MBA Christmas Gift Guide 2011

UK Designer/Maker Gift Guide Easter 2012

MBA Christmas Gift Guide 2011Last year I collaborated with some fabulous designer/maker friends and we produced a cracking Christmas Gift Guide. Due to budget and time-scales we were unable to get it printed in time for the holidays, but we did release the interactive online version (you will need flash enabled on your browsers to view – sorry iPad users).

We had such a positive response to the guide that I was asked if I would consider producing a new one for the new year. I would love to produce a new guide, but I need to make sure that I have enough designers signed up in order to make it viable project.

I put out a tweet asking for interest and was blown away by the level of interest it has generated. Thank you to everyone who responded. So, as promised here is my idea for the new guide. Please bear in mind that these details are in no way set in stone and may be subject to change.

Time frame

I would like to make this gift guide in time for Easter (weekend 6th April), which would mean starting work on this w/c 13th February 2012 with a delivery date of leaflets to Designers on w/c 5th March, allowing enough time for people to distribute accordingly. It’s a very tight time scale of three weeks, from initial design, proofing and printing so I would need massive organisation and co-operation from everyone involved.

The spec

1. Produce a 24 printed page A5 gift guide.
2. Showcase 11 Designers – varied disciplines (no duplicates of products).
3. Each Designer will get a double page spread. Each spread will contain 10-12 products from each Designer.
4. The entire 24 page guide will be produced as an interactive brochure (hosted on my website).
5. Each Designer will get delivered 250 x high quality printed leaflet versions of their individual double page spread laid out as an A5 double sided leaflet. The full brochure will not be printed in its entirety due to prohibitive costs and wanting to keep it affordable for each Designer. Although, this may still be an option if enough people tell me they want a full printed brochure, so never say never.

The cost

The cost for the design work, printing and delivery will be around the £135-150* per Designer (*actual costs TBC).

This is a purely design and print project, each Designer will have to make their own arrangements for distribution and marketing. This would suit individuals or businesses that already have a mailing list of clients they can send out or those who attend regular fairs and exhibitions to utilise as a method of distribution of the leaflets.

What I will need from each Designer:

1. Logo artwork.
2. 10-12 high resolution professional products photography.
3. Summary copy/blurb about your business and a profile photo 🙂

If you think this is something that would suit your business/products I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below or you can drop me an email via the contact form.

Thanks again for your interest and taking the time to read this.

Deborah Meaden Twitter Special Mention

Gift Wrapped and Gorgeous

Deborah Meaden Twitter Special MentionThe other day the very lovely team at Gift Wrapped and Gorgeous won a special mention from the equally lovely (with great shoe collection) BBC Dragon and hugely successful business woman Deborah Meaden.

Deborah is currently running a twitter campaign encouraging others to support British businesses by buying British this Christmas. I totally agree with this and whenever I can I always try to look for British based and if possible hand-crafted goods and products. I am lucky that I know so many fabulous designer makers, many of whom are on twitter.

I was asked by the GWAG team to design them a badge that they could use to promote their ‘special mention’. I have created a few for the ‘other’ Dragon Theo Paphitis for his ‘Small Business Sunday’ twitter winners, so it felt right to do this for Deborah’s campaign. As with all my badge work, all proceeds will be donated to charity. This month I have chosen the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Be sure to check out Gift Wrapped and Gorgeous for some lovely goodies.

Personalised Family Christmas Cards

Personalised Family Name Christmas Cards

Personalised Family Christmas Cards
Personalised Family Christmas Cards
I have designed a range of personalised family name christmas cards this year and just collected my samples from my friendly local printers and they look jolly spiffing even if I do say so myself!

Simple, but striking black illustrations, digitally printed on pure white 300gsm mondi card, 110mm squared final size, scored and folded.

I am looking forward to snail-mailing my family and friends, although, not just yet as it’s still only October. I suspect I’ll be able to enlist the help of a little elf to help me add come crayon colour action as well…

If you want to be organised too, you can order some from my online shop 🙂

Merry (nearly) Christmas!

Rainbow coloured birthday cake

Spencer from Thomas the Tank Engine - October 2008
I always try and make my own birthday cake for the little Crayons when I can, for a number of reasons. The main one being that if I make it I know what ingredients has gone into it and Miss Crayons elaborate tastes changes year on year, so it’s hard to find a supermarket that can keep up with her. Also, one of my best friends lives down the road and she knocks out some amazing cakes, so it’s a case of ‘keeping up with the Kiwis’.

Angelina ballerina - October 2009
In the previous years I have made a ‘Spencer Train’ cake, my first foray into the world of sugar paste. I also attempted an ‘Angelina ballerina’ cake which was a butter cream decoration experiment.

This year I set myself the task of creating a rainbow cake. The main reason being that Miss Crayons is obsessed with ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, so when I saw the lovely Ruth Clemens’ (aka The Pink Whisk) rainbow cake on her blog I was totally inspired and knew I had to try it.

The main thing about this cake is that it’s huge! You also have to be very prepared and have all the cases lined and ready to go. I borrowed some colour paste and we chose a selection of colours, although we should have put more into the red. You also need to clear the fridge to chill the cake, Mr Crayon’s beers got relegated to the bench after a bit of protest.

Here are some photos of the preparation. I needed 2 large trays and a smaller tray. I wanted a rectangle cake, but you can do the same for with circular tins. You basically make a large cake mix and then split them into 5 bowls and add the colouring to each bowl. You then bake it all and then let each layer cool completely. Butter cream is used to bind the layers together and to seal the outside of the cake. It’s then left to cool for a couple of hours before being iced and decorated.

I had a rough idea that I wanted to make a coat of many colours and have the name in a Joseph font (circa. Jason Donovan) on the cake. In the end I used 1KGs of white sugar paste icing to cover it and make a small coat from.

The finished cake!
The multicoloured layers
I used the coloured paste to paint the coat, after a couple of attempts using food colouring (too watery) the paste was the best thing to use, just like doing a watercolour painting really. I finished off the detailing with a black food marker and some sparkly balls. There was a fine line between multicoloured coat and dressing gown, so after lots of ‘help and advice’ from my dinner guests I think we pulled it off. The little Crayons helped by adding the silver ball decorations to the sides and the board the following morning.

You were right Ruth, it was worth all the faffing to hear all the delighted ‘wows’ and the big smiles from the little people at the party and we managed to comfortably feed 25+ people with it.

If you would like to try this, please visit Ruth’s excellent blog for the recipe and step by step instructions on how to do it. Ruth was the first finalist of the BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off, so you know you are in excellent hands.

Cake Camp London 2011

cake camp uk logoWhat is it?
An informal half-day event where cake lovers (and eaters) can attend and learn different skills and techniques from professional chefs at an established cookery school.

When is it and where will it be?
Saturday 22nd October 2011 held at Waitrose Cookery School, London NW3. The session will be from 12:30 to 16:30 giving people plenty of time to get into London from around the country.

What will I learn?
The four hour session will cover two core topics. Cupcakes and and mini macaroons making and decorating. A full schedule will be available shortly.

How much will it cost?
The session will cost £85 per person. This rate covers and includes all the ingredients, decorations and equipment required along with refreshments (and some canapes action), we will also get the fabulous (award winning and also Michelin Star winning) cookery team at the school teaching and showing us how it’s done . There will also be very special goody bags for each attendee with donations from each designer/maker along with some other goodies (with F&P involved, how can it not be super classy?).

What do I need to bring?
Apart from a sense of humour and willingness to have lots of fun, that’s all you will need.

Who will be teaching?
The very lovely team at Waitrose Cookery School, headed by Gordon McDermott. Click here to meet the team.

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 post-workshop cocktails and networking at a nearby location, for those of you who want to take advantage of being in central London.

There is a twitter list of interested parties already created and you can use #cakecamp to tweet, but feel free to comment below with your details. Twitter in love cake by Mariana Pugliese.

Whose madcap idea was this?
#CakeCamp 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 www.fraserandparsley.com your one-stop-shop.

Spaces are very limited, so please make your booking to secure your space! Once you have made a booking below, we will email you details of who to contact at the Cookery School to make your payment. Your space will not be secured until payment has been made directly to the School.

Make a booking now

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Miniature Perfume Shoppe

Recently I have been working very internationally, Texas U.S.A no less! My client there is lovely Leslie Ann who owns an amazing little online boutique selling miniture perfumes around the world. LA contacted me through twitter and asked if I could help with reworking her logo.

The brief was to remain very true to the existing design, but give it an overall refresh and update. The original design was not truly circular so we made that simple change. We kept the core colours of pink, white and black. I wasn’t keen on the original font and slightly lop-sided alignment so suggested some new fonts which were similar in style. I also created new illustrations of the bottles and removed and added some new features.

Overall, I think we have really managed to retain the style but make it more streamline and elegant and of course we all know why it’s so important to have a vector version of your logo!

Previous MPS logo
New updated MPS logo

Following on from the logo work it made sense to adapt the website header to match with the new logo. It was a fun task as we literally turned into budding architects and structual engineers in terms of removing windows and adding new boardings (all digitally). Below is the before and after. I am really pleased at how it’s all worked out and I think LA is pleased too with her ‘refreshed’ site also.

The previous header with it's broken and disjointed sections
The new header with new MPS shop and branding, even on the little handbag

Please do visit www.miniatureperfumeshoppe.com to find out more about these wonderful little fragrances.

Lizajdesigns – refreshed logo

It’s been a while since I last blogged due to a massively crazy workload these last couple of months, not that I am complaining of course.

I have been working with some lovely creative and talented people. Surprisingly, a lot of the work has been to do with re-working and updating existing logos for clients. So I would like to share some of this work with you.

The first is a new refreshed logo for Lizajdesign, Liza is a talented painter of children’s artwork and canvases. She asked me to help come up with a new concept for her logo, but still using her distinctive ‘giraffe’ image. I really enjoyed working on this piece as I was given an opportunity to re-draw the giraffe character in illustrator. Liza was keen on having an informal handwritten style font and after a while we settled on a font which had some character, so much so that the ‘z’ is exactly how Liza writes her name.

So here is the before and after. I love the zesty colours of this design and of course the cheeky giraffe.

Logo Before
Logo After

Please go and visit Liza’s website to see the new revamped logo and check out of the the lovely designs (as seen in Vogue magazine).

I am hoping to add another post about some brand new logo designs for some equally lovely new clients soon.

Riot Raffle Logo

Riot Raffle supporting Retail Trust

With the recent troubles we have seen on our television screens and read about in the newspapers, many of us have wondered what we can do to help those affected by the troubles. Well, Zoe of Zoe and Drew decided to help set up a charity raffle.

She has managed to rally the help and support of other talented designers and makers based in the UK and together they have donated time, and goodies to be used in a raffle to help raise money for other independent businesses who have suffered as a result of the riots. All the proceeds will be donated to Retail Trust a charity working to support the 3 million people working in the retail sector in the UK. You can read more about Zoe’s plan on her blog.

The other day Zoe contacted me and asked me to help design an official logo for Riot Raffle. I was delighted to help out, even if it meant burning a few midnight oils to get it turned around quickly. With the support of the lovely team at bwebsites who are designing and developing the website (also giving their time free of charge) the project is moving along really quickly and I am sure it will be a great success once the launch happens.

Below is the final chosen design. I wanted something that was strong visually, but had soft curves. The black will go with any palette and the accent colour just adds a little interest. I am really pleased with it and the feedback so far has all been very positive.

Please go and visit the official website and purchase a raffle ticket. There are some amazing prizes to be had.

Riot Raffle Logo

Personalised oval stickers, perfect for product branding

I have finally gotten round to showing you these new very lovely oval stickers which I have created for a client for some wedding favours and packaging branding.

A nice to change the the round stickers (which are very popular). A lovely decent 60mm by 34mm paper sticker which has lots of space for logos, straplines and graphics.

21 stickers per A4 sheet, 5 sheets = 105 stickers for a mere £15.00 with FREE P&P. Printed from client supplied artwork.

You can order on my Printed Stationery services section.