Thursday, 31 May 2012

An afternoon of designing...x

A couple of quiet hours to lose myself in colours, patterns and my whimsical little one/ world...I have so many ideas for new little creatures and of course the trees that they spend their days climbing and hiding behind...

It is such a lovely bright afternoon, the sun is shining through the windows and making everything dappled and a little bit hazy like life in soft focus...I love to surround myself with things that I love like my old letter stencil and of course my k+s beautiful embroidery, I have had that for many years...

Here are a few snaps of me working that my talented friend Ellie took a couple of weeks ago after we had finished our photoshoot.  I really like them because they feel very natural and honest...this is what my work desk looks like, lots of heaped up piles of fabrics, ribbons and threads, along with sketches, scraps of notes and a couple of sketchbooks...this is how I really like to work, a kind of messy creative hubub (not sure if that is a real word, but it suits...)

I've just realised what is missing from these precious apple mac, which I surely couldn't live without!  Paper, pens, sewing machine, camera and baby absolute essential kit for sure, I love to add in all of the trims, tape and embellishments but if I had to I could lose all of those things and cope with my creative essentials. Sorry for forgetting you precious baby apple!

Ok, less chatting and more designing for me...I'll show you what I've been up to when I next check in.  I hope you are enjoying your afternoon whatever you are doing...x

Monday, 28 May 2012

Little ones looking for new homes x

Hello, please let me formally introduce you to Gilbert... he was printed and sewn by me in Parson's Green.  To be precise he was printed during Jake's morning nap and then stitched and stuffed with super soft toy filling once Jake was tucked up for the night and the following evening I knitted him a little scarf to keep him warm and toasty...although he could probably take it off in this beautiful sunshine..!

Gilbert comes with a printed speech bubble tag with the message 'I really like you...' on one side and his little story on the other 'Gilbert is a very happy little boy who likes to giggle...he is very curious and loves to climb up the happily ever after fact it is his favourite place to be...x'

Gilbert loves to climb the Happily Ever After Tree

Gilbert also comes with a tiny message badge that says 'I really like you...'

Gilbert would love to sit on your bookcase or on a stack of recipe books in your kitchen, he is also perfectly at home on top of a picture frame or on a tiny chair if you have one...find him in my etsy shop for now until I add him to my webshop...

Here he is with his forest friend Isabella...x

Friday, 25 May 2012

New header ideas x

I'm thinking of freshening up my blog and am also updating my hugely neglected etsy shop with some new are a couple of new header designs,  What do you think?

lilac middle size dots..?

peachy teeny dots..? I can't decide x

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Count me the stars x

Jake's favourite game at the moment is to take all of my books  off the bookshelf and then try to put them back, having a little nibble and suck of a few as he is lovely to see watch him becoming more and more curious but I have to admit I do get a bit apprehensive as he manhandles my precious Paumes collection! 

This morning as I cleared away the breakfast dishes, Jake scooted off out of sight to the bookcase and proceeded to empty the bottom shelf and I left him to it for a while as he was having a lot of fun.  We then popped out to enjoy the mid morning sunshine and then Jake had his nap and I began to put the house back together.  As I put all the books back I noticed two little books that I hadn't seen for ages...Count me the stars and A once courageous heart by the Australian artist and author Kylie Johnson.

I bought these books whilst Jake was just a little bump about 18 months ago when I was visiting my very dear friend Kate in Washington.  They are absolutely beautiful books, both to read and to look at.

The poems, stories and collections of words, thoughts and emotions are presented so thoughtfully across the pages...with the spaces and distances between the words as carefully considered as the words themselves..

I love the beautifully doodles and sketches...don't they just make you want to grab a super fine pen and a crisp white page and create some marks and patterns..?  Kylie's drawings also remind me of the artist Jill Bliss, another of my favourites.

Do have a look at Kylie's beautiful blog.  She also creates wonderful ceramic pieces, although I have to admit it is her books that really capture my heart.

So I must thank baby Jake for making a big mess and discovering two forgotten little treasures x

A glass of wine in the sunshine x

The sun came out for our baby free evening...what a treat.  We had so many things that we should be doing...I needed to do my weekly online food shop, put on some laundry and continue to stitch the table numbers for the wedding (it seemed like such a good idea at the time!) and Seb was supposed to be going to the gym, but when was the last sunny evening? and I can't remember the last baby free sunny evening so it would be a waste to stay indoors, wouldn't it?  Well we told ourselves that it most definitely would be so took half a bottle of wine out of the fridge, a couple of wine glasses out of the cupboard and skipped, well I skipped and Seb strolled down to the green where it seemed like lots of people had come to the same conclusion as us....

A glass of cold white wine on a sunny evening...absolute bliss!  We did talk about the wedding to make ourselves feel a little less guilty and we also made a plan for when we turn 50... A little cafe/gallery/studio in Cornwall...but then we also reminded ourselves that life is about the journey not the destination so not to wish away the next twenty years waiting for our idyllic beachside retreat.

Today life feels really good, what a difference a little bit of sunshine makes x

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Daily inspiration and the making of rituals...x

I don't know if I've mentioned on my blog yet but I am soon to be married, in fact October 20th to be precise so like many brides-to-be I have started to think about looking my best on the big day aka the dreaded diet! I have almost got my pre-baby body back but I would like to shed a few more pounds and tone up as my dress is a little Pippa Middleton, if you know what I mean..? So I have started a slightly crazy diet called Six weeks to OMG...please feel free to mock me at this point.

You may be wondering what this has to do with inspiration and rituals, well bear with of the key components of the afore mentioned diet is the obligatory early morning cold bath.  I must admit I shuddered when I read this as I am the kind of girl who gingerly dips her toes into the sea, squeals and runs back up the beach, and does this several times before a friend or family member loses patience and pushes me in.  So as you can imagine I wasn't keen, however after a week of following the diet minus the cold baths I decided to take the plunge so to speak.....and to my huge surprise I kind of liked it.

The first few seconds are a bit of a shock to the system but after that it is almost relaxing and is becoming part of my daily ritual, see I am finally getting to the point. So my morning begins with Jake, a quick change of nappy and a bottle for him and then I settle him on the bathroom floor with some toys and take my cold bath.

This morning Jake was still fast asleep at 7.30 so I decided to try reading in my cold bath and here comes the inspiration...I took my newly purchased and only slightly flicked through copy of Kinfolk, (purchased from Anthropologie yesterday afternoon) into the bathroom and crossed my fingers that it wouldn't get all crinkled.  

As I read I began to fall completely head over heels about this splendid journal.  Not only is the photography beautiful, sensitive and dreamy but the articles are thought provoking.  I would like to share a little of the welcome written by editor Nathan WIlliams. 'The essays and personal stories in this volume suggest that we all might benefit from incorporating more of the things that we love into our daily routines instead of saving them for the weekend or our next vacation.  They focus on welcoming food, community and simplicity into our lives as regularly as possible.' 

This article and indeed many others look at the preparation, serving and eating of food and the rituals that we create with our colleagues, families and friends.  This was a strange moment to get lost in whilst submerged in my cold bath on my strange diet, but actually really resonated with me.  The diet is helping me to think about eating rather than mindlessly eating and to think about what I eat and how I eat it.  The cold baths are giving me a time and place each day to think about things, even if Jake is crawling around the bathroom most days.

It made me start to think about the rituals I would like to create with my together, cooking together and eating together.  I have struggled hugely with weaning Jake onto solid food and it has helped me to realise how important it is to me that he has a love of food and eating.  As the weather gets warmer I would like to eat outdoors more often and wander down to the green with packed lunches and picnics.  I must walk to meet my (almost) husband  as there is a delicious ice cream stand and a vibrant square minutes from his office.  Maybe this could be a weekly ritual that I am sure Jake would enjoy.

I adore this photograph taken by Katie Stratton, so beautiful...I am really looking forward to creating memories and rituals like this with my little boy, how absolutely precious.

Oh how I ramble, from funny diets to baking bread calling in at a cold bath and a yummy scrummy anthropologie store on route.  Anyway I would love to know about any food rituals that you have with your family...baking days, Sunday morning brunches or homemade smoothies, I just can't wait x

Friday, 4 May 2012

Some new friends x

As promised I have returned and promise to blog on a much lighter note this evening!  I also mentioned that I have been working on some new products, and this post gives you a little insight into my little one/ world.  If you follow my blog or have seen my work before you will know that I love trees. Love with a capital 'L' I find them magical, intriguing, comforting, grounding...I love the way they change with the seasons, the roots and trunk and branches and leaves...I also love the things that you might find in a tree, like a beautiful baby bird or even better a tiny tree house.  Ok, I think I've illustrated my point...

Anyway I have long been thinking about my little trees; the Happily Ever After Tree and my favourite Miss Peabody and wondering what little creatures might live in their trunks or climb their branches. That led to many happy hours of sketching and scribbling.  As usual for me I designed far too many little peeps and then had to be vaguely business minded and narrow it down to just a here they are, works in progress...

Below is little Isabella, she is frightfully serious and needs a little encouragement to lose her inhibitions and just have fun!  She wouldn't dream of climbing a tree but instead nests in the hollow trunk of Miss Peabody wrapped in a cosy blanket knitted by her mum and only comes out when her scarf is carefully in place.  She does love to draw, play hopscotch with her woodland friends and has a splendid collection of pebbles, leaves and acorns all kept in shiny glass jars on very tall shelves deep in the trunk of the tree...

'Hello' says little Isabella...she comes with a pink stripy sweater and matching pink scarf or her weekend attire of a pale green knit with matching scarf...nb she doesn't like to mix and match...I did warn you she is quite a particular little bunny...

Now you might recognise this little chap...yes, he is Trevor from the Topsy Turvy Tree.  I have had so many requests for a cuddly Trevor to sit alongside his tall skinny tree.  He has a very smart green waistcoat with three shiny green buttons.  He has strong legs and floppy arms so he can wrap them tightly around you...

And finally the baby of the group...little Mille.  You need to keep an eye on her, she is a real 'curious george' and doesn't always do what she is told.  She lives in the branches of the Love Apple Tree and often eats so many sweet juicy apples that she gives herself a terrible tummy ache. Mille loves to play hide and seek, I hope you won't lose her!

Alas I have slipped into my little one/ world...I am most definitely a frustrated story teller.. I have dreams of huge collections of my tree cushions lining sofas and heaped onto beds making wonderful magical  enchanted forests.  I love to think of children inventing stories about the trees and making life long friends with Mille, Trevor and Isabella...whispered conversations to these special trees and forest friends long after the lights are switched off and they are tucked up in their snuggly beds...

And so to bed for me...and in case you're wondering Miss Peabody is on my bed.  She props me up whilst I am reading and then scrunches up when I fall fast asleep. Jake has a large collection of trees and friends in his nursery and I can't wait until he asks me to tell me why Mr Melancholy tree is sad, or why does Trevor live in the Topsy Turvy tree

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Back from hibernation...x

Oh where to begin..? First of all I must apologise for disappearing in mid-December.  I have to admit that at one point I thought I might have gone for ever (from my blog that is) but I have made the brave decision to start typing and just take one small step at a time.  Sorry if I sound super dramatic, it is after all just a little blog about little old me and my slowly growing baby business but in November and December things got quite crazy as I had taken on so much and I realised that the most important thing was not nurturing my floundering little business but nurturing my precious little baby boy. 

I think I set myself the impossible task (or very difficult at least) of taking my business to the next step in the hope that I might at one point in the near future be able to be a stay at home mum.  This meant not only making lots of lovely things but the all important selling!  I therefore needed to get my products to the people so signed up to do five fairs between mid October and mid December. All sounded fine in theory but with the preparation of making all of the products and then the time spent at the fairs I realised that turning one/ into a full time venture with a full time job to return to and a little boy to get to know was just not possible at this time.

So I literally returned from my last fair, put all of my cushions and trees in the loft and became a full time mummy for a while..and my little bundle has very quickly grown from this...

To this...I definitely made the right decision!  How could I miss a moment...

We had a lovely first family christmas together and have played, walked, row row rowed the boat in sing-along, stretched in baby yoga, made our first splash in the swimming baths, dipped our fingers in the sea and thrown countless plates of food all over the has been great, but now I am ready to come out of hibernation and stop being scared of failure.  I realised that having my business and designing and making lovely things are as much a part of me as being a mum and to stay whole and happy one/ is an important part of that.

Maybe I will never sell in Liberty or make a name for myself like Donna Wilson but I will keep designing, making and trying!  Hundreds of one/ products are already all over the UK as well as in many different countries so I am moving in the right direction.

Well anyway, sorry for the slightly rambling and hopefully not too tedious blog post, I just wanted to try and explain and hopefully have made some sense.  I can't tell you how many times I have sat at my laptop to write this post and haven't been able to, so now that it's written I can move onto lighter and more colourful things and will show you some of the new things that I have been working on as well as giving you a little peak into my studio.  

I promise to be back soon x