Wednesday, 16 September 2015

My First Workspace tour

Hello everybody, gosh believe it's halfway through September already. As I moved into my new home over 6 weeks ago I thought it was about time I shared a few pictures of my new workspace.
Now it's not exactly a pinterest worthy dream workspace but it does suit my needs really well and is a comfortable creative space that I enjoy working in.
So I'm using the same furniture from our old flat, I cut down an Ikea shelving unit to fit in the alcove space. The space is in our spare room, this has made a really nice change from my last space which was in our living room. This means I can make a complete mess and not have to worry about clearing everything away once I'm finished.
I do think it's really important to have a dedicated space to work in, and one that you feel happy and creative in. For me that means keeping things around me that I love and remind me of my creative endeavours.

On my desk I have a few mementos from previous shows I've worked on and quirky gifts that friends have given me. I also have a serious post it note and felt tip pen compulsion. I find that having simple colourful matirials to jot ideas on helps me feel more creative and helps me keep track of project ideas and golas.

This is my motivation wall - it's an easy way for me to keep myself focussed on the goals I'm working on at the moment. I find it really helpful to have write what my next steps and  milestones to complete are on little post its and  track which ones I have completed.
I really want to develoup this idea and make my motivation board a bit more permanent, but I felt that it was really important to  just get it started and at the moment it is working really well for me.

One of the great things about my new workspace is that I have more space to keep all the materials and resources that I use regularly close by. The shelves really help me keep all the images and paper bits that I collect to hand whilst keeping my desk space clear and  tidy ( well tidyish anyway!!)
Also the room looks our over the back garden, it's really nice to be able to here the birds sing and have plenty of natural light in the space.
Last but not least here is a sneaky peek at a print project I'm working on at the moment- what to you think - I've been experimenting with lino cutting and am pretty pleased with the results.

Hope you are all having a great week. xx

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

original image source: - image by Florian Klauer
Gosh nearly 3 months since my last post, it's tough to know how to start writing again after such a long break! I'm sitting here in my brand new workspace and I'm really not sure what to say.
Do I start with sharing the fact that I just moved into a blooming lovely new home?
Or tell you all about my experiences working on the Everyman Open  Air Theatre Festival this summer?
Or maybe I should start by talking about what I fell become a bit of a personal Elephant in the room when it comes to my blogging- Announcing to the world that I was going to challenge myself to  create  and post a different millinery project every week for 52 weeks and  completely fail at it!
In hindsight I really didn't plan the project at all when I first announced it here. I completely under estimated what I needed to do to put the ground work in to get the project under way. It was a tough lesson to learn, after the first two pieces were made I found I had neither the resources nor the ideas in place to carry on with the weeks ahead.
It hadn't been my intention to design a collection and share a pieces each week, the project was primarily to hone my millinery skills and share my work online, but without a plan of what to create or what materials I needed to source I felt like I was left a-drift. After the 3rd weeks post was late I really didn't know what I should create next, timed slipped by and as more time passed I felt really disheartened and embarrassed that the project had failed before it had really started.
After a while  I wasn't even sure that I could post on this blog again. I've always  struggled to maintain the regular blog schedule that I aspire too, before May I had managed to post fairly consistently throughout  the first quarter of 2015 but having the project fail so quickly seemed to prove to the self doubting part of me that I wasn't really up to keeping a blog  and it really knocked my confidence. At times I even wondered whether I should just give up the blog completely, but I new deep down I would want to return to blogging a some point and it didn't feel honest to just leave the work I had done here and start a new blog where my earlier mistakes couldn't be seen.
Instead I decided to sit down and write this post and  I have drawn up a brand new blog schedule, that's why it's a brand new chapter. I'm not promising myself that from now on I'll post every week ( or twice a week or 10 times a week hahaha) but I am going to endeavour to try to do a post as often as I can.  I took note of the lessons I have learnt through May and June  and decided that I am going to block out time to focus on work on my blog little by little  but also take into account the other projects and commitments I have going on at the same time. I do also intend on re-starting my 52 week millinery project but will do so once it is planned out carefully to ensure I give myself the best possible chance to complete it.
 I hope you haven't minded such a wordy post  as my return. I felt it was important to acknowledge the lessons I have learned from having a project fail and my long absence from blogging in an honest way  so I can make sure I can build on it in the future to become a better milliner and blogger.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Inspiration round up: Five inspiring creative podcasts

So I know I am way behind with my project with week three of my 52 of millinery project. I have found myself a bit stuck of ideas  after the first two weeks but am determined to get two pieces  created and posted by the end of the week so I don't fall to far behind. In the mean time I thought I would chare a new inspiration post with you.

Now I know it's been a couple of months since I did an inspiration round up but this weeks round up is focussing on just one inspiring thing rather than a varied few. This weeks round up is focusing on some of the inspiring podcasts I've been listening too lately.  

Before Christmas I started listening to the Unmistakable Creative podcast that I mentioned here . Since I enjoyed it so much I have been having a  hunt to find other podcasts that I can listen too while I work and provide me with insights and inspiration that I can draw from. It's a great way to soak up information and be engrossed in something interesting whilst doing other tasks especially when I'm at home with only the cats for company!

 Here are five others that I have enjoyed listening too over the last few months:

1, Grown-Up-Gigs podcast by Michele Ward

This podcast started life as a feature on Michelle's Blog over on, then it was a spreecast web chat  and in this last incantation it is a bi-weekly podcast where she interviews people who have had really inspirational passionate careers. What I really love about this podcast is that it shows how varied that journey can be and how  people can start their passionate career at any time in their life. I always find Michelle's work super inspiring and I love listening to her interact with her guests.

Fave episode so far: Michelle's interview with collaborator Tiffany Han

2. Raise Your Hand, Say Yes by Tiffany Han

I came across this podcast when Tiffany interviewed Michelle Ward ( can you see a trend arising here? ) for one of her shows. Tiffany's podcasts are a mixture of interview's with creative people and episodes of her sharing her own personal insights into pursuing creative projects. I love the way a central theme I have drawn from Tiffany's episodes are how the best way to get going on a project and find out if it will work is just to start it. ( sounds way simpler than it really feels!) Tiffany has a really relaxed feel to her podcasts and it always makes me feel like I'm just sharing a conversation with really inspiring people.

Fave Episode so far: Tiffany's interview with Jen Hewett

3. Creative & Thrive by Jess Van Den

Jess's podcast is relatively new but run along side her great blog sharing an insight, advise and knowledge of how to set up and run a successful craft business. Jess's own story is really interesting and she has a wealth of knowledge of how to set up a small creative business and in particular running a shop on Etsy.
Fave episode so far: Episode 6: Jess's Q&A
4. The Lively Show by Jess Lively

  I've only been listening to Jess's show for the last few weeks and it quickly became one of my firm favourites. I love the variety of people she interviews and the range of advice given from how to build a passive income for your business to  career tips from a NASA Aerospace engineer. Jess comes across as so positive, bright and open that all the episodes I have come across have been a joy to listen to.
         Fave episode so far : Jess's interview with Mimi Ikonn
5.  Can I Park Here? by Nache & Astral
 Can I park Here? is my most recent find in the podcast world. Set up by Nache and Astral of Find a Fashion truck their  weekly podcasts are an insight into starting a business have great topics like "Everything can be found by googling it" or the slightly more sombre " Battling Anxiety and depression whilst trying to build a business. I think there fresh, chatty and honest approach will certainly land this one as one of my firm favourites. Also  they have introduced me to the fantastic idea of a  Fashion Truck ( a mobile boutique fun from a converted vehicle) I have images of a Millinery filed VW camper van already
Fave episode so far: Episode 7 -The ladies chat to Jason  Caston about success and growing your business
Right well that's my top five podcasts at the mo- I'm sure there are a ton that I have yet to come across so I'll keep you updated on any others I find
Before I dash off here are a couple of non creative podcasts I love too
health and well being - The Jillian Michaels show- I find Jillian's podcast  really funny but also very informative
Running -  Jog Tunes - this is a great podcast that matches the length of time  and speed that you want to run with a variety of songs to help you get through your run- I've just started training for a half marathon and I know this will be super helpful
Meditation -The meditation podcast- this is a series of different podcasts to help you build a meditation practice. I  often go through phases of wanting to meditate and these podcasts are really good to assist this as otherwise I just end up going to sleep !!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

52 weeks of millinery - Week 2

So on to my second week of my 52 week millinery project and this week I have created this blue felted button fascinator.
A couple of months ago I had a serious liberty fabric craving and  treated my self to  a few small pieces off ebay. The piece that I have used on this fascinator is called Strawberry Thief and was originally a print created in 1883 by William Morris.
I adore bird motifs and knew that I would be able to create something lovely from this fabric.
The hat block I used to create this piece is pretty much my favourite hat block at the moment , it's so simple yet versatile and it creates a style of hat which is really wearable.
Well I couldn't let Margo the Poupee have all the fun of modelling the hat so here is a picture of me modelling the end result too.
Sorry for the terrible selfie, I usually try to avoid taking them all costs but couldn't help myself on this occasion. I really think the best part about making a hat is when you get to try the end result on!
Overall I'm pleased with this piece, there are definitely design elements I would do differently and I would like to use a better background colour or texture on the felt. Well I've got 50 more weeks to experiment on so I'm sure designs will develop as time goes on. xx

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

52 weeks of millinery - A new project!

Hello my lovelies, Hope you all had a super bank holiday weekend.

I'm excited to announce last week I started a brand new personal project. To create a new hat or head piece ever week  for the next 52 weeks ( yep a whole year ) and share pictures of it each week here on the blog.

Now the idea came to me when I listened to an episode of Tiffany Hann's podcast - Raise Your Hand. Say Yes with Jen Hewett and they talked about Jen's project 52 weeks of printmaking. It really captured my imagination and gave me a solution to tackle one of my aims at the moment - how to consistently create more hats or headpieces and stretch my skills millinery.
I kept thinking about this project a for a few weeks, trying to decide if I could really achieve creating and posting a completely new hat or head piece each week on top of  my costume work commitments and my day job, but the idea just wouldn't budge. So on my birthday on 22nd April I decided that my birthday present to myself would be to commit to starting this project the very next week.

So here we are at week one and I have gone back to an idea that has been buzzing around my head for months

I posted about my love for pompom trimmed millinery here and since then I have been meaning to  create my very own creation pompom fascinator and so last week I made the time to get down and do it.

It was really inexpensive to make, I used sinamay I had left over from some millinery projects I worked on before Christmas and the wool I had picked up months ago just because I liked the colours.
Over all I'm pleased with my start, I wasn't a particularly ambitions project but it was fun and it feels good to have realised an idea that I had been thinking of for such a long time.

Anyway it's now time to get cracking on this weeks millinery project, as well as planning out some other posts that will be coming up soon,  oh, and I'm starting working on one of the productions for our local theatre festival this week too, so it's going to be a busy one! Hope you all have a great week xxx

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Historic Hat Wearers - Evelyn Tripp

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So whilst on one of my recent quest to find new treasure troves of  millinery inspiration I came across this image of Evelyn Tripp shot by Irvine Penn. Now I’m not sure why I had never heard of Evelyn Tripp before but this image grabbed my attention not only because of the wonderful hat Evelyn wore but because her features were so beautifully defined.
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 On further rummaging around the internet I realised I had come across a historically great hat wearer!
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I know that these beautiful vintage magazine images of Evelyn Tripp wearing an array of gorgeous  swoon worthy clothes will keep me inspired for hours so I just wanted to share a few of my favourites with you.

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I think what makes the images appeal to me so much is the easy nature in which Evelyn Tripp wore hats. They seem so natural on her. Nowadays so many people say that they don’t feel they can wear a hat and many more just leave them for special occasions and events I love finding images of hat wearers past and present that wear hats effortlessly and feel confident in doing so whatever the occasion.  

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 I found so many other images of Evelyn that i couldn't share them all here, it amazed me to see the breadth of publications and work that Evelyn did, from being shot by world famous photographers  and appearing on the cover of Vogue to modelling for  sewing and knitting patterns. Somehow I can't see the likes of Kate Moss or Jourdan Dunn doing the same these days.
Anyway I hope you all enjoyed my finds. I'm thinking of putting together a pinterst board of all my other lovely images I found on my search, so I'll post the link if I do.
Have a great week xxx

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

More Magpie Musings

Hello my lovelies, Just thought I would give you all a sneaky peak at some of the work that I've been doing over the last couple of days.

As I mentioned yesterday I have been realy inspired by the Magpies visting my garden at the moment, and thought I would share some of my sketchbook pages and work in progress that I had been creating from this.

The fascinator is very much a work in progress as I'm still adding beads to the sinamay base and the other embroidered Magpie is probably going to end up as either a necklace or on a head band. 

I'm just playing around with combining patterned fabric with playful motifs and beaded embroidery with these pieces and have a few others ( although not magpie related) in the pipeline. I think the techniques still need a bit of envelopment at the moment but I'll keep on playing with it until I get it just right.Let me know what you think, if anyone knows any great beading or embroidery resources out their please let me know in the comments because I could definitely do with a bit of guidance for techniques xxx 

Monday, 9 March 2015

Inspiration round up - February 2015

Hello my lovelies, just wanted to give you all a little glimpse of the thinks that have been inspiring me last month.  February whizzed by, and I can't believe we are nearly 10 days into this month already.

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1. Vintage millinery books and patterns, oh gosh if I could only get a time machine and travel back to bygone ages and stock up on the lovely manuals and guides written  about making the hat styles of time I would, luckily the internet has come to help me with my quest instead. I have found that online holds a pretty good source of  free pdf copies of old millinery books. Also Amazon, Etsy and Ebay all have stockists that sell reprints and cd's of others at reasonable prices. At the moment I'm  keeping myself happy by working my way though my copy of Millinery for Every Woman ( an Edwardian hat making guide that I got off Amazon a few years ago  and How to make and trim your own hats by Vee Walker Powell which you can access for free here .
A magpie
image source Getty via Telegraph online

2. Magpies- One for sorrow, two for joy... I know magpies are a somewhat controversial bird but I love them, yes I know they are a bit of a bully in the  bird yard and are very noisy but I can't help it I love their cheekiness and bright look. We have a few that come and visit our garden ( and in summer months chatter away at any time day or night) and lately I have been attempting to use them as a source of inspiration for some accessory designs.

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3- Unmistakable Creative podcasts.- I cam across these podcasts late last year when I was watching April Bowles Olin's interview for Michelle Ward's Grown up gigs series ( which was also super inspiring too but I digress). I can't quite get over the amount of content that the creator Srini Rao has produced for this project. There are over 400 episodes available and although I have only listened a fraction of these I can honestly say that I have found something truly inspiring in each of them.

Well that's pretty much it for now, hope everyone's week has started well and that you've enjoyed this sneaky peak at what I've been inspired by recently.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Re-Creating my workspace- Part 1


So for some time now I've been meaning to have a bit of a workspace revamp- it's always on my to do list but one of those things that I never get down to doing. So as we are now a month into the new year I decided that it was the about time I took the plunge and get on with having a look at my workspace and see how can  improve it..

I'd also been meaning to write about my workspace in ages and in recent times as you may have seen on my Instagram feed it's got the point where my workspace has actually been causing me a bit of bother.

This was the image I posted a few weeks before Christmas and lets be honest it's not exactly a sight for sore eyes.

I set up my workspace in it's current format when I started attending KCC college to study millinery, for ages it worked really well and I loved working in the space. However as time has gone on, my projects have grown bigger and my workspace has been getting more and more messy until now I can safely say that it has been in a state of messyness more often than its tidy

Also since switching from a full time day job to part time, in march last year, I have been spending a lot more time working at my desk and think that it's high time it gets a bit of remodelling as my needs have changed quite a bit since I set it up back in those college days.

So my first step has been to seek out some inspiration from other creative people's workspaces and use this as a starting point to think about what improvements I can make. Here are a few of my faves:

image source: via pinterest

I love the mix of inspiring objects, books and technology of this space and could really use some shelves like these above my desk to clear some more desk space.

image source:fabricpaperglue via pinterest
This is such a fab space saving idea, I love the way everything useful is close to hand and then the more visual items like the plant and clock are further up. Although I do wonder if I would remember to water the plants way up there, maybe I could use it to keep Cacti.

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This is a great space, if only I had a whole  to use, but I love the full wall corkboard and the trolley used for holding books and materials and the ladder for hanging fabrics or prints to dry.

How I would love such a clutter free space, alas I know it will never happen, I am a clutter monkey by nature. I love the idea of having an all round colour scheme though. Also keeping a simple mood board on my desk, for the project I was working on at the time, would definitely be very helpful. Maybe having a really clear desk is something I can work towards as well.

If you want to check out more of my research hop on over to the pinterest board I've started to keep all my research in one place here.

My next step is to think about what I need from my workspace, what is working well from it at the moment and what is really causing me problems. Then come up with some ideas on how to change it- I keep you updated on how I get on. xxx

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Book Talk- Craft Business Heroes by Alison McNicol

I thought it was about time I ventured into my book shelves again and wrote another book feature. As it's the new year and of many of us are setting out our goals for 2015 I thought I would share my thoughts on Alison McNicols book Craft Business Heroes.

I am steadily building up a collection of creative and craft business books, This is one of four that I own at the moment and there are at least another 6 on my wish list! One of my biggest goals is to one day earn my full  income from my millinery and creative skills so I love reading about other  peoples creative ventures. I'm an avid reader of Etsy's Quit your Day Job posts and sites like UK Handmade that give a glimpse into designer makers business journeys and it was this interest that drew me to Alison's book.

Put together from interviews that she had collected whilst  researching her other book: The Craft Business Handbook, Alison McNicol has compiled interviews and insights from creative entrepreneurs across various disciplines to share their experiences of running a craft or design business.

One of the things I really like about this book is the range of makers that have been featured. Split into 5 sections, each one focuses on a different area of craft: Jewelry, Paper goods, Homeware, Sewing and Fashion/Apparel. In turn each section has at least four different in depth interviews  from designers and makers from both UK and USA.

The range of the businesses featured is really inspiring and each unique makers story shows that there is no best way of going about a creative business. Whilst reading the book each interview has highlighted methods or business models ( such as product licensing ) which I would have never have considered within the realm of a small creative start up and has provided me with a new point of view or experience to draw upon.

Ultimately there is something very inspiring and, in a way, comforting to read about so many different artists and crafts people who have used their talents to build a business and an income for themselves. It makes me feel like my dream of one day becoming self employed is possible  and gives me great insights into the challenges and experience that I may face along this way.

I think the best feature of the book is that most of  the interviewees share their top tips for a successful business, these hold such a wealth of great advice and I'm always highlighting or jotting notes of these for future reference. It's one of those books I find I can just dip in and out of every time i feel I'm in need of a bit of inspiration and encouragement and I know I will come back to it time and again.

My only criticism of the book is that whilst the cover is quite colourfull, there are no colour photographs or graphics within the book. The inside pages are nicely laid out but I feel that they could have used a little bit of colour to lift them and I would have loved to have seen a few colour images of each of the makers work.

Other than that I think the book is really inspiring and succeeds in sharing the"How we did it" journey of each of the business featured. If anyone is indeed of a January pick me up or  for inspiration into their own craft or creative business I would definitely recommend reaching for this book. xxx

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Millinery Projects: December round up

Morning Lovelies, one of my intentions for 2015 is to share more of my own millinery and creative work here, afterall that was one of my original intentions when I started this blog. So I thought I would  start sooner rather than later so here are a few photos of the millinery projects I have been working on lately.

 I started them in early December in an attempt to ease myself into doing some proper millinery rather than just concentrating on the theatre and costume projects that I have been concentrating on over the bulk of 2014. I started with some simple fascinators to get back into the swing of it and practice my blocking and wiring skills on some quick projects. 

 This was the piece I started with, after making 100 pompoms and writing this post  on pompoms used in millinery I decided to make a simple fascinator with a Pompom trim and I think it worked out quite well.

I then tried my hand at this beaded facinator. I was trying to recreate a Art Deco pattern but it didn't really work our as planned so I added these feathers to bring in some extra detail. I like the idea of creating small beaded head pieces or using beaded embroidery as a trim for larger hats but I think I need to develop my embroidery designs and plan out the pattern on the piece before starting it.

 I worked on this feather piece after finishing the feather work on the one above. I was surprised how quickly it came together and really love the colours of the feathers used but I'm not sure the overall shape is quite right. It's definitely one to revisit in the future.

After Christmas I moved on to these last two projects. I had ordered myself some lovely Liberty fabric pieces from ebay and really wanted to use them in a more wearable piece so I made this alice band, which I think has worked quite well. I have also been playing with making a more casual cut and sew hat and made this rather cozy one in velvet. It wasn't quite how I had planned but overall I think it was successful


 Well now I feel back in the swing of things, millinery wise, I'm planning on starting some bigger millinery projects over the next few months. I'll definitely try and share more of my work with you all as I work through them. Hope everyone is having a great weekend xxx