2012: a review in pictures

Well, it's that time of year again! Time to look back and reflect on 2012 and all the lovely things I did, places I visited, pictures I took, people I met, things I made, things that inspired me...

I won't bore you with lots of details, you'll be pleased to hear! Instead I've created a couple of mosaics of my favourite pictures from 2012. It's impossible to pick just a few!!

The first one is all about landscapes and natural beauty in the world around us. I was lucky enough to visit Brighton, Cornwall a couple of times, Devon, Jersey (where my folks live), Bath and Christchurch. I LOVE the sea, so this is a big influence, and all that fabulous S P A C E! We also found the most amazing, beautiful Japanese garden in St. Mawgan, Cornwall, in the spring, so this features heavily.

2012 Faves Part 1

The second one is all about Blythes, beautiful handmade things and interiors. 2012 has been the year of Blythe - it all started on new year's day 2012 round at the lovely Candy Pop's and I've been hooked ever since. I've "met" so many lovely people online and in the flesh through this hobby and it's rekindled my love of crafting and making things. I also introduced my sister to the wonderful world of Blythe and she is totally hooked too and has been busy knitting away making wonderful creations for her Etsy shop....They are so much fun to style and photograph! I've also really enjoyed giving our home a bit of a vintage makeover and have collected so many lovely things over the year - and look forward to more of it in 2013!

2012 Faves Part 2

Instagram has been a huge part of my life in 2012 too, so I couldn't write this review without a mention. I've taken far too many pics to even pick out some favourites, so I've included a screenshot of my Instagram page below instead :) You can find me on Instagram as @zoepower

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has followed along, looked at my pictures, commented, faved, and shared the journey :) I wish you all the most fabulous, inspired, creative and above all Happy 2013!

2012: the year of collections

First there were owls (well there have been owls for quite a number of years to be fair). Then along came Blythe, thanks to a new year visit to the fabulous home of Candy Pop - I was mesmerised by these beautiful dolls that were such fun to photograph....

Then at some point I started amassing a collection of beautiful vintage china (oh and a few cats and dogs), fuelled by regular visits to the Oxford Thursday Vintage Market (right on the doorstep of where I work!), oh and crocheted granny chic blankets, and vintage fabric (2013 is going to be all about making fabulous things with the fabric!)....

And last but not least, a deer collection appears to be developing :) Once again, I blame the lovely Candy Pop, who has the most amazing vintage deer collection - and they are just so photogenic, don't you think?

Maybe I'll feature some of the other collections in future posts - but this one is all about the deer :)

Festive deer :)

Handmade love

I get so much pleasure from the fabulous handmade treasures I've found on Etsy, that I thought it would be nice to share them. Here are some of the favourites I've amassed over the last year or so. They live on various happy shelves around my house and make me smile whenever I walk past :) One of my ambitions for 2013 is to learn how to make things like this myself.....

So a huge thank you to all the talented people below and across the handmade community for all the smiles and inspiration!

Jane Foster softies

Above: Jane Foster softies

Mini Dachshunds by aliceapple

Above: Mini Dachshunds by aliceapple

Handmade bunny by Dancingintherains

Above: Handmade bunny by Dancingintherains

Clive the owl by Zeena Shah

Above: Clive the owl by Zeena Shah

Lavender filled owls and bunny from Pouch

Above: Lavender filled owls and bunny from Pouch.

Sleepy owl by Little Tea Wagon

Above: Sleepy owl by Little Tea Wagon

Some crafty weekend fun with embroidery hoops

I've been meaning to do something creative with the empty space above my bed for a while now. I've seen lots of embroidery hoops pop up in various places recently and thought a collection of these with some lovely vintage fabric would look rather nice. So I raided my fabric collection - and voila!

My bedroom walls are a pale aqua and I have a shelf of aqua owls that I wanted to co-ordinate with, so this was my starting point. The blue 70s barkcloth was a real find (from the Oxford vintage Thursday market) as this co-ordinates perfectly with my gorgeous bedside lampshade from follyandglee. It looked a bit plain, so I popped a few doilies in the hoops to cheer it up.

You can get embroidery hoops from lots of craft stores - I got mine from stitcher.co.uk for a few pounds each - it's a really cheap way to make a great unique display :)

Embroidery hoop weekend fun
My owl shelf

Autumnal softness

Before succumbing to the seasonal lurgi, Al and I had a super lovely day pottering around the stunningly beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum at the end of our Bath trip. It was a misty, murky grey old October day - but the leaves still looked sooooo beautiful - little autumn gems.

There's nothing quite like watching leaves gently fall like pretty snowflakes, kicking around autumn leaves in every shade imaginable and walking over the most spectacular carpet, to nourish the soul - I really wish it would stay like this.....So here's a little bit of autumn to enjoy all year round :)

More autumn colour can be found on Flickr, as always.

Soft landing
Autumn pinks
Bokehlicious autumn
Softly, softly
Two little bears up a tree
Dancing leaves
Soft velvety autumn
Autumn fireworks
Autumn bear
Autumn cascade

A super lovely birthday weekend in Bath

I can highly recommend Bath as a destination for a long weekend of wandering, shopping and photography! We stayed in a super lovely B&B called Brindley's as a special birthday treat - very stylish, clean, quiet, perfectly located and very friendly - highly recommended!

Our room at Brindley's B&B
More Brindley's
Brindley's B&B
Morning everyone! Our final breakfast treat :)
Jane has come too! #blythe #punkaholicpeople
And Kate - planning an autumn photo shoot tomorrow :) #blythe #cancancat

We had a good wander around the vintage shops and crafty places - Wool stocks a fab selection of beautiful yarn and The Makery is a treasure trove of crafty goodness (and the source of the cute pin pots below) :) There were also some lovely stalls outside on the main shopping streets on Sunday, including freckle which sold some beautiful handmade things, including the scrabble letters and birds below, and a rather fine crocheted blanket which might have come home with me!

How cute are these pin pots?
Today's rabbit purchases :) #bunny
Market stall in Bath - freckle
Market stall in Bath - freckle
Bride and groom birdies

The architecture is stunning - and looks especially beautiful against an autumnal backdrop. I could certainly live here!!

The Royal Crescent and a very small @alpower #bath
Royal Crescent, Bath
Autumn feet - survived a day of walking and shopping in my new shoes - gotta love Clarks :)
Autumn steps
More Royal Crescent fabulousness :) #bath
I love these lamp posts! #bath
Autumnal Jane #blythe #punkaholicpeople
Pretty pretty leaves - I want to live here! #bath
No. 17 #bath
Climbing rose #bath
Fancy window boxes #bath
Fabulous front doors by the bucket load in #bath

We had so much fun wandering around with our cameras. Here's a rare shot of me, complete with owl hat :)

And let's not forget the tea and coffee shops! I must confess rather a lot of cake was consumed - we found the amazing Society Cafe through a blog post which raved about it's wide selection of gluten-free cakes - we were not disappointed! The triple layer chocolate and salted caramel cake was rather scrumptious :) And somehow we still managed to find room for dinner later - my favourite place we ate at was La Perla - a Spanish tapas place - yum!

#SocietyCafe in #Bath - the finest gluten free cakes I've ever had :)
Call me #bath
Look up - it's so pretty!
Strada red #bath

A lovely long October weekend mooching around Christchurch and Hampshire

It's becoming something of a family tradition to head down to Christchurch in early October for my sister's birthday. Once again we were blessed with gorgeous sunshine and warmth - nothing quite like strolling along the beach listening to the waves crash in October sunshine....and then eating lunch outside surrounded by pretty pastel beach huts :)

The full set of photos can be found on Flickr, as always.

Last beach hut (for today) I promise!
Baby blues
Lovely day for a walk on the beach....
Sea Chest

Yes, the sunshine and stunning greenery and dappled light really was tonic for the soul, and wonderfully refreshing. I have just bought a second-hand Fuji X100 and this was it's first outing - loving the simplicity of a fixed lens and just having a small light camera around my neck :) We very much enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the beautiful grounds of Mottisfont - a very grand National Trust property in Hampshire. The river walk is just divine at this time of year.

Cascade of leaves at Mottisfont
Riverside reflections at Mottisfont

We then topped off a wonderful day by heading home via the New Forest and pottering around Blackwater Arboretum in the golden hour. It took us a while to find it (it's not sign-posted at all!) but it was well worth it. Will have to go back for more another time!

Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest
Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest
Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest
Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest

And last, but by no means least, my sister and I spent a good bit of the weekend talking Blythe. My sister has recently rediscovered her love and talent for knitting and sewing and has recently set-up an Etsy shop selling Blythe clothing. We had so much fun trying things on and styling some photo shoots :)

Strawberry Shortcake :) #blythe #punkaholicpeople #onblythestreet
Flower girl #blythe #snowflakesonata #onblythestreet #poppytreelane
Walking the dog #blythe #onblythestreet #poppytreelane #factoryblythe
Love this mohair knitted coat my sister made - will be added to her shop soon  #blythe #phoebemaybe #onblythestreet

A week in Jersey ~ through square eyes

I can't imagine life now without my iPhone - or Instagram. I love the simple joy of snapping away, as the creative urge takes me. There's something so wonderful about simply focussing on the composition and the light....Don't get me wrong, I still love my *proper* camera, and the beautiful high quality images it produces, but I have rekindled a love of point and shoot. This post is all about my happy Instagram squared memories of a wonderful week in Jersey.

*Proper* photos to follow later, when I've processed them!

So, Al and I flew over to the beautiful, tiny island of Jersey in early September to catch-up with my family and get our sea-fix. The weather gods smiled on us this time (reckon we were owed a good week!) and everything looked so pretty in the sunshine. The week started with a tippity top breakfast at Jamie's Italian at Gatwick, which was right next door to a super pretty cafe:

Cafe at Gatwick
Wall tiles at Gatwick

Day one and we headed straight to Beauport beach - pebble heaven for me - and spent a lovely day exploring Ouaisne and Portlet.

Beauport - pebble heaven!
The perfect pebble
Beautiful horse near Portlet

Another lovely day was spent with my family pottering around Rozel harbour, Archirondel and Gorey. We had a delicious lunch at the fabulous Feast restaurant (pictured) - highly recommend it!

Feast at Gorey - delicious food!
The ladies!
Feast at Gorey - delicious food!
The finest Swedish cider :)
Blue rabbit at Rozel
Beautiful house at Gorey
Window box at Gorey

One of my favourite things in life is getting away from it all and ambling along cliff paths taking in the view. We spent a lovely day doing exactly that, walking from Plemont to Greve de Lecq and splashing in the sea. I also got to visit my Mum's grave and take some fresh flowers - she's resting in a beautiful, peaceful cemetry in the middle of the countryside. She would have loved our potter through the leafy green lanes in dappled light.

Nothing quite like a paddle in the sea
Summer feet!
Pretty Hydrangeas are everywhere!
Beautiful Jersey granite property
Mum's grave
Duncan and Al enjoying the dappled  light of Jersey's green lanes - so pretty!
Look up, look up - it's so beautiful!

And almost last, but by no means least - the fantabulous St. Ouen's Bay - my favourite beach in the island, and quite possibly, ever! We really did see it in the best light - the sea was aqua and sparkling, the sky was deep blue, and the waves were gently lapping, glimmering in the sunshine, making such pretty patterns. I love St. Ouen's - pure tonic!

Our very fine view for the day at St. Ouen's
Gorgeous aqua at St. Ouen's
La Rocco Tower
Duncan and Dad showing us the Jersey way of life :)
Footprints in the sand
Sparkly sea - the ripples are so pretty!
La Rocco Tower
Sunset at St. Ouen's

Finally, a glimpse of our home for the week - a self-catering lodge at Les Ormes. It was well located and very comfortable - we even had a hot tub which we made good use of! It made a great viewing platform for one of the most epic sunsets I have ever seen - although of course I wish I had been at the beach with my *proper* camera and tripod! But nevertheless it was a spectacular sight :)

Les Ormes Lodges - our home for a week
Epic sunset at Les Ormes

Beautiful photographic prints from Red Bubble

I've been using Red Bubble for quite a few years now and have always been happy with the quality of their greeting cards and framed prints. A while back they started to offer photographic prints unframed as well, at a reasonable price (from £6.80), so I thought I'd order some samples to see what they were like.... I ordered two seascape prints (the ones below) in a metallic finish and one in the regular lustre finish. They were all beautiful and the metallic ones really *glow* in the light - they work really well in artificial light as well as natural light. I think they work particularly well with seascapes and landscapes - rather magical!

I also ordered a matted print, which you can either pop in a frame, or simply prop up on a shelf. It's a great low cost option (£18.00) and is backed with heavy duty card, so is nice and sturdy and won't come apart. The ones below have an off-white matte, but you can also get bright white or black.

They also offer greeting cards in two sizes. They are currently £2.28 each for the larger size (12.5cm x 19cm) and £1.51 each for the smaller size (10cm x 15cm). There is a discount of 20% if you order 8 of the same size and a discount of 30% if you order 16 of the same size.

You can browse my photos for sale on Red Bubble at www.redbubble.com/people/zoepower/portfolio.