April Post Round-Up

A Month in Posts

Posting and generating original content can be a quite a challenge for bloggers. It takes a bit of thinking, paired with time and planning, in order to produce posts that we feel proud of. Post round-ups allow for a bit of reflection, as well as catching up and means that the posts get their fair limelight time and don't just become internet history all too soon.

Let's look back at a few April posts...
Market Packing & Planning:  My essential guide for what to pack when you have a market stall.

Pin Board Inspiration:  A few of my bits and pieces that inspire me in my office.

Wrapping and Crafting:  I just love packaging up gifts, this post features my latest batch.

The New Creative Business Tip Series:  A range of tips posted weekly to inspire you to build the business of your dreams.  The tips include tasks to get you going - begin now and keep following this series to make progress.

The May Issue of Ideas:  My favourite features from the latest issue of this inspiring magazine.

Final London Posts:  I featured the last of my posts showing snaps and fun things I did while I was on holiday.

More Links & Notes:
You might have spotted that I updated the sidebar of my blog with weekly favourites - these are blogs that you can enjoy and explore.  Each week I feature two local blogs and two international blogs, that I enjoy reading.

I also blog over on the Woodnewz blog as I help out on all their creative projects.

My House and Leisure online features are still in full swing.  Click here to see those.

Thanks for reading and for your comments - I really love hearing from you!

Cath Kidston

The Iconic Brand is Celebrating 20 Years

Cath Kidston is one of those brands that makes me really, really happy! I first fell in love with it when I lived in London and have been a fan since, building my Cath collection. On my recent holiday I spent ages in the Convent Garden store, then in the Selfridges concession and finally in the airport shop. Each store has a beautiful layout and wonderful way of adding that handmade element. This wonderful and iconic brand is celebrating 20 years and the events to accompany it are amazing! Damn, I wish I could be there, especially to go the book signings to meet Cath, what an honour that would be...the floral queen!  Feast on these beauties and enjoy or visit their website to be left awe struck!  I think we all need a Cath tent or how about a Cath cutlery set...super essential items, don't you agree? 

Ideas Magazine

The Beautiful May Issue
As much as I love the overseas mags that I often mention like Mollie Makes, I don't want to forget about our own local treasure. I am always amazed when I look at Ideas magazine. The styling is beautiful and the craft projects are spot on.  With the penny friendly R29.90 price tag, it's a little treat, but full to the brim with inspiration and practical pretty projects.  These snaps I took, show a few of my favourite pages paired with some office goodies and of course delicious cupcakes.
In the latest issue I particularly like the piece, entitled A Vintage Affair, which is shot in a converted barn.  The spreads are so lovely that I like to leave them open on my project table - that way I don't forget to take a creative break!  Their inspiration video  is also a clear reason to feel happy and ready to get crafty.

I don't want to give too much away, but I can say it makes for perfect weekend reading, tea and cake are a must too!  Happy weekend and happy creating and reading.

Creative Business Tips

Short & Easy Creative Business Tips
Picking up from last week where we made an active start to begin working on our creative business - today follows on in my new creative business tip series.  Remember to take part in the task listed at the end.

Make Yourself Accountable:
Once again you are the key ingredient to your success, so make yourself accountable for it. This doesn't mean being unnecessarily hard on yourself, but rather it focuses on being proactive and growing your creative problem solving skills.  Just like a boss or manager would ask you about certain tasks, you need to have the same mentality attached to your own business.  

A Few Ways to Do This:
Break your list down into bite size and manageable tasks.  This will allow you to actually achieve things rather than have a list longer than your arm, that you can't tick anything off of.  Don't feel overwhelmed, rather focus on less than nothing at all.

Map out a short time to do a status report on the various tasks.  Times are busy and tasks can flow over from one week to another, eventually a month has passed and you still haven't got round to it.  Take 30 minutes (weekly) or whatever you can spare, to actively figure out why you haven't done what you needed to or set out to do.  Is it related to time or lack of resources, problem solve and get it done.  Once you understand the barrier then get going!

Make your list work for you.  Change it if it isn't working, add to it and make sure the tasks relate back to the goals you are trying to achieve.  We often feel very busy, but when you dissect the tasks some are unnecessary or don't actively benefit your business. 

Current Task:
Take a look at the list you created last week and do a status report on the business changing tasks you listed.  Become active about doing them, perhaps redesign your list into to smaller manageable tasks.  

Read More:
Read the Creative Business section of my blog or book a consulting session if you want me to assist you with making with being accountable.

I want to know how things are going?  If you have questions or something to share then please leave a comment or send me an email.  I am thinking of doing a questions post where I answer a few questions at a time and we can all learn from each other.

Wrapping & Crafting

A Batch of Lovely Packages

I have been wrapping gifts for friends to post off and how lovely it has been.  I get great joy in making the package a real treat to open.  I always wish I could be with friends when they open it, to hear what they think and to see if they love what's inside.  Can't wait to get these to the post office.

My collection of tapes is growing very nicely and although I use them sparingly I am happy to share!  
I recently got this MT Wrap from Washi Bug.  It comes in a box almost like foil which is quite novel and you tear off how much you need.  The edges are slightly sticky so you can fold the wrap into envelopes or secure around gifts.  The waxy, transparent texture is wonderful and offers a small hint of what is inside.  I think it is in giving that we truly receive - my heart is content when I can spoil others.

Crafty Magazine

Dream It, Make It, Love It
Crafty Magazine is a new DIY, craft and creative magazine.  It is created in the UK and features a range of lovely ideas and projects.  I particularly love the envelope with calico fabric in, which you receive if you buy the papery version of the mag.  You can however, get a free sneak peak via the digital version.  While I was gazing through Holly of Decor8's Instagram feed I spotted Crafty and thought it I should find out a bit more.  Happy I did! 

Have a lovely and creative Monday!

Life Snippets

Life & Times of Late

I wanted to do a traditional seven things post, but as per usual once I started going through my Instagram snaps, I realised I had a few more than seven to share.  So...lets begin!

1.  Tape Storage:  I found a really handy cutlery basket at the Crazy Store (bargains galore) and thought it would be ideal for storing and admiring my tape collection.  I think it was super cheap too - about R40 or so.  Works brilliantly.  Talking about tape - Washi Bug have brought the real deal MT tape from Japan to South Africa.  Check out this post for details.

2.  Postick:  I received this lovely (and very clever) product as a gift and have been using it for birthday cards and gifts.  It is a postcard sticker that you can paste on the back of photos, pretty flyers and basically changes anything into a postcard.  Really useful and fun!

3.  Inspiration:  I taped out a large rectangle on my office wall and I am using the space to stick up pretty pieces of inspiration like flyers I collected in London and postcards from Paperchase.  It's the perfect accompaniment to my pin board.

4.  Cards or Carbs:  I bought this metal toast holder ages ago and it has had a few uses in its time, but none as suited as the holder of my cards and correspondence.  It helps to be able to see what I have and then pick the best card suited to the occasion or friend.

5.  The Simple Things:  Someone once told me that I was opting for the simple life when I decided to move back to South Africa from London - they could not have been more wrong! Each time I read this magazine I am reminded of that and that there is so much beauty in the simple things that make me content and happy.  A really lovely magazine!

6.  Embroidery Threads:  I love bakers twine, but I like a hint of uniqueness when wrapping. These threads are a bright alternative.  The colours are endless and they are cheap too (R4 - R6).

7.  Wrapping:  I have a few gifts and packages to send out and the joy of wrapping them makes me a very happy gal!  This is one I sent off last week to a friend in Cape Town.

8.  A Picnic:  Two very sweet friends got married last weekend.  It was lovely to sit on the grass and enjoy their casual wedding and eat various treats.

9.  Measuring Cups:  I spotted these bright beauties at Vanilla House.  I really like them and surely I need them!  Added to my imaginary shopping list!

Happy weekend dear readers and friends!

Creative Business Tips

Short & Easy Creative Business Tips

I am excited to launch this new series today - called Creative Business Tips.  Each tip will be short and to the point.  I will also set a task to accompany each tip so you can actively start making changes and building your dream business.

The essential ingredient to making each tip work for you is to participate and to commit yourself to your business.  Banish the excuses and get making, creating and changing!

We kick off the tip series with a very apt tip which is one of the main points I discussed during my Decorex sessions.  

Make a Start:
One of the most difficult things to do is to actually begin.  Pack away all the ifs, buts and hows and make your start!

Now is the time to start working on your business - TODAY!  Whether you are yet to establish your business or whether you are in full swing, make a start on the tasks that are going to move you forward and help your business soar to new heights.

Current Task:
Compile a list of what you think you need to do in order to move your  business forward.  It could be simple, for example starting a Facebook page and investing in your online presence (click here to read my tips for designing a timeline cover), or perhaps it's about making a commitment, like signing up for your first market.  Get down to making that list and begin to actively work on ticking off those tasks. 

Read More:
Read the Creative Business section of my blog or book a consulting session if you want me to assist you with making that crucial start.

Stationery Shopping

My New (Essential) Stationery Loves

You know by now that I have a serious penchant for stationery - like way too serious!  I just loooove it!  The good thing is that I buy stationery, tapes, pens and notebooks, but actually use them.  It brings me great joy to be able to use pretty things to spread the love too - especially through wrapping gifts.

This past weekend we headed to Joburg for a lovely picnic wedding.  The weekend flew by, but I did manage to fit in a visit to my beloved Typo and spoilt myself with these absolute essentials! I mean surely life could not continue without these crucial Eiffel Tower scissors! What I like to do is take a basket and add all the items I love and then I edit the basket before paying by deciding what is really necessary items (read Eiffel Tower scissors).

Some items are gifts, I like sharing!  A few others are to brighten my day.  The clutch pencil is called a Writer's Companion and has cute tasks to do each day for example Monday: Read a Book, Tuesday: Watch a Film.  The stickers are for using on cards and wrapping and the notebook is for meetings.  See...these are all totally necessary daily items!  That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Have you bought any new stationery, tape or wrapping goodies lately?

Pin Board Inspiration

A Glimpse of my Inspiration

I love seeing the pin boards, mood boards or inspiration walls of others, nothing quite like a glimpse into someone else's special keepsakes or creative thinking.

My board is right next to my desk on a windowsill and it's full of things that I really love seeing.  It is formed from a collection of business cards, invites, tags and random knick-knacks that I like.  The frame is an oldie that I bought years ago,  I also used it for our wedding inspiration board.

Let me tell you about a few of them:
oh hello friend tags:  It's no secret that I love Danni's work. When I order stationery from her shop it is always beautifully packaged.  Looking at her work inspires me to be creative.

Lauren Wallett's Malva Card:  A couple of years ago I went to Malva in Joburg - seeing little Jozi Star's (that's the doggie) face is just the cutest thing.

The Pretty Blog's Card:  I am a big fan of the blog and how hard their team works.  Plus, I love the chevron print.

Sarah from Urban Lace's Invite:  Sarah got married last year and I worked on a range of goodies for her wedding.  The invite is designed by the talented Amelia of Whimsy fame.  The colours, layout and 'prettyness' makes this one a keeper.

Charms and Trinkets:  Scrabble letters, a magnet or two, cabochons and a range of knick-knacks.  I love these random bits and pieces.  A few of them are from the Hey Cherry girls when they had a market stall, others are really just odd finds or gifts from friends.

Do you have a mood board or special things that you keep?

Market Packing & Planning

My Essential Market Supplies & a Handy Download
I have been doing markets for quite some time now and over the years I have found that having a kit that is ready and packed to go each month is very useful.   It is also the best way to ensure you have all the essentials on hand and don't arrive thinking 'damn, I forgot something'.

I found this box with compartments at Checkers (I love a good random find) and it is just what I need to house all the goodies to feel organised and run my stall in the best way possible.

In my Market Kit:

Notebook or Order Book:  Necessary for taking down special orders or requests.  Also great to capture a good idea that might pop into your mind mid-market.

Calculator:  I like to stretch my brain a bit and calculate in my head, but some days I need a calculator.  Keep one in your kit to ensure you always give the right change and to ensure you are adding your valuable sales accurately.

Tags and Price Labels:  Keep extra tags in case you need to relabel a product.  Price labels also ensure that potential shoppers who are shy can see a price without having to ask.  A display board of prices is also a good idea and more permanent.  The old cotton reels you see have a slit in them and hold my price labels in a cute way that matches the theme of my stall.

Pegs, Pins and Prestick:  Any market stall holder will tell you that the weather can change faster than you can say windy!  I keep these in my kit to hold down what I can when the wind picks up.  Prestick is also good to hold display details in place.

Scissors:  For stray threads or to cut washi tape I use to seal packets.

Lighter:  Random, I know, but I use it to ensure all ribbon edges are perfect, I can't stand fraying ribbon.

Chalk:  I have a wooden counter box that I use and it is painted in chalk paint so I write and draw on it.

Stickers, Tape and Cute Packaging:  I love making sure that each bought item leaving my stall is like a gift to the buyer.  I ensure that all my packets are branded for a lasting impact and then I use tape or the heart stickers from Knot and Bow to wrap it.

Freebies:  I keep a few of my birdie clips in my kit as they are one of my cheaper products which I like to giveaway to repeat customers, someone I want to impact or say thanks to.  You don't need to be handing out free products with everything, a well placed small item can really make the right impact though.  It is even handy to do a few versions of your business card packaged up in a cute envelope with something sweet inside.  See this post for more inspiration.

Tools of the Trade: I take pliers and product bits and pieces along.  If the market is quite you can crack on with some making or if something needs repairing you can ensure it is perfect before sale. Each crafter will have different tools, but one thing I know is some market shoppers like seeing the creation process, just make sure to look up now and again and to engage with potential buyers.

Business Cards:  Super, super important!  Don't go without these, if you have a new business invest in these asap.  Be sure to put a few on display for shoppers to take.

Pens:  To write orders down and to keep my market sales sheet up to date.

I also like to make sure I have plenty of water and sunblock!

You can download my useful market sales sheet to capture your sales, float and which event you are taking part in.  Just click here.  It is crucial to keep track of sales and this sheet is easy to file away and reflect back on as you continue on your market moneymaking journey.

What are some of your essentials for doing a market?

You can also read these other useful creative business posts:
Market Tips: When Sales don't go your way
Free things you can do for your business

London Fashion Weekend

Inspiration, Valentino & Champagne
I have basically said that every place I visited was a highlight while in London.  So forgive me if I say that London Fashion Weekend, held at Somerset House was a highlight too!  The day was so jam packed full of inspiration and even some learning.  The Vodafone Lounge hosted a range of talks from industry insiders, including Zoe Jordan who opened London Fashion Week.  The Nails Inc and Vodafone nail polish vending machine was surely one of the smartest and fun things I have seen in a while.  I also attended the Valentino Couture exhibition which was breathtaking, but alas no photos allowed!  To see his incredible creations for some of the world's most beautiful women was quite awe-inspiring to say the least.  Of course some champagne was in order to celebrate a wonderful day!  Oh and least I forget there was of course fashion too, clothes from top designers and a catwalk show curated by the legendary Hillary Alexander (the Radley goody bag was a treat too).  One of the best days in London!

London Places & Spaces

Smitten with These Places & Spaces

Sorry for my vanishing act last week, I got quite ill and I just could not face the computer, despite the allure of sharing some pretty things with you!  My London posts are coming to a end and after this post I have one more to share.  

These photos capture some rather lovely places and things I saw.  Portobello Road in Nottinghill is always a favourite as the brooch selections are some of the best I have ever seen.  If you wonder just off Portobello away from the mad humdrum and tourists (I don't consider myself one) to Kensington Park Road, you land in a lovely local haven.  Nottinghill ladies and gents lunching and walking their pooches.  Couverture and the Garbstore is a gem that is full of all the things we ogle over on the internet!  I particularly loved the masks from Lucille Michieli.

These photos are from their blog...

Another winner was Cass Art in Hampstead! Oooooh - I was in heaven!  Stationery and art supplies in their numbers made this pencil nerd way too overexcited.  I bought some awesome fabric markers as well as quirky cards and notebooks from Donna Wilson.

Hobby Craft or craft mecca as some may know it is another HUGE store made up of two storeys of craft supplies for every type of thing you can imagine.  From baking, to taping you name it, they have it!

Hope you enjoyed these and have a happy Monday!

March Post Round-Up

Happy Reading

A few of my favourite posts, links and 'happenings' featured in March:

1.  The Work of Selina Lake:  I mentioned her in my Woodnewz Work post as her new book is a must buy.  She worked with the talented Catherine Gatwicke on this one.

2.  Inspire Lovely:  Crafty goodness to keep you creative!  I featured Debbie in my reading list post and her work is a true delight.

3.  Orla and her Typettes:  A few special moments from my London trip including the day I met Orla Kiely!

4.  Creative Workshops:  I featured February's workshop and opened bookings for the next batch in May!  Don't miss out!

A Few More:

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