I’ve been working on a commission for a good friend recently which has been lots of fun as it’s been an opportunity to work on my brush lettering for clients rather than just for fun or using my own ideas. This is a process that crosses both analog creating and digital (which is not my forte) so I thought I’d give you an idea of how I go from idea to finished product.

brush lettering

The first thing I do is practise the letters and words I’m going to be drawing. I find some letters more difficult than others, especially “S” and “d” and I also like to try different styles.

I like to use the Kuretake Zig BrusH20 for brush lettering. This yellow one is the detailer brush. The watercolours are a cheap set I bought in the States by Artists Loft. It’s about $5 and is good to travel with or take on a drawing/painting trip because they’re super light and it doesn’t matter if they get bashed up a bit. I paint in black because that’s easiest to trace in Adobe Illustrator.

Brush Lettering in Adobe Illustrator

Once I’ve got the words right I scan them into Adobe Illustrator at the highest resolution I can and use the Image Trace function to, well, trace them. There is a great tutorial here that explains the process and the easiest way to do it. I often have to use the Pen Tool to adjust some of the errors that come form the Image Trace process and fiddle around to smooth out lines and delete anchors that are not needed. This is the most boring and laborious part for me as I’m not a fan of digital stuff really. 

I then have to take each word that I’ve refined and line them up on the appropriate page size. That sounds pretty easy but I’m still getting the hang of Adobe programs so it was definitely worth mentioning that I need to line everything up so it looks right on the page.

brush lettering

Luckily when that’s done it’s pretty straightforward as long as no changes need to be made.

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It’s important to make the black as black as possible so adjust your letters in Illustrator and turn your printer settings up to high quality to get the best print. To foil onto this it MUST be printed using a laser printer, it doesn’t work on inkjet. The foil sticks to the carbon and that’s why it needs to be as black as possible.

Foiled Brush Lettering

Next all there is to do is apply the foil to the print. I use a fancy laminator which is basically a normal office laminator but it has different heat settings. You place the print in a carrier sheet (which is like a laminating pouch that doesn’t stick together) cut the foil to size, place on top and run it through the laminator.

Foiled Brush Lettering

And there you have it! One quote hand lettered and foiled to create a unique and original art print.

I’m hoping to do more like this in the future so if you’re interested pop me an email or comment below!

 

 

 

Studio Calico Pool Party Review

I finally gave in to my nagging inner voice and signed up to the Studio Calico Planner Kit a few months ago. I had been receiving the A Beautiful Mess  Messy Box for a year at that point and looked at Studio Calico because they distribute the Messy Box so I knew the products would be good quality.  I really like the idea of subscription boxes, they introduce you to new items and brands or fresh ways to use the products and are good value when you add up what you get.

I went for the Planner Kit because I am a bit of a control freak and find being organised stops me worrying about things as I feel more in control when it’s all laid out in front of me. I get a lot of patterned papers and cards in the Messy Box and the planner kit seemed to focus on stickers, inserts and embellishments that you can use to help organise yourself and your life!

This is what is in my latest planner kit for July, titled Pool Party. It takes about 11 days for it to get from the USA to the UK with economy shipping so it’s a little while before I get mine, but it’s worth the wait.

In this kit was:

  • Patterned Transparency
  • Color Theory Monthly Tab Stickers
  • 2 Rolls of Masking Tape
  • 2 Patterned Fold Over Clips
  • 2 x Attacher Stickers
  • 2 x Tab Stickers
  • 2 x Label Stickers
  • 2 x Phrase Stickers
  • 2 x Puffy Summer Icon Stickers

These fold over clips are great for marking pages, or holding them open when you’re trying to photograph them!

Studio Calico Pool Party Planner Kit

The Color Theory monthly tabs are bright and draw attention to the pages for each month in my Midori free diary making it easy to track back through the weeks.

The masking tape is great to “underline” an event or highlight a day that’s important.

Studio Calico Pool Party Planner Kit

I’ve used the Puffy icon stickers to embellish days and add an extra touch and when I’m recording occasions or days to remember in my notebook insert.

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I’ve used the Tab stickers to mark things I want to remember like jobs to do, ideas or things I found that I want, like a wish list! This is sometimes a dangerous activity as it means you remember the things you like rather than just forgetting about them and saving your money!

Sadly sometimes I get things in my kit that are designed for a planner with ring binders and the Patterned transparency is one of these items, but I’m sure I can use it for something else and using items for new purposes is always interesting.

I haven’t made a big dent on this kit yet but I know a lot of the stickers are going to be really useful when my diary gets really busy in the academic year.

I hope this gives you an idea of what you get in a Studio Calico planner kit. Their next one is now live so go check that out on their website and i’ll review that one when it turns up! Next time I’ll show you the different Midori inserts I use in my Traveler’s Notebook.

 

 

Good and Proper Tea Van

Ok so I really need to work on my photography skills, I know, I know. BUT I just had to capture this amazing van serving tea and crumpets at Latitude. The Good and Proper Tea Company. This was before we’d even tried the tea and crumpets, I knew as soon as I saw this van that I had to test their wares!

Good and Proper Tea Van

I have since found out that the van is called Watson and what a gorgeous van he is.

Good and Proper Tea and Crumpets

And it’s good to report that the van is not all style and no substance, oh no it is even better than you would imagine. It’s not just a cuppa and a warmed up crumpet, no siree! You will notice that these crumpets are not round, they are square, and one of them has some brown spread on it. That, my friends, is Nutella, oh yes, warm sourdough (!!) crumpet and nutella with a special brew of tea unique to the Good and Proper Tea Company and you have the perfect brunch right there.

Next up I’m off to their website to buy some of their loose leaf tea and I’ll definitely be visiting one of their shops when I’m next in London!

Latitude Welcome

This post marks a week of posts about our weekend at Latitude 2016. Sorry I don’t have any decent photos of the acts so here are just some photos of Latitude itself. 

Chris and I hadn’t been to Latitude for 8 years when we went this year and I’ll admit I agreed to it mainly because of how badly he wanted to go. I had forgotten how much more there is to this festival than just music. Not that I don’t like music but I do like variety! So now I have to bow down to Chris because he was right, it was definitely worth going and now I can see us making it an annual event. So what were our highlights?

Latitude Entrance Trees

Friday Evening – Christine and the Queens

Ever since first seeing Christine and the Queens on the Graham Norton show she was on our list of people we MUST see at Latitude. I also watched her Glastonbury set and loved how positive she was about acceptance, tolerance and welcoming everyone as well as the cool music and awesome dancing!

We weren’t disappointed. Her voice is amazing and she didn’t drop a note the whole set, the dancing was very cool and really fun, the crowd couldn’t help but dance themselves! But most of all, the best part was the interaction with the audience, but I don’t mean from Christine to the crowd (though that was fun and entertaining) but how much the crowd loved Christine. How overwhelmed she was by the reaction she received from a positive and appreciative crowd, how humble and thankful she was for the support and sincere in her thanks. A really uplifting experience.

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Saturday Evening – Chvrches and The National

Could never be bad really could it? Saturday was our most anticipated day, the only down side was that it was so so hot, it was difficult to find shade but we spent quite a bit of time in the forest by the Sunrise Arena and by the time it got to 8:00 for Chvrches it was cool enough to really enjoy the show.

The Obelisk Arena is absolutely massive, an appropriate name! and Lauren Mayberry looked even tinier than she actually is, but with that small stature comes a fabulous voice and you couldn’t fault the performance at all. Even the songs she doesn’t sing on were awesome and didn’t stop anyone dancing!

If you think The National aren’t a festival band think again. They absolutely stormed it. Matt Berninger’s vocals were equally haunting and urgent and when they were joined by Lauren Mayberry for I Need My Girl (as Chris had been hoping for ever since we decided to go to Latitude!) we were captivated even more. Entranced even. With a crowd sing along of Vandelyle Crybaby Geeks to end and Matt Berninger joining the crowd for Terrible Love and losing his glasses, it looked like, Saturday ended on one well of a high.

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Sunday Evening – Mark Steel and Standard Issue Panel

Sunday was a lot more chilled than the previous two days which is exactly what we wanted really. Luckily we slept pretty well and the campsite isn’t too noisy at Latitude.

We’ve always been big fans of Mark Steel being avid Radio 4 comedy listeners. His comedy is a mix of politics, current affairs and complete randomness which I absolutely love. The comedy tent got really really busy for Mark Steel and then Bill Bailey after. It seems it’s never ever big enough because despite having screens outside the tent and amplification that meant you could hear the comedians when you’re outside it was still rammed with people, not even standing room only! You couldn’t see a comedian at Latitude without them mentioning Brexit and Mark Steel was no different but he didn’t stick on it too long and went off on some of his customary rants about the current government.

The Standard Issue talk is one of the things that makes me really like Latitude. Chris and I regularly found ourselves in the Literature Tent watching things we hadn’t necessarily planned on seeing but came up on the handy app as starting soon as we thought we’d give it a try.

Standard Issue is an online magazine founded my Sarah Millican that covers women’s interests and issues. At Latitude their show consisted of a panel of women, Mickey Noonan (Standard Issue editor), Helen Monks (Raised by Wolves, Upstart Crow), Angela Barnes (comedian), Felicity Ward (comedian) and Hannah Dunleavy (Deputy editor) answering questions posed by Mickey Noonan, starting with “When did you realise you were a feminist?” It was absolutely brilliant. It was really funny, interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring and Helen Monks was the best. At just 23 she was more eloquent and passionate and made more sense than I could ever dream to be.

Go check out Standard Issue, they have a podcast too!

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This was only a small amount of the shows we saw over the weekend and it was interspersed with really good food and drinks as well. Now I’m really missing the change from everyday life and I’m back to the daily routine of washing up, cleaning, tidying and dealing with being a grown up.

Take me back to Latitude! I need more glitter in my life.

 

Last week’s post was about how I was missing in action. Well it wasn’t just me, my ability to create products seemed to be missing in action for a long time as well. My day job as a lecturer can be very full on, mentally more than physically I should add! So I often come home, eat tea, watch something on the TV and fall asleep on the sofa, with no time or energy to come up with new ideas or new products.

Luckily, because I was practising my brush lettering a lot I did actually have some ideas that I could make into products ahead of our craft market on 26th June. I was anxious that I hadn’t made anything new for ages and customers would be bored of me having the same old things for sale.

When I looked in the files of lettering that I had scanned into my computer I had a few pieces that I could get copied onto cards. It’s not a fancy process at all. I have a little stash of textile foil which you heat transfer onto a screen printable glue. Well this foil also sticks to the toner from photocopiers or printers if you heat it onto it! So I toddled off to Staples and got three new phrases printed onto cards, foiled them when I got home and here are the results…

you got this card

hello card

thank you card

 

What do you think? Should I do more like this?

Buy them on my Etsy page

Rose Lane Butchery Menu

I’ve been missing in action lately due to my day job being absolutely manic and organising our most recent I Make Fun Stuff market on the 26th June. Finally everything has calmed down, the intense process at work has ended and the market was last weekend so I’m back and should be back in the blog writing saddle as of next weekend! Thanks for your patience and please don’t forget about me!

I’m trying to follow my own advice at the moment because I am definitely going through a stage of not being able to create. At least to the extent of not finding the creative flow very natural at the minute. I find it really difficult because it’s not that I don’t want to create, I’m desperate to use my free time to be creative but when I get down to it I just can’t seem to put pen to paper. This makes me feel really quite rubbish.

So I am taking my own advice and just trying to do something, anything, to see what happens. Putting brush to paper, practising brush lettering, going through old sketchbooks and playing with different materials. The results are below….. Do they remind you of anything? That might help me develop them further!

Watercolour Pattern

Playing around with some watercolours and colour palettes.

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I picked up a couple of postcards of slices of Quartz crystal under the microscope when I went to the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge a few months ago.

I just started copying the shapes to create a random pattern. I rather liked it too!

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I printed out a bunch of images from the net of different crystal slices under the microscope.

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They look like really random shapes that you could just draw but copying form something that actually exists always seems to work far better than trying to make it up yourself. That just never looks right.

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I tried messing around with the Heidi Swapp Minc Toner Pen (it’s been discontinued now which I wonder is because they are bringing out an improved version as I really don’t rate this one). If you photocopy an image you can then adhere foil to it using a laminator. I have the Heidi Swapp Minc which has different heat settings. I use textile foil which I use for foiling onto fabric with a textile glue but you can buy foil specially to use with the Minc.

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This was created with the toner pen too but as block shapes instead of outlines like before. I do like the effect so I hope they do bring out a better version of the Heidi Swapp Minc Toner Pen.

I’ve been messing around with all these ideas and in the grand scheme of things that is just the process you have to go through before you hit on something that works. I think maybe I’m being too hard on myself.

Let me know what you think of my experiments in the comments below, I appreciate your input.

StallSummerMarket2014

Craft Fair season is coming up so I thought I’d dedicate a post to my own little craft fair tips having spent years running fairs (since 2009) partaking in fairs and visiting them too! I definitely do not have all the secrets and I can’t tell you how to sell out of your stock every time but my few pennies -worth may be useful.

Do Your Research – One of the first fairs I ever did was a craft market as part of a Father’s Day event at my local food hall. They sell local produce, have a garden centre and at the time a small cafe. It’s expanded a lot since then but you get the idea. There were a few things that worked against me selling my wares at this event. Firstly I was surrounded by crafts people who made terracotta plant labels, handmade quilts and wood turners, the visitors didn’t seem to “get” my work because it didn’t fit with the usual idea of “crafts”. Also, because the market was part of another event where all the attractions were free, people were less keen to take their wallets out. They didn’t come to the event with the intention of spending money.

Make sure you find out about the event before you commit to it.

Plan Your Stall – Mock up how your stall will look before you get to the event. you want to make sure you take enough display equipment, stands and signs. Display your products on different levels so it doesn’t look too flat, draw your customer’s eye to the items you want to promote by making them prominent within your stall.

Price Everything – There is nothing more off putting for a customer than to have to ask how much something is. Most people don’t want to offend you by putting something back if it was more than they intended to pay. That doesn’t mean your prices are wrong necessarily, it might just reflect how much is in their purse that day.

Understand Your Customers – This is a difficult trick but you need to learn which people you can talk to and interact with and which ones just want to be left along to browse in peace. This comes from practice. Always look friendly and happy to talk if they want to speak to you. Don’t sit behind your stall looking miserable, even if you’re not having a good day!

Stay Positive – There is often no rhyme or reason to why you might be having a bad day with sales. I’ve even had really successful Christmas markets (you think you’d be able to see anything at that time of year) and very slow ones too. Sometimes it’s your day and sometimes it isn’t. Don’t beat yourself up too much about it.

And one for the market organisers, they can’t plan the weather, no matter how good they are. I’ve attended markets in September when the weather has been scorching and everyone has gone to the beach instead of shopping. What can you do eh? Stay positive!

Promote Yourself – Make sure you have a big sign so people know who you are. Customers may not purchase from you on the day of the fair but will think of you when looking for a gift in the future. Keep your business cards well stocked too, if they’re eye catching they’ll end up on fridges and noticeboards.

Promote The Market – Get on your social media, tell your friends, put posters up and spread around the flyers. Support the market by telling all the people you know about it and encouraging them to pass the word around too. If everyone does that, everyone’s potential sales will go up!

I organise craft and vintage markets in Ipswich as I Make Fun Stuff. For more information, visit our website.

 


It’s been a busy old week and a bit of a frustrating one as well but when it comes down to it as long as I get plenty of time at home, I can create whatever I want when I’m there and I’ve got my loved ones around me I’m pretty satisfied.

With that in mind, while I’m lolling about at home, and pretty much anywhere I’m chilling, you’ll find me scrolling Instagram. It is so easy to get obsessed with this image filled app. So as I’ve had “a bit of a week” I’m sharing with you my favourite Instagrammers, because it’s pretty straightforward to blog about and because these are the visual delights that perk me up when the day is just not “the one”.

Present and Correct

@presentandcorrect – for beautiful stationery, especially the vintage stuff!

A Beautiful Mess

@abeautifulmess – just glorious photos of all kinds, fashion, interiors, art, crafts etc etc

And Smile Studio

@andsmilestudio – always loved Viktorija’s posts but more so now she’s posting videos of her illustration process and gouache painting.

Like Meddings

@lizemeddings – love Lize’s illustrations, especially the colour combinations.

Amanda Arneill

@amandaarneill – probably my favourite instagrammer who posts hand drawn type. Just perfect.

Camille Walala

@camillewalala – oh the patterns and the colours!!

Intwosandthrees

@intwosandthrees yes she is my friend, but I love her instagram account for the great way she displays her work.

Let me know in the comments any instagram accounts you think I’ll like!

 

 

 

 

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Time for another update on my travel journal. It’s a slow process, I know, but it’s such an enjoyable one I wouldn’t want to rush it.

I am inserting these pages with my Social Print Studio prints in between the ones that I did while I was in New York and when I got back. How I do this, considering it is a ring bound book, is I carefully cut down from each punched hole to the edge of the paper and then, again carefully, ease the page out from between the rings. Then I can pop it in at any point I like!

The first thing I do is pick the prints I want to use and move them around the page to come up with an idea of the composition. I then look for which colours are in the prints or, in this case, look at the colours I’ve used on the opposite page. I’m really into patterns but I don’t want to overwhelm the small page so I chose a simple stripe to “journal” on and a beautiful turquoise pattern to go with the speech bubble style card I used on the opposite page.

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I start by sorting out the patterned paper and how I want that to sit on the page. It’s all about what looks good to the eye really. I like layering (one of the reasons I love screen printing so much) so I like to pile things up a bit.

Next up is the washi tape, oh how I love you washi tape…. another opportunity to layer some things up! Some circle stickers, something which I have an abundance of, some phrase stickers from a previous A Beautiful Mess Messy Box and the “lucky” is a Heidi Swapp acetate word. Oh and a gold heart from the On Trend 2 collection by My Mind’s Eye.

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And that, my friends, is it, for this page. Until next time…..