If you’ve been following along on my instagram or snapchat then you’ll know that last week I spent 3 days in Venice with Jo Malone for their global meet up. They had a day of various different workshops and hired me to teach them brush lettering as just one alongside scentology, badge making, flower garlands and bow tying. I still can’t believe I got this gig but I was all too willing to accept with open arms.
This month has been manic which I haven’t kept a secret from any one. It’s left me totally overwhelmed most of the time and feeling like I’m doing a very bad job at juggling 20 balls in the air. My November Styling The Seasons shots hopefully give you a peak inside my head with things dotted all over the place in confusion whilst longing for rest and a chance to take note that November is even happening. We’re slowly moving from Autumn to Winter and I haven’t given myself a moment to take that in until now.
Budapest definitely stole my heart, even in the bitterly cold and on / off drizzle. I think the thing that first struck me was just how beautiful the architecture was. Everywhere I looked there was another regal looking building, each in an array of soothing pastel tones and there I was with the camera glued to my face, staring upwards to the point where my neck hurt. I loved all the grandeur that was left a little rough round the edges telling the story of the city’s fall from grace in war time after it’s sparkling hay day. I literally had no clue about the history of this city before I arrived but I loved getting acquainted with it. The first thing I think to do in any new city is to take a free walking tour. These tours are led by locals and take you on a route throughout the city to tell you all about the history and the quirks of the place and are usually pretty amusing at the same time. I’ve taken one in Berlin, Bath, Brussels and now Budapest (apparently my city break criteria is it must begin with the letter ‘B’) and I haven’t been disappointed yet. Take one near the beginning of your trip so you can get your bearings in a new place.
Well hello and welcome to the most colourful post I’ve ever done, courtesy of Blogtacular. It’s pretty much in the name but incase you’re unfamiliar with that, it’s a fab blogging event in London organised by Kat & Kat. The day began at 7am on the Southbank for those of us lunatics that had signed up for the photowalk. While you were all still tucked under your duvets we were out galavanting for a couple of hours of unashamed colour and creativity. As you can imagine it was eerily quiet with the whole of London still in bed but that just meant lots more photo opportunities without a stranger’s leg, head or hand showing up in the corner of our pictures.
The walk was lead by the talented Xanthe Burkley and Sammee lapham and it involved balloons, brights and an abundance of pattern! It was so fun to have the space to get creative and try out some new things. It’s amazing how I do such a creative job but never really get the chance to be creative just for the sake of it anymore. Such is life.
It’s time for some Friday freebies to draw the working week to a close. It’s been such lovely weather here after the last few weeks that I’ve taken my camera out and about a bit more. I’m really enjoying capturing all the plant life nearby. It seemed silly not to make them into desktop wallpapers for you to all download and bring the sun to your screens! Believe it or not the palm tree was taken in Britain…we do have them you know, they’re just more commonly seen surrounded by grey drizzle.
Last time I talked about how I trained in art and design and what I learnt along the way. I said that next up would be how I made the jump to freelance but when I sat down to write I realised that I couldn’t really go there without having first talked about blogging. I wouldn’t have even considered freelancing if it wasn’t for blogging and I certainly don’t think I would have had the same opportunities come my way!
I recently celebrated 3 years of blogging. This was strange because on one hand I’m wondering where the time went, and on the other it feels like I’ve always blogged. Born blogging… that’s a funny concept! I never thought I’d be ‘a blogger’ and in fact it took me a year and half to really register that’s what I was. Sounds obvious, right?!
The reason why I have a blog is really down to my Husband. When we got married in 2011 I discovered blogs for the first time. I was a bit late to the game but I started with wedding blogs and then realised there was one for everything! I was glued to them. I’ was sucked in for hours feeling drenched with inspiration. I’d been in a bit of dry patch creatively, not feeling inspired by my work at my job and having stopped drawing and craft projects outside of work. Suddenly I was so inspired I thought I might burst, I was full to the brim with ideas. So I got creative again, drawing, painting, styling for the first time, getting crafty and I loved it.
Nick told me I needed to start a blog so I had a place to put all my creative projects and inspiration. I knew that made sense but I fobbed him off many a time saying I didn’t have the time (how about all the time I spent reading blogs? Eh?). To be honest I was also a bit worried about getting immersed in that world where things become about you and this amazing ‘life is perfect’ facade. I was worried about finding my identity in it when as a Christian my identity is and should always be in Christ. So I sat on the fence for a while longer and finally went for it, whilst trying to be mindful of why I’d started in the first place. Ironically, thinking back I actually started the blog at one of the hardest points in my life, so things certainly weren’t perfect but it gave me a creative outlet that had been previously shelved.
Good morning! You may be wondering what on earth a blog hop is. Basically it’s 5 questions that get passed along to 2 new bloggers each time. Thanks to Katy from Folly and Bloom who passed the blog hop baton over to me. We met at Blogtacular and did some styling together at Ellie Tennant’s workshop which was loads of fun. Check out her blog hop post and just generally take a gander at her lovely, cheery blog.
These questions actually got me scratching my head and thinking quite hard. They are definitely good things to ask so here goes…
Well firstly I’m not really a writer. In fact this blog hop might be the most I’ve ever written on The Lovely Drawer! My posts have always and will always be very image based because that’s what I love and that’s what keeps me reading other blogs. It’s taken me a very long time to really see myself as a ‘blogger’. I started posting as an overflow of what I was creating in my spare time and I really loved the idea of an online scrapbook, a place to put all the things that inspired me and projects I’d been working on. I didn’t have an agenda, I didn’t have a strategic posting schedule or even a proper camera at the beginning. I simply did it because I loved to and I began to see it stretching me creatively and pushing me into so many other areas of design. As I kept on going I never seemed to run out of ideas and inspiration but instead was flooded with so much more. I wanted to inspire other people as I’d been inspired by so many other blogs and as time went on I also became quite passionate about making design accessible. By that I mean I love creating free art downloads or designed stationery for readers to use, as well as walking people through DIY ideas that are simple and inexpensive to make.
Now writing my blog is almost a compulsion. Walking about I see most things as inspiration for a new post or how I could turn that boring object into a desirable DIY. It works well alongside my freelance design as the two often cross over and inspire both ways as well as receiving feedback for my work. All this said, I think a big part of writing this blog has always been that I love challenging myself. Often I think could I do that? Could I make that idea a reality? And each time I do, I want to push myself even further. God gave me a very creative mind and I want to use and grow that. Thankfully he’s put me in a position where I’m very able to do that right now.
I see blogging more as part of my work now, even though it’s work I really, really enjoy (the best kind of work). God has used it to provide so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had without it.
At the start of the new year I really wanted to work on more collaborative posts and thankfully many have come my way. The frustrating thing about online collaborations is that you can’t reveal them right away! So I’m working on a particular one at the moment which I’m very excited about but I can’t say more than that. I’m also adding a wedding page to my blog to make it easier and clearer for people to order and commission my wedding stationery. Those jobs always take a whole lot longer than I ever expect but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end.
In terms of general content for my blog I never really have a set schedule, more of a interchangeable scribbled list in my planner. I try and post every Tuesday and Thursday/Friday but I’m finding that isn’t always possible when I have lots of freelance work on. I always have millions of ideas for posts, especially DIYs. Unfortunately they take the most amount of time to produce from idea, to ordering supplies, to making and photographing, to editing the photos and writing easy to follow instructions. It is however the thing I love doing most on my blog and the posts my readers enjoy the most so expect many more.
Now that I’m actually running my own design business and taking the whole blog thing more seriously I’m trying to get more connected to my audience through social media as its such a waste to not use that tool. Up until around last Christmas it was only my husband that would go on my twitter page to check in. I was very apathetic partly because I wondered, ‘Where would I get the time to do that?’ However I’m enjoying that side of things more and more now.
As always I’m also trying to improve my photography skills. Thats a lifetime project I guess. I used to roll my eyes when I heard another person saying you just need to practise over and over, everyday if possible and that’s how you will get better. I think I wanted a quick fix course or something but money didn’t allow for that so practise was the only thing on the menu. Developing that has actually been very organic and straightforward due to my blog and the constant need for images to convey what I mean. I’ve improved loads but I’d love to get better. Photography is so powerful!
Hmmm tricky but a question I probably should know the answer to. I guess it took me quite a long time to work out what kind of blog I was writing because to start with in true artist fashion, I didn’t care. I was finally able to sum things up in my tag line ‘Style inspiration and DIY ideas’. I certainly knew that I didn’t want the focus to be on me. Design was always meant to be the focal point and it’s interesting how things turn out because now I I’m often referred to as a DIY blogger first and foremost. That kind of happened on it’s own.
There are literally soooo many amazing blogs out there in every genre that it’s hard to say what makes mine distinct but before I’m a blogger, I am firstly a Christian and so with that affecting all areas of my life, it also affects my blog content. There is a different drive behind what I do and I try to be aware of that in my attitude and things I post or choose not to post. This may not be ‘in your face’ obvious as this isn’t a blog about theology but there is a constant God awareness in what I do/ produce.
I would say in terms of the DIY aspect I always try to make things that I think people would actually want to wear, display in their house or use for an occasion. I really do question each time I come up with a tutorial whether I would have originally wanted to buy something like this or is it just making something for making sake.
Well it’s pretty fluid really, meaning I do bits when I can. It’s very seldom I will do everything for one post in a single block of time. Thankfully now I work full time from home I can fit it around the work I have to do which is great, especially for photography! When I was working in-house, in order to get decent light I would either have to photograph all my makes at the weekend or quickly before I left for work in the morning just as the sun came up. Not ideal! I would then edit and type out posts most lunch breaks in the office. It’s pretty funny now I think about it.
Often if I come up with a curated post, colour palette or designer maker feature idea I can execute them reasonably quickly but something like a recipe post takes a lot more prep and a DIY post can often take over a month on and off to be fully realised because of all the stages. I often wish I could just make it and then photograph the lovely part at the end but I know photos of the process are important.
I will always question if what I’m doing fits in with my blog aesthetic and brand and often things get canned just on that basis. I’m always striving to make my work consistent and hopefully pleasingly coherent. I even think about that with my Instagram feed.
That’s my blog hop done! Now I’m passing the baton onto two lovely bloggers who blogs I love.
Firstly is the über talented Francis from Fall for DIY. We met online via twitter and I’m so glad I discovered her gorgeous blog. If you love DIY tutorials especially for jewellery then you will be over the moon to read her feed. Beautiful images and makes that I genuinely want to wear/own. She’s about to launch her first jewellery making e course and is also working on a jewellery collection to go in her upcoming Etsy shop!
Second is my lovely friend Ruth Garner from The Planned Adventure. We were at two of the same events just before Christmas and some how didn’t manage to meet each other so we connected first over twitter. We since have been meeting up, exchanging ideas and discussing the fun and challenges of blogging/ the world of freelance. She is first and foremost a writer and a talented one at that but has a big interest in interiors and styling an avenue she’s currently dipping her toe into and loving it. She is full of ideas, some of which we were brainstorming the other day and she knows just about everyone in blogland, I swear. Check out her fun ramblings and soak in some of the interior eye candy right here.