Saturday, 20 November 2021

Currently loving....

I don't know about you, but when I am busy at work my creativity tends to dry up and that has been my reality for the last few months.

I have also been busy trying to finish stitching  Christmas gifts.  Because of the deadline, I didn't want to start any new stitching projects until they were finished, and as they took far longer than I expected  I had a few projects  (that I was itching to start) that were just collecting dust.

Thankfully I have been able to start them now and they include kits from Wildfloss and Innocent Bones.

This is not my picture but is the sample from the new embroidery kit I am working on from Wildfloss.

I have completed every Wildfloss kit so far and I love them.

I have been embroidering for about 18 months now but would still consider myself a beginner so I find these kits perfect. They offer the right balance of pattern/guidance to creative freedom.

The cross stitch pattern I am working on from Innocent Bones is from the latest Mood Box.

I haven't paid for a subscription box for a lot of years, but having seen an advert for the Mood box earlier this year I thought I would give one box a go, but here we are, 8 months later I am still subscribed and have no intention of stopping.

I have also purchased 8 stand-alone kits, and have the advent calendar waiting for me, so you can tell I really am a fan.

I won't share a picture of this piece as I don't want to share the surprise if people are behind but here is a past pattern and you can find more details about all the contents of the boxes here.

I  do need to find a way to display my hoops - if anyone has any no-nails suggestions on how to get these on the wall they would be most appreciated.

I have also spent some time in my art journal over the last few weekends - not as much as I would like but some time is better than no time.

The below page was based on a project by Megan Whisner-Quinlan on the Ranger Ink Blog and was the perfect way to play with my new Dina Wakley supplies 

And these dolls were from a class by the fabulous Tracy Scott. It was the first class I have taken with Tracy but it won't be the last.

As soon as I saw these dolls as part of a sample for Tracy's new stamps (which I love) I was keen to learn how to make them.

I already have a second set of dolls in my journals just waiting for their faces as this was such a fun technique. 

Simple yet effective, versatile, and different every time !!

I have recently purchased 2 Domestika courses on portrait painting as I want to work on my faces so that's what I will be working on next.

What creative projects are you working on at the moment?


Sunday, 14 November 2021

Etsy : The perfect place for a unique Advent Calendar

Over the past few years, I have shared with you my favourite unique Christmas cards, stocking fillers and tree decorations, all available from Etsy

This year I want to share my favourite advent calendars.

Maybe like me, your children are growing up and so they will appreciate a unique advent calendar for the treat it is, or maybe you would like the joy your family members get from opening their gifts to extend beyond the one day, or perhaps (also like me)  you just want to treat yourself a little bit.

The possibilities with Etsy really are endless, and there are many more options than those that I am sharing, so I would highly encourage everyone to grab a cup of their favourite hot beverage and spend a fun 30 minutes persuing these sellers, and many more besides that.

For the foodies, I have a list of food-based calendars that contain items such as pork scratching and cheddar cheese, alongside those containing the more traditional chocolate options. 

If you want something a bit different this year, then Etsy has it all, from candles to dad jokes to purely decorative calendars. There really is something for everyone and I have collated a few here including this gorgeous candle that comes in a variety of scents.

                        Personalised Advent Calendar Candle £17+

Finally, if you want to pick the gifts yourself but need a gorgeous way to display them year on year these personalised options may be for you. 

There really is something for everyone on my list, including the canine members of the family, but this little refillable chimney with cardboard gifts has stolen my heart this year. I don't know why, but the video of this in action makes me smile every time.

Check out the Etsy Christmas shop here or below for even more gift ideas

If you have a favourite seller or advent calendar that I haven't mentioned, please do share it with me. I am making a conscious effort to shop small this year, as are many others, and word of mouth really does help independent sellers.

This post contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn an affiliate commission. I would never share an item that I would not purchase with my own money, and I have in fact purchased some of the items featured.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Etsy : An organised treasure trove

Etsy is a treasure trove of goodies and browsing the site for new sellers and products is my favourite way to whittle away 30 minutes.

One of the Etsy features I love and use frequently is the favourites features as this allows me to save those products that I may not want to buy immediately but I know will perfect for a future occasion.

As someone with quite a few favourites (read that as over 4,000 items) I think that it is fabulous that you can organise your favourites further into lists.

At the moment I have 12 lists such as Modern Jewellery  which contains items like these gorgeous Eighties Squiggle perspex Earrings from OttoLangs.

 I already have one pair but they will remain in my favourites until I have another pair.

I have my Embroidery Kits list that contains kits I want to try, or try again, such as these from Wildfloss Embroidery and Dropcloth  Samplers

I also have a Fun Homewares list that contains gems like these Oven Mitts

And an Art list that contains prints and original art covering all art disciplines.

I am in love with this Jaguar print. I just need to find a home for it and then I am snapping it up.

You really can have lists for everything.

 Around big holidays I set up new lists and then when
 I come across items that would make perfect gifts I can save them safe in the knowledge I will be able to find them again. 

You can always make lists like that private if you didn't want anyone stumbling upon their gift idea.

Do you use list and favourites on Etsy?

Is there anything from my favourites that have inspired you to have a browse?

This post contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn an affiliate commission. I would never share an item that I would not purchase with my own money. Learn more here.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Filling up the creative well when you are struggling....

Maya Angelou famously said “You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” but I am sure I am not alone in not struggling with the concept, especially at the moment.

Anyone who knows me personally will know that I have battled with my mental health for over half my life and despite an amazing support circle, the right medication and a whole toolbox of tools, sometimes my mood just dips that little bit lower than normal and despite a real urge to create (something, anything !!!) nothing appears. 

I am by no means an expert and I sat here writing this rather than creating, so read into that as you may, but there are a few things I have been doing recently to try a keep my creative spark alive until something clicks and I can spend a few hours creating for me again.

1. Keeping up with my favourite creators on Social Media

Dina Wakley is a huge inspiration of mine after first seeing her  on YT a few years ago, and she has been so generous with her time during the whole pandemic. At the start of the year she was hosting daily lives on her Facebook specific topics (from her products to art styles to dealing with specific concerns), later adding in regular online classes to her schedule and she has now set up a supporters hub which for only $5 a month has been a huge source of inspiration (think Patreon but on facebook).

My favourite free tutorial thus far has been her 'White Space' tutorial and my favourite paid for class has been "Beyond the Black Ink Pad"

Her tutorials have inspired a whole journal full of work that I will treasure

2. Being inspired by those with similar interests 

Having found an artist whose style I really admire in Dina I have found it fun to try and curate my social media circles (facebook , Youtube and IG) around people who are also inspired by Dina.

This is especially interesting as Dina has a product line and given she designed it she obviously uses it in specific ways but put it in the hands of other creatives, the possibilites are endless.

Ranger Ink (who release Dina's products ) aslso have a project section which great for gleaning inspiracyopn, 

Through the project section I found Megan Whisner Quinlan who I now follow on IG and Youtube as her tutorials (in both places) are fantastic.

She has an IGTV tutorial on watercolour botanicals and these have become my goto when I just need to move my hands.

I also am a member of the Dina Wakley Media Kindred Artists facebook group and the artwork that is shared there on a daily basis is phenomenal. 

From the facebook group i found two fantastic YouTubers  Niamh Baly and Shannon from BA Creative who both have completely different styles yet they use the same products.

I have used Dina as an example throughout this but the same can be applied to most artists if you look.

3. Trying something new 

I posted back in April about the #standwithsmall movement and at the time I suggested I wanted to try embroidery and weaving to complement my art journalling.  So over the last few months, I have done just that.

My weaving has started small with small pieces being either woven directly into my journals or added ontop of a background but I hope to grow this practice with time.

To date, I have invested a bit more time and money into learning to embroider and I am having so much fun learning a completely new skill.

I have mainly been using kits, and my favourite kits to date have been from Wild Floss Embroidery on Etsy as the results (even for me as a beginner) are just beautiful.

How do you keep your creative well full? I would love to know so please share your favourite tips and tricks and links to your own social media as I love finding new people to follow.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Shop Small this Christmas - a few of my Christmas gift ideas from Etsy

I have always been one for shopping small where I can but like many others this year I will making more of an effort as for many small businesses their futures really do hang in the balance.

With their usual sources of income around this time of year being canceled, online market places like Etsy, really are important for small businesses in securing those all-important sales.

I have been using Etsy for many years.  My first purchase was in May 2009, and in that time I have collated a HUGE list of favorite sellers and items, most of which would be perfect for Christmas, and it is some of these that I will be sharing with you today.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn an affiliate commission. I would never share an item that I would not purchase with my own money. Learn more here.

Let's start with a few stocking fillers...


Tinsel Tits and Cracking Nuts soaps from Go La La £5.95 each 

Chilli Oil and Spice Rub Cooking Gift Set £6.50 from Carringtons

Sweary Cat Socks £8.00 from Katie Abey

As someone who has tried their hand at a few new crafts this year (my plan is to share more of these on the blog and social channels) I have stumbled upon a few craft kits that would make great gifts.

There are 3 different embroidery kits available from Wildfloss Embroidery for £32 each and having completed kits 1 and 2 and started kit 3 I can promise you these would make gorgeous gifts.

There are different colourways for each kit so the link goes to the main shop, but the kits are easy to find from there

I havent tried this Woven Necklack Kit £17.00 from stitching me softly, but as someone who loves a statement necklacke, I think this would make the perfect two in one gift.

Or perhaps your recipient is a candle lover in which case this soy candle making kit £23.00 would be perfect. 

Etsy really is a treasure trove of items so there really is something for everybody.

From jewellery....

To self published books (for adults and children)....

The Land of Thimbleton by Nancy Alice £17.99 (signed)

To artisan chocolates

Don't these look stunning !!!!!!

There really is something for everyone so grab a cuppa and a notepad (as you a going to come away with your own Christmas list too) and enjoy a relaxing hour browsing Etsy to see what special unique gifts you can find this year that will not only be treasured by the recipients but will hugely support a small business.

Do share your finds with me too.


Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Found Poetry - Sharpened with plenty of vinegar

Sharpened with plenty of vinegar

One fat dumpy lady
Grossly intimate
most definitely not puritan
A failed chapter

The phrases for this poem came from  Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry by B S Johnson. A birthday present from my husband in 2018 that has to be one of my favourite books ever despite me needing to read it with a dictionary beside me. Perhaps it spoke to me only because of my day job but nonetheless speak to me it did and the language inspired a series of found poems.

This is the first and my favourite as it is a self-portrait in poetry form.

12 October 2018

Sunday, 12 April 2020


If, like me, you are finding you have more free time (if only because you no longer have to commute to your job) but you are both struggling to get inspired to create with your existing supplies and watching the pennies perhaps now is the ideal time to consider supporting smaller businesses on Etsy.

My favourites list is a never-ending supply of inspiring items from small sellers who like all of us are trying to adapt to these strange times, so if any of these items take your fancy I would love to know, and I would love you to share your favourite inspiring sellers too. 

This post contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn an affiliate commission. I would never share an item that I would not purchase with my own money. Learn more here.

If you like to watercolour then these ceramic palettes from The Minty Mountain would make you smile every time you used them. Plus there are loads to choose from so there really is one with a personality for everyone. 

I love art books and I take any chance I can to support artists that choose to self publish. Lewis is an artist that I have only very recently found through his weekly youtube tutorials (which you should check out) and I can't wait to add these books to my collection.

I love collage, I love to look at it and I love to create it (though I am very much a beginner and my compositions are nowhere near as fun as Cassia's) and one of my favourite Etsy collage artists is Cassia Beck. She has prints, postcards and originals of all sizes and prices and you can find versions of these prints here and here  but if the size etc isn't for you other versions can be found amongst 574 items/variations in her store.

Polina Bright is another fantastic artist that I stumbled upon recently via social media.  She draws the most gorgeous girls with really distinct highlights and shadows and then watercolours them really simply !! She has prints available in her shop but them item at the top of my list are her watercolour brushes which get rave reviews. 

My creative habits thus far have very much revolved around paper (painting with acrylic or watercolour, journaling, collage etc) but I am fascinated by embroidery and weaving and have had my eye on these beginner kits for a while.

This weaving kit comes with a choice of yarns so you can perfectly coordinate with your own (or perhaps a gift recipients?) decor.  if you fancy more of challenge Wool Couture Company also have a larger kit available. 

For me, this "Hope" Kit is the perfect sentiment for today but if fancy something more discreet Nelly Makes Embroidery have kits for everyone's tastes. 

If you are perhaps looking for something a bit different then don't despair. You can check out the Etsy Editor's #Standwithsmall picks for more inspiration.