All posts tagged “inspiration

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Bristol’s Best Bits: Clay Workshop at Studio Upstairs

As I have mentioned previously countless times on this blog, I adore learning new things. I could happily wake up and learn a new skill every single day if it were at all possible; this weekend I tried my hand at spoon whittling at End of the Road festival, and the week before I had the chance to get stuck into a clay workshop at Studio Upstairs, as they are the charity partner for this year’s Affordable Art Fair, taking place in the city this weekend. Read More

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Inspiration // CrossBitchez


In search of crafty inspiration, a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a genius embroidery collective named CrossBitchez. Rarely do I get as animated as I did when I trawled their Facebook and Cargo Collective pages – you may well know I absolutely love the marriage of the innocent medium of embroidery with another of my favourite things to do, swearing. I had a play with this idea a while back with one of my submissions for the Creative Initiative, but my stitchin’ don’t come close to this.

I think everyone harbours a love for hip hop, and what the CrossBitchez collective aims to do, according to their Facebook is “represent a movement for social justice, campaigning for the universal right to live the Hip Hop lifestyle. Using embroidery, CrossBitchez provide the platform for us all to git bitches and make money” – and hey, if that isn’t a motto to live your life by, I don’t know what is.

I think the tea cosy is my favourite, partly because of my love for Snoop and that song, but also the fact that tea (especially from a teapot) is such a sweet old lady thing to do, and so the addition of the lyrics and the reference to that song subverts it in a way which just can’t help but make you smile. I’ve already got a few ideas bouncing around in my head for what I might stitch up next.

Watch this space, bitchez.

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Five Crafty Things


1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

So, we are 9 days into the new year and my Twitter feed is already full of people saddened by the fact that they have broken their resolutions early! One of my new year’s resolutions was to do more craft, so for the past week I’ve been trawling Pinterest for some crafty DIY ideas to kickstart me back into the swing of things.
I love pinning things on Pinterest, particularly craft projects, but usually just pin and think nothing of it, as if the very act of pinning it is enough; if I look at it and wish hard enough it will make itself, right? I am fed up of being lazy, though, and most of these have been knocking about on my Craft & DIY board for over a year now.

First up is these cat shoes – how simple does this look?! When I was at school I had a pair of canvas shoes which I embroidered, I got so many surprised looks when I said I made them myself. All these cat shoes require is a few store cupboard essentials and voila, a lovely pair of customised shoes, bound to attract compliments. Too cute.
Another simple customisation is this little plant pot with a painted face; I’d love to have some more plants in the house, but have a bit of a death-touch when it comes to anything green. I reckon even a dead plant would look cheery with a painted face. You could probably do this on the cheap with an Ikea pot and a Sharpie (but remember to bake it to ‘seal’ the design!).

Another resolution is to work on more embroidery. I adore freehand embroidery, as I’ve been gushing about on here before, and found this genius embroidery on Etsy, quoting lyrics from my favourite 80s song ever. I love the blocky lettering and shading; I could do a whole series of lyrics! My mind is unravelling so fast!
My knitting and wool-work have been neglected recently, and I reckon this cute little pom-pom town is enough incentive to get anyone working with woolly things again. I didn’t even know these shapes were even possible to be sculpted out of wool, if you can make a whole town, who knows what else you can make?!

Living in Bristol, approximately 70% of my home furniture is from Ikea. I love Ikea, when I was at uni I lived down the road and would regularly go to just walk around, I found it a very soothing experience. A few months ago I discovered Ikea Hackers, and was amazed at what you can achieve with bland furniture and a little imagination. These clever little pinboards on the bottom right are made from heatproof mats and some scraps of fabric – both of which I have knocking around on the boat.

So, I think that’s enough to keep me occupied for a few months! Have you got any craft projects lined up for the new year?

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Realistic Goals for 2014


Happy 2014!

Over these past few days I’ve been reading some pretty awe-inspiring 2013 round-ups, and some truly inspirational posts on hopes and goals other bloggers have for 2014. I’m not great at sticking to resolutions, so I only made one last year which I did manage to stick to, which was to cleanse, tone and moisturise my face every morning and evening (I was a face wipe kinda gal before, ew).

Resolutions are fundamentally a bad thing, in my mind, which only set you up for disappointment. With this in mind, inbetween all of the standard things-I-should-probably-be-doing such as going to the gym more often, eating less cheese, drinking more water and generally being a bit healthier, I’ve come up with a short list of goals for 2014 which I think I will almost certainly be able to achieve.

1. Get blonde hair again

About 4 years ago, I had super-duper blonde hair, and I absolutely loved it. Since then, it has gone from white-blonde to brown to dark blonde to red (for quite a while), to an accidental highlighter orange, and back to brown again. I loved having blonde hair, but in a desperate attempt over the summer to get rid of my ginger hair, too many boxes of bleach has left it with the consistency of tiny strands of frazzled polystyrene. It is my first goal, with some more gentle persuasion, to be blonde again before the end of 2014.

2. Go cycling more often

I have to admit, I’m a bit scared of cycling in Bristol. Despite being a pretty damn good city to cycle in, too many years driving a car in this city has taught me that it is a dangerous one too, if anyone else drives like I do. The other day I saw a flyer in No 1 Harbourside for cycling trips around Bristol and it got me thinking – I would absolutely love to take a cycle ride on my beautiful little Raleigh out in the sticks somewhere with a picnic basket and a few bottles of beer. I also think it’s something which I should reserve for a warmer day!

3. Take a trip to Beeses

There seems to be a bit of a recurring adventure theme here. I have been meaning to visit Beeses for what seems like an eternity, but will have to be patient until the spring when they open up for the year again. I had a brief glimpse when me and Tom were driving back from Bath one summery day and decided to take a look, but the gardens were heaving due to the sunshine, and it looked like we couldn’t get a table anywhere. Good things come to those who wait, however. Besides, everyone knows the best way to get there is by boat, and seeing as Bristol Ferry runs Sunday Roast trips there, that might be the answer!

4. Run more rolls of film through my many disused cameras

I feel so sorry for some of my cameras. I have a modest collection of Lomo cameras, vintage cameras, and a little Fuji Instax Mini which are begging to be used more often. When I was at college and throughout uni I adored shooting film, and couldn’t think of anything worse than working solely digitally. Now I work full time as a photographer and my day is spent glued to my DSLR I think now is the time for some creative output in the form of messing around with film again.

5. Do more craft

The main purpose of this blog was to motivate me to be more creative. Whilst I have certainly undertaken far more projects than I normally would have, I know that I am not pushing my creative ability. I want to be able to do the projects which have been hanging around for far too long because I am too lazy to learn new things in order to complete them. I want to see something on Pinterest and actually get round to making it, not just wishing that I had the time or skills to finish it.

Finally, another resolution is to blog more. More often, more topics, and more time spent writing. I’ve come to realise over the last six months that I really enjoy putting posts together; it motivates me to take more pictures on a day to day basis, plus I reckon my writing is I improving too. And that’s never a bad thing!

What are your resolutions?

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The Creative Initiative #5

The theme for this week’s creative initiative was dreams, and it was not easy to come up with ideas!

I suppose the two main paths you could split ‘dreams’ into is firstly, quite literal dreams which you have when you switch off at night, or perhaps taking a more philosophical approach, and analysing what it is you want to do with yourself in the long term.

As I explained with last week’s creative initiative, I’m not so good at expressing myself, especially when it comes to feelings, including hopes and aspirations. That’s not to say I don’t have any, I have plenty – I’d like to own our own narrowboat, and have spent years dreaming up ideas in my head, I’d like to travel around Eastern Europe and have drawn up a route which I intend to do some day, and it would be quite nice to be a multi millionaire. But these are dreams, after all.

I think what I have learnt so far throughout the Creative Initiative is that I’m not much of a dreamer; I look forward to things, certainly, but I am a much more live-in-the-moment kind of person. Hence why I took the other route, and focused on the word dreams in the sense of the often strange, sometimes terrifying but usually quite insightful occurrences which happen when we are asleep.



Sleeping is my favourite thing to do. Hands down. When I was a teenager I could easily sleep for 13 hours or more if left unattended. These days I’ll be lucky if I get 6!

I’m quite a sleepy person, and will happily sleep wherever I can find somewhere comfortable. I am not ashamed of sleeping on the bus, for example. This happy little guy represents my inner sleepiness.

I’m really loving freehand embroidery at the moment. I really don’t have the patience for cross stitch, and I love how quickly things take shape – I sketched this out and stitched it up in about half an hour. Rather than using embroidery floss I used regular sewing thread, and I quite like how delicate it makes his little cloud features look.

If you would like to join in, then the rules are very simple:

• create something in based on this week’s prompt

• post about your artistic endeavour on your blog and link it up to this post

• comment on other bloggers’ posts – the prompts leave a lot of room to use your imagination and we should all support and encourage each other as we explore!

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The Creative Initiative #4

This one is a little late, so apologies.

This weeks theme was ‘gratitude’ – I swear they are getting harder every week!

I’m not the most sentimental type, in general. There is a lot for which I am grateful for, but it’s just not my style to gush about it, or admit it even, so this was a pretty hard post for me. I’m not saying that being vocal about what you are grateful for is a bad thing, far from it – I’m just not very good at expressing myself in that way.

What I did eventually settle on, and decided that I am the most grateful for, is my job – or more specifically, the people I work with. You will not meet a nicer bunch of people; there’s a lot to be said for working with lovely people, I’ve had some crap jobs in the past and had to deal with all sorts of unsavoury colleagues, so working with these lot is pretty much a dream come true.

funny post-it notes

funny post-it notes

funny post-it notes

We have a lot of laughs at work. There are many in-jokes between myself and the others who work in the studio, and the best ones get documented on my post-it wall. Obviously, because of the nature of my job, a lot of the humour is quite childish, and often based around whatever products we are working with that day. I can look up at it when I’m having a bad day and it instantly cheers me up. Visitors often give us strange looks when they walk in, but no-one has questioned the wall… yet!

The theme for next week’s creative initiative is ‘dreams’ (another tricky one!). If you would like to join in, then the rules are very simple:

• create something in based on this week’s prompt

• post about your artistic endeavour on your blog and link it up to this post

• comment on other bloggers’ posts – the prompts leave a lot of room to use your imagination and we should all support and encourage each other as we explore!

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The Creative Initiative #1

The main purpose of starting this blog was as a motivation to be more creative. Working 9-5 plus a long commute means there’s little in the way of energy left at the end of the day, plus there’s always a slight fear of failure at starting a new project. Creativity and inspiration work in a kind of snowball effect, it just takes the initial leap of faith to get going.

Which is why I got excited when I was reading the ever lovely blog Being Little (written by fellow Bristolian Lyzi) and came across a scheme called The Creative Initiative – a blogger link up with a focus on creativity. The theme changes week by week, and during this week you have time to work on and submit your artwork in whatever format you choose, be it photography, sewing, pencils, paint – whatever you like!

The rules are:
• create something in your sketchbook based on this week’s prompt

• post about your artistic endeavor on your blog and link it up to this post

• comment on other bloggers’ posts – the prompts leave a lot of room to use your imagination and we should all support and encourage each other as we explore!

Miss Jessica holly in Bertie dexter dress

This week’s theme is an open submission, so I thought I would share with you one of the images from a shoot a did recently with a friend of mine – the superbly talented Miss Jessica Holly. It was nice to use the studio for personal work, and we are already planning another shoot, although it looks like it won’t be until the new year.

The theme for next week is ‘What did you do today?’ and I’m already full of ideas!

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