Time For a Change

Hello everyone, it's been a while since my last personal post on here. You may or may not have noticed my absence in the past year, Iโ€™d say, during which my posts here have been really sporadic and I kind of lost touch with the whole blogging thing. After moving to London, a little longer than a year ago now, I started having way less free time - for better or worse - and therefore less time to dedicate to letters and blogging, as mail was what I was primarily posting about.

Having less mail to show, kind of put me in a slump because I felt like that was all I could write about here - as that is the type of content 90% of my readers enjoy seeing here. Coming to thinking about it now, Iโ€™ve done and seen so many cool things this past year that I wish Iโ€™d have shown to you too, as well as documented here for myself to look back on one day, but I didnโ€™t - simply because I thought that by giving my blog such a name I would have to be stick to it in all aspects and it wouldnโ€™t make sense to stray away from the content that was โ€œmeantโ€ to be shared in favour of other topics that wouldnโ€™t quite, or at all, fit into that category.

But from today, it is time for a change. Iโ€™ve changed a lot since last year and my โ€œstyleโ€ and interests have evolved too. As much as Iโ€™m attached to my blog name (and still like it, just like mail, which I will continue to share here), itโ€™s time for me to let go of what might be the expectations of others and focus on what I want to do and what I want to share on this blog. At the end of the day, it was born as a personal blog, and now I want to reclaim that.

So yeah, this is a little announcement both for you and myself to make this โ€œofficialโ€, and to inform you about the change of direction this blog will be taking from today onwards. You can still expect to see posts about mail and stationery of course, but also more about my graphic design and illustration work and process, some more lifestyle-y kind of posts that will include what I go about doing and seeing in London, plus a bit of travelling whenever I get the chance to, and definitely more photography.

Lastly, thank you if youโ€™ve been reading my blog for ages, and thank you even more if youโ€™ll decide to stick around โ˜บ๏ธ

Lot of love,

ฦ’. xx

Discovering New Stationery at Top Drawer #2: Imogen Owen

You may remember my post about Top Drawer a few moths back where I showed you one of my latest stationery crushes (Paperboy London ), and today, on the same note, I want to share with you the wonderful work of Imogen Owens.

Imogen designs and illustrates beautiful letterpressed greetings cards and stationery. Her designs range from more luxurious and polished to quirky and fun.

During the brief chat we had a Top Drawer, she told me that she enjoys writing letters too, and her passion for snail mail is perfectly reflected into all of her products, especially her gorgeous correspondence sets.

So, if you love quirky designs and beautiful calligraphy (and don't mind the occasional cheeky swear) make sure to have a look at Imogen's lovely collection!

What do you think of Imogen's work? โ™ฅ

ฦ’. xx

See more of Imogen Owens online: Instagram | Website | Facebook | Twitter

// Previous post: Paperboy London

Just a Card Campaign + House of Cards Book

Perhaps you might already be familiar with the Just A Card campaign, but if you're not, let me tell you a little bit about it.

Sarah Hamilton is a London-based artist, and in 2014 she started a campaing to support indipendent artists and retailers after seeing yet another small gallery close down.

โ€œIf everyone whoโ€™d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card weโ€™d still be open.โ€ When I read this quote by shop keepers whoโ€™d recently closed their gallery I thought - enough is enough - we need to fight back! 

The core message of her campaign is that even the smallest sale can help independent shops and designers to pay the bills. As an independent designer myself, this is a message I immediately resonated with and something I always try to keep in mind whenever I may buy something for myself or a gift for someone.. it's nice to stray away from the highstreet and get something more unique whilst also supporting a small business.

Last month, Sarah's book "House of Cards" came out in stores, and I thought I'd check it out.

It features a beautifully curated selection of step-by-step tutorials to create handmade cards by various independent designer. The difficulty ranges from collage to linocut printing, so it's suitable both for experts DIYers and those who are just getting started.

I'm just about to strat sharing more of my mail on the blog again, and I'm sure this book will come in handy for when I need some inspiration to add a more personal touch to my letters โ™ฅ

What's your favourite technique when it comes to making cards by hand?

ฦ’. x

Discovering New Stationery at Top Drawer #1: PaperBoy London

Last week I've met up with Emma and went to my second Top Drawer, which is a trade show that showcases a variety of brands: from homeware to fashion, gifts, and of course stationery and greeting cards!

In the paper section there were dozens of exhibitors, some I was familiar with, and some I just had the pleasure of stumbling upon on on that day. Because I know so many of you love discovering new brands of stationery just as much as I do, I thought I'd share some of my favourites in a small series of blog posts. Today, I'd like to introduce you to: Paperboy London

Paperboy's stand immediately caught my attention, not only because of the eye-popping palette of his products, but also because I'm a big fan of street art, and his collection definitely seemed to had taken inspiration from it.

As we approached the stand, Paperboy's founder and creative director, Matt, gladly talked us through the creative process and inspiration behind his first four collections: the NYC collection (black & white one) inspired by walking the streets of New York City at night, and incorporating taxtures and contrasts offered by the city skyline; the Time Square collection (neon one) bold and eye-catching just like the place it was named after. On some of the cards he incorporated googly eyes, which is a brilliant touch if you ask me! The Marfa collection (pastel one) which I'm told was named after a very small Texan city, refects its quirks and crative side.

And lastly, the one that might be my personal favourite: the Bushwick collection inspired by the colorful street art and murals found in this neighbourhood in Brooklyn.

What do you think of Paperboy London? โ™ฅ
ฦ’. xx

See more of Parerboy London online: Instagram | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Creative Paper Letters by Designer Alex Swain

Back in September, I had the pleasure to meet Alex at the We Blog Design meet-up at designjunction.

He's a very talented designer, and when he got in contact to share an unusual paper project he'd been part of, I couldn't help myself but ask him if I could feature it here as I think it's abolutely unique and creative.

Working as I designer for the last 16 years, Iโ€™ve always had an interest in typography. I canโ€™t explain why other than I love the collection of varied forms and the power they have as a system for language. I loved letterpress workshops at college, working with physical type was so much fun and I knew one day it would be great to make some letters of my own.
I am quite particular about the kind of typeface designs, leaning toward the Swiss style. My first attempt at designing some furniture led to the A Stool, which uses the Replica typeface designed by Norm in Zurich, for the basis of the โ€˜A' frame. The Replica letters are narrow at the base so were perfect for furniture as they wouldnโ€™t trip you up.

Last year we discovered the materials company Surface Matters, who have a showroom just off Broadway Market in Hackney, London. They are the UK agent for an amazing sheet material called Richlite: โ€˜an incredibly durable material made from paper. The innovative surface is nonporous, heat and water resistant and is made from many layers of high quality FSC decorative paper.โ€™ I enjoy working with sustainable materials so it was great to discover Richlite.

Combining my love for typography and their materials, we decided it would be great to collaborate on a project together. The outcome was an A to Z alphabet, CNCโ€™d and then hand finished by the workshop called Shape Studio from Bristol.

At the same time as this project, Alex compiled an alphabetical list of design bloggers he like (in which I'm very honoured to appear under the 'F';

The A to Z list of design bloggers coincided with he project so it made sense to send each blogger their letter. The letters will be able to buy on our website soon.

Make sure to check out Alex's website and have a look at his wonderful creations, and while you're there, check out the bloggers list too, as if you're looking for more blogs to read, I guarantee you'll find something you like!

Thanks for reading!
ฦ’. xx

// photo courtesy ยฉ Alex Swain

Exploring OXO Tower Wharf

Chances are, that if you've ever wondered around South Bank, at some point you'd have looked up at that old looking building with letter-shaped windows, and wondered what OXO means.

Well, the Oxo Tower has a rather interesting story, in fact: back in the 20's, the building was acquired by a meat company (producers of the "Oxo cubes"). The company wanted to feature the name of their product on the building faรงade in the shape of illuminated sign, but because this type of advertisement wasn't allowed back in the day, they came up with the idea of having letter shaped windows to circumvent the restriction. How clever?!

And now, the tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in South Bank, so much so that the wharf where it's located is named after it.

Although the tower is closed to the public, thanks to Coin Street and We Blog Design, an handful of us was able to have a private tour and climb up to the very top and enjoy a different view of the river banks.

The way up the tower is quite steep and uneven, and for me, also being moderately afraid of heights, it was was quite challenging at times, but definitely worth it. It was such a privilege and an incredible experience!

After taking in the beautiful view from the top of the tower, we had some time to wander around and discover some of the little design shops that have home in the Wharf.

What is most unique about this area, is that there's a concentration of special retail-workshops for contemporary designers, which means they don't only have a shopfront, but are also able to work on their products without leaving the shop; this gave them the perfect opportunity to hold workshops to involve the customers into the creative process, and also share the story behind their creations.

Although all the shops are worth a visit, two of my favourites are Wagumi and Snowden Flood.

Wagumi; You may know I have a soft spot for East Asian culture, espacially anything Japanese, so Wagumi is a little heaven for me. All their product are imported directly from Japan, and they make their mission to assist small producers, and to bring new life to traditional aesthetics and mediums.

Snowden Flood; Of course I had to mention this lovely shop! Snowden's shop offers a range of products designed in house, and by new and emerging designers, making it the perfect spot to look for more unique gifts and souvenirs (and cards and prints!).

All the shops are really varied: you can find 3D printed jewellery or crads and stationery, authentic japanese pottery and handmade textiles. So, if you're ever around South Bank, definitely take some time to explore the Wharf, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you're curious, as most of the shop owners will gladly chat with you and tell you more about what they make.

DId you know about Oxo Tower Wharf? โ˜บ

ฦ’. xx

Stationery Spotlight: Katie Leamon

I'm an hardcore fan of small businesses, even more so when they have an inspirational story behind them.

Katie Leamon's cards & stationery are now stocked in lots of stores across the UK (and internationally), but it all began in a cosy studio space Katie took up with her brother Tom back in 2010. Despite the huge success, however, her products are still curated and unique in a way you can only get when the designer is involved in every step of the production (and I mean that quite literally since some the cards are even hand printed in house!).

Back in September, with the creative contributions of her brother, Katie launched the KIN Collection, a collaboration that brings together Katie's signature typography and pastel hues, and Tom's bold brushstrokes.

The combination of the two make amazing cards, wrapping papers, and sketchbooks.

I particularly love the contrast between the vibrant, eccentric envelopes and the delicate, golden foiled cards โ™ฅ Gorgeous!

My favourite bit from the collection, however, must be the notebooks. It was love at first sight because - just look at that cover and the black edges - what's not to love!? But what's even better, it's that inside you get an even amount of lined, grid and blank pages.

Katie's brand is right up there with all the small businesses that inspire me, and I'm sure you'll see more of it around here.

Have you ever heard of it? & do you have a fave cards and stationery brand? You know I'm always looking for suggestions ;)

ฦ’. x

Beautiful Cards for a Good Cause

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a few cards by jotpaperco in my feed before. I love all of their cards, but even more than that, I love how they created their brand from the ground up and are now able to design and create their products in their very own studio and have them stocked in lots of cool shops all around London.

They're a huge inspiration of mine, and when they came up with this project, I just had to share it with you all.

Dan and Becks have brought out two cards with a new design called Arlo's Snowflake, in dedication to baby Arlo, their nephew, who sadly passed away just a few days after being born.

Not only the cards are beautiful as all of their other cards, but they also help a wonderful cause which is raising money towards the new NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) that is being built at the L&D hospital to provide better care and treatment for lots of premature and ill babies.

I know this is quite different from what I usually post here, but I'm sure lots of you will be buying Christmas cards soon, so maybe please consider getting one or two of these and help support this charity in memory of Arlo.

You can find more info on the cards + charity here, as well as links to get the cards.

Thank you so much for reading โ™ฅ

ฦ’. x

This post is not sponsored in any way, on the contrary, I made a small contribution to the cause myself, as it's something that really touched my heart. Even if you don't need cards, or can't donate to the charity but still feel like it'd be worth contribuiting to, please consider sharing this with someone who might be interested in doing so โ™ฅ

// photo credits: ยฉ jot