A Creativity Blog Hop

Last week I was tagged not once but twice by a duo of incredible bloggers to join in with a Creativity Blog Hop. Huge thank you to Annie at Manneskjur and Kat from Kat Got the Cream. It’s a real joy to be asked to contribute, especially coming from two people who are continual inspirations to me– it fills me with happiness and feels very appropriate! So, the blog hop rules, cos we’ve gotta have rules… Answer the three set questions and then nominate two other lovely people to join in. Easy! Here we go. Oh, and sit down with a cup of tea first, this is a huge post…

#1 What have been the doings/makings/scribblings at your desk over the past week or so? Very literally, my desk is for my day job. I work (from home) in environmental grant management and so my desk is covered in paperwork. But, for Margot & Barbara, I’ve been starting to put together a couple of really exciting projects; firstly a monthly newsletter for subscribers which will have different content to the blog and secondly, an offline event that will be held in Leeds next Spring. This is the first time I’ve dared say it to a wider audience, so you’re the first to hear about it!

The Margot & Barbara Makers’ Day will be based around a day of learning new things, with an emphasis on the outdoors, craft and environmental stuff. So, if you’re interested in a tea-and-cake fuelled day of spoon carving, wild flower arranging, felting, bee-keeping and other such stuff, watch this space. (See, now I’ve told you about it, I have to make it happen. Which is terrifying.) I’ve found amazing partners and the perfect location so it’s time to get cracking.

This week has also been a bit unusual because I’ve  just come back from a short break in Lisbon, catching up with my traveller. Hop over to my Instagram feed for more Lisbon photos. It’s fair to say I got a bit carried away…I mean, look at the colour of that sky!

seagulls in Lisbon with blue sea and sky

#2 Where are you currently finding your inspiration? This is really hard, because I get inspiration from pretty much everywhere. I always come home from travelling brimming with ideas, and Lisbon has filled me with so much light and colour love that I’m actually planning to repaint some of our home because of it. I usually come back from visiting new places with a list of things that I want to continue into my everyday life; in the case of Portugal, I’ve also been left with the desire to get my Polaroid cameras out again over the summer.

I used to worry that I didn’t have my own true creative aesthetic because half the time I like a simple, white-based colour palette and a minimalist lifestyle and half the time I like a riot of different colour and pattern and loads of collection of things, from Blythe dolls to old Penguin paperbacks. These days, I shrug my shoulders and think that there are more important things to worry about. Plus, I think the more time you explore creatively, the more you understand what you love. For example, I adore the way other people wear colourful clothes or pattern clashes with complete insouciance, but it’s not something I’ve ever done, so I’m planning to introduce more colour into my minimalist wardrobe over the summer.

When I’m drawn to a muted, minimalist colour palette, I seek out Kinfolk, and 3191 Miles Apart, which are always, always lovely. When I’m after masses of exuberance, glitter and COLOUR, I visit places like Oh Happy Day, A Beautiful Mess, Capture by Lucy and Xanthe Berkeley. All of these folk are active on Instagram, and many of them run colour-based photo challenges or courses.

The natural environment from gardens to wild spaces will always be a source of inspiration and I recently have really started to enjoy flower photography.

red roses


When I’m not actually outdoors, then I love to visit to the photography of Annie at Manneskjur, who has just been extraordinary this year. Another example of something I’ve loved is Lou from Little Green Shed’s ‘Nature in the Home’ photo series. Books and magazines will always be a favourite source of creative inspiration, but because my life is very much about doing, rather than owning stuff, it rarely translates into purchases. I’ve learnt that I often buy things for new creative hobbies and activities only to leave them languishing in cupboards, so I try to make sure that something will stick before doing any shopping. We do have spoon carving stuff though…

I know that I’ve been really influenced by my family; my mum, in everything from my knowledge of wild flowers and gardening to my interest in antiques and collectables and my kids in the way they just leap into making, drawing, using their imagination. It’s that lack of self-consciousness and willingness to play, have a go and enjoy making a giant mess. We lose so much of our playfulness as adults, and trying to recapture that is something really valuable.


#3 How important is being creative to you & how do you blend this with your work/life/family balance?

It’s a weird thing, because growing up I never thought of myself as ‘creative’ at all–too busy with ponies— but as I get older, the more important it is to me. As someone who is a self-confessed multipotentialite, learning new things is as important to me as breathing. Without it I would feel really suffocated, so it’s been an amazing year for me because of some of the creative things I’ve tried. I started this blog after my children were born, to retain a part of me that was just me. Because my life has changed dramatically over the past couple of years, the way I manage my time is different. I have my children half of the time. So, that’s family time. I try to concentrate on them, put my laptop away and play (or at least make them do homework!). The other half of the time, I’m alone, until Stephen returns from his trip! So, this is when you’ll find me still working on my blog at 2am. I’m not sure it’s a terribly healthy balance, but it’s working at the moment.

I also have a full time job, so when I’m not busily gallivanting around the country, weekends are for creativity and blogging. Lately, I’ve realised that I need to prioritise time for creativity. It’s all too easy to sit behind a laptop, looking at Pinterest and wishing hours of life away instead of doing. Annie’s recent post about finding offline time really struck a chord with me, and now I’m aiming for the same. And I shall spend some of that offline time exploring my creative practice; so expect more flowers, photography, watercolours, cooking and making posts from now on! I might even sign up to some of Susannah Conway’s courses, I love her approach to photography with soul.

Having the blog really does give me the creative outlet to explore lots of different things, find a community of people doing the same and have some fun–the last three years have been a remarkable journey.

Wow, this is a huge post–and I’ve really only scratched the surface of the inner working of my mind! Suffice to say, I am continually inspired by the world and  the people and opportunities within it. And I feel incredibly lucky to have a life that allows me the chance to spend time creatively.

Now it’s tagging time:

Kay at Cheery Little Thing is a friend, and someone who I have huge admiration for, both personally and professionally. She’s been heavily involved in many of the superb creative events held in Leeds over the past few years, and with Cheery Little Thing, has brought Betty magazine to our city too. Her blog is an uplifting mixture of posts and I really love the Short Lunch series of short animations she shares.

Jen from My Make Do and Mend Year has created an incredibly successful and creative blog since her initial year of Making Do and Mending began and is an endless source of inspiration and practical advice. I really love her collaborative approach to her thrifty creativity and willingness to share what she’s learnt with her readers. She’s just launched a new linky and runs a Make Do and Mend hour on Twitter as well.

I’m really looking forward to reading more about where these two lovely folk get their creative inspiration from!

8 Responses to A Creativity Blog Hop

  1. Becky A says:

    I love this post – first I’m really exciting about your plans for an offline event. I’m only about an hour away from you by train (I’m in Chesterfield) and it sounds awesome.

    Secondly I completely agree about taking time for creativity. I’ve always been creative but I’ve gone through phases of feeling more or less like I AM creative at any given time in my life. In the last six months I’ve been doing more and more blogging and finding my creativity is really taking off which is awesome because I really want to model to my son how important it is to keep creativity in your life.

    I find that there are a couple of really good books on making space for creativity – like anything by SARK, The Rainbow Way by Lucy Pearce and (obviously!) the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
    Becky A recently posted…How I’m Beating Eco-Burnout: 5 WaysMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      It would be wonderful if you could come along! I will share more information as soon as I have it.

      Yes, I think that modelling to your kids that creativity is both important and something that can be fitted into life is a really positive thing. Blogging certainly opens up lots of opportunities, both in the writing itself but also in having the chances to do new things.

      I’ve heard wonderful things about The Artist’s Way but never got around to reading it, perhaps now is the time…

  2. Manneskjur says:

    Ah I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this Elizabeth, it’s so nice to take a closer look at people and you tell tell much about a person by what inspires them. I’m very excited about your event next year, you know I’ll be there with bells on!

    Photographing flowers is something I would have once looked on and scoffed at as ‘boring’, and then I tried it and now it’s 80% of what I photograph! You get a much deeper sense of nature and your connection to it, not to mention quiet time to discover yourself – it really does lead to noticing more of the small things that many people miss as they stride past with mobile in hand and eyes down.

    I’ve just been perving over your photos on instagram of Lisbon – and a huge well done on the cycle challenge !
    Manneskjur recently posted…Making a Tree SwingMy Profile

  3. Yikes I’m so excited about the sound of this event you’re planning – keep me posted dude!
    Thanks so much for giving us a lovely peek into what makes you tick.
    I am a bit of a colour fan too, as you probably know!
    Kathryn (@KatGotTheCream) recently posted…Me and youMy Profile

  4. Meg says:

    I’m intrigued by the Maker’s Day idea… I have been making all my life but it has really revved up a gear or two since:
    a/ I stopped putting off all manner of things that I’d wanted to try to make/figure out because of sensible commitments (ie work). Once I stopped waiting for the ideal time, I realised how I am perfectly capable -following some guidance- to make many things we’d normally run to a shop for: hats (cloches & trilbies are my favourite!), knickers, bras, spoons, ceramic bowls, buttons,… ; and
    b/ I stumbled across Make Something Month (http://makesomethingmonth.org/) and embraced it, not just in the run up to Christmas but all year around. Making something for somebody you’ve never met, a complete stranger or even somebody you hardly know takes the joy (and power) of making to another level!
    Meg recently posted…Reflections upon turning 40My Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      What a wonderful comment – I love that you’ve tried such an array of things! I’d love to make a hat. I’m going to take a look at Make Something Month, it definitely sounds like something I’d be interested in. The idea of making something for a stranger feels like an extension of some other things i enjoy, like Book Crossing, so I can well imagine that it gives you a lovely feeling.

  5. Makers day! Wowsers I will be there, only 15 mins from Leeds so it is perfect.
    Emma Greenwood recently posted…Silent Sunday {week 30}My Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yay! I’ve got LOADS of organising to do, but fingers crossed. I’d love to see you there 🙂

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