Progressive Greetings

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Delighted to see that we are in Progressive Greetings this May, in their article on Retail Therapy. I've been in that kind of therapy for years now, and would like to say a big thank you to the magazine for featuring us!

The Jungle

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Some friends came to see the office for the first time over the weekend, (or the jungle as Jasmine has nicknamed it) and said I should put some more pictures up on the blog. It has turned out to be an inspiring and relaxing place to work in, and here are the photos.

As you know, I had this cabinet shipped over from Sri Lanka and it's now full of my cards, books and everything from perfume bottles to paper roses

The mannequin comes in very handy for getting shape into my dress paintings

The first day that I moved into my office, I looked around and was extremely apprehensive as it looked like David Brent (Ricky Gervais in the Office) should be sitting in there. There was a whole bank of whiteboards, but once we removed a couple and set about putting these blossoms around the remaining two they started looking really nice, and they are SO useful.

The fashion tea event

Sunday, 25 May 2008

I thought you might like to see a couple of pictures from the fashion tea event. With rose petals scattered along the staircase and bouquets of fresh roses everywhere and lots of shopping and pampering going on fun was had by all! Hope that all of you that could make it had a lovely time!

Why not? (no. 6)

Why not display your men's cards with men's clothes or accessories? I love these ideas that Jasmine came up with, of clipping the cards onto ties, (which you can hang from a clothes hanger) or slipping into the brim of a hat. I think it would also be fun to have a row of bowler hats (Avengers style) with cards all attached to them.

National Stationery show

Friday, 23 May 2008

A big thank you to everyone that made it to the Stationery show and for making it a success! Hope to see you in Atlanta too - lots of new cards in the pipeline.
Above: My Mum and Colleen in a relatively serious moment on the stand

The art of writing

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

I love receiving hand-written letters and cards. The choice and texture of the card or paper, the character of the handwriting and the stamp chosen all make it so personal and something you want to keep. E-cards feel like an afterthought by comparison and a love email doesn't quite have the same ring to it does it?

On my trip to Bath, I went to the Jane Austen centre, which had a letter written to her sister Cassandra (see above). At the time Jane Austen was writing, letters were written on paper that was folded into four with one side being used for the address as envelopes weren't used. The recipient of the letter had to pay for delivery costs and part of that was determined by the size of the letter, so it was polite to fit as much writing on the page as possible. Letters were written with quill pens, usually using goose feathers and on personal letters, the sender would often spritz the letter with their personal scent or use scented ink to write with.
To make your own scented ink:
Mix 100 drops of essential oil such as rose or lavender with a teaspoon of vodka
Then very gradually add the mixture to 2 ounces of ink (dark colours work better)
Stir and use

The finishing touch would be a seal (have your own personal seal, or use a signet ring for the imprint). At the stationery show, my Mum spotted a stand just selling sealing wax. Have a look at their things on

James Bond

Monday, 19 May 2008

I notice that Royal Mail have released some special James Bond stamps. The stamps cover six of James Bond's books from Goldfinger to For Your eyes only, with each extra long stamp featuring four different cover editions of each. I love the James Bond books I have with vintage covers (see below), and when I started designing men's cards and was thinking about what to do, my friend Derek said to me that every man likes to think of himself as James Bond so now when I paint a new men's card I like to keep James Bond in mind.

One of the things I really like about James Bond, aside from his daredevil can do anything antics, and the glamorous locations that he frequents, is that he is a connoisseur with great taste, and is very particular about the refined luxury brands he uses. He likes Mouton Rothschild '53, smoking Morlands of Grosvenor Street cigarettes, or sampling Beluga caviar. Breakfast for James Bond is a speckled brown egg from a French Marans hen served in a Minton egg-cup, followed by wholewheat toast with Jersey butter and Norwegian honey from Fortnum's, with a cup of the strongest coffee from De Bry of New Oxford St.

Of course, one of the things he is most particular about is his Martini, which is actually a vodkatini made with vodka, shaken not stirred to show Bond's rebellious side and served with a twist of lemon peel. When I painted the Shaken not Stirred card above, I was sure to base my illustration on a 1960s Wolfschnitt vodka bottle design, the preferred brand of James Bond, and by being inspired by a 1960s design I liked to think that it would be Sean Connery sitting there drinking it.
Painted images above: the Convertible card and the Shaken not stirred card.

Rainy days

Sunday, 18 May 2008

The weather is rainy and cloudy, but the National Stationery show has begun today and all is going well.
Sorry that it isn't possible to add comments to this blog - I'm trying to correct it but not too successfully so far! If you would like to contact me, please do so at


Saturday, 17 May 2008

I would like to say a big big thank you to Jan over at the Poppytalk blog for featuring anzu and our luggage card in her National Stationery guide. I always click in to see the latest inspiring things they have found be it cards, illustrations or pictures of artists' studios and am delighted to be shown on it! You can view the Poppytalk blog and our feature on

National Stationery show!

Friday, 16 May 2008

National Stationery Show
Jacob Javits Centre (or center for US readers!)
New York
18th - 21st May, 2008
Please come and pay us a visit!!

Above image: our cherry blossom gift enclosure card

Butterfly house

Always looking for inspiration, Jasmine and I went to the Natural History Museum, which has opened a butterfly house on the lawn. With up to 800 butterflies in a relatively small space, it was amazing to be able to come so close and have butterflies flying around you and even landing on you. Jasmine practically looked like this Alexander McQueen hat below at one point. I would recommend going later in the day when the butterflies are a little more active, and on a cold day as the house is 85 degree fahrenheit and very humid. I also have a video so as soon as I can work out how to add it I will!

Below is an Atlas moth from South East Asia

The canals

Monday, 12 May 2008

Over the weekend, I went on a little trip on the Kennet & Avon canal. It was so relaxing just watching the countryside float by and everywhere looked so pretty with the weeping willows, hawthorn and sprigs of cow parsley. But most of all, I love the traditional painting that appears on narrow boats, with it's images of roses and castles and rich colours.

The Fashion Museum

Whilst in Bath, which is such an elegant and interesting place to visit, I went to the Fashion Museum. This dress above is a brocaded silk dress from the 1760s. Visit their website for more details on location etc on

Maxi dresses

Saturday, 10 May 2008

I can hardly believe the weather we have been having, and it is so nice to finally be able to wear some colourful dresses. Why everything on offer in winter is in shades of black and grey I will never know. I especially like all the romantic prints and the maxi dresses that are around at the moment. Above is my turquoise dress card, and below a couple of dresses from Roberto Cavalli and Luisa Beccaria I wish were in my wardrobe!

The fashion tea event is tomorrow!

Friday, 9 May 2008

The 'My fashion tea' event is taking place tomorrow. As well as lots of cool clothing, jewellery and boutique brands, facials, and complementary tea Anzu will be selling a small selection of cards that you can't get in the shops, at a discounted retail price so be sure to pop by! If you are interested in coming please scroll down my blog for the invite and RSVP. It's in Portland Place so is perfectly positioned to combine with a picnic in nearby Regents park for a lovely day out!
And for all you shop owners out there, to continue our display ideas posting, placing cards in baskets like this and positioning by the till is a great way of tempting customers into a last minute purchase. Coco Ribbon have often displayed our cards like this and it always looks pretty.


Wednesday, 7 May 2008

I thought I'd give you a little sneak preview of another card from my new Chinoiserie range, which will soon be available to buy! I absolutely love peonies and they always seem to crop up on my paintings. In China they are a symbol of enduring love and prosperity and were also the Imperial flower after the 1st Empress of China decreed them so. In Imperial China, ladies would even have drinks made from the shavings of peony roots as they were believed to be a fertility medicine.
Top image: Our 'Peony and blossom' card
Image below: I spotted these massive peonies on my street this week, aren't they amazing?


Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Although this is meant to be an anzu blog, I couldn't resist putting up this picture of these kittens that my Dad has found and adopted. He was driving in an area not too far from his home, when he spotted a little animal by the road. When he went to investigate he saw it was a little kitten. At the same time he saw another one dart off into the bushes. Nearby was a cardboard box in a plastic bag. When he looked inside he saw two dead kittens that had starved - unbelievably someone had obviously just dumped them there to die. He spent two hours looking for the little tabby with the camoflage print, which had successfully hidden itself by putting just it's head in the bushes, and took these two surviving kittens home with him. Two days later Soot and Pepper were fully house-trained, and busy dancing on my Dad's keyboard deleting his emails!


Monday, 5 May 2008

Unfortunately, you can't see these drawings that well in my photograph, but I have been busy sketching the last few days, and experimenting with some ideas. So often, people just see the end product of my work that I thought it would be nice to show some ideas that are rather more undeveloped.

Why not? (no. 5)

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Continuing our ways to display card series, why not buy an old style letter rack and use that to display your cards? It emphasises the style and pleasure of good old traditional writing, rather than annoying texting and emailing. An old Edwardian rolltop desk would also be great as they have lots of drawers to pull out and display things. We use this little letter rack that I got in Seville in the office and I love it. It only cost about £25, and it's quite easy to find similar ones in antique shops or on ebay.
Happy May Day!