Friday, July 21

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Sssh. A freshly hatched little Hatchling, and ready to be adopted.
{ 2 } For summer playtime. This lovely linen pinafore from Moonroom.
{ 3 } For summer partytime. This fabulous frolic dress from Le Petit Tom.
{ 4 } Sigh. How beautiful are these silver spoons, and too lovely to use?
{ 5 } Lets go fly a { really lovely Sailing Ship } kite!
{ 6 } It's #shelfie love.
{ 7 } Etsy find of the week. BAGatelle Studio. Just love this Pride & Prejudice clutch.
{ 8 } Dare to fail. JF Kennedy.
{ 9 } Enjoy the ride. With these über cute embroidered bikes by Walker Boyes.
{ + } Weekend + Rain = Chocolate Pie #anyexcuse.

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, July 19

{ inspired#16 . jane austen . reading & love }

. inspired#16 .
It isn't what we say or think that defines us
It's what we do
clockwise from centre
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This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death.  Whether you have read her novels or not, you can't help but be familiar with her work; Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice { Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her }, the Dashwood sisters of Sense and Sensibility { I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way }, Fanny Price of Mansfield Park { A fondness for reading, properly directed, must be an education in itself }, the matchmaking meddling Emma { If I love you less, I might be able to talk about it more }, Northanger Abbey, and her last novel, Persuasion { None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives }.

There was so much love for her on Instagram yesterday, the day that marked 200 years since Jane's last, and I'm going to borrow the caption from this picture, which sums up Jane in a way in which I think the author herself would approve.

photo credit // janice mier

' Ardently remembering a badass woman who has taught me so much. There were too many lessons but if there's one thing I'd like to share with your ladies, it is that we should love using our heart and our head. Do proper assessment of character. Know the difference between a man who has a plan and a boy who just wants to waste your time.

Thank you Jane for your books. For who you are. For everything you've done. I'm grateful you existed. '

You'll find lots more Austen inspiration on my pinterest board { inspired#16 } and to read more about the anniversary take a look over on Jane Austen 200.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, July 17

{ four I adore . Illustrators }

One of the exhibitions I'm hoping to see during the Summer is the shortly opening at Somerset House, featuring highlights from the World Illustration Awards. The shortlist featured many illustrators of children's books, something of particular interest to me. There were 26 talented artist in the category, which left me spoilt for choice for today's post, but as it's 'four I adore' I have picked my very favourites to share with you.

Duncan Beedie
The first is Duncan Beedie, a Bristol based artist, who has illustrated books, including two of which he is author, The Bear who Stared, and the wonderfully titled The Lumberjack's Beard. There are so many things to love about Duncan's work, but in particular I love his use of colour, and the quality of light he manages to bring into his work.

Carly Gledhill
Carly Gledhill's work was already familiar to me, through the quirky characters she creates for Corby Tindersticks. Equally at home designing for children's wear, as she is illustrating children's books, she is currently working on her first author / illustrator book, due for release next year. Oh, and if all that didn't keep her busy enough she's the co-founder of Dot to Dot. It's hard to say what I don't love about Carly's work, but her lovely quality of line, and fantastic imagination have me feeling a little envious.

Silvia Bonanni
Italian illustrator Silvia Bonanni, works creatively in collage to produce the lovelies, and intricately detailed artworks for the many books she's helped bring to life. Her illustrations for The Magic Flute are crafted from fabric, paper and small objects, and have such a charm about them, creating a miniature theatre on the page.

Lesley Barnes
My final artist is Lesley Barnes. An illustrator and animator whose work spans children's books, film, fashion and music, and whose style is recognisable for it's distinctive bright use of colour. There is a mid century quality to Lesley's work, and a wonderful sense of pattern and texture within her illustrations that you could imagine brought to life on fabric and textiles.

Sadly, and as a reflection of how high the standard was, none of my featured artists won their category, but I'm keeping my finger's crossed that some of their work will be on display at the exhibition at Somerset House.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, July 14

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } It's that time of year when the sun is still shining, but all the winter woolies start appearing.
{ 2 } But before they do, here's a lovely story to keep you in a Summertime Mood.
{ 3 } Cool bag via Goodordering Mini.  Cool kid via Lala Lingy.
{ 4 } The most beautiful illustration from What KT Does.
{ 5 } Etsy find of the week. Connie Mabbott Design. I spy hand embroidered loveliness.
{ 6 } The most perfect bag from Forestbound. . .
{ 7 } . . . Perfect for packing for a weekend escape to the beautifully tranquil Harp Cottage.
{ 9 } A new local(ish) flower shop which I may just need to visit to buy some plant babies.
{ + } S'mores mini cakes from my name is yeh.  Summer camp snacks for grown ups!

{ have a happy day }

Monday, July 10

{ hello . Miss Smith }

For the past couple of years I've had a yearning to start something for me. A small business, designing, creating and making things that I was passionate about.  A designer for more years than I care to say out loud, I've always worked and designed for others. Whilst I've prided myself on doing my best to meet the clients brief, that doesn't necessarily mean you spend your days designing things that make your soul happy.

It took a long while to decide what that small business would look like. Pages and pages of scribbles, doodles, notes, talking myself into and out of ideas as quickly as they came to mind. Although I am a children's wear designer by profession, and have toyed with the idea of my own collection many times over the years, the idea of this no longer held the appeal it once had. Slightly intimidated by all the amazing small companies that have sprung up over the years, designing the most amazing children's wear, and more than a little fazed by the idea of finding and dealing with manufacturers, I was looking for something a little simpler, smaller.

The idea that eventually took hold, was something I'd been interested in since I was young, something that pre-dated my children's wear designing days. My mum taught me to knit when I was small, and the fascination for the craft has never left me. I knitted through art college, originally applying for a Knitwear degree, before choosing Fashion, yet knitwear played an integral part of most of the collections I designed, including my final collection. Whilst not the most fashionable of things when I was at University, knitwear has seen something of a renaissance over the past few years. Companies such as LoopWe are KnittersWool and the Gang, and Purl Soho, have helped to elevate knitting from a singularly unfashionable past time, to an über cool hobby, helped in part by the move towards a slower, more mindful, way of living.

The scope that knitting now offers is vast, but I was particularly intrigued by the extreme knitting which I'd seen around the net, something which definitely hadn't been around in my Uni days. I started building Pinterest boards, for mood, for knitting, for colour, and started looking for yarns, for gigantic knitting needles, and I started knitting again.

And whilst progress has not perhaps been as quick as I would like, progress, of a sort, has been made. The images I collected have been sorted, and a selection made to give a snapshot of the impression I would like my business to make. Words have been written to define the brand I would like to be, and a name has been decided on. lily&Bloom has been my moniker since I started freelancing and blogging. Though I feel a great fondness for it, it didn't feel the right thing to take forward into this new venture. And so, and to my Dad's great delight, please say hello to the beginnings of Miss Smith.
I've loved my first go at knitting with jumbo yarn, and have loved discovering new stitches, techniques, and a whole community of like minded knitters. I've been playing with developing my own knitting patterns, and feel a style, and knitting handwriting of my own is starting to develop, though perhaps not quite there yet. I'm trying hard not to get distracted by all the wonderful knitters out there who are already selling their wonderful wares, knowing that I need, and want to offer something different from everyone else.

This post is, in part, a note to self to stop procrastinating further on this project. And perhaps to stop calling it a project, and start moving forward at a slightly greater pace than I have so far. There is a fear in putting yourself out there, in putting things you have designed and made out there, the fear that no-one will be interested, no-one will want to buy what you are selling. But if I never try, then I will never know.  I read an interesting post on Instagram, posted by @lisa_king_consultancy about how Starbucks began, and whilst the 'how it began' story was still interesting, for me it was the fact that it began back in 1971 that held a fascination. Whilst undoubtedly a hugely successful company for many years, when you read over their history, it took nearly fifteen years for the company to resemble the coffee stores that we now think as typical of the chain. Now I have no pretensions or desire to build a company as big as Starbucks, but I do think it serves as a reminder that things don't happen overnight, that it's easy to look at companies that are doing well, and are growing, and think that that has happened overnight. The word I used when commenting on Lisa's post was patience. Having the patience to take it step by step, moving forward slowly, yet surely.

I would love to hear your thoughts on all I've written today. Whether it's sharing your experience of starting a small business, or your thoughts on what I've shared above, a few words of encouragement, or even words of warning? 

In the meantime, full of optimism, and renewed enthusiasm, I'm off to scribble down a few more ideas and thoughts.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, July 7

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 2 } Overload of cuteness?  I have to agree Billieblush.
{ 3 } I may have to give Emile et Ida a regular Happy Friday spot!
{ 4 } Spotted on Paul et Paula. Sweet Hannah B. ♥︎
{ 5 } Etsy find of the week. Lotta's House. Which I just Love.
{ 6 } Spotted at Loop Knitting. Bumble Bees. ♥︎
{ 7 } How much do I love people who still send old fashioned mail?
{ 9 } A lovely list on Frankie of books to read when you have itchy feet ( see above! )
{ + } The sun is shining and I think it's time to make cookie dough ice cream sandwiches.

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, July 5

{ fabulous finds at the Summer Market }

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July started in the most summery and fabulous of ways, with the Derbyshire Summer Market, hosted by Deb of Fabulous Places. A slightly grey start gave way to a beautiful day, the perfect day to spend every single penny you have on the loveliest of things. As always, there was a lovely mix of food, to eat there, and to take away, things for the home, for you, and to buy as gifts, well, until you get home and realise that you'd really rather keep it yourself. Or is that just me?

There seemed to be a lot of new faces amongst the more familiar ones this time, and once again I came away spoilt for choice as to who to share with you today.  But, whittle it down I have, and here are my five, very fabulous finds from the weekend.

I'd already spotted Glosters gorgeous ceramics from Deb's Facebook feed, and they certainly didn't disappoint in 'real life'. Based in Porthmadog, North Wales, Glosters is Myfanwy and Tom, with Tom being the designer / maker of those lovely pots. So wonderfully simple, with a pop of colour, I must have stood in front of the stall for an age, picking up each vase in turn. I was feeling far too indecisive to make a purchase, but I'm keeping my finger's crossed they'll be back at the Christmas Market. Another maker I've seen before in Deb's photo's is Tweed Hands Co.  Beautifully simple illustrations and wonderfully worded typography, available as cards, prints and the sweetest banners. Yet another stall I hung around, walked away from, walked back to, and could happily have bought one of everything.

A new face at the market, but one that was familiar to me was Leah, of the eponymously named, Made by Leah. Like me, Leah is a member of the Clandestine Cake Club, and her sweet illustrations have been featured on the site. As a baker, a lot of her illustrations and cards are inspired by cake, cookies and all manner of sweet things, but I also have a bit of a soft spot for her fabulous flamingo's and her other cheeky animals too.

My penultimate fabulous find is Sophie Jarram Ceramics. As well as having the loveliest range of geometric inspired ceramics, Sophie was one of the sweetest stall holders I spoke with that day. Her passion for her work shines through. Working in porcelain making pots to fill with succulents and cacti big and oh, so, sweetly small.

And so to my fifth and final fabulous find, a familiar face that I've seen at every market I've been to since I first visited, Ruby Lou's Treat Co, also known as Yummy Little Cakes. They never disappoint, and always bring something new along to each market, this time bringing along their recently launched cookie dough. I lost count of the number of people I saw enjoying the 'dough by the scoop', and for a while I was tempted to 'forget' my current gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free status, thinking it was possibly worth starting three weeks of elimination all over again, for one delicious pot of 'the Dough'.

If you want to see more then take a look at Deb's post, and search for the hashtag #derbyshiresummermarket on Instagram.

Is it wrong that I'm already counting down the days until the Christmas Market?

{ have a fabulous day }

Saturday, July 1

{ hello July }

. hello july .

{ have a happy day }