our church - so looking forward to a little country escape and spending quality time with friends.

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My Insta Faves (part 6)

Yay! I am so excited to share my first insta faves for 2016 and carry on my little series (see links at the bottom of the post to view previous ones). I really love all the accounts that I am sharing today. I have made a little collection of people on Instagram who's feeds I find really calming and relaxing. I guess I am kind of swept up in the whole idea of simplifying life, living at a slower pace and all of these accounts really inspire me in that. There is such a peaceful beauty in all of the photographs that they share. Anyway dive right in and check them out! 

@byhermirror - Anna's photos are consistently really good. I really love the little glimpses into her every day life and little corners of calm. 

@byhermirror - Anna's photos are consistently really good. I really love the little glimpses into her every day life and little corners of calm. 

@siobhanwatts - Ahhh I love Siobhan and her whole outlook on life. Her feed is full of peaceful moments, thoughtful words and lots of creativity. 

@siobhanwatts - Ahhh I love Siobhan and her whole outlook on life. Her feed is full of peaceful moments, thoughtful words and lots of creativity. 


@FfionMckeown - Cosy is the word I would use to describe Ffion's feed. It makes me want to curl up under a blanket and read a good book by a fire. Check it out!

@FfionMckeown - Cosy is the word I would use to describe Ffion's feed. It makes me want to curl up under a blanket and read a good book by a fire. Check it out!

@Lobsterandswan - Jeska is a stylist and blogger and oh boy does she have mega styling skills. Her feed is full of lovely nooks and rustic surfaces! So inspiring.

@Lobsterandswan - Jeska is a stylist and blogger and oh boy does she have mega styling skills. Her feed is full of lovely nooks and rustic surfaces! So inspiring.


@finelittleday - A beautiful shop from Elisabeth Dunker based in Sweden. On the website it talks about finding the magic in everyday life and their feed definitely reflects that. 

@finelittleday - A beautiful shop from Elisabeth Dunker based in Sweden. On the website it talks about finding the magic in everyday life and their feed definitely reflects that. 

@annararo - A graphic designer based in Barcelona this feed from Anna Salvador is full of quiet and peaceful corners and moments. There is a real stillness and peace captured that is very appealing.

@annararo - A graphic designer based in Barcelona this feed from Anna Salvador is full of quiet and peaceful corners and moments. There is a real stillness and peace captured that is very appealing.


@Freyadowson - I really enjoy seeing the world through Freya's eyes. She is thoughtful in what she says and has a lovely mix of travel and homely moments to share.

@Freyadowson - I really enjoy seeing the world through Freya's eyes. She is thoughtful in what she says and has a lovely mix of travel and homely moments to share.

@watersounds - Illustrator Sarah Abbot has amazing work and I love how she shares it in this feed. Little corners of her home combined with her illustrations make this feed look beautiful!

@watersounds - Illustrator Sarah Abbot has amazing work and I love how she shares it in this feed. Little corners of her home combined with her illustrations make this feed look beautiful!


So there we have it. I hope you have enjoyed this collection of people to follow. If you have any others you think I should check out feel free to share them. I am going to go and chill out on Instagram getting inspired. I really love Instagram as a community more and more! See my other Instagram faves here: onetwothreefour, five

Happy Wednesday!

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Things I have learnt in 7 years as a graphic designer

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I can't actually believe this but from this January I have been working as a graphic designer for 7 years! I guess my experience extends a bit longer too as I was doing freelance work before that when I was at university. Anyway, that is a pretty long time and so I thought it might be fun to share some of the lessons that I have learnt in that time. So here goes...

1. Only present ideas you are happy with. Otherwise you can guarantee the client will choose the one you don't like - so it's best to not even let that be an option. Yes you probably won't like all of your ideas equally - but at least if they are all strong then you won't resent having to work on and develop them further. 

2. Come up with a good way of filing your work. Now this is something that I have not always been great at and am still working on improving, but we don't only have to deal with organising our physical possessions anymore, we now have to keep our digital possessions organised too, and there is often a lot! With your work you want to be able to find old and current work as quickly as possible. Name your files sensibly and also come up with a folder system to keep it all organised. Do this from the start and you will thank yourself down the line when you need to find old files from a client who wants an update.

3. Keep old rejected ideas. They might be useful for other projects in the future. This has worked in my favour a few times and has saved time and has meant that I have been able to re-use and re-purpose designs that I really liked and are appropriate for another project again. The ideas are yours and so you are totally entitled to use them again - but you probably need to be a bit sensitive about it depending on who the clients are. 

4. Communication is key. A lot can get lost over email - phone calls and meeting face to face are often better if possible. I have definitely learnt this recently. Often people don't love talking on the phone and it's a lot more effort to meet the client in person - but honestly nothing beats being able to present your ideas face to face and for the client to see your enthusiasm and be able to ask questions there and then. You can also get a much clearer idea about what they feel about them.

5. Don't charge an hourly rate but a total amount for the project. So this was something that I only really started to consider recently after reading quite a few different articles about it. The main idea that really struck me was that as you improve and gain more experience as a designer you will work faster. This means that unless you are increasing your hourly rate regularly you will actually be earning less the more experienced you get when people should be paying more for that experience. For me, with some clients it is just not appropriate to charge a fee for the whole project (and if they are the sort of clients that make lots of amends it can be helpful to charge hourly) - but I am going to try and do this as often as I can in the future. 

6. Knowing when to fight for your ideas and when not to. Often working with a really good client makes the end result even better. They bring ideas and feedback that are really helpful and constructive. Sometimes the client doesn't always know what's best though and in those instances you need to decide when to fight for your ideas. Part of it is about educating the client about the process but also you have to remember that you are the professional designer and that you have insight and experience that they might not have and there might be things they have not considered or thought about. It's always important to be polite and respectful and most often than not they will really appreciate your feedback and ideas and will really take them on board. I think that is when a client/designer works really well - when there is mutual respect and trust so that can share your different ideas and work well together. 

Are you designer? Do you have any other lessons to add that have helped you? I would love to hear them if you do. If you are not a designer I hope you found this an interesting insight into working as a designer. A lot of these lessons I think would be pretty relevant to other jobs too. 

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Inspired by Abbey Lossing

I noticed the other day that all my 'inspired by' posts seem to be illustrators. I guess maybe it is because people are hardly ever just one thing anymore - designers are illustrators too - illustrators are amazing photographers - photographers are designers etc etc - there are just so many overlaps within creative disciplines. Anyway, it seems I tend to be drawn to share illustrations here - but in the future I might try to consciously mix it up a bit. 

Today I am totally inspired by the illustrations of Abbey Lossing. She has such a great sense of colour and I really love the palettes that she chooses for her illustrations. There is something simple but really captivating about the characters she draws and you can't help but smile when you look at them (well I can't anyway!).

She seems to have a great sense of humour, (a talented illustrator who is genuinely funny is a great combination!) which is evident in her animated gif's - they also engender feelings of endearment towards the characters in them and contain witty observations about life that we can probably all identify with! 

Check out her site too because where there is so much more of her amazing work. It was really hard to pick out a few pieces to share. She also has a shop where you can buy a couple of prints. I love it when the work of artists and creatives that I admire is available to buy so affordably. 

Hope you have a creative and inspiring week!

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New Year in Cornwall

Liz Mosley - Cornwall

I am always a little bit suspicious of New Year - there is always so much potential for it to be an anti-climax. So I have learnt in recent years to make sure I have something planned with people I love pretty far in advance. This year turned out to be pretty much perfect! 

We went to Cornwall for a weekend and stayed in the most beautiful cosy cottage in a little village called Stratton. The weather wasn't great but we still managed to get out to do things and who cares when you can snuggle up on the sofa in front of the fire reading a book watching the others do a jigsaw (haha when I was a kid that would have all sounded so boring to me, but now it is just pure relaxation!). 

Liz Mosley - Cornwall
Liz Mosley - Cornwall
Liz Mosley - Cornwall
Liz Mosley - Cornwall

It really was such a chilled few days and when we got back to London all I could think about was being back there, not needing to be anywhere, reading, and eating yummy food with some of my favourite friends. 

Some of the highlights were
1. A cinema outing to the most amazing little village cinema called Rebel cinema.
2. Drinks and pool at the local pub around the corner while desperately trying to connect to wifi.
3. Crazy golf in the cold and rain and not coming last (!!!) then on a hot chocolate mission to warm up.
4. Fish and Chips at Rick Steins.
5. Exploring Bude, Padstow and Boscastle
6. Windy walks on the beach
7. Heading to the end of the sea wall to watch the fireworks over Bude and welcome in 2016

Liz Mosley - Cornwall
Liz Mosley - Cornwall
Liz Mosley - Cornwall
Liz Mosley - Cornwall

It sounds like we actually did a lot but really it was the perfect amount in the time we had. I tried to carry the chilled vibes into the start of this year, I have been taking things easier and I feel like for the first time in my life I have learnt some really good lessons in self care and coming up with little rituals and routines that make me feel relaxed even in the crazy busyness that is London. I am appreciating our little snug house more than ever and going to bed early with a book is what I crave right now. 

How ever you are finding to cope I hope you are enjoying January and are finding ways to relax and rest! Have a great weekend! 

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Moodboard Monday

I think because its winter and we have been dreaming about future holidays I am kind of longing for spring and greenery. I just want lots of green things in my life right now. We have been gradually adding some bits of greenery around our house (and trying not to kill them) - but I still want to add more. Also, from my green Pinterest scrolling I have noticed that green seems to work so well in interior decorating. Check out this all green house! We have a green wall in our house and now I want more! Also this green door is a beauty!

For today's Moodboard Monday I am sharing a bit of a green themed moodboard of things I have been gravitating towards on Pinterest recently. 

Hope you all have a lovely and inspired week!

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Goals for 2016

Liz Mosley 2016 Goals

Business Goals

1. Start a sketch book for experimenting.
This one could probably go in the personal or business goals but I have decided to put it in the business goals as I think it will have a huge benefit on my work. I hardly spend any time just doodling and playing with things that are not necessarily going to turn into something. I think working and experimenting without the pressure of a final product will be such a positive and inspiring habit to get into. I also just miss having a sketchbook - something that I am not precious about - that I can make a mess in. If it works out, I am excited about sharing some of it on the blog as it will be a bit of a behind the scenes look at the creative process.

2. Start an email newsletter. 
So, as I mentioned in my last post this is a goal that has been transferred over from the 2015 list to the 2016 list. Ideally I was hoping that newsletters would be weekly or fortnightly at least but I think to be realistic I am going to try and start off doing monthly newsletters (hopefully that will seem less scary and get the ball rolling), and then see how things go from there. I have started putting together a template in mailchimp and have used mailchimp quite a bit before so hopefully it won't take too long to get the first newsletter sorted. 

3. Re-photograph all of the stock for the shop and edit down products.
Although the way my products look and have been photographed has improved A LOT since I first started my Etsy shop there is still a lot I would like to improve about them. I want to take some time to really thoughtfully plan out how I want to present my products and take photographs that do the products justice but that also work well together to give the shop a cohesive look and style. I think I am going to have to work on my styling skills for this one and think of fun and interesting ways to make the products look their best. I also want to get rid of any products in the shop that I am not 100% happy with and make room for new designs. 

4. Define the mission and purpose of my business
My business has quite a few different aspects to it but this year I really want to come up with a clear purpose and vision for the business. I think this will really help when making decisions about what projects to pursue and work on, and which to let go as they don't fit in with my purpose. Tangibly, I want to come up with a statement that really sums up what I do and what I am passionate about. This will be something that can be on the website so that people are even clearer on what I am all about, but also something that I can keep referring to and being inspired by as I try and grow and push the business forward. 

 

Personal Goals

1. Learn to make Macarons.
My love for Macarons only really developed in the last few years. I think before I just thought they were over-rated but then I had some amazing ones and now I am hooked. Some friends of mine have made them and they came out so good. I have never been able to attempt them as our oven was soooo bad at heating evenly but now we have a brand spanking new oven I am going to give it a go. 

2. Learn to make my own candles.
I have done a little bit of candle making when I was a kid and it was really fun. Again my love for candles has seriously grown over the last few years and so I have always thought it would be great to make my own for me to use but also for gifts for friends and family who I know love candles too. Once I saw this Instagram from Siobhan I felt more determined than ever. This WILL be the year that I do it. 

3. Make more time to read and do things that don't involve looking at a screen.
My reading list is seriously long - when I am at home and tired I find myself lying on the sofa just automatically scrolling on my phone - it's not really anything of worth that I am looking at, I'm just stuffing my brain full of things for the sake of it. I am going to try and use this time to read a magazine or book instead. I think it is going to be a habit that takes a long time to change but I am determined to work on it!

4. Eat less sugar.
Ok I will be totally honest I don't think I will ever be the sort of person who can cut out sugar completely - but I have realised recently that I have not been making the healthiest of choices when it comes to food. I want to have treats for sure, I just want to cut down on how often they happen! (I used to joke with my husband that my life was just one big treat - because I constantly seemed to be saying the words 'I am just going to treat myself'). I also want to get creative and find healthier and tastier options to replace the daily chocolate bar. (just realised how contradictory this is with the first personal goal! ha)

Blog posts about peoples goals are some of my favourites (they are always so inspiring and I find they encourage and motivate me). So if you have shared your goals I would love to read them! Share them below.  

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Looking back on 2015

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Last summer I put together some really concrete goals that I wanted to work on for my small business. So I thought I would do a little re-cap and let you know how I got on with all of them. Here is the original post if you want to check it out. 

1. Set up a shop on my own website
Yes! I finally managed to do this. I was really glad that I had this set up before Christmas. I haven't closed my Etsy shop and will still leave it there for now, but I'll focus more on promoting the shop on my website. I think it will take a while and will be slow growing but I am looking forward to adding more products to it and improving how it looks and works. 

2. Start an email newsletter
This one I totally failed on. I think if I'm honest I have been trying to do too many things and so this was just another ball to juggle that would've required a lot of work. I am frustrated with myself for not doing this and think I need to take my own advice about just getting started from my post earlier in the week, but this will definitely be on my goal list for 2016 and hopefully it will be achieved this year! I would love to be able to offer special discounts and behind the scenes updates to my regular followers.

3. Get organised for Christmas
I think there will always, always be room for improvement on this one but I was pleased that I managed to get two packs of Christmas cards up in the shop. It was still a bit touch and go getting them up in plenty of time and I feel like each year I am learning about timings when it comes to greetings cards. I want to try and be even more organised with it in 2016. 

4. Add more stock to the shop
One of my frustrations, as ever, is not being able to add as many new products to the shop as I would like to and I will need to think about what is realistic on this front in the coming year. I definitely didn't add as much stock as I would have liked in 2015 but I think I need to manage my expectations about what is realistic with all the other things that I have to balance. I also want to re-think which products I keep in stock too. Some I am really pleased with and some not so much, so I guess it will be a constant process of editing and refining. 

5. Sell my stuff at a market/fair
I think this was the achieved goal that I was most pleased with in 2015. I applied for markets not really sure if I would even get accepted. I ended up doing 3 markets between October and Christmas and it was such a learning experience and really valuable. The sales were good and I made more than I expected (except I did go with very low expectations! Ha) - but what I really loved was meeting customers in person and seeing people interact with my work. It made me so happy when people would pick up a card and laugh or smile at it. It was a really good reminder as to why I love to do what I do. If you have a small biz and haven't done any markets yet I would totally recommend it. I shared a post here with some info about doing your first craft fair and things to think about. 

I feel really happy with how I have pushed my business forward last year. I feel like things really have grown and developed and although I didn't achieve everything I set out to I achieved a lot of what I wanted to. I know there are still so many areas that I want to improve in and develop further and so I am looking forward to 2016 and moving forward in this little adventure of mine. I will be sharing my goals for 2016 in the next few days so come back and check that out. 

Thank you so much for all your support and following along with my creative journey here on the blog. After a bit of rest and taking it easy I am finally feeling excited and inspired about the year ahead and everything to come. 

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Just get started

Oh boy - I have started writing this post so many times - I don't know what is wrong with me but at the end of last year with everything going on, life, work, the shop, selling at craft fairs, I just sort of fell out of the habit of blogging regularly. This has been probably the longest accidental break from blogging that I have had for a while, but when the New Year came round I just found it so hard to get stuck back in again. I can't really put my finger on why to be honest, maybe a lack of inspiration and ideas, maybe a creative rut, maybe too many other things to think about - but I have missed it, the routine and structure and a space to be creative in a different way.  I guess it just got to the point where I had to make a start. So here it is. I am back. I am making a fresh start.

This is going to be a pretty short post - I am just easing back in but I just wanted to mention that there is a MEGA sale going on in the shop at the moment. Seriously, most things are 50% off and there are so many bargains. It ends on the 16th January so you still have a few days to get involved - and some things once they are gone will be gone forever. 

I will be back later in the week with my goals for this year. I have quite a lot of them buzzing around my head so I think I need to think them through and make sure they are not totally unrealistic. 

I would also like to do a post reflecting back on my goals last year and how I got on with them. It is always encouraging to look back and see how far you have actually come even if you don't manage to achieve everything. 

I hope January hasn't been too blue for you and you are looking forward to the year ahead! Also, if you have written posts with your goals in I would love to read them! Just post a link in the comments below!

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Inspired by Aisha Zeijpveld

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to one of the days at the Offset London conference. I had been to one of the Offset conferences in Dublin quite a few years ago and was excited that they were putting something on in London. 

There were lots of inspiring talks from different creatives throughout the day but I think the major highlights for me were Erik Kessels and Seb Lester. Someone new to me who's work really blew me away though (I have kept thinking about it since) was Aisha Zeijpveld

She is an Amsterdam based photographer and you might not necessarily know it from looking at her photographs but there is so much work that goes into them. I have lots of friends who are photographers and I know that it's not a case of just pointing and shooting - there is lots of planning, research, styling and technical skill that goes into each shot. But Aisha's work just took things to a whole different level. The way she works seems very experimental and sometimes looking at the images you just can't know all the different layers and processes that she has gone through to get the final outcome. 

I think this is why her talk really stood out to me because it was really fun to see the behind the scenes of how she works. The image below for example hasn't been photoshops. Portraits were taken and then parts of the image where cut away and light shined through to get the halo effect. 

Again, you might think that the below was photoshopped but actually it was a case of genuinely throwing things at this guys face to get the perfect shot. I think what is quite exciting (and risky I guess) is that you don't always know how it is going to turn out - or how long it will take to get something that works and is just right. 

Quite a lot of her work involves various stages of photography. A photograph might be taken and then printed, ripped and manipulated and then photographed again. It gives them such a deep and beautiful quality that I think would get lost in photoshop. I think the image below is really beautiful and was for an editorial piece to illustrate back pain. 

 I would really recommend checking out Aisha's website to see more of her beautiful work. There is such a distinct style and beautiful quality to her images. It is always amazing to discovered an artist and to be inspired and mesmerised by their work. 

I hope you all have an inspired Thursday! 

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Shop independent this Christmas

One thing that I love about the internet is how easy it is these days to sell things online - as a result there are so many creative talents selling beautiful products. I love starting my Christmas shopping early and feeling organised and on top of it all - I think part of it is because I just love buying gifts and thinking about what my friends and family will enjoy. 

In recent years obviously being a small business owner myself I feel more and more passionate about supporting small businesses and shopping from 'independent' places as much as possible.

I am gathering quite a nice little collection of independent shops online and so I thought I would share them in case you are like-minded and want to start ticking things off the list in preparation for Christmas. All of these shops I have featured below are also all UK based because lets support local while we are at it hey!

So lets dive right in...

The Pattern Guild - A friend brought me a pencil case from these guys and I use it constantly and love it. The patterns are beautiful and the products are handmade and really quality! 

The Pattern Guild - A friend brought me a pencil case from these guys and I use it constantly and love it. The patterns are beautiful and the products are handmade and really quality! 

Wild and Fawn - Simple but striking jewellery is where it is at. I have a beautiful ring from Wild and Fawn but also have my eye on the necklace above. Great for your stylish friends.

Wild and Fawn - Simple but striking jewellery is where it is at. I have a beautiful ring from Wild and Fawn but also have my eye on the necklace above. Great for your stylish friends.

Pluck'd Designs - What I love about these hats is they are super stylish but also reflective! They are handmade and beautiful quality and would make such a great gift.

Pluck'd Designs - What I love about these hats is they are super stylish but also reflective! They are handmade and beautiful quality and would make such a great gift.

Clement and Claude - I have got really into candles recently and so was really excited to discover these guys at a Crafty Fox market. I bought a couple and the scents were perfect!

Clement and Claude - I have got really into candles recently and so was really excited to discover these guys at a Crafty Fox market. I bought a couple and the scents were perfect!

Esme Winters - I have the most beautiful patterned journal from these guys. Great for stationery lovers and also for getting your wrapping paper to make your presents look top notch!

Esme Winters - I have the most beautiful patterned journal from these guys. Great for stationery lovers and also for getting your wrapping paper to make your presents look top notch!

Dianne Tanner - I have the clutch above and I absolutely adore it. I love Dianne's products because they are quirky and different and you won't find anything like it anywhere else. 

Dianne Tanner - I have the clutch above and I absolutely adore it. I love Dianne's products because they are quirky and different and you won't find anything like it anywhere else. 

Basil and Ford - These guys have really fun bright typographic prints that would look great in any house! They also have a glow in the dark print which is pretty cool! 

Basil and Ford - These guys have really fun bright typographic prints that would look great in any house! They also have a glow in the dark print which is pretty cool! 

Geo-Fleur - Everyone is crazy for succulents and plants these days - these guys have such beautiful and affordable planters that would be ace gifts and add a stylish twist to home decor! 

Geo-Fleur - Everyone is crazy for succulents and plants these days - these guys have such beautiful and affordable planters that would be ace gifts and add a stylish twist to home decor! 

Above are a few of my current favourites that I have featured but there are also some old favourites that I always like to go back to and check out - so here are a few more links for you to peruse at your leisure:

Oh my clumsy heart
Chloe Vaux
Prickle Press
Lucie Ellen

Also, don't forget to check out my shop for paper goodies that would make great stocking fillers or that would be beautiful additions to your friends walls. 

Happy Shopping! 

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