Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Want to be a success on instagram then HASH TAG AUTHENTIC is the book for you.

Finding creativity and building a community on instagram and beyond

We are forever being offered advice on how to up our instagram numbers and get more followers but no one does it as well as this Sara Tasker.

Sara Tasker  @me_and_orla

White Lion Publishing an imprint of quarto £16.99

www.quartoknows.com

Pics © Sara Tasker

If you are involved in design or any kind of creativity and participate on Instagram you are more likely, than not, to have come across the account @me_and_orla created by Sara Tasker. Sara set up her blog when she was on maternity leave in 2013 and she has become an inspiration to many aspiring bloggers and has in fact built herself a brand new and unexpected career out of social media. She has now written an informative and beautiful book about how she came by her success and how you might too become successful on instagram.

From the secrets of visual storytelling and crafting thumb-stopping instagram photographs, to archiving your day to day life whilst remaining authentic to yourself, this book is both an inspiring manual and an interactive tool for finding your voice online.

As she says ” Connection, communication and community are the underrated secret weapons of social media.”

The book is divided into four main chapters. Storytelling, Making Pictures, Archiving your life and Sharing your world.

The making pictures is particularly useful as she goes through what makes a good composition, why symmetry works, using negative space or a pop of colour, the rule of thirds and following your subjects gaze. She gives smart phone tips and talks about what grabs the eye. 

“Photographing our everyday lives allows us to zoom in on the details and think about the small things that hold big meaning for us”

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She finishes the book with ten commandments, for a healthy relationship with social media, I think they could equally apply to a healthy life. 1 Share, don’t brag. 2. Spend more time on other people’s pages than you do on your own. 3. Be human. 4. Mix it up. 5. Aim to serve others (instead of being self-serving). 6 Create what makes you really light up. 7. Follow your enthusiasm. 8. Stay playful and curious and don’t take it too seriously. 9. Take responsibility for your own boundaries. 10. Don’t compare yourself to other people.

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         In a book that is 190 pages long I thought that the book would have lots of repetition, it doesn’t. Sara has managed to cover everything you ever needed or wanted to know about using social media in an amusing and modest way. She is genuine, the real deal, and this with her beautiful images comes across on her instagram account.

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Making and Marketing a Successful Art and Craft Business by Fiona Pullen

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This is an updated version of Craft as a creative business first published in 2013.

To begin with it is worth mentioning a little about Fiona she originally graduated in law but with a husband and young son decided she wanted to be self-employed. After much research she launched the website The Sewing Directory. Launched in 2010 it very quickly became one of the UK’S top sewing websites with over 1.5 million visitors a year and with a social media following of over 80,000. This woman knows her stuff and she writes in a very easy to understand and straightforward manner.

Fiona describes how creative people often find the technical side of running a business difficult to manage and so she wrote the book in order to help people to address those problems.

The book covers self-employment and the questions you need to ask yourself before becoming self employed. It covers the legal side of running a business, how to present yourself and selling both on line and off line. For me the most important and fascinating chapter in the book is about social media and how to use it. This brings me to why Fiona has updated her original book.

As she asks “What has changed?’

‘Since the first edition of this book, the popularity of video in social media has exploded. The social media section of this book has been almost completely re-written, with more focus on using video to promote your business.”

To build a decent web site you need to have great images. Fiona goes into detail about how to take good pictures for your web site. A great example of a friendly face in her work space is Lisa Comfort of Sew Over it.

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There are some wonderful examples of successful on line businesses such as paperpanda.co.uk a paper cutting business with a face book following of over 250,000.

Torie Jayne a lifestyle blogger with over 1.25 million followers on |Pintrest. She explains what she does to achieve a consistent high standard with her boards.

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The acrylic statement jewellery brand known as Tatty Devine explain how they make their instagram account work.

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Reading this section of the book made me feel almost panicky thinking about how much time it all takes, until I read Fiona’s piece on scheduling social media.

Digital influencer, Rachel Pinheiro gives tips on live video streaming. Sewing expert Debbie Shore explains how to build a successful You Tube Channel.

The legislative and tax information has been updated and is current.

All the downloads mentioned throughout the book are available from the Search Press website searchpress.com

As Fiona says

‘The world of business constantly changes, so it pays to be on top of these changes to use them in a way that befits your business.’

This is a really useful book and my copy is already very well thumbed. If you haven’t already done so, go and buy it now.

Published by Search Press £12.99

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Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Studio – Creative Spaces for Creative People

 

by Sally Coulthard

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If you are a designer, or just love creative people and enjoy seeing how and where they work, then this is must have book.

It is full of inspiration. The author, Sally Coulthard, lives on a farm where she rents out barns to artists. As she says ‘it’s a scruffy space, but the people who work there have transformed the building into something truly special. Not only have the artists organized their studios into useful spaces, they’ve also created rooms that express who they are and inform the work they produce. Each space reflects the personality of the person who works there –studios are like fingerprints, totally unique.’

The first part of the book has inspirational pictures and descriptions of different kinds of studio’s. Included are brights, mono, natural, industrial and collected.AlunCallenderPhoto_SarahCampbell_31_0125.jpg

The second part of the book is divided into different kinds of artists and designers and includes crafters, fashion and textile designers. Fine art, graphics and illustrators studios are featured as are the work shops of bloggers writers and photographers and last but not least are workshops and up-cyclers. nathalie leté 20(1)

Different kinds of buildings are as unique as the artists and designers themselves. One artist works in a shepherds hut another in a barn others in industrial warehouses and lofts. Some work together others by themselves.AlunCallenderPhoto_SarahCampbell_02_0045.jpg

The final section of the book deals with practicalities of how to plan your studio, getting organized, desks, lighting and storage are all explored. As are work tops and drying spaces. If you want to set up your own studio you need look no further than here. The book is truly international showcasing designers and artists from many different countries.CathDerksema_FINAL_HIRES-7.jpg

A joy to read and a very useful handbook.

Published by Jacqui Small at £25

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Create your own Decal Plates!

If you’ve got stacks of old crockery that’s starting to look a little dated, tart it up in a flash with easy-to-use DIY transfers.

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You will need –

  • A selection of old china
  • An inkjet printer
  • Waterslide decal paper, 79p per sheer
  • Copyright free images
  • Small scissors or scalpel

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Instructions-

  1. First, choose your favourite images, and print them onto waterslide decal paper.
  2. Use a scalpel or a small pair of scissors to cut out the images, then use Blu-Tack to temporarily attach them to the china in a composition you’re most happy with.
  3. One image at a time, peel backing away to reveal the tacky side, stick in place and leave to dry completely.

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5 Key looks from ARGOS for Autumn Winter 2017

The Homeware team at Argos have really come up with some nice looking furniture and accessories for this autumn and winter.  I have issues with Argos stores and their queuing system and I haven’t always liked the quality of their goods, but not this time. There are five ranges that fit in with today’s trends and lifestyles.

INHABIT

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The pace of modern culture has fueled a desire and appreciation for relaxed living and understated design. Inhabit is a minimal trend that celebrates a new pace of home life by creating a comforting and calming space that encourages restoration. A pared-back colour palette of soothing neutral and green tones is combined with tactile surfaces, subtle weaves, printed leaf patterns and simple geometric prints.

Furniture designs show a nod to Danish influences with clean lines, minimal shapes and blonde woods.

Products within the Inhabit trend have a simple aesthetic for a softened minimal look in the home.

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NATIVE EARTH

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Inspired by the arid beauty of New Mexico and South America, the fashion-forward Native Earth trend offers a warm and rustic feel with tribal-inspired designs.

The colour palette celebrates Autumn with rich clay red and burnt orange hues paired with charcoal tones, blue accents and dark woods.

Metallic home accessories and woven materials add a rugged finish to the look, whilst bold tribal textiles and intricately embossed ceramics create a strong visual impact.

Native Earth offers a modern take on the iconic wilderness trend and creates a sense of warmth this Winter with earthy textural tones.

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DARK POETRY

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Dark Poetry is a stylistic approach to interiors with a focus on filling your home with products that are both functional and visually striking. With a fusion of elegant design and decadent materials, Dark Poetry creates a sense of luxurious living. Touches of gold, brushed brass and jewel tones add a feeling of warmth for the Winter season.

The collection of furniture and home accessories allude to architectural forms with structured shapes and designs, whilst velvet textiles and soft upholstery add elegance to the room.

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FOREST FROST

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Inspired by hazy Winter mornings, Forest Frost introduces a soothing and tranquil look to the home. Forest Frost exudes elegance with a soft blue palette balanced with pastel pink hues. Textiles are adorned with watercolour florals, nature-inspired details and diluted ombre ink washes to achieve a serene setting in the home. Furniture and home accessories are delicately rounded in a painted chalk finish. Velvet and fur textiles ensure this trend feels cosy throughout the cooler months.

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HYGENA

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Hygena provides contemporary and versatile designs for the modern home. Every piece in the range is designed to perfectly complement one another, offering ready-made design solutions which are easy to incorporate into the home. Accents of ochre brighten a sleek colour palette of monochrome and midnight blue hues, whilst geometric details offer a bold contemporary look. With urban living in mind, Hygena offers space- saving solutions and clever designs at attainable prices.

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10 Re-loved Occasional Tables

All of these occasional  tables have been refashioned from  something that already exists. What exactly is an occasional table? One that could be used by the bedside or in the hall or a coffee table. I suppose what they have in common is that you can put something on them. Perhaps this shouldn’t be encouraged as it often leads to accumulating things you don’t want or need, however that aside, I hope  you will find something that grabs your attention and inspires you.

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1.When I first saw this  bedside table in a junk shop, it was plain ugly and crying out to be rescued. A coat of paint, some photocopied and enlarged images, that were then hand painted and decoupaged onto the piece of furniture resulted in what you see above.

Boho Bench copy

2. A wooden  Ikea bench has had its legs painted black, a seat  fashioned from a mattress. This was then covered in  material salvaged an old velvet curtain,  dyed in Dylon goldfish orange machine dye. It was topped with a slim cushion was made from an old sun faded kelim.

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3. I found an old beer stained mahogany pub table  in a junk shop in Cowes Isle of Wight. I purchased the old sailing charts at the same time. The table was sanded and then painted black and the charts were cut to size and stuck in place and then finished with a clear mat varnish.

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4What do you do when you find an old Covent garden vegetable cart? You turn it into an occasional table by turning it on its side, make   a shelf for the centre and screwing  on some castors. You they paint the front edges with florescent paint.

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5. This table has been customized using  paint. The wooden fold up table was first sanded so that the paint would stick. The legs were then sprayed with Valspar copper paint. The top of the table was painted using blackboard paint. A perfect hallway  table for your phone with a place on which to take messages.

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6. An asymmetric table was created from a rectangular table which had its legs painted grey and a new asymmetric top was cut  from mdf that was then screwed to the original table. The top was then painted pale pink.

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7. By halving the legs of a  table and painting the short remaining legs black you have the start of this padded table. To create the padding an Ikea baby mattress was cut to size and then it was covered in a butterfly patterned linen which was fastened into place using a staple gun.

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8 We have all seen pallet tables, but  this one is particularly successful. It was partially taken apart and then reassembled with the addition of some blocks of wood to make it higher and make room for some existing drawers found on a skip.It was painted with watered down white emulsion and then heavy duty castors with breaks were added underneath to the four corners.

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9. A tiled coffee table was created by adding a lip to the edge of an existing table  to hold  the tiles in place and to give a neat finish. White tiles were decorated using ceramic pens.  The table was then painted deep grey and the tiles stuck in place.

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10. Before being covered in a contemporary geometric wallpaper this bedside table with drawers was a yellowing faux wood effect with old fashioned handles. The paper was cut to size and then stuck in place using PVA glue. To finish it was given a coat of mat varnish.

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