Sunday, 27 December 2009

New York

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year. I have finally arrived! Well, about a week ago to be precise! Having spent 6 amazing days in the BIG APPLE...I now sit here in Kansas with friends and indulge myself in the memory and the hope that is to follow.

The snow fell on my 3rd day in NYC - it was a dream to be sitting in a book shop and to look out of the window to see the snow fall amongst the shoppers below. I was at Union Square, overlooking the market, where shoppers & visitors were busily buying last minute presents or deliberating over their perfect Christmas tree that were now glistening with the gentle dusting of the white stuff. How picturesque. How magical. How a dream came true just at that moment. Sitting in a coffee shop with an eggnog latte watching the NYC street below me. I'm here. Now I need to go and live it.

After the blizzard that followed this magical moment(!) the following morning was like waking up in a movie. (nothing stops this city from continuing on with life). The sun was shining on the crisp white snow; taxis were about, buses, workers and shoppers. The city was alive. I took a walk to Central Park where families had gathered for their Sunday walk, to build snowmen or glide along on their homemade sleigh and to ice skate in Central Park at Christmas. The images above captured that magic that I felt at the point of being there, the feeling that YES...this is right. The hardest of decisions having been made turned to PEACE. My paths are being made straight again, and joy in what I was discovering and learning is slowly returning. The peace and tranquility that surrounded me in the middle of one of the most busiest cities in the world was awesome. Undescribable.

I'm already feeling I don't want to leave and trying my best not to miss out by looking at the end already when its still the beginning... I hope 2010 will bring you opportunities that you have dreamed of and the beginning of something amazing. Happy New Year... x

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Tigerprint Photo Humour Comp

Entered two images into the photo comp...

Monday, 16 November 2009

Living out a dream & Tigerprint Christmas Competition

Sorry, it's been a while since I last posted something, busy times! I have decided to take a trip and live out a dream...I'm heading stateside for 3 months. Ticket is booked, so as of 4 weeks today I shall begin the journey. I'm very much looking forward to the adventure and the opportunity to devote each day to designing and creating and being inspired in so many different ways. I'll be with my lovely friends and family over Christmas & New Year, and then from Jan/Feb the dream & hope is to live in New York for 2 months. As the lyrics of Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind goes:

"In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, theres nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York, these streets will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you,
Lets here it for New York, New York, New York"

So let's go...

And now, back to work. Here are my entries for the Tigerprint Christmas photography competition...

In my images, I have tried to capture the cosy, warm essence of Christmas evenings in by the fire. The Christmas wreath has been made up of all the delicious foods we like to indulge ourselves with over the holiday season - mince pies, cookies, chocolates, etc. Enjoy.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Runner up...!

Well, I received some very lovely news this morning, one of the designs I had entered for the Tigerprint notebook competition came runner up! I am very pleased and greatly encouraged by this.

Here is the judge's comment: "This entry demonstrated a lovely balance of colour with great editorial and typography. Very stylish!"
On to the next design...!!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Designs for Notebook Competition

I have been working on some designs for the Tigerprint competition to design the cover of a notebook, and above are the designs.

I have used words to describe what us ladies love & like to do, highlighting in pink the letters to make up the word 'NOTES'.

I envisaged the notebook to be hardback, with a coordinated elastic or ribbon tie to help hold those little pieces of paper we tend to accumulate inside (either around the middle of the notebook or on the side). The inside cover of the notebook would have the pattern faded through, and perhaps as a background on the notepaper too. Maybe have a section of lined and a section of plain paper, divided by a ribbon; and perhaps a section entitled 'TO DO' that could have a colour tab on the edge of the page.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Kleenex Design your own cube competition...

Having a play around with writing and drawing...OK for a first attempt, even entered it as one of the designs for the design your own cube competition.

I entered the Kleenex® Design your own cube competition to design the cover of the tissue box.
Here are the entries, first using me 'apples galore' design:View my cube
Here is the other one using spots and dots: View my cube
Here is the third design: View my cube
Here's the fourth: View my cube

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

New designs: Cherries Galorious, Wispy Rose, Simply Cherry

As promised, I've been working on some patterns using my new graphics pen. Oh, how did I live without it before? And here are the fruits of my labour (sorry about the awful pun). This is called 'Cherries Galorious' - funnily enough! Thought this pattern would look lovely as wrapping paper - on nice thick paper, perhaps double sided with spots. I love cherries, even glace cherries; I'm ashamed to say when making me christmas cake, I tend to finish the pot off once the required amount has been added! Naughty, but nice...

I had such fun drawing in Photoshop with this pen, usually I doodle in my lil book this rose, entitled 'Wispy Rose'. There is a story behind it. A couple of friends of mine asked me to work on a design for their wedding invitations, they wanted to incorporate their wedding date 09.06.07. Seeing as they were getting married in Edinburgh and the bride being Scottish, I couldn't resist the influence of Charles Henry Mackintosh - I love his work. So I started sketching ideas and eventually came up with a rose using the figures of the date (this was done using typed numbers and manipulated in PS). As I was sketching the figures fitted in well and the rose came quite naturally - needless to say they loved it. So much so, it was even iced on their wedding cake! See if you can work out the numbers, I have included images below of the final invite... how did I use the 7? This is the stem of the rose. Well, ever since then I have developed and sketched the rose and so had a go in PS with me new pen! I'm quite pleased with the results.

Here is the 'Simply Cherry' design, named simply because its all about the cherry, simple!

Return from the land down under...

Well, it's been a while since I've written a post. Oops. I have been on me travels - returning from the land down under after a 3 week break, including a stop in wonderful Hong Kong. All the while keeping my eyes wide open for inspiration of course. Hong Kong was a quick stop, but I had the most amazing time. I felt safe in HK, a young woman on her own, even when travelling the metro at night, walking around the night market and down Nathan Rd back to my hotel; I wanted to take in the sights and smells of HK at night rather than travel back on the metro and miss it all. The humidity of HK gets you during the day, at times you had to dive in and out of stores just for a quick cooling relief but once you step out the door the wall of heat and humidity hits you and you dive into another store. At night it felt different - more bearable some how. This allowed me to walk a fair distance along Nathan Rd without having to dive into shops for relief and eyes on you to make a purchase, it was the case of a true eye-catching browse! I can't quite describe the smell of HK...a fusion of scorching humid heat, street food, cleanliness from shops & hotels, and traffic!? All adds to the flavour and memory I suppose. A bustling city, people everywhere, and noise all around added to my sense of security. My favourite spot was sitting on Avenue of the Stars, away from the hustle and bustle (though still pretty busy) and looking across the water to Hong Kong Island. A skyline presented with branded tall buildings from the tech world! A haze falls over the water during the day as you look into the distance away from the buildings, and as the sun tries to make its appearance it revealed the blueness of the water (strangely enough). I loved sitting in this particular cafe with my cappucino in one hand and notebook in the other, writing ideas more than drawing them - I wanted to descibe my ideas as I couldn't justify them by drawing. This was the start of a really lovely trip and onto Oz I went to see the Fergmister.

Australia! It was great to be back. I returned to Sydney 6 years to the day I had left. Had it really been 6 years, it all seemed so familiar. Fergie picked me up from the airport in his campervan and drove me around Sydney, the familar places of Bondi and Paddington and to those I had not discovered last time. First stop was breakfast. Bearing in mind it was winter, we sat outside a lovely little cafe overlooking the turquoise ocean, with deep blue skies above us and sun on our faces in a place called Marouba. I had already begun to see Australia with new eyes. During the trip I was discovering how much the arts and design culture of Australia is well and truly on its way up. So much opportunity is out there for artists and new designers/crafters, something I had really disregarded of Australia (apologies for my ignorance) for one reason and another. From the weekend craft markets in Balmain to the larger venues offering opportunities for crafters/artisans to show and market their wares in Sydney and Melbourne (to name but a few). I was open to it all. I hadn't seen this last time, was that my ignorance or was I not truly aware of what I wanted to be in the creative world? Think it was a bit of both actually. I fell in love with an Australian stationery brand called Poppies for Grace - I discovered their work in a fab shop called Duck Egg Blue in Balmain and fell in love instantly. I just love everything about their work, from the style of drawing to the packaging. I also admire and love the fact that all their pieces are using recycable materials, are environmentally friendly and printed using vegetable based inks/dyes. Something I would love to adhere to with my work (though having contacted a few Eco friendly printers for quotes and questions, I've not heard back from any of them?! Hmm!). So, potato printing, here I come...

The whole trip was just great, the sights of true wildlife such as a koala and its baby eating eucaplytus in the trees along the side of the road to that of a LONG snake in the middle of the road, for which Fergie got out of the van, picked up a stick and 'sshhooed' the snake off the road so he wouldn't get run over! I of course stayed well and truly in the van in full support and encouragment of Ferg, ahem!! It worked though. Before moving on, the snake turned its head at Ferg, hissed at him and slowly slithered off into the bush without even a thank you for saving its life! Charming!

All in all I came away inspired, a little more focused on what I would like to produce and what I would like my role to be in an ever increasing eco-friendly environment. I am currently working on some designs with my new graphics pen (the wonders of it all, it has opened up endless possibilties)!! So I hope to post some up soon, ones that I am truly happy with, but for the time being I'll leave you with a cheeky little number I just couldn't resist doodling on!! Welcome, Angel Mia...

Monday, 10 August 2009

Seeing Stars...

I took one star from the Nanny Heaven illustration and repeated it, changing the background colour. Again, would be nice Christmas wrapping paper or fabric... I'm starting early with Christmas aren't I?!

Nanny Heaven Illustration

I had scribbled this little doodle last year in my journal, and the last couple of days I had been thinking about it and so decided to do some work on it today. And here it is. I made it in to a repeat pattern as I felt it would make rather nice wrapping paper for Christmas time (or Birthdays), perhaps lovely fabric too that can be used to cover the jar lids of homemade chutneys and cookies. I've uploaded it on to Spoonflower as well, so maybe I'll order meself a swatch! Why name it Nanny Heaven? Well, its for all those special nannies (grandmothers) who are in Heaven looking down, ain't that right Mia Marrow x.

Sunday, 9 August 2009


And here's some I prepared earlier...all in my favourite spotty colours.

Spotty galorious!

Anyone who knows me well enough, knows how much I LOVE spots - I go dotty for spotty! My toilet seat is spotty, so are the blinds and bucket that adorn this tiny little throne - a throne because you actually have steps leading up to take your seat! My kitchen has spotty stools I covered with a mint green and white spotted fabric. Stripes are another favourite but have to be in the right colours, so too do spots. I do have my limits when it comes to the colours of spotty things! I love vintage styles and colours; so red and white spots are a good start, they remind me of the 50's (not sure why), I love duck egg blue spots on a brown background or a nice mint/apple green with white spots. I could go on...but let's just leave it and say that I love, love, love spots. I think I caught the spot bug from my lil mum who also loved spotty things, there's a cosy element and cheekiness about spots (sums it all up really). So today, I have been playing around with creating spotty patterns and adding layers on top and scribbles. Think this would make a nice summer table cloth or a tea towel...

Love Birds

Just playing around again with the use of pattern within the shapes...think I may have gone slightly overboard! But still, good to get practice!!

Squiffy Apple

This was just a simple messing around moment - freehand tool in Photoshop (not as easy as one might imagine on a laptop using your finger and in need of a steady hand!). I quite liked it, and it looks quite quirky as a pattern on Spoonflower! Oh yes, Spoonflower, this amazing website I discovered where you can upload your images and it creates the pattern repeats for you (options given) and prints the pattern on to fabric. It was a dream come true when I received my first lot of designs on fabric through the post - so beautifully packaged as well. My designs had made it on to fabric!! Amazing. Such an easy website to follow as well. A recommendation to all budding designers out there who want to see and touch their designs on fabric. Watch out family and friends at Christmas time - you know what you'll be getting...

Flower Tree

Been playing around in Photoshop, getting use to designing through computer, rather than hand drawing then scanning. It's a start at least. I like the boldness of colour and simplicity of the shapes used to create this tree.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Simple is best...

Just been playing around the last couple days with designs. I questioned to myself - "what is my style?" "what makes me stand out?". So this past week I have been looking at other designers that I love and questioned - "what is it that I love about their work?". The answers I came up with at first were..."their choice of colour" and "the simplicity in their design of the shapes used". How do they create these images that are so eye catching, yet looking at them in detail, so so simple. Simple shapes and forms and block colour that compliments one another. That's it. As my lil Mum always used to say 'simple is best!', and she's right. So here, I have tried to create a 'simple flower'. I think there will be much more to follow as I discover and reveal what MY style is, being aware of not trying to copy other designers but more so be influenced. It's a good and rather exciting process to be going through right now.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Saturday, 11 July 2009

'Alexandra' has been accepted for the comp...!

I entered a T-shirt design competition and learnt today the design has been accepted! The design being 'Alexandra'.

Below is the email I received with the link...

'Good news! Your designs are now available to view on the site!

Direct your friends to

This URL will direct your designs to the front of the voting section so that your friends can vote on your designs really quickly.'

So, every time you vote on a design or on a slogan you will also decide which designs make into the TOP 10 and get printed! The TOP 10 will be the designs that receive the most votes with the highest average.

You don't have to vote for me, especially if you don't like it, but would be greatly appreciated all the same! If you know of anyone else who may like to cast a vote - pass it on to ya friends and family...!!

Talking of Alexandra, it was her and Peter's wedding last weekend, and what a day it was - incredibly special and one filled with glorious memories! They are now sunning themselves in Aruba, woohoo! Congratulations you lovely pair. x

Textile Competition

I wondered if I could be cheeky and ask for your vote!! I have entered 3 designs on, this is a website that showcases designers work from around the world. Textile Republic is an ongoing design competition where winning designs and logos are used to create a line of fabrics, clothing, wallpaper, stationery, and other merchandise. Designs will be picked for production every 2-3 months. Every 4 to 6 weeks Textile Republic will select the most creative and popular (based on user voting) patterns to be printed by one of their manufacturers. Designers whose patterns are selected to be printed and sold by Textile Republic receive a cash prize for their design and a 5% royalty on profits.

You don't have to vote for me, especially if you don't like them!! But if you would like to find my designs, the design names are alphabetical and named as follows (or search by the name CinnamonToast):

'Apples Galore'
'Ditsy Floral (green)'
'Ditsy Floral'

If you know of anyone else who may like to cast a vote - pass it on...!!
Thanks again for your support.

Friday, 3 July 2009


Introducing 'Suzanne'...this lady has been named after my beautiful friend Suzanne, her feminine stance just reminds me so much of Suzanne, plus the style of dress is an era that Suzanne loves - the '20s! x

I have also changed 'Suzanne' into a Black & White version, which I feel works really well too.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Card Design printed

Here's the card design printed! I've printed it on to cream card and quite pleased with the result. I love cards that continue the design on to the back, it's all about detail - I love detail.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Card Design

Just having a little play with a design for a card - could be for any greeting card not necessarily 'engagement', it's only because I've used this for a recent order on an engagement card, will upload picture of the finished piece soon. The design close up is not good quality as it was created in another software package and not photoshop. Will need work on it.

Entry for a T-Shirt competition...

I entered a T-Shirt competition yesterday and felt I should use 'Alexandra' as the design. I changed the background to make it stand out a bit more, rather than it being a simple square. By creating swirls from the white background, I feel it looks as though 'Alexandra' has ripped through the t-shirt...but more dreamily! The winner is judged by votes and comments from the public (online), and a panel of judges - the most popular design wins. I'm not sure whether it will go through to the live site yet, but it was worth a go. Will keep you posted if I hear anything.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Beautiful Girl

(C) Christopher Ryman, Elizabeth Ryman & Anna Ryman - May 2009

We took this using my brother's camera and then changed it to sepia. I love sepia photographs, it adds such warmth to an image. There's just something special in this picture...!

Oh my goodness, I won...

I had some great news a couple weeks ago. I entered a photography competition - the chance to win £200 and the possibilty of your work being published for Marks & Spencers. Never did I expect to win. So when the email came through announcing the winner, can imagine my delight!

I took this image as part of a project I was working on about 'reflection'. That day I decided to go to Cosmeston (Penarth) to capture some images of the water and swans & ducks. As I stood at the waters edge, contently photographing the swans close by, I noticed in the background these two swans...I could not believe my eyes as I saw what was about to happen. I held my lens as still as I possibly could as the two swans elegantly glided towards one another, with necks bowed and a coy look in their eye, they formed this absolutely beautiful heart between one another. It truly was precious.

I hope this image will be published and be the beginning of what my heart desires...

A busy few weeks...

Well, it's been a very busy few weeks, hence lack of postings! Where do I begin...well, I can now reveal the 'lady' my sister-in-law has chosen to have named after her - so, here she is...welcome 'Anna' to the collection! Yey. Happy 30th!

New Lady Designs...

I have also added some more ladies to the collection! If you ever wonder how I come about the names of these ladies, well, each one is named after the special ladies in my life (family & friends), the only one I don't quite know how it came about is 'Isabella' - I just liked the name and it suited. The lady in the opening blog (often referred to as the Pink Lady) is called Alexandra, and Isabella (two ladies together) can be seen in the second blog. My brother's hoping to have one named after him...will 'Christopher' suit a lady? Hmm...maybe 'Chrissie' could be an option! Watch this space...

Here, I am introducing Mia (named after my precious niece, who was born nearly 7 weeks ago) you are lil one, love auntie beff x