'the life of a textile and surface pattern designer'

Posts tagged “Family



Whoever thought that a family outing to Lyme Regis, a small coastal town in West Dorset, little more than twenty miles from our home would be so inspiring!


I am really loving the pastel colours that were so evident within the town and thats from ME…. a girl rarely inspired by muted colours.


But don’t they look oh so gorgeous?! Thinking this may well be the inspiration behind the new brief that I start today.


Not only were the colours more inspiring than I could ever remember but there were lots of interesting shapes around too…


Aren’t these just so much better than ‘normal’ street lights!






Today, I had so much to say I thought I’d treat you to a little video post instead of typing it all. Just press play to get started!


The Plan 2013 from CLAIRE SMILLIE on Vimeo.

Mission Tree

Okay, so we blitzed the shopping last night….in and out of town in a couple of hours…most of which was in one department store where we may have ‘accidentally’ got a little carried away and overspent by quite a few £££. But, the kids are only little once and who are we to ruin the ‘magic of christmas’ for them?! And, you know what, Leon is such a sucker for a toy…I swear half of the ones we brought were actually for him!


Today I am living on a promise and I must must must must must must must do the tree with the kiddies before bed, I am working all weekend (yup, even Sunday…must.be.mad!!) and we have a christmas doo tomorrow evening (yippee!!! Love a good ole knees-up) so it HAS to be done today. So enough waffle from me, I’m on  a mission….. tree, tree, tree.


P.S : By the way, just incase you were wondering those designs ^^^^^^^^…NOTHING absolutely what-so-ever to do with trees or christmas or my mission…but they are a variant of a recent final design I created, so I thought I’d share with my favs! EnjoY!

One week to go!

So, its all here far too quickly once again and next week this time it shall almost all be over! And so far we are wayyyy behind schedule. No christmas tree, very little pressies and absolutely no food! To make it worse, Leon and I are both working right up to Christmas Eve…ekkk! Panic not though, it will all come together….after all, for the last ten years we have been the pro’s of pulling together a ‘Last minute Xmas’ (and we have even been known to have taken our tree down on boxing day! Our house is just far too small for a tree and two small children!) Whilst I am off to make a start on the last minute preparations, I will leave you with one of my recent final designs.


This design is a variant from my ‘Urban Line’ collection.

Moving forward…

Okay, wow….did I really last post on the 1st October…just about three weeks ago?!! Jeez, time for a BIG catchup as that ended up as a pretty monumental day and since then my feet really haven’t touched the ground.

So, let’s rewind back to the meeting I was off to….well it went well….really really well and let’s be honest it was a pretty life changing meeting.

The meeting had been planned for a good couple of weeks or so, but the day before, I faltered, so worried my design work wouldn’t be what they were looking for….so worried I would walk in and they would laugh at me….

but yet, in my heart of hearts I knew it was what I wanted so bad and that was why I was so worried about making the ‘perfect’ pitch.

Thank God for Leon….the day before…that Sunday when i was so worried to the core, he pushed and pushed for me to go to it and show them my ‘stuff’.

I was worried my sketchbook’s were too messy…..he was adamant it showed my passion

I was worried my drawings weren’t technically perfect…..he was adamant it was my style

I was worried I was self-taught…..he was adamant it showed my determination

So I went….

And I waited….

In the ‘White Space’…

Clutching sketchbooks and cushions, drawings and paintings, doodles and portfolios…..

My whole ‘art life’ in my arms….

Waiting for a lady named Katie….

Watching the clock…

worrying I was going to be in the wrong place at the right time….

or maybe the right place at the wrong time…

And then…

She arrived.

We walked to her office….

I remembered how minimilistic and professional it looked against how scatty I must have appeared balancing all my work below my chin and under my arms, hands full to the brim…

“So, tell me about yourself” was the first question

I thought for just a moment…..

and all of a sudden….

the heavens opened…

I literally flooded the next 30mins jumping up and down….

Inviting Katie right into my world…laying myself bare for her to see my design process…

flinging sketches, portfolios, products, fabrics, drawings and everything I had, in front of her like a crazy lady at a 100mph.

That was the only question she asked.

I never gave her chance to ask anymore.

She was so lovely and laughed, saying I’d answered all her questions in that first reply.

I promptly kicked myself for going off on one, at the speed of lightening….getting carried away wanting to show her everything.

Why could I have not been more professional….more reserved.

She said they’d get back to me in two or three days.

I drove the long drive home, wondering if perhaps I should have done things differently.

I got in the front door and there was a message…

A message from Katie….

asking if I could start tomorrow!

I didn’t even have to think about my reply…

my dream was coming true.

And then that evening, reality hit and I was worried…

Worried about my job…

Worried about the money….

Worried about childcare….

Worried about the travel…..

Worried I really wasn’t ‘good’ enough….

but you know what Leon wasn’t….

he knew, like he always does, it would be just fine….

everything works out how it’s meant to be….

and it did.

I have found my place, my home where I should be…

people who share my crazy passion for pretty paper,

paint, ink, collage, stitching and design.

Day’s spent designing,

creating art,

not necessarily worrying about commercial value,

but giving it soul….

I feel alive….

it’s all I wanna do….

I’ve been going to bed so damn late….

waking up so damn early…

and I LOVE it….

this is how life should be….

Leon was right……

Push your dreams forward because it’s pretty damn perfect X

Claire Smillie – First Year Student ‘BA Hons Design’, University of Plymouth (Somerset College) <<<<<< yes you read it right….that’s me….thats what the meeting was about…I’m a ‘mature’ student, with the most supportive husband, two GORGEOUS kids, ((my big ass Mac)) and the bestest job ever. Someone really must be looking down on me right now, because I can’t stop smiling to myself…. I  feel like the luckiest girly alive X

Family bloghop

I am so excited to be joining in with the lovely Margies family bloghop this month. Margie has been running this fantastic bloghop for a few months now and I have admired it from afar,  as I absolutely love the idea and look who’s taking part this month….MOI!  Thankyou so much Margie for having me and a big welcome to all you new readers!!! Just one thing you need to know about me…I love to talk ….so comments totally *make* my day and I am a BIG fan of twitter so follow mee!

The idea behind the bloghop is to post a picture of YOU with your family, as typically us scrapbookers are the one’s taking the pictures and are always missed out the shot!

So, after what was probably close to a million attempts, here is ours! This was one that I was determined to nail using the self timer on my camera inspired by the shots Karen Russell often shows on her blog….she has the most PERFECT knack of capturing  everyday shots.

You wouldn’t believe how many shots it took to get to this and it is still far from perfect!!

Here is the complete listing of all the others taking part in todays hop, if you haven’t already then you must pay them a visit…they have some wonderful photos and I am already feeling inspired for next months picture!

Margie   –      http://xnomads.typepad.com/blog

Carol Anne  –   http://www.scrappingthoughts.com

Monica    –     http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com

Jo       –      http://www.mrsbeee.blogspot.com

Ruth     –      http://www.chattycraftyartypig.blogspot.com

Jill     –      http://jillconyers.com

Claire    –     http://www.clairesmillie.wordpress.com

As you can see, I am the last blog for you to visit on this months hop, but before you log off make sure you complete the full circle and head back to Margie’s wonderful blog if you haven’t already…..did you notice she has a GREAT giveaway from Ella Publishing to win a photography ebook. Jeez, I could sooo do with winning that! Still not quite rockin those shots.

Before you go, if you haven’t already make sure you check out the Passion4Pattern bloghop that started from here on Saturday! It was sooo much fun. I joined together, with over 20 surface pattern designers to showcase some fabulous design’s……… think i’ve got a little thing for all this bloghopping now!

Knowing when to stop!

I have this ‘thing‘ when I’m creating a page or project whereby I go through stages and stages of loving it, then hating it, then thinking it’s okay, then hating it again, then loving it again and then thinking “ooooh I’ll just do this one last thing to it” Often that one last thing, is the most important and either makes it or kills it! But I just can’t resist taken it that one step further.

Here is a perfect example of this..a scrapbook page which I worked on Sunday evening, then when I came to post it yesterday I thought it needs a little more…something else……. so I fiddled some more and added bits to it and now I am totally and utterly confused which I prefer!

So, i’ve decided I’ll let you decide!!! I’d love to know which you prefer…the original here…..or the ramped up version below….

Taking it up a gear……….