Monday, 18 February 2013

Bring on the blooms.

The beautiful 'Theodora' floral crown by Dora Bauer Accessories

Is it just me or has this particular English winter been dragging on for what feels like about 100 years? Seriously, i think i've forgotten what it feels like to be warm enough to not have to wear three layers at all times (note: we have drafty sash windows, wearing three layers is a necessity from October to April in our flat) and my legs are almost blue from not seeing the light of day for so long. (actually if i'm telling the truth, they still usually have at least a small hint of blue to them 365 days of the year, however occasionally they go freckly or a subtle shade of dusky pink when being exposed to sun light  for more than ten seconds at a time.)

In all honestly i do love winter, i love the change from summer into autumn, when the leaves start to fall from the trees and the air starts to feel cold and crisp in the morning, then the lead up to Christmas is always a fun and busy (drunken) time. Then comes January. Cold, wet, snowy, icey, grey and bleek. (I'm sorry for sounding so depressing, i am going somewhere with this) Usually by mid February i'm positively dying to be anywhere but hibernating under the grey shroud of the UK, but there is hope. The morning birds have started singing in their trees again, which in my mind is proof that the sun will back and we will no longer wake in darkness for much longer, woo hoo! Snow drops and daffodils are starting to slowly creep out of the frozen ground, as well as onto my newly green fingered windowsills (i am pretty smug with the slowly growing array of actual living plant life currently adorning most rooms in our flat) and slowly but surely the temperature is starting to rise and quite frankly when it reached 8 degrees outside today it felt positively tropical compared to the minus temperatures of January. So much so that i treated my hands to a day of no gloves, the poor buggers didn't know what had hit them!

Flower Cluster Necklace by Lovertron

I feel that in these times of seasonal change, i am fighting the urge to repaint my entire house, burn my jumpers and buy an entire wardrobe based only around floaty 1970s floral kaftans. I imagine wearing said kaftans whilst wafting around meadows of wild flowers with little birds tweeting and baby dears frolicking around me whilst i sing Julie Andrews songs and am looking both demure and positively smug at the same time. Well, perhaps that may be taking it a bit far, but i do appear to be obsessed with florals and all things neon bright of late. I've always been one for a bright vintage print, whether in the house or on my handbag, generally i love to be surrounded by colour and pattern whenever possible. This obsession is definitely apparent in the jewellery i've been making these past couple of weeks, lots of bright floral clusters and statement floral rings really do seem to lifting me out of my winter lull at the moment.

A great & more flattering alternative to a kaftan, without skimping on the florals: Kimono Sleeves Dress by Prototype Design.

I've also had a little bit of an obsession just lately with growing my own food, i've bought a couple of great books: 'The Balcony Gardener' by Isabelle Palmer and 'The Girls Guide to Growing your Own' by Alex Mitchell. I highly recommend both of these if, like me, you have no bloody clue what you're doing and need someone to tell you exactly step by step what needs to be planted when and how to care for different vegetables if you only have a small urban space in which to grow. Reading both of these books has got me itching to grow some vegis and plant some flowers. I've since bought a variety of seeds and have so far birthed 6 chili plant babies! Yeah! I created life and (touch wood!) they appear to be healthy. Honestly, i fuss over them as if they were my own children, in fact i think i could quite happily live my life child free and raise a family of seedlings and kittens instead. The beetroots, peppers and mixed lettuce leaves are on the way, i shall keep you posted with my new adventures in turning my concrete terrace/balcony into a veritable jungle of organic produce. 

Loving the cute little peeping owl eyes on this woodland print by Finnish company Polkka Jam

What with my new gardening fantasies, knitting, sewing and baking, i must seem as though i am 27 going on 77, but quite frankly i couldn't care less. I love the thought of being self sufficient and recycling and up-cycling and making and thrifting and cooking with food that not only do i know where it came from, but i grew it myself! On that note, i hope you've enjoyed the handmade treasures and Lovertron inspirations that i've discovered on my quest for all things floral and anti-winter this week. I would love to hear all about your own adventures in growing your own food and plants, please let me know how you got on, and any advice for a novice like me is always welcome! 

I love this unique wall decal by Cherry Walls

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Handmade head wear for frosty days.

Crochet tweedy wool hat by Faun on ASOS Marketplace.

After experiencing freezing, snowy, sub-zero temperatures in Norfolk for the past few days, (and not to mention deadly ice rink pavements) quite frankly i'm bored of wearing the same thing everyday just to dress for warmth. The problem is that i only own one pair of snow worthy boots (these are the only shoe i own with even a teeny tiny bit of grip on the bottom) and I've been wearing the warmest coat i own for the best part of a week now (a faux leopard fur 1960s style beauty that i will probably wear until death). 

Super cute & soft Lowie pixie beanie.

The great thing is that i am indeed as toasty as hell (once i have also added at least five layers of clothing underneath), the bad thing is that the only way i can change my outfit  if i don't want to freeze or use my shoes as involuntary ice skates, is to alternate my hats! However, it wasn't until this week that i noticed the severe hat famine that has been occurring in my wardrobe.

Chunky oatmeal beanie hat by Miss Knit Nat on Folksy.

Have you ever noticed that when you watch old street footage from any era before the 1970s, every person is wearing a hat? There was a time when nobody would leave their front door without wearing one. This always fascinates me and i think it's sad that no one really does hats any more. I just love to see people digging out their favorite head wear in the cold at this time of year!  Even the most hat-phobic of people (there;s probably a medical term for that) can't seem to help themselves as soon as the snow rears it's frosty head! So, after indulging in a little internet window shopping today, i've featured a few of my favorites  Please note that all the lovely items featured in this post are individually handmade by super talented sellers! Go check out the links to their websites and support these awesome small businesses.

The gorgeously bright apricot bow hat by Simple Smiles on Etsy.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Queen of Procrastination

There comes a time when you can procrastinate no longer. No matter how hard you stare at it, that fridge isn’t going to spontaneously fill itself with food (my god, wouldn't that be amazing?!), that ever expanding teetering mountain of laundry isn't going to get all Houdini on you and vanish into thin air over night and that ugly dress / too short pair of jeans / charity shop tshirt / …....... (insert ill fitting clothing item here) that you've been thinking of customising for three years isn't going to be busting it's arse onto the runway at London Fashion Week any time this century, if you don't pull your finger out.

It is time, my dear readers, for me to heed my own advice, for I am the Queen of Procrastination and the Master of ''I'll do it tomorrow.” As I sit here writing this, I have managed to cut my fringe, give myself a manicure (added procrastination points for invaluable nail varnish colour choosing minutes), wash the dishes and dry the dishes (I HATE drying the dishes!), tidy my bedroom in a half-arsed fashion and re-arrange my bookshelf. Who knew I could be so productive around the house just by giving myself a blog deadline today?

I am a classic run-before-i-can-walk crafter. I have big ideas and lots of them, but I want them to happen now. I get so excited and so bogged down in my own day dream fantasy of my future handmade mini empire that sometimes I forget that it's not going to happen over night and if I don't sit and meticulously plan and categorically work my arse off towards my goals then i'll still be sitting here this time next year reading another beautifully styled craft book, drooling over another photo of someone else's awe inspiring studio space, furrowing, as I wonder where the time has gone.

I feel inspired and refreshed after the Christmas holidays (on second thoughts, that may still be the lingering sugar rush of 20 strawberry creams still coursing through my veins...) and I have read enough fabric printing, hand making and new business starting books to start my own library. I have the passion, the product ideas, the goals and most importantly the slightly obsessive dream to grow my little business and to make it into something that i'm really proud of. I've learnt a lot from my mistakes over the first few months of starting Lovertron and from taking part in my first craft fairs, but i've also taken an insane amount of pleasure from the things i've done right. (There is no better feeling than seeing someone wearing and enjoying your lovingly handmade goods)

Another thing i've learnt is to be true to the brand and my personal style and not to feel pressured by others. At the end of the day your business is your baby and it's totally and only down to you if it sinks or swims and quite frankly I've not got any plans to get all titanic on you all just yet.

So while procrastination is generally frowned upon, it's not worth beating yourself up over (I'd say it's an under rated pastime) Sometimes getting your head together or having a few hours of creative thinking time (even if this does involve having a facial / manicure / tattoo) is probably just what you need to get out of that creative rut and stop that Titanic sinking feeling. (Leonardo Dicaprio not included...)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

For you reading pleasure.

I have to admit that if i'm having a morning of not doing very much of anything or just killing time (or generally chugging along on a one way train to procrastination station) I always like to curl up and have a a little catch up on some of my favourite blogs.

Ever since I was a teenager i've been partial to a magazine or two and have fond memories mostly of (giggling at) the problem pages of J17 and Sugar. As i've grown up I've moved onto fashion magazines and gossip columns, but recently i've come to despise the endless advertising and meaningless so-called-news about whatever celebrity has stepped out of a car with no knickers on this time. And that, my friends, is why I love a good blog, you can skip through the crap, connect with like minded people, block the adverts and you really can find hundreds of glorious pages dedicated to your few chosen passions with no page wastage or contrived celebrity nudity to be seen. (unless of course that's your thing and in that case, i'm sure there's a whole world of blogs dedicated solely to celebrities 'accidental' exposure for your endless perusal)

So, I thought i'd share with you a few links to just a few of my favourite blogs that I regularly catch up on and some of the ones that I find most inspirational.  They're mostly craft, baking, fashion and D.I.Y  related (or a mixture of all of these things), but have a little flick through the link below and see what you think.

Design Sponge was one of the first blogs i started reading on a regular basis. It has everything my heart desires: before and after home and furniture make overs, craft tutorials (check out these awesome D.I.Y lamp above), recipes and travel. I always find it really inspiring if i'm stuck for ideas and it's a great place to start looking for up-cycling inspiration and cool projects for your home. (Warning: I am not responsible for the hundreds of lost hours of deep Design Sponge joy that may ensue upon exploring this blog)


Quiltish is a super cute blog by Allisa Jacobs. She makes gorgeous make-up bags (like the ones pictured above), wedding favours and clutches out of brightly printed textiles and she also posts loads of clever craft tutorials as well. She regularly creates great posts on running a small business and is the writer of an awesome little e-book called 'Rise and shine: Making your Mark on the Creative World'. I've got it on my Kindle and it's a great read if you're thinking of or you're already running your own handmade business.


'Fresh finds, inspiring interiors and ideas for creative living.' is how Decor8 describes itself and it's not wrong. Hollie Becker shares creative ideas covering every subject from decorating to food to art to nature. My favorite things about this blog are the lovely, personal way that Holly writes and the totally dreamy styling. She has also collaborated on a book, 'Decorate: 1000 Design Ideas for Every Room in your Home' which is currently taking pride of place on my Amazon wish list. In a nutshell, it's the kind of blog that makes you feel so inspired that you just want to tear your flat apart and start from scratch every time you visit. (well, maybe that's just me!)

This amazing statement jewellery (love the unique colour combination used on  the necklace above) is designed and handmade in Chicago by 'Cursive Design', otherwise known as Sarah Fox. As well as designing mouthwateringly fun over sized jewellery with original colours and textures to die for, she also keeps her fans updated via the Cursive blog. She mainly shows readers her work in progress, new jewellery lines and documents fashion outfits and ideas. It's a very clean, modern looking blog and it really showcases Sarah's awesome eye for colour and style. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Send for my time travel device!

I think it's fair to say that i have a slight mad woman obsession with colour at the moment. (this is separate to my future mad woman obsession with cats, but that's a whole new bag of snakes!) I'm half way through creating a collection of statement necklaces based on bright tropical colour combinations and geometric shapes. It turns out that it's really difficult to find actual fabric to match the colour combinations that i have in my head. I have a real thing with mint green and coral at the moment (as you can see from my mini sale shopping trip below!) and any neon colour combinations that really shouldn't sit well together, but some how look awesome with one another anyway.

Barry M nail paint in '304 mint green' and necklace from New Look.

Here's a little sneak peek at what colour combinations i've been working with so far. I feel like i'm looking for inspiration everywhere at the moment: magazines, people in the street, music, the list goes on. I think that now i've finally really put my mind into what i'm trying to achieveI've become a bit obsessed by it!

Since I've been working my day job part time and working on my handmade business part time, I've recently come to realise how much time i actually waste. When i was working my day job full time, i swear when i was standing there wishing that i wasn't there 80% of the time, i could have thought of a million things i could have been doing instead of being there, but now i do have the time, i can't believe how much procrastinating i do! It's much harder than i originally thought to organise myself and use my time wisely. However, i do think that Google and Etsy should take prime responsibility for the majority of my faffing time. I stand guilty of whiling away many an hour trawling Etsy for unique iphone covers and the amount of hours i've lost in my lifetime from searching for cats with funny faces on Google quite frankly is embarrassing. 

I feel this week is the start of a new and less half-arsed me. I WILL get organised, i WILL plan ahead and i SHALL prevail! Just watch my 80s-style Filofax of constant to-do lists grow with each detailed daily plan and meticulous creative skills! No longer will i long for that imaginary time machine to turn up on my doorstep each day, nope, as of today (well maybe tomorrow!) i am a newly improved organisation machine of a woman. Well, perhaps not that extreme, but i promise i will improve upon my slackness of current weeks and prioritise the important things properly.

However, during my journey through procrastination cyberspace, i have come across a few inspirational snippets on my travels. I will leave you now with a few photos and links to what's been inspiring my geometric obsessions this week. Enjoy!

Geometric Art by Andy Gilmore

A dreamy print by Jane Rovers on Etsy:

 Love this iphone4 case by Hand Mad Shop on Etsy:

Monday, 23 July 2012

Let's start at the beginning...

It's always so hard to start something new, isn't it? Beginning something new is always the hardest part, whether it's a new project or visiting a new place or meeting new people for the first time. Once you've got the initial beginning part over and done with, you look back and wonder what on earth you were making such a fuss about. 

Well, this blog is a very good example of this, it's been on the cards for weeks (well, more like months if i'm being totally honest!) I feel like I've been thinking about it and meaning to get around to it for ages. So, I should probably get past the start and get on with telling you a little bit about myself, this blog and the birth of 'Lovertron'. Here goes...

Ever since i was a little girl i've always loved making things. Back in the glory days of being a 90s child i would watch 'Art Attack' and attempt to make everything good old Neil could throw at me. Before the days of recycling bins, there was my mum's cupboard under the stairs. Anything cardboard, anything plastic, anything not bolted to the floor was a potential toilet roll tube monster to be painted or a future 'Tracy Island' to be paper mached.  At an early age (due to some rather creative grandparents with the patience of saints) i learnt how to knit, how to sew and i was obsessed with drawing. 

As i got into my teenage years this all appeared to go out the window in favor of nail varnish, boys and terrible music taste. It's only in the last couple of years in my twenties that it's all come back to me again after meeting my current very talented boyfriend. He is a passionate and dedicated musician and after witnessing his creative genius over the first few months of our relationship, i began to question what it was that i was really good at. I knew i'd always been quite creative but had no idea how to channel it or what my passion was.

Even though I'd always like drawing when i was younger, i was never really good enough at it. I'd attempted a graphic design degree a few years ago, but i found it too technical and it was not as hands on as i'd hoped. Upon giving it some thought, i discovered the one thing I've always loved is fashion. I've been expressing myself with clothes, shoes and an alarming amount of vintage costume jewellery for years, but i wasn't sure i had the skills to actually make clothing, (I found patterns really daunting) so that's when i stumbled across the idea of jewellery. I love the way that jewellery can finish off an outfit, anybody can wear it and you can make countless styles and genres. I started dabbling in a few different mediums, but found i really enjoyed working with felt and brightly coloured fabric the most. I knew i wanted to create something original and i started to develop my own style. I loved the feeling of endless possibility and the enormous satisfaction i felt from creating something completely from scratch from nothing but a few scraps of felt, gold plated chain and my imagination. From here i then went on to try my hand at making some vintage fabric cushions and make-up bags too.

The problem was that I was working full time in retail at the time and was feeling completely unfulfilled in my job. I'd just lost all my passion and as the days went on i started to dread it. Don't get me wrong the people i worked with were lovely, but the actual job just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I wanted to stretch my wings and explore my newly ignited creativity and spent most days daydreaming about working for myself. Even though at this point i had opened an Etsy shop and done the odd craft stall, i just didn't have the time whilst working unsociable hours and weekends to throw myself into it properly and make the most of it. It gradually ended up on the back burner as i simply couldn't give it the time it deserved.

Luckily i am now in a new part time job working less hours, with a much less demanding schedule and most importantly i have much more time. I feel like we spend our entire lives wishing for more time, there's just not enough of the stuff!  I am now finally in a position where i can work part time on my new creative project and give it some proper love and affection. 'Lovertron' is still in it's tender beginning stages at the moment, i'm still making the first collection and i want to be 100% happy with it before i go catapulting it out there for the big wide world to see. All i will say for the moment is that Lovertron won't be a wall flower, it will be bold, bright and it will make a statement. It will be made with loads of love, imagination and a hint of attitude. I won't go into the products too much just yet, but this blog is going to be a window into my inspirations, ideas, my progress as my new little creative business comes to life and probably a whole load of me banging on endlessly. I promise that all will become clear over the coming weeks. Enjoy...