Botanical Style & WipsandBlooms

If you caught the last Season's podcast, you'll know making a home has been a pretty big theme for me. Having just moved, I've now got a blank canvas to explore and decorate. I have a new garden and am surrounded by beautiful scenery that I'm delighting in getting to know each season. 

I wanted to be able to reflect the Nature Baby in me that rejoices with the changing weather, no matter what the season. I seek out new flora and fauna and I'm almost always called out on saying "those are my absolute favourite" to each new bloom. I love the way Magnolia heralds the entrance of Spring and thick blossom promises Summer just round the corner. It wasn't until I discovered Selina Lake's book, 'Botanical Style', that I realised I could bring all this joy into my home. 

Botanical Style by Selina Lake

Botanical Style by Selina Lake

'Botanical Style' is a celebration of nature, plants and florals in the home. The book explores Selina's love for botanicals and includes styling and decorating tips for your home. I love how rich in photography the book is, meaning I could leaf through, deciding options that felt more like "me" and my home when the world of interior design felt new and unfamiliar. The book is also helpfully divided into different style sections such as 'Boho Botanicals' or 'Vintage Botanicals'. 

It's meant that once the furniture started going into place, the next thing I turned my mind to was fabrics, plants and little details that brought that happy feeling I get outside, into my home. Things started creeping in...

And then some more things crept in....

Botanicals in my home

It seemed perfect then that this month, Katie and I will be hosting a giveaway for our #wipsandblooms monthly join in on Instagram, giving away a copy of the book. To date, this is my largest Work In Progress: an entire home, decorated to make me feel a sense of joy and security. I'm using a lot of Selina's tips and styling ideas as I turn my attention to places I can put a little texture and tone that reminds me of times spent outside, enjoying the best of the season. 

Find  wipsandblooms  on Instagram

Find wipsandblooms on Instagram

For your chance to win a copy of the book, all you have to do is post an image on Instagram that shows your current making and include a favourite bloom (or plant- keep it truly botanical style!). It can be big or small, styled or natural. It really is all about the process. Add the hashtags #wipsandblooms and if you like, tag Katie (@Ceramicmagpie) and myself (@aplayfulday). You can even let people know it's for a giveaway because that's just a nice thing to do, right? At the end of the month we will pick a lucky winner!

Happy Making x

My copy of Botanical Style was kindly provided by Ryland Peters, Selina's publishers. Views expressed here are my own. To find out more please visit the following link:

New Wips to Add to Blooms

There is a special power that happens with sharing online. When we share images and videos of what we've been pursuing creatively, we open up spaces that otherwise remained out of view. Making and processes that are often tucked into the domestic spaces of our homes suddenly become visible. Studios I'd otherwise never see are there for me to drool over and dream of one day having myself.

Process is a big part of the #wipsandblooms hashtag that I cohost with my friend and talented ceramicist Katie Robbins on Instagram. From hosting this hashtag I've enjoyed getting to know a community of handmade business owners and makers who are crafting their online spaces to communicate the wonderful journey of realising creative ideas. Dresses, illustrations, mitts and prints nestle side by side with bowls, biscuits and bunting. To say it's my favourite place to cruise at the end of the day is an understatement. More than once I've fallen down a rabbit hole of clicking through to someone's profile and pouring over the images that they've left almost like a trail of breadcrumbs for me to find. 

It's why I am so pleased to share last month's winning entry with you. I've been absolutely thrilled to discover Rebecca thanks to her story telling of her #wipsandblooms as a natural dyer. It's a fascinating journey to observe and so beautifully captured for us to see. Congratulations Rebecca, you win a hand bound journal courtesy of last month's sponsor, 

Image via  @rebeccadesnos  for #wipsandblooms

Image via @rebeccadesnos for #wipsandblooms

So while diving down rabbit holes lately, I've been noticing I'm getting drawn increasingly to weaving. I kind of feel this was inevitable for a fibre lover such as me but with the forthcoming move, I've had visions of beautifully puffy clouds of merino roving and less frivolous plied wools sitting happily side by side in the same wall hanging. I'm intrigued, so it was particularly serendipitous when Fran from the We Make Collective jumped in as sponsor and collaborator for this month's #wipsandblooms. 

Fran has been also been hosting the #myhandsmaking hashtag so this month we're joining forces. If you would like to participate, you can join us by taking a picture of your latest projects with some seasonal blooms and get your hands in on the action too. Post them on Instagram and add #wipsandblooms and #myhandsmaking for your chance to win one of  Fran's incredibly popular hand-loom travel kits. You can read more about the We Make Collective here:

Image courtesy of Fran at We Make Collective (@wemakecollective)

Image courtesy of Fran at We Make Collective (@wemakecollective)

I can't wait to see what people invent this month!

Oh and for those of you wondering if it takes an Instagram husband to achieve such shots, a make shift tripod and the timer setting will work just as well or simply holding your phone high up to capture just one hand. Trust me on this one ;)


Wipsandblooms... Adding More Blooms

With the Christmas decorations taken down last week, I spent some time looking really closely at our new living space and pondering what I can to do to add a little cheer until we move into our final home in June. It's hard to put your stamp on a temporary space and yet I find myself needing to settle in somehow. I work from home, I take pictures almost constantly and I like to have a little corner to nestle into and read, knit or pour over recipe books. Having only just moved and then Christmas, I haven't yet felt that sense of belonging that I need to call the place we dwell our home. 

I peered closely at the walls that will form a constant background to whatever I do and whatever pictures I wish to take for the next 6 months. All but one are painted in dark colours that feel more than a little oppressive on gloomy overcast days like today. I started to feel a little despondent just looking until I realised this needs to become a place to nestle into on those dark days. On light filled days I know we will head out as much as possible to explore our new surroundings. I think I need to think of this as a space to recharge after such adventures. 

dark walls

So I started simply and looked at what I already had. Candles here and there, a few prints on the wall that I could enjoy as I pause from typing and editing were a good place to start. I added some lighter fabrics on places like the kitchen table and knew instantly that what I really needed was some pretty sprays of flowers to pick up dark corners. I've found it hard to find a florist here yet so when my Wips and Blooms cohost Katie emailed to share the news that Bloom and Wild would love to support our creativity this month, I was overjoyed. 

Adding a little something to the kitchen table that is the hub of our daily life felt like a changing moment this week. I've always loved cut flowers in my home, almost as much as pottering in the garden. We don't have our own garden here so the need for flowers felt more important than ever. Bloom and Wild send you a seasonal bouquet in the mail (yes really, it's just perfect) and when it arrived I immediately pushed aside my laptop and started creating little pockets of joy round the home. Just the act of cutting the flowers and stepping back to look at how I was arranging them left me feeling calmer and happier. 

arranging flowers

From moments spent pondering new projects to taking a calm 5 minutes knitting between editing jobs, my kitchen table began to feel like I had at last found a little sense of home. It's so simple and yet so satisfying to watch the Alstroemeria slowly open to reveal delicate hues and those Wax Flowers have been particularly bringing me joy all week. 

'The Isla' bouquet kindly provided by Bloom and Wild

'The Isla' bouquet kindly provided by Bloom and Wild

Bloom and Wild have kindly offered a 3 month supply of flowers for our favourite #wipsandblooms image this month. To take part, simply take an in process shot of what you are making with your favourite flower or foliage to share on Instagram. It can be any craft and any bloom you feel like. Just remember to add #wipsandblooms and tag myself (@aplayfulday) and Katie (@ceramicmagpie) so that we can see and enjoy your work. If you need ideas and inspiration, you can look at our WipsandBlooms pinterest board here to help you. 

My current wips&blooms- Hugni by Ysolda Teague in Isle Yarns

My current wips&blooms- Hugni by Ysolda Teague in Isle Yarns

I'll be sharing more Wips and Bloom images too over on Instagram across this month to encourage you to take a moment to capture your making. I can't wait to see what you create. 

Wips & Blooms: October

Oh Autumn!

Autumn making

This is the month that makes my heart soar every year. The minute I feel September getting into its stride, I'm daydreaming about the leaves turning, the snuggly feel of wool and planning all the baking I possibly can. By the time we trundle into October, I'm bursting with excitement at all the best of the season. 

Wips and Blooms October

In my own making, I've been on something of a swatching journey. I spent a lot of the last month working on article commissions and material for the podcast, exploring local-to-me yarns. The journey has been soothing and fascinating. It has also been the perfect preparation for what I refer to as Knitting Season (yes, capitalised). 

To celebrate a little, Katie and I decide that this month's #wipsandblooms entries on Instagram should have the chance to win a seasonal treat. We would love to see the best of what October has to offer both in terms of sharing your process of making and the 'blooms' you've foraged and found. It's becoming sparse out there in the Northern Hemisphere; Winter is creeping in. However, there's still much to be found from rosehips to rosemary. We can't wait to see. 

All entries tagged with #wipsandblooms between now and October 31st will have the chance to win a special package kindly donated by Mimosa Street. I first discovered this independent store a few months ago and created a virtual wishlist for the new home when we eventually move. Most of Mimosa Street's products are handmade and they work closely with designer-makers to create beautiful items that can only be found in their store. 

When I asked for something to reflect October's foraged and found emphasis, I received the perfect items:

A Floella Vase: A fairtrade hanging vase made from recycled glass that would be perfect for little sprigs and blooms to brighten up indoors and outdoors. (I would love a little string of them on an outdoor snug!)

A poppy Seedball tin: Autumn is the perfect time to scatter poppy seedballs which were created by conservation scientist to offer a new twist on seed propagation. The wildflower seeds are rolled into little balls with clay, compost and chilli powder (to deter predators) and are a perfect way to grow native wildflowers that encourage bees and butterflies. 

Retro floral pocket notebook: Designed and printed in England and made from recycled paper, this pretty notebook is just the right size for musings on the move. 

wips and blooms October

So what will you be making this Autumn? You might even be preparing for warmer weather if you're in the Southern hemisphere of course! I'd love to see your making and crafting progress and hope to see your #wipsandblooms on Instagram soon!



Process and Journey

Having just spent an entire morning processing photographs, reworking copy and sending out work for final approval, I'm feeling very mindful of the many stages we go through as creatives. Whether it's styling props for a beautiful product shot or pondering the difference between the word 'nest' vs 'homely', I'm always in a drafting process. The part I find the hardest is walking away and admitting that something is truly done for the day. 

That's why I sat down hard when this beautiful image showed up in our #wipsandblooms hashtag on Instagram recently. 

(c) Catherine Frawley

(c) Catherine Frawley

The image was created by Catherine Frawley, a professional photographer and food stylist. You can see the cake recipe and many, many beautiful shots that were part of the Pistachio and Rose Cake process here.  Catherine makes things look beautiful for a living. When she documents a journey, I want to lose myself in it. 

It's always hard picking just a few inspirational shots to share here for #wipsandblooms as I'm torn between ones that truly document the feeling of a creative journey and those that make me want to pause, reflect and notice exquisite details. Catherine's image is in itself a finished product and one that has been carefully considered, styled and edited. This wasn't hastily snapped with a camera phone and icy sticky fingers but lovingly documented, carefully. The image itself is a project as much as the cake (this is, after all what Catherine does for a living). How we capture these moments is something that fascinates me about this hashtag whenever I drop in to see what people have been creating. 

Over the years, one of my favourite process pictures was the simplest and elegantly demonstrates the important details that speak to us as makers and crafters. A few months ago, Clara Parkes shared an image on Instagram with a caption that I still think of today when I'm pondering process. 

I love it when yarn is reluctant to let go.
"I love it when yarn is reluctant to let go."- Clara Parkes

As a knitter I smiled at the image, and looked closer in order to examine the yarn's energy. Clara's words evoked a strong response where I found myself rubbing the tips of my fingers together as I tried to imagine how that particular yarn must have felt both on the needles and once it has been ripped off again. Clara had spoken the language of knitting. 

There's so much beauty in capturing imperfection that I find incomplete projects as satisfying to view as those that are finished and being shown in all their unblemished glory. Still, even with those finished items I find that I long to handle and turn them, run my hands across their surface and learn the frustrations and joys that led to their completion. It is, after all, the process that we capture when we make with our hands. 

Wips and Blooms.... & a New Co-Host!


August wips&blooms- Cornflowers, 'The Concise British Flora in Colour' & 'Lapsang' by Clare Devine using GingerTwistStudios. 

August wips&blooms- Cornflowers, 'The Concise British Flora in Colour' & 'Lapsang' by Clare Devine using GingerTwistStudios. 

A moment to pause. To reflect. To acknowledge the details of what we are making and crafting. To notice time is passing and enjoy process. 

Image by Katie Robbins

Image by Katie Robbins

For many of us who make, craft and create on a daily basis, we can often be tempted to only share what has worked or the great reveal of our finished piece. Making is a process that can be short or long and along the way we can change direction or abandon an idea entirely in favour of choosing a new path. We make decisions and life happens around us as we work stitches, sketch ideas and prepare our materials. All of those decisions, all of those moments, go into our work as we work steadily each season, working towards completion. 

Wips and Blooms is a celebration of process and creativity and I am thrilled to have the very talented Katie Robbins joining with me to host this hashtag. Katie is a ceramic lover and maker who has already shared so many beautiful glimpses behind the scenes as she crafts her pieces that I knew this was growing a momentum I wanted to capture when I saw her wipsandblooms shared above.

When we make, we nourish a creative need and in this meditative activity, we can easily lose track of time. We hope you too will note the seasonal changes and share some on the many steps you worked through in your own crafting each month. 

wips&blooms collage

Joining us is simple. Take a snap of your work in progress (wip) and your seasonal bloom. Tag us both (@aplayfulday & @ceramicmagpie) and use the hashtag #wipsandblooms so we can easily find one another. it isn't about perfection. It's about focusing on the steps we've taken in our collective quests for creativity. A flash of new colour in the garden or in a vase can often remind us how much time has passed. We want to capture that, together. 

Each month, both Katie and I will be sharing a selection of our favourites on our blogs as well as instagram. We can't wait to see what you're making!

Wips and Blooms- July 2015

It's been a month since I committed to this creative challenge on Instagram and I have really enjoyed the results. Nothing fills me with joy more than being tagged to a picture of someone's happy moment. This month was a riot of seasonal colours and a few cooling moments ducked inside away from the summer heat in the northern hemisphere. I loved it. 

wips and blooms July 2015

wips and blooms July 2015

Here's a round up of just a few of my favourites- it was really hard to limit myself to just five! I particularly liked the strawberries in korutumi's and the crisp white linens in the background from Daniela. I feel so summery just looking at these pretty pictures. 

wipsandblooms July 2015

Top left: @devonsunyarns

Top Right: @korutumi

Middle: @docksjo

Bottom Left: @danielaknits

Bottom Right: @melliferamel

Thank you to everyone who joined in. I coast by the hashtag regularly as a little breath of fresh air on busy days. It makes my heart glad to see so much appreciation of the seasonal colours around people as they work. It feels like a special sort of mindfulness to craft and take note of the change around us. 


Want to join in? It's simple. Snap a pic of your favourite blooms with your current work in progress and share with the hashtag #wipsandblooms. If you can tag me (@aplayfulday) that would be even better because I'm sure to know you're playing along when I get a notification. Also, it means other people discover that this is happening and want to join in- more pretties for us to feast our eyes on and be inspired by!

I'm not fussy, it can be any of your making and any bloom. Show me what's making your days playful and I'll be back next month with another round up of my favourites!

Happy creating!

Wips and Blooms

I have a passion for seasonal details. 

#wipsandblooms with A Playful Day

#wipsandblooms with A Playful Day

I honestly can't get enough playful changes in colour as the seasons change and love to lose myself in discovering new flowers, crops and plants as they burst to life. Whether it's the changing bird song I note as I'm striding through my day or the delicate blossom that just opened up, I find these moments so grounding when time feels like it's moving too fast. 

It happens quite often that I'll catch myself snapping a bloom alongside my knitting while sharing on Instagram and about a month ago I added the comment "why isn't #wipsandblooms a thing? Someone should make it a thing!" Apparently I did because I just spent a glorious breaktime looking at all the projects people are tagging with the hashtag already. It makes for a really pleasant brain break I can assure you. 

Here's a few of my particular favourites:

#wipsandblooms June round up

#wipsandblooms June round up

Top left: @contentedlife

Top Right: @mmontzka

Bottom Left: @takingamomentintime

Bottom Right:


Want to join in? It's simple. Snap a pic of your favourite blooms with your current work in progress and share with the hashtag #wipsandblooms. If you can tag me (@aplayfulday) that would be even better because I'm sure to know you're playing along when I get a notification. Also, it means other people discover that this is happening and want to join in- more pretties for us to feast our eyes on and be inspired by!

I'm not fussy, it can be any of your making and any bloom. Show me what's making your days playful and I'll be back next month with another round up of my favourites!

Happy creating!