Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Edinburgh weekend

Just a few snaps (sorry - from my phone again!) of Edinburgh where we were at the weekend. We went up to my favourite city for the wedding of our friends Jill and Matthew. They (although I suspect Jill more than Matthew!) didn't disappoint with the details and little finishing touches on the day. They'd thought of everything and Jill's interior eye was very much evident. They whole ceremony and reception was held in The Caves so it was extremely atmospheric with candles and low lighting. I didn't get many photos (- mostly of the bride and groom!) so here's just a couple.
We also visited the Museum of Scotland which has been extensively refurbished since the days when I was an Illustration student at Ediburgh College of Art and used to go and draw artefacts and do research. It's now a very light and bright space packed full of exciting things to see. Martha rushed around at the speed of light as all small children do in museums but we did see a lot and I loved the building and the actual space more than anything. I could have spent much longer there just hanging out and people watching.
Edinburgh never disappoints me when I visit. Perhaps it's the affinity you get with the place where you've studied and the friends and memories which go with it but I do feel very attached to it and feel revived whenever I visit.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Time flies.....

Wow and where did that time go.....?
Was it really October last time I posted anything on here?! 

So you may have gathered I've been a bit busy to say the least. Time has been marching along punctuated by Open Studio, trade and retail fairs, busy silly season and many many orders.

Last time I was on here I was about to host my first ever Open Studio / Pop-Up shop. This was a huge success and also very enjoyable. I got to spruce up the studio into a 'shop', make and serve tea and cake and sell my wares to the public directly. It is definitely an experience I would love to repeat perhaps more regularly than once a year.

The next challenge was Harrogate Country Living Fair. I have mixed feelings about this. It was busy but not as busy as I'd expected for the centre of Harrogate 3 weeks before Christmas and the stress and exhaustion which resulted from 5 days of to-ing and fro-ing to Harrogate out-weighed the benefits I'm afraid.

In amid the Christmas mayhem I fitted in a lovely wedding stationery commission for my good friends Jill and Matthew. The bad photography (I've been getting lazy again and just relying on my camera phone) doesn't do it justice but the end result was a subtle and beautiful motif perfectly suited to their wedding style. I think they were happy with it too. With two and a half weeks to go to the wedding in Edinburgh I look forward to seeing the whole wedding theme (as an Interior Designer Jill is bound to have thought of every detail and I know there will be a beautiful and very unique look to the whole day). 

Pre-Christmas is always chaotic with me and the usual frenzy of late wholesale Christmas orders, online orders and early Valentines wholesale orders ensures I have little time to do anything other than work. Last year was no exception (especially throwing Top Drawer prep into the mix) but I managed to get everything out in time and had a little break with family.

The challenge immediately after Christmas was Top Drawer. I was dreading not being fully organised but I somehow pulled it all together in time and the show was an over-whelming success. Re-connecting with my trade customers after Christmas felt like a very natural thing to do as they were all looking positively into the new year and there was very little post-Christmas lethargy. Meeting new contacts and new stockists as well as talking to all my very valued stockists made for an exciting three days. Plus there was a very high standard of products and stands at the show this year I thought - always an inspiration.

Since Top Drawer I haven't stopped for air as I've fulfilled order after order. I think January may well have been one of my busiest months ever for trade orders as a continuous stream of parcels left the studio by courier.

I've also said goodbye to Beth - my studio assistant of the last 6 months who moved on to pastures new and a full-time job. She picked and packed brilliantly for the time she was here and I thought I was going to be lost post-Top Drawer until.......Sarah came along. Now I have a new studio assistant and she's been picking and packing and keeping the orders going out for the last 2 weeks. 

So new challenges and creative happenings lie ahead in 2014. I have ideas, plans, notions and NEW YORK! I will be heading to the National Stationery Show in New York in May. So alongside designing and my usual Spring tasks I'll be planning and looking towards May. It's going to be exciting. At the moment I'm a little scared but it's a step I need to take..

I'll keep you posted - more regularly I hope....!  (Apologies for the lengthy post!!)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Open Studio & Xmas pop-up shop

I'm opening up my studio for a weekend and having an open studio and small xmas pop-up shop.
There will be cards (lots of Christmas ones), stationery, screen prints, word map prints, bags and a few other bits and bobs lurking in my plan chest. It's a good excuse to tidy up, sell off some discontinued cards, show my wares to my village (!) and have a cup of tea with people in my studio!
If you're in the East Yorkshire area and fancy a nosey and some nice cards then please do pop in!

9th & 10th November
11am-4pm both days
Honeysuckle House
Nunburnholme, Pocklington, York. YO42 1QY

Friday, 25 October 2013

Product photo shoot

A couple of weeks ago I took all my products over to Hannah Webster Photography in Leeds for my first ever product photo shoot. It was a great day and we got such a lot done!!
Here are some of the results (there's over 400 photographs in total!!) but the possibilities are really exciting - very soon my website will have a serious make-over and introduce a bit more 'lifestyle' photography into it. Then I intend to start on my new catalogue and other promotional pieces. It's good to know that now I have a good bank of photos to send out for press images and image requests.

It's been a great exercise in analysing my brand, what is essential to it and what unites it. I definitely think that these photos will enhance my work and show it off to it's best potential which I don't think I'm always currently doing.

Thanks Hannah - you did a great job!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Dutch House

Thanks to Martha's school project we spent the weekend documenting ourselves through photographs. It actually turned out to be a brilliant thing for me too as all too often I forget to take my camera with me and caught up in the usual melee of everyday life I forget to photograph us and whats around us regularly enough.
These are just a few of the photos we took on Sunday afternoon at Dutch House, Crayke (near York). We'd never been before (I only just learnt it existed last week when I chanced upon Cecile on Twitter). It was a good find - art, peaceful wild gardens and a cafe with delicious Dutch cakes, pies and pancakes. It was great to chat to Cecile and we'll certainly be going back.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Colour is where it's at...

You can't beat a juicy bit of colour. The autumn sunshine has been highlighting the colours around and you only have to look at my work to know how important a strong block of colour is to me.
Strong pastels against beautiful brights at Bridlington beach last Sunday (top 4 images).
Fantastic coloured formica school desks in my local vintage shop (may well be going back to buy these  tomorrow!!)

This week has mainly been about planning my pending photo shoot, website updates (finally getting around to planning/creating much-needed changes), delivering framed prints to Art&Rose Gallery (my local gallery in Pocklington - owned and curated by my next door neighbour Emma-Jane) and new designs/products. And of course sending out orders of both everyday and Christmas cards. A wonderfully varied week!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Busy organising

I've been missing from here the whole of the summer holidays I'm afraid. It's not that I've just had the whole summer off - far from it in fact. With it being the summer holidays I had my daughter at home with me most of the time (or lovely grandparents and holiday club looking after her also) so working has been somewhat sporadic. I have managed to work quite a lot but having had a busy period of orders concentrated over the whole of August I mainly spent all my working time keeping on top of despatching orders and doing admin jobs. All the other more lovely parts which make up my working day have had to wait. 
Yesterday Martha started in reception so I now have 5 clear days a week for the first time in over 4 years and I'm delighted. Obviously I'll miss her hugely but I feel very fortunate that I spent a lot of time with her when she was young while growing my business at the same time. I've spent 4 and a bit years juggling work and being a mum and I feel I had the best of both worlds. She's been at nursery/pre-school and grandparents a lot of the week over the past couple of years but it's all been a bit more ad-hoc and required strategic planning every week. I'm really looking forward to the straightforwardness of dropping her at the same place every morning and being in the studio bright and early.

So the past 2 days I've been doing some serious organising. In a way it feels like the start of term for me also - new beginnings and all that. I've finally finished painting and installing back in the old metal shelving unit which was in my studio as part of the former owners storage. I like the fact that a part of this once very dark and boring shed is back in use again. A little bit of it's heritage before it became a studio. It looks a bit office-y but I need somewhere for the files I use to keep my designs in and it's perfect.
There's been a steady stream of deliveries to the studio all week resulting in finding room to store over 10,000 envelopes! (6500 cards on their way next week!) Beth (my new and very sunny studio assistant) has been busy picking and packing orders and I've been putting away the new stock of Christmas cards (oh yes - it'll be upon us in no time!)

All in all a busy and organising sort of week so far. And I have many plans which I'm making too. 
That's for next week..... can't wait!!