#30dayjournal Harvest


The very last challenge for the #30journal challenge, Lisa Sonora asked us to ‘harvest’ the best ideas and discoveries from the month long journaling process.

#30dayjournal - Day 31: Extra Task

#30dayjournal – Day 31: Extra Task ‘Harvest’


Finding Inspiration

#30dayjournal - Day 17

#30dayjournal – Day 17: When Sparks Fly sketchbook journal page

As mentioned in my ‘Week 3’ post this page was heavily inspired by the wonderful work of Ingrid Dijkers, Teesha Moore and Jenndalyn.  By creating this page I have discovered new opportunities with my own journal page making.  It helped me to established what I liked and valued within my own work and that I realised I prefer using hand drawn imagery instead of found images.

The Rabbit and the Hare

#30dayjournal - Day 19

#30dayjournal – Day 19: Use Whatever You Have Got

A couple of years ago I created a random doodle of the half human half rabbit character that found its way onto the page above.  This is a character I had always intended to come back to, particularly for for my cloth doll making.

30dayjournal - Day 22

#30dayjournal – Day 22 ‘Love the Moment (Right Now)

I had recently made a decision to revisit some other old work inspired by Spring and now that I was reacquainted with this character, it made sense to change the rabbit into a hare.

#30dayjournal - Day 23

#30dayjournal – Day 23: Accessing Your Genius

After a bit of research, I realised that the hare is a fascinating creature that has been highly regarded in many cultures.  Not only is the hare a symbol of rebirth and fertility but it also has strong connections to creativity, fire and the circle.  As a hoop dancer, who has dabble with a bit of fire dancing too, this seemed like a coincidence not to miss.

#30dayjournal - Day 25

#30dayjournal – Day 25: Dare to be Powerful

Since then, I have become a little obsessed and excited by using this incredible animal as a muse.

Artistic Mantra

#30dayjournal - Day 27

#30dayjournal – Day 27: Make Your Own Mantra

This journal prompt has helped to remind me that nothing is set in stone and that I am not committed to anything when making art.  Of course have an aim, but remember to keep an open mind and resist the temptation to become cross or angry if things do not go to plan.

#30dayjournal - Day 17

#30dayjournal Challenge Week 3

As I have progressed with this challenge (which I am now utterly behind on!).  I feel that these prompts have really helped me to identify and develop the visual language that I want to express as the Vaudeville Hippie aesthetic.  Now I am not sure whether this is because I am more regularly creating pages, and therefore I am becoming more confident with my journal page making, or if these prompts have tapped into the necessary part of my subconscious to allow me to express my ideas.  I think only time will tell.

#30dayjournal - Day 15

#30dayjournal – Day 15: The Art of Resting

#30dayjournal - Day 16

#30dayjournal – Day 16: If You Are Going Through Hell

#30dayjournal - Day 17

#30dayjournal – Day 17: When Sparks Fly

The page above ‘When Sparks Fly’ was a real turning point in my #30dayjournal challenge journey, because the the prompt asked ‘who rekindles my creative spark?’.  As mentioned in the #30dayjournal Challenge Week 1 post, I have been really inspired by the journal pages of Ingrid Dijkers, Teesha Moore and since then I have also fallen in love with Jenndalyn‘s pages, who I discovered on Pinterest. What most inspires me about all three of these artists is their use of pattern, and I therefore used pattern as my starting point. The pink background was most definitely influenced by Teesha Moore’s vibrant use of colour.

#30dayjournal - Day18

#30dayjournal – Day 18: Don’t Give Up

#30dayjournal - Day 19

#30dayjournal – Day 19: Use Whatever You Have Got

#30dayjournal - Day 20

#30dayjournal – Day 20: What’s Right With You?

#30dayjournal - Day 21

#30dayjournal – Day 21: – Find your Higher Purpose

My favourite page has most definitely has to be this one above; ‘Find Your Higher Purpose’.   I wanted to explore the journaling process, to help with the development of my cloth doll making.  This page really reflects where I am at and where I would like to explore next.  I have always been fascinated by the concept of ‘Goddess’ and the feminine devine.  This is a topic which I have come back to over the years and this is probably why I am so drawn to Tribal Fusion Belly and Hoop Dance, which both seem to fit effortlessly into this area too.

With Spring just around the corner, I really like the idea of embodying the story of Spring into my next cloth doll.  I will be sharing this new journey on this blog.


#30dayjournal - Day 3: Daring Trumps Discipline

#30DayJournal Challenge – Week 1

I have had a keen fascination with the art of sketch book journaling since buying Lisa Sonora’s book ‘The Creative Entrepreneur’,  but I have only just recently, really fully engaged with the potential of this very personal and creative discipline.

My interest was re-ignited by the discovery of Ingrid Dijkers and watching one of her Youtube uploads ‘Journalfest Notebook’.  I really loved the diversity and creativity of this book that is inspired by woodlands, but was also intrigued by JournalFest, which, with a little bit of further investigation, led me to Teesha Moore’s website and her wonderfully intricate and colourful journal pages.

Since then I have been pinning like mad.  Whilst in this pinning craze, I remembered Lisa Sonora’s work and revisited her website that happened to be promoting the #30dayjournal challenge.  As with all new challenges, I spent time deliberating whether to sign up or not.  I am glad I did, because the theme for this year is ‘Fire’ and each daily prompt encourages participants to look deep within and face up to the daily fears of being a creative person and the challenges that accompany the prospect of putting your creative work out there, self and peer assessment, being daring, the art of courage and other similar themes.

Due to other commitments I have not always been able to journal everyday, but I have tried to commit to journal on those days where I have time, so I am sharing the results from week one.

#30dayjournal - Day 1

#30dayjournal – Day 1: Daring to Begin


#30dayjournal - Day 2

#30dayjournal – Day 2: Find Your People (set your life on fire)


#30dayjournal - Day 3: Daring Trumps Discipline

#30dayjournal – Day 3: Daring Trumps Discipline (I am daring to…)


#30dayjournal - Day 4

#30dayjournal – Day 4: The Cost of Perfection


#30dayjournal - Day 5

#30dayjournal – Day 5: What to do When Problems Overwhelm?


#30dayjournal - Day 6

#30dayjournal – Day 6: The Enemy of All Art (self-consciousness)


#30dayjournal - Day 7

#30dayjournal – Day 7: If You Struggle With Being Seen (courage)

A Cloth Doll for my mum, Guild Wars Inspired Ranger

“In a world torn by conflict, where human kingdoms are all but destroyed and guilds sacrifice all for a chance to control the Hall of Heroes, a champion must rise from the ruins of a once-proud land to lead refugees from the ashes and fulfill an ancient prophecy”. (http://www.guildwars.com/en/)

rowan foxglove


This cloth doll, Rowan Foxglove, is the name of my mum’s online Guild Wars  character. Her design is loosely based on the ranger concept art for this game, however I have used a lot of creative license and adapted the look to suit the requirements for a cloth doll.

 eco warrior


When designing Rowan, I always had the vision that her look would be influenced by that post apocalyptic, eco warrior aesthetic where clothing is fashioned and up-cycled from other garments in a thrown together need rather than for any fashion or style purpose.

make do and mend: the wrap top


This was actually a scaled down version of customised top I had made for myself.  I took two small sections of the jersey cotton and part cut into tassels.  These were stretched to encourage the edges of the fabric to curl.


This happened by chance, and it was really fortunate that when I draped the two pieces of jersey over her torso they hung nicely particularly when the tassels were tied together at the back.

the coat


The coat is made from scraps of a mixed woollen fabric and sewn together using my favourite stitch, the blanket stitch.  I deliberately placed the stitching outside of the seam to make it visible and to enhance the ‘make do and mend’ design ethos.


A small coordinating turquoise button has been used to decorate the front of coat.  I cheated a little and added a popper fastening in the inside rather than putting in a buttonhole.


The design is asymmetric  and curves around the length of the doll’s body.


the TRousers, boots and cuffs


Real leather was used to make to boots, which were sewn together by hand.  The cooper eyelets were also punched through using a hand hole punch tool.


Like Lazuli, Rowan also has leather wrist cuffs.  I discovered that this is a good creative solution to cover up the arm and hand join, which are made separately.


The trousers are made from a denim material and when fitted to the doll’s body, they were a little bit wide.  So another creative solution was to include the golden thread at the hips and criss cross the thread to echo the laces on the boots.

the hair and face


After the success of Amber’s doll, again I used acrylic paint to add the details and depth to the face.


Once again, I used my stripped T-shirt material to create the hair, which is becoming my preferred method and it is a really nice way to use up old jersey tops.

A Cloth Doll for Amber


“A bright blue pigment formerly made by crushing lapis lazuli.”

new design

Meet Lazuli, named by Amber, my friend and colleague at work and the person she was created for.

Amber has a wealth of creative interests and I always knew that this cloth doll would push me creatively to produce something that is entirely new.  This is the first doll that has been completely created from scratch, including the pattern for the body pieces.


 The Inspiration

Now I must admit that I did a bit of Pinterest stalking to come up with the original design for this cloth doll.  I went through Amber’s boards with a fine tooth comb and picked out elements that I thought would work together.  Her pins had a strong presence of blue, turquoise and purple feel, which naturally found their way onto the design of the doll.

The face, head and hair

The design of the face was inspired by a pin from KelleeArt, an illustrator who has most notably worked on the Monster High characters.  I wanted to recreate the enlarged eyes and pouting lips from this style of illustration.


Lazuli’s hair has been layered with different hues of blue and purple wool for each new layer, using a range of wool types to create texture and interest and to reflect the pinning board title ‘Hair’.


The ear was inspired by another pin showing a leafy looking elf ear and I loved this unusual shape.


painting the face

I have been very inspired by the painted cloth dolls from Pantovola Textile Folk Art by Anouk de Groot  I love the whimsical nature and individuality of these dolls and if I ever have any spare money would love to purchase one from  the Pantovola Etsy shop.

Therefore, rather than applying the details with water colour pencils and pigment pens, which I have been using up until now, I painted on the facial features with acrylic paint.  I referred to an image of Neytiri, the female character in Avatar to help create the blue tones needed on the face.  Painting definitely allowed me to achieve a greater level of depth on the face than the colouring pencils did.

the body, tail and wings

The body of this cloth doll was inspired 3D printed model from Bitgem.  When creating the pattern I narrowed the waist and accentuated the curves.


This then led me to complete the look with a corset that was made out of real leather.  Matching arm cuffs were also added around the wrists.


Like the image, I choose to include wings and a tail.


the legs

The lower half of the legs are centaur shaped, again using my own pattern and I was pleased with the end result.


However, I felt there was something missing when I assembled all the body parts.  I made a decision to recreate clubbing style fluffy boots.  This turned out to be an excellent way of using up tiny scraps of fabric.


cloth doll flower fairy by vaudeville hippie

A Cloth Doll For Esme: Flower Fairy

“And as the seasons come and go, here’s something you might like to know. There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around — in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature’s things, you might just see a fairy’s wing.” (Author Unknown)



Esme is a friend from college studying art and then Ba(hons) Contemporary Textiles Practice at UWIC together.  When I think of the textile pieces she created, I always remember a strong floral influence and therefore the cloth doll flower fairy was born. This doll has also been inspired by my childhood memory of flower fairies and our own beautiful flower border, which Steve has been slowly developing this summer.


the wings

My biggest success has to be the padded wings, which developed on from a technique I tried on the ears if the Machi, adapted into fairy elf ears on this doll and then onto a much a larger scale to create the wings.


To make them, I lightly padded the shape of the wing and top stitched the line details.  As you can see the wings have been decorated with pearls and small beads.


finishing touches

I managed to tuck the raw edges inside the body before closing together with a ladder stitch. Buttons were used for strengthening stitches and extra detail.


creating the look

I was fortunate to receive a selection of vintage fabrics including this delicate floral pattern used for the body.  This was my starting point for the colour scheme, choosing coordinating pale pinks and purples for the rest of her clothing.


The fairy look has been completed by adding a simple, yet raw edged waist wrap detailed with a matching button and decorative ribbons.  This was inspired by one of the first dolls I made from my Jan Horrox book.

Upcycled Crochet

Sunny Day Crochet

We were walking through Bournemouth Upper Gardens today and happened to walk past a lady sitting on a bench doing a bit of sunny day crochet.  However, as we got nearer I realised this was crochet with a difference because she was using strips of cut up carrier bags instead of wool.

I have only ever dabbled with crochet a couple of times, which was quite a few years ago, so I am not really up to speed with contemporary crochet practice and therefore I have never seen this before.

Recycled Crochet

Out of interest, I did a quick google search for ‘recycled carrier bags crochet‘ and it turns out that this quite a popular idea.  With the rise of eco design and the trend of up-cycling I am not surprised, but really pleased that crafters and makers have shown that the issue of surplus plastic carrier bags can be re-used in a purposeful and creative way.

Reducing Plastic

Recently Steve and I made a decision to try and reduce some of the plastic in our home.  Now there is a big debate about this and surprisingly, research suggests that plastic production has a lower carbon footprint than paper and card.  Our reason for reducing plastic is the simple fact that some parts of our oceans have become areas of a ‘plastic soup‘ meaning that tiny particles of plastic are being mistaken for plankton by marine life who consume this, which is likely to enter the food chain.

After looking at a few ideas on Pinterest I am now keen to give this a go.  Lets hope this trend continues as designers and makers continue to lead the way in repurposing materials that would otherwise end up in landfill sites to create the very best in contemporary eco design.

Useful links:





Weekend Wish List – Back to School

As we reach the mid point of the school summer holidays, this week’s wish list looks towards new items for the new term.  This collection has a colour scheme of grey, yellow, brown tones, white and black and includes the very best of Etsy finds, both contemporary and vintage pieces.back to school etsy treasury by vaudeville hippie

What re your favourite back to school finds? Please share below!