Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Highlights

2015 was a year of really big changes for me, and if you had told me at the end of 2014 that so much would be so different by now, I probably wouldn't have believed you. A lot of these changes have been very positive, but even good change brings massive upheaval. Parts of this year have been extremely tough. Some plans have had to fall by the wayside, and blogging had to take a backseat sometimes. Rather than going through and examining each month like I have in the past, I thought I'd just share the amazing things about this year, the moments which really stood out.

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Midwinter Decorations

My midwinter decorating didn't go as I'd planned this year, but I was still pleased with the end result! It all ended up being a bit last minute, but I got a wreath and three mini pine trees up, and looking at them makes me very happy.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Yuletide Wishes

I hope that whatever you celebrate, you have a happy and magical festive season!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

What I Bought In Brighton | Mermaid

By coincidence, almost everything I bought in Brighton fit into two themes-mushrooms and mermaids! To kick off the mermaid theme, my very first purchase in Brighton was this AMAZING holographic scale print fabric and shimmery, pastel oil slick effect fabric. I have lots of plans for these and I am slightly in love with the oil slick fabric. I want to cover everything in it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What I Bought In Brighton | Mushrooms

Almost everything I bought in Brighton fit into two themes-mushrooms and mermaids. To start with the mushroom theme, I bought these glass mushroom tree ornaments from Tiger. I have wanted some of these for years, but this was the first time I found some I could afford.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Winter Wishlist

In the winter I fixate on snow, snowflakes and Scandinavian influences. I want to hibernate under blankets, wear festive colours and enjoy the soft glow of lamplight. Here is a wishlist inspired by all those things.

This amazing snowflake design crochet blanket by FERNandSAL would be perfect to snuggle up on the sofa under. I like the soft blue colour, and the snowflakes are beautifully intricate.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Trip To Brighton | Day 3

I awoke with mixed feelings, looking forward to going home but also sad that I would be leaving all the lovely places I had experienced and people I had met behind. I decided that the best remedy for this was a good breakfast and sea air. So I went looking for coffee and pastries, taking pictures of things which caught my eye on the way.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Snow Queen Snowflake Crystal Necklace

Every winter I get very into Snow Queen themes, with lots of icicles, sparkling crystals, shimmering snow and white lace and furs-I even made a Pinterest board. In anticipation of this, I made this necklace a while ago, and it had it's first outing last week. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

My Trip To Brighton | Day 2

I woke up very excited on day 2 of my trip, because this was the day that I was meeting Emily Cuttlefishlove for the first time in person! We went to a swimming pool for mermaiding, and it was fabulous. Emily was a great teacher and she is such a lovely person! I'm so glad we finally got to meet after talking online for so long.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Fantasy Forest Lantern Procession

A few weeks ago I went to the Holburne lantern procession, which this year was fantasy forest themed. It was like a dream come true!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

My Trip To Brighton | Day 1

Last weekend I hopped on a train and set off to Brighton. This was my first trip further away than the next city in quite some time. It was also the first time I had stayed away overnight, on my own, somewhere that wasn't a friend's house. So for me it was a big step, and I was very excited!

I arrived at lunch time, and after dropping my bags at my hotel I went straight down to the beach. The tide was coming in, bringing a storm with it. The waves were lashing at the beach and anything else in their path, and the wind was whipping sea spray into the air. It seemed like it was raining, but the rain was falling sea water. I licked my lips and they tasted like salt. Witnessing the sea's immense power was strangely invigorating.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Farewell To Autumn

At the end of November I took some time to revel in the last fragments of autumn, crunching through leaves...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Georgian Garden In Autumn

The Georgian Garden is a sweet little walled garden, open to the public, and planted to re-create the formal gardens of the Georgian period. It's a lovely place to spend a few quiet moments, as it is quite tucked away. I like to pop in between museum visits or shopping, if I'm in the area. As it is completely enclosed, and I have never seen anyone else in there, it feels a bit like stepping into another world, or the pages of a storybook.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Deer Embroidery

So here it is! My finished deer embroidery. I've been wanting to stitch an embroidery in a hoop frame for ages now, and when I saw the alpine deer design by Kirsty Neale in Mollie Makes Issue 56, I knew I had to make it! I really liked the original design and I mostly stuck to it, but I did end up making a few changes to make it more "me". I'm happy with the result, although I think most creative people will empathise with the need to put it away and not look at it too much for a while! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Autumn Walk

Unfortunately this year I haven't managed to find time to get to the woods for a walk among the autumn leaves, which makes me sad. I have however managed to squeeze in a few walks in parks, which are also filled with beautiful autumn colours.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Learning To Love My Creative Style

Learning to love your own style is something a lot of creative people struggle with, often even after they achieve success. Personally, I only started to love my own style and my own work fairly recently, within the last couple of years. For most of my life I felt that my creative style was almost embarrassing, and I definitely didn't love it.

I've always had a dual interest in art and craft. From the time I could master fine motor skills, I was equally interested in drawing pictures and making tiny doll's dresses. At some point during secondary school and sixth form I got the idea that Fine Art or writing were the only creative outlets with any merit. I think this probably came both from teachers and from people in my personal life, plus the added pressure that I was a very academic student who was encouraged to pursue an academic path, not a creative one. A career as an artist or author seemed like an acceptable compromise to some people, but there was general disapproval of my interest in textiles and the fact that at the time I wanted to study Fashion. This feeling of disapproval gnawed away at me, and I felt almost guilty for my interests.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Autumnal Haul

To be honest, I tend to buy pretty autumnal looking things all year round, as I like colourful things and leaf motifs. But I seem to have bought especially seasonal items recently, so I thought I'd share.

First up are these gorgeous maple leaf earrings. I don't have my ears pierced so these are clip ons. I was surprised to find these because they're quite simple, and clip on earrings always seem to be a little OTT. I really like the colours of these and I love their backstory-they had a price sticker on the back which said "Niagara Falls", so they were obviously bought as a souvenir on someone's holiday. You can see me wearing these in this post.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

#Inktober | Days 22-31

Inktober is over! I'm not sure how to feel about this. One the one hand it is a relief, but I think I'm going to miss the discipline of knowing I need to draw every day. For the final ten days of Inktober I was feeling like I wasn't producing anything remotely good, so maybe it is time for a break...but looking back at these now I'm pleasantly surprised!

Day 22 was a deer silhouette, because I'm still very much in love with the paper cut silhouette work of Jan Pienkowski, and I think we have all realised my obsession with deer by now. I like how dark and fairytale-esque it turned out.

Friday, October 23, 2015

#Inktober 2015 | Days 15-21

So week 3 of #Inktober has already been and gone. I am really surprised at how quickly this has gone, and I am so proud of myself for sticking with it! I have less than two weeks left now, and I'm almost a little bit sad that it will be over so soon. Here's what I drew on days 15-21.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Inktober 2015 | Days 8-14

It's time for week two of #Inktober already! The week has just flown by. I've been mostly using my Pentel brush pen this week, as I'm pretty confident with it now. When drawing at the end of busy and stressful days I just want to use something I can rely on, which I'm familiar with.

I am however trying to experiment with different styles and techniques, such as the cross hatching on this teapot drawing from day 8. I drew this from observation, it's my gorgeous Yixing teapot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Night Sky Fox Paper Doll

Quite a while ago I took part in a paper doll swap on facebook, which brought my attention to this fox paper doll printable created by Mister Finch for Anthropologie. Sadly it's no longer available, but I had printed more copies than I needed for the swap and still had some laying around. I decided to decorate another of them, using a different theme than the one I made for the swap, which was mori themed.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Inktober 2015 | Days 1-7

Last year, I saw loads of pictures on Tumblr tagged "Inktober". Intrigued, I looked up what it was, and found that it was a drawing challenge for the month of October-produce a piece of artwork, using ink, every day for the 31 days of the month. I really wanted to take part this year, so I bought a brush pen in preparation, and braced myself for a lot of drawing. So far I've found it a really good creative boost, and stating on social media that I was taking part has made me ensure I do a piece each day and don't slack off. It's actually pretty good for me to have that discipline, knowing that each evening I need to sit down, put on my headphones, and create.

Anyway, on to the drawings! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tiny Totoro

I finally got around to watching My Neighbour Totoro recently (yes, yes, I know), and it reminded me that I'd never blogged about this little guy. He was one of the first things I ever needlefelted, and he was originally intended to be a gift. But once he was finished I just couldn't bear to give him away...can you blame me?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015

A few weekends ago I went to Bristol Balloon Fiesta, an annual free event that takes place at the beautiful Ashton Court. The Balloon Fiesta has been steadily gathering more publicity and more visitors over the last few years, and this year it was even trending on Facebook! So it was very, very busy, and the traffic getting into Bristol was AWFUL. After an age sat in traffic jams, we finally parked and were greeted by the beautiful sight of balloons drifting over the rooftops.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mermaid Treasures

Recently I have felt the need to express my true mermaid nature by surrounding myself with suitably aquatic treasures. First came the seashell tea set I have been eyeing for years. A few weeks later I finally caved and bought this print from Sibylline, after falling in love with the image on her Instagram. I can't resist a red haired mermaid, I can't think why...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Waterfall Woods

It had been too long, and it was all too brief.

The water was the lowest I have ever seen it. But everything around was so vibrantly green, encased in moss and ferns. The air was humid. There is something about this place, I never tire of it. It makes my heart swell. I can't wait to go back.

You can see my previous posts on these woods here, here, here, and here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Field Walk

Recently I've had this really strong feeling of needing to be around nature, but I haven't had the time or the energy to go for my usual longer walks.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Cute Koalas

Sometimes, for no apparent reason, I will get a sudden obsession with something from nowhere. Right now that thing seems to be koalas.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sleeping Fawn Brooch

I really love deer. A lot. They're a very special and meaningful thing to me, and I think they are incredibly beautiful. I want to do them justice artistically so badly that I'm often scared to produce artwork or crafts with a deer theme in case I mess it up. But this brooch turned out so perfectly, and I genuinely think it is one of the best handmade items I have ever made. It's made from shrink plastic, and I drew the fawn freehand onto the plastic.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Seashell Tea Set

After years of coveting it, I finally won the pieces of this vintage seashell shaped tea set on eBay! I already showed the sugar bowl and milk jug in this post, but I thought I'd share some pictures of the full set. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tree Stump Pincushion

I love nature themes and especially anything red and white toadstool themed, so when I found myself in need of a new pincushion I knew exactly what to make! The Felt Tree Stump Pincushion from Bugs and Fishes, written by i Manufatti.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Climbing Cabot Tower

One of my recent visits to Brandon Hill, the home of Cabot Tower, was my boyfriend's first ever visit to this park. He had seen the tower from a distance, but not close up, and when he realised it had viewing platforms he wanted to climb the tower to see the views. In a moment of extreme optimism I said "Yes, let's do it!". There was just one small problem. I am scared of heights. I had been up the Tower before, but not for a few years, so although I knew I could get up there and back, I wasn't sure how confident I would feel at the top.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pretty Treats

As an introvert, I really like online shopping. I can relax and browse things at my own pace from the comfort of my own bed home, find unique products and buy from independent designers or artists, compare prices, and best of all, it all gets sent to me in parcels! I love parcels! I thought I'd share a few treats I bought myself online as rewards for starting a new job.

The first was these adorable goat prints from anglia on tumblr. They were really reasonably priced and the quality is good, and the little goats are just so cute! I love the adventurer goat with hat and knapsack. I'm saving these for when I move house, but I keep getting them out and looking at them because they are so lovely.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Creative Kickstart June

Once again I am taking part in the #creativekickstart challenge, started by Emily from CuttlefishLove. Creative kickstart is a monthly challenge for people to post what has been inspiring us and keeping us creative, so that we can look back on what we've done, see what we've achieved, notice any patterns or themes, and continue to stay inspired and motivated! You can find out more in this post on Emily's blog and join in on instagram-share your pictures with the hashtag #creativekickstart.

So what's in my picture for June?

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

North Street Graffiti, Bristol

Bristol is well known for graffiti, especially the pieces created by the mysterious Banksy. He's by no means the only graffiti artist in Bristol though, and I'm really happy that the city embraces street art so much. I think when it is done well graffiti can be a really creative medium which can make a big difference to people's lives, and brighten up urban areas.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Park Life

I recently took a couple of trips to Brandon Hill, a city centre park where the animals are as friendly as those in Disney films (although not as talkative).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Favourite Blogs

I read a lot of blogs. They're my main reading material, especially since I decided to stop reading newspapers (extremely depressing) and magazines (full of advertising and disappointment). The blogs I have read over the years range from personal blogs with a handful of followers to glossy full time bloggers with a long list of PR contacts. It took me a long time to find a range of blogs I really love and look forward to reading, and I know with so many blogs out there it can be hard to decide which to read. So I thought I'd share five of my favourites, in the hopes you like them too.

image copyright of Rhiannon/mysenchadays

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baby Goats Galore!

Back in the Spring one of my favourite places to visit, Windmill Hill City Farm, became home to some new born baby goats! I saw the news on their facebook page and got very excited, as I really really really love goats. Really. A lot. It scares people. Goats are just so cute, friendly and funny, and they have a lot of character. 
I made a visit to the farm as soon as I could, which was less than a week after the kids (the proper name for baby goats) were born. They were still very tiny and seemed to be spending a lot of their time sleeping. You can tell how small they were from the fact one of them was sitting in the feed bowl! Their floppy ears and tiny faces were adorable.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Red Lodge Museum

The Red Lodge Museum is tucked away on Park Row, a side street branching from the popular shopping and socialising destination of Park Street in Bristol. From the outside it looks fairly unassuming, but as soon as you enter through the small front door and descend the many stone steps into the building, it's clear that this is a very special place.

Friday, June 19, 2015

OOTD: Garden Elf

As I mentioned in my Spring Haul, I bought some elf ears, and I love them! I have been wearing them around the house quite a bit as I really like how they look. If only ear pointing wasn't so expensive and gory, sigh.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pidgin Doll Rose Red Makeup

When I joined Instagram I did what I think most people do and started looking through random photos and accounts for things I liked. I kept coming across pictures of an exquisite doll, with big soulful eyes, long eyelashes and delicate features. She appeared in many different outfits, hair colours and styles, and makeup, sometimes portraying different characters. I thought she was beautiful and I was instantly obsessed. It turned out that this doll was Pidgin Doll, dubbed "the most glamorous doll in the world", the creation of an artist named Joshua David McKenney. Out of all her incarnations, one of my favourites was the Rose Red Pidgin Doll, and I decided that as I had the right hair colour I would try to re-create her makeup.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Creative Kickstart May

The very lovely Emily from Cuttlefishlove nominated me on instagram to join her #creativekickstart challenge. So here I am! A bit late, but better late than never. Creative kickstart is a monthly challenge for people to post what has been inspiring us and keeping us creative, so that we can look back on what we've done, see what we've achieved, notice any patterns or themes, and continue to stay inspired and motivated! You can find out more in this post on Emily's blog and join in on instagram-share your pictures with the hashtag #creativekickstart.

So here is my #creativekickstart photo for May (hopefully I'll be a bit more punctual with the one for June!). Let's take a closer look at what's in the photo...

 I'm always quite obsessed with miniature things, but lately even more than usual. I've been wanting to incorporate miniatures into some photographs and I have a series of themed photos I want to try to take. I found this miniature tea set I've had for years and cleaned it up, and I think it's going to be perfect for one of the scenes I have in mind!

 I've been spending some time in my garden, and in the woods. Ideally I'd like to spend a lot more time in nature, but for now I just have to enjoy the time I do get. I find nature endlessly inspiring and relaxing. 

 I've started watercolour painting and I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm just experimenting and seeing the different effects I can get, and I'm pretty excited to see where this goes. I have been painting from photographs and observation to start off with, but I'd like to do some fantasy paintings soon, and more things from my imagination. I love using aqua brushes to paint with as I find them easy to control and less messy than traditional brushes, and I'm using up some very ancient tubes of paint, which feels good. I recently bought some masking fluid so I can get even more effects in my paintings.

 I find crystals fascinating, from both a geological viewpoint and a new age-y crystal healing viewpoint. They are also incredibly beautiful, and I've felt very inspired by them recently. I would like to use crystalline shapes in some of my artwork and crafts, and also incorporate actual crystals into some of the things I make.

 Deer are always a very meaningful symbol for me, and they have a lot of very positive associations in many cultures. I am quite obsessed with deer at all times, but they've been a little absent from my creative life recently. In the last month they seem to have started creeping back in, and I have ideas for many deer-inspired makes. I'm taking this as a good sign! 

What has inspired you recently?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Walking in Leigh Woods

Although I have known where Leigh Woods were for years, I had never actually been into them until I decided to see Luke Jerram's Withdrawn installation. Stepping through the gates to the woodland, I was greeted by tall, imposing trees, silhouetted against the bright sunlight. The path rose up before me, and there were the sounds of animals-birds singing, squirrels skittering through the undergrowth-all around. Exposed rock faces reminded me that I was still in the Avon Gorge, despite the lush foliage.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Withdrawn | Luke Jerram | Leigh Woods

Walking through the beautiful Leigh Woods I came across an eerily magical sight. Boats, peeking out through the trees, as if they were sailing across an earthen sea.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Handmade Stag Knitting Bag

After my yarn had become unfathomably tangled to many times to count, it became clear that I needed a knitting bag. I already had some plastic bag handles lying around, so I made a little bag with some stag print cotton fabric I had in my craft stash. I thought the colours of the print went well with the handles, and I always like anything with deer on!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Collective Spring Haul

I think by now we have probably established that I'm a big fan of charity shops. In fact, most of my shopping that isn't boring essentials is done in charity shops! I do occasionally venture into "normal" shops though, whether online or in person, and I thought you might like to see what I've been buying this Spring. So here is a collective haul of everything I have bought new in the last few months.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Painting Outdoors With Watercolours

One of my aims for this year was to do more drawing and painting, and I wanted to try to master some new techniques. I'd never really got the hang of watercolour, but after seeing many beautiful examples of watercolour painting online I was determined to give it another go! So one sunny afternoon I headed outside with my messy little tin of paints, and got painting.

I don't currently have a watercolour palette, so I have the colours I use most in an old tin. The paints are mostly very old, and were second hand. They still work just fine though. I use aqua brushes (mine are from Pentel) as then I don't need to worry about having a pot of water for dipping and washing my brushes. I also find aqua brushes a bit easier to control.

I use the lid of the tin I store my paints in as a mixing palette. I always think palettes look almost like an artwork in themselves. 

Painting outdoors was a lovely experience, with bees buzzing around me, birds singing, and flowers bobbing gently in the breeze. I should definitely do it more often! I sat on a cushion on the floor so I could get really close to what I wanted to paint, and I felt so immersed in nature.

This was the result of an hour of painting. Not bad considering how long it had been since I last used watercolour! I had to stop at this point because it was so hot that I was starting to get dizzy-if I'm going to make a habit of painting outdoors I'm going to have to invest in a sun hat.

I like how layers of colour can be built up. I think this makes watercolour a great medium for painting flowers, which often have several very subtly different shades of the same colour.

It was also great for getting the slightly darker edges of this leaf. This quick little watercolour session really re-ignited my interest in painting, and I've done a few more watercolour pieces since, so expect more art posts soon! 

Have you ever tried watercolour?