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Monday, 28 November 2011


Frighten Brighton Limited Edition Prints!

 I've been working really hard making lots of horror inspired goodies ready for my stall at Frighten Brighton. Today I printed a limited edition Frankenstein monster print, 3 in green and another 3 in black. I have done these especially for the event and will only be selling these there, but if you would like one then I can print them to order. 

Friday, 25 November 2011

Keeping A Creative Journal

Keeping some kind of journal is an essential part of being a creative person. It allows you to document and store everything you stumble across that has sparked your imagination for the future. I have filled many sketchbooks and altered books over the years and I still go back to them for inspiration. I keep journals for both art and textiles, both are different creatures for me and I like to be organised. Textiles is all about texture, pattern, materials and you explore everything you see using fabrics and techniques. My fine art books are full of drawings, mini paintings, media and tracings and I notate everything to help development.

Altered books has become a bit of a phenomena and there are groups all around the world. What you do is find anything bound like a book and alter them creatively, bringing them alive and making them exciting! I made my own altered book in college using an A-Z map book of London. I went around the city taking photographs doing sketches and explored artist who were inspired by cities and created a book. I think it was one of the most exciting things I have ever done! I loved scribbling in my book and collecting information. It is something I come back to on a regular basis, unfortunately a lot of my work was ruined by storing them in the wrong place at the wrong time. My A-Z hangs on my bookcase reminding me to explore new things and be creative!

I've not shared my art on blogger, I want to create a different space for that. I love to draw. I think if I didn't draw life would have no meaning. I share life's frustrations through my work, my pain and anger at the cards that are sometimes dealt to me and the people I care about. I have a private sketchbook which is just for me, which has been neglected this year because I've had no need for it.

Sketchbooks and journals will always be the best part of an artists work because you can see how they develop ideas and how they get inspired. I might have a photograph or a sketch that I want to use as a part of a drawing, I would take that image and develop it over time. I will never just use the image like it is.

My friend Fran wrote a great post addressing the subject of inspiration or imitation. I think there is a line that every artists fears, but by using a journal you can develop your ideas and make them your own. I tend to stay away from any websites or magazines that may influence my work, its not easy when we live in a world that is surrounded by imagery! I think if you completely rip something off then obviously, they have stolen your design and imitated the original. I get inspired all the time by what people wear, artists I love and films I watch, but it would be difficult not to let that seep into my work.

Getting back to my original point, keep a creative journal because it will help your work enormously! I think you will be surprised how much your work will change, or even improve by doing so. I will always alter books, sketch, doodle on note pads, scribble on photographs, collect leaflets and it all ends up in my journal at some point for future projects.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

New work!

I have been working really hard for my Frighten Brighton stall making cushions, corsages and printing Christmas cards. I have never been so busy and I am absolutely loving every minute of it. I am feeling it of course, but I am working through the headaches and the pain because I get so much out of it. I thought I would share some photos of what I have been working on.

This week I made the Jason mask and I have been looking for other iconic horror villains to make into scary cushions. I watched Scream 4 on Saturday night and I was surprised that I forgot how iconic the mask has become! Monday morning I sketched the mask and made a stencil for my cushion. I had a few problems with the tension on my mashine, pleather is a real pain to sew at times. I finally got it semi right and I finished the cushion today. I am pretty happy with it and it looks a little spooky sitting on the bed. 

I ordered some buttons from a random seller in Asia and after waiting for what seemed an eternity they arrived this week. I was really happy with the quality and I was instantly inspired to make corsages! I make a lot of fabric corsages for fascinators, but I decided to make brooches with a corsage frame I sat on my bed with my sewing kit and put on Swiss Family Robinson! What a great way to spend an afternoon! Sewing, films, tea and relaxation. I love how they turned out and I am excited to sell them. 

Hair Slides!
My favourite! I love making hair slides! Little gems in a girls hair, effortlessly stylish and lots of fun. I have a few of the skull buttons in my sewing kit, but I have never never used them for hair slides. I decided to add two little beads as eyes for a bit of fun. I am going to make them in a variety of colours


I have become hungry for more and I have decided that I am going to try and start my own business. I feel slightly surprised at myself for even considering it! I have been reading material online, what I need to research, business plans and the problems finding money. It's a lot of work! It will take time and a great deal of effort, but I think it will be worth it! 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Limited Edition Christmas cards!

I have printed a limited number of Christmas cards for Frighten Brighton, 'Zombies Ate Santa' is one of the designs available in this limited collection. I am thinking of making them available to order in bundles. If you would like to order some cards to send to your friends over Christmas contact me asap. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Jason Mask Cushion!

It has been a crazy week. I found time to finish my Jason cushion in time for Frighten Brighton! The pleather cushion will be available at the film fest, but I can make them to order! If you would like one ready for Christmas email me asap! 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Starting My Own Business

I have been giving this some thought since I wrote what's Doll Doll Dolly all about and I have somehow convinced myself to further explore starting my own business. I have a dream of having a creative space for people to sell their craft, obtain craft supplies and take part in workshops. 

I have made my situation pretty public in the article I mentioned above, I have an illness which may make things difficult for me, but I really think this is my only option for the future. I have always been so defeatist over my future, thinking it was uncertain and sometimes impossible. I have realised that my negative thoughts have been the thing holding me back, feeling lazy and at times low.

I need to get some of my thoughts and questions answered:

  • How easy is it to start up a business?
  • How can I make my dreams a reality?
  • Is my idea a good idea?
  • How long is the process? 
  • How much will it cost? Can I get a loan? Grant? 

I think my best chance is contacting the Princes Trust for advice and creating a business plan, as I am not that business minded. I would also love to speak to anyone who has started their own business. I would like to know:
  • If it was successful and what made it successful
  • How difficult it was
  • If it was worth it
  • The challenges of owning your own business 

What I really want to do is weigh up the pros and cons of running a business, to see if it is really something I could cope with and would want to do. I have some really great ideas and I think it would be a real shame if my hometown couldn't benefit from them. Please contact me if you have any advice for me in my business adventures! 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Feel The Craft Luke... Craft Vader

I love Star Wars and I know I am not alone! I thought I would share these craft gems on my blog ready for for the Christmas season. I mean you can't go wrong with a SW gift! 

Yoda Hat for 12-24 months via NYrika on Etsy

Star Wars Comic Buttons! Via goblinhut on Etsy

Sand People Star Wars knitted hat available in all sizes Via BeeBeeKins on Etsy

Friday, 18 November 2011

Etsy Shop

My Etsy shop will have lots of new goodies up by the end of next week; cushions, bags, wall/door hangers and lots more! I currently have fascinators, hair slides and headbands for sale which are all hand sewn by me! Keep an eye out for a handmade Christmas gift for a loved one at the  Doll Doll Dolly shop. I try to get all items out as quickly as possible which are sent in bubble wrap sleeves or wrapped parcels. Doll Doll Dolly will also have a stall at an upcoming event in Brighton, all details can be find at http://frightenbrighton.wordpress.com/.  I hope you all succeed in your Handmade Christmas this year! 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

What's Doll Doll Dolly All About...

I thought I would explain what 'Doll Doll Dolly' means to me. A few years ago I decided I would start making things, but I didn't really have the confidence to show my work and it has taken a long time to get to this point. Ever since I was little I have been creative. I studied Textiles, Fine Art, Photography and Music at college and gained great skills for my creative future. I suffer with a confidence problem- I find it hard to put my work out there in due to fear of failure or people will think my work is rubbish. I was really motivated to work at the beginning of the year, but I had a really bad patch and put everything on hold. At last things have been picking up and I am a lot more confident in my abilities because of my boyfriend Dan, who constantly pushes me to keep working.

I have M.E, a condition which effects your energy levels and it can make life pretty tough. I have been unsuccessful in employment as I can't keep up and I slowly get run down. I really struggle with my concentration, so much so my favourite tool is my seam ripper. Life can be difficult at times, however one thing that keeps me going is my work and my determination to be 'someone'. I have noticed my health has improved over the last year and I can maintain a really fulfilling routine. 

I want to to make my dreams become a reality and I plan on making Doll Doll Dolly a success. I hope to get on the craft fair circuit, sell more on my online shop, and eventually open a shop with workshops and provide a platform for craft enthusiasts. This is a long road and it may not happen, but I want to make the first two a reality. So, here I go on my creative journey and I am putting it all on Blogger for you all to read.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Creativity is not something that just comes out of thin air, it is born when you're inspired by something you see, hear, touch or even taste. Artists and designers have always struggled with inspiration and go to great lengths to find it. I think we could all do with remembering what inspires us in these difficult times, so I have written a list and I hope this helps in your own quest for inspiration.

I love Heavy Metal ! In fact I think I would die without it. I love that feeling when you hear one of your favorite songs. The hairs stand up on the back of your neck and then the world disappears around you. During my metal moments the world looking at me will see a total geek headbanging out of time! I am a big Thrash fan and this provides me with lots of inspiration. Think of the 80s, Long hair, Ripped jeans, leather jackets, weird artwork and band shirts! Yes! I go to festivals every year and take lots of photos for the vault. Metal inspires the passion inside me and keeps me drawing or sewing when the tank is low.

Pretty In Pink (1986)

I have a teeny obsession with Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) In Pretty In Pink, her attitude, issues and style in this film is just awesome. I love how she loves clothes and customises them so she can stand out from the crowd. They beat her down but she keeps her head up and carries on. I had a bad time at school because I was the crazy arty one that confused everyone. When I first saw Pretty In Pink I felt like I was watching myself and I was oddly comforted by it. I love this film and it will always inspire me to be myself and be creative!

Horror *screams*
I have been into horror movies since I was a kid and I find it hard to get scared these days. I will admit to having a nice little horror collection and on those days I can't draw, I stick on one of my old favorites and then ideas just come to me. I guess this could sound a little 'scary' but it isn't about what's happening in the story, it's about the art of how they made something come alive! The Return of the Living Dead is a great example of that or any film by Fulci. The masters of horror cared about the 'art' of gore! That is what inspires me.

I have only written about three inspirational things. My list is pretty long but the three above are the most important. The only thing I didn't write about is 'Love'. I think love inspires everyone on the planet and I know I have found it. I hope you feel a little inspired! I would love to know what inspires you, so feel free to leave your list in the comment box below.

Skull Pillow

After making the heart pillow, I was thinking about how I could develop my ideas further and so I came up with this skull idea. This afternoon I sat down and made this Mexican inspired skull. I am really please with the outcome and I plan on making miniatures in different colours.  

Pleather Collection

Last night I made this 'Love' cushion (above), it was a real labor of love but, I loved making it and I am really happy with how it turned out. I made the Metal heart earlier in the day and I was inspired to make something bigger and better. I plan on developing my pleather project, getting inspiration from horror films, cartoons and tattoo art.

Monday, 14 November 2011

My Metal Door Hanger..Thing..

I went into town yesterday to buy some new fabric for my little pin cushions but, I ended up leaving with pleather in three different colours! I often go into craft shops, get crazy ideas and end up leaving without the thing I went in for! I saw the pleather and I immediately got a flash of heavy metal. I wanted to take my pin cushion idea further and develop it into other designs. So, today I made a 'heart' shaped door hanger which reads 'metal'. I love heavy metal and craft but, I can never find anything that mixes the two and this leaves my room bare. I have recently taken up making things for my room, that reflect my personality and maybe for others with similar taste to mine.

 I began by cutting out my shapes and getting myself organised. I like to have everything out in front of me ready to go! I glued the letters on to the white banner to keep then still, I then stitched the edge of the letters to keep them in place and for decoration. I have a little obsession with studs (ok, huge obsession!) I cant help myself. I was always told in my textile classes that you want to add texture. I always try and add a little in every project but, it's not always easy in every single project. I added a ripped detail on the heart and studs for a little extra fun. I pretty much just sewed the entire thing together, added a fancy loop and sewed two buttons on for decoration.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Cake Decorating!

My Mum's Snakes and Ladders cake!

Since I can remember my Mum has made amazing cakes, I remember having a different cake every year and her creativity always inspired me. Recently she has been venturing to classes and what's really great about it is that she is teaching me! I have artistic skill which helps me understand this different medium. Cake decorating is an expensive craft if you get into it seriously; The kit is huge and extremely expensive! 

The first cake I attempted was the simple cupcake with icing. I chose to do a chocolate sponge with a caramel icing (sugar overload!). Applying the icing can be pretty tricky if you want it to look professional but I just went with my instincts and the result is above (the decorative sugar flowers were my Mum's first attempt). 

My first Christmas cake since cookery school!

Last Christmas was my first Christmas with my boyfriend Dan who is a massive 'Grind Metal' fan. I really wanted to do something nice for him so, I decided to make him a metal inspired Christmas cake. We both love the band Napalm Death who are huge in the Grind scene. We both joked that this Christmas would be a 'Merry Grindmas' which made us laugh (yes, we are metal nerds, who laugh at our own silly jokes and listen and discuss metal like Hawking talks about the universe). Anyway, the cake was an absolute triumph! 

The chocolate cake with Mint butter icing and the 'Ghostbusters' icing design.  

I find the cakes in supermarkets absolutely depressing! The designs may be good but the cake itself is disgusting! Dan's 30th birthday was coming up and I really wanted to make him a cake! Dan loves my brownies, mint and is crazy obsessed with Ghostbusters! All three of these things made me happy because I happen to like them too ;-). The mint icing is pretty basic and scrummy. To mix, make a simple butter icing and add peppermint flavouring and green powered food colouring. I free handed the 'Ghostbusters' motif onto white baking paper and make sure it's perfect. Lay the design on to rolled out icing, use something small and blunt to draw over your design so it dents the icing and then cut it out.  Ice your cake and stick your design onto the cake using a little butter icing! The cake was a complete success and made Dan extremely happy. 

I am a great believer in do-it-yourself! Cake decorating is another great skill for you to have for the future. You can buy lots of great books on basic cake decorating or even sign up for classes which are great fun (according to my Mum ). My Mum has made some amazing cakes. I will post up more photos sometime in the future. I hope I have inspired you to get baking! 

New Projects! Make Your Own!

I have been working on some new projects on the run up to Christmas. I have begun by printing my own Christmas cards. The photo above is of he first layer of polyblock print. I wanted to create a background with some texture and carved the patter into the foam block. I chose red as one of the most popular Christmas colours. 

Christmas is a difficult time for me and I find all the rushing stressful and annoying. I have decided this year to take my time and be prepared to minimize the stress and actually enjoy myself.. My previous post about 'buying handmade' this Christmas is handy if you want to find different gifts this year. I like to make my own if I can and this year I plan on making or buying a handmade gift for each person on my list.

I have been exploring 'felt' recently and I began by making a mini pin cushion as a little experiment. I want to make large felt hearts and other shapes for wall hangings or door handle decorations. My pin cushion experiment (above) came out 'ok' but, the writing was a little rushed on my machine. I want to explore with different fabric, wadding and stuffing, to see what works best with my designs.

The reason I have decided to make very 'kitch' designs is a simple one; I can never find anything I like at an affordable price. The highstreet feeds us 'what's in' and I genuinely like 'what's out'. My taste is becoming more and more popular but at a price. I want creative designs at affordable prices and what better way of doing this is to make it myself! 

I have purchased some pleather (fake leather) to make heavy metal inspired designs for my boyfriend and I to enjoy. We are massively into Metal and it's not easy to find anything metal inspired in the shops. I collect studs and weird buttons, which will be perfect for my creative madness! 

'Home Sweet Home' signs, 'Love pin cushions, 'House Of Metal' pleather cushions,wall hangings and maybe a few little brooches for fun. 

I think in this day and age where we live in a consumerist, demanding, mass produced, frightening society, we have to be more creative to keep our individuality. People bang on about growing your own veg, making food from scratch, I think we can apply that to textiles and MAKE OUR OWN!

Buy Handmade This Christmas

Here's a thought! Why not buy handmade this Christmas? A friend declared on Twitter this week that she will only buy handmade gifts this year. I thought it was a really great idea and fully support her choice. I think this Christmas I will buy as many handmade gifts as I possibly can. I have already bought gifts for people but, I have decided to buy a little handmade extra for friends and family. I though I would share some of my favourite shops to hopefully inspire you to buy handmade this Christmas.

DDD is my own personal accessories label. I make facinators, Headbands, Hair clips, Bags, Brooches and recently been working on 'home' textile projects I am inspired by vintage fashion, old movies and the rockabilly style that has recently come back into fashion. I hand sew all my corsages and use a variety of different fabrics. My aim to provide beautiful hand made accessories at affordable prices. My shop is a little bare at the minute but, I will be adding new items shortly. Feel free to contact me through Etsy or here on my blog if you have any questions or requests.

Mini Patisserie is a beautiful little shop on Etsy. I love the little miniature cake necklaces and jammy dodger rings. These pieces would make a great presents in any girls stocking this Christmas. 

Love Pin-up? Love Vintage unuseral lingerie? Then check out the lingerie by Frantic about Frances! Fantastic handmade retro lingerie designs available via Etsy. Find handmade Panties, Garters, Bloomers and cheeky tassles to impress you  or your loved one this Christmas.