Thursday, 31 December 2009

lists and stuff

Well I know my posts have been a bit scarce recently due to all the comings and goings of the festive period. We have had a busy one so are looking to have a quiet New Year just chilling out.
After Christmas I had a look over my 'list of things to do' that I made this time last year and I'm pleased to say I have done over half of them so its now time to make my list for 2010. I like the idea of a list instead of resolutions, I think I said the same thing last year. So, I'll not bore you with the details of my list, there are a few things on there that I have carried over that I didnt manage to do, like flying a kite and doing something for charity, but there are also quite a few 'sooziebee' items, of things I want to do with my business.
I have started re-reading a couple of craft business books, Craft Inc by Meg Mateo Ilasco and also Craft and Art, The Business by Elizabeth White, which are both fantastic books for getting your head around things you need to do. I have even started re-writing a business plan, and listing (lists again....) the things I need to do to give my business some 'oomf'!! After a few months of feeling like things were going nowhere I seem to have regained some of my enthusiasm and drive to want to start and make things happen!! Yey!!
Another book I wanted to tell you about is The Creative License by Danny Gregory which I have just bought for myself. It had some fab reviews on Amazon so I thought this would be just what I needed to get creative for the start of the New Year. Watch this space and I will let you know what it's like...
And before I sign off my last post of 2009, I just want to wish you all a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year, thanks once again for reading, seeya next year xoxox

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Have a Happy Christmas

Well, I can't believe it's time for another Christmas Holiday, tomorrow is my last day at work, and due to general busy-ness my blog posts have all but dried up for this year. I just wanted to wish everyone a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and New Year and I will see you all again in 2010. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments and company, will see you soon x x x

Saturday, 12 December 2009

love a cuppa

Love a cuppa is my newest print, limited editions of ten only for the blues and the autumn colours. It will be in my Folksy shop very soon, and would be the perfect present for someone who loves a good old natter over a cuppa tea!

Ok, blatant self-promo over... I have been playing around with creating some new colour palettes from some photos I have taken of rocks and leaves and things. I think the best, and most unexpected, colour combos come direct from Mother Nature herself, and I always love to use them. If you need a bit of colourful inspiration check out this blog, its amazing!!

Friday, 11 December 2009


After my dip in motivation and creativity I have been doing a lot of thinking and have come back raring to go again. I have spent today in the studio and have got lots of my to-do list done. One of my things 'to-do' was to try and see what my black and white bird pictures looked like in colour, as black and white was starting to get just a little bit 'over-done'! See above what a splash of colour and photoshop can do. I just wish I could do the same to the English sky today, it's over cast, grey and decidedly chilly!!
Anyhoo, this new print 'Falling' will be available in my Folksy shop this afternoon. You can find it here.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

on tv!!

crap pictures I know, but how exciting, my christmas cards on the telly! Today, the BBC local TV show did a feature on the Design Circus shop in West Bridgford. There was a camera crew and presenter there, but they had all gone by the time I arrived to do my shift at 3pm. But I did manage to watch the feature when I got home, and there was about 5 mins of footage, featuring work by lots of the designer-makers taking part. The last sequence was a shot of my Christmas cards..... I was soo proud!! You can see the feature here, scroll thru to about 13 minutes
If you want to know more about pop-up shops there is a fab article here.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

sunday folksy find

Wow, get a load of these beautiful christmas cards i found this evening on Folksy. They are by Linokingcards and you can find the shop here and they are all done from lino prints. I love them!! AS well as cards you can also find coasters and keyrings, but it's the cards that are my favourites! There are some autumnal ones such as this one, which I love too, go on pop over and have a look.

Sunday Folksy Frenzy

After a lovely weekend I have decided to get listing some new items in my Folksy shop. They are limited edition prints, all printed with artival Epson inks onto hig quality white textured card (similar texture to watercolour paper). You can visit my shop here.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

UK handmade Feature

The Winter UK Handmade magazine is now ready to read, click here to have a gander, and there is a feature on Nottingham Craft Mafia and one of my bird pictures too!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

autumn birds - new print available

Just listed in Folksy here as I'm feeling like I haven't listed much lately (and have been wondering why nothing has been selling.... durr.... isn't rocket science is it!!)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

positive action

I can't be doing with feeling all fed-up and frustrated, so the thing to do is.... do something positive. And I can tell you, it's just a little thing but it has put me in a much better mood. I have listed two new prints on Folksy, my Love Teapots and Love Teacups, in a beautiful selection of neautrals. Find them here and here.
And as I'm feeling all positive, the first person to order can have the other print for free!!! First come first served!!

frustrationville, that's where I'm at...

Oh yes I am!!! I had the opportunity this week for two whole days in my studio, and I hate to admit I feel as though I have totally wasted them!! I sat there wondering what to do, trying to put my thoughts and ideas into some kind of order and trying to decide what I wanted to start. I even got all my old college sketchbooks out and had a look thru them to kick start my creativity. And finally, by day two, I had made a decision (ok, I admit I didn't fully waste day 1, i was doing Christmas stuff, special treats for special people).

Eureka moment (!) and I decided I was going to start getting some ideas down for a series of childrens birthday cards, (you know the ones with how old they are on them?). I fancied doing some printing, as I haven't done any for ages, and so thats what I did! I had a brand new sketchbook to fill with my ideas and sketches and prints. But the day just didn't work out how I expected and I am left feeling completely uninspired, frustrated, in a crap mood and a bad-temper, (WITH MYSELF!!!). It seems like every day I try to spend time in the studio I end up feeling like this. I feel like I am putting myself under too much pressure and then not enjoying the whole creative process as a result. What on earth is wrong with me??? And what can I do to stop myself feeling like this? Does anyone else know what I mean or am I really going a bit bonkers?? It seems I'm always harping on about feeling this way about my work, sometimes I wonder if I should just give it up.... but then I'd have a studio at the top of the garden staring at me as well as a pile of empty sketchbooks smirking and sniggering in the cupboard!! Blinking eck, someone give me a shake or just a reality check at least (if not, a great big kick up the arse will do!!)

But, on a more jovial festive note, we now have our Christmas tree (a small one in a pot, so the new dog isn't tempted by all our lovely baubles), and my husband is upstairs whistling carols and listening to Scrooge on the radio!! Ahhh!!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

jessica gonacha swift

My recent article on sketchbooks for Nottingham Craft Mafia features one of my favourite artists, Jessica Gonacha Swift, who i first discovered on Etsy. To read the full interview with her please click here and don't forget to check out her Etsy shops and website

love stuff

The start of my new mini series, 'love stuff', i know birds, teacups and flowers aren't really related but they are things i have been able to put into a similar layout in a similar style and will hopefully develop into coloured prints for my shops.
I'm thinking (well... hoping) that maybe they will start me off in a new direction for the New Year. I need to get some new ideas and completely new ways of working, and am feeling like I'm getting into a bit of a rut with my work (sorry for whining again). I think I need a couple of days out and about looking at stuff and getting into filling a sketchbook in a day or two and taking new material to draw with. Maybe I will even ban myself from black ink for a while, it may do me some good to push the boundaries a bit and stretch myself? Hmmm, watch this space...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

reworking ideas again

and revisiting some old sketchbooks yesterday, I came across some sketches of teapots and thought I would try out a new layout. Not so sure whether this will sell but it was just good to get the pens out again after a few weeks of not much inspiration. I'm trying to get motivated to do some new work (maybe textile based??) but again I'm having problems pinning down my ideas. I always have loads of different things that I want to try out whizzing around the grey matter, but I always seem to struggle with starting a new project and holding my interest and motivation. The last few I have started kind of fizzled out after a week or two, I obviously just weren't meant to be doing them at the time.

After my initial burst of work with the bird series over the summer (which was moderately successful) I am now having a few problems with the direction in which I want to take my work and what I actually want to achieve with my humble business. I'm sure this is something everyone experiences at some point but I seem to have been feeling this way on and off for the past few months. I never seem to have the time to get my teeth into something and spend plenty of time on one thing. I need a goal to aim for and maybe some kind of pressure to kick start my work again. I think this year as I haven't got involved with any Craft Fairs or Xmas Markets I haven't had the pressure of having to finish off a body of work to show. So maybe that is what I need. But getting the balance between the positive effects of pressure and it all becoming too much of a pain in the arse seems a tricky task.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

some random stuff

Well, this post is just about a few random things (the clue is in the title!!), as I haven't posted for a while and have a few things to tell you... firstly you can see the new Nottingham Craft Mafia website winter header here, it's the first time I've done anything designy for the website so I'm kinda pleased with how it's turned out.

Secondly, this picture just makes me smile. It's my sisters dog, George, who looks all mean and grizzly, he's the size of a lion and just a big old softy! I've just been over to Italy for a few days to see my preggers sister, very lovely and relaxing time was had. We even went to the beach.

Thirdly, another picture that makes me smile, Mac, our new dog! The best thing that has happened to us (in the canine sense of the word) this year. He's settled in well, is showing his true collie nature and picking things up very quickly... although he suffers from a weak bladder when he's excited... don't stand too close!

And last of all, of my random things today, my new pictures which I have just collected today. I had them for sale in some really cheapo frames, I knew they didn't really do them any justice, so I took them to get them framed professionally and it juts makes a world of difference. Maybe now someone might buy them!!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

mad mac

here's a pic of the new addition to the family, Mac, our new 6 month old border collie. we got him last night from a lovely guy near here, who has had to part with him due to change of job. mac's a real live-wire, proper collie boy, always on the go and he loves his toys! we have taken him for two long walks today and he's not as lively as he was this morning... very tired infact!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009


it's thursday and i have been at work all day.... and i don't usually work thursdays! it's put me right out of kilter.... and i'm at work tomorrow too. Big boos all round!! I'm in a grump.... because of the work scenario, but also because of our dog situation. We sadly had to say goodbye to Pip last weekend, and we are, yet again, dogless, trying eagerly to find one but to no avail. In fact it seems to be so difficult I am wondering whether it may be easier to try and adopt a child, I would probably have more luck! I won't go into details but I'm finding it all very frustrating. ok, i'll shut up now before i get cross again.
I have managed to do some more sketchbook work though this week, see above. Nothing majorly inspirational, just a bit of relaxing doodling, filling some pages, letting the pen go wherever, quite nice and enjoyable really!!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Notingham Craft Mafia Blog Giveaway

If you want to enter our Nottingham Craft Mafia blog giveaway, pop along to here and leave a comment. There are a gorgeous pair of earrings and a beautiful bracelet to win, made by our very own Pebble.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Dee Beale Interview - sketchbook peeks

If you want to read my latest interview with most admired artist Dee Beale, for the Nottingham Craft Mafia Blog, please pop here and have a gander, those sketchbook pages just looks divine!!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Artisans Studio Christmas Fayre

I met Julie Smith not long ago, when I was given her contact details for her Framing Business by a friend of mine. She is the artist behind the Artisans Studio in Arnold, near where I live. As well as a fantastic framing business, she also has her own studio on the premises, and a fantastic shop, packed full of art, jewellery, textiles, mirrors, toiletries, bags, scarves. It's definitely worth a visit!!

Monday, 26 October 2009


This is one of my collages produced recently as part of a series of three for sale in the Pop-Up shop in West Bridgford. I used some gorgeous leaves I had collected last year and used a gel medium to adhere them to the page and used some acrylics, mixed shades of umber, to colour the background. None of the photos really do it justice, but here's the best of the bunch.

And thanks to all the helpful folk on the folksy forum who have helped me to decide on my Christmas Card designs, the pudding and the angel are the casualties!!

Ooh, and one more thing, my workspace has been featured on the Nottingham Craft Mafia Blog, thanks to Helen from Petal Textiles for the post!!

Oh, and another thing, but not as nice, infact quite horrible, our new dog, Pip, bit my godson yesterday, so we have decided we cannot keep her. She is going to a new home, by the sea, with no children and another dog as company (thanks to my Auntie). We are both very sad to see her go, as we were really starting to get used to her, and starting to really fall for her! But we have to do the right thing for us, hard as it is.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sue's Sketchbook Peeks - Karen Jinks

As part of my blog-posting for Nottingham Craft Mafia's superb blog I have been running a series of Sketchbooks Peeks with some of the artists and designers in my 'faves' list. This month it's Karen Jinks, artist, illustrator and editor of Uk Handmade. You can find her work here and her blog here... but first of all have a look in her amazing sketchbooks right here...
Before we start, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into your art/craft/design career, how it all started and where you are now…
I’ve always created, ever since I was a small child. My mum would encourage us to draw and make our own cards for family and my gran taught me how to sew and knit so really it’s in my blood! At school I won most of the art competitions and when it came to choosing what to do at university I couldn’t imagine doing anything that wasn’t art related. I actually chose a graphic design course at Norwich School of Art in the end where I got to try a whole variety of art disciplines including animation and photography, finally settling on illustration. Since leaving college I have been working freelance as a commercial artist and selling online for a mind blowing 10 years – just don’t ask me where the time has gone!

How long have you been using sketchbooks?

I’ve only really appreciated the benefit of keeping a sketchbook in the last year or so. Even at college I used to keep notebooks and scrapbooks of sorts but never sketchbooks. I prefer to work straight onto what becomes the finished piece, especially as a lot of my work is collage based and quite organic in nature. I’ve never really felt the need to prepare a piece of work; with collage you can play around with the different elements until you are happy and just stick them down. Lately though I have felt the need to start drawing more and incorporate these drawings into my collages which of course requires a sketchbook. But in doing so I found I am seeing my surroundings in a new way. It’s a slower, more honest process and you need to look closer at your subject and it keeps me away from the computer and camera which I tend to become far too reliant on.

How often do you use your sketchbook?

I have a few sketchbooks on the go, but the 2 main ones are one for my drawings that end up in my digital work and a texture one that is created from the residual transfers I use in my collages. This texture journal is then drawn back over the top of and is a lot more experimental. Both are used fairly regularly as both help to create new work and new work produces new material for my sketchbooks.

Do you have a favourite and why?
Not really, they are all different and are precious in their own way, it would be like asking to choose between my children.

How do you feel with the prospect of starting a new sketchbook with lots of lovely blank pages?
Back in the old days it would have filled me with fear but now I rush to finish a book just so I can start a new fresh one. I make my own sketchbooks now so I have already made it with a purpose in mind and can’t wait to get started!
When and where do you get your sketchbook inspiration?
We moved house a couple of years ago which has a well established garden full of flowers so I draw a lot from there now, before I used to have to buy flowers. We also live near beautiful woods and chalk downs where I take lots of photos that inspire drawings. I also read a lot of poetry and literature which inspires my collage work – creating a mood or evoking a memory can be quite a challenge. I like my work to imply a story that isn’t always immediately obvious and my sketchbooks have become a good place to test out techniques and colours.

How would you describe your sketchbook process?

I’m not sure I have a process, I tend to work quite quickly and don’t give myself too much time to think or I will end up ripping out pages because it’s all gone wrong. I have learned to live with mistakes or work over them. Sketchbooks that are pristine can be boring. Well mine are anyway. So I have learned not to be precious about what goes in them anymore and weirdly the results are a lot more satisfactory.

What is your favourite medium to work with?

Matte gel medium. My life change when I discovered the stuff. Seriously. And paper. And glue. And acrylic paint. And black ink. It’s all about texture and layers and not being able to close my sketchbook because the pages are too thick.

Where is your ideal sketching location?

At my desk. With my music on. I can’t work outside for some reason, I prefer to shut myself away in my little studio and use photos I’ve taken.

How have your sketchbooks evolved over the years?

I can actually finish one! I still have all my books from college and apart from the scrapbooks I mentioned they are all empty. There might be a few doodles and ideas just to appease tutors in the first few pages and that will be it. They were something I dreaded having to open. Now mine are permanently open and a joy to use.

If you had to pick one favourite sketchbook page which would it be and why?
This is a tricky one because my mood changes so often. But I suppose at the moment I like the butterfly page in my texture journal. No real reason, it just suits me now
Thankyou Karen!!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

My Christmas Card range

7 designs, 2 different layouts of each design. Now I was thinking of selling them in packs of 6 or twelve, which means I will lose a design. What I need to know from you dear blog-readers, is which design should I lose?? I have my own thoughts on this, which I'll keep to myself for now, but please be honest, your opinions matter, tell me which one is the weakest?

Friday, 23 October 2009

New Card Designs

A few new card designs for Christmas, robins, angels and presents. Watch this space for Santa Claus and the three kings!!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

and in colour

and as the boredom of being stuck at home, coughing and sneezing, continues, here are some colourful christmas presents...

the festive theme continues

I have been stuck at home with a horrible cold, no energy and generally feeling like poo, so I will show you some more work I have been playing around with at the weekend. It's for a new range of Christmas cards, and will soon (when I can face Photoshop) have some colour!!

Back to the sofa for me, hope I'm feeling better soon. I'm dying to get away in the caravan but doubt we will be going anywhere at the weekend if we both still feel like this!