Cyanotype printing sounds somewhat exotic, but it is actually really accessible and easy to do. You can buy ready made papers which makes the process really simple when you want to do a little bit of experimenting or you want to have some arty fun with your kids.
I had seen some Cyanotype prints before and was enchanted by the deep blue colour and the dreamy effects that people achieved. I knew that I wanted to play with flowers and leaves and so I gathered an assortment and got playing!
The paper that you use is light sensitive and so you have to work fairly quickly, but I think that I felt the pressure from working with photo emulsion in the past and actually I could have taken a bit more time with this.
You really can use anything to create impressions on the paper. I used flowers and feathers and also cut out a moth shape, but I could have used lace, crystals, seeds, or any other interesting shapes/patterns.
Once you are happy with your arrangement it’s good to cover with some glass to keep it all in place and then put it in the sunshine. The first one I tried didn’t work at all as I didn’t leave for long enough! It seems to take an average of a couple of minutes, but you can also watch the paper get pale and then take it inside again.
The above image is what you see when you first take off your objects which looks really lovely, but you have to soak in water for a minute which then produces the below effect.
You need to leave them flat to dry and then you can hang them and press them in a book. I actually ironed mine and that was fine - it didn’t make any difference to the image. You are still left with a slightly wavy paper but I think it is quite charming.
The process is fast and satisfying allowing for plenty of variations and creativity.
I bought some papers that were intended for kids crafts on Amazon for around £8 but you can buy more expensive versions and also kits in order to make your own papers or fabrics.
I have ordered myself some of the chemicals to make my own as I am thinking about making some fairy kits to sell for Christmas! I think the idea has potential, but I’m trying to not get too side tracked by the shiny new thing syndrome!
I had a nice variety of foliage left afterwards and so I made myself a mini wreath. I think it looks really cute and now have it hanging on my dresser. I’m getting myself prepped for autumn vibes.
It was pretty simple to do! Ivy makes a really good circular base and then you can use some string to twist around and add extra bits onto. Voila!
Let me know if you have a go at either of these things - I’d love to see your results. Have a magical time. 💕😊✨
Fancy learning how to make magical candles with the minimum of fuss and stuff? You have come to the right place my friend! I like to keep things simple and when trying something new I don’t want to have to buy loads of expensive stuff either.
I went to a charity shop to find a second hand saucepan that I could melt that wax in as years of working as a waitress taught me that getting wax of anything was a job and a half. I wanted something that I could dedicate to the task and I didn’t want to buy something fancy and new.
Whilst chatting to a sales lady about what I was looking for she told me that she had used a casserole dish for making candles and would use the heat in that was left in the oven from baking to melt her wax with.
For the wax I bought some soy wax on eBay and some candle wicks. Now, I didn’t realise quite how short these ones would be so pay attention to length when ordering! The ones I have are really good for shallow dishes though and they burn quite nicely that way.
Anyway, I used some glass dishes that originally had some yummy chocolate dessert in! They are a fab size for candles and eating a few puddings certainly wouldn’t be the worst way to get started.
I poured in some of the flakes into the dish and left the heat on low. When some of the wax is melted you can just dip the end of the wick base into the wax and then use that to stick it into your jar or whatever you are using.
You can use essential oils to fragrance your candles and so this is a chance to get creative and make some magical blends! I had some rosemary drying in my cottage and so I put that in with the melting oil as well as 15 drops of lavender.
You can use dried flowers and even crystals to decorate your candles and make them more intentional if you want them for spell work or simply to mark the season.
Once all the wax is melted it’s a good idea to wait for a few minutes before pouring because if it’s too hot it will melt the wax you used to fix the wick with and it can then start to go a bit wonky. Nobody likes a wonky wick.
To pour the wax into the jars you can use a simple metal ladle to scoop it up. I have a dedicated candle ladle now because wax is hard to get off things and less scraping is good.
If you bought longer wicks then you will need a system to keep the wick in place while the wax is setting. I have seen people recommend pegs for this, but maybe a couple of pencils and some blue tack or tape would work too. I’m sure there is an official item that would do the job, but when starting I think it’s good to use what you already have.
When I moved to Cornwall around 20 years ago I was keen to throw myself into the ocean and learn how to surf. I had vague memories as a child of being tossed around on my body board and loving it and I wanted to capture that feeling again.
Surfing kept me pretty busy for quite some time, but the fickleness of waves, the crowds of summer and the demands of family life have made me start to find other ways to enjoy the ocean.
I am lucky enough to be a five minute drive away from Cape Cornwall which is a fishing port as well as a lovely place to go for a dip. There is a man made pool built into the rocks, but I prefer to swim in the natural harbour and enjoy the feeling of freedom that this brings.
The feeling of walking into the ocean is like pressing the human equivalent of a reset button. The cold and salt water have a way of recalibrating you and literally washes away the niggles of the day.
Yesterday I had received a print order of notebooks which I had been really excited about, but I was so disappointed to find that the saturation was too high and all my images just looked wrong. It made me feel really out of whack and as though my art wasn’t good enough.
I went for a walk, but I still felt weird and so I decided that a swim would sort me out and it was so good. It’s hard to hold onto negative thoughts when you are immersed in a magical environment. The sun shone on my face and seaweed stroked my feet.
I have been finding that early mornings are a really good time for me to go for a swim too. It’s a bit of a necessity in some ways as Cornwall and it’s car parks fill up so quickly and I don’t like busy roads or busy places. The morning still has a sense of the previous nights dream along with a big dash of potential that I love. Finding these moments of activity reignites my sense of adventure and excitement of living here and I am keen to maintain this momentum into the colder times of the year.
I love my mini wetsuit! I don’t think I would be as brave without it! It’s thin enough for me to feel the cold, but it stops me from feeling the shock that can be dangerous if you are not that used to being in the water. I don’t stay in for too long at the moment. I’m trying to be sensible and build up my stamina and get more familiar with the ocean without relying on a surf board.
These moments and places are a sanctuary for me and it’s like finding a door to somewhere that has always been there - I just didn’t realise that I could open it.
Ps , the printers realised that there was a problem with the print run and are redoing them for me. Hurray! New notebooks coming soon.
I think a lot of people have been battling with their shadow selves recently - myself included. Lockdown has been challenging and each new announcement has required a shift in energy and expectation. I have experienced this in terms of judgment, anger and fear, but I haven’t let it control me.
Living in Cornwall is a really lucky thing and I don’t take it for granted at all. I understand totally why people want and need to find some peace and magic in this wonderful landscape.
We are all still shifting and adjusting and I am working on transforming the shadow to joy. I live in a small town on the edge of the country and we have all felt a relative safety in being here. With tourists noticeable over the last few days it is taking a bit of getting used to.
I don’t want to add to any of the current weirdness - I want to be part of the healing that is needed for everyone. So, I will be patient whilst waiting in line, let go of my fear and I will smile in welcome to as many people as I can
Come and join me and a host of of other fab makers on the 19th July from 2.00 - 5.00pm
It’s a great opportunity to meet makers and ask questions - just like you would at a real craft event. Etsy Cornwall is one of four teams to have been chosen by Etsy to take part and so we are all really excited to take part.
Click on this link to register your interest and be reminded when the event goes live: https://www.facebook.com/events/2975789415872798/
There will be a look book released about a week before the event so you will be able to get an idea of what each maker creates and enable you to visit the people you are most interested in.
All purchases will be made through Etsy, but you will get a chance to preorder and ask about bespoke items.
I am planning on doing a few demonstrations and giving you some tips on using Procreate.
Hope to see you there!
I have one more image to produce for my 2021 Astro/moon diary to be finished! I wanted to incorporate the energy of each moon with the predominant zodiac sign of that particular month.
For example the below picture is a snow moon for Feb which is also Aquarius season.
I really like knowing the names of the moons and am still learning to tune into them, but I am finding the process enriching!
Native and Pagan traditions understood the moving phases of the moons and what they meant for crops and weather. I have a lot of respect for this knowledge and it should be kept and treasured.
I wanted the zodiac signs to be part of this because each sign has its own energy and traits. I am not an astrologer and so there is no ‘analysis’ as part of this project - it’s just images for you to enjoy and draw your own interpretation from.
It’s something that I find really interesting though and the more I learn about astrology the deeper I can go into the current energies and also learn about myself. I hope that the images act as a springboard for you!
I hope that you will be able to use this diary to chart a magical 2021 for yourself. Of course you could use it as a normal diary and keep yourself organised but I would encourage you to seek little moments of magic and take the time to write them down each day. Maybe insert a pressed flower here and a poem there. Record what is growing well for you in your garden and in your life. And of course write down your energy and moods during each moon phase.
By the end of the year you should have a diary that is brimming with magic and appreciation for all that nature has to offer.
I am currently in the process of working out the finer details of printing and costs (as well as finishing a cold moon in Sagittarius) but the pieces are starting to fall into place. I’d love you to follow my progress on Instagram or Facebook (if you don’t already) as I will updating there first. I might decide to do a Kickstarter in order to get a better idea about quantities and also to potentially offer prints, card sets and my moon calendar.
Anyway, once I know what I’m doing I will let you know!
It’s a full strawberry moon on Friday 5th June and I wanted to do a reading to get a bit of a feel for the energy that is happening at the moment. I’m not an astrologist so I can’t tell you much about that side of things, although I do know that while we are in Gemini season, this full moon will be in Sagittarius.
Reading tarot cards is a bit more familiar to me though and I can tune into what is happening that way. It’s been a really chaotic period and sometimes the cards can bring a little clarity and foreknowledge.
I really like the Brian Froud, Faerie oracle - it is one of the most intuitive and rich decks that I have worked with and so I thought it would be useful for going a little deeper into the situation. The layout I tend to go for is a simple past present and future spread and this is what I got. Don’t be scared - I will talk you through it!
Okay, so it’s pretty hard to avoid the Death card in the ‘future’ position and it seems as though we are already facing enough of that at the moment. The death in this particular sense though is more metaphorical and combined with the full moon I would say we are strongly being asked to let go of everything that is not serving us right now. Start preparing the ground, clear those emotional and actual cupboards because you are going to need some space for what is to come.
Don’t be scared! We have gone through so much already and it easy to presume the worst, but all endings precede a new beginning.
Now let’s get to the positives of the energy that we have been experiencing. The Faun is a magical card and reminds us that we are all part of universal energy. We are the universe! We have galaxies within us, so much magic and potential! Don’t get wrapped up in the fear, the anger and confusion. It is all quite simple. Keep shining your love and your light. Stay open to learning and let that plant seeds of joy within you. It is all going to be okay.
At the centre of this we are in that difficult ‘becoming’ stage. We have been in the cocoon for a while and we are scared of what is coming next. That is okay. The universe is here to hold your hand though this. It is supporting you. It might feel uncomfortable, but you are shedding what you are to re-become what you always have been. It is not something new - it is you! And you also have the choice in what you become. Embrace it, move forwards gently, feel that tingle of excitement that means good things are coming, because they are.
There you go! I think that a fair bit of that was channeled and it made me feel so much more supported! Wow! So good to be reminded of these things.
I hope that some of this is of use to you and helps the way you perceive the world at the moment. When we sit in magic and joy we can help spread that out into the world.
Sending you lots of love for this full moon. 💕😊✨
This has been such a strange time. I have days where I am so happy, feeling completely blessed by the weather and the beautiful countryside and others where I am crumpled by the weight of everything happening in the world.
I feel very small in the scheme of things. There is so much I could say about a lot of things, but I feel my role in all this confusion is to be a source of peace and magic. We are all in shock. We are all at various stages on our own spiritual paths. We don’t always know as much as think we do and sometimes we say the wrong things. Forgive yourself.
Find your centre through whatever means you can. Meditate, do yoga, walk, cycle, swim - connect with nature. If you don’t tap into this source of knowledge and rhythm then it is too easy to feel lost on waves of social media.
I have been finding so much joy in the unfolding season. I have been living in Cornwall for around 20 years now and each year still brings me something new to marvel at. I listen to the sound of the birds and feel the sun stroke and soothe me.
Sometimes nature needs a little help from us and I cherish these small interactions where I feel as though I can make a small difference. I water my plants and watch as things grow, tending to my own impatience at the same time. Every year has successes and failures, but each year I try and learn anew. There is comfort in effort regardless of the outcome.
I hope that you can feel the magic that I feel - that my pictures, art and words can help to heal and remind you of the beauty in the world.
I had a lot of fun creating this new t-shirt design! Screen printing is an exciting process full of variables which has taken me some years to get my head around!
That still doesn’t stop me from making mistakes though! It wasn’t until I had finished washing of the photo emulsion that I realised that I had exposed the image the wrong way round.
I quickly removed the rest of the photo emulsion and prepped the screen ready to go again the next day. I use the sun to expose my screens now, rather than worrying about setting up lights and waiting for 30-45 minutes and it takes a minute for the screen to be ready to wash.
I think that it’s probably a little on the ‘extra’ exposed side of things, but I’d rather spend a little more time rinsing in the shower than accidentally washing the good stuff away.
Anyway, it feels good to be able to wear my love of the moon and I will be adding more colours and sizes soon.