Friday, 6 March 2015

Blue Skies on the Southbank


Do you ever unintentionally take photos all in the same colour scheme, and match your clothes to the blue sky? After several years of toying with the idea (I am SO indecisive!) I bought myself a little compact camera to carry around in my bag on days out. I adore my DSLR but it is SO heavy, and I end up not taking it out with me for this reason. So these were all taken on my little travel camera - I'l' share more info about it in the next few weeks....

These are photos from last Sunday at the Southbank with Jonathan. Almost a year ago, at a charity event, we won a meal for two at Skylon, and we finally redeemed our prize. It was more than worth the wait - goats cheese tart with beetroot salad, followed by an amazing fish stew. Oh and free champagne and cocktails which was probably the highlight. We got home and the rain bucketed down a few minutes after we walked through the door, and we lay in bed listening to it. Such a perfect lazy Sunday.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Print Club Screenprinting Workshop


 A few weeks ago myself, my other half, and his brother, attended a screenprinting workshop at Print Club in Dalston. I've never screenprinted before, but it's something I've always wanted to try so was super excited to give it a go! The venue itself was in a quirky mews, surrounded by awesome street art (I love snapping photos of all the street art I spy in London.)


 We had all designed our artwork for the session at home, and the first task was checking our artwork was suitable. The instructors showed us how to convert more detailed artwork, such as photographs, into files that could be made into screens. Then we prepared our screens before exposing our images on to them. My absolute favourite part was rinsing the screen after exposing, and seeing my image appear as if by magic!


 We had to leave our screens to dry for a bit before we could actually use them to print with, so we had a little lunch break. Jonathan wanted to try a nearby Turkish restaurant that he'd read about, which turned out to be REALLY yummy, and also super cheap. I had probably the best falafel I've ever eaten, and I've eaten my fair share of falafel over the years.


The final task of the day was learning to print with our screens - how to load the screen into the bed, and how to pull the ink evenly so as to get a nice crisp print. Anyone who screenprints regularly must have really good arms muscles, because I struggled with this stage a bit, even though I had someone helping me! 


 Finally we got a chance to nose around the Print Club gallery - I was really interested to see the pieces other people had created using screenprinting. There seems to be no end to the things you can screenprint on to - the Big Ben on books was my favourite piece, and I can't even work out how they managed to do it so perfectly!


All in all it was an AWESOME day! I'm hoping to join a screenprinting studio so I can do some limited edition pieces, and put my new found knowledge to use! If you want to try your hand at screenprinting then firstly, DO IT because it is so much fun, and there's so much you can do with it. And secondly, if you're in or near London I recommend Print Club as the guys there are so knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate.

Monday, 9 February 2015

I made you a (Valentines) mixtape


I thought I'd put together a mixtape of Valentines songs that hopefully aren't too mushy! These are all songs that remind me of my other half, so there is a bit of a mix in there... It's funny thinking about the music that provides the soundtrack to our lives. Jonathan goes through phases of getting a song stuck in his head and singing it over and over for up to weeks at a time, so these songs always remind me of him! I love remembering where we were when we heard certain songs - Haim makes me think of our first mini break together, listening to their album full blast in the car. The 1975 makes me think of our first gig together to see them, drinking alcopops and shooting the crowds with the GoPro. Get Lucky makes me think of the silly videos he used to send me when we were first dating, when he was OBSESSED with that song, and used to film himself singing it and send it to me!

I've made the playlist on Spotify if you'd like to have a listen - just click here to check it out.

1. Latch by Sam Smith
2. Sex by the 1975
3. Yes, I was Drunk by Twin Atlantic
4. Naughty by Matlida the Musical Soundtrack
5. The Wire by Haim
6. Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams
7. Gosport Nancy by Bellowhead
8. Something from Nothing by Foo Fighters
9. The Mother We Share by CHVRCHES
10. Drunk in Love by Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox (this is an INCREDIBLE cover of the Beyonce song, which my friend Cristina sings on!)
11. Blame It On Me by George Ezra
12. Love Is an Open Door by Frozen the Soundtrack (yup, we are those people...)

I'd love to hear what songs remind you of your partner and why - please feel free to share them in the comments!

Valentine Printables


It's only five days until Valentines Day and if, like me, you are not very organised and/or are a bit short on cash then fear not! I've scoured the internet for some super awesome and FREE printable Valentines cards and gifts that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.


 These adorable 'Wild About You' printables by Sarah M Style are most probably designed for kids, but I think they are so sweet and would make a funny alternative Valentines for any adult too. Simply pair with an animal toy (or how about making an animal figurine, or buying something else animal themed?) for a gift and card in one!


 So yeah, I love donuts, and when I saw this free printable I did let out a few little squeals and giggles. You could use the printable to create a card on its own, or buy/make a donut (or a whole box of donuts if you're like me) and attach the card for a tasty way to show you care! The donut printables were created by the oh so talented Damask Love.


These airmail paper plane love notes by No Biggie are so simple but so effective. You could easily whip up a bunch to give out to your friends and family. I think they'd be cute attached to a travel themed gift - maybe a travel journal and pen for someone who goes away a lot? Or combine with an airmail letter writing kit thats practical whilst still being thoughtful.


 My love for Heidi of My Paper Crane pretty much knows no bounds, especially since she posted this free printable for such adorable Valentine cards. They are the perfect size for popping in with a gift, but aren't overly mushy or cute.


 Every Valentine celebration needs some decorations - how about this 'Love You Like Crazy' free printable banner by Tomfo? Hang somewhere that special someone will see it, to let them know you love them, or you could even send it in the post to someone further away.


Finally, these 'You're All Write' cards/gifts by She Wears Many Hats combine three of my favourite things; heart shapes, stationery, and stupid love themed puns! Again, these are aimed at kids, but what adult wouldn't love getting one of these from their Valentine? Why not mix it up and buy a fun pen to insert in the card?

So there you go - I hope they've given you some inspiration for Valentines Day! There are LOADS more awesome free printables for all occasions over on my Pinterest so do follow us there.

WE ARE THREE!


That's right guys, yesterday marked THREE WHOLE YEARS since I opened my Ladybird Likes Etsy shop back in 2012. At the time I had no idea if anyone would buy anything, I just knew I wanted an excuse to make stuff! If you had told me three years ago that this would become my full-time job, and open up so many doors for me, I'm not sure I would have believed you.

This job is my dream. Creating, meeting people, expressing myself through craft, growing my skills, sharing what I make with you all - it has become my whole world, and I can never, ever thank you guys enough for making it happen. Without you Ladybird Likes would not be here today. Every time I get an order, or an email about an opportunity, or someone leaves me nice feedback, I can't help but smile (and occasionally do a little happy dance which apparently makes me look like a penguin.) I never take any of this for granted, and I never will. Thank you for helping make my dreams come true.

So to celebrate I'm offering a whopping 33% off EVERYTHING in my Etsy shop for one day only! Just enter the code WEARETHREE when you checkout and it will deduct a third of your total (excluding shipping costs.) You can use the code as many times as you like, but it will expire at midnight tonight. I'm also going to be having a giveaway over on my Instagram later today so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that. xoxoxo

Sunday, 8 February 2015

things I love right now...


Something I want to do more of throughout the year is keep a record of the things I am doing/enjoying/thinking about each month. Taking time out from the craziness of life to reflect a little, and appreciate the things I have. So I will be posting once a month some of the things that I'm enjoying and am thankful for. I'd love it if any of you wanted to leave some things you love/appreciate right now too in the comments...

- having two doggies for company at the weekend (which is when we dogsit my Nan's dog Poppy.) I can't imagine not having at least one dog around the house at all times - it feels so empty when they aren't here.

- re-reading The Walking Dead graphic novel series - the latest installment of the graphic novels comes out soon PLUS the second half of the current TV series is back on in a few weeks, so it felt like the perfect time to re-read them. They are hands down my favourite graphic novels - I'm a huge zombie movie fan and they translate so well into this style too.

- the new The Whitepepper collection - currently lusting after everything and planning my next purchase, which I think may have to be the dinosaur print dress.

- expanding my repertoire of recipes (some good, and some not so good!) I've been trying to eat better since the start of 2015. Not a diet as such, just thinking more about what I eat and how much I eat. Cutting back on carbs, processed foods, and fizzy drinks, and eating more fruit and veg. One thing that always holds me back is my lack of skills in the kitchen, but I've been pushing myself to try lots of new recipes lately and, even though I've had a few disasters (melting a colander was a low point) I'm really enjoying it! Plus it's given me more energy, and I've lost a bit of weight as a bonus.

- exploring the potential of moving to Brighton - everything is a bit up in the air right now, but I feel excited for the future and seeing what it will bring for me and for my business.

- my new Blythe doll family - after lusting after other people's Blythes for around ten years (yup, that long!) I finally took the plunge and purchased a few for myself. I'm definitely a bit hooked, and cannot wait to add more to the collection. Also, I am addicted to shopping for Blythe clothing and accessories on Etsy! I've bought each of my girls an outfit, but think I made need more....

- making metal stamped jewellery - I recently bought some metal stamping equipment and am OBSESSED right now! May have got a bit carried away stamping rude words on to everything...


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Jubilique and Louise (and a giveaway)


One of my favourite things is discovering new designers and makers who make lovely bits and pieces. I have decided to start sharing more of these here on my blog as I think it is really important to support other creative people and to help promote companies you love, particularly small businesses.

So without further ado, I want to introduce you to the wonderful Jubilique and Louise, selling all manner of gorgeous bits and pieces (including incredible wooden house-shaped displays which I have been coveting!) My absolute favourite though are the ceramic face dishes. Each one is hand painted, so no two are identical, and I just adore their faces and expressions!


 Of course I had to buy up the blue hued ones in their recent online sale, and I just love how they look all displayed together. I haven't quite decided what to do with them and how to show them off best, but I will be sure to share when I have. Such cuties need to be on display for all to see.


 You can even have a custom ceramic face made with your choice of hair colour and eyes etc. I think these would make incredible gifts - how about personalised ones for your bridesmaids as a quirky wedding gift? The attention to detail and the quality is spot on whilst still maintaining a really handmade feel.


 I'm delighted to be offering up two gorgeous Jubilique and Louise face plates to two lucky readers! The competition is being held over on my Instagram page (follow us @ladybirdlikes) - head over there for all the details on how to enter.


And finally if you'd love to have your business featured on my blog and social media channels then please do get in touch at ladybirdlikes@hotmail.co.uk - I hope to feature one company every fortnight, with a little giveaway to accompany it. So be sure to check back to find more awesome creatives to follow!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Gocco Workshop


If you follow me over on Instagram you will know that yesterday I went on a bit of an adventure, visiting Rochester in Kent to participate in a Print Gocco Workshop run by the uber talented Xtina Lamb who is part of the Medway Fine Printmakers. Held at Intra, which is a not for profit arts venue, giving members of the public access to art equipment usually only available to specialised artists. In addition to running open drop in style creative sessions, they also offer more specialised craft workshops, including ones using Print Gocco.

I have been a bit of a gocco fan since I bought some gocco printed postcards at a craft fair many years ago. I remember researching what this weird 'gocco' thing was, and being so intrigued that a little battery operated lump of plastic like that could be used to produce such beautiful artwork. As one of my goals for 2015 is to learn new things, I thought that 'using a print gocco' should be one of those things.


To start with Xtina showed us lots of examples of art created using a gocco printer, giving us ideas of what the gocco can do, and the effects you can acheive using it. She also talked about creating pieces using more than one screen, to further layer the colours.


 We looked at several different styles of gocco printers - they all work on the same principles, but there are a few versions which are all slightly different. Xtina talked us through the basic workings of a gocco, how to put it together, expose a screen, and then use that screen to print. She also showed us her incredible Screenfax thermofax machine, and gave us an insight into how this compares with a gocco.


My favourite part (obviously!)was choosing which colours of ink to use to print with! I ended up going for a pale pink as I wanted to include my prints with Valentines orders. Xtina has SO MANY inks in some really gorgeous shades, and I was impressed with the selection available. She also gave us some tips on other mediums we can use for printing with gocco as the inks are becoming increasingly difficult to buy now.


 The next step was to expose our screens using artwork we had brought with us. I used a design from one of my postcards and prints because I ran out of time to come up with something new (typical huh?!) In hindsight I wish I'd had something with a bit more detail to print as the gocco seems to love things that use lots of lines and detail, whereas my image was quite a large block of colour. But you live and learn, right....


 Finally it was on to the printing - as my piece had quite a large block of colour it proved a bit trickier to print, but I really enjoyed it! And once the screen is all inked up it's so quick and so easy to produce multiple prints. I became a bit like a madwoman, printing dozens of pink bears and covering every available surface in them.


And voila - here is the finished pink bear postcard. He is a super limited edition just for Valentines, and I will be popping them in with Valentines orders until they run out... Huge thanks to Xtina for being such a knowledgable teacher and for sharing all your gocco knowledge. I am always amazed by how inspiring it is just talking to someone who is an expert in their field. If you are interested in gocco and would like to learn more about it then I cannot recommend these classes enough. Even if there isn't one listed on the Medway Printmakers site, just drop them an email as Xtina may be able to schedule one.