Friday, July 29, 2011

you need this book

Sometimes you come across something that just knocks you off your feet with awesomeness. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm quite hard to please. We're not talking diva proportions here but I won't say that I love something unless I really love it, and to use the word awesome (when your not American - no offence intended) is something else entirely as far as I'm concerned. This word is reserved for something so good, so exciting, so appealing and so special that makes you joyous at the mere thought of it.
The most awesome thing is a book, and a book you need. It's called Alphabet by Paul Thurlby:

If you read my blog you'll know that I love all things print. I love this book to the proportions that I wish it was my own creation. This is essentially an ABC book with illustrations only - no words (no bad thing). These are really great illustrations full of texture, character and appeal, kind of print-y, kind of painting-y and each one a feast for the eyes.
Oh, and the smell of the book is also really appealing. It's not a scratch and sniff thing, more a combination of the right kind of paper and ink. It smells so good.

 Some more of Paul Thurlby's work:

There's a really nice hand written blurb in the back of the book about how the book came about.
To quote a little of it, Paul says 'the inspiration for my work comes from mid century design and illustration. My style has been described as being retro-modern. I use old books, postcards, and pieces of paper for the backgrounds. Often, for example, I will buy an old book from a charity shop just to use it's back cover'.

Go now, buy this book, and look at Paul's website or flickr to see more.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The owl and the pussy cat

Here they are - the owl and the pussy cat:

They have a destiny, these two, along with a few friends I have also designed. More about that at a later date though.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

cake pops

I recently did some designs for a friend who has just started a cake pop business called 'my honeybunch'. Cake pops are still a relatively new thing here in the UK but they are set to become the new cupcake:

I have of course sampled a (chocolate) cake pop and can highly recommend them. The closest thing I can describe them to is a soft and squishy brownie (on a stick) with a chocolate coating. My mouth watering as I type this!

Below are a few pics of the real thing, which can be ordered directly from my honeybunch for weddings/birthdays/party's/gifts.
You can also take a look at the new stuff coming from the my honeybunch kitchen here. I heard a rumour of cake push pops!

Friday, July 22, 2011


I spent a bit of time yesterday cutting and photographing my fabric swatches - something I should have done weeks ago:

I'm really pleased with how they have turned out. You can see more of my swatches on flickr and purchase them here

Stevie was being really helpful and assisted with the fabric cutting. Here she is collecting up my off cuts for me:
look at the naughty swiping paw!
and here she is keeping the fabric steady for me:
how can you not love that?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

my vintage coffee pot

My vintage coffee pot is a design I created for a recent spoonflower contest - the theme being coffee and the palette restricted to 3 colours (plus white). I've gone for a groovy 60's feel design featuring coffee pots, mugs and sugar bowls.
I really enjoyed creating these and the co-ordinating 'flower power' floral design. They are quite bright - have your sunglasses ready!:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

final 5

All the gift wrap designs I've been working on have now been submitted in the Tigerprint Male Pattern Competition. Designing patterns to appeal to the male market (or women buying for men) is a lot harder than you'd think - it's probably why there is a lack of good wrapping paper choices out there for men. I really wanted to steer clear of the stereotypical icons - so went for bold graphic geometrics for this comp. These are my final 5:
If I had a choice of these 5 in a shop, I think I'd go for bottom left. How about you blog readers, which would you choose for the men folk in your life?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I'm still working on wrapping paper designs for men. It was only when I looked at these after I'd designed them that I thought they looked like binary. I'm definitely feeling some influence from the museum of 51 which I visited at the weekend:

Monday, July 18, 2011

blue and green

I needed some boyish colour palettes so delved into my pins for a bit of palette inspiration:

This second palette is from one of my own photos:
This little green jumpy thing is living on my outdoor tomato plants, along with a few of her friends - they seem to like it there as I've seen them on there pretty much every day for the last few weeks. I'm reliably informed by my dad that she is a speckled bush cricket.

It's been a busy weekend here, lots of garden/house stuff going on, as well as a trip into London to see the Museum of 51 on the Southbank - revisiting the Festival of Britain in 1951, a drool at everything I'd like to buy in the festival shop, and Basement Jaxx Vs. Metropole Orkest at the Barbican - which was just great - all the energy of Basement Jaxx alongside some beautiful orchestral sounds and a choir:


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

feeling lucky

This week I'm feeling lucky, for I have been the recipient of two lovely gifts from complete strangers.

Firstly, I won a upgrade to my carbonmade portfolio, courtesy of pattern observer.
Pattern observer is a fairly new to me blog. Go and have a look - it's a really nice blog for pattern-o-philes (I'm not sure that this is an actual word - you might not find it in the Oxford English dictionary). Up until now, I had a basic (and free) carbonmade account but I'd used up my limit of images so this has come at a great time - I'll be adding more to my portfolio in the coming weeks.

On the subject of patterns, I've been working away quietly on some new patterns this week. These are ideas for wrapping paper for men:

My second stroke of luck this week was a visit from the Fairy Hobmother.
I was reading Ali's blog last week - she had been visited by the Fairy Hobmother - a fairy that grants kitchen related wishes.  So, I made a wish, somewhat optimistically for a new Fridge Freezer, thinking nothing would come of it.
My wish didn't come true because frankly it was a very pie in the sky kind of wish, however the Fairy Hobmother saw my wish, paid me a little visit and gifted me an amazon voucher.

So ask yourself, are you feeling lucky? Close your eyes, make a wish and type it into the comment box on this post. The Fairy Hobmother (a nice man called David from Appliances Online) might be just be listening and maybe, just maybe, he'll pay you a visit too.

I wondered if this little run of luck would stretch to a Euromillions win so bought myself 3 tickets yesterday. Clearly this was wishful thinking as I didn't win anything at all, although someone in the UK had the only winning ticket in the jackpot - a cool (and frankly scary... but I wouldn't say no) 161 million pounds.

Monday, July 11, 2011

mollie makes feature

I'm pretty sure most people of a handmade/craft persuasion have seen/read a copy of the fairly new (3 issues old) Mollie Makes magazine. As craft magazines go, it's really a very nice one - and although this might not be important to some, it's printed on nice paper and it smells nice (like a new book), so imagine how chuffed I was to be featured in issue 3, along with my softies:

You see my name - quite massive there at the top of the article - well they actually got that bit wrong (as they've used my maiden name), but aside from that, it's lovely to see my name and my creations in print.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Monsters and Owls

Just a quick note to say that I've just updated my little shop with some new Monsters and Owls. You can find them here


overwhelming sadness

Sometimes, things happen that make you feel so overwhelmed with sadness. For me, this is one of those times. 
We look after our neighbours cats when he goes on holiday. He looks after ours when we go away. It's a nice arrangement which means neither of us have to put our cats in a cattery - which I feel would just be too much for my cats - given their previous traumas (between the two they've had a broken leg, pelvis and kindney failure).
On Saturday just gone, whilst we were looking after our neighbours cats, one of them, Tim, the most beautiful tabby, got run over on the road outside our house and sadly he didn't survive the accident.
Tim crossed the road on a daily basis. My heart was always in my mouth when he did, but he seemed to watch the traffic and knew when to go. This day, he was just unlucky.

I'm feeling all kinds on things:
Thankful that we found him almost immediately after it had happened and we don't think he suffered too much.
Angry that someone can be so despicable to hit a cat with their car and then drive away.
Sad for my neighbour - who is in his eighties and lives by himself (his wife died of cancer some years ago, and he tells us all the time how much he misses her). His cats are his family. He didn't get to say goodbye.
Grief for the loss of beautiful Tim. I feel I have a huge empathy with cats - which I'm sure you cannot understand if you're not a cat owner.  I love my cats so much - they make me smile and give me a little lift every single day. I also think they are great stress relievers, are so affectionate and love you unconditionally.

After speaking to our nighbours son, who lives quite far away, he decided the best thing we could do was to bury Tim in our neighbours garden, which we did. We treated him like he was our own cat.
We have both shed many many tears this last few days, and now I just have a feeling of overwhelming sadness inside me.

Monday, July 04, 2011

limited colour palette woes

I've been working with this limited colour palette for an upcoming spoonflower comp for a butterfly motif fabric:
 The brief is to use all or just some of the colours in the palette and white. No black, no tints or transparancies. I usually quite relish a challenge, especially if I think it will help me improve my design skills, but I have to admit that I've really struggled with this palette, and have felt like giving up on it several times.
I wanted to use all the colours if possible - to find a way for them to work well together.  I've tried so many variations and have still not yet arrived at a solution I'm happy with, although this is the closest I've got:

I feel a bit defeated by this - which is hard for a stubborn person like me. I just think the design looks better with less colours:

Any thoughts, blog readers?

Friday, July 01, 2011

Runner up!

My contemporary mother's day card design made it as a runner up in the Tigerprint competition. I'm really chuffed.
my card
co-ordinating gift wrap
It was a shame not to win - especially as the Tigerprint folks felt it was a close call for the winning design, however they did send me a goody bag with some M&S cards and gift wrap in as my runner up prize (nice!). You can see the winning entry here - along with the other runners up.