Unplugged

 

I’ve just returned from three days totally unplugged in the Lakes, with lots of walking and chilling. I didn’t take any technology or check my phone once. Bliss!

That sounds like it should be easy (especially considering that just over two years ago I didn’t even have a phone with aps on it) but now I’ve joined the masses and become chained to my mobile devices.

I knew I was long overdue a holiday, and that working from home was creeping into every second of the day, a natural side-effect of working for myself, trying to start up two creative businesses. I had no idea just how much I needed the break though.

Out in Kewick at a local cafe I would hear a ‘ping’ or a ‘ting’ and my knee jerk reaction is to immediately jump or twitch to see what it is. Seeing everyone (even people out on walks) looking down, glued to their devices – how have I recently become that person? It’s actually scary how much I am addicted to using my devices but more importantly what am I doing on them? Am I being productive all of the time? The simple answer is no and time is flying, whizzing at an uncontrollable speed and I need to slow it down, put it down, unplug and pay attention to what is here and now.

After a long chat with hubbie over a delicious meal and bottle of vino, I’ve got things into perspective. It’s actually quite scary hearing it from someone else that they have concerns about the direction things are going, it’s a good wake up call. I need to wake up and cherish the time I have with my husband, dogs, family and friends – in the pursuit of following my creative passions there is a risk that life is literally passing me by and I am not letting that happen anymore. I feel like this trip was a moment of clarity to re-prioritise and work a bit smarter. Quality family time is now at the top of my list of priorities and we’re officially ‘unplugging’ for set times every week to try and restore some balance and inner zen. I know that it isn’t going to be easy, that there will always be ‘just one more thing’ on my to do list before I shut down but for the sake of my health and the future of my family it’s time to make this happen, to unplug and allow myself the time to chillax more regularly.

What’s really funny is that I get my creative inspiration in huge flurries usually in the dead of night or early hours of the morning. Typically this happens sporadically over a couple of days where I just see lots of different images, really clearly in my head, I usually get up and scribble everything down into a note book. One of my most recent ‘flurries’ of ideas is the tropical collection that I have just started promoting. If you have a look you will see they say ‘chillax’, ‘stay chilled’, ‘chilled vibes only’ etc and I think my subconscious was telling me what I needed to do, before I even knew myself! The mind works in mysterious ways.

Anyway, watch this space, I’ll let you know how the new zen me goes…

My tropical prints collection are available now on Etsy and Walter and May

Feeling the Sunday chilled vibes 


We could all take a lesson from this beagle print now and again… stay chilled people 😎🌴

I’m actually really excited to share this print with you it’s another one from my tropical paradise collection. I’m now off for a little break in the Lakes and plan to take some of my own advice!

 

ALOHA!

Gorgeous Bracken the Springer Spaniel is feeling those chilled summer vibes. This is the latest giclee print from my new August 2017 collection. Can you tell I’m in need of a holiday? 🌴

 

Chilled Vibes Only

A hint of what’s to come in my new collection. A lovely gift for Basset Hound lovers and those who have a soft spot for pink flamingos and all things tropical. Watch this space for more designs from the new collection in coming days. 💕

Meet Doug


Meet Doug my gorgeous new desk lamp by Horton & Grimwood. The perfect desk accessory for any crazy dog ladies like me (or even the perfect office assistant / office dog if you’re unlucky enough not to have real fur babies in your life). Doug the dog light was a bespoke order and painted white for me with a custom turquoise cord… look out for him appearing in my stop motion animations very soon (can’t wait)!

Doug did a good job of keeping me company while I worked on a new custom pet portrait last night, my actual fur babies deserted me and took themselves off to bed! Horton & Grimwood make bespoke pieces out of wood and their shop is well worth a visit: www.hortongrimwood.etsy.com

#ColourMyEveryDay

Firstly, apologies, I’m real behind with LEAPUP blogs, lots has been happening but I ‘m not going to fit all my updates in here as there’s far too much to tell you. So, I thought instead I would post and say how much fun I’m having over on my Instagram account @LEAPUP

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I’ve joined in with an Instagram challenge called #CoulourMyEveryDay by @adventuresandteaparties. Each day you have to post a colourful picture along that day’s theme or prompt. Having never joined in with anything like this before I have to say I’m so glad I did. Firstly I’ve ‘insta-met’ lots of other like minded creatives which has been fabulous.

[Here’s some of my new ‘insta-pals’ Instagram accounts that are worth checking out out if you get the chance…

If you know anyone who is getting married check out these AMAZING handmade flowers, it’s suuuuch a beautiful account and Helen’s a fellow Folksy seller @paperbeacompany

If, like me, you LOVE all things retro these two accounts are worth checking out (warning though, some of the things for sale might be just to cute and kitsch to resist)  @planet_utopia and @yayretro

Also, not forgetting @pippaquigley25  who has the most amazing wardrobe, I’m in awe (mainly because if I’m not at work I’m in my PJs) but wow to own a wardrobe that gorgeous and colourful would be awesome and check our her gorgeous wedding dress that she embellished herself!]

This challenge has also really helped me feel a little bit more inspired and creative, I’ve been thinking a little  bit more about colours and the prompt each day has meant I’ve been posting a more diverse range of images,  which I think adds much more interest to my account. I’ve started thinking more about moving images, I’ve started using Boomerang (still getting the hang of it) and I’ve made some stop motion videos, so yes the creative ‘sparks’ are really going at the moment! Yay!

 

My first stop motion effort… (press play to watch)

 

Second attempt… (press play to watch)

Today’s video… (press play to watch)

You can tell how much fun I’ve had by the mess on my desk… lots!

mess

Now I’ve hit day eleven I’m feeling confident that I’ll be able to keep it up until the end of the challenge, so watch this space. The challenge is still going on until the end of the month so come and join in, it’s lots of fun! Come on over to Instagram and say hi! @LEAPUP

Happy Easter Weekend!

After what has felt like a roller coaster ride for the last couple of months on Etsy I’ve realised that all my eggs are in the one proverbial basket. It’s time to diversify so I’m REALLY excited to announce that this weekend I’m setting up a shop on Folksy.

I have a discount code running for the whole of Easter weekend… 15% off with the code FOLKSYEASTER15 plus I’m offering free UK postage as standard!

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Lots of my UK based friends and family are still clueless as to what Etsy is so I’m hoping that it will be a little more user friendly for those folk. After playing with it for one night some of the differences between the two platforms has become quite clear but the main thing for me is that I love how my shop looks so much more, and thank goodness I don’t have to add all of those celebration attributes… (any Etsy sellers will understand what I’m  talking about). The Folksy shop is currently looking a little bit sparse but more designs will be going on all throughout the weekend and if there are any designs that aren’t listed that you’re interested in purchasing with your voucher… just drop me a note and I can prioritise it!

The other highlight of my weekend was visiting my Etsy shop this morning to see this lovely nougat of feedback from a lovely customer in Seattle which has turned Easter Friday into Easter Friyay! It’s perfect timing and a great end to #coffeeweekUK!

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Happy shopping and enjoy your Easter break!

Yay!

Yay!!! Very happy that my print arrived safely in Michigan and hurray… 5 star feedback for my customised print.

My little King Charles Oscar print was turned into a personalised ‘big brother’ print to be given as a gift. Very happy that it made it all the way unharmed and so pleased to get lovely feedback too 🙂

ARCHERDRAFTLRfeedback

Spotty dog ❤

Meet Sam and Paddington from Singapore… I’m really happy to have received great feedback for this pet commission that I completed a couple of months ago, that has just been given as a gift. The portrait is hand drawn from photograph and digitally coloured ❤

Lovely Puggly


‘Lovely puggly’… a new print available in my LEAPUP store, modelled by one of my existing customers, the lovely Lola from San Diego who is modelling one of my custom made bandanas Also available with a plain white background 🐶 #pug #dog #customart

Mission complete!

 

Very excited that my studio is finally complete! It’s taken all winter to do, fitting DIY around jobs and commitments has felt like a never ending chore but I’m soooo happy that we’ve put the effort in and it’s finally done – hurray!!!

So, this weekend has been all about finally getting in there, using the bright light and gorgeous white space to start trialling some new product photography… it’s been lots of fun. 😄 Everything I’ve read about starting a small business has said that product photography is key but to be honest I’ve found juggling so many things at once it’s never top of my to-do list.

I have to admit that product photography hasn’t been something that I’ve put a great deal of time or effort into but I’m now realising that yes I have a lot to learn and it’s a steep learning curve but it seems like it could be an incredibly rewarding outlet for my creativity too!

I’ve made it my goal this year to improve these skills and try to showcase my dog art and Etsy shop in a better light… so I’ll be keeping you posted on progress.

After my busy weekend of styling and snapping it’s now time for a cuppa. ❤