• buttons/ crafts/ etsy/ etsy shop/ handmade/ miss beatrix etsy/ nature/ painted/ sewing/ shopping

    Exciting News! Miss Beatrix Opens an Etsy Shop

    I am pleased to announce that I have opened an Etsy shop! I have spent many hours making and painting my own buttons and am now able to present them to you.

    The buttons are available in three different sizes, and while only a few are in the shop at the moment I have a whole notebook full of more designs in the pipeline, so you can expect more arrivals over the next few days.

    I am also able to take custom orders, so if you have an idea for an image you’d like to see on a button just drop me a line – there’s no extra charge!

    Each button is individually made by hand and then painted – so each and every one is different, quirky and unique.

    As a little celebration tonight’s Creatives Unite will be a two hour special – a sort of Twitter party if you will – from 8-10pm. There will be virtual tea and cake aplenty, as well as a button giveaway.

    Hope you can make it,

    PS: Hope you liked Bea hosting in my place this week – she certainly enjoyed the biscuity fruits of her labours! x

  • autumn/ ladybird books/ nature/ seasonal affective disorder/ seasons/ vintage/ walking

    Autumn Adventures with a Vintage Ladybird Book

    This vintage Ladybird nature book from 1966 was always present in my home when I was growing up, but it’s only been this year that I sat down with it and looked at it properly. Looking turned to admiration at the stunning artwork within its covers, evoking a longing within me to don my wellie boots and go out nature spotting.
    So that’s exactly what I did. Using this book as my own ‘I Spy’ guide (remember those?), I captured autumnal images over a period of several weeks. 

    Our pre-Christian ancestors celebrated Autumn as the New Year, marking the end of the light half of the year and the beginning of the dark. 

    I have always loved getting out and about in nature, but this project made me really notice the little changes that happen as the seasons rotate, and appreciate everything from a hilltop scene changing colour to the arrival of a single mushroom.
    As much as I adore Autumn and Winter I do suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so it’s really important that I get out in the daylight during these months as much as possible. Using What to Look for in Autumn reminds me that we are all natural creatures, and that by living more by the seasons and less by the clock, the television schedule and the demands of working life we can feel more in tune with nature and get more out of each season. As the adage goes, 

    “Those who never get outside cannot thrive.”

    I certainly feel much happier when I get outside and don’t spend the entire week under electric lighting.

    I think I need the other three books in the series, now! What do you love most about Autumn?

    Wishing you a leaf-crunching Monday,

  • beach combing/ beaches/ crafts/ nature/ nautical/ sea glass/ seaside/ shells/ simple pleasures

    Nautical Series Part 3: Beach Combing

    It’s one of life’s simple pleasures, and one many of us do every time we find ourselves with sand beneath our feet. I have been beach combing my entire life, on each visit to Wales to visit my grandparents, or Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay on the annual family holiday. I’d gather all sorts of things from pretty shells to bits of driftwood, large pebbles for painting or ancient fossils. It’s collecting in its most basic and natural form.
    A visit to Dyffryn beach the weekend before last was the perfect opportunity to add to my shell stash.
    I was also particularly looking for sea glass this time, as it seems to be turning up all over the crafting world at the moment, and I have a project in mind for my finds! Sea glass is not only pretty but a reminder that nature always claims and reshapes all things man made in the end.
    I had a very enthusiastic helper, obviously, though she was more interested in trying to get me to take dead crabs home instead.
    Each beach find has its own feature or quirk…
    Evidence of recent history mixed in with the prehistoric…
    “…Ner!”
    I always feel so satisfied when I return home from the beach with a bucket full of finds ready to wash and squirrel away, even though I rarely know what to do with them next!
    Speaking of shells and beaches, this amazing photograph was posted by Action for Happiness on Facebook last week…this is sand magnified x 200. Isn’t it amazing?!

    I’ll never look at grains of sand in the same way again! This world of ours is a pretty amazing place.

    Hoping your day is full of adventure,

    P.S. You can read the first two posts in the nautical series here and here. x

  • autumn/ family/ life/ lifestyle/ nature/ photography/ summer

    Snapshots of Life Recently

    Clockwise: * First blackberries of the year (these went in a pie) * My cousin’s lovely handmade wedding, complete with Zimbabwean bunting and Northumbrian tartan (and my first wedding) *  Poppies are so emotive yet delicate and vibrant * An ancient oak tree snapped on a dog walk *
    Clockwise: * Fairytale-like mushrooms hiding in the undergrowth * A beautiful sunny tree avenue where I like to go to think and write * Amber with marigolds * Mint iced mocha and a good book *
    Clockwise: * Alfie is always happy to pose * An embroidered Beatrix card I made for my parents’ wedding anniversary (not cross stitch this time!) * Pressed flowers and washi tape – a fun combination * Making a game pie for Pretty Nostalgic magazine (and wearing a jumper in a vain attempt to pretend it was Autumn at the time) * 

  • childhood/ nature/ preserving nature/ pressed flowers/ smash book/ summer

    Pressed Flowers: Reminders of Summer

    As a child I remember my nan showing me how to press flowers. We would carefully place them between sheets of newspaper then stack a huge pile of books on top before I had to practice that quality which children find so difficult: patience.
    After two weeks I would be able to go and unveil the final result; papery, delicate works of art, nature preserved for ever more. 
    I’ve been doing a lot of walking in overgrown woodland this summer on my adventures with Beatrix, and it occurred to me that perhaps it was time to have another go at flower pressing. I really love the idea of being able to pick a piece of summer 2012, preserve it, and then keep it forever, and it will never wilt and die. 
    I used the same heavy stack of encyclopedias as all those years ago, made my makeshift flower press, and attempted to get on with other creative projects for the next fortnight while I waited.
    One of the flowers emerged looking like a miniature bent blossom tree, so I popped it inside my sketch book ready to make it into just that. The rest I used to make my first ever smash book page. (More on this new pursuit soon!)
    Sticking such precise and perfect specimens of nature in a haphazard way somehow seemed really satisfying,  and helps to give the overall impression of a chaotic bouquet on the page. I haven’t finished the page yet, but I’m already enjoying being able to look at and touch a piece of the summer, created in the summer, and caught in a single moment in time for ever more. 
    (My new washi tape was great fun too!)
    Do you have any childhood crafts or hobbies you’d like to revisit now? I’m considering starting a ladybird farm next!