Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sponsor Spotlight: Charlotte Musha

Say hello to my newest feature sponsor; Charlotte Musha. I am excited to introduce Charlotte here not just because she has a wonderful blog covering her crafty adventures, but also because her shop Musha Makes is a new obsession of mine... Look at all the pretty washi tape she stocks (along with all the other crafting goodness): 


Also she has a pet hedgehog called Peppa, and anyone with a pet hedgehog is pretty cool in my book. Go check her out! 


Friday, 28 June 2013

The Happy List




Elsewhere on the web...


>>> Some excellent styling advice. 

>>> 20 Owls that can't get any respect. I have definitely looked back at this more than once this week. 

And offline....

>>> We've just signed to stay in our little flat for another year. It will be the first time I'll be settled in the same house for more than twelve months for over five years.

>>> I've taken on a fun little costume making job for the next couple of weeks.

>>> As soon as I've finished this post I am off to the pub :)

What's on your happy list this week? 

x Rachel 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Weekly Art: Ana Elisa Egreja



Images by Ana Elisa Egreja via Trendland.

Aren't these paintings by Ana Elisa Egreja great? The series is called "Interiors" and shows an array of animals in domestic situations. I love the colours and the almost photo realism coupled with the surreal subjects. Those pandas! So cute... 

Check out the rest of her portfolio on Saatchi Online

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

10 Party Planning Tips

Photo by Jemima Yong

Over the last year I've had to learn a lot about designing for events. It's this experience that has inspired the opening of my shop (date to be announced soon!) so in honour of that I thought I'd share a few event organising tips that I have learnt over time. 

1// Pick a clear and decisive theme. This will really help hone your decorations and tone of the event. A theme doesn't have to be tacky - even just a strong colour scheme will go a long way towards creating a great atmosphere. I often find the simpler the idea, the better you can pull it off to an impressive standard! Pinterest of course is a great source of theme inspiration. 

2// Make a detailed budget plan. This is pretty boring, and it takes a bit of practice to really stick to, but it is probably the most important part of successfully planning an event. When I start any project, I draw up a simple excel budget sheet showing the total budget split up into each section required of the design. I make estimates on how much things are going to cost and I keep working and reworking until everything stays within budget. I always try to leave a bit of contingency money too as things will inevitably go wrong at some point! 


3// Make mood boards. Use Pinterest or a real life board to collate all of your inspiration images. This is especially useful if you are going to be working with other people as it is the best way of showing your ideas quickly and effectively. I love surrounding myself in inspiration images while I work as it allows me to become completely immersed in the world I am creating. 

4// Go Shopping... Sometimes you just don't know you need something until you see it! Some of my best ideas come when I am sourcing props and things and accidentally stumble across something perfect. 

5// Present your ideas to someone else. I find that explaining ideas to a friend or colleague really helps put them into perspective. Also if you have some kinks to work out they may be able to offer solutions that you hadn't thought of before. 

6// Give yourself a strict timetable. My dyspraxic brain means that I am naturally quite disorganised. Instead of accepting my fate, I over-compensate for that by being really strict with my own time management. I will usually get a big calendar and set deadlines for completing each task to make sure everything gets done on time. I always try to allow more time than I think is needed, because usually things take longer than I originally anticipate. 



7// Think of the little things. What are the little details that will make your event extra special for your guests? Think thoughtful party favours, personal touches like place cards, named cocktails, a themed menu of little treats... I think planning these little things is the best part of my job! 

8// Know your venue. Wherever your venue is (even if it is at a friend's house) the last thing you want is to plan something spectacular and then find out it's impossible on the day. Keep communication up and go on site visits if you can and if you are in doubt about what you are able to do in a space, ask.

9// Find really simple ways to transform your space. When your party planning involves a DIY element, plan decorations that are easy and cost effective to make on a large scale. It's all very well having some really pretty and intricate decorations, but if you can't make enough of them they will just get lost in the grand scheme of things. The classics like paper bunting and pompoms are great because you can make a lot of them quite quickly and cheaply. 

10// Get help. It's the worst feeling not being able to realise your ideas because you run out of time. If the event is quite big, don't let the responsibility get on top of you; recruit a team to help run things. Or if you are having a smaller gathering, enlist your best friend to help you keep an eye on things. It takes the pressure off and is especially important if you would like to enjoy the event itself, after all the work it's nice to be able to step back and enjoy what you've achieved. 





I hope you enjoyed that little designer geek post! Do you have any questions or tips to add? Tomorrow I'll finally be sharing the pictures of this wedding! Can't believe it's taken me this long, but you know how it is... 

x Rachel 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Find Your Voice Workshop


I found this amazing workshop yesterday through Laura Kate, and I signed up straight away! Find Your Voice is a 8 week long workshop created by Rukristin Papercrafts in finding your storytelling voice through scrapbooking, photography, prose, social media and more. The best thing about the workshop is that it's completely free to take part! You can join in via the facebook group, or opt to have sessions emailed to you on a Monday morning.... I've done both :) 

For more info and FAQ on the Find Your Voice workshops visit the Rukristin Papercrafts Blog. I can't wait to get started! 

Is anyone else joining in? 

x Rachel

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Snapshot 23/6/13


Loving>>> Busying myself with shop launch preparations

Watching>>> The Voice final tonight on repeat (don't tell me don't tell me!!!)

Reading>>>  Our Lady of the Flowers - for the next show I'm designing... 

Listening to>>> CocoRosie

Wearing>>> Unsuitable clothes for whatever weather is at hand, pretty much every day. It's so hard to predict in the morning! 

Looking Forward to>>> A trip to Edinburgh Festival in the summer!

Happy Sunday! 

x Rachel 

(I took that picture at a friend's birthday party a couple of weeks ago... I love how the balloons look against the bricks...)

Sponsor Spotlight: Laura Kate Is Crafty


I'm excited to introduce this lovely lady today as one of my feature sponsors of the month! Laura Kate has a wonderful blog celebrating all things crafty. I particularly love her posts on project life; she is a great source of scrap booking inspiration! She also has a shop full of sweet little printables for brightening up your personal projects, and often offers freebies on the blog too. 

Make sure you pop over and say hello! 

Laura Kate Is Crafty Blog.

Laura Kate Is Crafty Shop

x Rachel 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Shop Update


I am having so much fun planning for the launch of the new shop! I've been spending a lot of time planning product lines, getting to know the market and working on branding. The branding is my favourite, I love designing the bigger picture and thinking about what I want the experience to be like for customers! 

The process I am going through at the moment looks a little something like this:

>>> First product ideas through notes and sketches. 

>>> Making prototypes and improving them until they are sellable. 

>>> Setting pricing by working out all materials, packaging and labour costs. I am trying to get into the habit of setting an hourly wage for myself per product. It really helps to work out how to sell things at the price they are really worth. 

>>> Pulling together inspiration images into mood boards for branding. 

>>> Working on the design elements (expect a little blog redesign to match very soon!)



Something I am really excited about when I think about opening up is the possibility to do more custom orders. I love making things for people - especially for special occasions - and it's even better when I am making something that will be one of a kind and unique to them. I am getting really excited now, and can't wait to introduce you all to Pointless Pretty Party! 

x Rachel 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Weekly Art: Joris Kuipers



Dutch artist Joris Kuipers is the artist behind this beautiful installation Völlig Losgelöst (Escaping expressionism). The cloud like shapes are made of foam coated in acrylic paint and are suspended in an explosive arrangement so that the piece is not quite painting, not quite sculpture. I love how the suspended clouds look like they are swirling around each other, I bet if you were standing in amongst them it would feel like you were in the eye of a colourful storm. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sponsor Spotlight: el.inspired


My sidebar has been so spoilt with lovely sponsors this month! Today I'm very excited to introduce el.inspired: a beautiful Etsy shop selling jewellery, purses and accessories. Emma handmakes all of her products using crystals, beads, chains and leather - I just love the natural style of the bracelets! 

I'm delighted to be partnering up with Emma today to giveaway a $30 giftcard for el.inspired! One lucky winner will be picked at random, and the giftcard can be used for anything in the shop. See below for entry details... 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

x Rachel 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Dream Interiors: Modern Brights



From Top Left: 1//2//3//4//5//
Inspiration Image: Balloons

In Dream Interiors I create a styling mood board for a room inspired by an image. This styling is all about bright pops of colour (kind of hate that blogger phrase, but it's the best way of saying it!) on white backgrounds. I love this look, especially for kitchen and dining room environments - plus it's renter friendly as you can achieve all of your colour elements with accessories. 

What theme would you like to see styled in the next Dream Interiors? 

x Rachel 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

DIY Party Bags



This post was meant to go out on Friday, but I picked up a horrible case of food poisoning! So yesterday was not a fun day... bleugh. But today I am well enough to pick up the laptop, so here is another party themed DIY for you... 

For these fun handmade party bags you will need: 

- Clear greetings card sleeves (I get mine from Ebay for less than a pound). 

- Masking tape. 

- Spray Paint. 

- Some sweets, small gifts and little crafting supplies to fill the bags with. 



1// Mark out a pattern on each of the clear bags with masking tape, I made a striped one, a chevron one and a kind of splatter painted one. 

2// Use a spray paint to fill in the gaps. You could give it a good solid coat, or spray a bit more gently so that the coloured parts a still a bit transparent. Spray paint is a must because it would be difficult to get acrylics to stick. 

3// When the paint is dry, fill the bags with little party favours and secure with a piece of washi tape. 

Quite cute right? They are a bit of a play on the classic candy striped bag, which I love. Plus I think it's nice to be able to see the little presents inside! 

Now I just need a party to plan :) 

x Rachel 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Happy List





Elsewhere on the web.... 

>>> This DIY Light-Box Tutorial - so easy and clever - definitely going to be trying this out soon for my product photographs... 

>>> 100 DIY ideas on Apartment Therapy.

>>> The WOW Petition (against the War on Welfare) - a petition to fight against the cuts to disability allowances that will make so many lives that much harder. 

>>> I've just started using Buffer to schedule some of my tweets and facebook updates... Loving it so far! 

And offline... 

>>> Ordering supplies and starting to get my product lines together... 

>>> The thought of some exciting design meetings coming up. We just got funding for a new show to be premiered in November!

>>> I've finally managed to organise myself enough to take a packed lunch to work. I know this seems like a silly thing to get excited about, but I have been trying and failing to get into this habit since school!! It's the little things... haha. 

What's making you happy this week? 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Weekly Art: Ashley Percival

 //source//

I think it's possible that I have found my favourite collection of illustrations ever! Ashley Percival is a UK based children's illustrator and creates draws these funny little characters for clothing, apps, stationery and a range of other products. The tandem bike is my favourite, I just love the expressions on their faces!! 

You can also buy prints from his Etsy shop. Which is what I am about to do.... right now. 

x Rachel 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Spotlight: Sweetbriar Sisters + A Giveaway!


I'm delighted to introduce one of this month's lovely feature sponsors Sweetbriar Sisters! Jessica and Marika are the talent behind this sweet online store which sells beautiful sewing patterns for the home, kids and special occasions. The patterns are tried and tested by beginners and experts alike, and only call for materials that are easily found in your local sewing shop. The website also includes handy video tutorials, now if that isn't user friendly I don't know what is! 



Jessica is very generously giving away a 3-pack of her most popular patterns (pictured above) to FIVE lucky readers! Aren't they cute?! They would make great little weekend projects or really thoughtful gifts for children. I think the Delightful Dino is my favourite. And the best thing is that the patterns are PDF versions, so you can download and start sewing whenever you like. This giveaway is open to everyone worldwide... Hooray! 

Entries accepted below, there are lots of ways to enter and there will be FIVE winners selected so you have plenty of chances to win! I'm just jealous I can't enter myself ;) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck! 

x Rachel 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Card Making Essentials


I spend a lot of my time making cards for people... I love giving people something that I've spent a bit of time over and that is completely personalised to them. Also it's really fun! Here's a few of my essential "ingredients" in my card making supplies: 

//Stamps - probably my most used design tools. I use these alphabet stamps and also these flowery initial stamps to create messages. I also have a growing collection of vintage style stamps (some of which I have used in my blog design - see the little bird?). 

//Ink Pads - I'm gradually building up a variety of colours, although I am yet to find a really good white ink... Maybe it's just not meant to be... Does anyone have any suggestions?

//Stickers - I have always loved stickers and you can get so many pretty ones now! Paperchase is my go-to sticker hoarding paradise. The google-y eyed ones are always a winner. 

//Pretty Papers - I have a kind of get out of jail free card when it comes to disciplining myself with paper purchases... If I see it, I usually buy it, my excuse being that I will always use it. It's kind of true, I do go through a lot of patterned paper! 

//Watercolours - sometimes, when I am feeling a bit more adventurous, I will illustrate and paint a card for somebody... This takes a lot more time but is very rewarding. 

That's all of my most used materials! Although I have been known to use all sorts of silly bits and bobs... Sweet wrappers, scrabble tiles - whatever is lying around really... 

What are your card making essentials?

x Rachel 

My Favourite Business Resources

//source//

I definitely have an addiction to reading business advice. In fact I'm sure I spend more time reading advice than following it! But I love to feel motivated, and here are some of the resources that have motivated me the most:

Books: 

//Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin - I've mentioned this one a lot in the past but it's still my favourite! If you want to learn how to make a creative business plan, this is the book for you.

//Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho - covers the basics to the not so basics. Great for inspiration when you are just starting out. 

E-courses: 

//Dream Job - If you are ever going to take an e-course on starting your own small business, take this one. I LOVE it. 

//Blog Love - In a similar way, if you are going to take a blogging e-course, this is the one. A Beautiful Mess is a favourite of so many, and they never fail to inspire me to follow my business dreams. 

Blogs:

//Independent Fashion Bloggers - An amazing resource for all things blogging. I wouldn't consider myself a fashion blogger, but the tips are definitely transferable to all genres. 

//Maiedae - Savannah often shares great insights into her transition into freelance work

//Design Sponge - The Biz Ladies series is really useful!

//Silly Grrl - Sarah runs Fix it Friday where you leave a comment and she will check out your blog and give you some expert advice on how to improve design elements. This lady is full of useful tips and tricks to do with coding, blogging and freelance work. 

//The House that Lars Built - I love Brittany's advice on scoring your dream design internship. 

//Launch Grow Joy - In particular this HUGE post with over 300 tips to market an Etsy shop. Almost information overload but a nice one to dip into. 

This is an ongoing list, I'll be updating it as I find more useful resources... Do you have any favourites I've missed out?

x Rachel 

Friday, 7 June 2013

My Shop Story So Far...

I’ve mentioned my shop dreams a few times here on the blog but I haven’t really gone into detail about my previous experiences, or why I want to open a shop in the first place. As you know, I am working up to the launch of my new shop at the end of this month, so I thought now would be the perfect time to share my journey so far…



I think I have always wanted to own a little shop in one form or another, and I have certainly always loved making things and sharing them with other people. My first attempt at my own business was when I was 17 and I set up an online shop called Laceflair (haha – I know) selling vintage and handmade jewellery. I learnt a lot about product photography and website design, but made barely any sales as I had no idea about promotion. Then I went to drama school and didn’t have time to keep the shop running so it fizzled out.

my old business card - hehe!

Even throughout my degree I was quietly plotting my next shop venture. I loved thinking about branding, taking product photos and creative business planning. My only problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to sell – I didn’t have a niche. I was putting a lot of thought into what I wanted my shop to be like, with not enough thought into the actual products – a little backwards right?


My next proper dabble in the handmade marketplace was at Christmas when I sold at my first craft fair. Some regular readers may remember me sharing lots of plans and work in progress pictures… It was a busy and exciting time, working around the clock to make enough stock to fill up my stall while also keeping on top of my other design work and holding down a “pay the bills” job. I sold Christmas cards and decorations, advent calendars and various other seasonal pretty things, and the stock I didn’t sell at the fair I put up on to an Etsy shop.


After Christmas I took a little break from shop planning while my set design work was picking up. I have done a lot of theatre work, but designing a special wedding for my friends really made me realise that I want to continue my career in event design. I discovered that event design pulls together the two things that have been battling for my attention for so long: my freelance design work and my dreams of a shop… It was in designing the little decorations and details for the wedding that I thought – “I could sell these”. I feel that in designing decorations and props for parties, I have finally found my niche!

So that brings us up to date – I’m still very much in a state of flux, but very excited about what this next adventure might bring. After a lot of “back to the drawing board” moments and conflicting ideas, I have a really good feeling this one might stick.


Thanks for reading this wordier than usual post, and hope you will stick with me as I muddle my way through the next steps…

x Rachel 


Thursday, 6 June 2013

DIY Paper Daisy Chain


I love daisy chains, I used to make them at school in the summertime - we would all make them at break and join them together to make "the longest chain ever!!". I wanted to recreate this summery feeling with a daisy chain that will last a bit longer... I'm really pleased with the result.


You will need: white paper, yellow felt, double sided tape or glue dots, green embroidery thread. 

1// Cut the white paper into little white circles about 2.5cm in diameter. Use a picture reference to cut petal shapes around the edges. I used tiny scissors for this - slightly less fiddly than a knife.

2// Use a knife to lightly score the shapes of the petals into the paper.. This gives the right effect without making the paper too flimsy. 

3// Cut the yellow felt into tiny circles for the daisy centres and fix them into place with a glue dot/double sided tape/fixative of choice. 

4// Attach the daisies to the embroidery thread with a little strip of masking tape (you may have to cut it down to size). 

5// Find things to hang them on. I suggest a pretty birdcage or something equally pointless and pretty: 


I love these, they would be great for a summer picnic party! I will be selling a slightly pimped out version of them in my shop when it opens... But I thought I would share them with you now as I'm too impatient. Not long to go now :) 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Weekly Art: Bubblegum




//Images here and here//

This is the kind of art that makes me so happy. Merijn Hos and Renée Reijnders created this installation of 50 coloured balloons floating across water in the Netherlands. They were filled with LED light so at night they turned into beautiful glowing orbs... Love this! 

x Rachel 

Monday, 3 June 2013

My Amigurumi To-Do List



Ever since completing this little guy I have been collecting pattern after pattern for more amigurumi friends. I love this sweet form of crochet and have a long list of projects that I want to make next (but inevitably haven't got around to yet...). Here is just a selection of inspirations, I LOVE that mushroom house! 

Are you working on any amigurumi projects? I'd love to see!  

x Rachel 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Moorbi: Sustainable Living for All

1//2//3//4//

I get quite a few emails from companies telling me about their products, but it's not very often that I feel compelled to share them on the blog. Moorbi is an exception to this! 

Moorbi is a vibrant marketplace for Sustainable Designers, Artists and Makers. Their approach is to find beautiful environmentally friendly alternatives for people with designer brains who care about sustainable living. Their designers are all about "transforming junk into affordable gems" which is something I can totally get on board with! 

The designs that Moorbi showcase are highly original conversation pieces which will make an impact on the home as well as the environment. My personal favourites are the brightly coloured stools and poufs that are made from discarded silk sarees! So beautiful! 

Sustainable design is something I feel really passionate about, and companies like this make me really happy :) .... What do you think? 

x Rachel 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

LARGE SPONSOR SPOT GIVEAWAY


Some very exciting beginnings are happening this month... Including the launch of my new and improved shop! I won't give away too much now, but I have started to take a new direction in my shop dreams... and in honour of this I'm having a party on the blog all months long! Expect some celebration themed DIYs, styling tips and general fun festivities. 

To kick off the celebration, I'm giving away a Large Feature Sponsor Spot to one of you lovely readers! On top of a super-size 250 x 250px ad space in prime position at the top of the sidebar, the winner will also get all the perks of being a large sponsor, including multiple twitter shout outs, a feature post of their choice and lots more personal promotion-y goodness! This giveaway is open to blogs and small businesses a-like. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

A winner will be picked at random next Saturday and the sponsor slot will last for one month... Good luck, and thanks for reading :) 

x Rachel 

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