Goodbye 2015 – Hello 2016!

2015 has long gone, and here’s into 2016! Hooray! I’ll admit, I was actually relieved to see the back of 2015 when we shouted ‘Happy New Year!’ to our friends that night. It was a blur of a year for me, being my most emotionally unstable year due to personal issues. Plus it was my busiest year for work, even though I may not feel like I have much to show for it! I took on new retainer clients and did less individual client work, but I actually enjoyed it all! It’s was a big year of learning and growing, and I’ve love to share some things I’ve learnt, maybe at the end of 2016 I’ll have some more things to share.

Try Something New.

I’d taken on some new projects this year that I never thought I’d take on. Before, I would’ve seen the project being too far out of my scope of abilities. I would’ve rather sent it onto someone else who could’ve done the project, saving me some stress and time. But, instead, I took them on, and they actually turned out great. Pushing myself wasn’t a bad thing, so now I have new things to add to my little box of tricks, and I have happy clients.

It’s ok to say no.

This year I was lucky enough to get two new full-time retainer design clients, so a lot of my design time went to their projects. While other branding and website projects were knocking at my door, and I so badly wanted to take them on, I realised my time was limited. If I try take on a project where I physically don’t have the time, I’ll just end up making a mess of the project, and letting the client down. Saying no meant I had fewer large projects, but I had fewer disappointed clients, and projects I was proud that I’d completed. I also followed my gut when I received an enquiry from a client and felt that it wasn’t going to be a good match between client and designer. I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason, that things are meant to be together. There were some briefs I received that gave me this uncomfortable feeling in my gut that couldn’t be ignored. So I turned them away. Just because I’m a designer doesn’t mean I’m the one for you. I realised it’s part of my job to realise that not every job is meant for me, so I refer them to other designers who I think will be a better fit. And it’s ok!

Don’t try please everyone.

I had a number of ‘pro-bono’ jobs I did for family and friends because, well, I just couldn’t say no to their puppy-eyed pleas. But it took just one experience that gave me a great wakeup call, and I realised those jobs aren’t such a great idea. I had someone ask me to do a ‘quick logo design’ over a weekend. I’d had things planned for that weekend, and I cancelled pretty much everything for the weekend. I stayed up late to work on it, only to find the worst lack of communication ever, and they went with a logo that has been “slapped together in 10 minutes”. Not only had I missed out on a great weekend, but now I looked like an incompetent designer. I quickly realised it was a bad idea to try please someone who needed something urgently because I thought I was helping them. Instead, I got burned. I learnt that it doesn’t matter who is asking the favour. Just don’t say yes to jobs to please someone.

 

With all of that said, I’ve also grown a lot in my design skills, and I’ve got a little more in my pocket for the next year of design! I can only put it down to my clients who’ve stuck with me and trusted me with their design work! I can’t begin to thank everyone for their patience, trust and enthusiasm with each project! Here’s to more exciting things coming in 2016!

 

2015_work_summary-01

 

Mother’s Day Printables – Mellow Yellow

Here’s the final set of printables for you to spoil Mum with this Mother’s Day! If you’ve missed the earlier sets, you can print these Blue Watercolour printables, or these Fresh Floral printables too! And if Mum loves yellow tones and geometric patterns, then she’ll love these!

Choose from a a range of printables including a card, cupcake wrappers and cupcake flags, with included recipe and gift suggestions to match!

 

DSC_5559-16 DSC_5560-17 DSC_5561-18 DSC_5553-12

 Download These Printables Here:

Mellow Yellow Card

Mellow Yellow Cupcake Wrappers

Mellow Yellow Cupcake Flags

 

Try These Recipes:

Caramel Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Caramel Frosting

Honey Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Add A Pressie With Your Printables:

Mothers_day_gifts_yellow

If She Loves Jewellery – Citrine Drop Earrings – R390

If She Loves To Cook – Eat Art – Spices of the Orient – R179

If She Loves Bags – Gold Clutch With Studs – R199

If She Loves Her Bath Goodies – Angel Breath Handmade Soap Giftbox – R220

Mother’s Day Printables – Fresh Florals

With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, you’ll want to spoil your Mum in a way that she’ll never forget! And if you’re stuck for some ideas for what to get her – here are some simple but personal ways to show your love!

Choose from a a range of printables including a card, cupcake wrappers and cupcake flags, with included recipe and gift suggestions to match!

 

DSC_5563-19 DSC_5566-21 DSC_5567-22 DSC_5568-23

 Download These Printables Here:

Fresh Florals Card

Fresh Florals Cupcake Wrappers

Fresh Florals Cupcake Flags

 

Try These Recipes:

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

 

Add A Pressie With Your Printables:

Mothers_day_gifts_pink

If She Loves Jewellery – Pink Flower With Pearl Earrings – R185

If She Loves Tea – Le Creuset Classic Teapot in Pink – R440

If She Loves Scarves – Floral Sequin Pink Scarf – R389

If She Loves Bath Goodies – 100 Flowers Handmade Soap Giftbox – R165 

Mother’s Day Printables – Beautiful Hues of Blue

With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, you’ll want to spoil your Mum in a way that she’ll never forget! And if you’re stuck for some ideas for what to get her – here are some simple but personal ways to show your love!

Choose from a a range of printables including a card, cupcake wrappers and cupcake flags, with included recipe and gift suggestions to match!

DSC_5538-6 DSC_5539-7 DSC_5544-8 DSC_5549-9 DSC_5550-10 DSC_5551-11

 Download These Printables Here:

Blue Hues Card

Blue Hues Cupcake Wrappers

Blue Hues Cupcake Flags

 

Try These Recipes:

Blueberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Blue Velvet Cupcakes

 

Add A Pressie With Your Printables:

Mothers_day_gifts_blue

If She Loves Jewellery – Teardrop Labradorite Necklace -R150

If She Loves Coffee – Nespresso UMilk Espresso Machine – R2 800

If She Loves Bags – Blue Laser Cut Handbag -R530

If She Loves Bath Goodies – Fresh Homemade Soap Giftbox – R165

Christmas Gift Labels

Who doesn’t love freebies? And design freebies? And freebies that make things pretty and easy? If you just said yes to even one of those -keep reading! For years I remember my Mum buying the Your Family magazine in December and using all the awesome free labels at the back. I always loved sitting and cutting out those little labels, they sure came in handy! Last year was my first real DIY Christmas, so I made my own labels. I was super proud of them, even though I used our home printer which was unreliable as hell! Since I know I’ll be doing the same this year, I thought I’d share them with you – like I’m the Your Family magazine!

I’ve created two styles as you’ll see from below. One is a modern glam-inspired style, and the other is a watercolour style. You can print these at home on thicker card – I’d highly recommend using some card (I used pearl project board that I bought from PNA) and make sure you have plenty ink and print at the highest quality. You can also take them to your local printing guys and have them print these on some shiny paper or thicker card. It’s up to you! These files are fairly large (quality counts!) so make sure you’re using a PC or laptop with sufficient internet connection to download. Leave them to download in the background, have some coffee and they’ll be ready to go!

Simply print them out, cut out and punch a hole into each one. Then write on it, and attach it to your gift! Enjoy!

download-glam-labels-02

download-watercolour-labels-03

DSC_3404 DSC_3410 DSC_3414 DSC_3415 DSC_3417 DSC_3421 DSC_3423 DSC_3424 DSC_3426 DSC_3429 DSC_3432 DSC_3433 DSC_3434 DSC_3435

Make Your Own Gift Wrap

There’s nothing quite like seeing all kinds of bright, bold and colourful kinds of gift wrap! Every year we’d have a wide range of colours and patterns under the tree, and it was always exciting (although usually it was very tiring) to hide away and wrap the gifts on Christmas Eve. Sometimes you see some beautiful gift wrap in the shop, and it’s only once you’ve bought it, got it home and started to wrap something, that you realise what terrible paper it is. I’ve encountered so many kinds of gift wrap that are either too thin, too shiny, too slippery, or tear at the corners. And one thing I learnt last year – most of these gift wraps aren’t even recyclable! This prompted me to make my own gift wrap that was not only unique, but perfect for wrapping anything, and I could put it in the recycling when the gifts had been opened. Score!

So, this is my eco-friendly super easy creative way of making gift wrap! It’s great for all kinds of occasions – Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and every other day in between. If you’re feeling crafty this weekend, go grab some supplies and make your own gift wrap! And if you do, please send me some photos, I’d absolutely love to see your creations!

Tools:

A variety of stamps (you can buy them or make your own – check my tutorial here)
Stencils
Ink pads
Spraypaint
Pens
Brown paper (you can use any paper, brown paper is easier and better to recycle)

DSC_3323 DSC_3325

These are my homemade stamps from last year – you can easily make your own with this tutorial, or you can buy them from any craft or stationery shop!

DSC_3328

DIY Giftwrap 1 – Stencils & Stamps

This is a little more complicated, but it gives fantastic results! Spend a day or two making lots of your own, and it’ll be totally worth it once you see all your wrapped gifts with your paper on them!

DSC_3331

I bought a giant book of stencils from Typo, they have a great selection and you get quite a few in the book, about 20 I think. You can also make your own if you’re feeling super crafty, but I love Typo’s wide selection, and they’re easy to clean and reuse if you haven’t cleaned them.

DSC_3335

I’m not a huge fan of spray paint, but this works pretty well! It’s also a more eco-friendly spray instead of the usual heavy duty oil based ones, so if you get any spray on your hands or clothes, it comes right off with some soap! I also used a whiteboard marker in black, and a white marker that was Xylene free. But you can use any pens you like!

DSC_3337

Time to get creative! I like to chose one or two stencils, and some stamps to go with them. It’s best to think of a simple pattern that you can repeat easily. Try keep your pattern close together as well, otherwise once you’ve wrapped your gift, you’ll miss out on most of your pretty pattern!

DSC_3340 DSC_3343 DSC_3344

I chose 2 different snowflakes, and did a super light coat of spray. I did get some overspray around the edges, but it gives it some character. You can always use newspaper to cover the edges so you don’t get any overspray.

DSC_3348

Time to add some stamps! I’m going to add some stars, and also some love! There’s no set pattern, just go for it and create something special and unique.

DSC_3351 DSC_3353

You don’t even have to put a lot of ink onto your stamps, they can range in lightness so you get a wide range of bits and pieces in your pattern.

DSC_3355 DSC_3358 DSC_3361

Here are some I made last year, from homemade stamps, spraypaint and metallic pens. I kept it simple and repeated the pattern every 10cm or so, and it looked great when it was wrapped!

 

 

DIY Giftwrap 2 – Sketch Your Own

Now, if you don’t have time to create giftwrap in vast quantities and create pretty patterns, you can always do that after you’ve wrapped it! Create something simple like I did below (it saves you on ribbon and labels!) or you can go while and make your own patterns with stamps and spraypaint and pens!

DSC_3364

DSC_3368

For something super simple, I went with a handdrawn bow and ribbon. Something that anyone can do, and it looks cute and crafty. It’s also a fun idea for the kids, because who doesn’t like drawing on things?!

DSC_3382 DSC_3384

You can also add in some simple details around the bow, like some polka dots. Or you can go wild – it’s up to you!

DSC_3388

I hope you enjoyed these two mini tutorials – go out and make your own awesome giftwrap! If you follow these, please do take some photos and show me, I’d absolutely love to see what you come up with! Happy DIY’ing!

 

DIY Eraser Stamps

Stamps are a great way to spice up greeting cards, wrapping paper, labels, book covers – anything really! Last year, I was inspired to make all my Christmas wrapping and cards totally DIY, starting off with some stamps. They’re so easy to make, and much cheaper than bought stamps! So, if you fancy yourself a bit of DIY this week, grab yourself some tools and get started!

 

Tools:

– Rubber erasers
– Pen
– Lino cutters or Xacto knife
– Pen
– Ink pad

DSC_3203

You can get a box of cheap erasers at any stationery shop, such as CNA, PNA, Clicks, Makro or Game. They can be any size, but I found that the rectangular ones work best. I have a set of lino cutting tools from high school that are super handy at doing grooves and cutting out the excess rubber from around the design, and you can get them from any large hardware store or art store. I’d highly recommend using an Xacto rather than a craft knife, as the blade is much thinner and tapered at the end, giving you more control over cutting out your design. I got my ink pad from Typo, but you can get from CNA, PNA and art stores.

DSC_3223

Start off by sketching out some designs. Start off with something simple and solid, so you can get some practise.

DSC_3238

Once you are happy with a design – I’m going for a basic Christmas tree shape, transfer the design onto your eraser. My erasers are pretty small, so I have to make sure I don’t go off the edge!

 

DSC_3248

Time to start cutting! Begin by cutting down into the eraser, about 3mm, around the edge of your design, making sure you keep your lines neat so you don’t end up with jagged edges.

DSC_3257

Then cut around the edge of the eraser, about 3mm off the side where your design is. Don’t cut too deep, otherwise you’ll slice off your final stamp shape. Do one line all the way around, and then you can start taking little bits away.

 

DSC_3268

You can take large pieces off by sliding your Xacto knife about 3mm under the surface, keeping away from the stamp design.

DSC_3272

You’ll see it looks quite tatty around the design, but the basic shape is there! Take off little bits at a time so you don’t get carried away and chop off more than you need to.

DSC_3275

I used my lino cutter with a rounded blade to start cutting further away from the surface, so that when I put some ink on it and press it onto paper, I don’t get any excess rubber marks. I usually take about a 1/3rd off from the total thickness of the eraser. One tip – lino tools aren’t as pointy and sharp as an Xacto, but still great at cutting, and you won’t be likely to cut yourself while doing this. Stabbing yourself with an Xacto isn’t fun or pleasant!

DSC_3282

You can neaten up the edges with your Xacto knife so make sure there aren’t any messy edges, or if you’ve accidentally taken off more than you were meant to – you can see I did that on the middle brand on the left hand side – oops!

DSC_3289

Time to test our little stamp! Place it onto the ink pad, and give it a good first coat of ink. You can let it dry before adding a second coat, as the first coat of ink doesn’t coat the rubber too well.

DSC_3294

You’ll see that I can actually take a bit more off around the sides of the design – that’s why you want to take as much off as possible!

DSC_3298

Trial run done! I can see I made a small oopsie on the very top of the tree, so I went back and trimmed again with my Xacto knife.

DSC_3302

And voila! There we have our first eraser stamp for Christmas! You can use any colour ink you want, or decorate it afterwards. It’s up to you!

DSC_3303 DSC_3304 DSC_3306 DSC_3312

I made quite a few last year, after doing my first one. It takes some practise, so feel free to use cheap erasers to start off with before you really get into it. I also haven’t washed my stamps, and it hasn’t affected their stamping ability. But I’m sure you can easily wash them in some warm soapy water, although it might make it tougher for the ink to stick each time.

 

Feel free to use them all year round, on cards, labels, gift wrap and more! I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and if you have any suggestions or questions, let me know! Happy DIY Christmas everyone!

Weekly Ginger Bites

I’m really bad at updating my blog – and it’s time to change that! One thing I do love is reading a weekly blog of bits and pieces, links from around the web, or a blogger’s favourite something. I thought I’d do a weekly post with my favourite links of the week, and any new favourite things like fonts, resource packs, wallpapers, freebies or anything that I think you might enjoy! Here goes – have a great weekend!

 

Interesting Reads:

 5 Biggest Logo Designs of August 2014
Reading Books Is Actually Healthy For You!
A Great Alternative To The Term ‘One-Stop-Shop’

 

Good For A Laugh:

Hilarious Halloween Inspiration!
Brain-Dead Teen, Only Capable Of Rolling Eyes And Texting, To Be Euthanized
Jimmy Kimmel at Fashion Week
Don’t Ask A Designer To Help Make A Poster For Your Lost Cat

My Faves:

Fave Song: Pharrel – Come Get It Bae
Fave DIY: Super Easy Ombre Nails
Fave Recipe: Nigella’s 1 Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream
Fave Design: Beautiful Cloud-Inspired Watercolour Wallpapers

Planning Ahead

The past couple of weeks has been insanely busy and eerily quiet all at the same time. I always know where there’s a lull in my projects it’ll be followed by a tidal wave of work! But that’s always a good thing, because when I have my downtime, I get to put that time back into my business, whether it’s updating websites, following up on emails or thinking ahead. If only I had enough time in the day to plan a trip to the spa – I think I’m getting withdrawal symptoms again!

I recently read this amazing article from one of my favourite blogs – Rock ‘n Roll Bride. Her weekly business-related-inspirational blog posts keep me sane, it’s a fresh weekly dose of inspiration, ideas and reality-checks! Her latest post includes advice from inspiring creatives that you might know – Jasmine Star, Emma Case, Paul Jarvis, Gala Darling and more – and their experiences of starting a business, and how they’ve made it to where they are today. It’s really really really wonderful, so if need a pick-me-up, grab a big cuppa (it’s a long article, but worth it) and take a read.

Stables Market_RocknRollBride-72_blog

Next – to the topic of planning! Sometimes I’m brilliant at planning, and other times I’m not. For my design, I sort of forget that there are mini seasons throughout the year (unlike my photography that I plan to the T). When these seasons magically appear round the corner, half of me gets excited for the celebrations, but half of me realises my design skills could’ve been put to work too! So, I’m going to change that. I’ve set up a rather long list of exciting things to keep me going for the next year or so. I’m so excited now that I’ve thought of it, because I’m finally prepared – for fun! And the best thing is – it’s for you, your Mum, boyfriend, grandfather or best friend. Getting some ideas yet? I’m not telling you what it is just yet, but I think I’ve said enough already! I don’t have a official release date yet, but keep checking Facebook and my blog for news!

Something_awesome_is_coming

And in less exciting news, it’s winter, and it’s jolly cold. I’m very much a summer baby – and even in early winter I start to suffer! My coffee has to go in a flask to keep in warm, and going out before sunrise isn’t a lot of fun in winter! But, the solstice is less than a month away, and I’m honestly counting down the weeks til Spring (only 14 weeks til September!). You’d never guess I hate winter, right? To everyone enjoying summer on the other side of the world, please send a little to my office!

73741721208e7bd627fc025e7b0cb555

 

Behind The Scenes

Every tradesmen – or tradeswoman in this case – has their own tools and tricks of the trade. I thought I’d share with you how I work, and my tools, and what makes me a multimedia designer.

 

DSC_3894-1

During my studies, I put into practice what I’d been doing since I could hold a crayon – and that was draw. I fumbled my way through paint, pastels and wax until I discovered my love for ink, pencil and charcoal. During my studies, I got to use those more and more, and fell in love with them even further. I learnt to transpose from pencil to ink, charcoal and then onto digital.

DSC_3897-2

I was a digital artist for many years as well, so going from a scribble on some paper to a full digital painting was second nature to me. Then, when I entered the working world, I was stuck in a digital realm. Designs were done in the digital air, and it was a huge learning curve. I simply didn’t have the time to sketch things out before doing them digitally. It drove me crazy!

DSC_3913-3 DSC_3921-4 DSC_3943-5

Then when I went on my own, I realised I could go back to my process. And boy did it feel good. It makes every project feel more personal, special and each get their own dose of creative attention.

DSC_3968-8  DSC_3981-10 DSC_3988-11

Now, I am venturing to new territories – watercolour being my first. I have never been a natural painter, and while my first acrylic painting looked fantastic, I think I pushed myself and lost it completely. I did that for a pencil project once – I changed my shading style for a particular section of the drawing, and since then my style has never been the same. I’m not sure if I’d call it progress, but it’s certainly different.

DSC_3989-12 DSC_3990-13 DSC_3991-14 DSC_3992-15 DSC_3993-16 DSC_3996-17

Now, my digital skills come into play. The more I work on something physically, the more I have to play with when it hits the digital realm. I love Photoshop – but mostly for drawing. It’s underrated as a creative tool by most people, but it’s my best friend. Illustrator is a mean machine that I leave all my design work to. Need a precise curved line? Done. Need a strange shape with a stroke and a gradiented fill. Done. Try do that in Photoshop and it’ll take a bit longer, and take you on a slightly more scenic route. I think of Photoshop as a bit of a hippie, and Illustrator is a perfectly organised and efficient sergeant. I love them both for it.

 

My Tools.

My oldest set of pencils – I’ve had them since 2005, and I’ve only lost 2 pencils. They’re not a well-known brand, but they’re fantastic. They’ve been put through more art exams, personal drawings, commissions and projects than any other stationery I own. They are rather tough, and up to 4B, the graphite has lasted well despite being dropped too many times to count. The softer pencils are more delicate and prone to breaking, but that’s pretty normal. I think you can see I clearly like the softer pencils more – that poor H pencil has barely been used!

 

DSC_3997-18 DSC_3998-19 DSC_3999-20 DSC_4000-21

As much as I adore charcoal, it’s tough to find the right kind. Some charcoal is too thick, to soft, too brittle or just plain rubbish. This guy was fairly pricey, but as a git from my Mum, I’ve made them last quite nicely. And I *love* Daler Rowey like a kid loves ice cream in a heatwave. Nice and thin, not too brittle, you can even sharpen them if you’re gentle enough. And I love the fact that they’re wrapped in tissue paper, like a gift.

 

DSC_4003-22 DSC_4006-23 DSC_4009-24

If I didn’t have such a phobia of needles, and an ever-changing list of visual things I like or dislike, I’d get tattooed. Ink is such a fun medium to work with – it’s like that friendly kid in the playground that plays with you even though you don’t know them, and they just make it so much more fun to play. I’ve had this bottle of ink for about 10 years. It’s rather watery now, but it’s still fun to work up layers of ink. This bottle of Scrivener’s ink I got from Ordsall Hall in Manchester with some quills. I’ll probably buy some india ink and pop it into this pot when this one is finished, it’s just special and something I’ll keep for as long as I can.

DSC_4012-25 DSC_4015-26

My latest experiment – watercolours. Everyone in my family is good at painting, apart from me. So I’m starting with watercolours, because they’re like ink, only with colour, and I can handle ink! And I love watercolour paintings, they’re so gentle and interesting to look at, with all the layers and edges where the paint has dried thicker and darker. And I’ve recently come across watercolour handlettering – something I need to try. We did minimal typographic work during my studies, only the boring basic stuff. Handletter is stunning, and with watercolours it looks like summer on a page!

 

DSC_4017-27 DSC_4018-28 DSC_4020-29 DSC_4022-30

These beauties are my pride and joy. I got them in about 2006, and adore working with them. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about blending colours and creating new colours with pencils instead of using paint. I did most of my matric art projects in coloured pencil. The great thing about these guys is that they don’t smudge while you’re working. And the colours you can get are just gorgeous. When these run out, I’ll definitely be buying some more!

DSC_4023-31 DSC_4026-32 DSC_4028-33 DSC_4029-34 DSC_4031-35 DSC_4032-36 DSC_4034-37 DSC_4035-38