Calligraphy and Cake in Cambridge

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I’ve been daydreaming all week about swapping my Excel spreadsheets for life as a photographer, styling and shooting events and gorgeous products. Not sure where this urge has suddenly come from, but I suspect my time at NOVI with Immie Owen at Quill’s latest modern calligraphy class might have something to do with it.

For those of you who don’t know Immie, she’s a fab self-taught calligrapher who teaches regular classes all over the country. She was so fun+funny and super welcoming! I had actually already done a workshop in August and was only popping by her Cambridge class on Saturday to take photos for the blog (too focused on learning to write my name during my session…) but Immie encouraged me to stay and practise if I wanted. What better way than to spend my morning with a bunch of friendly people in a beautiful venue being fed pain au chocolat whilst learning a new skill?

Meanwhile, the husband spent his two hours supervising an administrative law tutorial not too far away (exciting, I know…), before we met up and spent the rest of our afternoon wandering around the beautiful city. Maybe I will have a city guide here at some point!

Pop over to Quill London or Immie Owen’s websites for more information and do let me know if you go for a workshop.
Images: Courage & Dash

Stationery We Love: Sparrow + Wolf

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Stationery time! Small stationery addiction going on at Courage & Dash. We discovered Sparrow + Wolf on Facebook (sometimes it’s good for something!) and wanted to share their fun+colourful products with you. Gold foiled notebooks, origami print wrapping paper, pom pom cushions… all packaged with neon wrappers and string.

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Sparrow + Wolf is a Birmingham based stationery and homewares design studio. Their designs start off life as illustrations which are then digitised and turned into patterns for those sweet little cushions and gift wrappers. Oh, they also have temporary tattoos! Cute.

Even better, they strongly believe in supporting British Manufacturers and working with environmentally responsible suppliers and printers. Big thumbs up from us!

For more Sparrow + Wolf goodness, visit http://www.sparrowandwolf.co.uk/.

 

Images: Sparrow + Wolf

Got Mantra? Say it with BXXLGHT!

How is your Easter weekend going? Ours has been FAB. Not only have we finally had the time to blog, we’ve also been able to see family+friends, wander outside for some fresh air, and eat delicious home-cooked food by Mother. YUM.

We’ve been trying to think of different ways to decorate our walls – of course, being a print/antique documents fiend, there’s barely any wall space left, but one can never have too many wall-hangings!? The challenge is in making sure that the hangings aren’t too samey same, which is why BXXLGHT was quite an exciting find.

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Bxxlght is a company that designs plexiglass light boxes which you can customise with changeable letters. The company is only about 1+ years old, and was founded by Daniela Upmark after a trip to NYC.

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On that trip, Daniela fell in love with the signs she spotted in the city; at the same time she was in the process of moving to a new apartment and in her frustration of trying but failing to find an art piece for a her home that was personal and different, she came up with the idea of Bxxlght.

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We like Bxxlght, because it definitely fits in the “different” category: it functions as a lamp and a display piece, while simultaneously being customisable to communicate your mood of the day.

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Bxxlght is currently available online (you can play around with the customisation as we did above!) and in Selfridges (in the UK).

How do you decorate your walls? What would you put on your Bxxlght box if you owned one?

For more, visit: http://www.bxxlght.com.

Images: BXXLGHT

Ribbon Heaven.

Ok – we know V V Rouleaux is the epitome of ribbon fantasy. If you haven’t been to the Marylebone store yet, you must! It’s got every kind of trimming you could possibly want. In fact, they have every type of ribbon you didn’t know you wanted. You could spend hours in there and probably make some reckless, unjustifiable purchases. But it’s ribbon! You can’t be too careful…

Today, however, we are looking at the beautiful Studio Carta by Angela Liguori. Angela is originally from Rome (one of our favourite cities!) and now lives in the Boston area in Massachusetts, USA. She founded Studio Carta, which specialises in fine stationery and custom ribbons imported from Italy – the Italian cotton ribbons are from manufacturers who have been using the same materials and techniques since the 19th century! The selection and quality of Studio Carta’s ribbons are rather exquisite. In addition to her custom ribbons, Angela also collaborates with designers, calligraphers, and printmakers to create original letterpress stationery and other personalised products. Stationery heaven? Oh yes.

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We can’t get enough of the wooden reels, glittery ribbons, and cosy little store. Did you spot the antique letterpress machines? So lovely! If there’s something missing in our lives, it’s a beautifully styled store selling a mix of vintage-style, decorative/functional, pretty things, like stationery and haberdashery. They somehow seem prolific in North America! We are definitely on the hunt for charming shops like Studio Carta in the British Isles…

Studio Carta | http://www.shopangelaliguori.com/
97 Boylston Street Brookline {Boston}

 

Images: Studio Carta via Angela Liguori

So pretty, you’ll want it all…

It’s Christmas eve! Today is officially the start of the Christmas celebration – as a family, we watch The Snowman, Father Christmas, and A Christmas Carol together, before adding the remaining presents to the pile of gifts under the tree that had been growing steadily over the past week. We also eat more family Christmas cake, play some silly games, and spend plenty of time laughing lots in preparation for more fun and festivity the next day. After all, it’s not every day you get to remember the birth of Christ! What are some of your traditions?

Thinking of Christmas reminds us of the Magi – the wise men of the Orient who brought three gifts to the baby Jesus in his manger – and in turn reminds us of talented gift-makers, Birch & Goldberry. The company, which we first discovered on Design Love Fest, makes limited edition collections of hand painted wrapping paper, colourful soaps, fragrant soy candles, and small greeting+holiday cards. We adore the whimsy, invigorating mix of colours and swirls in their products.BundleExample_o

Birch & Goldberry is Elizabeth Burnham, Hillaree Hamblin & Stephanie Hamblin. They all studied Painting at the University of Houston, where they bonded over shared styles and visions; in Sept. 2013, the triplet launched the company, and have since taken part in pop up shops and markets.

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Image above: Bri Emergy, Design Love Fest

We love that Birch & Goldberry products are a labour of love. As all three founders have creative backgrounds and formal training in fine art, the packaging and design of the collections are well thought out and diligently created, including the rolls and rolls of hand-painted wrapping paper!

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We can’t get enough of the vivid colours and bold pattern in Birch & Goldberry products. To be honest, we’re not sure we’d want to wrap anything in their wrapping paper – would feel far too decadent to do so!

Have a happy Christmas eve; may you have a wonderful time with your loved ones and your festive traditions.

For more Birch & Goldberry goodness, see them at: http://cargocollective.com/birchandgoldberry.

 

Images: Birch & Goldberry (unless otherwise stated)

We never thought origami could be this cool!

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We love Esther Thorpe, founder and creative mind behind Origami Est.

We love her not just because she has the cutest house rabbits that make regular appearances on her Instagram feed, and not just because she turns pieces of paper into amazingly cool 3-d items, but also because at least 10% of proceeds on Origami Est go to Stop the Traffik, a charity committed to helping people find freedom from being trafficked and to raising the awareness of the truth of human trafficking. Love her too, already?
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We first discovered Esther’s work in Smug (if you haven’t been yet, you really ought to), when we were there for the shelfie breakfast with Tiff Grant-Riley. I thought the flower balls were ceramic, which shows how robust they have been folded to look.

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“I have always been obsessed with paperfolding,” Esther tells us. “A couple of years ago, I decided to start folding bigger ornaments to give as gifts for friends.

“I was getting rather addicted – it doesn’t take much for me to get excited about something! So I decided to write a little blog about what I had been making. To my amazement, people started asking if I could make them to sell!”

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“At the time, I was teaching full time, and so I didn’t feel the need to make money from my mini business venture. I have been passionate about supporting STOP THE TRAFFIK for a long time, and it felt right to commit to giving to them through my origami.

“I made me realise how few people know about modern day slavery, so I would try to use Origami-Est as a way of telling people about human trafficking.” What a good idea, Esther!

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We’ve been watching, via Instagram, with amazement at how popular Esther’s origami Christmas collection has been, with particular models and prints flying out of her hands as soon as they are made.

Esther shares with us some of her Christmas traditions: “A few years ago, I folded 24 little origami candy boxes together, to be used as an advent calendar. Every year, we fill the boxes with chocolates and a narrative of the Christmas story.

“The boxes are then stacked on the mantel piece, and as each box is opened, they are hung to make a garland.”

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Esther has also held origami workshops at the Pop Up Cafe in Kent, and at Smug in Islington. She also takes commissions and wholesale orders. Visit her website for more information, and to get yourself some Christmas hangings if you haven’t completed the decorations yet (don’t panic)! We have a feeling the ancients who invented origami would be pretty impressed to see her modern twist on the art.

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http://origamiest.co.uk/

 

Images via Esther Thorpe

Still Looking? Festive Gold+Bombay Duck Giveaway!

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We are having a massive thing for glossy metallics at the moment – it’s most certainly been brought on by tinsel and glitter and sequins that are traditional for this time of year, but for some reason, we can’t seem to get enough! Can you gold foil everything? WE WANT TO.

So… now that you know we are obsessed with shiny things, take a look at the latest Bombay Duck collection, which we absolutely adore. We spotted them at Top Drawer London this year, and could not help but wander over (multiple times) to pick up various bits of crockery and homewares.

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Bombay Duck was founded by two sisters, Laura and Steph, who love shopping and travelling. The brand is well known for its vivacious colours and bold print, inspired by time spent by both of them in the Far East. Bombay Ducks’ style has changed since we first discovered it – the new designs work for both lovers of pattern as well as of block colours. However, our favourite thing about the business, is that it started as a sisterly dream and has now grown into a large, global lifestyle name.

The site has everything you could possibly need to kit out your home (esp. your rented home!) with – from soft furnishings to kitchenware to picture frames, there is something for every home. And most definitely something for everyone, especially if like us you are not done with your Christmas shopping yet, eek!

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Doesn’t the tea set above look so chic?

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To celebrate the season, and since it is nearly Christmas after all, we are giving away a Besotted mug from the new Bombay Duck collection. Simply follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and get more chances to win: click here
for details!
Competition closes on Dec. 21, 2014, and we will select a winner at random.

Visit Bombay Duck for more homely goodness and inspiration:
https://www.bombayduck.com

 

Images via Bombay Duck