365 Day Art Challenge!!! // Sunray Sister


On November the 1st 2017 (that’s tomorrow!), I am starting a 365 day art challenge!


For a whole year, that’s 365 days in a row, I am challenging myself to consistently create a piece of art.

I have been inspired by the Inktober challenge that takes place in October every year, mainly on Instagram and YouTube, set up by the artist Jake Parker. Many other artists have also embarked on 365 day challenges, so I have been inspired by them too, especially Sally Nixon and Leigh Ellexson.


There are three huge main reasons for me choosing to start this challenge:

  1. To develop a habit of showing up every day, building constant momentum, and generally just treating my art as my daily 9-5 job that I want it to become.
  2. For the natural result of doing something every day: to practice and get better.
  3. To build my portfolio. I realise that this is just a personal project, but it will be my ‘proof of concept’ to say “hey look at me, I create art, I’m good at it and I show up for it every day”.


Every day I will create a piece of art. Whenever possible I will make it the first thing I do when I sit down at my desk, but it doesn’t matter if it’s the last thing I do. As long as I show up every day.

To make the year a little more manageable, I’ve decided to split it into monthly themes, which you can find below. And within each month I will give myself a list of daily subjects to translate into art.

Other than that I’ve decided to keep material options wide open, so that some days I can do a simple line drawing with a pen, some days I will get my watercolours out, and other days – when I have more time – I could create a collage and acrylic paint mini masterpiece. Although I think I will stick to around A5 size for each piece.


For accountability I will be sharing my daily art on Instagram every day, and also here on my blog every day. I will probably post on Facebook too, maybe not every day, and possibly create a few YouTube videos along the way to document my experience.

If you fancy getting creative every day for a whole year, you can join me! Just use the hashtag ‘#sunraysister365’ and tag me in your post @sunraysister. I will publish each month’s daily prompt list – in all the usual places – a few days before the new month begins. You can find the first month’s prompt list at the end of this post, or on Instagram and Facebook.

Ok! Let’s do it!

Yes! So that’s all the details of my 365 day art challenge, now let’s get to the monthly theme list, and more importantly the first month’s daily prompts!

For the majority of the monthly themes I chose clear, wide open subject areas which I am interested in making art about. Some of them are a little less obvious though, so I will clarify them more when we get there.

The first month’s theme is FACES. There are 30 days in November, so I have made a list of 30 prompts to apply to a face and translate into art.


That’s it! Feel free to comment below with any questions or ideas. And please remember, if you decide to take part, tag me in your posts and use the hashtag #sunraysister365.

See you tomorrow for day 1 out of 365…



Peace and love,

Rachel x


October Happy Highlights // Sunray Sister Monthly Favourites


Can you believe November is almost here! What?! October has been a month of creativity and adventures, just what I love.

What were your favourite moments and proudest achievements from last month? Share your stories in the comments below, or over on Facebook or Instagram.

Without further ado, here are my October happy highlights:

  1. At the start of the month Fraz and I enjoyed a visit to Biddulph Grange Garden, a national trust property and garden not far from Leek. The gardens are the main feature, created in the Victorian era to accommodate James Bateman’s plant collection from around the world. I especially enjoyed the magical ‘stumpery’ and colourful dahlia collection.
  2. Had a few solo expeditions, including seeing a stag near Black Hills wood…
  3. …as well as my walk to Ladderedge via Ballington woods, when I saw a kingfisher. I love spotting incredible wild creatures!
  4. Created some maps to document my adventures, which I shared in my previous blog post.
  5. Then Fraz and I had our biggest adventure yet to Scotland, where we wild camped next to a loch, and visited the Lake District on our way home. Will hopefully share a bit more about this trip soon.
  6. Went to a ceramic exhibition at Spode, where we also got to play with clay, which was fun.
  7. Sent a couple of job applications! I guess that doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve been working on my art too. And next month I’m determined to work even harder on both areas.
  8. I contacted three local shops about stocking my work – I haven’t heard from one, another said no, and the last one said maybe, so I’m going back this week to show them some samples!
  9. I started a linocut. I’ve only made small stamps in the past, so this time I’m trying a composition on a rectangular piece of lino, to hopefully create a complete picture which I can print.
  10. Explored the local antiques emporium, and was delighted to find an original (?) Beatrix Potter ‘Tom kitten’ plate to add to my small collection of a Peter rabbit teapot and cup, and Jemima puddle-duck bowl!
  11. Ate delicious homemade vegan pizza made by Alison, Fraz’s mum!
  12. And finally: today Fraz made vegan ginger cake – using ‘egg replacer’ powder for the first time! It is cake, and it tastes very very ginger-y!


See you back here sooner than usual, as I want to tell you about a new challenge I’m starting in November, and you can join in! Find out more soon!


Peace and love,

Rachel x

Recent Work, a Little Late // Dear Diary #8

Dear diary,

I’m having a creative week so far, with a few adventures too! But not a very blog or YouTube focused week, and this post is a little late… so for today’s content I’ve just put together all the pictures from my latest Instagram feed, with a couple of exclusive extras at the end. I’m celebrating my creativity! What have you made recently sisters? Share it and celebrate it!

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Sketches at the Potteries Art Gallery and Museum, Hanley. With my new inspiration wall in the background – video on that coming soon!
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Sketch at Bethesda Chapel, Hanley
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My mug says, “Do more of what makes you happy”
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Classic fruit-bowl still-life!
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I drew the curtains – a slightly more overlooked subject!?
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Tiny apples ready to draw…
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…sketch of tiny apples.
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Drawing in progress – started in front of the television whilst watching ‘Crazy Diamond’, part of the Electric Dreams series based on Philip K. Dick stories.
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Finished drawings of characters from ‘Crazy Diamond’, played by Steve Buscemi and Sidse Babett Knudsen.
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Detail of my recent pencil drawing with watercolour background.

That’s all for now, see you back here on Sunday. Until then stay creative!


Peace and love, 

Rachel x


I Stand No Chance of Growing Up // Dear Diary #7

Dear diary,

Life is hard. And I often feel like I stand no chance of growing up; no chance of having a proper job, saving money, driving a car, being a responsible adult… I was in a weird place the other day; so I went for a long walk around Rudyard lake and put Fiona Apple on in my headphones.

The lyric “I stand no chance of growing up”, from ‘Valentine’, seemed to be particularly poignant for me.

There are, however, four main things that keep me going and growing (in increasing order of importance):

1. Creativity
2. Nature
3. Family
4. Fraz

Then there are all the other little things that make me smile, and bring me peace and slow my racing mind. And it’s nice to make a list of them, because lists make me feel calm too!

Green tea, the smell of that lush bubble bar, everything vegan, cartoons, yoga in the morning, beautiful magazines, libraries, museums, galleries, artists and their Instagrams, YouTube channels and Etsy shops… piano, BBC radio 6 music, singing, Björk, Radiohead and all the other musicians I adore… cobwebs with dew on, hydrangea, rising fog in the morning, seed heads, home-grown food, the full moon, shooting stars, reading horoscopes, ruined and forgotten buildings, drawing, collage, new books, old books, post, pen-pals, washi-tape…

And walks, lots of walks. Walking through forests and fields, up hills and mountains, and by rivers and lakes. Note to self: go on more walks! Below is a little photo documentation of the walk around Rudyard lake mentioned above…

Robin friend, at Rudyard lake dam where I started my circular walk
Oh, the importance of punctuation!
Indian Balsam (I think) – I’m slowly learning names of plants, starting with wild flowers!
Spooky abandoned building, which is the lodge to…
…this even spookier huge house, called ‘Cliffe Park’, where someone lives…!


View to Rudyard lake, from Cliffe Park
Friendly (but slightly disdainful) cows. I had to walk right between them on that path, and they were so mighty and impressive!
Buzzards overhead
A never-ending private road to the spooky house, and the farm where the disdainful cows live.
The top of the lake


Love the silhouette of these Ash (???) leaves
Stumbled into a Studio Ghibli set…


Spider in the rain, I admire her taste in flowers; Hydrangea are my favourite!

Last week I also went on an art trail in Wirksworth, with Rosie (Fraz’s brother’s fiancée), which was wonderful. I ended up taking pictures of stuff that wasn’t meant to be art, as much as I was appreciating the actual art!

Abandoned rusty metal outside one of the locations
Perfect seed-head display above the art
Some actual art – made of rubbish!

Then finally, a little bit of creativity for this week, in the form of two scrap collages – literally made up of some little pieces of paper from various projects, which I’ve been collecting in a little box!!!

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Until next time… keep creating, keep adventuring.


Peace and love,

Rachel x


Hello Leek! Plus a Little Reflection // Dear Diary #5

Dear diary,

I’ve moved…! It’s been one week since we packed up our things, said goodbye to Bristol and hello to Leek. And it’s just starting to sink in. Just starting to feel normal. I’m just starting to find a balance.

I haven’t taken many pictures this week, but I’ve had lots of thoughts buzzing around my brain, and lots of feelings beating through my heart. So I thought I would attempt to empty them out here, in my diary.

I have so many notebooks, sketchbooks, journals, planners, diaries; big, small, thick, thin, handmade, empty, well-loved… I’ve been trying to organise them, trying to organise my ideas: which do I need? How can they serve me? One book for planning and tracking, one book for observing and thinking, one book for reflecting and experimenting. One mind to hold it all together. But what do they contain?

I have so many interests, so many skills half-learnt, so many skills still to add to the list. So much potential. So many opportunities. So much to know, places to see, people I haven’t met… so much I’m still afraid of. I’ve been reading, researching, watching, observing, exploring.

I’ve been asking myself questions. Thinking about options: this or that. What do I like? What don’t I agree with? Where do I fit in? What’s right? What’s wrong? Where does the time go?

I want to create. But still this same question: what to create? And what for?

Recently I’ve been interested in mixed media art, journals, drawing, letters, cards, paper, cutting, sticking, layers… mess vs. arrangement, wild nature vs. clean manmade… How to create without destroying at the same time? How to get past my conscience to avoid destroying my own sanity. After all, how much weight can one pair of shoulders take?

If you train hard enough, you could lift more than people might expect. Yesterday we saw a strong-woman street-performer lift two grown men off the floor. Maybe I could train myself to take the weight of the world on my shoulders. Or maybe I could train myself to take the weight of the world off my conscience.

Creativity is here for you first. What you create and what brings you joy, is for you first. And for others second. What do I enjoy? What process do I enjoy? Forget about the problems and the consequences; the packaging, the waste, the plastic, the manmade… all we can do is try. Sometimes trying becomes too trying, and tears tear us apart. Let the creativity through and open up to inspiration.

We can work out the problems along the way, and find that balance. Think of my yoga practice; the breath, the strength from within; grounding down, whilst lifting up; connecting mind and body.

Balance can only be achieved in calm, not in anger. Balance can only be found with knowledge, not with ignorance. So keep learning, keep creating, and keep breathing in inspiration. We will find clarity, and we will see that the universe is unfolding as it should, and we are already where we are meant to be.

Until next time, stay creative; stay true to you.


Peace and love,

Rachel x

p.s. The wonderful flag is a handmade leaving gift from one of our Bristol friends, which was accompanied by a ‘Bye Bye Bristol’ flag. I love receiving handmade gifts!


Inspiration Everywhere // Dear Diary #4

Dear diary,

Inspiration is everywhere. I breathe it in with every breath, and exhale creative energy onto everything I touch.

I have been feeling very inspired lately, but today I am tired. So I just wanted to share a few images and show you how inspiration can be found in every part of life, even the dull and rusted parts.

Nature never ceases to amaze and fascinate me…

Blaise Castle Estate, Bristol
Blaise Castle Estate, Bristol

But nature is more than trees and green.

It is microbiology blown up in scale and made out of glass…

Luke Jerram, ‘Glass Microbiology’
Luke Jerram
Luke Jerram

…and it is flying through space in 3D!

@Bristol planetarium

Then there is the opposite of nature: manmade. The complex patterns and shapes in an engine…

An engine at the M Shed, Bristol

…or the cogs in an old ship!

Cogs in the SS Great Britain, Bristol
SS Great Britain

There is also beauty when the manmade begins to break down, and we are reminded of time, which nature is already so accustomed to.

With our manmade creations we sometimes think we are invincible, and can forget about time. Yet time always shows up in many beautiful ways.

In the rust…

Rust on the SS Great Britain

…and the holes…


…and the layers of paint.


In the wood that got battered by the waves…

At the SS Great Britain museum

…and the places where we scratched our names. There is beauty in it all!


Thank you for being here, following my creative journey! I really like the direction this blog is taking, and I hope you do too!!! I am enjoying using my blog as a diary; a place to reflect, and collect images and words in an incomplete way. As something to document my adventures in creativity.

In next week’s blog post I think I will share some of the results of all this inspiration, in the form of some handmade journals and mixed media work. You can already see some of this over on Instagram! I’m there most days with posts of my work, plus ‘stories’ where I show a few behind the scenes snaps and other fun stuff.

See you soon, keep loving and creating!


Peace and love

Rachel x


Retreat, Reflect, Refocus // How To Not Give-up


Before we get into today’s extremely introspective post, let’s first have a little re-cap of this month’s content, in case you missed anything:


So that was then. Now things are changing….. 

I am an ever evolving creature. I go through many seasons. And as these seasons come around again, I recognise patterns. Then gradually, very gradually, I can begin to see what I need and what I want. At times like this, when the season is changing, I often miss the signs, and start giving up. That’s how I feel now. Distracted, discouraged, depressed. Ready to give up.

Or maybe just ready to change.

I think, in these bright and beautiful Spring blossoms lies something good. I want to draw again. I want to explore paint, and digital art, stories, new universes and strange and complex characters and their adventures. Maybe in six more months when the heat has become too much, I will long for the autumn when I can shed my leaves and I’ll sing songs again. I just don’t know.

I want to help others. Yet maybe all my tutorials, and ‘here’s how to do this’, and ‘you should really be doing this’, is too much ‘tell’, and not enough ‘show’. I often feel like I’ve missed out and I’m not as good as I could be in one area, because I’ve spent so much time going back and forth. And all this time, here I am.

I need to express myself, and often don’t know how, and then I just don’t at all, and everything gets blocked up. Maybe this blog could be more of a diary. Less of a telling you to do this and that, and more of a here’s how I’m feeling, and here’s something creative that I’ve been working on.

The people who know me have seen me as a musician. And to them I have now given up on music. They want me to be a musician. And I am sure they want me to be happy. I want them to be happy; happy on their own. I don’t want to have to be a musician to make people happy. Besides, I am still and always will be a musician, and I am extremely proud of the skills and passion I have, but at this present time, I do not feel a need to share it.

I’m just in a new season now. I don’t think things can truly be given up. Music has such an irreversible grip on my soul that I don’t think it could ever disconnect from me. It is also such an emotional experience for me; every time I hear or perform music, it is often overwhelming. So as a new season came last September those leaves fell, but they are rotting back into my roots, and continue to feed me every day. Some of them have blown away, but that’s fine.


So, enough of all the metaphors. Here’s the deal. Things are going to be changing in the next few months, and I don’t know what that will look like. It’s hard to enjoy the present when the future is so hazy, but I am trying.

I think I may stop the ‘regular feature’ type posts, and get a bit more honest and real with you all. I don’t get that many views on my blog yet, so I feel at liberty to be a little inconsistent, and not meet all my promises.

I constantly set up these things that I need to follow through on, such as my Love Lessons, Creative Alternatives, Happy Highlights, Random Round-up, Playtime, Idol Eyes, Artist Dates… and that’s just on my blog. I’ve had songwriting projects, drawing projects, and most recently my doll project which is what sparked ‘Sunray Sister’. I have endless little ‘project’ ideas that I variously stick to and then abandon. Once something is created, that is not enough to me. It needs to connect to something, to lead to something, to continue without end. I often don’t know when to stop; I run over deadlines and arrive late, maybe because I don’t like leaving or finishing… I’m always analysing and perfecting and finding faults.

And here I am typing all this, as Fraz tells me about how the universe was created from one single-molecule element; that I’ve seen more of the surface of the moon than I have the surface of the earth; that we live closer to t-rex, than the t-rex lived to the stegosaurs; and we never truly touch anything due to the distance between atoms.

None of this makes me sad. It actually makes me feel enlightened, because all of my overwhelming worries don’t matter anymore. That’s why I want to help others, to get out of my own troubles. But then all these global troubles – plastic pollution, homelessness, deluded politicians, murdering innocent beings – sit on my shoulders and weigh me down. So even if I am just a minute speck in this universal existence, I could at least be the brightest spark of a speck.


So that’s now, but where next?

The plan of action for Sunray Sister:

  • Retreat = Step back from all my Sunray Sister online accounts, go offline for a bit.
  • Reflect = Look at everything I’ve done, and ask what I truly want.
  • Refocus = Come back to Sunray Sister online with a new, clearer view.

The goals for this blog:

  • Less tell, more show.
  • Honest, true and personal.
  • Be organised and have posts ready in advance.
  • Fewer ‘series’ posts, but more real projects to share progress and behind-the-scenes on: characters, stories, paintings, dolls, drawings. Real work to build up a proper art portfolio.

Well, as you might expect in a long, rambling post like this, I send you thanks and congratulations for reading this far! What are your thoughts? Have you had similar struggles in your creative career? I’d love to hear how you are working through it! Let me know in the comments or on social media.


Coming this week…

  • A new YouTube video on Wednesday, find my latest one below.
  • The last week of my Etsy sale!!!
  • A post on Friday to let you know about my digital detox, and how long I’ll be offline for!


Peace and love,

Rachel x


My Reading List: Non-fiction Edition // Sunray Sister

Hello lovely sisters! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Today I have a short, sweet and simple post to share with you: all the books on my current reading list! They are all non-fiction, as I’m so obsessed with learning new things about myself, other people, nature and the universe, that I don’t have much time left for fiction. I prefer to get that from films and cartoons (which I may share in another list-post soon)!

Currently I’ve almost finished ’21 rituals to change your life’ by Theresa Cheung…


…and below are all the books I will be reading next, along with links to further information. There are quite a few so I split them into three categories: business/creative, personal and spiritual. The books are mostly on my Kindle, a few are on my shelf, and others I will loan from the lovely library! Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your reading list too?

…and that’s it!

I’d love to know what you’re currently reading, and what books are on your reading list! Comment down below or find me on social media.

Coming up this Wednesday I will have a new YouTube video! In the meantime please subscribe to my channel and watch my latest video below. Your support and feedback means the world to me, especially during these first baby steps of my creative career!

Right now I also have a sale on in my Etsy shop! Get 30% off everything from now until the 8th of May!

Spring sale now on


Peace and love,

Rachel x



2017 Business Goals Review January – March // Sunray Sister

Welcome back sisters!

Following on from my Happy Highlights post – where I reflect each month on the small things that made me smile and the big things that I achieved – today I want to zoom in a little closer to focus on my Sunray Sister 2017 business goals, and think about where to go next.

From now on I will be doing these goals reviews every month (on the Sunday after Happy Highlights), in order to closely assess and re-evaluate my goals (business and personal) as the year progresses.

Here is my original list of goals, as explained in my 2017 business goals post:

  • Focus brand on spreading positivity through creativity
  • Write business plan
  • Stick to products which are sewn/made of fabric
  • Use reduced and sustainable packaging
  • Create YouTube videos
  • Have 60+ items in Etsy shop at one time
  • Have 50+ Etsy sales
  • Get public liability insurance
  • Have a stall at 20+ craft fairs
  • Get products in at least one local shop
  • Attend 5+ Etsy seller monthly meet-ups
  • Increase social media following to 300+ on each platform
  • Use a social media strategy
  • Write blog posts at least one week in advance
  • Gain 20+ WordPress followers

I have highlighted the ones which I have already made some progress with, and will discuss further below…

Write business plan

At the end of January I attended a Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise course, which focused on starting a business, and gave us all the tools to go away and write a business plan. Since then I have had a 1-1 meeting with a mentor, which gave me a much-needed boost. I now have more clarity and enthusiasm to continue with my ideas, get serious in terms of creating a business, and get back to making products and art again!

Stick to products which are sewn/made of fabric

Even though I have not yet made many new products, I have been focusing on my sewing behind the scenes, and showed a few examples at my first ever exhibition as Sunray Sister a few weeks ago. At the same time, I have realised in the last week that I really want to create drawings and paintings to sell too! Don’t worry, I have a plan for the art to work alongside my dolls. All will be revealed soon.

Create YouTube videos

I have definitely achieved this one! On Valentine’s Day I launched my first video, and have been creating one video per week since then (expect last week!) Check out my channel and be sure to subscribe to support this new branch of my creative tree! Find my latest video below:

Write blog posts at least one week in advance

This goal hasn’t quite been met. But it is certainly at the front of my mind. Writing this blog feels so important, natural and fun to me. I have started planning my weeks more thoroughly overall, using the ‘bullet journal’ system, and just need to find a good time to focus on blog writing.

Gain 20+ WordPress followers

It may not seem like much, but I now have six followers here on WordPress, and this means so much to me. Clicking subscribe means you believe in someone, and want to support and see more of their content. So thank you, thank you, thank you a million times! If you are not subscribed, what are you waiting for? Simply find the little blue follow button in the menu, or click follow in the bottom right corner if you are already signed up to WordPress.

A few small steps. A gradual journey. It’s hard work, but it is so important to keep my eyes and mind open, keep reflecting, make changes if something isn’t working. And keep going.

I hope to see you again this Wednesday, when I will definitely have a new YouTube video! (It finally uploaded after a few failed attempts!) Have a brilliant start to the new week!


Peace and love,

Rachel x


Decluttering my Clothes: Minimalism Journey // Sunray Sister Gets Personal

Welcome back sisters! It’s Wednesday, so that means I have another YouTube video for you. This is my sixth video, and I’m really enjoying this new vehicle for spreading my message of positivity and creativity. What do you think so far? I’d love to read your feedback in the comments or on social media.

Today’s video is the start of a new category on my channel called ‘Sunray Sister Gets Personal’, where I will be covering some issues/topics close to my heart. These will include becoming vegan, trying to be zero-waste, my daily routines and, for this week’s video, minimalism. Marie Kondo of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, suggests starting with your clothes. So I did just that.

Begin by emptying everything out of your wardrobe, drawers and anywhere else you store clothes. Then ask yourself the following:

  • Do I wear it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Do I feel good in it?
  • Does it need mending?
  • Does it bring me joy?

Hold each item and ask these questions. Disconnect from sentimental associations. You don’t have to keep an item because it was a gift, a souvenir or an outfit you wore to a special occasion; those times have passed, and the clothes have served their purpose. If you want to, take a photo of the item, then say thank you and let it go. If you are still unsure, put those clothes in a box or bag and leave it for a month or two, then come back to it.

The final step is to find a home for the things you do want to keep. Treasure these items, treat them with love, repair them, use them and wear them out!

More than anything I hope this video inspires you to join this incredible movement; to realise how much stuff we have, and choose to take responsibility for it. Clear space to allow your creativity, learning, relationships and experiences to flow and grow into beautiful blossoms! 

I hope you can come back this Friday for part one of Love Lessons, a new series sharing interesting mini-lessons complete with illustrations and homework, to celebrate a love of learning. What subject would you like to see on my syllabus?! Let me know!


Peace and love,

Rachel x