Friday, 1 May 2015

#NatStatWeek Day 5 - SallyMakesArt

Sally Makes Art is featured on Day 5 of my National Stationery Week feature. I'm a massive fan of simple but gorgeous cards and love the plain backgrounds and pops of wonderful colour on Sally's work. Sally is an art graduate who hoards pretty paper. Luckily, she does not hoard what she makes because then the world would be without such wonderful cards as this "I Love You To Pieces" card 
and these amazing envelopes. Can you imagine getting post in that?! A whole new meaning to Happy Mail.

Sally's are blank for any occasion. There's an "I Heart Westminster" card that I'll be getting for a colleague who's leaving our office to be London based for a while.
It's gorgeous and features a cut out of a 1996 road map showing Westminster. I really like how the brown of the card brings out the yellows, greens and blues we all remember from those pre-SatNav days when you nervously read the map for your dad while he was driving you.

Excitingly, Sally Makes Art is undergoing a massive re-stock so there will be more wonderful cards appearing online very soon. In the meantime, I've become uncommonly obsessed with pegs...and I am a bit blaming Sally. Look at these!
They'd definitely make dashing outside to get the washing in when it's just started to rain much more festive.
I hope you've enjoyed my featured makers this week - there'll be a post over the weekend on my favourite organising blogs and links so you can use your stationery ideas to organise your life!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

#NatStatWeek Day 4 - Oh Squirrel

For Day 4 of National Stationery Week, I'm focussing on Katie from Oh Squirrel. Katie's range of greetings cards, badges, pencils and gifts have a vintage feel with a modern twist. There's also a card for every occasion, including one I should buy in bulk reading "Sorry for being a crap friend & forgetting your birthday".

I love a mix of textures in basically anything, so these cards with photos stitched to the front is really appealing. Hopefully, I can get more organised and start sending the "Happy Birthday Bestie" card instead.

Getting organised obviously needs a new notebook (who else keeps theirs for best?!) and this "I Bloody Love A Good List" notebook could have been made for me.

And who remembers those pencils you used to get in your Christmas stocking with your name embossed in gold? Surely it was not just me. Katie has the answer for this nostalgia with some gorgeous pencils with more grown up writing on them. The "I Am Working Very Hard" pencil in this set would be very well used by me...

What I love most about Oh Squirrel is the mix of nostalgia with modern. The range of badges is completely beautiful - polka dots and zig zag lines and swirly script - and I'd want to wear one everyday. I'll probably settle for just one on my birthday though, and this "Birthday Girl" badge is right up my street.

All pictures courtesy of the Oh Squirrel Etsy shop.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

#NatStatWeek Day 3 - Inky Collective

I'm really excited about this, Day 3 of National Stationery Week. The wonderful Jen from Inky Collective has shared some excellent 'behind the scenes' photos (come on, I'm not the only nosey person here am I?!) and, if that wasn't enough, she's answered some of my nosey questions too. What a star!
At the Craft Fox Market in London
So, let's meet Jen:
I'm Jen and I design and hand print cheeky letterpress stationery, with an antique press, on recycled card, in London. I started printing last year after my daft husband bought me an Adana 8x5 for Christmas (2013). I ran my first workshop last August and started selling around the same time. This year I have started working with a Vicobold Press, which can print much larger areas and is slightly less exhausting as it's motorised. 
I also write a blog for creatives, interviewing designer-makers, reviewing workshops and generally hoping to inspire people to "find creative adventure"!
The Adana (top) and Vicobold (bottom) presses. Supercool!
What is your favourite thing about stationery?
Oh my goodness, where to start. My favourite thing, I suppose, is that it's a very hands on, tactile thing. Even with the convenience of Google Calendar and all those memo apps and what not, there is no comparison with a beautiful paper diary or journal. My desk is absolutely chocker with paper, inks, pens, rulers, post its, washi tapes, and I own more pairs of scissors than any one person really needs. But that's not going to stop me filling my boots next time I'm in a stationery shop!

What is the best piece of stationery you ever owned and how did you end up using it?
As a printer I am very fond of paper and ink, so from that perspective the best piece I owned was some 100% cotton, 600gsm card. I bought it to print my own business cards, and I used the offcuts to make bookmarks, so nothing went to waste. I was quite pleased with myself about that!
The other thing is probably washi tape. I use it on everything! To add detail to gift tags and envelopes, as props in my photos, and even to help keep things where they should be during the printing process!

What is your favourite part of the designing/making process?
My favourite part (and I think other printers will agree with this) is when, after several practice prints, you get everything lined up right, and a perfect impression. Letterpress is a laborious and fiddly process but it means it's all the more satisfying when a print comes out just right.
Jen has an absolutely gorgeous range of wonderful products. AND they're currently on sale at her Etsy store. And that includes this rather fitting card (which, I suspect might be a bit of a lie for some people sending it, but shh!)
There really does seem to be something for everyone - with bookmarks, sensible cards for your mum, business cards for new ventures and wonderful cards for everyone you know.

#NatStatWeek Day 2 - The Green Gables

I was introduced to The Green Gables at Christmas by Claire and Emma who ran the Stationery Lovers' Christmas Swap that I participated in. It was great fun and I was introduced to lots of brands, including this one. I've been back The Green Gables a few times to get new notebooks and the odd present and here are some of my favourites on my wish list:

I love a list and I love a motivational quote, so this notebook is ideal for me. Available from the shop here I urge you to go and look at the other notebooks and planning accessories. Even if you live in a tip, you'll want to get organised.
I mentioned yesterday that I love writing sets, and here's my favourite one from this store:
I love the detail on this set, and the packaging it comes in is wonderful!
The Green Gables have some really unique products as well, including their 'Happy Notes'. The Happy Boy cards below might come in handy for encouraging the bigger boys to do the washing up...
Things are really exciting for me at the moment and I think these notebooks will come in handy. I love the bold black and white design.
And how's this for counting your blessings and spreading a bit of joy? What a cute idea - a jar to select random acts of kindness from and you can pay forward the kindnesses extended to you!
I hope you've enjoyed my selection from The Green Gables - pop over to the site and have a look for yourself.

You can also enter a competition on the site to win six months of subscriptions to the Happy Paper Club. Obviously, if you win and I don't, I will do a cry.

Monday, 27 April 2015

National Stationery Week - The Beginnings

I am so excited that there is such a thing as National Stationery Week (by the way, if you ever have bother remembering the difference between stationEry and stationAry, think of E for Envelope and you've got the right one for lovely papers and pens and pencils). Anyway, I've loved stationery ever since I was a kid. I had an uncle who worked in the local paper mill (sadly now closed) and he used to come to our house with reams of coloured paper. I swear, I remember salivating at the even thickness of each colour, set into a neat stack and just for me to play with. Even then, I remember the pure joy that came with getting pretty, new things, and the First Page Fear that follows everyone with a new notebook through school and into adulthood.
So why do I love stationery so much? I really don't know. All I know is I can't resist washi tape, I'm obsessed with buying new notebooks and I love, adore, covet, writing sets. Oh my god, writing sets. I can't help myself. And who doesn't love getting some personal mail through the post? Even if it's just to say 'hi', it adds a spring to my step for the day.
Crafted writing set - letter writing paper - vintage paper - eco friendly recycled brown envelope - pastel light rustic - europeanstreetteam
Look at this gorgeous set from Russia
Stickers. Oh...stickers. Who remembers collecting them at school? And swapping them? I still get a stocking at Christmas (I am 30) and my mum put stickers in there for me last year. I swear, I was more excited by that than any of the other things in it. But I never use them. I never use my new notebooks and I struggle to break into a new stack of post-its or use a new pencil. What if it runs out? What if the idea I started writing down is rubbish? Then I'll have a notebook with just...garbage in it and it'll be spoiled forever! And what if...what if...what if...
As regular readers will know, I really like to support small businesses and am fully behind buying handmade. I've been wanting to feature the 'Just A Card' campaign for a while, as well as other campaigns striving to encourage the teaching of crafts and garner support for small, handmade companies. Of course, you can go to Paperchase, but you can also go to any number of small designers on Etsy and get a better product for the same price that helps put millions into the economy. So buying small is really buying big.
So I've got a tonne of stationery I haven't used. And I really want to use it. So I will. I pledge, on this day, the first day of National Stationery Week 2015, that I will use my wonderful washis, my pristine pens and my nude notebooks. Beautiful things are there to be used, and use them I should. Over the next few days, I'll be featuring my favourite stationery designers and hopefully you will be inspired to buy 'just a card', or treat yourself to something else. Who knows the possibilities of that first blank page of a notebook?
Enjoy this week! Follow the hashtag #NatStatWeek on Twitter and you will not be disappointed with the range of beautiful products being showcased.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Miss Maguire Goes To York

Festival of Vintage

This weekend was the Festival of Vintage at York Racecourse. The lovely Caroline from Sew La Di Da Vintage was there, and I offered to come and help out. It meant I could stroke her lovely fabrics all day, and impart some of my enthusiasm for her patterns to the vintage fair goers. Don't worry, I've saved some of the enthusiasm for here!

For the event, Caroline kindly gifted me her latest pattern, the Miss Maguire three piece set. It's a wonderful A-Line skirt (with those all important pockets), a gorgeous little crop top and a lace swing top. She also sent this incredible rose print fabric, which is truly adorable.

I have previously made the French Gypsy Dress by Sew La Di Da, and this outfit sewed up just as easily with comprehensive instructions complete with photographs. I was also able to insert my invisible zip perfectly on the first attempt, which was worthy enough of a photo in itself:
The only adjustments I made was to add a lining to the skirt to prevent that terrible sticking to tights issue. Other than that, it was straight out the envelope, two darts, some straight seams, a couple of button holes and a hem. The added skills here with the button holes are ideal for someone who's looking to step things up a notch but still have a really well-fitting and excellent outfit at the end of it.
Caroline has also persuaded me (it wasn't difficult) to go on her Body Blue Print class. Perfect excuse for a summer holiday to Lyme Regis. I do not think I'll bring the Mr.
Excitingly, I've also got some more fabric - possibly the best fabric I've seen - and her Audrey dress to make, so keep your eyes open for that post.
P.S. I got to sell fabric to customers, which meant ripping lengths of cotton. Possibly the most fun I've ever had. But I think I managed to play it cool...

Friday, 17 April 2015

Since I've Been Gone...

It's been just over a month since my last post. I had such grand plans to keep posting right up until the wedding but things did get a bit busy. The Mr is still working in London during the week, so things are difficult with two households to run. So planning the wedding has taken priority over everything - I've barely made anything not wedding related for weeks! But I thought I might share a post about our wedding and the lead up to it.
When we* I started planning this wedding, I knew I wanted to do as much of it myself and support small businesses too, which is something really close to my heart. The hen do and the wedding were as homemade and handmade as budget and time would permit. So who wants to see some pictures?
*I did run stuff by the Mr, but largely he let me do what I wanted; SCORE!

First of all, then is the Hen Do. Held in Drink Shop Do, it was a lovely sedate couple of hours of embroidering pants, drinking cocktails and having afternoon tea.

 The food was excellent - super tasty food and drink all round really:

 I also made some party bags for all the guests, which included name badges, bathbombs, sweeties and home made cookies (that I took a day off work specifically to ice).
My best buddies Becky, Lisa and Serife had also added lots of special touches without me knowing - Lisa made name rosettes, Serife made a 'bride to be' sash and Becky made a scrapbook that included some unflattering pictures of me as a child, and some of me looking slightly more glamorous when I got a bit older.

As for the wedding, I shan't go on about it other than to say it was an excellent day. It was great to have everyone we love in the same room, to catch up with old friends and make new ones. And I was sober! I have no idea how that happened, but I was just so nervous it barely crossed my mind.

My dress was not made by me - I just couldn't deal with that level of stress! - but I bought it from an EXCELLENT Etsy seller called Lace Mary. She is amazing and the service was incredible.

The flower in my hair came from LovelyFlowersField and the veil from BelledeBenoir.

The photos below are courtesy of Alex Abott Wedding Photography. I honestly cannot recommend Alex highly enough - for two people who hate having their photo taken, we really were put at ease and all the shots he took are brilliant.

Last but not least, a wonderful cake-topper made by TailorMadeToppers. It's basically the best thing I've ever seen...