16 - The Holly and the... Mistletoe.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finally I've managed to get a photo or two of the Holly and Mistletoe additions to my Christmas collection. They'll be added over at the shop tomorrow.

Mistletoe and Holly

Mistletoe and Holly

I created the botanical inspired set (the 8 card set as well as these seasonal beauties) with my Nanna in mind.  She had beautiful writing and kept in touch with her family the good old fashioned way. I remember one of the last things that she said to me was how sad she was that her hands had fully given over to the arthritis and she could no longer write to her sister. She always loved her garden and so I guess I made these with her in mind. I get a little choked up sometimes (and full on burst in to tears the other day) that I can't pop round to visit with whatever I'm working on and set it down on the pine table (my Granddad varnished it while she was on a long stay in hospital once and he never heard the end of it and neither did we) for her to "ooooooh" over and give me her straight out opinion (she was always pretty good at that). I'm pretty sure had she been alive still she'd have wanted a few of these to send, so Nan, these are for you. You are missed.

N x

15 - Botanical cards coming a little later than I said...

I said in my post yesterday that today I would be posting the new Christmas botanical themed cards...

I got caught up making these little beauties for Halloween instead...

Ghoul red velvet cupcakes and jammy eyeball red velvet cupcakes for halloween
Ghouls and eyeballs, yum...

You can see more on instagram at alfies_studio.

14 - Coming soon...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay tuned. Today (and the past few days) have been a little crazy with starting to secure stockists and deal with a 3 year old that clearly doesn't get the whole daylight savings thing (if it's light, he's up). I'll be posting botanical Christmas card images (Holly and Mistletoe, I love them!) tomorrow with news of a special promotion I'll be running over at the shop until Christmas.

13 - Typographic Christmas cards...

Friday, October 26, 2012

A sneaky look at the typographic Christmas cards I've been working on...

Alfies Studio Typographic Christmas cards.
Typographic Christmas cards...
I'm pretty excited about these as quite often I just want to send something un-fussy that will stand out on a mantel-piece. I think these are it.

I had a lot of fun photographing them too and would quite like to put the tree up already now I've had the decorations out. I think the whole decorations thing is going to be more hassle than its worth this year with Eve though, she has her eyes on anything shiny, I think she's going to be worse than a cat for having it all in pieces. 

Christmas decorations for photographing the card project
Decorations. Oh so pretty...
It's been pretty strange having Christmas songs in my head in October while I've worked on these but its put me in the mood for some crisp cold weather. Please snow soon....

12 - Work in progress

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Well it has been a busy couple of weeks.

I've completed a new talent package for a sweet cake company ("cakes" made of sweets rather than an overly sweet cake) and I am feeling a lot of love for it. For a while I've wanted to do a project like this one, something a little bit girly but still with an edge to it. I like the strength of the type but the randomness of the polka dots. I like the colour pops on the page. Theres not actually much I don't like about it to be honest and I rarely say that about my own work (a designer is always their biggest critic).

Yours Sweetly - New talent package including letterhead, invoice, business card and visual identity
Yours Sweetly new talent package
I'd like to work more on projects like this. Working with emerging talent to recognise their product or service and put a face and an ethos on it. I find that a business tends to function a lot better when they themselves know who they are and what they do. Having a positioning and an image helps them to carve a path in to their chosen field and feel confident about the whole thing. I get a lot from helping people in that way because in a 1-5 person company, business is always personal. I like designing for people when it matters to them which is why I guess I'm drawn like a moth to wedding stationery and birth announcements in particular.

I've also been putting the finishing touches to Christmas card designs and printing them up, a sneaky peek of which you can see below.

Photographing products
Photography studio in progress...
As you can see my photography studio is not much (a self painted chalk board on a work bench in front of a large window and a set of steps for me to get above the shot), but it will do for now...

Christmas cards are available over at the shop (here) and I'll be adding more throughout the week (and a post showing them off soon). Theres currently 10% off for existing and previous clients and because I'm so excited about the new range I'll pass that code on to you too (HELLOAGAIN10) -it runs out at the end of November so head on over soon. 

11 - Busy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Today has been a busy day in the studio. Lots and lots of ordering in prep for printing Christmas cards. I try not to get involved in Christmas too early as I find by the time December hits I've already had enough of it. On the flip side I don't want to release a range long after everyone has already got their cards.

I'm pretty excited. After toying with the idea of foil blocking, I've decided to strip it back to the brand's core values. Objects that have soul and process that you'll want to keep. I will be hand stamping and finishing a large part of the range, they might not be perfect but you can bet that a lot of effort went in to making them look as good as. The designs have been sent off for the stamps to be made, metallic ink ordered and 100% post consumer waste/recycled paper stock purchased - can you believe that one of the card stocks is called Hairy Manilla?! Brilliant.

I'll also be doing an A3 hand-me-down print that I'll be sharing in a few weeks time. Stay tuned...

10 - Woo hoo!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've hit the giddy heights of 50 followers today on Pinterest (click here to take a look)!

I'm quite in love with Pinterest and almost wish they'd release a work stream version where I can set pins to time out when a project has ended or set private pins that you can share with certain groups (making it easier to share work ideas with clients and specific groups or just keep some inspirations for an up and coming line top secret). I love it though, just the way it is.

Twitter doesn't spark with me like Pinterest, I just don't think we're compatible (sorry, its not you Twitter, its me, please don't hate me...). Perhaps that is what comes of being a very visual person? I like to show people what inspires me as well as what I can do and Pinterest is the perfect platform for that. I also just love not having word docs full of cut and paste images that get lost in the depths of my not so good filing system.

Thank you Pinterest, for making life a little bit easier.

9 - Love at first sight...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I've been feeling a bit grim and grumpy of late for one reason and another. I just found something that rocked my world and I'm in love with...

I want all of them... IMMEDIATELY!
Maps, 1950's Mad Men style illustrations (which have been on my mind a lot lately as I'm trying to include this style in my work), a whole bunch of amazing locations, has someone been sneaking at my Christmas list? Herb Lester Associates (they even have a cool name). Also exciting... new releases by subscription! I am having visions of lots of these framed and on the wall (something really different for the children's rooms too maybe) or hopping on and off planes with a bunch of them spilling out of a trusty satchel (read Zatchel here, they are by far the nicest looking I have found so far and were on my wish list for my thirtieth and sadly still on my wish list - 13" chestnut, classic, with handle and slider if anyone is feeling generous).
Oh Zatchel, I want to grow old with you...
(Image from zatchels.com)
A girl can dream right?

8 - What is it worth?

Monday, October 08, 2012

I am today once again faced with the eternal dilemma of pricing a design job.

Do you price to what you and your time and expertise are worth and hope that your potential client gets that you'll more than likely be thinking of them night and day until the job is done? More likely you price to what you think will get you the job and massively undersell yourself and your time and knowledge, not to forget creativity which runs through your veins and occupies your every thought one way or another.

I read something very pertinent (here) by a "Jonathon" on July 8th 2010 (I realise its a little dated but the thread is oh so relevant)...
Designers are useless when it comes to money. Myself included. That’s why we have business and production managers who handle that side of the business to make sure we make money!
We need to stop undervaluing our profession. I’ve always admired how well plumbers and electricians value their skills. Why can’t designers do the same?
The part about plumbers and electricians resonates clearly. In our case both of those guys live down the street from us. They are great guys that help us out when the boiler has packed up because its got dust in after a weekend away, or when A. drilled straight through the middle of a cable in the wall last Christmas. Both also have no trouble asking what they are rightfully worth when it comes to a routine job. As a creative I feel nervous asking for what I think a job is worth. Partly because I worry the potential client will go elsewhere (a little of something is better than all of nothing right?) and partly because at least 50% of my job and the process is done in my head, while I'm cooking the babies dinners or drifting off to sleep, in the shower or doing the school run. Because thinking time isn't tangible until it manifests as a logo or brand or piece of packaging or stationery.

I have to say the business part is not my favourite and I look forward to the day when I earn enough to hire an account manager to do the nasty. I like creating, I love making people happy, I get a kick out of creating something that will last. If only I could make like Shen* and paint everything I needed so I didn't have to charge for my services...

*The Magic Paintbrush by Julia Donaldson, my Son's favourite book a year or so ago.

7 - It's been a while...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

So it's been a while since my last post.

Things have been beyond crazy. From the uphill struggle that is house renovations (really, is it EVER going to be finished?) to Dominic starting nursery school (I'm almost envious of the mama's whose kids scream at their departure, I don't even get a kiss or hug and he's already got his coat off and hung and on his way in to class). We've holidayed in Northumberland and done a lot of film location visiting from Harry Potter at Alnwick Castle to Roslin Chapel of Da Vinci Code fame. And now we are home, with our feet on the ground in our normal sized house (our holiday rental cottage bedroom was the same size as a whole floor of our house) trying to finish at least something. I feel like I've started a lot and can't figure out how to finish anything as well as I want to.

Can a map be found for that kind of lost? Is it something you have to draw up yourself? Do you just find your way organically like a stream flowing to a river? Answers on a postcard please...

N. x

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