I recently bought some Micron pens and I am in love! I didn’t think they would be as exciting as they actually are. I went ahead and bought the multi-pack of Micron pens. I love that I now have super fine and super thick pens that are waterproof and make my handwriting the best it will ever be. It’s like expensive, luxury make up. It does the same thing as other make ups, it’s still about having the right technique but somehow it all just looks better in the end.

What do you think of these cards? What colours would you use? Recently my line drawings stop at just line drawings, I seem to have developed and aversion to colour.  Sometimes less is more, right?

mendhi inspired patterns and line drawing on the lemon hive

A while ago a friend requested I draw up a wedding card for her neice’s ‘fusion’ wedding. She gave me a copy of a thank you card her niece had sent her and told me the colours that she would be wearing as Aunt-of-the-bride.

turquoise, yellow and purple mendhi inspired painted patterns on the lemon hive

For most of my teens I was obsessed with the middle eastern, Indian and Pakistani design. I loved watching friends write Arabic and if the opportunity for Mendhi came up then I was there. The intricate designs and time consuming pattern appealed to me. I even spent the vast majority of my time absorbing as much as I could about the religious and cultural aspects of the countries, including the histories. Needless to say, I was really honoured and excited to be asked to design this piece of work.

These designs are all rough sketches and experiments with colours and patterns, but I am pleased with the results. Most of all, I’ve enjoyed the pleasure that comes from re-visiting topics, cultures and art that reignites passion and drive.

What do you think of these?

1. Creating photo booth masks at work. Sometimes the day job is fantastic

2. Making simple office decoration from scrapbooking paper and practice brush/painting sessions

3 and 4. Abstract canvas prep

5. Practicing with the oil paint pen – love it!

6. Practicing gratitude with water colour pencils

7. Unpacking these pens and giving them a whirl

8. Creating more stuff for the day job

9. Mothers day and appreciation cards

Muggy sticky days are all that have been happening lately. I made it home on Tuesday in time to watch the big storm clouds break out. Living in England, I’d never before experienced the physical relief that a storm brings. The epic thunder storms we have here are one of my favourite things about this country. It’s times like this when I’m incredibly grateful for the wonderful bay windows we have in the back.

I haven’t been using my camera all that much lately until a friend asked me about it and I realised I had to start taking more. There is something so delightful about taking photographs of memories, it’s been a bit of a struggle finding a balance between being in the moment and documenting it. Focusing on the moment has meant there are less photos to sift through afterwards, which is always good in my books! I think the Canadian would disagree, as you can see, he puts on his bored face when I pull out the camera. I enjoy that his bored face looks similar to a thoughtful face because then he makes for the best candid subject.

Am I alone in my love of storms?

Over winter I was unwell and feeling very sorry for myself. I spent an embarrassing amount of time over that weekend watching Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge me!). I spent time thinking about how I’ve moved around so often and I’ve made friends and then lost touch because of distance.

I was thinking of developing a few greetings card/postcards to send to friends reminding them that even if we aren’t physically close, I miss them, I wish we could do coffee (or tea) and that I’d love a catch up/skype date. Skype dates are where it’s at don’t cha know?

I then realised that there are never any ‘tea’ dates. Coffee dates are rubbish because I really dislike coffee. I also incorporated some fun Yorkshire-/British-ism because I’m amazing like that.

I know that I previously spoke about Micron pens and how amazing they are but these were done with a ballpoint Bic and I love the fluidity of it. Scribble, scribble, scribble.

Tea or coffee? What’s your poison?

I love Pinterest. It has been a great place for me to keep track of my changing tastes, as well as an endless source of inspiration.

Recently, patterns and texture has provided the main source of pleasure. I just love patterns! Especially those with ikat and geometric inspired print. In my opinion, the brighter the colour the better.

So, here are my top 7 pinterest boards that provide a great source of pattern inspiration:

Kimokame: Textiles, Surface and Pattern

This board has over 26k pins, and 510 pinners. It’s forever being updated and filled with patterns, texture inspiration and fashion pieces. It’s a great place to start, and, if you’re new to group pin boards, this  board is for you. They welcome new pinners often.

Laura Bolter: Patterns 

This board is regularly updated, with beautiful patterns and art inspiration to encourage your creativity.

Hannah Teej: Design: Patterns and Texture

Over the past year, I have worked hard at developing a board of patterns that I love! When I first started drawing and painting again, I was often stuck with where to start or what to do. Emulating patterns in creative ventures is one of the best ways to practice. They don’t take up as much time as detailed drawings and can be really useful for practising new styles and exploring your own tastes. It’s also one of the many boards I look over when I just need some eye candy. Bonus, because it’s very low in sugar!

Myro Doodles: Inspiration

I love Myro Doodles Pinterest. It’s the ultimate happy place. Her boards are overflowing with design, pick me ups and general feel good moments. Most of her pattern choices are inspired by Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Indian-esque traditional design.

Ana Sender:Pattern

Ana is a fan of intricate pattern. I love looking over her board and getting lost in the complexity and detail. Definitely not something that I can use as inspiration (yet!) but her board is a reminder of what I aspire to be able to do.

Erin Dollar: Patterns

This board is completely different to Ana’s. It comprises of print, pattern and texture with tonal colours. The simplicity of the board is amazing. As an added bonus, Erin has includes examples of ‘pattern in action’, in the home, on clothes and in the workplace.

Kiriki Press:Pattern Inspiration

Patterns are simplistic, colourful, cheery and cute. It’s the sort of board you want to look at for a pick me up. Amazing.

I also love these boards for pattern and creative inspiration. These ones are not necessarily limited to pattern but they’re still really fun:

  • Celi Valiño has some really awesome graphics and patterns collected on this board. I am also in love with the super awesome ceramic one as well.
  • Camila Barreto has a collection of doodles and icons and, although not really about pattern, it is a great source of clean cut images and simple design. Her journalling board is filled with great writing inspiration and great examples of how to apply pattern into creative and personal development.
  • Charuca‘s boards are filled with colour, design and just general brilliance. I love the colours and the prettiness. I spent a long time purusing through these.

Does anyone else have a pattern board on Pinterest or is it just me? Leave links to your boards below! There is nothing better than a colourful, bright, exuberant and bright pattern Pinterest feed when you log in.

A few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. Hello Insomnia. What do you do when you can’t sleep? You write a blog post! Here it is:

It was one of those nights where it wasn’t cool enough and then it was too cold. It was a night of throwing blankets off in frustration followed by grumpy flailing to find something to warm me up.

My mind was loud. It’s rare that worries keep me awake at night. It’s happened before but never when things have felt so firmly sound in my life.

My tossing and turning ended up with The Canadian leaving the bedroom to find sleep with better bed mates (i.e. the kitties in the spare bedroom). My mind was loud and very very boring.

At 4 a.m., I surrended to the lack-of-sleep monster and rolled out of bed. Insomnia is usually the worst thing ever but, surprisingly, I’m feeling the most refreshed. Somehow, all that tossing and turning, all those loud thoughts and warmth seem to have burnt out any worry that I had. I am now wide awake, listening to creative business podcasts. I am feeling inspired and creative.

Sometimes insomnia is really positive. Except for that time the word ‘insomnia’ started pounding around my head to the rhythm of Rihanna’s “disturbia”. Awesome.

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

I recently completed #100happydays. I didn’t say much after starting it because, if I’m honest, I’m not very good at sticking to projects like this. With that in mind, you can probably imagine my delight when I finished it off last week.

A lot of people asked whether #100happydays was hard. Taking the photos wasn’t difficult, the hardest part was finding something that made me ‘happy’ every day. Everyone has grumpy days and sometimes it can be difficult to find a positive moment every single day. Even though I thought that the gloomier days would have less than excellent photographs, I found it to be the opposite. There are very few images I could point to and say ‘oh, yeah, that was a rubbish day’. Doing this project made me look back at the last 100 (108, actually, I got a bit carried away) days and see them in a whole new light.

I found it a great way to log my achievements (painting with clients at work, making bechamel sauce from scratch, trying to smoke a cigar), my favourite pieces of art work, all the foods that excited me and the mini adventure I took with the Canadian to Toronto (or, at least, the best parts of the trip).

There are many stories and comments that accompany most of these images. If you click on each image you should get a large ‘pop out’ preview of it but if you want to see what’s really going on in each one then visit my instagram profile and have a gander.

I’ve seen many people roll the 100 happy days project into #365happydays but I think 100 was a nice concise one for me. It’s made me pretty excited to find other projects to focus on other mini projects. I did the 30 days of selfie, and I’ve now completed this one. Each time I learn something new. Do you know of any other mini projects? Perhaps some to do with drawing or sketching. I’m so motivated right now that I want to utilise it before it disappears!

Have you tried to participate in #100happydays?

I love summer in this little area of Canada. I mentioned a few months ago that I had managed to land myself a ‘new’ job, and, even though it’s new to me, I spend a lot of my time up and out, exploring all that Leeds and Grenville has to offer. We recently did a big BBQ event in the park and these are a few snapshots of what I am privy to every day. There are many downsides of living this far away from such a big city but in the summer they don’t seem to matter at all.