Not boring business card holders – Giveaway

I have been experiementing with paper and boxes again. This time using paint swatch cards to make business card holders. I think they work really well. The card is strong and takes to creasing well. I tried co-ordinating tops and bottoms, but ‘Mr. Crayons’ said that the contrasting colours work better. I might have to agree with him on this occassion!

I’m going to give away FREE samples. Just leave a comment, not forgetting to include your email address and I’ll contact you for a mailing address.

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Keeping it local Popart canvas prints

I have been looking at new suppliers to my createmypopart range of prints and canvases.

I recently came across a local company that just specialises in canvas printing and mounting, so I thought I would order some samples to see how good they were. I received my canvases back today and just delighted with them!

The colours are vivid (quite an important aspect of popart style) and the quality of canvas and frame is noticeable. Really chunky wood and finished off well. They also have an excellent turnaround time and most of all they are local, which always makes me feel good about supporting small, local business. I spoke to the lady there who does the framing and she told me they also do acrylic prints, which could be an interesting product to work with and add to the range.

I am so glad I found these printers as I have been comissioned to design a 20×20 inch canvas poster as a 40th birthday present, so I want it to be as perfect as can be!

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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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Photographing jewellery

It is a known fact that photographing jewellery, glass and sometimes ceramics can be notoriously difficult. Probably lots to do with the reflective aspects, getting really close and good lighting.

I have never attempted it myself, not being a jeweller or photographer, but I came across some exceptional examples that others have produced which I think stand out from the rest.

Hope you like them as much as I do!

Vivid and contrasting colours

From : MeghanT
A stunning piece with rich colours. The dark red background makes the picture pop and adds even more luxury and contrast to the rich tones of the gemstone and silverware. Notice how the earrings are taken at an angle which adds additional depth as well as the use of dramatic shadows.

From : Limegreenmodern
I am a big fan of lime green anyway, but combined with the texture, this background really makes the silver look vibrant and exciting. I also like the fact that the necklace is displayed fluid and at an angle.
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From : SheBearDesigns
Very effective use of fresh lilac purple background with a slight texture. I love the use of lighting here, there’s clearly a light source to the left which gives a completely different mood to the piece, from the first example. This is a necklace and because it is a detailed shot it encourages the visitor to click on it to see more.
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From : FlauntRox
You can’t get brighter than this orange background. It shouldn’t work against the gold tones of the metal, but somehow it does. Just goes to show that you should not be afraid to experiment with colour.
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With props

From : ovgilliesdesigns
I really like the creative use of this picture. The texture of the ceramic which the earrings are hung from work really well, adding a little interest, but not detracting from the jewellery itself.
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From : PennyDog
A really unusual bangle displayed with cotton thread reels. I love the fact that the reels are vintage and the use of the colours here work really well. The coloured reels somehow don’t detract focus from the bangle itself which does not have any colour, but lots of interesting detail. The angle of the lighting gives some nice shadows and depth to the image. An excellent example of how to use props to its best effect.
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From : COGnitivecreations
I love the fact that this compass bee is sitting on a heavy metal cog wheel. When you look at the shop name you appreciate the relevance. Another great example of using an obscure object to display jewellery effectively.
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From : JLeeOhioDesigns
I really like the cool green tones of this picture with the lushness of the pearls. The earrings are hung on what looks like the handle of a jug. I think the shape, pattern and reflective qualities of the jug in the background are exceptional.
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Textured and patterned

From : Shauna Jane
This very unique cuff is presented on what looks like embossed wallpaper. The paper is neutral and works really well with the nature of the piece, by adding texture and interest without being distracting. I also like the fact that the shot is taken on a perspective.
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From : Jezebel Charms
A very unusual necklace, taken on what looks like parchment type handwritten script. Gives it an aged and antique feeling and I really like the fact that the writing is at an angle to the piece.
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From : Andrewyn Designs
These turquoise earrings are beautifully offset by the contrasting darkness of the carved wood. The closeness of this piece and that you can see the light reflecting off the facets on the gems makes this one a real winner.
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Black and whites

From : JensJewellery
Sometimes the only option is white. You really can’t go wrong when putting metals against a white backdrop. I love that there are subtle shadows which give it depth and lifts it from the background. The plain colour really makes the copper jump out at you. I just adore the simplicity here.
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From : JLeeOhioDesigns
Another example from this designer, but this time using a dark background. The matt dark background with slight texture works really well with the beautiful coloured tones of the pearls. Gives it real feeling of luxury and opulence. While it is still a dark background, there is still a lot of light in use here to add depth.
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In context

From : AndrewynDesigns
A great example of a product shot being modelled. I find jewellery displayed on busts rather bland. This is a great photo. I like the high contrast colours and the feeling of movement. Gives you a great indication of how dramatic this piece would look when worn.
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I think you will agree that there are exceptionally talented and creative people out there and it was a real pleasure compiling this list. I also found a ring which I want to buy, but that’s for another post!

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New arrivals

I recently had my first sale on Folksy and so I decided to balance that out with my first ever purchase.

I was pretty much spoilt for choice, but I saw on theothermousie blog that she was having a mini sale of sock bunnies and they were too good to resist. So I didn’t.

I am delighted to report that they arrived at their new home this morning all safely packaged and beautifully wrapped. Needless to say ‘Miss Crayons’ was delighted with her sock bunny, now named Miss Flower, carrot and bonus grass snack!

We were on our way out to the park for some swinging action when the postman delivered them, so ‘Miss Crayons’ insisted on taking Miss Flower with her to the park. I am just glad that they are suited and both enjoyed 15 mins of non-stop (vomit inducing) swinging action.

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Summer holiday activities for little (and big) ones

As UK school summer holidays break has officially started, I have been wondering what wonderful and creative activities I can do to occupy the time of the little sprogs. Something other than 24/7 ‘TV babysitting’ as that is frowned upon, apparently.

So I thought I would combine my requirements with my enjoyment of browsing on crafty websites. So below is a review of ten things which I thought might be of interest to parents looking for inspiration for their kiddies.

Make Your Own Terrarium Kit : $12.00 By ShaneLilyRain from Etsy store
Everything you need to make your very own landscape scene. Would be great for the budding gardener (no mess, or at least very little mess) and a good way to introduce the little ones to responsibility and tending for plants, even if it is only moss.

DIY Fabric Mobile : $20.50 By dandifabric from Etsy store
No sewing involved so perfect for most ages. Looks really funky and can double up as gift after the little ones have finished the project. Everybody is a winner!

Nature Journal : £8.50 By Slugs and Snails from Folksy store
A charming journal, the idea being you send the little ones off into the wilderness (or garden) with a journal, and jam jar and they record what critters and bugs they find! A very cost effective idea and you don’t have to venture further than beyond the back door.

Sewing Box : $38.00 By Themercshop from Etsy shop
A comprehensive sewing kit, containing everything you could possibly need to get sewing. Also has items to start mini projects. All beautifully presented in a wooden cigar box and can be lined to suit a boy or girl. A wonderful idea and if I trusted my almost 4 year old not to stab herself repeatedly with a needle or scissors (really cute looking ones), I’d be ordering a kit. Other creative kits available from the store, including wooden eggs, starter home and nested dolls. Something for everyone.

Design-an-apron : £10.00 By blueberrypark from Folksy store
Everything you need to design and decorate an apron. Get the little ones designing their own apron and then get them baking! Anything cake related is good as far as I am concerned.

City Stuff Sky Scraper Kit – Vinyl LEttering Wall Decals Original Graphics : $50.00 By Modwall from Etsy store
If you are thinking of redecorating during the holidays, why not get the little ones involved. This set of decals can be applied to any clean, smooth and flat surface. Walls, glass, windows, cars, wood, mirrors and the best thing is they are all easily removable too, so mistake free. More patterns and designs from the store if buildings are not your thing.

PDF Printable- Kawaii Pink and Green Ice Cream Trucks : $2.50 By paperglitter from Etsy store
Make your own very cute ice-cream 3D vans from a template. You get two in a set and it’s as simple as, print, cut and glue together. Great for little ones who like role playing and getting messy with glue (who doesn’t like getting messy with glue?). There are more fun printouts available in the store.

Decorate it Yourself Cake : $22.00 By Mysticwill from Etsy store
A plain cake made from felt, a decent 8×4 inches. You can decorate it with felt accessories and design your own cake again and again. Accessories can be purchased from the same store. Perfect for any budding cake maker. Mess free and really cute. You also get a felt piping bag! Adorable.

Mini Bunting Kit : £5.00 By SewRecycled from Folksy store
A comprehensive kit that contains 8 flags cut from various Vintage, Recycled and New fabrics, a selection of embellishments (buttons, beads,flowers and sequins) , a 1 metre length of Bias Binding and some instructions on how to construct your very own Mini Bunting. An easy to achieve project that should occupy the little ones for a few hours!

‘Yummy Wool’ crochet taster kit: £4.99 By RachelHendersonCrafts from Folksy store
Carrying on from the cake theme, a beautifully presented crochet kit. You get 3 rolls of ‘yummy’ wool and needles and clear instructions and project idea. A perfect way of introducing the little ones to the art of crocheting.

Instant gratification

I recently found some pretty scrapbooking paper I never got around to using which was just sitting idle. So I thought what can I do that is quick and easy and doesn’t require any additional resources?

Voila! Origami paper boxes. I am loving making these and can see potential in using all kinds of different paper, cards and materials. Have no idea what I would use them for, but they just look really pretty!

In case you were wondering, the oranges were put to good use too!

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What are the chances?

My little boy turned 1 year old the other day.

He was sent a card from his Nanna in New Zealand and a card from his Aunty G in the next village.

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Now you would never get this problem with a handmade card!

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Web safe colours

When I started web design many years ago, the idea of using web-safe colours was still considered the standard. Back then many computers supported max 256 different colors, so it was important for the designer to use colours from a list of 216 “Web Safe Colors” to ensure that the end user could see the colour as it was intended.

Nowadays with the leap in technology, it is pretty much a redundant process. People’s monitors can handle displaying millions of colours. Many hardcore designers still stick by the “web safe” rule and it is still taught in many of the manuals and online tutorials.

I don’t stick by the “web safe” palette as a rule, but I still love seeing them in all their glory. The best place I have found for the web colour wheel is at Visibone a colour resource for designers.

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Isn’t it pretty? They sell these colour charts as posters, books and even mousemats.

When designing a site I always start with the logo colour and then add to the palette using complimentary colours. I then select 2-3 accent colours, usually these would be in complete contrast to the main colours. For example: dark blue against lime, orange against cyan. Pretty much the opposites on the colour wheel works. Be careful though, as there is a fine line between contrasting colours and just pure garish!

When working on branding and logos where the use of colour is paramount, I refer to my trusty Pantone swatch book. It’s hideously expensive, but I think it’s a crucial tool for working with printed media.

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My daughter loves playing with the swatch book, so I am going to make one for her out of the colour charts from the DIY stores.

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Society6 Publisher Network

I am now part of the Society6 Publisher Network.

Society6 is a platform for the world’s artists and creatives to promote their work and connect with unique opportunities. Anyone can join.

There’s some really fun and quirky stuff there, if you haven’t already done so, I would urge you to check it out.