Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Time in Munchen.

Puppet shop

Carta Pura - Papierladen

Marienplatz Christmas Market

I could not manage to finish the year without another little expedition, so I picked all the most festive places I could find, and picked the one with the cheapest flight (I'm not bitter at all, Lapland....) So off I flew to Munich. It was so beautiful and Christmassy, chalet huts everywhere, faux medieval castles, gluhwein, brass bands, sausages, lederhosen, it was just as my wildest dreams had imagined. And it snowed, yes it did.

Above is a little sneek peek of all my favourite places. Now, I know most of them are controversially touristy, but what Brit doesn't enjoy being served a litre of beer by a busty lady dressed as a milkmaid, whilst a group of men in lederhosen play Bavaria's greatest brass hits..? Other amusingly traditional haunts I enjoyed for a wiessbeer or two were the Oktoberfest Museum and Jodlerwirt, the latter of which was equipped with a charming accordion player.

Of the more design orientated places I visited, and I have to say they were few and far between, the Design Museum in Munich was a marvellous retreat form the snow, and absolutely vast, putting our London equivalent to shame. Papierladen was a beautiful bookbinding shop stocking the most through and stylish materials I have ever come across. Trachtenvogl and Jasmin Cafes kept us warm, with the former serving forty varieties of hot chocolate, and both turning into very swish places to hang out after dark.

I highly recommend a cheeky little visit, it is definitely on my list to visit for Octoberfest next year....

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Wish Wish Wish's Wishlist.

Hooray for me, my products are on somebody's Christmas wishlist! And not just anybody, the very stylish Carrie who writes the wonderful blog, Wish Wish Wish. Thank you very much nice lady.

Lovely Merchants.

What a lovely fair! Last Sunday I dragged my stock over to The Victoria Pub in Camden, to join a very thoughtfully selected little market, Lovely Merchants. The Victoria had a very grand upstairs area, where we all set up, and I had a lovely day meeting the fine people of Camden. There was a nice mix of vintage clothing, home ware and handmade skin care.
Lovely Merchants will return for a Valentine's Fair in February....

Amanda selling very fine things from None Such Things.
My stall full of paper goods.

The Long Table.

What a lovely surprise it was when I discovered that every Friday up until Christmas, a late night food market was opening up in my area. Unfortunately every time I went to visit, there was a queue a mile long.....but I decided this was an experience not to be missed and so last Friday I joined the masses and waited for......1 whole hour and forty minutes. While groups dropped out and headed to the McDonald's on the corner, it only made us more determined and, despite the icy wind willing us to do the same, we finally made it in.

Immediately warming ourselves with mulled wine, we sat and looked curiously around the dining tent. Unlike any other food market I had attended, long tables were set up, where everybody enjoyed their food together, lit by many candles in waxy empty bottles. It was an extremely lovely sight and we enjoyed a delicious Eastern pancake, piled high with cheese, cabbage and spring onions.

I have to say I would never queue again to go, but I think it was worth it just that once. There was a wonderful atmosphere of locals simply enjoying eachother's company, and some nice food, all together....

Here is what The Long Table have to say:

'The Long Table is all about conviviality and bringing people together. Grounded in the importance of local chefs, purveyors and producers, the Long Table celebrates all different types of foods and tastes. As visitors graze the wealth of dishes on offer, they will experience the sense of warmth inherent in a big gathering.

Markets are the heart of many communities, a place where people come together to eat and socialize. East London has a rich cultural diversity and with that comes an interesting mix of foodies, chefs, artists and musicians. We wanted a place that allowed locals to come together through the sharing of food.'

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas Frolics at Columbia Road.

Wednesday saw the first of this year's late night shopping events at Columbia Road. As a relative local, I visit frequently on a Sunday for the stunning flower market, but this was really rather something lovely. With stylishly simple Christmas lights, children playing carols on their trumpets, and not a queue or crowd in sight, it was a perfect way to start getting into the festive mood. If you have visited the street before, you will be familiar with the very limited weekend only opening hours of the shops there, but every Wednesday until Christmas they will be opening 5pm-9pm for Christmas shoppers.

After exploring the shops, we sat in the cobbled courtyard and drank mulled cider, ate mince pies and listened to the lovely band below whilst little children danced around. It was a lovely sight, with some very amusing interpretive dance going on. For more information, click here.

The Pop Up Vintage Fair & Handmade and Bound.

A couple of weeks ago I took the liberty of having a day off to look at lovely things...

I was very pleasantly surprised at how well organised the Islington Pop Up Vintage Fair was. Like walking into a village hall in the blitz, there was fabulously nostalgic music, and a lovely array of very affordable vintage vendors. Up on the stage, there was a bustling tea room, well stocked with mismatching crocks and edible treats. After a while of hunting around, live music appeared in the form of the three lovely ladies above, and I really felt perfectly content. It is a rare feeling to find such a lovely atmosphere at a fair. For future events click here.

Next stop was to Handmade & Bound, the affordable book art fair. Despite my absolute hatred of the 'zine', the fair featured some interesting print work and book binding. It was outrageously busy though and I actually had to fight my way to buy some of Samantha Lippett's cards, which were worth it. Sadly I cannot name the artist above as he didn't have any cards, but his work was very fine indeed....

Friday, 25 November 2011

Matters of Lavender.

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting to a customer at Broadway Market about my teacup candles, and she asked me why I used French organic lavender essential oil. I replied, 'Because French lavender is the finest, highest quality lavender oil around.'

I am very proud of the quality of my ingredients, and the above answer usually satisfies the most difficult customer, so I was surprised when she was not impressed.
'What about British lavender, Norfolk lavender?' she questioned.
'Ooh, I'll look into that...' I replied, a little saddened and shamed that I had no idea of its existence, and wanting to end the conversation as soon as possible.
Hmmmm, I thought. It would be lovely to stock British Lavender oil....

So now I do! Sadly it is not organic (sorry fields and animals), but I think it is very important to support British farmers and produce and so Norfolk lavender will be a permanent fixture in my candles.

I will have lots of royal tea cup candles at all the fairs that I will be part of up to Christmas:

Sat 26th November: Broadway Market

Sun 27th November: BUST Christmas Craftacular, York Hall, Bethnal Green

Sat 3rd December: Broadway Market

Sun 4th December: Lovely Merchants, Camden

Sat 10th December: Broadway Market

Sat 17th December: Broadway Market

Sat 24th December *CHRISTMAS EVE*: Broadway Market

Have a look at my wonderful candles here.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Feast For Your Eyes...New Products!

Have a look at my shop and you will see new products! Both are available here or at any of my Christmas market days.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Festive Frolics.

BUST Craftacular / York Hall / Bethnal Green / 27th November / 12-6pm

I cannot harp on about how marvellous these BUST Craftaculars are. Featuring live DJ's, a fabulous cafe, DIY workshops and a vendor line up that I am extremely proud to be part of. There is always such a fantastic lively atmosphere, and best of all, I can pick up a copy of BUST magazine.

Lovely Merchants / Victoria Pub / Camden / 4th December / 12-5

I'm very looking forward to being part of the first Lovely Merchants Fair, intimately placed in the Victoria pub in Camden, it promises to be a joyous and sophisticated festive affair, with goods ranging from delicious treats, to my fine stationery. I do hope they have mulled wine ready for me.

Friday, 30 September 2011

*Fair Dates*

This is a highly organised and informative post for me, but just so you know exactly where to find me up until Christmas for all your stationery needs, here is the current calendar:

Christmas Fair Calendar 2011:

Sat 5th November: Broadway Market

Sat 12th November: Broadway Market

Sat 19th November: Broadway Market

Sat 26th November: Broadway Market

Sun 27th November: BUST Christmas Craftacular, York Hall, Bethnal Green

Sat 3rd December: Broadway Market

Sun 4th December: Lovely Merchants, Camden

Sat 10th December: Broadway Market

Sat 17th December: Broadway Market

Sat 24th December *CHRISTMAS EVE*: Broadway Market

How exciting! I will have lots of marvellous Christmas treats this year for you all too. Hope to see you all there.

In the meantime, please enjoy this image of the cats. I think it's my favourite.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Pies, Manners and the Naughty Chair.

Yesterday saw the grand private view of MIEN Magazine's Charm School, as it opens for two weeks of masterclasses and joyously old fashioned events such as letter writing and recipe swapping. With a King's Ginger in one hand and a scrumptious Simple Pie in another, the space was merrily bustling, with one or two guests committing social faux-pas and being sent to the naughty chair to read the 'A-Z of Modern Manners', (including the Mistress of Manners herself when she shockingly offered me -a vegetarian- a pork pie *gasp*)...the whole atmosphere of the Charm School is relaxed, beautifully nostalgic, and has a wonderful sense of humour about the whole concept.

Classes are running every lunchtime and evening, with a few spaces left....for a wonderful alternative evening out have a look at the schedule.

And the lesson I learnt from the Mistress of Manners?
You can never be too charming.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Charmed, I'm Sure...

Well, I am very pleased to announce that I will be giving a little stationery workshop on Thursday 15th September, as part of MIEN Magazine's 'Charm School', popping up in Exmouth Market as of next week.

'Improve your posture, make your own stationery, learn how to mix the perfect martini, discover the benefits of escaping to the countryside, exchange recipes, and more…

Enrich your body and mind with after-school activities for grown-ups, hosted by MIEN Magazine’s Mistress of Manners and a dedicated team of specialists.'

I for one am finding it tricky to decide which of their tempting workshops to squeeze into the next fortnight. Fear not, you can find the schedule here.

To purchase advance tickets for my class on making your own stationery, which includes tea and a treat, click here.

Culture. Etiquette. Style. I am counting down the days....

Renegade Handmade.

Sound the trumpets! Renegade Handmade Fair is coming to London......finally! I will be there with all your stationery needs and new products. Huzzah!

Blog & Buy's Pix & Mix.

My trusty stationery will be available this month from Blog & Buy's online marketplace. If you haven't already checked out their website, you must, it is a wondrous source of information about all things design and handmade. I especially find the interviews and London shopping guides very interesting indeed.....
Anyway, here is my online stall!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

State Of Craft.

The time has come! Captain Bert has finally made it to print. Here he is, majestically sitting on the front cover of this marvellous new book, in which I explain how to make him. (And lots of other lovely people explain how to make their snazzy things...)
Available for pre-order here.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Found and treasured.

So here is a small selection of my finds from my treasure hunt holiday. The above shelf was found for £1 at a car boot sale, previously a drawer that I painted white to store useful things in my studio. The flying ducks were my most expensive but treasured item from the Toot As in Foot stall at Old Spitalfields at £14. I also found many a Kilner jar on my travels, I went a bit crazy and bought five, but they were a cheeky £2.50 each which is a steal. And sadly I now refuse to drink out of anything but my set of six Charles and Diana glasses, which I found for £10 in Hunkydory-24.
I found many other random treasures, an A4 Victorian book paper press, many, many ceramic and enamel bowls for my kitchen, and of course about twenty Royal Coronation mugs ready to make candles.

I thought I would show you bits of my studio with all the flimflammery I've collected. Below shows some of my favourite souvenirs from artists I love such as Lizzie Stewart, Lucy Jane Batchelor, Helen Friel and Jessie Chorley.
The bottom picture shows my tiny shrine to the Royals where I keep the mugs I've clumsily smashed but still love and have made into candles. And of course a picture of my dream dog, the Pembroke Corgi.....

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Props for Rokit.

Last week I made a couple of props for The Science of Style's feature windows in Rokit's Covent Garden vintage store. If you look closely there is a birdcage and a giant gingerbread man hiding in there. I have bought many an item of clothing from trusty old Rokit, so I am chuffed to have been involved- I especially like that my website is printed on the window.....Huzzah.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Vintage Adventures and Other Tales of Margate.

One of my favouritest favourite things to do, is wander around car boot sales and peruse junk and vintage shops. I could do it all day and forever, treasure hunting my way to a house full of wonderful things. So when I moved to London a year ago, I was very excited to have such easy access to wonderful vintage shops. (All time favourites: Old Spitalfields market on a Thursday, Rospo, and The Shop, Vintage Heaven).
However, these wonderful things come at a price, a very fair price might I add, for such marvellous shops, but not the prices that I long to discover again from squirrelling in charity shops and car boot fairs and house clearance shops. London, I'm afraid in my opinion, you fail in this department.
Thus, the idea was born, to take a week off work, borrow a car, and scour the South for vintage treasures. I'm pretty sure we must have averaged fifteen shops a day...we were on a mission to kit our houses out with lovely things, at a very low cost. Lymington served us well, and Brockenhurst surprised us with Pineapple Retro, a fabulous charity shop in Milford on Sea, Highcliffe had many many charity shops and Pokesdown blew us away with an amazing number of vintage clothing shops.
The real surprise however, was our final trip to Margate. It had everything we could have ever dreamed of. Some of the very finest vintage shops I have ever come across at very reasonable prices. Incredibly low prices at the British Heart Foundation furniture shop, we were almost crying that we didn't have a van with us. There were so, so many great vintage/junk/antique shops but the best were Showtime Retro Furniture, Junk Deluxe, Hunkydory-24, and the very best charity shop EVER on Market Street in between Madam Popoff and 20th Century Frocks. I shall be revisiting Margate frequently just to visit these shops, they were that good.

I picked up some absolute steals that I shall cherish forever, filled my car boot to the brim of secondhand/vintage homewares and came back with change from £50. When most things are under £1, my money went a very long way. We finished our trip with an ice cream sundae at the art deco Morelli's Icecream Parlour and returned, very cramped back to London.
Hooray for other peoples things, and hooray for all the lovely shop owners who we chatted to and helped us along the way!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

All Aboard!

Featuring vikings and pirates, this summer's Anorak magazine is a hearty beast. It's packed full of beautiful illustrations and fun activities as usual, and I even did a drawing to illustrate one of Essie Jain's lovely songs.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A lovely feature in Oh Comely.

This month Oh Comely magazine has arrived in its sixth edition, and I am lucky enough to have a lovely little interview in it. For the more curious and creative of us, the charming magazine boasts that it is to,

'Inspire people to be creative, talk to their neighbours and explore new things, rather than buy stuff or lose weight.'

With fantastic articles on how to make a cardboard camera, stunning photography and a lovely little visit to the the delicious couple from Hope and Greenwood, I think Oh Comely should be a definite feature on your coffee table.

Available from all of these places and most WH Smiths.

Friday, 6 May 2011

1940's Stationers for Secret Cinema February 2011

Back in February I was asked to set up a 1940's Stationers as part of the vintage market that was created for Secret Cinema's viewing of the Red Shoes at Tobacco Docks. Here is my little shop that I had for two weeks....
I have heard tales that SS April in the tunnels of underground Waterloo station was sublime. Book your tickets for a spectacular night of surprises here, and to read my full post on the wondrous event itself here.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Royal Letter Card for Souvenirs and the Suchlike.

Hooray! Finally after all the excitement of the Royal Wedding, I have created a piece of my own Royal memorabilia, vintage style.

Based on old fashioned 'souvenir cards' for our seaside holidays, it is a little illustrated booklet that you can write on the reverse and fold into its own envelope; a little piece of London to tell of your city adventures.

Available in my little shop, here.