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Wedding invitations: the design process

3 Apr

I haven’t written about my wedding planning in a while. There was a brief lull where P and I moved house and then had to concentrate on DIY and then I started a new job (yes, it has been a stressful year so far!), but now I feel back on track again and am trying to crack through the to-do list. First thing on the list? Invitations.

Getting a beautiful wedding invitation is easy these days. There are all sorts of Etsy people these days who you can give your details to, and they design them up to look spiffy and send you the pdfs to print. By looking over even just the first couple of pages of the search results for ‘wedding invitation’, I found loads that I liked. Some of my favourites were:

These green and grey text invites from the Fine and Dandy Paperie;

These mason jar invitations from Jen Simpson design;

And this gorgeous illustrated wedding invitation from Ello There.

And yet, I am making them myself. As someone who always prefers to hand make cards where I can, it seems strange to hand over the design process for the wedding invitations to someone else. The invites above are all gorgeous, but they aren’t personal to P and I. I wanted to make something different and something that meant something.

Having said that, it has been as massive struggle. The things that mean something to us – each other, our home, our family – don’t really make for amazing invitation images. I tried all sorts of different things – different fonts and frames, photographs, background images, colours, layouts… I started back in February and after getting VERY frustrated, I only now feel that I have something I am reasonably happy with.

I’m not going to share the pictures until they have been sent out in the post (and received by the guests!), but I will say that I have a brilliant night recently with the paints that Hannah got me for my birthday.  We’re having some dummy invites printed this week and all being well should be ready to post them out next week! Very exciting stuff.

And if you’re just starting out in this process and are wondering whether you should make them yourself? I wouldn’t have changed what I did, but I would say that having a clear idea of what you want the invites to look like is a pretty important starting point, and one which I took over a month to get to. Wedding invitation designers – I salute you!


Valentine Ideas

10 Feb

It’s hard not to be inspired when there are so many lovely gift and styling ideas out there at the minute around Valentine’s Day.  Here’s another little round up of some ideas I have spotted recently – I hope they inspire you, too!

A DIY tutorial for making an accordion card via Martha Stewart.

A lovely tutorial from How About Orange on creating edible paint – you can decorate plates or cups or whatever and eat the designs! Yummy (and pretty!)

Give your friends a little treat with these decorated matchboxes stuffed with sweets. Via Sweet Mabel.

This is a WONDERFUL tutorial for making heart shaped cake stands – I am definitely going to be giving this a try! Via Say Yes to Hoboken.

Staying with the pink and red theme, but on a much ‘manlier’ note – how about these meat biscuits spotted on the Whipped Bake Shop on etsy! What a cute idea (but you had better have a steady hand!)

What are you planning this Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day Cards

2 Feb

I love these cards from Wit and Whistle – they are so quirky and funny – certainly a lot better than most of the V-Day cards on the market!

Are you getting or making your Valentine a card?  What has been your inspiration?

Shoestring Swap Shop

18 Jan

After the success of the last one, we are planning another swap party!

The Shoestring Swap Shop will be on February 4th at the Railway pub in Clapham North, from 1-6pm.

As well as a massive swap party for clothes (and any gifts you got this Christmas that you think are just not you), you can also buy some delicious cakes from the Cherry Blossom Cakery, make Valentine’s cards for your loved ones, and lots more.

If you are interested in hosting a stand showing people how to upcycle their clothes or furnishings, e-mail us at

If you would like to come, please RSVP on the Facebook event page or by dropping us an e-mail at the above address. More details will be coming soon, so make sure you sign up today.

Hope to see you there!

PS: as a further enticement, here’s a reminder of my bounty from our last event

Ideas for craft projects

31 Oct

A few calendar-based projects today, spotted on Pinterest.

I would love to make this for someone for Christmas! Each month has an envelope for you to save your treasures into and there are blank pages for you to make notes. What a great idea! I’m not sure how you could make it yourself and make it look professional, but it looks like it could be a fun project (and if it doesn’t work you, you can pick one up here).

How great is this!? Write down what you did every day over a year and then update the library card every year. As someone who keeps her moleskine diaries for every year and loves to look back and see what I was doing at any point in time, this seems like a really great idea.

Paint chalk squares on to your walk for an easily visible, erasable monthly calendar.

And finally, this isn’t really a craft project, but I got my god daughter a really cute wooden advent calendar for Christmas last year (similar to the picture below), with the plan of filling it up every year, but what do I get for a very little girl (almost 2) that can fit into these small little drawers? Any and all ideas please!

Deer card evolution

28 Oct

The best part about making any kind of art, whether it is cards or painting or collage – whatever – is that feeling when inspiration kicks in. You finish off one thing and you know straight away what you want to do next. I started making embroidered cards using a simple drawing of a deer, a needle and some brown thread.

Then I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if the deer was a really bright colour? So I got some flouro embroidery thread and created some very bright pink cards. Then I decided to make a stencil of him, and created some brightly painted cards and some spray painted cards.  In the end there are 7 different varieties, all based on the same original drawing!

Wednesday night’s episode of Frozen Planet has started to make me feel all wintry. I think this weekend I’ll be thinking about ice and snow and Christmas – look out for some Christmassy cards very soon!

PS: If you want to buy any of my deer cards, come along to our swap party tomorrow, where I’ll be selling them. Or you can just get in touch.

Handmade greeting cards

17 Oct

Inspired by Hannah’s stencilling earlier this week, as well as a beautiful collage stencil I spotted on Pinterest, I decided to create a bird stencil to create some more cards.

I drew the bird out using a pencil, then very slowly cut the bird out using a craft knife.

Then I tested out three different methods – first using paint and a paintbrush, then (after a trip to B&Q!), spraypaint, and finally using glue and glitter. I almost knocked myself out with the spraypaint fumes so highly recommend doing this outdoors if you have any outdoor space!

Hannah and I are going to be bringing some cards to sell at the Shoestring Splendour Swap Party in The Railway, Clapham North on 29th October – we hope you can make it! As well as the cards and some cakes, there will be an opportunity to swap your clothes for someone else’s pre-loved goodies ! You can RSVP on Facebook, drop us an e-mail or send us a message on Twitter to let us know you are coming!

Handmade greeting cards

14 Oct


Inspired by Katie making her own cards and by my bedside table stencils I have made a set of stenciled cards and I’m really enjoying doing it. Packets will be on sale at the Clothes Swap in The Railway, Clapham North on 29 October. Top tips when stencilling are:

1. get the correct brushes – you can buy stencilling brushes from any art or DIY shop

2. Don’t overload the brush with paint. Dab it first on your palatte or a bit of tissue to remove the excess. To much paint produces a splodge instead of delicate pattern.

3. Use the correct paint. I’ve been using acrylics but you can also buy stencilling paint.

4. Build up layers slowly.


Humming Bird


Butterflies and Buddleia

Christmas card making

7 Oct

A couple of weekends ago, I was in France, making hand puppets for a friend who is moving away. What I didn’t mention is that I also made an card for my fiance, with some of the embroidery thread we used for the puppets. I loved making the card – it was quite relaxing to sew and came out really well, so I have decided to do a series of embroidered Christmas cards!

Today I went down to Morley’s to get some thread, and drew a couple of little Christmas animals – a doe and a pigeon with a Christmas hat on. Cut the drawing art, place it where you want it to go, and use some light tape to keep it where it is.

To get the drawing onto the card, just stick a needle into a cork (otherwise you will hurt your fingers) and prick out the outline of your drawing, putting the holes where you want the thread to be pulled through.

You’ll need to go around the entire thing twice because otherwise your thread will look like a dotted line.

I actually had to do this first card THREE TIMES because I pricked my finger and got blood on the first card, then forgot and did exactly the same thing on the second card. So best advice? Don’t prick your finger, and if you do, put a bandage on it! I did eventually figure this out, and my third doe and the pigeon were both a LOT more straight forward…

If you are interested in buying some embroidered Christmas cards, I’ll be selling a small selection (of totally not blood stained cards, I promise) at the Shoestring Splendour swap party on October 29th. If you are interested in coming, just add yourself to our Facebook event.

Everyday inspiration

15 Sep

I have been meaning to make some new cards for weeks now. The stash of homemade cards I have in my bedroom has gradually been whittled down further and further to the point where there are only one or two left. I really resent spending £2.50 or more on a card when I know that I can make them myself. You can buy 100 cream cards (with envelopes) from Amazon for around £9, so assuming a card costs £2.50, you need to make less than four cards to have the pack pay for itself.  That’s kind of a no brainer, isn’t it?

Plus, handmade cards can feel nicer. Sometimes I make personal cards which are specifically made for the person, but even just having some pretty blank cards you have made yourself can still feel special. I made some cards last year using some hipstamatic photos from my iPhone – I printed them out in colour and then used a sticker maker to adhere them to the card (although you could just use a bit of old fashioned pritt stick!).  They were really quick, really easy, and people always seem to like them.

Today, inspired by the vase I inherited from my grandmother, I decided to pick up my paintbrush and do a little bit of watercolour.

My favourite vase

First I filled in the outline I had drawn with plain water from my paintbrush. Then I only needed to use a tiny bit of blue paint to fill in the body of the owl. If you’re worried about sticking inside the lines, then this might not be the best technique for you, but I happen to like the feathery edges that it gives you so for me it works just fine.

Feathery paint jobs add character, right?

Once the paint had dried, I then drew the lines in thin marker and did a little bit of colouring in and drew on some owlish detail.

Ah, really, nothing beats colouring in for a relaxing Sunday afternoon activity. Kids have the right idea.

I had enough for two owls using my tiny dab of paint, and with the remainder on my brush I created this abstract card, which I quite like too.

A slightly more portly fellow

Very blue

So – five minutes, three cards, £7.50 saved.

Do you make your own cards? Where do you get your inspiration?

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