sitting upon a hilltop . . .

spring seems to be taking it's sweet time to arrive so i've found myself constantly thinking about my next holiday (i have 3 days in Rome with my mum in a couple of weeks yay!). but then i think this is not enough...i want more! more sunshine, more sea, more my new life plan?

buy a holiday home. in Italy. by the sea.


this is where i'm currently thinking. nice huh? it's the little village of Manarola, on the Cinque Terre coast. there's a waling trail in the hills and the brightly coloured houses are just delightful.

but there's no sand. i'd quite like a bit of sand. so how about Vernazza?

it's pebbles not sand. bummer. but seriously look how pretty?! i think i could live without sand. i can travel to another resort right? so not a problem. but this i want/need. same difference. how can anyone say that Positano (below) isn't beautiful?

so what have i discovered from this marvellous day dream? well, i like sunshine, water (preferably in sea format), warmth, a good hill for a hike, coloured houses, nice chilled lifestyle (i am perfectly capable of adding my own stress, don't need others input), and being able to gaze across beautiful sunsets.

i blame Jamie Oliver for this - he was cooking on the beach with freshly caught fish and that set me off. so a totally unrelated pattern post today but we all need a day dream and this is mine right now :)

from the design Library . . . Orla Kiely - Home

i'm pretty sure this book will have been on everyones Christmas / Birthday lists at some point but i'm going to post it anyway. Orla Kiely's 'Home'.

i was looking back at my 'my style - interiors' pinterest board from the Smart Creative Style course and thought i'd have another wee look through this book. there are quite a few photos from the book that link strongly with my board - lots of white backdrops and strong layered colours. the palette is pretty me too! the book starts with Orla's influences and her own products, and then each following chapter focuses on a different mid-century styled home from around Europe - including her own.
buy from Amazon UK for only £19.50 or Amazon US for $24.99

my own smart creative style. BOOM.

last weeks post was short and sweet so i'm afraid to say i'll be back to waffling this week!! :p  this week is about the latest e-course i took part in - Smart Creative Style by Monica Lee. it's a touch late i'll admit (i completed the course in at the end of last year!). it was a great little group and the steady growth of the classes really made you assess and dig deep into what you and your growing business is about. 

throughout the course there were tasks to complete and videos to watch. lots of notes taken covering a lot of different areas, but as the title suggests the main aim was to find YOUR OWN CREATIVE STYLE. everyone was having their 'wow' moments, their realisation of what they should be doing, where they should be heading, and it was great to follow their journey. but i hadn't mine. well, why the hell not?! this was not fair! i wasn't having a sudden 'BOOM, this is it!!'... not even just a little bit. {sad face}.

so what had i discovered along this journey then? well, through my pinterest boards (above) i found that despite me thinking i wanted beautiful wallpaper dressing my walls i actually liked my interiors to be white with splashes and layers of colour. and this was just how i would lay out my lovely boutique shop. my fashion style was similar - more block colours with just a little pattern. the illustration and artist inspiration that i was drawn to was always fairly graphic-y. that is it was simplified shapes and characters in (yup, you guessed it) block colours with subtle texture, but always with a hand drawn feel... 

so ok, looking back it was all there and i could see a vague kinda link, but then about a month ago i think it all came together. i had just bought two books - Olle Eskell (above) and Charley Harper - and was flicking through. at around the same time i did a blog post on how i wanted to get into illustration a bit more an featured some other designers (Peter Donnelly (bottom) and Angie Lewin) and things started becoming clearer. i must have just become blind to it before, a common thing for designers to go through when they've been working constantly on a project. fresh eyes are a joy!

i did a blog special on Mad Men graphics (by Malota, left) following a Mad Men themed hen do, and finally i had a tidy up of my pinterest boards and took out any designs i didn't really, really like. and then...


it all came together, all my inspiration and styles i am drawn to and what i know i WANT my own stuff to look like but isn't quite there yet (close, but not quite). i had discovered Lucienne Day back at uni and have always loved her style, and that has led me to these other mid-century artists, more from the 40's right through to the early 60's its seems. i even had a comment that a lot of the fashion i selected was quite 40's. again, not something i'd actually picked up on.

so all this time i thought i was all about pattern, pattern and pattern. turns out i'm not - it's the colour, pattern is secondary. and i always love it when someone compliments me on my colour, much more than when they compliment me on the pattern. huh, who'd've thunk it.

this course really made you dig deep and it covered everything about you as a brand - style, branding, logo, website, social media persona... the variety and just outright amazing-ness of the videos covered absolutely everything in an easy to follow - and fun to follow (who'd've thought that for marketing advice?!) - way. and what has made it different to the other e-courses i have taken part in is the variety of creative areas involved - it wasn't just surface pattern based - and although chatting to other surface pattern designers is invaluable you can get some really different perspectives when talking to crafters, artists, illustrators...

i've just completed a small xmas card range and homed in on this style more, added texture and doodled more to get my character style right, or at least started. still a lot to do and work on to really get what i want but  it's getting there and i'm really excited to be starting my new collection for release 2015!

look at me...i have STOCKISTS. oh yeah.

i'm quite impressed with myself that i've managed to keep to a blog post every Saturday since the start of the year, however, today's was a struggle. mostly because i've been busy working on projects so no time to think of anything to report. so it'll be short and sweet (which i'm sure many of you will be pleased about as, let's be honest, i do tend to waffle a lot of the time).

i guess the exciting thing is that  now have STOCKISTS. yes. me. i have STOCKISTS. that's pretty cool if i do say so myself.

i have three new stockists (i'm becoming quite fond of that word!) off the back of Top Drawer, as well currently stocking in We Make London's pop-up shop in Camden and being part of Blog & Buys Spring Wish List. Lovely & British stock my lampshades whilst Purple Holly and Votiva Home will very soon be stocking my super-super double-sided cushions...can't wait!

and i'm also rather excited (probably a bit too much in fact) that i can now have a 'stockists' page on my website. yay!