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18 August 2017

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Dachshund key ring by Adventures & Tea Parties. Great dog themed key chain for dog lovers and sausage dog owners. Available at Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Adventuresteaparties?section_id=18554798

Like the weather today (one minute glorious sunshine, the next minute torrential downpours and cracking thunder enough to make your heart jump), this week has been full of extremes. But, as I like to do every Friday, I'm going to focus on the positives from the week. The reason I do this? Well, it's oh so easy to focus on the negative and it's definitely something us humans tend to do, a bad default really. So, I like to end the week on a positive, putting myself in a happy frame of mind for the weekend ahead. I then like to pick out a selection of songs that I've either heard on the radio this week or choose favourites that always make me want to get up and dance my way in to the weekend.

Here are my five positives from the week:

Happy #1 / I've become completely and utterly gripped on the latest Paul Auster novel (a favourite author of mine) and I got to see old family friends who I haven't seen in five years! Lots of catching up was done, biscuits were eaten, several coffees were had and photos, of us all together, were taken. Happy times :)

Happy #2 / Ordered delicious yarn from Wool and the Gang for Christmas knitting projects. You can never be too early starting winter knitting projects, right?

Happy #3 / I figured out two new pin designs to join the #ColourMyEveryDay pin in my Etsy shop, yay! 

Happy #4 / Saw a sample of my latest design being expertly cut and printed by Bespoke Laser UK and oooh, I can't wait to show you all!

Happy #5 / My new fabric selections arrived in the post, ready for me to make new shop accessories this weekend. Head to my IG Stories if you fancy a sneak peek at them!

And here are five songs to kick start the weekend with :)

Ka-Ding-Dong by Captain & Tennille
Burning Down The House by Talking Heads
Let's All Go To The Bar by Deertick
Living on a Thin Line by The Kinks
Proud Mary (Rolling on the river) by Tina Turner

Happy Friday my lovelies, have a fab weekend!

14 August 2017

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

On Saturday I went on the Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk around the beautiful city of Wells, organised by myself and the fabulous Joanne Hawker. For those of you less familiar with a photowalk, it's basically a walk around a planned route where you have an opportunity to let the photographer or serial iPhone picture taker in you, take photos of absolutely anything that grabs your fancy. And the most wonderful thing of all? Everyone else in the group is doing the same thing, so you don't have to tell your mates you'll catch them up or get huffed at for continually taking photos. You are free to snap away! 

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

I had been on two photowalks previously to this, one up in Bristol and the second for the Blogtacular conference (head here to see the pics) and I loved them so much I couldn't believe I hadn't been on one sooner! What could be better then walking around a beautiful place with a friendly bunch of people who all want to do the same thing as you - take photos and chat. It's a truly wonderful experience and a great way to get to know people in a less formal capacity. And as someone who goes into a cold sweat doing formal introductions, this is perfect for me.

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

Organising a photowalk was, of course, a different kettle of fish to simply going on one. Figuring out the destination and the route, then crossing everything that people will turn up for it, certainly takes some prep but it's well worth it. If you're thinking of organising a walk, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to decide on a route and advertise it. Don't forget to have a back up plan too if the weather is bad or make a feature of the rain by encouraging everyone to bring fun umbrellas and wear bright wellies. 

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

Thankfully on Saturday the rain stayed away and we spent several fun hours walking around the Bishop's Palace in Wells before the sun finally caught up. We also couldn't resist the car boot sale that was on, each of us having no problem buying something! We ended the walk at a gorgeous cafe called the Square Edge, which not only serves delicious food and drinks but it is a very photogenic instaworthy place, bursting with old artefacts; definitely a place to return to.

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

On Saturday we weren't the only group going on a photowalk, lots of other Etsy regional groups were too with each team tagging their photos with #EtsyPhotowalk. So, if you fancy seeing where each group went, head over to Instagram and search the #EtsyPhotowalk feed for all the fab photos! And if you fancy seeing more pics from our Somerset Etsy Team photowalk, head over to our Instagram page where we will be sharing more pics over the coming weeks and have a look through the #SomersetEtsyTeam feed too!

Somerset Etsy Team Photowalk organised by Joanna Payne and Joanne Hawker. Blog post all about the event, with lots of photos.

Have you been on a photowalk recently? Where did you go and what did you love about it? I'm now itching to both go on and organise another one!

11 August 2017

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Red polka dot dog bow tie designed by Joanna Payne at Adventures & Tea Parties

Coooeeeee, that was a week and half! Way too much stuff to deal with than is healthy but it's Friday evening and I have the Somerset Etsy Photowalk to look forward to tomorrow, now that makes me happy. If you want to see where we're going on the photowalk (currently, it's TOP SECRET!), check out my Instagram Story feed tomorrow morning from 10am onwards!

Now as it's Friday that means two things: picking out five positive things that happened this week and sharing some songs with you all that made me smile, laugh, sing, and dance to this week.

Happy # 1 / The arrival of my latest designs, cut to perfection by Bespoke Laser, who are a dream company to work with. Not only are their laser cutting skills top notch but their customer service, professionalism and turn around is what dreams are made of.

Happy # 2 / This guy keeping me company in the studio. He may look grumpy but he actually has a heart of gold.

Happy # 3 / Eating pink soup with potato croutons. It is heaven in a bowl.

Happy # 4 / My blissful end of the working day walk, where I usually see the odd dog walker but on this walk the entire town seemed to be out. It was like Piccadilly circus and that made me giggle. I'd turn a corner, take a few steps and there would be someone else. I bumped into three lots of neighbours too. I also ate a load of blackberries straight from the bush that someone had cleared missed; they were yummy.

Happy # 5 / My dearest, most wonderful friends.

And five songs...

TCR by Sleaford Mods
Wow by Beck
(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) by Beastie Boys
A Far L' Amore Comincia Tu by Raffaella Carra
Put Your Money On Me by Arcade Fire

Happy Friday everyone, have a fab weekend!

4 August 2017

What's on the jukebox, Jo?


Street art from Shoreditch / Brick Lane, London. Photo taken by Joanna Payne, designer maker and creative freelance blogger at Adventures & Tea Parties


It has been rain central here in Somerset this week. Non stop in fact, which has meant hardly any walking for me but I'm hoping to get out this weekend, after I've checked out the latest exhibition at Ace Arts, of course. They have a pop up book themed exhibition, which I had a sneaky look at on Thursday but I'm going to immerse myself in it this weekend, heaven!

I hope you all had a good week? Any positive highlights? Here are my five happy things from the week.

Happy #1 / Saw my creative tribe at the Somerset Etsy Team meet up, which was fab. We had a really good chat about Pinterest. Head over here if you want to see what I've been pinning lately.

Happy #2 / Learnt how to do a provisional cast on in knitting (thank you YouTube!), so that I could start knitting a secret present for a friend :)

Happy #3 / Spent the majority of the week listening to TED talks while working. I learnt SO much and have come away from them feeling incredibly inspired and motivated. The people that stand up and do those talks are truly amazing and I cannot recommend listening to them enough. Click here and browse the topics or just pick something at random; seriously you won't be disappointed.

Happy #4 / Was recommended the Deliciously Ella cookbook by Louise Wright (FAB illustrator, who I interviewed here!), which resulted in a lovely chat about food and further lead to me going to the library and borrowing the cook book. Plan this weekend is to choose one yummy recipe to try out, yay!

Happy #5 / Nearly finished my first attempt at the Tilly & the Button's Cleo dress pattern. If you fancy a look see, head to my Instagram to see a pic of how far I got. I'm planning to take it in this weekend as it's a little big and then I'm super keen to make another one. Such a great pattern, which I can highly recommend if you're thinking of giving it a go! 

And, so that I don't break a habit of the blog, here are some songs that I had to play on repeat this week when I heard them on 6 Music. Pop them on, turn them up and have a dance!

Frontline by The Selecter
Gimme Shelter by Merry Clayton
If Before I Wake by The Districts
Nouveau Western bt MC Solaar
Dance To The Music by Sly & The Family Stone

Happy Friday everyone, have a fab weekend!

3 August 2017

Five minutes with Fairy Tale Collars

Fairy Tale Collars - UK indie brand. Interview with the designer/maker available at creative blog, Simple Stylish Makes.

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes I'm chatting with the absolutely, incredible designer/maker behind indie brand, Fairy Tale Collars. Her designs are totally unique, fun, colourful and make me feel oh so happy when I look at them. So get yourself over to the Simple Stylish Makes blog to read all about her creative inspiration and process and then go give her a follow on Instagram because it's a super colourful feed and definitely one of my favourite accounts to follow! 


2 August 2017

Gardening jobs for August

Gardening jobs for August. Some key jobs you can do in the garden this August. Article and image by Joanna Payne of Adventures & Tea Parties and written for Simple Stylish Makes

For all my green fingered friends, I'm sharing some gardening jobs you can do this August over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog. Click here to read more, then go put your wellies on and go garden!

1 August 2017

Meet the local artist - Victoria Fitton

I first came across Victoria Fitton this year via Instagram where her illustrations completely stood out to me. The range of colours, the soft and playful style, the gentle shapes, the beautiful patterns and the gorgeous themes of nature throughout. Victoria's style of illustration is the type that I cannot stop looking at and I know that when I seek it out, I'll instantly feel happy. And this extremely talented illustrator is local to me in beautiful Somerset, so I've been itching to learn more about Victoria and her work. So, let' find out!

Victoria Fitton, Somerset Illustrator. Interview feature at Adventures & Tea Parties creative lifestyle blog.

Hi there, can you tell my blog readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi there. I am a freelance UK based illustrator/designer. I live on a working farm in Somerset with my husband, 3 lively children, Willow the dog, 3 cats and many cows! I LOVE all that is farm life, but if I am not running around after cows or children, you will find me drawing, painting, snipping and sticking in my studio - my proper happy place!

Victoria Fitton, Somerset Illustrator. Interview feature at Adventures & Tea Parties creative lifestyle blog.

What kind of art do you do?
My work is typically stylised, nature inspired design and pattern, produced for the surface pattern industry. I enjoy using a mixture of mediums; inks, pens, collage with the overall aesthetic being hand rendered. I then clean up and develop further using Photoshop.

Victoria Fitton, Somerset Illustrator. Interview feature at Adventures & Tea Parties creative lifestyle blog.

How do you work and get inspired?
Inspiration is pretty easy to find and comes essentially from being happy inside. The happier I am, the more creative I am. Having said that, there are lots of little daily rituals for me, which rarely fail to get the creative juices flowing. First thing each morning at around 6am I take Willow out. One of our first jobs is to check that all of our cows and calves are happy and where they should be. Once we are satisfied all is well, we can really stretch our legs and soak up all that is around us. I am constantly looking at leaves and birds, collecting feathers, or bits of twig, anything that catches my eye as we walk. I often press flowers and leaves and use them to draw or print from. 

On return from our walk it's a mad dash to get everyone ready for school. Then once the school run is done, I treat myself to a cup of tea and a chill out for 20-30 min where I look at a couple of blogs, which I follow and a quick scan of Instagram or Pinterest. There are so many wonderful artists and designers out there who spur me on to do better and better. Pretty much as the last drop of tea hits my lips, I am ready to 'rock n roll' with whatever I have on the go at the time!

Victoria Fitton, Somerset Illustrator. Interview feature at Adventures & Tea Parties creative lifestyle blog.

What do you love about art?
I believe people should have beautiful things around them in their everyday lives, be it a dreamy hand thrown mug (I do have a seriously good collection of these), a print in a frame, a gorgeous applique quilt, or a floral design on a biscuit tin. All of these things just make life that little bit better! And I love the feeling I get from making art. I only hope that in some way, that feeling shines through in what ever I am making.


What's the art scene like in Somerset?
So alive and kicking! Right around the corner from me in Glastonbury, we have The Red Brick Building, an ex-factory site which has been rejuvenated by the community and hosts an ever changing array of art exhibitions, work shops, live music and seriously yummy lunches! 

Annually, we are lucky to have the Somerset Arts Week; an open studio event for local artists, designers and craftspeople, which invites the public to pop along and see their work. With maps provided and sign posted, it's the perfect opportunity to discover someone new.

Obviously there's masses more I could talk about, but a final little mention must go to The Frome Independant Street Market; a monthly event where the high street in Frome is shut off and taken over with stalls from local designers, producers and crafts people alike. Such a good day out!

Victoria Fitton, Somerset Illustrator. Interview feature at Adventures & Tea Parties creative lifestyle blog.

If you had to take only one art tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?
A pot of something would be great. Maybe ink. Maybe paint. Then I would find lots of different things, twigs and such like to use as mark making tools! Only this week, after realising that my dip pen had seen better days, I decided to use a cocktail stick to draw with. Who knew it could be so good? Where there's a will there's a way! 

If you could go to an Art Award evening with any 5 people (dead or alive, real or fictional), who would you choose?
I would be delighted to attend an award evening with Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely, Anna Bond, and Ophelia Pang, as with so much creative wowness between them, some is bound to ooze my way... and oh erm, Gerard Butler, as I am sure he would be a welcome addition to the group!

Thank you so much Victoria! It's been truly wonderful hearing all about you, your work, how you get inspired and what the art scene is like in Somerset. Keep up the beautiful work!

If you'd like to learn more about Victoria and see her work, head over to her website and don't forget to check out her Instagram page too, which is gorgeous! For previous 'Meet the local artist' features, click here and scroll away to your heart's delight!

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