Friday, 29 February 2008

I always keep notebooks (really visual diaries) full of images I like, written ideas and descriptions, and little sketches. I find them invaluable to refer to when I'm working on a new collection as I am now, and for evolving my style. These are my notebooks from Japan.

PIE books

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

I love books published by PIE. Unfortunately, they are expensive but they have so many great, inspiring graphic and packaging designs in them that I just can't resist. I just got this book "Shop images in London". It doesn't come across in my photo, but it was a lovely surprise to see the designs I did for the Berkeley pret a portea featured in it. I had no idea they were going to be in there!

The Hummingbird bakery

Saturday, 23 February 2008

I popped down the road to lunch with my friend Julia today and we couldn't help but stop by at the Hummingbird bakery on Portobello road. The cakes are sweet but moist and with treats like red velvet cupcakes, yellow vanilla cake, and lemon meringue pie who could resist? I also think the name Hummingbird bakery is so enchanting. To me hummingbirds conjure up images of elegant irridescent feathered birds in tropical gardens overflowing with flowers such as hibiscus and verbenas in vivid shades of red, orange and bright pink. Funny, how much cupcakes seem to have become a craze here in the past few years, and I have to say I am certainly guilty of contributing to this trend having munched my way through a fair number and even having painted them on my cards (see my painted cupcake image below)!

Cupcakes card


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

My paints

Sunday, 17 February 2008

I am often asked how I work and what medium I like to work in. Above is my painting equipment, which has everything from gold powder to scarlet ink to Japanese rubbers shaped like pot noodles! I generally paint in gouache but like to mix it with inks, fibre-tip pens and pastels. Yesterday, I decided to stock up on art supplies so I went to L.Cornelissen & Son in Covent garden. I love to shop there as it has everything, is beautifully old-fashioned and is rather like a 19th century apothecary with large jars of amazing coloured pigments, wooden shelves with pastels laid out with cigars, and bottles of gold leaf be it English, Dutch or French. Most importantly for me though they stock Schminke gouache paints, the quality of which is amazing. I think quality is especially apparent in certain colours not least prussian blue and scarlet and I love the density of their black calligraphy gouache too. Cornelissens is also a shop with a history, it was established in 1855 and has provided art supplies to artists such as Ford Maddox Brown, Dante Gabriel Rosetti and in present days Damien Hirst.

L.Cornelissen & Son

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Here is a bottle of our love potion - hoping you won't need it today!!
Image: Love potion card


Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Valentines day is coming. Celebrate by sending one of our hopeless romantics cards (above is our scarlet heart card), and throwing caution to the wind with some truly old-fashioned romantic gestures:
Order boxes of snowdrops (they are still grown in convents) and leave them outside your Valentine's window
Buy a beautifully bound book of poetry by Keats, Byron, Pushkin, or John Donne
Have an indoor picnic on a cashmere rug
Fill your Valentine's room with their favourite flowers, as in Room with a View when the Emersons fill the Miss Alans' room full with their favourite flowers, cornflowers.
Write love letters, seal them with wax, tie them with red ribbon and leave them on your Valentine's pillow to wake up to
Whisk them off to the Highlands to a cottage with an inviting open fire

That Spring feeling

Monday, 11 February 2008

I'd hate to jinx it and I can hardly believe it is true for February, but over the weekend it really felt like Spring is on its way. It reminded me of one of my favourite books, P.G. Wodehouse's Something Fresh, which starts "The sunshine of a fair Spring morning fell graciously upon London town. Out in Piccadilly, its heartening warmth seemed to infuse into traffic and pedestrians alike a novel jauntiness, so that bus-drivers jested and even the lips of chauffeurs uncurled into not unkindly smiles. Policemen whistled at their posts, clerks on their way to work, beggars approached the task of trying to persuade perfect strangers to bear the burden of their maintenance with that optimistic vim which makes all the difference. It was one of those happy mornings."
Click on the anzu tree to see the blossoms fall

Thank you

Friday, 8 February 2008

We'd just like to say thank you to all of you who were able to make it to Top Drawer Spring, San Francisco, and Birmingham trade shows. It's certainly been hectic having three in a row on opposite sides of the Atlantic, but lots of fun! If you weren't able to see us, please be sure to contact us by phone or email and get an agent to visit you and show you all our new goodies or to get a brochure.
Image: Our new daisy thank you card

Chinese New Year

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Happy Chinese New Year! The year starts tomorrow and is the year of the earth rat (which doesn't sound too nice to me, but apparently can signify wealth, charm, and order). Celebrate by sending one of the anzu lantern cards, having fireworks tonight (it is traditionally the night before to scare away evil spirits), dressing in something new on the day (to mark a new beginning), and eating some lucky foods (these include uncut noodles for a long life), bamboo shoots for good wishes, rice cakes for prosperity, and gingko nuts for wealth). Decorate your home with lanterns, vases of blossoms (especially plum), and lay out platters of tangerines, oranges and trays of sweets. But be careful not to cry on New Year's day as superstition has it that if you cry on this day, you will cry for the rest of the year.
Above image: Congratulations lantern card


Tuesday, 5 February 2008

On my previous More tea Vicar? blog, I posted a photograph of the new tea-cups I had bought and I thought you would like to see the finished painting that I did of one of them and which is now featured on our Rose tea card. I bought the rose tea especially to illustrate just because I liked the packaging, but I must say it is also delicious. But then I love roses full stop, whether it's real old-fashioned garden roses, Laudree's rose macaroons or the rose jam packed full of petals they have in Liberty's tearooms.

Spring Fair

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Things are a little chaotic at the moment, with flowers, paintings and cards everywhere as we get everything together to travel up to the Birmingham show! We shall be in Hall 3, stand no. T37 at the NEC Birmingham, England from the 3rd to the 7th February. The show starts tomorrow so we hope to see you there and can't wait to show you all our new designs!