Thursday, 2 August 2018

Big Ass Sighh Sale



Out with the old, in with the new. That's my mantra for this sale - even though there isn't a great deal of new and ready on the horizon just yet... JUST yet.

I went to university to develop my style, which I knew was stagnating. Back in 2014/15 I was making things that sold very well (by the standards of a 18 year old) however I knew I wasn't quite ready and had so much more to develop and learn before I could confidently fly the nest. And now, thank god, I have actually seen a progression in my design style and general industry know how. I've been ITCHING, YEARNING, to graduate and get on with it!

Throughout my 3 years at uni I brought out several new product lines, but eventually had to focus on my degree and let Sighh shred water until the FMP came and went. This means although the well loved items have stuck around, they don't really represent my style any more, and it's time to say goodbye.

WELCOME TO THE BIG ASS SIGHH (GRAD) SALE


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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Repeat Pattern Tutorial



Since launching my very first phone cases I've been questioned for design tips & tricks by fellow aspiring designers (well I guess I better start calling myself an actual professional now!!) who also want to turn their ideas into beautiful products but don't quite know how.

Once you have a repeat pattern, you can paste it into any product template and send it off to print. I've actually always made my existing products' patterns organically (example from the archives), but wondered how on EARTH people could be bothered to do that for wallpaper or hundreds of meters of fabric. I now think back to that time I tried to make 3m of patterned Christmas wrapping paper by eye with copy & paste. Well *cough* it turns out designers do not do that. Queue one of the only days at uni I thought the £50k might be worth it. 

I'm honestly surprised how many college students still say they haven't been introduced to Photoshop & Illustrator (we'll be dealing with Photoshop in this tutorial so I'm afraid you need to at least have your 30 day free trial running!). But even then, I've found there is SO much you can do that you don't even know to ask how to do. You know? That's why I'm happy to start adding to my 'Design Tips' Instagram highlight. I would LOVE to see my favourite illustrators doing the same, because once you've left design school and you no longer have that community to learn from, what can you do but fester in your own techniques?

WELL. You can seek out tutorials like this, and I also have another (very good) recommendation at the end of this post, so scroll on!
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Saturday, 14 July 2018

MY FAVOURITE TRUE CRIME YOUTUBE CHANNELS


Recently there has been a surge in (public) popularity for true crime - probably stemming from the infamous Serial podcast where millions got hooked on the did he/didn't he story of Adnan Syed. I think that's what started it for me too. These days at any silent interval - be it walking to the post office, cooking dinner or sat down designing - you'll find me listening with two ears or one eye to the story of an unsolved disappearance or a solved and fucking mental murder. Podcasts, books, Youtube & Nextflix - I'm over it all! In this post I'm going to share a few of the Youtube channels that I think are killing it at true crime.
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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Leeds Arts University Degree Show 2018


Next month I'll be graduating from Illustration at Leeds Arts University. Omg. I've been to the degree show each year, and wanted to continue the tradition of blog posting my personal highlights. This year I've tried to show the breadth of style on my course, as I know so many younger students may be interested in considering studying at LAU. Once I've managed to gather my thoughts I hope to write a few reflective posts about my three years here, so look out for that, but for now here are some pretty pictures!

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

2018 Vibes

Included: Alice Catherine & Lizzy Hadfield, Image sourced from Pinterest

SELF IMAGE

Since moving to Leeds for university, I've somehow lost my love and confidence for dressing. Wearing the same rotation of jeans, jumpers and trainers daily has decreased my self confidence and left me bored and unexpressed. In my gap year I got a job at Urban Outfitters for a couple of reasons, including the fact I had a load of great outfits but absolutely no reason to leave the house, and it was depressing. I'm not joking.  I get a lot of confidence out of looking my best (so shoot me) meaning this stagnation has sapped a lot of who I am out of the way I present and hold myself in public. Don't get me wrong, denim and jumpers are a crucial part of my wardrobe, but they'll be less for hiding from now on.

In 2018 I hope to invest in key, statement, wearable pieces that transform bland outfits into ones that have personality, and help me be myself. You don't have to be as eccentric as the lady who only wears the colour green to say this. Find the boots that make you strut the way you've always wanted to strut and the funky undershirt that allows you to wear deep plunge necklines without fear.

A sub goal is to reduce impulse buys and curate a wardrobe of investment pieces that feel me.



Included: Images sourced from Pinterest, Sighh greetings card, Photo by Joy Felicity Jane, Illustration by Josefina Schargorodsky

SELF IMPROVEMENT

I have witnessed a distinct development in my personality over the last 3 years, since leaving college. My social anxiety became horrendous, slowly improved, disappeared, gradually crept up, hit me like a fucking train, ebbed away with infrequent jabs and now finally... it doesn't feel like a problem any more. I have gained so much empathy and interest in those around me instead of shutting *everyone* out, expecting them to have bad intentions and hate me anyway. I have listened to activists on social media and truly opened my eyes and changed my opinions and become more critical of what I see, as well as open minded. However, I've also lost some of the key attributes of my old self that I valued. My huge passion and determination to achieve my goals and my self assured knowledge of what I wanted and getting rid of what and who didn't match it. My independent self. 

I took that brilliant Myers Briggs test (would recommend) before uni and was an INTJ, but had changed into another (which I've forgotten) by 2nd year. A key symptom, I realised, was that I couldn't make decisions. From choosing my projects at uni to what to eat in a restaurant, I didn't trust my own judgement and flitted between options wasting time until someone helped. I became almost mute in social situations because I didn't think I had a valid input, or I'd get it wrong. I'd also changed from a Ravenclaw to a Hufflepuff on Pottermore. I just didn't sign up for this as a side effect of fixing the parts of myself I didn't like. 

However, 6-9 months ago I realised all of this, and since then I have seen improvements. I guess this is all part of growing up and developing an identity and personality. Transforming from a naive teenager into an increasingly aware small adult as been difficult and confusing. But as mentioned, I think I'm coming out the other side now.  

In 2018 I hope to I want to live life for me, not the acceptance of others. I am in the process of accepting that what other people think of me is not always under control, and not always my fault. Other people's behaviour doesn't make me a bad person. All I can do is go through life with good intentions. I want to have faith that I will gravitate towards people who are genuine and supportive, with morals aligned to mine. I want to give my all to people who won't throw it back, but if they do, I don't want to take it personally. I want to be my own happy bubble that floats around, bumping into other people's bubbles and sticking to the good ones. 

If my only excuse is fear of what others will think, I want to go ahead and do the thing anyway.

In 2018 I also want to make a consistent effort to stay connected to my friends and family. Whenever I go home or have a long phone call with one of my sisters I leave feeling full of love. I'm so glad that we've grown up and hit the stage where we can be friends rather than arch enemies. I would willingly share makeup with both of them, now. My friends from home are really special. We've always been able to go long periods without talking and stay just as close, but I really want to be in more regular contact now. I want to be involved in their lives real-time rather than catching up on what's happened every 6 months over coffee.



WORK

2018 is going to be a big year for every area of my work life as I graduate this summer. I'll then be thrust into the world once more, ready to be 100% and completely in control of my life. Can't wait. Literally can't fucking wait.

However before I'm thrust from the system, I want to experiment with everything I hope to do freelance work for after graduation. I went to uni to become more confident in specific areas and I don't think I've actually achieved that. I really need to venture into something other than product design - my big comfy comfort blanket.

Importantly, I need to get more on top of the business side of my business. Have my accounts up to date, as well as important dates updated in my calendar. And get the most out of my accountant, who costs a lot. The truth is it's been incredibly challenging to even keep my head above the water over the past (almost) three years of university, balancing a business on my own. I've had to neglect it in order to focus on my degree, so the general mechanics are rusty and ignored, but I'm determined to resuscitate the shop and brand after graduation. I worked so hard to build Sighh up - and I see it as the backbone of my career.

In 2018 I want to develop and establish my brand. Illustrator, foodie and friend. Taking on jobs and putting things out there that represent what I want to be and do.



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Friday, 2 February 2018

Easy Miso Courgette and Fried Rice


If you're weaning yourself off eating so much meat, you might be finding it difficult to find that extra thing to put on your plate... to make it a 'meal'. A lot of life long meat eaters probably have the 'meat, veg, carb' mindset, so taking one part away can leave a hole that you itch to fill.

During Vegetarianuary I had to think up ways to stop me missing that significant element of a meal that meat has always been. I found that eating veggie for a prolonged period forced me to change how I viewed a meal - it doesn't have to follow the formula of 1/3 meat, 1/3 veg and 1/3 carb. But sometimes you want that extra element, and there is a lot you can do for replacements.

Yes this courgette could be chicken, but it's very good as not chicken. It adds the 'main' element to a meal like this which is what you might be missing, and the miso topping is incredibly flavourful and filling. I first tried it with aubergine at a really fancy Japanese restaurant and couldn't stop thinking about it. Determined to make my own I ventured to the shops only to find no aubergines in sight. Luckily, it's just as nice with courgettes, and as they tend to come in packs of three I've had this meal all week, haha!

INGREDIENTS


1 Courgette or Aubergine
3+ tbsp of Miso Paste 
Soy sauce
Chopped Spring onion

NOTES
Brown miso paste is preferable as it's a lot stronger, but if you use white miso just add in more soy sauce. Honey and powdered ginger (to taste) would work really nicely as extra ingredients.

METHOD
Half the courgette lengthways, then cut a hash all along the flesh to give space for the topping to sink in later. Grill for 30 minutes, or until well done. In the meantime mix up the topping ingredients, leaving the spring onion out for garnishing. When the courgette is done, spread a thick layer on top and grill for a further 10 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped spring onion.

Cooked rice of choice
1/2 medium white onion
1/2 bell pepper
1-2 chopped garlic
1/2 finely chopped fresh chilli or powder to taste
1 egg
1-2 chopped spring onion
2 tsp (or to taste) soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

NOTES
Fried rice is a really really simple, easy meal that everyone should know how to do. But until this summer, at the ripe age of 21, I did not, and I assume some of you won't either. I like to use microwave bags of rice for this but if you cook it yourself it will be miles cheaper. Sesame oil is an optional extra but v nice. This can make one or two portions depending on how much rice you add.

METHOD
Chop the onion into decent chunks, and the same with the bell pepper. Fry them on a high heat with your chosen oil. Chop the garlic and pepper and add them in, then once everything looks browned add the cooked rice. Stir in the soy sauce until everything is coated, then move everything to one side and crack in the egg. Move quickly because the egg will harden fast. Scramble it into little chunks, then once it's all cooked mix it into the rice. Don't mix raw egg into the rice, you want the scrambled texture. Mix in half the chopped spring onion before serving, then top with the rest.







I'm so happy about this dish. It's very straightforward and I know it will be a great meat-free pick me up when I want tasty, tangy food. If you make it, please let me know! :) I really enjoy food content and sharing meal ideas! 

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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Accomplishments of 2017

Inspired by Adam J. Kurtz' tweet asking people to share and celebrate their top accomplishments of 2017, I've had a little look back on my own milestones of the year.

I like the concept of the new year and the potential it inspires. I try to use that weird week between Christmas and NYE to reflect and plan. Planning makes me happy, because I always have aspirations brewing, ready to be written down in whatever notebook I've picked up this month. Reflecting is hard, though. I'm the kind of person who really doesn't like to look back. I'm always upset or embarrassed by the past, so when I first saw that tweet I closed it without much hope. 

The negatives tend to stand out to me. I finished 2nd year with a 1% drop in my grade, made less money with my business than the previous year, had a shit living situation until summer and have recently dealt with quite a lot of negativity. So I in general I focus on moving forward.

However, I had a scroll through my camera roll and realised there were things that didn't deserve to be dismissed. I've had a lot of happy moments this year, I've done multiple new things that I've been terrified of and put off for years (see 1, 2 & 7!). So here we go:


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