Old fashioned wedding inspo and the results


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Inbetween my own wedding/mini-moon/honeymoon I've had the opportunity to work on some blooming LOVELY bespoke wedding stationery. I've just been too 'snowed under' to share them with you (read second to previous blog about wedding to get joke) - here are a few snapshots before they are ready to order.

The best part about bespoke invites - is learning about the bride and groom's 'theme for the day'. From starry skies (inspiration taken from their venue, The Matara, and it's star covered ceilings) to white roses against pink (bridesmaid dresses...), to a travel theme that tells the couple's story (a groom from Wales and a bride from Ploiesti). The next step is creating an invitation that fits in with everything on the big day - and can be followed on with welcome boards, menus, table names and so on. 

I need my own creative inspiration too, and apart from trusty ol' Pinterest there are random places I get this from. To get the creative motivation going I've taken a lunchtime trip to Brewery Arts in Cirencester to see their exhibition of vintage Lucienne Day prints. When a floral wedding style comes my way, a beaut bunch of reduced flowers bought from the fruit & veg shop or a browse through my vintage garden rose book will suffice. The (now sadly shut down) shop of InPrint in Stroud, was filled with large typographic prints, floral sketches and books, which gave me some old-fashioned inspo. In general, trying to resist relying on the internet is good for the soul....

Our crazy snowy wedding day


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Like other brides and grooms, a lot of time and emotion was put into planning our big day. It's no secret that I'm a bit perfectionist/control freak/stubborn ass (just a few words thrown my way), so things not going to plan was just not an option.

However, when the beast from the east reared it's head at our high up, snow-worthy venue on the day of our wedding I realised I'd better let all that go. Whilst (oh only slightly...) stressful, the day started to come together - bridesmaids/ushers/parents fought their way through the blizzard followed closely by guests clutching their heels and wedding gear. Realising the day was actually going ahead, I tottered down the aisle feeling in awe of the Dunkirk-spirit of our guests.

Wedding folk like the photographer/florist/band/venue/cake-maker (to name a few) went the extra mile to make sure we had a good day. Choosing who you want to work on your wedding day is a funny thing, and designing wedding stationery means I've experienced the other side of it. Most of it is down to choosing a style that you love and fits into your day, whether it's dreamy natural photography or crazy OTT cakes covered in chocolate and gold (!). 

Natasha from Honeydew moments captured some amazing stuff - click here to see the full shebang or scroll down to see a snippet from our crazy day where I got to marry my amazing fella, all coming together with the help of our bridal party/guests and these guys...

Venue: The Old Lodge, Minchinhampton

Photographer: Honeydew Moments

Florist: Flower Style Co

Dress: Grand Jour

Bridesmaids Dresses: H&M

Shoes: Benjamin Adams

Table plan: Dinky Ink Calligraphy

Suits: Slaters

Rings: Stow Jewellers

Wedding Stationery: The Ink Closet (Me!)

Cake: Ahh Toots

Music: John Adams

Cheltenham bake-off cakes & floral finds


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Living walking distance from local goodies makes treating myself at weekends all the more tempting. I've also discovered that my local Flower Man (actually called 'The Flower Man') sells country-inspired beauties like hydrangeas and delphiniums - miles away from your standard squished petrol station carnation. One (or two) of these at the weekend make the house look good for well over a week, and inspires me to keep the place tidy (ish).

In the spirit of keeping tidy - we decided the time had come to get rid of our mis-matched plates, when we moved in together a couple of years ago we amalgamated a bit of a weird collection. After some research and debating ('no I don't want plates with dachshunds on', 'how much?!') we settled on some black and white ones from made.com - this site is pretty reasonable for good quality decor when you compare with the high street.

Another local treat includes some chocolate swiss rolls (that were actually inspired by a technical challenge on bake-off) and blonde brownie from my old haunt, Brew & Bake. Getting my full gran on, I also went to the charity bookshop for a Cath Kidston covered edition of 'The Provincial Lady'.

So so old, and florally bold.

Starting the New Year with fish & chips and cushions


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We started the New Year the best way we know how - with fish, chips and champagne. From the best chippy in Cheltenham (and the UK...), Simpsons Fish & Chips. I like the fact they do battered king prawns (my fave) served with a side of lemon. 

Whilst all my recent posts have been about home decor updates, that is my life now. The life of a renter who can do little else but buy funky cushions to make home feel like 'home'. In particular, more leaf print (THE visual trend of 2017!). I've also got back into the world of eBay - with the discovery of some urban outfitters-inspired cushions for our dining chairs (yes, more cushions), a retro (albeit broken) clock and an aztec rug. 

Another home decor update was for the bathroom - which we've given a lick of paint ('Pebble' or 'light lavender' as it actually turned out to be) and some wire basket shelves found in Sainsbury's.

As if these purchases weren't enough, I also took a visit to the Antiques centre in Cirencester - nothing short of a labyrinth with it's hidden rooms and tiny corridors. There I found a useless mug and song sheet print, which I'm yet to find a frame for. 

Here's hoping your 2017 is also full of beautiful (sometimes useless) things.

 

 

Vintage Christmas cards & home decor twinkle


This year's Christmas card design was a thinker, I needed to create something that worked alongside our designbytic branding but also, The Ink Closet. A touch of vintage never hurts at Christmas - and so, I found a cute Dachshund/lady picture and a Santa. I illustrated a Cheltenham-inspired stamp which put my 'stamp' on it, and worked in a designbytic pattern on the inside. Gift tags were also made to tie this in with the pressies.

My Christmas groove on, I went a bit crazy with home decor. Being our first Christmas in this home it felt like the perfect opportunity to find some new bits, Homesense was the perfect spot for this. The tree was covered in mostly 'white paper' decorations with a hint of red (no tinsel allowed). I also found a cute paper sign from Homesense, which I think is a Meri Meri goodie. When it's not falling down, it looks great. 

Merry Christmas

Retro-inspired decor updates ready for winter


Working my way into winter means finding more home updates (as I shall rarely be leaving the house now), and being a renter means I like to invest in home decor items that I can take with me.

One of my new obsessions is the retro-inspired Orla Kiely, so I went for a discounted 70's pattern bedspread. It actually goes pretty well with our graphic diamond-dot cushions from H&M, and our bedside table penguin book (!).

After a recent stay at a lovely Airbnb in Brighton I felt inspired by the decor and bought another retro item - a 'menu' peg board for the kitchen, found cheaply on very.co.uk. More wall hanging pieces include some Instagram prints from lalalab - framed and hung up along the stair case.

Tea-drinking day jollies local and afar


After a few jollies away I've been staying in my home 'tan. There is actually lots to do in Cheltenham and the shire, including drinking tea and carbooting. No really... some of the tea drinking took place at the Scandinavian Coffee Pod (I don't drink coffee). After walking past it's new location at the Edge Studios each day and Instagram-ing their funky bright yellow 'stick out' building I learnt there was cake. They've done a good job with the limited space, making it a cosy spot to have a cuppa.

I also got taken on a surprise visit by the man to the Well Walk Tea Rooms, where I sampled their bake-off inspired jaffa cake, macaroons and home-made sandwiches. Lots of food between two, ok three of us (dogs were welcome). They seemed pretty busy, so recommend booking in advance.

A mini jolly was needed so we went to Upton upon Severn. A village that feels like it's stuck in time with it's old shop signage, retro fire stations and 50's garages. It did lack decent places to eat on a bank holiday but hey ho. Talking of retro, we also visited the posh carboot in Birdlip where I picked up a vintage gem of a handbag. Black leather with detailed gold edging, mini purse inside and haggled down price. The perfect accessory for weddings/cocktail/more tea drinking...

A glamping gypsy adventure - with waterfalls & fire pits


I always knew I was a true gypsy at heart, the fact I've moved home about 5 times in 2 years was a good hint. Saying that, I didn't realise how much I'd love the lifestyle until I stayed in a real gypsy/circus caravan at Walcot Hall, Shropshire. 

We booked the stay through canopyandstars - where I pondered over yurts, real tree-houses and vintage sheds. But Walcot Hall stood out for it's arboretum location and pet-friendly accommodation (it was Lola's holiday after all). On arrival we carried our bits through the forest, to find the 'Red Showman's Caravan'. It stood out as looking quaint and cosy - and didn't disappoint inside with a beautiful little kitchenette, vintage yellow furnishings and snug bedroom.

Before some BBQ and scrabble, we explored the arboretum to find other 'hidden gems'. From a firetruck to an american chapel - they all sat far enough apart so that we rarely bumped into anybody. Even the bathrooms had character, sat in sheds with vintage copper toilets and big showers.

After a cosy nights sleep (bar the owl screeching in the trees above us), we spent the whole of the next day exploring. After what felt like sleeping in a 'wendy house' and then walking round to find wooden bear statues, a hansel and gretal house and a walkway behind a waterfall - it was like being a young 'un again. Exploring also included finding the hidden boathouse (after getting the padlock code online, finding the key and eventually opening the next door to some vintage boats - that in itself felt like a treasure hunt). We (ok, just one us...) then paddled the mile length along the lake navigating the swans and herons. 

We finished off the day by toasting marshmallows on the fire. Yes twee. But the man loved it. And I loved drinking wine and watching him make fire. And eating marshmallows. 

Overall, one of the best weekends I've had in a long time, leaving me yearning another gypsy/glamping adventure very soon...

 

 

 

Mad Men-inspired vintage magazine snippets


A recent trip to our local vintage shop (literally a few minutes walk from the house, which means trouble for me) brought the discovery of some beautiful fifties magazines. A while ago I posted a similar blog, showing sneak peeks inside the first vintage magazine I'd bought - and it's taken up until now for me to find some equally as good. From fifties pin-up ladies advertising cigarettes to drool-intensifying Cadburys adverts, there was a good selection to share on Instagram. My favourite is the Butlins advert, with it's vintage-esque colours and (of course) fifties pin up. This is the only one I shall be cutting out and framing.

Another purchase from the vintage shop was a christmas-themed baby grow - perfect to dec out my recently spayed Dachshund with.

Enjoy these retro snippets...

Pop up vintage finds in Cheltenham


Since moving to Cheltenham, I have indulged my vintage shopping habit more than usual (if I'm honest, it doesn't stop at vintage...). The main reason for this is the little market on Leckhampton roundabout, which I always happen to walk past.

In particular they usually have a pop-up shop on the left hand side and for the past few weeks it has been 'Sons of Ron'. After a few regular visits and jokes about loyalty cards, I got talking to the owner who explained that his brother and himself spent the year collecting quirky vintage furniture to sell it all at the pop-up shop and at the Suffolk Square market. The items they had in there tugged at my heart and purse strings every time I walked in. From floral tins to rocking chairs...Luckilly, some self restraint kicked in and I left with a crochet throw, two retro deck chairs and...a floral tin :-)

Part of settling in has been trying to get my office space up and running. It's hard to get in a 'creative space' sat at the kitchen table with a playful dachshund at my heels. So, for now, take a peek at my attempt at a slightly more inspirational spot in the study...

The big Greeklish wedding


This year we had the pleasure of working on the wedding invitations for the lovely bride Thea and her greek husband-to-be, Timos. It was set to be a beautiful greek wedding in a church only accessible by boat, not far from the village that Timos's family lived.

The wedding invitations had english and greek influences, with vintage being the theme of choice. A vintage telegram idea was settled on, starting with an email save the date that they sent to all their family and friends. A printed version was then designed for the main invite, with a translated/tweaked version for the (big!) greek family and guests. For a truely authentic look I used a typewriter font that was slightly distressed, personalised red stamps and crown and royal-esque icons printed on beautiful brown Kraft card. This was sent out in an equally retro designed envelope, with stripes and personalised stamps - being the first time I'd designed an envelope to accompany the invite it was quite exciting to think of this little pack being sent across the ocean. 

The wedding itself took place this month, and looked as beautiful as you can imagine. I know all brides look happy, but this greek bride was beaming from ear to ear! Here are a collection of some of their photos and insight into the invitation, which is now available to order yourself, click here to do so...

First comes love…in the form of printed mini-poster invites


We recently had an order for our 'First comes love...' invitation, which provides the perfect opportunity to show it off. This invitation was printed on matte gesso paper, and folded into a leaflet-style invitation that leads to a full poster. 

The idea for this started when I saw a friend's beautiful Smeg fridge covered in wedding invites. It got me thinking how a poster (even A4 size) would have the perfect stand out held to the front of someone's fridge. After a bit of inspiration-searching I thought a little lead-in story would add even more interest, and so made the most of this space on the folded front and first reveal. A 'cut-off' RSVP flag also utilises the space on the poster - this way the mini-flags can be used on the day in whichever creative way the bride and groom see fit.

I love Peonies (love love Peonies) but I realise this may not be everyone's wedding flower of choice. So I introduced the option to change the flowers to your 'theme' flowers. The bride and groom in question chose Lavender, and even tweaked the colour of the bunting to suit...here are some Instagram snaps, with floral bunting props and matching nail varnish to boot...

A refreshing take on wedding cocktails


I'm always happy to hear a bride's ideas on how to liven up a wedding party, and even more happy to be asked to design something to bring the idea to life. This time we were asked to design a vintage-inspired sign to detail the bride and groom's favourite cocktails to the guests. Taking our inspiration from vintage typography, top hats and ribbons - we designed and printed this retro sign, ready for the bride to prop up at her wedding party alongside their 'mojitos' and 'berry breeze'.

A white and gold Baby Shower


For the past few weeks I have been been (somewhat indulgently), designing stationery and putting together decorations for my cousin's baby shower. This Sunday came the day itself, with afternoon tea at the Hampton Manor in Solihull, Birmingham. And as it is unknown whether it is a boy or girl, a white and gold theme was decided on (with hints of pink and mint blue).

I wanted the guests to have something to keep and the mum to have something special. So I designed some postcard sets - with a keepsake 'Thank you for coming' card and a postcard 'From me to you', with room for advice and well wishes from the guests on the back. These were tied together with a wrap that also doubled up as a table name. For an added touch I also created a 'Baby Bump' mini logo which sat on a gold circle tied around the postcards. 

I also needed a matching gift, and so I enlisted the help of Cupcakes & Bakes, to make me some cupcakes that matched the theme. They looked (and I'm sure tasted...ok so I may have tried the icing), perfect. With pink and mint blue cases and gold sequin decorations.

Taking on this look, posters were designed to decorate the table. But, seating 14 people, I gathered the table may need something else. Since visiting a wedding last year that had paper pom poms decorating the marquee - I desired to make some myself. With the help of pinterest I got set making gold and white pom poms that were amazingly easy and filled the table perfectly. A labour of love, yes, but also surprisingly therapeutic. Start choosing your colours and stocking up on tissue paper as my step-by-step guide will be coming within a blog later this week..

A DIY bridal twist on our Floral Wedding Invite


I love a bride who likes to put her own twist on things, and (if I do say so myself), our Floral Wedding Invite is perfect for that. As you can see from the example on our website, one bride has used a brown card case with transparent covering and gold wax seal.

But Katie's theme has touches of red and blue, which she has introduced with a red wax seal to stick down a lovely brown kraft envelope, and a midnight blue ribbon to hold all the pieces together. I was lucky enough to receive one in the post (which is always nice even if you haven't designed it yourself), and it was lovely to see our invitation take on a whole new look. See a few pictures below, and if you are also a DIY bride then get in touch as this may be the perfect invite for you!

Jess & Chris's stationery in it's wedding day glory


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One of the greatest satisfactions of designing wedding stationery, is seeing it in all it's glory on the special day. November saw the wedding of a lovely couple I'd been working with for the previous 8 months - and I recently got to see some of their amazing wedding photos. Not only kudos to the photographer, Simon Brettell, for grabbing some shots of the stationery, but big kudos to the couple as they had a fun and consistent vision for the look of their big day. From the invites with pink and teal detail, to the teal outfit touches on the day - everything looked perfect. Not everyone knows exactly what they want for their wedding but Jess and Chris pulled out an elegant travel theme to work to. 

Here are a few of the photographer's shots of the Table Plan, Table Names and Order of Service. But I'll be uploading some pictures of the whole collection soon (from the wedding invitation itself to menu cards and postcards - there's a bundle of fun pieces)...I'll keep you posted...

Christmas walks & crackling fires


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As usual, Christmas has come and gone far too quickly. Our Christmas was eventful, travelling back and forth to visit family - but for one reason or another we got a bit more time at home this year. This meant more brisk dog walks (including a couple on the beach on Christmas Day before we headed home), and even more fires to warm us up afterwards. 

If you saw my blog about Christmas bunting you'll know how I intended to wrap my presents this year, and of course the lot was finished on no other than Christmas Eve. One of my presents was an Instagram poloroid print for my man. After designing a poster using lyrics from 'our song' and some sneaky investigation work to get his Instagram password, I could get some polaroids printed and stick them on accordingly. 

Feeling in the festive spirit I also made some chocolate brownies with icing sugar stars to decorate. It had been a while since I'd dusted off the baking kit, and hopefully (though I can never be sure with my baking) it went down well at the agency I was working at that day. Recipe here...

Next week I shall be heading off to Edinburgh for New Years Eve, a blog with pictures to follow...!

Wrapping up Christmas with mini-bunting


As you can probably tell from my christmas prints in the shop, I love designing bits and pieces for Christmas. From Christmas cards to prints, it should all follow the same look. I've also been thinking about my wrapping so I took a visit to The Range this weekend and ended up buying some retro patterned paper, mint green ribbon, red ribbon, stripy sticky tape and a huge amount of other neccessities (or maybe not so neccessary...). I also have a huge roll of brown parcel wrap which is cheap but looks quite old-fashioned. 

Ribbon, however, is quite expensive, so something else was needed to give the presents a quirkier handmade touch. I thought of using the patterned paper to make mini-bunting - and using some brown string (also cheap). It was much easier and quicker than I thought! See below a step-by-step view of how I made the bunting easily and effectively - so you can make your own. Pick some brightly coloured paper of your own or multi-coloured string to tie it in with your christmas. 

Pick some patterned/coloured paper that fits your theme. Preferably square shaped. You will also need some scissors, Pritt Stick and string of your choice.

Fold over your paper down the centre.

Fold the sides in so you have about three evenly spaced folds.

When folded, cut triangles on the fold. Do this on each of your folds to make the most of the paper. Don't worry too much about making them exactly the same size, when finished it's hard to tell!

Do this on a range of different patterned/coloured papers for variety. Then stick the folded triangles over the string using pritt stick and space out evenly.

Tie the ends of the string to the back of the string/ribbon wrapped around your present, or tape down. Preferably on a corner.

Wallah! The finished result. Very World War 2 in my case, but using the colour scheme of your choice this mini-bunting could suit any style.

An inspirational wedding shoot in the Cotswolds


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I recently got asked to take part in a vintage-inspired wedding shoot. A collection of people based in the Cotswolds and working in the wedding industry, came together with their different skill sets to work on the photoshoot at Old Down Manor. The photographer Stefanie Trower and the florist Stephanie Saunders to name a few. My contribution was, of course to bring along some of my vintage-inspired wedding stationery. It was great to get to know some fellow wedding suppliers, and I love the results! Hopefully you will too, see below some of my favourite shots...

#alwaysjudgeabookbyitscover


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My oldest friends will tell you, that I have always been a book worm. From Jacqueline Wilson's 'Tracy Beaker' when I was younger, to 'The Casual Vacancy' and any Nancy Mitford book now I'm a bit older and wiser. I am always nudging my man towards a good book and dragging him around our local bookshop, Borzoi Books in Stow on the Wold to no avail. 

Since being a designer, my love of books and good design have combined for a great admiration of book covers (it actually pains me to see someone with a Kindle). If you follow me on Instagram you will sometimes see my latest read propped up against the red paper bag from Borzoi or held up against the backdrop off my holiday destination. 

I have collected together some of my favourite book covers. If you would also like to share your appreciation for a beautiful book cover then Instagram it, and #alwaysjudgeabookbyitscover