Finding Time to be Creative

Being creative is a wonderful way of de-stressing and relaxing and the bonus is that you can end up with something useful, a sense of personal achievement, a gift for friends and family, and in some cases, it even starts a passion that you turn into a business, but most importantly it should be something you just enjoy doing with no expectations or criticism.

Building up a library of books that you can dip into for inspiration is a wonderful way of involving all the family. Here are four of the latest inspirational books that we have discovered.

Draw Yourself Calm - Amy MaricleDraw Yourself Calm – Amy Maricle
Draw Slow to Stress Less

Draw Yourself Calm welcomes readers into the mindful practice of slow drawing with 25 beautiful patterns inspired by nature. A practical and effective book for increasing creativity while reducing stress.

With all the stimulation and stress of daily life, we each need to find ways of slowing down. Drawing simple, repetitive shapes relaxes the brain: attention flows away from sources of stress and centres on the act of putting pen to paper.

The book is organized into three sections. The introduction covers slow drawing and mindfulness, and how to weave slow drawing into everyday life. Chapter 1 dives into slow drawing warm-ups and exercises aimed at helping readers notice what they see, feel, and hear while they draw. Chapter 2 takes the reader through 25 elegant and inspiring patterns of all kinds. These patterns can be approached in any order, and readers can choose how best to fit slow drawing into their lives, whether through daily or weekly drawing.

Amy Maricle offers a playful, no-right-or-wrong approach that empowers readers to slow draw in a way that is creative, but not pressure-filled. This book offers a space for readers to nurture themselves creatively and spiritually by providing all the tools and inspiration needed to develop a slow drawing practice.

We absolutely love this book! It is full of inspiration and wonderful advice about how to slow down and let your natural creativity guide you to feeling less stressed.  As Amy mentions, finding tiny pockets of time can be much easier than we realise, particularly if we substitute slow drawing for scrolling through our phones. The equipment needed is minimal, but she recommended excellent materials all of which are readily available.
In her comprehensive and illustrated contents she explains all the different exercises and their meaning, and we love the way that Amy gently guides us into starting the process and encourages us to use those moments in time to practise slow drawing.

She illustrates how to find inspiration everywhere, and in practising slow drawing we make use of our senses.
As well as drawing Amy also explores how to use watercolour paints and how to save your favourite drawings and pieces of art.
A wonderful, uplifting and mindful book. Highly Recommended!

The Textile Artist: Sculptural Textile Art - A practical guide to mixed media wire sculpture by Priscilla EdwardsThe Textile Artist: Sculptural Textile Art – A practical guide to mixed media wire sculpture by Priscilla Edwards

Description: Working both two- and three-dimensionally, Priscilla combines colour, stitch, shape and texture, layering to transform surfaces into beautiful, whimsical sculptures full of character, curiosity and charm. With her imaginative use of the needle and her love of retro vintage nostalgia, Priscilla has picked up on an enduring trend, exploring excitingly different ideas and pushing the boundaries with her original ways of working.

The book explores a playful mixed media approach to creating 3D textile sculpture, using a variety of media to transform plain papers and fabrics through colour, texture and mark-making; including both free-machine embroidery and hand stitch. Paving the way for the reader to tackle the five projects that follow, which build in complexity.

This is an absolutely fascinating book, Priscilla has created the most unusual and exquisite designs, and as she says,

’There can be a variety of beginnings in any creative journey – perhaps an idea strikes you, or you want to experiment with a new material. each one of us starts in a different place and there are no right or wrong ways just the way that works for you……. There are no limits to this fascinating process and you can let your imagination take your ideas in any direction.The journey is organic, so I urge you to embrace the ebb and flow of the making as you progress with a piece and listen to what it is saying to you.’

Everything that you need to start working in this way is included, from the materials and equipment, sources of inspiration, techniques, colour and style and then the most glorious photography and detailed step-by-step instructions to help you create the projects which are so imaginative in their own right. 

A beautiful uplifting and inspiring collection! Highly Recommended!

Botanical Watercolours through the seasons An all-year-round guide to painting flowers and plants by Sandrine MaugyBotanical Watercolours through the seasons An all-year-round guide to painting flowers and plants by Sandrine Maugy


This stunning book follows the rhythm of nature through the year.

Botanical Watercolours through the Seasons begins with a detailed introduction to Sandrine’s ethically-sourced materials and tools, her workspace and an exploration of the key techniques employed in painting botanical watercolours. Sandrine explains colour theory in relation to botanical subjects, as well as colour bias and the key to creating realistic shadows without resorting to an unnatural ‘grey’. 

The four main chapters focus on a particular season and contains techniques for painting its plants: for example, papery bulbs in spring and jewel-like berries in winter, along with examples of the author’s stunning botanical artwork. Each chapter includes three step-by-step tutorials: the first for relative beginners; the second for artists of intermediate level and the third for more experienced artist. Subjects range from bold spring daffodils, delicate summer sweet peas, through to whimsical autumn ginkgo biloba leaves, and finishing with a striking holly star composition to close the winter chapter.

With a foreword from Tom Brown, Head Gardener at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation: “It is Sandrine’s botanical knowledge that sets her apart, […] through [her] guidance we can learn to celebrate and document the natural rhythms of our green spaces around us.” Readers can work through the book season-by-season, or focus on the plants they know and love. All the recommended materials used in the book are ethically sourced: the paper is from sustainable sources, the brushes are cruelty-free and the paints are vegan.
This is such a beautiful book!
We love the originality of Sandrine’s approach, as she suggests painting through the seasons.
The whole book is an absolute delight, and her painting is exquisite, and we love the way she encourages artists of all levels from beginner to the more experienced.
The use of colour is a particular feature as she shares how to mix colour, a beautiful colour wheel and her own palette. We loved all her examples, particularly the roses and the hydrangea.
Importantly she also endorses the importance of creating an ethical studio and that all the recommended materials are ethically sourced: the paper is from sustainable sources, the brushes are cruelty-free and the paints are vegan.
An inspirational and magical book! Highly Recommended! 

Refashion, Restyle, Restitch - 20 stylish sewing projects from preloved clothes & homewares by Debbie Shore & Kimberley HindRefashion, Restyle, Restitch – 20 stylish sewing projects from preloved clothes & homewares by Debbie Shore & Kimberley Hind

Description: Are you trying to cut down on clothing and fabric waste, but are short on ideas of what to do with unwanted garments, bedsheets or curtains? In this brand-new collaboration between sewing superstar Debbie Shore and her dressmaker-blogger daughter, Kimberley Hind, find 20 ideas for up cycling pre-loved fabrics to make stylish accessories for you and your home.

As well as invaluable guidance on choosing your fabrics, notions and extras, discover a collection of contemporary projects to create using old garments from around the house or saved from charity/thrift shops: a boho-style lampshade made from an old dress; pillows made from men’s shirts; a fabulous mid-twentieth-century handbag cut from pre-loved ladies’ jackets; a chic shirt-sourced throw, plus a whole range of designs to sew and inspire you!

Every project includes easy-to-follow instructions and illustrated steps. The variety of techniques used for the projects, such as English paper piecing, piping, fitting zips, dyeing and felting, are also explained clearly and with photographs, helping you create professional (and enviable) results.

The beauty of working with pre-owned fabrics is that you won’t get shrinkage or risk colour running, plus you’ll have a fabulous choice of unique fabrics that you just wouldn’t be able to buy new. Be inspired to give it a go and keep your fabric from landfill. Take a look in your wardrobe, salvage your old favourites and give them a new lease of life.
This is a fabulous book to inspire all the family, there are projects for all ages and levels of ability, and it also illustrates the myriad of ways that we can repurpose so many household items.
The step-by-step photography is really helpful in illustrating how you transform the different items.
The imaginative projects include a Roll-up Blind, Round Boho Pillow, Felt Mittens, Rag Rug, Rope Basket,  an adorable Children’s Pinafore Dress and a particularly creative Upcycled Armchair Cover made from five pairs of jeans!
If you are looking for a way of reducing waste, and recycling unwanted household items, or simply want to extend the life of favourite items this is a wonderful source of inspiration! Highly Recommended!