DIY Stationery Tray

A Quick and Fun DIY

This is such an easy DIY that I don't even need to give you the steps. I created this fun and colourful tray using a frame from Makro and a print I bought on Etsy. However, no need to buy a print, just check out all these awesome patterns from chevrons to stripes, which are free to download! I also used these prints to cover the books on my bar trolley.

This little tray is not only pretty, but so useful too, it holds a few of the items I like to have on display. Half the fun of having lovely things is to be able to look at them, appreciate them and of course use them. My collection includes quite a bit of Typo (obviously), as well as the little gold bird found on sale at Loads of Living for only R20 (love a bargain). 
As mentioned I found this minty green frame from Makro, I love discovering pretty things from unexpected shops. The frame is not quite A4, but rather a bit more narrow and elongated. There are so many other options you can try too, including a vintage frame from the SPCA, or even a framed piece of fabric rather than a print. I also have something similar on my dressing table to display my favourite beauty items. Enjoy creating your own version.

Seven Things: September

A Glimpse of Life: Captured via Instagram

I snapped a batch of things in September using Instagram, I didn't post all of them, so a few photos will be new, even if you follow me. None the less, here are the stories behind these glimpses into my life of late...

 1 > Brooch Orders: I've had some lovely wedding orders lately, including a batch of bridesmaid gifts. I often wish I had more time for the handmade element that shaped my business and I hope that at some point I can reinvest in it.

2 > Birthday's and Celebrations: A friend had a very special birthday and a group of my closest friends celebrated in true style with a day at the Oyster Box Spa, cocktails and a delicious dinner. I had fun wrapping this gift for Amy's 30th, which included a beautiful Typo letter.

3 > Terry's Work: On a recent trip to I heart Market I spotted this sweet character created by Terry! Too cute! Her work is really wonderful and whimsical.

4 > Hot Chocolate: I have been working at the beachfront on a few projects and I can never resist a stop at Cafe Jiran for hot choc. It's delicious!

5 > Typo Visit: We finally have a Typo store in KZN, not Durban, but in Pietermaritzburg. Last week Caley and I make a little trip and what fun it was! I got a few little things and have enjoyed using them this week. I have stashed a few of the goodies in my 'gift drawer' to add to future presents.

6 > Card Swap: I recently took part in a card swap via the blog of Mezz. My partner is from Australia and it was lovely to create some cards and tags for her to use. I hope she likes them! The cards I received were hand sewn with little paper clouds and sweet button details.

7 > Another Swap: In between a mass of work, I did another swap via The Tichenor Family blog (thanks Caley for letting me know about it). My sweet partner sent me the loveliest scarves and I hope she enjoys the selection I sent her.

I hope you have a very happy weekend! Any creative plans? 

Rosehurst in Pietermaritzburg

A Rosy, Sun-Dappled Day
On Heritage Day, I had to head to Pietermaritzburg to take care of some work. Not ideal on a public holiday, but duty called. Luckily, I had Daniel to drive me there and keep me company, which greatly increased my cheerfulness. I thought, if we are going all that way, then let's make it worth our while and so I remembered Rosehurst! To my surprise, they were open and I swiftly booked a table. Once the work was taken care of, we headed to the beautiful garden tearoom. It was just perfect, and what my dreams are made of. A quaint Victorian house, with hidden nooks, sun-dappled corners and pink lemonade (plus HUGE milkshakes). There are several rooms, some with antiques and others with local products as well as a chocolate room. The food and service were also great and the aforementioned pink lemonade was a treat! If you have a vivid imagination, a love for the 'perfectly dishevelled' and the need for an escape, then add Rosehurst to your list.

It was the perfect moment to get lost in and the beautifully kept garden was like a page from the Secret Garden. I wanted to lie on a huge blanket and stare at the clouds. I was particularly excited to go down the 'Foxglove Path' (I almost squeaked with excitement). Wandering down the narrow path, I discovered Vintage Rose, a sweet vintage shop selling clothes, accessories and beaded clutches. I can't wait to go back for another visit...

My much missed friend - Roxy, from Citygirl Searching did a post about Rosehurst a while ago, her photos are beautiful!

The Cafe at Rosehurst
239 Boom Street, Pietermaritzburg (it is quite easy to find if you use Google Maps)
033 394 3833

Words of Wisdom

Beautiful Quotes & Prints
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and if you're having a long weekend, I hope that you enjoy the time off! I will be taking a very short blog break, so check back on Wednesday for a new post. In the meantime, these lovely prints from Printable Wisdom will keep you company. I found them via Etsy and the colours and words are just beautiful! Happy relaxing and happy Heritage Day for tomorrow!

Emails, Emails, Emails

Tips & Lessons on Email Etiquette

I know, I am not alone in the world of too many emails! We are bombarded, consistently, by digital correspondence! What annoys me most, is the pressure we find ourselves under to reply almost instantaneously, along with the complete lack of respect for office hours. I often work late, but surely can't be expected to respond to an email at 11pm? Surely? I don't know, what do you think? Our smart phones and devices mean we are 'switched on' 24/7, in the loo, in the bath, at the bank, in bed, early mornings, in the car, at a party, at 12pm on a dance floor, yip we are connected!

We created the problem, now we have to live with it and manage it without being engulfed by it. I found these handy posts, which chat about the various aspects of email, from managing it to netiquette. I hope they offer some relief for your overflowing inbox or at least assist you to be a better 'emailer' and in some way retain a few smigens of sanity. We all have a few things to learn...

Here we go...
Email Etiquette for the Super-Busy: 1 and 2

Finally, one just for giggles - click here to laugh.

Product Profile

Packaging & Products

Amazing and clever packaging makes me excited, it also makes me throw money at shop owners in order to make the pretty product MINE! I recently discovered one lonely Nostalgia Sunday School Soap at Saint Lori in Umhlanga. A quick R40 later and this dreamy little soap, in its perfect packaging was coming home with me. I thought I might give it as a gift, but on further inspection I have decided to keep it! I have since contacted Elea, the creative behind these products to see if she still makes them and is willing to send more to our sunny shores. I will be sure to keep you updated. For now...enjoy the visual treat. The artisan soap is wrapped in a 'soap sack' and the main wrapper includes a pattern to convert the sack into 'joyful little things', like a 'heirloom bear and apron'. Clever and inspiring! The actual product is also exceptionally well developed with no detergents or artificial colours.

NvdM Brand Activation

Idea Launching & Creativity
I promise I am not obsessed with polka dots or confetti. You might see them being featured quite a bit around here, but they are really integrated into what I am doing right now. I had great fun working on a brand activation for my own business in a bid to share some new services and information about my creative business development studio. I thought it would be nice to share a few of the elements and the the behind the scenes snaps of the creative process. The deliveries included a long kraft paper box, with a pencil, confetti and an introductory menu of details. It was all topped off with a peg from Peg and Pencil, my business card and twine in my signature black and white. I also did a few more small business card packs.

*Remember to be creative within your own brand and to allow things to serve as inspiration, rather than the exact recipe for implementation. There are so many wonderful ideas surrounding us, let's add to them, rather than water them down. #justsaying

Easy Washi Tape DIY

A Super Simple Washi Tape Idea
After my London holiday, I wanted a way to display some of my postcards and keepsakes, but I didn't just want another pin board standing around. As you know I have one already, which I featured a while ago. I decided to just washi tape a rectangular shape on the wall and use it as a frame to stick and tape little mementos within, as well as hang my Mollie Makes calendar. This is hardly a unique idea, but so often we see things on Pinterest, but never really get to making or creating them, so I thought I would share my quick frame with you. This idea is especially great if you don't want to drill holes in the wall or if you rent and don't want something permanent. It also adds a pop of colour to your creative space.

I drew some very light pencil lines on the wall to begin with and used a measuring tape and ruler to get it as straight as possible. My washi frame is tucked in next to my desk, so it was hard to shoot it at a good angle, but I think you get the idea. The tape I used is a slightly stronger tape to some as I am sure you will have noticed the Chinese made tapes are not as durable or sticky as the true MT Japanese tape. It seems to have stuck really well though and doesn't peel off. I used a hanger found at Boardmans to hold the calendar, which hangs from the picture rail. As I said all really easy ideas.

On the board are are a range of my favourite postcards, some from Paperchase, a small year at a glance calendar from ohhellofriend, a Cath Kidston postcard and my treasured Knot & Bow confetti.

I hope this inspires you to tape a space of your own.


The Most Amazing Stationery

Now, don't cry, faint or die while looking at the amazing stationery from Kikki. K. I have been gazing and loving their stationery for quite a while now. I am sure some of you already know this amazing brand, as I know of a few bloggers who have shared their favourites! I just want it all! Here are a few of my wants... happy browsing!

On their blog they showcase products, shot in the most creative ways and their corporate catalogue is also loaded with inspiration!

Motex Label Maker Review

My New Toy

When Daniel asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I knew the answer straight away! The Motex Label Maker in pink, stocked by Love Letters Stationery. I thought I would share it with you, along with my thoughts on how it works. 

I got the Motex Tape Writer, version 2 and there seems to be a few versions out there, but I was looking for one I could get locally, without the long wait or postage worries. It really is a great device and I can highly recommend it for a range of crafty projects or to use from an organisational point of view. The tape that fits inside, has a peel off back, to allow for it to be a sticker, ideal for adding to gifts or onto jars. The label maker came with one pink tape already inside and I ordered an additional pack of tapes, with pink, yellow, navy, light blue and black inside. It also comes with a capital letters disc and a lower case one. Each one has a few symbols and numbers on too. To change the disc and tape is super easy and you do get a little manual with it, but to be honest it was so easy, I just went ahead and did it. The other great thing is that it doesn't need batteries like my other more modern label maker (Brother PT-35). It also offers a more tactile, crafty finish with the raised letters. I just love it and really can't fault it. As always the order process through Love Letters Stationery is easy and efficient! The actual label maker with one pink tape was R220, but with postage and another pack of five tapes was - R335 for the whole order. R65 for the extra tape and R50 for a courier, which delivered to my door.

You can see a few of the things I have done with mine via my Instagram.

An Inconvenient Truth

A few of the truths about being a creative business owner

I am quite a positive person and I believe in sending positive 'vibes' out into the world, especially when it comes to business. Lately, I have been doing some soul searching on a range of things, some work related, others personal. What stands out most is the challenges we face as creative business owners, which are unique and different to those faced by our full-time employed friends. We so often think about the fun things that surround running a business, like flexible time, living out your dreams and getting to be crafty. Very often, we don't focus on the stressful truths that face us or allow others to see them. I thought, I would share a few of mine and in turn I hope I will inspire you, inform you, level with you or enlighten you. Don't get me wrong I love having my business, but there are highs and lows too, some which are never seen by the rest of the world.

You have to be your own cheerleader, critic and commander...You are in charge of almost everything. You have to (wo)man the fort, cheer yourself on, command yourself to stay up and finish that project or go back to the drawing board. It can be exhausting being the CEO and the tea lady, the admin assistant and the lead designer. Goodness me!

Social Media is only a glimpse... It showcases the highlights and only a small element of the lows, failures, heartache or anxiety. On social media it looks as if we swan around from market, to event to coffee meetings, in reality we are working harder than most at keeping the ship afloat.

Sometimes clients drive you insane... Every creative who works with clients will agree with me on this one. Clients reading this - I love you all! 

Sometimes clients don't pay on time... The bills and banks don't give a damn that you stayed up until 1am to get that job finished and nor do they care when you can't pay your rent on time or afford a new outfit. Luxuries sometimes go by the wayside and often we will spend the extra cash on our craft or business related items, anyway.

It is the road less travelled... There is no recipe or map for making it on your own. You just have to get on with it and forge your own path.

You gotta have faith... DAMN, you need a lot of faith, faith in yourself, your work and in the general good of humankind. You just have to believe that everything is going to be okay!

Your comfort zone gets stretched (all the time)... There is always uncharted waters to explore, new ideas to try or orders to take on! 

Sometimes things don't workout... You have to start again or move on. Sometimes new ideas take trial and error and sometimes they don't work out at all. You have to head back to the drawing board and keep on going, you are the CEO-MD-Lead Designer-Tea Lady and don't you DARE forget that!

Images 1 / 2 / 3

Washi Bug Design Competition

Design Your Own Pattern
Who would have thought that a papery tape could revolutionise our creative lives! In this day and age of magic inventions and technology, we find ourselves inspired and in love with something that seems quite simple, yet lends itself to countless projects! WashiBug my favourite, local tape suppliers are hosting the most amazing competition, where you design your own tape. 
Here are the details - directly from them:
"Are you creative, artistic or just love doodling with style? Then 'roll' out your best with this exclusive competition brought to you by WashiBug. WashiBug has put together an incredible opportunity for one lucky winner to have THEIR unique design printed on two thousand washi-tape rolls, to be distributed throughout South Africa. This is an opportunity for every South African to put forward their best design to be judged by a panel of creative experts from around the country. You will have six weeks to produce an original, innovative and exceptional design. Interested? ENTER NOW!"

I am particularly excited to be a judge! I can't wait to see the best that you have to offer! Visit the WashiBug site for all the details, plus the terms and conditions. Best of luck, you creative bunch!

Just a little bit of inspiration...
Beautiful images via My Washi Tape and cafe noHut

August Post Round-Up

The Past Month in Posts
August flew by - just the other day it was my birthday and now the month is over already! Yikes, time flies!

I hope you enjoyed the posts in August...let's give them each five more seconds of attention:
The month kicked off with an informative post about 'Five Things to share on Social Media'. Did you enjoy this post, I have had feedback about it in person, but no comments. I am always interested to know how you find business related posts.

Next up was my birthday giveaway! Some spoils for you in celebration.

I really love the ZigZag City guides, designed for children, pretty enough for adults.

Elephant Shoe relaunched their brand and sent me the most delightful box of stationery treats! 

I discovered Weekend Almanac, a fantastic independently published book from San Francisco, about creative and fun weekends.

For the Birds is a lovely shop near Salt Rock on Durban's North Coast. It stocks local brands and other interesting bits and pieces.

Vicki Sleet of the blog I Want That asked me to contribute to a 'To Do List' post. It was so nice to get an insight into other creative's minds and notebooks.

The August Intermediate Workshop was a big success. The group of attendees had some really interesting and promising businesses. The August workshops also had some awesome sponsors!

I love the trend of hand-carved stamps. It's the perfect way to add a personal creative touch to mail or presents.

The Making Spot is full of patterns and projects to inspire your creativity. There are some freebies too.

I also shared a new batch of Seven Things, including a some very lovely birthday gifts I received.

I was so lucky to travel up to Sani Pass with 1st Zulu Safaris. The trip was icy, but beautiful.

Thank you to all of you who sent me venue ideas for the Joburg workshops. I really appreciate it.

Anna-Louise Sleepwear has kindly sponsored a giveaway and shared her business insight. You can still enter to win.

Last, but not least I featured the quirky accessories of Ladybird Likes. I must order one of her perfect pieces.

Is there a post you particularly enjoyed? Or is there something you would like to see more of?. I really love your input for my post planning!

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