29 ways to stay creative

I was browsing Moleskinerie, the official blog for Moleskin notepads,  in the early hours of the morning (as one does when one can’t sleep) and I saw this little video created by TO-FU Design showing 29 ways to stay creative. Some pretty good advice there I’d say.



As you all read my blog I’ll take a wild guess and assume that you are a pretty creative bunch of folks. So what are your tips for staying creative? Please share them with us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you. Or alternatively just tell us which of the tips here work for you or which you think you need to pay more attention to.

I personally write loads of lists, and I write down ideas as soon as I have them, particularly ideas for blog posts and feature ideas for the various publications and sites I write for. In fact, I currently have 40 ideas for blog posts written on my to-write list. Just need to find the time to write them now.

One tip I desperately need to try is stepping away from the computer (I am writing this post at 03:25am a clear indication that I spend far too many hours sat at this pc).

So what about you?

Copy/Culture Symposium: Aric Chen

Copy/Culture Symposium: Aric Chen from Premsela, The Netherlands Inst. on Vimeo.

Copy/Culture Symposium: Aric Chen from robertanderson on Vimeo.

On Saturday  4th June,  DMY and Premsela, the Netherlands institute for design and fashion, teamed up to present The Copy/Culture Symposium. At the symposium, international curators, scientists and designers discussed the rise of a sharing and copy culture and its implications, especially for the design profession.

DMY will broadcasting all the individual lectures in upcoming series of video captures for all of us who were unable to attend the symposium in Berlin.

In the first lecture Aric Chen, independent curator, publicist and creative director of Beijing Design week, spoke about the association of China with a certain copy culture.

Charity begins at home

Jean-Christophe Novelli

Celebrity Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli

Last Tuesday I received an email from Cancer Research UK asking for my support in their latest campaign. This email immediately struck a chord with me as I have been personally affected by cancer and I know first-hand what this destructive disease can do to the people who are unfortunate enough to fall victim to it and how it affects those close to them.

It was a warm Summer day in August 2009 when I received a phone call from my mum informing me that the results of her lumpectomy confirmed what we had all feared…breast cancer.

The months that followed were extremely difficult for my whole family, and amazingly my mum seemed to cope better than the rest of us. She took a very matter-of-fact approach to her treatment and put all her confidence in the doctors who were helping her to fight against this aggressive affliction.

During this time I was so proud of my mum and it made me see her in a completely different way. I never knew that she was so strong and to this day I have no idea from where she managed to summon this immense inner strength to fight so hard.

But unfortunately inner strength alone is not enough to help people beat cancer. Without the work of organisations like Cancer Research UK many of our loved ones may not have been able to overcome cancer and that is why it is so important that we support them in their dedication to saving lives through research. And we can all support the new campaign.

Fronted by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, the new campaign aims to encourage everyone to have a Michelin star clearout this spring, and donate unwanted, high-quality homeware to their local Cancer Research UK shop.

Cancer Research UK is looking for all sorts of homeware, not just kitchen items but also good quality soft furnishings such as cushions, ornaments, picture frames and vases. The campaign will run throughout April 2011, but homeware can be donated throughout the year.

Simon Ledsham, Cancer Research UK’s trading director, said: “Cancer survival rates have doubled in the past 40 years and Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of that progress.  Our work is entirely funded by the public, we receive no government funding for our research, and without items to sell, our shops can’t raise any money.  So please – spring clean your home this April and donate to your local Cancer Research UK shop.”

As readers of my blog, I know that you all love interiors and homewares as much as I do. So that means that you probably have some lovely things at home that you don’t need and that you could actually do without. That’s why I’m asking you to have a look at home and find something that you could take to your local Cancer Research shop and donate. If you make homewares for a living, why not make an extra product and donate that.

It’s important that together we do as much as we can to fight cancer. Afterall, every year nearly 46,000 people receive the devastating news that they have breast cancer. In 2009, it was my mum, but it could equally be your mum, your aunty, your sister, your wife or even you. And that’s just breast cancer, but there are 200 different kinds of cancer and I don’t even want to think about how many people they affect.

The  groundbreaking work that Cancer Research UK has done into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. One day you might need it to save your life or the life of someone you love. So think carefully…and give generously!

For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 3469 6699 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org

Mid-Week Pinspiration : Stylish Stairs

This week on Pinterest I have mostly been pinning gorgeous images of stairs and boy have I found some creative ones. For most people, stairs are just a practical way of reaching the upper levels of their house, but why shouldn’t you have some fun with them and make them more interesting? So here are just a few examples of what can really be achieved with a little inspiration, creativity, time and some stencil equipment in some cases. It’s just a shame I don’t have any stairs in my ground floor flat!

Black and White stencilled stairs by SixxDesign via Design Public

Patterned Stairs via imgspark

Patterned Stairs via imgspark

Orla Kiely patterned stairs

Orla Kiely patterned stairs. Photo Jake Curtis for Living Etc via French by Design

Book inspired staircase

Book inspired staircase via We Heart It

Yellow Moroccan Stencil staircase via Style Files

Yellow Moroccan Stencil staircase via The Style Files

Pantone Stairs

Pantone Stairs featured in Dutch interior magazine ELLE Wonen via The Style Files

Moroccan Stencil Staircase via The Style Files

Moroccan Stencil Staircase via The Style Files

painted stair with numbers via nest egg

Painted stairs featuring numbers via Nest Egg

Black and White Patterned stairs

Black and White Patterned stairs via Design Amour

Stairs via Kate Spade New York

Stairs via Kate Spade New York

Numbered Stairs by designer Sarah Richardson

Numbered Stairs by designer Sarah Richardson via The Inspired Room

For Japan With Love

As Japan struggles to come to terms with the destruction and devastation that has been left in the wake of the earth quake and Tsunami, my heart goes out to all those currently fighting to overcome this immense human tragedy.

In order to show my respect for all those who have been affected I will be joining others bloggers tomorrow on March 18th in a day of silence. I will not be posting anything here in order to help raise awareness of the devastating events taking place in Japan.

This initiative was organised by the bloggers behind Ever Ours and Utterly Engaged in order to help us show our support at this very difficult time. They have set up a fundraising page called For Japan With Love that is specifically geared to helping with the relief efforts. Shelterbox is the organisation that the bloggers are supporting and you can donate here. Please be generous, the people of Japan need our help.

Follow me on bloglovin’

Follow me on Bloglovin' widget

I have just registered my blog on Bloglovin’ so anybody who wants to follow me can now do so.

Instead of checking my blog to see if I have posted anything new, Bloglovin’ will always inform you when there is a new post.

Just click on the image above to go straight to my Bloglovin’ profile and click on follow…Simples!

Mid-Week Pinspiration – Stairway Storage

So, I’ve decided to start a new series for my blog entitled ‘Mid-Week Pinspiration’. In recent weeks I was lucky enough to discover Pinterest and I have been using it religiously ever since. It is a great tool for saving and organizing all the inspirational images that I come across on the net – kind of like a digital moodboard, if you like.

So to kick off the new series I decided to post up a few ‘Pinspirational’ images I have come across recently.

Source: Traditional Home via Kelly G Design

And the topic for today is Understair Storage. Now in my ground floor flat I obviously can’t have understair storage. Not because I don’t have stairs but because the space under the stairs is in fact my home office nook. Otherwise I would love to have something  like this. So handy for storing..well, anything that needs storing.

Source: Small Furnish

Whether it’s drawers or cupboards, understair storage is a very handy thing to have. Why waste that space when it can be used so cleverly and creatively?

Source: Living Etc via Keltainen Talo Rannalla

Do you have understair storage? And if so, what do you store in there?

5 Daily Essentials…

Earlier today I received a Twitter @Mention alerting me to the fact that I had been tagged by Carole King from Dear Designer’s Blog. Thanks Carole! In her blog post she had listed her 5 daily essentials and had then named 5 people who she would then like to reveal their 5 daily essentials. And to my surprise and delight Carole named lil ole me.

At first I thought this would be really easy to do. But I got carried away and after a while I realised that everything I had put on my list was less an essential and more a luxury. After all, I suppose I can live without cheese and red wine…just about…if I really had no choice.

So I started over and here is what I came up with:

Fresh bread

Firstly, I don’t think I actually could live without fresh bread. There is nothing better than the smell of fresh bread, except for perhaps the taste. I love all kinds of bread and could eat it for three meals a day if I had to. And sometimes I do!

My car

My second essential is my car, a gorgeous Citroen C3 Pluriel convertible in kiwi green, which I have affectionately named Zaba (which means frog in Polish). Now this is obviously an essential because I need it for scooting around Bristol and for the occassional trip back down to Devon to catch up with friends and family.

My sony Ereader

Third on my list is my Sony Ereader. I’m not big on gadgets and usually I find that they tend to complicate my life rather than simplify it. When I first discovered that such a thing as an electronic book existed I knew I had to have one. I was suitably delighted when DJaert bought me one for Christmas 3 or 4 years ago. Now I find it hard to imagine my life without my Ebook reader. I take it absolutely everywhere with me and love the fact that at any given time I can have over 200 books in my bag and when the need arises I can download a new book instantly without leaving the comfort of my home.

My Laptop

My fourth choice was one that needed no consideration at all. I sinply don’t know where I would be without my laptop. And look how pretty it is! It’s aHP notebook designed by fashion designer Vivienne Tam and I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. It’s great for surfing the net, doing research for the articles I write and of course for updating my blog. I also love the fact that it came in a gorgeous little red silk bag.


And fifth and finally I would have to say notebooks. In fact, I have to admit here that I’m actually a bit of a closet stationery geek, with an obsession for notebooks. I tend to buy notebooks in bulk and if I’m honest, most of them end up laying around my house unused. I simply love brand new notebooks with their fresh, crisp, clean, untouched pages, brimming with the potential of being filled with something extraordinarily interesting. It almost seems a shame to write in them.

And there you have it. My 5 daily essentials. And now for the tagging bit. I am hereby passing this on to Fiona of Flame Interiors, Hannah of Dream Wall Style Blog, Ann & Melissa from Ideas to Steal, Torie of Torie Jayne and Kia of Kia Designs

The future of the future

The Future of the Future by Richard Seymour

I was in London yesterday and whilst there I had the pleasure of meeting up with Tim and Hettie of Seymourpowell. Tim gave me this little book which features a collection of thoughts by Richard Seymour. The book is entitled ‘The future of the future‘ and I was reading it last night just before I went to bed.

I thought I would post up some of the inspirational and thought-provoking things that Mr Seymour said so that you can all share his insights into the future and the role that technology will play.

The book started like this…

A couple of years ago, a primary school teacher in the Midlands took a typewriter into class. He let the 7-year olds look at it, play with it and generally kick it around. At the end of the day, he asked them what they thought of it. The answer was startling. ‘Cool…a laptop that prints as you write and you don’t have to plug it in’, was the general consensus.

Amusing as this story is, it actually illustrates beautifully how the future works. As the Talmud (and a host of others) have observed, we have a habit of making sense of the world through our own experiences. In fact it’s very difficult not to. If your only experience of a portable writing device is a laptop, then a typewriter is a mechanical version of that. If virtually everything you use or play with is powered by batteries, then a ‘self-powered’ device is fascinating…possibly even futuristic.

Later on in the book, Seymour goes on to talk about emergent behaviour. This is what he says…

Basically, the future is being formed by a number of broad-bandwidth thinkers, who are lassoing the present from their vantage point in the future and dragging us towards them. The future is ‘pull’ not ‘push’. Put simply, the future is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy, being fought here and now, by people who have started earlier than their competitors. It isn’t created by extrapolating trends or asking consumers.

As Hobbs would no doubt point out, all the future needs to work is your obedience in accepting it. But the other engine that works in tandem with these polymaths is emergent behaviour. That’s us basically. We tend to react to the new by finding ways to work with or against it. Restrict people’s movements and ease of use with a new application, such as text messaging 15 years ago, and what appears? A new, foreshortened syntax and vocabulary to cope with it. Provide a product with a keyboard that makes text easier and what happens? The syntax modifies again, elongating itself back to something more approaching good grammar, but some of the more novel components remain: LOL, WTF! etc.

Who invents this stuff? We do. The eternal sea of interaction. What works and amuses us stays around, what doesn’t evaporates. So creating the future is a nerve wracking process. People can’t tell you what they’re going to want, really. Because they usually don’t know. So we have to get stuff out there and wait to see what the world makes of it. No wonder many businesses look desperately for ‘metrics’ that can raise their hit rate. But as the world wags on and the communication revolution continues unabated, the role of emergent behaviour is going to become even more important. And predicting how we will react will get harder and harder.

Action, as Newton observed, is met by equal and opposite reaction.

Seymour then cites his favourite example of emergent behaviour…

One of my favourite examples of this is the Mosquito, a device created to annoy and disperse undesirable teenagers from lurking around public spaces. It’s basically a public address system that generates a tone too high to be heard by most adults, but within the frequency range of the younger ear, about 22,000 hertz.

Brilliant. So what’s the reaction?

Some smartarse records this ultrasonic tone onto their mobile phone and uses it as a ringtone that can be heard only by young people. In the classroom, the teacher is oblivious of the sound.

Interesting stuff huh? Are there any examples of emergent behaviour that you can think of? They don’t have to be related to technology either.

Dieter Rams: 10 Principles for Good Design

Dieter Rams, head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, is one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century. Below are his 10 principles for good design:

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.

Copyright Dieter Rams


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