Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bookmarked Blog : Call Me Cupcake

Gosh I can't believe a week has gone since my last featured blog post. Hope you enjoyed discovering Breanna's blog. This week on 'Bookmarked Blog' (I have changed the name for this column as you can see!) I am sharing the absolutely beautiful blog of Swedish photographer and baker, Linda Lomelino...Call Me Cupcake

You may already know of Linda, she's quite popular with the bloggers out there. I think I am totally head over heels in love with her style. Her photographs literally have me drooling. Can you get any more stunning than this? They are so pretty and so seductive. Did a picture of a cake every win you over so badly?!! Make sure you have plenty of time when you venture over to have a look as I guarantee when you click on the recipe index you'll be there for hours! She's not just a brilliant photographer but a pretty fabulous baker as well with some creative ideas. Guinness Chocolate cake anyone?  

Linda also adds fun touches of type to some of her images which create another dimension to her posts and makes them even more engaging. The fonts are very carefully considered and sit perfectly with the style and theme of the particular shot. 

The design of Call Me Cupcake is the work of talented blog designer Tabitha Emma. (another one of my designer heroes). The soft water colour back wash with the handwritten pencil type and simple line drawings are equally as beautiful and create a really cosy, home-baked feel. 

Linda recently brought out a new book filled with all her delicious recipes and featuring her own stunning photographs. Sadly it's only available in Swedish but a tempting purchase just for the pictures!

As you can imagine from her blog, Linda is a really sweet lady too, I wrote her an email last year when I first discovered her blog complimenting her on it and she sent a lovely email straight back.

Enjoy and don't drool too much :-)

All images courtesy of Call Me Cupcake.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Getting The Hump and Thirteen Creative Goals for 2013

Seems a little early to be making new years resolutions doesn't it, but I'm feeling like I need to make some changes. I have big creative plans for 2013 and my homework from bootcamp was to write a list of goals, I thought no time like the present to start planning ahead. Maybe if I make a start on some things now I'll have half a chance of achieving them by the time I get to the end 2013!

I've found over the last few months that I've not really been enjoying what I do, I've felt really overloaded and bogged down with my job, working into the small hours for my clients to the point where I'm just churning out work with little consideration just to try and get everything done. I feel like Miss Creativity has gone, her duvet days have become more regular which doesn't help me when I have deadlines to meet.  As much as I love my job, when I returned from my holiday a few weeks ago, it was the first time EVER I've dreaded coming back to work. This really concerns, it's not like me at all. I was born to be creative. I've realised it's time to take a check on what is going on and why I'm feeling the way I do.  

So what have I concluded? That I take on too much, I find it hard to say no, always tricky as a freelancer when you have bills to pay and you don't like letting people down. I'm too flexible on my rates, even if work at a reduced rate, I don't work reduced hours! This results in me feeling undervalued and unmotivated. I mostly work from home so it's easy to sit at my desk for 12 hours a day without even venturing into the outside world and only speaking to people via email, all a little bit soul destroying really. I need to change my strategy and fast, start doing what makes me happy and stop doing what's not!

So, here are the new goals I want to achieve in the hope they will bring Miss Creativity back! Some I have started as I couldn't wait until 2013...

1. Be more selective with the clients I work with, choosing only projects and clients I feel inspired and excited by and who appreciate what I am worth, taking on less but producing more quality work I feel proud of.

2. Put together a rate sheet and stick to it!

3. Re-do my CV/credentials and update my design's not been updated in 3 years! The purpose of my blog was to share what I am working on and so far I haven't really shared anything. Being able to see what I have done over the last few years will be a great sense of achievement. 

4. Launch my stationery business. This has always been my dream and now more than ever I want to embark on that journey.  First I need to come up with a name (#5 on the list!) and write a business plan. I'm making a start by attending The Paper Girls workshop in Manchester next week (led by Abigail Warner and Lucy Ledger) which covers all you need to know to start and run a stationery business.

5. Brainstorm a business name....any suggestions? Write a business plan.

6. BLOG, BLOG, BLOG! I've always loved creative writing and really enjoy posting on my blog....make more time to do it, plan and use it constructively to grow my business... and myself. (Hoping Holly's Bootcamp will give me a head start on this) Anything you'd like me to cover on my blog?

7. Start collecting ideas for and launch my e-mag. I've wanted to do this every since Jeanette Lund's wonderful lessons in BYW2 in June. I think I'd get so much out of producing this.

8. Get organised and PLAN it in to my schedule each day to take time out and find new inspiration rather than grabbing 5 minutes here and there and getting totally overwhelmed. Take a day out each week to wander around and visit new places or sit in a cafe and read a magazine, and as a result....

9. Fill the beautiful scrapbook my Sister gave me for Christmas last year!

10. Collaborate and meet up with like minded people and share creative thoughts and inspirations. I've made a start by becoming an admin on the London Bloggers Facebook group and taken on the organising of the monthly meet ups. Really looking forward to meeting everyone at Holly Becker's book launch next week.

11. Start using my sewing machine. I've had it for 8 months and used it twice! I 'd love to combine my design skills with sewing extending my creativity into other formats. Already attending sewing classes at Sew Over It and have another this Friday 'Free Machine Embroidery'. Time to put them to good use. 

12.  Switch off at the end of the day. Go to bed earlier and read a book......can't beat a good story to escape from it all! Any recommendations?

13. Free my mind and start doing what makes me happy and stop doing what doesn't. Believe in myself and stop trying to be someone else's perfect (I pinched that bit from the poster below but it's a great piece of advice).  

I could go on but these will do for now. I feel excited by my list and will report back on my progress as it happens. Watch this space!

I finish by sharing this great motivating poster with you.

Images 1 | 2 | 3

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Mischief Meets : Silkie Lloyd : Rosehip Cards

This week's Mischief Meets interview is with Silkie Lloyd of boutique stationery and homeware company Rosehip. I've been a fan of Silkie's work for a long time and have a number of her notebooks in my extensive collection. I love the simplicity but boldness of her designs and the bright colour combinations. 

Silkie is also a fellow classmate on Holly Becker's BYW Bootcamp and from the conversations we have had over email she is a truly lovely and inspiring lady. Here is what she has to say...

• What is the essence of your business? What do you do?
We are a small independant stationery and greeting cards publisher's. I am the principle designer (In fact the only designer,although we are looking to publish other artists and print makers during 2013)

• How did you start doing what you do? Have you always been creative? What made you decide to start up on your own?
I decided to start up on my own when I had my first child Oscar and realised that to be self employed would be the only way I could be with him all the time while he was small, allowing me to be able to choose when and how much I worked. Little did I know that would mean long hours working during the evening after bedtime! Which carried on when my second boy Felix came along. They are both at school now so there's tons more time. I studied Graphic Design/Illustration at Bath Spa University college but majored in photography so everything I do now I have taught myself since starting the business.

• Where do you work? Describe your studio space.
We have a lovely studio/office very close to Bristol Historic dockside, I try to cycle to & from work everyday along the river. This is really important for me as it's a perfect time for thinking up new designs and ranges and is fantastic for clearing my head after a long day sat in front of the computer. The studio is always in various states of flux...the mess ebbs and flows depending on my workload!

• Do you have a team or do you work alone?
I work alone in terms of design but I have had wonderful office manager's whom I couldn't do without. I realized at a certain point that I couldn't do it all myself and that my design process was suffering because of the day to day managing of the business. Employing someone to help with this side of the business is the best decision I've made and has enabled me to have a much clearer vision for the company.

• What is a typical day for you?
I drop the kids to school, cycle to work and have a cup of tea. I then procrastinate and move piles of paper around, pretend to write lists, mess about on the internet for a while and then finally I get around to starting work...firstly answering emails and then later drawing or working on designs on the computer. It's a mission of mine to work more effectively and not waste time...but I find it so easy to spend hours ambling around the internet admiring all the fantastic design and illustration talent out there!

My day ends either at 3pm when I go to pick the kids up or sometimes I get a good long day at the studio...I have discovered that late afternoon is when I am most creative.

• What do you find most satisfying about the work you do? What are your biggest challenges as a creative?
I love that I have built this business pretty much on my own (with lots of support and practical help from my partner) and that I am in complete control of the design process. I absolutely love color and am always really pleased when I find a new perfect combination of color to work with. I have struggled a lot with the day to day impact that running a small business can have,how this impacts on my ability to create good design and at times my home life.

• Which 3 items couldn’t you live without?
Black Ink, paper and adobe illustrator/photoshop

• What is your design process?
I start by a single piece of inspiration, be it a color combination, style or a piece of vintage imagery and I will then spend a good while researching and creating moodboards, either actual or virtual. I will then start drawing in pencil and then ink. These sketches are then brought into photoshop or illustrator and I will work on them from there. I quite often don't have a clear idea of the end result and am happy to let the designs to take shape as I go along.

• Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have any favourite books,
magazines etc?
I love old fabric (of which I have loads of pieces!) vintage children's books and toys. I love to read Selvedge and all the interior magazines which I find a constant source of inspiration. And of course there is Pinterest, which is fabulous but a teribble time consumer for me. I have had to be very strict with myself on this otherwise I could lose hours of my working day! I do look at a lot of blogs too, I find them really useful for keeping in touch with whats going on out there,especially as I work alone.

• Are there any designers/artists you particularly admire?
The list is endless but here goes:

• Which are your favourite blogs/websites?
I find myself visiting a lot of interior design blogs but my old favorite is of course Print and PatternI regularly visit Design Sponge, Decor8, Bright Bazaar, Meet me at Mikes, Oh Joy and Bloesem..and many others too!

• Anything exciting in the pipeline?
I'd love to start publishing some new designers. There's so many fantastically talented people out there I think it would be fab to be able to showcase up and coming designers...if you are out there please do get in touch!

• What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own
creative business?

- Have a business plan

- Be well prepared and organised!

- Speak nicely to your bank!

- If you are designing and making products make sure you have done your sums 
and are actually going to make some money from what you've made.

- Understand cash flow and margins.

- Don't be afraid to ask for help and advise from people in the industry.

- When you get big enough make sure you delegate jobs.

- Share knowledge and inspiration and be open.., I'm a firm believer in 
sharing and connecting with our creative communities...connect with social's fun and enlightening!

- Remember you are only as good as your last design! Keep making new work 
all the time and be true to yourself.

Silkie I have to say I think you have my ideal job! Despite your busy lifestyle you still seem very organised and focused. Thanks for sharing with us. I look forward to seeing your business grow. 

You can find Silkie's designs in leading department stores and some independent shops or on her website here.

Images are courtesy of Rosehip

Saturday, 20 October 2012

A Taste of Creative Mischief

Well leading on very nicely from my last post and much to my joy, Holly has given us the task of creating a mood board for our blog. I set this blog up 12 months ago and did it very quickly, tinkering along the way making changes as I learnt new things, however, I never sat down and actually thought about what personality I wanted my blog to have so this exercise has been great for me.

The result, something of elegant sophistication with a touch of fun and mischief, a bit like one of my favourite style icons Audrey Hepburn. So classic and stylish but I love her cheeky mischievous side.  The colours would be crisp black and white with muted greys and dusky pinks and pops of bright colours. I want it to look edible and sweet with bit of glitter and sparkle. It needs to have a modern editorial style but also be natural and friendly with a handmade touch. I will cover contemporary design styles alongside emotive photography and hand crafts such as stationery and paper goods. Typography, particularly hand lettering is a big passion of mine at the moment so that will feature heavily. 

I've taken inspiration from some of my favourite blogs; Besotted Brand, Breanna Rose, Blog Milk,  Lobster and Swan, Elephantine, Sania Pell and of course......Pinterest!

I'm really quite chuffed with the feel of this board and can't wait until I have the time to start implementing it in my blog. What do you think? Anything you'd like to add?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Featured blog and a love for moodboards!

You may have noticed before I went off on my little break that I added a 'featured blog of the week' banner to my side bar. As a graphic designer I read so many blogs every day as I search for inspiration, trends and ideas and the ones I find particularly exciting I make a note of and refer back to regularly. As I find so much inspiration in these blogs, instead of keeping them to myself, I decided I'd like to share some of my favourites with you and rather than just add them to a blog roll (where if you are like me you just click on the names you like!) I thought I'd make a series of regular spotlight posts about them. 

Little did I know when I started this that my BYW Bootcamp task this week was going to be writing about 1...what inspires me and favourite blog so the timing couldn't be more perfect. So, here goes with the first one...

I am beginning with one of my favourite graphic design blogs, that of freelance graphic & web designer Breanna Rose.

Breanna's blog is everything I aspire for mine to be. Clean, fresh and simple and totally engaging. All her posts are so interesting and she approaches them in a unique and personalised style with colourful imagery, beautiful photography and subtle but fun typography and labelling. 

One of the things I like about the blog is the clear series structure she uses. She designs  downloadable wallpapers and writes a column about her life and processes as a freelancer 'Be Free, Lance'. Here she offers great advice and tips for other freelancers which I have found really helpful and encouraging. She also uses a number of lovely guest posters to write regularly giving HTML and DIY lessons. She has a good diverse mix of features which make a really interesting read whether you are a designer or not. 

Photo from DIY guest post by Andrea Fairservice

However, the main reason Breanna's blog stayed with me and remains a firm favourite is that she shares my love of mood boards. Her mood boards are so beautiful! I've shared a few examples, but you can see lots more on her website here

Along the same theme of mood boards, Breanna has a bi-monthly collaboration with Cassie Pyle of The Veda House (another beautiful blog!) in their column ' Branding Backwards'. The girls ingeniously dissect their favourite brands creating mood boards showing the brand's key structure and aesthetics. They are so clever and send me into a complete mood board melt down! Breanna's moodboards can be found on Cassie's blog and Cassie's on Breanna's.  Take a look here and here.

A 'Branding Backwards' board by Cassie on Breanna's Blog

A 'Branding Backwards' board by Breanna on The Vida House.

If you enjoyed the blog you might like to take a look at her equally brilliant design work on her website

Hope you've enjoyed my first featured blog. Thanks to Bre for letting me share it.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.  I'm also looking for names suggestions for this column, at the moment I'm thinking 'Bookmark It Blog' but I'm open to some other suggestions....

All images belong to Breanna Rose.

The Fabulous Fab UK

I have to say I am really loving Fab UK at the moment, they are introducing some cool things (and emptying my bank balance!). How clever are these book hangers from Old and Cold? I love books and have a desire to display every book I've read/own much to my boyfriends horror (he hates clutter!). I wonder what he'd think if I started hanging these around the house?!
I just received my first package of MT Washi tape from them, think their packaging is really striking and loved the thank you card. For now I think I'd better stop looking or I'll be broke by Christmas!

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Simple Things & Blogging Your Way Bootcamp

Lovely sunny tea towel by To Dry For, seen in this month's The Simple Things
I don't think life could be better today. Firstly, I'm taking a well earned break and am off on my holidays tonight, woo hoo! Finally might get some warm sunshine and I can switch off from the world, lose myself in a good book and do nothing for a week...ahhhhhh. 

Secondly issue 2 of the new 'The Simple Things' just came through my door just in time for me to take away, perfect timing or what?  It's such an interesting and beautifully designed magazine and really glad I'll get time to read it properly this month instead of just look at the pretty pictures! 

Thirdly, Holly Becker's 'Blogging Your Way Bootcamp' has started. You might remember I first took BYW back in June, well it was so much fun, I made loads of friends and I learnt how to grow my blog from the heart, so I am back for another round with the bootcamp and I can't wait to get stuck in! My pencils are sharpened and brand new notebook at the ready.....(I even noticed one of the things on the list of simple things on this month's magazine is ''writing with a brand new pencil'!), I'm all set.

I'm also really excited that I will be attending Holly's book launch (Decor8 Workshop) at Anthropology London in November. 

So, although I will be away from my blog for a while, I will be back in a weeks time with plenty of exciting things to report. I've got two more great creative interviews to share with you in Mischief Meets including the lovely Silkie of Rosehip Cards who I am very excited to see is a fellow classmate at BYW bootcamp. 

Have a great week all and be back with you soon Xx

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Graphic Love : Fairytale Posters

Just discovered theses fab posters by Christian Jackson on Fab UK. Love them! So simple but so powerful and in great moody colours. Which is your favourite?

You can see more of them here

All images by Christian Jackson. 
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