Inkling Prints – Printed Accessories

When I heard that illustrator and designer Kiran of Inkling Prints was going to venture into the world of fabric printing I got rather excited. I have always admired Kiran’s work and her designs are always very stylish and original and knew that they would translate well into fabric.

I wasn’t disappointed the other day when she showcased her first printed scarf on facebook. I love the mustard/gold colour and having just purchased some shoes in the same shade (fate, surely), I brought the scarf. Must have been one of the quickest sales on FB I know of.

When it arrived it was beautifully wrapped and presented (nice round sticker K!) with important care instructions. I was pleasantly surprised by the lightness of the scarf, was probably expecting heavier in a pashmina/wool type material for some reason, but this weight is prefect for this time of year.

What can I say apart from, it’s great, please go an order for yourself. You can choose from various colours and there might even be a silk version in the pipeline. I had better get back to work if I am going to buy some more goodies!

Funky Diva Designs – Custom Oilcloth Bag

I have been following Anna of @funkydivadesigns on twitter for a while and recently she posted new pictures of an oilcloth bag she had made for herself. I admired the bag very much at the time and a couple of weeks ago I put in an order for my very own oilcloth bag.

How hard was it to spec out a new handbag? Well, not hard at all really. I chose the fabric and then I sent Anna an email with some tweaks on her existing design and that was as much work as was required by me. I then sat back, enjoyed some cake and waited for the results.

Anna very kindly kept me updated with sneaky peek twitter update photos and at the last minute we decided to add some grab handles, which makes this shoulder bag completely practical for all occasions.

I love the bag and for some pennies you too could have a bag made to your exact specification! This is why I love commissioning work directly from designer/makers.

Cake Camp UK

cake camp uk logoWhat is it?
An informal (100% non-profit) one-day event where cake lovers (and eaters) can attend and learn different skills and techniques from professional guru cake makers, designers and decorators. Basically a learning and eating fest but without the togas.

When is it and where will it be?
Saturday 15th October 2011 held at a private kitchen in Clapham Junction, London. The morning session will be from 09:30 to 12:30 and the afternoon session will be from 14:00 to 17:00.

What will I learn?
We are planning on two-half day sessions with 14 attendees per session. Each session will cover two topics. The morning session will be for for cake-pops and cupcakes and the afternoon session for celebration cakes and mini macarons.

How much will it cost?
Each session will cost £39* per person. A full day will cost £78. This is to cover the cost of the venue hire and prices include all the ingredients, decorations and equipment required along with non-stop supply of tea, coffee and refreshments. There will also be very special goody bags for each attendee (with F&P involved, how can it not be super classy?).

*A percentage from each booking will be donated to a charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and a free kitchen space to create nutritious meals and positive social change in the community.

Please note, if attending both sessions, you will need to make your own arrangements for the lunch break.

What do I need to bring?
Apart from a sense of humour and willingness to have lots of fun, you will need to bring your own cake, or cupcakes based on what session you are attending. More details will be sent to you after your booking.

Who will be teaching?
We are delighted to annouce that Ruth of @ThePinkWhisk has agreed to attend the whole day to be on hand as our overall cake-goddess-guru! Ruth was a Finalist on BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off and in her own words is “… a full-time stay at home mixer girl I have no formal training or baking type qualifications completely self taught in my own particular style!” Find out more about Ruth at

We are currently confirming availabilities with other talented cake/bake gurus and will put their details on as soon as we have a firm commitment.

Who can attend?
Anyone and everyone. If you love cake (and who doesn’t?), this is the event for you. Plus it’s also a great opportunity to meet other twittees. We might even squeeze in some design/making of the non-cake variety.

There is a twitter list of interested parties already created and you can use #cakecampuk to tweet, but feel free to comment below with your details and what cake activity (trainer or cake-lover) you would be interested in. Twitter in love cake by Mariana Pugliese.

Whose madcap idea was this?
Cake Camp UK was a random idea conceived one dull and grey Thursday lunchtime, whilst chatting with @FraserParsley on twitter. So basically, I blame Josie and twitter for all of this. For beautiful stationery and parties planning, visit your one-stop-shop.

Spaces are very limited, so please make your booking and payment to secure your space!

Make a booking now

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How did you learn about cakecamp? (required)

Your Message (twitter name if appropriate)

Thinking outside of the card

I was asked by the very sweet Sara Webster (@kittyeden, a stitching wizard and a badge queen) to print some product cards to mount her badges with.

I was inspired by the red spotty background on her website as part of the design. I also wanted it to adaptable so that it could double up as note cards or gift tags (imagine hole punched at top and a lovely red ribbon) and not just a badge card.

We decided on an A7 sized card (even though she wanted square at first) as it allowed for badges up to 58mm and gave us room to put the website information on it. I designed a white space that could be used as a mount area for the cards as well as a writing area. We also opted for a 300gsm card stock, which is thick but not too thick and a matt art card so that she could hand write onto for that personal touch.

I am really pleased with the results. Below is a sneaky peeky preview of the package which should be winging it’s way to Derbyshire as we speak.

This product is available in the Printed Stationery section, if you are interested in ordering some made to your own specific design.

Funky plastic business and product cards

I am very excited to present this product to my printed stationery services.

A newly developed product which is rather special. I am sure you have seen and heard of plastic business cards before, but they have always been rather cost prohibitive. Not anymore! Using a special technique this product offers excellent quality for a fraction of the price.

I think you will agree that they look very funky and would make excellent business cards, or product cards (for your designer/makers) and even gift tags, multiple uses!

Any design printed in black only. Please note, the quality of the print is well above 2000dpi, I have blurred the sample for the purposes of client privacy. The final colour of the card is an off-white matt transparent, weight equivalent to 380/400gsm card stock. Nice and luxuriously thick.

More details on specifications and how to order can be found at the Printed Stationery section.

Top 10 tips for successful website design

If I had to give anyone some tips on how to go about designing their website, I would say to keep it simple. There is no harm in looking at other websites that you like and enjoy for inspiration, but if it’s your first website, then don’t worry too much about getting it perfect. Your website should evolve in line with your business so don’t go over thinking it or over designing it.

Here are my top ten common sense tips:

1. Keep it consistent. There is nothing worse than having the content and layout jump around the screen to put people off.
2. Make sure any images or pictures you use are of the same dimensions throughout.
3. Don’t use more than 3 styles of fonts and then only sparingly.
4. Never use primary red and blue coloured fonts (it may have worked in the early 1990s but not now)
5. Don’t overload the screen with information. White space is good, gives the eyes a rest and the chance for your content to shine through.
6. Keep all headings, titles and body text consistent (that ‘c’ word again).
7. Stay away from ‘comic sans’ font it’s not nice or funny.
8. Make sure that your navigation is simple and clear for the user to understand.
9. Don’t have a ‘splash’ page on a HTML site, it is just pointless. They were designed for Flash sites back in the early days when people were on dial-up and had wait for the page to load.
10. Keep it consistent (see a theme here?).

I hope the above helps you on your exciting foray into web design. If you are still stuck, then you can contact someone like me and I’ll do it for you for a modest fee + chocolate buttons.

Yurtfest 2010

The Crayons family have just returned from our ‘summer holiday’ trip. I say ‘summer’ loosely as it pretty much rained all week. We stayed at a Yurt site on the edge of Wales with some spectacular scenery and some great sights. In spite of the weather the children loved it.

Lots of lovely memories, these are just some of the highlights.

Picture the scene, we are in the middle if a field in between a valley. Mrs E’s cry of despair when she discovered that the dishwasher might be broken, “But, how are we going to wash our dishes now?!?”

Master Crayons finding the puddles in Raglan Castle more interesting than the ruins itself.

Wasp sting on back of leg, 10pm, the last night on site. Nice. Just don’t ask where little Master E got stung 🙁

Mister C making enough cooked breakfast to feed an army.

The children enjoying their tour of Welsh castle gift shops and tacky gifts.

The Tintern Abbey ruined grounds made a great venue for an impromptu game of hide and seek.

NC proving that you can survive on a basic diet of Waitrose New York cheesecake all week.

AC getting so ‘tipsy’ that she managed to lose a contact lens when getting into bed.

Easter bonnet 2010

Playgroup are holding an Easter bonnet parade this week. I have a big note attached to the fridge to remind me of this very important event.

Yesterday while Master Crayons was napping, Miss Crayons and I decided to start preparing the bonnet. Out came the glue, ribbons (pink) and bits of sweet wrappers.

We are rather proud of our efforts. I even managed to find a use for the doilies I brought ages ago. See, there is a place for doilies in the world.

Portrait – four year old style

I am in the process of helping organise a Mother’s day fundraiser event for Playgroup.

We have lots of exciting things planned: family photography portraits by Tempest lady, afternoon fashion shows with Reba an independent fashion boutique and Edinburgh Woollen Mill (talk about catering for all tastes!), and an indulgence evening with shopping and gifts and jewellery.

The most exciting part of the day has got to be a children’s colouring in competition in the morning period.

I have designed and printed out some ‘My Mummy’ templates which the kiddies can colour in. We are going to have age categories and prizes for each category.

I asked ‘Miss Crayons’ to do me a dummy draft so that we can hang some “here’s what we did earlier” up on the day. This is her first attempt.

Please note the lollipop and add-on heels. Frankly, it’s like looking into a mirror.