Monday, 29 September 2014

VINTAGE SHOPPING



Just a quick post today, I hope you all had a good weekend. I spent this weekend trying to get to know Northampton a little better and find where everything is. Got lost twice, took the wrong bus once and paid £2 to get to ASDA and it was shut! So it's fair to say I've made a few mistakes, but it was still quite funny at the time.

My favourite part of the weekend was visiting the vintage shops around the place, there's so many good vintage shops here! There's nothing like rolling your sleeves up and having a good rummage through all the clothes, and no better feeling than finding something special.

The first photograph is from a shop called 'Most Marvellous', a huge vintage shop in Northampton that sells a wide variety of vintage clothing and handmade gifts, this place is massive so I made time to have a good look around, also the cafe is pretty good it's all homemade and locally sourced. You can check out the website here.

The cardigan in the picture was my best find of the day, it's chunky, warm and just the right amount of ugly, I had to buy this! It's from another vintage shop called 'Nutshell Vintage'. This is a cute little shop that has so much good stuff in it. It's also pretty reasonably priced too, I got a 25% student discount too which I appreciated, check out their website here.

So anyway I hope you all had a good weekend, if you know any good vintage shops where you live definitely comment a link for me to check out!

Emily x

Friday, 26 September 2014

LONDON | CULTURAL VISIT

Hi everyone, I hope you've had a good week, and I'm sorry for not posting often but the weekend is here finally after what seems like an incredibly long week. I thought I'd share with you what I've been up to.

Yesterday as part of my illustration course we had a trip to London, which gave us the chance to visit the V&A museum and have a look around London. Having had about three hours sleep the night before (I know, I know, I'm burning the candle at both ends and all that, but it's Freshers' week!) I got off to a sleepy start, but after we visited the exhibition I was more than awake.
The exhibition was called 'Disobedient Objects', it was loud, interactive and very raw; I loved the fact that everything from the floors to the signs was made from plywood and that everything in the exhibition was made by people like you and me. I felt like the exhibition was giving these people a voice as artists, just as the protests they participated in gave them a voice as activists. The exhibition focuses around protests and activists all over the world and the tools or objects they used to get across their points and opinions. These tools were anything from badges, signs and T shirts to banners, blockades and even vehicles.
One thing that stood out to me the most was the piece about the BLO or the 'Barbie Liberation Organisation'. The BLO are basically a group of artists and activists that protest gender stereotyping. The film I watched showed the protest that gained them the most recognition over the years, this was when they swapped or performed 'surgery' on talking Barbie and G.I. Jones dolls to switch their voices around. This meant that kids were buying Barbie dolls that made gunshot noises and G.I. Jones dolls that talked about going shopping. This made me laugh and I really love this concept, I think they dealt with this issue in a very widespread but humerus way which is what I enjoyed about it. I believe that is what illustration is about for me, it's getting a point across to people in a way that everyone understands. I'm a very visual learner and images are how I communicate, so I left this exhibition feeling very inspired, and excited to start the course on Monday!

If you want to check out the video I watched about the BLO check it out here. The V&A museum website is here too if you want to check out the Disobedient Objects exhibition or any of the other exhibitions at the V&A. Thanks for reading.

Emily x

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

FRESHERS

I'm finally here! I'm all moved in at Northampton uni and loving my first week, so I'm going to talk a little about what I've been up to.





We drove down on the Friday and stayed over in a hotel, the journey was six hours long, I'm so glad we didn't drive on the Saturday, it would have meant getting up at 3am!

The first day of freshers was a UV party at the student union. My flatmates are all really cool so we all went together, we all get on really well but we're all so different from each other. I find it really interesting to listen to other people's accents, we were comparing slang words and phrases and learning a bit about where we all live.

Second day was 'FreshFest', this was a mini festival held on a green in the campus. I loved watching Sigma and Gorgon City in the marquee, it was like one big rave!

Yesterday was our first day in classes, it was good to meet all the illustration students and find out a little bit more about what were going to be up to, I'm so excited to start! Last night was also the Ibiza Zoo party which was cool, I was dressed as a cat! 

And finally, today was the Freshers Fair where I picked up loads of freebies and signed up for a few clubs and societies.

I'm sorry this post is a little ramble-y but I just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive because I haven't been posting as regularly as I normally do for obvious reasons. I'm sorry about that! But once my course starts properly I'll be showing you some of the artwork I'll be doing.

Anyway, I hope you're having a good Freshers Week if you're at uni, and thanks for reading.

Emily x


Thursday, 18 September 2014

MOVING DAY

So today is my last day in Cumbria, tomorrow I'll be moving down to Northampton. It's been a lovely week of meeting up with friends and family to say goodbye as I won't see them till Christmas. I thought I'd show you what I've been up to.
1. Seeing my friends Laura and Helen as they went to uni last week. I made them a little collage of photos from over the years and we had a lovely day.

2. Going for walks in my favourite places around where I live. Yes, we did make friends with the cows.

3. Having one last night out on Friday at my local pub. It was fun seeing everyone and having a good old piss up!

4. Getting really into the drawing projects from this book, this really got me excited to start my course! Make sure you check my posts about the projects too.

5. Spending time with my best friends at my favourite place in the world, the shore. I loved lighting a fire and talking to my friends like old times.

6. Finally, today I've been packing all my stuff up to leave tomorrow, it's going to be a long journey! My room is empty now and were having a little party tonight in my house!

I'll try and keep you updated over the next few days. Thanks for reading!

Emily x

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

DRAWING PROJECT 2 - GETTING IN TOUCH

I'm back with another drawing project! This time I made a series of drawings where my sense of touch and hand-eye coordination where put to the test. As you already know, this week I've been working my way through a book from my reading list for uni, it's called Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing, and you can read about my first drawing project post here.

Anyway, the first activity had me drawing with a blindfold on where I had to use my hands to feel the object instead of looking, and transfer these feelings into marks on the paper. Firstly, I'm very glad I actually wore a blindfold on this one because otherwise I think I would have cheated. But I liked the drawings that came out of it, I used shoes as my subjects and I like that all the lines don't join up, I think this creates an interesting effect.
The next task was self portraits, I had to close my eyes and use my hand to explore my face and make marks on the paper accordingly. I found it very hard not to look at the paper and keep my eves closed, but I eventually got used to it. I liked using the variety of materials in this task, I used pencil, Sharpie marker, fine liner and pastels. The drawings I created have many layers to them as I kept going over each drawing with different materials, I like this effect.

I really enjoyed this project, I feel like the past two projects have definitely taken me out of my comfort zone, and I've surprised myself with the range of marks I've started to use which I'm usually too 'precious' to use. I'm finding this book really interesting and I can't wait for the next projects.

Emily x

Friday, 12 September 2014

DRAWING PROJECT 1 - CONTROL

This week my thoughts have turned to my course that I will be starting soon at uni. I've been given a reading list from my tutor to have a look through, these books will help me get into the right frame of mind for the course and get my into the 'illustration way of thinking'. Fortunately, I remembered taking one of the books out of my local library a while ago, so I went back to get it and I'm attempting to make a start. The book is 'Drawing Projects: an exploration of the languages of drawing' by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern. I will be following my progress through this book over the coming weeks on my blog where I hope to see some improvement in my drawing skills!

The first project in the book is based around Control, but rather than helping you exercise more control over the drawings, the activities do the opposite by taking away your control. At first I found this irritating and it took a while to get used to having no control, but after this I found that it was very refreshing to be less 'precious' about a drawing and let go, it was a wonderful feeling!

 My first two drawings were created using a 40cm long stick with a pencil sellotaped to the end. I stood away from the easel which allowed me to keep my arm outstretched (My arm got very tired throughout this!) so I could create big, sweeping marks on the page that came from the movement of my shoulder.
The next two drawings were made sitting down, which meant I was closer to the easel, so the movements aren't as big. I found myself using quick scribbly movements to create shading, as I didn't have enough control on the pencil to shade properly.

 And finally, this last drawing was made using two pencils taped together. I found this the most difficult of the drawing techniques, as it seemed impossible to include detail without spoiling somewhere else on the page! Eventually (with much difficulty) I got the hang of it, and I am fairly pleased with this drawing.

This drawing project really took me out of my comfort zone, and taught me to relax when drawing, not every sketch has to be perfect. I'm excited to see what other challenges lie ahead in this book, and I plan to have another go soon. Thanks for reading.

Emily x




Wednesday, 10 September 2014

PRESSING FLOWERS

I've been getting quite creative recently by making my own cards to give to my friends before they leave for uni. Today I discovered a lovely technique while searching for ideas for leaving presents and whatnot. This method shows you how to press flowers quickly and easily using tools you will find around your house, and the results are quite lovely.
 First you need to find some flowers that you want to preserve, I chose some sweet peas from the garden because I love their bright colours. Lay them out on a piece of paper making sure they don't touch each other or overlap.
 Next fold the piece or paper in half with the flowers inside and cover with a paper towel, this will help soak up the moisture from the flowers and dry them out.
Then you need to take something heavy, I used some tiles which were very effective. Then you need to put it all in the microwave (so make sure your weight is microwave safe!) for one and a half minutes. Next take the tiles off - be very careful because they will be hot - and give them another 30 seconds in the microwave without the weights.

 When you take them out you'll have lovely pressed flowers that you made within minutes! Be gentle when moving the from the paper, they stick to it, so you might damage them if you don't take care.

Let me know if you try this and how it turned out for you, I rally enjoyed making them and plan to use them on my cards that I make. Thanks for reading.

Emily x

Sunday, 7 September 2014

DATE NIGHT


Just a short post today. I have a bit of time off work this week, so I have more time to spend with my friends and family. Tonight me and my boyfriend Adam went to the bowling alley which I haven't been to since I was a kid and we had a blast!

I forgot how awful those bowling shoes look, they're really comfortable though! We had three games of bowling, and we had a bet that the loser had to pay for our drinks all night, so knowing this we both got very competitive. The score screen is from when I won the first game,I started to get a bit cocky after that to be honest, and that turned out to be my downfall because Adam won the other two. I was gracious about losing though (not really I sulked for a while). We also had a go on the arcade games when we had finished, oh yes we had a proper six year old's day out.

Our dinner was (thankfully) more civilised, we went to an Indian restaurant and had a curry each. We weren't brave enough to try the hotter dishes though, but they were delicious to say the least. All in all, a nice day/night.

When's the last time you went bowling?

Emily x

Saturday, 6 September 2014

SIXTH FORM TIPS AND TRICKS

So the schools, sixth forms and colleges all started back this week in my area (it feels so weird not going with them!) and it's making me think of my time at sixth form. I thought I'd share with you some tips and tricks that I learned along the way, and I hope they help you as much as they helped me. I don't pretend to be an expert though, everyone's different and has a different experience but hopefully these tips will be useful.
 
1. Buy a diary and make good use of it. My diary was my lifeline at sixth form. Every day I completed a study plan which planned out what lessons I had that day, what I was going to do in my study periods and what homework I was set that day. A diary is an easy way to stay organised.

2. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Most sixth forms expect you to start with four subjects, allow yourself at least a month to get a taste of the course. If you find you aren't enjoying one of them, don't be afraid to drop it, this will not make you a failure don't worry! It will also give you more chance to concentrate on your other subjects.

3. Choose subjects you enjoy. Seriously, I can't stress this enough, you will do much better in subjects you enjoy than those you won't. If you choose a subject you don't enjoy it will make life hard for you at sixth form.

4. Don't be disheartened if you aren't achieving the top grades straight away. The jump from GCSE to A Level is huge! Going from achieving A's and B's in GCSE to barely scraping a D when you start sixth form can be difficult to understand at first. You have to remember that A Level is a higher level than GCSE, and an A means something completely different now. Don't worry, if you work hard enough you will achieve the top grades soon enough.

5. Don't be tempted to have a 'working lunch'. Working through your break and lunch might seem like a good idea at the time, but you're not giving your brain a rest. Breaks and study periods can seem like the same thing, they're both times when you're free to do what you choose, but you need to distinguish between the two.

There are my top tips. I hope I didn't seem like I'm preaching at you guys, I'm only trying to help. Good luck if you're starting sixth from this year, and enjoy it - it'll fly in!

Emily x


Thursday, 4 September 2014

AUGUST FAVOURITES

I have quite an eclectic mix of favourites for August I know! August has been a reasonably quiet month for me, but all this stuff has kept me entertained at least.


Velvet Choker Necklace - I've been wearing this choker necklace a lot recently, the little sun charm is so cute. I like wearing chokers with tops with a high neckline that you can't wear a longer necklace with. I think they're really nice when mixing with other necklaces too, this one is from eBay.

Black Fedora Hat - this hat is actually from Missguided, I love shopping on there, and I love this hat. I get a few funny looks if I wear it out in my small hometown though, ha! Not only does it hide roots or a bad hair day, it also adds to an outfit by making look a little more sophisticated. I have a feeling I'm going to be wearing it a lot now Autumn is drawing nearer, especially if I'm pairing it with jeans or a denim jacket.

One Egg Wonder - I know this item is a little strange but I couldn't resist including it in my favourites - it's so cute! It's called a 'One Egg Wonder', a mini frying pan that I found while looking in Aldi for uni supplies. This pan (apart from being insanely cute - which I must admit, was the reason I bought it) allows you to fry just one egg in it, creating a perfectly round fried egg with no need to wash a huge pan! Brilliant.

Crochet - something I've been doing more and more of this month is crochet. No I'm not a pensioner, I actually think crochet is really cool because you get to make some really beautiful things with wool. At the moment I'm making a blanket which I will show you in a post at some point.

Winsor & Newton Drawing Inks - I just love these, they're so versatile and really come in handy for brightening up a drawing or even a watercolour painting. Winsor & Newton are the best for watercolour paints and drawing inks, check out the website here. Although on paper these do have the same effect as water colours, they are much more pigmented, allowing you to get a much brighter colour. I especially like the black ink, it's much darker than anything I can achieve using watercolours, and sometimes I even write with it using a paintbrush! Definitely a must have for my course at uni.

So there you are, the things that kept me amused this month. Let me know if you've ever had/tried any of these and what you thought of them, I really recommend the One Egg Wonder, it saved my life. Anyway, see you again soon.

Emily x

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

LAST DAYS OF SUMMER

I can't believe it's September already! I was brought swiftly back to earth on Monday when I realised that summer is nearly over and my move to university is looming ever closer. This summer, although painfully boring at times, I've actually achieved more than I thought.

First of all, I got through my A Levels, which is no mean feat I tell you! I tried so hard to pass my maths (I'm not very naturally good at maths, it took a lot of hard work from me) and I'm over the moon with my B!


 Second I had a week away with my closest friends and we managed to survive! This was quite an achievement, believe me, we got lost a few times. We stayed in Hebden Bridge, a lovely little Yorkshire town with a arty atmosphere and lots of interesting shops and the views of the valley especially when we went for a walk were beautiful. You should check out Ciara's post about it here (you should also check out her blog here it's very good!).

I loved being able to spend time with my boyfriend Adam this summer, we were able to go for walks and have lazy days, things I missed doing during exam time when we hardly saw each other.

The spare time I had allowed me to get some more shifts at work which means more money to save for uni, and I'm proud of myself for working hard and being able to save my money which will hopefully help me at uni.
I'm definitely proud of this blog. It's allowed me to channel my spare time and thoughts into something positive that I enjoy. I'm still developing my blogging skills though, and I'm trying to keep my ranting to a minimum!

Finally, the thing I'm most proud of this summer is my A Level results which allowed me to get into university to do something I really love.

So now that summer is (nearly) over, I'm going to enjoy the little things while I can, and look forward to the 20th of September. Thanks for reading!

Emily x