I’ve just returned from a hectic week visiting family, attending restaurant launches (pictures to come soon!), and catching up with friends, and I must say, I am so relieved to be back home.
I arrived home yesterday to find that one of my indulgent eBay purchases had arrived! In an act of self love, I decided to order myself a piece of nostalgia that combines my two greatest inspirations in life: Geometry, and Vintage. Does anyone else remember these? I absolutely loved them as a kid… And now I am even more enthralled with them as an adult!
When it arrived, I curbed my excitement long enough to take a couple of snaps to share with you guys.
So there you have it, my very own complete 1960’s dennys spirograph!
I can’t wait to get drawing!
How does one tame the lioness that is watercolour?
Well, truth be told, I’m still figuring out this beautiful (and sometimes rather unforgiving) medium myself.
I decided to pick up a moderately priced starter kit because I’ve seen some striking illustrations on the internet that have utilized the fluidity of watercolours and thought, how hard could it be, right?
Well it turns out, that it is actually super hard. Especially for a beginner. And there is absolutely no doubt that your first few tries will absolutely suck. When this happens, do not give up. I promise you that those first few sucky attempts that you never want anyone else to see are completely normal!
I’ll hold my hands up and say that yes, I did think about setting my beginners kit on fire and retreating to my sofa to drown my sorrows in a bucket of buttery mashed potatoes. But here’s the thing, it’s totally normal to feel this kind of impatience… Right?
Well, my response might have been a little much, but according to this article on Josh Kaufman’s 20 hour theory, it states that:
“Most of us are deeply disturbed at the prospect of being horrible at something, even temporarily. When you try something new, you’re usually very bad, and you know it. The easiest way to eliminate that feeling of angst is to quit practicing and go do something else, so that’s what most of us do.”
Furthermore, he goes on to say that, by pushing through this initial suckiness (that is the technical word for it, I believe) we improve dramatically within the first few hours of attempting our new skill.
Also, if you plan on committing, it helps to ditch the idea of spending x amount of hours mastering something. Just thinking about spending 10,000 hours of your life ‘mastering’ something will make you feel dizzy, depressed and inadequate.
Besides, how does one even measure ‘mastering’? According to Kaufman, the 10,000 hour estimate is normally used to describe mastering a skill at a world class level.
I don’t know about you, but if you are a lowly and humble being like I, you’d be quite happy just being pretty good at something.
So with that in mind, go forth and try new things. When you stop looking for the finish line, you will realize that the beauty of mastering a skill is not mastering it at all, but by continuously improving and learning and being proud of every step you take in the right direction.
If you have the desire to do, the will to persist and the patience to screw up; you can accomplish anything. (Youtube tutorials are also a GOLDMINE of resources.)
If you are having trouble with watercolours, then I’d recommend this brilliant tutorial written by Alina Chau, the writer and illustrator of Pickle the Bird Who Doesn’t Tweet. Her tips and hints are perfect for achieving that dreamy and soft children’s book aesthetic, and perfect for watercolour beginners. A*!
So, remember that post I made about how much I loved these little guys? Well guess who’s finally received her very own little marimo pet in the post?
Honestly, I really cannot contain my excitement, I’m so happy with this little critter, and even though I know it’s just a ball of moss, I can’t help but attach my own sentimentality to it. It’s the perfect little plant for those that aren’t green fingered at all and want a furry little desk buddy to keep them company. I love how tranquil and peaceful they look floating in the water! They enjoy being played with and gently swirled around, so that all sides of their furry circumference can reach the sunlight and grow evenly. How cute is that?!
My fella noticed that I’d been regularly browsing the internet to obsess over these beautiful marimo aquariums by PinkSerissa and decided to gather and order various pieces so I could make my own!
I absolutely love this glass skull that he found on ebay, but unfortunately the spout is a little too small for my marimo to fit through. And let’s be honest, what’s the point in having a marimo if I can’t touch or play with it?! He ordered some sparkly cubic zirconia, and we used pearls from an old necklace I had to make a pretty base for the marimo tank. I’m in two minds as to whether I should cut through the glass to widen the spout, or whether I should just convert the skull into an awesome sparkly snowglobe and find little marimo a different tank.
Either way, I can’t wait to show you all the results!
I’ve been crazy busy lately working and catching up with Fashion PR expert and childhood bestie Stuart Fitzgerald. In the past he’s worked with brands such as Alexander McQueen (the designers that created the wedding dress during the royal wedding – so yeah, a big deal.) LK Bennet, and Surgery PR, a company based in London and Los Angeles that promotes and organizes events for high profile brands and celebrities. So with all that said, he really does come in handy every now and again. We talked branding, the beauty of watercolors, and of course hometown gossip. It’s been a long week, but after a few late night chats and about a hundred cheese boards later I have a fresh new perspective on brand identity and a whole ton of exciting projects lined up.
Here’s a sneak peak of one of the items from the collection I’m working on for the launch of my etsy shop.
I’m excited and optimistic to say the least!
I’ve been tackling this problem for the last year or so. I used to kid myself into thinking that a work space wasn’t all that important. That sprawling fabrics and tangled threads were just fine tucked in between endless sofa cushions (don’t even ask about needles, o h m y g o d) and various other blankety obstacles my sofa had accumulated over time. I would sew and embroider with the tv blaring in the background and my two dogs jumping around and harassing me for attention. If the scene I’ve just described sounds like you, then I urge you to stop this behaviour! Your creative endeavors deserve more than having to battle against treacherous pillow mountains and tangly blanket terrains.
When you were a child, did you ever designate and personalize a particular area? There are so many different names for these types of secret play areas; a den, a clubhouse, a fort, a cabin. But to build them, they all require the same things. A small space, and a butt load of imagination. Think of your work space, as your grown up den. A place where you can surrounded yourself with things that make you feel happy. Anything goes. You could display pretty stones you’ve found on the beach, little plastic toys that have always peaked your interest, or birthday cards that you’ve always loved. Carving out a special little nook in a very busy world is so cathartic and once you set up shop, I promise you won’t look back. Even if you don’t often craft, having a nook can be a calm and tranquil escape away from the world.
But if you’re like me and can’t designate an entire room towards your passion, fear not! There are still tons of things you can do.
- Use a small corner of a bedroom, living room, or even a shoe cupboard. It may not be the indulgent artist’s studio you dreamed of, but all you really need is a corner of your house to begin creating your nook. In the pictures above, you can see that my work space is literally a fold up table in the corner of my bedroom. The table literally folds away until it is about a foot wide. Just use the table as and when you need it for your quiet time, and then pack it up and pop a vase with some pretty flowers on it when you don’t need it. Or alternatively you could..
- Use half of a table. Yes, you read correctly. Using half of a table instead of a full table, is a brilliant way of turning any space into a study or workplace, and it’s also a very interesting piece of furniture in itself. If you do use a half table, then it’s probably a really good idea to..
- Install Shelving. I’m serious. Get lots of it. I’m still in the process of putting up shelves because my desk gathers so much clutter, and yours probably will too. Ikea billy book cases are really cheap and can be easily customized. Plus, they look really great over windows and doors.
- Make it yours. By this I mean, surround yourself with pretty patterns and objects or any items that evoke feelings of creativity within your particular field. To do this, you don’t need lavish and giant ornaments, all you really need is a wall, and a variety of items that inspire you. I’ve found that by creating an inspiration wall, and blu-tacking trinkets and treasures and scraps of paper to the wall, it makes me feel that much more immersed in my adult clubhouse. Or if sticking things to the wall isn’t an option for you, you could…
- Create an inspiration wire. It’s exactly what it sounds like. attach a piece of wire or string from one end of your nook to the other, and hang delicate pieces of origami (or whatever you want really, that’s just what I would do) and other beautiful paper creations on your inspiration wire. I’ve been rereading Beci Orpin’s AMAZING book Find and Keep and have recently been inspired by her paper garland and confetti wall ideas.
- Plants. Now, I don’t know whether this one is just me, but I cannot work in a place without plants. I’m a natural born plant killer, but that doesn’t stop me from loving them any less. Whether they be plastic, paper, or otherwise, plants are a must for me! I feel as though they naturally regulate the air for me and just make me feel calmer in general. I can’t be the only one, right?? If you’re rubbish at plants, then my advice would be to start with a cactus or a succulent as they are very forgiving and only really need to be watered once a month and if you neglect them, they still carry on growing like the little troopers they are. Aloe Vera is also crazy resilient and more or less impossible to kill. I find that if you go to any good garden centre (especially in the evening), they sell teeny tiny cacti that are outgrowing their pots for next to nothing (most of mine were under £1). They’re just waiting for you to adopt them! Or if that still sounds like too much of a commitment, Marimos are furry Japanese moss balls that are very easy to look after. They’re kept in a room temperature tap water, and need to have their water changed every 2 weeks. They also enjoy being gently moving around so they can float towards the nearest light source. (Squeeee!) I’ve been admiring these stunning marimo/terranium specimens for weeks at PinkSerissa on etsy.
There are plenty of space and sanity saving tips around, so if you haven’t created a work space, then here is the sign you’ve been waiting for! I like to think that my work space would still entice the imagination of my 10 year old self, and for me, that’s the truest form of work space success. I finally have the clubhouse I’ve always wanted.
If you have any tips on creating a beautiful crafty work space, please let me know!
I have owned a relatively decent DSLR camera for quite a few years. I’m ashamed to admit this, because up until recently, I have not been using it to it’s true potential. It’s endured me stashing it away for months at a time, neglecting to capture beautiful and ordinary things, and instead, opting to dust it off for a few select parties to drunkenly snap a thousand blurry pictures and horrifically abuse the auto flash and factory settings.
My excuse is that I am technologically illiterate. I just can’t understand all of the tech jargon that comes with owning an SLR (or anything else for that matter), and for years, I have let that excuse hold me back.
I bought Digital SLR Photography for Dummies in the past and found that despite the name of the book, even that was too difficult for me to understand (I’m dyslexic as well, so the small font really doesn’t help). I really thought that photography was just a pool that I was never going to be able to dip my toes into.. until now.
A few nights ago during an internet shortage, after exhausting every other offline activity, I picked up an old photography beginners book I’d bought during my first year at Uni and started reading. Collins Complete Photography Course is SO good. It’s such a relief to know that I am not unteachable, and to prove it to you, here are a couple of my best snaps I’ve taken when experimenting and consulting the book. It’s written really well, it doesn’t have that air of pretentiousness that a lot of photography books have, but it also doesn’t patronize you or insult your intelligence. Seriously, I’m so happy with it, if you need a leg up into photography but all the books you’ve seen use complicated terms and expect you to know them, and just generally make you feel like an idiot, then look no further!
(also, isn’t my dog such a freakin’ cute?)