Sunday, 6 October 2013


Anyone who knows me, knows I absolutely love cats. So it's a big surprise that I haven't made any cat shaped products before now. The truth is I've never created a sketch or a drawing that I either liked or could see as a product. Until now that is! 

May I preset the cat cards! Cat bags are coming up and another little surprise in the weeks to come...

These chaps are available in orange too. Find them in my Etsy shop

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

That time of year again

Is it really that time of year again? Those of you with children will understand what I mean. No, I am not talking about the weather!

I don't have children but as some of you may know I teach them and here it is again, the beginning of the year and another troop of sixteen year olds are under my care. It takes a lot of the year to get back in the swing of things and to get to know the students. Once you've reached the point where you understand how they work and they understand what you expect of them you can have really entertaining lessons for yourself and the students.

So for now I am filling in paperwork, writing projects, organising materials and sending numerous emails. Because my world is currently ruled  by work I thought i'd give you a glimpse into a project i'll be running with our L3 Art & Design students. To give you an idea of what L3 means; these guys have just left school and have A*-C grades.

Ok, so they have a drawing lesson on a Tuesday, creative practices on Wednesday and a specialist workshop on a Friday. They'll be doing textiles with me on Fridays so we're going to start by drawing birds at the museum and then using those images to make paper stencils and then screen print them. These are the artists i'll be suggesting they look at for visual reference, all images are from the websites/blogs of the artists.

Abigail Brown

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Back on Track

It's been a little while, as it often is between my blog posts and I know I need to post more regularly but I've gotta say I don't find blogging that easy. I want to do it more often and I want to find it easy but I struggle to find things that I've been doing interesting! I guess because I work all the time I don't feel like I'm doing anything worth blogging about.
Now that could be debatable, but that depends on if you find the everyday doings of an art & design lecturer interesting. Probably not.

However as it's been such a long time since I last blogged I do have a few things I can tell you about. And I will try my best to be more interesting and post more regularly. I think I just don't imagine what i'm up to could be of interest, but who knows, someone might like it!

On to the pictures

We had an I Make Fun Stuff market at the end of June, Sunday 23rd to be exact so I had to print some more bicycle cards. These guys are really popular. I'm hoping to be a bit more exciting and print them in more colours soon. I also plan to be printing a new design. Yay!

This is the flyer for the last market we did. Man the weather was ridiculous. Sunny one minute, then dark clouds then threw it down with rain. ARGH! BUT loads of people still came out and we had a really great day so I guess that proved how much people want to come to the markets. Our next one is Sunday 29th September in Ipswich Town Hall. Visit the website for news or our facebook page. We update that most.

I've felt inspired lately to try and make clothes. I've always been really impatient with that kind of thing because i'm not very good at being precise but i'm actually doing pretty well so far. This is a t-shirt style tunic made from 50s fabric. The fabric is a bit stiff so it was rather boxy so I added some darts and took it in a little so it fit better. I added the green zip but as it went the whole length of the back it feels a bit like a straight jacket! Haha! So I will be changing that. More pics when it's not looking so awful. Since then I've made myself a wee blouse and i'll post a pic of that on in the near future.

Lastly is a little doodle which I cut a stencil from and turned into a screenprint. I've wanted to do a cat print for ages, but I've never done a design i'm happy with until now. I printed 5 bags and have sold 4 already so I think curly cat will be made into a proper stencil. Watch this space for cat products!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

My "Go-To" Books For Fresh Inspiration.

I am lucky to work in a very inspiring environment, a college art department. My colleagues are all practising artists, constantly making new work and using techniques I may have never tried before. My students are a dynamic and vibrant bunch of young people, most of which are eager to learn and develop their work in exciting ways and try new things. They are risk takers.

Most of the time this really keeps my juices flowing. My inspiration is always topped up because of the materials we have, the workshops we work in and the equipment we use. However, sometimes, such as now, I do have a slump and this stops me feeling motivated and inspired. Consequently my mood doesn't improve, because i'm not creating.

At those dire times I turn to blogs, Pinterest and most importantly my huge collection of art books to help. So i've picked my three "go to" books that boost my mood and inspire me to get back to my desk to show you. The titles are links to the books on

I'm going to show you some of my favourite pages from within the books. 
Tad Carpenter

Andrio Abero

Skinny La Minx

These images are all from "Naive". This books contains such a variety of techniques which appeal to me both visually and in a creative way. I want to make work in the same way. The processes used include silkscreen printing, classical typography, hand lettering, woodcutting and folk art. Even though I did a Fine Art degree I have tended to move more and more in the design direction over the years. 
There are lots of band posters featured in this book as well as original art.

Vera Neumann was an artist and designer, most famed for her beautiful bold and colourful scarves. She was an innovator and a wonderfully successful female entrepreneur who believed art should be accessible to everyone. This book contains full colour images of her gorgeous scarves as well as pictures from her factories, sketches and a great picture of Marilyn Monroe wearing nothing but a sheer Vera scarf. Oh I say!

Prints Charming

Jurianne Matter

Hillary Bird

Graphic Nothing

These images come from the wonderful book Print and Pattern 2. I know it's the second book but I had this one before only recently getting the original and have used this edition loads for inspiration so I had to pick it first. It's really easy to use because all the artists are in alphabetical order and the images are in beautiful crisp colour. The design of the book is also a joy, with the same font design and colour schemes running throughout. Don't you just love that attention to detail?

Well hopefully they have given you some ideas for books to buy next, hopefully they'll do their usual tricks and help me come up with some new work. 

Can you recommend any good books for me to check out?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

My Favourite Art Materials For Sketching

I use a variety of different materials to produce sketches, patterns and also my products. Anything I make as a product to sell will start off in my sketchbook or on scraps of paper. I print out stacks of images to inspire me mainly for colours and patterns or subjects.

Today I thought I'd write a post about the materials I use to make work in my sketchbook. I hope the photos are ok, there is no natural light in my studio.

First off is my sketchbook, which is just an A4 one from Paperchase I got in the sale. I usually like to use either the WHSmith A5 ringbound ones or Seawhite of Brighton A4 as I really like the quality of paper but this Paperchase one is nice too. I'd buy another one for sure.
Secondly is my pencil case. I bought this 10 years ago at the London Transport Museum shop when they just started making products out of the same Moquette they use for the seats on the Tube trains. It cost me £11 which is a lot of money for a pencil case but its lasting the years so worth it I think!
Next up is my pens of choice! I didn't include my pencil as that's a bit boring an standard but I prefer to use 2B pencils, proper ones not mechanical pencils. I like to use Sharpies for thick and thin black outlines, though the nibs on the standard ones dull quite quickly. I also like to use Posca pens on top of ink or permanent marker because of their opacity. On the stripes of purple ink in the picture above I have used a Posca over the top.

I like to use graphic markers for colour in patterns or to fill in areas of colour on illustrations. I also use these twin Kurecolor markers to draw on shrink plastic to make my teacup and wool badges and earrings. However some colours smudge if you try and varnish over them which is really annoying.
I recently got a whole pack of these ZIG Wink of Stella pens which are glitter. They aren't like any other pens i've used that have glitter in them, they're just like felt tips. I also got a clear glitter one so you can make any line glittery. I love these and need to use them much more.
Lastly, I love stickers and geometric shapes, as you've probably noticed by now. I particularly like to use stickers to add to my patterns and sometimes cut them up and create more work out of strips of pattern. These day glo pink and green stickers are from Staples and Rymans and the other glittery ones (oh yes!) are from The Range. I think they're meant for card making and scrap booking but I use them for patterns. Below are some examples showing all these materials used together.

So there we have it! Next i'll do a post about the materials I use to make different products. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 31 March 2013


This past week I have been in New York. We take a group of students every year to experience the city and I was lucky enough to go this year. It was only a few days and was a tiring trip but I would go back in a heartbeat. I do wish someone had invented teleportation though! I don't like long haul flights, so uncomfortable!

I had a great time, shopping, visiting sights and eating! I went with my fabulous work friends, Kelly, Kate and Eli. Here are some pics from my trip...

We crammed as much as we could into two and a half days, arriving at 10:30 (NY Time) on Monday night and leaving at 10:15 Thursday night. We had time to walk up to Times Square after we arrived at our hotel, perfectly situated on 7th & 34th. The next day we were go go go and I "crashed" several times needing some tea to refuel me. Which btw is not like home, at all!!! They do love their coffee, but sadly I don't drink it.

On Tuesday we went for breakfast at Eisenberg's a fantastic cafe sort of place next to the beautiful Flat Iron building. We then went to Macy's and Sephora and caught the subway down to the Staten Island Ferry. We caught the number 1 train on the red line and got off at Retford Street. We had to walk down to the ferry terminal because the last two stops were flooded by Hurricane Sandy. We caught the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty because it's free and you get a good view of the Lady herself without having to pay to go to Ellis Island. You also get some amazing views of Manhattan Island. Sephora was absolutely awesome, I wish i'd bought more things you can't buy here as it was so cool. Like Space NK but bigger and full of cosmetics you've never heard of over here unless you're a little obsessed like me.

After that we walked and walked, through the financial district, past Ground Zero, stopped in Century 21 (which actually disappointed me a little. The TK Maxx style of it kinda devalued the designer names for me, took away the special feeling of the names) We then walked up to Canal Street, through China Town and Little Italy and ended up at a famous pizza place called Lombardi's. The pizzas were huge and we had to wait a little as it was so busy, you could understand why after tasting the pizzas! After dinner we caught a cab up to Grand Central Station and walked back to our hotel down Park Avenue and past the Empire State Building. What a day! I slept like a log that night.

The next day unfortunately I was suffering a bit from Traveller's tummy so only had toast for breakfast at Eisenberg's then headed back to the hotel for a rest. I managed to summon the energy to walk down to 10th and 21st to investigate Printed Matter. A shop that sells only zines and books made by artists. It was quite overwhelming and would have been hours of fun flicking through the books had I not had a rather grumbly belly! After that I caught a cab up to 5th and 59th to meet Kelly and Eli so we could go to Bloomingdale's. Oh my it was beautiful! What a fancy place full of exciting concessions and Bloomie's souvenirs. We really enjoyed ourselves in there. We went back to the hotel for a rest after that and then I dragged myself out of bed to walk up to the Rockefeller centre. Wow did I feel ill at this point! Stopping at every crossing I was praying for it to hurry up and change as standing still made me feel worse. But we made it and it was worth the effort too. A stunning area filled with flags of the countries of the world, fairy light decorated trees and the ice rink of course! We did a little shopping, took some snaps and generally enjoyed the beauty of the area. I started to feel better by the time we walked back and so we popped back in to Macy's for some souvenir shopping then ate pasta at a corner cafe near our hotel where a lady who needed someone to talk to spoke to us abou God. I popped into some newsagents to pick up some magazines for Chris which you can't get in the UK and the most stinky sweets for my Uncle. Wint-O-Green flavour Lifesavers. Seriously they smell like Germolene of TCP it's hideous! I had to wash all the clothes in my suitcase when I got back.

On the last day Kelly and I took it easy. We started with tea and breakfast at Starbucks and then a wander round the Empire State building. Some shopping in Walgreens and CVS for more cosmetics and then a trip down 5th avenue towards the Flat Iron building to go to American Apparel. I bought a lovely skirt and a beautiful striped dress with buttons down the back. We then had to go back to the hotel to check out and store our suitcases before one last shopping trip and lunch at Fanelli cafe on Prince and Mercer Street. Fanelli's was awesome. Think classic American bar, people sitting and eating at the bar and joking with the bartender. An old old building with a dial phone and mosaic floor. Kelly and I had to wait for Eli and Kate so were in the way a bit but chatted to other people waiting and the bartender Bob, who we now know is a bit infamous (I found an article about him in The New Yorker!) he joked about our English accents and bought us some drinks. We then had classic burgers and fries. A perfect end to our trip!

If i could go back tomorrow I would. It was more than I expected it to be, full of interesting people, different nationalities and so many interesting places to see and do. I loved seeing all the iron fire escapes on the apartment buildings, the yellow cabs, the water towers, the giant billboards, the famous streets such as 5th avenue, Madison avenue, Park avenue and areas such as Soho, Chelsea and Tribeca. If you get a chance, definitely go!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Weather for taking photos...

Well I don't know about you but I am really tired of this dull, grey, cold weather. In Suffolk today we have snow yet again. Not as bad as in other parts of the UK but it has been non stop since first thing this morning.

This means I can't take photos of new products to put in my shops and show my readers. Or do any other blog post that involves taking decent pictures.

So for now here's a picture of Belle Vue first thing this morning.

I'm off to New York on Monday for a few days so if I get wifi I'll post some exciting pictures (probably mainly food) from there.

Shops are closed until I return.

Monday, 11 March 2013

50 Random Facts About Me

I've not been able to make the post I want to as the weather has been so grey I haven't had the light to take photos. So I've decided to do a random post. Here are 50 random facts about me.

1. I'm a picky eater
2. I did a Fine Art degree but I wouldn't do it if I could choose now.
3. I love cats, not a fan of dogs.
4. I'm a homebody, I really don't like being away from home.
5. I had bright pink hair for 5 years
6. I don't like Photoshop
7. I am a massive sports fan, everything but boxing and snooker and i'll watch it.
8. I cry when watching London 2012 highlights because I loved it so much I want to go back in time.
9. I don't like orange when used alone.
10. I will happily sit against a radiator for hours
11. When people use "done" instead of "did" it really annoys me. E.g. "I done my presentation"
12. Getting "your" and "you're" wrong annoys me too.
13. I love making my jewellery and do it because I want to wear it, but I rarely do.
14. I'm a control freak
15. I have far too much Japanese masking tape.
16. I don't take enough risks with my artwork.
17. I don't like negative people
18. I love being organised, it makes me feel in control.
19. I wish people were as polite now as they were 100 years ago.
20. Spiders really scare me and I know its irrational.
21. I find it difficult to throw jam jars away, they will come in handy!
22. I don't really enjoy cooking but I love baking.
23. Part of me wishes I worked in sport not art.
24. I love the London Underground
25. Bed solves many of my problems
26. I get antsy if I spend too many evenings away from home
27. I find it difficult to talk to people but can't stop talking once I start.
28. When I was young I wanted to be a Geologist.
29. I have a GCSE in Geology
30. I didn't start my art education until I was 18.
31. I don't like The Simpsons
32. I love Mad Men and want to be Joan.
33. I like films but don't like going to the cinema very much.
34. I have the entire Good Life box set and cried when Richard Briers died
35. I love retro sitcoms like Porridge, To The Manor Born, Yes Minister, The Good Life.
36. Winter is too cold and Summer is too hot.
37. Hydrangeas are my favourite flower
38. Poppys used to scare me.
39. Speaking of scaring me, I don't like insects. Especially flying ones.
40. The gack in the plug hole after washing up makes me gag.
41. Cat fur on everything really doesn't bother me.
42. I have to tuck my jammer top into my bottoms and my bottoms into my socks because it annoys me that they ride up in bed.
43. I like to be "all in" bed. No arms or legs sticking out.
44. I like routine, I have Weetabix for breakfast everyday and I'm not bored of it.
45. I don't like baths. Ever.
46. I used to go to uni in London, I didn't like it.
47. I've never been to Brighton
48. I don't like being too cold or too tired, I turn into a crying child.
49. I don't like dried fruit.
50. I love permanent markers for drawing. Mostly kurecolor S markers.

Completely random facts. Some dull, well probably mostly dull really.

Sunday, 17 February 2013


If you are anything like me you are a bit of a fan of Instagram. I like being able to record moments in my everyday life. It kinda makes me feel like it's less mundane than it is haha! It also reminds me to be thankful for what I have, as I do believe I am lucky to have such good things in my life.

Every now and then i'm going to post some of my Instagram photos for you. I hope you like to see a bit of my everyday life.
1. MT Wrap! Washi Paper Wrap. 2. Shoes from the Office sale. 3. New brooch designs with added glitter. 4. I accidentally baked cookies. Then accidentally ate them. 5. A productive weekend. 6. Drawing at the museum. 7. Feeling a bit Russian. 8. Beautiful Milly.

Follow me on instagram

Friday, 1 February 2013

Indoor Market! Sunday 17th March, Ipswich.

The last time we (Chris and I, as I Make Fun Stuff) held an indoor market was March 2010. It was held in the Town Hall in Ipswich and we had 25+ stalls selling beautiful handmade crafts and fabulous vintage sellers.

On Sunday 17th March, for the first time in 3 years we will be holding another indoor market, but it doesn't stop there, there will in fact be TWO markets on at the same time in the same building! One craft and one vintage. We are very excited.

We are currently trying to come up with a name for the market and we are still accepting applications for stalls on our website here until Friday 8th February. Check out the website for more information.

Here are some pictures from the last indoor market, I can't wait fr the 17th March!