My Favourite Sketchbooks for “On The Go”

Field Notes. Daler Rowney Sketchbook. Midori Traveler's Sketchbook.

This week I thought I’d tell you about the variety of sketchbooks and notebooks I like to use when I’m “On the Go” or travelling, or at work actually.

I’m really fussy about my sketchbooks, some might say snobby in fact. It’s not that I don’t like cheap sketchbooks, that’s not really the case, I just don’t like cheap paper. Teaching art in a college means I get to look through loads of different makes or brands of sketchbooks and I can tell you right now the worst ones seem to be made from recycled paper pulp and it is horrible!

Here are the ones I like to use, what I use them for and why I particularly like them.

Midori Traveler’s Sketchbook (No. 12)

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This one comes top because it’s the one I use most when I’m out and about. It’s part of my traveler’s journal with my diary and Webster’s Pages Notepad inserts that I use to record trips and events.

The paper is lovely and thick, it’s cream in colour and a little textured. I don’t like very textured paper as I find the soft pencil I like to use tends to smudge easily and I draw “on the go” more than anything else. The edges are perforated so you can remove the pages if you like. I have also used this to do brush lettering in with watercolour and the pages did not warp and the paint didn’t bleed through.

Field Notes 

Field Notes New York Edition

Field Notes New York Edition

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I keep these little squared paper notebooks in my backpack for a variety of reasons. I have one to fill with patterns and doodles, the paper isn’t thick enough to avoid bleed through so you can’t use both sides of the page if you use markers. I like filling these up and having a stack of patterns archived in notebook form.

I use another one for keeping notes about ideas and products I’m interested in trying out or want to buy.

The last one I use for practising brush lettering on a small scale as the squared paper is really useful when trying to practise drawing the same size letters.

Daler Rowney A5 Stapled Sketchbook

Dale Rowney A5 Graduate Sketchbook

Dale Rowney A5 Graduate Sketchbook

These guys are so great if you know you’re going to be drawing a lot but don’t want to take a big sketchbook. When I’m home I like to work in ring bound A5 or A4 sketchbooks from Paperchase but they can be quite heavy so I like these thin chaps if I know I’m going to meet a friend for a drawing date or I’m going somewhere and I want to draw there. They’re super cheap too! I picked this one up for £1 in Sainsburys!! Buying art supplies while grocery shopping is win win surely?

Let me know your favourite sketchbooks for when you’re out and about, I love to try new things!

Papergang August Subscription Box

Papergang Subscription BoxI love a subscription box, I mean who doesn’t love post? Well parcels, not bills.

A good subscription box brings you a collection of goodies you have selected but based on a theme you’re interested in. The fact that you don’t get to choose the contents means you try items you perhaps wouldn’t choose to spend your money on and you discover exciting new things. In this case, paper goods! And man do I love me some paper goods.

Papergang is the creation of Ohh Deer. These awesome guys work with illustrators and collate their work onto a fabulous website where you can buy products by interesting and talented people. Every month the Papergang send out a selection of paper based goods and stationery that you can’t get anywhere at all until they go live on the Ohh Deer website.

This month’s box, and my first, came in a sturdy box with a beautiful marble slip cover. On the back is a template to turn your slip cover into a cardboard stegosaurus!

Inside the goods are wrapped in tissue, to make it feel extra nice and you get a great big notebook, some tape, a greetings card and a calendar card.

Papergang Copper Tape

The tape is a shiny copper coloured paper tape. I actually already have some copper tape that was gifted to me by @intwosandthrees  and is actual metal tape (safety warning: I cut my finger on a squished up piece of it! but maybe that’s just my clumsiness) but this is very much paper tape that is easy to tear and is very shiny! I have been disappointed by non-shiny metallic tapes in the past but this is good quality. 

Kris Tate Card and Envelope

You also get a greetings card with artwork by Kris Tate. It’s got quite a Native American feel to it with the patterns and colours used though those are deer not moose as I mistook them for originally! I love the mixture of photographic elements and bright illustrated patterns in this card and the good thing is it isn’t necessarily for any occasion. I like cards that I can just send to friends for no particular reason. The card is sturdy too so feels good quality, it isn’t cheap and glossy at all!

Kris Tate Card

Here’s a close up of the deer. I love the coloured lines coming out of his mouth and on his fur, they’re fun, bright coloured and add a feel of the handmade, you can tell they have been made by the artist, not computer generated so they look all the same.

Papergang Marble Notebook

The biggy in this box is this hardbound marble notebook. It has a fabric spine which is nice and wide, strong thick covers and a lovely gold inlaid frame on the front so you can personalise it.

Papergang marble notebook

It also has copper edged pages! Copper is a bit of a theme of this month’s box if you hadn’t noticed! This edging definitely adds another touch of luxury to this notebook. It’s so nice I want to save it for something worthwhile.

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The pages are lined, but only on one side which is quite unusual and also continues with the feel of it being for something special. I guess you could use it to sketch on the plain side but you may be able to see the ink on the other side depending on which kind of pen you used. I’m not testing it, this book is staying pristine until I find a good use for it!

All of the items in this month’s box are things I will easily be able to use, especially the copper tape. I’m going to keep my subscription for another month at least to see what I get next time. I have seen images of more paper goods in previous which I’m keen to see. This big notebook was a pretty special item so I’m looking forward to seeing other products like small notebooks and stationery.

Studio Calico Planner Kit Review

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.

 

 

Latitude 2016: Good and Proper Tea Company

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!

Our Latitude 2016

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.

 

Missing in Action

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!

It’s been “a bit of a week” or “Instagrammers of Note”


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!

 

 

 

 

New York City Trip 2016

View from the Top of the Rock


My travel journey is work in progress and as I’m rarely happy with anything the peeks may be a little but on hold for now. Check my instagram page if you’re interested in seeing some carefully edited images of pages I think I like.

So this week I’m showing you some photos from my recent trip and maybe some tips for my favourite spots in the great city that is The Big Apple. Where I work, we take a group of students to New York every year and have done for the last 13 years.

First up is our annual breakfast spot, it’s tradition, we have our breakfasts in the same place every year, I know that sounds a bit samey but it’s just what we do. Eisenberg’s  is a deli style sandwich shop which is classic New York. You’ll find in on 5th Ave on the left of the fabulous Flat Iron building.

Eisenberg's NYC

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As always my eyes were bigger than my stomach! I do this on the first day every year. I’m tired and travel weary and I think I need all of the food to feel better, I don’t, but that big glass of orange juice definitely helps!

Nets vs 67ers 15.03.16

We got tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets vs Philadelphia 67ers at the Barclays Center. That is one cool looking place I can tell you! We were quite high up as you can see but that didn’t matter, we still had a good view of the court. The constant entertainment from people dressed up for St Patrick’s Day firing t-shirts into the crowd and cheerleaders meant there was no chance to get bored. The Nets won by the way.

brooklyn subway floor

Awesome patterned floor in the subway in Brooklyn, had to get a photo of this. Geometric shapes! *heart eye emoji*

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The next day we walked across the beauty. If you’re in New York I definitely recommend doing this walk. It doesn’t take very long but you get so many opportunities to take photos of Manhattan island and Brooklyn it’s really cool. Sadly our day was a bit grey, typically the next day was much nicer. I’d do that walk again and again.

New Balance Brooklyn

Speaking of walking this pic was taken by accident, you can tell, but i would definitely recommend wearing decent trainers if you’re planning to walk around a lot. The last 2 times I’ve been I’ve ended up with blisters. I wore these trainers every day this time and my feet were happy even by day 6!

Lombardi's Pizza

More food, this time from Lombardi’s Pizza. Another place we’ve frequented over the years. Huge pizzas and they are absolutely delicious too! You can half and half if you want to. I’ve never got as far as dessert so I can’t tell you how they are! Perched on high you have to eat beneath the tray and if you don’t manage the whole thing at once, they’ll wrap it in tin foil so you can finish it for breakfast. If you don’t go to Eisenberg’s again that is!

Goods for the Study

On the way back to the subway last night my colleague Darren spotted this little gem of a shop on Mulberry street. I pressed my nose against the window and could instantly see that this was a shop that was made for me. So we ventured back the next day to Goods for the Study and I was not wrong! This beautiful shop is on Mulberry Street, open from 12:00 noon, we were a little early so I got a cookie from City Bakery at the bottom of the street. It was worth the wait, full of unusual notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, pairs of scissors, erasers, staplers, paperweights, paper files etc etc, all displayed on gorgeous furniture, I want my house to look like this shop, except I don’t because I could never keep it that tidy.

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After some retail therapy we headed for Katz’s Deli. Famous for *that* scene in When Harry Met Sally, this place is an experience I can tell you! Full of customers, shouting staff members telling you where to go, where to stand, take a ticket and not lose the ticket! Eeek! We went for waiter service which seemed like the least stressful option as otherwise you had to join a massive queue, do as you were told and sit wherever you could find a seat. If you like large amounts of meat between two slices of bread this is for you!

Empire State Building

Lastly, a view that is so New York you couldn’t mistake it for anywhere else….

I love New York and I’m so lucky to have been several times. I know how to plan my time and how my body reacts to travelling that distance on very little sleep (I never really sleep on the plane over) My tips for you are to pace yourself, sleep at night so you can start early in the morning to avoid the queues at the big attractions, eat lots but eat fruit too, my body needed fibre by day 5! And wear good shoes because you’ll want to walk all over the place.

Next week….. Stationery purchases of note!

 

Travel Journal Kit

I am in the very lucky position of going to New York on Monday as part of my job. It will be the third time I’ve been and I am as excited as the first time. Maybe even more so because now I know that it is as good as I originally imagined.

Previously I have kept little momentos like luggage tags with the airport code on, metro cards and of course I always take stacks of photographs but the memories start to fade and only seem to resurface when talking to the colleagues I went with before and reminiscing about the funny little moments that aren’t associated with an attraction or event.

So this time I have decided to keep a travel journal. I’ll still collect the momentos and more this time I imagine so I can stick them in my journal but this time I’ll be writing down this funny moments so they don’t disappear from my memory.

Keeping a travel journal will also let me indulge my love of stickers and collage and general, all round decoration. So this post is going to show you the pens and stickers I plan to take with me to record all the things that happen from Monday 14th – Saturday 19th March.

Here’s the “journal” I’ll be using. It’s a Paperchase A5 Kraft Scrapbook. I love brown paper as a background, it’s softer than white paper and using opaque coloured pens on it stands out and is more interesting than plain old black pens. It also means you can cut pages out of notebooks and things and they will still stand out against the brown paper.

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Next up is pens. I’ve packed assorted Gelly Roll moonlight pens. You have seen these pens on this blog before because I really love them, super bright colours, oh man! I’ve also packed two sizes of neon Stabilo pens, fine liners and felt markers. Pentel Touch Liner pens for lettering. These are great for fancy brush lettering without the need for a brush and watercolour or the potential warping of paper from the dampness, I do hate when that happens. Lastly there’s a Kuretake Cocoiro, a Sakura Pigma Brush, both for a different style of brush lettering and a mechanical pencil from Paperchase (not available on their website sadly).

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Pretty standard for me but I’ve taken out the Copic Markers I usually carry with me, some multiples and the ruler as I doubt I’ll need it and saving weight is so important when I plan to buy more pens in NYC!

Next up is stickers. I’ve gone for a lot of circle stickers and some stars, hearts, arrows and random shapes. I’m only taking one sheet of each though so save room and weight, it may sound like madness thinking about weight when it comes to stickers but every gram makes a difference I can tell you!

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Here there are silver stars, pink hearts, letters and orange arrows from Paperchase. Coloured circles and red hearts from Tiger. The coloured rectangle stickers are from Sainsburys! I investigate all stationery aisles in case of finding treasures like these. The neon circles are from Ryman or Staples and the glittery dots are from The Range. Other than Paperchase these guys don’t appear to be on websites so go in and take a look. Let’s face it, if you like stationery that really won’t be too much of a chore!

Finally a small selection of Washi tape. As I’m writing this post I’m beginning to wonder if this is a little excessive. I’ll pack it all up and see how much space it takes and how heavy it is and I might have to cull some things. Aaah well, I’ll just have to find some supplies in NYC to use in my journal instead! For now I’m sticking with this little lot though.

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I love the diagonal stripe pattern as you can see and out come the neon colours again. These are mostly MT Tape which you can find all over the place these days. I’ve found a nice selection in my local Waterstones. The neon red is by Kamoi and I bought the gold diagonal stipe from Unwrap Colour on Etsy, that is an awesome site! Just looking at it now to link it made me find more to buy. I admit it, My name’s Jess and I’m a stationeryaholic.

That’s all for now folks, hopefully I’ll be able to post some pics of my travel journal for you next Sunday.

Printed and Patterned Collages


collagesAfter last week’s DIY printing block post I thought I’d show you some of the collages I make using the printed and painted papers I’ve made.

I do use pre-printed papers I’ve bought as well but when you make your own you have control over colours, materials, patterns and marks and even more so if you make your own printing block as well.

All the printed and painted papers used in the pictures here have surfaces I have created myself. In addition there is some yellow striped tracing paper which is sold as origami squares from Tiger, gold glittery dots from The Range, gold staples bought from A Beautiful Mess in a pack and some gold foiling. This is created using textile screen printing glue and foil which is bonded using heat (an iron or heat press) you can buy similar foil in The Range in an array of colours (sadly their website isn’t great for looking at products)

Collages
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I like to put them together and try different compositions. I rarely mount these on anything, I like to keep them in a stack of treasures and play around with them, see which ones work together. I do these for fun but never see them turning into something to sell though I often wonder why that is. Any suggestions as to what they could be used for? Or how they could be a product?

collages .

I often post pictures of collages on Instagram so follow me there as @hello_pushkin for regular updates of all the things that inspire me, excite me and pictures of my work.