Through the Lens: Nora’s World

    Through the Lens: Nora's World

Another Feature from the Inspiration Series! Today, it’s all about photography. I had the opportunity to talk to Nora, who I discovered on Instagram. It’s really great that she is so creative and has her own website exclusively for her photography..and she is only 13! I adore finding people of all ages who take up a hobby with passion and interest, and Nora is a such a great example! Read on to hear what she said about her creative process in the wide, wide world of photographing human subjects and more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Nora Powell. I’m 13. I fence, act, debate, and own my own photography business. I love to share my work on Instagram and have people view my work.

 What is your creative process like? 

Honestly, it’s not very professional as it could be. I don’t really sketch out ideas or plan very far in advance. I don’t post the photos I take for my clients on Instagram because I don’t use contracts with them, and I’m not sure they would be comfortable to have their photos on social media. I do post them on my website. For my Instagram, I just make plans with my friends and go to a nice location near me, and shoot. I don’t really plan those in advance at all. For all of my photos, my editing process is pretty simple. I just adjust saturation, contrast, sharpness, and other quick-fixes, depending on the photo.

Through the Lens: Nora's World
What are the things that inspire you the most?

The locations that I shoot at definitely inspire me. Other photographers are also a great source of inspiration. Some of my favorite photographers are Isabella Madrid (@isabellamadrid), Neville Caulfield (@nevillle), and Brittney Borowski (@brittneyborowski).

 How did you get started with photography? What keeps you motivated? 

I got started taking pictures on a trip with my dad to Bar Harbor, Maine. I took them on a small, orange, point and shoot camera. The location was so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist taking pictures. I fell in love with taking pictures, and have been doing it since then. Staying motivated in photography isn’t a problem for me. I love taking pictures, and that is all the motivation I need.

Through the Lens: Nora's World

What would your ideal day be like?

My ideal day definitely involves photography. It would probably take place in the UK. I love London and the British countryside is so gorgeous. I’d probably get a private plane, so I could travel around the countryside and take pictures in London. I would take pictures of the most in-demand models at the time, and have them featured in Vogue.

Through the Lens: Nora's World

  In the midst of creativity and life, how do you keep yourself focused?

Staying focused on different parts of my life can sometimes be challenging. I just try to do the appropriate things at the appropriate times. I focus on school at school, fencing at practice, and photography during editing seasons and photoshoots.

Through the Lens: Nora's World

 What’s the part in your creative process that makes you the happiest?

I love going out on location, and shooting. Editing can get very tedious, so I prefer shooting.

Just for fun: what is your favourite food and ideal outfit?

My favorite food is probably sushi, and my ideal outfit is a wine colored shift dress with a v-cut neck and black or grey heeled booties.

Through the Lens: Nora's World
What are three things that are key to taking a good photograph?

The first thing for me is to defy the “set” rules of photography. If you get a great shot, ignore the rule of threes or any composition rules. The rules can make a shot better, but they aren’t essential to getting a great photograph. The next component to a great photograph for me is to make sure you are enjoying yourself while shooting. If you are’t happy/ ready while taking pictures, you definitely can’t get your best/most creative shots. The third tip is to review photos while shooting. It’s very important not to take photos blindly, so you can make sure you are getting the shots you want and correct your mistakes before the shoot is over.

 What are your go-to tools and equipment you use? 

I currently use the Canon Rebel t3i with a Canon 50mm 1.4 or Sigma 24-70mm lens.

Through the Lens: Nora's World

What’s the easiest (and hardest) part about photography?

The easiest part about photography is probably taking family shoots outside. The hardest part is the editing process after an event. It can get very grueling and tedious.

Do you want photography to be your career? What type of photography are you interested in? Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I’m probably not planning on going into photography for a career. I’m very focussed on academics, and would probably like to go into a field like law or business. If I did go into photography for a career, I would definitely like to go into fashion. In a few years, I hope to be going to Stanford, on my way to business or law school.

Through the Lens: Nora's World

Could you imagine a series of perfect photographs and describe them? 

I would love to take photos on some of the beautiful landscapes on the 17 Mile Drive in California. I wouldn’t want it to be overly cold or foggy at the time of the day/year I take the photos. I would love to take pictures of a variety of models, male or female, and of all ethnicities. I would like the clothes to be similar to the ones that were shown at the Atelier Versace Couture Show.

Through the Lens: Nora's World
 It’s inspiring to see you focused on your creativity at such a young age. Who encouraged you to take up photography and continues to encourage you every step of the way?

My friends and followers on Instagram are my biggest encouragements to continue photography. I started photography because I was inspired by the beauty around me.

Through the Lens: Nora's World

Thank you Nora for giving us a glimpse in your photography journey! Wishing you all the best!

Find Nora here:

Instagram- Photography @efflorescing  Personal- @norapowell_ 

Nora Powell / Photographer
Nora Powell Photography

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Inspiration from Flavourknit

Inspiration from Flavourknit-

Hey everyone! I had the opportunity to talk to Masha of Flavourknit- who makes lovely crotchet and knitted dresses, dream catchers, earrings and more. I absolutely loved the cool vibe of their work- along with the detailing. Masha was kind enough to answer all these questions about her creative process and how she integrates it along with managing a business. Read on to find out more!

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Masha and I’m an owner of Flavourknit. There are 4 of us working on this project – I and 3 knitters / crocheters. All of us love knitting and can’t imagine our lives without it.

Inspiration from Flavourknit-

What is the hardest (and easiest) part of a creative business?

The hardest part of a creative business is to launch it and the most important thing is not to give everything up at the beginning. It’s also not that easy to run a business on your own without much experience. Although, there are always people who can help you;  it’s still very hard to make your own decisions, especially when everything is at stake.

 Inspiration from Flavourknit-

What inspires you the most?

I get a huge inspiration from nature, from photography, art and other projects. Now because of the crisis, more and more people are starting their own projects in Russia. I can see that from time to time when participating with Flavourknit in Moscow markets. And all of them inspire me more than everything else. They are strong, smart, intelligent and kind. They all have their own dream. And it makes them absolutely marvellous.

Since you live in Moscow, has the place inspired your designs in any way?

Sure. Moscow is huge and there are around 12 million people living here. It can effect or affect you in both ways, but still I love how people look in Moscow, especially these last years.

Inspiration from Flavourknit-

I absolutely love your dreamcatchers and cute accessories! Where do you come up with your ideas?

I don’t know how does it work, but all my ideas come really accidentally!  As for the dream catchers – I just came across some beautiful pictures on Pinterest and finally decided to create my own dream catcher. It took some hours to understand how to make it real and cute. All my fingers, table, clothes were covered with feathers and glue – but after all that, the final result really surprised me! Now I can’t stop making them, and have already carried out some workshops 🙂 And this is something that I’m proud of. I have never thought I’d teach people to make these things…I’m so happy!

Inspiration from Flavourknit- 

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I know this question is very important but I really don’t know. I guess i can move somewhere to the seaside, but not sure. However, we never know what the future brings! 5 years ago I planned to become a famous lawyer and now I knit and make dream catchers.. Who knew?! 🙂

Inspiration from Flavourknit-

How did you start your business? 

I was always looking for something interesting and creative…And then I just did it. I mean just found a team, made some trial orders and created my first collection. It wasn’t easy – it took some time to arrange everything but somehow it all worked out.

How long has crotchet and knitting been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I started to knit when I was just 10-12 years old. After that I was too busy with my school and uni.. And only this year I decided to start over again. And I’ve never knew this hobby will anyhow be converted to the business like that…

 Inspiration from Flavourknit-

Just for fun: What is your favourite outfit and food?

Hmm maybe i should say dresses as we have more than 80% of dresses at Flavourknit. But still I really like skirts 🙂

I’m a fan of Italian food. And I like sweets! All kinds 🙂

Inspiration from Flavourknit-

Could you describe a typical day at work?

Unfortunately, it’s not that romantic as it could be since i have to work as a foreign trade manager 5/2. That’s why it’s started at 7 a.m. when I wake up for my first full time job. Btw, I like working in the office. I think everyone should try it. It really disciplines you, make you more organized and serious, Haha, yes, I like to be creative too, but can’t imagine my life without this experience! I’m working on Flavourknit every evening. Every weekend. Every holiday. In other words when I don’t go to the office.

Now it’s getting harder since I really need some more time to do everything I want. And Flavourknit becomes bigger and bigger, but as I said we never know what the future brings. Let’s see what we’ll do next – anyway our ’15-16 collection is taking more time than I’ve expected. Maybe I should retire finally 🙂 Will see!

Inspiration from Flavourknit-

Thank you Masha for a glimpse into the world of Flavourknit! All the best to your future and keep knitting!

Follow Masha and Flavourknit here:
Instagram: @flavourknit
Inspiration from Flavourknit-
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Inspired to find Inspiration

Finding Yourself

I got a new computer. So..even though I’m clicking a lot of pictures; I have to install the camera processing etc on the computer..and. I haven’t got around to doing it yet. Still, I feel compelled to write, just write.

I went out for a day trip, and it was a nice, peaceful trip to a farm which had shades of everlasting green and pops of colours- yellows, lavenders, pinks and purples and sunny oranges. Love it. The worst part? I forgot to pack my notebook that I carry around with me practically everywhere…and I didn’t think of carrying my little art sketchbook at all. I was just so bummed…here in this beautiful place with the breeze, the fresh smell of grass, cats and florals..and I didn’t have any of my ‘tools’.

Due to a lack of planning? Maybe, yeah. And some of that blissful ignorance. The trip was planned pretty fast, and I just found out we were going to a ‘farm’ somewhere far, far away. How was I to know it wasn’t a dingy, brown red terrain with squelching mud and rows of crops? It was green and clean and flowery and modern. Yup, it was a modern farm, which specialised in seed production and natural products. No nasty chemicals and fertilizers lying everywhere. It was more like a green resort- and back to the point- I love, love sitting down in nature and writing down ideas and plans and just notes about anything that’s on my mind.

Yet here I was, without a pen, book or anything to note down my thoughts. I suppose I could have asked a farmer (or the interns roaming around-yes, modern farms have interns too) but then I thought-

Leave it.

Sometimes things happen for a reason. I’ve been working pretty hard the past few weeks, with my pen and paper at hand pretty much all the time. Maybe this had happened so that I could just..relax and get inspired. By not thinking about any work related thing. At all.

And I didn’t think about anything. I didn’t even take the sneaky way out by writing notes on my phone. So over that. I just walked around the different plants that were growing, snapped pictures of flowers and trees looming high up in the air, picked cherries and played with the friendly cats and dogs in the farm, fed rabbits, watched ducks waddling, cows ploughing the golden brown fields, drank lemonade and picked and avoided ants getting in my food.

It was good, to say the least. And sometimes, really not thinking about something is the best way to get inspiration for it. I’ve been  spending so much time on my phone and computer lately and today, I practically forgot about them. (Except, of course, I’m typing this up now on the computer. But I’m not just surfing.) And it was great to not think, just feel that inspiration is there.

And that’s kind of inspiring.


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Why I blog

Why I blog: For the love of Blogging via Opinion9.comThis post is the first post from a series called ‘Essays’. Plenty of firsts this week; stay tuned.

WHY I BLOG. It’s hard to say why I blog. And terribly easy at the same time. Let’s start with some reasons that are at the top of my mind right now:

1// I blog because I love writing.

2// I blog because I love seeing my work published anywhere and everywhere.

3// I blog because it gives me an opportunity to write. And write.

4// I feel a sense of accomplishment when I blog.

5// I blog to practice and sharpen my photography skills (over at Surely Simple)

6// Other bloggers who have been perfecting their art for years now inspire and motivate me to blog.

7// I blog because it’s just the most wonderful feeling. Even now as I’m writing this, the music’s playing, and the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard adds to it; just the best time.

8// I blog because it gives me direction. I love creativity and expressing my self anyway I want to; whether it be in words, illustration or photography is amazing. Really it is.

9// I blog because I’m the boss of my own life. Or aiming to be anyway. This little blog in the vast land of the internet is my space to say whatever I want. And I love that.

10// I blog because I interact with so many people. Indirectly or directly. Like you, for instance. Thank you for reading this.

Well, here are some reasons why I blog. I’d write a longer post (which is what this ‘Essay’ series is all about, but now I’ve got a little creative project to dream up for Surely Simple. Blogging is hard work, you know! Especially right at the beginning. I know. Because I’m standing right there.)

I’d love to know why you like to blog. Or would like to start to blog. Or just read blogs. Anything related to blogs, really. Tell me in the comments below!



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Hand Drawn Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via

Hello! I recently discovered Zuer Designs on Instagram, and I absolutely loved the clean lettering and simplicity with which Jo creates! I contacted her to get some more insight on her work, and here’s what she had to say.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Jo, I’m 21 years old and I’m the creative designer behind Zuer Designs. I’m currently a student here in New Zealand, in my last year of my undergraduate studies. Handwriting related arts have been a passion of mine ever since I was 8 or 9. I’m also a huge stationery junkie and love collecting pens (especially fountain pens) which helped to fuel my handwriting passion.

I remember from when I was younger that for every friends’ birthday I would buy them an art or crayon set. Looking back now, I should have considered the appropriate toy, but obviously, stationery was, and is, more important! Apart from lettering and writing related things, I am known to be a bit of a Minecraft fan. I was that one girl who spent her whole summer stuck glued to her computer playing Minecraft. I’m actually a bit embarrassed to admit that, but we all have embarrassing moments, right? In the next few years I aim to pursue postgraduate studies while growing Zuer Designs on the side.


What is your creative process like?

My current creative process begins with finding a source of inspiration which is often times based on my emotions and the mood at that moment. If anything significant is going on in my life, it reflects through my lettering pieces. Same goes for any inspirational pieces that I find. It sticks with me until my next piece of work. I’m an avid journal writer as well, so all my thoughts and ideas are noted down. I constantly flip through my journals when I’m stuck for ideas. I also like to take lots of breaks to make sure I actually like what I created two days later. Kind of like self reflection. Enjoying what I do is ultimately the most important part of my creative process.

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via

What are the things that inspire you the most?

Definitely the works I see on Instagram. I love following different creative individuals and getting inspiration from their pieces. Alongside drawing inspiration from my emotions, I’m also inspired by the lovely atmosphere and environment in New Zealand. So when I do use colour, I draw from the colours I see around me.

How did you get started with lettering/calligraphy? What keeps you motivated?

I got interested in handwriting thanks to the penmanship lessons we used to have in primary school (pen licenses, anyone?), which eventually evolved into a love of hand lettering over time. I actually discovered lettering through the explore feature of Instagram. I thought it was really neat and wanted to give it a go of my own. Believe me when I say that I was absolutely horrible in the beginning! I did give up at one point but the encouragement from my friends kept me going. Every time I bump into a friend that I haven’t seen in a while, they always talk about the lettering that they see me post on social media, which really makes me smile and keeps me going.

What would your ideal day be like?

My idea of a perfect day would definitely consist of lettering and playing Minecraft while sipping coffee. If I’m with friends, I quite like relaxing at the beach or getting together to have a good meal. I’m always down for exploring new and interesting eateries.


In the midst of creativity and life, how do you keep yourself focused?

It’s almost as if lettering is part of my life. It sounds so cheesy but I always spend an hour or more of my day sitting down and writing something down. Whether it be in my journal or lettering, I always have to do it. I don’t have to set aside time for it, it kind of just happens. It’s never a chore.

What’s the part in your creative process that makes you the happiest?

Seeing the final product makes me really happy. I know that for a lot of other people, seeing others happy with their work makes them happy, but for me, I feel like I have to be happy with the final product myself before I share it with others.


How do you juggle a business along with maintaining your creativity at the same time?

I’m not exactly an expert since I only just started my small biz less than a month ago, but I think that being creative part of starting or owning your own business. If you’re not creative with your ideas, you won’t stand out from the crowd, so having a business means that you’re always challenging yourself and coming up with new, creative ideas. You’re becoming more creative as your business grows. It’s kind of a cycle, you see.


What is the hardest (and easiest) part about starting a creative business?

The hardest part for me was actually taking the plunge and opening my Etsy store. I toyed with the idea of starting up Zuer Designs for almost a year before I made an account on Etsy. It then took me another month to actually decide to open up a store and set everything up.  After I made the commitment, everything because a little easier, although nothing is really that easy in the beginning! The easiest part for me was deciding what I wanted to be involved with, which was hand lettering.

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via

Just for fun: What’s your favourite colour and outfit staple?

My favourite colour is a dark purple. Clothing wise, I’m pretty much always seen in head to toe black which I would like to get out of but it’s such a comforting clothing colour! My staple would be either a plain black tee or my black Dr. Marten boots – I can’t decide since I always wear them together!

How did you come up with the name for your brand?

Zuer is actually my Chinese first name phoneticised, and the Design part is self explanatory, haha. I wanted to bring in a bit of myself into the brand so I thought that my name would be interesting.


Find Jo and her work here:


Thank you Jo,  for giving us an insight on your creative process! It was lovely talking to you!
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