Quiet on the western front

I have been neglecting my blog and more importantly reading my blog roll, to the point that my google reader is having kittens at the amount of unread posts that is awaiting my attention.

The reason is a good one, I have been busy working on a couple of branding projects and even had a trip into the big smoke the other day for a client meeting. Alongside that, I have also been beavering away at a new idea for a business venture designing wedding monogram identities, stationery and websites – all rolled into one lovely package.

I have been inspired after visiting some wedding shows and seeing what is on offer for prospective bride and grooms and thinking , ‘hey, I could do that’. The proof will be in the pudding, or is it eating? I can never remember the saying, I just know it is something dessert related – the best kind.

Anyway, here is a little sneaky peeky at my stationery set, it is an invitation-come-pouch-holder, still has to past the ‘good taste test’ with my usual focus group before it can be unleashed on the unsuspecting public…

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Blog love

I read quite a few blogs, not all of them related to design or crafting. I forget how I came across Pomona’s blog, but I am so glad I did. It is always full of little gems of wisdom and musings and evokes feelings of a bucolic life, which many of us (myself included) strive towards.

So, it is only right that I have nominated her blog for the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards.

Check out the blog and then make sure you show some blog lovin’ and vote.

As Pomona states, it’s good to know you are not just sitting in a corner muttering to yourself.

Little Miss Cute

This has nothing to do with design, but I wanted to share it anyway.

I was doing the periodic toy rotation today and de-cluttering the toy table, when I came across this hidden underneath the mounds of glitter and paper cutouts. Little Miss Chatterbox (fridge magnet) having a snooze under Igglepiggle’s blanket, on top of a perfectly lined up row of wooden blocks. To be 3 years old again… sometimes ‘Miss Crayons’ is too cute.

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Letterpress vs budget

So, I have been investigating having a calendar I have designed produced in letterpress printing.

I have spoken to some lovely people and learnt lots of interesting things regarding the process, like there are different levels of impression; softer paper stock works better; 100% cotton is ideal; in the days past printers who made an impression on the paper got a real telling off, so different to today where there is a popular trend for heavy impressions.

Sadly, my budget does not allow for it on this occassion. I really have to find some wealthy clients so that I can convince them to work with letterpress, or find me a sugah-daddy. What are the chances?

A brief history of Croyland Abbey

Extract taken from Croyland Abbey Flower Festival 2009 Programme.

Guthlac (pron. Guth-luck) the son of a Mercian nobleman arrived on the island of Croyland on 24th August, St Bartholomew’s day in A.D. 699, having journeyed from Repton to Cambridge, Cambridge to Thorney and then by boat to Croyland.

He came to Croyland to live the life of a hermit. At this point in his life he felt that he was being attacked by demons and fiends. He had a vision in which Saint Bartholomew came to and gave him a whip which which to drive the devils off the island. For this reason the Abbey’s coat of arms contains three whips to symbolise Gthlac and three knives to symbolise Saint Bartholomew, who, it is said, was martyred by being skinned alive.

The first Abbey, which was dedicated on Saint Bartholomew’s day in A.D.716, was made of wood and had a reed roof. It was burned down by the Danes [Comment: those pesky Danes!] in A.D.850. A few monks survived this attack by hiding in the reed beds. The second Abbey was pulled down after being damaged by fire and an earthquake. What is present today is the result of the third rebuilding.

The destruction of the Abbey church and the other monastic buildings began after Henry VIII disolved the Abbey in 1539. What we see today is only the North side of the former Abbey church. This aisle survived because it was the portion of the Abbey church set aside for the use of the townspeople. As such it had been walled off from the main part of the Abbey church well before 1539. over the porch is a room called the Parvise in which the priests of the Abbey once lived.

The bell ropes are amongst the longest in England [Comment: which rings out every Friday evening]. The 15th century channel screens contains traces of the original guilding and colouring and some carvings. The new rooms completed in 2006 give extra space in which to explain our history and provide hospitality to our visitors.

Sometimes I just love a bit of local history!

Croyland Abbey Flower Festival 2009

Every year the Abbey hosts an amazing flower display and I am ashamed to say that in all the years we have been living here it was the first time we visited, even though it is literally on our doorstep.

So the ‘Crayons’ family dragged ourselves away from the computers, some of us kicking and screaming. I am so glad we did, because we got to see some fabulous work by the local ladies, the theme this year was Shakespeare and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and effort that was put into the work.

It was also the first time I had really seen the inside the Abbey when it wasn’t dark and cold (normally visit during winter time) and loved the atmosphere. We are very lucky to live near such a historic landmark and should really make more of an effort to take advantage of it!

Promote at every possible opportunity

I have recently been obbessed with stationery, decorative papers and packaging, so much so that my friends are probably a little sick of hearing me harp on and on about using the back of business cards to promote. It doesn’t help that a little gift wrapping boutique has opened 100 yards down the road from me (more about that another time).

I have been working on business card designs for a couple of clients and I do like the idea of Moo cards because they give you the opportunity to use up to 50 different images on the back of your cards. But, that comes at a cost. I think we worked it out to around 31ish pence per card for their standard 50 cards. For that sort of money I would only be giving them to family and friends!

So here I am harping on about the different ideas you could do yourself for the back, not just limited to printed images, you could create little artwork or illustrations, use beautiful papers with textures or even use photographs. I gave a client one of my cards yesterday which I had decorated with some textured raised suede effect papers and it made him stop and ask me about it.

Anyway, photography friend turns around and tells me “hmmm, I am not convinced.”

Sometimes actions speak louder than words (or nagging aka ‘life coaching’)…

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Ballerina butterfly zorro

We recently had a party and ‘Miss Crayons’ dressed up for the occassion in her full battle gear. Turquoise and pink dress, with full netted tutu over the top, 5 hairclips, 2 bunches, a purple butterfly necklace, pink plastic charm bracelet and a paper eye mask. I wouldn’t mind, but the mask was a cheap and tacky number from a Christmas cracker variety. It never ceases to amaze me what children get fixated with and the lengths they will go to for their fixation.

However, the following photograph is one of my favourite shots of her from the party. Taken by pinkmilkisyummy. I am sure the photographer will forgive me for fiddling with the image a bit, I just can’t help myself, it’s a complusion (aka meddling).

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