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30 September 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Adventures and Tea Parties Conkers

I got back from Sorrento last Saturday to find that autumn has well and truly arrived in the UK. The shiny conkers are bursting from the trees, the blackberries are being stripped from the hedgerows, and the nights are getting cooler and darker. 

The beginning of autumn has also crept into my studio as I begin to work with burnt oranges and mustard yellows, while being wrapped up in my recently finished knitted, oversized cardigan and clasping cups of tea in-between making personalised orders, writing blog posts, sharing a new 'Meet the artist' interview and doing the regular admin, stock checks, and email correspondence. A normal, if slightly cooler, week at work.

Music, as usual, has been my companion - like an awesome work colleague really. Top of the playlist was a sort of music and art collaboration experience; something that I hope to never forget. Chris Riddell, political cartoonist, artist and illustrator took to Periscope to illustrate one hour of 6 Music. It was the most awe inspiring thing I have ever seen. Not only are each and every drawing stunning but the speed at which Chris draws is breathtaking. I urge you to go watch Chris draw on Periscope. It's an hour of complete and utter pleasure.

Before I go to start a rather busy weekend, I'll leave you with a couple of songs that have hit a chord with me and definitely been on repeat in the studio. Pop them on, have a sing, have a dance and go enjoy your weekend!

New Song by Warpaint
Nothing Arrived by Villagers
Ocean Rain by Echo & the Bunnymen
Breaking Into Aldi by Fat White Family
One More Night by Michael Kiwanuka

29 September 2016

Meet the local artist: Katrina Sophia

This new blog series meets artists and finds out how they work, what inspires them and what the art scene is like in their local area. This month I had the great pleasure of finding out all about the artistic world of someone I greatly admire, Katrina Sophia.

Katrina Sophia

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am an artist, freelance illustrator and creative lifestyle blogger living in Nottingham. I am also crazy about cats and dinosaurs! 

Katrina Sophia

What kind of art do you do?
I paint with various mediums but I use watercolour and fine liner most of all. I like working on small pieces, focusing on colour and shape. 

Katrina Sophia

How do you work and get inspired?
I am heavily inspired by everyday life and natural world. I'd paint anything that caught my eyes at home, or go out to pick up some interesting plants/flowers to bring back home and study. Nature fascinates me. I keep sketchbooks too and often go through old ones for inspiration. 

Katrina Sophia

What do you love about art?
What I love about art is that we paint what is going on in our minds and what inspires us. It is a great form of expression. I believe that art doesn't have to be excellent, or of amazing skills, it is individual and always beautiful because it comes from something deeper. 

Katrina Sophia

What's the art / creative scene like in Nottingham? 
I've only lived in Nottingham for about 8 months but I've already felt a good sense of art scene as well as community. There is Handmade Nottingham, an independant shop that showcases local creative talent and they also host craft markets. You'll see a lot of independent shops and cafes in the city. There are also regular festivals at the heart of Nottingham, Old Market Square. 

If you had to take only one art tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?
Um, off the top of my head, I'd bring a lino cutter so I can carve wood from the trees, or driftwood. But I'd miss painting so much!

Katrina Sophia

If you could go to an Art Award dinner with any 5 people (dead or alive, real or fictional), who would you choose? 
Frida Kahlo, Beatrix Potter, Salvador Dali, Tamara De Lempicka and Tove Jansson!

Thank you so much, Katrina. It's been wonderful hearing all about your artistic world!


If you like the look of Katrina's beautiful work, don't forget to pop on over to her gorgeous website to see more!

27 September 2016

Creative Inspiration: Colourful Italy

If you follow my Instagram Stories you may have noticed that last week I was exploring the beautiful Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi coast and towns. I may have gone a little crazy on taking photos but how could I resist when the views, colours and patterns were as mind blowing as this selection of snaps I managed to narrow down for you (1k plus snaps is quite the holiday album, so I'm rather proud that I've whittled it down to 12 pics, ha-ha!). 

I came back feeling full of inspiration to throw more vibrant colour and pattern into my designs and, of course, to plan my next adventure!

Sorrento Photography



Sorrento Photography



Sorrento Photography



Sorrento Photography



Sorrento Photography


Sorrento Photography


Sorrento Photography


Sorrento Photography


Sorrento Photography



Sorrento Photography



Sorrento Photography



Sorrento Photography


25 September 2016

Creative Inspiration: The Printed Square

Being a designer/maker of personalised hankies, it's probably no surprise to you all that I am a HUGE fan of handkerchiefs. I have owned hankies since I was a little girl and I still have those hankies I took to primary school with me; I treasure them now as visual childhood memories. 

Among my collection are some pretty, dainty vintage hankies that I've picked up from markets over the years. I love the detailed hand embroidery on these and the delicate nature of them.

The history of the handkerchief is fascinating too. Did you know they can be dated as far back as the Romans? You can read more about my findings here. I would love to learn even more about them and the history of fashion accessories in general.

The Printed Square

One of my favourite creative, inspirational books is guess what, all about hankies! It's called, 'The Printed Square: Vintage Handkerchief Patterns for Fashion and Design' by Nicky Albrechtsen.

The Printed Square

It's a complete visual delight of a book being split up into colour sections. In each colour section or chapter is a stunning display of hanky patterns, prints and designs, which result in much cooing and ahhing over each and every one. And if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know how much I love colour and pattern, so this method of organising the book is a huge plus for me. 

The Printed Square

Included at the start of each colour section is a quote by a famous person on the colour, such as this lovely one by Cecil Beaton.

The Printed Square

As well as 11 colour chapters, the book includes an interesting introduction, some handkerchief history and a chapter on how to conserve, store, and display hankies. 

The Printed Square

It's a wonderful book for anyone interested in fashion history, as well as those style and design fans out there and anyone who wants a bit of creative, colour inspiration. I now have my eyes on Albrechtsen's book on scarves, swoon!


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Disclosure: I wasn't sponsored to write this post. All opinions are my own.

22 September 2016

Gardening Corner: Jobs for September

Gardening jobs for September

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some jobs you can do in the garden this September. Pop on over, put your gloves on and get gardening! 


16 September 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Adventures & Tea Parties
This week has been a good, busy week. Lots of new designs were finished and sent off for photographing and they will be in my online shops at the beginning of October. Can't wait to show you all! As well as lots of designing and making, shop orders flew out, I joined Instagram Stories to give you all more behind-the-scenes snaps, I also interviewed Jo Want from Hello Sunshine (read it here) and got to share my happy press news!

Amongst that and the normal pile of admin, I was dashing around trying to get work finished as I'm off to Sorrento today for a whole week of sightseeing, good food and hopefully some relaxation time with my book. I'm taking my big girl camera with me, so that I can show you some snaps of my adventure when I get back.

Due to rushing around, the jukebox was a little quiet this week but of course, it wasn't complete silence with these songs being played on repeat:

Royalty Capes by De La Soul
Shut Up Kiss Me by Angel Olsen
Youth by Glass Animals
Dreams by Beck

And of course, as I'm heading to Italy, this song may have been sung a "few" times in the studio, ha-ha!

While I'm away, my NOTHS and Etsy shops will still be open. All orders received will be made and sent out in the week beginning the 26th September. If you have any enquiries, drop me a line  on the 26th when I'll be able to reply.

And don't be shy, have a good look around my blog while I'm half way up Mount Vesuvius, there's lots to read, such as my Blog Gem series, creative inspiration in my Simple Stylish Makes blog posts, photography, plenty of music to get you ears around, as well as some handkerchief history!

15 September 2016

Five minutes with designer/maker Jo Want of Hello Sunshine



Jo Want Hello Sunshine


Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm chatting with the awesome designer/maker, Jo Want of Hello Sunshine. Pop on over to find out what she loves about designing and making cool stuff!

14 September 2016

Press feature: Country Living Magazine

Country Living Magazine October 2016



I am absolutely delighted to be featured in the October issue of Country Living magazine! If you haven't checked this magazine out before you totally should. It's jam packed with gorgeous, inspirational articles, craft ideas, recipes and more. I've already found some beautiful Christmas presents to buy! You can pick a copy up from most shops and supermarkets. So, go grab a copy and you'll find me on page 197, yay! 




Country Living October 2016




9 September 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Adventures & Tea Parties


Been playing around with new design ideas this week, which has felt good. And these songs have been encouraging me to keep on designing and making.

Imarhan by Imarhan
Let the good times roll by JD McPherson
Tilting by The Leaf Library
Tell Em All To Go To Hell by Ezra Furman
Tangerine by Teleman
Tenement Song by Pixies
4 Degrees by Anohni
22 (Over Soon) by Bon Iver

Pop them on, have a listen, have a dance and enjoy the weekend!


8 September 2016

How to choose an autumn knitting project

Simple Stylish Makes Autumn Knitting


Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some ideas on how to choose an autumn knitting project. Pop on over to find out more. And don't forget to come and tell all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes Team about how what you're going to knit this autumn.


7 September 2016

History of the handkerchief

Handkerchief, hanky, kerchief, pocket square, handkercher, tomayto, tomarto...whatever you call that square piece of fabric you blow your nozzle on, did you know that the handkerchief can be dated as far back as the Romans, when it was used for signalling the start to chariot races and according to research done by Handkerchief Heroes (I love that name!). Some historians state that it can be traced back as far the Chou dynasty. That's 1000BC folks! Apparently, it was used then to shield a person's head from the roasting sunshine! Now I can't help but get an image of grandads at the beach wearing white vests and hankies on their heads, knotted in the corners and also, a slight stretch admittedly but this sketch by Monty Python of hanky wearing on the head comes to mind and is just brilliant!

Adventures and Tea Parties Hand Embroidered Hankies


Hankies have certainly featured in Shakespeare's time (Othello, Cymbeline, As You Like It) and in the 16th century they started to come out of the dark and feature as a fashion accessory. According to Fashion Encyclopedia, "King Louis XVI of France (1754–1793), made it a law that all handkerchiefs must be square, and they have remained square ever since"! What a strange thing to impose but hey, how often do you see a round hanky? Maybe I should start selling them or would the french royality have something to say about that. Hmm, don't fancy having my head chopped off!

Adventures and Tea Parties Hand Embroidered Hankies


Since then, the handkerchief very much became part of men's fashion, being carefully folded and tucked into the left breast pocket of suits and available in a whole range of fabrics, colours and patterns. This tutorial by Liberty's on different methods for folding your hanky is particular good to get that perfect suit look!

Adventures and Tea Parties Hand Embroidered Hankies


All interesting stuff hey? I've actually found a whole heap of history on the kerchief, so rather than overwhelming you, I will share part 2 next week. And well, it would be remiss of me not to say that I'm actually flippin' proud to be keeping the tradition of handmade hankies alive and kicking in my Etsy and NOTHS shops.

Are you a hanky person? Do you have different hankies for different ocassions? I'd love to hear what you think about the good 'ol handkerchief!


2 September 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Adventures and Tea Parties


This week has been a busy one getting work finished, so that I can head off to the End of the Road festival today. Lots of orders have been sent out, new designs sent off to be photographed and ideas formed for more shop goodies. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Amy from The Creative Outlook, so do go have a read of it here. She's one super talented lady!

As ever music has been keeping me going and this week has very much been about the bands and artists I'm excited to see at End of the Road festival. Here are just a few of those:

Time Machine by Jack and Jeffrey Lewis
Grim Cinema by BC Camplight
My Girls by Animal Collective
Disappointed by Field Music
My Zero by Ezra Furman
How To Recognise A Work Of Art by Meilyr Jones
Tidal Wave by Thee Oh Sees

Pop them on, have a listen, a dance and a sing along and enjoy the weekend!



1 September 2016

Blog Gem - The Creative Outlook

Yay, it's Blog Gem time and this month I'm super excited to be finding out about the face behind a beautifully, inspiring creative lifestyle blog and a new favourite of mine - The Creative Outlook. So, without further ado, lets dive on in!


Amy Hodkin



Hello there, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself?
Hello! My name is Amy, I'm a 21 year old student from Leeds currently in my final year at university studying Surface Pattern Design. The Creative Outlook was born in August 2014 as a place to share all of my creative adventures. 


Amy Hodkin

Where do you blog? What is your blogging space like? 
My preferred space to blog is in my bedroom as it's very cosy. I love lighting a few candles, switching on the fairy lights and writing from the comfort of my bed! That way I feel my posts come across more chatty and fun (like I'm talking to a friend) as opposed to sitting at the desk in my studio. 

Amy Hodkin


If you had to take only one craft/design tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?
Definitely a sketchbook! I love to draw especially when it's observational. 


Amy Hodkin

How do you work and get inspired? 
I definitely work best when I have a deadline to reach and I really enjoy working at a fast pace. Inspiration can come from anywhere for me, but mostly from interesting movies and tv shows. I get inspired by loads of different designers and illustrators too. It's hard not to be inspired when I follow so many fabulous people on Instagram!

Amy Hodkin

What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?
Try and get into a routine of updating regularly otherwise you most likely will never update. If you can't think of anything to post about then go outside and experience things; write about a movie you've seen, review a recent exhibition you've been to or talk about some of your favourite plants! You can literally blog about anything. It's your space, write content you enjoy, and don't feel pressured to be a "professional". If you aren't enjoying it, it's probably not the hobby for you.


Amy Hodkin


Is there a story behind the name, The Creative Outlook?
Choosing a name was always going to be the hardest bit... I liked the idea of giving people an "outlook" on my life as a creative. Sometimes I feel a bit iffy about it but I think it represents my blog content really well. 

Amy Hodkin

If you could go to a Blog Award dinner with any 5 people (dead or alive) and/or fictional characters, who would you choose? 
I would love to meet Lisa Congdon because hopefully she would pass on all of her wonderful artistic wisdom, Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess as I love everything they do, Abbey Rich who is an amazing business woman / textile designer and Tavi Gevinson- she's generally one of the coolest women around.

Amy Hodkin

And finally...if you had to choose one song to represent The Creative Outlook, what would it be and why? 
Daylight by Matt and Kim! I feel like it's a happy song and my blog is my happy place. 

Thank you so much, Amy! It's been awesome hearing all about your creative world. I hope you've all enjoyed this month's Blog Gem. Catch up on all my interviews here and don't forget to sign up to my newsletter too! 

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Amy at The Creative Outlook. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.

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