Posts tagged creativity
The nursery
This lamp shade makes me so happy - it catches my eye every time I pass by the room. It is from  Lisa Jones Studio . 

This lamp shade makes me so happy - it catches my eye every time I pass by the room. It is from Lisa Jones Studio

We are very very blessed with our living situation in London because we live in a small 3 bedroom house just for the two of us. Frankly, having 3 bedrooms in London is pretty much a luxury whatever size they are and we try really hard not to ever take it for granted. 

Over the last few months we have been doing lots of re-arranging and sorting (and getting rid of stuff) and have turned the smallest box room into a little nursery for the baby. We haven't gone over the top and it doesn't look like one of these nurseries that you would see on pinterest, but it is functional and cosy and we enjoyed picking out a few pieces to decorate it and make it feel homely and cosy for the little guy. 

Since being pregnant I have discovered so many incredible small businesses selling amazing things for babies (and some of the things we got were not for a nursery specifically). I wanted to try and support some of those small businesses - because I know how important that is as small business owner myself. I have also included some things from creatives that we already owned. 

We decided to paint the walls a light grey and keep things pretty simple and neutral. Here are a few photos sharing some of the little details that we have put together. Some of the toys are things we have inherited or that have been made for us and I have even made some of the toys myself! 

This mobile was made by my amazingly talented and lovely colleagues at work. They spent months working on it and I absolutely love it. All of the little animals are made from felt and every single one is different and has its own little personality! At the moment I have hung them on the wall but when the baby is in a crib each strand has a ring on the top so that I can thread them onto a mobile! 

This mobile was made by my amazingly talented and lovely colleagues at work. They spent months working on it and I absolutely love it. All of the little animals are made from felt and every single one is different and has its own little personality! At the moment I have hung them on the wall but when the baby is in a crib each strand has a ring on the top so that I can thread them onto a mobile! 

I have loved this print from  Sarah Abbott  for ages and NM loved it too so we didn't hesitate to get one for the nursery. 

I have loved this print from Sarah Abbott for ages and NM loved it too so we didn't hesitate to get one for the nursery. 

In this room there is a weird sort of solid block that covers the stairs - which was always a strange feature in the room, but now it is making the perfect changing station. We decided to get a waterproof tablecloth from the local fabric shop and then just make sure everything was handy and in easy reach.

In this room there is a weird sort of solid block that covers the stairs - which was always a strange feature in the room, but now it is making the perfect changing station. We decided to get a waterproof tablecloth from the local fabric shop and then just make sure everything was handy and in easy reach.

I love this print from  Kate Alizadeh  (she is a super talented illustrated based in Cardiff). It wasn't in her  shop  but I think I saw it on her instagram and emailed her asking if she could do me a print and she obliged. 

I love this print from Kate Alizadeh (she is a super talented illustrated based in Cardiff). It wasn't in her shop but I think I saw it on her instagram and emailed her asking if she could do me a print and she obliged. 

nursery10.jpg
I recently started sewing more and attempted to make this bunny rabbit. You can find the pattern I used here on  Purl Soho  (amazing website!). It is pretty wonky and badly made but am hoping that adds to its charm and that the little guy will like it. I made  another one  for my Godson too. I really enjoyed making them and would like to experiment with making more toys. 

I recently started sewing more and attempted to make this bunny rabbit. You can find the pattern I used here on Purl Soho (amazing website!). It is pretty wonky and badly made but am hoping that adds to its charm and that the little guy will like it. I made another one for my Godson too. I really enjoyed making them and would like to experiment with making more toys. 

This wall hanging was a gift from a friend a while ago from  Sass and Belle  and fitted in nicely on one of the walls. 

This wall hanging was a gift from a friend a while ago from Sass and Belle and fitted in nicely on one of the walls. 

The print on the left is by  Laura Redburn  - Its not for sale in her shop but I saw it on her blog and she kindly made it into a print for me a while ago. The print on the right is one of mine and is  available in my shop . You can choose between grey and green because its double sided.

The print on the left is by Laura Redburn - Its not for sale in her shop but I saw it on her blog and she kindly made it into a print for me a while ago. The print on the right is one of mine and is available in my shop. You can choose between grey and green because its double sided.

These two little guys were knitted by my mother-in-law and i LOVE them. She has serious knitting skills so I am pretty sure this little guy will never be short of knitted toys or clothes.

These two little guys were knitted by my mother-in-law and i LOVE them. She has serious knitting skills so I am pretty sure this little guy will never be short of knitted toys or clothes.

nursery15.jpg
I also made these little ABC cube rattles. I was inspired by some that Artemis of  Junkaholique  made - and I just sort of made it up as I went along but I think there are loads of tutorials for similar things online. 

I also made these little ABC cube rattles. I was inspired by some that Artemis of Junkaholique made - and I just sort of made it up as I went along but I think there are loads of tutorials for similar things online. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of our nursery. I am sure it will change over time as the baby grows and has different needs but I am really pleased with this as a start. I want to share some pictures of the new studio space too at some point so keep an eye out for those. 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

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.

36da867377dda3cd-map-web.jpg
london-A6map-livi-gosling_1240.jpg

London Map - Livi Gosling

58d17fa0886a320233fe1ef7c3db5d61.jpg

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! 

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

Inspired by: David Shrigley
IMG_0565.JPG
IMG_0567.JPG

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! 

1_meringue.jpg
2_cup_of_tea.jpg
7_concerns.jpg
1_drawing_of_your_life.jpg
1_whopper.jpg

Hope you all have a lovely creative weekend!

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

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.

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

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!

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

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!

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

 

Reader Survey 2015

Guys I have been thinking for a while that it would be pretty interesting to do a reader survey. I have really noticed that since January onwards, as I have been blogging a lot more consistently, engagement and readership has increased, which is great! As much as I write this blog for my own enjoyment and as a creative endeavour that I find inspiration from - you, my lovely readers are pretty key in the whole process. As I work on the blog and develop the content and try and work out what is working and what maybe isn't, it would be so useful to know a bit more about who is reading it and also your thoughts on what you enjoy and what you don't. I know there are a lot of areas that I can improve on, and I am really enjoying that process, so your answers to these questions I've put together will really help me to work out how to do that more effectively and how to grow in the right direction. 

You can find the form below and it really would mean the world to me if you would take five minutes out of your day to answer these questions (seriously you can see how grateful I am - my arms are open wide to give you a hug in the picture above! Haha such a silly photo but it made me laugh!).

Powered by Typeform

I hope you all have a lovely Wednesday!

(photo above taken by Samee Lapham)

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

Inspired by Amelie Fontaine

The internet is a magical place but also a total rabbit hole sometimes. I really love Pinterest for getting lost and discovering new artists and a few weeks ago I stumbled across the website of Amelie Fontaine and totally fell in love with her illustrations. 

These are just a few of her illustrations that I loved but there are seriously SO MANY good ones on her website. She has a shop on her site selling a book that she has illustrated but I seriously hope she starts selling prints because I would love her work on my walls. I really like the black and white food illustration below. I really enjoy the lines and marks that she makes to build up her illustration and how she breaks some of the rules, and by doing that totally builds up and enhances her individual style. Hope you enjoy checking out these images and getting lost in her website!

Book Review: the 1000 Journals Project
journals06.jpg

The book review for this month is a pretty cool one. The 1000 Journals Project. The idea behind the project was inspired by graffiti and the conversations that people have with each other through it in public. For this project 1000, blank journals were sent out into the world...either mailed to people or left in places for people to find. Each journal had instructions inviting people to contribute to the journal and then pass it along to someone else. There were no rules. This book is basically a collection of the 'best bits' of the thousand journals. 

journals04.jpg
journals01.jpg

Every page is so different and so interesting. I just love thinking about how many people found and worked on these journals. Imagine the joy of finding one, the journey's that each journal have been on and the stories they tell. One of the beautiful things about journals such as these 1000 that were sent out, is the tactile nature of them. I guess part of that is lost when the pages are reproduced in a book such as this but there are some lovely tactile elements to this book, like the stitching on the cover and also in the leaves (above left) and on other pages. 

journals09.jpg

" Based on flux and faith, the 1000 Journals Project is an experiment where journals themselves are a museum and every participant is an artist."
- Someguy, Project Creator.

journals11.jpg
journals08.jpg

This is a small but thick, quality feeling book that is full of beautiful drawings, doodles, patterns, words and collages. It is the sort of book that you can dip in and out of and there are always new details to notice and enjoy! It makes me want to keep a 'visual' journal of my own too. I used to do that a lot in art college but I guess haven't made the time to do so recently. 

Anyway I totally recommend this book, it is a beauty and it pretty much proves that everyone is creative. 

Happy Friday, hope you all have a great weekend! Anyone got any fun plans? 

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

What's the point?

A few weeks ago I wrote this post and didn't get round to posting it and I guess I was a bit nervous about posting it as it was quite personal, but then I read this post by Belinda and was inspired by her courage (she had been scared to share her post too!). So I thought why not share what I have been struggling with as well because I think in reality they are similar struggles to others. I think it always helps when you realise that other people are dealing with and working through similar things to you. 

Sometimes I start to wonder what the point is when It comes to my creative work. It just seems that there are so many people out there doing a similar thing to me and frankly doing it better - I wonder if there's room for me? And if another person doing this sort of thing is needed. I start looking at all the people doing it better and sometimes think I shouldn't bother. 

But then I remember that it is not just about what I produce and bring into the world creatively - it is also about the journey and the act of creating. And I LOVE it - and so I guess giving up is not really an option because there would be a hole/a void in my life. 

Before the Internet I guess there were still people all over the world working on similar goals as you and me, but we didn't know about it - but now everybody is sharing their work online and has a website, Twitter and Instagram. 

I suppose as I kind of mentioned above I am writing this in the spirit of authenticity and honesty. The last couple of weeks have been a bit tough creatively - I have been questioning what I have to offer, what I can bring to this global creative community that is new and fresh and am I good enough? I guess we all have days like this and the Internet is full of people reminding each other that 'comparison is the thief of joy'.

So what can I do about it? I wrote a little while ago about learning to live with less - and I think in my head when I wrote that I was really talking about physical objects - i.e. not needing as many possessions - but I need to remember I am a consumer too when it comes to the Internet. I think it is amazing that so many people can share their creativity, their writing and their journey online, (and that is exactly what I am doing here) but maybe I have a responsibility to my creativity and my well-being to consume a bit less of it. I am not exactly sure what it will look like but I guess it might mean having a bit of a sort through of my Twitter, Instagram and Feedly accounts and cutting back on how many people I follow. I read this article the other day asking the question can too much inspiration actually be harmful? I am the first to acknowledge all the amazing things about the Internet and one of the things I have been loving at the moment is the new creative friends I have been making on the Internet and actually meeting in real life...but I think it is time that I start to acknowledge that there are some downsides - I am starting to try and work out how I can protect myself and make sure my creativity is not affected negatively. 

I think it is a relief to know that other creatives that I admire struggle with similar things and so I am going to pick myself up, work hard and keep tackling my to-do list and coming up with new ideas. I really love what I am doing and am going to keep working at growing my little business. 

After I finished writing this post I read this blog post by Seth Godin, and was really struck by the following quote >  "Pretty good ideas are easy. The guts and persistence and talent to create, ship and stick it out are what's hard." - And he is right... that is the hard bit. But I feel even more inspired to stick it out and keep going when I am struggling and finding it hard. 

I hope you all have a really lovely and creative Friday! Don't forget you are unique and you totally have something to offer! 

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

 

No man or woman is a creative island
IMG_5258.JPG

A little while ago I wrote a post about tips to keep the creative juices flowing. It was helpful to write them down and have them to hand for next time I get in a creative rut, but my friend Lois pointed out that I had missed off a key tip - spending time with creative friends. Such a good point! To be honest I can't believe I forgot it...but since I think it is so important I decided to give this tip its own blog post! 

Having creative friends and people who understand what you do has been so important to me in my creative journey. I think one of my favourite things is when you meet someone who just seems to totally be on your creative wavelength and you just click and you can’t help it but share ideas and get excited about what each other is working on. Having friends to bounce ideas off and get feedback is such a helpful tool when it comes to running a small creative business - especially if they are in a similar boat. 

I have been lucky that I have had some great creative friends that I've had since my art foundation course and from university. Sadly we don’t all live in the same place now but I know they are just a call or an email away and it is always great having their support and wisdom. More recently I have been making friends with fellow creative's based in London through the amazing worlds of Instagram and Twitter. I honestly can’t even tell you what an encouragement this has been to me.

To be honest about a year ago I was a bit unsure about meeting up with people who I knew online but not in real life - but about this time last year I went for dinner with the lovely Bianca and Samee and the rest as they say is history. More recently I have met up with Teri and Siobhan - just thought I would mention them too as they are both so darn lovely. Chatting to all these girls has been so inspiring and helpful! 

So if you are shy and have been holding back from making and meeting internet friends for whatever reason but have been thinking about it can I encourage you to just go for it! Yes it can be a bit scary at first but in my experience it has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the wonderful online communities that are Twitter and Instagram. 

Hope you are have a lovely Monday! 

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

Tips to keep the creativity juices flowing

I don't know about you but sometimes go through phases where I feel stuck in a rut with my creativity. I have been in one recently and I feel like I am only just surfacing from it. I have been thinking about some of the ways that help keep my creative juices flowing and so I thought I would share a few of them in case they might help anyone else. 

1. Walk lots. I have recently been walking a lot more (about 1.5 hours some days) and I make a point of not listening to music or podcasts and just daydreaming. I find that my mind wanders and I start thinking about projects I am working on and ideas seem to flow more naturally. I find myself coming up with designs in my head. (The photo above was taken from one of my walks to work recently).

2. Come up with ideas everyday. Sometimes I think it is good to train your brain in certain behaviours or to think in particular ways. I think you can do this with idea generation. Train your brain to come up with lots of ideas. Keep a notebook (can be physical and/or digital) and set yourself the challenge of coming up with 10 ideas everyday. They don't all have to be good ones, just get them down and you might be surprised by what you have. I try to do this with blog posts and I now have a pretty long list.

3. Travel. Now this doesn't have to be somewhere far away or exotic but I think going somewhere new where you haven't been before is stimulating for the brain. There are new things to see and explore and it can often be very inspiring. Time away from everyday routines can be great. If you can afford to visit other countries amazing, but I find a weekend away in another city or even exploring a part of town I am not familiar with does the trick. 

4. Read books. This is something that I have not been very good at recently but I have got a pile of novels that I am eager to crack on with (all the walking has meant less time on the bus reading!). We learn so much from reading and I think often reading about things that might be totally unrelated to the creative project you are working on can spark connections, or make you think outside the box and in new ways. 

5. Learn a new skill. Sometimes if you are struggling with a particular project it can help if you channel your creativity in a different direction and learn something new. So for example if I am struggling with a particularly tough design job - taking a break and making candles, practising calligraphy or linocutting can focus my brain in a different way and get me all inspired again, so I am fresh to go back to the tricky design I am working on. A great place to start with this is skillshare. There are so many amazing online classes that you can take and don't cost very much and it always feels so good to learn new things. 

I hope some of these work for you. I would love to hear if you have any other ideas for how to keep creativity levels high. 

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

Book Review - Manage your day to day (volume one)

I started reading this book a few weeks ago on the recommendation of a friend and while I was reading, it inspired me to write this post about getting my attention span back. Since it is all fresh in my mind I thought I would feature it for the book review this month. 

What I loved about this book was how it was broken up into small manageable chunks and also included writing from a whole variety of really talented and inspiring people. The short essays are grouped into 4 sections: building a rock-solid routine, finding focus in a distracted world, taming your tools and sharpening your creative mind. Each section has 4 short essays and then an interview. The good things about having a book laid out like this is that it is really easy to dip in and out of and it also doesn't take long to read the whole book. I have been reading it on the bus when commuting in the morning and it has been a really inspiring way to start the day. 

I think one of the reasons that I enjoyed this book so much is because it deals with the sort of stuff that I have been thinking about a lot recently: i.e. taming your tools, and ways to work better and more effectively. It has given me a lot to mull over and think about. It also has lots of really interesting and practical suggestions to change and improve the way you do things and deal with your time and resources. 

"Just as we watch our intake of caffeine or candy or alcohol lest we become addicted, we need to conciously develop a healthy relationship with our tools – or we will lose perspective and become slaves to them"

- James Victore – Manage Your Day-to-Day

There were just so many great quotes that I wanted to scribble down and remember, the above being one of them. It is the sort of book that I will want to re-read quite a few times to really digest the content. I can imagine having it with me and picking it up to read one essay for a bit of a boost and inspiration. 

I think I have probably been a bit gushing in this review but I really can't recommend this book enough. I think if you work in any sort of creative industry you should read this book, but even if you don't I think a lot of the issues and ideas it deals with would be relevant to everyone.

Next up on my reading list is this one, which is also part of the series. Can't wait to get stuck in if it is anywhere near as good as this one. 

Hope you all have a great Friday and weekend! Our weekend has started early and we are currently in Dorset exploring Corfe Castle. It always feels so good to explore somewhere new...especially when it is this beautiful!

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

Currently in January

I really like writing these currently posts – they force me to stop and think about what is going on right now and help me to focus on little things to be grateful for and that are good. I am trying to be a lot more organised with my blog this year. So far in January some weeks it works and some weeks it just doesn't but I feel like I am learning and improving how I go about it - and generally I just enjoy sharing in this space and so I have been having fun coming up with ideas for blog posts and for ways to make improvements. The photo above was taking while walking to work this morning. There was something really beautiful about the hazy warm light and the crisp cold air. I hope you all have a great weekend - here is what is going on with me right now: 

Making: new greetings cards and working on another exciting project I can't mention yet. I am hoping to update my wholesale catalogue in the next few weeks! I really need to get my act together in time for V day - I am new to all this though so it might be too late already! 

Watching: Greys Anatomy - it's on Amazon instant video - what more needs to be said? 

Reading: I just finished reading Crazy Busy and now I need to get back to Rebecca which I had a little break from - hope I haven't forgotten what has happened so far. 

Wearing: loads and loads of layers - man it is cold right now. I have got my eye on a nice warm jumper from Cos at the moment. 

Grateful: for all the book recommendations that I got on this post on instagram - I am looking forward to checking them out and making time to read. 

Learning: how to chop an onion properly! I am trying to improve my cooking skills and this has been a good start and giving me a lot more confidence for some reason - last week I made a beef and prune stew and this week a butternut squash and chickpea stew. Am enjoying following through recipes and making good food! 

Obsessed: with chicken and avocado sandwiches! Seriously I have only just discovered what a dream team avocado and chicken are! 

Looking: forward to going down to 4 days a week in Feb. I am not sure if I have mentioned it on here before but I work full time as an in-house graphic designer and have been doing extra freelance work and my etsy shop on the side. It has been amazing but also frustrating juggling all 3 and not having as much time as I would like to work on my shop. Although it's only one day - I am so excited about the extra time I will have starting from Feb. I will keep you posted on how it goes! 

Wanting: to find some more yummy and healthy snacks that I can eat at work. I have realised my weakness is snacking at work. If anyone has any good suggestions please let me know! 

Enjoying: Entertaining lots of friends in January. We have had/are having lots of friends over for dinner and whilst it's busy it has been really lovely spending quality time with good people. 

Loving: practicing calligraphy after this class I took. I am not sure I have improved much but it is so fun and enjoyable. I'm also using it as a reason to write letters to people - so I can try and write their name and address in calligraphy on the front. 

Dreaming: about all of the places that I want to go after this post. We need to get on with it, start making plans, saving and booking things. 

Modern Calligraphy Workshop

For ages I have wanted to learn calligraphy and particularly modern calligraphy. Before Christmas at work we talked about doing a bit of a team building/fun activity in January to inspire us and give us something to look forward to after Christmas had past, so I got in touch with Quill London as quite a lot of bloggers I follow had been to one of their workshops and loved it. 

Quill regularly run modern calligraphy workshops in London but because there was quite a big group of us they put together a workshop especially for us, and we were not disappointed. 

The workshop was 3 hours long and our lovely teacher Chiara from Lamplighter London provided all the materials that we would need (and got to keep afterwards so that we could keep practising) and took us through the process. The class was really well structured and the tasks that were set were really helpful in developing our skills. Chiara was lovely and spent time helping people individually to improve their technique.

It was exciting being taught the basics and being given the skills (and tools) necessary to practice and improve. Part of me was really excited about what I was able to do after just 3 hours, but I also realised how much practice I will need to get really good. But I am really keen to do the practice and improve so that forming the letters and being creative with the glyphs and how letters join each other comes a lot more naturally to me. Watch this space for hopefully more calligraphy action in 2015!

Moodboard Monday

A bit of inspiration for a Monday morning. These Monday mornings in January can be a bit tough but I'm trying to keep myself inspired and motivated to start the year well. I seem to have been going through a bit of a pink phase with some of my recent designs (which is strange as I am not a very pink person) - so I have decided to run with it and create a bit of a pink moodboard. I probably need to give my black and white moodboards a bit of a rest for a while. 

I did a bit of painting at the weekend too and hand inked 'moodboard monday' to go on all these moodboards. 

I hope you are all having a good start to the week. 

Here are the sources - clockwise from top left 

Awesome Print by Studio Meez
Pretty blush wall
Blush pink converse
Roses - I can't find the source of this image

 

Print Swap

I follow lots of blogs by various creatives...illustrators, designers, photographers etc, and every now and then someone will post some work that make me think 'wow - I really want that on my wall'.  A little while ago I bought a print, of a collage by Laura, after seeing it on her blog and falling in love with it. 

Anyway, I have been a follower of Rhianne's lovely blog for a while now and a little while before Christmas she did a post and the photographs were just stunning...I am not really sure what it was (maybe the colours, the delicacy) but I knew that I wanted that third image on my wall somewhere. 

I got in touch with Rhianne and she said she would be happy to sort out getting a print done - the same day I posted a picture on Instagram of the prints that I had screen printed at Print Club London and Rhianne messaged me saying she loved it and how about doing a print swap! 

IMG_4196.JPG

What a great idea right?! I love having work by all different people over my walls and in particular work by creative people I have made friends with online or offline. 

Anyway Rhianne's photograph is framed and on my wall now and it makes me so happy. 

If any other creative types are ever interested in a print swap with me, I would love to hear from you. It is such a lovely idea! (I actually have 2 of the 'let's be adventurers prints left)

Happy New Year
happy_new_year_final.jpg

I accidentally slightly abandoned my blog at the end of November. I totally intended to post in December but life just got in the way. I really want to try and get more organised so that that doesn't happen so often. I have had a really good break over christmas though and have been having a good think about how I want to develop this space and improve my blogging over the new year. I have been coming up with ideas for new features, and posts and giveaways etc, so hopefully I will have lots more inspiration and creativity to share in 2015. 

I hope you all had a great night last night and are not feeling too rough today. We had a nice chilled evening celebrating with close friends.

Anyway what I really popped in to say was HAPPY NEW YEAR - I hope 2015 is a great year for you all. 

Creating a distinctive illustrative style

I love finding new illustrators whose style I admire and I'm always impressed by how so many illustrators create such distinct styles, to the point now where there are certain artists work I will see in a magazine or advertising campaign and just know that it is them.

Although I am not an illustrator as such, my design work often includes illustrative elements, but I have always struggled with creating a distinct style. Although saying that, friends at university always reassured me that I did have a distinct style – I guess it was just harder for me to see. I think sometimes it's really good to limit yourself to inspire creativity when producing new work. Sometimes I try to limit my colour palette or the tools that I use.  Recently I've been trying to limit myself (well not exclusively but mostly) – to black ink.

I read an article once about how creative types find it hard to just do one thing, they want to try everything. I think that is definitely the case for me. I struggle to pick just one thing and get really, really good at it, because I'm inspired by so much, and want to try so many things and learn new stuff.

Sometimes I love this, but sometimes I get frustrated and feel like that famous quote “Jack of all trades, master of none” applies to me.

Anyway I don’t really have any answers, I think I'm still going to want to keep learning and trying lots of new things, but I think for my personal work and my etsy shop I am going to try and limit myself a bit more, choose a few things to work on and get particularly good at. At the moment I feel like the things I want to focus on are my black ink illustrations (whether typographic or patterns etc) and lino printing. I only just started lino printing recently but really loved it and feel like it could be a printing medium that could work really well for me. I might dabble in screenprinting too and see where things go from there.

Now that I've written that though I've remembered that I've been really wanting to experiment more with collage too. See I just can’t help myself!

I feel that since I've opened my etsy shop I've stepped things up a bit in terms of creating personal work rather than just work for clients (which I do love to do too) – and it's meaning I'm making much more time to experiment, produce more and make mistakes, and I 'm really enjoying it. As ever I'm hoping to keep sharing more of my creative journey on this blog. 

I would love to hear other peoples thoughts on whether they find it easy to focus on just one discipline or work in one particular style, or whether they're always wanting to try new things, and experiment with different styles and tools.  

Paper

On saturday I am going to the Matisse cut outs exhibition and the Tate and I am really excited about it. I haven't been this excited about seeing and exhibition for ages. I am going with my friend Kate who is super creative and always inspires me. She is a total WHIZZ with a scalpel and has recently set up an etsy shop selling her beautiful cut outs! Anyway was catching up on some blog reading as I am way behind and I stumbled across this beautiful paper cut outs/layering on Colossal. They are absolutely stunning and the layers and colours just make them so interesting. They are by artist Maud Vantours. I am kind of mesmerised by these works of art. Creating art with just paper seems to be much more common recently. It is incredible what you can do and what you can do with a humble bit of paper. Feeling inspired.