Saturday, 26 July 2014

Personal | Hi my name is Cathryn

© Pencil Stitches
After a pretty long hiatus I feel like I am ready to start a-fresh on this blog. I started to become a bit frustrated with writing as I felt I had no inspiration or felt like I had nothing interesting to share. I would sit down at my computer for hours on end and just get severe writing/creative block.

I was even close to giving up this blog, but then I started to miss it and what its purpose was for. I thought about the direction I wanted to take this blog, as lets face it! I started 5 years ago and a lot has happened and changed. I want this blog to grow naturally with me.

I decided to give my blog a little bit of a re-vamp to celebrate that I am back and I love its modern yet feminine feel to it. I promise to finish off our travel photo posts, and to post more about life back in the UK. This blog will be about illustrations, life, fashion and travel. The things I love the most!

So lets start afresh…

Hi my name is Cathryn. I am 27 years of age and I live in the UK. I am married to an amazing husband and I am self employed starting up and running my own design business. I am pushing myself to believe that 'The world really is my oyster!'

Monday, 23 June 2014

Illustration | Drop waisted wedding dress for Juno & Joy the wedding blog

© Pencil Stitches | Cathryn Nicholson

Ok ok ok…. I have been SUPER quiet over here at Pencil Stitches. I guess it has taken a little bit of a back burner as I have started up a new company called 'Sincerely May'.

As you all know, I love a good wedding so I thought I would combine my love for design & typography and mix it with weddings & hen parties!!! If you are planning a wedding or a hen party, then please head over to Sincerely May for some paper goodness! Here you will find modern and contemporary wedding stationery & hen party badges that will reflect the bride and grooms as a couple.

Its been hectic, I am not going to lie but its been so rewarding. I have loved every minute of it and I know I am on a bit of a roller coaster but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am slowllllly getting close to that bright light. Although I know I have a way to go!

I have also been approved to sell on Not On The Highstreet, so head on over to have a nose. This was a huge achievement for me and I think its a great move for Sincerely May

In the mean time,  I am still illustrating when I get a spare minute and I was asked by the lovely wedding blog Juno & Joy to create a set of wedding dress illustrations. The first one has just been posted so head on over to have a look!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Travel | Australia..The Start of the Adventure!

© Pencil Stitches | Cathryn Nicholson
Ok, so I have finally got round to posting a 'few' photos of our trip. I say few, as we took just under 2000 photos within the month. We could of taken a lot more but there was days when we didn't take the camera out as we wanted to sink in the sights & sounds without any technology.

I will start from the beginning as thats always the best place to start ;) We both knew we were moving home to the UK and I basically put my foot down saying I was not leaving Australia until we swam at the Great Barrier Reef. What started as a 2 day weekend in Cairns followed by Thailand led into a full on road trip of the east coast of Australia!!

I was so glad we decided to do this though as it was my favourite part of the whole trip. When we mentioned to our Australian friends what we were doing, we were given very bemused looks asking us if we realised how far it was!! We just both nodded our heads nervously wondering what we had signed up for!! Eek!

We hired a Jucy camper van and we navigated our way up the coast with a map and absolutely no plan other than knowing we had to be in Cairns to catch our plane on a certain date. We packed our house into a container, and had to hand the keys back on the same day. When we handed our keys back to our home in Australia we both got in the van and looked at each other nervously. Alex drove away from the place we called home for 20 months. We had no itinerary, we didn't even know where we were sleeping that night. We just drove... and so the adventure began from Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Illustration | Diptyque Candles

© Cathryn Nicholson 2014
I couldnt resist illlustrating these beautiful Diptyque candles. Don't they just have the prettiest packaging? They were just begging to be drawn.

I have been playing around with watercolour a lot more than I used too. I feel it adds more of a feminine touch too.

Which one is your favourite fragrance?

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Watch | John Hegarty 'What it is to be a Designer'

I came across a video on YouTube a while ago about John Hegarty and I recently stumbled across it again more recently. I thought I had to share it with you as it really sums up what it is to be a 'designer'.

I then started looking at the series of videos that 'Quite Frankly Productions' had created and I found them so inspirational I put together a few of my favourites... if you have a spare few minutes I would suggest that you watch them :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Personal | National Trust - Saltram House

Since being back in our home town Plymouth, we are seeing it through different eyes. We were asked many times by our fellow Aussie friend whether we had been certain places. We shamefully had to say no!! Alex & I made a pact to ourselves that if we ever moved home we would see more of our home country!! 

So off we went to Saltram House! I live 10 minutes from this National Trust property and I had embarrassingly never in to the house. I had done the walk around the property more times than I can count on my hands. As soon as I walked in I wanted to kick myself. It's a true beauty!! The original builder of this house had a fascination with symmetry, a fellow designer after my own heart. The detail each room holds is incredible, even down to the door handles and skirting boards. I fell in love with the wallpaper and bed furnishings. Especially that bed!! The colour combinations are real pretty.

I also have a large fascination with copper at the moment (see my pinterest board here), so when I walked into the kitchen my eyes lit up! I felt like a child at Christmas. If I wasn't such an honest person, I might of bagged one of those saucepans. I also want to know where I can buy a copper sink.... anyone?!

We visited on quite a grey day, so I would love to return in the summer and explore the grounds more with all the hide away gardens as they were begging for a picnic. If you are local to the area, I would truly suggest going along for a visit.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Fashion | Skate of Mind

Images source: Selfridges
I love it when I see sports such as skating and surfing trickle into high fashion magazines. When I heard Selfridges were doing a large worldwide skate campaign I couldn't wait to take a look. They have teamed up with some of the worlds biggest and moved loved brands to create exclusive limited edition skate decks. 

I have tried skateboarding once or twice and failed miserably. I could never get over that fear of concrete. However due to this fear I completely respect it as a sport and understand how dedicated & brave great skaters are.

I am sure Jayne Min of Stop It Right Now has a lot to answer for, mixing skateboarding with high fashion with her DIY Celine style skate deck. I can remember she had a waiting list for those babies. I would love to buy a few of these decks and put them on a wall. Wouldn't they would make amazing works of arts?!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Illustration | Valentino Rockstuds

Since being home I have been working on some new prints to add to my Etsy store. I felt it was looking a little bit unloved. Whilst I was travelling I decided I needed to add a new variety of prints to my store so I have slowly been chipping away on my list of 'to-do's'.

First on my list was the Valentino Rockstud's in a variety of colours to suit all. I will be selling a print with all three colourways on. I am also on the lookout for a new printing company to sell my prints on, so if anyone knows of a decent company please let me know!! They don't seem to be an easy find in the UK.

So what colour would you go for? Black, nude or pink?

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Personal | We are back!!

I'm back! Its been a while since I last blogged as a lot has happened. We have been back in the UK for just over 2 weeks now and things have been a bit crazy trying to 'start again' (we are pro's at this now it seems) and trying to settle back into daily UK life.

I will be doing a few blog posts over the next few weeks about our travels around Australia & Thailand. We have seen some incredible sights. We both feel incredibly lucky to have experienced the things we have and I can't wait to share a few of them with you.

We are missing the warmth a little bit and our tans our all but a memory now, but we are holding on to the fact that it will soon be Spring here in the UK and winter in Australia. I'm a glass half full kind of girl.

It was nice to have a break from the blog as it made me re-evaluate what I want to do with it and where I want to take it. You might see a few changes around here, but hopefully for the better.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Personal | Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014!!

Umm... is it just me but where has 2013 gone? I am shocked to think I am writing this blog post when to think it was only yesterday I was summing up the year 2012. (You can read that here.)

But wow, what a year 2013 has been. I cannot wait to close the '2013' book and open a new book for 2014. 2013 was not the best year that I have had. As I sit here reflecting on the year, I could genuinely say it was one of the most challenging and hardest years of my life. I truly changed as a person and saw the world through a different set of eyes.

We made one of the hardest decisions to return to the UK in January 2014. I know it won't be easy settling back in and it will be a big challenge. However I am learning that Alex & I never like to take the easy or safe route. We have had mixed reactions from our friends and family about us coming home to the UK. "I think your crazy to leave Australia" or 'What will you do for work?" "Are you not going to miss the weather". And you know what...Yes, we might be crazy. Yes, we might struggle to find work, and Yes, I am sure we will miss the sunshine after 6 months of rain, but guess what... I am not going to let weather rule my life! My mantra in life (passed down from my Mum) is 'Everything happens for a reason, and it will all work out'. We made this decision for our own personal reasons and not everyone will understand them.
As we are currently on our road trip driving from Geelong to Cairns seeing how vast and beautiful this country is. ( we are currently on our way to Coffs Harbour!) We are going to miss some ways about Australia, but we know it's the right time for us. I thought being stuck in a camper van I would struggle. However I love the freedom of seeing somewhere new each day. I feel incredibly lucky to be having this experience. I can genuinely say I am loving every minute of it!

2013 was a year for:
• seeing our best friends get married
• organising the hen party of the year.
• going home to the UK to reflect on what is important in life.
• starting our amazing Aussie road trip from Geelong to Cairns.
• seeing Jervis Bay & Caves Beach.
• visiting the Blue Mountains.
• losing one of the most important ladies in my life. My Nana. 
• losing my great uncle who was a major player in our tight knit family.
• celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Sydney.
• Visited the beautiful Tasmania.
• Discovered my love for Coffee!! 
• Quitting my job as a designer at Target to venture back to the UK.
• had my illustration work published in one of my favourite magazines 'White Magazine'
• created an illustration for 'Laura Ashley' for a re-release of their perfume.
• Had some work published in 'Shop Girl'.

So what have I learnt?

• That I could not do any of the above list without my Husband. I can not thank him enough for supporting me and getting me through the tough times. 
• That family is SO important to me. 
• That if your not happy, you need to re-evaluate what is important to you!
• Money does not bring happiness
• To not worry about what others think!
• To stick up for myself more! 
• Hard work does pay off eventually.

So there you have it! Last but not least thank you for reading and following along on the adventure. I love keeping this blog as it documents life as it happens and it's so nice to look back on as the years go by! Who knew I'd still be writing hey! I hope you have a lovely New Years Eve! See you in 2014!!!