August 2016

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Women Who Create / Ali Lewry-Beale. Hi Folks! This week I am super excited to have Ali of hello DODO, the dream team design duo on the ‘Women Who Create Things’ slot! This is your chance to be totally inspired by Ali & Jam’s amazing biz skill, brilliant designs and some of the loveliest and most colourful social media in my feed. Thanks so much for joining me on the blog guys!

Tell us a little about your background…

I’ve always been a very creative person but not particularly talented at drawing or painting so when I was younger I struggled to understand what it was I should be doing. At college I took up photography and completely fell in love! I was totally suited to wandering around on my own with my camera and then printing up my work in the darkroom. I went on to study photography at uni where I met (my now husband) Jam who was studying Graphic Design. It wasn’t until after finishing uni and travelling Europe that we began toying with the idea of working on a project together and decided to teach ourselves screen printing. And that’s how hello DODO was born!


Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

I’m a great list maker! I always have to have a notebook on the go with lists of what needs doing and what ideas to work on next. Our notebooks would look like a great scribbled mess to anyone else but I definitely need them to keep myself sane and focused. Even at our most hectic times I need to feel like there’s new, exciting things that we’re working to achieve.


What two things can’t you live without?

It’s a sad thing to say but I definitely couldn’t live without my iPhone! And a bit more lo-fi, my squeegee!

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

I do find inspiration everywhere in everyday life! It’s definitely a lot easier to feel inspired if you’re able to occasionally escape the routine though, even if just for a short walk. Animals ALWAYS inspire us and we usually get lots of ideas after a trip to the zoo!

What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you?

To me craft means using a special skill you have learnt to create something awesome and unique. I think I feel a little extra proud of our business because we taught ourselves screen printing from scratch and we do everything ourselves from our home studio.


If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

Ooh….good question!! I’m currently completely obsessed with the work of graphic designer and Miffy creator Dick Bruna, he’s wonderful! He has such a lovely face.

Do you have a  favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

Ok I’m going a bit left-field here and saying the kettle! Without coffee NOTHING would get done!


What is the best thing about running your business/working for yourself?

After years of slaving away in rubbish retail jobs and dreaming of quitting, running my own business is literally AMAZING! Just knowing that I’m doing it for myself is hugely satisfying.

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

Last year we exhibited at Pick Me Up, the graphic arts festival at Somerset House which was a real life dream come true. I still pinch myself that it actually happened!

Thanks so much Ali! You can find your own little bit of Dodo sunshine over one their Etsy store and if you don,t follow their Instagram account already its a must!

Coco Wawa Crafts Crochet Pattern Feature. Hello love’s today I wanted to share a recent crochet collaboration project that I was super excited to create for Ana aka Coco Wawa Crafts!

I met Ana recently when she emailed me to say hello. Having both followed the other on-line for a while I was over the moon when her name popped into my inbox AND even more excited when she suggested a new collaboration project. Now you know how I feel about my wonderful creative community, so as the plans came together and yarn and deign sketches were exchanged I was pretty much in my element!

So here it is… And you can find the full pattern + tutorial over on the Coco Wawa blog along with a little intro about what i’m getting up to craftily this summer. Also whilst you are there you must check out Ana’s amazing selection of jersey yarns! Such a huge collection of colours and pattern… #yarnspiration #neverenoughyarn


Coco Wawa crochet collaboration project

The project is accompanied by step by step instructions, pictures and crochet pattern! This project is simple, fun and you can whip one up in an afternoon. if like me you are planning a hand made Christmas this year, you might like to make a few for friends and family too!

Coco Wawa crochet collaboration project

Hop on over to my Etsy store for pdf patterns, craft books and limited edition ready to wear crochet accessories. Or you could also message me to discuss a private commission.

Happy crafting

Amy x

Women Who Create / Els Pontin. This week I am super happy to introduce Els Pontin to the Women Who Create Things interview Series! I was introduced to Els through a peer and have been lucky enough to work with her as my creative business coach for the last year and let me tell you it has been life changing. I’m sure you will love this weeks post!

Tell us a little about your background…

Hello! I’m Els and I’m a Creative Business Coach.

I help creative women entrepreneurs move from a lack of vision to clear, purposeful action – to build and grow brilliant yet balanced businesses. For the last fourteen years I have worked from within and led businesses – everything from boutiques to internationally acclaimed, globally admired technology companies.

Despite this successful career path, I wasn’t following my purpose. I wanted to spend my every waking hour working on the things that made me and others thrive – that created energy rather than depleted me. This started a journey of self discovery, transforming my skills and superpowers into a coherent plan! That plan turned out to be coaching, and last year I qualified as a Professionally Certified Coach with iPec (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching)

els ponting and OhNoRachio

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

Absolutely! Firstly, the space in which I work and create needs to be clear of anything that isn’t beautiful or clutter free.

els pontin studio

That being said, I’m sometimes best working with ambient noise such as a coffee shop or outside in the sunshine. It makes me get far less cabin fever.

What two things can’t you live without?

Cheese. And prosecco. Oh god…and dark chocolate! (Sorry! I know it’s supposed to be only two but I just can’t chose!)

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

The people around me. Usually inspiration strikes when someone tells me they’re stuck on something, or, when they tell me they’ve spotted something I must read.

els ponting coaching

What is the meaning of craft to you?

A handmade, non mass produced expression of love, that is unique and special. Something that has memories stitched within it, and a story behind it. My most favourite day crafting was a willow wreath making course in Somerset one Christmas. It was magical.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

I would partner with Amy to invent an incredible retreat for brilliant, talented creative women, who want to craft, laugh, eat great food and plan for success in their businesses.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

My iPhone. It’s attached to me most of the day.

What is the best thing about running your business?

The freedom! No more doing what someone else tells you to do. The ability to create from scratch.

els ponting coaching

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

Standing on the same stage Steve Jobs stood on over in California with the Global training team I’d been selected for and had spent three weeks with. I will never forget that moment. It was a moment that showed me just what I was capable of, and that nothing, absolutely nothing will hold me back ever again.

If you are feeling the sparks of inspiration after reading Els post perhaps this is the push you need to take some action and drop her a line! If like me you run a small creative business but are a little bit stuck, demotivated or lack a future plan I cannot recommend working with a creative business coach enough.

Inspiration / Paper Flower Craft Favourites. I am continuously inspired by the many many diy tutorials for paper flower projects over on Pinterest! Though many can look super complicated in fact it can be simple to achieve the look by making just a couple of favourite crepe blooms, perfecting that style and repeating in different colours. If you then add lots of green foliage to fill out your design it won’t take half as long but still look totally amazing! Below I have shared 6 of my current favourite paper flower craft projects. I have chosen a mixture because I wanted to show that its as much to do with how you style and display your creation, as it is the amount of blooms you create!

So my tips are as follows…

  • find 2 flowers or petal shapes you like and feel confident in creating…
  • make a bunch of these!
  • intersperse with simple shaped greenery and leaves…
  • keep your design simple
  • create strings of leaves or wire framed garlands to attach your blooms to
  • UHU glue or other fast drying tacky glue works best when attaching petals
  • floristry tape (waxed) hides a multitude of sins when used to finish/wrap stems
  • hang in your favourite spot and admire


Paper flower craft favourites_72dpi


Find links to these brilliant images over on Pinterest by clicking through below

  1. Hanging Graland
  2. Display by Zoe Bradly via HonestlyWTF
  3. Kindness Prevails Garland via DesignSponge
  4. Giant Blooms 
  5. Crepe Flower Backdrop by Lia Griffith
  6. Flower Garland

If you live local to Nottingham you could also join me for a morning of paper flower crafting on Saturday 20th August at Bee & Bird Mapperly! You can find tickets and full info on the event page here. Please do not hesitate in emailing me if you want to know more about this post, the workshop or anything else craft related at Super+Super!

Happy crafting

Amy x

Women Who Create / Wendy Ward. This week I have the pleasure of talking to Wendy of MIY studio and best selling author fame. I was mega lucky to get to know Wendy whilst I lived in Brighton and am constantly inspired by her drive, creative passion and sheer brilliant business focus. Her no nonsense attitude and keen eye for details continues to propel this women in business to new heights. Find out more about what inspires her creative life below!

Tell us a little about your background…

I’m Wendy Ward and I’m the owner of MIY Workshop in Brighton where I teach sewing, dressmaking and pattern cutting. I’ve been teaching adults to sew since 2007. Before that I spent 7 years working as a designer and product developer in the fashion industry. I have a degree in fashion and MA and I’m a qualified teacher. I also design my own range of sewing patterns called MIY Collection and have written a bestselling dressmaking book “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”, I’m currently working on book number 2 and I also write a regular column for Love Sewing magazine.


Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

I can’t function without a list. I’ve recently added a selection of highlighter pens so that I can prioritise the items on the list! I get outdoors regularly (having 2 dogs helps that) and love going to the gym to unwind.

What two things can’t you live without?

Yorkshire Gold tea and my 2 dogs – Gypsy and Marmite.

wendy wards dogs

What is your biggest source of inspiration? 

Materials, techniques, how people wear their clothes and the way clothes need to function. I suspect in another life I could’ve been an engineer or an architect!


What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you? 

Something made by the human hand. A practice that requires skill. The creation of something with soul, character and meaning.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why? 

Cristobal Balenciaga – an absolute master of pattern cutting, shape and silhouette, I love how he challenged the accepted idea of what a woman’s shape “ought” to be even back in the 50’s and 60’s when most things were hourglass shaped. His attention to detail and the way he made the most complex construction appear simple I find really inspiring. He was a true master of his craft.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

I’m more inspired by materials and techniques and playing around with fabric and shapes.


What is the best thing about running your *business/blog/working for yourself? 

Not having to answer to anyone else; not being told when I can take my lunch break and when I can have time off. Being able to follow through creative ideas without needing to convince someone else of their merit.

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

The success of my first book “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”. I loved writing that book, I love the look of it and I’m still blown away by how successful it is. Over a year since it was published it’s still in Amazon’s top 3 bestselling Dressmaking books.

miycollectionimage Find more inspiration, projects and products including her best selling pattern cutting book on the MIY shop now!