Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thursday Treasury

Oooooh spooky...... Happy Halloween everyone!
How lucky that Halloween landed on a Thursday this year. That means, along with Trick Or Treat, Bobbing For Apples and scary costumes, we can also enjoy Thursday Treasury today! Yay!

Of course it would be outrageous of me to put together a treasury today that isn't Halloween themed, so this week it is all about...Pumpkins!

All relevant information about this treasury, including sellers + items can be found here.
Pumpkins can be a great creative inspiration due to their texture and colour. The collection I have put together for today is BURSTING full of inspiration. Take for example the colours, I included the more traditionally seen yellowish, orange pumpkin which have a gorgeous warm feel to it. However, I also made sure to include other colours such as blue, wine, green and black + white. It's important for me to show that thinking outside the box is a great way to mix it up and keep things fresh. Who says a pumpkin has to be orange?

Another huge source of inspiration from this treasury is this embroidery pumpkin design by The Applique Diva.
Fall Thanksgiving  Pumpkin Pieces Digital Embroidery Design Machine Applique
I can see how this could be transferred to a canvas layout so easily. The pumpkin shape could be pieced together using different orange (or maybe not!) patterned papers or even fabric and then texture and embellishments could be added. I think it would make a cute little Halloween decoration that is different from the usual fake cobwebs and plastic spiders.

This project might even make a good activity to do with children this Halloween! I hope you enjoyed this week's treasury as much as I did making it.

I am off to enjoy my evening by watching my all time favourite Halloween movie - Hocus Pocus!!!
It never gets old, and clearly neither do I!!

Have a safe + happy Halloween my friends!


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Some Unseen Work

Hi all...

Yesterday I took down my exhibition "Awaken - art for the lost + found" (sad face). It's so strange having some of the work back here in my studio.
If you didn't manage to make it to the exhibition while it was up, here are a few pieces that haven't previously been photographed.

The exhibition was a great success, I had a few sales but the experience above all was amazing. In a way I am glad it is over now though. Time to move on to the next thing. God knows what is in store for me next.......

Ps. The above pieces are still available to purchase. Get in touch at

Take care


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Create Everyday Challenge - Day 3

I only managed to produce these sketches for my Create Everyday Challenge today, but it all counts!


Thursday Treasury - Wexford Opera Festival Special!

Last night seen the opening ceremony of Wexford's 62nd Opera Festival. As per, my humble town's night sky was lit up by a mesmerizing firework display. The streets were buzzing with young and old enjoying the entertainment and atmosphere.
Unfortunately, I missed it this year (and last year) which is a shame, but not to worry my Dad recorded a short video of some of the fireworks for me, how sweet of him.

Just follow the link to enjoy them for yourself:


I have always enjoyed the opening of the Wexford Opera Festival, not so much for the opera to be fair (I've actually never been to the opera shamefully) but because the festival also brings with it a flourish of art exhibitions dotted around the town. I often spent the Saturday or Sunday after the opening night, strolling around the town, visiting each and every exhibition.

Anyway with all the excitement of the fireworks display it is only right that I put together a collection inspired by the colourful lights and magic

All information on the items included in this treasury can be found here.

I hope you enjoyed my fantastic display of lights today.... It helped me to get over not being able to enjoy it for real with my family and friends last night. 
Sometimes you just have to create your own magic.

Stay inspired my friends


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Create Everyday Challenge Day 2 - Art Journal Page "Light The Way"

I spent all of my afternoon/evening re-organising my studio because since I moved in to the space I literally haven't had a minute to do it.
Well I just forced myself to take the time to do it today. I needed to create an atmosphere that is comfortable and most importantly INSPIRING to work in and I feel I have managed to achieve that to some degree after spending 3 hours at it this evening. I still have a lot of work that I would like to do in the future but I consider it to be a work in progress. I will eventually share some photos and I also will do a studio tour but that will most likely be in the future. I'm not happy enough with it to be shared on my blog yet. But fear not! I promise I will in the future. 

Anyway, yesterday I shared that I have challenged myself to create a piece of art, that is unrelated to my work, everyday for 30 days. I am on day 2 and even with all my home improvements I still made some time to create this art journal page........

Don't forget you can create along with me for 3 days, it's never too late to get started. If you want to challenge yourself the rules are simple, create at least one piece of art everyday for 30 days. It can be anything from a quick sketch on a scrap of paper to a full blown masterpiece. You can email me photos of your work on to be featured on the blog.

Don't forget to drop back tomorrow for Thursday Treasury!

Take care


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Create Everyday Challenge!

I have a lot on my plate lately.. After all, this is the selling season and so with 3 Christmas Markets coming up starting the middle of next month, I feel like I am buried under a big, messy pile of work.
So you can only imagine the state of my studio at the moment!!

Now, although I love my job and it's a dream come true and all that....It's still a little frustrating when I feel like I have no time to create art JUST for myself. And of course I do, of course I have time. I am always preaching to people that they should make time in their day to be creative, even if they can only spare 5 mins and then here I am, not practising what I preach. So hypocritical! 

So, I've decided to try to create some kind of art that is separate from my "work" art everyday for 30 days. It doesn't have to be a full blown masterpiece, it can be a canvas, an art journal page, a sketch or even just something tiny scribbled on a scrap piece of paper. Just as long as I am being creative and taking a few minutes out of my work day to create art that is solely for the sake of making art. This is a similar process to art journalling I suppose but I think it will be different in many ways too. 

I started today, and I started with a painting...

I flicked through some old magazines and came across this picture of some flowers in a bucket. I was drawn to it because of the colour of the flowers and I also like the composition. I decided to paint my own interpretation of it - in my own style of course.

I created the entire painting using acrylics and then I used Sharpie markers to add detail and depth. I also highlighted certain parts with a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen.

I was happy with how the painting turned out considering that I don't usually paint my subjects. I will be interested to see how my painting skills develop over the 30 days.

I hope that you tune in everyday to see the art that I will be creating over this "Create Everyday Challenge" and maybe you will even join in!

As a matter of fact, I urge you to. If you do decide to join in with the challenge and would like to feature some of your artwork on my blog all you have to do is simply email photos of your artwork at 

Happy creating!


Friday, 18 October 2013

Interview with Fibre Artist {Sarah Louisa Burns}

Tell us a bit about yourself and the kind of art that you do?

My name is Sarah Louisa Burns. I live, work, and play in NYC. My work studio is nestled in the heart of Harlem. From my little perch uptown, I crochet body parts for my shop An Optimistic Cynic, and write a web comedy called True Story. You can find them at, and (also on YouTube)

 How long have you been creating art?

My parents tell stories of a wee little Sarah, who would hoard materials of all kids because “I can make something with that”, and preform variety shows on the stage that was our living room. Creating is like breathing; involuntary, necessary, constant. 

Where do you create? 

When I first opened an Etsy shop, I greatly underestimated the amount of time/effort/energy and space it would require, in a very short amount of time, my crafting materials overtook my living space. It was a hectic, disorganized way of living, and needless to say, not terribly productive. My awesome fiancée, Josh Hibbard (of the make up special effects company, Bloodpump Productions) helped me remake what was a large closet into a usable studio workspace. We installed shelving units to hold supplies, a desk area, a ‘shipping station’ with all my packing materials, boxes for orders-in-progress and completed pieces-there’s even a place for scripts and storyboards for when I need to switch gears from An Optimistic Cynic mode to True Story mode.

What are the most important lessons you have learned through creating art?

I’ve learned to cut myself some slack, and not shy away from trial and error. Not everything you make will turn out exactly like the image in your head – and that’s a good thing! How boring life would be if we knew for certain the exact outcome of each piece before it’s even finished. Embrace mistakes, learn from them, revel in the process, not just the endgame. 

How do you deal with criticism?

Hater’s gonna hate. I don’t try to change minds, or argue, or get upset. There are always going to be people out there that, for whatever the reason, want nothing more than to just tear you down. People can only get to you if you let them. 
Constructive criticism, on the other hand, I love, even if I don’t agree with it. It gives me a starting point to change something, or look at things a different way, which I find incredibly helpful. It’s important to get out of one’s own head from time to time. It helps us grow in directions we might not have even realized were a possibility on our own.

What are you trying to communicate through your art/does your art hold any hidden meaning?

I think my pieces are unifying on a very basic level. We all have organs. I've found that even when a person has no idea that the piece they’re holding is, say, a pancreas, they instinctively realize that it’s a body part, and subconsciously hold it up to themselves, as if trying to work out where that piece could fit.

My writing and performance in True Story reflects this ‘every man’ kind of universality.  These are three women who find themselves in awkward social situations that at some point we all find ourselves having to deal with. It’s essentially an extension of this “figuring out where the pieces fit” idea encompassed by the body parts.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The body parts specifically were inspired by a childhood toy, The Invisible Man. It was essentially a display piece, but you had to assemble each piece, and what you’d end up with was a skeleton, complete with organs, with its pieces all neatly snapped into place. I must have taken that thing apart and put it back together at least fifty times.

Upon opening an Etsy shop, I realized I needed a niche to help my work stand out. There are many lovely hats, scarves, and gloves out there, but I wanted to do something different, educational, and amusing. Crocheting body parts just made sense  as it fulfilled my lifelong interest in anatomy while simultaneously providing my shop with a little something extra.

When the shop started taking off a few years ago, and I started getting orders more regularly, I was able to play around with some funds with co-producer, Rebecca Panfile, and we started writing True Story. The shop helped to define the show in a similar, irreverent  tongue-in-cheek way. I've started adding comical, crafty “How-tos” to supplement the series, and the results have been well received, reflected by the new YouTube and Facebook followers we've managed to gain. With the popularity of these new videos, I've been very inspired to keep making more, and I'm continuously thinking of new tie-ins to marry my crochet life to my video life.

Do you work in a sketchbook/art journal?

I do. I like to sketch out designs before I pick up a hook, and I often use the same notebooks for storyboard purposes, so I can figure out ahead of time what I need to shoot. The pages are almost completely illegible to anyone but me, as they’re full  of sketchy images of abstract shapes that will eventually form whatever body part I'm trying to stitch, with the next few pages filled with little boxes each containing stick figure representations of True Story characters. And of course, doodles. I don’t do it often enough, but I love to draw, I even sell a few prints in the shop.

 Are you working on anything at the moment?

I've had a super detailed crocheted spine propped up against my work desk for a while now, until one glorious day I can just sit down and finish it! It’s going to be part of a larger piece, a skeleton, that I plan to then fill with organs, creating a life sized crochet version of the Invisible Man toy I loved as a kid. 

Is there anything else that would like to share about yourself and/or your art?

I'm very hard on myself, I think most creative people are. I have so many amazing people in my life that support what I do, that it’s easy for me to forget that, for the most part, I'm a one woman show. I do all my own marketing, create all my online content myself, do all the promotion, script writing, film scheduling, shop inventory, answer shop inquiries, fill orders – and I still work a day job part time and audition, because that’s what actors do.

There are days where I feel like I have a thousand things to do, and get nothing done, and I'm working on being more okay with that, because, sometimes, we just need to cut ourselves some slack.

I can be found on Facebook as An Optimistic Cynic, as well as True Story-The Web Series. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter at SarahAndBecky@TrueStory_TWS, and Instagram at AnOptimisticCynic! I promise I’ll make ya laugh, or at least midly offend ;-)


Well those certainly make a change from the humble old Granny Square! I can completely identify with what Sarah was saying about not giving herself enough credit for all the work she does all by herself. I think it's easy for a creative person (or anyone who is running a small business at that) to get caught up and worried about not performing well enough, not getting enough done, feeling guilty for having a duvet day every now and then. In reality we have to look at the bigger picture, we are running an entire business all by ourselves!! It's important to remember that, especially now as we come into our busiest season.

I hope you enjoyed this interview. If you are interested in being featured on this spot email me at

Have a great weekend!!


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thursday Treasury + Visitors!

I'm in a complete rush this evening, my friends, I won't lie. I've been in the studio all day, working hard and now I have to give the apartment a quick tidy AND make a yummy dinner all before my "in-laws" (they aren't real in -law but what else can I call them?) arrive at 8pm. I am super excited to see them though! It's always nice to see them both of course, but it's the warm, familiar feeling of home that they bring (that any visitor that we have from home bring) that I really enjoy. While we are all sitting around the table, drinking tea made from our Irish tea bags and chatting and laughing away, sure it almost feels like we are at home again. And that's a nice feeling.

So, forgive me for keeping this brief but I do think it's nifty that I managed to squeeze in a Thursday Treasury for you all.

Today's treasury is inspired by a new jumper I bought the other day. It's a gorgeous shade of violet with flecks of silver thread going through it.

Details for this treasury can be found here, which includes shops + sellers.

I was really pleased with the treasury this morning when I curated it. The colours are so deep and luxurious, they remind me of a well known brand of chocolate.
Is that bird not the cutest thing you have even seen? Look at how fat he is!!!!!!
And what about that cowl....CHUN-KY! I would defiantly stay cosy in the oncoming cold weather if I had around my neck.

Because I pieced this treasury together this morning while eating breakfast, I then took that inspiration to the studio with me and it truly translated into my work today. I will share my work from today over the next few days (when I can find time) and I will be surprised if you don't see what I mean.
That is the thing I love about Thursday Treasury, you never know where, when or how the inspiration from it will strike. I just know that I'm glad that it did because I needed it!

Ok, I'm gonna leave it there for today folk, sorry but I really need to rush. Thanks for stopping by and as always I hope you are inspired by today's collection.

Take care


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thursday Treasury + Late Birthday Pressie!!

I'm so excited!!!

I have been waiting for this present to arrive for AGES! Every morning I have been hoping that the postman would bring it but every morning the post was met with the same disappointment. Until this morning!
At first the post arrived and it was just a sample pack of printed goods I had ordered, which I was interested in seeing but not quite the post I was hoping for. "Oh well" I though, while sitting down to explore what was in the envelope I had just received (which, by the way, is quite impressive). But then something happened which never happens.....the postman came back with a forgotten package. And what do you think it was?

My long awaited Sakura Koi Watercolours Pocket Field Sketch Box!!!!! Woohoo!!

My Dad bought this for me while he was here visiting a few weeks ago and I have been waiting for it to arrive ever since.
This now means I can sketch easier while out and about! If I see someone in a café that interests me I can quickly sketch them, if I get inspired by the ducks while walking by the weir I can sketch them and the best thing about it is that I can put colour down really quickly instead of it just being all in pencil or charcoal.

Needless to say, this has inspired my treasury for this week... Welcome Watercolours!
You can find all the relevant information about the items in this treasury including shops and sellers here.

Before I discovered the joy of mixed media I used to paint in watercolours primarily. I even took a few watercolour classes and really enjoyed it. There is so much to love about watercolours, the transparency, the ability to layer up colours, wet on wet technique, the list goes on.

Do you use watercolours much? Would you consider giving them a go? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep an eye out for what I get up to with these new watercolours :)

Have a great day


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