Friday Favourites

Seaside Lucy

Happy Friday folks! The sun is trying to peep through and I'm super excited to have next week off to explore our beautiful coast and countryside with my other half :) I thought I'd leave you with a delicious collection of photos from one of my favourite Instagram photographers: seasidelucy

Lucy's photo stream is pure eye candy: lots of pretty pastel seaside shots of all my favourite things, with a generous helping of craft and creativity. Lucy has such a great eye for composition and appreciation of space. I just adore her photostream, it never fails to make me smile. So if you don't follow her already, do pop on over and have browse - I promise you won't be disappointed!

I just love Lucy's pebble art and her beautiful ways of displaying and capturing her seaside treasures.

Lucy is one of the moderators for @MyMondaymoodboard, a weekly styling challenge on Instagram aiming to inspire and encourage creativity. I think Lucy's gorgeous photos do a great job at just that! I had such a hard time picking 12 favourites to use here.

All images are of course copyright to seasidelucy. A huge thanks to Lucy for allowing me to share her beautiful photographs. Well that's it from me for now. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! xx

Nämä Designs

Have you come across Nämä Designs/Ruth Landsea before? If not, allow me to introduce you. Ruth is a designer living in Finland and sells a range of her homewares, plus those of other designers (mostly local artisans) she feels an affinity with, from her online Nämä Shop. Her products are made in small batches in Finland and the quality is just beautiful. I fell head over heels in love with the simplicity, muted tones, natural materials and the gorgeous illustrations.

My absolute favourites are the chopping boards (handmade from layers of Finnish birch wood with a protective melamine coating on the surfaces), but I love all the products, which complement each other perfectly. The styling is just gorgeous too.

As you can see, one of her beautiful chopping boards came to live with me and makes me smile every day :) I can't bear to use it for chopping, though - it's far too precious!

You can find Ruth's beautiful shop at nama.fi along with her stockists. For beautifully styled images do check out her Instagram account and you can find her on Facebook too.

NB. This is NOT a sponsored post - I'm just sharing the things I love and it is a pleasure to support other independent artists/makers.

All images are copyright Ruth Landsea/Nämä Designs, apart from the last one.

Florabella's Photoshop Actions and Textures

It's Friiiiday! Hope you all have some lovely weekend plans - we've got some friends visiting, so are going to swap the DIY for some much needed fresh sea air - hurrah!

Today I thought I'd share one of my photo editing secrets. I often hear comments like "my photos never look like that!" - well, neither do mine until I edit them. Sure it's good to get as much right as possible in camera, but in my humble opinion, every photo can be improved with some editing. For images taken on my Canon DSLR (I have the Canon 6D and I love it!) I use Lightroom to organise my images and do the majority of my editing, and Photoshop for more selective, creative edits.

In Photoshop, you can use Actions to speed up the editing process and get a more consistent look and feel across a bunch of images. An Action is a bit like a Macro in Microsoft Word or Excel - it's essentially a pre-recorded series of edits, and when you press play on the Action, it whizzes through and completes every edit in turn. Once it's finished, you can then usually adjust each of the individual edits, giving you plenty of control. My absolute favourite Actions are designed by Florabella, who also takes the most divine, dreamy images.

Below are some before and afters of my images. The before shows the RAW image, straight out of camera, and the after, with all my Lightroom and Photoshop edits, using Florabella's Classic Workflow Actions (plus the odd texture or too). RAW files are like undeveloped negatives and always need some work; I prefer shooting RAW rather than JPEG as the files allow you to make more adjustments. I often do some basic editing in Lightroom to get the exposure correct and apply lens profile corrections before I take the image into Photoshop (I usually do this by applying a Preset I have created in Lightroom as I import my photos - but more of this another time).

My favourite Actions of Florabella's are her Classic Workflow - I come back to them time and time again. I think they work especially well with skin tones (or plastic doll tones in my case!!). Florabella also provides some video tutorials showing how to use her Actions - well worth a look.

As well as Photoshop Actions, Florabella also creates a beautiful range of textures. Textures are an additional image that you overlay to create some creative effects - often with scratches for an aged look, vignetting, different tones, light flares, the list goes on and on. I often like to add a texture or two to my floral images for some added interest and a more painterly feel (you can layer as many as you like, and adjust the opacity and blending mode of each - you can easily lose hours experimenting and adjusting!). You can be as subtle or as bold as you like. One of my favourites has to be 'Cream Canvas" from the Florabella Textures III Collection. See below for some examples of my photos I've applied textures to. You can see more photos in my Textured Album on Flickr.

Another favourite set of Actions that Florabella offers are her Color Matte Actions. These allow you to add bars of colour to the left, right, above or below your images, and to optionally overlay some patterns and textures. I love them! They come in handy for making a portrait image square, which works better on a blog. And I love the colour picker that allows you to choose a colour for the bar from your image for complete co-ordination. See below for some examples of how I have used them - you can tell I'm rather fond of the damask pattern! You can view a greater selection in my Florabella Color Matte Actions Album on Flickr. And of course, see more in Florabella's beautiful gallery.

I hope this has been helpful. NB this isn't a sponsored post - I'm just sharing some of the things I love and have found helpful. Florabella does regular giveaways via her Facebook page, so worth following along if you are interested.

Fabulous vintage fabric pins

Well hello and Happy Friday lovely people! Hasn't that rolled around quickly? I'm popping back today to share some of my favourite vintage fabric pins and pinners. Those of you who've followed along for a while will know that I adore colour and pattern - especially the vintage floral numbers from the 1960s and 70s. There's just something about those bold, bright, colourful and often naive patterns that makes my heart sing! I don't have the budget or the space to snap up every print I love, so Pinterest is the next best thing. I get to feast my eyes on a huge range of beauties from around the world I would otherwise not encounter - it's a win win situation :)

So, here are a few snapshots of my Happy Colours and Prints Pinterest board. It's not just about vintage fabric - you'll find gorgeous wallpaper, tea towels and the odd vintage illustration too that makes me happy :)

I came relatively late to the Pinterest party, but now I'm completely addicted. I think it's a marvellous invention for those collectors amongst us who would otherwise be spending money we don't have to fill space we don't have with beautiful things. Now we can do it all virtually! You can find me on Pinterest as @zoepower.

If you love the 60s and 70s floral numbers as much as I do, I'm pretty sure you will love the boards of all these lovely pinners too: @modflowersUK (and do take a look at her lovely blog featuring her gorgeous creations using all that swoon-worthy fabric).

@rainbowvintagehome (and whilst you're at it check out her gorgeous shop selling the creme de la creme of vintage fabric).

@janefoster (who makes the most gorgeous creations combining her screen prints with the most enviable collection of vintage fabric I've ever seen).

@pommedejour (the lovely Tanya sells vintage fabric via Etsy and eBay and finds some incredible designs).

Happy pinning!

Inspirational Instagram hashtags

Well hello everyone and Happy Friday! I really wanted to reinstate my Friday Favourites series on the blog, as I have so many favourite things I'd love to share with you. I'm going to mix it up this time and use the space to feature a different favourite thing of mine each week - could be a maker, photographer, artist, fabric, collection, Pinterest board, blog, magazine, shop, experience, etc. etc. - whatever takes my fancy, really! I hope it will help you to discover some lovely new things.

This week, I'm kicking off with a couple of favourite Instagram hashtags/weekly challenges. I adore Instagram. It's my happy place. Somewhere I go to feast my eyes on beautiful images and chat to like minded souls. It's a place for encouragement, creativity and inspiration.

1. Friday Faffing Competition #fridayfaffingcompetition 

Friday Faffing Competition is hosted by the very lovely and supremely talented @juliabesidethesea, @katherinedorrington and @am_i_dreaming_now (do take a look at their beautiful photostreams!). The idea is simple - have a lovely faff with some pretty bits and bobs, create a styled image, upload it to Instagram and tag it #fridayfaffingcompetition. You'll find that quite a few people like to combine a good Friday faff with #floralfridaycompetition, another beautiful hashtag/competition run by the lovely @emilyquinton. Friday's are certainly pretty! I've found so many beautiful photostreams to follow via this hashtag.

Every Sunday, one of the group will share four of their favourite images. See below for the favourites selected over the last couple of weeks, plus a screenshot of the gallery to give you a flavour. There really is so much eye candy, so do go and have a browse. Right, best go and get my faff on!

Image credits (above):

TL: @lilyandfrank TR: @petiamphotos BL: @allenandbear BR: @keepingupblog

Image credits (above):

TL: @georgiestclair TR: @thedizzybee BL: @ridasj BR: @tartepink2

Image above: screenshot of the #fridayfaffingcompetition gallery - it's constantly changing!

2. My Monday Moodboard #mymondaymoodboard

My Monday Moodboard is another weekly photo styling challenge to encourage creativity & inspiration. It is hosted by the super lovely @jessicatrent & @seasidelucy (who both have the most gorgeous photostreams too). Anyone is welcome to join in, just upload your styled image to Instagram on a Monday and tag it #mymondaymoodboard and follow @mymondaymoodboard.

Jess usually does a mid week round-up of some favourite images and shares these on Instagram, as well as picking a "super fave" which she shares on her lovely blog, The Cabinet Maker's Lovetale. See below for some of the recent mid-week round-up favourites, plus a screenshot of the gallery. A beautiful way to brighten up Mondays!

Image credits (above):

TL: @live_and_bloom TR: @mangelka BL: @so__laura BR: @thislittlecorner

Other favourites I like to dip into are Tuesday's #gatheredstyle hosted by @aquietstyle and the weekly challenges set by @its_my_week. Do you have a favourite Instagram hashtag/challenge you love to follow or take part in? Do let me know in the comments - I love to discover new inspiration.

You can find me on Instagram as @zoepower. Come say hi!

Friday Favourites ~ In need of some springy pastels

Happy Friday everyone! I don't know about you, but I'm longing for spring! Or at least some sunshine :) The birds do seem to have been extra chirpy of late, so maybe we will get an early spring this year, as it is so mild.... Anyway, I thought I'd put together a selection of pretty springy pastels from Etsy to cheer up this rather grotty grey old day - there's so much loveliness out there, if only you look :)

Friday Favourites ~ In need of some springy pastels

Friday Favourites ~ Washi tape love

How many of you have a stack of washi tape sitting on your desk or shelf? I'm completely addicted to the stuff! Pretty and practical is a win win in my book :) I use it for all sorts of things, including mounting snaps and pictures to my wall (great for covering all the grotty marks I haven't got round to painting over!), packaging up parcels to make them look pretty, photo props, covering containers.....the list goes on! Just pop in "washi tape craft ideas" to Pinterest or Google and you will be bamboozled with ideas for things you can do with it.

So I thought I'd round up a few of my favourites to share with you today. I think I need to stock up again!

Friday Favourites ~ Washi tape love

Friday Favourites ~ four fabulous vintage sellers

Happy Friday folks! It's rolled around awfully quickly, hasn't it? Today I thought I'd share four of my favourite "go-to" vintage sellers on Etsy. From left to right we have:

  • Thrifters: a wide range of beautifully curated and photographed vintage items from home decor to kitsch ornaments to kitchenware. This is also the source of my fabulous Japanese kitsch cats which I just adore!
  • Fine and Dandy Marazion: the online arm of the most fabulous vintage shop I have ever had the fortune to visit. Full of fabulous kitsch toys and ornaments and other loveliness that has caught Shevie's amazing eye for treasure. Also the source of quite a lot of my own vintage treasures :)
  • Pomme de Jour: a fabulous collection of vintage fabrics and wallpaper and other homewares, based in France. If the 60s and 70s are your thing, then Tanya has it covered. I've treated myself to some of her fabulous fabrics and there are many more on my wish list!
  • KittyKatDance: a USA based store bursting with colour and happy kitsch ornaments and toys and fabulous handmade Xmas wreaths with bambis...a few of my bambis have come from here :)

Friday Favourites ~ four fabulous vintage sellers

Friday Favourites ~ four fabulous illustrators

It's been too long since my last Friday Favourites post! I thought you might appreciate a break from the onslaught of travel photos ;)

There is so much loveliness appearing as we hit the Christmas season, it's hard to keep up. But I've had my eye on the work of these four fabulous illustrators for a while, so thought I'd pick my four favourites from each artist for you. My lovely husband bought me the Hugs tea towel for my birthday and I just adore it - I love all the uplifting messages on Freya's artwork - it feels like they've all been written just for me! I love the amazing details in hiccupart's illustrations - they must have taken hours of love. And the cute characters created by miristudio and the vulpeculiar are right up my street - owls, foxes, cats, pandas? Yes, please!

Do you have a favourite? It's an impossible task, I know, but if my hand was forced, I think I might have to pick the cats who want to curl up and stay in - that's me to a T!

Friday Favourites ~ four fabulous illustrators

Friday Favourites ~ Vintage market treasures

Happy Friday one and all! Something a little different today. I thought I would share some of my favourite vintage finds over the last several months via some mosaics of my Instagram snaps....

The first mosaic below shows some of the treasure I have found at the vintage market in Oxford. It is held every Thursday in Gloucester Green and is fabulous! I work nearby and try to manage a quick dash round in my lunch hour most weeks. You will find a wide range of different sellers with everything from china to coins to clothes to books to art.... If you live near Oxford, do go and have a browse! Read more about it at www.oxfordantiquemarket.co.uk

The second mosaic below shows other vintage finds I have sourced from lots of places, including these fabulous shops:

Enjoy browsing and treasure hunting and have a fabulous weekend! x