Book Review: All Messed Up by Anna Gerber

All Messed Up by Anna Gerber is a pretty old book now - but I wanted to share it on the blog as it's one that really influenced me a lot when I was doing my foundation course and my degree. I have always been drawn to design that has started its life with something created by hand - hence my love of handlettering - at art college I would spend so much time making things before actually going near the computer. Don't get me wrong I love clean and beautiful typography too - but getting my hands dirty and experimenting with different techniques will always be my first love - and that is why this book was so important and inspiring for me. 

One thing in particular that I love about this book is that it shows work where techniques are used that mean 'mistakes' are inevitable. But often these mistakes are what make the work so interesting and beautiful. Old typewriters, letraset, dymo machines, letterpress, screenprinting - these methods of creating type and illustrations are such exciting mediums to work in - partly because you don't know exactly what will come out - the quirks of the machines and the tools have an impact on the final piece.  

I truly believe that making mistakes is integral and so important for the creative process. It can be something that we are so afraid of, but this book explores and celebrates the beauty of mistakes. We need to learn how to use these mistakes to our advantage as designers and makers. 

I think it was such an important lesson to learn when I was a student, but I am very aware that it is a lesson I need to relearn now after 10 years as a designer. There really is so much beauty in being brave enough to experiment and embrace making mistakes - because sometimes those mistakes result in your best work - or the project taking an unexpected turn. Sadly the way I work and the way the industry often works these days doesn't allow as much time for experimenting as I would like, and I definitely think that as designers (myself included) we are often to quick to go straight to the computer.  Don't get me wrong - computers are wonderful things, and have made the life of a designer so much easier and faster, but along the way I think we have lost something.

I would definitely recommend this book if you are a bit tired of looking at your screen and need a bit of inspiration for different techniques and tools to use that might inspire your work to go in a different direction. I think it would be inspiring for designers and artists alike. Its a nice chunky book with lots of pages to drool over and as soon as you start turning them you will want to get busy and get ink all over your hands as quickly as possible! 

Do you allow time to experiment and make mistakes? Do you use any tools that make mistakes inevitable? 

Inspired by Lieke van der Vorst

An illustrator based in Eindhoven,  Lieke van der Vorst has to be one of my all time favourite illustrators. I absolutely love all of her work and can get lost in her instagram and website getting inspired (and maybe feeling insanely jealous - but I try and keep that in check!) for so long.


I really love the colour palettes she uses in her work and also the texture of her pen/pencil strokes. She has a really distinct style. I don't know why but I am always in awe of people who have a really clear style - maybe because I feel like I am never happy with mine or clear what mine is in my design work. I also like how she combines human and animal characters in her pieces - it adds an element of fun and whimsy to the situations depicted. I want to have tea and cake in a rowing boat with a friendly bear! 


She also has a shop where she sell prints, originals, postcards etc. There are lots of goodies in there and now I will have to have to start saving! I need to have her artwork on my walls! 

Anyway I really hope you enjoy exploring her work some more and getting lost in the beautiful worlds that she creates. 

Have a lovely and inspiring week!

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Insta Faves (part 7)

It's been a while since I have done an insta faves round up (and we all know I love doing them since I am on part 7!!). I try not to get too fixated about numbers on instagram but I would love to make it to 1K followers in the next month or so and I have been trying to be better at posting regularly and being more present there. It is my favourite platform and I find it so inspiring. 

Anyway, in my travels on there here are some of the people I have found and love following at the moment - I have tried to keep them all stationery inspiration this time because there is nothing like snail mail and paper treats to make me happy!

@unpeusauvage  - Delicate envelopes, stickers and notebooks and frankly life looks beautiful in the instagram feed of this italian knitter and stationery maker. 

@unpeusauvage - Delicate envelopes, stickers and notebooks and frankly life looks beautiful in the instagram feed of this italian knitter and stationery maker. 

@robertandstella  - Stationery and flowers beautifully photographed. SO much inspiring goodness here! 

@robertandstella - Stationery and flowers beautifully photographed. SO much inspiring goodness here! 

@oonajuliar  - This account is a combo of nature and paper and the style of photography is stunning.

@oonajuliar - This account is a combo of nature and paper and the style of photography is stunning.

@mrstudiolondon  - pressed flowers but like you have never seen them before! Beautiful cards for all the nature lovers. 

@mrstudiolondon - pressed flowers but like you have never seen them before! Beautiful cards for all the nature lovers. 

@lucy_mail  - Lucy's account makes me want to send snail mail! Lots of beautifully painted and decorated envelopes!

@lucy_mail - Lucy's account makes me want to send snail mail! Lots of beautifully painted and decorated envelopes!

@tinasosna  - dreamy photography and a shop full of lovely envelopes that would make your post the most beautiful! 

@tinasosna - dreamy photography and a shop full of lovely envelopes that would make your post the most beautiful! 

@modernbotanics  - I have been a fan of Mirta's work for ages. Absolutely stunning products created with lino cuts. 

@modernbotanics - I have been a fan of Mirta's work for ages. Absolutely stunning products created with lino cuts. 

@helloimemilie  - Beautiful plant inspired line drawings. Pretty prints and temporary tattoos to make your love for paper grow.

@helloimemilie - Beautiful plant inspired line drawings. Pretty prints and temporary tattoos to make your love for paper grow.

I hope you enjoy checking out these different accounts and maybe find some new ones that you had not discovered before! You can check out my past insta faves one, two, three, four, five and six. Have a lovely creative week! 

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Illustrated Maps

Recently on pinterest I have been noticing and pinning lots of beautiful illustrated maps. I just love the creative ways that people represent different places. Obviously these are not the sort of maps that you would use to actually get around but they are a great way to see that place from different peoples perspectives - and you can usually get some great ideas of places to visit from creative types.


London Map - Livi Gosling


Sheffield Hallam University Map - Sarah Abbott

Amsterdam Map - Rifle Paper

I have dabbled with drawing a few maps in my time as a graphic designer but they are usually more practical rather than illustrative and I would love to have a go and create some fun hand lettered maps at some point. I will add it to my long list of things to work on - but in the meantime I hope you enjoyed checking out the maps by all of the amazing illustrators above! 

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Book Review: In Progress by Jessica Hisch

I have been a fan of Jessica Hische's work for a quite a while now, and have enjoyed listening to talks that she has given and exploring her website. I find her a really interesting person and she seems like she has a really good sense of humour (I seriously just want to be her best friend! ha). Anyway, when I discovered that she had brought out a book all about her process and a sort of behind the scenes of how she works I just couldn't help myself, I had to get a copy. 

The book itself has the feel of a coffee table book. The cover is very nice and thick and there are beautiful typographic end papers (see the photo below). It is a thick book and is the sort of book that you could just flick through and look at the images and feel inspired but there is also a lot of meat to it and plenty to sit down and read and get really stuck into. It took me a while but I finally got my act together and found time to read it cover to cover and it did not disappoint. 

The book is layed out really well. It starts off with a bit about Jessica's career history and the path that she took to get to where she is. I really like her writting style because it's quite friendly and chatty and you almost feel like it is a conversation. She then goes onto to share a lot of information about her process, all of the tools she uses and how she goes about working on a project. I thought this section was very generous. I always think it is so kind when artists and designers share a lot about their process because it is really helpful. Usually there has been a lot of trial and error and research for them to come up with their ultimate tool list, and their process always comes from years of learning from mistakes. 

The book then goes on to share a lot of Jessica's work. A lot of it was work that I had seen before online but what I loved was being able to see the sketches behind the final pieces and see the process that she had talked about earlier in practice. She has also written little bits about each project which are often really interesting just because of who the clients were and again she is very generous in sharing lessons that she learnt through the process of that particular project. 

I have to say, I think this is one of my favourite design books. I have to confess that often I buy books like this and flick through and look at the images and don't get around to actually reading them, but I am so glad that I took the time to read through this book. The length was ideal - it didn't take me too long to read but I really felt like I was getting a lot of quality information and behind the scenes insight into the work of one of my favourite creatives. It also helped me think through and evaluate my process and toolbox and how I can improve the way I use them and which tools are worth investing in. 

Anyway, if you haven't seen or read this book already I would 100% recommend you add it to your list. Enjoy looking at all the beautiful lettering and images but make sure you read it too! 

Hope you are having inspiring weeks so far!

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Inspired by: David Shrigley

A few weeks ago we went to Sketch London for afternoon tea for my birthday. It has been on my list of places to visit for the longest time as I had seen so many beautiful pictures of it online. It was totally worth it and the afternoon tea was delicious - another cool thing about the place though is that the walls in the gallery room are filled with drawings by artist David Shrigley

I have been a long time fan of Shrigley's work. I think what I love about it is the simplicity in his drawings but also the humour. That guy is seriously funny. I remember going to an exhibition of his a few years ago and walking around laughing out loud for most of it. It was so fun. 

Anyway, I love seeing his work and being inspired by it so I thought I would share a few of my favourites on the blog today. Enjoy! 


Hope you all have a lovely creative weekend!

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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!). 


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. 


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!!


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! 


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. 


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! 

Book Review: Nib and Ink

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. 


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. 


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. 


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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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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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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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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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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Book Review: Hand Job

Ha so don't let the title of this book deceive you! If you are a lover of hand lettering and illustrated type then this is the book for you! I have always been a big fan of Mike Perry's work so when I found out he had put together a book about hand lettering I had to check it out and I was not disappointed. 

Hand Job is set up alphabetically and is a catalogue of loads of amazing creatives with examples of their work. I love discovering new people's work and it has information about them and their websites so you can go and explore even more beyond the book. Saying that the book is jammed packed and it has plenty to get you inspired and get your creative juices flowing. 

One thing I love about it is although it is all hand drawn type there is just such a variety of styles and techniques. The lettering is often shown in real life situations on products, printed items, t-shirts etc. The work is also interspersed with photographs of the artists' work spaces in some places. I LOVE is always nice to get a peek into the creative spaces that people work in. 

This book is full of colour and creativity on every page and just really makes me want to get all of my pens out and start doodling and writing things. I think I say this in every post on here...but I really need to work harder at creating work just to experiment and for the joy of it rather than for anything in particular...and who knows where it might lead. 

This book is thick and chunky and jammed packed. If you like doodles, lettering, typography, colour and illustration then this book is the book for you! 

Hope you are all having weeks full of creativity! 

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Colour inspiration from Kew Gardens

The other weekend we had family staying and the weather was really good so we decided to head off to Kew Gardens for a picnic and explore, which did not disappoint. There was just so many beautiful things to see and I loved it. I hadn't been since I was really young but I definitely want to go again soon. I think each season is quite different at Kew so it will be fun to go at different times of the year to see how the plants have changed. 

Anyway, as I was looking through all of the photos that I had taken I was really struck by the incredible colours. I am always on the hunt for interesting and beautiful colour palettes to use in my work so I thought it would be interesting to take some of my photos and put together some colour palettes from them. 


I really enjoyed using these images as inspiration for colours and really like how some of the colour palettes came out. They are definitely the sort of thing that I would use in my work. I think what I might do over the next few weeks is pick one of these images each week and then create a bit of work using the colours that I chose. I will definitely share them here. I will probably experiment with some patterns and some hand lettering. 

I have been thinking recently that I want to create work that isn't for anything in particular but that is just about experimenting and having fun. 

Hope you are enjoying all the Autumn colours around at the moment. Happy Wednesday!

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Tips for your first craft fair

Guys I mentioned it enough times on here for you to probably have worked out that on Sunday I was selling at Crafty Fox Market in Brixton. One of my goals this year was to sell my products in person at a craft fair and I am so glad I achieved it. 

It was a really great day and I loved meeting so many customers in person and also other makers who I had been friends with online for a while but not met in real life yet. 

Whilst it is still all fresh in my mind I thought I would get everything written up and share a whole load of tips for doing your first craft fair (or some tips might be handy for old seasoned pro's). Some of these things were tips that people shared with me before the event (thank you so much!) and some are things I worked out and learnt on the day. 

Packing list - For peace of mind work out way in advance of the event everything that you need to take and then as you are getting everything packed and ready you can just tick off the list and feel confident you haven't forgotten everything. I did have a dream (nightmare!) the other day where I turned up and had forgotten everything. 

Phone/device charger - I decided to get this for the market but I think it will probably be handy for so many life events too. There are loads of different makes and styles of these but I decided to go for an Anker one which would charge my phone 6 times over. If you are doing a craft fair and have a smart phone with a crappy battery then this is a must! ESPECIALLY if you are taking card payments using your phone. You don't want your phone to die and then not be able to use the card reader/take photos/book a taxi etc. 

Card Reader - I debated about whether to take one or not as I didn't know whether I would be doing a lot of craft fairs in the future, and I didn't really want to shell out £70/£80 for one - so I decided to go for iZettle as they have a card reader you can get for free. They take a 2.75% cut (or lower depending on the volume of your sales) which seemed reasonable to me. I was so impressed with this. I didn't use it loads as a lot of people came prepared with cash and people don't tend to buy a greetings card using a card, but I did use it a couple of times for larger sales and I think it was totally worth getting. It was so easy to set up and really easy to use on the day and it felt really good to know that I wouldn't lose out on any sales due to not having one. 

Box of tricks - This is a box that you fill with things like masking tape, packing tape, paper clips, safety pins, string, glue, pegs - anything that could come in handy when putting your stall together. Having all of this stuff made me feel so much better even though I didn't need to use most of it. You never know though when you are going to need to tape/peg/pin something in place. 

Suitcase - I pulled out the biggest suitcase we had and filled it with everything. When you are selling notebooks, prints and cards that thing got heavy quickly - luckily for me the venue was only a very short taxi ride away so it wasn't too bad getting the suitcase there. It was a bit tight squeezing the suitcase under the table but it worked out fine and if you have a bigger table then this wouldn't be an issue at all and is a great place to store it. I had all of my extra stock in there too so I could just duck under the table and get things whenever I needed to stock up cards or prints. 

Attitude and mood - I tried really hard to stand up behind my stall as much as possible (rather than sitting down and pretty much disappearing behind the card stand) and to smile and look as friendly as possible. I want to be friendly and open to chatting but also not pushy so that if people wanted to just browse the stall without any pressure to buy they could totally do that to. It was a hard balance to get but I think your mood and attitude at these events is really important. I really think that people who are shopping probably subconsciously pick it up, and if you look sulky and like you don't want to be there that is not going to make them want to come over and chat about your work. 

Biz cards - Not everyone will necessarily want to buy things on the day. I have definitely gone to markets before where I wasn't ready to make a decision but took away biz cards/postcards and checked them out again online later. I think it is sooo important for people to have something they can take away. Get more than you think you will need printed. People who pick them up might turn into customers later on. 

Table cloth - It totally depends what kind of look you want for your stall and some people didn't use table cloths and it worked well but I decided to get a really big one so that it covered all sides of the table so that people couldn't see all the stuff I had stored underneath. Zoe suggested getting a cotton dust sheet which was one of the best tips I was given. I got one from a local paint shop - it was £7 was totally massive and will cover all sorts of size tables in the future and I really liked the material. 

Practice your stall - I wish I had done this earlier on (but wasn't ready) but I am SO glad that I practiced my stall beforehand. I set everything up as I was planning to on the day. It was really helpful to take some time to think as a customer and work out the best way of presenting everything, labelling everything and how much to put out. I did actually slightly change it around on the day because of lights reflecting on my prints and things and what looked best but I think as I had a practice it saved a lot of time and was just a case of tweaking things rather than starting from scratch.

Stock - I don't think anyone will ever be able to give a clear answer on this as there are so many variables but before I went I really struggled with knowing how much stock to take. I erred on too much rather than too little as I knew I had another craft fair coming up in a few weeks and so would be able to take left over stock to that too. I am glad I did as my stall looked full and well stocked all day long. 

Take food - I don't know about you but I am super grumpy when I haven't eaten and I wanted to be totally on top of my game so that I had lots of energy and was friendly and alert when customers came past. My lovely husband was around for the day and he brought me a yummy sandwich, chocolate and diet coke to keep me going. If you don't have someone with you who you can send out to get treats then I would definitely recommend bringing a packed lunch. Also another tip, make it something that you can eat over a long period of time (it took me two hours to eat one sandwich), and also that doesn't look totally gross to eat - I had to keep ducking down to grab a bite of my sandwich behind the stall because no one wants to see that. 

Anyway I hope if you have a market coming up or if you have been thinking about doing one then this is helpful. I had such a great day and feel like It was such a good experience. I am looking forward to my next market already which will be on Friday 16th and the Green Room Cafe in Stoke Newington. If you are free come and pop by, it would be lovely to meet you. 

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How to deal with rejection as a creative biz owner

I don't think people running a small business talk about rejection all that often - I know I don't. It's the sort of thing you don't really want to shout about as I guess it makes you appear as a 'failure' and we naturally worry that it might make our business look bad. I guess that might be true and although I am not going to talk about specifics I do want to share some thoughts on rejection today. I experienced it recently (and it could be anything from not winning a job, not getting a stall at a market you wanted to sell at, not being featured somewhere etc) and it knocked me a little bit and my natural reaction was to let it get me down and make me doubt and question myself. I wanted to think about it a little deeper though and try and look at it from a more positive perspective. I came up with three points to keep reminding myself of that actually really helped so I thought it would be good to share! 

1. Your worth is not tied up in your creative business and work.
I think this is hard to remember because so much of our identities are tied up in our 'career' and what we do but even if your business/creative activities stopped tomorrow you would still have worth as a human being and something to offer to the world. Although it would be hard, your creativity and your work is not the only important and valuable thing about you. It really helps me to be reminded of this, and even if everything doesn't work out with my small business and even if it isn't considered a 'success' it won't have been a waste because I have, and am learning a lot, and I still have something to offer. 

2. Everyone has to deal with it - even the people who you think are 'successful'
It is always really encouraging to me when people who I class as 'successful' in this industry open up about their journey and often you realise that it hasn't been smooth or quick for them, it is often slow and difficult, full of ups and down and has involved a lot of hard work. Everybody has to deal with rejection and things not going exactly how they planned and so I find it helpful to remember that this is normal. I work in a creative industry and that is full of subjectivity. Not everyone is going to like my work or want to buy what I make and that is ok - and that is the same for other wildly successful businesses too. It would be pretty sad if we all had the same taste and liked the exact same things. Recently I have made friends with other people doing similar things to me but who are maybe further along on the journey and they have been so generous sharing the behind the scenes to me, and opening up about struggles they have had. It really does make it easier to remember that failure and rejection is part of the process and everyone goes through it. 

3. Keep going and get better at what you do
A lot of people don't deal well with rejection (understandably) but they let it defeat them and give up. Sometimes it is right to call it a day and change direction but a lot of the time you just need to keep going - and get better, learn from your mistakes, try again, work out what you can do different next time and grow a better and stronger business as a result. I am really trying to do this...and when I have thoughts of giving up I remember that there are ups and downs and that I just need to keep going and try harder. 

I often get into bad thought patterns and things spiral a bit out of control, so having these three things to remember and keep reminding myself of has really helped and encouraged me. Do you have any ways of dealing with rejection? I would love to hear if you do.

I hope you all have a great Friday and a lovely weekend!

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My insta faves: teresacfreitas

Normally for these insta faves I do a round up of 8 different Instagram accounts to follow but today I decided to feature just one, as her account is so incredibly beautiful. Introducing teresacfreitas - most of the images in her feed are like works of art in their own right and not something that she has snapped while she is out and about (although there are a few of those two) - and I really enjoy the glimpse into how her creative mind works. After a bit of internet stalking I discovered that Teresa is from Portugal and is a photographer (duh! Well obviously!).

There are lots of surreal images in her feed and her work, she is inspired by the sea and you can see that in a lot of her photographs. 

I really do think that Instagram is my favourite form of social media, and although every now and then the green eyed monster rears its ugly head meaning occasionally I have to unfollow someone for my own sanity, most of the time I discover the most wonderfully creative people that inspire me in all sorts of ways. 

Who is your favourite person to follow on Instagram? 

If you want to see my other insta faves check out: one, two, three, four,

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How to be a good finisher
Liz Studio - Samee Lapham

Something that I have learnt about myself is that I am a really good 'starter' but not such a great 'finisher' - I am always getting distracted and excited about something new (a bit like a jackdaw when something shiny comes along!). A classic example is books, I have started so many books, and then abandoned them because another new interesting book has come a long that I want to read more. It's not a great quality when it comes to running a business so I have been trying to be a good finisher as well as making the most of the fact that I am a great starter. 

Being able to see a project through from start to finish is really a strength and a good skill and also the most efficient use of your time. Sometimes it really is appropriate to abandon a project half way through...but most of the time things don't get finished not because people don't want to finish but because they get distracted. And let's be honest there are more distractions these days than ever before. 

So after having a good think through about some ways that might help me be better at getting to the finish line of a project I thought I would list some of them here incase any of you struggle with the same thing. 

1. Set yourself a deadline
This doesn't always work because if it is mine own deadline I can easily let it slide - but if there is a deadline for a client or an event that can really help. It is important to make sure the deadline is realistic and achievable. You want a bit of pressure but not hideous stay up all night sort of deadlines. This helps you to focus and visualise the end of the project and what you want to achieve. 

2. Break the task down into smaller tasks
Sometimes my reasons for not completing something is because it feels a bit overwhelming and a big task. I find that if I break the project down into smaller tasks that I can give myself shorter deadlines for then it seems more manageable and also keeps the momentum going. If you have a smaller task and a shorter deadline then it means you are less likely to get distracted. 

3. Be accountable to someone else
Sometimes I find it helps to chat through my creative project with a friend or colleague and tell them what I am hoping to achieve. If they think it is unrealistic then they can tell me, but also they can keep in touch and find out how I am getting on with it. Knowing someone else is interested in what I am doing and is going to ask how I am getting on with it often motivates me to keep going. Sometimes this accountability could be sharing it on your blog. That can be a bit scary, but actually if you are part way into a project and you give people a bit of a heads up or a sneak peak it can really help because you don't want to let your readers down - and you want to follow through on what you have told them. 

4. Don't take on too much
Sometimes the reason that I don't get things finished is that I have just taken on too much. Although I wish I could, I can't do everything and so I am learning to be selective in what I take on so that I can give it the attention it deserves and make sure that it gets finished. I would rather do 3 things well and get them finished than start 10 things and then have a whole load of half completed not very good projects. 

5. Don't be a perfectionist
Now don't get me wrong, some times being a perfectionist is really important and totally appropriate - but quite a lot of the time it is not and can actually be a hinderance rather than a help. Sometime its time to stop umming and ahhing about whether every single tiny detail is perfect and just get the job done. 

These are just a few of the things that have helped me recently but I would love to know if you struggle with the same thing and have any other useful tips to add. if you do just leave them in the comments below! The photo above was taken by Samee Lapham when she came and hung out in my studio.

I hope you are all having productive and happy Wednesdays!

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Inspired by: Kate Pugsley

For a bit of Monday inspiration I wanted to share the work of Kate Pugsley with you. Kate is an illustrator based in Chicago. She studied illustration and is also a painter and surface designer. I really love her illustrative style and the colours that she uses. I find the work of illustrators really inspiring when it comes to thinking about colour palettes for my design work (I might do a separate post on that soon!).

The illustrations have a simple and childlike quality and are super fun and quirky. I really love the music class illustration below. I think a lot of the subject matter is also things that are very relatable to people. She also has some great colourful abstract pieces too.

I am always on the look out for beautiful illustrations and art work for my walls and Kate has an online store where you can buy some of her prints. Check it out here!

Anyway I hope you all have a lovely and inspired Monday. 

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