Monday, 13 December 2010

*Tutorial* - Christmas Tree Ribbons

A couple of weeks ago I promised you a tutorial on how to make the printed ribbons that I made for the recent Livingetc shoot. Ironically the giant Christmas tree that we decorated was barely featured in the printed article itself but you can see it in the background of one of the shots!

These are very simple to make and you can get creative with your choice of ribbon colours and of course the text that you print onto them. I chose hot pink, bright turquoise & lilac satin ribbons and the wording, "mon beau sapin" (which means my beautiful Christmas tree in French)

You will need:
6 metres of satin ribbon ( I used 2m per colour)
1 sheet of t-shirt transfer paper for your printer
a computer, a printer, an iron & a pair of scissors

Step 1
Using your computer, type out a page of your chosen wording in your preferred font type. I used font Desyrel in size 22 (to fit the width of the ribbon) and filled the whole page

Step 2
Print onto t-shirt transfer paper (make sure you select this in your printer settings so that the text prints out in mirror image). Then cut each set of words out

Step 3
Cut the ribbon into 40cm lengths (cut on the diagonal so it makes a point - this stops the ribbon from fraying) and, following the instructions for the transfer paper, carefully iron a set of words at each end, placing them about 2.5cm from the pointed end.

 Step 4
Once the text is in place, peel away the paper & tie the ribbons on the branches of your Christmas tree!

et voila! Quelle beau sapin!


Lisa x

{Livingetc photos by Jeremy Wilson, tutorial photos by Lisa Pocklington}

Monday, 6 December 2010

*Magpie* - Winter Wonderland

It seems everywhere is in the midst of snowy mayhem; airports closed, roads blocked, people stranded...
The monochrome, muffled greyness of snowstorm days - when it feels like the whole world is hunkering down under a big, off-white blanket - remind me of these wonderful vintage photos I picked up at a local vide grenier last year... It doesn't say where they were taken but the date is 10th January 1937. Wish I'd bought more of them now!

Stay safe & warm wherever you are

Lisa x

Friday, 26 November 2010

Giving Thanks - Gratitude is the New Black

The internet is awash with tidings of Thanksgiving right now. On the other side of the pond, we Brits don't quite get it... we kind of see it as the event that our American friends confuse with Christmas - well it involves turkey, presents & gathering the family together doesn't it?
Having made some big changes in my life this past year, and actually begun appreciating the value of gratitude, I finally GET the real meaning of Thanksgiving and am quite blown away that an entire country holds a National holiday in the honour of gratitude. That's a powerful thing!

 I have been keeping a gratitude journal since March; each night before I turn out the light I list five things that happened during my day for which I am thankful for. Some days it's hard to stick to just five, others it's near impossible to even think of five - either way, it has trained my brain to look out for the good things that happen to me each day. It has become something I look forward to doing each night and you know what?... falling asleep with the thoughts of those five good things has given me such restful sleep. How nice to drift off into the land of nod with positive thoughts rather than feeling stressed about something that might not have gone well or some niggling anxiety about an upcoming situation over which I have no control.

Now don't get me wrong - I know that a gratitude journal is not going to solve all your problems in life, but I do believe it will inject a juicy dose of positivity and make you feel a whole lot nicer about yourself. We can be pretty tough on ourselves most of the time; our own worst critic. Why not take time to acknowledge those little moments of happiness each day, those goals you reached & those challenges you overcame? - no matter how small they may be.

"The great thing about gratitude is that there is no thing too small and no thing too big to receive it!"

You should give it a go... grab a pretty notebook & your favourite pen. Place them by your bedside - if you don't put them right there, you're pretty much guaranteed to forget to do it! (speaking from experience here!) - and tonight, just before you turn out the light, jot down those five experiences from the day that you can feel grateful for. They really can be anything; don't be shy! When I began this, I was very unsure of what to write... after all I'm a Brit; we're used to complaining & apologising rather than showing appreciation & gratitude! Within 2 weeks I had totally found my gratitude mojo & was appreciating so much more in my day to day life... hey, whilst we're on the subject; I am grateful to Christine Kane for showing me the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. Thanks lady!

So whatever you find yourself doing this Thanksgiving weekend - remember to be thankful!

 Gratitude rocks!

Let me know how you get on

Lisa x

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

*Stylist* - in December's Livingetc

 As a stylist I am no stranger to seeing my work published or my name in print but rarely do I feature on the 'other' side of the camera; I'm usually behind it & behind the scenes. So it's a little strange to flick through the current issue of Livingetc and see a photo of me smiling shyly back atcha from the featured contributors section! (page 12 in case you're passing a newsstand!)

Now, I'm not one for tooting my own trumpet but I must say I'm quite pleased... and honoured to be featured. I had to answer a series of Christmas related questions which I sent in along with the copy I wrote for the article on a gorgeous home here in Chamonix, France. You can see more of the images of this home on the Livingetc website

With this being a Christmas issue story I had the fun task of sourcing and decorating a 5m tall tree!... in February! It was quite a feat to get it into the house and took the best part of a day to decorate. Florence and her family were amazingly accommodating and the kids were super excited to have all the decorations up again (merci mille fois Flo!). Simon was a star and wrote out a lovely letter to Pere Noel about wanting a Labrador puppy and little Charlie was adorable reaching up for the bright pink pompom that I suspended from the Moose painting in the lounge

I'll be posting a tutorial in the coming weeks on how to make the printed ribbons to decorate your Christmas tree as well as the mistletoe ball from the bedroom shot (my favourite!), so watch out for those. In the meantime though, one of the questions I was asked was, "This year my tree will be... (in 5 words or less)"  You'll see in the copy above that my answer was...
"Baubles suspended from the ceiling"
I'm lucky enough to have a beautiful vaulted ceiling in my lounge and I plan to suspend antiqued silver baubles of differing sizes from the light fitting with bright ribbons - and maybe the odd tiny disco ball too!

What plans do you have for your Christmas tree this year?

Lisa x

{photography by Jeremy Wilson}

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Skeletons in the (sewing) Cupboard

Booo! Happy Halloween! At first I was simply looking for a textile or vintage image I could use as a Halloween graphic for this blog post but then this incredible knitted skeleton by artist Ben Cuevas got me thinking about the phrase 'skeletons in the cupboard'... and the sewing cupboard in particular

If you are anything like me, you'll have a cupboard full of half finished items that are wondering what they did wrong to have been abandoned for so long. Or a pile of projects waiting to be started.. a pile that grows larger by the day as my mind comes up with new ideas, clothes to be altered, gifts to be made

Projects like this not only take up room in your home but also in your mind.. cluttering up your brain (albeit subconsciously) with the nagging thought of "oh, I really should get that finished". This is such a drain on your energy; doesn't it feel great when you eventually do get that project finished? Don't you love that sense of satisfaction? That feeling of completion? And of course, once a project is finished you have a space in your cupboard for something new... after all, space invariably has a habit of being filled!

The same applies to your mind... removing items from your mental to-do list allows your subconscious to stop worrying about it. It creates a space in your thoughts and allows room for something new. And we all know how good and exciting it feels when we have something new to think about. Keeping the flow going is energising, experiencing a sense of achievement is motivating; it allows you to feel good about yourself. And that is always a good thing, right?

So, time to 'fess up. What's on your should-do list right now? What projects lie lurking in your cupboard that would free up both physical and mental space? I've decided to list mine below; more as a name-it-and-reclaim-it than a name-it-and-shame-it exercise.
I began this patchwork quilt about 6 years ago. I got as far as completing the central log cabin with flying geese section, and then..... patchwork tumbleweed.
I bought this fabulous Isabell Kristensen brocade skirt in the sales - it is about 3 sizes too large for me, which involves delicately unpicking pretty much everything, hence it has sat in the to-alter pile for several seasons

My log basket project is only about 9 months old - it was supposed to be finished well before we needed logs again up in the lounge. hmmmm 'nough said
And finally, my new (vintage 80's mega high waisted) leather trousers need a new button and the jodhpur shaped hips taking in to be skinny fitting

 So how do you tackle this without feeling overwhelmed?

The key is to firstly identify everything that needs tackling - make a list. Then set yourself some time aside regularly - weekly (or daily of you wish) and no more than a couple of hours (so that you don't get burned out) - and simply take action. Start with the easiest first - that way you experience a sense of completion as soon as possible. If you need to, break each project into step by step tasks - it really doesn't mater how long it takes you to get through your list; the key is that you are making progress. Keep at it. Showing up at your scheduled time and doing something is a step in the direction of accomplishment. Team up with a friend if it helps motivate you both - accountability is a great way to get things done.

So tell me, what skeletons do YOU have in your sewing cupboard?

Lisa x x

{Knitted skeleton by Ben Cuevas in Trancending Materials, all other photos by Lisa Pocklington for Smitten With It All}

Friday, 22 October 2010

*Designer* - Get Smitten Autumn Winter 2010 Palette

I collect yarns throughout the year from all manner of sources to use in my Autumn/Winter collection. When it comes to starting production of the knitwear range (yep it's well under way already!) I have to make the choice of which of the colours to work with

I do like to keep my beady eye on colour trends - in fact it's a huge part of what I do both in terms of my styling work as well as designing for Get Smitten. However, based on the fact that the majority of my yarns are sourced at car boot sales or are reclaimed from previously owned knitwear, I am always surprisingly chuffed with myself when my colour palettes are in keeping with the current trends for the High Street

{For those of you who are unaware, I do actually unravel suitable sweaters/jumpers/blankets in order to re-use the yarn. I am consciously trying to reduce the hideous quantity of textile waste the fashion industry creates!}

Having made my selection of yarns for this coming chilly season, I was delighted to receive a newsletter by UK's Monsoon showcasing a pretty good match of colours & textures. Yippeeee!

And, of course, there is always Livingetc on hand to confirm that I am on the right track

The Get Smitten beanies will be available as of early December... there are a few new patterns I have created for you too - a bit more fancy stitchery pokery this year! You'll get a sneak preview in November & the opportunity for some touchy-feely action if you come along to the exclusive private sale in late November (dates & venue to be announced soon!)

Now, if you don't mind, I have a little bit of crochet to attend to!

{images by Lisa Pocklington & Monsoon UK}

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Get Smitten's Make, Do and Mend Workshop Series

Running a series of creative workshops has long been a dream of mine as I love to inspire & encourage others to create & think creatively. Putting yourself out there as an expert is a little daunting in truth & although I'd had the idea for quite some time, I had been faced with the usual avoidance/excuse obstacles. You know the ones... the but where will I host it? what will people want to learn? and will anyone even come? ones.

I've been doing a lot of personal development work of late - identifying what it is I really want & removing many obstacles that have been pinning me down; re-releasing my creative spirit you might say! I've learned an awful lot and gained some courage & so with the support of my wonderful friends, I kicked fear in the pants and finally launched the Get Smitten Make, Do & Mend Workshops! yippeeeeee!

I need not have feared, for the first workshop, entitled..

Up-cycle Your Unloved Jewellery

...has been a total sell-out success! The take up was so much more than I'd anticipated, to the point where I have had to run it twice in the first week with a line up of people ready for the October classes. I am smiling from ear to ear!

It's such a wonderful feeling to know you have inspired someone's creativity and so rewarding to see the look of (surprised) achievement when they realise what they are capable of doing. I am so proud of my new students - all of whom left the session demanding to know when the next one would be! - and have been delighted to receive texts such as..
"I love my bracelet! Been flashing it in front of the mirror"
"Thank u for an excellent night, it was great. I love my new jewellery!"
How lovely is that?! I had grand plans to photo reportage the sessions but in all the excitement & frenzied jewellery up-cycling, I totally forgot! I began well & captured the cake we served up at the end during our show-&-tell (see above, mmmm chocolate & pear!) and then one of all the girls on the Sunday session, but none of their creations. Perhaps they will be so kind as to upload some shots onto the Facebook Up-Cycle Your Unloved Jewellery album. Ladies?...

And so, armed with my new courage & legion of eager participants I have created a full range of Make, Do & Mend workshops which will run as of October. In the Make series I provide a kit with all the necessary materials & instructions for completing a project during the workshop. The Do series is all about learning a brand new skill. And the Mend series will cover repairs & up-cycling garments & accessories. I will reveal the timetable of classes nearer the time, I'm just working out the pricing

So YAY! Get Smitten Make, Do & Mend Workshops are a-go go go!!

I hope you'll join me on one soon

Lisa xx

Thursday, 19 August 2010

3 of My Favourite Things...

When someone is sassy enough to combine 3 of my most favourite things all in one delicious photo, then I simply have to shout about it! Yay to textile designer Megan Herbert for her ingenious stencils

Coffee, cake AND yarn?!

Yes, please. Where do I sign?

{photo by Marino Thorlacious via Megan Herbert}

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Inspiration: Amy Butler

Ah, what a beautiful summery day - and what better way to depict this than with the wonderfully summery Amy Butler fabrics. The colours... well just take a look! Anything Amy Butler makes me want to skip & laugh and clutch a handful of those delicious fabrics to my bosom whilst spinning around on a mountain top a la Maria von Trapp. In fact many of her designs do remind me of the curtain fabric Maria used to make clothes for the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music - but in a super good way of course!

I first stumbled across her fabrics at The Sewing for Pleasure exhibition a couple of years ago (it could have been The Knitting & Stitching Show, I forget now). I was choosing a very cute piece of fabric with cool Japanese-style baa-lambs on for a -never started- project for my then unborn niece. There was a multi buy deal on that stand (yep I'm a sucker for them!) and so in order to make up the quantity I found myself drawn towards these amazingly graphic florals in eye popping colour combinations.

It was a little bit of a fabric epiphany - all of a sudden my eyes were open to the magical world of Amy Butler fabrics! And what a world of colour & pattern it is. She & her husband David have run the successful fabric design studio Art of the Midwest in Ohio for many years and regularly contributed articles in Country Living magazine, as well as co-authoring several design style books.

But aside from the talent that makes the fabric collections such a global success & the good-enough-to-eat photos, I think that it is the lifestyle they portray that has me so hooked. Through their images it looks to me that in Amy Butler Land there is never a dull grey day, never a cross word & never a reason not to be totally surrounded by drop-dead-gorgeous fabrics (ok, so that last one might not appeal to everyone... but stay with me here!) I guess what I'm getting at is that Amy Butler fabrics make me feel happy & positive. They also make me want to spend an awful lot of money & do an awful lot of sewing!

To see what I mean check out this video from their recent photo-shoot. I love behind the scenes peeks of other creatives at work and it is so much fun to work on a project like this

So are you hooked yet? Can you feel the happiness? And what's more, Amy is generous too... there are tons of FREE project sheets to download on her website. I went a little crazy on there yesterday. And it felt good!

Looks like I'll find a use for that fabric afterall x

{ all images by David Butler at Amy Butler}

Saturday, 17 July 2010

*Magpie* - Enthusiastic about Vintage

I was just reading an insightful post on Enthusiasm over at Scouite Girl and realised that I had never actually got round to explaining to you what the whole *Magpie* thing is. You may have noticed (please tell me you have!) that I often start the title of my posts with one of three words

* Designer * Stylist * Magpie *

These are the 3 words I feel describe who I am and what I do and you can read my definitions of this concept over on my website. Whenever I feel that a post relates directly to one of these definitions of who I am, I begin the title with one of them.

I then got round to thinking what the purpose of this blog is; I mean, why am I here? And why might you be here? And it all boils down to enthusiasm; it's about things I love, hence the name...

Smitten with it all...

This blog is where I can document all the things I come across that enthuse me, inspire me and I can share that with you. I can share the enthusiasm. The dictionary definition of enthusiasm goes like this:
"a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and an eagerness to be involved in it "

There are many things in this world that I am inspired by or interested in but when it comes down to enthusiasm, it seems you have to actually be involved in it - or at least be eager to be involved in it.

And so that is where the *Magpie* part comes into our story. I am cuckoo-crazy about  vintage items and so therefore I am enthusiastic about tracking down local vide greniers, brocantes, car-boot sales & thrift shops. I have a great eye for seeking out a treasure amongst the rubbish, and believe me I have rummaged through my share of rubbish! And what's more, I am enthusiastic to share my finds with you. Come to think of it, I have a whole backlog of finds to share with you!

 I also realised that I have recently found a way of highlighting this enthusiasm - albeit unintentionally. At first it was just something to prettify the blog, make the images a little more personalised and keep a continuity of my branding present. But now I see it as more than just the Get Smitten stamp of approval. It's me sharing even more enthusiasm about what I was already enthusiastic about! A double whammy! How about that?

By reading this blog you are part of the journey; you are involved in my enthusiasm. I like that. So, thanks for being here; I hope you enjoy the ride!

And if you'd like to get more involved & maybe even share a little enthusiasm of your own, then why not leave me a comment? Tell me what you think about my posts - or even just say hi!

{Feel Inspired poster designed by Lisa Pocklington at Keep Calm-o-matic. Smitten with it medallion by Lisa Pocklington using graphics by Pugly Pixel }

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

*Magpie* - Bastille Day Brocante

It's a public holiday today here in France - Bastille Day to be precise - and so what better excuse to scour a brocante or vide grenier for some treasures and then enjoy a sunny lunch with friends.

I scored a couple of great finds; impressive as the searing heat made it near impossible to browse at leisure. It was more of a shade-hop experience! The crochet blanket is stunning; I love the crispness of the perfect white cotton. There are a couple of holes that need mending & a gluey blob along one of the edges but nothing that can't be sorted with a little bit of Lisa TLC. Plus it gave me an excuse to haggle! It's big enough to be a bed cover in a white on white room or a picnic blanket in the dappled shade of a tree; but I can see it draped casually over the handrail of the terrace in front of my studio. Oh, wait a sec... what terrace? What Studio?
Well, a girl can dream can't she?

My second find was this set of old books - something I always look out for as they make lovely styling props. Not sure why but there is something appealing about gold stars. I like shiny.
We rounded off the excitement of the morning's foraging with a lovely, relaxing lunch at Le Délice. If only we could've stayed all afternoon sipping chilled rose and nibbling on tapas {sigh}

Liberté, égalité, fraternité  

mes amies!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Designer: Vintage Style Crochet Cardigans

There has been some Etsy love coming my way this week! Firstly there was the Boudoir Butterflies Artwork featured in a treasury and now it is the turn of my vintage style, crochet cardigan. The treasury (below) is called Peach Storm by Zionshore & what a gorgeous collection of peachy goodness she has found. I'm loving all the soft, warm tones of blush, peach & coral this summer. I'm in that same spot on the bottom, centre left again! Thanks Zionshore for the mention x

I designed & made 3 of these cardies (short for cardigans, if you are not familiar with quirky, British terminology) on holiday in the South of France one summer. They are based on the short, waist length, swing jackets that ladies of distinction wore in the 40s & 50s. I made them up in a cashmere blend super chunky yarn which gives them a kitten-soft quality. The third one I never got round to photographing. I want to find an old fashioned carousel with beautiful painted horses to compliment the deep, dusky raspberry of the yarn.

The yarn quality and the hours that went into them are obviously reflected in the selling price, so I appreciate they are not likely to be fast movers. But this makes them all the more special in my mind. They are delightful to wear - I couldn't part with the yellow one in the end and always get compliments whenever I wear it. It's sweet over a white summery dress & I love the line of the 'swing' when I wear it with skinny jeans.

And did you notice the vintage fabric covered buttons?  

I've been thinking about releasing the pattern for them - what do you think? So then you too can enjoy the happiness that comes with wearing something unique & not mass produced.

It's a good feeling; I promise xx

{photos by Jeremy Wilson on his beloved Holga}

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Designer: Boudoir Butterflies Textile Artwork

Boudoir Butterflies Textile Artwork by Lisa Pocklington

Boudoir Butterflies Textile Artwork
by Lisa Pocklington

One of my favourite ever pieces of textile artwork is my Boudoir Butterflies - I have produced it in various colourways ranging from deep raspberry, gold & black (seen below) to duck-egg blue, ochre & black as pictured above. There is something timeless & feminine about both the colours and the delicacy of the butterflies. I am as in love with it now as I was when I first designed it a couple of years ago - and it remains my best seller!

Exhibition of Textile Art by Lisa Pocklington Poster

Poster for Exhibition of Textile Art by Lisa Pocklington 
featuring Boudoir Butterflies

The subtle - almost chinoisery - colour palette is currently available in my Etsy boutique and was just featured in this Etsy Treasury by Waterrose. She selected pieces that were hand embroidered & I am so very delighted to be included!

That's me, bottom row centre left.

Thanks Rose! x

{all images by Lisa Pocklington for Smitten with it all}

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

In the Press: Get Smitten 'Snow & Neige' cushions

My lovely friend Florence, of stylish interiors boutique Reves d'Hiver in Chamonix, recently gave Altus magazine some ideas for creating a cozy mountain home. She has the best eye when it comes to mixing new trends & contemporary furnishings in a more traditional, and often overly 'woody' home. I am delighted that she chose to feature my
Snow & Neige 
cushions (top right), both as a product shot and in the main image of the article. Looks like I'll be busy hand stitching snowflakes again this coming winter!

Merci Flo! x

p.s the Snow & Neige cushions will be available at my online boutique in the Autumn

{main room image & Snow & Neige cushions shot by Jeremy Wilson}

Sunday, 27 June 2010

*Magpie* - Vintage Suitcases

The vide-grenier season is well under way here in France. It translates as "empty the attic" and is our version of a car-boot sale but without the car! If you are organised (I'm not!), prepared to travel a bit and so inclined, you can pretty much spend all weekend, every weekend through the summer months scouring other people's junk for a few new treasures!

Last weekend we hit up a local vide-grenier with only a few euros in our pockets not expecting great shakes. Amongst general clutter (yay, finally got me some cross country skis! and a couple of books) I came across these 2 identical gems at the most insanely affordable price... cue happy dance!

I've been searching for the ubiquitous vintage valise for years - after all, no stylist worth their salt ought to be without one! They have always been either too tatty or (usually) too expensive but these lovelies are in mint nick. Sure, they have signs of wear. Yep, the linen is a little grubby. But all the fasteners work, the fabric & leather trim is perfectly worn & they are a great size. I can't stop smiling when I look at them

So until they are required to strut their vintage stuff in a photo shoot, they are happily storing yarns & vintage fabrics.

Thank you lady at the vide-grenier! I am one very happy magpie x

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