Monday Moodboard: Vintage illustrations

Vintage Illustration Moodboard ellasplace.co.ukI’ve spent the past seven days hard at it drawing and my go-to source of inspiration is vintage botanical and nature illustrations.

I’m drawn to the detail in each drawing, the application of colour and the simple, clear composition. I believe these illustrations allow the viewer to really see what’s being depicted without distracting backgrounds or off-putting extraneous elements. I think that’s why they’re classics.

Monday Moodboard: Tiles

Monday Moodboard Tiles First things first, an apology. I completely forgot about my Monday Moodboard last week. That’s because I got completely absorbed in working on creating tile designs for an upcoming Posca pen project for the company’s display stand. So welcome to my world! This was exactly the kind of thing I was looking at last week. Don’t worry I’ll share my take on tiles in the coming weeks.

I’m currently going through lots of trend reports at the mo and patterned tiles are most definitely in. I’ve always fantasised about a bathroom made up of mismatched tile designs, a lovely med-inspired blue and white kitchen with a ornately patterned tiled splash-back and one of those hallways with an intricate luxurious tiled floor. I best get saving.

Make a personalised clock in 20 minutes

Flamingo2_20cm

Yes you can make a clock in 20 minutes, personalised to suit your home.
80sI used a kit from Dannells and teamed it with my flamingo print paper and a fabulous design (Leah Duncan’s Brooklyn Bridge Flare) from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Because the kits have all the bits you simply cut the fabric or paper to fit the sticky backed template, fix it to the hoop and attached the clock mechanism – easy.
Flamingo deat3_20cmFlamingo_20cm80sdeat

Home hack: Four Beautiful Flower Displays

Peony flower display Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.ukOne of the easiest and cheapest way to give your rooms a splash of quick colour is by adding some flowers to a table or mantelpiece. It’s amazing the instant impact that even the most simple of displays can produce.
Peony flower display Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.ukOver the past month I’ve made a record of my displays every week and now I’m sharing them with you. I’ve tried to keep my budget limited with a £40 maximum and £5 min.
Peony flower display Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

My luxury purple and pink display costs around £40. The mixed peonies in light pink and deep plum were from Value Flora where you can get six stems delivered from £19.99. The vibrant, frilly carnations from my local florist were a snip at 70p each and the roses were £3 for three. I got the wilder bits of foliage from the garden.

Peony flower display Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.ukBecause these blooms aren’t especially structural I wanted the arrangement to be informal. So I opted for a fairly loose dome. I did this by following the same method I use when making a hand-tied posy.
Peony flower display Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk You do this by creating a layering the stems in a spiral formation, starting with one flower in the centre and simply circling blooms around this central one and continuing until you make a dome. Then I give it a bit of a shake before I put into the blooms the vase – I do this to loosen the posy up a bit so it doesn’t look so rigid. I used one of my favourite pieces of pottery to place these blooms in – I just wish I’d made a note of who made it as we’ve had this vase for 10 years and it brings us both joy everyday. The side table was a charity shop bargain; £5 from Cancer Research.
Peony flower display Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

The display below was inspired by the paintings of Jan van Huysum and the recent Dutch Flowers exhibition in the National Gallery. I fancied creating something similarly atmospheric at home. Vintage floral display ellasplace.co.uk

Although this looks quite grand, this rather formal set up is so easy to recreate. I sprayed an old charity shop pub branded vase with bronze paint. Once dry I taped a small block of florists foam soaked in water onto the container. I then arranged the stems into the foam, making sure I walked around the vase and looked onto so that not a bit of the green soaky stuff was exposed. I kept the colours to a minimum for this one, using mainly white, cream and green tones with little splashes of red and pink. I placed the shells by the bottom of the vase to be arch.
Vintage floral display ellasplace.co.uk

I won’t lie, this one below is actually from my mum as the ‘rents came to see us this weekend. The yellow flowers from her and my dad’s garden smell divine; you get a whiff of a little puff of sherbet as you walk by. They look delightful with such vivid hues and open up into the most perfect shapes.

Yellow_1

My mum puts me to shame when it comes to her eye. Three simple, but bright ,stems, one of a contrasting colour, placed at different heights into a vintage old glass bottle that they bought as a job lot at an auction (Mr and Mrs J go to a lot of auctions).
Yellow_2 Crucially my mum removed the foliage that was below the water line; not only does this look better but it eliminates the bacteria that would thrive on those leaves. It also keeps the water in the vase cleaner and adds to the shelf life of the blooms.
Yellow_3

My final display was for a dinner party and consequently I didn’t want to spend loads of money on flowers as I’d already blown the budget on wine (#sorrynotsorry).
Flower display ideas ellasplace.co.ukThe table flowers to be low (people need to look at each-other over the table). I also wanted them to be fun as we were having a good time.

I’ve gathered quite a lot of swan vases from various charity shops over the years. None of them in their original state are particularly artful or beautiful so they’ve all been given the spray paint treatment on more than one occasion. I wanted them to twinkle amongst the candle-light on the table so I’ve painted them in a shiney metallic.
Flower display ideas ellasplace.co.uk Alstroemeria is ideal for when you want to create a floral statement but you haven’t got loads of money. A stem of alstroemeria has lots of blooms on it so you get a lot for your money and the flowers look very effective when grouped together in one colour. I teamed the red ones with little spray roses and some foliage from the garden, these were placed in water and arranged in the vase. I placed a block of florist foam in the white one, having two large lily heads as my main attraction while filling in the gaps with alstroemeria.
Flower display ideas ellasplace.co.uk

Moodboard Monday: Blush

Moodboard Monday BlushAs an avid pinner I’ve been struck by just how many images I’ve seen this past year featuring photography, illustration and fashion pieces showcasing a range of blush pink shades.

The hues look great on their own and teamed with light colours. It also works incredibly well when contrasted with darker green or grey shades as well as more vibrant rosy pigments.

It’s been hugely inspiring for me in creating new stationery collections and prints. By replacing my usual white backdrop with soft, gentle blushes it has really warmed up some of my pink flamingo pinks and patterns (I’ll be showing you them soon). I’ve also used it as a background for my more dramatic drawings such as my raven couple piece that you can see on my moodboard.

I’m looking forward to playing with these shades a bit more, not only with my artistic work but also exploring options for adding depth to accent walls as well as seeing how I can incorporate a bit of blush with my home accessories.

 

Moodboard Monday: Green and white

Ellas Place Moodboard Monday

As an artist, illustrator and journalist, observation, research and image gathering are key to the success of my work. So from now on I’m letting you in on my working practice every week with my Monday Moodboards.

I’m always taking pictures of things that catch my eye and (much to Dr B’s chagrin) spend at least a couple of hours a day on Pinterest (probably not very healthy I know) collecting all kinds of images that reflect trends and serve as inspiration for my home and my drawings. Making them into a moodboard distills my thoughts and allows me to think about the vibe I want to create with my own endeavours.

I’ve recently become fascinated by green and white. It is so representative of this time of year. During the past three weeks I’ve been greeted with this glorious colour combination on my daily morning woodland and riverside walks. Lush grass, delicate hawthorn flower and cow parsley abound the environment creating delightful glades and giving everything a soft, elegant appearance. Beautiful.

This simple palette has so much potential in terms of design and it’s versatile too; a simple flower arrangement, artful grouping of fern and minty coloured objet, delicate planting or full-on statement floor and wall tiles, there are so many ways to incorporate this look into your home.  Used wisely it can look stylish in a laid back, understated way. And even if you’re not actually using natural elements or motifs it suggests a natural, organic feel. The clean, fresh scheme and simplicity reflected in my mood board has also given me food for thought when it comes to my illustrations – sometimes maybe less is more?

Plant of the fortnight: Hibiscus

Hibiscus Flower watercolour Ella Johnston An opulent bloom, the Hibiscus is a very hardy, versatile plant and thrives in tropical conditions. It is a member of the Malvaceae family and the name is Latin for marshmallow.

The flower is very showy and gregarious and as such it attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

This is actually the last plant of the fortnight post. After a year working on the blog I’ve given it a review and have decided on a few changes. Instead of bird/plant of the fortnight, I’ll be doing one ‘Drawing of the week’ post every Tuesday. So you’ll still get your illustration fix.

In keeping with my tropical mood next week I will be showcasing several drawings of the Green-headed Tanager – a beautiful bird native to Brazil.

How to Rock Your Collections: Group them

Vintage Pottery Vignette ellasplace.co.uk One of something won’t do for me and I admit it’s a bit of problem.  The thing is, once a nice bit of design catches my eye, be it a print by a particular artist, a ceramic from a certain period or just an object that makes me smile, I can’t fail to be attracted to more examples of that ‘thing’. Which means I have a number of collections.
Vintage Pottery Vignette ellasplace.co.uk I’ve found the best way to manage my little obsessions is to group some of the similarly sized objects together to create little mini still lives.  They are a really effective way to make your pieces look more coherent, emphasise the qualities and idiosyncrasies of those objects and get people talking about them. I first did this with thrift shop buys, teaming them with classic pieces I already had that I was displaying in my hallway.
Neon candle vignette ellasplace.co.ukI fell for last year’s neon trend rather hard so I’ve placed my brightly coloured candle sticks on top of the piano in the dining room (well it’s my modern day take on the candelabra). They look great set against my teal-coloured wall (Lido from Mini Moderns if you’re interested). I made sure to buy clashing candles to sit in them for the ultimate vibrant colour pop. These orange ones really pack a punch.
Neon candle vignette ellasplace.co.uk When me and Dr B moved into our Wivenhoe house, my sister Lucy bought us some cute vintage cups and saucers as a house-warming present. A couple of weeks later I was in a local antiques shop and saw a teapot and jug to match – it was destiny, so I needed them to be reunited. Then I spotted another two teapots of a similar ilk and I thought “in for a penny”.
Vintage Teapots Vignette ellasplace.co.uk At first Dr B rolled his eyes at my purchase but once artfully arranged on our white shiny sideboard in our dining room, it gave what can be quite a clinical surface a quirky homespun finish that we were both impressed with.
Vintage Teapots Vignette ellasplace.co.uk So if you’ve got some pieces that are dotted around the place why not bring them together and see how they look.

Stash-busting How-to: Make Paper Banners

Banner display ellasplace.co.uk I don’t know about you but I’ve got a big stash of plain and patterned paper from previous projects and from when I’ve taken advantage of bulk offers in art shops. It seems like a waste to have them languishing in drawers and boxes so last week I took action and turned some of them into stash-busting banners to decorate our study with a simple wall display.
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk I had some lovely light blue card that I’d been waiting for something to do with and some left-over summer swallow and butterfly designs that I had created to decorate a friends wedding. I thought the colours all worked really well together and I had some Posca pens in a lovely slate grey that would lift the blue card and unify the whole scheme once I’d added some simple text and design.
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk Making these banners is a synch. It just requires a ruler, a length of doweling, a craft knife, twine, double-sided-tape and the paper(s) of your choice. I measured my doweling at various lengths and cut to size (I could easily snip mine with a craft knife but you may need something more ‘robust’).
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk I then trimmed my papers into rectangles making sure I had about a 2cm allowance to wrap them over the doweling and leaving room at the bottom for cutting the bottom into a ‘v’ or inverted ‘v’ or at an angle while not compromising the main design.
Banner display ellasplace.co.ukOnce the blue card was cut, I could draw a bespoke illustration on it. I thought I’d keep it some with a hand-scripted ‘hello’ and some simple laurel leaf and flower motifs. Let me know if you’d like me to talk through hand scripting and drawing these leaves and flowers – they’re easy to master and you don’t have to be a great draftsman/woman, I promise .
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk With everything cut to size I applied lengths of double-sided-tape to the doweling and, in the case three out of the four banners, I attached the ends of my twine before rolling the edges of the rectangles over the doweling to fix.

I’m pleased that I was able to give my old stash a new lease of life and I’m delighted to be able to add another bit of quirky handmade styles to a little corner of our study.

11 Indigo Inspired Buys

11 Indigo Inspired Buys
While I often plump for hot shades and vibrant hues come summer, sometimes I yearn for clean lines, cooling colours and simplicity.

A beautiful indigo inspired palette fits the bill perfectly. This colour scheme can be used to create a Tuscan, Moroccan  or even Japanese art style vibe. It’s a look that incorporates artisan craft, intricate illustration plus both geometric and ornate pattern so you indulge in it whatever your tastes. I’ve used the look in my dining room with shibori coasters and my bedroom using my blue and white thistle fabric to make bedside lanterns. The deep blues, crisp whites and dark accents give everything a fresh, light feel that you can carry on into very early autumn.

The high street agrees with me – in fact it’s all about the indigo for SS16 so, here’s my top 11 blue for you buys…

Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Moroccan Blue Dinnerware from Sainsbury’s
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Octopus Indigo Linen Cushion from Cream Cornwall
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Tom Dixon Bowl at Amara
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Welsh Knot Throw from Eclect Design
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Geometric Pillar Candles from Mia Fleur
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Sinilintu Rug and Cushions from Vallila Interior
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Vase from  Debenhams
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Lene Bjerre Camelia Tea Jar From Houseology
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Rug from Very
Play the blues interior picks ellasplace.couk
Hand Painted Moroccan Cups from St Barts