Handmade Showcase

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.

Clients Digital Art Showcase

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 to find out more about these wonderful little fragrances.

Branding and Logos Clients Showcase

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.

Branding and Logos Clients Showcase

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

Digital Art Showcase

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.

Branding and Logos Clients Showcase

Creativesque – new logo and branding

I recently asked by talented artist and illustrator Stacey-Ann to help her refine her logo and branding. Stacey-Ann wanted to re-focus her business more towards fine art and illustrations work and have a more professional and consistent brand image.

I instinctively knew that I wanted to have something quite organic and fluid to reflect the nature and style of her work, very romantic watercolours. We tried a couple of fonts and in the end Stacey-Ann settled on a font that was not too structured, but still had a formality to it. We decided on a lovely palette of rich purples and pinks and the result is now available for you to see on She has recently ordered some new business cards and they look very smart indeed – see the blog.

I enjoy working with other designers as it’s often refreshing to have very clear direction on what colours and style, not that I don’t like being given a complete freedom either. This is why my job is so satisfying.

While you are there, please do check out her illustrations and paintings. All original and very unique.

Branding and Logos Clients Showcase

Hush Baby Sleeping – Refreshed logo

The very lovely and rather talented designer maker Gail Iredale of Hush Baby Sleeping contacted me recently regarding some work.

In the process, she sent me her logo (which I later discovered that she had devised and then asked someone to translate into digital format for her). The problem was that Gail was not 100% sure about the logo as she felt that the URL didn’t stand out well against the gingham design.

I could see where she was coming from with her design and I knew that it just needed a bit of refining and polishing up. I already had a clear idea of the style Gail liked and so after thinking it over presented her with some ideas. I sharpened up the colours, created a new gingham pattern and added some ‘shabby-chicness’.

The final results are below. I am really pleased with the way it has come out and I think it just goes to prove that if it isn’t broken you don’t need to fix it, but sometimes adding some ‘go faster stripes’ makes it that little bit better!

Now Gail has a vector artwork file of her logo which gives her the freedom to create tiny little stickers to big floor standing vinyl banners. Spanking new e-shop to follow – watch this space!

Hush Baby Sleeping Logo Before
Hush Baby Sleeping Logo After

Digital Art Feature SBS Small Business Sunday Showcase

Twitter #SBS web badges

I was lucky to have been chosen for a #SBS (Small Business Sunday) re-tweet by Theo Paphitis (BBC Dragon – Dragon’s Den) on 23 January 2011. It has brought me lots of new opportunities and lots of lovely new followers and associates on twitter.

Since then there have been new members to the SBS club each week and I have been fortunate enough to have produced some website badges for some of them to help promote their ‘win’. Below are some examples of the SBS badges.

If you would like one it only costs a mere £10 and all proceeds will be donated to a chosen charity, so far the following amounts have been donated to the following charities:

March/April 2011 – British Red Cross Japan Appeal – £71.25
April/May/June – Christchurch Earthquake Appeal : New Zealand Government – £90.00
June/July 2011 – New Life Charity – £80.00
August 2011 – Retail Trust – £135.00
Sept/Nov 2011 – Children in Need – £130
Dec 2011 to Feb 2012 – Cystic Fibrosis Trust – £50
To Date – Collecting for

Artwork is as a transparent .PNG and can colours can be branded and tailored to your company colours.

Here is a selection of some newly updated badges for my lovely clients incorporating the new ‘official’ SBS logo but keeping the Crayon/Client’s distinctive branding.

Digital Art Showcase

Round stickers galore!

The very lovely (and super talented) photographer Vicki Knight ordered some round labels from me. She wanted to use three design elements from her logo (which is a great little logo).

After a bit of faffing from my part, we settled on a 19mm for her ‘K’ and the new 25mm super dooper, and rather funky if I say so myself, gloss transparent stickers for her ‘flower’ motif and the 29mm for the logo.

I am delighted with the results, they look really good and hopefully this order should last her quite a while!

You can order the new gloss transparent stickers from my Printed Stationery shop as well as the new 19mm and a lovely big 40mm for those of you who have lots to say on a round label.

Feature Handmade Showcase

Everyone loves a Superhero

Well, at least I know that lovely Mummy blogger Jen from Mum in the Madhouse loves her Superhero, he also happens to be MadDad, her husband.

Jen saw my Batman insipired ‘Kapow’ card a while back and asked me to come up with a design for MadDad. Her detailed spec involved him being her ‘Superhero’ and that was it.

I had an idea for a retro style font and some super powered stars. I hope MadDad likes it!

Following a quick tweet, @sewjustinesew has asked me to create a similar design for her Superhero. I am rather excited, I think I am going to experiment with colour – watch this space!

**Update – 3 Feb 2011**
Colour Superhero version can now be seen in my ‘Hommage to Handmade’ section.