You may have noticed that I’m a bit of an old hippy at heart and as an illustrator I can’t help but be drawn to a folky design. I love its simple, yet rather splendid style plus the sense of symmetry and its decorative hand-crafted look. I also like they way that even if you just use small touches, folky styles can give the most austere and coolest of spaces a relaxed edge and an element of informality and, because this style is steeped in history, it can give your spaces a sense of heritage.
It would appear that I am not alone. There are so many gorgeous folk-inspired designs on the market for you to buy to give your spaces that relaxed vibe. Take a look at my top ten (in no particular order) below…
Last week I showed you my Mindfulness Gift Box. If you’d like to make a package for yourself and include my colour therapy designs then here they are.
I’ve got four illustrations; a Matisse-inspired floral number, a loose flowing set of springs (a very abstract eucalyptus I thought), some sexy chevrons (love a chev me) and an on-trend mandala design. They colour-in well as you can see by the pictures
Here’s a sample of the designs you can click on the titles in blow at the very bottom of the post to download the pdfs then save on to your computer, print off and either include in your mindfulness pack or simply colour them in yourself. Have fun!
As I mentioned in an earlier post the Memphis Movement has a very big influence on interiors and design at the moment and only looks set to be more prevalent in home shops over the coming months. The style is already emerging in a number of buys, from fridge magnets, trinket boxes and party plates to beanbags, cushions, lights and cot protectors –have a look at my selection of favourite Memphis style ideas that can add a playful on-trend update to your home.
It’s a week until Mothering Sunday in the UK. If you’re having a little celebration or gathering with your mum (or indeed anyone – an aunt, a friend, a neighbour) it’s worth making an effort to make the get together more special. Having a lovely little flower display is an easy way to make someone smile and feel like you’ve gone the extra mile.
So this is a really easy and more importantly really cheap way to pimp up a floral display. I used few flower heads, some little shot glasses and sturdy paper featuring my love heart design. I made cute carton style boxes, popped the shot glass in (with around 2cm of water) and snuck the flower bud in to peak above the top of the paper. This method means you can display a single bloom without blowing your budget on a big bouquet.
I used a die-cutting machine (Sizzix Big Shot Machine #660200) with a carton box die (Sizzix Thinlits Die – Box, Milk Carton) to make my boxes but you can make a simple paper cover by simply scoring a paper rectangle so it wraps around the shot glass like a sleeve. So, it’s not just for Mother’s Day, I like to do this for parties and get-togethers when I want an easy decorative touch that I can theme with different paper designs and blooms.
As part of my on-going efforts to revamp my bedroom I’ve been looking to add a sense of calm and tranquility to the space. If you saw my previous post on the pastel trend you’ll see these tones are being touted as perfect for providing as sense of calm and relaxation and are currently dominating the high street.
I wanted an easy way to embrace pastels while giving my boudoir an handmade artisan touch. I also don’t want to commit myself to one colour or style yet as I’m still undecided as to how I want the room just yet. I needed a flexible update that I could change, so I got out my paints…
First I painted a small canvas with a very simple layers of light, rose and dusky pinks to create a pop of gentle colour to brighten up my side tables.
I liked my quick canvas but I wanted something to tie things together. I then remembered a project I did last year for Homemaker magazine. It was really simple but incredibly effective and all it involved was a set of acrylic paints and some filled glass candle votives.
My house always has scented candle glass votives – I pick them up when I’m doing my grocery shopping and, if you don’t pick a pungent fragrance (give them a sniff) and don’t mind a shorter life span, you can buy them for about £1.50. I’ve used a rough, coarse brush to apply lilac and serenity blue paint on the base of the glass as I want a tactile, painterly feel to these pieces.
They look fab on my bedside cabinets and I love the way they look when they are lit after I take a bath (I love a little spa feel) and when I’m reading in the evening or when unlit as a colourful ornament during the day. They also make great gifts for people too – I’ve done a couple of these for friends as part of a ‘relaxation box’ (more on that later) and they have loved them.
I was out shopping with Dr B last week and he remarked how many pastel shades there were on the high street. It’s funny, as someone who looks at trends all the time and who is always looking at colourways, I’m used to pastels – I forget that by the time they hit the shops, I’m looking at the next new thing.
At the start of the year Pantone launched its colours for 2016; Rose Quartz and Serenity, stating that the colours “demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace”. As well as championing the colours themselves, the company also outlined some exquisite colour pairings that can imbue a sense of calm and relaxation.
It’s simple to add a sense of tranquility to your spaces with the addition of soft pastels. These cool shades can really brighten interiors as well as set a soothing mood. And you don’t have to go full-on with pastel, simple touches will do. A bed spread, a pop of pink with some fluffy towels (as seen above), a subtle bud vase or some simple lighting could be all you need to embrace this trend. Here’s a little sampler of more pastel themed buys…
At the end of last year I went to lots of Spring/Summer 2016 press shows. From high-end interior brands to high street favourites, all the retailers featured one key motif – the pineapple.
Inspired by this, I did a drawing/illustration of one of my own little fruit, which is now available as a print from my Etsy store .
I’ve also rounded up 10 of my favourite pineapple products in the shops right now. It’s amazing how one motif can be adapted to suit such an eclectic range of styles… As a little postscript, this is as near as a pineapple as I can get to as I’m allergic to them; one bite and I swell up like a sea sponge!
These embossed clay jewellery holders are really easy to make and take minutes to create. This simple DIY is great if you’re looking to make a handmade gift as they can be adapted to suit all design tastes.
It’s my new year’s resolution to revamp our bedroom – I’ve gathered a collection of inspiring looks to set the mood for the boudoir and I also want to have homemade elements to make it more personal. Although I do have a jewellery box I’m always dumping my earrings and necklaces at the side of my bed before I go to sleep so I wanted to make something that would at least keep them in one place when I did so.
Making these holders couldn’t be simpler, I rolled out some air-dry clay and then embossed it with my hand-carved rubber stamps. I cut the clay into squares and gently shaped them over some bowls to create wells. After the clay had dried, I coloured the leaves with a light washes of acrylic paint to give them a bit of colour. I’d imagine if you sealed them with a waterproof varnish the would make attractive soap dishes too.
As my one of my previous post suggests I am really playing with pattern at the moment, trying to free myself up as an illustrator and exploring ways of drawing to see what ideas ‘land’.
I thought I’d try doing things beyond pencil and paper to really put my mind away from the subconscious self-imposed constraints that I may place on my illustration.
I had these spare plain plates that I’d bought originally for photography props when I was editing Homemaker Mag, I actually never used them because they were too plain and the rim wasn’t delicate enough for any of the shots (it’s amazing what you obsess about on a shoot and what works and what doesn’t).
Any-hoo these thick plate rims really allowed themselves for drawing on and I thought at the very least I’d be updating some dull crockery. So out came my cobalt blue ceramic pen and had a little play, here are the results.
I gave myself a 20-minute time frame to do them so it was five mins per plate. I did this because I didn’t want to overthink it. I wanted the designs to be spontaneous and completely from the top of my head. So there’s fishes, some Charles Rennie Mackintoshesque roses, wheat germs and blue retro-style flowers.
I like the plates and am pleased with the designs. I think I’m going to looking to the wheat germ and fish shapes further. I’ll keep you updated!
I’ve recently got obsessed with all things Mexican. There was a reason for this, myself and the good Dr B always cook something nice on New Year’s Eve and this year we fancied a feast of Mexican style veggie food.
As I was researching various tasty vegetarian recipes* to prepare for us, I kept coming across some beautiful Mexican tile designs. They were absolutely stunning. Not only did I want these tiles in my kitchen and bathroom (when we get round to doing them up) but I was so inspired that I needed these designs in my life straight away.
Although many of the tiles came in a gorgeous array of different colour combinations, I was really drawn to the blue and white ones (you know me, I love to keep designs simple when I can help it). So I got out my Sharpie pens, grabbed my spare mdf coasters from my old Shibori coaster project and set to work on whipping up these beauties.
First I gave the mdf squares a lick of white acrylic paint. Once they were dry I drew out my designs freehand on the coasters in pencil. I didn’t want to trace the designs directly as I wanted to add my touches to them to make them my own. I also opted for freehand because, and I know some of my design friends won’t like this, I don’t like it when everything is straight on and symmetrical. I like to keep things wonky every now and again – for me it’s more fun that way.
I’m going to give them a little varnish so I can actually use them (I was in such haste to draw the designs on and then get them shot that I clean forgot) but I thought I’d share them with you now as I’m chuffed with them. Can’t wait to get them out now.
The whole exercise has got me thinking of my own pattern designs, can I be more ornate? If I keep my colour scheme simple, can I go to town on the motifs? This project has inspired me to have a bit more of a play and to come up with some new work – watch this space for what I do with this.
*Spiced roast cauliflower and chickpea tacos with a yoghurt lime dressing and salsa plus nachos with black bean chilli and guacamole with a side order of red cabbage slaw and smoked paprika roast potatoes, if you’re asking. No, we couldn’t eat it all and it lasted through to the next day and beyond. I did take pictures but the light was rubbish and to be honest we were too intent on scoffing rather than blog stuff – sorry!
This is the shop for Ella Johnston. Here you can buy original artwork, prints, stationery and homewares from my archive. Dismiss